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.