Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Good Things, April 2013

First dune hike of the season

Filling cream puffs on Easter with Grandma

Jemma's family

Running and fundraising with a great friend

This one, with her head constantly in a book

This one, with her fingers dancing across the keys

Making Jolly Rancher suckers on a Sunday afternoon

Stinking up the house & setting off the smoke alarm with this yumminess

Sous chef, stirring the risotto 
Irresistible bright pink rain boots

My little daffodils, finally blooming

Showing some speed and tenacity on the field

Little artist #1

Little artist #2

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

In Which I Get Overly Proud of the Kindergartner

She's in the shower and she asks innocently, "Is she really naughty?" She's referring to a classmate who I guess might struggle with some sensory or learning issues. Tonight, Jemma's been telling me about all the times this little one has needed extra help "making good choices."

"No," I tell her. "She's just learning how to be in a classroom. Some kids just take longer than others to learn those kinds of things."

Jemma is incredulous: "But mom, we've been in school for 130 days!"

"Well, I'm sure you're a good friend to her and to everyone, right?" I say.

"Yeah," she says, her voice mixing with the shower steam, "Sometimes I hold her hand and ask if she wants to sit by me on the rug. And Monday she was wearing leopard pants, so I promised her I'd wear my leopard leggings on Tuesday." I think back to yesterday: leopard leggings, purple shirt.

"I bet she loved that," I say.

"Uh-huh," she says, and she finishes up making a potion for her sister to find when it's her turn in the shower next.


Her homework one day was "List five words that describe you." Jemma's list:


I suppose she thought she should keep it real - you know, talk about how awesome she is, while also admitting that she's occasionally furious and mad.


Her New Year's resolution was, in part, to try more new foods (YESSSSS!), and now at least once a week at the dinner table, she'll pause before a bite of broccoli or cannellini beans or pork chop and ask, "Will you tell Mrs. M?" And I say yes, and I end up texting her lovely teacher the details of just what Jemma tried that night. I'm going to get as much mileage as I can out of that resolution.


Before Spring Break, Jemma came down the stairs one morning, casually sporting a green skirt around her shoulders, with her neck and head sticking through the opening where her waist would normally be. (Additionally, she was wearing a green-and-white striped shirt with navy-and-white striped leggings.) She seemed quite proud of her look, so off to school she went. Fifteen minutes later, a text from her teacher: "Love her style. A skirt as a wrap!" She did it the next day, too (different skirt, of course) and we began referring to her as Project Runway. I think she was trying to start a trend, but sadly, the other kindergarten girls didn't seem to catch on, and her coat interfered with the flounciness of the skirt-as-shawl look, too. I have my fingers crossed for a resurgence later this spring, though.


She wrote a poem yesterday after reading a book of poems and patterning it after one she'd liked:


Do you Like Blue? Do You Like red? Do you Like SLeping in your Bed?

do You Like YeLLow? do You Like WHite? do you Like SLePing At nigHt?

She brought it to school this morning, then brought it back home this afternoon with a glowing note on it from her teacher. I was praising her efforts and creativity when she got it out of her folder this afternoon, but she looked less than thrilled.

"What?" I asked.
She pointed to the first line. "I like this line the best."
"Yeah? Why?" I asked.
"The other one . . . there aren't enough words in it," she said.

I was secretly thrilled. I mean, I don't want to brag, but she's basically scanning poems correctly at age six. I see a bright future! Like . . . being an English major! Everyone knows that's where the big money and abundant jobs are, right?


Her teacher and I have decided to keep her in kindergarten forever.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Pleasantly Surprised: Spring Break 2013

Considering that the weather has been decidedly un-springlike and the majority of the town has been jaunting around in tropical locations for the last ten days, I thought I'd coast into this day on fumes, just barely making it through our "staycation" with my sanity intact. (Side note: I hate the word "staycation." No reason, just do.) But it's been mostly just me and my girls, and it's been surprisingly OK. I planned ahead, tried to make sure we had at least one above-average thing to look forward to each day, and then let the chips fall where they may. Turns out, we have a bunch of fun together. Turns out, taking a break from the normal schedule (school, homework, soccer, piano, yoga, dinner, bath, bedtime) is refreshing even if you're not in Florida or Mexico or, you know, someplace exotic where the temperatures in April feel ready to hover above the forties.

I just uploaded the entirety of the photos from my phone from the last ten days to the computer, and there are pictures in this batch that remind me of things I had already forgotten we did. Which makes me realize just how handy this little computer in my pocket can be. I know there have been a bunch of articles lately about the dangers of valuing your phone more than the people in front of your face, about the horrible things that ensue when kids, teens, and tweens get caught up in social media, but I'm noticing, this week especially, the way that snapping a quick picture of a good moment helps buoy my spirit - both when I take the picture and later, when I find it again. Just now, I smiled over images of a sweet sleepover, a sunny family afternoon on the soccer field, a chilly but beautiful beach hike, rollerskating with friends, hula-hooping, frozen yogurt treats, pedicures, piano practice, Easter at my parents', happy hour with the cousins, and morning snuggles with Jemma.

Along those lines, the girls and I embraced a fun little photo challenge this week. I've passed down my point-and-shoot to the girls now that I have my DSLR, and both girls have old phones that can only take pictures and play music, so April 1 seemed like the perfect time to kick off Positively Present's 30-Day Gratitude Photo Challenge. It's posted on the fridge, and it's encouraging to see the girls look each morning for their challenge, then spend a little time seeking out (and, hopefully, feeling grateful for) that item in their day. I'm sure it'll fall by the wayside once the regular schedule kicks in, but here are my first seven days:

:: books (gift to myself for no reason)

 :: smile

 :: favorite food (Harmony pizza)

 :: sky

 :: leaves (the hundred daffodil and tulip bulbs I planed in the fall are emerging)

 :: something funny

(That last one was taken just minutes before something much funnier happened, which was our entire family jumping our guts out at Sky Zone for an hour. If only I hadn't emptied my pockets, we could have photos of Jemma belly-flopping into the foam pit, Jason dunking on the basketball hoops, and Annie and I parkouring off the trampoline walls in unison. I'm going to be sore tomorrow.)

The girls have their own blurry unique photos in each of these categories, and I intend to combine them into some sort of collage at the end of the month. I've kept gratitude journals before, and we've had Thanksgiving trees each fall, but this is a new, easy, more visual way to stop each day and remember all the little moments that make up a very happy life.