Friday, October 20, 2017

An Escalation

The rat has escalated.

Last night, I tucked it in Brad's gi sleeve. I was sure he would feel it when he packed his bag. He did not. It was discovered when he went to get dressed in the dojo changing room. I'm pretty sure that we now are "that weird family" at the dojo.

So...I kind of had it coming. I went to put on my shower cap this morning, and I screamed. Not a little shocked gasp. I screamed. The rat was inside.

Issa took it and put it somewhere. I'm a bit afraid of where it will end up next. Halloween must arrive before my nerves are completely shot.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Dental Drama

Just once I would love to take the children to the dentist without being summoned into the little room on the right. Alas, yesterday was not that day.

A year ago, Evan received the official diagnosis of a dental delay. His baby teeth are just super happy in his gums. He has lost four on the bottom, but that is it. Yesterday, the dentist told me it isn't time to worry, but it is time to be proactive.

We now have an appointment with an oral surgeon at the end of the month. It sounds so scary when they start the conversation with that referral, but we are looking at one of three option which can only be determined by an oral surgeon and his mac-daddy dental equipment.

We are hoping for option one: his teeth are just comfy. If that this the case, we may pop the baby teeth out just to encourage the big one to drop, but we could also just wait it out.

Option 2: he has two sets of adult teeth in the front. This is a bit more complicated. The two sets could be blocking each other. If that is the case, they would pull the baby and one set of the big teeth. Problem solved.

Option 3: his big teeth are slighted shifted up there. If that is the case, they aren't pushing the baby teeth out. We would pull the baby teeth and then look forward to orthodontia.

All in all, none of these are terrible, and we will know at the end of the month. That said, I would still really love a boring day at the dentist.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Little Rats

Fair Warning: If you come visit us you might find a tragically pathetic fake rat hiding somewhere odd.

Two years ago, Buddy the Elf arrived on Halloween riding said rat. Buddy left; the rat stayed as decor.

Last year, the kids and Brad spent the Halloween season moving him around to unexpected places.

This year, Brad and Evan have upped the rat hiding game. Yesterday morning, I awoke with a crick in my neck only to discover I had unwittingly slept with a rat under my pillow--that's how tired I was the night before. Of course, the rat then moved to Evan's bed for when he woke up.

Last night, we climbed into bed to find the rat hiding right where Brad's feet go. He took the rat and put it in the pants Evan planned to wear this morning, which was a rude awakening for the boy, who then put the rat in the underwear Brad had laid out. Brad moved it to Evan's room, where it was quickly spotted and the hiding place declared lame.

The rat is now somewhere. I have no idea where. However, I have been assured it will not impact me at all. I am not holding my breath.

Monday, October 16, 2017

Lovely Weekend

This was a crazy busy weekend, but it was all really fun!

Friday night, we started the weekend at the Latino Festival at school. Brad and I were only there for a half an hour before we left the kids with Nana and went to a friend's house for dinner. I got to man the maracca booth, and I think I have successfully gotten all of the rice out of my shoes by now.

Saturday morning, I wrote the final Read-a-Thon report while Issa worked on homework. When the boys took off for the dojo, Issa and I took off for a lunch date at Pizza Hut:
 She had earned a BookIt free pizza (yes! BookIt still exists!), and she was very proud to plop that certificate down. We talked for the entire hour we were there. I'm so grateful that she still talks and wants to share everything.

When the boys got home, we ventured out to the pumpkin patch! We went to local family farm, and we had a blast. This was the best I could manage at a sibling pic:
 They had a fun slide, a mediocre hay ride, and a more challenging than imagined ball toss:
 They also had amazing pumpkins! Issa is going for a non-traditional sculpture made of tiny white ones this year:
 Brad hauled his and Evan's because Evan helped Dad choose two tiny ones to make into eyes for Daddy's big orange one:
 I can't wait to see how these turn out!

Sunday, Issa, Nana, and I headed to the ballet with my students:
I think it was the best afternoon of ballet I have ever seen! It was a Halloween theme of three ballets: the woman in the white veil (my fav), The Raven (Nana's fav), and Sleep y Hollow (Issa's fav). There were moments that made the entire audience gasp, and it was some of the most thoughtful choreography I have ever seen.

This week promises to be a little calmer; here's hoping!

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Our Little Reluctant Writer

This boy. See that ornery face:
 He may be the end of me. He is stupid smart. His mind works a million miles a minute. His pencil, however, is a bit reluctant. If left to his own devices, his handwriting looks like something an elephant did with its trunk. Enter the new writing homework...

Each week, his teacher will send home a prompt for his to write about. Last night, he was to imagine what would happen if he had a dinosaur. After his initial insistence that he had all week and shouldn't have to do it last night because I am the meanest mom ever, he finally realized I wasn't budging on this (in case he didn't do his best work and had to redo it today), and he sat down to write:
He wrote a great paragraph about his pet pterodactyl that would fly he and his friends all over the world to eat good food. He smiled while he came up with his idea, and he wrote neatly with proper spelling and puctuation--just like we all knew he could.

Issa is quite convinced he might be a novelist when he grows up. I'll be content with getting out of third grade without me pulling all my hair out.

Monday, October 9, 2017

Caught Up

Much of my weekend looked like this:
I spent the weekend digging out from September. My house has been deep cleaned, and I'm caught up at work--including all the grading. It is good.

That being said, by the end of the weekend I was over it. You know it's bad when I'm jealous because Brad "gets" to stain the mailbox post. There was something more alluring about big projects versus the mundane. But...it is nice to be back to rights and out of the hole.

We already have big plans for next weekend, and I can't wait! Now to just stay this caught up so I can enjoy it guilt free!

Friday, October 6, 2017

Bit of a Week

I've been wanting to blog all week, but life has just been a bit much. Nothing bad--just busy. 

Last weekend, Issa got to take a Master Class with a hip hop instructor from NYCDA:
 Hip Hop is definitely still not her favorite, but she is liking it more and loved the class!

Thankfully, one of the other dance moms volunteered to take her home from the class and keep her for the night! We pawned Evan off on one of his friend's families, and Brad, Mom, and I went to see Circus 1903! We had a fabulous Cuban meal before hand, and the show was a lot of fun!

The kids came home Sunday morning to discover we had been Booed! You know it's a good bag when Evan asks to take a picture with his new cup:
 We also decorated for Halloween Sunday. I've very amused by our haunted ship:
 And Mother Nature helped us out with this authentic decor on our back door:
We loved watching him work until the wind blew the web down.

The rest of the week was kind of a blur, though! Read-a-Thon is basically over, and it ate up a lot of my time this week. I'll pick up the teacher surveys early next week and then write the final report.

Wednesday night, Brad and I went to the Optomist Club executive committee dinner. Our chair won a four course tasting dinner at the Angus Barn at a charity auction, and he used it for this event. It truly was amazing. We were down in the wine cellar, which we got to tour. They have been on Wine Spectator's list continuously since 1986, which is a huge deal. The meal was amazing, as were the wine pairings, and it was a lovely evening celebrating the fact that the event raised $38,000 for charity--$10,000 more than last year! Somehow, Brad and I left as the new webmaster and secretary.

I've been on fall break the past two days, but I've spent it Read-a-Thoning and deep cleaning the house.

Thankfully, we have a pretty quiet weekend. Issa has three days of dance, but they are not long days, and I have a mound of grading. Brad and I Evan are creating a training space in the garage. It will be busy, but it will also be lovely to just enjoy some fall weather and rest a bit before what I truly hope is a much quieter week!

Thursday, September 28, 2017

"One Day Without Incident"

Well...we are no longer drowning, but our little family does seem to still be a bit on the struggle bus. Lots of little quirks have popped up this week which have made the transition away from crazy a little bumpy. We still haven't clean cleaned, and the laundry is still mounding. We have discovered the bottom of the kitchen, though, so there's that!

Last night, Brad decided we needed to go out to dinner to celebrate all that is going right. It was a brilliant move. No dishes. No cooking. Just talking and laughing.

Over dinner, I wanted everyone to be proud of me because I passed on another volunteer opportunity, and Brad declared, "Huzzah! We need to get you one of those signs: 'One Day Without Incident." Instead of injuries, we will celebrate days without you volunteering for something!"

He was kidding, and we all were rolling with laughter, but it's true. And I'm trying. What I'm grateful for, though, is a family that supports my crazy schemes--especially a husband that is a real partner in this crazy life of ours. I can't imagine doing it without him.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

It's Fall!!!

I so love fall! It's absolutely my favorite time of the year. The leaves have been changing, and I find myself getting giddy everytime I drive down the highway and see a little more yellow.

And then this arrived in the mail last night:
And now I will be hauling out all the pumpkins. Life is good.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

We made it!

We made it to the last week in September! The past two weeks were a whirlwind of chaos, but we made it!

Both conference presentations went well last week, and I left both conferences with a couple of new ideas, which is always my goal.

Read-a-Thon is in full swing and going well! We are a little ahead of last year, so I'll take it!

The house is still standing, and today I will start a deep clean. Brad did a Herculean job keeping our heads above water, and I'm looking forward to settling back in to my housekeeping routines.

This weekend, we have nothing but fun planned and I can't wait!

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Wacky Tacky

This kid:
She is fearless. This is her first middle school spirit week. Yesterday she and Ellie twinned in their TTP t-shirts and matching headbands. Today is wacky tacky, and she went all out. I'm so proud...and I'm also really hoping at least one friend went all out, too. Let's just keep it real.

Monday, September 18, 2017

I Have the Coolest Family

We had a fabulous weekend. I'm exhausted, but everything went so well!

Hog Day was a tremendous success! Our first dessert competition had a goal of ten entries and $100 raised. Those were Mom and I's goals. The Board just wanted it to happen and didn't care if they needed to spend up to $200 to make it so. We had 11 entries and made $206! What was even better was that it was a true family affair. Both kids pitched in and worked hard. Mom ran the bake sale prep while I ran the judging. Brad sliced and plated every dessert for the bake sale. We had a few learning curve moments, but we problem-solved and the larger group had no idea. It was beautiful!

Yesterday, Issa and I went to the ballet. She djed there and back, and I just love hanging out with her these days. She has a wicked sense of humor, and I am so grateful she still wants to hang out with me. Last night, I was working on Read-a-Thon rosters at the table, and she sat down with her laptop to do some school work. She put on her music, and we sat and worked and occassionally chatted. It was lovely.

I think I will keep these people...

Friday, September 15, 2017

This Week Brought to You by Coffee and Jesus...

...not neccessarily in that order.

Over the summer, I volunteered for many things not quite realizing how the stars were aligning. So...the run down.

1. Read-a-Thon started yesterday. This weekend and Monday, this happened:
 630 folders stuffed and ready to go. They were distributed Tuesday morning.

2. Tuesday we celebrated this very shy 11 year-old:

 Bless her heart. She had planned a grilled meal, but Irma. So...we went to Weaver Street and made a quick cake.

3. Yesterday was the official Read-a-Thon kick-off:
I got the bulletin board up and spent the entire lunch reading and talking about Read-a-Thon with all the children. It was so fun! But exhausting.

4. Tomorrow is the Hog Day Dessert Competition! So. Many. Last. Minute. Details.

5. I'm running a state-wide conference next Wednesday.

6. I'm presenting at a conference Thursday.

7. I'm presenting at a conference Saturday.

8. Bless. I'm tired.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Happy Birthday, Issa!

Somebody turns 11 today!!! She begged us to start the celebrations this morning, and we were too happy to oblige she woke up to gifts on the table:
 And balloons in her door:
 Evan might win this round of gift giving:
 We were so impressed by his thoughtfulness. He wanted to get her a headband from Headbands for Hope for her, and he chose it completely on his own. I think her face says it all.

From us, Issa desperately wanted a microscope:

 I don't know who was most excited:
 Brad has been plotting with her science teacher to get something similar to what they use as school. He also chose a slide mounting kit and a couple sets of prepared slides so she could look at things right away:
 I think we will be looking at all manner of crazy things in the coming days.

This girl:
Well...I think she is just about the coolest 11 year old ever! I love the person she is becoming. She's kind, thoughtful, and genuinely funny. I sure do love her!

Monday, September 11, 2017

These Girls

Issa isn't really into the whole big birthday party thing anymore. Instead, she prefers to celebrate big with a friend. This weekend, we celebrated big with one of her favorite people on the planet:
This sweet friend is quickly becoming part of our family, and we loved having her with us.

Evan had a friend's birthday party Friday night, so it was just the girls. There was much crafting and giggling and eating. They chose barbecue meatballs and tater tots--like you do--and then finished the evening with a trip to Matthew's. They made their own chocolate bark, and I want major points for staying upstairs and only listening while they played in my kitchen. Saturday, we went for mani-pedis and then out to lunch before I took them for an afternoon of rehearsals at the studio.

They are such cool people. I loved talking through the nuances of Hamilton characters with them, and I laughed until I cried at the two of them analyzing middle school life. We played trivia, and they packaged up their baked goods for their teachers.

It was legitimately fun to have two such low-maitenance, fun girls in the house. Issa felt very celebrated, and I have a feeling this is just the first of many weekends with these two.


Thursday, September 7, 2017

The Little Things

I might have freaked out last night. This Irma, she's tricky. I was all calm until someone said they were thinking about evacuating. We by no means need to evacuate, but it just tipped me over the edge. Thankfully, I have a husband who stays calm when I don't. He did the weekly grocery shopping late last night and added a camp stove and some long-burning flashlights out of an abundance of caution. Of course, now that we did all of that Irma seems to be slowing down and will likely just get us a lot of rain early next week.

While he was doing very practical things, I resorted to scouring my kitchen and arranging snack baskets for our day of dance carpool:
We may be wet, but we have nicely arranged healthy snack options. Thank goodness I married well.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Bracing and Balancing

Hurricane season in North Carolina is never dull, but this one is shaping up to be a doozy!

Yesterday, the kids and I went to the store and picked up the requisite water, candles (unscented after last year's assault on the senses), non-perishables, and batteries. We are well-provisioned just in case.

It's a tough balancing act. Preparing but not panicking. It's especially tricky now that the kids are more aware. Issa is reading the news for her social studies class now, so we have had a lot of conversations about being aware versus freaking out.

Thankfully, Evan is around to keep us laughing. He looked at the spaghetti track map last night, and his first response was, "Wow. Someone should be fired for that one. That's about the least helpful thing I've ever seen."

Yep. Life is unpredictable, so we prepare for the worst and pray for the best.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Our Nation's Capital

We celebrated Labor Day weekend in DC with Tim and Amy this year! They just purchased their first home in Arlington and invited us up. The original plan was to leave Friday right after school, but with the first week of school exhaustion, we opted to leave Saturday morning, instead. The short four hour drive made that a much better option since we would still have most of Saturday in DC.

When we arrived on Saturday, it was rainy and gloomy, so we spent the afternoon catching up and playing board games. We also had the very surreal experience of Issa sitting at the table on her laptop working on school work. She got a bit ahead and loved feeling very grown-up and important doing her work. 

It stopped raining for dinner, and we ventured out to their favorite neighborhood pizza place and salad bar. The salad bar was Issa's idea of heaven. We spent the evening just catching up with friends that are family. It's just easy to be with them.

Saturday morning, we awoke to a beautiful day! We walked down the street to a barbecue brunch, which sounds odd but was amazing, and then caught the metro to the National Mall.

The first stop was Air and Space, per Evan's request. He spent half the morning scaring me half to death:
 This boy and his need to be on the edge:
 We walked across the mall to the Natural History Museum, and Amy kindly offered to get a family pic:
 Evan can't fake it when the sun is in his eyes. The Natural History museum was the big hit! Both kids loved the gem exhibits this trip. It definitely helped that Tim and Amy both have worked or currently work with the State Department on conflict minerals, so they could add all kinds of insights.

From there, we wandered through the monuments. So much for a selfie with my husband:
 The kids are finally old enough to appreciate the memorials. They are also small enough to walk the curbs and need rescuing when they get to the end:
We went to an early dinner at an amazing Ethiopian place. It was our first experience with the cuisine, and we are all big fans. Evan loves anything he doesn't need silverware for, and Issa loved all the vegetables. I have no idea what all we ate, but I would do it again in a second!

Yesterday morning, we headed home after a late breakfast, which means we arrived home in time to relax and settle in before another busy week. I have a feeling we will be headed North again soon, though!


Friday, September 1, 2017

I Blinked

I saw a t-shirt the other day that read, "I call my students my kids because in the year we are together they take a piece of my heart."

My "kids" may be a bit taller and older than the elementary school kiddos that the shirt was referring to (at least from judging by the buses and crayons around the words), but they are still my kids. Always will be. And we have four years together. Which made last night a bit of a sucker punch.

All last year, I was braced for the seniors. I knew from the day I started the Class of 2017 would be the first class to graduate where I had been the only director. I was ready for all those milestones.

But last night. Last night, at our opening event, I looked at the stack of plan books ready for our seniors and caught my breath. Then I looked at the row of faces in the front row, some a little misty eyed, waiting for their turn be handed their first plan book. In that instant, my heart both exploded and broke.

You see, this class snuck right up on me. I couldn't be more proud of how they have grown in the past three years, and I can't wait to see what they will do in their last year here. But how I will miss seeing their sweet faces on campus and hearing their stories. I wasn't adequately braced for them to be my seniors.

That's what teachers do, though. We know our own hearts will spinter into pieces every year, and some of those pieces will launch into whole new adventures at the end, taking a piece of our hearts with them. And I can't wait to see where they go...

Thursday, August 31, 2017

A Man and his Dog

They say you can tell a lot about a man by how he treats his dog:
 Buddy. This dog might not have made it in many other houses. Although he has settled now, he has eaten walls, trim work, and shoes. He has pulled his leg muscles multiple times because he's too stupid to learn from his mistakes. He chases reflections. He's a mess.

Although Brad has had to count to ten on a million occassions, he loves this dog, and the feeling is mutual. Buddy crawls over me to get to him. And when I get out of bed in the morning, well:
Just look at that face...

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Finding My Sanity

I'm slowly starting to find my groove and my sanity. The end of August is usually a little bit of a tricky transition--especially the week before school starts!

Unfortunately, my planning week and boot camp always aligns, but that's not too bad. It's the week after. My freshmen arrive, and my classes start, but theses two:
Well...they hang out with me in the office for the week. Fortunately, they love it! They make a blanket fort of my conference table and have a high time under there. And there is a part of me that loves hearing their giggles in the office.

But it's also very hard. I feel pulled in two directions. Trying to be 100% mom and 100% Dr. B. and that math just doesn't work out.

This week, though, I drop them both off at school and come in to a very quiet office. I usually have about an hour before the rest of campus wakes up and wanders in. I get a lot accomplished. I don't feel pulled.

When I leave the office, I've done enough that I can be fully present for my family. I can do the errands and the cooking and the cleaning and the homework without also trying to prep courses or write reports at the same time.

There is always more to do both places, and I'm on my phone answering emails a lot. But we are finding our rhythm, and I'm feeling more sane. I'll take it.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Success!

We survived the first day of school! 

The kids had fabulous days. Issa is still a little uncertain about the beginning of the school day and where she goes when, but she loves all of her teachers! The only major disappointment was that she has to sit with her social studies class at lunch, and none of her close friends are in that class. But...Fridays they can sit wherever they want, so there's hope!

Evan loves his teachers, too! He was most excited to take in his Usagi book today. I'm just thrilled he is excited about the idea of silent reading this year!

After school, we made it through our first crazy Monday. The boys have started going to a later class on Mondays, and they are thrilled to find that many of their favorite training partners made the same decision.

Issa had her first dance class of the season:
I think this group of girls is in for a great year!

I managed to make dinner and get it on the table just as planned, which I think is a huge accomplishment for the first day of school!

Brad and I played calendar jenga last night. He has a new full-time client, a conference, and a farewell dinner this week for a former colleague. I teach two nights this week and have a committee meeting, and we are going to visit friends this weekend so all ninja time has to be on the weekdays. That is a lot for the first week of school! Thank goodness Nana came to the rescue and is running some of the carpool duty this week!

Here's to great beginnings...

Monday, August 28, 2017

Happy First Day!

Today is the official first day of school, and these two were truly very excited this morning:
 Their backpacks were packed tight:
 Evan is so ready for third grade:
 His outfit was a negotiation. I asked for no basketball shorts and that he matched. I'll take what I can get.

Issa is ready for middle school and sixth grade:
 She couldn't wait to wear one of her Aunt Shannon outfits and her new boots! She had middle school 101 Friday, and after spending a full day in the building she feels like she knows her way around. She is also thrilled to have some of her very closest friends on her team.

We also continued a little tradition:
On Issa's first day of kindergarten, she and I wore matching pearl bracelets. The idea was that if she got nervous she could look down and touch hers and know I was wearing mine and thinking of her. It was a reminder that we always have her back and that we know she can do anything. We wore them every day until she felt like she didn't need it anymore. As she started middle school, I got us new matching bracelets for the same reminder.

I've been holding mine much of the morning. I did fine dropping Evan off, but I might have cried after Issa got out of the car. There is no walking her in for middle school, and although she looked so grown up at home, she looked so very small walking into that big building. I know with every fiber of my being she is ready for this, though, and I can't wait to hear all about both of their days this afternoon.

Monday, August 21, 2017

Fun Family Weekend

We had such a fun weekend! For the very first time, Grandma Judy and Aunt Carol came down to visit! Aunt Shannon joined the fun, and we truly had a fabulous weekend!

They arrived Friday, but we just stopped in for a glass of wine after Issa's boot camp performace. The real fun started Saturday!

We decided to celebrate Issa's birthday with them this weekend, and for the first time she and Shannon went shopping together for her birthday clothes. Saturday morning, we girls all set off for the mall:
 The youngins headed off their own direction while Carol and I did some shopping of our own!

Judy and Mom joined us mid-morning for a little shopping before all we girls met up for lunch:
 Issa and Shannon shopped well into the afternoon. We returned home just long enough for Issa to give us a birthday fashion show, although those pictures will have to wait as to not ruin the first day of school reveal.

We attempted dinner at the Nickel, but even at five we couldn't get in, so barbeque it was:
 We went back to Nana's for birthday cupcakes:
 And discovered Nana doesn't own a lighter. Thank goodness for gas stoves:

 Sometimes I worry she'll never come out of her shell:
 Sunday, everyone came to our house for coffee:
And we finally made it to the Nickel for lunch!

All in all, it was a weekend of great food, laughter, and memories. Judy brought some old letters and one of Granddad's college papers. It truly was lovely to just have the time, and I loved having them see our home--even our crazy. There really is no greater gift.