Monday, November 26, 2012

If you're ever in southwest Michigan

you might want to look up Kasey Hunt and have her take your picture.  She's good.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Picture Day

It's the most terrible day of the year, starting with deciding what to wear, followed by getting the kids to wear it.

"Anne, you can't wear that, it doesn't match.  Anne, you can't wear that, it doesn't match.  Anne, just put on the clothes I picked out.  Anne, you can't wear that, it doesn't match."

"Mom," says Claire, "I'm going to wear this," pointing to the old brown butterfly hoodie she's wearing with the different-shade-of-brown-that-doesn't-match leggings.

"No, you'll have to wear something I've picked out."

"No!  It doesn't matter what you look like, it only matters how you act!"

"You're right.  How you act is what's important.  But I'm not paying $75 for these pictures for us to look like homeless just have to wear what I say on family picture day.  When you're the mom, you can pick out the clothes."

By the time we've got to go, I'm so worn down I let Anne wear the fuchsia headband that doesn't have a thing to do with the clothes she has on except clash. 

Then we get to the park where the photographer is waiting.  She tells Damon, "Put your arms on your sisters' shoulders." 

He does.  While she snaps pictures, he says, "This is weird.  I don't like this.  This is weird.  I'm not doing it."  And he puts his arms down.

Meanwhile, Anne gives the camera her favorite smile, the one where she sticks her chin out and hides her teeth and upper lip with her bottom lip.  Think old woman smiling with her dentures out.  She also tries to sneak her latest Goodwill Beanie Baby find into every picture.  Again, I'm too worn down to do anything about it.  Luckily Kasey the photographer is able to get it from her about half the time. 

I can't wait to get these pictures back.

Friday, November 9, 2012

holding my breath

Claire's teacher (whom I really like and who is a very good teacher) talked with the special ed teacher and got some ideas.  She suggested continuing on with the goal sheets I had been sending to school, adding a few more specific goals, and then asked about using a sand timer.  She would present it as a game and tell Claire to see if she could complete x amount of math problems before the timer ran out.  I told her that in the past timers hadn't been very effective (in the classroom, anyway.  At home with her tutor, timers worked pretty well.)  However, she was welcome to try it.  (I'm anxious for her to try anything so I can avoid another meeting with the principal.)  She tried it, and it was a success!  Claire came home so proud of her math worksheet (which was totally finished) and how she'd beaten the timer three times!

Oh, how I hope the timer keeps working.  It would save me so much time and heartache.  And I could focus on play dates for Claire (she spends almost all recess by herself and has said she wants to make new friends).  And maybe I could paint this dark wood paneling and hang the curtains I bought to replace these disgusting vertical blinds and...

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

looking for the positive

"We are blessed with so very much. And yet it is sometimes difficult to view the problems and permissiveness around us and not become discouraged. I have found that, rather than dwelling on the negative, if we will take a step back and consider the blessings in our lives, including seemingly small, sometimes overlooked blessings, we can find greater happiness."  ~Pres. Thomas S. Monson

I'm not even going to comment on the election, except to say I can't comprehend it and Jake was right and I was wrong.

So.  Claire needs a little help in the classroom.  Her teacher doesn't deny this.  Last year, we were able to help her succeed with ABA therapy in the classroom (our private therapist provided the therapy.  The school provided their permission for the therapist to be there after many unpleasant meetings).  I called her teacher yesterday, asking if she would let me come in for about an hour every morning to get Claire re-trained. I told her that when Claire didn't need me, I'd be happy to do whatever she wanted me to do. The woman has 26 kids in her class.  I was sure she'd jump at the chance to have free help.   Alas.  First she has to talk it over with the principal.  Which means we'll probably be back to the ugly meetings, where I try to convince them that I know my child and that I know what works.  Why they are so against parents being involved in helping a child succeed is beyond me.  It makes me want to scream.

Heavenly Father has helped us in the past, and I'm sure He will help us again.  I've got to remember that.  It shouldn't be so easy to forget.

Monday, November 5, 2012


I threw away the pumpkins Friday.  It was garbage day.  The kids noticed on Sunday and were extremely upset.  I did not tell them two were in the compost bin because they would have dug them out.  They are notorious dumpster divers.  Damon organized a funeral.  It was a wrenching service with no bodies to bury and give closure.

I wonder how long I need to wait before throwing away the markers on our front step...

Claire told me I was the worst mom ever, but after church all was forgiven when I saw the card from my in-laws and remembered it was my and Jake's wedding anniversary.  Anne and Claire took Jake to a spa in the living room where they gave him a massage and a makeover to make him handsome for his "proud and joy" (that's me).  They also re-gifted a toy and gave it to me from him.  Then Anne told us to go to our room and have a love nap together.  What in the world?!!  I don't have any idea how she came up with the term "love nap."  I told her a nap at 5:30 would be a bad idea, thanked her and Claire for our romantic afternoon, and put an end to it. We're not opposed to love naps, but it makes us uncomfortable when a 5-year-old suggests one.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

yard and garden

We still had lot of tomatoes on the vine when frost struck (that was a while ago. This photo was taken today.  Obviously I have plenty of fodder for the compost bin.  That's next week's task):

Success: tomatoes and maybe garlic
Almost Success: basil, spinach, pumpkins and lettuce
Failure: Peppers, cilantro

We finally got our sign--sorry it took so long, Mitt.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Deep Thoughts

From Claire: Bad dreams are good, and good dreams are bad.  Because when you wake up from a bad dream, you find out it wasn't real, and when you wake up from a good dream, you find out it wasn't real.

From Phyllis Diller: Cleaning your house while your kids are still growing is like shoveling the sidewalk before it stops snowing.

Not a deep thought, just an observation from me: I dream of having a clean house, but I'm not sure I have the discipline to keep a clean house, even without kids.  And I'm not a very nice person when the house (or parts of it) are clean, either.  You should (not) see how I react when crumbs get dropped on a recently mopped floor, which is partially why my kitchen floor has not been mopped in a LONG time.  Nothing like the crucible of family life to show you how far you have to go to be like Jesus.