Saturday, September 24, 2011

Sleep. Over.

 The "sleep"over crew:
 Yes, I bought matching pyjamas. What of it?
 They are 8 and  of course insisted on a silly picture! 
 Cake!
 Signature Sydney:
 She had several boyfriends, by the candle measure:
Of course glow sticks!

8. In pictures

The morning birthday portrait.
 Who me? Eight?
 At Red Robins for the official birthday dinner:
 Listening to Selena Gomez uploaded to iPod:   
WHO is going to the Selena Gomez concert????
Standing up and being serenaded (badly) by the good folks at Red Robin:
Is is just me, or does she look 13??
Ice cream.
That changes to chocolate. Because I am not the
kind of mother who allows her daughter TWO bowls
of ice cream just because she is 8.
Cinnamon buns, traditional birthday breakfast.
(Served a day late because the kids had no school on Friday
and Mommy did not have to get up as early to get it organized)
We all enjoyed!
Happy birthday Girlie Goo!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

If it's September ...

I should be reeling at accommodating the new schedule and trying to remember which kid has gym, music or library one which day.

I should be organizing Sydney's 8th birthday party, which is destined to be a sleepover with 5 giddy 8 year old girls. And two exhausted forty somethings.

I should be bracing for the back-to-back-to-back craziness that is our fall.

But, I am shopping for Halloween costumes.  And what am I spending all my waking hours doing?
How much will I have to pay Jackson to be Superman. Because that would be freakin' awesome.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Dear Me, In March

Dearest me from last March;

I know it will be a very great shock but any day now you will receive the list of school supplies for the next school year. In our day this could never have happened because it was be quite presumptuous to assume a person would pass to the next grade, when only one report card had been received.

Be that as it may, you will get the list of supplies with the kind offer of pre-ordering the supplies from a school supply business for an extortionate entirely reasonable rate if you at all value your own time running between stores and remembering to bring a tape measure to ensure it is a 7 inch scissor and not 6 or 8. 

You will find the list broken into two.  The "must buy" items are consumed each year, like paper, notebooks and a box of tissue.  I pause here to remark that this is the biggest rip off in elementary education as my son at least does not use tissue when he has a perfectly good sleeve on his shirt.  Anyway,  the second part of the list are items one might have. Scissors, dictionary, protractor.

You will cast your mind back to the very end of Jackson's kindergarten year. Of course you had already ordered the school supplies for the following year, but Jackson came home with a colourful goodie bag with a completely unused paint set, a pencil box full of pencils etc.  And then you realized the point of having the bifurcated list (I just Googled to make sure I used that word right -- I think I did). 

Every year since then you have dusted off your divining rod in spring to prognosticate for each kid:

A.  what supplies will come home at the end of the year; and
B.  what supplies you will still be able to find at the end of the summer.

I am here to tell you: just order the whole bloody list.

You are only saving a few dollars and finding the calculator in a box of old clothes after an exhaustive search of the basement is really a tough way to spend the first Tuesday after Labour Day.  You will be happy to know that you will find an old set of paints and will salvage it with only 30 minutes of cleaning it with toothpicks and a wet paper towel so one can ascertain the difference between yellow and red (versus 2 extra shades of orange).  You will find about 13 pairs of scissors but don't really know if the 'right' kind  for either class. You never will learn what "Kleenearth RECYCLED" scissors are. Or where to measure the 7 inches on a pair of scissors.

Oh and you won't need to order a new protractor as the one you paid for use in grade 4 comes home entirely unused.

From,

Me, In September

Back to School

Each year I treasure the back to school photos. Each year I have a challenge.  Last year the kids had shaggy heads as the back-to-school haircuts had yet to happen. Some years one or another of the kids don't cooperate and retakes are required.

This year, it was the sun:

I take the pictures the same time every year. I don't know if it was a spontaneous hope in the ozone, but the sun was extremely bright, and the resulting eyes, either bleary. Or closed.
Okay we may have had a small amount of non-cooperation on the fourth set of retakes.
 How in the world did they get so grown up?
Please note back to school outfits at the traditional lamp post pics:

Monday, September 5, 2011

The Annual Back-to-School Dinner

It was the third annual family back-to-school dinner tonight.  This event is held the night before school and has several traditions.

Tradition 1: we all eat in the same room.  As a measure of how much better off we are this year, we ate in the dining room. Last year we ate off the coffee table in the living room because the kitchen table was piled with art projects/ piles of mail / empty yogurt containers.  Full discloure requires me to tell you the dining room table is still a holding tank for a lot of stuff.

Tradition 2 is the most challenging, we eat a meal we ALL like.  Some of us have what you would call narrow food preferences. Owing to  Husband being away for 4 days and only just arriving home, we ordered in. Pizza and wings.

Tradition 3: We (ghost written by me) write the kids a letter telling them what we were proud of last year, what they have to look forward to this year and a family goal.   


Tradition 4: Heartfelt good wishes all around for a great school year!

Guess What We Did This Weekend?

Four Days. Three Nights. Just bored kids, desperate for routine, acclimated to late nights and flexible meals. One mother tired, not quite herself and plum out of ideas for new things to do.

Enter: chess.
Jackson read the rules a few weeks ago, and brought down the board
and asked for a game.
 Not to be outdone, Sydney wanted to learn.  Jackson insisted on teaching her.
But his style of teaching was speaking very loudly, repeating himself a lot and
being a little too gleeful that he knows something he doesn't.
So she watched us for a game and then she knew:
Then finally tete-a-tete:

The Myth of Summer Vacation

Every year I make the same mistake.  In June, I look at the calendar and note the "first day back to school".  This year it is September 6th.  All summer, I long for September 6th.  Oh, it is not all torture.  We enjoy some fun times, some holidays, some bike rides.

But in the back of my mind is September 6th. That is when the routine starts.  They kids are someone else's responsibility.  We will have made it through another summer.

Then somewhere around September 4th or 5th, it dawns on me:  the kids go to school for 30 minutes on September 6th.  I take the day off so I can take the back-to-school pictures.  So at approximately 9:10, the kids will be dismissed from the custody of the the Ministry of Education, and released into my care once again.

And given the fact that they have been in my sole custody all weekend; and the fact that it is 10:08 on September 5th and we have a breakfast embargo (because no one is willing to get the bread from the freezer in the basement, the one chore I ask of them regularly);  and we have a two hour drive ahead of us to pick up Husband from the airport (one hour each way); I am not sure how that is going to go.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Big. Bang. Theory.

Husband and I are big fans of the Big Bang Theory.  For those that know us and the show, it's a good fit.  We were both part of the geek class in high school.  Since I just spent the afternoon playing Scrabble online, one might fairly postulate I am still in the geek class.

Anyway, the kids perhaps know they are destined for geekdom and have taken a fancy to the show.  So we watch occasionally. Usually I prescreen the episodes to make sure they were appropriate.  But tonight I thought we would watch the first few episodes of the series.  I remembered that the boys were at the height of their geekiness and I reasoned that there would be no talk of sex, or pillow talk or inappropriate language.

I guess I knew I was in trouble within 10 seconds when the Sheldon and Leonard walked into a sperm donation clinic for geniuses.  At this point, I could turn off the TV and deal with a geyser of hostility and disappointment. Or I could roll the dice and and hope that they didn't ask what a sperm donor is.

I opted for the latter.

The scene was over and I thought my plan had worked.   Then Jackson said "wait, what were they doing there?"

"It's a place where geniuses can go."

"To do what?"

"To donate some DNA."

"Why?"

"Well, to make genius babies, I guess."

"But what kind of DNA?"

"Well, you know DNA."

"Mommy, what kind of DNA?"

"The kind that makes babies."

"Oh."

Dodged that bullet.

Then the next line came: "today we tried masturbating for money".

"Mommy, I don't understand what he just said."

The Bickersons.

Her: Jackson, will you play a game with me?
Him: Um, not right now.
Her: MOMMY JACKSON WON'T PLAY WITH ME!!!!

[10 minutes later]

Him: Sydney, will you play a game with me?
Her: No.
Him: Why not?
Her: Because you didn't want to play when I asked.
Him: MOMMY SYDNEY WON'T PLAY WITH ME!!!!

[10 minutes later]

Him: Now will you play a game with me?
Her: Okay let's play that game we played that time.
Him: What game?
Her: You know? That time? We played the game? It was so fun!
Him: Huh?
Her: MOMMY JACKSON SAID HE'D PLAY A GAME WITH ME NOW HE WON'T PLAY A GAME WITH ME AND HE PROMISED!!!!

[10 minutes later]

Her: Now will you play a game with me?
Him: I said I would 10 minutes ago.
Her: What do you want to play?
Him: How about on the Wii?
Her: Okay.
Him: Let's play MarioKart?
Her: Let's play WiiFit?
Him: MOMMY SYDNEY SAID SHE'D PLAY Wii WITH ME AND NOW SHE WON'T AGREE TO PLAY MARIOKART AND IT'S MY TURN TO PICK, LAST TIME SHE PICKED. IT'S NOT FAIR IF SHE ALWAYS GETS TO PICK THE GAMES!!!!

[10 minutes later]

Her: Okay, we're agreed, we'll play spies?
Him: Sure.
Her: Okay, let's pretend we are spying on Mommy!
Him: No, let's pretend we're looking for the bad spies, and Finny can be our spy-dog.
Her: No, let's spy on Mommy!
Him: Spy dog!
HER & HIM: MOMMY, WE AGRED TO PLAY SPIES AND NOW S/HE WON'T PLAY THE WAY I WANT TO!!!

I guess I should not be surprised.   I knew they were programmed to push each other's buttons.  Quite literally in this video, November 2004. Ages 3 and 14 months:

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Coping Strategy

Husband is away this weekend. So it's me.  
  And these two: 
Oh and this one, who is clearly in need of a walk:
In an effort to multitask, the kids rode bikes, and I walked ran in my sandals as best I could after them.
It was clear who was always lagging behind:
Rest break: 
And finally for Mommy, three beings too tired to fight taking pictures.
This one might end up on the Christmas card: