Monday, August 31, 2009

Guys and Bras

Every now and again my husband makes me laugh out loud. Our last trip to the mall was an example of this. I spotted Victoria's Secret and made the request that we stop there so that I could replace my bra on which the under wire had broken. I walked in, pulling my reluctant husband behind me. I asked the sales girl where my style was located, grabbed a neutral colour and got in line. I thought the trip was pretty painless for my hubby until he heard the total at the register, at which point he said, "what, for one of those things, don't you guys do repair here?"

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Misc nothings

Today was a 'me' day. I left the house bright and early, my first stop was to have my eyebrows waxed, then an Origins mini facial complete with having my make up done, then on to the nail place for a mani/pedi, and finally a hair cut. I fit in some shopping between appointment times too. Pair of Calvin Klein jeans for $20? Thanks, I think I will.

How can you be sure that the technician 'over waxed' your brows? When the first thing your make up artist does is apply brow powder for the first time in your life. Just saying. Other than that, I loved the facial, it was so very soothing, but, I didn't like the make up. I didn't like the coverage, colours, or finishes. I am firmly stuck in a rut, which is exactly where I intend to stay.

I had a guy do my nails today. Which isn't unusual in and of itself, but, he was from Thailand...which is and his English that! I hate/despise/abhor having my nails done. It means that I have to sit still for a very long time, and I suck at that. Today however, my nail tech narrated 'Legends of the Fall' as that was what was on television and I found him to be hysterical. Shows you all how often I get out! Also, I don't recommend anyone else say that they saw that movie in the theater. Apparently it shows a girl's age, and then mysteriously you go from Miss to Madam, again, I'm just saying. Also, on this same subject, the reason we didn't say that Brad Pitt looked 'all Grizzly Adams' in that movie back in the day, was because the latest and greatest Grizzly Adams hadn't happened to remind us of the likeness yet.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Running short on virtues

There is a point in my day, that I know I'm done, when my patience is spent and my frustration is threatening to boil over and spill out. I hit that point every single day. Only, I never know when it will strike. Sometimes I make it until after dinner, sometimes until breakfast. I am forever trying to figure what I can do to keep from reaching that point. I have identified several triggers though and I am a better person/mommy for it.

Sleep. I need sleep. I am not now, nor have I ever been one of those people that can thrive on five hours of rest. Sadly, my children's slightly unpredictable sleeping habits are a major obstacle in my quest for sleep. With my husband living and working away, there isn't anyone that I can ask to pick up the slack when I am in desperate need of a nap or really feel like death is a better alternative to that unexpected 3 am feeding.

Kindness. When my children are having a good day and they are kind and compassionate to me, they reap the bounty of having it returned ten fold. This goes the same for my husband, if not double for him. Too quickly now are the ugly words and hurtful suggestions flying. I attribute most of what I am hearing to the stress of the new school year, but, this week has been particularly rough.

Organization. When my home is organized I just function better. When someone spills something (or a case of water) and there aren't dirty clothes or toys on the floor that just make clean up so much more difficult, I handle it better. Sadly, my children are "allergic to picking up." At least that is what they tell me. I am tempted to believe them because try as I might, I can't get them to exhibit any pride or responsibility when it comes to their belongings.

Of course, there are other things that influence my capacity for patience and compassion. Regardless though, since having my children, I find that I have been blessed with waking up each new day with more of the virtues that I had run out of the night before. How great is that, really? Pretty. Darn. Awesome.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

My three year old is causing me to lose my mind

Yesterday, I darted outside to complete an important telephone conversation with my sister in reference to hotel reservations for our upcoming trip. Unable to stand himself if he listened to me for too long, my three year old followed me outside. Once outside, he immediately darted into the street and into my neighbor's rather thick hedge. I was looking for him in the bushes when I noticed a truck stopped in the middle of the street, fearing the worst I started running. Fortunately, while it was indeed my son in the street, the truck had not hit him, and was waiting for me to go and get him.

Yesterday, he removed his clothing and diaper numerous times. I can't even begin to tell you the exact number. He peed on my upholstered bar stool, my floor, my cat. No matter how many times I redressed him, he undressed himself again. No matter how many times he sat on the potty, he found an inappropriate place to do his business.

As there was so much spilled water and pee all over our house, H decided he would help clean up. He paper towelled our living room. An entire roll spread out all over while I ran after him...and all my son could do was laugh...and run even faster of course.

At this very moment he is screaming after fighting with his brother on the stairs and then falling down half the stairwell. This is only moments after he stopped screaming after me spanking him (no I don't actually believe in spanking, H is the only one of my children that I have ever spanked) for pouring an entire bottle of water out on the floor for no reason...other than to make me mad. Between yesterday and today he has poured out the contents of an entire case of water all over my house. By now you are saying, does she watch this kid? The answer is yes. There are times when I am looking directly at him, unable to stop him as I am changing a diaper or feeding a baby.

By this paragraph, he has recovered from his fall and is repeatedly slamming doors upstairs. I. Am. Losing. My. Mind. I can't understand why he is acting like this, ALL OF THE TIME! I don't understand what I have to do to get through to him.

When I think we have reached a new low for bad behaviour, somehow he manages to sink lower still. Like the box of cheddar bunnies he just grabbed out of his sister's hands and shook out on the floor and is at this very moment jumping on the pieces to crush them.

I am to the point that the very idea of hours between lunch and bedtime evoke tears. How do other mothers do it? How do you do it?

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

So far, so good

The kids are back in school. The house is actually much quieter and with the exception of when I was filling out school paperwork packets yesterday, I didn't cry once. The babies are being unusually cooperative. The Baby Girl has slept away most of the day yesterday and today. I guess she does nap...if the house is quiet, that must be why I have scarcely caught her at it before. The Little Lady is not so happy about the lack of people to play with. She has given up napping in protest, because face it, there is always a catch. Hercules cries every morning inconsolably because he wants to go to school too. How I wish I could send him! He is less destructive and more cooperative after he finishes with his morning tantrum though.

The obscene money I spent at BB's orientation on gym clothes is going to good use as he doesn't even HAVE gym this semester. How is it that nobody mentioned the possibility of getting Health instead? The bus brought him back home yesterday and picked him up again this morning, so I am feeling relieved on that score. He had a good time at school yesterday and seems to really like his teachers, so what more could a Mommy ask for?

JB has her best friend in her class and another good friend and she is over the moon about that, but, she really dislikes her teacher. Apparently a few seconds after I left, she asked the girl sitting next to her what she needed to have out and the teacher reprimanded her pretty harshly. I'm really unhappy about this because JB is super sensitive so now she is really scared of her teacher and bummed about school in general. She has been blessed and cursed at the same time, she had the same teacher and class for kindergarten and first grade, and then she had another teacher and class for second and third grades. She is now entering the fourth grade, but this is only her third teacher. For that reason she is having a hard time adjusting, so she'll need a teacher with patience to help her transition well. Sadly, yesterday's incident does not inspire my confidence in this lady being that kind of teacher.

LB is happy. He is always happy, and this year with this teacher is no different. That child is such a ray of sunshine that it is hard to believe he is mine.

My grandfather came over this morning and finished spraying the back yard for ivy. He took the measurements for a drop cloth/ground cover thing that he is going to put down in a couple of weeks. I am much happier now that the yard has been sprayed and I know when he'll be back to finish. It is so nice to have a date that I can give the children because they are so excited to be able to play out there, and especially to be able to play with the dogs outside off leash.

I am getting ready for our Labor Day trip. My aunt is going to watch the dogs and I am thrilled with this arrangement. They both really like her and I am happy that they will have someone they feel comfortable with. I refuse to board them because they were shelter dogs and Molly especially was there so long that any kind of confinement really stresses her out. My aunt will also check on the cats once while we are gone for a litter box change and to double check on their food and water levels. I double litter box when I leave them and they have automatic food and water bowls for just such occasions. They're independent little guys, so I think that for short trips in particular they appreciate having the house to themselves.

I am looking forward to seeing my sister, but at the same time I am dreading seeing my mother. I love my mom, but, we just have so many issues that it is pretty difficult when we're together. My sister and our mom are the same way, so it'll be doubly tense. My mom is one of those people that is miserable all the time. If you send her a picture she complains that she can't display it because she can't afford a frame. If you send her a frame she complains because she has no where to put it. If you just don't send it to her she complains that you don't love her. She loves my oldest son to bits, she is almost resentful towards my oldest daughter, she likes LB pretty well, H makes her crazy and she has little patience with him, she has only seen TLL once for about 5 minutes, and she'll be meeting BG for the first time. My stomach has been clenched painfully since arranging to make this trip.

I think that it is about time for me to wake BG up to eat, that girl must be starving. The kids will be home in an hour and today they will probably have homework, and that will put us firmly back in the real world.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

As happy as I am about football, I'm sad to see summer go

Summer is over. Oh, not the weather, the temperature is still well into the nineties everyday. My children's summer break is over and I am completely beside myself. I am going to miss them unbearably. At the same time I am excited. The school year gives purpose and structure to my day. Schedules seem so much easier to keep during this time of year.

I have been asking myself what in the world I will do without them. This whole summer they have pitched in happily and helped entertain a baby when necessary, slipped a pacifier back in a crying mouth on their way past, pushed shopping carts and strollers for me, in short they have been awesome big siblings and phenomenal children. I have no idea what life will be like without them and I'm a little afraid that I won't be able to deal so well, you know? There won't be anyone to talk to during the day that I don't have to use my 'teacher voice' when addressing, there won't be as many spontaneous hugs and kisses, there won't be as much laughter. I am going to miss them so much!

This school year is presenting so many new challenges. With my oldest in middle school and the whole busing issue which isn't yet completely resolved, I am so worried about how the added stress of having to drive my son and pick him up everyday will affect us all. I am praying at the same time that it won't come to that. There is a bus stop a half a mile from our house. Tomorrow morning, he and his friend will walk there, down a major street that is always bustling with traffic, and they will get on that bus. The problem is, that he is not technically eligible to ride that bus because he is supposed to be walking (1.9 miles) to school. I am keeping all my fingers and toes crossed that he will continue to be allowed to ride that bus. If not, getting all my children home will become a logistical nightmare. The little kids will ride the bus (the elementary and middle school are right next door to each other by the way) which picks them up at the end of our street in the morning, but, in the afternoon it drops them off AFTER the time that I will need to leave in order to pick BB up by. However, if they are car riders and not bus riders, I will have to pick them up a full hour earlier than when BB gets out of school. How in the heck am I going to be in two places at once and what in the world will I do with the babies and the little big kids for that hour in between pick ups?

I suppose I should get off the computer with all my worries and woes and do some laundry and then try to go to sleep. Whatever tomorrow brings, it will come early.

Out for frozen yogurt with LB and JB.

BB in the laser tag tunnel.

Me heaving after a steep climb to the top of the slide! My legs are so sore and that is so sad.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

A tale of two beers

If there are any beer connoisseurs in Bloggy Land, you will appreciate my husband's latest and greatest...or at least you will appreciate my reaction. Our telephone conversation was as follows.

Hubby: Baby, how long has that beer been in the refrigerator?
Me: I just bought it, why?
Hubby: So, it was bad when you bought it?
Me: Noooooooooooo.
Hubby: Well, it must have gone bad in the fridge. I started pouring them out, but then I thought you might want to call the store.
Me: I just had one last night, what's wrong with them?
Hubby: Oh, they're spoiled.
Me: Spoiled?
Hubby: Yeah, really bitter and gross.
Me: It's an IPA, it's supposed to be bitter! Don't pour anything else out!!!
Hubby: It is supposed to taste like that?
Me: Yep, not to worry, I'll stop on my way home and pick up a twelve pack of Miller Lite in the can just for you.
Hubby: *said very sincerely* Thanks.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Middle School Orientation

Here again I will moan and groan about schools. Sorry. Truly, I am.

Today was my son's middle school orientation. Today I was informed that I needed to buy two school issue gym uniforms ($20 each) and rent two lockers ($8) and that I should just go ahead and join the PTSA, but since it is a PTSA, my son should join too ($8) and that all of my son's teachers had wish lists too. Things like electric staplers and pencil sharpeners are in high demand. I was also informed several times over how much each teacher contributed to each of their classrooms out of pocket last year.

Did you all think it was tacky that I mentioned the price of the gym uniforms and such? You did? Good. Me too. I thought that it was extra tacky that I now know how much money my son's new teachers ponied up for their dry erase markers.

I am sorry that our school district is broke. Really. I am. Is this a new issue though? Haven't I been hearing for years all the excuses for my now having to provide things like soap and paper? So, how is this year different? If we continue to provide what the district does not in the way of funding, are we not enabling them to continue to cut our funding? Where does this end?

I don't really fault the teachers for being frustrated that they are having to give back some of what little they are being paid to do their jobs. I do question if it is necessary. I mean, is that expensive science experiment really something that has to fit into the curriculum? Can we not as a school district figure out the right way to tighten the belt? For example, I mentioned the schools being repainted. I don't know about the average Joe, but, I do not repaint my home when I am worried about making basic ends meet. I do put it on the list of things I want to do, but, then I take the grocery money and buy food with it...not paint rollers. Right now, our district is spending where it should not, cutting corners where it jeopardizes the safety of the children they teach, and encouraging the parents to pick up the slack.

What is the answer? Where does it end?

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

You want me to buy what?

As the start of the school year rapidly approaches, my children have been sucking the life blood out of me so I have been unable to coherently post about much of anything. There is so much to do, and so very little time left in which to do it. At the very top of my agenda is school supply shopping. I hate doing this.

It seems that every year the school supply demands become more and more outlandish. My oldest daughter for example has 2 packs of printer paper on her supply list. I am greatly annoyed that say 20 parents (a low estimate) are expected to provide 40 packs of paper for each of 10 classes making the 4th grade parents responsible for providing 400 packs of paper this year!!! Excuse me, but, where are my tax dollars going? Surely they aren't going towards transportation. Why is it that my other children don't need me to provide all their copy paper?

My other children have lists that include 'teacher wishes' which I find far more palatable than the suggestion that if I am not providing the paper for dittos, I am sending my child to school unprepared. You may count on me fulfilling as many wishes as I can before I buy that printer paper.

My other supply peeves are art supplies and communal use items. Do my children really need to have markers, colored pencils, and crayons? Are the supplies going to be for my child's personal use or will they be collected and redistributed among the class? There is nothing that I find more distasteful than spending the extra money and buying the recycled paper/folders/notebooks only to have some child that isn't mine using them. Don't get me wrong, I understand the concept behind not having each child (especially the little ones) manage their own extra loose leaf paper, I would just like to know in advance when I should spend the extra and when I shouldn't. Okay, end of rant.

In the comments from my update on H's doctor stuff, Shosh asked what 'normal' means anyway. I thought it was a pretty good question. The concern being when not normal transcends all the experiences I've had thus far as a mother and my wildest imagination. It isn't so much that H is a constant rule breaker that concerns me. It is that H consistently breaks the same rules that he deems unnecessary/unfair/unimportant. No matter what the consequence is, no matter that the consequences are consistently enforced, H chooses to flaunt the rules and instead marches to the beat of his own drum. Unfortunately, you don't make your own rules in life. I am concerned that he will be ill prepared to start school and maybe even later in life if he continues on like he is now.

I also worry about his safety and the safety of his siblings. For example, it is impossible to keep H from unplugging the vacuum/iron/anything with a plug usually while they are turned on because it amuses him. Dangerous? Yes. It scares me. I also realize that it isn't possible for me (and the rest of the family) to only use electrical devices while he sleeps. Minimizing the temptation has been the most successful answer so far, but, now that he is napping less, it is impossible for me to do all the vacuuming and ironing only when he sleeps, because that is my time to sleep too!

Then there is the hitting, biting, and scratching. When he doesn't get his way, he often bullies the other children. Is there an example being set by my older children that roughhousing in such a manner is acceptable? To some degree, yes, there is. Kids will be kids, and brothers especially, fight. There are times when I am fixing dinner that I can clearly hear (though not see) my older boys exchanging blows. I'll stop, walk into the room and ask if someone was hitting. Without batting an eyelash those two will say, "no" in unison while waiting for me to turn back around to jump on each other again. The difference is that my older boys know it is wrong and that they want to avoid punishment. H however, will smack BB and then come to me and announce that he is going to go sit in time out because he hit his brother. O-K-A-Y, how do you deal with that?

I don't want to paint a picture of my son as just an out of control bully, because he isn't. There is so much more to him. Unfortunately, you never know which side of him you are going to get. He can be the most loving and affectionate child in the world. He is laugh out loud funny, and he is so much smarter than the average bear (or three year old as the case may be) that I am always a little bit in awe of him. I just worry. A lot. I just worry a lot.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

An update on doctor stuff

A few of you expressed interest in what we were doing in conjunction with our pediatrician in regard to Hercules and his really wild behaviour. This is an update on those goings on.

H has been taking Nystatin, he was prescribed a six week course. While I don't believe that it has helped his focus any, it has helped prevent any diaper rashes so I'm keeping up with this one.

The doctor also suggested a self help book (scary, right?) called Love and Logic Magic that isn't available in any bookstore, so I'm hoping that Amazon pulls through for me on this one. I am skeptical that this book will help, but, hey...I'm desperate, right?

On the subject of dietary changes, I get a big fat FAIL! H can open the fridge by himself, even though there is a child safe latch on it. If I don't give him what he wants, he simply waits until my back is turned and he gets it himself. With TLL drinking milk now instead of formula and several more growing kiddos around, I am loathe to banish dairy from our home unless it is strictly necessary, so H will undergo allergy testing to see if we will need to try harder to make that leap.

Clams Forte, the herbal supplement that the doctor suggested I give him when he is particularly fractious is something that I'm on the fence about. While it is 'all natural' the intent is still to alter, albeit through herbal methods, my kid's mood. I am using it, but, only at nap time and bedtime, when it seems kinder to try to help him relax so that he can have his much needed sleep as opposed to whenever he is bouncing off the walls,which I think was more the doctor's intent.

If you are wondering exactly what I'm trying to say about this, so am I. My child's behaviour is definitely not normal, but, is his uniqueness something that requires medical intervention?

Monday, August 17, 2009

An ode to my hovel and my advancing age

Amazingly enough, this last week has been a productive one. Before my husband left on Sunday, he changed the ballast on the overhead light fixture in the kitchen. For the first time in several months (I refuse to go back and check my old posts to find out exactly how long) there is light in my kitchen. Sadly, the new 'sunshine' bulbs I purchased for my newly working fixture are giving me mad headaches. Two steps forward, one step back.

I purchased a kajillion dollars worth of bug spray while I was at the hardware store. As there is still a two inch gap between the top of my front door and the frame, and this is summer, in Florida, I am having terrible bug problems. The gap around the door is attributed to my grandfather's help fixing my door back in February, but...............not quite finishing. Eco friendly living be damned at this point, I'm hitting those nasty bugs with all the aisle at Lowe's held. I feel slightly guilty over this, but, not enough to jump up on another chair screaming for my husband, who more than likely isn't even home. Bye-bye bugs. We shan't miss you.

I also purchased a bottle of weed killer. Since my backyard has been newly emptied of a decade's worth of poison ivy, I felt it was only fair to improve the front as well. There is a bush on one side of my front door and a dying tree on the other. There are also a freaking ton of weeds. Armed with my spray bottle of weed and grass killer, hoping the winds weren't carrying too much over to my next door neighbor's honeysuckle trellis, I got to work. I've been a bit dizzy since I tried my hand at weed eradication, but, that has probably been aided and abetted by my fluorescent kitchen lights and the fact that I have misplaced my glasses. There are those that would even argue that I've been dizzy since my first child was born, so, nothing lost, nothing gained, maybe?

My oldest son received his class schedule for middle school today, I am having massive freaking panic attacks over being the mother of a middle school student. Wherever has the time gone? Scary stuff folks, scary stuff.

My sister is coming to Tampa for Labor Day weekend and I am trying to find a responsible house/pet sitter. I am somewhat terrified that I will be forced to settle for my step son. Uh, love you Babe, know what I mean. Then there is the issue of pulling my kids out of school the week after they start. On the other hand, my husband will be off the week of Labor Day, as he will be returning to his regular duty station and the kids and I will be back to seeing him for one freaking day, once a month. I haven't seen my sister in five years, and she hasn't met my three youngest children. I actually think that I deserve a little mini vacation (thanks to our hotel reward card) and a chance to soak up some of the Florida sunshine before the hurricanes start rolling in.

My kitchen bar is completely devoid of all objects that don't belong and sparkling clean, well except for my cat that is. 'Nough said right there.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Even my cats are dysfunctional

My Persian cat is an anti social fellow. I was assured of this fact by the man who gave him to us. "Not a lap cat," he said. As I sit here typing this, Foxy is laying in my lap. While it is true that Silver Fox (his full snooty name) isn't particularly social, he has seemingly forged some sort of bond with me. At least he no longer bites me if I try to pet him. It could have something to do with me sleeping on the kitchen floor with him in our old house while I tried to acclimate him to our home. It might be because he senses a stupid cat person. Nevertheless, I have always felt very tenderly towards my fluffy white kitty. Until now. I have been paying more attention to what my boy is up to when he is on my lap. My neutered cat sits in my lap when he washes his ding-a-ling. Yep, that's right...when he licks himself. Now I know what my friend who is a vet meant when he loudly guffawed upon seeing Fox in my lap on a previous occasion. "He isn't telling you he loves you," my friend said, "he is saying YOU are MY BITCH!"

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

The wisdom of our school board

Back to school time. We are starting to feel the back to school crunch around here. The number one most frustrating topic that I want to talk about is Duval County Schools new bus schedule. For those of you who aren't local, please bear with me. Last year the maximum allowable distance for a child to walk to school was 1.5 miles. This year it is 2 miles. Two miles, Whiskey Tango Foxtrot school board? Two freaking miles???

My 11 year old will now have to walk (or ride a bike) carrying a bazillion pound book bag nearly 4 miles a day. Or...I can get six kids dressed, diaper bags packed, run my 5.9 liter engine to school and back home every morning and repeat same fun every afternoon. Of course, in the afternoon, I'll just be waking them up from their naps, not from their nightly rest. Or...I can trust my 11 year old (that so couldn't even manage to run into the grocery store for a gallon of milk while I waited in the car) to make the two mile trek there and the two mile trek back BY HIMSELF.

The economy is hitting everyone hard I hear. The schools as well, which is what necessitated this change. Somehow though, in the face of all this adversity, my children's elementary school managed to find the funds to repaint and refurbish. So, my little ones will be able to enjoy their awesome looking school while my 11 year tries to avoid all the cars, trucks, and pedophiles. Oh yeah, don't forget that this is Florida, so he'll be making that trip in 100 degree weather on most days and in the rain on the rest. Great flipping job Duval County School Board...what a way to prioritize!!!

Don't get me wrong, I understand that there is a need to cut corners and to trim extra spending. I just think that as long as we can still afford to repaint our schools, that we should cut corners that don't involve our children's safety first!

I wonder, can the patience to homeschool be purchased online? I am starting to fear that homeschooling will be our best option.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Family and pictures

Most of you will have noticed in pictures that I have posted that my youngest daughter has a large 'strawberry' birth mark under her eye. I was at first really upset about it. None of my other children have had any birth marks and I was devastated that my beautiful daughter hears nothing but, "poor baby, what is THAT under her eye?" People are jerks. Inconsiderate jerks. I'm over it now, but, I still think people are jerks.

I recently had her pictures done and I was excited to share them with the family and a few friends in an online album. My mother called today to say that a.) she thanks me for sharing the pictures b.) the baby is beautiful, and c.) why in the hell had I not paid extra to have that nasty thing airbrushed out?

I chose not to have that nasty thing airbrushed out because I love my daughter just the way she is. I also want her and my other children to know that I love her, and each of them just the way they are. I don't see any nasty things when I look at my baby. I see my daughter. Beautiful, little, amazing, and perfect.

So, please tell me bloggy pals...would you have had anything airbrushed?