Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Lily's Loves

This month Lily loves...

1. ...talking! This girl talks up a storm! (and she says hysterical things)
2. ..."decorating" her own pizza. Eating optional.
3. ...dancing to the country music tv station.
4. ...playing baseball (well, at least, hitting the ball).
5. ...going on treasure hunts.
6. ...sweet treats-- currently she fancies cookies, cake, jellybeans...
7. ...grape tomatoes. All day and all night. She might like these more than sweets...
8. ...professing what a great big sister she is ("awww, I such a great big sister").
9. ...taking Fred out to go to the bathroom.
10. ...and, of course, mama and dada!

Monday, April 21, 2014

Spring Break!

Well, today is the last day of spring break. I have mixed emotions-- sad because I am back to work and won't be playing with my kiddies all day tomorrow, happy because this is the last big stretch to the end of the year-- it will be a very busy time when we get back to work. Honestly, I didn't do any grading or school work over break. I probably should have, but I decided playing with Jack and Lily was more important than school things. There will be time for school and grading and all of those things later; break is only a week.

Speaking of which, we have had a lovely break. The weather was ok-- the beginning of break brought awesome weather, mid-week we had some rain and a bit of cold, but the end of the break had some more beautiful weather. We got to do a lot of playing and relaxing this break. My friend Sarah and her son, Jacob, came over for a fun playdate. It is so much fun watching the kids grow up. Lily and Jacob actually played together, which was awesome. Jack just laughed and watched. We got out on a lot of walks, which is always welcome. Lily got to play with the neighbors, which she loves. Jackson even got in on the playing action and was covered head to toe with dirt. It was hysterical! We rounded out break week with a visit to Jefferson to see Tom's family and then Easter here with my family. Both days were just lovely. Lily had a great time seeing everyone, and Jack was very happy and smiley.

From here on out we only have 40 days of school left. Crazy! The year really flew by. When we get back we have senior exams, HSAs, then finals. It will surely be a fast few weeks. We will also be trying out the block schedule, which I am sure will provide for an interesting few weeks...

Thursday, April 10, 2014

The Circle Song

I started singing "The Circle Game" by Joni Mitchell to Lily when she was a newborn. Recently, she has been asking me to sing to her--more than just Row, Row, Row--so, I have come back to the song. She requests "the circle song" every night, and can recite most of the chorus (it's adorable). So, here it is. "The Circle Game":

Yesterday a child came out to wonder

Caught a dragonfly inside a jar 
Fearful when the sky was full of thunder 
And tearful at the falling of a star 

Then the child moved ten times round the seasons
Skated over ten clear frozen streams 
Words like when you're older must appease him 
And promises of someday make his dreams

And the seasons they go round and round 
And the painted ponies go up and down 
We're captive on the carousel of time 
We can't return we can only look 
Behind from where we came 
And go round and round and round 
In the circle game * 

Sixteen springs and sixteen summers gone now 
Cartwheels turn to car wheels thru the town 
And they tell him take your time it won't be long now
Till you drag your feet to slow the circles down 

And the seasons they go round and round 
And the painted ponies go up and down 
We're captive on the carousel of time 
We can't return we can only look 
Behind from where we came 
And go round and round and round 
In the circle game

So the years spin by and now the boy is twenty 
Though his dreams have lost some grandeur coming true
There'll be new dreams maybe better dreams and plenty
Before the last revolving year is through

And the seasons they go round and round 
And the painted ponies go up and down 
We're captive on the carousel of time 
We can't return we can only look 
Behind from where we came 
And go round and round and round 
In the circle game

Saturday, April 5, 2014

I make childhood SO magical!

I haven't been very inspired to write lately. There isn't much going on worth noting, and the kids, while insanely cute and funny, haven't had too much going on. Anyway, I was on Facebook last night and finally decided to read this article: "I'm Done Making My Kids Childhood Magical". Contrary to most who read this, I disagree with much of this article.

The premise is this: that parents don't need to engage in the "extras" (vacations, decorations, Pinterest ventures, etc...) to make a magical childhood for their children because childhood is inherently magical. Ok, I am fine with that basic idea. Childhood is magical because, as a child, your world grows by leaps and bounds every single day. Your brain is literally on fire. Word acquisition. Skill acquisition. The first snow: magical. The first time you crawl up the stairs: magical. The first time you go down the slide by yourself: magical (and a little scary!). These things are pure magic because they are all firsts, and they are all new ways to explore the world. 

This is where my agreeing ends. I think the author misses the mark about travel and decorating and parties. She says that parents just do these things for their children, driven by some pressure to be the best parents ever. They work so hard to make things magical and special, and that doesn't need to happen. I will admit, I love to decorate for holidays, especially Christmas. I have done a Pinterest project or two (for better or worse) and really enjoyed trying something new. I plan fun parties for my kids for birthdays. I made their Halloween costumes. Here's the thing: I didn't do all of these things just for them. I didn't think, "wow, I am SO good at making magic for my kids!" I do these things because I enjoy doing them. Because I have very find memories of these things from my own childhood, and, as I got older, realized these are traditions that I want to continue, not only for my children, but for myself. 

I try cooking new things, and crafting new things because I think it's fun. Is it always for my kids, no, but sometimes it is. I decorate for Christmas because I love seeing the tree, and the cards, and my 600 Nativities. I love planning parties because I enjoy the company of family and friends. I enjoyed making Halloween costumes because I accomplished something new and I got to spend time with one of my best friends. If any of these things make my kids' childhood more "magical", well, that's cool. If not, well, that's cool, too. They bring plenty of fun, and magic, and awesome on their own. In fact, they remind me that life is, always, magical and to be celebrated. Why not involve them in the the things that brought me, and still bring me happiness? Isn't family about building and sharing traditions? 

I have a friend, Angela, who loves to travel. She shares that love with her daughters. Is it because she is thinking, "dang, I am making Ave and Kenzi's childhoods SO magical?" I doubt it. I would bet she is thinking, I love to travel, and I want my daughters to experience it. Maybe they, too, will love travel when they are older. Maybe not. In the process, though, they get to experience something that brings joy to their momma. That is pretty awesome.

My friend Sarah loves celebrating her Polish heritage. She and her family have amazing traditions that I know Sarah wants to pass onto her son, Jacob. These traditions will surely bring some magic to Jacob's childhood, but I doubt Sarah is thinking, "I am so awesome at fabricating magic!" These traditions bring her happiness, and connect her to her family. And, I am sure, were magical for her (and, really, probably still are magical for her).

So, parents, do what you do. If you want to craft, travel, cook, decorate, plan...do it! If you don't, then don't. At the end of the day, if your kids are loved, and their needs are met, then you are doing it right. I've never felt pressured by society to do, or not do, things for my children. I would bet most parents don't. Let your kids be kids, certainly, and, if you want to be crafty with them, travel with them, cook with them, do that, too. These things all help grow imaginations. Add to experiences, and can be just plain fun. And, really, isn't that what it's about: sharing, growing, and loving with your kids?
Four, hopeless, victims of magic. Taken 2 years ago. What?

Made this with Lily. Yep, we were crafty. She loved it!

The magic? That we got a picture of both kids and neither is trying to walk, crawl, get out of the picture.

Santa was very hungry this year. Magic.

Magic happening.


Another magical trip to the ocean.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

I sleep mommy, daddy bed?

So this week has been busy, and crazy, and kind of all over the place. School has been everything but teaching. I had an opportunity to observe at another local high school, and it was awesome. We were sent to observe a 90 minute block schedule, but I was able to get so much more from the visit. I am hoping our local high schools can open a dialogue about what practices work best and can share those practices. We always seem to be in such competition with one another that we miss opportunities for sharing and growth. Maybe this will be one small step to something like that.

My 11th grade classes have been doing basically everything but English instruction. We had to complete an SAT questionnaire that took forever. Then, I had to walk them through mock interviews and resume writing. That took more time than anticipated. Tomorrow, we do a big survey in the library...losing another day. Things just seem to pile on all at once. Luckily, my 10th graders are basically on track, and they got to witness me go crazy over Dante's Inferno. Yep, I get a little excited.

In news from the home front, our heater decided to break. Luckily, it was a minor issue and we got it fixed, but it left us without heat for a night. This meant borrowing space heaters from my parents and a night of basically no sleep thanks to Lily and her, "I DO NOT WANT TO SLEEP!" attitude.

Yes, my little sleeper girl. The child who brought you this:
She is having sleeping troubles. And it is so hard. She is scared of monsters. She has this insane imagination and she thinks there are monsters in her room. Tonight, we solved that problem by giving her a flashlight for night night. She doesn't want to go to sleep in her room. She wants "mommy and daddy bed." We never let her sleep in our bed, so this was a bit of a surprise. Her nightly routine doesn't change, but lately she is adding things. Last night, she was awake almost all night just fighting sleep. She did have to sleep in our room because of the heat situation, but she wasn't comfortable (she sleeps better in her bed). Thank goodness tonight wasn't too bad. It is just so frustrating when she is fighting sleep then screaming then, sometimes, waking Jack.

I am working so hard to remember that these times will pass. And that there are some really lovely things about putting Lily to bed. She is letting me rock her. She wants me to sing lullabies to her. Mostly, I sing things like "Sweet Baby James" and "The Circle Game", but she seems to like them. They are also the songs I sang to her when she was an infant, so it's a very sweet memory for me. I know, eventually, she won't want to hug me all night long. She won't request another kiss. Another minute to hold my hand. Another a song. I know that. And it's still hard. And frustrating. But we hold on. We look to better days and nights when maybe monsters won't seem so big. 

Also, spring needs to figure it's s*&# out. For real. I am tired of winter. I need to get Lily and Jack outside. Lily is craving walks and sunshine. And, I think, it would help her sleep better to get outside and burn her energy. 

And, finally, Jack is walking. Full time. It's glorious and horrifying. 

Monday, March 24, 2014

At 33 months Lily loves...

Wow, I am slow to post Lily's monthly update (and to post anything...). Anyway, let me get to it!

At 33 months Lily loves...

1. ...applesauce. Otherwise known as Greek Yogurt.
2. ...only the yellow Veggie sticks.
3. ...painting with her Color Wonder paints.
4. ...sharing her art from school. She cried today when she couldn't bring it home because it was for the art show.
5. ...using the potty all the time, even when we are out (however, she doesn't love public bathrooms...they are too loud).
6. ...bowl! A new love discovered at Averi's 5th birthday party. (And, what? Averi is 5?!)
7. ...helping her brother with his new skill...walking!
8. ...eating sweets, particularly ice cream, particularly chocolate (that's my girl!).
9. ...warm weather and playing outside (c'mon spring! get with the program!)
10. ...and, of course, mama and dada!