Thursday, April 10, 2014

Famous Last Words

Yesterday I did the carpool, dropped everyone off, and was on my way home with Will and Emma.  Let me tell you that Will has been in supreme pestering mode that last few weeks.  He has totally forgotten his Lenten goal of trying to say one kind thing to his sister each day.  ONE  thing - that's all I requested.  It's not a huge mountain to climb.  I understand that he is 14, and with that comes a ticket to badmamajamadom, but I think he could find it somewhere in his heart say one nice thing.  Dig deep, Will.

He didn't dig yesterday, (except a hole for himself).  From the moment he woke up, those hormones were working overtime, and he was picking at Emma. On the ride to our house he continually called Emma, "Dr. Constipation" or "Mrs. Buttcheeks" or "Captain Skidmarks."  Now, I will tell you that Emma didn't understand half of what he was saying, but she knew it wasn't good.  And, that was enough of a reason for her to act like Will beating her with a board.  I had enough  I mean, ENOUGH.  Some days I can tune out the cray and drive, but not today.  I had already talked to him that morning about the teasing, and I later found out the Kevin had the same conversation. So, what does a mom do who has had enough of a smart-mouthed child?  Well, she pulls the van over, opens the door, and makes him walk.  Uh huh.

DISCLAIMER - we were in my neighborhood, so don't go calling the po-po on me. 

However, we were far enough for me to make a really good point.  He kept saying, "I'm sorry.  I didn't mean it."  And I said, "That's good.  You can think about it on the walk home."  And Emma and I drove off.

I called Kevin and he was worried that someone would snatch him on the walk home.  For stinkin' real.  Who in their right mind is going to pick that kid up?  He eats everything that isn't nailed down.  He never brings down his dirty clothes.  His room is covered in Gatorade bottles, and - OH YEAH - has a smart mouth.  It was also a block from our house.  If anyone was going to pick him up, it was a neighbor giving him a ride. 

Will walked home.  No one stole him. 

BONUS POINT #1:  The first thing he did was apologize to Emma.
BONUS POINT #2:  The next thing he did was apologize to me, and talk about the changes he will make
BONUS POINT #3000:  He told me that they had a writing prompt on the Benchmark that day where they had to write about the person they admired the most.  He wrote about me.

Game, Set, Match - Will.

Monday, April 7, 2014

What happened with the shoes, the rest of Emma's day, and a little hope.

I'm going to be nice and not keep you in suspense a moment longer!  Will came home without a wedgie, so I guess those shoes are cool.  Maybe they look weird to me because they are gun-boat sized or something?  Who knows.

Now for Sassy.  Last Friday was her big day.  First, as I covered in the last post, it was Nerd Day.  And, I mean, you can't miss out on that.  Oh, the debates we had over clothing, and hairstyles, and - everything.  Then, her class was leading the Rise and Shine assembly at school, and it was all about the Benchmark testing.  Emma led the pledge and read a poem she wrote about the test.

When Emma left preschool, she had been teased so much about her speech that she was afraid to talk in front of anyone.  Her kindergarten teacher spent the year making her feel safe and reassured.  In first grade, her teacher had a very sweet and soft voice, and Emma started talking to her.  In second grade, her teacher gave her responsibilities like going to the copy machine and taking things to other teachers, and Emma started volunteering in class.  Now, in third grade, her teacher uses Emma's work as a model, and I have a confident little girl.  My point is, each year she has had a teacher who has nurtured her and brought her further along.  And then there is Mrs. Fox, her speech teacher. 

Mrs. Fox is tiny with long, blond hair, and Emma thinks she has hung the moon.  When Mrs. Fox found out that Emma was coming to Happy Hollow, she signed up for Apraxia workshops to learn how to help her.  She has been Emma's biggest defender and cheerleader.  She tells me all the time that the day is coming when Emma will test out of speech, and she doesn't know what she'll do without her.  The feeling is mutual. 

You can see why we were so proud of her reading in front of the school.  After the assembly, Emma left on a field trip with children from the school who had met their reading goals.  She was excited about swimming and the rock-wall climbing at the Boys and Girls Club.  However, on the bus, two boys from a different grade started making fun of the way Emma spoke, and told her she had an accent.  She spoke up and said, "I don't have an accent, I have a speech problem," but they continued to tease her.  Her best friend wasn't with her, but a boy in her grade (who has been in speech with her) stood up and said, "If you are going to make fun of Emma, then you need to make fun of me, too, because I have the same problem."  The boys left Emma alone after that.

When Em first told me about the boys teasing her, I felt like someone had just stomped on my heart.  Don't these kids know how hard she has worked?  And, don't they know that she wasn't supposed to talk in the first place?  She is an amazing little girl!  Then, when Emma told me about the boy who jumped to her defense, I started crying.  I can't imagine many third graders doing that - I taught third grade for 10 years.  That took courage.  Kevin told Emma that the little boy had more character than either of the two teasing boys ever would, put together.  I called the boy's mom and thanked her (and she cried because he has been teased a lot), and I emailed his teacher because teachers needs to know about the good things that happen. 

I still get really nervous when I think about middle school, and what could happen there.  Emma's defender gave me some hope.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Fun with iPhone Pictures

So it's Sunday, and instead of working on the last paper that is due for my classes, I cleaned out the pictures on my iPhone.  That, folks, is called desperation procrastination.  If I bathe the dog, I should just drop the class because I'm never writing the dang thing.

So, here is the last few weeks of fascination from my phone:

Yesterday I drove to Little Rock and back to work on my paper with a partner from my class.  HEY!  I'm not that lazy.  I mean, I drove to Little Rock and all.  I should  have the day off.  ANYWAY, you should know that if you ever click "like" on the "Dukes of Hazzard theme song" when it plays on Pandora, you will have this pop up over and over.

I took a picture and texted it to Kevin at one of my Sonic stops.  He was so sad that he missed the song because he considers "Smokey and the Bandit" to be a national treasure. 

Speaking of Pandora, it's a little creepy.  I was listening to her (she's a girl right?  Pandora?) at the gym, and this was her selection for me:

It's like she knew all about me and the Cheez-It's earlier that afternoon.  Nice.

And then there was the text I got during the Vacation Bible School planning meeting.

I didn't know which one to punish

Speaking of Will (because you knew it was Will that sent that), his foot went from a size 8 1/2 on Thursday night to a size 10 on Friday.  That means new running shoes for cross country, tennis shoes, and Sperry's for church.  Dang.  He picked these out.

I'm not so sure about those shoes.  Kevin said, "He's a teenager, and he knows what is cool to wear."  Really Kevin?  Because when I picked him up on Thursday, he had on a Polo t-shirt, khaki shorts, orange Nike tall socks and his tennis shoes.  I just hope I didn't buy dork shoes.

Please don't let these be dork shoes.

When we were in Texarkana last weekend, the boys were watching basketball in one bed, and Emma and I were in the other bed very bored.  So, we took some selfies and blew up Kevin's phone.

No make up and wet hair.  I keep it real for y'all.   I also hate selfies, but you have to do something during nonstop sports.

Finally, Friday was "Nerd Day" at Emma's school. 

Will nearly exhausted himself making smart remarks that morning  Of course, who knows what will happen when he wears those shoes to school tomorrow. 

She de-nerded to lead the pledge at her school assembly.  And I cried, like I always do.  I was so proud of Emma for speaking into the microphone and not being ashamed of her speech.  There is more on what happened later in the day, but that's enough for a post of its own. 

You will just have to wait eagerly to see what else happened to Emma, and if Will's shoes were a Glamor Don't.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Anatomy of a Tennis Tournament: The Good and the Bad

We actually made it to Texarkana, now it was tournament time.  Will has taken tennis lessons since he was four, but we didn't put him in tournaments until last year.  We were probably a little late to the party on that one.  In our defense, Kevin and I walk around with our heads in the sand most of the time. 

I've shared this picture about 20 times and it never gets old.  Look at his little feet!  I just ordered Will size 10 man shoes today.  Dang.

Emma has taken lessons off and on, nothing regular, but she likes tennis.  She doesn't like sitting around on the sidelines while Will plays in tournaments.  So, Kevin and I thought, why not enter her?  We didn't expect her to do well, but she could play and get some experience.

She won her first game in straight sets!  Hmmmmmmmmm. 

Same with the second game.  We were more than a little impressed.

Then she had to play the #15 girl in Louisiana.  Even Emma knew it was going to be rough.

That's when she lost.  We found out that Emma is not a good loser.  She kept it together on the court, then went to pieces in the clubhouse bathroom.  Will, bless his heart, actually said something nice to her!  I KNOW!  Mark the day on your calendar because a miracle happened.   He told her she hit some beautiful shots, but she wasn't having any of it.  She stuck her hand out and said, "STOP IT!  I CAN'T TALK RIGHT NOW!  IT'S JUST TOO MUCH!"  I think the loss might have been a good thing.  So, there we were, in the clubhouse potty, crouched down, having a heart-to-heart.  It was all very sweet and heartwarming, kind of like what you'd see on the Waltons.  I told Emma that everyone loses, even the famous players like Serena Williams.  I reminded her that she's lost many matches, but we had just watched her win the other day.  That's how it goes - you lose, but then work hard to come back.  Emma said, "OH!  I LOVE HER!  EVEN IF SHE WEARS BAD SOCKS WITH HER TENNIS DRESS!"  So, I'm not sure if my point was made, but she did pull it together and leave the bathroom.  And, Serena did have on tall socks with a tennis dress, which really didn't work at all. 

Then Emma pulled it together and beat her fourth opponent, and came in second in the tournament!

See!  That's a happy face!  We're still going to work on accepting defeat, but for the sake of the long car ride home, I'm glad she had a trophy!

That was the good, now for the bad.

Will had to withdraw because of an injury.  He's been complaining about his elbow for the past three weeks, but it started to get a lot worse.  During his second game, he was yelling every time he hit the ball, and started losing control of his racket.  Kevin called the game at the point and we had the tennis pro look at his arm.  The good news is that it looks like it may not be tennis elbow - we hope.  Please don't be tennis elbow.  He has high school tryouts in less than a month, and we need him strong and healthy.  A good friend does sports massage, and she taught us how to work on his elbow.  Keep your fingers crossed!

He was bummed about not getting to play, but was truly excited for his sister. I'll take that as a good, too.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Anatomy of a Tennis Tournament - the roadtrip

We set out last weekend for Texarkana.  Both kids were entered in the Northridge Country Club Tennis Tournament - Emma's first, Wills' ?? 20th???? 

Emma has been taking private lessons, but she felt playing some Wii tennis would prepare her.

We knew it was going to be a long, ugly trip because:

a.  It's the road we used to take to get to my grandparent' house, and I'm very familiar with the all the Podunk-ness.
b.  There are about 2 seconds of interstate on the 4 1/2 hour trip down there.
c.  We were taking the kids with us.

So, here it is - all honesty.

10:00 - We pull out of the driveway to leave
10:00 and five seconds - Emma asks for a Slim Jim.
10:15 - We stop for breakfast at Chick-Fil-A and place bets on how much Polynesian Sauce Will is going to be wearing.

10:30 - Leave Chick-Fil-A
10:31 - Emma asks for a Slim Jim.
10:40 - Pull onto highway.
10:45 -  Emma asks if we are there yet, and if she can have a Slim Jim?
11:01 - When did Emma learn all the words to "Timber?"
11:15 - Driving through the Boston Mountains and Will says his ears are popping.  I say, "It's because we are high," and Will falls all over himself laughing.  Yeah.  Eighth grade.
11:50 - Will asks if he can have a Slim Jim?
12:30 - Hit thunderstorm.  Emma starts crying because she has to go potty.  Kevin pulls into a "Jiffy Stop" with a boarded up window.  Emma cries harder.  Pull back onto two lane road.
12:32 - Pass sheriff.  Kevin worries about getting a ticket.  Will says, "At least you'd get to meet some of Mama's cousins in jail."  Again?
12:35 - Still no sign of a bathroom, but the Dukes of Hazzard is playing on Pandora (uh, I hit "thumbs up" that morning we were going to church - don't judge me).  Will says it loses it's effectiveness in a minivan.

12:36 - Emma is in hysterics over the potty situation.
12:38 - An E-Z Mart!  We are saved!
12:39 - Maybe not saved.  The skank-o-meter is pretty high.  I'm in the bathroom stall with Emma and covering every square inch of the potty in tp, and my phone starts blowing up with texts.  It just struck me as funny - maybe because my text tone is "da-DUNK."
12:45 - Back on the road, covered in Purell, and in the Ouachita Mountains with no cell service.  And a log truck in front of us.  It made Will think of Slim Jims.
1:00 - Will is on his 2nd Slim Jim (I finally caved) and Emma has a Nutter Butter.  When I gave her the long-desired Slim Jim, she took one bite and said it was "nasty." 
1:30 - Kevin starts the kids playing the ABC sign game.  Thank goodness for illiterate spelling or we'd have never got the K.  Go Kwick Mart!
1:49 - Somehow looking for a word that starts with "U" has made Emma start singing " Uranus, Uranus" over and over.
1:50 - Kevin threatens to leave a child on the side of the road.  It's officially a road trip, folks!
2:02 - Kids call it quits with the ABC game.  It's just me and Kevin looking for an X.
2:10 - And the roadside naughty store doesn't disappoint.  Maybe it's a good thing the kids dropped out.  I don't want to explain "Adults Only XXX", but at least we got our letter.
2:35 - Pull up at our hotel in Texarkana, except it's not a hotel.  It's a mall.  Thanks GPS. 
3:00 - Finally find the hotel, which was not near the mall.  Start dreading the trip home.

*And I'm  sorry about the wonky formatting.  I tried, but couldn't fix it.  I need a Slim Jim.


Thursday, March 27, 2014

Messing with Will

I mentioned that Emma and I went shopping for shorts for her and came up short-handed - hahaha!  Yes, well anyway, we couldn't find any presentable shorts.  BUUUUUTTTT, we did find something that made the trip worthwhile...

Boys colored jeans, at a GAP kids near you.  We texted this picture to Will and told him we were spring shopping for him.  Like I've said before, messing with my kids is one of the great joys in life.  Will texted back, "No one wears that in real life unless they want to live in their locker." 

Mission accomplished.  I also found one pair of decent-length shorts for Emma this past week.  It's a start.

*This is totally off the subject, but I just saw a news report about a scientific study which found that peeing in the pool is bad for you.  Why did this require a study?  And, AND, AND, AND - the reason that peeing in the pool is bad?  Because pee and chlorine combine and do something that is harmful to your respiratory system.  Not because you would be swimming in pee, or anything like that.  And that's your science lesson for the day.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Girl's Night Out

Two weeks ago, Kevin and Will went to Little Rock for a tennis tournament.  Emma and I stayed home because I had a church commitment, and because trying to contain Emma court side for an entire weekend would require rope, sleeping pills, and a bottle of wine (that last one would be for me).  Seriously, she has about 5 minutes of patience for Will's games.  That little girl has been in every basketball court, baseball field and tennis court in Northwest Arkansas.  I can't really blame her - she has paid her dues. 

Will played well, but they pulled out of the tournament because the 60 degree temperatures on Saturday turned into snow on Sunday.  Kevin just thought it would be better to be stuck at home rather than a Courtyard Marriott with Will.  He should get an honorary Ph.D for that one.

That meant that Emma and I had a girl weekend!  We did everything we could think of that would give Will hives - which included:

-going to an American Girl craft event at Barnes and Noble

-getting our toes done

(see:  shorts = day before snow = March in Arkansas)

-went shopping for shorts and came up empty handed.  FYI - the look for spring is shorts so short that your hoo-hah shows.  We need a "plan b."

-dinner at the place of Emma's choice, which was McAlister's.  I'm not complaining.  I expected McDonald's, so this was a huge improvement.

She also got to sleep in Daddy's side of the bed, which I'm saying loosely.  When Emma sleeps with you, she sleeps on top of you.  I removed her 3 or 4 times during that night, but eventually gave up and just allowed myself to be a body pillow.  At least she doesn't snore - NOT THAT I'M SPILLING ANY FAMILY SECRETS.  I'm just feeling lucky about that.  Yeah.  That's what I meant to say.