Wednesday, July 25, 2012

getting ready…


Evan sorting pom poms onto construction paper… in his underwear. We’re nothing if not classy around here…

If its been a little quiet on ye olde blog lately, it hasn’t been because I haven’t spent a lot of time at the computer. It’s just that my time on the computer lately is all about “pinning” school ideas and typing up lesson plans. (I’ve joined Pinterest. This may be a very bad thing.)

I think it started when the stores started putting out the school supplies. I had to have that $.75 flexible plastic covered composition book at Target because they didn’t have those when I was growing up, and it just went from there. I started making school lists in the composition book, and that just naturally led to frantic planning mode….

I have lists of the things I need to assemble. I have lists of things I need to buy. I have lists of information to search for on the internet.

It’s all good. Yes, it is. I’ll be ready come…. hmmm, when are we starting school again? Oh yeah, I’m the teacher so I get to decide! =) Hmmm, maybe the beginning of September. Yeah, that sounds good.

A friend of mine started up her little homeschool for the year. I got to see her first day of school pictures on Facebook, and that led to more thinking. Wait a second… do we need to do something special for the first day of school?

I feel like such a newbie.

I don’t remember doing much that was different for our first days of homeschool growing up, but maybe we did, and I just don’t remember. Well, I think we should start off with a bang. Big sugary, salty breakfast for all, hidden school supplies in the back yard, and first day of school pictures… and then maybe a field trip. I think we’ll start on a Friday… that’ll build anticipation for the next week, right? =)

David and I cleaned and re-organized the playroom last night. He’s always itching to throw away toys, and I was itching to go through everything so I could make an educated list of preschool activities for Evan to do while Seth and I do reading, math, and handwriting. Clean, organized bookshelves make me smile. =)

So if it gets quiet around here, it’s just because I’m turning into a new teacher, and it takes time to figure that out…

Monday, July 16, 2012

mama’s minutia…


His brothers got ahold of him…. Current superpower: eating paper.

- We had a great weekend. We stayed up way too late on Saturday with our adopted college student turned friend. He’s in law school now, so we’re seeing him less. Sniff. He’s still penniless, so I cleaned out out my freezer, and he left pretty gleeful with a full cooler.

- And then Sunday afternoon we went to see a group of friends from college. One of the couples and their kids were down for a visit from P.A., so everyone gathered. Between the bunch of us, we’ve produced 10 kids. I’m proud to say that we had more than anybody else. =)

- It was a really heartwarming to see how well all the kids played together. Our hosts had a wide variety of awesome big boy toys including all kinds of guns and death rays and superheroes and their gear. Seth and Evan were in little boy heaven. Ben practiced army crawling from room to room for hours. A miracle occurred, and he actually took a nap there in his baby tent for two hours.

- I’ve started a “read aloud” with Seth and Evan. I’ve hemmed and hawed for a ridiculously long time, agonizing over what our very first read aloud should be. I wanted a guaranteed success at capturing and retaining their attention. Well, I am proud to report that “Homer Price” worked. There are illustrations every 4 pages or so, and the chapters are self-contained stories. I still remember the first story about Homer capturing robbers with his skunk named Aroma from my childhood.

- And today I finally taught Seth how to play Uno. I knew he could do it before now, but he wouldn’t try. Well, this time I just made him try. I took all the skips, draw-twos, etc., out of the deck until we were left with just number cards and wilds. I laid his cards and my cards out in front of us on the floor so we could both see them. After the first game, he was hooked. It didn’t hurt that I let him beat me four times in a row. That was what he wanted to tell Nana when we called her. =)

- If any of you homeschoolers out there have any ideas for very, very basic patriotism/civics books I can use this year, I’m all ears. I want something that will explain the idea of what a country is, what a government is, what states are, etc. on a kindergarten level.

- I’m reading “Peter and Wendy” by J.M. Barrie. I’m on a British children’s literature kick. I’ve downloaded just about everything that E. Nesbit ever wrote to my Kindle, and I’ve already devoured “The Railway Children” and “Five Children and It.” But “Peter and Wendy” is in another class entirely. You’ve got to try it. It’s enchanting and delightful and a million other Victorian sounding adjectives… =)

Saturday, July 14, 2012

mama’s minutia…


- Ummm, so, I was going through photos in Picasa, showing Seth what he looked like in my tummy long ago to explain the offhanded remark, “Hey, I shared my body with you for 9 months, so you need to let me put my cherry pits on your plate, bubba.” I will never look like this again. Look at that arm. It’s a toothpick. Sigh. I’m a richer woman with a much bigger arm now…

- My mommy came into town and helped me out with the boys so I could go to have my ovaries ultrasounded. (Is that a term? Probably not.) It was like “Survivor: Grandmother Edition.” “Ok, Mom, you’re going to have to make sure and get Ben up in plenty of time to feed him cereal (duck flying arms here), and get Evan and Ben both loaded in the car to pick Seth up at VBS. And it’s the first day, so they may give you a lot of stuff. And make sure to pack a snack for Evan because carpool line could take awhile. Mom? Mom? Stop hyperventilating…” (She did great. I did not find it funny when David said at lunch time that she might not have called because she hadn’t had time to yet because of all the chaos with the search dogs and the police and whatnot.)

- But anyway, I don’t have ovarian cancer or a cyst. I’m perfectly normal. It’s just that I’ve developed a particularly ugly kind of normal that gives me painful ovulation. This could go away after I stop breastfeeding… or not. Some women have it every month for their entire lives. Here’s hoping I’m not one of them…. But I am glad to know there isn’t anything more serious.

- So, back to the picture above. That was taken in our living room when we lived in Arlington, VA. We were on the 12th floor of a 16 story building. I have such good memories of that apartment. We didn’t have room for a crib in our one bedroom, but there was room in the tiny hallway for a cradle, so that’s where Seth slept for his first 6 months. And when it snowed, the view was gorgeous from all those windows, high up in the air…

Friday, July 13, 2012

and they say boys aren’t dramatic…

As has happened a couple of times before, Seth started crying in the van tonight when he started thinking about growing up. See, he will tell you with sobs and wails, he “doesn’t want to grow up EVER!” This is because he wants to live with us forever, and he would miss us if he had to grow up.

By the time we got out of the van at the walking trail, he was wiping away real tears. I gave him a big hug and told him that he would be with us as long as he needed to be. This led to wailing about how he didn’t want to grow up too fast, and then I had to admit that he’d totally gotten this idea from me affectionately telling him that. Ughh. Parental words coming back to bite me…

His happy-go-lucky 3-year-old brother had reminded Seth of the future by telling us that he hadn’t gotten to go to college yet. David said, “You can go to college later, Evan.” “Oh, THANK YOU, Daddy,” Evan chirped. He made it sound like we had promised him a cookie or something.

Later on, David asked Evan why he wanted to go to college. His answer? “I don’t know. You’re grown up when you go to college.” Not a trace of unhappiness about this, by the way.

Seth started sniffing sadly. “He wants to leave me and not be my brother anymore when he goes to college.”

Is it totally wrong that we were laughing hysterically about this after they’d gone to bed? If it is, I don’t want to be right…. =)

Poor Seth. I gave him the “worry about things that aren’t happening for a bajillion years” gene. And Evan? The apple didn’t fall far from the David tree….

Sunday, July 08, 2012

seth’s bird house….


He and Daddy started making a bird house at Marbles on Friday night, and he brought it home with him, tightly clutched to his little chest. He wanted to finish it, so our sunny Saturday morning saw them on the back porch, cutting bits of scrap wood and hammering together a roof and a back. He wanted a waterproof roof, so Daddy convinced him that tacking a modified gallon Ziploc bag over the wooden pieces would do the trick. Evan wore the discarded part of the bag on his head as he happily puttered around the yard.

Seth worried that snakes would get into his birdhouse and eat his birds, so he asked Daddy how to spell his warning message on the back of his little house…


In case you can’t read it, it says, “No Snake Parking.” =)

Thursday, July 05, 2012

i like them…


We’re in the pool on the 4th of July, and another mom is sitting near us. I’m holding Ben, and Seth and Evan are happily walking around us.

She leans in. “How many boys DO you HAVE?” I tell her. She laughs a sharp laugh. “You’re INSANE! I just have two boys, and that’s bad enough. But wait, your 5-year-old is going to start kindergarten this fall, right? You won’t know what to do with yourself….”

I smile apologetically and give my standard answer. “Actually, I’m beginning to homeschool this fall. I guess I’m a glutton for punishment.”

I get a stone faced stare in response. “Well, I know I sure like dropping them off at school every day.”

How many times have I had this conversation now? It feels like at least a hundred… (Though easier than this conversation, I guess.)

I’ve been feeling some renewed gender angst lately for a few different reasons. It’s no secret that I had a major meltdown and a huge pity party when I found out that Ben was going to be our 3rd boy. It took me a solid year from that 18-week ultrasound to (mostly) get over it. I’m doing a lot better than I was.

I feel all the guilt that many think I should that I’m not perfectly and completely grateful to have 3 beautiful and healthy sons. But having a daughter was a deeply held and highly cherished dream for me, and it hasn’t died easy, despite my efforts to put a stake through its heart time and time again.

Pool Mommy isn’t helping matters.

But she did help me to realize a thing or two.

I LIKE my boys right now.

Yep, I like them, and I enjoy spending time with them. I don’t want to change my daily life, and I don’t want to really change anything fundamental about who they are. They’re awesome.

Sure, they can be rough and tumble occasionally, but its not all the time. For the most part, they are sweet, imaginative, grateful, fun, smart, and snuggly.

The culture around me seems to assume that I spend a lot of my time tearing my hair out and wishing that I didn’t have these dirty little hellions. I hate those stereotypes, and at least in my family, they. aren’t. accurate.

I tend to fear and obsess about the distant future. My grief about not having a daughter doesn’t usually have anything to do with me feeling like I’m missing out on something in the here and now. My fears are about what life will be like for me when they grow up and have their own families. The fears are mainly about a different kind of letting go that you must do with sons that isn’t required with adult daughters.

But you know what? I can fret about that for the next 18 years, or I can decide that I’m just going to enjoy what I have now. God didn’t give me a choice about whether or not I’d have a daughter. The only choice I have is about how I’m going to enjoy the wonderful sons I have right now.

And I do enjoy them. I’ve decided to tell perfect strangers that more often. “Oh, my 3 boys? They’re great! I love having these boys.” Because it’s true. I do.

Take that, Pool Mommy.

Wednesday, July 04, 2012

happy 4th of july….


Happy 4th of July from my Yankee Doodle sweetheart…. yes, he’s my Yankee Doodle boy.. =)

We did the little neighborhood parade today. It wasn’t as successful as in years past. Imagine whiny, hot kids who are too little to keep up and want you to drag their bikes instead. As soon as we got home, David put swimsuits on the boys, and I threw lunch in a cooler. We had a wonderful few hours at the local neighborhood pool.

I discovered that hanging with the baby in the deeper end is a lot of fun. David let the boys jump into his arms in the shallow end. Seth decided to jump without being caught for the first time! He’s not afraid of going under anymore…

And my sweet baby got all tuckered out eventually. He fell asleep on my shoulder, his little blue sun hat shading his face as he sucked methodically on his passy. I swayed gently back and forth in the blue water, savoring the fleeting moment. He hardly ever falls asleep in my arms anymore.

We grilled out with our neighbors. We had cantaloupe, watermelon, pasta salad, potato salad, salted peanuts in the shell, hamburgers, hot dogs, and homemade slaw. It was a 4th of July feast fit for a, umm, republican non-monarchist. =) I made the easiest 4th of July dessert ever- red and blue jello layered with Cool Whip. It was a hit.

And now the boys are off to set off fireworks in the cul de sac with the neighbors. Happy 4th, all! Remember how blessed we are to live in this country, despite its faults. I’m so thankful for the freedom and opportunities that we have here….