Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! This year I'm thankful for the usual suspects: my family, my girls, the security of having a roof over my head and food on the table and a job to go to every week.

I'm also particularly thankful for the 2.5 kid-free days Matt and I just spent together, courtesy of our loving parents who put up with our children. Without the rascals in tow, Matt and I got to go out to dinner, catch a movie, roam around town, sit in coffee shops, do some advance Christmas shopping, paint the laundry room (which has now led me to visions of new floors, shelves, decor, lighting for said laundry room... oops), haul all the decorations out of the attic, and just generally enjoy some quiet time together. It's been nice to catch up.


Paint and Partake Part Two

Step by step (ooh baby!)

Every so often, our school's art teacher decides to put up with a bunch of grown ups for a little art class we like to call Paint and Partake. We gather, eat, drink, and make our way over to the blank canvases. You may remember the last time I went to such an event. Well, this time we weren't tackling some free-form peacock... oh no. This time we were tasked with some straight up artistic work. Intimidating to be sure, but our calm and steady art teacher was confident in our abilities.

This piece involved a lot more penciling in than last time, a lot more layering of colors. But by golly, it looks like a horse! So much fun, I'm ready to sign up for the next session and start a little gallery in my home somewhere.

Not bad!

So proud of ourselves.

Love how different they all turned out, just like us.


And to Live by the Girl Scout Law

Getting pinned.

I'm really digging our Daisy Troop. On Friday the girls learned a new song, said their Girl Scout promise, and planted a little garden that they will be responsible for watering and caring for the rest of the year. (I'm also digging our awesome troop leader who is way more organized than I could ever be or hope to be. So thankful she is giving our girls such an awesome experience. I basically just show up and sing along!)

Planting the seeds.
At each meeting, every girl has a different role to play. Even with five-year-olds, the meetings get to be "girl-led". Violet was in charge of watering the plants on Friday; other girls got to help with line leading, clean up, starting the pledge, etc. I really like that they are getting a sense of responsibility. As they get older in the program, they will take on more and more of the leadership roles and make decisions about what activities take place. For our little Daisies, they got to decide when to eat snack (first, obviously) but I can see how even the little things are laying the groundwork for bigger things ahead.

Caring for the plants.

We earned some patches!


For the Birds

Last night Annie was in particular rare form. There was much weeping and gnashing of teeth and not even Matt the Baby Whisperer could get her down without a fight. The adults collapsed on the couch around nine too exhausted to even talk to each other, and I was asleep before we got halfway through the episode of whatever we were watching.

So it was with certain dread that I woke up to Annie's frantic screaming. Again. This child has GOT to sleep through the night. But on this particular evening, she was nuts. Wailing, thrashing, throwing herself out of our arms. I tried holding her, Matt tried picking her up, girlfriend was insane.

Sometimes taking her outside will calm her down, snap her out of her crazy and get her to stop screaming long enough to listen to our soothing, zen-like voices desperately bargaining her back to dreamland. So Matt decided to give it a shot. He opened the door and stepped outside...

... just as two winged shapes darted inside and start fluttering black wings in circles over my head. I froze as my brain took an extra 20 seconds to process what had just happened. Bats? Some belated Halloween joke gone awry? Not a minute later Matt cautiously opened the door again, holding a now mercifully silent Annie. "Did a bird just fly in here?" he asked, sounding just as gobsmacked as I'm sure I looked, with my mouth hanging open, frozen in the foyer.

So apparently two birds had taken up residence in the lovely burlap wreath on my door and Matt opening the door scared them enough that the poor things flew into the house. But there wasn't even time to think that process through, because before either of us could formulate a plan for how to evict these nighttime visitors, our cat took matters into his own paws. And jaws. One bird down. I grabbed Annie and took her to our hopefully bird-free bedroom while Matt chased Gus, who quickly let go of the bird. Bird flew off. Gus got locked in the bathroom. Tiny feathers rained down like an old-school pillow fight scene.

Two birds, loose in the house. We reacted, even as our brains tried to process what was happening. We walked around, flicking lights, clapping hands, hoping to scare them into giving away their location. I cleaned poop off the interior front door. There was no sign of our invaders. Then suddenly, a black shadow whirling overhead. One was upstairs. Matt shooed it into the bonus room, opened the window, did a crazy blanket flapping dance, and the bird escaped. One down, one to go.

We started checking under furniture, on top of bookshelves. Was it the bird Gus attacked? Was it injured? Should we let Gus out to finish the job? These were the desperate questions of the severely sleep deprived, over-adrenilinated parents who could not even fathom what was happening. "One day this will be funny," I remember remarking. This wasn't that day. Not yet.

Upstairs, Matt suddenly ducked as wings thudded past. He rapidly closed doors, narrowing the bird's options. I was suddenly very thankful Annie wasn't up in her bed yet, as the bird took the only escape route left, the one that led straight into her whirring ceiling fan. Oops. Stunned bird, on the ground. Matt wasted no time throwing a blanket over it, scooping it up and tossing it out the window, where it landed on the roof. And stayed there. A brief debate followed: was it dead? Injured? Going to be there when we woke up? The feathers continued to drift down like snow. We decided we didn't really care; it was over.

And then at 3:30 Violet came downstairs to announce she had just thrown up all over her bed. The fun never stops around here!

Girl Scouts

Violet is a Daisy! We had our first meeting after school on Friday and it was perfect. I was never in Girl Scouts, but it is one of those things I always hoped my girls would do and enjoy. She knows a couple girls in the troop already, and I know the troop leader because I taught two of her daughters in previous years. I think it's going to be a good little group. My hope is that they all become great friends and it will help Violet build a network of friends outside her classroom friends. I got to do the mom thing and sew on her patches and it is interesting to get to watch Violet interacting with friends and other adults. Since I'm here at the school, it will be easy for me to volunteer for the meetings and get to know the other families. Hopefully this is the start of an awesome Girl Scout journey!

Girl Scout sisters!

Our Troop!

Home Sick

Violet and I are home "sick" today.

To be fair, she ran a low-grade fever after school yesterday and just did not seem like herself. Very whiny, very lethargic. She really wanted to stay home the next day (Annie got to stay home one day last week with pink eye) but I told her she would probably be fine in the morning.

Well, at 3:30 a.m. she came downstairs in tears because she had thrown up in the bed. When Matt brought the bedding downstairs to start the wash, I did a quick inspection and to be honest, it didn't seem all that bad. Violet said she had woken up to drink some water and the two sips made her throw up. But vomit plus fever equal a day with no school, which is what I told her when she asked. She then promptly asked to watch tv (at three in the morning!) but I squashed that request. Of course, knowing I'd be out of school meant my brain was fired up, thinking through lesson plans and what I would need to tell the sub and how I would have to reorganize my day.

After dropping off Annie at daycare, Violet and I went in to work so I could get my day in order for the sub. There is so much I do on a daily basis that just lives in my head, and it is so hard to communicate that to a stranger! Plus there were a few wild cards happening today, like a tornado drill and a Birds of Prey special assembly, that had to be accounted for. The good news is, being the co-taught classroom means I have teachers coming into my room several times a day to assist, so hopefully between them and the sub, the kids will muddle through okay.

And then I just had to let it go and walk away. We call it a "forced sabbatical" around here. Something out of your control is forcing you to step back, reprioritize, take a break. So I'm going to do my best to enjoy my day off. So far it has involved four loads of laundry and remaking of beds (germs germs).

The good news is, Violet doesn't seem sick at all. (Have I been hoodwinked?) She has a great appetite, no fever, plenty of energy, and she has been asking to do school work! We stopped by her classroom and picked up the work she was missing today, and so far we've done it all: math sheet (she asked for extra math problems on the back), a reading comprehension sheet, practiced sight words, and did her classroom homework and speech homework. Next she has decided it will be recess time and then lunch. She's a nerd after my own heart!



Elsa and Anna

Ah, Halloween. I've written numerous times about how this just isn't my holiday. But nonetheless, with the exception of putting on a costume myself, I can still get into the (spooky) spirit of things. This year we had a great crew in the neighborhood. We started at one end of the street with dinner, then trick-or-treated our way to the other end of the street (it's a fairly long street) for the after-party.

My girls were Elsa and Anna (Frozen forever!) and although it may not have been the freshest costume idea, they were adorable as sisters. We even had Olaf show up! Violet was on her mission to collect candy, and Annie was pretty proficient at it, too. She insisted on walking (or being carried... so much for the stroller we brought) most of the way. After the candy haul, everyone played and ate till full to bursting, then Annie promptly fell asleep in the 30 seconds it took us to drive home. Good times.

The crew!

The grown-ups!

Matt decided to call himself the lead singer of Counting Crows, while I pulled a "Reece Witherspoon in Wild" card.

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