She loves me...She loves me not...

Although Maya's first year of school has been pretty uneventful, I find myself wondering what it is like inside that classroom every day.  Although I have spent the better part of 6 years at home with Maya Jo and know her every move before she makes it, I can't help but wonder what my little girl is like when she's away from my watchful eye.

Maya brings home her folder every Monday with all the previous week's work graded, and we spend the better part of an hour scrutinizing every piece of paper found within that folder.  Maya loves that time, as do I.  What I have learned is that Maya talks more freely about school time when she can control the conversation, instead of just answering my questions.  These pages give me a window into her classroom.  Maya Jo very proud of her work, and even enjoys the 'Extra Practice' pages Mrs. B. sends home with her so that she can work on her new cursive letters.  She has now read four books, and she has proudly lined them up on her desk in the play room.  Yes, Maya loves school, and all the benefits from learning to read and write.

On most occasions, inside Maya's folder I find that Mrs. B. has written notes on a couple of pages that lets me know how she's coming along with her school work.  For the most part, I see notes like, "Good job!" or "You can do better!" or something along those lines.  Maya, of course, reads those notes to me.  Occasionally, however there is a note that gives me a very clear picture of what is really going on.  For example, a few weeks ago, on the top of one of her papers were these words written inMrs. B' neatly lettered red pencil: "I love you too, Maya Jo!"  I asked Maya  why Mrs. B. would write that on her paper, and she showed me that on the back of almost every piece of work, she had written, "I miss  boss (that is how Mrs. B's name sounds to her!) in her best cursive writing.  Since then, I find that more often than not, those love notes are written on the back of her work.  

On a side note, I should mention that Maya Jo wears her heart on her sleeve…if she likes you, you know it.  If she doesn’t…well, that’s not too hard to figure out either.  :)

Last week, however, when Maya brought home her coveted folder, there were no notes to Mrs. B. on any of her papers.  “That’s odd,” I thought.  I wonder what happened?  As I thought about the previous week, it hit me.  On Tuesday, library day, I received a call from Mrs. B. explaining to me that Maya Jo had broken one of the library rules that day.  (Uh oh.)  And not only that, but that she had hit another girl because she was going to tell the librarian what Maya had done.  (I think we’re getting closer!)  I should also mention that Mrs. B. made this phone call from her desk, making sure Maya, and her classmates, heard every word of our conversation.  (Jackpot!)

Yes, I think this explains that absence of those endearing notes to her beloved teacher.  And this week?  Well...I guess we'll see on Monday when Maya brings home her folder.  I'm going to go on a limb and predict that the love is back, because Maya has informed several people this week that she is going to be a teacher when she grows up...a kindergarten teacher.


I'm Laying It All Out There...

Ok, so sometimes I forget things.  Wait a minute, let me correct that sentence…Often I forget things.  I am constantly asking myself questions like, "Where are my keys?  Where did I leave my purse?  Has anyone seen my cell phone lately?  Did we get Louie?"  I can't tell you how many times Seth has found my keys in the door as he's leaving for work the next morning.  Yes, these things happen more often than I would prefer, but thankfully my husband has come to accept this flaky side of me.  (Much like I have come to accept his enjoyment of not-so-intelligent movies...i.e. watching Blazing Saddles last night.)  Even my family has come to expect this from me.  Whenever I leave their homes, they put into a pile whatever items I may have left behind, and greet my quick return with, "What did you forget this time?"

However, today something happened that has made me decide once and for all to change this behavior.  This morning when we got in the van, Maxwell asks these questions back-to-back: “Mom, do you have your purse?  Do you have your keys?  Do you have your cell phone?”  Does that sound like something your four-year-old should ask before you leave your house?  Ummm…let me think about that for a minute….NO!  This just goes to show you that the other male in our house has accepted this as normal behavior, and is trying his best to help me out!  (I am thankful for the help, might I add.)

So, today when I got home, I hung my purse on the coat rack and put my keys inside.  I have pledged to make an effort to do this every time I come home, or use these items.  

Now, as soon as I find my cell phone I will put it in there as well…


More Than Words

With thanks to my mother-in-law, I have a subscription to Today's Christian Woman magazine.  I don't completely agree with everything that is printed (which I suppose is the case with any publication), but some of the articles inside are very thought provoking and true to life.  In their Jan/Feb issue, I found a list called, "Spice Up Your Relationship!"  The list includes several easy things you can do that will show your husband just how much you love him.  Don't get too excited...this isn't Cosmo after all.  :)  However, it is really worth the time to read, clip, and post somewhere you will come across it from time to time.  (I added the exclamations point to number 5...the boys really love that one.  :-))  Try to incorporate a few of them into your life and, hopefully, your relationship with your hubby will reap the benefits.  Enjoy!

1. Don't interrupt or correct him when he's telling a story.

2. Compliment him in front of his children, your parents, his parents, and his friends.

3. Be as concerned aout your looks as you were when you were dating.

4. Develop a genuine interest in his work and hobbies.

5. Stick to your budget!

6. Try to go to bed together at the same time every night.

7. Ask yourself every day: "What's it like to be married to me?"


I ♥ Google

Can I just say that I love Google? Really, I do! I know, that sounds like something Seth would say, not me...BUT, I have finally realized that he may be right...just this once. :) They have everything so simplified and so tied together that no one else can compare. I log into my Google account, and everything is there! My Gmail account is super clean, and my other email accounts are tied into it...and now I have multiple inboxes for each account! Smashing. Also, inside my Google account is my Blogger account, my YouTube account, and my Flickr account. They are all tied together, and I can communicate with these programs at any time...no more remembering all those different logins.

I also have a Google Reader, where I can suscribe to RSS feeds to accounts that I would like to visit more often, but never seem to get around to it. (There is a button right over there ---> that you can click on if you want to know every time I post a new blog!) This tool knows which websites I like, and keeps track of every post that is made to their site. For example, I like to read the NYTimes Health section, and every time an article is published, it is added to my RSS account. Whenever I go to this tool, I can catch up on everything I've missed...whether it's been a day or a month.

Google also has its own calendar, and when you get an email or invitation to an event, it prompts you to add it to your calendar. I also have added Seth to my calendar, so we can see what we both have scheduled at any given time. This completely takes away conflicting appointments.

On top of it all, Gmail (which is my primary use with Google) is really user-friendly. To start an email, I just press my "c" button (for compose), and it opens up a new window! I press "r" for reply, "f" for forward. Really...I think the creators are geniuses! Let's see...what else? Oh, every time I log into Gmail, it automatically logs me into my chat which tells me which other Gmail users are online, as well as my AIM contacts. AND, they now have video chat which is really cool if you have friends or family out of town, and have a spare web cam lying around. :)

I have my incoming messages labeled and color-coded, so that when they come in, I know exactly what they are about before I even open them. This makes my inbox very organized, which I most definitely am NOT. Their Spam filter is superb...I never get trash delivered to my inbox.

Three other features that I love about Google Picasa, Google Earth, and Google Chrome.
  • Picasa is a photo-editing program, kind of like Adobe Photoshop, but much easier and FREE. I use this to edit all of our photos, and they look professional by the time I finish.
  • If you haven't used Google Earth, you should really try it...like today. It's like actually visiting a city online...there is even a street view so you can see EXACTLY where a specific building is located. What's even more useful, is you can search for whatever you may be looking for in a particular city. While in Chicago, we searched for "pizza" and found - Giordano's AND Gino's East. (Seth and I have differing opinions on which was better, but we found the TWO best. LoL) There are many other uses for this program, but this is the one I have used most often.
  • Google Chrome is their new web browser...I have only begun finding all the benefits to using this. One of which is that on your home page is a window for your 9 most visited website. Super cool.

Last, but not least, is their new information number. (800) GOOG-411 is free, easy, and quick. I programmed the number into my cell phone under "Information" and have used it 10 times or more in the last month. No per-use fee, and no worries about being directed to the wrong location. It gives you multiple choice if there is more than one location. Pretty freakin' awesome.

So, does this sound enough like a commercial? :)


Ice Storm...Revisited

Well, we have officially survived our second ice storm. :) In February 2003, we lost power for 5 days...in January 2009, we lost power for 4 days. Maya Jo was home from the hospital for about 2 weeks when our power went out in 2003...we frantically searched for a place to stay where we could plug in her heart monitor which monitored heart and breathing. This year, Nina Grace is 5 months old but with no attachments. :) Both years, we stayed at Seth's parents' house, where they have gas logs and kept us nice and warm. At least this year they kept their power and we were able to take warm showers, eat hot meals, and watch television as well. (I should also mention here that I love Tivo, and wish it worked without power as well...)

Maya, Maxwell, and I went sledding a total of EIGHT times last week...yes, eight. This is the only way I could find to keep us all from going stir crazy, and it worked. Maxwell took 2 hour naps, and slept 10 hours at night. SUCCESS!! :) We have declared Maxwell fearless, as he would barely make it up the hill before he bounded headfirst down the hill again, into the "half pipe" and slide 50 feet. Maya was pretty tough too...she was always the first to try a new hill. Seth and I have bruised and swollen knees, and other sore areas, but had loads of fun anyway. KK was a real trooper...I think she went sledding with us six out of eight times. Thanks KK!!

I guess what made sledding so much fun this year was the ice underneath...it kept you going much further than you would have with just snow. The first day we went with a solid layer of ice on top, we could barely stand up! They went down our front yard, across the street, and into our neighbors yard all they way to her fence. It was CRAZY!! The funniest part for me was watching the kids try to walk down the sidewalk, or Louie try to go down the stairs. I have these on video if you are interested (www.youtube.com/landerson1609). We would have hot cocoa and cookies after sledding, curl up on the couch and take a nice, long nap together. Pretty fun times.

Sadly, Maya and Seth are back to the old grind today. Maya had no school all week, and Seth had short days and spent one day at home. It was a lot of fun, and I really miss having our family all together so much. But, life goes on...even after the ice storm. :)