Saturday, February 6, 2010

Growing Up

Our "little" Kaylea isn't so little anymore. She is blossoming into a beautiful young lady with a pretty good head on her shoulders. She loves to read (and currently has the most AR points at her school), loves fashion (which is hampered by a school dress-code), and loves her friends (girls and B-O-Y-S, alike). And yes, there is a "boyfriend" in her life.

When I began this blog, I titled it "Curiosly Kaylea" because of the funny things that she would say. We were always so curious about how, exactly, it was that her brain worked. Also, she just said the darnedest things and I wanted to put them in writing so we could remember them for years to come.

Don't worry, I am not thinking it is time to retitle the Blog or shut it down. I am sure as Kaylea enters her teenage years, we will remain curious about how, exactly, it is that her brain works; however, I am not so confident that she will continue to give us the "kayleaisms and DOINK(ers) that so freely flew from her mouth before. I guess I am just realizing that the whole premise of the Blog is changing. You are welcome to stick around and make the journey with us. Who knows what puberty, dating, middle school, etc. has in store for us.

Oh, and as a side note, I am happy to report that Bub and I have finally reaped the rewards of this little Blog. This morning we have sat and read through some old posts and laughed, and laughed, and laughed......

Our "Not So Little" Kaylea

Friday, August 28, 2009

Magna Cum Grocer

With our move to Florida, many important decisions have been necessary. You know the ones I speak of:

  • What Doctor should we use?
  • What Dentist is kind and gentle?
  • Where should I get my hair done?

BUT, one of the most important questions was:

  • What school should we send Kaylea to?

In Tennessee, this wasn't really an issue because there was only one school in our small town; therefore, the county pretty much made the decision for us. But, down here it is totally different. We could send her to the nice little neighborhood school, for which we are zoned. We could choose to send her to one of the many magnet schools that cater to your child's academic interests. We could send her to one of the private schools. Or we could send her to an open enrollment, "school of choice."

All of these choices were quite mind numbing. We carefully weighed each option and tried to determine the best school for Kaylea. The neighborhood school, Dixieland Elementary, would normally be a very viable option, but we don't anticipate staying in this school district for the entire school year; therefore, Kaylea would have to change schools again mid-year. The magnet schools are fabulous, but we would have to apply for Kaylea to attend them, and people have been on waiting lists for 2 - 3 years to get in. The private schools are a nice option, also, but unfortunately we don't have an extra 7k to spend on tuition. So, we opted for the "school of choice." We feel we made the right decision because regardless of where we eventually buy a house, Kaylea will be able to remain at the same school.

One of the catches to sending her to the "school of choice" is that the school buses only pick up children that are zoned for the school. So, I am traveling 20 miles round trip, twice a day to take Kaylea to school and then pick her up. I don't really mind the drive because it gives Kaylea and me a little bit of time to talk and share all the important things that are going on.

I do have to say, living in a town with so many schools is hard for Kaylea to grasp. In the morning and afternoon when we are making our voyage across town, she sees many different school buses and always asks me, "Which school do those kids go to?" Of course there is no way of knowing, so I can only guess depending on which school we are close to. One morning as we were pulling out of our neighborhood, she saw a school bus and asked, "Mom, do those kids go to that Winn Dixie School that I was supposed to go to?" I was a little confused at first and then I realized, she meant Dixieland School. I couldn't help but laugh. I guess she was probably glad that we didn't send her there; after all, she wants to grow up and be a doctor not a grocer.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Daddy's Birthday Dinner

Tonight, Kaylea was finally able to make a birthday dinner for her Daddy. She had studied the latest edition of Taste of Home's Fun Food Magazine, and dog eared numerous pages, just trying to find the perfect meal. There were so many choices and she really had trouble deciding. She even gave the magazine to Bub, and had him look through it. After all, it was his birthday and she was going to allow him to have some say in his meal. After much contemplation, she decided to prepare the Meatball Pizza and Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Cup S'mores.

Of course, I had to lend a hand with the oven, but other than that she made the entire meal all by herself. It was very tasty and she and I had a nice time in the kitchen. When I was growing up, these were the things I had always imagined doing with my daughter. So, I guess Bub wasn't the only one that received a gift from Kaylea this evening.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Moths and Balls and Other Stuff......

Yes, I am still here. I know I haven't posted anything in several months, but life has gotten in the way. For some reason, I just haven't had the time or inclination to write anything. I'm sure it is just a phase that will pass. Maybe when life settles down and things return to normal (or as normal as they can be at our house) my focus and creativity will return. For now though, I guess the entries will be as sporadic as the thoughts that run through my head.

I will stop with my excuses now, because as you all know, this blog isn't about me, this blog is about Kaylea. I will, however, say that Kaylea is growing up and hasn't been giving me as much material as she did in the past. But, it just so happens that we had two hum-dingers that came out this past week. Since I found myself saying repeatedly that these have to go on "The Blog", I decided to put them in print. So here they are (for all two of our readers that have hung around).

First, Kaylea's Grammy told a story the other night that I had never heard before. She said several years ago, she and Pappy took Kaylea to our local KFC for dinner. They walked up to the counter to place their order and Kaylea studied the menu very carefully. While Kaylea was trying to decide on her menu selection, Grammy ordered the "Sr. Buffet." Then Pappy stepped forward and ordered the "Sr. Buffet" also. Kaylea was still having a hard time making up her mind. Grammy tried to help her out by suggesting the chicken strip dinner. Kaylea shook her head, no. Then Kaylea stepped up to the register and told the clerk, "I'll have the Sr. Buffet, also." Grammy said the man behind the counter bent over to hide his laughter, but then regained his composure and quickly apologized for his rudeness. Grammy told him, "It's ok, Kaylea makes us laugh all the time."

Next, this past week, Auntie M and I were unloading more yard sale items into the garage. The items had been in Auntie's attic and basement and smelled a bit musty. During all of the unpacking I commented, "I keep smelling moth balls," to which Auntie replied, "well, I don't know why." Then Kaylea pipes up and says, "WELL, I did see a big moth in here a few minutes ago." DOINK!!! I thought Auntie and I were both going to wet our pants. Bless her little heart!

Monday, January 19, 2009

I have a gripe

I know that I am not a teacher; I never have been. But, I went to college and got the degree needed to be a teacher; therefore, I feel a kinship with the educators I encounter in my day to day life. Due in part to my educational background, I have always supported Kaylea's teachers and tried to back them in their efforts to educate my daughter. I have always been a very "involved" parent. You know the kind. I was a full-time volunteer in Kaylea's classroom; the first to put my name on the party sign-up sheet (heck, most of the time I was the one that made the party sign-up sheet); always present at class parties; never missed an opportunity to chaperon a field trip; and basically, rallied all the other parents together for various classroom projects and causes.

This year, however, things have been different. Basically, I am a lot less involved than in years past. I began the year by volunteering one afternoon a week, but I just got the feeling that I was not wanted/needed/welcome. For whatever reason, Kaylea's teacher and I just haven't warmed up to each other.

Now that you know a little history, I will explain my gripe. And yes, I felt giving a little history lesson was important so that you wouldn't think I was "one of THOSE parents." (The kind of parent that is never happy with their child's teacher.)

First, all of the students in 4th grade are required to become 4-H members. I don't have anything against 4-H as a club. But I think it should be treated as that, "a club" and all participation should be voluntary. I don't understand, however, how membership and participation in a club can be mandatory. If participation is mandatory, it is no longer a club; it is a class. Which brings me to my second gripe, there are many 4-H activities that Kaylea has been required to do, for which she was graded on. The most current activity (assignment) from 4-H is to write a 200-400 word essay on the 75th Anniversary of the Great Smoky Mountain National Park. When this activity (assignment) was sent home, Kaylea's teacher notified us that the students would be graded on their essay. Then she asked us to help them with this paper. Well, naturally, I asked Kaylea if she had been told how to write an essay? Guess what? NO! The kids had not been given any direction on how to even begin to write an essay. Oh, and let me remind you, these are 4TH GRADERS. (I don't think I learned how to write an essay until I was in 8th or 9th grade.) So, here I sat trying to explain the mere basics of essay writing to my daughter and "helping" her organize her thoughts so that she can turn them into a somewhat coherent 200-400 word essay. Well, we Kaylea finished the thing today, and I must say I am proud of her for the effort she put into the assignment. But, if Kaylea's teacher thinks that all of these children produced these great literary pieces as a result of what they have learned in school, then she is sadly mistaken. I just hope that we she gets a good grade on the damn thing!

Don't get me wrong; I expect to help my child with various assignments. I am very involved in her education. I just feel that I should not be expected to teach my child how to complete a task for which she is receiving a grade. That is the teachers' responsibility. What if I were a parent that didn't go to college, or didn't even finish high school. Odds are I probably couldn't give the best guidance to my child when it comes to constructing an essay. Should the child be punished for that? I think not!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

The end of an era...

I am a little sad today. It seems my little girl isn't so little anymore. This is becoming more abundantly clear with each passing day. And now, because she has entered "young adult-hood" Christmas will forever be changed in her life and ours.

As you all know, Kaylea is 10 now. For the last 2 Christmases we have fully expected the BIG question to come from her lips. You all know the question I am referring to; it is the question that every parent of every young child dreads at Christmastime. I'm sure each of you are wondering when your little one will ask it, also. I always swore that I would not lie to Kaylea when she directly asked the question. Only she never did.

Finally, this year for many reasons we decided the truth needed to come out. I have received several e-mails over the past few weeks about the "spirit" of Christmas. I would share these with Kaylea hoping it would encourage her to ask me, but no luck. Every opportunity I was given, I would try to ease her into the subject, but she wasn't taking the bait. Then yesterday, she had a friend over to play and they were chatting up a storm. Suddenly, Kaylea looks at her friend and says, "Did you know that there is someone in our class that doesn't believe in Santa Clause?" Kaylea's friend gave her a puzzled and amused look and replied, "yes, like me and a whole bunch more." Then her friend looked at me and said, "Ms. Jennifer, you mean you haven't told Kaylea the truth about Santa Clause, yet? My mom told me the truth 2 years ago."

I guess the thing that rang in ears was her friends use of the word "truth." I know I haven't boldface lied to Kaylea. I would just dance around the subject. She would tell me about a child that didn't believe and I would respond, "oh no, Santa won't come see them if they don't believe." I guess I was so convincing with that argument that Kaylea decided she would believe for life. Even after her friend called me out, Kaylea didn't even ask a single question.
Once her friend went home, I sat her down and talked to her. I told her the truth, but I also explained to her the history of Saint Nicholas and how the modern day Santa Clause came about. I explained that all of us have a little portion of Santa Clause inside us because we share in the magic of Christmas. We give gifts from the heart to our family and complete strangers while expecting nothing in return. That is the true spirit of Christmas. But most importantly, we talked about the true reason for celebrating Christmas. I reminded her that Christmas is the celebration of Christ's birth. This is a time to honor Him and celebrate Him.

After our talk I looked at her and said, "Kaylea, why haven't you asked me if Santa is real?" She replied, "Well, I guess I just believed it so much, I didn't think I had to ask." I wonder how long she would have kept believing, had we not had our talk? I guess I'll never know, but I feel good knowing that she heard the truth from me. I am also so proud of my child for sticking to her beliefs. For several years, kids have told her Santa isn't real, but she never wavered in her belief. I know that her love and commitment to the Lord will stay with her throughout her life and I know she will have the same unshakable faith in Him.

As Kaylea went to bed last night she asked me one final question, "Mom, can I still leave cookies our for Santa, I mean you, on Christmas Eve?" And of course, I told her she could do anything she wanted to. We will carry on all of our Christmas traditions as long as she wants.

Now, here are Kaylea's years with Santa for all of us to enjoy............

Kaylea's 1st Christmas - 1998

She was never afraid of Santa

Ah, those were the days - 2000

I think she was a little star struck

What a cutie pie.

Kaylea getting a great BIG Santa hug.

She just asked Santa for a puppy and he said o.k. (after asking Dad and Mom).

They were having a very deep conversation.

She was probably doin' some splainin'

The last picture of Kaylea with Santa.

We never got her to see him last year (kick, kick!!!!)

Friday, December 12, 2008

Childhood Memories

As Kaybug drug her lifeless and disappointed (ie suppose to snow, but didn't) body from bed this morning I had to tell her that we received a phone call last night and her great-great aunt passed away. She just sat there looking at me with such bewilderment and sadness. Then she opened her mouth and this is what came out:

Kaylea: "Let me guess, I have to go to another funeral?"
Me: "Well, yes. We will go the the visitation tomorrow evening."
Kaylea: "This is NOT how I want to remember my childhood!"

Poor thing, I think she has lost more loved ones than any other child her age. I know she has suffered more loss than I had at age 10.