When I Wish Upon A STAAR

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Today’s post is a writing challenge. This is how it works: participating bloggers picked 4 – 6 words or short phrases for someone else to craft into a post. All words must be used at least once and all the posts will be unique as each writer has received their own set of words. That’s the challenge, here’s a fun twist; no one who’s participating knows who got their words and in what direction the writer will take them. Until now.

At the end of this post you’ll find links to the other blogs featuring this challenge. Check them all out, see what words they got and how they used them.

My words are: Intense~ Lovingly~ Growth spurt~ In the blink of an eye~ Bottle~ Blue

They were submitted by: http://berghamchronicles.blogspot.com

When a star is born
They possess a gift or two
One of them is this
They have the power to make a wish come true
When you wish upon a star
Makes no difference who you are
Anything your heart desires will come to you
If your heart is in your dream
No request is too extreme
When you wish upon a star
As dreamers do
Fate is kind
She brings to those who love
The sweet fulfillment of their secret longing
Like a bolt out of the blue
Fate steps in and sees you through
When you wish upon a star
Your dreams come true
When you wish upon a star
Makes no difference who you are
Anything your heart desires will come to you
If your heart is in your dream
No request is too extreme
When you wish upon a star
As dreamers do
Fate is kind
She brings to those who love
The sweet fulfillment of their secret longing
Like a bolt out of the blue
Fate steps in and sees you through
When you wish upon a star
Your dreams come true
It seems like just yesterday…
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In the blink of an eye, this little munchkin is now halfway thru his 11th year, moving on up to 6th grade!  Where did the time go!?!?!

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It’s been a very intense year, full of highs and lows, ups and downs.  Enough to make a girl wanna turn to the bottle!

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I feel like every time I turn around, man-child has experienced another growth spurt. Pajamas, jeans, shirts I swear I just purchased, already too small.  I can’t keep up.  He’s my baby and I want to hold on to every precious moment because I know all too soon he’ll be fleeing the coop, leaving my little nest empty.

As many of you know, we made the decision to homeschool man-child in January, after much prayer and thought.  I’m a big fan of public school and I have a fierce admiration for teachers.  Our decision wasn’t based on any perceived failure of his school. Our decision wasn’t religious in nature either.  It was a decision based upon the perfect storm of many factors.  It was a scary leap.  I’ve learned so much over the last few months, and it’s been such a rewarding experience and journey.  My son and I have never been closer.  I’ve watched him bloom, grow in ways I never imagined.  There is no better feeling than the moment when you watch a child begin to believe in themselves, comprehend their own potential and learn the benefits of hard work and perseverance.  It was unbelievably heartbreaking to know that our son didn’t believe he was smart, no matter how many times we tried to convince him otherwise.

The hardest part about our homeschool journey thus far is learning when to shut up.  I want so bad to always jump in and answer for him or help him navigate a problem.  Teaching myself to stop, let him figure things out on his own, let him be wrong, has been achingly difficult.  The growth I’ve seen in him on every level in these few short months has validated every agonizing decision that led us here, to this place.  I’m just so unbelievably proud of him.  The most important aspect of our journey has been watching him bloom under his own confidence, witnessing how proud he is of himself, and watching him discover the excitement and joy to be found in the act of learning.

We’ve learned so much about each other.  He’s learned that mommy is a terrible loser.  I’m not sure this was really a big secret, but I don’t think he’s every witnessed it firsthand.  They play this game in some of his classes called Kahoot.  It’s an app they log in and answer questions based on the subject material they’ve learned that day.  They are awarded points for every correct answer based on time.  So the quicker they answer correctly, the more points they are awarded.  Unfortunately, man-child witnessed some mommy meltdowns during some tough losses.  At one point, he pats me on the hand, gives me a hug and says “mom, it’s just a game.”

“It’s NOT a game!  IT’s LIFE!!!!!” I yell…screaming very unkind things about the other 11 year old’s playing.

Yeah, not one of my finer moments.  But there it is.  Perfect I’ve never claimed to be.

The homeschool we chose is still part of the public education system, so passing the STAAR test still needed to happen to progress to 6th grade.  Waiting to get his scores back was definitely torture. It was difficult to balance being positive about the outcome and realistic.  I wasn’t sure the few months we had together in this homeschool one on one environment would be enough.  I knew he had progressed leaps and bounds in those few short months, but was it enough?  I was terrified that if he didn’t pass, it would unravel all the confidence and growth we had witnessed over the past few weeks.  I clumsily navigated that tightrope of realistic expectation versus hopeful anticipation.  I wanted to prepare him for the worst possible outcome while at the same time lovingly encouraging him to believe in himself and the hard work and effort he had put forth regardless of what might happen.

So it was with bated breath we waited…

HE DID IT!

So proud of this boy and can’t wait to see what the next year will bring!

Thanks to everyone who has prayed for us, cheered us on, encouraged and supported us, we couldn’t do it without you ❤

Links to the other “Use Your Words” posts:

Baking In A Tornado                        http://www.bakinginatornado.com

Spatulas on Parade                   http://spatulasonparade.blogspot.com/

The Blogging 911                   http://theblogging911.com

On the Border                           http://dlt-lifeontheranch.blogspot.com/

The Bergham Chronicles                  http://berghamchronicles.blogspot.com

Southern Belle Charm                    http://www.southernbellecharm.com

Part-time Working Hockey Mom       http://thethreegerbers.blogspot.ch

The Global Dig                                  http://theglobaldig.blogspot.com

Climaxed                                          http://climaxedtheblog.blogspot.com

Child Prodigy….or not

We held the dubious honor of attending man-child’s parent-teacher conference last week.  As we were walking down the hall, I see all the posters for the 1st Grade Geography Awareness Contest.  These kind of assignments are extracurricular in nature, and seriously…I barely have time to work on his spelling words for the week, so we never participate.  After viewing the submitted posters, I don’t see the work of 1st graders.  I see the work of adults!  I can’t believe teacher’s let a kid submit these posters passed off as their own work.  Seriously, if you have a 5-7 year old, ask them these questions, and give them some crayons and a poster board and show me what they create on their own, without your supervision or help.  Here are the questions:

  1. How is the world connected to the pencil you hold in your hand? (Man-child’s response:  “This pencil? This stinkin’ pencil?” Then he jabs it down on the paper until the lead breaks….I don’t think we’ve ever let him watch mafia movies, but I won’t swear to it…) 
  2. What materials or natural resources do you think make up a pencil? (Man-child’s response: <sigh> “Can I play the X-box now?”)
  3. How does your clothing illustrate global interconnectedness? (Man-child’s response:  “I’m wearing incredible hulk underpants” then begins giggling uncontrollably)
  4. How does what you are wearing connect you to the rest of the world? (Man-child’s response:  “Can I have snack?”)

They want you to use maps, graphs, photographs, drawings or charts to illustrate the physical and cultural processes that keep us connected around the globe, and how these connections shape your daily life.  I don’t even know what “global interconnectedness” means unless it’s tweeting?  I asked man-child what country he lived in and he said “Texas!”  Now, some Texans would argue that we should be our own country, but for the sake of argument, let’s all agree that Texas is a part of the United States.  These posters were illustrated with world maps and ecosystem charts and environmental graphs…either I have the dumbest kid in the 1st grade, or a crapload of 1st grade parents with too much time on their hands.  My personal opinion, you may have to accept it but as a judge of this contest, if it doesn’t realistically look like a kid did most of the work, then it shouldn’t win.  I realize for this type of assignment that some parental involvement is necessary, and it’s probably a great learning activity, but unless the winner gets a million dollars or a car or a new house…it should look like 1st grade work!

So, long story short…I was annoyed before even walking into the classroom.

Keep in mind, man-child is the youngest of our brood, the only boy and the age difference between them is vast (our youngest daughter is 15, and he is 6), so nothing we learn at the parent-teacher conferences surprises me.

I found out daughter #1 lost her virginity after she woke me in the middle of the night to tell me her vagina had fallen out.  We rushed daughter #3 to the hospital when she was about 3 because she puked poop.  Yes, you read that correctly.  She refused to potty train.  I refused to put a diaper on her.  Puking up poop is the result.  We thought daughter #2 was a prodigy because she started reading at 3 years old!  Turns out, she made it almost to 2nd grade before we learned she really couldn’t read at all.  She had just committed to memory all the books we read to her.  Different kind of genius perhaps.  We went through speech therapy with daughter #2, apparently saying “poon” instead of “spoon” or “kool” instead of “school” stops being cute when you’re almost 8.  I got in a verbal altercation with a teacher after she accused my daughter of “staging a coup” and “turning the class against her”.  We’ve been through periods, boy drama, girl drama, driving, fighting, failing, drama, tears, etc…  So, when it comes to man-child, we are either beat down or more relaxed.  I’m too tired, you decide.

It’s a rough week for man-child when all of us “girls” are on our periods at roughly the same time.  He’s probably a little spoiled.  Okay, maybe more than a little.  The girls will say that they could be lying on the floor with a leg half hanging off and bleeding to death, and I’ll leave them lying there to attend to a microscopic paper cut on man-child’s finger.  Clearly, they exaggerate.  However, we are probably more lenient with him at this age than we were with the girls.

Probably = mostly.

By mostly, I mean all the time.

We sit down (in trepidation and fear) with man-child’s teacher.  Here is what we learned:

  1. Man-child oftentimes needs an escort to the bathroom.  Apparently, he likes to play and linger instead of pee and go.  He also likes to turn off the lights when other kids come in.  He’s been seen (allegedly) reaching inside the girls bathroom and turning off the lights, he doesn’t actually go inside, just flirts at the doorway (again…allegedly).  He hasn’t yet figured out how to “game the system” by appropriately spacing out his bathroom breaks to avoid suspicion.  We are hopeful he will learn…in time.
  2. He struggles with words that sound the same but are spelled differently.  At this juncture, the teacher actually started with the example “come” but then quickly changed it to “some” versus “sum”.  I am now forced to keep my eyes focused on a spot behind her left shoulder, and I cannot and will not look at my husband.  I may be the only person in Inappropriate Town, but I’m taking no chances.  Somehow, I make it through the next few moments.  I almost died.
  3. Apparently, when others are speaking, he struggles with his “listening ears.”  Did I mention he has 3 teenage sisters?  It’s survival of the loudest in our house.  He’s so used to be interrupted or interrupting, that observing conversational niceties is like a foreign language to him.  I’m just relieved he hasn’t dropped a “sh*t” or “hot “d*mn” or God forbid the “f-bomb.”  He also hears more about boobs and va ja ja’s than your average 6-year-old.  It’s a woman’s world in his house and he’s just fighting to stay alive.
  4. He’s not organized.  Considering my husband thinks I’m a hoarder in training, this wasn’t all that surprising.
  5. He actually signs his real name to his work now.  Last year, he signed all his work with the moniker “Silver Surfer”.  He refused to use his real name, stating that super heroes all have hidden identities.  We were excited by this news!  I was briefly concerned he might legally try to change his name one day.
  6. My own flesh and blood threw me under the bus by telling his teacher that I sometimes fudge his reading log.  I know!  Can you believe this?!?!??!!?  Oh son of my womb…why?  WHY?  Now, I’m going to actually have to fill it out honestly.  The girls never did this to me.  He loves to rat me out.  Little bastard (I say this with love).

Here is a picture of his spelling test.  Is it wrong that I find his mistakes adorable?

I have no clue what that sentence is supposed to say.

On a completely unrelated and random topic, I had this conversation with little man at the grocery store yesterday:

Man-child:  “where is daddy?” (man-child was asleep when we arrived at the store, so he missed it when we decided we’d split up and daddy would go next door and pick up the dog food, while man-child and I got started on the grocery shopping)

Me:  “I think we lost him.”

Man-child:  looks confused. “We lost him?”

Me:  “No not really, he went to buy dog food, he’ll be back in a minute.”

Man-child:  “oh.”

Me:  “What if we did lose him at the store and got a new daddy (aka Adam Levine)?”

Man-child:  “No.  I like our daddy.  We should keep him.  You should give him better directions.  Then he won’t get lost.”

Me:  “ok, I like him too.  That’s probably a good idea.” (husband – 1; wife – 0)

I tell husband about our little conversation.

His response:  “Nice.  Real nice.”

This anecdote has no point really, maybe just illustrates the kind of conversations man-child is subjected to on a daily basis, so you can understand why the parent-teacher conference strikes fear in our hearts.  We never know what he might repeat.

Can’t wait for the next one!

Tis the Week Before School…

I clearly see what I did wrong now.  Hindsight is truly 20/20.  If I could get a do-over, I would take it.  I don’t know what I was thinking.  Obviously, I wasn’t thinking.  On a side note, I found out that banging your head against the wall burns 150 calories per hour.

What did I do wrong you ask?  (Suspend your disbelief momentarily that I could EVER do anything wrong, it happens people…occasionally, but don’t tell my husband, because he hasn’t figured it out yet and once he is on to me…well, let us get back to the story shall we?)

I decided to take 7 precious vacation days from work the week BEFORE school started.

<GASP>

Ok, maybe not gasp.  Perhaps, the buildup was a little much, I mean it’s not like I sold a kid on the black market or anything.  However, I did burn 7 precious, hard to come by, vacation days to do what exactly?  Sunbathe nude in Bora Bora? (it could happen)  No.  Ride an elephant on safari in Africa?  (not sure if that could actually happen) No.  Surf the waves in Australia?  (dude, I could learn to surf.  Probably) No. Eat my way through Italy?  (now, this I could do) No.

No, I decided to have a stay-cation.  You know, where you stay home and do all those projects you’ve pinned on Pinterest, play games with your kids, celebrate the local flavor by visiting shops, restaurants and attractions you never seem to have the time or energy to conquer.  You devise a workout plan Olympians would envy.  You plan all the amazing meals you are finally going to have time to cook for your family, and they will all fawn over you in adoration and appreciation.  You will don the cape, and take over the world and it will be awesome!  I AM WOMAN, HEAR ME ROAR!

Image from sodahead.com

Reality punches me in the face and laughs at my pain.  Reality is a bitch.  I hate her.  And she’s thin.

I was maybe half a day into day 1 of this glorious stay-cation when the error of my ways led a parade down the middle of my living room, complete with floats, brass instruments and confetti.

Since taking an actual vacation wasn’t going to happen, I should have taken a me-cation and taken off during the 1st week OF school.  You know, when the kids are gone and I have the whole house to myself.  I might not get to bask in the sun on the island of Bora Bora, but I’d get to bask in SILENCE.  Oh, sweet silence.  The mistress we almost never see.

I love my children, and I enjoy them immensely (most of the time).  I just would have preferred to enjoy them between the hours of 2:45 and bedtime.

So, here it is Sunday, and I have only 2 precious days left.  I thought I would spend this time to reflect on what I did actually accomplish off my stay-cation dream list.

image courtesy of pinterest.com

I made the crock pot pulled pork BBQ recipe.  I pinned some gardening ideas.  Ummm.  Yeah, that pretty much covers it.  Wanna see a pic of my awesome crock pot BBQ dinner?  Sure you do.

Oops, apparently one thing I did accomplish was to clean out my iPhoto library.  It was really good.  Very porky and BBQ-y.  In a crock pot.  Yeah.

Remember my blog about the airport security scan, and how I was all concerned about the underwire poking out of my cheap bra?  My bra lost its battle this week, and for some reason, I took a pic of the underwire, so you get that instead of gourmet crock-pottery.

Bra Underwire

Next stop on the stay-cation highway:  CLEANING

image courtesy of gojackiego.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

<racking brain>

<still thinking>

Oh I know!  Technically, I didn’t actually clean or organize anything during my fantasy stay-cation, BUT I did take a picture entitled He Said/She Said.  I took a comparison pic of my husband’s side of the closet and my side of the closet.  The purpose of this pic was to display my husband’s annoying OCD-ness.  He color codes and organizes according to sleeve length.  I mean, come on people.  A picture is worth a thousand words.  Judge for yourself.

I think it’s pretty obvious here who has ISSUES.  I was going to organize my side in a gesture of goodwill, but I decided that sometimes in life you have to stand up for what you believe in.  I took a stand.  I’ll hold for applause.  Thank you.  Clearly I am the one truly “living”.

My husband’s favorite hobby is to point out what I like to call my “little quirks”.  For example, not throwing away my Splenda packets after I fix my morning coffee, instead placing my stir spoon on top of them.  I’ve explained how I’m saving the environment, not to mention the counter, by recycling the packets instead of using a napkin or paper towel and saving the countertop from coffee stains.  He just doesn’t appreciate me.  I also leave Pepsi bottles lying around with like 2 swallows left of Pepsi in them, because who likes backwash?  Umm, no one.  At one point, I counted 6 bottles, which would have been a great start to my Pepsi pyramid, but Mr. Buzz-Kill threw them away.  So, when the opportunity presented itself, and I could extract a little revenge AND a blackmail photo, I took it.  Voila!

Peanut Butter

How ’bout we finish one jar of peanut butter before opening another one!  I didn’t buy Peanut Butter at the grocery store because after looking in the pantry, I see 3 jars.  Like any rational person would do, I assumed that 2 jars were unopened.  I was lucky I had enough peanut butter for my snack!  I only get 1200 calories a day asshole, how about you NOT EAT ALL MY PEANUT BUTTER or TELL ME WE NEED SOME AT THE STORE!  He does this all the time.  He will run out of shaving cream, and use mine.  Then he will buy him some new shaving cream, and when I go to use mine, it makes that spitting noise and 1 minuscule drop comes out.  I MEAN, I DID SHARE MY “HAIR” ISSUES, DID I NOT?  So now, Sasquatch has to stomp to the store to buy peanut butter and shaving cream with dirty hair, because HE DID THE SAME THING WITH MY SHAMPOO!

<deep breath>

Okay, I’m all good now.  Got a little off track there.  So, next port at the stay-cation cruise is…

Image courtesy of localflavormarketing.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Local Flavor:  I spent a morning at the Department of Motor Vehicles.  If that doesn’t scream local flavor, I don’t know what does.  I could spend an entire rant on my experience at the DMV alone, but I still have a bit of recapping to do, and this blog doesn’t need to be 5,000 words.

We went to “Meet the Teacher” night at man-child’s school.  We met his first grade teacher.  Here is a pic:

Isn’t she precious?  She mentioned that she went to the same high school as my daughters, and I couldn’t help thinking “what, last year?”  I mean, she is very young.  Her last name is Potter, so another really fantastic side dish of stay-cation goodness was listening to my son walk around all week yelling the phrase “Harry, Harry Potter” in a British accent, and playing the Harry Potter Puppet video over and over and over again.  If you don’t know which video of which I speak, pop on over to my friend Mr. Google and watch it.  It’s a gem.  Thankfully, he didn’t speak to her in a British accent, but her first words upon meeting him were “Oh, I’ve heard all about you.”  She tried to save it by adding “and your blue eyes.”  What followed was really awkward silence.  I look to my husband for a save, but he’s just standing there drooling, and later had the nerve to comment that “teachers didn’t look like that when I was in school.”  Ugh.  My son is 6 and he’s already got a reputation.  I’m so proud.  I fully expect to be able to wallpaper his bedroom with the “I made a sad choice” letters that come home after a spectacularly awesome day of mischievousness and mayhem.  Maybe I can get some ideas from Pinterest.

Afterwards, we continued reveling in local culture by attending my youngest daughter’s Marching Band concert.  Our junior also had a concert, at a different high school at the same time, so hubby and I had to divide and conquer.  Since I was on a stupid decision marathon, I decided it would be a marvelous idea to take man-child with me.  Other than complaining about his hunger pains (apparently sno-cones aren’t filling) and breaking out the dance moves when the band played “Moves Like Jagger”, he was actually a very good boy.  At least if I ignore the pelvic thrust/hip gyrating move he pulled on the poor lady sitting next to me.  She was a very good sport.  God bless her.

There is one photo to commemorate the evening.  A pic of my husband learning how to march with our daughter’s instrument.

 

 

 

 

 

 

He did hear there might be a performance by parent’s sometime during the event, but I’m pretty sure he thought something more along the lines of an impromptu reenactment of the film  “Magic Mike”, so he wore his rip-away tank top and velcro jeans, much to his daughter’s embarrassment.  Not to worry, we’ve got her in therapy three times a week now. She will be fine.  Eventually.  With medication.  I’m only joking.  Partly.

I did work out.  Once.  Unless you count reading as a workout.  Eye strain probably burns calories.  Breathing through your nose burns calories, and I did tons of that in an effort to keep the lid on my temper.  So, Olympians may not be jealous, but I give myself a Gold Medal for stay-cationing with awesomeness.

I believe that wraps up stay-cation week, which is like shark week but with kids not sharks, which is actually kind of the same thing now that I think about it.