Wednesday, April 30, 2008


The strangest conversations start at our dinner table. SweetP is a worst case scenario kid. I'm afraid he gets that trait from me. I don't know how many times we have talked about what he should do if a bad guy came in our house. Answer: hide or run to a neighbor. He seems to think he can kick some tush.

So it came up last week, again. This time sweetE got in on the story. If bad guys came, what would they take?

sweetE: Bad guys would come and take my wallet. And my money. And my kid bucks. And the Legos.

sweetP: And our piggy banks.

For the record, kid bucks come from the bank. The banks gives them to the kids when they make a deposit. When they have enough they can trade them for trinkets from Oriental Trading. They are very valuable. Very.

It's good to know that the bad guys won't take the computer. Any of the other electronics. Not jewelry (not that I have any) or tools. Nope, they are coming after the "kid bucks."

Tuesday, April 29, 2008


Just a few short weeks ago, my little sweetE was happily heading to preschool twice a week. And I thought to myself, "Ah, finally he is happy and this is easy and that is fabulous!" And I cursed myself. Just like when I realize I haven't had a headache in while, BAM it hits.

The last three preschool drop-offs have been heart wrenching, rip your heart out affairs. Suddenly, "I don't like preschool. It's not fun." Instead of, "It's my preschool day, yeah!!!" I miss the happy, bubbly boy that bounced into school, was too absorbed in starting his project to notice I was leaving.

Now I am looking into big, big, blue eyes, swimming in tears. The crocodile tears pausing on his cute little cheeks before streaming down to his chin. His lower lip protruding out and trembling. "Mommy stay, I don't like preschool." Sticking to me like two fingers joined by super glue. Peeling him off of me and handing him to his preschool teacher with a "Have fun sweetE, I love you." And feeling like a complete schmuck for leaving my baby in his time of need. But I do it all the same.

The cause for the change of heart. One boy. One boy in his class is making him sad, and therefore making me sad and kind of mad. The first story I got was that said boy untied sweetE's shoelaces on his Spiderman shoes. So I gave him a pep talk that if someone isn't playing nice you don't have to play with them. But he is a sweet and sensitive boy and he only perked up a little. When asked over and over again what he doesn't like about preschool, only this boy comes up. When asked what makes him sad at preschool, only this boy comes up.

So today, being the responsible parent that I am I chatted with his teacher. Apparently, this boy is not nice to anyone. But she has been making an effort to keep him away from sweetE. So we stepped out the door, the three of us, and she asked sweetE to please come and say that said boy is bothering him as soon as he does anything.

Today, I got home from work and checked in with him. "How was preschool?"


"Did said boy do anything today?"

"Yes, he hit me on the head with a Lego."

"I'm sorry, sweetE, did you tell your teacher?"


"Good job, I'm sorry that he wasn't nice to you."

One should not want to smack a four year old. But I do. How can someone so young be such a brat. At least I know said boy won't be in sweetE's class next school year. But we still have a month to get through of this school year. In the meantime, Thursday will be here before I know it and I don't want to peel myself away from a sad, sad boy.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Location, Location, Location

You know the old saying about buying real estate. I have to admit that I love the location of our house. We liked it when we bought and like it more the longer we live here. Everything you need to survive is within walking distance. Except the grocery store I prefer. It is on the other side of a highway. I have a rule against crossing roads with more than four lanes. This one has eight, beauty of a major intersection. Aside from that one thing. I live in the perfect location.

I can walk to:
a grocery store (not preferred, but it is still there)
a major drug store
a movie theater
a toy store
multiple types of restaurants
the library
multiple parks
downtown for parades, farmers markets, community events
our elementary school
our middle school
multiple coffee shops
the post office
my hair salon
and goodness knows how many other things

And even with all of that, we only get a walk score of 72 out of 100. My childhood home gets a 34 out of 100, and it would have been much less when I lived there. I love living so close to everything. Share what your walk score is. Find it at WalkScore.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Right Side Round

The world has righted itself somewhat. I am still absolutely, totally behind, but I have regained my coping skills. I have gone to bed early for the last 3 nights. Big difference.

Mount Laundry reached epic proportions this weekend. SweetP set a new record for peeing the bed. Four times in three nights, poor kid, poor me. Then to top it all off, he threw up all over our bed today. So, five loads of sheets, one load of blankets, one load of towels and one pillow that still needs attention later, I could work on the regular loads of accumulated laundry. Needless to say I am not done.

But after one monster of a headache that started at noon on Thursday and finally left at noon on Saturday, I am in quite the chipper mood. And I grocery shopped, so I no longer feel like a failure as a domestic goddess/engineer. And I got to use my cute new reusable shopping bags at the grocery store. Yeah, earth girl!

We are still struggling with the thumb sucking thing. The sticker chart and bribery costume are not as appealing as we hoped. But we persevere.

All in all life is looking up. And for that I am thankful.

Friday, April 25, 2008


I have reached the point where if I was a computer, I would need to be rebooted. I am overwhelmed to the point of shutting down.

My favorite questions is "Is it June yet?" Not because I don't like my students or my colleagues, but I am hanging on by a thread and I fear it might break.

Reasons why I am overwhelmed.
1. 12 sets of papers to grade that have subjective answers. Translates to "I can't pass these off to helpful people to get myself caught up."

2. Got my head bitten off by my boss on Tuesday for attempting to be helpful. I still have not had my final evaluation for the year and so am totally stressed out by every interaction with her.

3. I have a long list of errands that need to be accomplished and no time or energy in which to get them done. I did a bunch on Wednesday, but with boys along everything takes longer. Even if sweetP was very helpful and sweet. I have been meaning to grocery shop all week.

4. Field trip recovery. I had an all day field trip yesterday. My first on my own and first in ten years. So I was in a panic leading up to yesterday and totally wiped out last night and today. That and instead of being able to get stuff done after school yesterday, I got to sit in on a hour and a half meeting instead. The resulting migraine did not surprise and me and had I gotten a good nights sleep I might be okay today.

5. Can't get a good nights sleep even when I get to bed at a reasonable hour. Kids waking up, stress dreams, brain overload.

6. SweetE woke up with a 102 degree fever this morning.

7. Ducky in a panic daily because he is overwhelmed.

8. Tired of having to go in to work on Sundays for a few hours to attempt to survive the following week.

9. Cook, clean, live, entertain, homework helper and all those other parts of wife, mom, teacher, human.

I'm sure there are more, but I think that gives you an idea. All I can say is thank goodness I don't work full time. I would need a long visit to a padded room.

Monday, April 21, 2008

The Blessed Stairs and That Door Too

Last summer we decided it was time to remodel. It starts being documented here. And carries on for some time. If it is a slow day, feel free to go back and read the saga. The writing was better then too.

Which brings us to now. And the project that won't quite get finished got a big push this weekend. The stairs looked like this way back in September - December.

Then in December the treads were put on. And then last month I managed to paint the risers. Which left putting the last bits of trim on. And this weekend I did it! The trim is on. So, even though I still need to caulk the trim and touch up one piece of trim with paint, it is getting a big old DONE stamp on it. This is what it looks like today. Yippee!

Of course, now the carpet needs work where it came loose on the landing. And it needs to be replaced anyway. I might work on that soon. Fixing, not replacing. Get the glue gun out or something.

While I was at it, I painted the wall around the new door, another wall that has been primer white since right after we moved in (almost 5 years ago) and touched up a few other places. This is what it looked like before.

Then we put up the moulding and the art and yippee, skippy, it looks so good. See for yourself. I still need to paint the moulding (I thought I had already cut the door moulding, but we couldn't find it.) and caulk around it. But doesn't it look so much better. Even Velcro's towel hook is up again.

Of course now the kitchen floor looks uglier, but that is another post.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Roller Coaster

Today has been up and today has been down. The boys have been happy. The boys have been unhappy, in all of its various forms. The world has ended, and the whoops of joy filled the house. The only constant, I have been so tired. I stayed up too late, didn't sleep well and wouldn't you know that they got up early again. All of this adds up to a headache and a tired and grouchy mommy.

But I did manage to pull off one of the famous treasure hunts. We bought a small Star Wars Lego kit awhile back because it had lots of guys in it. And every now and then sweetP would spot it in the garage and I would just remind to forget he ever saw it. Or I might take it back. So I decided that today was the day. I had both boys home all day and my grand plans of going and doing something flew right out the window.

I banished the boys to the living room and upstairs while I worked to create a treasure hunt for the reader and non-reader alike. I wrote out partial sentences, I found clip art to fill in the blanks. I printed, cut and folded the clues. I banished the boys to my bedroom so I could use the rest of the house.

Then I told them it was ready. And the bouncing started. I explained the rules. SweetE could not open the picture until sweetP had read the sentence. And then off they went with me trailing along behind. They bounced, they ran, they squealed with delight. They searched, they found, they lost half a clue in the piano (I rescued it later). They ran up the stairs, and down, and up again. All over the house. Twelve clues later, they found the golden box.

Finally we sat on the floor and put it together. That is about all I accomplished all day. Well, and two loads of laundry. And I am okay with that. Today we made happy memories.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

This Morning

I had grand plans for sleeping in this morning. SweetP didn't have school. So I didn't have to get up to get him ready to go and walk to school with him. Lately he has been a grumbly lump of whininess in the morning. I assumed that since he has had trouble getting up, he would sleep in. I figured I would get an extra half hour at the least.

Oh, how wrong I was. I normally get him up at 7. So what does my darling child do on a day when he doesn't have to get up? He gets up at 6:15. And he comes in and wakes me up. So after ten minutes of being a wiggle worm in bed with me, he goes downstairs. Ahhh, back to sleep (sort of). Until at 7, sweetE wakes up with a whiny cry that is impossible to ignore. The kind of cry that tells you nothing is really wrong, but will progress in frequency and volume if ignored. So I got up and went in and collected him. He had the option to go downstairs and hang out with his brother or cuddle with me. He chose to go downstairs. I went back to bed.

Until 7:30 when persistent use of my main title was being bleated from downstairs. "Mommy....Mommy....MOMMY! The boys wanted breakfast. Tonight I am leaving out cereal.

I used to tell my boys that if they didn't let me sleep, my love for them could not grow. A mommy's love cannot shrink, but it is meant to grow every day. And this mommy's love did it's growing while I am asleep. I may have to remind them of that fact.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Ode to Ducky

My anniversary came and went last week. Last week was a bit of a blur. Our anniversary fell on a weekday. There was work and soccer practice, preschool and homework. Fortunately, after 15 years we don't mind that we didn't go all out.

Over seventeen years ago, I met Ducky by chance while visiting a friend. It was meant to be. Both of us asked the friend who the other was and from that day on we saw each other every day. Ducky came along when I needed someone to believe in me. I had run out of ways to believe in myself. And it worked. He saved me from myself. We were barely adults when we met.

We have survived being in college together. We have survived poverty. We are doing pretty well at the parenting thing. We've moved up and grown up together. We drive each other nuts and work together as a team. Somehow it all works. The old adage about opposites, it's true. Our puzzle pieces fit together. Even when we fight, there is no one else we would rather be with.

So happy anniversary, my Ducky. I'm looking forward to a whole lot more as we find our way through this crazy life of ours.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Career Path

SweetP is trying out some career ideas. Just today, he has planned to be a zookeeper to penguins (for me) and snakes (for Ducky). Then he moved on to writer like Ducky and five minutes later to race car driver. So he could be rich and have trophies made of gold. I got worried because I have seen him play Excite Truck.

At bed time, he has decided that he might be a chef and maybe his friend from soccer will be too. I told him that I don't trust either of them with knives at this point. The other day he announced that he didn't know what he wants to be. And he is six and doesn't have to make those decisions yet.

So I tucked him in and told him to go to sleep. I reminded him that he has school tomorrow and he needs to learn all he can so he can be anything he wants to be.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Breaking the Habit

My little sweetE has a bad habit. He is a dedicated thumb sucker. We encouraged it as an infant. It was so much easier than a binky. It couldn't get lost, easy to retrieve, always there when you needed it. But the time has come to break him of this habit.

SweetP sucked his thumb too, but he gave it up at 10 months. I had no reason to believe that my sweetE wouldn't too. He didn't. His thumb and my hair are his comfort objects. In a perfect world, he is sucking his thumb and twirling my hair, all while being held by me. He is such a mommy's boy.

We have decided that now is the time for the thumb to cease to be a comfort object and commence being a usual part of his hand for playing, eating and being.

Ducky got a little too excited for sweetE's birthday, nearly 5 months away. He bought him a Bobba Fett costume. SweetE is obsessed with Bobba Fett. I knew there was no way we could wait that long to give it to him. And what if his Star Wars fascination slowed or stopped completely, as sweetP's has. Then he wouldn't care about the costume.

So we decided it was time to give up the thumb and the reward? One Bobba Fett costume.

If we see the thumb move toward the mouth, all we have to say is Bobba Fett and away it flies. We have completed day three. Today was the first day with three sticker success. He has a sticker chart that must be filled before he gets the costume. There are three stickers per day. At the end of two weeks, I figure the habit should be broken.

The timing works because there are no changes on the horizon. We have two months until the schedule will change.

Wish us luck as we work at helping the sweetE break his bad habit. Although I will admit he is pretty cute with that little thumb stuck in his mouth. But I know it won't be cute for much longer. My baby is growing up.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Just Too Busy

I have just been too busy to post.

1. My Birthday
2. My Anniversary
3. Inservice Presentation
4. School Carnival
5. Usual work stuff
6. Usual home stuff
7. Allergy season
8. Most gorgeous day of the year

As you can see it has been a busy week. I'll be checked back in soon.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

That Time of Year

It is that time of year when everyone starts planning for the next school year. Are you still going to do the same thing? Who is retiring? Who is changing schools/grades? It gets a bit crazy.

And we are in the home stretch. This is the time of year when there are virtually no days off. The trimester flies by. I am already beginning to panic about getting our mammal reports done. There are two months left. And there are interruptions galore. We have state testing (again and again and again), three field trips, transition to middle school, assemblies, parties, talent shows and so on. It is a crazy time of year. And the kids have spring fever. The behavior problems increase, the attitudes change.

And I am hanging on for dear life. And I am blogging when I should be grading papers. My students were so chatty today. But in the long run there is one reason I do this.

At Target over the weekend, I ran into a former student. From about six years ago when I taught high school math. She is in college now. First she was impressed that I remembered her name and what she planned to do when she grew up. But then after catching up on the new career path and how things were going, she gave me the ultimate teacher award. She told me that math was always hard for until she was in my class. And I explained things to her in a way that made them start to click. And it has been a lot easier for her ever since. My tattered teacher ego got the boost it needed.

I hope that I can help each of them be a little more successful and happy. Now I have proof that it worked for one more student.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Possessed Toys

I am a big fan of quiet toys. Preferably ones that don't require batteries. However, we are not the only ones who buy our children toys.

One of sweetE's favorites of the moment is a Spiderman web slinger thing. It has sound effects. He can't find most of the disks it flings, but he doesn't care. He runs around making Spiderman sounds. And then as I am quietly reading blogs and enjoying my quiet time after everyone else has gone to sleep, I hear it.

It is laying on the floor behind me. No one has touched it for hours. And suddenly, Spiderman is slinging a web, loudly from over my left shoulder. It's enough to scare several years off my life.

We have other toys that randomly go off too. But usually it is because they are in the toy basket and something is sitting on them just hard enough to occasionally press the button.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Small World Moments

Do you ever have those moments where you are reminded that even though the Earth has a diameter of about 7900 miles, it is still a small place?

They seem to happen to me on a regular basis. Just yesterday, Ducky was at the "Yummy" bakery picking up my birthday cake. And he recognized the person behind the counter. When asked if she used to work at "Crossing" bakery many towns over the reply was yes. Along with an odd look. She used to work at his uncle's bakery when he was just a boy. And she remembered him, eventually. When the bakery closed, she moved and opened up her own. And now I don't have to make the carrot cake for his birthday unless I really want to. I can go buy it. And it will still be the special carrot cake.

Then at a birthday party recently I was chatting with some of the moms. Turns out that I went to school for years (again several towns over) with one of the other moms. She was a few years older than me, but we went to all the same schools.

Once I was going to visit my sister and decided that riding the train would be a nice change from driving. So, I sat in comfort grading papers and watching the scenery instead of paying attention to merging, exits and the speedometer. While I was waiting to to get off, I was stopped with a "Are you Ped?" Why yes, how do I know you? Turns out we did 4-H together and she always admired my critters. And wondered how I did so much. (We won't go into that, painful memories and all that.)

Several years ago, we moved to a new house and I changed what school I was working at. Our new next door neighbor, played baseball with Ducky's cousin's husband, worked with one of my new coworker's husband and Ducky worked with his wife's sister.

Every time I turn around I find someone who knows or is related to someone I know or am related to. These are my small world moments. And they always amaze me. And remind me to be kind, polite, nice. You never know if comments will get back to other people. And if you are being dumb, I prefer to tell you personally, in the nicest possible way of course. I can be blunt that way.

What is your favorite small world moment?

Friday, April 4, 2008

A Glimpse

Today I was able to glimpse into my future. And I didn't know what to with myself.

Like all Friday's, I had the day off. Yippee! I got up, reluctantly, and went through the morning routine. We got sweetP off to school. I had a doozy of a headache yesterday, so I took it easy this morning.

SweetE was excited that there was a brand new Backyardigans on, so I watched it with him. And before we knew it the morning was almost over. SweetE had been invited to a birthday party for two of his preschool classmates.

Now, when you have a shyish, mommy-devoted three year old, you cannot assume that your presence will not be required for the duration of the party. So I had no plans for the two hours that the party was supposed to last. And who plans a two hour party for 3 and 4 year olds. About 18 of them to be exact. That is one brave soul.

So we arrive at the party and as soon as we walk through the door, he super glues himself to me. After ten minutes, he is loosening his grip. His favorite buddy from preschool is there, allowing me to be about 5 feet from him. He wants no part of the parachute activity. He does not want to wear the pirate hat. He does not want to sit at the table to eat lunch.

Coax, coax, coax. He is sitting at the table, thumb in mouth. Responding to every question from a mystery adult with the faintest shake of the head. By this point there are about 8 parents of guests just hanging out watching. The hostess mom announces that she really hadn't planned for everyone to stay and that we should feel free to go. (I had warned her as soon as we walked through the door that sweetE can be shy and that I would be hanging out for a little while.) One by one the parents are leaving. SweetE is giving me the look that says "Don't you dare leave me."

Finally, I ask him if he needs me to stay. Faint nod. "Can mommy run an errand and then come back?" Long pause. Faint nod. Thumb still in mouth. I assure him that I will be back in a little while. And before I leave, I sign my insurance. I leave my cell number with the mom. Just in case.

And then I leave. I have no child with me on a weekday. I am not flying off to work. I am unencumbered. I do not know what to do with myself. Next school year, I will have one day every week with two and a half hours to myself. So I head off to Home Depot. I buy myself a human powered lawn mower. I go home. I read email. I still don't know what to do with myself. And then it is time to collect my little blue-eyed boy.

It turns out she thought she might need to call. He was crying at one point. But then he showed her his thumb and he had a paper cut. One boo-boo strip later, he was better. But told me all about his "bleed." As we left he was bouncing.

I'm not ready for him to get bigger. It will simplify life, but I love that he is still little.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

I Must, I Must

So we have just had confirmation that one of Ducky's friends is coming to visit in a month. He was here staying with us when the whole blessed remodel was just beginning. It looked like this. Actually, it didn't even look this good yet.

He said it wouldn't be done before he visited again. We laughed and thought no way. But, projects being what they are, it isn't done. And there is no way that I am going to let him be right. We are so close. It will be done.

So in the next month, the trim on the stairs must go up. Then it will be done. The paint must go up on the back wall. The trim must go up around the door. And a wee bit of baseboard. Then it will be done. And I will get to say "Ha, you were wrong."

Only about 2 dozen more projects and then I get to start something new!