Thursday, October 30, 2014

Unsent Letters, October 2014 Edition

Dear Neighborhood Pet,

The first time I stepped outside my front door and smelled dog feces, I didn't panic.  I figured it was just an unpleasant odor wafting from a neighbor's lawn upon the autumn breeze.  When I came out the next day and smelled the same putrid odor, I investigated.

I have now shoveled your excrement daily for a solid week.  As I type this, I'm sure you've deposited a new pile of gross for me to gag over tomorrow.

Stop defecating on my lawn.

I don't own an animal.  Don't make me deal with the unpleasant parts of pet ownership without any of the perks.

A pooper scooper

Dear Pet Owner Who Clearly Doesn't Responsibly Care for Your Animal's Waste,

I will find you.  And when I do, the presents your fur ball has been depositing on my grass are going to be redeposited onto your doorstep.

How do you sleep at night, knowing a poor, unsuspecting neighbor might step in your pet's crap and ruin a perfectly adorable pair of flats?  How?

A one-time dropping I could forgive.  I could give you the benefit of the doubt.  "Maybe," I could gander, "he forgot the doggy bag."  The daily sentence of shoveling someone else's pet's poo?  I just can't make peace with that.

I am being 110% honest when I say that this situation troubles me three times as much as the recent break in down the street.

That's how peeved I am.

The woman who's probably unknowingly delivered you a baked good at some point, with a smile

P.S.  How can you do this to the person in the neighborhood who shares baked goods?!

P.S. P.S.  Would it help if I left a shovel out for you?  Maybe?

Dear Jamie,

You are a wonderful friend in oh, so many ways, but today you proved your true worth.

When I locked and slammed my front door this morning holding your set of keys, instead of my own, my day flashed before my eyes.  It was a terrifying vision:  screaming children, long hours spent waiting for a locksmith at some point, and lots and lots of me rocking in the fetal position.

Thank you for pulling your secret skill set out of the woodwork and helping me break into my house.  I'll never look at a Disney World key card in the same way again.  Nor a bobby pin.  You're a lifesaver.

With deepest appreciation and gratitude,
The friend you rescued today

Dear Southern Comfort Egg Nog,

Thank you for being my prize for successfully breaking and entering my house.  I know I didn't really deserve a prize, but to quote one of the greatest movies of all time:  "Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn."  You should get that reference, because you're southern.

And you are oh, so tasty.

One who doesn't need much of an excuse to buy egg nog, even when her house is flooding with Halloween candy

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Dressing Little Boys

Yesterday, we had a VERY full Saturday.  I feel like we ran from one event to the next.  All.  Day.  Long.  Kaden had a soccer game first thing in the morning, and we quickly ran home afterwards to grab the food we were bringing for a goodbye picnic at the park for some friends.  I asked Chad to help Kaden grab an outfit, since he was still in his soccer gear, and oh, my.

If I die, please.  Someone.  

Make sure part of the insurance money he collects upon my death goes to paying a children's stylist to organize outfits for my children.

Just saying.  He saw nothing wrong with his outfit of choice, and Kaden was pretty content with it (which was somewhat shocking, since he's usually quite opinionated in the fashion department), but it was definitely 110% not what I would have chosen for him to wear.

Maybe it's because I don't have a daughter to bedazzle with sparkly hair bows, but I like to dress my little boys well.  Sure, we wear our fair share of Superman t-shirts and sweat pants around these parts, but we don't do it every day.  I'm going to shout my obnoxious opinion from the rooftops here, with the hopes of not offending anyone.  I'm going to confess one of my ultimate pet peeves.  It drives me NUTS when I see a family where the girls always look adorably put together and the boys look thrown away. They're cute kids, too!  Dress them cute! Either the whole crew should look like ragamuffins, or the whole crew should look polished.  Style their hair!  Iron their Sunday shirts!  Let them rock a pair of skinny jeans and high top sneakers every once in a while!  OK.  Rant over.

It's just . . . there's not much cuter than a little guy dressed well, in my humble opinion.

The majority of my kids clothes come from their gifting grandparents (who, luckily, feel the same way I do about little boys having a right to look their best), consignment sales, and thrift stores.  I love a good deal, and I can't stand paying full price for clothing, especially clothes my kids will grow out of pretty quickly.  Of course, the only thing better than an amazing second-hand find, is finding something brand new at an unbeatable price!

I love Gymboree's little boys department.  Almost every time I walk in the store I fall in love with some adorable little man ensemble.  They're having an amazing sale right now, with markdowns I can definitely get behind.  Go check it out!


*This post was sponsored by Gymboree, but the thoughts and opinions expressed in it are my own.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Kaden the Preschooler

Kaden started preschool just after Labor Day and has been loving it.

We chose the preschool almost completely based on its proximity to my house.  It takes us less than five minutes to drive there.  I kid you not.  I've timed it.  This has lots of perks, the main two being the following: 1) I hate mornings and find it hard to be on time to things in the morning and 2) If Everett's asleep before pickup time, I can wait until the last possible moment to wake him.  I toured the school, it seemed like a safe, happy learning environment, and we registered Kaden for a spot in the 4's class.  I'm pretty sure this might make me a bad mom. but I also figure it's preschool.  

I'm not going to lie.  I may have teared up a bit when I dropped him off, but I didn't actually shed the tears. I'm saving them up for kindergarten.  Pretty sure I'll be a basket case after I drop him off there.

I'll be honest.  For a while, I kind of questioned why I am spending the money I am spending every month to send Kade to preschool.  I feel like we had an exceptional Joy School group last year.  All of the moms involved really went above and beyond, so I was instantly comparing every piece of artwork Kade dragged home with things we did last year.  Plus, I'm a control freak, and the teacher in me wanted to SEE what he was doing during the day.  His teachers seemed perfectly nice, he was making lots of great friends, but that preschool tuition payment is quite the hit to the budget.

It's taken a full month, but this week I started to realize that it's hard to judge what goes on in a preschool classroom from the stuff that comes home in his blue folder at the end of each day.  It also doesn't help that when I ask him about school, nine times out of ten I'm only filled in on the enthralling details of playing pirates and tag at recess.  A few times this week he's rattled off something he learned at school, or I've watched him write with a new level of confidence, and I've thought, "Aha!  That's why we're paying preschool tuition," and felt guilty for kind of being a Debbie Downer for pretty much all of September.  And I started reading the teacher's blog and have LOVED getting a lot more details about what's going on academically, instead of just hearing Kaden's play-by-play of playground time.

Kaden got to be the star student for the second week of school.  His teacher sent home a poster for him to decorate and fill with information all about him.  He was VERY into this and spent a great deal of time making his poster just right.

(I was VERY thrilled when he decided to add astronaut as a second career option.)

For picture day, he insisted on wearing his blazer.  His photos turned out super cute, but not cute enough for the package prices.  (At least not when Daddy takes stellar portraits of him every six months or so.)  Sorry, school photographer.  They didn't take class photos, either, which would have been the only thing that would have swayed me to purchase.  

Ms. Erin periodically posts photos online of some of the activities the kids do during the day.

They had pajama day.  All the kids came in their PJs and brought a favorite stuffed animal.  Then they paraded around the school with them.

They made homemade ice cream one day.  Kaden didn't like it.  He said it was too icy.  That's how picky of an eater he is.  Who doesn't like homemade ice cream?!

They had a camping theme one week and the kids painted with over-sized marshmallows and ate the leftovers.

Using a scale to estimate the weight of pumpkins:

Who doesn't love sidewalk chalk?

Sensory bins in preparation for a field trip to Volmer Farm.

Everett and I tagged along on Kaden's first field trip to seriously the coolest pumpkin patch I think I've ever been to.  

Kaden has ten kids in his class and seven of them are boys.  2010.  It was the year of the boy, apparently.  

First the kids learned about the way chickens are raised on their farm and had the chance to feed some:

There were beautiful sunflower beds all throughout the farm.  I was wishing I'd brought the SLR to get some good photos.  Then I realized Kaden was in a preschool field trip t-shirt.  And I had Everett with me and no second adult.  I wasn't sorry I only had my iPhone camera anymore.

They took us on a fun ride to tour the entire farm.

Then it was time for free play.  And boy, oh, boy!  The place was PACKED with fun!

Kade and Everett both loved the wooden train in one of the playground areas:

There was a giant blob to jump on:

A zip line rocket ship that I still regret not trying out myself:

An underground slide:

A vintage tractor for climbing and "driving":

Pretend cows for milking:

A corn crib perfect for creating autumn-style snow angels in:

An old airplane for piloting:

And so much more!  It was such a fun place, and I regretted not having Chad take the day off to come along.

The kids made some darling art work to go along with all the farm activities they learned about:

One day last week, we went to the park after school with the Nichols' crew, and two other kids from Kaden's class happened to be at the same playground.  Kaden started freaking out and ran screaming, "Palmer!" and "Eli!" with the same level of excitement he shouts with when encountering his best buddies.  It made my heart so happy knowing he's making so many good friends this year.  

Here he is holding up his first prize from the treasure box:  a purple cross necklace.  The preschool is part of a Baptist church.  They learn a monthly bible verse, go to chapel weekly, and read a daily bible story.  He's SUPER into bible stories these days and wants to read one every night from this little picture book bible we have. It's pretty precious.    

While we are very religious, there are some differences between our faith and the church where he is attending preschool.  I would say that a good majority of these differences are cultural.  For example, we often use different lingo in prayers (we typically don't recite memorized prayers, and we use more formal than familiar language in prayer--thee, thou, etc.), or when talking about Deity (we most often refer to God as our Heavenly Father, especially when addressing Him).  We also read from the King James translation of the Bible, not the version with modernized language.  Chad has jokingly said a few times, "They're going to make a baptist of him yet," when he says his memorized school prayer or quotes his new translation Bible verses.

So far, Kade seems to be having a great preschool experience.  It will be exciting to see him continue to learn and grow as the year progresses!         
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