Monday, December 27, 2010


I still love driving by the small brick duplex my grandparents lived in when I was little. I can just see them both standing on the front porch, as they always did when we left after a visit, waving to me as I waved to them until we turned the corner and were no longer in sight.
I would spend the night with them every so often. At night I would sleep in their bed with them, even though there was an empty bedroom with a perfectly comfortable bed right down the hall. I would snuggle between the two of them and all would be right with the world. Grandma would read a magazine or a book and Grandpa and I would tell each other nursery rhymes. He would start, "Hickory Dickory Dock. The cat ran up the clock." I would interrupt, "NO GRANDPA," I would giggle, "It's the mouse that ran up the clock!" He would ask if I was sure. I would say yes and he would continue, at least for a couple of lines when he would mix the words up and we would go through the whole thing again. Truth be told, I liked his way of telling a nursery rhyme better then the originals.
One year for Father's Day I made him a card. I drew a picture of him on the front. In the picture he had just one straggly hair coming from the top of his head. I gave it to him and he laughed and laughed. He loved that card and would bring it up to tease me for years. I wonder what ever happened to it...
Grandpa loved to go fishing. And he loved to take a few of us along too. I remember going with him and Grandma once to El Dorado lake. We took a picnic lunch and then sat in lawn chairs, enjoying a beautiful day. I might have done a little fishing, but mostly I explored and collected rocks and skipped through the grass and laughed and spent a glorious day with my Grandparents.
I have been missing my Grandpa for a while now. Parkinson's stole so much of who he was, but it never stole his mind. His ornery, silly, caring, loving, wonderful mind. Now, on this first full day of the world without my Grandpa in it I am thinking of him. The way he was when I was little and the way he was the last time I saw him. I am so lucky to have those memories.
For years and years when I would leave my Grandparents house I would go over to my Grandma and give her a big kiss and a hug and then make a grand production of heading to the door. At the last minute I would "remember" Grandpa and go to him with a big, strong hug and a kiss right in the middle of his forehead. And then I would say, "I can never forget you Grandpa!" And I never will.

Friday, December 3, 2010


The other night, before Natalie's school Christmas program, she and I were getting ready together in my bathroom. I had curled her hair and she had put on her gorgeous dress. I had straightened my hair and was getting ready to put on makeup. It was a special occasion after all! As I was applying the foundation Natalie's eyes got big and round and her mouth formed a perfect O. And then she said this....

"MOM! I know what I can get you for Christmas!!! I will get you something to cover up all those wrinkles on your face!!!!"

She was so happy and excited that she had thought of such a perfect gift all by herself. She turned back to the mirror to twirl and pose. I also turned back to the examine my wrinkles!
Ultimately I told her that I loved the thought she had put into her present idea, but maybe a tube of lipstick or a nice smelling perfume would be better. "But mom, that won't cover up those wrinkles...."

I love that child.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Things That Make Me Feel Old #643

True Story:
Larry and I went out for lunch today. My mom was watching the girls for my birthday so we actually had the chance to choose a restaurant based on more specifications then just "kid friendly" and "serves chicken fingers". Ironically we chose a place that the girls would have loved...we are mean that way.
We were seated across from the waitress's station and couldn't help but observe the goings on of the waitresses, bus boys and girls, and management. It was actually kind of entertaining. In just the little time we were there I was able to discern who was the "bitchy" waitress, the "fun" manager, and the bus boy that all the girls wanted bussing their tables (if you know what I mean). And then this transaction took place....

An older waitress (and by older I mean she had been out of high school for at least 20 years) passed by a younger waitress (and by younger I mean will graduate high school in no more then 3 years). The older waitresses hands were full so she asked the younger waitress if she could grab a few things from her. The YW (as she will now be called) said sure and took a few dirty plates from her. The OW (I'm sure you get the idea) said something to the effect of "Thanks! You're swell." I noticed that the YW didn't say anything back to her. Just because I didn't have my children at the time doesn't mean I didn't have the VERY strong urge to remind the YW to say you're welcome. It's all about manners people. The OW walked away and another YW walked up and started talking to YW#1 (is this getting confusing yet?). The original younger waitress turned to the new younger waitress and, quite seriously, asked "What does swell mean? Tracy just said I was swell! What does that mean?!?" I almost choked on my english muffin. Do youngins' really not know what swell means? Or was this girl just a little dimmer then the other light bulbs? The other younger waitress looked just as perplexed and they both gave the older waitress a dirty look. I couldn't believe it.

So, the point of this whole story is that once again I was reminded I'm old. I say things like awesome and cool and gag me with a spoon (OK, I only say that in my valley girl voice when I'm trying to confuse my works.). Maybe I should start saying things like fresh or wicked or whatever else kids these days are saying. The problem there is that I'm not sure what most of these new words/sayings mean. I would hate to respond inappropriately. Wouldn't that just be swell?

Friday, November 5, 2010

Excuses, excuses...

I had big plans to do my big Halloween picture post today, but my kids are sick. If you are a parent you know that when the kids are sick the world pretty much stops turning. They can't sleep which, of course, means I'm not getting any sleep either. And of course that all means that we are a bunch of whiny, cranky, not happy people here in our little neck of the woods. So as soon as they get better and I get some sleep I will be back. I have a few posts already written but still in need of editing that will be coming soon and then of course the Halloween post. Until then, we will all be covering our coughs, washing our hands obsessively, and sleeping in a completely upright position (which is SO comfortable when holding two twenty pound children...).

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

His and Hers

Next time you are driving through our small, quiet town you might notice something a bit disturbing. You may have to look twice, maybe three times, but I assure you, your eyes are not deceiving you. Don't be frightened. It was only a matter of time before it happened. Yes, that is Larry and I peddling through town on our matching bikes.

We have been talking about getting bikes ever since we moved here. It is the perfect bike riding town. There is very little traffic in our neighborhood and we live just a short ride from the park. We could just imagine our family of five cruising through the streets together. We were not actively looking for matching bikes. Actually, I had purchased a bike already when we went to Sears to see what they had for Larry. But when we walked into the store and saw the beauty of the two Schwinn's standing side by side my mind was made up. We both had to have those bikes. We were going to officially become the dorkiest couple in town.

The bikes don't match exactly. Larry's is black and white and mine is pink and white. But they both have a very distinctive style. You can certainly tell that they are a pair. So when you do drive through and see us be sure to give us a wave. And please don't laugh too much!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Wow. Just wow.

Wednesdays are my days to volunteer in Natalie's first grade classroom. I'm in there from 12:00 to 1:30 and in that short time I learn more about Natalie's school, her teacher, her friends, and what she is learning then I EVER do when I ask the standard "how was school today?" question every afternoon when I pick her up. Here is a sample of what I learned today:

1. When Natalie came home the first week of school and made the grand statement that everyone had a pair of Skechers Twinkle Toes she wasn't exaggerating by much. Just in Natalie's class alone there were three girls wearing them. That doesn't sound like much until you realize there are only seven girls in her class. And two of the girls NOT wearing Twinkle Toes were wearing a different style of Skechers (including my daughter).

2. Teachers have the hardest job in the world. Even when there are only twelve kids it can be completely overwhelming. It is so hard to balance the classroom so the more advanced students are not bored and the not-so-advanced students aren't completely lost. On top of all that there is the discipline, the praise, the questions, the answers, the complaining, the random singing (yes, random singing), the crying, the protesting, the out and out hostility, and the time management.

3. Teachers have the best job in the world. When you get past all that other stuff it really is fantastic to see that light bulb go off over a kids head and you know that they are finally getting it. When they are having trouble with a problem or a work sheet or life in general and something you say, or a piece of advice you give, makes things better or easier for them it is the best feeling. I especially like the hugs.

4. It is odd to be called Mrs. Roat. Just odd.

5. Kids will ask questions that they totally know the answers to. Maybe to get some attention? Maybe to see just how much you are willing to do for them rather then them doing it themselves? Maybe just to hear themselves talk?

6. Having to sit two extra minutes in silence before you can line up for recess because you got especially rowdy is TORTURE for six and seven year olds.

7. Natalie's teacher is awesome. She is young and kind and sweet, but can also turn it around and make a kid behave. She is just the kind of teacher I liked having and wanted Natalie to have.

8. I am completely at peace with my decision to send her to this new school. All summer I fretted and worried that it wasn't the best choice. Now I couldn't be happier. It is a great school with a great building and great resources. The staff is caring and involved (as I was walking down the hall the principal stopped me to ask if I knew I had one of the pickiest eaters in the school. How many principals know that about individual students, and care enough to stop the parent to tell them.) I love the small town feel. The everyone-knows-everyone vibe. It is perfect for our family.

I love volunteering in Nat's class. I can't wait to see what I learn next week.

Monday, October 4, 2010

My Calm

I'm sitting alone in my living room, basking in the glow of the computer screen and the quiet of my house. It's not silent. I can hear the low hum of the TV that Larry is watching in the basement. I can hear the rhythmic tapping of the ceiling fan as it lazily stirs the air. Every now and then I can hear one of the girls whispering a song or a story, anything to keep themselves awake just a little bit longer. I can hear the dogs toenails clicking across the hard wood floor of the dining room, on a mission to find any lingering morsels of dinner that might have fallen from a small hand and been missed by the broom. I don't mind listening to these sounds. The sounds of another day coming to an end. Sleep will come soon to my babies and I will go in and tug the covers just a little higher on their chests. I will tiptoe out of their bedrooms and join Larry downstairs to relax and enjoy some time to ourselves. This might be the most beautiful moment of every day. My time. My calm.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Sister Time

More often than not, when I find all three of the girls huddled together they are concocting some sort of evil plan to annoy/anger/exasperate me. And then there are times like this. Times when I find them all together on Vanessa's bed sharing some sister time and a book. Natalie is at the wonderful stage where she is able to read and is so excited to share it that reading a Dora book to her little sisters is fun. When I walked in on this private moment it made my heart melt. My hope is that the girls always want to spend time together, but I realize that as they get older and other factors come into play (hello friends and boys and talking on the phone to those friends and boys) times like these may happen less and less. So we will enjoy them while they last and someday down the road maybe they will remember how special it was to snuggle together and share a book.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

All I need to know about my children I learned at the park.

Natalie has been having a rough time getting used to school mornings. She relished the lazy summer mornings that involved little more then waking up late, eating a quick breakfast and then playing for hours dressed in nothing but panties and a smile. The whole concept of getting up at a certain time and then actually getting ready to go out into the world is completely lost on her. Her first wake-up call comes at 6:50 and she opens her eyes just enough to look at me with hate and disdain then she rolls over and goes back to sleep. The second call comes at 6:55 and this is when she usually says something mean, perhaps moves enough to throw a pillow in my general direction, and rolls back over to go back to sleep. The final get-out-of-bed-NOW call comes at 7 am. This is when things really get ugly.
So last Friday when she got out of bed, got dressed, brushed her teeth and hair, and was ready to go to school ALL WITHOUT A FIGHT I decided a motivational surprise was in order. When I picked her up from school I announced that we were going to go home change out of our school clothes and go to the neighborhood park. This proclamation was met with cheers and whoops of joy. I was the best. mom. ever! I told her life could always be this great if only she would listen to me and do the right thing. She may have heard me between her claps and whistles, but I can't be sure. So off to the park we went. And what a trip it was. As I observed my children in their natural habitat I learned these things....

1.There will always be a used band aid hidden among the rocks and my children will always find it. They have a built in grossness detector and it never leads them astray. And not only will they find it they will bring it to me. "LOOK WHAT I FOUND MOM!!"

2. They may fight like cats and dogs at home, but when it comes to being in public with non-family people they will protect and defend each other until the end. If another little kid pushes Allison out of the way to get to the slide you had better believe Natalie and Vanessa will be right there helping her up and telling her that everything is OK. She was there first. The other kid is "mean". It is nice to see the sisterly love because sometimes I wonder....

3. The niceties come to a screeching halt when it is just them and they want to do the same thing. Two kids want the same swing? World War 3. Two kids proclaim themselves "it" in a game of tag? Watch for the flying fists. All three want to cross the bridge at the same time? Chances are excellent that, even though the bridge is big enough for all of them, someone will lie down in the middle of the bridge preventing the others from crossing and then the other two will break down in a puddle of inconsolable tears.

4. Natalie would much rather watch a group of teenage boys playing football then...well, anything else. This scares me.

5. They never, ever want to leave. We were there for almost two hours. We missed our regular dinner time. We didn't take any bathroom breaks. We played on every piece of equipment. And still they asked if they could stay just a little bit longer? Please? Home is so borrr-rrring.

I'm not sure if our little excursion will persuade Natalie to have better, fight-free mornings from now on (I somehow doubt it), but it was a good time. And I got a nice used band aid out of the deal.

Top 5 Reasons I'm Back to Blogging

1. I missed writing. The seemingly simple practice of putting one sentence after another brings me happiness. It always has.

2. I enjoy annoying people with the tales of my tedious everyday life. You're welcome.

3. It is mine. That sounds like something one of my children would whine, but it's so true. Most everything I do or have is not only mine. It is mine AND Larry's. It is mine AND the kids. You get the idea. This blog is mine. And I won't share.

4. I am horrible at keeping up a baby book. This is a way I can remember which kid did what and when they did it. It is, at least, some sort of log to keep track of all those things that are just too numerous for my mind to hold for longer then a day. I missed too many things when I was on my self imposed hiatus.

5. Free therapy. Taking the thoughts that are constantly swirling around my head and putting them down in words is deeply cathartic. Even if some of those words never make it to print, knowing that I have a place for them makes me feel better.

I'm glad to be back to the land of the blogging. I may be at a new blog address, but it is still me and I'm excited to start anew.