Almost paradise, we’re knocking on heaven’s door

My MIL has a set of really cool two-sided 5×7 picture frames. I’ve coveted them ever since I first spotted them. I have a hard time picking which pictures to display, (and so I don’t display any) but with these two-sided ones, you can have twice as many available for viewing! And the 5×7 size is perfect for the professional pics we’ve had taken. I’ve been googling for ages for frames similar but haven’t ever found any. Until now. Lookie, from Bed, Bath, and Beyond:

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Do you see how awesome these are? Can you image how good a pair of these would look in my room? And they are even situated for regular 5x7s and sideways ones.

BUT! Why is there a white line painted on the glass? Booooooooooooooo.

Awesome is genetic! \0/

Brian is reading, which makes me heart sing. I’ve never been so proud. He is adding and telling time. He is also learning to tie his shoes, which is a big deal in these days of velcro. He can open the van door, buckle himself, and close the van door; brush his teeth, even though he doesn’t like to; dress himself; put the clean silverware away. He’s been doing these for a long while, but it’s always great to see what a non-baby he is. He can open the upper cabinets in the kitchen and a couple of times I’ve mistaken him for Max, because he’s grown so tall. He is a real little person, who can do many things, follow instructions, and has opinions. YAY! I probably told you already, but he won the “Flying Hawk” award which is awarded to one kid per class for representing integrity, honesty, and other touchy-feely themes.

Max has been on fire at school. The Media Project he and his 3rd grade class did last year won its division at the international level. Meaning, it went to the regional competition, then state, then US, then Int’l and won them all. This year, as a big 4th grader, each student worked with a partner to create a project, instead of doing one project as a class. He and his partner created a story about a guy who falls into another dimension where he has to fight through various video games to get out. It was funny and fun to watch. 🙂

Earlier in the year he tried out for the Science Olympiad team. There are only 4 kids from his grade selected, and he was one of them. Twice a week he’s been going in early to work with a partner on Simple Machines. At the district competition a couple of weeks ago, he and his partner took first place and his school won first place overall! They get to go to the state competition in Atlanta, for an overnight trip! Kevin is taking the day off, and we are pulling Brian from school so we can all go.

He continues to be active with chorus and the Art and Philosophy Club. I’m still on a high from his participation in the Spelling Bee, where he did well. He’s earned straight A’s on his last two report cards and he also received the “Flying Hawk” award. What are the odds that both of my kids received it?? Outside of school, he was recently promoted in karate, continues to write for ficly.com, creates comics in his spare time, and he and Kevin gave a joint presentation at the Telfair Museum last month.\
🙂

Perceptions collide!

Kevin just tweeted that this “wasn’t the most romantic V Day ever…” Huh. And here I was thinking it was nice. He got me presents that I liked, the kids got presents they liked, Kevin got presents (at least one of which he liked, heh). The kids had fun playing with their new Star Wars Lego set and spending extra time with Daddy. Brian and I had extra reading time. We had yummy steak for dinner. What could be better?\
I guess this is what happens when you’re nice to your spouse everyday. Since there isn’t any bad behavior from which to refrain, Val Day seems a lot like every other day!\
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The best of the ’00s

These are the top things from the ’00s that I couldn’t have lived without, in no particular order.

  • Tivo
  • Brian
  • Digital Cameras
  • Dove Caramel Squares
  • I visited Hawaii and Paris. Lucky, lucky me!!! (ok, I could have lived without this, I just wanted to include it on my ‘top of ’00’ list.)
  • Bought a house and have a lot in equity- wheee
  • In-laws moved across the country to be close to us. Well, actually Max 🙂
  • iTunes
  • Internet fan groups and gossip sites
  • Queer as Folk, Veronica Mars, Supernatural, The Office, and How I Met Your Mother
  • Mashups
  • Wegman’s
  • Ballet flats
  • Harry Potter\
    Did I forget anything?\
    We went from living in a two-bedroom apartment with a colicky newborn and my FIL (heee) to a four-bedroom rental house near the ocean, where everyone can feed, dress, entertain, and go to the bathroom by themselves. This decade, for all of its hardships and horrors, has been great for us. We left behind the ‘just started out in the world so I am damn broke’ club and joined the ‘got a mortgage and kids to send to college so I am damn broke’ club. Kevin rose to be the cream of the crop in his profession. He traveled to India, China, and Europe many times and all across the US. He is successful and continues to be challenged and invested at work and lovable and supportive at home. What more could I have asked for?\
    Happy New Year!!

The Internet is Awesome

In need of a funny pick-me-up? Read all three questions and answers: Advice Column.\
Kevin’s younger sister entertained Brian with the famous bunny story while tying his shoes over our Thanksgiving visit, but Brian wants a new story now. What is a mom to do? Google it! Here is a list of several that I had never heard of before: Shoelace Stories.\
Raise your hand if you know more than five kids with Autism? An interesting and hopeful article: Doctors are now advised to actively screen for Autism, Early Intervention is Key.\
A simple way to help save a life: Stoves needed in Darfur. This is an old article, but still relevant.\
My favorite version of a Kelly Clarkson song: My Life Would Suck Without You.

Max!

Some people have asked why Max isn’t saying The Pledge of Allegiance in school, so here is my answer: Because he is a smart, independent, awesome kid.\
Here is the pledge: I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America and to the republic for which it stands: one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.\
He feels that the government is being hypocritical by denying liberty and justice to some of its citizens and doesn’t want to recite hollow words.\
Max came to this decision on his own and only told us about it after. We didn’t start this, but we do support him. To this end, Do not give him grief over this, capiche? Or I’ll have Tiny and Fat Tony visit you while you are sleeping…\
Max has such a defined sense of right and wrong and is so sensitive to the plight of others. During free time he makes banners opposing surgeries for intersex children and rants about big business strong-arming governments into less ecologically-friendly policies.\
So, that is my kid. Well, a part of him. I want to keep him as hopeful, loving, and blessedly naive for as I long as I can.\
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Random kid stories

Story #1: When we moved into this house, the kids were sharing a room so we designated the biggest room, aside from the master, as their room. Both twin beds, two small bookcases, a reading chair, a toy box, and a set of drawers fit in there with room to spare. I love the big rooms that houses have! It is so unlike our townhouse in Virginia where a twin bed would barely fit.\
A couple of months later we decided to splurge on a queen bed and set up a nice guest room so that older family members (read: grandmas and grandpas) would be comfortable when they visited. A short while later, Max eyed the big, deliciously comfortable guest bed and decided he wanted his own room. Even though it housed a bunch of homeless office boxes, Max was pretty happy to be in there.\
Now Brian has the bigger room, with even more space to himself since Max’s stuff has been moved out. The extra twin bed is still in Brian’s room, for when Max gets displaced by visiting relatives (which he agreed to before the move occurred). It just makes me laugh that somehow the youngest ended up with the big, pretty room. I thought that wouldn’t happen until Max’s college years.\
Story #2: Report cards were issued this week and awards handed out. The kids did really well on their report cards. When he handed me his report card, Max said, “I didn’t make the Honor Roll…” He kept a straight face and then said, “I made the High Honor Roll.” What a stinker.\
They both also received a citizenship award for embodying the different touchy-feely themes of the month, like Respect and Integrity. This award is only given to two kids per class and BOTH of my kids got it. Wheeeeeeeeee. I am more proud of this, in some ways, than I am of their academic achievement. I am also impressed that Max’s teacher awarded it to him since he has been abstaining from saying The Pledge of Allegiance. That she could see past his ‘not going along with the flow’ says a lot about her.\
Brian also received a Perfect Attendance Award, which is silly. At his age, he is not in charge of whether he goes to school or or if he stays cold/flu/vomit-free.\
Max also received an award for meeting his Accelerated Reader points goal. His goal was 10, which can be achieved by reading one book, but usually takes two. This goal was so beneath Max’s abilities, he completed it within the first two weeks of school. I told him I thought he could do better than that. However, I am not going to push him on this. He has enough going on, plus he reads way above grade level for fun and without any extra credit. I wonder what the procedure is for determining what a student’s goal should be, because I feel like a teacher or two got played by Max, ha.