Saturday, March 28, 2015

Simple and sleek

So today was another busy day, but a successful one again. After two extra cruddy days at school, the boy's spirits were low, very low, and he needed some drops in his bucket for sure. Between hitting his head a combined two day total of at least 8 times, one of which required a call from his teacher, not getting any awards on awards day, having a classmate drink his milk AGAIN, overthinking his classwork and issues on the playground, he was done. So when we got up this morning to ready ourselves for his very first Pinewood Derby, I was worried. I told the hub that I just prayed he did at least kind of okay. Oftentimes this event can be one of frustration if parents get over involved and you find your child's car(that he did everything on except use the table saw) and someone else's car (with a hand carved spoiler and a paint and poly job worthy of display in the Louvre) up against each other and you worry. But the boy had a plan and he knew what he wanted. Thank God for a husband who is a wonderful carpenter and who was able to decipher the boy's rather phallic drawings into a paper design that got the boy's stamp of approval. He helped him use the tools that would cause amputation and instructed him in the proper way to trim down the size, add weight, paint it and add the wheels(and put the messy graphite on in the yard). It was one color, no stickers or embellishments. Just simple and sleek. Race time came and we found ourselves trying to get him to set his expectations low and be surprised if the outcome was different. Shame on us. The first race he ran? Second place. He was THRILLED. Each car got to run in four races in their den group so they could try out all four lanes. He hept being consistently second and sometimes first. How 'bout that? By the end, he was in the finals and wound up third place overall out of maybe 26 cars. Shame on me for worrying his car wasn't flashy or goopy enough. Shame on me. I will say he needs to name his next one. My two favorite names today were "Kermit" and the "Black Death". The boy his riding high on Derby success. It was wonderful to see. He is the cutest darn thing and loves being a scout!

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Friday, March 27, 2015

Coming out of the shadow

I would be lying if I said I wasn't a bit puffed up today. Today is one of those days that moms and dads replay in their minds over and over and never cease to get a little teary each time they do. Being a middle child is hard, so I hear. I am the youngest of two, so I have never felt it myself, but I have seen it with family and friends...and my own daughter. As the mom of three children, naturally I think they are all the tops and, like Beverly Goldberg, often have my mom goggles on with things they do...barely suppressing the raging desire to stand up and scream "That's MY baby!!!". G has lived in a unique position most of her life. She is the sister of an amazing big sister S and an equally amazing little brother, F. Through the years, she has been kind of, well, just G. Overlooked and in the shadow of her siblings. Not a new story to anyone and probably one of a million out there AND not the worst place one could be, sandwiched between two people who love her so very much. But she's ours and we think she's incredible. So when she had difficulties and was eventually diagnosed with dyslexia, she bucked up and took every bit of tutoring like a champ. Oftentimes there were weeks where the weekends were her only off evenings from tutoring. She sacrificed a lot to learn how to learn and read in a way that made sense to her beautifully wired brain. Through all of this, she remained quiet and refused to tell her friends, only her very closest one from birth knew. We let her know it was nothing to be ashamed of and her brain was wired to do incredible things that regular ones couldn't, but still she guarded her "secret" and we respected her wishes, though we shared with our friends and family from time to time. So as her fifth grade year began, we entered it with severe apprehensions and realized that this was her last year in a somewhat protective educational bubble before she was thrown to the hounds in middle school. As always we told her, "We don't care aout grades. Just as long as you do your best." So far, she has pulled straight A's all year. No, it's not about the grades, but those A's really pump up self esteem. Her teacher has not allowed her to give up or claim inadequacy in an area. She has forced her to work through and perservere. She has thrived. It has been exciting and scary to watch.

So, let me get to the meat and potatoes of today. Our school has an award/scholarship called "Hamilton's Heroes" that has the safety patrols write an essay on the six pillars of character diiscussed at school and how they use those in their lives and their jobs as safeties. The essays are then blind judged and scored on a Rubric. The winner gets their Patrol Trip to Washington DC paid for and their name goes on a plaque in the school hall. Today, after being in the shadows, G stepped out and accepted the award for being a Hamilton's Hero. The look of shock and pure joy on her face was devastatingly beautiful. Then suddenly I was filled with dread: she has to read her essay in front of her classmates. Her reading might halt; her dyslexia secret would be out to her friends. Shame on me. SHe held her head high and spoke out with every word. Sure she was nervous, but she allowed her classmates to hear about her life and her closely protected secret. It was wonderful. The little boy that she is in charge of getting to class every morning ran to her afterwards and hugged her so very tight and she hugged him right back. The teachers and principal commented about how good she was with him and how he listened to her instructions. That said it all to everyone watching.

All my children are heroes to me. Today I am proud that a great girl, often overlooked, received recognition and a prize that fit her to a tee. Love you, Grace the Ace.

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Thursday, March 26, 2015

Soggy soccer kids

The monsoons came this evening after a fairly lovely day. Shoulda, coulda, woulda, I know, but I should have mowed the lawn. Oh well, it will still be there...just a little bit longer. Thursdays are long nights at the fields since G is doing keeper training, which is an hour before the boy's practice which is an hour before G and S's regular practice. Confused yet? I am. Anyway, we got through keeper training and then, whabang, the rain came. It was cold and miserable, so we all fled to our cars. No, practice wasn't cancelled; we had to wait it out. About 5 minutes later, the coach started calling and I sent my girls out in pouring rain and wind to practice. Needless to say they were soaked and frozen an hour later. We cranked the heat and drove a steaming car home.

I am going to benadryl up and hopefully conk out soon. Night all.

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Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Ants and Allergies

I woke up this morning heavy headed and sounding like one of Marge Simpson's sisters. All the mucinex and allegra in the world did no good in battling any of the symptoms. I did manage to crash after school drop off this morning and catch a little nap. As I expected, it was a pretty big mistake and I walked around feeling as though my head had been filled with a bicycle pump full of lead. I staggered around the kitchen looking for effective meds and noticed that the counter seemed to be moving. I really didn't thing that the allegra was that strong, but maybe it was making me think the counter was moving. Nope, the counter was moving...with the spring breaking ants that had arrived to take over. They were vacationing on top of the apples and I saw a pack of them carrying a crumb of toast up the wall through a grout path. Thankfully the hub called our bug guy and he arrived later on in the afternoon. I must have looked rough because Kevin, our sweet bug guy, asked if I was okay. "You look upset!". I explained that I had allergy eyes and my day was much better now that he had come to send the vacationers packing.

The weather is beautiful, but I will gladly say "Adios" to the pollen and ants that come with it in the Spring. Night all.

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Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Little voices

Today in a meeting, we were charged with three questions and how, as Easter approaches, are we going to answer them. The one that really got to me was basically how are people going to perceive our organization or area of specialty based on how we present ourselves. How are people going to see Jesus in the way I act at work? Well okay. That is a great question. And on days like this, which was pretty crappy, I struggle. I was certainly not projecting a Christ-like face as I walked around with steam coming off the top of my head. The people who come into contact with me deserve to get my best self, whether I feel like doing it or not.

So here I was, walking with two of my three children(who were both angry bout one thing or another) and needing to let them blow off some steam. I took them into the playground, with a big frown on my face...probably talking to myself, and I heard two little voices yell, "Mrs. Jenny!!! Hey!!! Hey, Mrs. Jenny!!!". I looked up and saw two of my sweet little girls from church high up on the play structure waving enthusiastically down at me with big smiles on their faces. I wanted to run up there and hug them and crawl under the play structure all at the same time. Jenny Stormcloud walking onto the church playground, frowning and muttering like a psycho in front of two sweet little faces. While they did perk me up and make me smile, I learned a very valuable lesson. There's something to be said for faking it 'til you make it. While everyone is allowed a bad day here and there, we can't let that bleed over to those innocent ones around us. I am thankful for those two sweet little faces who taught me a valuable lesson. You never know who is watching and who might see you at your worst. But they also gave me a gift today...they showed me that I am doing something right. And I'll give them some good hugs the next time I see them. Night all.

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Monday, March 23, 2015

All I wanted was some gauze

I have determined that a certain crafting store with an "ETC" after its name must hire people from anger issues anonymous to cut people's cloth at the counter. They are the foulest bunch of people and not a smile among it makes me so sad. I really don't want to go in there, but when they are the only ones who have the exact fabric pattern I need, well, I'm kind of screwed. I have found a particular kind of really soft doll that I am interested in making. Not a creepy, big eyed psycho looking doll, but a sweet soft and plain doll that will be good for a young one to snuggle. The particular pattern requires "tubular gauze". So, silly me, I asked the angry cloth cutters where I might find that. "What in the world is that?!". I explained. "I don't think that is really a thing. Go get some gauze out of your first aid kit and make a doll out of that." "Go to the doll section...this is the cloth section." Uh, ouch, ladies. I will be looking online instead. I went to try and find the doll section, with no luck, and spoke to the customer service guy. He was bored with it being a "slow night" and all and make sure I knew about how the insole had gone out in his shoe(explained his limp) and how he needed to go to Wal-Mart tonight before it got "too crazy over there". Now I'm no looker, I get it. I let the childbearing years take control and every Monday and Thursday now I got to get a beating and try and fix some of that damage, but I think this guy was trying to bust a move. Here he is showing me creepy doll heads and eyes and asks if I like Wal-Mart and if I needed anything while he was there. "Uh, thanks so much, but I'm good." I kept looking around to see if anyone else was hearing this, but I could find no rescue friend. "It's always nice to have a woman's opinion on shoes and insoles and stuff like that." "Uhhhh. Sure. I'm sure you can find a nice lady there to help you...I've got to get on with my shopping. Thanks for your help." So, um, there's that. Maybe I'm reading it wrong. You tell me. I'll be online looking for gauze that angry cutters say is a figment of my I held the book with instructions up to show them. Didn't matter.

Night all. I'm leaving the bizarro world now.

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Sunday, March 22, 2015

Egged out

Today was the Easter Egg hunt for the little guys and gals at church. There were excited little hunters all around and excited parents readying their cameras. An Easter story was read to the children by a very patient parent, but I don't think many of the children were listening...they were focused on the eggs on the lawn. There were some who listened and made comments to the reader. After giving them the rules about staying out of the freshly mulched and planted flower beds, I gave them the go ahead and they were on their way. We had what seemed like a metric ton of eggs and not ahuge amount of children, but a loyal and enthusiastic group. Sure, Easter is not about the eggs and candy, we all know that. But these little ones know that God loves them and takes care of them. The candy is what it is...but their hearts know the real meaning. And that is what we all hope come out of these experiences.

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