Monday, August 27, 2012

First Day of School, Part I

The Proud Kindergartener

And his equally excited sister, marking the day in style

Finn won't be riding the bus, so no "getting on the bus" photo for us. You'll have to settle for a side view of his new backpack (which apparently was a hot commodity at Target this year, as at least a couple other kids have the same one. Wonder how many times Finn will accidentally come home with the wrong one...)
So, the first day of school is over. I am exhausted  and stressed out and feeling more than a little frazzled (what, this isn't all about ME?) - I'm hoping this gets easier as we settle in to a new normal. I think a lot of my reaction is due to an unrelenting, high pressure workload lately, and my own sense of mom guilt (YOU GUYS. Dropping Finn off at his new before-school program was THE HARDEST THING.). But Finn, he seems to be doing pretty well. He was a little uncertain as we approached the school (he admitted he was "a little scared"), and he asked us if we could stay with him at the before-school program. He didn't cry when we left, though, and the information we've been able to drag out of him has been mainly positive. Except for the one kid that apparently called him "weird" during the practice fire drill his class had today. Why one kindergartener would feel the need to call another kindergartener he had just met "weird" is a mystery to me. But Finn can't even remember if he said anything back in response, so hopefully this was a mere blip that didn't bother him too much. Well, other than the fact that it bothered him enough to tell me as we were walking out of the school this afternoon. And that he made sure I mentioned it to my mom when she called to see how Finn's day had gone.

It's good Finn knows nobody's name yet, or else this child would have just made a Momemy (Mom Enemy - do you think that might catch on?) for life. Weird. I'll show YOU weird, you MEANIE.

But really, mostly a good report. Now I have to go take myself off and sign paperwork and fill out emergency contact information in triplicate (I could expound on the torture that is filling out emergency contact information when one lives far away from EVERYONE, but I won't). And drink this glass of wine next to me.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

A First and a Last

Friday marked Finn's very last day of daycare. I didn't get choked up the way I thought I might - perhaps because I'll still be coming back every day to bring Lucy. And Finn - well, all he could think about was how excited he is to start Kindergarten - I had to prompt him several times to "SAY GOODBYE" and "LOOK, THESE PEOPLE HAVE CARED FOR YOU FOR THREE+ YEARS, COULD YOU PLEASE JUST GIVE SOMEONE A HUG?!" But I wasn't really upset - his excitement for Monday is gratifying, especially when I saw one little girl start sobbing at the prospect of lining up in front of the classroom door to go inside the school during Friday's Open House. Even though her mom was RIGHT THERE, and had no intention of leaving. I think several kids are going to have a tough Monday, but I'm pretty confident that my little guy is going to bound right into the school. It helps that Finn's teacher is one of the two that ran his earlier JumpStart program, so he already knows her pretty well. Also, his favorite little friend from JumpStart has been placed in the same class, so he already has at least one friend.

I do think that once Finn truly realizes that he won't be seeing the handful of really good daycare friends he's made over the years every day, he will get a little sad. But that aspect of Kindergarten hasn't really sunk in yet.

How about a little "before and after?" Not the hardwood floor photos I owe you (I have them! They will be posted!), but photos of Finn:

On his very first day of daycare, December 18, 2006:

And here he is on his very last day of daycare, August 24, 2012:

I will restrain myself from gushing about those eyes! Those cute cheeks! Can you believe that little teeny baby grew into this energetic, fun, funny, smart boy?!? Of course, that's what's SUPPOSED to happen, I KNOW that. Well done, nature. You've done a great job so far with this whole "growing up" thing.
So those pictures mark a "first" and "last" for Finn (and you can bet that the traditional "first day of school" photo will be shared here, too, once it has been captured). Now here is a photo of a "first" for Lucy:
Her first dance class!:
Sorry for the not-so-great pictures - Lucy was NOT in the mood to pose prior to heading out to her lesson. And I couldn't get any photos of her during class, as parents aren't allowed in the studio - we all sit out in the lobby and watch what is going on in the studio via a video monitor.
Lucy's class covers both ballet and tap. Is it ridiculous to buy tap shoes for a three-year-old? Maybe. But my heart is not-so-secretly thrilled that Lu is developing a love of dance - I took lessons for about 10 years LONG, long ago, and have fond memories of jetes and changemonts and pirouettes and shuffle-ball-changes... (and I'm sure I just spelled most of that wrong). Anyway, you get the picture. I think she looks adorable, and I am glad that we finally have a chance to concentrate on doing something that LUCY wants to do. Usually she just gets signed up for whatever activity Finn wants to do or, even worse, she just schleps around with us and watches Finn do an activity on his own.
You can get a sense in some of those pictures of how the hardwood floors turned out, but I will be back with a proper before and after post once we are done with Phase II of the project (did I mention there is a Phase II?), in which new tile is being installed on the kitchen floor. Which SHOULD be this week (I fervently hope, as currently my pantry is spread out over several chairs in the dining room, which doesn't exactly facilitate quick meal preparation. Not to mention the thick layer of dust coating all surfaces everywhere).
But first, I need to get myself to bed so I can be well rested for the parental heartbreak I am about to experience tomorrow. KINDERGARTEN - THIS IS NOT POSSIBLE, RIGHT?

Monday, August 20, 2012

You Should Get An M., Too

Why do hotels go to the effort of putting huge flat screen TVs in each guest room, and then offer only a measly selection of low-definition channels to choose from? I was almost forced to watch a rerun of Two Broke Girls until I stumbled upon HGTV - it was not listed in the hotel room channel guide, so I can only assume that some higher being saw my need and came to my rescue. A frosty glass of rose (imagine an accent on the e, since I can't figure out how to put one there) can help with a lot of things, but not even that can make an episode of Two Broke Girls palatable.

So clearly, I'm in a hotel right now. Again. It's my fifth night alone in a hotel room over the last 9 days, and while I do treasure the occasional night away, I've way exceeded that limit. Thankfully, I drive home tomorrow (I'm not TOO far away), and then I'm done with work travel for a couple of months.

While I'm away from home, M. is overseeing the transition of this:

My living room
into something that will hopefully look more like this:

Not my living room (source)
See the piles and piles of boxes in the first picture up there? During my trip last week, M. rented a truck, picked them up, and then carried them all one by one into the house. He hauled over 1500 pounds of materials all by himself. Now he's home alone again, handling emergency installation questions and decisions on the fly. Like the one where the workers had to change plans and lay some of the flooring on top of CARDBOARD (the same cardboard that the wood planks came in) because our subfloor was way too low in one part of the space. CARDBOARD. When the workers pulled up the carpet, it was discovered that some of the joists have sunk, and it was being masked by extra padding under our wall-to-wall carpeting. M. had to decide, once the carpet was already up, whether to stop the installation completely and put new carpet back down, to stop it and get a new subfloor installed ($$$), or go with... cardboard. Then, once he chose the cardboard option, sign a waiver saying that it's not the company's fault if we aren't happy with the installation.

If I was the one home, I probably would have panicked. Thank goodness he is the one that handled it instead. Love you, honey!

I'm not completely confident that I'll be walking into a house with fully installed, gorgeous hardwood floors tomorrow evening, but I'm HOPEFUL. It's too late to turn back now!

In other news, Finn starts Kindergarten a week from today. I have no idea if we are ready, but Finn clearly is. He is done, done, done with daycare, and excited to start at his new school. Friday we have an orientation for parents at the school, and then it's off to the races! Should be interesting to see how we adjust to a new daily routine - ALL of us.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Some Nights

I feel like I could post something ranty about how difficult it is to be a parent tonight. About how kids kind of suck, and working full time while parenting kind of sucks. About how each night feels like a sprint, and I'm not sure where the finish line is. About how my jaw has started hurting, because I've taken up clenching my teeth, I guess out of stress.

But I think it would lead to a lot of unwarranted navel-gazing. About my struggle with whether our family is truly fulfilled in this life that we have established - the go-go-go of EVERYTHING, the inability to take a deep breath, and throw schedules to the wind. I worry that I am letting the most precious years with my kids slip by in a haze of "No" and "We don't have time" and "But tomorrow is a SCHOOL DAY."

So let's not do that. Instead, let's talk about some things I'm enjoying, that I think you should enjoy too.

1) Perhaps you have hear the song "We Are Young" by fun.? Those of you that watch Glee will recognize it, at least. A great song that is currently getting plenty of radio play. But I urge you to check out fun.'s EVEN AWESOMER song "Some Nights" (ignore the somewhat cheesy video). You will not regret it, I promise. I guarantee you (and your kids) will not be able to sit still during it:

2) I just tried this recipe that I found on Pinterest, from the Kitchn, called "Roasted Eggplant Salad with Smoked Almonds and Goat Cheese." I didn't bother trying to serve it to the kids, but M. and I loved it. Not a low-cal recipe (calls for 1/3 cup of olive oil, for example - which, BTW, I reduced to less than 1/4 cup with no ill effects), but SO GOOD. Try it.

3) Yellow and Gray. My new favorite color combination. We renovated (a little) our half bathroom, painting it gray, with yellow accents (I hope to properly detail the process and outcome in its own blog post, one of these days). And I just bought this bedroom set during a Kohl's Flash Sale:

And now I'm on a "redecorating the master bedroom" kick, internet window-shopping for lamps and accent chairs and ways to refinish our crappy bedroom furniture. I'm thinking of bringing some teal in as a third color, and maybe some coral, too. Call me crazy.

4) Wine. Always helps after a long day. Too bad I don't have any in the house tonight :-(. Must fix that tomorrow.