Monday, February 25, 2019

Dancing and Spelling Tests and Birthday Cards and Snow.

I recently listened to a podcast all about taking an inventory of your kids and their individual needs. Take 30 minutes to just think about that kid, what they need you to start doing/providing and what they need you to stop doing. Temporal, spiritual, physical, emotional needs. The whole gambit. So I decided to do this with Gwen. 

I didn't take 30 minutes and write stuff down. I took 3 minutes and just thought about Gwen and what she needs and then bounced ideas off Dan when he came home. It's amazing how simple of an exercise it was and yet how helpful.

Gwen, as the middliest middle child, sandwiched between an older sister with a couple of special needs and a baby brother, is oft neglected. Words that describe Gwen--SOCIAL beyond all get out, my helper, STUBBORN, loves getting out of the house. Social butterfly does not begin to describe this child who still cries every single time we leave a play date.

Ironically, June is my homebody but started school when she was 3 years old due to her ASD diagnosis. She wishes she could stay home all of the time. Gwen, on the other hand, would have killed to go to school at 3 years old. I wanted to send her to preschool this year because she's 4 but preschool is just so expensive in New Jersey, and i can't seem to justify it.

She has a summer birthday, and I have contemplated making her stay home one more year before kindergarten so that she will be the oldest instead of youngest, but I just don't think I could do that to her. So she's off to kindergarten next year and is probably the only kid going who hasn't attended preschool.

Anyway, as I thought about her, I decided she at least needed more activities. She attends story time at the library on Tuesdays, basketball on Wednesdays and kindermusick on Thursdays. I loathe being overscheduled, and I especially detest 4 year olds having tons of activities, but I knew she needed something else.


I found a dance studio two minutes away. All of the other kids have been attending since September, and there is a recital in June. So we are really behind. But I left a message for the owner anyway, and she called me back the next day to say that there is an opening in a class but that it started in 30 minutes and if we were going to be in the recital we had to come THAT day so that we could get her costume figured out.

So I made Harris get up from a nap I had just put him down for 12 minutes prior and we were on our way to do a trial class.

Gwen hopped into the class with her street clothes on. And she was so happy. It's a combo class of tap, ballet and acro.

After class, I asked her if she wanted to continue, and she said YESSSSSSSSSS A THOUSAND TIMES YES, so we bought a leotard, tights, ballet shoes, tap shoes and a costume.

If I'm totally honest, it's hard for me to sign up my girl to dance. I feel like there are two types of people in this world--dancers and musicians. Okay, there are obviously way more types of interest than just those two, but that's definitely how I felt growing up. Yes, I'm grateful I play the piano but I was always so jealous of the girls who danced at my school. I felt like I was betraying myself.

Good thing I don't have any lingering childhood issues!! Because that would be pathetic at age 34.

Gwen was so excited to attend class the following week with all of her pretty dance clothes on but it snowed and they canceled the class. I consoled her by having her dress up anyway and take pictures.

In other news, June doesn't take the spelling tests with the rest of her class. But I feel like she probably could. So awhile ago, I started requesting the spelling lists be sent home so that she and I could look at them together.

Why do I do this? Why do I add to my own workload? I don't know.

But last week, the work started paying off. I gave her a spelling test on contraction words, and she scored 100%. I put it in her backpack to show her teacher, and her teacher put it on the board with the other tests.

It's hard for her to retain the words over a long period of time, but we'll keep trying.

Also, June made a birthday card for one of her aides. It has pictures of corn all over it "because Mrs. V and I both love corn!" Naturally! Who doesn't want corn on their birthday card?




Seriously, so many corn pictures.

And snow. And more snow. And still supposed to snow some more this week.

Yesterday, I sent a text to check in on a nice lady in the ward who has been sick and missing church. She told me she was still feeling yucky, and I sent her a text back that said, "Sorry you are feeling so junky!" but my phone autocorrected to "Sorry you are feeling so kinky!"

And now I have to move out of state.

The End.

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

A Fireside and a Rainy Weekend

I was asked to give a fireside (presentation) to the youth in our ward (boys and girls ages 12-18) a couple of weeks ago. The topic was "Being a Peacemaker in Your Family". I was very surprised that I was asked because this is the first ward I've been in where I haven't served with the youth at all and don't really know them very well outside of the ones who babysit for me. But I like speaking and I enjoy preparing presentations, so I dove in. They say that teenagers can be a tough crowd, but I felt prideful thinking that I'm practically ONE OF THEM. I'm so young and hip, and I will crack them!

I didn't. They were a good crowd and respectful and all that, but I didn't feel like I said anything especially helpful or life changing. Sigh.

But, Dan did give me the idea for a good icebreaker. I gathered childhood photos from various adults in our ward, and we spent the first several minutes discussing who was who. It was a fun game, and MY picture was the one that stumped all of them even though I was standing right in front of their faces.

I guess I've changed? Wish I still had pink glasses though.

Other childhood photos--my children, who are currently in their childhood:

I can't wait to bring another baby in the world so that Gwen can attempt to hold him like that.

Harris refused to be in the photo this Sunday, so I snapped one of him running away from the photo.

Yesterday was President's Day, and we spent the day as a family. Dan and I swam together at the YMCA while the kids played in the play center. We cleaned the house, and Dan got an oil change. I took Gwen grocery shopping. And then with an afternoon to kill and terribly cold and muddy conditions outside, we hauled the crew to the church with their light-up scooters and turned off the gym lights.

This is truly the worst photo of all time, but the feeling in the room was somewhat reminiscent of middle school outings to the roller skating rink when they would do the disco skate. All dark with romantic lighting.

We also practiced dribbling and passing the ball, both with a basketball and soccer ball. When we told the girls it was time to practice basketball, Gwen asked what a basketball IS.

She and June have been attending a basketball camp every Wednesday for the past 6 weeks.

On the way home, we went to Last Licks and ate ice cream and then went home and watched Honey I Shrunk The Kids. Should it be Honey I Shrank the Kids? Anyway, I am a picky movie-watcher, but for some reason I still love this movie from my childhood. I was worried the kids wouldn't get into it because it's not a cartoon, but they LOVED it.


What's not to love?

Friday, February 15, 2019

Don't Go Breakin' My Heart! I Couldn't If I Tried!

Valentine's Day 2019.

'Twas the night before Valentine's Day 
And all through the house
Not a Creature was Stirring
Except Me. 

And man was I tired. "Creature" is probably the best word to describe the mood I was in the eve before V-Day. Akin to the famed Brit Spears lyrics, "I'm not a girl, not yet a woman", at night "I'm not completely dead, but not exactly human."

Hauling my prego belly from room to room to set up the various V-day treats, I wondered why I am doing this. And then I wonder if my kids are spoiled. All of their grandparents and a generous aunt (Thanks Carrie!) sent them goodies and valentines.

I guess they are spoiled but hopefully in the right way.

On MLK Jr. day, June begged me to make a heart chain to count down the days until V-Day. We did so, but forgot to ever rip off any of the chains. No matter, because it served as a heart "gate" barrier to the kitchen. No one was allowed to enter the heart gate until they had made their bed AND used the restroom. These don't seem like very lofty requirements, but trust me, they are.

After the "Big Two" chores were done, the girls entered, and there was much rejoicing in the land.

June on her favorite day of the year.

The grandparents and Aunt Carrie took care of most of the goodies. I gave each kid a book or book set. Always trying to sneak literacy in there. June received the E.B. White book set--Charlotte's Web, Stuart Little, and The Trumpet of the Swan

Gwen received The Peter Rabbit Book Collection. Harris received Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? after I discovered ours had been submerged under water last year. 

Two of the books in Gwen's set were lost before five minutes were up. This means Harris is the culprit. He's so good at hiding things. Gwen is heartbroken. YAY V-DAY!

Harris threw his book at the wall repeatedly yesterday but allowed some actual reading to take place this morning.

Red-ish hearts with whipped cream border.

Most of the hearts were more anatomically-shaped than heart-shaped, but guess what!! Forming corners on pancakes is hard.

We did heart hair, same as last year. Poor Gwen went first, and as guinea pig, her heart was a bit more disconnected. Broken hearts all over for Gwen yesterday.

And June:

And pink and purple outfits, picked by the girls.

And heart-shaped sandwiches for lunch.

And heart-shaped pasta for dinner.

And I looked for these ice cube trays all day and found them at the end of the day, when I was getting a vase for the flowers Dan brought home for me. Of course.

So no ice this year.

You know the Berenstain Bears book, Too Much Birthday?

Well, that was kind of June's experience with V-Day this year. She gets SO excited and wants to do everything and then gets frustrated and snaps. She spent a good part of dinner in her room calming down. From what I can gather, it started at school when they made valentines for the librarian and she didn't get to finish hers. So she was trying to do it at home and was very worried about the librarian getting it TODAY and kept begging me to drive it up to the school even though the school was already closed. Then a piece of yellow construction paper caught her eye, and she just had to make a sun valentine card too, featuring Mrs. Sun. And then she wasn't finished by the time dinner was starting, and we told her she could finish it after. And then she flipped.

And then she calmed down and came to dinner. And then didn't get the chair she wanted. Flipped again.

All the excitement is too much for her. I joked this morning about not celebrating V-day next year, and she BAWLED. So I guess it was too soon?

Anyway, I'm really not the type of mom to go overboard on things like this, and it kinda kills me every year. Even though I don't do that much! I slept 10 hours last night. Dan had to stop our romantic V-Day movie, U.S. Marshals, after 45 minutes because I was out.

The. End. of Valentine's Day!!!

For this year.

Tuesday, February 12, 2019


June loves people. She loves dogs. She loves rainbows, unicorns, stories, winter, summer, treats, spring, fall, her family, church (sometimes), and staying at home.

June loves to love. It's what she does.

Valentine's Day is her JAM. You might recall that when we moved to New Jersey two years ago, we were cooped up in a teeny tiny apartment and I was seven bajillion months pregnant with Harris and it snowed a TON. And June was having an extremely tough time adjusting to her new teacher at school. As was I.

Anyway, I ended up making a BIG deal out of V-day that year in order to give us something to look forward to, and now V-Day is a big deal every year. Whether I like it or not.

June has been asking about V-day since October and prepping for V-day since Christmas ended. I have already been the recipient of countless valentines, and I try really hard to be gracious about each one before I throw it away. Sometimes she find them in the trash. And then I try to look really innocent as I say, "I don't know how that got in there!!!!"

Anyway, some especially funny V-day related things from the past couple of months:

June usually writes the notes herself but asked me to play scribe on this one. It says:

Dear Mom:

I love you so much. You are so beautiful. How was your summer?

To: Mom
Love: June

She also brought home this paper from school last week with some inventions she wants to make. Of note are the following: "kiss machine" (What in the world?!), "flying scooter" and a "smiley belly". Which is what mine is doing after every meal. Maybe that's what she's talking about?

Two days until V-day, so I'm saving some stuff until then. Just thought I would prepare you for what's ahead.

The End.