Friday, February 21, 2014
With a road-closing winter storm leaving a couple inches of ice followed by a foot of snow on our driveway and three runny noses trapped in our house, I was not the only one who was excited about chicken noodle soup with cheese-filled dumplings.
Friday, February 7, 2014
Despite the nearly constant barrage of sub zero temperatures this winter, Sam has managed to ski most Thursdays while I sit in the heated car and chat with other moms or run to Hyvee to pick up groceries for dinner. And on the night they tackled the big hill I told him he'd have to teach me how to do that. I've never had a lesson. I've never learned the tricks to staying upright while soaring down the steep hills. So during one of the few sunny Saturdays in January in which the temperatures actually climbed in to the double digits above zero for a few hours, we laced up our skis and hit the slopes in our backyard. Sam is learning to ski without poles, so I left mine in the snow and made circles around the yard. And while Eva got in on the action trudging through the deep snow, Sam screamed at me to "Bend your knees! Just bend your knees, Mommy! It's easy."
Apparently when the hills get steep you just need to lower your center of gravity and focus and let go of any fear of falling. The things our children teach us.
Friday, January 24, 2014
I fondly remember Sam helping me paint the master bath when he was around Eva's age. So as the week of time between the sheet-rocking and wood trim installation in our basement grew quickly to a close and I still hadn't gotten the painting done, I thought painting with the kids might be fun. After all the floor was unfinished and covered with paper and drywall mud, and there was no woodwork to avoid or tape off. What a great chance for the kids to "help" with painting.
Sam stripped off his school clothes and put on TT's old Habitat for Humanity Women Build t-shirt, and Eva threw on a gray Obama t-shirt over her pj's, and we handed them each a small roller and set them loose without instruction. I quickly realized that if we were going to have enough paint to finish the whole room, they needed some instruction... even if a 3-year-old doesn't really follow instruction. I showed them how to roll only on the top part of the paint tray and how to make sure they rolled all the paint into the wall without leaving long drips and thick lines. Sam, for the most part, did pretty good (with the exception of whining that he really wanted a big roller like Mommy's rather than the little roller I'd tried to pawn off on him), but Eva glopped paint everywhere and stomped around kicking up drywall mud dust and within ten minutes I was ready for them to be done helping. Eva wasn't, of course. And I had one of those parental challenge moments in which I needed to decide to be the parental authority rather than letting her have her way. She was allowed to paint for 5 more minutes, then we set down the rollers and stripped off the t-shirts and spent 10 minutes scrubbing paint off fingernails and toenails and earlobes and hair.
Thankfully I had other adult help so a ten-minute break didn't slow us down too much and the room got painted... with only about 15 interruptions because they wanted snacks or had to go potty or had fallen down the stairs. Hey - we got an entire room painted in an evening and no children were hurt in the process, so I think we did damn good.
Friday, January 17, 2014
One of Eva's favorite toys is the Hex Bug maze and the little battery powered bugs that seem so real that you forget they're not actually alive. Her favorite is the red glow-in-the-dark bug which she calls Buddy. She sits on the floor and opens and closes the orange gates, trapping him and then setting him free over and over again.
"You want to go in there, Buddy?"
"You can't go in there, Buddy."
"How about over here, Buddy?"
Thursday, January 16, 2014
Eva is sitting on the toilet seat after racing down the hallway ahead of me and yelling "Come quick, Come quick. Come potty with me!" She is perfectly capable of going potty all by herself, and she has crawled up on to the seat and moved her pink Dora underwear to her ankles. I stand in the doorway and take in the view of the squares of toilet paper littered next to the sink basin and the dust balls growing in the corner behind the toilet, and she points to her purple shirt. "I put this on at Jamie's today ALL BY MYSELF," she says. "And these pink pants and these pink undies." She raises both arms in full exclamation and pumps them up and down in her signature style as she says "All by myself!"
Sometimes three can be exasperating as they insist over and over again on doing things themselves, things you know they can't do, things you know they will get frustrated attempting before a meltdown ensues. You try to save them (and yourself) from the frustration (and the delays) by doing things for them, and you can only take deep breaths and be patient and allow them to try. But when they master a skill and declare it to you with such pride and joy, it's hard not to love a three-year-old.
I spend a lot of time complaining to my friends about three, but it's really not all bad. After all, Eva can now get herself completely dressed in the morning. Who cares if she insists on red corduroy pants with her purple striped sweater and brown socks? And who cares if she completely destroys the neatly folded stack of pants in her closet and leaves a trail of purple and pink from her bedroom all the way to the bathroom? She did it all by herself.
Wednesday, January 15, 2014
Since the moment Sam's fall soccer league ended, he's been asking when soccer would start again, so when we got the much-anticipated email about an upcoming winter indoor soccer camp, we signed up immediately. And last Sunday we dug out the shin guards and dusted off sam's blue size 3 soccer ball and headed to SMU's Gostomski Fieldhouse.
Before SMU's men's soccer coach Pete Watkins sent our children off into their individual age groups behind the netted courts and parents settled around outside on the soft clay-colored indoor track, Coach welcomed us all and told us that there were 80 kids signed up for the program. Sam was assigned to Coach Joe and he hiked up his jeans and followed a tall skinny college kid back behind the hanging tarp that divided the courts. Eva sat on the ground between my knees filling in colored patterns on her nabi while Coach Watkins thanked us all for coming and said that this kind of turnout for a town this size is amazing. And he's right. We owe that kind of interest and attendance to a small group of engaged and supportive parents and community members that started and grew the Winona Euro Football Club.
It was Sam's first time playing soccer indoors, but he loved the footskills instruction and the focus on teamwork and the back and forth rounds of Red Light Green Light. And I loved once again watching my son enjoy running and kicking and making friends and gaining confidence in himself. Just a few short months before he'll get to lace up his cleats and get out on the grass and start spring soccer. And in the mean time, he's got a great local program to satisfy his appetite for the sport he now loves to play.
Thursday, January 9, 2014
Just as we saw the last of the above zero temps before The Polar Vortex moved in, Sammy bundled up in snowpants and a face mask and thick, insulated mittens and snapped his rented ski boots into skis for the very first time. With the temps hovering above zero at the start of class and the bluffs casting shadows on the valley where the local ski team meets, I was nervous that Sam would hate it, that the cold temps would have him screaming to skip next week's class. But after an hour of learning to fall and shuffling around without poles and following other kids who had had a little practice when they started this last year, Sam skied up to me said he had fun. In the car on the way home we waited in the Culver's drive thru for the Butterburger that could not come fast enough for my hungry 6-year-old and he asked when Eva could have ski lessons so we could all ski as a family. Mommy is so happy.
Wednesday, January 1, 2014
Yes, I know this is a lame Christmas post without all the lyric prose about the beautiful pies and touching moments with Grandma, but I'm a single mama who is training for another half marathon (and possibly a triathlon) and mentoring at the middle school while trying to complete a collection of short stories and maintain a full time job during the hours when I'm not sorting laundry or scraping my food encrusted kitchen table or picking up the urine-soaked pull-ups that have been left on my 3-year-old's bedroom floor. (And for those of you that have forgotten what 3-year-olds are like, there's this reminder of the creature that lives in my house.) I'm not going to take the time to wax poetic about how beautiful and meaningful our Christmas was and how grateful we all are for TT and Auntie Annie and the friends and family we're so fortunate to have in our lives. None of that is new. I'll just sum up this Christmas post by saying that as opposed as I've been to electronics, the Ipad that entered our house this Christmas might just be enough to save my sanity this winter. That and the invasion of the Barbies. And Tom & Jerrys. :)