Sunday, May 29, 2011

After church this morning

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Q&A with Cooper D

  • Favorite color: Blue
  • Favorite food: Macaroni and cheese
  • Favorite song: "I Gotta Feeling" by the Black Eyed Peas
  • Favorite show: Star Wars: The Clone Wars
  • Favorite movie: Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows, Part 1
  • Favorite book: Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows
  • Favorite drink: Sprite
  • Favorite car: Limo
  • Favorite friend(s): Asher and Gabriel
  • Favorite animal: Frog
  • Favorite state: Texas
  • Favorite baseball team: RoughRiders
  • Favorite comic book: Spiderman
  • Favorite magazine: Boys' Life
After this interview, we read one from 2007, when he was 6. 

Q&A with KT

  • Favorite color(s): Black, orange, white, violet, indigo
  • Favorite food: Dessert
  • Favorite drink(s): Sprite, water, lemonade
  • Favorite car: Convertible Mini-Cooper 
  • Favorite show: Wild Kratts
  • Favorite song: "Take Me Out to the Ballgame"
  • Favorite animal: Dolphin
  • Favorite friend: Sydney
  • Favorite book: Kitten's First Full Moon
(After this Q&A, we read one from 2007, when she was 2.)

Friday, May 27, 2011

Siblings (and their parents) thrive with one-on-one time

From today's Briefing:

A common refrain around my house: “It’s not fair.”
The phrase is most often delivered in a whiny tone of voice and relates to a perceived slight.
It’s not fair that Cooper gets to play at a friend’s house and Katie doesn’t. It’s not fair that Katie is invited to a birthday party and Cooper can’t participate. It’s not fair that Cooper gets to go out for ice cream and Katie doesn’t.
What goes unspoken: It’s not fair that Mommy has to listen to so much whining.
I’m a sibling, too, though. I remember feeling left out. Whether or not that feeling matches reality doesn’t matter; only the perception counts.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Before church last Sunday

A parent's love requires no excuses, no apologies

From today's Briefing:

A friend told me last week that his daughter was recently diagnosed with autism. His voice was quiet, tinged with sadness and a hint of apology.
We talked about symptoms and testing and therapies. We talked about some of her social and developmental delays. And we talked about how others react to his daughter.
He told me that sometimes he feels like he should make his excuses for his child. He feels the need to explain her behavior. He’d like to politely turn away the well-meaning but misguided relative who insists the little girl should be potty-trained by now.
I know what he means. To some degree, every parent does. Every child has a quirk or two, something that sets them apart from the others. Some children, like my friend’s daughter, are saddled with much more than quirks — they have conditions that can control their lives.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

To forgive may be divine, but try telling that to a 5-year-old

From today's Briefing:

Sunday morning, for the first time in her almost-six years, Katie recited the Lord’s Prayer with the rest of our church congregation. She knew every line, including “Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.”
I couldn’t help but note the irony a couple of hours later, when we started what has become an ongoing discussion on forgiveness.
At lunch, she confided that she’s having trouble being nice to a classmate. Some time ago, “Lois” ripped some papers that didn’t belong to her. They didn’t belong to Katie, either, but my daughter was deeply offended.
For all I know, Lois’ action was an accident. Or retribution for another act. Or carelessness. But to Katie, it is unforgivable.
“This is a problem,” she told me. “I am scared to forgive. Once it’s in my heart, I can’t let it go.”
We talked about it occasionally throughout the day. I cited Bible verses, told stories, facilitated role-playing, drew pictures. We talked about human nature and imperfections and the mistakes we all make.
Just before bedtime, Katie said that even though she should forgive Lois, she just couldn’t. I told her that I couldn’t force her to forgive but that she had to be nice to Lois. Then we prayed together for a change of heart.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Floating head of death

We ate lunch at Luby's after church today. We haven't been to a cafeteria in years; in fact, Cooper and Katie don't remember ever eating in one. They loved the ability to see and choose their food right there. (Katie chose blue Jell-o because she and Steve like Jell-o and his favorite color is blue.)

Before we left, an employee gave them each a balloon. The balloons made me think of a story to tell. On the drive from Luby's to Whole Foods, I started describing a favorite Far Side comic.

Steve and I first saw it in the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal in the mid-'90s. It cracked us up; I can still hear Steve laughing over it. We cut it out and placed it on the refrigerator, where it stayed for the duration of our Lubbock days. 

Years later, when we'd struggle to get Cooper to sleep, one of us might make a sly mention of the comic.

Anyway, today I was describing the scene. "Imagine a two-story house. A mom is scolding her son, who won't go to sleep. And downstairs is the dad, and he's holding a balloon. And the mom says ..."

Cooper interjected: "Don't make me summon the floating head of death!"

I laughed and laughed. "Where did you learn that, Cooper?"

"It's in my Far Side book. It's one of my favorites."

Steve would be pleased.

After church today

Friday, May 13, 2011

For my sick kids, TV is OK (but Pajama Jeans are not)

From today's Briefing:

Despite access to hundreds of parenting books and cautionary tales from veteran parents, nothing really prepares you for caring for your ill child like actually caring for your ill child.
Katie has been fighting upper respiratory symptoms for a month, all while managing daily life pretty well. Routine life fell apart last weekend, though: fevers, coughing fits, ear pain, achiness, restless sleep and, just to keep things interesting, a middle-of-the-night vomiting episode.
Katie has since returned to school, strengthened by antibiotics, decongestants and oral steroids. I, the healthy one, am still recovering.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

As school winds down, a mom's calendar fills up

From today's Briefing:

I’m convinced that May is the new December.
It used to be that our calendar was most crowded in the weeks leading to Christmas. That was before I had two children in elementary school. Now, December seems downright leisurely.
Field trips. Teacher appreciation week. Mother’s Day teas. Rachel’s Rally. Choir performances. Campouts. Spirit night at the ballpark. End-of-season parties. End-of-school parties. Throw in routine homework, practices and meetings — plus a few birthday parties — and you’ve got a recipe for exhaustion.
I know what a rational person would say. Don’t do it all. Let some things go. I’ve heard it before — from friends and even myself. But it’s easier to imagine what you’d cross off the list than to actually follow through — not because it’s expected but because we actually enjoy all those activities.

Friday, May 06, 2011

Life lesson from a bad call

From today's Briefing:

My son’s soccer team has been losing most of its games with grace for the past six years.
They are not bad players. Some are even very good players. They almost always score, and they’re great at blocking goals. But somehow, when the final whistle blows, the Dolphins rarely end up ahead. (They’ve been the Dolphins since they were 4. If we’d known they were going to stick together so long, we might have insisted on a more menacing name.)
They are all good boys — the kind of boys you welcome for play dates and sleepovers. They are patient with their siblings and mostly respectful with their parents. They do well in school. Coach Phil has remarked that while the team doesn’t boast soccer superstars, it is a team of future CEOs.
I love that the team has been together so long and that they all feel like family. I love when a season begins anew and the boys reunite and the moms get to catch up.
And, let’s be honest, I love when they win.

Thursday, May 05, 2011

May is crazy busy

Today has been one of the most jam-packed days of the year. There's not a single moment I would have removed, though.

7:30-8 a.m.
Volunteer in the Bledsoe workroom

8-8:30 a.m.
Muffins for Moms in kindergarten

8:30-8:50 a.m.
Continue in the workroom

9-9:40 a.m.
Work at home

10-10:30 a.m.
Listen to Cooper and his choir friends sing at Song Fest at Lone Star High School

10:45-11:30 a.m.
Work at home

Noon-12:30 p.m.
Tutor Jennifer, the second-grader I help weekly at Davis Elementary

1:30-5 p.m.
Work at home (and pick up children from school)

6:15-8:15 p.m.
Rachel's Rally at Pizza Hut Park

Work at home

Wednesday, May 04, 2011


I woke at 4 a.m. Friday to watch the royal wedding. Katie had snuck into my bed sometime in the night and bounced awake as soon as I turned on the television.

I woke Cooper at 4:30, as he had asked. By 5 a.m., Julie and Allison were here. We all watched William and Catherine say "I do" as we nibbled on apricot scones and drank decaf vanilla chai tea.

After school that day, Cooper and Katie reenacted the wedding with Playmobil figures. Here are the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, leaving Westminster Abbey. (I need clarification on the role of the parrot behind the couple. Ignore the sleeping zebra. They were also reenacting Noah's Ark.)

Monday, May 02, 2011

April, according to Twitter

There is a marked difference between kindergarteners & 5th-graders in enthusiasm for dress-up day. From a sea of cowboy hats to almost none.

Without Steve, I'm a nervous hostess. First bunco at the Damm house in three years tonight. Thankful that they're all forgiving & friendly.

Coop's mystery house project, due Monday, is complete. (I mistakenly thought the stress of homework was over when I graduated college.)

Enjoying prep work for Sunday school. "... for the Lord does not see as mortals see ... but the Lord looks on the heart." (1 Samuel 16:7)

Lyrics from KT's made-up song today: "I am just a little girl, but I am powerful. Look in my eyes; they might scare you."

KT: "I love Communion. That bread and juice taste good together. But it's not all about how it tastes."

To reduce drama, I really should bury KT's homework in the recycling bin. If she can see it, she exclaims with shock & digs it out.