Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Homework Assignment

Harrison was asked to write directions for making a healthy snack as a writing assignment. I don't have access to a scanner, but I will attempt to reproduce what he came up with. Warning: he tends to forget vowels at times and he reverses "b"s and "d"s a lot.

Name: Harry

Snack: Smoothie

Ingredients: IcE Yogurt StroBarYs Bnanas ornge juice

Steps to Make:

First: You Put ice in the Blenber

Next: You Put StroBarys in the Blenber

Then: You Put Bnanas in the Blenber

Then: You Put onge juic in thE Blenber

Then: You Put Yogurt in the Blenber

Last: You Mix it all up.

Next Friday, I will be helping Harry make smoothies for his "Show and Teach" demonstration. First graders are apparently too old for "Show and Tell" where we just had to ship Baby Seal to school. Now Harrison has to demonstrate something for his class. "We will need 22 cups, Mom,"...and a blender, a cooler full of fruit, ice and yogurt and patience.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Photo Friday

Theme: Immature
We all want to be carried sometimes.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

I'm sure "bedraggled" is sexy somewhere.

The kids and I had the day off today. We kept busy preparing for Thanksgiving. Harrison helped by building a Lego underwater ship thingy for pretty much the entire day. He surfaced from the basement occasionally to use the bathroom or pick up food I left for him at the top of the stairs. Ella contributed by talking continuously the ENTIRE day. If she stopped to breathe, or rest in any way, her body would continue for her, nonverbally, by wrapping one of its limbs around me or by trying to climb into my lap – even if I was standing.

We all converged for one big Costco and grocery store run. Costco, on this late Wednesday morning, was as crowded as any Saturday afternoon. We were there for our staples, but I felt compelled to buy rolls for tomorrow. How could I pass on THIRTY SIX fresh baked rolls for $3.79. I’ll be happy if we eat 15 of them! The kids were well-behaved even though the sample tables were just in the process of being set up. Usually the samples are the only thing I can use for bribes while we’re there. I was worried about going to the grocery store right afterwards, but they were great. Harry is reading now and can really help me. We got everything we needed but the green beans. “We’re out,” was the comment I received from the produce guy. That means one more trip tomorrow morning with all the other last minute shoppers.

After lunch I made a hand-me-down recipe from my grandmother – Rotkraut (a sweet and sour red cabbage). I normally would have called my mom for the recipe (as I never wrote it down) and was starting to freak out when my dad didn’t have it. These are some of the hardest times for me about my mom’s death. When I can’t talk to her and she has some information that I’m sure no one else has. It’s the most exasperating, frustrating and sad feeling I’ve ever felt. I emailed my cousin to see if she had it and she did. Her mom is my mom’s only sibling and we are quite sure that her recipe is the original. It had all the markings of one of my Oma’s recipes – not too many measurements and incomplete instructions. Anyway I made it and the smells that I created were so familiar it was eerie. For a few moments I felt like I was continuing a legacy – as hokey as that may sound.

Cleaning the mess in the kitchen for the third time today, I then proceeded to bake a cake. We figured out that it was Harrison’s half birthday tomorrow and he never forgot it. “I want a white cake, with white frosting, and NO turkey. I’ll eat bratwurst.” So I succumbed and baked him a white cake with white frosting. And being a German, with a history of Wisconsin residency, I’m sure we can find a brat in the freezer to bring along tomorrow.

Tomorrow we are baking two pies, making “special” green beans with $5.69 worth of pine nuts and cooked carrots. The dinner is being hosted by Chris’ Mormon brother and wife. They are making the turkey and stuffing. His other brother and wife are bringing mashed potatoes, but their son is violently ill with stomach flu so I don’t know if the potatoes will make it. That would be such a bummer as I was already pretty upset about not having wine with dinner and coffee with my pie.

Chris arrived home not a minute too soon tonight. He spent his day in Park City, and apparently the stylish tourists are arriving in droves for the long holiday weekend. “You should have seen them all dressed up at 8 in the morning!” About ten minutes later he commented to me, lovingly I’m sure, “You really look like a bedraggled stay-at-home-mommy tonight.” I flipped him off.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Thursday, November 16, 2006

My day off

My work week is already over and it’s only Thursday. I am volunteering at Ella’s school tomorrow. They need someone to take pictures of their new building, and I’ll be helping with the Thanksgiving feast that Ella’s class is serving. There will be Pilgrim hats and lots of songs about turkeys.

After the feast and program, Ella will go down for her “quiet time” and I’ll run over to pick up Harrison - Fridays are short days for him. We will also pick up a new friend of his. Harry’s having a play date and he’s really excited. While the boys are playing, I’ll do laundry, gather recipes for Thanksgiving, and try to organize the huge pile of school papers and mail on my desk. I even found a few Thanksgiving-themed word searches for the boys to do if they need some structure to their afternoon.

Tomorrow has quickly become exactly the kind of day that I hoped to have when I quit my full time job. I have mixed emotions, though. I felt it when I was arranging the playdate tonight. The mother works full time and as I was talking to her I found myself explaining my work schedule. “I have always worked full time….I just started part time….there’s nothing wrong with parents that work.” I just kept talking and talking. After I got the kids to bed, I watched the end of Grey’s Anatomy. One of the show’s themes was about working moms and the internal struggle.

I’m happy with my new schedule. I love that I get to be a much bigger part of my kids’ lives, but I have this guilt – as if I’m letting Gloria Steinem down.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Ellastyle - Vail

"Jammie baby" has been a permanent fixture the last few months. She was named after the pajama attire she came with at purchase. The coat, Miss Ella is wearing this season, is the find of the year. I was looking for a white puffy shirt (ala Seinfeld) for Harry to wear for Halloween as a pirate, at D.I. (our Goodwill-type store) when I found this coat for FOUR DOLLARS. The mittens were on clearance last year at Shopko for $1.50.

I have to get creative now that we're living on half of my old salary. Posted by Picasa

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Some pictures from Colorado

A cool play area in Vail Village

Lake Dillon, Silverthorne (above)
(I think I want to move again!)

Dressed for the big wedding. (below)
(Ella was thoroughly enthralled with the wedding preparations. Harrison - not so much.)

 Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

My kids - the bullies

I hate to admit the things that happened today, but this is supposed to be a record of my kids' lives...I need to remember the bad with the good.

Harrison is my more challenging child. His behaviors are straight forward and tangible. For example, today he socked a boy in the nose so hard that it bled. It was an accident. It usually is, but he still hurt someone. He was egging on two boys who were wrestling at recess. As the play fighting escalated, Harry apparently got excited and joined in by jumping on the two. He inadvertantly hit one of them. His teacher literally came chasing after me on the school lawn to tell me. She was kind about it. She started by telling me that his behavior in class was perfect today before dumping the disaster at recess on me. I was proud and totally frustrated all in a matter of 15 seconds.

As I spent the next few minutes with Harrison alone, before picking up Ella, I tried to understand what had happened. Once again, I was reminded of the definition of impulsivity. There is no reason - it just happens for Harry. He does things without thought and then regrets the consequences. After we "talked", a friend of ours approached and offered to take Harrison home for a playdate for the next hour. He was thrilled. I was, too, as I worry that his impulsivity will begin to cause him to lose friends.

I picked up Ella, and her friend, for a pre-planned playdate. They were adorable - thrilled to be together. Soon after we got home, a neighbor came over with her younger daughter. I assumed that adding a third girl to the mix would be easy. I assumed that my daughter would welcome this girl into their game of "house" and I would be able to chat with my friend for a half hour or so. I was wrong. Immediately Ella started communicating negative statements about this new girl joining their game. She was rude and non-inclusive. I was mortified. I pulled Ella aside a few times to talk to her about her uncharacteristic behavior. This just made things worse. The
negativity oozing out of Ella continued for about ten minutes. At this point, my neighbor and her daughter left. I told Ella how upset I was, but couldn't properly handle the problem due to the first friend's presence.

Two terrible scenarios in one day. Two scenarios that I never expected to have to deal with. I truly do not know which one bothers me more. I certainly don't want my son to be someone who hits - but he claims it was an accident. I can't get over the "mean girl" that took over my daughter's body right before my very eyes - but did I possibly set up a 4 year old with something that she wasn't able to handle?

I am not feeling overwhelmed, but I do wonder why it has to be so eventful and difficult. I really hope the weekend brings some relief.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Second verse, same as the first

Thank you for all the support about not liking my first day on the new job. I know it will get better, but I don't believe it yet.

I can't pinpoint what I don't like about it - probably just that it is work. Thinking about the extra hours at home was all I focused on...I never really thought that it would be work. It's just shorter amounts of work - that I don't really love right now.

I really miss the comfort of my old job. My friends and the students especially. I had a month-long goodbye. They capped it off with an all-school Halloween party in my honor. My last day was full of hugs and last minute instructions. I needed to tell everyone what to do after I left. I had a lot to "to-do"s left.

My students are in good hands, but they do seem to miss me. I've received a few emails and they even talked me into a MySpace account. I now have a very generic page (which I have no idea how to navigate) and four new friends (all former students). It's pretty funny.

I know that I will make new friends. Many of the people I've met are great. They are all willing to help and answer all my questions. The students are adorable. They are so pliable and accepting - willing to accept me as the new counselor. As long as I continue to pass out stickers and "Gold slips" (rewards for good behavior), I'm in.

Today would have been better than Thursday, but I am sick. Fever, stomach junk and headache. I was finally able to digest some ibuprofen about an hour ago and feel better than I have in over 10 hours. It was so embarrassing to be sick on my second day. I already have a sub plan ready in case I can't go in tomorrow.

Three more days and then we're off to a wedding in Denver. I have so much more time to do last-minute errands and prepare/pack for this road trip. The shorter hours are the reason behind this job change. It's definitely better for our family. I just need to make it better for me.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

First day

I didn't like it. Gawd!!!! Now what?

Wednesday, November 01, 2006


Today was my last day of work. Tomorrow I start my new job.

Last week I received two negative phone calls from Harrison's school about his behavior. Today I only got a note in his planner about his naughtiness.

Last week I couldn't wait to get out of my work environment. Today I had a hard time leaving.

Last night I had a personal laptop full of pictures, documents and bookmarks. Today I turned that laptop in and am currently borrowing my husband's.

Today I am a high school counselor. Tomorrow I become an elementary school counselor.

Today I left for work before the kids were even dressed. I picked them up from after-care programs. Tomorrow I will walk Harry to school and take Ella myself. After their school days are complete, I will pick them up. NO AFTERCARE!

Today I received presents and wonderful notes. I hugged about 30 people and teared up a few times. Tomorrow I will walk into a strange new building to work with people I barely know or have never met.

Today I'm a full-time working mom. Tomorrow I'm not.