Thursday, July 30, 2009

Eight at 28

Will and I celebrated eight years married on Tuesday. He's insane and actually bought me a gift, which he surprised me with on Monday! It was a box of Seacret body products, really nice stuff, really too expensive, but the guy works now, so I think he deserves to spend his money on me if he wants to. Then, Tuesday we did get to go out after the kids were asleep. He had dinner, I had dessert. Remember, he doesn't get home until 7:30. That was after a day of Tie-dying with the campers AND having an interview in the middle of the day, so I was so tired Wednesday that I went to bed at 7:30 and slept until 6:30 this morning. (Today is Thursday.) I'm so tired from camp that I've decided I will NOT be doing it again next summer. I want my summer back and so do the girls.

Will thinks camp is really good for the girls. I agree. But, not for eight weeks. I'd send them for four at the most. The swimming lessons are fabulous and they have fun, but it's exhausting. Also, they don't get that time that kids need to just live inside their own heads. After dinner tonight G put on some dress up clothes and started playing some make-believe game, talking out loud to someone only she could see. I had to give her a five minute warning to clean up about 3 times. If you have kids or work with little kids, you know it can be very difficult for them to switch gears or stop playing their imaginary games. They get so involved. In the end I had to put her in time out because she started screaming "No" at me and throwing a fit. Next summer, my goal/vision is to be living in a house in Baltimore (renting) and having worked a school year (something I perceive as exhausting, but hopefully not as much as camp because I won't have the long drive, at least only the first half of the year and not with the kids) so I will stay home with the girls and do fun things, like: join the Library Reading Club (and actually participate in the daytime activities/shows they have, which we couldn't do this summer, though we did do the Reading club), go to the pool, go to the park in the evening and not have to get to bed early, go camping, sign them up for short programs like art classes or a couple weeks of swimming lessons, maybe join the YMCA for the summer (or longer), go to art museums and national parks... lots of possibilities.

When I think of all the things they get to do at camp: art class, science, world tour, swimming, karate, sports, games, performances, archery (when they're older), I do think about doing it again for them. But, then I think about when I was a scheduled kid during the school year and longed to have time to "smell the roses," I remember writing that in my diary many times, I realize that summer was my break and I wouldn't EVER give back my summers at the pool and at home with my siblings and family and friends. I had fun. I had time. I was a kid. That's what I really want for my kids. I'd rather spend the money on one or two structured activities in the summer and do things on our own time the rest of the summer. Music lessons are high on my priority list, so that's a definite goal I have for next summer. I'll provide the paper and paint, books, music and dancing and I'll let them live in their own heads. TV will have to be banned, though, I already know that. Maybe only designated times for it, like an hour a day. I spent way to many hours in front of the TV growing up and S is very much like me, loves her TV time, has figured out how to use the remote, and thanks to being able to reading the guide on my parents digital TV, can pick what show she wants without having to stand at the box and channel surf like I did. Lucky ducky. This morning Will told the girls he wouldn't bring a TV to our new house if S was going to whine to watch TV when she had to get ready to leave. Oh they didn't like hearing that. But, really, one reason I SO want a finished basement is to put the TV down there and one in our room. We only had one TV when I was growing up and it was in the basement, so there was never any TV in the morning before school or during meals. I'm pulling a lot from my childhood here, but we learn from our past, so this is what I have to go on.

Eight years and two children and still we aren't on our own, yet. I'm not discouraged, though, and I certainly wouldn't change anything about my family, when it started or how it grew. I look forward to our future home and life, but the girls are growing so quickly I need to focus on them more. Hence, the ramblings of this post in thinking about how I want to be with them more and have them home with me more. Also, I'm REALLY missing Will. We've been so spoiled to be home together so much the last 3+ years in NC. We saw each other a TON. So much that sometimes I'd wish he had somewhere to be during the day more so I could just be home getting stuff done and anticipate seeing him later. I'm more productive when he's not around to distract me! Now that he's gone later working, I miss him lots.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

In and Out of Love

I don't know too much about purses, but I do like them. I like shoes, too. Which is why I went to Marshall's with birthday money today and ended up coming home with one pair of sandals and one purse, ahem, I mean satchel. The shoes are not worth putting a picture. They are totally utilitarian, completely for comfort Dr. Scholl's, bought only because the clearance sticker read $10. Think Teva-like straps, but in blue leather. They fit perfectly and they will make my feet happy without having to be in sneakers on the weekends. I get tired of wearing sneakers all week at camp.

About the satchel. As I said, I don't know much about bags and bag designers and trends, but I wanted a bigger bag, one that could fit my notebook calendar because my life is pretty scheduled these days. I wanted a bag that did NOT have it's own belt. Why so many belts on bags? My previous brown purse, which has served me well and will probably still be used on occasion, has a belt buckle on the front that is completely for show. I can understand the more useful belted strap so the length can be changed, but I was still steering away from all buckles. I also wanted color and something that could transition into fall/winter. It came down to a purple bag and a teal bag. The purple bag was quite plain except for the exciting striped lining AND the most exciting feature: a key ring with a piece of leather that snapped onto the inside lining. I HATE searching for my keys inside my bag and used to have a clip that I used to hold my keys either to my belt loop (when I had a clicker for the car, but now I don't--switched cars with Will) or to the strap on my bag. I lost it and haven't replaced it yet. So that feature pulled me, but there wasn't much else I liked about the bag. Even the color was too muted. The teal bag was a hard sale for me. I was afraid it was too showy, too trendy maybe, too fringey (there were a lot of bags with fringe and G kept asking, "Is that for Indians" to which I replied, "You mean Native Americans and no, it's just leather fringe for decoration." I still struggle with making the switch, but come on next-generation, get with it!) The bag is so soft and the color is deep and it does have a great feature: Two pockets on the outside that can perfectly fit my sunglasses case and my cell phone, maybe even keys, too, until I get another clip. I brought it home thinking I can just return it. I get such buyers remorse before I even leave the store, jeez. But, as soon as I took the paper out and got a feel for how it moved with my actual stuff in it, I knew I had my bag. It's me. I even cut the fringe a little shorter. Shhh. Look on ebay and these bags are selling for $50 and up. I got it for $34, yes, I like to share my bargains, are you jealous? The price tag says $79 retail. The tag also says it's in the "red" line by marc ecko (it's all lower case, guess marc's cool like that) and it's in the Tucked Away group. The tag also says "In and Out of Love" and I see that being highlighted on eBay bags. So, maybe you know something about that. I think it's pretty and I am going to enjoy using it.

In other news, I'm 28. My baby is 4. We have the same birthday. At camp they sang happy birthday to us and what do you think some kids asked me? "Why aren't you the same age?" Yeah, I had to explain about years and months and stuff. It was pretty cool to have that with G. I love that she's 4, but my first born was a mischievous, destructive 4 year old. I wonder how this one will be.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009


S, having just finished kindergarten, is a new reader. A few months ago, while reading aloud, she came to the word "Oh." I'm looking at the page. I see "Oh." I hear S taking a big breath. I ask her what she's doing. She points at "Oh" and says she's reading.

Oh, Dear Y

I miss the Y. I miss my kickboxing class, my step class, the people I saw each week working their butts off (some, I literally saw their butts--and thighs and waists--getting smaller through the months!). Without the Y my workouts have become few to none. I knew this would happen. I didn't want it to happen, but it has. I've lost weight, too. And it's probaby MUSCLE weight. I look forward to the next gym membership we can get.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

What I'm made of

Tomorrow I am starting week four of summer camp. I am psyching myself up for another busy, yet good week. I am less than thrilled about the curriculum scheduled this week, however, I'm adding my own spin. The students have been great. The kicker is the counselors who seem to WANT to get on my last nerve by taking paper and drawing when I've explicitly said I do not want adults to draw in my class. I even printed up a helpful Do/Don't informational sheet for the counselors at the beginning. Yeah, I got a couple, "what, we can't make anything?" but I explained it on the sheet. Still, there are the counselors who either forgot, are new, or are just bucking my system purposefully who start drawing before I even realize it. Of course the kids are just in awe of the counselor's abilities, even though the counselor says he/she's not a good drawer. Once the drawing has started, I don't say anything. What am I to do, snatch the paper out from under them?

I've come up with a good analogy. The camp doesn't allow counselors/teachers to "score" on a camper in any sports game or to pitch anything other than underhanded, gentle lobs. This is because adults are stronger and have better motor skills than the kids. It's the same thing in art. The kids can't compare to the adult's more developed motor skills and experience. Hence, adults should not draw for children.

Sometimes I wonder if I'm ready for this full-time work thing, if I'm up to it. The kids I teach right now are good kids, easy. Few discipline issues. What about when I have some really tough cookies? What about when I'm developing all the curriculum on my own? What about when I'm sick and tired and I just want a week off? I wonder if I even want to work with kids every day. It's exhausting. It ages you. Have you ever seen a retired teacher you knew as a working teacher? They are completely different! They suddenly have less wrinkles, better hair, brighter eyes, relaxed smiles. I ran into my fifth grade teacher a few years after she'd retired. She was volunteering at a local museum. She looked so much younger than I'd remembered. And I've gone back and looked at pictures to compare. She really did look older her final year teaching (after my brother's class, which is how I have the pictures) than she did 6 years later. Well, if I ever get a job we'll find out just what I'm made of.

Friday, July 3, 2009


S has it. She's taking a shower right now with minimal help from me. Soon I'll have to tell her it's been long enough, but she gets out and gets dressed independently. She's been awesome at camp. Always has a smile for me when she sees me.

G took advantage of an unknowing soul this first week of camp. I had told her counselors not to bring her to me except as a last resort, but a director felt pity and brought her to my class on the second day. She had been upset all morning because of a loud pep rally. I was teaching a lesson, so I just waved and went on. She left with the director willingly. When I met her later at lunch she cried as soon as she saw me. I know it's not for show, she was overwhelmed. She calmed down quickly and then her group came to my class after lunch. Wednesday she did better, but was still quiet and shy. Then in the car and at home that evening she was made noise and talked nonstop. Thursday (our last day) she didn't see me until the very end of the day and she had the best day, playing and talking and smiling.

The campers shows went well yesterday. My backdrop looked pretty cool and I was acknowledged at the end of each show, so that was nice. All the teachers worked on getting it done and it wouldn't have happened with just me doing it. S loved performing. G had a hilarious scowl on her face during both of her songs, but she did some of the hand movements.

Today both girls showed their independence. We spent the day at a beach on a river. G played in the sand and waded in the water, made friends with other little children. S swam out further and also made friends with other kids. They played together only at the end when Uncle M got in with them. I was able to sit in a chair on the beach under a mostly cloudy sky (great for my paleness) and talk with my sister and mom and breath in the lovely lighter fluid/charcoal scented air. Well, that part wasn't so lovely. Someone next to our picnic table (just up from the beach) grilled various meats all afternoon, five hours! Still, it was nice to sit outside all day. The water was pretty nasty, so I didn't swim and I couldn't wait to bathe the girls when we got home. Blech. But mostly today was beautiful.

Now, what's this about Palin I'm seeing on the news? Strange, crazy woman.