Monday, June 30, 2008

Melt My Heart

Tonight I finished pressure washing the driveway and sidewalk. Yeah! One more summer project complete.

It was past the boys bedtime when I came in. Ducky was reading them a book. I came in and sat down next to sweetP and kissed him on the head. He did this funny hand motion and said something.

Me: What?

sweetP: I am breaking it up and sprinkling it all over me.

Me: Breaking what up?

sweetP: The kiss, I broke it up so it I could spread it all over me.

Ahhh. That boy loves his mommy. He gives me the warm fuzzies.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Having a Heat Wave..

Summer arrived full force in the last few days. And because I complain so much about being cold, I try not to say anything about heat.

The boys and I are settling into summer. I am obsessing less about work. I am still obsessing, but just not as much. SweetP is slowly losing the attitude. I am very committed to reminding him when he is employing it and that it is so not okay. Fun mommy is returning.

We took over the family room to make the fort. My sister got the boys this "Invent-A-Tent." They love it. You can put it together any way that you want. The only problem, it takes up the entire room. But they are having fun, so we have a fort for the next few days. I am even invited in occasionally.

We broke out the new sprinkler. We used to have a batman sprinkler. It turned the lawn into a lake around the sprinkler. So I got the boys a new one that squirts water everywhere. The boys had a blast running through it. It watered the lawn and plants really well. The only problem, because you know there had to be one, was that sweetE would get his face wet. He hates to get his face wet. So my job was to sit out of the line of fire, in the shade with a towel so he could dry his face every time it got wet.

We instituted a new tradition in the Ped household. On the first day of summer (after school gets out) where the temperature reaches at least 95 degrees, we shall have ice cream for dinner. The boys loved it, I loved it. No cooking in the heat. We don't have air conditioning, so anything I can do to keep the house tolerable.

And today I got to hold a four day old baby. Our cousins had a new baby. Another member of the cute boy gang. It made me flash back to when my boys were brand new and how sweet and little they were. Now they are big and whiny and demanding and I really love them. And I appreciate that now they are more independent. This morning they let their parent sleep in until 8:30. They really are good boys. So while I miss their baby stage, they are fun right where they are.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Lose the 'tude Dude!

My sweetP has developed an attitude. He has been a sweet, compliant, helpful, kind, reliable child. But in the last week or so, he has become whiny, demanding, unhelpful and rude. If he doesn't get what he wants he whines. When he wants something he demands it. When asked to help, he refuses. In general he has just been rude.

Yesterday, we changed the sheets on the boys beds. About an hour before bed I asked the boys to come help me make their beds. SweetE came up and helped. He pulled the corners of the fitted sheets on and put all of his stuffed friends back on the bed. SweetP showed up and when asked to help said, "No, I don't want to." Arghh. So I went off to do other chore upstairs until bed time. Ducky got home just in time to help with baths. SweetP's bed was still not made. The boys got out of their baths all clean and smelling good. They put on their jammies. Then it was time to get in bed. SweetP noticed his bed wasn't made, and demanded to know why.

I simply said that because he didn't think helping others was important, I didn't need to help him either. Natural consequence, if you don't help make your bed, your bed doesn't get made.

He is a stubborn child. (He is my clone after all.) And proceeded with the woe is me routine. We tucked sweetE into his bed, told them both good night and left the room. Reality sunk in. His bed wasn't going to be made unless he did it.

I came back in to check on them and found he was attempting to make his bed. He had the top sheet on first, sort of. When I told him he had the wrong sheet, he said, "I don't know how to make my bed." I replied, "Why do you think I wanted you to help. So you could learn how." I showed him how to put the corners on the fitted sheet and told him I would help if he got that sheet on by himself.

He managed and I showed him how to put the rest of the bed together. Then he demanded food. Arghhh. I don't want him to be hungry, but ask nicely. And say thank you for helping with your bed. He trotted downstairs a little later and asked for something to eat.

Better, I offered him the rest of graham crackers that he had gotten out earlier. He didn't want those. So I told him there weren't any other choices. He wandered off to bed without eating them. I guess he wasn't that hungry after all. We realized it was quarter to ten. Way past his bedtime. Would Thursday be any better?

So far today, ups and downs but over all better. There is hope after all.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Monsters in the Closet

My sweetE has been having a hard time going to sleep. He is scared of monsters in the closet. He keeps talking about a book they read at preschool, last year. Who knows when it really was, this morning is described as last year. So about every two minutes he is down stairs trying to con one of us into sleeping with him. Ducky often gives in. Which only makes it worse. But sweetE is so cute, it is hard to resist. I sometimes have to pull out the mean mommy voice. Especially now that sweetP has to be at school at eight in the morning.

Meanwhile, I have my own monsters in the closet. It is only the second week of summer and already I am having back to school anxiety dreams. Apparently I will be spending the summer obsessing about my "lack" of teaching ability. And how to show my true brilliance in the fall.

The problem is that I cannot spend my summer becoming dependent on sleeping pills. And when I don't take something, I sleep badly and then act badly the next day. Sleep is my be all and end all. So without the required full dose, I get cranky and snarky and not so fun. And the boys are stuck with me all day. I want to be fun mom, not grouchy mom.

I am working on planning out the entire year. I hope that helps because I can't just tell a certain person just how I feel. I've learned to just keep my mouth shut. As challenging as that is.

So what is a girl to do? I haven't tried drinking yet.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Oh, Velcro

Lest you think that my children are the only spoiled ones in the house, fear not.

Velcro was the original child and was spoiled the worst of all. He is the only child with a completed scrapbook. While he has been demoted, he still gets his moments in the spotlight. He is getting to be an older dog. And now I must make special accommodations for him.

Four of the five of us are loving the completed "blessed" stairs. Velcro does not love them. Stairs in general are fine. Construction stairs were fine too. But these new treads with the slick finish are too much.

He has short legs. He is eleven. He has long toenails. The vet a few years ago was going to trim them up when he was out for a surgery. We didn't do the surgery so the nails are still too long. It would be too painful to trim them since the quicks have grown out too. I have to trim them every week they grow so fast. Add to that the hair on his paws and he can't get the traction he needs to get up those slippery stairs. I trim the hair on the bottoms of his feet too.

Every night about twenty minutes after I go up to bed he would follow. Or at least try to. Sometimes he could do it, other times he would get stuck. About half way up. Then I would have to get out of bed and go down and rescue him. He would grumble at the indignity of it all, as I scooped up all forty pounds of him and deposited him on the carpeted landing. He would hop up the stairs, as only Corgi's do, and go to bed. I found that I was laying awake waiting to make sure that he made it up. Neither of us enjoyed this nightly meeting.

So I had to come up with a solution. One that did not include recarpeting the stairs. And one lightbulb moment later I did.

I bought a bath mat. I cut it into six pieces. Every night before I go to bed, I lay out the bath mat on the stairs. Every morning, I pick them up. Doggy carpeting. Velcro has no problems going up the stairs at night. And he no longer sounds and looks like he is going to splat at the bottom going down.

I need to schedule another day of beauty for him too. The groomer has offered a discount if we come more often. Velcro produces more hair than any other dog they groom. Plus he smells so good when he comes home. Spoiled pooch. Best doggy ever, he deserves it.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

The Scene of the Crime

You should see my family room. Toy destruction as far as the eye can see. I am in the middle of sorting my children's over abundance of toys. And resolving to buy them much less in the future.

I am putting them in bins, labeling the bins and hoping that they will return to their homes frequently. We are also trying to thin them. SweetP gets the idea and is willing to let lots of toys find new homes. SweetE has suddenly become deeply attached to toys he hasn't touched in months. Tomorrow I will be in full on Mommy persuasion mode.

And if toys taking over one room isn't enough, they have started creating their own Legoland. They are now encroaching on the kitchen. At least their bedroom still looks great.

But in a day or two our house will resume a mostly orderly appearance. Then I can move down the to do list to item number two.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Moving On

I am doing my best to get over the sorry for myself stage of being insulted. And am moving on to the pissed off stage. The "I'll show her how wrong she is" stage. Because I don't suck. So now the back of my brain is whirling away at lesson ideas. I don't have an off switch. So even though it is summer, I am still fully engaged in work.

I officially finished my work at 3 this afternoon. I went in to upload my gradebook to the computer there. I also backed up to the server, because that is just a good idea. I turned in my print requests and walked out the door. Two cute boys in tow. Poor Ducky spent his father's day in full fatherly mode as I worked on grades all day. But I got them done and in.

The boys and I started the summer to do list today. Our house is overrun with toys. The boys are spoiled and we all know it. So we are sorting toys, giving them homes, sending some to new homes. We are finding the missing pieces and restoring order to both the family room and the boys bedroom. Today we finished their bedroom. SweetP is ready to get rid of lots of toys, but sweetE doesn't want to part with much of his newly discovered treasure. We'll see how the next few days fare as we attack the bulk of the toys, currently residing in the family room.

I also finished my first book of the summer. And only two weeks after we discussed it at book group. I sat out on a blanket on the front lawn to supervise the squirt gun fight and read. Thank you summer for making an appearance. Please stick around.

All in all, life is looking up again. At least until the end of August.

Friday, June 13, 2008

How Much?

I have to ask myself how much I am willing to take. How much will be too much?

How much am I willing to believe? How much will it take to build me back up?

Is it worth it?

This has been a grueling week. My students were fine. My teaching partner is great. But there are reasons why it was and is so hard. And those reasons are out of my control. And I can't really elaborate on them. But I can say that my ability to teach and my professionalism have been questioned. All based on a tiny slivers of time. Great judgments have been reached and opinions have been formed without a full picture.

There are moments when you shine and moments when you flop. We all have them. But what if only the flops were spot lighted? If all the great things were ignored? And you were told that you suck (less bluntly, but still told). Repeatedly. How much can I take? How long will it take before I start to believe it?

Wednesday, June 11, 2008


How much ass chewing and butt kicking has to happen before my butt looks smaller? Surely there has to be a benefit to me being the local scape goat.

Two more days. So help me.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

The Sprint

Six days, maybe two more. It is a sprint to the finish and I hope I have it in me. If I am scarce in the next week you know why. I am currently knee deep (almost literally) in papers. My goal is to survive, headache free. And then just to survive.

Mom Earth-

Still waiting for the sunshine. I bought rechargeable batteries, so we won't be throwing them away any more. Just thought you would like to know. A little sun and some warm would be nice. My t-shirts are getting lonely.


Thursday, June 5, 2008

Rain, Rain...

Go away! I want to go out to play.

It is June and I want some warm and some sun. We haven't been having that warm spring rain. It has been cold and windy and I'm tired of wearing socks to bed. Last month there was that hot few days, so I started the countdown. It feels more like we are headed into winter than summer.

But at least we aren't watching out for tornadoes. So maybe I should stop complaining.

Dear Mother Nature,
Please send the lovely early summer weather that you usually give us. I am ready to get to work on my farmer's tan. The boys would like to play in the yard. I would like to enjoy the beautiful flowers that are around my yard. A few sunny days in the 70's would do the trick. Thank you and I will continue to do my part to take care of you.


Monday, June 2, 2008

Start Compiling the List

As we all know, my resolution this year is to finish. But sometimes you just have to start stuff too.

As summer is rapidly approaching, I need to compile my summer must do list. My own personal list, not the one of stuff Ducky wants me to do. It will include all those things that flit through my head and I attempt to add it to the mental list. My mental list is coated in teflon and stuff just slides right off, undone of course.

A few of the priority items will include the boys favorites books. We were at the paper store yesterday and I picked up the books. SweetP has strayed from blue for the first time ever. He now says red is his favorite color. Blue should not feel blue, sweetE has taken over letting blue be his favorite.

My room needs some serious attention. It continues to deteriorate into the pit of despair, instead of my creative retreat. Getting it in order may be my top priority.

I also need to work on my hermit tendencies. I need to plan at least one outing for the boys and I each week. Even if it is in town, I need to get us out of the house.

I would love to finish sweetE's quilt. It is cut out, part of it is even sewn. But there is a ways to go. After finishing my room, I think I will try to work on it a half hour a day.

I think that is enough for now. I don't want to overwhelm myself before summer even starts.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Excellent Ways to Thank a Teacher

And since I am a teacher, I should know.

We went the easy route with sweetE's preschool teacher. She has taken such good care of him as he struggled to survive the last few weeks of preschool and its resident bully. We gave her a book store gift card. Teachers love books. Teacher love books they get to pick out but don't have to pay for more. She loved it. We also included a card that listed the many ways that she was totally awesome.

I go all elaborate for sweetP's teachers. I came up with this brilliant idea last year (feel free to borrow it as you long as your child is not in my child's class). I choose a day to come to school with sweetP and I stay for the entire school day. It was easier last year with half day kindergarten. I take pictures of the entire day. It is a day in first grade (or whatever grade you are in). I'm not sure when he won't want me to come in and do this, but right now he loves it.

This year I filled my camera up to the brim and had to quick delete a few. But I got the entire day. We walked home and shared how great our day was with Ducky and sweetE. I uploaded the photos to iphoto and got to work making the book. Shameless plug! I love Mac and how easy they make all of this. Drag, drop, caption, next page, etc, done. I created a book that showed all the fun things that happen in one day in first grade. Yesterday, I hit "Buy Book." Now I am just waiting for it to arrive on my doorstep. Then we can take it to school with a lovely note listing all the reasons she is totally awesome (and she is). She can have all the kids sign and have a great keepsake from this year. And it makes a great keepsake for us too, I order two.

I hope he will let me do every grade until he goes to middle school, but you never know when having mom around will become embarrassing.

Other great ways to thank a teacher:
• A card talking about how they made that year special, we actually keep these.
• A gift card to a place you know they appreciate. (Not necessary, but always appreciated.)
• Plants
• Supplies for the classroom. We spend more than most people realize on supplies for kids to use in the classroom. The same supplies that we find at the end of the year buried in their desks all dried up because the cap was off.
• Things that our students make for us. Most of the time.

Contrary to popular belief, we do not need 5 pounds of chocolate. One of my colleagues got that much one year at Valentines day, two pounds from just one student. We also only need so many "World's Greatest Teacher" items. Just give us the card telling us why.

There you go. So much depends on how well you know your child's teacher. I shall step down from my soap box.