Tuesday, June 30, 2009
Monday, June 22, 2009
Sunday, June 21, 2009
Last week Cara over at Land of Bean shared about a swap she'd participated in. It looked like so much fun, I have to admit, I found myself a bit envious. Then I found out by reading Foursquare Schoolhouse, that there was going to be a Pen Pal Swap for kids. I quickly raced over to Life of a Dairy Queen and signed the boys up. There's still time to sign up, but tomorrow is the last day, so if you are interested in engaging your kids in a swap exchange, hurry on over to Life of a Dairy Queen or Superheroes and Princesses and get signed up.
I'll keep you posted on our experience!
Friday, June 19, 2009
So as not to get himself kicked out of gym school, I've been coaching Zip daily about what is and is not acceptable.
"Why were you kicked out of gym school," asked Brad, one day after a recent suspension.
"'Because I was pushing and punching," he replied.
"Oh Zip, pushing and punching is not OK."
"But we were just playing Giant Robot vs. T-Rex!" He explains.
So, I've had to explain to him a few times, that, to teachers, playing Giant Robot vs. T-Rex looks just like fighting.
"OK, Zip, if you find yourself pushing and punching, I want you to go to the teachers and say, 'Excuse me, I don't want to get in trouble, will you help me talk to this kid about pushing and punching?' O.K. Now you try. What do you do if someone is pushing you? Do you push them back?"
"Umm... No. I push them forward."
Tizzy laughs hysterically.
Stifling a laugh, "No... Now, come on, if a kid pushes you, do you push them back?
"No. I PUNCH THEM!"
Tizzy is now rolling on the floor.
"OK, once more. When you and another kid start pushing and punching, you stop, and you go to your teachers, and what do you say?"
Zip looks thoughtfully up at the ceiling... "Umm... I say: Teacher? I'm in TROUBLE!"
BTW, Zip's inspiration for "Giant Robot:"
Tuesday, June 16, 2009
It was the Thursday before Mother's Day and it was our first real week at the gym. Zip, who was still feeling fragile about attending, didn't want to wear the tag and cried when I would say goodbye.
I'd thrown my things in a locker, run upstairs to check the childcare monitor, and upon seeing the boys playing happily I started my workout. I rode the bikes for about a half an hour and then went downstairs to see if there were any classes starting.
There was one starting called, Vibrant Vinyasa Yoga:
Set to contemporary music, this invigorating Vinyasa style yoga class is
a fun and dynamic way to practice Yoga. All levels welcome.
I went inside.
The teacher began the class by asking if any of us were new to Yoga. The only time I've ever taken a Yoga class was for a session of Mommy and Me when Tizzy was a baby. It was fun, but more of a bonding experience for the new mom's, rather than a proper Yoga class. I would definitely consider myself a beginner so I raised my hand. She advised me to just do what I was comfortable with and to go into Child's Pose whenever I needed. I couldn't do everything, but I made it through the class, and I loved it.
After the class I felt so invigorated. I was ready to conquer the world. Then I went into the locker room and realized I had no idea where I'd put my things.
The locker room is beautiful and understated. Rows and rows of pine lockers, silver handles, and coded locks, 15-20 per dressing cubicle. They all look exactly the same. I had no idea where to begin. I began where I was most certain I'd put my things. In the back row. The question was – Where in the back row?
I punched my code into my first best guess.
Each of the two corners?
I was certain I'd put my stuff in a top locker, so I started punching my code, arbitrarily at first, and then systematically, around the cubicle from start to finish. Not one budged. I started again with the bottom row. Nothing. This was when the room started to swim and I wondered if perhaps I was dreaming. "Take a deep breath", I told myself, "It's got to be here somewhere."
Thinking upon my hasty arrival, it was entirely possible my stuff was in the middle section. I sheepishly made my way next door, smiled grimly to the women getting dressed and said, "I seem to have lost my locker. Please excuse me as I try each and every one." They were very nice and said that they'd each done the same thing before themselves. I made my way around the second group of lockers with no success.
I had an hour before I needed to pick up the boys, but, I was starting to get a little panicked. What if I never found my locker? It was looking like I might not. What if, after looking everywhere, my stuff wasn't actually there at all? What if I'd slipped into some alternate universe, and I'd never actually brought my stuff here to begin with? Perhaps somehow I'd managed to drive myself here, check in at the main desk without keys or my wallet, and I'd only imagined putting those things into a locker!
Now I knew I was panicking.
"Take a deep breath. It's got to be here, it's just a matter of where."
I went to the next row, tried every one, upstairs and down, and still not a single one opened.
I did this three times.
I never found my locker.
I met a lot of nice women that day.
They all claimed to have done the same thing, some more than once.
I suspected that most of them had possibly confused their locker, but I found it hard to believe that any of them had actually gone from row to row and still been unable to find it.
What I did see, which was comforting, were several lockers with hair ties wrapped around the handles. To me, that was proof that others had actually been in my shoes and didn't want to go there again.
I promised myself that next time I was bringing a hot pink hair tie.
The hour I had before needing to pick up the boys passed quickly, and soon it was time to wrap up my search.
I went to the front desk to find out what to do in my situation.
The guy told me he'd get someone to help.
Guess what happened while I waited?
The pager went off.
I called the daycare from the desk.
"You need to come get your kids." The woman said cheerfully.
"Let me guess. Zip?" I asked
"No. This time it's Tizzy. He's hitting."
"Really?!" I said, "That's a new one."
I told her I'd be there as soon as I could, but first I had to find my things because I didn't even have the tags I needed to pick them up.
The locker room attendant came and got me and with her special key, we went from the front of the room to the back opening each and every locker until we magically opened the door that revealed my bags.
It was the first locker that I had tried.
Perhaps in my rush to get upstairs I'd punched my code in incorrectly.
I'll never know.
"So much for the Yoga class." I thought. "How can I possibly remain relaxed now?"
The amazing thing is, I did remain relaxed.
That class got me through the rest of the afternoon and the next after that.
I am now, what you might call a Yoga Mama.
It is my new favorite thing.
Somehow I manage to get to a class nearly every day. Three days a week, I drag myself out of bed at 5:30 in the morning, and take a class to start my day. Gradually it's changing my body. My arms are getting leaner, my waist is starting to slim, and the other day, Zip reached out to "Squish yer belly - Squish yer belly - Squish yer belly," and there wasn't as much to grab onto. Beyond my body, which is nice and definitely part of the goal - most importantly, it's clearing my mind.
I am much more patient with the boys. I'm much more patient with Brad. Surprisingly, I'm even more patient with myself.
That is worth it's weight in gold. And, on the weekends, I've even gotten Brad to attend a class with me.
This gym just may change my life!
Monday, June 15, 2009
It's been chilly and overcast, but tonight I sat down with a bowl of fresh nectarines and blueberries covered in vanilla yogurt and toasted almonds. The fruit is fresh and OH so sweet, NOT from Chile.
So, weather or not, I know it must be summer.
Friday, June 12, 2009
Yesterday Kennedy Corpus received a Presidential pardon for playing hooky. I played hooky once as a kid. I wasn't nearly as fortunate.
I was in second grade, so I suppose I should have turned to Carter. I was getting dressed for school and my mom wanted me to wear green velour bell bottoms because I was going ice skating with my Brownie troop after school. What I wanted to wear was my Brownie uniform, but, I knew for certain I wasn't going to wear green velour bell bottoms! We fought, quite vocally about it, with my mom struggling to pull the pants over my legs as I wiggled my way out of them, until finally my mom, single parent and late for work, gave up and said, "Fine. If you're not going to get dressed for school, then your just going to have to go to work with me. BUT, you will not go ice skating!"
"O.K!" I gave up easily.
Years later I revealed to her that it was a crush, on a serious little brown haired boy, who I'm sure was completely unaware of me, much less concerned with what kind of pants I was wearing, that kept me from getting dressed that morning. In addition, seven was a difficult year for me. My nights were spent pondering existentialism, and by day I was stuck with an ancient old witch of a teacher who was as equally unimpressed with me as I was with her. I was happy to go to work with my mom and spend the day filing address labels for her, but, then I had to go back.
The next morning I woke up, happy and refreshed, jumped into my clothes willingly, ate my breakfast without a fuss, got into the car when it was time to go, and was just about to get out of the car when I remembered I needed a note.
"Mom! I need a note! I can't go to school without a note!"
My mom handed me my note.
Dear Mrs. Cooper,
Please excuse Serena from school yesterday.
She decided to play Hooky.
"HOOKY! You told her I played HOOKY?!"
I was seven years old. I don't know who she thought we were exactly, but Mrs. Cooper spent an inordinate amount of time warning our class of the plight that awaited young boys and girls who played Hooky. She never actually explained what would happen to us, in my mind it ranked closely with going to hell, but, she assured us that only very, very bad children played HOOKY!
There was no way I was going to hand her that note. She bore holes through me regularly, with her small beady eyes, simply for lining up at her desk to ask for help with my assignments. I wasn't going to go to class and willingly hand her a note that stated I'd played HOOKY!
Another tantrum ensued. The first bell rang. My mom tore up the note.
The second bell rang.
OH GREAT! Now I'd need two notes! One that explained why I was gone yesterday, and another to explain why I was late.
Exasperated, my mom pulled me, kicking and screaming, from the car. She dragged me, my arms wrapped tightly around her legs, across the parking lot. She hauled me down the hallway to my classroom where class was just getting started, and she struggled to get me into my class as I wedged my legs in the door frame while clinging desperately to her waist.
Mrs. Cooper click clacked across the room in her wooden heels, her hollowed cheeks exaggerated as she sucked on her teeth in disgust. Her distaste for me was palpable as she used her bony fingers to pry me from my mother. After much struggle, she managed to drag me to my seat. My mom feverishly made her escape. The only consolation she felt, as she walked down the hall that morning, was that at seven years old I would be properly shamed by my classmates and think twice about throwing a tantrum like that again.
What she hadn't anticipated, was my classmates looking at me in awe, imploring, "What were THEY doing to YOU?!"
Thursday, June 11, 2009
Because when you wake up the next morning, ready to wrap them, the ones that aren't molding, and oozing, and separating from their chocolate skins, will be sweating profusely, and when you take them out of the refrigerator after trying to reset them, the chocolate will have separated and be utterly inedible.
Wednesday, June 10, 2009
Monday, June 8, 2009
Saturday, June 6, 2009
Unfairly, I’ve been keeping my gym updates to myself. Most specifically, because that’s where I’ve been spending the majority of my time!
Yes, we joined, and yes, we’ve stayed.
It’s been a wonderful reprieve, and so good for us all.
In the spirit of getting people to try classes they might not otherwise attend, the gym created a Bingo challenge for the month of May. We were challenged to complete a specified grid of our choosing, leaving us eligible for various gym services.
Being new, I decided I had nothing to lose, and if anything, it would familiarize me with much of what the gym had to offer.
Early on, I got hooked on a couple of classes which I kept returning to, and by Thursday of last week, I suddenly realized I had three remaining classes to complete in three days, in an already overbooked weekend. I looked at the schedule and discovered there were only a few options left for completing my card. What it came down to was, Tae Bo on Friday afternoon, Spin class Saturday morning at 7:45, followed by a very advanced Step class at 9:15. All three of these classes were new to me. The advanced step class came with warnings on the brochure, yet, it was necessary to complete my card, and, the only Step class offered over the weekend.
I held my breath and dove in.
I knew that Tae Bo wasn’t for sissies, and this particular Tae Bo class was no exception. From the moment she turned on the stereo, Illiana, the instructor, had us jumping and kicking and punching at lightening speed. She’s a tiny speed demon, and I had to fly with the punches. I did. Forty-five minutes in, I was feeling pretty good about my dedication. Then the daycare pager lit up.
Really? Now? I’m SO close!
It kept flashing, and vibrating. Let down but compliant, I left the class to run next door and retrieve my boys. I got to the front desk, and apparently Zip, like his mother, had been throwing punches. There was nothing to do but pick him up. But, I wasn’t going to let him stop me! I dragged him and Tizzy to a bench outside the classroom, and made them suffer as I completed the class from behind glass doors in the hallway.
“Mah-OM!” Tizzy exclaimed, mortified. “STOP – IT!”
“You know what?” I said, between jumping jacks. “If you don’t want to sit and watch me exercise, then you shouldn’t drag me out of class.”
They were silent.
My efforts didn’t go unnoticed, and when I went back inside at the end of the class, Illiana signed my card and congratulated me on my stick-to-it-ive-ness.
The next morning I got up, and leaving the boys with Brad, headed out.
I got a bike, near the front of the class, and climbed up onto its bony seat.
The instructor came in with a cheerful smile and started us on our ride... with absolutely no instruction! I had no clue how to work the bike, but surrounded by people in spandex, with clips on their shoes, I decided to fake it, and just turned the tension knob when she turned hers and released it on command. I felt like a fraud, but, what did anyone care if I knew what I was doing. I was going to complete that Bingo card, Damn it!
Then came Step class. I lined up in the hall with women in leopard skin body suits and listened in as they talked about Yoga being for wimps, and how they had no patience for Chavasana. They had places to go, and no time for laying still – Thank you very much!
We walked in and set up our Steps.
The instructor came in, and noticed that three of us were new.
“This isn’t your ordinary Step class,” she informed. “It moves very quickly, and there’s a lot of choreography. I don’t expect you to be able to follow along, but I do expect you to keep moving.”
Within five minutes of the class it became clear to me there was NO way I was going to be able to keep up with her choreography or calls, so rather than stumble and trip my way through the rest of the hour, I resumed stepping up and down, back and forth, bending my knees here and there and throwing in a kick for good measure. I was sure I was throwing off the steppers around me, but they had a rhythm all their own, and periodically the teacher would call out, “That away my new friends, don’t worry about the moves, just keep it going.”
Midway through the class, one of the women danced over to me and whispered in my ear, “She’s a horrible instructor. I’ve been doing Step for twenty years, and while I know the steps and what to listen for, she’s a lousy caller and we all hate her.”
Finally the hour came to an end, and I made my way up to the front of the class and sheepishly asked her to sign my card.
“You did really good. We don’t offer beginning Step classes any longer. You just have to keep coming back, and pretty soon you’ll get the hang of it.”
Two more women came up to me as I made my way out of class to reaffirm that she was a lousy instructor, but wasn’t I a miracle to stick with it anyway.
While part of me doubts I’ll be attending any more Step classes, I proudly finished my Bingo Challenge, and while to date I haven’t won anything, it confirmed for me that the class I initially took to, is in fact my favorite new thang.
And, for more on that my dear friends, I’m going to have to ask that you all stay tuned!
Friday, June 5, 2009
Monday, June 1, 2009
You know the friendships you make when your kids are babies, but you only see each other for birthday parties because you no longer live near one another, or your kids go to different schools, or you attended a music class together that you only enrolled in once?
The friends who you keep inviting to birthday parties because you like them, and then they invite you, because they like you, and every year you promise to be better about keeping in touch, and then another year rolls by, and you still only see each other at birthday parties.
When your kids are little it doesn’t matter. They all just parallel play any way, and it’s really for the grown ups to get together, snack and drink beer on a Sunday while they watch the babies all roll around on the lawn.
But, then the kids get big.
“Who’s Jimmy?” Tizzy asks, when I tell him we’re going to Jimmy’s birthday party on Saturday morning.
You guys played together when you were babies. You’ll recognize him when you see him.
When we get to Jimmy’s party, Jimmy’s playing with all his school buddies. They form a cloud around him as they travel around the yard. Neither of my boys are formerly introduced, but they make themselves at home picking cherries, playing with the remote control trucks and teasing the dog.
Later, when we talk about what a great party it was, Tizzy looks up at me again, and says, “So, who’s Jimmy?” He still doesn’t know.
After whacking his piñata, Jimmy removed the blindfold from his face, and standing right in front of him, were Zip and Tizzy. For a moment, he had a look on his face that screamed, “Who the hell are these two kids, and what are they doing at my party?!” But, then, he shrugged and handed Zip the bat.