Back to School Shopping, One More Time

In August when I did the back to school shopping, I really only did what the girls needed right away. So yesterday I found myself in the dressing rooms with Ella again in search of pants. Since today she was going to be standing at the bus stop in 50 something degrees with gale force winds. She literally had one pair of fleece pants that fit her, and the rest have been put in her sister's drawer.

We started at Target, because I enjoy buying pants for $7 when who knows what is going to happen to them. Especially on the playground. Ella has been to the school nurse no less than five times already this year, often for wound cleanup and bandaids. I've been having a terrible time figuring out her size, so I grabbed five pairs of pants and we headed to the dressing room. It went like this:

Ella: "Where are the boys' dressing rooms?"
Me: "On the other hallway."
Ella: "Ok, good."
Ella: "Where is the button to press when you need help?"
Me:"Honey, this is Target. They have the button at the Gap. Get your shoes & pants off, and start with this pair of jeans."
Ella: "Is the door locked?"
Me: "Yes, the door is locked."
After trying on two pairs of jeans, Ella says, "Mom? I think I'm getting comfortable with this. It took three times in a dressing room, but now I feel better."

She tried on all five pairs, and lo and behold I bought her the same size I did last year. Her other jeans in that brand and size have apparently shrunk like crazy because Natalie is wearing them now. Perhaps this is what comes of buying $7 pairs of jeans?

Then we stopped in the shoe aisle. Because, have you missed our shoe trouble this year? I have purchased and returned at LEAST four pairs of shoes. Yesterday she tried on a pair and said, "Mom! I love these! I think God put these here for me so we could get them! They're my size!" Yes, honey, Mommy firmly believes that sometimes God puts shoes in the store just for us...

Next stop: Old Navy.
Not that you're keeping track, and why would you? But the last time we went Ella would not leave the store without this vest. Lucky for her it's finally cold enough to wear it this week. I picked out more jeans for her to try, and a couple of shirts. And then Ella saw these in purple. "Oh Mommy! Can I get these? Please!! I promise I'll wear them!" She tried on a pair and we carried them around for a while. Then we had to go to the dressing room.

E: "Um, Mom? Are you sure the door is locked?"
M: "Yes, Ella. When you close the door it locks. Try these jeans on."
E: "But how do you KNOW it's locked?"
M: "It is. Every time you close it, it's locked. Here we go, take your shoes off."
E: "I'm not as comfortable with this. I liked it better when the bench was on the side, not in the back."
M: "Ok, well, let's just try these on quickly and be done."
E: "Do they have a button if we need a different size?"
M: "No, honey. We'll just ask the nice girl by the door if we need something."

To my dismay she did not like the super cute skinny jeans that she could have tucked into her new boots. They felt funny. But she did have a good lesson in denim cuts, and now knows her skinny leg from her bootcut from her flare.

On our way up to the counter I noticed the sneaky Old Navy people had put racks of clearance right in the middle for all to see. I nabbed $12 worth of clothes. Which got me a short sleeved sweater, a long sleeved dress and a pair of denim capris. The capris were $1.98. Have you ever even heard of such a thing? One pair. My size.

Maybe God put those capris there just for me...


The conclusion. Sort of. But not really.

Remember last year, when my friend Tony got cancer and I was thrown into a hideous spiral of funk?


Praise God, the cancer is gone. They just found out this week that there are no cancer cells. Unfortunately Tony likes to get pneumonia. There's an infection in his lung, and it's collapsed. So please keep him and his family in your prayers. I can't imagine how wonderful it would feel for them to put all of this behind them, and for him to feel well again. Even throughout the treatments, he kept singing on the worship team and wrote some amazing new songs (yeah, I've only heard one, but I'm pretty confident the rest are good too). It's time for a new cd, I think.

God is really, really BIG. Every time I drive around surrounded by the bluffs, sometimes draped in fog, I can't help but think it. All the different landscapes He's created. The magnitude of what He can do. And to think that He holds each of us close to His heart and truly cares about each of us, whether we see it or not.


Hack, hack

Oh dear friends, it has been a long week.

Mid-week last week Ella started to sniffle. Her throat hurt. I chalked it up to allergies or a cold, because there was no fever involved. She was still pretty perky, so I sent her off to school on Thursday. Right after I got Natalie off on the school bus at 8, I got a call from school to pick Ella up. She had apparently thrown up on the bus. Poor baby. So I ran over to get her. She looked like she felt pretty yucky, so I grabbed her backpack and said, "So you threw up on the bus, huh?"

Blank look. "No."

So what it boils down to, is a few girls brought her into the office saying she'd thrown up on the bus, I don't think she actually did because she says she didn't. She kept saying she "got sick" on the bus, and I'm betting she said that and they assumed she'd thrown up. Really she just started to feel junkie. I'm not positive, but that's my guess.

Bottom line is Thursday Ella was home sick. She laid down & watched a movie for about an hour or so. Then she popped up. "Mom? What can I do? Can I make a craft I've never made before? Can I fingerpaint?" So much for sickness.

That night Natalie woke up crying. And she didn't stop much til morning. "My fwoat sows." Same cold thing Ella had. Only it kept Natalie up almost the whole night. I think I probably got about 3 one hour naps in over the course of the night. Called her in sick Friday, and sent Ella back. She was pretty ok by mid-morning as well. Despite her lack of sleep. And mine.

The hack-y sisters have been going for a few days now. Bored out of their minds. Hack, hack. "Chase us!" Hack, hack.

They seem to be on an upswing. I sent them both back to school today. Me? My fwoat sows.


Just put me back together when the day is over.

Hi. My children nearly destroyed me today. First my head, then my heart.

We didn't even make it home from the bus stop before Natalie broke down crying that she needed to be carried. Then they started fighting. First Ella threw a fit that she wanted to play chutes & ladders, and Natalie wouldn't play with her. Their job after school today was to clean the kitchen floor. They cried over who got to use the broom vac. Crying. Crying. More crying.

Natalie has been going through an unpleasant phase. She's been thinking of all kinds of horrible things. Last week she said, "Mama, you know what would be bad? What if I got hit by a car." Tonight she was getting her jammies on, and she said, "Mama, I just thought of something bad..." and she started bawling. "I thought of what if there was a fire, and I didn't hear the fire alarm, and my leg caught on fire, and the doctor had to cut it off..." WHAT?? Where does that even come from? She was beside herself. Completely scared that this was really going to happen.

I want to promise her that nothing will ever happen to her. That she will always be safe. She will never be hurt. But we're in the world. Where bad things can happen. So I can't do that. We have a fire safety talk, and we talk about how it's not very likely that we will even have a fire at all. And then her sister tells her that when she starts thinking of bad things, she just tries to think of something fun until she forgets about it, and then my older-than-her-years six-year-old starts engaging Natalie in conversation. "Natalie, tell me about school today. Did you say you're getting a frog tomorrow?"

We lay in their beds, and I rub Natalie's back and they tell each other about their days and who their friends are, and Ella keeps asking Natalie questions to keep her mind off of fires, and I forget all about the part where they fought for the title of biggest fit thrower.


Possibly the most boring post ever

We're now two weeks into the school year here, and the girls are loving it. It's such a relief! I assumed after the first year of preschool that Natalie just didn't like school. I figured she was a such a homebody, she just didn't want to go. For whatever reason, she just loves it this year (all two weeks of it - certainly it could change). She's got stories to tell and songs to sing.

How is it that my time sans kids is on hyperspeed? Yesterday it was as if five minutes passed between getting them loaded on the bus and getting Natalie back home again. Today I got an oil change, ran to two stores, and hustled home because I had to beat Natalie's bus. I think part of my problem is that I don't feel awake before 9. I think I'm having a tougher time adjusting to the school schedule than the girls are.

Have I mentioned our house is still for sale? Yeah. It is.

I survived the fantasy football weekend. I ended up playing auctioneer again. But then I went to Caribou, and felt pretty good about life again. And I broke 100 in my annual bowling trip. Sunday Captain America and I flitted from restaurant to restaurant, at one point literally walking out of Applebee's where we met a friend and into Big Bowl to meet his parents with the girls. I was full til around Tuesday.

I'd write more, but I already feel badly for making you read what you have. Poor things.


Are you ready for some FOOTBALL???

Yeah. Me neither.

But Captain America is. Boy howdy.

This Labor Day weekend marks the 14th year of his fantasy football league. I don't know if you can understand how serious this league is, but I'll try to help out.

Their league was created in college, and this is Captain America's 3 year with them. It's been a part of our entire marriage. Every Labor Day weekend, every year, including the year it was on our honeymoon (in Captain America's defense, I was also in the league that year. And only that year). They started drafting on someone's living room floor with notebooks and magazines. Let me give you the rundown of a fantasy football weekend now.

People start arriving in the Twin Cities. Some drive, some fly. They come from as close as down the street, and as far as San Diego and Virginia. We start gathering & catching up at the hotel, where they have rented a conference room. A few people stay at the hotel (including us), some live reasonably close by. We may go out to dinner, depending on schedules. League members may make a traditional late night trip to Perkins to talk about how they think the auction will go.

Owners start wandering in and catching up. Instead of notebooks, there are a lot of laptops. The auction starts midmorning. There may be a speech from last year's winner, and he (or she, although they're back to all guys this year) will be presented with his winnings. Which is a glass mug with the team name and year engraved. No cash. Just the mug, and the honor of tapping the keg. The keg of 1919 rootbeer -- a tradition from their first years of play. They're all about tradition.

Then team owners will go around the room with a life update. Perhaps pictures of the kids, if there are some. Any rule changes will be discussed. Keepers declared. Announcements made. And then it begins. You have 100 pretend dollars. Players are tossed out (Eli Manning for $15, etc), people bid back and forth, and you have to fill your roster with the $100. So at all times, you're paying attention to the positions you need, the amount of money you have left, and your highest bid potential (at all times you can only bid what you have left, minus $1 for every other position you still need to fill. I think.) Owners have a call-out spot order, and they take turns calling out players for bidding. It's a little bit more of a challenge than a draft, but it seems like everyone has a shot, not just the person with the #1 draft pick. There is an auctioneer, and usually one more extra person keeping track of everyone's numbers.

Break for lunch. Usually ordering pizza.
More auctioning.

When the auction is FINALLY over, they all sit around and talk about how awful their teams are. How badly it went. How they CAN'T BELIEVE FAVRE WENT FOR $50 or whatever. What was he thinking? Then we all go bowling. And then out to dinner. And then back to the conference room to play cards or something into the wee hours.

Those of us who are still around sometimes catch brunch. Then we say our goodbyes and head home. If I'm lucky I squeeze in a little shopping.

Why do I know so much? You're looking at the auctioneer. Well. Not actually LOOKING. And I'm not always the auctioneer if I can help it. But sometimes there's a slice of cheesecake in it for me. Otherwise I'm out shopping with the other spouses/significant others.

Can I tell you something sad? Do you promise not to tell Captain America? You know how I mentioned that we went to the draft on our honeymoon? That means every single year I'm there for my anniversary. Or close to it. Even our 10th, last year was on the Friday of auction weekend. Well this year with Labor Day so late, our anniversary was the weekend before. Ok. Shhhh...but it almost didn't even seem like our anniversary. Not a word, people (Jersey? That means you.)!

*edit * Stellar proofer, Jersey, HAS commented to say I was wrong on how many years. It's the 15th year, and Captain America's 14th. Thanks for reading, and we'll miss you this year.


Third Day of School, Third Day of School!

Yeah, that doesn't have the same ring at all.

But it IS the third day of school. Natalie's still having a great time. She loves her bus ride home. She's telling me a lot more of what she's been doing and about her classmates. Apparently one boy is "allewgic" to milk. So he has orange juice at snack. FYI. She even sang me a song they've been doing.

Can I just say, Natalie cracks me up? I mean, both my girls do. But Natalie's stuff always comes out of nowhere. Yesterday we're waiting for Ella's bus. For half an hour. We went 10 minutes early, and it was 20 minutes late. After about 20 minutes Natalie looks at me and says, "Mama? This is lame." And it was.

Ella seems to be doing well too. Today was her first day to ride the bus to school in the morning, and, yeah, I'm THAT mom. When I dropped Natalie off later I checked to see Ella, to make sure she made it ok. She was waiting outside with all the kids, right by her new BFF Torii. Torry. Torrie. Tori. I don't know. T sits across from her in their group. Anyway, she was cold. I don't know how I'm supposed to dress her when it's in the 50s when she gets on the bus, and 77 when she gets off.

In any case, Ella's enjoying first grade. She's been catching up with the pastor's daughter at recess to play, although they're not in the same class, and I love that she's making friends. (Did I mention I think we've found a church?)

Me? Oh the sweet silence...

Although today the welcome lady came. It's not a Welcome Wagon anymore. It's a Welcome Celebration or something. ANYWAY. Girlfriend brought me bags of coupons and gift cards. So count me in! She has moved 17 times in 22 years. SEVENTEEN. Army family - good guess.

Shout out to Patty, who is having a Peaceful Fall...what's that like? That's alright. I'm determined to find something to love about every age & stage. And I know by the time my fall is quiet and peaceful, I'll have earned it. And I bet I'll miss these little birds very much.


First Day of School!

Can you even say, "First day of school" without hearing Nemo saying it? Just me? Fine.

As I sit here staring at the clock, waiting for bus time, I thought I could use a distraction. But not so much of one that I forget about the bus. Hi, my name is Sarah, and I have issues concerning letting go of my children.

Last year we lived across the street from school. And still, our neighbor worked at school and walked Ella home everyday. Now Ella has hit the big time. She woke up this morning totally psyched for school. I mean, she broke into the first grader song. She did everything she was supposed to do to get ready for school. Quickly. She marched right into her class, ready to go.

We had Natalie's day of orientation. Learned of the severe peanut allergies in her class (man, my heart goes out to those suffering from epi-pen worthy allergies). Tried out the playground. Read the Kissing Hand. Met the families who just moved here from New Mexico and Guatemala (guess I'll calm down now). They were so cute. "How will we know when it's time for snowpants?" We all had a good chuckle and gave an "oh, you'll know alright." But the very nice woman next to Mrs. Guatemala gave her the real story, and I tried to help out Mrs. New Mexico. Then Natalie got to test out the bus, and meet her bus driver who will bring her home from school.

So we came home. We had lunch. AND THEN I HIT THE PANIC BUTTON.

Ella has never been a bus rider. And I only found out yesterday that her stop is actually 2 blocks down and half a block over from here. I was under the impression she'd be dropped off at our house, because Natalie will be on the preschool bus. What if she gets off too early? What if she doesn't get off? What if she walks the wrong way? {whimper, whimper, fetal position}

And my sister has reminded me, that even when I don't know where Ella is or what she is doing, God does. I've programmed the bus company's number into my phone. The rest is not up to me. Millions of kids ride the bus every day, and are just fine. I'll go where she's supposed to be, and we'll walk home for the first week, so she can learn the route and practice more.

Ella got off the bus where they said she would. And then the bus made 2 stops closer to our house. She was the only one who got dropped off there. Gonna figure that one out.