Friday, January 10, 2014

July 14, 2013

*I wrote this on July 14, 2013, but apparently never posted it. It is never too late to publish a Mama Musing Birthday Post* Eleanor Kate is six years old; no longer a Kindergartener, and not yet a First Grader. I have been a Mama for six years. That shocks me, but then makes me smile. I confess that I wonder daily if I am doing the best I can at this job of Mom. I am lucky to have her and most days, I think she feels lucky to have me too. Let me tell who she is, through her Mama’s eyes, in this, my annual Mama Musing Birthday Post. Eleanor (the name I still love; the one she yells “Don’t call me that!”) is sassy and independent, smart and sensitive. She is a thinker, an observer, and such a snuggly kid. She adores her Daddy and her brother; despite brother being quite a bother these days. Teachers say that she is thoughtful and kind, smart and creative. Friends mostly say that she is smart and sweet. She is making friends easily, and I have learned that declarations of loneliness and isolation might be a tiny bit dramatic and a cry for some Mama love and attention. Today I was looking at baby pictures I have around my office and every picture conjures a memory of a littler, needier Nora Kate. My first baby, my daughter, my girl. From day one, I have hoped I could give you both roots and wings—grounded home and independence. Eleanor tests me daily—sometimes on purpose to see what will happen and other days by accident, but some days I feel like all I do is correct her. Eleanor still runs to me when I pick her up and gives her Dad and me such genuine love. Eleanor whispers confessions of unwise choices now, but still admits them freely (and I expect this will change as she grows). She acts as if she knows everything yet can be shy and uncertain too. Sometimes she will argue with me about the sky being blue; and sometimes she is amazed at what I know. She can read, yet doesn’t want to. She can do math in her head, but doesn’t want to. She can write just about anything with spelling help, yet doesn’t want to. Eleanor has declared weekends as “Stay Home” or “lazy” days and she loves to cook with me. She understands when I say “tone” in public (it means you are using a rude tone of voice to an adult and it is inappropriate) and quickly apologizes; but still reacts with “No” when she is being told something she doesn’t like. Eleanor stomps off in protest, yells a lot, and gets frustrated quickly. I think those are all signs of passion and leadership; but we have some fine tuning to do over the next ten or so years. She loves singing and dancing and still loves dinosaurs. Eleanor, you still say that you will be a Paleontologist when you grow up. And when I say, “I love that! I know you will. I do want you to know it’s a lot of school,” I absolutely love it when you say “I don’t care!” I also love it when I sing to you at night and you let Dolphina (stuffed Dolphin) nuzzle my nose in thanks through the slats on your high bunk bed. So, my girl, another year has come and gone and now you are six years old. You have a sentimental and strong Mama who will nag you incessantly about your education and your behavior. I will teach you to work hard for your own money and choose a partner in life who is the icing on the cupcake you baked for yourself. Hopefully you keep the incredible love of self you have right now; find love of friends without becoming someone you are not; and eventually, the love of a life partner who compliments the amazing person you are. Be smart and know that I love you every single day and I always, always, always will. Happy Birthday kiddo, Love You, Mom

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Mama Musings on A Celebration of Five

My youngest, the baby, the kiddo, boy, buddy, and bubby is five years old today. This is the one who still snuggles me, loves things and people unconditionally, shows every known emotion, and knows how to fib to get an extra treat (or, to get out of eating a fruit or vegetable).

Regular conversations with me go something like this: "Mama, pretend I'm your baby." "You are my Baby," I always reply. "Mama, pretend I am your newborn baby" "Ok" after which I always do an exaggerated "Come here baby, how's the baby?" and tickle his tummy so he'll finish our turn-taking roles and giggle, then sleepily close his eyes for a baby nod-off.

Where have the five years since his birth gone? Well, in the past year, our moments have been spent at soccer, baseball, and basketball practices. Playroom hockey and football scrimmages, playing cowboys and being ninjas. Lots of play fighting as pirates (but never meanly), lots of answering what [fill-in-the-blank word] means and playing "Ask a Hundred Questions" (our version of 20 Questions); multiple debates about the qualitative difference between "light savers" and "light sabers" and arguing about wearing shorts in 20 degree weather. Along with writing his name, learning math in everyday life, leading rock group sing-alongs, and running. Always running, racing, daring this Mama to follow, keep up and try to catch him!!!!!!

Oh my boy, today I muse about how wonderfully smart and engaging you are; how easily popular you are, even when you are shy in the mornings. I get to have this amazing child love me and ask me to be Anakin or Luke; cowboy camp director, or an NHL player on a daily basis. I get to be the recipient of kisses and hugs that have no hesitation or embarrassment. In fact, he just said this: "I'll never let you
go. Mama, this might be kind of sad, but I'll let you go only when you are dead." You see? This child....FIVE today, and so loving, so thoughtful, like an old soul who knows that those we love are worth holding on to.

And, as for me, I genuinely see these are special days. I know I am lucky. That, and knowing how fast your childhood is moving brings the tears. Kid, it's like the peed of light. Really peedy (and because you still cannot say your s-consonent words, that means speedy in this family). Oh, and, you drive me nuts. Yes, you do, with incessant requests which you repeat despite my replies. With your tenacity and persistence that literally tire me out. And sarcasm, already. You take work and energy that I simply run out of some days. And since I tell you so, it makes your invites to lay down to read all the more sweet; the "Want a kiss?" questions that much more precious. And here is a truth that you and I know: You don't take it personally. You laugh. You smile. You try to make me happy. And that, my son, is why you have my heart. And why, when you silently walked away crying tonight when you thought you could not have a full ice cream cake, your whole family tried to fix the problem. And, when we did fix the problem, your happiness made us happy. You have the most infectious laugh of anyone I know. Anyone.

When I asked you what you wanted to be when you grew up, you answered "everything." Then, when I told you what stand-up comedians do, you said you wanted to be a "stand up chameleon." We all laughed, and you were then convinced, stand up chameleon, now that is a great aspiration.

Jackson Caulfield, you make me a better person with your love. Today has been a great Celebration of Five. I hope we are always playing, singing, debating, and laughing together. I loved you then, I love you still, Always have, Always will. And...I've loved you longer, Mama

Thursday, June 13, 2013

The Best Game Ever

There are certain times since becoming a Mom that stand out as amazing. One of those happened yesterday: Jack's first T-Ball game. Honestly, this little kid stuff can be so hard and I question how good I am at it: you know, being patient, affirming self worth, building up rather than tearing down....but then, we get to watch 3 and 4 year olds play a T-Ball game. Seriously wonderful. The Best Game Ever. Here are some pictures from the game:

Hanging out waiting for something to happen

Making sure he is on his marker as shortstop.

The Kool-aid bunch (Jack's team & coach)

Jack in the batter's box! Ready!

And, Nora was less than thrilled at the prospect of watching a bunch of kids play ball, so she let everyone know it (hehe):

Sunday, May 26, 2013


Tonight the Grove clan went to a new park.  While Mama and Jack were playing tag with all the other kids, Nora and I ended up on the swings alone.

g: " Look we are swinging at the same speed."
EKG: "Yeah, I like swinging with you, Daddy."
g: " Me too."

After a couple of seconds.

EKG: "I think we were meant to be together."
g: "I think so too.

Tink and Tuffed

Jack has been getting a nap at preschool every day.  Jack does not need a nap at preschool everyday.  The other night he made several trips downstairs and even helped daddy kill zombies.  After our stern stay the hell in bed voice, I heard him creep down the stairs.

g: "What is it Jack?"
j: "A bug."
g: "What kinds of bug?"
j: "Another one of those 'tink bugs, daddy."

As I go up to kill the stink bug;

g: "How did you know there was a stink bug here?"
j: " ummmmm . . . I was getting another 'tuffed animal."
g: "Do you think you have enough stuffed animals to go to sleep?
j: " ummmm . . .  no."
g: " Grab one more and go to sleep."
j: "OK, Daddy!"

Haven't heard a peep since.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Earth without ART is just EH

The kids both had art shows in the first week of May.
Here is some of their art (Nora, age 5 1/2, Jack age 4):
Nora singing the welcome song to kick off the Art Festival with her class

Monarch Butterfly by Nora

Broadway Boogie Woogie by Nora

Flower by Nora

Penguin by Nora (& the artist herself!)
Ceramic & Marker by Jack

Tissue Paper Flowers on Pipe Cleaner Stems

Georgia O'Keefe inspired flower by Jack

Clay Bug by Jack

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Spring Hopes with Bikes!

Yesterday, the sunny, mild weather got us all thinking about bike rides!
Went in for old bike tune-ups and ended up with a new bike for Nora! She was much too tall for her old bike and this was just so cute. The frustrating, sad, and funny part of the story is that she cried the whole time we waited for the installation. Why? Because I said they could donate her old bike. Upset because "You gave me that bike for my birthday, it's mine, I just haven't pictured life without it." So, what did I do after an unconvincing conversation about donating things we will no longer use? Haul the dumb thing back to our house and put it in the garage. *sigh*  I figure that we will keep talking and she will make the decision to donate and actually it will be a better lesson and empower her to donate things herself. By the time we got home, she was all smiles again.

And here is Jack, with a great bike which belonged to his (now 16-year old!) Skyler. It is in great shape and we simply added Nora's old training wheels. Yesterday was his FIRST TIME EVER on a big boy bike and he took off! Sad part of his story is that the wheel, despite being professionally installed, fell off in mid-ride, causing a skinned knee and some tears. He ended up running along side his sister while I drug the disabled bike home. It's fixed again, but I might go get some more hearty training wheels. *sidebar* Can you believe how expensive training wheels are???? $25 - 30!!!!

At any rate, we are READY for Spring and certainly for Summer! We will be going to Oregon for a visit, up North to our family in Lyons, and starting soccer (for Jack) and dance classes (for Nora). Other activities have already started, with Science Scouts and Daisy Scouts; and of course, bike rides, dog walks, and yard work now that the deep freeze seems to be waning.