Posted tagged ‘daughters’

My Girly’s Lunch Box

November 7, 2013

It all started with Mary ….as most of my carbon footprint reduction activities do. She is more determined and diligent than I. She is the reason my family uses a homemade laundry detergent as opposed to store bought. She is the reason we have a clothes line that stretches and recoils across our back deck. The pictures she posted occasionally of her daughter’s school lunches  were intriguing. Since Princess spends the last half of her school day in another location and doesn’t have the time or patience to stand in the cafeteria line before catching the bus every day, I purchased the lunch boxes Mary recommended:easylunchboxes-containers
….borrowed a few of her ideas and we were good to go.

Last year – when she was a high school junior – I packed a lunch for her most days…..and she loved them.Chicken Pasta Salad

Her friends were intrigued.

Popcorn Chicken Redux

And I had fun making them.

Since she was allowed to eat in her third hour Math class, her teacher would make her way down the row to her desk to see what she had for lunch.

Every day.

Wrap, veggies

When the new school year – her senior year – was about to begin, she coyly asked about ‘those lunches.’ Was I going to make them for her again?

How could I resist when she asked so nicely?

And so I have been on a mission. I snap a picture of each and every lunch before she shoves her box into her backpack and heads out the door. I post them on Face Book just so I can save the pictures in an album there for her.  I have gained a few friends….and lost a few friends…in the process.

I mean, who wants to start their day with a picture of what MY kid will be eating for lunch every day?

We are coming up onto the 50th day of school for her. Forty six different lunches so far this year.

And I have learned a lot about my daughter.

She doesn’t ‘do’ sandwiches on bread slices unless they are peanut butter and jelly. Or grilled cheese.

She prefers anything ‘mini’…mini bagel sandwiches, mini sub sandwiches on a dinner roll, mini cinnamon rolls…

She will try anything…once.

She loves mangos…and starfruit….and kiwis.

And apples.

She really loves little mini kebobs with cheese and turkey and pickles on a tooth pick.

She doesn’t like cheese on her sandwiches or in her salads.

She likes her steak cooked a little more well done than her Mom’s left over steak bites allow.

She doesn’t pay attention to ‘special lunches for special days’….like Dr. Seuss’s birthday.
Dr Seuss BD
And yes….those are Green Eggs and Ham, red fish and green fish and ‘Truffala Trees.’

I have learned that she will eat and enjoy the same vegetables every day if they are presented differently. So we have had carrot slices, carrot sticks, carrot picks, roasted carrots, curly carrots, carrots with dip…

Carrots, carrots and more carrots.

She really does love carrots…and celery and cucumbers and radish flowers and just about any other vegetable shaken with olive oil, sea salt and roasted.

Oh, I am not allowed to send boiled eggs to school any more. They may be admirable source of protein and awfully cute when you use a panda or bunny egg press, but apparently her Math book still reeks from the one I sent several weeks ago.

I have learned that making sure my soccer athlete kiddo has a solid lunch in the middle of the day means she isn’t trolling for snacks and eating us out of house and home any more when she gets home from school.

And that’s all good.

She is off to college next year so I just wish I’d started doing this sooner.

Like back in elementary school.

Sigh.

Until then….Halloween has passed.
Halloween lunch

Thanksgiving and Christmas are on the horizon. I am already racking up the ideas…..

Heh.

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All Creatures Great and Small

May 10, 2011

Okay…I am NOT an animal freak. I grew up with the same dogs and gerbils and hamsters and turtles and fish tanks that most of my friends had. I had mouse in an aquarium in my college dorm room. I had hermit crabs at a daycare that I ran for a while. I kept continually reproducing hamsters in my Kindergarten classroom . (Just could NOT determine which was which in order to separate them!) We eventually had a rabbit and then a guinea pig and then a chinchilla. At home I had a dog and a succession of cats…and then a bird…..and an iguana. Now we share our space with two small dogs and a cat.

I have spent too many years teaching Kindergarteners to keenly observe and explore and respect the world around them to allow myself to knowingly step on a spider….or a beetle….or a dragon fly. I have a special affection for dragon flies. Older students eye me with curiosity when I catch the durn things and set them loose outside. So do my niece and nephew. I am the person who stops on the sidewalk after a rainstorm to toss stranded worms back into the flower beds. Sometimes my heart breaks when I see the various animals – road kill – alongside the stretches of highway and back roads that we frequent. One particularly hot summer – years ago – I was teaching Kindergarten on the Year Round program. Ponds and brooks and lakes were drying up and wetlands were receding. It seemed like there were more than the usual numbers of animals on the roads as they were killed while in search of water….or a safer habitat. I still remember the round eyes of the students in that class as they promised me that they would be verrrry careful of animals when THEY learned to drive cars. Animals were just looking for the things they needed after all….food, shelter and water….right? It was a basic Kindergarten ‘teachable moment.’

An animal freak? Nah…..not me.

This weekend my Princess was closing the door of our car in our garage when a baby squirrel fell from the rafters above her. After the initial shock had subsided, she ran for a soccer glove to hold him and put the stunned little guy in a box of leaves. He was twirling and flopping and finally settled down to sleep – probably from exhaustion. We put him near a tree in our front yard but it didn’t appear able to climb. He just flopped and twirled his way around in the grass. We put it back in the box and put the box near where she had found him, thinking maybe the mother squirrel would come for him and take him back to her nest….in our garage. Several hours had past since finding him and we were at loss with what to do. It was my sister who suggested calling the DNR.

On Mother’s Day.

I didn’t call them but I did the next best thing. I went online and did an internet search. It was actually very easy.

The Department of Natural Resources in our area maintains quite a long list of licensed wildlife rehabilitators. Heh. Imagine that. There are people out there that will take wild animals into their homes to feed them, heal them and protect them till they can take care of themselves. Rehabilitators will take in birds, raptors, reptiles, amphibians, small mammals and deer. The person that we called was only minutes from our house and specialized in small mammals. She said to bring our little guy to her as soon as possible. Upon hearing how long it had been since we’d found him, how big it was and a description of his fur, she had determined that he was probably a nursing nestling and in need of food….immediately. We hopped into the car with our bucket of leaves that held our sleeping baby squirrel and took him to the address we’d been told.

And we took him straight to the home of a true animal freak. Our rehabilitator had 17 baby raccoons of varying ages , a recovering baby black squirrel and a young fox with a broken foot….in her living room. She had just taken an orphaned fawn to another rehabilitator who didn’t have a 13 year old daughter obsessed with petting it. She said that deer need to be kept from bonding with humans in order to survive back in their habitats. She couldn’t guarantee that which is why she couldn‘t keep it. She did determine that what we had was a baby pine squirrel….and said it was indeed a boy. He sucked down a syringe of diluted puppy formula as if there was no tomorrow. Unfortunately our little buddy was exhibiting some signs of a head injury (the flopping and twirling) so she wasn’t sure if he was going to make it. Sadly, we left him behind – with the raccoons and the black squirrel and the young fox and the 13 year old daughter obsessed with petting and comforting wildlife. We are not sure how it is going to do. We are not animal freaks after all.

But I am VERY glad that there are people in the world that are.

Okay…..so I am having a problem with this.

February 16, 2011

She sat across the table with narrowed eyes as I explained the plan to her. 

 No, I was not going to allow her to stay after basketball practice after school and let her wait in the LGI room with the ‘two ladies from church’ who monitored homework and high schoolers who waited for a bus to drive them to church at 6 pm.  I was willing to pick her up from practice and bring her home to shower and change and maybe have some dinner.  Then I would drive her to the very same church (which happens to be right around the corner from our house) so she could participate in the high school mid week Bible study activities.  And then I would pick her up at the appropriate time and drive her home (which happens to be right around the corner from the church).  I am not willing to drive 20 minutes down the road to pick her up at school just so she can have the extra time with her friends on the bus.

The same narrowed eyes were probably shooting daggers through the cell phone….waves?…..when I text messaged earlier in the evening that Dad and I would be doing the 35 minute drive to the WAY out in the boon docks ‘away’ high school to pick her up after the JV basketball game – which was after her Freshman basketball game which had been too early in the evening for us to make it – in order to have her home at a reasonable hour on a school night.  No, she would not be staying for the Varsity basketball game just so she could ride the bus with the five other players who did not have a ride home. 

And I do know that head of hers had trouble wrapping itself around why I was so um….pissy…. to find out that she was actually at K’s house when she was supposed to be at L’s house and didn’t bother to text or call during the entire seven hours that she was gone.   Especially since it’s not the first time it’s happened.

And last summer…..when she was embarrassed and a little perturbed that I cruised by the beach where she had gone for the day……just to check  up on things?

Yes.  I do know that we are a boring old family that lacks the social luster and bluster of her friends at school.

Yes.  I do know that we are generally doing nothing at all at home in the evenings except dinner and dishes and homework and television and reading and working on the computer.

Yes.  I do know that she is supposed to be trying out her wings a bit….checking out the world on her own.

Okay….so I am having a problem with this ‘letting go’ thing. 

But hang in there. 

 The day will come when she will glad that I did…..and she will wish that letting go hadn’t happened at all.

Right?

There are just some things……

August 8, 2010

When you adopt a child who is a foundling, there are just some things  you can’t give them.  You can give them a loving home, consistent  discipline and unflagging support.  You can give them clothes and toys and cell phones and new soccer shoes and…a computer.  You can take them on trips and build memories as a family.  You can sit in the stands and cheer them to goals….or baskets….or home runs.   You can argue about curfews and friends and choices in clothing.  You can giggle through jokes and share stories of the day and listen to apprehensions and fears.  You can do most everything.

But you can’t give them a birth date.  And sometimes that breaks my heart.

When my daughter was found by police at a bus stop in Russia, she was examined by doctors and others for the developmental milestones of a young child.  They asked her what her name was and she told them.  Ah….verbal communication.  I imagine they had her walking and playing with items to check her dexterity and mobility.  They decided that she was approximately 21 months of age and assigned her a birthdate in early August.

When we were going over court papers before finalizing her adoption there was a discrepancy in the birth date we had been given.  Some of the paper work gave August 5th as her birth date and some said August 8th.   I asked our interpreter which one it was and she looked at me kind of funny.

“Which one do you want?”

So, in a sense, we gave our daughter her birthdate just as other parents do. 

But is it the ‘real one’?? 

That is something we will never know.  And it breaks my heart.

We have, however,  given her other memorable dates in her life. 

Her ‘Gotcha Day.’

Her adoption date.

The date she first stepped foot on American soil.

The date she started Kindergarten….and finished middle school.

The future holds even more.  There will be her first day of high school, her graduation, the date she first drives a car on her own and the date she starts her first official job.  No doubt she will remember her first kiss….her first break up…..her engagement and her wedding.   She says that she is not going to have kids.  That she is going to get them from Russia.  So there may be other adoption days in her future. 

The United States immigration office has given her August 16th.  That is the day she takes  her Oath of Citizenship and receives her ‘official’ American paperwork.

But today is the 8th and we are celebrating her birthday….the one people who studied her developmental milestones assigned to her.  The one we  gave her. 

Some things we can give her…..and some things we can’t.

Something as basic as knowing the exact day that she was born…is impossible.

And that breaks my heart.

Happy 15th birthday, Kiddo!

Love, Mom and Dad

Things I Learned on the Road

July 18, 2010

Princess and I took a much needed and impulsive road trip to a southern state fourteen hours away.  My parents were visiting my sister from their home in Florida.  We decided to visit them.  So we left at 5 am to make the drive in one day. 

Okay…so 5 am plus 25 minutes to shower plus 10 minutes to gas up and 20 minutes to make a quick stop to pick up ring bologna and blueberries for the folks.  THEN, we hit the highway.

When you are driving south on I-75, Ohio has to be our least favorite stretch of road.  That state goes on forever.  Princess prefers to sleep through it…and did this time.  Once she was awake – and sitting in the front seat – our road trip took off.  Really took off.

It was very educational for both of us.  And these are the things I observed…..

#1  We are both ‘wind in our hair’ kind of gals.  HRH and the Prince prefer windows closed and the AC chilling.  Princess and I are happiest when the windows are down and the wind is blowing and the i-pod is blasting tunes through speakers that are vibrating against your shin.

#2  Playing with a Mom’s new cell phone can allieviate the boredom of a car ride….especially when you discover that you can send text messages from that new cell phone to your own cell phone.  Texting yourself?  How revolutionary!

 #3  Kudzu is on the move.  For the very first time I sighted this ominous vine in northern Kentucky along the free way….in three places.  I first learned about kudz uwhen we went to a kudzu festival in South Carolina many years ago.  It was a plant transplanted from Japan to help deterr the erosion of the sandy soil.  Kudzu in Japan is a food delicacy and also has a dormant period in it’s growth cycle during the winter months…..cold weather that is absent in the American south.  Kudzu completely covers the ground, wraps its self around trees and bushes and will even swallow up buildings.  It grows eight inches in one day.  Driving past a kudzu laden stretch of area can give one pause.  Creepy, scary ‘Where The Wild Things Are’ kind of pause. 

#4  Its fun to honk the horn when you are driving through a tunnel cutting through a mountain.  Its as much fun being the one doing the honking as it was being the child begging her dad to honk all those years ago.

#  5 The Smoky Mountians really ARE smoky….no matter what time of day it is.

#6   Red twizzlers candy and Chex Mix are good road foods for a trip of this nature.

#7 It takes 2 hours and 45 minutes to lick your way to all of the colors on a giant jaw breaker sucker from Cracker Barrel.

#8  A child cooped up in a car and hopped up on Red Twizzlers candy can find something funny in anything.

#9   Asheville and Nashville sound pretty funny together when you are hopped up on Red Twizzlers.

Asheville and Nashville……just try saying that five times fast.

#10   SOME questions are…maybe….just best left answered by thumbing through a copy of a ‘growing up’ book…..by yourself.

#11  McDonalds and Burger King seem to alternate which chain will have the best kept restrooms on any given trip.

#12 ‘Jet Leg’ and ‘Jet Lag’ could – maybe – be the same thing……but Jet Li is not.  (WAY way too many Red Twizzlersfor this conversation!)

Can’t WAIT for the ride home. : )

What We Got

July 17, 2009

     Watched a video of a friend’s child today.  She is four.  She was hosting a tea party for her daddy.  Straw hats on their heads and a tiny tea set spread out over the coffee table, she was the epitome of a good hostess in a little dress and a huge flower on her hat.  She was pouring ‘tea’ and dancing for him.  Delightfully beautiful child.

      I have a delightfully beautiful child as well.  She is going to be fourteen in several weeks.  Fourteen!  It will soon be nine years since we brought her into our lives from Russia.  Sometimes it seems like forever and sometimes it feels like yesterday.

     I think when you are blessed with a baby, it’s like being handed a package.   It’s a package that you have prepared for as well as you can….or not.  It’s wrapped in blankets and diapers and tiny socks and smells the smell that cannot be replicated from any kind of shampoo bottle or baby wash bottle or powder canister.  It’s new and soft and squishy. 

     As days pass and you open the little package, it slowly and surely becomes something special….and uniquely yours.  You watch for all the signs.   Hair begins to grow and eyes begin to focus and feet and hands begin to find their purpose.  You guide it to become the little girl or little boy that you expected for your family….or not.

      When you adopt a child, that package has already been opened elsewhere.  And wrapped up again.  It’s a little bigger now.  There are pieces of ‘tape’  holding this part or that part in place.  Maybe the paper is a little different than you were expecting.  And it’s covered with stamps and stickers.  Stamps from the foster homes and the orphanages and the guardian ad litems and stickers from court officials and social workers and escorts.  And so that package sits in your arms waiting to be opened….again.

       It’s not always new and soft and squishy.  The hair is there, the eyes are focused and the hands and feet have found their purpose.  But the package waits to be opened just the same.  What you find is quite a surprise at times.  Especially if you have adopted an older child. 

     Tempers.  Habits.  Hugs. Preferences and tastes.  They’re already there.  Formed in rock hard style.  Some good that you hope to keep and maintain.  Some not so good that you struggle to change.  Questions to be answered.  Rules to be made and followed…..or not.    You never know what you are going to get.

      But let me tell you what we got.

     We got a child with a heart as big as the entire outdoors.  She genuinely cares about the people around her.  Whoever they might be.  She struggles to make things different….one person at a time.  This is a child who is still surprised – after two years – to get money for mowing the lawn or shoveling the snow of an elderly neighbor.  A child who was willing to forego something she was looking forward to in order to purchase a bike for the kid next door.  A child who has faced more learning limitations than I could imagine  and still sets insurmountable goals for herself.  Just ask her where she wants to attend college.  Heh.

     We got a child that is a gifted athlete and always manages to come out on top when she attempts something new.   Skates.  Bikes. Diving boards.  Carny rides.  Ocean waves.  She fears nothing.  She is game for anything.  And that’s scary for a Mom to watch sometimes…..or not.  She rides easily over that crest of fear and comes out with a smile on the other side.  I admire that.  I wish I could do it.

     We got a child that is constantly moving.  This summer she is the Pied Piper of our corner and has five little girls who adore the ground she walks on.  She is out the door 15 minutes after she wakes up and complains when we rein her in to do something like…oh, I don’t know….eat?  Maybe sleep?  During the day she is pushing wagons for them and filling her alligator kiddie pool for them and digging in sand boxes with them.  She is organizing games and dress ups and stories.  She is busy.   She is moving.

     We have a child who gives absolutely no thought to what she is wearing 95% of the time.  Match?  What’s that?  Colors…count?  She brushes her teeth without argument but brushes her hair under duress.  At least for now.  Her clothes are clean when she puts them on….the night before.  Why bother with pajamas if you are going to get dressed in a couple of hours anyway?  Heh.

     We got a child who – at 14 – is very perplexed about the boy/girl thing.  She does not understand why her girl friends would rather sit and talk about boys and cell phones and make up than ride skateboards and bikes like they used to.  And why they get angry if she initiates a conversation with a guy that they like.  She does not understand why her guy friends are a little confused and standoffish when she invites them to go to the skatepark or texts them about ordinary things.  It’s a part of the growing up game play that I am not sure she will ever understand.

     And we got a child that has absolutely no sense of ownership.  She will give you the shirt off her back…her shoes…her lunch….her ipod.  Even her soccer coach has had to tell her to be more ‘selfish’ on the field and not pass all of the shots  to other players.   And she will innocently pocket an heirloom necklace if she finds it on the ground.  Because even after nine years she just doesn’t get it.   And we don’t get why she doesn’t get it.  We think it’s an ‘orphanage thing.’  And we worry that she will be taken advantage of or get into real trouble one day.

     I had lots of hopes for this package.  I hoped this package would enjoy hair ribbons and dresses and dolls.  I thought we would sit side by side and read books that I loved as a child.  I thought we would sew together and play with make up and design outfits to dazzle.  Our package was a definite surprise package however.  And you know what?  I wouldn’t trade this……for anything in the world.Jump

 Happy Birthday, Kiddo.

Love you,   Mom and Dad

A Soccer Mom Tale

May 25, 2009

Once upon a time when they looked like this….MVC-221F

soccer girl

 

 

 

 

 

and this…….

 being a soccer mom entailed having them at practice once a week in a clean generic uniform with the correctly sized ball, a bottle of water and an occasional bag of sliced oranges or end of the game snacks to share.  You didn’t mind because there were others and watching them stumble and get right back up was fun.  They loved it too.

They still love it.

But along came soccer shoes that were NOT part of a $9.95 package that included a brand new ball and orange practice cones.  Shoes that seemed to be out grown by mid season.  Several times.

And there are club fees, coaching fees, tournament fees, travel expenditures, coach travel expenditures (split with the rest of the team each time) and gas to and from multiweekly practices and games.  Lots of games.

And indoor soccer fees because soccer is not your average seasonal sport.  In our state, there is a fall session, three indoor winter sessions, a spring session and summer soccer camp (to stay in condition).

And bigger soccer balls with bigger price tags.

And uniform ‘kits’ that include a pair of socks, 2 pair of shorts, and a home and away jersey.  To this you have to add extra socks, shin guards, athletic tape (to hold the shin guards in place), equipment bags, practice tee shirts, athletic pants (for those slushy practices/games) hoodies, jackets, sweat bands, extra socks, etc.

And water bottles, sport drink bottles, water coolers, and more water bottles.

And time.  Time spent shuttling your players here and there.  Time  spent washing uniforms stained with grass, mud, rain and occasionally blood.  Time spent cringing and holding your breath as another player (always heavier , taller and bigger than your kid) barrels down the field with cleats on their feet toward your soccer loving child.  Time worrying about an injured player and being thankful that it’s not your child being carried off to an ambulance.  Time spent bandaging, ice packing, compress warming, massaging and soothing. Time spent cheering and clapping and hollering and analyzing and praising and placating and easing a loss.  LOTS of time.

But then you see a smile like this….P1020407 - Copy

 

 

 

 

 

 

and this……..P1020479

 

 

 

 

 

 

and this……P1020481

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

and this…….

P1020485

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

and it sort of makes it all worth while. 

Sort of.

And then you have to get back to the business of soothing and easing because the OTHER one missed out on HIS tournament weekend due to an injury (remember that mental picture of the bigger/taller/heavier player barreling down on your child….with cleats?)  A kick in the shin during a game and aggravated during a practice scrimmage three days later resulted in shin splints. Ouch.

But there is always next year……….so are we ready???

Uh oneah and a twoah and a threeah….

    WEeeee are the Chaaamppppions……”