Friday, June 28, 2013

Busy-ness As Usual

This week the kids got to attend soccer camp.  They really had a good time and I'm glad we were able to send them.  It was kind of convenient timing because I had a workshop all this week for work and Ed has already taken some vacation time because of my work schedule.  The plan was that I would take Joey to daycare and Ed would drop the big kids off at soccer camp Monday through Thursday (the days of the camp and my workshop).  I was supposed to work from 8:30-3:30 each of those days.  Jake went to camp from 9-12 and Michaela went from 9-3 so Ed was going to pick up Jake and take him back to work for the afternoon.  I would leave work at 2:30, get Joey from daycare, and pick up Michaela to take her to swim team practice.  For anyone who is not familiar with living somewhere the size of Little Rock, it takes me a good 30 minutes to get across town on the highway and I work on the opposite corner of town from where we live.  So it is not unusual that it takes 30 minutes to an hour to pick them up from one activity and get them to another one.  Her swim team group is supposed to practice from 3:00-3:30 on Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday but we got permission for her to go to the practice at 3:30-4:00 this week since soccer camp didn't end until 3.  We had everything pretty well planned out with minimal disruption to either of our work hours and the kids would be able to attend their regular activities and we only had to pay daycare for Joey for the week. But then on Wednesday we had a slight change of schedule that turned out to be a good thing but is a good example of my daughter's "Michaela-ness". 

On Tuesday, Michaela had a doctor appointment so Ed picked them both up from soccer camp at 12:00 and took them to eat and then to her appointment.  She had a swim meet at 6:00.  After the swim meet, we were talking about camp and Michaela was telling us that she was "helping out" with Jake's class in the afternoon.  I got a little upset because this kind of language usually means that Michaela has found a way to manipulate the instructors to let her do something easier than what she is supposed to do.  I was also confused because Jake wasn't allowed to attend in the afternoon because he is only six.  I mentioned that to Michaela thinking maybe she was lying again but she said maybe they got to stay because they were seven so we didn't think anymore about it.  But I had told her that Jake wasn't going to the full day camp because the rules said you had to be 7.  Michaela apparently took exception to this because she confronted the camp director Wednesday morning.  Now you have to know that the camp director is the head girls' soccer coach for UALR (University of Arkansas at Little Rock).  He's probably not accustomed to being confronted about his camp policies by a nine-year-old.  So I'm at work in my meeting and I get a phone call from a Little Rock number that I don't recognize.  I figured it might be someone from the camp...I'm never surprised that one of the "bigs" has done something that requires a call home.  When I stepped outside and answered, it was Michaela.  "Mommy, the coach said Jake can try staying all day today and if he does ok, he can stay all day tomorrow too."  I have no idea what she is talking about first of all because I was so surprised that she was the one on the other end of the phone.  Me:  "What are you talking about Michaela?"  Michaela:  "Coach said Jake could try the full day camp so Daddy won't have to leave work to come pick him up.  Is that ok?  Can you call Daddy and tell him not to come pick up Jake?"  At this point I'm a little curious that maybe she's just trying to get me to cancel Jake's ride home so he has to sit and wait on her all afternoon at camp.  I'm confused.  At this point, the coach takes the phone away from Michaela and he tells me that Michaela had said Jake would like to stay all day and it was ok with him if I wanted to let him try it.  I asked if Michaela had enough lunch for both of them because the all day campers had to take their own.  She had already told him she packed enough so I said it was ok if Jake stayed and that I would call Ed to tell him.  So I picked them both up at 3:00 and took Michaela to swim team practice.  Afterwards, I asked her, "What did you say to the coach this morning that made him call me to let Jake stay all day at camp?"  She said, " I told him 'my mom said you or one of the other coaches said that my brother can't stay for the all day camp because he too young.'  He asked, 'how old is your brother?' and I said, 'Six.'  Coach asked where he was and I showed him who Jake was then he asked Jake if he wanted to stay for the all day camp.  Jake said he did so coach said it was ok and told me to call my dad and ask but I didn't know daddy's number so I called you so you could call daddy."  Really.  So I guess she hasn't learned to mind her own business but she is definitely not afraid to ask for what she wants.  She's probably heard "no" so many times it doesn't even register with her anymore and it certainly doesn't scare her.  So Wednesday and Thursday Jake got to go to the full day camp.  He did a great job but he got pretty sunburned on Wednesday because he didn't put on any extra sunscreen after lunch.  I emailed the coach Thursday to let him know that I was really happy with their camp experience and thank him for letting Jake stay.  I'm a little embarrassed and I hope he doesn't think that I was mad about Jake not attending full day but I'm glad he got some extra training time!

Both the bigs got great evaluations from their coaches and had a great time at camp.  I love that they are doing so well in soccer and enjoying it so much.  I think swim team is a great complimentary sport for them to participate in as well.  It will keep their bodies strong and build endurance and help them stay active all year.  Jake is taking private lessons in order to learn the four strokes so he can join swim team too.  He only gets to go once a week but he "practices" in the apartment pool a lot.  I was laughing at him swimming backstroke yesterday at his lesson, it was so cute!  The coach had helped him float on his back and then kick his feet while floating and then they tried to add the arms.  Oh my goodness, his little arms were everywhere!  They were flailing around and splashing water everywhere, the coach leaned way back away from him to avoid getting smacked in the face!  She instructed him in how to keep his arms straight and turn his palms out when his elbows got to his ears.  By the end of the lesson, he was doing much better.  It was adorable to watch!  I can't wait until he is able to join swim team too.  I'm hoping I'll be able to keep them both swimming all year.  Michaela has improved and continues to get better each time she gets in the water.  She is so good at breast stroke and is working on freestyle and butterfly.  I don't think she really likes backstroke anymore because she is scared of hitting her head at the other side.  I can't say I blame her, I always was a little apprehensive about that too. 

Joey is growing so fast, he is nine months and he is pulling himself up on furniture.  We are waiting for him to start "cruising" the living room.  He really gets around.  And he is also not afraid to ask for what he wants, or just take it.  When Ed and Jake are trying to play video games, Joey grabs the controllers and pulls on the cords.  It frequently causes Ed's character to jump off a building or run right into the middle of a fire fight.  I think it's kind of funny.  We have to hide the controllers in a drawer when they aren't playing.  I finally got Ed to put his toys away!  Joey loves to watch while his bigs play on their kindles or watch cartoons.  He crawls right up on their laps so he has a good view.  This afternoon while I have been typing, he got a little upset that I wasn't paying him enough attention so he untied my shoes.  When that didn't work, he started grabbing the laptop and typing on the keys until I put it down and played with him for a little bit.  I don't think my kids will ever be in danger of being ignored.  They won't let that happen for very long.

As busy as this week has been though, the most exciting part has been today.  Michaela's doctor's appointment on Tuesday was with a psychiatrist to see if he thought she might have ADHD.  We have talked to psychologists; school principals, teachers, and counselors; a social worker; and more than one pediatrician trying to find out what is going on with her.  We have known since she was two that there were some issues but no one has been able (or maybe willing) to say she had ADHD.  Finally this year her pediatrician agreed that there is some kind of problem and sent evaluations to be filled out by us and her teacher but even with the teacher and the school counselor, they couldn't diagnose her with the evaluations and had to refer her to an actual psychiatrist because the pediatrician was convinced she needed medication of some kind but couldn't prescribe it without the diagnosis.  Just FYI, they diagnosed Jake in nothing flat with the evals and he has always been so much easier to deal with than Michaela!  Anyway, the psychiatrist had to get permission from his supervisor but decided to try the same medication and dosage that Jake is on.  I waited until today to give it to her because I wanted to be with her in case it made her feel sick or weird.  I hesitate to be excited but I can't help myself after what happened today.  We had to drive to another appointment downtown this afternoon and both the trip there and back were QUIET.  And don't forget, these trips are about 20 minutes each way and neither child had any toys, electronics, or other distractions.  They sat quietly for the entire ride.  Michaela asked me a couple of questions on the way there and on the way home they played quietly with the stickers they got at the appointment.  There was even some laughing but it was so quiet, I don't even know what they were laughing about.  I know this probably sounds crazy but anyone who has ever gone anywhere with these two could probably be picked up off the floor right now.  I'm not embarrassed to say, I was pretty choked up that my two children could behave this way.  So I took them out to eat afterwards as a reward and they were super good there too!  No fighting, so yelling, no arguing about who sat where.  I kept wondering where these kids came from. 

So even though this week has been a little crazy, there was a literal "calm" at the end.  Calm that I don't think I've ever seen before.  I have to say, I'm more than a little hopeful that this is what she has needed just to "take the edge off" of the craziness.  Maybe if the clam will last, we can deal with her a little easier.  It's nice to have something UN-usual for once.  :)

Friday, June 21, 2013

Sick (and Tired of Lying and Fighting!)

So school ended three weeks ago and yesterday was my fifth day off.  It seems like teaching gets fewer perks and more responsibility every year.  With my position as Math Facilitator, I work an extra week after school is out and an extra week before the teachers come back in August in order to help get organized and be ready for the school year.  I normally wouldn't complain about it (I do get paid for the days unlike when I was coaching!) but this year, I was sick on top of it.  My last few weeks have been a little more stressful than usual.

The last day of classes was Friday May 31st.  Michaela had complained the last week of not feeling well but being the last week of school I told her to go and she didn't want to stay home anyway.  I felt fine all day Friday until late that evening when my throat started to feel funny.  I ran a fever of 103 all weekend so I went to the doctor Sunday afternoon and found out I had strep so I stayed home Monday.  Michaela stayed with me so I could make sure she didn't spike a fever too since she hadn't been feeling well but we both went to work/daycare on Tuesday.  Wednesday night Jake had a fever so Ed stayed home with him on Thursday and Friday.  Ed got sick too and didn't feel well all weekend with a stomach ache and low fever.  Saturday morning, I had to go back to the doctor because the left side of my throat was getting worse and the glands in my neck were huge!  They gave me a different antibiotic (I had to make about four phone calls and three trips to the pharmacy before I actually got them late Sunday!) and I left Monday morning for a conference in Hot Springs, AR.  Sometime over the weekend, Michaela spent the night throwing up, I had a stomach ache on top of the strep, and when I got back to town on Wednesday night, Jake was throwing up.  Somehow through all of our shared sickness, Joey was fine.  We have also stayed busy as usual.  Michaela got on the local swim team and has practice Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday from 3:00 to 3:30.  Jake is in private lessons until he can swim well enough to be on the team.  Her meets are Tuesday evenings.  Next week, I have workshops Mon-Thurs 8:30 to 3:30, Jake is in a half-day soccer camp (9-12) and Michaela is all day (9-3).  The first week of July will be my first week that I don't have to work any day during the week.  Both big kids spent the day yesterday at church camp where they swam, did crafts, and learned about archery.  Of course archery was their favorite!  I had to cancel Jake's first swimming lesson and my housekeeper due to all the illness so the apartment was a mess and it certainly didn't help that I had spent several days in bed because I was too sick to get up.  Hopefully this was no indication of how the rest of our summer will go!

Despite being sick the whole first weekend in June and missing work on Monday, I tried to clean up the house and then I went to the grocery store with Michaela because we were out of formula for Joey.  She loves to play on my phone and I decided to take the opportunity to teach her a lesson about lying.  Michaela has had a long history of telling lies.  The seeds of dishonesty sprouted back before she could even put a full sentence together.  When she was potty training, we would give her a piece of candy as a reward when she went to the potty.  Pretty soon, she would run into the bathroom and flush the potty any time she wanted a piece of candy.  She began to plan more devious schemes when she was in preK.  She was the last one in her class to fill up her sticker chart to pick a prize from the treasure chest.  In fact, some of the other students had filled theirs twice and she had five spaces left on hers.  She had gotten several stickers in a two week time frame and we were very proud of her and told her how excited we were that she was minding her teacher in order to get the stickers.  Then she had a "great idea".  "Mommy, I can get my own stickers and put them on my star chart to fill it up.  My teacher will say 'Now how did that happen?' and I will get my prize from the treasure chest!"  We had to explain to her that while her idea was creative and a possible solution to her problem, it was cheating and cheating is not acceptable behavior.  We knew at this point that we were in for trouble.  Of course she told the usual lies that children tell, "I didn't hit my brother", "I don't know who ate the last cookie" (with crumbs all over her clothes), "The tv came on by itself", I'm sure you've heard these before.  Then in Kindergarten, she started sneaking clothes to school so she could change after she was dropped off because she knew Mommy and Daddy wouldn't approve of what she wanted to wear.  She was a teenager in a 5-year-old body.  Anyway, I saw a parenting blog about a mom who decided to teach her son a lesson about lying.  I wish I had thought of this years ago, I had to try it.  I told Michaela she could play games on my phone in 5 minutes.  She came to me a little later and said she knew that five minutes had passed because she had watched a whole TV show and could she play my phone now.  I said, "No, I lied.  You can't play on my phone now.  But lets go to the grocery store."  She was mad but she likes to go shopping so we left.  She asked if she could play my phone on the way there.  I told her no, but if she was good at the store, I would let her play on the way home.  I had to remind her a couple of times in the store but she did pretty well.  We got in the car to leave and she asked again if she could play because she had earned it.  I said, "No, I lied.  You can't play on my phone today."  She was SO mad!  I explained to her that this is how it feels to be lied to and she agreed that it was no fun.  She cried so hard and it wasn't the screaming and wailing of perceived injustice (i.e. temper tantrum) but her heart was broken because I had lied to her.  It was painful to listen to.  When we got home, I sat her in my lap and explained to her how hurtful lies were.  I asked her if I told her she could play my phone that night would she believe me.  She said no and I pointed out how easily trust is broken by lying.  I told her that I only lied to her to teach her a lesson.  And it was a very small lesson.  I promised her that I would not lie to her again unless she continued to lie and I had to teach her a bigger lesson.  That evening, she started to lie and immediately changed her mind and told the truth (I was SO excited!).  Since then, she has been MUCH more truthful and I am optimistic about being able to trust her.  Even this morning, she told her brother she doesn't lie anymore because she doesn't want to have to learn another lesson and he shouldn't either.  Score one (or ten!) for me.

I complain a lot about Michaela's behavior but she is super helpful too.  She has SO much fun with baby Joey and is (usually) so good to him!  She plays with him and fixes his bottle sometimes.  He adores his big sister.  He smiles and laughs when she walks by and holds his little arms out for her to pick him up.  Joey is crazy about Jake too.  He crawls after Jake and they make faces and funny noises at each other and laugh and laugh!  It's too cute.  I get mad at Jake though because he seems to have a weird obsession with putting his feet on the baby.  Another frequent phrase I never thought would use, "Get your feet off of your baby brother!"  I can't figure out what goes on in their crazy little heads.  We call Jake and Michaela the bigs.  Joey loves his bigs and loves to watch their craziness.  I'm sure "bigs" will be one of his first words!  He's getting close to words but mostly he just blows raspberries.  We had to put a gate across the back of the living room to keep Joey from getting into the cat food, or litter, or falling down the stairs.  Michaela likes to get him out of his crib in the morning and play with him.  But then she gets involved in a tv show and forgets to watch the baby.  Ed woke up to him banging on the bathroom floor in our room one morning so he got dressed and went to get the gate.  Joey is growing so fast.  If you say "yay!" Joey claps his hands and smiles.  He can roll a tennis ball (though his aim is not very good) and he pulls up on stuff now so he is standing.  Joey likes to play with cords and the remote controls for the tv and video games.  Daddy is proud but gets very angry when his character accidentally jumps of a cliff because Joey grabbed the controller at an inopportune time.  Baby's current favorite game is "Can I have that?  Thank you."  "You want it?  You're welcome."  We hand a toy back and forth.  He gets mad if you try to end the game when he still wants to play and he screams at you and flaps his arms.  Just another indication that he is one of the family.

I promised the crazies I would take them to the pool this afternoon so I was going to have to wrap up for now.  Unfortunately for the children, they decided to throw a ball at each other just now so we are not going.  Michaela threw it first and hit Jake in the back so Jake threw it at her and hit her in the face.  She started crying and complaining that she only hit him in the back.  She apparently didn't think it was fair that Jake had better aim.  They have been working on getting along and playing nicely together and they have been better (with some obvious slip ups).  We even made sticker charts for them to keep track of days that they don't hit or yell at each other and do their chores.  We had to include a spot for bathing too, they were starting to stink and I had to cut an inch off of Michaela's hair because she wouldn't wash and comb it.  I don't understand why I would have to bribe my children to take a bath.  We are going to try to make brownies later.  I'm supposed to have the bigs practice working together so Jake will hold the bowl while Michaela cracks the eggs and adds the oil.  Then Michaela will hold the bowl while Jake pours in the mix and stirs.  If they can get through this without brownie mix all over the kitchen it will be a miracle.  I just don't want to have to fight them to take a bath after the chocolate fight that Michaela swears she didn't start...wish me luck!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Rollin' With It

I hate doing birthdays.  I am not good at planning and I get all stressed out about booking a party and organizing all the details, especially invitations.  How am I supposed to invite kids to a birthday party when I don't know any of the parents and they can't hand out invites at school unless everyone is invited?  Birthdays are supposed to be special and the kid should feel like a superstar for a day but what if nobody shows up?  Way too stressful for me.  Michaela's birthday was March 8th and I really wanted to have a big party for her.  She didn't get a birthday party the last two years (I don't even want to talk about it) so this year I started early asking her what she wanted.  I was going to give her a painting party.  She loves anything to do with art so I thought this would be perfect for her.  She told me she wanted to have a gymnastics party instead.  I asked her if she was sure she didn't want to go painting and she said she wanted to see the place first.  What 8-year-old needs to pre-approve party locations?  I don't know what she expected to find or what she was looking for.  It's a place where you go paint pictures, and she's even been to a party like that before!  I tried to convice her but she insisted on going there before choosing.  Between me starting a new job and Ed working late all week and every weekend for two months, we didn't get to go "check it out" so she never made a decision, and I never booked a party.  So her birthday approached and we didn't have any big party plans.  I did get online and ordered a couple of the American Girl items that she had asked for out of a catalogue and I even had them delivered ON TIME so she got to open them on her birthday (this is huge for me).  We ordered a cake that was decorated with zebra stripes and hot pink and blue icing (her favorite colors), took her out to a special birthday supper, invited one of her school friends over for cake that night, and took cupcakes to her soccer team practice the following week.  But I still feel like I didn't do enough.  I want to take her and one of her friends for a mani-pedi but haven't yet.  I feel like I really screwed up by not having a big party this year and I can't get it out of my head.  She seemed happy with the activities and all the soccer friends told her thank you for the cupcakes and happy birthday, she really had fun with it at the time.  She enjoyed the dinner, cake, and especially having her friend come over.  The sisters came along too so there were several little girls over to see her room and play for a while and they brought her a really nice present.  Maybe I just put too much pressure on myself.  I have really high expectations.  And I think Michaela takes after me in that respect.

We took Michaela to the psychologist today.  We have struggled with her behavior and defiance for what seems like forever but a couple of months ago, we hit the breaking point.  She was fighting with Ed about getting ready for school one morning and Jake was trying to help out by feeding the cat for her so they could leave as soon as she was dressed.  She got mad that "he did her job for her" and said that if she could get away with it she would kill Jake.  Now I don't think she really meant that she would or even wanted to kill him but I can't just let that go.  We talked to the school counselor and got her an appointment to talk to the psychologist with a Child Studies program here in town.  Today was the first appointment we could get so it's a good thing she wasn't serious.  We got there today and the doctor (I really don't know if she's a psychologist, psychiatrist, therapist, etc so doctor is just easiest) asked us all these questions and talked to Michaela some and she found some things she wants to follow up with.  She gave us questionnaires to fill out to help her check for ADHD, OCD, anxiety, and depression.  She thinks that mainly Michaela is having some adjustment issues with her younger brothers and maybe with the move from last summer and I think she has really picked up on some of Michaela's major problems.  I'm ready to try medication.  Michaela needs to try a low dose of something and I need a margarita IV. 

Just this evening, we had a huge blow-up over washing her hair.  You would think a 9-year-old girl would know how to wash and condition her hair without a fight but not Michaela.  She got out of the shower quite a while ago and went to her room.  I called her out to the living room because I heard her crying.  After talking with her for several minutes, she refused to tell me what was wrong and ran back to her room so I followed her.  While we were talking, I noticed that her hair wasn't combed and I asked her to get a brush.  I finally got her to tell me she had been crying because the "My Little Pony" TV show that she watches on her kindle is over and she didn't want it to end.  No matter how well I know this child, I continue to be surprised at the things she does.  Anyway, I tried to brush her hair and it didn't seem right so I questioned her and found out she didn't wash it, she just conditioned it.  It was taking too long in the shower and she didn't want to take the time to wash it with shampoo.  So I told her to get back in the shower and wash it right.  She fussed and tried to argue but I wasn't having it so she got back in to finish her hair.  When she got out, she brought the comb back to me and I went to work again.  This time, when I got to the top of her head, the comb came out foamy, she hadn't rinsed it well.  She screamed and started to argue again but then she went.  And came right back out.  I said, "No, you couldn't have rinsed good in such a short amount of time."  She had wet her hands, wiped her hair and rinsed her hands.  So I sent her back to the shower for the third time.  But she threw a MAJOR fit.  "I'm NOT getting back in the shower, I'll get my shirt wet and it takes too long!!!!"  I told her if I counted to 3 I was going to dump her, clothes and all, in the shower.  "No, I'm not getting back in the shower!!"  "1"  "Mommy, it takes too long!!!" STOMP, STOMP, STOMP, STOMP.  We live in an apartment and have neighbors below us.  I'm sure they will be suing for the ceiling chunks that have certainly been raining on them.  Michaela turned on the water in the sink again.  "2"  (Turns the sink off.)  "MOMMY!!!"  "Michaela, you are already on two.  Get in the shower.  And if you turn that sink back on that is as good as telling me NO!"  She turns the sink back on.  "3"  "NNNNOOOOOO!  MOMMY!!!"  Much screaming and crying ensues as I go to PUT the child into the tub.  Being the intelligent person that she is, she quickly stripped down and got in on her own.  But then she was mad that I stood in the bathroom with her and made sure she rinsed her hair well.  Forgive me for not wanting to repeat the previous scene.  How appropriate that I could close the shower "curtain" on her little melodrama.  I'm sure she is going to win an Oscar someday.  She is a talented little actress.

She is also unbelieveably smart.  Over the last month or so, they have been testing Michaela for the alpha program.  She gets great grades in school and I don't believe she is even performing up to her potential.  She is allowed to do artwork when she finishes her school work so sometimes she rushes through just to get done.  She doesn't always pay attention to details either.  She had to have 14 AR points for this nine-week grading period.  She got the 14 points about 4 weeks in but she only had an average of 79% and it had to be 85% or better.  So she kept taking tests, and lots of them, in order to raise her percentage.  I tried to explain to her the difficulty of raising an average but she didn't quite get it.  I think there are lots of adults who don't get it.  Anyway, the week before the grading period was over she came home one day and was so excited that she had finally gotten over 85%.  She had 36 points.  So she was able to get almost three times the number of points needed for the nine weeks but struggled to meet the average because she didn't always read carefully and got less than 80% on several tests (so they lower the average and they don't increase the points either).  But once she knew she was going to be below the average, she read more carefully and brought it up.  She's completely capable but chooses when and where.  So we asked that she be tested for gifted (alpha).  I'm not completely sure yet but I have talked with some people with the district and I think she is going to be accepted in the program.  There is also a magnet school that has a specialty program for gifted students that is supposed to be really good so we are looking into sending her there next year.  She could even start taking orchestra.  We will have to add "practicing" to our list of arguments and ordeals.  Maybe she will earn a Tony to go along with the Oscar.

Speaking of "practice", soccer started up again a couple of weeks ago.  Jake had a game first and he did SO great!  He got out there and ran as fast as he could up and down the field; he attacked the ball, even when another player was dribbling down the field; and he got a goal and an assist!  He was playing like he had back in Texas last spring and I'm so happy.  I love watching them play, they are so happy and they do such a great job on the field.  They get along with the other kids and they work as a's awesome watching kids play sports.  Michaela's team had a great first game this season too.  They got a few new girls but all of the girls came back from the fall.  Michaela played goalie most of the game, she is very aggressive and great at keeping the ball out of the goal.  The other team didn't score a single goal against her.  Then she got to play mid-field for the beginning of the second half and she worked with her forwards and she scored two goals of her own.  She is awesome.  I love watching both of them on the soccer field.  I get so worked up though, I'm always yelling and cheering.  It probably annoys the other parents, but I cheer for everybody, not just my kids.  If they don't like it, oh well.  It's not like I'm gonna change anyway.

On the soccer field Jake is doing great but he continues to act like a wild animal at school.  A couple of weeks ago, I got a call from his PE teacher that he wasn't listening in PE class.  Who gets in trouble in PE!?!  That is the one class that you are SUPPOSED to run around and jump and climb and get a little crazy, how can he screw that up?  Apparently he was angry that it was raining and he didn't want to do PE indoors because the video they did was too long.  So he sat in the middle of the floor and refused to participate.  The PE teacher asked him to play along with the other kids and Jake said NO.  The teacher told Jake he needed to either participate and do the video or go to the office for telling him no and refusing to do what he was told.  Jake chose to go to the office.  Five minutes later, another teacher brought Jake back to the gym teacher because she found him wandering around the halls when he DIDN'T go to the office.  So he got a referral to the principal for lying about where he was going on top of everything else.  Not good.  A few days later, he ended up in the principal's office again when he argued with his classmate and told him he was going to kill him.  So I guess Michaela is rubbing off on Jake.  He wasn't allowed to go to extended day and I had to come pick him up, thank goodness it was already the end of the school day anyway.  The principal said if he said it again he would probably get suspended.  I don't know how to make these kids understand that they can't talk to people like that.  Maybe they need to spend some time in an airport and let them see how stupid comments can get people stripped searched, interrogated, and held against their will.  And they think I'm mean.

Joey is growing like a little weed, at his check up today he weighed 17 pounds, 6 ounces and was 27 inches long.  But the doctor is concerned that he isn't rolling over yet.  The baby has an older brother and sister who adore him and can't stand to let him cry for two seconds so of course he hasn't learned to work hard to get to something that he wants...they hand it to him to keep him quiet.  Surprise!  So I'm supposed to work with him to get him to roll over in the next couple of weeks and let the doctor know if he still isn't rolling in another month.  I also asked about getting the big kids diagnosed with ADD or ADHD so we could try medication so we got a bunch of paperwork to fill out and they both have appointments in a month to go over the results.  I don't know if I can make it that long.

We just can't seem to get it right.  Joey is supposed to be rolling and he won't, Jake won't stop rolling when he is supposed to sit still, and Michaela is going to steam roll over anything and anyone that gets in her way.  I just roll my eyes and shake my head.  When it's time for bed though and they wrap those sweet little arms around me to give me a great big hug, I don't even care about all the craziness that happened during the day.  That moment gives me the strength I need to get through whatever they decide to shell out tomorrow.  Just keep those hugs comin' (and a margarita every now and then doesn't hurt!) 

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Wardrobe Malfunctions and a Week of Green

After all the sickness in the house last week, I was glad to get back to work on Monday.  We had inservice and I sat in meetings all day looking at school related data in order to analyze our strengths and weaknesses in different departments and decide where we can go from excitement didn't last long.  Since it was an inservice day though, that meant the kids didn't have school and had to go to daycare with Joey.  Both Jake and Michaela have been to daycare before and should have known what to expect, but they hadn't been to this one so they were speculating and actually got a little nervous about going.  At one point Michaela was whining about being in a room with babies and there would be only baby toys and little kids and there would be nothing for her to do all day.  I had to reassure her that there would, in fact, be big kids there and activities for them to play.  It turned out fine and they both had a great time.  Michaela even made some new friends! 

This was the third Monday of the month and this was one of the weeks that the Brownie troop was supposed to meet.  I had forgotten about two meetings already so I made a special point to remember this one so Michaela could get back into Girl Scouts, I had even set an alarm on my phone.  So instead of going straight home, we stopped at the church where they meet.  It was 5:45 and they were supposed to meet at 6:00 so we waited.  It doesn't sound too bad at first but I didn't mention that it was raining like Noah had just finished the last nails and it was like 40 degrees out.  After I parked the truck, we sat inside for a few minutes but it was already starting to fog over and get cold so I thought we should try to go inside the gym of the church to wait.  I had my umbrella in the front seat and I got it out and open before I opened the baby's door.  Jake and Michaela got out the other side and ran off in the opposite direction of the gym.  I had to hold the umbrella in the crook of my elbow because I had to use both hands to get the baby carrier out and the wind was blowing, I almost lost the umbrella completely.  I yelled at the big kids to come back this way and we went up to the church just to find the doors locked.  So we headed back to the truck.  I had to fight with the umbrella again to get the carrier back inside and when I closed it, all the water ran off the top and right on my head.  I remembered why I don't usually use umbrellas.  I think I got more wet than if I had just walked quickly without the umbrella.  We waited in the car until about 6:05.  I didn't have the leader's phone number and Michaela was a little worried about staying in the storm anyway so we went home.  I guess Brownie's was not meant to be this year.  We certainly aren't having any luck getting started.

When we finally got home, I noticed Joey seemed warm so I took his temperture and he was sick.  I had meetings with the principal and Superintendent of Secondary Education Tuesday morning and couldn't stay home so Ed did, even though he had to go to work in the afternoon.  I rushed to get ready and get to work Tuesday so I could take care of some paperwork before the meetings and called the pediatrician's office as soon as they opened to get Joey in to see the doctor before Ed had to go to work.  They don't open until 8:00 so I called about 8:05 and the only thing they had before 1:00pm was in 10 minutes.  So I called Ed and had him rush Joey to the office.  Poor baby had two ear infections!  They gave him some antibiotics and wanted to see him again in two weeks.  I left school as soon as I could to pick up the baby from Ed's work then I had to go to my doctor's appointment.  At the doctor's office, everybody loved seeing the baby, they all thought he was just adorable.  The nurse even held him and fed him a bottle while I went to use the restroom.  I discovered in the bathroom that with the morning's craziness, I had accidentally put my underwear on inside out!  (And no, I wasn't trying to get two days out of them.)  I will have to pay better attention to avoid future, possibly more embarrassing, wardrobe difficulties.  So after I saw the doctor, Joey and I picked up the big kids and went home. 

Jake was super excited when I picked him up because he got a green at school that day.  I was so happy for him but you have to realize that "greens" are few and far between for Jake and usually there is some kind of anomoly when he gets one so I asked him if his teacher had been there or if there was a substitute.  I shouldn't have asked, there was a sub.  But I was still excited for him and we congratulated him and told him how proud we were.  We have been using video games to "motivate" him to behave at school lately and it has helped a little.  For each green, he earns one mission on his games over the weekend.  We don't let him play during the week though, there isn't time between getting home at 6:00 and eating supper, doing homework, taking baths.  We don't need any more distractions.  Baby Joe was feeling better Tuesday night and Wednesday, everybody went back to school and work as normal.  I picked up the kids after school Wednesday and, wonder of wonders, Jake got a green again, and his regular classroom teacher was there!  No twirling, no undressing and redressing, no shouting out in class, she even drew a smiley face on the chart for Wednesday next to the green mark!  It was like winning the lottery, or it felt like the same odds anyway.  So I fixed Jake's choice for dinner that night.  We have been trying to teach the kids to eat at least a little of whatever is fixed for them whether they like it or not for a couple of reasons.  First if I go to the trouble of making something, they should eat it and I shouldn't have to make multiple meals every night for every family member.  Second if they are eating at someone else's house (I know, not likely these little monsters will get invited to eat with other people, but just in case...) it is rude not to eat what is served.  Anyway, in light of her "training" Michaela made a little speech at the table.  "Mommy, thank you for making dinner for us.  Daddy told me I have to eat some of it and I will eat a little bit, but I don't like this and I'm going to make myself a sandwich afterwards."  It's a step in the right direction but we have a little ways to go in the execution.  What really made me mad was that she hadn't even tasted it yet.  When I pointed that out to her she got mad and went crazy, she screamed that we never think she does anything right and stomped off to her room where she slammed the door.  That's the Michaela we know and love.  She finally did come out a little later and ate.  Turned out she liked it after all and asked for more. 

Thursday Jake got a third green in a row!  I started to worry about the delicate climate balance in Hell.  We were all so proud of him and he had earned three missions on the video games for the week.  He wanted to play one that night but I wouldn't let him, no games during the week.  He only fussed a little about doing his homework and he got it done quickly, both pages!  He really had a great week and I am so excited for him, he is really making progress.  We don't usually go anywhere in the evenings so as soon as we get home, Ed and I both change into comfy clothes like a tshirt and pajama pants.  Super elegant.  We ordered pizza for supper since Jake had been asking for it all week and we watched TV waiting for it to get here.  Michaela, however, didn't like what we were watching so she took her Kindle to her room to watch by herself.  By the time the pizza got here, she was asleep so the rest of us ate and left hers in the box.  We had ordered the pizza sliders from Pizza Hut and she had three sausage sliders waiting on the table for her to come and eat if she woke up (we learned a long time ago not to wake her, it's better to just let her miss supper)...until Petey, our cat, noticed the smell of food.  He knocked the box off the table and all three fell on the floor so he helped himself.  "You snooze, you lose" seems to be particularly appropriate here.  So Ed got up to clean up the floor and when he came back and went to sit down, I noticed the back seam of his pajama pants was completely ripped out.  Forget the barn door being open, the whole back wall had fallen down!!  "Honey, you have a huge hole in the butt of those pants."  "These are my favorite pants!"  They must have split when he bent down or the last time he wore them.  He was so sad.  He has another pair just like them but I guess I'll have to get him some more.  Maybe a size bigger.

After Eddie changed pants we watched a little TV then I went to bed a little early.  Joey hadn't gotten his medicine yet so I asked Ed to give it to him before putting him down for the night.  Ed needs to go to the eye doctor but refuses, so he can't read the instructions on the medicine bottles and he had to ask me how much Joey needed.  (This is just one of the many reasons I tell people I have FOUR kids...)  I told him 1/2 a teaspoon.  He said, "ok, a tablespoon", and I said, "no, a TEAspoon."  Well, in the process of correcting his joke, he misinterpreted or misheard, or somehow missed what I said.  He gave Joey a full teaspoon of antibiotic.  Thank God it wasn't Tylenol or ibuprofen.  He gave Joey two double doses before I noticed Saturday morning.  I was holding the baby and asked Ed to get his medicine.  He brought me the dropper and I said "you realize this is way over 1/2 a teaspoon don't you?"   Ed: "What do you mean HALF a teaspoon, you told me it was a whole teaspoon!"  Me:  "No I told you 1/2."  Ed: "You said a teaspoon."  Me: "I did NOT say 'a teaspoon'.  Why would I say a teaspoon when I know it's a 1/2 teaspoon.  You are just mad that you can't read and are trying to blame this on me!"  Jackass.  It wasn't even a whole teaspoon in the dropper.  Looking back, I bet he thought I was saying ONE teaspoon when I had to correct him saying a tablespoon.  Either way, it's his own fault.  If he'd just get his eyes checked he wouldn't have to ask me in the first place.

Friday morning, the kids got up extra early and got dressed right away because they wanted Ed to take them to McDonald's for breakfast before they went to school.  Jake had been so good this week and they were so sweet that morning, ready to go by 6:30!, so Ed agreed and got up to take them to breakfast.  They left for school and I was finishing packing up the baby when my phone rang.  It was Ed and I couldn't imagine what he wanted, I was afraid something was wrong.  When I answered, Ed asked if I had left yet.  I said no and he asked if I would bring Jake a shirt.  "What do you mean bring Jake a shirt?  What kind of shirt?"  The kids have to wear specific uniforms to school but on Fridays they can wear jeans with their Baker tshirts.  I thought maybe Jake had worn a regular shirt, or maybe Ed was confused and thought he needed a polo instead of his Baker tee.  No, it wasn't any of that.  Jake had been so excited to get dressed and eat breakfast at McDonald's he hadn't changed his shirt at all.  He was still wearing his batman pajama top!  Fortunately, I had planned to run through McDonald's for breakfast anyway (I love their oatmeal!  One of the ladies I work with calls it "crack" oatmeal.  It's REALLY good!) so I brought the kid one of his uniform shirts and met Ed in the parking lot.  Jake and Michaela were in the booth at the window banging and waving at me.  They left dirty handprints all over the window but I decided to look on the bright side, at least it wasn't cheek, face, or tongue prints.  This time.  I got my food in the drive thru and went to work to eat.

That night, Joey had another episode of his exploding poo.  I chalk this one up to the overdose of antibiotics... I went to change his jammies and he was almost out of clean sleepers.  Michaela brought me the last clean one in the drawer, such a good helper, and I changed the baby.  Now, he had worn these jammies just last week and they were just fine but Friday night when I put them on him, they were so short, he couldn't even straighten his legs!  I knew he was hitting a growth spurt, he had been eating more formula more often all week but I had no idea he was growing so fast!  So I put him in a onsie and a blanket sleeper, the kind that is like a sack, so he would be warm and decided I would have to buy him some bigger jammies at the store over the weekend.  I found three new pairs of pajamas for Joey at Walmart Saturday morning.  Unfortunately, there weren't any of Ed's jammie pants.  I got them at Kohl's originally so I'll have to check there later. 

Crazy enough, Michaela is the only one in the family that didn't have clothing issues this week, she used to be the one that had them all the time.  I remember when she was in first grade, we had to start checking her backpack every morning before she went to school because we found out she was going to the bathroom after she got to school and changing clothes.  She had a sundress that she had outgrown and she liked to take it and wear it as a skirt with a shirt over it.  One day, she convinced Ed to let her wear a button down cardigan with no shirt underneath.  It looked terrible and I had to explain to Ed that if he felt it was "not quite right" he shouldn't let a six-year-old talk him into it.  I'm thankful now for the uniform policy at their new gradeschool.  It alleviates some of these problems!  We obviously can't escape all of the trials of modern fashion but with better attention and planning, maybe we can at least prevent future clothing "accidents" in the busy-ness of day to day life!


Sunday, February 17, 2013

Just Get the Carpet Cleaner

This week started off way too early with the monkey wrench that derails even the best, most organized moms...a stomach bug.  No matter how well you plan your time and organize your childrens' routines, there is nothing you can do to account for the appearance of this nightmare that frankly sends my world into a tailspin.  And not being anywhere near "routine" and "organized" it wreaks havoc in our family.  We had had a decent weekend with lots of TV, video games, reading, and just general lounging about.  Not much had been accomplished (not unusual) but it was nice to just sit around together.  Everything was fine when we all went to bed Sunday night, then about 2:00 Monday morning, I woke up to Michaela screaming "Mommy!".  Half asleep, I jumped out of bed and nearly broke my neck trying to find out what was the matter, I was wishing we had done less "lounging" and more picking up.  When I got to the kids' bathroom, she was leaning over the toilet holding her hair in a ponytail.  Ok, no explanation needed.  I got her a cup of water to rinse her mouth and rubbed her back for a few minutes before sending her back to bed.  I guess that's the good thing about throwing up, if there is one, that you feel pretty good afterwards and she was able to go right back to sleep.  I laid awake for a while before I could get back to sleep and it seemed like I had jsut closed my eyes when she called for me again.  We repeated the routine around 3 or 4 times so when my alarm went off at 5:30 I was tired, cranky, and not inclined to get up.  But I did.

Obviously Michaela had to stay home from school Monday but I was not so lucky.  I am a math coach at a high school and I had to teach a class for another teacher to observe during first period.  We are on block schedule so first period is from 9:00 to 10:30.  Ed got the honor of staying home with Michaela Monday morning and I would come home for the afternoon.  I went to work, Jake went to school and Ed, Michaela and Joey stayed home.  I was already not 100% because I had been fighting sinus congestion for the last couple of weeks but I took some sinus medicine and some cough drops and pushed many people with responsibilities do.  I taught 1st period a little groggy (there were a couple of times the students had to help remind me that 3 times 5 is 15, not 8) I met with some of my supervisors from the district office to discuss the lesson, and about noon I checked out to go home.  I was SO ready to get home and take a nap.

As I left school, I checked my email and wished I hadn't.  Jake's teacher had sent me a message with the subject, "behavior this morning".  This can't be good.  Can't this child just do what he is supposed to do?  How hard is it really to sit down and do what the teacher tells you!?  Apparently it's incredibly difficult because he had "REFUSED" to write his spelling words and then tore his paper.  When the student intern told him he could still use the paper to write his words, the little turd tore it even more.  I think I would have lost it at that point.  When the teacher got to him and asked him why he wouldn't do his words, all he would say is that he was tired.  I know he doesn't like to do his work.  It takes us an hour to get him to write three homework sentences in the evening.  He cries and screams, "It's too hard!  I don't know how to write a sentence!  I can't spell that word!"  It takes him about 10 minutes to actually do the homework and another 50 minutes to make a Broadway-style production of it.  We are going to have to start stage-lighting the dining room table so he has a proper setting for these little performances.  It makes me cringe to imagine him throwing these fits at school, his teacher must think we are terrible parents.  Or that he deserves an Oscar.  He had to miss his recess to write the words that he said he was too tired to do earlier.  He is already on the last step of the school's discipline management plan and I honestly don't know what happens after that last step but I assume it must be bad.  At the high school level, they get a referral to the principal but Jake has already had to go talk to her a couple of times.  I really hope he doesn't get suspended from Kindergarten.  His tantrums may be stage-worthy but I don't think we are ready for the Hollywood lifestyle if he gets kicked out of school and has to try to make it big in showbiz.  When I got home, I had barely changed my clothes when Jake's school called.  Of course my first thought is that he HAS been suspended and they are calling for me to immediately come and pick him up before he causes any more disruption and disorder in the classroom.  I started thinking about what shows he could audition for.  "This is the nurse at Baker.  Jake came into my office complaining about his stomach and he just threw up a large amount.  His teacher sent him down because he was laying on the floor holding his stomach and crying that his stomach hurt."  Yep, that's usually a pretty good clue that something is wrong.  And then I got caught up in the fact that he threw up a "large amount".  I was on my way at "threw up" but I guess as a school nurse you learn phrases that need to be emphasized to parents to get your point across when mom or dad don't want to hear what you are saying.  It kind of reminds me of the warnings on McDonald's coffee cups, "Caution: Contents may be hot".  Or on the new car ad where the car drives off the cliff and proceeds to fly across the water, "Cars don't really fly".  That's too bad because I was sold!  I wanted that flying car and  I was on my way to the dealership right after I chugged some coffee.  Anyway, I guess some parents don't want to come pick up their kid if they just throw up a little.  Somebody must have said something that made her realize at some point that she needed to tell me he threw up a lot so I would know I needed to come and get him.  I brought him home and he went to bed, obviously sick.  I still wasn't feeling well and it was already almost 2:00 so Ed just stayed home. 

The rest of the evening was pretty uneventful until it was almost time to go to bed.  Jake hadn't thrown up anymore so I thought maybe he didn't have it as bad as Michaela did.  She was feeling better, I was getting ready for bed, and Ed was watching TV when Jake woke up feeling sick again.  He was in his bed and I guess he tried to get up to go to the bathroom but he didn't quite make it, not even close actually.  He came running out to the kitchen instead and went to the trashcan.  He threw up a little into the trash and then cried that he had thrown up on his floor.  I took him to the bathroom to clean him up and told him he needed to go straight to the toilet if he needed to throw up.  I don't know why he ran to the kitchen trashcan.  Ed went to check out his floor and found that he had gotten it on his bedding too.  He has a loft bed so when he went to climb down he was on the ladder facing the bed and he started to throw up.  It was all across the foot of his bed and there was a big puddle next to the ladder on the floor.  Ed pulled the bedding off and put it in the washer while I got out the carpet spot-cleaner and cleaned up the floor.  We got a clean comforter, made Jake a bed on the couch, and made sure to put a trash can next to him just in case.  He made it through the night without throwing up again but he peed on the couch instead.  Figures.  Thank goodness the carpet cleaner does upholstery too.

I woke up sick about 2am on Tuesday so all of us stayed home and I slept until the middle of the afternoon.  The stomach bug lowered my resistance enough to let the sinus problem take a good hold and I woke up with a pounding headache and sore throat, my head felt huge.  I had to get up and help with the kids for a while though because Ed was exhausted from taking care of everyone.  He went to get some gatorade and then took a nap.  I laid on the couch.  The kids felt fine and played with thier kindles.  They both have a Kindle Fire with maybe three books between them but TONS of games so they don't read, they play.  Ed got back up in time to feed the baby because I was trying to stay away from him so he wouldn't get sick.  After Joey was done with his bottle Ed asked me for a burp cloth because he thought Joey had spit up or gotten milk on his back, he was wet.  When I looked at him though, the wetness was isolated in the middle of his back which meant it had come out of his diaper, not over his shoulder.  Joey had pooped and it went out the top of his diaper and all up his back inside of his onesie!  Ed tried to change his diaper but it was everywhere.  Ed had to maneuver him out of his clothes carefully so he didn't get poop all over Joey's hair.  The onsie was just about too small anyway so it went in the trash.  The wipes weren't going to cut it and I was tempted to get out the carpet cleaner but we decided on the bath tub.  I think the noise of the carpet cleaner might have scared Joey.

Wednesday was pretty uneventful but then Thursday Jake had a doctor's appointment after school and it was a different story.  Ed couldn't go so I had to leave work early, pick up Joey, go get the big kids, and haul everybody downtown to the doctor's office.  It's at the children's hospital and the campus is huge and all spread out so I got lost.  I parked next to where I thought it was and got all three kids out of the car.  We started walking toward the building but about halfway there, I realized we were in the wrong place so I called the office.  The secretary said we were about three blocks away so I loaded the monsters back in the car and drove to the right parking lot.  We headed up to the office and I walked up to the desk.  There were two secretaries and one smiled and said she'd check us in.  I assumed she was the one we talked to but I told her our name again anyway, just in case.  Then I asked which waiting room to go to and she sent us to the one on the left.  We went and sat, and sat, and sat.  The kids were actually being pretty good at first.  They were taking turns playing on my phone.  But then they started fighting over it.  I had to tell Michaela not to climb over the back of the chairs.  She wanted to sit in the window and draw the "view".  Then it was her turn to play on my phone and Jake started climbing in the window.  There's a reason I call them monkeys.  I have no sense of time but it seemed like we had been there a long time.  Of course it usually seems that way when I have two crazies taking turns standing on chairs, stealing my phone, and yelling "mom, it's MY turn!".  I was able to pry the phone away from the children long enough to check the time and we had been waiting over half an hour.  There's a sign that says to let them know if you are waiting more that 15 minutes so I went to tell them and found out that they had never checked us in in the first place.  AND we were in the wrong waiting room.  The doctor thought we hadn't shown up so he went home.  We had to reschedule (he wasn't available again at that time until March 7th) and we went home.  I don't know if it was the 45 minutes of fighting with the kids, the hour early that I had to leave work when I had a ton of stuff to get done, or the half a tank of gas I wasted driving to Egypt and back but I was mad.  I called Ed and told him the sooner he could get home the better.  Being concerned for the childrens' health, he hurried home and we went to my favorite restaraunt for dinner so I didn't have to cook.  It was Valentine's Day after all.

I had wanted to send Ed some chocolate covered strawberries for Valentine's Day.  I had heard ads on the radio and tv for "Shari's Berries".  I kept meaning to order them but I'm sure you can tell how my days tend to get a little distracting.  I finally snuck my phone into the bedroom Wednesday night to order them but by then it was too late to have them delivered on Thursday so Ed got his strawberries on Friday.  It was better late than never and nothing new in our family.  He would be surprised that he got anything at all, I'm usually really bad about giving gifts.  It's not that I don't want to give him anything, I just don't know what to get and I don't have time to go shopping so it sneaks up on me and I end up without a gift for him.  I was really excited that I had sent him something, even if it was late!  So I had a tracking service send me an email when they were delivered.  I was hoping he would call me when he got them because I was really excited to find out if he liked them or not and if he was surprised.  But he didn't call.  So finally I called him when I picked up the baby from daycare.  Ed had a bad day at work so I guessed maybe that was why he didn't call but he still didn't say anything about the strawberries so I asked if he got a delivery at work.  He said yes but then kept telling me about his day and all the stuff that went wrong.  Are you kidding me?  I get that he had a bad day but he could at least say thank you or that he liked them or that they were terrible, say SOMETHING!  Whatever, I finally just asked what he wanted to do for supper.  He said anything sounded fine because he hadn't eaten and was starving.  I said, "Well, at least you have some strawberries" and he didn't know what I was talking about.  "You said you got the delivery today."  Apparently, he thought it was something he had ordered for work and hadn't bothered to go check the mail room to see what it was.  So much for surprises.  But again, that's typical for us.  Valentine's Day hasn't been our best experience.  If you don't know what I'm talking about, read my first post, it will give you an idea.  Wouldn't want to break tradition!  I tried the strawberries when he got home and they were great!  I should have ordered myself some.

So to make up for some of the stuff at work this week, Ed is working all weekend again.  I did a bunch of cleaning yesterday morning.  Wouldn't want a repeat of last Sunday night, at least if I go running through the house in the middle of the night I won't fall over all the junk laying around.  Then I took all three kids grocery shopping.  Michaela and Jake only ran out in front of three different customers and a lady on one of those motorized chairs almost backed into Joey.  Her kid kept saying "Mom, be careful, there was a baby in that cart.  You almost hit that cart with a baby in it!" Jake and Michaela had run down the next aisle and I was too busy trying to tell them to get up off the floor to worry about that lady.  We picked up McDonald's on the way home and I told the kids they had to help carry the groceries up before we ate.  Jake started screaming, "But I'm so hungry!  My stomach hurts and it's too hard to carry the groceries!  It hurts my hands!"  I said he could carry them up the stairs and Michaela and I would bring them from the truck to the door.  He just sat on the stairs and cried.  Then he threw himself down on the steps and screamed some more.  And the Oscar goes to...  I have a flashback to homework night.  I finally told him if he didn't help carry the groceries up I was going to throw his McDonald's in the trash so he finally carried some of the bags upstairs.  I almost wished I HAD thrown the McDonald's in the trash though because when he finally opened his happy meal they had given him a girl toy and he started crying again.  I just can't win sometimes. 

So, today we have just been taking it easy, sort of.  Joey had another "explosion" and I had to give him a bath again.  This time the PJs were fairly new so I rinsed them out and threw them in the washer.  Jake and Michaela have been pretty quiet, only screaming at each other or throwing things occasionally.  I had to fuss at Jake for putting his feet on top of my rocking chair because he was doing hand stands.  Michaela was screaming at Jake about getting pee on the bathroom floor by her shirt and he was screaming at her that he didn't do it.  I asked her why her shirt was on the bathroom floor in the first place.  She said she left it on the floor because she had blood on it from a bloody nose this morning.  Oh, of course, I should have known.  Apparently she somehow hit her nose on the ladder of her bed this morning.  Lord knows what she was doing that she managed to hit her nose on her ladder I wasn't going to even ask.  I told Jake if he peed on the bathroom floor, he needed to clean it up not leave it there for someone to step in later.  I bet the carpet cleaner would work on bathroom floors too. 

It occurs to me that all of this might be somewhat alarming to some people.  I wonder sometimes if I'm too complacent as a parent but I think if I worried about all of this stuff everytime it happened, I'd be digging myself an early grave.  Anyway, it's all just typical in our family!  We are definitely not suitable for the faint of heart.  People think I'm kidding when I tell them I go to work to get away...I'm going to start giving them this blog address.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Whammies, Nose Rocks, and Beating the AR System

I was dreading last weekend because I had several assignments due for my last class in my master's degree program and I would be home alone with the kids.  I am two weeks away from finished and I can't begin to describe how anxious I am to be done.  Working when I was all by myself with the three little monsters was not going to be easy.  The worst part though would be getting groceries while dragging and fighting all of them through the store without being turned in for child abuse.  I decided that rather than risk taking the three monkeys out in public by myself, I would just skip groceries and stay home.  So Saturday I spent all day working on homework while the kids played on their Kindles.  I felt bad about it but they were happy and I got my work done.  And it was somewhat entertaining to watch them.  Every now and then I would look over to see what they were playing or doing.  At one point, Michaela had the Kindle propped against the frame of the bedroom door, she was standing on her head in an upside-down sitting position with her knees also against the door frame.  She was sucking her thumb and watching a show on the Kindle.  Jake was kneeling leaning against the couch cushions watching the Kindle in the seat and he was kicking his feet like he was swimming.  Then I caught Michaela watching TV this morning with her feet sticking up the back of the recliner and her head hanging down on the ground.  Maybe spending so much time upside down is what gives her those crazy ideas.  These two just don't do normal.  Anyway, I did feel bad about letting them rot in front of a digital screen all day on Saturday so I thought maybe we would venture out Sunday afternoon after all.  I could get just a few groceries and I needed a new phone. (Okay, needed/wanted, what's the REAL difference?)  Michaela was already mad at me because we skipped church.  I just couldn't see it going well.  I think yelling and cursing at kids in the sanctuary is frowned upon.  So she was really excited when I told them we were running some errands.  Jake, however, was less than pleased.  He started yelling and screaming that he didn't want to run errands, he hated errands, and he wasn't going.  I proceeded to tell him that yes, he WAS going and to quit screaming and get in the shower before I had to put him in there.  Ten minutes, lots of tears, and some soaked clothes later, Jake took his shower.  This was not off to a good start.

Finally we were all dressed and ready to go and we headed out.  I had to run by Staples first because I needed a couple of things for my new job I was starting on Monday.  I warned the kids that they would not be crazy in the store or we would go home.  If they were good, we would stop and McDonalds and get a treat on the way home.  We got inside and Michaela spotted the paper and some art supplies.  I thought they were going to lose the treat at the first stop.  She insisted that if she didn't get some paper and art stuff she would "lose it".  I reminded her that they had agreed to no crazy in the stores.  "But it's ART SUPPLIES!"  All wide-eyed and pulling on my arm.  "That's one.  Two more and no McDonalds."  She settled down and I got what I needed.  We were on our way to the checkout when she saw the package of pencil grips and erasers.  Apparently the wooden pencils she uses are scientifically engineered to create bone defects and skin abrasions on children's fingers and after normal use in kindergarten, 1st, and 2nd grades, now in 3rd grade she is experiencing intolerable symptoms which she had not thought to complain about until that second in Staples when faced with the obvious solution to her problem.  She simply HAD to have the package of pencil grips and erasers or she would never be able to write again.  Thank goodness it only cost me $4.00 to save my poor child from a lifetime of pencil-induced finger pain and deformity.  It was a small price to pay to get out of the store with so little incident. 

Then we went to Best Buy.  They were really pretty good so far and I REALLY wanted a new phone.  If they misbehaved here, I could always skip the grocery store.  We didn't need milk and bread that badly, we could do without for this week if we had to...but I needed my phone.  And I was pretty sure about what I wanted.  It was either going to be an iphone or a Samsung Galaxy.  So before we went in I reminded the kids about McDonalds and let them take in a toy.  Jake had a transformer and Michaela had a notebook and a sharpie.  I was a little scared of letting her take a sharpie into a store but it was Best Buy, what could she really write on anyway besides boxes?  (I know what you are thinking but thank God, she didn't write on any merchandise!  Believe me, I kept one eye on her the whole time we were in there.)  We went to the phone section and I told them they were not allowed to leave that section or we would go home and I would be VERY angry.  And nobody likes it when mommy is angry.  Apparently they really don't like it when mommy is angry because again, they behaved!  I was beginning to think someone had traded my kids for these two that didn't act like wild animals.  Even baby Joey was being agreeable.  He didn't cry once the whole time we were out.  I talked with the salesguy and after some very well-thought out questions and serious comparison of the two phones, I decided on the Samsung.  Actually it won out because it was on sale and I could get it free while the iphone 4S would be $100.  Since they were pretty comparable otherwise it wasn't that hard of a decision!  So I was sitting at the table while the guy activated my phone, transferred my contacts, blah, blah, blah, and Michaela brings me a little square of paper she has drawn on.  "This is the phone Jake wants.  Be sure and ring that up too."  Um, ok.  Then she tears out another piece of paper and folds it and starts drawing.  "I want this computer too.  Make sure you get both of these when you pay."  Ok Michaela.  In the meantime, Joey is sitting in his carrier on the floor cooing and laughing and I look over and this other salesguy is talking to him and making goofy faces at him.  The kid looks up at me and raises his eyebrow.  I swear it was like he was saying, "Mom, check this guy out.  What the heck is he doing?"  I couldn't help but laugh.  Right behind me, Jake starts talking to this lady who's waiting to be helped.  He starts telling her all about his transformer and then about the "phone" his sister drew for him and how he was going to use it to call daddy because he was at work.  I'm sure the lady thought we were all nuts.  But they didn't fight, scream, or disappear once so I counted it as a win!  I got my phone and we left, all of their merchandise, fixtures, and salespeople still in tact.  Score.  So we headed to Walmart.

I almost went home instead.  I had such good luck with them so far and I knew I should quit while I was ahead, but I decided to press my luck.  Remember that game show "Press Your Luck" with the Whammies?  Yeah, I wouldn't have won that game.  We got to the parking lot and Jake started in, "I don't wanna go to Walmart, my legs are tired, it's too much walking, I wanna go home!"  Fine.  Jake sit in the back of the cart.  We weren't getting many groceries anyway so he wouldn't be in the way.  Then Michaela started.  "I wish I could sit in the cart.  I don't wanna walk either."  I can't fit three kids in the stupid cart.  Besides, she's almost nine years old.  "Michaela, you don't need to ride in the cart."  "Can I at least stand on the side while you push it?"  "No, you can walk next to me and quit complaining!"  "But Mommy, I'm tired too!"  "That's two."  She folded her arms and pouted while she stomped along beside me.  Good enough, she wasn't griping.  So we got the few things we couldn't live without for the week and went to the checkout.  Jake had to go to the bathroom.  Now I don't think I've mentioned it before but when Jake says he has to go the bathroom, you don't waste any time getting him there.  He has a bad habit of waiting til the last possible second and then it's a race to see if he makes it or not.  Sometimes I think he does it as a fun little game.  I could see the bathrooms from where I was in line so I sent him by himself with strict instructions, straight there, flush, wash your hands, straight back.  That probably would have been fine but then I sent Michaela to wait for him outside the bathroom so he wouldn't get distracted when he came out.  I see him walk out of the men's room and she grabs him and shoves him back in.  I guess maybe he didn't wash his hands?  Then he comes out again and she grabs him and drags him into the women's room.  I can hear them yelling at each other.  I can't tell though if they are laughing or fighting.  The clerk is talking to me and I keep looking over her shoulder waiting for them to come out and she's oblivious talking about working two jobs or something.  I was just about to go over there and drag them both out when they both come running out.  Jake is chasing Michaela and she stops and turns around to tell him something then she runs over to me.  Both are laughing and I'm almost done checking out and the lady says "Oh, I thought you were here by yourself!"  I kinda thought the infant carrier was a giveaway but maybe she meant besides the baby.  Then the big kids ran off again.  This time they headed towards the door and into the cubby store by the entrance.  (You know where they have like a vision center or picture place...)  I finished paying and headed that way.  This sales cubby had shower stalls.  Not something I would go to Walmart to purchase but whatever.  Jake and Michaela were nowhere to be seen.  There was just a salesguy sitting at a desk at the back trying not to pay attention.  Then I heard one of the doors rattling.  I could see a very blurry Jake stuck in the shower stall, now banging on the door trying to get out.  Michaela then popped up from behind a half door in another stall pointing and laughing at him.  "Michaela, go open the door so your brother can get out of the shower displays!"  Another one of the many things I never thought I would say.  I'm pretty sure the salesguy was hiding at the desk laughing but I've been enough places with these two, it doesn't bother me anymore.  It's not like I'll ever see him again anyway.  They did good enough, we would get their treat at McDonalds.

So we get out to the truck and Jake's face is bleeding.  Apparently while they were using Walmart as their own personal playground Michaela had accidentally scratched the top off of a war wound Jake had sustained two days before at school.  He had scraped up the entire right side of his face last Friday at extended day.  He was outside on the playground and he was running somewhere when he tripped, SMACK!  Unfortunately, he fell face-first into the gravel and cut up the whole side of his face.  His cheek was all scraped halfway up to his eye, his lips were torn up and peeling and he even cut the inside of his mouth on his teeth when he fell.  Michaela saw him fall and came over to help him up.  She apparently noticed there was a rock stuck in his nose so as he's crying and bleeding, she starts squeezing his nose and trying to slide the rock out.  The rock is cutting up the inside of his nose because she is squeezing it so he is crying and fighting with her but apparently it is a priority for her to get the rock out because she forced him to sit still while she removed it.  We've had problems before with Michaela and rocks in other people's noses but that time she was putting them IN not trying to get them out.  I have no idea how she got that first child to sit still or agree to having rocks put in his nose, but there is a lot I don't understand about Michaela.  We must have made it clear enough at that time that rocks don't belong in noses though becuase she made sure Jake got his out right away.  Anyway, so now Jake has scratches and scabs all over the side of his face.  It is healing pretty well and really wouldn't be a big deal but of course, they had pictures this week.  We have a picture of Jake when he was about a year and a half and his nose is all scratched up.  When he was two, we have a picture that was taken right before he knocked his front tooth out so we refer to it as the last picture with all of his teeth.  And now we will have a picture of the scab on his cheek to commemorate the incident with the rock up his nose.  Hopefully we won't have "the last picture with all four limbs" or "the one with the eye patch".  But with Jake and Michaela, we never know. 

Someone from the school tried to call me when Jake fell but I couldn't answer my phone because I was teaching.  I wasn't real anxious to answer it anyway because I figured it had something to do with his behavior.  He has had a really bad case of the wiggles this year and we are constantly having to talk with him about how to behave at school.  He is even seeing the counselor who may be evaluating him for ADHD.  I got an email from his teacher the other morning that he was having a really bad day.  He wouldn't sit still, he was taking his shirt and his shoes off and putting them back on, he was patting his cheeks, and slapping his legs.  The teacher had to pull him off of the teaching carpet and sit him in the corner so she could continue the lesson.  When I asked him later what his problem was he whined that he was itchy.  I have no idea what to do with him.  He got a green (really good) on Monday with a note that he was "still very very wriggly but manageable."  He didn't do so well at lunch though because Friday, the note that came home said Jake has an assigned seat at lunch from now until he learns how to control himself.  He claims that Lilliana was talking to him but I'm inclined to believe it was more than that.  Already getting into trouble over girls.  One day he had been crawling on the floor in the lunchroom under the tables.  I think the child just can't sit still and control the urge to do whatever jumps into his crazy little mind!  Impulse control is not a strong point but that seems to be genetic.  (I HAD to have a new phone bad enough to take these kids out in public...)  I think this is a lot of Michaela's issue too.

Michaela usually does pretty well behavior-wise at school.  She just has little "slips" here and there.  I think her teachers dismiss it most of the time because it seems to be random bad decisions but I see patterns in some of the things she is doing.  I'm kind of concerned about this one particular strand of events.  She is really good at being sneaky and lying.  I don't like all of this dishonesty and forethought that goes into some of her activities.  She almost always gets a green at school but the other day she came home with a yellow.  She said she got her color changed for cheating on an AR test.  I know AR is used in schools across the country but for those of you not priveledged enough to have a child working on AR it stands for Accelerated Reader.  It doesn't have anything to do with being accelerated though, the kids read books and then log in to the computer and take tests over them and it evaluates their reading comprehension.  At both of Michaela's schools, she has had AR goals and she hates it!  She is not alone, I have a good friend in Texas whose son claimed at the beginning of this school year that "AR is ruining his life!"  (Heather, I feel your pain and I think I am glad that Michaela and Ethan are in different states.  If the two of them ever thought to work together, I think we would be in deep trouble!)  We have fought and fought with Michaela about taking her AR tests and she even lost a birthday party one year because she refused to take the tests when she was supposed to.  Well this year she has been taking a TON of them.  She is only half way through the nine weeks and she has passed her goal for the quarter.  Come to find out, she and a friend were both reading a book and then when they took the tests, they would tell each other the answers so they could get credit for both books after only reading one.  Until they got caught.  This isn't the only time Michaela has found a way around the rules.  When she was in preK she was in trouble ALL the time (like Jake is now) and she didn't get very many stars.  It took her until mid January before she had almost filled up her first star chart, all the other kids were on their second and third.  She only needed five more stars before she got a prize and she came up with the idea that she could put her own stars on the chart and then show her teacher that it was full and her teacher would say, "Now how did that happen?" and Michaela would get her prize.  We had to explain to her then that although it was a clever idea, it was cheating and she could not put her own stars on the chart.  She also came up with solutions to other kids' problems.  She had a friend who got sent to the classroom next door for a time out and she decided she wanted to play with him.  So she snuck out and went to the teacher next door and told her that her own teacher had sent her to get the child to come back to their classroom.  Her teacher noticed a few minutes later that the kid was somehow back in the room all of a sudden.  I don't know about you, but I didn't think of these things when I was 3 or 4.  And now she's getting worse. 

We had a box of 60 candy bars that we were supposed to sell for Joey's daycare as a fundraiser.  We don't know any neighbors yet and both of us have big changes going on at work so we just paid for the chocolate and I figured we would eat it ourselves.  Within one week 50 candy bars were gone.  Michaela swears she didn't take them but I know I only had four.  We found five wrappers stashed in her room and there's no telling how many she got to school in her back pack.  We may have to go back to checking her bag everyday before she leaves.  In second grade we had to buy her a clear bag to take to school so we could see everything that was inside.  She had been taking clothes to school and changing in the bathroom after she got dropped off.  She still found a way to tuck small stuffed animals between folders so that if we didn't search the bag we wouldn't find them.  Now she's even conciously trying to avoid police detection!  I was taking the three kids to meet Ed for supper one night last week and as we pulled out of the apartment complex, Jake started crying that his seat belt wasn't buckled.  There is a light right after the turn and it was red so I told Michaela to unbuckle and help him.  She went through this elaborate process to look around first then she unbuckled and crawled down on the floor.  She got Jake's seat belt buckled then climbed back into her seat and buckled up.  She explained that she had been really careful to look for police first and then she got on the floor so if a cop did drive by he wouldn't see her and would think there were only two children in the truck.  Jake was still crying so I asked him what was wrong and he said, "I don't want you to go to jail!"  At the time I agreed with him but after more consideration, it might be less stressful there.

With everything that goes on between Michaela and Jake, I tend to lose focus really easy.  I forget to pay attention to other aspects of life because I'm so exhausted from paying constant attention to their antics!  This morning, I was making breakfast and I had put coffee on while I fed baby Joey.  After I fed and cuddled with him for a while, I decided to make myself some microwave pancakes to go with my coffee.  I got a phone call and was talking while I put the pancakes in the microwave then I started fixing my coffee.  I sipped the coffee and talked and I heard the microwave going in the background and it didn't occur to me at first that the pancakes only take a minute and 15 seconds to cook.  Then I smelled the smoke.  I told my friend I'd call her back and hung up on her so I could go tend to the possible fire in the microwave.  I panicked and started pushing buttons trying to get it to stop and finally I just opened the door.  Smoke came billowing out but no flames thank goodness.  (Unlike last summer when I turned the oven on with a plastic plate of brownies inside.  I had to throw a cup of water in the oven and spent the next morning scraping "dripping" plastic off the oven rack.)  But I could still hear the microwave going and the light was on.  I started yelling at Ed that I couldn't get it to turn off, I figured it was still putting out radiation too, and he needed to cut the breaker.  He ran to the fuse box and found the breaker while I opened the outside door and started fanning the smoke detectors to get them to stop screaming.  Oddly enough, they quit pretty quickly and didn't come back on but when we make toast in the toaster, they go off and keep going off for like 5 minutes.  With a room full of smoke though, nothing.  I'm not so sure I trust these smoke alarms anymore.  Ed turned the breaker back on and the sound started again.  He hit a button and it quit.  He asked me about it, apparently when I panicked and started pushing buttons, I hit the vent fan.  That's what was on, not the actual microwave.  We sent the kids outside to sit on the balcony and get some fresh air while the smoke cleared out.  Burnt pancakes do NOT smell good.  I guess when I started them in the first place I hit an extra button so it was way too much time for the pancakes.  I had to text my friend back to tell her everything was ok and I would call her later.  I made me some more pancakes and paid attention this time. 

Sometimes they can be such sweet little angels and I can't help but smile.  Sweet baby Joey gets so excited when he wakes up and sees you there to pick him up. He laughs and smiles at me and makes me feel so loved! Of course he also laughs and smiles at the rest of the family, and at the cat, and at football games, and the Big Bang Theory. I approve of his taste in TV. Earlier, Jake was asking for some Hershey's kisses and I gave him some but there were only 3 left.  He came back to me and asked for more but I told him there weren't any more.  He said "what about the small cylinder ones?  We have a lot of those."  I looked and he was talking about Tootsie Rolls!  I never thought of them as "small, cylinder Hershey's kisses" but I guess I can see it.  Then Michaela ran up to me, grabbed my arm, and asked with huge eyes, "Do you know how to make funnel cake?" Me: "No, why?" Michaela (falling to her knees): "I LOVE funnel cake!" Me: "So where did that come from?" Michaela: "Remember, the state fair? It was SO good, crunchy with sugar! Get on your phone and look it up!"  She grinned and ran off.  My bossy little drama queen.  It was so sweet though.  Random, but sweet!  I almost want to go learn how to make a funnel cake just to see that big sweet smile on her face.  As long as it doesn't require a microwave I might have to try it...

Sunday, February 3, 2013

11 Years and 12 Super Bowls Later

I wasn't going to write today.  It's been a busy, tiring week and I just didn't feel up to it.  But then Ed and I were sitting here and I realized that I can't miss an opportunity to put down my thoughts on such a special occasion...

I'm one of those people who end up doing exactly what they say they absolutely do NOT want to do.  It's not that I'm a pushover or liar or one to go back on my word, there are just crazy round-about circumstances that put me unexpectedly right in front of a decision that I have been trying to avoid and I end up doing the right thing against all of my vehement protesting.  For example, I have quit education MULTIPLE times and sworn I would never go back.  This cycle started clear back in college (I can't believe college was almost 20 years ago) when I was choosing a major.  I started out in Engineering and then switched to Education.  I subsequently changed my major 12 more times over the next 4 1/2 years before finally graduating with a BS in Secondary Education.  Then I started teaching.  My first job was at Wichita South High School and I loved the school and the people that I worked with.  But it was hard.  Teaching is an incredibly difficult profession.  It was completely exhausting and I didn't have the emotional strength to keep it up.  I left teaching again after two years in the classroom.  I went back to grad school to get my PhD in Chemistry.  I had been accepted at the University of Kansas and I loved it.  I was going to be a doctor and work in a research lab and put my teaching habit behind me.  Again after two years, my career path changed.  Ed and I had gotten married, had baby Michaela and Ed was going to work for Target as a manager.  I decided to try teaching again so that I would have regular hours so we could put Michaela in daycare.  It was a very difficult position.  I was teaching 6th grade math and I cried everyday on the way to work.  This was when I really connected with my faith.  Just to get through the day, I would start my commute by listing over and over again all of the blessings in my life and everything I was thankful for.  This became a routine and in January when Ed decided to go back into television we moved to Texas (something else I swore I would never do!  I told Ed to find a job anywhere BUT Texas.  But then I loved it there!)  I thanked God that I could quit teaching again.  I swore I'd never go back this time.  I was going to stay home with Michaela until she started school.  Haha, that was a joke!  It wasn't two months before I was going CRAZY and started putting out my resume.  I was looking at teaching jobs but also at training positions with businesses.  I ended up meeting a friend at church who had recently become the principal at a small rural school who needed a math teacher for the next school year.  I was hesitant, but I had to get back to work.  So I decided to try again.  Fortunately, I was older, more mature, and better at time management.  That was almost 8 years ago.  I have really enjoyed the last 8 years in the classroom.  I have connected with many of my students and I feel that I have been able to make a real difference in some of their lives.  In spite of my reluctance to teach, I have done the best job I possibly could and it has paid off. 

So after my side trip to grad school, I was left with 19 graduate hours in Chemistry.  I had almost finished the coursework that was needed for a masters degree.  So close, yet so far.  A master's degree in science almost requires full time attendance.  I wanted a research degree so I would have to quit my job and go to school full time in order to finish it.  I kept hoping that I would be able to finish my degree.  Friends and family kept urging me to get my masters degree in education so I could do part or all of it online.  I kept refusing.  I didn't want to spend all that money for a degree that I didn't want.  I wanted to get my master's degree in Chemistry.  And here I am two weeks from finishing my master's degree in education.  It's not that I dislike education.  I have enjoyed learning many of the things from my classes and I have been able to use much of the information in my own classroom.  I just kept saying that I wouldn't get my master's in education because I wanted that science degree, and why pay for two?  So now I will have my master's degree in Education Administration (a prinicipal's degree no less, there is no way I EVER want to be a principal...I'm sure you can see why it terrifies me to say that!) and I am starting a new job tomorrow as a Math Facilitator at my second new school this year.  I'm really excited but a little scared about where this is going.

Now that I have shared some insight into the way my life works, let me get to the real story for today.  Eleven years ago, I was absolutely NOT looking for a relationship.  I had gotten married very young, before I even knew who I was and what I wanted.  He was a great guy but we weren't meant to be.  I had been divorced and got right into a relationship that was so wrong.  I went a little wild, making up for time lost in college I guess, but I was enjoying myself.  I had no desire to be in a relationship of any kind.  I was dating a few different guys, just for company when I met Ed.  He was in my hometown for National Guard duty and was at a bar with a couple of friends.  I was in town so my mom could do my laundry (remember, making up for college days) and had gone to the same bar with an ex-boyfriend.  Ed's older, married friend was dancing with me and asked if I'd be interested in dancing with his friend Ed.  I said sure.  Just having fun after all, what's the harm.  He invited me to go to breakfast with them when the bar closed so I went.  We had fun talking about football.  We were both K-State fans and the Super Bowl was the next day (later that day really).  So he said he'd call me after work so we could watch together.  Whatever.  When he called me that afternoon, the game was just about to start and I missed his call.  For some reason I was having trouble working my phone and I couldn't remember how to call long distance (damn technology).  I had tried twice and the call wouldn't go through.  I decided I would try one more time then I was done if it didn't work.  It did though and I met him an hour later to watch the New England Patriots go on to win their first Super Bowl over St Louis on February 3, 2002.  After that, he kept calling me and we kept getting together, and I kept liking him more and more.  I also kept insisting that I did not want to be in a relationship.  I wasn't ready.  He would just smile and say that was ok, he would wait.  Even then he was patient with my special brand of crazy. 

I never saw myself with kids either.  I couldn't even begin to imagine being a parent.  I kept putting it off because I wasn't ready.  I was in school or didn't have enough room or couldn't afford it.  Truthfully, I was too selfish.  I didn't want to have to think of someone else's needs before my own.  I prayed to be a better person and for God to give me patience.  I got Michaela.  Then Jake, and now Joey.  So 11 years and 12 Super Bowls later, here I am.  Married to Ed, who had the patience to wait out my adamant denial that we were in a relationship.  (He claims he liked the challenge.)  My three babies teach me how to think of others first and show me how much I can love someone (by the way, it's a little bit more every single day).  So whether San Francisco or Baltimore wins, the Super Bowl always reminds me how much I have won, despite the fact I kept trying not to play. 

Looking at how my life works itself out, I need to start insisting that there is no way I would EVER have a million dollars so I REFUSE to buy lottery tickets.  Let's see where this goes...