Friday, August 27, 2010

First Days

Today was Aaron's first day of kindergarten. We had orientation yesterday, which went well. We met his teacher, saw the classroom, and went over some rules and regulations. I drove him to school both ways yesterday. Today, he actually rode the bus to and from school.

Aaron had been so excited this past week, mostly due to the bus ride. He is familiar with the school, thanks to the countless number of times we have visited over the last three years. But he really hadn't ridden on a school bus...I could see the gears turning in his head when he was thinking about the ride. I asked Zoe and Talia to let him sit with them on the way to school, and to make sure that he made it to the kindergarten classroom (or at least to the teacher directing the way). Both girls assured me that they would do as I asked.

This morning, we took the customary "first day of school picture" in front of the maple tree in our yard, and then wandered two driveways up to the bus stop. Aaron kept asking, "When is the bus coming?" I kept saying, "It will get here." I knew as soon as a huge smile swept across his face that the bus was on its way.

We smooched all 3 kids on the head, said "I love you" and "Have a good day" to each, and watched them cross the street to get on the bus. I didn't get the picture of them crossing, but imagine this: Zoe and Talia each grabbed one of Aaron's hands, led him across the street, and helped him onto the bus. Once they got to the window, they waved happily at the rest of us, and off they went.

The girls started 3rd grade a few days before Aaron started school. So far, they seem to like the teachers and the students in their classrooms. On the other hand, we have a new principal this year and more students (two schools merged), and there have been some changes made to school routine that aren't sitting well with the girls. We had a talk about change and how it can be both good and bad, and how we need to be flexible at times. I tried to find the learning experience in it and teach the lesson. I don't know if they understood all of what I was saying, but I think, for the most part, they did. I am optimistic (mostly because the principal seems like a good guy, with the kids best interest at heart) and I think his attitude will likely spill over eventually to the girls.

Melina wanted to get in on the action, so I took a picture of her at the tree, too. She has informed me that she wants to go to preschool. My neighbor runs a daycare out of her home, so I have planned on sending her over there once or twice a week for a couple of hours, to play with the kids and do crafts. I told her she'd be going to "Peggy's preschool" and she seemed thrilled. We'll see what happens next week when I leave!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

End of the Summer Wrap-up

School starts this week -- not a moment too soon for me. That sounds horrible, but I am being honest. This summer has been a difficult one for me. The kids have argued a bit too much, and it seems as though not enough work got done.

As of Tuesday, though, we will have two third graders and one child in kindergarten. Melina will stay home with me most of the time, although the babysitter will come when I head out to teach. I call the days she is with the babysitter Melina's "art school time" -- Brooke is an artist that loves children, and patiently puts together works of art with the kids when she comes to sit. So, I guess in a way, everyone will be in school.

We found out who the kids had for teachers two days ago. Aaron will have the same kindergarten teacher that Talia had. She is a sweet, approachable, lovable lady who clearly likes teaching kindergarten. She seems patient and kind, and Talia did really well with her. I think Aaron should thrive in her class environment as well. I don't know anything about Zoe and Talia's teachers, but Talia was assigned to the teacher that Zoe had hoped to get, and vice versa. Weird, eh?

Not too long ago, the kids stumbled upon Scooby Doo. I was a fan of those meddling kids when I was little, so I can understand the appeal. They have been watching some episodes of the newer version of the show, and playing Scooby Doo outside and inside.

Unfortunately, Melina has jumped on the bandwagon. Do I think she should be watching the show? Probably not. It has words like "stupid" and "dumb" in it, and other words we try not to use in the house. I usually can distract her with something else, if she wants to watch something, or I let the other kids watch the show when Melina is napping. However, Melina is taken with the words "Scooby Doo". She runs around yelling "Scooby Doooooooooo" at the top of her lungs (take my word for it, she is pretty loud), and has also come up to me and said, "I don't want to be spookified!" Thank-you, Shaggy (or should I say Aaron, as I believe it was he that taught her the sentence).

If this Scooby Doo phase sticks around, I plan on making Aaron's birthday cake (he'll be 6 in November) a Scooby Doo cake. I found some inexpensive action toys and hope to send for them. I think it would be pretty cute for the kids to be the characters from Scooby Doo for Halloween, too. According to Melina, Shadow is Scooby Doo, anyway, so we'd have everyone covered :)

School starts for me after Labor Day, so I have a bit of time to ease into everyone's schedules. Tim will be teaching a discussion section this year at a local university, just for the fun of it. He is a natural teacher, so I hope his students will realize just how lucky they are.

I hope to get more pictures up this fall. It is hard for me to write and do pictures, and I am not sure why. Writing usually takes precedent, and I just don't get around to the pictures. But the kids are getting older daily, and those of you that read this probably would like to see them. I'll do my best.

Sunday, August 15, 2010


I partially chose the name Melina for the fourth baby because there is no nickname for it. I like giving the kids names that don't shorten (for the most part). But leave it up to people to shorten names or give nicknames, right? Zoe became Zo-zo bean, or just Zo-zo. Talia has morphed through Tallulah bean to Tats (rhymes with lots). And Aaron, well, the girls just call him Dude. Melina has taken it upon herself to rename herself Mimi. Personally, I like cousin Elli's moniker for her better -- Mina -- but you can't tell a 2 year old to stop calling herself Mimi when everyone else (meaning her siblings) call her that.

Melina is, of course, adorable when she refers to herself as Mimi. Just today, we had this conversation:

Me: Are you ready for bed, buddy?
Melina: No buddy, Mommy. I'm Mimi.
Me: You aren't my buddy, Melina?
No: Zoe, Talia, Aaron my buddy. I'm Mimi.

Well all right then. I should mention that Melina has just now acquired the ability to say Aaron instead of Ion, and Talia instead of just calling both girls Zoe.

And because this is a post about Melina (too bad I don't have a new good picture of her) I'll mention one last goody. Tim took her to the church farmer's market today to drop off some of our chili peppers. While there, they saw the infant son of the man that runs the whole thing. I think the conversation went something like this:

Tim: Do you see the baby, Melina? Do you see the cute baby?
Melina: No, Daddy, I'm the cute baby.
Tim: Yep, you are the cute baby, but he's a cute baby, too.

Don't want the kid's head to get too big, now, do we?

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Bad Hair Day

I received the latest issue of a magazine that will remain anonymous. It happens to be a style and fashion magazine, and anyone who knows me knows that style and fashion don't quite jive with my persona. It comes to me because another magazine that I signed up for was discontinued. I have since told the company to please cancel my subscription. In the meantime, I can only consider myself lucky to still share time with it!

In any case, I was browsing through the issue yesterday, as I always do. Ads for Juicy Couture, Tommy Hilfiger, and Nine West were scattered amongst such items as what is most slimming for Fall, what shoes go best with what outfit (how about I wear black or brown shoes with everything and running shoes when appropriate!), and super stylish deals under $100 (uh, not such deal, if you ask me!). I stopped short when I reached a snippet on hair.

I need to take an aside here. My hair has been essentially the same for a very long time. I vacillate between long/in a ponytail and shorter with layers. I am supposed to go to my sister-in-law's wedding next year. If I wear the same dress I wore to her sister's wedding in 1999 (it still fits), I will look almost exactly the same (plus 4 kids and many more wrinkles). I write this not because I think it is is sad!

Back to the article. Specifically, the article was highlighting (pun intended) what inspired people to make a hair change. They showed a picture of a person on the street, who was a lovely young lady with brown hair. It didn't look special to me at all. However, this everyday woman and her hair inspired an editor to go request her look from the salon. What was that look, you ask?

Roots. Let me say that again. Roots!!! I mean the things you get when you bleach your hair and then let it grow out and you don't do any retouching. The dark on top and lighter at the bottom thing. This young lady had brown hair on top, and about 3/4 of the way down, she had the lighter hair that ended below her shoulders. Seriously, when I looked at her picture, I thought, hey, she colored her hair and decided to grow it out.

To be honest, I think it is great if we make a new trend from roots. My hair, which I home colored (unfortunately) almost a year ago, has darker roots at top and lighter hair at the bottom. For once in my life, I might be setting the trend. I would assume, if you ask for the look at a salon, the hair stylist can make the transition from dark to light look a little better than the "growing out my color" look that I sport. But please, let us call it what it is, people!!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Funny Random Things

We hadn't done a good job grocery shopping for a bit, so on Sunday, I finally went to the store. Well, in the bakery department, this older gentleman was staring at me. He looked at the cart, then me, then the cart. Very nicely, he asked, "How many people do you have to feed with all that food?" I laughed and told him I had 4 kids (only Talia was with me at the time). He laughed, too, and just shook his head. As I left the area I said, "I have to feed them, you know?!?" He agreed and flashed a big smile.

The other day while Melina was sleeping and the girls were playing, Aaron decided it was time to talk science. Science to Aaron isn't simply rocks or leaves. This conversation revolved around quarks. I am pretty sure I wouldn't have been able to talk about quarks when I was 5.

The college called yesterday and asked if I'd be interested in going full-time for a quarter, starting this Fall. They have an annually contracted faculty position that needs filling for the interim, until the job can be posted. In my head, I laughed at them. Do they really think you can pull together good childcare in such a short time?!? I thanked them for thinking of me, but declined the position. [I might come to regret that decision, but we'll see...]

Melina has hit the point in her life where she thinks the solution is to throw herself on the ground and cry. Tim and I look at one another and chuckle each time it happens. You have to give her credit for trying, but she will eventually learn that being number 4 has its disadvantages (and advantages, too, but that is for another post).