Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Where I've Been

Back in September when Nutcracker rehearsals began I found myself talking to a  mom whose daughters had danced in it for several years.   She told me it was intense.  And that it was a huge time investment.

She wasn't joking.

We went from classes three times a week to regular classes 3x a week along with  2 hour Saturday rehearsals which quickly turned into 2 hours on Friday night and 2 hours on  Saturday afternoon rehearsals.  We had the week of Thanksgiving off, thankfully.  We rested, enjoyed the week off from both schools and had a nice Thanksgiving.

Last weekend was the big performance.  We had a Saturday evening show as well as a Sunday matinee.  Saturday's show was HUGE and as far as I could tell every seat in this theater was sold out!
The Bill Heard Theatre at the River Center

The show went well and Sunshine absolutely loved it.  We were both exhausted after 6 nights of dancing last week (1 dance class, 4 rehearsals and 1 performance).  Sunday's performance was almost cathartic as we now have 2 weeks off until we go back in January.  The ballet has announced a March Gala with rehearsals starting in January.  Time to buck up again!

This week we have Sunshine's Christmas show at school.  It's her last one at SuperAwesomeSchool so that's a little sad.  She and another girl will be doing their Chinese dance from the Nutcracker.  She's excited!

I have 2 days to run my errands this week in between going to chaperone the rehearsal for the play today and our class party on Friday.  I should be able to get everything done.  Hunter has been good about helping me shop for his family this year so that's a huge weight lifted from my shoulders.  I need to run to the PO to ship my family's gifts.  My nephews are old enough that money or gift cards are the norm.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Ready For Fall

It seems like Summer has been never ending this year.  Even though the temps have dropped a bit, the humidity is still ridiculous.

As are some of our parents at school.   The last couple weeks have just been plain awful.  We planned our annual Grandparents Breakfast after much debate and with much hesitation.  This event is huge and tends to spiral out of control no matter how thorough we are.

In years past we've instated an RSVP program.  With over 400 people attending, we have to.  Shopping for this event is a headache and without a head court is nigh on impossible.  We had 426 people RSVP by the cut off date.   One of our board members got a great idea of issuing tickets that way those who had RSVPd would get priority admission.  Anyone without a ticket would have to wait.

Then people lost their minds.

"Can I add one person to my list?"   "My mom's plans changed so can she & my dad and our 3 kids attend?"    "I never got a form"  "My form was lost"   "I turned in my form but the teacher can't find it"

All of this for some coffee, juice, fruit & a pastry of some sort.  

One grandparent texted me on FB.  Seeing as how I was busy in Book Fair that day, it took me a couple hours to reply to her.  I let her know that unfortunately the tickets had gone home and her option was to split the kids with the grandparents or to wait with the non-ticketed group.

72 year old women shouldn't behave this way, but she didn't like my reply so she texted a teacher who is a mutual friend.  This teacher told her she had no control over the event but to try contacting me.  She then emailed our PTO address which I received around 7 that night.

She got an answer but didn't like it so tried to get someone to give her the answer she wanted.   It didn't work.

She then replied to my email saying her 8 year old granddaughter told her that kids didn't need tickets so she was okay adding the additional grandparent.    I let her know that her 8 year old was indeed wrong.    She countered with "of course I wouldn't believe her."

But you did.

And, how many grandparents do these kids have anyway?   Some kids were showing up with 6 or more people.  Maybe 2 grandparents on dad's side, 2 on mom's & what?  Great grandparents???


I was tucked away in the library where people were happy to spend money on books for their darling grandkids.  Feedback on the breakfast was good.

My volunteers in the gym were insulted, griped at and other nasty things.   Parents who came in to take pictures couldn't be bothered to pitch in and help.

People can always find the time to criticize but when it's time to help they scatter like roaches.

I've enjoyed my time helping at SuperAwesomeSchool but I have to admit, I'm feeling very let down this year.   And it's trickling over to my home life.   I'm sure it's my perception but there are people (No! Not Hunter!!) who should be in my corner but it seems like I'm a burden to them.   If I don't initiate contact there's a problem.  If I'm around them, it seems like they're doing me a favor by spending time with me and my family.

Sorry for the whiny vent.  I'm trying to get out of this funk because it's just NOT like me.  I need to accept that not all of our parents are going to step up.  I need to accept that they are going to criticize and then pretend to be nice to my face.  I need to accept that people give what they can in relationships and that I can't control that----it's them who will have regrets in the end.  Not me.


Wednesday, August 27, 2014

The Final Countdown

So, summer vacation was wonderful.  We went to Longboat Key for a week as you know.  Contemplated moving to Sarasota only to be reminded that one of the reasons why we're looking to leave Columbus (besides being near family) is that we both miss winter.  And really, winter in Sarasota?  Not much.

We drove up North and spent time with Hunter's family before going to see mine.  Our time in Virginia was great---very relaxed, no stress and we enjoyed visiting with his nephew and his family who were visiting from out of town.  His sister also does a Friday Family Night dinner which was so fun.  They were celebrating his other nephew's dinner.  Sunshine was beyond thrilled to see her little cousin H & his new baby sister O.  The best part was getting to hold O.   She told O's mom that she would do better with her as opposed to the time she dropped Hunter's brother's son.  In her defense, she was only 4.  She also loved going to see Poplar Forest.

We enjoyed beautiful weather & a lovely time in VT.  Dinner on the lake with friends, boat rides at sunset, lots of day trips (Ft. Ticonderoga & Saratoga) with my mom.  We were about an hour away from home when I realized I'd left our passports behind so no Canada trip.  This time.  I have to remember to bring them from now on!

We spent the last couple weeks enjoying the pool before school started.

So, Sunshine is a 5th grader at SuperAwesomeSchool.  While part of me is excited that she's in her final year, I'd be lying if I said I wasn't sad as well.  We've had a great experience at SuperAwesomeSchool.  She had a rough couple days when she first started but it's hard to start mid-year.  She's adapted beautifully & truly has thrived.

She and her friends were the first crew to start off on the morning announcements.  Another area where she has thrived!  Most kids love being the announcers and Sunshine is no different but she truly loved being the director!  And got high praise from SuperBookatarian for her work.

The first full week there was a monkey wrench thrown in.  Sunshine was with her BFF Haylee in Mrs. T's class.  We requested Mrs. T & while the girls were bummed that their 2 other pals were in Mr. W's class, at least they were together.

Long story short, there was a schedule conflict for several students needing extra help so 7 kids from Mrs. T's were pulled & exchanged with 7 kids from Mr. W's class.

The tears in the hallway, people!!  I thought Sunshine & Haylee were going to hit the ground crying.  It was awful.  The principal told them "but you're together with E & P again!"  Didn't matter.  They wouldn't be in Mrs. T's homeroom.

Things got easier over the weekend & I'm proud to say they have both adapted beautifully.  Somehow I knew they would.    Mr. W. told me his only problem was that the 4 girls wanted to sit together.  But if he let them, he'd have to let 4 boys who are known troublemakers sit together.  Apparently both groups were allowed to change desks.  Guess whose desks haven't been moved  #Sweetgirls

I'm a week out from my final 3 book fair.  I have a co-chair this year so that will be a good thing.  She's got great ideas, is a hard worker & is very creative.  And her OCD is on par with mine.  I feel good about her taking over when I'm gone.

Sunshine is back taking ballet & goes 3x a week.  We're still trying ot adjust to the schedule but she is loving it.  And I love hearing her say all these French terms as she practices.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Lovin' Summer

Is there nothing better than summer vacation?  I don't care if you're a kid or a grown up---summer vacation rocks.

Once we hit an  age where Sunshine started sleeping in on weekends life changed for us.  There was no worry about "what if she wakes up at 6 am?" Most days she's asleep until at least 8.  If not later.     Let me tell you, if I can sleep from 11:30 until 8 am, I'm a happy girl.

Summer is a time away from volunteering.  I love doing what I do at school and I count my blessings that I am able to stay home.  But, everyone needs down time.  This is mine.

We've settled into a wonderful non-schedule of days now that our trip to Florida and VBS are over.  We get up when we're ready, eat breakfast in a lazy fashion and plan our day as necessary.  This week has been pool week.  The first summer we were in our house we joined a neighboring subdivision's pool.  Five years later finds us enjoying the pool as much as ever and Hunter on the board of the pool.  "Voluntold" he calls it.
But, it's our home away from home.  There's rarely a day that friends aren't there.  I keep Hunter's old Nook in the pool bag so that I have something to read (my Kindle Fire HD isn't great for outdoor reading).  The water has been wonderfully refreshing in the summer heat.

Tonight we're having a relaxing evening---laundry is going, I made stuffed peppers (sausage, quinoa, onions, toma tomatoes & gouda) for dinner and we're watching a movie.  Tomorrow is more pool time.

Oh summer. . .how I love you!

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Vacation Hangover

Two thumbs up after para sailing

Toes in the sand. . . 
I don't know what's worse. . .the waiting for vacation to come or after you get home and it's over.

I have such a bad vacation hangover right now, it's not funny.   We spent last week on Longboat Key.  A wonderful, wonderful week.  So wonderful in fact, that we started discussing the option of moving there instead of to VA.

In addition to the usual beach vacation type things, Sunshine and Hunter went para sailing over the Gulf of Mexico.  I got some great pics of them up 500 feet but sadly didn't get to see any dolphins while we were out on the boat.  We did see some while we were on Coquina Beach.  And Hunter & Sunshine were a few feet away from a manatee while they were swimming at the beach near our condo.  Me?  I had gotten out of the water & was sitting on the beach.  You know, so I could snap the picture!

We love the Anna Maria Island/Longboat Key/ Sarasota area----very little crime, the cost of living isn't horrible, great lifestyle and really just heaven.  But, living there would leave us even further away from family.  Which is the point of us moving from GA to VA.   Closer to Hunter's family and close enough to mine that going up for a long weekend would be feasible.

The other thing that deters us is that we both really miss winter. We miss having 4 real seasons.  It's something we don't have here and certainly something that we wouldn't have in FL.

Maybe one day my need for snow, woolen hand knits and chilly weather will lessen and we'll be on the beach.

I'm not holding my breath either but it could happen!

Monday, May 19, 2014


Color us super proud of Sunshine!  Her 4th grade awards ceremony was today and she racked up!  She received Principal's List (highest academic honors plus good conduct), STEM Club (science, technology, engineering & math), Broadcasting Club (the school's morning announcements which are student run.  They write them, direct, run camera, produce & announce.  Sunshine has LOVED this!), Music Award (she really wanted this one for some reason!) & was the top AR point earner for 4th grade (#1 out of 100).  AR is a reading program where the kids read a book and then take a test online for the book.  They receive a certain number of points based on the reading level of the book.  There is also a word count for the book.  Sunshine read over 1.5 million words this school year.  The look on her face when our Super Bookatarian called out her name was priceless!  
This folder is really heavy!

Sunshine & our Super Bookatarian.  I don't know who was more proud of Sunshine---me or Kristine!
These girls?  The sweetest.  Three of them (Sunshine & the 2 in blue) have been together since 1st & 2nd grade.  They are all such great girls---smart as can be, kind hearted, fun, funny, responsible, considerate---the kind of kids you look at & think "wow!"  

And that one in the jean jacket?  She is ours!  

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Mother's Day 2014

Happy Mother's Day, blogworld!  Whether you're a biological mom, adoptive mom, step mom, or  mom to 4 legged creatures, I hope you have a wonderful day.
These 2?  They've taught me more about motherhood than I could ever imagine and are loved more than they will probably ever know.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

The Week That Was

You know how sometimes you have one of those days that leaves you throwing your hands up in the air and declaring that you want a "do over"?  For me, it's been one of those weeks.

It technically started the day after the PTO meeting.  I came home Book Fair and felt the need to have a rest.  It's not uncommon after a busy day.  The rest of our weekend was pretty uneventful and we launched into last week.

Monday started out like any day that I'd be spending at school.  Sunshine and I headed out to school.  She was back on the announcements after a week of being the camera girl, I picked up the teacher sign up sheet from the lounge, joked with some of the 4th grade teachers about how it must be book fair as I wasn't feeling well.

I went downhill pretty fast and by 10:00 was calling for reinforcements.  My new co-chair, Amanda, gladly came in, gave me some recommendations for a tea that was sure to help me and then sent me packing.   I ran by Winn Dixie to pick up some tea and a couple other things and headed home.  If I willingly went to Winn Dixie, you know I'm not feeling well.  Remember the Prosciutto Incident of '07??  Right.

I got home and immediately got in bed.  I spent the rest of the day there with my fever going up and up.  And coughing and coughing.

Monday night/Tuesday morning we were under the threat of the bad storms that hit the Mid-west the day prior.  So, at 5 am on Tuesday, our tornado warning siren went off.  Sunshine and I moved into the hallway (the only part of our house that is truly interior) and huddled with the dogs while Hunter puttered around the house driving me crazy with worry.

While no tornadoes hit our area, they did hit about 20 miles away from us.  Scary, scary stuff.  We lost part of our 30 foot Bradford pear tree in our back yard.  The funny thing was that we didn't hear it fall during the storm.  Luckily, it wasn't a lightning strike as I first thought---there was a section of it that had rotted.  Hopefully we don't lose the rest of the tree.  One of our friends came over to help Hunter get it off our fence and the top part out of our neighbor's yard.

Sunshine went to school so Hunter dragged me and my 102 degree fever having self to the ER on post.  A flu swab, chest x-ray and much listening of the lungs later it was decided that I had pneumonia and I was sent away with a z-pack, afrin and robitussin with codeine.  Purple drank/sizzurp jokes aside, I felt horrible.  Again, I got back into bed and didn't come out until dinner.  At least I think I got up for dinner.  Yes, I'm pretty sure I did.

I felt slightly better on Wednesday when my fever broke and was able to spend most of the day on the couch rather than in bed.  Same with Thursday. Friday, I finally left the house.  If you know me well, you know that I just don't do housebound well.  At all.

I'm still coughing a bit and am still incredibly tired but am feeling better.  It's hard for me to be so go-go-go-go all the time and to find myself being so limited.

So, that is why last week was so rough.   I'm lucky that my super sweet hubby has been so wonderful about helping me--getting up with Sunshine, getting her lunch ready, getting her to and from school, handling meals, etc.

The little ray of sunshine in my week?  My Sunshine in her Drama Kids Spring Performance.
Their play was called Storyland Idol and she played the part of Paula Paparazzi who was one of the judges.  We are SO proud of her performance.  She loved dancing on the chair.

And our PTO kids!  The boys were in the Upper Primary class (3-5th) with Sunshine and the little girl was in the k-2nd play.  They've all been friends since Kindergarten/1st grade and are just all around great kids.  They put in long hours at school with us and never complain.  The one in the pink?  She has my & Hunter's hearts.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Gluttony Is A Sin

seeing as how I'm a glutton for punishment, I must be a big ol' sinner. . .

Quotes for PTOs and PTAs.

The last four years, I've found myself becoming increasingly more involved at SuperAwesome School.  When she was in Kindergarten I volunteered for a 2 hour shift at a Book Fair & for a couple days during Faculty/Staff Appreciation Week.  Oh, and I helped out in Sunshine's classroom a few times.

First grade was the year it all went down hill.  It started innocently enough with being a Room Mom.  Our teacher lost her para pro so another mom and I would go in to help out in the classroom or to make copies.

Then it came.  The phone call where I was asked to help co-chair the two remaining book fairs for the rest of the year.

I'm going to tell you a secret----once you prove yourself doing something big.  Like a Book Fair, and you do it well, people realize that you're honest (important when handling money), capable, reliable and a glutton for punishment.

And it's at that point you find yourself saying yes to a position on an executive board for your school's parent/teacher group.

So after 2 years of Treasurer (truly the hardest of all of the positions) I thought I'd slide into Secretary for the next 2 years.  It wasn't to be and I find myself finishing up my first year as President.

Honestly, President isn't nearly as bad as it seems to be.  You need to be visible.  You need to be personable.  You need to enjoy people you've never met coming up to you to introduce themselves and to ask why are you so involved at the school and did your child receive special favors as a direct result.  (Yeah, got that one earlier this year).  You need to be able to delegate and manage without micromanaging.   Having been micromanaged by a PTA President as well as an old boss, I can honestly say that it's my least favorite part about dealing with people.

The downside of being President is well, the negative stuff.  Ticked off parents.  The parents who never get involved for whatever reason but love to do nothing but criticize how things are run.   Yet if you ask them to get involved (to shut them up), they're too busy.

Because none of us on the board are ever busy.  Real life doesn't exist for us.

So this year there was a sliver of hope that I would finally slide into the low key world of PTO Secretary.  You know, take some meeting notes, prepare the monthly calendar.  Let the big decisions fall on someone else's shoulders.

Yeah, no such luck.  I'll end Sunshine's time at SuperAwesome school as PTO President.  The plus side of this is that I'll have a major say in what happens at school and will be in a position to MAKE it happen.  School district say no to the 5th grade trip?  PTO President comes to rally the parents to make phone calls to the district.  And I'll get to be at school for her last year of elementary school.

I'll continue to be one of those people who make it happen.  Glutton for punishment or not.

Friday, April 18, 2014

I Don't Even Know Where To Start

I know, I know, I've been away.


And I apologize for that but real life?  Real life is ridiculous sometimes.

With the end of the school year a month away, I can see the light at the end of the tunnel but before I'm out of that tunnel I need to:

finish proctoring the CRCTs for 5th grade next week
get BOGO Book Fair set up, run & closed up over the next 2 weeks.
help out with Faculty/Staff Appreciation Week
Have the AR Balloon Parade
Have the final House Celebration
Paint some hands to decorate the library ceiling as members of the Million Words Club (part of our AR program)---my sweet Sunshine gained membership to this exclusive club in February!
Throw a graduation party for the 5th grade class

All of this in something like 25 days.  My brain hurts thinking about it.

Our final PTO meeting for the year is next Thursday.  We'll be electing board members for next year.  I've been nominated as President again and am going back and forth between "what if I get voted out???" vs. "WOO HOO! If I don't get elected I will have SO much more free time and someone else can handle all the nonsense!"

The good of getting voted out?  I could do Book Fairs/AR/House Celebrations & "just" be a room parent.  The amount of free time & less headaches/drama would be amazing.

The bad?  My inner control freak wouldn't know what to do after 3 years on the Executive Board.

We'll see what comes next Thurs.

So, beyond PTO issues life has been life.  It's been good, it's been stressful but really, mostly good.  I'm a lucky girl & I know it.

Sunshine is doing great in school.  This year has been a learning experience (no pun intended) with the responsibility that is thrust upon 4th graders.  She's grown up a lot this year & we are so proud of her accomplishments.  She's maintained a 95 average or above so far & has read 1.3 million words.  She's currently on book 4 of the Harry Potter series, which she is loving.

The funny thing about Sunshine is that she has always been a very independent child.  I joke that once she could roll over at 4 months something changed.  If she didn't want to do something---be held, play with a certain toy, etc she wouldn't & no amount of asking, begging, cajoling would change her mind.  Some people call it "stubborn".  The truth of the matter is that the kid has always known her own mind & has always done things HER way.

This year she was comfortable reading what interested her.  We realized after the first marking period that she was on track to read a million words and started to figure out how many books she'd need to read to make that goal.

After reading through the series that had interested her (Hank the Cowdog, American Girl mysteries (but only Molly, Kit, Julie, Kaya,  Samantha & Felicity), American Chillers, Goosebumps, Who Was. . .books) her teacher and I decided she needed to challenge herself & not read at the bottom of her reading level.  So, a visit to the home of the Super Bookatarian was planned.  Kristine took her around the library & suggested SO many great books.  Ones we were sure Sunshine would love.  Do you know that my child turned up her nose at Little House on the Prairie??  Who does that??  The kid loves history.  She loves historical fiction as you can tell by her love of the AG mysteries & the fact that she's read almost all of the historical books in several dolls' collections.  Nope, no Little House in my house.

Also, no Nancy Drew.   My childhood was flashing before my eyes & was being stomped on by my stubborn 9 year old.

Harry Potter was initially snubbed which was odd as she loves the movies.

Finally one day she came home with  Book 1.  And read it.  And it was awesome.

So now, we find ourselves on Book 4.  I can't wait for her to get to the Half Blood Prince as it's my all time favorite.  The movie?  Not so much.

Hunter spent a week in VA helping out his mom & dad.  While we miss him when he does this, I'm glad he's able to go as I know it means a lot to him to be able to.  And that his dad asks him to help.  My only stipulation was that he had to be home in time to take Sunshine to the Father/Daughter Dance at school.

Yesterday he had carpal tunnel surgery.  Nothing like 7 hours at the hospital.  Actually it was 6 for me as one hour was spent running to school to get Sunshine and running back to the hospital to wait for him to be released.  I'm hoping he gets some relief from the pain he's been experiencing.  Luckily he hasn't been too man-whiney.  Let's hope it doesn't start!

We've been talking about putting our house on the market next year & moving somewhere closer to our families.  There are pluses and minuses to doing this, obviously.   I haven't lived in the same state as my family for 20 years & it's been about the same for Hunter.   Our whole experience as parents has been totally independent from our families.    Deployments, illness, even just a date night---we've had to manage on our own.  I don't know that I'd know how to deal with having family help with Sunshine.  But we're seriously considering it.

So, in my down time (ha!) I find myself on realtor.com looking at houses.  This house has spoiled us in so many ways.  Our rooms are fairly large & our house is almost to where we want it to be (no carpet in the dining room & living room would be so nice!!).  My irises that I planted after we moved in have matured & spread.  Would we dig them up &  take the rhizomes with us?  The upshot of moving would mean that they would have time to mature & spread wherever we go.  We would have plenty of time to remodel, paint, whatever a new home.

We'd miss our friends here but really, I'm not a Southern girl.  I don't enjoy having Summer weather the majority of the year.  I grew up with 4 seasons & I miss having 4 seasons.  When Sunshine says she wants to live near Memere (my mom) so she can have a snowy winter I get it.  I want a snowy winter too.

So, that's where we are.

I'd write more but I need to make a phone call to a lovely retired teacher from our super awesome school who wants to work Book Fair with me.

More later

Happy Easter