and kids

and kids

Friday, August 22, 2014

Parent Orientation

Always a whirlwind of information, but always good to know what teachers are like and what they are going to expect.  And, honestly, if we have an issue down the road, it is nice to have face to go with the initial e-mail correspondence.

I am typically the go-to parent for these meetings, but when Monday rolled around and it was time for the Middle School meeting, I needed Jason to go (another story for another day about anxiety).  He gladly went with me and I was thrilled for him to meet all of these teachers that the kids talk about daily.

After only four days of school, these were the comments we heard (some that made us laugh):

"Tavis is squirelly"  "Mollee is soooo sweet"  "Tavis uses his time incredibly well in study hall" (which is hilarious b/c they have told the kids this year if they don't use their study hall they will be transferred out.  Without homework really starting he has just been drawing - just glad he hasn't been throwing spit wads, etc.)  "Tavis seems to have a better grasp at math than Mollee" (Oh, boy, she just was open about not understanding and he is such a politician)  "Ah, yes, Unsinkable?"

On Thursday, I went to the Elementary School one by myself.  I spend so much time in the ES you would think I wouldn't need to go, but I did and I didn't regret it.  This is what I learned:

Mac (not to my surprise is going to be a lot like Tavis) - apparently has had a notebook for the past week that I am supposed to sign each night saying we read together 10 minutes and did flash cards for 10 minutes, when I asked him about it he knew nothing?

Capps - his teacher raved saying he was doing great (knowing his pre-school jitters) and said everything he does is detailed - they were supposed to make a poster with their name on it and all the kids did theirs quickly, etc. and Capps only barely got done with the letter C.  I also talked with his advance math teacher and he said he was doing great and they already gave them a 2-day end-of-the-year test (he is in 4th grade and this is end-of-the-year 5th grade test) to see where everyone was after the Summer and Capps did extremely well on it.  *phew*

Daegan - since there were only two time slots, I missed his teachers presentation, but they say not much has changed since Mollee and Tavis went thru as far as expectations, agendas and assignments.  His teacher is excited about the year and said Daegan has already been fun to have in the class (he took his microscope in this week to show the slides he had of different things - mushrooms, blood, ??).  And I went and talked to his advanced math teacher and because of his personality, she assumed he was an only child.  HA!  And when I told her there were five, she assume he was the oldest.  Yep, we Browns do not fit the birth order stereotypes at all!!!

So, 1 1/2 weeks in and I think it is going to be a good year!!!  We just need to get into some good homework habits and bedtime routine - and iPad routine!

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Happy Birthday to Mommy!

Dinner and Angel Food Cake at the Browns
 Morrocan Oil from Libby (and Daniel and Heather)
 A Turkey and Key Lime Bars at the Caines
 And you know you are old when you are excited about new sheets! 
 Last night Jason and I were able to sneak away for a couple hours to dinner at my favorite restaurant and then we went over to a new dessert place - here I got homemade marshmallows on shortbread, dipped in chocolate (top left), homemade peppermint patty (bottom) and salted-vanilla-caramel-chocolate(square).  So yummy!!
 And some salted caramels to go!
Jason also got be some Bose headphones to go with my iPad.  We don't have TV, but I watch Netflix and a few of my shows via the iPad and I needed some headphones, of course, he had to get the best ones.  They actually will be nice because I can use them during the day with my iPhone while working from home to answer the phone - unfortunately, vertigo is causing deafness slowly, so this is gonna be a treat all around!

Saturday, August 16, 2014


It has dawned on me that Jason is an incredible carpenter and I am fairly crafty, but we rarely do projects together.  As close as it comes for us would be painting.  If a room needs to be painted, typically Jason does all the details, I roll the big sections and then leave him to finish and clean up.  

Part of the problem is that I am a "lets just get it done" type person.  And Jason is a "details, think about, make it perfect, etc." person.  There are so many ways that we are stereo-typically backwards in the male/female roles.

My job is getting files to a closing table (real estate).  There are a lot of details, but it is the same set of details each time and it is big picture goal.  Jason's job is carpentry and his specialty is trim carpentry - detailed work of crown molding and beautiful built-in bookcases and mantels.  And, more recently, tile work and beautiful decks.  Details!!!  

So, our kitchen table and chairs are hand-me-downs.  Nothing fancy, very beat up.  I covered them when we first got them, but it was past time to cover them again - way past time!  I finally bought some more fabric to cover the chairs and decided that was my only goal today.  The kids started school this week and the house was fairly clean and the laundry was caught up.  

Since it is my birthday weekend, Jason decided to hang out with me and help out.  Yep, there is a reason we do not do projects together.  :)  He was overkill on the staple gun and critiqued my "sloppy" job of pulling the fabric over the seat (which is probably 40 years old and no new stuffing).

It was actually fun to work with him and it went much faster having him staple while I was holding fabric taut.  Plus, after everything was covered I was able to to be done and let Jason put all the chairs back together!
I wanted different types of fabric.  The one it in the middle are the smaller chairs we use when guests come over; that is the fabric all the chairs were covered in.  We left the two small chairs and Jason's chair (only chair with arms?) with that fabric.  I love the red floral one.  Not so crazy about the brown one, but it will do until I find something else....

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

First Day of School 2014-15

The Elementary Crew
 The Middle School Crew
 The height view (which I forgot this morning and had to take after school and the lighting is all messed up...)
And I just love this b/c these two are such buddies
 The Crew being happy!!!
What Grade?
 Mac - 2nd Grade
 Capps - 4th Grade
"Just Dill With It"
Daegan - 5th Grade
Tavis - 7th Grade
 Mollee - 8th Grade
First Day Reports - Mac says his teacher is crazy and fun!  Capps says his day was good and the new art teacher is awesome (which makes me sooo happy b/c I've been excited about our new art teacher all summer, mostly for Capps' sake).  Daegan enjoyed his day but didn't have a lot to say.  Tavis, oh, my Tavis.  He had one assignment to get his binder tabs set up for science and lost the list of what the tabs needed to say.  I keep telling him, this is the Year of Tavis.  I am taking deep breaths and I am sure he is gonna do better this year - unfortunately, not a good start....  And Mollee had a good day and has my old art teacher (her favorite class), and I think that is going to be great for her.  And she has different friends in different classes, because that is what is most important!

A good first day, for the kids.  I hate when they first head back and the house is quiet.  I actually took them this morning and I hate dealing with the traffic - that is Jason's job, but he needed to be on the other side of town much earlier in the day than 9:00.  So, I managed, but I just dropped everyone off and didn't walk anyone in because no one needed me to. 

And thus starts another school year!

Monday, August 11, 2014

Locker Day/Desk Day

 Meeting teachers, filling desks and setting up lockers!  A long three hours when there are five of them.

Mac and Ms. Henry in 2nd Grade
 Capps and Mrs. Sutherland in 4th Grade
 Daegan and Mrs. Sikkema in 5th Grade
One full day of Summer left!

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Back-To-School Beta

Because I love fish and have missed having a tank set up, we have a Beta back on the kitchen counter:

Typically, I let the kids name our pets (actually Jason named Omar), but this one is my friend while the kids are at school.  And since I wanted to name my last baby Finbar, yes, I said Finbar (take note of our other odd old Scottish names, as this is also).  My husband would not let me, I thought it only appropriate to name him Finbar - and the kids will call him Fin for short - and I will call him FINBAR!

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Last Fun Mom Wednesday 2014

Of course, this does not mean I cannot be Fun Mom anymore!

Going into today, I honestly had no idea what I was going to do for the Grand Finale.  I felt like work was going to be kind and I was not going to feel stressed about getting my work completed, so that was good.

As the morning began, I thought I had come up with a fairly good idea.  The kids ate late breakfasts, so that worked well for my plan.  I worked until about 1:00 and then we headed to Steak N Shake.  I knew if we ate a relaxed long lunch, it would be Happy Hour by the time we were done and then we could get 1/2 price shakes.  That worked great.  We ended up leaving the house almost at 1:30, the kids were in good, playful moods and we had a great lunch.  Our server was fun and everything was perfect.

We got our shakes to go and headed to the next stop, which the kids still did not know about.  I was going to take them to a local putt-putt/go-kart place that I had wanted to try.  I knew it was hot and I was asking for trouble since it was all outdoors but I was willing to take the risk.   But since it is a small, family owned place and it, apparently, is only opened Thurs-Sunday.   *sigh*

So, plan B.

About that time, Jason was calling me to say he got home early.  And the kids were asking to just go the aquarium, which is funny to me, since we have a membership and it isn't anything new.  Why do I always think they need something new?  So, we swung by the house and picked up Jason (a special treat for me) and headed downtown.

The otters were being fed, so that was fun!
 Always fun to pet the stingrays - and I wondered, as Mac was climbing the wall (refusing to go to the shorter side) if any child had every fallen in?
 I think I could watch the shark tank all day....
 Being goofy with Tavis is also one of my favorite past-times.
 The boys watching the shark tank from underneath, a little unnerving but totally cool.
And, yes, I spent the money on the picture "they" took because Jason was actually with us!
Fun, Fun!

Now, we get to put school supplies together, meet teachers on Monday and start school next Wednesday.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Soccer Try-Outs

Just for the record books, even if painful, Mollee did not make it on the soccer team.  It sucks!

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Our Last First Spend-The-Night-Friend

Mac has been begging to have Malachi (his cousin) spend the night.  Since I am always working, and all the boys share a room, it never seems like a good time, but I just let it happen after Sunday lunch.  And they were sooooo excited!

No big brothers involved.  Just the 6 and 7 year old, having a sleep-over!
And being the best buds ever!
And the word on the street is that Mac has the best toothpaste.  I'm, honestly, just glad to hear they brushed their teeth!

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Morning Running

Not for me, not yet.  I still will not say "never again" will I ever run, but I did destroy my ankle last time I tried, therefore, I am on a slow-weight-loss-program rather than kill-yourself-with-exercise program.  Honestly, I prefer the later, but that is not an option right now for this older version of me.  On a side note, I have lost 31 lbs thru Advocare since Christmas, and I am happy with that - and I haven't started exercising yet....

 I digress.

A few weeks ago, I gently reminded Mollee that soccer tryouts were coming up (next Monday and Tuesday).  She has not been stagnant this Summer, but she hasn't been running.  And she hasn't been to any Summer practices, at her decision.  So, I was encouraging her to get up and run.  Nothing major.  Just a 15 minute run each morning would make a huge difference in her tryouts.

That is when Daegan jumped in.  This boy cracks me up, maybe because I see a little bit of myself in him in this situation (and he is the book nerd, so I don't see myself in him often).  He is a morning person like me, and if he sets his mind to something, he does it.  No matter what.

He offered to get up and run with Mollee.  He said he would set his alarm on his watch and wake her up and go run with her in the neighborhood.  He picked the time 7:30, because that is when it isn't too hot yet.  Capps asked if he could join too.  I was ok with it and I was curious to see how it would all play out.  

I explained to the boys how they could map out a course and run/walk it the first week and then gradually work in more running.  And then eventually, you do it twice.  Well, these are the kind of challenges that Daegan loves.  I knew if I put that carrot in front of him, it would be great for Mollee too.

The problem I didn't foresee:  Daegan being able to get Mollee out of bed.  Typically, when he has gone to her, she has said, "Maybe tomorrow" and rolled over.  But, guess what?  Daegan and Capps still ran.  Next morning, same thing.  Daegan and Capps still ran.  Next morning, same thing.  Daegan and Capps still ran.  It has been amazing to see them get rejected every morning, but still try again.  I told them to stop asking her, but they said they wanted to offer each morning.  

She has gotten up twice and ran with them.  And those were rough runs.  I am not sure what she is thinking toward soccer try-outs, but I am trying not to stress about it.  This is one of those 'mom can only do so much' moments.  I've offered to take her to Summer practices, we offered to pay for soccer camp and we've encouraged her to run.  She did ask me to buy her something the other day for soccer and when I replied, "Let's see if you make the team first", I think she was horrified and hurt and then came to the realization that not making it was actually an option.  (We did miss tryouts last year and she didn't get to play, but they did cut 17 girls from tryouts last year.  Eeek)

But, I am proud of Daegan and Capps and their dedication.  And the reason I began this post this morning was because I heard them up earlier than normal, on a Saturday, and I was feeling a little frustrated.  I don't sleep in, but I try to keep the house as peaceful as possible so that Jason can sleep in.  When the boys get up, it gets Omar crazy and he has this crazy internal clock and he knows that every 6th day of the week, Jason is home in bed.  And he scratches at our bedroom trying to get to him.  When I asked the boys why they got up so early, they said they heard us talking about rain the night before and they wanted to get their run in before it started raining.


Really?  At age 10 and 11, are they really supposed to think of those sort of things?

Disclaimer on the others:  Tavis has been going to soccer camp during this time, and Mac has been sleeping in until 11:00 each morning????

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