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Fairly Odd Mother

Frantically waving my magic wand to make wishes come true.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Feelin' Furry

At long last, we have made the decision to (finally) adopt a dog. 

We've been without a pet for almost a year, and the house is too fur-free and quiet without something on four legs getting under our feet. And though part of me wants to get a dog-bird-cat-chickens all at once and just deal with the madness, the other part of me is smart and knows better.

So, we're adopting a dog. A little girl who is two years old and was found outside of the animal rescue center in a rain storm. The rescue group named her "Star" because they say a guiding star led her to them. A little biblical for my tastes, but I'll go with it, and the kids seem to like it. And D can pronounce it, so that's a plus.

Star will arrive from the midwest via some sort of doggie bus in about a week. In the meantime, I've been frantically emailing Tania for advice. I think she accidentally even offered to live here for a few weeks to train our new family member, so I'll be driving by to kidnap pick her up right after we get our little Star.


I can't wait to eat your shoes!

Oh, this will be fun. I've never owned a dog! Adventure! Dog hair! Someone who will love me unconditionally and never say "You Are The Meanest Mommy Ever!"

Star, we can't wait for you to join us.

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Sunday, September 25, 2011

Broken hearted

There are few things as sad as the heartbreak of a little boy who has dropped his latest LEGO creation to the ground.



Saturday, September 17, 2011


At our summer track meets, one of the races some of the kids and adults participated in was a one-mile race. My kids always sat out of this one, preferring instead to watch the older kids sprint by. Because there were so many races those evenings (50m, 100m, 200m, 400m, 800m, relay, along with the mile), the only request made to run the mile was that you be able to run it in under 10 minutes.

I was always curious if I could do this. It seemed doable---after all, I ran a 5K in just over 33 minutes---surely I could run a single mile faster. But, I was too chicken to join those running, especially with so many finishing in 6, 7, 8 minutes.

Today, I gave it a shot. 

I haven't run in a long while; I have only just started exercising again (hi, Shredheads, it's been a while!). But the cool fall-weather day had me itching to put on my sneakers and hit the road. 

I mapped out a single mile, stretched out, and took off down the street. 

I felt like I was flying at first, really sprinting. Even at the uphill about halfway through, I felt strong and quick. The last couple of minutes were a real struggle but my arms were pumping, legs striding. 

I crossed the mile, and glanced at my watch, certain I must have done it in eight, maybe nine minutes.

Blink. Blink.


Whoa, I JUST beat that ten-minute mark. Barely.

Running is so humbling. 

There are days when a half-mile feels like a marathon. Times when every little incline is a "hill" to be conquered. Times when I feel like I must have run four miles, only to find out it was just over three (that hurts).

But, there is nothing else that makes me feel so connected to my body and its ability to push itself beyond what I think is possible. And though I barely got in under ten minutes, I did it.

And that is good enough for me.

Though next time? I'd better break 9:30.

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Thursday, September 15, 2011

Just do it (without sweating)

Last night, I got into a conversation with some moms of girls in eighth grade who were from different towns. The discussion was about their schools' gym classes and the fact that kids no longer change into "gym clothes".

After having a brief, yet horrifying, flashback to the ugly one-piece, zip-up gym uniform that I wore in sixth and seventh grade, I realized what they were saying: Kids in gym wear their "everyday" clothes from class, to gym, to class again. No peeling off sweaty tees, or removing wet gym socks, and certainly no quick shower on super-hot days.

I realize that Time In The Classroom is seen as sacred nowadays but I also think this is an interesting message to send tweens: Exercise is important, but if you don't want to stink up your entire biology class, you'd best take it easy. 

Sure, many kids play very competitive sports after school, often meeting every day of the school week. But, what about those kids who get very little physical activity, or kids at risk for obesity?

Or maybe gym class meets so infrequently nowadays that no one really believes it makes much of a difference.

Did you used to change for gym class? I honestly can't remember much about junior high/high school, but know we did through middle school. I also remember having to take swimming in first period of eighth grade which was a horror show for all girls who were wearing non-waterproof black eyeliner. Yes, that would include me.

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Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Is this the little boy at play?

I'm going to try not to get all Sunrise/Sunset on you all, but---hold me---my baby is seven today.



I have a hard time reconciling my growing-up boy with this idea that he will be, always and forever, my baby.

This summer, I remember crouching down at the end of the long-jump pit, waiting with camera to eye for his legs to come running toward me.


I almost didn't click the camera because I thought, Who is this older kid running toward me?

Oof, my heart. He IS the older kid.

Hug your babies, mamas. It does go so fast.


Though seeing the person he is becoming is pretty awesome too.


I am so lucky this little boy is mine. Happy Birthday D.


Friday, September 09, 2011

Too old to play?

A couple of weeks ago, a friend was telling me her son wanted to play soccer in their town's recreational league, but she had a problem. Her son was too old to be "a beginner".

Around here, soccer is a big deal (probably for you too?), with recreational leagues starting for kids as young as 3 and "travel soccer" teams---these require try-outs---beginning in third grade. You can spot the soccer kids pretty early---they can dribble and shoot and run like a grade-schooler before they can even tie their own cleats.

But, my friend's son is seven. And that bummed me out. Is seven now considered "too old" to start a sport?

She isn't alone in feeling this way. In fact, I clearly remember when Belly was playing first-grade soccer, and I looked over at the second graders playing and thought, "she's going to get crushed in there." To Belly, soccer was fun, social and not really all that competitive. But the girls in the grade above were a well-oiled machine at seven. I can understand my friend's hesitation to throw her son into it.

Another example: My friend's daughter is a gifted gymnast, but never took a serious gymnastics class until she was ten. When she began, she was told that she may be too old to get onto the more competitive track because of her age---the other girls had started training much, much younger. (thankfully, I think her ability convinced them otherwise, but if she had been 11 when she started? probably not)

Want to play football? Don't wait too long. . .our town's third graders start practicing daily in August. . . if you wait until junior or (gasp) high school to try out for a sport, you'll be years in training behind some of your peers.

What about ballet? Jilly's Pre-Ballet class had only one ten-year-old in it; everyone else was younger. Not such a big deal if you are small, but a tall twelve year old would tower over her much-younger classmates.

Now, to be fair, I don't think that most of these classes/teams/groups overtly state that older kids can't join in----but older kids will surely notice that everyone seems to have gotten on board a lot earlier than they, and I imagine this discourages a lot of kids from even trying.

What do you think?

Is this a parent-created problem in that we're worried about our kid being the worst one on the stage/field/mat, so we discourage them from starting something much later than their peers?

Or, do you think your kids don't want to try out for something new because they'd be starting at square one when their friends are already on square 15?

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Tuesday, September 06, 2011

First day of school

It's a weird day to be a homeschooler since my town starts school today. My Facebook and Twitter feeds will fill up with posts about bus-stop waving (and/or the high-fiving that some parents do as the bus drives away), public invites to meet for coffee (without the kids), and lots of talk about school/jitters/teachers and dreaded homework assignments.

I've accepted that our lives are different, though I can't help but wonder what this day would be like if my kids did go to school.

It's 7:15am, and I'm pretty certain everyone would already be down in the kitchen, bleary eyed and nervous. I'd be taking breakfast orders, telling Belly that she must eat something more than a glass of orange juice, even with her stomach in knots.

I'd already be "borrowing" money from their allowance pouches to cobble together exact change for lunch. But, as I write this, I wonder if they have some newfangled system like pre-paid lunch cards---how out of touch am I?

I'd probably have the oven timer going so I could get the kids to the bus on time. Jilly and Belly would both be in the upper elementary school in town, as Jilly is entering third and Belly fifth. Jilly would be super excited, babbling on about the bus ride and who she knows in her class. Belly would be unusually quiet.

After driving them down the street to their noisy, neighborhood-friend-filled bus (it's raining today, otherwise, I'd insist we walk), I'd return home with D for a little while until his turn came. We'd make sure his backpack is all set, maybe watch a few minutes of his favorite cartoon, and then---BEEP BEEP---my timer would go off again, and we'd go to the car.

And then I'd take him down to the same bus stop and watch my new first grader climb on board the big yellow bus, and I'd wave and cry as he drives away. This would be his first full day in school, since our kindergartens are still half-day.

I'd get back in the car and come home to an empty house. There would be beds to make, breakfast dishes to wash, a load of laundry to do. I'd throw myself into work, hoping to pick up more writing here and there to keep myself busy while the kids are in school.

I'd have to set the timer again to remember when the buses return.

You can call me crazy for homeschooling---and there are times I'd agree---but on a day like this, I am so happy that our reality is so very different.

Even if I can't meet you for coffee today without the kids.

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