Friday, February 22, 2013

Family Portrait

Was cleaning through the closet in the guest room, looking for kids' art to frame, when I stumbled across this family portrait.

Look at all the smiley, happy McFry guys.  
All except one.

I remember when he did this.  I asked him if he thought I was sad all the time.
I don't think he said yes.  
Obviously I was so traumatized I must've blocked it out.
Keep in mind, I had three children then, the oldest of which was 4.  And I was nursing, so no wine.
The truth is, that's probably how I looked at the time.
Frustrated.  Exhausted.  Stressed.
It's a good thing he lacked the artistry to draw yoga pants and tattered men's shirts covered in spit up.

Now it makes me laugh.  I've framed it and it's going to find a place of honor in our home.

1.  Because it's so innocent and honest.
2.  Because it's hysterical.
3.  Because it's a reminder that your children can see you more clearly than you can see yourself sometimes. And what they see is really all that matters.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Happy Valentine's Day

The kids were so excited for Valentine’s Day today.

Correction:  Tate and Little Meems were excited.

Will’s too cool to be excited.  Except for candy.

Addressing valentines and decorating boxes is always a production.

Little Meems gift wrapped hers, then bedazzled it.

Tate got creative and created a mixed media Valentine’s box with paper, stickers, post it notes, tape (his favorite) and drawings.

Will did not decorate.  He got a box, punched a gaping hole in the top (picture an opening the Hulk may have made) and wrote “put candy here” with an arrow for emphasis.  He thinks it’s hysterical.  Of course, he’s 11.  And a boy.  I guess I can only expect so much.

I got up early and made pink pancakes.  They got candy, fake mustaches (for the boys) and hair extensions (for the Meems).

Stevie gave me a box of candy and made me a love note playlist on Spotify.  It’s the 21st century version of a mixed tape, I guess.  No one’s made me one of those in a long time.

I wrote him a lame, but heartfelt, poem.

After school, they compared loot and read their valentines.  Meems has a crush on a boy in her class.  She thinks he has one on her too.  I’m dying to see what transpires there.  Will put very little thought into who got what valentine message.  Girls?   Ew.

Later, we’ll eat dinner on the run as one parent manages a 3rd grade quiz on the states of matter, while the other spends the evening at the indoor pool for swim practice.

Romantic, no?

It’s OK.  This is us.  This is my life.

And this year for Valentine’s Day, I’m reminded just how in love I am with it.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Ode to Third Grade

Oh 3rd grade, how I despise thee –
the tests upon tests
of matter, mass and volume
and forces at rest.

Oh 3rd grade, how I loathe these
big research projects with
oral presentations and bibliographies
and other such nonsense.

Oh 3rd grade, how I dread thee –
I am so tired of studying
endless ancient cultures 
like Greece, Rome and...Mali?

Math hall of fame, math Olympics, math menus.
Interactive notebooks, study guides and math menus.
All give me nightmares.  (Especially math menus).  

Reading logs?  Really?  
What happened to trust?
I’m not organized enough to keep that thing up.

Besides, it’s bedtime,
the poor child is sleepy,
and after hour spent on homework,
she’s usually weepy. 

And don’t get me started
On the dreaded SOLs.
An expectation that’s already
Putting her through hell.

She’s struggling and struggling 
and struggling and struggling.
Bless her baby heart, 
there’s no end to the struggling.

She’s trying.  So hard.
You have no idea.
What she must do to keep up…
it’s truly unreal.

She works hard, oh so hard
Harder than you will ever know.
To constantly, constantly, constantly show 
That she’s just as smart, just as fast, just as clever.
And that you should never, no never say never.

But she’s willing and strong and utterly capable
Just give her a chance to show you she’s able.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Flashback Friday

I had the biggest flashback this morning, sitting in the car at the bus stop with my boys (it's raining AGAIN here in Richmond).  Will has taken to relentlessly playing DJ now that he's a front seat rider.  As most of the morning radio shows around here are not kid-appropriate, in his search he landed on the classic rock station and some Led Zeppelin.

I love me some Led Zeppelin.  LOVE.  

It was Heartbreaker/Living Loving Maid.  Which is my favorite.  My kids listen to our old albums on my husband's stereo (until someone broke the needle)...all crackly and magical.  (My husband, who is Mr. Technology (clarity, HD, LCD, 3D, etc.) even agrees that nothing's better than that scratchy sound.)  They are more than familiar with Led Zeppelin, and will opt for LZ over Justin Bieber any day.

Well, Will will.

But they'd never heard this combo, and once Heartbreaker ended, Will tried to change the station.  I slapped his hand away (the best part's coming) and we proceeded to rock out in the car while we waited for the bus.

And now I'm feeling so nostalgic.  Sigh.

That song makes me happy.  It takes me back to the days where my concerns were test grades and getting into college and being home by curfew.  Windows open, just driving, singing, not worried about a darn thing.

It makes me remember my first boyfriend, the quintessential bad boy whom my parents were less than thrilled about, but about whom I was crazy.  He used to tell me I was a wildflower that had been tamed.  That song, with it's unexpected twist, made me feel like he was right.  It made me secretly feel a little rebellious in my otherwise perfect little vanilla goody two shoes world.

It's something I want my kids to see in me too.  I want them to know that I'm not perfect, that I make mistakes, that sometimes I rebel a little, that I'm a little unpredictable and unexpected and maybe even a little inappropriate.  It's OK if they think I'm a little crazy.  I hope they think I'm fun.  I want them to know it's OK to be who you are. That what makes people truly interesting is what you don't always notice about them.  That getting to know a person means finding out what little secrets they harbor...good and bad.

Because everyone has an unexpected twist.


Happy Flashback Friday!


Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Ponce de Leon Christopher Columbus Jacques Cartier Christopher Newport Miley Cyrus Party in the USA

Little Meems is learning about the explorers.

Today, she was given words to a very complicated song, set to the tune of Miley Cyrus' "Party in the USA," to help her remember her facts.

Did I mention it's very complicated?  There are lots of words.

Plus, she can't seem to remember the tune very well.  And also, she's a terrible singer.


I'm the first one to compliment my children for their talents, big and small.  Whether you are TRULY talented, or just mediocre, I believe kind words and encouragement go a long way.  I want my children to feel confident about their abilities, even if they're not setting the world on fire with their amazing-ness.

But, she's terrible.  As in cringe inducing.  Ear splitting.  Headache inducing.  After dipping and turning her way through various octaves, she finally arrives at the actual tune, only to veer off course once again.  Her brother actually just held his hands over his ears and exclaimed "stop singing."

There were tears in his eyes.

She loves to sing, despite the tone deafness.  And because she loves to sing, she will be the kid who tries out for every musical her school ever performs.  Her love for singing trumps all reason when it comes to her abilities.  She loves to perform, and give concerts.  Many, many concerts.

via Pinterest

I'm going to have to break the news to her eventually.

On the plus side, it's a lot of information, and if she can remember the information to the tune, then I'm all for it.  Anything to help her retain the information that otherwise might get lost.  And it makes her so happy -- what a happy way to study about Ponce de Leon!  But it's going to mean much, much warbling and her rather fearless vocal stylings for days.  Which translates to many, many Advil and perhaps even a glass of wine.

Or two.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Happy Monday

Today, I got to go have lunch with my little T.

I had promised him on Friday, but quite honestly, after the morning we had (where he got his new Nintendo DS taken away for being sassy) I wasn't sure he'd still want me there.

Children move on so quickly.  It, truly, is a gift.

So I asked Little Meems, whose lunch overlaps Tate's, if she'd like to join us for lunch.  I'd come a little early and have lunch with her, then stay for Tate's lunchtime.

"Um, I don't mean to hurt your feelings or anything...I'm not trying to be mean...but...I mean, if you REALLY want to, but I kinda' just want to have lunch with my friends."  Eyes frantically searching mine for an indication of hurt.  

There was none.  I get it.

As a courtesy, I asked Will if he'd like me to come have lunch with him one day, knowing full well he'd say no, but not wanting him to feel left out.  No hesitation, just wide eyes and a grimace that said "ohmygosh no" even before he vigorously shook his head.

Again, not offended.  He is in 5th grade after all.  Way too old to be eating lunch with mommy.

Although, I could have done without the grimace.

Not even the promise of Chick Fil A would change their minds.

So, T and I had lunch together.  He, unlike his siblings, ran over and hugged me when he saw me and excitedly began chatting and eating.

I love that.

I used to wonder why my mother was always grabbing us and trying to kiss/hug us.  Especially when we were older.

Now I know.  

It was a happy lunch with a happy boy, and a great way to start the week.

Happy Monday!

Friday, February 1, 2013