The idea came from this post I saw on Pinterest via Kindermusik and thought, “This would be the perfect activity to kick off summer vacation!” So last night, I secretly mixed up the bubble solution (yes! That was me playing in the paddling pool at 1 a.m.) and when, “It’s summer! We can do whatever we want!” turned into, “Mom, what should we do?” I was ready.
It was an immediate hit! Everyone was into it.
And then Bee fell face first into the pool.
But, after a wardrobe change and much rinsing, it was back to the fun.
Lots of fun.
I took 257 pictures worth of fun.
I’m not going to post them all.
It probably feels like I am.
You’re like, “Are these pictures ever going to end?!?!”
Lucy has been taking piano lessons for almost a year now. She’s had 41 lessons. Not that I’m counting. They’re just burned into my brain. You see – adrenaline, the hormone released during stress and anxiety – is known to enhance memory. And I experience quite a bit of that during Lucy’s piano classes as evidenced by these worried notes I’ve scribbled during that twenty hours of instruction.
Now, those three notes aren’t representative of her collective piano experience. She’s had more good moments than bad. But she sprinkles just enough of this stuff throughout her classes to keep me – and her teacher – on edge. And God bless her teacher. He is endlessly patient and tremendously caring. He is gentle with her when she’s pugnacious and he doesn’t give up on her. Lucy needs that.
I mean, look at her sitting on her own.
And then with her teacher.
He inspires her. He makes her feel proud. He gives her something to strive for and she adores him for it. (I do, too.)
Earlier this month, Lucy had her first recital. She was to play the same song Julia played at her first piano recital. Though she insisted that she wanted to play in the recital and had demonstrated her ability to do it, she was reluctant to practice or participate in the days and class just before it, so we were all wondering what exactly would happen. I had narrowed it down to the following possibilities:
1) She would refuse to go on stage and play.
2.) She would go on stage, but refuse to play and also to get off the stage, and I would have to drag her out of there, probably kicking and screaming.
3.) She would go on stage and play, but a) refuse to STOP playing or b) play her version of “I’m Sexy and I Know It.”
4.) She would go on stage and play her assigned song on the piano.
(I also imagined some other unlikely scenarios that ended with us being chased out of the church by an angry mob hurling hymnals or me being awarded with a World’s Worst Mother sash at the punch and cookie reception.)
Here’s what happened.
Okay, so she didn’t play it exactly as written. But she got up there and she played. None of us were sure that would even happen. But it did.
I thought she handled herself well on stage, even though she was obviously overwhelmed. I think the anxiety leading up to the performance was a lot for her to take. (I KNOW it was a lot for me!) I’m still learning how to motivate her. She didn’t play her best, but I am proud of her effort. I can’t wait to see how much she improves by the next recital.
We’ve made all kinds of monkeys (like this one)(look at this one, too)(also this one) for people all over the world. (This one lives in New Zealand!) It has brought us a lot of joy as making a monkey is not only an expression of creativity, but also a gesture of hope. We wonder where they’ll go and who they’ll make happy. Sometimes, we find out. Most of the time, we dream without knowing.
Perhaps this one will sit on a desk in an otherwise dreary workspace.
Maybe this one will wear dresses and hats and go to tea parties.
This one could be the future champ of the Stuffed Animal Wrestling League.
I can just see this one, decked out in a washcloth cape, it’s arms held tight by two chubby fists as it’s flown in to rescue Strawberry Shortcake from the giant iguana and his dinosaur brother.
Sadly, the monkeys you see here have gone nowhere. They’re cold and lonely in a hard, plastic storage case. Waiting. For you.
Don’t tell them this (they’d be devastated), but we’ve reduced their price. So, why don’t you go to our Etsy shop and make yourself a monkey owner. If you do it today, you can save an additional 10%. Just enter the coupon code MEMORIAL at checkout. And we’ll get busy making some more likeable monkeys. It’s exactly what the world needs right now.
Now, I’m not what you’d call a “chill” person. If you asked the people in my life to describe me, the term “laid back” wouldn’t likely make the list. I’m one part control freak, two parts worry wart. So, relaxation often eludes me, even if you take away my to-do list. It’s not something I can achieve with a little down-time. It’s something I have to make a conscious effort to do regardless of my schedule. So, here are three ways I get it done.
1. I get outside. I turn off the TV, unplug the computer, and forget my phone for a little while each day and I spend some of that time outdoors. When I’m feeling stressed, this is usually the last thing I want to do, because I feel like I MUST SOLVE PROBLEMS! And it’s easy to convince myself that I’m being productive with all that technology when really I’m just getting distracted and anxious. Some time away, especially outside, helps me find some peace and regain my focus.
2. I get down. The easiest way to get out of my head is to move my body, and nothing inspires me to move as much as music. So, I pump up my jams and I dance. Crazily. Usually with the kids, which I recommend. If there’s anyone that can show you how to let go and live in the moment, it’s a kid jump-twirling off the couch to “What a Feeling.”
3. I get some. You know, ahem, S-E-X. Dave and I jokingly refer to it as “going to our Island of Togetherness,” but that’s truly what it is. We take a trip and leave our problems behind. The best part is, it involves us entirely – physically, emotionally and spiritually. And it’s just plain fun. (Plus, we’re really good at it.)
Last week, Julia brought a note home saying that she’d passed an audition to sing the National Anthem at school. It sounded like it was something pretty special, so I asked if I could come along and hear her do it.
“YES!!! Mom, really? YES!!!!!”
She was so excited that I wanted to be there. I was a little surprised because I ALWAYS want to be there for anything and everything she does. (I wonder if she really knows this.)
Julia doesn’t ask for my attention so much these days. I know she still wants and needs it, but she’s moving past the “Mommy look at me!” phase. Lucy and Phoebe are still there. They don’t even ask for attention, they demand it. It’s what little kids do. And though it can be exhausting, it’s refreshing. The siren goes off, I put out the fire. Sometimes I have to find it first, but at least I know there’s a fire. With Julia, there’s no siren. I have to be much more watchful. It’s a whole new challenge I’m struggling to rise up to.
She practiced singing on the way to and from school all week, and yesterday was the big day. She sang with a handful of classmates from the office intercom after the morning announcements while I listened (and recorded) out in the hallway. I could easily pick her voice out of the group and I could tell she was giving it her all.
She was so proud! And I was so very grateful to have been there.
First it was my camera. It wouldn’t turn on. And yes, the batteries were charged and inserted appropriately and if I could hand it to you so you could fiddle with it I would, because seriously, it will not work. Then my iPod blew up. On Saturday, the Garden Tractor wouldn’t run and today, I broke the push mower. Apparently, I’m the Grimm Reaper of Mechanical Things. Do not hand me your camera and ask me to take a photo of you with your friends. No, I cannot hold your phone. Stand warned, I have destructive capabilities beyond my own understanding! If only I could harness them in some useful way, like cutting the grass with laser eye vision or killing weeds with lightning that shoots from my fingers. But my deadly powers are unprejudiced. And so until some kind of fixer arrives, I can’t mow. All I can do is look at my grass gone wild and feel stupid. And take pictures with my mother’s camera that is probably now doomed. (Sorry, Mom.)
Perhaps I will update my Facebook profile picture.
Let’s go a little smilier.
Okay, less smiley.
I did something weird with my lip there. Let’s try sultry.
Forget it. I’m never going to change my profile picture. My current picture is as good as it gets.
Look at the kids playing with their water table.
Right now, someone is saying, “Leslie sure has a lot of time on her hands.” You know who says stuff like that? People who hate their lives.
Time to reload.
This is their fashion model pose.
She’s got Fudgsicle on her face and blue sand in her hair. And now, I’ve got a fixed mower! Spark plugs. They’re important, apparently.