Friday, September 19, 2008

Oh No . . . Not Again

Ok, it is official . . . I am a basket case when it comes to my children:). I continue to try to deny it, but I believe it is just in my nature to cry at EVERYTHING. Today was the first day I was able to watch Ryan get on the bus. With the bus pick up mess up (mentioned in a previous post) that happened the first day of school . . . I had taken that day off so my normal Friday off was transferred to that Tuesday. The following Friday we left for the beach and the Friday after that we were coming back from the beach. Today was the first normal Friday I have had since Ryan started school. In addition to this being the first Friday to watch him get on the bus, today was my first day volunteering in his class. Ryan's teacher, Ms. Clark, asks for volunteer parents to come and help out with the children during centers and their art project.

In watching him get on the bus I found myself getting a little teary eyed. It is so surreal watching your child get on the bus like it is just second nature. I was very proud of him. Since we live so close to the school, I parked the stroller in a neighbors yard and Lydia and Emily and I ran across the baseball field of the school and stood at the fence to watch Ryan's bus pull in the parking lot and drop him off. Lydia and Emily were so amazed with all the buses that were coming to Ryan's school. We were too far away to make out which child he was with all the children walking into the building together, but I was able to see where his bus parks and where all the children go when entering the school.

At 10:00 I went to Ryan's class to do my volunteering. It was so great!!! When I arrived the children were still in gym class. I helped Ms. Clark by setting out snack for the kids as well as setting out their project that they were going to do while eating their snack. When the kids came back of course they all wanted to know my name and they were all made aware of the fact that I was Ryan's Mommy. After their "Letter B" project and their snack they broke off into centers. In centers, I was in charge of the art project which consisted of the children making "Big Beautiful Butterflies." These kids seemed so smart to me! I work with 2 year olds all day that I have to help do EVERYTHING and most of these kids would tell me they already knew they had to do something when I would tell them they had to do it. Amazing how independent they are!! This was also a really great opportunity for me to see Ryan's teacher and how she is with the children, etc. I think she is terrific!! The kids all seem to like her and the entire class just runs along so smoothly. Of course she has been doing this for 20 years and it is old hat now I am sure, but with new kids comes new obstacles I imagine. (I visited my mother's 2nd grade class many times over my lifetime while she was teaching, but never looked at it from a parent's point of view). After centers Ms. Clark gathered everyone on the rug to get ready for lunch. All of the packers were instructed to get their lunchboxes and line up at the door. Ms. Clark then pulled out a stack of little papers that she went through while calling the buyers names individually. As she called the children, she would ask them if they needed their paper. About half of the children said yes and took the paper from her and about half said no. Ryan said no. After thanking the children for letting me come to visit with them and they thanking me, they headed off for lunch and I headed to the office to sign out. I followed them as they passed the office going to the cafeteria and decided to follow and see how things operate (I know Ms. Clark hates me--I am WAY too involved!!!:)). I stood at the opening of the food purchasing and receiving portion of the cafeteria and watched as the class filed through getting their food and milk. Ryan's food and his little milk carton was placed in front of him and he was standing in front of this little credit card machine looking thing. You could hear the beeping as he was typing something in on the machine. At the same time, Ms. Clark noticed me standing there and I explained I just wanted to watch for a second. She showed me the little stack of papers she was reading the children's names from in the classroom. They had the child's name and their lunch identification number on it (each child is given a lunch identification number so when we send money for his lunch account, they know which child to credit it to.). This identification number is what the children had to punch into the credit card looking machine. It is a four digit number and about half of these kids--Ryan primarily--have memorized it and don't have to look at it to punch it in. I exclaimed my surprise at Ryan's ability to remember this number. Ms. Clark said "He buys every day, right?" This meaning it was not a surprise to her that kids that buy mostly (we have packed twice) can memorize it quickly. I responded "yes." but thought to myself--but my child was gone for a whole week and a day and STILL has memorized it!! I don't know if I could do that:). I told Mike that when I went to school I remember handing a little slip of paper to a cafeteria woman who punched a hole in it with a hole punch. This was not a hard thing. We did not have computers in the classroom either. It was such a great morning! After watching Ryan go to his seat at the lunch table, I thanked Ms. Clark and headed on my way back to the office to sign out and wouldn't you know it . . . I started crying AGAIN! What is my problem!!?? See what I mean . . . basket case!! I think next time I will stay for lunch.

With the Big Beautiful Butterflies art project this morning there was a beautiful poem that the children put with their butterfly to eventually be put in their alphabet book that Ms. Clark is going to make for them with all of their letter art projects. This poem was so pretty and is something I need to remind myself of from time to time and I am sure anyone with children-young or old-can use this reminder sometimes too.
A child is like a butterfly in the wind.
Some can fly higher than others.
But each one flies the best that it can.
Why compare one against the other.
Each one is different
Each one is special
Each one is beautiful.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Family Tree

My Grandma and Granddaddy Leftwich had three children. My Granndaddy passed away almost 11 years ago now and unfortunately never met our kids. My Grandma Leftwich is still living, but is into the later stages of Dementia/Alzheimer’s. Emily Katherine (our Emily) is her namesake. My Grandmother’s name is Ruby Katherine. Their three children included my dad, P.D., and his two younger sisters. His sister, Judy is 3 years younger than he is and his sister, Kathy is about 11 years younger than he is. They each have children. Kathy has two children, Kristi and Brett, who each have two children. Judy has three children. Shawn, Michelle and Bradley. Shawn has two children, Bradley is recently engaged, but no children yet. Michelle just had two children—twins in our family again!—They apparently do run in our family after all. We stopped to see Michelle, her husband Joe and their three month old daughters, Addison and Emma on our way home from the beach. And, to our pleasant surprise, our Aunt Judy (Michelle’s Mom) was there too. Though the girls tend to favor their mother, you can see facial features and expressions that are dead on their dad. They are both beautiful girls! My children were privileged to be able to take a picture with their new second cousins. In that picture they are as follows . . . L to R-Emily, Emma, Ryan, Addison and Lydia. The other picture is the proud mommy, my beautiful cousin Michelle, with Emma and Addison. Congrats Michelle and Joe—having twins is the greatest amusement park ride of chaos and destruction you will ever be honored to ride every day of your life.

The Weather is Beautiful!!!
















Our beach trip was amazing!! I got a little carried away with pictures and videos, but it is so hard to decide which ones to use:). We arrived on Friday, September 5 with the predictions of Hurricane/Tropical Storm Hannah fast approaching the South Carolina shoreline. This was something we debated about doing. Do we wait until Saturday to go and miss a day on the beach if she moves though as quickly as they were thinking? We called the people who worked at the resort and they did not seem too bothered by this tiny Tropical Storm. After arriving that evening, we attempted to buy groceries and many of the stores were boarding up their windows in anticipation and were closing early. We did find a Kroger that was open and we were able to get a few staples there before they shut their doors. She was pretty strong for a Tropical Storm and could change into a Hurricane at any moment. Deciding to come down on Friday was definitely the right decision. The wind blew harder than any of us had ever seen. Mike, my dad and I all walked out on the beach during the high winds for just a little bit. I had never been in a Tropical Storm and wanted to see what the fuss was about since I knew it was not life threatening. With it being windy on a beach normally, it did not seem too different at 10:30 when we went outside. A mere hour later, the winds were crazy! We stood on our deck protected and watched the pool below us that was having the water blown out of it as a result of the winds The power lines on the street were blowing in the breeze and small trees were bent in half. The power flashed off and on two or three times, but that was it. When we awoke in the morning Hannah was long gone, the rain had stopped and the sun was trying to come out. There were a few branches down and the house behind our building had lost some siding and shingles, but other than that we saw no damage. The rest of the week was amazing!! There was a chance of thunderstorms in the forecast each day, but it never actually happened until our last day. On Thursday we were out on the beach until about 5:00 (hoping to be out until 7:00 on our last day) and it began to thunder and lightning. All in all we had a super week!! Ryan, Lydia and Emily played a lot with their cousin Adella and all 10 of us had a great time! Somehow, we managed to come home with a lot more than we arrived with:) Thanks Mom and Dad! It was great!!
This movie is of Emily dancing at the pool bar where we were staying. We stopped in for a little bit while Mike and Uncle Paul were playing Ping Pong at the game room next door.

Happy Birthday

Well, Ryan has now turned 5 and Lydia and Emily are 3. It is absolutely amazing to me how quickly time goes after you have children and how completely shocking it is when your son tells you “I am 5!” and your daughters, that you just brought home from the hospital, tell you “I am 3 now.” We had our annual backyard cookout for their group birthday party on August 31. Our close family and friends were there—it was a great time! Lydia and Emily dressed in princess dresses that we borrowed from our friend, Frances. They were so excited to wear these dresses and were quite sad to return them, but Uncle Paul, Aunt Allison and Adella gave them princess dresses of their own for their birthday. Ryan actually turned 5 on September 2 and Lydia and Emily while we were at the beach on September 9. Ryan’s teacher allowed Ryan to bring cupcakes to celebrate his birthday at school and his classmates all drew him birthday pictures and made a littlebook out of it. Very neat! Lydia and Emily took cupcakes to preschool on Thursday before we left for the beach on Friday. Was not quite as exciting as Ryan’s experience, but kids don’t really care when they get to eat cupcakes. It was a really great party and a great day! Thank you to everyone that came! You are all very special to our family and we love you very much!
Other than my latest entry from our first day on the beach, I have not written in a while. Ryan lost his first tooth about two weeks ago. He had a loose tooth for what seems like a month. His bottom left tooth fell out while brushing his teeth one night. I had been a little concerned that something was wrong since most kids don’t start losing their teeth until they are well into their 5th year or even into their 6th. Evidently nothing is wrong because he has a tooth coming in right behind it. It was the smallest tooth I believe I had ever seen. After taking a myriad of pictures of the missing tooth, he placed it under his pillow with the great anticipation of the Tooth Fairy visiting that night. . . After remembering a time in which my mother told Paul and me that Santa would not be coming to visit us that night if we were not asleep—in our mad dash to our bedrooms—we could not wait to see what would be awaiting us when we awoke the next morning . . . Mike and I explained that the Tooth Fairy does not visit little boys and girls that are not asleep. I believe he fell asleep within record time. The next morning I asked Ryan if the Tooth Fairy had visited him that night. He sadly said “No.” I said, “Did you look under your pillow?” He immediately jumped up and lifted up his pillow. I wish I had, had a camera . . . the look of surprise and amazement was so priceless as he saw that crisp green bill that lay under his pillow. We figure this is the first in a long line of tooth losing. He already has another loose tooth.

It's Us!

Pyzam Family Sticker Toy
Create your own family sticker graphic at pYzam.com

Saturday, September 6, 2008

A Day to Remember

After much deliberation we decided to leave on Friday instead of Saturday and drive our family into the definite threat of Tropical Storm/Hurricane Hannah. The weather predictions were not life threatening and we felt that things would clear up by Saturday afternoon. As it turns out, things cleared up by 7:00 am on Saturday morning. Mike and I came to Myrtle Beach with my family. My parents, who are the greatest, reserved a large condo for the five of us, my brother, his wife and daughter Adella and my parents. This vacationing as a large family is something that we do every other year--then every other year we do vacations on our own.

With Hannah out of the way yesterday morning, the kids were up, we had some breakfast and we took them out on the beach to collect "sheshells." In our walk down the beach, we were not sure how the kids would do with the ocean. Keep in mind, last summer Mike and I took the kids to the beach in June and Ryan would not go within 10 feet of the ocean. Lydia and Emily did go in the ocean and seemed to enjoy it, but they went with us and really did not have an option.

This time things were different . . . the kids ran into the surf, jumped over the small breakers that washed up and laughed hysterically when the water would rush back out making them feel as if they were moving. "I am skating!" Ryan shouted while in a surfer stance in the surf. Emily fell down in the surf while running. This scared her a little bit, but we made sure she continued to walk in the water to keep her from being scared of the ocean completely. While jumping and "skating" Ryan fell into the water and Mike and I held our breath thinking this was going to be it. He would be out this year again, but NO . . . he got up laughing. He was a little afraid I would be upset that his clothes were wet, but when I said "It is just water." he asked if he could do it again. They spent the next hour running and playing in the surf in their clothes. Laughing at each other and talking to each other with each new discovery they encountered in this awesome thrill ride we call the ocean.

Several years ago, when our niece, Savannah, was 6 years old (she is now 12) I had the pleasure of being present when Savannah saw the ocean for the first time. She stood in the surf and continued to exclaim "I feel like I am moving!!" I felt that this was kind of like Ryan "seeing" the ocean for the first time--though he has been to the beach three other times, this experience was something so new. He was so different than last year and was so excited. Lydia and Emily really followed suit.

Unfortunately, I have no pictures of this wonderful moment we shared with our children, but I have a mental picture of their faces and hearing their laughter that I will never forget. As I have said in previous posts, I have such wonderful memories of my childhood. I continue to hope that one day my children can say the same thing about theirs. I feel like maybe this day will be one of their earliest memories when they are adults.