Sunday, September 30, 2007
Trees. In Texas, September is the ideal month to plant trees. Last year, we were under severe watering restrictions and unsure how long they would last, so I was hesitant to plant trees just to have them die. Fortunately we had a great rainy spring, watering restrictions were lifted, and the trees were calling my name. AND, they had the trees that I wanted, which is unusual, for a great price at Lowe's. Which is a little like buying a puppy from a puppy mill. You want to rescue them so badly, but you know it's not going to make them stop breeding new ones. But we purchased four trees, small ones, that needed a little TLC. And they bring me so much happiness, though not much shade. Yet.
Treadmill. I've been eyeing them forever on ebay and Craigslist, and finally the perfect one appeared. It was a great price and really close to home, so I jumped on it. I'm sure it surprises no one that there are a million "barely used" treadmills out there. We all buy one in the hopes that we'll use it everyday for the rest of our lives, but use it a week and then it collects clothes. But it's never for a great price. Or close to home. But all the stars aligned for me last week. And I love it and my sore muscles.
So there it is. There were a million things that I *had* to have for a day or so but waited on and realized that I didn't need. Or things that I *had* to have at the grocery store but resisted (dr pepper, I love you and I miss you!) We actually did quite well in relation to our "number" with the exception of our things that weren't impulsive at all. Now I just need to resist the urge to shop 'til I drop tomorrow!
The middle one started asking before nine this morning how long until her friend got here. And then again at 9:05. And 9:07. And 9:13. Well, you get the picture.
She wanted to start looking out the window for her car about 11. The excitement in the air was palpable.
When her friend didn't arrive at exactly 2pm, she was nervous. And at 2:01 and 2:02. I thought the child was going to explode.
Thankfully her friend arrived by 2:07, just as the countdown to explosion was beginning. And now she's got three hours of pure happiness.
Saturday, September 29, 2007
The oldest one, at 4-1/2 taught himself to read. One day he knew his letters. The next day he was reading fluently. The pediatrician asked me what I did and I told him the truth, "I have NO idea." From the time he was two, he was "reading" car symbols and knew every car on the road, make and model. So he'd gotten the concept a long time before, and it was just a matter of putting the new symbols with their meanings and he could read anything. I don't know how it happened. It just did.
The middle one was similar, though it happened closer to her fifth birthday. Still, I sent her to Kindergarten knowing how to read. She had a few more missteps than the oldest one, sounding out a few words, but on the whole, learned quickly and painlessly.
As much as I try not to compare my children and to cherish each of their personalities and abilities, I worry about the littlest one. As much as I like to tell myself, "HE'S NORMAL, THE OTHERS WEREN'T," it's still a little hard for me to get past the worry. But we had a huge milestone the other day.
We were walking out of a store and suddenly, he said to me, "Heely's aren't allowed in here. The sign says." To most people, "whatever" is the appropriate response, but I just wanted to squeeze his little cheeks and throw him up in the air, I was so excited. He's finally taking environmental clues and realizing that they say something. Much like the older one knew that car symbols told him what the brand of car was, the little one has figured out that all these things around him are telling him things. A red circle with a slash through it over a shoe with wheels means that you can't wear Heely's in the store.
And though to most, it seems like such a simple thing, I know that we've just taken a HUGE step toward reading. We could still be two years away, but we're making forward progress, and that just makes me want to shout from the rooftops.
Friday, September 28, 2007
"Mommy, does your head grow bigger when you grow bigger?"
After that discussion, where the growth of other, more indelicate body parts was discussed, a pause and then a comment.
"[the middle one] has a bad honk. She goes 'beep beep' and I go 'HONK HONK.' Hers is wrong, mine is right."
Tonight, the little one was helping me to remember the things that I need at the store tomorrow, "bread, milk, ice cream, a new wig for mommy, and Pull-ups!" I'm sorry, what? I thought there were only four things on our list!
And the fun never ends.
Wednesday, September 26, 2007
The oldest one has a blanket he loves. No big deal. The middle one had a pacifier that we "lost" when we went to Granny's once. Easy. Well, not so much, but it was like four years ago, so I've forgotten about all the crying.
But the thumb. I can't get rid of it. And, oh, he loves it so much.
The problem lies with the fact that I was a thumbsucker, and I know, I really *know* the comfort it brings and the habit that it is.
He has his thumb rituals, where he has his woop and he smells it just so and his hands make the actions they've made since he was just months old. I'm reminded of when he broke his arm last December and his cast made it so that he couldn't use his hands properly to suck his thumb in any comforting manner, and if there's anyone who needs his thumb, it's he who's brother broke his arm and his mother didn't bring him to the doctor for ten days, but that's another story, right? I'm such a sucker (and oh, the guilt!) that I moved his woop the way he likes until he found a way around his cast to make it work for him.
And I *know* the misery of a freshly washed blankie and how much work it is to make it stink just right.
But, like my mother, I also know that one day, I'm going to have to pay someone to put those teeth back where they belong. And it kind of stresses me out.
When I was eight, the dentist told my mother that it was time for me to stop sucking my thumb. I was EIGHT. It was most definitely time!
So we wrote up a contract. For the period of one month, I would give up my precious, precious thumb. And my mother would give up her precious, precious chocolate. For each indescretion, the other would get her vice for the next day. And we both signed it. As far as I know, neither one of us violated the terms of our contract. BUT, I didn't go back to my thumb.
She most definitely went back to her chocolate. But who could blame her?
Tuesday, September 25, 2007
Glamorous blowing my nose. Glamorous hacking up a lung or two. Glamorous cleaning out the fridge. Yeah, you heard me. I finally cleaned out my refrigerator. Ew.
Seriously, I knew there was a lot of stuff in there that needed throwing away, but what I didn't realize was all the stuff I'd forgotten about behind all the stuff I knew about. I almost took a picture of the before, but I was too embarrassed. And that's saying something, because it takes a lot to embarrass me!
What started out as a simple, oh, I need to go to the grocery store tossing became a full fledged water on the floor, 38 pieces of tupperware to be washed, and oh, for the love of garlic what was that? But don't tell my mother - I have an image to uphold of never owning anything past it's due date.
So it's clean-ish. Sadly not completely clean, but that would take a chisel, and I don't happen to have one handy. And not I'm off to the glamorous grocery store. In my glamorous "I'm hiding" baseball cap. I know, I know, contain your jealousy.
Psst. I'm going to fold laundry later. I hope that didn't just set you over the edge.
Monday, September 24, 2007
So we all went cub scout camping. And took like 12 hikes. And slept on an air mattress with a slow leak. And told stories about the "evil hotdog" around the campfire.
And then the middle one shared, ever so kindly, her fun croup with her mother, which is apparently laryngitis (oh, Lord, I can't even spell it, much less speak) on the night that I'm supposed to get up in front of a group of people that don't know me and convince them that I'm a fun and fearless leader. Yeah. A leader of frogs.
Friday, September 21, 2007
It was our first Brownie outing, and the middle one and I went together with our friends. She'd never skated before, but man, she surprised me. She fell about 348 times, but she didn't cry once. She smiled, hopped right back up and kept at it, until she could skate across the little rink with no help, then she was ready for the big rink. But I couldn't figure out why she kept falling so much. Then I realized it was because I was going too slowly. She was ready to go fast - I mean windblown-hair fast. So zoom we did. And we laughed and smiled and had a ball.
But my body aches already, and we only stopped an hour ago.
Oh, yeah, and the eighties called, dude, and they want their hair, skates and short-shorts back. Seriously.
Wednesday, September 19, 2007
And I literally had to steal it from my husband, who came home from the library the other day, "Look what I got for you!" and then it went missing. Fortunately I know his book hiding place, and no I'm not telling you, because then you'll know where all the good reading material is in my house!
And so my brain is fried. I'm not sure if it's from the children and their neverending illnesses or from the horcruxes, but I'm going to go with the horcruxes, because my children wouldn't ever suck all my braincells, would they?
Tuesday, September 18, 2007
For example. The oldest one likes to have complete sets of things. He wants to own the entire "theme" room, not just bits and pieces. He saves up his money until he can buy all of what he wants and then he gets it. But he will not mix and match, it must be just like the room they show, down to the pieces in the right places. He even agonizes over pieces that might be "hard to find" or "exclusives" that he might not be able to get. He has some self control, in that he will save for the item that he wants, and he will do the work needed to get a larger reward. Just like how he wants a "bed-in-a-bag" set for his room so badly he can taste it. He wants nothing to do with his mother's propensity for buying something great on clearance and making it work. Or, heaven forbid, sewing something. Because it's just not cool, don't be ridiculous.
NOW, on the completely across the world other hand is my daughter. I can't tell you how many times she's wailed, "but MOM, I need to earn more kinzcash, because my pet doesn't have a bed!" They need a bed in order to sleep, which keeps them healthy and happy - it's a very complicated thing that only people under the age of twelve can fully grasp, I apologize. But she will sell off everything she owns and then spend all of the cash she has on something that she must. have. right. now. Until her horrible mean mother makes her stop playing and it's desperation, because she doesn't have a bed, just some strange and useless object, like a twirling tornado plant. Or a second pool. It makes me a little nervous for when she has control over actual money and has responsibility. It doesn't really look good, does it? "But, MOM, my electric bill isn't paid, and I don't have any money until payday, but have you SEEN my butt in these jeans? Totally worth it!"
And the little one, well, he just spends like his dad. "Oh, did I buy four pairs of goggles? Hmm. I forgot I had the other three in my cart. Weird!"
Sunday, September 16, 2007
Seriously, my sons sleep wearing very little. They chose it - the oldest one did it first, then the youngest decided that he wanted to be like his big brother. So one sleeps in a pullup, the other in underwear.
But here's how it saves money and the earth:
- Fewer pajamas to buy as they grow
- Fewer clothes to wash and dry (ahh, who doesn't like less laundry?)
- Higher temperature upstairs while the sleep (in the summer, that's a very good thing in Texas!)
So there it is. Sleep naked and save the earth. Tell your friends!
Saturday, September 15, 2007
I've found my "wanter" turned on more than usual. That is my mother's saying for when you just want stuff for no good reason, just for the sake of wanting something. I can't count the number of times I heard that as a kid! Anyhow, I guess it's a withdrawal or something, but I found myself wanting the most ridiculous things this week! But I resisted, except for the pieces of great fabric to make the baby two new pair of pants for only $6, and fabric is never ridiculous, bite your tongue!
So far this month, we've had four days where no money has either come in or gone out. It's kind of nice, and I intend to at least double that. I like having days where we're just living, not consuming.
Aside from the illnesses, we've been having fun - we've spent afternoons with friends, we've spent a LOT of time playing outside on the swingset. The middle one has finally learned how to pump, so she spends a lot of time out there - you'll even find her out there after breakfast, in the mornings, before we have to run out the door. The smile on her face is worth all the money in the world.
After the countless ear infections of the first child, I knew exactly when to bring him to the doctor. Sure that each time she had a sleepless night or a bad crying spell, it was an ear infection, I'd bring her to the doctor. Because with the oldest, that's what it was. With her, it never was. "Nope," the doctor would say, "she's perfect!" "Well, I know she's perfect, but why won't she stop crying, and why doesn't she like me?"
There was never a good answer, and I was sent home several times, I'm sure, with sugar water. I even saw where they coded the visit, "worried mother." I can't believe that our insurance company didn't deny the claim, saying that they don't treat my mental health. Because, let's face it, that's what the doctor was doing, right?
She's so headstrong. Once when she couldn't have been more than four or five months old, I sat down to nurse her in the chair in her room, before nap. I realized after we sat that I didn't have her pacifier, for when I laid her down. So I stood up to get it, still nursing, to walk to the next room. She unlatched, furious. Screaming, hollering, mad as a hornet. Until we sat back down in her room in our chair. She latched right back on and got down to business. She was mad because I wasn't doing what she wanted to be doing. I remember looking down at her, incredulous, with such awe for someone so little to know so strongly what she wanted. And to get exactly what she wanted.
Anyhow, this is a long way of saying that she's a terrible sick person. She just doesn't ever get sick, but when she is, the world must stop. I'm not a big fan of medication when it's not necessary, but she gets a lot more than her brothers do for a simple cold, because it keeps our sanity.
She's sick. She has a fever and she says that her brain hurts. That it feels like someone punched her brain. My poor baby.
P.S. I'm sorry if my typing is terrible. My spacebar is broken (I was wondering how much of that Spongebob game it could take - now I know) and it's the most frustrating thing ever.
Friday, September 14, 2007
"No, baby, I've never heard of that. What is it?"
"Well, it's like this. It's how you're supposed to hold your pencil. You're doing it wrong."
Apparently, I hold my pencil the wrong way. First my teachers, now my daughter. It's been working for me for thirty-something years. So sorry.
Thursday, September 13, 2007
And the illnesses are improving. The little one threw up because he was coughing so hard, which is not unusual for him, unfortunately. He stayed home from school and hung out in his pajamas all day, which is what I think that all sick people should be allowed to do. And it was good for the soul, as well as the body.
Unfortunately, Mom didn't get that privelege, but the dishes were all washed for me and the oldest one actually apologized for giving me the germs - how sweet is that?! And I finished a whole box of kleenex, and Harry Potter was found for me at the library. So I really can't complain.
So really, life is good. If only we could have a loose tooth, now, everyone would be all set.
Tuesday, September 11, 2007
I washed the littlest ones sheets today = good
He threw up all over them two seconds after getting in bed = bad
I remembered to finally put an extra layer of mattress protection when I re-made his bed = good
His dinner was mostly intact when it came up = ugly
And because I'm a whiner, why does this always happen when mom has a cold? Which, by the way, definitely falls under the ugly category. It's the kind with copious amounts of snot and tissues and rudolph-ish nose. And why does it happen the day right after the dog vomited her freshly eaten dinner all over the carpet?
Can you tell I'm having one of those days?
Monday, September 10, 2007
I saw it today in his eyes. I was at the school and decided to have lunch with him and his friends. After yesterday, I knew he needed a little extra, so I stayed.
The teacher told the whole group of third graders about the student council elections and was telling them about the procedures. My son looked at me, and there was sparkle.
First thing, after school, my son walks right up to me and says, "Guess who's running for student council?" The first thing that he did when he came home today was make his poster. Surprisingly, he didn't promise to have extra recess or make the cafeteria meals better. This is what his poster says:
"If elected I will help make library and specials better. I will help out in the workroom as much as possible. It is my duty to be respectful to my class, my school and city. If elected I will do this and if possible more."
And then he signed it. Seriously, I wish he'd run for president.
Sunday, September 9, 2007
I'm really looking forward to tomorrow -- it can't be worse, can it? Oh, never mind. I already know the answer, and I know I never should have even typed that.
For the rest of us, they were watching a football game between the colts and the saints, and he was "reading" the helmets. Today he wants to know if we're for the hackers or the wings.
Saturday, September 8, 2007
But since I wrote that we were going to live on our "number," our minimum requirement for our living, for the month, I thought that I'd enumerate choices that we'd made for right and for wrong. I hope that we are never in a situation where we can only live on the minimum number, but if I find that it's really far off, I'll have to renegotiate with my savings accounts.
Poor choices we made:
- starbucks. I really don't go there very often, like nearly never, but this week was the littlest one's first week in school and Sarge and I found ourselves there twice, sitting and conversating over a cup of coffee. A great life decision, but not one I'd be able to make if things were tight. It was well worth the expense for the two-plus hours of real conversation with my best friend.
- ipod. Sarge's ipod shuffle died a few months ago and I'd been putting off replacing/repairing it. Well, we took care of that this week. It was replaced. Again, a good life decision, as it makes him so happy, and he enjoys his chores - mowing and exercising - exponentially more with it than without it. But financially, it took a good-sized chunk out of our budget.
Good choices we made:
- water filter. Okay, so I should have made this choice years ago. We have a five year old refrigerator that had never had it's water filter changed until this week. And the water where we live tastes really bad. I mean really bad. So we'd been buying bottled water. Not exactly sure when I decided that was a good idea, but I changed that this week. The water tastes good, it should last about six months and it comes out a lot faster. Also an environmentally friendly choice! Look, two for one!
- eating in. We ate in, aside from Starbucks and one other time, which is actually pretty good for us. In addition to our family breakfast, I've also been preparing meals in the evenings, and sometimes Sarge has been coming home for dinner late at night, before I go to bed (who eats dinner at midnight? Cops do, and nothing decent is open at that hour. I wonder why they're typically so unhealthy? Go figure.). And of course, school lunches are packed.
- clothes drying. I'm trying to keep our energy costs down, which is a big deal at this time of year in Texas. Though I know it won't affect this month's experiment, I find that it's something I enjoy.
- directv. I changed our service a little. Now, if this were a real situation, I'd just cancel it outright, along with the newspaper and a few other little things. It's not worth stretching for. But I canceled some of the receivers that we just don't use but were paying for the priveledge of storing. Again, it probably won't affect this month's bill, but it was certainly in the spirit of things, and it needed to be done.
- craigslist. I've been selling stuff that has been sitting around for a really long time. It's not changing anything for us this month, because I'm not counting extra income, but again, it's in the spirit of the experiment. Seriously, some of these clothes have been sitting around, taking up space for more than two years. And I even moved those things. That's just silly.
So, for the first week, things are going fairly well. I'm impressed with my whole family on this one, as we've all worked together. And I've even done some extra cleaning - it doesn't cost anything and it makes my husband so happy, which helps soften the blow of living on less. For a whole month. Seriously, it's NOT going to kill us. I'll update how I did each week, but I promise I won't go on and on about it. Promise.
Friday, September 7, 2007
As much as I might explain to her that many of her classmates are a full year older than her. As much as I might tell her stories about her first birthday when she only had one tooth. As much as I might tout the benefits to having less time for her adult teeth to rot. It doesn't matter.
At least twice a week, she asks me to feel her teeth, to make sure they're not loose, even though I know they're not. Her little teeth haven't even begun to spread apart - they are still just the right size for her mouth. There would be no place for giant adult teeth to go.
She cries sometimes about her lack of loose teeth. "Mommy, do you think when I'm ten I'll have a loose tooth?"
Thursday, September 6, 2007
But here's the deal. I've always shopped for my daughter by piece, not really by outfit. I just find something I like for a good price and purchase it. I almost never purchase a set of things or an entire outfit. Her Granny does, and she always wears those outfits together. As a set.
So, this summer, I started purchasing mix and match sets, that were no-fail, your child will mostly match, most of the time. And that was great, because that child picks the oddest combinations of clothes to wear together. All the time.
When we shopped a few weeks ago for clothes after the great dresser clean up, I bought clothes from a collection that goes together. Pinks and blues. Unfortunately, her mostly matching set from the summer was reds and blues. And the result is disastrous. She doesn't match the blues, or put the old reds with the new blues or the old blues with the new pinks. She puts together an outfit with stripes going four different directions and pink and red (and not in a good way).
But we go with it. We'll call it "eclectic" and "funky" and we have a fashion statement. Because if you're six and you can't wear what you want, what has this world come to? And regardless of what she wears, as long as she wears it with confidence, she has a happy, satisfied mother.
But on the whole, each school morning, we've had a breakfast where we've sat down to a Mom-cooked breakfast. We've had an assortment of muffins and eggs and pancakes and toast. We sit with the oranje juice and the milk on the table and eat, each person in a chair at the same time. And we usually have conversations!
There have been a couple of mornings where the oldest one is in a bad mood when he gets up, which is completely normal for him, but what's different is that his attitude changes sometime during breakfast. And he's happy and funny again.
And I've found that I'm not actually getting up that much earlier. About 15 minutes earlier, which, for really cooking, that's not too bad, I think! I used to trudge upstairs and turn on their lights and convince them that they wanted to get dressed and go downstairs, while Dad made lunches and served breakfast after they came down. There was a lot of grumbling involved, and it took a long time.
Now, I wake them up with the racket I make in the kitchen. In fact, most mornings, the first words I hear are from my daughter, "Mom, what are you making this morning?" And sometimes what I'm making actually speeds them up.
I asked the kids this morning what they liked best about having family breakfast. The oldest said the he liked "no more cereal" and the middle one said she liked getting to spend time with Daddy in the mornings. The littlest one couldn't speak - his mouth was full.
Wednesday, September 5, 2007
- Drank a leisurely cup of coffee.
- Laughed until I cried at my husband. AT him, not with him. But then he made me promise not to blog about it. Seriously, the first thing he told me when I dried my tears was that I wasn't allowed to blog about why I was laughing at him.
- Napped next to my dog.
- Couldn't stop writing. I have another post in my head, and I'm embarrassed to post so many times in one day, so I'm going to save it.
- Worried about my sparkly shirt.
- Made cookies.
What I did not do in my first 5 hours that I'm disappointed by:
- Eat bon bons.
- Save the World in Six Easy Steps.
- Actually get any productive work done. Like income-generating work. Zero.
Eh, Friday's another day. I'll save the world and fold laundry then. But my baby's at school. He told me this morning he was scared. But then he got over it and started playing with a really cute little girl. He's going to be just fine, I think.
Tuesday, September 4, 2007
Martyr no more, one random day in Target, I decided that I was going to buy myself new sunglasses. Armed with the best judges of fashion, the three people who will not ever lie to me about my appearance (EW, Mom, you smell like wet dog! Hey, guess what, I just washed the dog. And, giggle giggle giggle, Mom, you have hairy armpits! Hey, guess what, someone demanded that I find his backpack while I was in the shower and I didn't have time. Stop laughing at me!) Yeah, I brought the kids to Target while shopping for sunglasses.
I found a suitable pair. They were generic enough, blocked out the sun and only cost $10. Perfect.
Well, here we are, three years later, and I still wear the same pair of sunglasses daily. They are not the cool, cover-your-entire-face sunglasses, but I'm figuring these will come back in style at some point, and I'll still own them. Because I CANNOT lose them, no matter how hard I might try. I can't even lose them where they belong or in some other obvious place, like on top of my head. At least not for long. I will be wearing those sunglasses FOREVER. Just so you know.
Monday, September 3, 2007
You non-budgeters have no idea what I'm talking about, my own husband included. Y'all don't have to read the rest. Except my husband, so he knows exactly what brand of crazy his wife is.
Well, this month I've decided to take a test of that number. I'm going to see whether or not we can actually live on the number that I've picked and whether it's realistic. I didn't stockpile groceries or toilet paper, I didn't go on a giant shopping spree beforehand to ensure that we can make it with flying colors. I decided on a whim, so the pantry is what it is, and the dog really does need to go to the vet. But I'm going to see if we can survive and thrive.
My kids have no idea what's about to hit them, and Sarge is on board (until meals get gross, then he's not on board anymore). I'm excited and I'm ready to get creative.
Sunday, September 2, 2007
Apparently they were working on the "Star-Spangled Banner" in music class this week. My child, who read altogether too much, pipes up. "Did you know that this song is an old drinking song? They used to sing it in bars." According to the counselor, the teacher thought it was hysterical, calling it the quote of the week. And sharing it with her friend, the counselor.
According to the child, as I asked about it later (obviously), the teacher held it together quite well, because he said that she just said that she actually did know that, and thankyouverymuchforsharing.
But my child, and apparently his knowledge of drinking songs is well known now, amongst the staff of the elementary school. And I'm eight shades of red, again. I always thought it was the parent who was supposed to embarrass the child. At least that's what my mom always said.
Saturday, September 1, 2007
So here I am, though, hanging clothes in the laundry room, turning on a fan, which is cooling my house while blowing the wet out of my clothes. (brilliant, I know!) And washing the sheets, which get hung on the line to dry, in a quaint, country way - there are quilts on my laundry line, for goodness sakes! I don't know why anyone's complaining! IT'S QUAINT, I TELL YOU. WHAT MORE COULD YOU WANT?
Anyhow, currently the only one complaining is the oldest. I washed his mommy blanket and dried it on the line. First of all, it doesn't smell right (he doesn't think that "clean" is a good smell - I can't wait for the teenage years.) and second, it's "stale." This is what he calls the crunch that the hung-dried clothes seem to have.
"Mommy, please, could you just use the dryer?"