Thursday, April 30, 2009

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

a little thanks goes a long way...remind me to call my Mom

I've been feeling very swamped these days. So much to do and we have to be in so many places all at the same time. Dance and baseball and laundry and softball and playdates and laundry and grocery shopping and first communion preparations and laundry and family parties and birthday parties. Oh, and did I mention laundry. It's been a whirlwind of a spring with very little rest for the weary. Don't get me wrong...I love watching the kids in their activities and love getting together with family and friends to celebrate. The usual day to day stuff can be daunting and you throw in several "special" events and it can be overwhelming. And the kicker is we don't get any thanks for all zillion little things we do all day long. Usually we get complaints or fussing but rarely do we get thanks. Not that I'm looking for kudos, but it sure would be nice. I often wonder at times like these about my Mom. How did she manage the same hurricane of things to do with not three kids but eleven? . I seriously think I owe my Mom more thanks than I could possibly give, even if I thanked her every minute for the rest of my days...not just for all she did for me but for putting up with me. I was one of those teenagers, if you know what I mean.

Yesterday, one of my daycare friends M was very solemnly watching me get lunch ready. I prepped the grapes, sandwiches and yogurt and assembled it all onto five plates and I heated up the bottle for the baby and poured milk into five little cups. Finally I brought everything over to the table. M had closely observed every step of the process but never once responded to any of my chatter. Her big brown eyes just took everything in. I picked up the baby to feed her and was just about to call the kids to come to the table when M quietly stated "You do good job, Ree."

Awww....thanks M...I really needed that.

Monday, April 27, 2009

catching fairies

I see dust motes...she sees fairies. How can I dust and take all that wonderment away from her?

Monday, April 20, 2009

two wheeling

Spring signals many things...growing grass, cooking out, lots more time outside and bike riding. I loved bike riding when I was a kid. There were always plenty of bikes laying around and myself and my siblings would jump on and spend hours each day riding our bikes. At first when we were really little we'd play gas station. My parents have a circular driveway with both a back and front driveway out to two different streets. One of us would be the gas station attendant and sit on the back porch awaiting customers while the rest would zip around the circle and down the back drive stopping each go round to gas up. It sounds really boring to me now but we played this for hours on end so apparently it wasn't as boring as it sounds. At about seven or eight we started venturing beyond the confines of our driveway. We'd go out the back driveway take a right and ride down and around the block to the front driveway. Along the way we'd run into other neighborhood kids and before too long a whole pack of us would making the round trip trek. Eventually we got older and bolder and ride all over town. I carried this love of bike riding into my adulthood. In college I got a bike as a birthday gift and I rode it to pieces. I discovered the Rails to Trails bike paths after college and whiled away many a sunny spring afternoon riding as far as I could.

Sadly it's been years since I've gotten on a bike. I really miss riding and after having kids daydreamed about teaching them to ride and going for bike rides on the trails through the nearby forest. In my daydreams, we'd all ride along together laughing, calling to each other to race and joking with each other. I have come to the unfortunate conclusion that this may never come to pass. All three of my kids have bikes. We bought them those miniature little two wheelers and, eventually the next few sizes up, and drag them out each spring awaiting the day when we can FINALLY take the training wheels off and watch them pedal away into the distance.

It still hasn't happened. Not for my eight year old, or my six year old and I'm holding out no hope for my three year old. I actually have grown to dread when they ask if we can bike ride. It's so exhausting. None of them can get themselves going so I have to push each to start. In Katie's case, I have to continue pushing her around and around and around the bike path that circles our local playground. My back is aching and my shoulders are cramped and my hands are sore when I collapse onto the ground and tell her it's time for a break. And the big kids? They pedal so S-L-O-W-L-Y!!! Teresa is slightly faster than Sam...only slightly. Sam is going so slow I honestly can't tell if he's moving. Tiny toddlers on their little toddler bikes are lapping him. The path looks flat and level but in one corner it must be slightly inclined and they are moving so slowly they grind to a stop at the slight incline. And there they will wait till I come around pushing Katie to give them a push to get going again. All the while I am cursing the bike manufacturers for putting pedal brakes on the miniature little bike Katie is riding. She doesn't pedal at all, why should she when I'll do all the work? Except every two feet she'll push the pedals backwards and slam on the brakes. So our progress goes something like this...step, step, step...STOP!...step, step, step, step...STOP! and I grit my teeth so I don't let loose with the curses circling round my brain because who the hell puts pedal brakes on a toddler bike!!!!??????

I endure these torturous bikeriding sessions because deep down inside those daydreams refuse to die a quiet death. I cling to the hope that the next push to get started or the next circuit around the playground will be the one that starts us down that forest path. Ah well. A girl can dream...can't she.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Easter day in review

In our house the Easter Bunny hides the kids baskets, a tradition carried over from my childhood. The kids spend the days before Easter wondering where the bunny is going to hide their baskets this year and ruminating over past hiding places. The Easter bunny found a few small laundry baskets and put them into service this year as Easter baskets. The kids get very little candy; some jelly beans, chocolate eggs, and some Lindt chocolates in the shape of chicks and bugs and a bunny. They also got bubbles, slinkys, kites, chalk, small animal toys and stuffed animals. Sam was the first up and found his basket easily. Katie needed a little help finding hers in the form of clues and gentle nudges in the right direction. Teresa found hers last of all and she insisted on finding it on her own. If she even thought I was about to give a hint, she'd put her hand up, palm out and let out an angry "MUMM-MA!!!" They sat and happily sifted through the goodies and to my surprise not a one of them asked to have any candy. That request did come but not until we returned from church. I fully expected one of them to ask (Katie, in particular) but they were so busy playing with their slinkys and animals it just never crossed their minds.

After church we came home and the girls helped me assemble the strawberry cake I made to bring to my sister's. They helped whip the cream and mash some strawberries and their reward for all their hard work...licking the beaters. Get a look at Teresa's chompers....she's our little circus sideshow with front teeth that refuse to come out despite permanent teeth being nearly completely grown in. I was denied the toothless front teeth look with her. (Don't you worry, she's scheduled to get the stubborn baby teeth's just taken months to get an appointment...who knew dental surgeons were in such demand) The kids gamely posed for some pictures for me in their Easter finery. We ended the day at my sister's. It was a riot of food and cousins and plastic Easter eggs. My sisters and I hid nearly 200 eggs which the kids found in about six minutes. I can never get good egg hunt pictures because they just move so darn fast. They can't do this egg hunt thing's serious business. And remember how I was patting myself on the back about the fact that none of them asked for candy first thing in the morning? I was a bit too quick to do so. They gorged themselves on candy from the egg hunt and from the small dishes of candy my sister seemed to have everywhere, the entire afternoon. They more than made up for their candyless morning. Oh's just one day. And a blessedly glorious day at that. (Not just because of the candy either)

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

i ♥ faces Easter/Spring contest

iheartfaces is having an Easter/Spring contest this week. I have decided to jump on in and give it a go. This picture is a photo of Katie taken the moment she realized she had found her Easter basket which is what she is pointing to. I love the excitement and joy in her face.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

So...what's your most embarrassing moment?

I was reading my friend Jessica's blog as she shared one of her most embarrassing moments and nearly wet myself laughing. Embarrassing moments...we all have them but Jessica certainly has more than her share. Got me to thinking about the embarrassing moments of my own I've managed to live through. There was that time the elastic on my underwear broke right when I had to go up to the teacher's desk when in high school. That one was bad. Another memorable high school moment when my monthly friend visited unexpectedly and I had a big stain on the back of my skirt. And then there was the time during dinner, I had adopted the odd habit of shortening my words and I asked my Dad if I could have secs (seconds for those that don't shorten their words...I was cured of that weird habit after that incident). One in particular has the honor of "most embarrassing" least for the time being.

I was working in Cambridge as a prek teacher. Right in the middle of Central Square. Central Square is just down the road from it's famous cousin, Harvard Square. But instead of the foot traffic being of the ivy league student variety, it was more like working class, melting pot. This particular summer, the main drag was having all kinds of work done on it so construction crews were camped out on both sides of the street. The 4 and five year olds I worked with could spend hours watching the burly sweaty men as they wielded jack hammers and machinery...oh wait...maybe that was us teachers. part of our summer curriculum we offered swim lessons. There was a YMCA just down that main thoroughfare and once a week we walked to the Y and everyone, teachers and parents included, suited up and jumped in. We always had a few parents that joined us to keep adult to child ratio manageable. Anywho, so, here's the embarrassing part.

We got the kids all changed and then ourselves and headed down to the pool. JCheck Spellingust as we're lining the kids up at the edge wouldn't you know it...the fire alarm began blaring. There we are barefooted and bathing suit clad and we have to go out and stand on Massachusetts Avenue in the middle of Central Square. It's not like I could hide in the group since 3/4 of the group barely came up to my knees. We stood out there on the sidewalk for a good thirty minutes. Enduring the curious stares of the people passing by and the whoops and whistles of the construction workers. It's one thing to wear a bathing suit at a beach where everyone is in a bathing suit. It's quite another to be standing out on the middle of a busy sidewalk while in your bathing suit. Almost feels like you're out there in your underwear. At day's end it gave us something to laugh about and in hindsight I don't think I was the most embarrassed one in our group. I think the dad in a speedo probably felt a bit more exposed than we did.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Monday, April 6, 2009

Easter Peeps

Today we made some Easter eggs. Not the hard boiled dyed kind of Easter eggs, but something a little less messy and a bit more fluffy. This is an easy project that kids as young as two can do with little assistance. You will need:

glue (we used glue sticks to start but I wouldn't recommend it...they don't seem to hold very well)
yellow feathers
buttons or gogglely eyes
orange triangle (we used felt but construction paper would work just as well)
a large piece of white paper (I used a white 12x12 scrapbooking paper) and a small piece of construction paper (we used white but yellow would have been a better choice)
5 to 6 patterned scrapbook paper (12x12 size) cut into strips of varying width

First have the children put glue on the entire surface of the large piece of white paper. I thought glue sticks would be perfect but they didn't hold the paper as the project evolved so we switched to good old white glue.

Next the children should take strips of paper and lay them across the gluey large white paper. They continue to do this until the paper is completely covered.

You'll end up with something like this. Or at least you should. Let it dry before moving on to the next step. I used 12x12 white scrapbook paper as a base which is why the strips cover the paper with no white showing. If you used construction paper you may want to trim it to 12x12 ahead of time.

An adult can now trace an egg shape onto the back of the paper and cut it out. If older children are doing this, they could probably trace and cut out the egg themselves.

While the children are waiting for the egg to dry they can begin work on the chicks. On the smaller white or yellow construction paper cut out another egg shape, smaller than the paper decorated egg they just made. This will become the chick. The children can paint glue over the top half, maybe just a little bit more, of the chick. Let the feathery decorating now begin. Have the kids completely cover the top of the chick in feathers. You don't need to do the bottom because it will be behind the egg and will not be seen,.

If the eggs are dry a grownup should zig zag cut it about 2/3 of the way up in preparation for the next step. Paint the lower half of the chick with glue.

Press the bottom of the egg onto the bottom of the chick so the chick looks like it is peeking out of the egg.
Add a face to the chick, We used buttons for the eyes and felt for the nose but you can use whatever you have on hand. We glued these pieces down and then it's time to let it dry again.

the last step is a grownups job. Put the top of the egg in place and push the brad through the egg and the chick to attach them together.

As you can see (even though the pictures aren't all that great) depending on how the eggs are cut out and what papers were used, the eggs are all unique and absolutely adorable. Have fun!