Thursday, March 20, 2014

This is contentment

I receive an Amazon gift card yesterday. It was a complete surprise and very much appreciated. I immediately started thinking about how to use it. I tried to think of anything we needed. I tried to think of something we wanted. I came up blank. I realized that this is what contentment feels like.

We have a nice home, healthy lives, plenty of food, lots of ways to keep ourselves busy, wonderful family and long-time friends. I'm not saying it's perfect, but it's a really, really, really good life. I think too often that we move from place to place without appreciating how good our life is an any moment. Not being able to think of anything to purchase yesterday might have been the best gift ever.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Put it on the blog

The girls have always known that I write a blog about them. They haven't read it yet, but they know it exists. What I find so entertaining now is that the girls encourage me to write stories on the blog.

When something silly or stupid or crazy happens, one of them will say, "You need to put this on the blog." Sometimes they will look in horror and say, "You are not putting this on the blog are you?"

It's hysterical to me. When I started the blog I didn't really think about how they would react when they knew it existed. They've always known about the blog so they just think about it like they think about their photo albums. Now they want to make sure I write the correct things on the blog.

If the blog were a newspaper column, the girls would be my assignment desk. They love it because they are part of the process, not just the best stories. Of course, some day they will read these stories and I hope they still love it then.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

From night terrors to stomach aches

When the brunette twin is upset, we know it. She will talk or cry or snuggle in a way that let's us know there is something bothering her. If she's really upset, she'll grab Koala and crawl into her bed. She's an open book when it comes to things that bother her. It's why I spent more than one movie sitting in the lobby while the blond twin and Daddy finished the movie. The brunette twin was frightened and wanted to leave the theater. 

The blond twin wants so badly to be seen as a big girl that she rarely tells us she's afraid. I can remember only a few times when she said something frightened her. Usually we don't discover a problem until it shows up later.

When she was little she had night terrors. She'd wake up in the middle of the night screaming and shaking. She'd babble nonsense while we held her trying to soothe her. Sometimes the night terrors were easy to trace. The blond twin watched a scary movie or someone was mean to her. Other times we had to piece together possibilities. She rarely experiences night terrors anymore. Now her manifestation of choice is a stomach ache.

I picked up the blond twin at school today. The health aid called to say she had a terrible stomach ache and thought she was going to throw up. When we were in the car driving home, I asked her what was wrong. She replied that she was really nervous, but didn't know why. I didn't probe anymore. I know exactly why she was nervous. This week the girls have their standardized tests.

The blond twin knows that if she doesn't do well on the standardized tests that she will be dropped form all her advanced classes. It's one of three test points the school uses to determine who is in what grouping. In third grade she was not in the advanced math program. She spent an entire year bored and frustrated. She tested back into advanced math in fourth grade. She loves it. She loves the challenges. She loves the teacher. She loves the advanced work. She doesn't want to lose her advanced classes because she doesn't test well on a standardized test.

The problem is not her testing skills. She tests well because she knows her stuff. The problem is she understands how important standardized tests are to her school placement. It stinks for her. She's a smart kid, but that doesn't matter if she doesn't receive the test scores the school requires for placement.

I want to protect her from this stress, but I know it is more important that she learns to manage it. Throughout her life there will be test after test after test. She won't be able to come home from all of them. We'll have to figure out how to move from "too scared to move" to a place where the stress motivates her to do her best. It won't be easy, but she really can't continue like this.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Lost and found Chiberia style

The blond twin came out of school beaming. Her grin went from ear to ear, which is not the reaction I expected from a girl who took the first part of her ISAT test today. She said, "I have two great things to tell you. What do you want to hear first? One? Or two" I said, "Number two please." She giggled as she pulled out a pink gym shoe. She laughed and laughed as she told me she found her shoe sticking out of a melting snow bank.

I just rolled my eyes and sighed.

Right after Christmas Daddy bought the blond twin a new pair of gym shoes. It might have been two weeks later when we realized she lost one of the shoes. We were not happy. She cleaned out so much stuff looking for the shoe. She went to the school lost and found every few days looking for it. She cleaned out the car. She couldn't find her shoe. We were so mad at her. We tried to explain how important it was for her to be responsible since we had to buy another pair of gym shoes because she lost a brand new pair.

She kept telling us she just couldn't figure out what happened. We tried to retrace her steps. We tried to figure out if we left them somewhere like Grammie's. Eventually we just bought another pair of gym shoes.

She was so excited to find her shoe today that she dug my mobile phone out of my coat pocket so she could call Daddy. As she spoke to him I could practically see him shaking his head. After all our searching she found her shoe because the snow melted. It must have fallen out of her book bag on the way to school one day. Since the snow spent the winter piling up into huge mounds, there was just no way she could have found it before the snow melted.

The best news is that we didn't throw away the other shoe. I thought about it many times since I was certain we'd never see the mate.

This story will go down as one of the many crazy things that happened during Chiberia. I'm just hoping it's the last crazy story.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Christmas in March

Since it stopped snowing every few days and the temperature is above freezing more regularly, the snow piles are starting to melt. One of the things happening is that Christmas decorations are reappearing. It is especially noticeable in yards where they put the light up candy canes on the sides of the driveways.

The brunette twin asked why people are leaving their Christmas decorations up. I explained to her that people didn't leave them up on purpose. The problem is the that every time it snowed people piled up their snow on the sides of their driveway.  It is only in the past few days that people have been able to see their decorations. Now that they can see their decorations, people can put them away until next Christmas.

It's strange to see so many Christmas decorations close to St. Patrick's Day, but it is also a sign of the season. Our never-ending winter creates strange situations with huge snow piles in strange places. No one starts winter thinking that they will have six feet of snow on each side of the driveway. It's why we still have Christmas decorations in place long after 2013 ended.

It is quite strange to walk Holly and see all the Christmas decorations. What might be even stranger is how much I'm enjoying the festive decorations despite the Spring weather.