Archive for May, 2009

The rock and the hard place, brought to you by my BFF, parentheses

Posted in Uncategorized on May 21, 2009 by depechemom

If there is one thing I really don’t like, it’s being stuck in the middle of conflict that I have nothing to do with.  [Even though it will be apparent as the story unfolds, I want to go ahead and say that this story in no way involves anyone who reads my blog, no matter how infrequently.  This is a totally different animal.]  Now, I’m super happy to help out a friend, but I really don’t like it when I’m being asked to do something I really don’t want to do, but can’t come up with a good reason not to.  
I was scheduled to work today (watching the family of 3 kids) from 9:30-4:30 today.  At 9:40 the mom called, I thought to say they were running late, but instead she was inviting the kids and I to go to her semi-ex’s (they are separated).  She was still going to work, but her daughter really wanted us to come over, and it would mean so much to her for us to come over, etc, etc.  Ugh, I really didn’t want to go.  I’ve only met him a couple of times, and have kind of been trying to avoid much contact with him.  Not for any specific reason, just some reason.  But, considering I clearly didn’t have plans during that time, I didn’t really feel like I had much choice.  It would have been alright, a little weird, but not terrible, had he not felt the need to share his disdain with her decision to separate.  It was like he was fishing for info from me.  Unfortunately for him, I’m terrible in those situations and didn’t say much more than “I’m sorry” and “That must be difficult”.  We played around with the myriad of toys strewn about their front yard for a while, then headed to the stream.  The kids had fun throwing rocks in the water and digging up shells.  I’m not exactly the strip-down-naked-and-jump-in-the-water type (shocking I know) (just to be clear, I’m talking about the kids here, not adults) (not that I’m ok with adults doing that either) so I spent most of the time trying to keep Little Bear from getting completely soaked.  I was super mean and didn’t even let Little Lamb stick her feet in.  Thankfully, she didn’t seem all that interested, anyway.
After the creek/stream adventure, we walked up a giant hill of tall grass to visit a neighbor’s house.  I prayed the entire time that none of us were going to walk into a patch of poison ivy.  (So far, so good on that one!)   We played on some swings and a zip line-again my kids were a no-go on that one, by choice.  Then, I finally managed to get us back to the dad’s house so we could go home for lunch.
He brought the kids over for lunch and they stayed until 5.  The kids played legos and Playmobil people until Belle got home from school.  Then it was snack time, followed by outside play.  The older girls have this game the like to play called store (so original!) where they gather stuff from the yard-sticks, rocks, weeds, clover, tiny onions-and anyone can come take what they want, so long as the store is open.  You don’t dare touch the stuff when the store is closed, or you will suffer the wrath and tattle of the girls.  Meanwhile, I whipped up a batch of chewy granola bars.  (These were the best I’ve tried so far, and I intend to share the recipe with you as soon as I get it perfect.)  Then, we tackled J’s birthday present from the kids.  
Once the kids were gone, I sent out the dinner SOS call to J and we decided to order out for Chinese.  Once the kids had cleaned up their rooms, we began the nightly ritual of pj’s, books, teeth, and tucks.  I rolled Belle’s hair in foam rollers while J read the books.  And, we’ve basically been on our computers ever since.  Every once in a while, we just need a night to drift into our own worlds of blogs, email, music, and whatnot.  We’re going to have plenty of together time this coming week while J is off work.  A great way to celebrate a birthday, if you ask me!

Caught in the flurry

Posted in Uncategorized on May 20, 2009 by depechemom

I feel like I’ve been picked up by a strong wind, blowing me to and fro, during this last month of school.  Saturday was Belle’s last soccer game followed by yet another spring birthday party.  Sunday was the last week of Sunday School for the year.  The kids have loved their teachers and have learned a lot.  Even Little Lamb has gotten to go to Little Bear’s class sometimes, which is a super treat for her!  
Yesterday, I helped chaperone the first grade field trip.  I even rode the school bus.  What a treat that turned out to be!  Basically, we drove 1.5 hours, rushed around a really cool kids discovery type museum, and drove 1.5 hours back to school.  I spent most of the ride home praying the little girl sitting next to me didn’t puke.  Seriously.  The poor girl spent the last 10 or so miles hunched over the trash bag, that’s how badly she felt.  She’s a really sweet girl and has been a great friend to Belle, so that made it a little easier to reassure her.  (In case you don’t know, puking is the one thing that will send me running for the hills faster than fast.)  Once we finally got back home, I was so exhausted.  I told the kids to sit on the sofa, let Belle pick out a show, and the little ones and I took a nice nap.  Thankfully I’d already made the lasagna for dinner, so all I had to do was stick it in the oven.
To top it all off, J came home from work with a horrible migraine.  He went straight to bed to sleep it off.  [Thankfully, just after the kids and I finished dinner, he emerged feeling much better.  And hungry!]  Meanwhile, I chatted with an old friend for a while on the phone while the kids colored.  I was just about to get started on J’s birthday gift from the kids when he woke up.  I’m hoping to get to it later today.  After a phone conversation with Mimi and Grandad, followed by a web cam chat with them, we wrangled the kids to bed.  J and I sat on the sofa together, listened to music on his IPod, and talked about our marriage, the marriages of several of our friends, our upcoming trip to NC to visit all of J’s family, and such.  Then, we watched several White Stripes videos on You Tube.  (Sorry, I’m too lazy to link to them.  Great music-heavy on guitar and drums, if you’ve never listened to them before.)  With each video, J turned the volume and little louder.  It’s amazing what the kids just sleep right through!
Today is Little Bear’s last day of preschool.  We’ll go on Friday for a big celebration, but this is his last class day.  I can’t believe it’s over already.  He moves up to the Pre-K class next year.  As excited as I am to have him home with me for the summer, I’m sad that the year is over already.
Little Lamb and I did our usual Wednesday routine of going to Belle’s school to make copies.  LL is so cute sitting with the big kids during snack time.  Now, I’m off to cuddle with my little girl before my charges come over.

Why so much pressure already?

Posted in Uncategorized on May 13, 2009 by depechemom

After sending Belle and Little Bear to school on Wednesdays, Little Lamb and I head back up to Belle’s school to help her teacher.  I do simple stuff like make copies and change out the bulletin boards.  We get there just before snack time, so I always pack LL’s lunch bag with a snack.  She sits with Belle and the big kids until they head out for Gym class.  Then we head back to the copy room to get down to business.  I’ve enjoyed helping this way because it allows me a little time to talk to Belle’s teacher, and I get a preview of what they’ll be doing in class.  I asked about the second grade teachers this morning, just to see what info she might give me.  I don’t know any of them well enough to request one over another, not that I’d likely do that anyway.  Well, maybe I would if I had a good reason to…Anyway, what Mrs. G did tell me was that the 2nd grade teachers this year took the SOL’s (stupid state test) very seriously.  They don’t actually begin testing until 3rd grade, but the prep begins well before that.  Mrs. G mentioned that many of the hands-on activities were put aside in the interest of SOL work, which is just terrible in my opinion.  She encouraged me to do fun learning activities on the weekends to help relieve stress for Belle, which I’m happy to do, but not happy that I might NEED to do it.  I’m praying that which ever teacher she gets will be a good match for her, as well as the other students in the class.  Her class this year has lots of strong boys, but the girls are all fairly timid.  I’m hoping next year she can have some good female leaders in her class.
Because LL and I spend our morning at Belle’s school, Little Bear goes to JS’s house after school for a couple of hours.  He absolutely loves going over there-they have ALL the coolest toys and they eat macaroni and cheese every time!  It gives LL and I a chance to run errands or snuggle on the sofa or whatever we see fit.   Today, we ran to our fancy new grocery store and then came home to snuggle and watch Little Einsteins.  She did introduce a few new characters to our repertoire today, The Imagination Movers!  She’s watches the show on occasion, mostly when there is nothing else  of interest to her, so I was somewhat surprised when she wanted to wear goggles and be Scott.  
Once Belle and LB were home from school and such, I set to work on Pioneer Woman’s Strawberry Shortcake Cake.  Oh wow!  It is amazing!!  It’s an involved recipe, but well worth every step.  We took Belle to her last soccer practice while the cake cooled.  Dinner was Salmon and rice.  I’d planned to make a salad, but I spent the time on the cake instead.  I’m not usually much for fruity desserts, but this one is right on the money.  LB said the frosting was like a creamy, white waterfall.  Sounds delicious, no?  I have some pictures to share of the cake, but I’ll have to add them tomorrow.  It’s time to get off the computer, and spend a little time with my hubby.

Prancing Lion

Posted in Uncategorized on May 12, 2009 by depechemom

Today, being Tuesday, was playgroup day.  This group is made up of fellow resident spouses.  The weather was absolutely beautiful today-the perfect day for a visit to the park!  The kids played well together-Little Lamb dressed as a lion-and mostly stuck to the bouncy/rocking things.  This park has a two seater airplane, and Batman and the lion were on that one quite a bit!  I forgot my camera today, so I don’t have any cute photos of them.  We had a fun pignit (picnic in LB language) with our friends before heading out.
Today was also “Bring a friend day” at a local ballet studio and one of our friends invited both LB and LL to participate.  They were quite timid at first, but before long they were dancing and prancing about the room.  Of course, mine were the only two not in traditional ballet wear.  I didn’t really have a small enough leotard for LL and wouldn’t know what to put LB in…so I just avoided the issue altogether.  I happened to run into another friend (who attended playgroup when we first moved here) whose daughter was also invited to the class.  We had fun catching up, and she even gave me a few encouraging words about our upcoming interview process.
We had one small, new thing tonight.  Little Lamb brought her giant Pooh Bear to dinner tonight, placed him in a chair, and asked me to get him a plate and cup.  I drew the line at putting actual food or drink in them, because I wanted to be able to put them back in the cabinet.  We pretended to give him cucumbers and bread, and he seemed to enjoy them all!  It’s fun seeing the different things that LL does that the older two did not.
I’ve made decent progress on my crafty project for each of the grandparents, what with the 3 hour Biggest Loser finale tonight.  I’m still shocked that the 63 yr old man won the at home prize.  He was so proud of himself, it was cute.  I fully expected Tara to win the big prize, but, wow, did Helen give her a run for her money!  
It’s late and I’m exhausted…off to bed!

Just a day

Posted in Uncategorized on May 11, 2009 by depechemom

I read a few bloggers who recount the basic things of their day, almost “Dear Diary” style, and I thought I’d give that style a whirl this week. 
[I feel it is important here to remind you that absolutely, completely understand that I am not a very good writer.  I felt lucky to get a B in my English classes, and sometimes (read: more often than my parents would like) I wasn’t very lucky.  I’ll never be able to weave a tale as well as many writers out there, but I’m guessing if you’re still coming back here…it isn’t for my writing skills.]
Sometime around March I begin to tire of the early morning rush to get the kids out the door by 7:40.  I still take Belle to school in the mornings, and we generally go inside 3 of those mornings a week.  By May, I’m ready for summer break!  Especially on Mondays.  Thankfully Belle set her alarm this morning, or we might have overslept.  After dropping Belle at school, Little Bear, Little Lamb, and I come home for a bit to play until we take LB to school.  I had little appetite this morning which left be dragging from the lack of caffeine.
Once LB was delivered to school, LL and I came back home.  Monday’s are particularly hard for LL, as she rather likes having Belle and Little Bear home all weekend.  We snuggled on the sofa and watched a little Playhouse Disney.  Then, we headed out to the new! super nice! super close! grocery store.  I even let her ride in the fancy airplane carts, which I rarely do because of all the nasty germs in those things.  But these are nice, and new, and must surely have fewer germs on them.  
If you’re interested, we’ll be having chicken enchiladas, salmon with rice and a beurre blanc sauce, spaghetti, and something else with chicken which I don’t remember right now.  I also forsee this cake in my near future.  I can’t even imagine how amazing it would be with freshly picked strawberries, but the store bought ones will have to do this week.    
After the store, we picked up Little Bear and his buddy JS.  He still comes over on Mondays for a couple of hours.  This week, my other charges came over early so I had 6 kids, with only 2 of them mine, for a while.  They played super heroes/Little Einsteins for a while until I brought out the playdoh.  That entertained them for a solid half hour, maybe more!  Totally worth the effort of cleaning the table and vacuuming afterwards. 
 Once JS left, Belle came home from school.  The kids played various super hero games, all with Tinker Toy weaponry, for a while.  I had them clean the bedrooms between dinner and dessert-it’s not enough just to eat all your dinner around here.  You have to work for your sweets!  After dessert, Belle decided to have a Ball in the living room.  Basically this meant turning on a Baby Mozart cd and dancing with partners around the room.  They were quite cute, trying to do dips and everything, and it lasted much longer than I’d imagined.  
Once the kids’ mom came, it was nearly 8:00.  We sent them on their merry way and commenced to putting our kids to bed.  I did get some random burst of energy and vacuumed the dining room (see: playdoh fun earlier), living room, hallway, and kitchen.  It will be so nice to wake in the morning to clean carpets!  The house is appropriately quiet now.  J is studying in the dining room and I’ve got a crafty project to finish up.  A nice end to a busy day!

Happy Mother’s Day!

Posted in Uncategorized on May 10, 2009 by depechemom

After a long week of Belle fighting some fever/headache virus, we’ve had a nice weekend.  A couple of parties and many errands made for a busy Saturday, but today has been wonderfully simple.  We spent the morning on the deck, soaking in the green all around us.  J and the kids fixed a nice brunch for me-a German pancake with macerated strawberries, bacon, and andouille sausage.  I napped on the sofa for a bit with Little Lamb.  I went to the grocery store by myself!  And, finally, J grilled pizzas for dinner.  Oh, and, AND!! I got a beautiful green IPod from J and the kids.  As well as a new bread cookbook.  The children are all in bed, J has lit the tiki torches on the deck, and I’m thinking I just might throw on a sweater and join him.  

I hope you all had a nice weekend and I hope to hop back on here later this week.