Sunday, August 14, 2011

Monday, February 22, 2010

Catching up with a morning blog!

My family has succeeded at making me feel guilty for being so far behind on my blog so I am going to try this. I am going to blog in the morning instead of at night. By the time I get to quiet time at night when all the kids are in bed my brain squeals that it is quiet time for it too. So even though I can continue to go through the motions of laundry or whatever else there is that needs to be done the brain has officially shutdown.

Everything is going pretty well! As a matter of fact at the Family meeting yesterday Louis and I only had minimal concerns ... put the bikes up in the evening, reminders to close the bathroom door (they are still knocking and so that is great!). Hmmm maybe they feel like if they do not shut the door they are helping the other family members out since they then do not have to knock! No ... I think they are just getting in too big of a hurry. ; )

Jennifer is going to be gone until Thursday, she is getting a good friend to help her study for the EMT exam. I am so thankful for Seven, she has been very good to Jennifer. I was talking to Jenn this AM which led to a pep talk about the word "try". I told her she needed to get that word out of her vocabulary. The word try gives us an easy out. The only words she should use are, AM, CAN, WILL, CONSIDER IT DONE, etc. She said okay ... I hope she really thinks about that.

Allison is struggling in school in several areas. They tested her math skills specifically a week ago or so and she is at a level below where she should be. Jenn and I are meeting with all of the teachers and the counselor on Friday to discuss ideas and plans. I also ordered a few systems to help with math, reading, and deductive reasoning. It is going to be some long hours of studying for her but it is critical. She just started at this school in January. It irritates me that the school she went to before this did not catch this. They have been letting her fall through the cracks for a while ... I shutter to think what might have happened had the kids not moved here.

Matthew is doing great! Grades are good, behavior is good. He is very gifted in alot of areas but he does not like changes to his routine. He is also very affected by energy whether it is positive or negative. I know we all are but his is so much more evident I think. He loves Ms. Manis as do we, she has has a very calming demeanor. Other teachers he has had complained of behavior issues but now I have to wonder if they were negative or disorganized. He would not do well with that.

Braeden is just so naturally charming! If you do get upset with him it will not last when he flashes that disarming smile. After talking to his teacher Ms. Meeks, and the principal along with other "been there done that" people Jennifer has decided to have him do 1st grade again next year. His birthday is in August which makes him almost a full year younger than most of classmates. I went on his field trip to the museum last week and I told Jennifer that keeping him back is definitely a good idea. He really is not as mature as the others. In children there are those times that the difference a year makes is phenomenal and I believe that jump from 6-7 is one of them. Those other boys in his class are very much BOYS in there actions and words and size. Braeden is still very much a LITTLE BOY in those ways. When I first got there and saw Braeden with another one of the boys I thought, "Oh he must have been held back, look how much taller and bigger he is than Braeden". And then another and I thought WOW another one that was possibly held back. And then I got to really scanning the crowd and realized, "No, Braeden is just little!" Doing this with Braeden I think will put a lift in his step next year. He does get down on himself at times.

Well enough of that let me tell you about the field trip. It was so much fun. We went to the Fort Worth Museum of Science and History. If it is in my power I will not miss any of their field trips as long as they want me there! There is nothing brighter than Braeden's face when I tapped him on the shoulder to let him know I was there. He turned around and it took him a minute I think to process that it was really me, then he smiled in such a way that every tooth in his mouth showed and his eyes lit up!

He went back to playing but every so often I would see him leaned over to a friends ear, hand over mouth, eyes cut in my direction, finger pointing at me, and in a voice I am sure in his world seemed like a whisper he said, "That is my Grandma!". He was so proud. When Ms. Meeks divided up the kids, 2-3 to an adult, and then told them to be sure and stay with their adults, Braeden grabbed me and hugged me and said, "I am staying with my Grandma!"

For the record, Braeden loved the dinosaur exhibit and the dino dig site but hated the Omni theatre. If you have not been, in the beginning they have it so you feel like you are in a helicopter, bobbing and weaving over the city. You really do at one point feel like you are falling forward out of your seat. It is unnerving! I was okay because I knew that was pretty much the worst of it ... Braeden did not feel that way so we went to the Quiet Room. You still get the effect but it is not as intense. Braeden said the Quiet Room was like moving around in a robot and I thought that was a great analogy.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Field Trip to the Aquarium

A couple of weeks ago Matthew came home with a permission slip for a field trip and I, being the perfect Grandma wannabe, asked Matthew about me going with them. He did not seem too excited so I blew it off thinking he might be one of those kids that are embarrassed when home life crosses over into the privacy of their "professional" lives. Well yesterday Matthew comes home all excited about the field trip that he and I are going on! Oh my gosh, I had not planned that in my schedule! What is a Grandma to do? ; ) I just told myself I could not do it but I guess I had some kind of a dream about it because I woke up thinking I have to go ... it is too important to Matthew. Can I make it work? So today I went to the Dallas World Aquarium with Matthew's second grade class. It is confirmed ... I am officially now a stay at home Grandma! And I can do this stuff because even though I have a schedule it is my schedule and I can adjust it as needed.

Ya know these events are not cheap with the cost of admission, parking and the gift shop but I have to tell you it was worth every penny and every minute of my time. Matthew was so proud that I was there and he was so attentive. He was constantly aware of where I was and so protective, constantly looking around to make sure I was keeping up with the class. And everytime he looked at me the sweetest smile came across his face. I could just feel how proud he was that I showed up.

Another thing I noticed is that just like at home where Matthew is very black and white regarding the pecking order making it hard for him to understand that even though I am Jennifer's mother and basically the matriarch in this house Jennifer is his mother and so he still reports to her. Matthew does not like fuzzy, for him it is what it is. Order is important to him and everything has to be in order. So away from home and on the field trip, my role changes, the order changes ... in his mind on the field trip Ms. Mannis is the one in charge and he continued to defer to her even though I was there. I was very proud of him, his maturity was amazing. So many kids his age would take on the attitude that they did not have to listen to the teacher anymore since Grandma was there but not Matthew.

The final observation I made was that we really do not see our kids / grandkids mature at the same rate we notice that others do. Maybe it is because they are so close and we see them everyday or maybe it is that we subconsciously do refuse to believe they are growing up right before our eyes. A little boy in Matthew's class referred to his Granny using her first and last name. My mind started racing, "Oh my gosh, Matthew is behind, he is not as smart as the other kids in his class, he does not know my name, he just thinks I am Grandma. How come we never thought to teach him our real names. Should I ask him? What if he does not know and I embarrass him in front of the kids? But I have to know!" So I lean over and quietly whisper, "Matthew what is my first name?" He says, "Beverly". I say "What is my last name?" He says, "Shorter". I breathe a sigh of relief thinking, he is not behind, he is keeping up, he is paying attention! And then I just sit back and watch him ... he is such a great kid! He really is so mature for his age and as I watch the other kids I wonder how did I ever question whether or not he was keeping up? Of course he is. It will be interesting to see where life takes him.

I learned today that it really is so important to get involved in your kids activities at school. It gives you a window into a side of your kids that you will never see at home.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Going out and we are out ...

Allison asked us to take her roller skating and I hesitated thinking about all of the things I had (or I felt like I HAD) to do. But then I thought ya know she is 13 and so her wanting to spend time with the "old folks" may be drawing to a close! With that in mind I quickly made a mental reorganization of my to do list and said "OK!" I asked her if she wanted to invite Heather and of course that met with an enthusiastic yes. She then made it clear that she just wanted Grandpa and I to go .... awwww I was beaming I am sure, at the thought of Allison just wanting us to go. And as quickly as I processed that thought a new one followed ... it could very well be that she just wants a break from the little brothers and if we ALL go then we would have to include the little guys. Oh well I will just choose to believe she just wanted to hang out with us, I mean even if that is not the whole reason I am SURE it is part of it. ;) Anyway we had a blast and decided to replace our daily walk with roller skating on Wednesday's.

So you know what that means ... we will have to make special days with the boys. Not sure what it will be yet but we are going to take them on the train Saturday to Dallas, have lunch and then ride it home. This was a save the day idea because this morning as a response to a question I nonchalantly said, "I am going to take the train to Dallas and meet Grandpa". The boys seem interested in that but not overly interested. Then Louis says he left money on the counter for the train. Weeeeelllll ... as the saying goes little pitchers have big ears, or something like that. Hmmm that does not really make sense. But anyway Jennifer says Matthew and Braeden are sitting at the top of the stairs with their chins on their chests and she overhears Braeden say, "Grandpa is taking Grandma on the train". She said it was like they felt so betrayed that he was letting a "girl" in the club! Geeez Louise, just call me Darla. (You have to be old enough to remember Little Rascals to know who Darla is).

But really what were we thinking? You do not talk about riding on a train in front of a 6-7 yr old boys and not expect some fallout!! So our surprise for after school is to plan our trip on the train.

So far the only really big thing we are having a hard time figuring out is bedtime. Getting the boys to go to sleep is a challenge! If we figure out what works we will tell you or ideas are welcome!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Matthew's Blog

And FYI, most of our animals are outside/shop animals! We do not have that many in the house. We just cannot seem to say no to a critter that needs a home! ; )

Sunday, January 17, 2010

The Family Meeting is a MUST!

Third post for today.

I cannot say it enough how great I think the concept of the Family Meeting is. If you have kids it is a MUST! It serves a purpose in regards to the mechanics of a household but that is nothing compared to the self confidence it instills in all of us especially the kids. When I started this I really envisioned it being a battle to get the kids to participate. Oh my gosh was I wrong ... the kids do not let us forget it, they run it, and they hate for it to end. Giving them a platform to speak their minds and have it actually heard with no distraction is so empowering for them. When they speak everyone else is hanging on every word ... they love it! And they are giving serious input too. Yes some of it is just them repeating what one of the adults has already said as if it were their idea but I do not care ... they are listening ... they are engaged ... they are hanging on your every word! They respect the talking stick and let me tell you if you don't they WILL call you down for it! ; )

Give it a try ... you will be glad you did!

A Mom is a Mom is a Mom ...

The kids have it figured out, now they just need the t-shirt that says "If Mom says no ask Grandma or Grandpa or Megan. But Matthew REALLY has it figured out. He understands the power of "a Mom" and the hierarchy of the Mom figure in the family. He told me the other day as I was fixing dinner that he was not hungry and I said, "Well of course you are not after eating those 2 muffins". Now that is exactly what I said but just like there is French and Spanish and English there is also the Adult language and the 7 yr old language because here is how he translated that to his Mom. "Mom, Grandma said I did not have to eat dinner." She said, "Well I am the Mom and you have to eat dinner." As he flipped his hand towards the living room where I was sitting and cocked his head he told Jennifer, "Well she is YOUR Mom".

Then a few days later he came to me with a dilemma and I said, "Well Matthew that sounds like a discussion you need to have with your Mom." And he said, with a combination of surety and confusion in his voice, "You're a mom."

And so ... this is the latest thing I predicted so accurately when I said before we even started this arrangement, "I am sure things will come up and we will have to work them out as we go". The lines of authority can get blurred for the kids and so it is important to remind them that when Mom is here or when it can wait for Mom, Mom is IT!

I am so loving life right now ...