Sunday, October 25, 2009

It's Just Like Wiping Off a Table

As Lauren is standing in the family room removing every article of clothing she has on, she announces to her dad that she is off to go poop.

Geoff responds, "Wipe yourself off this time. You've got to learn to do it. It's just like wiping off a table." [Insert my laughs from the kitchen.]

Lauren struts to the bathroom in nothing but a ponytail, "For me it is like wiping off the wall."

I'm not even sure I know what all of this means. And as long as I don't have to deal with it, I'm okay with that.

Time Out, Two Minutes

I strolled into the kitchen to find Abby sitting in the traditional Time Out spot saying, "Time Out. Two minutes."

So I asked her, "Who is in the Time Out?" knowing full well the only answer could be her since there was no baby or doll in sight.

She responded, "I am. I said a bad word, it was inappropriate. So I'm in a Time Out for two minutes."

Wow! I must be doing something right. Not only does she know when she's done something wrong, but she is now imposing her own punishment. While I don't expect this model behavior to last, I am filled with pride just knowing she's thinking about it.

Monday, October 19, 2009

The London Bridge

It started about a month ago. I was blindly taking Abby to preschool every other morning thinking all was well with the world. Little did I know a disease was casting it's shadow on her school days. Every child encounters them, that dreadful classmate. The one who makes others miserable to feel the gain of victory. Abby's is London. I was enlightened one Friday afternoon when I arrived to pick Abby up; London was complaining that Abby hit her. It turns out Abby had indeed hit this girl because she would not play with Abby. No doubt Abby just didn't understand why. We said our apologies, but the conversation I had with Abby's teacher stung; Abby wants to play with London, but London wants nothing to do with Abby. And honestly, it bothers me a thousand times more than it bothers Abby.

The usual thoughts ran through my head. Why doesn't she want to play with Abby? Is Abby unsociable? Is Abby not pleasant to be around at school? Is Abby mean to the other kids? Is Abby an outcast?

When I presented the situation to Geoff that evening I didn't need to get far into the story to figure out what was really going on. In fact, I needed to say just one word, London.

About five and a half years ago Geoff and I had lunch with a woman who had just arrived at Hanscom AFB. Geoff was her sponsor, so we took her out to get to know her and get her acquainted with the base. That fall she gave birth to a baby girl. You guessed it, London. She and Geoff worked together for six more months, London's family even passed outgrown diapers our way when our baby girl arrived. But soon it was time to part ways. We were off to Florida when Abby was just three months old; our babies had never met.

But in this small world of the Air Force, they did meet up, at a little preschool in Ohio. In a class of just fourteen kids, our girls are together. Ughhh.

Since that heartbreaking afternoon I have been relieved by several things. First, that the apple does not fall far from the tree. Second, that this was bound to happen to Abby at some point in her career as a student, it was just happening a little earlier than I'd expected. Third, that Abby isn't the one mistreating her classmates, at least not to my knowledge. And fourth, and in Abby's own words, "London is nasty to the other kids." Ahhh, it's not just Abby!

As far as I know London has no idea of the bridge that links her to Abby, and I'm guessing, neither do her parents. Though Parents' Night at their school is coming up this week. It should be interesting.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Two Long

I know it's been too long since I've written an update when Geoff has changed jobs twice and we have welcomed two babies into our extended family. Yes, I said two jobs.... more on those babies in a bit.

At the start of spring, Geoff left his job as a contractor at MCR (the job we moved to Dayton for) and rejoined The Circle of Trust as a gov't employee, known in the gov't world as a GS-13. He was excited at the places his spreadsheets could take him, since the KC-X program he had been working on was tied up in a legalities. With a new boss and a new cast of characters at work, Geoff was looking forward to a new challenge, but it was short-lived. Within the last few weeks, Geoff was more less hand-selected to take a job where he will be working directly for a general, amazing the high-ranking officer with his spreadsheeting wizardry. It's a fantastic opportunity for Geoff; within six months he was promoted to a GS-14. Now he will have his own office and be supervising other analysts. He has also been told his job will require him to give briefings at the Pentagon. Geoff is in Excel heaven. Of course the job will be more demanding and require longer hours. The biggest immediate impact this job will have on our family is that I will have to give up my job.

Yes, I too, have been employed; for a month and a half. I had been talking about it for some time, but finally made the decision this summer that I was going to actively seek a tutoring job. Nothing too intense, but something to get me out of the house and back into the field of education. Much to my surprise I was offered a job almost right away at the tutoring center just down the road. It was a perfect fit! About 15 hours a week, tutoring great kids, working with a girl I really enjoy. And it was good for my family, too. Geoff took on a stronger care-taker roll around the house, which in turn created a whole new dimension between him and the girls. While the girls were always a little sad when I left and always psyched to see me when I got home, they were really into their Daddy Time. Though my time as a tutor was short-lived, it gave me two valuable gifts: a chance to be a part of the professional world again, and even more importantly, it gave me great insight on what I can and should be working on at home with the girls to help them succeed in school. Of course I wouldn't be completely honest if I didn't say that planning for and preparing three less meals a week wasn't a nice break, too.

It has been a very busy last eight months around here. At the end of March we took a road trip to Illinois where we stayed with our friends, Clint & Michelle, and met up with fellow O'Town natives to watch Owatonna's junior A hockey team. A short, but enjoyable little family trip to the Land of Lincoln. Our spring trip to Minnesota came a little sooner than expected with the passing of Geoff's Grandpa Beardsley. We packed up the car and ventured to Duluth where had a great time with family and celebrated his grandfather's life; no doubt he was smiling down as we really enjoyed ourselves and our time together. From there Geoff flew back to join The Circle of Trust, and the girls and I went to join our circle of family & friends, where we spent a busy two months going to the cabin for spring cleaning, then back to Owatonna for my nephew Max's birth, making weekly trips to Rochester for my grandpa's radiation treatment at Mayo, and we even managed to sneak in a trip to the Minnesota Zoo, a few hockey games, a concert, a prom, and a high school graduation.

Had it not been for our impending family vacation, I probably would not have left home. But we had our first ever real family vacation on the horizon. And at the end of June we traveled to Washington to visit our family there. I am not exaggerating when I say we had the time of our lives! Geoff golfed nearly every morning at courses in the valley, and in the mountains. We took road trips to various places near Wenatchee where we were staying, we ate fresh cherries right off the tree, but most of all we just enjoyed the company of family. The trip would have been perfect, had it not been for the isolated evening the girls devised a plot to turn their grandparents' house into a canvas of chaos. You can read the full depiction, photographs and all, on my blog under the title Night of the Naughties in the July folder. It's worth the read!

Our eldest naughty started preschool this fall, and both of the girls are now actively pursuing gymnastics. Abby loves to learn, and jumps at the chance to write her letters and practice cutting and gluing. Both girls have turned our house into their personal gymnasium. Anything they can flip off of, they do. And if they could spend all day in their leotards, they'd do that, too.

Right now we're just living the Ohio life. The fields are starting to brown, there are pumpkin patches around every corner, and big red Os everywhere we turn. But are we still rooting for our Minnesota teams? You Betcha!

Oh, and as for that second baby... my cousin Luke and his wife, Molly, welcomed a baby girl into the world on Saturday, Oct. 10th. We're looking forward to seeing Mya Ann Hartle at Christmas. Congrats to Luke & Molly, and to my Aunt Vicky & Uncle LeRoy who are now beaming grandparents!

happy autumn.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

The Color of Innocence

Snuggled into my bed, Abby and I were enjoying some alone time together watching the Twins game. Abby says very little when asked about preschool. But get her alone with a little snuggle time and she opens wide up.

The following is a snip-it of our conversation Thursday night.

Abby: "Kyla is chocolate."
Brooke: "What does that mean?"
Abby: "What color is chocolate?"
Brooke: "Brown."
Abby: "Kyla is brown."

And that was it.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

I Love That Dirty Water

When Abby & Lauren get a song in their heads they lose control and turn it into the dance party of a lifetime.

Here's what I found my lovelies doing when they thought no one was looking....

I Love That Dirty Water

(Remember to pause the playlist on the right side of the screen.)

Friday, October 2, 2009

Turning Thirty-Two

Each morning of my birthday since I can remember my first waking moments are spent thinking, "Today is my birthday!" When I was younger it was always a feeling of excitement.... the special cards, happy birthday wishes, gifts. All for me. All about me. The milestone birthdays were especially important, packed with new privileges that only that magical birthday can bring. And then some time in my mid-twenties the realization that the big Three-O was creeping up began to cast a cloud over my birthday. When the day of the big Three-O arrived it was filled with clouds. And rain. But it was also filled with family & friends who gathered to wish me a happy 30th, a happy golden birthday. It was a great day.

But turning 32.... I guess a mother of two preschoolers should expect nothing less than what I got on my 32nd birthday. I was awakened at 4-something by the word, "Mommy!" No time to even think, "Happy Birthday to me." I ran to the bathroom, grabbed the puke bucket, and cleaned up my lovely. The rest of what should have been our sleeping hours was spent either catching the projectile or waiting for another round. I woke up on the floor of our family room, our traditional staging area for the ill. Lauren crawled into our make-shift bed with Abby & I when she awoke, and the girls and I snuggled, watched a little Good Morning America, I fielded a few early bird birthday calls, and then the best gift a 32 year-old mom could ask for erupted around me. My girls serenaded me with their misstepped version of Happy Birthday To You. It couldn't have been more perfect!

Thank God for that moment. The day just went downhill from there. Oh Abby felt better, and there were no more vomiting episodes. And Geoff did come home at lunch with a beautiful bouquet of flowers. But there were countless behavioral issues, followed by burnt take-out and a homemade birthday cake that was short on frosting. And I did receive several phone calls, e-mails, cards and Facebook birthday greetings, which in themselves truly helped to salvage my spirits. I've certainly had better birthdays, but I'm quite happy to be walking in my shoes.

So how do you follow a day like that? Well, if you're a mother of these two lovelies, you start the next day with a peaceful walk so early the sun has not even begun to rise wearing those comfy worn-in shoes. You admire the clear skies and vibrant stars, and then you become a casualty of the darkness, and step in your own dog's steamer.

I'm still quite content to be walking in my own shoes.... I just keep them out of the house. At least until I can be sure all of the poop is off.


{About Me}

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Fairborn, Ohio, United States
I'm a teacher by trade, writer at heart & mom in every sense of my being. I never considered writing as a profession, but after I got married and began moving around the country, I began sharing my adventures, misadventures & updates through a sort of e-mail newsletter. I found a true passion in unconventional story-telling that has followed me into motherhood.