Saturday, March 21, 2009

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Late winter doldrums

I hate to say it, but I think I'm officially ready for Winter to be over. Technically, it almost is! However the Seattle skies are hanging on tight to any last sign that it isn't. Last weekend, for instance, we woke up to a morning of giant, heavy snowflakes falling from the sky. The flakes gave way to rain. The rain to sun. The sun back to rain. Rain back to sun. And then the wind. And more sun and rain-- and this was all in one day!

Despite the weather, we have been trying to get outside when we can. Enjoying the sun breaks when they arrive and gearing up for the rain when that's all we have, too. Last weekend the girls stomped through so many puddles that they collected quite a bit of water inside of their boots!

As I sit at my computer desk I can look out the window at the magnolia tree, watching the buds swell and and a few of them are starting to show some pink petals peaking out. What a perfect sign of the impending Spring!This always serves to bring a smile to my face. I'll miss that tree when we move.

The last few weeks have also been a bit trying. Matt has been having a stressful time at work. He reports that he is given more work to do than he can possibly handle and feels stretched thin. Secretly I think "thank god! Having too much work is better than not enough!" but I know how hard it is on him. He's been told there are several work trips he needs to be taking in the next couple of months, too. None of us are excited about that!

Iris is struggling quite a bit lately. I swear I could have a whole blog devoted to daily thoughts about her development. It's so baffling to me, really. This whole world of 4- almost 5. Iris has amazing highs that make me think she is the sweetest, most perceptive and empathetic child ever. Then other times, I just think "oh my god, who is this devil spawn?!?" Issues at school have just sort of gone from bad to worse. Every time I bring her she freaks out and doesn't want to stay. Yesterday I was the working parent and I couldn't believe how amazingly sassy ALL of the children were. On one hand, it was nice to see it wasn't only my child, but on the other hand, wow, I was blown away at the ability for mean, under-handed, vicious behavior I saw coming out of some of the kids. So clearly SOMETHING is going on. I wonder how much of Iris's current behavior is tying in to what is happening at school-- it certainly feels like the school right now is feeding her aggressive behavior, not helping it. I could go on and on, but I suppose that's all I need to delve in to about it right now.

Eloise, well, she's a little doll. We're enjoying her immensely right now. Her vocabulary is continuing to explode, so listening to what comes out of her mouth is always hilarious and heart-warming. She has been making up spastic new dances (that I tried to upload videos of, to no avail!) and singing silly songs. Her pretend play is fascinating to eavesdrop on. She has been in to napping again, much to our dismay. It means that on the days she naps she's awake until 10:00 or 11:00 at night. She's happy, but awake!

And me? I'm keeping the stress in check. I've gotten serious about getting back in to shape after my huge push last summer that I subsequently abandoned as soon as I was married. I've been walking, doing yoga, doing some other exercises and watching what I eat more closely. Getting VERY excited about the fact that we're mere days away from beginning our home search!

I am desperately hoping that we can all take a mini-vacation out to Whidbey Island the week after next. We need it! Literally we just pretty much want to do nothing. Doing nothing sounds pretty fantastic right about now!

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Literally, this weekend went by faster!

We did lose that hour today ;)

What a great weekend. They always are, we've been so blessed.

Yesterday started with a haircut for me. I don't think I really needed it, but I scheduled it a while back and since I really love going for haircuts, I didn't want to re-schedule it for what would be a ways out. I did schedule my next one for right before our summer vacation (OHMAGAH!).

After that I went to another local elementary school for my last tour. As I thought I would, I totally fell in love with the school. It is our #1 choice for Iris. Full of art, great teachers, an active PTA, it's also wonderful. Cross your fingers for us! I'm going to send Matt to tour our #1 and #2 school choices so he can get a feel for them, as well, without just basing his knowledge on what I've told him. Anyways, feeling really good about that decision being made, now we just wait to find out where Iris gets in!

After the tour was lunch and nap. Eloise and I had a nice long rest on the couch while Matt and Iris ran errands.

Last night, on the advice of two former Wisconsinites, we ate at Zayda Buddies. It was quite lovely and we enjoyed the food alot. It bills itself as a Minnesota style pizza joint and bar. They carry my favorite beer, Leinenkugels. Yum. I could bore you with stories of how college students I knew built furniture out of cases of Leinie's, but you know, I'll save that for another day.

On our way home it was hailing/sleeting/snowing. So weird. Not much snow was left this morning, though, which always annoys the girls!

Today we rested, took the dog to the dog park, played at a park, visited friends, bought girl scout cookies and came home in time for Matt to make us yummy Phad Thai before he jets off to basketball. Gee, a whole day summed up in a sentence! The park we went to was really fun, one we have never been to before. Iris met a little girl six days younger than her and they became fast friends. I love seeing how quickly Iris can make friends, it is so sweet.

Despite daylight saving's time, it definitely feels like 6:00 right now. I'm beat!

Also, I desperately need to get back on the weight-loss track if I want to have a prayer of fitting in to my summer clothes. Ugh. I can't believe I gained back all of the weight I lost last summer. So annoying. So, I'm going to try and get more serious about it!

Friday, March 06, 2009

School, school, school

Yes, I know, your eyes are glazing over, coming here and reading about schools. It's almost over, I swear! A brief and all-consuming burst and then, poof!, it's over. So bear with me.

I went to a great open house last night for the school closest to where we currently live. I actually wasn't even going to tour it because I hadn't read anything about it that interested me (they seem to have more of a math/science focus vs an arts focus). Then recently I was given a glowing recommendation for the school, so I went to check it out. I ended up really liking the school. Even though they don't have a true arts focus, the halls were literally covered with child-created art. The tours were well organized, the classrooms were big and had big windows, the teachers were all wonderful, the school had some great resources and seemed like a close-knit community. I really liked what I saw/heard. It was funny because many of the parents in the close group I communicate with are all clamoring over a local alternative public school, which I toured last week, but I was much more impressed with the school I saw last night. Another mom at Iris's school told our teacher that she felt like she was just "drinking the kool-aid" (so to speak) about the alternative school, because she, too, wasn't terribly impressed by it despite all of the glowing reviews it seems to be getting. So it felt like we SHOULD have liked it, when really we were more like "meh, this seems okay". Who knows, maybe I actually DO want a more structured, traditional school for Iris? At least, in the two schools I toured, that's what I leaned more towards.

There is another tour coming up that I am most excited about, however. This school has more of an arts focus than either of the two schools I have seen already, so that excites me. I do try to remind myself, though, that art is something Iris can easily be immersed in at home, whereas things like science/math, not so much. Although Iris has family members who are extremely proficient in those subjects, none of them happen to live under our roof. I also try to remind myself of my brother, the most successful artist I know, who was basically just like Iris at her age. He never went to an art school, not even for college, he just did what he loved and that guided him through.

I think we're really lucky here in having so many great public school choices. It could be so, so much worse. We live in an area of the city where pretty much any school we choose is going to be fine. I am really enjoying the tours and wish I could go on many more, just to see more of the schools!

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Spring? Really?!?!

Here's a few recent pictures:
The four of us at Lincoln Park in Seattle. That is the Puget Sound behind us.

Matt at the playground.


My mother-in-law and I at the playground.


Eloise at the playground.


Iris at the playground.




Last week we had half of a snow day. This week is just nothing but sun so far! It's crazy, but we love it! Weather.com says it's 53 out right now, though I would say it feels a bit warmer. Maybe just when we're in the sun?

Things have been going really well around here. I mentioned our home buying achievements in my last post, so that's HUGE for us!

Matt's been on two decent length trips away from home and the girls and I have been having alot of fun while he's gone. I never thought I would feel that way as his trips used to cause me tremendous anxiety and I used to need a great deal of support while he was gone. Now I just mostly miss Matt when he's away, but everything else is just as wonderful as always.

We're going on a couple of open houses this week to tour more kindergartens. I'm excited! There is one school that I have in mind as being the best fit for our family, as far as I can tell, so that one is going to be fun to see. I must say, though, I can't wait for this decision to be behind us. It will be fun for the conversations amongst my group of parent friends to veer in another direction!