Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Spring Time = Birthday Time

Jack turned 6 this week. It is crazy for me to think that it has been six years since this little man came into our lives. It is also crazy to think that in those six years we have added 2 more boys to our family.  I still remember getting ready to go to the hospital to have Jack and thinking, "Nope, I changed my mind, I don't want to do this." Not the baby, but the actual labor/delivery. Scared out of my mind.  But 8 hours later, Jack was born and I was thrilled. Thrilled that he was a boy, and that he was born on March 27th, the same day as his Great-Uncle Jack.  It was the best Easter ever. Except that I did miss my ham and scalloped potatoes. Oh well.

If you recall, birthdays have been tough for Jack. When he turned 4, I was sure I had a great day planned for him. But it wasn't so, by the time we got to his birthday dinner we were hardly on speaking terms.  Then last year his birthday was on Saturday and we spent all day getting ready for his family party. Forcing him into his clothes was a very traumatic experience and set him up for a very unhappy birthday party. Remember this, he spent the whole time under my chair.

This year he asked for 2 girls from school to come home for his birthday lunch. I was a little worried about the dynamics of the 2 girls and 2 boys, but they were great. Aside from the absolute crazy, excited running around yelling, all was good. Then on his actual birthday we spent time as a family of 5. No big party, no set agenda, just time to be together with Jack.

He said this was "The best day ever".  Makes my heart melt.

 Jack, Grace, & Eleanor

 So scary

 His presents: a mouse and a grabber. 

 Jack's birthday breakfast: Monkey Bread

 His morning present: a fleece
Soft like his blanket, but unlike his blanket, he can wear it!

 Um, no kiss please.

 Boom Noodle for calamari and soup

 Chocolate-chocolate cupcakes, some with vanilla frosting because mom hates chocolate

 Micah defending Jack while he opens his presents.
Must keep the baby away.

The brownie says it all.

Friday, March 18, 2011

"That's Why You Are Not a Good Driver"

That's what he said. My soon to be six year old son, that is.  This statement occurred after we had a discussion on what a terrible driver I am. It also happened right after I drove over the curb, again.

The night before I had been driving with the boys to dinner when I saw a bicyclist ride over the curb. He looked for a minute like he might fall, before recovering and pedaling on. I kind of laughed out loud and described the incident to my boys.  Micah was very quick to point out that I do that frequently. Jack was quick to make the statement: "You are not a good driver, Mom."

I was about to argue and raise the sexist flag up high, when I realized he was right. I am not a good driver. In fact, I may be a pretty terrible driver.  For anyone who has ever ridden with me, I am sure you would agree.

This year I have been in zero accidents. Awesome! Except that it is only March, we are just 3 months into the new year. Last year I had 2 accidents almost back to back. The first one was a rear-ending, and it was not my fault! Except that we were in traffic and I was on my cell phone, but since the other driver hit me, I was able to claim innocence. The second accident was not as clear cut and also involved a very scary man who tried to have me sign a hand written note stating my guilt.  Luckily, a kind man came out of the store as a witness and we were able to share insurance information and move on.

Before last year I was doing really well. No speeding tickets or accidents in several YEARS. It was very exciting. I think our insurance was almost ready to go down.  You see, for a while there I was having a rough go of it.  When we were still dating I was in two accidents within a short period of time. We became quite familiar with hunting for a used car within a matter of days and collecting the insurance checks for 'totaled' vehicles.  Of course, there was also the infamous mistake of not using my parking brake in the Hill Hall parking lot.  Still remember standing in the line at Gwinn with Brandon and having a friend come up and say, "Your car rolled down the hill and hit Key's car."  The fully restored mustang?  The nicest car in the parking lot?  Yep, that would be the one.

As a teenager I drove the biggest car imaginable. We bought it because we could seat 7 people in it, as long as 2 shared a seatbelt.  It was big, but fast. I commuted to work on back country roads and spent a large part of my time trying to cut the 30 minute drive in half. I did pretty well at it, except when attempting to make a 90 degree right angle turn.  The fence did not fare so well against my car.  Neither did the post at the gas station when I was attempting to fill up my mom's car.

Then there was the time I was driving my little sister in my 'new' to me 1970 Corolla and I was side swiped right in front of my mom's office.  Again, not my fault, but I was not wearing my seatbelt and had a full hot raspberry latte in my hand. I might also have been singing, loudly.

I know my boys are right. I do my best, especially when driving with my boys, but driving is just not my strength. Besides frequently getting lost, I tend to slam on the brakes often enough that the boys have stopped asking "what happened?".  The boys have no confidence in my driving ability or my navigational skills. I got a "Good job Mom, we made it!" when I drove to my mom's house last week.

I guess I will just own the fact that I am a terrible driver.  It doesn't help that I am female and blond. The only thing worse would be if I was Asian.

Ooh, did I really just say that?

Thursday, March 10, 2011

As Soon As I Saw...

The boy walk in with his stuffed pig and squirrel, I knew we would be okay.  You see, last week I attempted to take the boys to a sports class at the local community center.  We had done one before and it was okay, but it is close, had a convenient time, and cheap.  While the last experience was just okay, this one was dreadful. From the moment we walked in, I knew this would not be a good experience.

Last week, I called to confirm the class was starting today. I checked the website to make sure I was registered. I double checked the times and date. When I felt that I had checked everything possible, only then did I wake the baby and bundle the kids up to go to class.  I thought everything was set but when I walked into the gym I knew something was wrong.  For a first day class, the instructor did not seem very welcoming.  I introduced my 2 boys to her and mentioned they were in this class and the one immediately following it.  She said something that I did not totally understand and I just mumbled something back. I realize now I should have asked her to repeat herself but at the time it seemed easier to smile and nod.
In a few minutes 3 boys came in and immediately started playing. The instructor greeted each one by name and told their moms what they would be doing that day. Then class started. Micah was not sure what to do and spent most of the time sitting on my lap. I spent the next 45 minutes trying to get Micah to join the class, rescue Finn from the top of the bleachers, and convince Jack that the balls were not for him to sit on.  When class finally came to a close I was relieved. Then the instructor pulled out a stack of t-shirts. Uh-oh, I thought, would she have enough for my boys? She did, crisis averted.

Class ended and I waited for the next class to begin. And I waited, and waited and waited. Finally, I looked around and realized that no new kids had come into the gym. It dawned on me that there was not a class starting now. After several confusing conversations between the community center secretary, the instructor, and the activities coordinator, it was determined that we were off a week. The instructor had not checked the start date for the next session and was having a 'make-up' day from the previous session. Hence, why she knew all the other boys and they were able to join in the games so quickly.  The instructor also did not realize that there was a 3:45 class beginning that day.  When I explained that my son had been waiting through his brother's class for his own sports class, she felt bad but did not have a good solution. Jack was the only boy registered, so they would be combining it with the 3 year olds and beginning the following week.
Considering that Jack is already in a preschool with kids a year younger then him, and plays most often with his younger brothers, I was really wanting a chance for him to be with similar aged boys. Not boys two years younger.  That combined with an unpleasant snubbing by the other moms left me upset and near tears.  Walking out I knew there was no way I wanted to go back the next week and listening to my son ask why he didn't get to have class did not help.

The very next day I walked into the Little Gym and signed both boys up for class. Micah for a sports themed gymnastics and Jack for a basic gymnastics class with 5&6 year olds.  The cost for both boys made me gasp but I firmly believed it was a better place for them to be.

And it is. Jack had his class first and we walked in to find a 6 year old girl sucking her thumb, and a 5 year old boy carrying his much loved stuffed animals. Considering Jack only left "lovies" at home because I made him, I felt a kindred spirit in this other boy.  Today was Micah's class and he spent the hour playing hockey and loving it.  Both left their respective classes happy, and exhausted, as Jack is quick to point out.

Next week, Jack promised to bring his goose and parrot to class to show the boy. Maybe, if he is lucky this boy will get to hear Jack's beaver joke.  I have a feeling the other little boy will find it hilarious.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

A Career in Comedy? I Think Not.

Lucky for us, the boys have discovered jokes.  It started simply enough, with Brandon teaching them, "Guess What? Chicken Butt!" and "Guess Why? Chicken Thigh!" Those quickly just turned into yelling "butt" because that word alone was funny enough.  Really, what good joke doesn't end with the word "butt " or "poop"?  At least to a 6 year old boy.

Today on the way to school the boys were trying to impress the little girl in our carpool with their joke skills.  

Micah starts off the joke-fest by stating that he knows more jokes then Jack.  

Micah: Why did the chicken cross the road?
Me: Why?
Micah: I don't know

Get it??  Side splitting funny, I know.

Jack then gets on the action with his version of the same joke.

Jack: Why did the beaver slap his tail on the water and then dive underneath and swim into his den?
Me: Um, is this a joke? Sounds more like a fact? But, okay, why?
Jack: To get away from the otter, which is a natural predator to the beaver. By slapping his tail on the water he is warning the other beavers to get into the den for safety!

Are you rolling on the floor laughing? Tears streaming down your face because it is so funny? No, hmm, that is shocking.  I don't think my boys are going to be able to go the comedy route. 

I had high hopes for Jack's joke, seeing as how it started off with the word "beaver".

You know, because, beavers are such funny animals.