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Posts tagged ‘home’

Ridiculous Things My Kids Said Last Month

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1. “Can I play with Legos for reading time?”  Jay’s voice had hesitancy and hope in it at the same time.  He knew I would say no. Reading time is for reading.  But that wasn’t the kicker.  A few nights before, he’d had a tantrum about not having enough reading time.  Hubby had let him stay downstairs past bedtime to finish watching a movie. In my mind, lights still go out at the usual time. Having the privilege of staying up later to watch TV means you sacrifice the equivalent amount of reading time.  It would have been expecting too much to remind him as a 6.5 year old about that tantrum, and I was too tired to explain the irony of his question. I left it at “no” (with maybe an eye roll.

2.  “I want to be the kind of mom that dad is.”  That gem came from Mae. Whew boy!  That was her way of saying that she wants to be a fun mom, which I am notoriously and unashamedly not. I thought to myself, “Well, you’d better marry a cooking, cleaning, homework-checking, bill-paying, hair-doing, appointment-making woman.”  I’m fully aware that there are some men who take on the same or similar degree of household management for which mothers are known. However, they were not my first thought.  She’s 10. She has lots of time to become enlightened. I wish her the best of luck!

3. “It’s not my fault I wasn’t paying attention.”  Ok then. I’m still processing that one.

4.  “I have a question I want to ask the Internet.”  When I was 10, I was annoyed that I lived in a home that didn’t have a complete encyclopedia set.  We had a partial set of Brittanica knock-offs that my mother started by trading in Greenback stamps at the grocery store. The store discontinued the offer before my mother completed the set. Using a “real” encyclopedia meant a car trip to the library or an aunt’s house.  Mae’s statement was a sharp reminder of how much the world has changed.

One of the wonders of children is their ability to make you see things in a different way. My kids continue to challenge me to think, rethink and unthink.  It’s good for me.

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Me vs. Them

On February 21, not even two week ago, our washing machine was repaired.  The technician replaced a broken pump because coins had found their way into the pump and cracked it.  He found $0.83 inside the pump.  How much is $0.83 worth?  Well, $0.83 can get you $295.60 in washing machine repairs.  Not exactly a bargain.  Actually, the cost was $310, and fortunately, I had a coupon for 10% off the cost of labor.

I called a family meeting with Hubby and Dem Kids. I had the $0.83 in one hand and the broken pump in the other.  I showed them how pocket change had cracked the pump and thereby costed us the equivalent of 4 nights at the movies or 16 pizza nights.  Of course, fingers were pointing in every direction to peg the owner of the change. Frankly, I didn’t care to whom the money belonged (for the record, ahem, I use a wristlet and I keep change in one section of it).  I just asked that they check their pockets when they undress at night and check all pockets when doing laundry. That’s reasonable, right? 

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Well, my little show – and – tell was for naught.  Since then, as I’ve move clothes from the washing machine to the dryer or out of the dryer, I’ve found a drum tuning key, money clip, and penny.  Three different occasions where either Hubby or the kids started the wash. 

What the what?  What did I say after finding the tuning key and money clip?  “Remember to check pockets . . . .”

I know they don’t listen to half of what I say and forget the other half.  But, gee whiz, who doesn’t like money and saving money?  As a matter of fact, Jay asked if he could have the $0.83 the day I told them about the repair.  Ok, he’s only six and a half, so maybe he doesn’t get the irony. 

So, I’ve got to think of some clever way to help everyone remember to check pockets.  And, I need to save the next appliance repair coupon I see . . . just in case. 

Let’s See If I Can Remember How This Works

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Roasted veggies pureed into sauce for lasagna with brown rice pasta

I haven’t blogged in so long that I’m struggling to remember what it was about it that I liked so much.

I took a break that I didn’t plan. I just didn’t feel like it. Or rather, I felt like doing other things. Like playing Ruzzle. Work kicks my mental butt most days. By the time I get home and get through dinner and homework and preparing for the next day, my brain is not good for much other than Ruzzle.

I’m expert at giving myself permission to not do things that I genuinely don’t want to do. My elders mistakenly and repeatedly labeled this as “stubborn” throughout my childhood. I didn’t have the correct term for it then either. Today, I’m calling it self-care.

So, this brings me to a recent commitment I made to myself. My attachment to sweets and junk food had gotten out of hand. I eat a lot of healthy stuff and I was probably eating an equal amount or more of unhealthy stuff. For the 28 days of February, I modified my food intake to eliminate white flour, white sugar, and fried foods. In other words, I broke up with cookies and cake and french fries. We’ll get back together at some point, but it’ll be a healthier relationship. No more abusing my waistline.

I cut out meats too with the exception of a roasted chicken drummette one day because I’d tried a different seasoning mix for the kids, and I wanted to see how it turned out. Watching Hubby and Dem Kids enjoy pizza, burgers, etc and especially preparing such foods for them was less difficult than I expected. I survived lunch with coworkers who were enjoying all kinds of deliciousness. I made it through birthday and going-away celebrations with more strength than I thought I had.

There were many, many times when I felt I was eating food accessories (grains, vegetables, nuts, beans) instead of food. I allowed myself a small amount of cheese and eggs to have some sense of indulgence. On several days, I made simple, meatless dishes that I enjoyed and would be willing to have again.

My mantras for this year have been “find a way” (thanks, Diana Nyad) and take care of yourself. This experiment gave me the opportunity to practice and internalize both. I’m confident that I’ll have more self-control when it comes to food. As a reminder and to refresh the commitment, I plan to make this a tradition and try some version of a modified diet every February.

Now, if I could apply this to Ruzzle, I’d really be doing something.

It’s a Wrap

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Well, that was fun, one of the best summers I’ve had in a long time. It ended for all intents and purposes when Mae returned to school today. She saw one of her classmates from last year as we were walking into the school building. She promptly ditched me and went about her business. I think she said bye, but I’m not sure.

Jay has two more weeks of camp, and I expect a similar ditching from him when his school opens after Labor Day. Over the summer, his attitude matured more than his body. He’s still a sweet kid over all but he developed a smart mouth somewhere along the way this summer.

Ahhh, it was a sweet summer. We rested, we took it easy. I took it easy. That’s unusual for me. I did it and I’m proud of myself. I read at home, not just on the train during my commute. I did only one day of yard work. The yard was plain and boring, and I was ok with that; fortunately, Hubby kept the grass at a decent level.

I baked for no reason or special occasion. I even took naps on a couple of days. I started the summer with a plan for the kids to have 20 minutes of study time per day. I wasn’t a stickler about it, so they had 20 minutes most days. And, most days, I didn’t check the work to see if it was correct. Bless their hearts, they didn’t complain much. They acted like studying during the summer was normal. Mae especially surprised me because her summer workbook was all math. I asked her to focus on fractions, multiplication, and division. She struggled most with fractions. Still, every time I suggested that she go to the multiplication or division sections of the book, she said she wanted to keep working on the fractions. That’s my plucky girl.

She and Jay enjoyed their camp at Jay’s school. Since it’s Mae’s old school, she got to see some of her old classmates. Jay is easy; if there are Legos available, he’ll be fine. I thought for sure Mae would be bored out of her mind. Nope. Day after day, she told me camp was fun. In fact, she didn’t have a meltdown until the last day. Some girls yelled at her because she bumped into one of them. She thought they were being mean to her and she said they had been mean to her before, for no reason. I could tell from some of her daily reports that she’s still learning how to pick up on the social cues and keep her distance from children who don’t like or accept her. Otherwise, it appears that she got along with her fellow campers ok.

The kids had swimming lessons, and Mae had Tae Kwon Do and Jay drum lessons. It was manageable, no overscheduling. We actually had several free Saturdays and Sundays, sometimes both in the same weekend. That was a beautiful, lovely, awesome thing.

One of the best parts of summer was that Mae had no hypersensitive reactions to bug bites. Like the doctor said, she outgrew the sensitivity (it appears). This was the first summer since she was about 3 years old that the mysterious brown spots and sores did not appear.

We all needed that relaxed break; last school year was grueling. I think I’m ready for 4th and 1st grades. Deep breath in . . . .

Picking and Choosing

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It’s a good thing I’m not the type of person who panics easily. I should be freaking out about being told today at 6:45 pm or thereabouts that Jay’s martial arts-themed birthday party on Saturday (less than 48 hours from now) may be without a martial arts instructor. The party scheduler didn’t know that the usual party instructors will be participating in a tournament this weekend.

She said she’s trying desperately to book one of two possible substitutes. Hey, a lot can happen in two days, right? I do wonder about the capabilities of the leftover instructors who aren’t participating in the tournament. Does that mean they suck? Would six-year olds notice? If I can fit into Mae’s uniform, maybe . . . .  Well, the scheduler is going to call me at noon tomorrow and give me an update.

This is our first week back from vacation and then I was home sick on Monday and Tuesday, so I’m still getting my energy back and adjusting to our summer routine. Jay and I both picked up some crud. The pediatrician asked me if Jay had had any recent “exposures.” I said, “Between the zoo, pool, water park, beach, and hotel, I’m sure he was exposed to something, but I don’t know what.”

During vacation, my work piled up and I worked last night and I’ll work tonight to get caught up. I had three great colleagues on standby to babysit help my clients. However, the Lovelies left “urgent” voicemail messages despite my out-of-office greeting and disregarded my email auto-reply asking them to contact my co-workers. Ah, to be valued so much that they would have no one else but me!

I don’t feel like being panicky right now. I chose calm for today. I think better in this state. I have too much to do for home, self, and work and not a lot of time to get it done. Like, I have a hair appointment tomorrow after work and I need to shop for and bake a cake for which I still need to decide upon a recipe.

Woosaaaah . . . .

Strong Finisher

orange beltMae tested for her orange belt in Tae Kwon Do last Thursday. While performing an exercise called Second Form, whatever that is, she made a mistake.  She paused and started over.  The three classmates testing with her kept going.  She didn’t try to catch up with them.  She took her time.   I could she that she was concentrating hard.  She finished . Then, the entire group had to repeat the set of moves.  The second time, she did a great job from start to finish.  They all did.

Before going on to the next phase of the test, the Master Instructor praised Mae for starting over and taking her time.  He told her that he liked that she didn’t just stop.  He said that she’ll be a “strong finisher in life.”  I was more proud of her for staying the course than I was for getting the belt.

Mae told me a few weeks ago that she didn’t want to take the test because she didn’t feel ready.  She said she couldn’t remember all of the Second Form.  At first, I thought about asking the teacher if she could work with Mae a little extra.  I talked myself out of that.  Instead, I asked Mae what was the worst that could happen?  She wouldn’t get the orange belt, which would be disappointing and upsetting.  Then, life would go on.  I pointed out that she had several more weeks to practice.  I reminded her of the Fourth Agreement, always do your best.   She relaxed after our talk.  I did too.  The talk was as much for me as for her.  When she first said she was worried, a vision of a huge meltdown in the middle of the dojo flashed across my mind.  But I can’t save her from everything.  Failure is a part of life and learning.  I told myself that if she failed, I’d just have to be prepared to give her a shoulder.  So, it all worked out.  My Strong Finisher.

The whole week finished on a high note.  I went on a field trip with Jay’s class, which was a welcome break from the office.  I had Jay and one other mild-mannered kid with me.  Some of the other moms were envious; they had rowdy kids.  One mom told a kid that he wouldn’t be allowed to go on field trips in the future unless one of his parents came along.  Parents who are used to easy-to-manage kids have no idea.  Next time, I’ll volunteer to take him if he doesn’t have a parent on the trip.  Compared to my girlchild, he would have been a piece of cake.

When I went back to work on Friday, I had three deadlines and I met all of them, plus a slew of stuff that I wasn’t expecting to do.  But the absolute highlight of my week was that I found a pair of shoes on sale for $19.99 and went I to pay, I had exactly $19.99 in reward points.  Yep, I walked out with a free pair of shoes, no taxes, nothing.

This morning, I went to Jay’s school to help in the garden that the principal recently started.  I took my neglected gardening tools and gloves, meant for the garden that exists only in my head, and put them to good use.  I have neither vegetable nor flower in my own yard, but while my kids are in summer camp at the school, they’ll have an opportunity to see, touch and taste some of nature’s bounty and I’ll get some credit for it.  🙂

Today is Saturday, and I have nothing planned outside of the house for the rest of today and tomorrow.  That means we have no excuse to let our garage remain in its current crowded, unorganized condition.  So, that’s my tomorrow.  For now, Hubby found an Irish documentary that involves fighting.  I like Irish stories and he likes fighting, so we have a date.

Winding Down

It’s been so long since I’ve been here! The clouds are breaking. Work has lightened up, at least for now. We have a new staff member, which I hope means that my workload will stay reasonable. Homework is decreasing as the end of the school year gets closer. Whew! I’m convinced that 3rd grade has been harder on me as a parent this year than it was when I was a student myself some 30 plus years ago.

20130522-072907.jpgI finished my cake decorating class. If grades were given, I would have been lucky to get a C. For the last class project, my cake leveler broke and I was unable to get the nice, smooth surface I wanted. I made cream cheese frosting, which the instructor recommended against. I’m a hardhead.  I could not bring myself to put butter cream icing on a red velvet cake, and I didn’t have time to make two frostings. I took my chances. As a result, my frosting was too soft to make the pretty flowers I saw in my head. At least the cake tasted good (or so I was told). You couldn’t tell by looking at the final cake, but I actually learned a lot.  I need practice, which means that I need to bake, which I haven’t had time to do. Well, this weekend I will have time as well as a reason to celebrate. Yesterday was the birthday of Albert, Jay’s favorite stuffed puppy. Albert has birthdays every few weeks. Jay decides the theme and plans the party, including the type of cake and how it should be decorated. He gave Albert three birthday gifts yesterday, including a sleeping bag that looked like a sock. So, we’ll top off the celebration with a special cake for Albert.

Mae is done with social skills training until the fall while the therapist takes a summer break.  I definitely plan to return to the social skills playgroup.   I had a nice, long talk with the  therapist during our last visit.  She talked about helping the kids recognize “unlikeable” behaviors that make it difficult for other kids to stay friends with them.  I’m convinced that there is value in structured play time with interventions or corrections as necessary, both in being corrected and seeing others corrected.  A teacher told me recently that kids need to see or hear something at least 17 times to master it or make it habitual.  So, I’m going with that.  The cognitive behavioral therapy is on hold because we couldn’t get a regular slot that worked for our schedules.  If Mae asks to go during the summer, it may work out better since we won’t have to worry about homework.

This weekend I’ll also be working on travel plans for a vacation in June.  Sooo looking forward to that!  The vacation, that  is, not the planning.

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