Sunday, April 29, 2012

Leader of the Pack

Anyone who knows us knows that David teaches elementary school.  Anyone who knows us also knows he's damn good at what he does.  What people may not know is that David actually started his career in sales for Hilton Hotels and only decided to become a teacher after a drunken weekend in New Orleans...but that's another post.

We just marked a major moment in David's career.  He was voted Teacher of the Year at his school...for the second time in five years.  Yeah, he's that cool.  The district held a reception in honor of the nominated teachers, which only slightly confused Morgan.  As David made his way up to receive his award, she just kept asking, "Is it his birthday, Mom?" 

But she eventually caught on and gave him the same obligatory applause the rest of us did.

David was beaming.  He got a snazzy little certificate and a nifty plaque.  We were thrilled.

But then it was announced that all of the teachers being honored that night had been entered into a drawing for a Kindle Fire.  And wouldn't you know it, David was the lucky winner.

I am just so proud of my husband.  He reminds me everyday that he has dedicated his life to the children. Okay, and maybe the giveaways.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Fear Factor

I recently did something many would consider brave, stupid, or downright crazy. I took four toddlers on a 30 minute walk to our local park for a play date and picnic.  It wasn't until we were well on our way that I realized the gravity of my decision.  I was in charge...of all of us.

Rather than spend a few hours letting the girls run free, I felt compelled to crush their little spirits with warnings about everything that could go wrong on our little outing.
  1. We must hold hands when we cross the street so none of us are mowed down by a high-speed vehicle that isn't on the lookout for small children.
  2. We don't talk to strangers while at the park so no creepy predators try to lure anyone way with promises of candy or puppies.
  3. We stay far away from any open canals or fast moving water in the event any of us are swept into a storm drain.
Fortunately, the girls took my warnings with a grain of salt and spent their night snacking on goldfish crackers, climbing up the slide, and shaking pebbles out of their shoes.  I, however, was exhausted.  When I relayed the story to David, he just said, "Amy, why does everything have to be a teaching moment?" 

And so the next time we went to the park, I tried to spend a little less time making sure Morgan didn't get any bumps or bruises-

I tried to help her take a few more risks -

And I tried to help her find her sense of adventure-

As the sun began to set, I finally let go.  And off she ran, wind in her hair, brave as could be.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Show Me A Sign

Morgan, like most toddlers, has always had a love of pens and pencils and paint.  She started with watercolors, which was great because they conveniently washed off of every unintended surface. Like the walls, and the couch, and the dog.

As her skills progressed, she moved on to actual art projects-

And eventually upgraded to markers-

And then, when she quit trying to draw mustaches on me (the one I've got is bad enough), we let her use a pen. With real ink.  Like the kind that won't wash out.

Wouldn't you know it, she actually figured out what to do with it.  At 3 1/2, she can write my name, her name, and just about anything else you're willing to spell for her (yes, I have resisted the urge to have her spell curse words...for now) -

You've come a long way, baby.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Animal Magnetism

The thing about taking kids to the zoo is that it's almost impossible to get a picture of them looking at you.  Instead, you spend most of the time taking pictures of their backsides.  They're too interested in staring at some poor creature who has already been gawked at, yelled at, and otherwise accosted by the 200 kids who already passed by its cage.  Going to the zoo is a very authentic experience.

However, that did not stop us from venturing out with some friends last weekend.  We spent a good part of the afternoon looking at the animals -

Pretending to be the animals-
Exhibit A: Whistle Pigs (a.k.a Groundhogs)
Exhibit B: Lions
Exhibit C:  Rams? 
And, of course, riding the animals off into the sunset...or around and around in a circle. They're three, just go with it.

Just when we thought the allure of the animals had worn off, we remembered. The goats.While most families come to the zoo with a few extra dollars in quarters to feed the crazy-eyed buggers, we're the family who never remembers until it's too late.  Every time we go, we spend at least ten minutes following behind kids whose hand aren't quite big enough to carry all the pellets or checking behind the dispenser after someone walks away.  Finding a piece of goat food at the zoo is a little bit like panning for gold.  Every nugget counts.

And as we sat for one of the one-armed family photos I am getting so good at taking, I realized exactly why we like the goats so much...

They could clearly fit right in our family.  The resemblance is uncanny....on David's side, of course. 

Friday, April 13, 2012

Two for One Special

I haven't been blogging as much as I'd like to, but when I do, they all seem to be epic posts.  This little bad boy is no exception, as we just had an epic weekend.  Being a spring baby (thanks, Mom!) has meant that my birthday has fallen on Easter Sunday on more than one occasion.  This was one of those years.

I started off my birthday getting up to speed on the book everyone else read two years ago. It did not disappoint. 

I then decided to make my own birthday cake.  Martha Stewart can suck it.

And then it was time to get our Easter on. We had the standard visit from the Easter Bunny, quickly followed by a mad dash for plastic eggs.


Of course, no Easter is complete without getting your child to awkwardly pose in her new dress, complete with props.  For the record, the bunny was her idea.

We took some time for the semi-annual church event.  This would have been a delightful experience had the pastor not decided to include some random references to John Lennon and the price of albino body parts (don't ask).

The rest of the day was all about me.  I was serenaded by the most precious soloist I know, who happened to lead with "Happy Birthday" and close with a strong rendition of "Mary Had A Little Lamb." 

And then I turned 36 with about all the maturity I could muster. 

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Uphill Both Ways In The Snow

We are fortunate to have some very well-connected friends.  No, they don't own a jet or a yacht.  They don't serve caviar or or drink martinis with their pinkies out.  They own a the mountains.  And in Idaho, you don't get any cooler than that.  Well, except maybe for the fact they invited us to enjoy a weekend with them before the snow melted.  Yeah, we pounced on that.

Because 2012 is the year of doing, we decided to try something new.  Snowshoeing.

And it rocked.  There is something about the crisp air and pristine surroundings that tend to make rose-colored glasses just a little bit rosier.  For one day, I got to pretend that we were on a snowy frontier, tredging our way through uncharted land. You know, like Lewis & Clark, but with granola bars and bottled water. Practically the same.

We walked for nearly two hours.  Unsure of how Morgan would do being out there for so long, we started off pulling her in the sled.

But that was short lived.  Morgan wanted to be a big kid and walk with me.  Which she did, for most of the time. 

We walked for miles.  All the while, she was by my side, chatting about the meaning of life and the importance of avoiding yellow snow.

Then her little legs began to get weary and she couldn't quite keep up.  She started to lag behind, occasionally calling for me to slow down.

But then she quit calling for me.  So I turned around.  And there she was. Done. So much for the frontier.