Saturday, July 26, 2014

The Rain in Spain Falls No More (Quick Takes Friday)

1. Please note the completely random Doctor Who reference in the title. "Gallifrey Falls No More!"

2. In other words, Adam's home! I was awake reading last night when he came in around 11 pm. He unpacked to show me what he brought the children: fun coffee mugs and chocolate! I asked him to bring home candy they are familiar with but from Spain so they could taste the differences in candies made for different countries. They had chocolate for breakfast and milk in their new mugs and are completely happy to have Daddy home.

3. He didn't find anything with my last name on it, nor did he get to play tourist. They pulled 13+ hours days in Spain and he only got to go to the beach at his beach front hotel once. I honestly feel bad for him!

4. He also said that they put butter on all the seafood. Like, big giant pats of butter. Cole would be in butter-hog heaven.

5. I think Adam single-handily discouraged people from coming to America, although it wasn't intentional. Apparently, he was chatting with his Spanish co-workers and they were talking about where they go on holiday (vacation). They asked him what Americans do on their month-long holiday and were down-right shocked when he told them we don't get month long paid holidays.
"How many paid days do you get off?" they asked and he counted on his fingers, "about six."

"The government only gives you six paid days off?" they asked in shock.

"Well, it varies. Some employees of the government get a few more but most of us get back six major days off- New Years, Memorial Day, Fourth of July, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Labor Day- holidays like that."

And, of course, our family doesn't vacation or holiday in any sense of the word and, yes, I will be bitter about that. ;)

6. I've flown international or very long distances lots of time but never business class. Adam brought home all sorts of stuff from business class: travel bags filled with toothbrushes and tooth paste, face creams, and even a little bag of samples of French lotion. He always brings home the soaps and things from the hotel (my favorite hand cream is actually from a hotel chain and he hoards it for me when he stays in that chain) and we use them in "I ran out of soap!" emergencies or for guests.

7. You know who else is happy to have Adam home? THE DOG. I am happy Adam is home to take care of Sir EscapesAlot. Higgins has been full of something this week and he needs a nice, long, long, LONG walk!

Thursday, July 24, 2014

The Rain in Spain: Stuff I Get Done

When the husband is away, the wife... well, I'm not playing, I'm working! I apparently have some bee in my bonnet and I suddenly must do ALL THE THINGS that we've been putting off. Since Adam has been gone, I have:

trimmed and weeded the front bushes

swept the garage

trimmed back the mint plants that were going to over take the deck

cleaned off said deck

painted the playset with outdoor paint

helped the kids wash out the trash and recycling cans. Memo to self: make sure all the dust from the vacuum is in a bag, double sealed, because ew.

watered the garden

moved the compost bin. And when I say "we" I mean "my mom, the original hippie." I helped. Joseph manned the hose.

mopped the kitchen

deep cleaned Camille's room

bought school supplies

had yummy lunches with my mom

had yummy ice cream and wine, but not at the same time, with my mom

got the dog a new collar since he shrunk out of his old one

got the kids some winter/school clothes

And there's still more to do! I need to find George some size six shorts because he refuses to stop growing. Camille says she is "not that into Disney Princesses" anymore and would like some new sheets. I can respect that, so sheet-shopping we will go. If I can, I may borrow a power washer from a friend and really get at the cob webs that are everywhere in the house. Oh, and I need to sell off some 31 stuff.... anyone need a bag?

I'm going to be exhausted when Adam gets home!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

The Rain in Spain: Day Five

The first two days of Adam's business trip were okay. My in-laws took the older two for the weekend and the little boys and I were just hanging out, having fun. My mom arrived on day three (Monday) and, oh holy heck, thank goodness for Grams!

Mom arrived in time for dinner Monday night and we watched The Lightening Thief. She liked it but agreed that it is nothing like the book and is reason number three why Chris Columbus should not be near a children's book to movie adaption. (Reasons one and two? The Sorcerer's Stone and Chamber of Secrets.) It was another late night for all of us.

On Tuesday, George was a grouch. This kid would have reduced Oscar the Grouch to tears. He would not cooperate at speech. He fought with kids at the pool because, "He splashed [friend]."

"[Friend] hasn't been to the pool in weeks!"


"George, how long do you plan to hold a grudge?" asked Grams.

"I hold grudge for twenty years!"

Okay then.

We thought George and Cole would crash and burn early that night. When we got home, Mom took the younger two up for a bath and the older two cleaned out the trash cans for me. I got dinner made. I swear, that was the fastest and easiest evening chores had EVER gotten done!

Mom took the older two kids to TKD and I tried to get the younger boys to bed. The word here is tried. For a four and five year old who had been up until ten for three nights, they sure didn't act tired. They flopped around. They whined. They complained. They used the potty three times in 45 minutes. Cole finally fell asleep at 8:30... and George began screaming.

When he was toddler, he was the worst child in the world to get to sleep*. We had to walk him in the stroller (screaming), drive him in the car (screaming)... you get the idea. Now, we can cuddle him in our bed and he sleeps until the morning. (We move him to his own bed.) But last night? Oh no. If you had walked by our house you would have thought we were beating him with a cattle prod, pulling out his teeth AND beheading his beloved stuffed peguin. We were doing nothing like that, of course; we were simply trying to get him to sleep. But no! He needed to pee, he needed a snack, he hated me, he hated Grams... and then he locked himself in the bathroom.

About that time, Mom took over and I went downstairs to eat the ice cream she brought home. It was either that or pull out my toenails with a butter knife. That would have been more pleasurable! Joseph and Camille weren't asleep either, due to the screaming, so I banished them to their rooms because whining, "He's too loud and I can't sleep!" were so, so helpful. Or not.

Around ten thirty (yes, 10:30 pm... and all this fun had been going on since 7:30!) everything was quiet. I went up to his room... and found Mom sitting on the floor, reading on her tablet and George at the foot of his bed, glaring at his door. Mom gave me a thumbs down and George grouched at me. By now, he was in love with me again and wanted to cuddle with me in my bed. I wanted to go to sleep (or drink) so I said yes.

He was asleep within fifteen minutes.

Mom and I weren't sure what got into this kid. His head was practically spinning and I was ready to break out the Holy Water. I vowed to get to Whole Foods and get some melatonin for him for the next night, come hell or high water or screaming five year olds.

Yet today he was oddly... pleasant. He behaved at Joe's appointment, ate a decent lunch at Panera, put up with a trip to Pottery Barn Kids and went to the splash pad... where he swam, by himself, without a life jacket or noodle!

Let's say this again: My kid, with anxiety and a motor planning disorder who would only enter the pool last year with a noodle and life jacket, SWAM BY HIMSELF!!!!! I MUST ABUSE EXCLAMATION POINTS!!!!!!!!!

I've been working with him on and off this summer. He had just begun swimming a little on his own, without a flotation device. He would got a few feet and then panic and put his feet down. I told Adam that if he would stop freaking out and would put his chin down, he would be able to swim the short way of our pool.

At the splash pad, Cole was "alligator swimming" around the shallow end, lifting his arms to paddle a few feet before stopping. He was also jumping in alone! Not to be outdone, George took off his life jacket and tried to "alligator swim." Mom helped him kick properly and get his bottom up in the air. And he took off!

I mean, OFF!!!! We were there two hours and by the end of the afternoon, he had mastered the lilly pads (you walk across floating "pads" holding onto ropes above your head) and was swimming all over the pool. He would push off the bottom of the pool and paddle around. He had the biggest smile on his face and was so confident and happy!

Mom and I wondered if he needed to have a snit fit last night to have the huge developmental leap today. Being able to swim independently is a huge motor mild stone and one he has been working at all summer.It makes sense; babies often have trouble sleeping before a developmental leap. That said, we could have done without the three hours of screaming, thanks.

To celebrate (and because we wanted too!) we made s'more tonight. We scarfed half a bag of marshmallows and two bars of chocolate. Hey, there are six of us!

Thanks to that huge developmental leap, a big dinner, two hours swimming and four late nights (and, yeah, melatonin), George was asleep by eight-thirty. The older two went to bed at nine and Cole was out by eight. It's not even ten pm now and Mom and I are both in bed, reading or writing, and exhausted! Tomorrow brings another busy day and, hopefully, peace and quiet!

*Thank you, CAS. Everything I've read said that kids with CAS are hard to get to sleep and, basically, the tips to help them sleep amount to "good luck with that."

Sunday, July 20, 2014

The Rain in Spain...

Okay, there's actually no rain and five of the six of us are not in Spain. But... I ache and am bone tired so the fact that I can come up with a title is... a miracle.

Let me back the rain-train up. When I said "five of the six of us are not in Spain" what I mean is "Adam got sent on a business trip to Spain and none of us fit in his suitcases and I think his pictures are mocking us." Pictures like this:

This is the view from his hotel room. I love the man deeply but I currently hate him.

Backing way up to two weeks ago, Adam called me from work at nine in the morning. I answered the phone with, "Uh-oh."

"Why uh-oh?" he asked.

"Because a phone call from you in the morning means you either left something at home or you have bad news!"

I won't say it was bad news, because someone ill or dying is bad news. But the co-worker who was supposed to head to Spain en-route home from his job in Asia has... a toothache.

You bet I cursed like a sailor when I heard that. I mean, a dang TOOTHACHE. People. I gave birth and WALKED OUT OF THE HOSPITAL ten hours later. And he has to come home for a toothache?!

Adam clarified that it is more than a toothache; it's a "fly straight home, do not pass go, head straight to the oral surgeon and here's some antibiotics until then" type toothache. I had a little more sympathy for the guy but not much.

Thankfully, Adam called my mother to make sure she could come to visit while he was gone. She can AND his parents helped out! The last time Adam had to go away for over a week, it was an epic mess around here. Coupled with summer break, no camps, Therapy Week and so on, I was sure this would be worse but it shouldn't be, not with help.

Adam left early Saturday morning and I did the whole pick up and drop off from cello club and AG "camp." Then Grandma and Grandpa took the older ones. It was supposed to be from 2 Saturday until 2 Sunday but they got in at five! They had a great time with their grandparents.

I had the little boys and we went to Mass, where the only Commandment I didn't break was "thou shalt not murder." We left alive but barely. I was ready to strangle the boys. They KNOW how to behave at Mass and normally sit in the pew with their penguins and read the missal. Yesterday they ran around the cry room and were so loud. I did the "Receive and leave" thing before bolting. I took them home where we watched the cartoons the older kids don't like and had snacks for dinner. They went to bed late but that was the whole point of going to Saturday Mass- we could sleep in the next morning!

I was glad we could sleep in because I stayed up late watching The Book Thief. It was really good and followed the book pretty closely. I'm always amazed when a movie is nearly as good as the book. I think I can count on one hand when that happens!

Today I was super busy: mopped the kitchen floor, deep cleaned Camille's bedroom for when Mom comes, dusted my room, trimmed the bushes, watered the trees, swept the garage, cleaned off the back deck, trimmed back the mint plant that was about to overtake the deck, put on the sprinkler and painted the play set. Oh, and Higgins escaped two times because he is too small for his collar but I refused to go after him. If he's dumb enough to run away...

Tonight a friend I hadn't seen in ages stopped by. We ended up chatting for hours and the end result is a very crabby five year old who has been up two late nights in a row. Tomorrow will bring house cleaning and a much needed pool day!

Friday, July 11, 2014

Quick Takes Friday: Harry, Hunger, FanGirl moments and, oh yeah, the kids

1. Seriously. Huge Hunger Games fan here. I adore the whole thing. I was so late to the party but I am totally into it now and cannot wait for Mockingjay: Part One to be released the day after George's birthday! (I love you kid but I am going to be in line the moment that theater opens.) I especially love how they are promoting the movie. The propaganda is so in line with the books! I am so picky about my book-to-movie adaptions and these have been really, really well done. Better than the first Harry Potter movies and defiantly better than Percy Jackson. (Please, Hollywood, never ever let Chris Columbus near a children's book to movie script. Please.)

photo credit: here

Click here to see what President Snow has to say about Unity.

2. Speaking of THG and HP, how did the internet not blow up with sheer awesomeness when this happened?

3. Is it wrong that I am re-considering a bob based off J-Law's (oh, yeah, I went there) haircut? I had one before and grew it out. Maybe it is time to reconsider that again.

4. Memo to self: You are a 35 year old, overweight housewife and mother of four who lives in the midwest. Stop trying to be cool.

5. Okay, adorable things my kids have said:

Cole: I hungee!
Me: What do you want to eat?
Cole: ummm (thinks hard) Food!

George: Cole, haven't you been wanting to swim underwater YOUR ENTIRE LIFE!

Me, sitting at the head of the table: I feel like the lady and mistress of the table! I am in charge!
Joe: And that's why the table at blahblahblah peace talks was round!

And, no, it wasn't a King Arthur or Knights of the Round table reference.

6. Okay, fangirl moment again: You can read JK Rowling's new short story about the Harry Potter characters here. I admit that I loved it. Harry is supposed to be my age, so it was cool to see an update on "Dad-Harry" not "Boy-Wizard-Harry."

7. Bombshell moment: I went way out of my comfort zone and offered myself as tribute, I mean for consideration for a potential coaching position. Long story, weird story but there we go. Maybe this year will be the one where I go all ballsy into life?

You know the drill: Go to Conversion Diary and have your own fandom moments with Jen!

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Those days

I write about my family and my feelings. I don't write about other people on this blog, generally, for privacy reasons and because this blog is about us. Therefore, when I write this, I am speaking of only my emotions and how I deal with things, not other family members.

I wish I had some magic words to tell you how to survive the first "angel-versary" of a loved one. I wish I could write and article that says if you do this, this and this, your day will be perfect, you will be fine and not collapse into a sobbing heap.

I got nuttin'.

I did survive, as you can see. I think the days leading up to yesterday were worse, though. It was like the anticipation was worse than the real day. I was super tired- not physically, I couldn't nap- but emotionally. My writing muse took off for Parts Unknown and forgot to take me too. I kept myself busy with a little sewing and a little reading and alot of pool time with the kids.

Friends sent me texts and messages and kept me occupied at the pool. I think being out, in the sun, with people I love really helped. I had a slice of lemon tart for lunch (does Trader Joe's make anything bad? I think not!) and took the kids to Sonic Happy Hour.I cut some roses from the garden and put them on the mantel. It was a normal day, but not. Kinda like the last year has been.

Normal, but not. I suppose that describes everything, huh?

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

A Life of Faith

The other day I heard two woman chatting and one woman was clearly in love with her life. She said to her friend, "I have everything I ever wanted! What did I do to deserve such a wonderful life?"

Her friend patted her hand and said, "You're living a life of faith, dear. Of course God would bless such a wonderful and faithful person!"

I left before I punched that woman in the face or threw up on her. Or both.

Okay, well, crying would have been on the plate too.

See, I hear this all the time. "I prayed for your healing and God listened!"

"You are such a faithful person! Of course you have a nice house and life! God only blesses the faithful!"

"I have a wonderful new house, my husband/myself was promoted at work and the kids are straight A little darlings! We are so blessed!"

Here's the thing: if your baby is premature, you are still blessed. If you prayed for something and the opposite happened, God still heard your prayer. If you just lost your job, your spouse, and your kids are the kind who don't make straight A's, you are still blessed.

See, when I hear "you got just what you wanted because you are a faithful person!" it reminds me that I didn't get my heart's desire and makes me feel like a crappy, horrible person who didn't pray right or do God's will. It's an insult to people who pray and sacrifice and offer up in hopes of something happening and having God gently say "no" to their request. Plus, it makes us sounds like needy, whining little children who tug at our Father's robes pleading, "I promise to love and feed him and walk him every single day for the rest of my life and never ever EVER ask for another thing EVER if you let me keep the puppy!"

If you really think that having the perfect faith is a recipe for a Pinterest-perfect life, you're only fooling yourself. Now, of course, you should pray and offer up and praise God and all that jazz. Just remember that God will answer your prayer but it might not be in the way you wanted... because, even though it doesn't seem like it, God can see the big picture.