Monday, April 27, 2015

Preschool Graduation

Tonight I attended my eighth and final 4/5-year-old preschool program.  8? you might be saying?  I know, I don't have 8 kids, though it often feels like it/sounds like it/smells like it/costs like it.  No, we have just five kiddos, but the youngest three all have late summer birthdays and we decided it would serve them all well to repeat 4/5 preschool to give them a little age before advancing to kindergarten. We haven't been sorry once we made this decision.

Anyway, back to tonight.  Boo to the hoo, sniff sniff.  I didn't cry or get emotional, but it was an end of a long era.  We have had a child in preschool for 12 years, and next year. . . we won't.  I know, there are lots of "lasts" when you have children.  But we kept having kids for so many years that all these "lasts" have been put off for quite some time.

Over the years, the preschool programs have changed and evolved.  I can't remember everything about each one, but we have pictures of all them.  Pictures of the kids singing and dancing, pictures with their friends, some of whom remain close friends even in to their teen years, family pictures providing a snapshot of life at that moment.

And so tonight, I was reminiscing a bit about all our past preschool programs ( I know - ME reminiscing?  I'm sure you're shocked!).  I recall my eldest daughter's program. . .she was a flower, flanked by two little ones she is still friends with.  I was very pregnant with our third child, unaware that I would soon be going into early labor with him.  Another year, I attended a program while pregnant with my fourth child, just before my husband and I went away on a trip, sans children.  My emotions were high, and I remember being very teary knowing my departure was imminent.  My youngest son was the big, bad wolf in the three little pigs skit, and he was hilarious.  His energy made us all laugh, especially when he burned his bottom on the fire and ran around the gym.

So many memories, so many years.  I know there are many, many lasts on the horizon, and I will probably drive my husband and children crazy pointing them all out. But parenting a preschooler has been a foundation around here for a long time, and that season is coming to a close.  I'm not sure I ever could have truly envisioned this day.  Life is good - there is much on the horizon for all my children, including this little girl on the cusp of kindergarten.  But this mamma's heart aches a bit for what we are leaving behind.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Quotable Quotes

Last week, all of our preschool classes participated in a walk to raise money for diabetes research.  I very briefly explained to my three-year-old class what diabetes was, then gave them some details about how the walk was going to work.  To finish the conversation, I circled back to the cause we were walking for.  "What is the name of the illness we are raising money to find a cure for?, I asked the children.  One of my sweet students thought for a moment and said, "Diarrhea!"
Truly, it would be amazing to find a cure for diarrhea.

My eight-year-old son didn't appear to be listening recently at church, but it turns out I was wrong.  My husband asked us all to close our eyes and painted a glorious scene which involved all our senses.  As he listed the components, my son piped up and added his two cents:
My husband: ". . .eating filet mignon. . ."
My son: ". . .at Chick-fil-A. . ."
My husband: "listening to Pachelbel's Canon. . ."
My son: ". . . at Taco Bell!!. . ."
I'm not sure his idea of a restful scene matches my husband's.  But my son's definitely gets points in the fast food category.

Out of the blue, my 10-year-old son announced:  "I wanna have as many kids as the Duggars!"  Yes!  I fully support my kids having large families!  I can't imagine Christmas if I have that many grandkids, but I will figure it out!  Bring on the grandkids!!  In a timely manner, of course.

My little 5-year-old daughter had her first gymnastics class this morning.  This is the first activity she has participated in, and she was beyond excited.  She has been counting down for weeks, and this morning, as we pulled out of the driveway to go to class, she said, "Mommy, I'm so excited for ginnastics, I can feel the tears coming!"  Her joy and absolute euphoria was contagious.  I was so thrilled for her.  And I'm happy to report the class lived up to her pedestal expectations.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

A Doggie Day

Last Thursday, I walked into Petsmart and asked a question I never thought I would ask:

"Do you carry birthday treats and birthday party supplies for dogs?"

Yes, yes I'm that person now.  Friday was Shadow's 5th birthday, so of course we need party hats, a gift, a treat. . .you get the picture.  It's his birthday! the kids said.  We have to celebrate!  So there I was, asking a ridiculous question.

And guess what - Petsmart doesn't carry doggie birthday supplies!  Personally, I think they're crazy.  If someone like me, who is only beginning to become doggie obsessed, wants birthday supplies, don't other people who buy their dogs strollers and make their own dog food and cuddle up with their dogs in bed want to go all out for their dog's birthdays??  Petsmart - you're missing out on a whole demographic of people!

So, I was left to my own devices, which always means:  how can I accomplish my goal as frugally as possible?  I bought Shadow the cheapest single bone Petsmart sold, grabbed a package of hats at Meijer (which I told the kids to save so we can reuse them next year for his birthday), and called it done.  

I think Shadow was deeply touched by our show of love.  He listened to us sing Happy Birthday and wore his hat with pride.  I might have seen a wee doggie tear at one point, so moved was he.  Here is a snapshot of his special day:

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Spring Breaking

Spring break has come and gone, and we are back into the swing of real life again.  I counted the number of remaining weeks in the school year, though, and discovered we are only seven weeks away from summer!  This year has gone by ever so quickly.  It's been a good year, full of changes and new adventures.  I am looking forward to these last several weeks with my little students, and will miss them over the summer and next year!

Our crew spent a few days in St Louis over spring break, and visited the zoo and City Museum while there.  The zoo in STL is great - and freeeeeee!  You can imagine how much more I loved it with that price tag!  My 8-year-old had the time of his life.  We saw a bald eagle, red panda, gorillas roughhousing together (amazing sight!), penguins, hippos swimming and sea lions swimming over our heads!  We all enjoyed ourselves, though no one quite as much as my white-haired-animal-loving boy.

As I said, we also visited the City Museum (which is most certainly NOT free).  Oh my!  If you haven't been, let me try to explain.  It's sort of McDonald's play land meets caves meets rock climbing. . .it's like nothing I've ever seen before.  There is an entire structure called the MonstroCity on the outside of the building, spanning about 5 stories.  One has a funny feeling in one's tummy when one sees her 5-year-old daughter scrambling through metal coiling about 5 stories directly above one's head.  She was happily crawling through, silhouetted by the sky behind her.  I had to take several deep breaths.  Indoors, among lots of other physically challenging exhibits, there is a huge (and I mean HUGE) cave-like crawling/climbing/sliding structure, which includes a 10 story slide.  This structure also makes parents shake in their boots, because there are hundreds of nooks and crannies and tunnels and stairs for your children to disappear into.  We had the children stay together and took turns trailing little K.  All of these exhibits translated into sweaty, exhausted, exhilarated children.  We all recommend it if you're ever in the Show Me state!

And over the weekend, my husband and I celebrated our birthdays.  I looked in the mirror last night and asked him, "How did we get this old?"  I don't feel 42. . .I still feel about 25 or so.  My wrinkles and graying hair tell a different story, however.  And 50 and 60 sound younger and younger every year!

On the subject of my looks. . .my daughter was attempting to curl my hair with her brand new bubble curler the other day.  Shockingly, the curler was not making me into a raving beauty.  Knowing I had to leave the house in mere minutes and seeing the Shirley Temple-esque ringlets bouncing all over my head, I began to feel slightly panicked.  I ran my fingers through my hair, which only made it worse.  As I debated what to do with the mess, my dear 15-year-old daughter said, "In the words of the great 21st century American philosopher T Swizzle**, you gotta "Shake it off!" ***

**T Swizzle is better known to the general public as Taylor Swift.
***I'm sure you're dying to know how I salvaged my disastrous locks. . .I had the offending hairstylist pin it up into a bun. When I arrived at the party I was rushing to, my husband said, "Your hair looks really nice like that!" Score!