Tuesday, June 28, 2011

3 year-old thoughts

Summer is here and life has gotten crazy. I should restate that...life is always crazy, it's just picked up a notch. T is out of school, both boys are taking swim lessons, T is playing soccer, and we're moving in a month so I'm trying to pack as well. Absolute craziness but the kids don't seem to mind. Their imaginations are still working over time and they are still taking the time to observe the smaller things in life.

Bang! Crash! Crunch! Rattle, Rattle! The dump trucks and front loaders do not understand that it's summer and that I have a sleep past 6:30 policy. They barrel down our road  before 7:00 without the courtesy of waiting or being quiet. This annoys me but delights my little men. I hear their scampering feet running to the closest window as they ooh and aah over the construction trucks. They comment about the moving arms, heavy loads, and dumping capabilities. I have to giggle as I stretch my tired limbs...life with little boys.

I tip-toe into the playroom to watch my boys in action. J turned around and ran to give me a hug. I scooped him into my arms while his little limps wrap around me and asked what they were looking at.

"They're building my home.", he stated with big bright eyes.

 "You're right, they are building someone a home. They're working fast huh?", I replied.

"No Mama, they are building MY home. T is going to live over there (he points to the empty lot next to the building site)."

 "Oh, that sounds like fun.", I replied. "What are you going to eat and who is going to clean you're dirty pants. Are you going to start going in the potty?", I asked hopefully.

"No, I am going to let you change my pants.", he said with a huge grin.

So much for wishful thinking.

Another J comment: We were rushing out the door to head to the store. I'm trying my best to hustle the children out the door when J freezes next to the plants. I've learned to stop and see what he's looking at when he does this. There is usually a great story behind it. As I got closer, J asked me to look at the purple flowers. I searched for something that could be interesting...a bee, broken branch, weeds. I couldn't find a thing.

"Why is the flower crying mama?", he asked with a whimper.

I looked closer at the plant, I realized that it looked like it has been shaken by a giant. Little purple petals made a halo around the border. It had been crying purple petals on to the ground. The perfect circle was speckled with an assortment of deep purple and gentle lavender. I wouldn't have given it a second thought if my son hadn't brought it to my attention. I'm so thankful they are both home to point out the smaller things in life that I tend to rush past.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Last Week

This is the last week of school for my son. As many of you know, I have taken a year off of teaching and have struggled with being out of the classroom. Life leads you down certain paths for a good reason though. This path has led me to an amazing teacher and now friend. Across the hall from my son's classroom is another Kindergarten teacher. When she heard that I was a teacher, she quickly invited me into her classroom and had me working with children. Her eagerness to have my help filled a teaching void and allowed me to enjoy my year off.

While working in Mrs. D's classroom, I met a young boy who came from a challenging home. We've all had these children in our classroom...they look like they just rolled out of bed, they are covered in dirt, smell like smoke, and have non-healthy lunches. This poor boy's troubles don't stop there though...he struggles with retaining information, making connections with others, filtering out noises, and focusing on a task. These children always seem to be my favorites at the end of the year. This little man is no exception.

I walked into T's school last week, ready to work with "my" kidlets in Mrs. D's classroom. As I entered the room, my little friend K met me with a smile and a gentle hug. His sleep deprived eyes were sagging but his eyes twinkled like a star struggling to be seen. "Can you read to me today?", he eagerly asked. I smirked and gave my head a nod. As we settled into our corner on the floor, he said that he had a surprise for me. I asked if he'd like to read first or tell me the surprise first. He said that the surprise could wait.

K has struggled with remembering his letter sounds and blending for many months. He has the skill one moment and forgets it the next. Today was a beautiful reading day. After finishing each sentence, he would flash me a smile. I would give him a high five and push him to read more. My eyes got a little misty as I watched my kiddo's confidence soar. He had come such a long way and I was so very proud of him.

After our time together finished, he began to giggle.

"What are those giggles for silly?", I asked.

"I passed all my tests (DIBELs testing)...I get to go to first grade." The words jumped from his mouth. Then he curled his arms around my legs and gave me a huge hug. "Thank you for helping me.", he whispered.

"Thank you buddy, for working so hard. I'm so glad I got to work with you. You are one very special guy.", I choked out, trying not to burst into tears.

One moment shared, and one that I will never forget. Teaching really is a rewarding job and I'm thankful every day that I get the honor of doing it.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

White fluffs

My floor is scattered with these white fluffs. It looks like my children have been shredding cotton balls and leaving a trail like Hansel and Gretal. I gently cup my hand and begin to gather up these "crumbs" that litter my floor. My hand quickly filled with the stuffing's of an incredibly soft fluff. I quickly throw it away and start again. This is a daily occurrence in my life. Why not vacuum you ask? Because I just finished vacuuming moments ago.

As many of you already know, I have a Siberian Husky and it is the time of year when she "blows her coat." It's more of a blizzard then a blow but thankfully it only happens twice a year. I knew what I was getting into when we purchased this breed...however, I was unaware of how many vacuum bags I would go through. We moved to the East Coast this past summer from the Northwest. Sasha (our dog) would shed a few chunks all year round (in the mild rainy weather) and I would complain about the mess. Little did I know that hot humid weather would make her look like a buffalo. These little white tufts that litter my floor are nothing compared to the sheets of fur that can be removed with one gentle tug.

Yesterday was the perfect example of the life of a husky owner. My husband lumbered into the house after a long day of work and stopped at the entry way. "It looks like a bunny blew up in our home!", he exclaimed. I looked around our living room and started to chuckle. White fluffs were everywhere...the Easter bunny would have been nervous. He was right...it was a mess. We both looked at Sasha who had white tufts parachuting out of her coat. As my husband sat down to remove his shoes, he was attacked by the Dust Huskies that scooted out from under the chair. "I swear that I just vacuumed.", I yelled in my defense.

Time to make an appointment with the groomer. I'd have to make sure that they had plenty of garbage can liners for when she arrived. This was a job that I was not volunteering for.

Stanley Cup Finals

I am ashamed to say that I am a week over due in posting my amazing week. Better late then never.

I was honored to get tickets to the first home game (3rd Stanley Cup Final Game) of the Boston Bruins Stanley Cup Finals. As my son's vice principle stated, "This is the Super Bowl of Hockey." She couldn't have uttered more truer words.

If you haven't been to a Bruins game, then let me explain. After each goal, the crowd screams a loud "Whoo!" My husband prepared me for this but I was only able to Whoo once the last game I attended. This game was very different. I felt comfortable yelling out comments during the game. "Shoot the puck already!", "You've gotta be kidding me!", and "We want the cup!" None of these utterances filled me like the many whoos that flew from my eager lips this night.

As the music reverberated through my body, my eyes scanned the ice like a hawk searching for prey. I held my breathe as I watched shot after shot ricochet off the posts. As the goalies pads lifted from the ice, I saw the black beetle-like puck scurry into the net. I bolted from my seat, shot my arms into the air, and screamed out a loud WHOO! Then came the loud whoops and hollers. Strangers spun around and slapped my hands as they screamed and jumped.

Moments later, I was springing from my seat and bellowing another WHOO! Hands were combined again and lungs were pushed to their limit. I began to claw at my itching palms that screamed from all the clapping and slapping.

Whoo - Whoo - Whoo - Whoo - Whoo - Whoo!

8 Whoos later and I was descending the stairs to leave The Garden. The opposing team's fans held their heads down, a look of pure bewilderment in their eyes. How could they have one the first two games and get walloped this game? They tried not to draw any attention to their clashing blue and green as they were smothered by a sea of black and yellow. Chants of "Let's Go...Bruins!" filled the hallways and echoed in my ears. Once outside, the chats continued and were accompanied by car horns and feminine squeals.

I leaned against my husband and said, "I am giving you fair warning...I may wake up in my sleep and throw my arms up in the air and yell Whoo!" He smiled, threw his hands in the air, and gave a manly Whoo!

What a night...my head quickly welcomed the pillow when we arrived home. My eyes looked at the clock and registered the 12:45 time while my heart began to slow down and my breathes became fewer. Whoo and good night.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Hamster in a Wheel

photo © 2007 Dom St-Georges | more info (via: Wylio)
 After a long day, I feel like the hamster whose been running around in circles and going nowhere. When the wheel finally stops, I collapse and beg for a much needed nap.

The Two Writing Teachers have put out the question of "What is your reason for not writing?" Where do I begin? I know that I make time for things that are important to me, but why doesn't writing ever make the list? Let's see....

My excuses (even if there shouldn't be any)...I'm a Navy wife so I try to pick up the slack when my husband works long hours, I have two children that soak up my free time while they are awake, cooking meals (ugh), doing laundry, cleaning the house (all of it), yard work and cleaning up after the dog, kitty boxes and furballs, vacuuming (I have a husky who is blowing her coat), errands that need to be run (can we say grocery shopping?), and preparing for a move. However I do have time to write after the boys go to bed. Of course the comfy chair beckons for me to plant my bottom on it...for just a moment. Then the cat comes and snuggles in and my eyes begin their descent. Occasionally I will muster up the energy for a few chapters in a book but writing tends to get the backseat unless it's Tuesday (Slice of Life Day).

With Ruth giving me permission to expose my excuses and get to writing, I will try to post more often during the summer. We still have another week of school here but I need to make the time to write. It helps me document my life and become a better writing teacher. So thank you Ruth for the motivation to get started again.

Now I'll let the keyboard rest and cheer on the Bruins. Now or Never! Whoo!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Lobster Pie

My husband had a work function at a local restaurant this weekend. Each function seems to be at a new restaurant that includes delectable seafood. I do love my shellfish, so I couldn't resist ordering the lobster pie. Maine is full of lobster restaurants but this one is my favorite so far.

I should probably start by saying that this was a steak house with one seafood entree on the menu. While the rest of the guys contemplated what kind of cut they would be getting, I quickly closed my menu...seafood would be sitting in front of me tonight.

We chatted and joked as we waited for our food to be served. Steak was passed around the table, and oval ceramic containers full of succulent asparagus cuts, garlic mashed potatoes (cloves included), and sauteed mushroom heads were laid out on the table. My plate was the last to be delicately placed on the table.

photo © 2005 tup wanders | more info (via: Wylio)
I wish that I would have taken a picture with my camera, but I wasn't thinking so I'll have to paint you a picture. On the snow white platter was a triangular cut tower of pastry. Beside that was gargantuan clumps of lobster nestled in a buttery cream sauce. Potatoes, carrots, celery, and mushrooms buoyed in the cream lake that filled my platter. The smell of buttery creme filled the air as I inhaled to savor this moment. I pierced the potato and carrot first before adding my lobster as the topper to my fork. My lips gently folded over the cold utensil as the warm flavors began to overwhelm my senses. The ever so slight crunch of the potato accompanied by the firm, yet chewy lobster was the perfect combination.

After savoring the first bite, I began to inhale the rich goodness that filled my plate. The Captain, sitting across from me, carefully leaned over and hinted that I should slow down before the white wine arrived. He assured me that the wine would accentuate my meal...but it hadn't arrived yet and I wanted the rest of the plate to join my tummy. I smiled and slowly began to pick at the remaining bits on my plate as I waited for my wine. All I can say is....YUM!

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Birthday Fun!

My oldest son turned 6...Oh my goodness! Since this is his first year of school, I wanted to make it an extra special birthday. There is a Fun Zone down the road from us that has go carts, miniature golf, laser tag, arcades and a batting cage. How could I go wrong? It also HAD to be a Mario Brother's theme. My mom is the expert at finding obscure items, so I enlisted her help. Mario items started arriving by the box fulls. Reservations were made, invitations were sent, and Grandma was flying in from WA...we were set to go.
The children started to arrive one by one. T's eyes lit up as his friends lugged in wrapped boxes and fancy bags. He jumped up and down and proceeded to give everyone the grand tour of the grounds. He was so very excited to have this special day. Arcade coins were handed out and the children scattered to all corners of the room. Motorcycles roared, skeeballs rolled to victory, and pucks floated across the air covered table. "Ding! Will T's party please return to the table for lunch!"

The children quickly appeared out of nowhere and began gloaming their food. "I've changed my mind", stated one of the little girls as she shoveled her sweet winnings into her mouth, "I'm not hungry." The mom in me wanted to force the issue but I sweetly smiled and told her to wait while the others ate their food. After eating their pizza and hot dogs, the cake was lit and set on the table. The birthday anthem was sung and mounds of cake were placed on their plate platforms. "I like cake, but not this one.", said the same girl from before. Again, I smiled through gritted teeth and told her to clean her place. After presents were quickly unwrapped, it was time for laser tag.

I was very nervous about how T would handle laser tag. He is deathly afraid of dark spaces but bravely walked into the black light lit room. I hovered around the score board outside watching to see how my munchkin was doing. About halfway through the time, the back door creaked opened. My son's head peaked out as he whispered, "that was scary." I wrapped my arm around him and praised him for giving it a try. One step at a time.

After laser tag was finished, we all headed out to slap some balls around the green. The cool breeze greeted us as we opened the doors to exit. Green mazes twisted and turned with white billowing flags guiding the way. The children started out taking turns but this took too long. They then began to gather together as they whacked the balls into the holes. Some even resorted to picking the ball up and placing it in the hole before moving on. The type A personality in me began to scream...NO, you MUST follow the rules. I took a deep breathe, looked at their excited faces with smiles and grins and remembered that this was a day for them. I smiled and watched as my youngest son, J, followed behind his big brother. The children cheered as the final balls were swallowed up by the remaining hole. They then bounded towards the door in anticipation for more fun.

Balloons and goodie bags were handed out as my son waved goodbye to his friends. Hugs were given and thank yous were exchanged. It was a fun day and one that I hope was memorable to my big guy!