Friday, September 12, 2014

Life Changed

We had a good summer, we didn't get to everything I wanted but we hit the most important.  We went to Family Camp and had a great time, ate at a new pizza place, went swimming as often as possible (and I have the swimsuit lines to prove it), went to the fair, and rode the ferry simply for ice cream.  My entire plan for the summer was to soak up every possible moment with the boys and enjoy it. No tutoring, home school, appointments, or constant to-dos (except for VBS). What I didn't realize was how much my life was going to change this fall.

In my mind I had a pretty good plan for fall. Boys would all be in school, Finn for 4 hours. I would have one drop off, and if I figured out the bus (i.e. convinced Jack to ride it) only 1 pick up.  I had a gardening day, grocery shopping day, meet with friends day, and clean the house day. It was going to be my year to regroup and recharge. No kids for 4 hours a day AND the ability to be home.  But as, with most of my plans, that was a good plan but not the plan I was supposed to have.

On the last week of summer, when I was on my very much look-forward too, solo vacation I got an email:

"Do you want to teach kindergarten??"

Um, what?  Not really, I was pretty much going to have this amazing year ahead of me where I took a mental health break. I did not want to work full time, especially since Finn is only in school part-time.

But the email I sent back was,

"Can I think about it?"

I had only a few hours to decide. School would start in one week and they needed a teacher today.  As a good friend said later, "it was probably good you didn't have time to really think about it as you would have over thought the decision".  And it was true. By 5:00, I had said yes and I started work the next day at 8:30.

I won't lie, I went back to my hotel and cried. And then I cried some more. I texted my sister who recently started a new job and asked if she also cried. I called Brandon and cried. I cried in the shower, I cried laying on my bed.  And then I woke up at 4:00 AM and couldn't go back to sleep so I watched Scandal. Because really, what else was there to do?

In the end, it is a good decision. I love teaching more then I can explain. I swore I wouldn't go back to the classroom, I would never teach kindergarten, and yet here I am. Working full time, in a kindergarten classroom and when I am at work, I am so happy.  I'm happy at home too, but there is also guilt. Am I failing Finn? I was supposed to spend this year with him (at which point Brandon said, you've already had two years with just Finn, this might be good for both of you). I have dropped the ball on so many things with Jack and Micah. And yet, they are doing well. This is probably the best start to the year for either of them. For Jack seeing me at lunch everyday makes him happy. Knowing he can come find me during the day if he is sick is comforting. Micah, on the other hand, hides in the bushes if he sees me or pretends he doesn't know me. But that's okay because every now and again I get a glimpse of him with his friends or sitting in an assembly and my heart is so full of love for him.  Plus, I missed the back-to-school meeting with Micah's teacher. They had it without me and just filled me in. Everyone was happy and there was no crying, so I am calling it a win.  Finn, well, it's still rough and we are still adjusting.

When the first day of school came. I did not drive home and dance around an empty house. Instead I welcomed 16 kindergartners, 15 of them the first in their family to go to kindergarten, into my class.

This is both the happiest and the most overwhelmed I have ever been.  And I am so thankful I spent this summer taking the time to be with my boys.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Taking a Moment

When the boys went back to school last year I grieved. Not just because school was starting and that meant schedules, homework, lunches packed, and on and on. It meant that my time to be with my boys was over and I never really got to enjoy them. Last summer was homeschool, vision therapy, swimming lessons, more swimming lessons, pressure to have the boys ready for school.  Anytime we had at home was reading, journal writing, sight words, letter sounds, vision activities, and fighting.  This summer I do not want September 1st to come and to feel that once again I lost moments with my boys.

But now it's mid-July and between tutoring (not by me), occupational therapy, MOPS planning meetings, VBS (what was I thinking), swimming (again), I look at my calendar and sigh.  I feel the days slipping by and yet I still keep saying, "when summer begins …" and yet summer is in full swing.  

Today was the first day with no plans, no meetings, no tutoring, no swim lessons, a completely free day. And then my MIL asked if we could come and help her pack. Actually, she asked if she could pay Jack to pack boxes and I said we'd all come because I'm not sure he is that helpful yet.  Today was sunny and I told the boys after Grandma's, and the grocery store, we would be off for some summer fun.  Except that the grocery story is our kryptonite.  We can not make it though without some spectacular parenting choices, lots of touching, fighting and extra items added to the cart.  By the time we were done the only plan I had for the rest of the day was home, unload groceries, and nap time for all.  

Somewhere in between putting the groceries away, and getting the boys out of room time, I made a decision. Swimming (in which I would have to get in the pool) or splash park (with everyone else in the city) would not be great choices for us at this time of day, but we could still take a moment.  

While the boys put on swim suits, I hosed off the nasty spider infested plastic pool, hunted down the broken-but-works-well-enough sprinkler and set up our own water park.  I threw out the beach towels, grabbed some snacks and called the boys outside.  

It wasn't what we had planned, it wasn't the perfect day I had in my mind, but as my youngest came running outside he said, "this is the best day ever!".  As I sat there in my lawn chair, watching the boys run from pool to sprinkler and back, I chose to let this moment sink in.  This moment where I had no place to be, the boys were laughing and having fun, and I could just enjoy the time with my boys.

I grabbed the moment and I held on with both hands. And I am so thankful.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

End of Year

School ended last Friday. On one hand it felt like an eternity, but on the other, I swear I just dropped them off on the first day.

This year there was no crying when I asked for pictures.  Jack even suggested taking pictures with the teacher gifts - a complete surprise.

Jack's teacher this year was the perfect fit for him. She loved his quirky sense of humor, encouraged his love of dance, and listened to every story he had to share every single day.  There were tears when the day ended and we had to say goodbye - and they were not from me.

Micah's teacher I am pretty sure is doing her own dance that she will not have to do any parent teacher conferences with me next year. I told her she has 2 years before Finn comes to 1st grade to rebuild her Kleenex supply. Micah had a great year, he is our author, constantly writing unique and funny stories.

These boys. How did they get so big? Love these two.

Monday, May 12, 2014

How Do You Do It?

I get this question quite a bit. When out with my boys, when talking to other moms, whenever I am asked how many kids do I have: 3 boys, all two years apart.

Here's the answer:

And I'm only slightly kidding.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

For Micah

To be honest, Micah kind of gets the shaft for his birthday. I wish I could say I was kidding, but I'm not. His is always (obviously) the last of our spring birthdays, it usual falls right around Easter, and this year had to compete with baseball season.  By the time we start the countdown to his birthday he only has a few days left.  

To make matters worse this year was our year of no parties, no kid parties that is.  We implemented an every-other-year approach to kid parties. If I was smart I would have the boys on opposite years, so we only have one kid party a year, but whatever.

Instead of a party the boys get to pick one friend and then choose a special event. Micah has known for an entire year what he would do:  Family Fun Center.  So, on a recent no school day, I took my three boys plus Micah's very best friend to this mythical place. Little did I know what I was getting in to.

Heading in!

Bumper boats with water squirters. Otherwise known as my worst nightmare.

 Tip: Leave the bumper boats for the end. Also, don't go in them if you are the only adult and you don't want to get soaked.  
Side-note: I thought I would be asked to leave after all the screaming that happened during this ride. I was offered a towel.

Aside from the bumper boat debacle, nearly losing them in the video arcade, and refusing to buy another 100 tokens, I think the day was a success.

Full disclosure: I did immediately go to dinner and order a mixed drink (or two) to recover from this family fun event. 

Thursday, March 27, 2014

And Now You Are 9

How is that possible? 

One more year until double digits? 

How am I old enough to be a mom to a 9 year old boy. 

How did I get so lucky to be blessed with such an amazing, funny, sweet, sensitive, creative, confident little boy?

I don't know how it has happened, how you are already nine years, but I know I wouldn't trade a minute of it.  

I hope you never lose the part of you that makes you unique among your peers.  You are truly one of a kind and I am so proud to be your mom.  

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

For The Last Time

For the last time I walked into this room and sat at this table.

Four years ago I walked in with my 7 month old baby, and Brandon at my side. This was an exciting moment, our first parent-teacher conference. Even though it was only preschool it was such a big step. I was no longer the teacher welcoming in nervous, or excited parents, but I was that parent. The one the teacher smiles at, asks to sit, and then begins to tell them about their child.

This conference did not go as I expected and my smile, turned to a scowl, and then to tears. Unfortunately, this was not the only time I cried at a conference. Last week I went to a conference for my middle son and when I walked into the room I saw that all was ready for me. At the empty table where we would sit was a full box of kleenex. Oh, yes, my tears are expected and prepared for.

Four years later I am once again at that little preschool table. This time it is for that little 7 month old baby that came with me the first time. This time I came alone. Not even Brandon came with for moral support.  This time I was there to hear about my youngest, my baby, my last one, the one about to turn 5.

It was a new teacher but the conversation was the same. For the third time it was recommended that my beautiful, amazing, smart, funny, active boy wait one more year for Kindergarten.  This time I did not react with anger or sadness. I smiled and thanked the teacher for her honesty and for truly knowing my son. We were on the fence with what to do for school next year and her knowledge of my son helped to solidify the decision.

Three times I have sat at this table (okay actually four, we did it twice for Jack). Three times I have been told my son was not ready for kindergarten and should wait.  Twice it was for social and emotional development, once it was for academic.

Each time the decision on what to do was all consuming, and sometimes overwhelming.  Thinking of pros and cons, what this decision would do for my son's future, what was truly best for that particular son, consumed me.

One son we kept at this same preschool for two years.

One son we decided at the last minute to send to kindergarten.

One son we will wait but move to a pre-K closer to home.

For the last time I sat at this table. This time I did not cry, I laughed, I listened, I talked.  But I did not cry.

I cried later realizing the end of an era for my boys and me.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

That Was Awkward

Today I was late bringing Finn and his friend to preschool. That, unfortunately, seems to be pretty standard around here right now. Me, running late, I mean. But today it created a slightly awkward social encounter.

After getting both boys out of the car and heading to the door I turned around and found a parent standing behind me. Yesterday his twin boys made Finn a flag of Japan. Which was nice, so I felt I should say thank you. After I did he still stood there, so I assumed I should make conversation. But I really didn't have anything to say and there is a bit of a language issue so I said the first thing that came to mind.

"We would love to have your twin sons over for a play-date."  (Even though Finn has said it was ok, as long as only one came).

He was kind of surprised but said, sure. I thought I would show my ESL skills and asked if it would be easier if I emailed him some suggested day and times.

That seemed to be a good idea. Then this dad asked if I wanted to write down his email. Well, I didn't have a pen, paper, or my phone. I had only grabbed my keys when I got out of the car.  Hmm. Well, he could write down his email for me.

That seemed like a good idea.  But, when he went to get a piece of paper, he had to go around me to open the door.  And that is when I realized he wasn't actually waiting to talk to me. Rather I was standing in front of his car door. Effectively blocking him from driving away.

So, I didn't have to actually set up a playdate with two 4 year old twin boys who only speak Japanese.

As Jack would say, "Well, that was awkward."

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Second Guessing

So this weekend I spent many hours folding clothes, sorting clothes, and relentlessly purging.  I ended up with several bags of clothes and I quickly took them to the Goodwill on Monday so I would not be tempted to go have second thoughts.

This time I took a hard look at all of the clothes they have worn and got rid of them even if they had sentimental value.

The shirt Jack made in Kindergarten for his class field trip - gone. Why would Micah want to wear it?

The apple shirt Micah made in Kindergarten - gone. Seriously, Finn will be making his own in a year.

The orange KEXP shirt Jack wore all summer - yep, gone.

All of Micah's sports league t-shirts - out of here. How many do you really need?

But then today I saw this:

A T-Shirt Quilt

Um, yeah.

Never mind that I only have 5 or so shirts. That I can't sew. I have zero understanding of quilting.  And assuming that of course my boys would LOVE to have a giant quilt made out of old t-shirts.

None of that matters. All I am thinking about is what time does Goodwill open tomorrow? I wonder if I can go and buy back all of their t-shirts?

That's not crazy, right?