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.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Stepping Carefully onto the Bandwagon

I got a new phone recently. It's pretty awesome. Especially for something I didn't know I would want.

It's... an... iphone.

I was perfectly happy with my old LG Ally until I went to Target with my mom and grandma and they were looking at the iphone my mom saw advertised for $49. I was still perfectly happy with my phone while I watched as the lady walked my grandma through the process. This started at around 8:30 p.m..

I was still perfectly happy with my old phone while I did a little shopping. 

But then, you know, at around 9:00 p.m., I started thinking about a new phone. Something I hadn't had for a few years because I didn't want to renew my contract. And I started to think a new phone wasn't such a bad idea.

So I did it. I signed on for a iphone. And the best part about it is that it was free! Sure, there was a $50 out of pocket cost but then they give you a gift card for $50. Win/Win.

I picked white. Because it looked clean and I could find it in my dark purse. And I guess I like it. It's no LG Ally, but it looks like this iphone thing isn't just a fad so I'm jumping on the bandwagon.

Plus, I feel like I'm embracing the present by buying one.

(I don't even set the clock on my VCR... or program the remote for TV and cable (I changed the code on my remote about 3 weeks ago when I tried to program the DVD to work with my TV and when it didn't work AND I realized I messed up the code, I just started using two remotes; one for cable, one for volume), or change my clocks for daylight savings.)

We got home at around 11 p.m. then sat around playing on our new phones. Pretty awesome.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Laundry. Why doesn't it just do itself?

I have a basket.

It's just one basket but it's full to the brim with socks. Based on the massive amount of socks in the basket, I am amazed that we have ANY socks in our dresser drawers.

I think about the actual size of socks. Not that big, right? And then I think about how many socks would be needed to FILL a basket. That's a lot of socks. And they're all in my basket.

And since I am the only person who I trust NOT to toss the socks around the room when forced to do something with them, I'm the one who will match them up and put them away. Although, if the kids were going to be home this weekend, I *might* have made them sit with me and help... but they're going to the lake with grandma and grandpa. So, down side is that I'll be matching and folding socks all by myself, the upside is that my matched and folded socks will stay matched and folded.

Of course I had to fit some fun friend plans into the weekend. We're going to some art thing... to look at some art. I'll get some culture and won't spend the day in sweat pants and a ratty t-shirt. I think there will be jewelry there too so I might even buy myself something pretty! That's my plan for fun.

My other, not so fun, plans include shopping for a new pair of jeans, getting an oil change, cleaning popcorn out of the van from the weekend, changing sheets, buying groceries. You know, the stuff that isn't as fun.

Oh well. It could be worse. I could be doing all of the not so fun stuff with three children in tow!

P.S. Here are some pics of the kids at a corn maze. Pumpkin carving pics to come soon!
Katie and Jake bouncing

Jake loved the corn pit

Queen of the hill


I wondered why he had such a weird expression on his face.
Then I realized he was being a pirate.

Katie got to hold a parakeet

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Tuesday Nights have been busy nights...

Tuesday nights have been busy, busy, busy for me and Jacob. I signed him up for a gym class through the community center and so far the kids have played soccer, basketball, football, and baseball. It's like a sampler of sports. And it takes place INDOORS. Which I'm definitely a fan of.

The class only lasts 45 minutes and of that time about 15 minutes is spent wrangling kids. There are only 6 kids in the class but there's at least one kid not listening, running away from the group, or playing with the dots they're supposed to be sitting on. The teacher, Margo, is pretty much the most patient person in the universe. She's never raised her voice at any of the kids and she keeps them involved with the activity. Jacob really likes her. I'm undecided. She may be a pod person.

So, Jacob never actually wants to go to class so I tell him we have to go TO the class to tell his teacher he wants to cancel. And every week, he gets into the van and we drive to class and he tells me he doesn't want to cancel after all. I ask him if he *really* wants to go in and he assures me he *really* does. So in we go. We usually get there early and Margo is getting the balls out. Jake usually picks out a ball and the color he chooses becomes his color for the rest of the night. And no one better mess with his color. The other kids are kind of the same. They pick their color and that's the color they stick with for rest of the class. The funny thing is that next week, they change up the color. After class we hit the restroom and then we go someplace for dinner. I like that part. Sometimes even... Target. Even more awesome.

The other kids hang out at home with Grandma and Grandpa or (one week) with Grammy and Grampy. They haven't complained that they feel left out... yet.

As I type this, Katie and a friend are giggling from their bed of blankets on the floor. Katie wanted to invite a friend to Awana tonight. She's also been wanting to have this friend sleep over. Well, between Jackson getting sick, the kids being at the lake, me just feeling tired and not wanting to plan anything... it just didn't happen. But when I was texting her friends mom last night about this friend coming to Awana, I mentioned that she could also sleep over. And here we are! It's almost 9:30 p.m. on a Wednesday night and they're having fun watching Taylor Swift and One Direction videos and playing games (there may have been a "Roar" and a "Just give me a reason" in there too... with accompaniment by Katie and friend which is just adorable!). Lights out in 15 minutes.

Jackson wasn't feeling good. He's got a cough but otherwise seems fine. He made me smile tonight. He usually brings an assortment of funny things to bed with him, for example he went to sleep tonight with his baby doll, a slinky dog flashlight (from Toy Story) that really barks, his sippy, and my blanket. He wanted me to sing a song and as I started singing, he sang along.

We've got plans this Saturday with a few friends. I'm looking forward to it but at the same time I'm starting to plan. What goes into the diaper bag, what do the kids need to wear, do I have a bright shirt to dress each kid in so I can see them easily, how will they do on the car ride, did I buy enough food tickets in advance... the list goes on. But it will be a lot of fun. Tiring but fun.

Work is great too. I love my job. It's been a year and I still like what I'm doing and my coworkers are great. Busy but really good.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

What doesn't kill you makes you stronger...

We've successfully completed Katie's first week of 2nd grade. SECOND GRADE. Katie loves her teacher, one of her best friends is in her class, and she has been happy and upbeat about getting up in the morning. Like, so happy she hasn't growled at me when we share bathroom space and I happen to get within 2 feet of her space bubble.

It's been great.

I took the day off so I could get her to school. Me and the boys walked her to her class and Jacob went in and gave her a big hug before we left. There were no teary eyes (mine OR hers), mostly because she just marched in and moved her name from the "out" section to the "in" section on the smart board, then sat down at her table.

As a side note? Smart boards are awesome.

I stayed and watched her for a few minutes then we headed home to get in the car and head to the day care where I had an appointment for Jack's conferences at 10:00 and there was an open house for both of the boys.

Jack's conference was good. I heard a lot of positive stuff about Jack and he's "developing as expected" which is great! The leader was saying that he's got a funny and kind of advanced sense of humor, he's talking a lot, he comforts others when they are upset, he's very loving when he plays with dolls, and he's still a little clumsy. (A little clumsy is better than a lot clumsy which is what he used to be.) Oh, and they'll start potty training as soon as they see cues that he's ready. Woo hoo!

Then we had a treat... kiwi smiles. They're just graham crackers topped with whipped mixed berry cream cheese and kiwi slices. I didn't think it sounded good but it turned out to be delicious! (So good that I had to buy the stuff to make them at home.) We also visited Jacob's room and looked around.

I needed to pick Katie up after school and Grammy came over to watch the boys so I could spend some special time with her to hear about her day. Jack ended up sleeping the whole time so she got to visit with Jacob.

I waited in front of school wondering which door she would come out of. One of the day care people who was also helping out at the school told me that 2nd graders usually come out of the door on the right. Not realizing he was telling me this specifically because my kid is a SECOND GRADER, I asked which door 1st graders come out of. Duh.

I was so relieved to hear that Katie had a great first day. We stopped and sat down in the grass on the school property and Katie enjoyed her drink and snack cake. We chatted about school and the kids in her class while we watched everyone heading home. After about 30 minutes, we headed off to relieve grammy.

The boys started day care the next day and I headed back to work. Drop off was weird. Jackson usually clings and wants to stay with me. Jacob usually marches into class. That day, Jackson marched right in and started to play with his friends. Jacob was extremely clingy. He was adorable though. I had to have hugs and kisses and he told me that he loves me even when he can't see me. Is that cute or what!

Going back to work was a welcome relief after the horribleness of last week. The kids were all home, no day care or school, and grammy and grampy watched them on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. I was home with them Tuesday and Thursday. Those two days were the loooooooongggggggesstttttttt days I have ever experienced*. It was like the days stretched into a neverending rotation of kids fighting, kids playing nicely, kids fighting, kids jumping, kids screaming, kids yelling, kids playing nicely, kids pulling out all of their toys, kids hitting, kids fighting, kids playing, kids running, then finally... finally... kids sleeping.

*I wouldn't recommend last week to anyone. Jacob has a laugh he uses, I think he modeled it after the laugh at the end of the Thriller video, and I usually hear this laugh when he's doing something he should not be doing. Like sitting on his brother, pushing him over, throwing toys at Katie, jumping off of the couch, etc. I heard the laugh many many many times last week. And  at about mid-day every day, I had a strong desire to throw candy and BBQ chips at the kids just to keep them safely occupied.

It just makes me even more thankful for the support I have from my grandparents and parents. And reminds me of how lucky am I that my parents live here! Mom and I figure out what's for dinner, dad plays with the kids, I actually have time to fold laundry or clean the bathroom... and I feel less alone. (And BONUS that mom is a good cook. I love when she makes dinner!)

Well, I'm off to be productive. Nothing exciting. Just time to clean the kids' bedrooms and maybe "put away" some toys. Because they aren't here at the moment so I won't have to hear them complain when I throw away the broken toys or the happy meal toys. Not surprising, those toys won't be missed when they get home.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

You've got a friend in me... or, Surreal Errand Trip

We were in the car yesterday after day care pick up. I had a very... optimistically extensive errand list that I didn't think we would get through but I decided to just take a deep breath and go for it.

We headed to the library first to return a stack of books that were just a tiny bit overdue. We used the outside book return. Jake went first with his books, then Jack returned mine, then Katie, who had been waiting patiently with her three books, went. Jackson didn't realize that his fun was over and he turned to Katie expecting to put one of her books in the return. When she saw his sad face, she gave him not one, but TWO of her books to return. I was very proud of her kindness.

We hopped back into the car and headed to the mall. I wanted to go to Bath and Body for their free lotion. We parked and I went to the back to get the stroller out. Katie and Jake hopped out of the car and I reminded them that they needed to keep a hand on the car when we were in parking lots. Now, usually they ignore me until I threaten to put them back into the car but that day they actually listened!

I got Jackson settled and buckled in (he loves the stroller, or maybe it's just that he loves getting out!). Then I told Jacob that his spot was going to be next to the stroller, holding on to the side. Imagine my surprise when he actually listened and did what I asked! The whole time we were in the mall, except when he forgot, and for the couple of minutes at DEB when I told him he could dance to the music, and a few minutes at Bath and Body when he was smelling stuff. And when he forgot and walked off I just had to ask him "Jacob? Where are you supposed to be right now?" and he was back before I could blink.

There were a couple of tense moments when he and Jackson started to scuffle. But Jacob was holding onto the side of the stroller the whole time. HA!

Oh, and I don't shop at DEB. Never been in it. But Katie asked if we could go so I said yes. We went in and she marched her way to the back of the store. We looked at sparkly dresses and I put some of them up to her in front of the mirror so she could see how she looked. Then she asked where they did ears. And that the girl "over there" (points a few racks over to a little girl maybe a year older than her) was telling her mom that she was nervous to have her ears pierced. So we asked if they did ears, and they don't. It was a little odd. Then Katie led us out and off we went back to the car.

We stopped to get some groceries (and of course I realized once we got home that I was almost out of milk and orange juice, ugh) and then picked up a pizza for dinner. There was no fighting. None.

Then, on the ride home from the pizza place I sang them that James Taylor song about "you've got a friend in me". Katie looks at the boys and says, "If you ever needed me, I would come. And Jacob, if you were drowning in the water, I would throw you a life saver. And then I would jump in and pull you to shallow water. and save you. Because you're my brother." It was one of those "awwwwww" moments. And pretty awesome to hear, as their mother who gets to hear all of the fights and yelling.

And the other day when Katie was doing naughty things and Jacob was following her lead (mostly not listening at an earlier trip to the store), I told him that he shouldn't go along with her if she was doing something mommy didn't want her to do. I asked him if he was going to listen to Katie or if he was going to listen to mommy next time... because if he listened to mommy he wouldn't get into trouble. He looks at me and says, "Mommy, I don't want to choose sides."

While their teaming up can be a little trying sometimes (because I seriously don't need TWO children looking at me like I'm a big dork much less three with Jackson joining the crew), I love that they're sticking together. And that Katie would be there for them if they needed her. I always tell them, "You don't have to like each other, but you have to love each other because your brothers and sister will always be there."

So far that whole "love each" other thing is tested daily with arguments, stuff being thrown, scuffles that end with someone crying, water being spilled, but there are more and more "I'll always be there" moments like this one. And I'm very grateful for that.

Saturday, August 3, 2013


Hi all. It's been awhile since I've posted. I've got some personal stuff going on that I never thought I would be going through (DUM dum dummmmm) and I've been avoiding a lot of things computer related. And paper related. And phone related.

I'm not going to say a lot about it here, other than to share that I'm filing for a divorce*. Well, I'll start filing as soon as I finally force myself to dig around for the documents I need. Which could take me awhile. If you remember the social security card debacle you'll know what I mean. (I actually did get that taken care of, finally. It was very anticlimactic. Disappointing really.)

*Yes, divorce. Queue the violins. And the sad trumpets. And the clowns with sad, frowney faces ... wait, no clowns. *shudder* Too scary.

Meanwhile, the kids are doing great (considering the situation) and all of them are in the same day care over the summer. Hooray for not having to drop two off in one place and the other somewhere else!

The two older kids are taking lots of fun classes. The baby (who's two so he's not so babyish anymore!) gets to participate in one of the classes but otherwise that age group is just too little for the cooking, outside adventures, and dance routine classes the older kids get to do. He's pretty busy anyway with all of the crafts they do in his class and the play time they have.

It's so cute to see them with their friends at pick up and drop off. Katie is still friends with the same two girls she met when she was four and started with the day care. Jacob seems to make friends pretty easily but he talks about the same two boys pretty regularly (and when he saw another friend in the hall, they shared a goodbye hug which was very cute!). Jackson is friends with everyone. It surprised me that he could name the kids from their pictures in the hallway. I mean, hearing him talk these days I have to look to make sure it's Jackson talking and not Jacob! There are times when I can't understand anything but those times are getting fewer and fewer.

Some highlights from the week:
1. Jackson ate toothpaste. Sure, he ate it off of a toothbrush (neither of which were his) so that's a step in the right direction.
2. Katie told me we were all (me, Katie, Jacob, and Jack) BFFIID's or "Best Friends Forever Intil I Die"... we'll be working on spelling.
3. I bought the kids squirt bottles from Target. BEST 97 cent purchase ever. They go outside and have a great time spraying everything.
4. We had a movie night and watched Jumanji while we ate popcorn.
5. Jacob loves Darth Vader. Still.

So, while the divorce is horrible, I'm doing pretty well. And I'm actually happier than I've been in a long time. Which is really saying something.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Some things just don't make sense. And sometimes that's pretty funny.

True story...

I was at Menards a couple of weeks ago. As I walked down the aisle where the cash registers are, I saw a little boy (maybe 6 years old) pulling on something that seemed to be connected to the shelving, it looked like a pipe.

He was really tugging and pulling to loosen whatever it was. I was about 5 registers away when he finally pulled it loose and he was pretty surprised. And I finally figured out what it was. One of the railings on the endcap. That was supposed to not probably come out. It was about 5 feet long (longer than this boy was tall) and it was shaped like an "L".

He looked up to see me walking toward him and gives me this guilty face, an "oh boy am I in trouble now" look, as he was holding this railing in front of him with both hands. I kept a straight face and when I was about 6 feet away, I shrugged and gave him an oops look. He shrugged with the same look back. As I passed him I said, "Well, these things happen". (I do not know WHY that's the ONE THING that popped into my head as logical to say in that situation.) He shrugged again and smiled a little.

Once I was about 6 feet away I looked back to see what he was doing and saw him just standing there, holding this long railing, trying to figure out what to do with it. Then as I watched, he dropped it to the floor, looked around to see if anyone heard the noise as it hit, then walked away... quickly.

It's still making me laugh even weeks later.

Some happenings I posted on Facebook...

I moved a small bench with shelves from the living room to the boy's room. I guess Katie wanted a change for her room too. She told me that she wants me to "move the objects in her room around so it looks different."

Jackson is so precious. I was singing the song that repeats God made me and God loves me and substituting Jack's name for the word me. I heard him singing the words right after me... Substituting my name. He was singing "God loves mommy" and "God made mommy". It was so sweet.

Leaving urgent care with Katie and I was pushing the button to open the van door but it wasn't working. So I did it a few (or like 10) times and it STILL wasn't working. I was getting frustrated when Katie says, "Mom? Isn't THAT our car?" And points to the car BEHIND the one I was trying to open by yanking on the handle. Once I looked up, I saw that ours was about 3 feet off center from the one I *thought* was ours. This brings back memories of my mom trying to teach me how to drive a stick shift in the parking lot of the church near our house. Apparently we seemed like a threat to the older ladies inside of the church who were watching me drive back and forth, stalling and jolting, around the lot. Enough of a threat that they called the police. Yes, they called the POLICE. Which was a little embarrassing at the time, but funny now. (I still can't drive a stick shift.)

I was telling Katie something about the history of the U.S. flag and she cut me off saying, "Do you have my teacher's phone number?" Like MY guess wasn't good enough. So I told her we would google it when we get home.

(On a side note, does having children make *everyone* feel like a big dork sometimes? Or is it just me.)

Jacob is saying "Hello Oklahoma." Which would be great... if we weren't in Austin. Texas. (We were driving home from a family vacation to Texas with my parents and me and the kids. We were about 5 hours into the drive... with about 30 hours left to go. Thank you for the reminder of how far we had yet to go Jacob.)

On our trip to South Padre, Jacob got one of those water canons (the kind where you draw back the handle and suck water into it, then push the handle to force the water out). He started out by spraying our family; my aunt and uncle, cousins, his sister and little brother, grandpa, grandma. That was a little naughty. But then, THEN he started to spray other people who were not related to us. Like the two older women who were standing in the water up to their knees in shorts and t-shirts just having a nice chat. Or the little, little girl playing near us. And a number of other innocent bystanders. It wouldn't have been so bad if he hadn't laughed like a villian EVERY TIME he did it (a hearty HEH HEH HEHHHHH laugh), RIGHT in front of the now wet, not thrilled children and adults he had just hosed down with water (salt water too, yuck). It was terrible. But funny. No, terrible... No, funny. Yep, it was funny. Mostly because *I* was safely sitting on the beach.

Katie lost her THIRD tooth today while she was eating a piece of hard candy!! I asked if she wanted to put it under her pillow for the tooth fairy and she told me she knew the tooth fairy wasn't real. She was suddenly a believer after hearing that kids who don't believe in the tooth fairy don't get money from the tooth fairy!

And finally, just for fun, here's one of the (surprisingly many) pics I've taken in the car (while stopped at a red light, or parked!). My head looks abnormally large here, but I promise you it's perfectly normal. Jacob or Katie are usually making some odd face in almost every car picture if I give them advance notice that I'm taking it. If I go stealth (or if I provide treats), I can sometimes get a sweet picture of the two of them talking quietly or just gazing out the window. I'm not often stealthy enough. And my treat budget is limited.
 Photo: At a red light.

Well, that's enough for now. Hey! I'll have to post about our trip to Texas soon. It was so much fun! Mostly the actual *being in* Texas. Not so much the getting there and home part. But that is definately another post.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

The beat goes on.

My last post was a little... negative. All about stuff that was going wrong at the time. It's amazing how a little time (and tax money) can change things.

I was down to one car. Out of the blue my mom tells me that one of her friends posted on Facebook that she wanted to sell hers. And its... a minivan. A MINIVAN! Hmmm. Room for my three kids, groceries, kids friends, kids stuff, kids seats NOT right next to each other? SIGN ME UP! I heard about it on Monday, went to look at it on Tuesday, drove it home that night. The color wouldn't have been my first choice, it's gold, but it's beautiful.

The kitchen chairs are sadly damaged. The table is wobbly. Those things (at least ones that can stand up to three small-ish children) aren't cheap. Someone at work advertised that they were selling their table. A round, oak table. With FIVE chairs. At a hugely reasonable price. Bought it. Love it!

Getting bad news from the fridge repair guy that my fridge was on its last legs. There is a part that they can no longer find. Sad news because the fridge is awesome. (Water and ice dispenser = awesome in my book.) Found a NEW one just as nice as the old one for about $500 less than I expected to pay.

My cousin offered me one of those outdoor block things for kids to play on. For free! She came with her little girl and husband to deliver it. The kids played while her husband put it together.

The air conditioning finally went out (bummer, right?). Bad news on top of everything else. Service Plus came out the day after I called to give me an estimate. It's a lot. BUT, I can pay a small amount each month to pay it off.

The kids have been doing well... aside from Jacob's scares with pink eye (yes, scares plural) and Katie's ear infection. Jackson... well, he's fine so far aside from the normal bumps and bruises that come from just being 2 years old.

There are some things in my personal life that are a little tough right now so when I need something to be thankful for I just remember that I have three sweet (mostly!) and totally wonderful kids (always), a supportive family, and great friends.

And remembering all of this awesomely good stuff that has happened in the last 5 months doesn't hurt either.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Depressing rant... Full steam ahead!

(Oops! Just edited to get rid of all of those random characters.)

Ever get so excited about something that you've been working toward, that's finally JUST about to happen... it's right around the corner... only to find out, out of the blue, that it's not going to happen after all?

That was me today.

I've been working with the mortgage company to refinance the house. I've gotten paperwork and I've talked to the guy who sits with you to SIGN the papers. I thought this was a done deal.

Until today's call.

Todays call was a huge letdown.

We can't refinance because of a child support debt. A debt we pay each month. A debt we've been regularly paying off (the required low amount) for the last couple of years.

I'm... disappointed to say the least.

I'm also... mad, and sad, and very unhappy.

Now I have to mentally give back the $300 we would have added to the checking account as a buffer... and for car repair, new insulation, maybe replacing a window or two.

It would have been nice, because we ALSO have doctor visits, hospital bills (ER visits are not cheap), birthdays coming up, Christmas to think about (yes, starting to think about it now), and Katie's clothes that are in their last wears and will need to be replaced.

But, on the upside, our family still has a place to live, food on the table, healthy (aside from some stomach issues and colds) kids, cable and internet, cell phones, and one good car. So I guess it's not ALL that bad.

I'll just add all of that *other* stuff to my running list and *eventually* it will (probably? hopefully? maybe?) happen.


Thus concludes my whining. (And some really weird spacing between paragraphs.)

Sunday, February 17, 2013

THIS is glamour.

This is how I answered the door when the pizza guy delivered the pizza.

This is not how I remembered looking.

Then again, the last time I looked at myself in a mirror it was 2:00 and I had just rushed through a bathroom break before returning to my chores while refereeing the kids in their play. At 2:00 today*, I did not have the thick headband, nor the accenting sparkly BELT of Katie's, on my head. When I add the arm shrug in large floral print that I remember answering the door in, well, it was a winning look.

(*If I was looking for a pearl of wisdom, it might be that alot can change in 3 minutes/hours, and... don't store found accessories on your head while cleaning.)

So, for the first time since 2:00, I looked in the mirror while I was sitting with Jack during his bath. I  realized how I looked... oh so glamorous.

The pizza guy (good looking, young, hip, and did I say good looking?) was smiling a little and I *thought* he was amused by Jake's claim that he could carry the burning hot child size pizza box. Instead, it seems he *may* have been laughing just a little at my appearance.

Then I remembered that I'm a mom of three and while I do clean up nice, I've had these adorable, inquisitive, imaginative barnacles.... er,  kids hanging off of me all day. So I've moved on. Because there are more important things to think about.

Like, does anyone else have a kid who likes to drink their bath water? Pretty gross.

In other news;

Katie and Jake are friends again. They're walking their pillow pets around the house on leashes (made from Katie's tights). They are called "Apple Dash" and "Dark Vader". The kids are VERY responsible stuffed pet owners.

Jake is a BIG fan of Darth Vader. He roots for him in every YouTube video we watch, and he almost has me convinced that D.V. is the hero and *not* Luke Skywalker.

Almost bedtime. The time of night I look soooo forward to. But first, showers for the rest of the kids, then story time, and then bed!

Friday, February 15, 2013

The Secret Garden - Spoiler Alert: It's a story about an ugly, cross girl whose parents die of cholera and who is deserted by the servants soon thereafter. (And that summarizes chapters 1-3)

I just started reading this book with Katie and Jacob tonight. (Well, more with Katie because Jake was out like a light by the 8th page.)

She really liked it, even though we stopped at the end of each section to talk about things that happened. Like, say, CHOLERA ("Where is the cholera, Mom? Is it NOW??"), a little girl being left alone when her parents DIE from the cholera ("What do they do with the people who die, Mommy?"), a little girl being totally FORGOTTEN when all of the servants (who don't really like her anyway) DESERT the house, and the same little girl being described as "cross" and "ugly" for the entire first three chapters... I didn't really remember any of this from when I read the book.

Come to think of it, maybe I saw the movie. Where they summarized lots (and LOTS) of the first chapters. I think that's why all of the story setup is vaguely familiar but still surprising.

But, Katie seems to like it. She was "imagining the story" when she closed her eyes and didn't actually fall asleep, so I guess we'll continue on.

(Jacob can join us. This story is great for putting him right to sleep!)

Speaking of Katie, she's been sick all week. She started puking on Sunday and was FINALLY well enough to go to school today.

I knew she was better because, 1) she was no longer vomiting up ONE ounce of water she tried to drink, 2) she was able to keep some actual FOOD down, and 3) she wasn't the polite little girl she had been.*

*Oddly, my kids lose most of their demanding side when they get sick. Not just puking sick, cough and cold sick too. Dealing with the symptoms is gross, and messy, and a lot of hard work to get through, but it's kinda wonderful too. Because it's not everyday that my kids are all, "please" and "thank you" and "may I" and no one is fighting or exclaiming about how the other kid did them wrong...

Is it weird that I'm a little nostalgic?

Not that I like the puking or anything, it's just a nice change from the yelling and arguing that I see more often than I would like.  And I'm expected to mediate for the arguments when there is clearly no answer that won't result in one or both kids being furious with me.

(My newest approach to fighting/arguing is to put both of them in time out when they start up. They both know in advance that this is what will happen, and I usually ask, "Oh wonderful children that are the sunshines of my life [I may be paraphrasing a little bit here], are you fighting? Because if what I hear is fighting you will both go to time out..." because I'm a softie and don't *actually* want to punish anyone. Luckily, that stops things from progressing, or at least pulls it back from the hitting phase, where no one is a winner.)

They *do* get along a lot of the time though. And they bond over school (Katie's the teacher), Spongebob, books (Katie's the reader), games on Katie's nook (Katie's the game planner), and Katie mothering her brothers, and that makes me proud.

Just too bad we can't stretch that "a lot of the time" to include the other 80% of their waking hours.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Jacob is... Quirky.

<p>So. Every morning Jacob wakes up and fusses because he doesn't want to get up. He says it's too bright, school is stupid, he's too tired, and "eeeaaaaaahhhhhhaaaa". (I don't know what that means. It's just some kind of nails on chalkboard sound he makes when he's... displeased. It's awful. Especially first thing in the morning. Or anytime.)

When he can *finally* be coaxed from bed, daddy helps him get dressed and then it's my turn to oversee the teeth brushing/bathroom stuff. This goes pretty smoothly for the most part, exept for one tiny, little, horrible thing.

Jacob has issues with water.

Oh, he loves to play in it... He can play *in* it forever and his hands and feet can get all pruney and he's fine, but get a drop of water on the kids' clothes and it's the end of the world. Like, must-change-my-shirt, can't-wear that, why-can't-my-shirt-just-be-dry horrible. First thing in the morning. Quirky, right?

So this is what's been happening every. single. day. for about 2 weeks...

I take a shower each morning (just as I have for longer than Jake has been ALIVE). When I get out on the shower, water drips onto the floor (not rocket science, right?).

Jacob always manages to find one tiny drip with his socks.

I (in my most patient of voices, you know, the one that makes me sound like a crazy disney princess?) humor him and tell him that they will dry, but he doesn't care. All he can say is that his socks are wet. And I know from past experience that his feet aren't going anywhere near his shoes till those socks are dry.

So, I grab the socks he didn't wear from the day before (they were wet, doncha know) and put them on him. He's fine with that. And today's socks have now become tomorrows.

So today, imagine my surprise when Jacob gets through his morning routine with no water/sock drama!

Thinking I'm in the clear, we start getting shoes and coasts on. Gramps comes in from outside to get Katie to the car. Leaving behind tiny amounts of... snow. Watery, drippy snow.

All is fine till Jacob gets to the kitchen and goes to get his shoes on... and steps in a little bit of water from Grandpa's boots.

Insert big sigh here.

Luckily I had the socks from the day before so he had dry socks.

Tomorrow I'm going to put his socks in his shoes. Duh. Why didn't I think of that sooner...

Friday, January 25, 2013

When you wish upon a star...

My mom wish list...

1. Sleep seven nights through without being woken up by the odd sensation that someone is staring at me while I sleep (scary the first couple times it happens) or fussing because they need to go potty RIGHT NOW... or just randomly talking (loudly) in their sleep.

I'm at about three nights a week of (blissful) uninterrupted sleep right now. Big cheers for leaving the infant phase!

2. Plan ahead for birthdays and holidays. Like having outfits ready *before* the day of the event (and gifts I don't pick up from Target on the way to the party).

3. Expose my kids to more culture and learning experiences. You know, once I think I can handle jaunting off with the three of them on a whim. To places where we'll end up visiting a restroom on every floor (twice, because when I asked if anyone else had to go, you know, since we were already there, everyone, EVERYONE said no). And doing this at an age where they will understand that they have to act like refined children instead of like a bunch of loveable, but nutty crazies. Oh, and bonus if I don't end up dripping with sweat because the crazies fed on each others' energy till they were all bouncing off the walls (and it might not be acceptable to use a stroller for a 7, 4, and 2 year old) and I become more interested in finding the nearest exit to get our of dodge before things get REALLY bad... AND finding a bathroom because someone has a tiny bladder and won't be able to walk another inch unless the bathroom is in sight.

(Of course, I'll still hear the dreaded "Mommeeeeyyyy, I have to go potteeeeyyyyyy" as soon as we're in the car on the way home and... I've just exhaled all of my tension in anticipation of a nice, peaceful ride home.)

4. Ummm. Maybe substituting their current shows with more...  educational television?
(I doubt that iCarley and SpongeBob are not considered educational TV. I'll admit I find SpongeBob... entertaining. But educational? Probably not so much. Bummer.)

5. Learn that crazy math Katie will be doing in school before long (or at least a few of the newfangled math terms *she* knows NOW but that sound like craziness to me... math mountains anyone?).

6. Spend more time with Jackson. Poor kid gets lost in all of the noise with the older kids and he's so funny and kinda chatty at 19 months.

7. Keep cheering the kids on, but not in the weird "you can be anything you want to be" way. No, instead, in a more realistic, "if you work hard at something, you might be able to reach your goal... maybe."

(I told Katie about *my* childhood dream of becoming a vet. And how that dream changed after I realized it wasn't all petting cuddly animals and wearing a crisp, white coat. There would be a lot of school and some animal dissections and the possibility of having to perform *gulp* "real" surgery as a vet... Well, those realizations changed my mind really quickly.)

And isn't it better to be honest when your kid's dream (of the week) is to be a princess? Of course, I gave her my blessing to try the princess thing, but asked her to get her education so she would have something to fall back on.

8. Add another set of eyes to the ones already on the back of my head. But these should have xray vision to see through walls. Cause kids are sneaky and my mom superpowers need to step it up a bit.

There are more, but I'll stop here... It's bedtime and I have to pry Katie's nook from her hands. Her iCarley intake is at maximum (which means it's getting late, and I can't listen to any more screaming teens tonight).