Tuesday, June 25, 2013

A friend of mine asked me for a favor

She asked me to write down the things that make is tolerable to get through the summer and not damage your children.  As I always ask for advice from people with older children, she thought that I would be the one to ask.  I thought about it and thought about it.  I decided that before I give her advice, I should test my "new and improved" plan out.  So, I am on Day 4 and feel that I have a reasonable handle on this.......(imagine evil laugh).....  Let's review: The summer started with early dismissal and happiness for all the kids (emphasis on KIDS).  Thursday, the day after, was a tag team of people helping other people out because no childcare was open.  Friday, a bit of the same.  Before the boys and I started on this adventure, I said, "We are going to do Mr. Regnart's Reading Challenge and you will read two books every morning and write about them BEFORE iPod or TV.  In addition, you will do 8 pages and 6 pages of activities everyday BEFORE iPod or TV.  It worked and is still working HOWEVER Mason does 4 pages (supposed to be 8) and Nolan does 3 pages (supposed to be 6) and their reading is barely on track.  Nolan, of course, is on track because even though he is a BEGINNING reader somehow he read the bottom of the library form and understood that the Library challenge started June 1st and he retroactivated ALL of his reading.  Oh, and did I tell you that, all the homework is done in my bed.....while I am in it!  Swimming Lessons started this week.  They are everyday at 10am for two weeks.  We have never done this pattern and we have never focused on swimming.  Our big goal is that they are comfortable in the water and can live.  Thus, we have spent I think millions of dollars on swim lessons and know all the strokes, breathing etc., but we look hideous doing them.  So, now that we are part of a swim club with a swim team, they are like, "Wow, interesting, and oddly effective, but let's try this....."  Whatever - I am fine with it.  I have never cared if they love swimming, I am not looking for Olympic athletes in swimming, etc., HOWEVER, this became a big issue to them today because we saw some friends from school.  Actually one of Mason greatest friends, and I learned that she is in Y5 level.  We are in Y2.  So, in the truck on the way home, I said, "Hey Mason, we are not switching to 11 o'clock because we would not be in Alexis' class anyway.  She is in Y5."  Mason replies with, "Why is she in Y5?'  "I don't know, but her Dad mentioned that they started at Federal Way and they were REALLY particular is stroke."  "Why am I not in Y5?"  "I don't know, we went to the Y and I never really worried about it."  "Why........."  And that was it.  SERIOUSLY?!??!?!?!?!  A tolerable summer exactly lasted three and one quarter days.  I lost it.  "Mason, are you kidding?  Can't we just be happy that she is a good swimmer?  Are you kidding me?  Should we walk up to her and say, 'Hey, I bet I could kick your butt at hockey cause I am pretty sure she doesn't play.  Oh, and then there is skiing!  You and Nolan ski better than I did at 18 years old.  Let's talk to her about that and say, Eat my powder!  Should we do that?"  "No!", they both cried.  In my mind I was saying to myself, "Hey, my Mom is way better at cancer treatment than your Mom, so SUCK IT!"  I know....I am also proud it did not come out of my mouth.   Conversation over.  We are sticking to Y2, and we are happy for Alexis that she is in Y5.  NOT OPTIONAL.  Mason and Nolan are going to Champions (childcare) tomorrow and Thursday after swimming.  So, here is what I have to say to my dear friend, "Put them in camp and childcare enough that you can stay sane. Let go that you have things that you want to do.  Let go that you think you should have it all.  Be real and be forgiving (to yourself also) because this gig is tough and being there to nip crap like the above in the bud is actually important.   Don't get me wrong - I appreciate my time and being the one doing all of this.  I am one of the only ones NOT on their phone during lesson because I want to see them every minute (and I still have a dumb phone), but still parenting....it sneaks up on you and at the oddest moment demands you to perform....io...rough gig.  Sorry for failing you, Ang

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Thank you and tonight.....

First, a huge thank you for everyone that donated to the Royal Runner Relay for Life.  Stewart and his team WAY exceeded their goal and I am, again, so proud of them!  Thank you, thank you, thank you.  I was there during the luminary ceremony.  If you have ever been, it is pretty powerful.  I met my girlfriend at 9:30 and walked with her, but for my team, until 10.  I got home at 11:30.  In the front of my mind, were all my friends and family that I have won, and lost, the battle of cancer.  Yes, Bob too.

Anyway, on to other things....life continues on and I am amazed at how many people know that I am the next PTA President  and on Leadership Team with NO OFFICIAL announcement.  Followed by, I am not the President until 7/1, but that has not stopped anyone from telling me their opinions about "stuff".  Don't get me wrong, but I am happy at my school and feel that it is really well run....and sometimes those can be the most interesting of creatures.  Luckily, I was raised the way I was, and I had a lot of experience with "lay in the weeds and wait", "see which way the wind blows", and "if a train kills you on the tracks, you should have heard the train".  If this is what it is like BEFORE 7/1, can't wait until after!

ANYHOO.....today was the last day of school for my boys.  And Mia was in the mix today as it is Wednesday.  We left school, horns honking, people waving, a general party.  All the windows down in the Explorer and the window in the back up for the kids to wave to all of their friends.  (I do have an approved third row in the Explorer with approved seat belts for those 8 to 12.  I haven't COMPLETELY lost my mind!)  Got home, made lunch, ate lunch, and two our the three kids wanted to read their report cards.  Nolan had the best one, but let's remember, it is Kindergarten.  How hard is that?  He did have 72 sight words, but come on!  But seriously, he did great.  His teacher was PERFECT for him and she has the BEST way of phasing things.  Listen to this:  The First Semester she said, "Nolan is a hard working and focused student.  He is a pleasure to have and is well liked by his peers.  He is respectful and follows rules well.  As he grows in school, I would like to see him become more of a self-manager and become less concerned about managing the behaviors of his classmates."  Can you say, "Mind your own bees wax!"  Second Semester was this, "Nolan has shown some growth in regards to self-management however still needs to work on this skill a bit.  He also enjoys challenging authority and finding gaps and loop holes in directions and requests that he is given.  This is an impressive skill at his age, however he'll need to learn how to manage it and determine when it is OK and appropriate to use it.  He is a hard working and bright student who will continue to do very well in school."  I am saying, "A bit?, ya think?, how the heck do I fix that?, DAMN she is really good!"  Wow, I hope he gets someone that can read him like she could in the first grade.  Then Mia....so proud of her.  Her grades went up almost in every subject and her progress in reading was amazing.  She worked hard and sometimes she hated it, but she still did it.  Well done.  Mason wasn't willing to share his grades.  They were good, but lately he has struggled with talking too much in class and putting excessive work in his artwork and not finishing assignments.  The talking, well, he comes by that naturally.  Every comment I got in school was, "Pleasure to have in class; talks excessively in class."  What can I say, it is in his blood.  All of us tried to reassure him, but he was steadfast.  I have always told them we are a team and we help each other with our weaknesses by using our strengths.  Mason could not go there.  Hopefully he will learn to trust the group.  This has been the first time he has struggled with something.  I think Mia will get him through it.  Nolan is still on "I am perfect, except for that minor annoying behavior of challenging EVERYTHING.  Oh, is that ANNOYING?"  So, then they played to their hearts content.  Mason's class CD playing in the loft while he is doing is Lego.  Mia and Nolan coming up with games and chasing each other around the house,  and me doing Box Tops.  At 6:00, they walked Mia home and then stayed for tomato watering instructions and games with Mia's Dad.  Dinner, shower, prayers, plans for tomorrow, and then bed.  Grant has hockey tonight so they begged to sleep with me.  I said okay, but I wasn't going to bed yet.  The ran to the bed and while I folded laundry, I listened to them sing, "Sunshine".  I sang that to both of them went they were little, or now when they are upset or sick, but I learned a different last line when I visited Laurie YEARS ago when Duncan was a baby. Instead of, "Please don't take my sunshine away" you put in, "And I love you more everyday."  I like it better.  They sang themselves to sleep and, as I finished folding, I paused in my thankful moment of the craziness of PTA, washing lunchboxes, Grant going to hockey, and life...without cancer.  I take my friend tomorrow for her second of four cancer treatments.  Half way there, and a lifetime to go.  Happy Summer, Ang