Monday, October 25

Fruits and Veggies

Here's something that's had me chuckling every time I think of it. On Sunday afternoon, the kids wanted a movie and the parentals really wanted naps.

Ryan: You guys want Fruit of the Looms, right?

Me: Ya mean Veggie Tales?

Boys: What's Fruit of the Looms? I want to see it!

Recent goings on that have shaved years off my life:
  • Morgan refusing with glee to not come when called for in stores, for diaper changes, to be dressed, to have her hair done, teeth brushed, to get in the van . . . terrible twos are here! Boys were so much easier - mine don't care what they wear and often don't need their hair done!
  • Easton's school is worth it but the commute can be a bear, especially the 30 minutes there in the morning. The silver lining has been audio books like Roald Dahl's "The BFG" and Scripture Scouts, but the two hour commitment each day of driving, finding parking, unloading kids and walking in, chit chatting with other moms while corralling my kids, and driving back home is a lot for this girl who hadn't had a car for most of the past three years! It's a real shock to the system but will be better when the school moves closer and into their new building during Christmas break.
  • The van's automatic sliding door has decided it likes to play Morgan's game and not always close on request. Sometimes over 10 attempts later it's still faking me out. Oh yes, and Ryan's got the only remote so my immediate presence is required. Morgan thinks this is a hilarious game and laughs it up, sometimes stretching her arm out to help the door sensor kick in. I'm sure it was a fun show for the old guys enjoying their coffee and croissants at OBI (a German version of Home Depot) this morning. That one was over 20 attempts with my two yr. old playing in a parking lot. Frazzled nerves by 9am is not a good start to a Monday. {Post edit: We finally put the van remote on my key ring this morning. It wasn't a power struggle, just something I'd forget to do each day until wishing I had it on the go.}
  • The bewitching hours between 4-6 when dinner, children and my patience collide.
  • Coat shopping for Morgan - she refuses to wear coats because she's so little she can't move in all that fluff.
  • Snow boot shopping with all three children at 4pm. Bewitching hours in full swing. One foot measurer. Three kids. Two special kid chairs for trying on shoes. Three kids. Hair raising shrieking and foot stomping tantrums common. Special kid chairs make a great loud hollow noise when kicked. Happy and tantrum throwing feet find this very amusing during check out time. No future trips back planned. Ever again.
  • Talking Easton out of wearing the Mr. Incredible costume he loves because it's made for a 4 yr old, not an almost 7 yr old. It's not a pretty sight! Hurray for a cool, cheap skeleton costume saving the day!
  • Finding out we are eligible for a local tax exemption on our utilities that we just paid in August. Tax was between 28-32% of the $2,000 or so we paid. Overview: Here we pay a lump sum each month and the account is settled once a year. Americans routinely use more than our European counterparts so settlement is never pretty. Applying for that tax break just sounds like the funnest thing ever, doesn't it? Gathering papers, filling out forms, appointments, working with a gov't office, communicating with utility companies where English is not their first language . . . I just can't wait! It'd be hard enough in the States. Bring it.
  • Doing catch-up homework with Easton. He doesn't mind a little homework, it's like a status symbol around here. Now McKay declares he has homework too and practices tracing and writing his name while Easton does homework. That part is really cute. However, when we recently went out of town, Easton had to catch up on some work missed. Three one-sided worksheets took an hour and a half one evening. He'd get the giggles and be in play mode each evening while it took every ounce of self-control I possessed to grin and bear it with the voice of a loving Snow White princess. I think Ryan heard me swear off traveling ever again many times last week if it involved Easton missing school.
  • Laundry. Soccer practice on fields where each kick of the ball sprays mud in every direction is my favorite. Scrubbing that mud out of 4 peoples' coats, clothing and shoes was a pure joy. I hope to repeat it this week and next. November 6 can't come soon enough!
  • But you thought I loved coaching? I do really enjoy it, but there's a season for all things. I'm feeling it's time for me to be my kids' cheerleader and not have a whistle on my lips, a needy baby on my hip, a 4 yr old crying on my leg, while my free arm is waving down my 6 yr old who's raiding the bag for any scrap of snacks instead of participating in his practice that I'm trying to orchestrate for his 11 teammates. Half way through most practices, my boys are off on another field playing because soccer practice doesn't hold a candle to wide open space, a brother who's your best friend, and a pre-occupied mom.
On the other hand, Ryan has discovered he really loves being the coach and he's made for it! We held practice too early to be a good mix for his new contract so sometimes he can't make it. But the kids love him! Parents and other coaches express appreciation for how he handles tough situations. He may coach next spring and I'd happily be his admin and cheerleader but not co-coach.

So as you can see, life keeps rolling right along for us. There have been plenty of sweet moments too. The kids all pounce on Ryan the moment he gets home from work. Reminds me so much of the rough housing us kids did with my dad growing up! In the past week, Morgan has once again taken to wanting to snuggle/play with her momma for a while in the evenings. Her favorite is if I'm laying in my bed, she wants to lay right next to my face to be tickled, smooched, sung to or whatever. I've been trying to keep sneaky colds at bay for a few weeks now, so there's been more snuggle time available around here lately. Morgan's language is really exploding lately which is a lot of fun!

McKay has taken advantage of my down time too. On Saturday, I was laying on my bed browsing online while he sat right next to me singing the Peanut Butter Jelly song right in my ear as his tunes played. Have you ever tried to read while a 4 year old tries to sing all the words to a clever little ditty, completely tickling your ear? He had me in a fit of giggling tears! Then Morgan joined in on my other ear trying to sing too. For the record, McKay's favorite song is Gwen Stefani's "The Sweet Escape." He requests it anytime we get in the car, arrive home, or otherwise. Loves the "Wooo-Hooos", he does!

We had Easton's first parent/teacher/child conference at his new school. Having that makeup work was actually good to watch how he works on things and where he is. Then at the conference, it was fantastic to hear how well he's doing! His teacher had the children fill out a rubric matrix sheet showing where they felt their performance, interest, and understanding level was for reading, math, writing and specials (drama, choir, music, and P.E.). Easton had filled that out and then we discussed it, often with his teacher talking him into moving his assessment over to the "excellent" column which he was more than pleased to do. His writing and asking for clarification on work assigned by his German teacher were the things he could improve on but even those were good. She said he is a good example to his peers, respectful, engaged and well liked by everyone. I'm happy to see him gaining more confidence and being more chatty, asking tons more questions. I'm glad we tried this school even if today I had serious withdrawals from the simplicity my life had last year with the school bus.

Always a mixed bag!