Anyway, yes mom, I have missed new blog "entrees" as well. Chalk it up to a busy schedule, lack of motivation and/or material, laziness, insert your own excuse here. I like to consider February as the armpit of the year (you know, that whole "it's darkest before the dawn" idea), my very least favorite month on the calendar so maybe my annual mid-winter funk can bear the burden for my virtual absence.
For those of you still following along, I thought I'd provide a general "here's what you've been up to" kind of post.
- Girlfriend is still ruling kindergarten and her mid-year conference left us walking out the doors of her school with feelings of great pride in her accomplishments and hard work, a little bewildered at reports that she's a model student in terms of following directions, and laughing at the fact that she's already being censored for writing slightly inappropriate commentary in her daily work. Note to anyone who may invite Punkin to your house for a sleepover: if, in the middle of the night, you assume she is fast asleep and either intentionally or unintentionally pass gas next to her, Punkin will be fully aware of this event and document it in writing for her teacher to read and share with 18 five year olds. I won't name any names, but this story did NOT take place at our house although it very well could have. Farts are still by far the most hilarious thing on the face of the Earth according to our children.
- I learned this month that Punkin has used her Drama Queen magic to completely bamboozle at least one of her teachers. Wondering if there was something negative taking place in Punkin's life, one of her teachers came to me to inquire about, shall we say, Punkin's "moods". Coming from a place of sincere concern, she commented that some days Punkin just seems so sad. When she's happy, she said, she lights up the room with her energy, but when she's having an off day she is the picture of dejection and depression (my interpretation, not her words). I struggled not to laugh out loud as this teacher was being very genuine in her inquiries, but anyone who has spent more than an hour around Punkin knows how quickly she can swing from one extreme to the next. It's an art form, really. I appreciated her concern and care for my little diva, but reassured her that everything in Punkin's life is stable and that she's just slightly dramatic at times. She loves school, has no (valid) complaints, and is probably just demonstrating an "off" moment on those days. Then again, this is the same girl who told me two weeks ago that her life "is just the wuhst [worst]" so what do I know? I responded with a very positive, "Oh, trust me, I can show you what a worse life looks like" and I haven't heard any further complaints yet.
- When not at school, Punkin spent a good majority of her time this month playing 30 second snippets of songs on her iPod before moving on to the next song, dancing "in 3D" (i.e., kicking her leg out dangerously close to my face while I sat on the floor watching), and flashing her best model poses in a fierce impromptu beauty pageant walk-off. In summary, Punkin is still possesses a personality combination of delightfully charming, ridiculously hilarious, and still solidly strange as demonstrated just this afternoon when she asked if she could smell the rubber cement I was using at work.
- Our second grader also continues to kick some serious second grade butt. Her reading fluency is above average, she brings home math enrichment worksheets almost daily and we've been reassured that her math facts knowledge is right on target and not an area of concern, and she is loving participating in RAE and MAE. There's been a bit of a taste of the D.R.A.M.A. that comes with the territory of being (and having) a girl but so far she has weathered that storm with a level head, grace, and dignity. She makes me so proud.
- In the last week or so she's been complaining fairly consistently of headaches; I originally thought it could be a result of this crazy temperature swings we've been experiencing lately. Just a couple of days ago though I heard the dreaded words, "Today the board was a little bit fuzzy". An eye appointment has been scheduled and The General and I have our fingers crossed that our optically doomed children can live a glasses free life for just a little bit longer.
- Now that Shortcake is a bona fide bike rider, she's been taking advantage of our mild winter at every opportunity to fine tune her riding skills. It's a little ridiculous how excited I get to see her hop on her bike and just take off like she's been doing it all her life. You can tell she's still pretty impressed with herself too.
- That aforementioned beauty pagent walk-off served as proof that there is little I love more in this world than the sound of Shortcake's uncontrolled laughter. Although she's an overall happy girl, my Shortcake is still pretty serious and contemplative a good portion of the day. To hear her really break loose with joy fills my soul with sunshine that I could live on for days.
- A fairly solid month turned a little upside down when we learned last week that The General's workplace is in our governor's cross hairs. Our state is in a serious financial mess, and one of his solutions for moving toward a balanced budget is closing four prisons and various developmental and mental health facilities as well as consolidating DCFS offices around the state. It's a more than a little disconcerting when you stop to consider how we ended up in the dire situation that Illinois is in, but removing vital support and resources for our neediest citizens is certainly not where I would start. Not to worry though! Those public officers that we trusted to represent us will sidestep the steep budget cuts being proposed and will receive their annual raises to account for adjusted living expenses as voted on by who? Oh yes, the General Assembly. Let's all say it together: not one goes back!
- If you are so inclined, please consider signing the petition to keep The General's facility open. Sometimes it's the small things that can make a big difference and a show of public support never hurt a cause. You can find the petition here and while you're at it how about signing the petition to keep my hometown safe as well? You can find that petition right here.
- My brother likes to say that he attends every single village meeting in his town "just to keep them honest", and in these times no group of people need to be kept honest more than our legislators. Why not contact them with a phone call or email and express your support for keeping these facilities open? You can visit the Illinois State Board of Elections website where you can find out who and where to contact by simply entering your street address. And before you question the need? Just remember: this blog doesn't pay the bills. ;)
- In addition to my full time jobs as a speech pathologist and mother/wife, this month I became a part time fundraiser. In an effort to raise money for Special Olympics Illinois, I co-organized a trivia night fundraiser hosted by our polar plunge team last weekend. Lots of planning, several freakouts, multiple positive self-talk sessions, and many hours went into creating an evening that was both fun and monetarily successful. In this one evening we raised almost $2500, and although we have several ideas for improving for next year overall I was very proud of the event that we produced.
- Our polar plunge is this Sunday at Loon Lake in Yorkville, Illinois. I have promised that, although not required, I will completely submerge myself in the frigid waters if I can individually raise $500. I am a mere $85 away from that goal, so if you haven't donated already maybe you would consider contributing to my fundraising page. The General has promised that there is no way he'd miss this opportunity to watch me make what will perhaps be one of the dumbest decisions of my life, so I'll count on him to be there to provide photographic proof of my plunge. To all of you who have donated already: THANK YOU!
- Although I started off January with gusto, my plan for healthy eating and regular work out sessions has gone down hill in dramatic fashion. Four pounds lost in January has translated to six pounds gained in February, and frankly I am disgusted by not only my physical condition but general lack of ambition to do anything about it. To think that one year ago I was in serious training for the half-marathon and as a result peak post-high school physical condition makes me beyond angry with myself. Next month, it's back on track. Eye on the prize; Warrior Dash is less than four months away!
So, as you can see, it's been a fairly average, boring month here at Casa de One Carbon Hill. We are now in a holding pattern anxiously awaiting word of arrival of Baby Eleven and looking ahead with excitement for Baby Twelve's arrival as well. There's nothing like loving on a new niece or nephew, so for today I say it's out with the old (goodbye, February!) and in with the new (yay, newborn baby smells!).