Friday, March 31, 2006

Finally Friday

I really like my Friday mornings. The boys are at school and J and the little girl that I'm babysitting get along really well. I figured I'll be interrupted just as many times with two two-year-olds as I would with one, and this way I'm making a little extra cash! So it's actually working out!

But I'm tired now. We went to the Temple early because there was supposed to be a Passover concert for the boys that I figured I would take J and her friend to, but they had to push the concert earlier so we came in for the last five minutes. One of the kids in my boys' class was having a rough day behaviorally, so I told their teacher that I would go back to the room with the class and her assistant for the rest of the morning - I was there anyway, why not? So even though we missed the concert, it worked out really nicely that I could be there.

On our way home from school, A announced that he wanted B to go to school on the next school day and he would stay home. B quickly turned to him and said that he couldn't do that because then he "would be alone" (lonely) without his best friend. It was so sweet. Don't know what prompted A to say that, but how sweet was that response!

We had an evening playdate at a friend's house Wednesday. The plan had been that after letting the kids play for awhile, we would get some pizza and let them watch it in front of a Wiggles video. After watching long enough to eat almost a whole slice, A put his hands over his ears and came to me near tears because the ball going "boing" scared him. I finally discovered that between each song there was a graphic of a ball bringing on the next title and it went boing. This was scaring him so much that he became hysterical, couldn't even stay on the steps, had to go upstairs (we were in the basement) out of earshot. Eventually I requested that we put on something else and we agreed on a new Dora DVD. A thought it was a great idea as well, but then decided he was now terrified of Dora so again, he couldn't go downstairs. I thought that this might be a cry for attention, but his hands stayed over his ears (he does this when he's scared) and his body was rigid at the idea of going downstairs. I would have gone home if it were just him, but B and J were still eating and were having a great time. I set A up with some toys upstairs and spent most of the rest of the hour going up and down the stairs to check on all of them.

I'll be very happy once they start evaluating him. Not that I want something to be wrong, but I hope we get a diagnosis of something or are given some direction to go in, some strategies to try. PLEASE!

Thursday, March 30, 2006

I've Been INFECTED - woohoo!

Boy, I've been posting a LOT today!

Thanks to Karin, I have now been infected with "The Indie Virus." This is a casual social experiment, and it two goals:
* To bring exposure to lesser known blogs (especially those outside of Technorati's top 100)
* To explore the metrics behind a viral linking campaign launched by the "little guys" (less popular blogs)
This sounds like a great idea to get some of the fabulous, less read blogs read.

So some of my favorite smaller blogs that I'm just itching to infect are:

Life in the Hundred-Acre Wood - I've known Anjali since the boys were first born. She was a member in the first MOMS Club that I belonged to. She is the first blog I ever read!

Nancy's blog - Nancy is a member of my local FLYlady support group. She is a published author and a great writer. She ALWAYS wants more traffic to her blog, so maybe this will help.

Barefoot in the Garden - Heather is another friend from my FLYlady message board. She just started her blog the other day, so here's hoping this will give it a jump start. * When I first wrote this I wrote her blog's name as "Barefoot in the Park" - in case there is any question that I'm a true theater geek.

So there you go. Go forth and infect!

Thursday Thirteen

I tried this for the first time last week and got it all messed up, so now I'm just writing my Thursday Thirteen in a regular post just because I'm not as cool as those other bloggers who know how to do cool blogging things!


Thirteen Things I Wouldn't Like to Live Without
Please note I said things and not people!
  1. E-mail
  3. Cordless phone
  4. My glasses (They're only reading glasses, but I read all the time!)
  5. My sneakers (Now that I've started FLYlady, I really don't feel dressed without them.)
  6. TV - I love my dramas, unfortunately they're normally on at 10 o'clock.
  7. My Shark (not that I like housework, but this cordless vacuum makes such a difference after meals)
  8. VCR - makes life so much easier to know that if I desparately need a break, I can pop in a video for the kids
  9. My local FLYlady message board - these ladies are the most supportive amazing friends I could imagine
  10. My locking computer armoire - has saved my life to be able to keep A completely away from the computer
  11. My crockpot
  12. My scrapbooks and supplies
  13. My BLOG

Please let me know if you do a Thursday Thirteen as well and I'll leave a link to yours, now that I know how to do that!

Links to other Thursday Thirteens:

And the race is on

This is the tough part - trying to coordinate five schedules. The four kids are eating their lunch. After playing the "stick game" (yes, I will do whatever it takes to get my back yard cleaned up for spring, even utilizing child labor) they were all hungry. Baby J was out in the back yard on this beautiful sunny day with us. She ate her bottle and then chilled out on top of the picnic table in her infant carrier while we did yard work. When we came in, Baby J didn't last too much longer. I put her down for a nap ten minutes ago. Now I need these kids to finish their @#$% lunches so I can get DN-A and J down for a nap and B and A laying on the couch so I can get a little bit of work done. C'mon guys: EAT!

Surviving Five Kids

The kids are dressed to their shoes, teeth brushed, faces washed, noses blown repeatedly (two of the three are running like a faucet, the third having minor nose bleeds needing to be wiped away), J has been captured from escaping upstairs and is now "sleeping" on the couch (one of her favorite games - boy, does she take after me or what?!!), the three boys are watching PBS, and Baby J is in her car seat next to me, content to be smiled at every few seconds. So far so good.

I was asleep by 10 last night, defintely better than I had been doing, but considering how wiped I was by 7:30 (when I got the kids in bed) I should have gone to bed much earlier. I have to learn to listen to my body! At least everyone slept through the night finally, so I was able to actually sleep through until DH got up at 5:15 (!) and started getting ready for the day. We got downstairs by 7:20, which isn't bad, but we didn't straighten up the boys' room before we went down, so that's not so good. But after I finish checking in here, I will finish cleaning up from breakfast. I've decided that when DN-J is here, I have permission to not get anything else accomplished except my basic routines. Now if I happen to be able to accomplish more, I will be quite impressed with myself.

Apparently Karin (hee hee, I'm using my new trick now!) "infected" me with some virus. I need to read it some more to figure out what I need to do. It sounds really neat - a way to get us non-A-list blogs read more. I'm all for that, so thank you!

I've just enlisted both DN-A and J to try to make Baby J smile. I don't know if I'll regret this. I swear, any time I hold this baby, I spend most of my time protecting her from the other four. They all want to love her to death!

Looks like DN-J is ready for her first nap of the day. Either that or she's a little overwhelmed from DN-A rocking her, B making faces, and J poking her. Either way, time to save her.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Did I do it?

Just testing!


A Mish mash of stuff - like my life

I had time to check my favorite blogs this morning, leave an entry at The Chaotic Home (please, someone, explain to me how to make that the cool blue color that links you to the actual blog!) to hopefully win the What's for Dinner? contest she has going on, check my e-mail, I even checked my Statcounter to see how many people had stopped by today. I was quite disappointed to see that it was a much smaller number than usual. Couldn't figure that one out and then I realized that gee, maybe I might want to actually write a blog entry today, maybe that would at least give people something to READ for today when they stop by. So, Internet, here's my entry for today:

I bit the bullet and joined a gym today. I figured out that I could go on Monday and Wednesday mornings after I drop the boys off at school. They have babysitting there, nothing fabulous, but the girl seems really nice. I could do a 9:30 class any day of the week, which works out nice. I could also do a thirty minute workout like I used to do at Curves and really enjoyed (only stopped because they did NOT have babysitting). I might even get really bold and don my bathing suit and swim some laps! I really like swimming, but usually don't go because I'm self conscious of both my body and it's challenging for me to, ummm...maintain my bikini line. But apparently most of the people who use the pool at that time of day are senior citizens, and, not to be rude, but I do look better than all of them! So I might just do it. I think I'll get up early Saturday morning and go swim.

I'm going to a MOMS Club luncheon that's about two hours away on Saturday. I had thought that I'd be able to carpool with someone from my chapter, but everyone has made other arrangements, whether it's going up the night before, staying Saturday night with family, or visiting friends after the luncheon. I do NOT want to drive the whole two hours there and two hours back by myself. It's not that I'm scared or anything, I just get so tired driving long distances I'm kind of nervous about falling asleep. That would really not be good. So I stepped out of my comfort zone and called up the president of the old MOMS Club that I used to belong to. She has caller id so knew who I was right away, which definitely made it easier, and she knew as soon as I said that I had a weird favor to ask her what I wanted. She offered a ride in her van with four other moms - sweet. A much better option than driving alone. Soooo glad I asked.

I also stepped out of my comfort zone again today to ask two different preschool moms if they'd like to come over for a playdate tomorrow. One is able to, one already had plans, but they both seemed so pleased to be asked it definitely makes it easier to try to do it again. This is something that is so tough for me to do, but, as the kids love telling me for various things these days, "It's no big deal!"

Yesterday was pretty tough with DN-J, but I did get her to take a decent afternoon nap, so that helped. Hopefully tomorrow goes better!

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Rough morning

Whew! That was a whirlwind morning! I'm totally beat and MUST get to bed on time tonight. Oh boy. Was having a tough time getting/keeping DN-J on a schedule today - don't know why. Ultimately I have all three of the youngest kids napping and A and B are having their "quiet time" right now, so that's impressive. I think I need to lay down on the couch with the and shut my eyes for a little too. It just felt like every time I tried feeding the baby, one of the other kids would REALLY act up. And then DN-J would only take shorter naps this morning (shorter for her) which just got confusing.

Oh well, afternoon is upon us, and since they all only went down 20 minutes ago, maybe I have at least 30 minutes to shut my eyes for a little on the couch with one of the boys. Better do it fast!

President R

Okay, the baby is sleeping, the boys are still watching their morning video, and J is busy pushing her new doll stroller around with a video tape case sitting in it (don't ask me why). Just caught up on all my favorite blogs (which I know I need to get around to adding to my sidebar blogroll thingy, but not now) and now have a chance to update mine. I'm hosting a playdate today for the MOMS Club - I called it a "Teddy Bear Playdate" to pique interest, with the idea that each kid would bring a teddy bear and we would do teddy bear activities. Well, no one RSVPed until yesterday, so I didn't really think it was going to happen, so I didn't really plan anything. Two people are coming now, so I need to come up with SOMETHING! Hmmmm.... I guess just having the bears with us and maybe doing "Teddy Bear Teddy Bear" together, maybe making teddy bear faces out of round crackers and raisins, maybe that will be enough. Hope so!

I've been going back and forth with whether to run for presidency of the MOMS Club again or just be a regular member this coming year. On the one hand, I'm really tired and would love to just be a member. On the other hand, the club is sistering, with almost half the members becoming their own chapter based on location because we got so large. This will be a unique opportunity to make changes and reach out to each member. It will be really exciting and I'd hate to miss the chance and look back later and kick myself for giving up so soon. This past year as president has been fine, but was really affected by one very negative board member (who actually is no longer even a member of the club anymore) who decided that I was completely against her and just made every Board meeting extremely tense. I even tried talking with her about it once, asking her if everything was okay between us because I feel this tension and don't know where it came from, telling her that if I had done something to offend her that I appologize. She accepted the apology and then proceeded to point out that we don't all have to be friends (which I had said before) and began to list all the different reasons why she doesn't really like me. AAARRGH!! After that, she resigned from the Board, and soon after, from the club. Very frustrating, especially because I don't know what I could have done differently. I like to learn something from every situation, and I don't know what I'm coming away from that whole mess with. I do know and understand that this was mostly and her thing, that she is an extremely depressed negative person, but since so much of her anger/negativity got directed at me, it was kind of hard not to feel responsible. In any case, my point is that if I was president again, I wouldn't have to deal with that so it would be a lot better.

The kids' video just ended so I should go. Still don't know what I'll do about MOMS Club, but it was nice to write that all down. I think I'm leaning towards running again, but I'm still not positive.

Monday, March 27, 2006

Let's Get Real Monday

Okay, inspired by Randi's blog (if I knew how, I would link it here, but I can't figure out how to do that!), today is all about high school. It's kind of deep, so brace yourself!

Anyone who knows me only as a mom will be amazed to know that I used to be extremely shy. Painfully shy. Not on stage, where I could sing anything or become any character. But if I had to be myself, I couldn't quite figure out how not to be self-concious. I was painfully aware of every movement, every word, every stupid thing I did. And I was most aware of how I looked.

In Junior High I remember very clearly being teased about my looks. One boy in particular (Joe Leone I think was his name) used to call me "Big Eyes." I very clearly remember coming to the realization that I cannot control my looks or the size of my eyes, but I can control how much I weigh. And so began my five year battle with anorexia. No, I was never hospitalized, and my parents never really even noticed too much (my brother took a lot of their attention in those days), but it soon took up much of my thoughts and much of my time. Seventh grade was tough for me - new school, new people, all very very hard. Controlling my food intake helped me feel better, like I could control something even when everything around me felt like it was spinning out of control. By eighth grade I felt more confident - I was a soloist in the choir, the lead in the school play, even had my own advice column in the newspaper, the Hollow Log. But I limited what I ate to such an extent in an effort to keep my weight around 100. My breakfast was an apple, my lunch a piece of cheese and some brocolli, dinner would be as little as I could get away with.

By the time high school rolled around, things spun out of control again - new school, new people, just like Junior High but now times four. Finding my way was so hard - I think I tried to shrink down, become invisible by losing even more weight. I did become a soloist in the choir and got the lead in the school play, but felt so out of my league any time I stepped off stage. By sophmore year I developed mono (my immune system so compromised by my diet) and lost even more weight. I was out of school for almost half the year, and was devastated that none of my "friends" had called or come to see me. When I came back to school my junior year I actually started dating and while my main high school boyfriend ended up being a pathalogical liar (could I pick them then?!!) he did help me deal with emotions I never could express, thus dealing with the eating disorder that had been my main coping mechanism growing up. No longer could I count my ribs each time I got out of the shower to feel right with myself, or make sure that my stomach was still concave if I laid down before I could feel okay to go out. I didn't use food the same way again.

That's not to say I became socially confident. That didn't happen until I got pregnant with my boys, a long time later. I gave the appearance of someone who was friendly and fearless, but mostly that was a mask covering the discomfort I felt around other people. I never knew what to say, always wanted to look like I knew what was going on.

High school was tough. College too. Looking back, I think they were way harder in my mind than they needed to be. But I know that I couldn't handle the casual friendships, the weekend parties at that time in my life. So I didn't. I never made those lifelong friends like most people made at that point in their lives. I have two - a friend from first grade (my gentile sister) and my husband. And as much as I wish it could have been different, my shyness and social anxiety made it virtually impossible for things to have been any other way.

I am so grateful for the fact that I don't feel that way anymore. It makes me want to somehow go back to that high school me and shake her, just tell her to get over herself, that no one cared how "fat" you were, that people were mainly interested in their own world so step out of your self-centered one for a little bit and become more aware of everyone else's . But that can't be. So I guess I'll just continue focusing on the here and now and be grateful those years are behind me.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Lazy, lazy, lazy

Today was my morning. DH got up with the kids and I could do whatever I wanted/needed until noon. Aaaaahhh. I had planned to sleep in a little, finish sorting all the kids clothes and packing up the outgrown stuff to go to my sister, clean our room, maybe even go jeans shopping (ugh). What I ended up doing was number one. Yes, that's it. And I'm okay with that. I slept for awhile (between A being sick with a cough and J getting up once for some unknown reason, we were up a lot last night) and then laid in bed reading a book I "borrowed" from my mom's lending library last night. Then I got some breakfast, brought it upstairs, and read some more. Then I napped. And woke up and read. And napped some more. When I finally had about fifteen minutes left, I jumped up, took a quick shower and got dressed. I accomplished nothing. How wasteful. How lazy. How wonderful.

Friday, March 24, 2006

March of Dimes

I just signed up to participate in WalkAmerica to raise money for the March of Dimes. This is an organization that helps prevent premature babies, a cause very near to my heart. A and B were born six weeks early, and they very easily could have come 14 weeks early since that's when my preterm labor started. I was given various medications to slow labor, put on bedrest, and also given two steroid injections to help the boys' lungs develop more. The boys had to spend 10 days (A) and 17 days (B) in the NICU, and it was a terrifying ordeal from start to finish. Now they are healthy happy four year olds.

It's about friggin' time!

Just finished all of the paperwork necessary to have A evaluated at the IU. I'm going to bring it with me to the Temple when I pick up the boys and make copies of everything (just in case it gets lost in the mail) and then send it off in the mail. What a relief! Cannot wait for the testing to start. I would LOVE to have a professional's opinion of his various behaviors and get some suggestions on the best way to deal with them!

Am I Crazy?

My DH and sister think I am.
I watch J's kids four days a week, Monday through Friday. The boys are in school Friday mornings. I just agreed to watch one of the kids that comes to my Friday Shabbat program (that starts at 12:15) on Friday mornings. The mom will bring her here (I'm expecting her any minute), the girls will play together, and then I'll bring both girls to my Friday program where the mom will meet us. I'll get an extra $20-$30 for DH and I to go out and I don't think it's going to be a strain at all - what's the big deal. I'm envisioning having both girls play in the boys' room while I clean my room for 15 minutes (the current FLYlady zone) and then in J's room while I finish sorting her clothing. I think it will be fine.
I'll let you know.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

I will survive . . .

Yesterday afternoon was a little tougher, but we muddled through.
While I was giving DN-J her bottle, J woke up from her nap in a Mood. Yes, some moods need to be capitalized - this was one of them. She often wakes up and needs to cuddle on the couch with me, usually laying on top of me, watching tv. This time, I had Baby J in my arm and the other arm was holding the bottle. We tried various configurations, but nothing made J happy. However, even through her tears and screams, when she noticed that DN-J had spit up (man, can that girl spit up!), she stopped crying long enough to reach over for her burp cloth, wipe her mouth, drop it, and then resume crying. How did I wind up with such a dramatic child? Yes, that is a purely rhetorical question.

Today DS was planning to work from home for the morning since she had a meeting at 10:30. Since her computer is in the shop, she came here to work. So nice to have another adult there to hear things like, "I'm sorry, B, old buddy." Hillarious to hear uttered from an almost three year old!

Some of my friends have declared Wednesdays as "What's for Dinner Wednesdays?" so I thought I would jump on that bandwagon. I'm not cool enough to know how to put up a great graphic like some of the blogs I saw, but know that I'm picturing it in my mind. I'm hoping to collect some new recipes this way.

We're having Vegetable Chili tonight, which I plan on mixing with "spinny noodles" for the kids to hopefully ensure them trying it (I'll let you know later if that works). To make it you throw this in the crock pot:
2 cans diced tomotoes with green chilis (undrained)
1 can pinto beans (drained and rinsed)
1 can broth (I had chicken on hand, recipe calls for vegetable)
1 cup of salsa
1 chopped onion
1 chopped pepper (red and green, if you have them)
Some cumin and some chili powder.
Turn the crockpot on low and let it sit for 6-8 hours.

What are YOU having tonight? PLEASE delurk and let me know. Post it in the comments section, no fair e-mailing it to me directly.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

And baby makes five

Baby Jo joined us today. For the first few weeks she will be with us for two days a week, then for three days a week, and then in May will join us for four days a week. Of course, these are ten hour days. In any case, so far so good. We even made it out to a playdate at a friend's house today. I managed to work it so the three youngest ones are upstairs napping right now and A and B are having "quiet time" on the couch. Not bad. Plus I have dinner in the crockpot, a load of laundry in the dryer, breakfasts and lunches made for tomorrow, and the table and counters wiped off. I'm feeling almost cocky - I'm sure now that I said all this, the afternoon is going to be long and painful. Seriously though, I am exhausted, so I'm really glad for this opportunity to sit right now. I might even need to pull out the caffinated tea bags for a little jolt soon. Hopefully I will get to bed on time as I kind of did last night (was in bed on time but started reading a new book, so . . . ) but actually go to sleep by 10.

Last night I got a little caught up watching Super Nanny at 9. Did you see it? The family had SEVEN kids, and the dad was being shipped to Iraq in a few weeks for at least a year. These kids cursed and called each other names like you would not believe, but after watching the mom curse at them later ("Open the @#$% door!") I could understand why even the little ones were cursing. One of the strategies that Jo consistently implements in every household is a posted schedule. It really got me thinking about how that could help us, especially with the baby here. If nothing else, I MUST get up at 6 to shower and dress, and start getting the kids dressed when they wake up (usually around 6:30). That way that would be downstairs and done breakfast by the time DN-A and DN-J arrive at 7:30. That makes a HUGE difference. We did it today, now I have to work on getting to bed on time so I can get up on time so it continues. Oh, what a tough cycle.

On a completely different topic, my boys are huge milk drinkers. We actually had to limit their milk intake when they were younger (and still do) to 16 oz (two sippy cups worth). I didn't really understand when my sister said that DN-A doesn't seem to like milk. J drinks a lot too, but recently has started protesting, requesting "juice" (water with a splash of apple juice on top). To ensure that my three get their two cups of milk in each day, we start with milk every morning. This morning J grabbed her morning cup of milk as usual. After two sucks from her sippy cup, J pulls away and looks at me accusingly as she shouted, "There's milk in my apple juice!"

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Clean Sweep

I have great friends.
Karin worked hard to figure out what was up with my messed up blog, tried several things, and had to give up because she agreed with me and it made no sense. My FLYlady friends from my local Yahoo message board support group (does that describe us?) all did me a favor and checked it out, but everyone was telling me that it looked fine. Finally one called me up and together we changed the screen resolution and text size and TADA! Now it looks okay to me, too. My son, the reason I now lock the computer up so he can't get to it, even though he has figured out that any key he finds will allow him to pick the lock, actually changed the settings on my computer. He has also changed the color somewhat and I cannot figure out how to get it back. Do you know how hard it is to play Solitaire when you can't tell what's red and black?!!

In any case, it looks fine to me right now too. Of course, tomorrow it might look strange again, but we'll have to wait and see.

I have so many special projects that I want to do around the house, so many great ideas. But I'm having so much trouble just doing the basic routines that I feel I'm never getting to anything else. I surpised DH yesterday by hiring my niece to babysit and we hung out at a Borders. I spent some time looking at a book for the tv show Clean Sweep. We no longer get the channel TLC, but when we did it was my favorite show. It made me inspired again. Besides the basement and the attic, we don't really have rooms that are so overwhelming. But we do have more than we need in this house. ultimate goal is one room at a time, I want to Clean Sweep this house. I know I can't do it alone, and I know I'll have to hire a babysitter when we do it, but wow - wouldn't that be great?!! DH has spring break in April, maybe I'll get him to take the kids to the park and I could start with a closet or something. I'm so excited I want to start right now. But, no, I have an hour left until he picks me up to go to his parents (where he and the kids are right now) for dinner - I'm off to do a Weekly Home Blessing (clean or "bless" the house for those not up on FLYlady-speak).

Saturday, March 18, 2006

SOOO Confused!!

When I look at my blog, it still looks messed up. I see on the sidebar the title (About Me - I think that's what it says) and my name and then the rest of the sidebar is underneath my last post at the bottom of the page. Is that what everyone else is seeing?

PLEASE delurk and tell me how it looks to you! It's driving me crazy.

Friday, March 17, 2006

Happy Birthday, J

Two years ago right about now I was being taken up to the maternity ward having delivered my little girl about four hours ago. What an experience! I had to have general anasthesia for my emergency c-section with the boys after being on all kinds of drugs to stop the preterm labor for the eight weeks on bedrest, so I don't remember too much about that (except what I've been told - and it wasn't pretty). With J I got to have the birth experience that I wanted: my family all around me, being aware and actively participating, the incredible sense of accomplishment that I was able to do what I had set out to do, and then, the huge surprise at the end - a girl!

We thought we were done after we had the boys. We thought after five years of infertility and two IVF cycles that it would be impossible for us to conceive on our own. We were wrong! And as amazed as I was when we found out we were pregnant, I am so glad I have this amazing little girl in our lives.

Happy birthday, baby J - you're not a baby anymore!

Stupid, Illogical Computers

I'm so pissed that I can't figure out how to fix my blog! I spent a couple hours last night trying to fix it and it was fixed - temporarily. I showed it to DH - he can verify that it looked right. And then the next time I clicked on it, the sidebar info was again all at the bottom. WTF?!! I cannot figure out why it's doing that. I even went so far as to have my friend Karin make a test blog using the same template (working correctly) for me and compared the codes - exactly the same minus one line. I added that line but it didn't fix completely. Then I copied the test blog's code and pasted it on my blog (erasing what I had before). That should have made it look like the test blog, right?!!! WRONG!!! It makes no sense! This is supposed to be so logical, but it's driving me crazy because it's NOT!!

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Overactive bladders

My wonderful friend Karin has sent me a revised template to try to fix this messed up one, so after I post this I'm going to attempt to use it. Wish me luck!

We don't have to be anywhere until 10:30 - DN-A's going to be meeting us - so we had a slow morning. Translation - I let the kids play in the boys' room while I laid in bed watching the Today Show. We don't do that often, but it's so nice when we do. Of course now their room is trashed and I was too hungry once they were dressed to make them clean it up, so we'll just do that later. Really. We will.

We have a Purim story hour at our library this morning (sponsered by Jewish Federation). After lunch and naps/quiet time, Karin is coming over with two of her kids so we can make hamantaschen (I'll be cheating by using sugar cookie dough, but that doesn't really matter). Then we're off to another friend's house for a pizza playdate. A terrific afternoon/evening for a Thursday when DH has his grad class. I try to plan stuff for that day so the long day/night is not too tough. Of course, this week I messed up - when I told DH about our plans for today at dinner last night, he reminded me that he does NOT have class tonight due to the school's spring break. "But remember? I told you about that already." Ummm, no, I didn't remember. I would forget my own name if it wasn't written in a few places around here. Is it crossed off on the calendar? NOOO!!! Okay, it turns out it's not a big deal because he has a lot of work to do and will just stay late at work, but still . . .

Okay, I'm totally thrilled with having a little girl who is potty trained. It's fabulous. HOWEVER. She wants to pee on that toilet every two minutes - and I'm hardly exaggerating. We only have one bathroom and it's upstairs. Peeing on the little potty in the living room is not good enough. She wants to "go pee upstairs." If I let her go alone, she soon takes everything in the bathroom drawers out of the drawers and flushes the toilet with 400 yards of toilet paper in it at least ten times. So I need to stop everything and take her up. I'm trying to tell her to try to hold it in some, but even when she has just peed, she wipes herself, throws the paer in the bowl, flushes, and then says, "I have to pee!" And it starts all over again!!! I know, I know, I shouldn't complain, and I am happy that she knows what to do. And I know that once the novelty wears off she won't want to go so often. But how high will our water bill BE by then?!!

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

My Neverending List

You know those things they have where you press a button and you can locate your keys? I don't quite know how it works, but what a great invention! Perfect for people who lose their keys all the time, like I used to before I found a place by the door to put them when I come in. I need to invent something like that for my glasses. I swear, I waste so much time every day looking for them!

I had a fabulous list that I made up yesterday, and excellent intentions to get through the whole thing. I don't know how I manage to "forget" my children each time a make up a to do list. I never think to factor them in. Of the 18 things on my list, I got through three. Yes, you read correctly: THREE. Yes, that means I have 15 things still to do. I had forgotten that I had promised DH to give him a haircut when he got home from work yesterday. I couldn't find my good scissors, so first I was trying to cut his hair with large clunky scissors - didn't work too well. Then I tried using small really sharp scissors - worked, but took much longer than it should have. In any case, much of my afternoon went to that. And before he got home, there was J. Some days she wakes up from her nap and is fine, just wants to sit with me for a few minutes and then she's off. Yesterday she woke up but couldn't really stop crying. She wanted to be held nonstop, but didn't want me to sit or lay down. Or breathe. Or touch her - but don't put her down! Aaaargh. In any case, I still have a heck of a to do list for today.

After I drop the boys off this morning, J and I are running to A.C. Moore to get foam board or poster board so I can make them both hamantaschen costumes (three-sided Purim cookies) for their Preschool Purim carnival at 11. I'll have to arrive a little early for that to bring the costumes in. I also want to get supplies to make a "Get up and go" chart like I saw on Super Nanny Monday night. I love that show, for the most part. If nothing else, I get good ideas from it. Hopefully I'll have some time when I'm done making the costumes to get something else on my list done this morning, but probably not, especially since I still need to throw dinner into the crockpot.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Shifting norms

I got up/showered and dressed before the kids got up today. Makes SUCH a huge difference! I have a long list on the white board (which is on the inside door of my new computer armoire - for which A has figured out how to pick the lock) of all I want to do, my goal being to spend fifteen minutes doing each. I'm allowing myself a moment right now because I just got everyone down for naps/quiet time and the clothes are fluffing, almost ready to be folded. It is a pretty big list. Let's see: 18 items, fifteen minutes each, plus time for a five minute break in between (or a fifteen minute break after three) - I can do it, especially since DH will be home at a normal time tonight.

Talked to someone yesterday about our ER trip with J. I know for some people taking your child to the ER must be terrifying. It was for us the first couple times we had to bring B in, when he was around 10 months old. It was especially scary for me because DH was out of town and I was alone with the boys, trying to figure out what to do for this child who was struggling and working so hard for each breath. That first time I took him in he was admitted over night. I had to make the amazingly hard decision NOT to tell DH about B being sick because he was stuck at conference far away with no way to get back. If I told him, he would just be very worried with nothing to do about it, which is not good. If he was closer and could have gotten home, or if it had been life threatening, of course I would have told him, but he wasn't and while it was serious, B was not going to die from this. Since that first trip with B we have gone to the hospital with both B and J so many time I have honestly lost count. It's kind of strange when your norm shifts, so that going to the ER is no big deal. I was talking to another parent at the boys' school whose younger son has many feeding issues and has to be hospitalized often. She was describing her week to me, that they had just come from the hospital because he was there for the last two days - she said it in such an off-handed way, like it was just a commonplace thing, and I realized that it was commonplace - it was normal for them. Just like traveling to the ER every month or so to get the kids' pulse ox checked or to get a chest x-ray, it's normal for us.

That's it for today. Not very profound, just thinking about our last hospital visit. . . and all that I now have to do.

Monday, March 13, 2006

Returning to the Land of the Living

So let's see . . .
Friday was my bad mommy day. J woke up with a cold. I was feeling rushed and wanted to get out the door, so I ignored the fact that she was coughing a little and did not do a nebulizer treatment. Not a good idea for a kid with Reactive Airway Disease. DS volunteered to take her for the morning (woohoo) so I didn't see her again until 12. By then she was already wheezing and retracting (her ribs were apparent with every breath she took, meaning she was working really hard to breathe). I quickly did a treatment, but it was really too late. I tried another one two hours later (as opposed to four, like we would usually do) since she wasn't responding, but that one didn't work either. We ended up at the ER around 5:30 and stayed until 12:30. If I could have done that day over again, I would have 1) done a treatment at the first sign of a cough, since I know it can get out of hand so fast, 2) picked up dinner on our way to the ER, since we know there's always a long wait, 3) only given J a little bit of her dinner that I picked up from the cafeteria there, since she hadn't eaten in a while and I wasn't sure how she'd react to a lot of food, 4) packed a lightweight sleeper for J to change into, because when she threw up her entire dinner all over herself in the waiting room, I didn't want to put her in a winter sleeper for the rest of our time there since she was running a fever, 5) packed her pacifier, since she doesn't go to sleep without it and it would have really helped by the time we were over three hours past her bedtime and she STILL had not fallen asleep, 6) bought water to drink instead of the two sodas I had since they eneded up keeping me awake very long into the night. Okay, that's about all. Live and learn.

The next day I was very tired (staying up until 3 will do that). I made it to the Mothers of Multiples used clothing/equipments sale and bought a lot of great stuff for the kids. By the time I got home DH had to leave for the rest of the day. Soon after I gave the kids lunch I developed the stomach bug and had to keep running to the bathroom. Yuck. And when I was not in dire need of the toilet, my stomach cramped and cramped very painfully. I finally took all the kids out to the yard (gotta love fenced in yards) and let them play while I sat in a chair. Had a lot that I had wanted to do, but it had to wait. DH returned at 5, I headed upstairs.

Sunday I had to work at the Purim Carnival at the synagogue. Still not on real food yet, but working the preschool game room. It was fun! When I was finished there, I went home, planning to clean the house but instead camped out on the couch (or in the bathroom). Fun.

I believe I accidentally missed taking my medication on Sunday, because I woke up today VERY dizzy. Stomach didn't feel too great either, but the dizziness was what was killing me. Took it easy as much as I could today, taking J to a program at the library after dropping the boys off at school. J played, I sat. After lunch, DN-A and J napped, the boys watched tv, I laid on the couch. DH got home early and I got to rest upstairs. I started feeling well enough to go out a little, so managed to run a couple errands. Nice to be returning to the land of the living!

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Getting the day going!

My morning plans got cancelled, my afternoon plans fell through - we are left with a day with absolutely nothing to do. Wow. That hasn't happened in a really long time. I almost messed it up by rushing us out the door to a story hour, but changed my mind at the last minute. It's nice to have a day at home every once in while. I have already done two loads of laundry, and a third is in the dryer and a fourth is in the washer. Haven't done too much more than that, so really have to get cracking so the day is not wasted!

Had a great time last night at our Mother's and More meeting. Three of us talked about our crafts. I don't usually think of scrapbooking as a craft, but it is. It was fun talking about it with people who were interested, not just people who look at me like I have too much time on my hands. And I got to show them how to scrap on a budget, something I think I'm an expert on.

Have I mentioned that while A still has not peed one drop on the potty, J is now on her third day wearing big girl underpants and has successfully finally managed to poop in the toilet? The baby step we're working on right now with A is for him to be able to recognize when he pees in his diaper. We have a tissue in there for him to feel the wetness. He was able to do it twice yesterday, but has not yet today. Sigh.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Potty training

This potty training thing is really hard for A. J seemed to catch on really quickly, in a day, and is now wearing underpants. She had two accidents yesterday, but that's not that bad! With A we're working on small goals - baby steps. This week our goal is to get him to recognize when he goes in his diaper. I have a tissue in there so he'll feel the wetness. This morning he announced during breakfast that he peed! This was the first time he told me he did and actually got it right. I'm so excited for him. I know it's frustrating for him, too. I have all his paperwork filled out and am just waiting for his teacher to fill out her form, then I can send it all in to the IU. I found out they have forty days to begin evaluating from when they receive the paperwork, so can't wait to get that started! I'll be really interested to see if they find out anything, or are able to give me some strategies for working with him.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Hebrew School

Still don't know why my site is screwed up, but oh well.

Had a frustrating Hebrew School class last night. I teach Resource Room, which is for both kids that have some kind of problem making it tough for them to learn a new language, or kids that come to school half-way through the year, or kids that are starting to learn Hebrew but are a lot older than the other kids in the beginner class, or kids that know a lot of Hebrew but are a lot younger than the other kids in the other classes. I have seven kids. Two are beginners that started a couple weeks ago and are now on the same level as each other. They both are learning the language quickly and are hard workers. Then I have three kids that are officially at the second level, but two have reading disabilities and the other is having a real tough time retaining stuff too, so all three of them are requiring a lot of my attention, and I'm constantly trying to come up with good strategies for them to retain what we have already done, even if it's just the sounds that all the letters and vowels make. Then I have one who is at the third level. He seems to know the Hebrew alphabet well, but is not inclined to work too hard. If I don't really watch him he could just stare off into space the whole time. My other student is officially also at that level, but has a tough time remembering the sounds of the alphabet so needs a lot of review. Basically, seven kids at four different levels. I have insisted that I now have an aide full time, but since the additional students have joined us gradually, and the aide only started yesterday, I haven't figured out how to make it all work. It's very frustrating. DH told me last night that the problem is that I'm a trained teacher, that most other people would just give the kids a bunch of busy work for them to work on in order to be able to work with each group. I can't do that - they're only with me for an hour and a half! I left class yesterday so frustrated, knowing that I didn't spend enough time with each group, and that some of the kids had to wait longer than I wanted. Apparently some of the kids thought that as well.

As I was getting ready to leave, one of the moms of the two sisters with reading problems came back. She said she was half-way home when she just had to turn around and come back. The girls had been complaining since they got in the car. They both were saying that I yelled at them (!) and had told them they couldn't ask questions anymore, that they should just know it by now. The mom believed that I didn't act this way, but I couldn't believe that both of them had this perception of me. Those of you that have seen me with kids know that I'm one of the most sensitive teachers around. At least, I feel this way. I've had too many rough experiences growing up to not be super-sensitive about everything I say. So just knowing that these girls felt this way was killing me! The girls also were complaining that we got a new kid every week, that we now had 11 kids (we have seven, but I understand the feeling) and that all they do is wait. I thanked her repeatedly for sharing all this with me, and told her to explain to the girls how frustrated I was as well and that next week will be a lot better. And then I went home and worked on it for the next two hours.

The problem was that no matter how I cut it, I wanted to start each group with some kind of direct instruction, teaching them something new, but there's no way I can do that with essentially three different classes. I finally came up with a basic plan that has me breaking the class into fifteen minute increments (something I normally do with any class because really, who can focus well for more than fifteen minutes?). During the first fifteen minutes I'm going to have the first two levels do a review game using magnetic letters with my aide. During that time, I'll work with the kids in the third level. When the timer goes off, those kids will begin doing independent work as a review/reinforcement for what they just learned with me. I will take the second level kids and give them direct instruction while my aide supervises a more in-depth review activity for the first level kids. During the next segment, I will provide direct instruction to the first level kids while the third level kids start a project/game and the second level kids do some independent work to reinforce what they just learned.

The other problem is that those kids in the middle, the three at second level, clearly are having a tough time. I know the girls have a lot of trouble reading English, so it's tough for them to work on their own. For next class, they're going to make flashcards for each of the words in the new prayer they're going to start learning. I'm going to provide them with the Hebrew AND the transliteration (the English letters for the Hebrew sounds) so they can match them up and then glue them to either side of the card. Definitely a meaningful activity, one that should make them feel good about what they're learning instead of frustrated as I'm sure they normally feel.

And I'll try to end each class with a game, asking each kid questions on their own level. I want them to enjoy coming to school. Hopefully this helps!


Aaargh! Messed up the site and I don't know how to fix it!!!
For some reason, the profile and links that used to be on the side are now at the bottom. I tried fixing it by going into the template and physically cutting and pasting it, but that only put them on top of all my posts. Then I decided changing my entire template might put it back to normal but it didn't! I don't know what to do. If anyone knows how I can fix this, PLEASE let me know!

Friday, March 03, 2006

Blog comments, potty training, and delegation

I love getting comments on my blog. It's so nice to know that people are actually reading what I have to say. But it feels like it's always the same couple of people (who I GREATLY appreciate) and I wanted to see if I could widen my readership (is that even a word?!!). So today I went through the list of blogs I check in with daily and made an effort to comment on almost everyone. (Nancy and Karin, don't be offended - I comment on yours all the time!) Thank you for the additional comments on yesterday's post - made me feel great, even while my son is frustrating me to know end.

A couple friends suggesting just sticking him in underwear and see if he reacts more when he's wet. As soon as I'm done, I'm going to try that. Let's see how that works. Someone mentioned to me last night that there are two women who you can pay to come in and potty train your child. They charge $200 and guarentee their results. Am I wrong for wanting to hire them? I'd GLADLY pay the full $200 if it would really work. I don't quite see how they could guarentee it, but I'd be willing to find out!

I'm president of my MOMS Club, and have been feeling terribly overwhelmed and like I'm letting everything slip through the cracks recently. So I'm trying to find ways to delegate even more. I just came up with a way to delegate a lot of the responsiblities with the newsletter. We discussed it last night at the Board meeting and then I sent out an e-mail to everyone involved to make sure we're all on the same page. I even made sure that our new secretary is now in charge if someone doesn't receive a copy for some reason, and the editor (who will now be in charge of sending it out via e-mail to the members who choose to receive it that way) is in charge of helping members who can't open the attachment. She was even going to cc me the e-mail when she sends it to the printer (used to be my job, but didn't need to be) and at first I agreed but then I realized that I don't need to be in the middle of this, so told her to cc the new secretary. I'm learning. I have an idea to delegate another aspect of the job, but that Board member wasn't at the meeting to discuss it with her. I hate using the telephone, and e-mailing her always is weird as none of her personality/voice comes through in her e-mails, always leaving me feeling like I offended her in some way. Hmmmm...maybe I'll see her soon and can just discuss it with her in person. I know, I'm a wimp, but it would make it easier if I could actually see her face while I'm discussing it with her. It's always much easier to "read" someone that way. I guess that's why I prefer it so much over using the telephone. It's too easy for the other person to say one thing and mean another when you can't see their face or read their body language.

I'm off to start transferring all my household files into my new-to-me hanging file folders (thanks, Karin!). I get way too excited about the idea of reorganizing files.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

My week

Wow - I haven't checked in for a few days - that's not like me.
Keeping this computer armoire locked all the time so A doesn't touch the computer seems to be helping me not be on the computer so much, which is probably a good thing.

The boys turned four on Tuesday. We spent the morning at the Please Touch Museum (thanks, Aunt J!), ate lunch in the car on the way home, had naps (the boys fell asleep and stayed asleep for another half hour or so in the car once we got home), went to a playdate, had everyone over for dinner and cake and presents. Whew! It was a long day!!! Yesterday we celebrated my dad's "un-birthday" (he's a leap year baby) - in the card I wrote for him I told him that I know that this is just another ordinary day, but 70 years ago, around this time, he was born, and we're all very happy about it. We all chipped in and got him a snow blower. His comment when he saw it is that it's not really a gift for him, is it! DH and my brother-in-law have had to go over each snow storm for awhile now and shovel out his driveway and sidewalk so he doesn't take upon himself to do it. When DH heard what we were getting him he was almost giddy.

And today was my very last Mom's Morning Out! One girl never showed (she only came once a week for this final session - two months), one girl had already started her "big girl school", so we only had one boy with us today. I just read a book about a woman's experience running a home day care from 9-5. She did it with her sister. I don't know - doing it full time sounds tough. Doing it for half a day seems more plausible, but I guess if I were to ever consider doing that it would have to be full time. Doesn't matter, I'm thrilled MMO is done for awhile. It a great source of income when we needed it, but since we don't desparately need it right now, I'm thankful to be done.

Yesterday afternoon we began a more intensive, though relatively laid back, form of potty training for A and J. I wasn't planning to do J, too, but she's very interested, so couldn't stop her. At home, they have been naked from the waist down, encouraged to sit on the potty as much as they want. That first afternoon, J peed five times on the potty! A held it in for four hours, then peed in a diaper during the five minute drive to my parents. Even there we got him naked again, but he just seems too anxious to do it. I even put the diaper on the potty for him to sit in, but that didn't work. Finally today I decided that when he needs to pee or poop, he just had to tell me and I'd put a diaper on him. If he managed to pee in the diaper then, he'd get an m&m. It took him all morning holding it in, but he finally did it right after lunch!!! I figure we'll continue like this as much as possible for the next few days and then transition into sitting on the potty in the diaper when he has to pee/poop. Slow going, but I've never seen a kid more uncomfortable about going on the toilet or the potty. Hopefully this gradual transition will do the trick. PLEASE any suggestions, offer them!