Thursday, July 21, 2016

At least 32% easier...

So it's been a while. 

In the time I've been away (and this post might not mark my return to blogging; it's actually a Facebook post that got so extremely long that I thought, "Hmmmmm, this is way too long. Anyone who reads this is going to go cross eyed if I put it here... Wait!... Where's that blog again?")...

Ahem... Starting over...

In the time I've been away... 

I've gotten a divorce (but have a great texting relationship with the kids' dad and they see him every other weekend), gotten a new job (same place I had been working, just in a new area), and have been trying to let my kids be more independent and make choices for themselves (while giving the full disclaimer that those choices come with consequences, so make good ones). 

Things in the last year or two could have been so difficult for me with bills and house stuff and kid stuff and work stuff, but I have a great family, and parents especially, who have been there for me in good and bad times. Parents who got involved, came to school events, went with me and the kids to fun activities where three kids and one mom would have been challenging, and so much more. I couldn't have asked for a better support.  (They DO live with me, so they were already around for some of it, but they chose to take on more just to help me.)

So now, looking back on where I was to where I am now, I just have to say, things with  life and with the kids are so much easier (or at least 32% easier) than they were just a year ago. 

Katie... She's 10 now and is such a good helper... she'll read to her brothers or play a video game or computer game with them and I can hear her talking with such patience and kindness (she helps with chores that aren't hers, too, like the clear table chore Jacob drew tonight). She is "obsessed with the color blue" (like a minty teal blue) right now, and is so excited to move her room downstairs... her room will be teal blue and grey. 

She's also been showing a very mature side... I got a call from Katie at day care a couple of weeks ago asking me to pick her up early because there was bullying going on at the day care. The teachers took care of it, but she didn't want to stay because she felt uncomfortable. I guess the mean girls were trying to get her to join them in the bullying and she wouldn't, which is a huge relief because, until my kid was faced with the situation of bullying and peer pressure - and these bullying girls were friendly with her at day care!, I wasn't sure how she would handle it; I was so proud of her for choosing wisely. 

Later, after everything had been talked through, I remembered I had told her, and my boys, from a very young age, that if they're in a situation they don't want to be in or in trouble, they could call me and I'd come get them.  (I also tell them that if they were doing something they shouldn't be doing and they call me to get them out of the situation, I would come, and I wouldn't yell at them when I picked them up. I'd very patiently wait until the next morning...) So maybe some of what I say is sticking? I hope so...


Jacob is 7 and is very responsible and conscientious (sometimes I'll tell him to go do something and I'll go to remind him and he's already done it, he just didn't make a fuss about it!) and he loves to explain things... he also enjoys a good joke and has a very good sense of what is fair. He likes to cuddle, but only if it's just him (he doesn't want to share mom with his brother or sister). 

And he LOVES Minecraft, playing Minecraft, watching Minecraft videos, talking about Minecraft. He usually brings two of his (Minecraft) books to day care each day but  the other day he was sad because he was sure  he had forgotten them. I was going to bring them to his class but could only find one. I got there and he's got a friend sitting next to him and another on the carpet holding one of the "forgotten" books. Turns out he left them at school and the book I brought was Katie's. Left that with him and when I walked past the room again (after checking on Jack), saw him and 3 other little boys sitting around the table... talking Minecraft. 

He does not enjoy being outside. Some days, when it's nice, I have to tell him that we're all going to spend 10 minutes outside (I'm not outdoorsy, but I go too). Usually once he's out there, he finds something fun to do and, before we know it, 30 minutes has passed! And sometimes even 45!

Lastly, Jackson. Jackson is 5 and, well, he's Jackson. He's been getting away with pretty much everything until recently because he's been "the baby". And, because he's super cute and knows it, it's gone on for far too long.  

Now, because I figured I should try to prepare him to be more responsible because he'll be in kinder next year, he's got to do "big kid" stuff, like putting away his laundry and doing home chores, so he can have the benefits of being a "big kid." 

One of the benefits is going to bed when "the big kids" go to bed. (Shhhhhh, don't tell him that bedtime is at any time between 6 pm and 9 pm, and that the earlier bed times are often randomly chosen by me based on how well the kids are getting along and how tired I am.) he loves hearing that it's time for big kids to go to bed and when he asks me if that means him too, I say, "Of course! You're a big kid!"

It's so fun to see him work on filling the dishwasher or setting the table (he likes to pick out just the right plates and cups, and he laughs when he sneaks in a baby spoon at someone's spot!). 

He's been having a hard time at day care, though, just like his big brother did at the same age, and pretty much making his teachers roll their eyes and sigh heavily. We're working on that so it will hopefully NOT be a big deal in the fall. 😳

School is starting in a little over a month, and I think I have three kids who are ready and excited to go. I'm so proud of them. 

(*I'm* not prepared to see them as a kindergartner, 2nd grader, or MIDDLE SCHOOLER, though. And I am definitely soooo not fully prepared for all of the school supplies... those  lists are crazy!)

They still have their moments when they make ME roll MY eyes and sigh heavily, but overall, I'm so proud of the people they're growing up to be.

So this turned out to be a rather lengthy post. I'm glad I remembered this blog and maybe I'll remember to post more here... Life's been good, but super busy, so who knows what will come up in the next little while!

Also, it's super late and I'm trying not to be such a perfectionist in the things I have a tendency to over think (like, say, anything I write) so... I'm posting this without reading it over 5 times. Good night!

Monday, December 23, 2013

Just some observations and stuff…


 
I’m looking at Jackson and he’s sitting next to me with his hands behind his head. This seems to be his laying/sitting lounging pose. It’s very cute. Just as cute as his standing lounging pose where he leans on something with one or both hands in his pockets and one foot on top of the other. Right now he’s patiently waiting for Despicable Me to be over so he can watch his evening episode of Team Umizoomi*.

*Team Umizoomi is Jackson’s most favorite show in the universe. There is no program he likes better. He asks to watch Team Umizoomi alllllll of the time. He loves it. I’m so happy that it’s actually quite educational.

Jackson has been talking a lot. And making total sense. He says things like “that would be great!” and "Mommy, I don't want to do that. I want to ..." or “Where is Katie and Jacob?” when we got in the car last week and it was just me and him on the way to school. Stuff he says makes me stop and stare for just a moment. I don’t remember the other kids being so clear and forming full sentences at two years old, but I could be mistaken. It just seems weird that he's SO clear!

Jacob also likes Umizoomi. It's not his favorite show, but he enjoys it. He’ll shout out the answers to the questions they ask… like, which unit of measure is larger. Or what color in the pattern comes next. Or how many cartons of milk are there. He’s always right, too. I told him today that he’s super smart. His reply was short, sweet, and to the point… a simple “I know” and then as he's craning his neck to see around my face, “mommy, you're in the way… I can’t see Umizoomi.”

Jake also has a new routine at night. It involves him racing Jackson to bed because the first kid in bed gets their song sung first (point to mommy for thinking this up). So, after I sing Jacob’s song to Jacob, and Jackson’s song to Jackson, and pray with them, and give Jacob his water with ice, and give Jackson “fresh” water, and say “what” about 800 times and try to answer those 800 questions, and finally say “that’s enough, it’s time to go to sleep”, THEN Jacob will tell me “Good night and sleep tight, don’t let the bedbugs light” (yes, he does say “light”), then Jackson will say “good night, sleep tight, I love you”. And then... finally it’s okay for me to leave the room. This process cannot be altered by much or it makes for a long evening of interruption. The interruption is limited to Jacob because Jack’s still in his crib and hasn’t figured out how to climb out of it yet. (There was one touch and go moment where I overheard Katie and Jacob start to tell him how he could get out all by himself but I stopped them with a loud hiss and a very emphatic “NO! It’s too dangerous. He could fall and hurt himself.” That was the main reason but a very close second was that he stays put when I put him to bed. I want to hold on to that for as long as I can.)
 

Katie was playing downstairs with the boys earlier today and she sent me a note using Jacob as a messenger saying that I needed to come down and talk to her “about a thing.” Apparently Jacob was misbehaving. She wanted me to sit and listen to her explain everything in (very detailed) detail. When I suggested she make a list* and give it to me later, she got out a piece of paper from the stack next to her and drew a line down the middle. She labeled one side Good, the other side Bad. Well, I thought bad sounded a little harsh so I suggested she use “area for improvement”, which would have been amusing for me, but she said no, she was using the word “bad.” Apparently, the person sitting on the princess chair behind the princess table gets to make that call. A few minutes later I had to go upstairs to see what Jackson was up to and I haven’t seen that list yet. But I probably will.
 
*Katie is very good at recording behavior. One weekend when the kids went to the lake with their grandma and grandpa, Katie gave me a chart of behavior she recorded for one of the days. She used the colors they use at school… green is good, yellow is not great, red is really naughty. I’ll just say that Jacob’s favorite color in the world is red. It’s the color of Darth Vader’s light saber AND the color of hot lava. It's not easy being Jacob's teacher at school. I really feel for them.

Things start out okay...

 


But they go downhill pretty quickly...
 
I went to Katie’s conferences a few weeks ago. She’s pretty much awesome in class. She’s a great kid and a great student. The only thing the teacher mentioned is that she doesn’t turn in her homework. It doesn’t concern the teacher because Katie’s doing really well in class. This is good, because I think homework is dumb. Yes, you heard me... I. think. homework. is. dumb. I thought so back when I was in school and didn’t turn mine in, and I think so now that Katie is in school and not turning hers in. So I don’t push for her to do it much. I would rather know that she’s got the people skills and is good at thinking for herself. Now, if she was sick and had to stay home for a few days, I would want her to do it so she would be familiar with the lessons but generally, I’m not going to be the homework police.

Everyone’s asleep now and I’m sitting in the living room enjoying the peace. And thinking of the stuff I need to do before Tuesday. For Christmas eve. You know... TWO days away. Oh, the pressure!
 
Aside from the worry that I'll forget something important, I’m really looking forward to Christmas this year. Getting together with my family, eating some really good food, and watching the kids open presents and play together.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Ho, ho, ho! or Traditions are Fun

 
Yay! It’s almost Christmas… and I have the presents to prove it. They’re all stored in my bedroom.


I think they’re safe in there. It’s the one place in the whole house where the kids aren’t allowed to play. They go in only to grab their nooks (and they leave the light on every single time, which drives me nuts) or wake me up on the weekends, but it’s not a gathering place.


You know, I used to have this thought that it would be sweet to snuggle in bed and watch TV together, but in reality it’s mostly  pretty uncomfortable because everyone piles on top of me and then they all vie for the best spot… which is usually the spot my head is occupying. Then, and this is all just speculation on my part (is it still speculation if it's highly likely to happen?), a serious fight would break out over who should have "the best spot," and then there would be an argument over what to watch, and then one kid would want to play on their nook but would have forgotten to charge it, and then another kid would go and get their fully charged nook and comment on everything they're doing on it which would upset the owner of the not fully charged nook, then someone would want to eat breakfast, and then someone else would be upset because they want to cuddle more, then my newspaper would be crinkled and torn in all of the ruckus and everyone would be cranky... so, no, we don’t gather there and spend lazy Saturday mornings with me reading the paper in bed and the kids lounging around in their jammies next to me watching cartoons. Instead, we do our lounging in the living room where we can all spread out unless we want to cuddle. Like right now for example… I’m typing this while Jackson sits next to me, Katie next to him, and Jacob next to her. We’re squished onto two thirds of the couch. It’s cozy and no one has their feet in my face. Plus, it’s very warm. (If I didn’t have this laptop in my lap, I would try to convince Jacob to sit with me too… on the foot rest because 1. he likes to sit there, and 2. he keeps my legs warm when he sits on them.)


Oh, we had a really fun day last Saturday. Grammy had sugar cookies made and we got to go decorate them! (On a related note, I need to buy Grammy some decorating stuff because the kids dumped all of hers out while decorating their cookies.) It wasn’t too bad of a mess because we had them put their cookies into a dish before they dumped a ton of stuff on them. We brought our cookies home and I’ve been eating them all week. They turned out really good and I would say that next year Grammy should make the same recipe for the cookies and frosting. And then she should invite us over again to decorate them. This would be a great tradition. Are you reading this Grammy?


And finally, I’m starting to get excited about Christmas. We went to the Christmas service at church and there were Christmas decorations and Christmas songs and a really good pastor message and my mom went with us. Yay! AND I’ve got most of our presents bought. Now I just have to wrap them (while watching the Christmas movie marathons on Hallmark channel, of course... that seems to have become my tradition. Yes, Hallmark channel movies and running out of tape because, for some reason, I always think I have way more than I actually have, and I always expect to find a backup roll in the last place I remember seeing one… even though I used *that* tape up when I ran out the year before. Maybe I need to find new traditions, like Netflix and buying lots of tape in advance). I’m also excited because this year I planned ahead and bought stuff for their stockings instead of waiting till the last minute.


Okay, finally for real this time, Jacob is wearing a Santa hat. He’s worn it all day, since Grandpa gave it to him. He wore it while playing, he wore it while eating, he wore it at church… he’ll probably want to wear it to bed. Yes, he wore it to bed. I took it off of him and put it on one of his toys so he'll see it in the morning.