Monthly Archives: February 2009

Ready for Spring

Yesterday afternoon, it got above fifty degrees in my area. I gleefully told my kids that they could put on their shoes and go outside to play—no jackets required.

The long, cold winter has obviously messed with them. During the summer, I can barely force them to stay inside when there are raging storms outside. Yesterday, on a gorgeous day? They did NOT want to be bothered with going out.

Too. Freakin’. Bad.

I informed them that they WOULD put on their shoes, and they WOULD go outside. And, ten minutes later, when they said they were ready to come in? I told them they WOULD keep playing outside until Daddy came home (an hour later). And then I enjoyed the beauty of having sent all four children out to play.

Yes, you read that right. I even sent out the baby.

Now, before you go trying to match my comments up to your map widget to figure out where I live and report me to Children’s Services, let me explain. My kitchen has a door in it. That door leads to the beautiful, large deck that my husband and father built a few summers ago. A deck that they built with a very secure gate. I like to think of it as a giant, outdoor playpen.

While the older boys climbed their favorite tree, scrubbed their little red wagon, and used a fallen tree in our woods as a balance beam, Eli happily toddled around and watched what his brothers were doing. I put a ball and a walker toy out for him to play with, although I must admit he was a little more fascinated by the plastic bottles in the recycle bin.

My boys got some much needed fresh air and my kitchen got tidied up while I watched their progress and cooked dinner. It was a beautiful thing.

This morning, I woke up and could tell that it was already shaping up to be another warm day. I was so excited at the prospect that I walked around opening windows and turning off the furnace. Then, I looked at the weather bar on my computer and realized that it was only 43 degrees outside.

You know what? I decided that I just didn’t care. The furnace stayed off and the windows stayed open all day long. My house never got too cold, and I got to enjoy some fresh air, which probably helped me as proceeded to never stop moving for the rest of the day.

I’m not one who usually feels inspired towards some big Spring cleaning. Truth be told, I really don’t enjoy the task of cleaning at all and am frequently overwhelmed trying to keep up with the messes that my kids make. But the prospect of having somewhere around thirty-five people in my house for a birthday party this weekend? Yeah, I’ll get my butt cleaning for that.

Originally, my goal was to get the upstairs carpets cleaned this morning while Sean’s grandmother was here hanging out with the kids (life lesson 5,600,032: carpet should NEVER be put in an area where small children eat on a regular basis). It took me all morning to get everything picked up, vacuumed, scrubbed, furniture moved, and scrubbed some more.

By the time the kids’ quiet time rolled around, I definitely had earned a break.

I didn’t take it.

The rest of my day was spent clearing off those surfaces and corners where the clutter accumulates, dusting, sorting through and throwing away stuff from the accident that we had held onto for insurance purposes, and working more on my kitchen (which still isn’t done). All day long—I never quit moving.

I finally stopped when it was time for the kids to go to bed. My body is acknowledging all that it has done today. My back problems are starting to complain at me. I’m ready for a good night’s rest.

So I can do it all again tomorrow.

6 Comments

Filed under Daily Life, Kids, Patting myself on the back

I Was About to Rename the Internet Connection “Maria”

Question of the day:

If your almost-three-year-old tries to distract you from the fact that he is supposed to be cleaning up his room by sweeping the kitchen floor, do you tell him to go do what he was told, or just happily cross that task off of your own “To Do” list?

******************************

Last week, Sean brought home an internet signal booster thingy to try and give me a more consistent signal on the laptop (since we live next door to my parents and they don’t mind, we got rid of our internet provider when we realized we could pick up their signal from our house). On Saturday, he plugged the thing into his laptop that I have been using, installed the software, configured everything, and let it run.

My signal went from “low” to “excellent.” This made the fact that I was then completely incapable of making the internet work even more annoying. That’s right, no matter how many hours I screwed with it, I showed an excellent connection that refused to function at all.

After consulting with one of my techie brothers, it was decided that the problem was most likely due to a conflict between the Microsoft network software on the laptop and the Cisco software on the booster.

Of course, in my mind this meant that every time I tried to use the internet, all of the little random bytes of information were out there, pirouetting around each other in groups wearing leather jacket and cardigans, brandishing switchblades and yelling helpful things like, “Uh!” and “Ha!”. As any fan of musicals could tell you, nothing was going to get accomplished until somebody died. Murdering my husband wasn’t an option (I need him around to help me raise five kids), and I couldn’t figure out how to kill the stupid software that caused the problem in the first place.

I ended up suffering through lack of internet AND a nasty cold at the same time. Not pretty. My mother took pity on me and loaned me her laptop so I could at least have access to Noah’s online school courses.

Today, almost two months after my laptop took its fatal swim in a creek, my new computer showed up. Hooray! I spent the afternoon installing my favorite software and downloading the pictures that have been waiting on my camera. There is just something absurdly comforting about having my own computer again. I love being able to set everything to my preferences without having to worry about what the person who owns it thinks, or whether or not anyone will get annoyed that I put software on it. I’m like a little kid who is finally getting her own bedroom.

My parents came over this afternoon to check out my new toy.

“Oh, it’s red!” my mother observed.

My dad and I both just looked at her, a little surprised, since my goofy decision to actually pay extra for a different colored case had been discussed—at length—the last time I was at their house.

“Yeah, Dad thinks I’m crazy,” I told her. “I paid extra to make it red, but I didn’t spend the money to have them put a fingerprint scanner on it.”

“How much was the red case?” she asked me.

“Thirty dollars.”

“And the fingerprint scanner?”

“Um, twenty dollars.”

Yeah, I’m pretty sure she thought I was a bit silly, too. But, really, it isn’t like I’m writing about national secrets here. And what girl doesn’t enjoy a little bit of flare, even in her gadgets?

When Sean came home later, he briefly checked out my new computer, then said that he needed to find the disk that he brought home for me.

“Oh, you were able to get the Office disk from your brother?” I asked, hopeful that I would be able to take care of the last big software download I had left.

“Oh, no, he wasn’t able to get that to me today. I meant the disk for that internet booster.”

Yes, he was serious.

No, I didn’t take him up on the offer. But you probably already guessed that since I’m still using the internet.

5 Comments

Filed under Daily Life, I think my head might explode

Seventeen Weeks

While I’m posting this a few days late, the picture in this update really was taken at seventeen weeks (or, at least, what I think is the seventeen week mark). Between the raging crud my kids and I have been sharing, and the massive computer issues that I will discuss in a different post, this is the first chance I have gotten to do an update.

Folks, I look pregnant.

Last Wednesday, at the end of our youth activity, I was talking with one of the girls about when I was due and the fact that I’m only a couple of weeks off from the ultrasound. Another girl, overhearing (well, actually, overSEEing since the girl I was discussing it with is Deaf) said, “You’re pregnant again?” When I confirmed that I was, she told me, “Yeah, I kind of wondered, but I didn’t want to ask and have you think I was saying that you look fat.” Smart girl.

The other day, I was sitting with Wyatt and said something about the baby in my tummy.

“I believe you that there is a baby in your tummy,” he told me, “because it is starting to get round.”

Oh, just wait, it gets better.

Yesterday, Caleb was sitting behind me on a chair. He wrapped his arms as far around my waist as he could and started patting the sides of my stomach.

“I like your big tummy,” he told me with a smile.

That’s nothing.

Earlier in the week, Caleb was standing in front of me patting my “big tummy.”

“There is a baby in there,” I told him.

Standing on his tiptoes, he moved his hands a little further north.

“Are there babies in these?” he asked.

Um, no. At least Sean got a good laugh and a chance to make some comments under his breath. I’m so glad that I can provide a little comic relief.

IMG_1932 

Earlier today, I was reading a post by another pregnant blogger, Heather at Dooce, and was shocked by her description of a recent dream. I guess it is that collective subconscious thing, but I had basically the exact same dream a week or so ago.

In my dream, I woke up in the hospital with no recollection of having given birth. Despite my apparent unconscious-for-days state, we were preparing to leave with our new baby. I had given birth to a little girl with dark hair.

“They needed a name for the birth certificate, so I told them to use the name Aniah,” Sean told me.

I became furious. There is someone else with a significant role in our lives named Aniah. Because of the relationship, I would never EVER give one of my children that name. Just like (much to my husband’s dismay) I would never give a child the name his brother’s stillborn daughter was given. There are some names you just don’t use. In the dream, Sean kept assuring me that the hospital had told him that we could always change the name later if we decided that it wasn’t right. Um, right.

Two more weeks and I will know the gender of this little person. Then I can break my self-imposed ban on baby name books and ensure that my kid will have a name I approve of—even if I’m unconscious when it goes on the birth certificate.

6 Comments

Filed under Baby naming, Kids, My Journey to Motherhood, pregnancy

Up My Stream of Consciousness Without a Paddle

Maslow has nothing on Nintendo.

The hierarchy of needs claims that physiological needs, security, and love all come before things like achievement and problem solving. Maslow obviously never played the Lego Star Wars video game (is that not just the geekiest sounding thing ever?). You see, I could wake up in the morning, discover that I was too weak to move off of the couch (let alone care for relatively helpless progeny), and beg my husband to take mercy and he would insist that he couldn’t possibly get to the office late, let alone stay home all day. But if my kids happen to figure out how to get past the part of the snow level they have been stuck on in the Star Wars game right around the time Sean should be getting into the shower?

Let’s just say he was almost half an hour late getting out the door this morning. And they were all yelling and high-fiving when the level was beaten.

*********************************

Wyatt is an exceptionally bright kid. It amazes me, sometimes, the things that come out of his mouth.

Last night, he was trying to get out of eating dinner, so he told me that his stomach was hurting.

“Well, if it’s that bad,” I told him, “you should probably just go ahead and lay down.” And, really, I meant it since I wasn’t entirely sure that there wasn’t something wrong since he had just fallen out of his chair. Not that falling out of the chair is anything unusual—it wouldn’t be a meal if Wyatt didn’t fall out of his chair—but he did manage to hit his chin so hard on the table that it instantly bruised. Since he doesn’t usually hurt himself while falling, I was open to the possibility that he might be sick.

After a few seconds of thinking about my response, he looked at me very seriously.

“Mom,” he said, “I really don’t think that that is going to be necessary.”

It was delivered in such a grown up way for someone who is only four. Sean and I both started laughing which, of course, offended Wyatt.

As I was telling the story to my parents later, we started discussing just how smart he is. I commented that I needed to start working on reading with him again. I had started briefly when Noah was just learning to sound things out (Wyatt was still three at that point) and decided to quit because Wyatt was picking it up more quickly that Noah and Noah was getting frustrated.

I went back home right after Sean had put the kids to bed.

“Wyatt grabbed one of Noah’s phonics books tonight and decided to read to me,” he told me.

Yep. Just like that. He still has to sound out each word, but he has very little problem doing it. If I work with him every day, he’ll be reading on his own in no time.

*********************************

As I continue the saga that is potty training Caleb, I find myself in a familiar position. He has mostly mastered the proper disposal of solid waste, but is still making many sets of tires disappear from the fronts of Pull-ups on a daily basis. Wyatt was the exact same way.

This morning, I suddenly remembered how we got past it with Wyatt.

While Noah was having a school day with Grandma, I loaded the other kids up and drove to the mall. We went straight to the Build-a-Bear store (which, I discovered this past Saturday, should never under any circumstances be visited on Valentines Day unless you want to stand in line for an hour just to get into the store and make the vomit-inducing token of love that will likely be burned at the stake when things just don’t work out). I told Caleb to look around and tell me what his favorite animal there was. He very quickly honed in on an adorable elephant. I let him hold it, stroke it, and give it hugs. I used my phone to take pictures of him and the elephant together. I told him that we would come back and make him his own elephant after he had kept his Pull-up dry for three days in a row. That’s right, folks, I’m using the promise of a stuffed animal to bribe my kid to pee in the potty. I took the pictures to remind him just how much he wants it. And he WANTS it.

I’m just wishing I had worked on the concept of time before I made the deal.

*********************************

A conversation at my house today:

Wyatt: (Crying) Noah kicked me!

Noah: He was yelling at me!

Me: Did you kick him?

Noah: He was yelling at me!

Me: Yes or no. Did you kick him?

Noah: HE WAS YELLING AT ME!

Me: Go to your room.

Noah: HE WAS YELLING AT ME!

Me: You’re yelling at me. Should I kick you?

*********************************

The second half of my day with the kids today was a bit, shall we say difficult? As we were eating dinner and my kids were playing a rousing game of let’s see how many times we can almost spill the soda Daddy is letting us share, I finally looked at Sean and told him that I was “inside out.” Every so often, I reach a point where it feels like someone just ripped off my skin, flipped it over, and reattached it with every last nerve-ending exposed. Yeah. Once I reach that point, you had better not even think of TOUCHING MY AURA. Really. Just stay away.

By the time I was heading out the door to our Wednesday night youth activity at the church, I was one loud noise away from imploding into a quivering mass of gelatinous goo. A word to the wise husband: When your wife is in this state, don’t even think of saying, “Sure, another whole evening without kids,” as she is walking out the door. Even if you plan on trying to play it off as a joke. Because she may just contemplate un-ladylike hand gestures while muttering about the nine hours you get every day without kids.

Tonight’s activity at church involved all of the boys and girls doing different service projects (cleaning the church, making signs for a food drive, making cards for some of the members). I was asked to be in charge of one of the groups. The kids were split up using the count-off method. Somewhere out there, the “one, two, three, four” gods were laughing their collective butts off. I ended up with a group of one Beehive and three Deacons. For those who aren’t familiar, Beehives are 12-13 year old girls (this one just turned twelve), and Deacons are 12-13 year old boys. Girls at that age are at the height of self-consciousness. Boys that age? Aliens.

I think I know how slugs feel when you pour salt on them.

4 Comments

Filed under Daily Life, I think my head might explode, Kids, Parenting, Potty Training

Sometimes, It’s Easier than You Think. Sometimes, It’s Not.

I can’t remember if I have mentioned this yet, but Caleb has been a bit different since our car accident. Not in everyday life so much, just in church. Caleb has always loved going to nursery. He is the only one of my kids that I didn’t need to help adjust to the idea of going into the nursery (in our church, kids don’t start going to the nursery until they are eighteen months old). He just went right in. He quickly got to the point where he was excited to go every Sunday. We would drop him off with a smile on his face, and pick him up to happy explanations of what he had done that week.

Since the car accident, he has refused to go into the nursery alone. He would cry and cling to me when I tried to drop him off. I decided to stay until he felt comfortable. He clung to me and melted down if I tried to leave. For a couple of weeks, when it was time for me to go into the Young Women’s classes, I would take Caleb to Sean in Primary. One week, I decided to see what would happen if I took a bit harder of a line on it. I left him, melting down, and went to class. Since he wasn’t calming down, one of his teachers offered to bring him to my class every ten minutes or so and let him see that I was still nearby. It kind of worked for twenty minutes or so. Eventually, though, I ended up going back in with him.

This week, I decided that I would just commit to spending both hours in the nursery in an attempt to give him a whole Sunday without being upset. The first hour went great. He interacted with the other kids some and paid attention to the lesson. When the toys came out, I figured it was safe to take a pregnant lady break. I told the nursery leaders that I was going to go to the restroom, then told Caleb that I needed to go potty but I would be back in a couple of minutes. He started crying. I told him that Eli was going to stay in the nursery, too (surely, having his little brother there would reassure him that I was coming back, right?). He grabbed my leg and held on for dear life. One of his teachers, Jenn (the awesome one who had brought him to me at ten-minute intervals before), picked him up and I headed out the door.

By the time I came back a few minutes later, he was in a state that I have never seen him in. He was curled up in a ball on the floor, eyes closed tight, crying so hard that even his hands were turning red. I picked him up, saying “see, I came back.” He stayed rigid, kept his eyes closed tight, and started trying to kick me.

“He thinks you’re me,” Jenn told me.

Um, yeah.

As soon as I said, “Caleb, it’s Mommy. I’m back.” he relaxed, put his arms around me, and stopped screaming. It took awhile before he would play with the toys again.

It was heartbreaking.

I have no idea how to help him. When my other boys had issues with going to nursery, I would comfort them for a few weeks, then wean them off of having me there. But that was just normal separation anxiety. This is different. I don’t feel like I can expect him to just get over it. There is obviously something going on, and the timing is just too coincidental. I just have no idea how to help him.

In the meantime, though, we did have a talk about not kicking me—even if (especially if!) he thinks I’m one of his teachers.

*********************************************

Lately, Noah has been talking about wanting to have his own room. Really, the timing is pretty good—the three older boys are all in the same bedroom, and there is no way that we would be able to put a fourth bed in there when it’s time for Eli to move out of our room. My ultimate plan was going to be to put Noah and Wyatt into the bedroom downstairs, have Caleb and Eli in the current bedroom and, when the time comes, either put the baby in one of those two bedrooms if it is a boy, or by itself in the tiny fourth bedroom if it is a girl.

When Noah started asking seriously last week for his own room, Sean decided to start implementing that plan. He instantly moved Noah’s dresser downstairs and was ready to take the bed down, too. I decided to encourage him to not jump the gun—we’re talking about a kid who still comes into our room most nights. I was highly skeptical that he would actually be willing to sleep in the basement alone.

Last night, Noah said he was ready. Since the mattress to the spare bed was still in that room, we laid it on the floor and piled on some blankets. For reassurance (just as much ours as his) we set up the baby monitor in the bedroom. We kissed him goodnight and waited to see what would happen.

He fell asleep right away. Even more amazing, he slept through the whole night. Actually, he slept in almost an hour later than his brothers this morning.

He’s down there again tonight. He did have one moment of concern where the ferret making noises in his cage sent Noah scurrying up the stairs with his pillow. Sean reassured him and he went back down. He’s asleep now—we’ll see how tonight goes.

I can’t believe my baby is suddenly enough of a big boy to have his own bedroom in the basement.

4 Comments

Filed under Church, Daily Life, Kids, Parenting

He’s Lucky He’s Not in Trouble

This morning, Sean asked me to get my remaining diamond earring (you know, the one that wasn’t ripped out of my ear and lost during the car crash last month) so he could stop by our favorite jewelry store and get it appraised while he was out today (insurance wouldn’t cover it until we proved how much it was worth). Wanting to make sure it stayed safe, I emptied everything else out of my little jewelry carrier and handed it to him with the earring securely inside.

This afternoon, he called to tell me that the appraisal had been done. It was quite favorable. He bought me those earrings eight or ten years ago from the same jeweler he went to today. Based on the remaining earring, she appraised the lost one for significantly more than what he bought the pair for back then (keeping in mind that appraisals tend to be for what it would cost to replace it at one of those overpriced mall stores—we go to this place because she is awesome and her prices are so much less). The extremely practical side of me thought, “Cool! I can replace my earring and use anything left over for practical things.” I asked him if he talked to her about how much it would be to replace the lost earring through her. He said, “No, there are always so many variables with those things, I figured I’d let you take care of that.”

When Sean got home from work this evening, he immediately handed me my jewelry case. I opened it to be sure my earring was still securely in its place.

It was gone.

“Um, Dear, my earring isn’t in here.”

His eyes got big.

“What???”

I just stared as he started feeling around in his pockets. Right before I lost it, he pulled out this:

 

clip_image002

 

OK, I couldn’t manage a good picture. Anyhow…

He explained that it was a whole new pair (um, yeah, I noticed). They are bigger than my old earrings and the diamonds are better quality. Um, yeah, my practical plans were soundly thwarted.

So, he started with explanations about wanting to replace a bad memory with something happy and exciting (delivered with an entirely straight face). Whatever. “Practical” had already been replaced by ooooh, sparkly.

Later, he asked me if I liked them. The best I could come up with was, “Um, I feel like a rapper.” Seriously. I’m feeling rather mug-able right now. They are gorgeous.

 

clip_image002[7]

 

Of course, I have to send them back to the jewelers after this weekend. He wants to take her advice and have them reset in a white gold martini setting instead of the traditional gold setting they are in now. She said that it would make the setting disappear so it looks like the diamonds are just floating on my ears. OK, I can live with that.

Needless to say, he’s not getting any crap about Chuck-E-Cheese tomorrow.

6 Comments

Filed under Daily Life, The Me Behind the Mommy

My Super Romantic Life

So, we all know what tomorrow is, right? A day for hearts and flowers and cards and romance.

Oh! That reminds me! I heard a story on the news yesterday that a study had been done showing that attraction has nothing to do with “romance” and is based entirely on hormones and biological preferences. You like who you like because thousands of years of evolution have told you what the right type of person for you to breed with will be.

Hmmmm…

Let’s say that is true. Is it going to affect what you do tomorrow night? Or who you do it with?

Sadly, I’ll have no such luck. My Valentine’s Day is already set in stone. And, this year, we are setting the bar for Valentine’s Day. And we are setting it depressingly low.

My Valentine’s Day dinner will be at Chuck-E-Cheese.

That’s right, we’re going where a kid can be a kid—and a parent can attempt to block the whole experience out with beer if they feel so inclined. Were I even remotely the drinking type, I would be so inclined.

Now, before you decide that my poor husband is an absolute clod, I’ll let you know that he’s just as excited about the prospect as I am. We did not choose this particular fate. We just happen to have a niece with a birthday on Monday. Since we don’t do things like go to birthday parties at Chuck-E-Cheese on Sunday, it was scheduled for tomorrow night to respect our religious beliefs. And ruin any chance at romance on Valentine’s Day. Ahhh, sometimes the right thing ends up being the sucky thing.

So, do you all have romantic plans for Valentine’s Day? Come on, let me live vicariously through you.

I know, I know. After reading this, you’re just thinking, Dude, as long as hubby doesn’t plan something involving hundreds of over-stimulated kids and a giant, dancing rat, he’s getting lucky.

4 Comments

Filed under Daily Life, Holidays, I think my head might explode