Thursday, March 31, 2011

Signs of Spring

Today, the Tigers play the Yankees, happy opening day, friends. Our bird feeder is the social hub for the neighborhood finches. We've got at least 2 pairs of Goldfinches and one pair of red House Finches. At one point there were 5 birds perched on the 9 inch long bag feeder we have hanging from the kitchen window awning. One of them has started perching on the screen of the window, right in front of where I'm typing right now. My crocus flowers are past their prime, and I noticed 2 dwarf hyacinths blooming at the side of the house. Hey, last year version of me: thanks for planting those butter yellow crocus bulbs. This year's version of me forgot, and was pleasantly surprised to see them. There is no snow visible, save the odd parking lot mountains that are now lesser mountains. I hear people outside more. The kids have spent brief outings chalking the sidewalks. I don't think we've hit 50 degrees yet, so they come it with cold, chalky fingers. I am very, very excited to pack away winter coats, hats, mittens... hopefully we won't see them until we move. And speaking of moving, a for sale sign will sprout from our yard next month as well.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

She thought she could, she thought she could...

The kids and I were cooking. In a show of good faith, I asked Willa to pour two cups of milk from the glass measuring cup into the bowl. She grinned, took hold of the handle, and... sat there. She took a deep breath, looked up and said, "I know I have to just believe in myself, and I will be able to do it."
She did.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Harsh punishment

I've been meaning to record this for a few weeks...

A while ago, all four of us hopped in the HHR to get supplies for HQ. We were grocery shopping at Meijer, and Jim and Henry drifted. Willa was concerned.

"That probably wasn't a good idea, was it mom?"
"It's okay, we'll find them in a minute."
"But dad should probably have a consequence* to making that bad choice, shouldn't he?"
"What kind of consequence do you think is appropriate, Willa?"
"Um...." she said, while thoughtfully scratching the bridge of her nose, "well, um... maybe something like not letting dad sleep with you for a few nights?"

I congratulated myself for not laughing myself into a puddle. Meanwhile, she made plans for Jim and the couch.

*We've been talking a lot (A LOT) about choices and consequences in these parts. She's catching on.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

leprechaun hunting

Happy St. Patrick's Day, pals! Today the wee ones and I got dressed in our green (in light weight green - thanks nature for a nice, warm day!), and went out to Blanford Nature Center.

These two worked as a team. He would spot something, and she'd snap a picture. The maple sap is running, so we learned about the process from a kind volunteer. It was so nice to be outside in jackets. All streams were running faster with the melting snow. We saw a frog (early!) in the pond. The kids were giddy with outside-ness. Me too. Check out the snowdrops. Wheeee! Flowers.

At the end of our hike, we found that a tree had toppled onto the bench we usually take a photo on. The kids were instructed to look worried. Hee hee. Look at them selling it!
We came home and made twice-baked (green) potatoes, asparagus, and turkey and veggie burgers on the grill. Pistachio pudding for dessert. Jim was able to enjoy dinner with us before heading off to his Dale Carnegie class.

Last year, MaKenna and Lisa made us this nifty get-up. Fun again today!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Chickens legal downtown - if they're rubber

Grand Rapids is hosting a big, funny party this month. Laughfest is a 10 day festival that will raise funds for Gilda's club. There are big comedy names coming. And small ones. Music and events. It all got started tonight.
Were you wondering about the world record for the highest number of people to gather and toss rubber chickens in the air? As of tonight, it's 925. The kids and I got downtown and joined the crowd just in time. There was a countdown and then we launched them.
Because we stayed on the outer edge, our chickens did not travel far, and we brought them home. Walking back to the car, we told chicken jokes. "Why did the 3 chickens cross the road? Because we're carrying them."
Kids, someday you might be parents. now you can impress them by saying you are part of a world record breaking event. Cluck, cluck!

Sunday, March 06, 2011

Grad school update

I began my fourth class this weekend. Because of the weird format of this program, I'm also 1/3 of the way done with my fourth class. Strange, eh? I'm finding that having one class every 8 weeks, and meeting on 3 Friday evenings and Saturdays makes it go quickly. It's a speedy process, and kind of awkward to learn (and probably teach) so much all at once. I come back home in the early evening on Saturdays feeling fried. But so, so energized.

It's my "me" time. No spills to clean up or crayons snapping under foot. No anxiety about it being too quiet, no squabbles to referee. Not yet, anyhow, I imagine as our cohort of 17 progresses through the terms, there will be squabbles... I am so thankful for the opportunity to miss my children while I'm away.

So, I've finished classes on theory, school counseling, standardized tests, and I'm now knee deep in ethics. I've got a 4.0 gpa, and I'm having so much fun learning. The people in my cohort - we'll go through the whole program together - are compassionate, smart, and fun to be with.

I'm somewhat daunted by the awesome responsibility that I'll have as a professional counselor. On the other hand, I'm confident that I'll be pretty darned good.