September 16, 2014

If this post was any shorter, it would be a tweet

We have no furnace, I have no voice.  No heat,  no way to contact anyone to get heat.  (Not to mention, the huge expense of actually replacing a furnace.)  As a teacher, I sorely need my voice.  A very nasty cold carried it away and there is no sign of its return.  Tomorrow I will have to show a movie.  I hate doing that.  I'm not that kind of teacher.  I like to think that I'm the antithesis of that kind of teacher.  Now I have no choice.  I can only hope that 36 hours from now I'll be able to get back to business and that the temperatures will rise to the 70's as promised.

The boys are enjoying quieter mornings and evenings at home.  I can't nag them, much less yell at them.  When I do manage to utter a request, they whisper back their response.  As if we are in a library or at church.  Funny boys--they make me smile even when I can't laugh out loud.

September 9, 2014

Big Fun; Mini Golf

Miniature Golf was the consolation prize for not being able to go away for Labor Day weekend or see the Demolition Derby--both of which have become September traditions.  I was sad to miss out on those anticipated activities but for various reasons, neither were possible this year, so on Monday, I took the boys to play two rounds of golf.

It was a beautiful day (it wasn't supposed to be--that's why we weren't at the Demo Derby) in the mid 80's.  I made the boys keep their hats on for all 36 holes.  I don't know why I paid for a ball and club for myself--I had enough to hold on to with the boys' two water bottles and my camera.  Even with my hands full, I was still putting par for most of the holes.  I believe I may have discovered a secret talent.  Henry was fascinated with the concept of "par" and announced each hole and each player's progress.  Liam did much better than last year.  I expected a few tantrums when his ball went astray but there were none.  He seemed to enjoy each time he met a water hazard.

I didn't completely abandon tradition--as with last time we went to this park, I first used the wrong entrance and spent an hour wandering before remembering that there is a completely different entrance 1/2 mile down the road.  (The first entrance is for baseball, the second is for golf.  Got it.  Hope I reread this next year.)  While at the first section, I unloaded the boys' bikes and we took a leisurely one mile ride.  Liam was on the balance bike--he is getting so close to being ready for a two-wheeler like his brother!  Heaven help me when they are both speeding away on their bikes.  There will be no stopping them!

Back in the car, we found the mini golf course, right where it was last time.  For the most part, the boys encouraged each other--they've been doing more of  that lately.  I think they look like a pro and his caddie in this next photo:

More and more, Liam reminds of my grandfather--his expression at times, the twinkle in his eyes sometimes and his stance here

Spending the day with neon golf balls, windmills and waterfalls wasn't on our calendar but it was a good way to spend time together.  The boys even called it a "treat day" as we drove home.  Family traditions are great but I guess all you really need is the family part.

September 3, 2014

You say crawfish, I say crayfish...

One of the challenges of being an SMC of two boys in middle childhood  is making sure there is a balance between gender-neutral activities and more male-oriented experiences.  You know, outdoor boy stuff where they touch things that are happier at the bottom of a pond and hold things that wriggle, bite and pinch.

On Saturday we took a guided nature hike that included a crayfish count for the county's conservation district.  The boys had a fabulous time!  We came across a rare female Queen Snake sunning itself on a foot bridge.  (oh, good, a snake)  Then our group of ten caught and released 172 crayfish in one hour.  It's a relatively simple (slightly disgusting) process that the boys enjoyed so much, they went back on Sunday.  

I love seeing them in these photos.  They're doing what young boys are supposed to do--well, after I applied sunscreen, made sure they had hats and used Purell on their hands before getting back in the car.  I may be a #momofboys, but I'm still a mom!

August 23, 2014

That Went Well. Not.

The first week in the classroom for all three of the members of this family did not go as planned.  That's putting it mildly.  It's a bit disappointing as this is Liam's kindergarten year.  You only get to witness your child's first week in kindergarten one time.  And yet, I want to forget this week.

Oh, there was nothing catastrophic--just a series of moderately annoying situations.  A seemingly endless series...

It all started when I took my car to be repaired for what I thought was under warranty.  Not only was it not covered but a part had to be ordered and repair rescheduled.  While in the service waiting area, I bumped into a glass shelf, shattering it into a thousand tiny shards and earning the disgust of every single person in the room.  It really was a freak accident--I have a terrible four inch bruise to prove it.

And so the week began.

The flooring I ordered and paid for in July couldn't be installed until this Tuesday--my boys' first day of school.  I had to move every stick of furniture from the front of the house to the back and disassemble the dining  table.  The boys had their first day breakfast on the sofa with chairs and bookcases surrounding them.  When I came home from work I had to reassemble the table so we could have dinner.  The boys tried to tell me about their day but all I could think of was the amount of work that awaited me after they went to bed.

On Wednesday, Liam told me that a boy in his class pushed him down the stairs while going to lunch.  On Thursday, he told me that his teacher put him in timeout.  On Friday, my second grader asked his new teacher if he could use the restroom but had his request denied.  He wet his pants an hour later.

The back drop for all this is a late summer heatwave.  My air conditioning hasn't worked since July.  I check the thermostat before going to bed--last night it read 81 degrees.  And it's not just hot--the humidity has been well over 90% for almost a week.

Wait, there's more!  Apparently, mice don't mind a lack of A/C because after catching five tiny rodents--I've thrown my hands up--I'm ready to admit that there must be an entire colony living inside the walls.  Tuesday night (yes, that Tuesday)  I heard something scratching under the stairs.  It sounding like a kitten doing cartwheels.  How do you get a mouse out from inside a wall?  Even if I knew where to put the trap, it probably wouldn't work.   They seem to have figured them out and avoid them at all costs.  I need an exterminator and fast!  But when will I schedule that?  I certainly can't take a day (or even morning) off to have that work done.

I can't imagine leaving my classes with a substitute right now.  I have 160 students and the first five days together have been great, if not terribly productive.  It's time to hit the ground running and engage their minds!  I'm struggling to learn all the names.  Each year my goal is to learn every one of their names before going away Labor Day Weekend.

All three of us have been looking forward to spending time away for the three day weekend.  Now, I'm not sure it's going to go as planned.  I didn't successfully arrange for a dog walker.  Poor planning on my part.  I hate to press my friends for favors like that.  It looks like I will have to cancel the hotel and break the boys' hearts (it's just about all they talk about right now) OR take the dog with us--hoping for cool enough weather that he can spend a couple of days in the car.  I checked--the hotel will allow him in our room with a significant pet deposit.  It's just not how I envisioned "getting away from it all".  Oh well.

I'm certain there's something I've forgotten, but you get the hasn't been a stellar week.   Still, there have been bright spots here and there.  I really have to look for them, focus on them, but they've been there.  Times when friends helped out with a smile and coworkers went out of their way to say a few kind words.  Then there's the moment when, about to yell that we were late for school, I looked over and saw Henry teaching Liam to tie his shoes.  Or this morning in the car when Henry told me "Mom, I did geology in my mouth!"  (He informed me that salt and water had eroded his peppermint.)

I can't make this stuff up.  All I can do is write it down.