Tuesday, June 14, 2011

End of The School Year

I love the end of the school year. It's such a waste of educational time and yet seriously important. I mean where would we be without memories of field day or yearbook signing? A lot has changed in school since we were kids, but some things are still the same. I love those things.

Last week was Blue and Gold (aka: field day) at the school. All three kids had a blast. Especially Sicily. She has watched her brother and sister play Blue and Gold games for the last four years. Her time finally arrived. She was a pro at every game since she's spent the last four years figuring them out. Although it was a scorcher week, they all three had a wonderful memory making time.

Along with field day, they also got their yearbooks and spent time going around school and getting signatures. By the way, "Have a great summer" is still the most popular thing to write in yearbooks. Chris also got a lot of great comments about his hair. In fact his teacher wrote a class poem that included an ode to his hair. What can I say? The boy really does have great hair.

Chris also won a special award this year. He got the Peace Prize for "being able to get along with anyone in any situation". He makes me a proud mama!

And of course there was the end of year picnic to wrap up another year. It's always sad to say good-bye to friends. But I think we're all ready for summer. We'll have a nice long break and then they will go back a 1st grader, a 3rd grader, and a 5th grader. It will be the last year they will all be in elementary school. That makes me a little sad. But I love watching them grow and learn and become a little more awesome each year.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Last Day of School Ice Cream

{this moment}

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

*inspired by SouleMama

Thursday, June 9, 2011

On Finally Turning Thirty

Most people don't know how old I am. In fact, on Sunday when people wished me "Happy Birthday" some were shocked to find out that I was only thirty. My oldest "baby" is almost eleven after all.

I'm told thirty is hard for some people. Me, I just shrugged my shoulders and went on with my day. When you start your twenties already a wife and mother, you kind of miss out on all of those typical twenty-something things that all of your peers are doing and jump right to the typical thirty-something things they all look forward to doing later. So in a way, I've felt thirty for the last ten years. That would bother some people. (In fact, I know of someone that bothers deeply to the point of crisis.) But I see it this way: I got everything I really wanted in life. Only I got it early.

That said, my twenties were full of both joy and hardship. Lots of hardship. And I'm certainly not entering my actual thirties the way my twenty-year-old self thought I would. I've been thinking a lot about that naive twenty-year-old girl. She had no idea what was coming but if you had asked her I'm sure she would have given you a picture of complete marital and parental bliss. The next decade would prove to her that bliss is overrated and possibly unachievable. Instead she would learn that life is actually more of a roller coaster of ups and downs that make it much more exciting than continual bliss.

My twenty-ninth year has given me the chance to start a whole new chapter of my life in this decade. (It's taken me a while to say given, and not "slapped me with a whole new chapter of my life".) For starters, I'm stepping into my thirtieth year not wearing a wedding ring. Certainly not something that twenty-year-old girl saw coming. In a week, I'm moving. Just me and the kids. I'm going to walk into Lowes the week after that and pick the first color that makes me happy and paint my room without the opinion of a single other soul, just because I can. I've never done that before. A week after that, I'll be registering for classes. I'm going back to school. Also something that twenty-year-old never thought would happen. I'm getting a degree in Illustration, because when I really looked at my options it's the one that makes me the most excited. Making a major decision like that on my own is also something I'm not familiar with.

I'm looking forward to this coming decade. Where my twenty-year-old self was certain of what my future held, my thirty-year-old self knows not to make such silly comments. I don't have a clue what my life will look like at forty. But I'm OK with that. There's adventure in not knowing.

One thing I do know is that I have a good life. All I have to do is look around the dinner table at my three crazy sprites to know that. We're going to be OK.

I like thirty. I think I'll wear it well.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Hammock Reading

{this moment}

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

*inspired by SouleMama

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Zoo Photos

We got the chance to spend this past week with my sister and her family. I got some good baby therapy from my niece. And we got to take a trip to the zoo. The coolest moment was when a Grizzly Bear charged the glass (though my 8 month old niece would disagree). In her defense, his paw was as big as she is and it was a bit of an adrenaline rush. We also got some really cool pictures out of it taken by the boy. He's been playing around with my camera recently and he really has an artist eye. These are worth framing.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Accomplishments At The Speed of Light

My kids aren't babies anymore. They aren't toddlers or preschoolers. They're kids. Just regular kids stuck in the blurry ages between circle time and driving. And while I don't stay up all night with a baby or spend all of my time chasing a two year old around, these years carry a different kind of parental exhaustion. And if you aren't careful you can miss the sweet milestones in the speed of it.

These days seem to be moving faster than when my kids were little. I swear a month goes by in a weeks time. It's harder to capture the big moments because they happen so fast. With three kids things happen one right after the other. In one week we can move in and out of ten or so different places and activities; school, dance, art, piano, football, soccer, clubs, and more. I try to limit their activities, but it's still a whirlwind of a life. A whirlwind that comes to an abrupt stop on June 10. That's the last day of school when summer begins and the extracurriculars take a break. That means that May is a rush of trophies, recitals, tournaments, and tests. Our living room bears the brunt of it. There are pom-poms and tribal masks, trophies and tap shoes just randomly thrown into the usually mix of May mess. My bedroom also sees its share. That's where I store costumes and uniforms, frame art for the studio Gallery Show, and make books for the school. Yesterday I tripped over a pile that contained a mouth guard and cleats, a plaster giraffe and zebra, a pile of books, and a box of duct tape and fabric. Really.

I have two days before the rush of the last week of school hits. So I wanted to sit down and share what happened this month. Yes, the entire month. There is so much to share from the last few weeks. If I don't write it down, all of the sweet milestones and moments will be lost to the exhaustion of the age. And that's just completely unacceptable. They work hard for these moments and my heart swells with pride at their accomplishments.

First there was the fourth grade production of School House Rock. During the song Interplanetary Janet Chris was Pluto. He held a sign that said, "who's calling me a dwarf?!" which is funny because if you look closely you'll see that he's the tallest kids in the fourth grade. Even though it was the last thing in the universe he wanted to be doing (exaggerated like a 10 year old) he did a really great job and even smiled a little.

Then there was the science fair. This was something he felt much more comfortable doing. He studied the effects of food coloring on carnations and got a 100%/A. On top of that, his teacher is keeping his presentation to show next year's class as an example of how to do it right. That made the fact that he turned my entire kitchen into a flower covered science lab worth it.

After that there was Sicily's soccer tournament. Even though she showed a strong disinterest in soccer at first, her true competitive spirit came out toward the end. She ended up liking it and playing really well. She even wants to play again in the fall. I told you, she's a feisty little sprite, this one.

And just to prove that she can't be pegged, she easily kicked off her cleats and slipped on tap shoes to rehearse for the end of the year recital. Two trophies in two weeks. As if this child needed any more of an ego boost. She sleeps with them sometimes. Pure feisty mess I tell you.

Now throw football into the mix. Flag football to be specific. Flag football in neon yellow cleats. That has all-star written all over it. This was his first season. He really enjoyed it and played really well. Now he's asking to play tackle in the fall. Oh my. Is my baby really about to play tackle football? With his hair, that has ladies man written all over it.

Music, science, football, and art. He's a regular renaissance man. And he's not just any artist. Now he can say he's a performance artist. This year we had some of our artists perform live during the dance recital. He drew a cityscape while girls tapped around him to New York, New York by Sinatra. *Swoon* Seriously people with his cool, calm personality added into the mix I'm going to have to hide him away in a few years!

The recital and gallery show rounded up the to-do list for May. And it was wonderful. As a teacher, I have to say this was our best show ever. As a mom, I have to say my babies performed beautifully. My little ballerina was perfect in her big black tutu. And all three of my artists got to shine through their work. Especially my Analiese.

She's naturally creative and artistic. She's in piano lessons, has taken drama, and, of course, art. She didn't have much of a stage for her talents this year. She didn't have a piano recital and there weren't enough kids signed up to do a play this year. She goes to all of her brother's and sister's activities and cheers them on. She's got a good heart that does it willingly. But she needs a stage too. She needs to be cheered on. So having her artwork on display was her moment. That's why I love the gallery show. It's a time for those kids who usually shy away from the mainstream spotlight to shine. And my baby shines bright.

I'm so proud of all of them. For all they have accomplished this year. For all they have left to do in the coming year. They're my babies. I love them more than life.