Monday, May 25, 2009

Of Yearbook Poems and Senior Portraits

Remember when I blogged about being pushed to put in a yearbook ad for Sis at the very last minute and decided it would be a fantastic idea to write a poem (even though it was 10:30 at night, I was exhausted and I don't write poetry?) Well, the poem has finally been released to the public via Sis's yearbook. Here it is at long last (with senior portrait goodness thanks to Sis's Aunt Karen of Sierra Springs Photography who is amazingly talented):

How'd you become so weird, so sassy, so wild?

How'd you become outgoing, opinionated and so confident a child?

How'd you become a grown up instead of a girl?

How'd it happen that the years flew by in a whirl?

The answers it seems, only you know,

So smart, so bright so ready to go.

I look for my little girl, but I am too slow,

You're already on to the next act of your show.

Time watching you grow has been cherished time spent,

I've sat back and admired your spunk and your talent.

Away you go, your own life to make,

Just remember a piece of my heart you will take.

I guess I didn't embarrass her too much. The day she got her yearbook, she texted me at work to say, " Thanks for the wonderful ad! I love you!" and then I texted back something sappy and we both got teary eyed.
One would think this whole graduation thing would get easier with each kid. It doesn't. Not in my case anyway.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

I Have No Idea For A Title For This Post

Last night I danced at a local belly dance festival that is very loosely run. There's no real organization. A dancer makes it known either by myspace or word of mouth that she would like to dance, then the night of the event everyone shows up and finds out what the schedule is. Then there is much scratching out and rearranging of the schedule to allow for no-shows and costume changes and then we all dance for basically each other and whatever family members show up in the audience. VERY loosely run and getting worse. But it's a chance to dance, and that's rare up in these parts so we all grin and bear it.

I had one faux pas, not on stage fortunately. You see, I've gotten quite used to public dressing rooms and even when a few of us get together we all go into the same room and change in front of each other and never think anything of it. Well, last night I met up with my friends and we went backstage so I could change. I just went about stripping down and putting on my dance bra, without noticing there were men in the dressing room too! Oops! I was off to one side and I really don't think anyone noticed, but I realized that maybe I should be a little more observant before I change in a large dressing room again. Duh!

In other news:

I was picked up by the county office of education about 2 weeks ago to finish the year as an aide at a local preschool. They have regular kids and special needs kids together. My job is to be a one on one aide to a 5 year old boy with autism. He's fairly high functioning but can be a handful, so I carry around a star chart and give him a star for any positive behavior and when he earns 5 stars he gets his computer time. Some days he loves me and we have a great day together, some days I show up and he'll say, "No! Not you!" and I have to wait for him to warm up to me.

I enjoy it though. I get to interact with all the kids and it's fun to come home and have my kids ask me what I did at work and I get to list such things as: played with playdough, read books, played bounce and catch, colored, got hugs. Yeah, really gruelling work days! I have my fingers crossed that I'll get picked up as an aide when school starts again.

There's one little 3 year old girl that melts my heart. Her name is the same as my oldest daughter's and spelled the same way which is unusual. She even has brown hair with little curls just like Sis had. When she arrives she usually seeks me out to sit on my lap or read a book to her. What a treat for me. She has already caught on that I'm a complete push-over when it comes to her.

It's just very sweet to have this little girl to remind me of Sis, but it makes me all mushy too, because here Sis is, 18 and getting ready to graduate, and wasn't it just yesterday that she was a little bitty girl with curly hair wearing pink dresses? Sigh...

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Fair Time Means Rides, Goats and Motorcycles...but not riding goats or motorcycles

Well, it's county fair time, and in this county it means the kids get Thursday and Friday off to attend and get to enjoy a long weekend.

Years ago my friend and I would attend all 4 days of the fair with kids in tow. We'd pack a lunch, throw a blanket on the lawn and let the kids ride all the rides (in those days rides were free with admission) to their hearts content. It was cheap entertainment to be sure.

Now it's gotten a bit more pricey, so I hadn't planned on attending this year at all, but when I found out that ride wristbands were going to be only $10 on kids day (kids under 12 free) and adult admission was only $6, I thought, what the heck, I think we can afford that.

The weather was perfect and we found friends to hang out with. I packed lots of goodies in our cooler so when the kids asked for some over-priced fair treat I could offer them chocolate pudding or frozen lemonade or pistachios (a rare treat) instead. And it worked.

We looked at all the animals. My favorites are always the fancy chickens. I love the ones that are so fluffy that you can't tell which end is which and I love the cute little bantam roosters. The girls however, loved the goats. They had the best time petting and talking to them.

Natalie was trying to kiss them (I don't know why) and she had one little goat in particular that was as enamored with her as she was with it. I started calling her the Goat Whisperer after this:

Then they found these adorable 1 week old babies:

Today we walked dowtown to see all the motorcycles. Our county fair attracts thousands of motorcyclists every year and our little downtown is one of their favorite hangouts. It's fun to see the entire length of Main Street lined with bikes, and to hear the constant roar of them moving through town.

I decided this one was mine:

I liked the olive green and black combo. I haven't seen that on a motorcycle before.

We spent some time cooling off in the creek and Nat spent time stalking water skippers which is her most recent obsession (we've been to the creek 3 times in the last week so she could harrass, er, I mean, "enjoy" them). It took some convincing for her to accept that they were on a "catch and release" only basis and not coming home with us!

So we are enjoying our long weekend thanks to the county fair!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Payin' It Forward - Anyone Want To Play?

Over a month ago I recieved a package in the mail after signing up for Laughadaisy's Pay It Forward challenge.

This is what I recieved:

The funny thing was that that very day I was in the grocery store trying to find a birthday card and getting more and more discouraged at the pricey-ness of a simple card! I ended up leaving the store without a card in hand and came home to this wonderful package of just-what-I-needed in my mailbox! Wow! Talk about perfect timing!

Laughadaisy hand made all these beautiful cards, and if you don't find that amazing enough, she has a preschooler and twin toddlers! I seriously don't know when she found the time and energy to do it.
At any rate, now that I got something fantastic, my job is to pay it forward to 3 people. Which means I have to make something and send it to 3 lucky commenters -- wanna play? Then, of course, your goal would be to make something and pay it forward to 3 more. Easy, right?

Now, you won't get a fabulous assortment of cards from me unfortunately, but I do have something in mind...

Just kidding! What I do have in mind is something that involves my sewing machine, which at the moment is MIA in our over-stuffed black hole of a garage, so if you're into procrastination, you're in luck, because by the time I find my sewing machine and make something and send it...well, let's just say you won't have to worry about your paying it forward for a while. I'm a procrastinators best friend!
I'm not going to be a stickler for rules here. Leave a comment that you want me to play, and I'll eventually send you something, and if by then you get around to paying it forward, great, if not, that's fine too. And if you want to pay it forward with something you actually didn't make, I'm sure as heck not gonna tell.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

A Worrisome Sign

Seen on a sign board outside of a church today as I was driving by:


That really made me stop and think. My dad has always been a profound worrier, from the weather to the affairs of the world, he worries about everything all the time. He is also one of the most pessimistic people I know. I love him, but sometimes he's hard to be around because of his gloom and doom attitude. I really want to watch myself so that I don't develop a negative attitude from worrying. After all, worry doesn't change anything!

I think I need to get this tattooed somewhere...ok maybe not, but I'm going to remember it and take it to heart.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Town Donkey

Did my title fool you? Did you think maybe I had made an a$$ of myself somehow and was now the talk of the town? Well, thankfully, no. We really do have a Town Donkey. The other day the girls wanted to ride their bikes down to visit her (as we do a few times a month) and I thought, how cool is it that our town has a donkey for the kids to go visit?

When we have visitors and I ask if they'd like to take a walk and see our town donkey, they think I'm kidding, and they are usually surprised to see that there really is a donkey, and even a specified "Burro Parking" area near her corral.

The girls love to pick fresh grass for her in addition to bringing her a carrot or two. Clara is very sweet and likes to be petted or brushed with the brush that hangs on the fence. She was born right here in 1982, and I remember back when we had 2 town donkeys - Clara and her mother. I think her mother died about 10 years ago.

Clara gets lots of attention from visitors and although she has no official owner, several people take care of her on a daily basis. One of the local wineries even donates part of their profit for her upkeep.

I love this town, and our sweet donkey.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Made My Day

I have been on the substitute instructional aide (a.k.a. yard duty, classroom aide) list for our district for only a few weeks, but I've gotten a couple days of work in each week already so it's working out pretty well.

The only jobs that have been available have been in the special ed classrooms (there's a preschool and elementary level class) so that's where I've been helping out.

Many of the kids are pretty low-functioning (as they like to call it), meaning they don't verbalize much if at all, and they are mostly in their own little worlds and it's hard to draw them out. Such is the case with little Benji who has Down Syndrome.

I accompanied Benji to the bathroom yesterday and as he finished up and washed his hands we exited and the teacher asked if I had filled out the log for him (they keep track of each time he goes and such). Well I hadn't, so I walked back in the very large bathroom to the far end where the log was and began to write.

About this time Benji turns the lights out. I say, "Benji I need the lights on." and walk back to where he is at the door. He turns them back on. Cool. I go back to the log. The lights go out. Again I say, "Benji I need the lights on." but this time I hear a giggle. From Benji. I'm thrilled; he's playing a joke on me. Wow! So back I go again and he turns the lights on.

Well, we do this 4 or 5 times before I can get this darned log filled out, but the more he giggles the more I'm loving it. Finally he's actually interacting with me and I've never heard him laugh! I could seriously do this all day. It was so sweet and I was getting such a kick out of him. The teacher thought it was pretty cute too.

We also went to the school assembly and one of the boys was getting a Student of the Month award. It was so hard for him to wait. He's one who has a hard time controlling himself and also blurts words. The teacher told him to squeeze her hand if he felt he needed to talk (rather than blurting) and I saw he was giving her hand a workout the entire time. Finally his name was called and he walked up to get his award with the biggest smile on his face. I barely know this kid and I had tears in my eyes I was so proud of him.

These little guys have such a tough road, but they are such a pleasure to work with. They don't realize how they have touched my heart just in their daily accomplishments. The special ed kids are special indeed. (Can you tell I'm attached to them all already?)

Friday, May 1, 2009

Stick A Fork in Her...I'm Done

My oldest daughter, Sis, turned 18 this morning at 6:42am. Funny, she woke me up about that time to tell me that her dad gave her her present last night -- a new Ipod, and she wanted to let me know that I could now have her old one. (Woo-hoo! A present for me too!)

It's funny when your kid turns 18. They're now an official ADULT. Yep, you're done. That's it. You've raised them. You did your best, now you get to look back and see how they turned out.

(She turned out fantastic despite me and all the ways I screwed up, by the way!)

Well, I know I'm not done-done, but it IS a landmark birthday, and now she is officially in charge of herself and her actions. I still plan on being her mom and doing all the mom stuff like nagging and such, but I know with her strong personality and her determination and humor that she will do great as an adult.

Happy Birthday to my little girl!