Monday, March 30, 2009

The Smeller's the Feller?

Aint' Nothin' But A Hound Dog?

Logan is very in tune with his sense of smell. He often identifies things and who they belong/ed to, simply by smelling them. Several months after we moved to Springfield (Logan was not quite 3 when we moved away from Cincinnati) John had met someone at Starbucks for a meeting. When John came home, Logan ran over to give him a hug and exclaimed, "Daddy, you smell like our church in Cincinnati!" We didn't know how many memories he had from our time in Cincinnati, but evidently he remembered the smell of the coffee house.

Since then, we often receive hand-me-down clothes from generous people at church. When we get them, Logan will often take one and smell it, then say, this is from "Ben and Jack", or this is from, "Noah and Jonah."

Last week, when the van battery was dead, I had to pick up the boys in our neighbors van from school. As we approached a different van, Logan begain asking, "Who's van is this?" Then he climbed in, turned around and said, "Luke, this is Erin's van. This is Erin's van." When I asked him how he knew, he said, "I smelled it!"

Friday, March 27, 2009

So, it's already evident that updating my blog on a daily basis is not going to happen :(
Which will lead to REALLY long reviews of the previous days . . . But at least I'll have my record of this time for myself, right?

Wednesday, the boys had a half day of school. I have often said that I would love it if they only had a half day, every day. I'm sure I'd change my mind if that was actually the schedule, but I really like having those extra hours with the boys on those short days. Our friends just moved back, so after picking the boys up we made plans to go visit them. We came home first, to play and I made some banana bread to take to our friends. (It's one of their daughter's favorites) I also made some breakfast bars for our kids. Breakfast is an important meal to me, especially because Luke seems to have some blood sugar sensitivities. I have burnt them out on various reproductions of eggs for breakfast. In an attempt to give them some variety for breakfast, I searched out some new recipes to try. After the baking was done, we loaded up and headed out. The kids played for a while at their duplex, but they don't have their furniture moved up yet, and there's not a lot to do inside. So, we went to an awesome park in Rochester, where the kids played for a while before we had to leave for church. One of the selfish reasons I love Wednesday nights is because we eat dinner at church. That means, I don't have to cook on Tuesday's, or Wednesday's, during the school year! Woo, hoo!

Thursday, John dropped the boys off at school for me. This gives me a few extra minutes to get things done around the house. I did a load of laundry and cleaned up breakfast before going to Pilates. My neighbor and I go to Pilates on Tuesday's, and Thursday's at the YMCA. It always amazes me, how hard it is, when we are moving soooo slowly! She has a son, the same age as Mikayla, so they love going to play in the nursery together. Mikayla cracks me up because she calls the YMCA the "COA". She gets so excited that she gets to play with Tadgh (pronounced like the first part of Tiger, Tig with a long I). Her car has been in the shop, so I've driven the last few times and she offered to drive today. After Pilates, John came home for lunch because he really wanted to get a hair cut before he headed up to Lincoln to work on his paper (his hair was really starting to look like Kramer's from Seinfeld), so I "worked him in". Well, if you read back through my Thursday, you'll notice that I didn't have to drive the van all day. When it was time to get the boys from school, I discovered that one of the van doors had been left opened and the battery was DEAD. I instantly had a flashback to the morning, "get out the door shuffle". Thurday is library day at school and Luke couldn't find his book. He can't handle, not having things in order, so he instantly panics during a moment like this. I was pretty sure I'd seen his book in the back seat of the van (for SOME reason he had checked out Harry Potter?!?!? Luke's a very good reader, but that's pretty ambitious for a first grader, so it had sat in the van for a week, unread). I sent him out to find it, and knew that he was the culprit who had left the van door ajar. The worst part was I had pulled into the garage, so we couldn't even use jumper cables, because the van was pulled in forwards. It was too late to walk to school, so I called my neighbor and drove her van to get the boys. I was without a van Thursday night. Not that I was planning on going anywhere, but still . . .

I'm pretty sure that recording the events of our day, will reveal where my real parenting weaknesses lie. Here is one right here . . . Since John was gone and I had to make dinner, I decided to push back our homework time from 4:30-5:00 to 5:30-6:00 (it's still a half hour and it's the amount of time I'm concerned about, not WHEN, right?). I was finishing up dinner preperations at 4:30 and then put it in the oven around 5:00. Dinner was going to be ready to come out of the oven at 5:50, so I let the boys play outside, and I talked with the neighbors, from 5:00 - 5:30. As I was getting ready to come home at 5:30, I learned from one of my neighbors that over the weekend some of the kids on the block decided to play in the back yard of another neighbor, who was NOT home over the weekend. Apparently the kids had left a mess of toys in the yard, and a bicycle behind. I had not been home Saturday, when the offence took place, so after I got home, I asked the boys if they had been playing in ___________ backyard while they weren't home. Immediately, Luke bursts into tears, "It was __________ plan." (______ is an older boy on the block). And, of course, it was Luke's bike that was left in the back yard. So, homework time turned into, homework/write an apology letter to our neighbors time.

I make dinner for one of our neighbor's on Thursday's. So, after we walked across the street to deliver dinner, we went next door to make our apologies and retrieve Luke's bike. Thankfully, our neighbor's were very appreciative of our apologies. We got the bicycle back and hopefully the boys were traumatized just enough to avoid that same offense again! (Or at least to clean up and take their bikes with them next time!;)

I had decided to make one of John's favorites for dinner, before I realized John wouldn't be here for supper, stuffed green peppers. Of course my kids had decided upon first sight, that they DID NOT like them. But, Luke tried his and decided he really like the "stuffing" but not the green pepper. Logan, threw a full blown, groaning, crying, coughing, fit! I really wanted to grab the video camera to capture the moment, but knew that would spoil the authenticity of it. We've instituted a new "rule" for our meal time. If someone is not using good manners during dinner, then they get moved to the closet in the guest room, where a TV tray is set up for them to finish their meal in isolation. So, after Logan had been moved to the closet (it's a BIG closet and right off the dining room, so it's not really as torturous as it sounds), he regained control and was invited back to the table. By this time, I had moved on to dessert, vanilla pudding with bananas and cool whip. That was the exact motiviation he needed. One look at my pudding and he took a bite of his dinner, and to his surprise, and my amusement, he LOVED it. It was so funny! He ate it up, and even liked the green pepper. He's really NOT a picky eater, he's just a control freak and food is always a good opportunity for his to exercise his control.

I have been fighting off some kind of chest cold this week, so by the time dinner was cleaned up, I was ready for the kids to go right to bed. (And my guilty pleasure is watching Grey's Anatomy on Thursday nights) They boys went up to put their pajamas on, and I gave them the option of watching American Idol from 7:00-7:30. Again, this was a fairly selfish decision because I really needed that half hour to clean up in the living room. Mikayla had been playing a game earlier that has these little plastic balls and I had seen several roll under the couch and TV console. When I slid the couch over, I was greeted by the piles of dust bunnies that are regular residents under furniture in a room with wood floors. I knew I needed to sweep the room and that half an hour would be just perfect for finishing that chore. What I didn't realize was that the boys' room was a complete disaster! So, when I asked them to get in bed, and I got a, "UGGHHH we NEVER have very much time to play!" in response, I was angry. So, after an "in one ear out the other" lecture, I let them know that they needed to make a plan and decide how they were going to get their rooms clean. I always feel guilty putting them to bed on a bad note, but not guilty enough to miss the beginning of my show. I did go in a pray with them during the first commercial, does that make me a less horrible mom?

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

School work samples

Writing is a big focus in school. Even in Kindergarten they have to be able to write a paragraph by the end of the year. The debatable part is that even though they have to write a paragraph, it doesn't have to be spelled right, it just has to be phonetically correct. Here is a sample from Logan's work: (it's about an activity they did in class where they measured how tall they were, in bricks) We meshrd with briks. I um 15 tool (tall). Sean was 16 bricks.

Here's a story from Luke:
One morning I went to the store. We found some realy cool things. Waile I was looking at the shirts my mom walked off. Then I noticed that my mom was gone. I felt like she just disapeared. I started to call for her. But she didn't hear me. Then I started to cry. I looked for her in the other iles, but I couldn't find her. Then I asked if he saw my mom but he said no. So I looked in the iles and I found her! I was so excided! I was so happy I started to cry. Then I went home happy. The End.


After school on Tuesday's we go to the public library. Yesterday was a rainy, cool, and very windy day. So, after picking up the boys we agreed to just return our books to the book drop and come home. The book drop is on a one-way street and when we got closer I could see police lights and 2 cop cars. Then I realized that the police cars were parked right in front of the book drop, blocking our way. I pulled into the driveway that leads to the parking garage, and parked the van. I jumped out, walked over to the book drop and deposited by books. The police were talking down a lady who was LOUDLY and dramatically going on about something. Then I noticed the library security officer watching me curiously. It didn't dawn on me to be dissuaded from returning my books, simply because 2 cop cars were blocking my way, lol! I guess our time living in the 'Nati has de-senstized me.

The 4:30 - 5:00 homework time went well on day 2. Logan is enjoying having me sit down with him while he works, so my fear of battling over homework is seemingly unnecessary.

I was very relieved that I didn't have to fix supper last night (my neighbor cooks for us on Tuesday's, we cook for them on Thursdays). I've been fighting a nasty head/chest cold and did not feel like cooking. It's especially nice to just have supper delivered on nights like this. John was at a meeting, which meant dinner without Dad. Another reason I was happy I didn't have to cook and we ate on paper plates :)The kids were telling Knock-knock jocks during dinner. I was trying to remember some to write down later, but I forgot the boys' jokes now :( I did tell them the, "banana, banana who?" joke, which led to many renditions of jokes about oranges and banana's that made no sense at all.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Monday, Monday

After I dropped the boys off at school and came home, my good friend Melisa called. Background: Melisa and her family moved to the St. Louis area last July. Their move has not gone well, and they are all desperate to move back to Springfield. So, she has been interviewing for jobs in Springfield, so that she and the kids can move back as soon as possible, her husband will move as soon as possible. She called and said she was in town for a drug test for a job she applied for and wanted to know if we could get together for lunch. She came by to pick me up, but wanted to take me out to see a duplex she was interested in. Well, boy was I in for a surprise!!! When we got there, she hit the garage door opener on her visor and the garage door went up and she said, "Welcome to our new home." She and the kids had moved up to Springfield, Sunday night and her kids were back at their old school! I was shocked, but happy for her. Over the weekend things moved at lightning speed for her family and before they even put their house on the market, had a family sign a contract to buy it! She is going to be starting a new job, and if a few other details get worked out soon, her husband will be here to join them very shortly. We went out to lunch to celebrate, and had a great time!
After I picked up the boys from school, I reminded them that we were starting a new "homework" time from 4:30-5:00. After playing with friends are a while, they came in and much to my surprise all 3 of the kids sat down with workbooks (coloring book for Mikayla) and were completely occupied for the 30 minutes! We'll see how long that lasts :)

Monday, March 23, 2009

Filling in the gaps

To pick up where I left off on Thursday . . .

Thursday afternoon, I decided to head to Kohl's with Mikayla, to spend a birthday gift card. I walked around trying to find a good deal while keeping Mikayla entertained. I needed a new pair of sunglasses, because mine had gotten swiped at the YMCA. So, I got myself a pair, and then saw the kids sunglasses where on sale. Since Mikayla had been a trooper, I got her a pair and picked up a pair of Pokemon ones, for Luke's Easter Basket. While in the checkout line, my cell phone rings, I look at the caller ID, BUTLER (the boys' school). My initial thoughts are, "Who's sick?", and then it grows into, "I hope nobody broke an arm on the playground". After answering it, the school secretary informs me that Luke has had an accident, he wet his pants. The school is very sensitive to upsetting parents, so she is explaining that she has already told Luke that he is always allowed to use the restroom (he was in Music class and thought there were no restrooms) and if he has to go really bad, he can ALWAYS ask. I quickly make my purchases and drive across town to our house, to pick up dry clothes and then go to get Luke. I get to school to pick him up and he's in the nurses office. Seeing him I realize he's managed to wet his pants and his shirt! He's also MORTIFIED! I walked him to the restroom with his dry clothes and am wondering if EVERYONE in his class knows what has happened. About that time, a few kids from his class walk by, and a little girl in his class sees me and loudly whispers, "Hey, did you hear about Luke, he peed his pants!". Oh wonderful! Just what everyone 1st grader wants as a self-esteem boost. After he changes, I ask him if he wants to go back to class, It's about 2:30 and he has an hour before school ends. He definately DOES NOT want to go back to class, so I sign him out and hope that by Monday, everyone will have forgotten about it. Luke is very sensitive to certain foods and drinks, meaning, certain things cause him to wet his pants. When we get to the van I start to inquire, so, what did you drink for lunch today? "Chocolate milk. Oh, and juicey juice." I knew it! I remind him that he cannot drink that, and hope that the embarrassment from the day was lesson enough. Friday was also report card day, so I take a look at his report card. School comes very naturally to Luke, and so it wasn't a suprise that his report card reflected that. To help add a bright spot to a bad day, and reward him for a good report card, we headed to Sonic for a treat ( .99 cent sundaes! woo, hoo!). He ordered a hot fudge sundae (with an extra scoop of hot fudge). Then we went back to school to get Logan. Logan's report card wasn't a suprise either. He has a wonderful teacher that we communicate with on a regular basis. He has good scores, but also room for improvement. And honestly, I don't care as much about his intellectual marks, as long as he's doing his best. His behavioral marks, are where John and I are much more concerned. Unfortunately, he had several areas that went from + to s (no grades anymore, just + and s and 1, 2, 3, 4). The area we need to focus on most in his school work is neatness. He does NOT like doing worksheets where you write the letter "R" 35 times in a row and you can tell, because he just rushes through it and does a VERY sloppy job. The teacher has spoken to us about this before. She had even kept him inside during a recess recently, to have him re-do a paper. She quickly realized that this didn't reach the intended purpose as a punishment, because he LOVED staying inside the classroom getting one on one attention from his teacher. I do blame mysef a bit for not working more with him at home :( But I working on school work with Logan is a sure fire recipe for MAJOR struggle and meltdowns. Not something I look forward to, so unfortunately I avoid it. But, I am re-inspired to make this last quarter a great one, so everyday, we are going to have "homework time" where both boys will work on school work from 4:30-5:00 p.m. Maybe if I schedule it for them, it will be harder for me to ignore.

Saturday: John and the boys went out to a workday at church, so I had the morning at home with just Mikayla and I. We did some general pick up and laundry and then got invited over to our neighbors across the street for lunch brunch. After lunch, he boys came home and I was ready for some time away from the kids. So, I headed back to Kohl's and to T.J. Maxx to spend the rest of my birthday money :) While out shopping I got a call from our Children's Minister, who needed some extra help at a Kids Fun Night, our church was hosting. (A volunteer had to bail at the last minute). So, John and I decided our whole family would go and make it a family night for us. I'm glad we were able to help because there were almost 50 kids in attendance! The boys had fun, even though Luke gained a black eye from playing "Super Poison Ball", which is similar to dodge ball, only more kid friendly.

Sunday: Pretty much a typical Sunday morning for us. John was preaching at the "Big Mac" so he had 3 services to preach, instead of just 1. In addition he had to drive out to Southwest for a baptism in between preaching 2nd and 3rd service. Sunday afternoon John and Mikayla napped, the boys played, and I worked on bows. Sunday evening we went to small group (where Luke hit his head on the ping pong table, he's accident prone these days!).

Monday: As I drive the boys to school, I am wondering in the back of my mind if the kids have forgotten about the peeing the pants incident of Friday. I didn't bring it up, because I am really hoping Luke has forgotten about it too! As I watch the boys get out of the car, I am amazed at how much you can learn about the boys, just by observing their behavior. Luke bounds out of the car, running like a clumsy puppy! Logan holds back, holds out his hand, so that I can give him a kiss he will hold onto for the rest of the day (from a book called "The Kissing Hand" a great story for any child who had a hard time leaving mom) and he in return gives me my kissing hand. I look up and see Luke run around the chain link fence and immediately 6 of his classmates, run up to him shouting, "Luke, Luke!" (Whew, it seems the peeing incident has indeed been forgotten) Then they crowd around and I can observe Luke explaining to them why he has a black eye. After they get a good look, they return to play a game of tag as Luke confidently runs around, energized by the kids shouting his name. I look over and see that Logan has walked over to where his class lines up, and he is the only one standing at the front of his line. I watch him, standing alone and have to remind myself that for my introverted child, it's OK that he is alone, and that it doesn't necessarily mean that he is unhappy. I continue to watch, amused by the stark differences in the 2 boys' social choices. As I turn my attention back to Luke I notice that their game of tag, has turned into a game of, "tag by hitting someone with your book bag". (No one was hitting hard, so safety wasn't a concern for me) Suddenly, a quick little kid runs by and swipes Luke's book bag from his hands. Then out of the corner of my eye, I see Logan, make a beeline for Luke, holding out his book bag. Luke takes the bag, and runs after the kids shouting, "My brother gave me his bag!" I didn't realize Logan was even WATCHING the kids playing tag, but at the heart of my introverted boy is a superhero, waiting to rush in a save the day! The game only lasted a few more seconds before a teacher came over and (wisely) broke up the game of swinging book bags at each other :) When the bell rings for school, the kids scatter to line up for their classes. Logan reclaims his post at the front of his line, and stands, face forward ready to walk in. Luke is standing, in a clump of friends, talking animated with his hands, turning for those around him to hear. Now I'm home, wondering what today will bring, and how long it will be before my caller ID reads "Butler", again.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Highlights from Thursday

Thursdays are the days when John takes off in the afternoon, to work on his paper, up in Lincoln. He usually spends the night in Lincoln and works again all day on Friday. Thursday is also the day I make supper for my family, and my neighbor's family (she makes dinner for us on Tuesday). So, This morning I dropped the boys off at school, and then headed to the grocery store. (After a brief stop at home to get my cash from my grocery envelope, since we've been Ramseyfied). I had decided to make Meatloaf for supper, because it's one of my kids favorites and I don't have to have any discussions about trying to eat it during our meal time. After hurrying, to get everything at 2 stores, I rushed home because I had a hair appointment at 11:15. My hair appointment was a follow up after a hair cut from 2 weeks ago, that I just can't style! I'm still not sure I can style it the way she did, but I also don't know if I like this new flat iron, bodiless hair trend! I spent the afternoon fixing the meatloaf and brownies for supper. It was a beautiful day (although cool enough for jackets), so I decided to walk to school to pick up the boys. Getting out the door was an adventure because Mikayla is not feeling well, but didn't take a nap. So she was crying when she couldn't find her shoes and then was determined to wear a tiara on her head, that kept falling off. By the time we finally left I had to practically RUN to school to make it on time. (And of course on my way there John called to say he was still in town and could pick up the boy if I wanted! Well, if I would have known that, I wouldn't have had to drag a crying, tiara wearing, blakie toting 3 year old out the door. Oh well, I was already on my way). After I picked up the boys, I talked with Logan's teacher, again. She told me she is still noticing some of his control tactics and is mostly concerned with his sloppiness. In an effort to correct that, she had him stay in after lunch and re-do a paper that he had not been neat with. Instead, she was concerned that he LOVED being in the room by himself and having her undivided attention. AH, the exact challenge I face when determining how to discipline him. So today we will get report cards for the 3rd quarter. I'm sure his will indicate the need to be neater. I am anxious to see the progress of both of the boys when I pick them up today!