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Friday, August 30, 2013

Hot, Cranky, and Full of WIN

Whew! Busy couple of days, even by my standards.

Thursday was the elementary school Meet-n-Greet, and we managed to also get haircuts for all three of us, go out to lunch (where Lizzy actually ate sushi with protein), and to hook up with the "only boy who doesn't chase... unless a girl asks him to," from Lizzy's pre-K; they are not in the same class in kindy, but they are in the same school. He and his little sister are now invited to Lizzy's Hello Kitty Birthday Party in the Park on Sunday the 8th, and she was thrilled that she found him. Lizzy's teacher is young but clearly knows exactly what she is doing, and is extremely understanding about things like birthdays on the second day of school.

Abby's teacher seems a kindred spirit; she had a Shel Silverstein poem posted on her classroom door.


If you are a dreamer, come in.
If you are a dreamer, a wisher, a liar,
A hope-er, a pray-er, a magic bean buyer . . .
If you're a pretender, come sit by my fire,
For we have some flax golden tales to spin.
Come in!
Come in!

Nats goes girly
And then (and THEN) today we went to the fair. After an early morning job interview for which I may have been underdressed, since I don't own a lot of business professional. My mother suggested that the two younger ones (Abbs and Liz) and she go to the fair all the way back before I got let go from my job (as she is my child care provider, and if I was working right now she would've had them with her all day anyway), and since I am not working, invited me along as another adult to split the chasing around duties. It was canned-food-drive-admission day, so we got in for three cans each (none for Liz because she's under six for another week). She also had the stellar idea of Abby and Lizzy each bringing a friend (and Lizzy the friend's mom, since they are little), as last year Abby started really getting cranky about having to go on "baby rides" with Lizzy when she wanted to try big ones (and most of them I won't go on with her; I don't do upside down). Now, Abby's friend Kiki is a very responsible girl, a couple years older than Abby and mature for that age, as well as possessing her own cell phone. So (with her dad's approval) we arranged for the big girls to play on the big rides (and check in by call or text every half hour) and Lizzy and her little friend to stay at the little kid rides with me and mom and the friend's mom.

Two regrets on this day: It would have been nice if we could've brought more kids, but sheesh - this was busy enough, we didn't have enough room in cars, and the only other kids we thought might like it live near enough that we thought they had already gone. And also, Abby is now too big for pony rides, which gives me (and her father) a sad.

And Miz Liz rides the water dragon
So the kids are overexcited, oversugared, and overtired (Abbs had a meltdown over who owned a given toy she and Kiki won in a joint game, and Lizzy was that child in the grocery store).

The moms and the grandma are sunburned, hot, and cranky.

There's a lot to do the rest of this weekend; I have two papers to write, Laston is taking Leanna for the last of her school supplies and a little "them time" (I think maybe movies?) as they missed the fair, and all three girls have manicure appointments Sunday afternoon. Plus the usual stuff - laundry and all that - and I should pack Abby a lunch for Tuesday and set out Abby's and Lizzy's First Day Of School clothes, and... you get the idea. But we had fun. Next year we're bringing our own food though; fair food is super-spendy.

Except for scones.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Saved by the Postcard

There has been a fair bit of pre-adolescent angst here this evening, as two of Abby's besties now loathe each other. One of them moved to a different area of town and moved up to Jr. High, and the other feels bereft and put upon and like the older girl doesn't like her any more. Abby is a kind-hearted soul (aside from her sometime attitude toward her little sister) and although she has probably never heard the phrase, she's a rather 'go along to get along' sort of person.

Like her mother.

Mind you, these are not the besties who spent all last winter fighting over who got to play with Abby, nor are they the ones who have moved away.

Abby is a social creature, and it hurts her when her friends dislike each other. She feels (and often is) caught in the middle.

However, there was a ray of hope today, in the form of the postcard we got from the school with Abby's class assignment (Lizzy's isn't here yet, which I suspect is because, as a kindergartner, she's a new student rather than a returning one. But I digress).

Because Abby's real bestie, the one she worked at seeing this summer even though we live outside of walking distance? She's in the same class as Abby is this year.

I'd better warn the teacher.

Monday, August 26, 2013

The Silver Lining

I am jobless, as you know. And this is my last week of school for this class. These two things work together to mean that I have more time than usual to do said school work, as well as things like going myself to school orientation for the kids, trips to the zoo, etc., rather than my mom taking them alone.

It also gives me time to do things like renting a storage unit to get ready for our move in the fall, arranging for school supplies and clothes (though Abby's dad does a lot of hers) and hanging out with the kids. Chasing down why Abby gets "head-explody feelings when I read for more than half an hour" (I think it's eye strain; we'll see what happens when we get her new glasses, for which I now have a prescription). Signing Lizzy up for Daisy Scouts, signing Abby up for art lessons (if they ever call me back), checking a website to see if Abby is, in fact, dyslexic (she says that she can't focus on the end of a word because her eyes jump to the next word). Setting up Lizzy's Hello Kitty Birthday Party At The Park.

And watching Abby's friend Kiki play Mario and Luigi both, because she can just get further than Abby can.

So there are silver linings.

But I'd rather have a great job I can keep for a long time.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

The Rollercoaster

I do not refer to this, nor this.

I refer to this.

Yes, the emotional roller coaster that this week has been.

Down: Monday of last week, I was let go from my job. This was unexpected, but as Washington is an at-will state, they can let me go (or I can quit) at any time, for any reason (or for none at all). The reason they gave was "not the right fit" and it was at my 90-day review. They were very kind, and somewhat regretful, but it is what it is, and there's not a lot to be done about it but buckle down into the job hunt again. Since I now have an associate's degree under my belt, this should be easier. Wish me luck.

Up: Also on Monday, we put a down payment on the manufactured home we're buying (don't worry; the check has cleared, and the combined mortgage and lot rental will be just over half our current rent. As soon as we move in, and it won't be ready until November. Dang it.) In any case, it will All Work Out In The End. Yay!

Down: So today, the plan is to take the girls on their annual trek to Grandma's Condo. We have to stop at the store first; we need a hoodie for Lizzy and some batteries for Abby's camera. Normally under these circumstances we go to Fred Meyer; it is nearby and is like a localized Target - food and everything else. But there's not one on the way tot he ferry dock that leads to Grandma's Condo, so we decide to go to Target.

We should have gone to Fred Meyer, driven the extra few blocks.

On the freeway, on the way to Target, there's stop-and-go traffic due to a collision - a bad one - up ahead. And... distracted by a car on the shoulder, I goed when I should've stopped. More precisely, I didn't stop soon enough, and rear-ended someone. Not very hard, nobody is hurt, both cars had minor damage - panels popped free and a bent license plate. But still, I rear-ended her, and therefore we exchange information.

And I can't find my bloody insurance card.

Sigh. Okay. Call the police; there are a gazillion State Patrol cars out here anyhow, because of the collision up the way. We get all that taken care of, I get a citation for driving "too fast for conditions" and another for "driving without proof of insurance" the latter of which can be waived down to a $35 fee when I find the card, or get a new one. So we continue on our way. We make it safely to Target, buy what we need, and head for the ferry.

Only to get stuck in another backup, and this time, the other driver's insurance agent calls me while I'm in it. It's fine, I have hands-free, so I'm trying to talk to him and find the right lane for the ferry and one would think the freaking insurance agent would let you go when you say, "I'm still driving," but no. So I finally get him off the phone, find the correct lane to be in. I'm frustrated and annoyed (mostly with myself; leave it to me to hit someone else when I'm just driving, not even on the phone or yelling at the kids), and I'm worried we won't make the ferry on time and that will throw everyone off, when Lizzy pokes me in the back of the neck and shrieks, "Slug Bug, no returns!" at the top of her shrill little lungs in my ear.

Now I am yelling - dare we say screaming - at the kids. At least one of them. And those big baby blues fill with tears because I "scawed" her and crap, I must really have done, because she's reverted to Fudd-speak. So I calmly suggest a little game of silence until we all calm down some, and we park the car.

After that I'm not able to speak, because - well - that's why they call it a rescue inhaler. I'm not in any kind of shape (except round) and I have exercise-induced asthma besides. By the time we make it onto the ferry - running up the long gangplank, natch - I'm wheezing up a storm. I collapse in a seat and motion the girls to sit next to me and take a couple hits off the rescue inhaler.

Breathing is good. I send Abby off to the galley (I can see it from my seat) to get some drinks.

Then my mom calls to tell me that they probably won't be at the other ferry dock, because traffic on their side sucks.

At this point I'm in very much of a "whatever" mood. Seriously?

Lizzy asks me with all seriousness what number sea we're on.

Yeah, Puget Sound is sort of a sea, but it isn't one of the seven seas.

"Well, mommy, then there should be eight."

And everything is okay again.

Scarlett O'Hara and all that. Tomorrow is another day. And I will spend it talking to insurance companies, looking for a job, and doing the most fun paper ever for school (I have to watch Like Water for Chocolate and write a paper about culture clash therein), plus cooking and laundry. I can handle this.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Abbyless Lizzy

Even though Abby goes to her father's house every other weekend, it's always a bit strange when Abby is gone for more than that two-day stretch. Late Sunday afternoon Lizzy got all antsy - just couldn't keep herself from jumping all over the place, singing, yelling, etc. This is fairly common for Lizzy anyway, but it seemed worse than usual. Of course, that might also have been the cake.

You see, Leanna turned thirteen this weekend (good lord, a teenager, where does the time go?) and so there was cake. Leanna's mom and good folk of the Fred Meyer bakery designed this 'elements cake' and Lizzy had a big piece. Leanna, being Leanna, also got herself a number of video games, some clothes, and makeup (holy cow, makeup, where does the time go?). And we're not done, of course, that's how we roll; we draw out birthdays as long as possible.

Anyway, Abbyless Lizzy gets a little squirrely. And she starts to sing. In the car, and - because she is Abbyless - she doesn't get interrupted, or get a pre-adolescent eye-roll because Abby is so much more sophisticated than nearly-six Lizzy. Today's song went like this:

This is a song about being
alone in the car
well, in the back seat
'cause Mom's in the front.

This is a song about the
stickers on my window.
The unicorn Leanna put there
before I was borned

And two Freddy Bears
and one Letter L
and one that's bright orange
and says, 'thank you for sho-opping wiiiith uuuuuusssss.'

This is a song about the
stickers on my window.
And this is the end
of my song.

This is in fact a typical song for Lizzy, just longer than most because without other kids there she is free to continue without big-sisterly ridicule.

And hoo boy, Leanna's birthday has passed; that means I have to start planning Lizzy's. With the Hello Kitty theme and - apparently - two cakes, one banana, one chocolate (because my mom's neighbor, one of Lizzy's favorite adults, likes banana, and Abby does not).

Even when she's Abbyless, Lizzy thinks of Abby...

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Missed Milestone

Today Abby and Lizzy went in for their annual well-child checks.

And I did not. This gives me a sad.

Grandma took them, armed with a note in my best HIPPA-ese, to the effect that she has permission to make any and all medical decisions but if they have a question, they should call me. She is already listed as cleared for this in their files, because she is their child care provider, but I thought it best to cover all bases.

They're a pretty healthy pair, Abby's allergies notwithstanding.

They're both dead on average for height, and a bit over where the doctor wants them in weight (Lizzy less so than Abby; she never stops moving). So, in correct Hufflepuff fashion, Grandma and Abby are making a chart of favorite foods and determining which of the offenders should be eaten when. Cutting down on processed carbs and fats, essentially, (one egg and one slice of bacon and one slice of toast instead of two, for instance) but because they are who they are (I come by it honestly, although I'm better with bulleted lists), this is best accomplished by making a chart to keep track of it all.

Lizzy's tendency to walk pigeon-toed is apparently not bad enough to require correction, much as the eye doctor said about Abby's slightly lazy eye yesterday.

Happy, healthy, generally civilized kids. Yay!

EDIT: Although they don't actively test reading level at the family doctor, Lizzy was reading to Grandma while the doc checked Abby out. Lizzy's reading level is above kindergarten, which (given two years of pre-K and her sixth birthday being the second day of kindergarten this year) is not surprising. The doctor also asked Lizzy to draw a picture of a person. They look for at least five features in the picture, to see where the kid is in observation skills and the ability to hold a pencil correctly and that sort of thing. Lizzy's had fifteen. Smart little girl, with enormously helpful big sister-teachers!

They both have excellent hearing, so I guess the issue there is more selective hearing on their parts. Which is totally normal, especially for Abby's pre-adolescent age group. They both have great distance vision (Abby's glasses being for close work).Clearly, Abby's enormous organizational skills (as noted above with the food chart) will serve her well in fifth grade; it's apparently a lot more intensive than fourth these days. Thank goodness for Grandma, homework goddess!

Saturday, August 3, 2013

That... could have gone better...

Posted on Google Plus half an hour ago:
Oh dear...
Abby (10.5, bursting in from outdoors): Is Leanna the boss of me?
Laston and me: No
Abby (running out again): Told you!
Two minutes later...
Lizzy (nearly 6, bursting in): Mom, is Leanna the boss of Abby?
Me: No. I told Abby that.
Lizzy: Well, she might have lied...
Me: No, Leanna is not the boss of Abby.
Lizzy (rushing out): Darn it!
I have to say, I'm kind of dreading finding out what this is all about. And wondering why the Leanna in question (13 next week) hasn't come in herself. Is she just feeling lazy and would rather send Lizzy? Or is she afraid we'll tell her no to her face?
So they come in. And I ask Leanna what that was all about, because she's the only kid I haven't heard from. She says, in true adolescent fashion, "Nothing," which sets off my mama-radar, and I tell her that no, she's not in charge. She says, "Even in an emergency?" and I explain that really, it depends on the emergency; if Abby's not breathing, for instance, she knows how to use her own epi-pen better than Leanna does.

"We were just playing a game!"

Okay, but Abby sounded upset and Lizzy did too, so what kind of game?

Abby pipes up at this point, and Lizzy throws in her two cents in as interrupting a way as possible (as is typical for Lizzy) and after sorting through the babble, it seems that they were playing a game involving a wolf pack migrating, and Leanna is in charge in the game because she's the alpha wolf. Or something.

Oh. Why didn't you say so?

But now Leanna's feelings are hurt because I don't think she's responsible enough to be in charge in an emergency, and she's doing all that lovely adolescent eye-rolling and huffing and door-slamming, and denying that she's doing any such thing, and I'm just trying to get her to shut up and listen long enough for me to apologize for the misunderstanding.

Then she doesn't want an apology, she just wants to finish the game, and she's in full-on defensive teen mode, and Lizzy's interrupting again. And there are teenage italics everywhere. Someone's going off to Toshi Station to get some power converters at any minute.

So now the big kids are (finally) playing their game in their room, And Lizzy's out with me ("She keeps threatening to fart at us, Mom!") watching Charlie Brown on Netflix, and the dishwasher is running and I've almost finished my homework for the day and my elbow is only just now starting to ache. I'm going to put this one down to adolescent angst and parental assumptions.

Things are looking up.