6 Nov

My relationship with my parental grandmother was complicated. She was a traditional Southern woman who had a lot of ideas about duty. She had very high standards and wasn’t especially inclined to praise. She wasn’t a warm woman, the kind of grandmother who you snuggle with and share secrets with. In fact, I used to say she’d outlive us all, out of spite.

As it turns out, that’s not true. She passed away this morning.

It wasn’t entirely unexpected, as she’d been in declining health for the last couple of months, but it still was a shock. I am trying to remind myself that she’s no longer in pain, and am focusing on supporting my father as he and his siblings tackle all the logistics that come “after.” I’m also trying desperately to not think about my own parents’ mortality (and, for the record, I am utterly failing).

Rest in peace, Grandmother.

Halloween 2016

2 Nov

Michaela is a big fan of the PBS show “Odd Squad.” It’s about a team of kid agents who use math to solve odd things that happen around their town.

When we first asked Michaela what she wanted to be for Halloween, she said Olaf. I thought she meant the character from “Frozen,” but she clarified she meant the Olaf from “Odd Squad.” (All of the characters on the show have names that start with O.)

The kid who plays Olaf? Well, he is a chubby Latino boy. I’m all for imagination, but… There’s actually a character on the show who is a cute little brown girl with dark eyes and dark hair who loves purple. Kind of like someone else I know and love.

I suggested maybe she could be “Ms. O” instead and Michaela said sure. Mike was in charge of her costume, which is a navy blue skirt suit plus purple Converse Chuck Taylors. Ms. O wears a purple shirt under the suit and tops it off with a purple necklace and a shield. Mike was successful in finding a navy blue suit jacket at a thrift store (way too big — it actually fits me, but he temporarily altered it for Halloween and now it’s mine). He found a skirt on Amazon. He’d planned for her to wear a pink pair of Chuck Taylors, but the ones we have are still too big for Michaela, so she wore her Twinkle Toes. I got her a $3 badge from Big Lots, put her hair in a bun, and voila, we were done.

Ms. O is very serious, as you would be if you were in charge of a squad of agents. She says thinks like, “Olive! Otto! In my office… NOW!” It’s kind of like this:

Except much more severe.

Hope you had a Happy Halloween!

Make Good Choices

29 Oct

Michaela’s teacher gives kids a hand stamp at the end of the day if they were good all day. As I’ve noted before, Michaela has already been “caught being good” and, being the Type A rule follower that she is (I don’t know where she gets that. Ahem.), she always gets a stamp. Always. Every. Single. Day.

Today while we were driving, I asked her “what’s your secret for always getting a stamp?” She said, “It’s not a secret!” Then she went on to say:

I just make good choices.

Which, to me, shows a lot of depth and thoughtfulness. I was impressed.

She followed it up with, “people make bad choices if they’re mad, or scared, or stressed,” causing me to almost run off the road. What kind of amazing, insightful kid am I raising?!?

“Where did you learn that,” I asked?

“It’s from the song. ‘Fixer Upper,’ from ‘Frozen.'”

Ah, I see. Turns out she’s less of a Kid Whisperer and more of a rapt consumer of media. Fair enough.

I Love Our ‘Hood!

27 Sep

Tonight was the Super Blood Moon Eclipse. Don’t ask me about all the technical details, but the moon was low, huge, red, and partially obscured– at least when I saw it.

I was in the house when Mike came in and asked if Michaela and I wanted to look at the moon through our neighbor’s telescope. We said yes and headed outside, only to find he’d set up his two telescopes in our front driveway. We each took a turn looking and while we were doing that, some neighbors walked by. They came over to look, too. Then some more neighbors came, and more, and more, and before I knew it, we had 24 people hanging out in our driveway, taking turns looking at the moon, chatting, and having a fun time. I can’t help but compare it to our old neighborhood, where that would never have happened. I feel so happy and lucky to live where we do!


27 Sep

“Hangry” is everywhere, thanks to social media. I’ll admit, I’m someone who gets grumpy when I’m hungry. But what I’ve realized lately, in the middle of a heat wave that has stretched for weeks, is that I also get “hangry” when I’m hot. When my body temperature overheats, so does my temper. Am I the only one?

Caught Being Good

27 Sep

Michaela’s school held back-to-school night the second week of school. It was a great chance to visit the classroom, see some of the work the kids did during the first week and a half of school, hear about their routines, and have questions answered by the teacher.

One of the routines in the class is that the kids get a hand stamp at the end of the day if they had a good day. So far, Michaela’s come home with a stamp every day, but I know that’s not the case for every kid. In fact, one day Michaela breathlessly related that one boy in class acted up just before it was time to go home, after the stamps had been applied, and the teacher made him go wash his stamp off. Drama in K1!

At back-to-school night, I asked Michaela’s teacher how she was going, and the teacher related this story:

One kid, while his stamp was still wet, pressed his hand against the door, leaving an ink mark on the door. The teacher say it and asked the class who did it. No one ‘fessed up. The teacher put out a small dish of water and a sponge and said she’s turn her back and whoever did it should go clean off the door. No one moved until Michaela said, “I didn’t do it, but I’ll clean up the door.” She got up and started scrubbing the ink off the door. Halfway through, the culprit got up to help and together, they got it all cleaned up.

I was SO PROUD. I really feel like my number one job as a parent is to raise a conscientious citizen who takes care of herself and others, and that particular story makes me think Mike and I are doing a darn good job.


Not impressed

14 Sep

I wrote before about the lunches I packed for Michaela’s first week of school. Well last night I decided to do something spectacular. We had leftover waffles from breakfast (homemade, from scratch, in our waffle iron) so I made Michaela a peanut butter and jelly sandwich on waffles! She took it for lunch today so I asked her, when I got home from work, “how was your lunch?!?!”

Her response? “It was okay.”

It was okay. Seriously? Most kids would love that sort of thing!

“Michaela,” I said, “On a scale of 1 to 10, where 10 is delicious and 1 is yucky, how would you rate the sandwich?”

Her response? “A five.”

not impressed

As the kids say these days, FFS.

First Week Lunches

10 Sep

I have no idea what I ate for lunch every day in elementary school. I’m pretty sure it was a sandwich, crackers, and a cookie, plus a carton of milk. Michaela’s school lunch menus are much more ambitious. Here’s a look at her first week’s lunches:

  • Tuesday– Salami slices, crackers, string cheese, corn kernels, fruit salad (strawberries, kiwi, watermelon, nectarines)
  • Wednesday– Cheese quesadilla on corn tortilla, pineapple chunks, grapes, corn kernels
  • Thursday– Spicy grilled shrimp, lemon parsley rice, cucumber slices
  • Friday– Spinach and cheese-filled ravioli, tomato slices, kiwi slices

We also send her with a snack eaten each morning at 10:15; this week snack has generally been a fruit (banana or watermelon chunks) and Veggie Straws.

First Day of Kinder

8 Sep

Michaela was off this morning to her first day of kindergarten. She’s officially a “hound.”

The alarm went off at 6:20 a.m. — the first time Mike has set a regular alarm in 6 years. Michaela was still sleepy, but in a good mood, excited for her first day at her new school. We got up, had a special breakfast of chocolate chip pumpkin muffins with Greek yogurt (with honey and vanilla stirred in). Michaela showered, Mike brushed her hair, I helped her put on the outfit she’d picked out. Before we knew it, it was 7:30 and we needed to get on the road.

Of course we had to snap some first day of school pictures first.

2015-09-08 07.32.40

2015-09-08 07.33.08

Then we set off walking the two blocks to school.

2015-09-08 07.35.52

We snapped a few more pix when we got to school, including this one outside Michaela’s classroom.

2015-09-08 07.58.05

We all lined up on the blacktop and eventually walked with our kinders into their classroom. The kids all sat on the rug waiting for instructions. Michaela’s friend from preschool sat next to her, which was very sweet.

2015-09-08 08.00.37

The teacher had all the kids’ names written on cards. When she pulled a card and the kid recognized his/her name, he/she was to get up from the rug, say goodbye to the parents, and then go sit on the rug again. Most importantly, the parents were to leave. (So really, this was an activity to get rid of us grown ups.)

Would you believe that Michaela’s was the first name called? She got up, made her way over to Mike and gave him a hug. Then she gave me a hug. I had been doing really well up until that point, but when she looked up at me with a “I’m on the verge of tears” expression on her face, I cried a bit. I had my sunglasses on, so I think it was okay. At any rate, I said goodbye, she walked back over to the rug, and next thing I knew, Mike and I were standing outside the classroom, holding a sheet titled “Tips for the Beginning of the Year.”

I joined some other moms for bagels and Mike headed home. Now the countdown is on until 2:15, when we pick her up and hear all about Michaela’s first day of kindergarten!

First Day Photos

7 Sep

Tomorrow is Michaela’s first day of kindergarten. We’ve done our back-to-school shopping, practiced walking to school, attended almost a full day of kinder stuff, and more. This afternoon, I got out our white board and wrote “First Day of Kindergarten” and the date, so Michaela can hold it up for our traditional first day of school photo. You know, the one that every yuppie parent takes and posts on Facebook and Instagram? The one that now seems almost like an expectation, at least among certain people (like my peers)?

That got me thinking. I don’t think my parents took a picture of me on the first day of school… EVER. I’m not sure if it’s always been something people do and my parents just didn’t do it (which wouldn’t be out of the question) or if it is a new, social media phenomenon. I guess it doesn’t matter, but it’s kind of an interesting question. Did you parents take first day of school pictures of you?

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