Sunday, October 31, 2010

Kindergarten Party Time: Why I Love Being A Room Mother

Miss A has the cutest group of kids in her kindergarten classroom. They are so fun to be around and I love to see how great they all get along. The girls in the class are always hugging each other, helping each other, and of course giggling. A's teacher really has a great group.
I love being the Room Mother/Party Coordinator especially with this age of kids. They love everything you plan and think the party is the "best ever" with very little effort or fanfare. I'll admit, however, that I am not a real fan of Halloween. It might seem odd then that I'm in charge of the Halloween party, but in reality its all part of my plan. What I really don't like is the "spooky side" of this "holiday" and, as such, I plan a party that is really just a glorified fall harvest party with costumes. I wrote a post last year where I went into details about why I do this if you want to read more in detail.
For Miss A's first elementary school party, there was Musical Pumpkins, Sack Races, a Class Photo and Photo Frame Craft, Sucker Ghosts and the M & M Walk. I even learned to download music from itunes to a CD filled with the Monster Mash, Ghostbusters and the theme song to the Adams Family. Nothing involving goblins, witches, or scary faced monsters.
The biggest joy of the afternoon was watching Miss A just beam in her Pinkalious Costume while she jumped with joy cheering her friends on in the sack races, held hands with her best friends during the parade, and just loved the cookies and juice.
A perfect way to kick off a fun weekend.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Girl Scout Cabin Camping at the Lake

We had an excellent time "roughing it" this weekend at the Lake. I realize for most this is hardly camping, but for us it's just perfect. Mr. C went so far as to say this is was little more than a glorified sleepover party for Miss M. It really doesn't matter though as the Girl Scouts had a rocking good time.
Only 4 of our 7 girl scouts were able to join us on this trip to the Lake so we've already declared this a yearly adventure. Weather predictions for the weekend were bleak, but God was good (OK, He is good all the time, but you know what I mean) and the cool crisp air was just perfect for walks outside. Deep down I think maybe the weatherman was predicting storms so we wouldn't have to consider sleeping outside!!
Friday night, we finalized our plans for earning the Cooking Badge, Outdoor Creativity Badge, and Exploring the Outdoors. The girls were thrilled that they would be doing most of the cooking on Saturday and I cracked up over some of their perceptions about food safety, kitchen cleanliness, and nutrition. I won't be tattling on their parents, but I'd say that only M lives in house that has a resident food patrol member. I won't be going over to leftovers at any one's house anytime soon.
After a walk in the "dark" around the lake, the girls enjoyed a movie and were in bed by 11:30! See no sleepover drama or all nighters in this group! Love it. My "wingman" and I enjoyed the fact that we didn't have to argue with anyone about bedtime. However, they are a bunch of early risers.
Saturday morning, we took another nature walk which according to some meant "torture" as we were walking for more than an hour! Of course, included in the adventure was a trip to the marina for some candy. You can't go to the lake with a snack at the Marina. Then it was back to the house for "Cooking 101" where the girls made the entire lunch of spaghetti with meat sauce, salad, french bread, and frozen fruit pie. It was fun to see the girls get all excited about cooking, making up a restaurant, dividing tasks, and even helping with the clean up. I think we have some professional chefs in our future.
The afternoon involved nature arts & crafts, a long walk through actual woods, and a journey to a nearby river and railroad track. I loved that the railroad bridge over the river had graffiti all over it, most of it clean and colorful and I took some great pictures of the girls with this backdrop. All the girls even came home with Railroad spikes we'd found under the bridge.
What I loved the most however was how well the girls got along. They are all "friends," but they don't all buddy around together at school, yet on this camping trip they were all the best of friends. No drama. No teaming out and leaving someone out. No jealousy. Just pure acceptance of each other.
They were in essence living out the Girl Scout Law to "be a sister to every Girl Scout."
What a blessing it is to have seen these girls through the past six years, I know God has big plans for each of them and I thrilled to walk along side them on their journey.

Keeping The Promise

I had promised Miss A that we would go to the Train Museum on a day off from school. I thought she would forget, not so much. On Friday, I kept my promise. Off we went to walk through a Union Pacific Train, "ride" the streetcar just like Grammy, and just enjoy the morning together. Miss A even got to eat her lunch at the Soda Fountain and enjoy an All American favorite, the hot dog!!
I loved that a Conductor was sitting in the first train. He was dressed in the uniform and more than willing to tell us all about the "Train Experience." He asked Miss A where she would like to go and without hesitation she said "Chicago." The Conductor gave her a ticket stamped with round trip fare to Chicago. She was thrilled.
Walking through the train like we have dozens of times before, it was as if she saw it with new eyes. She was picking out the cabin we should occupy on the way to Chicago. She wondered if we should get a "sleeper," but worried about falling off the top bunk. I told her that was what the brown "Cage" was for, but she wasn't too convinced. We giggled over the pop up toilet and the fact that when not in use it's a seat. How crazy is that!
My list of things to do that Friday Morning was long, I was heading off to "camp" with the girl scouts later that afternoon, but as we walked around the museum holding hands, giggling and just enjoying ourselves that list was non existent in my mind. You know what, I accomplished everything I needed to do with time to spare and have memories of our morning that are stored away in my heart forever.
Gotta love keeping promises and reaping the rewards!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Just Like Old Times

Today was just like old times according to Miss A. No school for elementary kids meant that she got to hang out in her pj's all morning. That was the first thing she declared this morning; "It's Pajama Day Mom, just like the old days!"

We've missed each other. After spending six years together at home, it's hard to adjust to all day school, for both of us. Yesterday was parent teacher conferences and she's excelling in school, making great friends and loving school. Every scrap of paper in our house right now is covered with words. Miss A copies titles of books, newspaper headlines, and the grocery list just for fun. She loves words; reading them, writing them, and even putting them to music. Yep, she's been busy composing songs on the piano and writing lyrics to go along.

I love this age. The thrill of learning is bursting out of every fiber of her being. But that doesn't mean Kindergarten hasn't been an adjustment for all of us. Thursday nights are meltdown time. She's crabby, overly stimulated and ready for the weekend. At soccer games on Thursdays, she barely runs across the field, but come Saturday morning she's a speed demon! Some days I can just tell she's mentally and physically exhausted.

That's why this long weekend is a gift. We get to enjoy each other, just us. I was wishing earlier this week that the elementary and junior high conferences were the same week (the big kids have off next Thursday/Friday), but now I see it as a great thing. Extra time with A and then next week M & C and I can go hang out, too.

Friday, we are off to the Train Museum and maybe lunch with Dad before I head out of town with the Girl Scouts. I just hope that she'll always treasure the "old days" like I do.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Another Girl Scout in the Family

Finally. That's what Miss A has been saying all week, finally it was time for her Scout Meeting. After years of watching other members of our family put on uniforms, sell popcorn and cookies and have a blast with their friends at troop/den/pack meetings, Miss A finally got to have her "own."

Our little Daisy Girl Scout was beyond excited. Having a troop meeting with 14 little Kindergarten girls wearing the blue smock was the "best ever" according to Miss A. The fact that her mother is not the leader is, in her mother's opinion, the best. I'm thrilled that two mothers stepped up to lead this lively group of girls and love that I can come as an observer and helper.

I loved the fact that Miss A already knows the Girl Scout Promise. Guess you could say she's been at enough meetings to have memorized both the promise and the sign. I'm just glad that the "tag along" Girl Scout now gets to be one all on her own. It was fun to watch these little girls get all excited tracing their bodies on butcher paper, giggle when they introduced themselves, and have a blast doing the friendship squeeze and sing the Daisy Girl Scout song.

Six years ago, it was Miss M sitting in her blue smock and smiling and giggling with her little friends. I so remember the first meeting and the feeling in my stomach that I might throw up knowing all 16 little girls were counting on me to lead them on the Girl Scout path. Where has the time gone? This weekend, I'll be taking 5 of those original Daisy girls to the Lake for the weekend on an indoor camping trip. We are a little smaller of a group, a little less awed by the songs, hand squeeze and the snacks; but we are also closer, stronger, smarter and lot further on the Girl Scout path. These girls have been real sisters to each other and their leader is all the better for the experience.

Miss M and her best buddy on a camp out last spring

How I pray that Miss A's adventure in scouting is as great an experience as her sister, brother and mother's have been.
Mr. C at Scout Quest this Fall

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

I've Written Ten Posts in My Head

I can't believe it's been another week between postings. I really thought that being home alone all day that I'd get a ton done and I would probably post every other day.

In reality, I'm never HOME. Really. In the past week, I've been "on the go" constantly and by the time I get back home my chore and to do list is too long to get on the computer and write a sentence that makes any sense. (Promise me that normally I do talk in complete sentences and make some sense, maybe even make you chuckle a little-if not don't tell me!)

So here's a synopsis of the posts from last week in bullet format:

* Play dates are the best even when you are "schooled" by the kindergarten girl on how to run them.

Miss A had her first Kindergarten Play Date after school on Wednesday. It was the highlight of her year thus far. Her adorable little friend K came home with us from school and those two little girls played with everything in our house. There was not a barbie, American Girl Doll or polly pocket that did not have their little hands all over them. A and K were so cute. When I told K she'd have to come back again, her response "I'll have to check with my mother on that!" I'm not sure if that means she's the social secretary of the family or she had to report in on what happened.

I loved how on the way to school that day when A and I were talking over the plan, she attempted to "school" me on how exactly I should get ready for Miss K. I should pick up A's room, have a snack ready and by all means make Miss M take the late bus home from play practice. According to A, " there is no reason M can't take the late bus home, C has taken it before after a club meeting, so she can to." Guess you could say she did not want me to pick M up from school.

* Jr High Field Trips are different from Kindergarten in many many ways!

On Thursday, I had the opportunity to chaperone on the 8th grade Field Trip to a nearby Camp. The day was scheduled for Team Building. There were trust walks, paddle boat rides, the human knot game and brainstorming games that took teamwork and cooperation. Let's just say that I was very impressed with C's group and their ability to work together. Team Building was fun.

When I told Mr. C that I was going tag along on the event, his only request was that I not sit by him on the school bus to and from the camp. When I told him that Miss A and I had sat together on the way to the pumpkin patch and held hands, he just rolled his eyes at me. Oh, the difference between a teenager and kindergartner. Needless to say I sat with a "girl" on the bus!!

The second major difference between these two field trips is that you can "totally" tell that the 8th graders dress themselves. Let's just say that there were many girls in "shorty mcshort shorts" who were freezing in the morning when it wasn't even 50 degrees out. Hello Mothers!!

Enough said.

Finally, it was pure joy to this mother's heart to tag along and see Mr. C in his element. He was funny, considerate, kind and very respectful to his classmates and teachers. He might not be in the "in crowd" (which I'm secretly glad about), but he is well liked by everyone. He's funny, smart and down right adorable. It was fun to watch, observe and interact with him in everyday world. Love that kid!!

* Marriages can survive upsets; Time and Time Again.

For those who don't know me in real life, you might not know that last week was rivalry week in our house. My husband's Alma mater played football against my Alma mater this past Saturday. That's right it was the Scarlet and Cream against the Burnt Orange and it was billed in these parts as the game of the decade!! You could say my team was out for revenge or payback for the last time we played against each other and "they" won!!

Walking across campus last Saturday me in Red and P in Burnt Orange, it was sight to see the faces of people. Really. Together. Are you sure? It was a great game. Sorta. They won. We stunk. It was after the game, however, that the people we came into contact with were the funniest. No less than 4 people asked us if "we'd stick it out with each other." Guess they couldn't believe that a Husker and a Longhorn could live together in harmony. We can. We've had what my husband calls Football Detente for the past 16 years-notice one less year than we've been married.

We won't talk about the first year!! (or the couch that someone might have slept on)

Next year my team is leaving the Big 12 to join the Big 10-don't ask. It does, however, mean that P can cheer for the Huskers at every game. No more rivalries!

So now, I'm pretty much caught up to this week, with any luck maybe I'll post again tomorrow and will only have a few days to remember. I've been home almost all of today so either that means I won't have much to talk about or I'm catching up on my to do list at home!!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Funny Things I've Heard Lately

Today is pajama day at the Elementary School in honor of Red Ribbon Week. The goal is to encourage kids to say no to drugs. I remember when Mr. C's class had this activity in either 1st or 2nd grade and he came home petrified. He needed to stop taking his allergy medicine . "It's say no to drugs week, Mom I'm not suppose to take any drugs." He was certain that included his favorite drug of choice; Allegra. Hmm, I wonder where his littlest sister gets her "literal thinking."

This morning, when Miss A was changing out of her nightgown to get dressed for school ( no I don't let them wear the pj's they slept in, gross!) in her favorite fluffy purple pj's, we laughed that we were getting dressed for bed, no school, no bed. Miss A wondered what about the kids who forgot to wear pj's? It's not like they can go to the office and ask to "borrow a pair of pj's for the day" she commented. No, it's not honey.

Last week, when I was picking Mr. C and his best buddy Mr. J up from school to take them to the golf course, Mr. J hopped into the car wearing a shirt from a high school in town that we are looking at for next year. I asked Mr. J if that meant he was going there for sure. "No it was just clean" was his response. Mr. C noticed that that there was a food stain in the middle of the shirt, and said it's not clean anymore. Mr. J's response cracked me up "Well forgive me for eating!"

Miss A and I were at the Library last week to pick up a few books for both of us; she's becoming quite the reader and we were looking for a couple of short easy books for her to dig into. The library shares the building with an elementary school and a community center so there is always a lot of hustle and bustle around. On this evening, there was a martial arts class out in the commons area. The kids were probably around 4 or 5 years old. Miss A was fascinated watching them show off their skills.

As we left with our books in hand, Miss A asked a few questions about the martial arts class, what it was called, why they wore those "outfits" and finally "who do kids that age kill?"

Guess in her mind they were learning the karate kicks for defense and killing. We had a little talk about karate as a training and exercise program. At least we did right after I silently laughed my head off!

Finally, Miss M's girl scout troop had a meeting yesterday after school. As her leader, I gave her permission to skip Improvfest practice to attend. Really, I told her with only 7 girls she had no choice and I'm her mother. Turns out that she was missing a Shakespeare performance of Romeo and Juliet which was taking place in the cafeteria right below us. Looking through the huge glass window, the girls watched a few moments and then Miss M said, "well, I guess at least in Girl Scouts I don't have to watch people kissing in big fancy costumes and speaking lines I can't even understand, right mom?" Yeah that's always my goal at girl scouts; no kissing and speaking words that make sense!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

The Race Begins Again: Amazing Race

We love Sunday nights around here. After a great day of worship, rest, and usually a few chores or softball/baseball games, we are ready to kick back and watch some great television. You know the kind you can watch with your entire family and not blush or cringe or worse yet, shake your head in disbelief and walk away.

Around here, we love Amazing Race It's fun, educational, laughable and for the most part family friendly. I've waxed on in the past about why we are such big Amazing Race fans and how we cheer each team to victory, especially our "own teams.

This year, we had a NFL draft of sorts to pick our teams. Miss A had watched the first episode with her Nana and came up with her list of who she thought each team should "go" to, along with "names for teams." Once the rest of our family watched the episode Monday night (love you DVR) with Miss A sitting on her hands and zipping her lip, we had our little Draft.

You see, while some of us would be willing to just draw names out of a hat and take our chances, others are a little more set on who they think they should have. Who knew team color and cuteness played such a factor in ability to race around the world!

This year we compromised. OK, really we always let Miss A win and now Mr C and Miss M are catching on and making demands themselves. Come on people, shouldn't the parents get to "win" once in awhile? But, I digress.

After pulling names out of a hat, we allowed "Free Agents" to be traded. You can read here; the good teams went to the children. In other words, Miss A, Miss M and Mr C all got exactly who they wanted and the parents were stuck with the leftovers.

Just to prove my point, one of my teams has already been eliminated. Of course, it was the restaurant I was most excited to go to!! Let's just say next season, I'm stacking the deck in my favor so don't tell anyone.

I now present Amazing Race Season 17: Our Teams -everyone gets two teams

Miss A: Katie and Rachel-The Volleyball Players
Our most favorite Japanese Restaurant ( yes this place won before, but not with her)

Connor & Jonathan- Team Glee
Hy Vee Pizza ( yes it's a grocery store, but she LOVES it!)

Miss M: Nat & Kat- The Lady Doctors
Local Tex/Mex Restaurant with a Homemade Tortilla Machine

Gary & Mallory- Father & Daughter (she's a former Pageant Girl)
The Pizza Place Takeout and Family Movie Night

Mr. C : Michael & Kevin: Father & Son ( C thinks the son is really smart)
A New Sushi Restaurant ( Miss A hopes they have rice!)

Nick & Vicki: The Tattoo Couple (* story to follow)
A Dive Taco Joint near downtown-great food, seedy area

P: Chad & Stephanie: The Cute Stupid Couple ( Dad always gets this "group")
A Family Owned Diner-With Great Hot Beef Sandwiches

Brook & Claire: The QVC Hosts ( same theme as team #1 - just best friends)
A Bohemian/German Restaurant -known for Dumplings and Kraut

J: Andie & Jenna: Birth Mom and Daughter-Just reunited
Thai Restaurant They were eliminated this week

Jill & Thomas: Newly Dating Couple
BBQ & Blues Joint - I love their red cabbage slaw, it's to die for!

* Nick and Vicki the Tattoo Couple in episode one were complete idiots. I hate to use that word, but there is no other word as strong to describe how they were acting. I told the kids that the reason they were not "too smart" was because with each tattoo a bit of your brain cells escaped out our body. They totally bought the idea!!

To prove my point, when Nick and Vicki checked in the pit stop at the end of the race, the Host asked them what country they were in and Vicki said; "London." Phil asked her to repeat herself, she said " Yes, the Country of London. " Phil said " Oh, yes the country of London."

Needless to say we were rolling on the floor laughing.

We can't wait to watch the Amazing Race this year!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Gotta Love Kindergarten Field Trips

Miss A and I had a fabulous Friday together. I was able to accompany her class on their first field trip of the year to the pumpkin patch. All last week, Miss A was counting down "sleeps" until the big day. She was beyond excited.
Yes, we've been to the pumpkin patch before, just last year with her preschool class in fact, but this was different. Astronomically different in Miss A's mind. We were gonna travel to the pumpkin patch in none other than a big yellow school bus. Mom would even get to ride along on the bus. The whole Kindergarten was going and we'd, not only get to bring home a pumpkin, but we'd get to eat lunch outside and hang out with all of her new friends.
Kindergarten Field Trips are really the bomb. The excitement in the classroom as we lined up, the giggles on the bus while we waited to leave, the overflowing box of sack lunches, and smiling faces were almost too much to take in. Really, can it get better than this?
The bus ride was AWESOME. No seat belts, three to a seat, windows that were hard to crack open, and there was lots of noise. Those kids were excited. When we arrived at our destination and saw 20 other school buses ahead of us, I knew it was gonna be a great day!
The weather was P E R F E C T. Not a cloud in the sky and the morning chill quickly wore off so that by the time we took our hayrack ride out to the patch for our "pick," it was probably 70 degrees . It was a little more Indian Summer than First Day of October weather in my book, but we did not complain.
We had so much fun watching "pig races" and the pumpkin eating dragon, riding the train and just hanging out with all her little friends. What a great group of girls and boys Miss A has in her class. Waiting in line for the hayrack ride, the girls got in a circle and starting singing their favorite kindergarten songs including all the actions. It was stinking cute. The moms all had great time chaperoning and I'm pleased to say we left the patch with the same number of kids we started with. No easy feat!
The bus ride back to the school was much quieter and relaxed then our ride out had been. Guess the fact that a few of the kids were asleep and the rest were just plumb wore out had a little to do with it. I had the pleasure of sitting with Miss A and Miss C, her new little friend. It was an absolute riot to listen to their conversation. At one point, I asked if Miss C had any siblings and was told yes a sister. Her name Richard. I asked again to clarify if her sister's name was really Richard. No silly, I was told that's my bus drivers name, my sister's name is Gretchen. I'm not even sure how we made this mistake, but I will say the giggles Miss A and I got from this conversation worked our core muscles for sure!
What a blessing it was to be able to be a part of the Kindergarten Field Trip. Not even the horriable allergies that knocked me out the rest of the weekend could damped my joy!!