Monday, December 31, 2007

I'm an Organizing Maniac!

An amazing thing happens when my depression is under control (thanks to my magic pills) and I'm no longer feeling the need to take a nap every chance I get (thanks to my other magic pills): I'm motivated and excited about doing things around the house. This has been a great week for my house. I've been an organizing madwoman! Here's what I've managed to get accomplished so far - all while helping (i.e. bringing them more juice boxes and putting on new movies for them to watch) my sick children who were all diagnosed with pneumonia this week (yes, it's no longer just J):
  • Cleaned out the refrigerator and freezer
  • Created two different snack boxes for the kids to take snacks independently
  • Reorganized my pots and pans to make them more accessible
  • Reorganized my laundry room shelves so they only held cleaning supplies and soaps
  • Cleaned out the pantry to create more space on top and put like items in containers
  • Cleaned out the food cabinet in the kitchen to also put like items together in containers
  • Reorganized the kids' arts and crafts supplies and projects into baskets
  • Cleaned out J's drawers and moved the clothes into her new "official" bedroom with the boys
  • Moved the furniture around in the boys' room to utilize the remaining toddler bed that was still there for J (DH helped me)
  • Cleared off the boys' shelves on their hutch and bookshelves
  • Reorganized the large white cubbies in the dining room to show off some theater mementos and contain our games, a box for towels and washcloths, our laptop, a box for drawing paper and mini-notebooks, a box for fun worksheets and papers from school, a box of coloring books, a box with crayons, markers, colored and regular pencils (all in their own boxes), a place for the kids' school bags, a box for the kids to put their papers each day, a box for my papers, a box for DH's papers, a box for all our library books, and a box of things that need to be returned or given to other people
  • Made room in our bedroom for the glider rocker that had been in J's room and moved it in (okay, DH did this, but it was my idea)
  • Went through all of J's hanging clothes and pulled out the stuff that is too small for her
  • Went through the boys' pajamas and pulled out the stuff that is too small for them
  • Cleaned out the boxes in our linen closet that contain medicines, soaps, etc.
  • Created a rag box out of all the towels that have outlived their usefulness
  • Cleared off two shelves in the kitchen to show off some pretty candles
  • Cleared off the top of the fridge
  • Cleaned out and reorganized the "junk drawer" in the kitchen
  • Climbed Mt. Washmore and declared myself victorious (A.K.A. washed, dried, and put away ALL the laundry in the house)
  • Cleaned out and reorganized the medicine cabinet and other cabinet (alright, it's not QUITE like the one I linked, but that's the idea) in the bathroom
  • AND, last but definitely not least, I cleaned out and repurposed the shelves along the basement steps. I also got DH to bring up a total (so far) of SIX different boxes that were down there and reorganized them, getting rid of LOTS of stuff along the way.

The basement is the one big phobia I have. I don't know why, possibly because I don't really like creepy crawly things and am worried (for good reason) that they're hanging out down there. I actually begin to hyperventilate when I go down there. It drives me CRAZY because it's a big disorganized mess, and while I know it's not truly impossible for me to go down there and clean it up, it's really, really, really tough. HOWEVER, this week I was able to offer DH enough incentive to bring me up a few boxes at a time for me to work through, and fill up two trash bags with trash. It's not much, but it's a start. I was even able to go down there myself and get a stack of dirty clear shoebox containers. Woohoo!

I discovered yesterday that J is definitely my daughter. When I started working in her old room (the new Upstairs Playroom) she was just as excited as I was. She kicked me out for a little so she could clean it up herself, and then had a great time with me as we found new places to put the toys. At one point, I said to her, "This is fun!" J gave me big smile as she agreed. I love having a little girl!

Tonight we're having a few families over to help us ring in the new year (WAY early, but who can stay up til midnight anymore, especially when my guys wake up at 7 no matter what time they go to bed). I can't wait to show off all my organization projects (I already warned them that they would have to ooo and aaahh). My plan for the rest of the day is to actually finish cleaning up around the house (dusting, vacuuming, mopping), something I'd be doing even if we weren't having company, but it makes it easier to have that incentive, and then if I have more time, try to do a few more projects around the house. The best part for me is that I feel no sense of urgency, no need for perfection - I'm just loving getting these things accomplished! I keep opening my basement door just to look at my beautiful shelves!

I know I'm a dork, but I'm an insanely happy dork.

Friday, December 28, 2007

The J Drama

It is a testamant to my patience that my daughter survived this afternoon. As it was, the moment DH walked in the door from running his errands today, I very calmly explained, "I need to get out of the house for an hour or I may begin screaming and I'm not sure if I'll be able to stop." Suffice it to say I am now in my favorite coffee place sipping a decaf chai tea latte and typing away on my laptop.

We had this week planned out so nicely. Our Hanukkah present to the kids (and each other) was to send them to the Holiday Camp at a local kids' gym today and yesterday from 10-3 each day. They love it there and we would have time to see a movie, take a nap together, do a few jobs around the house, whatever. Well, I plan, God laughs. We had a fabulous Christmas at my in-laws' except J's cough eventually became Walking Pneumonia. We ended up in the ER Wednesday night around 11PM since her breathing was so rapid, shallow, and caused her to retract significantly with every breath. She had woken up around 10 halluncinating from her high fever. We immediately stripped her, began sponging her down, forced some Tylenol in her. After doing all that and she felt much cooler to the touch we then took her temperature which was 102 by then - wonder what it had been before we helped reduce the fever! We gave her a neb treatment but she was a little too far gone by then, so off to the ER we went. This was the first trip that DH was willing to stay home with the boys and let me go myself instead of making one of our parents come over to stay with them. Besides, we've gone so many times before that we feel like we are seasoned pros. I ended up being up all night - we finally were released at 5:30 AM with a prescription for an oral steroid after J received two different neb treatments there, her first dose of steroids, a chest x-ray to confirm the pneumonia her pediatrician had diagnosed after listening to her lungs that afternoon (she had started her antibiotic that night at home before she went to bed). She even needed oxygen for awhile because when she slept her pulse ox dropped below 90 (scary!). When we were released her pulse ox was holding steady at 94 (should be 100), so the ER pediatrician felt she could be home as long as we kept doing her neb treatment every 3-4 hourse, even though the night. I got home at 6 AM and collapsed into bed (Thank God that DH is off from school ths week!) until 10. DH took the boys to camp, but clearly J wasn't going anywhere. And so Thursday J hung out on the couch most of the day. I went back and forth between hanging out on the couch with her out of sheer exhaustion and cleaning/organizing different areas in the house.

Today we decided she should stay home again even though she is feeling better just so she would over-exert her healing lungs. Wow, what a fun day was had by all. DH was out of the house for about four hours, so I got the full blast of Miss Moody. A lot of the morning she was in a good mood, almost hyper, so either needing to play with me (which WAS nice) or needed to talk nonstop in a very loud voice. I kept stressing to her that in order to get better faster she needs to rest and drink plenty of fluids. This clearly made an impact on her because around noon she went into her bedroom, climbed into bed with her pacifier and "Mine" (her teddy bear/blanket she has slept with since birth) and kicked me out of her room. She then proceeded to take a nap. On her own. Without prompting from me. Without the tv being on. Amazing. Unfortunately she woke up in a miserable mood. Literally nothing I could do was right. Part of it was that she was hungry (which I take full credit for since I didn't insist she eat before the nap) and part of it was that she wasn't feeling well again, but it was NOT good.

The J Drama
(All of J's lines were said at the top of her lungs as she sobbed, all of my lines were amazingly stated in a calm, quiet voice.)

J: Put on a show!
Mommy: Excuse me? I won't do that unless you ask nicely.

Apparently that meant that I would not let her select a tv show in her mind.

J: I need a show to watch. PLEASE!!!
M: Okay, tell me what you want.
J: I can't pick a show!
M: Why not?
J: Because you said I couldn't!
M: I didn't say that, I just asked you to ask me nicely. Since you said 'please' I can put on whatever show you want.
J: No, I can't pick one!
M: Okay, then I'll pick one for you.
J: Nooo!!!
M: Okay, then you pick one.
J: I CAN'T!!!!
M: Then I'll just put one on - oh, look, there's Sesame Street.
J: I don't want Sesame Street!!!
M: Alright, then how about Dragon Tales? (As I turn it on)
J: Noooo, I don't want Dragon Tales!!!
M: Okay, then why don't I just turn off the tv?
J: Noooo, I wanted Dragon Tales!!!

And then we went through it all over again about a snack.
And then about every other thing that even went through her mind (I clearly have blocked out the rest of the afternoon as I'm unable to recall any other events right now, but trust me, there were plenty!).

My hour is up. I had threatened that I might just begin driving and not stop, but my sensitive children made me take that back as soon as I said it, so now I HAVE to go back.

My next post will be more positive, I promise. I have been able to accomplish so much this week around the house I have to brag some - I'm so proud of myself. I even managed to overcome my extreme basement phobia and clean out the shelves along the steps down to the basement, but that's a story for another day.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Straight No Chaser - 12 Days

Funniest Christmas Carol Video EVER!!!

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Getting ready

DH's show is over and vacation time has begun. Life is good! I slept in today (all the way until 12:30) but have vowed that this would be the only day I do that so I don't waste my time with DH home to help. In a few minutes I'm going to the store with J (nice to have the option of leaving the ones that DON'T want to go to the store home with Daddy) to buy pretzels and chocolate chips (to make some last minute home-made gifts) along with the fixings for Christmas breakfast at my in-laws.

My goal for today, after we make the chocolate covered pretzels, is to clean the house. I know, not very exciting, but we will head over to my in-law's tomorrow afternoon to celebrate Christmas with them, not returning until the 26th in the morning. I REALLY, REALLY, REALLY want to come home to a clean house.

I had great plans to make soup in a jar to give as gifts this year, which would have really helped keep costs down. I would have made twenty of them, but ended up running out of time, so we had to buy small Starbucks gift cards for the kids teachers and therapists as a small token of appreciation. Nice, but ended up costing more than we had wanted. Money is tight, so that was disappointing. I had an hour to myself yesterday to hang out ALONE at Starbucks with my laptop. I wrote a very detailed list of everyone we ended up buying gifts for (besides our family) so I would be very prepared for next year. I plan on making the soups in a jar for next year, so will start in October to make sure I'm finished in time without getting stressed out. I did use Shutterfly for my cards this year and LOVED how simple it was! I also updated my holiday card list on the computer so I could just print them out, saving lots of time

Looks like all three kids are going to stay home and play Candyland with Daddy, so I'm heading to Giant alone. And considering J's current lovely mood, I'm thrilled with that!

I'm off! Happy holidays, everyone!!!

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Thanks - I Needed That

We've been having some rough times with A recently. His meltdowns have increased. Some days we start the day with them, some days that just increase in the afternoons, but they're happening a lot. On top of that, he's developed yet another of his fears. You and I know they're irrational, but they make perfect sense to him. Most of his fears seem to revolve around noises that have startled him. Once something gets him startled, the fear seems to encompass more and more. A couple weeks ago, DH was straightening up and accidentally unplugged the tv/TiVo. When it turned back on the TiVo made a noise that startled him, so now he's terrified that the TiVo might make that noise again. When we arrive home after being out, he often comes out of the car with his hands on his ears, looking through the window to make sure the TiVo light is still on, just to be sure. It has now escalated to him flipping out yesterday when Daddy came home since he now has associated DH with causing the TiVo to make that scary sound. ARGH!!!

Today I took the kids to a program at the library. They were so well behaved. I reminded A of the rules as soon as we sat down (mainly that he can't make comments and ask me questions in his regular speaking voice during the show) and he remembered them most of the time. They had a lot of fun. At the end of the program a man dressed as Santa came and the kids wanted to talk to him (O--kay?) so we waited in line with the rest of the kids. The boy in front of had two women with him - one was probably his mom, the other his TSS. The TSS had a binder filled with PECS cards and they were trying to get him to point to the appropriate cards so he could tell Santa that he would like a reward please. The boy was cheerful and happy and thrilled to receive his reward from Santa. And he was completely non-verbal.

When the boys were younger and I was feeling overwhelmed with the day-to-day dealings of raising infant twins, I would somtimes watch shows on families with higher-order multiples and would always walk away feeling better, thinking if they can do it with however many kids they're attempting to raise, surely I can raise my two (and then three).

A is challenging. But he can tell me what is bothering him, what is causing the meltdowns, why he's screaming (eventually). He can tell me he loves me (even if it's twenty times or more a day). I know there are kids out there who can't, whose moms would do anything just to hear those words. And today I needed to be reminded of how good I have it.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Random Thoughts Bouncing Around My Head

It's been a while since I last posted. I don't like that! I really need to journal at least a few times a week, if just to clear out my head then for no other reason.

Here are the random things that are currently bouncing around my head:

1. Just read over my blog post from the end of November where I lamented the fact that I felt like a single parent and really couldn't handle it much longer. Thank you all who took the time to comment on my blog or send me a personal e-mail. It was really helpful to get reassurance from all of you that I was not whining, that it really was a crappy situation. And thank you so much to those of you who also offered help. My one friend came over Saturday morning to play with the two kids here while one was with my dad and DH was leading a drama workshop for a couple hours. I was able to actually spend some time in my room ALONE to clean and sort through a ton of stuff without having to stop every few minutes to investigate suspicious silences or odd noises. What a treat! And the Saturday before that while DH was out of time, another incredible friend took all three kids for a movie and dinner playdate with her children while I went to Borders by myself for a couple hours to relax and do some paperwork. She and her husband also took them for a few hours this past Saturday so DH and I could actually go out together! We met back at her house by five for dinner (she was hosting for a few families from our Mothers and More group). Next month we'll do the same for her. And a few other friends contacted me about getting together for playdates where the kids could play together and I could get some time off or to do chores. I have good friends.

The whole situation has gotten a LOT better. DH's show opened last week. Tonight he has a brush-up rehearsal, so he'll be home from 3:30-5:30 (two whole hours), and then performances Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and a Sunday matinee. And then the show is OVER!!!!

Next week should mean that DH will be home by 4 every day and he will be home all afternoon and evening - woohoo! And then we all have winter break, which means a couple nights over at his parents' to celebrate Christmas with them, and the rest of the week time with us at home. I just signed all three kids up for a holiday camp at a local gym where they will have supervised, organized activities from 10-3. DH and I will have those days to ourselves. I got him to agree that we would do some of the much needed things around the house that have to get done, as long as we have time to...nap each day. Sounds good to me!

2) School will begin again on January 2nd for my current two-year-old class, and on the 3rd for my new young 2s class. My current INCREDIBLE assistant will not be able to keep working with me due to some medical issues with her son that she needs to work on at a "feeding boot camp" in Jersey for a month in January, but luckily we have hired a new assistant who will be with me all five mornings. She started on Monday so she can shadow my current assistant, learn about the kids we have now, and have time to learn the behavioral techniques and strategies I have found to be the most effective. I'll have to write more about those another day.

3) Last night I found the energy to update my Holiday Card Address List (put it on a database a couple years ago), print out the labels, and stuff and label my cards. I don't have the energy to personalize each card, but the card does include nine photos of the kids either by themselves or together or with each of us parents. I was also able to include a small message to provide a little update about what has happened this past year. Gotta love Shutterfly! Tomorrow I'll go to the post office to get holiday stamps and mail them. Then I get to cross all of that off my HUGE to do list.

4) As per usual the house is a mess, though could be straightened up in about half an hour if I wanted. I've been spending a lot of time working on our finances. Some of you had commented on how important it was for me to take care of myself, a fact I totally agree with, and suggested I hire a babysitter to come in on a regular basis or a housekeeper. If I only could! Money is tight, and it has been since I stopped teaching full-time. Everything I do now that brings in money is due to the fact that without my income we would not have enough to keep our house AND eat. Maybe we could do one or the other, but not both. We currently have a hefty balance on our one credit card on which we ended up putting groceries and car repairs and other necessities (as well as some things that were not such necessities) when we simply did not have enough money in our checking account to pay for it. I know other people have lots of credit card debt too, but I do not want to dig a bigger hole for us so feel that paying that off should be a big priority, next to making sure we have enough in our checking account to pay our monthly bills and groceries. Right now we owe about $4500. When I start working five mornings a week instead of three, I THINK we will be able to put $400 a month towards it, paying it off in about a year, but ONLY if we stick very carefully to our budget. We are also setting some money aside each month to build some savings, our "emergency fund" to help us in case of an emergency. I would love to build that up more, but feel it's more important to get out of the credit card debt first. Any of you with more financial training or experience that I, please feel free to chime in and offer your advice!

5) Some cute kid comments I've heard recently:

B: We need to pick up all the pieces, including the wheels.
A: What does including mean?
B: Also.
A: Okay, we do need to pick up everything, including the wheels.

I LOVE hearing them help each other!

A: Oh no, my brain stopped working. I need to think really hard for a little to get it to start working again.

Ummmm...okay.

At McDonald's Monday night (yes, the kids were able to explain that chicken nuggets and french fries were QUITE appropriate to eat for Hanukkah since they are both fried in oil), while looking at the gift wrapped packages that were on the walls as decorations, A blurted out: Be sure to attend Boscov's two-day sale. They will be offering free gift wrap. Combining his ability to mimic back almost everything he hears verbatim with his new opportunity to listen to commercials (still pronounced "co-mer-sha-nals" by all three kids) when he sees Tivoed episodes of "Wheel of Fortune" and "Jeopardy" allows us all to hear various commercial incorporated into our regular conversations and games regularly. After playing "Simon Says" together last week (which we had to play as if we were on a game show), A ended the game by announcing "Commercial considerations were provided by . . . "

A has joined me at the laptop while I wrote the last paragraph. He got very excited about me adding in the links that appear in said paragraph. In case you wanted to know more about any of the underlined places, shows, or things, you can thank A for insisting I insert them all.

When I asked A if we were finished adding links, he told me that I should have a link to Winnie the Pooh so people can go on the Winnie the Pooh website. I told him that I hadn't written anything about Winnie the Pooh, so he looked at me like I was crazy as both he and B told me to just add it! So here it is, thanks to both B and A: Winnie the Pooh.

Clearly, it is time for both of the boys to get their turns on the computer (15 minutes each) while J gets to watch her show on tv, so I need to leave my comfy spot here at the dining room table and begin to tackle shoveling out the laundry still piled up in my room.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Finally Some Good News

1) E-mailed DH my last blog post and told him to read it with an open mind. He did! He apparently read it a few times and in his e-mail response (hey, we may not get to see each other much these days, but we'll always have e-mail) he actually told me that he had never realized how much his schedule affected me. Uh....okay....guess all those talks we've had never really fully sank in - he needed to see it in black and white. Bottom line, he knows, he's aware, we have two more weeks left of craziness and then it will be better.

2) After spending a good portion of the day on Thursday on the phone or the computer, I finally got my insurance company to cover my narolepsy drug 100%. What a relief!!! I really had no idea how I would be able to afford the $300/month they wanted me to pay, but ultimately working with both the benefits coordinator and the insurance company, we made it work.

3) Yesterday was crazy! I got the kids dressed, fed, and out the door, along with everything I needed for the marathon day. Dropped the boys off, brought J with me to school, set up my room, dropped off J, taught my little two-year-olds, led the preschool Shabbat service (the preschool director was out), taught my class some more (this time with my boys since they get dropped off before my school is over), and then went directly into the Parent and Me Shabbat program that I lead (brown bag lunch, another preschool Shabbat service that I lead, a craft). As soon as I finished cleaning up from that program, I quickly changed into Super R (literally) and drove to my first of two big superhero birthday parties - twenty five-year-old boys. The party went great (lots of compliments from all the parents there) though because the room was HUGE (at a country club) it was hard to keep all the kids involved in my activities, but I generally had about 12-15 kids with each game/activity we tried. That was the worst "crowd control" experience I've had so far, but guess the parents like it because they tipped me 40%! From the party I drove to my house to wrap Hanukkah presents for my sister and her family and drove to her house, where she was watching all the kids. We had Shabbat dinner there (I was ready to drop on my face by then) and then an early "fake" Hanukkah since she and her kids left for St. Lucia to visit my BIL's family for SIX WEEKS! So the kids all exchanged presents and then we went ome and I put them in bed and THEN I finally got my chance to collapse. I guess it's no surprise that I had NO trouble at all falling asleep last night. The good news with that story is that I survived the day and each activity I led went well.

4) My dad likes to take each of the kids individually on Saturday for special Grandpop time, and today he took J, so I'm down to two kids.

5) I have great friends. One is watching the boys so I can do today's birthday party (DH is away this weekend at a state high school theater conference) and the other is taking all three tonight for two hours so I can have time to myself or just stay and chat. Still don't know which I'll be doing, but it's definitely something to look forward to!

Okay, the boys are busy watching Wheel of Fortune, so I'm going to jump into the shower and get dressed. Then I need to write out our schedule so A can see it (helps him when our days are not "normal"). And then I'm getting the boys to help me prep for today's party by blowing up 50 balloons. Such fun.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

My Life Right Now

Let me start by stating that I love my husband.
He is a fabulous father and the kids and I LOVE spending time with him. When he's here. And therein lies the problem.

From Monday to Friday his typical schedule is like this:
Up at 5:30 AM
Out the door by 6
At school early to grade papers
7:30 - 2:45 Teach
3 - 5 Work on theater-related stuff (this week that means practicing with a group of kids that will be presenting a one act at this weekend's state theater conference that he will be attending with them - from Thursday night until early Sunday morning....another story for another time)
5:20 -5:45 Home to see kids and me
5:45 Leave to go back to school for evening rehearsal of the fall show
10:30 or so Home

On Tuesdays I teach Hebrew School from 3:30 to 5:30, so he comes home at 3:30 to stay with the kids and then leaves at 5:45 for rehearsal.

Most Saturdays he spends the majority of the day at school for additional rehearsal.

On Sundays I teach Religious School from 9-1. We always have dinner at his parents' on Sundays, a great tradition which, for some reason, has stretched out to now mean he brings the kids there for lunch and stays ALL afternoon through dinnertime. I do housework, grocery shopping, planning, etc. from 1:30 - 4 and then join them for dinner.

Does anyone think I'm being unreasonable when I say I'm feeling overwhelmed and like a single parent?!!!

I love being a mom, and I love teaching, and I love that I have worked out a schedule that allows me to do both. I currently teach three mornings a week from 9-12, but frequently end up subbing on the days I'm not teaching my own class, and come January that will increase to five mornings a week. J is at the same school, so she comes with me in the morning to "help" me set up my room, and comes to my room when the day is done. I drop the boys off at school or at a friend's house to bring them to school in the morning, and have many different people helping me by picking them up at 11:30 and bringing them to school to play until my school day is done. That means absolutely no kid-free quiet moments for me.

I really do enjoy running the household, but taking care of the groceries, the meal planning, the cooking, the clean-up, the picking up, the bills, the incoming paperwork, the holiday shopping, the house cleaning, AND the laundry is a lot to squeeze in. Add to that the fact that A has Asperger's and B is going through testing to figure out just what is going on in his head and J is just quite challenging most of the time, and that I have researched many different strategies to try with all of them that I am trying to put in our regular weekly schedule.

Add to that my birthday party business that I am trying to run (a fun and quite necessary financial addition to our overall income) and expand.

Add to that my clinical depression and narcolepsy that I take meds for but really have to work on to stay on top of. And the fact that insurance won't pay for more than 25% of my narcolepsy meds so I'm still trying to figure out alternative ways to pay for it.

I am by no means saying that DH doesn't do anything around here. He works incredibly long hours at school, even though if we worked out the hourly rate for all the theater work he is doing it would be next to nothing. He unloads the dishwasher for us every morning (a BIG help) and takes out the trash and the recycling. When he is here in the late afternoons for his chance to see us, I put him to work bathing the kids (C'mon, it's one-on-one quality time with each child!) to make our bedtime routine easier. This Sunday since I didn't have Religious School, he helped by cleaning up the downstairs while I worked some on the computer before we got together with his parents at 11 to buy the kids new shoes (my in-laws buy them shoes each season - sweet!) and help them pick out their Christmas tree. It was definitely helpful to have the clean-up taken off my Sunday To Do list. But do I sound like I'm whining when I say it's just not enough?!

I've talked with DH about this A LOT. He made a HUGE decision last week that he would not be assistant directing the spring show at the High School any more. Instead, he will be directing the Middle School show beginning in January, which means he makes the rehearsal schedule, gets more responsiblity and the recognition (and pay) that he deserves. He plans to have rehearsal three - four afternoons a week from 3 - 5, meaning that he will be home before 5:30 every day and not going out after that. That is, except for the evenings he will have rehearsal at our favorite community theater for the first show he will be actually be part of there in awhile.

So I'm going to keep telling myself that it WILL get easier by the end of December when he has winter break, and then in January, when his schedule changes a lot.

But A has been having a really rough time (since last Wednesday - I should have tried to structure our time off from school more, but damnit, I needed a little break!) which translates into lots more meltdowns (which now include screaming as well as throwing himself to the floor and crying loudly) and difficulty in responding to directions/commands. And J keeps whining about everything. And B is so hyped up I might have to send him upstairs for the rest of his "quiet time" since he keeps jumping on the couch instead of sitting or lying there so we can all have a little down-time.

I welcome ANY and ALL advice, words of wisdom, whatever!

I'm going to keep repeating that it will get better. And taking lots of deep breaths. Always good. In and out. Repeat.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

To Do List for the Kids

One of the times that we have been having a LOT of trouble with is the transition from school to home. I'm tired, they're tired, it's hard to stay focused, stuff ends up everywhere, I'm sure that's not an uncommon scenario.

I created a simple To Do list for each child, taking photos of whatever they felt was appropriate for each item on the list, and copied them each onto their favorite color cardstock. Today we used it for the first time. As soon as they had buckled themselves in, I handed them each their personal to do list so they could review it in the car. I wish I could say that they were each able to stay focused independently and complete all the tasks with no prompts from me, but that is our ultimate goal. It did help me get them focused, and I could now remind them to pick up their list again because they still needed to do # __. When they felt they were finished, they came over to me and we read their lists together, making sure each one was completed, and then they received major praise and reinforcement from me. And now the boys are onto A's tv choice for quiet time, and will be on to their computer time soon (when J gets her tv choice), so I better get my butt in gear to do my chores for the day while they're resting.

Our New Schedule

I took Trace's advice and joined photobucket so I could show you all the schedule I created for our afternoon. I'm learning how much better all the kids (and I) do structure, and created this visual one for us to use. Let me know what you think or if you have any questions about how we're using it. We tried it yesterday and it was a FABULOUS day!

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Once Upon a Time

Once upon a time there lived a harried mom who was tired all the time. She would wake up in the morning, get the kids dressed and fed, and feel the need to go back to sleep. She would usually fight this feeling as much as possible. She would drive the kids to their schools and then teach two-year-olds for three hours and feel awake (because it's kind of hard to teach little ones without being constantly "on"), but when class was over and her own children joined her in her classroom, her energy level would begin to drop. She would herd her children to their van, make sure they were buckled in, drive them home and feed them (yet again), get them cleaned up, and then make them lay down on the couch for "quiet time." As soon as the harried mom sat down, her eyelids became so heavy it took all her effort to keep them open. So she would often go upstairs to nap for a little, but after sleeping for a little it became nearly impossible for her to force herself completely out of her semi-sleep state. She would sometimes come up with places to take the kids, mainly because moving around was one of the main ways she could stay awake. When night came and the kids were in bed, the harried mom would pour herself into her own bed. Whether napping or sleeping for the night, the harried mom could go into a dream state almost instantly. It's how she always fell asleep: shut her eyes, thought of a dream, and went into it. At the start of the dream she would be still awake a little bit, enough to manipulate the dream however she wanted, though she no longer could move her body. And then she would sink deeper and deeper into the dream.

The harried mom finally saw a specialist to figure out why she was tired all the time and discovered that she had Narcolepsy. Finally - a reason why she felt tired all the time. And the new knowledge that the way she fell asleep was NOT the way it worked for everyone else. So the doctor gave her medicine to help her be awake when she wanted to be. The only problem was she was no longer able to shut her eyes and begin dreaming. Now her mind raced even though she was tired and quiet and lying in bed. Instead of going into dream houses or seeing old crushes who now found her irresistable, her mind thought about the different things she needed to do the next day and the different things she didn't get to do that day.

The harried mom was frustrated. How could she be wide awake the next day, even with medicine, if she couldn't fall asleep at night? So the harried mom contacted her equally harried sister, who suggested the age old remedy of keeping a notebook by the bed and writing out all the stuff in the mom's head BEFORE she tried to fall asleep. What do you know? It worked! And the harried mom lived happily ever after . . . for the next two weeks, which is how long the sample packs of medicine will last her. And her quest for the miracle drugs continues, but that is a tale for another day.

The End.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Questions

Alright all you computer savy people out there, I'd love some advice:

1) What anti-virus software do you use? I had one expert tell me that Norton slows things down a LOT. Do you use that, or is there something else you prefer?

2) I just made some great schedules for the kids (based on the conference I attended on Friday). They are PDF files. Any suggestions on how to post them here so I can share them?

If you have your own blog but don't know the answer, could you send people my way so I could get lots of input? THANK YOU!

Friday, November 16, 2007

What a Great Day!

What a great day!
I got together with some of my Flyfriends (from my local Flylady message board) last night for our bi-annual "Thanksgivingfest" (because we are all so thankful for the support we get from each other - aaawwww). I had a great time, even though my babysitter cancelled at the last minute and I had to bring the kids with me. The kids were great, surprisingly, and we stayed later than I had planned. One of the best parts of the evenings, besides catching up with a LOT of great people (like the Domestic Goddess, Trace, Perky, and a few others who don't have blogs), was the gift I received from Trace, the fabulous hostess. She had a few sample packs of Provigil that she gave to me. My insurance company told me their final answer yesterday about my narcolepsy meds: they'll cover 25% which means I'll "only" have to pay $300 a month. Oh, yeah, sure, no problem. I'm trying to come up with ways to "fight the system" and would welcome ANY suggestions anyone has. I tried contacting Cephalon (who makes the medication) but they could only help me in paying for the medication if my insurance didn't cover it at all. Uh, okay, so their coverage still forces me to pay WAAAAY more than I could POSSIBLY pay - couldn't you help ME?!!!

Since Trace gave me some sample packs, I was able to take one this morning, and I tried another one at lunch time. I felt a difference right away. Today was the first day I tried the second pill - WOW! I was able to stay alert all afternoon into the night. I didn't feel high or jittery (maybe a little, but I'll wait and see if my body adjusts to it), just awake. Amazing!

And today was great for another reason - I was able to work things out so I could attend a full day conference about teaching kids with Asperger's. The entire conference was riveting for me. I came away with so many incredible ideas to use immediately and other great ideas about revising A's IEP (Indivdual Education Plan) since a good portion of it was about writing appropriate goals for kids with Asperger's. I am so pumped about this I can't wait to get started.

The conference was about an hour away, so I had lots of time in the car to think. I have lots of other blog posts perculating up in my head so I'm hoping to type them up soon.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

This too shall pass

ARGH! What was I thinking?!!
Two boys sick at home?
Twice as many things to do to keep them occupied, hydrated, dry (thank you, A), and resting!

I have managed to also keep doing laundry. I've also cleaned out the costume dress-up area in the playroom. And I'm tackling paperwork upstairs in our bedroom.

Now the boys are actually hungry, so I'm off to make lunches.
As for J - my wonderful sister volunteered to bring her home for a playdate. Yes!

Getting ready to Tackle It



B is still sick (that awful barking cough) but no longer has the high fever he spiked yesterday. He clearly passed it on to A, who woke up whining so much I finally realized he must be sick. I touched his head and it was burning up. At least no cough .... yet. Luckily my sister is available to pick up J to bring her to school and bring her home again at 12. I don't know what I'm going to do when she goes back to St. Lucia on December 1st for SIX WEEKS.

So this mornings the boys will be camped out on the couch watching tv so they can rest. J will be in school. I will be stuck in the house. See where this is going?

DH and I have been catching up on laundry, but my "tackle it" projects for today include finishing all the laundry in the house. I know we always make more, but if I do one or two loads a day, we're good. So if I can just get caught up, I'll be able to do maintenance every day to stay on top of it.

I started organizing the playroom (but forgot to take before pictures for the organizational challenge) yesterday, so my next "tackle it" project is to finish it. There are certain toys that the kids have not played with in SOOO long, but DH always feels that if his parents gave them the toys we should NEVER get rid of them. I might put them away and see how long it takes him to even notice it. Then we can discuss the fact that they're just TOYS and it doesn't mean anything negative against his parents!

And finally, I plan to order groceries for the month (gotta love free delivery e-mails) since we're really low on food.

As soon as J gets picked up I'm jumping in the shower and starting my projects for the day. I need to set up a neb treatment for B first, and make each boy change out of his overnight pull-up so they don't pee and poop in it all day. Which means I need to help A change into two piece pajamas so he can more easily go to the bathroom. He's really out of it, but taking his temperature is VERY traumatic for him, so I'm just going to let it go.

Alright, here goes!

Monday, November 12, 2007

I Quit!

So I just can't take the pressure of the NaBlo whatever thingy to blog every single day. Maybe next year.

B is sick right now with croup. He woke us up at 5 this morning with that awful croup bark and gasping for air. After a neb treatment he was good enough to go back to bed, even though he still didn't sound great. Daddy stayed home with him since I was having two families come in today to observe my class to decide if they wanted to sign their child/children up for January. B spiked a fever as the day went on, but we stayed on top of the breathing with the neb treatments every four hours and have the vaporizer on full blast right by him, so hopefully won't be making any ER trips tonight.

As for my talk with DH, it went well. He made a HUGE decision to stop doing the High School shows for next year. He'll still "consult" once or twice a week, but won't have the same committment - which is so big. He also is going to make more of an effort to come home between his rehearsals to see the kids and give me a little break. I'm feeling very hopeful.

Plus I upped my anti-depressant by half a pill. That might also factor into the fact that I'm feeling so much better.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Tonight's the Night

DH will actually be home in time for us to attend a birthday party as a family this afternoon (gasp) and will NOT be going out tonight (gasp gasp). So...after the kids are in bed I plan on talking with him about his schedule. I think I will be stressing the concepts: "Family needs to come first" and "Compromise" and "I feel like a single parent!"

Wish me luck.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Halloween pictures

Curious about what my children were for Halloween?






J was Cinderella, which was very easy to do since we already had the dress. She wanted her face painted like her brothers so I put a heart on one cheek and a magic wand on the other.
















B wanted to be a clown - doesn't he look happy?!!!






















And as for my logo-loving son, A, he was the Direct TV logo. Don't ask me why - we don't even HAVE Direct TV!!!



Major vent

DH was in and out for a grand total of 45 minutes tonight. I timed dinner so it would be on the table when he came in so we could eat with him. He ended up getting an emergency phone call from the head director of the high school musical that her FIL was back in the hospital. He ended up talking to her for 15 minutes. He just left to go to rehearsal. Tomorrow he teaches all day, will stay after school for rehearsal, and then will stay in the area for dinner so he can go to the football game that night. Saturday he will be leaving at 8:15 in the morning to go to rehearsal and plans to not be home until late. What is late? Anytime from 2 PM to 10 PM. Thanks, that helps me make plans. Sunday he is "in charge" of the kids while I teach Religious School. He brings them to his parents' for lunch, then the boys to me for school, at which time he returns to his parents' where he left J. When he picks up the boys after school, he returns again to his parents for the rest of the day. I'm expected to join them all for dinner at 4:00. Yes, that is the only time we will have to spend together as a family and it will be with his parents.

Next week is no better. He has rehearsal after school every day and rehearsal at night. I have a few night time things that I REALLY want to be able to do, but will have to find someone else to watch the kids if I want to do any of them, and we don't have any babysitters we know that can sit on a weeknight. I'll try to get one of our parents to help, but it always is clearly such an imposition it's hard to even ask. I'm just so frustrated about his schedule, the amount of time he has to spend with the kids, the amount of time that I'm the single parent. Don't get me wrong - when he's with the kids he is a fabulous father! The kids love him and he clearly loves them. But when they don't get to see him, I'M the one who has to hear them whine and complain about it.

And he just got cast in a show at the community theater where we did a lot of shows B.K. (before kids). I'm truly happy for him. He needs an outlet for himself, a chance to make grown-up friends. BUT....when is he EVER going to be home?!! I try talking to him about this, but for some reason, the head director for the HS show never puts together a regular schedule, so he doesn't know for sure when he needs to be there, and now that her FIL is in the hospital, it might not matter anyway because he'll probably need to be leading rehearsal every night, which means that I won't get a night off for a long time!

He tries to assert that the reason he does the HS shows is for the extra money, but I shoot that one down everytime. If he worked out how much he was making per hour, it would probably come to less that a dollar an hour. Sure, it's nice to get that paycheck when each show is done, but I can think of tons of things either one of us could be doing to bring in the same amount of money for WAY less hours, and they don't even involve me working a corner or dancing around a pole. He's doing this because he loves it, and that's fine, except it just takes so much time away from our family!!!!

And to make matters worse, DH just went to pick up my narcolepsy medicine and it appears that insurance will only take $90 off of the cost, leaving us $400 to pay each MONTH. Obviously that's not possible. So now I have to find time to call the doctor and the insurance company to figure out WHY in the world they're not paying for this medicine that the doctor had specifically told them was necessary.

AARGH!!!

Monday, November 05, 2007

Shutterfly

I love Shutterfly.
I just put together our holiday cards, a calendar to give as gifts, a 5 X 7 photo book to give as another gift, and while I have to go to bed soon before I pass out, I have a good amount of gifts planned out or finished for the holidays.

And now I must sleep!

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Weekend Wrap-Up

Very impressive blogger, aren't I?
After posting that I was going to do NaBloPoMo, I posted nothing all weekend. I promise to do better. And this is still Sunday, so technically all I missed was Saturday. That's not too bad!

Not too much to write since it's already past my bedtime.

The meds have been great, though I didn't sleep well at ALL Friday night. I'm trying to give just one pill a day a week for my body to adjust before I attempt to change the dosage. All in all I'm thrilled with the way I have been feeling.

I had enough energy to sort through a TON of paperwork today after religious school, which felt great!!! And yesterday I was even able to reorganize all my business stuff so it no longer takes over a 1/4 of the playroom. I have grand plans for reorganizing the playroom this month, but forgot to take pictures of that section of the room for the "before" for the challenge from my favorite Organizing Junkie. Oh well, there's stil PLENTY left in the room to be organized!

Alright, off to bed!

Friday, November 02, 2007

NaBloPoMo


I almost forgot - this month is NaBloPoMo, which bottom line means I will be writing a post every single day. Just wanted you to know.

Also, I was just talking to my oldest friend in the whole wide world. One of her best friends from college is in the hospital due to an extremely aggresive form of breast cancer. She can use all the prayers she can get right now. It had looked very bad this weekend, but she has become more concious and alert this week. It sounds like the fact that she woke up some is more than the doctors had hoped for, so maybe this is a sign of recovery. Karen has two young children. She is only thirty-five years old.

I'm Awake!

It's two o'clock and I DON'T feel like I need to take a nap. Could the medication have taken effect that quickly? This morning while driving to school was the first time I did NOT feel like closing my eyes at the red lights. I'm feeling a little dizzy, but hopefully that will just be while my body is adjusting to the meds.

I came home from work and still felt human. I feel like I can handle the rest of the day without laying down. I feel "normal."

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Brand New Day

It's official - I have Narcolepsy. My two day sleep study results showed that I did not have excessive sleep apnea (no more than 8 per hour), I did show that I feel asleep almost immediately. In fact, the nap study (every two hours they let me take a twenty minute nap) showed that I fell asleep within two minutes EACH time. I knew I fell asleep, but that's fast! I'm so excited to have an actual reason for being so tired all the time. The doctor prescribed PROVIGIL which I'll start tomorrow morning.

One of the descriptions my doctor gave me of narcolepsy is that it's like a faulty dimmer switch in your brain between the wake state and the asleep state and it just doesn't regulate successfully between the two states. This made perfect sense to me!

So now I'm going to set up one more show for the kids to watch while I lay down for a short nap.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

The Wedding

We survived the weekend away.
Car ride to VA was a little challenging with J, but overall she did a great job. I packed a TON of snacks for her, and every time she started fussing, I offered her one. I know, great mothering, but you do what you have to do!

The wedding itself was fabulous with a big casual dinner on Saturday night so we all got a chance to catch up, a terrific day on Sunday that started with a one o'clock before wedding ceremony (for the bride and groom to sign the ketubah, the wedding contract) complete with food/drinks/music. J fell asleep in my arms towards the end of that and proceeded to sleep through the entire wedding ceremony, which probably ended up for the best. The reception was incredible - the band played every style imaginable and played them really well. J LOVED dancing with me. She seemed to think that the dancing time was kind of her special time, and even walked out on the dance floor and sat down to watch while the bride and groom had their first dance. I was going to go get her but everyone told me to leave her there, that it was cute.

There was a casual breakfast the next morning, and then we hit the road. J still had moments of whining and fussing, but overall she did great! I was so incredibly relieved.

And now we're back to life, back to reality . . .

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Friday Wrap Up, One Day Late

I'm been a bad blogger.

I'm trying to focus on positive stuff, but it's been tough this past week, so I ended up not writing anything. Not a great plan.

Last weekend A regressed some and started decorating with the contents of his pull-ups again. Three times. He has done this since he was little and we always ended up figuring out a way to stop him from getting into his diaper (putting on a onesie over his diaper, putting a zippered sleeper over top of his onesie and diaper, pinning shut the zippered sleeper). Each thing we did worked for a few weeks, give or take, until he figured out how to get to his poop again. Since he has learned to FINALLY use the potty, he has mostly stopped pooping at night, but when he does, he just can't stop himself from putting his hands in it. Friday morning I woke up to him calling me from the bathroom. Because he was trying to clean up, the sink was now covered with poop along with the toilet, the rug, some of the walls (from him shaking his hands) and the blinds. It was a great way to wake up - NOT. When he did it again that night, I held it together enough to call DH (who had just left the house) and tell him to get home immediately because I was too angry to deal with this again. Sunday night A did it again. So the action plan from all this is I clearly need to up his experiences with squishy types of things, which means more shaving cream play, finger painting, etc. And if one gets to do it, the other two want to do it too!

J and I are getting ready to go to a family wedding in Virginia, about a five/six hour drive from here. DH will stay home with the boys. J is SO excited about it - she's been asking all week if we're going to the wedding NOW? Of course I procrastinated, so in the next two hours I need to: shower and dress, pack all our clothes and toiletries, finish packing stuff for J to do in the car (I stopped at the Dollar Tree last night and bought a bunch of neat stuff for her), go to Target to buy her dress up shoes and a cardigan to go with her sleeveless dress, go to Acme to pick up stuff for preschool for Monday (I have a sub and forgot to buy the food supplies), drop off said stuff at school, go to friend's house to drop off MORE stuff for the MOMS Club yard sale tomorrow (nothing like an upcoming yard sale to encourage me to purge lots of stuff!). I think that's it. Man, that's a lot!

I'll be back Monday night. Please wish me luck to get all the above stuff done and that bringing my three year old to a grown-up wedding does not become a total fiasco.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Tackle It Tuesday and other stuff


Okay, I'm thinking ahead to tomorrow. Today I was able to go to Gentile's (local produce store) with the kids and buy a whole bunch of fruits and vegetables. I made a big vat of vegetable soup with black beans and endamame in it for protein. So good I ended up eating two helpings for dinner instead of what I had planned. I forgot all about a meeting after school that I needed to attend, so I ended up not eating my salad (I hadn't made it yet and it was all at home) but came home so starving that instead I ate another helping of the fabulous oatmeal I had made in the crockpot (foolishly had left the crockpot on this morning and so the house was filled with the incredible smell of it, even if it was all dry by then - nothing a little milk didn't solve). So bottom line, while I didn't stick to my plan today for food, I did stick to my calorie range.
My job(s) to tackle for Tuesday is to finish ordering my groceries on-line/planning my meals for the next few weeks. I know that to have any success with my diet I need to plan out my meals and snacks, so this is important.
Today was a little tough because B didn't feel well for a good portion of the afternoon (at least until he FINALLY went to the bathroom - sorry if that's TMI) and when B doesn't feel good, everybody knows it. He was moaning and whining so much. I kept having to stop what I was doing to sit with him and rub his back and his head. Luckily the other two played nicely outside (for the most part) so I could focus on B and my soup. I had started planning for him to come to work with me so he could sit on a couch in the director's office and veg on videos, but he made a total recovery once he went to the bathroom. We'll see what tomorrow brings.
Alright, if I want to stick to my plan, I need to get to bed.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Menu Plan Monday


I really worked on planning low-fat/fat-free meals for this week. I can't figure out how to link to my SparkPeople menu plan page, but the menus are mostly from my Fix It and Forget It Lightly book.
Monday:
Breakfast - Overnight Apple Oatmeal p.267
Snack - Apple
Lunch - Salad with endame
Snack - Chai Tea Latte
Dinner - Orange Chicken p. 14
Tuesday:
Breakfast - Oatmeal
Lunch - Black Bean and Corn Soup p. 187
Dinner - I'll be going to a dinner at my synagogue. I'll leave frozen raviolis for the babysitter to make for the kids.
Wednesday:
Lunch - Salad with leftover chicken
Dinner - Eggplant Italian p.223
Thursday:
Lunch - Leftover Eggplant Italian
Dinner - Fruited Flank Steak p. 48
Friday:
Lunch - Salad with leftover flank steak
Dinner - Shabbat dinner at my parents' house
Saturday:
Dinner - Vegetable Lasagna
Sunday:
Dinner - Dinner at my in-laws' house
I'm usually a cereal addict, so I'm going to be working on higher protein breakfasts to see if they satisfy me.

Talk's Cheap: Here's my Action Plan

I'm ready for my fresh start. No more just talk - I'm taking action now.
My birthday is in six months. I'm giving myself until April to lose my weight and adopt a healthier lifestyle complete with exercise and eating right.

I bought a cookbook yesterday that looked like it would help me cook more low-fat foods. And I plan on consistently using Sparkpeople to help me plan my meals/calorie intake. Plus I got what looks to be a good exercise book to use every morning when I get up (provided I DO get up when I need to).

I'm also going to focus on going to bed when DH goes to bed instead of allowing myself to get caught up in other stuff. I think that will really help with getting enough sleep AND giving DH and I time to connect, which is so hard to do with the hours he works.

I can't focus on everything that I want to acheive all at the same time, but I'm hoping by focusing on these areas will be managable.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

I'm Sick of It All!

I don't want to write anymore about how tired I am.
I don't want to write anymore about how I'm kicking myself for staying up too late the night before. Or about my other self-destructive habbits involving overeating, not exercising, not taking care of myself in general.

I'm sick of it all.

I need to stop bellyaching and start DOING something about it all.

I just read through a bunch of old posts and am shocked at how often I am repeating myself. I'm overwhelmed by the mess in the house. I'm tired. I'm upset about my weight. Blah, blah, blah. I'm just sick of it all!

So here we go: this is my blog and my life and I can choose what I want to focus on.

Fresh start. Here goes.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Saturday, October 06, 2007

PTSD

Yesterday night I watched a TIVOed episode of Oprah in which Sinead O'Connor talked about her diagnosis of Bipolor disorder and how much her childhood played a part in that. While I know I don't have Bipolor (I have the lows but where are the highs?!!) I could relate to so much of what she said about her childhood and living with the constant feeling of fear and tension.

My brother was the cause of most of the tension in our household growing up. "I" used to take out much of his aggresion on me. Lucky me. My mom was constantly on guard when we were little to protect me from my brother - leaving him alone with me generally did not end well. As we got older the physical assaults mostly ended, but the psychological assaults never did. And the fighting between my brother and my parents never ended. My parents insisted on family dinners, a great idea, in theory, but these dinners ultimately ended in yelling and screaming due to "I". The tension was intense. So intense that despite everything my parents (mainly my mom) did to create happy memories, I really remember very little of my childhood. Except the scary parts, which are pretty clear.

The "footprints" of my childhood left their inprints on my soul. I was diagnosed with Post-Traumatic-Stress Disorder in my twenties. It explained a lot to me. It explained why I had such difficulty making friends, why I had such anxiety most of my life, why I had such trouble with emotional attachments all my life, with staying in the moment. It actually made me feel such relief to have a name, a reason.

But it also makes me so overly aware of how important it is to make sure that our attention to A and his Asperger's does not overshadow the other kids. Yesterday in the car B told me, "I wish I had Asperger's Syndrome." That broke my heart. I tried to get him to talk more about that, and after a little bit I told them how much I wish I was as good at blowing up balloons as B was, and as good on computer as A was, and as good at picking out clothes as J was (what can I say, it was spur of the moment) and how wonderful it was that we all have different things that are special about us.

I need to pay attention to how negative I am with B. I have to focus on "catching him being good" instead of constantly telling him not to whine and not yell and not to hit himself on the head ..... the list goes on. I need to make sure he gets equal attention. And I need to make sure that when A is having a rough day (or J - she can throw a tantrum like nobody's business) I do what I can to keep things peaceful, to not allow the screaming of one affect the rest of us.

A tall order, I know, but one that is too important to ignore.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Feeling so much better

Hormones suck.

PMS sucks.

Depression sucks.

That being said, I feel so much better now. For those of you who read yesterday's post and took the time to respond, thank you. You reallly made my day and help me put things in perspective.

Today is a new day, PMS is over (if you get what I mean), J and I have no school tomorrow, the kids and I have eaten lunch and they are now having "quiet time" on the couch - I'm ready to take on the second half of the day. Clean up from lunch (usually make the kids do it before quiet time begins, but . . .), take a chunk out of Mt. Washmore, do some 5-minute-Room-Rescues downstairs - here I go!

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

My Pity Party

I've been really down on myself recently.

I know part of that is just from being tired. And maybe I'm PMSing (really have to keep track of all that again instead of guessing).

I just feel like I have too much on my plate and therefore am not doing anything really well.

When I'm in the classroom I love what I'm doing, except I feel like I could be doing so much more. Free play is really important for two-year-olds, but any time I sit down and relax for a moment in the classroom, I see so many opportunities where I coud be building language skills, increasing the kids' awareness of each other, moving them from parallel play to actual interaction, the list goes on and on. It's just tough to be "on" for three full hours. But that's the job!

When I'm with my kids I feel like I could be doing so much more. I have great ideas but no energy to follow through. I would love to have the boys start a journal at home, drawing a picture of something they did at school and then they could "write" a little bit about it. I would love to read with them more, even having a set reading time each day. I would love to take daily walks with them. I would love to go to the park with them a few times a week and teach them how to play soccer or basketball or baseball. The list goes on and on.

When the kids are playing outside I look around the house and am just disgusted by all that I could/should be doing around here. Mt. Washmore keeps piling up, as do my paper mountains, no matter how much I take away from them.

I would love to be in contact with the people I consider friends more often, making "playdates" (with the kids or without). I feel like I could be in isolation over here with the kids if I don't push myself to get together with others. I think that's a whole post unto itself.

I'm really frustrated. I know part of it is I'm being too hard on myself. The sprained ankle has thrown me - it's hard enough to do everything I have to do, doing it while limping and ignoring the ankle pain makes it even harder. And the fact that I'm tired all the time doesn't help either! I just feel like there has to be a way to do all that I want to do, and I just can't wrap my head around it.

Monday, October 01, 2007

She's screaming and she won't shut up!

Last night I almost got up from my tossing and turning to warn everyone about the evils of devouring two bowls of Fruit Loops (a special treat left over from a project on Sunday in which my class created edible Sukkot) at 10 o'clock at night, but around the time where I was reaching my frustration point, J's screams gave me something to do with my time. We couldn't get her to stop crying/complaining (she comes up with all kind of creative reasons when she just doesn't want to go back to sleep) so finally after threatening her with sleeping back in her own room (she sleeps on her matress on the floor next to the boys' bunk beds) we had to follow through. What a disaster. I tried everything to get her to stop crying in bed (SupperNanny's "stay in bed technique", gradually moving out of her room, ignoring her, etc.) and ultimately we gave up (teaching her only that if she cries long enough we'll give in!) and let her go back in the boys' room as long as she went to sleep and didn't make another sound.

To be fair on DH and I, it was 2:30 AM by the point we made this decision. She had started screaming around 11.

I welcome ANY suggestions on how to get her to stay in bed and quiet all night. I suppose I could try the whole sticker chart thing, just not sure if that's enough incentive and if it will really help when she starts screaming in the middle of the night.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Independent and It Feels So Good

We are teaching the boys some independence and it's wonderful!

This morning the kids all came in to our room to lay in bed with us for a little. DH leaves so early in the morning during the week and didn't get back last night until after they were all asleep so they ended up not seeing him at all Friday - they were THRILLED to see him in bed!

After cuddling together for about fifteen minutes, we sent them downstairs. On the weekend they are allowed to have "picnic breakfasts" which means they can stay in their pjs and watch tv while they eat breakfast. It was my turn to get up with them and help them with breakfast and dressing, but this morning I stayed in bed with DH and we got to actually talk. A got the tivo remote and put on a show for everyone to watch and they were content to do that for about half an hour (sweet!) which gave me extra time in bed. We quickly got up when J ratted out her brother about putting a waffle in the toaster oven by himself, but when I came downstairs I discovered that he had set it all up perfectly and safely. We were so impressed! DH and I decided to give both boys lessons on how to use the toaster on their own and supervised as A took his waffle out and B put his in (of course they HAD to both do it on their own). What a blessing it will be to somewhat sleep in on Saturdays now and send them down to watch tv and get breakfast on their own.

A few of you sent me e-mails asking more about A (you know, you guys COULD all leave COMMENTS on the blog!) so let me tell you what's going on. At home A is having a really hard time following verbal commands, becoming distracted by anything in writing around him. He has also regressed with using the potty at home, yesterday having three accidents between 2 and 6. The boys are in school for less than three hours. Within those three hours A was pulled out to see THREE specialists (OT, Speech, and Guidance). That seems like a LOT for one day. He is aware that he is missing stuff in his classroom, especially when B tells us about something he did in class, and A is getting quite upset about that. And then when B was pulled yesterday to do a mini friendship group, A was beside himself that he didn't get to go with him, even though he was going at the same time to see his Asperger's teacher. AARGH! His assistant wrote on his communication sheet that at library he broke away from the group and began pushing buttons on the computer. Hello! Like this is a big surprise? I warned you this would happen - he has no impulse control when it comes to computers! He's been flipping out in class (freaking out the other kids) when he does not get to play on the classroom computers for center time. I am trying to piece together what his specialist schedule is so I can have a better sense of who he's seeing and when. It's so different from last year when I actually SAW the specialists each day and got to hear how he was doing directly from them and tell them about any problems he's having. I know it's all doable; I know right now he's really ahead academically so it's okay for him to miss the classroom stuff; I know I have to contact all of these specialists if I'm concerned. I just have to stay on top of it all. Sure, no problem.

And some of you contacted me to find out about my ankle. Right now, right this second, it feels okay. Teaching two year olds all morning did NOT make it feel good, and staying on my feet for another two hours teaching my Shabbat parent and me group didn't help. By the time I left the synagogue yesterday I was not smiling at all, and for those of you who know me in real life know, it takes a lot for me to break that facade. I know I have to rest it and ice it whenever I can, but that's kind of tough to do with three young kids!

A friend of mine is throwing a yard sale today to raise money for a charity that directly affects her family, so I'm taking the kids to that. Other than that, I'm hoping I can get them to play nicely outside for a lot of the day so I can clean and catch up. I was able to do some stuff around the house on Thursday since J and I had off from school, but my ankle was throbbing so bad by the time I got home yesterday I couldn't do any more.

I think I'll let the kids watch one more show and I'll take a little nap (yep, still tired, nope don't have the results from my sleep study yet). Then we'll all get dressed and head to the yard sale.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Positive thinking

I've decided that I need to focus more on the positive. Here goes:

Yesterday was my sleep study. I stayed overnight and then had to stay all the next day. I got to sleep through the night with no one waking me up because they're hungry, they want to get up, or just because. I only woke myself up a few times, which is normal for me. I was able to watch cable tv - a luxery for me since we only have very basic cable here - and read an entire book, and the nurses there got my breakfast and lunch for me from a nearby restaurant. PLUS I was forced (such a hardship) to take a nap every two hours. VERY nice. I had NO problem falling asleep every time, though each time they woke me, I wanted to go back to sleep right away. I stayed very tired all day, which is not unusual for me, and it made it easy to do what they wanted (ie. sleep).

Focusing on the positive. Okay.

J is very decisive. This morning, after dressing herself in her favorite pink dress that just happens to have a hood, she told me, "I don't want to wear a hood that has a dress." She had to repeat it a couple time before I understood what she was saying (I was tired!) but I finally reversed her sentence and repeated to her, "You don't want to wear a dress that has a hood?" Never mind that she had selected said dress last night - she took it off and picked out a new one to wear.

A is very affectionate. He kisses me all the time. All the time. On my arms, my legs, my cheeks, my neck, sometimes licking . . . focus on the positive, right, ummm....I'm so glad he can show his affection, and responds appropriately when I ask him to stop.

B is equally affectionate, but shows it in a different way. He tells us he loves us. Often. Sometimes every two minutes. I'm glad that he can verbally express his feelings, and only slightly disturbed that he feels he needs to say it so often. Okay, maybe a little more than slightly disturbed considering our family history of OCD. I finally filled out his paperwork to be evaluated by the district and I welcome their findings!

My ankle is down to a dull ache.

The long summer months of me not receiving any paychecks has ended and we are beginning to loosen the purse strings a little bit. I was going to say loosen the belt straps, but since we all know I didn't lose ANY weight this summer, that seems kind of silly.

Today is the first day of Sukkot. Since I teach at a Jewish school which J attends, it means that J and I have the day off. Woohoo!

Right now, right this second, I do not feel like I need to take a nap.

I had a playdate scheduled for today at my house but cancelled it (only affected one other mom) because I was tired and feeling a little behind the eight ball after being off my feet all week. [Side note: Last time B was at the ER, the doctor used that expression with him. He responded, "Besides, I don't even know HOW to play Eight Ball." My oh-so-literal child.]

Since I have some energy right now, I'm going upstairs to sort the laundry and put in a load, than into the living room to pick up all the cr*p that the house has thrown up all over itself. I was quite happy to come home yesterday afternoon to find that house trashed and DH exhausted, complaining about the kids and his long day. He has been giving me SUCH a hard time every day that he comes home and the house is not picked up. I'm so glad that when I came home yesterday the house was not picked up either. It's not so easy when you're in charge of the kids all afternoon, and he didn't have to teach from 9-12 as well!

Okay, that's enough positive thinking. Time to pull some clothes from Mt. Washmore and start washing them.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Ouch

I fell Saturday night leaving my parents' house after Yom Kippor's break the fast dinner. My ankle just gave out from under me and I went down hard. It hurt so much that I thought I had broken it, and had pictures of myself having to crawl back inside to get help. Luckily my sister was still in the driveway and saw me go down. I was able to put weight on it and walk to my car with DS' help, though driving didn't feel that great. I got it x-rayed today and it's not broken. I didn't think it was since I could put weight on it, though as so many people told me the lovely story of how they had fallen and twisted their ankle and they hadn't thought it was broken so they were walking around on it for so long and then they found out that it actually WAS broken. Nice stories. In any case, it's uncomfortable enough that I actually found a sub for school tomorrow for myself, something I avoid doing at all costs.

Tomorrow night is my sleep study. Cannot wait.

A has regressed at home a lot now that he has to focus during the morning at kindergarten. Last week he pooped in his nighttime pull-up four different times, all while trying to fall asleep. And he's peed twice while on the computer at home (luckily not at school). The hardest is that A cannot leave the poop in his pull-up, so he ends up making a great big mess.

I'm tired.

This ankle better feel better if I rest it a lot tomorrow and Wednesday! I'm sick of this!!

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Where I've Been

School has started.
It's extremely satisfying to be teaching again, to have my own classroom.
It's extremely tiring to teach all morning and then immediately be in charge of my own children.
I'm loving it, but it's been tough.
And that's all I have to say for now.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Random Thoughts

It's been awhile, so here are random thoughts and comments:



* I just bought some new make-up, and really like the results when I tried them that first morning. I went downstairs and asked the kids how they liked it.



B: Wow, Mommy, you look beautiful!

M: Thank you, B.

B: Is that make-up magic?



Gee, what a back-handed compliment!

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Check!

So, what did I do yesterday?

Made a big vat of spaghetti sauce? Check!

Made three batches of baked ziti to freeze for future meals? Check!

Made a big pot roast in the crock pot for yesterday's dinner and for a stir fry later this month? Check!

Cut up the veggies for said stir fry, stuck them in a freezer bag, and put them with the meat and the sauce for when I make that meal? Check!

Made a black bean and corn soup for me to have for lunch this week? Check!

Spent three + hours at the ER with B only to find out that the high fever that has lasted now for three days was due to an ear infection and the trouble he had breathing could be fixed (as usual) with an oral steroid? Check, check, and check!

On the plus side, my freezer is now stocked with four meals and B was given the okay to go to his first day of kindergarten today. I hear him coughing upstairs now, so I'll be giving him his medicine (ALWAYS a joy - NOT!!!) and his nebulizer treatment before he eats breakfast. I can't wait to see the off for their first day!

Sunday, September 02, 2007

They Look Sick, Don't They?


This is what two of my "sickies" were
doing while I was writing my last post
about how sick they were!!!

Sunday Sickies

Beth, I'm sorry. I know you worry when I don't post. It's been a crazy kind of week; I'll try to do better.

J spiked a fever Thursday. I had a babysitter here the whole day so I could prep some for the big BBQ we were hosting on Saturday and finish up lots of stuff in my classroom. J was fine all day. We went to my sister's to see her new furniture in the afternoon.

Sidenote: We had been told that it was highly unlikely we would be able to get pregnant on our own since it had taken us five years and lots of fertility treatments to conceive the boys AND when they did emergency surgery to remove an ectopic pregnancy when I was seven weeks pregnant with the boys (yes, everything the hard way, that's me) they discovered I had stage 4 endometriosis, which would make it very difficult to ever get pregnant again unless treated.

When I was late a month after I had stopped nursing the boys, we didn't think much of it, chalking it up to the change in hormones that my body was going through. But when I was more than a week late, we laughingly bought a pregnancy test just to rule out the possibility. That weekend we had splurged on a decorator who would redo our bedroom, painting, buying curtains, bedspreads, bed frame, etc. While they were working in the room, I went into the bathroom, peed on the stick, set it aside, and began brushing my teeth. I began choking on the toothpaste suds in my mouth when I glanced down and saw two dark lines indicating a pregnancy. I spit out, a smile instantly forming on my face even though the shock prevented me from feeling the steps as I walked downstairs to tell DH.

Since the bedroom was completed that night, I had the perfect excuse to have my sister come over so I could tell her the HUGE news. I called her later, raving about the new furniture and the way the bedroom looked, insisting that she come over immediately to see it. As she looked around the room, admiring the walls and the curtains, I kept trying to draw her attention to the bedspread where I had placed the positive pregnancy test. I finally had to be very insistant about checking out this very spot on the bed, but I knew that she had seen it once her whole body froze and her mouth dropped open. It was a very satisfying way to spread the news.

Fast forward to this past Thursday. DS had bought new furniture for her living room and had called up for me to bring the kids over to check it out. She was so excited about it she was practically begging for us to come over. Knowing our history, I don't think any of you can be surprised what was in the back of my mind the whole time I was looking around her new living room. I ultimately turned to her and asked if she was positive there wasn't anything else she was trying to tell me here. She looked at me blankly for a few moments and then quickly began reassuring me that no, she was not pregnant.

In any case, after the kids had played for about an hour, J visibly began fading, first sitting at the table playing, then sitting at the table staring off into space, then laying on one of the new couches clearly in her own world. DS picked her up only to exclaim how hot she was. We took her temperature only to discover that it had spiked from normal to 103 that fast. We took her to the doctor that afternoon since she'd had a cold for over a week. Cold + fever normally = ear infection. Not this time.

We put her to bed early, though she was up several times that night. During the day on Friday we decided that we shouldn't risk it and cancelled the BBQ. We were all really bummed to do that. It turned out to be a good choice since that night B developed his own high fever. His stomach hurt a lot too. A came back that afternoon from an outing with Grandpop only to have his own problems with his stomach. J had stomach issues later that day too.

So today, while the kids are all doing MUCH better, we decided to keep them all quiet for one more day. It would really suck if any of them were sick on Tuesday, the boys' first day of kindergarten.

Edited to add: For the record, I am not pregnant. One of my cousins read this post and interpreted my story about finding out I was pregnant with J and telling my sister to mean that I just found out I was pregnant again NOW. I love all three of my children, but really really really feel I have all I can handle. Besides, if I were to get pregnant now, well...let's just say that would be an amazing feat and we would have to have a serious talk with a certain urologist who did a certain procedure after a certain little girl was born. Enough said.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Monday Monday

I'm yawning, but now I have no choice but to ignore it. DH left for work before 6 (he's strange that way) and I managed to get up by 6:40 (only 30 minutes later than I set the alarm). I managed to shower, dress, swish and swipe the bathroom, and pull together a load of laundry before the kids got up. Not bad. I had stressed to them when they got ready for bed how great it would be for them to get dressed when they heard the music at 7 o o (clock radio let's them know it's okay to get out of bed), and they did! Fabulous!!!

The kids and I have now eaten, we're all dressed, I have a load of laundry to fold, and they are playing on their own. A babysitter is comig over in about half an hour for a good portion of the day so I can sort through lots of paperwork and at least finish all the bulletin boards in my classroom. Hopefully I'll also have time to start making the activity sheets I'll need for Hebrew School.

And I keep on yawning.

I have a big post brewing about the purpose of life and the idea of striving to be the best you can be, but that will have to wait for another day. I have laundry to fold!

Saturday, August 25, 2007

My goals

Monday DH goes back to work. I'm bummed. I have so much that I wanted to do this summer that we never got to do, and now the opportunity has passed. The yard's a mess, the house is a disaster, the basement never got cleaned, the mural in the playroom never got painted, and don't get me started about the attic.

I want to start fresh around the house, but it's so messy it feels like it will take me forever to clean it up, so I end up procrastinating and nothing gets done.

This morning DH didn't feel well so I got up with the kids. I didn't go to bed between 9 and 10 like I had wanted, so I was tired. I set them up with a tv show and went back to bed. When that show was over, I got them breakfast, put on a new show, and went back to bed. When THAT show was over, I brought them all upstairs to get dressed while I showered and got dressed myself. I had wanted to get up early and clean the house before J and I left to go to a birthday party. BUT .... it's almost 10:30 and the party starts at 11 so you know that's not going to happen.

So I'm posting here my goals for this weekend: I want to clean the house and sort through/take care of the pile of papers that have accumulated. I also need to finish one of the newsletters I write by today and contact some people for my pary business. I am also going to try to find someone who might be available to babysit at least for one day this week so I can do some work in my classroom without my children taking everything apart.

And now I'm off to a 4 year old's birthday party. And we ran out of milk so I can't even make a chai tea latte.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Zzzzzzz

After posting yesterday I ended up "napping" on the couch while the kids had tv time/computer time. Bad Mommy, I know, but I was so tired I could barely keep my eyes open. Around 11:30 or so we went to Ikea - the boys got to play in the ball pit and J walked around the store with me since she is still a couple inches too small. We parked in the underground garage, which apparently really confused B. When I explained where we would be parking, this conversation ensued:
B: Are we going to see all the old people who live there?
Mommy: What old people?!!
B: You know, the old people. When they die we bury them underground.

Man, the way his mind works!! I quickly reassured him that we would not be digging up the ground and that old people who are LIVING do not need to get buried!

J and I had a good time walking around the store, checking out the layout of the different decorated rooms. She did balk when I brought her to the first bathroom within a bedroom. "Mommy," she stated matter of factly, "I don't need to use the potty." Good to know she was not planning to use the sample bathroom!

I brought the kids home in the afternoon after treating them to a lunch of mac and cheese at the IKEA cafeteria (99 cents - can't beat that!) for some quiet time for all of us. A was looking forward to his "friend" (the teenage volunteer from the Friendship Circle) coming over to play with him, but soon threw himself to the floor in dispair when he listened to the answering machine message and heard her voice telling us that she couldn't make it today. He was so upset the only way I could think of to calm him down was to have him call her up on her cell phone so she could tell him that she could come over today. The novelty of calling someone up "by himself" and talking to her on the phone really calmed him down, and hearing that she'd come over today cheered him up considerably.

When DH got him, he took the kids to the store to buy ice cream and toppings for dessert (the pushover) and I napped on the couch. The sights and sounds of them all returning and running through the house did not rouse me completely. I was considering going to sleep for the night (it was 5) but stayed up long enough to eat dinner. And then I turned in before the kids even went to sleep. I watched a little tv while laying in bed and was out by 8. I did wake a few times during the night, but went back to sleep fairly quickly.

I woke up this morning for real around 6:15. I felt wide awake for the first time in a while - woohoo. Showered, dressed, made the bed, put in a load of laundry, ate breakfast, checked my e-mail, started writing this post (it's now 7:45), and now I'm yawning again and considering taking a nap. This is not right! I'm glad I have a sleep study scheduled, but it's not until the end of next month. I'm not really sure what to do at this point, except continuing to go to bed early (I'll aim for 9).

I'm tired but have the whole day to myself (one of my last before DH goes back to school on Monday), so don't want to waste it. Here goes!

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

It's Raining, It's Pouring

I took my weight tracker off. It was obviously not serving as any type of incentive - the scale keeps going the wrong way! I'm really frustrated, but know that I just need to consistently eat right and get some exercise. I just have to stick to it, which clearly is not easy for me or I'd already be doing it!

It's pouring. I was going to have the whole day to myself but DH needed to switch since he had a minor emergency with a friend/teaching partner at school that he wanted to deal with today. No problem, but now I have to figure out something for the kids and I to do. I don't want to be stuck in the house all day. Guess we'll be getting wet today!

Yesterday I took the kids with me to my classroom and they did such a great job playing with the toys while I organized the cabinets and closets. We ended up staying later than I had expected because they were playing so nicely together; we were almost late getting home so we could go to the circus! My in-laws get tickets every year for all of us to go together. It's a fun circus, but it ended up being so cold yesterday none of us could believe it! I guess if I had been outside for any length of time yesterday I would have thought to have us all change into long pants and sweatshirts, but seeing as it's AUGUST I didn't imagine we would need to!!!

Oh boy, it's 8:15 in the morning, I'm showered and dressed, 2 out of 3 of the kids are dressed, we've all eaten, and I'm already SOOO tired. I'm sure the rain is not helping. I really have to just start consistently getting up early to get moving. AARGH!