Wednesday, December 17

the itchy and scratchy show

Remember all that stuff I put in my last post about missing my kids? Right. Well you know what I don't miss when we are all separated?


What is the deal with the scrapping? They love each other, they want to play together, they like to organize play and games around each other - so why the heck is my house suddenly a haven of bickering?

Good thing I stocked up when I thought the LC was going on strike.
I am substitute teaching again this school year (after a 5 year break!) and am really enjoying it. There are seven schools in this town and I sort of bounce around between all seven fairly evenly, if you don't count the high school, where I'd always imagined I'd end up. In that, I've definitely gained a bigger appreciation of the middle years, where I really enjoy hanging out, and a reminder that I'm not cut out for a career in the early years.

Because they're nuts.

And they cry.

And they can't tie their shoes.

And there are always little hands touching me. It's actually much like the Labyrinth.

Anyway, I sincerely don't mind subbing in there, but I think I will leave the grade 1s for someone with  much more patience.

Elliot is in daycare and she had no problems adjusting. She goes to the home of a friend of mine, and her daughter is the same age as Ellie and they get along swimmingly. It definitely makes it easier to drop her off every morning when she's happy to go.

Mitchell is in grade 1 this year and is doing well. Turns out he still likes to fly under the radar and not talk too too much to grownups if he doesn't have to, and dawdles a little on his work because he is easily distracted by everything that could/would/might happen around him. But he's doing well, and loves going, and is actually putting up his hands to answer questions these days so it's all good.

Tennyson is apparently the class comedian and entertains everyone at lunch with his lunchbox (that has a name) that eats up all his garbage and pukes it into the garbage can. Boys are ... awesome?

Jordan is in grade 4 - the oldest grade in their school. Crazy to think this is her last year there. How did she get so old? She loves school again this year and is doing great.

The boys are in soccer, the girls are in gymnastics, they all just finished a swimming lesson session, and we are running around like crazy people for all of that while trying to get ready for Christmas and working full-time.

I'm really looking forward to Christmas break. I am missing the heck out of my kids these days, between the running around and working, and then tucking them in for bed at 8 o'clock. We definitely need the two weeks off.

It's weird to look at them and realize how fast they are growing and changing. Just four short years ago, this was us:

And now our youngest is 4. She's older now than Tennyson and Mitchell are in this picture!

Saturday, September 27

kid stuff mostly. outings. winter activities. back to subbing.

I could be doing a multitude of things. Cleaning my room. Taking the kids on the bike ride they've been begging to go on. Clearing my island so it looks like an island instead of the start of what promises to be an impressive hoarder house.

Instead I'm sitting here updating my facebook status 100 times, finally deciding I may as well just blog. It's time for my every-second-month post anyway.

Jordan just left to go to a corn maze with a very good friend and her parents. It's strange having someone call here to snatch a kid for the day. It's stranger still to have my daughter have her own social life. Although I must say, that she does seem to gravitate towards very nice girls, and I hope she continues to seek out such friendships as she moves through her child/teenager years. Next year she'll be in middle school. It would be nicer to see her surround herself with niceness than bitchiness and drama.

This morning I told her she should take a hoodie along, being that they are going to stretch the day into the evening with a bonfire and wiener roast. She disappeared into her room for a minute before coming back into the bathroom to interrupt my tooth brushing. Someone always has a question when I'm brushing my teeth. "Where is my purple sweater?" she asked. I groaned inwardly. "Which one?" "You know," she said. "The purple one with the diamonds up here?" Sigh. "Jordan, we threw that out." A look of horror ensues. "You were with me!" I insisted. She was actually, there was much crying that day. "It was too small for you, and we weren't going to save it for Elliot because you had chewed yourself some thumb holes, remember?" At that point she crumpled to the floor in the bathroom and had a mini-meltdown. I can honestly say I don't think that anything could upset me enough to end up on the bathroom floor. Bathroom floors, no matter how recently cleaned, gross me out. I decided against telling her to get up off the gross bathroom floor, being that it was a time of great sorrow and all. Any hair down there was most likely hers anyway.


I've gone back to substitute teaching, and I must say, I'm really loving it. I think more than I did before. I'm not sure if it's because my kids are a bit older and taking less out of me on a daily basis, or what it is, but I'm loving being back. So much so, actually, that on days I don't get called in the morning I'm kind of in a bad mood about it. I have spent September solely in early and middle years classrooms instead of the much-coveted high school, but that's okay. I've actually come to enjoy the middle years this month. I will say though, still, that I could not do early years. Any time I say that to someone they go on about how sweet they are at that age, love school, blah blah blah. They also cry, and can't tie their shoes, and tattle because someone looked at them funny in the hallway. I honestly just couldn't make a career out of 7 year olds. My kids are used to me and my inability to suck-hole them for things that are kind of stupid. I can't very well tell a classroom full of other peoples little kids to suck it up and knock it off and stop tattling.

The other day a kid held his foot up to me and said "Can you tie my shoe?" and my inner voice said "Are you freakin' kidding me? You're in grade 2, maybe go home and try and learn this, or buy some Velcro." And then I tied his shoe.

In all seriousness though, I give total props to the early years teachers. They have so much work to do. Teaching behaviors, dealing with emotions, taking entire classrooms full of kids who can't read or count, and get them doing both of those things and so much more in a few short years. And not one or two kids either, 26 at a time! It's kind of amazing. I want a high school English classroom someday, and I'm kind of assuming (hoping?) that for the most part the kids will come knowing how to read and we can jump into novel studies after a few classes explaining why "your" does not mean "you are."


Our calendar looks kind of nuts again this year, but in all actuality, we are in less than we were last year. On Mondays the boys swim and Jordan will soon start gymnastics. On Tuesdays, beginning this week I will be starting Zumba! On Wednesdays Elliot has swimming. On Thursdays Jordan and Tennyson have piano lessons and on Saturdays Jordan has swimming lessons and soon the boys will start soccer. I'm happy to have the boys in the same activity at the same time. Makes it nice. I think next time I put the kids in swimming lessons I'll get on it sooner and try and book them all in the same hour. Hopefully. It doesn't always work out all perfectly, but I can hope.

People always look at my with sympathy when I say my kids are in this and that. Honestly, don't. It's a social outing. I visit with other parents, I really enjoy watching the kids do their thing, and it breaks up the week. Watching Jordan smile through the whole gymnastics hour while flipping around the uneven bars and balancing on the balance beam is enjoyable. I like going. If I didn't? We'd be at home. Besides, ducking out with one kid while the husband puts everyone else through the bath and pajama routine has it's perks.

And soccer? I love the soccer season in the spring! We went four nights a week again this last spring, and I like going! We're outside, the kids are running around, they love it, we chat with other parents, we get to be outside when the weather finally decides to be spring-like after a long winter. It's not a chore.

Tennyson and Mitch are both enrolled in Saturday morning soccer all winter. It's an hour at a time and they have actual certified coaches running the program, and it'll be interesting to see if/how they improve over the winter. 

Taking them swimming is actually somewhat less enjoyable, but I appreciate that the kids will be less likely to drown if they know how to swim, and they like going, so we go. It's good.

Jordan's not in the play this year, because the organizers were kind of late getting organized and play practice is now the exact same time as the piano lessons our teacher tried so hard to organize around the schedules of all her little students, so we may have to wait until next year. A little sad about that, but sometimes that's life. Next year.

Kind of crazy how they have all decided to suddenly grow up a whole bunch, and become so interested in things, and become good at some things and less interested in others. It's almost like they are real people. Almost. I'd still like to think they are just my little kids.

Tuesday, July 15

I've been a bad picture-taking mother lately. I plan family things or we are invited to family things, and by the time we get doing what we are doing, and I organize the kids, and I take part in the festivities, and days and weeks go by, it never occurs to me to pull out a camera. I used to take more iphone pictures, but they're kind of crummy, as far as pictures go, so that's deterred me from snapping a lot of pictures that way.

We went camping this last weekend with Steven's sister Deanne and her husband and boys, and Steven's dad and Step-Mom, and when the weekend was almost over my sister-in-law Deanne pulled out her camera to take a picture of Travis teeter-tottering with the kids and I realized that I haven't taken any camping pictures at all this year, despite this being our third trip, so I grabbed my camera too.

Here is the one lonely camping picture I have taken this year:

I know. You don't have to tell me, I freely admit it: This is some pretty lacklustre photography. It's true.

Today I decided maybe I should finish the post I started weeks ago showing the kids in September, on their first day of school, and again in June, on their last. I plug in the iphone and the digital camera, not sure which device would have the June pictures on it, and what do I find?

My sneaky little stealth photographer has been at it again. Over the years I've downloaded pictures off my camera and found elaborate photography sessions have been held, with little knowledge on my part. Of course, Jordan always puts the camera back where she found it once she's finished taking a hundred pictures of her dolls, siblings, feet, hands, face, the carpet, the dogs, the dogs, the dogs, etc., as well as numerous videos of the other kids doing weird things while she laughs maniacly from behind the camera and tries to direct them.

So, courtesy of Jordan, here are a few camping pictures! I left out the dozen taken of the trees across the road from our site, as well as the ones where she obviously chased an unwilling, grumpy brother around, snapping pictures all the way, and the thousand pictures of each dog.

My favorite is Deanne in her Snuggy. Enjoy!


 The kids played soccer again this year, and between the four of them we spent four  nights a week at the soccer fields. Unlike last year, there was no cancelling games for rain, so the season was nice and long.

It's interesting to watch the kids' personalities and interests diverge. Jordan, who came into her own on the field last year decided this year that she was again afraid of the ball, and despite being one of the most energetic kids I know she kind of dawdled around the field, more or less trying to sneakily avoid the action, as opposed to her wicked defense last year, where she was a heck of the obstacle for the other team to get around, with a powerful kick that often sent the ball back into the other end zone. But she had fun, enjoyed being part of the team and spent her fair share of goofing around and heckling other players - mostly those on her own team. Gotta love her.

Tennyson again hit the field with an aggressive determination that any goals scored would be scored by him. Luckily, there were a few other kids who shared the spotlight, and an awesome team of kids who played hard all season. His second last game was a very rainy one and I wore a hat to keep the rain off my glasses. I told him that if he scored three goals I'd throw my hat in. In no time the score was 3-0, and I was momentarily hatless. When the score reached 5-0 I told him he wasn't allowed to score anymore and that he should maybe think about passing the ball to someone else and share the glory. Then he pouted because we cheered like crazy when one of the girls (who had been trying like crazy all season to score) scored and he was convinced we cheered louder for her. Dork. We are going to put him into soccer all this winter (whew, an alternative to hockey) and see how it goes!

Mitchell, who liked to run just fast enough last year to keep him in the very back of the giant clump of running kids decided to run just a little faster this year and do some dribbling and a bit of scoring. We were impressed to see him putting in the effort, considering he's such a laid back little guy. He loves playing soccer, and win or lose, he's pumped to be on the field. He's also excited when it's his turn to sit out so he can hide under the blankets with the other subbed-off kids.

Elliot. This could be its own post. Last year, when she didn't get to play, she whined all spring: "Why not I play soccer? I wanna play soccer." So this year, when it was opened up for four year olds, we signed her up and excitedly waited for her turn.


She played the first game. She played the second. She may have made it part way through the third. Then she decided she wasn't playing. We'd get her all dressed up, head out to the field and tell her to run ahead an join her team. She stood on the field for a few minutes and then came back to where we were sitting.

"I'm not playing."
"What?" I (or Steven) asked. "Why not? Go play soccer! Look! You can do that!"

And she could! She is actually, for a four year old, pretty darn good at grabbing the ball from other kids and buzzing around the field with it, and kicking it at the net where it's supposed to go. But if Elliot doesn't feel like doing something no amount of coercion, threatening, pleading, or getting serious with her is going to work.

"I'm not playing." And off come the shoes, the shin guards, and if she's wearing another shirt underneath, her jersey. Then she runs off to do something else. She doesn't ask either, she just lets us know she's done.

Pretty sure she took a three week break from soccer after the first few games. Often we'd take her and she'd be ten minutes on the field and then just quit. After a while I'd just start asking her before we left the house if she wanted to play. If she said no we just didn't go to her game and instead we all watched Tennyson.

My "favorite" was the time she wore a dress to soccer. We couldn't get her out of the dress, so we brought her jersey, some shorts and her other gear and headed to the field. When the other kids jumped out of the van we stood in front of her and hurriedly said "Here, quick, change into your soccer stuff so you can play soccer! Yay!" and, caught up in the frenzy, she did. Fast forward ten minutes when she realizes what's happened and stomps off the field and stands in front of me with a look that says she won't be argued with and demands: "I want my dress."

"You can't have your dress," I sigh, knowing where this is going.
"I. Want. My. Dress." She says again, louder, slower, a little angrier, because obviously I am not catching on.
"Elliot," I say calmly and sternly, "As soon as soccer is done, I will get your dress for you."
"I WANT MY DRESS!" she hollers.
"Are you going to play soccer?" I ask.
She sits down. Off come her shoes and her shin guards. "I want my dress."
"Alright," I say. "Let's go watch Tennyson."

Tennyson is in another field, and Steven is working an evening service call and I figure that instead of standing on the sidelines and arguing with 40 pounds of brick wall I may as well watch Tennyson (he loves being watched, obviously.)

Elliot, as I am packing up my lawn chair, bug spray, water bottles, and her shoes and shin guards that are scattered in an eight foot radius of where she's standing, realizes that I am no longer paying attention to her needs. She sits down. "I WANT MY DRESS!" she screams.

"Bye Elliot." I turn and leave. She waits until I'm twenty feet away, and then finally gets up and follows at a distance, the entire time wailing "I want my dress!" at the top of her little screechy lungs. Of course on this night Tennyson is playing soccer four fields over, so all the kids and families on the eight other teams we passed got a good earful of wailing, screeching Baby Verwey. It was awesome. Then I get to his field, and organize my lawn chair, bug spray, water bottles, and drop her shoes and shin guards in the grass beside me. She comes and stands against my legs, pressing her little body angrily against mine.

"I want my dress!" She is stuck on repeat. Sigh. Eventually I put her on a dead spot of grass in an empty field and tell her she is in time out and she eventually finishes screaming at me and goes to play with the other soccer players' younger siblings.

Makes me want to rethink her plea to take gymnastics this year.

Anyway. It was a fun season. Lots of fresh air and exercise was had by all!