Thursday, September 27, 2007

Up Up and Away

We had a family outing last weekend and all went to the Plano Balloon Festival. Mike nor I had ever been. I was excited, Mike was his usual. Olivia and Thomas had no idea what to expect.

We decided to ride the train to the shuttle and avoid parking lot nightmares. Olivia really likes the train and we don't ride it enough. Actually, this past year we haven't had a lot of family outings, so all in all this was a thrill on many levels.

We got to the festival just as they were blowing up balloons for launch. We joined some friends on the hill and started our picnic dinner while we watched.

It really was quite impressive if you ask me. Massive balloons of all shapes and sizes leaving land and traveling quite fast through the sky right over our heads.

If you ask Thomas I think he will say he was much more impressed with the dinner we packed since he woofed down food for almost the entire time we were there with hardly a glance at the display in front of him.

If you ask Olivia she will probably tell you more about the baby cricket she found in the grass that she caught in her own hands and then played with most of the time we were there, glancing up only when we pointed things out or wanted to take her picture. Together with my friend Ladonna, she named the cricket George. Luckily she did not grow too attached and releasing him back into the wild was easy enough.

After all the balloons had lifted off we gave her the choice of going to the kids play zone or heading back on the train. She chose the train.

What does it take to impress a kid these days? Apparently a miniature cricket and a $2 DART train ride are enough.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

First Days and Eating Crow

Olivia started pre-school/mothers day out last week. Yes, it was on that extremely rainy Monday, hence the raincoat and rain boots. Supermommy was nowhere to be seen since I ran in with no umbrella and no cover for Thomas, who was in my arms. He was SOAKED and had no idea what to think. Olivia, however was dry and after changing shoes was ready for a day-o-fun.

Starting preschool has already taught ME a few things, never mind Olivia. First, always have an umbrella in the car. Second, eating crow is no fun.

Four days into this, I realize I am going to be way too critical of my kids teachers. This may be a result of being a teacher by trade. I mean heck, my last job was helping other teachers. It is what I like to do. And it is hard to change focus and recognize I am not here to give ideas or model lessons, I am here to drop off my daughter, be supportive, sign up for snacks.

The first day I drop Olivia off in her room. She walks in fine, eager to see her best friend Melanie. I am a little sad, but mostly excited for her that she will be having fun with her friends and not sitting at home enduring another Physical Therapy session for Thomas where she is constantly hearing, "Not right now, Olivia." "It is Thomas' turn." "Let's find something else for you to do." "Don't climb on Rebecca (the therapist)."

I walk down the hall and run into a girlfriend. Her daughter is in the other three year old class. She just had a baby a few weeks ago. Somebody walks by and asks if she brought a picture. She said no, she forgot and then tells me they had to take one last night to bring to class this morning since her teacher asked for the kids to bring a family picture for the All About Me Wall. She did? Hmmm, we didn't get asked for a family picture.

So now in my mind this other teacher is perfect, and Olivia's teacher is not. Wouldn't it be great if Olivia could have a picture of me, her adoring mother, in her classroom so that every time she became even the slightest bit homesick or unsure she could glance up at my loving face and be reassured of her place in the world? Wouldn't it?

When I picked her up at 2:30 she was ecstatic. She LOVED preschool. She got to play in the gym. THE GYM! She goofed off at rest time with Melanie, there were snacks, baby dolls, and the gym, mama.

So she liked it. Great. That's all that matters, right? But in my mind I am still thinking, yeah, but what does she know. She is three, she is easily amazed. I mean, the place has a GYM. And this was the beginning of my daughters school career. There was a lot at stake here. I mean, isn't your child's entire perspective on education going to based off this first, three year old Mother's Day Out experience? Surely, this is not just a case of too high expectations. This is near tragedy.
Then I get a email with a newsletter from her teacher on Friday. It tells about the week, what books were read, what the themes are for the month. Good, good, good. As I read I am feeling somewhat better. And then I see in the margin a request: Send a family picture that can be left at school for you child to share next week. Now I feel like a jerk.

I guess this is just the beginning of letting go. Letting other adults play a role in my daughters life will not be easy, but I do believe it will make her a better person. I am sure it will make me one, too.

Saturday, September 15, 2007


So, I started working out.

In a gym.

That's right. I am a workout girl.

Gym rat.


Yeah, I lift weights.

A couple of weeks ago I met with a dear friend who is a few steps down the road from me and she gave me some great advice for life, including to start working out at least three times a week. Right around that same time we were offered a year long Y membership for an extremely reduced rate. Could God have been speaking any more directly to me?

I am fortunate Mike has done all he can to help me find time in the week to get to the Y. It is not easy, especially since Thomas HATES the childcare. I am not sure why. They are very nice, have lots of great toys and nobody pinches him. Olivia loves it in fact and is excited when we go.

My plan of action is to start taking him swimming post work out in the hopes that he learns there is something in this for him.

So now, for some reason, I think this means I can eat as many and as much dessert as I want. Twice a day. Double portions, whatever. Heck, I even had ice cream for dinner one night (this was after the kids went to bed, I did not torture them at the table singing "Look what I can do that you can't, nah, nah, nah, nah, nah, nah"). I really don't think this new found hobby is going to have the effect I am hoping for on my body at this rate, unless lifting really heavy spoonfuls of ice cream to my mouth counts as a workout....

For a little nostalgia, I looked this up on YOUTUBE for your viewing pleasure. Enjoy and remember back to when SNL was funny, or sort of funny.

Girly Men Pumping Iron

Thursday, September 13, 2007

It's been awhile...

Sorry I haven't posted in awhile. I kind of got in trouble tonight at book club for it, so here I am. At least I know somebody reads this, Hi Jennifer!

It has been a little busy around here. I went to Schlitterbahn with the youth group. Good time. Then I had to throw myself this really great pity party. A couple of days long, in fact. Not so good of times. Then I had to get over myself. Then I had this great idea to go to Oklahoma to see Mike's sister over Labor Day since we would have a three day weekend and me working on Saturday mornings makes it hard to make the trip on a normal weekend.

Mike was heading up to Norman already with my brother-in-law to see the OU v. UNT game and I thought why not just drive up and meet him there after the game and go on to Oklahoma City and see his sister's family?

I'll tell you why not. Me + packing up two kids and myself + loading the car + getting two kids ready for bedding down in the car + driving three hours in the car alone at 10:00 at night - Mike = not good. This is one of those times I believed too strongly in my Supermommy capabilities.

Mike left for the game about 11:30 on Saturday. I took the kids to the grocery store, fed them lunch, put them down for a nap. All was going well, so well that I thought I would just go right on ahead and take a nap with them. Mistake #1. I woke up to the sound of a firetruck outside our front door. Crap, our neighbor's birthday party had begun and we were late. I woke Olivia and Thomas up and rushed them out the door for it would have been THE END OF THE WORLD if they had missed even a second with the real life firetruck. The same real life firetruck Olivia had no desire to climb in, touch, or basically even get near. Mistake #2. I then stayed at the birthday party, in zone defense mind you, and proceed to feed my children cupcakes and ice cream at 4:30 in the afternoon. Mistake #3. We schlepped home about 5:15 and, of course, nobody wanted to eat dinner. At this point nothing had been packed, it was 6:30, and Thomas was near hysterical. I sat Olivia down, told her "Mommy is getting a little frustrated and I need you to be my helper." She must have heard the desperation in my voice because she went into perfect child mode. I was somehow able to get two kids bathed, pajammaed, packed and in the car by 9:00. Victory at last, except now I was being asked over and over again why I got frustrated. That's not frustrating at all.

I learned something about myself Labor Day weekend. Zone defense is not my strength after 5 pm. I am MUCH better at man-to-man and I need to realize that when it is 1 on 2 it is best to keep things as simple as possible post sunset. Hey, lesson learned. Supermommy only makes appearances around here when the sun is out. Maybe the moon is her kryptonine??? Something to ponder.

Turned out it was all worth it once we got to Oklahoma (at 12:30 am with Olivia wide awake and ready to play). Olivia is CRAZY about her aunt, uncle and cousin. We had a great time just hanging out, talking, eating really good food I didn't have to make (thanks Trish!) and watching the kids play. I really enjoyed just seeing what life at their house was like without anywhere to go or a holiday to celebrate. We really just hung out.

I have been terrible at recording life on the camera lately, so I only got a few shots at this awesome water park we went to on Sunday.

I think Thomas is looking at the water slide thinking "Just wait until I am tall enough to ride, I will OWN you!"