Thursday, December 18, 2008

Mostly gross but with a few laughs.

Hello all!

Even though I changed my home page to show some holiday spirit and posted some pictures a few days ago, I'm only just now sitting down to tell you about the last two weeks.

I didn't think I would be writing this at all, at least not during day time hours! I stayed up late the night I posted the pictures because, , my computer died. It was bogging down and freezing up, being overly annoying when I only have a handfull of minutes at a time to sit there. Then I left for the weekend and my hubby turned it off. Now we know he shouldn't have done that, because, sadly, it won't boot back up again.

My hubby can fix it, as he's done previous computers in the past. He actually built this one quite a few years ago and saved us a lot of money. However, when someone works with computers all day every day, you can't get that someone to come home to a computer job, not willingly or happily, at least! I don't know when I'll be able to use it, so instead I have his lap top to use in the evenings. During the day I can use the smaller computer downstairs, but that is supposed to be for our business only. There is no firewall, no virus protection on it what so ever. I have an Internet connection there only to view my orders and to print postage. As I am addicted to computers, I have been wandering down there often to check my email and chat with some ladies I've known for a few years now.

I have presents divided and packaged up in piles designated as Tim and Yo. My hubby isn't heading north for the holiday until the 23rd. He'll have a lot more room than I will, so will be taking a large plastic tub filled to the top with presents. I'll only be bringing up exchange gifts and a selection for each of my boys to open at a family gathering held the same day as our arrival up north. It actually starts at 2:00, but to make that hour we'd have to leave here by 6:00 a.m. That's probably not gonna happen! We'll shoot for 9:00. With potty breaks and half hour for lunch, we should be there by 5:00.

Let me get down to it as it's getting late.

Usually I have more to say about Dev and B than I do Hunter, but not this time! I took note of a few things to share with you, the first on my list are the 95-100% grades he's been getting on his weekly spelling tests. A recent one he came home with was for 101% because his penmanship was clear and even!

On December first, Hunter's 11th birthday, the regular fourth grade teacher returned. I've told you about it before, so I won't repeat myself. I requested a meeting with her and she agreed. My babysitter is only part time and already had a full house for that day so I brought Devin and Bryce with me. Devin was very excited when I said we were going to Hunter's school to meet his teacher. Devin ran to his room and came back with his Go, Diego, Go! backpack.

Mrs. G's planning hour started at 11:00, so Dev and B and I arrived jus before then. Hunter's school is called an intermediate school, located in a much older building in front of the elementary school. The layout was poorly made. There is a big front door, but that's not where they want you to enter. I park on the parking lot, which is at one side of the school. I walk past the front door carrying Bryce and followed by my backpack wearing three year old with this face consuming smile on his face, to the other side where there is a walking path from this school to the one behind it (Hunter has to go to the elementary school for lunch and gym. Lovely.)

Afer being buzzed in we then had to climb three floors to the office to sign in and be announced to Hunter's teacher, who we must go back down two flights of steps to meet in her classroom. For some reason Devin wanted me to get to the bottom of each flight before he would take hold of the handrail and come down. Had Bryce been his usual wiggle, let me go self, I would have had less patience!

I was a little put out when I first entered the classroom and saw Mrs. E there. I don't recall her title, but she's like a coordinator between parents and the IEP team. This wasn't anything official, I just wanted to meet the woman who was spending more hours with my son than I was.

Mrs. G is probably in her early 50's, but you wouldn't have guessed that if you were just looking at her mouth and the neon yellow gum she was chomping. After the introduction it wasn't that noticable in her mouth. Maybe she was just freshening her breath. We discussed how Huner handeled the meeting she, Mrs. T and Hunter had the week before. How Hunter was behaving with Mrs. G in the classroom and the differences between the teaching stles of Mrs. T and Mrs. G. To cut myself short, I feel pretty good about the situation and Hunter has no complaints. (Devin did great sitting in few different desks and checking out the chalkboard. I sat B in Hunter's chair and he spent most of the time scribbling on the back of Hunter's paper. The rest of the time he spent climbinb all over me.)

Hunter takes forever in the bathroom at night. Using the toilet, taking a shower and brushing his teeth can take over an hour. I've cut it down considerably by taking the book away from him before he goes in there. Now he gets the job done and reads the book before going to bed.

I'm wondering if there's one book I should confinscate because of what it's teaching him! After he was done in the bathroom I entered to find the walls splattered with spit balls! LOL I told him he could do that all he wanted, as long as he cleaned up the mess!

I'm not sure how it happened, but Hunter came home from school one day with his eyeglasses broken. The left side was completely snapped off near where the screw is. It was unfixable so I called the eye doc and asked what kind of warrenty there was. He's only been wearing them since the spring. I was told as long as we turned in every piece we'd get a complete replacement, even the transitional lenses, which were scractched up. Even though the woman put a rush in with the order, it would take a few days and that meant duct taping his glasses back together. What I used wasn't exactly duct tape. I really didn't want anyone seeing the grey tape or the black of electrical tape holding my son's glasses together. I found a cloudy clear tape that we've used to help visquine our windows and that held his glasses together until yesterday, when we traded them for the new pair.

Oh...yesterday. I got a horrible scare yesterday. I'm going to break off and tell you about it. Hunter gets home about 3:20. We left the house and traveled the 30 minutes to the eye doc to make the switch. We came back to the nearest town to our house and went to the BK drive thru. Tim and I were going to his company Christmas party and leaving the boys with a sitter, hence the fast food run. I made a left turn from the BK, behind a black pick up who then entered the right turn lane onto the bypass that was put in a few years back to help ease the congestion that is created when you put cars and Amish buggies together.

Before the truck turned I saw a car stopped at the sign at the end of the bypass and then it was blocked from sight by the black pickup. I started to accelerate as the truck moved away, when the car suddenly appeared in front of me! I clenched the steering wheel with both hands as I slammed on the brakes. As I squealed to a stop just inches away from the back panel of that car, I saw the startled face of an older woman who continued driving away. I stayed there for a minute or two, catching my breath and expressing the greatest grattitude to a van which is up there in miles but has a good set of brakes! The car behind me gave me all the time I needed, no blares of the horn to get moving. Had the roads been even the slightest bit icy, I'd be needing a new van. All three boys were safe and secure, although it did wake Bryce up from his nap. We made it home, I handed the children over, then I proceeded to drink four glasses of wine too many and felt it in the morning!

Back to Hunter...he got a phone call! Tomorrow they are having some sort of carnival for the last day of 2008. He and another boy will be managing a game where they will build a pyramid of plastic cups for kids to throw a ping pong ball at. The boys have talked together twice about their booth.

This last one actually happened over the Thanksgiving holiday, when Hunter's grandparents were here. Apparently Hunter had an upset stomach one night and ran to the toilet to vomit. His grandma found the evidence and cleaned up the commode the next morning. However, I didn't know the extent of the sickness until Hunter tells me right before he goes to be that he needs new bed sheets. Why? Because he threw up in his bed before making it to the bathroom and spent the rest of the night on the floor instead of coming to tell me. I got his room cleaned up and told him to come get me right away if this happened again.

If you think that was gross, then read on.

Through Bryces's baby monitor I can hear when Devin is crying. One night I heard his cries, so I put my soft and warm terry cloth robe on and stumbled my way up the stairs. He met me at his bedroom door and said that he needed me. I asked him what was wrong, in which he replied with a cough...and then he puked all over the front of my robe! Thankfully I was protected in that or else it would have been a thin t-shirt and nothing on my legs to stop what I couldn't see coming at me in the dark hallway! After that purge, a new sleeper and a drink of water, he went right back to sleep.

Don't stop now, keep reading....

Devin is learning about things that are smaller and bigger. I've been showing him different sized balls and he uses the words himself in describing things. When children sneeze, they often close their mouth. Devin did this and told me he had a small amount of snot on his nose. I wiped it up with a tissue and we carried on. He sneezed again and came running, shouting, It's bigger, mama. It's a big one! Um. Yeah. The bottom of his face was all snot. It took two Kleenex's to get that off. Bigger was right! (Hey, Uncle Mark! Ya ready to spend some qaulity time with your nephews?!?)

Devin has been testing my patience to the limit. He's throwing things at the dogs and chases poor Kit around so much, she spends a lot of time in my shadow. He hits, pushes and takes things away from Bryce that I'm imaginging myself dividing the house, one side for Dev and the other for B. I had had enough the other day when Dev took an orange plastic recorder (like a small one piece clarinet) and hit Bryce on the head. He knew I was mad because he was apologizing before I had covered the short distance between us. I don't have a problem with smacking a little bum now and then and this was one of those moments where I was going to try and make an impression. I grabbed his right shoulder with my right hand and pulled back with my left. Devin's instinct was to put his hands on his backside and still clutched in his hand was that darn recorder! The bottom knuckle bone of my thumb hit that hard plastic and I instantly froze up in pain! I had a purple spot for two days afterward. Note to self: Take offending toy away first!

But Devin is nothing compared to Bryce, The Destroyer of Homes. At least Devin is old enough to listen and obey when we say no. Bryce? He laughs in our face. Sure he does stop, but look out as he throws whatever it was we wanted him to stop doing at you. If you're within a few feet of him when he drains his sippy out, because he chucks that thing hard and contines to pick it up and throw it until it's been refilled and placed in his hands. Is there a coffee table in your house? Does it have drinks, books, perhaps clean clothes neatly piled atop it? Bryce is faster with his hands than Knight ever was with his gator tail! Forget to push in your dining room or office chair? Too bad, because now you have salt and pepper on the table, napkins thrown on the floor and paperwork, CD's, or your computer behaivng strangley because a 19 month old changed a setting you have no idea how to switch back.

I called my parents the other day to warn them of Bryce. They smiled and they chuckled. He's the typical toddler, they said. We're ready for him, they claim. I tried to explain that B is like a set of twins in one body, that you think you have him where you want him, but then he's way over there pouring out your drink you thought was safe because he was with you over here and while you're soaking that up, he's at the other side of the house, checking to see what plants were watered and which ones weren't and then suddenly deciding that they all needed to be repotted.

On Sunday I'll be driving to Traverse City to pick up Devin's big Santa gift. I told Tim that I'd probably just leave all three boys with my parents if they were going to be home. My husband says, Oh, no. Don't leave Bryce with them. Why not?, I ask, becoming a little defensive about his apparent lack in trust of my parents babysitting skills. He replied, Don't leave him with them on your first full day there. They won't want to watch him again!

I've closed myself up in a room with no heat so my typing won't keep Tim up. I'm tired, I'm shivering, and I have a lot of packing to do tomorrow!

I hope you have a safe and happy Christmas!

Love to all,


Saturday, December 6, 2008

24 hours and a few other things

Hello all.

How many have you finished Christmas shopping? I’d like to say I have, that I started early like I said I would this year…and last year…and the year before. I think the blame lands on family who don’t share ideas until mid-December! :P

If I could put some sort of clock in this update, you’d see that I started this at 7:36 this AM, December 5th, but am now only sitting back down at 9:18 AM. Since 7:36 I’ve peeled Bryce out of his wet sleeper and changed his bed sheet. He takes a bottle every night, no comments, and if he has two, which he did last night, and sleeps on his tummy with his bum in the air, which he does every night, he’ll wake up soaked and unhappy.

Since 7:36 I’ve gotten Dev into his big boy underwear and ran with him six times to the potty, four of which were false alarms and one was only a little squirt and dribble of pee, but he looked up at me so happy and proud.

I’ve fed them both breakfast, which Bryce threw on the floor to fill the tummies of dogs instead of his own. I didn’t push Dev’s chair in when he left the table, leaving half of his waffles behind. I heard grunts later and look at the table and see B has climbed up on the chair and was now on his knees eating Devin’s waffles. I let him eat them as he worked so hard to climb up there and Devin is eating less and less these days, I didn’t think he’d come back. But I was wrong and had to make Devin some more.

Apparently the children’s TV channel Noggin was having a dance party at 8:00 in the morning. All programs for two hours were upbeat and full of dancing. Devin thinks I make a great dance partner and I’ll agree only because I was the only adult on our carpeted dance floor! Our favorite one was from Jack’s Big Music Show where a woman played the guitar and sang a song about dancing and freezing. One part went like this,”…freeze like a tree with no wind in your leaves. Don’t shake your knees, don’t even sneeze!” I don’t think we’d make good competition for So You Think You Can Dance because Bryce did A LOT of laughing!

Since I’ve started this, I’ve had to make room for one and then two little boys who wanted to share my chair. B in the back practicing his massage therapy with his feet, and Dev in the front wanting to type but instead content with moving the mouse around so I’d sometimes be typing here or in IE or typing when I shouldn’t be and the computer would yell at me, which would send Dev giggling because I told him the computer was yelling at me.

Now it’s 10:22 and I’ve gotten up a few more times to tell Dev to stop burying his brother in the couch pillows and Bryce to stop turning the TV on and off. When I turn on Christmas music later, I’ll then start asking him to stop skipping through the songs! But now I’m going to remove Bryce from behind me and start a load of laundry, because if I don’t do a load or two a day, I won’t be queen atop just Mt. Laundry, but an entire range. A scary thought!

Here it is now almost 4:30 and I haven’t sat back down here. Not too much has happened. I finished getting out the Christmas decorations, so our tree is up and B is fascinated with it. Last year all he wanted to do was pull them all off, but this year so far he’s just touching them and staring at the lights. I used my cell phone to take a picture because of course my digital camera has no batteries. This time it isn’t because I took tons of pictures, but because I left it in the cold van to drain the power for no good reason.

Now it’s Saturday and here is where I had two paragraphs that wouldn’t save, so I had to reboot and have since fed my family plus two. Hunter had two friends over for his birthday and I’ve taken them to see an animated movie called Bolt. It had a good story line I wish I had thought of….

Once back home sitting on the couch with Tim, he mentions that Bryce started to gag himself with his fingers on purpose. He tells me that he had to smack B’s hand away from his mouth a dozen times and while discussing it, we can hear retching sounds down the hall. Bryce started to get fussy and he’d been down for 45 minutes. Tim hopes he’s not poopy. I say to make him a bottle and when giving it to him, take a deep sniff. The only muscle Tim and I moved were our eyes as we looked at each other, willing the other to get up and tend to the baby. Poor Bryce! Third Child Syndrome just isn’t right!

Relax, we didn’t ignore him much longer. Tim and I exchanged a few impish comments before I got up with a glare. The child wasn’t completely down yet. I had given Tim the option of taking Hunter and his friends to the movies while I stayed home with Dev and B. He told me to go. I got back at 9:00, 30 minutes after the scheduled bedtime and planned on finishing an evening without my two youngest, and there I was, back at work again. 24/7 with no spontaneous breaks in sight and the scheduled ones are no more than two hours! (And as I write this paragraph, I hear my husband call to me; Bryce is fussing again, should we check on him? The “we” mentioned was me.)

I’m not saying this to make my hubby look like the bad guy, really he’s not. He admits he doesn’t have the patience or understanding sometimes and would rather I be the primary caregiver. He is a wonderful husband and father, a man who would rather work two jobs to make ends meet than have his wife work while a stranger raises his children. There aren’t many things he concedes to, but in this he shows me great admiration, with a small dash of annoyance on top!

I only wrote down a few things this week to share with you, and since I’ve already gone on for a bit, I’ll try to make this brief. No promises, though!

Devin got in trouble at gymnastics. Honestly, I’m surprised it hasn’t happened yet! At 3 ½ he’s the youngest child in the group (and the only boy) with a whole lot of energy and not use to structure and direction in such a wide open environment. I watch from a balcony above the gym and I want to go down there and jump on that huge rectangular trampoline!

The second part of their lesson involves going from one station to the next, practicing a different gymnastic skill at each one. In one place they practice head stands, another they swing from a bar or climb a rope, hang from a bar and bring their toes up to their fingers, sit on the pommel horse and lift their bottoms up and form their legs into different positions and finally they are supposed to grab on to a bar and walk their feet up a padded wall to finish with flipping over the bar to land back on their feet.

All this is supposed to be done in a clock-wise circle. We’re talking three to five year olds here. Most of the seven children can be redirected. Mr. Jim is great with children and they rush to follow his silly instructions. The circles made by Devin and one little girl always have a few more lumps, zags, dashes and squeals in them than the others. This day in particular they were all over the place. Mr. Jim usually doesn’t have seven kids by himself. Miss Carr unfortunately has been out the past three sessions. She not only is an instructor but a competitor and injured her shoulder. Hopefully she’ll be back soon. Mr. Jim told Devin quite a few times to get behind so and so, do the bars and that he was next on the horse, but Dev would jump out of line and run amok.

There’s a sign up in the viewers balcony that says, Please do not talk to your children. I don’t want to talk to Dev, I want to holler at him! Mr. Jim took control and sat Dev and the little girl down, said that if they didn’t want to do gymnastics, than they would sit there and stay out of the way of the other children who did. Mr. Jim kept glancing up at us in the balcony and I’m hoping he didn’t take my mean mom look as directed at him because I was doing it for Devin who continued to wave and smile at me from his seat against the wall! Finally he caught on and sat there quietly and he was soon invited back to continue, which he did very well.

Bryce is quick. I think he might be quicker than any other toddler! I come back into the room after being gone just a few minutes, and B is on the table surrounded in salt and pepper. Thankfully none got into his eyes! I turn on the TV, start a Blue’s Clue’s recording, turn around and see Bryce has taken Devin’s uneaten corn and thrown it into all previously unknown corners of the house! I don’t dare take five minutes to start a load of laundry for fear of what I’ll walk into when I’m done. Like I’ve told my hubby many times in many ways; So what. Not a big deal. Nothing’s broken. Everything’s fine. Don’t get so worked up and, don’t clean up until they’re in bed!!

Hunter had me fuming one morning, and probably annoyed his teacher as well. I noticed he forgot his lunch in the fridge, so I made plans to go into town. Since it's a fourteen mile drive I would also go to the store and attempt the library. I've been avoiding the place because B has been VERY vocal!

Anyway - Hunter has lunch at 11:30. The boys and I were ready by 11:00 so we all got in the van.

Last week I lost my van key. I have my key on just a single ring. The other keys I keep on a ring that hangs from my van's automatic gear shift. Before hubby left on a biz trip Tuesday morning, he pulled his van key off and gave it to me. I don't leave my key in the van anymore because Dev tries to help me by locking the doors and twice now he's locked my key in the van!

Anyway - I still often forget to grab the key off the hook just inside the door, and that morning was no exception. I went back in the house and reached for it...but it wasn’t there.

I immediately knew Hunter was responsible. I'm sure I've told you all how he loves to horde small things, including keys, and this one was a single, shiny silver key, just winking at him from its hook. Just in case my assumption was wrong, I looked all over the floor, in a couple pairs of shoes underneath the key hook, but no key. I ran up to his bedroom and looked in his stash places; under his pillow, in his safe and in a small treasure chest his grandma gave him. It wasn't there.

Hunter will not eat the food served at the school's cafeteria. He has to have the same thing each day. The only thing that differs is his dessert. I called the school and it wasn't the usual lady who answers the phone so I had to explain more than I would have had Teresa picked up. But after a few minutes she called Hunter down and he came on the phone.

I told him he had forgotten his lunch and that I was on my way to bring it to him, however I couldn't because my van key was missing and asked if he had taken it. He said yes. I asked where it was. He said he couldn't remember. We backtracked and he said it was in the pocket of the pants he wore the day before. I told him how upset I was that he took a key that was on the hook and we were going to talk about it some more when he got home. I told him to apologize to his teacher for the interruption and to have a good day.

He later told me he didn't recognize the key, which I understand as it's always been buried among the many on his dad's key ring, but with him it's about not touching anything that's not his or he hasn't been given permission to play with. He doesn't do that with friends and in stores, but with family he does.

OK. I’ll end it there. I don’t know if we’ll be geocaching tomorrow. We didn’t today because Tim had to spend the morning in the office and then Hunter had his friends over. It’s supposed to be a high of only 23 degrees tomorrow, and that’s pretty chilly!

Hope everyone is well. Take care and be safe.


P.S. Will post pictures tomorrow!

HOLD IT! Sit back down, please. As I was saving pictures from camera to computer, the step before uploading them to my website slide show and writing something about each of them (just so all you know the steps I take because I want to) I come across a picture I took of my TV remote control. Why, do you ask? Well, I forgot to tell you about the incident with the remote until I saw the picture. I have since replaced the remote and have added the time to the growing list of things I probably won't forget.

It was supposed to be quiet time. Bryce was done for his nap and I told Dev he could watch Dora the Explorer as long as he stayed on the couch, underneath his blanket with Kit. I then went downstairs to run on the treadmill. I heard some rumbling and thudding from above and knew what it meant. Devin wasn't sleeping, in fact he was playing with Knight and they were shaking the house. I sighed and finished what I was doing, ignorantly thinking the worse Devin was doing was getting dog slime on his hands and the couch from throwing a tennis ball that keeps magically appearing when I will testify with my right hand on the Bible that I had put that darn thing back outside!

I slowly climbed all fourteen of my steps and found a very happy black lab on his belly with his tongue lolling out. In his eyes you could see the happiness a game of fetch was for him, and between his paws there wasn't that greyish, grimey, slobbery ball, but my remote control!

Tim has taught Knight many things on top of the training received as a bird dog. Some of the useful things (to the man of the house) are; to retrieve a golf ball hit in the back yard, fetch a piece of wood for the stove upstairs, open the refridgerator door and bring a bottle of beer to the master and, the point I'm getting to is, find and bring the TV remote to the lazy person in the recliner.

So Knight knows he has permission to fetch that silver oblong thing at least once. Here comes the little master and tells Knight to fetch it once, twice, three...four...?? Who knows how many times that needed piece of equipment went from little hand to sharp teeth. I can tell ya it was enough to eject the four AAA batteries, which thankfully were not ingested by our 85 pound knot head, but enough damage was done that I had to work at putting the batteries back into place. It might have been all the teeth marks, or could have been the slobber, but whatever it was it was sufficient to retire the remote to the trash can.

When I told Devin that the TV remote control was not a doggie toy, I got the big eyed look and an, I'm sorry, mama. Ah, well. Nothing broken but some TV time, and we could all do with a little less of that.