Monday, October 30, 2006

No Weekend Hangover!

Today I'm feeling..... good! Refreshed. Awake and alert (and after only 1 cup of coffee - so far). I'm chalking up these good vibrations to simply a really good weekend. Nothing fancy, but a stellar family weekend nonetheless.

What made the weekend so good, you ask? Well, first we had Nicholas's final soccer game on Saturday morning, and despite a rocky start (another meltdown sigh)
he rallied and played pretty well, even managing to score a goal. We had the end-of-season pizza party afterwards, and it was fun hanging out with the parents. I've met some fun people through the soccer team and I'm hoping more connections can be made even now that soccer is over. I think that one or two of the other moms have friend-potential.

Then we had a successful playdate at our house with our neighbors daughter. For 3 hours. Which is some sort of record with this child. But the kids did great together, which allowed ME the time/space to carve 6 pumpkins in peace. Yes, 6. I spelled out the word "SPOOKY" in pumpkins. What can I say? I get bored with carving faces year after year. THEN, Mr. Chick and I got all dressed up for a Halloween costume party and went out. For some reason I wasn't looking forward to this party, but I was happily persuaded to enjoy myself when *I* won the rock-paper-scissors and wasn't our designated driver for the evening. The hosts of the party went balls-out and decorated their entire house for the event. They made papier-mache spiders - tons of them - and had them everywhere. The snackables were all cleverly made/labeled in the spirit of the holiday. It was all very done. And pretty much everyone who attended, without exception, wore a costume. Which is cool, because I've been to some costume parties where only a handful of people bothered with costumes and everyone else just came dressed as they normally would (which, let's face it, on some people their normal clothes ARE costumes!). Lots of creativity in the costumes. I especially liked the girl who came as a lamp post and ingeniously had the pole covered with flyers and posters and notices that made references to friends and specific incidents. Funny. Mr. Chick (aka G.I. Joe) commanded the beer pong table for awhile, so that was fun, too. Nothing says "Party!" like a good beer pong table. It takes you back. I enjoyed many drinks and had the perfectly happy buzz one strives for when drinking. Not too much, but just enough to relax you and make the evening very enjoyable. And no hangover the next day. Perfect! Plus, it makes you slightly horny and a decent romp is a nice way to end a fun evening.

The next day, Sunday, was Lauren's 3rd birthday party in true Spiderman style. I spent the morning cleaning up the house and picking up supplies at the grocery. What pissed me off, though, is the fact that still DAYS before Halloween most of the good Halloween stuff is already sold out. What's with that?? I couldn't find spider web stuff for the life of me. I had to improvise and make a web out of cheesecloth and got lucky with a tube of plastic spiders in the toy department. Why must I plan for Halloween at Labor Day??! Grrr..! Anyhoo, the few decorations I did turned out nicely and the place looked good for the small party. It was heavy on crafts - pumpkin painting and Halloween and/or Spiderman placemat making - because 3 year olds are still a bit young to corral for games. But I needed to channel their energy, so crafts it was. And as a bonus, I didn't have to put together those lame goodie bags for each guest because they got to keep their pumpkin and placemat. Which is cooler, don't you think - than a bag full of cheap dollar store crap and candy?? I do. As a mom, I loathe the goodie bag and often just toss most, if not all, of their contents when my kids are the recipients. But I digress... the party was successful and much less chaotic than I was envisioning. There were 4 kids plus my two in attendance, and one parent for each kid plus my mom. So a manageable size. We gave Lauren a Cars (from the Disney movie) tricycle and she's been riding it in the house pretty much non-stop ever since. Credit Mr. Chick for that one - it was his idea and he went out and got it for her. She loves it.

The time change sort of minimally messed up bedtime and after the big birthday party day the kids were wiped by 6:45. Normally bedtime is 7:30, but I put them down a little earlier to compensate for Daylight Savings. They were asleep by 7pm. *I* was asleep by 9:30. We all got up a little earlier than normal today, but felt great for having got so much sleep. I even went for a 3+ mile run this morning BEFORE getting Nicholas to the busstop (aka our driveway). So I'm feeling really good, like I always do when I get to run in the morning. At the YMCA, I workout in the afternoons. I prefer mornings. But with the crazy-short morning Kindergarten schedule, it's hard to get there, workout, and get home in time. Plus, we go back 2x/week for swimming lessons in the afternoon anyway, so better to combine the trips into one big exercise extravaganza.

How was YOUR weekend??

Friday, October 27, 2006

Overprotective Mom??

Now that Nicholas is in Kindergarten we're experiencing a host of new things. Lots of "firsts". Among them? New friends and first playdates with these new pals. Which I'm totally down for and am actively arranging. In fact, I've been the one to take the lead to make contact with the moms/parents of a couple of the kids that Nicholas seems to like from school.

One mom I've had a chance to talk with several times since we've both volunteered in the classroom at the same time. Like us, her oldest is a 5-yr old boy and she has a 3-yr old daughter. Her son also rides the bus home from school. I feel very comfortable with her and have been encouraging a playdate. We've emailed back and forth trying to come up with a date that will work out. She's invited us - all of us (minus the working dads...) over for lunch after school and then playtime for the kids. Totally appropriate and something I'm looking forward to. It gives us moms a chance to talk and get to know one another, but it also allows the opportunity for us to get comfortable with each others households and parenting styles so that we can move on to kid-only playdates with ease and familiarity.

But the other playdate I'm arranging? Different story. This kid rides Nicholas's bus home everyday, and everyday he asks if he can get off the bus with Nicholas. You can't just do that for obvious reasons. So I sent a note to the kids parents asking them to contact me so we could chat and figure out how we could get the boys together for a playdate or something. Weeks went by with no response from the parents. And yet everyday this kid is asking to come over. Finally I just jotted down his address off his backpack tag, knowing he MUST live close if he's on the same bus, and we walked over to his house. Turns out, he goes to an in-home daycare after school, not his own home. Ah-ha! NOW I know why it's been so difficult connecting with the parents: they both work. Gotcha. The bummer? The daycare lady essentially shut me down for letting the kids play, too.

Well, Nicholas was totally bummed out and kept asking to play with this kid. So we took another walk over to the daycare lady's house, just to see if maybe this kid could play. It was a lovely day...

Our timing couldn't have been better. It was 3:30pm and this kid's mother was just picking him up. She's off work at 3pm, apparently. So we were able to spend a few minutes chatting and making plans for this kid to come over to our house. (today, in fact. The kid and my two kids are in the backyard happily playing. I can see them from the computer, don't worry.) The mom was nice enough. She was fine with her son coming over to our house to play and just getting off the bus with Nicholas after school. He'll play here for a few hours and then we'll walk him back to his daycare provider's house so she can pick him and his older brother up after work.

But here's where it's a little bit strange for me. The mom had only just met me and didn't know anything about us, where we lived, our phone number - nothing - and she seemed perfectly at ease sending her son to my house.
She didn't ask any questions. She didn't want to make plans for this first playdate for after she gets off work or even a weekend, just to assure herself of her sons safety at our home. I mean, as far as she knows Mr. Chick owns 73 guns that aren't locked and watches porn openly in front of the kids (he doesn't, but she wouldn't know that).

So perhaps I should take it as a compliment that she felt so comfortable with me after just having met me. I volunteered some information to her, and asked stuff like whether her son had any allergies to food or whatever that I should be aware of (I would be feeding this child lunch, after all, and didn't want to error there). Nicholas mentioned watching a movie, which he sometimes gets to do in the afternoon (quiet time), but I double-checked with her about whether her kid is allowed to watch movies - kid movies - during the day or not. That sort of line of questioning. I want to be as respectful of her as possible and appreciate when it's reciprocated. She was just very casual and said that it's all good - whatever. Um, ok.

So am I strange in thinking that it's wise to know a little bit about the people with whom my child spends time? To not want to blindly send him somewhere with people I don't really know? Am I just being an overprotective mom of my firstborn? (maybe this inclination simmers down with siblings and you've been through it once? This kid does have a 5th grade brother....) Because we've never really faced this before. We've always been in playgroups during Nicholas's preschool days so I knew the other moms, and we weren't yet at a point where we just sent the kids over without a parent. We're at that point now, it seems, so this is new territory. I have sent Nicholas over to my neighbor friend without me, and she's done the same with her daughter, but we KNOW each other. We've become friends and feel comfortable with our kids being in each other's home.

Is it me? How do others approach this? I'd love to hear from you about your situations and how you handle such things. What do you do to feel ok about letting you kid go somewhere without you? Do you do any sort of checking beforehand? Do you simply trust the other mom? Input much appreciated!

Thursday, October 26, 2006

We've Been Spooked

What do you think of chain-letters? Because me? I pretty much hate them. I once participated in a "panty chain" because I was, well, young and I thought it was kind of funny. I think that was the last chain-anything I've ever kept going. The occasional e-mail people send saying sweet things like "friend appreciation" stuff and beseechingly request that you forward the email on to 10 friends to tell them how you feel or you'll get 100 years of no-friend bad luck or other such crap? I don't forward them on. Ever. My friends don't need me cluttering up their inboxes. And while I appreciate the sentiment sent to me, it ends there.

But last night I got hit with a new one. And you know what? I liked it. I'm even tempted to continue the chain (gasp!). It's called, "Spooked", and it's a ring-the-bell-and-dash sort of thing. Our family was sitting around in our living room reviewing the disaster of a soccer practice (read post below) when the doorbell rang. Which is sort of unusual for that time of evening, and we weren't expecting anyone. We don't often just sit around in the formal living room, and the front door is essentially part of this room. So it was only mere seconds after the bell was rung that I opened the door.

And no one was there.

Instead, I found two cute Halloween bags on the doorstep and a letter stapled to one of them. The letter was two pages with the first page being an image of a friendly ghost that had been colored by a kid proclaiming we'd been Spooked. The 2nd page explained. It seems this is a anonymous friend chain gift sort of thing. You're supposed to pick three friends and leave them some sort of little treat along with this letter, ring their doorbell and then run like hell so they don't see you. Our gifts - one bag for each kid - included some small chocolate candies, a pumpkin carving kit, and a small painted ceramic flower pot. The really tiny ones. The kids loved it, and I found the whole thing very charming. We're supposed to post the picture of the friendly ghost on our door so others know we've been spooked and we don't get hit twice.

Mostly I was majorly impressed with the speed and agility of whomever left the bags because they were flying to not been seen. I have no idea who did this. But I opened that front door pretty quickly after the doorbell sounded, and we have these long, low steps leading up to our door. They're kind of awkward, actually, in that each step isn't very high, but they're deep. Nearly 3 feet each. So you have take giant steps if you only do one step per stair, or you do the ungainly two-step per stair routine, which the kids HAVE to do. So to disappear so quickly was an impressive feat, to say the least. I'm guessing they took off over the grass and flower bed, which is raised off the sidewalk, and did a flying leap onto the sidewalk and a mad dash to the waiting car. I only saw the back of the minivan and couldn't identify who it might belong to. A real mystery.

But a fun one, don't you think? I kind of like this silly holiday practice, despite it being a chain letter.

So this afternoon I might be hitting the store to pick up a few little do-dads for a little Spooking later tonight. If your doorbell rings and you open it to find a treat on your doorstep, you know it was me. Fair warning.

Taking A Dip In Murky Parenting Waters

Self-doubt. It comes with the parental territory, I think. It starts with fairly benign things like whether to let your baby cry for 5 or 10 minutes before rushing to pick them up, and deciding to push the envelope and go for 10, and then punishing yourself for waiting so long when you see Juniors tear-streaked chubby cheeks. Self-doubt and guilt tend to go hand-in-hand, at least for me.

Which makes the scene at yesterday's soccer practice quite poignant, and why I'm still reviewing it in my head this morning.

We all know Nicholas is an emotionally sensitive kid. We know that. Plus, he's 5 and not in full command of his emotions or reactions yet (oh how I fear his teen years and the angst he's certain to display daily!). But on the other hand, I do expect him to behave appropriately and reinforce core values at every opportunity. I'm a believer that a parent should be a childs parent and not worry so much about being their friend. It's not a popularity contest. But still, it sucks when you have to publicly demonstrate that belief.

So yesterday at soccer practice things started out well enough. Nicholas was happily running around with his teammates and I was enjoying the chit-chat with the other parents. I was tossing a football with Lauren and a 3-yr old boy and it was a very tranquil, pleasant scene. Then suddenly Nicholas came stomping off the field, sulking and pouty, and walked directly past me without saying a word and headed to the back fence.

Me: What's going on, Nicholas? What happened? (not having seen the offending incident, my eyes instead on the younger kids)

N: I'm sad.

Me: Why are you sad? What happened?

N: I'm just sad (said with heavy sigh and a big harrumph)

Me: Well, I can't help you if you don't tell me what happened. I'll give you a few minutes to cool down and then we can talk, ok?

N: But I'm sad, Mama!

I walk back to the parent group, Nicholas continues to sulk by the fence. A few minutes later...

Me: Are you feeling better now? Ready to go back and play soccer some more? The team needs you. Let's go!

N: But I'm still sad.

Me: Honey, please tell me why you're sad. Then we can fix it and you can go play. Come ON!

N: I don't know. Wah!

Me: Nicholas, the best way to not be sad anymore is to have fun. And soccer is fun! So either tell me what's wrong, or please go back and play. Everyone is waiting for you.

Other Mom: Would a cracker help, Nicholas? You can have a cracker. (hands him a piece of graham cracker)

Me: Ok! A cracker! Now, when that cracker is all gone, I want no more sadness. I want to see the smile I like so much.

Nicholas: munches cracker and begins to contort his face as he tries, badly, to keep a sour look on his face instead of a smile. He loves games like this.

Me: Oh! Look! There it is - your smile! Oops, you must be feeling better. Ok, ready to play again? (trying so hard not to show my growing frustration - it's been about 10 minutes of this drama)

Nicholas: (whining) but Maaaammmaaa, will you come play with me? I want you to come with me.

Me: Nicholas, you KNOW I can't play. I'm not on the team. You are. It's just for kids, not Mamas. But I'll walk you back to the practice, ok? Come on, let's go (holding out my hand for him.)

Nicholas: (takes my hand)

Me: Ok, that's better. Now I want to watch you play some soccer! (said in a semi-false cheery voice. gag.)

Nicholas: (running back to where we just came from). But I'm saaaaddddd!!! Wah!

Me: Ok Buddy, let's calm down. Can you tell me why you're sad? No? Take a sip of water and calm down. Everyone is asking for you to come back and play. They need you, Nicholas. We did not come to practice to cry on the sidelines. I'm going to slow-count to five and then I want you to go back and play. Ready? 1......2.....

N: NNNOOOOOO!!!!! Wah!

Me: Nicholas, this is silly. Either you're going to play soccer here, or we're going home. What do you want to do?

N: waahhh!! Now I'm mad, Mama!

Me: Ok, let's go. (begin packing up crap). We're done.

N: Noooo! I don't WANT to go home, Mama!

Me: yes, we're going home. You don't want to tell me why you're sad, or mad, and you dont' want to play soccer. We're going home. Now. Let's go. (finish gathering up crap, corral Lauren, and start long trek across the field towards the parking lot)

N: escalating whiny cry into full-blown meltdown tantrum.

Me: Picking up pace across the field because I'm sure everyone is watching this dramatic scene, and I hate that.

N: Pleeeeaassseee Mama! Let's not go home! I'll stop crying! I'll play soccer! Just give me another chance, Mama!

Me: No. You had at least 3 chances to go back and play, and you didn't want to. We're done.

N: waaahhh! (sobbing and carrying-on) You're the worst mama! I hate this! You don't listen to me! waaahhh! (accompanied by an attempt to hit me, stomping and kicking, and well, full tantrum.)

Me: grim silence as I think, "should I go back and give him another chance to play??" followed by "no, I'm not going to cave in to this behavior. I must stand firm. What I say needs to have meaning. Don't cater to this!"

At the car I had to get in his face to cut through his hysterics and tell him it's absolutely not acceptable for him to speak to me like that and to GET IN THE CAR! which he did. And then, finally, he started to calm down and we could talk about what happened. He was able, at last, to tell me what the original problem was (turned out he used the wrong foot to kick the ball - they were practicing kicking it a certain way and he did it wrong, according to him. The coach never reprimanded him or anything, but he self-flagellates and that's when he sulked off to the fence.).

N: Don't tell Daddy what happened.

Me: why not? Daddy doesn't get as mad as I do. Daddy doesn't yell. Why can't we tell Daddy?

N: Because he'll be soooo mad at me that he'll ask me to leave the family!

Me: Wha - ??! Daddy would NEVER do that, Nicholas.

N: I'm a bad boy. I'm a bad kid.

(lately he's been saying this stuff more and more. We reassure him - constantly - that he's NOT a bad boy and we love him no matter what. We've never once told him he's a bad kid. His behavior might be bad sometimes, but he is not. We make that very clear. And yet, he continues to say this. It worries me, on one hand, because of what it might be indicating about his self-image, self-worth. But on the other hand, it feels like it's an attention-getting ploy and he likes being reassured of our love for him. He likes emotional strokes.)

Of course I had him tell Mr. Chick what went down, and as expected, Mr. Chick kept his cool much better than I did in the heat of the moment. He's totally on my side and agrees with how I handled the situation - by leaving and not caving in. He's got my back, which I appreciate. But at the same time, I can't help but wonder if I was being too hard-assed about it. We'd been going round and round, getting nowhere, for over 15 minutes. He'd spent more time being dramatic on the sidelines than actually playing soccer. I'd had it. He's fine this morning, and really, he was fine last night, too. It's all blown-over. But I'm dwelling on it, replaying it in my head wondering how else I could have handled it. If there was something else I could have done to have prevented The Scene (the agonizingly slow walk across the endless field with my son screaming and promising to do better - to play if given just one more chance - while ALL THE OTHER PARENTS GOT TO WATCH). I wonder if I looked heartless and mean. Was I?

I'm sure we've all had moments of questioning our own parenting. This is my most recent. And they're only going to get harder as the kids get older. But it's important - really important - to me that my kids behave well and respectfully. I need them to know that what I say has meaning. That they can't just walk all over me. That they get nowhere by whining. I chose this particular moment to flex my muscle on the issue. I'm not sure my message sunk in, but I'm hoping that Nicholas will remember this the next time. That when you say you're on a team, you're on the team. You don't just get to misbehave and dink around on the sideline when you should be doing something else. And that when Mama says to play or we're going home, that that's exactly what's going to happen.

What do you think? Was I too harsh? Because I kind of felt harsh. Tell me some of YOUR questionable parenting moments. Misery loves company.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Life Ramblings

My sister just called and we were having a lovely chat until her cell phone battery died. The topic? Going back to school. We're both flirting with the idea.

The four of us sisters are all bright (if I do say so myself) and each of us have bachelor degrees. But my middle two sisters? Those girls are wicked-smart. They attended top universities (Notre Dame and Northwestern, respectively) and earned engineering degrees. Aeronautical Engineering and Biomedical Engineering, for chrissakes. On full scholarships, no less. Of course, their scholarships were from the Navy, so they each had to serve 4 years in the service, as officers, after graduation. But still - ! Not a bad deal at all, considering. My sister Katie served as an instructor at the Navy Nuclear Power School (jeez!) and while there earned her masters degree in something like Industrial Management from some random Florida school, all on the Navy's dime. She's the only one of us (so far) to go for an advanced degree. Both of those sisters currently work for Intel as managers.

So Maureen, who is the last of us sisters to remain single, is considering going back to school for her MBA. She previously considered pursuing a degree in genetics (she's the Biomed major, so that fits), but it's super-competitive and all-in-all, doesn't pay as much as you'd think. Maureen has MS, so she has to think long-term about her future, and needs to earn as much money as she can, anticipating the day she can no longer work because of her disease. Sad, but true. I don't even like thinking about that - bah! So that idea is banging around her head because Intel will pay for it. So does she stay local and take classes part time on Intel's dime, or does she go full-tilt at a top program (because you KNOW she'd get in, Miss Smarty Pants), take loads of student loans, and bank on fat signing bonuses and lush paychecks to cover the debt she'd incur? Choices, choices. Tough call.

And myself, I keep thinking I want/need to go back to school, too. For my Masters in Education. Why education? Because it's one of the most family-friendly professions AND I think I'd kick ass as a teacher. Do I love teaching? No. Not especially. But I think I'd be damn good at it, and having a job that is flexible for my family is more important to me. But what to teach? No way I could be an elementary school teacher. Not interested in the little kids. I envision teaching high school - maybe even middle school. My background is in marketing, and my favorite classes in high school (and college - it was one of my majors) were the marketing classes. I was even the king-sized dork who was a member (president, even!) of the school DECA* group and competed - twice - at the national level. I love marketing - what can I say? So that's what I'd ultimately love to teach: marketing. Or general business classes. The problem? There aren't exactly plenty of available jobs teaching that subject available. They're rather hard to come by, from what I understand. So would it really be worth me taking on student loans on the heels of Mr. Chick's student loans and investing all that time to go for a job that could take years to become available? Tricky.

* DECA stands for Distributed Education Clubs of America. The business/marketing club in high school. Geek!

The other area I'd be interested in teaching? Math. That's right, math. (stop laughing!) But only up to the algebra level. Beyond that I'm hopeless. Sure, I passed calculus and statistics in college, but only just barely and only with the help of a tutor. I couldn't solve a calculus problem today if my childrens life depended on it. But algebra? I think algebra can be fun and useful. The problem with me pursuing this line of teaching is that they expect math teachers to know how to do the really hard and complicated math, like calculus and beyond. You can't just know algebra really well and call it a day. So that's a HUGE roadblock to my becoming a math teacher. Damn.

And so the quest continues. Because I feel the pull to figure out what I'm going to do with myself once the kids are in school full-time. And at this point the notion of going back to work full-time in a gray cubical, one of a thousand identical drones living life in a cubical, doesn't appeal to me in the slightest. Do I go back to school or not? I simply do not know. It's a big commitment. Perhaps it's time to consider trying to find a job on the other side of marketing communications and work for an agency (I've always worked on the client side representing the Company). I don't know. I also don't know why I'm feeling the pressure to try to figure it out, but I do. I can't see myself staying home once the kids are in school, but I don't have a vision for what I'll be doing then either. It's like a big blank wall I can't see past.

What do I want to be when I grow up? What do YOU want to be when you grow up? Or, at least, what do any of my fellow SAHM's want to do once your kids are in school? How many of you know? How many of you plan to return to work at all? Is anyone else feeling stuck like me?

Friday, October 20, 2006

Smarty Pants

It's that time of year again: school conferences. And since this is our first go-around with a child in "real" school (aka kindergarten), I was pretty eager to attend the conference and find out how he's doing. Because sometimes it's hard to get much information out of the kid himself. He clams up and says things like, "I'm not ready to tell you about my day at school yet, Mama." or, when pressed, says "school was fine. I'm hungry!" So getting a good sense of how he's doing was no exactly forthcoming. Volunteering in the class was a better way to figure out that yes, school really WAS fine and he seemed to be doing well. On par with the rest of the kids.

But what did his teacher think?

Apparently the teachers and aides have spent time with each kid quizzing them on various things to get a baseline of what they know already. Where any gaps might exist. This is what we reviewed in the conference.

"Nicholas is doing really well in school. Does he tell you about it?"

"No, trying to get him to elaborate on what he does at school is like trying to teach him how to tie his shoes: impossible and frustrating."

She then gave me the overview of the assessment and began to dig into the details. First, he was able to identify all of the letters in the alphabet even when they were jumbled up and out of order. Good. But the part that makes you go "hmmmmm" is when she says he missed quite a few of the sounds each letter makes. Made especially unusual when you go on to discover that he can read. Really really well. Like at 2nd grade level or higher. But he doesn't know the sounds of the letters? Quite possible, actually, when you take into account that Nicholas reads like an adult: whole language reading vs. phonics. He "knows" the word by sight recognition and doesn't sound it out. This is a very unusual thing for a kid to do, so it kind of throws his teacher some, but what can you do? It's how he started reading, and I'm just glad he's a reader at all. But I also suspected that he knew more of the sounds than was indicated in the assessment and was either distracted or bored or anxious. Regardless, the teacher wants to make sure there isn't a gap in his knowledge and has assigned us homework to work with him on knowing the sounds of the letters, just to be sure. But when it came to the part where he was asked to read a series of sentances, he rocked 'em. Then he was asked to read a paragraph, and he nailed that part, too. His gift is reading, it seems.

Nicholas also was able to identify a whole page of numbers out of order, except 33. 33?! He identified 36, but missed 33. Strange. The teacher is not worried and said he's above level in this area. He was not able to identify a single 3-digit number, however. 158? Nope. Which is normal - we've never attempted 3-digit numbers with him, and it's nothing they even touch in kindergarten. He also garnered a big fat ZERO when it came to money. He couldn't tell them what each coin was worth, and therefore was unable to tell them how much money was represented in the picture that had several different coins. The teacher told me that this was more a 1st grade concept anyway. Ok, whatever. Clearly we don't emphasize money in our household.

Writing was an area in which he was deemed on par for his age, but I suspect he needs a lot more work. Nicholas has never naturally held a pencil/crayon correctly
, so he struggles with writing. Add to the fact that he doesn't sound out his words/letters, spelling and writing are areas in which he has little interest. It's a funny dichotomy: a kid who excels at reading could suck so badly at spelling and writing. The assessment asked the kids to write as many words as they could - any words they wanted. Nicholas managed "MOM" and started a second word beginning with "D", but that was it. I guess this is normal.

He was able to draw all the shapes in the appropriate boxes, except diamond. That one threw him. He got oval and rectangle, triangle, square and circle. But diamond got the best of him. He was also able to do what they call "making sets" where the ask the kids to draw little lines, like tick marks, in an area and count as they make them until the reach the number asked for. So if they say, "Make 16 sets" the kids have to draw 16 tick marks, counting as they go, until 16 and then stop. Nicholas got all these right. He was also able to count to 89 (although we've heard him go beyond 100 at home), count by 10's to 100, count by 5's to 10 (we've worked on this, but he struggles with it), and count by 2's to 2. This is something we've never even attempted so I'm not surprised that he completely stalled out on this. I guess most kindergarteners draw a blank with counting by 2's.

Then she touched on the social elements. Listening, following directions, etc. As far as I'm concerned, this is the most important area of all. Academics are great, but the social stuff? That's what matters and makes the most difference. I was THRILLED when she told me she had no concerns at all about Nicholas's social abilities and in this area, he's doing really well. She went on to say that in spite of early indicators that he's a bright kid, he's the type that will likely do really well in school because he listens to the teachers well, is very articulate, is a friendly, approachable kid and he follows directions to the letter. THAT is what is going to make him successful in life, and my measure of success as a mom so far. Sure I'm proud of his reading ability, but I'm MORE proud of his respectful behavior in class. You can be a semi-dim bulb, but if you can get along with others and make friends, you'll do ok in life. But it doesn't matter if you're the smartest person on the planet, if you can't get along with others and are disrespectful, you won't find success. You won't find happiness. So the fact that my kid demonstrates the appropriate social behavior for academic success makes me very, very satisfied. And at this age, I absolutely don't want a lot of academic pressure put on him. These early school years are more foundation-building for life-long learning. Kids need to ENJOY being at school and learning. They don't need to feel the pressure to be able to read by age 5 (by the way, we have NOT pushed Nicholas to read. He's picked it up himself as a natural curiosity and ability. We've encouraged him, of course, but we haven't pushed.). Kids have far-ranging abilities this young. Sure, my kid can read, but please don't ask him to tie his shoes or ride a bike without training wheels. His natural abilities lie with reading and computers and logic, not physical stuff.

So anyway, it was a good conference and confirmed my gut feeling that he's doing great in school. And he's downstairs watching the LeapFrog "Learning Letters" video I borrowed from my neighbor while I write this post. Working on letter sounds, just in case.

Nightingale Chick

We are the house of sick. That's where I've been all week - home, ministering to the sickies. First, Lauren and her croup. She was only under the weather for the first night I was home and seemed fine during the day symptom-wise, but disposition-wise? Well, she acted like she was off. Extra clingy and wanting to be held A LOT. Which I sort of like, but she's 35 lbs of solid child and even though I'm doing some weight training, she's no match for me. Ug. Then Mr. Chick came down with it and has been sick at home for the past two days. I didn't get more than 10 minutes of time on the computer when he was home. I know he's not feeling well when he folds his adult man body into the tub. He only takes baths when he's sick, and he spent a LOT of time in the tub in the past 48 hrs. He'd fully fall asleep in there, snoring to rattle the walls. He's back at work today, but he's not 100%.

And this morning Nicholas woke up with chest congestion. Fan-freaking-tastic.

Which brings us around to me. I'm not sick (yet), but I must confess to you, dear Internet, that I'm STILL bleeding, albeit very lightly, from the miscarriage. Whatever the meds were they gave me to help induce the m/c really f'd me up. I think I've had all of 7 days flow-free since early July. That's right: 3+ MONTHS OF CONTINUAL BLEEDING. I think I'm due a break, don't you? Every time I've called the dr's office to inquire about this, um, abnormality? they've told me that it's not completely uncommon to bleed/spot for up to 2 months. Ok. I hit the 2 month mark and kept on going. So I called again. They said to continue with the ibuprofen every 4-6 hrs. That wasn't really doing much, but since I've never run a fever, there wasn't much to be done. Well, finally, I've had it. Wouldn't you? So I called and asked to be seen. Of course, since it's not an emergency the appointment was scheduled pretty far out and I don't even get to see my primary care doc, but I'll be going in on Monday. I'm hoping for some more drastic measures to stop the bleeding. It's not often more than pantyliner stuff, but still - ! At least I got the biggest break during my time in Palm Springs and I was flow free for those 4 days. But pretty much as soon as I got home it kicked into high gear and I'm cramping again and flowing more heavily. Like a period. Maybe it IS my period - I can't tell the difference anymore.

At this point I'm sort of waiting for my uterus to fall out onto the floor.

And right on the heels of that is the thought that there is something more seriously wrong with me. So anyway, I'm going to go get it checked out. So in addition to caring for my ailing family, I'm finally going to pay some attention to my own health.

And oh yeah, Nicholas's school sent home a note saying he's behind in his immunizations and will be kept out of school if he's not brought current by some date next month. Which, I thought, had to be incorrect because we were told this at the beginning of the year from his preschool and took him in and they gave him a couple of shots and told me he was more than fine for kindergarten.

They lied. Or, more likely, the requirements are different for the two different cities/school districts.

So, I have to call the dr. AGAIN and find out when I can bring him in for a few more shots. I'm hoping the dr. can just look at his immunization record and we authorize the shots and we only need to pop in and see the nurse. I get to make that call today.

Oh yes, we're batting 1000 here.

Monday, October 16, 2006


I'm home and Palm Springs (really, more like Palm Desert but they're all pretty much the same sprawling place, one town blending into the next in a series of housing developments/golf courses and strip malls), and even though I'm tired today, I'm feeling refreshed from having been on vacation. Not travelling with kids = more restful vacations. I feel like I don't need a vacation from my vacation, which is how I usually feel after travelling with kids.

So anyway, I'm back.

Not tanned, but relaxed. The house we stayed in belonged to my friend Caroline's in-laws. They winter there. (Yes, I know people - sort of - who own expensive and luxurious homes in which to live depending on the season. A different league of living than me completely). Anyway, the house was gorgeous. Stunning. But very comfortable. It was a 1-level home right on the golf course with 15-ft ceilings and top-of-the-line everything. The mother-in-law used to own an antique shop and has excellent taste, so the place was decorated beautifully in an old European style that reminded me of Tuscany. (Not that I've ever been to Tuscany, but I've seen pictures in magazines. I'm cool like that.) And as great as the house was, the patio was even better. Picture-perfect is how I would describe it. A lovely covered patio with a fan turning lazily overhead overlooking a gorgeous pool with a shallow sundeck at one end with holes stragetically placed on the pool floor for sun umbrellas. It was a very curvy pool that wasn't very wide, but long. Not for laps but for pure fun and cooling off in the desert sun. At the other end from the sundeck was a raised spa that had rocks surrounding it, over which water gently cascaded down into the pool. So as you were outside overlooking the lush green of the golf course with the stunning moutains in the background you could hear the soft tinkling of the water into the pool. It couldn't have been nicer. Also? Just to complete it's perfection? There was a cool little outdoor firepit for the coolish winter evenings. It was straight out of Architectural Digest, I swear.

Our activities were mellow but fun. Shopping consummed the majority of our first full day in Palm Desert. And wouldn't you know that just when there wasn't something specific I was looking for, I found a ton of stuff I really liked?? Of course, I didn't so much like the prices... yikes! Plus sales tax. Oregon doesn't have a sales tax, for those of you who didn't know. So I find it really hard to buy stuff in other states when it's something I could get at home and not pay sales tax. But it was fun to window shop and just chat while we wandered in and out of high end stores and boutiques. The one thing I was keeping an eye out for was some cute red shoes. Of course, I didn't find one pair of cute red shoes, but still - it was fun to look.

Dining was a treat because we didn't have to cook at all the entire time we were there. We went out for most of our meals, only keeping snacky sorts of foods at the house. THAT'S a big treat for me - eating out. We don't do that very much in our everyday life, so I was really looking forward to that. Pathetic, yes? The 2nd full day we ended up taking a 2-hr drive into the mountains to a small, cute town called Julian. We were meeting up with a friend of Caroline's who lives in San Diego, so Julian was as close to the middle as we could manage. Too bad it was miserable, cold rainy weather in Julian that day - just like it is today in Oregon. Drats! And, it was "Apple Days", so it was uber crowded with people from San Diego and LA who come to this little place each year. So we had to wait a little over a HOUR for a table for lunch, not getting seated until after 3pm. FOR LUNCH. Terrible. So we were famished and ate not only our lunches but also indulged in some tasty pies, for which Julian is especially known. We bought one to take back as a gift to the in-laws as a thank you.

We lounged, we hottubbed, we went to a movie. We went out for a cocktail after dinner. We talked and talked and talked some more. We tried to sleep in, but our mom-inner-clocks wouldn't let us. We didn't go out and party it up because there were just two of us and somebody had to drive. No fun to drink alone. So we bought stuff and drank together at the house. We sang (badly) to music not having anything to do with kids while in the car. We just stepped out of our daily lives and got a change of scenery. Exactly the point of the trip and exactly what we needed.

But the funniest part, at least for me, was randomly stumbling across the nightclub where I first met Mr. Chick 14.5 yrs ago. We both thought it was long gone, but we were mistaken. It was still there in all it's neon glory and thumpin' house music. It nice to know it's still around. The security guys at the door asked us if we were coming in and we laughed and said no, not tonight. Then I told them that I'd met my husband here 14 yrs prior, and the guy quipped, "well, maybe you'll meet your next husband in there tonight!". Ha!

So that was the good part. The bad part? While I was gone Lauren came down with croup. She had a really rough night which freaked Mr. Chick out and he ended up taking her into the pediatic urgent care. There is no medication for croup since it's viral - it just has to run it's course. They gave her a nebulizer treatment and a shot of steroids to help her. She's better, and Mr. Chick handled everything really, really well. But when he told me (really casually, which was strange) it was hard for me to be so far away and not there when one of the kids was sick. Other than that, things on the homefront went smoothly and it was like Disneyland here for the kids. Their Opa came to stay for most of the weekend to be with the kids while Mr. Chick went to work, and Opa took the kids to the zoo AND Chuck E. Cheese. Mr. Chick took them to a movie. They went out for pizza. It was kid heaven for them.

I guess we all got a vacation.

So now I need to unpack, my least favorite thing to do. I've been known not to unpack for over a week. I abhor unpacking. Packing I like. Packing is full of excited anticipation of the fun getaway ahead. Unpacking represents the opposite. It says "laundry" to me. Yuck. Even though I actually washed my dirty stuff in Palm Desert before I left, I don't like unpacking. But I kind of want to blow Mr. Chick's mind and actually be unpacked and have the suitcase stashed away when he comes home, so that's my plan: Costco for dogfood and unpacking.

Yep, vacation's over.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

I'm Leaving On A Jetplane

Excitement is building - can you feel it?? Tomorrow is the day I get to jet off to beautiful Palm Springs, CA for a long weekend with my friend Caroline. Yay - I can't wait! We leave tomorrow and don't return until late on Sunday evening. 3 days and 3 nights (for all intents and purposes) of R&R and fun in the desert. Ahhh - just what I need. And how great is it that both my flight and accommodations are FREE?? I'm only on the hook for my half of the rental car and my entertainment. Sa-weet deal!

For those who didn't know, Palm Springs is where I met Mr. Chick back in 1992 during spring break from college. Neither of us has been back since, so I'll be interested to see just how much has changed. I'm sure I won't recognize much - my eyes back then were either blurry from all the partying we were doing or starry from just having met my future husband.

So I'll be MIA for a few days - bottom line. Think of me sitting poolside (desperately trying to stay in the shade), sipping icy cocktails, lazily strolling in and out of boutiques (kid free!), and dining in yummy restaurants. And sleeping in, and hanging out, and laughing, and simply getting a refreshing change of scenery. I think Caroline and I are even planning on hitting a spa at some point and getting massages and/or facials. Exactly what you'd plan to do on a girls weekend getaway.

How much do you hate me now?

Tuesday, October 10, 2006


So as most of my blog pals know, I crochet. I love to crochet. I know, very granny of me. Or trendy, depending on who you talk to. In fact, in the picture you can see me wearing the fun little black shrug I recently made for myself.

I know that there are far more knitters in the world than crocheters. Knitting has more vogue, or cache, than crochet. It's more versatile in many ways, too. But to me, crochet has always seemed more natural and logical than knitting: there is a hook at the end - hard to drop stitches with a hook to catch them. Also, you only have to worry about the dexterity of one hand, not two like with knitting. So for a long time I've felt rather intimidated by knitting.

"oh, knitting is so easy! I can't believe you don't know how to knit!"

Believe me, I've tried. I taught myself crochet so I figured I could teach myself knitting, too. Ha! I was all thumbs and got frustrated after 10 minutes. And I wonder where Nicholas gets it... I bought a knitting book and needles, and have gone back several times in a stubborn attempt to prevail, but alas - failure was mine. Finally, I admitted I couldn't teach myself the ancient art of knitting and needed a mentor. Usher in Great Aunt Hilda (pictured above). A spry 89-year-old German lady, Aunt Hilda is a Master Knitter. The stuff she makes is truly dazzling. I needed her expertise if I was ever going to learn how to do this, so I invited her over this past weekend for my first tutorial. My mom came, too. 4 generations* of women sitting at my kitchen table, laughing. It was pretty cool.

* Great Aunt Hilda is my mothers aunt. Hilda and my Great Uncle Joe met in the War and never had kids, instead sort of adopting my mother as the daughter they never had. So it was Hilda, my mother, me and Lauren.

And wouldn't you know it? A teacher is all I needed. I picked up knitting pretty quickly under the guidance of a master. She taught me the Continental Method, which I appreciate for it's efficiency and similarity to the movements of crochet. Maybe THAT'S what made the difference.

But now I'm hooked. I spent 4 hours yesterday afternoon practicing my knitting. I seem to do pretty well with the basic stockinette and garter stitches. I cast on decently. My tension seems to be fairly consistent. I'm off and running! Of course, I don't know how to do any increases or decreases for shaping, I want to learn how to do a cable stitch, and actually ending and binding off? A mystery. But I'll get there. I'm over the hump of fear, so to speak, and like any new hobby, it's addicting.

Like I needed another new craft/hobby in my life. Who has time? And I.Must.Stop.Soon. and return to finishing the crochet sweater I started for Lauren's birthday.

I truly am a geek and need to get a cooler hobby.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Girl Talk

Mr. Chick and Nicholas are gone this weekend visiting Mr. Chick's grandparents, leaving just Lauren and I to fend for ourselves. They left yesterday at the ungodly hour of 6:10am, which meant we had to get up by 4:15am in order to leave in time to make that flight. No one looks, sounds, or behaves well at 4:15am unless you're Nicholas and you're more excited than Tom Cruise discussing Katie Holmes with Oprah. THEN you pop out of bed and gleefully get dressed in 5.9 seconds and announce you're ready for the airplane.

But only then.

Otherwise you're like me, who couldn't look more disheveled and bleary and staunchly refused to get dressed to drive to the airport (I wasn't going to be seeing anyone at that hour, nor was I exiting the car, so why bother, right? Plus, my jammies were still too comfortable and warm at that wee hour and my plan was to return home and immediately go back to bed. My plan, not Lauren's) and couldn't manage speaking beyond a mumble/grumble until the coffee was made. But despite that, we managed to leave on time, get Mr. Chick and Nicholas to the airport (travel mug of coffee firmly in hand). No joke, Lauren and I were home BEFORE 6am.

I brilliantly thought I could simply pop in a mellow movie like March of the Penguins and Lauren would drift back to sleep cuddled with me on the couch, therefore allowing ME to catch a few more zzz's as well.

I am not so brilliant.

Lauren didn't sleep. Lauren behaved like, I don't know, an energetic toddler who likes to bounce on her prone mother and swing toys around the room and speak at unnecessarily high volumes. So more sleep was clearly out of the question for me. Instead, to keep myself awake and occupied, I cleaned. The house was a filthy wreck, still not reclaimed after week-long houseguests, and was overdue some attention. Plus, with the messy boys away I stand a chance of it staying clean for a few days. That's motivation right there.

So today, after the both of us girls got full nights of sleep (although I didn't make it to see Grey's Anatomy last night, damnit. I couldn't keep my eyes open and fully crashed on the couch. I did have the presence of mind, however, to remove my bra beforehand. A girl has priorities.) we're having a Lauren Day. We're going to the Children's Museum and then the Party Store to get some supplies/invitations for her upcoming 3rd birthday party.

But before any of that, Lauren and I had some deep conversations while snuggling in my bed together. I slept naked last night, as I do most nights (shut up - it's more comfortable and less restricting than full pj's, but I did have full pj's for the airport run. No worries) and Lauren took notice of The Boobs this morning. She pointed out various body parts - shoulder, cheeks, arm, elbow - ending squarely on Nipples. Yes, nipples. I was just happy she pronounced the word correctly instead of "nittles", like she has until recently. Anyway, nipples having been correctly identified, she moved onto The Boobs themselves. Now, my boobs have gone through some changes with age and pregnancy and nursing. I still like The Boobs, but they're a bit squishier these days than in days past. Lauren is just discovering this. I think she was hunting for another body part to identify under my boob (I was laying on my side and, well, my boobs were appearing to slide sideways down towards the mattress, truth be told) and she physically moved my boob back up towards my shoulder to peek underneath. I was being felt up by my daughter. She seemed surprised that The Boob didn't stay where she put it. It promptly slid back down into place. So she shoved it back up again. Oh yes, this was fun for me. After satisfying herself that nothing else was hiding under the misbehaving boob, she pulled up her shirt to see her own ta-ta's. I told her she'd someday have big boobies like me. She nodded her head in agreement, OK with the notion of having boobs herself.

And then she added, "...and a penis!"

Lauren desperately wants a penis and gets upset when you point out to her that she is, in fact, a girl and has a vagina. "NOOO! I no want a gina! I have a penis!" What's a mom to do? I've tried explaining to her, when Nicholas is not around, that having a vagina is better than a penis. Vagina's have all the power, I told her. This message is lost on a toddler who sees herself as a boy.

So I went with the only other thing I could think of to forestall a meltdown and ruin our big day together: "Lauren, you'll have to wait until you're older, but then you can borrow your boyfriends penis."

I'll let Mr. Chick deal with THAT when the time comes.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Shamelessly Showing Off

It's been awhile since I've posted any recent pictures of the kids (note the baby pic of Nicholas a post or two ago. Yeah, real current.) We're still without a functional digital camera, you see, and dragging out the bulky 35mm with zoom lens just doesn't happen very often. Nevermind actually getting the film developed. But last week when our guests were here quite a few photos were taken (they're picture-taking whores), and a few have been emailed to me. Yay! New pictures of the kids (and a few of me that I'd rather not look at, but whatever.) And so I'll now proceed to shamelessly post pictures of my kids. You can finally see Lauren's new haircut (my little tomboy), how long my hair is getting (oh my - it's quite out-of-control these days), and how hot Mr. Chick continues to be. A visual feast for all.

Can I Get A Hell No?!

Like everyone else with a television, I've been seeing that commercial of Audrey Hepburn dancing often. And it pisses me off. Sure, I like Audrey Hepburn as much as the next person - what's not to like? She's impish, flexible, dances a mean boogie to Back In Black, but she's also just about the only person I know in America older than 12 who could possibly make those skinny black pants look good. I mean, really - !

I'm seeing it everywhere: skinny jeans are BACK. And that just ain't good news for me and millions of other women who dare to have a waist, hips, a butt and thighs. I'd like to give a big EFF YOU to the fashion industry for bringing this nightmare back to my closet. Or at least attempting to. Because I pretty much refuse to buy into this newest recycled fashion trend. It's a big DON'T in my book.

We've been indoctrinated for a few years now of the beauty of lower rise (vs. scandalously low - buttcrack low) with a boot cut or trouser style leg. It offers a decent solution to a slightly poochy tummy (hello pregnancy tummy waddle!) and balances hips. It works. Oprah has done feature shows about it.

From Stacy Lond
on, host of What Not To Wear:

a belly bulge? Trying to hide your tummy? Stacy says a boot-cut jean can help to balance out a heavier mid-section. Women with a tummy typically have thinner limbs; the thicker your limbs, the worse a boot cut will look on you, she says. Look for a mid-rise, and make sure the jean hits across the belly, not above or below it. The width of trouser leg jeans can also help create a more balanced bodyline."

Of course, does anyone else notice what kind of jeans this chick is wearing? That's right: skinny jeans. Stupid bitch.

So where does this new trend of skinny jeans leave ME? Completely unfashionable, yet again. Sadly, I'm getting used to it.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Ode To My Dog

We adopted you as a pup
Just a baby, our first
We lavished you with affection
And thought you're a mutt
we deemed you doggy perfection

We went on walks and runs
and to the dog park to play
Life was so good -
surely it would always be this way?

But then we had Nicholas
and you got demoted
There were fewer walks now
so you got fat and quite bloated

The Lauren came along
and it was like you didn't exist
Screaming kids, tired mom, left alone all day
"I know I'll find my place if I simply persist"

You shed and your breath really stinks
You whine all day long
and you eat food left in the sink
You only sometimes listen and don't come when we call
I often ask myself why we still have you at all

You deserve better than the family we are
Who so rarely takes you for walks
or rides in the car

But despite all your flaws and annoying doggy habits
I can't help myself - I still love you, damnit!
We should pet you more and show you we care
But instead we ignore you and bitch 'bout your hair

Your tail never fails to wag when you see me
The kids aren't always gentle, but you're as patient as can be
You're my home security system - your barks are my alarm
We hope the burglars don't see past the barks to your charm

I've been saying I wish to be pet-free
But I don't really mean it, not really, you see
Because I would miss you and all your doggy ways
Even though my house would stay cleaner for days

But you wouldn't be here to follow me around
And watch over us as you sleep on the ground
I'd miss your cute face and your loyal heart
And your sad little eyes whenever we're apart

So keep on being the Abby that we love
And continue to come back to us no matter how hard we shove
Because though we don't show it as much as we should
You're part of the family, and miss you we would

Monday, October 02, 2006

Guest Free

Whew - they're gone. I love entertaining and we all had a good time, but it's sort of nice to have the house back to ourselves again. As far as houseguests go, they were model citizens. Which helps - immensely. We did all the touristy type of things you do when people from out of town come to visit. You know, the list of things you cite as reasons you enjoy living where you do, but hardly ever take advantage of unless you have company staying with you. Stuff like going to the Oregon coast (awesome awesome day!), going wine tasting, shopping, etc. We were quite busy. I'm hoping my friend sends me pictures soon because I was totally reliant on her for preserving in photos all the fun stuff we did. Not having a convenient camera really sucks sometimes.

One thing I learned about our lifestyle during the week was that we really don't eat out much. Not even take-out. I had to ask other people for a recommendation for good take out Chinese food because in the 6 months we've lived here we've never gone out for Chinese food. Not even once. So I was completely clueless about where to go for such things. Same with breakfast and lunch spots. Our friends wanted to go out for lunch, just them, and I really struggled with where to send them. I drew a complete blank. And breakfast? Same story. I know where a lot of the high-end dinner places are - mostly because I stare longingly at them as I drool while driving past and inhaling the sweet aromas of their cooking, but that doesn't do me a lot of good when I'm being asked for a yummy breakfast joint. So for dining out, we suck. We're much more in the habit of eating at home. It's cheaper and more convenient with the kids. God we're boring.

The other thing I learned? We drink a lot of wine. Wow - we put away quite a few bottles during the week. First with the wine tasting, then with various dinners and/or just hanging out we'd crack a bottle or two. Lushes, I tell you. But it was soooo goood! And then just this past weekend our neighbors called us up to say they've started pouring cocktails at their house and invited us over. So of course we went. And they mix up some yummy cocktails. It didn't take long for me to start feeling it. Thank goodness we had to only walk back across the street at a decent hour to put the kids to bed. Good neighbor bonding.

I had some interesting discussions with our friends during the hours spent driving in the car. Topics such as child spacing and whether it's better to be young or old for your class in school. You see, their daughter is exactly 1 year younger than Lauren (they share a birthdate), but the mom wants to push her ahead so she starts school at 4-almost-5 and would therefore be in the same grade as Lauren. She's thinking that her daughter is bright and doesn't want her to be bored and unchallenged in school and believes she would be if she waited a year to start her. Plus, I guess the mom developed physically on the early side and has read something about girls who mature faster also tend to be more likely to be sexually active, etc. than girls who don't. So by putting their daughter in school younger she would in essence delay this possibility. My take in being OK with Lauren being one of the first to have a birthday in the school year is that she'll be more emotionally mature and confident (hopefully) as compared to her peers, and won't be 15 hanging out with kids who are 16-17 and wanting to do the same types of things (aka dating, etc.). Why rush her to grow up?

So that was interesting to hear a different point of view.
And on child spacing, I guess it came up because she was fearful she was pregnant and was wanting to know how it was for us with kids 2.5 yrs apart. She's not ready for child #2 yet, if ever. Turns out she's not pregnant, so that's good news for her. Drama!

So now I"m in the process of unearthing after the visit and putting the house back together again. Re-stocking the pantry of the basics we flew through. Doing lots of laundry. Getting the place back in shape. And oh yeah, speaking of getting back in shape, getting back on my workout schedule. I wasn't able to visit the gym at all during that week and I'm feelin' it. I leave for Palm Springs in less than 2 weeks and I need some hard-core workouts before that.

It's was so nice to see old friends again, but it's also nice to be back in the groove of my everyday life again.

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