Saturday, March 30, 2013

New Girl

Last weekend, we picked up the newest member of our family. Meet Rory!

We visited the vet yesterday, where the fear of Puppy Parvo was initiated--hello new form of germaphobia. I also thought we'd have to return her to the animal shelter to shield my kids from parasites.

The vet calmed me down, played with our Heinz 57, and answered our many questions. My biggest was about house training. We've no sooner gotten G potty trained, and now we're cleaning accidents again. Apparently this takes longer than a day. She sent us home with a paper. Check out number four.

Thus far, that is all Rory had done.

Our Spring Break just became crazy busy. In the interest of quick housebreaking, we must teach young Aurora to:
• cook.
• wash and fold laundry.
• vacuum.
• take out trash.
• wash dishes.

Silly me! I had thought puppies were a lot of work! We should have gotten one much sooner.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Letting go

Once a week, I like to walk my middle kids (C and N) into school. Of course, C is too old to have his mom actually walk him to class, but N enjoys when I escort him to class and help him settle in.  K loves when I let her come along, even though she hides shyly behind me the whole time.  Sometimes I think she is practicing to be my shadow. 
K's favorite part of these mornings is when we leave, because there are about 8 steps to go down to get to the parking lot.  She and I hold hands while we hop down each step.  About 2 months ago, she told me she was big enough to hop without my hand.  Being the overprotective mama that I am, I asked her if she could hold my hand because I was scared of falling.  My sweet (and clever) little girl reached over, grabbed my hand, and planted a big kiss on it.  "There Mama, now you don't have to be scared."  I paused for a split second, weighing my options.  Do I let her jump  by herself?  What if she falls, I won't be able to catch her?  I'm the Mama, I can always tell her she has to hold my hand.  Then I thought of my dear cousin Eva, and the pictures I've seen of her little girls doing the splits on a fence, sitting on tree limbs, and climbing doorways.  And I thought of my New Year's resolution, to be more like Eva. 
And so I "let go" and let my daughter jump while I jumped down the steps beside her.  In this small gesture, I taught my daughter that not only is she big enough to try things on her own, but I trust her to know when she is ready.  I know I can't always keep her safe, but I hope to always give her the confidence to take the next jump as she grows.  (And if I'm lucky, she will let her Mama be by her side when she decides to take the next jump.)

Friday, March 15, 2013

Still Here

On the very first day of 2013, we lost our cousin, Eva.  Eva was a close friend and sister growing up.  She lived around the corner from us until we moved when I was ten.  Her mother babysat us.  Her parents and my parents took turns keeping the three Nemeth kids and two Jalajas kids at the camper in our favorite campground in the summers.  Teenagers babysat all five of us during the rest of the summer when my aunt returned to work.  After we moved, Eva spent a couple summers at our house.  When I was in college, I spent an entire year's worth of weekends at Eva's house which was only forty-five minutes away.  We'd sautee mushrooms and onions, eat Cappucino Chocolate Chunk Ice Cream, and shop at Target.  Later, our firstborn children were born about a year apart.  B and Eva's daughter played well together.  I have a lot of pictures of the two of them. 

Eva had such a big personality, such a creative way of looking at things.  I miss her.  Still, I still hear her voice.  Just today I saw this on Facebook, and it brought up a memory of her. 

When C was a baby, he loved a toy phone that was shaped like a car.  It made them most annoying noises, and would beep and bleep at whim.  On a visit to NC to see Eva--years before she and I had children of our own--Cassie, Mom, and I complained about the lack of an On/Off switch on the toy.   Eva walked to the junk drawer, returned with a screwdriver, removed the batteries, and handed C his favorite toy back.  He happily chattered on the new and improved car phone. 

I know she'll always be with us.  I am so grateful that her personality was big enough to fill up the empty space in my heart every once and a while.  I am so grateful that her husband and her kids remind me of her.  I'm so grateful for the time I had with her and for my memories of her. I love how she changed--and still changes--me into a better person. 

I love you, Eva. 

Thursday, March 14, 2013

B's School Report

When I was in seventh grade, we wrote reports.  I wrote mine on Labrador Retrievers.  Mr. Hunter taught us how to take short notes on index cards from several sources, arrange them, then write our report. 

Last week and this week, I did the same with my second grader.  His assignment was to write a biography on Susan B. Anthony.  His mother is a former English teacher who was going to help him complete the project the "right way."

We began by reading a short digital book I ordered from Books A Million.  After each section, we recalled facts and he wrote each on an index card.  I could tell when he was wearing down because one of his cards said, "second child blah blah blah blah blah."  After a giggle, he erased it and rewrote the fact correctly. 

 After reading three books on Susan B. Anthony, B organized his facts "like a timeline".  G got in on the act with his own "notes". 

 Before writing, I had B reread the assignment sheet.  "Wait, I can TYPE it?" he asked.  B's handwriting, as you can see from above, is atrocious, and he knew he'd have to rewrite.  He typed a paragraph or two each night.  While I was brushing G's teeth, B learned the wonder of autocorrect.  "Mama!  I spelled she with a little s and it was the first word and when I hit the period and space, the computer changed it to a BIG S!"

 B was supposed to include headings on his report.  We decided he'd only type a section or two each night.  As you can see from the beginning of his sentence under "The Mill" section, he was in need of a break again. 


By the end of the report, he was worn down and silly.  I had consumed a half gallon of chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream.  Still, we'd spent quite some time together and had a lot of laughs.  We belly laughed over the word duty.  "Doodie!"  we giggled over and over for way too long.  We'd tackled a big project a bit at a time, and he felt good about getting to type and print.  

Tonight he illustrated the final copy, as the assignment asked.  Thank goodness we'd printed two copies.  As soon as we turned around, G added a purple streak to B's masterpiece.  

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Holdin' On

I carry a small purse. I do this on purpose. The smaller the purse, the less I can fit in it, so the lighter it stays. A piece of good advice I received when B was a baby was to carry a small diaper bag and keep stock in a large diaper bag in the trunk to replenish if necessary. B is really good about carrying very little and keeping it in a small backpack or bag.

G is very different. Just this past Monday morning, I was juggling with my laptop bag, lunch box, tote bag, purse, and coffee mug when he asked me to hold him. When I asked him how that would even be possible, he answered, "Hold me in one arm, and yours stuff in the other!" 

Here's G while I'm blowdrying my hair, asking me to hold his book.

This morning, I had a dentist appointment.  G went with me, carrying only what would fit in the red backpack pictured above.  He sat quietly, coloring and watching Mickey Mouse Clubhouse while I got my teeth cleaned.  "Hold me, Mama," I thought I heard him say above my mp3 music.  I listen to tunes so I don't have to hear scraping.  I held his hand, then patted him on the head.  Then I felt something on my stomach.  It was his book and drawings...he wanted me to hold them.