Archive for August, 2012

An Open Letter to the Tooth Fairy

August 29, 2012

This certainly  is not the first time I’ve discussed the Tooth Fairy. Over the many years of Lang kids losing teeth, there’s been plenty of times to talk about the Tooth Fairy’s services. But this is the first time I’ve written directly to her. I’m sincerely grateful for her flexibility and willingness to accommodate our specific needs.

Dear Tooth Fairy

Thank you for making occasional midday trips, when you were overbooked the night before. It is truly appreciated. I know Max will be SO happy that you didn’t forget him. As a M.O.M., I know you NEVER ACTUALLY forget to visit a child who has lost a tooth, but sometimes children question that fact.

So again, I thank you for your daytime, Kids-are-at-school visit. You are Good Stuff!

Sincerely,
M.O.M.

Doing the Dance of the Children…One Tooth At A Time~

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It’s Not Like He Didn’t Warn Me

August 23, 2012

It’s Day 3 of Back to School and at exactly 5:08 Lex showed up in the kitchen and went to the garbage can. I told him to go back to bed. He didn’t move. I asked him what he was doing. He didn’t move. Then…throw up.

I can’t say I didn’t have warning. 11 1/2 hours ago, when we were all at the dinner table and I was doing my motherly duty of making sure the kids eat a variety of foods and finish the minuscule portion of whatever food they’re saying they hate, he warned me. At least 3 times he said that if he ate it, he’d throw up. And at least 3 times, I assured him that he was overreacting and that he needed to eat it. He did, and here we are. I guess it’s no school for Salmon Boy.

This isn’t the first time I’ve had to learn the hard way. About 20 years ago, Kateri sat at the dining table and cried over minestrone soup. I said pretty much the same things to her that I said to Lex last night. And sure enough, she ate it and sure enough, we had minestrone soup all over the floor afterward. Guess what I’ve NEVER again served in my house.

Well, I know that I won’t stop serving salmon, but I will stop insisting that Lex eat it. He did his job, he tried it. He was also kind enough to warn me of the outcome. Either he’s a visionary or he’s stubborn enough to make sure he was going to be right. Either way, no more salmon for Lex.

Doing the Dance of the Children~

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First Day of School Jitters

August 21, 2012

It’s nearly noon and the house is quiet. I’ve been working for the last 3 hours and haven’t been interrupted once. Yep, school is back in session!

Last night we had a decent little case of kiddo meltdowns over the thought of the first-day-back-to-school. Gabi was upset about her clothing selection and was sure that school would be WAY TOO hard. Max got stubborn about starting a new school and Tristan began fixating on the fact that all of his classrooms were divisible by the #3. Lex was the only one who didn’t seem to worry about school starting. I love that kid’s attitude!

We made it through the night and I woke a little before my alarm, anxious to get everything done in time for getting out the door with ease. But then it happened…I got the First Day of School Jitters! All of a sudden, I started thinking about Max and I realized I hadn’t contacted his teacher in any manner. I realized that my genius, aspergers boy was going to a new school, with a new teacher and a whole classroom-heck, a whole SCHOOL-of new people who weren’t AT ALL aware of his particular challenges and individual gifts. How did I drop the ball on that one?! To my credit, I didn’t allow my anxiety to spill over into the morning routine or onto the children. But I am still VERY nervous about how this day is going for Max.

Though…Max is a super bright young man and he isn’t shy about sharing his identification on the Autism Spectrum, with others. I’m hopeful that if anything comes up today that he will boldly state that he has some special requirements. It’s not like the school doesn’t have all of his documentation!

I will email his teacher and set up a sit-down with her and Max’s teacher from last year contacted me to let me know that she’s happy to talk to his new teacher.

(First Day of School Smiles)

It’s all going to be fine. IT IS!

This M.O.M. is going to take a few more big breaths, grab a big glass of ice water and compose a fantabulous email to the teacher.

Here’s to Back-To-School and the hopes for a great year for all my kiddos!

Doing the Dance of the Children~

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Life Isn’t Fair

August 20, 2012

It’s true! Life is just not fair. How can it be? Some people have some things available to them and others have different things available to them. It is just not reasonable to think that everyone will be afforded the same opportunities…even if they’re from the same family.

This is what I’ve been dealing with, mulling over, praying about and ultimately having to make a decision on. My kids each have their own talents, personalities, strengths and weaknesses and over the years, I’ve had to make very individualized decisions for each of them. At one point I had to make the decision to keep one of the kids home for a year and 1/2 so that we could find out what it was that just wasn’t working for them in school, where the holes were in their education and understanding, and how to fill those holes to help my child become a better and more solid learner. This decision has ultimately created a stronger, more confident student, person and athlete. I’ve had to decide whether or not to allow one of the children to participate in their school’s, optional, 2-year Kindergarten program. The kiddo was academically solid, but still had plenty of classroom wiggles that needed to be worked out before they could become a successful (in the opinion of me and the kindergarten staff) 1st grader. That child did the 2 years and has been a completely solid, and self-motivated student, ever since. I’ve also had to make the decision to allow a child to be moved forward a grade. They were so bright and motivated that they were truly working, consistently at a level beyond their grade and classmates. This child has gone on to a fantastic school career and is helping unlock fantastic things for themselves and businesses that they’re working for. I had to make the decision to send my 14 year old son to a boarding school, far away from home (at his request, mind you) to see if there was something that would better feed his mind and spirit. It was a tough decision, but it created a strong young man who is self sufficient and driven in all aspects of his life. None of these decisions would have worked well for any of my other children. They had to be completely based on the individual that was being focused on.

I have recently had to make another such decision.

Last year, when we moved, most of the kids settled into their schools. They made new friends, played sports and pushed forward in their new environment. But one of the kids had a harder time than the others. They tried sports and tried being social, but it just never clicked and I had an unhappy kiddo, all year long. So I made them a promise. I promised that I would seek out other schooling solutions and that they wouldn’t have to return to that school when the new school year came around. And I kept up my end of the bargain. I asked questions of people. I searched the internet. We went and toured a boarding school. I looked into a local Catholic school. Nothing was the right fit. Then the offer was made. The offer by family friends to have that child live with them and go back to their school in San Diego. I immediately felt a huge weight lifted off my shoulders but at the same time, I knew is was going to be a sore subject with the other siblings. Why was this child able to do what they ultimately all wanted to do? I wrestled with the ramifications of allowing one child to leave home, live with another family, live a life that I could NEVER offer to them and be able to get the education that was worked so hard for in the years before we faced retirement and divorce. The door was being opened to this beautiful opportunity, but only for the one.

After much conversation, prayer and thought, the decision was made to say yes!

Today, Maddi starts back at Cathedral Catholic H.S. The very place that 2 of her sisters have graduated from and that she and Anna spent their Freshman year. When we left San Diego one of the saddest things for me was giving up the level of education that my children had been receiving in the private, Catholic schools there. Their dad and I had made many sacrifices to give them the opportunity to have the very best education we could find. There is nothing in our new area that comes close. I can’t change that and I can’t change where I live. If I were able to move back to San Diego and continue giving my children what we all had, I would. But that’s just not a possibility. But just because all of the kids can’t go back doesn’t mean I shouldn’t allow the one who’s being given the chance, to take it. Yes, this has left siblings unhappy. I am sorry for that. I really am! But just as decisions have been made for others on an individual basis, I have to look at this individual and allow for her growth.

This summer before she left

2 years ago with her sisters at CCHS

A very tough decision!

Congratulations to Maddi on her first day back! We will be praying for you and expecting you to work hard and make the most of this opportunity. And most of all, you will be missed. It’s never easy to send one of the kids away, no matter how great it is for them.

Doing the Dance of the Children~

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We LOVE Thomas!

August 19, 2012

A True Story-

We have a bin full of Thomas the Tank Engine trains, track and accessories. This bin was greatly loved and played with for a long time. But over the last 2 years, it’s pretty much sat untouched. Lex isn’t a train kid, though his brothers before him LOVED trains, all kinds of trains. But every time I’ve suggested that he go pull out the Thomas bin and build a track, he tells me it’s just not his thing.

Today we have a birthday party to go to for my 5 yr old cousin. When brainstorming gift ideas on a budget, I came up with the idea to give him the collection of Thomas Trains. Perfect! On the way home from church I was going over the things we needed to do to get ready for the party. When I mentioned packing up the Thomas bin, there was an uproar from Max and Lex; “WHAT?! We play with those! Those are OURS!” To which I responded, “No you don’t!. You haven’t played with them in years.”

The minute we got home, they pulled out the bin, set up a train track and to top it all off, they put in Thomas and the Magic Railroad to watch during lunch. WHAT THE HECK! They looked up at me from the floor and stated, “We LOVE Thomas!…Give him the puzzles!”

Doing the Dance of the Children with No Birthday Gift For My Cousin~

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The Last Days of Summer

August 17, 2012

Here we are, in the final days before Back to School. It’s been a busy week with lots of talk about new teachers, new classrooms and new schools. Tristan will start Middle School and is excited for the change. Max will be at school with Gabi and Lex and isn’t so excited for the change :-( (Must say that breaking the news over sushi really did soften the blow!)

We’re trying to make the most of our last bit of summertime, without doing anything extravagant. We loaded up with and headed out for a day at Tahoe with friends. It took us a while to find a place to set up and stay for the day, but once we found parking, the day was fantastic!

The kids had a great time!

These two were buddies all day! Gabi likes to be the “big” girl!

Tristan has moved into the role of Big Kid and does a fantastic job with the lil ones!

All the boys

The other day I took the kids grocery shopping and Max noticed that coconuts were on sale. This is exactly the kind of thing that Max would notice! So we bought a coconut and Google-searched how to open it. Ours had quite a bit of water in it!

Then I took the hammer to it and was surprised at how easily some of the meat had split from the skin. Upon further examination, we realized it was because it was rotten. So much for our coconut! At least the kids had fun watching me pound a screwdriver into the eyes and then hit it with a hammer!

Something new for the kids to explore!

People always say things to me like, “I bet you can’t wait for school to start!”. But the truth is, I love summer and all the school breaks. I love to have the kids home and for us to be on our own schedule. It’s far more difficult for me to keep us all on the schedule that school demands, than to have the kids home. ~Sigh~

But in a few days, I’ll change my alarm back to 4:30am and start waking kids up at 6am and we’ll conform to the rigorous demands of what school brings.

For the next few days, I’ll be Doing the Dance on our time and enjoying every minute of it!

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Hey Buddy, Let’s Go Have Sushi

August 11, 2012

School’s around the corner and until this morning I wasn’t sure exactly where Max would be going. He’s been placed on a wait list for the only school in the area that has GATE classes and the school that he was in last year, isn’t his “home” school and would require a request for an inter-district transfer. His “home” school was full for his grade last year. All of this left me wondering what was going to become of Max for 4th grade. A phone call to the district office let me know that I wouldn’t really know until today, when the school offices reopened. So, first thing, I headed over there and got the word that he’s been assigned to his “home” school. This means that he’ll be on the same campus as Gabi and Lex, which is a good thing, but it also means that he’s starting another new school and I have to restart all the processes to get a 504 plan in place for him. Another year of explaining all things Max to a new teacher. I’m already tired and frustrated, just thinking about it. Not to mention how hard it is for him to have things change.

~sigh~

From a mom perspective, it’s great because I don’t have to juggle 2 elementary school schedules, but the pluses and the minuses are kind of canceling each other out.

All of this brings me to my title. Ask any of my kids how they feel when I tell them I’m taking them to sushi and you’ll hear the same thing, “what did I do?”. Somehow, sushi has become the key player in breaking bad news to my kids. Don’t get me wrong, they ALL enjoy sushi, but it’s become a symbol of trouble. And yet, if I tried to break news over any other menu, it just wouldn’t fit. I think I’ll wait a couple more days and then invite Max to the inevitable lunch. He’s not going to be happy about the change, but maybe, just maybe bad news is more palatable when your filling up on unagi…maybe?

Doing the Dance of the Children Chopsticks at the Ready~

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Military Spouse and Dependent Scholarships-A Guest Post by Adrienne May

August 6, 2012

Today marks my first guest post. I’ve been approached many times about guest posting on the site, but until Adrienne approached me with info about Scholarships for Military Spouses and dependents, I hadn’t really been interested in opening up the blog to guests. Adrienne has put together some fantastic and helpful information to be shared here.

“When service members retire from their respective branch, there are a multitude of options to help them transition to a post-secondary education or occupation; however, in some cases, their children and spouses, who have been through emotional and physical stress as well, are left with few educational benefits.
Luckily, there are some great organizations, companies and people out there to help these military spouses and children receive the education they truly deserve.
“Our military sacrifices so much for our country, however, it’s not only the soldier that is sacrificing, but the spouse and children of that service member as well,” said Megan Sievers, Foundation Director for the Veterans United Foundation. “These children and spouses should be equally rewarded for their sacrifice.”
School is fast approaching and while many programs have come to a close, there are quite a few that are still open or are already accepting applications for their next round of funding.
Here is a list of scholarship opportunities that military families should consider:
ThanksUSA Scholarship Program
ThanksUSA Scholarship Program is meant specifically for military spouses and dependents of service members that are 24 years old and younger. ThanksUSA offers a maximum of $3,000 for a single year and allows applicants and winners to apply for multiple years.
AMVETS National Scholarship
AMVETS awards 10 scholarships each year, ranging from $1,000 to $4,000. The scholarships are meant for veterans, active military, military children and grandchildren and are awarded on a basis of need and academic merit.
Fisher House Scholarship
The Fisher House Foundation Scholarship is funded primarily though manufactures and suppliers who sell products at military commissaries. A minimum of $1,500 is awarded at every commissary location where qualified applicants venture. Get more information on the scholarship here!


Children of Warriors National Presidents’ Scholarship
The Children of Warriors Scholarship acknowledges the sacrifices of military children and rewards them with three scholarships per geographic division, ranging from $2,500 to $3,500. See geographic divisions and more information here.
Veterans United Foundation Scholarship
Veterans United Home Loans’ non-profit foundation, the Veterans United Foundation, offers five bi-annual scholarships of $2,000 for military veterans, active military, military spouses and children of service members and veterans. To be eligible for the Veterans United Foundation Scholarship applicants must be pursuing a post-secondary degree at an accredited college or university.
Scholarships by Branch
There are also some great scholarships given out to military families through the service member’s respective branch.
Army Scholarship Foundation
Students eligible for the Army Scholarship Foundation must be under the age of 24, have a minimum of a 2.0 GPA, have a FASFA on file and have a parent serving in the Army. Eligible recipients can receive a scholarship ranging from $500 to $2,000.
Navy League of the United States Scholarship Program
This scholarship is open to children of US Navy members, as well as those serving in the Marine Corps, Coast Guard, Merchant Marine and Naval Sea Cadet Corps. Applicants must have a minimum GPA of 3.0.
General Henry H. Arnold Education Grant
This grant is specifically for the dependents of those serving in the Air Force. Students under the age of 24 could receive a grant up to $2,000. You must fill out a FASFA and meet the basic requirements.
Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation
Applicants who have had a parent in the Marine Corps and are first-time college or tech school student are eligible for one of the Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation grants. Last year, the foundation awarded over $6 million to eligible students. Find out more information on the scholarship program here.”

Adrienne May is a military spouse and mother of three. Adrienne is also the featured author for Military Spouse Central and Military Family Central, two blogs proudly sponsored by Veterans United Home Loans. Connect with Adrienne personally on Google+ or Twitter!

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Mommy of Many Morning Short-The Question of Pajamas

August 5, 2012

Gabi-”Why do pajama tops exactly match pajama bottoms and that’s ok? But in the daytime your clothes aren’t supposed to do that?”

The girl’s got a point!

Doing the Dance of the Children~

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I Miss Strollers!

August 2, 2012

Two things recently happened that made me flash back to the M.O.M. who was constantly on the look out for the next great thing, the next good, better, BEST and most functional/fashionable way to transport my brood of toddlers and babies. ~sigh~ Oh how I LOVED strollers! And let me tell you, in the 17 years that I spent as a stroller purchaser, I owned more than my fair-share of them!

I’ve owned umbrella strollers, single strollers, double strollers that were side-by-side and double strollers that were front-to-back, sit-and-stand strollers, jogging strollers, jogging strollers that converted to bike trailers and even a triple stroller or two. I was always in a state of envy over the fancy carts that day care facilities owned. At different times in my Mommy career, I also cared for a few extra kiddos and how I wished, WISHED for one of those 6-seaters! Yes!

But the Crown Jewel of my collection was my final stroller. I truly feel like I ended on a high note, going out with what was a FANTASTIC and unique stroller (for 6 years ago). When I delivered Luke-Xavier, those close to me, gathered together and bought me the Phil and Ted’s Explorer, with the jumpseat. I went on to purchase a few extras, to get it exctly the way I wanted it and I never looked back! Happy M.O.M!

But now they have all the fancy, cool-looking and surely, easy-to-handle strollers, who’s names I don’t even know! Someday when I become a Grandma, I’m going to buy a super-fancy pram AND a state-of-the-art, does-everything-for-you and makes-you-look-cooler-than-all-the-rest strollers to wheel my lil Grandkiddo around in. I CAN’T WAIT!

All you parents out there who are strolling your lil ones around and looking super awesome…I’m watching you, with a twinge of jealousy.

Doing the Dance of the Children…sans a stroller~

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