Saturday, November 13, 2010
"No...Nick. You need to go and sit with your team."
"But...they're wrestling," he says.
"Well, yeah. That's what the practices are for."
"But I don't want to."
So, we find a spot in the bleachers and get his wrestling shoes on.
"Why don't you go down and sit with your team?"
Okaaay. How about we just sit in the bleachers at this obscene time in the morning and watch all the parents drink the coffee they were smart enough to buy on their way over.
"Can I play the DS?" Nick asks.
"Nick...we are here so you can wrestle. Not play the video game."
He's quiet for a minute.
"I don't think I'm ready for this kind of thing yet," he tells me.
Yeah. I don't think I am either.
Thursday, November 11, 2010
The Winter Hats Boutique website has a ton a cute hats; hats for kids, men and women. They have Winter Hats and Women Winter hats. And they have so many to choose from. Delaney will wear a hat if I have one on, but only for about 10 minutes and then she rips it off and I find it in the bathroom sink or on the floor in the car. Which is too bad, because look at this one...
I have a pair of pajamas that would go quite nicely with this one...
For 15% off, use the code 15OFF at checkout!
Friday, November 5, 2010
"Spit at scawy (scary) guy," he said. And then he spit again. Superman, indeed.
Then we came home to find the dog laying in the middle of the living room, surrounded by lollipop sticks and candy wrappers. And that can make even the toughest of kids cry.
Tuesday, November 2, 2010
Or so I thought.
In preschool and kindergarten, Nick was always at the top of his class in all the subjects they were learning at the time. Apparently, within the first few months of first grade, his reading level is no longer at the top of his class, but has dropped so far below grade level that the teacher recommended sending him to the special reading classes the school offers. Now, I have to admit I was a little taken aback. While I am not opposed to anything that will help him out, I just question the judgement of his teacher. At the conference, I had a few questions for her that she couldn't answer. I wasn't impressed. They have these math sheets that are all simple addition problems. But the kids are timed. They have two minutes to fill it out. Looking at Nick's work, I can see where he starts to get stressed out and just starts putting in numbers so he won't be left with an empty page. To me, this seems really silly. They're just learning this stuff. Do they really need to be timed? I asked the teacher what the benefit of this was. She stuttered around and little and then told me that she didn't really know. "It's just the way we always do it. " She lost all my confidence, right there.
I am going to put Nick in the special class and see if there is an improvement, because it can't hurt, but I doubt the necessity. She told me he is advanced in math and sciences but needs to work on his spelling. Which brings up another issue...when we go over the words at home, he can get every single one of them correct. Then he brings home his test and I find that he has missed nearly all of them. I can't figure that out, either. I wonder if he's just a bad test taker and what, if anything, can be done about it.
I have a feeling school is going to be harder than I thought.
Wednesday, October 20, 2010
But anyway, today, I made a friend with a fellow leper.
When you stay at home with your children full time, meeting a new person with whom you might actually have something in common with is an event. A celebration. It's like a freakin' date. Do you ask for her phone number? Or does that make you sound too desperate? Will she think you're a stalker if you find her on Facebook and friend her? Should you follow her home, get her address and send her flowers? I just don't know...This friendship thing is hard.
Not that I'm completely anti-social. I do have friends. Just because no one can see them doesn't mean they aren't real. But believe it or not, I have real ones, too. I have several acquaintances and a few very close friends with whom I cannot imagine not having in my life. Friends who forgive me, no matter how bad of a friend I am. And I love them to pieces...but I've discovered that as an adult, for me anyway, making a true friend is really, really tricky. I don't know how to do it.
But today, I managed to control myself and after class, I resisted following my fellow leper home. Only because I know a restraining order would make it difficult to take Delaney to dance class. Maybe next week I'll just bring her a small gift...like a life-sized portrait of her, done in macaroni noodles. I'm sure I could get Delaney to help.
Monday, October 18, 2010
She has several different blankets, that are only to be used for certain dolls. She has an assortment of crayons and paper, in case she feels like drawing in the middle of the night. She keeps her plastic rings and bracelets next to her, right beside her barrettes in the pink, plastic bedside bucket that we once brought home from the hospital. She has a place for all the junk mail that I tried to throw away but she thought she had to keep; the flier from the dentist with the tooth fairy on it, a princess picture from the Disney movie club advert...very important things. All close at hand. Two different water bottles. In case she gets very thirsty. Birthday cards, pennies, a squirt gun...
I'm afraid that one day she will be featured on Hoarders...
Friday, October 8, 2010
"Cracker?" he'd ask.
He decided on a different approach.
"No, Sam. Go. To. Sleep."
He was quiet for a few seconds.
"Hangbooger?" he asks.
Sure, kid. It's almost 11:00 pm. You can't have a cracker, but I will run right downstairs and grill you up a hamburger.
I guess it was worth a shot.
Saturday, October 2, 2010
"Nick! Get in here!" I shouted. "Did you kick Delaney?"
"Yes," he says, sadly.
"Was it an accident?" I ask.
"No. It was on purpose."
"Then you need to get to your room right now! We do not kick each other."
"No, no...wait! Wait!" he pleads. "What exactly does "on purpose" mean?"
Thursday, September 30, 2010
When we were given the opportunity to try out a pair of SmartKnit Kids Seamless Socks, I jumped at the chance. Free socks! Of course! These particular socks are seamless, which they claim makes them more comfortable than your average socks.
I requested them in pink, Delaney's favorite color. I decided to test them out on her, because she refuses to wear socks. Her flip flops are welded to the bottom of her feet. Every time I make her wear socks, minutes later I will undoubtedly stumble across a pile of sweaty girl socks, ditched in the middle of the floor somewhere. She hates socks and that might be fine if we lived in Florida, but Colorado's weather is not so mild and she cannot wear flip flops year round. SmartKnits sent one pink pair, sized medium and one white pair in large.
She glared at me when I showed them to her.
"I hate socks!" she hissed at me.
"I know, but look! These are pink!" I finally persuaded her to put them on and wonders of wonders...she wore them all day. All day. I'm a believer. Designed for children with sensory processing diﬀerences and hypersensitivity, they work equally well for kids who just don't like socks that bunch in their shoes. Maybe it was the lack of seams, the bumps or the texture, but these sock were absolutely a hit with my daughter. They are designed without a heel, so they can't be put on upside down because both sides are the same! This also keeps children from outgrowing them as quickly as they would regular socks.
I was instantly struck by how soft they were. They are made from 97.3% polyester and 2.7% lycra and are antimicrobial which helps inhibit odor-causing bacteria. And really, my kids smell bad enough. These socks are designed to wick away moisture and the form-fitting design is snug on the foot, keeping them from slipping and bunching in the child's shoes. Their patented non-binding Halo-Top keeps the sock up, without pinching or binding. After wearing them all day, she didn't have the elastic marks left on her leg like other socks leave.
I am absolutely impressed with these socks and so is my daughter. She may not get frostbite this winter after all.
They are also going to send a pair to a lucky reader! So, in the comments, tell me why you'd like a pair of these and you're automatically entered to win!
This Product Was a Free Giveaway
Saturday, September 25, 2010
"What!? You &*#(@ moron! Did that year not come with a %&(#@%$& turn signal?" without having to worry that the little sponges in the backseat would repeat it back at some inopportune time. Preschool conferences are stressful enough. And all this excitement, all this liberation before I even entered the store.
I selected the first cart I came to. There was no crying and begging and searching for the one cart in the store that looks like a car. There were no arguments about who was going to ride up front, or who got to sit in the basket, or was going to hold the list. I got to hold my own list. I had time to look at my coupons and actually compare items and prices. I was able to examine the strawberries and the apples. I picked the best avocados. No one was crying. I wasn't constantly pulling on little arms, trying to get them out of the way of the other shoppers. I didn't once have to smile at some stranger in an apologetic way. I didn't even have to talk. For an entire hour, I didn't once say anything. It was...nice. Because I don't really like to talk but that's all I do, all day long.
"No! You can not spray the dog with the hose!"
"Why, may I ask, are there Benderoos hooked to the ceiling fan?"
"What is in the TOILET??"
So, it was refreshing. Not having to speak. To leisurely stroll the aisles of the grocery store, checking items off my list with satisfaction. If they offered champagne at the door, it would have been perfect. They really should do that, while they wipe your cart down with their velvet towels and bow graciously.
I was stalked through the produce aisle by an over-enthusiastic older man and I realized with regret, that my wedding ring was at home. Fortunately, I avoided additional contact and was able to lose him in the frozen foods. Elderly gentlemen can't quite get it up to speed sometimes...you know, their cart?
But all good things must come to an end. Who would have thought I'd ever say that about Wal-Mart? Eeegads. But I hurried home to get the kids with plenty of time to get Nick from the bus. And dare I say? It was nice to see their smiling little faces.
Friday, September 24, 2010
Emily and Kathleen are Communications Coordinators for the network of Texas child care facilities belonging to the AdvancED® accredited family of Primrose child care schools. Primrose Schools are located in 16 states throughout the U.S. and are dedicated to delivering progressive, early childhood, Balanced Learning® curriculum throughout their preschools.
Early Childhood Education – Acquiring Sign Language
One of the keys to surviving in a tilted economic system in which opportunities to achieve a decent standard of living will be limited is versatility – and the ability to communicate articulately in a variety of ways with the widest possible audience. This includes bilingual ability as well as the ability to communicate in non-verbal ways for the benefit of the disabled – primarily the deaf.
At the same time, a growing shortage of qualified interpreters fluent in American Sign Language has led to more career opportunities – and if current trends continue, it's likely that skilled ASL interpreters will have little problem securing lucrative employment in a society where such a commodity is destined to be in short supply.
Signing Before They Can Speak
A great deal of research has clearly demonstrated that the early years – ages 2 to five – are the best time to educate children in different modes of communication and language. This goes beyond the spoken word (though it is an optimal time for children to learn a second language); many young children have an aptitude for signing as well.
This is not as odd as you may think. As you know, many indigenous peoples around the world, including American Indian nations, have used sign language for centuries to facilitate communication with other tribes with whom they do not share a language. Some paleontologists and anthropologists theorize that Neanderthals – who apparently lacked the vocal mechanism to produce many spoken words – depended a great deal upon hand gestures to communicate.
In fact, recent research suggests that sign language is innate. An article published in the Boulder Daily Camera in 2003 presented strong evidence that babies as young as six months old communicate with their hands:
"...by 6 to 7 months, babies can remember a sign. At eight months, children
can begin to imitate gestures and sign single words. By 24 months, children
can sign compound words and full sentences. They say sign language reduces
frustration in young children by giving them a means to express themselves
before they know how to talk." (Glarion, 2003)
The author also cites study funded by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development demonstrating that young children who are taught sign language at an early age actually develop better verbal skills as they get older. The ability to sign has also helped parents in communicating with autistic children; one parent reports that "using sign language allowed her to communicate with her [autistic] son and minimized his frustration...[he now] has an advanced vocabulary and excels in math, spelling and music" (Glarion, 2003).
The Best Time To Start
Not only does early childhood education in signing give pre-verbal youngsters a way to communicate, it can also strengthen the parent-child bond – in addition to giving children a solid foundation for learning a skill that will serve them well in the future. The evidence suggests that the best time to start learning ASL is before a child can even walk – and the implications for facilitating the parent-child relationship are amazing.
Thursday, September 23, 2010
This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Aladdin. All opinions are 100% mine.
According to the Aladdin challenge we spend approximately $2,350.00 a year eating lunch out or purchasing take-out. We spend $636 buying regular drip coffee from a shop, when it would only cost us $165 a year to make it at home. By the end of this year, 23 billion disposable paper coffee cups will have been thrown out. But the statistic that really floored me? In the United States, we use 50 billion disposable water bottles a year. That breaks down to 137,000 a day and 1,585 per second. It takes seven million barrels of oil to produce all these bottles.
That is why I've decided to participate in the Aladdin Do The Reuse Challenge It is a thirty day commitment to give up disposable products, like water bottles, paper cups and take-out food containers. By accepting the challenge Aladdin will give a discount to those participating, good for items on their site. And they have several items to choose from, from traditional food containers to artsy coffee mugs. You can even design your own with photos and personalized text.
Nine families will be blogging about their experience with the challenge on the Aladdin website and you can keep updated through Aladdin on Facebook
Personally, I'm guilty of using the disposable water bottles. Even though I use and reuse them, I know that I shouldn't use them at all. So, that's my focus the next 30 days...no more plastic bottles. Now I have an excuse to buy one of those cool water bottles.
When the Going Gets Tough: How to Deal with Your Kids When They're Annoying You
No parent wants to admit it, but we all know deep down inside that our young children aren't the little angels we talk about when we update our relatives on the phone. While your kids may not exactly be holy terrors, there will inevitably be moments when it seems that they're making a career out of testing your nerves. The constant questions, the whining, the poking, prodding, car-seat kicking all comes with the parenting territory, and we must, of course, suck it up and deal with it. Here are a few ways to maintain your sanity.
1. Think twice before exploding.
It's easy to want to snap when your children are driving you up the wall. However, remember that while you cannot control an external situation, you can control how you react to it. Sometimes the best way to diffuse a situation is by keeping your cool. If you find yourself about to yell, take a deep breath and count to ten in your head. You'll be much better prepared to deal with rambunctious tykes if you have taken a few moments to calm yourself down.
2. Talk to your kids as if they were adults.
As adults, we often don't give kids the credit they deserve. Sure, they can be annoying, but many times childish behavior results from talking down to your kids. If you instead talk to them as if they were mini adults, you'd be surprised by how adult-like they can be.
3. Sometimes its better to let them carry on until they tire themselves out.
If you're a parent of young kids, chances are you are something of a control freak. A situation gets out of hand and the first thing you want to do is to make it stop immediately at whatever cost. Whether it's whining because they aren't getting their way or teasing and poking a sibling, you want to stop bad behavior before it gets out of hand. Sometimes, as parents, we have to face the fact that we must pick our battles. Kids will be kids, and we can't expect everything to go our way either. Save yourself future ulcers, and let them do their thing until they realize they aren't going to get anywhere acting as such. They'll eventually tire themselves out. Trust me.
4. Be reasonable in the face of irrationality.
It's tempting to want to fight irrational behavior with threats or "because-I-said-so" proclamations. While these may work some of the time, more often than not they only serve to escalate situations. Related to tip number two, by maintaining a voice of mature reason, you are subtly influencing your kids to imitate how you behave. Kids learn exponentially faster and more effectively by example, not words.
While every mom and dad has a different parenting style, the most important thing to remember when your tots are being annoying is that they are young children. And we should enjoy them as they are while we can, because before long they will develop into completely different creatures with different challenges. In the blink of an eye, they will be teens, and then we will wish for that annoying tantrums were all that we had to worry about.
Wednesday, September 22, 2010
This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Rambler's Way Farm. All opinions are 100% mine.
Let's say I was given $200 to spend on wool items. My first thought? No thank you. I've owned beautiful wool sweaters in the past. Sweaters that have never, ever been worn because they are so itchy, bulky and uncomfortable. When I'm shopping, I may fall in love with a sweater but if the label lists wool in any percentage, I instantly put it back on the rack.
Now, if I was given $200 to spend on Rambler's Way Wool? Well, that would be a different story.
I would definitely want one of the Henley shirts.
And a camisole.
These look so light weight that I'm hesitant to believe that they are wool. But they are. They're made from Superfine American Rambouillet 18.5 micron wool which makes a breathable fabric that can be worn year round and directly next to the skin without the irritation that standard wool would cause. The natural fibers repel odors and moisture. They are chemical free, machine washable and dryable. They resist shrinkage and the breathable fabric remains comfortable, whether the sun is shining or the cold snows are blowing. They also feature flat, chafe-less seams.
Best of all, these products are made with a focus on low environmental impact. Rambler's Way Wool is made in America and sustainably farmed, with special attention paid to the care and the humane treatment of the animals.
All wools are definitely not created equal.
Monday, September 20, 2010
Unfortunately, there was not alcohol. Unless you count the Bailey's I slipped into my coffee.
Delaney had requested a Hello-Kitty-Princess-Doctor cake:
"The Hello Kitty part."
Nick wanted the pills. I hope that is not a precursor of things to come.
This morning I filled her room with pink balloons and streamers, decorated the house and made her pink, heart shaped pancakes for breakfast. I told her she could have (just about) anything she wanted for dinner. She thought long and hard.
"Macaroni and cheese."
You know, the gourmet orange kind in the box? Fancy.
Happy Birthday baby girl!
Wednesday, September 15, 2010
There's a fountain gushing from the top and pooling around the base of it. While I'm not an expert, I was pretty sure that it wasn't supposed to be doing that. And of course, I also had a major migraine and had finally got all three of the kids to sleep. I didn't want to play with the water. I wanted to go to bed. So I called my husband. He told me to shut the water valve off on top. I did. It didn't do anything. He ended up coming home and having to shut the water off to the whole house because the shut off valve on the unit was broken. But it was night and I was going to bed. I wasn't too concerned.
Then came morning. We turned on the water long enough to take care of the essentials (you know, like making coffee) quickly, before the thing started to over flow again. Then he took the parts he needed (which meant no more water. At all.) and set off to find a new one with the money we just pulled off the money tree in the backyard.
I babysit the neighbor's adorable two year old in the mornings, so I had the three kids and we were happily playing in the backyard. Until the neighbor boy managed to find the one pile of dog poop in the backyard. But he didn't just step in it. He slipped in it. And fell. In it. Remember the no water thing? Yeah. A two year old, covered in dog poop. And no water. Except for my tears...
How come so much of my life seems to involve poop? People can no longer have a conversation without me mentioning it at least once. Before I had kids, I don't think I ever even said "poop". Now I say it 50 times a day. At least. I'm so much fun.
We had all kinds of good food...
But dessert, is of course, always the best part!We had chocolate/passion fruit fondue. Sooo yummy.
Oh...and the wine. There was a lot of wine.
Here's to many, many more...Happy Anniversary D. Love you.
Saturday, September 11, 2010
I haven't been doing many cakes lately, but had two orders this weekend! And another call for a wedding cake. Yay!
Friday, September 3, 2010
It was very annoying.
Tuesday, August 31, 2010
Nick hates tuna. Hates it like it wronged him in another life. Hates it with a passion. But he's never actually tasted it.
So, the other night, I made tuna noodle casserole.
"What are you making for dinner?" he asks.
"What kind of food?"
"The kind you can eat."
"I'm making noodle casserole."
"Oh. Why do I smell tuna?" he asks.
"Um...I don't know. I can't smell anything."
Dinner is served.
Delaney and Sam dig in.
"I hate this!" Nick complains, which is the usual dinner refrain, no matter what I cook.
"At least pick out the parts you like."
He very carefully separates the tuna from the rest of the casserole, until he has a nice little pile of it on one side of his plate.
"I'm just going to eat the chicken," he informs me. And proceeds to eat all the tuna.
I still haven't told him it was not chicken.
Sunday, August 29, 2010
"You have 17 new messages," the stupid thing will announce.
"Do you ever check this?" my husband asks.
He sighs and checks the messages. I'm pretty sure he didn't realize how neurotic I was when he married me.
I looked it up and found out that it's called telephobia. It's actual real thing. I'm not afraid of the phone, I'm well aware that it won't strangle me while I sleep (at least now, since it's cordless), but that doesn't make me like it anymore. It's always been like that...even in high school. I was never one of those teen girls that would spend hours on the phone. (Except to my boyfriend. But that was different. We couldn't bear to be away from each other for more than a few hours, so we had to talk often, to ease the pain.) I read the common reasons people are telephobic, but I don't know if they necessarily fit. I'm perfectly capable of being ridiculed and misunderstood while not on the phone. If anything, I think I come across less of a freak on the phone than I do in person. I just hate it.
I would much prefer to email, or write a letter, or use smoke signals. Just because I don't call you back doesn't mean I don't love you.
Friday, August 27, 2010
"What's this?" I ask him.
"Oh, that's Hope's phone number. I'm supposed to call her," he said.
Oh. Of course.
What exactly do six year old children talk about on the phone?
Otherwise, things seem to be going well for him. When I ask how his day went, I usually get a "I don't remember." But he really likes recess and the fact that he had pizza today for lunch.
Sounds about right.
Thursday, August 26, 2010
We all need time away now and then. Mostly now. And then. And again. So how about entering to win a free weekend stay at a Hampton Hotel? During their current Hampton Chain of Friends Sweepstakes they are giving away free weekend stays for the winners and three friends, daily. And the grand prize? The entire hotel for the weekend, just for you and 100 of your closest buddies. Yep. The whole hotel.
Personally, I'd grab my husband, my brother and his finance and spend the weekend in the Denver Hampton. Maybe have some cheesecake at the Cheesecake Factory and wander up and down the 16th Street Mall. And with the money I wouldn't be spending at the hotel, maybe we could take in a show at the Buell Theater. I think I'm going to go enter right this second...OK. There. And if I win the grand prize, I've already decided that I will be hosting a blogging convention there. Since I've never been able to make it to any of the other ones, I guess I'll just have to sponsor my own. You'll come, right? Please?
Now it's your turn. Go, enter. Everyone and anyone is eligible!Where would you go? Who would you take with you?
Monday, August 23, 2010
"Sam," Delaney said. "You can be the castrater."
Um...what? I decided it might be time to check and see exactly what game they are playing.
They are playing store and Sam is the cashier. With the cash register. Cash register. Castrater. Close enough.
The Woodrow Wilson Teaching Fellowships seeks to recruit, prepare and retain effective teachers for the students and schools who need them most.The Woodrow Wilson Teaching Fellowship is offering recent college graduates and those who would like a career change with a $30,000 stipend to complete a master's degree program at one of 14 different universities. Applicants must be in the science, technology, engineering, or math fields and have completed an undergraduate degree in one of these STEM fields before June 2011. Candidates must have graduated with a GPA of 3.0 or higher and demonstrate commitment to the program.
Those chosen will complete a field-based master’s degree in teacher education, be required to teach for at least three years at the high school level and will receive considerable mentoring and support in the classroom.
It is a highly selective program and the 2010 fellowship competition drew in 7,000 applications for the 80 available spots. Fellowship spots are contingent to passing the required state certification tests.
This year's application deadline is September 1, 2010, so act quickly! Visit www.wwteachingfellowship.org
for more information and to apply.
The tent was a wreck; filthy and ratty, filled with holes and more patches than original material. And the midway? Non-existent. Then it started to rain and a thunderstorm warning was issued. They canceled the 5:00 showing and re-scheduled it for 7:30.
We took sad kids back to my mom's house, 20 minutes away. The rain let up and we headed back to the tent of doom. Walking to the tent, you could suddenly hear the roars of the big cats and Sam started crying. Delaney stopped walking, screamed that she was going back to the car and started crying. So, I ended up carrying two crying kids into the tent. Inside, the poor tent's condition was even more apparent and the bleachers were covered with water from the leaks. Nick immediately starting begging for a cheap, plastic light stick. Or an expensive blowup animal. Or...or... I bought him cotton candy so he'd stop talking. The show started and they had a lion and 2 tigers that kept spraying everything, a juggler, unicycles, a clown, a girl on a trapeze (Delaney said, in awe "She's wonderful!"), a girl with hula hoops, ponies, peanuts...circus stuff. We had conveniently chosen seats directly behind a support pole and a lot of neck contortion was required. A little girl in back of me kept hitting me in the head with her blow up snake. Accidentally, I'm sure.
Sometimes, I wish I was little again. To be able to overlook the tawdry and crass and see the magic beyond the ratty tent. I failed miserably. At least Delaney and Sam enjoyed themselves. Nick is still mad at me because I wouldn't buy a light stick...
Boost Mobile is a no-contract wireless company and is part of the Sprint pre-paid group. They have a wide selection of phones to choose from, including the Sanyo Juno, the Blackberry Curve, the Samsung Rant and the Samsung Seek. All the phones they offer are "social in nature" making it simple to update a status on Facebook and Twitter. They offer a variety of easy payment plans, like the "BlackBerry Monthly Unlimited" service which is unlimited nationwide talk, text, Web and email for $60 per month. They also offer the "Monthly Unlimited" service plan offering unlimited nationwide talk, text and Web for $50 per month.
An impressive feature is the Re-Boost program which makes it simple to make payments. You can pay online, on the phone, in person or set up an automatic payment plan. When you set up an automatic payment plan, you are given $20 in credit for ringtones, wallpapers and downloads. Plus, you get a $2 credit every time you use the Auto Re-Boost plan. If necessary, friends or family can even make payments for you.
Boost Mobile phones are available at over 20,000 major retail stores, including Radio Shack, Best Buy, Target and Walmart.
Wednesday, August 4, 2010
It got me thinking...what would I teach my husband? He always closes the toilet seat and his aim is perfect, he showers daily and he doesn't leave hair on the soap. I know people whose husbands demand dinner at a certain time everyday; my husband doesn't care if we eat at five or eight and he usually cleans up the kitchen after I cook. Even if dinner ends up being a experiment and it goes horribly wrong, he will eat it and say it's good. If I need wine, he will go to the liquor store and get some for me. He always puts his dirty clothes in the hamper. He's been known to borrow my car simply to put gas in it, because he knows that I hate doing it. He's never criticized me and only once in our 12 years together has he laughed at my shoe choice. He knows that I'm a slob and he knows how disorganized I am, but he tolerates it without comment. Even when I misplace important paper work or forget to make an vital phone call, the most I get is a sigh and an eye roll. The more I thought about it, the more I realized how...dare I say it?...lucky I am. ( I hope he doesn't read this...we don't need to inflate his ego.)
My biggest complaint is that he works too many hours, but I know that he's doing it for us, so we can afford what we have. How can I be mad at that? (Actually, depending on my mood, it's pretty easy to get mad at that. Right now, however, I'm feeling grateful.) He's compassionate, thoughtful and usually manages to say exactly the right things. Most the time, he's more patient with the kids than I am. And he almost always takes the trash out without asking.
If I decided I wanted a puppy, he'd go out and find me one. If I decided I wanted another baby, he wouldn't hesitate to unzip his pants... He's supportive of this blog, even if he doesn't quite understand it and he wouldn't hesitate to hand over the TV remote if I were to ask. He even loves to go grocery shopping.
So...what would I teach him? Wow. I don't know. Maybe he could take a cooking class...it would be nice to have someone else cook for me now and then. Oh. And actually, it would be great if he could figure out how to turn on the vacuum. And give me pedicures. But aside from that...I'd have to say I'm pretty lucky.
So...what would you teach your husband? (Or wife! )
Sunday, August 1, 2010
My brother is Bipolar. It does not make him less of a human being. It does not make him a loser or a criminal. He may have made many manic-induced bad decisions over his lifetime, but that doesn’t mean that he’s stupid or deserving of ridicule and eye rolling.
I don’t claim to be an expert and sometimes I get just as aggravated at him as everyone else, but I am tired of the judgment and criticism of him. From members of his own family. From people who have never taken the time to learn anything about it. People who equate “not feeling good” as being hung-over. Being manic does not equate being drunk.
In my experience, people who are not familiar with mental illness, bipolar or otherwise, tend to have skewed images of the issue. Perhaps the view they have is due to the numerous shows on TV which portray the mentally ill as criminal or dangerous. Maybe it is just ignorance. Either way, it’s not justifiable. If there is someone in your family, immediate or extended, someone at work, or maybe just a neighbor, there really isn’t any reason not to learn a little about their affliction. There are countless sources online or at the library. http://www.nami.org/ is an excellent source of information.
Bipolar Disorder, also known as Manic Depression, is characterized my major shifts in mood, energy and the ability to function. The cause is unknown and it effects men and women equally. The shifts can be subtle or dramatic, last for days or for weeks. While manic, behavior may include elation or extreme irritability, increased physical and mental activity, racing thoughts and increased talking at a much faster speed. In my brother’s case, his vocabulary also changes when he’s manic. Risk taking and impulsiveness are also characteristics. While in the depressive stage they have low energy, have no interest in anything or anyone are often easily annoyed. They suffer prolonged sadness, worry excessively, have abnormal feelings of guilt and worthlessness. They often contemplate suicide.
According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, approximately 10 million Americans suffer from bipolar. It’s more common than you’d expect. This number does not, however, take in account all the families of those who are effected by bipolar family members. Spouses, parents, siblings, who all try their best to “be there” and to understand. And there is nothing more disrespectful than the uninformed who undermine the family’s intentions.
While that sounds harsh, it is exactly what happens when someone says something thoughtless. It puts the family member on defensive and they immediately feel to need to protect and explain, which often falls on deaf ears. Due to my brother’s rapid cycling, he is often absent from family gatherings, either because he is too manic or has fallen into a deep depression. Trying to explain his absence is very difficult to people who have not taken the time to understand. To his immediate family, when one of us say “He had a bad night”, we instantly understand. You say that to someone else and they smirk and comment about his drinking and give each other knowing looks.
Even in this day and age, when technology and the medical field have advanced so far, there is a stigma to bipolar and mental illness. It’s really inexcusable.
If you want to be a help to the family, the main thing is to be understanding. Ask questions only if they are an honest attempt to understand. Be there and be willing to listen. Do not judge and don’t offer advice.
Sometimes, the only thing the family may need is a compassionate, fellow human being who will not judge and make assumptions. Someone who makes an effort to understand.
Saturday, July 31, 2010
I remember one of my favorite songs by T'Pau (anyone else ever listen to them?):
This song gave me panic attacks because I told my brother that I wished his head would fall off and I spent the following days convinced that I had killed him. Be careful what you wish for because it just might come true. Then you go to jail. I may have been a strange child.Don't wish too hard Because they may come true And you can't help them You don't know what you might Have set upon yourself
Unfortunately, Nick seems to have taken after me. He always has "bad thoughts" and I remember saying that same thing to my mom when I was little. She used to tell me to think about other things, like rainbows and kittens. It didn't work, but I tried it on Nick anyway. I tell Nick to think about monster trucks and dinosaurs. But that was a mistake. You don't use the word "monster" or "dinosaur" when trying to get a kid to think happy thoughts. Because then he wanted to know if a T-Rex could look through his window. I should have stuck to the kittens.
But our current dilemma? Nick is afraid that the sun will burn out. He already has plans to get lights and grow plants in his room. (Which sounds illegal.) He's afraid we won't be able to eat or have oxygen. The kid is only six. He has way too much stress. Can't he just play with his trains and not worry about the end of the world? He's going to have an ulcer before he's eight.
Thursday, July 29, 2010
But Sam...last night to celebrate, we just took him to the Cozy Cow Dairy for homemade ice cream. It's a local small dairy with a plastic cow on the roof and in December, that cow is decked out in his Christmas finery. They have goats and a couple of baby cows that the kids can pet. There are peacocks and chickens that the kids can follow around. There is a tractor for the kids to play on. It's simple and better yet, free! Except for the ice cream, of course.
Sam had an excellent time. So did we. There was a moment (while eating my dark chocolate chunk, bing cherry ice cream) when I looked up at my three kids sitting on the tractor, so content with their ice cream, smiling and laughing with each other, my husband on the bench beside me and I realized I was truly and completely happy. In that moment, there wasn't anything else. No bills, no money problems, no dirty house or laundry...just us. And I was content. Blissfully content.
...but for a moment, it was all OK.
Wednesday, July 28, 2010
At least I tried. I guess the good thing is that the labor was that fast. The bad thing was that it was too fast for pain relief. But either way, Samuel was coming out and there wasn't anything I could do to stop it.
Love you, baby boy. Happy Birthday to you!
Tuesday, July 27, 2010
Charter has always offered promotions to reward customers and those looking to sign up for Charter service, but now Charter is giving back to the community! For their back-to-school campaign, they are giving away 50 laptops to 2 different schools. The laptops are Lenovo G555's with a 15.6" screen, 160GB drive and 3GB ram, with a Targus bag. You can even enter to win one yourself. Ordering any Charter product automatically puts you in the running for a laptop and up to $300 cash back. But purchase is not necessary and can be done online.
To nominate your school, go to the laptop-a-day giveaway. There is a short registration process and nominations need to be received by August 12. Voting is based on the nomination stories received and 50 finalists will be chosen and announced by August 16. Open voting starts the same day and ends September 20. Winners will be chosen September 27, 2010. With frequent budget cuts, staff layoffs and equipment shortages, it's a great opportunity for two lucky schools.
So, go. Go and nominate your child's school and "like" Charter on Facebook to stay up to date on the voting process!
Sunday, July 25, 2010
"I don't know."
"Oh, wait. I guess I didn't want to wear any today."
"Maybe you should put some on before we go."
"Nah..." he says. "I don't want to. It kind of tickles."
Friday, July 23, 2010
Unfortunately, I actually need to get some stuff done. Sam's party is Sunday and I haven't even made a cake yet. Partly because it's 87 degrees in the house and I don't want to turn the oven on. Actually, I haven't been able to do much of anything but mope around and sweat. Even the kids have been laying around like limp rags. I'm really, really looking forward to Fall...
After I graduated, I decided to take a year off from school and work. Just a year, and then I'd go right back. It never happened. I got involved in my job, left that one, found a better one, met my husband, got married, had kids...pretty typical story, I think. I don't regret any of those decisions, because they have put me where I am now. I have a great husband and terrible kids. Like I said, pretty typical. My life is where it's meant to be.
But I won't lie and say that I'm completely content. I have days when I wonder what could have been. What if I had gone back to school? What would I have taken? How would my life of differed? I know for a fact that the job opportunities would have been drastically improved.
From Ashworth College:
There are many reasons for Moms to further their education: set an example for their kids, personal enrichment, preparation to re-enter the workforce when the kids are older, transition to a work-at-home career.
Distance education is a family-friendly way to help you get the education you've always wanted. It's easy, affordable, and is as close as your home computer.And it's true. For me, it would be the only way I'd be able to go back to school. They offer so many different programs you can study and receive your Online degree in. They have 100+ nationally accredited career diplomas, Associate Degree, Bachelor's Degree, Master's Degree and Certificate programs for today's hottest and most popular careers, including: Medical Billing, Web Design, Bridal Consulting, Interior Decorating, Human Resources, Marketing, Early Childhood Education and more. Research has shown that tuition at Ashworth is on average 50% less than other accredited online schools. Tuition includes all books and classroom materials, plus, they offer payment plans with zero percent financing! That's important to me. It's getting harder and harder to find a company that is willing to work with you and your financial limitations. You are guaranteed to graduate without a student loan debt.
There are so many benefits to this. Definitely something worth looking into.
Wednesday, July 21, 2010
The other night, we were driving home from my parents' house. It's about a 50 minute drive, it was late and the other two were asleep. But not Nick. He was talking. And talking. I always kind of look forward to the drive home from there...the kids are usually all asleep and I have almost an hour to listen to the radio and not have to talk. It's kind of blissful. But apparently, Nick wasn't tired.
We talked (or rather, he talked. I listen and say "uh-huh") about all kinds of things. Rockets, music, how he wished the car had a button we could push and out would come whatever kind of food he wanted. We got on the subject of Cuddly Dine, who of course, was with us.
"Cuddly Dine talks to me, but he always whispers. He only talks to people he knows," Nick tells me.
"He knows me," I said.
"I'll tell him he can talk to you," he says and starts whispering to his dinosaur. "OK, he will talk to you. You can ask him something."
"Hmmm...OK. What's his favorite song?"
"No one has ever asked him that!" he says. "I'll ask."
Talking to his stuffed animal...
"No! No! No! Talk in words," Nick tells him. A few moments pass.
Nick sighs, exasperated.
"I don't know. He's talking in Spanish. I can't understand him," he tells me. Apparently, Cuddly Dine interrupts him. "Oh! He says his favorite song is Spanish KidsBop."
Si, senor, si...
All this time, I had no idea the stuffed animals in this house were bilingual.
Sunday, July 18, 2010
It was a beautiful wedding...white and black, brightly colored daisies, outdoor ceremony...My mom bought Delaney a cute little dress and sandals to wear to the wedding. I got her dressed and even curled her hair. She looked adorable. Then she went upstairs for a few minutes...
And came back down in her shorts, t-shirt and flip flops, her hair all messed up.
"Delaney! You need to put your dress back on! We have to go!"
She glares at me.
"I. Don't. Want. To. Wear. A. Dress," she proclaims. "I wish I was a boy!"
"You can be a boy tomorrow. Today, you're a girl and you have to put your dress and sandals back on."
"NO!" she screams and runs back upstairs.
Delaney and I finally come to a compromise. She can wear her shorts under her dress and I'll bring her shirt and flip flops in my purse, so she can change after the ceremony. Fine. But she's not going to be happy about it.
"I'm being good and Delaney isn't," Nick informs me. "I have my nice shirt on."
"Yes, thank you Nick. You look very handsome."
Delaney dancing with the bride. Or this:
Apparently, he's not a dancer.
Thursday, July 15, 2010
I might also throw in a big box, like so many of you suggested. Those are always a hit! And Sharlene suggested covering it in contact paper, which I think is a great idea. I had to throw the last one away, though, because Nick discovered that he could flatten it and then use it like a slide to go down the stairs. I had visions of broken necks and bleeding heads, so away it went. (In the dead of night. When no one was around to scream and cry and mourn it's absence.) Hmmm...actually maybe I'll skip the box. And just get a toboggan.
Now I just have to make a cool cake and get the invitations out. Not necessarily in that order. Of course, I realize that he's only two and doesn't really care or understand, so this is really all about me. Maybe I'll skip the toys and party all together and buy myself something nice. I do want another tattoo...