You can’t possibly believe that I forgot about sending out cards during the Holiday, can you ? 

Well, truth be told, I did my obligatory sprint for the Holiday finish line.  The house was decorated, gifts were wrapped, and Christmas treats were made.  And eaten I might add.  I had plans about the Christmas cards this year.  I did.

Well, sort of.  You see, I was planning for a cute family photo card – didn’t happen.  Which then turned into a cute photo card of the Monkey – also didn’t happen.  And so I was left to face the reality of it being the 23rd of December.  Even if I rushed, got some cards, got them addressed and stamped, no one would even get their Christmas cards until after Christmas, anyway.  So what is the point exactly?

Why am I limited to sending out a nice card with good wishes to my friends and family only around Christmas time?  Who says that the only time of year that there are any great cards with wonderful sentiments is Christmas?  What is the deal with the post Thanksgiving financial windfall for the US Postal Service to handle all the mass mailings to everyone in your address book? 

I don’t just think about friends and family at Christmas time.  Sure, that is ONE of the times but believe it or not – you are on my mind more frequently than that.  So, I am breaking free of the unwritten rules.  I am questioning authority – you are shocked I can tell!   I am going right out there on the edge of prim and proper let me tell you.  I am throwing all caution to the wind and sending out cards to people whenever I want.  That’s right.  You read it right here!  You just might end up getting a card or letter from me because …because I felt like sending one!

 So there it is…right out there in the open.  Whew! 

Stay tuned…   Who knows when you might happen upon a fun greeting card or note from me in your mailbox. 

Happy New Year …Ya’ll!

The beginning of my experience on the other side of Public Education.  You know, the “Mom” side.  Our little Monkey is headed to Kindergarten.

We attended our first ‘Meet the Teacher’ on Friday afternoon.  His teacher seemed young…but aren’t they all?  I think she’s probably a good match up for the Monkey, though.  When she saw him in the hallway goofing around with one of his best buddies from pre-school, she grinned and said “So, are you two going to be my trouble-makers this year?” 

Monkey grinned and shrugged, “Yep.”  His response was so matter of fact and without hesitation it seemed as if he had been planning it for the entire summer.    

In the ‘Parent, please do this’ packet I found some Parent Homework.  The worksheet is about “ getting to know your child”.  We are supposed to complete and return by the end of this week.  It is a three to four page work sheet with ‘hypothetical’ and general statements.  You are supposed to read the statement and then rank your child as ‘always-sometimes-never’ by circling numbers one through five that correspond with how the child responds. There is also an essay section for you to provide additional details you think are relevant or where specific skills the child exhibits may be a ‘needs help’ with or are ‘behaviors to understand’, etc.  

My initial thought was this is great!  I have the opportunity to give them information up front.  How cool is that?  Do I get parent extra-credit or bonus points?!  I started to read through it and I want to answer ‘yes’ to each one.  Truthfully, it really is always, sometimes AND never in varying degrees on any given day.  There is no prescription to how these things go with a five year old.  As I continued reading through the general question/statements printed on the inviting soft lavender colored paper I got to thinking. 

This is a scam.  

Don’t get me wrong, I realize they have a bunch of kids to deal with and having some up front information MIGHT be helpful.  BUT…

Call me idealistic.  I REALLY want the teacher to take the time to learn about my child by getting to know him.  Learning about what works with him, what motivates him and what doesn’t.  Certainly he will have to learn about her, as well.  What she tolerates, what she doesn’t, etc.  

First of all, I don’t think the three page worksheet will cover it for the very same reason I want to answer ‘yes’ to all the questions.  He’s pretty clever so I think even if I provided all the “inside” information, I am doubtful that these statements/questions even touch the surface of what he is all about let alone how he might respond.  Sometimes even I am surprised at his responses.   Last week while talking to him about something I felt required explanation he interrupted me mid sentence with “Yeah, Mom…blah, blah, blah…I get it.”    

This response doesn’t get me too upset even though I would prefer he not talk back OR interrupt me, issues we continue to work on.  But, I do recognize that I can be verbose at times.  I also recognize that, as the parent, I can appear to talk down to him.  He grasps things quickly without having to be given infinite examples.  In fact sometimes he will have some of his own fun by letting me go on and on and I look up to see him smiling at me with that big ‘gotcha’ grin.  Maybe he understands sarcasm a little too well. 

He’s an extremely energetic but yet very focused boy.  He says the blessing at dinner and enjoys pretending to be a Clone Officer from the Clone Wars running all over the house yelling “Battle stations, Battle Stations!” and making shooting noises from his imaginary laser blaster weapon.  He makes sure that he hugs the family dog, Belle, before leaving for the day.  He enjoys standing on the fireplace playing air guitar pretending to be a Rock Star and he loves to gently plink the keys on the piano as he composes his own little sonatas.  He can be polite, soft-spoken, sensitive and caring.  And there are times when he is demanding, temperamental, sarcastic and rude.  After receiving his punishment one afternoon for doing whatever it was he wasn’t supposed to be doing,  he dropped into his chair with an “humph!”.   Brows furrowed, arms crossed in an indignant tone he states “didn’t see THAT coming”.   Trust me, neither did I!  Out of the mouths of babes… 

The real question for me is how do they use this worksheet?  Do they even read the responses?  What do they do with this information?  Do they take this ambiguous information and pre-dispose a child to certain behavior pattern just because that’s the way the parent answered it? 

More importantly, does it really matter?  He won’t be the same with his new teacher in a classroom of his peers as he is with me and his Dad sitting at home playing Mario Kart on the Wii, taunting his dad with ”ok, big man…bring it!  This will be like taking candy from a baby!”

I expect that my child will have good days and bad days.  He will be the star student, the class ham and the trouble-maker, often any of them interchangeably on any given day.  He’s a five year old boy.  

In spite of the possible motive for this parent homework printed on the inviting soft lavender copy paper, there really isn’t any definitive path to getting to understand him except to give him respect, give him boundaries and teach.   

Maybe that’s all I have to write on that worksheet …or write nothing at all.  It will all be clear soon enough.

Happy Birthday to Mr. BigA!!

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Happy Birthday!!!  Hope you can come and visit some time soon.  Your cousin can’t wait for you to teach him to play Hockey!!!

Have a great day!  You are too cool for school!!!

So…the question is asked…”Are you now the person that you thought you would be twenty years ago?”

*chuckle*

Interesting question, don’t you think?  I mean, it would be really hard for me to say.   I was such a silly girl with silly ideas about what was important.  All I can say is, whatever I was thinking at 25 could not have remotely measured up to what I have been blessed with now.  I try not to look back.  Not because it was bad.  Not because it was good – but because I can’t change it.  There are a number of things from that time in my life that I am proud of and many decisions I made that I regret.  I was living a life that in many ways would not be representative of the person I am today.  

I don’t know what it was along this journey that influenced my direction and brought me to be the person I am today – except to say that I took things a day at a time.  It wasn’t all smooth sailing.  Bad things happened.  Even tragic things happened but there was always laughter and joy along the way.   

When I do look back I try to focus on the people and experiences from a position of gratitude.  I am grateful for those friends and people who influenced my life and for everything they taught me.   I am also grateful that the mistakes I made taught me to pick myself up and keep going. 

But today, I am most grateful that I can look back and laugh at myself. 

Have you met our lovely labrador retriever, AnaBelle?

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She’s 9 months old and lovely or not she’s a menace.

To be fair, I know that lab puppies are known for their chewing.  I know this because every time that I have contacted our vet regarding something else that she’s chewed or ingested, he laughs at me. “Well, you do have a lab.”  Funny how that doesn’t seem so funny to me at the time.

Our laundry room doubles as her kennel. This puppy has quite discriminating taste and has managed to do her own decorating in “her room” over the past 7 months.  She’s made it quite clear that the textured ‘monterey drag’ finish on the walls is not acceptable to her.  To provide evidence of her dislike for the wall finish she managed to carve out portions of the wall including the drywall.  Once a small chunk of drywall is removed she begins to peel away the paper.  But her decorating activities have not stopped there.

It’s clear that she is not fond of stainless steel front loading appliances.  We have identified her signature gnaw marks on the doors of both the washer and the dryer over the past few weeks.

Our previous beloved lab, Bogey loved to wolf down his food.  Since this can be deadly for big dogs, we decided to get one of the elevated dog dishes for him.  We found one at Orvis a few years back and purchased the wooden one they had in the store.  As you can see here from the picture, our loverly AnaBelle has made it clear she wishes for something perhaps more feminine in design.

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She’s chewed through her puppy pillow, which rang in at just over $400 in emergency vet bills.  She’s chewed through her most recently acquired dog bed that I managed to repair…albeit only temporarily.  I noticed that she’s been working on that one again.   She also managed to chew up the rug that used to be placed on the wood floors just on the other side of the kennel “gate”.   She was able to coerce that rug under the gate and made short order of it one afternoon.  It was an old rug but it certainly didn’t deserve that!  The kennel gate has been the recipient of her signature teeth marks.  So,  I won’t begin to list the numerous “indestructible” puppy chew toys we have had to throw out.

We have to keep her in the kennel during the day while we are at work. This is primarily due to my fear that her decorating preferences will be brought to light in by showing me how much she despises the furnishings in the remainder of the house.

This was apparent in our most recent incident when Chris woke up one morning and told me he thought one of the pillows might need a repair.  There was down fluff all over the bed.  After further inspection I found that it was not a pillow that was leaking feathery down everywhere.  Apparently AnaBelle decided that the down comforter on our bed was not to her liking and she chewed up one corner of it which was sort of tucked in the sheet when we went to bed.  Once it was pulled out from the tuck…the fluff was everywhere.

She’s currently banned from the master bedroom where I have replaced the down comforter with something more fluffy and higher thread count as well.  She attempted to rest there a number of times since I replaced it on Friday.

Brat.

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TODAY IS HERE!

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