Saturday, December 29, 2007

In all the joy of the holidays, I forgot about my day as the World's Worst Mother Ever. Twas the Friday before Christmas, and I was braving the craziness of the dollar store with four wired children in tow. There were hyped up on all the sugar they devoured during their holiday parties at school. That was my first mistake.

While I was not-so-patiently waiting for Jeremy to pick some non-candy, non-toy item in the store, I turned my back on Spencer, who was riding in the basket part of the cart rather than the seat. That was the second mistake. In my defense, that boy will not stay strapped into a cart seat, so it's just as dangerous relying on worn cart straps to keep him safe. Anyway, by now you've probably figured out he took a header out of the cart. When I turned around, he was face down on the floor. Of course, there were a few people in the aisle who witnessed my horrible parenting. Fortunately, after much crying, he calmed down and only had a huge golf ball size goose egg on his forehead, which continued to remind me of my failings as a mother.

But wait...that's not the end of the story.

Ten minutes later I was trying to get all the kids loaded in the van, so I could go home and pretend I didn't leave my baby unattended in the basket of the cart. Anna climbed into the passenger seat, while Jack grabbed the divider between the passenger door and the sliding door to climb around me into the van. And as luck would have it, she shut the door while his hand was still on the divider. Amazingly, the door shut firmly while his hand was still in there. I still cringe thinking about it.

After a stop at Sonic to get a bag of ice, cherry cokes and cheddar bites, I got Jack settled at home with a pain reliever and a bag of ice. By the time D got home, poor Jack's hand, especially between the thumb and pointer finger, had become very swollen. After consulting with our neighbor who is finishing nursing school, we decided to take him to the urgent care clinic.

By some miracle, this is only the second time we've had to go to an after hours clinic or ER. Jack was quite the trooper through it all, placing his hand exactly as instructed during the x-ray and charming the nurses. The final diagnosis was bruised cartilage -- no broken bones. They put a splint on his hand that was almost as big as his head and sent us home.

And that, my friends, should qualify me for the World's Worst Mother Award.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Christmas was good. The highlight was really on Christmas Eve. The kids were dressed in their pajamas and we sat around the tree singing Christmas carols with only the tree lights on. Spencer had to miss this event due to the fact he was very sleep deprived and would not have been a willing participant. Anyway, Don asked the kids questions about the Christmas story which actually led them to telling the story. Then I read the story of Jesus' birth from a children's Bible story book and we closed with some songs.

When we tried to sing O Christmas Tree, the only words I could remember was the German version. Mrs. Aylward would be proud (even if I butchered some of the words). However, I actually had a printout of the German version of Silent Night and the kids enjoyed that.

We had a good time with all the family, and my mom really enjoyed the Shutterfly album I did of our summer trip to Branson. I was so excited about the book that I can't believe I managed to keep it a secret until Christmas. The kids have enjoyed all their gifts, especially the mp3 players and roller blades.

Now that the holiday has passed, I'm moving on to the next project. We have switched the kids' bedrooms, and today, after my mom so kindly takes all four kids, I'm going to begin painting the middle bedroom. It hasn't been redecorated since Anna's birth nine years ago.

At the same time, I have to prepare for her birthday party with friends on Saturday and a family gathering on Sunday, her actual birthday. I guess I need to shop for her birthday present as well. Fortunately, the friend party is at a pottery place in the mall. However, the location of the family gathering has yet to be determined so I'd better start cleaning now.

Update on the laptop situation. My dear husband is really confusing me. He gave me a nice chunk of money to use to purchase a laptop but said it was for my laptop fund -- not to use as a down payment and finance the rest (because of course I do not have several hundred to outright by a laptop). This is a reasonable and responsible thing to do. But he's still about to drive me insane with the will he or won't he buy a laptop! At the end of the day, I still love him - I guess. :)

Thursday, December 20, 2007

A few more days and I will be able to declare the financial aspect of the holiday season a success. I made a list with a budget of items for the kids, and I have stuck to it. I tried to use cash most of the time, but regardless, I came in under budget. Woohoo!

I even set up a college savings account for Spencer. Now I just need to update my checkbook...and wrap the rest of the gifts.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

For what it's worth

I enjoyed the Alvin and the Chipmunks movie, and my kids loved it. I just read one review and it was scathing. I was shocked. However, it once again confirmed my belief that movie critics like theatre lovers can be snobs.

Enjoy a movie for what it is. The Chipmunks is a movie for kids, and their parents and grandparents who watched the same characters years before will not be appalled by Hollywood's efforts to modernize the cartoon. I got a kick out of several scenes, and if that wasn't enough, just hearing my son quote lines from the movie that he's heard in the trailers, was enough to make it worth my while. Many of the adults and children around me seemed to like the movie, too. My kids spent the rest of the evening pretending to be the Chipmunks.

Again, I wish more movie critics and wannabe movie critics would judge a movie for what it is whether that be a drama, comedy, chick flick, action or kids' movie.

Friday, December 14, 2007

I took Anna and Jeremy to their first concert last night. Our church was hosting Phillips, Craig & Dean, a Christian group. Their harmony is amazing!

The kids said they enjoyed it. However, I don't think Jeremy still understands the concept of a concert -- or at least this kind of concert. He wanted them to sing a specific song, but 1) it's not one of their songs and 2) they weren't taking requests.

One of the highlights of the evening was when the group sang a song the kids knew from one of their praise CDs. They were both singing along. Jeremy was standing on the pew with his arms around my neck so I could obviously hear him very well in the loud sanctuary. That sweet boy was singing as loud as he could and was not worried about being in tune at all! It was actually a beautiful sound.

The invited all the kids on stage for a couple of songs. I took pictures, but the USB port on my old computer is in back and I don't have the energy right now to reach it to download the pictures. Maybe another time.

I'm off to the mall and other stores today before the Snow Storm 2007 hits! This storm is not to be confused with Ice Storm 2007 which blew in last Sunday. Hopefully the blizzard will hold off until we get home from watching Alvin and the Chipmunks.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

And the people said...

AMEN! School is back in session in our community. Unfortunately for my co-worker, she is not so lucky. Her school district still has several schools without power, and yesterday the roof at one of the middle schools collapsed. They'll be in school a little longer come May.

Hopefully, January and February will be very mild, and we will not need to cancel school again. That may get us out before May 31. I would much rather start the school earlier than end it later.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Day Three

Now two schools plus other housing additions are without power so no school again tomorrow. Fortunately, we have power. Unfortunately, we're over our snow day limit. Yippee.

We lost some big limbs off the tree in the front yard, but the only damage was a couple of Christmas bulbs that line the flower bed. I'm glad we were lazy and did not line the entire yard with lights.

Tomorrow we are getting out. We've gone to dinner the past two nights but have spent the entire day at home. However, today D picked up the kids and took them to mcD's for a couple of hours so I could get some work done.

Tomorrow we are going to take a trip to my office. That should be exciting for Anna since she doesn't get to go there often, and Jeremy hasn't been able to go as much since he's in school all day.

Hopefully, the madness will end after tomorrow. I should take the kids to do their Christmas shopping, but I don't even feel like braving a store with all four in tow. I usually have no problem going anywhere with all four, but after three days living in the Ice Age, I'm just not up to it.

Monday, December 10, 2007

I'm getting old. Actually, I think earlier this year -- the first Winter Storm of 2007 -- took all the joy of a snow day out of me. The kids were out of school for an entire week in January. Now we've just found out our district is closed again tomorrow. Fun for the kids, but now I have the fear of using up so many snow days that our school year extends into June again.

Closing school is reasonable because at least one of the schools has no power right now, and who knows what tonight's weather will bring. Fortunately, we have power and a wood-burning fireplace.

As for the number of school days, that brings up another issue for me. If I remember correctly, in Oklahoma, students are required to have 275 days of classroom instruction. You would think with all the talk of making our kids more competive and prepared academically in this global society, we wouldn't settle for holding school the minimum number of days required. How many school days do we have? With one snow day built in? I believe it's 275. That's setting a great example for our kids. We only do the minimum required, but we expect them to give above and beyond to succeed. That makes a lot of sense.

I'm going to encourage D to continue taking a more active role in our community and school system (he's starting to get involved in several things already), so when our school board seat comes open, he will be very ready.

Off my soapbox now.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Where are they now?

I'm one of those strange people who likes to google names to see what people are doing. I typed in the name of a guy I went to school with from grade school through high school. I was very shocked to find his name and picture pop up on the NY social scene. According to various stories, he's quite the philanthropist and supporter of the arts. He's even on! Of course, if you look at his resume on imdb, it doesn't mention anything about Oklahoma. Actually it says he got a degree from a college in England. That's funny. I thought he graduated from OSU or at least attended OSU. Guess Oklahoma's not as sexy as London.
I may not look like a happy person today because this head cold is wearing me out, but I'm doing a happy dance on the inside. My insurance and my wonderful pharmacist refilled my migraine medication, and rather than paying $230 for the miracle drug, I got it for $25. It's a beautiful day!

I also sent off my order for Christmas cards (I'll post the picture of the kids later), and I finished the photo book of our family trip to Branson. I sent off that order as well, and standard shipping was free! Again, it's a beautiful day!

Also, my awesome friend Penny hooked my up with tickets to an OU men's basketball game, so I can finally take Jeremy. Evidently I promised him a while back that I would take him to a game. It's not a big sacrifice for me since I love basketball. Hopefully, this game will be just what I need to get on board with the new coach. I haven't followed the team very well because he's not a very charismatic coach and there were a lot of new players last year. Honestly, it had nothing to do with their lack of wins. I'm not a fair-weather OU basketball fan. So once again, it's a beautiful day!

Of course, it's not even lunch time yet, but I think those are enough positives to make up for any negatives.

Monday, December 3, 2007

I did survive, but did my sanity remain intact? That's questionable. Here are a few things I learned over the course of 12+ hours with eight seven-year-old boys.

The name Hunter was very popular in 2000-2001. Of the seven boys who attended the sleepover, FOUR were named Hunter.

Three medium pizzas will probably never be able to feed Jeremy and his friends again.

Boys do not know how to whisper -- especially at 5:30 IN THE MORNING! (God bless my husband who got up and tried to keep them quiet for at least another hour.)

Tie a rope to a tree and boys will be spend hours playing Tarzan despite the dropping temperature.

And finally, I'm willing to make about any deal to convince Anna to have any other kind of birthday party rather than another sleepover.

Friday, November 30, 2007

I should be resting not writing. D and I are hosting seven boys this evening. Many parents think we're crazy having a sleepover, especially when some of these boys have never been overnight at a non-family member's house. Maybe we are. But we survived a girls' sleepover when Anna was that age, so I think we can make it.

We had a nice dinner last night with D's co-workers. Good food and good prizes/gifts. I haven't been to a work holiday party like that in years, so it was a nice change of pace. However, by the time I dropped off the babysitters and picked up Spencer's meds, it was after 11. And since Spencer didn't sleep very well, I got very little sleep.

Maybe I am crazy...At least Anna and Jack will be spending the night elsewhere.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

I don't usually make New Year's resolutions and wouldn't say this is one of those, but I'm going to beat the fitness rush and say this now: I'm going to try to do some sort of actual exercise. Although keeping up with four kids, one of which goes straight for anything he shouldn't have and alternates between crawling and walking, can be quite a workout, I feel I need something a little more. Fortunately, I came across this article that does away with the excuse that it's too cold. Now we'll see if I can follow through...

Thursday, November 22, 2007

A Thanksgiving post seems appropriate. Today I had the privilege of eating wonderful turkey and dressing in a home with two couples who have been married more than 60 years, one that has been married more than 50 years and two other couples who have been married more than 40 years. Amazing!

I love D very much, and every time I see my aunts and uncles and any other older couples who have been married for so many years, I look forward to being one of those couples some day. I'm not in a hurry, but as I say about the time I have with my kids, I'm just enjoying each stage. And the same would apply to my marriage.

I am thankful that God brought me a man who can usually deal with my mood swings and arguments that seem very illogical or irrational to him (even thought they aren't). I'm thankful that he is such an amazing dad who could easily be a stay-at-home dad. I'm thankful that he encourages me to pursue whatever activities I'm interested in or dreams I have. I'm thankful he lets me sleep in. I'm thankful that he is a Godly man and a man of integrity.

I am very blessed.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Still no pictures of the first birthday. I've been busy preparing for the next birthday -- Jeremy's. I guess my life has been too easy because I agreed to let him have a sleepover. This will be a new experience. A girls' slumber party I know what to do -- crafts and music. Boys? I'm thinking pizza, movie and a wild experiment...maybe diet coke and mentos.

I can at least share some of the cute (at least to me) things Spencer is doing. When he's eating and you ask him if he's done, he immediately raises his hands over his head using the touchdown signal. He loves pizza, goldfish crackers and marshmallows. He's the only child we've had who screams when he wants something - NOW.

He's walking more on his own but there's nothing particularly unique about his walk. When Jack started walking, he looked like a monkey, holding his arms above his head as he made his way across the room. When Anna started walking, she took off after my cat, walking like she'd been doing it for months. Unfortunately, I can't recall any specifics about Jeremy's first steps other than he was 13 months old when he started walking.

So those milestones are passing quickly: he's walking, drinking whole milk, and sleeping through the night (FINALLY). I'll miss the baby he is, but I'm looking forward to the people all of my children are becoming.

Monday, November 19, 2007

I don't have much time to write. I should be in the kitchen making oatmeal and everything cookie bars for Jeremy's class feast tomorrow, but I'm taking a break after making deviled eggs for Jack's class (and what 3 or 4 year old is going to actually eat them???). What a waste of perfectly good deviled eggs...

Soon I plan to post about Spencer's first birthday, but that willl have to wait. The oven is calling me.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

I'm in a much better mood today than I was on my birthday. D bought me a slightly used but in great condition iPod, and tonight, thanks to my awesome friend Penny, I had the once in a lifetime opportunity to see about every big name personality from Oklahoma on stage in one place at the Centennial Spectacular. Very cool!

I also bought a king-size reversible down comforter with a microfiber cover at a midnight madness sale for $70, and a Christmas present for Anna that would usually cost twice what I got it for. It was a great way to end the night.

Now if my migraine would go away, it would be a perfect night.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

I have almost decided it was for the best that I was not surprised with a laptop or MP3 player because I know it would not have been paid for with cash. As we enter the gift-buying time of the year (even more so for my family with all the birthdays except Jack's), I'm planning to use cash for everything. Fortunately because of my many travels over the past month, I will get a nice expense check at the end of this month. So on Dec. 1 I'm going shopping.

I'm using a Christmas organizing/budget tool online thanks to my friend Amber. I know that if I have a list of what I'm going to buy the kids, I manage my money much better. Last year, I did not stick to a list and the spending got way out of control. (I'll blame post-partem mood swings for that.)

So my plan for purchasing technology for myself is to use this strange new method called "saving the money until I have enough to buy it." Interesting concept. I'll let you know how that goes.

Monday, November 12, 2007

We used the new blender today. Jack thought we needed strawberries and blueberries like it showed on the box, but I convinced him we could make chocolate milkshakes instead. He's very proud of the blender, especially since it came in such a big box that he carried himself. He's growing up fast.

I think I'm going to try an unofficial Menu Plan and maybe sometime I'll do the official link.

Monday: Baked Spaghetti
Tuesday: Hotdogs
Wednesday: Pizza and birthday cake
Thursday: I have no idea
Friday: Hamburgers and macaroni salad

Sunday, November 11, 2007

I'm 36 now. My #3 son (as cute as he is) picked out a blender for me. I love the thought because it's what Jack just new he wanted to get me. I really don't have room for something else on my kitchen counter, so I guess I'll find space for it somewhere. The other kids picked out about 3 or 4 different kinds of chapstick for me. Not sure why I needed that much chapstick.

D did make me a chocolate and vanilla cream pie with real whipped cream. Maybe I am depressed about turning 36...

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

I'm tired. My house is a pit. I've got birthdays to plan. And I've got nothing exciting to say. Maybe I'll come up with something in the next couple of days.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Dang this computer! I just sat down to check my work email before shutting it down at 11 p.m., and now it's after midnight and I'm addicted to this: The Pioneer Woman's love story.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Today I realized there are way too many things I need to do in my life to wait until the kids are older. So hopefully, we'll find some way to travel with four young children.

I went to a great conferencet his morning. While I wasn't looking forward to spending the morning listening to speakers, all of the speakers were discussing the project that takes up all of my work time lately. However, after listening to the executive director of the program and four recipients of the grant, I am so honored to be a part of this program.

We also listened to a state representative I was not familiar with, but he was very energetic, charismatic and entertaining. I've really got to find out more about him even though it sounds like he's about to be term-limited. We also watched a video about the importance of learning more about other countries, people, culture, etc. So between the comedian and the video lecture, I realized that my global education is sadly lacking.

I was one of the few individuals in the room who did not have a passport. So it is now my plan to start teaching myself and my children some foreign language (probably Spanish) and try to take some trips that go beyond our comfort zone.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

I would post some really cute pictures of the kids in their costumes, but my phone/digital camera messed up (not sure how it could be user error) and I lost all of them. Considering my computer crashed a few weeks ago and I thought I lost all the pictures I had on the hard drive, I'm not sure digital photography is right for me. Fortunately, the computer pictures reappeared but right now I'm not too optimistic about my phone pictures.

Regardless, the kids had a great time going around the neighborhood. Jack was great about saying trick or treat and thank you. At some of the houses, the kids would sing the trick or treat song from Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. It was actually pretty cute.

Now I'm just exhausted and even though I tried to get Jeremy to finish his homework before all the craziness got started, he did not. So now he is sitting at the dining room table acting like he's never seen words let alone letters before. And that is why I'm on the other side of the house typing on the computer -- trying not to yell at him and letting him suffer the consequences.

Monday, October 29, 2007

We are not only entering the Holidays around our household. It's also a birthday bonanza starting with me. This is the lineup for the next three months -- Nov. 11, 14, and 28; Dec. 30; Jan.26. Poor Jack is the only one who has to wait until spring to get birthday presents.

This time of year also means birthday parties. I don't feel that we've ever gone overboard on parties. Anna and Jeremy don't have big parties every year, and actually Anna won't have another big party (inviting more than 10). However, Jeremy has only had what I would consider a real birthday party. He chose the activity and who he wanted to invite. He had a party at Chuck's once, but he was only two and it was a combo party with his sister so it doesn't count.

Last year I had just given birth so there was no way I was up to the challenge of issuing invitations, making reservations and buying party favors. So this is his year. I thought I had a great idea -- lunar mini golf. Very cool, fun and no one has done that yet (not that I'm try to compete). But he said no. What?!? He doesn't want to golf, but he doesn't have any suggestions right now.

Until...While he was praying before a meal recently, he told God he hoped he could have a birthday party at Whitewater. He was devastated to learn the the waterpark is only open in the summer - not in November. Even worse, he already told his friends he was having a party at Whitewater. And once again, my kids got the lecture about running things past mom and dad before inviting anyone and everyone to do whatever it is you want to do.

Back to the drawing board...

Friday, October 26, 2007

During dinner this eveing, D and I were discussing the fact that our dry cleaning needed to be picked up tomorrow. I said that I could've picked it up after 5 today, but at the particular time, I was not in a very good place -- meaning the kids were driving me crazy and I was quickly losing my patience. However, when I mentioned that I wasn't in a good place, my dear, sweet, over-thinking-everything Jeremy said, "Where were you?"

My answer to him? Home.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

I had a really catchy title for this post, but now I'm too tired and medicated to think of it. I'm lucky I can remember what I was going to write about since I thought of it about five hours ago.

I'm beginning to see the light at the end of this title called babyhood. Within the month I will begin packing up baby bottles and we have purchased the last can of formula. Every member of the family will soon be forward-facing in the van, and hopefully, we will no longer need to buy diapers by summer 2009 (I'll give Baby until he's 2 1/2 to potty train him).

He's finally began sleeping through the night again this week, so I pray the trend continues. He's very close to walking, and pizza and Froot Loops have already become his favorite foods.

Now I can focus more energy on getting our finances in order so we can afford to build on another room because as Baby reaches each of these milestones, all of the kids keep getting bigger and needing more space (or am I the one who really needs the space?).

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

I was reading the blog du jour, Because I said so, and she had a post about controlling yourself because you can't control your kids. You set the example by controlling your own emotions and your kids will learn from you and also from the consequences of their actions. That sounds great, but I don't think I would last very long.

My mom is one of the most mellow women you will ever meet. When I told her I was getting married, she said "that's nice." When I told her I was expecting my first child, she said "that's nice." She was genuinely excited and happy. It just wasn't outwardly noticeable. When I was a kid, she very rarely raised her voice. So here's the million-dollar question...where did I get my short temper?

My dad was working all the time and sleeping or watching TV when he wasn't, so I wouldn't say he was much of any influence on my emotional reaction. He had a bigger impact on my work ethic.

Back to the blog, one of the examples she gave was getting her kids to do their homework. She doesn't fight with them to get it done. She wants them to do their homework so they can realize the reward of completing an assignment. If they don't finish, they suffer the consequences at school. I would like to be that laid back about it, and I know that if they are going to learn that not doing their work will result in negative consequences, now is the time to do it -- before their grades really mean something. But it is still really hard.

I feel like I live in chaos constantly, and sometimes I feel like I'm drowning. I guess I hide it well because a lot of people say they don't know how I do it. Well, I don't that I DO do it. I'm just getting by the best I can, and hopefully, my kids won't be too screwed up.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Jeremy is going to be the death of me and he's only 6-almost-7 years old. He corrects me, argues with me and disregards my vast knowledge. It doesn't usually happen with D who claims to have his bluff in. What bluff? Is D scarier than I am? And what does that have to do with being right? He was looking for some pants in the dryer, and for the second time I told him that he didn't have any clothes in there. I informed him that only Jack's clothes were in the dryer. Of course, he noticed right then that Anna's jacket was mixed in. Good grief!! Obviously I had to make it crystal clear -- Jeremy YOU have no clothes in the dryer. Later he gave me a note that said Mome I luv you. I tell ya he's going to kill me.

Now back to the Rutgers-South Florida game...

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

The deep cleaning went relatively well. My kitchen cabinets and floorboards look shiny and new while the rest of the house is still cluttered with junk.

Today is the last day of the first nine weeks of school. It is also the deadline for Jeremy to master the first five pages of sight words -- not an easy task. I sent the last two to school today hoping his teacher tests him early so he will remember "away" and some of the other words he stumbled over. We're going to jump on the next several pages and not wait until Christmas break to turn them in. I was reading to him yesterday and we came across a word that he thought I spoke incorrectly. I asked him how long he thought I had been reading and don't I probably know how to read a lot more words than he??? He chose to agree with me for once.

God is definitely sending me a message -- I made the right choice to only have four children (or that I was pushing it having the fourth kid). Baby is 11 months old and still wakes up at least once a night! It's not right! Anna was sleeping through the night at 6 weeks, and while girls are usually quick learners, the other two boys caught on around 10 and 11 weeks. I don't know what's wrong with Baby, but he's slowly killing me and he's not even driving yet!

Friday, October 12, 2007

I am actually excited about this weekend. Since Anna's Saturday game was rescheduled and played last night (they lost 5-3 against the best team in the division-it was a very close game), we have designated Saturday as a deep-cleaning day. We're going to assign the kids tasks such as cleaning the baseboards, windows, cabinets, storm doors, etc., while we tackle bigger jobs like cleaning/organizing the garage and cleaning behind/underneath the major appliances. I also plan to give the showers, tub and tiled/linoleum floors a good scrubbing and organize our deep freeze. I got some good feedback from Laura the Organizing Junkie, so I'm going to pick up some containers such as milk crates to sort the meat and other stuff.

Then to reward ourselves, we may go to the centennial parade in downtown OKC. Since we won't see another centennial in our lifetime, we thought we should try to participate in some of these events.

However, if the Watonga cheese festival hadn't been cancelled, that's what I would be doing today. I'm very disappointed because this was the perfect year for me to go on Friday -- no kid to pick up from school in the middle of the day. I can't believe they didn't consult me before cancelling it! :)

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Anna's soccer season ends in mid-November -- the same weekend Jeremy's basketball league starts. I may get a month off in the spring between the end of his season and the beginning of Anna's spring soccer season. Good thing I like sports. I just hope his basketball games do not interfere with OU basketball games (and football of course). However, if OU's season doesn't improve over last year, I may glad to have an excuse to miss the games.

Jeremy is so excited about playing basketball. I told him we will probably look for some new tennis shoes for him to wear. He decided to ask a classmate where he got his. Although his friend said he got them at the mall, Jeremy decided he would just ask another classmate if he could have his shoes. At least he was going to ask and not bully the kid out of the shoes. Fortunately, he didn't act on this before he and I discussed it. I explained that while I am all for hand-me-downs, you should wait until a person is done with the article of clothing before taking ownership of it -- and only when the item has been offered to you.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Out of the mouth of babes...My kids love getting tattoos -- the kind that can wash off of course. Recently, they got a few out of a machine at the local pizza place. These tattos were Chinese writing with the English translation. Jeremy excitedly showed me his and asked me what it said. I admit I lied to him. I told him it said "shine" when actually it said "sexy." I wasn't really in the mood to explain that word.

There are times when I am glad Anna is reading very well, but this night was not one of them. When Jeremy showed her the tattoo, she informed him it said "sexy." Busted. So I lied again and said I didn't see it very well. I'm setting a great exampe for my kids.

The best part of this whole story is what they did with the tattoo. Jeremy cut the chinese symbols out and pasted them on his hairless chest. Then, with some assistance, Jack tattooed is bottom with the word "sexy." I'm not sure why they chose his bottom, but I wasn't up to asking any questions. I was trying my hardest to be firm without laughing. I should've taken a picture, but I'll have enough ammunition to blackmail him someday without adding his sexy tattoo to the mix.

Monday, October 8, 2007

I am such a sucker. More often than not Jack will not easily go to bed. On those nights he doesn't go to sleep right away, he gets out of bed over and over and over again. I try to be firm and tell him to get in bed, but then he says "Mommy, I need to tell you something -- I love you." And more often than not, I start to soften and either let him hang out in the living room with me (we watched Field of Dreams last night) or I let him go to sleep in my room. I wonder if Baby is going to have me wrapped around his finger as well...

Growing up, I never asked my parents (mom specifically) to help me with homework. Of course, I didn't have homework until well after I learned to read. Considering Jeremy is bringing home assignments when he barely knows how to read, I've been making up for those homework-free grade school years. Isn't it enough that I teach them right from wrong, how to be polite, play well with others, clean their room and cook a few dishes? Do I have to teach them to read, add, subtract, multiply and divide too? Those people who fail on Are you smarter than a 5th grader have probably not been the ones helping their children with homework.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

I'm afraid dvr may become a need for me -- a luxury but still a need. The shows I like to watch a way too violent for the kids. I don't let the kids watch them but they won't stay out of the room when I'm watching them. Also, the shows I prefer are at the 7 and 8:00 hours -- before their bedtime. Maybe I should push bathtime back to 6:30 and lights out at 7...

I try not to pick up any new shows, but I couldn't resist watching pushing up daisies. I loved it. The dialogue was fast and witty. The characters were quirky. And it was just fun. I highly recommend it.

Poor Jack. Tonight he wanted me to read his Diego and Clifford books for the billionth time but I was trying to watch CSI -- definitely not a kid-friendly show. Fortunately, his wonderful big sister read to him and then he crashed on my bed.

We've got a big weekend with the Czech festival parade, a family dinner, the OU-Texas football game and a day out with Thomas the Tank Engine. I may never feel completely rested again.

Monday, October 1, 2007

A friend who is the mother of a teenage girl has warned me that life with girls and their moods is like a roller coaster. Hopefully, Anna and I are at a highpoint in our roller coaster ride. She and I spent most of Friday and all day Saturday together without any significant mood swings or whining, and tonight she was still in a very pleasant mood while we were working on spelling words. I really like this side of her.

She was the flower girl in a friend's wedding, so I took her to the rehearsal and dinner on Friday. Then Saturday morning we were up early for a soccer game (which her team won) before getting her hair done and having lunch. Isn't she cute? She did a great job, and the wedding was beautiful.

However, this wedding also made me realize I have transitioned into a new stage of life. Instead of attending a wedding and thinking some detail of it would've be nice at my wedding, I was trying to remember various aspects that could be used in Anna's wedding some day (in the VERY distant future). It was a great wedding with many wonderful details. I especially liked a special dance they had for all the married couples which eventually led to the couple who had been married the longest (52 years I think) dancing alone. What a great idea!

I just hope that this couple enjoys their marriage as much as D and I have enjoyed ours.

Friday, September 28, 2007

It is going to be a very long day, but I'm going to take a couple of minutes for myself. The three oldest kids all got sick Monday night, but while Anna and Jack have recovered easily, Jeremy's bug is still hanging around. At 11:30 last night, Don was shampooing the carpet in the living room, down the hallway and into our room. While I was gathering up many disgusting towels and trying to convince Jeremy that sneezing and throwing up are not necessarily connected. He was not easily convinced.

While neither Don nor I has gotten a full-blown case of whatever the kids had/have, our mothers managed to get it after only a brief time in our house. I wish I could've avoided exposing them to the germs, but I had to go to Tulsa Tuesday and conduct the same meeting in Edmond on Wednesday. It has been a miserable week, so there has been very little time or energy for posting. I haven't even managed to check other blogs.

And now my time is up. Back to cleaning the house...

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

One page almost down...37 more to go. Sight words are going to be the death of me. Jeremy "learned" 33 pages of sight words, approximately 10 on a page, in kindergarten, and now he has to learn 38 pages this year. Of course, they are the same words, and after three months of summer vacation, he doesn't remember them. Of course, if I was SuperMom, he would've continued to work on them over the summer and be prepared to read chapter books this fall.

Yeah, right. Who has time for sight words when there is popcorn to be sold? Jeremy went to his first cub scout meeting and brought home the popcorn order form. At least we will have a break between selling popcorn and cookies.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

I have Internet access for the time being, but I have lost everything else. Christmas list, resume, Web site favorites. It's very depressing. I have also been unable to connect to my work's remote desktop, and that is driving me crazy. Yes, I wanted a new computer, preferrably a laptop, but I wanted it on my terms. I wanted to be able to transfer all the stuff I want to keep, but that is not possible now. Let's just hope the computer will boot up properly tomorrow.

In other news, Anna had her first soccer game. The first three-fourths of the game was very bleak. We trailed 3-0 most of the first half, and then in the last 5-10 minutes of the game when we were down 4-2, our girls finally got the hang of it. We are playing on a bigger field with a couple of boxes around the goal and a goalie who can use her hands. Our team finally figured out that they can keep going inside those boxes to kick the ball. Our last two scores were back-to-back goals made by probably our best player. It was very exciting. Anna isn't playing goalie but defender and that's fine with me. We just need to get her to be a little more aggressive and used to running.

Nothing else to really report since this computer issue has cleared most things from my mind.

Monday, September 10, 2007

One more night and order will be restored -- well, at least Anna will have her bed back. It has been a nice visit with my BIL, SIL and four nephews. The boys have been relatively well behaved. Their youngest and Jack are the same age, so they really hit it off.

D, his sister, brother and SIL took all the kids to Turner Falls Sunday afternoon while Baby and I enjoyed a quiet house. Baby finally took some decent naps, and I was able to fit in a nap around my efforts to clean up the house.

As we've gotten older, I think we have all mellowed. Personally, I believe D and I have always been pretty mellow, but it helps that we are all even more relaxed with so many kids around. I'm glad they were able to come, and I hope they enjoyed their visit. Now I'm ready to get back to the usual schedule...

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

We spent the long weekend with my childhood friend/college roommate and her family. It has become an annual event, meeting at Grapevine, sharing a suite, shopping and playing cards. We always have a great time.

There's something about those friends that you don't see very often or talk to regularly, but when you get together, it's like you've never been apart. Even better, our husbands get along -- almost too well sometimes.

I splurged and actually got fitted for a bra! Now, I actually own three bras that each cost more than a 24 pack of pop. I also found a purse that is the same style of the one I had a few years ago that was perfect. The old purse was a simple black design, but this new one is pushing at the boundaries of my comfort zone. It's red. Those were my attempts at doing a little something for myself.

Of course, I still managed to find many clothes and good deals for the kids. They each even ended up with a stuffed animal (like they needed one more of those).

That's probably enough procrastinating for now. Sitting at the computer is not going to get my house cleaned before the in-laws and the nephews arrive on Thursday. It will probably be another week until I blog again (unless I decide to hide out in my room).

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

And we thought Jeremy was particular. He's got nothing on Jack.

After a challenging morning getting the older two off to school, I was faced with the task of preparing Jack for his first day of preschool. He had me fooled because he wasn't particularly grumpy when he woke up and then it came time to pack his lunch. Maybe I gave him too many options. Maybe it was too early to be thinking about lunch. Whatever the reason, this job was too much for him.

Dinosaur sandwich, circle sandwich or rectangle? He opted for the circle. Once I finished making it, I quickly slid the round pb&j in a baggie and hoped he wouldn't notice that the bread was cracking a little on top. However, he demanded to examine the sandwich to determine if it was perfectly made. Of course he noticed the crack and that led to the first meltdown.

After he calmed down and decided to go with four little triangles, I made another sandwich. Then it was time to actual pack his lunch bag. Somehow his three-year-old brain forgot that he chose the lunch bag that looked like big brother's rather than the colorful Diego lunch box. He insisted that I was using the wrong bag. He tried to find room in the backpack that contained a change of clothes, but he realized the effort was futile. Finally, we decided to go with a paper sack, but before I even unpacked the first lunch bag, he decided it would work.

Now it was time to decide what he would like for breakfast: cereal, frozen waffle or an apple. He went with the apple but wanted to pack the cereal. I was able to talk him into eating the cereal on the way to grandma's house.

During this entire time, Baby was a real trooper -- alternating between crying and chewing on the nearest object. He deserved the one-on-one attention he got from grandma today.

While preparing for school was frustrating, he did provide me with a little after-meltdown entertainment. He sang Oklahoma! over and over and over on the way to grandma's house and then to school.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

I visited my hometown today. While I was in California, a hurricane or significant storm or whatever you want to call it, hit the small town in northwest Oklahoma. When we arrived at the airport yesterday, my mom decided to stay at my house rather than return to a house with no electricty, which means no AC.

Power was restored late today, so I took her home. The flood and wind damage was obvious soon after you entered the county. Bales of hay had even been shifted by the flood waters, and railroad tracks had been washed away. The town was literally littered with tree limbs and other debris. There was even a mangled trampoline on the side of a road.

Fortunately my parents' house sustained very little damage. The rain gutter was blown off in one spot, and the antennae they don't use was blown over. Unfortunately, I'm afraid the old, run-down building they have downtown was not damaged enough to warrant an insurance claim.

I'll try to post some pics tomorrow.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Lemoore, Calif. is a beautiful town. I'm just sad that it's taken the loss of a family member to get me out here. My aunt has sad it has been very helpful having all of the family here. We ate some great pizza tonight at a little pizza joint here in town. I found out after dinner that it was one of my cousin's favorite places, so it was pretty appropriate for us to gather there.

We attended the viewing this evening, which was very hard. For whatever reason, I usually feel the need to view the person in the casket. That's what I need to make it all real. When my grandmother passed away, seeing her in the casket was one of the best things for me because she once again looked like grandma.

Her body and mind had deteriorated so much over the 10+ years she was in the nursing home that I had a very hard time visiting her. I also had the opportunity to be with her right before she died. I'm glad I was there, but it was so hard to see a person I loved look so unlike the person I remembered. But in death, she looked like the woman I knew so I had the finally picture in my head.

However, my cousin looks nothing like he did which made the evening even harder. I sat and prayed so hard for peace, comfort and strength for his wife, sons, parents and brother. It broke my heart to see my aunt and uncle standing before the casket hugging their one surviving child.

The other devestating occurrence this evening was the knowledge that a close friend's marriage is about to end in bitterness and lies while I am surrounded by people who have spent 60 years together. Even more frustrating, watching a woman say goodbye to the man she has loved and cared for for nearly 35 years. At the same time, I am filled with anger and bitterness over a man who can't seem to grow up and be mature enough to be honest with his wife or give her the respect to either not marry her if he didn't love her or to end the marriage quickly when he has no intention of attempting to save it.

So much hurt and sadness around me that all I can do is pray for them all and thank God for the wonderful husband he has blessed me with.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Today was supposed to be a great, exciting day -- the first day of school...the first day with Jeremy in school ALL day. The morning was OK, but I wasn't able to enjoy much of anything after lunch.

The kids got ready for school with very little prodding this morning. I'm sure we will not have a repeat tomorrow or any day again until the end of May. I let them ride their bikes, and I rode a bike while pulling nearly 50 lbs. in the bike trailor. I made the mistake of taking a shower and getting ready for the day BEFORE I took them to school. Needless to say, by the time I extricated myself from the web of chaos that is many, many parents hanging around the gym on the first day of school, stopped by the park so Jack could play for a few minutes and then rode the bike the rest of the way home, I needed another shower.

I made the mistake of riding the bike to pick up the kids after school. My options were very limited: ride the bike, walk in triple-digit heat while pushing a sit & stand stroller or contribute to the traffic congestion. Since the school is literally out my back door, I didn't think it was wise to contribute to the ozone issue. So I took another shower after I got home. That would be three showers in one day.

The afternoon was consumed by coordinating travel arrangements for my cousin's funeral. It is not going to be easy for me to get away for a few days to fly out to California, but I think it's important that I go -- for my aunt and uncle as well as my parents. So in less than 36 hours I'm going to be getting on a plane and leaving behind four kids, one husband and some big projects. But I'm doing the right thing.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

On a happier note

When I got home today, Anna told me they were throwing a party for Jack. When I asked why, she said it was a party to tell him they were sorry for what they had done. My obvious question, "What did you do to him today?" She thought about that before she finally answered -- They were sorry for all the things they have ever done to him in his short life. Jack better enjoy it now because that will never happen again.
My father's side of the family has been very blessed. With fourteen children, spouses, grandchildren, great grandchildren and great-great grandchildren, we have had very few deaths and no lives that were cut short by some tragic accident. I can easily list those in the family, including in-laws, who have passed away:
grandfather - heart attack
grandmother - natural causes (she died two weeks short of her 94th birthday)
a cousin - some genetic disease
an aunt, four uncles (two by marriage) and a cousin (at the young age of 40) - cancer

In a family of way more than 100 people, the loss of only nine people is pretty amazing, especially when all but two of them were over 50. However, today I have to add one more to that list. My cousin, who was somewhere around 50-60, lost a long and hard-fought battle with cancer. Although I only saw him once every three years at the reunion, he was a strong presence.

He has always been very supportive of the family and was probably the best family president we ever had. It has been two years since I saw him, but when my parents visited his family in February, they saw first-hand the toll the illness had taken.

He's always had a good sense of humor. I remember one email update about the cancer. He compared it to a weapon of mass distruction. The doctor knew it was there somewhere but they couldn't find it.

He has fought so hard these past couple of years, and even held out the hope that he would be able to attend this year's family reunion and take his young grandson fishing. However, he was in too much pain to make the trip. His presence was definitely missed.

I know my family has been very blessed. There is not an estranged member of the family, except the son of one of the uncle's who passed away many years ago (I don't think I've every seen this cousin, so I don't really count him.) Unfortunately, with my cousin's death, my sweet aunt and uncle have now outlived two children. My cousin who had the genetic disease was also their daughter. She has been gone for many years now but never forgotten.

Family gatherings will not be the same without Larry, and while we selfishly wish he were here with us, I know he is at peace now and pain free.

Monday, August 13, 2007

School days

We had back to school night, which is always a very hard night for me. Not because I'm not excited about my kids moving up a grade (Jeremy will go ALL day!), but because it is hot, crowded and chaotic. Not much stresses me out more than a combination of those situations.

Overall, I think it will be a good year. Anna has the only male teacher in the school who comes highly recommended. He seems very cool. Jeremy has a teacher who is new to the school but not new to teaching. We got lucky last year with a new teacher who was wonderful, so hopefully, the same will be true this year.

Next year, if we make the pre-K cut, Jack will be in school there as well. So we'll have three rooms to visit and three sets of paperwork to fill out. I wish the forms were online, so all the same information would auto-populate. That kind of technology in public education? I don't think so. However, Anna's teacher does have a smartboard, so I thought that was impressive.

Thursday is the first day, so we've moved into the mode of getting them used to an earlier bedtime. So I'd better go try to get them in bed.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Who would you believe?

The man who employs the miners trapped in Utah or geophysicists who actually have high-tech equipment to track earthquakes? From what I read, it sounds like the guy is trying to throw off any suspicion about how his outfit operates. Yes, we should all be concerned about the miners and their families, but when a tragedy occurs, you should try to find a way to prevent it from happening again. Something about history repeating itself...

So since I and the media can't be drilling holes to get to those trapped, I think we should be reflecting on what happened and how it happened and make sure those who may or may not be responsible are held accountable.

That's just me, though.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

I am feeling so stressed that it wouldn't take much for me to walk out the door, get in my van and drive around for a few hours. Ten years ago, that would be an option, but now I'm older and have a few kids -- one of whom is determined to stay up until midnight. It's late, and I've got to go to the office tomorrow. So I'm going to try to rid my mind of all the things that I need to or should be doing.

I'm hoping Baby will sleep through the night. All the other kids were sleeping for 10-12 hours by the time they were 9 months, but Baby evidently doesn't want to miss out on a thing. He hasn't figured out yet that nothing is going on at 2, 3 or 4 in the morning. His older brother Jack can't resist a nice afternoon nap, so now he's flopping around on my bed doing everything he can to avoid going to sleep.

As for the oldest two, I can't wait until school starts. Maybe - just maybe - some of the whininess will get sucked out of Anna. And Jeremy will have other people to talk with ALL day. Yes, he will be in the first grade and gone from morning until afternoon. They grow up so fast, but it's not somthing I'm crying over right now.

Monday, August 6, 2007

I don't really see any excuse for adultery. If anyone can prove me wrong, go for it, but I'll tell you right now, I don't care how crappy their marriage is (or anyone else's) -- if he is so miserable and actually has the nerve to sleep with another person, then he just needed to step up and step out of his marriage. Obviously, my friend's situation has become the *worst case scenario* we discussed. 'Nuff said. (I'm still pretty ticked about it all.)

I am so ready for school to start. It will be nice going to the store with only one or two children in tow. However, I think I've handled it pretty well. Of course, it's a couple of minutes before 9 -- I'm waiting to start my work project on the hour -- and I've finally sat down. I finished vacuuming about 20 minutes ago, made manicotti for dinner and only have three loads of laundry left to fold. The rest of the week should be pretty easy.

However, I did not get in my full 20 hours last week due to children's illnesses so I've got some making up to do this week. It's almost 9 so I'd better get started.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Not much time to blog. Last night we spent the evening encouraging, sympathizing, advising, counseling our friend whose marriage is most definitely on the rocks. After she emailed me on Tuesday with some new information, I hit a wall. I had no words -- advice, comfort, nothing. I was angry and bitter. There's nothing I can do but pray, and right now, I'm not even sure how to pray.

Anyway, after that emotionally draining evening, I woke up the next morning to two sick little boys. Baby is congested, wheezing and coughing. Jack is running mysterious fever. Hopefully, they will both recover quickly because I can't take another day like today. Baby didn't nap well, and Jack wanted me to hold him constantly.

However, tomorrow is another day, and D and I will be going on a double date.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

And so the saga continues

There has been so much drama in my life that I can't take much more. I've always liked the phrase save the drama for your mama, but in this case the drama is within my extended family and there are too many mamas to deal with.

We had a great time at the family reunion this year despite all the rain and flooding. However, once again, there was talking of moving the location of the reunion. It has now blown up into a big email scandal with only a few members of the family receiving the messages because the distribution list is so large it has to be separated and the person who started the attack replied to those in his list. (That may not make sense to some people, but it really is a simple and typical process.)

I have always thought it was amazing that this family with 14 brothers and sisters does not have an estranged member of the family. Of those siblings, five were born to my grandad's first wife; however, they have never been recognized as half siblings. They have always been one, big and usually happy family.

Now because of the words of a very few -- very rude and thoughtless words -- there are some members of my family who are very hurt. And do you know why the discussion all came about?? Because our state is shortchanging its state parks! It took donations from my family and others to finally get our camp facilities relatively comfortable. But for the past several years, the state hasn't even been able to make an effort to insure quality housekeeping in the lodge at the park. There has been mold and mildew, and in the past, there were mice. Who wants to pay want the lodge charges to sleep with rodents?

So the state is causing the first major strife in my family because of its lack of housekeeping skills.

Of course, I'm not necessarily against changing locations. While it would cost more money, it would give my dad (who worries and bosses WAY too much) a chance to relax and visit with the family. I'm not sure how this saga will turn out. I just hope that no one feels alienated when all is said and done.

Monday, July 30, 2007

What a week! We took our first child-centered vacation with the rest of my family -- brothers, spouses, parents, kids. The kids loved Silver Dollar City, the magic show, the indoor/outdoor waterpark and miniature golf. While some of the adults enjoyed shopping. Shopping is not usually my favorite activity, but when I get really good deals, I love it. And this time I got some awesome deals. Jeans for Anna for about $5! Shorts for Baby next summer for $2!

We had a great time at the amusement park. My parents kept baby at the hotel, and the rest of us split up at the park. So D and I only had Jeremy and Jack because Anna went with my niece. We rode several of the kiddie rides which usually involved spinning around alot, which was about all I could handle. I don't think I can do the major roller coasters and other rides like I used to. I guess I'll find out when the kids are actually tall enough to ride those rides.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Speaking of grandparents

During the reunion, I had the chance to visit with some family members that I usually don't have very extensive conversations with. Actually as I get older my conversations with family members change because I think they are starting to realize I'm an adult too.

Anyway, I was visiting with an aunt and uncle from California, and my aunt was sharing some memories of my grandfather. I'm not an emotional person (I leave that to D), but I got a little teary thinking about this man I never knew. He died five years before I was born. My paternal grandmother was the only grandparent alive when I was born, and fortunately I had about 20 quality years with her.

Back to the conversation...I have always had this idea that my grandfather was an aloof, stern man, but I learned he was really a generous, caring individual. Probably the best information my uncle gave me was explaining that while my dad is the one that looks most like my grandfather, my uncle K is the one that acts like him. Since Uncle K has always been the uncle I've been closest to and now he's like a second grandfather to my kids, it gives me a new perspective on him as well as my own grandfather.

As for the rest of the reunion -- there's talk about moving the location (not a new idea) and there were so many kids (probably 15-20)! I'm looking forward to the next reunion because Baby will be three and I can let him run free with the rest of the kids.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

This morning's conversation with my 6 year old:
Him: Are both my grandmothers senior citizens?
Me: Yes and Papa too.
Him: Because the commercial said all senior citizens should have Life Alert.

Someday he may become an apathetic teenager but for now he really cares about others.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

D has officially given his notice, so starting July 30, he will have a new job. It will be nice having a little bigger paycheck, but what I'm really looking forward to is a greater involvement in the kids' activities. He's seen very few of Anna's soccer games because he has always worked on Saturdays, and he will also be able to take on boy scouts with Jeremy. Maybe he'll even be able to coach Jeremy's basketball team -- if he actually decides he wants to play on a team which also involves games not to mention a set number of games.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Memory lane - a high school meme

I'm not very good at doing these things, but when I saw it on Melessa's blog, it brought back memories.

1. Who was your best friend?
Stephanie was my best friend throughout elementary school and middles school, but by high school, although we were still good friends, Maryl, Deana and John are the ones I would consider my best friends.

2. What sports did you play?
basketball by choice; track by force

3. What kind of car did you drive?
An awesome '79 black and gray Mustang with red and black interior

4. It’s Friday night, where were you?
Cruising Noble, hanging out in the bank parking lot and/or walking around the high school track

5. Were you a party animal?
Not hardly

6. Were you considered a flirt?
Not even remotely

7. Were you in band, orchestra, or choir?
Band - small school so it was the only musical option

8. Were you a nerd?
I got good grades, but no one ever accused me of being a nerd or a suck up.

9. Did you get suspended/expelled?
Yeah - not

10. Can you sing the fight song?
No but if I had an alto sax, I could probably play it.

11. Who was your favorite teacher?
Bordelon the band director was cool and Park the history teacher/coach was entertaining

12. School mascot?
the mighty eagle

13. Did you go to Prom?
Yes -- with a date my junior year and with a group of friends my senior year

14. If you could go back and do it over, would you?
It wasn't bad but I'm all for enjoying the stage of life you're in and moving on.

15. What do you remember most about graduation?
Refusing to go to THE graduation party and getting my friends to go to the city for dinner and a movie (Pretty Woman)

16. Where were you on senior skip day?
We didn't have a skip day. I guess we should've just done it.

17. Did you have a job your senior year?
Just babysat. Worked at the state park swimming pool after graduation.

18. Where did you go most often for lunch?
Easy Shop

19. Have you gained weight since then?
I'm the mother of four children -- of course I have.

20. What did you do after graduation?

21. When did you graduate?

22. Who was your Senior prom date?
The best friends ever!

23. Are you going / did you go to your 10 year reunion?
I helped organize it.

24. Who was your homeroom teacher?
We didn't have homerooms, but I remember having times to get help with work or attend pep rallies. These were activity periods and I remember being in Coleman's and Park's classrooms.

25. Who will repost this after you?
No idea.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

D had breakfast with the business owner this morning. He is meeting D's request, so D will take it. BUT D also asked to see a financial plan for the company to make sure it is operating solidly and not month-to-month. So he hasn't officially accepted the position. This process has taken about as long as it takes to fill a state job vacancy!

I'm happy for D because he will be able to use his strengths and actually get paid what he's worth. Also, I think it makes him feel better being able to give me the option of quiting if that's what I want to do. And I would only do that if personnel changed at my office and some ridiculous, arrogant micromanager came in to run the place. But surely my luck would not be so bad that I'd have to work for two jerks with those particular traits in less than 10 years.

So now I'm excited about our finances again and plan to start working on a budget (a very flexible budget), eliminating debt and building up our savings. The amazing thing about all of this is I was beginning to wonder how we were going to be able to continue living on our current salaries. The kids are only going to get more expensive, and it's just not in me to make lunch and dinner EVERY day. God is good!

Saturday, July 7, 2007

I am such a wimp. We're having a block party and I'm using Baby as an excuse to not be out there while they are breaking the law. They are shooting off some minor fireworks, but it's still loud. While there are many adults out there, I don't want to be one of them if/when the cops show up.

Otherwise, we're having a great time -- hamburgers, hotdogs, deviled eggs, beer and smoking for some, water balloon fight for others. It's really nice living in an area with several kids, ages 8 months to 13 years old. And they all get along fairly well. I'm just glad my daughter isn't one of the teenage girls living next door to the long-haired skater dude.

As for the job situation, D has presented his requirements and now the owner will let him know on Monday. I'm feeling good about this opportunity mainly because the guy wants D for D -- for his people and troubleshooting skills. I've prayed about the job and feel a peace about it while D prayed about the salary and benefits and has a peace about what he requested. Now the ball's in the other guy's court.

I guess I need to go out and be social now that Baby has finally gone to sleep (plus I don't hear anymore fireworks so the coast is clear).

UPDATE: A cop showed up while I was typing this post. He asked if anyone was shooting off fireworks, and Jack, my honest little three year old, said "We are!" The cop said they had received three separate complaints and he had to follow up on it but as long as the kids were having a good time and we were only using ground fireworks like snappers and sparklers, he was fine with it. We should've made sure the killjoy neighbors were invited.

Monday, July 2, 2007

We are family

I am so blessed to come from such a big, diverse family, but all those different personalities can be exhausting. We have finally returned from the family reunion -- very tired with a lot of dried red mud.

It rained every day, but fortunately on Sunday, it was beautiful most of the day and just sprinkled a little in the evening. Needless to say, my mother (the best mom ever) soaked many clothes and shoes trying to get them as clean as possible.

Once again, I learned things about my family that I had never heard before. I'm planning to post about it, but that's going to have to wait. It's time to go to sleep in my own bed.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

It rained and poured...

for 16 daysies, daysies. I'm not Noah and God promised He would never flood the earth again, so I'm going to have faith that we won't be saying 40 daysies like the kids' church song goes.

Today many of my extended family descended on my hometown. We are having our reunion at a nearby state park which has been divided in two by a flooded creek. So those staying at the once very convenient lodge have to drive 9 miles to get to the group camp. Fortunately, the park has a front entrance and a back entrance. My brother's FIL drove 1 1/2 hours to help him move their camper to higher ground. It will be a very interesting weekend -- 20+ kids under 10 and a 60% chance of rain almost every day.
D and I will be very busy once we get all of these kids into their teenage years. Tonight we saw the Lyric production of Oklahoma! We both enjoy doing things like that so for our anniversary, we bought season tickets. Besides Oklahoma, they are also performing Singin' in the Rain, so we couldn't pass that up. I couldn't help but think that when the kids are older, D and I will be able to get season tickets for anything -- theatre, basketball, etc. (assuming that four kids hasn't bankrupted us).

I can see us traveling to wherever the Big 12 basketball tourney is or going to various theatre productions. I'm very glad that we have such similar interests. I look at my parents -- they both enjoy watching sports which is good, but mom loves to go places and dad would rather stay home in his recliner and sleep. While D and I have different interests also, at least we will having many activities that we enjoy doing together. And hopefully, we will have many years to enjoy those things.

Life is short and there are no guarantees. In the past month, I've learned of a couple of different men who died at relatively young ages. One of them was planning to retire this fall. It's important to plan for the future, but I'm glad D and I take advantage of opportunities today that give us wonderful memories with each other and with our kids.

As for the production of Oklahoma, it was very enjoyable and made me proud to be an Oklahoman. However, I did think it was funny when people began clapping when the orchestra was playing the title song during the opening. Then of course at the end, the crowd stood while they sang Oklahoma. A little strange, but that's my state.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Two posts in one day. I'm on a roll. Just had to say thank goodness Paris is finally free. Now we can get on to more pressing things like presidential candidates, Iraq, immigration, the fact that murder is the #1 cause of death for pregnant women...

Rain, rain, go away

Actually I love the rain. It doesn't really bother me. It also gives me an excuse to be antisocial at home and encourage the kids to find creative ways to entertain themselves indoors. I don't mind staying inside because sometimes I get tired of dealing with other people. I'm not much of an extrovert, but sometimes I'm not fit to socialize with other people.

Currently, I'm losing patience and unable to find a solution to a neighborhood issue. We have a girl who spends a lot of time watching us from her backyard fence or showing up in our front yard without permission. She is not able to participate in many activities outside of the home due to the health of her guardians. Another neighbor has done all she can to help, and I offer when I can. But after a while, you realize the situation is beyond anything we can realistically help with. For now, all we can do is extend an open invitation to let her play with our kids whenever we are outside.

I wish there was more I could do, but it wouldn't be fair to her or my own kids to take on any more right now.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Hopefully, I will know by the end of the week if life will continue as is or if we will actually be able to create a realistic budget (not that I would actually do it). D has been asked by the owner of a company to tell him how much it would take to get him on board. We've thought about it, discussed it and prayed about it. I feel good about the opportunity, and I've left the financial praying to D. If he gets what he's asking for (or even close to it), we will be able to afford things like paying off debt quicker and building our savings - such luxuries!

The big reunion is this week, so I'm squeezing in some work hours early. Then I won't be back in the office for a couple of weeks. The kids are looking forward to this weekend too. Bowling, swimming, bingo...lots of stuff to do. D and I have roped my brothers into playing in the family golf tournament. Last time I actually got the prize for the longest drive -- definitely a fluke. Of course, I'm competitive enough to want to win any of the prizes, but I don't care enough to actually go out and play golf between reunions -- which are held once every three years.

I'll try to post some more tomorrow. I'm going to try to write at least a short paragraph each day. Such lofty goals!

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Today my boss took the staff to lunch for her birthday. Seems like we should've been buying her lunch, but she wanted to treat us. Who am I to argue? Not only did she pay for lunch, she chose to take us to Nonna's, where no meal is less than $11. I had a delicious chicken salad, but they must have been really special chickens and imported grapes and almonds to make it worth $12.50.

One of my coworkers, we'll call her Thing 1 brought up the issue of DVD players in vehicles. Her opinion was that it was ridiculous. Her reasons were that specifically, her nephews already watch too much TV, we didn't have TVs in the car when we were kids, and according to her dad, kids should just be bored. My boss put her two cents in and another coworker, Thing 2, who happens to have a toddler, agreed to a certain extent. I remained silent until Thing 2 made a comment about kids entertaining themselves. I had to laugh. With my kids (like many others I'm sure), entertaining could mean a few things -- sing songs, pretend your piloting a spaceship or scream/hit/torment your sibling(s).

At that point, I spoke up and said while I don't use the DVD player while driving around the city and rarely when we make the hour's drive to my parents, we do use it on extended road trips. They don't watch videos continuously, but as I pointed out when we were kids, no one had a strapped into a seat with limited room to move. I roamed all over the family roadster as a kid, camping out among the luggage in back. Give today's kids a break!

To steal from a local TV anchor...that's my two cents.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Many people ask how I manage everything with four kids. I'm not sure a day goes by that someone doesn't say, "how do you do it?" Well, my answer is, "you just do." My kids aren't perfect, but I don't think they are complete monsters. They usually manage a please or thank you. They do fight, but they also watch out for each other. And so far I haven't forgotten a kid anywhere. But I have driven a mile down the road and looked back to make sure Baby was in his carseat.

It's not easy having four. I don't know how parents with full-time jobs manage to do it, but their answer would probably be the same as mine. Growing up, I never thought about how many kids I'd have. I always knew I wanted to have kids. I just didn't focus on how many. I wasn't sure how well the whole childbirthing experience would go. I feel kind of strange when people realize I have four. I feel like an oddity, but I wouldn't have it any other way.

Tonight was a day where the chaos of having four kids was at a peak. Anna had soccer camp. Jack had a soccer game. And I was hosting bunko. Fortunately, I am very blessed with an extremely flexible mother who is ready and willing to help me out. So she loaded up the older three and headed to Braum's before taking Anna to camp and bringing the boys back home. D arrived home in time to feed Baby before taking all the boys to the soccer game.

Anna had a great time playing water soccer at camp. Jack kicked the ball three times. And while I didn't win at bunko, I enjoyed the time as usual. After reading another blogger's story about her battle with brain cancer, I am again reminder about the importance of enjoying and being thankful for the little things -- even chaotic days.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

I think I need to figure out a dedicated time to write. Maybe that would help me write more often.

Jack's soccer game this week went much better than last week. He would start out in the middle of the pack, kicking the ball, but before long, he would be happily jogging after the herd. He looked like he was just running laps in the gym -- there just happened to be a group of kids ahead of him trying to kick a soccer ball. Regardless, he was out there with a smile on his face. Big improvement!

Baby is eating some finger foods like cheerios and puffs, and he loves them. He's like a little bird with his mouth open, waiting for the next bite, except he gets really mad if you don't stuff something in there very quickly.

The next couple of weeks will be very busy. Soccer camp, soccer games, BUNKO/bunco!!, brother arriving from Malaysia, reunion, and did I mention BUNKO/bunco?!? I'm hosting the group this month, so while I won't be getting away from the house, people will be getting the kids away from me. Of course, it also means I need to clean the house.

On a sad note, I learned this evening that Ruth Graham, wife of Billy Graham, passed away this afternoon. I've never heard either of them speak, even though I've been told Billy is quite impressive. I'm very bittersweet about the idea of this couple, who has been together for years, now separated by death. There is a Mark Schultz song, Walking her home (I think), that tells a story like that. While I don't want to wish my life away, I'm looking forward to growing old -- God willing -- with D and (WARNING - mush ahead - being even more in love with him than I am today). I just don't dwell on which one of us will make it to heaven first.

Not to ruin all that sweet talk, but it's not all love all the time. I'll save that for another day.

Thursday, June 7, 2007

It's only the beginning

For the first time, Jack is participating in a sports league. It's a very low-key indoor soccer league for 3-5 year olds. The first game was very chaotic, so there was a lot of crying and hand holding. Jack went on the court once, started running towards the action, then made a u-turn and returned to my side. Hopefully, he will get over his fear as the season goes on. He usually likes playing soccer, but as I said the atmosphere was very chaotic.

However, this latest activity has created more work for me. Here's what my June looks like:
  • soccer game once a week
  • vbs this week (which explains the lack of posts)
  • a week off
  • soccer camp for Anna
  • two-day basketball camp for Jeremy
  • family reunion

That's just June - AND we decided to drop a week-long summer camp because all of this other stuff plus swim lessons and vacation have resulted in very little time and money.

However, I did make time to watch two of the movies I rented - Hollywoodland and Bobby. (Thank goodnes for total access or else I'd keep spending money on movies I didn't get to watch.) I really enjoyed Bobby and definitely recommend it. While I was watching it, I still couldn't quite wrap my brain around the thought that Emilio Estevez actually was this creative. Hollywoodland, on the other hand, was slow. I dozed off during the last 15 minutes, but I don't think I really missed anything. George Reeves still died, and as far as I know, they still say he committed suicide. Hope I don't ruin it for anyone.

Next on my list is Dreamgirls -- when I find the time.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

New member of the family

We acquired a new member of the family this morning. As I was driving the kids to school, I found a small turtle sitting on the curb at the corner. So I stopped to get it and handed it off to D for safe keeping.

After spending an exhausting hour volunteering at the school's reading carnival, I stopped by the house before going to the office. Since he was asleep when I left, Jack was excited to show me the turtle.

Jack: Mommy, look at the turtle.
Me: Wow! That's neat, isn't it?
Jack: It's not neat. It's a turtle.

Can't argue with that logic. The turtle has since been named Tortoise for the short time he/she will be with us. I have already told the kids we will let the turtle go sometime next week after taking it to VBS. But for now, they are having fun watching Tortoise.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

It's been a rough few days. Baby has been wheezing so he's on breathing treatments which are upsetting for him and exhausting for us. Hopefully, his breathing will clear up soon and we won't have to mess with the machine anymore.

My cousin and I took the older kids to see the new Shrek movie today. It was good, but I'm so tired because I haven't gotten much sleep due to baby's health that I dozed a little. Fortunately, the little kid behind me kept talking loudly, banging the seats and almost kicking me in the head. You'd think I would have a little more patience since I've taken Jack to movies before. The difference is I make sure he stays quiet even if he roams around, but I also make sure I sit away from others and in a row where he has the room to roam.

Since we still have another week of school, we can't really take any trips this weekend, so I'm planning to take the kids to see a little of my family history. While my dad's family is very extensive and is firmly rooted in Oklahoma history, my mom's family has also made it's mark on the state, settling a community between Deer Creek and Edmond. Although the town disappeared almost 100 years ago, the cemetery still remains. I know I'm morbid, but I've always been interested in visiting graveyards and wondering about the people buried there.

It's just one of my many strange fascinations.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Way to go, Anna! Soccer season is finally over and they won 2 of their last 3 games. I wasn't able to be at the game on Saturday, but I was told she took several hits for the team. She blocked shots with her head, chest and leg. The shot to the chest knocked the wind out of her and she had to come out, but she was a real trooper after the hit to the head and stayed in there. I'm not sure I can handle being the parent of an athlete...

In other news, NBC nightly news did a story on LifeChurch's virtual church. This mega church is a little too progressive for me, but I can see how it can attract people. I guess if you can get them in the door and give them genuine spiritual guidance that helps them grow in Christ, go for it. However, there is something to be said for entertainment value, and I've always been concerned that churches that make it easy and fun to be a Christian are doing a disservice to it's members.

Growing up, our youth group had a disagreement because the younger members of the group were frustrated we weren't doing *fun* things like the other churches. Their youth groups were going on ski trips and traveling to other interesting places while we were going on mission trips. They missed the point of what our mission as a youth group was. Yes, we could have fun and I had a great time on many trips, but there are people in this world who do not know Christ, who have no hope and are physically and emotionally suffering. God has called us to be a light and to go into the world sharing his Word and reaching others. I guess you could do that on the ski slope as your skiing past someone or on the beach while you're catching some rays...

Back to the issue, this second church. Again, they are reaching people where they are and bringing them into a *church service* but I don't see how those who attend this church are able to serve Him in the church. I don't know what the right answer is. It's different for everybody. I just hope the ministers in this new church are able to fully meet the needs of the thousands of people they are preaching to.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Bad blogger

I have got to work on my blogging habits. Although my schedule has been very hectic lately, I have still been able to make time to surf the web in the evening so I should be able to write a few words as well.

It has been a pretty good week, starting with a wonderful Mother's Day brunch at Sophabella's -- prime rib, pork tenderloin, omelet, Chicago-style pizza. Yes, it is a very strange mix of dishes, but I don't mind mixing up my foods and I wanted to get my money's worth. If I liked crab legs, I would've eaten those too. Unfortunately, the waitress spilled a coke down my MIL's back right off the bat. I told her we appreciated her sacrifice for a free meal.

That night we actually saw a movie in the theater! The kids *took* me to see the new Spidey flick. It was entertaining but had a lot of story lines going on.

This was also the week for bunko. I didn't win, but the food was good. In addition to a night out, winning a prize and eating are my main interests. It's a fun and diverse group and about half of them are pregnant -- not me though! I'm hosting next month, so I've been giving it a lot of thought. Some of the previous hosts have gone with a theme (Hawaiian night, pajama party, etc.). I'm not usually one to dress up (except for the pajama party - I love my pajama pants!), so I think I'm going to focus on a food theme. Actually, it's not much of a theme, but I'm going to call it a *Taste of Europe*. As for prizes, I thought about picking up some stuff in the centennial shop downstairs, but I may just go the gift card route. I'm open to any suggestions from the very few readers I have. :)

Friday, May 11, 2007

I have a confession

I ate the entire half gallon of Moo-lennium crunch ice cream. D asked me to confess it on my blog. I'm not ashamed of it. It's not like I ate it in one sitting. It took about five days. It's not my fault it took him so long to decide to eat some. Fortunately, I found the last container at the store tonight AND it was on sale - bonus! Of course, I still got the first bowl...but I gave him at least a half an hour to get some for himself. He's just too slow!

Today was mother's day for me. Jeremy gave me a potholder with his handprint on it, and he made me a card. Anna brough home several papers for me that were kept in a homemade envelope/basket/folder thing. It's always interesting to see what your kids think of you. She wrote a couple of notes that I got a kick out of. Here are some of the answers:
My favorite thing about my mother is "a big work."
I know my mom is smart because she "reads alot."
I love my mom because she works hard at "a big building for schools."
I love my mom because she taught me how to "clean my room."

If teaching her how to clean her room is to teach her to do it the way I did as a kid, she learned very well. As a adult, I don't think she's got the hang of how to really clean a room since I keep picking up trash around her room and you can't see the top of her dresser because of all the stuff.

In other news, I survived the kindergarten field trip to the zoo. At first, no other children were assigned to us, but one of Jeremy's classmates latched on to me so we kept her. Fortunately, she is a relatively easy child to manage. She probably listened to us better than our own kids. D and I were able to tag team, so while one of us sat with baby either feeding him or rocking him to sleep, the other would walk the other kids through the various exhibits. However, my body is still aching and will probably be hurting even worse in the morning because pushing several pounds of kids up hills is very strenuous.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

A good night for a hoe down

Tonight was the annual kindergarten hoe down. Jeremy has been talking about square dancing for a few weeks, so he was very ready for tonight. We've been through this once before with Anna, so we learned some handy tricks like where to sit. Fortunately, Jeremy's class was on the side of the room where everyone entered, so we didn't have to go searching across the gym for a seat.

Anyway, I'll post a pic of him later. He was very cute in his cheap, felt cowboy hat and hiking boots. I tried to get him to wear a plaid shirt, but since my cousin told him cowboys where all kinds of shirts he thought his red t-shirt would be fine.

I have to say it is very impressive that the teachers are able to keep the kids focused on these dances for such a long time (approximately 30 minutes). I was starting to yawn, but I tried to contain it. Jack got sidetracked playing air basketball under the basketball goals, while baby just wanted to have a snack and go to sleep. Fortunately, I was able to use baby as an excuse to head out quickly, so I was home in time for CSI.

Tomorrow we have a field trip to the zoo. D and I are both going or else I probably would've tried to get out of it. I have no desire to be in charge of a few other kids for a few hours at the zoo. Keeping track of my kids is hard enough.

It's official

Baby is a part of the family. We took a professional family picture today and a photo of just the kids, so now there is proof we all belong together. Of course, I'm the only one who doesn't look like she belongs.

Jeremy was a real trooper today for the pictures. He did not give me the usual grief about what he was going to wear. He accepted my decree that he could not wear jeans, and he even tried to find some dress shoes to wear. Anna was nowhere near as accommodating. Finally, I had to tell her that she was wearing THAT shirt, so she better find something to wear with it and she couldn't wear jeans. Once she had on the shirt and pants, I didn't even fight the footwear battle. She took the pictures in her ratty old faded pink tennis shoes.

I learned something from the show medium - pictures are a snapshot of what they were like at the point in time. So I calmed myself down, and just tried to relax about the whole experience. I almost enjoyed the fact that Jeremy had his leather notebook tied to his beltloop during the picture of the kids.

Other random thoughts...Jack can be so entertaining and cute. (I'm sure that will change in the next few years.) I was in the bathroom getting ready yesterday while he was playing a computer game. After I got out of the shower, I could hear him yelling for me. He wasn't calling for just mommy because that might be a little confusing. He was calling for Mommy Rowe. He'll call D Daddy Rowe also. I don't know where he came up with that.

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

A huge weight has been lifted off my shoulders. The last major project goes to the printer in the morning. The CD has been burned and is in the hands of my co-worker who will drop it off. I could cause more work for myself by triple checking my work, but I'm going to let it go for now.

A friend of mine is going through some rough times right now, and I've tried to take time throughout the day to correspond by email with her. There's not really anything I can do other than listen and offer words of encouragement. One thing I set her straight on was my marriage is not perfect. Just like my abilities as a mother, my marriage is far from perfect and easy.

People have commented that they don't know how I handle four kids. Well, they don't see me when it's bed time and my kids have all gone deaf. I lose it sometimes -- quite a few times, actually. My marriage isn't much different, but D and I move past any disagreements. I can't speak for him, but I know that if I start feeling like he's responsible for whatever problem has cropped up, I start listing the ways I'm responsible. Because as I tell the kids, you have to be responsible for your own actions. It helps me move on.

The past 11 years have gone by quickly, but I can honestly say there hasn't been one day that I've thought "I wish I wasn't married." All relationships are different and you have to do what's best for yours, but when *experts* say that communication is the key, they're not too far off. D and I usually talk 3 or 4 times a day on the phone. That may seem crazy, but it keeps us connected and helps us communicate better. When we fail to speak regularly, we have more misunderstandings and become more frustrated.

I pray that my friend and her husband can work through this and get the help they need. I'm just focusing on supporting her and not letting her see how pissed off I am at her husband. It's her life to live and decisions to make.

Saturday, May 5, 2007

Drugs are a wonderful thing

Either I have no clue what's coming my way, or I got to the doctor early enough for the meds to start kicking these shingles. I'm feeling almost normal today. A little aching in the back and the rash area is a little itchy, but it's not even 10 a.m. and I've cleaned the vanities in both bathrooms, put away a couple of totes of clothes, shifted Jack's clothes to his new dresser and fed baby. Of course, none of that probably would've happened if the other three kids were home.

God bless grandparents and aunts! The kids are at my parents being spoiled rotten, and my SIL kept baby last night while D and I went to dinner for our anniversary. Then we came home and watched The Good Sheperd. My personal review -- not too exciting. I was able to stay awake, but I couldn't understand some of the dialogue so I'm sure I missed some important information.

Usually we take at least a whole weekend to celebrate our anniverary by ourselves, but unfortunately, due to our work schedules, that didn't happen this year. Kind of crazy since I'm working part time and he has a more flexible schedule as a manager, but that's the way it goes.

After I pay bills today (not a fun task), I'm headed to the mall (another not fun task) to look for something a little dressy for our big event this month. I'll be having lunch at Taco Bueno with D (will the excitement never end) and then I get to go to Build a Bear with Anna's brownie troop. Yippee! Then tomorrow the fun continues, with lunch at Chuck E Cheese for a b-day party followed by dinner with some couples from church (I'll save that for another post).

Thursday, May 3, 2007


It's official. I have shingles. Not fun at all -- except for the painkillers. This post will be fairly short because those painkillers are finally starting to kick in. I'm sure this whole shingles thing is going to get worse since the nurse said, as she left the room, "good luck." That was before I even saw the doctor, who is a wondeful man. I was in and out of that place in less than 30 minutes!

Evidently, stress brings on this condition, and I've got plenty of that right now. Conducting two meetings in two days and trying to finish the layout on a 28-page program while caring for four children, including one who has regressed to waking up for a 1 or 4 a.m. feeding.

If I can make it until Friday, the work load should be lifted. However, tomorrow I get to go into the office and give my boss an earful about my laision on a project I've been working on. If there is one thing I despise, it's being treated like I'm stupid and it's even worse when it's done in front of others. I like to think I'm a pretty kind and mellow person, but I was pushed to my limit tonight. The bright side was all the excited people I got to meet who will traveling all over the world this summer thanks to the program my offic is involved in.

The words are starting to swim on the screen, so I should probably go to bed before I pass out. I'm sure this won't be the only time I'll discuss my current affliction since it can last anywhere from a few weeks to a few months and can reoccur at anytime. Yippee!

Monday, April 30, 2007

Sometimes my kids drive me crazy, but then they do or say something that almost makes everything OK. I say almost because the moments of craziness are increasing rapidly while those brief moments of sweetness are becoming more infrequent.

But to focus on the moments of sweetness...I've been trying to bring some type of order to the boys' room and make toys more easily available to them. Since Spencer takes naps throughout the day, there isn't much time for Jeremy and Jack to play in their room and work their way through the toy box. So I have removed all the toys from their room. Jeremy sorted everything to a certain extent (the I-don't-know-what-to-do-with-this pile is quite large). Now I plan to implement an idea I've heard of before -- rotate toys. I'm going to put a variety of toys in a few different totes and leave one tote in the living room for a couple of weeks or a month before switching it out with another. Of course, I don't have much time right now, so everything is still lined up in the dining room.

Now to the sweet part, in an effort to make more room for the boys' clothes I moved a small dresser into their walk-in closet. (They already have two dressers in their room - one of which serves as the changing table.) The dresser in the closet is Jeremy's, so he can turn on the closet light, close the door so he doesn't disturb his sleeping brothers and get ready for bed or school. He is thrilled to have his own private space. I'm not sure how many times he stopped to kiss me last night and tell me he loves me.

Jack was also in rare form today. While he had numerous meltdowns, he was also very sweet. When I arrived to pick him up at my MIL, he was so excited to see me I thought he was going to run through the storm door. And tonight while I was helping him get ready for his bath, he gave me a big hug and told me he missed me. Of course, he added that I had left him, so that was a little sad.

I can't believe I didn't post at all last week. The scary thing right now is I can't always remember what happened. Another good reason to blog. This week won't be much better. I have meetings tomorrow and Wednesday, and a major project due on Friday -- my 11th anniversary. Hopefully, though, I will find time to write something.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Being a parent is getting scarier every day. I just finished watching a TV movie about a teenager who killed a mother and daughter while drag racing. I watched for two reasons: 1) I'm a sucker for a TV movie and 2) when I was in college I knew a young woman who was killed by a teenager who was drag racing.

When I started watching the movie, I was remembering Fronie. I was a freshman in college and she was a couple of years older. I had visited the BSU, so she and another girl were following up. After that first meeting, she was always friendly to me and encouraging. I had the privilege of knowing her for almost two years. She was an amazing girl -- working her way through college cleaning several houses and living with a family and taking care of their daughter. She was on her way to pick up the girl from school.

When I was in my last year of college, the BSU group I sang with performed a program based on Fronie's life. The way her death was described is still fresh in my mind...when Fronie topped the hill, she found herself in the presence of God. She was an amazing Godly woman, and while I am still sad that she died so tragically, I have a new perspective on the experience.

Although I strive every day to teach my children how to make good choices, they will still make poor decisions. I can only pray that their worst decisions may be the clothes they wear, the jobs they take or the college they do or do not attend. I know my children will make mistakes, but I don't like to go through life dwelling on what may go wrong and prefer to focus on the expectation that things will go right. However, I know there are instances every day where good kids who have never been in trouble are responsible for some bad choices.

D and I just have to take advantage of teachable moments, and today's moment came when a neighbor girl told Anna to go home and that she didn't want to be her friend. While I longed to tell Anna that this girl and her sister are brats, I just encouraged her to stand up to anyone mistreating her and to walk away if necessary. I know girls can be very mean and they still use the empty threat of "I won't be your friend anymore" or even worse "I won't be your BEST friend," but hopefully, we can instill Anna with the confidence to dismiss these people.

She's only 8 -- those teenage years are not going to be pretty.