Thursday, November 26, 2009

The Thanksgiving Post

Lillie decided that we needed a poster on the wall for everyone to write what they are thankful for. She even drew a box for each person: Lillie, Harlan, Sophie, Dad, Mom, Nana and Papa ... We each had our allotted space for thanksgiving. Here are the lists (so far):

Lillie:Sport Dog, tv, school, friends, Mom + Dad (she has started abbreviating), rain + sun, Harlan + Sophie, Nana, Papa, roller skates, Lisa + Mark (her roller skating teachers), art, holidays, everything. (She didn't have room to write it all down, so she just summed it up nicely.)

Harlan: Jesus, Sport Dog, Mom and Dad, Lillie, Sophie, 'myself,' toys, hugging Mommy, kissing Sport Dog, Nana and Papa's visit, dancing, roller blading.

Sophie (really just a list of things she likes ... she doesn't fully grasp the concept of gratitude yet): Dora the Explorer, Sport Dog, dinosaurs, Pinkalicious, Purplicious, Harlan, candy, cupcakes, pink fingernails, soap, dresses, dancing, playing, hearts, school, cochlear implants, swimming, Ella (her best school friend). She also added: "I broke my CI (cochlear implant) and I was sad. But I am happy because my CI is better!"

Wes: My family, Sport Dog, books, school, movies, hockey, bikes, church, my house, scriptures, audiobooks, trees, running, friends, computers, rain, snow, wheelchairs, love, iPhone, engineering, pottery, creativity, failure, problems, tools, mountains, the ocean, ice cream, Trash! (yes, he wrote it capitalized with an exclamation point. He loves to go dumpster diving), Cochlear implants, math, science, music, eyes, ears, ice cream, feet.

Samantha: My awesome family! (and dog), books, trees, kiwis, music, chocolate, Wes's job, toothbrushes, Cochlear implants, pottery, the food pantry, pictures, freedom, flowers, avocadoes, movies, our fun house, sunshine, church, wind, playing in the rain, friends, dancing, jeans, hoodies.

Nana (my mom): family, popcorn, chocolate, good health, golf, blue skies.

Papa (my dad): family, Macavity (his cat ... formerly my cat), golf, health, tennis, reading.

So ... on this most grateful of days, our family offers our collective thank-you ... for everything! :)

PS - I am also thankful for the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade!

PPS - AND for Wes having Christmas day OFF!!!! Yay, celebration! :D

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Setting goals

Goals (Or maybe just a wish list):

Yoga almost daily (I am afraid of commitment)
Read scriptures daily
Read a book a week
Eat healthier
Stop clutter BEFORE it comes into my house
Finish what I start!

To be continued ...........

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

One successful day!

Every now and then I have a hugely successful day, a day full of motivation and drive. And usually when I have these days I write about them in my blog. (See, they ARE rare!) So now I will share my today.

Woke up. Showered. Dressed myself and three kiddos. Packed Sophie's lunch. Switched the laundry. Dropped off the girls at school. Took Harlan to gymnastics.

Dropped off Sophie's enrollment forms at the Columbia Public Schools office (so they can pay for her services at Moog). Dropped off Sophie's Medicaid application (a requirement of the Bureau of Special Health Care Needs ... so they can also maybe help pay for her services). Went to the Food Bank to buy t-shirts for our Thursday morning volunteer efforts at the Pantry. Bought groceries at Wal-Mart (no small feat with Harlan in tow!)

Came home. Ate lunch. Switched the laundry. Picked up the girls from school, back home for a much-needed 30-minute rest. Got Lillie dressed in the fancy outfit loaned to us by her wonderful roller skating teacher. Took my friend her 'we work for food' shirt (surprise!), drove all three kiddos to the skating rink for Lillie's special practice in preparation for her talent show (which is Monday).

Returned home. Fed the kiddos pasta and apples for dinner. (Skipped the bath tonight.) Teeth brushed, faces washed, pajamas on, books read, songs sung, Sophie's 'ears' put safely in their special box for the night.

Washed dishes, folded laundry (most of it, anyway), took out the trash and recycles, played with the puppy. Located two missing library books and set Sophie's Halloween costume aside for her to take to school tomorrow. Typed a blog entry. Went to bed BEFORE midnight ............ maybe.

And all on a day when I had only 5 hours of sleep the night before (up late folding ... we have lots of clothes, evidently), and a night when Wes is on call!

And so I give some credit to my friend Rosie, whose poster and action-figure, proudly displayed on my red kitchen walls, gives me the inspiration to make it through another day:

Rosie the Riveter

Thursday, October 22, 2009

A few random things...

1. My new favorite Pandora station is the B-52's station. If you are not familiar with, you really should take a look ... no matter what kind of music you like.

2. Today my kiddos had their first tastes of Ramen noodles. I haven't bought Ramen in 8 years or more. I was pleased to read the wrapper and find that Maruchan refuses to compromise flavor for some silly passing fad ... like nutrition. It says, "You may reduce the sodium level by simply using less of the seasoning packet." You want healthy? Use less seasoning. Or eat something else. Nice to know that some things never change.

3. I hate plastic bags, so whenever I go to the store I buy the 99c cloth reusable shopping bags. The problem is that I always forget to take them with me when I go shopping, so now I have an abundance of reusable shopping bags in my closet at home. I've tried keeping them in my car. I still forget them when I walk into the store.

4. Sophie refuses to use the word "ponytail" and prefers to call them "kittytails" instead.

5. I love thunderstorms. I didn't when I was a kid, or even up until just a couple of years ago. But I love to hear the thunder boom and see the wind blow and the rain pound. It is so gratifying to see Mother Nature throw a huge tantrum. I think it's because I often feel like I'd like to throw a big hissy fit but I'm not allowed to ... I'm living vicariously through the weather.

6. The huge fundraiser for Sophie's school, "Name that Tune," is one week from tonight. I need to find a rock-and-roll costume to wear, and I only have a week! Too bad I gave away my black vinyl pants ... but they probably wouldn't fit anymore anyway. :(

7. Harlan's gymnastics place, Tiger Academy of Gymnastics, has a float in the homecoming parade this Saturday. We get to ride on it! (Shh, it's a surprise!)

8. Today Lillie stayed home from school (again) with a weird stomach bug (no fever, no fatigue, no loss of appetite, just a little runny-ness.) Anyway, she decided to 'homeschool' Harlan today. She came up with a schedule and everything: free play time, reading time, snack time, spelling test, science, etc. She even scheduled time to teach him to be nice to the dog. She is such a little teacher! Unfortunately, Harlan does what he wants to do ... not what other people tell him to do. Lillie got frustrated. Now they are just playing in the playroom.

Just felt like sharing. I'm trying to be better at this blogging thing!

PS - I just noticed Lillie did not eat her Ramen. I asked her why and she replied, "It was too salty." Hmph.

Saturday, October 17, 2009


I like this blog and I like this post on this blog.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Since you asked ....

Every time anybody asks me about why we switched from public to private, or what we think about Lillie's new school, I yap their ears off forever about how wondrous our experience has been. So now I will blog it instead, and maybe I will get it out of my system. Or just have somewhere to tell them to "read all about it!"

First. Why did we switch??
1. Lillie was attending Mill Creek Elementary, the school that is widely considered to be the best public elementary school in Columbia. Relatively new building, media center, huge playground, the works. She even had to go DOWNSTAIRS to get to her class, which was exciting! However, her teacher had 25+ students and only a couple of years' experience. She seemed like a really nice girl and a good teacher, but when we spoke to her at 'meet the teacher' night, her eyes got huge when she learned that Lillie reads a good 3 years above her grade level.

2. In a class that huge with one teacher, you've got to either need tons of help or act up in order to get attention. Lillie is a smart, well behaved kiddo, so she was blending in with the walls. She was so bored... She can do addition, subtraction and basic multiplication. In her class, they were given a sheet with numbers on it and instructed to draw the correct number of dots for each number. Wouldn't you be bored?!

3. On the fourth day of school (the FOURTH day!) she asked, "Do I HAVE to go there again? Do I EVER get a day OFF??" She hated it.

4. The girls in her class were a bit clique-ish ... their parents know each other so they just play with each other. Lillie felt out of place, socially awkward, and generally not accepted. The school was huge, the class was huge, Lillie was shuffled around and lost in the crowd and miserable.

5. Every day when I picked her up, I would ask how her day went. And every day she grumbled. She would say things like, "Well, I had lunch ..." OR, "Um ... we had recess ..." OR something like, "So-and-so said she would meet me by the swings at recess but she never came, and when I went to play with her, she ran away from me." (That really happened, by the way.) She was never excited to tell me anything. And no matter how much I asked, she didn't want to tell me the things she had done in class. She just said, "We didn't do anything in class."

So, Wes was working for the months of July and August in the Ellis-Fischel Cancer Hospital, and on his last day there (8/31), he was telling one of the nurses about Lillie and our school woes. She said that he should call her sister, who is the principal of the lower grades at Columbia Independent School, and get Lillie an interview. We took a tour of this school a few months ago and were supremely impressed with what we observed, but it was WAY out of our price range. However, this nice lady told Wes that if we just called and said we knew her, that her sister could get us a good deal on the tuition. So I did. That day.

Lillie had her interview there on Thursday, 9/3. She and I had a tour (they moved into a new building since my last tour!), and we were both blown away by the separate science room, Spanish room, art room, etc, etc... While I spoke with Mrs. Savage (the sister of the nurse), Lillie had her interview with Mrs. Nowlin, one of the two first-grade teachers. She asked Lillie questions about what she is interested in, and she had Lillie read her a few books to get a good idea of her reading abilities. She brought Lillie into the office and stated that she thought Lillie would be a great fit at the school.

Lillie said: "I want to come back tomorrow!"

And so it was done. She got an awesome scholarship so we pay less than half of the cost of tuition. She came for her trial day on 9/4, and she started school officially on the day after labor day, 9/8. She has not stepped foot in Mill Creek since.

How do I know I did the right thing?
1. Because that Tuesday, when I went to pick up Lillie's things at Mill Creek, I got her Friday folder from the previous week with her weekly progress report. The teacher had written: "Lack of focus - not able to repeat directions." She was BORED. And the teacher wasn't doing anything interesting or challenging for her, so she was tuning her out. And school wasn't interesting. And this was only the beginning.

2. Because Mrs. Nowlin gives her the freedom to work through her workbooks at her own pace and introduces new, harder ones when Lillie is ready for them. And she knows each student's abilities and encourages them to push themselves to the next challenge. The second day of school was 'curriculum night,' when the parents went and learned from the teachers what the kids will be doing this year. That night, I went in to her classroom and found that Lillie had already -- on day two -- completed 19 full pages in her workbook. Mrs. Nowlin saw me looking at the book, and she said, "I know this is way too easy for Lillie, but I started all of the kids at this level, and I'm not going to make her complete this whole book ... once she gets in the habit of doing her pages, I'm going to give her the next level up."

3. Because she has Spanish twice a week with a teacher who is a native Spanish-speaker. And art twice a week with a woman with an art degree. And science twice a week with a man who has a background in science, in a room full of different animals and insects and spiders in tanks for her to observe. Because she can now tell me Spanish words for feelings (sentimientos!) as well as the Spanish words for the different parts of a butterfly. And she can tell me the different kinds of legs the insects in our backyard have ('true' legs bend, and 'bristle' legs do not. I didn't even know that).

4. Because she was elected by her classmates to represent them on the student council ... after only attending the school for one week. This school has already done wonders for her confidence. She approaches the teachers and the principal to ask questions and make suggestions, she asks friends to play with her, she speaks up so people can hear her ... we have had trouble with all of these things in the past. But she knows now that her opinion matters and that adults want to hear what she has to say, and they care if she has a question. Today she even signed up for the school talent show!!

5. Because when I pick her up from school, she is excited to tell me about her day! All about new things she learned, funny things her friends said, and fun things coming up.

Basically, I am thrilled about this change for Lillie. She is excited and she is thriving!

Monday, April 6, 2009

Moving nightmare

Wednesday, April 1 was our official "MOVING DAY." Lesson to all of you: never plan a big event, such as a move, on April Fool's Day. Not a great idea. We were definitely the victims of some ridiculous cosmic april fool's gag ... read on ...

Our trouble actually started a little bit last Friday, when Wes was loading up our (first) Penske to make the trip with all the stuff. He was moving a metal filing cabinet and almost sliced off the tip of his pinky on a jagged part. I never knew so much blood could come out of a pinky finger. Wes went into shock. He was feeling ill, curled up in the bathroom in the fetal position. He really did turn green. It was bad. I called our friend Spencer, who is an ER resident who happened to be off work at the time (thank goodness!) and he came over, numbed Wes's finger and stitched it up. Three stitches in the pinky. Poor guy. Anyway, after the stitches, that trip went okay.

On Wednesday (Moving day ... April Fool's!) we started packing up early in the morning, hoping to get on the road in the early afternoon. We got on the road a lot later than expected, of course, like always. Wes had the remaining junk from our house loaded up on his truck and on a trailer that he bought on craigslist for $300 (Dixieland Special ... GRRR...) We pulled out of the driveway around 7:00 pm; Wes had to run to the church to do one quick thing; we picked up dinner in the Chick-fil-A drive thru, and we were fed and on the road around 9. Smooth going at first: Wes, Lillie and Harlan were in his truck, pulling the crappy trailer, and Sophie and I were in the car, which was also packed full of stuff (bedding and such), following behind.

The next sign of trouble came around 10:15, when I watched in horror as one of the junky old tires on the junky old trailer blew apart and shredded to junky bits in front of me. Luckily, we had borrowed CB radios from our friends (same guy who stitched up Wes ... they are great!) and I started screaming into the radio for Wes to pull over. We also felt very lucky that the blowout didn't cause the trailer to swerve more than it did, which would have caused the crappy trailer ... and the truck ... to flip over.

Wes pulled over and told me not to worry, that the tires were the same size as the ones on his truck, and he would have it changed in a jiffy. He was actually surprisingly cheerful. But after an hour, he had the spare off his truck, but the wheel on the crappy trailer was rusted on and he couldn't get it off. He had to find his hammer in our Clampett-style mound of junk on the back of the trailer and use it to pry the wheel off. Then he realized that his spare wouldn't fit; the holes were in the wrong places. I emptied the back of my car so he could get to my spare, hoping it would work. It would not. We called AAA, which would only tow us (not possible) or change our tire for us, had we had one. At that point it was after midnight. Something had to be done. Wes's mom booked us a Penske for the next morning so we could just do the 'safer' thing and leave Wes's truck in Jackson (to pick up at graduation time) and put only a few things on the crappy trailer to pull behind the Penske. I voted to dump the crappy trailer, but Wes wouldn't do it. We took enough stuff out of the car so that Lillie and Harlan could get in there with me, and we piled said stuff on the side of Hwy. 55 next to the truck, with a tarp over it. Wes spent the night in his truck near mile 173 on I-55, and the kiddos and I drove the 72 miles back to our empty house to sleep on the floor. The kiddos and I got home at 2:30 am.

I woke up at 6:30 Thursday and called our friends Jason and Christy, who were nice enough to alter their plans (and Spencer and Sonia were nice enough to also alter Spencer's birthday plans) to make it possible for Jason to help us out. He went all over the place searching for a new rim for this crappy old trailer that I just wanted to ditch anyway, but Wes wouldn't agree. Finally, Wes remembered that the guy he got the crappy trailer from had an extra wheel, which he gave us for free. While Jason had been running all over Jackson, MS and calling every dump and salvage yard looking for a wheel (yes it was that old and crappy), my best friend's husband Tim was helping me get our remaining junk together at the house. Around 11, we went to pick up the Penske, and Tim drove it back to our house. There was no way I was getting behind the wheel of that thing. (Phobia of big trucks, you know.)

So on the way to my house, through no fault of his own, Tim accidentally swiped some woman's car. I have no nice words for this woman. She informed Tim that she had just bought the car for $1100, then proceeded to demand $1500 to fix it. (Not the smartest woman.) He offered to buy it from her for $1100, and she refused. Then, although she was driving with a suspended license, she decided to call the cops. And, lucky me, since I rented it, it goes on my insurance. AAARRRGHHH!! (Side note: the cop didn't even run the woman's suspended license. So she just left with no problems.)  (I actually feel worse for Tim than for myself ... he felt awful about it.)

So, here's the scenario: We are sitting in my driveway, Jason and two missionaries from our church in the Penske, the kiddos and me in the car. We are loaded up and ready to go. There's a storm coming our way in less than an hour with predicted tornado watch and golf ball-sized hail. Wes is sitting on the side of I-55 with some of our stuff piled up on the grass next to his truck. Then it starts raining huge drops. I have to go save Wes! And we CAN'T LEAVE until the cop finishes his report!

We finally got to leave, and we drove to Wes. He had been sitting on the side of the highway for 15 hours by then. We loaded the junk from the truck (and most of the junk from the trailer) into the Penske, hitched the trailer to the Penske, said goodbye to Jason and the missionaries, and were on our way around 2 or so. We were exhausted, though, and falling asleep. Not safe. We decided to stop at our friends' house in Oxford (Sherry and Les Driggers), where we were sure they would let us take a nap and help with the kiddos. We walked in the door, and the kiddos immediately ran upstairs to play, and I immediately crashed on their couch. Wes went to buy another tire for the crappy trailer so we could hopefully avoid another blowout. (These tires were $100 each, by the way.) The Driggers convinced us during dinner that we should stay the night and sleep in their RV. It was my first night in a bed in more than a week. Very nice. We woke up at 4:30, and after Sherry stuffed us all full of toaster strudel and packed a huge bag of snacks for us, we hit the road. It was about 6. Friday, day three. We had two new tires (and a spare from Les) and we were good-to-go ... we thought ...

A little while after getting out of Oxford, the trailer started bouncing. It was small at first, and we figured Wes was just going too fast. He kept slowing down, and it kept bouncing. Then a trucker got on our CB and advised us to slow down more because the trailer was bouncing all over the place. By then we were going 45 MPH. Wes pulled off at the first exit ramp (Coldwater, MS), got out of the truck, and looked at the trailer. And I saw a look of disbelief come over his face. Why, you ask?? Because the trailer tongue had broken a little bit with each bounce, until it was hanging on by a thread. Literally. On one side it was only connected by about an inch of metal. On the other, maybe 4 inches. I estimate that after 5 more minutes of bouncing (or less), it would have come completely off the truck and smashed the kiddos and me ... and whoever else happened to be driving by ... into a tangled mess of metal. I am serious. THE CRAPPY TRAILER ALMOST KILLED ME.

We were only 175 miles out of Jackson at this point ... a day and a half after we first tried to leave. And it was all because of the crappy trailer. Sherry and Les came to our rescue, yet again, and helped Wes move everything from the trailer into the Penske. That was when Wes conceded to dump the crappy trailer. His mom found the number of a local salvage yard for us, and Wes talked to a guy there who said we could leave it in a nearby parking lot (since we couldn't take it very far without risking injury) and he would pick it up. Wes and Les took the tires off (thanks for the two $100 tires we can't use, we'll take them) and we left it there.

After the crappy trailer was history, it was blue skies and smooth driving. We arrived in Columbia at 7 pm on Friday, a full 48 hours after we had originally anticipated. For pictures of the crappy trailer, etc ... visit here:

Monday, March 30, 2009

Suitcase of Memories

I always liked that sentiment from Cyndi Lauper ... so, as I teeter on the edge of ending the Jackson, MS / Medical school chapter of my life and prepare to begin a new one, I will pause in this in-between time to reflect on the things that I want to always remember about our time here ... the good, the hard, and the heartbreaking ... What did I gain from my time in Jackson, MS?

... Strength. This is where we had our Sophie, where I cried when life got too hard to bear, where I thought to myself frequently, with a husband in medical school, living on welfare, three tiny kiddos, the hearing loss, and other challenges, "I can't do this anymore. I'm just not strong enough ..." I hyperventilated when Wes informed me at the end of his first year that he would no longer be able to drive Lillie to school for me. I panicked because I was 8 months pregnant, and I couldn't imagine ever being able to get 3 kids ready and out the door by 8:20 a.m. to drop off one of them at school. But I did it! And now I get 3 kids ready, dressed, backpacks and lunches and snacks packed, and out the door by 7:45 to drop them all off at school. This is where I found out that I am stronger than I ever realized I could be.

... Self-discovery. When I was 19 and joined the LDS church, I thought I had to fit into some cookie-cutter mold of what a typical 'molly mormon' was supposed to be like. And I gave up some things that were a vital part of me. When I moved here, I realized that I had a chance to rediscover who I used to be. That I could be outspoken about my political views and my taste in music, and not be ashamed of that. That although 'mom' is my main role at the moment, I could also be other things. After six years of trying to change myself to fit in, I had the chance to try to remember who I was before. And I realized that I could live my values and hold my beliefs ... and still be ME. The question was ... who was that? This is where I have begun trying to figure that out. I'm definitely not exactly the same person I was before, but I am better! And I'm still working on it!

... Confidence. This comes from the first two. I am now happy in my own skin (stretch marks and all). I don't care what others think of me anymore. I go to lunch alone sometimes, or to the cafe for a hot chocolate, or to the movies, and I don't feel awkward about that. I don't feel the need to explain myself as much. Now that I know more about who I am, and I know how strong I can be, you can take me or leave me, but I won't change.

... Our house. Not just the cabinet space, private fenced backyard, corner lot, and other qualities I'm trying to sell to others at the moment. We bought this house and transformed it. We have painted every room. The plumbers had to bust open the slab to replace a huge section of pipe. Wes had to create a backyard out of a neglected, snake-infested garden plot and randomly placed sections of fence. And the memories ... oh, the memories ...
------10-month-old Harlan using a plastic shovel as a spoon to eat mud in the backyard.
------Lillie's mud and sand pies.
------Bringing Sophie home, and how Harlan wouldn't take his hands off her as Wes carried her down the hall to her crib.
------Meetings with Charlotte, the parent/infant coordinator at Magnolia.
------Birthday parties -- and our annual September "Hearing Parties" in the backyard.
------Lillie's "Art Festival" birthday party in the art room.
------The windows with the diamond-shapes on them. (I don't know how to describe this.)
------Wes's quest to find the perfect TV, and bringing home progressively bigger ones until he settled on the 55" (despite my better judgment).
------The Tree Swings!!! The delight of my kiddos, neighborhood kiddos, and missionaries alike!
------The mailbox outside the front door, and getting to know Mr. Don (our regular mailman) and Mr. Mailman-Tim, the substitute mailman for Don's off days. It is rare to have walking mail people anymore.
------The water slide, may it rest in peace.
------Hanging the wet clothes out on the clothesline to dry after Hurricane Katrina.
------Watching huge oak trees bend and sway during Katrina.
------My grandparents coming to visit, and living close enough to go visit them.
------Neighbors. Kim, Sherry and Jules ... Patrick and Elizabeth ... Terry and Jeremy ... Mr. and Mrs. Smith and her thousands of porcelain dolls ... and the other amazing neighbors we didn't get to know as well but whose dogs we love to pet when they walk around the block ... Linda ... Mr. Steve ... Tony and Sam ... Susan and John ...
------When we bought this house, the 93-year-old man who had lived here since 1961 (it was one year old when he moved in) told us, "Be good to the house, because it's been good to me." I think I need to pass on the same advice to the person, whoever that may be, who buys it from me. It's a great house.

It's long, but I said it was a suitcase ... maybe more like a moving truck of memories!

Friday, February 6, 2009

Everything. In a nutshell.

So ... I don't want to go to bed, so I guess I will write a post. It's been a while. Since I send out a weekly email with pictures and stories, there doesn't seem to be much to blog about. But for the one or two people who are interested, here are some thoughts.......

We are moving in less than two months. This is hard. Packing five people is hard. We have to sell our house, which is hard. We already have a contract on a house in Columbia, Missouri (contingent on Wes matching there, of course), and that is hard. Waiting is hard. Stressing about money is hard. And now I sound whiny.

OK, change of tone here ... Things to be excited about ... If we match in Columbia, MO (which we are 99% confident about, obviously) ... it's a very cool town. It's a pretty good-sized college town, which means that it has all of the character and diversity and intelligence we are looking for, but it also has conveniences of a larger town, like Indian restaurants, Best Buy, Chuck E Cheese's, Michael's, Macaroni Grill, etc... and there are a ton of families with little kids, so there's a lot for us to do. Also plenty of walking trails and a state park right there in the city. I have never lived outside MS (unless you count that 2 months Wes and I stayed with a friend in Seattle right after we got married) so this is a big deal for me.

The kiddos are awesome. Lillie is so big and inquisitive. She loves archaeology and geology. She asks questions about EVERYTHING. There's no 'because I said so' with this girl. She NEEDS to know why, why, why!! We're still reading the Little House on the Prairie series together. Now we're in the middle of book #3, Farmer Boy. We should be done with it by now, but I got lazy for a little while. We're better now, though. And we WILL read all nine books, no matter how long it takes! She is an awesome reader, very intellectual, and physically AWKWARD. She is clumsy and she takes forever to do things. And although that sounds like I might be griping, I actually think it is quite endearing. See, in this way, she is just like me. And so I understand and I love her more for it!

Harlan exudes cool. Cool radiates from him so that everyone around him can feel it and know someone awesome is near. Super-coordinated, he can go the full length of the monkey bars with no problem. He is not clumsy. He loves punk music, and of every single song on the Ramones Greatest Hits album he says, "This is my favorite." He has great hair, perfect for his silly personality. He has decided recently that he wants to take a break from gymnastics, and I say ... whatever, kid. You're 4. I'm not forcing you to do something you don't want to do. Let me know when you want to pick it up again, and we'll make it happen.

Sophie is a princess in every sense of the word. Somehow, ballet dancing seems to be a natural thing for her. She is a graceful dancer, and she points her toes and even runs around the room, arms out, on tippy-toe. I mean it, she is GOOD. And a disco song came on the radio the other night (on Harlan's alarm clock radio ... they were dancing before bed) and she didn't hesitate. She jumped up and started dancing, and I tell you, she could have been on a 1970s dance show or something. She also loves the Beatles ("Good Day Sunshine" is now required on the drive home from school, and if it's a pretty day, she wants her window rolled all the way down so she can yell the words at the blue sky. She did this today. We were both yelling the words. She was so happy.)

Wes is excited about residency, obviously. We are all dreading the first year, which will be hard. (There I go again. Everything is hard over here.) But years 2-4 he won't work as much, and I think he is really going to love what he'll be doing. His specialty is 'physical medicine and rehabilitation' so if I haven't told you all about it already, and if you're interested, you can look it up on .

Another thing to be excited about ... we are planning to move at the end of March, and I was really sad that Lillie would not be able to participate in kindergarten graduation with her friends. I mean, she has been attending that school for 4 years, and she's known some of these kids the whole time! So I asked the director of the preschool if we could come back for Lillie to "walk" and she said that would be fine. We will come back into town in time for her to practice the songs and dances a few times with her classmates, and her graduation is on the 19th. Wes's graduation is on the 22nd, so it works perfectly. Lillie's teacher even said that she would print out the words to the songs so we can practice them, and I'll go and film one of their dance practices before we leave so we can work on that together, too. Exciting!!

When we move, Harlan won't be old enough for kindergarten, and I'm not paying for a preschool for 2 months for him, so I'll be having him at home with me! I'm excited about it. And I think he will need the extra attention. He's already having some behavioral issues that I believe are related to the move, so I know this will be a good thing. And Sophie's school will be paid for by the Missouri Health Department, so she will go from 8-12 each day. That means she will get out almost 3 hours earlier than she does now, so I'll have some more time with her as well.

And now I've stopped complaining and I'm just rambling. So there is an update on pretty much everything. And here are some pictures. We took them on one of our recent trips to Columbia.

Lillie is a great big sister!!
She was actually pumping her legs to swing!

The kiddos with the statue outside the YouZeum (children's museum) in Columbia.


Swinging! I love this picture. See how Lillie is sitting crooked in the swing? She has a little trouble with coordination. And that is perfect!
I know there are a lot of pictures of the kiddos from behind, but (1)they are adorable and
(2)the kiddos are always going away from me at the park!
We all need a little Sophie love sometimes!

Friday, January 2, 2009

Sunrise, Sunset

Lillie will be six years old in just two short weeks. I have decided that it is unfair how quickly they change from this:

To this:

Every night before she goes to sleep, I tuck her in and sing "Sunrise, Sunset" from Fiddler on the Roof. My mom very rarely sang that song to me when I was little because it made her cry. I'm beginning to understand why.

In case you're not familiar with the song, here are the lyrics so you can think of your own children (if you are so blessed) and cry with my mother and me:

Is this the little girl I carried? Is this the little boy at play?

I don't remember growing older; When did they?

When did she get to be a beauty? When did he grow to be so tall?

Wasn't it yesterday When they were small?

Sunrise, sunset

Sunrise, sunset

Swiftly fly the days

Seedlings turn overnight to sunflowers

Blossoming even as we gaze

Sunrise, sunset

Sunrise, sunset

Swiftly fly the years

One season following another

Laden with happiness and tears