Thursday, December 3, 2015

Nutcracker 2015

This girl has worked awfully hard the last few months!  Next week is crazy with four nights of Nutcracker rehearsals, two school performances on Friday, and then the show on Saturday and Sunday.

I'm officially done with my Christmas shopping but I think I need one more thing for Hunter.   Sunshine has been hard to shop for this year.  She's outgrowing her AG dolls which has been sad for both of us.

I'm resting my own knee today after having some pain the other day after my 5 miles.  The drawers in the bathroom are calling my name to clean out!  Somehow my makeup drawer is overflowing with samples and products that I no longer use.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Enough With The Knees

If we can go back to this past spring when Sunshine was a 5th grader at SuperAwesomeSchool. . .

The 5th graders participate in a very competitive kick ball tournament, complete with trophy and of course, bragging rights.

Really, the bragging rights are the biggest prize for the teachers.

So in early April Sunshine was practicing kickball during recess one day and somehow managed to twist her ankle.  She wound up spraining it and was told to get rest, meds, etc.  A couple weeks later her knee became swollen and the ER doctor seemed to feel that it had been injured at the time of the ankle sprain but somehow the pain went unnoticed.  Whatever.

We kept up with motrin to help with the swelling & fluid on the knee.  She wore a brace for the tournament (which they lost.) but still tried her best.

So, fast forward to late September.  She was pushed down during PE and skinned her shin.  No major damage, no need for an ER visit.  Until about three weeks ago when the same knee became inflamed and swollen again.  Her current doctor is very nice and had the knee x-rayed as it hadn't been back in the spring.  X-rays showed nothing but there could be soft tissue damage.  Over the weekend a spot grew on her knee that was red and warm to the touch.  And she spiked a fever.  So, it was back to the doctor that Monday.  After blood work and an examination,the diagnosis was Cellulitis, we left with more meds, a note for no PE or dancing for a few days and yes, wear the brace as there was some fluid on the knee.

Can the kid catch a break?

Last weekend she felt great---went to Pilates & Nutcracker Rehearsal and then to Saturday's class and rehearsal.  No pain & everything was fine.

Saturday night we had  plans with two sets of friends for Halloween.  One friend wouldn't be heading out to Trick or Treat until 7 as her middle daughter had a soccer game.  So, we went to another friend's house and were set to go to a couple houses with them before our 2nd stop of the evening.

Sunshine, her friend K, and two other kids went up to a house and were completely scared by a man in a mask that I've been told rivaled Twisty from American Horror Story (complete with missing jaw).  The kids were so freaked that they all tried to run away.  Sunshine tried to climb over a brick retaining wall on his walkway when she fell and cut her knee.  Bad.  Like the bleeding wouldn't stop and was running down her leg.

I called Hunter to come get us so we could bring our crying, hurt girl home.  We realized how deep the cut was and that we'd be ER bound.

My child doesn't do well with needles but was okay once her knee was numb.  I know I have decent upper body strength as I managed to hold her down while they applied the lidocaine.

So, 6 stitches later, we are again on orders of no PE or dancing for 7 days, so no ballet Monday or today.  She'll possibly go to stretch class on Friday but will definitely go to rehearsal on Saturday.  We've reached the point in the game where any missed rehearsals will result in dismissal from the show.  She's worked too hard through all this to not be in the show!

I've found myself googling the Patron Saint of  knees and have been saying prayers to St. Theresa of Avila in hopes that this kid's poor knee gets a break!!

Thursday, October 15, 2015

This Middle School Thing Is Cray Cray

So, Sunshine has been in middle school for 2 months now.  She's adjusted to the whole middle school thing really well---the changing classes she did for the last 2 years but having 6 different teachers in 2 different hallways with 4 minutes to get to a locker that may or may not open?  Mastered it.  She's made new friends and is still surrounded by some great friends and good kids (read: smart kids who don't start or get into trouble and who are overall sweet kids) from elementary school.  She's carrying two AP classes and over all has a 96 average in her classes.

And she's taking  ballet technique classes three times a week as well as one Pilates/Stretch class.  Oh, and Nutcracker rehearsals are in full swing.

So, yeah, we're proud of her.

Her Broadcast and Graphic Communications class is hosting a "Haunted Hallway" during the Halloween dance in a couple weeks and she and BFF are planning on dressing alike as haunted dolls--sort of like those twins from The Shining.

Things got crazy today though.  On the way home from school she told me that a boy in her Social Studies class asked her to the dance.  I'll not share his name but his nickname is "Rocky".  She said he's cute, smart, and is nice.




Yes, I realize kids do go to these things as friends but he's never been mentioned to us as a new friend, and he's not one of her old friends.



Just let that sink in because truthfully, I'm still in shock.

She turned him down and said she think she blushed when asked.  In true tween style, his friend (who was in her 3rd grade class) came over while she was sitting with her friends and did the asking.  We're all familiar with this MO.  It's how we skated "couples" at the roller rink when I was in 7th/8th grade.  You find your victim, boy of choice and tell your friend to go ask if they want to skate with you.  There's much gesturing and posing as your friend and said victim, boy point at you while you make sure you're posing in such a way that makes you irresistible but still faking like you don't know what's going on.  "That girl in the blue?"  "Yeah, the brunette in the blue".  "Yeah, I'll skate with her!"   You find out he goes to such and such school, skate to Bette Midler's "The Rose" or maybe "Babe" by Styx, thank one another for the skate, and most likely he'll come back during the next couples skate.  Or he might skate with you a while longer and hold your hand.

Back to Sunshine.

Rocky's friend (no, not Apollo Creed.  And not Paulie) approaches her.  Says Rocky wants to go to the dance with her.  She's shocked and for the first time in her life is speechless.  Her friends are squealing "SAY YES!!!!"  "SAY YOU'RE GOING WITH US!!!!"  "SAY NO!"  She said she finally told the friend that she was working the Haunted Hallway for Broadcasting but that she's not allowed to go out with boys.

And  she thinks she blushed.  Of course she did because she is her mother's daughter.

I sort of feel bad for ol' Rock.  Not because he's punching racks of beef in a slaughter house, but because he did get shot down.  Poor kid was probably talking to his dad or friends about how he'd like to go with her but wasn't brave enough to ask her himself. And maybe when he got home from school today they asked if she said yes.  And he has to say no.

So, as I'm nursing a glass of Fat Bastard Sauvignon Blanc, I'll raise my glass to Rocky.  Like his namesake he'll bounce back.  Adrienne will be waiting for him.  But she won't be my Sunshine!

Sunday, October 4, 2015

POOF! They Were Gone

Santa, The Tooth Fairy, The Easter Bunny, & our Elf On The Shelf. . . .gone.  The jig is up.

Yesterday we started our day with ballet at 9 am as we do every Saturday.  Sunshine had a great class and the Conservatory Director sought me out after class to let me know how much Sunshine has improved since last Spring when we made the decision to keep her in Level 3 rather than move her up.  Sunshine may or may not have blushed when she heard the compliment.

We came home and cleaned up as she didn't have Nutcracker rehearsal this week and headed to the Cotton Pickin' Fair which is one of our favorite Fall traditions.  Hunter doesn't enjoy it as much as we do so it was a girls thing.

We came home and watched some SEC football.  Sadly, Georgia lost to Alabama and Auburn won.  We actually like Auburn but have a friend who is such a rabid fan that we root against them to just irritate him.

After a couple hours of college ball, Sunshine had enough and asked to watch Doctor Who on Netflix.  As she watched the Season 8 Christmas episode she began asking about Santa and was he real.   Did Hunter & I buy presents and put them under the tree, unwrapped, and say they were from Santa.   I tried to deflect her questions by asking her "what do you think?".  Things escalated and she started saying "Tell me the truth.  Don't lie to me!".

I took a deep breath and decided that I wouldn't lie to her.  She's a 6th grader and there are a lot of kids in middle school who don't believe anymore and who would love nothing more to burst another kid's Santa bubble.  My big fear was that she would be embarrassed or made fun of.

So, I mustered up all the strength I could, looked her in the eye, and told her that no, there was no real person who magically hit up every chimney worldwide but it was us.  I told her that the spirit of Santa lives in all of our hearts and as parents there is no better feeling than watching the face of your child on Christmas morning when they saw what Santa had brought.

Tears were shed on both sides of the couch. I found myself questioning my choice over and over.  She was still a little sad when she went to bed.  It's a hard thing to swallow.

So, farewell Tooth Fairy and our pretty little tooth box.  I hope Sunshine has a little girl who will use it and enjoy its magic as she did.  Farewell Easter Bunny.  I think we will continue doing egg hunts as long as we are able, even if you didn't place the eggs.  And our Elf on the Shelf, Go-Go.  I think I will miss you and your cleverly written notes about the importance of listening to mom and dad, of how excited you are to travel by car to Virginia and Vermont for the holidays, now you wished Sunshine luck on various things, and how she would look for you in The Polar Express movie.

It's a new era in our house & our sweet tween girl is growing up.  While I look forward to it, a part of me is a little sad.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Just Me And The Retirees

Once school got out and I was officially "retired" from volunteering I had time do things that I enjoyed again and that were good for me.  Like daily walks.  Carving out time for yourself is a difficult thing to do whether you work full time, volunteer full time, etc.  There's always something to be done around the house, children to shuttle to dance class, homework, social obligations, on and on.

We're fortunate to have a beautiful 2 mile walking trail about half a mile from our house.  Parts of it are wooded and as you can see there's a beautiful lake.  

What I call the neck of the lake.  On a hot summer's day it's the worst stretch of the walk!
I used to take the dogs with me and do just the two miles but soon learned that I'd get a better time if I went alone and did a combination of walking/running.  Once it was full on summer and the brutal humidity that accompanies the summer heat that is known in SW Georgia the running went by the wayside and was replace with a super brisk walk.  

The trail is inhabited by many different kinds of creatures:  dragonflies and butterflies around the neck of the lake, birds obviously, various species of ducks, geese, Canada geese, herons, etc.  There have been rumors of foxes but I've yet to see one.  Thankfully. 

It's a good day if I see this little lady and her family

There's also a small family of deer that live in the wooded area where the lake becomes a stream.

I was a mess on the 6th anniversary of my father's passing and after spending the morning crying and missing my dad I decided that a walk would do me some good.  On my second lap I saw 4 deer in a clearing near the lake.  I slowed down as the first two ran back into the woods.  The third bounded away but the fourth stayed and stared at me.  My dad was a deer hunter and would go for drives in the evening to look for them in fields so he would know where to hunt the following day.  In his later years when he wasn't able to hunt, he enjoyed just going out looking for them.  Seeing the deer that day brought me peace and I took it as a sign that my dad was with me.  I've seen the deer a few times since then and it always lifts my spirit to see them.

As summer progressed. . . .and my stamina, I found myself doing two laps (four miles).  Some days my time was better than others but the fact remained that I was out there moving, not sitting on the couch basking in the AC.

Four soon turned to five and I'm averaging 25-30 miles a week.

Over the summer we slept in most mornings so I'd walk anywhere from 11 am 'til 1 pm.  We don't hit our really high temps until mid to late afternoon so while it was hot and humid, it wasn't completely unbearable.

Now that school is back in session and we're car pooling with friends I'm able to get out between 8:30 am and 9 am.  The temperatures are better but lately the humidity has been horrific in the early mornings.  Last week I was walking around 9 am.  The temperature was 78 and the humidity was 94%.  Needless to say, I was a puddle!

Walking earlier also means that I see the same group of people most mornings.  There are two older ladies who walk their dogs.  The little Yorkie?  Not friendly.  Not mean but just indifferent.  She did warm up to me on Friday a bit.  The pit mix?  Always up for kisses and ear scratches.  There's an older man who walks his grey faced lab who has obviously been a family member for years.  She can't make it up into the car herself so he has a little step stool for her.  There's a couple that is very friendly but the wife needs to lay off the Elizabeth Arden Red Door for walks.  Occasionally I'll see some parents from Sunshine's elementary school, but mostly it's me, a couple women who are a little younger than me, and the retirees.

Sunshine is back in full swing with ballet as well school.  This year she's dancing 4 days a week (3 technique classes and a Pilates/stretch class).  One of the classes is on Saturday morning which has been hard as it's at 9 am.  We enjoy sleeping in on weekends in our house so taking one away has been an adjustment.  It seemed to make sense when I was enrolling her as Nutcracker rehearsals will start in a couple weeks so I figured she'd be there already, she'd be warmed up from class and could just roll into rehearsal rather than go in cold.

The first Saturday class I sat with some of the other parents and read and chit chatted.  Yesterday I got the bright idea to walk the historic district.   There are beautiful ante-bellum homes along lower Broadway as well as on 1st avenue.  After dodging shoppers from the Farmer's Market for a block I found myself on a beautiful tree lined street with bricked roads and majestic homes.  My five mile path worked out well as I had my shortest mile splits that I've had in a while.  Maybe walking on pavement was less treacherous than tree roots/rocks and stopping to pet people's dogs while walking my usual path?

A friend's husband asked when I'm doing my first race and I laughed "Never".  I'm just enjoying doing something for myself that is healthy for my body and my mind.  I've run races before.  It's fun and exciting but at this point, the only person I'm competing with is myself.

Last week I did a 6 mile walk on one day.  It wasn't bad but I was nursing a sore foot so my time was off and I'd originally mapped my course for 5 miles (doubled up around the bridges over the stream, doubled up the drive off the street to the turn around, etc).  Maybe my September goal will be 6 miles/walk.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Funny Thing About Stress

is that when it's gone, you realize just how poorly you felt.

I've enjoyed my time as a parent volunteer.  A lot.  But for the past year my health has paid a very high price.  I was under a good bit of stress on a daily basis.  

If it wasn't the seemingly never ending stream of colds, sore throats or stomach issues it was the anxiety.

And the anxiety was bad.  Like to the point where I would head into the bathroom to brush my teeth after breakfast and would wind up getting sick.  Ironically, it was only happening on days I needed to be at school.

And it wasn't just me getting sick.  My two partners in crime (our Treasurer and Secretary) were sick consistently as well.  Same symptoms.  We'd text one another in the afternoons to make sure someone else was coming into school so we could either walk in together or leave together.

Parents would comment on how they were so grateful for the long hours we put in, and while it was nice it was frustrating.  They'd be posting their craft projects, daily workouts or various food creations on Facebook yet they never had time to come in and help out.

Let me tell you, if you can spend an hour working out, you can spend an hour at Book Fair, or you can spend 30 minutes helping to sort pictures from a dance.  "I'm so  busy"  "I work" or "I never know my schedule" were common excuses.

I knew that once BOGO Book Fair came around in April that the end would be in sight.  Granted, it would be a long four weeks (BOGO, Field Day,  Teacher Appreciation Week, AR Celebration Week, Final House Celebration, 5th grade overnight trip and then 5th Grade Graduation Week) but it was there.

Our events went off without a hitch and I had a couple days off in there.  And my mom came down for Sunshine's graduation which was hectic and wonderful all at the same time.

The last day of school it hit me.  It was OVER.  My schedule was about to go from crazy to vacation-lazy.  Sleeping in, no responsibilities, no need to be somewhere, no parents asking me about their 3rd grader's end of the year party--which by the way, I knew NOTHING about.  HINT:  Ask the teacher.

So, as the weight of the PTO was lifted off my shoulders, so was the stress.  I no longer find myself filled with dread when I need to go somewhere. I removed myself as an admin on the PTO's Facebook page.  My contact info is no longer on the school's website.    In the immortal words of Dobby:
Laurie is a free elf!  Laurie has no master!

I've had several people already ask if I'm going to head up the PTO at Sunshine's new school and the answer is no.  I may help out here or there but I'm not heading anything, running anything, chairing anything.   I'll help out at ballet and the pool but it's ending there.  I'm sick of being sick.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

The Yearbook Story

Usually stories start at the beginning, I'm starting with this story from the last week of school.

Our PTO has a Facebook group as it's a great way to get info out to parents, answer questions, etc.  Back in April we announced that yearbooks had arrived and would go home to those students who had prepaid.  We had a membership option at the beginning of the year where parents could pay for everything in advance:  yearbooks, blue pops, t shirts, membership, Fall Festival Wristbands, etc.  We kept track with the use of a highlighter on several different rosters.

So, this mom who has had issues all year---too many kids are sick in her kids' class & why is this???? Her kids' Square One art project was messed up.  Our Treasurer who also handled Square One offered to help.  Another mom posts on FB that Treasurer was AWESOME in helping her fix the Sq1 problem.  Yearbook mom's reply?  "She does her best."

Um, excuse me?  Our Treasurer works a 40 hour a week job.  Granted, she works from home so she does have flexibility but those hours she's at school helping?  Take away from her work time so it's not uncommon for her to be up at 11 pm finishing her work day.

"She does her best" became our catch phrase for a few weeks.  Don't give us fodder as we will run with it and beat it like a dead horse.

So the final week of school this mom posts that she KNOWS she ordered a yearbook and PREPAID but her twins haven't received their one copy yet.  I send her a FB message apologizing, explaining our tracking method and tell her that it would have been better if she'd contacted us sooner than the last week of school.

She says
They are only supposed to get one year book. I didn't know when y'all gave them out so I didn't know they were missing one until they brought home a note Friday saying when autograph day was for them. I thought when we made the purchase we wouldn't need to remind anyone to get it to them.

Okay, we'd only been advertising yearbooks for a MONTH when she says this to me. And really, you didn't think you would need to remind anyone???? Um, excuse me?

And of course, this is over a weekend because apparently I really do live at school and can check everything as it happens. I tell her I'll check the membership forms the next morning after Sunshine's 5th grade breakfast because darn it, there will be one week where my child's activities come before anyone else's. We've been selfless for too long!

OH! BTW, she is a 4th grade parent. At our school it's tradition that the 4th grade parents do the work for 5th grade activities. Breakfast, shop for cook outs, help with graduation/reception. Has she offered? Heck no!!!

So I pull her membership form and guess what? No yearbook has been paid for. I sort through the individual yearbook forms & no yearbook for her kids.

I'm not even going to lie---I snapped a pic of that form & texted it to her after doing the crazy happy dance around the PTO room. My reply that went along was almost snarky:

I attached a picture of your form to this text. As you can see you did not purchase your books. If you would like to do so so the twins can have it autographed on Friday please send in $45 and we will get it to them when we're here this week.

She countered with how she was positive her husband had paid for one & that she would check her receipts.

I checked with the teacher over the next three days and guess what---no money was ever sent for the yearbook.

Needless to say, she still hasn't replied to me.

I get that it's frustrating to think you've taken care of something when you haven't. But what I don't get is the consistent rudeness. Our volunteers are at that school helping EVERYONE's kids. Believe me when I say that our kids aren't getting special treatment---if anything they're judged harder because of the parents' involvement. Maybe a free t shirt here and there or something but the fact of the matter is that everyone else's kids are the ones who benefit.

Moral of the story? Be nice to people who can help you. Especially when they're volunteers.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Hey You!

I think we know each other.  From a long time ago when I had time to myself.  Before I got sucked into the vortex that is known as volunteering as a career.

So. . .

Sunshine graduated from 5th grade at SuperAwesomeSchool this past Tuesday.  My mom flew down from Vermont to celebrate with us which was great.  Sunshine received Principal's List (all A's and good behavior), was the #3 reader in the school (in all fairness, #1 & 2 participated in Reading Bowl competition and read more books.  Sunshine did the Nutcracker. ) and participated in Broadcast Club which she loved.   She  has been recommended for AP Math next year in middle school.  We couldn't be more proud of her!

Ballet has become our obsession.  She danced in the Inaugural Spring Gala with the ballet and had a blast.  She'll continue to dance twice a week over the summer as well as go to 2 Science camps at the local university.

Hunter got "voluntold" that he would be Vice President at the pool we join each summer.  He has put in SO MUCH work over the last month trying to get the pool ready for opening tomorrow.  I told him that he's being groomed for President next summer.

My volunteer career is over, for the most part.  I've been asked to handle a project for the Nutcracker in December by the ballet and I'm going to do it.  The moms who do the bulk of the volunteering are normal (believe me, you never think "are they normal? Do I like them?" until you start volunteering with an organization) and I enjoy their company.  Plus, I'm not running the whole shebang.  That's major right now.

I may or may not help with a couple things at Sunshine's new school.  We'll see if any requests come home.  But, I will NOT run their PTO.

Super Bookatarian and I had our final post-Book Fair margarita/wings party this past week.  Five years of a wonderful partnership has come to an end.  I'll miss seeing her every day but time marches on.  Plus, we'll still get together to knit, drink coffee/tea, etc every now and then.  She was one of the reasons why Sunshine wound up at SuperAwesomeSchool in the first place!

One thing she and I talked about over cocktails was my blog and that she missed reading my posts.  Thank you, K!!  I've missed blogging knowing that not a lot of people in my real life don't read this so I could always share things that I couldn't on Facebook for fear of people being butt hurt.

Butt hurt stinks.

So, now that my tenure on the PTO board at SuperAwesomeSchool is over I feel that I can finally get some things off my chest.   The funny stories, the sad stories & the plain stupid things that parents do because your time as a volunteer is never as important as theirs.

Or because they just plain suck.

I'll let you decide.