Thursday, September 30, 2010

We're Going to Rock Around the Clock Tonight...

So I start this post with a friendly household cleaning tip. If you ever have nail polish spilled on a hardwood floor use Tresemme hairspray and a magic eraser for easy (or should I say easier) removal. Thank goodness for Google and its infinite wisdom! You might wonder what prompted me to share this tip. That would be the bright red nail polish that was knocked off my dresser by my cats, during the middle of the night, and greeted me at 5:45am when I woke up to start my day last Thursday. Anyway, you never know when such a tip might be helpful to you, so I pass it on my friends.

In addition to the nail polish fiasco, our household was buzzing with events this week.  On Saturday it was a crazy schedule where we went from one event to another.  First we attended "Rockin' the Ridge".  It was a fundraiser/carnival event at Harry's school Eagle Ridge.  There were lots of inflatables, games, food, and music.  There was a staff rock band and I could just see dreaming of a day he would be in his own band.  Harry had a great time.  He was a finalist in the pie eating competition.  If that surprises you, it really shouldn't.  Harry will pretty much do anything for fame, glory, or cash.  I am hoping that changes FAST!

After the carnival, it was off to Harry's football game.  It was a home game against the BIG (I'm serious, their players are about twice the size of ours usually), bad Eden Prairie.  One of my sisters (who lives in EP and is pictured above with me, Becca and one of her daughters) came to visit.  The fun surprise?  She brought my other sister, who recently moved to Seattle.  It was fun catching up.  She has also started blogging.  Check out her blog.  She always has a unique way of seeing things and she shares funny stories about her two adorable children.  BTW, I stole the picture of Becca and me at the football game from her.  Hope you don't mind, sis!  The other pictures of Harry playing football are courtesy of my other sister.

As if a carnival and a football game in one day was just not enough adventure for the Rowe's, we continued our day with a dinner at Bennihana's.  It was a dinner to celebrate the kids adjusting well to their new schools and surviving.  Why so soon in the school year for a reward?  Well, I'm sure most of you have heard that you should catch your children doing good and praise them for it, so that they don't always hear you complaining about what they do wrong.  You never know how fast things can change and right now school is going well, so we decided to "catch" them now, before we may need to have another kind of discussion.  Bennihana's is a fun restaurant where the Japanese chefs cook at your table and are filled with culinary tricks.  It was a fun night, but when we got home at 9pm, all of us were exhasted!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Make New Friends, but Keep the Old...

So it is once again fall in MN. Time to enjoy the last bits of sun and warmth before the frozen tundra arrives. In homeschool, Bella and I are talking about which months fall into which seasons. When I teach, we talk about how every season is about 3 months because there are a total of 4 seasons over a period of 12 months. Her question to me, "If all the seasons are the same number of months, why does winter feel so much longer than summer?" My answer, "Because you live in MN, my dear."

To me Fall is all about friendship. It's about making new friends and also reestablishing friendships that might have been neglected over the busy summer months. Becca has been busy adjusting to her new high school. She has decided to join the debate team (okay, I may have had something to do with that) and she has made a friend on the team. A formal homecoming dance is rapidly approaching and Becca is working out the details of how she will attend her 1st debate tournament and make it to the dance on time. She has also been telling me about the limos, dinners, and other "homecoming accessories" that kids at school are talking about. Really 9th grade and already I am facing this? Wow...

Harry is busy adjusting to his new school and also making new friends. He seems happy at his new school and is slowly adjusting to his crazy schedule of 2 hours of homework and football 4 times a week. Luckily the football season only lasts another 4 weeks. He has been playing running back in a few football games which is exciting. Last night, his team came up against Eden Prairie and lost 21-0. Erick said Eden Prairie had "men" on their team, or "boys" that were 6 feet tall and about 180 lbs. He also has a game on Saturday so we are hoping for a better outcome.

Bella is also adapting to her schedule of school and swim team. On her swim team, she has the option of going 5 nights a week and that is what we have been doing to help build up her endurance. She has a friend at swimming who she really enjoys seeing everyday. Yesterday she complained of her arms being sore. I asked if she wanted to stay home, but she said "no" and I gave her some Motrin. Bad Mom? Maybe. Lots of days, my sole mission is to maintain peace and avoid angry outbursts. At school, Bella has met a new friend whose name is Isabella. She is from Ecuador. Bella thinks it's fun that they have the same name and that was really the common element that cemented the friendship. Isabella is travelling back to Ecuador for the next few weeks, so I hope they can reconnect after that.

Last weekend the Rowe Family attended the yearly Cochlear Implant picnic for the University of MN. Bella really looks forward to seeing the other kids with implants. It's amazing how fast kids make friends! As you can see from the picture, it was a beautiful day and all the kids had fun playing at the playground. Becca, Harry, and Bella all played together at the park and it was amazing! There was no fighting or yelling for an extended period of time. Erick and I just sat back and enjoyed the peace.

In my spare time (insert laughter here), I have also been trying to connect with friends, old and new. I have met a few parents from Harry's new school that seem really nice. I'd like to find some connections at Becca's school as a way to "stay in the loop." It's hard not knowing the ins and outs of the school, and it is just SO BIG!

As some of you know, I'm a bit of a TV addict so Fall also brings me comfort with new seasons of my favorite shows. It may be kind of lame, but at the end of the day, I'm ready to spend some time vegging out with those "friends"...

Thursday, September 16, 2010

All We Need is a Little Patience...

So today I decided to run to the grocery store during my 3 hours of free time between homeschool and afternoon activities. I was also trying to fit in a workout class so I was on a tight schedule. At the checkout line I found myself behind a customer who had a very complicated order and had divided their complicated order into 3 separate transactions. Of course I didn't realize this fact until after I had unloaded my whole cart of groceries onto the conveyor. My first reaction was one of fury, anger and self pity. How could I be so unlucky as to run into the one lane with problems? I only have a little bit of time and this is what I get? Then, I stopped myself. What good was my negativity going to do? Was it going to change the situation? No, all it was going to do was feed my anger and resentment of the person in front of me. So I stopped and took a new approach. Now, please understand this is not my usual format. I don't even know what prompted me to stop. Perhaps it all those Oprah episodes on being a better person that had infiltrated my subconscious. Who knows?

Whatever the reason for the change, I found myself wondering why I was in this position. Not in a negative way, more in a moment of curiosity, searching for a "greater meaning". With all that has happened in my life over the years, I have adapted an "everything happens for a reason" mentality. So why not this situation? I mean I have been super busy running around bringing kids to school, activities, and teaching Bella. Was this meant to be a break? Maybe a built in time for self reflection? A moment to breathe? I was locked in line with few choices. Ultimately I could have just left all the groceries and told someone I could no longer wait. It had already been 15 minutes waiting behind the man, and few people would have blamed me for this decision. The truth was I really didn't have to leave. Sure I was trying to make a class at the gym, but bottom line was that if I finished my checkout in the next 10 minutes, I would still make it in time for the class. So there I stood. Breathing in large, deep breaths to relax.

The ending of the story? I did make it to the gym on time. Patience is not my strong suit and slowing down and just "being" is outside of my comfort zone. So for 20 minutes I was forced to take a minute and "just be" even though it felt awkward and a little like having my hands and feet bound with ropes. Perhaps it was just what I needed at the time...

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Breathe, Just Breathe...

Ahh..the first week of school. The unofficial end of summer and the start of what is shaping up to be a crazy schedule for the Rowe Family. With Erick on a business trip to Milan all week, it was up to me to ensure that everyone woke up, arrived at their schools safely, ate, finished their homework, and got to after school activities on time. Anyone who is, or who has every been a parent knows that list is much easier to write down than it is to actually perform. Especially during the first week where nerves and a lack of sleep are factors.

Lessons learned this week:

1. Getting up at 5:45am is easier to do in theory.

2. Homework done in the car by a child can lead to needing a car wash later in the day when "said" child vomits out the window on the side of the car after getting carsick.

3. When a school says you will get 2 hours of homework a night, you will get 2 hours of homework a night.

4. Going to bed at 9pm isn't just for kids if you want to be able to survive and function well the next day.

5. No matter how many times you ask the question, "Are you ready to go," someone will inevitably have to run up the stairs at the last minute for something before you walk out the door.

One week of school down, WAY too many to go...