Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Musings from the playground

I walk The Love Magnet to school when the weather is nice. I've started to notice things when we walk onto the school yard property.
There are always a ton of boys playing football. Way more than there would normally be on the football field. Each one of those boys are clamoring for that ball. Just once! If they could only get it just once! Yet the same ten boys always seem to get the ball. And none of them want to share the glory that comes with it. So why do the rest keep playing?

There is always a group of girls just off the football field, watching the boys. They are trying to look cool, holding jump ropes but never jumping. They stand close to each other and whisper behind hands, giggling if the boys look at them. One of the girls never has a coat on, no matter how cold it is. Is it cool to not wear a coat? Does she not have a coat?

Another girl kneels on the ground against the school wall. She watches the girls, her hoodie pulled so low over her face, it looks as if she is hiding. I can tell from her eyes that she is begging for one of the girls to notice her, to acknowledge her, to include her. She constantly leans forward, almost to the point of falling over. Other than her lean, she doesn't move.

A boy always stands at the corner of the school, away from the other kids. He usually faces the wall as if he can't bear to look at anyone, or is it that he can't bear to have anyone look at him? My heart breaks when I pass him. He doesn't acknowledge greetings. No one ever goes over to talk to him.

The Love Magnet says hi to everyone. She tells friends she likes their shirt/shoes/backpack/hair. She hugs the teachers and aids out watching the children. She high-fives and fist-bumps her 4th and 5th grade buddies who come help in her class. She yells down the hall to the music teacher, says hi to the janitor, hugs her aide, and playfully avoids the hugs of the head of extended resource for a few tries. TLM eventually hugs resource head and laughs with her over the teasing.

I realized today as I dropped my daughter off, the unspoken social rules of this playground. Those rules that govern every child on who plays with whom, who can be approached, and those self-invented rules that keep children from playing with others.

My daughter knows nothing about those rules.

To her, everyone is approachable. Everyone is equal.

When I grow up, I want to be just like her.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Family Basketball Challenge

Secondborn aka Mr. Basketball, begged the family for a 2-on-2 basketball game.
Mr. Wonderful and Thirdborn against Firstborn and Secondborn. First to 20 wins. (The Love Magnet stayed wrapped in a blanket on this chilly, windy day. I manned the camera. Everyone was happy with their lot.)
Thirdborn was excited to be included. Everyone worked to teach him how to shoot....
...and how to guard his man.

Mr. W and Thirdborn 20. Firstborn and Secondborn -18.
They already want a rematch. The gauntlet has been thrown down. I'm hoping this will last all summer. It is so rare when the boys want to play together nicely.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Family project: gardening

Last night I took my daughter to purchase seeds. She grabbed all of her favorites. When I told her it was time to purchase, she told me she was still looking for one more. I asked her "What are you looking for?" The Love Magnet replied enthusiastically:
"Barbecue seeds, Mom!"
Today we planted corn, pumpkins, watermelon, peas, green beans, rainbow chard, carrots, candy-stripe beets, oregano, basil, thyme, chives, cucumber and lettuce. In two weeks we'll fill the fourth grow box with beefsteak tomatoes, pear tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, tomatillos, and jalapenos. We also have giant sunflowers planted behind each grow box.

Secondborn dug around the strawberries, apple tree, plum tree, apricot and cherry trees.

Firstborn and Mr. Wonderful worked on the yard, mowing and trimming, and getting ready for some kind of border.
I sure hope we have a decent grow season. I wish our HOA allowed for chickens. I would love to have chickens.
Does anyone know how to control squash bugs? We were over run last year.

Monday, April 19, 2010


I received an order from Amazon today.

I'm literally giddy with excitement. I just finished a test and some homework. As soon as I finished telling you about this, I am going to dig in and read voraciously.

The Syntax Handbook: Everything You Learned About Syntax.....But Forgot!

Oh. My. Heavens.

I think it's time for school to be over for a while. I've officially lost my sanity.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Isn't he handsome?

How on earth does a tux make someone looks so .........

incredibly handsome?

Wait, it's not the tux. It's those dominant genes of Mr. Wonderful. Firstborn has the same eyes, nose, smile, and height (and still growing). There is one thing of me on this kid. Quirky left eyebrow. Yes, that's about it.
Sure looks good in a tux. Just like Mr. Wonderful.

Friday, April 16, 2010


My head is full of possibilities.

I started this university journey with the specific intent to specialize in language development for people with intellectual disabilities. Then I discovered voice issues for singers - also right up my alley with my singing background. Then I fell in love with seniors and helping with their issues: stroke, Parkinson's, etc. Just this week I found out there is an entire specialty for Literacy dealing with the issues Thirdborn has. So many different ways to go. A professor told me this past week to keep my mind open. She is on her fourth specialty. The beauty of this major is that I can keep going and going and going. I am utterly excited for the future.

I have instructed The Love Magnet on modesty since she was just a year old. She has repeated every single bath time that only Mommy can see her body and the doctor can see her body if Mommy is there. Nobody else can see our bodies. I really thought she had it down.
Today she pulled her pants and undies down in front of everyone at recess. When the kids started yelling and laughing, her teacher immediately called to everyone "Eyes on me!" and an aide told my daughter to pull up her pants. TLM immediately complied.
I have no idea what her thought process was on this. I am completely clueless here. Please keep us in your prayers, particularly mentioning that I need inspiration on how to parent this child.
Secondborn is on the first spring camp out of the year. It's pouring outside. Poor Secondborn.
Now that Thirdborn has his go-kart, is he satisfied with his building efforts? Not in the least. He informed Mr. Wonderful of the next project he wants to build......
(wait for it)
A catapult. Not a mini catapult. A true-to-size war machine catapult.
I have no idea what he wants to launch. I hope it is not himself.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

A Day With Special Olympics

Special Olympics was hosting a clinic for Summer Olympics. It was a good opportunity for The Love Magnet to try track, and for two of my boys to volunteer with the basketball clinic. Off we went to spend the day with Special Olympics.

The Love Magnet is good at stretching

Then came the jumping and dancing. Oh yeah, baby, this is more like it!

Second born didn't want to warm up. It was cold. I think he felt silly jumping around.

The Love Magnet was taken to the medical area for a screening. All Special Olympians are require to have a screening, which is then good for the next three years to compete in Special Olympics. The Love Magnet was first measured and weighed. Then came a vision screening. Then a nurse checked her oxygen saturation levels and blood pressure. After that we were escorted to a hearing screening. The Love Magnet's ears were checked, a tympanogram was taken to measure pressure in her ears (and I knew exactly what they were doing because we've covered it in Audiology class). Next she was given a hearing screening. I was impressed with the medical personnel. My daughter turns shy when she is around many unfamiliar people. They were still able to elicit responses from her to conduct the required testing. Here she is, waiting to hear the "beep". She would barely raise her hand, but she did respond when she was supposed to.

The health screening also included orthopedic and a physical. All for free. These people are angels for volunteering their time for Special Olympics. I learned during the International Special Olympics, that often these medical professionals are the only ones the Special Olympians see (especially Olympians from third world countries) because medical care is not affordable or because is just isn't available.

We had a good lunch donated by Blimpie. The Love Magnet loved their sandwiches.
Thanks, Blimpie!

After lunch, we went to check out Secondborn who was volunteering in the basketball clinic. He did good work today.

Thirdborn also volunteered for the basketball clinic. He did good work today, too. Thirdborn wants to be a unified partner with The Love Magnet when she competes in Special Olympics.

We met up with our track group again. First the older kids ran a 400m race. Then the younger kids were put in line with some cheerers to run a 50m dash. The Love Magnet was excited and took a race stance the way she saw it done in the Olympics (Wii Olympics, that is). The head coach called out "On your MARK! Get SET! GO!"

The Love Magnet ran.....

......and didn't stop at the 50m mark. She kept running. I called her to come back. Her coach called her to come back. Her friends called her to come back.

The Love Magnet kept on running.........

....all the way around the track for the full 400m. When she hit the finish line, she walked over to the grass, lay down and declared to anyone who would listen "I am DONE!" That was such a long run for a little girl.

She literally was done. That self-imposed 400m took the wind out of her sails. As we left, she declared she deserved a milkshake. We agreed and headed off to find one. After all, a cookie-dough milkshake is the perfect reward for Special Olympians.
If you are ever wanting to find a great chance to volunteer as a family, check out Special Olympics in your area. Find out where at

Me likey

Wouldn't this be so much fun for creating darling cupcakes for the Love Magnet's tea parties? check it out here. BTW, you could win one. Or you could win it and then wrap it up and give it to me. :)

PS: I adore Brooke and her Cheeky Kitchen blog. Be sure to pause my soundtrack before you start the vid.

Friday, April 02, 2010


I've had doubts this week along the lines of "am I intelligent enough for this?" I've asked more than a few stupid questions in class this week. I've finished papers and wondered if my professors could read my inadequacies laid bare on the academic altar. I've received tests back that did not prove my understanding (or perhaps they really showed my lack thereof).


I am now going to admit to you all that I hear voices in my head. No, not those voices (good grief, did you think I was crazy? No, please don't answer that). Just little niggling ones that like to rear their ugly heads and chip away at my confidence. I give them eviction notices. They move out. Even more annoying, louder tenants move in.


I think of all the things I need to do, all the things that aren't getting done, all the things that jostle for priority, all the things that pile up, all the things I've had to eliminate, all the things.......


I remind myself that Mr. Wonderful gave me a priesthood blessing stating that I would be equal to the task.


I think of how far I've come in this goal that has been 19 years so far in the making.


I think of how close I am to the first part of my goal.


I think of the end result that will happen in 2013.


*deep breath* My brain is quiet. Onward.