Friday, August 26, 2011

Back to School and Birthdays

Happy birthday to my Katie-girl, my mini-me. At ten, she is as thoughtful, consciencious, considerate, responsible, and emotional as she was at 3. I am starting to catch glimpses of the adult she will become, and I'm proud of her in so many ways, for so many reasons.

I came across this video of her singing to baby Lainie a few years ago. No wonder they have such a close relationship:

video


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We added a few people to our house this month. Our friends are staying with us, until they can find a rental and while they transition from their home in Texas back to Clay Center. Our house is a bit louder, a bit more full, a bit more messy.

Mealtime is still my favorite, even with 7 kids and 3 adults around the table. The kids are taking turns, telling us about their days, about school. It's super-sweet -- like cotton-candy sweet -- to listen to them for that half-hour. Bedtime -- not quite as sweet. ;-)

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Back to school for all but Natalie. Lainie is loving kindergarten, although most of what we hear about is snack, lunch, and recess. Oh, and the bus. The school bus is to Lainie as mud is to a pig. She loves it and LOVES it.

Speaking of love, Maggie LOVES her new teacher. In her words, the second day of school was "A-w-e-s-o-m-e!" I hope her enthusiasm and good behavior continues, because lately we have seen a very sweet Maggie-May.

Katie is in big fifth grade. oh. my. goodness. I just realized she'll be headed to middle school next year. That's going to take me a year to adjust to that idea. But back to fifth grade: this year she gets to learn how to play my trumpet and gets to be co-responsible for the school paper. And, her BFF is in her class. What more can you ask for when you are ten.

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For Katie's birthday, I took Katie, Maggie, Delaney, and two more of Katie's friends to a bigger town nearby, for a full day of shopping. I know they had a great time, but I think I enjoyed it even more. The girls skipped from store to store, strutting like a good pre-teen should. Claires. Bath and Body. Old Navy. Cici's Pizza. Freddy's Frozen Custard. Back to the mall for more shopping. Best of all, for me anyway, the girls were all so polite and kind and thoughtful. Now, that's MY kind of birthday party.

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The kids aren't the only ones back to school. I am a week and a half into my one-year RN program, and already I can sigh a big breath of relief. I get home by 2 most days, have half the commute as last year, and a fraction of the homework. The content is tough and the standards are high, but that makes me even more proud to be going through this particular nursing program.

The school schedule also allows me to work a shift or two each week, which means I once again have an income. I cannot express how refreshing that feels.

I'm not going to say much about by work on here. Besides HIPAA  laws and patient privacy, I just don't think you want to hear the details of my job. But I will tell you, I love it like I've never loved a job before. I get to work, not have to work. I am so motivated to learn all the skills I can, so I can provide the best level of care I can. I was worried about the 12 hour shift, but the hours fly by. I definitely made the right decision with this career move.

Now I just wish all those around me are as satisfied and self-fulfilled by their careers.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Growing, a little bit

In the past month, I got all four girls in for a physical. I know, it's supposed to be near their birthday, but it is just more convenient to do it all in August. Besides, it's only one month early for Katie, three months early for Maggie, and three months late for Lainie... that works for me.

I'm sure Katie doesn't want me sharing any specifics; she's getting to that age. But, in all vagueness, I have a bunch of runts!
  • Natalie is 34 inches long and weighs 26 pounds. That makes her 22 percentile for height, 11 percentile for weight for her age.
  • Lainie is 42 inches tall, 37 pounds. That makes her 45th percentile for height, 50 percentile for weight for her age. (About average!)
  • Maggie is 48.5 inches tall, 55 pounds. That makes her 25 percentile for height, 50 percentile for weight for her age.
  • And Katie, too, is a small one, at 25 percentile for height. (Come on, she's turning ten. She doesn't want her weight listed here!)
So, it doesn't look like my girls inherited the Peterson (recessive) or Albers height. Sure, that's the recessive gene that skips this generation. And, none of them are still on the same growth curves they were as infants and toddlers. Or, maybe we are in store for some crazy growth spurts any day now.

The rest of the appointments were great, too. No big surprises, got all the school shots and doctors notes completed. Add an allergy medicine back on for one, no more seizure medicine for another, maintain this one's medications as is, none for the runt of the pack.

Oh, wait... they are all runts, aren't they? I always was a sucker for the runt.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Shoes, Schedules, and Schtuff

Either Jay is feeding into my obsession or helping my organization. Only time will tell which is the case. In the meantime, look what we've accomplished:

We now have this big huge white board that covers a wall in a hallway. It replaces the itty-bitty calendar next to it, that used to list all our dates. 
The new white board

I'm hoping it'll give the kids a place to see what is on which day. It's Tuesday? Oh, Maggie has PE, Katie has Art, Lainie needs her library books, Mommy has clinicals, so she'll be home late, etc.... It's not just for the kids; maybe this way Jay will know when I have a test coming up and I will know when he has a meeting after school.

Oh, and one more perk? Lainie and Maggie can practice their handwriting.

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And this, is our entry closet. 

The shoe shelves. Aren't those little shoes just adorable all stacked up?

I can't remember if it came with four little shelves, or if Jay put those up for me. I think it came that way, making it the perfect fit for our current household size. Each daughter gets a shelf for her shoes, and only shoes that fit are allowed on their shelves. All out-of-size shoes are sorted and put in labeled bags upstairs, joining those tubs of future hand-me-down clothes. And the hang-up bag for shoes actually holds mittens, hats, and other stuff at the back of the closet.

Mommy gets the floor, which is why it's all disheveled. 

Daddy doesn't get a place for his shoes. He only has three pair.

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And lest you start thinking our house is a home organizer's dream, I have my hoarding spots. Don't look under my bed. And my office desk is an endlessly rearranged stack of schtuff. Some day I'll get it cleaned off. Maybe.
I'll make this picture really small.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Modesty

A few weeks ago at the fair I had the amazing realization that the girls' shorts keep getting shorter as the boys' hair keeps getting longer. My friend said that was just so you couldn't see the boys' eyes checkin' out the short shorts. I think she might be onto something, and just knowing that stage is nearing our household scares me.

Quoting another source, a Focus on the Family interview a few years ago really caught my attention, enough that I remember the message, if not the messenger. It said that when your child is a toddler, you are her role model; she'll model the behaviors she sees in you. When your child is pre-teen, you become her coach; you show her right from wrong and how to do what's right. But, when your child is a teenager, you become somewhat an observer; you can give all the advice in the world, but you are still on the sidelines, watching. In other words, you better get your message across loud and clear before the pubescent-deafness-to-parents sets in.

I've taken that message to heart when it comes to modesty and my daughters. It's hard, so hard, to fight fashion trends when they don't fit with your faith system. That fight is made easier when your family and your child is surrounded by positive role models and other families and children who agree with your views.

Then, there is the battle between being proud of your body and having a positive self-esteem, but balancing that with drawing a line about what is for public view.

And one more battle, and it's a big one: the EPIC battle between mothers and daughters when it comes to clothes.

Listing all these battle lines makes me even more grateful I married the man I did. No disrespect to single moms, because I know you can handle it too, but I'm grateful I have backup, and my back-up has experience as a middle school teacher to make the words out of his mouth ring true.

Thus became this year's "Daddy's Shorts Rule". Simply put, shorts may not be shorter than they are wider. If you are shopping for shorts, grab a pair of the same size. Turn one sideways. If it is wider than it is long, put it back and forget it.

It makes sense. It's so simple. It's objective. It's measurable. It's applicable to skirts. Why didn't I think of it two years ago?!

I can't even begin to tell you how many battles the Daddy's Shorts Rule has saved me this summer, and, by my estimations, for summers to come. Katie and Maggie went all over the mall today, pointing out shorts that didn't meet Daddy's Shorts Rule and tsking at those ladies wearing contraband shorts.

Now, I'm not so naive to think my daughter(s) aren't going to battle us on clothes in the coming years, or maybe try to sneak out wearing things that wouldn't meet our approval. And I'm certainly not judging the girls that are wearing the short-shorts now, because when I had the legs for it, I was right there with you. But, maybe my girls will wear shorts that are 5 inches long instead of 4. Maybe they'll wear shirts to concerts, instead of bikini tops. Maybe this coaching team has set some ground rules while their ears are still open. And maybe one-tenth of what we are saying will stick long enough to make it through puberty. Maybe modesty will still matter.

At least we're giving it our best shot.