Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Feels Like Monday

It is Tuesday, but since Duncan was out of school yesterday and my oldest brother was in town and it was my birthday, today feels like Monday. And my house looks like well, I don't know what. All I know is I feel like I have not been home since last Wednesday when Claire started puking.

Thursday after school we went out to my mom's and sister's to visit my brother and his girlfriend. Claire seemed to feel fine, but as time passed I began to question how good I felt. By 5:00 I knew I was sunk, and quickly puked in my mom's potty before we left for home. So very, very, very grateful that Iain did not have to go to Hawaii so he was home to get all Littles in bed and tend to them. I got in bed and threw up four more times before finally falling sound asleep around 11:00. Strangely I woke up around 6:00 the next morning feeling completely fine, which was good because it was MOPS. And it takes alot of puking to keep me from a MOPS meeting so off we went.

On Saturday I had a rehearsal for my the youth choir reunion that was going on this weekend. 100 or so of us came back to Oak Cliff Presbyterian to take part in remembering something that was a hugely significant part of our lives at some point. It was quite amazing how Mr. E was able to rehearse adults who had been in the choir from the 50's through the 80's and we actually sounded pretty good. After rehearsal it was back to my mom's and sister's to visit, then home late with our three wild, wide awake kids (at about 8:30 p.m.)

On Sunday, Iain and Duncan took off to get my phone fixed while I took the babies to my mom's and sister's (again!) so that my aunt could babysit them during their nap and I could go back to Oak Cliff Pres for warm up before our 3:00 concert. The concert was amazing. Really, really moving and great fun. We laughed at how they should get a bus and take us all on tour. Sunday night we went back to my mom's and sister's to eat and visit and once again, got our kids home and to bed late.

Monday. The zoo! Fun! Beautiful weather! Took all three kids and met a sweet friend from preschool that he has not seen since his 5th birthday party in early June. They literally ran together from across the parking lot and embraced and I heard, "I've missed you so much!" Though.I.Might.Die. from the cuteness. Let Claire and Finn run free in the children's area, climb, slide, pet goats, look at ducks, koi, small animal poo, chickens, pigs, giant rabbits and a pony. So much fun! I have pictures, but cannot figure out how to insert them so that they aren't all at the top of this post. But I will figure that out.

After the zoo, we all went...wait for it...back to my mom's and sister's for my birthday. I put the babies down and went upstairs and took a two hour nap. Might have been the best nap of my life. My mom made a great dinner, an excellent chocolate cake, presents were opened and we got the kids home late, but happy. The weather was cool and they got to run in my sister's front yard and play hide and seek in the dark with their dad and uncle Doug. It really doesn't get much better.

45 year-old me

Monday...my birthday! We went to the zoo because a cool front finally blew through Dallas and the weather was perfect with a capital P. Met a sweet friend from preschool and had a fabulous morning!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

  • So many random thoughts.
  • I have an overwhelming urge to raise chickens in my back yard.
  • I do not want to eat them, but I do want to provide eggs for my friends and family.
  • I have a song about a monkey riding on a pig stuck in my head. Thank you, sister Becky and cousin Linda.
  • My oldest brother is coming to visit this weekend and my other brother next...from the Pacific Northwest...and I cannot seem to remember.
  • I am really glad that Glee is back on.
  • Monday is my 45th birthday. That is half way to 90.
  • I need to plan Claire and Finn's 2nd birthday party and am thinking a "trains and tutus" cake.
  • I want to write a book. Ha!
  • I am training for a 5K. Which surprises you more? That I want to write a book or that I've started running?
  • Or that I'm almost 45 and have two almost 2 year-olds?
  • I'm glad that the house is off the market but am thinking alot about putting it back on. I am a planner.
  • I like alot of the songs on Glee but I rarely know who really sings them. Billionaire?
  • I am really excited about my first pumpkin spice latte but wont have one until it's below 70 degrees. It's principle, people.

Thanks for the brain purge!

Monday, September 20, 2010

The Big O

I watched Food, Inc. recently and have had my eyes opened (even further) to how I want to feed my family. It might be a long time...and possibly forever, before I buy regular grocery store meat and poultry.

So, today I set off to the grocery store. I had three choices. Whole Foods, Central Market, or
Tom Thumb (Safeway.) Whole Foods is probably the most expensive and does well with organic but not so great with local produce. Central Market does an excellent job with high quality meat, fish and local produce, and kind of gives me the warmies to shop there, but it is impossible to buy paper towels that dont cost six dollars. So, Tom Thumb it was. Parking and shopping carts are also big factors for me. Whole Foods has great carts for two babies. It looks like a race car and they are at the top and back of the cart...right near me. And they are clean and new. Central Market has the second best option. The two seater, but it's the kind where the seat part takes up the entire back third of the cart and looks like a Six Flags ride. They sit up straight in a seat and are harnessed in. Again, though, they are closer to me and I know exactly what they are doing. Tom Thumb has some of the worst carts (but not THE worst). They are those awful car cart things, where I can put them in the pink-eye ridden car part, that sometimes has straps to secure them in but I can't see them and things are at eye level and within reach. So, I put them up in the traditional seat (where there is room for two) and if I am lucky enough to find a cart with buckles, I secure them in. Today I got the one with buckles...and the sticky, broken wheels. Pushing it around a corner usually took two or three tries and I got sympathetic looks from strangers. Better than hairy eye balls, I suppose.

We hit the aisles. I managed to only buy organic where I felt it mattered. Non-organic items included lemons (used only for grown up Tom Collins cocktails...no children are harmed in the squeezing of the lemons and hopefully the gin negates any pesticides), that Baby Bel soft swiss cheese that I love on sandwiches right now and I could find no options for, club soda (see Tom Collins), and sandwich bread (I did buy Orowheat which has no high fructose corn syrup). I did not buy any meat because they only carry organic chicken and it's kind of expensive on an otherwise pretty big shopping trip. Also, big advantage Central Market. I love their butchers and their meat. It just seems like it comes from a more trusted source and they make all their sausage in house. Have I mentioned how much I love that store?

So, my total was $100. With no diapers and no meat. Next time I'll try Central Market, spend the same amount and see how it stacks up.

Here's to not filling our families with pesticides,

Monday, September 13, 2010

The Real Cost of a Spork

So, Duncan came home early last week and said, "Mom, the lady in the cafeteria told me to tell you to put a spoon in my lunch or a nickel, because sporks cost five cents." The look on my face must have been telling, because he was like, "no, really."

Some background. Duncan attends a public elementary where approximately 88% of the kids qualify for free lunch (and breakfast!). As someone put it, he is the "rich kid". Note: I drive a used minivan, we live in a 1600 square foot home and most of our furniture is hand me downs. We do not even have a headboard. But, I am blessed and fortunate...just not rich. So, the whole incident just did not sit well with us. Almost everyone gets a free lunch, but our kid can't get a stupid plastic spork without shelling out a nickel. We grumbled and laughed about how Iain would storm into the lunchroom, throwing sporks about and making a fuss.

So, the following Monday, Iain sent an email to the "school liaison" asking her if this was indeed true (because you never know with a five year old) and she said yes. He also brought up the fact that he had offered to build the school a website and was basically told "talk to the hand." This is a poor school. It has poor parents. Free lunches. Not alot of resources. It seemed counter intuitive that they would turn down an opportunity to have someone build them a website, where they could put the school calendar, announcements, accomplishments, and contact information. Because right now? If you don't see it on the sign in front of the school, for which most of the alphabet is missing and they use a backwards 3 for an "E", then you have a hard time figuring it out.

At this point, the principal got involved and again expressed reticence over a website. Because as we all know, it's just a fad. Her emails got more and more terse and when Iain asked repeatedly for an email list for contacts at the school, and getting a few hand-picked names and addresses, she told him she does not give that to the "general public." Okay. So, this is what we are up against. And it's frustrating. I think we all tried to have a really good attitude about this school, and we certainly never say anything negative in front of Duncan. Perhaps this is part of being in the very large public school system. And Duncan's teary, weepy, sad -faced good byes are more about him being separated from us than from the school itself. But it's still hard and frustrating and I know that people are having happy experiences with kindergarten and kids that walk through the door without tears and not letting go of mom at this point.

So, we forge ahead, trying to build a good relationship with his teacher and planning to attend the first PTA meeting next Tuesday. Duncan seems to have made some real friendships already and is happy with his teacher. He likes going to the library (they go for two weeks, then rotate with gym, art, music and computers, I think) and eating lunch in the cafeteria. He likes Lila, Maurice, Melvin and Maya. He says good bye to everyone in the hallway in the afternoon. He even likes the janitor (who is very sweet and funny...I can see why.) So, there are bright spots but there are also some real frustrations for us as parents. I suppose it would be worse if it were the other way around.


Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Another week gone by

One of the things Duncan has struggled with in the past year is writing and coloring. He is a big motor skills kid. One of the things you must do in kindergarten is write and color! Whee! Last night his homework involved tracing his name four times, then writing it ten times. It was not as bad as I had feared, but we got it back today in his folder and she pointed out two things, mainly. One is the upper case A's in his name...they need to be lower case. The other is that I put his name on it, and he needs to do that. We are to have him practice writing his name. Oh, dread...thy name is penmanship practice.

This weeks highlights include:

  • Celebrating my mom's 84th birthday, with a home made lemon pie with coconut meringue. Oh yes, it is good. Lots of eggs, butter, lemon juice, sugar...delish. Strangely, it was almost too chilly to swim.
  • Tuesday is kind of a blur.
  • Church on Wednesday was thrilling in the "go to the basement there are tornadoes coming" kind of way.
  • Claire and Finn both had terrible colds all week and did not sleep well. Thus, neither did we.
  • A quick trip to Aunt Becky's and Granny's on Thursday and a "new" couch for Iain's office.
  • MOPS finally started again for me. Oh, glory day! I always walk away feeling refreshed and renewed even though I am co-coordinator this year and actually have to pray out loud in front of 90 women. It has been a while since I've done that! Probably best that my co-chair sprung it on my last minute today.
  • I am getting a new laptop! Big, big deal. Very excited. Thank you, honey!
So now it is Friday. All the children are asleep in their beds. The weekend is upon us, a birthday party, church, etc...hopefully a family visit or two. Swimming, perhaps? Cowboy football, certainly.

Signing off,