Thursday, March 26, 2009

Where Did My Baby Go?

Ok, it's sappy; it's cliche, but it's so true. Our kids grow up before we know it. One minute you are changing their diapers and carrying them around on your shoulder all day, and the next they are getting ready for kindergarten and getting phone calls from boys.

Yes, you read that correctly - phone calls from boys! But I'll get back to that one in a minute.

Last week, I took Claire to our neighborhood elementary school for her scheduled kindergarten screening. I actually almost missed this event. It's a bit unbelievable, but in our county, you register for school in February! I missed the registration date, but called just in time to get in for the screening. Really, I think there must be tons of people who miss these dates. How are parents of new kindergartner's to know? Anyway, so I take her to the school for screening. Now, I really have no idea why there is a need to "screen" kids in the first place. I hate the idea of labeling kids or classifying them in any way, especially at such a young age. Would they really turn a child away who wasn't able to identify the color, "yellow"? Who knows.

Claire was totally thrilled about this whole process. She could not wait to get to the school, and actually told me later that day that she was disappointed that she didn't get to sit at a desk and start learning things. (love that kid!). But while Claire was thrilled, mom was nervous. Seriously, the butterflies in my stomach and the rapidly racing heartbeat would suggest that I was about to take a final exam that day. I was so nervous that Claire would be nervous or shy and wouldn't do as well as I know she can or that she would just think it was a fun game and not really try. So, there I am, waiting out in the hallway next to the library practicing my deep breathing and trying to focus on a pleasant beach scene. Ridiculous. I won't lie. I think I might need a Prozac prescription when she is taking the SAT. :-)

She did just great, and all is set for next year.

So, back to the boys . . . When Claire first started at her preschool this year, she came home the first week talking about the "wild up boys" (I'm thinking this is meant to be wild and riled up put together). This group of three boys were the rowdy, rambunctious ones who always got in trouble, would try to chase the girls, and, no doubt, bothered Claire's sensitive self. As the year has progressed, however, she has talked less about how those boys bother her and more about how those boys are "hilarious." Great, just great.

A few weeks ago, she came home and told me, "Mom, I think that I like Liam now." Liam (once known to Claire as "lamb" - think Liam said with a southern accent) is a member of the "wild up boys." Apparently, they started talking about a movie they both liked, and Claire thought Liam's impersonation of the main character was simply "hilarious." So now she is talking about Liam all the time, and when I mentioned this to her teacher I was told, "oh yes, Claire definitely has a crush on Liam." Fantastic.

So yesterday I pick up Claire from school, and the teacher pulls me aside to tell me that Liam asked Claire for her phone number so he could call her. She gave it to him and asked the teacher to write it down for him. I sort of laughed it off, thinking no way this little boy was going to call.

Wrong! He called last night and told Claire that he wants to have a play date with her. Ok, I know it's a play date, but the "date" word is still in there! I'm not ready for this.

This morning I wanted to make sure that Claire understood that while it is perfectly ok for her to have friends who are boys, she is too young to have a boyfriend. Her reply: "but mommy, Liam is my boyfriend."


Thursday, March 12, 2009

In his Element

Our MOPS program has great childcare that includes a singing class for all the children. Last meeting, they learned a new song - "I Love to Praise Him." The song's lyrics are:

I love to praise him (cha-cha-cha)

I love to praise him (cha-cha-cha)

I love to praise him (cha-cha-cha)

And lift up his Holy Name,

Singing Hallelujah, and lift up his holy name.

According to Claire, Ben really got into the cha-cha-chas, making even the music teacher nearly fall off her chair because she was laughing so hard. This video doesn't do it justice, as he has calmed down a bit here, but it's still pretty funny. He's singing the Elmo song at the beginning of the video, but then he moves into the other song.

The Weather has a Personality Disorder

Just a couple days after Mother Nature dumped about 7 inches of snow on the ground, it got so warm outside, we thought for sure that spring had sprung. It was nearly 80 degrees over the weekend, and we took advantage of the perfect weather to take the kids to the local park. We were all suffering a bit from cabin fever due to being quarantined with the flu, so it was fun for all of us to get out and enjoy ourselves.

Ben could literally swing all day long if we let him. He LOVES it.

How cute are these pigtails? She threw a fit over them that morning, but I think they are precious.


Claire being silly. This is what I got when I asked her to smile for the camera.

The two boys

We've enjoyed this warm-up for about 5 days, and now they are calling for freezing rain tomorrow. Go figure.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Real SNOW!!!

Yes, it actually happened. We got real, measurable amounts of snow. So what if it took until March to happen? We were totally thrilled, and the kids couldn't wait to get out in it. We never actually took an official measurement, but Shawn estimated that we had about 7 inches on the ground. That's the most snow that we've had in this area in over 5 years, and more snow than either of my kids has ever seen.

I, unfortunately, was in the midst of my battle with the flu and could barely lift my head off the pillow, so it was totally up to Shawn to take the kids outside (and take the pictures).
What you may not notice at first glance in this picture is what the kids have on their feet. Welcome to the South, where it never really snows, so parents don't invest in snow boots. Thus, when, defying all odds, it actually does snow, parents are required to improvise. What you see on my children's feet are tennis shoes that have been covered in plastic bags which are then taped to their legs - I'm not lying. Go on, laugh it up.

A real snow angel! WooHoo!!

Ben had a hard time staying on his feet. It's hard work when your legs are only about 5 inches longer than the snow you are walking through!

Here are a couple videos taken that day too.

The (Not So) Fun Girls' Trip

Spending time with the old college roommates is always on the top of my "favorite things to do" list. It's not as easy for us to all get together anymore, what with 11 1/2 kids among us, varying work schedules, etc., but we do try to see each other at least once a year. This long weekend trip to Pigeon Forge, TN. was actually planned last fall, and I think we've all been anxiously awaiting it.

I was totally geared up for a great weekend, that is until Ben threw up all over the table Wednesday night (the day before I was to leave). Terrified that the dreaded springtime stomach virus had arrived at our house, we disinfected like crazy and prayed that it was just a fluke. Lucky us, it was. Problem was, Claire woke up the next morning with a cough and a slight fever. I didn't really think anything of it, as she seemed ok. But she started to feel worse and worse as the day continued. Still determined to make my trip and fairly certain that Claire just had a cold, I left as planned Thursday night. All was well (apart from having to wait in the parking lot of Kroger for about 45 min. - thanks, late girls!), until Friday morning when Shawn called me to say that Claire's fever was over 102 degrees and he was taking her to the doctor. I started to worry. Can't help it; it's who I am. Come to find out, Claire had the flu (thanks, worthless flu shot!), and now Shawn had to drag a very sick Claire and a fussy, tired Ben all around town trying to get her prescriptions filled, get the kids lunch and into bed.

So, while he was dealing with that, I was doing my best to focus on my time with my friends and not worry too much. It didn't really work, but we did have a good time shopping and eating out in restaurants - events that don't occur too often for any of us anymore.

These were taken at the restaurant Friday night, after a day of shopping, so we all look a little wiped.

Friday night was Fondue Night - Yum! - You'll notice Andrea on her cell phone in this picture. Actually, this was a fairly common look for all of us that weekend - checking in with the husbands and kids while we were away.

Merica - really happy about that Fondue! (Notice Andrea in the background. She's "texting." Apparently, I am like soooo totally uncool because I don't text. It is the "in" way to communicate in Cleveland.)

Despite having so much fun with the girls, I was still feeling like I needed to be at home, and I think I probably should have listened to my conscience. I woke up Saturday morning not feeling quite right and continued to feel worse as the day went on. By that night, I was miserable.

This picture was taken Saturday morning at the cabin. Oh, I forgot to mention that the cabin was wonderful - apart from a non-reachable fire alarm that needed its battery changed and thus would squawk about every 45 seconds or so. It made sleeping interesting, to say the least.
In the movie theater. Yes, we dorks actually took pictures in the theater. Actually, I think this is a great one of them.

And Saturday night at dinner - Sorry, Andrea, just had to include it.

Notice there are no pictures of me and Rachel that night because she was sitting next to me, and I was leaning against the wall of the booth, doing my best not to slide under the table. Not fun.
Anyway, all in all, it was a good trip, and I was happy to spend time with my friends. However, next trip we plan will most definitely be scheduled nowhere near flu season (or stomach virus season - Rachel's son came down with that while we were gone too). I'm sure all the husbands would agree that this is a good idea too.