29 August 2008

A long weekend......

and thank goodness. With school starting next week, we need it to get geared up!

Pushing back bedtimes so that they are reasonable for Tuesday night has gone fairly well. In fact, C has adjusted so well that he won't be a problem to get out of bed on Wednesday. He's been up before he needs to be the last two mornings. M on the other hand, probably will. He's always been my sleeper and it's just getting more so the older he gets. Oh well. The bus comes when it comes and he'll need to be ready. He'll probably be blurry-eyed and putting on his shoes while waiting for the bus, but he'll be there.

We find out today who the boys' teachers are. I have an opinion for C, we'll see if I get it. There are only two options this year for grade 6, so M's possibilities are already 50/50. I don't think that he cares. He would like to be in the same class as his buddy, but I am completely hesitant about that. E's not a bad kid, but in school, he tends to get into trouble. And I don't need M mixed up in that this early. I know that M knows enough of right vs. wrong to stay out of trouble if he and E do end up together, but why invite trouble? We'll see. Everything will work out. It has to.

We should probably have a plan for a family activity this weekend. Maybe we'll just pack a picnic and head to the park. We did that at the start of summer and it worked out really well. Maybe we'll just do a 'last hurrah' as far as the pool goes. We'll see.

Finally, I want to pass on a big ole "Congrats!!" to my friend Larz. He and his fiancee', Sara, are to be married tomorrow. I'm thrilled that he has found someone to share his life with and I pray that their marriage is everything they dream!

Have a great labor day weekend!

27 August 2008

We'll see what today holds.....

Yesterday, I started watching the 3yo grandson of my friend, Diane. He's barely 3, and is really used to getting his own way. He quickly figured out that that's not how it works around here. (My brother doesn't call me a nazi mom for nothing!)

First of all, you must ASK if you want a juice. I'm not in any way opposed to you having a juice, but you do NOT just help yourself into my refrigerator.

Second, I do NOT have to get every toy and game that you see on TV. I am your BABYSITTER, kid. You need to hit up your mom or dad for those things.

Third, we are NOT going to have Spongebob going for the entire day. Just because Nickelodeon runs it for hours on end doesn't mean that I have to see it.

And lastly, if you want my kids to play with you, you need to be nice. Don't get upset with C when he won't play with you after you smash the football into his face.

While the dad of this boy made arrangements with me to watch him, the mom doesn't seem 100% on board. So, he may go to his other grandmother's for part of the afternoon. Whatever the arrangements, I am happy that the committment is only going to be 2 afternoons a week. I couldn't handle more than that.

He's a good boy, and for his first day in a new place with new people, he did well. I just hope he's a really quick learner also.

****Updated**** Today, he did really well. Only a slight meltdown when asked to help pick up the toys. I think that this will work out yet. Although, I still admit to being thrilled that it is only a "twice a week" gig.

25 August 2008

Adventures in Illinois, part deux

Growing up, I was the one that did the moving. When someone moved away, it was me; even up until the time that I married my husband. I'm the one who leaves. So, I'm not the one who is left with a sense of loss, because I'm always excited about the new place.

That being said, having to say goodbye to my friend Stephanie was only the third time in my life that I was being left behind. And I don't do that well, so it's hard.

So, when she invites my family to visit her and her new husband, I jump all over it. I practically had my plan in place the minute the chat closed. And fortunately, J wasn't that hard to get on board. Turns out, deep down he really does want to do what he can to make me happy, and he figured out quickly that this would do the trick.

So, our plan for the Saturday is to visit the Lincoln Park Zoo. And here I wanna thank my dear friend, Jamie, for the suggestion! (Thanks!) It was a great one; one of the cheapest ones in the whole city! But we spend the first half of Saturday chatting over tea, at least Steph and I. The boys, especially C, were getting antsy, but, it's SATURDAY! We finally get everything together and out the door shortly before 11am.

J's gonna drive, so Steph hooks up the GPS and we go. All I have to say about that is that I want a GPS. Our drive into the city goes very smoothly, although it takes much longer than C has the patience for. He starts to bug his brother and M isn't having it, so I have to threaten to sit between them on the ride home.

We FINALLY (at least according to the 6yo) arrive and we park out in the boonies, so it's a good 3/4 mile to the zoo entrance. All C wants to do is get a stuffed snake from the gift shop and ride the train. That's all he talked about for the whole week prior to the trip. We get him convinced that we WILL do those things, but that they are going to come last, so he needs to settle in and decide what animals he wants to see.

Now for some pics. And you just can't take pictures of absolutely everything, so these are my favorites.

The boys at the entrance. They are dressed alike...how silly.

the polar bear. (for you, sis!) This was so cool, watching him swim. But it took me about 6 tries to get that shot!

Timon.....or so C decided.

Pumba. Or not. And for at least the next hour, I had Lion King songs in my head.

The boys on the train. All it did was go around in circles for about 5 minutes on a little strip of asphalt. We paid $4 for that?!?!? Whatever. I think that we were thinking that it was going to go around the zoo, like the one in Green Bay does where the line is always like 1,000 people long. But C seemed to enjoy it regardless.

And then here's C about 5 minutes after leaving the zoo. I did help him get into a more comfortable position after I took the shot!

Poor boy, he was tuckered out.

We spent about $50 on souvenirs, and we got ice cream and ate a picnic lunch (thanks, Steph!) and had a great day!

C already wants to know when we can do it again! The answer? After I get a nap. *yawn*

24 August 2008

Adventures in Illinois.

Look for my blog sometime tomorrow about a whirlwind trip we took over the weekend to see my good friend, Stephanie.

We had tons of fun and I am very tired. Too tired to download some pictures to make this more interesting.

I'm going to take a nap.

22 August 2008

Tiggers bounce.

And, I found out, so do six year olds. ( I did know this already. Bear with me.)

Last night, after dinner, J was laying across our bed on his stomach. I was just sitting on the bed next to him and we were chatting about our day.

Next thing I know, in marches C, and he plops himself between his dad and me. I caution him to not jump on Daddy, as Daddy's back isn't feeling the greatest. He's on his knees on the bed, and starts to bounce up and down just on his knees. When he notices that it makes J bounce a little, all he can do is giggle.

Then from a sitting position, I start to bounce too. So it doesn't take long before J decides that enough is enough and he gets up. C, of course couldn't be more thrilled, because that gives him so much more room.

Now, I grew up where bouncing on the bed was taboo. So was bouncing on the couch, and putting your feet on the couch. All of course, because it ruins the furniture, or at least that was what we were told. I don't let my boys bounce on the couch, and they have bunk beds, so bouncing there is completely out. (Imagine that.)

You should have seen C's face when not only did I not keep him from standing on the bed, I stood myself. Now for years, my dad has picked on me because I'm fairly short, but I have to say that it came in very handy last night. *giggle*

And we bounced. And bounced. And bounced. And proved that my two and a half year old bed CAN take the weight of me jumping on it. (How embarrassing would the opposite have been? Yikes.) Until about 10 minutes later, I am pretty out of breath and choose to stop. C stopped, but he would have been willing to keep it up, I'm sure.

And I did stress the ABSOLUTE importance that he is NOT to jump without my permission. With a grin on his face and a twinkle in his eye, he agreed.

Sorry, Mom and Dad. I'll make sure that there is no bouncing at your house. This is the ultimate joy of the old 'My house, my rules'.

Good times.

21 August 2008

Silence is golden.

Gloriously, it's 8:36 am and the only noises are the fan in the window, the hum of the pc and the clicks of my typing. Do you know what this means?!?! It means that C is still asleep. And if you know that kid, you'll know that a thing like that is nothing short of a miracle. I don't know if his cold is turning a corner or if he was just plain exhausted, but whatever it is, it works for me.

This is the child that because of his evacuation 4 weeks early at birth, wasn't really interested in eating at all. In fact, all he wanted to do was sleep. So, we'd have to wake him just to make sure that he ate.

But the time he is two months, he's interested in eating AND sleeping. And he would nap like it was going out of style. And that was one thing that I didn't do with his brother. I thought, at 21, that I was smarter than the books and advice and I didn't sleep when M slept. So, I have to tell you that M's first year is kind of a blur to me. So, I was sure to follow the 'sleep when the baby sleeps' advice the second time around.

C liked sleep so well that the summer before he went to K, I had to wean him off of naps. That was a painful process for him and for me. I guess if nothing else, kindergarten showed that kid that he didn't need a nap. And he started getting up earlier and earlier. And earlier. For the last year, that kid has been on a wake-up time of between 6:00 and 6:30 no matter what time he goes to bed. So sleeping till after 8 is nothing short of a miracle.

Although, school starts in a week and a half, so we'll be back to having to get up before 7am. Oh well, it was fun while it lasted!

20 August 2008

When my children are sick.

I am a control freak. Ask my husband, my sister, my mom, anybody who knows me even slightly and they'll tell you. Now, I know that the control is an illusion, but about 98% of the time in my twisted little brain, that doesn't matter to me.

The one thing that makes me crazier than anything is when one of the boys is sick. Now, mind you, everyone's definition of the word is different. My mom is a tough ole bird (love you, Mom!) and she has a tendency to not let things like the sniffles get her down. My husband, on the other hand, is either always very near death, or he really is very sick and refuses to rest. I tend to take after my Mom in that if I am very sick, in fact deathly contagious, I will stay home. But if I stayed home for every little thing, I'd eventually lose my job. So, on those days I really don't feel 100%, more like 75-80%, if I can get off the couch, life will go on.

And you learn what you live, they say. So, the boys, unintentionally mind you, have been raised with the "unless you have very specific symptoms, you are going to school". And they, for the most part are A-OK with that.

Now, C, who is six years old, has had a nasty cough since Sunday. It started out small, and progressively got worse. It was making his "neck hurt" and by Monday morning at 1am, only 1/4 of the household was able to sleep. Thank GOD that Wal-Mart is open 24 hours; at nearly 1am, I had to send J to get some nighttime Triaminic. By 1:30 or so, it had kicked in, and C was sleeping a bit better and I was able to get some rest.

Last night, we doctored him up with medicine, Vicks on his chest, and had the cool mist humidifier running in his room. Just shortly after 12:30am, I am awaken by the very loud sound of C coughing, and not only is he wide awake, but his brother is as well. I find J frantically trying to wipe blood off of C's pillowcase. I guess C woke up to a bloody nose. I managed to get a cool washcloth and get C wiped up and calmed back down.

Meanwhile, J has disappeared. And what do ya know, I stick my head into our room and he's in bed with all the lights out. Men. Guess he figured that since I'd been awaken, there was no sense in him staying up.

At the same time, C is still coughing about every 10 minutes, and with that noise, I am unable to fall back to sleep. Oh well, I guess that's what we have Dish Network for; so I can watch television while I wait for C to try and get some rest. I did give him a drink and about 3 teaspoons of honey, hoping that would help. I guess it did, cause somewhere around 3am, I didn't hear him coughing anymore.

Fastforward to 6:30 am, and that's all I hear. He's up, watching SpongeBob and coughing his little head off. Once again, we repeat the drink of water, and this time I give him some Triaminic for day time. He knows that the red is for day, and the purple for night. He stops coughing around 15 minutes later, and I go back to sleep.

He comes to ask me at 9am if I am going to sleep all day. haha. And then this afternoon about 2pm, starts to say that his eyes are tired. No kidding dude, that's what happens when you don't sleep very well.

Twelve years of parenting have taught me that I am quite a bit better at handling illness than I used to be.

But I can't wait to get a full nights sleep.

18 August 2008

Sometimes, it's necessary.

Today, we tied the hottest day of the summer so far. We have air-conditioning, but it's not central air, so it's pretty expensive to run. So we try not to do that, as a giant hit in the electric bill is not really in the cards right now.

So, when J gets home from work tonight, it's about 88* outside and at least that inside. He asks what we are having for dinner. I just casually mention that I think that we need to have ice cream. Surprisingly, he agrees, takes everybody's order and heads for the local ice cream place.

About 15 minutes later, both boys and I are all sitting on the living room floor in front of the fan enjoying our ice cream for dinner. It really hit the spot.

Thankfully, a cold front moved through about an hour later and tomorrow is only supposed to reach the high 70's. While I am just fine with that for August, that does mean that I will have to make dinner.

15 August 2008

A day of mixed emotions.

I have a friend who is more like a big sister to me. This friend lost her mom this past Sunday. I had gotten information about the time of the funeral early this week and was really waffling on whether I should attend.

The funeral was scheduled for 3:00 this afternoon. As I'm sitting eating my lunch and watching the Olympics at noon, I can't get away from that I really should go to the funeral. My heart just kept saying "do it for Diane."

So I did. I got dressed and got in my car and drove 40 miles north. And when I got there, another friend was in charge of the funeral dinner. I pop my head in the kitchen and say "Anybody need any help?" This is followed by screams and hugs and of course, I get to work.

I guess Diane's grandson didn't take very long to tell her that he had seen me, because a few minutes later, she comes downstairs to find me. We hug and I ask her how she's doing. She says that she's doing okay, that her mom always wanted to go to heaven, but selfishly, she had wanted to keep her here on Earth for a bit longer. I haven't lost a parent, so I don't really understand, but I tell her that I've been praying for her. She smiles, her eyes are sad. She tells me that she appreciates that.

This funeral service was amazing. If ever there were a celebration of a lady's life, this was it. The music was incredible, and the pastor went on and on about how confident that he was that Lee was with her Lord and that all she ever wanted was for her family to know Him too. And not just her family, but everyone around her. What an amazing example of God's love in action she was.

As hard as it is for Diane and her family left behind, what a great comfort to know that they will see their loved one again.

So whether I am blessed to live to a ripe old age, or God has other plans for me, I only hope that my funeral is such an occasion.

14 August 2008

Lots of productivity.

J got up to go to the bathroom at 4:30. Now, prior to the birth of our first son, Hiroshima could occur next to my bed and I would stay asleep. Then our son is born, and suddenly, I hear every little noise. And it only got worse once there were two boys in the room next door.

So I feel him get out of bed and I ask him if he's okay. He replies that he is, and then does what he needs to do down the hall. A few minutes later, he's back, settled in and starting to snore. I toss and turn for a few minutes and then decide that I might as well get up.

Fastforward to 8:00 am. The boys are still at grandma's, so today there's no fear of C getting up as soon as I crawl into bed. J leaves for work, so that's what I do; climb back into bed. Only to be awaken by the lawnmower just before 10am.

Now, granted, I needed to be up, but I was no where near happy waking up to that noise. As I contemplate the tasks that I want to get done today, I have a chat with my sis, who lives 400 miles away. Computer instant messaging is great, we've taken advantage of it for several days.

Then I load up all the laundry in need of washing and head to the laundromat. It's a lot quieter in there on a Thursday afternoon than a Saturday afternoon.

With that done, I go straight to the grocery store. I end up grabbing a water and a Snickers bar, since my breakfast I ate before six am has worn off. Back to home to unload and put all of those away, and then downtown to the library I go.

Now if you read my blog last week, you know that I am new to the library system in my city. I decided that I might as well take advantage of my solitude and head there to peruse at my leisure. I have a bit of irritation spending $1 to "park" in the ramp downtown and then it being so full. After I was on level 3, I gave up and went to the parking lot in the front of the library. I was pleasantly surprised to see that there is plenty of metered parking in front of the library. So I drop three quarters in the meter and off I go.

I have discovered that the main library must share all of their materials with several other library branches in the county. So, there isn't near the variety of the authors that I read as at the library in the last city I lived in. Oh well. I was able to find a newer book by an author that my Mom recommended and I enjoy, and some books for each of the boys.

It didn't take me the hour and 15 minutes that I put in the meter. Hopefully someone was able to use what was left.

And then I get home from the library and there is a message from J. He talked to his mom and the boys won't be home until after 6pm tomorrow.

So now, since I was so productive today, I can do whatever I like tomorrow.


13 August 2008


A day all to myself.

I was very productive starting at 8am. I got a garbage bag and I went into the boys' room and I got to the bottom of the toy boxes. I dusted, I vacuumed, and the room is the cleanest it's been in about six months.

If only it'd stay that way once they get home.

With the rest of my day, so far, I did some shopping at Wal-Mart. Now, I know that there are the Wal-Mart lovers and the Walmart haters and I don't want to start a riot. I freely admit to being a Wal-Mart admirer. I'm not a lover, but I'm not a hater at all. I do get annoyed at the quality of the produce sometimes, and also get irritated when I can't get everything I need in that one stop. Why else build a Super Wal-Mart, if I have to make stops all over town?? But when my budget calls for the lowest prices in town on things like laundry detergent, that is where I go.

Anyhow, I got what I needed.

I went for a haircut today also. I hadn't been for a cut since the end of February and my hair is quite thick, so it starts to give me headaches if it gets too long. So this morning, I decided to go and get a cut. My stylist, Sheri, did a great job. She lightened up the weight quite a bit with three inches off the back and shortened up the layers. It *is* a bit shorter than I wanted, but it's still very feminine and cute. Thanks, Sheri! Now, if J will notice when he gets home, is the question. We'll see.

Tomorrow afternoon, I hope to get in some leisurely time at the library downtown. But in addition to that, there is laundry to be done, and groceries to purchase and toilets to clean.

Because I can only take so much of doing what I like.

12 August 2008

They didn't even say goodbye.

My boys are growing up. This is most evident in my six year old. Every day, he's exerting his independence more and more.

Today, I woke up to the smell of toast, so I got out of bed to check. Sure enough, the 6 year old was making toast. Not only that, but he had one slice covered in peanut butter when I found him.

He's my baby; he shouldn't be old enough to use the toaster, for heaven sake! But alas, he is.

Every summer since C was about 18 months, my in laws have taken the boys for a few days at their house. It's nice for them; they swim, don't bathe, hardly eat a vegetable and stay up late. It's all the things that time at grandma's should be.

This is the week. J got off work early to take both boys and his 4yo neice, S, to Grandmas. They were so excited that neither one of them stopped to give me a hug and say goodbye.

In their defense, I was holding their 6-week-old cousin, but still. I hollered, "Bye, boys!" and neither one of them turned like they heard me.

Is this what the rest of my parenting experience is going to be? Me wanting their attention, instead of them wanting mine?

I hope not. That it would come this early makes me sad.

I can't wait for them to be home on Friday.

10 August 2008

What example am I leaving my children?

We've been attending Christ the Rock for several weeks now. This morning, we were priveleged to be able to hear Stuart Briscoe speak. He was entertaining and challenging, all at the same time.

I like food. I make sure that I eat regularly. Shouldn't it be at least as important that I feast on the Word of God as regularly? Life gets in the way. I have every intention of getting my quiet time in, and more often than not, it doesn't work out.

If I don't regularly spend time in the Word, how will my children know its importance? Aren't we, as the parents, responsible for teaching them about God and His love? While the programs at church are nice, they aren't supposed to be the only exposure that my children get to the Word. The church is only intended as the supplement.

So, in order to teach my children about the Word, I need to know it. And while I am well versed in some books, due to exposure in teen quizzing, other books are a mystery to me. That should not be.

In order to spot phony, I need to know the Truth. And since one meal of food a week is not ideal for me, I need to get into the Word as deeply as I can, to feed my soul with all the the Bible has for me. To get as much "food" in God's Word as food in the kitchen.

And then I can teach my children.

09 August 2008

And so after 2+ years

I finally convince J that we need to go to our local library. We have lived in this city for over two years and today was the first time that we were in the library. And according to Yahoo maps, it's only three miles away from our home (isn't everything?).

So this morning, we all get in the car and head to the library. I had made a list of books I wanted to read, and what did I do but leave the list behind. Oh well. I was able to find something to read, by an author that I hadn't heard of, and so far it's really good.

I don't know that C had ever been to a public library in all of his six years on this planet. When asking him this morning if he wanted to go, his response was "no." The only thing that he knows about the library is that at school you have to keep quiet, and since he hates that, I don't think that he's crazy about the library in general.

He changed his tune once we got inside. He wanted to sit in the "train" which is a spot for reading and I told him so. So he wanted to grab the first book off the shelf and go sit. I convinced him to take a look at some books with me; he chose two and then went to do some puzzles.

M was harder to convince. That boy hasn't read anything in the past 2 years except Harry Potter, over and over and over again. Not that there's anything wrong with HP, in fact my Mom is very into the series. It's just that M likes to read so well, that I'd like him to expand his readings. So he wanders in the children's fiction section looking very lost for about five minutes. I gently suggested to him that all he needs to do is look at the spines of the books, find a title that interests him and pick up the book to read the summary. No other way to discover if you want to read something. He took my suggestion and grabbed a book. Something about magicians or whatnot. I don't remember. Doesn't matter; the point is that it's not HP.

For not wanting to try something new, he's about a third of the way through it since noon.

I had a harder time. I felt as though I was being rushed, since I was being followed by two boys who had already choosen books and a husband who had just driven us there, apparently.

I look forward to the day when they are in school, and after work I can go to the library myself and wander at my leisure.

08 August 2008

Pooh Bear, arm f**ts and other joys.

M and J have taken to playing video games before bed. They are both super competitive and I guess it works for them. Me, not so much.

C and I started a new "tradition" last night. We read in bed. Actually, I read and he listened, but you know what I mean. We started the book 'The Pooh Story Book' by AA Milne. Actually we will probably finish tonight, as the book really only has three stories. And that's okay; C was willing to listen to two.

When we're finished reading, we're lying in bed and he's pulling the skin on his stomach. I tell him that if he keeps it up, it'll stay that way. He giggles at that thought, of course, and it went from that to tickling to making f**t noises with his arms. He was laughing so hard he almost fell off the bed. That is a sound that I can't get enough of.

M and I did our own thing yesterday. While making C some lunch, I started to hum a song from 'Fiddler on the Roof". M says to me, "Mom, what's that you're humming?" "It's a song from Fiddler on the Roof." "What??" (Insert my shocked face here!) Come to find out, this child has lived in my home almost twelve years and NEVER seen that musical.

So that's what he and I did after lunch. I have an old VHS version that comes on two tapes and when we started, I got him to agree to watch the first tape. When tape one was over, this was the conversation:

Me: "We'll watch tape two tomorrow sometime."

M: "How long is it?"

Me: "About an hour. Why, do you wanna watch it?" (Please say YES!)

M: "We could. We have about 3 hours till supper."

Yay! So that's exactly what we did.

More memories. This is really working.......

07 August 2008

Family game night

A couple of years ago now, we started a Family Night. One of us was in charge of the evening activity and then that person also got to choose the dinner menu. We had a few weeks of that and then Mom had her hip replacement. I needed to go care for her, and we just never picked up FN when I returned.

So last night I decided that we were going to play a board game. All boys were generally in agreement, since we have tons of games and don't play them often enough. I decided that we would play Life. We added it to our collection last Christmas and played it once; I figured that we needed to make another attempt.

Overall, it went well. C gets bored, cuz it's not really designed for 6 year olds but he agreed to stick it out till the end. J is a bit over-controlling; I had to slap his hand back as he was trying to move MY car around the board.

I ended up with a car full of kids. There was a funny moment when we all laughed at something C said. It had to do with Santa and the "alps". We assume, terrible of us, I know, that he meant "elves". We all had a chuckle at least.

While our first attempt at Family game night in 6 months was FAR from perfect, it's about the memories created.

And that's good enough for me.

06 August 2008

And *then* it dawned on me.

You know how they say "You can't take it with you?". Between a post on a message board that I frequent of a mother who lost her baby, and the GMA interview with Steven C. Chapman about the loss of his precious daughter, 5yo Maria, I was hit with something.

SO WHAT if the bathroom needs cleaned?

SO WHAT if I haven't decided what's for dinner?

SO WHAT if my weight isn't what I'd like it to be?

Focused on being a good housekeeper and a good friend and a good what-have-you, my boys are growing up. And I'm missing it by not being focused on THEM.

I've been the one behind the camera for the past 10 years. And then this weekend, I realized that at this point, if I were to die, those who are planning my funeral would have to use an outdated picture of me. And FORGET pics with the boys. Those don't exist. At least not until this past weekend.

Is it important that the bathroom be cleaned? Sure.

Do I need to decide what's for dinner? Absolutely.

Do I need to be so focused on the unimportant things that the people that matter most to me go unattended?
No way.

From this day forward, unless it matters 100% to my life as a wife and mother, I'm out.
And the bathroom will still get cleaned.