Monday, January 31, 2011

And another one bites the dust.....

L's fever finally quit.

She only had it for 6 DAYS!

This weekend we enjoyed wonderful weather and two healthy kids.

It felt good that everyone, and everything, felt good.

And then, last night, B started running a fever of 102.

But God knows the plan and I am not going to try and micro-manage.

I'm not!

Seriously.

It's a good thing too. Especially since the current forecast is calling for 6-12" of snow, freezing rain, sleet and blizzard conditions starting tonight.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

The temp that won't quit

It has been six days since L starting running a temperature....and she still has one.


When it isn't a snow day, it's an illness.



I had put so much energy into wanting things to "return to normal" and for everyone to get back on their schedules.



(Don't read this as me not wanting my kids home....that isn't the case. In fact there is nothing I love more. However, I am also a rule follower and like everything to go as planned.)



Ahem.



I think that God is trying to teach me a lesson.



Probably not for the first time in my life. I am hard-headed. (At least that is what Steven says.) This isn't news to God. He made me this way.



As much as I like to be everything to everyone, do everything everybody thinks I should, and plan everything out-I can't always do it.



God knows the plan. I do not.



I think it's time I get used to it.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Nothing good happens after 8 pm

Friday night I arrived home from work, with kids in tow (they came to work with me as a result of a snow day) at 4:30 pm.

I didn't step foot out of my house until this morning at 7:40 a.m.

Not. A. Foot.

Seriously.

I can't ever remember a time where I have stayed in one place for that many hours consecutively.

Ever.

B and L have both had colds which had resulted in them being incredibly crabby and reduced to tears over each little incident. And when a brother and sister are 2 years apart....there ARE incidents...especially when they had been together for 2 snow days.

I, too, was close to tears by Friday night and wasn't the least bit upset when everyone, including me, was in bed by 8:30 p.m.

What can I say? We know how to par-tay!

*************************

The next day L and B just drifted on and off the couch all day. Early in the afternoon L decided she felt warm and wanted me to take her temperature.

She loves to have her temperature taken.

I indulged and was surprised to find hers hovering right around 102 degrees.

We cancelled our plans for the evening and prepared for another night in, which in this case means that I sent Steven out to pick up pizza. I had, after all, slaved all day playing the wii with the kids, reading a book and, uh, taking a temperature.

How could he expect me to cook supper after all that?

He didn't.

(...and that's why I love him so.)
***********************
Since L was still running a fever into Saturday night I decided that I would keep both of the kids home from church, and Sunday school, for good measure. I knew that if I made B go, and kept L home, B would start coughing on demand and claim to be at death's door.

Going to bed at 8:30 p.m. wouldn't even give me enough energy to deal with that.

So that is how I arrived at day 2 of not showering or changing clothes.

Not even a trace of make-up for me.

It really was a new record. One I am not sure I should have wanted to break.

Sunday morning the lack of movement apparently got to me.

I couldn't take it anymore.

I started in the bathroom cleaning out drawers and cabinets. I filled a large trash bag with stuff and set it in the garage for Steven to take out. I warned him about burning said trash because of the possibility that it may/or may not contain flammables in the form of empty aerosol cans.

My money is on the "may".

I then moved to the pantry and took no prisoners there, either. The second garbage bag made its way to the garage.

And from there, I moved to the cabinets above the washer and dryer, emptied them out and then returned to the pantry where upon further inspection I decided that the dust mop and dust pan's hanging "spot" must be moved.....3 inches to the left.

At one point Steven came in and said, "Are you pregnant or just crazy?"

My money is on "just crazy".

At his insistence I sat down on the couch and took in an episode of "America's Funniest Home Videos"....and then we all were in bed, again, by 8:00 p.m.

*******************
L and B got up this morning and got ready for school. Minutes before she was to get on the bus she said claimed that the "bug that was in her had moved to her stomach".

I think she thinks she has a literal bug in her.

I asked her if she really felt bad or just didn't want to go to school. She answered me with a cough...on demand.

When B realized this morning that L was still unable to go to school due to her "bug", he was shaken.

I told him that he would be fine at school without her. He thought he would be better at school without her if I bought him a present after work.

Ummm....

He was dressed from head to toe in cowboy gear as today was cowboy day at school. I told him that he was the most handsome cowboy I had ever seen. He told me that he would be "handsomer" if L wasn't sick today.

Sure. I see the logic in that...(?)

I walked him out to the bus, gave him a kiss and reassurance that he would be fine. I loaded L up in the car and took her to my mom's house where she could spend the day with Mi Mi, coughing on demand, being babied and watching soaps.

After being at work a little over an hour, I received a call from B's teacher.

Immediately I thought the "bug" had made its way to B.

Instead she told me that B wanted to tell me something. I listened as his little voice, sounding smaller on the phone, said: "Hello Mama! I was voted best dressed cowboy and I got a trophy and 'remember-y game' (memory game)."

I told him I was so excited for him and then told him I loved him - wanting to hear the sweet little words reciprocated with his little voice.

It took 4 times.

FOUR TIMES!!

I thought, "can he not hear me?" the first couple of times, and then I realized he was stalling - probably because he was in front of a class full of friends.

And so I did what any good, understanding mother would do...I wore him down.

Finally, the cute little voice said, "I love you, too, mama. Bye."

And that was it- he hung up.

I knew he couldn't look any "handsomer".

Friday, January 21, 2011

At the tone, please record your message

Steven isn't into technology.

At all.

He believes that everything that is wrong with the world today could be summed up in two words: video games.

He doesn't text.

He doesn't surf the web.

He barely watches TV.

Now, please know that while I love him to pieces, his resentment towards technology wears on me.

I don't care if he doesn't want to text/type....but give me a little leeway and leave me be as I surf, shop, post, read and comment.

But for Steven, this all seems so.....um....silly.

I think he realizes that there is no going back and that the computer is here to stay, however, he would prefer to 'go back' and far, far away from these times.

(I mean, you all remember he has a horse and buggy, right?)

I usually try to humor him and leave him with his opinions. I try to not be on the computer when we are all together at night.....except for those times when Steven and the kids seem so wrapped up in Dukes of Hazzard that they certainly wouldn't mind me checking out what is going down on facebook.



However, the moment I log on they lose all interest in Boss Hogg's antics and swivel their heads to look at me and accusingly say, "Momma!", at which time, I step away from the laptop and feign interest in the "cool" and totally real (insert fist pump) jumps that the General Lee always makes.

***************

Last night after the kids had went to sleep, Steven was in the living room "watching" American Idol with me.

(He could care less about American Idol. He, apparently, was humoring me.)

As we were watching I had a ongoing thread with a friend on facebook. I would watch the tv, see the little red box indicating I had a comment pop up, turn to the computer to see what it was, watch the tv, and repeat.

During this I also had a friend that was texting me.

While I am sure this is daily life for most of you, in my house, with an audience of one, I became a spectacle.

Steven left his place in the recliner and came and joined me, on the couch, positioned between me and the computer.

Moments after his transition he began fidgeting. He would pick up my cell phone, flip it open, shut it back, look at the computer and then back at the TV.

Repeat. And now repeat again.

I know that he was poking fun of me....at least how he views me, and admittedly, it was funny.

While we reclined on the couch together watching the tv and sharing laughs, Steven would randomly, and suddenly, bolt upright and move the cursor to eliminate that pesky screen saver so 'he' could still see what was "going on".

Despite the fact that he was acting the way he felt I acted, I couldn't be mad. It was TOO funny. We would get so tickled and it felt so good, to laugh together...with, and at, each other. As we sat there laughing, Steven said, "Way back, you know, before facebook did people call up their 'friends' and leave random messages on their answering machines similar to their posts?......"

I know he was pointing out the obvious absurdity.....but we died laughing as I read aloud some of my friends' statuses, imagining them as answering machine messages:

"Blue coconut slush. I think so!"

"Hanna loves old school lunch hour!"

"I think I might have a problem."

"A balanced diet is a cookie in both hands."

"TGIF...that is all I can say today!"

"Ain't no party like a Scranton party!"

"interesting Sonic trip. :)"

"...some birds feathers are too bright to be caged...I know I am not that colorful but a bird just the same..."

"...... starting to think this headache will never go away...."

"Do you love me? Bring me booze..."

"WOOT!"

*****************
I am glad I had the computer out, and on, last night. Otherwise, we would have missed out on laughter that lasted well into the evening and long after the computer had been (finally) turned off.

(Steven and I. Picture taken by our kids in November on our 10th wedding anniversary.)

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Sunny, beautiful and 25 degrees

Apparently that doesn't stop L from wanting to ride her horse, Weston, that Santa brought her for Christmas. In fact, L thinks that snowy and 25 degrees is perfect weather to ride a horse.


The horse, I believe, felt differently. She said her horse, Weston, "wasn't wanting to listen to her" and was "acting goofy". I guess she now knows how I feel.......L and her horse have a lot in common.



video

B, however, had already had his fill of the cold and snow. He came inside to warm up and ended up making a snack for his daddy to eat. Although, I am pretty sure that he might stay warmer if he didn't deliver said snack to his daddy outside wearing only a sweatshirt and underwear. Granted, he didn't leave the "comfort" of the front porch, but it, too, was covered in snow.

No, I don't have video of that.

It is a shame, really.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Help yourself..

A friend of mine, Marlana, is great at finding good deals. She 'coupons' and is a member of all sorts of money saving sites.

I admire her.

I want to save money, but I am not great at allotting the time required to research and keep track of everything. Maybe I am just lazy.

Still, when I saw her link to one sites latest Amazon deal, I knew I couldn't pass it up.

Everything is on Amazon these days.

Everything.

So when I see an opportunity to spend $10 in return for $20, it is a no brainer.

So, if you would like to purchase a $20 Amazon gift card for $10, click here.

That's all. No strings.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Let me count the ways....

This afternoon, soon after getting off the bus, L sat down beside me on the couch and leaned over and whispered in my ear:

"Tanner told me he loved me today."

I smiled and looked at her and actually THOUGHT before I spoke.

(Quite a concept, huh?)

I didn't want to "ooh and aahhh" and get all girly and excited.

She is 7.

"Boyfriend" at this age is a word. So is "love". I didn't want to over-react and chastise or criticize her for having a 'boyfriend', although she knows that I have told her that "at 7, 'we' don't have boyfriends...". She knows it is what it is. No need to drive home the point.

It isn't like she is sneaking out of her room at night, taking her fake I.D. and stealing our car to ride into town, population 780....just to find that everything closed at 10:00 p.m. and her 'boyfriend' was in bed at 8:00 p.m. so he could be rested up for school, and 2nd grade, the next day.

So, I thought I would take the opportunity to share my thoughts with her.....because I was SO glad she wanted to share with me.

I asked her how it made her feel that Tanner had said that. She said she "didn't know."

That sounds about right. Again, she IS 7.

I then told her that even though Tanner had no idea what it was to "love" a girl at 7, I am sure that it felt good that he thought enough of her to vocalize it....in front of others. I then told her I wasn't surprised that he said it.

She said, "You're not?"

I told her that I wasn't surprised that a classmate "loved" her because there were SO many reasons I loved her.

She said, "What are they?"

(She has heard the reasons I love her over and over again, but she never tires of hearing them. Would you?)

And, so, I started naming them.

"You're funny, smart, determined, have common sense beyond your years, you keep a level head, and are fair and thoughtful. You are kind, sweet, have great sense of humor and an understanding of human nature that, more often than not, surpasses my own."

(She smiled and her eyes twinkled.)

I used one instance as an example. She and her best friend, as best friends sometimes do, had a turbulent period at the beginning of the year. It's 2nd grade. Drama happens.

It unfolded like this:

One day she came home and told me that her BFF said that she (L) was annoying. Being the ever mature mother, I asked her if she said, "oh yeah? Well, you annoy me, too, sometimes!"

She looked at me and said, "No. I told her I still loved her."

Yeah. Yet another time when I have been taught a lesson by my child.

The VERY next day:

A little girl in her class - we will call her 'A' - has had a love/hate relationship with L since preschool. Her attitude towards L is dependent on what other kids are around. L has always invited A to her birthday parties and included her in everything that she does.

She regards A as a friend, although I know first hand that this girl has NOT treated L as such.

In fact, on a regular basis she makes fun of her. Once it was because L was "happy all the time and hugged 'everybody'".

Still, on that particular day, my daughter came home and told me that she sure was hot at recess and didn't need such a warm coat that day because it wasn't that cold.

I knew that this was leading somewhere because 1) this statement was out of the blue and 2) it WAS that cold. I asked her what made her think of this and she told me that A only had a little jacket to wear outside and that she was cold. L said that since she was "so hot", she gave her coat to A and wore A's jacket instead.

I knew her reaction was the best, most Christian response she could have... I was proud-and ashamed. I don't know if I would have the same reaction, although I should.


So, as I recounted different ways in which L was, indeed, lovable, I felt so proud that somehow, some way, this girl was mine. As I wrapped up my list, I concluded with, ".....and you are kind to everyone."

Before the warm fuzzies could fully envelope me, I noticed her look at me.

I said, "You are nice to everyone aren't you? That is how I see you and your teachers seem to think the same"

She said to me, "yeah, I am nice to everyone.....even people who are mean to me...but when they are mean I show them an angry, mysterious face."

And with that she showed me an example of her 'angry, mysterious face' and then hopped off the couch and went on her way.

I love her angry, mysterious face.

I guess that is one more thing to add to my list.

After taking this picture (with my cell phone) she burst into giggles and went about her business.

This is the 'angry, mysterious face'.

Blank? Yes.

Hard to read? Yes.

Mysterious? Maybe.

Angry? I think she could do better.

Oh how I love thee....

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Christmas Change

Last night Steven and I had a rare night alone.





This generally happens only once or twice a year.





We took this opportunity to go out to eat and see a movie, "True Grit".





And, yet, here I am, up at 6:00 a.m., with no kids, blogging.





What has happened to my life?





*********************





As I laid in bed my mind went back to Christmas. I think I have been thinking a lot about it. This season flew by, I found myself without my usual enthusiasm and the times (and traditions) were a changin'.





I knew they would. In fact, last year, I even posted about it here.





Grandma S, my father's mother, was moved into a nursing home in March. Her mind has failed her. I am not sure that she knows me, but to alleviate any question, when I visit her, I hit the door saying, "Hello, Grandma!". She never calls me by name and doesn't know who my children are.





They understand and give hugs freely, anyway.





Unfortunately with Grandma, probably as a result of not knowing what is going on and a mind that is constant turmoil, there are times she is angry with her children. In turn, they were very worried that if they checked her out of the nursing home to come celebrate Christmas- they might not get her back in, and they had tried every other alternative. The nursing home was the only option.





So, Christmas this year was celebrated without Grandma at my aunt's house.





My aunt, without a doubt, is as close to Grandma as you can get.





I think she is a saint.





Still, the tradition that I have had for my entire life has now been broke. It was hard.





It would have been harder had there been no Christmas celebration at all.





Keeping the tradition of gathering is SO important to me. My children have little, to no, relationship with any of Steven's family. In some instances this is unfortunate....in others, it is necessary.





I, for one, believe that family is the most important thing that a person has. Period. I might even go as far as to say that when a person undermines the importance of family -whether positive or negative- in their life, it is the first step of the downfall that we are currently seeing in society. Family is definitely a force to be reckoned with.





I was thankful that my aunt picked up where Grandma left off. Granted, there were relatives that didn't show....but the majority were there. I realize that if this tradition dies off now, my children are young enough that 1) they will never remember the tradition at all and 2) they won't remember many of the family members either.





Family members that have helped to shape me into the person I am today.


************************





Instead of dying off, the tradition seems to be in full swing on my mother's side of the family.





Since I was in high school we have celebrated Christmas together at my aunt's house. Grandpa joins us and we spend the whole evening eating, talking, laughing, eating, opening presents, eating, telling stories and have even been known to break out the instruments and break into song. Did I mention eating?





This year, as I looked around, I thought to myself that if everyone continues to find time in their busy lives for this family, then next year will be the biggest gathering yet. This year alone we added three babies to the family mix.





There was some chaos....and I loved it!





With my cousin expecting a baby in February, next year there will be (at least) one more.





I am sure it is an idealistic thought to hope that each of these children hold these Christmas memories as dear as I have.





But one can hope, right?

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Leavin' on a Midnight Train to Georgia

Today was the third snow day this week.



The kids were still excited to be home from school. I, too, was glad they were home, although I was beginning to have my doubts about how much longer they would go before the first (major) breakdown.


They had, after all, only seen my face, or Steven's, for the last three days.



I had decided last night that today we would do something different....although I didn't know what it would be.



A message from our neighbor seemed to answer my prayer. She, too, was finding that her kids were in need of a change of pace.



The kids played all day. Ruth and I ate, discussed Ted Williams, demonstrated our lack luster Wii skills (none of which actually required us to move off the couch into a standing position), ate, watched the kids ride the go kart, and ate.



Personally, I would call the day a success.

******************



After they left L and B continued working on a train track that they had been building earlier, with some help from dear ole', obsessive, compulsive, mom.



I think this is the closest we have ever gotten to using ALL of the pieces. I had to stop myself from trying to re-work it to find the best possible configuration and let the kids just have fun.

I know. I missed my calling.

In case you were wondering, it-my calling - was in 'train track configuration'....not photography.
(Yes, I am still using L's camera.)

(No, my battery isn't still dead.)

(Yes, I was too lazy to go get my camera.)

HEY! DON'T JUDGE ME! IT WAS A SNOW DAY.

As you can tell, the Dukes were on hand and ready to jump the train if the need arose.

The call came around 5 o'clock letting us know that there would, indeed, be school tomorrow. Shortly thereafter B went into a frenzy about how terrible his life was and how it was the worst day EVER because tomorrow he was sure he would have to do worksheets.

I can hardly wait to try and drag him out of bed in the morning.

I am sure by the time I get him out of bed and out the door to school, I will be left feeling like the one that has been ran over by a train.

Hazzard-ous Territory

For the last several months we have had a nightly ritual which I must, sheepishly, admit involves the "Duke" boys.



My children- and let's face it - my husband, love the 'Dukes of Hazzard.'






In fact, Steven even gets touchy when I poke fun at the obviously fake backgrounds and impossible jumps.




Maybe he thinks it's real.




It isn't unusual for L to holler out, "Oh no! Cooter is in jail!", or "Uncle Jesse flipped his truck!" with the same amount concern as she would if it was someone she knew in real life.




Of course, B watches from the couch quietly until his cry of "woo hoo!" - followed by a fist pump in the air - pierces the air. He gets a little excited about the completely fake real jumps.


(I am sure you know the episode I am talking about. It includes the Dukes being chased by Boss Hogg, Rosco messing up their plan, the Dukes getting in a fist fight, Daisy wearing short shorts and Uncle Jesse bringing the group together. Cooter fixes a truck and the end up hanging out at the Boar's Nest. You know the one, right?)

****************


I should embrace their love of this show.



I should and I will.



.....as soon as I get over having to (pretend) play to be Luke Duke when I was 5 years old because the other girl at the babysitter was prettier than me (and had long hair) and got to be Daisy when we were re-enacting scenes from the Dukes of Hazzard. I mean, come on! First, I have to be play a boy....and then it has to be Luke Duke?




Every one knows that Bo Duke was the cutest boy. What were they trying to say?





Wait! On second thought, I don't think I want to know.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

No business like snow business....

Today, 1/1/11, the kids were out of school. It was their first snow day of 2011. Of course, we are only 11 days into the year, but still.....there was much fun to be had.

The kids started in around 8:30 this morning begging to go outside. The temperature stayed in the teens but that didn't deter them from making a case for their primary goal: building a snowman.
I told them that later in the afternoon, 2 o'clock to be exact, we would go outside.

That is when the countdown began. I received updates every hour or so, reminding me of their remaining time.

The fact that they didn't argue with me leads me to believe that they thought that I had some superior knowledge of some indisputable fact that made 2 o'clock the magical time when conditions were most favorable for being outdoors.

As I reflect on that, I guess I did. Conditions were favorable when I had spent ample time on the couch, watched Ellen and Days of our Lives, and of course, had waited 30 minutes after eating.

What?! The eating rule only applies to swimming?

Please don't tell the kids.

************************

As 2 o'clock drew near, Steven arrived home and announced that this snow would be as capable of forming a snowman as sand would be.

In a word: NOT.

As 2 o'clock drew near, I started second guessing my decision to let the kids go outside. I mean, it was COLD! And, honestly, I had NO desire to go outside.

I told L that most parents were keeping their kids inside because of the brutal cold. (I have no evidence of that, it was just a good guess....and a feeble attempt.)

It was then that she told me, "Yeah, but you're not a protective parent."

Yep. That's what she said.

I asked her, "I'm not protective?"

She said, "you know how some parents don't let their kids do anything? (of course this was said while she used over exaggerative hand motions and facial expressions) Well, you're not one of those parents."

Many more examples were given as to how I am different- but "better" (her words)- than "protective parents".

I laughed. -- It might have been nervous laughter.

Although I am pretty sure that she meant that I wasn't "over-protective", one can never be sure.
******************************

Since I had lost the "protective parent award", I threw caution to the wind and the kids and I, and Steven, headed outside.

We almost made it an hour.

After taking the first picture my camera battery died and I had to go search for L's camera.

(It IS a sad state of things when the best camera you have belongs to your 7 year old.)

The kids decided that they wanted to slide down a hill behind our house first.





Daisy didn't want to miss out on the fun.


Neither did Rowdy.


I am pretty sure that, if nothing else, I succeeded at "protecting" L's forehead.


After the kids became tired of walking back up the hill each time they decided that it was time to hook the sleds (...and I use the term -'sleds' -loosely) to the Polaris Ranger.


And, lastly, I would like to have photographic evidence of all the protective layers.
Protective, I tell you.




(Shortly after this picture was taken I had the L grab a chainsaw and cut us some wood.)
(In the pasture with the bull.)
(While B split it with an axe.)
(Unsupervised.)
Totally. Kidding.
They were supervised; I watched from the heated cab of the truck.

Monday, January 10, 2011

How strong is my resolve?

It's a new year and with it always comes new resolutions.



Some are destined to be broken within days of being made. Others last a little longer.



I, of course, made a resolution to lose weight. It's a tradition. Why stop now?



When making my resolutions, I couldn't help but think of the gift I received from my parents for Christmas. Unbeknownst to me, and with the help of my sneaky sister, my mom had my blog published.



WAIT!



Before you stop and think, "Why on earth would she publish this nonsense..?" - I know that is what you are thinking because I thought it too - let me tell you what I have realized.



While 90% of this blog is nonsense.... there are times that I have written things that were heartfelt, and months later, when I have went back and read it, I almost felt like an outsider looking in...and reading SOMEONE else's thoughts. It's surreal. And at times, surprisingly, moving.



Those are the things that mom wanted to capture. I am sure of it.



However, as I flipped through the pages of the book(s), I found myself most drawn in by some of the simple, daily accounts I had captured. Whether it be something the kids said, or an quick story of how we spent the weekend, I was drawn in by life - MY LIFE - years removed from that day.



And I liked it.



Because there are a few that read this blog, I find myself trying to make each post entertaining. At the very least I want it to all come together or be an interesting read. But with those restrictions I have found myself posting less....and less....and less.



I have cycled like this many times while having this blog; times when I posted frequently and times when I didn't post at all. Each time that I would get back in the swing of posting I would try and convince myself to spend less time caring about quality (and by quality I mean something that could be viewed as at least as entertaining as reading the phone book) and think more about quantity and what memory would be recorded in a seemingly mindless post. A memory that might not be funny, or sad, or a major life event - but a memory nonetheless. I was mildly successful. But being me...I want to be liked. If people stop by to read, I want them to enjoy it.

But, this resulted in me posting less - if at all.


Lately I keep thinking about my day to day life and the memories that are created in such.


It was, after all, those memories that I gravitated to while looking through that book of mine. Or book of me. Or us. Or rather "Helping Me Up", as it was.



Memories of my kids dinner time prayer. Memories of a nighttime ritual.



Memories of a squabble with my husband.



These things are memories...good, bad and humorous.



Entertaining and not.


And I loved having tangible evidence of days- and years- gone by.

So, my resolution is to try and record more memories. Even if they are memories of the mundane.

Bear with me.

It might not be pretty.

But, hopefully, this resolution will last longer than my resolution to lose weight usually does!