Sunday, May 18, 2014

Fiesta Cultural

 I knew that the Fiesta Cultural at Rocky's school was going to be long, but I had no idea that it would be so darling.  I've been to enough school plays and concerts to know that they are, to put it frankly, painful.  I'll freely admit that being honest about this type of thing is one of the ways that I can tell that I'm a horrible parent.  For weeks the school has been sending notes home about the event begging for donations.  I did send the $10 that the kindergartners were forced encouraged to donate so that they and the kinders of the future would have costumes to wear.  Other than that I have been staunchly against giving more on the simple grounds that I consider attending one of these things to be sacrifice enough, especially since we had to bring the baby dragon. 
 I was surprised when it turned out to be delightful.  Every class performed a lively and well choreographed dance from a different country.  The music was peppy and light and the kids gave it their all. 
 While I still didn't donate anything for the gift baskets or put money in the donation bucket or buy the professional photos and DVD of the performance or let Rocky sell cookie dough/wrapping paper/candy or attend the casino night or participate in any of the other fund raisers I did, in the end, buy her one of the little bouquets that they had to present to the kids after the show.  I know, I'm basically Mother Teresa.  I had prepped her ahead of time that the other kids would be getting them but that we just didn't have the money and she was a champ about it.  I could tell that she really wanted them but she shrugged her shoulders and told me that she would be okay.  I think that it was precisely the fact that she didn't throw a fit that made me think that I just had to do it.  Rosy somehow charmed the woman doing the selling into giving her an extra white carnation with a broken stem which she then carried to the top of the balcony and promptly threw it over the edge onto the head of some unsuspecting parent.  Probably one who had bought like 50 raffle tickets.  Now that I know how nice this thing is and how fun it is to give flowers I'll start saving now so that I'll have the cash to buy the big bouquet next year.

And speaking of saving money.  Rocky is still obsessed with the idea of a Vitamix.  I may have already written about this but every time they are doing presentations at Costco we end up standing there for at least 20 minutes.  The salesman, Patrick, and Rocky are kind of like BFFs.  She told him that she needs one for her restaurant and he agreed with a pointed look in my direction.  He gives her extra samples and lets her choose what he should make next.  He is quite charming and I started to think that she might have a crush on him.  When we got home she was telling Brandon about it and she said with a sigh, "Dad, I think I'm in love."  I was ready for the big reveal, here it comes, the truth about all this blender business is really just puppy love.  He asked her who she was in love with and she said "I am in love with the Vitamix."  He was teasing her and told her that next year for her birthday he would get her a picture of one so that she could hang it in her room.  We both thought that she would roll her eyes but she was thrilled.  We figured out that if she does all her jobs and saves all her money that in about 10 years she would have enough.  Now she has another reason to look forward to that sweet 16.

Her second favorite thing to beg for at Costco is beef jerky.  She would do anything for that stuff.
Someone thinks this pose is cool.  Hint: It isn't the mom.

On Friday I got to go see my friend Emily defend her dissertation.  It was so fun for me to be in a classroom even if it was for just a couple of hours.  She did great and I was so proud.

A Day at the Park with my two smartest lady friends.
Emily wrote her entire dissertation on journal entries and letters that were written by a man and his wife.  As I was listening it made me think that I should write more about my experiences so that one day someone could understand what life was like during this period of time.  I should write more about my feelings and my failures and current events.  Then I sat down  and all I wrote about again was day-to-day stuff that my kids did. 
I guess in its own way that is a reflection of my life experience right now.
So here is more of that.

Daisy has been her usual sweet self.  She tells me every day that she really, really doesn't want to take a nap and then she falls asleep and it is like trying to raise the dead to get her up.  She has been speaking in tongues lately and will sing "Let it Go" in a variety of made up languages.  She'll chat with herself as she walks around the house making strange sounds.  That kind of thing usually drives me bananas but she is kind of good at it.  When kids make up their own languages it usually just sounds ridiculous but hers is more like the Star Wars languages that were put together using linguistic rules form around the world.  You have the sense that you could stumble upon a place where everyone would understand what she is saying.
Another thing about Daisy is that she eats oatmeal every morning.  She used to switch things up each day but for the last month or so she wants oatmeal with honey and cinnamon in a pink bowl.  I always think that I'll just make her "regular" without consulting her but there is always that tiny hint of a chance that she will change her mind.  When approached about breakfast she asks about other options, pauses for a few seconds in order to study out the decision in her mind and then picks the oatmeal for the 40th day in a row.  I don't know if it is because I'm tired that early or if it is because she has her sleepy face when we do this daily ritual but something about it seems ridiculously funny. 

Yesterday she kept saying, "Mom, I keep hicking up."  I couldn't figure it out and then I realized that she was trying to tell me that she had the hiccups.
She also has a habit of waiting until I'm upset and stressed out and busy with something and right at that moment she will do the "Mom, mom, mom, mom" thing that kids always do and when I finally acknowledge her with a WHAT? she'll say in a tiny voice, "I love you."  It is simultaneously annoying and endearing.

Rosy is darling and demanding and while she knows she wants something very badly she isn't exactly sure what that something is.  Her favorite thing is wearing a jacket.  I'm not joking.  It is her favorite word and she carries her little coat around even when she isn't wearing it.  When we go out she cheers "Jacket!" and smiles like she just found out that she won a free trip to Disneyland.  It is kind of a buzzkill for her when the only place we ever go is to pick Rocky up from school or to Costco to watch the Vitamix salesman make ice cream out of carrots.
She is starting to do animal noises and say a few more words.  She can very clearly tell you that something is MINE!  When a kid even walks past her at the playground she puts up her arms and says NO!  She sort of marches around with a surly look on her face until everyone understands that she is in charge and then she will start to relax.  She will not eat something if it has been broken, opened, tasted or stirred.  If she isn't happy with her meal it will go right to the floor.  I'm thinking hoping that it is just that terrible two thing that people seem to believe exists.  Sometimes I just want to toss her out the door but then she'll peek her cherubic little face with her blonde curls around the corner and give me a smile and then I just give her a brand new unopened, untasted, unbroken granola bar and we are friends again.  She is the kind of kid that makes you feel like you won the battle even though you clearly lost it.

I can't stay mad at you.
She is getting pretty good at telling knock knock jokes.  She doesn't actually say clear words but she understands the pattern and knows which part is hers and which part is yours.  I'm not sure what the punchline is in her mind but it must be funny because she'll laugh her head off when she is done.  She also loves to play the game where you cut the pickle.

If you made it this far reading all those words you are a true friend indeed.  And if you are a grad student studying the whims of stay-at-home moms in 2014 please take into account that almost every word I have written in the past 6 years was typed at an hour later than I should have been awake and should not represent a functioning adult.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Mother's Day

It was Rosy's first day in pigtails but you can't really see them.  They just made her look even more mischievous than normal.  I am one lucky mom to have these three scoundrels in my life.

I also have this picture of me with my lady friends before we ran the Hippie Chick Half.  We never got a photo with everyone but this one is great because it features Laurie's Cookie Monster hoodie and my green fingernails.  It was an epic race and I was inspired by Katrina, Laurie, Heather, and Leslie and I hope that one day I'll be able to catch up with them.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Rocky's First 5K

 The Oregon Track Club has a monthly 5K that is open to anyone.  Rocky and Kinsley wanted to give it a try.  Katie and I were a couple of proud mamas with our mini-mes.  They wanted to be running buddies just like their moms are.  I have to admit that I was kind of worried because Rocky hasn't really done much running.  I tried a little to talk her out of it because it was raining really hard and I didn't want to bundle everyone up and go to the hassle of getting the stroller in the car but she was determined.

 The stroller babies all wanted to run too but I knew I would already have my hands full with Rocky.  They helped us out by not crying at all even though it was pouring.  And by that what I mean is that Rosy screamed her lungs out until every single person at the race knew that I was a horrible mother.

 We started out with a lot of excitement and a burst of sprinting and stopping.  Rocky stayed with Kinsley for about 5 seconds and then all we saw of the Caves was their backs for the rest of the race.  Actually for the majority they were so far ahead we didn't even see their backs.  It was okay though because that is how it always goes when I race with Katie.  For the first half mile things were bad.  Really bad.  Rocky was exhausting herself with the bursts of speed and after a few minutes we were the very last runners.  At first I tried to peer pressure her into doing better by commenting on how fast Kinsley was going.  (If you hadn't already decided that I was a horrible person for making my baby scream now feel free to do it because moms really, really shouldn't sign their 6-year-olds up for a 3 mile race and then insult them.  Hang on though because this story ends happily.)  I tried to convince her that she should just go for the slow and steady but she didn't believe me.  Finally I went for a bribe.  I told her that as long as she was jogging I would tell her a story but if she walked I would pause until she was running again.  The next two miles she trotted all the way to the end. 
She was so proud of herself and I was so proud I could hardly even breathe.  She finished just under 43 minutes (Kinsley, in case you were wondering, was around 34...a speed demon at the age of 5.  Look for her in the Olympics in a few years.  I'm going to go ahead and blame it on her genes.)

I don't know if running will be something that Rocky likes in the future but I do know that I felt pretty lucky to watch her push through her concerns and finish this race strongly.  That girl has got some grit.

An Afternoon at the Spa

 The Community Room isn't technically a spa, but it fit the bill for our Mama Duck playgroup.  We got Henna tattoos, painted our nails and put on Neurotically Natural face masks.  We also drank herbal tea and ate fair trade dark chocolate.
 Rosy opted for the yogurt version.  Also, she put this mask on herself which saved time, then she saved more time by licking it off instead of washing her face.  She has a busy schedule of getting into trouble and can't be bothered with primping right now.

Sometimes it just seems right for the ladies to kick back and enjoy life.

Garden Weather

 We have been having a rare streak of beautiful weather which has given us a chance to get our garden plot underway.  I had a feeling that my soul needed a little bit of gardening therapy which sort of sounds crazy when I think of how much weeding I had to do as a kid.  Our plot is small enough that I think we'll be able to keep it under control.  I took this picture about a week ago and we've already got a bunch of little buds coming up.  Even though it is obvious that seeds grow into plants I am always amazed when it happens.  I was lucky to inherit the plot that my friend Maggie took such good care of last year.  She and her husband are moving up in the world and I'm going to miss her a lot.  I hope that I can do her proud.  Ever since I started working every day someone will come by and give me something to help me out.  Michelle let me have her picket fence, Mark brought me some bamboo to make a pea trellis and he gave me onion and potato starts.  Samantha hooked us up with two tomato plants and a bunch of spinach and Maggie gave us the salad greens and a bunch of organic fertilizer, and Adriana brought us some kind of plant that I don't recognize.  I'm thinking that if I just stand out there for an hour or so each day I should be given enough to feed our family for the entire harvest season.  The more time I spend out there the more I love this little community.  I am on the U of O housing board and the other day the University VP came in to ask the residents how we feel about Spencer View.  As I was talking I got all teary-eyed about how much I love living here.  I'm pretty sure that most students who live in family housing across the country are crying the sad kind of tears, but for us it has been a great experience.  After I finished my speech I realized that a bunch of the folks around the table were also getting emotional because they spend all day trying to make this place a good place to live.  Now I'm just waiting for them to call me to star in a student housing recruitment video.  I won't hold my breath.
 As we dug we found slugs, slugs, and more slugs.  We also found a couple of toy cars, a carabiner, and a hockey puck.  Maggie found a diamond ring but that was when the plot was still hers.  I tried to keep it a secret so that none of the kids get any ideas about digging for buried treasure.  I've heard that is bad for the pea plants.
In case your curious we also planted bell peppers, cantaloup, and zucchini.  I have a few more seeds that the girls picked out but we need to wait until the weather gets better.  I don't know exactly where it will all fit but somehow we have managed to happily raise three kids in this tiny apartment and if I can handle that I'm positive I'll be able to work something out in the garden.

The other day we took the girls to a birthday party at Bounce and I just couldn't live without a few photos.