Saturday, September 27, 2008

School pictures and bullying

Elise's school pictures were sent home last week. I think they look cute, but she threw a major fit when she saw them. Can you guess why? Look closely.....

...any guesses?

Answer - She wasn't wearing a necklace (and it was all my fault for forgetting...keep in mind I barely remember to slip earrings in my ear lobes on a daily basis, let alone any other jewelry!)


And for the bullying part of the post. Let me warn you that this involves some venting on my part...but I need some advise from those who have been there, done that.....

Carson is experiencing some bullying. Involving our next door neighbor and parents who are more interested in placing blame than getting to the root of the problem. I won't go into all the details, but I'm beyond frustrated with this drama. Anyone dealt with bullies yet? How did you help your child deal with the situation?

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

They never cease to amaze me...

We've had several days of ugly words, nasty behaviors and unkind actions from my children (OK, mostly one of my children, but I'm not naming names)

Tonight, I heard my kids outside in the back yard. At first, I thought they were arguing and I headed out to stop what I thought was yet ANOTHER argument.

Lo and behold, they were getting along! And talking nicely to one another (who knew they remembered HOW to do that?!)

OK, they were betting each other on who could run to the fence and back the quickest, but at least they weren't arguing and no money actually changed changes. Trust me, I take what I can get these days in the way of sibling love.

(Yes, the yard does look a bit like a hayfield...yard maintanence becomes an issue when you have 2 acres and your husband works every freaking Saturday during football season...sorry, did that sound bitter?) that a SMILE?!? I think it is!

Hmmm...think they will be friend or foe tomorrow when they get up?

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Current Events

Warning...not a post about my kids, but the world in which my kids are growing up.

Here are a few recent headlines that are really concerning to me:

  • This article about how race could impact the election. It saddens me to think there are still people more interested about the color of your skin than what's beneath. Regardless of which candidate you support, it is a sad fact that there are still people in our country who won't vote for a black man (or a woman) not because of his views but because of his skin.

  • This article about the compensation of Freddie Mac's former CEO. He got close to $20 MILLION last year...for doing a crappy job! Are you kidding me?!? His salary alone was 1.2 million, the rest came in the way of bonuses and other compensation. A bonus for running the company into the ground, requiring the government (wait now, that'd be you and me) to bail them out?!? Wow. Where is the incentive to CHANGE when you are repeatedly warned about the dire situation ahead? Yes, I think we needed the bailout to protect everyday citizens, but how much of that bailout is going to outrageous exec's pay? I saw a figure that the bailouts equate to every citizen paying roughly $3,000.

  • This article amused me, mostly because I'm really curious to hear Palin in an unscripted setting (in this case, take lots of pictures with foreign leaders but don't dare ask any questions of her). I'm a little tired of the "Thanks but no thanks for the bridge to nowhere" line that seems to pop up in every campaign appearance of hers. I don't want to turn this into a policital blog, but I am curious to hear more FROM this candidate that so many love. Clearly, based on this article, the reporters feel much the same.

  • I hate the way the world views China after these reports. This is the tragic result of the actions of a few, but it will reflect poorly on the country as a whole. While I want my daughter to be proud of her heritage, I don't know to filter these types of reports as she gets older.

  • And stories like this just go to show that some "academics" really do have a sense of humor by mixing science with some fun (warning, rubber duckie news ahead).

Heavy week, huh? For some reason, I'm really into the election this year. I can't get enough of the political news (although I do miss Tim Russert). Guess the fact that I'm up on some current events and interested in politics means a bonafide adult...please don't tell that to the inner rock star in me, OK?!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Getting ready for Christmas

Did you know there are only 95 days until Christmas? I have to confess that I try to be one of those early shoppers. My goals is always to have the majority of my shopping done before Thanksgiving. So that means I should be ready go to about NOW. :)

I think my Christmas pre-planning has rubbed off on my daughter. I've been putting together lists and lists. She wanted to put together a list of her own and took this task very seriously.

She had me look up all the girl DS games on Toys'R'Us then she scrolled through and wrote down the ones she would like.

So...anyone looking for Christmas gift ideas for my daughter, here you go! :)

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Apple picking

After a soggy (drenching, really!) morning on the soccer fields, we headed up to an apple farm with my folks to pick some apples today. One of the great benefits of my flex schedule is that I'm off most Fridays and get so many of my "chores" done, leaving me time to play with the kids on Saturday without feeling quilty! :)

Carson started the day complaining that apple picking was for babies and he didn't want to go. Funny how he seemed to forget that once got to the farm. He and grampa find plenty of ripe apples reading for picking.

Elise tended to go for the "cute" looking apples...only discovering when we got home that they weren't really that yummy and should have stayed on the tree a bit longer.

The kids got along great and we had a wonderful time.

Carson couldn't wait to try his apples and ate one on the wagon ride back.

We had a great time! And we'll be eating apples for a while! :)

Thursday, September 18, 2008


We had 2 awesome visitors this morning. I noticed 2 deer in the yard while I was eating breakfast. We've seen deer in the yard before, but usually just running through. These guys clearly thought they were in their own back yard and just lingered around for quite a bit. We back up to 6 acres of woods so I'm sure they live back there. It was a male and female, so now the kids are wondering if we'll see baby deer around. (While I enjoy watching them, I'm not really wanting a deer explosion in my yard...2 is just enough, thank you!)

The pictures aren't great. It was foggy this morning and I was trying to find a spot outside to snap a picture without letting the dogs know I'd gone out, lest they scare them away.

Saturday, September 13, 2008


It's that time of year...SOCCER!

As Perry usually has football games each Saturday, it's just me and the kiddos heading out to the soccer fields each Saturday. Fortunately this year, the games are mostly back to back, making our Saturday mornings MUCH easier!

Elise's game was first this morning. She originally wasn't going to play this fall. She played last year but decided she didn't want to play again this year.

But, at Carson's game last week, she ran into her old team and discovered that (a) the team has PINK shirts this year, (b) it is girls only this year and (c) her BFF Abby is on the team. My friend's husband is the coach and I mentioned to her that Elise was regretting not playing again this year. She told me they had a girl drop out and had an opening! Elise decided to do it again.

As usual, it takes her a while to warm up to new situations and would only going out on the field holding the coach's hand.

Or on the coach's shoulder (I'm so sorry Jeff for your aching back!!!)

She finally got somewhat close to the ball, but notice that she's still holding tight to Jeff's hand!

Phew, soccer is such an exhausting game!

We then headed over to Carson's game on another field.

He got a chance to play goalie, which is always a coveted position!

I lost count of the score of his game (something having to do with keeping his sister entertained!) but his game skills are really improving and he had a great game.

After the game, Elise wanted to use the camera while I packed up. Here's what I found when I uploaded the pictures...

Hair monster or mom? We had quite a bit of Ike-spawned wind all morning...lovely hair, isn't it?!?

This hairdo is even better. (I decided NOT to post the picture she took of me looking like I'm clearly irritated with someone!)

And my all time favorite self portrait by Elise...

Maybe I should hand over the camera to her more often!

We were going to head out and do some apple picking this afternoon but thunderstorms are moving into the area so we'll save that form another weekend.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

September 11 remembered

Every generation has their defining moment and I think we'd all agree that 9/11 provided a defining moment for several generations.

I still very clearly remember where I was that morning (heck, there are days I can't remember if I brushed my teeth!).

  • I remember the panic of not knowing if my dad was flying that day. My folks lived in upstate New York at the time and my dad travelled quite a bit.

  • I remember the panic of not being able to reach my mom. Her hospital in Syracuse was preparing for an influx of stable patients to be tranferred from NYC hospitals to make room for the injured in those NYC hospitals, efforts that were sadly not needed.

  • I remember not being able to reach my aunt, who worked in DC at the time.

  • I remember my sister's panic at having a close friend who had just started a job at the World Trade Center and no one in her family was able to reach her by phone that morning.

  • I remember being 45 minutes away from my son with a military base between us and trying to think of alternate routes to get to him in case I had to stay far away from the base.

  • I remember worrying about what kind of world my then 2.5 year old would grow up in.

  • I remember worrying about what would happen with our pending adoption. We has started the paperwork to adopt Elise in June 2001. We also had a good friend who was scheduled to travel to Vietnam to pick up her son that fall and I remember sitting with her in a panic wondering how she was going to get her son (not IF but HOW).

  • I remember worrying about a good college friend who worked in downtown NYC. Turns out he hadn't been too far away and was still pretty shell shocked when I finally spoke to him and his wife a few days later.

  • I remember the rumors that planes were heading for Chicago and my concern for our Chicago relatives.

  • I remember learning that Todd Beamer was on the flight that went down in Pennsylvania. I knew his wife, Lisa, from college. Todd had also attended the same college. I remember the realization that these were ordinary people going through extraordinary times.

  • I remember how kind everyone was to each other in the days that followed. On 9/11, as gas prices started to rise, I remember a well loved student coming to our office and offering to take our cars, wait in the long lines and fill up our cars with gas before the prices rose again (yes, we took him up on that offer).

  • I remember going home (my parents) at Thanksgiving and being surprised to see obits still being run for 9/11 victims in their paper, even in upstate New York. While the rest of the world had started to move on, there was still so much grief concentrated in that area of the country.

The world has changed clearly since that day. When I look back, I remember my clear concern for family and friends and I am reminded to treasure those relationships each and every day.

And, while there are so many sad memories on September 11, it is also my sister-in-law's birthday. She wasn't my sister-in-law back in 2001, so celebrating her birthday today is such a clear reminder that life does go on.

I also just realized that Elise must have been conceived about that same time (she was born in May 2002). Didn't realize that until just now! :)

The tooth fairy forgot

Carson greeted me this morning with the words "The tooth fairy didn't come."

Drat! In all the years of losing teeth, we've never forgotten. Sure, we've remembered at the last minute a few times, but never outright forgot. I felt horrible. He lost this tooth at school and I didn't even know it was loose.

To salvage the situation, I quickly slid some money under his pillow and told him he must not have seen it. And I was sure the tooth fairy left his tooth this time because he was so intriqued with it. He saw me with money in my hand going for the pillow but I explained that I was only going to put some under if she really had forgotten but didn't need to.

In the end, he made out OK. All I had was a $5 bill in my pocket (our tooth fairy is cheap and only brings $1/tooth so $5/tooth is a haul!)

I thought the dentist said he only had a few more to lose, and that seems like a few teeth back. How many more does he have to go?!? Clearly I need to keep on top of that a bit more!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

My shy kid...

...asked this week if she could join Drama Club and Girl Scouts!

I'm so proud of Elise! She is painfully shy at times but really seems to be coming out of her shell very early this year. It normally takes her much longer.

She attended PreK at this same school, so she has an advantage over most of the other 1st graders in that this is her 3rd year at the school. I think that is helping her so much. Even last year, she never wanted to do anything that might draw unwanted attention and would cling to me each morning at drop off.

Fast forward to last week when she brought home the Drama Club and Girl Scout notices. I didn't even need to ask her. She told me about them in the car before I even had a chance to see the notices.

So, after school today she will attend the Drama Club meeting to see if it's something she might enjoy and tonight we'll attend a Girl Scout open house to get more info.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Creative weekend

Elise and I ended up with a day to ourselves last Saturday. Dad had a football game and Carson spent the day with my folks. Hmmm....what are 2 girls to do?!?

I had a hankerin' to make a jumper for Elise (don't ask why, I don't know). I thought it would be fun to head to a fabric store together to pick out fabric and tackle this project together. We went to a wonderful quilting store just up the road from us. They were so helpful in suggesting fabric and Elise had a ball looking at all the possibilities.

While I love the retro fabric she picked out, she really wanted to pair it with a lovely pink/purple number and wasn't happy with my choice of brown.

That jumper turned out to be so easy to put together, we headed on Sunday out to find some corduroy to make up a few more. While it took a bit of coaxing on my part, she really did help with all the fabric choices.

While we got the bulk of the dresses made last weekend, I just completed the finishing touches earlier today.

Here is a fashion show Elise put on tonight showing our handiwork from last weekend.

Dress #1 - a lovely fall jumper. A bit big in the body so we adjusted it in the future versions.

Dress #2 - her "Christmas" jumper. Red corduroy, this version fits much better. She is trying to show off the twirling capabilities of this model.

Dress #3 - This is actually winter-white corduroy with pink embroidered flowers and butterflies. She is quite proud of the fact that I completely overlooked this fabric and SHE is the one who found it. Again, please note the "twirlability."

And finally, Dress #4 - the Pain in the Arse dress! I had picked up the pattern for this bubble skirt jumper as well. Elise wanted at lease one bubble dress. The others were quick and easy to put together, but not this one. It did turn out cute, but I think that's the last time I make this one.

And not to be outdone by our fashionista, Trixie tried to get in on the fashion show. Only she didn't give a hoot about the fashion, she just wanted someone to throw her stuffed elephant.

It was a fun weekend and Elise should be ready for cooler weather with these jumpers. The "fashion show" was her idea and it was hard to get a decent shot of her because of her twirling and dancing and flitting around. I'd say she likes her new dresses.

Football update - The Thunderchickens are now 2-0. While I'm happy for the kids, this doesn't bode well for my sports widowhood with the thought of post-season play and the season going extra loooonnngggg. Just ask me how the long season went when they made it all the way to the State Championship game. :(

Rah-rah, go team. (Those of you who really know me can read the sarcasm just dripping from that cheer!)

Friday, September 5, 2008

Monkeying Around

Is my daughter part Princess / part Monkey?!?

This is how I found my little darlin' the other evening. She's literally standing IN the fridge, in her nightgown no less!

When she's not hanging out IN the fridge, she's been playing NON-STOP with legos. She is constantly building and re-building small villages/houses. And, she quizes us on the various parts within her creation, again NON-STOP! :) I will admit that she does some pretty creative things in those villages.

Thanks to Aunt Kristin's new hot tub (she'd now like one installed in her bedroom...thanks, Kristin!), every lego village she builds comes complete with a hot tub.

Elise and I were pretty creative and productive last weekend. Once I get off my duff, I'll post pictures of our work.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

My Second Family...

Elise has been talking a lot about her first and second families.

We'd be the second family. :)

While she's always been proud of being Chinese, she really hasn't had too many questions or opinions about it. But lately, she's been saying things like, "if I were in China, I'd be sleeping right now" or "my first family is probably sleeping right now."

Clearly, she's trying to sort things out in her mind.

I think some of these statements stem from watching the Olympics and talking about the time difference, but the whole first/second family is a new topic.

We've tried not to romanticize the past for her, but rather give her facts. We've always told her we are sure her birth family loves her but they just couldn't take care of her. After reading Kay Ann Johnson's book, "Wanting a Daughter, Needing a Son," I suspect Elise might be a 2nd or 3rd daughter and her birth parents were hopeful she'd be a son.

Anyone else experiencing this? How are you handling the questions?

In the end, however, I always let her know that while I might be her second mommy, she'll always be my number 1 daughter.