Monday, September 30, 2013

A Year of Gratitude: Day 329

Today I am grateful that tomorrow will be another day, another chance to have a good day all the way through.  Baylor casually dropped a bit of a bombshell on me tonight while I was helping him get ready for bed; his new "best buddy" told him he didn't want to be friends anymore today on the playground.  I held it together until I got the kids in bed, but now it feels like I am going to cry forever.  I know this isn't the end of the world and I know this will happen many times in his life, but this was a big thing for him, this having-a-friend thing, and to have it be over so soon just ... it just sucks.  It hurts me to know that he was hurt today and I want to make everything better, but I can't.  All I can do is be there for him and help him understand that not everyone is meant to be friends with everyone else.

But for now, I'm going to go be that neighbor who takes her trash out whilst sobbing, looking forward to the new day.

Have a wonderful night.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

A Year of Gratitude: Day 328

Today I am grateful I have fourteen gallon-sized baggies in the freezer with varying amounts of homemade applesauce in them.  I can't wait to enjoy these this winter!  And even though I basically spent the last two days making the majority of it, I kinda want to make some more.  Hm ...

Have a wonderful night!

Saturday, September 28, 2013

A Year of Gratitude: Day 327 (on time ... hooray!)

Today I am grateful that I have a nice warm, comfy bed waiting for me upstairs.  I am beyond tired, and it will be so amazing to sink into our bed, pull up the sheets and comforter, and drift into sleep.

With that said ...

Have a wonderful night!

A Year of Gratitude: Day 326 (so close ...)

Today I am grateful that the living room is as cleaned up as it is.  I got a chance to reorganize our books and all the Legos the other day, and knowing that everything is taken care if is freeing, close to relaxing even.

Have a wonderful night!

A Year of Gratitude: Day 325 (getting there ...)

Today I am grateful that the kids didn't freak out like I thought they would at the news that they aren't going to be in the same swim class anymore.  Baylor can no longer be in one of Goldfish Swim School's junior classes because he turned five and it's only for three and four year-olds, and Mollie is doing well enough that they moved her up to a different class.  I dread the freak outs, so when they don't happen it is beyond wonderful.

Have a wonderful night!

A Year of Gratitude: Day 324 (a few days late)

Today I am grateful that Bryson was able to help out with the kids so I could get the applesauce made before naps.  I have so much trouble concentrating, and because he was able to help me out I got the applesauce made in half the time it took me the first time around.

So thank you, honey!  I really, really appreciate it.

Have a wonderful night!

A Year of Gratitude: Day 323 (still late)

Today I am grateful for all the time I've gotten to spend with my little lady since school began.  At first I was a bit nervous; what would she and I do all day while Baylor was at school?  But we've found all sorts of fun activities to pass the time.

Like riding the ride-ons at the mall.

Or going for a little walk/ride.

And, of course, playing hopscotch is a must.

We've had tea parties, Sally included.

Then headed out to the store to get some groceries, still decked out in her tea party garb.

I love how little she cares for what other people think of her right now.  Those social norms haven't been so deeply ingrained in her just yet, and she lives her life just as she pleases, rocking the weirdest outfits and toting a fake phone with her just in case she needs to make a call.

It's not always easy; we both miss Baylor and all the fun and companionship he brought to our days.  But we're working our way to a new normal together, and that is a good feeling.

Have a wonderful night!

A Year of Gratitude: Day 322 (late, late)

Today I am grateful for the opportunity to witness my wonderful son get lost in a good book.  I have enjoyed reading for most of my life, and I'm thrilled that he seems to love it just as much.

A Year of Gratitude: Day 321 (still late)

Today I am grateful that my grandmother-in-law gave me a food mill for Christmas a year or two ago.  Like I said before, I was a bit skeptical of it at first; I really had a love affair going with my immersion blender and was very hesitant to give it up.  But after a few batches of terribly lumpy and inconsistent applesauce, I decided to give it another shot.  The result has been perfection every time.  It's not as pudding-like as the immersion blender made it, but I still leave it plenty thick, not all runny like the jarred stuff, and it's consistent all the way through.  Kids aren't always fond of the lumps, and this way it makes sure that all the best, most thoroughly cooked apples get in there.

So thank you, Jeannine, for the awesome gift!  It may have taken me a while to truly appreciate it, but I am certainly very grateful for it now.

Have a wonderful night!

A Year of Gratitude: Day 320 (catching up ... again)

Today I am grateful for the giant bag of Mackintosh seconds I got from a local orchard this afternoon.  They smelled like an autumnal heaven, and I am looking forward to whipping them up into another batch of delicious homemade applesauce to sock away for the winter.  I should mention this is the second bag of this kind (large paper grocery bag style) I have gotten in the last week and a half and all of it is being made into applesauce.  Being the slowest cook on the face of the earth means that this process is rather long and arduous, but it will be so worth it when we have tons of homemade applesauce to enjoy during the winter.

Have a wonderful day!

Thursday, September 26, 2013

A Year of Gratitude: Day 319 (ughhhh)

Life has gotten the better of me lately.  We all got sick after Baylor's birthday party and, lucky me, I've held onto it the longest.  Blah, blah, blah.  It's been really intense and exhausting for all of us.

Each day, though, no matter how hard it's been or sick I have felt I have been able to find the silver lining, at least one thing I am truly grateful for.  I've been writing blog posts in my head, wishing I could figure out the time to get on here and type it out without feeling guilty that something else is falling by the wayside.  (Right now I know I should be folding laundry, cleaning up the disaster that is the kitchen or the living room or the laundry room, exercising, or sleeping ... oh, sleeping.)

Today I am grateful that I got to see Baylor get a huge hug from his new "best buddy" at school this morning.  It made all the therapy, all the worry, all the everything feel worth it.  Baylor has a friend!  He loves school!  I mean, seriously loves school.  And he'll talk to us about it!  The stonewall of preschool has been lifted, and he's actually pretty excited to share things with us most days.  And for all that, I'm so grateful.

Now, sleep.  I will attempt to catch up on the rest later.

Have a wonderful night!

Thursday, September 19, 2013

A Year of Gratitude: Day 318

Today I am grateful for the half bushel of gala apples I bought at a nearby farm.  (And the giant bag of Mackintosh seconds I bought to make applesauce out of.)  Apples are, hands down, my favorite fruit and I love, love, love galas.  Is a half bushel a lot?  Yup.  Barely fits in the fridge.  But they're so good, crisp and sweet just like they should be, and they're good for you!  Win win!

Have a wonderful night!

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

A Year of Gratitude: Day 317

Today I am grateful that my mom's foot surgery went well and without incident.  She had one of her toes shortened as it was causing her an ever-increasing amount of pain, and hopefully this will have her back on her feet, walking and running and skipping in no time.

Have a wonderful night!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

A Year of Gratitude: Day 316 (not late!)

Today I am grateful my sister-in-law (inadvertently?) talked me into reading a book I was hesitant about.  So far it's been very engaging and I'm looking forward to seeing where it goes.  Yay for a good read!

Have a wonderful night!

A Year of Gratitude: Day 315 (late)

Today I am grateful that I was able to get out of my own head long enough to hear Mollie say, "I'm not going to play Trouble anymore.  It's not fun to play by yourself."  So we played Trouble, and it was awesome and fun and she looked so happy, so very happy.

Have a wonderful night!

A Year of Gratitude: Day 314 (late)

Today I am grateful to be watching the first episode of the season of New Girl in my pajamas.  After this is done I get to toss the computer on the desk (gently, of course) and go right up to bed.  I ... need ... sleep.  And I'm working my way to getting it.

Have a wonderful night!

Monday, September 16, 2013

A Year of Gratitude: Day 313 (late)

Today I am grateful that Baylor attends the school system he does and gets the outside help he needs for his Asperger's.  I talked with a friend tonight about his struggles at the school he works in, and I instantly became grateful that Baylor has the teachers, parapros, principal, etc. he does; I feel confident sending him off to school knowing he is getting a wonderful education with all the support he needs.

Have a wonderful night!

Saturday, September 14, 2013

A Year of Gratitude: Day 312 (one day late)

Today I am grateful for the excited, Saturday morning hugs from Baylor I got just a few minutes ago.  He was so thrilled that it was Saturday and started right up with imaginings and plans for the day.  (He wasn't excited to hear he has swim lesson this morning, but he will be okay with it once he's there.)

Have a wonderful day!

A Year of Gratitude: Day 311 (two days late)

Today I am grateful for this:

Mollie was so excited to see Baylor this morning that she decided to camp out at the bottom of the stairs to wait for him.

At first she just set up camp in the dark, but I turned the light on to take a picture and asked if she wanted to read a book while she waited and she loved that idea.

Nothing like a little Nancy Clancy to pass the time.

I'm glad she's so excited to see her brother and spend time with him this weekend.  School has been a little rough on all of us, each in different ways, so our weekends have taken on new meanings.  Here's to Saturday!

Have a wonderful day!

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

A Year of Gratitude: Day 310

Today I am grateful that Mollie and I had such a good day together.  She's been a bit out of sorts with her brother at school all day (and then dealing with the attention he gets when he comes home in the afternoon), and until today she had been acting out accordingly.

But today she was sweet and helpful and surprisingly patient, and it was so much fun running errands with her and just getting to spend time with my little lady.

Have a wonderful night!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Mollie's Third Birthday! (Long, long overdue ...)

So, Mollie's birthday was on Friday, March 22nd, and this year it worked out well to have her party on her actual birthday.  In the morning, Baylor wanted to give her the presents he picked out for her before he went to school.  He chose some Lego sets out for her, of course, and she was thrilled.

He even went over the instructions with her.

While Baylor was at school, Mollie and I went to Meijer to pick up fruit and decorations for her party.  As we were waiting for someone to come help us get some balloons, I asked Mollie if she'd like to pick out some flowers to have as a decoration for her party.  She proceeded to pick a beautiful, perfectly "Mollie" flower arrangement that was about $26.  In my head I was thinking, "Holy crapola!  Twenty-six dollars!  Are you kidding me?!"  Then I noticed the "pink" mums were actually spray painted that way.  Excuse me?!  What?!  But, in the end, Mollie thought it was the most beautiful thing on earth, and who was I to judge?  It didn't break the bank, and her party didn't cost all that much to begin with, so we bought the arrangement and put it in a vase the instant we got home.  (And it stayed nice for WEEKS!  Amazing.)

Oma, Grandpa E, and Aunt Christine came over early to deliver the cupcakes and open a few presents before the crowd arrived.  Baylor was a supportive brother-of-the-birthday-girl, reading the cards,

watching over, ready to laugh at all the Hallmark hilarity,

and assisting with unwrapping.  Mollie got a puzzle,

some Jessie pajamas and a few Playmobil sets,

and an awesome yellow tote bag to store things in!

A few days prior to her birthday she'd told me she wanted this little stuffed Nemo doll as a new sleepytime pal, and Aunt Christine was happy to oblige.

Oh, and did I mention that the three of them wore pink just for the birthday girl?  Even Dad!

We had the finished side of the basement all cleaned up so the kids could run off some energy and have some extra fun.

Oh, and did I mention she got a rocking chair, just perfect for rocking her doll Sally to sleep?  So. Adorable.

After all the guests arrived and dinner was eaten, Mollie got to open the rest of the presents.  Some super cute pajamies,

(Isn't she beautiful?)

Aunt Sarah made her some adorable hair clips,

and Bryson and I got her some Legos and a potty chair for her doll.

Aunt Christine was commissioned to make pink cupcakes and, boy, did she deliver!

Baylor headed upstairs for the singing of "Happy Birthday", and then we hunkered down for some delicious cupcakes.

Once the treats were consumed, the hugs and happy birthdays wished, and the guests departed, the kids scrambled into their Toy Story-themed pajamies as quickly as they could.

They couldn't go to bed right away, though; Mollie was still riding that birthday high!

It was a very special day for a very, very special little girl!

An incredibly belated happy birthday, sweet Mollie!  I love you so much and can't wait to watch you grow into the amazing young lady I know you'll be.

A Year of Gratitude: Day 309

Today I am grateful that the first call I have had from Baylor's teacher regarding an "incident on the playground" wasn't  that someone had been mean to him or that he had gotten hurt.  I'll save the details as they would no doubt embarrass the little man when he grows up.  But I'm glad it was nothing serious and something easily dealt with.

Have a wonderful night!

Monday, September 9, 2013

A Year of Gratitude: Day 308

Today I am grateful that I had a little burst of energy this evening after what was ultimately a day spent in a state of pure exhaustion.  I was able to get a ton of laundry folded and our counter is much improved ... you can actually see a few inches of it here and there in between the piles of paper.  That's a win for today, if you ask me.

Have a wonderful night!

Sunday, September 8, 2013

A Year of Gratitude: Day 307

Today I am grateful that this isn't the night before the first day of school.  Last week was pretty stressful, and even though I know tomorrow morning won't likely be easy, it at least won't have the added stress of the unknown.

Have a wonderful night!

Saturday, September 7, 2013

A Year of Gratitude: Day 306

Today I am grateful for my wonderful son Baylor.  It is his fifth birthday and these last five years have been the most amazing of my life.  He is growing up to be such as sweet, loving, intelligent little boy, and I am so lucky to be his mom.  

Happy birthday, Baylor!  I hope this was your best birthday yet!  I love you so very much!

Have a wonderful night!

Friday, September 6, 2013

A Year of Gratitude: Day 305

Today I am grateful for two things: my parents' 33rd anniversary and the end of Baylor's first week of kindergarten.  We celebrated both at Spoonlickers after Baylor finished school this afternoon and had a wonderful time.  

Baylor kept everyone entertained with his grand plans for a play.  (Notice the bracelet on his wrist?  It's his birthday bracelet from school!  He actually wanted to wear it!)

On and on he went.  He talked a lot before he started school, but since he's been gone at school for seven hours a day he's been extra chatty when he's at home.

Mollie was just glad to see her brother and embark on another adventure with him.

Congratulations, Mom and Dad, on 33 years of marriage!  I wish you 33 more happy, healthy years together!

And congratulations, dear Baylor, on your first week of kindergarten!  You made it through and seem to be enjoying it all the while!

Have a wonderful night!

Thursday, September 5, 2013

A Year of Gratitude: Day 304

Today I am grateful for this.

I am also incredibly grateful for the people, teachers and educational professionals, who care for my kiddo while he is at school.  With each interaction I am more and more impressed by his school and the level of dedication they have to all the students of the school, not just the ones they are in charge of.

Have a wonderful day!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

A Year of Gratitude: Day 303

Today was not easy, I'm not going to lie.  Between dropping Baylor off and seeing him sit alone on the line, his head resting on his knees, just waiting for school to start, the fact that I just missed him so much, the pressure of trying to get things done so that when he's done with school I can just hang with him and Mollie, the epic meltdown he had after his PLAY therapy session after school, and Mollie b*tch slapping me right before I turned out the lights and wished her sweet dreams, it was a bit of a stressful day.  At one point, as the kids were moaning and protesting the meal I made (and have made a ton of times, thank you), I excused myself and ran upstairs to cry.  It wasn't good, but at least no one saw the ugly cry.

But, it had its moments.  And for those I am grateful.

For finally starting to settle into a rhythm with Mollie while Baylor is at school.

For getting the chili made ahead of time so I could play with the kids before dinner tend to the meltdown.

And last, but certainly not least, for the moment when Baylor hopped into the car after school and when asked how his second day of school went said, "FAN-tastic!"  Music to my ears, I tell you.

No, he still doesn't like recess.  He still has worries and concerns.  Mollie is still acting out when she sees Baylor getting so much attention.  And the house is still an ever-loving mess.  (Really, it's unreal right now.)

But there are those shining moments in the day that I'm trying to cling to in the middle of all this madness.  And for those things I am so very grateful.

Have a wonderful night!

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

A Year of Gratitude: Day 302

I wanted to do this long gratitude post, mostly because I have so much to be grateful for today, but I am absolutely spent, both physically, mentally, and - most of all - emotionally.  So here it is, the gist of it ...

Today I am grateful that Baylor's first day of kindergarten went so much better than I thought it would.  So ... much ... better.  I am going to thank my lucky stars tonight and hope they keep it up for, well, for the rest of his school years, quite frankly.

Have a wonderful night!

That's What They Said: Kindergarten Worries and Wonders

(the day before the first day of school)
Baylor:  "I'm nervous that when I get to school no one will love me."

(as she was taking off her shoes when we returned home from dropping him off)
Me:  (noticing Mollie was resting her head on the shoe bench)  Honey, are you okay?  Are you sad?
Amalia:  (sadly)  Yes, I am so sad we didn't go to Meijer after we dropped Baylor off.

(after we dropped him off and were back at home)
Me:  Mollie, in about an hour and twenty minutes we'll go on over to Oma's house.
Amalia:  What?
Me:  We're going to go to Oma's house.
Amalia:  (very sadly)  But we can't go without Baylor!  We always go with Baylor!

(after we picked him up and while I was making dinner)
Baylor:  Oh, Mollie took the xylophone apart.  She wasn't supposed to do that.
Me:  I know, buddy.  But it's okay, don't worry about it.
Amalia:  Mommy, can you help me put this back together?
Me:  Hey, Baylor, can you go help your sister put that back together?
Baylor:  Sure!
Me:  (reeling with surprise at his affirmative answer)  Great!  And hey, why don't you teach her how to put it back together?
Baylor:  (to Mollie)  See this one?  It's a C.  C says "kuh, kuh".  Say it with me now.
Both:  "kuh, kuh"
Baylor:  Good.  Now this one is a D.  It says "duh, duh."  Say it with me now.
Both:  "duh, duh"

(after they got through most of the xylophone they started playing with a sound machine that had been brought to the living room and put it on "heartbeat" mode)
Baylor:  Ooh, Mollie!  Let's stomp our feet to the beat!
(and then they did just that)

Baylor's First Day of Kindergarten: During and After School

With Baylor away at school, Mollie and I were a little adrift today.  While we were at home I was basically trying to keep myself from sobbing the morning away, so it was nice to be able to get out of the house and head to my parents' abode for a while.  My mom wanted to go out to get some mums to plant, so Mollie and I tagged along to take our mind off things and away from the empty spot in the car.

When we got back, Mollie helped Mom unload the car ...

... and water the new flowers.

Then we came inside, and Mollie did a few puzzles before lunch.  Well, she spun this one around anyway.

After lunch and a fitful "nap time", we headed over to Baylor's school, picking up some donuts at Robinette's on the way.  While we were at Robinette's I got a call from his school; it was the principal just calling to let me know how Baylor's day went and that all was well.  That was a relief, though I knew I would only truly feel better when I saw him with my own two eyes.

We got to school twenty minutes early but were already eighth or ninth in line.  And when the time did come, the line didn't move for the longest time.  It was really chaotic and made me feel pretty anxious about finding him before he started to feel like I wasn't there, but then we spotted him, his Batman shirt shining in the sunlight like the bat signal, and I felt better.  After a few more minutes we made it up to him and I hopped out of the car into an enormous, twirl-him-in-the-air hug with tons of smiles; hands down, it was the best feeling of the day.

Once we got him strapped in, he started to get upset and sad, and he said he already missed "her".  When we asked who that was, he said, "Mrs. Murphy, my teacher.  I already miss her."  And with that I knew that school had gone at least moderately well.  From then on he perked up and told us all about school: how they went on a scavenger hunt around the school with Pete the Cat, how they learned about the number one, how he ate his lunch, how he likes both the teachers in his room.  His only complaint was that he didn't like the outside part of school, a.k.a., recess.  He said, "I didn't play with anyone.  I just sat there."  I knew this would be the toughest part for him, and we're ready to work on it to make all of school great for him.

The instant we got home he requested to do some Legos.  But don't start thinking that he went quiet on us; no, no, he talked and talked and talked the whole afternoon and into the evening.

After he talked his way through dinner, he got to play Lego castle with Bryson and Mollie.  Then we read some books, two downstairs and one upstairs, and got ready for bed.

Unfortunately, the books did not exactly have a calming effect on the kids tonight.

It was a lot of time without each other so I think they were just soaking it all in before bed. While we had them both in bed by 8:00, Baylor didn't end up falling asleep until about 9:10; he was talking, talking, talking to himself and needed to go to the bathroom twice before he finally was able to get some shut-eye.  (This isn't surprising, though, as he didn't go to the bathroom at all today until AFTER he got home from school.)

He seems moderately excited to go back to school tomorrow, so there is hope for the morning, though I know he'll be an hour behind on sleep, something that never wears well on him.  Fingers crossed for a good day tomorrow!

Baylor's First Day of Kindergarten: Before School

Well, today was the big first day of kindergarten for Baylor, and it was met with some anxiety on both our parts.  I got up and made sure I had enough time to prepare everything I could for him, as my own way to calm my nerves.  I made his lunch: grilled cheese, fruit salad, and Newtons, one mixed berry and one baked apples and cinnamon.

He also wanted string cheese, but since he'd been having trouble finding it during his practice runs for lunchtime, I thought I'd wrap a note around it to make it easier to find.

I got him up at 7:00, and we chatted in his room for a bit, mostly to coax him out of bed.  After Mollie got up, we got breakfast.  He was nervous to try a new flavor, dragon fruit, of yogurt, but he did it!  I hoped this would show him that good things can happen even if you're nervous about something.

Mollie, of course, needed to give her opinion as well.  Funny girl ended up eating it all in spite of her initial protestations.

We quickly got ready and I was able to snap a couple pictures of my little guy on his big day.  He chose out his shirt himself; it's his favorite right now and it makes me wonder if he feels just a little more brave in it.

Our plan was to just drop him off at the front of the school with one of the teachers or drop-off helpers, but when we got there there were none to be found.  Seriously, not a school employee in sight.  Thank goodness Bryson came with me; I was able to take Baylor back to the playground myself and see that he got there alright.  Along the way we ran into the two kids who live next door, the younger of whom is in Baylor's class.  He was having a rough time and his older sister needed to go to a different part of the school, so I took him by the hand and helped him back to the playground.  It was tough to see him so upset, and I was surprised that Baylor didn't get upset as well.  Another adult who knew the little guy a bit better came over and tried to get him to calm down, and I was able to focus on Baylor.  It was insanely bright behind the school, and Baylor asked for his sunglasses but I didn't have them with me; as soon as I got home, though, I grabbed them and got his name on them so we'd be ready for tomorrow.  He wasn't ready to play just yet, in part because of how bright it was, but he did let me snap a picture of him!  Look at my brave little guy!

I asked him if he'd rather just wait in the line with his backpack and he said yes, so we walked back to his backpack ... and he promptly sat on it, lunch and all.  Hopefully his lunchbox and the container holding his food protected everything.  We'll see.  After I got him seated on the ground, I told him I had to leave - our car wasn't parked in an appropriate spot and I knew it might just get harder to leave the longer I stayed - and I gave him a kiss and told him I loved him and would see him after school.  Then I walked away.

Then I left and my heart broke a little bit.  I was pretty sure I could make it to the car without crying, but an old teacher friend (and the parent of a former classmate of mine) asked how I was doing and started hugging me the minute she saw my chin quiver.  (Mrs. Champagne, if you're reading this, thank you from the bottom of my heart for the hugs and reassurances.)

And now, we anticipate 3:15 ... hopefully it'll be all smiles then.