Parent Teacher Conference – A Letter

Jacob

Your father and I went to your school

to talk to your teacher about you.

She was running behind schedule and

while we waited took a peek at some of your art work.

We were so proud of all of your great effort

so your Dad took pictures of everything we could find

that had your name on it.

We looked pretty funny but so proud of you.

We spoke for a long time with your teacher

and guess what?

Mrs. Kralj is so proud of all your hard work too.

We can tell how much she likes having you in her class

and we know how much you like her too.

She used words like brilliant, advanced

and intelligent to describe you….

and even though we already knew these things

we were still so proud of you.

You are stubborn, sensitive , and sometimes distracted easily

by the toys in the class room she told us……

which isn’t surprising given the fact that you are

just 4 years old in a class with mostly 5 and 6 year olds.

Independent, sweet, and charming are other words

that we all agreed were parts of your personality.

Friends are important to you and the teacher agrees that

because your imagination is so advanced and

the details of it so intricate and complex…..

you often get left out.

I have a feeling this might be a struggle for you through the years….

Finding your place amongst friends I mean….

but you will get by fantastically I’m sure.

Today you told us you wanted to be the first person to go to Mars

which wasn’t surprising given the way you think.

You can be anything you really want to be with hard work

but know this much….

School is so very important to your life.

You seem to love it right now and we hope

that the zest and appeal will remain for a long while.

You give us so much to be proud of

and we can’t help but….

smile.

Love

Mom

25 Months Old – A Letter

Violet….

Today you turned 25 months old.

People generally stop counting the months when they hit the 2 year mark

But I can’t stop counting.

I am torn between wanting you to stay put in your littleness

and wanting you to grow and experience the world.

Today was your first “time-out” and

you cried hard because you didn’t understand

but you will.

You are bubbly and brilliant

so sweet and funny….oh so funny.

You try to say your name and it sounds like

why-wet instead of Violet.

You are determined and tough

but so stubborn

You get that from me – I think.

You love dancing and twirling and baby dolls….

but you don’t like a pillow in your crib or corn – on the cob or off.

Your hair is fine and soft…..

It can’t decide if it is blonde or brown.

You are short and have small feet

you don’t get either of those things from me.

You can sing your abc’s and count to 10

and I love that L-M-N-O-P sounds like elmo-pee

and that you always jump from 3 to 5 when you’re counting.

You love colouring and drawing and

hold a pencil better than most 4 year olds I know.

You always want to do everything for yourself

and it makes me want to cry hard because

I miss doing things for you….

Even though I’m proud of you….

So proud.

People say you look like me when I was small

that makes my  heart sing with happiness because…

I want to be with you always.

Love

Mama

My Funny Valentines

If you’re a mom you’re probably quite familiar to the old “things never turn out like you planned them in your head” routine.  How many times have you strategized, planned out, and gotten incredibly excited about something you wanted to do with your children only to have it blow up in smoke when the time finally came to execute it?  Maybe I have bad karma or something but this keeps happening to me lately and has in the past also so I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised when my plans for Valentines Day with my kids and hubby didn’t go off without a hitch.

I set the alarm so that I’d wake up on time to make the kids and that Daddy guy a hot breakfast of pink pancakes but my alarm malfunctioned and I over slept so while the pancakes did get made and enjoyed…the whole experience was rather rushed and we didn’t get the sit down early morning family breakfast that I anticipated since Mike needed to eat and run.

I knew in advance that I had to take Violet to the fracture clinic for a 12pm appointment so I packed one of the small extra pancakes in our bag and left Jacob behind to go to school with his grandmother.  The funny thing is that when we asked my mother in law if she would watch Jacob and possibly walk him to school I had totally planned on being back in time to get him there….I had an appointment after all right?

WRONG!

Violet and I waited and waited and waited some more at that freaking fracture clinic and didn’t actually get in to see the doctor until 4pm at which point he told he we needed to get an x-ray done so that he could see how the bone was healing.  Are you kidding me?  I just sat in a overpacked waiting room for four plus hours with a two-year old with no toys and no food aside from one small pancake and just now you’re telling me I need to go get an x-ray?  Could I not have gone and done that while I waited with my exhausted starving toddler?  I was furious and Violet was becoming increasingly irritable and after playing with every single thing possible in my purse and singing every action song I knew…..she was at least able to find some enjoyment in playing with the empty ziplock bag and a photo of my niece Sofia.

I had all of these intentions of decorating the house in reds and pinks, making name cards for everyone at the table, wrapping the kids Valentine’s treats up in colourful tissue paper and making homemade pizza from scratch…crust and all.  I wanted to surprise Jacob when he came home from school but of course by the time I got home at nearly 5pm he was already long past home and so Mike and I threw together something as best we could…..he decorating while I made the homemade pizza.  I had planned on making some pink and teal homemade peanut and nut free cupcakes and I was so glad that I had thought to bake them prior to leaving for Violet’s appointment so I was able to surprise the kids with those at least…..their Valentines chocolates although unwrapped and simply handed over were much appreciated and enjoyed by the children….the homemade pizza was a hit….we also made “Love Potion” by adding strawberry syrup to our milk, tapped our glasses together and shouted “Cheers”, and expressed our love for our family at the dinner table.

So it wasn’t the perfectly planned out affair that I had in mind but in the end it was still a good night of enjoying our family and appreciating the love that is always present…despite the stress of life as it surrounds us with its unexpectancies.

The universe has a way of reaching back out at me on difficult days as if to give me an encouraging shoulder pat or fist bump thought….in the middle of our four-hour experience in the fracture clinic waiting room a lady that appeared to be in her late 70’s approached me and sat next to me…she smiled and kindly said she just wanted to tell me from a grandmother that she thought I was a wonderful mother and that she’d been watching me with Violet and noticed how much attention and love I gave her.  She went on to say that she was watching other mothers in the room who were reading the paper, talking on their cell phones, and otherwise ignoring their children while I was playing, singing and engaging Violet in activities and walks around the waiting room….she said she thought I was probably a really great mother….and while it felt weird to hear these words from an observing stranger it sometimes feels reassuring to see that other people recognize your effort….if she could only hear the dialogue in my head just prior to her talking to me..she would have heard me beating myself up for not bringing any snacks or toys to entertain her…..the world works in mysterious ways I tell ya.

“STAIRS” & Stones Will Break Your Bones….

It was bound to happen at some point during my gig as a mother but truthfully I thought it would be my boy who would send me to the E.R with broken bones and not my little girl.  We have this set of stairs in our house that Violet has fallen down once before when our top of the stairs gate malfunctioned thanks to my tinkering older son but she tumbled so gently down from top to bottom that she didn’t even get a single bump or bruise.  After that fall it took her a bit of time to get confident on the stairs again and for a while she’d cry and beg to be carried down when we encouraged her to hold our hand and come on down or slide down on her bottom but over the past few weeks her confidence had come back.  With the return of her confidence we became less restrictive and allowed her to freely go up and down the stairs with us close at hand but giving her the space to exert her renewed confidence and independance….and in the blink of an eye the confidence is easily stolen away.

In the early evening (a week ago today) Violet was sitting quietly on the third stair up from the bottom chattering away with her Daddy about all the amazing things that two-year olds like to chatter about and the second Daddy turned his back she stepped right off the step and tumbled down the three stairs to the hardwood floor at the bottom.  Both Mike and I were present when she fell (sitting in the same room) and neither one of us saw the exact mechanism of her fall but it was obvious she was unhappy by the wailing high-pitched screech that she let out the instant she fell.  It took about a half hour to calm her down and through the tears we were not sure if she was actually hurt or if she was just tired and emotional because it was nearing if not past her bedtime but she recovered happily and went about smiling and being her normally flirtatious intoxicating self….not seeing any injuries we assumed she was fine.  It was about a half hour later as she was colouring at the table that I noticed as I passed that she was holding her left arm real close to her body and I suspected that I should just check her out to make sure there were no bruises anywhere so without thinking much about it I scooped my palms under her arm pits and went to lift her up…….

The room filled out with a loud cry and she shouted “ouch” and “hurt” two words I’m pretty sure I’ve never heard her say before and in that instant I knew that something was not right even though I didn’t know what.  Mike and I easily agreed that we would take her to the E.R, dropped Jacob off at Nana and Papa’s house and proceeded to the hospital where we were greeted with about 20 other children waiting to be seen in the pediatric emergency section….CRAP.  We registered and began the waiting process as is typical of emergency rooms these days and it looked as though most of other people waiting were also experiencing pain or bone problems of some sort…proof that when it rains it pours.

Here the thing that you may or may not know about my children:  They are insanely happy even when they are experiencing sickness and extreme pain so much so that people rarely belive us when we’ve expressed concerns in the past.  Just a year ago to this exact month we had Jacob in the ER smiling and laughing so badly that the ER didn’t seem to believe us when we told them he was having trouble breathing…..the 84% oxygen saturation they discovered when we pressed them to examine him as fast as they could told them otherwise….our kids are just happy folks. After making it through triage we saw the check-in nurse who based off of Violet’s smiling, non-complaining, overly happy to be at the ER attitude told us it was probably just a sprain or strain of some sort and I kind of believed her and that peaceful comforting feeling that everything was alright came over me.  After about an hour of waiting we saw the pediatrician who noting Violet’s shy personality coached me in areas to move her body so that he could witness her reactions….so that he x-rayed the right part of the body and so one by one I did exactly as he asked touching and bending parts of my little girls body as he asked.

Fingers, wrist, elbow, ribs……everything was seeming to be fine until he asked me to put pressure on the collar-bone and when I did that Violet let out that same blood curdling scream we had heard at home and the doctor remarked that it looked like we needed a collar-bone scan but that based on her overall pleasant mood he thought it was probably just strained and hurting from the fall.  I continued feeling optimistic and off we went to wait for our x-ray….we waited…and waited…and waited some more until the nurse with a shocked face questioned us about if we’d been called yet for our x-ray which led to us discovering that somehow our paperwork had been over-looked.  It was approaching midnight when Violet finally got her x-ray which she handled like a trooper by simply laying down on the stretcher and letting them work her magic…she was happy and alert but clinging through this whole ordeal and I was really proud of her.

Still smiling and it’s past midnight….this girl is just amazing.

It was maybe 20 minutes between the end of the x-ray and the point at which the doctor came and got us from the waiting room, asked us to follow him around to the computer, and proceeded to say “well it’s broken for sure” as he flipped up pictures of our little baby’s collarbone.  I remember instantly wanting to cry and feeling like I had let her down by not keeping my promise that I’d always keep her safe from harm and I’m pretty sure I said a curse word or two in my head because I couldn’t quite figure out how she’d managed to do this by just falling down three small stairs….but no rationale or explanation could make it go away and in the end it turned out she actually had two fractures (one larger and one smaller but they were only concerned about the larger one).

We left at 1am in the morning and returned at 630 am to see the surgeon who told us she’d likely be fine after a lot of weeks of healing.  We were all so exhausted and drained from it all and Violet…. well she was still smiling.

Strawberry Shortcake Party!

Our little Diva turned 2 back on January 20th and in celebration we decided to throw a party well fit for a little diva of course!  It wasn’t too difficult to come up with an idea for the theme since she fell in love with the a group of strawberry shortcake books her Nana has gotten her over the past two years.  I really wanted to do a vintage Strawberry Shortcake party but I’m just not creative enough so I went with whatever I could find and in the end it was a fun set up with lots of great friends and family!

We rented out a roof top social room and did our best to turn it into a fun atmosphere perfect for a birthday party!  Here you see the guest tables all set up with pink and red tablecloths purchased from the dollar store and decorated with bunches of red, pink, and green balloons!  I found these little strawberry-esque baskets at the dollar store and lined them with pink tissue paper….they made perfect little baskets for chips and other party snacks! You’ll also notice I added some very in expensive (like 20 for a dollar) white paper doilies under the balloon bunches and chip baskets to give it a nice little elegant touch and add a splash of white!

Here you can see the gift table/party favour table and the food table to the side! Again…everything was very inexpensive. We used another dollar store table-cloth on the gift/favor table and strung some pink and red streamers across the front!

These were the homemade loot boxes that Violet’s Godmother and I created just for the event!

Here you can see the food table!  We covered the table with a white linen table-cloth and add some of the chip baskets plus a great big bowl of strawberry slush punch which was to die for!  Our splurge purchases were the strawberry shortcake plates and foil balloon but we paired the plates with some solid pink and red cups and pink napkins that we purchased from the Walmart dollar party section…very inexpensive!  We kept the party food simple:  veggies and dip, pita and dips (humus, bruschetta, and spinach), fruit tray, chips, pizza, and cake! The beautiful birthday banner was a homemade creation by Violet’s Godmother Suzanne based on the loot boxes that her and I came up with to give as party favors.

Mmmm…..

Yummy birthday cake was enjoyed by all!

The birthday girl loved her pizza!  It’s a favourite food of hers!

Big brother did too!

Together with Daddy the birthday girl worked hard to blow out the candles!

And even…..

Offered to share her chewed up cake with company….

It was truly a great day!

Snuggle Up and Read

I’ll spare you the “yes I know I haven’t blogged in a million years” explanation and just jump right into some of the happenings in our life.

Jacob’s class is doing a reading readiness/encouragement program called Snuggle Up and Read which is in my opinion a Kindergarten version of what will later become primary school book reports.  The idea of the plan is that the kids in the class will come home with two books a week and with their parents they will try to work through the books with them by encouraging them to read as much as they can and use phonics to sound out words…..if they struggle with the reading we can help get the kids to guess what the word might be based on the pictures of the story.  Once the book is done the parents ask the child a series of “who, what, where, when, why and how” questions to help them with reading comprehension and then the child will try their best to copy the title of the book into the journal and draw a picture of their favourite part of the story.

Jacob has been very excited about this ever since we signed the form saying that we wanted to participate and let me tell you he got right to work when he got home on Friday and did all of the homework he had in a matter of 24 hours when it didn’t need to be brought back to school until this coming Thursday.  The books as we expected they might be were a little too easy for Jacob but regardless we enjoyed our time snuggling up to read together and the journalling that took place afterward….Jacob even added a sentence to the bottom of his pictures about his favourite part in each book.

Here are his journal entries that he completed in his book….the first one was done at school and the second two here at home after reading the books with Mommy and Daddy.

Book:  We Are The Monsters

Favourite Part:  Jumping in mud

Book:  My Little Fish

Favourite Part:  The fish is in the cave.

Book:  This is my World

Favourite Part:  I like the big world.

I just love watching Jacob’s little mind work and unfold as he grows and as a person who loved reading and doing book reports as a child this activity is really just so much fun!!