Wednesday, February 15, 2012


I had a meeting at the school the other day.  One of the teachers asked me to come in, so I did.  The teacher wanted to discuss the reading skills of the child, which admittedly are slightly lacking for the age.

Although, with an extended teacher absence, the reliability of her measuring tests was questioned, because the previous two scores were higher than the super low score she was concerned about, therefore I doubt the accuracy of the test. 

Anyhow.... I voted to not send this child to the special services team.  They are on grade level (just not excelling), and I think it will soon click.  As I came home, and was trying to decide if I had made the right decision, I was flipping through the mail.  Lo and behold- a letter from the school!  Asking for permission to test the same child for the "talented and gifted" program. 

Huh.  So, either this child needs special services, is gifted, or neither and is just fine.  My vote is for just fine! 

The test won't matter anyway, since it wouldn't happen until next year and therefore won't make a difference, but the child opted to take it anyway.  It will be interesting to see the results!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

How To: Eat out with kids

We stumbled upon a fantastic way to eat out.  We happened to try a new restaurant a few weeks ago, and as luck would have it, we went on a night when our new best friend was there as well:
Xtreme Gaming 360!

It is a mobile truck/cart with video games all over it.  They usually do birthday parties and things, and are just getting into a few restaurants.  They set up, hand all the kids a controller, and let the kids play.  Since we first stumbled upon this wonder, we have followed them to 3 different places!  Last night we wanted to go out to eat, and called them to see where they would be! 

It is like having a date!  Only better, because the kids still run in and out, they eat some food (really fast so they can get back to the game), and we don't have to pay for a babysitter!  Kydon and I eat in peace and quiet, have great conversations, and are entertained by the kids coming back to give reports now and then!  I need to get some pictures- it is such a brilliant idea! 

Side bonus:  The kids get to try new games, and there is a teenage kid there to show them how to move and play and do all the tricks.  I have zero interest in video games, and I refuse to figure it out myself so that I can show them.  If they get stuck, they just look for the teenager (what a great job for a teenage boy, by the way), and they show them how to do it!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

January Days

This has been such a mild, beautiful January!  The mornings are chilly, and there have been a few days that were really cold or rainy, but for the most part it has just been beautiful weather, and the kids have been outside nonstop! 
 Aidan on his rip rider and Abigail on her new bike!
 Look- one hand!

 Jack is usually riding with them, but today he was waiting for Aidan to come play football.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Kydon's surprise!

It is absolutely impossible to surprise Kydon.  Impossible, I say!  He has this weird 6th sense about presents and gifts.  We can be sitting at home, watching tv, and I will say something like "I know what I'm going to get you for Christmas (or birthday)."  He will respond "Hmmm... oh, I know what it is".  Then I think that is impossible for him to know, because I thought up something super amazing and random and there is no way he would guess it in a million years.  So I demand for him to tell me what he thinks it is just so I can gloat and triumph about how he has no idea and would never guess.

Then he tells me the exact gift that I had thought up and/or already purchased.

Repeat this conversation every gift-giving occasion for 13 years.  Finally, I wised up and would not tell him anything.  But, as soon as he saw the box, he would guess it.  EXACTLY.  I could sell him to the carnival, he is so good at knowing what he is getting.

So, in all of our time together, about 17 years now, he has never been surprised by a gift I have given him.

This year I was determined  to give him a great Christmas.  For Christmas last year, he gave me a really nice fancy camera, and then for my birthday he gave me a mixer.  Both very nice, rather expensive gifts.  It was his turn this year!  I decided to go above and beyond and get him some really nice things.

And they all- ALL- backfired. 

First, he wanted a new cordless drill.  He is very, very exact about what he wants specifically.  I had my dad very subtly ask him about drill to get the specs.  Then I spent about 67 hours on amazon emailing and calling my dad and found the exact right one.  I also had some things in my cart for the kids that I wanted to run by Kydon before ordering, so I made very, very sure to delete the drill and anything associated from my cart before showing him the kids items.  All well and good, he looked at the kid items and helped me choose, but when we updated the shopping cart, all the "suggested items" on the sidebar were all CORDLESS DRILL things.  Arrrrrgggghhhh!!  Busted!  He still got the drill, but there was no surprise. 

Attempt #2:  He has been asking for years for a very specific orange and blue striped tie.  He has very exact specifications regarding fabric type and stripe width.  Again, amazon came through and I found the exact right tie.  It was the only one on there that matched his specs, and I ordered it right up!  I felt so happy!  Mistake #1:  He got the mail.  He took one look at the package, and said "this looks like a tie- probably the orange and blue one I've been wanting".  BLAST!!  Later on, I opened it up and as I was wrapping it, I realized that it was a zipper tie- like 7 year olds wear.  Plus, it was short, like it would fit a 7 year old.  SO, not only was the surprise ruined, but it didn't show up until 3 days before Christmas, so that whole gift was down the tubes.  I spent several hours running to all the stores I could think of that had ties, but none had the exact one.  Gift #2 down the drain.

My last hope to save Christmas was attempt #3.  Back in November, he was looking through a clothing catalog and circled about 57 things he wanted.  They were all (in my opinion) rather ridiculous, like a $97 cashmere flannel shirt, and a super expensive all weather coat that protects you from -30 degree weather and rain and squall and ice (you know, for our famously severe winters here in GA).  BUT, I knew 2 things- ONE:  he would love the coat, and TWO- he would never expect me to get it.  SO I DID!  I ordered it early in November, had it shipped to my parents, and hid all emails and evidence of having it.  I also ordered an inexpensive pair of pants to go with it.  The hope was that he would just forget about the whole thing and not think about that catalog any more.

Yeah, right.

He spent all of November and December bringing up little hints about "The Coat".  Most were said in a joking manner, but I didn't want him bringing it up at all!  He was supposed to forget!  With him continuing to talk about it, and all of my other surprises blowing up in my face, I was forced to get crafty.

I made it very clear that I thought the coat was crazy, especially for GEORGIA where you need a heavy jacket a few weeks a year.  A few times I said things like "if you really really want it, we should probably get it for you" to which he would reply that it really was too much.  I tried my very, very best to throw him off the trail.  The final test was Christmas morning. 

I wrapped it in a different box, but did NOT put it out (see above where I described his crazy ESP ability to guess right away).  We opened up all the gifts.  He got his drill (no surprise), he got his tie (no surprise and had to be returned) along with a few other items, including the pants from the catalog.  When he opened the pants, I made sure to say that I wanted to get him *something* from that catalog, and this seemed like the thing he could use the most! 

We were all done, and enjoying breakfast, and all the kids were playing with toys.  We were talking and laughing and enjoying the morning.  Then I enlisted Aidan.  He went upstairs, and got the box, then came down and said "wait- there's one more!"

And, when Kydon opened it, I got my Christmas Miracle:

An honest-to-goodness genuine look of surprise on his face!!  He was surprised!!  HE WAS SURPRISED!!!!  It only took me 17 years (and a ton of annoying subterfuge), but I SURPRISED HIM!

He then spent the next 32 hours discovering all the details of this ridiculous fancy coat and describing them in detail to anyone who happened to be in earshot.  Oh, and trying it on in all its different combinations.  And, Bonus!- thanks to a cold snap, he's even worn the different components a few times.

Honestly, I don't care if he ever wears it.  It was worth every penny just to be able to give him something that he WANTED that he didn't know about until it was opened!  WA-HOO!