Thursday, May 22, 2008

God Help Us

The kids are in Aqua Tots swim lessons this week and next. The company worked with Johnson Ranch so I only have to go to my community pool. :) I even got a little discount. I LOVE that it's just Caidgen and Ami in the class. Caidgen's doing fantastic. After the first lesson on Monday he said in his prayer that night, "Thank you that I wasn't scared at lessons." We anticipated fear, but Cage was happily very comfortable with the teacher and all that he was asked to do.
NOW - Ami is another person all together. She HATES it. She is terrified of putting her face under water. This year is no better than last. The near drowning memory is there and she's not messing around... yesterday I almost pulled her out because of her crying fit. I've never seen her so upset. I told her before the class to tell the teacher her feelings and tell him not to force her head under. She was awesome at communicating but the poor guy didn't understand a word she said through the hyperventilating. I interpreted a few times, but I try to stay out of it. We got him to warn her better with a big 1-2-3, but she still cried the whole way through. It was all magnified because we were the ONLY ones at the pool besides the JR HOA Rep. There was no sound to muffle Ami's screams... (a HUGE dust storm was going on so no one but us crazies hit the water). This is so hard for me. But I need her her know how to swim so she never has another incident. There are just too many pools in AZ. I don't want to have to worry when she's at a friend's house. So I bought her a toy afterwards and if I need to every day to keep her trying I will! Whatever it takes!

Awards Day at school

This is why I haven't been doing much on the computer - busy times at the end of the year!!! Caidgen had his classroom awards day last week. He got an award for "Creativity and Cleverness." Isn't that funny? His teacher said she thinks she will see his stuff in an art museum someday. Only two kids in the class got two awards and, yes, I am bragging that Caidgen was one of them. He also won Artist of the Year from the Art teacher! That's a big deal for a kindergartner. We are so glad that his school has seen and helped developed this love in Caidgen. We would have never my kid had a BLAST at As You Wish and said it was the best day of his life....So he brings home finger paintings with's all normal little one behavior we thought. It was the words "still life" and "Picasso" and "Mona Lisa" coming out of his mouth that made me think he was paying more attention than the other kids in class... and then his art teacher told me he's really gifted. So did his teacher and the aide. Who knew. Blue's done amazing at embracing it. I worried at first about telling him since his family are sports Nazis. But Blue said if he's got a gift, let's go with it. :) He's a good daddy.

A busy Saturday...

Ami had her last "practice recital." The big show is in June. She knows one of the dances really well and the other - not so much. Or so I thought!

What a ham. As soon as it's showtime the girl just shines. There are a few girls that really know their stuff, but all I could see in the performance was Ami's big exaggerated movements and her flashy smile. She did every move - moves that she never does in practice. Go girl!!!

I was really thankful that my mom and the new "Grandpa Ross" took their whole day to come to Ami's recital and Caidgen's last game.

This past Saturday...

It was the HOTTEST game of the season too - and only at 10:30 in the morning! I don't think the kids noticed...
Caidgen's last game! We were actually so sad that it was over since this year was SO much better than last. Caidgen did better and had more fun. We really liked the players and the parents. And I really liked my chair with the umbrella!!!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Cussing in the school parking lot...

Yes Satan...I'm here....

Caidgen's school has a small parking lot. Some parents (like me) park and walk to get their kids and others wait in a single file line of cars to get their kids curbside. Yesterday, I had a little episode in this parking lot. When we were all buckled and ready to leave (Caidgen in the front seat as a treat), I realized that it was going to be a tight squeeze getting out. A HUGE long bed truck had parked right next to me so I had to pull way forward before I could turn right to get out. As I was inching out of the parking spot the pick up line moved and another big truck drove right in front of me and stopped. So I was pretty much stuck between the two trucks at an angle. A nice lady in a car behind this truck waited to pull forward in an attempt to let me out but the truck kinda ruined that effort. So I inched forward and then reversed the car to get out.
Here's the fun part. Mr. Truck lover in front of me gets out of his truck and stomps over to his right bumper, bends over and STROKES it - you know, making SURE I didn't hit it or something. Like he wouldn't have felt it. Or like I'd have hit it and just did nothing. I rolled down my window and in my little girl voice reassured him, " I didn't hit your truck."
"You came pretty damn close enough!" He yelled at me. Oh no he didn't!!!!
I told him I was sorry if I scared him but I was not going to hit his truck. He yelled at me again. Now I was getting pissed. Come on! I'm a woman and my little kindergartner is WATCHING this man yell at me. And for what?
"This is a small parking lot and I am just trying to get out," I said.
"Why don't you go the other way" He yelled, pointing toward the gap the lady had made for me. The thing is, all cars at Caid's school have to go the same direction - all go out to the right so there are no head-ons because it's so small. We all know this. There are signs and this is the end of the year...
"Because I Can"t go that way," I tell the man, starting to get annoyed that I'm explaining something I am sure he knows.
"WELL, DON'T HIT MY TRUCK!" He yelled one more time before heading back around to his drivers side. At this point I noticed his Christian cross vinyl sticker...
"That's a nice cross sticker you got there," I called out.
"What'd you say?" He yelled back (his truck is so stinkin' tall I can't even see more than his messy hair at this point).
"I said, why don't you take the cross off your truck, Asshole!" I yelled!
He said nothing.
I drove away, because, though it was a tight squeeze there was enough room to safely get out.
I was so mad. And ashamed that I said that with my kids in the car.
"Men and their trucks," I muttered. "Some men care more about their stupid trucks than about being nice."
Caidgen says, all sincere like he really wants to know, "Why didn't you call him a STUPID asshole then?" That's right, he just dropped that bomb.
"Well, that wasn't going to make it any better now was it?" I whispered...
By the time I got home I was bawling. I couldn't stop. My dog and kids were all over me. Poor Ami had no idea what was going on...I just told her I don't like when men yell at me.
The sad thing is, the guy had a ton of room to pull forward and if he had I would have been long gone. The long bed too, that was next to me, the man was sitting in his truck the whole time and could have pulled forward...
Of course, I could've just sat there and waited too. I NEVER thought I would encounter wife beater daddy at Caidgen's Christian dominated school.
Two things have stuck with me - one, that I feel for his poor kids and wife, because to do that at your kid's school you must have one strong temper - and Two, it felt really good to yell at him at the end there after my little nice girl act didn't fly. That's so not good! But I'm not even close to being perfect and that's precisely why I don't advertise my Christianity on my car for the world to see!

Monday, May 12, 2008

Amie Graduated Preschool May 7, 08

It was so fun! Never more than 6 kids in the class that was 2 days a week. Amie learned so much. There was never a day that she didn't look forward to preschool. But, all school years end and last Wed the 7th was her official last day of preschool.

Since the last week of preschool was taught at my house the "ceremony" fell to me. It was more like, I felt we had to do something so we threw it together with 1 days practice. I had the girls make their own books with a thank you to the moms on the front. Inside were some of the things they learned this year. It was a lot of work for 1 day! The poor girls just wanted to play... but we rushed that and then did a practice ceremony with the Pledge of allegiance and a few songs that showed their alphabet and numbers knowledge. Then they presented their moms with the books (Amie and I pretended I was surprised to get hers). Then we headed to the park for the party. A big thanks to Abby's mom for the pink cupcakes. :)

the coolest part - Caidgen and Blue both got to be there! Blue just switched to 10 hour shifts and he has Wednesdays off so he got to see his little girl perform. And there was a HUGE incinerating car accident right in front of caidgen's school the night before and his school was closed wed. What are the chances? It was the only school closure all year and it happened to be on Blue's day home. It was like a Saturday for us!

So I took Caidgen to the park with us. This is him running beside the car ---he insisted on running! I think it's so funny!

Mother's Day

***This is my journal entry, so if you're not interested in the whole thing, no worries!

May 11, 2008
Being married to Blue means I can always expect a great mother’s day. It makes me a little uncomfortable even, all the attention. But I woke up to an empty bed and the smell of some major cooking so I knew it was coming. Just as I started to descend the stairs I heard Blue tell the kids, “It’s all ready now. Caidgen, you take that. Amie, you get that. Caidgen, it’s your job to make sure the dog stays downstairs. Okay, come on…” I tippy toed back into bed to fake a surprise. Come on! I’m terrible with these situations! There is nothing of fakeness in me. But I tried for the kid’s sake to act surprised when they open the door squealing, “Happy Mother’s Day!”
Blue did surprise me this time, actually. A real bed tray. New dishes holding the spread of a wonderful breakfast. Even his egg concoction was new. I love that there is always a New Orleans flare to his cooking. I loved the OJ – a simple and predictable breakfast juice, but for people with low blood sugar it’s like nectar from the gods. I loved the moist muffin and the fresh berry mix. I loved that the rose was huge and had babies breath with it ( I meant to put some in Amie’s hair for church but forgot). What I love the most is how happy the kids are to give gifts. They are typical children who would get a new toy every day if I let them, but I catch moments of their generosity and feel in those times that we are raising them right.
For example, Amie thought I didn’t get any real gifts because in my gorgeous bag were 3 small gift certificates. THREE? A little much, Blue, don’t you think? I got a spa pedi, a facial and a pregnancy massage – all within minutes of my house. And as if that was just not enough he assured me he would give me tip money and meet me for lunch on that day. It really embarrasses me. But after 7 years I am getting that he dreams even bigger than he can give and it’s just not going to change. That’s off the subject though… So I was thrilled with everything but Amie was a little worried. Never mind that she was there when all the certificates were purchased and Blue explained what they were for. She HAD to go get me a cute pillow. “Here, Mommy, since you didn’t get any presents in your bag.” She tucked it behind my head. Then she HAD to get me a teddy bear and a two-textured blanket. After snuggling up with me she explained how the satin side is for me to rub when I’m hot (she’s hot blooded like her dad, just trying to survive in this desert).
All this hoopla got Caidgen a little worried and before too long I had another bear wrapped in a special blanket (Caidgen PINNED his bear to the blanket so it would stay wrapped nicely for me). I love seeing the uniqueness of the kids come through in their giving. Isn’t that perfect? The Lord wants us all to give and serve others but he makes us unique and we should give/serve in ways that are natural to us.
So today was nice. Blue covered the house stuff – well, he tried, but it’s hard when you’re not home! We had church and then went straight to his Mom’s for dinner. He felt bad that I couldn’t “lounge around all day,” but I was happy to see Cathy and hopefully express our love to her. And I was happily surprised to see Laura’s family too. Tylie was precious and happy all night. Butch even made me smile by cooking for us. This was a rare moment for him and everyone gushed about it. Grandma hakes even stayed a while with us and I was grateful that with her huge family she made time for us. Excellent food and company.
I want to remember too, how much I enjoyed teaching my lesson. I veered from the manual and did the whole thing on mothers. That’s one thing I bring with me from my Protestant days. Holidays were really recognized at church and I haven’t really experienced that here. So while the kids may have been just heartbroken not to learn about “I’m Thankful for My Hands,” they heard all about how the Lord loves Mothers and loves them by giving them mothers. I really felt the Spirit. Caidgen helped me plan the crafts and I could tell he really wanted to come. Since there were a lot of markers and glue and paint and stamping I thought he could be a great little helper to Tracy and I… so in he came. I hope Tracy wasn’t overwhelmed with the mess potential! We kept it really calm and I even had foamy soap ready to go.
I’m so proud of Blue for taking his teaching job seriously. He has a real problem boy and 12 other rambunctious 11 and 12 year olds to connect with. All I have heard about the “problem child” is basically gossip…scary gossip. After his 1st time with him, Blue came home and said, “I think I know how to reach him.” I knew right then that it was going to be a good year for both Blue and this kid. That’s what makes a good teacher – watching the unique quirks of a child and learning how to connect. I was so proud of Blue because in my eyes it’s a mark of compassion and strength to help and not just complain about hard personalities.
It’s been a month since that day. Today the boy told Blue, “You’re the best teacher I’ve ever had.” He also left his comic books at home today – Blue and I and I’m sure the boy too all know that this is a big step forward. It makes me smile to remember and write about it.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Look what the Chinese Invented!

Last Friday was multicultural day at cage's school. His teacher and I picked China as the country to host... I wanted to do a table since I'm the class mom and Mrs. D was really stressing out about it. Of course I didn't plan for my whole family to have a week of the stomach flu and me to get the nausea of it ON Friday, and of course I also overlooked that my mother was getting married the NEXT day! Blue helped me throw toilet paper (that's right - they invented it), a wheelbarrow, a rocket (Cage was so proud to show his buddies his rocket), matches, compasses, a kite and other silly inventions in a bag and I dragged myself to his class before school started. I'm proud to say our little kindergarten room kicked butt on all the others! We have great moms. The kids all got passports and had to go room to room and do an activity in each room in order to get a stamp. Amie was so bummed I couldn't lead a group...but I was seriously needing a bed. My only regret is that a boy was mean to Ami and I didn't kick his little &$$ can see her sitting with the kids. Well, she loves to be big in Cage's class and we are there so much that the teacher lets her. She found a spot at the front of the group and a boy yelled at her rudely (as kindys do), "YOU can't sit there!" I quickly helped her to another spot rather than reprimand the boy since she's not in his class....But in all the bustle I didn't notice that Ami stopped bustling. She didn't speak until we left. She was so hurt. I overlooked it since she is not one to usually care what people say. But now I wish I had told him to speak kindly and had him say it over in a nicer way. That or pushed him down and called him names! I told Ami that and she was all better. :)

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

"I'm not smart at school..."

Albert Einstein - couldn't speak until he was 4, couldn't read until he was 7, and was advised to drop out of grade school

Winston Churchill - failed the 6th grade

Lucille Ball - was dismissed from drama school for being quiet and shy

Henry Ford - barely squeaked through high school

Isaac Newton - did poorly in math

Ludwig van Beethoven - was once told by his music teacher, "as a composer, he is hopeless."

Friday, May 2, 2008

AFTER Field Day

So my Friend Barbara and I took the kids to the Olive Mill after Field Day for lunch. I feel so lucky to have this amazing Italian Restaurant so close. There are beautiful fields and stone tables with umbrellas to eat under. We can sit and enjoy the breeze while the kids run and play in Olive trees. It beats McDonalds any day. A definite benefit of living in QC.
But this was the first day there was irrigation in the fields. Barbara and I both agree that it's okay for our kids to get their feet wet...what we didn't know was that under this huge tree they were playing under was at least an 8 foot circumference of deep muddy water...
Caidgen - the boy of the group of course found the mud and began to throw it at the kids. I looked up from my pasta salad to glimpse little Ami's white shirt suddenly brown spotted...I sprang into action but it was far too late. In the end all we could do was laugh and hunt in vain for Amie's flip flop that was drowned in the mud. We snuck our kids out through a back way so none of the hoity toitys would see them. Blue says he did such things a lot growing up. I'm glad I can give that to the kids even though we don't live on a lot of land!

Field Day April 25

Field Day at Caid's school! Blue loves to run with Caidgen so he was really bummed that he couldn't go. He told Caidgen this so Caidgen insisted that I video tape it so he could show his dad. "Dad really wants to see me, Mom. You better bring the camera." It was all serious business with him. He did a lot more than run though - chicken tosses and cherry pickers and relay races... all kinds of stuff. It was really fun. And at the assembly at the end of the day, Caidgen ended up with a 2nd place ribbon. :) It means a lot. Point of example - today he was back at school after a week of stomach flu. I picked him up and he said, "I'm sure glad I got 2nd place. That's really good."
"What do you mean, Caidgen?"
"Well, I was really tired today and I remembered that I had to run really hard to get second place so I didn't slow down today."
wow. That was more than I ever expected him to take from the little Field Day ribbon.