Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Check this out!

My website is now up and running - go see it and tell me what you think!!!

Thursday, January 25, 2007

What am I thankful for today?

What am I NOT thankful for today?!!

Here are the top 13:

Thirteen Things R is Smiling About Today

1. I am down to three, count them, THREE kids.
2. That means I no longer provide full-time child-care to ANYONE except my own children.
3. To celebrate, my sister and I are taking all the kids to McDonald's for lunch after school.
4. Say what you will about the quality of McDonald's food, but NOTHING beats their fries!
5. To celebrate the fact that we can now have dinner whenever we want without having to wait until my nephew gets picked up some time between 5:30 and 6:15, we are taking the kids out to dinner tonight.
6. DH is taking sick day tomorrow (he is losing his voice) which means he will be able to come with me to the kids' school as B is the all-important Shabbat King tomorrow. B is SO excited!
7. I just met with the children's librarian at my local library who agreed to hire me to perform at one of the weekly kid shows they have over the summer.
8. She is also going to forward my show description to all the other libraries in the county, who will hopefully hire me as well.
9. Depending on their budget she may also be able to hire me to do some storytimes as well.
10. Getting paid to perform is incredible.
11. Being able to put out my flyers at each library when I perform or lead storytime, thus allowing me FREE advertising, is even better!
12. I had plans to get together with a friend this morning that fell through (I'm not smiling about that and hope she's okay!) but I bought Starbucks to bring to her house so I got to have my Chai Tea Latte (non-fat with no water and no foam, in case you were curious) today.
13. I love that even though I don't like coffee, I now have my very own "grown-up" drink.

So what are YOU smiling about today?

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!

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Potty Training Back

Forget the social stigma.
Forget the price of diapers.
Forget the inconvenience of having a child who is nearly five still not able to use the toilet.
Forget the smell (though that's really tough).

The biggest problem with A not yet being potty trained is the fact that he is much stronger than when he was a toddler. Yesterday he had a diaper rash. When I went to change his diaper in the morning and got ready to clean up the morning messy diaper, he kicked and squirmed and screamed so much that I'm surprised I didn't get a bloody nose. I was kicked a few times hard enough to double me over and finally found a grip to hold under my arm and hold the other leg with my left hand so I could clean him off with my right hand all while I held him down with my leg. I know, it sounds almost barbaric but you do what you have to do to take care of your children. I know it hurts him, but it will hurt him worse if I don't clean him off.

After everyone was dressed and fed and cleaned I took them all to school. I breathed a sigh of relief when I got the boys in their classroom and helped them put their coats and hats and gloves and scarves (don't you just love winter) and backpacks away. And then I breathed in. Oh no. I have to change A yet again. Dread filled my aching body as I took him across the hall to the two year old classroom (the only one set up for diaper changes). For some reason most of the parents were hanging out in the classroom that morning, so they all got to witness our diaper changing dance. After the first minute I had ripped his shoes off (can't believe I didn't think of that before I got started but one good kick to the chin gave me that idea) but had to keep throwing my body across him to calm his legs down so I could grip them better. After what seemed like an eternity trying to hold his legs so I could wipe him off and getting nowhere, sick to death of the pitying glances I received from some parents and the careful avoidance from others, one mom came over and offered some help. I almost cried in gratitude.

The pain from the diaper rash is now gone. But the pain in my body is going to stick around for awhile. And the one in my heart is a little stronger.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Mish-Mash Monday

The sounds of J shouting "No" from downstairs remind me that DN-A is only going to be in our charge for three more days. Not that I'm counting.

J woke up screaming in the middle of the night last night. When I went in she told me, "Actually I want to be zipped up." She is now sleeping in her new sleeping bag on the floor of the boys' room. When I put her to bed last night she did not want me to zip the bag. Obviously she changed her mind.

I've been using almost every spare moment to revise my flyer and website for my new business. I'm still so excited about it I can't even talk! :) Well, maybe a little. My goal is to get everything up and running (website, new phone line, flyers and cards printed) by February 1st.

I have a workman from Verizon coming today to change my connection from DSL to fiberoptic. Supposed to make the house wireless and make the connection much faster, all for only 40 cents more than what I'm paying now. He will be here for four hours. Hopefully he will not come during the twenty minutes I'm bringing the boys to school. I'll leave a note on the door and hope for the best.

I have a lot more to write but not enough time. I'll try to find more time today to sit down and post, but can't promise anything. I know my loyal readers (all five of you) will be disappointed, but it's the best I can do.

Friday, January 12, 2007

I'm Walkin' on Sunshine

I feel like I'm walking three feet off the ground.

I'm laughing with the kids, I'm taking care of (some) stuff around the house, and I'm head over heels in love with my new idea. Tuesday afternoon I made the decision to start my own business.

Let me back up a little. Last year, around this time, my friend Chaotic Mom started talking to me about putting my love of theater and music and teaching together and hiring myself to entertain at birthday parties. I liked the idea, and she even hired me to do her son's party (which went really well) but then life got in the way as it normally does. I didn't pursue it, and the idea just kind of petered out.

And now I'm at a different point in my life. I had the "big talk" with my sister where I told her that I couldn't watch her kids anymore, and, not that I'm counting, I only have seven more days where I'm in charge of my nephew for the day. While I'm relieved to not have that responsiblity anymore, I will definitely miss that income. A lot. So I've been trying to figure out what I could do to make it up. I was contemplating becoming a consultant for one of the many home based businesses out there, and then I met with a good friend who sells Mary Kay. Now anyone who knows me knows that I would DEFINITELY not be the person to sell Mary Kay, but after mulling over several ideas with her, she stressed to me that it's really important to find something that I'm passionate about. And we're back to the whole birthday party entertainer again.

So Tuesday I put together my idea in the form of a simple flyer and sent it out to a bunch of friends for feedback. Wow, do I have some great friends out there! One even took the information and made it, shall we say, extremely visually appealing. I have been tweaking it on and off for the last three days. I'm so beyond excited about this!!! My next step is to figure out how to create my own website to provide more info for curious parents. I feel like I shouldn't make brochures or business cards until I have a web address since I will obviously want those things on it. And I'm also trying to get information about starting my own business so I can figure out the legalities of it. Any of you out there have any good sites that talk about starting a small business or a way to design and host your own website totally for free? I'll keep doing my google searches and hopefully will get things up and running by next week.

I have not felt this alive in a really long time. I know part of it is I just started getting three mornings to myself each week (2 1/2 hours each makes a HUGE difference in how overwhelmed I end up feeling by the end of the day). But every time I come upstairs I have to run to the computer to see if anyone has sent me any other ideas or revisions for the flyer or the business as a whole. So many possiblities, so many things to explore. One aspect of what I will provide is a craft and costume accessories for each child based on their individual theme. So I have to decide how much I should spend per child to make it fun for the kids but not prohibitive for the parents. Which also means I have to check out all the various sites on-line to find the BEST prices in these kinds of things. For example, a friend might hire me to do a pirate themed party for her son next month. So I'm looking for bandanas and eye patches as well as temporary tattoos, plus small treasure chests for them each to decorate. Then I have to decide how much my time is worth, or how much do I have to get paid to make this financially worthwhile for me. It's just a lot to think about, but it's so totally exciting.

I sent some flyers to Kinko's (yes, you can do that from your computer) to get 10 copies made just to start out. After nap time I'm taking the kids over to pick them up. Can't wait to see them.

So that's why I haven't blogged this week. And now I've found out it is National Delurker Week and I almost missed it! PLEASE delurk and leave a comment.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Disaster Has Struck

Being the good mommy that I am, I threatened my daughter last night to get her to stay in bed. She can come up with ten different excuses to leave her brothers' bedroom at night, usually involving needing to use the potty. How can you refuse that? Well, when you put her to bed at 7 and it's 8:30 and she's still screaming "I have to poop!" at the top of her lungs after having gone to the potty THREE separate times since seven o'clock, it gets a little easier.

So last night I made sure she understood the consequences of screaming for Mommy or Daddy to come and take her out of the Pack and Play (where she chooses to sleep in her brothers' room while she has her sleep-over) for any reason. She even was able to parrot it back to me.

"So J, let's make sure you push out all the pee and poop right now, because once you go to bed you're not allowed to call for us. Why not?"

"I going to be quiet. If I yell I go sleep in my room," J explained.

Yes, the ultimate threat: isolation.

Anyway, it worked. But it was only now when I attempted to put her down for a nap that I realized how well. When I lifted J's Mine (yes, she calls the stuffed bear/blanket that she has slept with every single naptime and bedtime since she was born "Mine" - anything unusual about that?) out of the pack and play, I felt something wet on it. After closer examination I learned that sometime during the night, J had thrown up. Not a lot, but enough. And, fearing isolation, she did not call us. She had cried once in the middle of the night (probably when it happened) but then went back to sleep. In the vomit. Lovely.

And to make it even worse, I had to explain to her that she couldn't have her Mine for this nap because he had to take a bath. So she laid in bed whimpering, "I want my Mine, I want my Mine." ARGH! I finally found a soft blanket for her to hold that was clearly a poor substitute, but would do. And I believe she has fallen asleep, finally.

I better get Mine in the washer so we don't completely traumatize this child in case it's not dry by bedtime!

The Comfort Food that Didn't

Oh, McDonalds, you are my favorite comfort food. I love the salty taste of your perfectly fried french fries, biting into your "Big and Tasty" burger, loaded with a tomato slice and some lettuce so I don't feel too decadant (along with a big dollop of mayonaise), is just divine, and then treating myself to a Coke - I love fountain drinks more than any other version - AAAAHHHHH....

So I woke up, if you can call it that, this morning feeling lousy. Still. My throat has been swollen to the point of painful to swallow anything since Friday. Bleck. And my ears hurt. Double bleck. I went to the doctor on Friday and he (not my regular doc but I was desparate) prescribed an antibiotic since my throat and glands were so swollen. He also prescribed a prescription decongestant. I've been up coughing every night. Last night I slept literally from 1 - 4. At 5:30 I went back to sleep for half an hour, and then when the kids got up at 7 I let them come in my room and watch tv so I could kind of sleep for another half hour. I'm tired and cranky and feel like crap. All I want to do is cocoon myself in my bed and stay here all day.

But here's the kicker. I decided since I felt so bad I should treat myself (and the kids) to my favorite comfort food. It is with much sadness that I report that the salt made my throat hurt and the sandwich tasted weird because apparently I'm more stuffed up than I thought.

You know it's bad when even your comfort food turns on you.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Thirteen Things I Want

Thirteen Things about R

1) I want to only have my three children in my charge during the day. For those of you keeping track, I'm responsible for my nephew for 11 1/2 more days.

2) I want a clean house. I want to walk in it and feel good, not overwhelmed by all the crap.

3) I want to lose twenty five pounds. I'd settle for fifteen. But it's got to go.

4) I want the willpower to eat the way I need to in order to lose the weight. I know what to do - I just chose not to do it!

5) I want my children to be happy and healthy.

6) I want to know all the services that my sons qualify for and figure out exactly how to get ensure that each one gets everything they need, paid for by insurance, of course.

7) I want to figure out a way to use my time wisely: so I'm not burnt out but still able to keep up with the basic household chores, paperwork, bills, meals, groceries, laundry . . . PLUS find a chance to spend at least SOME quality time with the kids, either individually or as a group.

8) I want to finally finish up with the pile of paperwork I currently have to deal with right this minute so that all that will be left is the daily/weekly upkeep.

9) Same thing with the laundry.

10) I want to figure out right now exactly how much money we are going to need each month to get by once I'm not watching my niece and nephew anymore.

11) I want to figure out how to start getting hired as an entertainer for kids and a vocalist for weddings - all things that I have done professionally before but have not truely pursued. Maybe getting hired to do something that I love doing would be enough to pay the bills each month.

12) I want to make a goal and stick to it.

13) I want the house to run itself. I know that sounds kind of dumb, but I want to have my routines so automatic that I do them on autopilot. I went grocery shopping last night and then didn't finish putting everything away. I also didn't prep today's meals. Therefore I started the day with the groceries still out and have felt like I'm two steps behind all day.

And that's it. Not to much to ask for, is it?!

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Back to Life, Back to Reality . . .

Vacation is over. DH is back to work. In half an hour I will take all the kids to school. Routines are back. Everyday life is back. I LOVED having DH home. He let me sleep in EVERY day which was SO sweet. And we had a great time together as a family, and alone just the two of us. But real life creeps in, so back to work he went this morning early, early, early.

As much as I loved him being home (and trust me, I did) I'm looking forward to school starting again for the kids and getting back into normalcy. The week before break B was sick and home with me, so I didn't really get to take advantage of having all of them in school. But today . . . as soon as I drop them off I'm heading over to my favorite Starbucks, buying a Chai Tea Latte (Is it sad that the manager knows me by name and last time I was there even remembered that my drink is a tall non-fat Chai Tea Latte, no water, no foam? Just asking.) and finding a table to spread out on and write my Hebrew School and Religious School plans for the month. Aaahhh, things I can't do with kids by my side.

We allowed A back on the laptop yesterday to try some new games he got for the holidays. He hasn't had significant time on it since his IEP team recommended limiting the amount of time on a computer, since it is his main area of obsession. In any case, wow - we saw a lot of autistic symtoms that we haven't seen in a while. Hadn't realized how much limiting the computer time was helping! Between the hands over the ears and the flapping fingers and single-minded focus, he was a different kid altogether.

I've realized with A that I have to stop using his diagnosis as an excuse. Yes, he has Asperger's and yes, that explains a lot, but I find that when he displays the slightest Autistic-like behavior I'm telling everyone around me about his diagnosis as a way of excusing/interpreting his behavior. They don't all need to know that! He is an incredible kid. I know that he has lots of problems, but I also know that the way I've been adapting his environment at home and in the way we deal with him has made it much easier for him to cope with the world, and I should focus on his good qualities in public. On the other hand, today I will be getting tough and writing e-mail to reconvene his IEP. He's almost five and still does not do anything at all on the potty. We've tried so many different techniques, and they only get him saying that he doesn't want to sit on the potty (no matter what the incentive is) by the afternoon. What I'm doing doesn't work and I'm at a loss. We NEED to get goals for this on his IEP and I need professional help to get him trained. I don't want him to go to kindergarten with a personal care aide simply because he's still wearing diapers!

Okay, it's time to get their hair brushed and ready for school (so I can get to Starbucks and act like a grown-up).

One more thing: I love my nephew, but it is with great relief that I announce that I will be watching him for a total of only fourteen more days.