Sunday, November 6, 2016

Big Day for the Big Kids

So I'm deep into photo booking right now, which means I'm spending a lot of time on my computer living in the past without any time at all to comment on the present. I just finished my 2014-2015 books for all 3 kids, so I'm caught up to where I should have been last Christmas, and now I can dive into 2015-2016 which is very exciting. They are SO much work- I compile all the funny little quips from my facebook page, my blog letters and stories, images of the kids' report cards, birthday cards, art work, and of course a million pictures. I distill it down, organize it by months and events, and create an illustrated time capsule of our year, personalized to each kid. I love them. The kids love them. We spent two hours this afternoon in a dog pile on the floor looking through every book I've ever made, laughing over things 3-year-old Landon said, or 2-year-old Claire did, and just generally fawning over baby Cora ("remember when she was so small mom?!" because they both actually do and can reminisce with me). I love them, but my god, they are so much work.

But so worth it; this must be captured

But since I do rely on this blog to remind me of everything we did when I make my book a year later, it's imperative that I tell you about two Fridays ago.

First up, we had Landon's parent-teacher conference. He has two fairly young teachers (one in her first year, one in her 4th) who split up the academic subjects and they were so complimentary and so excited to have him as a student, it was a very special 15 minutes, particularly coming 3 days after our PTSD-filled counseling session. He has a 100 in all of his classes at the moment, so they're adding challenges- he loves trying new things and isn't at all afraid of something new messing with his perfect record. His math teacher handed him a multiplication math facts sheet, just to see where he was so she could begin giving him new material, and he quickly and cheerfully filled it all out up to 12x12. She showed us the sheet and James and my mouths just dropped open.

He reads a book a day and his reading teacher has been awesome about finding him new ones, giving him oral quizzes about the content, both to make sure his comprehension is matching his speed, but also to ensure he understands and can pronounce the words he's reading (something that is SO important! I still say tons of words wrong because I read them before I had a reason to speak them). His lead teacher said he seems to enjoy every minute of school and is never bored. He likes to help his classmates and often explains topics. He has yet to take a spelling test because he always wins their in-class spelling bee, so now he's getting two spelling lists- the regular one and the a snippet from the Scripp's National Spelling Bee list. It was just lovely to hear that he loves school so much, that he's doing so well, but that perfectionism does not plague him. He's a social butterfly, who loves interacting with his classmates enough to ensure he's never bored. He's polite, well-behaved, and just generally delightful. I cried walking out to the car.

An hour later, while I was walking into my favorite lunchtime yoga class, I started getting a barrage of texts from parents and teachers saying things like "Claire was AMAZING!" and "She rocked the house!" with videos of my little Clairebear singing into a microphone, with spotlights on and house lights dark, to the ENTIRE SCHOOL crammed into the auditorium. Apparently, she was a late addition to the United Way show the school puts on at the end of our United Way fundraising week. I thought the show was only for the teachers, but I guess some students can be volunteered and Claire and her friend Gianna were offered a spot. She told us that morning that she would be "signing a song for my class" but we didn't realize she meant "for her class AND THE SCHOOL." I immediately called James, who was able to run up to the school for the second performance (they had to split them up because the auditorium can only hold half the school at a time) and I got some videos from Landon's teacher. James said he got a little teary while she was so confidently belting out "Let It Go," complete with hand motions we don't know when she learned.

there's more, if you click over to vimeo

So that was awesome. I'm so proud of her. I've never had a problem speaking in front of crowds, but performing is a non-starter. I signed up for 3 years of middle school band to avoid a single trimester of theater arts. James, on the other hand, LOVED his theater classes. It's so fun seeing your kids turn into such a blend of you both, as well as a large dose of things entirely their own.

And I continue to just adore our school. It's small, it's personal, it's family. It's diverse, it's on the free lunch program, it's home of extraordinarily devoted teachers and it deserves to be supported by its community. And increasingly, it is. We had our Fall Festival on Friday night (this past Friday, we're done with the one before that, which ended in the drinking of sangria at my house) and it was so wonderful to see the parking lot and play areas FILLED with families and kids and neighbors.

And of course the kids had a blast.

We barely saw the big kids, but did try to maintain a general awareness of Cora.

Particularly when she decided she was done, and just lay down in the parking lot. So Cora and so thirdbaby- no fits, no tantrum, just "I'm done, so I'm going to chill here. Come get me when you're ready to go home." And that's pretty much what we did.

And speaking of Cora, we need a soupcon of her. My parents bought the kids Beauty and the Beast when they visited a few weekends ago and Cora is OBSESSED. She loves Belle and manages to insert her into any conversation. On Thursday we were chatting at dinner and this conversation ensued:

Me: So Cora, what do you want for your birthday dinner?

Cora: Ummm... Belle is my favorite princess.

Me: Great! But what is your favorite food?

Cora: MOM. BELLE is my favorite PRINCESS.

And she stuck with that answer. We finally settled on cheese for dinner, probably on pizza, because cheese is her other favorite everything. And when she's not telling you about Belle, she's taking your picture with her toy camera and telling you "you look 'mazing" and then running to squeeze you while yelling "I love you TOO MUCH!!!"

These are the things I need to remember. Because I love them too much too, and it's the narratives as much as the pictures that bring it back later.


  1. Weird spot for this but are you in the pantsuit nation fb group??? I saw a post about Texans supporting a democrat and I thought of you. If you're not, you need to be!

    1. YES and it makes my whole heart happy every time I read it. I literally spent 2 hours yesterday scrolling through posts and sobbing. Happy, inspired tears, but mildly disturbing to the children nonetheless. It's such a safe, happy place on the internet these days.