Saturday, June 20, 2015

All the Dad's in my Life

I am one blessed lady.  So are my girls.

While some people struggle to have even one positive male figure in their lives, we have three.

Here's a little tribute to them.

The Father of my Children.  Ethan.  Daddy.

They say that you'll never love your husband more than when you see him become a daddy.  That statement is truer that true.  There's nothing but pure love in his eyes when he holds his little girls.  Although he hopes someday for a boy, he is well aware that God may just think that we are good with girls and bless us with a houseful.  Doesn't matter to Ethan.  I hope our girls look for the qualities that Ethan possess when they consider who to become friends with, who to date, and who to marry.

Daddy for the second time. Same loving look.

Daddy's girl.

A daddy lesson...How to make S'mores.

See...she looks just like her daddy, right down to those blues.

Ethan was so excited when Jackie turned out to be a "daddy's girl."  She just always wants daddy. Katerina has been more of a mommy's girl, but is more recently starting to hang on daddy more.  Kat is the spitting image of him.  Every time she smiles I see it.

I can't wait to see how their relationships continue to grow.

Dadio.  Gamimi.

I always remember my dad as a busy guy.  If he wasn't working at the power plant he was busy out in his "shop."  He always had a project to work on, something to fix, or just futzing around.   He spent years planning and building his outdoor shop.  It is packed full of tools, gadgets, lawn mowers, and most recently, a fully functioning bathroom.  He never has to leave.  Mom texts him when dinner is read.  I never thought I would see that!

Dad and me painting the toy-box that is now in our basement.
He would sing made-up songs with silly words, such as "Dad is great, he gives us chocolate cake..."  (that particular song was sung when mom happened to be out of town for a night and he was in charge).

Even his grandpa nick-name comes from the silly words and sounds he would make.  Always cooing and saying goofy things to Jackie when she was a baby caused her to start calling him one of her favorite words.  Gamimi.  Even Katerina is starting to catch on, saying "mimi" when she sees him.  He forever stole the girls' hearts with doughnuts in the mornings and swings he fashioned in his shop out of an old car seat.
The first granddaughter.

The second granddaughter.

That car seat swing!

My Father-in-Law is hard to describe.  If you need something fixed, he can do it.  If you need to build something, he can do it.  If you need help on harvest, he is probably already doing it.  I have never seen anyone with such a creative mind.  I once saw him fix our well with a pop beer can and duct tape.  Seriously.  He would just drive his truck over and whatever you need, it's in there.  Talk about a stocked vehicle.  The back is packed with tools and items that you could ever think to need.  It's amazing.  Ethan and I have often joked that you could park his dad's truck in my dad's shop and they would never leave.  Ever.

He loves to spoil his granddaughters with a new dolly on their birthday.  He spends hours searching for just the right dolly for each girl.  He's up to finding four dollies each year.  Who knows how many more he'll end up with. :)

My Mother-in-Law told me early on that "Bill has a way with babies.  They just love him."  Oh was she right.  I don't know what he does, but both of my girls just light up when he comes over, and constantly want to go to Papa's house.

Jackie's first tractor ride.

Papa and Jackie.

Papa and Katerina, a few hours old.

As I said before.   We are some lucky ladies to be surrounded by so many incredible dads.  On this Father's Day and all the other days of the year, I hope they know just how much we love them.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Jackie's "Special Class"

This was week three.

Week three of Jackie's "Special Class."

Side Note:  Jackie is a creature of habit, set in her ways, and likes to do the same thing the same way every day.  In order to get her to do something out of the ordinary, we call it "special."  She has "Special Pop" (sparkling water), a "Special Clock" (which lights up and sings her a song at night), and "Special Chocolates" for cleaning up her toys at night.  And since the first week of June...a "Special Class"

We enrolled Jackie in a "Just 3's Gymnastics" class at the local YMCA starting in June.  We go once a week.  We figured this would be a good start.  She has never done anything like this before.

Let me say that again.


The closest she comes to structured class is... well... nothing.

During the school year, she goes to a private home daycare that we LOVE.  (She loves it as well.)  She plays with the same group of kids everyday, takes a good solid nap, and enjoys snack time.  I even show up to pick her up at the same time each day. (Give or take 10 minutes or so.)

Because I teach 25 minutes away from daycare and Ethan drive across town to work, there is no way we can send Jackie to preschool and keep her at "Mimi's."  We love "Mimi" and so does she.  Preschool, at this moment, is not a certainty.

What is certain is that Jackie needs to learn structure in a "school-like" setting.  She needs to interact with a group of other kids (without sucking her thumb and raising her shirt up to play with her belly button...that will come later).  She needs to have instructions given by a teacher, learn to wait her turn, and listen to what the teacher says.

Enter "Just 3's Gymnastics."

I think the program description even mentions the above items that kids will experience.

Off we went to the first class, the first week in June.

Jackie wouldn't go in by herself.  I had to sit her down on her little puzzle piece and sit behind her the entire time.  She didn't know any of the little songs or "moves" and ended up trying to figure out ways to escape.  She struggled to figure out that she's not always first and tried, at any time she thought I wasn't paying attention, to run off and play on other equipment.

Also... all of the other kids had done this many times.  Jackie was the wild-child rookie and I was the hovering parent who just couldn't "let go."  I desperately wanted to let-go, but my desire for her to participate outweighed the possible judgement of all the other parents seated outside the glass watching.

She did enjoy it and could do any of the tucks, jumps, and rolls that was asked.  It was the "class" part she struggled with.

Back we went to week two.  An improvement.  I could sit back on a mat and watch, as long as I was in the room.  I tried to sneak out once, and that lasted about 5 minutes before she came running out the door looking for me. child is strong and has some kind of fascination with doors. Seriously.  She is like a Velocirapter in Jurassic Park.  She figures out every door she's come across.  We even have child locks on the INSIDE of her door so she can't get out in the middle of the night.

Week three.  I prompted her earlier in the day by telling her that I would be sitting by the door and she would go to the class by herself and listen to her teacher.  If she listened and let me sit all the way by the door, we would pop popcorn as a treat when we got home.

It was a good improvement!  She only ran back to me 3 times, and listened and participated much better than last time.   She still has a looooonng way to go in the regards of being comfortable with me leaving her, but we are trying to work out ways in which she goes to different activities without a parent.  I really don't want to have a 5-year-old clinging to my leg on the first day of Kindergarten.

Last night was an improvement.  A step in the right direction.  Hopefully with more classes like these she will learn those social behaviors that are necessary in a school setting.  The "stuff" (tucks, rolls, jumps, and balancing) are secondary to her participation.

She is my first.  I teach middle school kids.  I have NO IDEA if her actions are typical for 3 or if I'm raising one of "those" kids.  Should I worry about it?  Probably not.  Will she grow up and figure it all out? Yes.  But I do.  And I worry she won't.

I'm hoping that by the end of July I can sit outside the glass and just watch.


Wednesday, June 17, 2015

June Ramblings...

I looked at the calendar the other day to schedule a dentist appointment (otherwise, why look at a calendar during the summer??) and realized that we are passed the half-way point in June.


June half-gone already.

Where did it go?


  • Morning walks are a must.  Luckily there have been only one or two of those early summer rainy days that we haven't got our walk in.  Sometimes it takes some convincing bribing ignoring the whines and cries to keep the girls happy for the duration of our 2 mile quest.  But it gets done.  
  • Jackie is in full-on whine-about-everything mode.  I think I say the words "tell me that again without whining" more than any other phrase.  "Stop doing that" and "Be nice" run a close second and third.  
  • Speaking of Jackie.  We put her in her very first structured class at the beginning of June.  "Just 3's Gymnastics."  Yeah...Jackie doesn't like structure.  More on that class coming soon...
  • Katerina has figured things out.  Things such as "mine" and how to tattle.  We may not understand every single word, but the body language and facial expressions tell us everything we need to know.  Sometimes her complaints are justified.  Sometimes their not.  She is quickly learning that growing up means things don't always go your way.  She doesn't like it.
  • Jackie had her first trip to the dentist.  Since we have REALLY been struggling with strangers and doing what she's told, I was prepared for an ultra-toddler-meltdown.  Turns out, she did great!  She has even told me that her teeth hurt and she needs to go back to the dentist.
  • Parks and Pools.  We seek one out everyday.  I don't know how stay-at-home-moms and daycare providers survive winter months when you can't get out of the house.  Getting out makes the day for us.
  • Everything in the summer is based on time and clean-up.  How much time will that activity keep the girls busy and how much mess will I have to clean up when their done?  Can I live with the mess for moments where kids aren't pulling my pants down.  (Seriously...that and the swim suit top.  For.The.Love.  DON'T GRAB MY CLOTHES).
  • I am beginning to have a serious love-hate relationship with my Garmin Fit-Bit.  I love that I reach my goal everyday.  But I am super tired by 8:00 and that stupid thing keeps raising the bar.  It's going to think I've gone into shock when school starts up again.  (And I'm a teacher who is up off her feet most of the day).  Whew!
  • Speaking of exercising...  Found out our bathroom scale was 10 lbs. off.  Dammit.
  • Ethan discovered BBC's "Planet Earth" on Netflix earlier this month. Cool stuff!  We loved it and now Jackie LOVES coming to rest in our bed after we put Katerina to sleep to watch "animals" on TV.  
  • Speaking of TV.  I have instituted a "no TV before dinner" rule this summer.  Very smart of me. The girls play together so much nicer and find ways to keep each other busy without it on.  I am getting more accomplished throughout the day...and my pedometer shows it.
  • Ok...I have given in on the "no TV" rule on a couple of occasions.  1) Rainy days that we can't get outside. 2) To make Jackie feel better when she got whacked in the head with the car door and then not 20 minutes later pulled some heavy objects off a shelf right onto her head. She got 20 minutes of Shrek to make her feel better.   Poor thing. (But I did warn her about both...
So far, that's it.  I have found a few afternoon nap times to work on some school stuff.  I enjoy working on it and it gives me something else to do besides pick up the same shoes and blankets for the 10th time that day.  I find myself enjoying each day (some more than others...) and yet marveling in the speed of the months.  Before long it will be back to daycare and back to work.