Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Here Comes Alaina Snowflake . . .

Well, almost a week after Janae's performance of Suzy Snowflake on the big stage, she has finally let Alaina try on her costume.

This is how it looked:


She seriously would not stop moving for even a split second!


She was dancing/running around the table singing "Here comes Suzy Snowflake," although it seemed more like a snow STORM when Alaina did it.


Janae eventually wrestled her down in an attempt to help me get a picure.


When I sat down in front of the computer, Alaina came over to climb on me (her usual routine), so in the end we did get a semi-still shot :)


I don't think I've ever seen the girls have this much fun together, though!


Monday, June 27, 2011

Our Own Chapter of L'il Gardeners


In the spring Janae was registered for a class called L'il Gardeners through our local parks and rec center. The day before it was supposed to start, though, we got a call saying the class was cancelled.

We were disappointed.

However, today our own chapter of L'il Gardeners sprang up spontaneously with the neighborhood children.


It started with a little bit of digging.


I found a few more plastic shovels, rakes and buckets in the backyard . . . and soon everyone had a tool to use.


We ended up with more dirt on the sidewalk than the garden,


but luckily had it all cleaned up before the Big Gardener was any wiser ;)


Do you think I should get in touch with parks and rec and make it official?

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

One of Us Is Ready for the Big Stage

Last night Janae had a dressed rehearsal for her dance recital. All day I was as nervous as I would be if I was the one performing . . . but I tried not to let it show because I was worried about passing my jitters on to Janae.

An hour before we needed to get there, I did Janae's hair and make-up, got her dressed, then made her sit on a chair until it was time to go.


When we got there, Janae was SO excited to see the big stage and auditorium.


She danced in the aisles with her friends while she waited for her turn to go on stage.


When the music started, she step-hopped, twirled and sang out, just like she'd practiced in class.


Afterwards she was as happy as a little girl could be.

She is so unlike her mother!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

The Series of Events (All Unfortunate) That Led to My Mid-Life Crisis


It used to be that when I thought of a “mid-life crisis” I pictured unattractive balding men who bought Ferraris and left their wives for women half their age.

It never occurred to me that I would ever BE middle aged or have any type of crisis about getting old.

Not until recently, that is.

Over the past few weeks a series of unfortunate events has occurred that has made me feel a bit differently.

The first was at church. I was thinking about that old question of whether or not I should have one more baby, when I happened to glance to my left and see three mothers of new babies sitting together. I started thinking about how youthful they looked—unlike me, they still had smooth skin, rosy cheeks and cheerful dispositions.


Then I started thinking about how young they actually were. This led me to the realization that I was approximately twenty years older than these young mothers. TWENTY YEARS. I was very likely the same age as some of their mothers. I immediately reprimanded myself for even thinking about having another baby and began to worry about how old I would already be when my grandchildren were born.


The second incident occurred one day as I was standing in my kitchen washing dishes. I was thinking about my new responsibility at church, which—as I mentioned in a previous post—is teaching the adult Sunday School class, the Gospel Doctrine class.

I started to think about what a “grown-up” calling this was, then realized that my previous responsibility—that of being in the presidency of our women’s organization, the Relief Society—was also one that is often filled by “older people.” It was then that it hit me: I AM one of the older people. It was a bit of an uncomfortable thought, I have to say.


The third incident—and final one that I will discuss—happened when I was looking at some pictures my aunt had posted on facebook. They showed her granddaughter, who was graduating from high school, wearing her prom dress and posing with her friends, boyfriend, parents, etc.


As I looked at the pictures I could not get over how young and beautiful--and different from me--my 17- or 18-year-old cousin-once-removed looked. I started to realize that I could never look that young again, or be that young—or anywhere near it. And this led to thoughts of how I’d spent my youth wanting to be older, and wondering why youth is wasted on the young, and other old-person thoughts like that.


Now that I know I am middle-aged, everything is different. I walk a little slower, get more headaches, and find that life has lost a bit of its luster (although some of that is just because I’m not wearing my glasses, I’m sure).

Part of me wonders if I should just head to the Ferrari dealership and be done with it. (No need to worry about younger men, though. . . . )

On the other hand, I’m just getting comfortable with the Caravan. Maybe—with time—I will get comfortable with “middle age.”


Am I really middle-aged?

Thursday, June 16, 2011

So, You Think You Can't Do Hair?


I mentioned the other day that I am not very good at doing little girls' hair. Well, the hair fairies must have been listening, because a few hours later Janae came to me with a request:

"Mom, can you do my hair in two princess twists?"

Princess twists? I highly doubted it.

Then a distant memory popped into my mind. I'd seen a blog called "Princess Hairstyles" ages ago that had pictures of fancy hairstyles AND little videos with step-by-step instructions on how to make them happen.

So, I looked it up and browsed the photo gallery with Janae. I found a hairstyle that was labeled "quick and easy" and tried it out on my daughter.

It looked pretty princessy, I had to say.


Today we tried another one, and it also turned out quite beautifully.


Now the only thing holding me back is the little princess . . . who has other things to do than sit and have her hair styled :)


Maybe one of these days I'll have to get to work on Alaina.


Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Don't Take This the Wrong Way . . .

Before I had children of my own, I thought I had a pretty good idea of what it would take to be a good mother, but--as I have admitted on several occasions--some aspects of parenthood are a lot more difficult than I imagined they would be. And in many cases, I just don't cut it.

For example, I am not really good at doing little girls' hair or putting false eyelashes on them.


I also lack fashion sense and can't quite coordinate my kids' outfits the way some more skillful mothers do.


(And, yes, I think I've mentioned before that all three of my kids want to be pirates when they grow up.)

Sometimes I bend the safety rules to let my kids have a little fun.


I'm not even much of a vegetable gardener, and I couldn't keep a potted plant alive to save my own life (although my roses are looking quite nice this year).


Anyway, the one redeeming quality I always fall back on is that I did get that master's degree in English a few years ago.

Sometimes--when I see someone from my old high school when I'm shopping with my not-so-well-behaved kids, or run into someone from church when my little ones are not looking quite as well dressed or groomed as one might expect, or when I look at the ratty mess at the back of Alaina's hair and wonder myself if she actually does have a mother, or even when I write/say/think something that turns out not to be 100 percent gramatically correct--I wish I could hold up a sign that says "I have a master's degree in English," just so people would realize I am not completely lacking in all competence (or at least that I haven't always been).

So, to get to my point.

The other day after school I was talking to Ben's teacher about my son's lack of desire to attend summer school. (Benjamin has been recommended to a program to strengthen his reading skills . . . classes start a few days after regular school ends and go until the END of July. I wonder why he is not excited--I wish I could go!)

Ben's teacher was explaining that the program will help him keep the benefits of all the hard work he has put into learning to read this year.

From the start, I have thought the program would benefit Ben, because it is very difficult to get him to read at home. He does, however, LOVE to be read to, and would listen to books for hours if he could--especially at bed time. But I will get to that in a minute.

As I was talking to Mrs. P, though, she mentioned that for some kids reading through the summer would happen naturally because reading is just a big part of the family's life and routine.

As opposed to our family????

Let me introduce you to my family, and our apparently little-known familiarity with literacy.


I have read pretty much every day to all three of my children since they were born. With Ben, I even tried to read to him BEFORE he was born (a little enthusiastic, I was).


My children feel more at home at our local library than they do anywhere else (with the possible exception of Grandma's house).


I don't think we have EVER missed a story time (okay, maybe one or two--but those were in cases of extreme illness). We know all the children's librarians by name, all the songs and rhymes by heart, all the best spots to find books.


We join the summer reading club every year, and attend all the activities--we even wore out the handle on our library tote bag.


I think few could match our enthusiasm for the library!

We have books in every available space in our small home. I can't pass a bookstore, book fair, or even book shelf at the library without picking up a book.


And then there's that master's degree in English that I mentioned earlier.

As you can imagine, Ben's teacher's comment cut to the core of my entire self-concept.

I have always hoped, and even believed, that in at least this one area I AM NOT A NEGLIGENT MOTHER!

We read with our kids!

I'm glad I got that off my chest.

Still, I am thinking of having some T-shirts printed. I am just not sure which slogan would put it best:

I Have a Master's Degree in English

Literary Lisa, M.A.

My Other Degree is in Linguistics

Kiss the English Teacher

It might make me feel better.

What do you think?

Sunday, June 12, 2011

My Once-a-Week Flu

Everyone has heard of the 24-hour flu, the stomach flu, and various "famous flus" like the swine flu or the avian flu. These nasty bugs can make our stomachs queezy, give us fevers and/or chills and send us running to the washroom.

I know that when I have the flu I always think I am going to die, or that the flu will never end. When the flu is finally over, I am always relieved, but also very weak, dehydrated, and hungry.


I mention this because I seem to have become infected with a flu that affects only me and that occurs--as if on schedule--once a week.

Each Sunday I feel sick to my stomach all morning. I hyperventilate, find it difficult to hold conversations with my kids, and then end up having to leave our church's sacrament meeting at least 2-3 times.

After Sunday School, though, I find I am in post-flu mode: the nausea is gone, the fever and chills have left, but I am run down and really hungry.

Interestingly enough, I caught this flu the week I started on my new calling of teaching our adult Sunday School class.

Today was week four, and I am starting to wonder how long this bug will last. . .


Sunday, June 5, 2011

"7" Is a Magic Number

Benjamin started celebrating his seventh birthday in the usual way, opening Star Wars Lego . . .


After that, though, he entered a magical world :)


We had witches, wizards, toads, cats, rats, and owls. The kids drank pumpkin juice and polyjuice potion . . . and lots of Butter Beer.


They were sorted into houses, and a couple of them even became prefects (just as Professor Trelawney predicted, I might add!).

Then it was time for classes. The young students started with Herbology, taught by Professor Sprout (Auntie Tina!). They planted M&M seeds in a "dirt" mixture, added a few worms, and--magically--lollypop plants grew :)


Next it was Care of Magical Creatures with Hagrid (assisted by Rebecca the Prefect). The kids searched for dangerously toxic flubberworms in a bowl of rice, then learned how to take care of them. Plastic gloves were mandatory for this one!


After Hagrid's lesson the group met Professor Snape (Don't worry--it was just Uncle Ted in a Snow White wig!). They mixed and tested potions that made them stinky or hyper, losing house points for pouring improperly, etc.


Finally, Professor Trelawney taught them how to read tea leaves, making predictions about their futures.

The kids went outside and played a highly simplified version of Quiddich, then came back in for birthday cupcakes.


(I have to add, I loved how these little owls turned out--I made a practice batch a few weeks ago that did not work AT ALL, but Ben still wanted me to make them for the party, so I gave them another try!)

We had a few minutes left to open the presents.


Benjamin got so many fun toys and games that he is really excited about (most of which he has already opened and tried out--he keeps disappearing to his room . . .).


Thanks to my dad we somehow managed to get a group picture,


then we sent everyone home with chocolate frogs (probably melted globs of chocolatey mess by the time they got home since it was a very warm day!) and little red bags of every flavor beans (thanks to my mom who made all the draw-string bags).


It all sounds pretty magical, doesn't it? ;) I think seven is going to be a good year!