Sunday, October 24, 2010

Happy Birthday Baby Girl!

Sweet Ainsley,

It is shocking to me that you are now six. Part of me loves having you grow up and be older and a greater part of me is in mourning, especially as I look back at pictures of you when you were little. You are simultaneously very silly, very serious, and very smart. You are also kind and empathetic to others and I value that in you more than you know. I need to remember to praise you for that more often because as you hopefully will understand someday, your dad and I would choose an honorable character and wisdom over ACT scores every time (but don't believe for a skinny minute that means slacking off will be accepted :)).

You make my world so much easier sometimes and I pray, pray, pray you don't feel lost in the shuffle in our crazy house. I know it is hard sometimes, especially when you ask so nicely for me to play with you and I can't because I have to do something imperative with your siblings. But this phase will pass and there will be a day when everyone is more independent and I can hopefully say "yes" when you need me. Just hang on a little while longer and remember that I love you, not for the things you do, but because you are mine.

Age 1

Age 6

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Bus Ride Shenanigans

Between another mom in A's class and I, we are able to piece together what really goes on at school. It's amazing what I am not told by my child (I do believe it is unintentional - if you knew Ains, you would get this). One of the reasons why I love to volunteer in her classroom is because it gives me significantly more insight into her daily world.

One area this mom and I have talked about that we have NO clue on is the bus ride. I do trust the bus driver and the aide (Mr. Eric and Mr. Derrick - Ainsley thinks it is HILARIOUS that their names rhyme) because they've known all the kids names from the beginning, they know the parents, it's only kindergartners, and the kids adore them. However, I don't know what goes on during that 20 minutes from the time they leave school until the bus stop. But I did get a glimpse last week...

The afore-mentioned mom's son told her the kids sometimes chant "Eat It! Eat It!" on the bus. Of course she asked why and he either feigned cluelessness or was too vague. This conversation happened after school on the playground and since we were also there, as A was eating her snack I asked her if the kids chant "Eat It! Eat It!" on the bus. Her response? "Why are you asking that question." Totally serious, as if I had discovered a State Secret. Hmm...further investigation obviously required. Eventually is comes out that our children sometimes bring Mr. Eric and Mr. Derrick candy, whereupon a big production is made to get the driver to "eat it" (opening his mouth really wide, pausing for dramatic effect, etc). Okay, I can handle that. The kids need some sense of independence and a coolness factor in their lives. And because I am not cool and am psycho about letting my children out of my sight, I'll happily give on this one.

Candy eating is much more tolerable than what happened when I rode the bus in elementary school. The naughty 5th and 6th graders would sing the latest Queen songs and direct us wee ones on our jobs. Example: it was the kindergartners - 2nd graders' responsibility to keep the rhythm for "We Will Rock You" (I realize I just dated myself) while the big kids sang. You know, the "stomp, stomp, clap" part. Of course we happily obliged.

So thank you, Misters Eric and Derrick for bringing my child some fun and the feeling of independence and grown-upness she otherwise wouldn't get from home. No wonder she thinks she's super-cool for riding the bus and won't allow me to pick her up from school any longer, no matter what.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Why I Am Late II. AKA Story Of The Day

I was all fired up yesterday because we had everything together and organized to get Ainsley to school with more than a couple minutes to spare. Lunch was not rushed, hair was brushed, and everyone was cheery until...

...I noticed Johnny was doing the potty dance. Why I asked him the "do you have to go tee-tee?" question (because he had a diaper on so what difference would it have made), I don't know and regret because what happened next is a classic example of why we're always on the run.

Of course he said "yes!" and took off for the bathroom, ridding himself of pants/diaper along the way. Ainsley was being awesome and ran ahead to turn on the light and get the stool ready for Johnny to stand on, I was getting some pants on Lizzy, and then I heard shrieking. Shrieking followed by "MOMMY!!!!!! MOMMY HELP!!!! JOHNNY'S PEEING!". I race over to witness The Boy tee-teeing ON HIS SISTER and, of course, the floor. He was standing in the threshold and sweet A was trapped inside, utterly incapable to escape a few hours' worth of stored-up urine.

Shockingly, she was cool about it. "Well, I've thrown up on you lots. This kind of stuff happens I guess" was her rationale. I didn't want to point out that it's pretty disgusting to have pee running down your legs, soaking your socks.

Not shockingly, Johnny thought it was funny. I absolutely know the event started as an accident, but what brother wouldn't get a kick out of watching his sister dance around while trying to not get sprayed? I am hoping and praying this is an isolated incident. If not, he'll be sent to his dad for a conversation.

Shockingly, we still got Ainsley to school on time. I managed to clean up the small lake of tee-tee, get Ainsley washed up and new socks discovered, and all of us out the door in five minutes. Of course, two of the trips did not have pants on and Ainsley and I were the only ones wearing shoes, but we made it.

I don't think I'll ever be on time or early for anything in the next 18 years.

Friday, October 8, 2010

I Know.

I am huge and we still have 9 more weeks until Cinco arrives. I look as though I should have delivered this sweet little girl (and she will be sweet) a couple weeks ago. I know this. I know this because I look like a redneck with a beer belly and have grown out of my maternity tops and now have to go shopping. I know this because I have to see myself in the mirror and in pictures. I know. I know.

That is why I am not in need of the comments, the shocked facial expressions I have to experience after I tell people when I am due, all the "wows", and the "oh my's", and the "are you sure there's just one in there's".

It is tiresome, especially because the general public believes it is okay to say these things in front of my children who are almost always with me.

Moral of the story? The next time you are in the parking lot at the grocery store and see a very preggers woman handling her four children and two grocery carts...well, perhaps instead of stating the obvious you could help her out instead of standing there, forcing her to call on every ounce of restraint and speak kindly to you as she's negotiating carts and kids and car seats on a warm day. Instead, say "let me help you" and maybe put a bag or two of produce in the car. Unless you're creepy. Then just keep walking.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Swim Lessons

The Trips were generously given swim lessons for their birthdays and it was awful until the last two sessions. Awful in the crying-so-hard-they-vomit way. Well, only Lizzy and Johnny threw up. Gracie is way too cool for that. She just sobbed. And the thing about it was that they talked about "Mr. Mark" all_the_time. Every day.

"Mr. Mark is nice."

"Mr. Mark helps keep kids safe."

"Mr. Mark teaches us to swim and be safe."

And Mr. Mark is nice and fabulous and wonderful and if you live in our area, I'm not going to give you his number because the guy knows what he's doing and is difficult to book. And get this - we found out he donates his earnings to a local children's hospital and St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. He's a retired teacher and lives solely off his retirement income.

And, of course, some pics from Swim Lessons 2010:

Lizzy, all grins and charm before Mr. Mark shows up.

Lizzy's countenance as soon as she would see Mark appear. All kinds of serious.

Never got a pic of a Johnny freak-out swim lesson. This is obviously before or after his. The thing is that he is the best swimmer of the three...goofball.

Gracie would cry off and on, but generally never got 100% worked up.

My big girl. Between lessons with an old friend (who was amazing with her) and Mark, the kid turned into a little fish this summer.

The kids' fav time - Mr. Mark always had candy afterward. Johnny would be sobbing hysterically and then be Mark's best buddy as soon as the Twizzlers would break out.

Mark and the Backyard Swim Gang. We combined lessons with another family and now I miss our Saturday evenings together.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

So Stinkin' Cool

At least that's what her siblings think. I picked up Ainsley from school about 5 times before I changed my mind about making riding-the-bus-home an option. The decision was easier for me to handle emotionally because:
1. only kindergartners are on the bus (so no shenanigans from those hooligan 3rd-graders!)
2. she was shockingly game for it.

Of course I was a total nerd and brought my camera to document my baby's first-ever bus ride. Embarrassing, but not enough to keep me from doing it.

There are two great things about this:
1. Johnny, Lizzy, and Gracie seriously think Ainsley is the coolest sibling in the world because she rides the bus. They can't wait to go get her and they wave like crazy and jump around when it turns the corner. Johnny and Lizzy run right up to her and hug her and generally make her feel like a million bucks.
2. I no longer have to wake the kidlets up from their nap, throw them in the car sans shoes, scramble to find a parking space, jam the shoes I threw in the car after the kids on their feet, throw them out of the car and race to pick A up when her teacher brings the class out of the building (there is no organized carpool line since most of the students are supposed to walk). All of this = less crabbiness in the household = happier mommy.

Side note (and purely for my documentation):

The kids aren't allowed off the bus until the driver and his aide see the parent. After a few weeks, they obviously know me and John well enough that Ainsley does not have to point us out, but she still does and it cracks them up. Every day she stops when she gets to the driver and (very quietly in her Ainsley way) tells them I'm there, and every day they say "I know, Ainsley. Thank you." And then they laugh because the Three are jumping up and down and yelling "Hi Bus! Hi Mr. Bus Driver! Hi! Hi! Hi!".

Friday, October 1, 2010


I hate to be late. This may be shocking for those of you in my world because I am usually tardy for nearly everything, but my blood pressure starts racing for the roof every minute past an expected arrival.

But you see this?

It is a classic example of why I rarely make it somewhere on time. I know, I shouldn't have left my lipstick in an obvious place in the car. And part of me was impressed she kept it only to the lip area. But still. This sort of thing happens every_single_day in my house and always just as we're getting ready to leave.

So, apologies to everyone who has to deal with me and my family and our inability to be anywhere on time. I'm sure you understand.