The Voice

It happens every year, sometime in September. I come home one day from school and I'll notice that my throat is a little sore. I'll brush it off, soldier on, but the next day it's worse. I'm forced to acknowledge that yes, my throat hurts. I up my water intake, pop a cough drop or two. Two days of knives in my throat whenever I swallow and suddenly, it doesn't hurt so much. Which would be wonderful, except now the symptoms have moved to my nose. Suddenly my nose is running so much I just shove a tissue up there and hope for the best. Or on the flip side, my nose is stuffed up worse than the Downtown Connecter on a Friday afternoon in the rain while the President's motorcade is in town. Forget breathing. I start wishing the sore throat would come back, remembered the good old days when oxygen flowed freely through my nostrils. Hey, I'd even take 50 percent nostril capacity. I start downing Mucinex, the elixir of the sinus gods, like I'm singlehandedly responsible for keeping the company in business. (The pharmacists are required to take your driver's license information when you buy the good stuff behind the counter, but between Matt and I, we keep the medicine cabinet stocked. When it doubt, buy the biggest box they have!) The Mucinex does its job, but there is a price to pay. Yes, I can breath. But now things in the chest are breaking up, moving. The cough, its low, gravely rumble, its wet hack, begins. Better out than in, I always say, but what is coming up and out is disgusting.

But the worst part is, somewhere between the knives in throat and the Mucinex habit, my voice has disappeared. First its a scratch, some throat-clearing as I try to explain the day's activities. Then there's the break in the voice, causing the students to laugh with a concerned look on their faces - something isn't right. Adults joke about the "sexy bedroom voice" and I joke back about my two-pack-a-day habit. But by the end of the day, the voice is a whisper. Speaking is agony. Forcing sound through my throat is a monumental, painful effort with little to no payoff. And it's only Tuesday. I have to survive through the end of the week. I'm now buying stock in fresh lemons, locally-sourced honey and hot tea. I resolve not to speak unless absolutely necessary. (For the record, when you teach first grade, absolutely necessary talking points account for about 87 percent of your day.)

And, you guys, this happens every year. At least once.

Not being able to speak is so isolating. Conversations happens around me, as it normally does, but I'm not engaged because I can't contribute back. Since I can't share my own two cents, I just let the words wash around me, like I'm the boulder in the middle of the rushing stream. There is some nodding, shrugging, smiling. But I feel invisible. It's hard to have an opinion, knowing I won't be able to proclaim it. It's almost easier just to be alone, where my silence is expected. No wonder people take vows of silence when they need to disconnect from the world. When you can't vocally weigh in on the latest gossip, you tend to not form an opinion.

The slow, uphill climb towards health begins. The voice strengthens, gets pushed too far, falters again, then regains momentum. The Mucinex usage slows. I'm no longer needing 42 tissues an hour. And this year, the gift of Fall Break was awaiting me at the end of my trial. I'm hopeful that a week off will leave me fully recovered. And ready to share my opinion on the latest celebrity scandal. Oh wait... nope, still don't care.

Happy Birthday Annie!

Watch out, world! I'm 2 and ready to party!
This girl. Annie is two! She can count to ten (with one-to-one correspondence, no less!), knows her colors, asks for apps on the iPad by name ("I pay doodabuddy!") and insists on sleeping in Violet's bed. She is a total chatterbox at home, but the silent type at school. Her favorite things to do = anything Violet is currently doing. She likes to vacuum and sweep anytime she sees me get started and so badly wants to sit on potty (we'll get there, kiddo). She falls asleep holding her seahorse every night. Regardless of what chaos has ensued during the day, Matt and I generally reflect that she's a pretty good kid, pouty face and terrible two tantrums and all. "Yah you" sweet Annie!

The real party is still to come, but Annie's actual birthday was on Wednesday. Matt was out of town, I had laryngitis, there were no decorations or presents, but I couldn't let her actual birthday go by without at least a cupcake and candles. Poor thing, the minute we started singing, she burst into tears. She even refused to take a cupcake (until I picked one for myself... that one she deemed okay to steal!)

She cheered up enough to eat her cupcake.
When it started raining this weekend, we just couldn't keep her presents from her any longer. Forget the wrapping paper; we just forked them over, and she is absolutely in love with her new ladybug rain boots and matching umbrella!


Catching Up

I'm catching my first cold of the school year. I've seen it coming for a few days now. Nothing like a student wiping their nose with their hands and then asking if you will hold their hand on the way to bus dismissal. Those sweet, germy kids of mine.

Still, it didn't stop us from having a jam-packed weekend. Friday night was our school movie night, followed Saturday morning by an 8:30 soccer game. Violet got to play goalie for a while and she said it was her favorite part of the game. We ran errands that afternoon, hit up the grocery store for the week, I graded papers, did laundry, all so we could watch the Bulldogs play their butts off that evening over with some friends. I was volunteering in Annie's Sunday school class this morning, then we had the afternoon to get things put in order before another work week starts. All with this lovely head cold brewing. Such is life. It never stops. And while I didn't take many pictures of this weekend, here are a few that continue to tell the story of our lives.

Green Lightning takes the field!
The jury is still out on whether soccer will be in Violet's future. I'm definitely seeing improvement after every practice and game. After the first game she complained that she wanted a new position, the "running and kicking" position. (She's been on offense and well, our team hasn't had much opportunity for offense this season.) But she seemed to like goalie this past Saturday, so hopefully the coach will continue to let her explore some different positions. I don't think she will ever be super aggressive on the field, but I'm proud of her for getting out there, following directions and generally trying her best.

Truth: this picture looks so sweet, doesn't it. Don't worry. 4.7 seconds after I took it, they were both in tears. Violet decided to pull rank and not let Annie stay in the play tent, Annie pitched a fit for not being allowed to do every exact thing she sees her big sister do. Just thought you all should know the truth behind this blissful moment.

When Violet grows up, she wants to be a teacher. Don't worry, I've got time to talk her out of it.

If looks could kill...
Annie has developed quite the pouty face. She whips it out at the blink of an eye if you cross her. In this particular case, she had just dumped out an entire water bottle in her lap on purpose. So I did what any normal mom would do -  I took the water bottle away. I was rewarded by this death glare. This little stinker also got out of bed eight times last night. At one point I found her laying down at the top of the stairs; I think she was trying to hide from me but still see what was going on downstairs without her! Her new trick is to get out of bed in the middle of the night and go into Violet's room. Generally Violet is completely dead to the world asleep (thank goodness!) and Matt or I have to go fetch Annie and walk her back to her bed. She's a mess! Also, she will be two on Wednesday! Crazy!


Screen on the Green

Annie, Emma and Violet waiting for the movie to start.

One of my favorite events that our PTA puts on is Family Movie Night. They set up a huge screen on a nearby lawn, invite food trucks, and we all just hang out for an evening. This year we invited Violet's BFF Emma along, and the girls had so much fun running around, eating a well-rounded dinner of Kona Ice, Skittles and popcorn, and watching (most) of the movie.

Kindergarten pals!

Pretty proud of her treat.


Life lately...

Lunch with Uncle Lukas!
Well, we've made it through the first month of school. Sorry I haven't updated in a while. This time of the year is nuts. But we're finally chugging along in a good routine (just in time to start soccer and Girl Scouts and small group). But it's the fullness that makes it good, right?

Things that have happened: Uncle Lukas came home for a brief visit (we snagged a lunch date) and my friend Jen had a housewarming party. I got to hang out with some of my oldest (and favoritest) friends.

Jen's new house! Er... backyard!
Violet has decided she likes kindergarten! She no longer cries when she sees me. We worked out a deal  - I come and give her a hug every day in the cafeteria when I go collect my class, and that seems to make her happy. Our paths cross occasionally on the playground or in the hallway, and she always super excited to see me. She seems to have made a few good friends too. She was invited to Madeline (her new BFFs) birthday party after only one week of school, so clearly she made a good impression!

For someone who wakes up independently so early in the morning, Violet is still not a morning person. I've told her I can't wait for her to be old enough to drink coffee! So getting ready for school continues to be a struggle some days. But once we're finally in the building, she's normally good to go. She loves buying breakfast from the school, so that is motivating (and gets us out the door faster now that she can skip eating at home).

Kindergarten pals!

Kona Ice day!
So far both girls have only missed one day of school each due to illness (knock on wood). Both times, our fabulous moms were able to come stay and allow me to go to work. Annie's illness, just this past Thursday, was some kind of stomach bug that resulted in her throwing up all over me when I came to get her. And I mean, all. over. me. Down the shirt. In the shoes. It was nasty. But she bounced back quickly, thank goodness. Violet was devastated that Annie got to stay home and she didn't. That early morning pre-coffee fight was also nasty, in its own way. But overall, both girls have transitioned really well to this school year.

Golf cart rides and ice cream while Mommy was at book club.

Sister love.
I have to say, kindergarten is amazing. Already Violet is blossoming. She wanted to write a story this weekend, and asked me how to the spell the following words: "It was a very dark and stormy night and a good night for a party..." Can't wait to see how this one ends! I love watching her handwriting improve, hearing her stories from the day, and it is such a bonus to have her in the building with me, around teachers I know and trust.

Good night for a party, eh?

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