Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Natalie Goes to Preschool

I've put off blogging about Natalie's first day of preschool because (a) let's be honest, I'm lazy, and (b) it really didn't end up being that big of a deal. Compared to my expectations, the entire event was a breeze. I expected tears, but there were none. I expected to argue with my little princess over her outfit, hairstyle, and shoes for the day--but it didn't happen. I even anticipated a little showdown over my choice of Natalie's morning snack, but even that never materialized.

I know how independent Natalie can be at home. She won't let me help her with her shoes, her clothing, or her toothbrushing. She wants to do her carseat up by herself. She tucks herself into bed without any help--though a story and kisses are still required once she gets all covered up.

However, my girl has always been intimidated by new people and new places, and she's never been anywhere without at least one of her brothers to keep her company. At playgroups she's always been one to wrap herself around one of my legs and hide her face whenever someone new speaks to her. If we're in a store and someone approaches to tell her how gorgeous her curly hair is she hides her face and won't speak to them.

Last Monday, Natalie waltzed into preschool, hung up her jacket, changed her shoes, took her new teacher's hand, and walked right off down the hallway, pausing only to smile over her shoulder and give me a little wave.

I was amazed, relieved, proud, and just a little bit sad. The timid baby girl is gone, and an independent, serious little girl lives here now. I guess, in reality, it was a huge deal.

I'm not going to lie, though. The sadness was only momentary. It was a relief to know that Natalie was going to make the whole preschool thing easier for me by not crying. She's also made it easier than Kyle ever did because she's much more mature than he is, and I'll never have to worry about her being the crazy little class clown. It might be selfish, but it has also done wonders for my sanity to only have one toddler around for a few hours each week.

Now that Brandon and I have four mornings of alone time under our belt and Natalie has four mornings of preschool under her belt I think we're all satisfied that this is a very good thing for all of us. Brandon doesn't know what to do with all the attention. Natalie thinks it's great to have something that's all hers. And I have a feeling my shopping time has been greatly enhanced--you'd be amazed at how easy it is getting one kid in and out of carseats, strollers, and shopping carts!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Day Six

Shaun's traveling this week, and once again I just don't feel like blogging--or anything else. I feel like curling up in a ball, spending my days on the couch, rising only to feed the kids handfuls of crackers, and sleeping the days away until Shaun comes home. This doesn't actually happen. There are school runs to make, lunches to pack, meals to prepare, diapers to change, a house to clean, ballet lessons to attend, laundry to ignore, blah, blah, blah. I'm a suck-it-up-and-get-on-with-it kind of girl, so I don't give in to the desire to hibernate, but it's an effort.

I've spent enough time alone with the kids to know that four days is about my limit. I fly through the first four days like Supermom, and then I always wake up on day five feeling like I flew right into a brick wall or something overnight. No more Supermom--just Superslug, Superwitch, Superblah, or something along those lines. It did not help that day five of my current single-parenting gig coincided with Saturday. Saturdays are not a good thing when you've been entertaining your kids alone every morning, afternoon, and evening for four days and then suddenly have to entertain all three of them all day long.

Today is day six, and I'm done. I'm not playing any more games, I'm not doing any more laundry, and I'm not listening to any more knock-knock jokes. The kids can watch TV from now until it's time for everyone to go to school tomorrow morning if they want. I'm not even going to give anyone a bath tonight--Shaun will be home tomorrow, and he can just wash two days worth of dirt off of them when he gives them their baths.

And you know what else? We're having hot dogs and Kraft mac and cheese for dinner, and, come Hell or high water, these kids are going to eat it and like it! Supermom has left the building.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Knock, knock!

My children are obsessed with jokes. Knock-knock jokes. And I hate them.

Kyle: Knock, knock, Mom.
Me: Who's there?
Kyle: Boo
Me: Boo who?
Kyle: You don't have to cry, Mom! It's just a joke! HAHAHAHAHA!!!!!
Me: Good one! *smiles*

Natalie: Knock, knock, Mommy.
Me: Who's there?
Natalie: Natalie
Me: Natalie who?
Natalie: Natalie who dances like a princess and lives in a castle!!!
Me: Huh? Oh. Good one, honey. *shrugs*

Brandon: Knock, knock. Knock, knock. Knock, knock. Mommy! Mommy! Knock, knock!
Me: Who's there?
Brandon: Daddy!!!
Me: Daddy who?
Me: Yeah, yeah. I know. You love your Daddy. *rolls eyes*

At least they're funnier than most of the jokes Shaun tells.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

French Lesson

And now for a little follow-up to our geography lesson of a few days ago...

Kyle has French class on Wednesdays, and at dinner last night we asked him to tell us something in French. He was about to give us his usual "Bonne fĂȘte `a toi," but we interrupted him and asked him to teach us a different French phrase.

He looked at me and said, "Bo-zo!"

Shaun and I looked at each other, totally confused. It's not the first time Kyle has said "Bo-zo!" and insisted it was French. We joked that maybe that was French for clown? Perhaps Kyle was calling me lazy?

And then it hit me. "Bonjour!"

Bonjour probably sounds a lot like "bo-zo!" to a four-year-old. So much for Kyle learning to speak French.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

My Little Ballerina

I know. C-U-T-E. And she's all mine.

Today was the first day of ballet class, and Natalie smiled and pranced her way around the ballet studio like the little princess she believes herself to be. I expected her to be timid and shy, and she was neither. It was adorable. Little girls are so much fun!

Let's cross our fingers and hope the first day of preschool on Monday goes just as smoothly.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Geography Lesson

The wind is howling, the rain is pouring down, my toes can't seem to warm up, and I know winter is right around the corner here in Newfoundland.

Before we went to the shore in August I told Shaun that I had a feeling it wouldn't be summer any longer once we returned to Newfoundland, and I was right. We've had a few warm, sunny days in the last two weeks, but the air has turned bitter. There's a bite in the air that constantly reminds me I'm sitting on an island sticking way out into the North Atlantic, closer to Greenland than Texas or Virginia.

I know you all have an idea of where Newfoundland is, but check out the map. Seriously, do you see how close to Greenland I am? Okay, I'm not in Labrador or Baffin Bay or anything, but it's closer to Greenland than anyone who likes being warm should live. I'm also aware of the fact that there are parts of North Dakota and Montana and a few other states that are farther North than we are here in St. John's, but I don't live there.

I live here. Here is where there are icebergs, whales, and Nor'easters. Here is where I've spent part of every day of the last thirteen months, excluding those days when I've been on vacation in the U.S., cold. Here is where I'm gearing up for a nasty winter since we had a very mild winter last year according to the locals. By 'gearing up' I mean that I'm making sure I have my socks, fleecy blankets, and tea kettle in easily accessible locations--I'm not actually going outside once it's October.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

The Second Day

Yesterday Kyle got to wear his 'everyday' uniform, as opposed to the first day's 'full dress' uniform. Pretty snazzy sweater vest, wouldn't you say? Variations of the everyday uniform will include long-sleeved white shirts instead of short-sleeved white shirts or an absence of the sweater vest altogether. Stay tuned for pictures of Friday's gym uniform.

I'm happy to report that the second day of Kindergarten seems to have gone as smoothly as the first. So far, so good. A friend and I have worked out our carpooling schedule, and full lunch service starts up tomorrow--that means no more packing lunch and half as many trips to the school! Yeah! Note to self: It's amazing how much time I spend trying to figure out how to get myself out of as much work as possible. I might want to stop blogging about that and focus more on how adorable the kids are. Maybe? Nah.

I think we've made a decent start on our back-to-school routine. Next week Natalie will go to orientation at her preschool, and then the following week she'll start heading off to preschool three mornings a week. That'll leave Brandon and I all alone to do whatever we want. I'm not sure either of us will know what to do with ourselves, but I'm looking forward to it. I see several trips to The Little Gym in my future.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

The First Day

Check out the cutie in the uniform! I am officially the mother of a Kindergartener. It seems unreal. I'd say that I'm not old enough to be the mother of a Kindergartener, but we all know that I'm thirty now, so I guess I am old enough.

Whenever a milestone of any sort rears up in front of us I'm always glad that Kyle is my firstborn. He makes it easy to face new situations because he's fearless when it comes to meeting new people, and he'll go anywhere without me. This is a concern when I imagine horrible scenarios involving creepy men in beat-up cars driving by offering candy out of the window. However, this fearlessness is a relief at birthday parties, playdates and on the first day of school.

Kyle was the only two-year-old not crying at his first day of preschool two years ago. He even looked confused about why everyone else was crying when there were all these new toys to play with and it looked like these teachers were even into Play-Doh (something Mommy was not into).

This morning Natalie, Brandon, and I walked Kyle to his new classroom and watched as he walked right into the closet, hung up his backpack, and then walked away from us to go play. I even had to call his name two or three times to get his attention to tell him we were leaving. He looked over at me, smiled, waved, and blew me a kiss.


My baby's growing up.

At least I know to be entirely grateful for the kiss. In another year or two he'll be way too grown up to blow his mom a kiss on the first day of school.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Run for the Cure

It's on October 4th, and I think I'm gonna run. Maybe. I'm at least going to walk for the cure, but I just might run. I think I can do 5k. I can do 5k on my treadmill--or I could before I went on vacation almost three weeks ago--but I think it'll be a whole different story running on the road here in hilly St. John's. Either way I want to raise $250. Sure I could just donate the money myself, and I promise I'll be making a donation, but you know you want to sponsor me.

Click on the link below to go to my Run for the Cure homepage and make a donation.

Betsy's CIBC Run for the Cure Donation Page

I promise to provide hilarious pictures of me running to anyone making a donation.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

A Little Ocean City Love

Most people are totally confused when I tell them we vacation in New Jersey. I can actually see their eyes glaze over as they picture scenes from the Sopranos and the New Jersey Turnpike. Ocean City is actually an awesome shore town with a great beaches, a boardwalk filled with pizza places, mini-golf courses and shops, a trolley that runs from one end of the city to the other, and a rare family-friendly atmosphere.

My grandmother used to take my brother and I to Ocean City for a week every summer as kids--and eventually my sister, too--and the city has changed very little in all the time I've known it. Ocean City is even where I introduced Shaun to some of my family for the first time--he and our friend, Scott, drove down to visit me when I was there with Mom-mom the summer after our Freshman year at RPI.

We just finished spending two weeks in Ocean City, and Shaun and I probably enjoyed our most relaxing vacation since having kids. Relaxation is all relative when vacationing with three kids, obviously, so rest assured we still struggled with all the usual drama--packing, passports, hours on airplanes, rental cars, room sharing, nap shortages, and endless trips to the bathroom--and a little extra drama in the form of two threatened hurricanes, a canceled return flight, and an overnight experience at the Holiday Inn Newark Airport. But my mom and dad, my sister, and my brother and his wife stayed with us the first week we were at the shore, and I swear it was total bliss having so many adults around to watch and play with the kids. Shaun's mom, grandma and Grandpa Jess also came down the second week, and they, too, made it easy for Shaun and I to get a little peace once in a while. I didn't cook dinner for the group even once thanks to the best mom in the world, and I only had to go to the grocery store once thanks to a brother who wakes up at the crack of dawn! It was awesome.

I am almost five years into this parenting gig, and I have finally determined the secret to having a good vacation--travel with at least two adults per child! Remember this.

Here are a few cute pics. Check out the rest of them on our Shutterfly site. Enjoy!

Mom-mom and B
Kyle loves his map
I can do it myself, Uncle Brian
Aunt Katie and the kids
Brian and Allie
I can do everything myself
Babci and B
Sit in the hole!
Get to work, Grandma
Mom-mom and Pop-pop and their (my) babies

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Happy 30th Birthday to Me!

I should never have taunted the Newark Airport the way I did. All that 'whatever' nonsense came right back around to bite me in the butt on Sunday. Sure, we got $2000 in airline vouchers, but it didn't really compensate for the hours spent in Newark and the lack of sleep because three small kids and strange hotel rooms don't mix. I think this year's birthday will end up somewhere on my '10 Worst Birthdays' list--you know, at the end of my life when I'm sitting around making stupid lists like that--just roll with the hypothetical list-making, people. I'm sure it won't be the Worst Birthday Ever. It was The Worst Birthday So Far, but I'm assuming something worse will happen at some point.

On a positive note, turning 30 really hasn't been as painful as I expected. It helps that almost everyone I know has already turned 30 and appears to have survived it. It does not help that Shaun is still 29, but his time will come in about 7 short weeks.

Oh yeah, and our vacation was awesome! I'll be following up with stories and pictures in no time. I swear. Just let me deal with these suitcases first.