August 31, 2010


Its been a whine-fest around here.  I can't figure out if the kids are bored, tired, getting sick, having growing pains, or just missing me, but Chris is more stressed than usual these days.  They aren't so bad in the afternoons when I get home from school, but apparently all day long they are much whinier than before.  Sibling rivalry is at an all-time high, and Hannah is becoming a big ol' bully.  One of these days the preschool is going to call us about her pushing or beating up one of the 4 yr olds (probably her brother) and I will be so embarrassed.  As a teacher, I have to make plenty of those kinds of calls home, and MAN would I hate to be on the receiving end of that call.  Apparently they both behave really well when they're away from us, because we get excellent reports 95% of the time.  They must save all those "precious moments" just for us.  Because they love us so much, right?  Riiiiiiight.

So anyway, I need to figure out a way to let Hannah know it is unacceptable to hit her brother, and I need to get Andrew to stop whining.  This is likely a universal problem, not unique to my kids at all, but being in the middle of it is not pleasant.  I need it to stop.  Like NOW.  Tips, please!

Spankings don't work.  Sometimes they get their attention enough to stop for a minute, but they never make it stop completely.  Time-outs work maybe 50-60% of the time.  Quality time helps, but as soon as one gets some cuddling, the other one is RIGHTTHERE wanting their turn, which in turn causes more whining/pushing/rivalry.  Sigh.  What we need is a nanny.  Or a wife.  Someone to give one of us a break (read: nap!) so they can play with one child while one of us plays with the other one.  Lord knows when I get home from middle school I am exhausted and, try as I might, am probably not on the top of my mommy game.  Chris, on the other hand, is exhausted as well since he's been dealing with the whining and fussing all day long.

I know, I know...These days are precious, and we need to cherish every one.  One day we will look back and wish we could live through them all over again.  Yeah...I know.  They really are precious.  I just wish they could communicate in a manner that doesn't involve so much whining/screaming and less of the word "NO!"  Yikes.  That seems to be Hannah's favorite word lately.

Yes, I'm whining.  Wonder where my kids learned it...Hmmm...

August 28, 2010

Full Contact Parenting

Every night before bedtime, the kids have a routine...they eat and watch one show.  Hannah's choice would be a Spot video, Veggie Tales, or perhaps 101 Dalmatians.  Andrew's choice would be A Bug's Life, X-Men, or 101 Dalmatians.  Since 101 Dalmatians (the classic Disney version from long ago) is one they can agree on, that's the one we mostly show.  After they eat, we turn off the video and head upstairs for baths.  This is when the fun really begins.
To convince them to get out of the tub, we promise they can wrestle with mommy or daddy (usually daddy...I am not a fan of getting beat up) on the bed.  That is the one thing that will get them out of the tub for sure.  Otherwise they would probably be content to spend HOURS in the tub, no matter how wrinkled and pruney their fingers get, or how cold the water.  The tub is fascinating to them.
So anyway, we finally convince them to get out of the tub, and that's when the wrestling match begins.  See, Chris is a big fan of TNA and WWE.  Tivo's them almost daily.  So Andrew already knows what's coming.  He jumps on the bed, barely giving us time to dry and dress him, and starts yelling, "DING DING DING!  In this corner...the champion!  Daddy!  And in the other corner...the challenger!  Andrew!"  Then the assault begins.
Hannah is rolling all around, throwing herself face down on the bed and us, Andrew is jumping on us, standing on us, doing all his wrestling moves -- the jackhammer, the "Andrew annihilator" (where he stands on you and suddenly just drops down with all his strength...its a killer!), the runner (where he stands on your belly and just runs in place...ouch!).  Yeah, he's a fighter.
All this physical contact might seem to be "too rough" or dangerous or whatever...But I am here to tell you, WE (yes, mostly Chris...occasionally me too, though!) are the ones getting beat up.  WE are the ones who ache and feel exhausted.  The kids, however, CRAVE that physical touch and the opportunity to climb all over us and be everywhere at once.  The laughter is so worth it.  In my opinion, the wrestling makes them so happy and fulfills their need to feel strong and powerful in a world where they are so little and all these big people are making decisions for them.  So, for now...count me in.  I'll grin and bear it and enjoy every ache I have.  It just means I'm playing HARD with my kids.  And that's a good thing. :)

August 24, 2010


I'm trying really hard to do away with all the petty things I feel guilty about on a daily basis.  I didn't feel nearly as much guilt before I had kids, but man...I think they inject you with a megadose of mommy guilt at the hospital because every since Andrew was born, the guilt is overwhelming.  EVERYTHING is drives me crazy.  I've been thinking a lot about it in recent months, and I've decided to share some things I here and now refuse to feel guilty about.

1.)  Screen Time.  The television is my friend.  Yes, I know, the AAP recommends no TV before 2 yrs old and only limited TV viewing after that.  What.ever.  The AAP can  TV gets me a few minutes of quiet...enough time to empty and reload the dishwasher/washer/dryer, fix dinner, and/or check Facebook.  Yes, I am a FB addict.  Andrew plays way too many video games on the Xbox, but the little dude can kick anybody's butt at Lego Star Wars.  We limit it, but we let him enjoy it.  Hannah loves to watch Spot and Elmo videos.  Veggie Tales are a HUGE hit around here.  So sue me.

2.)  Sibling Rivalry.  I used to feel so guilty about Andrew & Hannah's rivalry.  I felt guilty for rocking Andrew's world by bringing home another baby.  I felt guilty for loving Andrew so much when Hannah was just a stranger to me.  I felt guilty for saying "just a minute, Andrew" ALL.THE.TIME. when Hannah was so tiny and so very, very fussy.  Poor thing had such horrible reflux and we didn't find the right meds for her until she was 3 months old.  That was the longest 3 months of my life.  I felt guilty about Hannah never getting the chance to be the only child and have as much attention as Andrew got.  These days their rivalry is at an all-time high.  Hannah pushes and hits Andrew and he tries so hard to keep from hitting back.  I know they will get through it and they really do love each other...Having a sibling is going to be a huge blessing in their lives, so I an quitting the guilt.

3.)  Working.  Holy cow, this is the biggest source of guilt EVER.  I know I've blabbed on and on about it here before, but I am a much better mommy when I work.  I don't know if I've ever told this to anyone else but Chris, I had a c-section with Hannah (drama queen did NOT want to come out!) so I could have stayed home on maternity leave for 8 weeks but begged my doctor for a medical release to go back after 6.  I eventually went back after 7 weeks, but that's only because I had to wait on the paperwork.  I love my job.  Yes, I have those days where middle schoolers drive me crazy, but stay-at-home-moms and dads have plenty of days where they just want to be somewhere (anywhere!) else, too.  Chris stays home with the kids because its important for us that one of us be home with the kiddos, and yeah, its not what he wants to do with his life...but he loves them so he does it.  I love them, too, and I know I am much better at being the mommy they need when I get out and work.

There are so many other little things, but for now, this is enough.  If I can get over the guilt of these things, I think I'll be doing really well.  So what about you?  What do you feel guilty about?  How can I help you get over it and live guilt-free? :)

August 22, 2010

Because Its Sunday...

My brain and body are always tired on Sundays.  Good thing Sunday is a day of rest, right?

So anyway, I am feeling quite random, so this is gonna be a post full of randomness.  Okey dokey?  All righty, then!
I finally got my first book from Booksneeze!  I am so excited.  Haven't gotten too far into it yet, but I loooooove this author and already love the first two chapters.  Can't wait to see how the story develops.  I will be posting my review on Sept.13, so come back then and I'll tell you all about it!
Kelly came back to work on Friday.  I was so happy to see her that morning, I ran up and hugged her.  She laughed and asked, "was it that bad??"  I told her no, the students weren't bad per se, there's just so MANY of them.  Friday was a good day, and this week will be interesting.  We're getting our fifth teacher this week so classes will be much smaller (good thing!); however, all of the students' schedules will change to accommodate this extra class.  This will cause a lot of chaos and anxiety for these poor kids (bad thing).  They will adjust quickly, though.

For the next three weeks I am participating in the Daniel Fast with the rest of my church.  No meat, no sugar, no caffeine...its gonna be a rough week as my body adjusts to the detoxification, but I am looking forward to getting that junk out of my body and feeling much better as a result. :)
Hannah and Andrew are still as cute as can be.  My mom and stepdad were here from Thursday until Saturday and we all loved it.  They took the kids to a jump-n-play place on Friday while I was working, and the kids had a ball.  Afterwards, they went to eat.  Andrew stopped mid-meal and told my mom, "Grans, you're the best!!"  I think her heart just about burst through her chest.  She sure does love those kiddos, and they love her back.
I really want to live closer to family.  I want the kids to have more access to their grandparents than a 3-5 hour drive (depending on where we're going).  Sigh...Maybe one day.
Since my mom and stepdad were in town this weekend, Chris and I got a date night!  I got a call on my cell @4:15 (as I was on my way home from school) from Chris, telling me we needed to meet at Ingle's (local grocery store) and hurry to the theater.  We saw Inception, which was FANTASTIC.  Loved, loved, loved it!  I am still thinking about it.  What a mind-freak. 
Well, its just about bathtime and bedtime for the kids.  The weekends fly by way too quickly around here!

August 18, 2010

Preschool Time!

The kids started preschool this week!  Andrew started yesterday and Hannah started today.  He will go Tuesday through Friday and she will go Wednesdays & Thursdays (they both go from 9am-12noon).  They have both had a great time and no problems adjusting to getting back in the preschool routine.  I know Chris is happy having six hours a week all alone.  Its a lot of work parenting a 4-yr old and a 2-yr old, as everyone knows.   Andrew doesn't share a lot about school, but he did tell Chris that he got in trouble for talking.  I'm shocked.  Really.  Never thought my little motormouth might actually need to be asked to be quiet while the teacher is talking.  I mean, the kid never shuts up loves to tell everyone all about everything he is or ever has been interested in.  The teacher said he had a fabulous day, so I don't think he actually got "in trouble" but I totally believe they had to ask him to be quiet. 
Hannah had a ball, of course.  The girl has fun anywhere, as long as she is getting to do something she deems to be fun and is getting lots of attention.  Both of these criteria are met at preschool.  I mean, honestly, we could have tried to sign up Andrew for the state-funded preschool, but this little Methodist church has the BEST teachers and the BEST program.  Andrew can count to 20 in English and Spanish, and knows all his colors in English and Spanish as well...Hannah loves the kids, the teachers, the whole thing...Its just an ideal place for them.  We are big believers in their preschool program.
P.S.  Day 3 of Kelly's jury duty.  OHMYGOODNESS.  Had to email/call about 7 parents, I think.  Hopefully that will help the craziness.  Two more days until the week is over.  I think I can, I think I can...

August 17, 2010

...and its only Tuesday!

Oh, dear Lord.  Its only Tuesday and I am feeling the need to up my dosage of happy pills.  As I've shared before, I co-teach with an awesome math teacher and LOVE it.  This week, however, she got called for jury duty and was out yesterday and today.  Normally this would not be a problem because there would be a substitute, and an extra adult in the room is a good thing.  This year, however, the budget crisis has not only taken away 8 contract days (@ $2,000 off my yearly pay!) but it has also left us without substitute teachers.  Yippee.

In an ordinary classroom, this wouldn't be a big deal.  The second teacher could totally handle it.  In a collaborative setting, however, its kind of a huge deal.  We teach kids who are used to being in MUCH smaller resource classrooms (@8-10 per class) but who are now in LARGE classes (@ 40 per class) with two teachers.  When the two teachers are present, it works just fine and everyone gets what they need.  Cool.  When one teacher is absent, however, and there is no second adult to step in and help, its chaos.  The students need help, there is only ONE teacher trying to give all 40 kids some kind of individual help with the math, and ohmygoodnesswhereisthePROZAC?????

So yeah, I am ready for Kelly to COME BACK.  I am ready to call the courthouse and lie like a dog about her so they will send her back to work. 

Next week things will change because the county board of education finally noticed our large class sizes and decided 38-40 kids was probably not a great idea, so we are getting an extra teacher for our team.  WOOOOOOHOOOOOO!  This means we will have a nice reduction in class size, which will be so much better for everyone.  The poor school counselor now gets to basically rewrite everyone's schedules, but it will be worth it in the long run.  If I can make it just 3 more days, Monday will be SO much better.  Pray for me, y'all!

August 13, 2010

Close One!

We had quite the thunderstorm tonight.  Andrew slept really long today (3.5 hr nap) so we told him he could stay up a little while and play video games (Lego Star Wars) after she went to bed.  We got them in the bath and got her to bed, then the storm hit.  Hannah was trying to sleep and Andrew was preparing to play.  The kid was so excited he was starting to twitch.  All of a sudden....


I froze.  Oh dear Lord...what just happened?  The XBOX360 starts flashing the "red ring of death" and Chris is freaking out.  See, when Andrew was 6 months old we were napping one day (I was a SAHM back then) and sleeping well because it was raining.  All I know is I suddenly heard what I thought was the house splitting in two, Andrew screaming his little baby head off, and Chris bolting upstairs.  I thought lightning had hit the house and his room was on fire.  Fortunately he was just fine, but lightning did indeed hit the house.  We lost two TV's, a DVD player, two cordless phones, and a DirecTV satellite.  We called our insurance company and discovered that our deductible was ridiculous ($1,000) so even though we kept receipts when replacing everything, we ended up spending around $900, which was CRAY-ZEE, but too low to get any kind of reimbursement.  Awesome.

Wait, where was I?  Oh yeah, red ring of death on the XBOX.  So I am sitting here at the computer frozen for what seems like forever, but is probably only 2.2 seconds.  Chris is freaking out, thinking the XBOX has died. (I mean, seriously...Andrew "video game time" is a sacred part of our day.  It totally keeps the kids from killing each other.) Andrew starts screaming and bawling because he believes his daddy and mimics the panic because he honestly believes his beloved games are gone forever.  I try to calm him down while frantically unplugging everything else electronic (computer first!) and after a bit, I hear the thunder get quieter.  I assume this means the storm is passing over us.  Andrew is so worried and keeps asking if the XBOX will be okay.  I decide to plug it back in just long enough to see if it is working or not.  Miraculously, it comes on.  No red ring of death, no problems.  All the equipment upstairs is just fine, and the desktop computer as well.  Thank you Lord!

Whew, for a minute there, I thought we might have to, you know, actually sit and talk to each other.  I mean, can you imagine?  No TV?  No internet?  No TIVO?  No Netflix?*  No Lego Star Wars????  Weird.

*By the way, we have realized that the VCR/DVD combo machine is what "popped."  Its not coming on.  Our most recent Netflix movie is currently inside.  Anyone know how to get a DVD out of a dead DVD player?

August 11, 2010

Diarrhea of the Mouth

I'm feeling very random today/tonight, so this is going to be my place to get all these thoughts out, okay?  Okay! :)
Tomorrow my hubby and kiddos come home!  They took a little trip to visit Chris' parents (Mamaw & Papaw to them) this week, and have had a BLAST.  The day they lef (Monday), I called to check on them and Andrew told me over the phone that he was "having so much fun" and, "Mama, I'm not gonna see you for a long time 'cause I'm never coming home!"  I was kinda hurt at first, but I am actually really glad he's enjoying himself.  He adores his grandparents and cousins.
This is the kids' last week of summer before school starts back for them.  They both love preschool, and as a stay-at-home-dad, so does Chris!!  They go three hours a day (9 am-noon)...Andrew goes 4 days a week and Hannah goes 2 days.  It gives Chris a good break so he can go grocery shopping, run other errands, or just go home and get stuff done or take a nap! :)  (If it were me, I would *so* be taking a nap while the kids were at school!)  Andrew could have enrolled in the lottery-funded pre-K this year, but we decided we weren't ready for that.  Andrew is, quite possibly, totally ready for it, but he loves his little church preschool and is quite happy and comfortable there, so despite the cost (versus the FREE pre-K), we decided he could go back to the Methodist church this year.  Of course, being lottery-funded pre-K, there are limited spaces for enrollment, so there's no guarantee that he could have gotten one of those spots.  The "open house" for the preschool is tomorrow night, so they will come home in the morning, get their naps, and hopefully be happy and ready to go tomorrow night.  I have a faculty meeting after school but will be rushing home as soon as I can to see those three beloved faces.
Today, while driving home from school, I passed a McDonald's and on the sign in front, it said, "We Loven It."  I was speechless and tried my best to get a picture of it with my phone, but couldn't manage a good one.  Wouldn't be any good if I did anyway since I can figure out how to get pics off my phone and onto the computer.  Heck, I'm impressed if I can even figure out how to take a picture with my phone. Yes, I am just now coming out of the dark ages.  I only started texting sometime last spring.  Sheesh.
Locker break with the 6th graders went better than I thought it would.  Many were able to get theirs open after only 3-4 tries!  Several thought they were being smart by keeping their combination cards inside their locker...Then they realized that they didn't have the combinations memorized, and of course couldn't open their lockers to get their combinations, so....yeah.  They're trying, though. 
My co-teacher has jury duty on Monday, so I will be all alone with nearly 40 kids in a class.  Yeah, that should be FUN.  I told her to go in there telling everyone she's a teacher (true), she thinks gun ownership should be mandatory (NOT true), she's racist (NOT true), and she believes we should go back to hangings in the public square (NOT true).  That should work, right?  She should be back in class on Tuesday. :)
I got a haircut this week.  I hope Chris doesn't complain about it.  He loves long hair and wants me to grow it out, and I am trying, but the layers had grown so much that they were looking crazy.  I was tired of putting my hair back in barrettes or a headband every day, so I got it cut and got a cute little style to help me feel better about it while its growing.
So You Think You Can Dance is, quite possibly, my favorite show.  I am so super excited about the season finale tonight (dancing tonight, result show tomorrow!)...In fact, it just started 20 minutes ago so I must go now.  Its TIVO'ed but I can't wait until tomorrow to watch it.  Chris would just tease me relentlessly anyway for watching it, so I am going to go pop some popcorn and watch it in peace.  If anyone is still reading this, God bless you.  Thanks for trying to keep up with my randomness. :)

August 10, 2010

Anybody got some Valium? Xanax? Anything?

Oh, dear lord.  Today was quite a day.  Today we assigned lockers to the 6th graders.  It took 20 minutes for them to find their lockers, despite my being right there, pointing right at it...Then, during math class, we took them to their lockers to put things in it, practice opening and closing it, etc.  Its been about 5 yrs since I'd taught 6th graders, so I didn't remember the pain of trying to teach them to open a combination lock.  It went something like this:

Turn the dial to the, your other right...

Okay, you have to pass the zero twice.  No, TWICE.

Now turn to the first number of your combination.  No, the first number.  Not the last number.

OK, now turn the dial to the left.  But you have to pass the first number before you stop at the second number.

Oh, for God's sake, just let me do it!

My poor co-teacher, Kelly, did this during the entire class period for two hours.  I did it just one class period and I was begging for some Valium or Xanax or something at lunchtime.  (No one had any.  Several asked me to let them know if I found someone with some...No luck.)

There are many things I like about 6th graders, but this is one experience I could pass on.  I am so grateful for the 6th grade teachers who were there before me...As a 7th grade teacher I didn't have to do this nearly as much, so I need to go back and say THANK YOU to the ones who taught them this stuff so I didn't have to deal with it.  Thing is, I know they are going to have the same problem tomorrow.  Its going to take 45 minutes to get them to class because they will lose their combinations, forget which way to turn...And by Friday they might get better at it, but after the weekend?  Yeah, we'll be starting all over.

Pray for me.

August 7, 2010

My Little Motormouth

This is what is now on Andrew's wall...
Life size and totally cool.
Andrew is quite a kid.  He is 4 yrs old and obsessed with Star Wars.  Has been for 2 yrs now, actually.  When I arrived home yesterday, Chris told me that Andrew's Darth Vader fathead (its like a HUGE sticker for the wall...very realistic looking) had arrived.  We saw them online, on sale ($20 as opposed to $100+), and had ordered one for Andrew, intending to keep it until Christmas.  We completely forgot about the Christmas intention and when he got up from his nap we showed it to him.  Of course he immediately had to have us put it on his wall.  This thing is 6'5" tall and a-w-e-s-o-m-e.  He was so stinkin' excited about it.  Could not stop talking about it.

We finally got the kids out of his room and back downstairs.  After Hannah went to bed we watched Night At The Museum 2.  Since Andrew napped so long, we let him stay up to watch.  He loved it, but you could tell when he started getting excited because he would stand up on the couch or run right up the TV or come over and start climbing all over me.  I love this kid.  We would have to "pause it!" when he had to go potty, of course, and he'd talk to us all the way from the den to the potty and back so we knew exactly what was going on the entire time he was out of our sight. 

After the movie we took him up to bed and that's when he saw Darth Vader again.  Oh my.  So excited.  Chris says he told him that Darth Vader was like God, watching out for him while he slept and protecting him and his "babies" (his 127 stuffed animals that he insists on sleeping with).  Since we have to close his door at night (we have a cat that loves to roam the house meowing LOUDLY), we use a monitor and I heard him talking nonstop to Darth until at least 11:00 pm.  I fell asleep around then, so I'm not sure if the one-sided conversation continued beyond that point or not.

It is so funny to hear Andrew talk about anything and everything.  This kid talks all.the.time. Most of the time it's really cute, and sometimes I just wish he would be quiet, but my goodness, he says the funniest things.  Some of the funnier things he's said:

"Mommy, sometimes I feel like a big boy, and sometimes I feel like a baby boy.  But no matter how I feel, I can still beat you up!"  Well, thanks, son.  Nice to know.

"Mommy, I need to be careful!  If I fall, I might bonk my head!  Or maybe my wee-wee!" (said while climbing on the couch)  Hey, at least he has his priorities in order...Protect the head first, then the wee-wee.

"Mommy, my hiney is a hamburger!" At least he didn't compare a certain other part to a hot dog...

I could go on and on, but you get the point.  My little motormouth...He certainly keep us on our toes and laughing all day long.

August 4, 2010


Whew!  Its Wednesday (hump day!) and the first three days of school have gone very well, if I do say so myself.  I didn't get home until 6 pm on Monday, then 5 pm yesterday and today.  I am hoping to get out earlier and be home between 4:30 and 5:00 most days...Chris is hoping for closer to 4:30, I know.  Poor guy is having a rough time adjusting because the kiddos are having a hard time getting used to mommy being gone all day.  My being home all summer was great for us...One of us could sleep in, the other got up with the kids.  Then whoever got us early with the kids would take a nap when the one who slept in got up.  NICE.  Yeah, I got a bit spoiled.  I'm already used to getting up early, though, and have been waking up about 2 minutes before my alarm would go off, so I guess that's a good thing. 

One goal I have for this school year is to come home, play with the kids, and immediately make dinner.  I am NOT a cook.  I can do frozen dinners, heat up a frozen pizza, etc, but I am not a cook.  I am going to try to be better, though, and so far its been going well.  Yes, I am only three days into it, but hey...we all have to start somewhere, right?  I've been taking the leftovers for lunch so that is definitely doing us a favor because I don't have to pay $2.50 for the school lunch that is just way too greasy, fried and fattening, despite what the "nutrition" information says.
Another goal for this year is to *try* not to come right in from work and jump right into cleaning the house.  My house is usually in chaos, being that I have two children who have way too many toys.  Don't get me wrong...Chris does a great job as a stay-at-home-dad!  He is just fabulous.  When I come home, the kids are alive, happy, healthy, and have had a great time.  Most of the time.  He does a better job than I do.  The house is not always clean, however, and my compulsion is to come in, pick up toys, empty/reload the dishwasher, etc...but honestly?  When I am old and the kids are grown and have moved out, am I going to look back on these days and wish my house had been cleaner?  Ummm, no.  I am going to wish I'd played with them more, colored/painted/played with Play-doh, dollies, action figures, just a few minutes more.  I'm not sure how well I have done these past few days, but I am trying to do better about that.

Chris and I are both anxious about the kids getting back to preschool in a couple of weeks (they start on August 16) because they are so stinkin' bored at home.  They desperately need to run around outside and be with other kids so they stop driving each other nuts.  Chris would take them outside during the day except today it is SO.VERY.HOT.  Today the temp was 100 degrees and the air was so thick with humidity it was not even funny.  Can't take these little ones out in this weather.  Hannah has had a summer cold and has been fussy and running a low grade fever the past couple of days (not constant, just at night) so she hasn't been sleeping well.  When she doesn't sleep well, we don't sleep well.  Its been rough.  I don't know how Chris does it, but I am so grateful he does.  He's my hero.
So anyway, that's the whirlwind that is our life these days...Is it any wonder that some days we consider just giving the kids Benadryl for dinner? :)
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