Simple Sunday – Pant-less, Princess Leia, and the Eleventh Day

Yesterday the boys ran out of clean shorts – or short pants as Carter calls them.  It also happened that we ended up not leaving the house that day, choosing instead to work around the house.  This made the lack of short pants a nonissue and the boys simply spent their day in shirts and superhero underwear.  I did eventually do a load of laundry for them in preparation of the errands we must run today.

pantless no more

Husband and I have this thing.  If he knows something I don’t know, a surprise or such, he will text me (or if we are in the same room, tell me) that he knows something I don’t know.  And vise versa.  On Friday I received this text:

I know something

Yup, we got a kitten.  Long story short – Husband is in between jobs.  He gave notice and is able to return to his previous employer but this time he will telecommute, mostly working from home.  During this brief break in his work schedule, I gave him the task of finding some cute kittens to add to the chaos of our home.  The chaos level is not right until we have two of each: kids, cats, and dogs.  He bonded with a kitten on Friday, a four month old stray at the Humane Society and brought her home.  He only gets a score of 50% as 1 is not 2 kittens.  Here she is.  Meet Princess Leia (yes, we are into Star Wars these days).

Princess Leia

And lastly, my second year of teaching second grade is going swimmingly!  My kiddos are fabulous and I love them all already.  On the eleventh day of school we had a great sharing moment.  I was reading a story called Bountiful Grace, a story of a girl, Grace, whose parents had divorced.  She goes to Africa to visit her dad’s new family for the first time and realizes that families come in all shapes and forms.

My students were all seated on the rug at my feet as I was reading.  Hands shot up.  One after another shared about their dad leaving, a family member dying, how they are being raised by a grandparent.  The discussion turned to the definition of a family.  The answers they gave made me have goose bumps.  Families – they are a group of people that you love.  Families – they are always there for you.  Families – they care about one another.  Great answers.  And at the end I tied it into our family, our classroom family.  The family in room 225.

And that is just a tiny bit of what has been going on these days at Casa de Wrong Feet.

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Summertime is rapidly slipping away.  I start back to work in 12 days.  In 17 days it is Meet the Teacher Night and the students start back to school two days after that.

I feel unprepared on so many levels.

The Classroom:

  • Due to having to move rooms at the very end of last year, most of my classroom is in a state of disarray.  Boxes are opened, some partially unpacked.
  • I have arranged and rearranged the classroom furniture several times.  I am still not completely content with the layout.
  • I have spend countless hour organizing and sorting and plotting and planning.  Some of the time at home, some in the classroom (where the a/c is on the fritz – one day it blew heat and would not stop, another day simply nothing at all).

On the positive side…  I have my name and a cute orange cutout of the sun taped to the window welcoming all who enter.  Cody and Carter helped me organize the classroom library, a task I never got to complete last year.  For those of you who may care, each books has a label F1, F2, F3 and so on, where F stands for fiction.  They are alphabetized by author’s last name, so you would find the A’s and B’s in the bins F1, F2 and maybe F3 depending on how many books fall into this category.  The label is color coordinated and matches the label on the corresponding basket.  I think this will enable the students to keep our library organized and neat.

Classroom Library Collage

Oh, and there is one bulletin board up.

First Hint of a Classroom

There is much, much more work to be done.

Lots of Work to do

The House:

  • Boxes, boxes, and more boxes.  They never end.  We still have a large storage unit full of stuff.  I have decided we have too much stuff.
  • And we need more stuff.  We have never had a bedroom large enough for a bedroom set and as such we do not have bedroom furniture.  Really, we don’t (unless you count a white plastic-ish dresser given to me by some random guy who lived upstairs from me during my first year of college in 1995 (it was hideous then and it continues to be hideous now – but is was free and for the most part it is functional.))  So we really would like to buy a nice bedroom set and ditch the dresser.
  • The little things of homeownership – broken sprinkler heads, drip systems that do not drip or drip too much, ants, a bathtub that does not hold water, a lack of lighting in the dining room.  All these things are totally fixable but they take time (and money).

On the positive side…  We continue to love our neighborhood.  We take the dogs for walks, we chat with neighbors.  We unearthed Husband’s box of Legos dating back to the time when there were no kits and kids simply built using their imagination.

Old School Legos Collage

And our dogs are mostly at peace with the fact that they share a home.

The Pups Together

The Trip:

  • We are taking a family trip to Washington to spend some time with my mom before the summer completely slips through our fingers.
  • I should be packed seeing as we leave soon, but I have yet to locate one of the suitcases we need.
  • I am excited to see my mom and revisit my childhood home and town but I am struggling with the letting go of all that needs to be done and the fact that I can’t do any of it while I am away.  In essences I need to figure out a way to “turn it off” so I can simply enjoy the vacation and my family.

On the positive side…  We have worked it so we leave as a family but return with only one boy.  Then my mom flies down with that boy, stays a couple days, and then goes back to Washington with the other boy.  The other boy flies back solo.  This is awesome (and a bit stressful for me as we have never done this before) in that each kiddo gets individual Grandma time and individual time with Husband and I.

So currently I am feeling very overwhelmed.  I should be packing, or unpacking, or hanging a bulletin board, or trimming bushes in the backyard, or something instead of writing.

But I like writing and at this point I think my “fight or flight” response has taken over. Writing is the “flight” I need to get up above it all and see it for what it simply is – a small moment in time that is manageable, will pass, and will be just fine.

Sasha Relaxing

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Simple Sunday – Calm (with a Photobomb or Two)

Entryway Table

Yesterday we brought into our new house our old entryway table.  I quick grabbed my camera to capture the moment, the one where the table is free from life’s clutter (well, mostly).  The table, its clean lines and cream color against the green wall, provides me with a sense of calm.

Of course, in the process of taking this picture there were more than a couple photobombs.

Entryway Table PhotoBomb Collage

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Skinny Dipping is the Answer

Yesterday afternoon Carter and I were sitting pool-side enjoying popsicles.  His was raspberry.  Mine was lime.  It was hot, maybe 108 or so and the popsicles were dripping.

Try as we might, we could not keep up with the drips.  Small rivers of melted popsicle trickled  down the sticks.  We licked, turned, licked again slurping up the cool treat.  Drops escaping our tongues landed, splattering onto our legs, chest, running down our hands.

I was unimpressed and expressed my unhappiness in the sticky situation.

Carter, ever the optimist, turned to me and smiled.  “Don’t worry, momma!” he said “Skinny dipping will take care of it.  It is the perfect solution!”

He asked me if he could.  I said yes.  He invited me to join him.  I hesitated, wondering how I could explain why I felt he could and I couldn’t (well, at least in the daytime, and without little kid eyes around).   He really wanted me to join him in the pool and so suggested I put on my swim trunks (we will have to work on that swim suit vocabulary so as to be more gender appropriate).

I put on my swim suit and joined him.

And he was right, it was the perfect solution – with or without swimming attire.

Posted in Little Feet, The Great Outdoors | Tagged , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

So they Sew

It all started with a small travel sewing kit I received when I was Maiden of Honor at a friend’s wedding almost seven years ago.  It is a simple kit, one with a few colors of thread, a needle, three pins, two safety pins, and some very tiny scissors.

I have used the kit a couple times over the years and I store it in a drawer in the bathroom.  With our recent move I reorganized my bathroom stuff, purging that which I did not need and keeping only the necessities (yes, five Burt’s Bees lip gloss colors are necessary, thank you very much).

Last week as I was doing my hair and make-up; Cody came in to chat.  He noticed the small sewing kit in the open bathroom drawer and was intrigued by its contents.  He told me he wanted to learn how to sew.


I do not sew and, in fact, am rather intimidated by the whole process of sewing.

But…last Sunday we ended up at a fabric store where we bought two yards each of two different fabrics.  The plan was to make pillows – something even a non-sewer like myself thought I could handle.  Pillows, how hard can they be, I thought.

Ruby, the lady behind the counter, was amazing.  She spend an hour with the boys, teaching them how to thread a needle, how to stitch, and the language of sewing.  When we finally left, each boy had created a small pincushion from fabric scraps, stuffed with bits of plastic bag.  Ruby also gave them each a needle and a pin so they had an immediate use for their creations.

I left with the bag of fabric and the knowledge I did not know I needed, but desperately needed to guide the boys in their pillow making adventure.

I brought in from the garage my Grandmother’s old sewing stool, the one my mom used when I was little.  My Grandmother had embroidered it (is that the word for it?) many years ago.  We took inventory of and organized the eclectic mix of items that I deemed sewing related.

Sewing Stuff Collage

The boys sewed.  An owl named Barney sitting atop a Minecraft book supervised.

Boys Sewing Collage

We bought batting.

Boys and Batting

They sewed some more.

Threading the Needle

Our house is now two pillows richer…

New Pillows Collage

and slightly stronger in the ways of sewing.

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Simple Sunday – Summer Pie Day and a Tetanus Shot

Yesterday we celebrated Summer Pie Day.  Stemming from National Pie Day, in January, we determined that a Pie Day celebration that occurs in the summer was needed due to the distinct lack of fresh berries in the winter months.  We have been celebrating Summer Pie Day for three years.

This year Cody and I made a triple berry pie with homemade crust.

TriBerry Pie Collage

Carter made a chocolate pudding pie with a Keebler graham cracker crust.  Husband made his famous peanut butter pie with the chocolate topping.

Boys PieDay Collage

Holding true to our made-up holiday tradition, there were deviled eggs.  Carter added a bit of flare this year by making a pair of cream cheese, raison pupil, bloodshot egg eyes.  And really, why wouldn’t you?

Deviled Eggs Collage

In all there were eight pies: berry pies – some with white chocolate dipped strawberries some with homemade graham cracker crust, – banana cream pie with chunks of banana, coconut cream pie with toasted coconut sprinkled on top, whipped peanut butter pie fluffy as air, and our pies.  Each one was homemade and each one was delicious!

Oh, and I did make this in an effort to add something nutritious to the day –

Veggie Pie

a veggie pie with lettuce for a “crust” – so technically nine pies.

It was fun catching up with friends and family.

Summer Pie Day Eating

And then, after it was all over and the last guest left, we went swimming.  Sasha our new rescue dog loves the water.  Haley our other rescue dog, does not.  Husband took Haley into the pool get her used to the water and to teach her where the steps to get out are in case she ever falls in.  He has done this before and Haley is getting better with it.

I do not know exactly what happened but after Haley got out of the pool, Sasha went over to her.  Perhaps they exchanged some doggie insults but suddenly it was a full on dog fight.  Growling, flashing teeth, blood, two black dogs became an angry storm cloud rolling across our pool deck.  We yelled.  Husband threw water at them.  I grabbed one of them.  Husband jumped into the mix, pulling them apart by their scruffs.

It was scary.

Husband ended up with two puncture wounds in his hand, one of them quite deep.  He ended up at urgent care, not getting home until 2 am, with a tetanus shot, a ten day supply of antibiotics, and a bandaged hand.

The dogs are wary of each other and it has been more than a bit stressful today.  Haley and Sasha are keeping their distance from one another but so far are being polite.

And so for the first, and hopefully last time, Summer Pie Day ended with someone getting a tetanus shot.

Posted in Food Glorious Food, Furry Feet (and fish), Simple Sunday | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Better than Nagging

Husband is a pile maker.  I do not blame him for this because I know his mom and his dad and they are both pile makers too.  It is simply a matter of genetics.  And I knew about it and still married him.

He makes piles of bills, magazines, newspapers – sections to be read, read and ready for recycling, and read but to be saved.  His piles typically start on an empty surface such as a table top, a desk, or a chair.  When there is no longer room on said surface, the piles start their natural migration to the floor.  It is here where they start to bother me.

Ok, that last sentence was a total lie.  The piles bother me wherever they form because these piles don’t just exist for a brief moment in time and then disperse like white fluffy clouds blowing in the wind.  No they stay, hang around heavy, morphing into larger and more complicated piles.

I used to nag, but who likes that.  So I have simply learned to live with the piles.

But then entered Sasha our new rescue dog.  She is not housetrained, being a former stray and never having need for such silly rules.  While she lived at the rescue facility, they put newspaper down in a corner of the floor for her and her bunkmate to do their business on.  So… she learned to potty on paper (well, most of the time.)  This, as you can imagine, has come in quite handy.  It is as if overnight, our house has become pile free (well, at least the floor has).

And last night, another major discovery.  Sasha also deems laundry left on the floor to be a nice place to potty.

I wonder if clothes left on the floor instead of put into the laundry hamper will also become a thing of the past in our house.

A girl can dream…

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Family Growth

We have two new additions to our family – one perhaps more exciting than the other but both mention worthy.  First I would like you to meet Invincible Dave.

Invincible Dave the Desk

Dave is a metal desk of the metal furniture company, Invincible.  He is the desk where I will blog from and lesson plan on.  He is located in the corner of our spacious master, my office nook, if you will.  Both Dave and his sidekick Chair are from the 50’s or early 60’s and look as if they have many years of life left in them.  I searched for quite a while before finding them in an antique store covered with strangely shaped baskets and multicolored spray painted pieces of coral.  I wanted something different, sturdy, and gray.  Yes, I really wanted the color gray which greatly limited my choices.

Now for the other new member of our family.  For her, color was not a concern, but rather temperament and personality.

Meet Sasha.

These are the three pictures the rescue origination had posted of her.  It was the middle one that did it for me.  So, so, skinny.  And matted.  And just plain sad.

Rescue Sasha Collage

She was a stray, picked up by the pound and not claimed.  She was deemed adoptable, so she bypassed the euthanasia list, and moved to a no-kill rescue organization facility.  They knew nothing of her past.  She was listed as being a five year old flat-haired retriever.

We did a meet and greet with her and the boys.  She was gentle and sweet.  We did a separate meet and greet with Haley and the boys and it went very well.

And so, this is Sasha on the car ride home.

The Ride Home

She has kennel cough and can stand to gain ten pounds (she weighs 33 pounds now).  She is also not housetrained, but is smart and showing signs of figuring it out.  She is a water dog, and has already enjoyed swimming in our pool several times.

Here she is after her flea and tick shampoo bath on her first night home.  After getting towel dried she danced around the yard.  I swear you can almost see her ribs in this picture.

Post Bath Wet Dog

Haley is not sure about no longer being an only dog.  Their relationship so far is best described as together from a distance.

Together From a Distance

Cody and Sasha, however have hit it off quite well.

Cody and Sasha Collage

Our strict no-dog-on-the-leather-couches was broken by Sasha within the hour of her arrival.  We were so thrilled she was not peeing in the house and was resting peacefully that we let it be.  Plus she is just so cute.

No Dogs on the Couch

So there it is.  Our family has grown by two.  I love them both.  Sasha is a sweet and loving soul who has been nothing but kind and gentle to the boys.  She is very, very cute.

Feeling at Home

Invincible Dave, however, has the fact that he is potty trained going for him.

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The Right Words

I do not have them, the right words.

I have the boys on a summer school schedule, one that we follow fairly consistently.  We do some store-bought, grade-level appropriate workbooks in the morning after breakfast.  We have free time/time to run errands after that.  After lunch they do Moby Max, a math program on the computer that tests them and places them at their individual level as well as Imagine Learning (an online reading program) and they read out loud to me for 20 minutes each.  We also do some science and art.  On Fridays we go on field trips to museums or to the Botanical Gardens.

Tomorrow is Tuesday.  On Tuesdays our mornings are wonky as we bought the summer pack of super cheap movie theater tickets and our day to see the movie for the week is Tuesday.  Cody, always the planner, asked me if he could start on his workbook tonight so as to be prepared for tomorrow.

I said yes and made sure I was near the kitchen table so as to help him if need be.  The first section of his workbook was multiplication.  Math is hard for Cody.  School in general is hard for Cody, but math is a struggle.  We worked through several problems together but my sweet boy doesn’t even have his combinations that make ten memorized so multiplication of double digit number is grueling, nonsensical.

And then it happened.  Cody, who is usually very positive and optimistic, started to tear up.  “Momma”, he told me “Mrs. W. always came and took me out of class to work on addition and subtraction while the rest of my class did multiplication.  I did not get a chance to learn this.  And no one even asked me, they just took me away!  I want to work on multiplication flash cards tomorrow.  I am still counting on my fingers and the rest of my class just knows their multiplication tables.  I don’t feel ready for fourth grade!”

It was awful.  Awful.  Here I am a mom and a teacher and I want with all my heart to help him be successful and I don’t know how.

I did not have the right words.  I talked to him about my weakness in spelling.  I talked about how everyone has strengths and struggles.  I asked him what we could do, how we could work together to help him feel ready for fourth grade.  I told him I was proud of him. And then I told him to go get ready for bed.

That is when I went outside, crouched down in our side yard and cried.

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No Longer Worth the Fight

It started out like any other day.

We got up and lounged around on the couch in our p.j.s.  I read aloud a couple chapters of a Jigsaw Jones chapter book, tracking as I read with my bookmark.  The boys, sun bleached blond bookends, sat on either side reading along.  I finished my coffee.

We showered, dressed, and had breakfast.

The boys worked on their summer school work while I cleaned the house.  (School work was briefly interrupted when I requested the boys’ help in catching a baby lizard who was hiding behind a moving box in our living room.  We released him into the wild of our front yard.)

Prompted, I’m sure, by our lack of Cheerios and Lysol wipes, not of course our decidedly low level of tequila due to last nights Taco Tuesday at our neighbor’s house, we went to Costco.

With one hand I shoved my Costco card back into my purse and with the other I held up the receipt, preparing for the fight.  You may know it as the it-is-my-turn-to-hold-the-receipt-so-the-nice-Costco-person-checking-them-at-the-door-will-draw-a-cute-smiley-face-on-it-for-me fight.

Neither boy wanted it.  I was shocked and slightly saddened that this moment had come.

I handed the receipt to the nice man at the door.  He scanned the purchases in my cart and compared them to the receipt, drew a boring line through it and handed it back.

No smiley face for me.

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