Sunday, December 15, 2013

You Win Some, You Lose Some, You Win Again


It's been four years since I told you about my very first school fail. It was spectacular. Since then I have continued to miss the mark - usually going over or under expectations. At issue is the question of "How awesome does this need to be?"

Annabeth is currently in her last year of preschool. A month ago she received a card stock page with a turkey on it. The directions given were to "Let the whole family help" disguise the turkey so he wouldn't be eaten for Thanksgiving. Translation: Make it awesome. Before I had a chance to explain to Annabeth what our project was, she found herself a pencil and a fading purple marker and went to town. I'm already laughing like a hyena just writing this. I had every intention of asking for another copy to start over with, but my girl ended up with the flu and I missed my chance. So her first day back at school after being sick was the day her Hide the Turkey picture was due. Fun times!

Of course, I remembered she needed this about 10 minutes before it was time to leave for school. So I found one of Jackson's National Geographic Kids magazines and cut out a koala face. I turned that into a mask by adding a strip of black construction paper to look like a stick. It doesn't matter that a turkey couldn't actually hold such a mask. I glued that baby down and BOOM. Turkey hidden.




My child was thrilled! She thought it was so beautiful and amazing. Curtis took her to school and later told me how happy she was to give it to Ms. Kari. Bless her, Jesus. Later I got to see all the kids' turkeys displayed (in the hallway!) and let me just say, one was not like the others. My poor child. She told me she liked hers until she saw everybody else's. Worst mom ever. 

So the Monday after Thanksgiving I was tucking my big second grader into bed and he started telling me about a CONTEST at his school in which "the whole family" must decorate a cookie (a cookie!) in the likeness of a book character (a book character!) and you could win a gift card to Willie's Ice House or to a pottery painting place. I started hyperventilating immediately. Oh, dear God in heaven, thou hast not gifted me with the ability to bake tasty nor beautiful treats for my child to display proudly at his place of learning. Deliver me from this destiny, Lord! He said it was due on Wednesday and there would only be two winners in the whole school. What he didn't know was I had a women's event the next night and I wouldn't even have time to come up with greatness, much less execute it. I promised I would take him to Willie's AND to the painting place, but please understand that Mommy is a terrible baker/cookie decorator and there's no way we would win. No amount of his whining was going to change my mind.

I took to Facebook to discuss my lame mom status with my friends. Some of them laughed with me and some of them were horrified at my lack of motivation to try. A teacher friend clarified that I actually had a week to come up with a plan and that there would be more than 2 winners. It was my lovely friend Faylinn who basically threatened to come down to Houston and kick my butt if I didn't make an attempt. She sent me some pictures of ideas and when I turned them all down because of their difficulty, she finally gave me an idea that the kindergartners at her school do. So I have her to thank for what happened next. 

But first I want you to see the 100th Day of School t-shirt I made for Jackson last year.  

It was an over-the-top idea...

 (before school)


...that performed below expectations. 


 (after school)

 My poor children.

Here is the idea Faylinn gave me - a hot chocolate mug made out of an iced oatmeal cookie, a campfire-size marshmallow, a candy cane hook, melted chocolate, and mini-marshmallows. The most advanced skill it required was melting chocolate chips. This I could do (after consulting Google)!



We printed out a picture of the mouse from "If You Give a Mouse a Cookie" and glued him onto the hot chocolate mug. The contest was inspired by the book.


My happy son. 


I made two of these bad boys so that if we ruined one on the way to the after-school contest, all would not be lost. I knew it ended up being pretty cute but I prepped my son that we would not win. But isn't it great that we tried? And aren't you proud of Mommy? A friend who had already seen all the cookies let me know that there were some truly amazing ones. And indeed, when we dropped it off I was amazed! At least we tried!

The winners would be announced the next morning. I reminded Jackson on his way out the door not to be disappointed. About 20 minutes later a friend who works at the school called me, squealing that Jackson's name had been called out on the morning announcements as a winner!


WHAT!?!?!?!?!?!?!


It was a Christmas miracle! Our cookie was The Most Creative!

This was one of the greatest days of my entire life. I told Curtis I was going to need to talk about it a lot. I couldn't wait to see Jackson and experience his joy, so I decided to take him lunch that day. He was so happy and filled with love for his mom. I hope I never forget the sweet look on his face when he was telling me all about it. He said his class clapped for him. When they lined up for recess he kept waving to me and as they started walking outside he was hopping up and down. This is what we call "making Jackson too happy." I thought he might run the risk of getting in trouble that day because of his extreme happiness, but he did fine. 

My mom expressed her great joy that generations of women in her line had been vindicated and redeemed through my triumph in the school baking contest. I had to remind her that the cookie we made actually required no baking whatsoever. 

I will leave you with this video clip of Steve Carrell in Get Smart. It best expresses my feelings about having a winning cookie. 







23 comments:

Lori, Landon and Logan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
The Bargain Shopper Lady said...

I am so glad you are back to blogging! That is surely the most creative and the cutest cookie ever!

Sarah said...

That cookie is adorable! You did a great job! I totally teared up as I read about you taking Jackson to lunch and his excitement.

I wish that I had a picture to email you of my 1st grader's decorated turkey from this year. It was one-of-a-kind. Enough said. :)

AGirlOntheDoorstep said...

I cannot tell you how much joy this post gives me! You've given all moms hope!!!! Merry Christmas!

His love is strong said...

You. are. awesome. So funny. And I am now filled with trepidation over more elaborate preschool projects than we've had so far. Eek.

~Amy 7634

Jamie D said...

This blog post and the prequel are so hilariously surreal to me because my son who is in kindergarten has had to make the same 3 exact projects (banner, turkey, book character) except we had to use a pumpkin instead of a cookie. From one project to another my husband and I have this ongoing joke/conversation about how much am I supposed to do and how much should our son do? It takes an incredible amount of self control to not to the whole project myself. I had my husband read the post about the banner and he said, "It's like she wrote this for/about you!"

Tara G. said...

Um, I think the turkey mask is brilliant!! Congratulations on the victory!!!

Kristen Howerton said...

Oh this makes me laugh! We had the same turkey assignment, but apparently they were supposed to be cut out as ornaments. My son went to school with a decorated piece of full-sized paper. Oops!

HeHoHasMommy said...

Beautiful, Heart warming story! This made me anxious, happy, sad, anxious, happy to the point of years! It's so nice to read stories of another mom's trials & triumphs! Real stories! Helps me feel like maybe I might be like most moms after all. We all have insecurities and triumphs!

Angie said...

Congratulations!! And I am so glad you are blogging again, btw--these stories need to be heard. :-)

Sunni said...

This is totally 100% me. I am as inartistic as it gets. Great ideas. Poor execution.

I am very proud of our Nativity Scene shoebox that is due on Thursday for Polar Express day. She is, too. Until she gets to school and beholds the candy cane wonderlands done by all of the cool moms.

We're in this together, sister!

Lisa said...

My youngest will go to Pre-K next fall. I think I will go into hiding until he's in 5th grade or so. Seeing the pic of that cookie makes me want to seriously consider doing my children a disservice and trying my hand at baking, but then I will just be reminded of all the reasons that I don't even try to bake, and I will then have to give up on all things ever. I think I just had a full-circle moment!!! :~D

LOVE your blog so much. It's like a Christmas present I get to unwrap every time you write a new post. Thank you!

Kendra said...

:) Love it. You tell such a great story momma. :) Continuing to lift you up before the throne.

Jeannie said...

You are one funny girl and one momma that I totally relate to, especially with respect to the school projects. I thought your turkey disguise was awesome as well as the cookie! I loved the part of going to lunch with your son and how happy he was! That magical joy in children makes Christmas all the more joyful!

This Is The Day said...

Haha, that is great! That cookie is adorable and what a fun moment for Jackson!

Elisabeth said...

1. That's the coolest cookie EVER.
2. THANK you for being back to blogging. I don't care if we never become "real" friends:
I love you and I love your blog!!

sl said...

what a daring idea! I love it and may just copy it!! Way to go MOM!!

Maggie said...

I can't believe it has been 4 years since that poster debacle. I think about that story almost every time the kids have to make a family book, page, poster, etc.

crista said...

I'm so proud! I feel like I won! Really there've been a thousand victories...Just so you know that... :) Love you!!

Unknown said...

oh my WORD!! I feel EXACTLY the same way about all things school related! I have a preschooler this year and I'm sitting here agonizing over putting together the "teachers gifts". THe projects they send home make my chest tight! I don't have a crafty bone in my body! This post made me laugh until I cried and I'm SO proud of you,er, I mean Jackson for WINNING!! That is HUGE! You go girl! You've totally inspired me to pouf my tissue paper just a bit more on these teachers gifts! :) lol

Casey Springer said...

So I'm not the only one. I read this after I dropped off my daughter's "candy bar present" in disguise. We talked for days about how to creatively disguise this candy bar that would be swapped with another student. I had no idea- neither did she. So we wrapped it in several different layers of stuff. From wrapping paper to ziploc bags and color duct tape. The end result was a HUGE box. Scared it's a fail. We will see. :/

Matt and Kristen said...

What an awesome cookie!! Impressive. Makes me nervous about my son going to kindergarten :)

E. Tyler Rowan said...

We had to disguise a turkey a while back, too... I thought I was being incredibly clever by suggesting we print a picture of our Golden Retriever's face and stick it on, then brushed the dog and glued some of her long, golden fur to the turkey's body. My son came home and frankly informed me that I made his turkey ug-ah-ly (it's a three syllable word in our house, I don't know why). I had to check out these other turkeys that were supposedly so much better than my dog-turkey. Cowboys, monsters, cows, and more... all crafted with out-of-this-world materials... plastered all over the walls of Kindergarten... with an extremely UG-AH-LY and fake looking dog-turkey alongside them. Oh, the shame of it all! ;)