Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Activity Level

Below is a photo of Harper, with the musical theater teacher, at a dance convention she attended a couple of weeks ago. It was the first time she's had much exposure to the musical theater style and she completely fell in love. There is a teacher at Harper's dance studio who has choreographed musical theater solos for other students and Harper's hoping she might get a turn to do one someday. 

Dance is the major activity that Harper is committed to right now. However, she is still interested in trying other things and Matt and I also want her to experience different sports/lessons before she decides to give all her time to one thing. She has enjoyed soccer, tennis, and guitar in the past. Beginning next week she's going to try a tumbling class at the Y. Harper's also gone to a couple of volleyball clinics - she may have the opportunity to play on the 4th grade team at our church this winter. 

But she's not sure she wants to play volleyball. I am fairly certain the reason she doesn't want to play is that she's afraid to make a fool of herself. While it takes a great deal of skill to achieve a certain level of play in a sport like soccer, almost anyone can run around on the field. Michael went weeks at a time without touching the ball when he played! Volleyball is a little different, the mechanics don't come naturally to most children. You have a lot to learn as you begin to play. 

Harper says she doesn't want to play but Matt and I would really like her to try. Since my brother, sister, and I all played in high school we are trying to convince her it is her family legacy. We're leaving it a little to chance - if the practices fall on Mondays and Wednesdays, then playing volleyball won't be an option because those are dance days. If practice is on Tuesday and Thursday I think we're going to go head and sign her up and see how it goes. 

I don't want to drive the children crazy, rushing them from one activity to another. I do want them to have lots of experiences and give them chances to figure out how they want to spend their time. 

Monday, November 17, 2014

This Girl

And today this wonder of a child is ten years old. It happened in a blink.

(Photos by Danielle - Chocolate Pudding Moments)

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Cheater Pants

Yup - I'm totally going to back-date entries so that one lands on each day, even though I've now missed several for this year's NaBloPoMo... That seems less awkward than posting many posts on the same day, or over several days, as I work on catching up.

This one is just a place holder, in the interest of full disclosure.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Winner Winner

Our big birthday celebrating will happen next weekend when family will come into town and we'll have a party for Harper.

Today was spent running a few errands and then enjoying Family Dinner Night at Harper and Michael's school. We ate pizza together in the cafeteria and then went to the gym to play board games, participate in raffles, and bid on silent auction items. Games and pizza are two of my favorite things, and several good friends were there, so it wasn't a bad way to spend a birthday.

Michael won the silent auction item that means he gets to eat lunch with the principal, which, in first grade, is considered a real treat. Best of all, I won the raffle for a reserved parking space in front of the school for the rest of the year - THAT was a wonderful birthday present!

Edited to add: I just realized this was my 1000th post. That's a lot of random thoughts!

Friday, November 14, 2014

Middle School

Every morning at the middle school the head principal and a handful of students come to a back room of the library where we do video announcements. We say The Pledge of Allegiance, read what's for lunch, give updates about sports teams and school clubs, and share the staff and student birthdays. So today the principal announced that it was my birthday (it's actually tomorrow).

Many middle school students work hard at NOT being impressed or excited about anything. So I found it very sweet today when several students wished me a happy birthday. A trio of 6th grade boys even sang happy birthday to me. Then they got all red in the face - it was adorable.

Flash forward to tonight. Matt and Harper went to a basketball game so Michael and I were on our own. We went out to dinner and then ran to a store for Michael to pick out a birthday gift for Harper. As Michael and I were heading for the checkout, I suddenly heard, "Hey! Hey! Hi! Happy birthday!" It was one of the middle school girls, not one I had seen during the day today. She went out of her way to talk to her school librarian in public.

I will consider it an early birthday gift.

Thursday, November 13, 2014


This is my favorite time of year, really. It is birthday season for Harper and I, Thanksgiving, then comes Christmas books, CDs, movies, decorations, and Christmas itself. Vacations, good food, fun secret-keeping and gift-giving. There will be time with family and time with friends.


Man, there is a lot to do between now and the end of the holiday season. It was always a lot to keep track of, but it feels nearly impossible when I'm working full time. All the preparations are normally part of the fun. This year, especially, I would really appreciate an extra four or so hours in every day. If anyone can make that happen for me, please let me know!

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Passing Judgment

I make a sincere effort not to judge the actions of others. I'm aware, most of the time, that I don't have the information to evaluate a choice that someone else is making for herself or for her family. I don't know the circumstances. I don't know the struggles. I try, but today, I failed.

I was on the way to pick up the children from school. There was a car driving next to me down a fairly busy road. The woman behind the wheel had her phone in plain sight and was just texting away. Texting while driving was dangerous for her, for the rest of us on the road, and for the infant riding in her backseat. When my children were that small I sometimes felt nervous even having them in the car at all - I cannot imagine deciding it would be okay to text while I drove with my baby in the car.

I know people do this sort of thing all the time, and I believe it is a universally bad idea, but something about seeing that infant in the backseat just made me so angry with that woman.

A bit further down the road I ended up behind the same car. I was consciously leaving extra space between us, worried that she would cause an accident by not seeing someone stopped in front of her. Just before pulling up to school I wound up close enough behind her, at a stoplight, to see the little sign she had hanging in her back window. It was the shape of those "Baby on Board" signs, but it was black and it said, "If you don't like my driving, *%&$@ off." Lovely.

I'll admit it - I completely judged this woman. I judged her driving habits and I judged the fact that she chose to publicly display those words. And I made assumptions about what kind of mother she might be.

I know we need to be kind to each other, I KNOW. I know most of us are just doing the best we can.

Still, I can't get that baby out of my head.