Sunday, April 24, 2011

Grizzness Time

Grizz win!  Grizz win!

In our first playoff appearance since 2006, the Grizz are making the rest of the league pay attention to the gritty, grinding style we play here.  We made a respectable showing in the first two games in San Antonio, stealing homecourt advantage with a 1-1 split.

Cullen, Steph and I showed up downtown at 4:00 p.m. yesterday to drink up the Grizz fever (among other things).  It's amazing how much sports can bring a city together.  It's the same feeling of community spirit that we have when the Tigers make NCAA runs, except, you know, grittier and grindier.

Pre-game drinks and bites came at our favorite South Main gastropub, South of Beale.

Even more than an hour before tipoff, the plaza out in front of the Forum was hoppin'.

The white Growl towels were draped on every seat when we walked in.

I don't have much from the actual game, as I was too busy wringing my hands and cussing.  But this is the final result:

Grizz up 2-1!  Game 4 is Monday.  I'll be there.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Seen Memphis

Recently, I was approached by the lovely and talented Sophorn McRae of Norococo to be a part of a cool new Memphis street photography blog, Seen Memphis.  I'm humbled by the talent of the six other photogs who are participating, and I think it could be something really cool.  I haven't actually done a ton of this kind of photography (at least not in my hometown), but I look forward to doing more of it for this project.  Check out Seen Memphis here.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Chloe at the Doctor

A month or so ago, Chip and I had this conversation:

"Chip, you know it's time for Chloe to have her five-year check-up and she has to get SHOTS so you need to make that appointment and take her."
"I know."

I took Connor to one doctor's appointment once that involved shots. It was about seven and a half years ago, and I swore I would never do it again. They're so heartbroken when the nurse sticks those needles in! I don't want to be associated with that in my kids' minds! Plus it makes me cry, and that doesn't really help anyone calm down in a tense situation.

A few days before the appointment, I warned Chloe what was going to happen. She's too old for us to just spring that on her at the last minute- she would feel too betrayed by that. Besides, she's our logical child and I trusted her to make sense of it in her mind ahead of time. And it seemed like she did! Sure she cried when I first told her, but then she worked on coming to terms with it. She talked to us and to her teachers and to anyone who would listen about how, on Thursday, she was going to have CLUE and then have her shots and then have an Easter egg hunt in our back yard. That was her treat for dealing with the indignity of shots- her own egg hunt that Connor didn't get to take part in. (He helped me hide the eggs instead.)

Chip and Chloe had a grand time with Dr. Davis Thursday afternoon. After talking to her a bit, he determined that, "She's definitely ready for kindergarten!" Her weight, 52 pounds, is in the 95th percentile for her age. Her height, 4 feet exactly, is off the chart. Way above the 99th percentile. (Although really, it seems like there's not very much room above 99th. But I won't argue.) Chip texted me that things were going fine.

And then the needles arrived.

Apparently, and I don't really have all the details, there was hysterical wailing and thrashing about, and then Chip tried to distract her with candy and she choked on it, and eventually they had to call in several people to help hold her down while the shots went in. GOOD TIMES.

By the time she and her dad stopped at Baskin-Robbins and made it home for the Easter egg hunt, she was all smiles. She even laughed about what a fit she'd thrown! And that, my friends, is why Chip is in charge of taking the kids for their vaccinations.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Weekend Happenings

Friday night we delighted the children by giving in to months of pressure and letting them watch the Karate Kid remake with Jackie Chan and Will Smith's son. Chloe ran around hugging us and telling us we were the best parents ever. I'm really not sure why this was so important to them, but whatever. And let me say- it wasn't as bad as I expected it to be! Connor and I both cried during part of it, and we all felt good at the end. But all in all, I think the kids were a bit young to see the ass-kicking that Little Smith took during the movie. I know, I'm a prude. They aren't scarred for life or anything, but maybe I'm not as good a parent as Chloe thinks I am.

Saturday dawned cold and dreary and I totally skipped out on the opening weekend of the Farmer's Market. I went to Jazzercise instead! I made the kids help me do some cleaning with the promise we'd go see Rio at the movie theater if they were helpful. The truth was, Chip was off taking pictures somewhere and I was tired of trying to entertain them on a cold and dreary day!

The movie, Rio, was cute. I really appreciated that it was a kids' movie that told a story for kids. It didn't spend a lot of time winking at the parents or telling a story that was over the kids' heads in order to interest the adults. (I'm looking at YOU, Rango.) It's okay if parents are a little bored at kids' movies. It's rated G- I know I'm not the target audience. I just want my kids to be happy. And they really were- they talked about their favorite characters and lines the whole way home.

When we came out of the movies, it was sunny and warm! Crazy! I took the kids to Mom's to spend the night, and Chip and I made our first ever visit to the Shelby Farms Greenline. Scandalous, I know! We borrowed friends' bikes and rode to Shelby Farms and back. It's as awesome as everyone tells you it is. I can see why real estate values along the Greenline are going up- I totally want to buy four bikes and a house near a Greenline entrance after that experience.

Sunday morning we were at Woodland Discovery Playground by 9:30- perfect! Not too many people at all, and we didn't even have to stand in line to ride the cool swings. We thought maybe the novelty had worn off, but when we left about an hour later the place was really starting to fill up. So for now, the key is to get there early. And my blog readership is small enough that I can spill that secret without worrying that future early trips will be ruined by the influx of people who saw my tip.

We spent as much of the beautiful day outside as we could- before noon, of course, when we hunkered down on the couch to watch the Grizzlies win their very first playoff game ever! It was SO AWESOME!!!!! I'm still riding that high. Then Connor's good friend, Kelton, came over to play the afternoon away. Kelton recently moved far, far away and Connor has missed him terribly. He counted down the days until Kelton got here, and was not disappointed. They had a great time! Chloe just sat and watched them play, which seems to be her thing when Connor has a friend over. And she doesn't even have crushes on his friends yet! He doesn't know what he's in for.

Chip and I tried to get our little garden plot ready for planting, which I guess we'll do next weekend. While the kids are out of town! And yes, now it's MY turn to count down the days. . .

Friday, April 15, 2011

Friday Brain Dump

Chloe is insanely scared of two things: bugs and "rain sounds."

The bug thing is new. It almost seems like an affectation, a way to be more of a girly girl, but surely she's not old enough to play those games, right? But suddenly this spring, Chloe will scream and cry and panic whenever she sees a bug, even if it's a gnat flying by. It's totally annoying. I'm hoping she moves past it soon so that each trip outside doesn't have to be so full of drama.

Rain sounds have always been a problem. It started off that she was scared of thunder and lightning, which is certainly fair. For some reason, I think this kind of stuff is louder in her room. Connor has the trees in front of his windows, but Chloe gets all the lightning through hers. But she's gotten so paranoid about it, that now she's even nervous about rain since rain often leads to the more intense thunder and lightning. Oftentimes as I tuck her in, she'll ask, "Is it going to rain tonight?" She needs a heads up. Last night she was in bed with us before the thunder was really roaring. "I hear the rain sounds!"


Our talented friend Richard did a wonderful job in his Commercial Appeal column of summing up the acheivement test experience in the Memphis City Schools. Allow me to add our take to the mix.

This was Connor's first time to take the test, so our first time experiencing it as parents. (Although I still have TCAP nightmares from my days as a teacher.) I hadn't heard him saying much about it, so I thought maybe his teacher was playing it cool. Not so- on Sunday night, Connor was a bundle of nerves. He went on and on about needing to get a good night's sleep and eat a bowl of cereal for breakfast. He was adamant that it needed to be cereal! I realized that he has no idea that all the directives handed out at school weren't aimed at us. They were aimed at people who let their kids stay up all night and then don't feed them breakfast! I said, "Son! We feed you breakfast every morning! Eat what you normally eat and you'll do fine." I didn't step in on the sleeping thing, though. He wanted to get right in bed after his bath, skipping 15 minutes or so of reading time. (We read before the bath instead.) I figured it was in my best interest NOT to point out that he goes to sleep by 8:30 each night and gets about ten hours in before I wake him up. I'd hate to give him the idea that that other people sleep less and maybe he should be staying up later!

I volunteered to proctor the TCAPs a couple of days, and was worried I would have some kind of traumatic flashbacks to my days as a teacher. And I did feel a little bit of that panic. The TCAPs are the main reason I quit teaching- I found myself teaching kids these specific skills and not just teaching them how to learn, you know? And also, I just couldn't handle the idea that my worth as a teacher was judged on how these kids performed on this test. I would walk up and down the aisles of my classroom, silently willing them to pick up the pace, or to stop and think about that one because it looks like there are two correct answers but only one is right!, or just dying inside as I saw answers my best student had marked incorrectly- I know I taught you better than that! I hated that part of the job, that it seemed nothing else I did all year meant anything, just that week of testing. And at that point it was totally out of my hands. I'm too much of a control freak for that. I need a job where my annual evaluation is based on what I've done, rather than what 20 10-year-olds have done. I like going back and volunteering with the kids here and there, but I doubt I will ever relax enough to be able to enjoy teaching as a career again.


Chip and I spent the week fighting a spring cold. Sunday evening I had a sore throat and a little sinus pressure, along with some sneezing. I thought it was allergies from being outside all weekend. By Monday my nose was gushing, by Tuesday I had a slight fever, by Wednesday it was all in my chest, and by now I feel okay except for the raw skin around my nose from all the nose-blowing. But by Wednesday, Chip started feeling bad too, and went through the same progression of symptoms. So now I'm thinking it was a bug of some kind. Fortunately, the kids didn't get it. But it made for kind of a long week for us. I'm looking forward to putting it behind us and moving on to a great Memphis weekend, one involving the Memphis Farmer's Market and the NBA playoffs! Go Grizzlies!

Friday, April 08, 2011

My Boy

Y'all, Connor isn't my baby anymore. He's not even a little boy- the only thing I can think to say is that he's a kid these days. It's just as bittersweet as I always imagined it would be.

He's still a mama's boy, which does make it more sweet than bitter most of the time. And he has finally, after more than seven years without it, discovered empathy. He realizes that there is a world that exists outside the one between his ears. So when it's bedtime and Chloe is boasting how it's Mommy's night to read to her, Connor quickly retorts that he's glad Dad is reading to him- he doesn't want Dad's feelings to be hurt, and hates to see Chloe act the way he knows he has acted over the past several years towards his dad. He has confided to me that his favorite part of the day is when he snuggles in bed with a parent and we read a book together. I can't think of anything I've ever been told that has made me happier.

The book thing is a huge win for the ol' parents, considering Connor is becoming a gamer. He really loves to play with his Nintendo DS and Sony PSP. So much so, in fact, that we spend a lot of time monitoring how much time he's spending on them, and forcing him to turn them off. And though he's not always quick to comply (don't worry, he gets in trouble), he doesn't do a lot of complaining once the device is off. So somewhere in there he's learning a bit of self-control. Just a bit.

His real passion in life is basketball- playing it and watching it. Intently. He knows everyone who plays for every team, and knows what their jersey numbers are. If I say, "The Lakers won last night," he immediately asks, "What was the score?" as if I can keep that many numbers in my head. So he has learned how to look it up on the ESPN Scorecenter app on my phone. Recently, he and I sat fourth row center at a Grizzlies game. By the end of the warmups, he knew who was going to have a good game and why. And he was right. This is just a dream come true for me and Chip (and a nightmare for Chloe who hates watching sports). We're currently considering mulitple basketball camps over the summer, and Connor is super-excited- despite the fact that he "won't know anyone." The lure of basketball trumps the fear of the unknown.

For some reason all of this just seems terribly grown up to me. Connor seems to have matured so much in just the past four or five months- it's a growth spurt as shocking as when Chloe wakes up unable to fit into yesterday's pants. I suddenly see the young man he's going to become, and in some ways it's very rewarding. But I do miss my baby, just a little bit.

Thursday, April 07, 2011

Food! Glorious Food!

Luckily for RJA, today is the day I post pictures of my food on the internet. Check out my review of Chava's over at Dining with Monkeys, and put it on your list of things to do while in St. Louis.

Friday, April 01, 2011

Nobody's Fool

Pranks I did NOT pull on April Fool's Day include:

Telling my boss that the hundreds of letters that were signed, sealed, and stamped, yet contained a glaring typo, had accidentally gotten mailed before I could shred them.

Giving my boss a stack of newly printed, correctly written letters, only putting a horribly mangled letter on top so she'd think they were all wrong and had to be reprinted yet again.*

*Fact: I'm terrified of my boss and would never have actually done either of these. Another awesome prank I did not pull on her a few months ago was to bring maternity clothes and stuffing for all the thirty-something females in my office to wear on her first day back from maternity leave. Surprise! Guess what we all did while you were away!

Dressing Connor in Chloe's clothes, Chloe in Connor's clothes, and me in Chip's clothes to greet Chip for breakfast. Unfortunately, Chip was standing in line at the school board so we did not get to have an April Fool's breakfast together. Otherwise, this TOTALLY would have happened.

Serving a plate of spaghetti with dirt sauce, grass, bugs, etc., for dinner, and the kids and I would calmly act like it was normal while Chip grossed out. My kids are too sensitive about food, though, and couldn't pretend to like normal spaghetti, let alone gross spaghetti, so we shelved this one quickly.

Prank we did play on April Fool's Day:

The kids hid in the dining room. When Chip came home, I lured him into the den and talked to him normally for a minute while the kids ran outside and jumped in his backseat. Then I asked Chip where the kids were and flipped out because he didn't get them. I grabbed the phone to call Idlewild while Chip jumped in the car to go get them. Surprise! They were hiding in the back seat and jumped up and yelled, "APRIL FOOLS!"**

**The kids were super-excited about this prank, and I knew it would be devastating when a) Chip got home before we did, b) the back door beeped when they opened it to sneak out, and c) Chip's car doors were locked. So I asked him to get home after us, leave the back door open and his car unlocked when he got home. It may have tipped him off that something hinky was going on, but at least the prank got to play out as smoothly in real life as it did in my kids' imaginations. So I'll mark this one down as a success!