Did You Say “FREE”?

February 28, 2009

Who doesn’t like an old-fashioned giveaway?  Economy or otherwise, we all love a little love in the mail.  ABQ from Little Towheads is hosting a MEGA GIVEAWAY on her blog (and I am humbly contributing only one piece this time.)  If you haven’t yet seen her wonderful stuff, NOW IS THE TIME TO GOGoGo nowClick on any of these links.  Add a comment and you’re entered in the drawing!  How simple is that?

(She’s also got a refer-a-friend deal going on.  You can’t lose!)

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A Week in Review (x2)

February 27, 2009

(Inertia is a tough master.  When you’re busy, it’s hard to stop, and when you pause, it’s so hard to get going again.  This post has taken two weeks to write.)

By 9 am on Monday my left eye was twitching

… and it was a holiday.

I started off the morning in dreamland: not only was it the President’s Day holiday, but Janel had a furlough day the following day so I had two pretty unstructured days with just my two little boys.

Then I remembered that without Aiden I had to do all the things I couldn’t do with Aiden around: balance the chequebook (you’d think it’s easier than it is with three little boys who don’t approve of computer time,) do research for the store, de-clutter the mailbox and shred the stuff we don’t need, and -oh joy- do taxes.  I was dreading the taxes because we haven’t had witholdings on the unemployment or the babysitting money and I was certainly afraid we’d not only not get a good enough refund, but that we’d actually have to pay.  How can we do that when we can’t afford food?!

B is for Barter

I emailed Karma with a quick tax question, not to hit her up for free advice, but to make sure I was going in the right direction and whether I should pay someone to help me (as it was clear my forms would not qualify for free-file.)  Did I have to file a Schedule C?  I hardly felt like a sole proprietorship for babysitting, but couldn’t figure out how else to claim my earnings.  She responded by saying that yes, I did need to file a schedule C and that she would be so offended if I paid someone else to do my taxes.  She then used the “b” word in exchange for doing my taxes.  How could I say no?  She used my favourite word!

What Do You Mean Cookie Dough is Bad For Me?

My self-indulgence for the sake of survival has caught up with me.  I figured that as long as I was awake and happy and taking care of the children, did it matter that it took extra dessert (and mid-day dessert) to do the trick?  Wasn’t it enough that I was doing all I could to keep it together?  Well, I’m clearly gaining weight.  Not only can I not go buy more clothes right now, but I’m not emotionally strong enough to fend off questions of pregnancy, which will surely happen if I give myself a free pass for another week or two.  Sigh.  So how do I add getting enough sleep, and taking enough time for myself so that I don’t fill those voids with food?  And when the heck am I supposed to exercise?  When the kids nap?  HAHAHAHAHA!  My two stagger their naps (again) so they’re never asleep at the same time, if Little Red naps at all.  And Daytime Brother?  Well, let’s just say it’s been a long time since he and I have felt rested…

Taking Over the World, One PTA At A Time

Jen’s husband is the president of the teacher’s union, and the union had extra tickets for the PTA Awards Dinner last night.  He invited Jen, and Jen invited me.  As it’s election time and the union is not supporting the encumbant school board members, we checked Allen’s back frequently for daggers, but everyone was civil.  Jen and I were not, however, meerly to act as friendly faces in an unfriendly environment for him; we had our own agendas.  We’ve submitted Kyra and Little Red’s applications for kindergarten (the selection of the schools is a long story!) and wanted to meet the PTA members.  Unfortunately no one from the school attended the ceremony last night, but we furthered our agenda nonetheless.  Our message?  We are coming.  We made the rounds last night with certain key players in the community.  By today I’m sure everyone knows that Allen’s wife is joining the PTA next year, and she has reinforcements.  🙂

Peanut Butter, Flour and Oil

What does it say about our eating habits that this morning we ran out of peanut butter, all-purpose flour, and cooking oil?  We have flour, to be sure, but not enough all-purpose flour to make the one million cornmuffins I need to make for this evening, and after my first double batch I ran out of oil.  I’m tempted to do the rest with shortening because I really don’t want to go out of the house again.  I can’t.  I’ve finished the whole wheat bread  and only begun the cornmuffins, I finished my handout for the Cub Scout Blue and Gold Dinner, have not even read the story I need to present for the primary activity tomorrow morning, and haven’t gotten Little Red and Daytime Brother down for their naps yet.  I could really go for a nap, but then who would make the cornbread?  I’m tired.  This has been a long two weeks, and somehow my calender appears empty.  I haven’t finished my visiting teaching, nor have I even opened the enveloppe containing our completed taxes to review, sign, and mail.  Why is the to-do list always so much longer than the completed list?

Perspective

Somehow we have enough to cover rent again this month.  I’m sure when it comes time for our mid-month bills we’re going to have to start asking our families for help, but it has been such a miracle that our meager savings and the generous cash donations we received at Christmas have carried us through February.  We are so blessed.  We are so grateful.  We can (and will) endure this trial.  We hope it will be over soon so that we can turn around and share this love with others.  We have been so blessed.


One Step Behind the Children

February 22, 2009

On Friday I had a blog post in mind about my little guy, but decided to postpone the post because I had just written about his brother and don’t really have it in me (ie: not allowed in the computer that much!) to do two posts in one busy day. It was all about this amazing physical self-awareness he has. It started before he was sick, stopped during the nastiness of January, and has just re-started.

And then during the business of Friday it was blown out of the water, and once again Paul and I are on the side of reluctant parenting, wherein the children tell us they’re ready for things we weren’t ready to do.

Let me explain: a couple of times a week the little guy would try to pull down his pants and diaper (the diaper only getting partly down his hips and causing quite a sight!) which made me ask, “do you need to go potty?” He would answer affirmatively and I would take him to the bathroom, strip him down, stand him on the stool, and let him pee on the stool in front of the toilet. He had already figured out that he was a boy so sitting down was not an option, but can’t quite get it in the bowl — he isn’t even two years old yet.  He’d then dump a third of a roll of toilet paper in the bowl, and flush.  Did I mention that he demands privacy?  He expells everyone from the room and asks the door to be shut before he does any of this, and we are not allowed to return until he is done.  (I now keep the toilet paper in the cabinet instead of on the roll holder.  He’ll find it eventually, but it has slowed the speed at which we’ve gone through toilet paper.)

He would do it once or twice a week, but not every week, until Friday, when he did it three times. And Saturday he even pooed. And he’s already had a potty trip this morning.

I always said that my powder room is cleanest when someone is potty training because I’m cleaning it several times a day. The two year old stool is just as clean and white as it was the day we took it home from IKEA. Paul and I are not quite sure how to feel about things. I mean, on the one hand Boy Blue went poo in the bathroom, and that’s cool. On the other hand, he isn’t even two years old, and this has really caught us by surprise. And I think of so many of my friends for whom potty training has been such an ordeal, and I wonder if it’s genetics or something? Is my family just more clued into their digestion than other people? Once the scientists find a cure for cancer, they should look for a potty training gene. I wonder if I could get money for that . . . ?


A Daily Dose of Comedy

February 20, 2009

Little Red, he just cracks me up! He hears everything, and he remembers everything.

He began the week by calling me “M-Lady.” In the middle of the week it became “My Woman.” This morning it morphed into “My Dear.”

Every day he wears his supercape, but never as Batman. On a daily basis, as we are playing, he finds someone (or something) in need of rescuing and he dashes off to find his cape. My hero. I’m so glad that the capes are having the desired effect: the Batman/Superman sides were to get their attention, but now that the boys have discovered their superselves they are never, ever the licensed superheroes.

Yesterday afternoon, while hanging out at Jen’s with some friends, I walked into the most amazing sight in the living room.  Little Red, all dressed up as a Pirate Captain, and Kyra, in her flapper dress, were facing each other, holding hands.  Hannah, in a princess costume, was standing perpendicular to them, between then, and mumbling.  I ran to the kitchen to get the Jens and ask if they saw what I thought I saw.  Sure enough, as we returned to the living room we heard Hannah say “marriage marriage” and shortly thereafter, “you may now kiss the bride.”  (They didn’t!)  They broke it up as soon as they realized they had an audience and Hannah went to the piano while Little Red and Kyra danced their first dance. 

Last night as we were socializing after our Primary Leadership Meeting Little Red’s previous teacher, Alina, told me how much she missed having him in class, that he always knew the answers, and that he was always the most obedient and reverent. His current teacher, Vicky, echoed Alina’s behavioural assessment and said she often will ask the class, “I know Little Red knows the answer, but does anyone else?” (Not unlike my experiences in primary.)

He is reading many words and recognizing most phonemes. We started spelling words to talk around him years ago because the boy hears e-ve-ry-thing. On Saturday night Paul and I were discussing what to do for V-Day/dessert and we suggested P-I-E (Marie Callender’s is just across the street and having a pie sale this month.) Little Red immediately popped up from playing and said, “PIE?!? I love pie! Let’s get pie!” Where do you go after spelling? I could speak French and Paul Italian but that’s not so helpful as we don’t speak each other’s languages, and the little man would surely pick up the language before it was even beneficial.

Every day is fascinating with him, and every day he does something that leaves me in stitches.


Yesterday

February 13, 2009

We picked up Paul from the airport (he had been in Detroit for a few days) and went straight to Disneyland.

It was the first non-rainy trip to Disneyland we’ve made in over two months. It was, in fact, a perfect day.
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Boy Blue and I both shared our first-ever ride on Autopia.  I let him drive and I ws in charge of the gas.  He is one crazy driver!  The little guy had us going all over the place and he could not control his maniacal laughter.  Yesterday was one of those days when everything just works, but Autopia was definitely my favourite of all the great things we did!  At the end, Paul took Little Red on Big Thunder Mountain Railroad while I stayed by the water with a sleeping baby. Big Thunder Mountain had been Paul’s favourite as a child and Little Red was finally tall enough. They both had a great time.

I watched the lights on the water. Lights on water always make me think of Hawaii. It was a very happy and peaceful way to say goodbye to a (nother) perfect day at Disneyland.  YAY!  We need more good days!
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It’s My Blirthday

February 13, 2009

Today marks the end of my fourth year of blogging, so even thought tomorrow is the BlirthDAY, I’ve chosen to celebrate today.  Tomorrow’s celebration is all about Paul.  (No, he didn’t get a job — it’s Valentine’s Day, silly!)

It’s funny to think that I started blogging when I didn’t know any bloggers and I did it to process my birth story for myself, as I had basically stopped journalling when I got married.  My subject matter, tone, style, venue, and distractions have changed so much since then, and I am still blogging.  I’m glad I finally found a journalling option that works with my busy lifestyle.  I’m glad I blog.

For the record, I’m glad you blog, too.  Having friends who comment (and support!) has been such a fun feature over the years!


About A Boy

February 7, 2009

Boy Blue, my youngest who became a middle child much too young, is and always will be my baby. He is a bigger Mama’s boy than his older brother and has the eating habits to prove it.  His personality is so sweet, and his mind is always working on the next obstacle to climb or the next mischeivous event.

Last winter when I was tutoring, our family got sick three times. I was agast and had a hard time adjusting; I couldn’t believe we were so sick! The poor baby, being the second and not being a thumb-sucker, didn’t have the same immunity as his older brother and exhibited the worst symtoms. I’m not sure what you’ve heard, but sucking on Mummy’s hair does not provide the same immunological benefits and sucking one’s thumb.

This year has blown away all previous records for illnesses. We began the fall with our traditional late-summer-smackdown, and finished fall with the early-winter-illness. Off and on between Thanksgiving and Christmas we had repeated upper-respiratory and sinus viruses that we passed between family members. It was already the worst cold and flu season on record for our family.

But wait — there’s more!

Since Christmas Boy Blue has had a stomac bug four times. (I think four? At this point I’ve lost track.) Before this I thought a stomac bug was usually a 24-hour deal but each time the virus hit our home this winter it has been 3-5 days in duration for each affected member. Boy Blue has been the hardest hit with every wave, losing weight. Last month he was down to 22 pounds, this month I know he’s lost even more.

Then, of course, there was his failed attempt at a broken ankle. Two weeks out I think it’s safe to say that it is not broken, as he has finally stopped limping and favouring it. We escaped a splint or a cast and have only had to give him Tylenol a couple of times to help him sleep.

Yesterday he turned the corner from the last episode of his stomac bug. Each time he gets “better” from being sick it is as though he “wakes up.” Suddenly he’s dancing around the room, babbling, smiling, singing, and eating … it’s so easy to forget that only a few hours before he was still lethargic on the floor, half-asleep, half-awake.

It is so nice to have my baby back. This time, I hope we can go more than a week before the next event. I missed him.