Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween!!!

Just a drop by to say Happy Halloween. It will be a crazy busy day!

Character Parade at school!

Zack & Ben's little class!

Nap time! (For Ben, not me... darn!)

Then school's out and before I know it!!!! Trick or Treat!!!!

In other Halloween related things...

Zack is so flipping cute saying

"Twick o Tweet,
Mell my Feet
Give me Some-ting
Good to Eat"

Cracks me up every time.

Later I hope to post one of the Halloween projects we did (it was sooooo simple, but so much fun for the boys) over at Artsy Craftsy (link over there on the left.)

Happy Halloween to all my friends!! What are your little guys and girls dressing up as?

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Two Major Issues

I've decided that most of my problems in life stem from 2 root causes.

First, lack of sleep.

Two, poor time management.

Without getting into why my time management skills are lacking (ahem, internet.. four boys...) I'm trying to solve this problem. My house being a mess drives me crazy, but I don't want to give up blog time, or playing with the kids time. So guess what gets neglected.

After about 5 seconds of thought on this matter yesterday I reached a conclusion.

Most days, Mark wakes up at 5. His usual routine involves waking up every other child, which leads to mass chaos. Only he's smart and will sneakily close my door. It also leads to realllllly fussy other boys later in the day. So, I in all my wisdom, decided that I would get up with him at 5 (AM ya'll... Have I mentioned mornings aren't my thing?) and try to get some quiet chores done while Mark hangs out with me. He'll have my company, and I'll be able to keep him from waking up th0se who need more minutes of snooze time. This morning went well. I made some progress, and it is a bonus that Mark also likes to help! It's much easier to manage one kid helping than three or four.

Unfortunately this does nothing to remedy problem #1. In fact, it makes it much worse. We'll see how long I can keep up before my next crash and burn.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Old

I think I'm getting old. It's a sad thing, but I really feel it lately. Allow me to present my evidence.

Exhibit one: Grey hair. I've pulled out one or two over the last year, but after getting a haircut this last weekend I noticed quite a few right up front. Time to break open that box of hair color. Just not ready for grey hair. Not sure I ever will be.

Exhibit two: Achey wake ups. Every morning I wake up all achey. My shoulders are so tight, my neck hurts, even my legs hurt.

Exhibit three: I find myself wanting to go to bed earlier and earlier. Now, this could be a symptom of my early rising children, but DUDE, where'd the energy and love of teh night go?

Exhibit four: Injuries from normal activities. After the gym on Monday my knee started to hurt quite badly and it's been bothering me since, rendering me pretty much useless. I can walk and all that but not pain free. I, being the total whiner that I am, haven't shut up about it since.

Exhibit five: Faulty memory. I could give specific examples, however, unfortunately I can't recall them.

Exhibit six: Mark said 32 was OLD, therefore it must be true. Please allow me to point out that I am ONLY 31... No need to claim that extra year before it's time.

Exhibit seven: I find myself saying things like "Why won't those KIDS (teenagers) get out of the ROAD" and "Wow those kids (again teenagers) have, like no respect." (In my defense the "kid" was flipping me the bird from the back of the school bus. No, seriously.

Yep, I'm definitely getting old. Excuse me while I go find my cane...

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Floridian

Burr. I think I am officially spoiled to Florida weather. Heaven help me if I ever move anywhere COLD. I'm mostly saying that because I nearly froze on our recent campout. And then there is today, walk to school day. Where we met up with loads of other kids and parents and walked to school. Not sure why we didn't do this a few weeks ago on the National Walk to School Day (when it was a TON warmer), but today was our school's day. It was fun but it was COLD. The coldest day here so far, and I'm not even sure what the actual temperature was but the forecast said morning would be 49 degrees.

Now, 49 degrees is cold, don't get me wrong. I put jackets on the kids and even pulled out my leather jacket. That's not what makes me laugh and say, "yep I'm surely a Floridian now." What cracks me up is that I was cursing my misfortune that I didn't have a heavier coat, blankets for the stroller kids, gloves, earmuffs, scarves, hot chocolate! I was freezing.

By noon it will be 60 and I'll be comfy and basking in the glory that is fall in Florida. For now, I'll sit here, still chilly, sipping my herbal tea. It's late October, what is the temperature where you live?

Monday, October 27, 2008

Why I'm Not Posting

I'm not sure what my problem is but the creative juices are not flowing. I don't know if it's the fact that I'm exhausted, or busy, or just out of ideas but normally before I get breakfast ready for the boys I have a pretty good idea what my post is going to be for the day. Not today.

I could post about how we let the boys stay up really late on Saturday night and then how hard Sunday was for that reason. Whiny, cranky kids, and impatient cranky parents. It was a looooong hard day.


I could post about how about 2 PM Sunday I sat down with my head in my hands trying to muster some motherly patience and then Kevin sent me out for a mental break. Thank goodness cause I was DYING. And over nothing serious, just little stuff that moms deal with... leaving me asking myself what on earth my problem is.

I could post about how Ben not staying in bed is messing with my sleep so much because he is getting up way too early and I don't know how much longer I can keep this up. Oh and he's only napping about 1/2 the time. Not good for a boy who NEEDS his sleep.

I could post about how TERRIFIED I am of the time change because I'm pretty much positive that our 5 AM wake ups are going to turn into 4 AM wake ups and OH MY GOODNESS I WILL DIE.

I could post about how going back to spin class after 3 weeks off almost killed me this morning, but I was pretty proud of myself for going back.

But all that is kind of negative and I wanted to be upbeat this morning. I guess this will have to do.

I promise to be in a better mood tomorrow!!!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Double Toothy Trouble

So last night went a little like this. After making a slacker mom dinner for the boys (fish sticks anyone?) and trying like mad to get a few things done before Kevin's flight got in from Atlanta, I sat down to check my email. I got one from Sue that said "Any response?" I replied "NOTHING... I've sent her my numbers three times though... I just don't know what to do... I don't want to be a stalker, but she did say she wanted me on board. Wahhhhhh. LOL" And then Mark freaked out because somehow he walked right into the couch and his loose tooth was sticking straight out. I abandoned the email conversation because there was BLOOD. I had to face the thing that way back when the first teeth were lost I declared Kevin's job. That tooth needed to come out. Now. It took a little doing and a lot of convincing (myself, Mark was gung ho because, in his own words, "I want the money mom") but that tooth came out. I still shudder. The evening went on, I put Ben to bed and emailed back and forth a few more times with Sue pondering reasons why I hadn't gotten a phone call I've been expecting for a few weeks. Then I had to put Ben back to bed (yes, again) and then all of a sudden, the phone rang. The very call I've been looking forward to! Unfortunately, she had another call that she had to take. Sue had advised me to have cookies to hand to children while I talked about this new opportunity. Lo and behold, I had actually bought cookies while at the store today. They came in handy too, because in the 5 minute conversation we had when she called back Ben fell down the stairs, Eric was telling me he needed me to pull HIS loose tooth, and just the general chaos that exists in this house as a matter of course. The cookies fixed all that and I could LISTEN. Thanks for the outstanding advice, Sue. It worked!

After my phone call, I took a closer look at Eric's tooth and it seemed he was correct when he informed me the tooth was ready to come out. I could have saved it for daddy, but emboldened by my tooth yanking success earlier in the evening, decided to give it a go. Sure enough, I have two boys missing teeth again. And the tooth fairy is a little poorer.

Regarding mysterious phone calls and emails, I promise more details after I get more confident that they aren't going to read my first post and say, "oh GOSH what were we thinking, never mind, run along little girl." It does involve writing on another blog a few times a month, though. Specifics to be announced at a later date! I'm so excited!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

In Other News...

...we were in the news...

... I got called fat... and I talked back on that a little (scroll down a little to see what I said.)

It was so fun to spend an hour or so Monday with an AP photographer to take photos for this story. I know for sure it's been in the Miami Herald, and the Daily Oklahoman (my dad saw it in the paper before I had a chance to even tell him about it.) It was a really great experience and I hope it gets printed in the Tampa paper so I can get actual copies.

If you google my name right now, followed by kids economy, you'll get pages of websites of me and the boys (and my big butt!) where this story is. Including MSNBC and ABC news websites. I was shocked at how far reaching this was. Especially since I doubted it would ever get printed. That's why I kept it a secret you see. That and the whole "what if I sound like an idiot" factor. Fortunately , it all worked out okay.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Get Out of My Mailbox Senators

I know the election is important and all, but I already know who I am voting for and I am tired. I watched the debates. It's funny how who the winner is seems to be determined by who one already agrees with. I'm as guilty of this as the next person, but it's still funny. I know the issues and I know where I stand. So, Senators, your flyer in my mailbox isn't going to change my mind. Nor your emails, nor the plentiful television and radio advertisements. I got it. The election is 2 weeks away. I know it matters a lot, but I'm more than a little tired of the campaign.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Tag!

I'm so excited! I can't think of a time I've gotten tagged by another blog, but Astarte at The Muddled Sage tagged me and I'm thrilled! YAY!


Anyway, here are the rules!

1. Link to the person who tagged you.
2. Post the rules on your blog.
3. Share 6 nonimportant things/habits/quirks about yourself.
4. Tag 6 random people at the end of your post by linking to their blogs.
5. Let each random person know they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their website.

Okay, so 6 things about me...

1. I found my lost shoe. It was hiding under a bed at my inlaws house. Sneaky shoe! I know have it back and it has resumed favorite pair of shoes status. I almost through it's match away so many times I can't count, but something always stopped me!

2. I am not a morning person. My kids are morning people. It is not a good combination most days.

3. I used to hate being alone. Four kids later and I crave alone time. I don't even know when the change occurred. I still love to be around people, but the rare moment of quiet solitude is savored.

4. There is something cool (although really not important) going on today but I'm trying to keep it a secret until later. But it's been hard not to post about it... so I guess this is the "teaser."

5. I have a lot of insecurities about motherhood. I think I'm an okay mom, but I generally have feelings of I should do this better and often worry that others will judge me.

6. I LOVE reading blogs and writing this blog. It's so much fun!

Now for the part where I tag six others...

Mary Kate from "Makin' a Home in Georgia"
Katie at "Eberling Adventures"
Crisa at "Dear Lord"
"Thrift Store Mama"
Jenny at "Desperately Seeking Balance"
and
Melinda at "Urban Adventurers"

24 Things to Do on a Campout

1. Dig for gold!





2. "Sword" fight with a tree.



3. Play on the playground.

4. Put kids to bed and sit around the campfire roasting marshmallows and catching up with friends.

5. Survive the night despite the rain. Hope really hard the rain stops by morning (it did.)


6. Go on a super early walk with 7 kids and realize that we are the first ones up in the campground. Shhhhhh let's use quiet voices guys!

7. Eat breakfast.

8. Coin a new term "breakfast dessert" as we roast a few more marshmallows.

9. Collect leaves.





10. Go on a nature walk and collect items for project later on.



11. Look at a gopher tortoise.





12. Sit on a bridge!


13. Roll down a hill!



14. Fall asleep in a baby backpack.




15. Climb a rock wall at the playground.




16. Trudge across the playground when mommy forgets that the backpack she sent you for is pretty stinkin' heavy.




17. Stand on the picnic table bench (and fall off a few times.)



18. Make pine cone guys. My kid's finished projects over here.




19. Apple bobbing. We had to use a very little amount of water and the kids got them by the stems, but my boys have wanted to bob for apples for a long time, so we did it! It was fun.













20. Swipe other kid's apples.

21. Do leaf rubbings. On paper towels since someone (ahem, me) forgot to bring the paper. Still, it was a good five minute activity.


22. Crash out in a camping chair.

23. Make tin foil dinners. Daddies took kids on a hike while Mommies prepped dinner.

24. Roast marshmallows, eat s'mores and tell stories until kids start crashing and grown ups decide it's time to go home.

It really was a fun trip!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Because I Don't Waste Enough Time Blogging

After much thought and anxiety over how to control the influx of papers the boys bring home and want to keep I've decided to keep a blog of all their creative endeavors. The link is over there on the left. It's a work in progress, but I hope to keep it up to date and be able to recycle some of the paper they've used.

While they aren't quite convinced about the getting rid of the hard copy part, they are thrilled with the idea of a blog for their artwork. They've claimed it as their own and keep hounding me to "decorate" it since it is plain white right now. I'll get right on that as soon as I get the other thousands of things on my to do list done. Speaking of which, time to get to it!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Sketchy Details

A few weeks ago Eric brought home a paper from school... it was three boxes with pictures and words to describe the pictures. The descriptions said "I wuld get swshed" (squished.) "I wuld get poked with a pncil." "I wuld get bitid." (bitten I think) Kevin and I looked at each other with wide eyes thinking what in the WORLD was going on? Eric is a tame and timid child. Were these things he feared? Why would he write this. Fortunately, when we asked, he looked at us like "duh" and said "It was things that would happen if I was playdough." It relieved my fear because it is normal to squish playdough. And, probably less normal, but the kids often poke it with pencils to make little holes in it. Even less normal, but we have to work really hard to keep Ben from eating playdough, so that explains the biting. It just made me laugh that we were so concerned and it was such a simple answer.

I was glad that we got the details right from Eric, because it isn't always easy to get the whole story from him. This week I was talking to him about his day and he said "This kid was taking me to speech and there was a note on the door that said "no speech." My radar went up, not because there's anything wrong with a kid being in speech, but only that 1. I don't think he needs help in that area, and 2. I hadn't been notified by the school. I asked him why he was going to speech and he said... "I dunno." I asked if he'd been to speech before and he said, "nope, that was the first time." I didn't worry too much about this. Thought about sending a note to ask the teacher, and finally decided to ask at his parent/teacher conference.

At the end of a lovely visit with his teacher, I told her about the conversation with Eric and at first she looked puzzled, and then laughed. Turns out she was sending Eric down there to drop off some forms and come back. I cracked up because this is a prime example of not getting the story quite right. It happens frequently. I try to dig for the details but so often just can't get the whole picture.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Teeter Totter



This Sunday, after everyone was feeling a little better, Kevin decided he should do a project with the boys.



My husband amazes me with his ability to decide to do something, and then just do it.



Once upon a time, in a land far, far away (okay, in a town not so far away) the older boys had bunkbeds. Until one night, little boy # 3 who had just turned two, climbed up and fell off. It was horrific. Their mommy was so traumatized that she had the daddy take the bunk beds apart upon arriving home from the hospital in the middle of the night. She felt bad because he had built the bunk beds for these boys and the boys loved their bed. However, the daddy agreed that for safety's sake, they should be taken apart. So, they were left with a pile of wood.





This wood was saved for some future project. Eventually some of the wood was disposed of, but much of it was still in the garage.





This brings us to Sunday. I don't know why he thought to build a teeter totter. It never would have occurred to me. They went out in the garage and in a few hours we had...






video


The teeter totter (complete with "upholstered" seats) is now on the back patio, and they love playing on it. These are the times that make me smile!

Monday, October 13, 2008

The Post In Which I Use Blogging as Therapy

For me, blogging is therapeutic. I love having this outlet. It helps me think things through, find the humor in things like, oh let's see... every single member of my family acquiring strep throat. I could laugh at that. Right now I'm not at a point where I can laugh anymore. I'm not crying, but seriously... this madness has to stop!

In a house with four boys there is chaos. I try to control it and keep things at a low roar most of the time. I make an effort, in controlling the chaos, to still allow them to be kids. I try to roll with the punches and laugh things off and not get too mad when they color on the carpet.

All that said, I've hit a wall. Try as I might to stop, I keep banging my head right against that large brick wall. It hurts, but I can't quit.

So, what was the final straw that has me frustrated and anxious? On Sunday morning Kevin was sleeping in and I was up, but being really lazy. In defense of my laziness, I was tired. The kids are on an up at 5:45 kick and it's killing me. In fact, maybe that's why I'm taking all this so hard. I'm TIRED.

Continuing the actual point of the story... (sorry, but if you are going to be my therapist, you simply have to get used to my rambling, I'll get to the point eventually!) Kevin was sleeping and I was being lazy. I had put Ben in his bed because he was crying about everything under the sun and I thought maybe he'd sleep since he got up entirely too early. I was relaxing a little and Mark let out a gigantic scream. Really, more like a series of screams, with brief pauses for breathing. I jumped up and did my usual, "tell me what's wrong, use words please, I can't help you if you don't tell me what is wrong." He calmed down and told me that Zack stuck the thermometer in his ear.

I looked, saw nothing coming out of it, and decided to watch him & play it by ear. Ha! Pun not intended, but I did just laugh at it! Within five minutes he was just fine, playing, picking on his brothers and sassing at me just like always. So I forgot completely about the whole thing until this morning when he told me there was something that felt funny in his ear... and I looked and for crying out loud it was all crusty with dried blood.

We went to the doctor after dropping Eric off at school and she assured me that it was probably just a scratch on his ear canal. I was hopeful. Until she looked and said that his ear drum was, in fact, punctured. We got antibiotic drops and scheduled a recheck for two weeks. Apparently, it will "probably" heal up on it's own. If not, we go to an ENT. Apparently, when it all heals up he "shouldn't" have any hearing loss.

I'm freaking out. I just feel like I missed the mark so far on this one. Like, the mark's in California, and I'm still way over here in Florida. Although, taking him in to Urgent Care yesterday wouldn't have changed the outcome. He's not in pain. He seems to hear okay. So why can't I let it go. I just keep banging my head against that wall and asking HOW did I let this happen?

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Don't Let Us Breathe on You!

Hey kids it's Saturday! Let's all go get our throats swabbed at urgent care!! YAY!! I'm kidding, of course. Kevin and I had already had this joy, me last week, him this week.

I had hung on to hope that my kids would not come down with strep throat, and my hopes had been rewarded by symptom free, normal acting boys. Until, this morning Ben was being kind of fussy and (oh no!) felt warm. We debated taking him in. Earlier in the week I had said if ONE kid gets this I'm going to ask for a prescription for ALL of them because for crying out loud I didn't want to spend all of next week in the doctor's office.


Just for funsakes I decided to peek into everyone's throat to see if I could see any evidence of illness. ACK! Zack's throat was red! Double ACK! Mark had white spots! For the love of Pete, Eric's tonsil is covered in some sort of yellowy GOO, what IS that? Oh, wait. He just ate a graham cracker (still, eww.) Ben's throat was suprisingly not red or problematic looking. After a glass of water, I rechecked Eric and while his throat was bright red and his tonsils were more enlarged than usual there were no white spots. Still, we got in the car and headed to Urgent Care.

We arrived just as they opened and were second in line. As we explained why we were there I noticed the lady in front of us who was paying her copay take a step back. That's right lady, we are the strep family, back off! I sure would!

We filled out forms for each of the boys and got called right back. Their tests came back positive right away.

Luckily, no one is acting sick. They are all slightly warm and thus being given Motrin. I'm obsessively checking Zack's temperature because I'm terrified of him having another seizure. I am hoping against hope, but not holding my breath, that since we got them meds before they were symptomatic that this will be mild. When I had it I was sicker than I've been in years, and Kevin was even worse off than I was. Hoping they fare better than we did.

Today I am washing everyone's bedding in HOT water. Toothbrushes will be changed out and we have Lysol-ed everything in sight. Bye bye streptococcus bacteria. Time for you to die!

Friday, October 10, 2008

Milestone

It occurred to me today that we have reached a milestone. Ben is a few days shy of being 20 months old. He is older than Eric, Mark, or even Zack was when I was pregnant with the next one. He's actually older than Zack was when Ben was born.

It's a strange feeling, this being done having babies. I'm not sad about it. It's just... different. I never felt done before having Ben, and now I do. I know I'm done. I will always miss having a teeny tiny guy in my arms. I love watching them the first few years with how much they change and grow. I will always gush over brand new babies when I see them and when I can I will hold them, and snuggle them and inhale deeply to enjoy that brand new baby smell. Yet, I will happily hand them back to their mommy when the time comes. My life has changed. I'm ready to move past the baby stuff and on to bigger boys things. Whatever that brings.


I guess this is some sort of milestone. I am done having babies. My "baby" was found standing on the piano yesterday. He's taking after his big brother in the climbing department. It's enough to frazzle my nerves and turn my hair gray. He's not really a "baby" anymore, but I will call him my baby until he tells me to stop. It's strange to be done, even though I've known for quite awhile. What's possibly even stranger is the peace I feel about it. I just know. Our family is complete.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

How'd That Happen?

I should have known to run away when the tree branch fell and almost hit me in the head. The dad standing next to me said, hey don't stand by me, what have you done wrong to have a tree branch almost fall on you. (This was said after he asked if it hit me and if I was okay, all in good fun.) I just shrugged and said, I guess I must be doing something right because it just barely hit my toe. Could have been much worse, no?

In reality, that event probably had nothing to do with the fact that they decided to split the Cub Scout group that Eric is in into two due to the vast number of kids involved. It also probably had nothing to do with the fact that the Cub Master then was asking for volunteers to lead the resulting new den. It probably had even less to do with the fact that somehow I find myself now holding that title. Maybe I was still dazed from the near miss outside earlier. Or maybe it was the underwhelming response from the other parents who were there.

I volunteered. It is one big giant leap out of my comfort zone. I'm slightly, no hugely terrified. Not only is Boy Scouts... I mean Cub Scouts (see I can't even get the name right) completely foreign to me, but I am SHY. Socially awkward, I get all weird around people I don't know. Once I've spoken with you a few times, I'm fine, but before that I'm just a bundle of nerves and all stumbly over my words and stuff. I'm terrified.

I think if I make it through the first few weeks, I'll be okay. Here I go!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

New Found Freedom

Ben almost a month ago, discovered he could climb out of his crib. Then he never did it again. Until yesterday. Let's all Mark yesterday as the day Ben refused to stay in his crib. He's not quite 20 months old. I feel like he's too little for a toddler bed.

At nap time I put him to bed and said "Night Night Ben," and before I even turned around he had popped up and had his leg over the crib rail. He gave me that smile that he does when he knows he's being a mess and should do something really cute to win me over. The smile is the one where he crinkles his nose and tilts his head back a little and grins so big. It's often accompanied by a giggle. Can you say ornery? Sheesh. So, I took him, and laid him down again, thinking that would be that.


That was certainly not that. Five minutes later down comes Ben. I scooped him up and carried him up the stairs again. He went to sleep that time, but instead of fussing when he woke up, he just got out of bed.

Then bedtime, oh bedtime. Ben's always been easy to go to sleep. I give him his bottle of water (I know, he's way too big for a bottle, but he just gets the bottle of water at bedtime. I had planned to wean him from it soon, before this whole climbing out of bed thing sprung up) and he sleeps. This time, I put him down, he seemed to be staying, but before I got downstairs he was up. He takes great joy in his new found freedom. I decided to just stay upstairs and make it know he must stay in bed. It took 40 minutes of hard work, putting him back in loads of times. I didn't count but it was at least 15 times. When I decided I needed to keep him from climbing out, I put my hand on the area he was climbing out of and he pulled, pushed and tried with all his might to move me out of his way. I fought back my laughter at this indignant little creature trying to escape his night time prison.

He did finally go to sleep, until about 5 AM when he climbed out and bumped his head. No major injuries, thank goodness, but I've clearly got to make a decision here. I'm going to try a crib tent even though I hate the idea of it. My suspicion is Ben will figure out how to get it off, but we'll see. In the event the crib tent doesn't work, I guess it's time for a toddler bed. I'm really not ready for this.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Moments

In my life I have so many moments that I wish I could strike out. Moments that I have lost my temper. Ones in which I get aggravated and am too short with my little cuties. There are moments that I ask them to please.stop.talking. when they just really want my approval and attention. There are those times that I send them to bed a little bit early for my own benefit. I wish I could erase all those moments and only keep the good ones.

I talk a fair bit about what a challenge my Mark is, and I often forget to talk about what a joy he can also be. Yesterday we were out and about and we were talking and lagging back a bit from the others. I put my arm around his shoulder and he scooted closer to me and put his arm around my lower back. He had to reach up pretty far to reach me, but we walked and talked and he seemed so darn big. Suddenly he ran up to walk with his daddy, but that brief moment when we were just relaxed with no deadlines and no distractions to bog me down was priceless. These are the moments I want to savor, the ones I want imprinted on my brain to take the place of the ones where things aren't just so right.

More importantly, I want to make sure these little moments of happiness increase, while the others decrease. They will always be there. I will always be human and selfish (I'm working on that one) and I will always fall short. Yet, more than anything I find myself craving sweet moments with these boys. Because someday before I realize it's happened Mark's not going to have to stretch to get that arm around me anymore, Eric will someday be taller than me, and Zack and Ben too. I hope by then they'll still want to sit by me, and show me their accomplishments and tell me their dreams.



Sunday, October 5, 2008

Judge Not... Unless it's Really Hard Not To

I make it a habit to not judge other moms. You just never know the situation until you've lived it and you can't say "I would never," until you've been there. Back when I was a fairly new mommy with a tiny infant who wasn't mobile and could not talk, I found myself judging plenty of times. "I can't believe that kid's not potty trained!" Or, gasp! "She needs to get that sassiness under control now or else that kids going to give her MAJOR problems." Oh yea, I knew SO much. Only, the thing was I didn't know crap. Three kids later and a little bit of karma biting me in the butt (here I sit with a 3 plus year old who is not potty trained, not to mention an oh so sassy 5 year old) and I am so much less judge-y. It's a good thing. We are all where we are and it seems, at least for me that we could adapt the phrase "Judge not lest ye be judged" (New Testament) into "Judge not lest ye be stuck in the same ugly situation." I mean it. I do.

Ahem... however, I was recently in a situation where I was forced to cast that non-judging policy aside and had a HOLY crap what was that momma thinking moment. I tried not to judge. I tried to smile politely, and say "Really, they aren't bothering me," because really what was bothering me was not her children's behavior, but rather the fact that she was repeatedly yelling at her little girls and telling them to SHUT UP in a very harsh tone in front of me and a whole passel of other parents. I told her I understood. I told her I had four boys and that not much shocks me. What did shock me was her blatant pulling her daughter's hair to get her to come closer to her. I don't think it hurt the girl but it just seemed wrong, and rough. Leaving me to wonder what goes on, you know, at home. I shudder to think.

These girls were young. They were in a situation that was BORING (for me too) and who can expect little girls ages 6 and under to sit still when it's boring. I've been there. My boys can't sit still very long either. It drives me crazy, and I'm sure I've looked the frazzled mom part many a time. I hope with everything I've got, though, that I've never sounded like that. They were just being kids and to be yelled at... IN PUBLIC... repeatedly, just took me aback. For a brief moment I wanted to say, "Hey I'll take them home with me." I'm sure her answer would have been no, and after a teeny bit of logical thought knew that was irrational. I wish I would have said more, but after attempting to let her know that her kids weren't bothering anyone, I just turned the other way and kinda tried not to make it too obvious that I cringed every time she told her 5 year old to shut up. I hope I wasn't the only parent there who was appalled.

I wasn't going to blog this, but it's late, I can't sleep, and it's still on my mind, so I am. Here in all my judgement, which I have probably no right to. I don't know this mom's situation. I hope it was just a really bad day and that there is more affection shown these kids normally. This particular night, however I heard not one positive word uttered and it was always with that sharp tone. The one I use when the boys have crossed a line, only magnified. I will be in the position to see this family again repeatedly throughout the year, so I can only hope to see better things next time.

Taking the judgement hat off now, I don't really like it all that much.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Poster Girl for Chloraseptic

Do you remember those commercials with the cute little girl saying "it will hurt if I swallow" advertising chloraseptic? I do. I always felt bad for the little girl even though it was just an advertisement. For the past few days this is exactly how I've felt.

Tuesday I was totally fine until about 9 PM. Then suddenly, out of nowhere I felt awful and had a really bad sore throat. And I felt feverish, though not enough to bother to take my temperature. I took some tylenol and hoped I'd feel better by morning.

I wasn't feeling better by morning. I felt fevery again, but I took some more medicine and hoped for the best. By noon I was in pretty bad shape. I was freezing (fever) and hurting all over and my throat hurt more than I ever remember it hurting EVER. My glands in my throat hurt so bad I could cry. I got lucky on Wednesday as I had a friend who was kind enough to keep Zack for me while I took Ben home for his nap and I slept. She also kept my big kids after school and I went and got them when Ben woke up from his nappy. It was nice to be able to rest while sick. I was so sure I would be better by Thursday.

When there was not even an inkling of improvement Thursday morning I decided to do something drastic. That something was go.to.the.doctor. I suspected I had Strep Throat and wanted to get meds ASAP. Once I got there I was all unsure and while waiting for the test to come back I was berating myself for being wimpy, sure that this was a waste of time and money. Then they came back and look how smart I am... I had self diagnosed pretty well this time and it was in fact strep. Which was good and bad. Good because thank GOODNESS I can just take medicine and get better for goodness sake. Bad because I don't want my family exposed to this crap.

Today I am worlds better than the previous days. My energy level is pretty low and while I can finally swallow without pain, my glands are still very sore. I'm so very thankful for antibiotics! I wish they would work a little more quickly though. I'm ready to be 100% again.

So today, despite the aforementioned low energy level, I am going to attempt to undo some of the mess around here. Because 2 days with no cleaning in a house with 4 boys and 2 grownups = DISASTER!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Up to My Eyeballs in Fundraisers

I think the school has lost their minds. Every week we get a folder full of information sent home on Tuesday. I get everything times two. I understand, it's hard to communicate with parents without sending home papers. Ideally, we could communicate via email, but I know not every parent checks their email 6,000 times a day like I do. I do wish the stuff that was purely informational and didn't need to be signed, filled out, etc. could be sent home only once. You know, to save trees and stuff. I'm envisioning a day that I will get all this paper junk times FOUR. Shudder.

Okay, that got off on a tangent a bit, but the paper sent home is crazy I tell you. Even more crazy is the amount of fundraisers that are being sent home. CUH-RAZY people! First there are the ones I don't mind so much. Turn in you receipts at the mall customer service place to try to win a bunch of money for the school. Great. Then there's the same idea at Sweetbay. That one I can handle because I do spend some cash at the grocery store. And I don't have to sell anything. And then comes the stuff they do want me to buy or sell. First it was an entertainment book full of coupons that I can sell my family and friends, and buy myself. I love coupons, but I looked through the book and really didn't see that I would use $20.00 worth of stuff. I debated doing it for my kids SCHOOL, but the fact of the matter is I didn't want to. Then there came home the sale for Marble Slab (Cold Stone? I can't remember, it's one of those) where I can spend $7.00 on a pint of ice cream. You know, for the cause. I might even buy one of these because it's ICE CREAM, but now you want me to call my family and friends. Again. Because they aren't all up to their eyeballs in fundraisers too. And my neighbors, most of whom have school aged children as well. WHO exactly am I supposed to sell this stuff to? Am I supposed supposed to call on Grandparents every single time. Aunts and Uncles? I'm sorry, but I'm just not willing to hit people up for their hard earned cash every single time the school sends home a sales flyer.


A friend asked me recently how I handled fundraising with two kids in school. My answer. I don't. I'm not proud of it. I feel like somehow it must make me a deadbeat parent, or not supportive of the school, but I just think it's wrong to expect parents and kids to bug their relatives every five minutes for yet.another.fundraiser. If it was once or twice a year I might feel differently, but school has been in for roughly one and a half months and we are already inundated.

As if I don't have enough angst surrounding not participating in the bazillion fundraisers the kids get from school, I took Eric to his first Cub Scouts meeting and guess what time it is! That's right! Popcorn sales! Someone give me a break please!

A side note/funny fundraising story from my youth. Way back in the day we had fundraisers too. I don't remember the general school type, but I do remember constantly trying to sell stuff for band. That was before the day of "don't send your kids door to door." I never had much success selling. There was the great annual cheese and sausage sale and there was some prize that I wanted and so I signed up to buy like $50.00 worth of stuff. I guess I planned to save my small allowance, only I forgot and when it was time to pay up I didn't have the money. My mom was SO mad. I worked super hard to earn the money in time to pay it. Chores galore, and then every time we walked past the Hickory Farms display in the mall my parents would ask me "SO do you want to buy any cheese and sausage?" I'm pretty sure I didn't tell them to shutup, but I sure thought it.

Okay, so that's my embarrassing 8th grade story. How do you deal with fundraisers if you have school age kids? Do you think it would be better for the schools to just ask for money up front? Am I overreacting about having the kids sell stuff? Should I just suck it up and send out the fundraiser info to relatives? Discuss!

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