Thursday, December 17, 2009

Is it wrong...

to be amused that Doug was trying to make sure that a certain child in his preschool class was on Santa's naughty list?

Sometimes this guy amazes me



While Santa and his one night sleigh ride are pretty amazing, I think Andy amazes me more. He has his moments of stubbornness, he can get easily distracted, and yet his persistence in other areas can be frustrating at times (since it's usually over something I don't want him to do).

We went to our church Christmas dinner on Wednesday night. My kids were pretty excited because they knew that Santa was going to show up (or at least he has the past two years).
When I mentioned that it was time to get in the car to go to church Andy announced that he had a gift for Santa. This may be slightly inspired by the Phineas and Ferb Christmas special, but Andy picked one of his Christmas craft projects, found a bag to put it in, choose an art paper he had brought home from preschool (where apparently December is the season of glitter), and then wanted some candy to put in the bag.
He held on to it and showed it to people until Santa made his entrance. Then he ran up to him to hand it to Santa right away and was excited to talk to him.
Then what does he ask for?
The child asked for "toys for his cats."

Monday, December 14, 2009

Psuedo-gingerbread houses

Andy going for the "action" shot (notice that the lid is on the candy container...I did not stage this...it's all him).
Doug and his "clubhouse" version.
Josie's house.
We made "gingerbread" houses using graham crackers and candy we had on hand. I just happened to have gray colored frosting in the fridge (why...I'm not sure) so that is what we used. Each house fell in a couple of times. I probably should have had them do the decorations on the wall before we put them together but it worked out. Other than there was lots of snacking going on while we were building them it has taken at least two sittings for each child to eat his or her house. It was also fun so I am counting it as a success and will do it again sometime.

Belated pictures

Our Christmas tree featuring many Andy ornaments.
Josie wearing a dress our baby-sitter's mom made for his little sister.
Doug's shark face painting.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Our tree

I need to take a picture of this year's Christmas tree.
It has a lot of Andy made ornaments on it that he has made at school.
They are all paper shapes (a star, a gingerbread man, an angel, etc.) that are large and they all have lots of glitter. He usually comes home with things in his backpack and I have to remember to pull the stuff out and look at it. However, lately he has been emptying his own backpack to find whatever ornament was made.
He even managed to glitter himself one day because he was trying to hold his star and put on his coat and managed to shake the star upside-down above his head during this process. There was glitter everywhere.
It is not a tree that any "Martha Stewart" would love, but I think it's great.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

We did it

I finally got the kids in for their second H1N1 shot. It took three tries. We went one day and were 30 minutes after they stopped giving them. We went another day and it turned out to be a day that they were not doing shots. So we finally made it today.

Josie did great. She cried a little but was okay.
Andy was a bit apprehensive but no tears.
Doug, who has been building this up and worrying about it had to be held down.

So thankfully that is over. I don't know whether I am glad or not that I have not heard of any of the regular flu shots available around here or not. I think I could get one for Josie but our pediatrician will not do them for older children unless they get more doses in.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Are you real?

I don't know that it is exactly that Andy thinks people become pretend if they die, but he knows that they are not here with us any more. Somehow rather than asking if someone is still alive he will ask if someone is real.
Often the kids will play that bad guys are coming and sometimes one of them will get shot and require a medic.

This is all information to frame what I heard today.
I'm sort of bad about letting the kids get hooked on watching something on TV while I fix lunch and then we often end up watching it while we eat.
Today I ran downstairs to do something on the computer while the kids were eating lunch watching TV. As I came up the steps I could hear Andy say "Josie are you real?"

I assumed he was trying to check to see if she was faking death.
However she was not.
She must have been very busy at preschool today because she had fallen asleep in front of the TV after eating most of her lunch.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Birthday Parties



I had not really thought about if Doug and Andy are in different classes that they would get invited to different birthday parties. It had occurred to me that we would have two classes to invite to their birthday party when that rolls around, but the reverse had not occurred to me until recently.
So far my tact has been to call and say "You might not be aware of it but Doug/Andy has a twin in the other four-year old class..." and both boys have ended up going. Today was the first party that was in a home (rather than at a place like a church or an event place) so the mother was worried about space.
So Doug went by himself. He was fine with this. Andy and Josie were not. However, we went and did something special and then picked him up. He had a marvelous shark painted on his face. I will have to get the pictures of it off the camera.
These pictures of Josie are from a previous party that had a carnival theme. All three children went to it but Josie had the most elaborate face painting. There were bouncies, games, the face painter, a clown doing balloon things, a pinata, and so much cake/junk food. I think one of my goals when we have our birthdays in May will be to not feed children cake and ice cream and then send them home with more candy.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

There be pirates here






I do not remember quite where it started, but my boys (and Josie too) like pirates. Nana and Pop have ten acres with sections that have many trees and have put up some faces on some of the trees. One of those faces happens to be a pirate face.
So recently the pirates "visited" the farm, ran their flag up the flag pole, and left treasure. They were careless pirates and dropped their map and left provisions along the path to the treasure. These pictures are of Doug and Pop discussing the map prior to the treasure hunt.
The treasure was eventually found (and apparently the provisions were delicious, fresh, and kid friendly).
Doug keeps hunting for more treasure but the pirates have not finished their plundering and looting yet and therefore have not dropped any off recently.
I have a feeling they will visit again some time.

Monday, November 30, 2009

The three H's for the Holidays

We went to the "Hanging of the Greens" service at church on Sunday. It was the first time we have been to it at our current church. Usually we have been traveling back from relatives, but this year we came back on Saturday and were able to go to the service.

It may partly have been because I run around a little bit tired, which makes me more emotional, and that things have been stressful this semester, which also makes me more emotional, but I was a bit teary-eyed for much of the service.
Christmas is my favorite time of year. This is partly because I have fond memories with my family. I love the familiar music. I love the colorful Christmas lights. The food and the music and the whole atmosphere just makes me think love, coziness, closeness. Many people are more likely to smile and say Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays (especially if they see a toddler dancing into a store singing Jingle Bells)...but only if the people are not falling in to rushing around and thinking of the time as a series of checklists to get done before the holiday.
I struggle with that part of it each year and especially this year. I am dieing to get started on my holiday shopping. I know what I want to do and mostly what I want to get. I know many of the things that I want to bake and put up. I know that I want to drive around and look at Christmas lights with the kids. I know I want to keep up with the advent wreath and the advent calendars. I want to donate to Toys for Tots, get an Angel off the Angel Tree, ring the bell for the Salvation Army, and do so much more.

I also know that I do not have the time to do all of that.

When I was an undergraduate I would take my last final, go back to my dorm room and put on Christmas music. Then I would wrap my Christmas presents to take home.
I sort of miss those days when it seemed pretty simple and straight forward. At one point in my life all of my shopping was done by the end of October. That is far from the case now.

I know that right now it my life I have to pick and choose.

Really, for my kids, it doesn't have to be a big grand all out holiday. They will remember the things that I choose to invest time in and the rest will not matter. We can bake a few cookies, and put out a few decorations. It will not matter that I only put out half of the Christmas decorations. They will not miss it if I bake just three different kinds of cookies instead of four.
This is the first Christmas where Doug and Andy have specific toys they want...and I have already started to prep them that Santa may not bring them exactly what they want because Santa might think that there are better toys for them that have more play potential and more potential to stir their imaginations. They must learn to appreciate what they have because there are truly many who have much less. I purposefully found an Angel Tree child who was about the same age as my children so they would be forced to give away toys they might want for themselves.
This is a good Christmas for my children to begin learning about what Christmas is truly about. Christmas is a celebration of the fact that Jesus came and was born for us.

At the end of the Hanging of the Green service the whole congregation went out to the lawn where a fire was burning. We had holly leaves that we were supposed to toss in the fire after offering three prayers.
Andy had lost his holly leaf somewhere so I gave him mine. As I watched him make prayer hands and scrunch his eyes tightly closed as he prayed I realized that there are just three things I want this holiday season...three H's for me, my family, my friends, my community, and the world.
  • Health
  • Happiness
  • Hope

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

I'm thankful

I am thankful for my loving husband.
I am thankful for my goofy children.
I am thankful for my great friends who support me.
I am thankful for my family who help me out when I am in need and who love me unconditionally.
I am thankful for the many blessings that God has given to me.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Play date

We had a play date yesterday. We had Doug's best friend from his class over and then another boy who Andy likes to play with from his class.

It is interesting to see the dynamics of a bunch of four-year olds. Even with my kids being used to having other people around to play with it is still different to have friends over.
We also have the issue that our house is large enough that there are a lot of different areas. We played a little bit outside but the kids would play for a little while in one spot and then move, and move again, and move again. This seems to be a symptom of having friends over as this is not a normal thing for my kids.

Josie just kind of did her own thing. She played with the boys occasionally, but there were times she seemed to think those boys were a bit strange.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

The Dougs

Jim preached his first sermon today. He went through lay speaker training and then developed a sermon and preached it today. It went great!

We had some friends and family who came to support him. We went out to lunch afterward at a Chinese buffet place.

Through the whole meal I could see this couple looking over at the kids. I couldn't tell whether they were amused or annoyed at my children's behavior.

Then is turned out that the man's name was "Doug" and so apparently every time I would say "Doug...." the man would hear his name and look over.

My Doug still talks about the pizza delivery guy who was named Doug. It's just not a very common name anymore.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Scatter Brained

I feel so scatterbrained lately.
I can finally check comps off my list of things to think about. I had felt pretty confident after my major area comps but I was not so sure after my minor comps. I did get word that I did pass them. So that is one thing not to think about any more.

I also had Jim and his court case on my mind. Unfortunately something apparently came up with the judge and it is postponed until January. December will be the first month since May that we have not had a court date scheduled. I just would like some resolution on it.

I'm not quite sure where I am at on my course work. I'm in good shape for the one traditional class I am in (traditional...well it is completely online but it does have definite assignments and due dates). I'm not where I want to be on the paper I have been working on. I keep forgetting about trying to get more responses to the survey I have to evaluate a program (I had to wait until a bit into the school year and...well...we're now a bit in to the school year). I am not where I want to be on my independent study.

At some point I need to work with Josie on potty training (we've been real casual up to this point but she is showing more signs of readiness), Andy will not have speech during December so he and I decided that we should work together, and I need to do a better job of holding the kids to their chores/responsibilities.

And that why my brain is in fifty million different directions.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Just have to vent!

I am experiencing the messed-up state of health care in this country.
During September and October while Jim was in between paychecks and health insurance I got the kids on the state Medicaid system. Jim did not qualify (there is virtually nothing out there for healthy men) and ironically because I did the responsible thing and got my tubes tied after having Josie, I did not qualify.
It sounded good because even though I didn't apply until September 12 the coverage started right after our old insurance stopped.
That said there are some things messed up about it.
  1. I know they are busy and needed more information from me, but we did not receive news of our coverage and the cards until mid-October. This means that for a month and a half I had three children under the age of 5 whom I hoped would not need a doctor during that time period.
  2. For every mailing that we get about it, I get three envelopes. So to me that means probably around a dollar could have been saved if all the mailings were sent in a single envelope.
  3. The day before Jim started his job and a couple days before I got the Medicaid cards, Doug needed the three stitches for his chin. We went to the nearby walk-in clinic rather than the emergency room. Apparently there are only a few places that accept Medicaid and it turns out that the walk-in clinic is not one of them. So Medicaid will not pay or reimburse any of it. Some complain about people using the emergency room for health care, but the system encourages people to do it.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Hair Milestone


Here is the most recent picture I have of the kids. It was taken mid-October.
You might be able to tell that Josie's hair is actually starting to grow and thicken.
Perhaps it is trying to get to a feminine hairstyle that we have trimmed her bangs (since she will not consistently wear barrettes) but she still has yet to actually have a true haircut.
I will say that yesterday Josie and I went in to a store and a lady said "I envy that head of hair. I didn't have hair until I was two and people mistook me for a boy."
All I could think when I heard her say it was:Lady...she is two and she still gets mistaken as a boy, and perhaps Josie's hair really is starting to come in.
I simply said thank you.

Parental tips...

***Warning- not for the weak stomached out there

Gleaned over the "years" (really only 4 years) of raising multiple children (in other words twins gave us a crash course) here are some useful tip for dealing with sick kids....

  1. Best advice my older sister ever gave me was that if a child has a fever but is acting normal don't worry too much but if a child is not acting normal (fever or no fever) then worry.
  2. Children can run pretty high fevers so around here we don't panic (though we are watchful) until we get close to 104.
  3. Best tips for knocking out a fever....use Tylenol or Motrin (my kids do okay on Tylenol but always respond to Motrin so that is sort of our default med), strip the child, cool wash clothes on the back and/or head, a luke warm shower is great, and Popsicles are a must to have around for bringing down fevers.
  4. Viruses can last 7-10 days....that means that the puking/diarrhea/fever can last that long if that stomach bug is viral.
  5. Kissing a forehead is a better indicator of knowing a child's temp then feeling with your hand. I also once met someone who reportedly could put her temple to a child's temple and predict the temperature pretty accurately...but I have not striven for that kind of skill.
  6. Get to know your child's illness pattern. Doug and Andy I can always feel the fever on their forehead. Josie I have to watch it because her temples will get hot but not the front part of her forehead. Doug will stop puking and go to diarrhea, Andy will go straight from puking to normal. Andy will run a higher temperature than Doug and Andy's behavior is directly related to how high the temperature is. Andy handles snot better than Doug.
  7. Call twenty advice nurses and you will get twenty different opinions about how to deal with the illness.
  8. Kids throw-up. For a great variety of reasons that do not all involve being sick.
  9. Handling your own child's puke/diarrhea is much easier than dealing with someone unrelated.
  10. Water proof mattress pads are a must and while you are washing those mattress pads you can put a towel under the sheet to protect the mattress because children often do not know they are going to throw up until it actually happens.
  11. A warm shower is a great way to get the snot out. If children are coughing due to post-nasal drip put them in a warm shower before bed or if they are coughing too much in the middle of the night.
If you have any useful tips I would love them. I'm really hoping that we are on the road to recovery around here because I am tired of having runny noses around my house.

Monday, November 16, 2009

This was the first day of school




That "was" in the title is in past tense....as in the first day of school was in August...and I am just now posting pictures.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Procrastinating on my assignments







Here are some more pictures to help me procrastinate on getting my actual work done...

Significant things that happened this weekend

1. My house is clean (ish)
I hosted a baby shower for a friend from church. It forced us to get picked-up and cleaned-up (since in my mind there is a difference) and finish some projects.
I tried to genuinely deal with the stuff rather than just stash it. A little bit of hiding happened at the end, but hey...for losing two days to illness this week and at least half a day to a humidifier (that's another story) I think I did pretty well.

2. The humidifier
Andy was coughing and the humidifier sounded like a good idea at midnight on Thursday/Friday. I had used it the previous week and even earlier in the week with no problems. So I filled it, turned it on and went to bed. The next morning, even though I had it on the lowest setting, the water was all gone.
Not a good sign.
It turned out that there was a crack in the bottom of the part that holds the water and so roughly a gallon of water leaked out....down a bookcase and through the floor to drip on a box in the workroom below.
Yeah...can we say not a good thing.
A vast majority of the books were not wet and those that were wet I was able to dry out successfully.
The carpet is finally dry and I think I may try and treat it to make sure that there is nothing growing in there.
The box it got in the basement was mostly empty and the stuff it ruined was disposable and it somehow managed to miss the most important things in the box.
I think God is forcing me to clean out using water as the motivator.

3. Josie has officially had her head glued back together.
Friday night, after a napless day that probably contributed to some clumsiness, she tripped and hit her forehead on the corner of the fireplace.
It bled.
Luckily Jim was home and took Josie to see the walk-in clinic close to us (which luckily was still open since most other medical offices were closed, and which luckily we now have insurance they will take). The gouge was too small for stitches (that's good right?) so they glued her, steri-stripped her, gave her two stickers and a coupon for ice cream, and sent her home.
So Josie has her head glued on straight and I'm still missing my marbles somewhere in the basement (be dum ching!)

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Poetry Slam

The conference that I went to last week had local students performing. One of them was a student reading the poetry slam that she had written. It was excellent and I decided that I should share it.
The words are available at http://www.moscholars.org/slampoetry.html
Here is a video of her performing her poem.

Behind on posting

It's been crazy around here lately...so I am a little bit behind on posting.
I was going to post about Doug's creative problem solving skills. He was bringing in the trash cans and after dragging/carrying the old metal trash cans we have he decided with the second one that it was easier to lay it on it's side and roll it.
But I got busy and never posted.

I was going to post that my children treat every TV show/movie as interactive. I am not talking just about the whole responding to Dora/Diego/Mickey/Kia-lan where they have wait time for the children to answer. I'm talking about if we are watching Star Wars Doug & Andy are "bamming the bad guys" or that Doug will "act out" the beginnings of his favorite shows. He rocks with Phineas and Ferb (Doug already plays air guitar) and he particularly does every part of the title sequence to Penguins of Madagascar.
But I got busy and didn't post it.

So yes, that was underwear on my children's heads in the Inja pictures. It was clean...right out of their drawers. I'm not sure what happened to Josie's pants that day. My children tend toward naked (or nakie as we call it around here). Their shoes usually come off shortly after entering the house. Pants occassionally go missing after pottying or a diaper change in Josie's case. Usually complete nakedness doesn't occur until after dinner. My children are not shy or bashful. I think I finally have Doug and Andy convinced not to pull down their pants until they have entered public bathroom stalls and not to come out of the stall until their pants are pulled-up.

Here are some pictures of Josie hamming it up in a few hats and also in a dress that we inherited from my baby-sitter's younger sister.












Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Reconnected!

I am reconnected! Between having technical issues, being gone to a conference (it went fine), and then having sick children (thank goodness it only lasted 24 hours), I am finally reconnected. Now I just have to make sure the wireless router will work and talk to the modem.

Since I just happen to be on the computer with pictures on it...I will share with you our recent invasion by 'Injas. Not every house has had an 'Inja invasion.







Wednesday, November 4, 2009

So where have I been?

Besides the fact that I have been very busy, our Internet connection is down at home. Unfortunately I called tech support and made it worse....So I am not sure when things will be back to normal.

Things have been gong gang busters.
I'm trying to stay organized and on top of things.
I took my minor area comps but am not sure how I feel about them so we'll see. It took me a lot longer to decide how I was going to answer the questions and rather than finishing 15 minutes early like I did the other comp days, I was running out of time at the end.
Best scenario is that I passed. Worst case scenario is that I failed and because I am not thrilled about taking them again I will switch programs and get an EdD instead of a PhD. But we will wait and see how things turn out.

Kids are reasonably good. Josie seems adjusted mostly now. She at least has stopped trying to say that she cannot go to preschool because she is scared of her teacher (which she is not, but she is smart enough to figure out that that reason could be used as an excuse).
Doug seems in a particularly defiant stage. He is definitely trying to figure out where he is in control and wants his way all the time.
Andy is hopefully getting better. We had some rough nights of coughing but I am hitting everything full force now and it seems to be working. I think we went from one cold to the next as opposed to a lingering cold because Doug has a cold again.

Jim still likes his school and his job. He moved to a better camp ground. He got all his new employee paperwork completed. So hopefully everything is in order there.

Other than going to bed to late most nights, I am doing okay. I am getting ready to go to a conference and I am excited about it. It is a national conference. It will look good on my vita. The coolest thing is that they had over 900 proposals submitted and only were able to accept 260+. Both of my proposals were accepted as poster presentations. One was originally submitted as a presentation session, but I am not going to complain because in a way standing in front of a poster is a lot easier than talking in front of a bunch of people.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Packed day

Yesterday was extremely busy.
I am trying to get all my information together for my comprehensive exam in my minor subject areas. I am progressing but my questions require a lot of thought and the exam is on Monday.

I did take the kids (and myself) to get the H1N1 vaccine yesterday. They had it at our health department and while I am a little unhappy that the children will have to go back for a second dose I am glad we went. I was a little unhappy that the children will need a second dose because they did not tell me that upfront and as far as I could find online it is the multi-dose formula that people are concerned about. However, one of the reasons I went was because I knew that right now I have the choice to get it or not get it. I did not want them to run out of vaccine and then have me wishing that I had done it. So I did my research and made my decision and went. I put off getting the seasonal flu shots because I wasn't sure what was happening with our insurance while Jim was finding a job and now I cannot find the seasonal vaccine for all of us. I can get the flu mist at the student health center, but they did not think that insurance covers it (even though my understanding is that the mist is more effective than a shot) so now I have to find out what it costs and decide if I can afford it, Josie can get it at the pediatrician but Doug and Andy are over the age that is the cut-off because the pediatrician has limited doses and is rationing it.
Health care and insurance is something that if you have reasonable health insurance you probably don't realize what a big deal it is not to have it or how hard it is to find care and afford it and how much it impacts you if you don't have it. But that would be a whole other post for me to go in to our health care/insurance saga.

We also went to the sorority trick-or-treating event on campus. It was a zoo. I was glad to get out of there. I saw people going there with single children who were not big enough to walk yet and I just thought "why." Anyway, all of the sororities had candy and were not just handing out one or two pieces but whole handfuls. Some had other things set-up so that there were games and such. It was crazy. I was by myself with the three kids and we would get up to a house and Doug and Andy would rush forward and I would have to expend all my energy just keeping an eye on where they were and making sure they could get back to me. Josie even ended up getting her face painted without me saying yes or no...she just got swept over in the direction of the face painting table and ended up with a butterfly on her check. Did I say it was crazy. We didn't even go to all of the houses because I was ready to go.
This was the first year we went to it. I am still mixed feelings about whether we would go again. I do know that I did not need to bother buying candy to hand out at our house because when we dumped out all three buckets the candy was mounded up in a large bowl. The buckets were so full that the kids got tired of carrying them because they were so heavy. Did I mention it was crazy!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

More more more

Andy broke a wishbone with me last week....he wished for "Lots of candy!"

He is getting his wish. We are on the second round of getting to wear our costumes. We have an opportunity to go trick-or-treating at the sororities tomorrow, a birthday party with costumes on Saturday, and it seems silly not to actually go trick-or-treating on Halloween since we have costumes. So candy and more candy it is.

Tonight we had a Fall Festival at church.
The nice thing is that with our little church everything is really simple and not overdone so that it is perfect for young kids.
Conveniently this year, rather than having individual rooms on the main hallway with activities, they put everything in the fellowship hall. It made it a lot easier for me to keep track of my three children who have their own ideas and interests.
Doug's favorite was the maze (boxes for them to crawl through on the darkened stage using a glow stick), Josie liked the hay ride, and Andy liked the bean bag toss.
I did have to stop Andy from outright taking handfuls of candy at some of the activities...and I will ration out the candy when all is said and done.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Pictures!




I took a picture to send to Jim, so I am finally getting the pictures from this summer off the camera. So here are a few and there are more to come. We went to a farmer's market and some cheerleaders were painting faces. Doug got a race car, Andy got a snake, and Josie has a butterfly.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Quantity vs. Quality

My children came back, somehow, from their trip to the pumpkin patch with the church with one pumpkin. One! I have three children and one pumpkin is just not going to cut it.
However, this weekend we went to an annual Fall Festival my brother-in-law and sister-in-law host.
My kids had a marvelous time. Doug had to be reminded to eat and go potty because he spent almost the entire 5-ish hours we were there in the inflatable bouncy. Josie enjoyed the bouncy and hanging out with her daddy and she is now old enough that she was searching out her cousin and hanging out with other girls.
Andy, he is something else all together.
He liked the bouncy and spent a lot of time in there. However, he is particularly sensitive to mis-communication and has a strong sense of justice and a need to lead. So he just does not fit in as easily playing with other children as Doug does. Thus he partook of many of the other activities that were available as breaks from playing in the bouncy. One of those activities was decorating pumpkins.
My sister-in-law had crayons, those foam sticker things, pom poms, and googlie eyes out for the kids to put on the pumpkins. Andy started out with two eyes and a nose and then it got a whole lot more complicated....and then his desire for quantity came in to play.

Andy is a mass producer. He is a worker. He likes to see progress.
If we go to the library Doug will have one book and Andy will have 15.
If we paint pictures Doug will paint one carefully painted picture and Andy will have 20 pages lined up drying on the floor with three strokes of paint on each one.

So we ended up coming home with 7 pumpkins. One from Josie, one from Doug and 5 that Andy decorated.

Friday, October 23, 2009

I passed

I got a letter saying that I passed the first part of my comps! Now I just have take minor comps on November 2nd and figure out how the rest of this program works and what exactly I am dissertation. But at least this milestone is past!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Can I just be a blob?

I'm feeling a little consumed by things right now. I need to figure out a way to break out some and get back at least a little bit of a feeling of control. Some of it may be that I am sick. Not bad sick, but I have a runny nose and a cough. It probably doesn't help that there have been adjustments lately and I am having a hard time getting motivated about getting school work done. All I really want to do is sit in front of the TV. I try to justify this desire by sorting laundry or cleaning something while I am watching, but I really think I just want to switch my brain off.
Ironically tonight on the way home from church Doug, who has been playing the part of "contrary boy" lately and testing his limits, said "I am going to throw out my toys and I am going to stop exercising and I am just going to watch TV all day." He did reassure Andy that he was only going to throw out his own toys. After mentioning what would happen if he did only watch TV all day I started mentioning specific toys. So far I have not found one toy that he has agreed to get rid of.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Last one down

We initially had some doubt about whether Doug's symptoms were allergy or virus.
Now that Josie ran a fever and has similar cough and drainage issues, Andy had a fever and cough and drainage, and I might have had a low fever and now have cough and drainage issues I don't think there is any doubt that what Doug had/has is viral.

So we are surviving here...it's just that we don't sound very lovely.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Adjustments

So there have been some adjustments at our house with Daddy being gone most of the week.
Doug talks about it but seems fine. He is sort of the happy go lucky type anyway so I am not surprised. He has perhaps been pushing me a bit more on things but it could just be his week since the boys seem to go back and forth about who is stubborn and who is cooperative.
Andy is funny because for a few months now when the subject of Daddy getting a job would come up he would slap his little hands together and look heavenward and pray "Dear God please help Daddy get a job." The last couple of night when we were praying before bedtime I would ask him if there was anything he would like to pray about and he would start "Dear God please help Daddy..." Then you could see the wheels visually turning as he would process that Daddy has a job and he would be trying to figure out what direction to take with the next statement. Last night it ended up "Dear God please help Daddy....find a new way to go to his job." (Oh, and he has been "composing a song that begins "God is in an airplane in your heart" and this is followed by other vehicle references.) Andy's biggest concern when he found out that Daddy would be in the trailer and not at home was where Daddy would go to church.
Josie has perhaps had the most difficulty adjusting. It probably doesn't help that she had a fever on Tuesday and then has been fever free but coughing for the rest of the week. Wednesday I ended up picking her up from preschool because "she just wasn't herself" and then Thursday she stayed with me. Today she was fine until I mentioned preschool and then she started laying around and saying that she was going to stay with me. I took her in and explained to her teacher what was going on and her teacher pried her off me. So hopefully she will have a good day and then this afternoon she can start having some quality Daddy time.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

A simple question with a not so simple answer

I had no idea that Transformers were so complicated...
When Doug got this "boo boo" (if you can call three stitches a simple "boo boo") I was told that I had to change his band-aid three times a day.
We only had a few kid band-aids left and I really prefer to not wear band-aids with popular cartoon characters on them so I did not want to run through the skin colored ones.

Hence a trip to the pharmacy section of a store was in order.
First Doug and I had an argument in the car about what type of band-aids he could get. He said he wanted Power Ranger band-aids (which I have a personal bias against all the kicking and hitting so I do not permit Power Rager things) and I was suggesting Transformer band-aids.
Well, wouldn't you know that they do not make Power Ranger band-aids and my boy who often "over-labels" or "over-extends" REALLY meant that he wanted Transformer band-aids.

He likes to choose which band-aid he gets and at least there are a bunch of different patterns in the pack. He has actually learned how to open the outer white wrapper on the band-aid.

However, of the Transformers pictured on the band-aids I only know two of them. There is a third one (I'm assuming it is an Autobot since the other two pictured are Optimus Prime and Bumblebee and I KNOW that they are Autobots) that is sort of grey/brown and apparently turns in to a motorcycle.

This lead to the simple question"Who is that one mommy?"

The answer...I had to "try" to look it up.
Did you know that there are multiple eras/worlds/interpretations of Transformers?
Did you know that there are sometimes multiple color schemes for even the same Transformer?
Did you know that most people who have sites with information about Transformers will describe the battle function of the Transformer and even the personality but not necessarily give information about the corresponding vehicle that the robot becomes?
Do you know that some really strange stuff comes up when you start trying to Google info about Transformers?

I did not realize that the Decepticons all became military vehicles and the Autobots tend to be civilian vehicles. I did not realize that there are multiple versions of the back story and arrival of the Transformers depending on which comic, TV show, movie, or toy series you are talking about. Who know? I certainly did not know prior to last night.

I really do not want to know how much time I wasted spent Internet surfing trying to find the answer. My best bet is that it "might" be the Autobot named "Groove" but I am not entirely convinced.
Perhaps if I somehow find some "spare" time I can do some more searching.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

A chilling experience

I'm not sure whether it is funnier to tell this story backwards or forwards.....
I'm sitting in the waiting room with Doug and Josie while Andy is at speech when the case manager walks out and hands me our "boo boo ice"(A plastic cube that can be frozen and refrozen for putting on boo boos. It has a bunny cover but more often than not the bunny cover has migrated elsewhere.)

Just before leaving for speech Andy fell down and said his hip hurt. Sometimes with 4 year olds it is just easier to give ice rather than argue whether it is needed or not.
I had vague thoughts while I was driving that I should have asked Andy where he left the ice because I didn't want it melting on top of something while we were at speech.
As we were coming in I asked Andy if he needed to go potty since he kept pulling at his crotch but Miss Megan was right there and off they went.

Yes, it turns out that the ice was in a very "sensitive" area.
I was blushing a bit when the case manager told me where she found it....

***Update: The ice pack was in his underwear. When I asked him later about why he had it there he said that "If I had to go to the bathroom I would have to hold it, but otherwise I would not have to hold it and it would stay in place." Gotta love the reasoning.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

The competition

While I often notice how different my life is with multiple children compared to people who have only one (you don't have to worry about fighting over car seats, toys, who gets to pick the show to watch, etc.) there are times when it is "convenient" to have some competition.

Take tonight for instance.
We got home (since we had gone to Pajama Story Time at the library) and I wanted to get them immediately in bed. They did not seem to want to cooperate until I said "first one ready for bed gets to choose the first story."
Not ten seconds later Andy comes tearing out of his room. He was completely naked and headed for the next step. Doug was constantly asking me if he was "winning."
...no Doug, it is mommy who is really winning here.
In about 20 minutes I had all three on my bed reading stories and ready to go to sleep.

Monday, October 12, 2009

The Kiss

Last Thursday Jim and I went inside to pick up the kids from preschool. They all came out from their separate classrooms and then Andy noticed that Anna Morgan was waiting in the car rider line. This is the same little girl we saw on campus at the beginning of September. She was one of the three girls I heard about from Andy last year and she is in Doug's class.
So Andy ran over to her and gave her a hug....
...and while still hugging they kissed


on the lips.

I think every adult in the immediate area either went "ahhh" or had a shocked look on his or her face.
So my little boy has now been kissed. How quickly they grow up.

Andy's comment on the way out: Three girl friends is enough for any boy.

The numbers

Doug has 1 split chin that resulted from falling on the 2nd driveway so that he has 3 stitches on his 4 year old chin that will come out in 5 days.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Full of promise

Last night I had a dream. It was dark and raging and stormy. We were in a car and were approaching a bridge over turbulent waters. About a block before the bridge we took a right turn and then a left turn for a detour and came around the corner to find six complete rainbows up in the sky shining through the storm.
Then I woke up.

Yesterday Jim got a job!
There are still many things to work out. It is in a high school that appears to have a strong administration, is not Title I, and he will be taking over a classroom in his favorite subject area in Math. He starts Monday!
The parts that need working out are that it is two hours away from where we live. He is currently outside checking over the RV. He has a reservation at a camping site that does monthly rates and sounds nice. Tomorrow we will pull it there and park it and then grab whatever else he needs for the week. It will definitely be a change for us, but I think we can make it work.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Weight lifted (well...mostly)

I try really hard not to relive tests....you know that thing about where you could potentially agonize over your answers and whether you could have done better?

Yeah, I try not to do that.
Once, when Jim and I were first married and we were both taking classes, one of his friends had taken a test and was agonizing over the answers and whether he got them right. He ended by saying "Well, I either passed that test or I failed it"
Um, yeah...those are the only two choices usually.

So I did the best I could do. I remembered all of what I had memorized about my citations. There might have been a thing here or there that I probably could have added or done differently, but I cannot change it now.
So it is out of my hands and that weight is lifted.
I should know something in a few weeks.
In a couple of weeks I will also have to take comps in my minor areas, but that will be a different preparation and for now there is no more I can do.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Strategy

This past week with preparations for taking this huge test I have been realizing how much weight I put on the concept of "strategy."

I have strategies for many different things. For instance
  • Going to the grocery store with three children I park nearest the cart return rather than worrying about parking close to the store. That way I can grab a cart before heading in so that I can put kids in it and then when I get back to the car I can dump the cart easily.
  • Getting the kids in bed I just keep them moving. It is sort of a changing strategy as the kids get older and more independent, but I run them through a strategy of routine (clothes off, potty, jammies on, brush teeth, etc.) and that seems to work.
  • I have sort of unwritten strategies for trying to accomplish something new on the computer (look at the possibilities in the menu, try some things, Google it if I am getting no where...)
So my strategy for preparing for comps has been to take advantage of a reasonably good memory and my knowledge of mnemonics. Hopefully by this point I am familiar with my content area. The first thing I did when I got to the test was type out the citations and key words and then I started working on the actual writing. The citations actually helped me focus my writing so that I remembered what I wanted to talk about.
For today and the three questions I had I memorized 22 citations that included one to three names, a year for each, and then a key word to remind me what the article was about. I am working on 37 citations for the 4 questions I will answer on Wednesday. For my keywords I am using a sentence with the words and typing them in after I have the main information there. For the names and dates I am trying to notice patterns and develop silly associations (that's where the mnemonics comes in) to help me remember. Things such as a gentile green bear coughing becomes Greene 2006, Kaufman, Gentile, & Baer, 2005, and Milne, & Reis 2000 (since Milne is also the author's name for Winnie the Pooh). So that with lots and lots of practice is what my strategy is to get me through.
Oh, and if you want to say a small prayer for me I certainly wouldn't mind.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

It's always the last place you look

I spent three days off and on looking for a certain paper and was not finding it.
Then Jim and I spent three intense hours look and cleaning and sorting looking for this paper.

We did not find it. So we decided that we would just have to call on Monday and see if we could get another printout.

So I decided to find the puzzle piece that the kids had pulled out and of course not five minutes after we stopped looking for the paper and in the course of looking for the puzzle piece I found the paper I needed underneath a bookshelf.

Funniest thing...what you are looking for is always in the last place you look.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Update

I had people sitting on the floor during my first presentation.
The second presentation I had two people but I did not expect many if any on that one.

I'm excited because Andy had his first speech "homework" to work on this week. He can do the "k" sound in the middle of words so we just have to get it at the beginning of words so that is what we are to help with.

I also have my comps questions. I have to figure out roughly what I want to say and then memorize the citations to go with them. I have one week to figure and memorize and then I have to go type Monday and Wednesday of next week.

So I may not have many posts this coming week, but I assure you that life goes on.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Anticipation

Anticipation is such an interesting feeling.
Sometimes it is something that is even more exciting then what you feel when you actually get to the event you are anticipating.
It is something that can feel good and happy or nervous and scary depending on what it is you are anticipating.
In some ways it is easier when you have a definite time frame to work with rather than waiting for an event that you know will eventually happen or might happen but you do not know when.
Here are the things I am anticipating at the moment:
  • Jim will get a job. I don't know when or where, but each place he applies or interview sets my mind to whirling about how it might be should he get that job.
  • The state gifted conference. I am going tomorrow for the main conference day. I am presenting which is a little nerve racking...not so much for the having to stand in front of people and talk, but more for the "have I remembered everything", "will I remember everything that I wanted to say and that is important to say", and have I got enough handouts (closely followed by the...please, oh please let at least one person come to my session). Also, it is highly likely I will see people I know but haven't seen for a while. So that is kind of exciting and perhaps makes me a little giddy about it.
  • Monday I get my comps questions. I have a week to prepare to go sit and write. I have to organize my ideas and memorize my citations in that week between seeing and writing. I have done virtually nothing to prepare myself prior to actually getting the questions....well, that is not quite true. I have thought a little bit about where my notes and resources from my past classes are. I am hoping that I can really focus my preparation once I get my questions. I am excited and nervous all at the same time. This is big moment. I know so much more now then I did before and I think I'll be fine, but I get two tries to pass these and if I don't then no PhD for me. As I said...a little nerve racking but also exciting to think about being at this mile marker.
  • Dissertation. Part of me says don't worry too much about it until you pass comps. Part of me says that I should have started writing the first three chapters a year ago.
Anticipation is just a strange beast and he lives in me. I'm trying not to let him run wild too much.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Does it count?

Today, I had an email that there would be free fast food in my building for the people who work there.
Yay!

The delivery time was on the bare minimum for when I might be able to grab some and then go pick up children from preschool.
Also, I am helping to supervise teacher education students who are learning about teaching literacy by actually tutoring at-risk readers. So I was not on campus normally.

The plan was that I could finish with the tutoring (which for an hour I walked between three different hallways modeling teaching techniques and checking in with the students and their students...that should count as exercise). Then I could run over, park, have just enough time to walk over to pick up a lunch, and then walk back and go pick up my own children. I could eat in the car so as not to laud it over my children that I had a special meal.

That was the plan at least....
I parked.
I walked (5-10 minutes over to the building).
I got there...no food. I had a potty break, got some water... still no food, just lots of people milling around waiting for food.
So....I walked back to my car because I didn't dare to wait any longer and risk being late for pick-up at preschool.

So that should count as extra exercise right? I not only walked but I ended up without the fattening fast food.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Puzzling

Recently my children have enjoyed doing puzzles. We have a few smaller ones in the 12 to 24 piece range. Doug is actually pretty good at it on his own, Andy occasionally needs some guidance, and Josie is just getting started. With help they can actually reasonably do a 100 piece puzzle. A 500 piece is pushing it, but there is interest there.

In any case it is exciting to me because I love jigsaw puzzles and have not done one for quite awhile (cats and babies don't necessarily mix with doing puzzles). I look forward to the day when they are old enough to do a really big one that takes several days. And I will fondly remember my own childhood as we do it.

Monday, September 21, 2009

I have to brag

I am proud of Doug and Andy.
Yesterday Andy helped me put away clean clothes. I can't say that every item made it still folded to it's destination, but he did get everything in the right spot that I told him to put it in.

Tonight, Jim gave the kids a contest to see who could go get undressed and in their pj's the fastest. Doug came out first with all steps completed including the additional step that he was already brushing his teeth.

Group Projects

Imagine group projects in grad school....yep they happen there too.

It sounds nice to have support and people to bounce ideas off of, but....well....
Imagine how hard it is to coordinate a bunch of middle or high school students and then add in that they have not only their own schedule but they might have children to work around also. And there you have working in a group in grad school.

Except then add in that even though there is a semi-sequential order to take educational research classes in that there are different ability levels and some people haven't had the prior classes for awhile.

And also add that it is online and some people might not check their online class every day and that this might be the first online class they are taking.

Then add in that the prof was on the late side of posting the group assignments so that it was doable if people were on top of everything.

But, then add in that I had a fever on Sunday and slept a lot.

So that has been my world the last few days.
Yep, that's been pretty much it.
I'm so looking forward to Wednesday when my groups' portion is over....and oh yeah I have a conference on Friday.....

Friday, September 18, 2009

Here is what is on my heart....

Something I have been thinking about lately can be summed up in two words...."education funding."

Now, I know this is on my brain partially because of Jim looking for a job and all of the horror stories I have heard about a hundred applicants for each opening.

However, it is one thing that has bothered me for a long time in living where I do. My state has horrible education funding. I know that there are other states out there that are better...but still these are our children!
Would you rather a principal retain a permanent sub or hire a certified teacher?
What about paying for decent places for our children to learn...Maslow would say that if you are too hot or too cold or not having your basic needs meet then you can not learn.
It's great that we teach English and Math and the core subjects...but to paraphrase Mr. Holland's Opus: Without music and art what would we write about?
There are not many jobs for multiple choice test takers out there and last time I checked we needed people with creativity.

Some of the decisions in education do not make sense to me.
How can we discourage children accelerating through the curriculum when it would help the children and mean that we spend less money educating them when they get done sooner.
How can we know that a child is learning below grade level and yet insist on testing him or her on grade level?

I personally do not want someone who can only answer multiple choice questions taking care of me in my old age. I want someone who is a critical thinker and who is a problem solver.

A bumper sticker I saw says "educations cuts are the cuts that never heal."
I realize that education has many stakeholders and that many of those stakeholders do not understand the classroom situations and are not familiar with research to be able to make an informed decision. I have met people who are so distrustful of politicians that they do not want to give them any money because they are sure the politicians will misuse it. However, sometimes it does take money to get something done (such as hire teacher to make a smaller class for more individualized education, or to put in air conditioning so that students can stay awake) and sometimes a small step is better than no step at all.

I'll get off my soap box now...

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Parenting Tip #143

It is a good idea to have some spare socks with you....

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Confucius

Confucius say when there is no underwear it is time to fold the laundry.

Monday, September 14, 2009

I'm at the "what to do" phase

I'm at that phase where I am wondering what to do.
The boxes in the basement are mainly stuff from my classroom and stuff from the kitchen. It is not so much that I want to get rid of the kitchen stuff (even following the "if you haven't used it in a year throw it out" principle) but do I unpack it, repack it, leave it alone?
After I pass comps if every thing goes smoothly with my dissertation then we should only be in this house for a year plus a little bit longer....

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Earning their keep

On Friday night I went down to feed Dodge and when I passed Hogan (one of our other cats) he was eying the bag of litter laying down on the floor in the hallway.
I didn't think much of it because the cat is a little strange and not so bright. He was still doing it when I came out from feeding Dodge so I thought...well he could be watching a bug and I will move the bag and squash the bug.

But then!
I moved the bag a bit and the thing between the bag and the wall was not the right shape or color for a bug.
I called Jim and we chased the mouse around the room for 10-20 minutes.
So what to do....
In case you were wondering two cats...even two declawed cats shut in a basement with a mouse for a day and a half will dispose of a mouse.
So that has been our excitement around here.
That and now Doug has picked up the fever Josie just got over.
Such is life and this too shall pass.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

How cool is that!

At the graduate student parent support event last night there were several cool things.
  • It turns out that the author who was reading her book is actually a college student who published a children's book.
  • The drew door prizes and we won (a lot...): I got a gift certificate at a local children's store (that I actually know the daughter of the new owners), Doug won a yo-yo, and Josie won three tickets for free bowling
  • Andy got to sit next to one of his favorite friends from last year (which is why he didn't notice that his brother and sister won things and he didn't).
  • We got dinner that the kids actually ate.
  • We also found out that our local library now has downloadable audio books that you can "borrow" for three weeks....now that's cool!

Friday, September 11, 2009

State of the House

Josie- She might finely be over the fever that she had the past couple of days. It sort of explains why she was fussy about going to preschool on Wednesday. It's always nice to have your kid back after an illness.

Andy- A powerful force as always. I did check and despite the fact that all of his good friends from last year are in Doug's class he does seem to be finding kids to play with in his class. Weirdly enough we went to a graduate student parent support event tonight on campus and happened to sit next to one of his best friends from last year. She was pretty delighted to see him also.

Doug- I think he might be growing. For the past week about every 15 minutes I have been getting "Mom, I'm hungry" and I weighed him and he is actually 3 pounds more than Andy (prior to this they have never been more than half a pound). Other than he squished his best friend in preschool today (well...the story I got was that a big boy in a yellow shirt who has a small mouth, ears, and black hair that sticks up in the air and who might be named William had an idea to squish Dylan...) he is doing really well.

Jim- Still looking for a job...lots of applications out there. Hanging in there and enjoying extra time with the kids. Josie is all about "daddy" (until she gets hurt and then mom gets the crying). I can't remember if I mentioned (in blog) before that he broke up a potential fight at school and then had the parent press harassment charges and if the prosecuting attorney could ever get it together to show up then there might be some resolution. The case has had a monthly court date every month since last April or May (I've lost track) but between the city being slow getting evidence to Jim's side and then not showing up it has been dragging on (and on). So if you are the praying type please add us to your prayer list.

Susan- I think it is from coming off a really intense summer of business that I am really having trouble focusing and figuring out what I should be doing on a daily basis. I am alternating between feeling in an ok spot and feeling like I am behind. I take my comprehensive exams in October and am starting to think about dissertation stuff.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Wallpaper

I am still pulling down wallpaper in the bathroom.
It has had to take a back seat to other things.

Since our bathroom has an outer room with a sink and closet, and then an inner room with sink, toilet, and tub I had planned to do the outer bathroom completely and then do the inner bathroom.

However, Andy jumped right in and started peeling wallpaper on the inner bathroom. So we are committed to doing that too.

I can't complain too much because the child is industrious. By himself he has peeled almost all of the paper underneath the window which is pretty significant.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Speech Therapy

Andy had his first day of speech therapy.
Because Jim is still looking for a job I was able to leave the other children at home and just take him (I got to work while I waited).
His therapist will be Megan.
I think they might have done a little bit of actual work, but the main thing they did today was get to know each other.

Despite the fact that when we went for the testing he was shy...Megan reported today that he was not shy at all.
She had a bunch of toys and games and apparently he immediately told her what he did like and what he was not going to play with out of the things that she had.
Andy reported to me that they played a game where you turn out the light, one person closes his or her eyes while the other person hides some toys. Then you use the flashlight to find the toys.

He also got a toy out of their prize cabinet. He has been generous about sharing his toy with Doug and Josie. This has also caused Doug to want to go to speech therapy.

From what some of the other mothers were saying I think they get to go to the prize cabinet once a week (therapy occurs twice a week). I am thinking that I will ask them not to give him any more toys. I personally believe it is ok to ask him to do a little work without the tactile reward. We'll see....

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Incubation Period

I think Andy must have a few day (like maybe two) incubation period for ideas.
Tonight at dinner he popped out with "God can make something out of nothing but we need something to make something.
Ok, I thought....I don't know where that came from but yes that is true.

Then at bedtime he said something like:
"It was dark in our room, just like it was dark in the beginning before God made everything...."
Then the child proceeded to tell me the beginning part of creation.

It turns out that on Sunday he had heard it at children's church. It apparently just took a few days to sink in.

Big girl!

We went down to Nana and Pop's for the long weekend. One of the things we did while we were down there was to get Nana's old bed and dresser from when she was a girl.
Today we set it up in Josie's room. So now she has a full size bed and a new dresser. I am hoping two things:
  1. Taking out the changing table and the diaper organizer will help us (me and her) get motivated to push a little more on potty training. She can pee and when she is paying attention she even knows when she needs to go (I think) so I think she is ready.
  2. Having a little more room to roll around will help her sleep in her own bed instead of in mine.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Nature in Action

We were in the backyard and I happened to catch some motion out of the corner of my eye.
I looked over and there was a snake!
Jim said it was just a black racer snake, but we got to watch it get a lizard and proudly carry it off to eat it in peace.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Lost in Translation

They have been studying apples in Andy's class. So today, out of the blue he told me that there were three kinds of apples: Red, Green, and Sparkly.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

A side of cheese

If you would like a side of "super cheesy" for your afternoon get the Godzilla cartoon from the 1970s. Andy choose it from the library DVDs the last time we went. You get everything:
  • Cheap animation
  • Bell bottoms
  • World travel
  • The female scientist (with 70s hairdo) who specializes in anything resembling science
  • The black male side-kick
  • The manly bearded hero who controls Godzilla (He has a button to call Godzilla)
  • The little boy with the "baby" Godzilla named Godzookie
  • Godzookie for the comic relief
  • A different over-sized monster (an occasionally two) each episode
  • Improbable science
  • And a 30 story tall Lazar-eyed monster who comes anywhere at moments notice at the touch of a button

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Sleep

I am sitting here listening to Josie "ladaladaladalada" to herself in her bed. She already had the:
  1. I forgot to say goodnight (Good night Andy & Doug)
  2. I need socks (lavender)
  3. I need water
  4. I have to tell you something (which turned out to be "We can take food to our car")
GO TO SLEEP CHILD!

Monday, August 31, 2009

My baby

Josie is enjoying preschool. She seems to do fine there.

However, is it selfish of me to love the fact that most days so far she has run out enthusiastically to give me a hug and tell me "I missed you mommy."

Sunday, August 30, 2009

More Evidence that God Knows....

Our phone line has been without dial tone since we had a storm. We called and it was not going to be guaranteed to be fixed until September 1st. It also meant that we have had patchy Internet and no one could call us.

I did not expect the phone company to work on the weekends, but when we got home from church the guy in the phone truck was just getting ready to pull off. He said that we had a downed line and that it should be fixed.
Sure enough there was a dial tone on the phone and the Internet seems to be back up.

Then, this afternoon (who knew they would work on Sundays also) the person who coordinates the Speech & Hearing Therapy called (on the land line) to setup Andy's Speech Therapy.

I would not have gotten the call had the phone line not been fixed. I'm excited that my chatter box will be understandable to more people!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

The world according to Josie

This may become a regular feature because Josie is full of "knowledge" about things.

For instance, today we stopped to get gas.
Jim got out of the car to pump the gas and I sat in the car with the kids.
Josie said that she wanted the car on (for the air conditioning for those of you who do not live in the Southern climate).
So I explained to the kids about how gas is flammable and that you could not have the car on. I told them about other things you shouldn't do while pumping gas...things like don't talk on your cell phone, beware of static electricity, etc.

Josie informed us that you could not hold caterpillars while pumping gas.

That's good to know. Next time I am pumping gas I will have to be sure to put my caterpillar down first.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

If you haven't seen this....

If you read Cake Wrecks you may have already seen this, but I have to admit that I have enjoyed watching Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

New(ish) addiction

Jim ordered us the newspaper. I do glance at the comics and I try to glance at the rest of the paper...however the main thing that has held our attention has been the crossword puzzle.

We usually work it together. We do the one in our local paper. We have only had moderate success with some of the ones from the bigger papers. One Friday they have the Washington Post puzzle in the TV insert and the New York Times crossword on Sundays. The Washington Post one is just a bit strange in my mind. It is usually themed and is often not so much about vocabulary as being current on celebrities (which I have oh, so much time to keep up on THAT topic...).

So we usually do pretty well on the local day-to-day one. I am finding out (or perhaps I already knew) a few things about myself and crosswords:
  1. I am seriously hampered by my lack of spelling skills.
  2. I actually have a reasonably good vocabulary.
  3. I have problem solving skills and strategies.
We do not look up answers although I do check the occasional word (usually for spelling...as I said "seriously hampered") in our big dictionary.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Watching and waiting

We are sort of watching to see how the boys do in their new preschool classes.
They are in separate classes this year. Doug is in the 5 day a week 4 year old class and Andy is in the 2 & 3 day 4 year old classes.

There are at least 8 children in Andy's class who go every day and we were assured that they would do different art activities each day. I just want him to be challenged because I know that child....if he gets bored he will start trying things and considering that his is a risk taker and creative....I don't think any of us want that.

Also, last year the boys were together in class and we thought they would do fine apart but you just never know what will come up. We had tried to prepare them ahead of time and then they seemed mostly okay with it. Tonight Doug was upset (and being tired probably added to it). He said that he wanted to be in Andy's class.
When I asked why, his answer was...."Andy has not met my teacher."
So I guess tomorrow Andy will help drop Doug off at class and then we will take him to his own class. Of course their classrooms are on completely the opposite ends of the hallways.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Monday

Took at least five loads of posters out to the trash and filled a trash can with old paperwork.

They were not mine...I am now helping one of my professors sort out a suite of rooms that have been used for a special program at the university. This program has been around for about 15 years...which is plenty of time to accumulate "stuff" that now needs to go.

Jim finished putting in the quarter round on the flooring so I think we are about ready to put actual things back in the laundry room. I will be delighted to get back my washer and dryer because with five people those are essential tools. I'll also be excited to get our tables back so that we are no longer dining by the light of the TV.

All three kids said that preschool was "awesome" today. We had a good start to the school year.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Things that make you go hmmmm....

I was getting Josie ready for bed and she had the hiccups.
I asked where those hiccups came from....



Josie: Sam's Club

(And yes they were big hiccups.)

Friday, August 21, 2009

Trying to get motivated

It is gray and rainy out.
The things that I should probably be doing are not the things that I want to be doing...and thus I have not really done anything yet today.

The kids are enthusiastically playing some sort of strange blend of puppies, police, Star Wars, and I am not sure what else (but it is scaring one of the cats).
I have a meeting with my professor this afternoon to sign my most recent program of study. That is good.
I also would have liked to have had my paper to hand her, but I am sort of stumbling over it so I may choose to just talk to her about it instead.
We also plan to get ready to put down some flooring in the laundry room. It has been ripped up for a year and a half now and I am tired of not being able to put wet laundry on the floor.

After doing a bunch of research (and almost having a heart attack at the price) we ended up with self sticking tiles (on the recommendation of the sales person). So we will see how it goes.
I had looked at rubber flooring (like they put in garages). My thought had been that rubber flooring was water proof and durable, and hey how expensive can it be if people put it in their garages.
Well...what I saw online looked like it was about $15 for a cartoon of 20 tiles. The sales person struggled with the computer but she thought it was that price too.
After a long wait and a third sales person it turned out that it was $15 a tile....that's a big difference. Hence I almost had a heart attack.
So, we headed for the self-stick tile. The plan is today to clear the room and then put in the floor tomorrow.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Random thoughts for the day

Doug- already plays the air guitar.....

Andy- grumpiest before he falls asleep in the car

Josie- when asked what her favorite thing about today was? She said "Jesus loves me."

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

God works in mysterious ways

This is a story about the mysterious ways that God works.
I believe I have mentioned that we still have boxes and such in our workroom downstairs. They are there from when we moved in about a year and a half a ago. Most of the boxes left are boxes that need to be gone through. Many of them have things from my classroom, and many of those are files of papers that I didn't use a whole lot anyway but I need to decide what to keep and what to get rid of.
I wasn't really finding time to go through much of it and clean it out. So....enter Dodge.

I think I mentioned in the Spring that Jim ended up bringing home a foundling cat who had crawled up in his truck. She ended up living and moving in with us and is now named Dodge.

It also turns out that she has the feline version of HIV. Our other cats do not have this.
So we do not want to turn her out to possibly infect the neighborhood(plus we wouldn't feel right about abandoning a cat anyway) and we have to keep her separate from our other cats. So she lives in our workroom.

She was gaining too much weight with the food just out, so we give her some food for breakfast and then again for dinner.

This actually means that we have to go in to see her every day and give her a bit of love (she is a very friendly cat who is playful and the kids adore her).
So while I am visiting Dodge and giving her some companionship I have started sorting boxes.

And I have now made a noticeable dent in what is left down there. There is more to go, but a little bit at a time I am lightening our load with the help of Dodge.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Why mothers of twin boys must have strong hearts

We got an earth ball for Christmas. It has stayed in the package waiting for the right time to blow it up.
I finally inflated it and what do Doug & Andy do?

One stood at the far end of the playroom.
The other stood at the bottom of the steps holding the ball.

The one at the bottom of the steps would lob the ball as hard as he could toward the middle of the room.
They both would take off running at the ball and would end up bouncing off each other with the ball in between.

Then repeat.

I am still breathing.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Imagination

Andy is a force of something.
The child will talk your ear off.
He also will manage to get his brother and sister upset because he is pretty forceful about imposing his view of how things are going imaginatively.
Case in point: We're driving. Andy is playing (with sound effects) Star Wars.
Doug is playing along (nothing like hearing "Stay on target...Stay on target" coming from the back seat).
Andy decides that Doug did the wrong thing (I think Doug was Anakin) and is now bad and Andy claims to have shot down Doug's ship.
Despite parents claiming that they are pretending and that Doug can pretend something different if he doesn't like what Andy says...we end up listening to wailing for five minutes because Doug is upset that Andy has shot down his ship and that Andy will not change that he has shot down Doug's ship.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Noodle Boy

Andy has embraced his persona....he has even started telling other people his title. He is "Noodle Boy"

It doesn't mater what kind of noodle it is...he will eat it. His favorite is mac & cheese, but Ramen is good, spaghetti, lasagna, etc. are also fine. I made him very happy on the way back from our trip by splitting the Italian Sampler from Olive Garden with him (they don't have a noodle sampler for kids). He was introduced to a new noodle on Friday night. Doug told Jim he wanted chicken for dinner and Andy said noodles. So that got translated into stir fry with chicken and chow mien noodles. The child would eat noodles at every meal if I would allow it.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Why are body noises funny

We were driving along and Doug made a sound that was obviously intended to be a fake burp. I gave him a hard time about it so of course for the last several days he has been running around making fake (not very realistic) burping sounds.

Andy thinks it is hilarious.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Sleeping Teams

One of the probably strangest things to come out of our trip was the idea of "sleeping teams".
The first night we started with all of the children in one hotel bed and Jim and me in the other. Shortly after the lights went out Josie switched beds to be between mommy and daddy.

The second night we started with all three children in one bed and Jim and me in the other. Some time around 2am Doug had something upsetting him and I actually brought him to our bed.

The third night about the time I finished saying "Josie stay in your own space" since Doug and Andy were complaining...I felt Josie pushing in between Jim and I. Then Doug swapped beds and Jim went to sleep with Andy where there was more room and suddenly we had sleeping teams.

Each night the idea was that each bed would get points so that it was a contest. The bed with the first person to fall asleep would get points. The bed with the person who slept the longest in the morning would get points. Did we actually keep points? No...but it all sounds good to 4 year olds.

Now that we are home the kids are complaining that they want to be on sleeping teams again. Last night we tried to convince Doug and Andy that they had moved up to the more challenging "synchronized sleeping" competition where they were each in their own bed.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Update (to get you up-to-date)

We went on a trip to visit Jim's sister and her family. The kids did pretty well in the car (having movies helps) but we did discover that Doug does much better sitting next to Josie than Andy does (or perhaps Josie does much better sitting next to Doug...it is a two way street).

The kids had a good time playing with their cousin Sam. Nana and Pop came at the same time so it was nice to have so many people together. We had fun visiting. We went swimming while we were there. We went to an indoor play place with lots of bouncy toys. We played at a playground.

Ironically, one of the most popular things with my children was the hotel rooms. We had a hotel room on the way there and the way back, and we stayed in an extended stay place while we were there. Josie kept saying that it was "like a house" and Andy just wanted everyone to come see our hotel room. We drove until we could drive no more on the way back so the two chain hotels were full at the exit we got off at. We ended up in a suite at a local place that was "unique" but Doug thought it was beautiful. I'm not quite sure on the era but it had to be 1960's to 1970's as it was completely wood paneling walls, had a large walk-in-closet, and a kitchen area that had saloon doors at the entrance.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Phrases that fill my days

Here are some of the things my children constantly say:
  • What? (mostly Andy and Josie)
  • Why? (all three use this...and I do occasionally fall into the "because I said so" answer)
  • I can't wait for my own coffee (Josie)
  • I'm doing my work (Andy)
  • You do it for me mom (Andy & Doug)
  • I do it MYSELF! (Josie & Andy)
  • I want to watch TV (Doug & Josie)

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Development

Hmmm...I do not know that it is a good developmental milestone that I was trying to get some information out of Doug tonight and Andy was telling him not to say anything while mom was in the room.

My babies are growing up and I don't know that they are so innocent anymore....

Monday, August 3, 2009

Beware of the Inja!

We watched something that had ninja's in it (Don't worry...it was a humorous thing not scary). So Andy went running back to his room and came out with a pair of pants on his head and an upside-down shirt pulled over his legs and torso.
He spent the next hour running around claiming that he was "An Inja!"

Did I think to pull out my camera?
Yes...about two seconds before he decided to take off his costume.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Things that make me happy!

Here is a randomly ordered list of things that make me happy:
  • My family
  • The smell of my almond scented shampoo
  • Listening to funny podcasts
  • Good stories (movies or books)
  • Warm chocolate (both smelling it and eating it)
  • Seeing that I have accomplished things
  • When my children give me a full body hug
  • Laughing & being silly with friends and family
  • When my children play with my hair while I am carrying them or they are sitting on my lap
  • Remembering that in all things there is hope (it sometimes just takes some thinking outside the box).

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Art

Every so often Andy goes on an art binge. He will find the art supplies and just want to use them. It is helpful to have a bunch of scrap paper on hand because he will tend towards a few marks on a sheet of paper and he's done and moving on to the next one.
This afternoon it was the watercolors. Of course when he wants to do it then so do the other children. This turned out to be a good thing as there was a thunder storm this afternoon and with all of the lightening and clouds the satellite TV was (and is) having issues (first difficulty getting reception during the storm, then a pinkish picture after the storm, and Jim is now trouble-shooting sound issues with customer service).
Anyway, I had a delightful time water coloring with them. Josie was particularly content painting for quite awhile. She happily filled up several papers with small blobs of color that made no particular picture. Doug actually produced two humanoid "monsters" with bodies and legs and eyes. Andy...it was hard to tell what he was making. It had something to do with his "flower business" and it also involved gluing strips of paper on to the edges of his paper.

Friday, July 31, 2009

The Sleep Monster

Andy had a late nap yesterday and was having trouble going to sleep at night. So he and I did a bunch of chatting while I was trying to give him a chance to get sleepy. It turns out that he hides under his covers and that he is hiding from a sleep monster...sort of.
Apparently the sleep monster is nice. He eats meat. And he fights off bad monsters. So apparently it is really the bad monsters the sleep monster is going to fight that Andy is trying not to see when he is under the covers.

I asked him if someone had told him about the sleep monster or if he had figured it out on his own. He said that he saw the sleep monster and just knew.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Girls, Girls, Girls

We had a new fast food restaurant with an indoor play area open up recently in our town. The kids have been begging to go to it and we went yesterday afternoon. We ate and then let the kids play for awhile on the play equipment. Two girls came along who looked to be about the same age as Andy and Doug. They latched on to my boys (or my boys latched on to them...I'm not sure which happened first) rather quickly. Andy kept referring to "my new friends" and they would hold hands going up the steps and going down the slide. They seemed happiest when they all ended up in a heap at the bottom of the slide.

Many of Andy's good friends (and Doug's too for that matter) from preschool last year were girls. I will be most interested to see who they talk about this coming year.

Oh, and don't ask the name of the girls. My boys never bothered to ask.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Fig Pie

I have been searching for recipes to do with our fresh figs from the backyard. Not wanting to spend hot hours in the kitchen making jam, preserves, or pickled figs we have been freezing the figs in a single layer on a cookie sheet and then bagging them. At the moment we have more than 120 pounds in the freezer.

We have been eating some fresh figs and sharing some. I also have been looking for recipes. The big catch on recipes is that so many ask for dried figs. However, I have found some recipes and I decided to make a fig pie.
I'll be the first to admit that I am a lazy cook, so I did not want a recipe that required me to much to the figs ahead of time (which is also the draw back to making many cookies because you have to have already made jam with the figs). I did not peel the figs like it said to, but instead just quartered the figs. The recipe I used can be found at Fresh Fig Pie.

It made a great breakfast.