Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

I just wanna play baseball.

Mason is playing soccer again this fall. Last season, his team was the Bulldogs. This time around . . . the Catfish! Uniforms were handed out arbitrarily, and Mason got #2. Of course, Hannah Kate squeeled in delight because that's her favorite number. But let's just say Mason was less than excited about his number, and he even asked me if I could change it.Although he did really well at practice last year and showed a lot of enthusiasm for the game, that didn't exactly translate to the game itself. He quickly decided he didn't like the "blue ones." The first opponent of the season wore blue jerseys so henseforth the opposing teams were always referred to as the blue ones. We tried to explain to him that that was just part of the game and that a game involves playing another team. I was fairly certain our soccer days were over, but earlier in the summer, Mason started asking when he could play soccer again. So I signed him up.

The season started off really well. We were so proud of Mason for scoring his team's very first goal at their very first game of the season. He'd moved up to the next age bracket so the teams were a little more organized and a little more competitive. They still don't keep score though. Every Saturday we make our way to the soccer field, and Mason had done a great job! I wouldn't say he's been in the middle of the action, but he's definitely been on the outskirts of it instead of on the opposite side of the field away from it!And then two Saturdays ago it happened . . . a kid on the opposing team kicked the ball up in the air instead of keeping it on the ground. It sailed through time and space and landed smack dab on Mason's face. I didn't immediately jump out of my seat. I willed myself to stay put, not wanting to be one of THOSE moms . . . you know, the ones who run onto the field every time little Johnny trips over his shoe laces. Besides, my husband was sitting right beside me, and I could feel him boring a hole into me without even looking at him. He was thinking the same thing, and I'm certain he was surprised that I wasn't already on the field. But I waited to see what Mason was going to do. He was obviously stunned but then he started running after the ball. It went out of bounds so the whistle blew. In the meantime, one of the coaches, Mrs. Pam, was making her way over to Mason to check on him. I mean, SOMEONE needed to . . . right?!?

And then I couldn't stand it anymore. Was his nose broken? Did he lose any teeth? I couldn't see any blood, but I couldn't be sure either because he wasn't facing me at that point. He turned briefly, and that's when I saw it. No, not blood. Tears. That did it. I became one of THOSE moms. By the time I got to him, Mrs. Pam was already asking him if he was okay, but he wasn't answering. He was trying his hardest not to cry. I got down on my knees in front of him, made sure there indeed wasn't any blood and then gave him the best pep talk I could muster. It didn't work, and I already knew it wouldn't. He wanted out of the game.

So he came and sat with me, and I gave him his water bottle. At this point, my husband is glaring and that hole in my head is growing bigger and bigger despite the fact he's even wearing his sunglasses. I kept my mouth shut and my eyes on that field. A few minutes later, the coach asked Mason to go back into the game, and he did. As soon as he was out of ear shot, my husband could no longer contain himself.

Seth: You shouldn't have done that. He was fine until you got out there.

Me: No he wasn't. He was crying.

Seth: He was fine. He wasn't crying until you got there.

Me: No he wasn't! He was already crying before I walked out there. Besides, what if he would've been crying because he had a broken nose or something?

Seth: You just need to leave him alone, and let him shake it off. He would've been fine and stayed in the game if it hadn't been for you.

Me: No, I am not going to "leave it alone." I am not THAT mother, and I never will be!

At that point, our conversation was over. And for the remainder of the game, Mason didn't go near the ball.

We had another game this past Saturday. It got worse . . . not only would he not go near the ball, but every time someone kicked the ball even remotely to his general area on the field, he flinched, and his hands came up in front of his face. Just keeping it real, it was pretty sad to watch. I mean, it really made my heart hurt. We screamed and hollered and cheered for him, but nothing worked. During half time, I asked him if he was scared, and he said yes. So I tried to encourage him and remind him that he didn't need to be scared because Jesus was with him, just like He was with David when he faced Goliath. And then Mason said, "I just wanna play baseball."

Well, maybe Mason just isn't going to be too interested in playing sports. Maybe he'd just rather play the piano instead! Don't worry . . . I didn't dare mention this to my husband! I just politely commented that perhaps Mason would be more interested in an individual sport. I didn't mention tennis either.

That afternoon, we were at Abbie's house for her birthday party / LSU game party. Abbie and her little girl friends were taking a ride on the ranger. Mason and Braylon (Abbie's other boy cousin) were the only boys at this party so they were a bit outnumbered. They really wanted to ride the ranger, too, and they were having some trouble waiting their turn. So they started chasing the ranger and actually caught up with it. Later one of Abbie's friends came up to me and said (and I kid you not!), "Mason can run really fast! All that soccer is paying off."

And then it hit me . . . TRACK! He can run track!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

Thursday, October 14, 2010

The Fundraiser

I. Hate. Fundraisers.

There. I said it. Hate is such a strong word . . . as a matter of fact, I've taught (or rather am trying to teach!) Mason and Hannah Kate that hate is a bad word and one we do not use . . . but in this case, it's most appropriate to describe how I really feel. I've always hated fundraisers, even when I was a school girl, and they sent me home with wrapping paper to sell. My mom would usually buy some, and I might ask Grandmother or MeMama, but that was it. Let's just say I never won the prize for most sold!

I knew it was coming. And I was trying to brace myself for Mason's first fundraiser. It came at the beginning of September. A note came home from school explaining that the fundraiser was about to begin . . . the money would be used to pay for field trips . . . blah blah BLAH . . . and they were asking each child to sell at least one box of the World's Finest Chocolate . . . worth $50. Great. Chocolate. Actually, I can't find a thing wrong with chocolate. I L O V E chocolate! I just don't want to sell chocolate. Anyway, the letter was asking the parent to sign a release form acknowledging that we would take full responsibility for the box of candy that is sent home with the child. At this point, please note that the letter DID NOT saying anything about this fundraiser being VOLUNTARY.

So I thought about it . . . actually thinking I really didn't have a choice in the matter anyway so there was really no reason to be thinking about it . . . and signed the form. After all, I want Mason to go on field trips! I want to be a team player! I want to support his school! I just want to be MOM OF THE YEAR . . . so that means putting on my big girl panties and selling some World's Finest Chocolate. Okay, so I'm going to be totally honest here. I had NO INTENTION of selling that candy. My plan was to send $50 to school to cover one box of chocolate candy and be done with it. I hadn't yet decided what to actually do with the candy.

Two weeks later, I attended the PTSA meeting. The Executive Director (AKA Principal) gave his monthly report, which included a break down of how many students per grade had agreed to sell candy. Out of 80 kindergarteners, only 29 were going to sell candy! What?!? Great. Now I'm one of 29. Again, the letter did not mention that this was OPTIONAL. Well, it was obviously too late at that point. I stewed about it for several days afterwards though.

And then the following week, a note came home from Ms. Alexander. She wanted to know if I wanted to come to school and pick up the candy or send it home with Mason on the bus. MSA is about a 20-minute drive out-of-the-way-from-anywhere-I-go-which-is-only-once-a-week-anyway-that-I-go-anywhere from our house. Besides, the last thing I wanted to do was drag Hannah Kate and Connor to school just to pick up a box of candy. I saw no reason why Mason couldn't put the box in his back pack and come home with it. It was a no-brainer to me. I quickly scribbled a note back that it would be fine to send the candy home with Mason.

So the next day, I'm waiting at the end of the driveway as I always do for Mason to get home from school. The bus pulls to a stop, and Mason steps off. And then I see another student standing by the door holding a box of candy. This would be my first inkling that perhaps this whole candy-on-the-bus-thing wasn't such a great idea after all. And then the bus driver motions me over. This would be my second inkling that candy-on-the-bus is definitely not a great idea. So I take the box of candy from the other student, at which time Mr. Lewis hands me a note card.I only heard him say, "I'm gonna get that money for you." Keep in mind that this whole scenario plays out in about five seconds, but that is more than enough time for me to know that something has gone horribly wrong. At this point, I'm in a daze so I just smile and shake my head and mutter my appreciation.

As I'm heading back up the driveway with Mason, I take a peek at the card. There are several kids' names written on the card with a dollar amount by their name. Uh-oh. This isn't good. And then I look closer. There are several kids with not $1, but $3, beside their names! Great. Just great. I feel pretty sure I won't see that money, but I really don't care. My original plan was to go ahead and send $50 to school anyway to cover the box of candy. Well, at least now I'm down to 30-something bars in that box to get rid of. But I do begin to worry . . . I'm sure some of these kids' parents aren't going to be thrilled that they're bringing home this candy that they're now supposed to pay for . . . not to mention the kids with multiple bars of candy.

Okay, so maybe I didn't exactly think this through very well. I never really said anything to Mason about it. I didn't explain to him that candy would be coming home with him. I didn't explain to him that we were supposed to SELL the candy . . . not give it away. I just didn't think it was a big deal. I didn't think he'd even be curious about it. I figured it would be just fine in his back pack. So I don't say anything to him about it. We're almost to the house when I notice what appears to be chocolate at the corners of his mouth. I begin to think . . . I almost asked, but I didn't . . . surely not. And then I remembered that I had put a miniature pack of M&Ms in his lunch box as a small treat that day. Yes. Yes, that must be it. Those M&Ms that he ate at lunch time left behind a little chocolate at the corners of his mouth. That would make perfect sense . . . were it not for the fact that he eats lunch at 10:15, and it was now 2:55 . . . so it's doubtful that same chocolate would be there. But still. I didn't say anything. Surely not . . .

So we go inside and begin our after school routine. I asked him what he wanted for a snack. After all, he eats lunch at 10:15 and always comes home hungry. He said he wasn't hungry. The rest of the conversation went like this:

Me: What? You aren't hungry? You're always hungry when you get home from school.

Mason: No. I ate already.

Me: What do you mean you "ate already?"

Mason: No response.

Me: What did you eat?

Mason: Chocolate.

Me: What?!? (And then I didn't want to ask, but I knew I had to.) How many did you eat?

Mason: No response. But he holds up four fingers.

4. Four. FOUR.

Me: You ate FOUR candy bars!!!

Mason: It was all I had, and I was hungry.

At this point, there was nothing left to do . . . except count the candy bars left in the box . . . add back the ones that were distributed on the bus . . . and subtract from 50. Sure enough. There are four missing. There was also nothing left to say. While I think he should've "known better," should he? Not only did I not explain the candy situation to him, but I also didn't tell him not to eat any of it. So I just let it go. In the meantime, I noticed that the bars of choice were caramel and dark chocolate almond. There were hardly any of those left in the box. And then another thought hit me.

I was concerned about the candy that I thought the kids on the bus had taken home. But if Mason ate all four of his candy bars on the bus, chances are the kids did the same. Great. Just great. So not only are those parents going to find out that they owe me money, but they're also going to find out that I sugared their kids up on the way home from school!

The next morning, Mr. Lewis handed me a wad of cash when I put Mason on the bus. I couldn't believe it. That sweet man saw to it that ALL of the money was collected. In the meantime, I talked to a friend who has two children who ride the same bus, both of which were given multiple candy bars. We still aren't sure how it went down, and it really doesn't matter, but her 1st grader told her that Mason just started giving out the candy . . . out of the kindness of his heart, I'm sure.

And, just so you know . . . Mason DID NOT eat supper that night! I kept waiting for him to get sick, but he never did. I also profusely apologized to Mr. Lewis the following day!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Open House

A few weeks ago, Mason's school hosted an Open House. I wasn't exactly sure what this was going to be, but it made sense that it would be an opportunity for parents to go to their child's classroom, take a tour and meet with the teacher. Well, that turned out to be pretty much it.

I was very excited about Open House because I was hoping it would give me some ideas of better questions to ask Mason each day when he gets home from school. He hadn't exactly been very forth-coming about his day with the exception of nap time and riding the bus. So I was curious.

When we got to school, I told Mason I wanted him to give me a tour. He led us right to his classroom and showed me his seat.
He showed me the class library . . . where he hangs his back pack . . . where he keeps his kindermat . . . the reading area . . . and then I noticed his name as "Tidy Up Manager" (bottom left red birdie) on the classroom helper display.I asked him about it. He said that every Monday, Ms. Alexander draws craft sticks with the kids' names on them to determine who is going to have what particular job that week. I asked him what the Tidy Up Manager does. He said he has to collect all of the name badges (each student is required to wear a photo ID name badge while at school) and put them back in the tub since they aren't supposed to go home with the students. I asked him what else he has to do. He said he has to make sure all of the chairs are pushed under the tables and the crayons in the baskets. Ms. Alexander heard our conversation, and she said Mason was the best Tidy Up Manager thus far! Well, he should be. He gets a lot of practice at him. Every night, as a matter of fact! So I told him how proud I was of him for doing such an important job.
Mason also showed me his class schedule. As I read each time slot to him, he told me what they do and/or where they go for that particular activity.
And then he posed for a picture with his beloved Ms. Alexander (I told you she's cute!) and his "All About Me" poster (his first real project) that he did ALL BY HIMSELF.
Although I really don't have anything to compare it to since Mason is our first child in school, and MSA is our first experience with school, I can honestly say that we love it! Mason really is having fun, and the administration and teachers really go out of their way to be "out of the box" as far as learning, education and activities are concerned. I have already seen tremendous improvement in Mason's writing and language skills. Ms. Alexander told me that his strongest subject is math, which I already knew would be the case before he ever even went to school.

Last Thursday they took their first field trip. They went to Zam's Swamp Tour in Thibodeaux (pronounced tib-uh-doe). I so badly wanted to go as a parent chaperone, but I didn't have a sitter for Hannah Kate so that didn't work out. Mason was so excited when he got home! He told me all about riding in the boat and seeing three alligators, one of which was on a log. He said they also got to see turtles, snakes and baby alligators "in a bucket." He said they got to pet the snake. Uummm, yeah, I feel the same way. I asked him what kind of snake it was, and he said, "king snake." Well, I didn't press the issue . . . and surely not! . . . but I guess what kind of snake it was isn't important.

This week is Homecoming Spirit week. They are also raising money this month for the Susan G. Koman foundation. Monday was Superhero Day so Mason went dressed in his Spiderman costume! Oh, yes, he did! And he loved it! Yesterday was Blast from the Past Day. Let's just say I sent him to school in his uniform. Today is Pink Day, and everyone is supposed to wear pink. Well, let's just say that Mason's wardrobe doesn't consist of any pink so I fashioned a pink breast cancer awareness ribbon and pinned it to his shirt this morning. Tomorrow is Twin Day. Yep, he'll be in his uniform again. And Friday is teacher work day . . . so we get a day off!

In lieu of a Halloween party, Mason and his class will be taking a field trip to a local nursing home to visit with the residents and will finish the day with a picnic at the park. I'm excited to see what November and December calendars will hold because October has been busy!

I do have another ***FUNNY*** school story . . . involving the World's Finest Chocolate and the school bus . . . but that will have to wait until another post. It's almost time to get Mason off the bus!

Oh yeah . . . last night Mason told me he wanted to pick flowers to take to Ms. Alexander. The way I see it, there are two issues with this. First of all, there is no such thing as "picking flowers" around here. I told my husband that I have no intention of landscaping until next spring at the earliest because I'm worn out. Speaking of which . . . we have two sets of shutters left to hang (as soon as we get hold of a 24' ladder) so once those are in place, I'll post some pics of the FINISHED house (sans landscaping!). And second of all, I wanted to put my hands on my hips and scream, "What about me? MEEEEEEEE!!! Your mother who brought you into this world and has fed you, wiped your poop, held you, played with you, endulged your every whim even when I didn't feel like it and taken care of you for the past five years and three months . . . ?!? You've never wanted to get flowers for MEEEEEEEE . . . " But, of course, I didn't do that. I actually think it's rather sweet and thoughtful of him . . . perhaps he's turning into quite the gentleman. So I promised him we'd go to Wal-Mart this weekend so he can pick out a bouquet of flowers to take to Ms. Alexander on Monday. Then he said he'd put them in his back pack. After I told him that probably wouldn't work very well, he seemed a tad bit less excited about the issue. In the meantime . . . maybe he can give a hint to his daddy . . . !!! After all, I love me some fresh flowers!

Friday, October 08, 2010

My Wonderful World

When Hannah Kate was born, my Bestie sent me what became my absolute most favorite card EVER. I keep it in the drawer beside my computer, and I find myself going back to it over and over again. It's one of those Hallmark cards that sings to you . . . it's Louis Armstrong's What A Wonderful World.

I hear babies cry.
I watch them grow.
They'll learn much more
than I'll ever know.
And I think to myself
what a wonderful world.
Now, I already thought my world was pretty wonderful as it was, but I had no idea just how much more WONDERFUL-ER it would get with that baby girl who immediately captured our hearts.

I can still remember the first words the nurse spoke when Hannah Kate was born: "She has a head full of red hair!" Well, that wasn't exactly what I expected to hear. Not that there's anything wrong with a head full of red hair . . . but . . . really?!? At this point, I still hadn't seen Hannah Kate. I had a c-section, and they always hang that curtain just below your chin so you can't see anything. I looked at Seth and asked, "Is it really red hair or just blood?" His reply: "I don't know."

Well, she hardly had any hair at all. And I didn't really think it was red. As a matter of fact, I'm pretty sure it wasn't red at all.

I've heard many stories of and references to the terrible two's. I can honestly say I'm not exactly sure what that is. Hannah Kate is two years old . . . not for much longer though . . . and I can only say that it's terrific! This has been, by far, my favorite age with her! She is just the most fun little thing ever! And she is a girlie girl, if you know what I mean!

This morning we painted fingernails and toe nails. Presto Pink is the color of choice these days. And Hannah Kate won't wear anything but dresses! If her panties don't match her dress, she insists on changing those, too. Her hair has to be "just so," which could mean a pony tail, barette, front pulled back or front pulled to the side . . . and always with a big, fat matching bow.

And we play. And play. And play. Tea parties! Baby dolls! Dress up! Doll house! She also loves to read and color. She has a Strawberry Shortcake coloring book. The other day she went through every single page in the coloring book and gave Strawberry Shortcake and her friends blue eyeshadow and pink lipstick! This is exactly what I used to do. There's just something about blue eye shadow! This morning she was walking around in a pair of my high heels. She has to wear lipstick, which is really just tinted chapstick, to church and anywhere else outside the house we may go.

Hannah Kate loves her big brother. But I have to be honest. She also loves the fact that he is in school now because that means she has mommy all to herself. It also means she can play with whatever she wants to play with and watch whatever she wants to watch. Even though I miss Mason terribly, I have to admit that I'm enjoying this time with Hannah Kate! This is the first time I've had the opportunity to spend my days with just Hannah Kate and give myself to whatever it is she wants to do. She is so full of imagination and adventure and life! She's also full of mischief. She's quite opinionated, and that lil temper flares sometimes. Yeah, I'm not sure where she gets that from . . .

I haven't blogged about this, but I started keeping an infant in our home back in June. He was about ten weeks old at the time. Now he's six months old. Hannah Kate has had the best time taking care of him, feeding him bottles, playing with him, helping with diaper changes, reading to him. A few weeks ago, we were playing together on the floor. The conversation went like this.

Hannah Kate: Mama, I want a baby like Connor.

Me (putting careful thought into my response once I realized she meant she wanted a real, live, crying, pooping baby): Oh. Well, where do you think we are going to get this baby?

Hannah Kate (obviously putting careful thought into her response, too, since it took her a minute to respond to my question): The store.

Me (trying so hard to be serious and not laugh . . . and also realizing that Hannah Kate doesn't quite have the concept of where "real" babies come from since she hasn't been around any pregnant women lately and didn't really remember Connor's mommy being pregnant): Well, I don't think they sell babies like Connor at Wal-Mart. I've never seen them there before. Have you?

Hannah Kate (again, very thoughtful): Well, let's just buy Connor from Miss Kayla.

Me (really about to lose it at this point): Well, I'm pretty sure Miss Kayla isn't going to let us buy Connor. But he'll at least come and play with us everyday. Okay?

Anyway, it's obvious that Hannah Kate's baby dolls rather pale in comparison to Connor!

Her favorites:
Fast food - Chicken Flay (Chic-fil-A)
Color - pink (of course!)
Food - Pasta, pizza, rice and gravy and SALAD
Cartoon - Olivia (love the say she says 'livia)
Book - currently Amelia Bedelia
Movie - anything with a princess or Tinkerbell
Animal - cat
Drink - Sprite

Here are some of my favorite pics of late . . . my wonderful world with Hannah Kate . . .

Monday, October 04, 2010