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The end of the school year always gets crazy.  OK, not just crazy.  INSANE.  It’s one special event after the other, and because I like to volunteer at my girls’ school, there is never a lack of things to do.  Science Fair.  Field Day.  Organize and shut down the library.  End of year meetings for Daisies.  Room mom duties.  Award ceremonies.  Then add all the extra-curricular stuff: the recital, the performances, the showcases, spring sports.  And all the details that you can’t overlook: sign up for fall soccer, order new uniforms, think about NEXT year’s extracurriculars, attend evaluations, get haircuts so everyone looks nice for these special events, meetings and preparations for summer camps and special projects, end-of-year gifts for teachers, Mother’s Day.

And this year in particular, we have an out-of-state birthday to attend AND an out-of-state wedding to attend in May on top of all that.  Add our annual vacation is in early June, and it’s a recipe for insanity.  In fact, the only reason I have time to write this now is because I’m waiting on an e-mail to come in that I need to print before leaving the house.  Were it not for that, I’d be out running errands … picking up snacks for 19 Pre-K kids, copying letters for teachers, and picking up a diet Coke at McDonald’s.

Oh, I haven’t told you about my love of diet Coke?  Yeah, that’s a whole other post entirely.  I’m going to be needing a LOT of diet Coke over the coming month.

The only way I get through it all is with two software programs: Mac’s iCal and Evernote.  Both sync automatically and instantaneously with my iPhone and I can see where I need to be and what I need to do at any given time.  Were it not for those two tools, I’d be in trouble.

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Today’s To-Do List (So Far)

  • Drop girls off at school
  • Breakfast with a friend
  • Straighten up at home, gather/sort/start laundry, sweep floors, general cleaning
  • E-mail to PreK class about school events next week (I’m room mom)
  • Several other calls and e-mails that took way too much time but were, unfortunately, necessary


That brings me to now, almost 2:00.  I have to leave in 30 minutes to go pick up the girls from school and I don’t feel like I’ve gotten much done at all.  Therefore, I will be getting up off the couch momentarily and going into warp-speed mode so I can actually feel productive today.  

Plus, the longer I sit here, the stiffer my hips become.  I thought I was all that and more when I could do most everything at the yoga class I tried, but my body decided otherwise overnight.  Clearly I’m not 20 anymore. 😉

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Oh Deer!

It has been a little over a year since we closed on this house (though we didn’t move in until early July 2011 after the near-full renovation was complete), and everything that the previous owners had told us about the wildlife has been true.  There’s been a pretty big backlash in our local area against the overpopulation of deer, but I have to admit we have no problem with them at all.

Deer are definitely the most prevalent.  The previous owner said there was a herd of 11-13, though we typically see groups of 4-6.  The girls and I have done some research online, and with fawns due in about a month, the female deer and their recent offspring have settled into a social group for the spring and summer.  It appears as if the social group that lives in the woods near our house is made up of one lead doe, a younger female deer, and two very young deer (likely the two fawns we observed last year – though they have lost their spots now).  If my untrained eye is correct, the lead doe is expecting again … it will be fun to watch over the next 4-6 weeks.  Only one time since we’ve been here have we ever seen a buck – my husband saw him.  Once.  Our research has told us that the bucks are generally only ever around during mating season in the fall;  aside from that, they are off on their own.  I’ll withhold my comments about that.  My husband in particular enjoys yardwork and landscaping (I do as well, though only to a certain extent) and we do have to watch what we plant in the ground.  The only thing that didn’t survive last year was one particular kind of sedum, and I think we can blame the bunnies for that.

Plenty of bunnies as well – they are harmless.  Moles, unfortunately – we caught our first one in a trap this past week and it was beyond gross.  We’ve seen one hawk on the ground and one owl in a nearby tree, though we hear the owls a lot more frequently than that.  Last year there was a pair of coyotes – again our research told us that they mate for life – but after taking some pictures and talking to the Missouri Department of Conservation, we assumed that the female was close to dying of mange (a parasite).  I saw the male alone a couple times last year, and unfortunately the one time I saw him this year he looked a lot like the female did last year; so I’m not expecting to see him around again.  We also have wild turkeys – sometimes just one, but one time there was a flock of at least 30!!

The girls’ school recently had their nature trail named a Certified Nature Habitat and after doing some quick reading online, I think the woods in our backyard may be able to get that designation as well.  We’ll add that to our growing list of fun projects to do this summer!

Here are some pics of a few of our backyard visitors …

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It’s been interesting over the last few days to deliberately observe how differently my family members add or remove “noise” from their environment.  What caused me to take note of this was a headline – though I admittedly didn’t read the article – about whether music is distracting to kids while they are studying and doing homework.  My thought?  I think it really varies by personality.

I’ll start with me because I’m pretty sure I know my noise personality: it’s up and down, and closely tied to my mood.  In general, I prefer no noise.  Yes, I choose quiet most of the time.  I’m a stay-at-home mom, but unless there is a breaking news story, the tv is never on.  NEVER.  Nor do I have music playing at home.  When I exercise, usually swimming or walking, I don’t listen to music either.  (At one point before getting married, I had a waterproof belt that I put a walkman in while I was swimming laps.  I’m sure now they make a waterproof iPod pouch but I’m certainly not in the market for one.)  In the car is where I’m most likely to listen to music, but even then it’s 50/50.  The girls like Radio Disney, and I’ll also listen to pop and 80s on occasion.  But when the DJs start talking or commercials come on, I’ll flip the channel OR turn it off entirely.  I have no problems driving in the car without any music whatsoever.  The exception being on beautiful, cool, sunny spring days – like today – when the windows are down and the beat is thumping.  (OK, well, not thumping exactly … I mean, I do drive a minivan.)

My husband is easy – he’s all noise, all the time.  He’s a HUGE music fan and he is actually UNable to concentrate without noise of some sort.  When he’s working in his home office, the tv or music is on.  Always and without fail.  The only time he really breaks this rule, which I realized last night, is when he’s mowing the grass.  He doesn’t put headphones on.  It will be interesting to see if he starts once he reads this – my guess is that it just has never occurred to him to do so.  But otherwise, he’s always got something playing – when working out, in the car, when at work.

Our older daughter seems to be more wired like my husband, while our younger daughter is more like me.  This morning before leaving for school was a perfect example.  They had both finished breakfast so they had a few minutes of free time, so the younger one chose to color quietly at their art table, while the older one chose to pound out some notes and melodies on the keyboard.  In general, that’s a pretty good representation of their noise styles: the older one loves music (and possesses a fair amount of musical talent as well) and is better able to concentrate WITH noise, the younger one – perhaps a result of her sensory-sensitive nature – tends to choose a quiet environment.

Which begs the question: with two adults who have opposite noise styles and two kids who also are quite different, how does it work at home?  To be honest, we don’t really have many issues.  My husband’s home office is in the basement, and when we added that room, we insulted it fully.  So he can be down there with the music or tv turned up loud and I hardly hear it on the main level.  I understand that his version of downtime involves noise, and he understands that my version of downtime does NOT involve noise.  It’s not as if I never watch tv – we still enjoy watching tv together in the evenings; or if I come outside to help wash cars, he might turn the radio off so we can chat or interact with the girls.  The different styles don’t seem to impact the girls much at this age, though our older daughter has recently re-discovered her iPod and seems to enjoy listening to music throughout the day.  And that, of course, has prompted our younger daughter to ask for an iPod of her own.  But that’s another post for another day…

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