Find Good In Every Day

One mom's attempt at finding good in every day of this chaotic world.

Routine March 30, 2010

Filed under: Daily Blog — Robin @ findgoodineveryday @ 3:59 pm

I’ve talked about our desire for change.  We crave it.  But at the same time, I love a sense of routine.  I was reminded of this a couple of weekends ago.

We had a pretty busy weekend – car checkup, termite inspection, yard work, haircut, visit with Meema, and brunch with friends (more about this in a later post).  It was fun, though.  Mostly routine things that went off without a hitch.  After the brunch on Sunday, we had nothing planned but felt we needed to get out of the house.  We took a trip up to Annapolis just for fun.  Why not go to Target in Annapolis?  Yes, it is a break from our routine of going to the Rockville Target or the Cherry Hill Target, but in a way just getting out for new adventures has become routine for us.  So we explored a new area and enjoyed a nice early spring day.

On the way home, though, I realized I needed to get to the grocery store.  The kids were begging for the park, so we split up.  Jeremy went with the kids to the park, and I went to the store.  I pulled into our small grocery store parking lot (gotta love Sniders!) and just fell into routine.  I easily parked, got my cart and started on my journey through the stores.  I knew exactly where to go.  It’s a small store, so you can easily go down every aisle and still get out of there within 15 minutes.  But on days like that day where I knew exactly what I needed from my short list, I only hit up the aisles that I needed.  I went to my normal cashier, enjoyed a friendly (routine) greeting with him, paid for my groceries, and headed back out to the car…  all within 7 minutes.

As I raced home to put the groceries away so I could join the rest of the family at the park, I relished in my situation.  We live 2 blocks from this small grocery store, and I am there on almost a daily basis going through this same routine.  I see familiar faces (although none that I would start a conversation with – again, another blog for another time) and buy familiar things.  It is my routine, and I love it.

As Jeremy and I continue to talk about the next phase in our life, I can’t help but think about the great life we have built here in Silver Spring in our little 2-mile microcosm.  We have a great routine that does not involve long commutes, traffic, lines at the grocery store, or cross-town pickup schedules.  The kids go to schools across the street from each other.  Yes, their pickup times are different, but since it is only 1.5 miles from our house, I don’t mind the multiple drives.  Jeremy can scooter to work, which has allowed us to be a one car family for a year and a half.  I work only 3 blocks from home, so I have been able to quickly run home to meet plumbers, delivery people, etc.  The grocery store is 2 blocks away, so I can quickly get last minute needs.  The park is 1 block away, so we can take the kids there for the 15 minutes between dinner and bathtime (in the summer hours, of course!)  And when Mason goes to kindergarten (which she will do officially in 2011), we can walk the 4 blocks to her elementary school every day.

Why would we want to give up this great life?  We have a great routine, and I really appreciate it and am thankful for it.  I know that whatever we decide, if there is change, I will find new routines.  But I can’t help but think of how much I will miss my current routines.  There are not many places in this country (that we can afford) that allow us to live this life of proximity.  But I know that proximity is not all that we desire in our living situation.  There is so much more that we feel we are missing (although the brunch I talked about earlier helped.)  and will look for in our next adventure.  Only time can tell, though.

 

Disneyworld… Then and Now March 19, 2010

Filed under: Daily Blog — Robin @ findgoodineveryday @ 3:39 pm

I thought it would be fun to do a comparison of our Disneyworld trip from 2008 and the one from 2010. 

Mason on the teacups for the first time.

She's a pro now and spins it herself!

 

Cooper and Mommy in 2008...

In 2010, he was ready to go on the rides!

 

Newly introduced to Cinderella...

Now they are old friends.

 

Cooper was all about chillin' in 2008...

He barely stopped moving in 2010. This was a rare occurrence!

 

She thinks she is so cool here.

Now she knows she is cool.

 

Lake Family 2008

Lake Family 2010 (much better!)

 

To Kindergarten or Not To Kindergarten

Filed under: Daily Blog — Robin @ findgoodineveryday @ 2:20 pm

My singing and dancing queen.

As I mentioned in a previous post, the uncertainty of whether we put Mason in kindergarten in the fall is a topic that has weighed heavily on Jeremy and I.  When we signed her up for her current preschool, we were sure it was only going to be for a year.  She had been on the same path as many kids in her daycare, and they were all going to kindergarten in the fall of 2010, so why wouldn’t Mason?  And to be honest, we were greatly looking forward to only one more year of dual daycare/preschool costs that keep us on a strict budget.  But the first two weeks of preschool made us question that choice.  She was having a very rough time with the transition.  She kept wanting to go back to her “old school” (daycare).  Even though she already knew two of the girls in her class from her old school, she was not convinced it was going to be fun each morning when we dropped her off.  I told Jeremy every day, when I got to work after a 20 minute struggle to keep her at school, that I could not handle another transition like this next year in kindergarten and I was questioning that choice already.  But after two weeks, she miraculously realized that her new school was fun and that she was having a great time.  She had matured…  finally.  But the seed was already planted in my mind.  Was she really ready for kindergarten?  Was she at the same level as the other kids in her class?  She seemed very young compared to some of them (of which a few turned 5 in the month after she turned 4).

The biggest comparison I had was her best friend, Luka, who I watch after school every day.  Luka is 6 months older than Mason, and sometimes that 6 months seems like a year of maturity and knowledge.  She is a very bright girl (coming from super intelligent and worldly parents), and the difference between her and Mason those first few months of school was very apparent.  I decided that there was no way Mason would be ready for kindergarten in 2010, and had thus written off the option entirely by December.

I guess I should interrupt here to explain the kindergarten entrance policy.  In our county, kids must be 5 by September 1st to enter kindergarten.  But in 2006, they added the Early Entrance to Kindergarten Policy that would allow children born within 6 weeks after the September 1st deadline to test in.  That deadline would be October 15th, just one day after Mason’s birthday.  So we are within our right to test Mason in to kindergarten for early entrance.

In the past two months, though, I have noticed a major change with Mason.  It is like she is slowly catching up to Luka.  (I  know that I should not compare because all kids are different, and there are many levels of “maturity” that should be taken into account when considering this kindergarten decision.  But when I have a daily chance to see the differences between the two girls, it’s hard not to compare.)  Then I looked at the application for testing her in, and I felt she was definitely within the limits.  She can perform self-help tasks independently.  She handles change and transition well.  (Now at least.)  She interacts easily with one or more children.   She can identify most letters and uses letters and words to write.  She recognizes the reasons for rules, and she likes to sing and dance (yes, that is on the application.)  Even more importantly is that she has been in full-day daycare and school since she was 9 months old and has always been with older kids.  So along with the changes I have seen in Mason and with the knowledge that she seems to have most of the characteristics they would be looking for at the observation, I have started to question our decision to keep her out of kindergarten for another year.

Luckily we had a parent/teacher conference scheduled for yesterday with Mason’s teachers.  Jeremy and I were very eager to discuss it with them.  They told us about Mason’s progress and how she is successfully doing many of the characteristics they look for.  The areas she needs work?  Displaying confidence, especially in a large group; focusing on learning, especially when in a large group; recognizing lower case letters; starting tasks without asking for help first.  The confidence is the big kicker for me.  I don’t want Mason to always feel inadequate compared to her older classmates.  I don’t want her to struggle to complete tasks while kids around her are moving on quickly.  Raising a confident young woman is hard enough with all the external pressures, but to also have to deal with losing self-confidence in the classroom?  That might be more than I can take.

On the other hand, how will Mason feel when all her friends go off to kindergarten and she stays behind in preschool another year?  (Luckily none of her current classmates would be going to her kindergarten anyway.)  Will she become too confident when she becomes the mother hen in her preschool class next year when she is clearly the oldest?  Will she be too bossy?  Most of all, will she be bored and subsequently have no interest in learning?  (My biggest fear having witnessed this with many of my friends in high school.)  And looking at the kids I know that will be in her kindergarten class in 2011, I feel she is light years beyond them.  I know a year can make a huge difference at this age, but it is still hard to imagine her friends being the kids that were in the younger class at her daycare when she was with the older kids the whole time.

The conversation with Mason’s teachers was very helpful, though.  They told us to not always think of the negative parts of keeping her in preschool another year.  She may become a natural leader, having been the oldest among her classmates.  She will be able to build her confidence and then have a much more emotionally stable time at school.  But the big kicker to us was their suggestion that putting her in kindergarten early may work now, but being the youngest could catch up to her eventually.  It would be much less traumatic to keep her back now when she has no idea what’s going on than to have to hold her back in 3rd grade when she has established friends and is more aware of the situation.  So true.  We have not discussed any of this with Mason, so she truly is unaware of the possibility of going to kindergarten (Or at least we think so.  Who  knows what her friends at school are telling her?  I’ll have to check on that one.)  All in all, her teachers definitely understood our conflicted position and said that Mason was right on the fence and could go either way.

As we left our parent/teacher conference, Jeremy and I were both about 90% sure of keeping her in preschool another year.  We keep telling ourselves that we are not “holding her back.”  We are just not “pushing her forward.”  We are keeping her on the natural track she should be in.  Yes, we’ll have to deal with preschool costs for another year.  Yes, it means Mason and Cooper will only be two years apart in school, and we will then have to deal with two college tuitions at the same time for two years.  Yes, we may have to answer some tough questions in the fall when she is the only one in her preschool class again.  (Note:  We were assured by her teacher that the curriculum will be different next year anyway as this was a transition year at the school.  We were told that they would definitely be pushing Mason beyond what the other kids are doing, so that she is still progressing and will not get bored.)  But we feel that this decision is really what is right for Mason at this time.

We want to do what’s best for our kids all the time, and this is one of the hardest decisions for me so far as a parent.  I know many more hard issues will come up, but we’ve done what parents should do…  We’ve looked at both sides of the table.  We’ve considered how Mason would handle either decision, and in the end, we realize that putting her in kindergarten in 2011 is most likely the best choice.  (Remember, I said we’re 90% sure right now.)

 

Numbers According to a 4-Year-Old March 18, 2010

Filed under: Daily Blog — Robin @ findgoodineveryday @ 8:57 am

I had a few coupons laying around this morning, so I tried to teach Mason how to recognize the numbers on them.  Does anyone else have problems explaining things to kids?  Try to explain the concept of cents and dollars…  Oh my.  I consider myself good at math, but teaching anyone else about it, especially a 4-year-old, is not for me.  It just is what it is.  They should come out of the womb just understanding all these complicated concepts.  It would make my life much easier.  Try to explain “annoyed” to a kid.  Another tough one for me.

Ok, so back to the coupons.  We first started with 60/sixty.  That’s an easy one since there is “six” in the word.  She caught on and recognized 40/forty.  But then I put the 20 cent coupon in front of her.  Her guess?

“Two-ty”

Say it out loud – it’s funny!  And very cute.  And based on the previous numbers, that was exactly the right guess.  She knows the word “twenty,” but has not seen the number 20 very often to connect the two.  It was a fun little breakfast lesson that made me laugh early in the morning.  I had to share.

 

Fluff March 15, 2010

Filed under: Daily Blog — Robin @ findgoodineveryday @ 1:50 pm

I have to admit that I have not been super happy with my most recent posts.  Sure, I love sharing pictures with you all, but otherwise the posts are pure fluff.  Just a visual glimpse into our life.  There is nothing in-depth.  I’ve been wondering if the title of my blog itself is hindering me from more serious posts.  Really, the title demands “good” from my everyday life.  One of the reasons I wanted to start a blog was not only to share the good memories that I create with my family, but also to be able to write about being a mother and a wife.  We all know that those roles are not always sunshine and roses.  And my life as a mother and wife is more than just vacations, playdates, games, and pizza nights.  There are serious sides to it as well.  For instance, here are some things on my mind as of late:

1.  Helping my husband find what it is he is missing in his life – whether it be a hobby or a job he is passionate about.

2.  Deciding whether Mason is ready for kindergarten or not – should we test her in early and force her to adapt to life with older kids or keep her on pace to enter kindergarten as one of the oldest kids.

3.  Trying to get over this hump at my job.  I’ve been here for 2 years (in the role I’m currently in), and I’m now realizing that I need to prove myself again.  (This is not by any demands of my bosses; it is a demand from myself.)

4.  How do I encourage a picky eater to eat a variety of foods when I am picky myself?

5.  Scheduling training times for myself and Jeremy so we can run a 10k race together in June.  It’s not easy to find the time to train, make dinner, do laundry, get kids to bed and to school, and still have fun as a family and as a couple.

As you can see, there are a lot of daily struggles.  I want to write about them because this blog is my outlet.  This is my way to get words down.  Yes, I could write it all down in a journal I don’t share with anyone, but saying that I will do that and actually doing it are two totally different things.  And believe it or not, I do have a teaching gene in me.  I may not have gone the traditional Donohoe route and become a teacher, but I do still strive to teach others… whether it be my own kids, my co-workers, or even random readers of this blog.

So consider this a warning.  This blog may get some new content.  I’ll still post pictures and share our good times with all of you.  But I’ll also start examining more serious issues, starting with some of those that I listed above.  If I can write about what my findings are related to my life’s issues, it may help someone else.  Heck, in this digital world, maybe even Mason can read this blog when she becomes a mother and better understand her own mother and the timeless struggles all mothers go through.  My goal is still to find the good in every day.  And I hope that by being able to write freely about some of my issues and forcing myself to research and share, the good will reveal itself.

I can already see my “good” for today.  I feel more open and free because I have now allowed myself to push this blog to a level beyond fluff.

 

Magical Days… Rain Included March 12, 2010

Filed under: Daily Blog — Robin @ findgoodineveryday @ 10:41 pm

In less than 24 hours, we will be landing back at BWI and vacation will be over.  Sad times.  But the week itself included lots of great times.  It’s impossible to name all of them, so I will try to list some of the highlights.  If it were up to Cooper to write this blog, there would be only two highlights.  Play drums and Nemo.  Or as Cooper would say it, “Cooper play drums myself.”  or  “See Nemo and Daddy Nemo and Mommy Nemo.  Orange.”  Does that sum it up for you?  Didn’t think so.

Yes, Cooper did get to play drums…  at Sea World, Epcot and Animal Kingdom.  We did see the Nemo show at Animal Kingdom.  Oh, and he enjoyed the “teacups in the air” at Sea World.  He got over his initial over stimulation from the first day and finally got into the groove.  He was super excited to see the tigers at Animal Kingdom and was quite smitten with seeing any drums whether they were in marching bands, drum corps or just drums he could play himself.  I know he can’t wait to get a hand on his real drum at home, though.  I think that will be the first thing he runs for when we walk in the door.

Another common theme for Cooper this week was wanting the pink or orange version of everything. Luckily all of these "teacups" were pink.

The highlights for Mason were much more wide ranged.  She had new favorites every single day.  The hardest day for her was at Sea World, though, because she really wanted to ride the big roller coasters, but was not big enough.  She cried every time Kristin, Jeremy and Nana went on the big roller coasters that she couldn’t go on.  To appease her, we took her on a water flume ride at Sea World for which she was tall enough.  Sadly we hadn’t read into this ride much in our Disney with Kids book, which we saw later suggested it for 7+.  Mason did not like the big drop.  I didn’t like the big drop, nor did Kristin or Jeremy.  It was crazy!  It was a huge drop, and the ride was awful.  Definitely will not be doing that again.  Luckily she got over her fear and went on the River Rapids ride at Animal Kingdom and some other roller coasters that were more her size.  So glad that didn’t turn into another paranoia for her!  To sum up, though, Mason had 4 favorites for the week.

1.  River Rapids

2.  High School Musical Show

She was disappointed the real Gabriella and Troy were not there, but still loved all the music and dancing.

3.  Playhouse Disney Show

4.  Goofy’s Barnstormer roller coaster

Honestly, I don’t know much about Jeremy’s highlights of the week.  If I were to guess, it would be the new Toy Story Mania game at Hollywood Studios, not being at work, and having fun with the kiddos.

Army guy and my fam...

Most of my highlights from the trip were a little more subtle.  I loved watching the kids have fun.  I loved hearing the joy in their voices when they saw something magical.  I loved that we got to spend quality time together, no matter rain or shine.

My little drummer boy.

Mason was such a big girl with Sleeping Beauty. I was very proud.

One of the rare family photos... Starting off our safari with Minnie.

So despite the downpour of rain the last two days of our vacation, we still had a blast.  The kids were great most of the time, and we built some amazing memories.  Can’t do much better than that on a family vacation.  Now…  if only we didn’t have to wait so long for the next one.

 

Sun and Fun March 7, 2010

Filed under: Daily Blog — Robin @ findgoodineveryday @ 9:12 pm

Aahhh…  The feeling of sun on our skin.  Yes, that’s right – bare skin.  Quite unusual for the past several months in Maryland.  But here in Florida, we are baring our skin and loving it!  Granted we are just baring our arms with short sleeves, but hoping that we will be swimming within a day or two as the weather gets warmer.

Jeremy has encouraged me to try to post a few blogs this week while we’re here in Florida.  I can’t promise anything, but as I sit here watching the Oscars with Cooper sleeping in the other room and the rest of the gang out watching fireworks at Magic Kingdom, I figured why not.  So here I am….  trying my hardest to enjoy my vacation by keeping away from email and Facebook.  (Ok, you caught me.  I checked both.  But only because I’m sitting here alone!  Please don’t tell Jeremy!)

We landed in the sunshine of Florida yesterday after a pretty easy flight. (Thank you Mason and Cooper!)  After making our way through baggage claim and the rental car line with 7 hungry people, we finally managed to eat “linner” and then settle in at the Grande Vista Resort.

Sunset on the lake

We were excited to tour the resort knowing that there had been many improvements since the last time we had been here.  We were pleasantly surprised with all the new stuff – a new gym, new ice cream parlor, new spa, new kids room…  It’s great!  We will definitely need to plan some time here throughout the week.

The true start of our vacation 1 year in the making.

But we couldn’t rest for long.  Disneyworld awaited!  So on our first full day here in Florida, we headed to the motherlode – Magic Kingdom!  Much like Mason her first time 2 years ago, Cooper was overwhelmed.  He was just not himself all morning as he tried to digest all that was going on around him, all that we were telling him.  It is a lot to take in at his age.  He made it through the Tea Cups, cried through Mickey’s Philharmagic 3D show, and then finally lightened up after Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh and some lunch (what kid doesn’t cheer up after french fries and ketchup for lunch?)

Spin, spin.. round and round

Mason, on the other hand, acted like a pro.  She knew what she wanted to do.  She was ready for her princesses and ready for her roller coasters.  (I love that thrill side of her!  It’s such a different side of her than we usually see.)

Mason and Kristin - ride sidekicks

All in all, it was a great day.  It was a long day, but a good one.  A good mix of kid-friendly fun and adult fun.  Off to Sea World tomorrow!  I can’t wait for this one since we passed on it last time.  We hear the roller coasters there are the best!  We’ll see if I have the nerve.