Thursday, November 15, 2007

Dazed and Confused. . . and a little agitated

Julianne had a rough day after school. She could not get motivated to do her (very few) math fast facts problems. The whining and whining and whining and complaining and moaning and growling and whining and on and on . . . ad nauseaum. We took a break from it and had candy. It did not help. We took a break and drove to the school to search for Catherine's jacket . . . again. . . (I'll save her leaving things at school woes for another day). It did not help. We gave up and decided to try again after dinner.

Dinner was good. Chicken and rice and gravy and peas. Julianne was in heaven. She will down anything with gravy on it. Her preferred gravy receptacle is mashed potatoes, but rice will do when she is hungry enough . . . and tonight she was. She downed 2 full plates of rice and gravy and peas and was headed for her 3rd when I suggested she try 1 small piece of the chicken. She growled and whined and moaned and would not do it. I said she had to or she had to go to her room. (Usually I don't force my kids to eat things, but she eats chicken every day and has had this many times, but she really could live on gravy alone if she had her way.) She wouldn't and so she stormed up the stairs and made a good fuss about it.

About 20 minutes later my Mom called and I was telling her about this and was looking over my shoulder to see if Julianne could hear me when I realized I had not heard her for a little while. I went upstairs to find her fast asleep. I took her jeans off and put on her pajama pants and tucked her in (she did not awaken for even a minute) and then looked at the clock . . . 5:55 p.m. Aughhhhhhhhh!

At 7:00, I put Adam down for the night and from 7 - 8, it was just Madelyn and Catherine. I sent them to bed at 8 with strict instructions to be quiet and I went and called my sister-in-law, Melissa. After about 5 minutes on the phone with her, Julianne comes racing down the stairs dressed and ready for school. I quickly got off the phone and tried to tell her that it was now bedtime and she didn't take it very well. Apparently both Madelyn and Catherine told her it was morning time. She got back into her Pj's and was actually back asleep within a few minutes.

And so . . . I am not worried one bit by the writer's guild strike. My life story is as entertaining as any show on TV. In fact, if they need any new material, they could move in.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Meme tag, You're it

I am sure we all remember the game tag played out on the schoolyard at Recess. I remember all sorts of varieties. My favorite was always "freeze" tag. And even though I loved playing it, I really abhorred being "it." There was something isolating about being selected out of the crowd and being unlike everyone else for a time. While it was fun to run and chase, it still felt a little lonely.

Now I find I am engaged in a new kind of tag-- Meme tag is the technical term for it. And for being such a simple game, there is actually quite a bit of philosophy behind it. (Just read about memes and memetag at Wikipedia and you'll see what I mean). But simply put, it is about the transmission and evolution of ideas across time and how the different people change the meme and yet keep it the same.

This is a long intro to explain that I got tagged by my friend RangersRus. On her blog she identified college courses that would help her today in her life and then tagged 5 people by leaving a comment on their blog encouraging them to do the same. So here goes. . . (and I must say I thought all of her courses were great)

Devise a list of 5-10 courses you would take to fix your life. It’s more fun to be in classes with friends, so include one class from the person who tagged you that you’d also like to take. Tag five more people.

1. Laundry 501 -- This graduate level course is designed for the person who does laundry night and day, everyday. Their laundry should include multiple age brackets (thus exposing them to a myriad of staining options), both genders (glue, glitter, makeup stains for girls, dirt, grass, blood stains for boys), and excessive volume. Special topics will include vomit and other bodily messes, markers and crayons, and Laundry extended (cleaning carpets, couches, draperies).

2. Haircutting/Styling 101: If you can't hold a comb and a pair of scissors in one hand at the same time without dropping one or the other or both, then this class is for you! We'll start with the basics, the timeless styles everyone should know, for boys and dads, the buzz, the tapered cut, the bowl cut and more. And for girls the bob, straight cuts, layers, and bangs. But cutting isn't everything, you'll learn 1,001 ways to style little girls' hair and how to make all the bows and ribbons to match. And for little boys, you'll get a complimentary water spray bottle and comb.

3. Lunch Packing 301 : For the semi-experienced, Lunch packing 101 and 201 are pre-requisites. Ready to move beyond PB&J? Do fruit snacks count as a fruit? Can packed lunches be healthy and exciting all at the same time? This class will explore a variety of different new ideas that have been kid tested and approved. We will incorporate new technology and innovations regarding lunch gear (both disposable and not). We will also place a large emphasis on lunch packing under great duress while still maintaining speed.

4. Homework Motivation 100 : This is for parents today. Helping your child succeed in school, recognizing which things are important and which are not, understanding how much to “help” and how much to “let” them do are just a few of the many topics discussed. Especially great for parents whose first child is in the early grades so that good habits can be started from the beginning.

5. Photography 515 : For those that have already mastered blurry shots, shots that are too dark, fancy shots where only part of it is in focus (but not the part you want), backs of people faces, closed eyes, red eyes and other common shots. We will teach you how to photoshop them into award winning photographic art. Other topics will be straightening and whitening teeth in photos, losing weight by photo editing, and generating new smiles where only frowns existed before.

6. Diplomacy 300 : This mid level course is designed to help us meander through the politics of daily living. How to communicate with teachers and principals so that you can be an effective advocate for your child, how to tactfully address issues with your spouse about their style of parenting, and how to do volunteer work at your school, church, or community center without offending those around you and getting burned out. There will a special night seminar discussing specific issues related to serving in a ward calling.

7. Magic 100 : This class is for the beginner. Simple charms (like decluttering a room, cleaning dishes, automatic dishwasher emptying) will be taught. Always a favorite among students and A's awarded based on effort not necessarily skill.

Well, that would be my class schedule. If I only had time to go . . . and a babysitter . . . and an extra 36 hours a day . . .

And the best part . . . I tag Jimnjennie, Amy, Sheree, Mckell, and Amber.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Running update #2

Last night, Adam went to sleep promptyly at 7. Julianne fell asleep the moment her head hit the pillow (around 7:45). Catherine, too, foregoed her usual reading in bed and was asleep quickly (8:15). Madelyn, also, joined in the fun and fell asleep without anyone even laying with her by 8:30. It was nice!

Madelyn woke up at midnight, but stayed upstairs and went to the bathroom. I laid with her for just a moment and she fell back asleep.

Julianne came into our room at about 3 am. She was crying. She said she had fallen down the stairs. She got into our bed and fell asleep.

Catherine came in right at 5 am ready to go jogging with me. We both got up and got ready and headed out. Today she only made it .68 miles before she was too tired to go on. I think this running thing has already lost all its appeal. I dropped her off back home and told her to go get on my bed and be quiet. I was actually already amazed that no one else was awake yet.

I finished running and then came home and was even more surprized to find that even at 6:05 am no one was awake. Catherine had gotten into my bed and fallen asleep.

But now here is the real miracle. It is 6:40 am and still no one is awake. I have had 40 minutes to myself!!!!

We'll see how long they sleep today. As I have said before, I do not ever wake up my sleeping children. (Of course with their schedules, why would I have ever needed to?) But maybe today will be a first!

Oh . . . I hear someone stirring!

It is Madelyn. She just came in the office, gave me a big hug and said, "Mom, I stayed on my bed all night. Can I go running with you?"

Here we go again!

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Running update

Julianne slept through the night and woke up at 5:00 a.m. on the dot and got ready to go running. Catherine stayed asleep and I just couldn't wake her. (by couldn't -- I mean I just did not have the heart to even make an attempt to disturb her precious slumber, because I am always just grateful they are asleep and would not want that to change!). Julianne kept up on the jog for the exact same distance Catherine did-- in fact they both started walking in the same place. (weird, huh??). We walked her home (she too was sad she could not stay) and then finished our run. When I returned home, Catherine was upset that I had not woken her. I paid for that mistake all morning.

After school today, Julianne asked me what these marks were on the tips of her toes. They were blisters!!!! I told her that she needed to get bigger shoes and offered to take her right then. She did not want to stop playing and go to the store. I told her she would not be able to run with me until we got new shoes and she paused for a second and then said, "Ok, Mom, I think I'll need my rest tomorrow anyway.


I may never buy her shoes again.

Self imposed Baby Gates for Stairs

In our house there are 3 sets of stairs that have only 2 steps each. All 3 are in the upstairs.

Adam learned to go up and down the stairs on those little 2 step stairs. He has gotten great at them.

While he was learning, there were several times where he would fall a little, but when there are only 2 steps, it is pretty hard to get too hurt by a fall. What it did do was teach him a very healthy respect for stairs.

He would climb up the big stairs but until Monday, he had never, ever even attempted to come down the big stairs. Do you know how nice that was??? I could put him upstairs and know that no matter what, he would not come down the stairs. It made the upstairs one giant containment facility.

We did not have to use a single child proof gate.

But then on Monday, the big girls were at school and Madelyn was at Joy school and Adam was the only kid at home (I am not sure that that has ever happened before!), and he was upstairs. I ran downstairs to do something while he was playing when I suddenly heard him squealing and clapping and it sounded close.

There he was at the bottom of the stairs. He proceeded to practice over and over.

But once the girls got home, he would not go on the stairs again. It makes me wonder. . . was he afraid of the stairs ? ? ? or was he afraid of what his big sisters' might do to him on the stairs? ? ? Knowing their many frequent escapades at "motherhood", I can actually understand his thinking.

You know, more and more I am realizing just how smart that boy is!!!! I think he is going to survive his three sisters just fine!

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Grocery Shopping-- Family Style

We all go grocery shopping together most Saturdays. It is a pretty fun experience. There are two ways I enjoy grocery shopping-- completely alone or with everyone (Trent included). Everyone is a lot happier when we all go together. Everyone gets a say in what we buy; It seems like an adventure as opposed to a burdensome chore; and Our kids are so cute doing it that we end up smiling the whole time.

First, notice the "mini" shopping carts. The girls love to push them and fill them. They each want the best things placed in their cart. On this particular Saturday, Madelyn was so funny. She kept adding things to her cart and then telling me why we needed it. For example, the colored mini marshmallows (because ours are only white); the 2 boxes of cheeze-it GRIPZ (one for her and one for Adam so he won't be sad); the care bears fruit snacks (so that each girl has a fruit snack box in her cart).

Yes, I know . . . some of you think I am crazy to take 4 kids and a husband shopping with me, but there really are a few plusses. First, not everything we need fits into 1 cart anymore and though I have tried many ways to shop (checking out multiple times, stuffing and cramming) having an extra large cart and 3 small carts in addition to mine really does help out. Second, the bread usually makes it home unsquished. Third, all the comments from the other shoppers about how good the kids are does cheer me up. And, fourth because we know we have a limited "happy" kid time, we go fast!

There are a few drawbacks though. First, we spend more money. Second, we buy more things we shouldn't eat and don't need. Third, you can only do this when the grocery store is very empty. And, fourth, sometimes the kids do misbehave and fight over why she got to have the yoplait yumsters and she got to have the go-gurts, and I have to have the yucky plain yogurt in my cart.

But all in all it does work well for us right now.

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Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Cruel and Unusual Rewards

Those of you who talk to me on a daily basis or who read this blog with any regularity have heard me lament my children's sleeping habits. But let me recap them for any newcomers.
  1. My (sweet, loving, precious) children seem to get by on very little sleep. Adam who just turned 1 goes to bed at 7, wakes at 5:45 and takes at most 1 hour of naps the whole day and is pretty much the happiest baby ever.
  2. They arise early. . . very early. (6:30 am is sleeping in)
  3. No matter what time we put them to bed, they arise early. So we try for early. The goal is always to be in bed and reading by 7:30, with lights out by 8:00, but often we don't get the lights out until 8:30.
  4. Only Adam and Catherine are sleeping through the night. Julianne wakes up and comes down into our room at least once a night (sometimes twice) and Madelyn does too. (Madelyn is sneakier -- she usually manages to get in our bed without Trent or I even noticing. Julianne just stands silently next to me until I open my eyes-- it's always a little startling to see her face inches from mine in the total darkness.)
  5. I have tried everything I can think of to help them sleep through the night. Bribery (50 cents each day (Catherine is now independently wealthy). Ice cream for breakfast. Threats. You name it. Nothing I can think of seems to motivate them to want to sleep through the night. Yesterday at the park, I was just discussing this with my friend Kara who is dealing with the same issues with one of her children and I said, "When I find something that motivates my kids, I will definately let you know." (Little did I know that I was about to discover a radically new method!)

Another thing I have mentioned on the blog recently is my return to early morning jogging. I have been jogging with Amy at 5:15 am. I have told her on repeated occasions that perhaps the thing I like best about jogging is that it is the ONLY thing I really do without my kids. In the past few weeks Julianne has started asking to go jogging with me. I immediately turn her down. She asks again. I refuse. She asks again. I refuse. . . and on and on. Finally last night, she asked again and I said, "Julianne, you can't even sleep through the night. I am not about to let you run with me in the morning unless you can get a good nights sleep. (I am figuring 7 years of bad sleeping is not about to be overturned in 1 night for the opportunity to go jogging at 5 am). I additionally added the caveat, "and 1 night is not enough. You will need to sleep through the night 3 nights in a row, before we can even consider this." She objected (as usual) and began her negotiations and 30 minutes later we had decided that if she could sleep through the night 2 nights in a row, she could try jogging in the morning with me ONLY if she could get up and get ready all on her own. She agreed and went to bed.

Imagine my surprise when at 5:30 this morning (Amy and I were running at 5:45 due to her husband's later schedule this morning) Catherine walked into my room fully dressed in "running clothes" with her hair in a ponytail all ready to go. She had heard all the negotiating last night and obviously felt that running was the "desirable" thing to do. Could I tell her NO??? Of course not, and so she and I headed out to meet Amy. Let's just say Amy found it to be quite entertaining. We started going and Catherine lasted a little over a mile before she confessed that her legs hurt and she was getting a bit sweaty. We walked her back home. She did not want to go in. She started crying as she walked in the house and Amy and I went on to finish the remaining 2 miles. When I got home, Catherine was still a little teary but with a newfound determination to run further the next day and then the next until she could last the whole time. Julianne was a little teary because she had not gotten to go jogging, but with a newfound determination to sleep through tonight (her 2nd day in a row) so she can go jogging with me, Amy, and Catherine.

Can you believe it????????????????????????????

I am still truly dumbfounded and stunned. This -- running at 5 in the morning -- is what makes my kids want to sleep through the night?? And I had not thought of it before?????? What planet are my children from?????

Just since I know you are all curious, last night, Madelyn still woke up and got in our bed and so there was no icecream for breakfast. . . but on the way home from riding our bikes to school Madelyn informed me that she was going to stay on her bed for the next 2 nights so that she can go running with me too!

AHHHHHHHHHHHH! Sometimes you just gotta scream. I have created a Monster! Actually 3 of them!!!!!!

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Halloween Fun!

Adam was the scarecrow and Madelyn was Dorothy. You can't see it in this photo, but she is holding a basked with Toto in it. Adam has a hat and little sleeve cuffs, but they don't tend to stay on too long.

Here is Adam with the hat, and sleeves, but not the jean overalls. It ended up being quite warm and so he is in short overalls.

Here is Catherine. The night before at the Trunk-r-treat, she was the wicked witch, but on Halloween night she opted for the Genie, Jasmine look.

Madelyn loved being Dorothy, especially the Ruby Red slipper part.

Julianne was a clown. Her favorite part was that water sprayed out of the flower on top of her hat (sadly, though, the flower did not make it very long!)

Halloween Baby

I am an Aunt again! My Baby Sister Amber had her first baby on her due date-- Halloween. Megan is sure cute. Gotta love that little Pumpkin. Congratulations Guys! We love you! The girls are so excited to meet Megan.
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Little Gym

Madelyn has certainly warmed up to her Little Gym class lately. She loves it, and she is so cute!

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The "Obligatory" in front of the house after church in your Sunday clothes when Grandpa is in town pictures

When we are around Trent's parents (and we do love being around them) there are certainly some phrases we hear from his Dad each time.

". . . just stand in front of the fireplace for a picture."

"Could we get a picture in front of the house before everyone changes clothes?"

"Let me get a picture of that."

So here they are, in front of the house.

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At the Oil Ranch, Madelyn picked up a forked stick and began to walk around holding the stick as if it was leading her. She looked pretty cute -- out in the field "divining."

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Some more Oil Ranch photos

Trent's parents were in town from Salt lake City. They enjoyed a long weekend with us.

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Riding horses at the Oil Ranch

This past weekend, we went to the Oil Ranch. It is a local little farm type entertainment experience for families. We had perfect weather. The kids had a great time. Here they are riding horses.

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Ice cream for Breakfast!


Did any of you ever listen to the old Bill Cosby comedy routines? Remember the one where he feeds his kids chocolate cake for Breakfast with the rationale that it had eggs and flour. The kids start chanting "Dad is great! Feeds us chocolate cake." Well in our house the chant would go like this

"Our kids are a sight, they slept in their own bed all night. I even had a dream, so let's celebrate with ice cream!"

For any of you who follow my blog (Mom and Trent). I wrote a while back about the deal I made with the kids. After Adam was born, I told them that the first time all 4 of them slept through the night they could have ice cream for breakfast. I am proud to report that 1 year, 12 days later. WE HAD ICE CREAM FOR BREAKFAST.

It hasn't happened since. We'll see if it happens again.

I was sad it wasn't Blue Bell, but my freezers are so stinkin' full of freezer jam that there is not room for much icecream. And I had to get this icecream because it was free with one of those HEB meal deals. (for those of you not familiar with an HEB meal deal it is this -- if you buy one main course item -- like a family size frozen lasagna -- you get for free a bag of salad, a bag a grated parmesan, a baguette, a small tub of I can't believe it's not butter, and a little ice cream). Every week the meal is different and most weeks I am a sucker and buy it all.
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