heart in the clouds

Monday, October 24, 2011

Homework...grown up dreams

Z truly hasn't had much homework this year and for that we are grateful. We've asked for the extra worksheet here and there to try and learn the writing he's so "fond" of....but really nothing too involved. Last week, they sent home a 3 page assignment and gave us two weeks to do it...cool. It coincides with some kind of community helpers focus they are doing at school. They basically have to describe and illustrate what they want to be when they grow up and explain how that position helps the community.

Since Z could talk, he's probably already changed his mind 10 times about his future vocation and I'm sure that's very normal. First he wanted to be a doctor...told his pediatrician at his 3 year check up that "when I grow up, I will be the doctor." And he meant THE doctor, because the pedi said "sure, you can work with me," and Z replied with "no, I will be the doctor," to which the pedi replied "I am sure you will."

That went on for about a year before the fireman dreams started (shouldn't surprise us because when he was 2, Z told us the firemen took all his paci's, which made it easier on us to explain why he didn't have them anymore...and we didn't give in when he begged us to call them and tell them bring the paci back!).  Once he found out that firemen don't actually start the fires, he was less interested.  I think he still though the fireman was the chef at the Japanese restaurant. So we went from that to a cowboy, to working at Starbucks on his days off from the fire station...but...dreams turned into nightmares (for me anyway) when he decided he wanted to drive an ice cream truck.

Last week when the assignment came out, I asked him again what he wanted to be and he said a "cop." I was intrigued what made him change his mind...why was being a "cop" so appealing...and here's that conversation went (thank goodness for this being in the car and I could just glance in the rearview at him):

Me: So why do you want to be a cop?
Z: Ummm so I can take the dead people's bodies that they don't need anymore to the graves.
Me in my mind (oh crap, we can NOT write that on the homework; the teacher will force him into therapy)
Me, what  really said: "Umm, why do you think cops do that?
Z: because
Me: because why? (don't y'all get sick of saying that?)
Z: because that is what YOU told me Mommy!
Me: I did not..now let's get back to why you want to touch dead bodies...
Z: MOMMY, I will wear gloves; it will be fine.
Me: well, cops don't do that. I think you're thinking of a mortician.
Z: a WHAT?
Me: oh someone who works at the funeral home and gets the bodies ready for burial (can't believe I'm really explaining this to a 5 year old).
Z: Oh, no, I don't wanna be that. I wanna do that like a cop.
Me: Z , cops do NOT take dead bodies to the grave.
Z: (becoming very frustrated with me) That one day you stopped in the road and the cop had his lights on , you said he was taking the dead body to the grave!!!!
Me: Oh for crying out loud, he was leading the procession of CARS to the cemetery not putting a dead body in a grave.
Z: Oh
Me: so do you still wanna be a cop
Z: I don't know
Me: Seriously?
Z: (sees a police car lights on, someone pulled over) yeah, is that a cop?
Me: no, that's a sheriff
Z: is a sheriff like a cop?
Me: yes, but the sheriff works for Jessamine County; the police works for the city of Nicholasville.
Z: Oh, I wanna be a sheriff then
Me: Why?
Z: because they wear boots.

THANK GOD we got off that dead body train...wow...I was about to call a therapist myself :)

So our homework looks a lot "NICER" now that Z just wants to be a sheriff with boots....well, except for the part where he said his favorite part of the job would be shooting bad people and arresting them...but he did add "keeping people safe," so I'll give him some grace here :)

Friday, October 21, 2011

The Box

There's rarely any real trash in our home...Z can usually find a use for most trash in his "workshop." Now, I obviously don't allow all the trash to go there, but occasionally I will give in and let him reuse clean items. It really makes him happy and he focuses for hours on creating things in his workshop..."battery packs" made from duct tape with "wires" made with colored twine...double stick tape to make it all stick to the refrigerator to power it up! The thought and focus that goes into the creations is priceless and who am I to squash a future engineer or architect's dreams, right?!

So last Friday, the last day of fall break, we were driving around town running a few errands when from out of the backseat comes a squeal when we pass Lowe's "MOMMY, stop at Lowe's!!!" Thankfully I didn't wreck the car with the sudden shriek. I asked why and he simply said "I HAVE to make a box and I can get my stuff there!!"

Since we weren't really on a big schedule that day, I stopped. We went inside and he told me he needed wood, a hammer, nails and pinges (later figured out it was hinges) and paint. I have no idea how to build such things, but Z was convinced we could do it so to the lumber area we went. Z began to explain his design to one of the associates. He was talking wildly with his hands about this awesome box that would now also have a tube coming out one side to get the marbles in the box...ah oh, so we're making a marble box...but not just any ordinary one. The associate told Z he was probably going to be the next Frank Lloyd Wright, linked here for those who aren't sure who that was, basically an extraordinary architect and designer. Z had no idea who that was...but hey, he could be an architect!

The associate took Z to pick out his wood, we figured out how many pieces and what size he needed. Even with recommendations, Z pretty much had in his head what kind of wood he needed and even talked the guys into sawing it all up for him. We found the hinges and came across an "essential" knob to put on the lid...then we picked a custom stain and Z asked the guys to mix it up for him. Then it was off to the plumbing section to find the right curved pipe. He settled on some white PVC pipe because the clear tubing he originally wanted, wasn't strong enough to stand up and the diameter wasn't wide enough for his biggest marble. And oh, we can always add more PVC pipe to add to the design later, he said. (as a side note...if you've never been to the science center in Louisville, you need to go...we spent the majority of our time rearranging PVC pipe and joints to change water directions in the plumbing exhibit there).

So we had everything we needed but I couldn't figure out how we would get a hole in the side of the box. We went back to the lumber section. I told Z if he asked, maybe they would do it since they seemed to do everything else he wanted if HE asked! They said they didn't have the capability to do it there...but didn't offer an alternative to how I could do it myself, so we left and Z was very unhappy about it. I told him I would call some local carpenters and see what they could do or post a question on facebook. W

ell, posting on facebook got a good answer in just minutes of course. Our good friend Nick Rhodes (who I also claim as an adopted little brother) introduced me to the hole saw...WOW, can't believe the guy's at Lowe's didn't direct me to this gem. It was fairly inexpensive and fit right on David's DeWalt drill! But choosing a size was not so easy. Z explained to the associate he wanted the hole to be the diameter of the PVC joint, not the pipe...but there was not a bit for that size. He assured the guy that the marbles would get stuck if he had to use the small pipe to connect the box to the joint...this little argument went on for a good 10 minutes with the associate telling him it would be fine; it would not get stuck...and Z telling him he was wrong...vehemently shaking his head no no no lol.
Well we had to settle on the smaller bit and just vow to make it work. It was the only option at that point. We went back home and Z stained all the
boards, sanded the rough edges, even pushed the drill button for the screws (drill was way to heavy for me to just let him go at it alone haha). It was about two hours of completely focused work on both our parts. Turns out you can't make a perfect box with six equal-sized boards, so Z's box has "feet," but he's fine with that. And you know know what? Those marbles did stick on the hump created inside the joint by the smaller pipe :)

Friday, September 2, 2011

It's all about Z Lunch

I've been praised, chided, laughed at, encouraged, etc. about my decision to make Z's lunch most everyday. It's actually funny how many opinions there are on the subject. It's something I love to do--so far. The first few days of school, it was almost a burden, but then I found ways to throw some creativity into it and I've actually started to look forward to the process.

It does help that Z loves his lunches and really doesn't want to eat the school food at all. We do go over the menu and I ask him if there's one day each week that he would like to eat school food. We've had 14 days of school and he's chosen to eat their food ONE day, although they have charged my account for at least 4...another story for another day...or not!

I bought a planetbox from http://www.planetbox.com because I liked that it was stainless steel, had several compartments but all in one piece (except for optional dipper bowls), an insultated bag and so many places online to get ideas. So if a kid doesn't want their food to touch...no problem. It also allows for extreme variety and a lunch full of a few bites of many things if you want to do it that way. I've begun incorporating all different sizes of cookie cutters, veggie cutters...even fondant cutters in letter shapes. I LOVE THIS :) I initially was going to purchase a laptop lunchbox as I'd been an avid reader of all things Bento. I have found that I can still incorporate bento ideas into my lunch planning.

What is bento you may ask? from lunchinabox.net: A bento lunch is a compact, balanced, visually appealing meal packed in a box. Historically, it’s a Japanese box lunch, similar in concept to the Indian tiffin, the Korean dosirak, or the Filipino baon lunch. In Japanese, “bento” or “obento” refers to the packed meal, and “bento-bako” refers to the bento box itself. See the Wikipedia entry on bento for more details.

You can be very simple or you can get elaborate and those who know me, know I thrive on being artsy fartsy, so yes, this is probably going to get pretty cheesy over the course of doing it for a year. I've created a facebook page to document it all with photos and resource links, etc. Hopefully other people will add their fun and simple ideas alike.

Some days I wonder if Z really cares that I do all this, but nights like last night and mornings like today, really make it all worth it. Last night I asked him if he would like to eat a quesadilla at school today (he loves quesadillas) he said NO, I want you to pack one! So even though I was exhausted, I packed a fun lunch for him. He wanted tuna...after he went to bed, I realized we were out of tuna so I decided to make the turkey sandwich fun instead to cover the fact he wasn't getting his favorite thing.

The conversation this morning:
Me: So I have some bad news and some good news.
Z: whatcha got?
Me: Well, the bad news is we were out of tuna
Z: Oh nooooo!
Me: But the good news is, I made turkey dinosaur sandwiches!
Z: YAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
This was followed by jumping up and down and waving arms in the air...whew!

We also decided that he could have chocolate milk on Fridays, so I whipped some up for his thermos :)

I'm going to the Hibari Market in Lexington this weekend to feed by Bento obsession with some sushi rice molds so we can do some fun rice balls next week!! Oh and if you want to join Z Lunch Bunch on FaceBook, we'd be glad to have you!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Tomorrow is "D" day

Z got his first homework assignment. He was not too thrilled at first...actually got mad that he might actually have to do schoolwork at home. Oh this does not bode well for his future academic life. He was way too concerned with how much play time he will lose with Olivia and Pete if he had to do homework. But then again, anything that subtracts time from his "friends who might as well be my kids" ticks him off.

This assignment is huge (to a 5-year-old). You see, this year each student in the class will become a "letter expert." They will have one letter that they are responsible for teaching the rest of the class about. The letter "D" has it's pros and cons for Z and they happen to be the same. CON-The letter is nowhere in his name; he knows all the letters in his name. PRO-The letter is nowhere in his name; he gets ticked at having to identify, look at, listen to letters not in his name.

So tomorrow, we have to send him to school with a small ziploc bag full of things that begin with the letter D. So far we have a dime, dirt, , dog (picture lol) and a diamond ring (fake of course) but I don't know how we are going to put in the only D word Z could come up with by himself--dinosaur--probably too big for the zippie. (UPDATE: I found a flashcard with a dino on it!)

PS...I know it's a crappy photo, but I had to take it last minute with my phone and the glare in the bag was yuck!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Full Contact

Since Z was three, he's been telling us he wants to play football. Maybe it's because David and I are pretty die-hard college football fans and it's on TV every Saturday in the fall. Regardless, there wasn't a league that he could play in until he turned 5. I'm not sure if it was on his actual birthday but somewhere around that date, he said now that he was 5, he could play football. Then came the hard part of telling him he still had to wait...until fall! So he continued gymnastics and we added in t-ball to see if he liked that. The only part of T-ball he liked was running...the rest of the time, he'd s
it or stand around digging in the dirt with his cleats or glove. So yeah, he really didn't like t-ball.

I started reading about Lexington Youth Football League - full contact football for ages 5 through 11 all indoor, climate-controlled, etc. Z's age group is 5/6 and there are four teams. The evaluations for the fall were the weekend I was in Nashville for MOPS convention, so David got to take him. They did a lot of agility drills and timed sprints. He did really well and got some of the best times. All the boys went home and the coaches had a "draft." The coaches made phone calls and the boys came back that afternoon to get their pads and practice jerseys and to find out what team they were on. I knew they had the Raiders, Falcons, Steelers and Cowboys. In my heart, I wanted the Cowboys for Z....the only reason being that we cheer for the Cowboys (well David does so reluctantly) Dallas Cowboys, OSU Cowboys....it would just make it easier haha. But we never specified what team we wanted; we just let it all play out. And what do you know...I was sitting in a lecture at MOPS and got a text from David with a picture of Z in his COWBOYS helmet!!! From what I understand, once they get on a team, they follow that team through the three age divisions...even better! Sorry David, there were teams called the Chiefs, and even if there had been; they are not God's team hehehehehe :) Love you!

The first couple practices last week were fun to watch. The boys ran a alot which made Z super happy. We were all a little anxious to see how they'd react when they had to practice in full gear Saturday. It was a monumental task getting him ready....There is a lot of STUFF involved in football sheesh. First we had to boil the mouthguard and fit it to Z's mouth...then attach the chin strap to the helmet. Then put on compression pants and shirt, then pads and jersey, shoes and socks, oh and that helmet. Ugh, that thing quickly became his nemesis. He complained it was tight, but I told him to just get out there and play--that he'd get used to it! The second water break, he came out and immediately started crying and saying his head hurt..."get back out there" we told him. In the process, one of his teammates (who are mostly either taller or bigger than him and mostly 6 going on 7) called him a baby. He kept it on for
the entire 90 minutes...then when it came off, his poor ears were so red. Yes, it was too tight. Coach took him back and put on thinner ear pads and I think that fixed the problem. I felt bad for sending him back out there and not addressing the problem right then, but honestly, I couldn't tell if he was just being a whiner and needed to get used to it. Now we know.

He says he loves it...and Friday when I picked him up from school, he was sitting in the gravel playing with...you guessed it....a football. So maybe we've found his ball sport. I think he'll always love gymnastics, but he needed a ball sport too :) Speaking of gymnastics, he starts the Thoroughbred class this week at Legacy. He's excited that he's been invited to be a part of a more challenging class. We'll have a pretty busy Thursday schedule though, with gymnastics at 4 to 5:30 and football from 5:30 to 7:15. I'm tired just thinking about it!

Friday, August 12, 2011

RIP Spiderman

Well, I was just saying the other day how amazed I was that we'd managed to keep Z's birthday hermit crabs alive for nearly 6 months. I knew spiderman was probably molting as he had buried himself completely under the crabbie swimming pool a few weeks ago. I don't know why I felt the need to intervene, but I went digging for him. Surely he'd been under too long, right?

Well I found him and pulled him up and then I shrieked when all his legs came flying out in a heap. Okay, calm down...he wasn't dead. He had molted, but he hadn't eaten all this old exoskeleton. So for a bit I was relieved, but still worried that my intervention would lead to his demise. I put him on top of all his bits and reburied him a tad. The next morning, we noticed he was naked...completely shell free and taking a bath...then I watched him climb back into his shell...all was well, right?


Crabbie was dead by evening :( At least I'm 99 percent sure he was dead. I should never have started the googling. It made me second guess our little backyard burial ceremony. Was he just post-molt paralyzed? He did have a slight odor before we put him 6 inches under, but was it just a molting odor? OH crap, I wasn't sure...so after I got home from choir practice at 9:30, I told David that we had to dig him up and see. I know David thought I was crazy; he probably always thinks I am! But he agreed to help me exhume Spiderman. First the flashlight was not working, so we went out in the backyard with a garden spade and our cell phones for light. We found him...realized I'd buried him shell opening up and it was full of dirt. But hey, they bury themselves all the time and they come up fine, right? I couldn't see in the dark so I brought him back inside. The cats were suddenly VERY curious in what was going on and about tackled me to get to him. That should've been my first clue...stronger odor. But no, I had to start plucking the dirt out of his shell....but then thousands and I mean THOUSANDS of microscopic bugs started to march out of his shell onto the paper towels I'd laid out. OH yes, he was SO DEAD. So we reburied him and hopefully got those paper towels out of the house before any of those mystery bugs got on anything.

Such drama. I felt so bad about "killing" Spiderman, I decided to let Z go to the pet store the next morning and get a new one. We got there before they opened and were the first ones in the door. I am almost ashamed to admit I let him get THREE new ones. The pet store lady assured me they did not need to stay isolated from our surviving crab at home...that they would just naturally get along well....hmmm, I think she was wrong, but I digress.

So, not even five minutes down the road and they all had names--Dottie, Cowboy and Star. We got them home and at first Superman could not have cared less...but by last night, he was in full on wrestling match with Cowboy. I guess they worked it out...by this morning, Cowboy had on a new shell and was sleeping on top of Superman.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

I was fine...until I wasn't...now I am...I think

We've been preparing for this day for ohhhh about 5 and a half years I suppose. I think when you're in the throes of diapers, bottles and sleepless nights, you can't see very far past that moment. Then come the milestones -- eating real food, crawling, walking, talking...tantrums. I'd like to say I've forgotten the tantrums, but nope, I haven't; they were really THAT bad.

Z started Montessori preschool when he was 3...and I thought that was a huge day. Now I can't really fathom where the past two years have gone. Right into the history books folks, because today...my baby, whom I brought home weighing in at a massive 5 lbs and 13 oz. went to kindergarten. We were well-prepared, or so I thought. David took him to his open house since I was Nashville with a few girlfriends for the MOPS convention. He met his teachers, saw where he'd sit, met some classmates, put away school supplies and toured the school.

His teacher is Mrs. Anna "Banana" Brannen. She's wonderful and I feel very happy that she's his teacher. We struggled so much with public vs. private school and when we finally decided to go to Jessamine Early Learning Village, I felt at peace. At registration, the form asked if we had a teacher preference. I didn't know any of them so I just began praying (at Rene Matthews suggestion) that God would put Zachary with the teacher who was just right for him. So it's a little easier to pray that prayer than to actually believe and trust that it would be heard...especially when you find out your child's soon to be teacher is also soon-to-be having a baby. I doubted for a few seconds...but then remembered yes, I had prayed for his teacher and God knows what he's doing and he cares about even these little things. I was able to go meet Mrs. Brannen yesterday (she allowed me to come while she was prepping her classroom because as a mother she understands that it was important for me to meet my kid's teacher...ahh love her already). When we walked into the room, she had Chris Tomlin blasting and Z immediately told her that's the music his mommy sings at church. We had a great talk and I even told her about my summer prayers and I think that meant a lot to her. I truly am at peace about her being his teacher, even though she'll be gone for 8 weeks...sigh. I think she's got a great plan for her absence...so we'll see how it goes. TRUST.

SO back to the title of the blog...I was fine when I got up this morning, even laughed when Z came running out of his room naked asking where his clothes were so he could go to kindergarten. He was so excited to get there and experience it all. I finished packing his lunch and breakfast and then we took some pictures on the porch...which irked him because it delayed us getting to the school.

We got there and he was perturbed that we had to wait outside...kept asking me every minute when he could go to his room. Finally, they let us in and he just about ran down the hall. I was fine at that moment; I felt good that he was so ready to be there. He was a little nervous, but most of it was excitement. I hugged him and started to leave the room, when there it happened...another mother opened the dam and started bawling. CRAP...I was fine...so I hurried out of the room hiding my swelling eyes from my exited 48-pounder.

I headed to drop off the inhaler at the nurses station...I was fine--until I wasn't. She told me I didn't have the right form for her to be able to administer the medicine. So all of the sudden thoughts of Z having a major asthma attack (though he has never had one) flooded my imagination and if you know me, that was the start of panic. I saw him gasping for air, begging for his inhaler and the nurse standing there saying she wished she could give him the medicine that would allow him to breathe and even though she has the prescription, she can't give it to him. Okay, okay, I was letting it go way too far and that's when I couldn't control it and my own dam burst. I'm still waiting on the dr. to fax his signature by the way, but school ends in 1 hour and 37 minutes so hopefully we're in the clear, but what if it happened on the bus...okay, I'm okay now...out of panic mode, sort of...I think.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Rock-a-bye and goodnight...well sort of

I remember my sweet friend Lisa Bailey as one of the best mentor moms our MOPS groups has ever had. She was full of wonderful advice that first year of my mothering life and she still is as I've entered my sixth year of parenthood. One thing she said fully sticks in my memory and I bring it out often. We always talk about the first time our child smiled, laughed, crawled, pulled up, walked, talked, rode a bike...and the list infinitely goes on. But Lisa reminded me to think of the lasts as well.

I think we get so busy in our lives that all the sudden we look at them and think...when was the last time I got up him 5 times during the night? Or when was the last time he held my hand walking somewhere other than a forced hold in the parking lot or busy mall? Those "last" milestones just sort of morph into the fog of time....or do they? They don't have to, if we are consciously aware of things and try to cherish the fleeting moments. I've not written down as much as I should, but that's one way we can remember things.

A couple nights ago we spent the evening with good friends. Enjoyed great food, even better company and then I sat and watched and laughed as Z jumped, wrestled and laughed loudly as four teenagers included Z in their fun and games. They were careful with him, but he was ready to rumble and kept forcing them down on the trampoline, sitting on them, rough housing and throwing the football...oh and that infectious laughter, I just soaked up. When we got home, he was exhausted. A good thing many would say...but for Z it means his attitude quickly deteriorates into an "I hate everything" mantra and his behavior travels downhill at the speed of light. That's no exaggeration; promise!

Right in the the midst of this, I called him into our room to try to reset him so he could go to sleep without having to "cry it out." I was sitting in the rocking chair that I used to spend hours in when he was a baby (even though we did spend more time bouncing on an exercise ball since that calmed him more then) I told him his attitude and behavior were unacceptable and he needed to apologize straight away. His daggers quickly softened and he tipped his head slightly down and very quietly said he was sorry for being bad. I reached out to hug him and he put his arms around my neck and then as if the mood were just too serious for him, he lifted his feet off the ground to hang from my neck and started giggling. I scooped him up, all nearly 4-feet of him. I had his head in the bend of my left arm and the rest of him slung across my body with his knees resting on the opposite arm of the rocking chair.

He was wiggling and trying not to be comfortable. So I started whispering to him, telling him about when I used to rock him as a baby, sing to him, stroke his face, then sit for a long time wondering if he was asleep enough to lay down (lifting his arm up and seeing if it dropped like a lead weight or if it still had some pull to it was a good test). His eyes fluttered and he pretended to be falling asleep as I rocked. Then out of nowhere, he jumped off my lap and stood sleepily in front me giggling. I pouted and said oh don't you want me to rock you to sleep tonight? He said yes and we both laughed. So I did; I rocked him to sleep...stroked his face, held him tight, did the arm test...didn't keep rocking nearly as long as I used to because well...he's a bit heavier now at 48 pounds! The whole time I was thinking "will this be the last time we do this?" If so I have to remember it. I need to remember it.

Love is such a strange thing sometimes. When it feels the best, the next second it breaks you and hurts you to love that much. I was so grateful for the moment and yes, that's all it was - a moment.

As I got up and navigated getting his long body through the door frames and into bed, I was surprised he stayed asleep. I put him down super gentle, or so I thought ugh. As soon as his head touched the pillow, his eyes popped open. I had a brief time travel moment in the mind of his babyhood and screamed silently, but at this age he can actually talk instead of cry and he started babbling all sorts of nonsensical stuff. I knew he was sleep talking, confusional arousal, whatever. But then he completely woke up and started talking about a flap of skin on his toe that I MUST clip off immediately or he would not be able to sleep. He was frantic. We got that taken care of and he curled up on his side and asked me to turn on his series of night lights that have become part of his sleep routine....1. Rainbow in my Room 2. alien glow light 3. dinosaur glow light that changes colors 4. slow-moving disco ball type light with colors 5. Twilight Turtle blue stars only, please 6. Thank goodness Moon in My Room needs batteries right now. Add the classical music and we're ready to sleep. OH MY GOODNESS, there is no way that all that mess would help me fall asleep, but for him it's like nyquil so whatevs right?

Oh and I can't believe the thought of selling that rocking chair because it didn't match our bedroom furniture anymore ever, ever, ever entered my head. I will never sell that precious thing!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Love/Hate the Toms

Yesterday Z tried on a pair of Toms at the mall...said he loved them, they fit good, etc. I was pretty sure the girl working there wasn't fitting him properly since she never even made him put his foot down to feel his toe. Anyway, I made him walk around...he said I love these shoes, can we get them? SURE! I love the way Toms gives a pair of shoes to a child who needs shoes for every pair they sell.

So we walked out with a black pair and some no-show socks...since I've been told they get extremely stinky if you wear them barefoot. Z wanted to wear his new shoes to church, so I handed him the socks....and the protest began. The shoes were pretty snug with the sock on and he did not hesitate to gritch and moan about it. I said fine...put them back in the box; I'm taking them back. He screamed NO! It was one of the classic arguments we have...he doesn't want to wear/eat/do something but when you suggest the opposite action, he gets way out of line and doesn't want to wear/eat/do that either and then you're stuck there in limbo land.

To shorten the already too-long story, there was a lot of yelling, seat kicking, screaming and tears over those blasted shoes...David called them bloody shoes and Z yelled through sobs, insisting the shoes didn't have any blood on them. At one point, he hugged them and told me they were NOT getting returned. Oh my goodness, it was a no-win for all of us. I told him if he didn't chill out, we were going straight home...and yes, that's what we ended up doing. The screaming got louder as we passed the church and didn't stop. I told him as soon as we got home, he was to go to his room and I would bring him his supper there and that his day was now over.

Who knew Tom's could evoke such emotion...and make a kid scream that he was no longer your kid, no longer your friend and that you are the meanest mommy ever and that he is never going to talk to you again? Of course, right after he said he wasn't going to talk to me anymore....he kept talking....

Thursday, March 17, 2011

The White House

It's been a big week of ups and downs in Montessori land. Tuesday started out pretty crappy when Z got pink slipped for sticking his tongue out and trying to hit a few of the new kids at school. I took him home, sat him down, read him the note and then asked him why he did those things...went a little something like this:

Z: I don't know
Me: Well then you need to think about it and give me a reason because you don't just do that stuff for no reason.
Z: Well, umm those new kids were bothering me.
Me: How were they bothering you?
Z: they were hitting me..and they were bonking me on the head like this (he started hitting his own head) and poking me like this (he started poking his own eyes) and they were spanking my bottom like this (yes, he spanked himself)
Me: Oh okay, and who were the kids doing that to you?
Z: I don't remember
Me: Well even if the kids are doing that, it doesn't mean you hit back or stick our your tongue...did you tell your teacher about all this abuse?
Me: Okay, well mommy and daddy have to write a response and sign this note so I'm going to write down exactly what you told me. Can you give me some kids names to write down so they'll know who was bothering you
Z: no
Me: Why
Z: cuz (hanging head) no one was doing that to me
Me: Okay go to your room, there will be no playing with friends tonight and now no TV because you lied to mommy
Z: screaming, crying, stomping ...but going to his room

In about 5 minutes he told me he was ready...ready for what, I said. Ready to tell the truth, he said. So in doing so, he thought that would remove his consequences...BEEP....wrong answer :) More screaming/crying...but in the end, he found plenty to do without friends and TV.

Fast forward to Wednesday at pick up time....teacher tells me how amazingly smart Z is...how she thinks he could be the president someday (I wouldn't wish that on any kid). So on the way home I told him that the president lives in the White House.

Z: I know that
Me: So if you live in the White House, can I live there too?
Z: Sure, but you have to dress up really pretty every day to live in the White House.

Conversation flowed to other things but then after we'd been home awhile I asked him if I was dressed nice enough to be at the White House....

Z: well, yes, but there's no orange allowed in the White House!
Z: because it's too pretty for the White House, but black is okay to wear there.

So there you have it folks...OSU is too good for the White House (at least that's my interpretation of the conversation :))

This morning when he woke up, first thing he said as he was stretching and yawning "Mommy, I don't think I want to live in the White House." I told him that's just fine but asked him why he changed his mind. He said "because I don't like white." Hmm okay, fine with me. He then said he needed to live in Texas or Oklahoma and would I live there with him...ummm DUH!

Monday, March 14, 2011

The Cup

I know, I know; I really need to catch up my blog. I think that's always the case. I still need to write about Z's 5th birthday celebrations; yes there were several! (For some reason, I'm in a heavy semi-colon use mood; but I digress).

This past weekend was pretty full...started out Friday evening with 2 hours of open bounce at Air-Time Inflatables. Since David is still recovering from double hernia repair surgery; I ended up being Z's playmate in the inflatables and he was in pure boy, wrestle-mania mode. Wow, I was tired and bruised haha! So you'd think that would expel most of his pent up energy, right? Not even close! We headed to Dick's Sporting Goods to pick up the supplies Z will need for tee-ball. I really don't remember my softball days being this expensive?!?! We pretty much got the cheapest of everything...bat, cleats, socks, glove, extra tee-balls to play catch and somehow the sales associate convinced me Z needs sliding pants. Oh and let's not forget the cup. I can finally say it without blushing. I don't know why it's embarassing to talk about...probably because I never had to think of such things growing up in a house of girls! I know that item is on the list of football equipment we have to have this fall, so I figured I'd ask if he needed it...the teenage sales guy turned red when I mentioned it and said he wouldn't need that for tee-ball...but since we had to get one for the fall, it might not be a bad idea to get him used to wearing it.

So there we are...on a isle of, you guessed it...just cups....me...Z...teenage sales dude....oh and lortabbed David, who was clearly letting me do all the talking ugh. I had no clue what to pick, so sales dude did the research and came up with a bright yellow one labeled, and I'm not kidding, "Pee Wee." Are you serious? Anyway...Z was asking him what all those things were and sales dude also let me be the talker...I said "Oh Z, we've talked about this...it's the cup that you will have to wear for football...and maybe tee-ball." So Z looks right at embarassed sales dude and says point blank "Oh, is this to protect my (insert correct name of male anatomy here...I won't type it because for some reason it makes my blog ads a little more than G-rated.)" Sales dude was very embarassed, beet red, etc. by that point and he just chuckled and said well...yeah. Never thought sports would be so weird...but I guess, here we go....into the male world...someone save me!!!!!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

The Eve of All Things Z

So here we are...on the eve of it all...he turns 5 tomorrow. Wow, how is that even possible? It feels like we've been barreling toward this moment for such a short time...and yet, so much has happened in 5 years.

I've noticed a lot of maturity in him lately, mixed in with a lot of immaturity of course. But we're starting to have logical conversations and he's aware that he's got some responsibilities now. Progress...for him. I find myself very emotional this week. It's like we are on the cusp of true childhood, as school years begin and life changes so rapidly and innocence begins to wain. I want him to grow up; I just don't want it going this fast!

I love that he still wants to cuddle; he still wants to hold my hand; he still wants me to read him stories. I love that he seems to constantly say "Mommy?" then wait for me to say "yes?" and then say "I love you mommy." He does it so many times a day that I've sometimes rolled my eyes, but I love it and I would never ask him to stop.

So I'm taking off work Thursday and Friday and we are going to celebrate this birthday stuff rock-star style. Tonight we go pick up Z cookies and take them to cubbies for his friends. Tomorrow more cookies go to school and he gets to be in the middle of the Montessori circle at 10 a.m. in all his fivey-glory....clad in an orange shirt with a huge "5" on the front. After that I'm taking him to a local fire station he was invited to and he'll get the royal visitor treatment. Then I have to take a birthday break and go to MOPS, where I'll probably cry because I'm away from him on his birthday!

Friday is picture day. We are so excited as it's going to be so warm...Z has never been able to have outside pics for his yearly milestones; it's just always been too cold and snowy. But this year, yes....60s, baby! Then maybe a movie or something on Friday. Saturday afternoon is the big bouncy birthday party at AirTime with 20 of his closest friends and probably the coolest Despicable Me birthday cake of all time. Whew, I'm getting tired just thinking of it all!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Vday at the Q!

Picked up Z from sugarland...err Montessori valentine party...yesterday afternoon and knew his gymnastics coach was in for a great evening of corn-syrup, red dye-induced fun! I about freaked out when I saw a jug of red fruit punch sitting by the school door. Eyes huge, I looked at my little bundle of conversations hearts and said "Um...please tell me you did NOT drink that stuff today."

Z: I did not drink it mommy, it has red dye and I can't have red dye and we are not allowed to have that at our school. (hey at least he knows he can't have hyper dye whew, we are learning).

Apparently some little girls' mom thought that stuff would add a lot of fun to a party for 3 to 5 year olds...we have a lot of work to do folks (channeling Jamie Oliver now), but I digress. The teachers made her take it home and never gave a drop to the kids...whew. But some candy here, a cookie there...and oops where did those red sprinkles come from...CRAP! If you're kids get overly hyper, I challenge you to look at the food dyes and the high fructose corn syrup they are consuming. Call me a paranoid quack or whatever you want, these things DO make a difference in many children's hyperactivity and behavior....especially my Z. He cannot tolerate red dye, period.

So off to gymnastics we went. I warned coach Raleigh that Z may be a little distracted and crazy, but that we'd talked about trying to control the mouth and body even when you feel like going nuts!! He wasn't deterred and said it was better for the boys to have too much energy than not enough. I think the boys have really grown on Raleigh; he does such a good job with them and they seem really attached and impressed by his crazy strength. Have to add that he put on quite a show for them, hoisting himself like a flag from the door frame, defying gravity and telling them which muscles had to be strong to do that. The boys were flabbergasted and couldn't stop talking about it all night.

We hit Q'doba after gymnastics with the Campbells. Zachary and Andrew have become pretty good friends and they enjoy hanging out. Didn't realize till we got there it was BOGO kissing night...kiss your sig. other and you get a free entree...sooo stinking crowded, but a really fun promotion no less. So we kissed in front of the cashier....Z and Andrew were being entertained by several firefighters who happened to be there. I think the guys were getting a kick out of the boys.

Z kept going over to their table and telling them all kinds of interesting information about a fuse that's freaking out in our car causing the climate control lighting to blink every once in awhile. He was holding court as usual...with them and with the people at the next table. He commands an audience most everywhere we go and I rarely know whether to try to stop him and apologize or just let him fly. I think the look on the spectator's faces usually helps me figure out when to pull him back...most of the time they get a kick out of it...but some people are just bumps on logs and apparently don't like kids...their loss :)

Firefighters told Z and Andrew they need to come by the station....think we'll do just that on Z's birthday because by my calculations, they'll be on duty again that day!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Getting "Weddinged" again!

Ah yes, Feb. 13, 2011. According to Z mommy and daddy got "weddinged" again. Our church put together a vow renewal service and we were one of more than 40 couples to participate. We decided to make a pretty big deal of it and really solidify some things between us. It was healing, emotional and just so much darn fun.

The fun actually started last Wednesday on the way home from church. I started to explain it all to Z and get ready for the flurry of questions...and yes, there were lots. I told how mommy and daddy were going to basically "get married again." He couldn't figure out why that was necessary and kept saying they we already got "weddinged"and why would we need to do it again. I told him that he wasn't around to see if the first time and this would just reassure him that mommy and daddy really love each other and we are promising to keep our family together. Then I asked him if he'd walk me down the isle to daddy. I got a little resistance because he wanted to know how many people would be watching him. Once we reassured him we'd be walking with lots of people, he was fine with it and said "Oh yes, mommy; I'll walk you down there to daddy and I'm going to wear my best shirt and my best pants...from my sweat pants drawer." Ummm sweet, but NOO no sweatpants and a wedding dude...just wrong on so many levels. I told him we'd worry about what he would wear later.

I thought well, he's almost 5, he needs a suit and tie anyway...so yeah, went to Burlington and bought him one. Pants were huge, but the jacket covered it. Shoes were too big, we stuffed the toes with tissue paper! Got David a new suit too (guised as a valentine's present) Pants didn't fit, but the jacket worked and maybe no one could tell. My new dress was too big on top and I had to throw a black cami on last minute since we were in church afterall! Shelby Potter came over to do my hair and she rocked it...even got my grandmother's broach in there! Stupid last minute nylons were twisted so I had to make a last minute leg shaving trip before we FINALLY got to the church!

All lined up and ready to go...kids all around as the brides got ready to meet the grooms in the isle and then it happened. "MOMMY, I have to go potty BAD!" Like really? Right now? Right when we are going to walk down the isle. Other ladies were telling him to run outside and do it in the grass. He as appalled and just couldn't. I told him he'd have to hold it...and right then Kevin Cox said "Hey Z, when you get done walking your mom in...come back here and I'll take you to the potty!" OH thank you God in heaven, this kid's gonna be an excellent dad someday! So then we walked in...and Z walked back out...and I just prayed he found his way back to Kevin and ultimately Lily Sauteben who was so gracious to let him sit with her during the ceremony. Once we were reunited at the reception, Z handed me an offering envelope he'd kiped from the pew to draw on. I almost cried when I saw what he'd drawn -- a picture of Me, David and him...all holding hands, all smiling. He was so proud of himself...little cheeks turning red, dimples flashing...wow, I was so in love with my little family at that moment! My how God has blessed us; I mean really blessed us!

Once we got home, I asked Z which one in the picture was him...thinking it was the small one on the left. But he said no..."I'm the one in the middle and you guys are both holding my hands...and I'm swinging up and down and then I'm flipping over..."

Thursday, February 3, 2011

The K word

Okay, so I guess I've been too obsessed with trying to figure out where my little "einstein" needs to attend elementary school, to actually fathom that he will be old enough to attend elementary school at all. I've been busy listing the pros and cons of finding the right Montessori to continue his two years of Montessori preschool; reading up on the programs at various other types of private schools the area has to offer and of course contemplating a dive into public school *GASP.*

So I thought hmm, I'll call Jessamine County just to see when Kindergarten registration happens to be for the fall (thinking I had plenty of time to choose and let it all sink in). But no, the lady at the office said March 7. MARCH 7?!?!?! Are you kidding me...does she not realize my baby is still a baby March 7? Oh my gosh, my brain started spinning around in my head and I could barely focus on what she was saying. I had to have her repeat it all...yes, you need a birth certificate, social security card, immunization records, proof of residence oh and don't forget to bring your child so he can be screened. Screened for what? I'm not really worried about that, but still...wow. I don't know why this all comes as such a shock to me; in my mind I've been preparing for this for a year now - doing all the homework on finding the "perfect" school, thinking about uniforms, no uniforms, buses or no buses, after school programs or working my UK schedule around the school schedule...not once did I ever ponder the reality that this kid was actually going to go to Kindergarten.

And then it happened, I hung up the phone and the waterworks started. David walked in my office about that time bringing me a stash of glorious Dublin Dr. Pepper...so that was a plus, but he wondered why my eyes were full of tears. No, honey it really had nothing to do with my gratefulness of your taking time before you go to work to bring me some manna from heaven. So when I started blurting out "birth certificate, social security....wah, wah" he was just hugged me in complete oblivion...probably wise. He got a little chuckle when I told him what I was really talking about and then mumbled something about our baby growing up. SHUT UP, no he's not, he's going to stay my sweet little snuggler forever, don't you know that?!?! And if anyone...ANYONE...dares talk to me about how in two weeks from today that BABY is going to be FIVE years old...nelly bar the door, unless you are ready for a flood....SHUT UP!! NO WAY!!

Monday, January 10, 2011

On the Grow Again

Z's already grown more than 4 inches this year, which I just find astounding. It's funny how the pattern is always the same: eat like a person that's been starved for a year, restless sleep with lots of sleep talking, belly pops out, eating stops almost completely, pants are two inches shorter. I know other moms have noticed the same pattern in their kids because we've laughed about it a lot. But even knowing about it, I still get amazed with each spurt. This one is scaring me because the "eat like a horse" phase went on for like two weeks straight. We'd eat a full meal and within 15 minutes he would have to "tell me a secret" which was usually just to say he was still hungry.

Yesterday, we noticed the eating has abruptly stopped; we couldn't get him to eat more than a couple bites of much of anything. And yes, the belly has arrived and he's having great fun poking it out there and patting it, then sucking it in and laughing. I am still in awe though that through all this growing and eating, he's only gained a pound this year! Insane! I'm pretty sure it's because he's always running, jumping, flipping, tackling teenage girls (yes, we are so ready for football to start this fall!) and basically climbing the walls all the time. I'm glad he likes to be so active. I'm glad he's not into video games yet and would rather ride his bike or play hide-n-seek with any willing participant. I hope he always loves to move. It's easier to teach healthy habits when they really enjoy exercise. I wish I enjoyed it!!

Friday, January 7, 2011

Yes, Zachary there IS a Santa Claus!

I'm not sure why it's so important that Z believe in Santa Claus. I guess, in reality, it's not. But it's a magical part of childhood that holds many nostalgic thoughts for me, so I want him to have some of that when he's my age too. And before anyone says Santa is a lie that we shouldn't tell our kids, let me just say no..Santa IS real. Santa embodies a spirit of giving...even if "he" is our parents, he is real.

Z's always skeptical about everything; he asks tons of questions that really make you think and scramble around for answers. The topic of Santa has been no different. In fact, he's probably asked more questions about him than most anything. He, like most kids, notices the differences in the book Santas, mall Santas and any other thing wearing a Santa suit (like the Cincinatti bum wearing a filthy Santa suit, cut off at the knees, in Fountain Square in August. We've always just chalked these differences up to the fact that Santa is NOT God and he can't be all places at once so he needs helpers.

We took a magical trip to the remodeled Opryland Hotel in Nashville for Thanksgiving. It looks marvelous by the way, after such a devastating flood early this year. We wanted to celebrate the end of fall portrait season and the beginning of Christmas season in style. We were not disappointed; that places stops at nothing to get you into the Christmas spirit! From dazzling light and fountain shows, special cookies and stories with Mrs. Claus, amazing ICE! exhibit and SNOW! with live reindeer, giant nativity display...well it was just what we needed to get into the Christmas mood. The final day of our visit, we went to see Santa so Z could tell him what he wanted for Christmas. We were about 10th in line and I kept telling Z I thought this could be the real Santa...real beard, real twinkle in his eye...Mrs. Claus reading books close by. He wasn't convinced at all and kept telling me no he's not. Until he sat on the old man's lap. He stared deep into Santa's eyes...told him exactly what he wanted -- a black and orange bike with training wheels, a real Woody and real Buzz Lightyear. They had a great conversation about how the toys in the move aren't "real," but Santa felt certain he could get some that were almost real.

Then Z threw him a curve ball...he mentioned Jack. Jack is the name Z gave his Elf on a Shelf, who this year had to appear in Nashville. On this last day in town, Jack had landed in Z's suitcase so he could come back to Kentucky with us. I stood there thinking "sheesh, that's it, we're done; it's over, Santa's gonna blow it because he doesn't know about Jack."

But to my surprise, here's how that conversation went.

Z: you know, Jack's in my suitcase
Santa: Oh he is? Why do you suppose he's in there?
Me (sweating and biting my lip in the background)
Z: because he wants to come back to Kentucky with us.
Santa: Oh, I see
Me: Z, Santa may not know that you've given him the name Jack.
Santa: Oh yes, I know all about Jack.
Z: you do?
Santa: yes, and he flies back to the North Pole each night while you're sleeping to tell me about your day.
Z: (eyes huge and staring at Santa in disbelief)
Santa: Is Jack behaving himself.
Z: umm, yeah
Santa: well, that's good. If he starts to cause any trouble, I want you to let me know, okay?
Z: okay, I WILL
Santa then said some other junk that I didn't hear because I was just so impressed at how he handled that, I could no longer think.

Z hugged Santa tight and then walked toward his now glassy-eye mommy and said he had to tell me a secret. While waiting for the people to process the photos, he whispered in my ear "I just need to tell you mommy, that IS the real Santa."

Oh and you know what? Z got his bike and the woody and buzz :) I think that dude in Nashville bought us at least two more years of solid Santa belief!