Another long update

Life has been very busy in this house. Also, I’m not of the generation who grew up with blogs and social media as an everyday part of life so updating this space seems difficult to me when I’m in the thick of life. So, I’m sorry for the long absence again. Here is all the news that’s fit to print:

April & May were busy with the usual end of the school year stuff. June brought Marching Band Madness to our usually laid back & tranquil summer plans. Ditty participated in the flute section for the first time (she could have participated last summer but I’m glad she didn’t). They had a week long sweat camp and then it was 2-3 parades per week for the rest of June. One parade got rescheduled because of rain, so that week had 4 parades, the rescheduled one on Tues, another on Thurs & Fri & Sat. So glad that’s done, none in July & just one more exhibition parade on Aug 2nd. They did earn some good marks and even received one Grand Champion recognition. I didn’t get to watch them perform at any of the parades, so I’m looking forward to watching on the 2nd. June also brought Driver’s Ed classes back to our schedule. Ditty now has her learner’s permit and needs to get 30 hours of behind the wheel in the next 6 months in order to take her test for a conditional driver’s license. Teens don’t get full driving privileges straight off anymore.

DH learned the importance of teaching your teen driver exactly what your “driving slang” means before you use it on them. Ditty’s first behind the wheel attempt with us was driving his truck over to Clearwater/Pleasant regional park. She was backing out of the driveway and he wanted her to turn more sharply onto the road so he said “crank it”. She applied the gas and we bagan to shoot across the road. I yelled “Stop!” and she applied the brakes, thankfully before we wound up in the neighbor’s ditch. DH asked her why she stepped on the gas and she replied “well, I thought that’s what you wanted me to do.” Teach them the meaning of your slang so you will live longer-just saying. Also, saying Crank It when you don’t give them a direction to turn in isn’t very helpful. Hard right or hard left would help a beginner more. Maybe this was why the eldest always wanted me in the vehicle with her. If that happens again, I really need to get some valium.

We brought BooBoo in to the doctor in June and we have finally received some answers to his issues. We now know that he has ADD, the inattentive type and he has now begun taking medication to help with his attention issues. This has also greatly improved his anxiety & depression. It really feels like we have our old Buddy Sunshine back again. He comes up the stairs with a spring in his step and no longer balks when we interrupt what he wants to do with a request to complete a chore.

July has been, well, interesting-let’s just leave it at interesting. The 4th brought the usual parade & 2 potlucks. A neighbor invited us over for fireworks and that was nice. I am getting a little tired now of picking up the debris from my yard. Apparently fireworks are for the whole month of July. Oh well, they are good neighbors the rest of the year. Speaking of neighbors, I think we finally have some new neighbors kitty corner across the street. There was a trailer there yesterday along with 2 large vehicles so one can hope that house is finally going to be someone’s home.

I finished writing the new Nature program for our Girl Scout day camp. 2nd grade learns about mammals, 3rd grade learns about bugs & butterflies, 4th grade learns about birds, 5th learns about trees (and has the coolest craft), 6th learns about reptiles & amphibians & fish, and 7th learns about wildflowers. 2nd & 3rd don’t do a nature craft, they have games instead. 4th & up do a craft that relates to what they are learning about: Bird feeders, Pine cone boxes, Toad homes & Wildflower presses. The girls seemed to enjoy their time in Nature this year, especially their nature hike/exploration day. I think it was the fact that they had permission to look & touch & observe their surroundings that captivated them. The 6th grade girls loved going out to catch frogs & toads. We learned that we have a lot of Leopard frogs in our day camp area. We also found a baby Great Plains toad. Maybe next year we’ll have to catch some insects too and see how the frogs and toads catch their meal. (This thought is due to the Cope’s Gray treefrog that was clinging to our deck door last night. I watched it crawl, looked like an Army crawl, up the side of the door and then leap at a bug that it ate.)

July also brought 2 more visitations/funerals. My last uncle on my dad’s side passed away in June, then the father of a friend’s husband passed away in early July and another friend’s husband was tragically killed in a motorcycle crash this past weekend. It has been a mournful month. May their souls and all the souls of the faithful departed, by the mercy of God, rest in peace.

I am looking forward to enjoying our final 5 weeks of summer vacation. BooBoo wants to have the guys over for a fire and hot dogs soon. Ditty has swim team practices starting up again in August. We still need to update her flute and she wants to start learning the saxophone as well.

Time to get BooBoo started on his guitar practice. Hope your summer is going well.

Happy Mother’s Day

From a greeting card, but so appropriate:

     Here’s to the mothers awake in the night with a colicky baby in tow.  And here’s to the ones who are knee-deep in laundry with five or six loads left to go.

     Here’s to the mothers who mouth every word when their child is performing on stage, who understand wisely there’s something to love about each child at every age.

     Here’s to the mothers who try but still fumble, who hope that love makes it okay.  These are the ones we remember and honor in all of our hearts every day.

Happy Mother’s Day to all you moms, whether biological, adoptive, step, foster, in-law or just like.  Your strength and love are gifts that money can’t measure.

Since temps were unseasonably cool this year, even for the great white frozen north, these pics are actually my 2009 garden.  I felt moms should have flowers on Mother’s Day.

Now that’s scary!

Well, it’s Halloween and the ghosts and goblins abound.  Well, in our neighborhood its more pirates and princesses really.  BooBoo went trick or treating tonight dressed up in his knight’s costume from two or three years ago.  Yes, I did make it big on purpose although he can no longer fit a winter coat underneath it as he could the first year.

Ditty on the other hand opted not to go trick or treating this year.  Both DH & I tried to cajole her into one last Halloween hurrah, but she wasn’t having any of it.  Her friend had stood her up and she said that she wasn’t in the mood to go.  She did ask if she could climb up the tree in front of the living room window and shake the branches when the trick or treaters came by.  She’ll be the one to enjoy a trip up north sometime to see the haunted ore boat.  She definitely did not want to go trick or treating though.

And then this afternoon, I found out the real reason why she didn’t want to go out.  Ditty had gotten her first period.  That monthly scourge of women everywhere.  And the requisite cramps too.  So that’s why mine was early.  You did know that women who live in close quarters cycle together didn’t you?  It must be some form of protection for the menfolk who have to endure us during this time so that they don’t have to constantly worry about ticking us off.  But I digress.

Up to this point, my little girl has been . . . well . . . my little girl.  Now that this has begun, it just puts her that much closer to being grown up.  That’s what I’m not sure that I’m ready for.  The boys, the dating, the going away to college, etc.  Rats!  I wish I could have had one more year of peace of mind.  But the reality is that I’ve known this was coming.  We talked about hygiene last summer, so I knew that this “milestone” couldn’t be too far down the road.

And how appropriate to have this happen on Halloween-the scariest night of the year.  No zombie or butt-kicking alien from outer space could top the fear factor of this happening.  Here’s hoping that you’re at least somewhat prepared when it’s your turn.

But it’s only the second day!

“Children bring something home every day. . . sometimes in their hand, sometimes in their head, sometimes in their heart, and once in awhile, in their hair.”   Valerie Welks Workshop

Yes, that’s right.  Today the note came home in BooBoo’s class that someone in the class has head lice.  It’s only the second day of school!

This is honestly the note I detest more than the strep throat note.  And even more than the flu or whooping cough notes.  Those things all have very noticeable symptoms.  And they are sure to go away with proper treatment.  Head lice are a different story.  They aren’t always immediately noticeable and they seem to rarely go away with just one treatment.

I’m now wishing that I had just shaved BooBoo’s head for his haircut last weekend!  It would have saved me this headache.  Or is it head itch?

Oh, and still no coffee or yarn.  Everytime I plan, something else comes up.  So que sera sera on tomorrow’s chances.

Kids say the darndest things

BooBoo to Ditty (sings a popular Girl Scout camp song): ‘Your mama don’t wear no socks, a ding dong.  I was there when she took ’em off, a ding dong. She threw them at the tub, a ding dong.  All the kids refused to scrub.”

Ditty to BooBoo: “You are aware that we have the same mother, right?”

and

BooBoo to Cookie (our crafts director at camp):  “You need to say please.  I only work for “please” . . . and money.  I will work for money.”

His father didn’t see the humor in the last one, but Cookie and I laughed our socks off.

Hope your summer is going well.  The spammers continue to find me. . . but that’s why they invented edit and delete buttons.

The Talk

Boy am I glad that the spirit moves me to go to a bookstore every now and again!  Just in the nick of time too. 

I’ve been noticing that Ditty has filled out a bit this summer and was beginning to think that I should get myself a book on how to talk with her about the changes happening in her body and get her ready for what happens when she gets her first period.  No, she hasn’t started yet, but it’s just over the horizon I’m sure.  Well the bookstore, owned by a friend, was out of reference books for moms but had an American Girl book for girls called “The Care & Keeping of You:  The Body Book for Girls”.  So I bought that figuring that I would still have time to find a book to help me deal with how I was going to talk to her about her body and hopefully put a few good phrases in my mouth about what to say.  Not being raised by overly glib parents, I am a bit stunted in my verbal growth when it comes to certain topics.  I admit that.

Well, I started reading the book (and hiding the darn thing when BooBoo came into the room-see, stunted!)  and I was impressed that they could cover that much info and still not talk about sex.  Hooray!  I wish there was a book like this for boys, because I’m really gonna need that one!  May have to write it myself.  Can you wrap your brain around that one?  Yeah, me neither.  But I digress.

Anyway, I get to the point in the book just before the period talk and in walks DH with Ditty and he says to me, “You need to talk to someone (meaning her) about deodorant.”  And he goes on about the position of the fan in his office and the fact that she was right in front of it and he was down wind.  TMI, thank you.  The first statement DH made was enough for me to know that when opportunity presents itself, I might as well get the job over with.

So, I asked her to sit down on the bed and did a quick spiel about the need to shower more regularly and how deodorant will help now that she is reaching puberty.  “Puber-what?”  she replied.  Oh goody, I get to talk about that too (so not ready-jump in anyway).  I explained that puberty was her body’s way of becoming more grownup.  I told her that I had gotten a book for her that explained all of the different things she would be experiencing and told her that since I was just about to begin the chapter about periods why don’t we read it together.  And that’s what we did.  

Prior to last night, Ditty was still of the idea that a period was just a punctuation mark that sometimes got forgotten at the end of her sentences.  But now she knows.  And we covered the information together so that she also knows that she can come to me and ask me about anything (Oooh, I sure set myself up for some doozies with that one I’ll bet). 

But she wasn’t ready for the “sex” talk.  Thanks for the reprieve Lord.  I mentioned the ovaries since they were depicted in one of the drawings that accompanied the menstruation chapter and thought she would ask about them and why they were there, so I mentioned that they are where the eggs are created.  “Eggs?!” she said.  I quickly attempted to explain but she really wasn’t ready to hear that so I just told her that we’d come back to that bit of info at another time.  Whew!

I even learned something from the book that I didn’t know before.  How to buy the right size bra.  Apparently the old JCP catalog didn’t use the correct measurement when figuring bra size.   So for the thirty or so years that I’ve been wearing bras, I’ve been buying the wrong size.  So today, I did a complete overhaul and threw out the old bras that didn’t fit right and purchased new ones.  Good thing I bought that book, lol.  Even this old dog learned a new trick.  And also learned that I can do a better job at talking puberty than I thought.

A trying time in Spanish

Well, report cards came home last week and DD2’s spanish grade was down by more than 2 letter grades!  I was livid!  After asking all the appropriate questions, Why didn’t you ask for help? Why didn’t you study harder? Why didn’t you …?, DD2 responded that she didn’t know why her grade was that low.  I then emailed the teacher to request that she shed some light on this situation since DD2 was being uncooperative.  After a couple of emails back and forth, it dawned on me that the teacher thought I was a different mother.  A quick email back to clear up the situation and then I got a phone call from the teacher.  We cleared up the mess and got down to the nitty gritty about why DD2’s grade was so low.  I also found out that she wasn’t the only one and that half of the class was struggling.  So I had DD2 go down to the office to pick up a note from me that she needed to clean out her desk and locker (organizational skills are also not a top priority for her), find her test that I was supposed to sign and she was supposed to correct and wait for me at her classroom.  She cleaned out her desk, tossed the test in the garbage (ostensibly to avoid me or her dad seeing it and the resulting fireworks) and waited for me at her room.  I picked her up after school and asked her where the test was, then got smart and asked when she had thown it away, made her dig it out of the trash, took it home and made her correct it.  We have now explained that turning her work in late is not acceptable and she needs to bring home things when the teacher tells her to do so.

There is a passage in the bible, in the gospel of Matthew, that talks about the narrow gate.  “Go in through the narrow gate.  For the gate is wide and the road easy that leads to destruction.  The gate is narrow and the road hard that leads you to salvation.”  I’ll have to share this with DD2.  Hopefully it will have some impact on her actions.

A short string

I was reading “The Explosive Child” by Ross W Greene, Ph.D. this morning.  My son has had issues with his short fuse and this book was recommended by another parent dealing with a similar situation.   As I have been reading this particular book, I have found some helpful information and though I haven’t finished it yet, I will begin trying Dr. Greene’s suggestions. 

 

This morning, my son said, again, that he didn’t want to go to school.  This has been a struggle for him, in that he gets frustrated at school and then explodes and gets in trouble for exploding.   Which is completely understandable all the way around.  So I called him over to me for a talk before making him get his coat on and go to school, because a good education is not optional in our house.  And not even getting through the full year of first grade really won’t cut it in the real world. 🙂  He saw the picture on the cover of the book and asked what AFG meant (these are the letters on the building blocks the “cartoon” child on the cover is stacking).  I told him that it didn’t stand for anything and that the little boy is just trying to stack the blocks in a way that makes sense to him.  Then he saw the fuse coming out of the child’s round head and said; “So, he’s like a bomb.”  I agreed and then he said; “Well, at least he’s got a long string yet.”  Daylight hit me and I told him that he has a long string too and he promptly replied, ” Not today, today I only have a short string.”  “Well,” I said, “hold on to that short string then.  Now, let’s get ready to go to school.”  He went and put on his coat and we went to school.  When he gets home this afternoon, I think we’ll have another talk about string and how to make our string grow by taking a deep breath whenever we get frustrated.

 

Now, before you start thinking that this was an example of the brilliant parenting of others, it’s not.  In the words of Minerva McGonagle sometimes our most brilliant moments are  just “Sheer Dumb Luck”.  Have a great day.

Perfectly Preserved In Perpetuity

Friends, Romans, Countrymen

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Quotes:

"If you are what you should be you will set the whole world on fire."
St. Catherine of Sienna

I finally understand

"Among those around you, apostolic soul, you are the stone fallen into the lake. With your word and your example, you produce a first circle, and it another, and another, and another, wider each time. Now do you understand the greatness of your mission?" St. Josemarie Escriva: The Way