Biography Fair

Several weeks ago, Brielle came home from school and told that she would be "Grandma Moses" in the 5th grade biography fair, which highlighted famous Americans. Grandma who? I said. I had no idea who she was, what she did or what she was famous for.

None the less, Brielle wanted everything to be perfect. So perfect, that she reminded us of this event three times a day, for several weeks. Chris and I were so annoyed we starting saying things like "you have a biography fair? When?" or "what's tomorrow?" It really ticked her off.


A few things to know about Grandma Moses:

Anna Mary Moses started painting in her older years (hence the "Grandma" title). When embroidery became too difficult (due to arthritis) a friend suggested she start painting.  In the 1930's she sold small paintings for $2 and large paintings $3. It was during this time that she was discovered by art collector Louis Calder who purchased all the paintings she had available.

A year later, her paintings were included in an art exhibit titled "Contemporary Unknown American Painters" at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City. One of her more popular paintings sold in 2006 for $1.2 million dollars.  Grandma Moses even has a 6 cent commemorative US postage stamp created in her honor.

The 5th grade teachers outdid themselves with this event. All the reports and posters were to be completed at school (meaning parents were not involved - I still remember my... I mean Brielle's 4th grade science experiment). They researched their famous American at school, wrote their reports at school and completed their posters at school.  The parents job was only to help with the costume, and get them to the school in time for the fair, which was held in the evening.

69 5th grade students lined up around the outside of the gym, in character. Parents were given a sheet of paper and were instructed to "Name the Famous American." You could only ask 3 questions to each student, and they could only give yes or no answers. I'll tell you what... this was not easy. Chris knew quite a few that I did not, and once again, questioned my Murray High School education.

At the conclusion, each child had to stand on stage, state their name and who they were. "My name is Brielle Merkley, but tonight, I am Grandma Moses." What a fun event, both for the kids and for the parents. Chris and mine's biggest disappointment? Not being able to identify Brielle's friend, who was Susan B. Anthony. Her poster even said "My Picture is on the Dollar Coin." Embarrassing, I know.


One Giant Bowl of Cereal

I don't eat a lot of cold cereal. I just don't. I prefer smoothies, oatmeal or pancakes to cold cereal. So it goes without saying that I'm the last person to know when cereal gets low at our house.

The two people in the house who do eat cereal for breakfast (almost everyday), are also the last people to tell the grocery shopper in the family (me) that the cereal is getting low. I'll look in the pantry, see several boxes, and think "we're good" before a trip to Macey's. I'll soon find out that we are in fact **not good**.

And this is how I find out that we are **not good***...

Chris will pull out all the remaining boxes of cereal, which for some reason, all contain a less than enough for a full bowl. He'll combine them all into one giant bowl, and then consume. While I watch in disgust. Nasty! If all these cereals were meant to be eaten together, they would all be in the same box! Granola with Cherrios? Chex with Special K? Really?

Wouldn't it be easier to just leave me a note?


Happy 39th

Dear Chris,

We know it sucked when you couldn't come with us to Beaver on Friday. Being responsible isn't easy sometimes. But, since I had already taken the day off, and Brielle was home from school with a friend, it only made sense that we still go.

The weather was perfect. It was sunny and warm (37 degrees to be exact). There was 4 inches of fresh new powder from the previous nights' storm. Conditions were perfect and we just couldn't pass it up.

I know, I know. It was your birthday weekend and this was meant to be a little "birthday" fun day as a fam. For that, I really am sorry. But we want you to know that even though you couldn't come and enjoy the day with us...

we were still thinking about and missing you! Happy 39th Birthday! 

We love you and we promise we'll make it up to you!


Emily & Brielle

Teaching the Tough Lessons

This is my iPad.

Sad, I know. Especially since I'm 6 days away from my next business trip AND had just purchased the 10th installment of the "Women's Murder Club" series. Curse word.

Brielle did it. She didn't mean to, and I know that. But, had she listened to her mother at the time of the "incident," the "incident" would not have occurred. It was time for the lesson on "Taking Responsibility for your Actions."

We've had several opportunities for this particular lesson before, however, none of them came with such hefty price tag for repair. Chris immediately (in the heat of the moment) grounded her for a week. I disagreed with this line of punishment. ***Word to the wise... don't disagree on punishments in front of your child.  The anger from the broken iPad will quickly turn to anger from having undermined the co-parent.***

Brielle is a good kid who made a mistake, simple as that. She had a little party at our house scheduled for the next day, and I didn't feel as though the other kids (and Brielle, for that matter), should be punished for what we both knew was an accident.  Besides, what would grounding do, except punish me, too? No thanks (and sorry babe).

Instead, the punishment needed to better aline with the crime.  I felt that paying for the repairs was not only be appropriate, but a good reminder that these technology devices are fragile and expensive. They are privilege to have and need to be cared for. I helped Brielle set up a repayment plan. She immediately transferred some money from her savings account to my checking account, and will lose her allowance over the next 8 weeks. She also asked her dad for opportunities to help him and earn some money. I was proud of her for owning up to her mistake.

I then went to my room and cried. Who wants to take money from their kid?!?  It broke my heart.

Sundays are paydays. So today, this lesson hit home from her. When handing in her job chart and after calculating what was still owed to me, she burst into tears.  The realization of just how much money it will cost her, and how long and hard she'll have to work became all too real.  A part of me wanted to hug her and say "never mind - don't worry about it."  But, I can already see that this particular lesson, although tough to teach and tough for her to learn, is sinking in.  She gets it now.

New Wheels - Subaru Does Not = Democrat

It's been 28 days since my last confession post. My lack of update has nothing to do with fun and exciting trips or events. Mostly they consisted of everyday junk to the 3rd power. Errands, running around, violin lessons, working late... and not having the appropriate transportation to accomodate our busy family.

Roughly 4 weeks ago, Chris's work truck died, and the expense to repair it was well more than it was worth. We knew this day would soon come, but we were hoping for a bit more time. Juggling our schedules with one working vehicle proved to be challenging.  For two weeks, our days went something along the lines of this:
  • Chris takes Brielle to school and Emily to work.
  • Chris runs work errands, then goes to work himself.
  • Chris picks Emily up from work to go grab lunch.
  • Emily drops Chris off at his work, and goes back to work.
  • Emily leaves work, picks up Brielle and takes her to violin.
  • Emily drives back into town to pick up Chris.
Everyday was a new version of car swapping and somehow, Chris and I managed to still get along.  Surprisingly.  We lost about one hour of work each day, spent that extra hour in the car, and instead of filling up the truck with gas twice during the week, filled up three times (ouch).  It was miserable.

But there is a silver lining...

Two weeks after the GMC bit the dust, we purchased a fairly new - used Subaru Outback.  I love it.  It's nice to be driving something smaller again. It's already been tested out in a snow storm - to which I gave it an A+.  I've only filled up once in two weeks (this should amount to a savings of $200+ per month in fuel). It is SO roomy and SO comfortable and fits my family SO nicely.

On a more serious note... Since purchasing this car, I see Outback's everywhere. This is typical for everyone who has purchased a new vehicle, am I right? Whenever we pass another Outback, Brielle shouts "Sista from another Mista!"  Hilarious, isn't she? Back to being serious... I've noticed that every other Subaru I pass by on the streets has an Obama or Co-Exist sticker on the back and it's made me a bit worried. It may seem to some that the typical Subaru owner is a hippy, tree hugging, Democrat. This is an unfair assessment of Subaru owners around the country. I mean, who says you have to be a tree hugger AND and a Democrat?

And on that note, what if you are me are neither a tree hugger OR a hippy? OR a Democrat? I can drive a Subaru, too!

Phew, I'm glad we've cleared that up!  I'd like to get back to enjoying my new wheels without fear of judgement now, please.  Thanks!