Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Mommy Time

Over a month ago, I was bemoaning to a friend that men so easily will say to their wives - 'Do you mind if I go away for the weekend?" and they will go. Not another thought. This is not saying that there is anything BAD about this. I think it's great. Everyone needs a break from 'real life' sometimes and a weekend is a nice chunk of time to do it. It's usual affordable in both cost and spare vacation time. But in my experience, not many woman do the same. Even if I'm able to find a very inexpensive place to go - many aren't able to break away from family life obligations.

I get frustrated, because I know that they COULD. It's just that they don't. And why is that? Why do women feel like the family can't run without us? Not only can it run without us, it should sometimes. It gives everyone a boost! Sure, sometimes plans don't work because of schedules or work or whatever, but I think it isn't fair to anyone to think that we are so important that we can never take time for ourselves.

Anyway - back to my story. Right as I was bitching about this inability of women to find time to go away, I got an email from another friend asking if anyone wanted to go to her house on the Cape for a weekend! Replies came back fast and furious and of the 6 of us that craft together, 5 could come. And for one reason or another, we were all in desperate need of a weekend away. It was perfect.

This is a group of women I met in a quilting class 10 years ago. Every time we do something like this, it reminds me that it's almost a miracle we found each other. We are a group of like minded women, who have the same hobbies, and really enjoy spending time together. I'm always happier after time spent with these women, and this weekend was no different.

We arrived on the Cape Friday, had a wonderful lunch. I had booked a massage, and then as the day wore on everyone arrived. We all had a project to work on, each of us contributed food and drinks and even brought our own sheets to make the weekend as stress-free for the woman whose house it was. Just a great weekend. I actually finished 2 full quilts! The Lego one I'm working on for Cam's birthday (just need to stamp on the Lego logo) and then a bonus one. We laughed, stayed up late, sung along to the radio, and commiserated.

Down time. Something everyone needs.

And Aaron. He was left in charge of a super busy weekend (2 Halloween parties, soccer practice for Cam, flu shot, and the kids sang in choir at church for the first time!) and the kids had a blast. Aaron was actually offended when I tried to give him 'help' by making him lists or asking if I should line up food - "I'm capable! Jesus!". Did I miss out on doing a few things with my kids? Yes. Is that the end of the world? No.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Preschool issues

We love the preschool that my kids go to. They have both been going there since they were 3 months old, and I couldn't recommend it more highly. It's a chain daycare, but the director was the most amazing woman. There was barely any turn over (VERY rare in a daycare setting) and all the teachers were wonderful. We had fun events in the evening that we could go to with the kids and the children were really ahead of the curve when compared to other kids (not that I'm biased or anything).

You may remember, about 6 months ago, I talked about the director being asked to leave. They assured us that it wasn't anything to do related to the children, and after MUCH drama, assured us that nothing would change, or if it did change, it would change for the better. I had my doubts, but rolled with it.

We've now come to the point where it is obvious that things are NOT better. Or the same. They are worse. We have lost several teachers, the ones that have been there forever seem unhappy, and the new director just doesn't rub me the right way. And it's frustrating. But until recently, I was continuing to accept it, as my kids were still happy and the classrooms were decent.

But then they switched Maggie's classroom. The old director always had 3 preschool groups: Young Preschool, Older Preschool, and Pre-K. And that was one of the things that drew me to this daycare, as I feel that a year difference when you are 2.9 versus 3.9 is HUGE. But the new director changed it to one Preschool class, and then a Kindergarten Prep class. When confronted, she says that this is what all the other centers in this chain do. Well, I didn't pick the OTHER centers, did I? And many of the other parents felt the same way. It's just hard to think that Maggie is getting great learning opportunities when half of her class is unable to sit still through a whole book or talk in full sentences. We lead a big push, and we convinced her to change back to the Young and Older Preschool classes in January - but after this year, they won't do it again.

And just as we are feeling pretty great about winning that battle, one of Cam's Kindergarten Prep teachers quit. I'm on the parent council, and she told us that there are 150 job openings in early childhood development, so it's been hard to find a replacement. I feel like we never had turnover issue like this in the past, so it's infuriating to me that we are dealing with it now. I also feel trapped, as it's really to late to switch Cam anywhere. And the only way I would pull Maggie for next year is if her best friend went with her. My kids are too comfortable there to risk pulling them out - and they are getting a good education there.

But during one of the parent meetings, I blurted out that 'We were promised that nothing would change, or if they changed, it would be for the better. That is NOT happening." Needless to say, I got an email from the director the next day asking for a private meeting so we could discuss my thoughts. That is tomorrow morning, and I'm not really looking forward to it. I frustrated and tired of needing to be sure that my kids get what they need. For the amount of money I'm paying for this center, I would expect I shouldn’t even need to worry about it (and I didn't for over 4 years!). To some degree, in the back of my mind, I remember my Nursery School when I was a kid. We just played together in the basement of the local church. And I turned out just fine. But on the flipside, I know what the kids before mine got, and I want the same level of excellence for them.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Knitting Mojo

I used to knit ALL THE TIME. In the car, watching TV, while on the phone, in restaurants, at church... everywhere. I would have knitting in my bag at all times. As the kids have gotten older and more mobile and active, that has slowed down. My knitting moved to just at night while watching TV. In the past year, I've gotten back into swimming. And my swim team meets from 8-9:30 at night - which is my prime knitting time.

But I still love to knit. And want to knit things for the kids. And every once in a while, something will catch my eye that I have to make. This past week, I found two things that I absolutely MUST KNIT. One is for me. A nice roomy, sweatshirt like sweater. I bought this kit because I love the colors, and my friends. It's cashmere. And then I saw this pattern. An Icelandic sweater for girls. With horses. And I already own the yarn it calls for. So yes. Yes. Yes. Yes!

But. I was still knitting a scarf that I HAD TO HAVE last Christmas that Aaron bought for me as a kit. The pattern is called Leftie, and is fun to knit (garter stitch only), but I just wasn't making the time to finish it. As I had already ordered the cashmere kit and the horse pattern, I forced myself to finish the knitting on that before the new kit arrived. And oh my, do I love the finished project!

It's the perfect colors for the fall, and I love wearing it! Hurrah!

So, now I just need to make time to ball up the new yarn, and wait for the other colors of Maggie's sweater yarn to arrive! I hope to have the Horse Sweater finished for her birthday. We shall see.

This weekend I have a planned getaway with my girlfriends, and I'm hoping to make a quilt for Cam for his birthday. It's going to be based on this Lego quilt I found. I'm considering doing the Lego stamps in the colors of the fabric (like it is on real Lego's) and using fabric paint instead of ink. I need to decide kind of quickly, as I'm leaving Friday morning for the weekend!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013


This is the longest I have ever gone without posting. I was toying with the idea of quitting blogging. But then I realize that I need this space. I need a place to ramble on about my kids and post pictures of our fun adventures and vent about my worries and stresses. I'm back, my friends.

I'll have to do a random bullet point post to do a quick catch up.

  • We did our first 'real' family vacation in September. With another family, we rented a house on the cape for a long weekend. It was wonderful. We usually use our vacation time to visit family or stay home and do projects, and this trip made it apparent that we need to get away more often. The kids had a BLAST and it was a perfect weekend.
  • I turned 38 on September 18th... and had a perfect day. I took the day off work, was woken up by two sweet kids that were VERY excited to give me presents, I spent the morning at a spa and the afternoon shopping. Alone. And then shared the evening with friends and had cake.
  • The fall has gotten us back into the swing of things - school is back to normal, and the kids have started new activities. Cam is old enough for town soccer and Aaron is coaching. Maggie is taking dance class (which I swore she would never do, but she is LOVING it).
  • One of the reasons I swore we wouldn't do dance is just because it's only taught during the week when I'm working. But I have a friend with 3 girls around Maggie's age, and she was willing to take Maggie. Now it's Maggie special thing, and she LOVES it.
  • We've also started up at church again (we are Unitarian Universalists, and we really don't have formal church in the summer) and both Cam and Maggie have joined the Children's Choir. Maggie was all in Day 1, Cam took more convincing and still isn't 100% sure he wants to sing in front of the whole church. But the woman in charge is smart - she gives out cupcakes at the end of practice. After a couple of weeks of watching Maggie get a cupcake while he didn't.... all of a sudden Cam was interested in singing.
  • I ran the Craft Table at our annual church fair again and it was a big success. It's a lot of work, but I'm glad that it's taken off. In year's past, the craft table barely made $200. The past 2 years, we've got it over $1000.
  • I have of course already figured out the plan for the kids birthday parties and ordered invites. Cam wanted to have a small party at the house. So Aaron is planning a whole Ninja Training day with his very best buddies at our house - which will be the Saturday after his actual birthday. I usually invite a few neighbors over on his actual birthday for pizza dinner. I realized that we now are friends with so many neighbors - that if I only invite the people within walking distance, it's 13 kids plus their parents. So I got the genius idea to call the nearby McDonald's (they have a playspace) and see if they still do birthday parties. I know to an adult it sounds lame - but to a 5 year old? Heaven! I still remember going to a McDonald's birthday party when I was a kid. I loved it.Turns out not only do they do parties, but they give you 'minimal decorations, a cake, 8 Happy Meals and a little gift bag" for a VERY reasonable price! 
  • So yes, Cam is basically having two birthday parties. Whatever. I think it's awesome.
  • And Maggie will be having a petting zoo and a pony for her party. Which will blow her mind.
  • We went to a birthday party this weekend at the most amazing place. It was for my niece, and it was an hour drive - but WOW. Only downfall was that they had a game where you can win betta fish. And guess who won? Both my kids! Yippee. So I had to go and spend $100 to get fish tanks for the free fish. But I'm fine with it. I feel like fish are a right of passage to some degree.
OK - that is about everything I have to share that I can in quick blurbs. I promise to post more regularly!