Archive - June 2011

Me and the Boys
Freaking Out
K is for…
Deck Complete!
Fortune Cookie
J is for…
Girl Day
Summer Plans

Me and the Boys

My children are at Totus Tuus this week. I can’t really call it Catholic VBS because it is more than that. It’s more like a retreat. They have games and singing, but no crafts. They go to mass everyday, they did Stations of the Cross and those old enough went to Confession. Their classes are meant to really dig into their faith and give them a better understanding of being Catholic and most importantly, bring them closer to God.

Pumpkin Girl and Bip go during the day and stay all day, 9-3. For the first time ever, we’re packing lunches the night before – we even rustled up some insulated lunch bags. We’re getting up at a set time in the morning, loading up the car and heading out. When they come home we have deeply meaningful conversations like this:

Me: How was your day?

Them: Good.

Me: Did you have fun?

Them: Yes.

Me: What did you do?

Them: Played games.

Me: And…?

Them: Uh…learned about Issac.

So fun, our little taste of traditional school!

They usually tell me more and more as the evening wears on. What they learned about Issac and his connection to Jesus was fascinating. I’ll tell you about it another time.

Boo goes to Totus Tuus in the evenings, being a big middle schooler and all. I was so happy at first, thinking it would be just me and Pipsqueak this week! I was crushed to learn that no, the middle ones would be gone during the day, leaving me with the Boy Who Talks all day. Or The Boy Who Talks All Day. Whichever.

So I’m spending the week with my oldest and youngest boys. It’s actually going well. Boo is old enough to take care of Pipsqueak while I run the others to the church in the morning. He can also help me with lunch if my hands are full. Right now he’s actually got Pipsqueak at the park. And if I turn my head j-u-s-t so, I can see them at the swings from where I’m sitting.

I’m making Boo do two math lessons a day. We both thought it was going to be pure torture, but he fell very far behind this year and we really do need to make some progress. Turns out though, when it’s just me and him, he can whip through two lessons in about 20 minutes instead of the 2 hours it can take him to do one lesson. Remarkable.

Yesterday we took Pipsqueak to the park together. Tomorrow we’re going to be planting some flowers. Friday I’m taking them to get portraits of Pipsqueak done. A couple of times we all sat on the deck while Boo ate breakfast and told me about his Totus Tuus experience of the night before. He sits in his chair, eating Rice Krispies, sipping coffee (decaf!), and I observe his giant feet and the man-paws he calls hands. His face is becoming more chiseled. In my lap is a chubby baby, busy with trying to grab everything he can and stuff it in his mouth.

My oldest and my youngest. Eleven years, 360 days apart. One halfway to manhood, the other just starting his journey through life. This week, its just the three of us.

Freaking Out

Once upon a time when Boo and Pumpkin Girl were very little and it was just the two of them, Boo was…oh how shall we say it? He was clingy. He needed me a-l-l the time. He wanted me to play with him, interact with him, be with him constantly. I did manage to get him to where he could play on his own, as long as I was in the same room, sitting on the floor and within arms reach. He was three years old and Pumpkin was about one.

Every time I needed to use the bathroom I would announce, “I’m going to the bathroom. I’ll be right back.” I would walk to the bathroom and Boo could see me the whole time. The only time I was out of eyesight was when I actually closed – and locked- the door. Then he would cry, run after me and knock on the door. Pumpkin would toddle after him, since apparently the party had moved over here by the bathroom. She’d pound on the door, too, because this was part of the game. Sometimes she’d even join in on the crying.

I would finish up and open the door and ask them why they were freaking out. Boo would say, “You went away!” I would tell him, “I went to the bathroom. I told you where I was going. I told you I’d be back. Look! Here I am!”

We’d go through the whole routine a couple of times a day.

At some point I changed what I said to be “I’m going to the bathroom. I’ll be right back. Stay here. Don’t. Freak. Out.”

One day I just said, “I’m going to the bathroom. Stay here.”

To which Boo replied, “But what if we freak out?!?”

“Then everything will be the same as always.”

Post Script – Even though many years have passed, my children all seem to have some sort of uncanny sensing ability. The minute I go into my room, close the door, enter the bathroom and close the door and go into the little potty closet and close that door…someone barges into the bedroom. “Mom? Mom? Mom?” they call out. “I’m in the bathroom. GO AWAY!” I say through gritted teeth. And in my head I’m thinking, “And just stop freaking out!”

Fortune Cookie

Here’s another from my watercolor class. Once again, we were working off a photo. In this assignment we were working on showing roundness and on the shadows. I will refrain from telling you all things that I see are wrong with this! It was a challenge, but I like the results well enough not to go back and mess with it. Go ahead and click the picture to see it larger.

By the way, if you’re interested in taking some online watercolor classes, the new ones are posted here: Imaginary Journeys.

Girl Day

Pumpkin Girl and I had a day to ourselves this weekend. Well, not a whole day, just a couple of hours – but it was just the two of us, no boys allowed.

I’ve been meaning to do this with her for quite a while. She’s been asking for a day with just me, too. Just one thing after another gets in the way. Nothing that is actually more important than she is, but just life, you know? She knows how busy things get. She sees that I’m not running off and doing my own thing at the expense of spending time with her. But still. She was long overdue for some time that is just for her.

We started off getting her hair trimmed. She’s trying to grow it as long as possible, but the ends were just icky. So now she has a fresh start. Isn’t it pretty?

Then we went to a bead store. We wandered around, oooing and ahing over the beads. I let her make a keychain with her name. A llama followed us home.

I had a couple of coupons for free Wendy’s frostys, so we stopped there. We decided that we were actually hungry and had lunch, too. We laughed and joked and had fun.

I have to say that enjoyed our couple of hours together very much. I like seeing my Pumpkin Girl for the young lady that she is. Having our Girl Day was so good for both of us, individually and as a mom-daughter pair. Pumpkin was lighter and happier than I’ve seen her in a while. She stayed in such a superbly radiant mood for at least a day and a half. I’d like to say that she’s been responding to me better, but I think it’s mutual. We are responding to each other better. There’s been a lot of hugging.

Summer Plans

I really should know better, shouldn’t I? I make plans and God nods sympathetically, then lets me know what is really going to happen.

I had planned to continue to school through the summer. We’ve always done this. By not having a typical summer vacation we can take time off from school at any time. Grandparents visiting? No problem. Disney vacation scheduled? Got it covered. Also – having definite summer plans sure does cut down on the sibling bickering and I’m all over that!

And I kind of slept all last year, what with being pregnant and all. School was not high on anyone’s priority when mom was falling asleep by 10 am and there were Star Wars action figure battles to be waged.

My plan was a good one – keep going through summer as always, doubling up when we could to make up for lost time, take time off for our church’s version of VBS and for Boy Scout camp.

Two things I didn’t count on. First- Pumpkin Girl’s dance workshops. When she saw her studio’s offerings for the summer, she wanted to do each one. Ballet workshop, Broadway workshop (featuring selections for “Annie”), worship dance workshop – what’s not to love? She’s going to be dancing every day, almost all day, for 5 weeks. I might be able to sneak a little school in here and there, but not much. And because I teach her and Boo both using the same level curriculum (Sonlight Core 4 or E or whatever we’re calling it now), there’s no school for Boo either. Not that he minds. In fact, when he reads this – and he will, curses on whoever taught him how to use the internet. Oh wait, that was me. Where was I? Oh yes, when Boo reads this, he needs to go thank his sister for giving him such a grand summer vacation. He should probably offer to do her chores while she’s off dancing.

So that’s 5 weeks of school I’d planned on that we’re not going to be doing. Oh wait, only 4. One of those dance weeks overlaps Scout Camp.

The other thing I didn’t plan on? Pipsqueak. Oh, my little Pipsqueak! Double chinned, big cheeked, gummy smile Pipsqueak. He has decided that he has to be in physical contact with a parent, preferably me, at all times. All times. I love that little guy, but he wears me out. If he’d just nurse and sleep while I read aloud, we’d be fine. But no. He wants me all to himself, in the quiet sanctity of our bedroom. Them other people – let ’em fend for themselves. We’re doing the best we can, trying to let him nap in quiet, then cram as much school as we can during his waking hours before he realizes that I’m not holding him. It’s not going real well.

And tonight…the other children took off mid-afternoon to play with their friends. Public schools have already let out for the summer here, and it was downright hot today, so the neighborhood children were out in force. They had some sort of water weapon battle that lasted way past dinner time. At 7:30 I finally stuck my head out and asked my crew if they were planning on eating dinner that night.

Such nice weather, so many adventures to be had. Dinner could wait, apparently. I totally get that.

I think I need to let go of my expectations. I need to sit down and figure out what I can do to let everyone have a peaceful, happy, fun summer.

This summer will only happen once. We need to make the best of it.

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