Friday, August 29, 2014

First Grade

Maria started First Grade and she is going along like gangbusters.  I have been mostly picking up Anthony from school and my mom has been getting the girls so I don't have much experience with the end of her day, but she seems really happy.  I walked her in today because her backpack was heavy and she really impresses me - she grabbed that heavy backpack from me and marched right over, sat down in the middle of five kids and started talking away, laughing and nodding.  She hasn't been on pink since the first day of school (pink is the highest on the behavior chart), mostly because of TALKING, but she isn't doing badly and at least she has a goal, ha!  She is super excited to be back.

I'm going to start volunteering in the library at the school and when I told her she said, I go to that library every day!  Ha!  I'm glad she is still excited at the prospect of me being at her school.  I remember when I was little and my mom sometimes subbed as an aide, I was SUPER excited about it.

She is reading two books a night and she is doing pretty well!  She is impatient, which I can also remember, in that she will just make up a word rather than sound it out, but she is getting better.  She is being driven mad by Felicity, as are we all.  Felicity is in with them which had been going fine, but now that Felicity is in preschool three days a week, she takes a nap those days and can stay up late to terrorize her sisters.  Last night I paid Maria $1 to lie in bed with her, ha!

She is very sweet with Anthony, always high fiving him and saying a sweet, if a little patronizing, "hi, buddy!", when she sees him.  She still drives me crazy about half the time but that's not bad, right?  I feel very proud of her and am bullish for the future, two of my favorite emotions.  Here's some pictures:

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Miss Johanna

I am posting this on Maria and Veronica's blogs, because I want to write about their ballet teacher, Miss Johanna, who we loved so much and who died earlier this month.

I can't even believe it, still.  I was talking to my friend Sara this week after church about it and she said I kept thinking it wasn't true!  She said she couldn't find an obituary (we still can't) and it made her have hope that it was a mistake.  It is one of the most shocking deaths of my experience.

We just saw her, I keep thinking, in May.  We decided not to take class this summer because Maria and Veronica take swimming and I figured we could just start Felicity in the fall.  And now as it turns out, we won't get to ever see her again.  One mom friend of mine said how strange it was, to see this woman with her leg up over her head a few weeks ago and now she's gone.

She and Maria were a wonderful match.  When Maria started taking ballet, her friend Carlotta was already in it and ooh-wee that were always in trouble, talking away to each other.  It really wasn't until Carlotta went to kindergarten that Maria even started to focus on actual ballet.  Miss Johanna (you say it YO-hahna) used to say that they spent a lot of time talking to each other, in a chiding tone, but then she'd smile and say, "you can tell they are good friends!".  I always told people that I didn't expect Maria to be some kind of Black Swan or something from these classes, but I loved the way that she learned how to stand on line, how to wait her turn, and how to stand up straight.

Miss Johanna was so sweet and nice to Veronica, even though she was always terribly behaved outside of ballet.  I have literally never watched a whole recital of Maria's OR Veronica's, because I am always dealing with some little sister.  Veronica used to press her face up against the window, just dying to get in there and dance with the big girls and sometimes at the end of class, Miss Johanna would let Veronica in, and make a big to-do over her.  She'd give her a tic tac for being so good and well behaved (she was not good or well behaved).  When we went on Christmas break at the end of 2011, Miss Johanna said I could sign Veronica up for ballet in January, even though she wouldn't be three until May.

For the year before Maria started kindergarten, the girls were in separate classes, Maria had moved up to Intermediate Ballet and Veronica was still in pre-ballet, so Felicity and I spent about an hour and a half outside of class, watching Miss Johanna with the girls.  She was so great with them, and so consistent.  She wore really great leopard print, high cut bodysuits with leg warmers and always a long side pony.  My poor girls were really shown up by Miss Johanna and her hair.  Maria and Veronica's hair was so fine when they were littler and Veronica's especially would get so, so messed up.  We'd walk in to Broad Ripple park and Miss Johanna would say "Veronica!  Your hair looks crazy, girl!".  Then she'd tell us stories of when she was tiny.  She great up in the Dutch West Indies, and her mom always told her that when she was born she had hair everywhere "except her head!".

Once Maria went to kindergarten and I had just Veronica, she moved up to the Intermediate Ballet class where there was only her and like three other girls.  She did really well, again, she was no black swan, but she really learned how to be a ballerina, on her own, without Maria in the class.  She loved to do well for her and I think that was really her gift - she wanted those girls to do their best, whatever it was.
Miss Johanna was always very kind and complimentary to me about how I was with the girls, which is especially nice because I am usually a giant wreck trying to get the three of them anywhere.  She loved Felicity and we were all so excited because this fall was going to be the first time Felicity could take her class.  I told Miss Johanna, this one is going to be your big challenge!, but she already knew it.  Felicity wouldn't ever just sit and watch a recital, so we would mostly go outside but Johanna would call her in for the end of it and ask her to do something, she'd go on and on about how WONDERFUL her turns were, oh, isn't she wonderful, Ma-mah?, she'd say to me, all the while Felicity gallumping around like a three legged dog.  Those girls loved her so much and I did, too.  I can't believe she's gone and I hate that she went out that way, so suddenly, just gone, but we are so lucky to have known her and I am proud and happy that my girls and I are part of her legacy.

Friday, June 20, 2014

This Week of Summer Fun

This week with Maria:

Monday I got up at 6:00 and met my friend Candie at 6:30 so we could walk four miles.  Later on Monday we went to Pacers Story Time at the library.  We got there before the Story Time and Maria checked out her own books, which she loves to do and which I don't so much love because in order to do it, she has to take my keys.  Also, our library has this dumb but necessary (I SUPPOSE) thing where you have to put a date due card allll the way down in the pocket or the bell rings when you are walking out, I guess allegedly STEALING your FREE library books.  Anyway, she never puts the cards all the way down in the slots but I get my fun, because when the alarm sounds, I just yell RUN!  RUN WITH YOUR STOLEN BOOKS! ha ha ha, take that librarians!

From there we went to the sprinkler park over by my house.  It is a great park, it has swings and picnic tables and a whole climber thing and the splash pad but it also is in kind of a sketchy neighborhood and there is always, always someone smoking.  I don't really care but come on, people.  We went to the library with my friend Julie and four of her six kids and then my friend Marta showed up at the park with her four kids and her mother in law so it was a fun party.  We went to Dairy Queen afterward.

Tuesday I took Felicity to her little day camp she was doing this week, then I went and got the girls and took them to swim lessons at the Y, then I took them to camp, the same one as Felicity.  Then I went home and relieved Mike, who was home with Anthony doing home therapy.  Anthony and his therapist left at noon for his place and at 1:00 I went to get the girls and we went to the JCC, swimming.  We met Marta and some other friends there and as Maria said, "this is like a St. Joan of Arc party!", she saw so many school friends.  It got a little rough there, since Felicity and Veronica were WIPED out but Maria was raring to go, so I got them ready to go and then told Maria we were leaving.  It was so, so hot and it's the kind of hot where I can't help but get sunburned, no matter how much stuff I put on.  We went to the Dairy Queen on the way to get Anthony but Felicity was asleep but Maria wanted to get down and go in so I had to wake her and she was a little grumpy.  I got Anthony and then we went home, later I took Anthony to occupational therapy and did a two mile walk there in that heat, ugh it was awful!

Wednesday I got up at 6:00 again to walk four miles and when I got home Maria said she didn't really like me going out walking so much.  I said what do you care what I do when you're sleeping and she said I'm not sleeping now, am I?  Later Wednesday they had camp again, from 9:00-1:00, and since the day before had been so hard to do something hot and outside, I figured we would take it easy and go to the library and cash in some points in the Summer Reading Program.  We did and then went home to meet my parents, who were picking up Anthony and coming for dinner and then to babysit, since Mike and I were seeing Book of Mormon later that night.  We saw the show and it was really good but not for the faint of heart, it's extremely vulgar and has terrible language.  Still, I thought it was great and it's nice to get out.

Thursday they had camp and I figured they could skip their swim lessons, so they just did that until 1:00.  Mike and I went to a meeting at Anthony's place to work on our final external appeal for his insurance nonsense and then I went to get them.  We went home for a snack and then at 2:30, met Marta and three of her four kids and our friend Ali to go creek stomping, but it turned into swimming because we had a lot of rain and the creek was full and had a fast current, which Veronica thought might sweep her away so she spent a lot of time crying about that.  I actually thought it might sweep Felicity away, but she did okay.  They were soaking wet and of course I hadn't brought a change of clothes - it never occurred to me they would SWIM in that water, so we wanted to go out afterward for a snack.  Thank GOD I found Felicity a tshirt in my car so she could at least wear that with her diaper (classy) and we went to Dairy Queen.

Today we are going to a different library for this Meet the Critters thing, they bring animals?  And you meet them?  I don't even know but at noon Marta and her (Italian) family are coming over to watch the Italy soccer match at noon and then at 5:00 I'm going to work and since I'm closing tonight, I'll be there late, which thank God isn't too late anymore, maybe 11:00.

All this and every night and every morning, Maria asks in a VERY accusing tone, what she is doing today.  I do not even know.  Here are some pictures!

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Goodbye, Kindergarten!

One week from today is Maria's kindergarten graduation.  After my insane behavior (i.e., crying) at her Mother's Day Poetry Slam, I am worried about how I will be.  I am having a lot of - a VOLCANO full of feelings about her graduating from Kindergarten!  I don't feel like "oh, no, where has my baby gone", or "time flies", even, but I just - I never had anyone graduate from Kindergarten, even though Anthony is almost NINE years old!  I am a mess of a mother.  When she was saying her things about what was nice about me or whatever at her poetry thing, I was thinking, does Anthony think anything is nice about me?  And, I mean, he made a great thing at school for me, and I do know he loves me but it is just hard to hear nice things from another child, in PUBLIC, and feel like such a freak for being so moved.  I wish I could compartmentalize my feelings better.

Anyway.  I am really proud of Maria.  The other night, we went walking around our neighborhood to see if anyone wanted to sponsor her for her walkathon for school.  She was NERVOUS at the first house but I said, "take a deep breath before you talk" and she did, oh, she took such a deep breath I was afraid it would make her dizzy, ha!  Our neighbor said, "how far are you walking?" and she said, um, I'm not sure how far it is but my mom said we could walk down this block and then back on the other side of the street.  I said I think maybe he means the walkathon and she said ohhhhh two miles.  She cracks me up.  She is reading really well and she has friends and she did yoga this year, and game club, and she is doing a basketball camp in a few weeks and - I mean, she is really turning into a great six year old girl and I'm so proud of her.  I could not love her more.

Monday, April 21, 2014


I don't have any pictures because I have to kind of run along side her but Maria started riding a bike without training wheels yesterday!  It was very exciting, she went to our neighbor's house last night after Easter festivities and before bath time and came home riding a bike, ha!  She is a competitive person, so we knew that once our neighbor and her friend Brooklyn started talking about it last week that it wouldn't be long.  She is very cute about it, it's so exciting.

It's funny.  I keep thinking something will make me turn into the kind of person with whom I come in contact all the time, someone who moans about time! stand still!  Keep her this age forever, it goes so fast, where is my baby, blah blah blah blah blah, but I just don't feel that way so far.  Today, I figure, it's a bike, tomorrow a car and then she can help me with the groceries, ha!

Monday, March 10, 2014


Maria's school is doing this Leader in Me thing, where each class is studying The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People by Steven Covey, which is a book I studied in a management class years ago, which is funny, right?  Anyway, we went to the gym yesterday after Mass to have coffee and donuts, and Mike pointed out this award that Maria got, which was on the wall with eight others, which makes me think maybe there was one from each grade?

She gives 100% to everything, that's true, for good or bad, ha!  Lately we are having such a rough time with her wanting to BE somewhere else all the time.  It makes the weekends very unpleasant, because she starts so early with her demands that you feel like all you've done all day is talk about where she can go and who wants to play with her and who I should be texting, ugh, it is exhausting.

She is always very good in church, though, in fact she is getting to be a real help with Felicity.  We saw several of her friends yesterday in church AND her teacher, which is always a thrill to her.  She has game club after school today, which is a relief because it's one less day I have to pick her up at 3:15 and be badgered until she is provided with a) a treat or b) someone to play with.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Six Year Checkup

Maria is six and we took her to the doctor for her well-child checkup and it went just fine.  You may remember that when I took her for her Five Year Checkup, she had to get shots and she yelled and screamed so loudly that they sent in backup and she demanded a CANE because she couldn't walk.  I can't tell you how happy I was that she didn't get any shots for this, her six year checkup.  She weighed almost 50 pounds and her blood pressure was good, she is some kind of average height but I can't read the chart, ha! I should pay more attention,true, but couldn't they just write it down?  Must they give me a chart to read?

Anyway, she's great.  She's demanding and crazy but overall, great.  She is also not here right now, but everyone else is, so I have to go help Mike but I wanted to get it down about her checkup.