Wednesday, August 21, 2013

The day Bode tried to quit kindergarten:

Bode started kindergarten last week. We could have sent him last year, but we weren't idiots - the kid wasn't ready, ya'll. It's that simple.
So imagine my surprise when my older-than-average-kindergartner, who had been at this whole school thing less than a week, decided he was done.
In an effort to make mornings tolerable around here (for me), I threw the smack down on the family not too long ago and announced that breakfast would be at 7:30 AM every weekday.  If you want to eat, you must be at the table ready to engage in quality family time, complete with bible study and thought provoking conversation. 
(Why no, dear, eating Lucky Charms while staring at a television DOES NOT EQUAL FAMILY TIME! Why do you ask?)
Yesterday, Bode's alarm went off at 7 AM, and about 7:15 I ventured down the kids' hall (otherwise known as my childrens' crap zone) to see what was up.
There I found Bode sitting on his bed in nothing but his underwear crying one of those sorta sad but mostly just stubbornly angry cries. "I'm not going to school," he said, "It's too long and I don't like it and I'm not going." (I concur with the too long thing but it's the friggin' law, kid.)
This is where I called deep on my Parenting With Love and Logic courage and under-reacted. "I'm sorry school is long. It's 7:15 and when your clock says 7:30 I really hope you choose to join us for breakfast. Oh, and remember, don't come out of your room until you're dressed."
And then 7:30 rolled around. No Bode. And then 7:45. No Bode. And then breakfast was over. No Bode.
And so I went back to his room. And he was still sitting there in his underwear with a resolve on his face that would scare a serial killer. 
And I got mad. Because I had to leave. And it was time for Andy to take that little monster to school. And his hair looked ridiculous.
I felt, at that moment, that this kid was going to turn this love and logic stuff against me so I just kept my mouth shut and started force-dressing him. I shoved his head through his shirt and then he suddenly got this ape-strength and held his arms down to the sides forcing me stretch the shirt into an unrecoverable shape to get his arms through it. Next he went wet-noodle as I forced his shorts on him.

It was ugly.
By that time I was done. I've never been happier for an early meeting in all my life. I left Andy to drag him to the car while I texted his teacher: We are in the middle of a show-down with Bode, who will be quite hungry when he gets to class. Do not feed the animal.
This morning Bode was dressed and ready for breakfast at 7:05 AM.

I am too scared to call this a win quite yet. For now, I'm living for the weekend.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Welp, this happened.

Both of the kids started school today, complete with no adorable chalkboard signs written in calligraphy. I guess I'll just have to remember that this was 2013, third grade and kindergarten, Oakdale, no one cried (ok, fine, I cried for just a minute...a couple of times), and Bode not only packed a huge lunch but also decided to get a tray because he couldn't resist the allure of the cafeteria food. Obviously, he's a newbie.
It was a pretty dramaless day, just like I like 'em. And they were both so worn out that they crashed at 8:30, just like I like 'em.

Bode got the same kindergarten teacher that Mia had (she's now married, thus the different name). This was truly God's handiwork because Mia was able to show him the ropes and helped him not panic and make a run for it.

I'm too busy to be sad. I'm sure this is also God's handiwork. And I'm actually just fine with it.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Great Wolf Lodge vs. Gaylord Texan

By the time August rolls around our family is in desperate need of a get-away. Church work is not for the faint of heart, and by the end of the summer church has just flat taken its toll on all of us. So these mini-vacations are a perfect and necessary thing for our family.

This year, for our annual back to school family retreat we decided to go to the Gaylord Texan Resort. It's right across the street from our other favorite, Great Wolf Lodge, and after visiting both here is my take:

The Gaylord Texan is pretty. Like, really pretty. It has a four acre atrium that is full of tropical foliage. Me likee.
Great Wolf certainly isn't an eye sore, but it is geared towards kids and its decor reflects that. Which is fine.
Gaylord is just prettier. There is no way around it.
Gaylord has three different pools: an indoor pool, an outdoor pool, and a mini-waterpark  with a lazy river, one water slide, and a zip-line. An important piece of information that would have been nice for us to know beforehand: You have to be 48 inches to go down the slide and 72 inches to do the zip-line. So basically we had a very disappointed little boy on our hands who could really only do the lazy river in the water park area. Also, you can't bring any snacks into this area.

Great Wolf has plenty of things for kids of all heights. Their water-park makes Gaylord's water-park look like a joke.

Gaylord's outdoor pool does stay open until mid-night so my kids were still thrilled. 
And look how pretty:
What you will not see at the Gaylord Texan: herds of wet, barefooted, wild banshee children running around and squealing with delight.
What you will not see at Great Wolf Lodge: appropriately clothed, dry people who are relaxed, calm, and quiet.
The dining options at Gaylord Texan are numerous and nice. We opted to go eat in the surrounding Grapevine area at dinner time because the restaurants at the resort were more "kid tolerant" than "kid friendly."

Great Wolf Lodge has a Pizza Hut Express and a bakery that sells things covered in neon colored icing. Need I say more?
The Gaylord Texan is not cheap. At first glance it appears to be quite a bit less than Great Wolf but there are numerous extra, required charges that add up pretty fast. Parking is about $20 per night, there is an extra "resort fee," and you have to pay for internet.

Dear Gaylord Texan,

Get over yourself.


Normal People

Great Wolf is not cheap but there are not really any surprises.
The Gaylord Texan was not the least bit crowded. It's quite a bit bigger than Great Wolf so maybe that was part of it or it could have been the time of year, but it felt like we had the pool areas almost to ourselves.

Great Wolf sounds like a herd of wild, rabid hyenas at all times.
Your family pics at Gaylord will still be awkward, but you will not be dripping wet and your swimsuit will be nowhere in sight.

You family pics at Great Wolf will be deleted from your camera as soon as you see yourself.
Andy and the kids like Great Wolf better.
Summer likes Gaylord Texan better.
Summer will never get to go to the Gaylord Texan again.
(I have several pictures of Great Wolf here, here, and here.)

Overall, we had a wonderful time. Now I am gearing up for my annual back-to-school meltdown complete with stress-eating, staring longingly at baby pictures while simultaneously bawling, and multiple Target trips.

Bring it.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Books, Glorious Books.

I  have had one glorious week off from graduate school and I have stuffed my brain (and my stomach) full of stuff I wanted.

First off, I read Possessing the Secret of Joy, by Alice Walker (she also wrote The Color Purple). Light reading it is not. Unless you consider a story about a girl who experienced female genital mutilation in a tribal village in Africa and then tries to have a life in the US with an American husband light reading. In which case, you need to seek professional help.

Anyway, liked it, loved it, couldn't put it down.

And then I read Speak in the car on the way to Texas. It is a National Book Award finalist and it was worth the hype. If I tell you what it is about it will ruin it so mums the word.

It is in the "young adult" category but there is nothing Twilightish about this book, I promise. It's the opposite of Twilight. If it wasn't, I would have thrown it across a hotel room just like I did Twilight. It's deep and personal and there is no teen romance to speak of, thank goodness.

There is nothing I dislike more than a teen
romance - in books or in real life. Blech.

Let me stop right here and point out a very crucial detail: I read an entire book in the car with two children present and both of them were awake and breathing. I will pause for my standing ovation.....I have waited almost nine years for this moment and it finally happened on Monday, August 5th. 

Mommas, if you would rather have a lobotomy gone terribly wrong than go on a road trip with your kids, take heart! Give it a good nine years and your kids will finally be able to entertain themselves and you will have perfected the art of completely ignoring them. It's so awesome.

And finally, I read City of Women. This story takes place in Berlin during the second world war. I really enjoyed the history and the story. Suspenseful and fascinating.

Either I have absolutely no standards, or I lucked out with these three. I would recommend them all, but if I had to choose a winner I would give the gold to Speak.

Happy Reading, Friends!