Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Something Old, Something New

I bring all the old reliables out to the blacktop: bikes, chalk, bubbles.  They serve as a nice rotation when Hadley and Harper are out here.

I bring my camera out just in case there will be a good story to tell, but assume it'll just be more of the H's chalking and biking it up.

But then Hadley goes and writes the alphabet.  Backwards.

And Harper figured out how to blow bubbles without swallowing (too much) bubble juice.

And we found some friends to join in on our hopscotch game.

You might notice that there's not really an order to what's in the hopscotch squares.  The kids used letters, numbers, and just left some blank.  Why not? 

It was a good day out on the blacktop.  I'm glad I broght my camera.

I'm linking up to Becky's blog over at "Rub Some Dirt on It," and adorable blog that's worth checking out!


Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Why I Think I Won't Homeschool

During quiet time, Hadley sometimes likes to practice her letters and words.  The worksheets she currently works on have the two solid lines and the dashed line in between to help write the letters correctly.  Hadley doesn't follow those lines, and she also likes to fit as many words as she can on one line.  Very much the engineer, this one.

Recently, after completing an exercise, Hadley showed it to me and I told her that while it was good (Great! Spectacular! Outstanding!), she was supposed to write the words out using the lines as guides....not smooshed up making it difficult to read them.

"Would you like to re-do this, Hadley?"

"Sorry Mom, I only do things once."

Friday, June 24, 2011

Overheard At The Playroom Table.....

The conversations between Hadley and Harper are currently the best argument to have more than one kid.  The following conversation occured while the girls were coloring together, and I think what's important to point out is that it was completely quiet before Harper began talking. As far as I know, nothing except what was in her brain prompted this discussion.  And after the conversation ended, it was quiet again.  The only thing you could hear were their crayons nubbing along on the paper.

 I was laughing a little bit, too.

"Hadwee, panda bears eat shampoo."


"I said, 'panda bears eat shampoo.'"

"No they don't, they eat bamboo."


That's what older sisters are for, Harps.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Probably Won't See This On The Food Network

I'm taking a creative nonfiction course through the folks over at IMAGE and I'm halfway through it.  I was looking at some of the earlier things that I wrote for the class and thought that the following piece would match the pictures I took earlier of me and Hadley baking chocolate chip cookies.  (Note that in my piece we are making raspberry crumb bars, not chocolate chip cookies.  I'm not sure that's super important because the theme of the piece holds no matter what we were making.)

“Mama, can I help you cook?” Hadley asks me when she spots me with my finger on a recipe for Raspberry Crumb Bars from the Magnolia Bakery Cookbook.

She sits cross legged on the kitchen counter, hunched forward working on writing words she knows: “Hadley,” “Harper,” “Mom,” “Dad,” “No Boys Allowed.” Her hair is swept up in a pink ribbon to match the black and pink sweatshirt and leggings she’s wearing. I keep my finger on the ingredient list for the Raspberry Crumb Bars and look towards her.  Her four year old fingers grip the marker she’s writing with and her eyes are lowered so I get the full effect of her eyelashes.

Yes, you can help me cook.” I say.

“Great!” she puts the marker down, and swings her legs around to let them dangle off the counter.

The sun pours into our condo, and I see shadows of tree branches on the walls above the bookshelves.  I look for buds.

“Can you help me get down, Mama?”

“Sure.” I place my hands under Hadley’s armpits and hoist her on my hip. I should put her on the ground, but just because I can still do it, just because she still fits perfectly on my hip, I hold her for a second and give her a kiss on her cheek.

“OK, so what ingredients do we need?” Hadley asks, all business.

I put her down and we step over to the pantry to get the flour and sugar.  “Never Say Never” by The Fray plays on the radio. The lead singer pleads, “don’t let me go” over and over.

“I love this song.” I say as I dump a pound of butter into a saucepan.

“Mmmmm, I don’t really like it.  It’s not fast.” Hadley’s at my hip standing on tip toes with her hands on the oven door.  She reaches her neck out as far as she can to see what’s going on.

I put my hand on her head and say, “OK, when this melts, we’re going to mix it with the flour then pat it down to make a crust.”

“OK.” Hadley says, and then begins to pick her nose.

“OH, Hadley, yuck!  You can’t do that if you want to help me!”

“Sorry.” She says.

“It’s OK.  Go to the bathroom and wash your hands.” I say. I move the butter around the pan so it won’t brown.

Hadley comes back and shows me her hands are damp from being washed.

“Thank you, Hadley.” I say, and hand her a spoon and a bowl.  She puts them on the counter next to the stove where I am, then brings over a stool to stand on.

“I’m sorry I picked my nose, Mama.”

I pour a cup and a half of flour in her bowl, and then add the melted butter.

“Stir that together.” I tell her.


“The most important thing to know about this recipe is that nobody wants boogers in their Raspberry Crumb Bars.” I take the spoon and scrape the sides of the bowl.

Hadley shrugs her shoulders and says, “I might.”

On the radio I hear violins string out the first short, confident notes of “I Used to Rule the World” by Coldplay.  The radio sends me all sorts of messages today.  Just like motherhood.

Monday, June 20, 2011

New Toy

This is a picture of the Polly Pocket Ice Cream Waterslide Pool....or something close to that title.

It's Hadley's new toy for getting 10 stickers.  Why did she earn 10 stickers, you ask?  Because she stayed in bed past 7am 10 times.  We told her if she could do that, each morning she would get a sticker.  When she got 10 stickers, we'd buy her a treat.

I don't know.  It probably seems like too much to get your kid to sleep or just STAY IN BED until 7am.  But I need some time to prepare for the creation that is four.  Four is non-stop.  Four talks A LOT.  Four doesn't ever seem to run out of questions.  There isn't strong enough coffee for me to drink to keep up with four.

So we bought Hadley a clock.

We showed her how to tell when it is 7.  We put it right next to her bed.  We started drilling her about four hours before she went to bed that she was not to come out of the bedroom until that clock read 7am. 

"How can you tell it's 7, Hadley?"

"When the little hand is on 7 and the big hand is on 12."

"That's right.  And when do you come out of the bedroom?"



Monday morning, Hadley's in our room at 5:45am.  A.M.!!!!!!

"Hadley!"  I say.  "Look at your clock!  It's not seven yet!"

Hadley goes back to her room and a half an hour later she comes in carrying the clock.

"Momma, it's 7 o'clock."

"No it's not, Hadley."

"Well, my clock says 7.  I think pink clocks are faster."

Anyway,  she did it 10 times and we bought her a Polly Pocket Ice Cream Waterslide toy.  On the way home from Target, I asked Hadley if she remembers why she has this toy. 

"Yes, because I stayed in bed until 7 o'clock."

"That's right, and I really appreciate that."

"Thanks, Mama.  But Mama?  Can I tell you something?"


"I really don't like to sleep in.  I don't want to miss anything.  I don't know how much longer I can do this."

Friday, June 17, 2011

Swim Lessons

Sometimes when something's hard,

it's best to do it with friends.

(P.S. Hadley pushed off and swam to her swim teacher in the last picture. Just in case anyone's concerned Harper dunked her.....which could've happened.)

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

What She Took With Her

Throughout the year, when I would pick Hadley up from school, our conversations would go like this:
"Hi, Hadley!  How was school?"


"What'd ya do?"

"I can't remember."

Finally, after being asked this clearly way too many times, Hadley suggests, "Mamma, you always ask that question and I always tell you I don't remember.  I think you should come up with something else to say."

Minutes later the conversation turns to boogers and poop, and I am sneaking looks at Hadley's folder on the way home to catch a glimpse of what went on while she was away from me.

So I don't know all that went on this year while Hadley was in school, and I'm fine with that. It seems as though part of learning about oneself consists of having some of one's own memories to wonder about.  But it is part of who I am to mark things down as time goes by.  It's why I write a blog.  It's why I have all my planners from 1990.

Besides, if left to Hadley's devices, this is what would be "remembered" of her 2010-2011 school year. 

Driving to Royal Crown Bakery for breakfast on the last day of school:  "So Hadley, what do you remember about preschool this year?"

"I remember when I was 3 and I went to school with an orange dress with pink polka dots."

"I don't remember that dress."

"Right.  You don't remember that dress because it was in my dream."

I kept most of Hadley's artwork from the school year, but the thing that I can't throw away is her carpool number.  I know I made fun of it when I first got it, but it has become a badge for me.  I was proud to be in line with the other parents dropping our children off and picking them up from school.  It made me feel like I was a part of something, like we were all sharing a part of this parenting thing together. 

I've started writing down little things that I remember on the sheet: the toys Hadley brought for show and tell, the songs we sang on the way to school, the story she and I read on the first day of school (Dotty by Erica Perl - a must read for all children and anyone who can't find their imagination), the day I hit a turtle on the way to school and Hadley said, "It's OK, Mama.  He has a hard shell.  I don't think you hurt him."  I'll keep this along with Hadley's artwork so I don't forget.

I told Hadley I'd take her out to breakfast anywhere she wanted for the last day of school.  She decided on the Royal Crown Bakery.
The thing you have to know about this place is that everything they make is delicious.  The bagels are New York style bagels, the cannoli will have you saying, "Keep the cannoli" for the rest of your life, and the sandwiches are out of this world.   The other thing you need to know is that the people behind the counter, scare me a little bit.  They're nice, but they don't mess around. 

"Whadya gettin'?" one of them will say and I'm never sure whether they're talking to me.  I'm so afraid I won't answer in time and then I won't get my bagel or donut (or bagel AND donut, because they're THAT GOOD and I can't decide).

On the morning Hadley, Harper and I were there, a customer struck up a conversation with one of the ladies behind the counter.  The customer told her that she looked very similar to another lady who worked there.

"YEA, THAT'S MY SISTER. (I'm typing in all caps to convey a sense of volume.)  SHE'S SO LOUD.  SHE'S ALWAYS LIKE, 'WHADYA WANT?'"

I started laughing and Hadley looked at me.  She started laughing too.  I don't think she was laughing at the same thing I was laughing at, but it was nice to be together at the Royal Crown Bakery sharing a laugh before she went to school. 

Even if we remember the memory differently from one another.  It was nice to be together.

Monday, June 13, 2011

How to Get Through a Maze According to Hadley

Hadley is really into word searches, crossword puzzles, and mazes these days.  One afternoon, while helping Tinker Bell get through a maze, she said, "Mama, if there's a line in the way, I just go through it."

Seems like excellent Monday morning advice to me.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Say W.H.A.T.?

Here we are in a Jeep cruisin' on the beach looking for wild horses.  You know, just your typical Thursday afternoon type of errand.  The Tour was called W.H.A.T. and the first two letters stand for Wild Horses, but I can't remember what the A and T stand for.  Are Tooting?  No, that can't be it.  Anyway, it was a really cool tour.

These guys are all over the place in this part of the Outer Banks.  By the way, this is as OBX as you can get.  There are no paved roads.  It's all beach.  And people live here.  It's pretty much as Into the Wild as I'll ever get.  The houses are gorgeous, but Mama needs a Target and a Starbucks. 

The funniest part of the tour for me was the conversation between Jesse and our tour guide.  Because we told him we weren't from North Carolina, he thought he'd fill us in on what it's like living in an area where there are a lot of hurricanes. 

Tour Guide Guy: "Hurricanes don't effect us.  We live in a bubble."

Jesse: "Oh yeah?"

Tour Guide Guy: "Yeah.  The weather and where we are makes it so the hurricanes just can't get at us like in the other parts of OBX."

Poor Jesse.  It was like watching that scene in Friends where Pheobe tries to convice Ross that maybe evolution isn't exactly what all his research says it is. 

Ooooo!  But we got some really great pictures!

Fun tour.  I highly recommend it if you're ever in the Outer Banks.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Just Like We Do It

It's really important to make sure your child eats healthy.  Introduce fruits and vegetables early on so they'll become used to the taste of things like peas and carrots and watermelon.  Sometimes you have to introduce a food to your bundle of joy 14,345 times before she will eat it.  But it's so worth the nagging and screaming because you know you are doing the right thing and your daughter will totally thank you for it later.

I suppose it's OK to give them a treat every now and then.  But be warned: things like chocolate and sugar can alter the behavior of your offspring.

It's also important that you set a good example and eat healthy, too.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Keep Me Floating Just For Awhile

Here are my thoughts about being in my family:

I'm standing at an edge of the Atlantic Ocean digging my heels and toes into the pebbly sand as the undertoe tries to drag me in.  I'm watching my brother boogie board along huge waves I haven't been close to in a long time.  Geoff screams, "You gotta come in!  It's awesome!"  And I want to but behind me are Hadley and Harper. 

They're flying a kite with my dad and I know they don't care if I go in, but I have this voice in my head that convinces me that now that I'm a mother I shouldn't have any fun.  Well, fun, sure, but good for you stuff that makes you into a better person fun.  Exercise. Writing. Prayer. Eating watermelon.  It's good to enjoy these things, but throwing yourself into an oncoming wave twice your height?  That's not appropriate. 

Besides, yesterday somebody caught a stingray on the beach right around where I am standing.

But the undertoe is strong and I'm watching Geoff, my sister-in-law Kellee, my cousin Tara, her husband Pete, and their oldest son Cole dive into these foaming monsters with wild abandonment and laughing hysterically.  I giggle at their laugther and lift my heels a little so that the water drags me in.  Just a little.  I can easily come out of it if that voice starts to get too strong and I have a sudden urge to cut up some watermelon for everyone.

Except I start to hop the waves as they come in and that gets me a little deeper into the ocean.  Soon, I'm feet away from Kellee and Tara.  The three of us are watching a wave tower over us when Kellee screams, "GUARD YOUR LOINS!!!!"  She takes protective measures and jumps into the wave's crest.  The wave slams into me and I'm flipped over unsure of where all my limbs are.  I suppose I should be scared but Kellee's warning paired with getting totally beat up by a wave brings out a lovely carelessness in me and I can't stop laughing.

Geoff makes his way over and hands me a boogie board. 

"You have to use this.  It's so fun." 

I take the board because if I don't it'll just ride the wave itself.  There's no time for that silly voice in my head to tell me, "That's enough.  You could get hurt.  Besides, you're laughing too loud."  Because what my brother is doing is so simple - he wants me to join in the fun.  Stop dragging your heels, Callie, and get on the darn board. 
It reminded me of something that happened between Hadley and Harper last summer in a music class they took.  Harper stood next to me holding my hand with her head towards the ground the entire time while Hadley frolicked and sang with the other kids.  One week, however, Harper had a slight smile on her face and began to wiggle a bit with the music.  Hadley saw it, came out of the group, and grabbed Harper's hand.  Just like Geoff, it wasn't an option.  She knew Harper would have fun and there was no reason she needed to second guess herself about it.  Hadley unclasped Harper's hand in mine, replaced it with hers, and brought Harper into the group. Harper stayed and sang and danced.  And eventually, she let go of Hadley's hand and did it all by herself.

Before we knew it, Harper didn't want to leave.  She wanted to stay in music class.  She wanted everyone to stay in music class.  Music class is the greatest!