goodbye first grade, hello summer

Today was our best first grader’s last day of school for the year. Not to make the day all about me, but I got us through the entire year without being tardy and forgeting her backpack or lunch. Mom’s Carline Karaoke enjoyed a three-minute medley every morning with varying levels of appreciation from the backseat. I have a variety of songs to fit each season, weather and after-school activity. “Today is Tuuuuuesday. Tuesday we go to the Y for swiimmmmmingggg. Ba ba da ba ba ba.”

I’ve been told multiple times that she isn’t happy school is ending. She said, “I will still love you Mama, but I think I’m going to be bored this summer. I mean, are we going to spend ALL the time together?” What a motherhood morale booster she is! Does she not remember our summers full of popsicles and swimming and making childhood memories? Has she forgotten all those mornings I spent inflating little pools and slipnslides?

The school year started off rough but once we got a morning routine and she became more comfortable with her class, things got better. We weren’t very impressed with the curriculum or how the school was run, but it was what we needed to do for this year and I’m thankful it was an option. She still struggles with spelling and phonics, but her handwriting and math have improved greatly. She made a few little friends and told me today that McKinlee asked her to be her best friend.
The only school event we’ve been able to attend was a student recognition ceremony yesterday. The class voted Sesame as Everyone’s Friend. “The Everyone’s Friend award if a very important award! It is special because this person is always nice, friendly and gets along well with everyone.” I’m so proud of her. Kindness and friendship are very important to me and I love that she’s practicing them on her own. She told me she didn’t think some of the awards were accurate. “Tati definitely shouldn’t have gotten the Care Bear award. She is NOT caring! Don’t you remember what she did with the monkey bars?” Sounds like the voting was rigged.

Our plan for next school year is for her to attend the new hybrid program at an established classical Christian school in town. She’ll go to the school building for full days on Tuesday/Thursday and be homeschooled the rest of the days. I think it will be the best of both worlds. I’ll get to homeschool her and she’ll get the classroom benefits. Let’s not forget that Tuesdays and Thursdays apart will be good for our relationship. Absence makes the heart grow fonder and all that. I’ll use the hours to compose new songs for Carline Karaoke.

let’s hope they can identify more than farm animals when they make it to the White House

Back when we were planning Annabelle’s educational path for 2020 I kept telling myself that if she had to end up in public school, I would be the most fun and involved mom around. I’d sign up for anything! Annabelle’s mom would be known as the fun mom! Thanks to the virus that shall not be named (heretofore known as TVTSNBN), we have had little to no involvement in Annabelle’s school experience. She and I were allowed to tour the school in August because she was a new student but Christopher has never set foot in the building. Except for that one visit, I’ve only gone as far as the front office for early dismissal. I’ve added all that to my list of things TVTSNBN has ruined. Because field trips aren’t happening this year, her teacher called me and asked me to help her plan an unofficial field trip to the strawberry patch. I was so excited to help out I happily ignored my normal dislike of making phone calls and dialed the strawberry patch within the hour.

The big day was Saturday and AB could not have been more excited. She talked about it for weeks on end. It’s an hour away and she asked if we were there every ten minutes. I watched part of Prince Philip’s funeral, may he rest in peace, on the way there. I love any pomp and circumstance and was very interested in the whole event. I had never seen a royal funeral (besides a tiny bit of Diana’s which I didn’t care about at the time) but I wasn’t surprised it was the pinnacle of orderly and dignified. Everyone was dressed to the nines and I felt underdressed watching it in jean shorts and a multicolored shirt. AB asked Christopher to turn on music so he put on The Lion Sleeps Tonight. I kept watching the funeral with the sound off. We couldn’t have planned it, but that song playing in the background lined up so perfectly and hysterically with what was happening at the funeral that we could not stop laughing. Not that the death or funerals are humorous, but the Queen’s Guard swinging their arms to “Ee-e-e-oh-mum-a-weh ee-e-e-oh-mum-a-weh” and “In the jungle, the mighty jungle, the lion sleeps tonight” while they carried the casket hit our funny bones. Never mind. You had to be there.

We’ve been to this particular farm two other times and I still can’t get over the alligators next to the strawberry patch. Better there than in my garden at home.
She’s never met a goat she didn’t love!
About half the class was there and we enjoyed meeting a few friends. AB tried so hard to introduce us but she’d get shy and mumble, ”thisismymomanddadandthisisDahlia” so we’re still a little vague on who is who. The tractor ride was Very Exciting as evidenced by the loud yells and animal food being thrown at the cows like confetti out of a confetti popper. There was a lot of misidentification of animals which doesn’t make me feel great when I consider that the future of America will one day be in the hands of these first graders.
But like their shirts so RUDELY kindly, they’re the class of 2032 so they have a few more years to learn the difference between an ox and a donkey.

Potter Party 2.0

Last year AB had a little birthday party with just the three of us. We gave her the option of a small friend’s party at the house or a night at a hotel. She picked the hotel but thanks to the ‘rona we couldn’t go. I was sure her 6th birthday would be the only one we’d celebrate in a pandemic but here we are, a year in and still dealing with it. She talked for months about having her friends over on her birthday but I didn’t want to promise too much because things can change on a dime. Thankfully she has a sweet little group of children whose families are fine with visits so she was able to have a party. After going through several themes, AB decided on a Harry Potter party. We did that theme last year and I am no more an HP fan than I was last year, so I campaigned hard for a different theme. We were THIS CLOSE to having a dragon and taco party which I was in favor of 110%, but she stayed firm in her request so we did HP. Why does she have to go and get opinions on things? At least we already had the Harry Potter bow.

About 10 minutes before the party started, she told me she was “going to take a siesta before the fiesta.” The little introvert apples does not fall far from the tree.

We wanted none of the spells and sorcery to be a party of the party so we came up with games that involved neither. I spray-painted 10 brooms from the dollar store silver and gold. You know what a bunch of 4-7 year olds don’t care about? Whether or not the brooms were lovingly and painstakingly painted instead of left blue and white. You know what I don’t care for? A bunch of blue and white brooms that look like they were made in China and not forged in the ancient fires of wizards. 

The kids loved decorating the handles in washi tape. The moms loved that their children now had their own personal brooms for sweeping the house. Next year we’ll decorate vacuums!

Christopher was appointed the ringmaster to explain the game of quidditch which is played on brooms in the Harry Potter books. He used big words and several directions that very few of the children understood. Us moms had a great time watching the chaos. Eventually he said, “You know what? Just throw the ball and play it however you want.” 

I don’t want to sound overly dramatic, but for about 45 minutes there the cake situation was Threat Level Red. I didn’t have a good design idea so I was fumbling and pouring sprinkles and none of it was right. I told Christopher he needed to run to Publix and buy another cake. It was terrible and I could not show my face in front of the other moms with a cake like that. He said it was great but he’s unable to give unbiased opinions. I said it would be great if he and AB had decorated it, but it was an insult to my Wilton decorating level two class. Everything else about party prep had gone shockingly well and I was shockingly calm, so it’s no shock that my nerves came out on the cake. We didn’t get a cake from Publix and I was able to show my face to the other moms, but I still think it’s not my greatest work. Annabelle liked it which I suppose is the most important part. My ego will be fine.

She’s my favorite even if she does listen to the same seven audiobooks on repeat for an entire year and tell me things like “You’re right. You are getting more gray hair.”


Our best girl turned seven today.

At the very minute the clock turned from six years to seven, she was playing catch with Dad.

She LOVES drawing. She’ll fly through a pack of printer paper like nobody’s business. A friend asked what she wanted for her birthday and I suggested a giant pack of paper. She enjoys cooking, baking, Mommy Sesame sleepovers, visiting with her cousins, and making potions with dirt and berries. She loves to play outside and enjoys zipping around on her bike or skates. She had her first choir performance at church today and tells me she “loves drama.” She’s never been in a play but she is confident she’d be great at it. Swimming lessons are still a highlight of her week. She talks the entire time (no surprise) and I’ve told her teacher to shut it down when the chatting gets too much. She’s learned the basics of all the strokes and is learning to dive. She does bellyflop after bellyflop but still comes out of the water in a good mood which is very different than how I feel after a bellyflop.

She’s named two ducks at the pond Hangtime and Bushtop and we frequently check on them. I haven’t seen Hangtime in several weeks so I’m thinking his walk across the street may not have been successful. RIP, Hangtime. 

Autumn, the class drama queen, was sitting by herself on the playground. Annabelle asked what was wrong and Autumn said, “Life is terrible.” AB told her she should pray about it and Autumn said she did, but it didn’t help and she didn’t get a good answer. AB said, “It might not have been the answer you wanted but God still answered even if He said no.” Just call her the playground evangalist.

You’re my best girl, Sesame Pie.

Love you the best! Love you the most! Love you the always!

Sesame Says, Volume 5

* Annabelle has gotten a very energetic second wind when it comes helping with dishes and laundry. She helps with both as some of her chores, but she recently said she was going to do all the laundry in the house and clean every dish. “I can get it aaaalllll done because there are 24 hours in this whoooooole *waves her arms around* day.” The optimism of youth!

* On Friday we drove my friend’s son Sammy home from school. He and AB were having a conversation about the behavior chart at school. The goal is to keep your clip on green the entire day. Sammy frequently gets moved to light green or red. Annabelle is terrified of doing the wrong thing in school and has never had her clip moved down. Sammy didn’t believe her so she showed him the calendar in her book where each day of school without her clip being moved is colored green. Sammy said, “Bruh! You never get off green? You’re so lucky!” Annabelle stared at him in disbelief. “It is NOT luck.” Don’t be crediting luck when she’s worked hard for those greens!

*From the back seat: “How many gallons of water can a baobab tree store in its trunk?”

* “I wish there was a way to cuddle with you when I’m not home so we could cuddle forever.”

*On Friday night we went to Mellow Mushroom for supper. We had a reservation but thanks to the general lack of competence in every area in this town, there was an issue with getting our table. After nearly 45 minutes of waiting and back and forth with the hostess, Christopher went in to get some info and/or say adios to you and your poorly run pizza joint. Annabelle knelt on the ground and prayed we’d get in soon, right there in front of the potted plant. Imagine her surprise when, at the very moment she was done praying, Christopher came out and said our table was ready. She could not believe God answered her prayer so fast. Unfortunately, she didn’t pray we’d actually get our pizza soon because when we sat down, the server said it would be at least a 40-minute wait until we saw our food. We knew it would be more like 60-600 minutes so we got up from the table we waited nearly an hour for and left. But the point of the story is that she knelt down and prayed in public and it was very touching.

*When we were playing a game with pretend names and Christopher said he’d be Christopher David.  “Take your reality somewhere else.”

*”I’ll help you paint my room” translates to: putting handmade posters on the walls when everything needs to be off the walls, sticking her head out of the open window and yelling to the neighborhood, asking me to watch her jump off the ladder several times in a row, banging on the drum, asking for a snack, discussing her stuffed animals new names, throwing pillows (“But they’re called THROW pillows”), asking me to put Mr. Potato Head’s eyes back on and rolling herself up in the plastic I put down to protect the floor.

*Yesterday was silly hat day at school but hair envy day in my heart.