Sorry I've been MIA. We have been passing viruses around this house for the past few weeks. (See? We do share!) I've been battling sniffles and sore throats while caring for everyone else but this latest one is doing me in! I think I have a combo of the baby's congestion/cold from last week and the sore throat from hell that my daughter had a few days ago.
I'm going to bed--have a great week! Stay healthy!
I say I'll use the baby's naptime to write. I need that naptime to shower though, too--oh, and clean up the dishes. Now that he's mobile, naptime is a really good time to load the washer and fold clothes, or eat a peaceful lunch, or try to read something.
We have all taken turns being sick lately so I'm behind on everything--except cleaning the bathrooms. Nothing like physically ill children to inspire me to follow behind and truly scrub those bathrooms. When I look back at the week, it seems I can get more done than I thought! (Although the clean laundry is not only spilling out of the basket, it has surrounded and conquered it.)
It all works out in the end. If the kids can't keep up with helping out, they'll just have to hunt for their socks in the Tower of Laundry. They won't find the Holy Grail but hopefully, they can find some socks without holes.
I'll try, next week, to get to this more often. Life did not change much from last week with the exception that we've all taken turns passing a cold around--with the exception of my son--who tried to stay home yesterday by claiming a sore throat. It seems he needed a little more attention as everyone else had been getting more but he's healthy otherwise! (I let him stay home for the morning to be sure. He had so much makeup work from missing one morning that he's learned it's much simpler to just go to school!)
The baby is still feeling miserable but hopefully will recover, soon. (I really did move the trash!)
Otherwise, it's a gloomy, rainy day outside but I'm thankful that it's rain in the middle of November and not snow, yet!
(Snow is due tomorrow but I'll think about that later)
A week after minor surgery, I can actually sit in my chair and type.
In-laws have come and gone, Halloween whizzed by and the baby is now a year old! (One year and 6 days but who's counting?) ;) He's taking a few steps, climbing in the bottom of the kitchen table and then climbing onto the chairs. (Just when we thought one short fall from his hiding place under the table, he's standing on chairs already. I guess if he's going to fall--he's going to make it as dramatic as possible.)
While I marvel at how quickly the baby is growing, my oldest daughter is asking to begin shaving her legs and, when she notices that I am trying to do 3 other things at once, she tries to get me to sign a blank piece of paper before going to school. Poor boy--the middle kid is doing great on comprehension quizzes but can't remember to bring home a book or use shampoo in the shower.
I had a new story idea so I thought I'd throw myself into NaNo again this year and get it written but can't quite remember what it was I was going to write...
Last Monday, my husband offered to drop my son off at his tennis lesson. He waited until my son saw someone with a cart of tennis balls. My son said that was his coach and hopped out of the car. Hubbie returned at the end of the lesson to find that there had been no lesson. My son had been mistaken--saw the balls and was eager to go. His coach never showed. The coach sent someone to tell the class that the lesson was canceled but she was held up at work so no one knew for a while. Luckily, a few other moms who had shown up know my son and waited with him. It could have been much worse!
Wednesday, the dermatologist called to say that one of the suspicious spots he'd removed from my thigh was, in fact, melanoma. He has already removed it and is fairly confident that he got it all, but will take another centimeter out of my thigh, just to be sure. Scary word but the spot is gone, so it could have been much worse.
Friday, on the way to a make-up tennis lesson (being held to make up for the canceled class on Monday) we were in an accident. My bumper looks bad but everyone was unhurt. Even with gas prices, there are some days when it is good to be the one in the big SUV! The car behind me had much more damage but still, it could have been much worse.
For once, I am glad it is Monday! I am ready to begin a NEW week! My chest has been aching all weekend. I've been blaming brands of coffee and amounts of coffee until it occured to me last night that I've been holding my breath. While all outcomes were about the best they could have been, I usually wait for these things to happen in threes. I had forgotten about Monday's tennis incident but have decided now that these are my three and I can move on. We're done!
Although it was not Monday yet, my last post seemed to start the following week on a theme! Baby has been sick, we've had at least a few things scheduled every day...you know: life. Finally, today I have a little breathing time again--I just can't believe it's been a week already!
My daughter and husband traveled up to South Bend and stayed overnight after the Notre Dame football game last weekend. My son had a friend sleep over and the baby went to bed pretty well. So I actually had a little time to myself! I was going to curl up and read a little more of The Gargoyle but just could not get motivated to open it back up, so I went looking to see what was on my bookshelf that I have not yet read. I found Wickett's Remedy. This book sat on my wish list for a long time. It seemed intriguing but I kept buying other books. A while back, I wandered into Barnes and Noble and the book was on a bargain table and I could no longer pass it up. Yet it still sat on the shelf until last weekend. I do not know why. I am only half-way through (life tends to interrupt my reading time) but it is delightful.
I don't know if you can judge a book by its cover but the price certainly is no indication of the value contained within. On impulse, after reading a review online, I bought a hardcover copy of the bestselling book,The Gargoyle. I am not impressed. It reminds me of the DaVinci Code in the sense that the premise is intriguing but the writing is not good. This is the author's first book and I should be kind--I hope someone will read my first book one day--but he is trying too hard. I might finish it and let you know if I change my mind. On the other hand, Wickett's Remedy was bargain priced--I again bought a hardcover--for $5.95. This is certainly a bargain!
More than a bargain, this book has been a gift. I've been toying with the idea of including angels--or at least, an angel--in my WIP but am struggling with a way to do it that is not corny. The asides* in the margins of this book have reminded me that once in a while, it is literally OK to write outside of the box. ___________________________________ *The asides in the margins refers to the hardcover edition. I learned, while looking for a link to share with you here, that Myla Goldberg had the chance to make some revisions to the text for the paperback edition. She has included them online to download to replace certain pages of the hardcover edition but I have not yet done so. I don't know if the paperback edition is in the same format. Perhaps this explains the bargain price!
I don't work outside of the home but Mondays are still usually the craziest mornings here. Today was an exception.
Although we have as many bathrooms as people in this house, my one and only toothbrush is in the one bathroom that my husband was getting ready in when I got up. One son had crawled into bed with us an hour earlier and the other was screaming in his crib so I told one to get up and got the baby out and nursed him. I just wanted to brush my teeth and have a cup of coffee.
A little later, I took the baby back upstairs, told my older son again to get up and woke his sister. Hubbie was back in the bathroom so I helped older son find a red shirt for school (Spirit day--yay!) and took the baby back downstairs. Hubbie came downstairs --asking why I was making coffee after spending so much money on a pot that would do it for me. (My new, fabulous coffee pot that can be programmed to make my coffee for me works great--if all the parts are washed and reassembled the night before--but I had left them out to dry.)
As the coffee started brewing, I got breakfast ready for the kids. I'd tried to make it easier by buying lower fat, pre-made croissant sandwiches yesterday but they were very chewy so it just took longer to heat those and then make another breakfast. At least, I remembered vitamins! I took two out for my daughter, and put them in my hand while talking to my husband. I was holding the baby in my other arm, so he took one vitamin and had it in his mouth before I'd realized that the 11-month-old had the gummi vitamin, rather than the 10-year-old girl!
Hubbie, who was standing directly across from me, watching me try to fish the vitamin out of the baby's mouth simply asked, "how did he get a hold of it?"
At that point, I still had not brushed my teeth, nor had a sip of coffee and am in the habit of holding vitamins out for children so I realized too late that the one that can't have it is the one who got it. I explain this--though I'm quite sure that it should be obvious. My husband optimistically points out that at least the baby does have a cold, so maybe the vitamin will help! (Yes, the one with 5 teeth took care of that gummi vitamin before I could get a hold of it!)
So I go set the baby down in the living room, in front of the tv. (I may have already poisoned him--why not fry his little brain with a little Fox News?) The baby pulls himself up, stares at the tv, looks directly at Senator Joe Biden, and yells, "Mama! Mama!"
I was, and had nothing urgent to share. Then, I wasn't here. The hubbie and I got a chance to go to Chicago for a conference (his) without the kids! My parents came and watched all three kids! I found so much inspiration in Chicago and was ready to write but had no time and did not bring the laptop. (I know--it wasn't my conference--so I should have had time but we got to meet up with great friends that we had not seen in two years, so, there you go.)
I have not forgotten my few, loyal readers! I have funny comments about the election, worrisome thoughts about the bailout, funny mass emails about both that I could share but I'll wait until I have something new to say.
Yesterday, the kids and I were talking about when my daughter was in preschool. I made the comment that it was nice--during the time she was in preschool, my son would nap and I would write.
"You have been working on your book that long?" my son asks. "Well, I've started a few things along the way, and I've rewritten it a few times now but...yes." "Mom! That's six years! That's almost my whole life!"
Chastened, I left the breakfast dishes in the sink and sat down with the computer while they played games downstairs. The last six years have slipped by rather quickly. I actually have made much progress but it never feels "done." I've got too many other stories in my head to keep wasting time with this one, however. I'm going to work on it NOW.
Well, after one more comment. I included Infinite Jest in a previous post as a book I feel guilty about not finishing. Much like the book I'm writing, I made it most of the way through but never finished. The author, David Foster Wallace, passed away recently. I wonder what he left unfinished.
Pick a place a hurricane can strike and I probably have relatives, friends or both living nearby. A week ago, I was worried that Ike would slam into my parents. It is going far away from them now--right towards my husband's family and my friends in Houston.
My daughter has, up to now, been relieved that hurricanes don't hit Indiana! We received some thunderstorms left over from Gustav however, and Ike looks like he's trying to swing on up here, as best as he can!
It looks like a good weekend to visit Kansas. Or Canada.
I don't know if many of my friends in Houston read this blog but B ~ I know you do. Post a comment when it's all over and you have power to let me know y'all are OK, please!
Joshilyn Jackson's latest book takes place in Florida.
Her first two novels put you in the South. I grew up in Florida and went to college in New Orleans and her books captured much of the essence of what I like to remember as "home." I was excited to learn that her latest book took place in Florida but I did not get as nostalgic with this one.
While she included some references to the sandy soil (which differs, apparently, from the actual dirt next door in Alabama) much of this novel takes place in Anywhere, USA. Which is actually closer to where I really grew up--and where I live, now.
Ms. Jackson has a talent for creating memorable characters and locales. Her details put you right into the story. I was sure I had the "whodunit" part figured out this time--and was wrong again! It was worth the read--I just didn't feel like to I got to escape to the South this time. I felt like it could have taken place here--in my current home. (Although I do not have a pool, nor a dead girl floating in one.)
Today's "blog of note" from Blogger is Nathan Bransford, Literary Agent. I popped over to take a look and was glad to have done so. I've found yet one more site to look at while I pretend to be writing. It's great and he has plenty of interesting information. What I'm sharing with you today however, is a link --and a question--that he shared from the Washington Post book blog: Short Stack.
What book(s) are you embarrassed not to have read?
I have read parts of--but never the entire--Bible. I don't know if that counts. (Actually, books I've started, read parts of or are still theoretically reading could be an entirely different category! Infinite Jest and Les Miserables would top that list...)
(Unlike other members of my family, I have not read one Harry Potter book--but I'm not embarrassed by that.)
Books that I'm embarrassed to say I haven't read yet would include:
Moby Dick - Melville
The Divine Comedy (The Inferno, The Purgatorio, The Paradiso) - Dante
A Room of One's Own - Virginia Woolf (I keep saying I'd be a better writer if I had one but I still haven't read the book!)
Catcher in the Rye - J.D. Salinger (I'm pretty sure everyone has read this but me)
Uncle Tom's Cabin - Harriet Beecher Stowe (I've read so many other Civil War books and even have a WIP based during the War so it's particularly shameful that I have not read this one!)
It took a while to get our furniture--we slept in new sofa beds for a month. Once our goods arrived, it took a while to get the boxes unpacked. We finally got things put away, had the children settled into their new rooms and were finally adjusting to the new house.
I had been telling my family we'd have time and would likely be ready for a visit by September. In normal fashion, I waited until September to get online and book a ticket. It was around 6 or 6:30am. The kids were playing nicely; I logged on to the computer but when I tried to price a flight, I saw the message informing me that, in light of recent events, all flights were suspended until further notice. I remember looking out the window, up at the clear, Alaska sky and wondering what could have happened. My imagination took off and I pictured a few horrible scenarios.
I turned on the television. Nothing I had imagined came close to what I saw.
I am thankful for my gift of procrastination. In August, 2007, I looked at the calendar, checked our schedules and thought that we would be ready to travel by September 11. While it took a bit longer to actually get on a plane and visit my family, I am glad that I waited until that fateful day to attempt to book our flight.
May God be with the families who lost loved ones seven years ago today.
My daughter picks on her brother more each day. The more I chastise her for it, the more she does it. (Life is a bit busier with three kids and now that the baby is mobile, I guess any attention she gets--even if it is negative attention--is welcome.)
It was a wonderful treat to open my email earlier this week to find an email from N's teacher. She wanted to take the time to tell me that N had impressed her by stepping up and helping a fellow student at school. Another girl was feeling left out and the teacher asked N to move to a new desk--away from her best friend--to help this other girl feel more included. The teacher went on to tell me how my daughter did not hesitate and displayed Christian behavior.
While I want my daughter to receive a good education, the note was an affirmation that we are doing the right thing for our children in sending them to a school where Christian values are stressed just as much as math facts and spelling words.
(Here is where I have to remind myself again to focus on what is truly important. The note from my daughter's teacher was loaded with misspelled words and grammatical errors. Realizing that this person is also my daughter's English teacher makes me cringe but I am choosing to believe that she is a person that believes that spelling and grammar rules do not apply to hasty email messages.)
The note was also a reminder to me that encouraging her is probably a better way to get N to be nice rather than yelling at her when she picks on her brother. I am fully aware that much of her pestering would stop if I simply ignore it--but it's hard when my son is right there--I don't want him to think I won't stand up for him. Having said that, he keeps telling me "from now on, I will stand up for myself with N." I should give him a chance.
Whether she pesters him or plays with him, C will do anything that N says. He loves her and wants her attention--negative or otherwise. We looked at some photos last night and found one of her snuggling with C when he was a baby. He smiled, looked up at her and said, "I guess you do love me."
I tried to use that as a reminder this morning when she was picking on him. I didn't catch on to just how much she is looking for the same thing from me until after I finished yelling this morning. I still haven't folded the laundry or unloaded the dishwasher but at least I can say I've learned something today.
(Now I am going to look for a coffee pot with a timer so I can spend the rest of my mornings smiling and being nice, rather than yelling at my kids for not helping out when Mommy hasn't even had a chance to make a pot of coffee!)
Finally, I have an ending for the WIP I've been trying to finish up. I have most of the major details and many more minor ones typed up in separate files but now I have to put it all back together.
This part is more overwhelming than coming up with an ending! I have all the pieces but they're scattered--like the toys and clothes in my son's room. I have to sort through and decide what to throw out, what to keep and where to place the pieces I'm keeping. I just to have to figure out where to start!
I try not to waste food or drinks in my house, so when my son left an almost full glass of milk on the table after breakfast, I decided to pour that into my coffee cup. Milk however, should not go "plop!"
(My kids are currently enjoying "Vita Worm" vitamins. My daughter tried to toss one onto her brother's plate in the morning but missed--it landed in his cup. She gave him another one and he never knew--nor did I, until I almost had vitamin-enriched coffee!)
My son was asking if it was possible for him to go to Hell before he'd made his First Reconciliation. Now that he only has two months before making that First confession, he has moved on. Now he wants to know how much time people spend in Purgatory. Hopefully attending Catholic school will be good for him--he certainly knows Someone is watching him--but I'm a little worried about what he has been up to!
I was thinking that school starting would bring some sense of routine and calm back into our lives. I forgot how much I was looking forward to the end of school in May! Whew! We're back...the baby and I are back volunteering at school and magazine sales have already started, along with volleyball (for the girl) and tennis lessons (for the boy).
We just returned from a family reunion in Michigan this weekend and as I was emailing photos and going through my mental checklist for tomorrow, I checked the forecast/Fay update for Florida.
That was all it took to remind me that I can't complain. Sure, just when I thought dinner was almost ready, I spilled frozen corn all over the floor--and I have a crawling baby that eats ANYTHING in his path--but Fay is literally circling my baby brother's home and headed for my parents. A lot of dirty dishes and some spilled corn just ain't that big of a deal! It was a beautiful day here and I can see the moon tonight. I may not be able to predict how much sleep I'll get each night but living on the edge of the cornfields, I know that tropical storms and hurricanes are not going to make it this far!
My sister and her family went back home to Florida for a visit and took my daughter with them for a week! My son spent the night with a friend last night and both the baby and husband are sleeping.
I have my coffee and quiet time at the computer. Thus I am sitting here, hoping my son slept OK and hoping he behaves today while I dash to Ohio to retrieve my daughter. Hopefully she'll handle the additional 4-hour drive back home well after her journey. The baby should sleep most of the way there and back--he does well in the car--but maybe I should go ahead and wake him up.
Watch what you ask for--and what you post on your blog.
The baby has not actually eaten any live creatures--at least, not that I am aware of. He has not actually tried eating a spider--but I have seen him try to catch an ant. (It was a tiny, fast ant trying to escape a big, clumsy baby--no real danger for either of them).
The day after my last post however, a fly was hitching a ride with us in the car. Everyone else can shoo him away but the baby is still learning. My older son kept yelling things like "the fly is on his nose!" Then he really started shouting--"J is going to eat the fly!"
Luckily, the baby's reflexes are not that fast. Otherwise the fly could have been in danger.
Once upon a time, I was worried about spiders biting my unsuspecting children. How foolish of me. The older kids can spot a hairy invader from 20 yards away--no unsuspecting victims, here! The baby, of course, senses no danger but is curious about everything. He has perfected his pincer grasp and he's on the move. I was once worried about spider venom being poisonous but now I wonder what will happen if a child ingests the entire creature.
I justify smashing the critters with my shoe not just as a means of protecting my children but also as a type of mercy killing for the unsuspecting bug. If I were a spider, I'd rather go quickly than have to wriggle and jiggle and tickle inside of anyone.
With the first child, the first time she dropped her cup from the highchair, we picked it up, smiling. The second time, we retrieved it again. Around the 10th time, we realized it was a game--how cute! She was training us! She realized we would pick it up for her! What a smart child!
When the second child did it, we smiled knowingly but still picked up the cup a few times.
Third baby watches it land with a thud on the floor, smiles up at us and we simply smile back.
As the baby becomes mobile, I become less so! (I feel more like a hamster in an exercise wheel--I I'm always moving but not getting much done.)
We got a new all-in-one printer that will do everything but print, at the moment. Laundry (clean and dirty) is spilling over baskets and hampers. As I'm not finding any more time, it was tempting to break out the wine and just give up. (It's 5pm somewhere, right?) I knew it wouldn't help me get more accomplished but I wouldn't care so much.
I did get the baby settled down for a nap and tried to figure out where I could score some sort of energy drink--preferably in gallon form-- but I found the hubbie's chocolate covered espresso beans. I'll just call these "Mommy's other little helper!" Now I can spin my wheels faster.
It's been quite a while since I was out "late!" Hanging out with a few friends after our highschool reunion was the first time in many years! I used to come home from college and hang out with some of those same friends but we never left before 9 or 10pm. When the clubs closed at 2am, we'd head someplace to get a cup of tea and a slice of pie. I'd order key lime pie whenever I could.
It is not often that I eat key lime pie anymore, but the hubbie and kids picked one up for me for my birthday.
My daughter had a friend sleep over last night but they were having trouble getting to sleep. (I've stopped checking on these two often as this friend has slept over many times but last night they got me out of bed to tell me they could not get to sleep and their movie was over!) So I came downstairs, put another movie on and decided to settle in on the couch until they fell asleep. I tried to ignore the call of the pie from the freezer.
While I have posted a few entries over the years that I probably should have held off on--most of them were examples of bad writing or ideas that were not as clever as I thought they were at midnight. I do try to keep in mind that anything I post can be seen by anyone, anywhere at any time.
There are people however, who have internet access but do not think about how many people can view their posts or videos or do not care.
My daughter is upset that I've blocked You Tube on the computer downstairs. I have not blocked it due to videos she has found but because of the clips that she may find. Responsible adults out there can decide for themselves what to look at but I'm not giving a 10-year-old that luxury.
I came across this article this morning. Not only should people be careful about what they post but for those of you who do not have mothers blocking sites for you, you may want to be careful about what you choose to view, as well! Apparently Google, who owns You Tube, must report the viewing habits of anyone who has ever viewed any You Tube video. (If you've just been looking at Miley Cyrus and some questionable "wizard swears" puppet videos, you should not have too much to be embarrassed about.)
I was not sure when the hubbie decided on a Mac. I was less sure when he wanted to put it in the "office" (which I'd originally envisioned more of a library--the one electronic-free room). Since it went up, of course, I've found all sorts of new features on this computer and have done some writing but much more exploring.
We've just had a new bookshelf built in the basement and the office is being relocated there. It looks like I will get my library after all.
This should work out better for everyone. The piano is in this room as well and I have to get back to that and back to writing--which I manage when I do not have internet access! ;)
At first glance, I thought it was a baby spider...then I thought just fuzz, blowing in the breeze created by the ceiling fan. The baby was enthralled with it and I finally realized it was a small ant.
A tiny, very fast ant trying to escape a large, wobbly baby is something to see! J was really trying but has not yet mastered his pincer grip. If he had simply fallen where he was, he'd have crushed the tiny insect--a fact the ant knew, no doubt!
While a trip home last week reminded me of some of my favorite things, it is very peaceful to look out the kitchen window in my new home and watch the fireflies light up the backyard as the sun sets in the exact center of my view!
It is immediately relaxing to hear the crickets, cicadas and/or tree frogs at night in Florida but I've never seen a lightning bug there!
Home is where your children have quietly fallen asleep. ;)
The kids and I are headed to Florida! It will be absolutely wonderful to reconnect with old friends! I am excited that my parents have offered to watch all three kids for the night but I've never left the baby for that long--I'm a tiny bit nervous! This is my 3rd child and my parent's 12th grandchild--so the anxiety is reduced a just a little! ;)
I am debating whether or not to post photos when I get back. (I haven't posted a photo of myself, yet!) Maybe we'll see what kind of photos we end up with!
I called it "a stomach bug." Dr. Hubbie called this morning to report that rotavirus is going around. Same thing.
The baby has actually been vaccinated against rotavirus so I won't have to keep worrying that he will start showing messy symptoms, too. Which is good and bad. It is fantastic to think that I should be finished cleaning up after people. The frustrating part is that the fever that he woke with this morning is something different. (With a teething baby who chews on everything--it could be anything!)
Each year, I believe that the kids and I will read more during the summer. The kids are reading a little more, grudgingly, as we've told them they have to in order to play video games or go to the pool.
Keeping them busy during the summer does not leave much more time for me to read during the summer than any other time of the year, however! I have these fantasies of reading through a few classics and a few new bestsellers but at the rate I'm going, I'll be lucky to finish an entire book!
Middle son has not been following directions. Taking privileges away has not phased him; taking video games away has made no difference. I've decided to take a cue from his soccer coach.
Each time my son does not listen or misbehaves, I ask him to run a lap around our entire backyard. (We have a very large backyard!) We began this yesterday. He was winded after the first run but I still had him go out two more times.
Since then however, all I have to do is say "get your shoes" and that gets his attention! If this can continue, he'll either shape up or get in shape!
That's OK. Just wear a different shirt and I'll fix it today.
I can't! It's FRIDAY. We have to wear the shirts with the logos on them to Mass and I only have this one.
Do you know where the button is?
I have some in my sewing kit. *sigh* I need a cup of coffee.
(Hubbie is walking by, on his way out the door.) There are extra buttons on the bottom of my dress shirts. Use one of those.
Thanks. (Kiss) I'll find the sewing kit. I just need a sip of coffee.
MOM! Can I just pull the button off of Dad's shirt?
*LOUD SIGH* I will be right there! Do not pull anything off of Dad's shirt! I'm getting a cup of coffee.
Hey, Mom? Have you seen my belt?
I'm sure it's on the floor of your closet but I'll help you look. Just let me pour that coffee.
MOM? I'm getting that button, OK?
*Storm upstairs* I will get it. Go eat your breakfast.
(Look in laundry room for scissors and sewing kit. Find neither. Grab another pair of scissors and gently remove button from dress shirt.)
MOM! Is the baby up yet?
No but he will be if you keep yelling.
*sigh* I bring the button downstairs. The sewing kit must be in the mud room.
Hi, Mom! Did you get my belt when you were upstairs?
*Blink and sigh* No. I need to find my sewing kit and get a cup of coffee.
You have a sewing kit?
*Blink and nod* Hard to believe, I know.
Wait, Mom! I've got it! You don't have to fix my shirt! I'll just wear a t-shirt under it! Then people will see more white--they won't know!
I'll fix it. Have you seen my sewing kit?
Nope. Is breakfast ready? When B comes over after school, can you take us to the park? What are we going to have for lunch? Did you remember it's a half-day, today?
Yes, maybe, we'll see and yes. Let me get a cup of coffee and then I'll find that sewing kit.
(Where IS that thing?) I say a prayer out loud and another to St. Anthony to help me find the sewing kit. (I'm trying to teach the kids to ask for divine help when mom isn't quick enough!) I repeat the prayer as I look through every room and still can't find it. I need a cup of coffee.
I get my coffee mug, pour a splash of milk in. Aha! It's on top of the fridge--found the sewing kit!
OK, let's fix that shirt!
That's your sewing kit?
It looks like a shoe box.
I nod and realize I never poured the coffee. I grab the mug and almost step on the toes of my shadow, behind me.
What does your mug say? Can I read it?
Yes. (I finish sewing the button while he turns and reads the words on the mug.)
"Count your blessings, not your problems."
Yes, it is.
I hand daughter her shirt, pat son on the head and smile. I reach over son's head for mug and take my first, long sip of coffee.
Shortly after we moved into our new home, my husband discovered a bird's nest in a little alcove under our mailbox. (It's for the newspaper that we have not yet subscribed to). He thought it was just sticks and grass so he poked around and then realized what he'd found. The mama bird never returned.
Today, the hubbie was pulling weeds from the front garden and under some small shrubbery, he disturbed a mother duck--who scared the living *!%* out of my husband before she flew away. He saw the eggs--swears he didn't actually touch them--but I'm wondering if she'll come back. She flew off but was keeping an eye on him as he continued weeding and told us about the encounter.
Any guesses on if this mama is ever coming back? If she doesn't incubate the eggs will they hatch?
(Of course, the hubbie found the weeds--and the eggs--after he went out to clean smashed eggs off of an outside garage window. He blames highschool kids but I've heard lots of very vocal birds the last few mornings--I'm thinking we had an earlier aves-related mishap).
Update: Mama duck was back under the shrubbery last night. Hubbie admitted he's surprised the duck before--it just wasn't as up close and personal. Maybe we'll have a little row of ducklings following mama to the pond soon.
I recycle, put E85 into my fuel tank and try to remember to bring my own bags to the grocery store.
Now that we have brought another child into the world however, it is time to work a little harder at lessening the impact we are making on the planet. Yes--I know it is quite overdue--it is time to stop using disposable diapers.
For those of you who are already more evolved than I, perhaps you can share your wisdom. Any favorite brands?
If you call me "Aunt Lory," stop reading this and please go draw a picture for me. I can't wait to see it! Thank you!
She was testing the waters well before Easter so I knew it was coming, it was simply a matter of when. Maybe I was just ready to give up the charade with her as I could tell she was testing us and this time, I refused to play along.
Many times, during the weeks before Easter, she told me that she could not wait until Easter to see what Webkinz she would get in her Easter basket. Though I explained that the Easter Bunny has never brought her a Webkinz before, she listed the pals in her class who had received one the prior year.
We explained that Easter "is not Christmas." (When we celebrate Jesus's birthday, everyone (except Him) gets presents. When we celebrate the fact that he conquered death, fulfilled an ancient prophecy and appeared to several people after he died---we color eggs and eat chocolate bunnies.))
Over the years, they have received small bunnies, bunny pens or pencils and books in their baskets along with candy. They remember getting small gifts from their grandparents last year but they were with us to celebrate. This year, they did each get an Easter DVD as well so I guess they DO get presents. I just kept refusing to go and purchase another Webkinz, just because it was Easter. (They each have over a dozen Webkinz, so this is not a boycott--just me making a lame attempt at making a point.) She kept repeating that she could not wait to see what Webkinz she was going to get and I intentionally let her down.
Two days ago, while playing with her baby brother and avoiding eye-contact with me, she simply stated, "I know you are the Easter Bunny." When my comment about my normal-sized ears did not dissuade her, I figured it was time to come clean. I have felt guilty about misleading her a couple of years ago when she tried to ask me about the Tooth Fairy and I figured now she was old enough. (Of course, she was not completely sure and was clearly hoping I'd offer some other explanation.) She told me that she was pretty sure because EVERYONE in her class got at least one Webkinz from the Easter Bunny, except for her. She was also suspicious of the plate of Hershey's kisses that were left on a plate in the middle of the table Easter morning because the plate was not there when she went to bed. ("The bunny" leaves a plate of candy for the entire family every year but she was looking for some other clue.)
She is disappointed. She is not happy about my request that she not tell her little brother but she hasn't totally given up. Whether it's an attempt to hold on to the magic or look out for her materialistic interests, she did bother to tell me, "Don't worry. I still believe in Santa."
I have a cell phone should an emergency arise and now I have OnStar, should I not have my cell phone. We live in a safe neighborhood. We have an alarm system on the house but the windows are pretty secure and we have deadbolts on the doors.
While I'm sure that a savvy burglar who really wants to get in can, a mom who has just successfully gotten three kids into the car but has locked the house keys, car keys and the cell phone in the house is simply stuck. (My daughter was right--OnStar does not help if you can't start the car!)
I have the high-tech backups for all sorts of emergencies but as it turns out, what I need is a hide-a-key.
I try to play classical music for the baby when the older kids are not around. (Then it's Hannah Montana 90% of the time, with a little Radio Disney sprinkled in.) I use the word "classical" to include Mozart, Bach and the Beatles, so we have a little variation!
This morning however, I knew soothing music would have me asleep at the wheel before we got home from taking the others to school. So I switched.
The baby had been quietly drooling and playing with a toy in the backseat. When Whole Lotta Lovebegan playing however, he started singing (baby singing, but singing, nonetheless) and didn't stop until the last beat of the song.
We are getting back into the swing of things here after being gone last week. Hopefully I'll get back into writing and blogging a little more regularly, soon! I am trying to catch up on laundry and sleep. (I always tell my husband that I need a vacation after our vacations!) I was complaining that I had to reschedule a hair appointment before we left so the gray is making another appearance (matches the dark circles under the eyes) and then I totally forgot about my new appointment today until it was too late. (I really have to start sticking reminders to my kids!) (Of course, if these are my worst issues, life is pretty darn good!)
Last week was busy but it was great! At the last minute, we decided to take the kids to Washington D.C. The kids, of course, were most interested in the hotel's pool but we were able to see some great, historical places and some interesting museums. The National Air and Space Museum was the biggest hit with the kids.
We were able to catch up with one of my old friends from back home and his family. We had a wonderful time and my daughter even included the dinner in her school journal. Her assignment was to write what she did over Spring Break, so along with her favorite D.C. sites, she wrote that she had dinner with "old friends." When I smiled, she explained that E is her friend. (I love that to N, a 16-month old that she just met is an "old friend!")
Of course, they tired easily and "almost died" from the walking (these are the same kids that can dance and perform gymnastics to Radio Disney for hours) but they had some fun along the way! The baby won't remember any of it so hopefully we can get back when everyone is a little older. Perhaps we'll do some hiking/training in advance before we go back!
When there are no friends in the car, everyone can sit without touching another person!
I can tote as many children as will fit and still not lose cargo space!
Everyone can get out of the car without doing front-flips over other seats.
I have a sensor that lets me know if something or someone is behind the car when it's in reverse; I can make the backseat colder or warmer than the front; I am sitting higher and can see more of the world around me while I am driving.
I cannot see a lunchbox left in the backseat for the duration of the school day.
I'm sure I've mentioned my poor memory at some point here, I just can't recall.
I've tried lists, asking my children to remind me and my latest trick is a dry-erase board.
I've got a new idea now which may be worth every penny of tuition we've paid this year, if not more! My son came home from school wearing one of those stick-on name tags but where you would normally see a name written, it said, "Mrs. R, You have a hair appointment at 3:30."
Apparently his teacher had forgotten her hair appointment the day before. The school secretary printed out these labels and stuck one on each child in Mrs. R's class yesterday. Genius!
I've often told my kids that I need to stick a "post-it" to my forehead but it's awfully hard to read it up there. Now I know where to stick them!
My house is never completely "up-to-snuff." However, I try. (Nevermind the fact that I'm blogging right now rather than folding laundry.) The hubbie is much more of a neat-freak than I am so he does clean up around the house. (We actually make a decent pair most of the time as I'm more worried about actual dirt and grime and he is more flustered by clutter. My stack of 14 different pieces of paper, kid's spelling lists and a grocery list doesn't bother me.)
Over the last couple of weeks however, I've had one child home sick, then another, then we lathered, rinsed and repeated. I do find that I stop to scrub a sink, Lysol the couch and throw day-old kitchen towels in the laundry much more often this week. I've assumed it is just because I am TIRED of the infections running rampant through my home.
I have run across multiple blog posts this week from frustrated moms who feel that they can't keep up with their house this week, however. Is this part of a larger trend? Is this a week for people across the nation to feel overpowered by housework? Is it simply that the time for spring cleaning has arrived?
I'm not a huge fan of exercise. I know I have to do it ~ so I make it as entertaining as I can. I've got quite a selection of music on the iPod now to inspire me to go a little further or a little faster.
Do you all work out to music?
Am I the only former band-geek who finds that, whether I am walking or running, I must begin each new song on my left foot?
I have been saying that I will finish "the book" for my daughter's entire life. While she asks about it once in a while, she is not surprised any longer that it is not done. I've justified it lately, saying that it was more important for me to focus on keeping track of everyone else's tasks, activities, etc. I had not thought of the larger example I was setting.
Progress reports came home from school last week and while hers was not horrible, it was not indicative of the intelligent daughter we know we have. On the way to school this morning, I suggested that she set a goal for each class and if she reached her goal by the time report cards come out, we could work out a reward.
She quickly announced that her goal was to get "straight A's!" I told her I thought that was an excellent goal! Then she thought about it for a minute.
"No, my goal is to get all As and Bs."
"I'm sure you can do that," I said, "but why not aim for all As? If you do fall short, you ought to end up with As and Bs."
"Because if I don't meet my goal, I won't get my prize."
We've been frustrated lately by this general attitude. We have been reminding her all week to finish reading her book as she has a book report due at the end of the month. Last night, she announced that she will begin working on her report after school today. She has not finished the book, however!
Maybe if I make a more obvious attempt to finish my projects, it will at least give her a better example. (Though growing up watching her father work hard for multiple degrees hasn't made much of an impression on her, apparently!)
She is a smart kid. She knows she is a smart kid. She spends her creative energies trying to find loopholes or ways out of work however, rather than just sitting her butt down to do it. I can't imagine where she gets it! (Says the woman who got excited about a new writing software program and spent a half an hour playing with it, when she could have just been writing!)
The baby has slept for a few hours at night here and there...I had glimpses of the light at the end of the tunnel.
It's been cold, so I've been making sure he is nice and cozy in bed. I bought "blanket sleepers" so I could zip him up in those and not worry about a blanket. But I'm always cold, and try to keep the baby warmer than myself, so I've also been putting the crib blanket on him. (Tucking him in, then tucking the blanket on each side of the mattress tightly, so he can't pull it up over his head.)
It looks like this kid is hot-blooded like his dad and sister, though. Last night he managed to get that blanket loose and kicked it completely off. And slept. All night.
The angel, Raziel, has resurrected Levi, who is called Biff, to write his version of the Messiah's life. The angel keeps Biff in a hotel room until he is finished and the duo have a few entertaining discussions along the way, including how much God sounds like James Earl Jones.
In this novel, Jesus travels to the East and spends time with each of the three wise men who visited him at his birth. He tries coffee and declares it is OK to eat bacon. He learns yoga and a form of kung-fu, known here as "Jew-do." Reading this book, you will finally see how bunnies became associated with Easter!
Moore has intertwined a few thought-provoking ideas with witty humor to make this an entertaining read. One of my favorite lessons/hints comes from a scene when Jesus and Biff are studying meditation. The young Messiah makes the comment that prayer is important but prayer is talking to God, whereas meditation is listening.
Check it out. It won't change your religion but it will make you smile.
Recently, I posted a few remarks from my son. Lest you think that he spends his entire life making my blood pressure rise, I thought I'd share this one that just made my heart swell! (It is a couple of weeks old but I keep this one posted on the refrigerator!)
In case you can't make out the first-grade handwriting in my small photo, it says: you are the gratest mom in the hall wrld.
In case you can't read the first-grade spelling/handwriting, that translates to: you are the greatest mom in the whole world!
I am more often in contention for the WMITW (Worst Mom In The World) Award, so I make sure to save things like this!
(If you look very closely, you may be able to see the slight smudge on Joshua's forehead. If not, just enjoy the photo of our happy baby!)
I attended Mass today and received ashes on my forehead. Every year on Ash Wednesday, we hear the gospel reading telling us not to advertise when we fast, pray, etc. but rather to keep those activities private. So it has seemed hypocritical to me to hear this lesson on the day that we are advertising to the world that we have been to church this Wednesday, as we walk around with black crosses or smudges on our foreheads.
Today I decided to look up some answers and after a little research online, learned that the crosses on our heads are not meant to advertise that we went to Mass because we are any holier than anyone else but rather as an evangelizing tool. Some of the answers that I found suggest that at the very least, someone who sees the cross on my head today will realize that I went to Mass and might think, for a moment, about going to church. Whether it brings a smile to some or makes others cringe, for a split second, some stranger will associate the mark on my face with church or with God.
Others will just wonder how I left the house without noticing that I have something on my face. I learned this well during the last few years in Kansas. I attended Ash Wednesday Mass and then went to the grocery store. Each time, at least two well-meaning people tried to discreetly tell me that I had something on my face. I should have used this as a "teachable moment" and explained that it was Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent, a good time to think about God. Instead, I usually just nodded.
Today, I went to Target with the kids after school. Most people we passed just smiled. I don't know if they were embarrassed for me or if they recognized the black cross on my head. (Perhaps walking through the store with two kids in Catholic school uniforms, also wearing ashes on their heads, gave them a hint). I had even almost forgotten that I looked odd today until after checking out when the woman walking by us elbowed her mother in the ribs, then pointed at my head, at which point both women stopped and stared. Rather than pretending to not see them while I shooed my children out the door, I should have used this as a moment to teach them.
My son and I have a standing argument every Saturday morning. (I tell him to put his shorts on for basketball practice and to put sweats over them so he won't freeze outside. Every week, he wants to wear jeans.)
As we went through it again this week, I made the comment that "this argument is getting really old."
While I am able to cook dinners that my family enjoys, I don't bake.
I bring fruit or "no-bake" recipes to bake sales.
My standing reason has been that my desserts/muffins/etc. never turn out right. They don't look right, and they are either still moist in the middle or resemble a brick.
In accordance with my recent endeavors to sneak veggies into other foods however, I've ventured into baking. The banana bread (with cauliflower!!) was a success! (Stay tuned for another post on that one). So, today I am baking brownies (with spinach--sshhh)!
However, I have cleaned my kitchen floor (in spots) three times. My other problem, you see, is that I spill. When I spill sauce while making lasagna, it's easy to spot and easy to clean.
When I spill brown sugar on a brown, hardwood floor however, it's not so easy to spot. So I clean. Then I hear the crunch under my feet. I get many wet paper towels and clean again. Then I spill flour. (Easier to see but this settles into the spaces between my hardwood floorboards.) I vacuum. I use more wet paper towels. I vacuum. There!
I put the vacuum away and come back into the kitchen.
If you pray before you go to bed tonight, please add my husband and father-in-law to your prayers.
My father-in-law was diagnosed with gastric cancer this summer. He handled the chemotherapy and radiation quite well and is an excellent candidate for surgery to remove the rest of the tumor.
The surgery is scheduled for first thing tomorrow morning. He has done so well with everything else that we are hopeful that this will be very successful. I'm just thinking a few extra prayers can't hurt!
My daughter is not grounded. She is not being punished (despite what she may think).
She has been invited to a birthday party tomorrow evening. It is being held at a facility that she has been dying to visit and, according to her, all of the other fourth grade girls are going.
So what is our problem? The party is tomorrow evening.
We have not yet ventured into evening soccer/baseball/football practices so maybe we, as parents, are just not yet in the swing of things.
Having said that, our daughter is not yet in the swing of getting up easily for school each morning. (Not to mention the fact that she was home from school last Thursday and Friday with a fever and sore throat; she's still got a cough that won't completely go away.)
So we are not allowing her to go to a birthday party on a school night. The party is being held across town, from 7-8:30pm.
Are we being unreasonable? What do you think?
(You won't change our answer but I'm curious. Are we the only square parents out there that have raised an eyebrow over a child's birthday party on a Wednesday night?)
I was going to post a glowing report of how well my Monday went. I felt like such a successful homemaker as I roasted both butternut squash and sweet potatoes in the oven, had a load of laundry washing, put dishes away and entertained the baby all at the same time! I felt even better as I pureed the vegetables later (this took a little longer as the baby was not quite as entertained with the loud whirring of the food processor overpowering the dainty sounds of electronic Baby Einstein music coming from his toy). I got it all done before picking the kids up from school, happy in the knowledge that tonight I was going to hide butternut squash in their mac-n-cheese for dinner.
(I have decided, you see, to hide veggies in meals for all of the family members. The kids don't eat enough vegetables and while I can't prove that any of the hubbies' more frequent colds or recent aches and pains are caused by a lack of veggies, eating more can't hurt!)
Alas, my efforts proved only moderately successful. My daughter, who usually asks for at least two helpings of mac-n-cheese, decided last night that she "just didn't like it, for some reason." (I did not tell her about the extra ingredient and I thought it was hidden pretty well but she knew something was different.) At least she is the one who will eat veggies willingly and did polish off her green beans. My son did not finish his portion of mac-n-cheese but I was moderately pleased as he noticed no difference and did eat some of it! The hubbie just wanted pasta so he and I had spaghetti but I did not have a chance to sneak anything extra into his dinner. (At least he does put tomatoes and black olives on his pasta.)
Dinner was a bit rushed as the kids had gymnastics until 6pm last night. Tuesday is the day I let them stay at the after-care program at school. (I feel they are lucky that they don't need the childcare but they feel deprived as so many of their friends go. So we compromise and they get to go on Tuesdays--which gives me a few extra hours with just the baby!) So I have plenty of time to have a full, vegetable-laced dinner waiting for the family when they get home this evening!
(Feel free to wish me luck. It's only 10:20am--a lot can happen between now and dinnertime.)
While I appreciate the action, perhaps you could save some money--and children--if we just found a way to print the information large enough for bleary-eyed parents to read!
As a maternally-aged mother, trying to read the Tylenol bottle at 0-dark-thirty proved nearly impossible. (I am only 37 and my eyesight is normally fine but after rising with an infant as well as a sick child, my eyes don't focus quite as well in the wee hours as I'd like).
Luckily I could read the dosage amount (though I already knew that as my daughter had already had one dose earlier). With the combination of my poor memory and lack of sleep however, I wanted to check to ensure that she could get another dose at 4 hours rather than 6. While I suspect part of the problem is that I may be contracting her cold as well, it was still excruciating trying to read the tiny print on the side of the bottle.
I know you must include all of the side effects and possible drug interactions but I would not have been able to read those, either. Can't we include that on the insert but print the dosage information in larger print?
I saw this back in November and it has been sitting in my "drafts" folder ever since. Except for the re-runs, it seems Sesame Street has changed right along with the rest of our neighborhoods!
I haven't watched SS in a few years and it'll likely be another year or so before J discovers it--I wonder what we'll be in store for then! I know Kermit and Miss Piggy have moved to Hollywood and everyone can see Snuffelupagus now. I wonder if the head-banging musician is still on? Oh, I'll never get it! Never! Never! Never!
My daughter is getting to be as forgetful as her mother. The problem is--my memory was FINE when I was NINE! She is allowed to forget her gym clothes only so many times before she has to sit out--and she loves gym! She is either down to one more time or no chances left and I just found her gym bag by the back door. Should I take it to school?
(I'm thinking NO. Maybe she'll finally learn and it is her responsibility.)
In the same vein, my son was sure he did not need his warm jacket today and just wore a wind breaker but I took the recycling out and it's COLD today! (After 67 degrees on Monday and about 60 yesterday, we have forgotten it's January!)
SO--should I rescue my kids and take the gym bag and jacket to school? Let me know but vote now--gym class is in an hour!
As I am nursing our son, I feel like I can't "diet" and cut out too many calories right now -- but I've got to shed these many, many baby pounds. So--I decided to start exercising regularly again with the new year and to try to cut sugar out of my diet.
I was finally successful in having a completely sugar-free day yesterday.
My husband came home from the store with this last night. (He found one in Indiana!)
I finished off my son's piece after he went to school this morning so I guess I just shoot for a sugar-free afternoon, today!
J went to sleep a little earlier than usual last night (after taking micro-naps during the day) and slept almost 6 hours straight! (By the time I got the kitchen cleaned up, dishwasher running, etc., that meant I got about 5 hours of uninterrupted sleep!)
FIVE hours. Life is good.
After he had breakfast and a diaper change, he went back to sleep--about an hour before I had to get his older siblings up for school. So I managed to have a cup of (hot!) coffee, read a little and take a 15-minute micro-nap myself before he woke again--5 minutes before I had to get the others up! I don't need an alarm with this little guy!
I don't know if it was the REM sleep or the fact that I've had almost 3 cups of coffee now but my morning is zipping along nicely! I hope yours is as well!