Would you believe that I had the house to myself for 48 whole hours this past weekend? It.was.awesome.
My parents had lunch at Ye Olde Land of Fruit Elementary School with Sydney on Friday to celebrate Grandparents' Day and while they were nearby, they swung by the house to kidnap the boys for a couple of days. Just two hours later, Ryan and Sydney were on the road heading toward East Texas for their very first camping trip (Syd had an absolute blast, btw, so I'm guessing this is going to be a regular thing).
So that left me with an empty house. Ahhh....
While I thought I'd spend the entire time vegetating, I surprised myself by getting quite a bit done. In those 48 hours I managed to:
* clean out Liam's closet.
* organize and pack up all of our baby gear to either give away or sell.
* clean out a flower bed.
* put mulch down in another flower bed.
* give myself a pedicure.
* go to dinner and a non-animated movie with my sister ("The Time Traveler's Wife").
* read an entire book ("The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society").
* re-organize a bunch of photos of the kids.
* read the entire Sunday paper.
The only bad thing about the weekend is that my annual case of allergy-related hives struck on Saturday. And as if the hives weren't bad enough, my hands, feet and face began to swell, too. I woke up this morning (my hives episodes can last up to a month or two) with big, full lips that rivaled those of this famous celebrity. Unfortunately, the hives also caused my eyes to be puffy and swollen so I looked more like Janice from "The Muppet Show" than the above-linked movie star. C'est la vie.
While I had a great time on my much-needed break, I really did miss the kids. I didn't miss the whining (oh, the whining!), but I did miss their laughter and kisses and hugs. I think we all needed a little break from each other so that we could be reminded of how much we really love each other. As sappy as it sounds, absence truly does make the heart grow fonder.
So I haven't given an update lately on what the kids have been up to. They keep me on my toes, but they definitely keep me laughing, too.
1. ...has decided that she should get a cell phone in the 5th grade because "all 5th graders have them." What it amounts to is that she knows one 5th grader who has a cell phone (my niece).
2. ...scored a 100 on her math test and a 103 on her spelling test. Woo hoo!
3. ..."moved her color" (got in trouble) last week. With all of the tears, you would have thought her best friend died or something.
4. ...is going camping with Ryan this weekend. In a tent. In the woods. With no TV. (I'm sure I'll be posting about it next week :) ).
5. ...has declared that she is tired of pink. However, she's worn her pink uniform shirts to school the last two days. Hmmm.....
6. ...is still enjoying gymnastics. The other girls in her class are a lot bigger and older than her, but she holds her own.
1. ...is obsessed with ambulances. He calls them "amboolance chucks (trucks)."
2. ...is also obsessed with "Thomas the Train" and "Bob the Builder". And after watching them, I think I figured out where the current president got his campaign slogan of "Yes we can!" (It's also Bob the Builder's motto.)
3. ...loves the movie "Cars." I DVR'd it a while back, watched it a couple of times and now talks about it all the time. He wants to sleep on his "Cars" sheets, wrap up in his "Cars" blanket and when he saw a little boy with "Cars" crocs the other day, he demanded a pair for himself.
4. ...is asking for some stars on his ceiling. Both Sydney and Evan have glow-in-the-dark stars on their ceilings (left by the previous owners) and I think he's a bit jealous. I think I know what we're getting him for his birthday.
5. ...has his first dentist appointment next week. We've been playing dentist the last couple of days and reading books about it, but I am still not looking forward to it.
6. ...is having loads of fun at Mother's Day Out. His teachers are really sweet and the bullying issues of last year have not reappeared this year. Hurray!
1. ...runs everywhere. And when he's wearing his squeaky shoes, he runs even faster because he loves to listen to them. Luckily the squeakers come out for those days when I just can't take it anymore.
2. ...is now saying about 20 words. I am loving it! Of course, none of those 20 words is "mommy", but he'll get there. I think it's hilarious when he points to the TV (when it's off) and says, "Elmo."
3. ...likes to stand between me and the cabinet when I'm trying to cook. Talk about a kid getting underfoot.
4. ...can't stand it when Liam runs to the potty and I shut the door. He wants to be in there with us so so badly. I guess he thinks he's missing something fun. Of course, he often sees Liam getting an m&m when we come out, so I guess I can see why he thinks that.
5. ...can drain his sippy cup in 30 seconds. The boy loves his liquids.
6. ...got his first real haircut last week. I now have a toddler, not a baby. Sniff. Pictures coming soon.
Remember how frustrated I was when I tried to get Liam to say the words "baby" and "mommy"? Well, I'm frustrated no more because he is now saying both of them quite clearly. You should have seen the smile on my face when he finally called me "Mommy" and not "Nonny." I made him say it no less than a hundred times that day.
We're now working on words that start with "w" and "th". I never realized how difficult it can be to make those particular sounds. And don't get me started on words that start with "st", "sk" or "tr". Pretty impossible for a kid who just now figured out "m" and "b".
He's getting better at combining words to make phrases and sentences, too. He's still leaving out articles ("a", "the", etc.), but we're finally able to have little conversations with him. I'd forgotten how much fun it is to get a peek into the thought processes of a two year old!
A couple of days ago, Ryan took him and Sydney to the pool. When I asked Liam what he did at the pool, he told me he peed in it. I cracked up laughing - he is such a boy!
He is still way behind his peers and I know he'll need more speech therapy once his third birthday rolls around in a couple of months, but he's improving a bit each day and I couldn't be happier. Hopefully, great strides in language will lead to great strides in potty training. One can hope, right?
I'd only known them for a few weeks. I was still mixing up their names and getting my classroom completely organized when it happened. And while many of the faces of my former students have become blurs, the faces of those 24 fourteen year olds will be burned into my memory forever.
I remember standing in the front of the room and taking roll when the announcements came on the loud speaker. The assistant principal had already come to my hallway during the second and third periods class switch to hurriedly whisper what had just happened. I already knew what the principal was going to say, but I still found myself shaking and barely able to hold my pen while I marked the attendance. I was glad that my students didn't notice that my eyes were filled with tears.
The looks on their faces as the principal related the morning's events will haunt me for the rest of my life. In a few short moments, these 24 teenagers went from carefree adolescents to thoughtful and worried almost-adults. They wanted to be brave and strong, but most of all they wanted to understand why such a horrible thing could happen and who could commit such atrocities. Sadly, I could not explain it or the motives behind it.
We only knew the most basic of details. The television in my room was not connected to cable or an antenna so it was (thankfully) useless. I was unable to find out much on the computer since millions of people across the world were trying to access the same internet sites as I was. We spent our time rehashing what the principal had just told us and I tried my hardest to put an end to speculation and rumor.
I could only try to comfort them. I did a pitiful job of it and I'm sure my tears did little to lessen the confusion and emotional pain they felt. We talked a bit about Pearl Harbor and I did my best to assure them another world war was not going to break out. Of course, I had no way of guaranteeing such a thing, but I knew those kids were looking to me for reassurance and I didn't think a little white lie would hurt.
One of my students knew better, however. Her father was in the National Guard and she was well aware of what could be coming - the inevitable fallout from such an attack was not a mystery to her. I could do little to comfort her as she laid her head on her desk and sobbed.
The bell eventually rang and they left my room looking like zombies, as did the other 950 students who had just had similar experiences in their 3rd period classrooms. We spent a few days discussing, reassuring and comforting and then we went on with our school lessons and lives.
Every year on this date I think about those 24 kids. I wonder where they are and what they're doing. They'd be 22 or 23 years old now - old enough to have jobs, to have graduated from college, to have started families. They'd be old enough now to have a bit of historical perspective on the situation, perspective they didn't have as teenagers.
I wonder how they remember this date. When someone asks them, "Where were you when it happened?", what do they say? Do they remember how the principal's voice broke while she read the announcement over the loud speaker? Do they remember hugging their classmates? Do they remember how they felt when they realized that the world would never be the same again?
Obviously, I'll never know how they have or will respond to the question. But I'd like to think that they would remember that their teachers and administrators did the absolute best that they could on such a horrific day. I hope they realize that we were just as lost and sad as they were and that nothing could prepare us for their questions and for the range of emotions that we all felt.
Most of all, I hope they never forget how they felt that day. I know I won't and I will most certainly never forget those 24 teenagers. We share a bond, those teenagers and I. And when someone asks me where I was on that fateful day, I think of them and how the events of that day may have helped shape them into who they are today.
With his older sister and brother at school, Evan is having a blast. He's been getting me all to himself on Tuesdays and Thursdays and I can tell that he is loving the attention. He can't tell me, of course, but I think he's really enjoying not having an older brother around to steal his toys or push him over.
But while he's getting my full attention a couple of days a week, I feel like he's been left out on the blog. The older kids recently had posts documenting their first days of school, but as he's still home with me full time, Evan missed out.
So, to be fair and equitable, here are a few recent pics of my little sweetness:
He loves going to the pool...too bad it will be closing soon.
Liam started his second year of preschool today. Since most of his last year's class moved up with him, he didn't hesitate one bit when it was time for me to leave today. He had a great day and I'm hoping it's a good indication of the year to come.
Here he is right before we left:
(I'm still working on getting him to smile for pictures :) )
And here's a reminder of how much he's grown over the last year:
You never know when an item of news will make you smile.
After reading this article, I'm starting to feel better about my inability to lose all of the baby weight. I guess I can finally stop feeling guilty for sneaking some of Liam's potty training M&M's every now and then. :)
I don't know if you've noticed, but I'm no longer commenting on your status updates. I haven't had the courage to completely drop you from my "friend" list, but I have hidden you from my main page.
While I enjoy reading about what you're up to, your kids' first days of school and the new cars you've purchased, I don't want to read about your political beliefs. An occasional news link here or there doesn't bother me, but when every single status update contains something political or inflammatory, I lose interest. Besides, I have my own opinions; I certainly don't want to hear all of yours.
In case you haven't figured it out, life is short. And having my blood pressure rise every time I read something you've written probably isn't good for me. So....goodbye. I hope you have a great life. I may occasionally check out your FB profile or wall to see what you're up to, but I'm not going to subject myself to your closed-mindedness and/or political diatribes on a daily basis anymore.
Wife, mom, chauffeur, chef, maid, referee - just a few of my jobs as a stay at home mom of three kids in a town I like to call The Land of Fruit. Sydney is eight, Liam is four, Evan is three and I am exhausted. But I love my life and I try to find the humor in all it has to bring.