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Friday, June 27, 2008

I'm Gonna Miss This???

Last week I was driving about town running various errands… you know, the usual, dropping off this, picking up that, the grocery store, the post office, yada, yada, yada… My girls were sulking a bit in the backseat, not at all thrilled to be pulled away from the Disney Channel or to be missing out on any potential pool time by having to run “boring errands”.

But off we went… and of course, after each stop there was the “Are we done yeeettttt????” And “Can we go home noooowwww???” I reply, “Almost,” and then starts the whining about being hungry or thirsty, having to stop to potty… all the usual complaints. Upon reaching our final destination, Wal-Mart, we pull into the parking lot and the girls immediately start negotiating for a toy. I give my speech about how we’re not buying any toys today, blah, blah, blah… (a spill I will have to repeat at least three or four more times inside the store).

We make it inside. I’m steering my buggy, holding Tanner with one hand (he refuses to sit down – period), as I’m hastily trying to get all the items on my list. They’ve conceited defeat on the toy front, but the grocery section offers up plenty of new possibilities… starting with the cereal aisle. And so begins the begging for all the cereals with their favorite characters on the box (of course, none of which they will actually eat…).

I say “no”… hearts are broken, hopes are dashed… and of course, fits are thrown. As we move about the store getting the rest of my list, I also have to shoot down requests for Pop Tarts, Dora Ice Cream Bars, Barbie Waffles, Princess Fruit Snacks, and finally a box of juice pouches with Shrek on the front. Each “no” solicits the same response… “But wwhhyyyy,” “But I want it,” “But I need it,” and “But, pllleeassse momma….” The other Wal-Mart patrons look on… some offering sympathizing smiles, others looking annoyed. But, I’m strong. We make it – the list is complete. The worst, however, is yet to come – we have to check out.

The checkout aisle, lined with candy and suckers (and in some cases small toys) as far as their little eyes can see, is just brutal. And of course, Mr. Hershey knows that by the time us parents reach the Wal-Mart checkout line, we’ve been saying “no” to our children for the last hour and that hearing them “whine” one more time just might send us right over the edge. And so at this point, when we’re focused on not holding up the line, paying the bill (while wondering how the world we spend that much) and then just getting the hell out of there, we’ll gladly shell out an extra dollar or two to keep our children happy and quiet!

Oh, the drama. So, we’re heading home… five errands, two potty breaks, $134.00 Wal-Mart bill, three hours and two bags of M&M’s later. I’m exhausted. I’m frustrated! In the M&M induced silence, I turn on the radio… and there is Trace Atkins singing…

You’re gonna miss this… you’re gonna want this back… you’re gonna wish these days… hadn’t gone by so fast… these are some good times… take a good look around… you may not know it now… but you’re gonna miss this.

Really?? Sometimes I wonder… But the truth is – the song (cheesy as it is) is, I imagine, very true. In the midst of Trav’s 13 hour work days, two very energetic girls, a 15-month old little boy who climbs everything, and, of course, all the other more labor intensive tasks involved in our three-kid package, it is easy to forget to see the joy. And in the places where the “daily” mixes in with the “crazy”… to also be grateful for it.

There will come a time, probably much more quickly than I realize, when I won’t have three little kids to drag around Wal-Mart. I’ll have teenagers!! By then I might long for the days when a box of cereal with Barbie on the front would have pleased them. A couple of days ago, I was reading my friend, Kelly’s, blog. Along with her post updating everyone on the adventures of her family, she had written:

“I hope to not take any of these moments or any other moment of my life for granted. Still there are many days that I catch myself drudging along in a mist… It is not always easy to say, "Thank you God for my 'now'". I hope we all can grow into that prayer.”

Amen, girl… Thanks.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Sink Or Swim?

Summer is in full swing, and we spend most of ours days (when we can) at the pool. Tessa gets up every morning ready to go to the pool. She wants to put her bathing suit on first thing, and in this case, she decided to wear her new “floatie” around the house until it was time to go.

Gracie is on the swim team this year. She had her first official “meet” yesterday where she did the backstroke and the breaststroke. She did great! Here she is proudly displaying her first place ribbons!

I didn’t grow up in a competitive environment. My sister and I are both far from what you could consider “competitive” by nature. I mean, we’re human, of course, but overall, we’re rarely interested in “beating out” someone else. There were things we did well, and my parents encouraged us to succeed, but overall they fell more in the “winning would be great, but it’s not a big deal” category.

I was on the swim team a few summers, and Amanda danced on the drill team in high school, but aside from that, we each only played one organized “sport” growing up (I was 5th grade basketball, and she was freshman volleyball), and in both cases our dad ended up in an argument with the coach over our “sitting the bench” (I don’t remember if Amanda was any good, but I’m quite sure I was horrible). So… needless to say, we probably get our noncompetitive nature from our mom.

In sharp contrast, Trav is very competitive. He grew up playing every sport under the sun, and typically excelled at it. His family strongly encouraged a competitive spirit, and winning was most definitely a big deal. While Trav has mellowed some in his old age, our overall views on what might be “healthy competition” is just one of the many ways Trav and I are total opposites. Another would be how I typically go through life preparing for the worst, and Trav assumes the worst will never come. It can get interesting. So… it will perhaps be a challenge for us as we navigate the sporting adventures of our children. I tend to foster the “just do your best” attitude. Trav agrees with that wholeheartedly, but he just can’t get around the feeling that winning is more fun.

So, as we were getting ready for the swim meet yesterday, I honestly didn’t expect Gracie to win… I mean, this is her first run at swim team, and she still uses a floatation device. But at the meet, of course, the kids compete in age groups, and much to my surprise, Gracie won first place in her age bracket (where almost all the kids used floatation devices) swimming the backstroke and the breaststroke.

She had been saying all day how she wanted to win, and I had just encouraged her to do her best and we’d be proud. I secretly hoped that while we were cheering for her, she might not notice if she didn’t win. I figured she’d get a participation ribbon or something along those lines, and that she’d be thrilled with that. Good enough.

Well… she won, and she knew it. At the end of the meet, the coach handed out all the ribbons, and on the way home Gracie was immediately questioning Trav as to why the ribbons were different colors. Trav told her what place each ribbon color represented adding, of course, that the blue ribbons she had won were for first place. Gracie sat smiling in the back seat knowing that hers was the best.

I, however, sat stewing in the front seat giving Trav the evil eye thinking about how upset Gracie might be at the next swim meet if she got a red ribbon, or a pink one, or heaven forbid a white one… and now, after clearly insinuating that the blue ribbon was the best, just what was he going to say to her then?? Later that night, I asked Trav that very question, and of course, his response was: “Don’t worry, I’m sure she’ll win next time too.”

Friday, June 6, 2008

Our Graduate

Gracie spent her last day in Pre-K yesterday. And so this morning, with school being officially out, our summer began.

Yes, our first "school year" has passed, and we have the certificate to prove it!! Gracie had such a great year at her Pre-K. She's just grown up so much this year... it's hard to believe.

Here she was on her first Pre-K day of school.

And here she is, a graduate, just having received her "Bachelor of Rhymes" degree from Mother Goose (a/k/a the principal) at her school.

We are so proud Gracie! She learned so much this year and has done so many things. We can only hope her kindergarten experience will be as good. However, proving once again she is my kid, when we asked her what her favorite part about school was this year, she said "listening to Hannah Montana in the music center." HA!

And so our summer begins.... we've even had our first trip to the pool! Gracie and Tessa (who was way too busy to stop for pictures) both headed for the diving board like they had just been there jumping off of it the day before...

And Tanner, who relishes in his bathtime, of course, immediately loved the kiddie pool.

I have an adventurous and wild bunch, and so I'm sure it'll be an action packed summer!!