Friday, October 30, 2009

The Band

Now that I’m all grown up . . . well, chronologically.  I think back to what it was like to dream of adulthood.  Kids do funny things.  They have all these fortune telling tricks that supposedly determine their future.  Anyone play MASH as a kid?  MASH stands for Mansion, Apartment, Shack, House.  The rules vary as to how you cross off the letters.  The ultimate results are the same.  You end up with one letter and that one letter represents the housing you will end up in! 

MASH leveled the playing field of reality.  Anybody could end up in a mansion even if they didn’t deserve it.  Straight A students that wrecked the curve could end up in a shack.  Maybe MASH reflects reality more than we thought as kids!

My favorite fortune telling trick used face cards.  You put out all four kings, or queens if you were a guy, and name them with your latest crushes.  I usually picked two guys I really liked, a hot celebrity, and the last king was some nameless dream I might meet one day but hadn’t met yet. 

The next step is to ask questions about your future spouse.  Lay down a card under each king until the suit matches.  Keep asking questions.  The final question is who will I marry?  I rarely ended up with Will Smith.  Interestingly, I usually ended up with the guy I liked best.  Sometimes cards ran out before there was a match so I didn’t know who I would marry on that round. 

Oh the naïveté of youth! 

Some people have lists.  Heath had a list.  Ross’s list on Friends was a little different and Rachel was mad when she found out about it.  Heath’s list was not cataloguing my pros and cons.  It was simply a list of ideal qualities.  He made it long before he met me.  So I was not mad about it. 

Heath worked with a guy who had a pretty extensive list.  This guy was an analyst to the nth degree!  He had a whole Excel spreadsheet on girls and their qualities.  He could figure out a girl’s “number” by using the spreadsheet.  When the pickings were slim he would settle for a 7.  When he could be more choosy he went for a 9 or 10. 

Oh the desperation and idiocy of single adulthood!

Someone once said to keep your eyes wide open before marriage and half shut afterwards.  I like that. 

Sometimes I think of how I hit the marriage jackpot and I wonder how he feels about getting me.  According to his list he only compromised on “plays sports.”  I have been told I have a volleyball player’s body type.  But we all know I don’t do sports of any kind! 

Back to the face cards . . . one of my favorite questions to ask was, “Who will spoil me rotten?”  Yeah, Heath spoils me.  Rotten. 

For all he does for me sometimes I wonder what on earth I bring to the relationship!  Recently some friends told me I am the band.  They said everyone needs a cheer leader and that’s me.  (Not cheerleader.)  I am the wind beneath his wings.  I am every gaggy metaphor one could think of!  I help him shine.  And people think I’m amazing because he taught me everything I know! 

Ignorance is bliss! 

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Halloween Parade

The big day finally arrived. The most anticipated Halloween activity finally happened! Ok, honestly the most anticipated activity was the ward Trunk or Treat but like I said earlier, Saturday was a bad day and the Trunk or Treat was sacrificed.

We had a great view. Last year the parade square was much smaller with the kids packed in like sardines and the parents stacked 5 deep. I'm impressed I got decent pictures last year. This year we were right up front.

Wyatt was one of Gavin's little friends last year. I talk to his mom every afternoon. She always waits for Gavin to come out before she leaves.

As far as I could tell Gavin was the only hot dog!!! I thought he looked great. It was 41 degrees outside when we got to school. I know I shouldn't whine about those temps. But to us it was pretty cold. It was mid 40's when we got home. So I had Gavin in two long sleeved shirts hoping he would be warm enough.

I took this picture because I was snapping random pictures of costumes. I liked the banana. I thought that was cute. Later I realized I got one of the Special Ed students. I have seen several students in wheel chairs around campus. Today was the first time I saw all of those students paraded around together with their teachers and aides. So I asked if our school district has severe Special Ed students.
I only have a Mild/Moderate degree. The closest I got to a Severe classroom was when I student taught in a classroom for students with Behavioral Disorders. I called them my behavior boys. They were sweet but it was a draining 5 weeks and I was only in there in the afternoons after spending the morning in a Resource classroom.

I was told today that our school district does have a Severe classroom and it's at our school. I thought that was interesting.

This is one of Gavin's teachers with her two little boys. Today is her day off. She only teaches Monday through Wednesday. I was glad she came because she seemed so interested in Gavin's hot dog costume when I had lunch with them.

The principal dressed up as Abe Lincoln.

A rare moment where Gwen was happy.

This is basically why we left early.

Goofy Spiderman. He was cold so he wore his jacket over his costume with a long sleeved shirt on underneath.

The teachers always parade first. The moms around me were asking who the teacher was behind the principal. They were saying there are only two male teachers and he wasn't one of them! I thought that was funny. He brought a class in. I suggested maybe he was a substitute. Can you imagine substituting on a day like this? I think I would kill myself!

Gavin's teachers as the Three Blind Mice

Here's a closer shot. The brunette on the left is the student teacher.

More teachers.

At the top of the picture you can kind of see some more of the first grade teachers. They were all dressed as Fairy Tales or Nursery Rhymes. The lady holding the Puss in Boots sign was the teacher I requested. Based on what I've heard from all the parents, I'm glad Gavin ended up where he did. His teachers are fabulous and the perfect fit for him.

This was my favorite costume. Mary and her Little Lamb.

Gavin parading with his class.

He was so excited when he saw us!

More parading.

One last shot before I lost him in the crowd.
I have to say, I hate to see one of his front teeth growing in. I absolutely love that classic 6 year old smile with the missing teeth in front. It is too cute.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

The Spirit of the Season (part 2)

A girl in my ward has started a cute little class she calls Music Makers. This was something she was involved in when she lived in Southern California.

It's for kids between the ages of about 18 months and 4 years. I sort of feel like she said 4 years because of Parker. He was the oldest kid there when we first started going. But now the class has grown a lot. The class isn't all babies anymore. There are a lot more kids close to his age.

The class is for about an hour once a week. We sing and do finger plays, then we do marching time in the gym (Parker and Gwen's favorite part), then we do a snack and storytime. My kids love it.

Today the kids dressed up for Halloween. I had to get pictures and video. It was harder than I thought to do that though. Gwen and Parker are used to holding my hand in the gym. I let go of Gwen to take some pictures. Halfway around the circle I realized she was no longer with us. I found her with her pal, Zach, from Nursery. Gwen was holding his mom's hand. Parker was strangely shy today.

I had Parker and Gwen dressed up to take Gavin to school because I wasn't going to have time to dress them before Music Makers. So many people came up to me asking if they just couldn't wait until the school parade tomorrow! I told them they were having their own parade at their music class. There is a girl who looks like she has cerebral palsy or something like that. She talks to us sometimes because she thinks Gwen is cute. She asked why my kids were dressed up and I told her. She seemed satisfied and lined up with her class. About 5 minutes later she came over to me and said, "Excuse me, did you think today was the parade?" I wanted so badly to say, "Didn't we just have this conversation?" I just told her again that they had a parade for their music class! Oh how I hate Halloween!

I put the videos together but I felt like they would be cuter without the background noise and music from today. So I put all the pictures and video to music. I wish I had more to work with. I know that a few people from the ward wanted pictures so I will post them even though they are in the video. Enjoy.

In the Spirit of the Season (part 1)

I may be a Halloween atheist but my kids can’t get enough of it.  The fluffy side of Halloween that is.  The dress up in non scary costumes, beg for candy, and buy pumpkins side of Halloween. 

I have wanted to take the kids to a pumpkin patch for years now.  Somehow we never get around to going.  Since Gavin was supposed to entertain Franklin the turtle while he was Unique of the Week, we made time to go to a local pumpkin patch. 

It gave Gavin something to write about in the journal other than what had really happened with Franklin all week.  “Franklin has been to the park, the library, the grocery store, tossed all over the house, and loved to death.  Oh yeah, I had nothing to do with any of it.  Parker and Gwen entertained him!”  Gavin has no use for stuffed animals.  He actually acted embarrassed when Parker brought Franklin to school for pick up.  Gavin tossed Franklin back to Parker and wouldn’t have anything to do with him that day!

We welcomed Franklin into the van.  He sat on Parker’s lap instead of being buckled into the front seat.  Then we headed off to the pumpkin patch. 

Joan's-Pumpkin-Patch-004 Joan's-Pumpkin-Patch-007 Joan's-Pumpkin-Patch-019 Joan's-Pumpkin-Patch-017

These fun little photo op cutouts were Gavin’s favorite part.  He wrote about them in Franklin’s journal and drew a picture of the corn cutout. 

Joan's-Pumpkin-Patch-008 Joan's-Pumpkin-Patch-011

The boys loved running through this barn.  There was nothing to do in there but run through. 

Joan's-Pumpkin-Patch-010 Joan's-Pumpkin-Patch-012 Joan's-Pumpkin-Patch-013

The petting zoo was my favorite.  The animals weren’t real!  Although there were real ponies to ride and real animals to see.  We didn’t want to spend the money on a pony ride that only Parker would enjoy.  The kids couldn’t care less about the animals.  They were behind a fence.  Big whoop. 

Joan's-Pumpkin-Patch-018 Gwen is checking on Franklin.

Joan's-Pumpkin-Patch-023 Joan's-Pumpkin-Patch-020 Joan's-Pumpkin-Patch-024 Joan's-Pumpkin-Patch-026

We did pay to go on the hay ride.  That was fun. 


Then we picked out pumpkins.  My rule was everyone had to carry their own.  So we have three cute little pumpkins.  Gwen’s is a fairy tale style pumpkin. 

Other things we did at the farm:  We attempted to navigate a maze with Gwen’s stroller.  It was easier once she got out!  The ground was so uneven.  The stroller was kind of a mistake.  But it was nice to have her in it for the pumpkin part.  She carried hers on her lap.  We also looked at their fun displays of life in the old west. 

It was a great pumpkin patch.  I have no frame of reference since I’ve never been to one.  It was no Roloff Farms, but I’ve never been there either!  It was cheap too.  We only paid for the hay ride and our pumpkins.  Fun little family outing in the spirit  of the season.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Thought of the Day

That which holds our attention holds us.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

I Love my Family

I love those random moments when Heath and I hear something that makes us look at each other and say, “Are we the only couple in the world that actually communicates?” 

I reluctantly stepped into the shower this morning leaving behind the hyper squeals of Heath and the kids playing with the rocket balloons. 

During Sacrament Meeting today my kids were sharing with little Rachel sitting in the pew in front of us.  Maybe it wasn’t as innocent as it appeared.  They know if they give Rachel a book to read, Rachel’s mom will give them one of her books to read.  But still, my heart was so proud of how well my children have learned to share. 

Heath was like the Pied Piper today.  Rachel must have seen Gwen eating Cheerios or smelled them or something.  She came to our pew with a big smile on her face.  So Heath gave her some Cheerios.  Vicki gave Heath a baggie of blueberries to give to Rachel and Gwen.  Needless to say he was pretty popular among those ladies.

Gavin reads the books to himself during Sacrament Meeting.  He hasn’t figured out that he needs to whisper despite me telling him over and over.  So during the quiet pondering while the Sacrament is being passed you can hear Gavin sounding out all the words in “My Favorite Stories from the Book of Mormon” by Val Chadwick Bagley.  He actually reads really smoothly considering he is sounding the words out. 

At one point Vicki must have given Parker Rachel’s drawing board to play with.  So Parker was practicing writing his name.  I’m a little annoyed that he is now writing a capital A even though I taught him to write a lower case A.  Gavin was trying to teach him how to make a lower case A.  Gavin would make a dotted A for Parker to trace!  I thought that was so cute. 

At dinner tonight we were telling jokes.  The kids don’t get the concept of jokes yet.  They only understand the formula:  Knock knock, who’s there, say something, repeat it who, say something unrelated and totally off the wall then fall off your chair giggling.  After a while Heath and I would respond with we weren’t home.  Gavin got in on that one saying we weren’t home because we were at the zoo.  Or we were on vacation!  Gwen laughed along with everyone else as if she knew what was going on.  Funny since half the time the boys didn’t even know! 

Yesterday was a horrible day.  It began like most Saturdays with too many expectations and not enough planning.  At one point everything was falling apart.  I was crying in McDonald’s parking lot as we pulled away to deal with one of my mistakes (forgot to change my pump site before we left and only had 6 units left). 

Heath and I were explaining our point of view with a little more feeling than we needed to in front of the kids.  Gavin said, “Why are you guys fighting?”  Parker said, “Dad, just leave Mom alone!”  We were all determined to have a good time despite all of Satan’s attempts to thwart our plans.  Nobody said it but I think we all thought it.  Let’s just go and have fun dang it!  And we did. 

Evening came and more drama came with it.  Let’s just say my shower is really clean now as I washed away all my frustrations with the grime.  The funny thing was nobody was really mad at anyone.  It was just an off day. 

The kids were spanked soundly and sent to bed.  Oh wait, that’s a nursery rhyme!  No, they got to bed with all the love they needed.  And Heath and I fell asleep to a movie wrapped in each other’s arms. 

Our Ward Conference theme today was Strengthening the Family.  I love my family.  I love that all day Gwen has been yelling out our names.  When we answer she yells with all her might, “I love you!”  Satan may try and try and try to break us up making us miserable before he succeeds.  But you know what, we are not some family on TLC.  We are in it for the long run.  Our love is an eternal love.  Our family is unbreakable.  Bad days come and go but our love for one another only grows more and more each day. 

It was nice to feel the Spirit today and hear more ideas on how to strengthen our family.  It was nice to sit through an extra long Sacrament Meeting and realize that even th0ugh our kids make us crazy because they are so little, they are actually pretty well behaved and they bring us so much joy.  I love my family.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Winning is Everything!

I never win contests. Never. Every other once in a blue moon I try to win something. Usually it's filling out a raffle ticket at a baby shower. And I don't win. Ever.

Well . . . I finally won something!!!

I have been reading Help 4 New Moms ever since she commented on my blog when I referenced her book. I had never read her book. I was ordering a copy of The Diaper Diaries for my sister. She needed the book anyway. Every new mom does. But when she had a preemie, I decided she needed a good laugh. I saw Claudine Wolk's book on Amazon when I ordered The Diaper Diaries for Candi.

Anyway, so I loved the title. It Gets Easier! . . . And Other Lies We Tell New Mothers: A Fun, Practical Guide to Becoming a Mom. So I referenced the book in a post, the author commented, and I have been reading her blog ever since.

One day she had a video on of an interview she had about her book. She committed a faux paus and asked her readers to comment what they thought she thought the interviewer meant. So I commented. The first two commenters to get it right would win a free copy of her book. I didn't think I would win. I never win.

She had comment moderation so I was sure I wouldn't win. I was sure she was holding onto the right answers and would post the comments later. Well, my comment finally showed up along with another girl. I was afraid to think I won. I never win.

The next day she posted that she had her two winners and then she named the two winners from the same contest she held on Facebook. She asked us to email her our addresses so she could send out the book. I emailed her and now have an autographed copy of her book. The twist is she autographed it for Candi! (I asked her to.) So, Candi, when I'm finished reading it I will send it your way. As a new mother I think you will enjoy this book.

My winning streak continued when my friend asked her readers to suggest a new blog title for her since she was bored of hers. She said that if she liked your idea then she might send a treat. I wasn't in it for the treat. I just love Becca so I commented that her original blog title was my favorite. She actually deleted the post, changed the title back to her original title from two years ago, and emailed me that I won the treat! Wow!

I told Heath that we should go to Vegas sometime since I was on such a roll. He knew I was joking but he kept a straight face while he said, "No, we'll just get a lottery ticket instead." Oh yeah, I forgot that the lottery is legal in CA! Yeah a lottery ticket is more convenient. Too bad we choose not to gamble.

I love winning. Winning is everything. Unless I'm losing.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

I’ve Learned

  1. I’ve learned that kids are lazy.  It’s true.  What is up with those backpacks with wheels?  You’re in elementary school!  How much homework could you possibly have?  How much do worksheets actually weigh?  You can’t pick up your backpack and wear it on your back like everyone else?  You have to drag it behind you like you’re at the airport or something?
  2. I’ve learned that those “backpacks” make me fear for my life every time I hear one behind me.  The wheels sound like a skateboard coming right at me at full speed. 
  3. But really it’s just another kid dragging their backpack along behind them as they run to school!
  4. I’ve learned that kids will imitate anything.  Parker says, “I want to watch a movie by the way.”  But he emphasizes the words really weird so it’s hard to understand what he means.  Or Gavin says, “Let me tell you . . .”  And I’m thinking, “What?”  But he won’t ever say.  Are we in Texas?  “I tell you whut!”  “What?”  “I just told ya.”  (Bill Engvall Dorkfish CD)
  5. I’ve learned that I can use a table cloth every day.  For six days and then the kids start messing with it.  Sigh.
  6. I’ve learned that I have officially entered the I-don’t-care stage of cleaning my house.  I was going to clean today but I got sidetracked.  And I don’t care.
  7. I’ve learned that when I clean up the office it immediately gets cluttered again as my creativity starts flowing again. 
  8. I’ve learned that I am vitamin D deficient. 
  9. I’ve learned that I have to take pills for vitamin D and calcium supplements in a daily over the counter pill as well as a prescription pill once a week for six weeks.  Then I can get more blood work done. 
  10. I’ve learned that the pharmacy had to order two of my prescriptions and they will be ready tomorrow.  She said test strips and something else. 
  11. I’ve learned that it may be easier to just pick up all my prescriptions tomorrow.  I’ve already been to the grocery store this morning to get a few items we needed.  I was finished shopping 10 minutes before the pharmacy opened for the day.  I don’t need to go back to pick up half my prescriptions today and the rest tomorrow! 
  12. I’ve learned that I love our new insurance.  We pay half as much in copays than we did before.  That’s a savings of nearly $100 a month in prescriptions alone!!! 
  13. I’ve learned that Heath must really love me because I am expensive!
  14. I’ve learned that Gwen still can’t resist styling her hair with food.  Let me introduce you to hair gel, Baby!
  15. I’ve learned that Gwen will actually eat a sandwich if I don’t cut it into little pieces.
  16. I’ve learned that goals can be realized in strange ways. 
  17. I’ve learned that I love the ages my kids are.  Then something inevitably happens that proves how different they are developmentally.  Board games are fun with a 4 year old but a pain in the butt when a 20 month old is in the room. 
  18. I’ve learned that my kids love a holiday they know nothing about.  Halloween is not all cutesy pumpkins and black kittens with big, round eyes.  They beg to go in the Halloween store by Target.  We tell them no, of course.  Then they get really nervous in Target when we pass by a display that includes a skull.  This is why we don’t let you go in the Halloween store!
  19. I’ve learned that Parker is actually really bummed that I don’t want to dress up.  Sorry, dude.  I think after a certain age all you’re doing is putting on weird clothes (that mostly look like something that should only be seen between a married couple behind closed doors) and begging for food.  Get a job and buy your own food!
  20. I’ve learned that skeletons must be real.  Because people have skeletons inside them.  That was courtesy of Gavin’s logic. 
  21. I’ve learned that people trust me with their deepest darkest secrets.  Even if they don’t know me very well.  I must have one of those faces. 
  22. I’ve learned that I am super popular.  My kids wait up for me to come home from meetings so I can tuck them into bed.  Or they can talk my ear off for the next 10 minutes! 
  23. I’ve learned that I love it.  Being adored by a 6 year old, 4 year old, and 20 month old is exhilarating.
  24. I’ve learned that one of my babysitters cleaned out my microwave.  Heath said he didn’t do it.  I hate cleaning the microwave so I know I didn’t do it.  I have had 3 babysitters since Saturday.  I don’t know who it was.  I have a guess though. 
  25. I’ve learned that getting a babysitter to have a Christmas shopping date with Heath is so worth it. 
  26. I’ve learned that getting a babysitter to sit in my house doing her homework while Gwen sleeps and I take the boys to the dentist is well worth the money too. 
  27. I’ve learned that Gwen’s giggle is contagious. 
  28. I’ve also learned that she giggles maniacally when she’s tired.  Guess who didn’t take a nap this morning? 
  29. I’ve learned that I miss “Gayeah.”  Gwen says Parker really well.  She used to call Gavin “Brudder” but now he’s Parker too. 
  30. I’ve learned that Gwen sounds like she speaks a foreign language.  She babbles all these words punctuated with “Parker.”  It’s really funny.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Sneak Peek

at the Halloween Costumes Grandma made.

I said, "Say cheese!" and this is what I got! Gwen is such a crack up.
Gwen's Little Bo Peep costume is perfect on her. Parker could not be more thrilled to be Spiderman. And I think Gavin makes a great hot dog. Everyone that hears Gavin wanted to be a hot dog thinks it is a creative idea.

Franklin the turtle is visiting us for the week while Gavin is Unique of the Week. Franklin has been loved to death by Parker.

I could not get enough of Gwen in her costume. She is so adorable.

Parker has been praying for weeks for Grandma to make his costume! He was just a little excited when the box arrived today. He told Gavin that his hot dog came. Then Parker said that the box man brought the costumes! Gavin tried to correct him by saying it was the mailman who brought the costumes. I told them it was really the UPS man. I like Box Man best though.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Uniquely Gavin

Gavin is Unique of the Week this week. There are several fun things he gets to do as Unique of the Week like be the line leader every day, sit in a special desk, and have lunch with his teacher and me.

I told Gavin last week that I would eat lunch with him and his teacher. He could not contain his excitement. He was prepared to say he was not buying lunch when lunch roll was called. I had to remind him over and over that he had a week until I would bring him lunch.

I asked what he wanted me to bring for him and he said Togo's. I was pretty excited about that because I love Togo's. They have the best sandwiches and they are conveniently located near his school. I was willing to go to McDonald's if he wanted that but I knew the food would be cold because McDonald's is on the other side of town.

I offered to buy lunch for his teacher who gratefully accepted. She thanked me several times for buying her lunch. She was also impressed that Gavin would eat a sandwich. Her two little boys (Parker and Gwen's ages) don't like sandwiches.

Normally for lunch the students play first and then eat. Principal's rules. Gavin had the choice of taking me out to the playground and then eating or staying in the room the whole time. He chose to stay in the room the whole time. The three of us enjoyed our yummy sandwiches and enjoyed getting to know each other a little better.

His teacher is very sweet. I don't know how to describe what I was able to see of her in the classroom. I got there a little early and was able to see the class working on an art project. The teacher talked to them like they were short adults. (That's how I liked to teach.) But she was so sweet in the way she realized they were first graders and like silly things. She kept talking about how Gavin was losing his turkey out of his sandwich. Maybe you had to be there. It's obvious she is a young mom and that she loves children therefore she loves her job as a mother and a first grade teacher.

I love this picture. Could Gavin be any more proud? When he had walked away from us for a second, his teacher said that Gavin is blossoming as a student. He is shedding his shy shell and becoming more confident. She said that being Unique of the Week has done wonders for him. And it's only the second day this week! She had also said that his reading is improving every day and he is speaking louder in class so people can hear him. I guess one of his jobs in the classroom is to read the lunch menu every day. He used to whisper but now he speaks loud enough for everyone to hear.

I had to get a picture of this too. I'm not sure how this worked out. I don't know if the class asked him questions or what but this is a poster all about Gavin. Yesterday Gavin shared his collage "about me." (By the way when you click on the picture to see the poster better, the Unique of the Week collage in the background is from last week's student. Gavin's isn't up yet.) His teacher was impressed with my scrapbooking skills that I used to design the poster. Gavin was able to discuss the pictures on the collage with his class. The items on the collage were his family, favorite animal, favorite subject in school, favorite place, things he is great at, three words that describe him, people he admires, and his wish or dream.
He also was asked to bring four items from home to share with the class. He brought his best friend Ted E. Bear, the badges he earned from the Jump Start Kindergarten World software last year, a story he made, and the movies that Heath and I made of the kids. The DVD fell to the bottom of his backpack and he forgot about it. So I took it today for lunch and told his teacher that he did bring it. I also said that she probably didn't want to show it to the class out of interest of time. She said that she would schedule some time tomorrow afternoon. Gavin was thrilled. She is going to watch it tonight. She asked if I was going to go to her house and make movies for her as well as all the scrapbooking I will do for her :)

I am so glad I was able to share in Gavin's special day having lunch with him and his teacher. Gavin is Gavin and has always been unique. This is fun for him to be unique in his class in such a positive way.
I am also very glad that my fabulous friend, Vicki, volunteered to watch Parker and Gwen for me so I could enjoy this special time with Gavin. They love her daughter, Rachel. Rachel loves them. It was a win win all the way around.