Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Guess Who's Tying His Shoes?!?

This is the kind of thing that breaks a mother's heart. It also inspires her to act. Quickly.

While volunteering in his classroom, I witnessed Grayson asking his teacher to work with him again on tying his shoes during recess. Let me pause for effect. DURING RECESS. AGAIN.
I had no idea it was that big of a thing to him. I felt this big (picture me doing that little thing with my thumb and index finger).

So ... last night God smiled on me and soccer practice was cancelled so ... we worked it in.
In all honesty, I really thought it was going to be some big, awful, dreadfully frustrating event - I vividly recall teaching him to write his name - so I enlisted Monte to help. Turns out - him helping is not all that different than me doing it. But ... to our surprise ... Grayson got it fairly quickly. He was motivated. He was excited. So were we. We actually went to the grocery store and bought ice cream - that's what a big deal it was.

He probably doesn't remember how to do it today ... but that's why I blog. Because if I wasn't fully present in the moment - I can go back and remember how the little things do really mean so much.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Supper Club at Munchie's

There are a group of us - we've recently joined - who get sitters and do a "couples night out." In supper club fashion, the "president" - yes, there is one - chooses a restaurant once a month and we all get together. In the interest of full disclosure, there is a vice president - and she does a fair amount of work as well - getting the link to the restaurant emailed to all of us, etc. It really is quite an undertaking.

Last night we left the oldest three in our capable babysitter's hands. They were so excited - not much babysitting since Cooper came. Emma has started reminding me "you don't go anywhere anymore." I guess she doesn't consider late evening jaunts to Kroger. Anyway, I took her "not so subtle" hint and showered, shaved (past the knee even), dyed my roots, and off we went.

We reserved a private room in the back of Munchie's Emporium, also called Mad Anthony's Brewery. In addition to some pretty good beer (What do I know ... six weeks post post delivery, I'd almost mow down an elderly person for a luke warm Pabst), they serve a mean basket of cheese curds. Ahhh - heaven.

The food was good and the company was better. I heard it got a little crazy after we left. I thought it best Cooper not ring in the midnight hour at a bar at six weeks of age. I do have SOME tact. And about the teeny tiny little glasses with whipped cream on top ... I can explain....

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Right Before Our Very Eyes ...

Cooper really is looking different every day now ... as evidenced by remarks from neighbors and friends who see him only every couple days. He has a routine now and sticks to it pretty remarkably given he's only 5 1/2 weeks old. That's the good news.

The "iffy" part of that news is that he is decidedly AWAKE from about 7:30 am to 9:30 am - just about the WORST part of my day. So - if I can just muddle through the morning and emerge with both lunches, snacks, and bookbags packed (complete with swimsuit and goggles twice per week for Emma's swimming for PE), I can lay Cooper down then concentrate on Claire.

I took these this morning in my "free time." He's now interested in grabbing at toys and looking at various contrasts in the living room. Of course - he loooving his big sister Emma right now - I think it's because of her voice and hair. And ... maybe he appreciates the fact that she doesn't rub the top of his head off or constantly try to shove the pacifier half way down his throat like the other two. That could be it.

Friday, September 19, 2008

The Many Faces of "7"

I'm learning that being "7" requires constant change. It's almost like a metamorphosis really.

One minute she had all her baby teeth ... then two weeks later ... she looks completely different and on her way to grown up missing the front two.

Getting off the school bus at 4:00, she looks like an average second grader. At 6:00, dressed for dance, she looks long and leggy and far too poised to be tying her shoes with "bunny ears."

It's getting complicated. How is it possible she can whine about not getting to sit in the right seat at the dinner table, then sit there and tell me that her friend is starting to talk about boys?

I marvel at our discussions about this presidential elections. Her latest comment - "I'll bet Hillary is glad she got out of that mess." I also marvel at how she can still take such delight in making mudpies in the sandbox with her siblings.

I wish I could remember more about being 7 and navigating second grade. I wonder if it seemed to everyone around me how quickly the tides changed ... and how differently the sand looked once they receded.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Little Mama and the Martha Stewart Morning

Today I am REALLY feeling like a stay at home mom. Claire and I have dropped off food at the elementary school for Teacher Appreciation Luncheon, gone to the YMCA (for gymnastics class for her and walks around the track for me), taken a nature walk and collected things we saw, and had a lunch with all four food groups. Add to that - Claire has been practicing "being a mommy" for the past few hours and it's feeling a little too much like a Hallmark card.

So - I'm blogging this Martha Stewart morning so that I have documented proof to show the kids' psychotherapists in 20 years that I did, in fact, do everything right. Once.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

One Month Old Already!

So tomorrow Cooper is one month old. Wow! That amount of time has FLOWN by ... guess we've been busy with school and schedules and all that.

He continues to be a really laid back baby - he bears such a strong physical and spiritual resemblance to Grayson - it's darnright scary!

These are some pictures taken by the hospital photographer. We got a larger print of the color shot and some smaller ones of the colorized black and white. We just couldn't decide. He already looks so different but since some of you haven't seen him yet - we thought we'd share them. Isn't he just yummy?

Saturday, September 13, 2008

"You Haven't Changed a Diaper Since When???"

A few nights ago, my friend Sarah and I got together for an afternoon and evening. It was her first chance to see and snuggle on Cooper and one of my first girlfriend getaways since getting jeans on again. Ok - stretchy jeans. But still.

Sarah and hubby Kevin are awaiting the arrival of Hannah Claire from Taiwan. She was gracious enough to bring along two gifts that the kids and I just adored. 1. Pictures of Hannah for our fridge. 2. Peanut butter cream pie from a yummy bakery is Ossian.

We figured out that Hannah and Cooper currently weigh about the same so it was really special to see her holding him. It also came up that she hadn't changed a diaper since middle school!

Claire and I just couldn't let the opportunity pass - and Sarah was anxious to put her skills to the test. I took the photos - but Sarah had the best description of the event. She's such a good sport with a great sense of humor. In her own words ... http://journeytohannahclaire.blogspot.com/

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Prima Ballerina

Well ... the hair made it into a bun (mostly) with the help of a few bobby pins and she donned the pink ballerina ensemble a few hours before the class actually met ... but Claire had a GREAT time at her first ballet class. And ...she looked darn cute doing it.

To further sweeten the pot, her friends Phoebe and Sophia from preschool are taking the class with her. Can you stand it? It was all we (moms) could do not to press our noses up against the glass and giggle.
The teachers are all very "serious" about this class. It is imperative that all the girls wear the "required" outfit and all wear their hair "up." Maybe it's just my quirky line of thinking - but I just don't get why all this pretense is so important - especially when the Dora underwear can be seen hanging out of every third leotard. But what do I know? I was never "a dancer."

Monday, September 8, 2008

Preschool is Back in Session!

I was starting to think this day would never come. Whoever decided that preschool should start a full MONTH after elementary school is probably a close relative to whoever invented panty hose. Neither of these bright ideas really work for me.

Anyway - today was the day. Claire is attending the three year old class three days per week in the afternoons. The afternoon part is the big change. Last year we did mornings. Why switch?

Well, I admit ... the idea of getting all five of us up and out of the house looking presentable by 9:00 am sounded a bit daunting to me so I (chickened out) opted for the afternoon. It really worked out well as four of the little girls she was in class with also switched to afternoon. So ... most of the girls are VERY comfortable with each other. That could prove to be interesting for Miss Jill and Miss Tracy.

I love both the teachers. They both attend our church and they were Grayson's teachers when we moved here. They were such a calming influence on our crazy lives and I'll always owe them for that.

After a few pictures at home and in front of the tree by school, Claire and best buddy Phoebe settled in making a macaroni and bean collage. I went to the mall with Phoebe's mom.... and just.one.kid. Come on Wednesday!!!

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Cooper's Daily Routine

So ... I've had a few (several) requests for more pictures of Cooper. I know... I know.

It's been really hard to post some good ones of him for a few reasons:

1. He's the fourth one! I fully recall taking long photo shoots of Emma in every article of clothing she owned. Now ... it's hard to fit in a few shots between soccer, playdates, and laundry.

2. He still doesn't keep his eyes open for long periods of time. I can't really blame him. When he does open them ... three siblings get one inch from his face and speak as loudly as they can - saying silly things three octaves higher than they usually talk - "COOPER - ARE YOUR EYES OPEN??? OOOH - AREN'T YOU JUST THE CUTEST THING???? I WANNA HOLD HIM - NO I WANT TO - MOOOOOOOM!!!!!!!!!!!!!" I wonder why he goes back to sleep so quickly?

3. If I post too many on the blog - no one will be excited when they open the birth announcement that is coming in the mail (when I mail them out).

Actually - the portraits they took at the hospital are ready to be picked up. As soon as I get them - I'll scan them in. I think they will do him more justice than I can.

Until then - this is pretty much what he looks like during his routine.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Circus Missions and Mutual of Obama

This week, the girls have each said something that has made me chuckle.

Claire has watched with great interest Cooper's more "delicate" area - and the bandages that needed changing after his "procedure." She asked us repeatedly what had happened to give him that "owie." We told her he had a circumcision and patted ourselves on the back for not flinching or giggling and being grown up about the whole thing. A little while after the area had healed, Claire told me that she was glad her baby doll was a girl. When I asked her why - she told me she didn't ever have to have a "circus mission."

Emma got out of bed for something last night and came into our room while I was watching John McCain's speech at the RNC. Just when I thought she was sleep-walking again, she said, "Is that John McCain?" "Yes" I replied - a little shocked. "Do you know who he is?" I asked. She looked at me very sternly and asked who I was voting for. I asked her who she thought I should vote for. She told me she had voted for Hillary (at the end of her first grade year) but she had been "kicked out of the election." She then informed me that I definitely had to vote for Barack Obama. While I was recovering from the fact that she had correctly used all three candidates' names in a very adult-like conversation, she put her hands on her hips and told me, "Barack Obama has his own show on Animal Planet and it's one of my FAVORITES. That's why you have to vote for him."

Well, I admit it took me a minute or two to process that. Maybe it was a little bit of sleep deprivation but I just wasn't getting it. Obama? Animal Planet? I asked for clarification.

"Mom - you know - Wild Kingdom!"

Lightbulb! Mutual of Omaha.

I say Omaha - You say Obama. I did explain the difference to her - but I don't think she believes me.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

You've Gotta Start Somewhere ...

Fine motor work was different with Emma. She always liked it - I could almost always tell what she had drawn without lots of hints, etc.

Not so with these two. Admittedly, Claire has more interest in "writing letters" to her friends, making letter-like scribbles on paper, and so on. But that doesn't mean it's up to par. She's seeing Emma and Grayson write more since school started - so I'm hoping this makes her a little more enthusiastic to learn her letters and write her name. I'm hopeful - just not holding my breath.

Grayson would rather see the doctor than draw a picture or write something. It's always been that way. He's way to busy for that stuff. If I suggest he write a letter to a friend, he asks if he can't just run over there instead. If I ask him to please draw me a picture, he'll go pick every last one of the neighbor's flowers instead.

So - when out of the blue - these two sat down with the white dry erase board and new markers, I just had to take a few pictures to document it. Of course, I showered them with praise. This moment may not happen again after all.

In case you can't tell - Grayson drew a family portrait ("I don't have time to draw ALL of us") and this is Claire's attempt at her name. Oh - in the spirit of full disclosure - I helped her with the "e." That's a hard one.
We've got some work to do but hey - you've gotta start somewhere.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Labor Day Weekend 2008

Nana, Papa, and Uncle John came up for Labor Day Weekend and we spent the time outside in the beautiful weather - we went to the pool, made smores in the firepit, caught some fish at the lake, and grilled out for dinner.

The kids introduced Papa and John to Cooper for the first time too. He responded by starting to wake up a little more often and for longer periods. The honeymoon period may be over!!

I love the picture of Emma fishing with her devil horns on. That pretty accurately describes her attitude these past few days.
We're hoping all of our friends are having a safe and happy Labor Day Weekend.