Kid in Pain – Part II

Almost a month ago I talked about the lessons you learn from your kids. How strong they are. How resilient. S is definitely a tough cookie.

I have to write down this story because I want to remember it in a few years. I want to remember the way I broke down when I was in the waiting room. Remember the way that S cried but ultimately conquered her IV. How she was brave through the entire procedure. I also don’t feel too bad writing about the husband since he doesn’t read this blog. :)

We have been to the doctor, gotten the blood tests, the stool tests. Completed the barium x-ray (which was absolutely no fun – the forced disgusting drink, the bar they press and roll around her tummy to force it through her intestines). We did the follow-up. We agonized over which path to take. With the suggestion of her Dr, we decided on the Endoscopy.

Which was the right path? Go slow and follow what the blood tests are saying (nothing wrong? It’s not Crohn’s disease?) or go fast and do all the tests at once? We were convinced through logic to do the Endoscopy first (and alone!) because while the x-ray showed possible inflammation near the ileocecal valve, the rate of false-positive on the x-ray is high. The blood tests were all normal and the latest tests can detected IBD and they were not detected.

So we get up at 6:30am, hop in the car, and arrive at CHOC. At night it looks beautiful.

We wait and wait. Sign papers. Gasp at the cost. Hope insurance will cover most of it. Walk in back to go to our patient room.

The nurses are absolutely lovely. There was over 10 of them and I was getting confused quickly. They kept introducing themselves, saying hi, and then leaving. They made sure to explain everything.

While I knew that S was getting versed to calm her and propofol to put her into twilight sleep, it seemed rather casual when it was explained the week before. I thought it would be a little cup she would sip. I didn’t really consider that they would be doing an IV, that the anesthesiologist would be there.

They were giving us options on if we wanted S to have the versed. At that point, S piped up with ‘you will be holding my hand through the whole thing right, Mama & Papa?’. At which point I looked at the nurse and smiled and said, ‘We might have a little problem here.’ She marked on the chart a YES for versed.

Two of the cute nurses came in and started explaining how the IV would work. They do this shot of air/numbing solution that was really cool. A drop of blood shows on her skin though and S started freaking out. I was standing by her head, the second nurse sitting next to her holding an iPad with games, and my husband was sitting down next to me. As we were going through it, I looked down a few times and saw his elbows on his knees and him looking upset.

As I was in the middle of calming S, holding her down a bit, I didn’t think much of it. S has my little veins so it was hard to find them and that completely sucks. After they get the IV in, they are adjusting it and I look again to the husband and he looks bad.

I go to sit down next to him and he leans against me and puts his hand on my leg. He starts squeezing his hand on my leg repeatedly. Since S was still alternating between freaking out and playing with the iPad that the nurse was holding up for her, I thought he was just upset. He proceeded to lean against me and put his head behind my back but in-between the chair.

I thought that was weird. Is he crying? Maybe he just doesn’t want to show S that he was upset. His squeezes on my knee were more emphatic.

He leaned back up and I looked over at him. He was gone. He was sitting up but he was not there. I put my hand around his neck to keep him steady realizing that he had passed out from watching the IV. My lovely husband can not deal with needles. When I had my epidural, he did the same thing. (Which I was understandably upset at the time, as well! “You are passing out and I’m the one having the baby?”)

S is sitting on the bed looking at her Papa. “What’s wrong with Papa?” she asks.

“Nothing, sweetie. Papa just doesn’t like needles, you know that.” I say with a confident smile as I’m holding up his head. The nurse ran and got me a wet paper towel. At the same time, she was adjusting S’s IV, and doing what she was supposed to be doing to my daughter.

I desperately ask the nurse for something to drink for him, while I say loudly, “Are you okay?”

The nurse brings a small OJ container. I open it and say sternly, “Honey, I need you to drink this.” I send a quick smile over to Sam. She alternates between gaping at her Papa and playing a game on her iPad.

His eyes are blank. There is no one behind those eyes. He is swaying in his chair, as I’m holding on to his neck to keep him steady. His right arm jerks up and bumps into the open container of juice, almost spilling it on his clothes. I move it away quickly. His arm falls down and he sways his body toward mine and starts moaning over and over again.

S looks over again and freaks out more. “What’s wrong with him? What is he doing?”

I reassure her again, and laugh out loud. “He’s fine, he just fainted.” I turn my eyes over to the nurse and make crazy eyes at her.

I have no idea what to do. My daughter needs me to be calm. My husband is behaving like a stroke victim. This is not happening to me.

The nurse called out to get a gurney for him. She wrapped his finger and got a read on his pulse on the machine that should have been dedicated to my daughter. His pulse appeared on the screen and she reassured me it was normal.

All three of us, the two nurses and I, continue to reassure S that everything is okay. This happens to Dad’s all the time and it’s no big deal. I continue to hold up the husband, while he is moaning. I keep trying to speak sharply to him, in the hopes my voice will make him snap out of it. The whole thing was over five minutes long.

Suddenly, he does register my voice. The light comes back into his eyes, that wonderful spark of intelligence, and I can tell that he’s hearing me. The sweat is rolling off his body and he accepts the glass of juice. The gurney is cancelled. He reassures S that he’s fine. She admonishes him that he shouldn’t be around needles anymore. He laughs.

The new Dr who is performing the procedure walks in. He proceeds to question all of our choices, question her diet, query why we aren’t doing the colonoscopy and endoscopy at the same time, and basically freak me out more. Why aren’t we doing that? Well, our main doctor has a different style and we went with her recommendation. I asked her to do both at the same time. Why didn’t I fight harder for that? But the blood tests were all negative. My Mom doubt is killing me. Was it the right decision? At this point, we feel like he’s going to find nothing.

S gets her shot of versed through the IV and the light in her eyes goes dim. She makes us promise that we will hold her hand the entire time. We tell her that we love her. She grabs our hands and asks us to hold her hand as they continue wheeling her into surgery while we are ushered back in to the waiting room. I’m going to be strong.

We sit down and the husband laughs at himself passing out. I listen to him and think to myself, yes, that was traumatic for him. Don’t make it all about you. I last about two minutes before I break in and explain just HOW. EMOTIONAL. that was for me to have to smile at my daughter while I don’t know what my husband is doing since he was out for five minutes. I break into tears. Usually at these things, I hold it in until it’s all done. It’s out now and maybe that’s better.

Twenty minutes goes by. We watch the video screen where it shows her surgery and when she goes into recovery. The Dr comes out. Everything looked healthy. He took biopsies. There was a spot that might look like something, he is checking it out.

He proceeds to lecture us about diet. An 8 year old should be getting 16 grams of fiber a day. I try not to laugh at him as I tell him she gets over 30 grams. I don’t think he believes me. He talks about motility clinics. With-holding could definitely be a problem, we agree, but the pain she has had in the last six weeks is different than what we have been dealing with (constipation) for the last eight years. He lectures about diet, motility, but agrees we are right in moving to the MRI. He repeats that he simply has a different style than our main Dr.

We leave feeling torn. Do we start seeing the new Dr who seemed very educated? Do we stay with our current Dr for now? Even though she is moving back East in five weeks?

The questions will never end.

I also haven’t even gotten into how she woke up from her twilight sleep screaming about apples and ba-nay-nays, demanding to see the Dr, and being an angry 8yo. I don’t want to see her experimental drunk nights in her teenage years cause I think she’s gonna be interesting… :-)

Beyond this story, the biopsies are not in yet but we decided to forgo the antibiotics for SIBO since it was not proven (taking the new Dr’s advice) and move straight to the MR Enterography. It took a lot of calling, texting, listening to automated phone trees, but we have it scheduled this week. Bright and early again.

I have to wait for the pre-op to call me so I can ask questions but reading online, I’m worried we will have to do another IV. She definitely has to drink something again, which sucks. She also has to go into the tube and not be with us.

Seeing as though she keeps making us promise to hold her hand the whole time… this is definitely going to destroy me soon.

Lessons You Learn From Your Kids

Sam is not doing so well this month. She has always had stomach issues since she was a baby but they are pretty manageable with Miralax, fiber pills, and tums. This summer messed us up a lot because she went off alone, didn’t stick to her diet as much, we were on vacation, etc. etc. etc. Every summer is the same story.

So she hurt. Then I tried gluten free with her for 10 days and she got backed up even worse. A quick trip to the ER, x-rays, some other not so fun stuff that she didn’t appreciate (although it did make her feel better…) resulted in some regularity but still awful stomach pains.

Stomach pains that would make her curl up in a ball. Or if she sat down it hurt, so she would stand up on her bed, or the couch and moan with pain. Visiting the doctor… making a GI appointment… those things take time. Some days are worse than others but every day has been a reminder and a count-down until the GI appointment. We are almost there.

Soccer is a passion of hers. We tried out for the competitive squad this year but didn’t make the team. It was for the best because she got put with her coach last season (whom we love!) and she will play forward almost every quarter each game. She wouldn’t if she had made the squad.

The last few practices have been torture. She wants to play soccer but she hurts. Her chest hurts (Dr says possible Costochondritis which is common, I guess). Her stomach hurts. It hurts to run. She will go and run her heart out and come over during water break and cry. I kept telling her to sit out but “Mom, I love soccer, I just want to play.”

Watching the bravery of my girl is a humbling thing. I just want her to feel better. To feel healthy. So does she and she realizes that there are things she wants to do in life and being sick can’t hold her back.

AngryJulie posted a quote the other day that made me think of my daughter.

“You learn you can do your best even when it’s hard, even when you’re tired and maybe hurting a little bit. It feels good to show some courage.” -Joe Namath

On Saturday we had her soccer game. Actually, first we had Taekwondo. She qualified for her Blue Senior belt.

Then we had soccer. I know. Probably not the best course of action for someone in pain on a constant basis. But we have to continue with life. More important, she wanted to go and do it. We followed the Doctor’s advice of medicine before playing for any inflammation of the chest and went down to the field.

Her coach knew she wasn’t at her best. We decided together that she would play forward (lots of running) for the first quarter and sit out the second for a break. Third quarter she would play sweeper (basically staying back and kicking the ball if it came up to their goal) and they would see how she felt for the forth quarter.

It was 100 degree heat on Saturday. Even the girls who were feeling great were flagging. It was tough. For everyone.

After the first quarter we took her back to our chairs and she cried. She hurt. Everywhere. She may have been more upset because I had my sympathetic and upset face on. Halftime came about and I had to leave to go do my referee duties.

(Ref’ing two games back to back on a 100 degree day sucked. It wasn’t as bad as it sounded and the heat got a little better after 5pm but zomg. Super headache after.)

I was sitting down during my own  halftime to get water when I checked my phone.

She played through the pain and got the reward. This was the first goal she had scored in over a year. She is a tough cookie and amazes me with her courage and awareness.

Only a few more days until the next Doctor. I’m hoping it’s just nothing and we have to somehow be better with her diet. Or that the blood test we took when she was 4, lied about celiac disease. I’m hoping she doesn’t have Crohn’s Disease like I do. Or another similar IBD autoimmune problem. But we will figure it out and fix it. Because all I’m hoping for is for her to feel better.

Why I’m Sending My Child to Summer Camp

I’m shipping out S, my 8yo, to Girl Scout camp this August. When I first asked her about it she was super excited to go but as the weeks progressed she started getting nervous. There were nights she couldn’t sleep and would wander out and find me and ask me a question.

– How will we take a shower?

– Where will the adults sleep?

– What will happen if we need something?

– What if I don’t want to do something?

It’s a little sad seeing her upset over the prospect of going to summer camp. I have a sneaking suspicion that I will be waving to her on the bus while she will be sitting waving back with really sad eyes. That will suck. On the other hand, this is what I want to happen. I want her to be nervous and figure out she can handle her stuff away from Mom & Dad. I want her to be homesick and then figure out how to make the best of where she is at. I want her to figure out how to negotiate all the weird kid stuff you are forced to face up to when you are out of your element.

I just read this article at the HuffPo and it covers so much that I’m excited to have happen. Resilience, teamwork, trying new things, and just growing up. We have a big summer which includes a lot of traveling (with and without Mom – but with Grandma!) and then going off to summer camp. We are so lucky that we are able to travel with our kids so much. I feel like it will help them so much in the long run, the familiarity of going out and exploring new places. I always loved the idea of traveling to Europe after collage or high school and I think that it would be exciting if she did that.

With summer camp, we have actually been to the campgrounds twice in the last year. She has seen her bunk. She knows how everything works at camp. So it’s very familiar. Still, pretty scary for her. Luckily I already paid for it. She hasn’t asked to not go but she is still wavering along the line of ‘this is scary’. I’m glad I caught her at a brave time initially when I first asked her. A bunch of her friends said ‘no way’ when their parents asked if they wanted to go. If Sam had not wanted to go when I first asked her, I would have not pressed it. Since she did, I’m capitalizing on it.

I’m also trying to get her ready to take a plane flight by herself next year to go visit Grandpa. I flew on planes alone when I was 5yo and even though ‘times are different’, I still think it’s fine, very safe, and a good learning experience. I would actually send the kids together so they would have a buddy. We shall see.

 

It’s as Easy as Riding a Bike

No one who is reading this blog will be surprised to know I googled ‘Learn how to ride a bike’ and watched a few videos with the kids.

What? It was HELPFUL.

So we did this on Saturday and these videos were taken at the end of the day. It was about 45 minutes in the morning and a half hour in the evening. In between all that we watched a movie, did errands, went swimming… lol. Oh, I’m irritated at myself that I shot this in portrait and not landscape. Doh!

It’s the ‘gliding’ version of learning. You take the pedals off (we didn’t do that – I made her suffer with having the pedals hit her shins) and they learn how to glide. Obviously works best on a slightly downhill incline. After awhile she started peddling while she was gliding and voila! Seriously beats holding the bike while they pedal.

I DID do a lot of that but since Sam is so old I didn’t have to bend down that much so it didn’t hurt. She is really independent though and wanted to try gliding all on her own to get it.

I’m hoping GG is just as easy. His new bike is too tall for him right now (it’s perfect if he knew how to ride but not for touching the ground and learning how to glide) so I need to get the tools and modify his old bike. And pump air in the tires!

Update: Soccer

Well, we didn’t get the call! My friend texted me at  8:30pm on Sunday and said she got notified, as did a friend of hers. They were both invited to progress further. We never got a call so I’m going to assume we are out.

They should really call the people who didn’t make it! *pout*

My stomach was upset that night and I woke up at 5am Monday and finally gave up at 6am and got up for the day. Sam came down and we chatted for a bit and then I broke the news to her. She looked a little sad and said, ‘Okay’. I talked about how it was brave of her to try out in the first place and we can use this next year to really practice her skills on the bigger field of U10 (which is where we are heading since there is not enough U9 girls to make a league) and also get closer to her black belt in Taekwondo.

I think it’s character building for her but I’m still sad she didn’t make it. I didn’t think she was going to but I was still crossing my fingers. We still have a ton of time to worry about getting on competitive teams since she is still so young. It would have been so fun to be with her close friends though. C’est la vie!

 

Soccer Playoffs

We’ve had a good season with Yorba Linda/Placentia AYSO. I was disappointed in the beginning because the teams have been shrinking recently so this season they combined U7 and U8. I felt like we went a little backwards but after the first few games, the girls clicked as a team and they have been performing awesome the last half of the season.

Sam continues to truck along. The playoffs this week were simply amazing. I’ve never seen her play so well. The last game she shot on the goal four different times when earlier in the season she would run up with the ball, take an extra step to get in the perfect position, hesitate a little and BOOM the ball would be gone… stolen by the other team and halfway down the field.

This playoffs, the first game they played they tied up 1-1 with the #1 seeded team which was amazing. Completely huge! Then won our 2nd game and we were ONE POINT away from playing for 1st/2nd. The last few seasons we have done terrible in playoff season so we are absolutely thrilled to play for 3rd place. I’m writing this about 10 minutes before we leave so we will know soon how we did.

20140511-165801.jpg

We won! 2-0! No goals for her though. So close, she just doesn’t follow through.

Speaking of that, I never know if I should feel guilty for critiquing my child in sports… or if I should rave about her. If I rave about her, it ends up being one of those ‘my child is a special snowflake’ scenes but if I critique/criticize her I feel guilty and feel like I should be speaking in hushed tones.

She continues to have her ups and downs but her passion for the sport is incredible. She loves it, she wants to play in the Olympics, and she doesn’t want to do anything else but soccer.  Given that she is 8… and we are busy… we don’t exactly indulge her by practicing all the time. We tried out for Arsenal which is the competitive soccer squad. I posted my feelings about that a few months ago and now that we have been waiting… so… long… to find out if she has progressed to the next try-out, I really WANT her to get it now. Ugh.

The coach actually came to her soccer game yesterday to watch the girls. He ended up trying to recruit one of our best players. The girl has siblings who are SUPER busy so the Mom isn’t sure if she wants her daughter to do it just yet. I politely asked when we would find out the progression and he said, ‘I’m calling everyone tomorrow!’.

Which is today. Which is Mother’s Day. So I’m sure my Mother’s Day will be ruined. (Joking.) Seriously though, he has not called. I just want to knowwwww. I’m so impatient. I think she is right on the line of those 14/16 girls that will come to the final tryout. I think there was about 25 girls who actually tried out so I’m crossing my fingers that she will have another chance to do her best in front of the coach.

Two of her best friends that she has known since she was 3 are both better than her in soccer and will probably be picked. Plus, I know most of the parents of the girls who are trying out, it would be an awesome team to grow up in. There are so many good girls though!

Still impatiently waiting…

Oh, and Happy Mother’s Day to all those wonderful Mom’s out there! You are amazing!

How to Make an Easy Duck Costume for a Non-Crafter

Are you like me who ruins every craft she starts? I may make a few crafts but it’s usually the 3rd or 4th time when I perfect them. If there is a wrong turn, a fold, regular glue instead of hot… those are the mistakes I will always make right off the bat. I am not logical with crafts. It takes me forever!

Easy to Make Duck Costume for Kids - Kristibug

That’s why when I heard we had to get costumes for our 2nd grade musical for my elementary child, I started looking for what costume to BUY. Then a friend started sending me what she was making (a pig) and harassing me to make my own. It’s cheaper although it does take more time! I did a little searching on Google and found a ton of options but then found the best one for me. My girl wanted white duck with an orange bill. There were bright orange and yellow ones that we found but those looked more like chickens. We started with the easy looking Duck featured on Spoonful. I went online and to Hobby Lobby and dutifully purchased all the items before my friend started asking me why I was hunting for new shoes and thick orange socks.

What? I like to follow directions!

Out of everything I purchased, here is what I ended up needing.

– White Hat – Purchase from Amazon or Hobby Lobby ($2-$4)
- Large White Pom Poms – We used 2″ but these from Amazon would work too.
- 1 Square Black felt to cut nose & eyes on the bill – Hobby Lobby
– Orange felt – about 1/2 yard – Hobby Lobby or Joanne’s
– Orange Construction paper to make the ‘feet’ sturdy
– Double Sided tape to stick the feet to her shoes
– Polyfil batting to stuff the shirt – Hobby Lobby or Amazon
– White long sleeve shirt (Target for $2.40 on clearance, score!)
– Orange Leggings – From Amazon or we actually got them from Fleece Farm (quick shipping!)
– White feather boa – From craft store or Amazon.

I was buying for another Duck in her class so we were able to share the cost of some of this… but I also bought all the white felt that was recommended by Spoonful when the feather boa was easier and cuter. But I’m sure YOU could get away with spending much less.

Total cost? Maybe $25.

Time spent? Priceless! (Not!)

Okay, I spent about an an hour freaking out about how to make it and shopping, maybe more (my friend picked me up orange felt when there wasn’t any at Hobby Lobby) and it took almost 2 hours to make. Really not that bad.

We started with the hat. We traced out the bill on the orange felt. We made TWO versions, one on the top and one on the bottom and hot glued them to the white hat. The one on top has a little V at the top to help the nose show up. Carefully cut out two small circles of black felt for the nose and hot glued those to the orange felt on top.

Take two big fluffy pom poms and hot glue them to the white part of the hat for the eyes. Cut out two larger pieces of black felt and hot glue those to the pom poms. You may have to do this twice. The way the black felt ‘falls’ on the pom poms really makes a difference for the eyes.  S’s friend was ‘Silly Duck’ while S was ‘Dazzling Duck’ in their play. So they used some silly felt for their eyes. You can also see here that I put sequins on S’s hat to ‘dazzle’.

Making Easy Ducks Eyes for a Costume - Kristibug

My girl’s bill looks a little badly constructed here, haha. I made mine first and then I made her friends so I passed the nicer one over to her. She is on the left, it’s smoother. (See, 2nd try was much better than the first!)

The next part were the feet! Take a look at how Spoonful did it, you basically want to cut out an oversized ‘foot’ so trace a shoe but leave a big healthy inch left over on the side and then make webbed feet at the end. After you cut it out, fold it length-wise and make 3 cuts into the fabric to make an asterisk shape into the back of the foot. This is where they will slip their foot INTO and the foot will basically rest on their ankle and flop over their shoes.

Use the orange construction paper to cut out a smaller foot shape to hot glue to the bottom of the felt. We didn’t cut out a spot under the ‘webbed’ portion because we wanted it to be more ‘floppy’. However you want to work it though. This morning Sam slipped on the foot, put her shoes on, and the foot flopped everywhere, so I had some double sided tape handy and taped the end of the foot to the end of her shoe.

Creating a Duck Costume for Kids - Kristibug

You can see above where the middle part is cut out for her feet to slip into.

Orange leggings, check!

Long sleeved white shirt, check! Get that boa and take a needle and white thread and sew up the arms. Mine ended up bunching up, which actually looked rather good. We shared a boa and we had a little left so we sewed the rest to the front.

Her tummy is pudgy because I stuck the batting in. I got bored this morning (plus I am sick) so I just did a little. We took an old tshirt and I doubled sided taped it to the shirt and stuffed it in between the regular shirt and the cut up old one. I knew if it was right next to S’s skin she would complain and it would probably fall out. Her friend did it much better!

Stuffing for a Duck Costume for Kids - Kristibug

So that’s how my girl went to school in her homemade Duck costume!

Growing Pains in Soccer

S is in a lot of activities. She likes to be busy. She goes to Taekwondo, gymnastics, Girl Scouts, and soccer during the season. She adores soccer. LOVES it. She wants to play soccer in the Olympics.

Is she amazing at it? My answer is that she is eight years old. She is passionate about it. She has the potential to be great. Some of her teammates practice more and have better skills. She has some solid skills and is always up for learning more.

Since we signed up for Taekwondo, we are committed in that direction for another year or two. Luckily, she absolutely loves it. Adores it and does really well at it. She’s a pretty passionate girl, so she’s enthusiastic about a lot of things. We noticed that there were soccer try-outs over the weekend for our local soccer club that we have been involved in for years. The upside is that they don’t travel far and they are less expensive than some of the other ones. We asked S if she wanted to try out and, well, let’s just say my ears hurt. She was so excited.

We warned her that only nine or ten spots would be available and twenty plus girls would probably be signing up but that it would be a good experience.

The bottom line is that I would be perfectly happy if we didn’t make it. She could get another year in TWD down. No tournament weekends, no practicing three times a week, no crazy schedule (ours is already crazy enough).

But… we got there to the first tryout and, as some experienced parents already know, it’s really HARD to watch your child go out there and be judged. In the moment, I really WANTED her to be picked and be on the team. She wants to be on, I want her to be happy, and I want the coaches to see what I see. A girl who loves soccer and has the potential to be great at it with her attitude.

I think this is the first time that I have felt this way. S is such a wonderful, outgoing, happy child and there hasn’t been a lot of drama in her life. We keep on her for homework, for responsibilities, and other things that I feel like school and activities are easy for her. Easy is probably not the right word since we work really hard at this life to make sure it all falls together as it should, with practicing, homework, and studying for tests. She is very easy-going and while she can be a drama queen (as any child), she is flexible.

Anyway. Watching from the sidelines a field away… was very hard. I think the worst part was seeing her not run as fast as the other girls. She was in the back and after the practice, she acknowledged that she was slower. I mentioned that if she wanted to practice running before the next try-out, we could do that but she didn’t seem to fussed about it. The whole experience was very fun for her, she loved being there as she knew 90% of the girls trying out, and it was a fun day. So I’m happy for that. We will go to the second try-out in a few weeks and see what happens.

It will be a great experience for her either way. If she doesn’t get it, I feel like she will be disappointed for a few hours and bounce on to the next thing. For however long she will be disappointed, I just know it’s coming. If not this, then something else down the road. I just feel like I’m at that point where every parent reaches… my baby is growing up.

Bittersweet.

Youthful Innocence

I was lucky enough to attend my daughters field trip yesterday to see the play Charlotte’s Web. Usually I avoid field trips because a) screaming kids; b) herding kids; and c) losing kids but my teacher for G coerced me into one earlier in the year and S begged and begged that I would go on one for HER. So I promised her and that was that. I had to pay up and I was lucky enough to request the ‘quiet’ field trip.

It was fun.

It always is fun but somehow I still shy away. There are so many parent volunteers for those things that I think if parents really are DYING to go on these, more power to them! At this age, it’s still a status symbol to have your parent come along. I shouldn’t ignore that fact because as everyone says it will soon disappear.

At the end, we came back to school to have lunch on the grass. I joined S, who was sitting with a group of her girlfriends from her class. My mom friend wasn’t sitting down yet but I was getting my lunch out and looking around. I suddenly became aware that a few of the girls were glaring meaningfully at one of the girls and (not so subtly) pointing at me.

“An adult is on the loose! Watch what you say!” they might have been saying.

I started scanning my braining trying to remember what they were talking about. I had no idea. Where they saying something about Sam that she didn’t want me to know? Possible. Were they being mean to another kids? Also possible. Where they talking about the boy who ‘loooooves’ Sam? Probably not, since they had been talking about it to me all morning (which was hilarious).

I shrugged it off and continued eating and started chatting with the girls.

A few minutes later, one of the other girls got up and went over to the teacher and then came back. She had a buddy with her. She put her hands on her hips and said, “You guys, I just told on you to Mrs R. because you are NOT allowed to talk about pee and poop in front of other adults!”. Her buddy bobbed her head and might as well been shaking her finger in their face.

A girl sitting in the circle said, “POO-POO!” and immediately all the girls started pointing their fingers at me again and hissing to their friend.

Ahh, clarity. Also, OHMYGOSH.

What a bummer that bathroom jokes have been outlawed at school. Those are the best!

Their sense of injustice at this age is so adorable. Funny but adorable.

A Day of Taekwondo

My kids work really hard at Taekwondo and it shows. My baby has been doing it for almost two years now? He has his brown belt and a record number of stripes this testing period (31!). He will be achieving his senior brown belt today.

Here he is watching his sister get ready to test for her green belt. She decided to start Taekwondo after doing UFC with me for 9 months.

20140301-131042.jpg

Cute Elementary School Backpacks

A few years ago I wrote about looking for cute preschool backpacks. For some reason that posts gets me the most hits on this site and actually makes me a few bucks a month between July and September when all the parents are shopping. I know. I can probably buy a new book with my monies in a few months. Score!

That cute fairy backpack was completely worthless for school but it did great for going on overnight trips to Grandma’s. It actually still works for that purpose and still held up. I love that backpack.

 

However, here comes 2nd grade and she actually NEEDS a backpack to carry stuff. I’m not sure what stuff but I’m told a backpack is needed. Also, it has to have wheels and a little handle to roll it with. Sez Sam. EVERYONE gets a rolling backpack and apparently that is what we have to get too. That’s cool, I’m all for it. I know at least half the kids will have a rolling backpack and that means we won’t have to carry it for her to and from school soo… whatever! So I went on the hunt.

First I asked all my Mom’s with older kids what brand they got. The top three winners were:

Pottery Barn
Lands End
JanSport

I’m totally in love with MadPax which I tried to convince Sam about… She was a little nervous about the Spiktus Rex and that they would hurt but I assured her that they were foam and didn’t hurt at all. Sadly, that one was not a winner because it didn’t have wheels.

Even with all the raves about the three brands above, there were problems. One parent loved hers. The other said they fell apart within six months. So I did the usual ‘real all reviews’ thing. I actually found High Sierra which I had seen at stores and maybe even had my own school backpack from them at one point. A really long time ago. Anyway, the reviews were great on that brand as well.

I got all three sites open with the different designs and Sam came over and took a look. She immediately had a winner. A bright neon green backpack from High Sierra. It was bright. It was green. It stands out. Just like Sam wants to do.

Crazy Sam

I waited a day. Showed her a few other ones but nope, the bright neon green bag is what she wanted.

After, of course, I realized that the bright neon green was about 2 inches taller than some of the other bags. Since she is only going into 2nd grade, I highly doubt she needs this big bag but it doesn’t seem ridiculously bigger than everything else and, oops, oh well. I didn’t see any height limitations on what we can bring to school so hopefully it will all work out okay and the bag will last us four or five years and be absolutely perfect.

I found it on eBags and Amazon and eBags was a dollar cheaper so they are the big winner.

Our PlanetBox is on it’s second year and for the amount it cost to buy it, it’s a darn good thing. (We love it though!) So we are good with her lunch box. Actually, that huge lunchbox will probably fit right in her backpack. So I guess it’s a good thing we are getting such a large backpack!

I think we have a few other things to buy but since I still haven’t seen a list, I’m going to ignore it all until it lands in my inbox.

Mischievous

This picture right here?

Sam Today

 

First off, this was taken by the incomparable DrewB a month or so back for our family pictures. Which are super awesome. I was going through them today and this photo just speaks to me.

This expression on her face? She is thinking quite deeply. I think Drew is asking her to smile and she is considering it. A little hint of smile for her sunny personality but it’s a little devious, a little mischievous, and her brain is working quite hard. She is not about yet to share what is going on in there, until she has thought about it first and made sure it’s just what she wants to say. This girl has a plan. She is thinking hard about this plan and she will share with you when it’s ready to go.

Overscheduling the Kids

YES! This is how I feel too.

Such a good writeup. S loves to do EVERYTHING. She wants to do everything all the time however lately she has been acknowledging that she can only do certain things.

We are at:

Voice lessons on Monday, Taekwondo for G
Art class on Tuesday,  Taekwondo for G
Gymnastics for both on Wednesday with Soccer practice at nights for S
Thursday is Girl Scouts,  Taekwondo for G
Friday is… Movie Night :)
Saturday is soccer games for both!

She adores it. She wants more. Voice might migrate to jazz or ballet soon, or even the theater class they have.

G always says he is tired but he adores Taekwondo and he has pushed go to as many classes as that. We are trying out soccer for him this year after he begged to do it last year (but then last month said he was tired and didn’t want to do it). So we will see how that goes. He loves gym though because his little friends he loves to play with there!

I wonder sometimes what the best course of action is. They are happy. They are doing well in school. They are well adjusted. So we will continue for now!

Sam – Through Seven Years

My sweet little girl is seven. I think I love her optimism and general enthusiasm for life most. She is always looking for ‘what’s next’ in life but at the same time she still appreciates what’s happening in the present.

I cleaned my iPhone photos off and stored them in my hard drive tonight and browsed through the past years birthday parties and Christmas photos. I recalled that last year we had her party two months early… and year three, while we had her party at Pump it Up, the photos are mysteriously missing. They may be hidden in Shutterfly from the ‘Big Transfer’ from Kodak Gallery but I am too lazy to look.

I recalled that my Sammie was most somber until she was about three and a half. She has a beautiful smile and she shared it here and there, with my attentive camera I was able to capture it so many times. Around the age of four, I realized that she now smiled all the time. She didn’t do her famous ‘look’, which we have titled in so many pictures in the files. She just beamed. And laughed. And gleamed.

Her red hair has faded some. While she used to get three remarks a day (that HAIR!), now she gets it a few times a week. I don’t want her to cut it. We haven’t had a conversation about that for at least a month now so I will keep quiet.

She keeps her own counsel about many things. She observers first and records it all. The trivial things she will spout off and report to everyone, so we are all informed about any interesting observations around the house, with her brother, or the family. Things closer to her heart, she will keep until she is ready to let go. Many times she won’t ever tell, I hear the most interesting stories from friends instead.

She keeps wonderful secrets. I think she understands much more than I tell her. She is very empathetic as well. She likes to try to watch the news with me in the mornings as I shoo her away. I’m not ready for her to understand too much about war, drugs, shootings, and natural disasters but on the other hand I don’t want to keep her sheltered. Yet, we somehow do it anyway. There is time for her to learn. Maybe I’m happy that it’s not now.

She makes a friend where ever she goes. Our passes expired last weekend at Disneyland so we went one last time and as she sat down at the Star Wars show, she immediately buddied up with an older girl and had a grand old time.

Sam loves her brother and her family so much. She makes sure that Griffin is happy, he has the things he needs, and she always gives him a VERY big hug at night when we go to bed.

My seven year old is so special, so beautiful, and has wonderful manners that many remark to me about. I am so proud to be her Mother.

Here are a few fun pictures that I saw and liked, taken around December of each year.

at ONE

Happy Birthday with her ‘look’!

Her hair looks especially red here

At TWO

We look so happy that she is so happy

at THREE

Love this photo

at FOUR

I had to show off this dress of hers

Her best bud, Morgan, she met at preschool and is in the same class with this year.
So glad she is with wonderful friends that she has known for years!

 I had to include her oldest friend, Kaylee, whom she met at Gymboree when she was three years old.

at FIVE

 So very grown up, all of the sudden!

 With Kaylee, at their Christmas recital again

at SIX

 

at SEVEN

Because Kaylee has been in so many pictures around her birthday, I continued the theme. :)

 

I’m so very lucky!