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    76 posts categorized "Molly"

    June 19, 2014

    Time to sit back and unwind

    Last day of school. I cried at the assembly. I mean, I'm a crier, but it was such a good year for my big kids. They go to a small neighborhood public school. It's one billion years old and it shows. Everything in it - the furniture, the walls, the fixtures, the windows - is grimy and worn and unappealing. Everything except the teachers, that is. They are bright in every way, happy to be there, and happy to see my kids. Ever since Jack's first day of kindergarten my mom's been advising me to make myself known in the school, make sure the teachers know I'm paying attention, make sure I have relationships with people in the school. So I'd probably be standing around after school talking to the teachers anyway, but it turned out to be fun. They are fun, creative, interesting people who invested big time in my kids and maybe it's a little weird that Jack's teacher and I made plans to hang out later this summer but OH WELL YOU ARE JUST JEALOUS. 

    Like, I'm sad-in-advance for Jack to go to middle school, not only because he'll be a middle schooler (ACK) but he'll be leaving THIS school. Oh, the crying that will happen THEN. 

    It was an early dismissal day (honestly, I haven't seen the point of going to school this entire week) so Emma didn't nap and I didn't exercise and I feel like a bloated slug right now, especially after our celebratory ice cream snack and restaurant french fries dinner. But it was a super good day. Jack's class sang Sara Bareilles' 'Brave' as a way to "send" the 5th graders to middle school - when I heard they were doing that I thought it was a bit weird/awkward. Isn't that kind of a grown up song? But of course Jack's teacher found a way to first grade it up, with hand motions and shouting the "SAY WHAT YOU WANT TO SAY!" and: tears. Molly's class sang "Let Us Eat" to the tune of "Let It Go" to honor the lunch ladies. And her teacher gave me a shout out at the assembly for helping him come up with the words (except I'm pretty sure all I did was say, "Do you want me to make Elsa capes?! I can make Elsa capes!" and him going, "Wellllll...")

    More tears on that one. 

    These things make me cry anyway, though. I could never get through even the first round of Pomp and Circumstance as part of the high school band playing at graduation, even when I didn't know any of the graduates. I remember going to the end of year ceremony at the Catholic school when Jack was going to preschool there. It was the most TOUCHING and MEANINGFUL THING and I still want to weep about my kids not going to that school!

    Except they're at THIS school, which is wonderful, and we love it so. 

    Our chunk of the city is growing the fastest, which means more money for stuff like building a new school (breaking ground 2016! Supposedly! Who really knows!) but also much larger new schools, I'm betting. Our school is one hallway big. I swear all the kids know each other. It's a hallway in major need of structural updates and plumbing from this century, but it's been such a good hallway. 

    I spent a large chunk of my kid-free time worrying about the bakery. I'm not going to hash out today's anxiety here, though I am VERY TEMPTED. It feels so good to write out all one's worries! But I tried hard to focus on the big kids today and not let the bakery stuff overwhelm me. We took pictures, we got ice cream, we spent a long time on our school year scrapbooks that I never remember to update until the last day of school. I'm so proud of them. 

    Tomorrow we'll sleep in, not get dressed until we feel like it, then drive to Grandma's house where cousins are staying for a few weeks and just... hang out. It's summer. There are no camps, no lessons, just a lot of family vacation time and driving-our-mother-crazy time. And then, maybe next week, a furious looking up of camps and lessons that still have availability...

    And now it's just going to be like this for the next twelve, thirteen years. First grade, second grade, third grade, fourth grade, a whirl of steps up a ladder until one day they're gone OH NO THE TEARS ARE BACK.

    April 27, 2014

    Were you missing your daily dose of drivel?

    That was maybe the longest break I've taken from blogging... EVER. But half of it wasn't my fault. Typepad being down and all that. And even then, what ticked me off about THAT is that my BUSINESS WEBSITE was down! That was horrible. That and the hourly phone calls from my mother wondering when I was going to fix it. 

    You may have noticed there that I linked my BUSINESS WEBSITE - that's because I've received considerable feedback re: how come my BUSINESS WEBSITE is not linked anywhere on my BLOG? And by "considerable" I mean not so much quanity, but quality. The people annoyed about this are vocal indeed. And why HAVEN'T I linked my BUSINESS WEBSITE anywhere nearby?! I think maybe it's because this place is not so first and foremost in my mind anymore AND I am always surprised when people read it! I have spent a lot of time focusing on Twitter and Facebook and Instagram and it never really occurred to me that I should link my BUSINESS WEBSITE here. 

    Easter was nice! I'll have to get some pictures up eventually, if only to appease Lindsay. And my mother. She's making quite the appearance here this evening, isn't she. We went to church (where my children were absolute perfect angels in a packed and overlong service, WHAT GOOD KIDS) and then headed to my folks' house where we feasted on one hundred different kinds of sugar as Jesus intended. The weather was beautiful, everything was really nice. 

    Kind of a bright spot in a couple of unpleasant weeks for me. Be relieved my blog was down during the worst of it - who knows what I might have written here! Spring Break combined with SSRI withdrawal combined with bakery stress combined with GOD MY HOUSE IS A STY stress... I somehow managed to sort that all out without blogging. Can you believe it? I KNOW. I did have to write things out - in purple Sharpie on recycled computer paper - and I did have to neatly arrange those papers in an orderly way - via masking tape on the living room wall - but the end result of that is that I have a housecleaner coming tomorrow morning. I would be quivering from excitement if I weren't anxious about all the stuff I have to get ready to be house of my house for two hours tomorrow morning. 

    I have to go grocery shopping and I have to go to my sister's apartment so we can discuss bakery business. There's a lot of bakery business. Which is funny, because we have hardly any orders right now, but there is ALWAYS something to talk about. We got one big thing crossed off the list, though: our application for a food processing permit was mailed Saturday morning. GOLD STARS FOR US. It will supposedly take 4-6 weeks to hear back and then you know what's funny? The permitting process starts all over again June 30. So say by some miracle we are approved before June 30. We will have to do it all over again for the following year's permit! So I'm actually sort of hoping they draw it out just long enough to skip having to renew a week later. And in the meantime we are going to start renting the real kitchen. Tomorrow morning I will call an insurance agent, on the PHONE, and buy $500 worth of liability insurance because apparently those giant mixers are huge PITAs. 

    Half of me is all THIS IS TAKING FOREVER I'M TIRED I DON'T WANT TO PLAY ANYMORE. And the other half of me is absolutely floored that we've come THIS far. (And there's another half that is completely totally freaked out by getting into the wholesaling gig, which is the next step, BUT LET'S SAVE THAT FOR ANOTHER POST.)

    I should go get on my treadmill. I haven't yet today - church, Phillip went out to run errands, and then I took Molly to a birthday party. A FROZEN birthday party. Those were some serious princesses. I have no problem with princesses, actually, and the girls were pretty cute in their dresses and quoting lines from the movie and all that. But I picked up a VIBE. It's a vibe I haven't noticed with Molly, and not just because she's my kid. Just the way some of those girls talked... not inappropriately, not obnoxiously, not anything BAD. Just sort of... grown up, I guess. Where Molly hasn't said one word about cliquey girls or best friends, I had this feeling that THESE girls knew all about it. They weren't the mean girls, but they knew what was what. The way they interacted with each other, the way they opened presents, the way they rushed off to the birthday girl's bedroom to play when it was all over. Molly didn't know any of them well, but even around the kids she knows well she still seems small and obliviously cheery. I can't really describe it. They were every one of them sweet and adorable and SMALL, but Molly seemed so... young? next to some of them? Young is probably not the right word. I don't know. And I was only there for an hour. And I am an accomplished social scientist with a large and diverse sample size, so just believe everything I say. 

    Okay I'm getting on that stupid treadmill now. 

    April 01, 2014

    Oh yeah, I used to write about my kids

    ALL RIGHT. Things are looking up. There was a sudden influx of capital to Thumbprints Baking Co., for which the owners are terribly grateful and over the moon. We have picked a kitchen. We have insurance. The next step is formalizing the agreement and the step after that is (OH GOD) going through the county health department food business application process. I am guessing I will need to restock the liquor cabinet. 

    But I want to exercise my mommyblogger chops tonight and write down a few things I've noticed about my kids. Before I forget. So you can leave now, it's okay, I totally won't be offended. 

    So there's this huge amazing CRAZY thing I've been more and more aware of lately and that is the fact that my two biggest kids seem to be best friends. This is wild to me. It's not that they never fight (they always fight) but they also really really like each other. They don't really want to do anything without the other. We keep asking them if they're ready to stop sharing a room (when are a brother and sister too old to share a room?) and neither of them are interested. Well, they're very interested, just not right NOW. Even when I make a point of reminding them that Molly would share with Emma and we'd move the girls into the room next to Jack's so he wouldn't be alone downstairs. No no, they don't want to do that yet. 

    And they play with the same things and play the same way. They would both choose to do an art project over almost anything else (except perform Let It Go in princess dresses for their parents and all their parents' friends.) They make up plays. They build elaborate forts in the living room and pretend that Emma is their kid or their pet or just some random baby they get to boss around. They squabble constantly and accidentally hurt each other all the time, but I'm not sure either of them has ever been purposefully vicious to the other. 

    My brother and I are the same number of months apart as Jack and Molly. I suppose it's possible we liked each other when we were very small? But my main memories of my brother are of him barging into my room (which was 1) not allowed and 2) totally unnecessary, no I am still not over this and have refused to "just ignore him" for 34 years), messing up my stuff, and being mean to me. Always! My whole life! Not that I was a total peach to him - I remember my dad telling me, many many times, "Some day he'll be bigger than you, Mag! Watch out!" So yes, I shall grudgingly admit that I possibly beat up on him too. I sort of remember playing outside with him, making mud soup and charging through the patch of forest across the street from our house and riding bikes. My mom is probably reading this and thinking, "You did TOO have fun together!" Maybe it wasn't until we were a little older that he became my main reason for wanting to hurry up and go to college already. (Like 5th grade older.)

    But I don't see that with Jack and Molly. Really. I suppose it's possible and I'm sure one day they won't want to do the same things all the time and play with the same kids and feel bad that having a "boys only" birthday party means Molly can't come. (Jack is turning 7 next month. Omg.) But still. They really really like each other, they look out for each other, they give each other heads up when their mom is on the warpath. I'm starting to wonder if they're going to be the kind of brother and sister who are buddies growing up. Who don't have to turn 30 and live in separate houses before they finally tolerate each other. (You may think I'm being snotty about my brother, but I bet you anything he would agree. Also, he called the other day to talk about the bakery and wanted to give me some feedback and he had to say, "Look, I'm not being a jackass like usual, I'm really trying to help." SEE? EVEN HE SAYS SO.)

    And you know what, I'm writing this on April 1, which is basically my brother's personal holiday, the day on which he switched out my morning cereal for dog food, shortsheeted my bed, and set my alarm clock to go off in the middle of the night. HOW APT.

    So yeah, my heart IS warmed over by the affection my two oldest show each other. (Ask me again when they're teenagers.)

    Emma, however, worships the very ground on which her brother and sister tread. All day long I am reminded that something is Molly's, something is Jack's favorite, something is what Molly wants, something is what Jack did. Everything - EVERYTHING - relates to her two favorite people, some way or another. She will play any game they want to play. The big thing right now is "putting Emma to bed" - in the middle of the day, for whatever reason, and she gaily goes along with it, climbing into her bed with her stuffed cow and her pacifier and staying there however long they require. She's the baby and she has her manipulative moments, her fickle devotions, her sudden wails of distress. But for the most part she's all about being where they are, doing whatever they are doing. Including homework. Emma does lots and lots of homework. 

    I just think they are the neatest. I could have never dreamed them up. My creative, sensitive, sweet little boy. My absentminded, giggly, kind little girl. My utterly charming, delighted by everything two-year-old. They are just perfect.

     

     

     

    February 06, 2014

    A former overachiever stops projecting onto her own kids. (For now.)

    To hear my mom tell it I was reading Nancy Drew mysteries by age two. (No.) But "reader" has been part of my identity as far back as I can remember. And for someone who thrives on Nice Things People Say About Her, In Particular Her Teachers And Parents, it's been super important to me to be a GOOD reader. Of course, being a "good" reader loses nearly all of its meaning as you realize there are no special points for learning to read before you go to kindergarten, and then instead it's about how many books you read, what kinds, whether you can nod superiorishly when someone excitedly tells you about a new author they've just discovered. 

    (By the way, I think I've completely dropped the ball on Being A Good Adult Reader. I don't read super fast, the only new books I keep track of are British and Italian murder mysteries, I've only read a handful of the books everyone raves about on Twitter, and more than two thirds of the books on my Kindle (and ALL the books on my nightstand) are 20th century history books. I am no one's idea of Well Read. Sigh.)

    ANYWAY. All that to say it was important to me, to the point where I just naturally ASSUMED, that my kids would also be Good Readers. 

    (Let us pause while I roll my eyes at my own self.)

    Oh yes, I ASSUMED, in fact I EXPECTED, Jackson Cheung to be reading chapter books by kindergarten. And I'll just say right now that I did absolutely nothing to PREPARE him for such a feat. Along with the assuming and expecting was, I think, the presumption that reading Nancy Drews in preschool was something that just came naturally. It wasn't something I THOUGHT about. It wasn't something that I was consciously waiting for, even. I just thought one day it would happen!  Like out of thin air, one day my kid would just start reading. 

    Other things I assumed:

    • He would opt to read over, say, play Subway Surfer on the iPad.
    • He would beg me to go to the library. 
    • Once at the library he would provide me with a two-foot high stack to check out. 
    • He would never EVER groan or make an Unpleasant Noise when asked if he would like his mother to read to him. 
    • He would have Favorite Books.
    • We would BOND. Oh the BONDING! Over BOOKS! Tra la la!

    So yeah. None of this happened. We always read books before bedtime, but otherwise Jack never showed much interest in reading on his own or wanting to be read to. Molly seemed to like listening to stories a little more than her brother, but again, I pretty much stopped going to the library with them because they were such pains. They were barely interested in the books and when they discovered that you couldn't just sit down and play a game on the computers they were all, "Can we go to the playground now?"

    Of course I determined that I'd done something hugely wrong in their first years. I encouraged and offered and hunted for books they'd enjoy, but no one ever wanted to read them and after a while it was like, "Why am I doing this to myself?" 

    Then last year, in kindergarten, Jack began learning to read. And it was... kind of crazy. 

    I am surrounded with friends who have precocious little girls reading Jane Austen at age five. I'd just accepted the fact that I was going to have one of those kids who didn't like books and we would have a Hard Row To Hoe (is that the right expression?! NOT WELL READ.) and we would struggle and whatever. Fine. And because Jack wasn't terribly interested, Molly didn't seem to be interested either and FINE. We would deal. I felt certain it would all turn around once they were old enough to read The Westing Game, but for now, FINE. FIIIIIINE.

    But Jack started learning to read. Slowly. Hesitantly. Uncertainly. And it was like a miracle. This thing that I'd been trying to do with him for SO LONG was SUDDENLY HAPPENING. At this magical place called school! Where he seemed to be MUCH more motivated! And I wasn't in charge!

    He still didn't want to read much at home, but whatever, I was pleased. It was fantastic. 

    But then THIS year. THIS YEAR IS NUTS. 

    My kid can REEEEEAD. I am so freaking amazed at how far he's come just from the beginning of the year. And Molly? Based on what I attempted to do with Molly in preschool I didn't have any expectations, but that kid can read levels and levels better than her brother did in kindergarten. She is always surprising me with what words she already knows. Right now they're in their beds reading to themselves before I turn out the lights - my absolute favorite thing in the world to do, they are doing it, and they didn't make a single groan or whine about it. They said, "Well can you get me a few more books?"

    It's just so exciting. There are ten million things I want to share with them, ten million things that I'm all HURRY UP SO WE CAN READ THIS! This part of being a mom is so good, you guys! I get SO SNIFFLY about my kids getting bigger and how they're all elbows and knees and no more pudgy cheeks, but now they can READ. And I think they're beginning to LIKE it. And it doesn't matter at all that they didn't want to sit and listen to books when they were little or had no interest in sounding at words at age four or that neither of them are in the highest reading group like I was (BECAUSE THERE ARE NO READING GROUPS, GAWD MAGGIE), it's happening and it's SO COOL. 

    We planned this trip to Disneyland a few months ago. We wanted to take Emma while she was still little and my mother-in-law is retiring this year and we thought it'd be a fun celebration trip and, well, whatever I do not need any reason to go to Disneyland. But we didn't tell the kids until well after Christmas and then we told them we could only go if they each read 20 books. That's probably a silly number to a lot of you (I'm looking at you, friends with Precocious Girl Readers!) but it was a HUGE one for us. They could only put a point on their chart if they found a book at the right level and read the entire thing out loud to us. 

    We are ALMOST at 20 books. And there has been NO complaining. Only "what book should I read you tonight, Mommy?!" I think this calls for a Squee.

    January 26, 2014

    Baking, football, dance moms

    OH HELLO, BLAWG!

    I've been busy with this: http://www.thumbprintsbakingco.com

    I had absolutely no intention of launching a website until we were LEGAL. And also had our official logo and pictures of everything I wanted pictures of and I had, you know, learned to build an ACTUAL website instead of merely taping together some chunks of code and crossing my fingers. However. I delivered our first big and not-for-friends-or-family order today, 30 tiny boxes filled with 3 pink macarons each (one vanilla buttercream, one raspberry buttercream, one passionfruit buttercream) for a baby shower. That means 30 people taking our label and therefore our website URL home with them. If, by any chance, they happened to VISIT the website I wanted something to be ON the website. It seemed to me that if they simply saw the lame-o We're Not Quite Done Page, they wouldn't go back and wouldn't remember us next time they needed their own order of baby pink macarons. So I put up the website. 

    It KILLS me because there are at least a dozen things I want to fix and edit, but WHATEVER, I need to, you know, go on with my life. 

    SO HELLO! How are you? Here's what I'm going to do this week. I'm going to start watching Veronica Mars on my treadmill again, that's for sure. Baking everything in the world to get ready for your bakery website photo shoot is not super conducive to one's barely-committed-to-in-the-first-place health kick. I'm going to my kids' school's weekly assembly tomorrow morning to see Molly's class sing 'Stayin' In Line' to the tune of 'Stayin' Alive'. I'm going to schedule a haircut now that I've completed the baby shower order for my stylist and can reasonably assume things went well and I can get my haircut without embarrassment. I'm going to open a business bank account GOSHDARNIT I am, I mean it, all I have to do is ask FIL to come up and sleep on my couch while Emma takes her nap. 

    Oh, and I'm going to figure out what kind of food we're going to have on Sunday when hordes of friends who are suddenly interested in football descend on my house to watch the Super Bowl. I have what you might call a passing interest in football. By which I mean the only football-related thing I've ever cared about is Petyon Manning because he's SO NICE and he's SO FUNNY on SNL and he just seems like a GOOD GUY, you know? Love good guys. And way early on in this season I jokingly said to Phillip, "What if the Seahawks play Peyton Manning in the Super Bowl? WHATEVER SHALL I DO?"

    (Unjokingly: I am still not sure what I am going to do.)

    In the meantime I am THOROUGHLY ENTERTAINED by all the Seattle- and Seahawks-related commentary happening on my newsy websites. I am SO INTERESTED in all the psychological analyses! Have you seen that article or chart or whatever it is that shows that absolutely no one in the country is rooting for the Seahawks except that teeny tiny dot in the upper lefthand corner? And how everyone thinks the Seahawks are obnoxious thugs? This is fascinating to me because I am normally totally repulsed by unsportsmanlike behavior and have no patience for giant displays of I'M THE MAN!!!!! etc. But I keep finding myself defending Richard Sherman (IN MY HEAD, TO NO ONE, ONLY MYSELF) because it seems I am one of the suddenly interested in football people. And it's my team! "MY" team! HAAAAAA. I haven't had a team since high school. And even then I didn't have enough school spirit to care. 

    Anyway, I read one article in particular (and of course I don't remember the link) about how this jerky badassery is GOOD for the Seattle Psyche. We've just never had anything to BE badass about before! THIS IS SO NEW AND EXCITING!

    Oh, the other thing I have going on this week is something called "Watching Day"? I signed Molly up for ballet lessons at an actual dance studio. It's close to my house and didn't cost too much and it's at a time I can deal with. Those were my requirements. But there's this WATCHING DAY thing where you're supposed to go and get a little preview with the current students? And then fill out a "Performance Packet"? With a "Commitment Sheet"? WHAT THE HECK. Are they going to turn me into a Dance Mom? Can we just go and have fun? Does someone know what those things ARE?

    (Stay tuned for the post wherein I ask you to convince me to sign both big kids up for piano and Tae Kwon Do IN ADDITION to the ballet class OMG IT'S STARTING.)

    November 21, 2013

    In which I learn my child has an alternate (and better behaved!) personality when he's not around me. (OBVS)

    Had parent teacher conferences tonight. Pretty much the only thing Jack's teacher wanted to talk about is how much he reads, how much he likes reading, how well he's doing, how he talks about what he's reading with his reading partner, how cute they are when they're reading together, etc. etc. etc. So. Also the part where she said that he's such a great direction-follower and probably knows what to do in the class better than she does - are we talking about the same kid? 

    (Also: my projected fears about J increase with every teacher conversation. If he's so much like First Grade Me, what sort of terrible psychological disorder will he have at age 22? I'm sorry, Jack! I will pay for all the therapy!)

    Molly's teacher knows that my parents are former teachers. Tonight he said to me, "You know, sometimes I think you're reluctant to talk to me because you don't want to be THAT PARENT, you know, the ones you heard your parents talking about. So let me tell you: don't worry. You are NOT that parent. Please come talk to me about ANYTHING."

    So obviously he's now my favorite person in the world. He understands my psychological disorders and showers me with affirmation. 

    We had all three with us for conferences, which I would have rather DIED than do last year, but this year it was just a necessary evil. Jack and Molly alternately showed off and kept busy. Emma talked. And talked and talked and sang and shouted and barked orders at her siblings and I wondered aloud what her first parent teacher conference will be like. "She's a great kid, but she has to sit in this tiny plexiglass cage by herself because no one can hear themselves think."

    What's the other thing I was going to tell you. OH! Katie and I are through with the recipe and label misery! Mostly! There are a few things we're missing, but for the most part, all of the recipes and labels have been typed and edited and YAY. It took me half an hour to write up the packaging process for all of our items and Katie is working on the list of what equipment we will use and how we will clean it. (YES.) Basicaly we're 99% done with the hardest part. The rest of the application will just be writing up some processes, printing everything out, putting it together, and writing the check. And I will be super excited until our packet is returned with a bunch of corrections. SIGH. But I'm feeling motivated and optimistic for now. So motivated that I started working on our bakery website and it just feels REAL! 

    Things that stink: I am a terrible web designer, I have no graphic design skills, and it takes me forever to do really simple things. However, I do work for free and at this point that's the only job requirement. Also I have a basic grasp of English so people who use our website will at least have the right information. Other things that stink: I really want to start advertising what we can do for Christmas and I'm almost certain we won't be legal by then. More things that stink: wondering if people will actually order stuff from us. I DON'T KNOOOOOOW! NAIL BITING!!!!!!

     

     

    June 12, 2013

    What we learned this year

    The last week of school is going annoyingly. By which I mean it's not Friday yet. It's the regular feeling of "isn't it Friday yet" coupled with "let's get this school stuff over with already" and BLARGH. Today was my last true day of The Schedule and while I did get a bit sniffly at the coffee shop, the rest of the day I traded sentiment for impatient irritation. 

    Tomorrow is my last day with just Molly and Emma at home and THAT might be hard. Where it was questionable if Jack would survive the months before kindergarten, Molly is happy at home. She entertains herself, she's happy to fold clothes with me or help empty the dishwasher, she works on projects without needing attention. Not that I have any interest whatsoever in homeschooling, but I can PICTURE doing it with Molly. If I were doing it with Jack one of us would be dead. ANYWAY. All that to say I'd like to do something fun with Molly tomorrow. I don't know what, though. My girl is always game for shopping...

    Friday is a silly little day of early releases and I'm going to cap off my year of not hanging out with the preschool moms by blowing off the end of the year picnic in the park. It's at a bad time! Whatever. I actually did make friends, you know. This morning one of the moms said she was going to email me over the summer to do this thing at the library with our babies and while it sounded totally boring, I was all, "HEY. THE PRESCHOOL MOMS LIKE ME!" 

    Maybe this whole time they've been seeing me drive up in my minivan, watching my kid hop out on her own, and feeling jealous as I drive away. Maybe this whole time they've been wishing THEY could blow everyone off. 

    I really hope I remember to take a picture of Molly and Jack in front of the house on the last day of school, to juxtapose with the first day of school picture. Things are SO DIFFERENT. Molly is just - I don't know the right words. She has grown up SO MUCH. I was so worried about my little preschool drop out and then this year she was all, "I don't need no brother to do all my socializing for me" and had a blast. Jack grew up too, but in a different way. Like he's been exposed to life outside his family and he's trying out all these voices and mannerisms and I have to keep saying, "I DON'T LIKE IT WHEN YOU ACT LIKE [INSERT NAME OF FRIEND]." Also he reads and does math and makes books and his handwriting is terrible and he has blisters on his palms from the monkey bars and every single pair of jeans is holey. His hair is always a mess. He's going to be a first grader. I have a first grader

    And Emma? Emma learned to walk. I spent the first half of the year reminding myself to put the Ergo in the car so I could carry her into the school for pick up. She was always bound up next to me, no one saw her face. And then the second half of the year, when I was still carrying her, but on my hip and putting her down once we got inside. And then holding her hand while she walked. And then trying to get her to hold my hand before she gets run over by the hordes of elementary school students running to the bus. Babies change so fast, I know, but the school year really quantifies things, doesn't it. 

    It's going to be crazy with Molly in school. I mean the time flying by thing. It wasn't so long ago that I was writing about my two babies. SO CRAZY. Although it's still not entirely certain she'll GO to school - next week we meet with a school psychologist, the second of the two kindergarten early entrance assessments. Her teachers, Jack's teacher, and my personal collection of teachers all say she's ready and I think she is too and I'm not really worried about it, but it'll be nice to make it official. 

    And NO, Teachers From Molly's Preschool, I am NOT putting my baby in the Twos program. No no no. 

    But first: summer. Lots of summer. Swim lessons, VBS, YMCA camp, Grandma and Grandpa's house, Vancouver, the beach, the spray park, cousins, birthdays, a deck with a SLIDE. It's going to be awesome.

     

    May 28, 2013

    Perhaps I should try a home improvement television cleanse

    I think I've overdosed on HGTV. Which doesn't mean that I am sick of watching HGTV (AT ALL), it means that I spend way more time thinking about my OWN house and everything it NEEDS. Technically it needs nothing. Un-technically it needs EVERYTHING. And I just feel... it's like I feel MAD about it. I'm mad that we can't fix ALL the things IMMEDIATELY.

    Deck demo was supposed to start today but it got pushed back to Thursday. Fine. But we're waiting to see what the construction guys find before we decide how to fix the deck and I feel so twitchy and annoyed about it. I don't want to talk about getting other bids and how to finance it and blah blah blah I just want to get it DONE. I have an answer for all those things (whatever is easiest and fastest) and I'm READY. 

    And after that? GRAND plans for the kitchen and upstairs bathroom. Total gutting. Knocking down walls. All new everything. But you know, if that's too expensive I have less grand ideas and those are okay too, I just want to get MOVING! Let's DO this thing! 

    It's not just remodeling, it's wanting brighter couch pillows and a bigger better new rug, a king sized bed, new paint for Emma's room, ooh maybe I can PAINT our dining room table, and we'll need actual outdoor furniture and OMG STOP IT CRAZY LADY. 

    I actually quite like my house. I mean, for the dozens of things I hate about it (GRAY TILE EVERYWHERE), it's got a lot of great qualities. "Good bones", I think they'd say. I just wish I could go into a room and not instantly reimagine it as something else. We'll update everything eventually, I really think we will, and things will be perfectly pleasant in the meantime. This schizophrenic Pinteresting I'm doing - hire a kitchen designer! bathroom tile! appliances! landscaping! diy shower install tips! Ikea cabinets! - needs to stop. BLARGH.

    The forecast looks like a long string of sunny days ahead and THANK GOODNESS, because I wouldn't be surprised if the rain and gloom and stuckinsideness is part of the nonstop house wantingness. Also part: spending hours cleaning up the kitchen and vacuuming and creating a dozen piles for Goodwill and things STILL look dirty and cluttered. AND: the baby. Oh, the baby. As my mother would say, she's "asserting herself". The fact that Phillip is currently entertaining all three in his office downstairs is probably evidence of the sort of attitude I had when he got home. SORRY.

    In other news. Molly Cheung jumped into the swimming pool during lessons today and submerged her whole head. Not on purpose of course, but the point is: SHE DID NOT FREAK OUT. She wasn't HAPPY about it, but she wasn't shrieking and howling for me. In fact she was smiling not five seconds later. MAJOR IMPROVEMENT! So proud of my girl. 

    Oh you guys, I just had to erase a whole paragraph about diy remodeling and if YOU had done it and SERIOUSLY, PLEASE BEGIN THE INTERVENTION.

    May 19, 2013

    Six years, three kids, a bajillion neuroses

    Even though I could positively karate kick every single person who feels compelled to tell me that my baby doesn't look like much of a baby anymore, they're right. At some point in the last few weeks Emma Cheung morphed into the next version of herself. She's not two yet, but for all the whining and demanding and temper having and sheer personality getting thrown around, she might as well be. And it's as I suspected - there's a loud, assertive, charming little extrovert inside that kid and I admit it, I'm a little intimidated. 

    I thought my other kids were full of personality at this age too, but I think they were personalities I understood a bit better. Maybe a little more like my own, or easily handled. I see a lot of myself in Jack, and Molly is a sweet, soft, delicious little spoonful of girly whipped cream. Or maybe it's because I'm familiar with them, I know what to expect, and Emma's self is suddenly exploding all over the house. Even Jack and Molly seemed stunned by the force at times, unthinkingly handing over a toy or snack, immediately giving in, yielding to the emotional noise that is their baby sister. 

    Just this last week she's begun to choose walking - a drunken stumble, really - over scooting, and she's high on the experience. "LOOK AT ME!" her face says, as if she started walking at 9 months instead of 20. She talks. Constantly. Repeats everything we say. Yells it. And if she can't form the words she emits this awful mind-numbing "Eh-ehhhh!" until we figure out what she wants. She is sweet and darling and cuddly and loving until the instant she is not, and then she is furious, offended, indignant, and spilling white hot tears of HOW COULD YOU?!?!?!

    And while she is still very clingy and attached to me, she has absolutely no fear diving (literally) into her siblings' games and toys and carefully structured pillow forts. Aren't all of these things here for her own amusement? Including the older siblings? Is not this entire house and everything within it simply existing for her own personal enjoyment? 

    I feel sorry for my kids sometimes, having as they do a mother obsessed with Myers-Briggs and enneagrams and birth order and various other personality theories and assessments. I don't WANT to assign them traits and characteristics before they can pronounce "enneagram" but dudes, if Emma Cheung doesn't have YOUNGEST CHILD oozing out of every pore. I see it in action every day. She studies Jack and Molly, she takes note of what gets a laugh, and she'll do those things over and over again. She REMEMBERS those things, weeks and weeks after they happen. I'm afraid she'll be playing "steal Mommy's napkin" for laughs until she's thirty-five. Even at not quite two she's the ham in this family, though admittedly she doesn't have much competition. I fear for this child, growing up the lone noisy extrovert in a family of rule followers. But see - I'm doing it again. Who knows what she'll be like! Who knows what the other kids will be like! I don't blame her for capitalizing on being Super Cute Funny Baby Sister, a role I've often envied. 

    I think of all the times growing up when I swore to myself that if I ever had kids I would be FAIR! And EQUAL! And I would remember how old the oldest was when she got to shave her legs and not even CONSIDER letting the youngest do it until she was AT LEAST the age the oldest WAS etc. etc. etc. But I cannot fathom a time when Emma won't be my BABY and so much younger than her siblings and therefore needing special treatment and attention. HORRIBLE! But even Jack and Molly fall into this line of thinking, getting irritated when people would try to get Emma to stand on her own and walk, taking over, protectively grabbing Emma's hands and barking, "SHE CAN'T WALK." 

    How am I encouraging Jack in his "oldest" role and Emma in her "youngest"? How am I neglecting Molly as the "forgotten middle"? 

    It is such a BIZARRE and AMAZING thing to have three brand new never-seen-before individuals living in your house. Where you're observing every minute detail, recording many of those details in a BLOG for heaven's sake. WHO ARE THEY? More importantly, HOW AM I SCREWING THEM UP? 

    May 05, 2013

    What the kids are wearing these days

    Being proper Seattleites, my children demanded to go to the indoor pool on this beautiful 83 degree day. "How about the sprinkler!" I suggested. "I'll fill up the pool!" That was good for maybe half an hour. "Mommy it's too hooooottttt." After that it was, "Can we go to the YYYYYYYYYY?" 

    Damn the Y. But also GOD BLESS THE Y. Best ridiculous monthly bill I've ever signed up for. Now if Emma could just suck it up and stop crying in childcare we'd be golden. 

    While Phillip took the big kids to the Y, Emma and I stopped at the nearby Fred Meyer. OSTENSIBLY I was looking for flip flops for the big kids, but I ended up buying, ah, summer wardrobes. I keep being delighted with all the clothes I already HAVE for Emma, and wondering why my big kids have nothing summery to wear and/or shoes that fit and/or jeans without holes and/or skirts that aren't scandalously short. I really did mean to buy JUST FLIP FLOPS, but I left the store with something like forty-seven shirts and thirty-nine pairs of capri pants for Molly. Oh, and a few shirts and shorts for Jack. We just finished modeling everything for Daddy and I'm pleased AND horrified that everything fit perfectly. I kept thinking, "Oh, that'll be too big, but better too big than too small! She'll grow into it! It has an adjustable waist, so we're all good!" (WE DID NOT NEED THE ADJUSTABLE WAIST.) 

    But you guys, this was the first time I shopped in the Bigger Girl area. Not the infant and toddler section, the 4-6X section, and DUDES. There was exactly one rack of the type of clothes I would dress my kid in. The rest was Mini-Teenager, Mini-Hoochie-Teenager, Branded Sparkly Horrors, and Just Plain Ugly. I have some definite Feelings about age-appropriate clothing, but other than that I don't think I'm too picky. I often let Molly pick her own clothes, I'm learning to get over it if it doesn't match perfectly, and as long as it's clean and fits I will abide the layers upon layers of hot pink tulle. HOWEVER. I was surprised at how many things I would never ever let her wear, on account of Hideosity. Is that a word? It is now. There are always a lot of hideous clothes, but in the Bigger Girl Section at Fred Meyer, the hideous was about 90%.

    What was not hideous? The teeny little Carters section where I bought the heaps of t-shirts and capri pants. And one pair of shorts because they were the only Not Booty Shorts That Also Matched The Shirts that I could find. SHEESH. These are just play clothes and all the colors and patterns mixed and matched and they don't SAY things, they aren't BEDAZZLED, they aren't trying to be sixteen. Carters 4Eva! 

    I thought I should probably buy Jack some things too, as he's just in need as Molly, he's just not as... well, honestly, he and I are both fine if he wants to wear his googly-eyed shark t-shirt four days in a row. (Not to school. I have a nice assortment of brownnosey polo shirts for school.) But he needed a few pairs of shorts and some new t-shirts and I bought the only three t-shirts in the store that were not 1) camoflage or 2) stamped with skull and bones graphics. NO SKULLS AND BONES. HE IS [ALMOST] SIX. NO NO NO. YUCK. 

    Sorry. I have opinions. 

    I also don't want things smothered in sports pictures or dirt bikes or motorcycles or cutesy-tough sayings. YUCK! There are certain things Jack likes. For a while I was buying bug or sea creature shirts. Dinosaur shirts. Now I'm on the lookout for superhero shirts that aren't nine hundred dollars. But they still need to be CUTE. These shirts are TERRIBLE. 

    And it's not just Fred Meyer, it's anywhere where kid clothes are relatively inexpensive. There are always cute things at the cute stores, but sometimes I just want a stack of five dollar t-shirts he can get dirty at the playground. Is it too much to ask that I not hate whatever is pictured on the front? ANNOYING. 

    I feel like I have the rest of my life to disapprove of what my children are wearing. I don't need to start NOW.

    Anyway, this is why I buy five dozen plain colored t-shirts from Old Navy before school starts. Of course these are worn out immediately, but at least I don't actively dislike them. 

    GET OFF MY LAWN!

    Ahem. 

    My neighbor? The parking police? She made a point to smile at me as I drove by yesterday. What do you think THAT means, hmm? 

    I'm going to go put my kids to bed, open a Beer of Mexico, and make my husband sit on the deck with me and appreciate the weather. Happy Sunday evening. 

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