Friday, May 27, 2011

Visions and Dreams

Seren for a few months now aspires to be a "Grammy". In a class project, everyone had to draw a picture of what they wanted to be when they grew up. There were princesses. Firemen. Policemen. Pizza makers. And doctors. And Seren wanted to be a "Grammy".

Two nights ago, this came up again. So I asked her about it. "Why do you want to be a Grammy? What about a Mommy?"

"I don't want to be a Mommy. I just want to be a Grammy."

"Why, sweets?"

"Because I don't know how to have a baby, Mom. I don't know about that."

"Well, no one knows what it is like to have a baby until you have one."

"I don't want it to hurt. I think I'll just be a Grammy."

:) How do the kids get these ideas?

Meanwhile, since the kids and Sam came back from Flint, Wyeth continues to talk about "Jo Jo". Sam and I have no idea who or WHAT Jo Jo is. But he makes a daily appearance. It isn't an imaginary friend. Because sometimes Wyeth will be talking (and he is a chatty Kathy TOO!) and he will burst into laughter, finishing the story with "JO JO!".

I'll keep you informed if we ever figure out who or what Jo Jo is.

Speaking of imaginary friends, I asked Seren how "Strawberry and Snoozy" were doing. (Those are the pink elephants that live in the back yard.) She said that they were "fine" and that they would be "back" for the summer.

I'll let you know how they are doing when I see 'em.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011


I have been thinking a lot about onions these days.

Two weeks ago I spent five days in El Paso Texas on the border of Texas and Mexico. I was there on work. I was interviewing representatives from an organization that provides services and vocational training to farmworkers.

I can't say much more about the project than that. But what I can say was the life of a farmworker is insanely difficult. Physically. Emotionally. Financially. These are all US Citizens who, due to lack of choice, are picking America's crops. These migrant workers move with the crops which is hard on families and very difficult on a child's education.

I spent some time with both current and former farmworkers who gave me a very good idea of their lives as workers. They would get up at 2:30 in the morning and wait to be chosen for a truck that would drive them through the night to a farm. The farm could be in New Mexico. It could be in Texas. The workers sleep during the ride. At 6:00, the day of picking begins. Sometimes they are paid by the hour. Sometimes they are paid by the piece. The workers would work in pesticide treated fields, in the hot, hot sun, sometimes without bathrooms, toilet paper or water. The day ends and they are returned home. They would fall asleep for a few hours and then go back to a center to do it all again. The pressure to perform is amazing. If you are too old or are not at the center early enough to be chosen to work that day, you aren't paid. Workers talked about the constant pressure and anxiety they felt.

The crystal clear moment came to me when interviewing one man. He is clearly a success story. After 40 years in the fields, he got his GED and some training and now teaches a construction class at a local community college. He is thrilled with his new life. He has a steady job. He has steady hours. He sleeps. He sees his children. And as he put it. "My entire life has changed! I used to make about $5,000 a year and now I am rich! I make 20,000".

The sentiment behind it warmed my heart. The reality of his statement stopped me in my tracks.

For Seren's bday party this weekend, I washed about 12 tomatoes. The entire time, I kept thinking about who picked these tomatoes. Where did the tomatoes come from? How much was an individual paid to pick them for me? In El Paso, the workers cut a lot of onions using huge scissors. Exhausting work meant that sometimes they would cut themselves in their haste to work quickly under crazy conditions.

There is more to say here. There is much more to the story than I'm writing about. And it all gets very political very quickly.

All I'm saying is that I've been thinking about onions an awlful lot lately.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

The Five Year old

From Bill Angus. Sam's Dad. Of course.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Birthday, Field Trip, Mothers Day

Seren celebrated her bday on her bday by having cupcakes in school (always a big hit) and then going out to dinner for her bday with Grammy and Poppy and us. She picked Friendly restaurant.

Really? You sure? Friendly's?

But when we got there, the drain pipe didn't work and the restaurant was closed so we ended up at TGIF. (shoot!)

The next day I joined the preschool on a big class trip to NJ Garden State Discovery Museum. Sam took the kids earlier last spring. Seren and her class were SOO excited. The best part, hands down, was the bus. They had never been on a big yellow school bus before and WOW did they have FUN! Awesome to see them bouncing around like that! At one point, there were four little girls in one seat! And after 5 years of carefully strapping them in car seats, it was wild to see them 'free' in the school bus.

I had a good time with the class. They are a great group of kids. And Seren had a good time too. I sat next to one of my 'mom' friends which is always nice! What a riot. It was good to spend time just enjoying the little things. What a riot! The bus was very memorable!

Friday at the office, I had to prepare for two full weeks of travel. Back to back site visits. Leaving the office was not easy at all!

And then, all of a sudden, it was Mothers Day! May has been a blur. And I have taken some good photos but all of them are in our camera as we haven't been able to download. Pics to come!

Here are some good ones of Mothers Day with my mom and dad. We went to a beautiful garden called Chanticleer! It was the last day of sunshine in May! (Seemingly) The kids surprised me with cards and gifts. And my mom and dad treated us to a yummy yummy lunch at home and some rest.

I can't believe how fast this is all happening. My work life has been really challenging with the two trips and I feel like it is a blur. Only 3 more weeks of school and then the big K. I still can't get over that. Between that huge milestone and turning five...sigh.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Happy Fifth Birthday Seren!

Dear Seren,
You turn five today. Five! Five. I can't even begin to wrap my brain around all that this year has brought us and just how fast time flies. I can clearly remember being handed an infant, OUR daugther and thinking, 'what am I doing?' And I still feel like that. I also remember, right after you were born, talking with parents who had five year olds and thinking that those parents were LIGHT years ahead of me. That it would take 'forever' until this tiny, little, 5.8 lb baby could do things like sing, dance, talk, hug, and tell jokes and complex stories.

But those years?

They went fast.

Seren you continue to talk a blue streak. We love it. Most of the time. You tell us about your day. Your adventures. Your dolls' adventures. You tell us memories you have. Dreams you had the night before. You share it all with us and we love it.

You have such enthusiasm. You always want to do new things! And take adventures! Most of life is one giant adventure! I love this about you! You embrace the small things in life and I love seeing the many blessings of this world through your eyes.

You continue to be super bright. Your reading makes me so proud. You just breathe in books and words and stories. It is an amazing thing to see you read aloud. I just sit there next to you and my mind is just filled with joy. How did you do that? How did you figure it all out?

Four has brought you another year of part time preschool. A chance to learn to befriend friends and negotiate social situations. I worried when you were two. You were so shy. So withdrawn. You just observed children. Carefully. Very carefully. And didn't want to really engage them. You still prefer adults to children. But you have fallen in love with your friends at school. And seeing your confidence in social situations grow is very exciting! You also are less fearful of new expereinces. Unless the new experiences invovle a dog. That? You are still scared to death of! Any dog. Any size. Even ones that wear tutus.

But I digress.

This year you have learned to read, made good friends, and been a good sister. You also have pushed our limits to see just how far you can go. You also tried soccer twice. You are loving riding your bike (with training wheels), playing with your dolls, creating stories, practicing your letters and being your wild and wonderful self. You FEEL everything. You are very sensitive. To many many things. This strong reaction to things can be difficult to deal with as you just want things to be one specific way. The world, sometimes is frustrating and hard. But you are learning that and working through it. And my gosh, you seem to have grown inches! Our tall girl.

Today when you woke up, right at 6, you called through the monitor. "It is my birthday! Please come up singing! And please bring the muffin!" Ah yes, you love this tradition. With bleary eyes, Daddy and I shuffled into your room where you excitedly waited. The candles lit, five of them shoved into a blueberry muffin, we sang Happy Birthday to you. And you were pleased as punch.

And so were we.

You then announced that your new pajamas which are way too long for you, "fit better" now that you are a "big five". I don't know about that kiddo, but we sure do love you.

May you always know how much you are loved. Always. By your friends. By your family. Always. Happy fifth birthday, our big girl. Continue to be the enthusiastic, bright, thinking, person you are now. Dream big dreams, love bug. We'll be here cheering for you.

We love you so much

Mom and Dad