Monthly Archives: June 2013

Can you dig it?

(Woomp! There it is…)

This summer’s kid’s reading program at the library is themed “Dig into Reading.” They got cups, pencils, journals, worksheets, and a paper shovel to decorate that they can hang up in the library. I think the shovel decorating has a contest attached; the weekly worksheets definitely do. Talk about incentives!

Pint-Size Genius got his first library card (Regulator and Toughie got theirs last year) and everybody got a couple books, including me.

summer books
And that’s just a few of them.

Pint-Size Genius has already read almost all the books he borrowed– I guess he caught the reading bug. We’ll be going back soon, and that makes me happy. I think every mom wants her kids to have a love of learning, and loving reading is the surest path to learning.

Who’s the boss?

Generally speaking, I’m the Switzerland of Mommy Wars. I understand that everyone has the right to choose what is best for them. To be honest, there are times when I have been on both sides of a particular issue (I’m a stay-at-home-mom now, but I worked with the other three babies; I nurse, but my babies turned me down before they could go to cow’s milk, so we ended up with formula; I’m no stickler for organic foods, but the cute little pouches are so dang convenient!).

I think the only thing I’m vehement about is keeping a schedule… or, rather, not keeping a schedule. I never forced my kids to take naps, and I certainly never made it so that my kids only slept in a bassinet or crib. If I’m out somewhere, and the baby falls asleep in her car seat, I’ll finish what I was doing and bring her home. If she’s till asleep, she stays in the car seat in the house. Maybe she takes 2, 3-hour naps; maybe she takes 5, 1/2 hour naps. The boys are not required to be silent when she’s sleeping, just as I never required that of myself or anyone in our home when the boys were nappers. The children do not run the house: never have, never will. I found putting them on a schedule was only putting me on a schedule.

Besides, we live with enough of a schedule anyway. School, soccer, church, parties… why add to that?

(NOTE: this is NOT about sleep training. If you’re teaching your child to sleep through the night, rock on, Gurl.)

Mommy Confessions, 1 of…

(Who knows how many of these I’ll end up with?) This is a post to say random things that wouldn’t really merit their own post, kind of like a montage episode of an ’80s sitcom.

  • I seem to carry all my tension in my face. I have a little caffeine headache, and I was trying to massage it out… my forehead is so freaking sore, I wondered if I hit my head and forgot about it (did I? No… I hope!).
  • My kids love taco night…. I mostly like that they make their own dinner. I just have to cook/prepare the parts.
  • There has never been a batch of macaroni and cheese that I haven’t eaten at least one spoonful of. 
  • I bought a dollhouse that’s as tall as my 9-year-old. We have no room for it, but I had to get it. 
  • I’m supposed to drink 3-5 liters of water every day. I don’t.
  • I’ve never eaten a corn dog.
  • I have, however, eaten deep fried Oreos. Several times. And they are effing amazing.
  • I would like to think I don’t need coffee, but the caffeine headache has gotten pretty bad.

So with that, it’s bedtime.

Cleanliness is next to crankiness

(I posted a version of this statement in my LiveJournal– remember those?– many years ago, but it still applies.)

I have an inner Donna Reed who encourages me to keep a clean house and wear pearls while doing dishes; I also have an inner Roseanne Connor who smacks her upside the head and hands me a bag of Cheetos as we watch TV.

I’m not sure I ever really learned to be a homemaker in the housekeeping department. I know what to do; I just don’t have the discipline to do it all the time. It doesn’t help that I don’t have a lot of space: toys and papers have no place to ‘live.’ The dishwasher? You’re reading her words right now. And a washer and dryer? I do not love driving to my laundry appliances. All of this stuff conspires against me, to the point where I get very frustrated.

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(Yeah, pretty much…)

Thankfully a friend passed along a link to FlyLady. So at least I’m learning to make new habits. It’s slow going, but I’m working on it. And every so often I get excited about cleaning supplies. New dish drain that resists mold? Awesomesauce! A rented carpet cleaner coming to my home soon? W00t!!! And I still can’t find those fabulous purple Scotch-Brite dish scrubbers that don’t trap food. (Grrr…)

I’m whittling away at clutter. The Regulator’s toys are getting smaller (i.e., DS games), which is helpful. We keep a lot of stuff because we think we need it. But then we look at it a year later, and we really have no use for it. And now Buttercup is practicing standing up and pulling that junk to the floor in the process. So, yeah. de-cluttering is the name of the game. My kingdom for a session with Peter Walsh!

Hot in Herre…

Summer is starting with a bang, and by that I mean a heat wave. Sunny and humid most of the day, followed by a thunderstorm… I guess I moved to Florida and didn’t know it. 

I don’t like to complain about the weather- I try not to complain about anything, and prefer to roll with it. But something about the heat…. makes me cranky and incapable of proper grammar usage. It’s sad, really; crabby and incoherent is no way to parent. Thank goodness I have access to a pool. 

Every year I try to find more and better ways to fill the time during summer vacation with my kids. This year will involve many more books and a bowling alley (a nearby place offers 2 free games for kids every day of summer– hello, rainy mornings!) 

So here’s to a good, eventful, fun summer break!

Getting rid of the big

I was never a skinny kid. My parents put me in soccer to make sure I was healthy. I have the quads to prove it. 

I loved archery in gym class. Built up my arms in the process. 

Took a weight training course in high school. I held the record in my class for a leg press max (over 400 lbs.; the boys in the class couldn’t do half that). Again with the quads.

I was in marching band all through high school, even marching one summer tour with a drum and bugle corps. So now I also have calves that just won’t quit. Makes it really hard to get boots that fit.

I’m not what a late co-worker of mine called “sloppy fat.” People who weigh what I weigh are usually about 2-3 sizes bigger. That’s because of my muscle mass. I will most likely never get down to my ideal weight for my height. Not without having some organs removed.

I’ve dieted; I’ve exercised. I’ve given up carbs; I’ve given up sweets. But I just can’t get rid of all my big. (I’ve gotten rid of some of it– that’s where the post title comes from. I had a pair of shorts that I thought I was going to have to get rid of because I was too big for them. But now they fit.)

I don’t love being the heaviest person in my family. The hubs is a naturally skinny guy, and the kids seem to have all taken after him to a certain extent. I don’t have to worry about my children being made fun of for being the “fat kid.” But it bugs me that my clothes are so big and I don’t feel pretty in most of them.

I’m still a food supply for Buttercup, and the hubs tells me that I shouldn’t worry about losing weight until she gives me up permanently. And I know that I’m healthy: I can keep up with my kids, and life doesn’t wear me out. Diabetes runs in my family, but I seem to be dodging the bullet. I love to work out, but it just doesn’t look like it’s doing anything.

Then yesterday, I hurt myself. I was running through the rain and sprained my ankle. I don’t think I would be in so much pain if there was less of me to land on my ankle. 

Am I discouraging myself? The monthly charge to the gym that will go on for at least the next 8 months should help to prevent that. I just know something needs to change or I really will get discouraged.

Nicknames Revealed!

Let’s be clear: I’m not anonymous. If you’re reading this, it’s likely you already know who I am, and who my family is. You’ve seen us; you’ve talked to us; you might even have pictures of us.

And that’s fine. But I’m going to preserve some of the mystique anyway. Because there are folks I don’t know following me (hello, folks! Welcome!) and they just don’t need all the 411, if you know what I mean. So the first thing I had to do was establish some nicknames for the family.

The Regulator: My oldest son. He’s a stickler for the rules, and is absolutely willing to call people out on doing the wrong thing. I do admire his sense of justice, but sometimes it gets him in trouble– mostly because he doesn’t have his facts straight.

Toughie: The middle boy. This boy has a pretty high tolerance for pain, especially when he’s having a good time. He’ll come in from playing outside with scratches and bruises, and when I ask him what happened, he shrugs his shoulders and runs off to the next fun thing. I don’t know where he gets it from; the hubs and I are pretty much wimps compared to him!

Pint-Size Genius: The youngest boy. He is the first of my kids to read before Kindergarten, even though the older boys could have easily done it. He has a personality a mile wide, and a vocabulary to match. Why say “I’m thirsty” when “I’m parched” is so much more effective? Half this blog could end up being quotes from this kid– we’ve already lost so much to our crappy memory banks.

Buttercup: the baby girl we never expected. She’s a good four years younger than Pint-Size Genius, so we were previously convinced that the factory had shut down, as it were. The boys love watching “The Princess Bride,” and the main character is Buttercup. More often than not, we call her “Buh-huh-kwup” like the Bishop does in the wedding scene, but I don’t think I could type that repeatedly any more than you could read it repeatedly. So we stick to the standard spelling. 

So, there you have it. Along with the nicknames, the previous promise of pictures is hereby rescinded. Hope that’s not a problem. But hey– they’re my kids. They deserve to be their own people eventually, and I just feel that posting their pictures takes that from them. 

Summertime…

…and the living is busy! (Sorry, Mr. Gershwin.) But there will be no electronic hypnosis this summer!

I sent Pint-Size Genius* to Pre-K for the last time. He had a great time, since it was the year-end party. When I came to pick him, he started to cry when he hugged his teacher, and collected himself quickly…but he cried for a solid half-hour when he got home. He’s going to miss his friends! Totally broke my heart. He didn’t even eat lunch… which is actually just as well, because he wouldn’t have wanted the tuna lettuce wraps I made. (They went over really well with The Regulator* and Toughie,* which surprised me!)

I decided to offer him a distraction by taking him and his brothers to the pool. It was Buttercup’s* first time in the bathing suit. Of course she looked great, but I gotta say: she really enjoyed being in the water! Splashing and giggling, she totally tuckered herself out. In fact, the boys are all tuckered out too.

We have all three boys in one room, and as such we used to put them all to bed at once, but since they’re getting older, they want to be treated differently. So now we have staggered bedtimes— each one a half-hour later than the younger. Honestly it’s easier on me, too: I only have to worry about one set of teeth getting brushed, one set of prayers, one tucking in at a time. 

Buttercup gets to go last, but that’s really because she naps twice a day. Sometimes, like tonight, she’s tired and cranky and singing to me the song of her people….but it doesn’t bother me. It bothered me when my oldest was a baby; but I finally learned that they can’t much help it, can they? So why complain? 

* I finally decided on nicknames for the kids; I’ll explain them in the next post.

For how long, exactly?

(Oh, Mr. Cooper, such a tease….but school really is only out for summer.)

So the grammar school year is done. There’s a year-end party in Pre-K, so Pint-Size Genius has one more day. (NOTE: I’m going to try out these nicknames for now. Maybe they’ll stick.)

I am mentally prepared for the boys to be awake and bored at 5 am tomorrow. I’m also in possession of the mental fortitude to prevent the TV being their babysitter this summer. We’re joining the Summer Book Club at the Library, and the supply of extra bathing suits is already at the pool. All of them have workbooks and notebooks to practice school skills, and the chore charts are ready to go.

In September, all three boys will be spending their days in school. There might be more than coffee in my mug that day…but probably not, since there will be an almost one-year-old with me. Or I might be heading to work myself. I don’t really know until it happens. 

On a barely related note… I can’t stand the word ‘vacay.’ Maybe because it’s not a word. I don’t usually say anything, but it just might come up. I’m going to do my damndest to make sure this blog doesn’t become a running list of “things that bug me.” So thanks for your consideration.

I’m allowed to gush…

… So gush I shall!

My oldest qualified for the State track meet in all three events for which he tried out!  To be honest, I thought he was just having a good time and never even considered he could go to the next level. I really think it’s amazing for the first time out. At the very least, this ought to make for a great day out. If he does really well, it could lead to a weekend at HersheyPark, and that is just awesome.

The 2nd one earned this:

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I once had a boss who said this was the best award and her favorite one to give. It’s the ultimate expression of “You have to be in it to win it.” My hope is that he always takes his education (as well as his health) this seriously.

The youngest boy graduated from Pre-K today. I tried to get him to practice reading and writing and whatnot at home between helping the other kids with homework and teaching part time. It wasn’t good. He just wasn’t responding. So the hubs and I resolved to send him to Pre-K the year before Kindergarten. I can’t even describe to you how resoundingly well it worked. He’s reading, adding, spelling, counting by groups; he knows all his colors and his address. And the theme of the event? Adorable!
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As for the baby? Well… she’s gotten really good at waving to people on demand. She’s sleeping better, and eats like a champ. Her personality is blooming, so there’s much more to her than being cute. Although she’s good at that , too.

The living is pretty good right now.