Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Camping for everyone

Over the weekend we took the kids on our second family camping trip. Our neighbors invited us to join them at their campsite at Inks Lake State Park. It was so much fun! The weather was beautiful and we discovered that camping with friends is even more fun than camping by yourselves! The kids always had someone to play with and the adults always had someone to talk to. Or eat with. Whatever.

As soon as we got there we broke out the peanut butter sandwiches for lunch. Because nothing says camping like peanut butter. After lunch we headed straight for the lake and jumped in our neighbors canoe that they rented. This was Emma Mae's first time in a canoe and she loved it. She also enjoyed swimming in the lake. For some reason Jake wasn't so sure about this adventure. He was scared to get in the canoe at first even though he had done it before and he was scared to get in the water even though he is a fish. I'm gonna chalk it up to being tired from Kindergarten. Eventually everyone got in and had a good time. Mike even took our neighbor's older daughter and her friend to go jump off some rocks called Devil's Hole. Because nothing says responsible adult like taking kids to jump to their death. I kid. They were perfectly safe. And they had a blast. Of course my camera was nowhere in sight.

We made some burgers for dinner and had brownies for desert. Then the kids loaded themselves down with glow sticks and played while the older crowd sat around the camp fire and played Catch Phrase. So. Much. Fun.

The next morning we got up, made pancakes, packed up camp and headed out for a hike before leaving the park. Jake is like a spider monkey. Or Spider man. He is obsessed with climbing things and finally I had to just stop watching him and trust that Mike wouldn't let him fall. The kid makes my anxiety levels reach new heights every day. Also, he broke the towel rack in his bathroom last night hanging from it like Spiderman. Totally unrelated to the trip but it had to be said. Anyway, we can't wait to go on our next camping adventure. Only 72 more state parks in Texas to go!

Friday, September 21, 2012

Dolly's and Piggy's

This morning Emma Mae and I got to watch my friend's little girl, Dolly. We had so much fun! It was nice to catch up with my girl Eva also. Emma Mae thought it was great to have someone a little bit younger here that she could try to boss around. Dolly wasn't really having it though.

Jake decided he wanted to ride the bus home from school today. He ran off the bus carrying a backpack I didn't recognize screaming "that was so much fun!" As soon as he got in the house I started questioning him about the class snack time today. It was our turn to bring snack and you can bet I wasn't going to do the purple grape thing again. But I also didn't want to go out and buy Goldfish crackers or anything. They don't really fit into my vision of us not eating processed food right now. So yesterday I decided to make mini muffins for the kids. And yes, sugar and white flour are processed, but Rome wasn't built in a day. This is a work in progress. Plus, I don't know how to make things taste good without sugar. Anyhow, yesterday I baked three different types of mini muffins. I knew the kids would probably like the banana chocolate chip and the blueberry ones. But I wasn't sure if they would give the pumpkin oat bran muffins a chance. Because those muffins were ugly with a capital UG. So I told Jake to talk them up and I wrote the teacher a note assuring her that they were really good.

Well. When I asked Jake if the muffins were a hit at snacktime he said "well, there was one person who liked the pumpkin ones." And I was like "only one?" And he said "yes." And I said, "was it you?" And he said it was his friend Cason. Cason totally rocks. You know I couldn't let it go. So I asked him if everybody else liked the other muffins. And he was like "my favorite color is green." Or something like that. He totally changed the subject. So then I asked him if the kids at least liked the cute little monster baggies I put the muffins in and he said "oh yeah!" So, in short, I'm glad I was so caught up in providing a semi-healthy non highly processed snack for the children today that I spent hours of my time yesterday baking up a storm. Also, when am I going to get it through my head that Kindergarten is not about me already? Still, sometimes I really wish I could go to school with Jake for a day so I could see what's really going on up there. Maybe I could put a hidden camera in Jake's backpack. But that would probably violate someones civil rights. Or maybe I could go ahead and get my own life now.

Oh. Let's get back to the extra backpack that Jake was carrying when he ran off the bus. He got chosen by his PE teacher today (for good behavior!) to bring home a backpack with a special stuffed pig and a bunch of games and activities Jake is supposed to do with this pig over the weekend. Then we have to record all of the fun in a journal and give everything back on Monday. They also said that pictures of the student with the pig would be great. So, Jake comes out of his room tonight with this poor little pink toy pig stuffed all the way down his pants with just it's head poking out over the top. And he wants me to take his picture. For the journal. And I was like "honey, I don't think that's the kind of picture your teacher was talking about." Now, let's take the pig out of your pants. And possibly give it a bath. Then he posed for a more appropriate picture of him with Piggy Wiggy.

We're going camping tomorrow for one night and we will be taking Piggy with us. Hopefully we can get some pictures of them together with Jake fully clothed.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

I'm all out of lame post titles

Well, it's been forever since I wrote. I have a huge headache so I think I'll just do a list to catch up on things.

1.) I've been replaced by another woman in my son's life. And although I'm glad he loves his Kindergarten teacher I about came unglued last week when he told me that he has learned more from Mrs. Ware in three weeks than he ever learned from me. Really? Did she teach you how to, oh I don't know, talk? Go to the bathroom in something other than a diaper? Sing your ABC's? Use the word regenerate correctly in a sentence? That killer whales are really a big dolphin? Not that I'm bitter or anything.

2.) I can't let it go. He also told me that Mrs. Ware didn't think anything about him was crazy when I informed him the striped shirt and camoflauge shorts he picked out to wear last week looked crazy together. Whatever.

3.) On the bright side he did tell me that I was a "kind woman" when I got him some water the other day. I'll always have that.

4.) I don't remember the exact conversation but a few days ago Emma Mae came up to me and said we needed "to do some investigating." So proud of her and her five syllable words.

5.) Awkward moment number one: As we were driving home last week Jake said from the back seat "mama? I wanna know what love is." I was all "okay, love is the way you feel when you want someone else to be happy and you would do anything in the world to make them happy." And he goes "I want you to show me." And I go "well, when we give you hugs that is showing love." And he goes "I want to feel what love is". And I was all "you feel love when you do nice things for other people or when they do nice things for you." And he was all "I know you can show me." And then I realized that Foreigner was playing on the radio singing that old classic "I want to know what love is" and Jake was just repeating the words. I was slightly relieved because the conversation was starting to turn a little bit creepy.

6.) Awkward moment number two: Yesterday morning on the way to school Emma Mae and I were listening to the local Christian station. I heard the DJ say something about lots of money and then something about being the 17th caller. So I figured they were having a contest to give away money. We happened to be stopped in traffic so I called in. And I got through on the first try! And the guy that answered started taking all my info down. I was so excited. I couldn't wait to find out how much I had won. Then he asked me if he could put me down to give $29 a month or did I want to give more than that each month? And I was all "oh, uh, yeah, uh, can you hold on a minute?" Click. I so hung up on the Christian DJ guy. Turns out they were taking donations for some cause or another NOT giving money away. I totally froze and hung up on the guy. I felt like I was back in elementary school. Only back then we used to stay up late at night and call and talk to the DJ's for hours after we requested our favorite song. Probably some Air Supply or Journey or Foreigner. And looking back on it that also has a creepy factor to it.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Blue skies, purple stars

Today Emma Mae and I went up to the school for my monthly planning meeting. We put Jake on the bus to Kinder and I couldn't wait to hear about all the fun I was sure he had at school later. Today was rainbow day and that boy loves him some rainbows.

Mike picked him up from school today and when they walked through the door Mike said "tell mama what color your clip was on today." I was waiting for him to shout out that he had achieved the much sought after red star leader. Instead I got a downcast look and some mumbling about the color purple. You may remember he slipped to blue a few days ago for noise making. Well. The day after that happened his clip stayed on green meaning "ready to learn". The next day his clip moved up for the first time to yellow which means "Way to go!" We were so proud of him. I asked him what he had done to move up in the world but he didn't seem to know.

I knew when I heard purple that it was bad news. Purple is one step down from blue and only one step away from the dreaded phone call home to your mama. Further questioning ensued. At first he told me that he was trying to be funny just like I've told him NOT to do in class and then he got in trouble. So I asked him specifically what he had done. Then he told me that he was running around the room flapping his arms trying to fly. Like a superhero. Only I don't think superheroes flap. Birds flap. Superheroes just take off. Anyhow. He was definitely doing something he wasn't supposed to be doing. And then he did it or something similar to it again. Because his clip got moved down to blue before it got moved down to purple. His consequence was not being able to watch a movie with the class at the end of the day. He had to sit out in the hallway all alone. I think he felt pretty bad about it. I hope he can express his remorse to Mrs. Ware on Monday when I make him go apologize and beg for forgiveness.

Oh, the boy. It is so hard for those boys to sit still. Anywhere. I know learning self control is important for them, but I truly think it is harder for them than it is for little girls. They are the embodiment of the word "movement." My child is the kid on the street who is constantly running around and before you know it he has climbed to the top of the nearest STOP sign. Just because he can. I loved reading the book "Wild Things" that so perfectly explained and captured the heart of the boy. One of my favorite things the authors say is that "whenever boys are in the equation, you may have to broaden your definition of normal." So true. I think every parent/teacher of a boy should read it. I just imagine that every day when Jake wakes up he is thinking the famous line from "Where the wild things are." Hey world! "Let the wild rumpus start!"  Anyone for flying around the classroom?

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Blue stars

This morning Jake told me that he really missed Emma Mae when he's away at school. Then he asked me if I could bring Emma to the school today to eat lunch with him. So I said yes. Then he asked if I would also bring his daddy. So I said yes. Then he asked me if I would take him to school instead of sending him on the bus. So I said no. He can't have everything he wants in life, right?

We had the best time at lunch. I got to chat with some more of the kids in his class. Jake and Emma got to hug and kiss each other while they ate Schlotzky's pizza. And I got to quiz Jake about his behavior at school. You see yesterday to quote Jake he had "some sad news for me." Like all elementary schools these days his class has a behavior chart they follow every day. Everyone gets to start the day on a green star. That means they are ready to learn. During the day you have the opportunity to move up to a yellow, orange or the ever so special, elite red star. Red means you are a star leader. But what goes up must come down. If your behavior isn't, well, good? acceptable? normal? your star goes down to blue, or purple or heaven forbid pink. The dreaded pink means you get a phone call home to your parents.

Well, Jake's clip went down to the blue star yesterday. He told me it all started when he was making this noise that Mrs. Ware didn't like. So I asked him to demonstrate. And I could see why Mrs. Ware wouldn't like the noise he was making. It was somewhere between an ambulance siren and a howler monkey. So anyway Mrs. Ware asked him to stop making that noise and he did. But then later he made the same noise in the hallway and his clip moved down to blue. So sad. I think there may be a bit more to the story than what he told me however because upon looking at his behavior folder when we got home I saw what Mrs. Ware had written on his chart for the day. It said "making noises continuously today." Welcome to my world Mrs. Ware. Welcome to my world. I have a feeling the monkey was howling more than just two times yesterday. As of lunchtime today, he was still on green. So I'm hoping he can make it through the rest of the day without moving down. The really sad part was that the night before the blue star Jake was telling me how much he wanted to get to the red star. He thinks it would be really awesome to have a red star. So he asked me what I thought he had to do to get there. I told him follow the rules. He said he aleady did that. So I told him to ask his teacher for some advice. I'm pretty sure he forgot to do that part. I'm pretty sure he thought maybe he could impress her with his noise prowess and she would hand him that red star out of sheer admiration. Hard lesson learned.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Sesame seeds, snacks and sugar

Have you ever watched a three year old pick every single sesame seed off of her bun and then eat them all at once in one huge gulp out of her hand? I have.

Have you ever listened to a three year old lisp her way through a "reading" of Do Kangaroos Have Mother's Too? I have. It was adorable.

Have you ever had to buy purple grapes for 22 kids for a Kindergarten snack? I have. Seriously, this snack cost us $14. Tomorrow is Jake's day to take snack for his class. Parents were supposed to sign up for snack at meet the teacher night. By the time I made my way over to that table all of the good, inexpensive "easy" snacks had been snagged. My choices were either purple grapes individually packaged for 22 kids or rainbow fruit kabobs for 22 kids. I think we all know I chose the grapes. It was time consuming enough plucking 15 grapes off their stems and stashing them into 22 different baggies. I tried to get Jake to help me. He lasted halfway through his first bag. He kept losing count and asking me how many grapes were in his sack. So finally I just took over. Which I suspect was his master plan all along.

Have you ever thought about cutting sugar and white flour from your diet? I have. I am loving this blog right now. She has so many great ideas about meals and snacks that are "real" food instead of highly processed. I've been feeling for awhile that even though I love to bake and eat sugary things my body just can't handle them as well anymore. Plus, I am always so tired in the afternoons now. And sometimes the mornings. And also the evenings.

So I wonder if cutting sugar and white flour out for awhile would make a difference. I asked my beloved hubby if he would do this for ten days with me. He lovingly said no. So I asked him if he wanted to think about it. And he said no. He has stuck with me through my wanting to buy organic fruits and veggies and even meat when we can. He didn't make fun of me on Saturday when I made homemade whole wheat poptarts for the kiddos. He has supported me in all of my little house on the prairie ideas so far. But he is drawing a line in the sugar about my latest whim. Well. I may have to do it without him. Won't he feel silly when I have all this extra energy and he just wants to go take a nap?

Speaking of organic. There was no way I could afford to buy organic grapes for Jake's class snack. But I did spend ten cents a pound more for these beautiful purple grapes in these big plastic containers. As I was rinsing them off this afternoon I saw on the package that they had been sprayed with sulfur dioxide as a preservative. I felt so bad. I never would have bought them if I had seen that at the store. I don't know if sulfur dioxide is bad for you, but it sounds like it might be. I went to college on a small campus with a sulfur pit right next to it. There is nothing like waking up in the morning to the smell of rotten eggs wafting in through your dorm room patio door. Probably explains my inability to make good grades my freshman year. Anyhow, I hope the children enjoy their $14 sulfur coated snack at Kinder tomorrow. I'm already planning what sugarless, white flourless, probably tasteless snack I can bring for them next month to make up for it.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

First time for everything

Be still my heart. Jake started riding the bus to school today. That seems very grown up. But he still wants me to pick him up so I'm all right.

We have heard some rumors that the bus driver on our route was a little, well, mean. Someone may have even said that it seems as though he hates his job. So Jake and I were both a little anxious about him. When I asked Jake how the bus ride went this morning he said it was "so cool!" Then he said that the bus driver had a mad look on his face the whole time. I asked him to demonstrate. This is what I got.
It reminds of last summer when Jake told me there was a mean girl in his Sunday school class. I asked him what was so mean about her and he said "she has angry eyebrows." Sometimes a look is worth a thousand words. Emma Mae and I had our first day of Pre-K this year.
She hates that cute pink flower headband we tried to make her wear. As soon as we took it off the smiles came out again. She is impossible.
She had a great day at school though. We are so blessed that she has two very nice, fun teachers. Ms. Mandy is a rock star around here. Jake still talks about her and she was his teacher three years ago! I had a good but exhausting day hanging out with our eight little one year olds. We're all looking forward to a great year. And we're all hoping angry bus driver man will put on his happy face at some point.