Friday Free for All~Back to School Edition

These short school weeks are hard. The kids are WIPED OUT when they get off the bus, and by wiped out I mean cranky and angry and not at all a pleasure to be around. We’re taking a trip to the library after school today in a desperate attempt hopes that everyone will get rid of their crankies before we step inside the house. Parenting school age kids is a rough gig sometimes.

September is my vacation time. Classroom volunteering doesn’t begin until October (after the myriad of testing dates-3 weeks worth-end) which means I have free time to myself after a long summer vacation of only having free time when I went to work. I can play Candy Crush with no one looking over my shoulder, eat a piece of candy without everyone whining that “it’s not FAAAAIR” and generally take a small breather during the day. Oh sure, the house needs to be vacuumed and the collection of paperwork from school is starting to breed (already, I KNOW) and oh look the dishes aren’t done. But in order to be a better me when the zombies darling cherubs get off the bus, I’m going to drink coffee, fritter away time on Facebook and read a book. At least for today.

Fall showed up on our doorstep the other night and it’s glorious right now. The mornings have been chilly and the afternoons have been nice, unlike last week when the kids were sweltering at school and we had to run the air conditioners all day. The leaves haven’t started to turn their gorgeous colors quite yet, but this new weather pattern will definitely help the cause. Fall has always been my favorite season and I try to soak it up when it arrives. I think I need to go dig out some fall related decorations today.

Soccer is on the agenda for us this weekend. What about you?


Back to School

As much as I’m ready for summer vacation by the time it rolls around, I’m even more ready for the kids to head back to school come the end of August. My kids love school; they love the structure, the time with friends and generally not being all together, all the time like they are when we’re home for the summer.

The kids headed back to school last week, even if it was just for two days. This year I have kids in 3 different schools~middle for Meg, a grade 3/4 for Drew, and K-2 for Annie and Izzie. The younger kids all still ride the bus together (thank goodness!) which does make life a bit easier.

Meg’s heading into her last two years of middle school as a 7th grader. Sixth grade was hard for her, not academically, but socially, and we were both so glad when that year ended and we could both move on. Seventh grade has great promise, with a new team of teachers, best friends who are REAL friends, and the ability to play middle school sports (other than ice hockey, which she could play as a 6th grader). Field hockey practice started on the first day of school and she’s LOVING it! She’ll be ready to go when ice hockey season starts at the end of September (nothing like overlapping sports).

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Drew has left the younger elementary school and is a 3rd grader now. He’s in the same classroom that Meg had as a 3rd grader, which is fantastic as I LOVED her teacher. He’s excited to be back to school with one of his best friends in his classroom with him, and can’t wait to dive into more multiplication, which he started doing last year. Drew’s playing travel soccer this fall; he’s already played keeper twice and is really enjoying it so far. Soccer and hockey will overlap for him as well, so our fall is going to be very busy!

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Annie and Izzie are sharing a classroom again this year, as 1st graders. Our district is fantastic about letting the parents decide how to place our twins. I talked with their kindergarten teacher back in the spring about their placement, then wrote a letter to the school with our request. For now, they’ll stay together until a)they start to compete with each other, b)they request to be separated or c)all of the above. They each have their own strengths (Izzie is a strong reader and Annie has strong math skills) so they don’t compete too often. Having twins in school is still a new phenomenon for me, so we’re take things year by year. The girls will play soccer again this fall, but have opted out of hockey for the year. They’d like to take dance classes but we haven’t made a decision on that yet.

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I’m trying to get myself back into a semblance of routine as well. I’m still working at least 1 day a week in the office, volunteering on two different youth sport board of directors and am the team administrator for Drew’s soccer team. School classroom volunteering will start in October, so I’ll use September to clean house and breathe.

Who else is excited for school to be back in session? Am I the only one?

Sickness. And Sports.

I had so much fun participating in Momalom‘s Five for Five and thought for certain I’d get back on the blogging horse. I enjoyed coming to this space every day, thinking and writing. But then real life threw a kid with two bouts of strep throat back-to-back in my face, together with 3 other kids with some flu bug that just won’t quit, and my blogging time went back on the back burner.

When I haven’t been dealing with sick kids, I’ve been at baseball fields and I have to tell you, I love it. All four kids are playing this season~Meg’s 2nd year of majors softball, Drew’s first year of player pitch, and Annie and Izzie’s first year of t-ball. Meg’s settled into her role as catcher, a job she shares with 2 other girls on her team. She’s eleventy-billion feet tall and has a great arm.

Drew has pitched in two games and caught in one so far this year. His team is made up of 7-9 year olds and he’s such a good little player. Maybe he’ll take after his big sister and like being behind the plate.

Annie and Izzie had their first t-ball game Friday night and it was a ton of fun. Annie is a switch hitter (for those of you who don’t know baseball, it means she can hit either right or left handed; it’s rather uncommon).

Izzie likes to prance about in the field, but she’s all business up at the plate.

Coordinating the schedules for four kids playing sports is challenging (to put it nicely). This coming Wednesday all four of them play, at the same time. At different fields. As Doug is Drew’s coach, he will stay with him; I will have to drop Meg at her field and then stay with the twins for their game. We should be able to catch the end of Meg’s game since t-ball is only an hour and softball takes at least two hours to complete on a weeknight. I finally put all four schedules together on a calendar for my mom the other day, then had a good cry. It’s not fair to have to pick and choose who I get to see play when they have conflicts. Since Annie and Izzie are only 5, staying at their field is the right choice. With everyone being under the weather I’ve missed two of Meg’s games and one of Drew’s in the past week. While the kids are pretty good about the overlapping schedule issue, I do hate hearing one of them needle me with “you haven’t seen me play lately.”

I’m keeping my fingers crossed that the rain that just started this morning carries on through the day so that Annie and Izzie’s game gets postponed, as Annie is sick and Izzie has a terrible cough (the end result of this bug). I’d rather they both be able to play instead of just one, and I already wasn’t going to be able to attend as Meg has her final chorus concert of the year tonight and that’s where I’ll be. It’s the price I pay for having four involved, active kids. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

If you have multiple kids in sports or other activities, how do you balance it all?

It’s been a long, long time

I’m sitting in my “computer room”, which is a room with my computer, shredder, piano, books, school papers, bills, hats, mittens, games, shoes, and cats (at the moment). I’m looking at the mountain of snow in my front yard, which had been melting a bit until we got about 18 inches of fresh snow starting on Friday. Winter is a long season here in Maine, where it can be 40 one day and then 15 the next. Last year at this time the snow was almost all melted. I think it’s going to be June before all of this snow is gone.

It was school vacation week last week and I fully intended to rest, relax and catch up on blog posts~writing my own and reading and commenting on others’ posts. But Megan was in a hockey tournament over the course of the week and I was sick with some awful cold that I’ve had for three weeks that’s just lingering, so when we weren’t at the rink, I was curled up under a blanket watching Star Wars movies or coughing like someone with the plague. I avoided most social media, other than the occasional email or Facebook post. I took Meg to two different playdates (are they playdates when the kids are 9 and 10?) and event spent a few hours with friends on Sunday scrapbooking.

I can’t believe it’s March first though. It felt like January out when I took the kids to school today, which was their first day back from vacation as we had snow, sleet/freezing rain and rain yesterday, which kept them home. While I enjoyed the quietness of vacation, I like having my schedule to rely on. It forces me to get up and shower every day, drink smaller cups of coffee and make sure that things get done, like laundry or dishes or bills. That doesn’t mean I’m not looking forward to April vacation though, which will be after hockey ends and before softball and baseball begin!

So it’s been a long time since I’ve sat here and clicked away at the keys and written something, anything on this blog. I suppose it’s because I’m living life instead of just writing about it, but I think there needs to be a happy medium between the two. I want to live life and then come back here and share it. That is the sole reason I start this blog~to share my life. Certainly, I like comments when I post, because really, who likes to write into the void. But I don’t write solely for the comments, but for myself, to remember what I’ve been living. I can’t scrapbook every little aspect of our lives, but I can bring some of it here. So I plan to be around more, sharing more. Make sure you hold me to it.

All Aboard the Bullet Train

Um, so it’s been a couple of weeks since I blogged. Whoops. So, hop aboard the bullet train if you’d like to play catch up.

  • Meg is loving third grade. The homework is too easy for her right now so I’m hoping things pick up in that department here post haste. We haven’t gotten a single newsletter home from the teacher which is a letdown after last year’s teacher sending us DAILY emails with PHOTOS!
  • Drew started his last year of preschool last week (i.e. his THIRD year) and is really happy for the first time since he started there. He goes an extra day this year, and stays for lunch there each day. This year is all about kindergarten preparation. He’s such a big boy (you know, except for the constant tantrums and lack of listening ears at home).

  • I went back to the spine doctor earlier this month. In a nutshell, my discs are going to continue to deteriorate and my herniated disc will always be herniated, but if I’m not in pain then I don’t have to see her or go to PT. I haven’t been on any pain meds for a month so the Prednisone did the trick. I think I can live with that.
  • The twins are on a nap boycott. To say that this sucks is an understatement. Izzie threw herself out of her crib AGAIN yesterday but at least she didn’t break her collar bone again. Drew’s new school schedule is a contributing factor as we’re picking him up when they’re usually going down for a nap, but even this weekend was the same~no nap. I may be turning to drinking earlier in the day if this keeps up.
  • Apparently H1N1 (aka the Swine Flu) is going through Megan’s classroom. I say apparently because there’s been no official word from the school and it’s all hearsay from kids in the class, but not from my own child. All of my kids have stuffy noses at the present time and I’m watching them like a crazy person for any sign of a fever.
  • Doug and I are heading to Boston next Saturday to celebrate my brother’s wedding. It will be fun to see him and his wife, as they’ve been in PARIS since September 1st. It’s also our 11th anniversary that day so what a fun way to celebrate.
  • Fall is almost here. The leaves are beginning to change, and the twins and I are going apple picking with Drew’s preschool on Friday. I can’t say I’m sorry for this summer to get on out the door. It really wasn’t one of our best.

What’s new with everyone else? I’ve been trying to read blogs but commenting has gone out the window these days. Usually the kids are trying to kill each other when I’m trying to read, making coherent comments a thing of the past. I’ll get back to everyone soon, I promise!

Ooh, let’s play catchup, shall we?

Did you miss me? I’ve been here, reading bits and pieces of blogs, but have been too busy/tired/sick to write. So, now that Doug has headed off to hockey (yes, it’s 10pm on a Tuesday night; he plays hockey at 10:40. Isn’t that dumb?) I will play catchup, bullet style.
  • I didn’t quite catch what the kids had during Barforama, but I didn’t avoid it altogether, either. I spent the afternoon of the 3rd asleep. Yes, my awesome husband came home from work early so I could take a nap. It was nice. I never nap unless I’m under the weather.
  • I was better on the 4th, so we headed up the coast for the Bath Heritage Days. We got there in time for the parade, which was great, just really hot in the sun. After a bite to eat, we decided to drive further up the coast in hopes the kids would nap. Ummm, no. Meg and Drew were demon spawn in the car and only settled down under the threat of death no fireworks. It was indeed a hellacious day with them. The fireworks were good, except that we sat behind a building that caused us to miss some of the fireworks. And let me just say that I pointed this out to said awesome husband, who insisted that we were fine. Anyhoo, Meg LOVED the fireworks, Drew was too tired to deal with them, Izzie slept thru them and Annie fussed thru them. About right in my book.
  • We took the kids to Range Pond (pronounced “rang”) on Sunday. It was a first for the twins, and to our surprise, they loved it. Last year they were only 6 months old and had to be kept in the shade, so while Doug and the kids played in the water, I sat watching babies. This time we ALL (yes, even me) went into the water and had a really good time. Of course no one wanted to go home, but in the end it was a good day.
  • Meg had her first eye checkup yesterday. I was a bad mama and didn’t take her before she started kindergarten. But, turns out her eyes are fine and the eye doctor doesn’t see any indication that she is going to have bad eyes like me. Thank goodness, because not being able to see without my contacts or glasses bites. Doug took Meg and Drew to the driving range yesterday morning as well, while I battled the Return of Barforama. I think I was just tired though.
  • Today Erika joined us for a trip on the Songo River Queen II. It was a nice 2 1/2 hour boat ride on Brandy Pond in Naples (Maine). Seriously, thank goodness for the breeze from the boat moving, because today was incredibly hot and sticky. The pond has a lock system, so the kids got to experience the locks. It’s all done by hand, so it was really cool to watch.
  • Tomorrow we’re going back to Range Pond in the morning. Oh, and then it’s BON JOVI BABY tomorrow night, in Boston. Going to try to smuggle my camera in, but I don’t think I’m sitting anywhere close to the stage in order to get good pictures. Because Jon Bon Jovi is smokin’.
Ok, so that was a lot. Now for the good stuff: pictures.

(at the parade)

(at the parade; Annie is on the left)

(waiting to ride some rides)

(I LOVE having a fireworks function!)

(at the pond)

(she wanted to be a mermaid when she grew up)

(the boat)

(Meg, with Erika)

(such manly men)

(silly girlies)

(yes, he is holding a garter snake found in our garden tonight)

I survived Barforama!

Phew. I think we’re done with Barforama 2008. After one last barf ALL OVER DOUG Tuesday at lunch (and yes, I laughed, heartily~mean I know, but really, it always happens to just me), the girls have been better. No one is eating particularly well, but I’ll take that over all the barfing. I have managed, so far, to avoid being sick. I’m sure that I’ll wake up tomorrow sick because we have plans for the fourth. Crossing my fingers and toes that that doesn’t happen.

It’s been a really long week here. The “I hate summer” whines continue from Meg, even though she had Erika this week to occupy some of her time. They took two really long walks in the woods, just the two of them and had a nice time. But as soon as they rejoined the family fold, the attitudes started up again. We sent Meg to summer camp for a few days last summer, and it was a nightmare. It was just day camp, and we thought with all the activities, she’d have fun, but on the first day she lost her favorite sweatshirt, and then she was bullied by a couple of older kids, and even had her money taken from her at the roller rink. In all, it was a bad experience, so this summer she is staying home. She is ice skating Monday nights and loving it. We’ve had to cancel some play dates due to illness and her horrible attitude, so this week has basically sucked.

The bright side is that Doug is on vacation starting tomorrow. I need him here more than I can describe. Between the sick kids, the fighting between the older kids, the heat and humidity, my patience (ok, really, I’m a Type A personality so I have no patience whatsoever) has flown out the window. Tomorrow we’re going to take the kids to Bath for Heritage Days and if they manage the day well, we’ll try for the fireworks. I am highly doubtful that will happen, but maybe with the promise of that treat, they’ll be good. We usually host the 4th (especially when we had our pool at the other house) but I basically told Doug I can’t manage it this time. What with the cleaning, food shopping and preparing, I am just too worn down for it right now. Thank goodness our families were ok with it. Next week we’re going to Naples (Maine, not Italy) for a ride on the Songo River Queen. We’ve never taken the kids, but Doug and I did the trip once many moons ago before we were married. I think the kids will have fun. And of course, next week is our trip to Boston with the niece and nephew to go see Bon Jovi (we got our 17 year old niece and 16 year old nephew tickets, which totally freaks us out, because they’re old enough to go to an awesome concert with us). Woo hoo!

Right now I am looking around my “computer room” and thinking that a house cleaner is in order. I call it a “computer room” because it contains more than just the computer~the piano (yes, my grandparents’ piano that I inherited. Wish I played it; I can play, I just don’t), bookshelves, kids crap everywhere. The rule of putting things away after you’re done with them just doesn’t apply to my kids. Well, that’s not true; it applies, they just refuse to follow it. I think next week we’re taking a Super Nanny approach to our family life and making up a schedule for the kids to follow during the day. Somehow I’ll have to fit cleaning up in there. Because in all honestly, I don’t have the energy to clean up after them after changing diapers and trying to keep the girls from tearing apart the house all day. I haven’t even had the energy to blog, or really comment on blogs this week.

One thing I did do was watch Baby Borrowers last night. Did anyone catch it? I was freaked out by the premise at first~5 teen couples get to “play house”~they get a home to live in, they have to get a job (one of them) and for the first two episodes, they were “parents” to someone else’s child for 3 days. I was thrilled to see that the child’s parents watched EVERYTHING on a closed circuit tv, and were close enough by to come over when things got bad. Doug and I sat there all on our soapbox saying things like this: “Welcome to the real world” and “That’s what being a parent is all about”. OMG. My mom says those things to me (hi Mom) and it makes me nutty, so to hear it come out of my own mouth was a tad bit horrifying. Because really, I don’t handle my family as well as I could, so I have no right to be all judgmental. Good lord.

Ok, I have to stop blogging and do something productive. I was in the middle of putting laundry into the dryer when Drew decided to fall, smack his face on a table and split his lip. Guess I should get back to it. Blech.