Thursday, September 28, 2006

30 Days of Peace - Day Four

I love my children. But there is something to be said about having all four of the kids who no longer take morning naps in preschool at the same time.

While DN-J took her LONG morning nap and DN-A, A, B, and J played happily with their friends at school, I was able to sort through and purge countless papers. I am down to such a small amount I am almost bouncing on air! And going through all of them in front of my new TiVo, watching shows that were on past my bedtime on Tuesday, was incredible!

Preschool - it may only be for three hours a day, and J may only be in it twice a week, but I'm finally getting a chance to truly catch my breath and it feels good.

Thanks, Chaotic Mom, for starting this!

Thirteen Things I'm Proud of This Week

Thirteen Things about R

1. I went through SO many papers on Tuesday and Thursday (when all the kids but DN-J were in school) I can't even believe it!

2. I got to balance the checkbook and found TWO mistakes in MY FAVOR!

3. I paid all the bills.

4. I purged my bill files and whittled it down to ONE file marked monthly bills. Since everything can be found on-line now, I am only going ot be saving bills and statements for one month, then shredding.

5. I talked with the OT on Monday and after observing A she agrees that he should be receiving OT at least one hour a week, which is 210 minutes MORE than was suggested on his IEP/month.

6. I filled out my jury duty form and hopefully will get excused since I can't afford childcare for all five kids for the day or more.

7. I made the decision to lessen my stress level and backed out of being co-leader of Mothers and More.

8. This decision did not appear to anger any members of the club (even though I left them hanging) and someone has already stepped up to take over for me.

9. What a relief!

10. I managed to make an apple cake (love my Tastefully Simple mixes!) for my Creative Memories party last night.

11. We raised well over my goal for our Walk Now for Cure Autism Now this Saturday.

12. I finally got around to registering DH's car - oops!

13. Cleaned up the house yesterday afternoon and it's still clean!!!

Amazing the difference a few days and two mornings to myself makes! :)

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The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

30 Days of Peace - Day Three

I made a tough decision this week. I decided to step down as co-leader to my Mothers and More chapter. I took a look at everything I was doing and that was the one thing that I was doing just for me. That might sound silly, but that's the only thing I could really afford to cut. So I did. I'm still going to be involved as a member, just like I'm a member of my MOMS Club, but with DH' new rehearsal schedule at night, it's just too hard to find babysitting to make the meetings! I'm really bummed about not working with the other co-leader any more because I really liked working with her, but I had to do it.

Hopefully that will ease some of my stress, thus bringing me more peace.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

30 Days of Peace - Day Two

I sorted through a lot of paper today. I plan on trying to do more tomorrow while the boys are at school, if J "lets" me. One of the things I was able to do was balance the checkbook and pay a bunch of bills (many overdue - bad, bad, bad), but in doing this I discovered that I had double entered a mortgage payment, so while I thought I had been bouncing checks for a short period of time, I actually wasn't. What a relief!

The Paper Monster

DN-J is down for a nap, the other four are at preschool, I have a little over an hour and a half before I have to leave to run a couple errands. In between loads of laundry to try to demolish Mt. Washmore, I am going to work on anhialating the Paper Monster. Send help if I don't report in when the kids go down for an afternoon nap!

To see others who are also trying to tackle Tuesday, check out 5 minutes for mom.

Monday, September 25, 2006

30 Days of Joy - Day One

I'm stealing Chaotic Mom's idea and starting my own 30 days of peace (thanks to her for the banner). I think when I'm this stressed out, it's important to reflect on at least one good thing each day. I'm going to attempt to find something each day that really makes me smile and blog about it before I go to bed.

I love hearing myself reflected in my daughter. The latest example is that I hear her call her dolls and Baby J "Sweetie." I always call my kids (and my students) by endearments, everything from "Sweetie" to "Honeybun" to "Cutie Patootie." I never really think twice about it until one of them comments on it (DN-A tells me that he's not ____, he's DN-A!) or I hear them echoing it.

I defintitely like that reflection much better than when I saw her drag her large stuffed duck (the thing is almost as big as she is) into the bathroom and in an angry voice tell it, "You stay here in time out! No hitting!" This was repeated over and over - one time she wouldn't let the duck leave the bathroom all night! While I do admit to putting her in timeout like that a few times for that reason, it was never in the bathroom and it was never overnight!

She cracks me up.

Need a Break

And not just for an hour or two.

I need a week to catch up on sleep and do all the friggin' things I need to do without having to be accountable to anyone. I know that isn't going to happen, but I NEED it so bad.

I'm just overwhelmed. It seems like a constant theme on my part. Why really does anyone want to read this? It's just like I'm on a giant exercise wheel and I'M NOT REALLY GOING ANYWHERE! The more I do, the more that has to get done. And I'm having trouble seeing the light at the end of the tunnel.

Rosh Hashana, the Jewish new year, was this weekend. It brings with it a time for introspection (is that the right word?). I used to write in a journal before I started this blog, and I looked back at this time of year for the last few years. Every time I end up writing the same thing. My goals are simple: take better care of myself and stick to my routines. I can hear one of my wise FLYlady friends telling me now, "If it really was simple, you'd be doing it already. Clearly, it's not that simple for you." I get that. But I'm getting ready to crawl into bed, pull the covers over my head, and hibernate for the week. That won't help anything, but at least I won't have to deal with it all!

I read my friend's blog this morning and feel guilty complaining.

And yet, can't stop my mind from racing.

So, I now have two hours (if J will PLEASE play independently and I don't end up feeling too guilty that I wouldn't play with her) to at least do some more laundry and clean up (shovel out?) the main surfaces. I THINK that will make me feel better. I can't even attempt anything on my big list of things I need to do, some of them very important until I can at least walk without tripping, or my three year old nephew doesn't tell me that I need to clean up (ouch). Maybe if I do that while the kids are at school, I'll be able to get through some of the important stuff during nap time.

That is, if I can keep myself out from under the covers.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

J Story

J is sick. Not "rush to the hospital" kind of sick, but sick none the less. In fact, if we haven't already had SOOO much experience from both she and B with RSV and pneumonia, we probably would have already gone to the doctor today, but I'm sticking to the rule of thumb of judging how bad it is by her behavior. And right now, she's acting fine.

She woke up coughing, crying, and feverish, and despite all I tried to do to make her feel better, she finally just looked at me and said, "I just can't stop crying." She felt that lousy.

After breakfast, I pulled out the nebulizer and gave her both her Pulmicort (inhaled steroid) and Albuterol. After she inhaled all that she could of both medications, she clearly felt a lot better. But she's still not great.

Once the boys were at school and we were all back home, I convinced her to lay on the couch and rest. It didn't take much for her to be breathing hard and retracting (using her chest muscles to help her breath) a LOT, but she wasn't wheezing at all. It's a tough call. If I call the doctors for advice it seems that they have to tell me to bring her in. And typically we go in, they listen, test her pulse ox (which for both kids is USUALLY fine, unless they're really obviously wheezing and struggling), do a treatment there (the same one I would do at home) and then send us home with instructions to do the treatments every three hours instead of every four. Sometimes they prescribe an oral steroid, and if it's after hours, they send us to the ER instead of even coming in. So after so many times of going in because they're breathing heavy and fast while retracting (three things they say to really look out for) only to have their pulse ox be well above 95%, I've learned to judge by the way they're acting instead. After she was outside for a bit and came back home, she seemed in a much better mood.

On to the story. If you're eating, you might want to stop.

J ate most of her lunch and was then eating apple slices still at the table. I left the dining room to replenish drinks and heard a cry of distress from the table. B came running in to tell me that J was in trouble. I ran back in and saw that J had thrown up (she has been coughing so much, so I have no doubt that a coughing jag triggered this) all over her self. With an apple slice still in her hand, she cried for me to clean her up. I quickly did, downplaying it to her because she was upset. While I was cleaning her up, she started heaving again. I held up a cloth and caught it all, telling her it was okay. The moment she was done, as I was moving the puke-filled burp cloth away from her mouth, she started eating that apple slice again. And continued eating the rest of her lunch as if nothing had happened. Now I'm glad she got over this incident quickly, but EWWWW!

You may now resume your snack. If you want.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

I did it!

I managed to clean a good portion of our bedroom today. This has been a total pigsty and seems to be forever the depository for EVERYTHING! It looks so much better now that we can see the floor. Go me!

Tomorrow I'm hosting the first meeting of a playgroup I joined just for MOMS Club members for J. I'm very excited. When I first joined MOMS Club and we started age based playgroups, I wasn't too interested mainly because I wanted to see lots of different moms, not the same ones over and over, and I thought by not joining I would keep my options open. But, unfortunately, almost everyone who was active joined one, and little by little, attendance at open playgroups dropped significantly. In August (or maybe July) I had hosted two events and NO ONE RSVPed. Gee, I didn't feel like a loser at all. :) Okay, maybe a little. I know, I know, it was summertime, a lot of people were away, blah, blah, blah, but still. In any case, it certainly seems that in our chapter, one of the ways to develop close friendships is to join an age-based playgroup. I've heard of playgroups doing their own Moms' Nights Outs (something that the chapter has for everyone once a month but is often poorly attended) in addition to their twice a month playgroups and then some. Bottom line, obviously I have decided if you can't beat them, join them.

And one more thing: had my friend Heather and her kids over yesterday and we played in the back yard. Even though I thoroughly sprayed myself with bug spray, I was clearly eaten alive. I'm going nuts over here!!!

Organization or Chaos?

I watched Wife Swap last night and have a question for all of you: do you feel better when your house is in order or when it is in chaos?

I opted to stay home from the gym today (I'll still get in my three days this week - yesterday, Thursday, and Friday - now that I figured out that I don't always have to do the (9:30 - 10:30 class that I love but CAN do the express woman's circuit workout) so I can get some stuff in order. DN-J went down for a nap as soon as we got home. I did another load of laundry (finally caught up), balanced the checkbook, and am now about to tackle my bedroom (it's bad, really bad). I'm striving to have a big obvious difference before DH gets home. Not only will he be thrilled, I'LL be thrilled!!!

On Wife Swap's season premiere, they had a woman who is a professional organizer, and EVERYTHING was super organized and had a place inside her house. Now I'm not saying that I would make my family work on cleaning ALL the time, but I really liked seeing her labeled containers for everything, and her labels even in the refrigerator and cabinets so EVERYONE knew where groceries should get placed (that would help a LOT!). I didn't quite get the other mom's reaction that she needed to bring chaos into this world. So what about you?

Monday, September 18, 2006

The Secret Ingredient

Sunday we had my grandfather's unveiling. For all of you non-Jewish readers, an unveiling marks the end of the official mourning process. My grandfather died in January, and we selected yesterday for the family to get together again at the cemetary and "unveil" the gravestone for all to see. We talked about him, said some prayers, and then went back to my parents' and, like in all Jewish events, ate!

One of my jobs to prepare for the day was to make sweet and sour meatballs. Saturday I sat at my table and made up five pounds of meatballs. I used my family's special recipe. It has been kept secret for years and years, but I will share it with you now: two cans of tomato soup for every one can of whole berry cranberry sauce. There you go. I know, really complicated.

Anyway, despite a minor problem in the beginning stages of cooking, they simmered for the rest of the day and were delicious.

As we were all sitting around eating lunch on Sunday, my relatives all asked me what was different, what did I add this time that made it so special. What was my secret? I finally sat them all down and told them:

Once all the meatballs and sauce are in the large stock pot, turn the burner on high and walk away. Make sure you stay away for five minutes longer than you really should, long enough for the bottom to burn. THEN and only then is it okay to lower the temperature to low and let the meatballs simmer.

And there you have it - the secret, special ingredient to give it that smoky taste. Delicious!

Friday, September 15, 2006

Thursday Thirteen

Thirteen Things Ris Stessing About This Week

1. I have to make meatballs tonight for my grandfather's unveiling, which means I have to go out and buy the ingredients for the sauce. Five pounds worth should be enough.

2. Need to do more laundry.

3. I have to create a chart to try to find a baseline of when A goes to the bathroom in his pull-ups so we can start trying to "habit train" him.

4. I also need to create a "Get up and go" chart and a "Going to bed" chart for him.

5. I have to look over A's IEP and make sure he's getting the services he is supposed to be getting.

6. I have to look into reconvening A's IEP team so we can get goals on there for potty training and for all of his sensory issues.

7. I'm really tired.

8. Weighed myself today on the new digital scale I just bought. I never owned a scale as an adult since I used to have an eating disorder and was totally obsessed with the numbers. But since I'm definitely overweight now, I don't think it's a problem. I need to lose 22 pounds. It was 24 pounds before I worked out, so I'm defintely going to get in the habit of weighing myself AFTER I work out.

9. J is all of a sudden having a hard time separating from me.

10. I went back to the gym today and HAVE to work going regularly into my schedule.

11. Did I mention I'm tired?

12. The house is a MESS.

13. I have to figure out a way to get the rest of the summer's projects accomplished before NEXT summer.

On the plus side, my sister is taking the kids tonight for a sleepover. DH isn't really up to doing too much, so we might not even go out, but woohoo!!!

Links to other Thursday Thirteens!

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The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Who Would Have Guessed It?

My boys were 2 1/2 when I took them to preschool for the first time. J was six months old, so I carried her into their room in her carrier and watched while the boys ran into the room and began playing immediately, barely looking back. They were so excited to start school.

My nephew was 2 when he started school. He was already used to "school" since he had attended daycare twice a week when J was very young because I couldn't handle him four full days a week yet. Again, he barely looked back as he entered the room, mainly because we had already dropped the boys off down the hall in their classroom. Plus, we were at the boys' classroom from last year - how exciting! All year last year, we had to pull J out of both the boys' classroom and DN-A's classroom. We joked about how ready she was to start school.

So who would have guessed that out of all four kids, J would be the one to cling to me and tell me not to leave?!!

Okay, all four kids are at school. DN-J is sleeping. DH is still home (recovering from his surgery) and is now self-sufficient. It has been a tough week, but luckily I FINALLY got a good night's sleep last night (out of sheer exhaustion) and am feeling ready to go today. I've already gotten a load of laundry washed and it's in the dryer and another one in the washer. I chose to stay home today (instead of hitting the gym) in order to clean (woohoo) and, of course, to update my blog so I won't get accused of slacking again. I'm going to try to do a "crisis cleaning" because I will feel so much better when I can get everything cleaned up! All right, here goes!

Monday, September 11, 2006

Decisions, decisions

School is such a wonderful thing. I forgot how nice it was to have relative quiet time at home during the day. J, DN-J and I came back home after dropping the boys off for their first day of school. DN-J went down for a nap, and J started coloring. I was able to get a load of laundry folded and put away, gather up another load, even put all their sandwiches on their plates with cut up fruit. So nice!

Tomorrow DH has surgery to correct his sleep apnea. It's same day surgery, though we won't know what time it's scheduled for until 3:00 when he calls. I'm having such a tough time figuring the logistics of this all out. He wants me to go to the hospital with him in the morning. I totally understand that, but what do I do with the kids?!! They will all (except for DN-J) be in school from 9 until 1 (I'm paying for them all to have lunch that day), so at least that part of the day is covered. My concern is what do I do if DH needs to be at the hospital BEFORE 9? DH's parents will be meeting him at the hospital and will be with him all day, but he wants me there too. Oh, this is so hard. The really tough part is that tomorrow is J's very first day of school. This is a huge deal, and while I doubt sincerely she will have a hard time, but I want to be there! And I want to be there with DH too. I'm so torn. How do you choose between your children and your husband?!!!

Friday, September 08, 2006

I'm tired

I have been so tired the last two days I don't know what to do.
This morning I even was a "Bad Mommy" and laid down while my three watched tv. It was their regular tv time, so it's not like I feel anything's wrong with them watching tv once in a while. I actually fell asleep for an hour or so, interrupted numerous time, of course. I did eventually take the kids to the library (since I only have my three today, it wasn't too bad) so I could at least DO something with them. In a little bit we're headed to the mall to attempt to get our family portrait taken. Keep your fingers crossed that we get something we can use!

I can't figure out why I'm so tired all the time. It could be the new anti-depressant, it could be my thyroid (need to get my bloodwork done), it could be I'm getting overwhelmed by all I need to do. I don't know - I guess I need to start with the medical causes and see if that might be the reason. And maybe I'll go to bed before 10.

Okay, time to brush the kids' hair and get them into the car!

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Thursday Thirteen

Thirteen Things about R

I'm too tired to think of some creative topic, or even think of things I like about myself (see Shannon's contest if you're interested), so here are the random things running through my mind right now.

1. A just brought me a videotape. When I told him we're not watching anything in my room, he said, "I thought you wanted to watch the Wiggles." Yeah, that's right, Mommy, it's for you. Yeah.

2. I took all five to school today to meet their teachers. J was SOOOO thrilled to finally be going to school. Every time I mentioned anything about today, her whole face lit up. She will be going T/Th mornings and all three boys will be going all five mornings. What will I do with myself? Don't worry, that is purely a rhetorical question.

3. I'm tired.

4. I have to go to bed EARLY tonight. Being this tired during the day is NOT okay! We have too much to do.

5. Religious School starts Sunday, Hebrew school starts (for me) Tuesday with a different level that I'm teaching on Wednesday. I have a LOT of planning and prep work to do!!!

6. I think I have a mother's helper for Saturday to come with me so I can scrap with a bunch of friends for a few hours. There is a nursery in the church we meet in and I can let my kids play there with the 13 year old girl. I'll be available to help. I'll call her when I'm done - she should be home from school.

7. I had Hebrew orientation Tuesday night and Religious school orientation Wednesday night. Very excited to begin the new school year. I have LOTS of new ideas to try.

8. I would LOVE three uninterrupted hours to plan. It's not going to happen before Sunday, but I would LOVE it!!

9. When am I going to get the time I need to plan out the year and make detailed plans for at least the first week for each of my three classes?!

10. DH won't be home until 6 tonight. He left his cell phone here by accident so I can't even call him. I was out at the orientations the last two nights. Think he'll go for me going out as soon as he gets home to go plan? Hmmmm...

11. We're getting our family picture taken tomorrow afternoon (trying to make that a yearly tradition around this time).

12. What a great way to make a first impression with the other moms in J's class: " any chance do you have a tampon or pad?"

13. Some days I can look around the house and see the various places where I've done a great job organizing. Most days, I look around the house and see all the crap that still needs to get done. Guess what kind of day this is.

Links to other Thursday Thirteens!

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

Wednesday, September 06, 2006


Thanks, M-J, for the simple update idea!

Transitioning back into the "back to school" mentality, being in charge all day, every day - it's tough! I'm tired!!! Have to set up that darn TiVo I got because I KNOW that will help get me in bed earlier than I did last night.

Last night had our Hebrew School orientation. This was the first time Hebrew School was separate from religious school for the orientation, so we had to time to delve into specific teaching ideas to help the kids gain more understanding of each prayer that we work on.

I have a whole blog post to write about faith and Judaism and religion. I'm not up for it now, nor do I have the time, but I have lots of thoughts about the subject and am not sure how to write them in a way that won't put some people on the defensive. Guess I just need to go back to the fact that this blog is first and foremost for me, a place to put down my thoughts. More to come on this topic.

I have Religious School orientation tonight. I had picked up a bunch of books from our education director on teaching Hebrew in the context of prayer yesterday, all that I had learned about from a workshop I went to last week. Today I have to remember to actually pick up all my text books/teacher guides so I can start planning. After all, school starts on Sunday!

I have some exciting new ideas that I want to implement in my Hebrew School classroom. But as usual, everything takes time that I don't have to set it up. I'll figure it out. I have to!

I better go. I have to send out an e-mail to begin fundraising for the 5K walk for Cure Autism Now. We created a family team - have to make sure all the family registers and starts raising their own money, too.