Thursday, May 12, 2011

Lily discovered the Sunday comic section at my mother's house this weekend. Slightly obsessed, she carried it into the car, into the restaurant, into her bed. The next morning I caught her "reading the paper" on the front porch while she waited for our carpool. She looked like a little grown-up.

I just checked my voice mail and there was a message from Sadie. She attempted to disguise her voice as deeper and more sophisticated. Always a hoot to hear what she thinks is a professional voice and what she decides to say. This time she was someone from the children's book store calling for me. I must call her back, her message said and she included a fake number, too.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Today, after school, we went to the half-priced book fair held in the school library.  I sent the girls on ahead of me while I waited for Ethan.  I had already informed them there would be no buying "trinkedy-dinkedies" as well call them around here.  That is code for the pencils, erasers, pointy fingers, lip gloss, etc. that all stores try to get you to "add on."  You know, what's another 50 cents or dollar?  By sending the girls on ahead, they were to have their selections done so that we would only be waiting around for Ethan.  I didn't have much hope in what they would pick, but thought maybe one book would pass the litmus test.

However, sometimes a mom can be pleasantly surprised!  Sadie picked out two fantastic chapter books, including a book we had mentioned earlier that day, A Crooked Kind of Perfect, and a biography.  The picture of legs and feet covered in toe socks sealed the deal on that book.  Lily had one great book and one so-so dinky book.  We replaced it with a Geronimo Stilton book and she was content.  Ethan picked out two great chapter books, one is historical!  We picked up a couple more books since it was a buy-one, get-one free sale and headed out the door.  This is our summer reading.  I have found that library books are often late in the summer due to travel and often not read.  This system works like a charm for us.  The entire process of purchasing was completely painless, no whining (well, slightly from Lily about that dinky book), it didn't take very long and we were out the door.

The ride home was precious.  Each child was immersed in his/her book of choice.  It was quiet and lovely.  Later that afternoon, I was looking for Ethan and Sadie who seemed to have disappeared.  I looked out the back window and there they were, lying on a blanket, reading their new books.  Actually, Sadie was reading a book she began a couple of days ago.  Either way...fantastic!  The afternoon was so peaceful.  Lily stayed on the sofa in the kitchen to read her book, which she finished!  No arguments, no loud brain-reducing television, no issues.  Jay arrived home from work early to find them reading on a blanket.  I could see his smile from the kitchen window.  I must remember this moment and make sure it is not the last one of its kind. 

Here are the books the children selected:
Escape:  Children of the Holocaust by Allan Zullo
The Hunter Games by Suzanne Collins
Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins (the second book in the series)
The Strange Case of Origami Yoda by Tom Angleberger

Miss Spitfire, Reaching Helen Keller by Sarah Miller
A Crooked Kind of Perfect by Linda Urban
Ruby's Slippers by Tricia Rayburn
Piper Reed, Navy Brat by Christine Davenier

Best Friends in Fairyland by Daisy Meadows (already finished)
Pink Princess Rules the School by Alyssa Crowe
Weird Stores from the Lonesome Cafe by Judy Cox
The Karate Mouse by Geronimo Stilton (I think that is the author's name as well as the main character in the book)

I also picked up The Mouse and the Motorcycle by Beverly Cleary and Flawed Dogs by Berkeley Breathed.  I'll admit the funny looking dachshund on the cover prompted me to purchase latter of the two books.  I am such a sucker for books.

I have a couple of book sales I want to attend this May, so hopefully, I can get some deals on historical books that cover the first historical period, our focus next year in homeschool.

Friday, May 06, 2011

There are moments as a mother that I want to capture for the remainder of my part in this life.  They represent success, at least defined by what I pray and hope for my children.  They are the chunks I hold onto when the going gets tough and I think everything I do is a failure.  Here is one of them:

There is a boy in Ethan's grade who has always struggled with behavior and getting along with other children. I don't know his full story as we have not been in his class until this year.  However, his reputation as a big problem in the classroom did preceed him.  Somewhere along the holidays, this boy decided that he was tired of always being in trouble, ready to change his reputation and learn to be friends with his classmates.  He wanted a complete "do-over."  Therefore he chose to stand in front of the entire grade and ask for their forgiveness and ask for them to allow him to start again.  Just typing this portion of the story brings me to tears.  What a brave, brave young man.

The teachers knew of his plan, but they were very nervous of the reaction of some 50 other kids.  They weren't sure how it was going to play out and how to conclude it.

After this boy finished his spiel, Ethan, my Ethan, raised his hands.  His teacher called on him and according to the teacher, he said something like:  I think I we can all agree that we really need to apologize to you, too.  We haven't always been the friend you needed or treated you fairly.  So please forgive us.

Ethan never said a word about this entire event to me.  The principal and his teachers did.  They were impressed by the maturity of his response.  I was pretty surprised as well.  However, if I think deeply, I shouldn't have been.  His heart has always been sweet and full of compassion for others.  This was a day that it shined just a little brighter.
A couple of weeks ago, I wrote a piece that brought me so much satisfaction.  I didn't notice there was an error in blogger's automatic saving mode.  When I clicked "Publish Post," there was an error.  At that moment I knew.  It was lost.  It hadn't saved and therefore, when I tried to return to the post, it was gone. 

It is defeating to me when that happens.  I don't write nearly as often as I would like and when I don't for a while, the words to do not flow.  I can not craft the exact sentiment I am trying to express.  For some reason, however, this one just flowed from my fingertips and left me completely spent.  Oh well.  I have to move on.
Oh my goodness, I love my kids.  When they are budding with creativity, or when they are behave like spoiled little boogers.  When they backtalk me with such vile that I could sew their mouths up forever, or when they excel at some endeavor that even they are shocked.  That is how our days have been lately.  The highest of highs and the lowest of lows.  Determining our determination is a good summary, actually.  Each little being in our house deciding just which battles they want to have - be it a good battle of academics or sports, or a bad battle between siblings and the fairness of life.

At 6, Lily has declared she is writing a book all about MATH!  Unbeknownst to me, Lily took her journal out and began writing math facts about adding the same number together.  She started by writing 1+1=2, 2+2=4, etc.  She is now somewhere in the 150s (152+152=304).  Her self-determined goal:  1,000.  I shouldn't really be surprised by this as she has always had an interest in patterns.  As a toddler, I would often find her sorting her blocks into colors or shapes.  She would always string beads along in a pattern.  Her enthusiasm is a bit contagious, I admit.  I have already thought about teaching her the very basic concept of multiplication in order for her to write her tables down in her journal.  She will be able to understand the pattern of that, even if she doesn't memorize them.  Maybe a goal for the summer?

Sadie has been somewhat of a brutal force on the soccer field in the latter half of the spring season.  She hasn't played in 2 or 3 years and yet, has found this determination in her spirit to come away from the pack with the ball.  Most often, she succeeds, even against some bigger boys.  She just doesn't give up!  She had a a nasty fall in the driveway that resulted in a few extra layers of skin on her knees.  The next day at her game she fell a few times going after the ball and was kicked in the knee as well.  Despite blood being drawn and keeping her hands in little fists from the pain, she refused to come out of the game and continue to push forward.  One the flip side, Sadie is once again asserting her independence and not really holding back verbally when she is not exactly thrilled at the request being given to her.  In fact, she has been downright rude and mouth.  Poor thing...hardly has any privileges left to take away.  Her favorite line lately, "You are so mean!"  UGH! I sense, however, we might be turning the corner.

Ethan is pushing past the boredom that May can sometimes bring with swimming.  Short-course season is over; school is ending. Things seem to be ending everywhere, except in swimming. He was finding some issues with the authority at swimming, but I told him he simply needed to buck up. This wasn't about them, it was about him.  Make these practices all about getting himself better, improving his skill, soaking it all in, working hard when a lot of other swimmers were in slow motion just getting ready for summer leagues. I haven't heard much more complaining since that conversation.  As far as his usual banter/fighting/animosity toward Sadie, I have overheard him say two times, "Sadie, let's just stop.  It isn't worth it."  Time away from the material object of their desire can do wonders to an attitude.

We are moving through May at lightning speed.  Two weeks and 3 days until the end of school.