When her performance was over we left her class to finish their day and we went to Natalie's school. It is called Little Hands Pre School and is held in an Episcopal Church in San Carlos. There is a long slanting walkway up to the entrance. The speed of the 36" tall Natalie as she raced up it to the entrance just amazed me. She simply could NOT wait to get in. As we went through the gate you could hear her classmates calling out their Hello's to her....and then the race was really on. What a fabulous facility. The structure was daunting. The children were actually helping and encouraging one another. The chatter was remarkable. All I could think was, "what are their parents feeding them???" At one point little Natalie was washing her "baby" along with several other little ones at the water table. Along came some boys and dumped the rocks they had collected in the upper "digging area" into the water table. Well that did not please Miss Natalie L (there are two Natalies you see Natalie L and Natalie K). She raised one of her pointer fingers, put a frown on her little face that would have scared off a robber and raised her voice and said, "No!" I tell you those boys ran. Then she proceeded to use the "net" and picked up all the rocks and returned them to the digging area. I thought then of how my daughter Jess had told me that she didn't ever worry about Natalie defending herself. Apparently before she toned it down a bit Jess described her as a Soccer Hooligan! Let me tell you by the time her class day came to an end at 11:30 those 3 year olds had me beat!!
The next challenge for me came on Saturday. I played with the girls while their Dad attended class and Jess left to select a dress and shoes for the Big Auction Date. That was a breeze but my "BIG" challenge was yet to come. I was to care for the girls from 5pm to 11pm or so while their parents attended a large auction that was raising money for the entire school district. This was a huge affair with lots of fun activities and Jess and Peter were as excited as if they were going to a prom. They don't have too much time to socialize between Peter working full time and attending UCal Berkeley for his MBA, parenting the girls and finding time to both study and sleep a bit. Jessika has also been organizing two other fundraisers for SPNS and Little Hands. Her background in non-profit fundraising has really benefited the children's schools. Between shuttling the girls to school, working at Little Hands once a week and SPNS once a week, keeping the house going and cooking special Nut-free and Gluten-free meals three times a day she is constantly beat.
I have to admit I was silently totally panic stricken working in a kitchen I knew little about on a gas stove (terrified of those) and making a dinner for two very discriminating children I'm lucky if I see twice a year!! But I have to tell you the super duper hot dogs and fries (actually tiny potatoes rolled in EVOO and course salt and baked in the oven) were a huge success. Little Natalie put away 2 dogs.
Like my two grandson's would say, "she is a goat, she'll eat ANYthing". Even Piper finished completely. Next it was on to books and bed. Well it was supposed to be books and bed. It ended up being lots of Dora, twelve (yep, I'm easy) and no bed. Finally at 10pm Piper said, "I'm beat. Let's go to sleep." Of course both girls wanted me to be with them so we had to all congregate in J and P's room. Piper in her sleeping bag on the floor was delighted. Natalie I got to sleep "where Mommy sleeps" and she thought she was "Queen of the Night". It took approx. 3 minutes and both were out cold. Sigh....
The next day was another horse race with Jess finishing "Eloise's skirt" and she and I going to pick up the cupcakes for the party..purchasing buttons and last minute items at JoAnns. Daddy had taken the girls to their favorite place: Happy Hollows (a children's amusement park in San Jose) with a huge wooden brand new play scape. Let's just say he had a bit of a head ache. You see he sang Karaoke the night before at the Auction. If you know Peter you know his reserve would not allow that unless a bit of alcohol was involved. Yes apparently he did "a mean Neil Diamond".
While J was in the nearby party store purchasing a number six balloon I thought I should try to keep the scorching hot car cool so I turned on the A/C. WRONG MOVE. Little did I know that the car and it's battery were over six years old and the last time Natalie left the backseat lights on and AAA had to come to "jump" the car they told Jess that only a new battery would start the car the next time it died. Oh I just wanted to die myself!!! Jess just laughed and said it was long overdue and AAA would come quickly. In the meantime with the car scorching hot and $120 worth of nut-free cupcakes in the back seat Jess texted Peter and on his way back from Happy Hollows he picked up the cupcakes while we waiting on AAA. Just about the time of transfer the huge number six balloon popped, Jess screamed, Piper cried, and I thought I was going to have a heart attack. Could this drama go on much longer???
AAA was wonderful. The battery is guaranteed for 6 years....and off we went rushing back to the house to put the buttons and snaps on the Eloise Skirt for that evening's birthday party.
Balloons:check, cupcakes:check,bouncy house:check,arts and crafts supplies:check, pizza delivery: check. Oh Lord let all the kids come, let the food be good, let no one get hurt in the bouncy house and most important of all let Piper have a wonderful time at her party.
The children came, the food was fabulous, the staff at the Youth Center were endearing, the parents of the children were such good sports, the children hugged and ate and played and jumped and were the sweetest bunch of children ever....all from Room 4 of Brittan Acres School in San Carlos, California.
Another day over. What a wonderful, fun filled day. Hectic and exciting and WONDERFUL.
After the party which was held from 6-8pm (the only available time all weekend due to an athletic event) the children put on their pajamas and it was time for Piper to open her gifts. I honestly have to say that it was really touching to watch a little six year old as excited by the hand drawn and written cards and notes that accompanied the gifts as the gifts themselves. Some of the notes just tugged at your heart: "Piper, you are so COOL" "Piper you are my BFF" It just made me feel so happy for her that she had so many friends. This was a very happy, confident, loved little girl. What more could a Grammie want?
Well all of this dialog leads up to the thank you gift that I sent the girls today. It was because of their love of sending each other (Piper and her friends, AND Piper and Natalie) little hand written notes.
"Be Good" "Hi" "Come Over", etc. that I thought of making each girl their very own mailbox. There was never going to be a more appropriate time.
I was able to find two little mailboxes at JoAnns. $4.95 each. They are made of tin, beautifully painted Hot Pink, Blue, or White. I think I found the only two left in the State of Connecticut: one blue, one white. They can, however be ordered from JoAnn.com. Then I went to the scrapbook section and purchased some puffy pin-dotted press apply letters ($3.95 each color) and put the girls names on the front and the word "mail" on the flags. (Yes, I know I made a mistake on Natalie's...but I did correct it before I mailed it!)
Here are a few pictures:
Friday evening is Video Night at the Levinson's. In Natalie's Mailbox
I put a dual copy of Lady and the Tramp.
This Friday will be a special night with Mom's Popcorn and "The Tramp".