Thursday, March 31, 2011

An Embarrassing Confession

I have a confession to make.  After years of claiming that we would never be the sort of parents who over-schedule their poor children, after years of saying that we would never be the type of parents who force child robots from one program to another, killing their imagination and ability to appreciate free time in the process, Gordy and I find ourselves the parents of three children with a combined 15 activities a week.  Sigh.  We've really done it this time.

Gordy and I didn't mean for our children to be All Work and No Play.  Spring is always tricky because while hockey is dying a slow, painful death, lacrosse is enjoying a rebirth like a phoenix rising from the flame.  Add this to the beginning of soccer and swimming lessons (which are only offered in the spring) and rehearsals for the spring ballet performance and stir in all the year-round things like tennis, yoga, ballet lessons and you suddenly realize that there isn't time in the day to get everything done and the word "play time" is a fond memory of a childhood lost behind.

Can you tell that I've had a bad week?

Our current weekend schedule looks something like this:

Friday Evening:  hockey game, lacrosse practice
Saturday morning:  swimming lessons, soccer practice, hockey game
Saturday afternoon:  lacrosse practices / games
Sunday:  lacrosse, indoor soccer, hockey

I won't tell you about the week because I'm too embarrassed.  You'll just have to trust me when I tell you that I can barely remember what Gordy looks like.  If it makes anyone feel better, as coach of two different lacrosse teams and one hockey team, Gordy is over-scheduled as well. 

Luckily for us, this crazy schedule will slow down.  Hockey, believe it or not, ends;  the ballet performance happens and then is no more;  indoor soccer only overlaps with outdoor soccer once or twice.  Swim lessons only last four weeks.  Personally, I can't wait. 

Because of the tremendous routine of rush-drop off - rush - pick up - rush- make dinner -collapse, I haven't had as much time to take pictures and enjoy the daily cuteness of my children.  Which means that this blog is suffering greatly.  I could take a picture of every activity over the weekend so you can laugh at our stupidity and judge us for our over-scheduling and I'm certainly not above that.  But today, I will show you some pictures from Josie's last tennis lesson. 

Josie takes tennis once a week at an indoor facility that is amazing.  This particular lesson didn't include much racket work (unusually) but I did get some cute shots of her through the glass partition and netting. 








And as I rush off to yet another hockey game, dragging my two girls and their Bag of Amusement and Activities with me, feel free to mock me endlessly and judge me like crazy.  I'm judging myself.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Haircuts

Georgia and Josie have been in desperate need of haircuts for weeks now.  Our usual hair cutter went on maternity leave (perhaps permanent) and I have been ignoring the problem in hopes that their hair might just stop growing on its own accord or perhaps haircutting elves might visit during the night and the girls would wake one morning to find brand new bobs on their heads and pointy shoes at their bedside.  Alas.

I am not a fan of Supercuts or Hair Cuttery for girls.  Boys with buzz cuts can go just about anywhere, but girls with iron-straight hair need a little more expertise.  The place where I get MY haircut shuns children, so I chose a newish salon and hoped for the best.  (unshun!  hee hee)


The Sisters Grim

I don't normally call my children grim, a title usually reserved for my own sisters and I when we pose together, but really.  Yuck.  If you need further proof, here's a close up:


Georgia went first:


As you can see, her hair really needed a good two-three inches cut off.

While Georgia had her first beauty-parlor shampoo, Josie tried out another chair to get an idea of what her turn would feel like:


Josie would like you all to know that she is certain that spa treatments would suit her just fine.


Voila!  Beautiful, shorter hair - this time with tiny layers to help with the detangling in the morning.

Next it was Josie's turn.

Here she is getting the actual shampoo:


And here she is with her new, shorter bob:


Josie often likes to go short in the summer and was having a hard time trying to decide if she wanted to cut her hair short again this year.  Here is a photo of her spring haircut last year:



I think Josie's hair looks wonderful at this length and I think Josie would have gone for a shorter cut again if Georgia hadn't been there making a face every time the word "short" came up in conversation. 

Six years old and already succumbing to peer pressure.  sigh.

Monday, March 28, 2011

The Sneak Preview


Rehearsals have begun for the annual spring ballet performance.  Last week, the girls got to bring their costumes home.  Josie and Georgia gave us a sneak preview of what they will look like on the big day.



Josie perfected her ballet poses.


Georgia demonstrated her ballet arms:



And Henry acted like a goof-ball:


Nothing new here!

It's working!


We may be back in business!  Check back in this morning.... I'm hoping that the blog will be up and running again soon.  Blogspot was having technical problems yesterday and no one could upload pictures.  If this "post" works, it means they fixed the problem.  If so, I'll put the real entry up as soon as I can get it written!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Blogging Problems

Hello everyone,

Happy Sunday.  I'm having blogger problems and nothing I post has any of the attached photos.  Blogger help hasn't really provided any help, so I'm stuck waiting it out and hoping it corrects itself.  Please keep checking back!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

The Norman Solution

Our public school system is trying to phase-in full day kindergarten.   Two years ago, the school board decided to offer a full-day program to families who wanted a longer day option and who were willing to pay over a thousand dollars to do so.  Yes, you read that correctly.  Our public school system has very little money and the money it does have is desperately needed to cover teacher's salaries, school maintenance costs and major student over-crowding.  And that's not even mentioning the fact that our school buildings are extremely old and most need to be knocked down and rebuilt. 

For all those parents who needed extra childcare or were worried about their children falling behind in academic work compared to our full-day kindergarten neighbors, the school board offered a solution:  pay for the longer day yourself.  To make sure that the children who were staying a longer day didn't have an advantage over the children staying only a half-day, the school board declared that the teachers could not teach anything new during the afternoon hours.  Instead, the full-day kindergarten students eat lunch, have a long recess followed by a rest and then they do some worksheets that review lessons learned in the morning. 

This sounded crazy to me.  Henry and Georgia did half-day kindergarten and both were tired and cranky after the four hours were over.  Neither one of them has fallen behind academically and I've never really understood why kindergartners need to be at school for so long.  Besides, I saw that extra afternoon time as a bonus two hours where I'd be able to get all of Josie's activities over with before I had to pick up the older two and begin driving them to all THEIR activities.  I'm still not certain how I'm going to get three children to three separate activities every afternoon next year. 

I am definitely in the minority.  At our school, Josie is one of only 7 children who leave before lunch.  There are so few half-day students, that the school board was forced to put them all together in the same class.  Some of the other elementary schools have more 1/2 day children - I know, because Josie plays tennis with many of them one day a week, while her full-day peers are still in school.  Deciding to be in the half-day program was one of our better decisions - and not just because of the great activities she gets to be a part of before school even lets out.   

Josie, it turns out, is EXHAUSTED by noon.  I've learned to bring a small snack with me in the car to distract her as we drive home.  Sometimes, it's all she can do to get out the car, take off her shoes and coat and crawl into the kitchen.  I don't know if it's from the physical activities or just the mental ones, but kindergarten wears Josie out.

Last week, we had a particularly bad day.  Josie was too cranky to tell me what she wanted for lunch and a trip to the pantry to look at options almost killed her.  I found her lying on the floor in a fit.  I tried reasoning with her, but it was no use.  I had to resort to Plan B:  The Norman Solution.

When I was little, my family had a cairn terrier named Norman, who used to like to go into the first floor powder room on hot days and cool off by lying against the cold porcelain toilet.  He liked it so much that he often refused to come out until my mother would make a trail of raisins on the floor which he would follow - Hansel and Gretel-style - out the door. 

I didn't have any raisins, so I used Goldfish:


It worked!  Slowly, the Josie began eating and following the trail of goldfish....


As she ate, her blood sugar was raised and her mood began to improve:


What a huge relief.

Next year, Josie will be in first grade and there's no half-day option.  Perhaps I should give her teacher a supply of goldfish in case things get bad!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Lacrosse

Even though it doesn't quite feel like spring yet, it must be....  afterall, lacrosse has started.

I was able to bring Georgia to her lacrosse practice this week and take some pictures  - again, through plexiglass.  I had to turn my flash off, so I got some great photos of her with her teammates nicely blurred in the background. 




This next photo was definitely my favorite:


What an action shot!

When we got home, we found that Henry and Gordy had set up a new lacrosse net on our driveway and were practicing.  Henry is on two lacrosse teams this year and he wants to be prepared.


Henry plays goalie for one team and attack on the other.



Georgia waited patiently for her turn to shoot.  And no, it was not warm enough for these bare legs.



Town soccer starts in a few weeks for Georgia and Josie and all three children are taking swimming again at a near-by university.  It's going to be a busy, but exciting spring.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

The State Tournament


On Friday evening, the family piled into the car and drove a half-hour away to what is perhaps the cruddiest ice rink in the the nation.  Our mission (besides avoiding all offending rink surfaces) was to watch Henry and his team play game one of the state tournament.  I brought my camera thinking I might get some great action shots, but the grime-covered plexiglass and the filthy netting made picture taking impossible.


It was not their best game.  Henry's team played hard but there was one three-minute moment when everything seemed to go wrong and the other team got four goals in a row.  It was extremely distressing.


Don't worry, Georgia didn't even notice the tension or the anxiety.  She spent the entire game engrossed in her book (11 Birthdays) and did not look up until we started leaving the rink. 

Our team lost the game 5-1.  They still had two more games to play in the tournament, though, so we remained optimistic. 

On Saturday morning, Gordy gave a master class in stick taping for all those who were interested:


Only Henry showed up.



Henry has helped tape a stick before, but he's never one to skip a refresher course.


The next two games were exciting.  Henry's team won the Saturday afternoon game 5-1.  Henry got one of those five goals, which was fantastic.  Sadly, our team lost the Saturday evening game 5-2 and that meant the end of the tournament for us.  Henry was responsible for one of those two goals, though, so that was a bright spot. 

The season is still not over either;  there's a whole month left to go.  Lucky us!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Introducing.... Dorothy


Please let me introduce to you, my new niece, Dorothy!  (seen here with her mother) 
Elizabeth drove to my parents house on Friday and picked up her new daughter from the breeder on Saturday.  By Sunday, I had also made the trek up north.  After all, it's not every day that you get to meet such a pretty little lady.


Dorothy is an Olde English Bulldogge -- and no, I'm not kidding.  That's actually how they spell it. 

I keep wondering if Elizabeth will take her to any shoppes in Philadelphia.


Dorothy is as adorable in person as she is in these pictures.  I couldn't believe how affectionate she was.  Within three minutes of my arrival, Dorothy had parked herself on my lap and was giving me kisses.


I don't know if this is a trait of all olde english bulldogges, but Dorothy has these unbelievable eyes - they are green and hazel-ish.


An Aunt and her Niece. 

When she is older, I will be the fun aunt who gives her treats when her mother is not looking.


Like all puppies, Dorothy's favorite activity is chewing.


Although that is perhaps tied with napping.


We left Dorothy with her Grandfather and went for a walk.

What's a trip to Granny's state without a trip to the waterfront?


Oh.  Beautiful.  Wish You Were Here


After the walk, it was time for me to say good-bye.  It's a three hour drive to my parent's house and I wanted to get home before the sun went down.  I'm almost 40, after all, and my night-time driving skills aren't the best.


Dorothy is at her permanent home now.  She is learning how to do her business on busy sidewalks and how to interact with city folks.  Once she's mastered these skills, she will be able to try her first cheesesteak and learn to love the iggles.  The next time I see her, she will be huge!
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