Thursday, June 30, 2011


I sometimes feel like I spend every day thinking, "I just have to make it through this day (or week or months), and then things will calm down."  I know in my heart that life wasn't meant to be endured, but some days it feels really hard to remember.

This week I am a single parent.  John is out of town.  My brother and his family are in town.  Curly had a big audition for a dance team.  We had to finish up standardized testing.  Bear had all her regular gymnastics, plus physical therapy, PLUS a private lesson.  My Mom needs helps with their big party that is on Saturday...  It is overwhelming... There aren't enough hours in the day...

So yesterday, I ended up telling a white lie.  I said that Curly was sick (which is true), btu it wasn't the reason we didn't go.  I just couldn't be everywhere at the same time.  We were supposed to get together with our homeschooling group, and I canceled at the last minute.  I hate it when people do that!!! Add to that the fact that I HATE to lie, I feel pretty crummy... I just couldn't figure out how to make it work.  My sister in law decided at the last minute that they were coming over for the day.  The will only get to see their cousins one more time at the big party on Saturday.  Curly was crying because she wanted to see everyone.  Finally I had to choose.  Sadly I didn't choose the one I wanted to do.  So I ended up sitting on the deck listening to her talk, and talk and talk...

Today we were invited over to a friends house, but that isn't going to happen either.  First I have to clean up the giant mess left by my niece, nephew and sister in law.  I have no idea how 3 people can make such a mess in one day, but they did. Then Bear has gymnastics, Curly has dance... I need a break... And a glass of wine...

On a good note I think that the dance program that Curly tried out for could be a great fit for her.  The girls who are in it are serious about dance, but it isn't their whole lives.  She is really hoping to make the elite team because she has a friend on that team.  I think she has a good chance of making it.  The only downside is that the practices are on Saturdays.  Of course since we homeschool and John has plenty of vacation days we can always make trips on Sunday/Monday.

Friday, June 24, 2011

You Say it's Your Birthday...

Yesterday I turned 39 years old.  I have nothing against birthdays.  I am not one to dread the passing of each year, but the past few years I haven't really felt like celebrating on my birthday either.  This year was no exception.  I had already gotten my big birthday presents.  My new camera was such a big expense that it counted for Mother's Day and my birthday. My parents surprised me by doing a bunch of landscaping work at my house while we were gone to Disney.  So I knew I wouldn't be getting any big presents on the day.  Still, my girls each gave me a homemade present.  Curly Q gave me a picture collage and Bear gave me a picture frame she had decorated.  They were both extremely thoughtful gifts.  Of course, as is birthday tradition in our house, they served me breakfast in bed.

After breakfast we went about our usual day.  We did a little school; Bear had to go to physical therapy, and then Curly Q and I went to the shop to have lunch with my Mom.  My Mom likes to do birthdays and so she had planned a little luncheon party with yummy food including strawberry shortcake for dessert.  It was a nice lunch.

After that there were more errands to run.  We picked up Bear from gymnastics, and then I has to stop at the dreaded Walmart for a couple things.  Although I nearly had a panic attack from the crowds of children and fat people on scooters in the frozen food aisle, we made it out relatively unscathed (at least for a Walmart trip).

For dinner I decided I felt like staying home.  I commissioned my dear husband to get food from our favorite Thai restaurant.  Of course I had forgotten that the main road to it was closed.  So he had to go around the world to get there and back.  He finally made it home at 7:15.  Sadly it looks as though they have changed owners, and the food was ok, but nowhere near as great as it had been.  I got to finish up with coconut cream pie and "So You Think You Can Dance." 

So all in all it was a good day.  I felt a bit blaise the whole day in part due to the crummy weather, but I got lots of great birthday wishes and the people who I care about most did their best to show me they love me too.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011


I got to babysit my cousin's baby girl today.  It's funny because I have never had an affinity for babies.  I was never the one to ask to hold someone else's baby.  In fact when I was desperate to have a child it wasn't the baby stage I was longing for.  Having a baby was just the necessary evil of having  child.  If adoption had been an easier or cheaper option i probably would have skipped having a baby all together.

Once I had Q-bert I was shocked at the immense love I felt for her immediately.  Even though she was still basically a living piece of luggage I was hooked.  Now every time I hold a baby it reminds me of that time, and I get to relive that feeling.

So having Charlotte today felt like a gift.  It help that she is one of the easiest babies I have ever seen.  I had her for over 6 hours and the only time she cried was when she bumped her head on the entertainment center when she was flirting with her own reflection.  Even then she cried for just a moment and was amazingly easy to calm down.  The girls enjoyed having the baby around too.  They were next to her most of the day.  I couldn't believe that Charlotte tolerated all the attention.

Of course I know that borrowing someone else's baby is nothing like having one of your own day in and day out.  But for one day it was fun to pretend.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011


One of the blogs I read gently cited a study showing that kids who are raised without being allowed to fail turn out to be miserable adults. Of course this is a no brainer, but that doesn't mean that it is easy to watch your child struggle.

For example, Q-Bert is currently participating in an all-star play. It truly was an honor to be asked to be in the play. Out of 150 or so kids only 25 were asked to be in the all stars. Still she was very disappointed in the role she was assigned, and in fact many tears were shed the day she found out. I didn't tell her not to cry. It was ok to be disappointed... even mad. Watching her experience those emotions was hard for me. I gave her a few extra hugs, but I didn't encourage her to wallow in the negative emotions. I also didn't coddle her or spend a lot of energy trying to help her through it. I mentioned that many kids would have liked to get into the all star play and didn't, and I told her that part of doing things like theater was learning to deal with not getting the part you wanted (or not getting a part at all). By the next day she had worked her way through the anger and had accepted the part she was given.

Of course during the competitive season of gymnastics Bear had multiple opportunities to feel disappointed. Early in the season she was still learning the routines because she had only been put on the team a couple months earlier. Her teammates were experiencing early successes at meets and Bear wasn't. I know it was difficult for her, but She struggled through it and was that much better for it. At state she missed first place by .025. That isn't much, but it had big consequences. She didn't get to attend the state awards banquet. She doesn't get her picture in the lobby of the gym. She didn't get a crown. All these things could have been really upsetting for her, and I do think she was frustrated by it. Still she is managing to turn that frustration into motivation for next season.

I don't think my kids are exceptional when it comes to dealing with failure. Quite the opposite in fact. They both cried when they didn't know the answer to a problem on their standardized tests. I do think that I am helping them understand that failure is a part of trying anything worthwhile. I would rather help them make excuses. It would be easier to do that, but that wouldn't prepare them for a lifetime of job interviews and dates. When we step in to "save" our child from failure I wonder who we are really doing I it for.

Monday, June 20, 2011


It's been a whole month since I posted.  Between getting ready for our trip, going on our trip, and recovering from our trip the month has flown by.  I have had many things to say, but I just haven't taken the time to say them.  So this posted will be a catch-up of sorts.  Some of the things I say will need a full post of their own at a later date, but for now I am just going to get going...

Disney was hot and crowded.  We have always visited in January when the crowds are low, and so are the crowd levels.  In June it is 90+, and although the crowds are in no way at their peak, they were much bigger than I am used to.  Still it was a fun trip.  The group of people we went with seemed to understand that you should have some time together and some time apart.  One day I was feeling a bit burnt out on the whole thing so our family ventured out on our own to one of our favorite places in Disney, Beaches and Cream at the Beach Club resort.  We ordered the kids the kitchen sink and enjoyed Disney "our way" for a while.

The competition was less impressive than I expected.  We did get to meet Nastia Liukin, but she seemed like she had been signing autographs all day (which she had).  She was pleasant, but not terribly personable.  They only had three age groups when almost every other competition we have gone to had four.  That put Bear in the same age group as girls nearly two years older than her.  She still held her own, but she would have places 1st or 2nd on nearly everything if the age groups were divided normally.  As it was she got 6th all around which is amazing when you remember that this was Nationals.  Her team got 1st and the bragging rights that go with being National Champions!

We have been diligently getting ready for Q-bert's dance recital.  She did a fabulous job, and in fact her tap number was one of the highlights of the show.  They were so in sync and the routine was so entertaining.  I think that is one thing we all noticed about the show in general.  It was very entertaining.  It seems like this studio made a show to entertain an audience whereas her last studio made a show to show-off what the dancers knew.  I think that really reflects a difference in studio philosophies.  I don't have the actual dance pictures, but here is a picture of Q-bert getting ready to go in before the show.

So now we are to today.  We are starting school again today.  The girls are going to be working on multiplication and a unit study of water.  They both really wanted to go back to doing unit studies, and truth be told, I think they are the most fun too.  They are A LOT of work for me though.  So considering how busy we are,  I am not sure I will be able to keep it moving forward.  I did find a bunch of nice unit studies at Curr-Click that were made by Teacher Created Resources.  They are literature based, but have hands on science, creative writing, and art projects.  So they provide a great start.

I was hoping this week would be more laid back, but between Bear's physical therapy appointments for her Sever's and her gymnastics our schedule is already quite full.  Kali has practice for her All-Star play; I am also watching my cousin's baby on Wednesday (which is a ton of fun) which is another commitment.  Also, although I didn't blog about it, I am trying to meet my resolution to take more field trips.  So far we have gone to the Museum of Science and Industry

and Brookfield Zoo

We also went bowling, but I didn't get pictures.  This week we are supposed to go to Magiquest too.  Oh and I need to finish opening our pool...

So as you can see, things are not slowing down, but hopefully I am making having fun a bigger priority!