The Yellow Envelope

I am a very fortunate person. I have two healthy children, a job that is pretty flexible when it comes to children events, sick kids, doctor’s appointments and more. But some days, no matter how hard I try, I feel I just can’t get it right. Dance two days a week, soccer two nights a week…and God bless all you people that have more than two kids. Hats off to you! Between my kids, two dogs and husband, I am full. Now honestly, usually the husband behaves.

Not sure how your week works, but believe it or not, my craziest day is Tuesday. I’m in the office until 5 p.m., from there it is pick up the kids and get to 6 p.m. soccer practice. Still not too bad…the fun you ask? The chore of getting homework, official dinner ready (snack provided before soccer), lunches made for the next day and signing off on the lovely yellow envelope the teachers send home every Tuesday in the backpacks at 8 p.m. Oh, I forgot…getting the kids to bed. Don’t they know any other day would work better? I feel I am lying when I remove the school work for the week, sign and return the envelope saying I have reviewed the contents, when in reality, looking at what came home in that will have to wait until Wednesday. Oh, I want to see their work, look at their grades and talk to them about it…just not on Tuesday!

In addition to preferring a different delivery day, the yellow envelope has created a great deal of humor in our home. My husband’s job is far more time consuming and involves frequent traveling. So, I handle all school things. Recently, we were at some friends’ home and discussing how the soccer team was going the get their summer camp message out to all the kids in the school. Eric and Allison are both teachers in our school system, and agreed they’d just be placed in the yellow envelopes. My husband, with a very puzzled look, quickly asks, “What are the yellow envelopes?” Eric quickly stopped Jonathan…”I would not go there Jonathan…you are only burying yourself.” Now keep in mind, we have a 5th grader and a 3rd grader…this envelope has been a part of our lives now for nearly 6 years. Needless to say, my husband now knows about the infamous yellow envelope we all love!

Honestly, as my kids keep growing up way too fast, I know it won’t be long and I will miss this envelope. And funny enough, that is one thing I save at the end of each school year.

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I believe in Santa, but the Tooth Fairy?

My oldest child is getting to the age where soon those deep conversations about Santa will surface. Now, he’s my sweet boy that wants to believe no matter what he hears. And of course I love that, but I realize I may only have one or two more Christmas seasons in which the secret will be safe. On the other hand, my daughter is the younger one, and once she hears the rumors, the secret will be over. It deeply saddens me! If only I could slow down how fast they are growing up.

It was a recent car ride with Avery, when he tells me he believes in Santa, but not so much in the Tooth Fairy. When I asked for an explanation, I had to work hard to keep a straight face! “Mom, the Tooth Fairy has got to be you and dad…sometimes she forgets the first night!” Oops! Confession…we have had a couple of those, but I have always tried to cover it up with a letter from the Tooth Fairy explaining that she ran out of time because so many teeth were lost that day. It appears he’s not buying that.

The part I have struggled with is how to be reasonable and expect them still to believe. We were lucky to change the conversation topic from the Tooth Fairy, but another day he admitted he did not believe the Santa where we have pictures taken is really a brother of Santa’s. I agreed with him on that and explained the pictures were just something mom and dad liked to get; hoping if I give him a little credit for figuring that out, he’ll believe in the real Santa a little longer. If only I could slow down time…

The little things in life…

fun master picture

I have the joy of helping at my kids’ school once in a while; it is so nice to see what takes place during their day and how much they love it! And what a huge relief to see your children interacting with other children, happy and loving to learn. (On a light note, based on the “college fund” that we gave Primrose Schools in the early years of their lives, they better be the smartest, most social children at the school!)

Just last week there was a Mardi Gras wagon parade at the school (it was delayed due to the EXTREME winter weather Atlanta experienced that caused school cancellations the week before…yes “EXTREME” is sarcastic!). This parade was something that seemed so uneventful to the adults, but the children were so excited about this wagon parade all day, that the teachers had a hard time keeping them focused on school work. I look at these types of things and look at my kids every day and realize how much your perspective changes in adulthood. Why does it take so much to thrill us as adults? My children are always so excited about their next birthday, losing their next tooth…I am about to turn 40 and let me just say, I am not counting down the days because I am so excited…I am counting down the days I have left in my 30s wondering where the time has gone and wondering if we can slow things down.

I try my best every day to encourage their creative minds, pretend play, youthful thinking but sometimes it does require me to take a step back and correct myself. As grown-ups we often try to rush them along in our busy days and I remind myself, how unfair that is. Let them play school, color and make a mess on the kitchen table, paint, dress-up, make paper airplanes…let them be kids. And mostly importantly, learn something from them…slow down and enjoy life. The house doesn’t have to always be spotless. And who cares if dinner is not on the table at 6PM as planned?

Heart of Gold

We live on a great street in a wonderful neighborhood located in the middle of suburbia.  Yes, even I make fun of suburbia, so go ahead!  But fortunately, it does provide my children with a safe street full of kids where they can play sports and hangout…of course the houses are on top of each other (but the good thing…less yard to mow).

Our street has about ten to fifteen kids that play outside on a regular basis.  Ages range a great deal, but for the most part everyone tries to include everyone.  When it comes to the boys on the street, my son is the youngest of the group, however, we have a couple older ones that do an excellent job watching out for him.  Unfortunately, none of them were present yesterday when six kids were playing basketball in our driveway.  Playing in our yard is always welcome, and it does often to seem to be the basketball goal of choice…not sure why.  Anyhow, it had started with three elementary school kids then two high school aged kids joined the game.  I was watching out the window to see if my son was getting the ball since the older kids joined the game.  Avery started playing recreational basketball this past season, but he still has less experience than all the other kids and often has to fight for the ball.  I understand this will improve over time, but of course a mother is always protective of her babies.  On that note, I try to avoid being that helicopter parent.  I called Avery to the door after a while of seeing him be left out and quietly told him to speak up and say he wants the ball too.  I doubt he said a word.  My Avery has a heart the size of Texas and he just wants to make sure everyone is happy.  For example, last night his sister had her cup of water taken away at bedtime because she was mad and kicked dad.  Avery took his cup of water to her when dad walked away.

Last night, while sitting on the sofa, I asked my sweet boy, “Honey, does it upset you when the big kids don’t give you the ball, or do you just enjoy having all the kids at our house to play?”  It broke my heart when he said he wants the ball and wants to play too.  I took the question a little further and said, “Do you want mom to speak up and tell everyone to make sure everyone is equally included?”  (Not sure what age parents start becoming embarrassing.) I was actually surprised when he said yes to that as well.

Sometimes it is so hard to keep yourself in line as a parent.  Where do you let your child fight for themselves, and where do you step in?  I certainly would not walk down to someone else’s driveway and give orders, but when kids are playing in my driveway, my kid gets to play.  I look at my children and see so many differences.  My daughter, who is three years younger, has no problem fighting for herself…remember, she kicked her dad when she was upset.  But my boy has the huge heart and always wants to play nice and fair; I really hope he does not get walked on in life for being so sweet.

Better Late Than Never

Although it is already February, one of my goals for the new year was to put more focus on my blog. Better late than never, right?

Honestly, I am a full time working mom with over fifteen years of advertising and journalism experience, seeking the perfect job that would give me more flexibility for my two young children that are just starting all the commitments…soccer three nights a week, basketball, school activities…you name it. It is a great struggle for me, because my past ten years have been spent working in a government job, which honestly, has been a little too slow pace. Prior to this job I was at Home Depot’s corporate office where everything was due 45 minutes ago. I am guessing there must be a middle ground. Something challenging and flexible….is that asking too much? I am continually intrigued by the balance of life that so many people are looking for. Most people want their minds to be challenged, but want the balance for family. Why does that seem so far fetch these days?

I look at my children every day and think how fast they are growing up. Before long I will blink and they will be off to college. Yes, I am one of those sappy moms that gets a little teary-eyed at the thought of them getting so big! Now I certainly would not go back to the infant days with interrupted sleep nights and diapers, but I truly love the ages they are now. They still ask mom for cuddle time and need a kiss to make boo-boos feel better. If it was only possible to slow down time a little, it would help.

So I am hoping to find a little more direction in life this year. A new, challenging job with flexibility. Possible? We shall see.

Back in the Swing of Things

Well, the school year is now underway. The crazy summer had me slacking off a little on the blog. My kids are loving school, even the kindergartener. Unlike my son that cried and reached for me as I walked out the door, my daughter simply confirmed I would come back for her, then said good-bye without the tears. The odd part…we have been in school for over two weeks now, and today Emory cried as I dropped her off in the carline. “I don’t want to go mommy!” Wow, did that tear at my heart strings. How can their tears make us moms so emotional? So of course I cried on the way to work. I am such a sucker!

On a lighter note, my son has had a smooth adjustment to second grade. I think he is actually starting to build friendships and looks forward to school.  Always a good feeling for us parents! Now, the most entertaining part of the school year so far are the updates I receive from my daughter’s kindergarten teacher and par pro. One morning I was actually pulled aside in the hallway and told “Emory is PERFECT!” Oh my gosh! Are you sure we are talking about my child? Perfect? Really?  “She just sits in class, obeying all the rules, raises her hand, stays quiet when asked to.”  Now I’m not sure if they are amazed at any child who behaves like that, or just because they had my son two years ago, and she just is not behaving very Bohlander-like.  Regardless, the word perfect did give me a good chuckle.  Thinking I should record her and her brother fighting one afternoon and show that to her teachers.  She has quite a devil side to her.  Lucky for her, she is super adorable!

Despite all the joking, I honestly have to say, we are so lucky to have two happy, social, normal children that love school.  It makes our lives much easier.  I am thankful every day for our excellent school and teachers.  Another year is underway…boy does the time fly!

Paint!!!

Sounds like an odd subject, doesn’t it?  Well, it went kinda like this…my son was already missing his buddy from school after just one week.  So, I texted the mom and scheduled a “play date.” (I have a confession…I hate the phrase “play date.”) Anyways, his friend comes over to hang out.  Great!!! New problem…my daughter won’t leave them alone.  OK.  So I call the neighbor down the street and ask her to send her daughter down to keep my daughter from driving my son crazy.  So Ally comes down to play.  But I was a little confused.  What in the world should I do with both kids playing?  I could actually accomplish something around the house.  Hmmmm.  So I pulled out the paint and touched up several walls in the house! Holy cow! This was not normal. It was nice to have a chance to get our walls presentable again, but I must admit, a little part of my heart sunk thinking my little ones were growing up and wanting less time with mom and more time with friends. Of course I would not change that for anything. As I have gotten older in life I have realized, brains will only get you so far in life (unless you want to be something like a doctor, scientist, etc). Fifteen years out of college I look around in the work world; no one cares who had a 4.0, but social skills are far more important.  

paint bucket