Wednesday, December 21, 2011

The "One Last Post" Post

For the last two weeks I've thought, "I should do just one last post for good measure" and as each day has passed I've thought, "Fyoosh, I'm sure glad I didn't do that too soon!" It's been two weeks and one day since I last posted. Still no baby.

It has been driving me crazy not to be in control as much as I'd like to be, and as much as I like to think I am in life. I am learning about myself in this process, and it's good. At this point, I haven't really given up hope on being in control and predicting a date (even though, with each passing day, the odds are in my favor of being right) but I finally have conceded that I don't get to pick the "when". In fact, not even guaranteed the where and how, just hoping I have control over that!

I have become the regular, grumpy, overdue pregnant lady. Everything everyone says to me annoys me. If I hear the word "trampoline" again in the next 6 months, it will be too soon. I just want to say, "You aren't funny" to people. But I refrain. I'm mostly nice like that.

My kids think it's hilarious that my belly smashes up against the steering wheel when I'm driving them to school. I'd back up, but I have relatively short legs for someone my height, so I can't really. I think that right there should be proof enough that I'm done!

Every day Avee dashes off to school saying, "Goodbye, I love you, I hope you aren't here when I get home from school today!" This waiting is driving her crazy. I love that. I love how excited she is about having a new baby. It makes me SO happy that she is getting a sister.

Okay, let's see if I can talk about anything else...

Bo got a lead part in the school musical. He brought the script home yesterday and it's quite a big undertaking. What thrills me is that he got the part based on his ability to sing and perform, and his music teacher has no idea what extraordinary memorization skills he has. I'm mostly excited that now his memorization skills will go toward memorizing lines and songs, and less on learning every word that Weird Al has ever uttered.

His part is big and I am SO excited to help him learn it and ultimately to see it performed. I am so proud of him for putting himself out there and auditioning for a lead like that. He's just a little guy and he's gotten little to no encouragement from us on the matter. We didn't even know he'd auditioned until he told us he got a callback. Then we basically prepped him for not getting the part since he was the youngest in the group and would have 2 more years to play the part if he didn't get it this year. I think his teacher was a little put off by my incredulity when she called to tell us he got the part and make sure we had his support on getting him to school early FIVE DAYS A WEEK. I happily committed for J. I'll be busy with a newborn...

I don't know if I've put it on here, Bo wants to be an actor. He's said that for about a year now. Being an actor and a karate expert were two of his New Years resolutions this past year. He takes it quite seriously. The other day he told me he'd like to be a substitute teacher and an actor. I told him the combination was excellent since neither of them guaranteed full-time employment. I would sure love to know what goes on in that brain of his sometimes. He had complained that he didn't like "guest teachers" and I explained to him how hard it was to be a substitute teacher when you don't know the kids, or the routine, and kids tend to be naughty for subs, even if they aren't naughty usually (ie, 8 year old Nobody), etc, etc. I don't know how he went from complaining about substitutes to wanting to be one. S'all good. That's my boy.

He also told me yesterday that he was pretty sure pomegranates evolved from blueberries because of their similarities in shape. I wrote it on Flacebook, but I should probably record it here too because it's just too good. After he found out he got the part for the play he commented, "This must be how Superman felt when he got the part for Superman." I loved his statement so much, I didn't dare dissect it, like my brain wanted to. I really wanted to know if he meant the actor or if he really thought Superman was Superman. I just didn't want to ruin the goodness of his statement.

Later, about 3 hours after we'd heard the news, he casually said, "Ever since I found out I got the part, I've just been under so much pressure of happiness." I seriously wanted to pick him up and throw him for how cute that statement was. Maybe I have emotional expression issues, I don't know. He sure doesn't!

My sister is coming up here today. Initially it was to see the baby. I haven't got the heart to tell her there's no baby to see yet. Heh. I just can't believe she's getting here before I have the baby. She's bringing me my little, (okay, she's not little) college Freshman niece, Erica. I'm pretty excited to see her. Even though she has lived in England for the past 11 years, she chose a stateside college and I couldn't be more thrilled about the easier access to her. I will be rewarding her decision to go to college in the states, with a lot of chocolate and a newborn baby to squish and love. I don't think it's easy to go that far from home for college. Everything she does, she makes it look easy though. Actually, now that I think about it, all of my nieces are kind of amazing like that. You know, for having such a wacky family (and I do) my siblings sure have amazing kids. They probably all get it from me....

Yesterday at Danyo's little Catholic Preschool they had a birthday party for baby Jesus. I love that he goes to a church preschool. Every time he referred to it, I thought of the prayer scene from Talladega Nights. I don't know why a birthday party for baby Jesus is so funny to me. But it is.

I am so looking forward to this Christmas Break and having the kids home for a couple of weeks. They are long overdue for a break. I hope my grouchiness dissipates once I'm not a disgruntled 9+ months pregnant mama. I feel bad for my kids how grouchy I am to them, but I seriously can't stop myself even when I try. The other night I apologized to Bo for being such a grouch to him all evening (the dude whistles constantly and I yelled at him at least 5 times to stop, plus he persists in eating ALL foods with his hands---seriously, even stew---and he got his knuckles rapped with a fork for it, and, and....I was not nice). He answered, "It's okay, you're always like that." He knows he's funny---that's his problem.

I feel like I need to say something about Avee or Omar is going to call me out on the inequity. Holy crap, you know how ridiculously long these posts will be once Baby #4 stops being a squishy red blob and actually gives me blog fodder? Ay yi yi.

Avee. A million things I could write. Her latest thing is to try and give us an unanswerable question. It's totally obnoxious and funny at the same time. Yesterday J was taking her seriously and answering how electricity works and she was just waiting for his last sentence so she could ask another question beyond that. It's really quite brilliant, but after listening to half of J's mind-numbing explanation, I had to break the news to him that she didn't care and was just trying to trap him into saying, "I don't know." I think he might have been sad if he didn't have another kid who was eating up every word of the explanation.

She told me last night she wants to be a cheerleader. Basically she wants to wear a cute uniform and shake her butt with purpose. I'm sure of it. I don't even know what her exposure to cheerleading is, I have actively kept it to a minimum. Ah, well. Story of our lives with Avee.

Okay, I've killed some serious time. One less hour of waiting to have this baby.

Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Procrastination Post

This is obligatory. I'm doing it because I have to. I have a major assignment due in T-6 hours and 12 minutes. You see why I have to blog?

Baby is due in 9 days. There are no indications she will come early. I'm glad for this for more reasons than the discomfort of being 9 months pregnant. This is my first winter baby and I want her to come out as big as a 3 month old---having a baby in an Iowa winter just makes me nervous. Probably working in an ER doesn't help that fear...

Also, school has been kicking my butt up one side and down the other (I'm a big girl, that's a lot of ground to cover) in the last couple of weeks. Going into labor and/or having a newborn before today would really have made things difficult. After today, all I have left is one final. To take on my due date. I'm hoping for a good story on this one.

Today is our first snow. It's not sticking to the streets but powdering the ground. Danyo thinks because the snow is here, we can open "prezzies". Have I mentioned his tendency to "babify" pretty much any word he says? It's really funny and J imitates it regularly. I love it. Recently he has become obsessed with Beyblades (in a normal, 4-year-old obsessed kind of way, nothing like what Bo manages to do with a topic of his choice). On the cartoon, there is a character named "Jenga" and another little character (I've never watched the show, just hear it in the background) calls him "Jengy". Which is exactly what Danyo does with just about every noun he can think of. However, whenever this character says "Jengy" Danyo yells loudly at the TV, "HIS NAME IS JENGA, NOT JENGY!" His yelling is mean and loud, and it makes me laugh every time he does it. He's a hypocrite!

Lately Bo has been making similar complaints about school that he made in Kindergarten. If I could have done Kindergarten over again, I would have pulled him out and "home schooled" or found some other alternative. Full day was WAY too long for him, and he was not being taught anything at all. I didn't know this until after the fact though. His complaints were about being tired, or he was wetting his pants, or he talked about school being "too long". He actually learned to write incorrectly while in Kindergarten. You should see the crazy strokes that boy makes to form an "h" or an "a". It defies logic! Anyway, he's been complaining again, very similar complaints. It's hard for me to determine if he's just ready for a break, or if there are similar problems and I need to get proactive. His teacher works hard to keep him stimulated, but she has at least 4 "high need" kids in her class, that I'm aware of, and I just don't know how one person can do it all in a setting like that.

I don't really know what the answer is, but I don't want his little spirit getting squashed again because I'm not clued in or don't know what I'm doing.

I'm so glad I got to grow up and worry about crap like this. We really should have been warned about adulthood. :)

Danyo just told me I'm awesome, but he's awesomer. His logic worked like this: There's snow outside, time to open presents, mom clearly doesn't make this obvious connection even though I deliberately pointed out the stuff falling onto the ground, I can't call her a bad name because I'm trying to earn a Beyblade, I'm awesomer.

He's been earning 3 X's a day in an effort to earn a new Beyblade. I realized that it's time to get a little more proactive about his short-temper and mean mouth. He's been working really hard. First thing he said to me this morning was, "I'm probably not going to get all my X's today because I'm going to say the word poopy. Poopy!" I let "poopy" run it's course with Bo and Avee. It's not even one of the words Danyo says that I object to. My kids love that word. Avee stretched it out over about 2 years. She still loves that word and hides herself in the bathroom to say it with wild abandon. Weirdo. Anyway, Danyo's trick is brilliant. He absolutely has to say some words---the day cannot pass without him saying them. So, he's socialized himself and says, "Oh man Mom, I almost said butt cheek just now. Good sing I didn't, huh?" He knows what he's doing, he ain't no fool.

If I had a quarter for every time he did that, combined with every time I've caught him going commando, I'd be a rich woman. F'real.

Bo said something last week that has made me chuckle through out the week. He was watching a documentary on Pearl Harbor. He's been interested in military/war/soldiers/etc for some time now. I sat down for a minute to watch it with him and he casually stated: "They should make bumper stickers for the old people that says, 'I dropped the bomb on Pearl Harbor'."

I couldn't stop laughing. Methinks he may have missed a point or two. Of course, I was a good mom and explained why perhaps that might not be the best idea.

Uh-oh, I'm running out of fodder. That means I have to get back to work! So sad...

I doubt very many people read this with any regularity anymore, but if you read this in the next week, give me your two cents on the Bo/School issue and throw in a name guess/suggestion just for fun. We don't have a name picked, but we have lots of ideas. By the way, it is a girl. :)

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving

My kids love the song "Tonight Tonight" by Hot Chelle Ray. This summer when we were in Utah visiting my friend Jen, she cranked it up one day and everyone danced around the house wildly. Except me. Mama don't dance. Anyway. Bo, who started piano lessons a couple of months ago, has been trying to figure out the tune to this song on the piano. He's got the "tonight, tonight" part and Avee had almost nailed the "Whoa, oh-oh, whoa-oh-oh" part. J was helping them and asked me to put the song on so he could prove he was right and they were wrong. Bo heard the line, "it kinda looks just like you, mixed with Zach Galifianakis" and wanted to know what a Zachgalifianakis was. So, I googled his name to show his picture and it took me to his website. Where there was a nice nude sketching of "him".

J laughed out loud at my fumble and I quickly closed the page. Thank you Zach G. Now my 8 year old knows what you and your sketched junk look like.

Today is Thanksgiving morning. This is my favorite holiday of all. I love that it is simply about having gratitude. I love spending it with family and friends. I love how the weather is cold, but not unbearable yet. I love the bare trees and the ground covered in dead, crunchy, leaves, but some still colorful. I like turkey okay, but I love the tradition of having turkey. J learned to brine turkey a few years ago and we'll never go back. It's amazing.

This morning Avee asked where the turkeys were and I pointed out to a Rubbermaid on the back deck, where they were brining, peacefully. She exclaimed, "What!? They are out there in the cold!? Naked...and...dead? Oh never mind, they're dead."

I can remember when Bo was like 3-4 I just really didn't want him to know that the fish we ate at dinner was a close relative of the fish he loved seeing in the aquarium. Or that the nuggets he ate at McDonald's came from some part of the chicken he loved to sing about at O' Macdonohd's Fahm. Now, Avee's connection of the two things, a real turkey and the plucked, dead thing on our counter cracks me up. I've advanced quite a bit in this motherhood gig.

I am thankful for so many things every day. Here are some of them for today:
*My own good health and a healthy, active, baby growing inside me.
*The chance to watch my children learn and grow and experience life with them.
*Family that I can take or leave most days, but always have, so I take--and I love.
*A sister who can say one word or one phrase that can send us both into laughing hysterics. Or a raging vent. Someone who I don't have to explain any background to.
*A husband who does so much to make my life easier and better. Every day.
*The opportunity to be in Graduate School and the difference it is already making in me.
*Our home.
*Good friends who support me, make me feel loved, laugh with me, set me straight, and sing on my answering machine.
*My bed. I love my bed so much.
*Clean, folded, and put away laundry.
*
My mom. She's awesome.

Yesterday Bo said to me out of nowhere, "Mom, you always laugh. I always see you laughing, I've never seen you cry. Well, except that one time. But you always laugh." I told him he was my favorite kid for the next 20 minutes so to go make the most of it. It did my heart good to hear him say that. It's okay to cry. I do. I definitely hide it from my kids because they don't need to be burdened with some of that stuff. But I'm glad they are growing up with a mom that laughs a lot. It helps that they give me a lot of reasons to laugh. I hope they grow up and laugh a lot too.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Because I Don't Have Class This Week

Yesterday at church Danyo kept trying to maul crawl all over me almost the entire hour and I just kept repeatedly pushing him away. I've just gotten to the point in pregnancy where I can't take it, even for a minute. After about the 23rd time, he just kind of whined pathetically in protest. I whispered, "I'm sorry, I just don't have enough room on my lap to hold you, it hurts for you to climb on me like this." J reached over and swept Danyo into his arms warmly, "I know buddy, I know exactly how you feel right now, I feel your pain." I elbowed J in the ribs. Hard. But it certainly made Danyo feel better.

I've been reviewing old posts working to compile my blog into a hard copy. Or rather, hard copies. Holy moly I was prolific, back in the day. Reading some of the stories has really done me some good. I'm realizing that Danyo isn't quite as crazy as I thought he was---Bo and Avee both had some similar behaviors that they obviously grew out of. Also, the kids LOVE hearing stories of things they did when they were younger. They particularly like the stories of Avee being a bossy know-it-all when she was two or three. I'm so glad I recorded this stuff!

One of the things I recorded a lot was how Bo said things, when he couldn't say his R's. I still miss that little speech impediment. It was particularly funny with him because, content-wise, he didn't talk like a normal 5 year old. But he couldn't say his R's and sometimes L's, so it was particularly funny to hear him talk that way about grown-up things. He said to me just the other day, "I think I might need to have my ears checked." (By the way, my overly-active hypochondria has not escaped my children---it's awesome---they are regularly reporting some major ailment---Avee is practically blind and probably anemic...)

I asked Bo why he thought his ears were bad. He answered, "Because all those years I thought I was saying my R's just like everyone else, but I wasn't. I really think my ears should have noticed that!" It is my duty as a loving mother, I told him it wasn't his ears that did things wrong, it was his brain, and perhaps we should have his brain checked. Just kidding. I didn't tell him that. He would have laughed though---that kid has a wicked sense of humor. It amazes me actually--how different he and Avee are on the teasing/sense of humor front. In fact, now that I think about it, I think Avee was meant to belong to my parents.

She has my dad's sense of humor. Which is to say, it's terrible. It's okay to not have a very good sense of humor. But it's terrible to not have a good sense of humor, and to think you do. My brothers can have everyone in stitches, recreating how terribly my dad tells jokes. That's how Avee's jokes go. She told a joke the other day that was actually more like a short story and the "punchline" was "Ha! I don't have a heart!" but it didn't make any sense. And if it did make sense, it certainly wasn't funny. J encouraged her to tell me, just so he could watch me not know when the punchline came. She delivered the punchline with gusto and I was sure there had to be more. J, behind Avee, nodded and mouthed, "That's the joke."

She also has my mom's love for makeup, pink and purple, and accessorizing. All of those things completely skipped me. I am frumpy, wear a lot of blue and black, and I'm really funny. That's why I'm certain Avee was meant to be my parent's child.

But oh how I'm glad she's mine. :)

Saturday I ran a few errands by myself in the afternoon. One of them was to get a simple trim and my hair thinned out. I have a massive head of hair, and with it long right now, it's kind of ridiculous if I don't keep it thinned. I went to Great Clips because I really think a trim and thin are pretty hard to mess up. I've been telling myself that lie for about 15 years now. My mom has said to me at least 5 times on the matter, "You get what you pay for, find someone good!" Every time I get a fouled up haircut, I resolve to never do it again. But the lack of planning and the $12.95 lure me back time and again. I watched as she butchered it and even I, who knows nothing of haircutting, knew she was doing a horrible job as she did it. Not even the worst of it, she cut my bangs like a half an inch above my eyebrows, when they were wet. I looked ridiculous when I left. Whatever though, I'm confident, I can pull it off.

I stepped outside the Great Clips and rushed to my car. I didn't have the remote access keychain, so I was in the drizzling rain with my Dumb and Dumber haircut, trying to manually unlock the car. It didn't really work so I just pulled on the handle in hopes that I had forgotten to lock it. I had! I jumped inside and reached to put my key in the ignition. I looked down and something seemed awry. I suddenly realized someone had broken into my car and stolen all the trash, McDonald's toys, empty water bottles, broken car chargers, expired insurance cards, and my cheap makeup bag that were piled into the console area. I was shocked! Then I noticed that they had taken all that, cleaned out the crumbs and spilled coke stickies and replaced it all with a pair of men's glasses.

Then I thought there was a chance I was in the wrong car. I looked out the window, over to my left and saw my green makeup bag perched on top of a loaf of Jimmy John's day old bread, next to 2 and a half Puss-in-Boots figurines, in the console of the car next to me.

I burst out laughing and quickly scrambled out of not-my-car. I stumbled onto the sidewalk to take a look to see if they were even the same KIND of car or if I had just blindly walked toward the first red thing I'd seen. They were the exact same car. Probably even the same year. I turned to a couple hovering under an awning and laughing loudly, exclaimed, "I just got into the wrong car! Look, they are exactly the same. On the outside." Then I took my awesome haircutted self and got into my own car.

I also scored three baskets from Michael's for 1 penny each. Not even lying. I spent 35 minutes in the basket aisle which was totally disorganized and over-run with baskets. I had dreams of having good taste and picking something that would magically transform the baby's room into a darling nursery. Um, except that it's painted a putrid tan color AND houses the washer and dryer. I am not painting the room and the washer and dryer have nowhere else to go. So, why am I trying to find the perfect cute basket? I don't know. I finally settled for three that I liked and have absolutely no way of matching anything I already have in there. So, in the end, I stayed true to myself.

When the girl rang me up it was a good $30 less than I anticipated and I said, "Um, that's too low..." and she said, "Oops, I forgot to ring up this big basket!" So, I waited for her to ring it up and we both stared incredulously as it rang up for 1 cent. She said, "Oh, I guess I did ring it up, it's only one penny though." So I made sure she took off the 4th penny so I wasn't overpaying for those baskets.

Paying 3 pennies for those baskets felt like winning the lottery.

Now all I have left to get for my baby is clothes to bring her home from the hospital. Well, and clothes to wear when she gets here. But other than that, I'm TOTALLY prepared. Oh, minus a name. Don't have that either. We'll manage.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

For Kim

I am the leaver, not the left behind. This is not fun.

You were one of the first people I met at church. You and Becky were sitting on the couch and started asking me about our move here. I remember telling you the route we took to church and one of you joked "Well that was real direct". I thought you both were big jerks and I knew for certain I would never like either of you, ever. Little did I know...

I remember one really cold winter morning (our first one here, after moving from Texas was one of the worst Iowa had had in a long time---J and I were in shock) I hauled the kids to story time at the elementary school. I didn't know you very well. You came in a little late, you looked so cute with all your winter accessories, but you were snarling. You stepped over people and growled, "I hate winter!" You weren't even remotely trying to be funny. You were angry. I remember laughing out loud at how totally serious you were.

A few months after we moved here I had to go to your house for a meeting. You had recently found out I had a blog and whipped out a pen, asking me for the blog address. I didn't want to give it to you. I didn't want you to know that I sometimes said damn and hell. Or that I made fun of people. Or that I confessed to sometimes not liking my children, or being a slob. I needed those secrets to stay safe on the world wide web. You got it out of me though, as persistent as I may have been, you were more so.

That was the real beginning. You've always made me feel so good about my blogging "efforts", my biggest fan. :)

Girl's night out, sushi, late Tuesday night movies, The Good Wife, play dates, church callings....

I've always been impressed with how well you do everything that you do. You aren't perfect and you can't do everything---but what you do, you do well.

I've loved watching your children grow up and enjoying their very "energetic" personalities. The first time I interacted with Ella she asked me where I lived, how I got here, and if that baby I was holding was mine. Then she asked me if he came out of my stomach, how he got there in the first place, and if there was another one in there right now. She was barely 3. Little Ella, how I've loved conversations with her. I will miss being asked how big my baby is "today". Even if she just asked 4 hours before...

You introduced us to Wicked. Man I love that music. I remember confidently telling you I had figured the story out and you shouldn't have made me listen to it before I saw the show, because now it was ruined for me. You smiled and said, "Things aren't always as they seem Nobody..." I can still listen to that soundtrack for hours on end and I have so many great memories of riding around with your kids in the back of my car, belting out "Popular". We only stopped because my CD wore out---not us!

You've made me mad. You know when you have, too. But you are like a drug and I just cain't quit you. It's how I know I love you---even when I've gotten mad at you, I know I'll forgive you and that your friendship is one I cherish. I've made you mad. Only, I just had to be smart to figure it out. I've never seen anyone do more gymnastics to avoid conflict or saying no. I've watched you get better about saying no---but it's a good thing I'm a nice girl or I could ride that push-over train of yours all the way to Hawaii!! You have a kind and compassionate heart, and the word "no" is impossible for you to say.

Your love for Starbucks is contagious. I remember almost being angry at you when you introduced me to the salted caramel hot chocolate. I couldn't afford that kind of an addiction, and that's all I could see it becoming!

I feel like I could write for days and days---we've had so many great memories, so many great conversations, so many good laughs in the last 4 years. I am so grateful that you have been a part of our Iowa experience. I bet you're glad I was a part of yours. :)

I know you are leaving a trail of broken hearts, here in Iowa. You have so many friends and have the unique ability of making each of us feel like the most important one in your life.

Texas is awesome and you will be just as in love with your life there, as you have been here. You are good at blooming where you are planted. Personally, I think blooming in a warmer climate just has to be more fun.

Thanks for making me laugh out loud, calling me out on my bullcrap ("Of course we'll come visit you soon in Texas, Sydney!" "Don't listen to that Sydney, they left Texas 4 years ago and haven't been back since!"), having such great kids that are so fun for my kids to play with, being a good example of hard work and always trying to improve yourself, sushi dates, pinch-hitting with childcare, and all in all being someone who has made our lives here in Iowa so much better.

We will miss you desperately. I will. J might.

Love you bigger'n Texas.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

We Shouldn't Say Stoopid Anyway

It's 7:18 am. Bo is playing on the computer using the new cheats for Rise of Nations that J taught him. Avee is sprawled on the floor cutting out the last of 21 paper ghosts that she's made for each of her classmates. Danyo is next to her asking for a goldfish or a superhero ghost for himself. I'm awake and not bitter about it. Aside from having left my car window down and it raining through the night, it's going to be a good day.

Yesterday Bo stayed home from school. He complained the night before that his stomach hurt and that he had diarrhea. He didn't, but--whatever. He came to my room at 6 am and said he still didn't feel good. I told him he could stay home, to go back to bed. I pretty much knew that he could have gone to school and would have been fine, but I guess I just didn't care enough. J got it in his head that if Bo was going to stay home "sick" then he needed to act sick, and not get to run around outside or watch tv all day, etc. I watched J feel like that's how it should be done, but not be really convinced it was necessary. Welcome to my world, man.

As a result, instead of playing games on the computer or watching tv, he "studied science". I stayed in bed until even my very scant pride wouldn't allow me to stay. He'd come up periodically and spout facts about the moon or how much smarter he is than his "nemesis" (another post in and of itself, the other smart boy in the class...). During one of those visits I asked him why he had stayed home from school. He said, "I have that croupy cough and diarrhea." I've kept Avee home with a croupy cough, even though she isn't sick, she sounds terrible. He knew that with that diagnosis he could get away with not really being sick. I hid my smile from his pathetic attempt to be wily like his sister.

Later we were in the car driving and I asked him again why he'd chosen to stay home from school and noted that I could tell he wasn't really sick. He claimed diarrhea again and stated that he just "felt bad". When I asked him how many times he'd gone to the bathroom he smiled sheepishly for a moment, recovered, then said, "Well, it comes and goes..." I'm a little concerned about what the real issue is, I don't think it's major, but I do think 3rd grade is a little early to be trying to skip school already.

Around 2 o'clock he noted the time and said, "If I was in school right now, I'd be so miserable." I jumped on it and asked why. He caught himself and said, "Mostly because I just feel so bad." He was whaling on a sandwich when he said this so I told him to tell me more about what that meant. He explained in all seriousness that he meant he felt like he'd just gotten back from a 6 month trip to the moon and his bone density had decreased and his muscle tone was only at about 65%, so he just felt floppy and bad.

I figure his powers of manipulation are lacking, but his internal drive for knowledge is enough and he could miss a day of school.

The other day I bought Avee a little toy snake that I had promised her over the Halloween weekend. I made the mistake of giving it to her in front Danyo who then spent the next 20 minutes crying and complaining and trying to steal it from her. I was annoyed with my own stupidity in doing this, but his crying also was more than I could tolerate that afternoon. Finally I said, "If you cry again about that stupid snake, you are going to your room. I'm tired of hearing it." Of course Danyo was offended by the threat, but Avee was REALLY offended that I called her snake stupid. She objected and instead of being the mature adult in the situation, I was like a bratty 5 year old. I told her it didn't matter if I thought it was stupid and I did think it was a stupid thing for Danyo to keep crying about. Apparently it really bothered Avee and she spent the next 30-40 minutes laying on the floor, writing on a piece of paper, intermittent with hiding it and glaring at me every time I walked by.

As I was making dinner, she brought me the note. I love it for a dozen different reasons.













I'm bummed though. There was a post-it note p.s. that I can't find anywhere. It read: "p.s. I love you and my snake." The word snake wasn't written, just a drawing of the snake. It is very classic "sweet" Avee, firmly putting me in my place. I love, love, LOVE that she took the time to handle my bad behavior so maturely.

She just successfully made herself french toast with minimal assistance. When I praised her for doing so well she exclaimed, "Have you ever seen a kid my age cook this good?! Well, at least a kid my size!?" I guess three years of being the smallest kid in her class she's finally figured out she's small for her age.

And just so Danyo gets some airtime....
He just asked me if I thought the blood on his owie looked like rootbeer. Nasty.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

My Little Black Bo

Sometimes I miss the days when I used to sit down and write meaningful blog posts about my thoughts and musings and deeper issues. Sometimes I read those posts and that person feels so far away. J was traveling all the time, I had two babies at home and a couple of close friends where I lived. I was probably lonely and feeling so isolated a lot of the time. I don't remember feeling that way a lot, but looking back--I HAD to be. :) Now I have 3 kids going in 3 different directions, a house, a husband, a grad program, a great social group, etc, etc, etc.... My brain cells are depleted and I have nothing to offer the internets. I miss the pontificating me--sometimes.

I went on a date with Bo last week. He is a busy little fellow and he's been working hard at all of it. I believe pretty strongly in not over-scheduling kids, so I really only signed him up for one extra-curricular activity---piano lessons. In my opinion, that's a necessary. But then a science club opportunity came up after school once a week, and he looooooooves science--so I let him join. Then a chorus opportunity came up and he's got a good little voice, so I thought it would be good to get him involved, once a week. Then there's scout's twice a month. Somehow, he became mildly over-scheduled. He really enjoys all of it and seems to be managing it all just fine.

About 4 or 5 weeks ago something just clicked in him. He went from completely oblivious every day that he had to put shoes on, actually eat the food in front of him, take his backpack with stuff in it to school---every single day. Avee walked out of the womb dressing herself and straightening every body else's hair for school--so the contrast was especially frustrating to me on school mornings. "Bo, shoes. Shoes, Bo...SHOES!!!" Every. Single. Day.

One morning he got up, got dressed, entirely, made himself breakfast, put on his backpack, and sat at the computer to play while he waited for it to be time to leave. I remember praising his self-sufficiency, but it really wasn't over the top praise or more than a comment. I don't know if that did it or what, but the next night he laid everything out for himself to be ready to go quickly. Of course I took pictures.













J had to convince him to put the bagel in a bag for overnight. I put his Spark in a sippy cup the first time I made it because we were running late and I could shake it easily and he could drink it in the car without spilling. It is now referred to as his "Spark cup".

Anyway--our date. I had a great time with him. He talks a lot at home, but he has a lot of competition with everyone else and my love of silence. He loved having no one to compete with while he spoke. He was super polite to the waitress and had a confidence about him that I hadn't been able to observe before. I loved seeing it. We went to the thrift store to get some stuff for his Halloween costume and then to dinner.

Conversation with Bo is like a roller coaster. You really never know what you are going to get most of the time. There are several constants, but actual subject matter is so unpredictable at times. He always wants to know what "the most" is of something. To the point that it's annoying for me. What was the worst recession. What was worse, the Great Depression, or the recession we're in now. Who is the world's fastest reader and how many wpm can he read. What is the tv show with the most episodes and when did it air, etc, etc, etc. We rarely know the answer and we've even gotten over helping him find out. It's nonstop.

On the way home he was sort of musing and said, "Wouldn't it be crazy if every little thing that ever happened on the earth was documented?" I asked what he meant. He said, "You know, like if a leaf fell, it would be like, 'On April 30th 1237 AD a leaf fell on the northwest corner of...' you know---wouldn't that be crazy?!"

Yes, yes it would. I said, "Well, God knows all that stuff. That's why the scriptures say He knows the sparrows in the trees and every hair on our head. Can you imagine knowing everything like that?" Bo responded, "Well then I guess He knows how to manage an economic crisis then, huh!?" I told J he needs to ease up on the political talk because kids like Bo don't just let it go in one ear and out the other--like adults like me. It does make for funny conversations though.

Then he told me that Abraham Lincoln dreamt he was going to die before he died, so he knew. He overheard someone saying that. Then he kind of sighed and said with conviction and appreciation, "I wouldn't be here today if it wasn't for Abraham Lincoln."

I asked him how he figured that. That was of course, after I took a good 45 seconds to get my bearings after hearing my very white 8 year old boy tell me this in the year 2011. He told me about how Abraham Lincoln opposed slaver, so he worked to free the slaves. I said, "You do know you are white, right?" Well yeah, of course he did---but what did that have to do with slaves being freed? Somehow, he hadn't ever realized that it was only black people that were slaves. He never considered that it was a race thing, and he figured if there were people oppressed and a hero that saved them, he was somehow in on that. I loved that. I love that boy.

Okay, it's bedtime. For me. I s'pose the kids will go sooner or later...

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

I'm More Awesomer

Last night I was in bed thinking of all the things I needed to be documenting in this here blog of mine. Then morning hit and my house was still a mess so I had to prioritize. Here I am!!

Danyo learned to ride his bike without training wheels last week. Last year he was able to ride it, sort of going down a slight incline, on grass. But real riding it and starting off on his own didn't hit until last week. I had been going out onto our block with him and helping him go up and down the sidewalk. My running after his tiny little bike, 7 months pregnant, was not pretty---or easy. I had finally decided I wasn't the best candidate for the job anymore and he just went outside and took off by himself. I can't get enough of watching him, he's so little! The day he went outside and took off was Sunday and he had on a sweater vest and a tie. It was ridiculous how cute it was.
Yesterday was one of the first really nice days since he learned to ride, so I told him he could ride his bike home from preschool. It's about 3 blocks away. I had every intention of walking alongside him or following from a slight distance. But the 3 hours between when I made the promise and the reality of it happening occured, I had a reality check. I saw him barrelling down the sidewalk, flying past stop signs into the street, right into the line of oncoming traffic. And me, half a block back, lying on the sidewalk, seized up in pain from a leg cramp. Or butt cramp, if I'm being totally honest. My little 4 year old would die in the streets alone, with me 80 yards away, because I don't have enough potassium in my diet.

So, J walked home with him riding his bike.

This is a nice story and all, but not even the point. J tells me last night as he's running alongside Little Buddy, comforting him when he nails the asphalt with his face, encouraging him and telling him what a great bike rider he is the whole way---Danyo is spending the time telling J how awesome I am and how much more he likes me than J.

This is very funny to us. Jay does about 80% of the care giving these days. He's so much more patient and fun than I am. He roasts hotdogs for dinner for them, takes them on bike rides, shows them hilarious youtube videos, watches Avee's "shows" that could cause brain atrophy if exposure is prolonged, listen to and answer Bo's endless questions about things like, "Which was the worst recession in history" and "Do you know Jimmy Carter's middle name?" and "which is faster, a ______ or a ________". I tell him to shove off, I don't care. But J indulges. He makes them dinner 95% of the time, he taught them how to do more chores than the average 8 and 6 year old do, and they love doing them, he reads to them all.the.time. He plays in their self-directed games of "doctor" where Avee always has some malingering issue that needs an ace bandage and Bo always diagnoses strange things like, "Diabetic seizure resulting in a fractured tibia"....

He is super dad. He really is. When Danyo climbs into our bed at 3 am and is all over me, I kick and shove him away and he comes back for more. J opens his arms and says, "come here Danyo, I'll snuggle you" and Danyo will harumph and suffer in silence at having no one to snuggle him. That he wants to snuggle.

When Danyo is whistling from the bathroom, his signal for me to come wipe him, J will kindly go do it so I don't have to be bothered. Danyo yells at him for coming when he was clearly whistling for me.

Sometimes people feel badly that their kid "loves" another parent more. For us, it's a competition to get the kid to like the other parent more, so we can do less. It doesn't really work out for J on this one though because I'm not here as much, but it does make life entertaining when J's chugging down the street alongside a four year old out of pure selflessness, hearing about how much more awesome I am.

Another terribly cute thing Danyo does that needs documenting, is saying the word, "benext". However he came to the conclusion that was a word, I'm not sure. But we love it. "You know, the park benext to my school?" I hope it lasts for a long time. He also tends to "babify" words. "I want some juicey" or "can I have chickie nuggies?" He doesn't baby talk when he says these words (I loathe baby talk), but he can and will babify most words. I love it when J imitates it. That's particularly funny.

Aw man, I had more to say. But probably if I keep writing I'll get a comment from my friend Amy about my posts being too long. Plus, it's time to take Danyo to school.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Conversation And A Commercial

Yesterday, Avee's homework was to read me a book about occupations. One page of the book had pictures of several people and several occupations. I asked her which one she wanted to be. She stared at the page for some time, Dentist, Doctor, Architect, Teacher, Pilot... I knew the answer. She's wanted to be a teacher since shortly after starting Kindergarten and falling in love with her amazing teacher. As well as the idea of being the boss of a lot of people.

Finally she answered, "Teacher! I'm going to be a teacher. Except not for the end of the day, I'm just going to get someone else to do that part, it's boring and I don't like it. AND, I'll need to leave to go pick up my own kids from school, so I can take them home and help them with their homework and make their dinner."

I kind of looked at her quizzically because she certainly doesn't have that example in our home. Not only do I not work full-time, I also rarely make dinner.

She picked up on my look pretty quickly and continued matter-of-factly, "Well I won't have a husband, I will have to take care of the kids by myself."

Another puzzled look from me.

"Well, I will used to have a husband, but not anymore. I will just decide to not be married to him anymore. Probably because he was stupid or something."

I was stunned. That is the second time this child has completely shocked me in less than a week. I had just talked to her about divorce for the first time two weeks ago, when I explained to her why our friend already had big kids but was getting married. I was certain the repercussions of that conversation would be her worrying that someday J and I would divorce, or the normal fears, that we could possibly one day stop loving her. That's the crap they teach you in books. I certainly didn't anticipate her plotting her future divorce as a result.

So um, yeah. I guess I better let her fiance know when the time comes, he's just a trial run.

Nextly.

About a month ago I was griping about Bo's inability to stay on task and or focus on even the smallest command. I could give a million examples. This morning, I said, "Unlock the car for the kids" as he was standing right next to the car keys. He grabbed his backpack and walked out the door with no shoes on. He heard, "Get in the car." This kind of thing happens a dozen or more times a day. It is really annoying to me most of the time. Sometimes, it's just downright funny. Last year he had a pretty "loose structure" teacher and I saw a lot of kids in the class acting that way, so I totally assumed it was a learned behavior that would self correct with more structure once he was out of that class, and especially once he was in with a new teacher. But it has persisted, and with it, he has become more adamant that we're wrong and he's heard things correctly.

His teacher was sending home little notes saying he was playing with pencils or she kept having to repeat instructions just for him, etc. I thought these complaints were petty, but I also know that it's not fair for her to have to say things twice to a smart kid who should be listening.

The friend I was talking to sells Advocare and she suggested I try him on the energy drink called Spark. She said people used it to replace ADD medication, it was that effective, and said her girls had some every morning. I had a sample packet she had given me months before so I decided to just experiment.

I emailed his teacher and said I was going to experiment with a supplement and asked if she would watch his behavior more closely the next couple of days, and then I'd start the Spark the following week, and I'd like her to watch him closely then too.

She wrote back at the end of it that there was marked improvement, no issues on the days he had the drink. I figured that was enough to warrant putting him on it. So I got the big canister of it and he has half a serving every day. J took him to school yesterday (20 minutes early) and he didn't give him the drink. There was a note in the planner saying he'd been off, playing with pencils, not focusing. It amazes me.

He's been taking it for a couple of weeks now. There was another day I had forgotten to give it to him and the teacher just randomly sent an email the other day that said, "There has been some great improvement in his behavior, he's just had one off day in the last couple of weeks."

Consistently he has "off days" when we forget to give it to him. I am amazed. I'm also so happy to have found something that helps him. I thought I'd just put this out there (to all 5 of the people who read this blog, that I've probably already told this to in real life) in case anyone else could use this information. I found out this week that there's caffeine in the product. Yeah, I probably wouldn't have purchased it if I had known because I am pretty strict about that with my kids. However, the results speak for themselves, so I'm sticking with it.

That's pretty much all I have to say about that.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Ice Cream Trucks

Yesterday the kids had friends over, so combined with my three kids, there were 7 kids total running around. Unbeknownst to us, the ice cream truck came cruising by. We have a very hard and fast rule of not buying from the ice cream truck. We've explained multiple times that it is too much money and not a safe practice in general. With a lot of battles and tears and repetition, Bo finally gets it. He says with some derision every time the subject comes up, "It's a rip off." And we are proud.

But Avee is my child. There is friendly music, portable popsicles, and money doing absolutely nothing, upstairs in her drawer. While the grown-ups were chatting, our friend spotted her sneaking off with my wallet. Because we couldn't hear the ice cream truck, we had no idea what she was up to--so I just halfheartedly got my wallet back from her and didn't think much of it. She sneaked upstairs and then back past us (I never saw her) and went outside with 6 other kids following, and bought ice cream from the ice cream truck. She came back into the house proudly displaying the popsicle.

I was genuinely shocked. I didn't know that's what her end game was, I couldn't believe she so deliberately disobeyed, and that she did it so "quietly". When she said she spent four dollars on the popsicle I almost fell over. I made her put it in the freezer (there were kids following her around, salivating) and told her she wouldn't be eating that popsicle. It soon after came out that she had actually gotten TWO popsciles for four dollars, and one of them was for Danyo. That tenderness she innately has for Danyo gets me every time.

This morning the kids wanted popsicles, and having forgotten about the naughtily-gotten gains from last night, I said yes. They came traipsing in with their $2 popsicles.

Last night I had thought about how to best handle the situation and didn't feel like any solution I came up with was appropriate. Either too harsh or too lenient. Ultimately, I felt like she needed to know WHY she couldn't do this, more than she needed to be punished for doing it; but I was coming up with nothing.

So I deferred to J. As they stood there with popsicles in hand, I asked J what he thought should be done. He answered quickly, "She can have the popsicle if she explains to me the mathematical logic of why we don't buy from the ice cream truck." He grabbed a piece of paper and sat on the couch with her, drawing out the difference in buying two for $4 from the truck, and buying a whole box for less than that at Wal-merts.

I sat there feeling proud in who I chose to marry. He's a smart guy. Avee and Bo got all in to it and Avee drew the ice cream truck and Wal-merts for the diagram.

The message was sent. We talked about the safety end of it, and how there are almost always popsicles in our freezer, etc, etc.

While J and I are sitting there reveling in the successful teaching moment, Avee sat and graffiti-ed the teaching tool.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Script

I just found this script of a play J and the kids wrote for Mother's Day. Mom was played by Avee.

Bo: Hey Mom, what are you playing?
Mom: Pac-Man
Bo: Can we have some ice cream?
Mom: Not until you eat the breakfast I made for you.
Bo: Oh! I forgot to do my homework!
Mom: Here, let me help you do it.
Bo: Thanks Mom.
Mom: You are welcome, let's go to school.
Danyo: Mom, I want to watch Nanny McPhee!
Mom: Okay, here you go.
______________________________________

Bo: Thanks for picking me up from school. What's for dinner?
Danyo: Mac 'n cheese with no green peas, just carrots.
Mom: How about Chinese Buffet? Then a movie?
Bo: Yes!
Mom: Okay, it's bed time.
Bo: Will you snuggle me?
Mom: Of course!

This was pretty entertaining to watch. I found a list that J clearly had the kids brainstorm of the things I do for them, in order to write this play. I'm so glad that playing Pac-Man, eating out, and excessive movie watching made it in the short script.

Clearly it would have been more flattering and fraught with all the wonderful things I do for them---but I was busy eating my leftover Chinese food and playing Pac-Man.

Friday, September 16, 2011

It's Because I Don't Want To Hear Your Voice

This morning over breakfast Danyo kept making a loud, annoying screeching sound. When I asked him stop, he told me it was because he didn't want to hear my voice.

He didn't want blueberry pancakes because blueberries are ugly and shouldn't be in pancakes.

He cried /whine/accused for about 7 minutes this morning that his birthday was taking too long to get here. It's in June. What is it about the 4th year that make children obsess over their birthday until they are 5?

He swore at the wii remote. Well, the only way he knows how to swear.

He threatened to smash a roll of tape against the wall for getting in his way when he was running. He informed me of his intentions through gritted teeth.

I think to myself on mornings like this, "Surely there is something I could diagnose him with, this boy is crazy!" That's my psychology brain in over-drive. It can't possibly be because I'm feeding him breakfast at 10 am, 2 hours after he woke up. Or that he's in desperate need of one on one attention from me. Nope, that's not it.

I yelled at Bo this morning for dumping out half a cup of bottled water. He claimed he heard me say "dump it". The sad thing is, I'm sure he did hear that. He hears/doesn't hear all kinds of things that justify his behavior. But really? I yelled at an 8 year old over half a cup of bottled water? Who does that!? Even in the moment I saw his little face crumble a little and I wanted to stop, and just didn't. Grrrrrrr. Maybe Danyo's not that crazy after all...

I dreamt last night that I wet the bed. I, mid-thirties Nobody, wet my bed. I realized (in my dream) that I had done it and I was mortified and quickly trying to figure out how to handle it without J knowing. That kind of makes me laugh now. In my dream, when I woke up to deal with the situation, Bo was standing in my room with his arms open wide asking for a hug. It was the middle of the night in my dream. There were mattresses all over my bedroom and I was trying to arrange them so we could still maneuver around the room. When I went downstairs my house was all torn up, like it was under reconstruction. The floors were cement the walls were half up, and suddenly J and I were trying to decide on flooring options.

I don't really know what this dream means or where it came from---but I'm pretty clear that it indicates how crazy my life feels right now. I hate not dreaming about butterflies and doughnuts though.

I have a presentation due next week that I should have been done and well prepared for nearly a week ago. I canNOT stay on task or focus enough to get anything done. I hope this isn't an indication of how this semester is going to go for me. It's kind of ridiculous.

My house is a sty.

I fell asleep in class yesterday. Only, because of my belly, I can't really lay my head down, so it was a head in the hands, slobber, nod, jerk-awake, doze, slobber, jerk-awake kind of sleeping in class. The kind no one notices and is easy to pull off. Mmm hmmmm.

Some days are just like that. Even in Australia.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Avee The Novelist

We were in Missouri visiting family and Avee decided to write a book. I don't know which came first, the finding of a mini-stapler, or the idea to write, but the two combined put her on task for nearly an hour.

A few minutes into settling down at the table with her stack of papers she said loudly across the room to me, "Is as$ a bad word, or does as$ really mean donkey, mom?" Only slightly suprised she knew that word, I answered nonchalantly that it it did in fact mean donkey. I glanced at Bo who was sitting halfway between the two of us, desperately trying to control his giggle. Avee has developed a somewhat loud and busy-bodyish voice of late, so it was pretty funny to hear her throwing around a bad word loudly and with her six-year-old authority. Bo informed her that the word was in the bible, so yes--it did mean donkey.

So, she said "as$" about 4 more times and determined that it was going to go in her "A Book".

I of course, secretly delighted in this. I pictured putting the book away for a decade and then showing Avee what kind of shenanigans she was up to as a First Grader. Even if it was a little...guided.

She worked diligently for quite some time, stopping only once to have me explain to her what an angle was. When she was finished, she brought me the book, along with her pink crayon, and asked me to add a couple of things for her.

I present, Avee's A Book:














"A is for angl, 90 Dgree"


And then the back cover. Where she shows with complete clarity her perpetual ability to always stay one step ahead of me; and buy a little insurance with my handwriting.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Rambling

Well, we're sort of in our groove now with a schedule. Sort of. Jay starts classes next week so that will change some things. Like my ability to boss him around whenever I want. Now I'll have to wait for him to get home sometimes. My life is hard.

The school the kids are in seem to be a good fit. Avee came home with a note from her teacher the other day---basically just praising her for being caught paying attention. Wow. That same day, Bo's teacher wrote a note in his book that he needed to work on paying attention more. I felt the boy's pain. I spent a good majority of 2nd and 3rd grade daydreaming.

Speaking of daydreaming...I started my classes this week, and today is my 3rd class. I totally got busted zoning out in my first class. One whole wall is windows, people were letting out of class, I couldn't help it. Only, I was sitting in the front of the class and the teacher suddenly says, "You okay Nobody, you suddenly look confused by what I'm saying..." I was terribly embarrassed for a couple of reasons. I had been caught daydreaming, in grad school---AND, my daydreaming expression is one of confusion!!! All these years...

I had no choice but to confess to my adult ADD. One of my friends in the back was laughing hysterically at me. My professor was very kind, and allowed me to redeem myself a few minutes later. But still.

My first two classes seem to be really good and interesting, and I'm looking forward to them. Kind of. One is Group Therapy and we have to actually participate in 10 sessions of group therapy, facilitated by a counselor from the community. It feels a little nerve racking, but I'm pretty excited to learn the process and be a part of it. Since that's the main meat of the class, there is only one big project and two smaller writing assignments, so I'm excited that there's limited outside class work. The OTHER class is going to kick my hiney though. It's Intro to Counseling and basically these two classes are designed as filtering/weeding type classes, so if they thinks you ugly, they tells you. Or something like that. We have to video ourselves counseling other classmates and then watch them all together and get critiqued. Whaaaaa!?? Yeah well, better now than 10 years down the road, right?

Tonight's class is theories or something like that. I have aaaaaalllllways loved theory. Just ax my high school piano teacher.

Yesterday I was running errands with the kids after their dentist appointments. I love toodling around with Bo because he gets really chatty then. So he says to me, "There's another new kid in my class and he must have gone to a school that let him do anything when he was there. He talks without raising his hand, he gets out of his seat whenever he wants, he was totally laying on a row of chairs in the cafeteria because the ones around him were empty."

I was thinking, maybe he came from a much more lax school (Bo's last school was the opposite of lax in just about every way possible), or maybe he's just not very well-behaved in general. None of those "offenses" seemed like too big of a deal to me, and it was interesting to me that at 8, Bo was already noting them. He also wasn't blaming the kid, he was blaming the training, which I thought was funny. So I asked Bo, "What school did he go to before this one?" And Bo answered, "I don't know. I asked him, but his mouth was full of food when he answered and I just couldn't understand him." For some reason, that REALLY made me laugh. I think it might be more about the kid and less about what school he came from. I do love that Bo was simply observing and not judging.

In fact, I've noticed him doing that a few times recently. In potentially confrontational situations, he kind of shrugs off the other person's behavior. One time was this summer at the pool. He was standing behind a Hispanic kid and in front of a Black kid. The Hispanic kid turned and gave the Black kid cuts in line for the slide, and said to Bo, "It's because we both have brown skin---you need to get a tan, you're too white." Now, this could totally have made him feel bad or ticked him off at the ridiculousness of it, but instead he related the story, totally laughing that they actually thought he could get brown like them. "I'm always going to be this white. Or red!"

Danyo started preschool as well. The first three days he was ridiculously late. As in, they had to come unlock the door for us to let him in, late. I realized just before the 4th day that preschool actually started 15 minutes earlier than I had thought. So, I made an extra effort on the 4th day to get him there early. I was a rockstar. Then, two and a half hours later J forgot to pick him up. My rockstar status was totally negated. I loved answering the phone and saying to his teacher on the 4th day of preschool, "Um yeah, we forgot, my husband is on his way right now." That was awesome. I was worried about Danyo being traumatized or whatever drama he felt like having that afternoon, but he just said to J, "Dad, you took foh-EVOH!" That was funny to us because he says the same thing about having to brush his teeth, put on pajamas, eat his food, "But it takes fo-o-o-o-o-ohEVOH!" This time he was actually right.

When we moved into our house, the main floor was painted somewhat modernly. The living room entry area was a chocolate brown and the dining area (it's one great area that's all open) was red. I kind of liked it. Then the brown started getting old to me. So J and I talked about painting over the brown, but never got around to it. But now, we've got some time, and he painted it all himself, including a coat of primer, in a day and a half. And the day he spent painting, I was at work so he managed that as well as the three kids. Totally impressive. Plus, he's a good painter. I am not. No matter how easy I think it is---I manage to make a huge mess of things.

So, now it's painted and has totally lightened the room and I love it. Only, it's had a strange side-effect. Every once in a while, for the last 6-8 months or so, I would smell cat pee. It was somewhat faint and often fleeting, but it was always in the same area. No one else could smell it though, so I just assumed it was my hyper-sensitive schnoz doing unnecessary overtime. Well, now I smell it when I walk in the door, and I want to throw up if I go anywhere near the offending area. And even J says he's smelled it. Not like me, but still. And it's all been since he's painted. Which is just weird to me.

So then I got on a "let's pull up the carpet" kick. And we went to look at laminate and realized it was a $1200 project, which we didn't have to spend, after spending an hour looking at it. We're totally responsible like that. Then our friend mentioned he thought that the original hardwood floors would still be there and might be worth the look. So we looked. We (J) tore up a little 10 square feet area which took us (J) like two hours---it was ridiculously difficult. And it's ugly. The boards are long and skinny. So now we're back to laminate when our ship comes in, but in the meantime we have a patch of hardwood floors and the nice aroma of cat pee to compliment it.
Poor Jay. He has the choice of annoying, complainy, wife or torn up trashy house, and he chose the latter. That should tell me something.

Well, I guess I better go do some real work. Peace.

Monday, August 15, 2011

First Day of First Grade. And Third.

Last night I came home from work and kissed my little Kindergartner for the last time as she lay in her bed asleep. She kicked her legs and swung at me like she always does when I kiss her while she's sleeping. I slipped into Bo's room and couldn't reach him on the top bunk so I kissed his hand. Life has been such a whirlwind since they finished school last May, I haven't thought much about having a First Grader and a Third Grader. It has hit me now!

They started a new school today. They were both nervous but so brave and mature about the change. I lived in the same house and went to school with the same group of kids my entire childhood, so I don't really know what this is like for them.

Already, my experiences with staff have been about 180 degree difference from the previous school. Most notable is, when I walked into the school with my two children, I didn't feel like a criminal trespassing. That was nice.

I feel such different things saying goodbye to my two kids. As I watched Avee walk into her class with a confident stride (when did she get so big!?) I felt pangs of sadness to not being spending my day with her. Watching her hang, swing, flip, and climb from different things in the house. Or tease her about being addicted to tv. Or be the recipient of her random and plentiful hugs and kisses throughout the day. I'll miss her quietly narking on Bo, so he won't hear her tattles. I'll miss her sparkling eyes and quick grin when I remind her not to tattle. And I hope she knows how good and smart and darling she is, and that no one will say or do anything during the day to make her doubt that.

As I walk away from Bo I hope he won't try too hard to be funny and bug his teacher. I hope he won't be bored and turn to mischief to entertain himself. I hope he will make a friend. I hope his teacher will treat him well. I hope he will tell me all about his day when he gets home. I hope he will love school as he should.

I hate giving my kids to other people for so long. But, I'm a big girl. I can do it. :)

Danyo starts preschool on Thursday. Based on how swimmingly he and I get along most days, I wonder if I will feel much more than sheer relief dropping him off. I have high hopes for some maturing this preschool year. I'm also really looking forward to not being screamed at to carry him everywhere. That will be nice.

I start classes next week myself. I've been in denial about what taking a full load of classes and being 6, 7, 8, and 9 months pregnant will be like. It should be awesome. I think it will be really cool when pregnancy brain fully kicks in and I forget what I'm saying mid-sentence.

We did find out the baby is a girl. I'm so completely thrilled by this news. Not half as much as Avee is though. She's agreed we can name the baby Avee Junior, as long as we don't say the Junior part, because that's kind of wee-yod.

Last month, actually, about 5 weeks ago, the day after we got home from vacation---J lost his job. I actually gave him a high five when he told me he'd been fired. I've just written and erased about 5 sentences trying to sum up his boss briefly. They all sound petty or childish. He doesn't know the business, he isn't honest, and he needed J out of the way to find a soft place to land because he'd flubbed up his own position by losing accounts. We've known about that last part since January, but we really didn't think he'd get away with it since it was so obvious to everyone what he was doing and it really just wasn't okay. But, it happened. And besides the obvious financial distress being suddenly unemployed can cause, it truly has been a blessing.

Because the aforementioned putz was trying to get rid of him, he had been making life miserable for J for several months. J handles everything in stride, but seeing how he is now without that stress in his life, shows me so clearly how miserable his work life was. So, just eliminating that stress alone has been great. J had been actively working toward going back to school this Fall, and being fired instead of quitting, really made that transition an easier decision, and financially more do-able. So, that's pretty awesome. If you want to know the "reason" cited for J getting fired, just think of the most politically correct and HR-approvable way you can say, "You hurt my feelings with all those big words and stuff, and I don't like how stupid you make me look". Hahaha. I just thought of that. But it's totally true.

J starts school in a week also. We are going to be one edjumacashun-gettin' family! J just needs to get a handful of prerequisites to apply to a Master's program.

Danyo just called his friend's house to invite her over to play. He was talking to her mom and about 1 minute into him barely answering her questions and giggling randomly, he yelled, "You ah taking fo-evoh!" Apparently she was supposed to assume he was calling to invite Emma over and she was supposed to already be at our house, while listening to him be a weirdo on the phone. It's not just me he is demanding and unreasonable with. That makes me feel a little better, actually.

Well, I told J I'd clean the bathrooms while he mowed the lawn and I think he just finished mowing. Oops, I better get to it.

Our camera battery wasn't charged this morning, but I will take like 57 pictures today after the kids get done with school. I'll post them all.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Ides of July

I just was instructed to smell my 4 year old's bum to make sure I did a good job of wiping him. How did that become my life? If I was telling this story to my mom she would shake her head, roll her eyes and say "Oh brother" like I was gross and who would admit to that kind of thing. Only thing is, she had nine kids, I KNOW she didn't get through that experience without at least one weirdo child like Danyo. It wasn't me though.

We got back this week from our great little, first time ever, family vacation. I'm not one to brag...yes I am. My kids were AMAZING travelers. There was no whining about being in the car, and only minimal questioning about how much longer from Bo. In fact, the only real complaining that happened, was me, wishing I didn't have to listen to Weird Al, yet again. We have a dvd of 25 of his videos and the kids watched that dvd probably 5-6 times. Our first day back, Danyo spent most of the morning begging to watch "Weird Owl, just one time again." I pretended to be deaf. Although, it is kind of funny to hear him playing with his toys and muttering, "I lost on Jep-odee".

We spent 5 days in the SLC area, and that went by fast. We got to have lunch with Jay's two younger cousins who are BYU students, and my niece Hannah, who just started there. We went to J's all time favorite Thai restaurant in Provo. I handed my menu to him and said, "order for me". And he did. Like a fat man on no budget, that boy ordered. It was tons of food, and surprisingly, there was very little left over. That's so interesting Nobody. I know.

We went to J's reunion. There was an amazingly good turn out. I was mostly interested in seeing J's best friend and his wife, but managed to meet some other cool people who's names I've been hearing for 10 years. I still made fun of the reunion though. It couldn't be helped.

Oh yeah, I meant to write a little about our trip to Utah, but now that we're back, those details seem boring and inconsequential. We made it to Laramie just in time for me to take my final. I had until 10 pm to finish it and started it a little after 9 (Iowa time). It made J really nervous, which I thought was really cute. I got an A. AND I had to take the test in the lobby of the hotel because they didn't have wi-fi in the room. We found a Pho place for Avee, I got a cake for J's birthday at Safeway. It said, "Party Laramie style". The people of the Laramie Safeway Bakery did not think I was as funny as I thought I was. Oh well.

I just yelled at Avee and Danyo for fighting and now they are hugging to console each other about their mean, yelling, mom. Whatever works.

Our time in SLC was packed with visiting family and some friends. That is one thing I love about Utah. So many cool people to visit there. This was probably one of the first times I've gone there and didn't kind of wish I lived there. I felt like an outsider, and I was okay with that.

J took the two older kids to see his grandmother in a nursing home. She will be 95 in September. She didn't really know who any of them were, but apparently her dining mate at lunch was more than happy to pretend they were there to see her. Great-Grandma told them she was 64 years old and Bo thought that was pretty funny. I can't wait to get away with that kind of math...

I got to hang out with Mrs. Organic for an afternoon. My kids lost themselves in her pool the entire time and it was a great little visit. Danyo was thrilled because there were no height or weight regulations for him to go down the slide, so he probably did that 562 times.

I met Mrs. Organic a little over a year ago, in person. I got to chat with her for a bit, and I'll be darned if she was so fun to talk to, I've been waiting and waiting for a chance to do it again. I was not disappointed. :)

We had a fantastic three days in Cedar where three of my very good friends live. I think the traveling or something caught up with me because I was completely wiped out a couple of the days there. Oh yeah, I'm pregnant, in case you didn't know. I'm 4 months along, so it's not my first thought when I jump in a car and drive a bajillion miles in a week---but I've learned, it should be considered a little more. I laid around a lot in Cedar, and it was nice to be able to. One time I got up and started emptying the dishwasher of an almost always immaculate house and my friend yelled from the other room for me to knock it off. I don't get that. First of all, immaculate doesn't happen in my house. Ever. And second of all, when people come visit me, all I can think the entire time they are here is, "Why don't you get up and make yourself useful, like, do my dishes or scrub my floors?" so I don't know who or why JJMac operates the way she does. Weirdo.

We spent a day at the lake and it was probably one of the most perfectly gorgeous days I have ever experienced. It was sunny and warm and a breeze that just kept me from getting too hot. At one point I came out from under the shelter and sat in the sun. I kept telling myself to get up because Southern Utah, early July, pasty white skin...you know. Even 50 spf is no match for that. I could not get myself to get up---the sun felt sooooooooo good. I'm not sure I've ever experienced that before. A week later, I still have a very very odd sunburn on my legs. I missed some spots.

Bo got to go knee boarding and I think he pretty much died and went to heaven doing that. He loved being on the boat and in the water. All the kids got to be pulled around on a 3-seater raft and had a blast. I even tried it with Avee and Danyo. Avee totally freaked out on our ride though, and I couldn't figure it out because I KNOW she went faster other times when I wasn't sitting right next to her. It took a couple of days but I finally got the truth out of her---she was certain Danyo was going to go flying out, and that had her all worked up. In the meantime, I was laughing maniacally at my little tiny kids bouncing 2 feet up into the air... Poor Avee.

We took the scenic route home and went through KC to visit our families briefly. My kids loooooooooooove visiting there, so it was a perfect end to a perfect little trip.

Well, I started this yesterday but nobody was respecting my needs, so I stopped. :) Now it's 6 am and I've been up since 2. I don't know if I've ever had insomnia this bad. I only get it when I'm pregnant. It's the weirdest thing because I don't really know what it is about pregnancy that makes me unable to turn my brain off. I mean, I have plenty of issues that consume me when I'm not pregnant and I have no problem ignoring them for 7-8 hours every night then. It's stupid and annoying, but at least I know it'll go away.

Today would be my cousin Josie's 32nd birthday. Hap' Birthday Joze.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Stuff In My Head

A few times in the last couple of days I've thought, "That's something I want to put on the blog" but now I'm here and none of them are coming to mind.

When I have to get up at a certain time in the morning, sleep is always a little more stressful during the night. I went to Scout Day Camp with Bo yesterday and by bedtime, I was pretty wiped out (boys are obnoxious by the way---I've never seen such handsy, annoying, pestering little creatures in all my days). I wanted to sleep my life away, but I had two other kids who hadn't been with me all day who were all up in my grill and knew I had to be up early to get him off to his last day. I think that's why I had weird dreams. I want to tell you about one.

I woke up (in real life) at 5:30am and was thrilled to realize I could go back to sleep. So I did. But then in my dream, I decided to actually go for a walk. My dream self is totally fit and active. In my walk, I was suddenly in my hometown, walking around the "historic square" that is about a mile from my childhood home, and when I was younger the only thing there that I utilized was the post office and a cheap movie theater, so I didn't spend a lot of time there. I was walking around checking out the little shops when suddenly I was made aware that it wasn't 5:45, it was actually 8:15, which is 15 minutes past the time Bo was supposed to be at camp. And then I realized J had a test, so he wasn't at home with the kids, and I was suddenly frantic to get home---a, I left my children home unattended, and b, we were now late. I started running--and I was awesome at running, by the way, and suddenly the ground was flooded with rainwater and there were lower points of water I could get through, but I really had to navigate kind of carefully and in advance. There were other "dream-like" obstacles that popped out but I don't remember them and they were probably weird, since they were dream-like.

I was really happy when I woke up at 6:45, in my bed, totally unfit and a bad runner still.

Probably the dream was getting out some of my feelings of being overwhelmed and out of time--all the time. Either that or it was a sign from God that the end is near and I better get my act together. We'll see.

This morning I was making apples and peanut butter for Danyo for breakfast. He's kind of demanding and insistent at times. It totally gets on my nerves. He was bouncing around the kitchen barking orders at me and said, "Is the peanut butter on my plate yet!? Get it on my plate!" I said, "Wow Danyo, I'm not really interested in making breakfast for a little boy who's speaking so rudely to me. I think you might want to try that again." He lowers his tone a bit and says, "I don't think this is any of your business." That = awesome. I love bossypants kids who repeat your bossypants phrases, inappropriately.

I wrote on Facebook yesterday how I shivered my tail off at day camp and STILL managed to get a sunburn. I think we saw the sun a total of 8 minutes yesterday, and that's not an exaggeration. How did I get burned!? It wasn't like cold and sunny, it was bleary and rainy and windy and cold. Anyway. One of my friends wrote, " But you are not a jedi yet..." and it made me laugh out loud. Mostly because I doubt she's a Star Wars nerd junkie fan as the comment might indicate. I read it to J and he replied bitterly, "You aren't allowed to laugh at that." Which totally made me laugh. He's really given it a valiant effort to get me to watch and enjoy those movies and it just hasn't happened. Some days he's just incredulous about that. To make our marriage work, we just have to agree to disagree. I know them's fightin' words for some. I'm sorry.

Yesterday one of the classes the scouts went to was building little birdhouse-bird feeder things. It was simple enough that the kids could navigate it on their own and they loved it. The leader-dude who presented this class was kind of...I don't know the word. He too was an order barker, to small children and grown adults alike. It was rubbing the other den walkers the wrong way and might have me too, if I cared enough. Anyway, Bo and his buddy finished their houses and this guy kept walking around hoping, almost insisting that there was more we needed to do. All nailed, screws in, wire on, colored, etc. After passing by a good 5 or 6 times he stops and says, "Do you have a 7th nail in?" He flips the house over and points to a spot at the bottom of the board. He grabs a nail and slams it into the back of the house while informing us, "This is BANG just a little BANG trick BANG to make it extra secure BANG BANG!" I'm thinking, yes, for those obese birds that fly around our house...

Turns out he just slammed the nail straight through the back of the house. It didn't secure anything. And it wasn't like, really close and he just missed by a hair, it was a good two inches away from any other board he may have been trying to "secure" it to. And he didn't even check his work--he banged it in and walked away.

Now, there's something you might not know about me. I have been told since I was a little girl that I have a very expressive face. I really think I'm being discreet or not showing much, but I've been told over and over, it's all over my face. So--I'm pretty sure that how dumb I thought what this guy did was all over my face. Only, I remain certain in my head, that I'm discreet. This time though, the 8 year old busted me. Bo looked across the table at me, mimicked my expression, and burst out laughing. His expression made me laugh because I didn't initially realize he was imitating me. He looked down at the table, looked up at me, and his face said, "Did I really just get to witness that stupidity first hand?"

It took us like 5 minutes to get the nail out too. We were laughing the whole time. I felt bad that it was at the expense of someone else, but it was kind of fun to have this little "inside joke" with my 8 year old. I also probably better watch myself a little more closely. He's a sharp one, that boy.

I have one more full day class of school, one more regular class and a final and I am home free. I'm technically home free because aside from the final (which I'm certain I will ace) I have nothing else required of me but my time. Yeehaw! I'm so excited about a school-free July and all the fun stuff we have in store. I hope we run into a gravy train in all our travels because that's really the only hitch to all the plans I have. :) That and laundry.

In my ethics class we have to do role plays of unethical or poorly handled counseling sessions. Since there's only 15 in my class, we are all kind of forced to participate on a "voluntary" basis. This last week, it was kind of falling on me. Only this time, instead of having the counselor go out and be "surprised" by the dilemma, he sent me, the client out. I thought I had been safe volunteering to be the client.

Well, the dilemma was the counselor hitting on me and basically he had to handle whatever my response was. I tried to really experience it, so I expressed my concerns and how creepy I thought it was, etc, etc. Well, this guy was really good at being the creepy counselor and was persistent, and kept putting it back on me. "Do you think it's wrong? Do you see any reason we couldn't make it work?" I finally kind of ran out of things to say and there was a long pause. I had hoped the professor would intervene and say, "okay, that's good" but he didn't. So I said, "Well...you are kind of cute..." The whole class roared and I saw the professor throw up his hands, laughing, "No no! Stop! You aren't supposed to do that!" I figured it effectively ended the role play, so it was the right move. I kind of love being old in college. :)

Well now I have to go face my day. Au revoir.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Middle O' June

I gots some catching up to do! I'm probably going to be back dating some posts, for the boys' birthdays, Bo's baptism, etc---so if you see random stuff popping up, pay no mind to my beautiful procrastination/cram session. It's how I do.

Last night we were at some friend's house watching a movie in their backyard with their new projector. It was really fun. As I was sitting there snuggled up with J, Avee, and Danyo every other minute, I was thinking what a wonderful weekend we'd had. I love to get things accomplished, but I REALLY love to relax and unwind, and this weekend was a perfect combination of both. Another friend threw an amazing pirate party for two of her kids at our house. Probably one of the most creative and fun parties I've ever been to. Heh, I didn't even have to go to it, she brought it to me. So, out of that party we got a delish lunch, I got a cleaned up yard, and the house was in great shape. Yeehaw! All our work was done by 10am. Beautiful.

This morning Bo started a "Kids University". He's going to a magnets class and an H2o class. He was so cute this morning. He was so tired from our late movie night, but so excited to start his program, there was a very long pause between anything I said and any response he gave. At one point he even said, "Hang on, I need to let those words go through my head a little longer before I can answer." I had noticed that all of his thrusters weren't firing yet, but to hear him describe it was particularly enjoyable for me.

I am halfway through a really hectic month. I'm taking a 3 credit class and three 1 credit classes, all in the month of June. The one credit classes I don't have to buy texts or take any tests, but they are all day, for two full days. I think school has abolished my social life. Sometimes that makes me sad. Mostly I just want to hunker down and get through this. I'm learning so much great stuff, I don't want to miss the experience for too much hunkering down. :)

Lately, just in the past week I've felt disenchanted with the "counseling industry". I always do stuff like this, and then I get over it. In one of my classes there are two students who are doing continuing ed credits, they've already graduated the program and are counselors in nearby schools. And they are totally rude and condescending to other students and disrespectful to the teacher (she's a bit of a flibberty-gibbit, I'll admit), and all in all, just really embarrassing representatives of the profession. In my humble opinion.

Yesterday in my ethics class I, and another girl who started the program with me in January, had to do some role-playing scenarios. Everyone else in the class is either done with the program or quite close to done. Pretending to be a counselor, facing an ethical issue doesn't phase them a bit. It terrified us. My classmate did a really good job with a fake scenario of a client asking to borrow money. In my opinion, a client that isn't clear on that boundary would actually need to be spoken to pretty directly, which she did. She was kind and direct. I thought she did an excellent job. And truly, neither of us know a thing about how to conduct a session, what approaches should be taken, how to word things "properly", etc. I watched two girls in front of me basically ripping her up one side and down the other for her not saying, "oh sweetie, I'm sorry money is tight, I understand things are hard, I empathize with you, but..." She simply said, "I'm sorry, I'm not able to help you, I have a code of ethics as a counselor that I have to adhere to and...." First of all, IT'S FAKE and second of all---how is being all judgmental and catty to a peer any more professional or educated? It made me sad. I made a very deliberate comment about how I felt a more direct response was necessary with a client that unclear on client/counselor boundaries. I hope they burned in shame at my indirect condemnation.

Heh. Just kidding.

I shouldn't be surprised though. The one making all the faces of horror during my friend's scenario, was the same girl who thought a 13 year old boy engaging in random sexual acts with older men had a right to privacy and his parents didn't need to know. Another classmate referred to his behavior as Russian roulette and she told him that was "a little overly-dramatic". Um, remind me never to send my child to you, crazy-every-body-is-equal girl! Whoops? Am I being judgmental? My bad....

June 29th is my final, J's birthday, our anniversary, and the day we head out of town for our family vacation. It's really the first one we've ever taken, in 9 years. Two years ago I drove to Utah with the kids, without J. We were gone for over two weeks and during that time, J got 1 of 2 reactions from people when they heard I'd taken the kids and gone to Utah without him. One was, "Oh wow, are things okay?" and the other was, "Dude! How did you score THAT!?" Mostly other men asked the latter.

Maybe I'll go work on my backdated posts now. It's now 6 am Tuesday morning and I suspect I have the house and solitude all to myself for at least another hour.