Sunday, December 14, 2008

things that are really starting to get to me

Now, I know I haven't posted in a while and I have about a million (funny) things that I want to write about, but I really need to take a minute and whine. I am aware that life could be worse right now, a lot worse, but some (admittedly minor) things have really been stressing me out lately and I feel the need to vent, so please bear with me.

First, I have been trying to get everyone in the family on a schedule. (Normally, this would be difficult with a newborn, but all Happy Girl does is sleep, so that's not the issue.) Actually, I've been trying for months now, with little luck. We go through the whining and crying that goes with establishing a set bed time and routine, we're good for a few days and then... not so much. Why? Because Magic Boy really loves his big sister. (See? I told you it could be worse.) How is that a problem? He loves her so much that he wants to go on visitation with my husband every week (not to mention, for the ride to drop her off every other weekend). Still not seeing a problem, are you? Well, Big Sister lives 45 minutes away, and Hubby has been working (relatively) late, so by the time he gets out of work, picks up the boy, drives to Big Sister's and picks her up, it's already 5:00. Then they get dinner and hang out for awhile and the next thing you know, it's 7:30-8:00 and they're still 45 minutes from home. This means that Magic Boy will either fall asleep on the way home and stay asleep (which isn't too bad, although it's also not the most common outcome), or he'll fall asleep but wake up when he gets home, in which case he's just had a nice nap at 8:00 and is ready to play for another four hours OR he won't fall asleep at all and will be whiny and exhausted when he finally gets home, over an hour after his bedtime. (FYI- Whiny and exhausted means he'll fight us about going to bed. Loudly and for quite some time.)

Until recently this wasn't a problem; if Magic Boy went to bed late, he'd just sleep later in the morning (which I don't mind, as I am really a night owl). Lately, though, he has decided that he needs to be up when Daddy goes to work- at 5:45. Then, he's cranky all day and still doesn't want to go to bed at night. (Why should he? He was up late last night? Why can't he stay up late again?) (This is basically what happens on weekends we have Big Sister, too. They get really excited to see each other and stay up way past bedtime.)

The real problem, I think, is that I feel guilty denying them time together. He is heartbroken enough when she leaves; how can I not let them see each other as much as possible? I feel like a terrible person for even complaining about this, but the constant whining and sense of chaos that results when Magic Boy doesn't get enough sleep is really taking its toll on me- and him.

Second, Big Sister is having problems in school. She's not paying attention, talking when she's not supposed to and just generally not putting in the effort. Apparently third grade is when kids are expected to really start taking responsibility for their own schoolwork and she's not doing it. If she lived here, I would be meeting with the teacher and working with Big Sister as much as possible to fix this; as it is we've asked the teacher to keep us informed and let us know what we can do to help, but I feel like it's not enough. Actually, I know it's not enough. Hubby helps her with her homework during visitation and we do extra work on weekends, but she needs more. I just don't know how to give it. In addition to the fact that she lives so far away, there's also her mother. She and I (and, to their immense credit, my parents) get along fine. We're friendly when we need to be, at soccer games and holidays and such (and she has been nothing but nice to Magic Boy and Happy Girl), but a lot of our values are different. In the past I've gritted my teeth and put up with it, for everyone's sake, because I knew there was nothing I could do. It hasn't been easy, but I've been able to let it go. This, in addition to some other things that have happened with her lately, seems to be too much for me to keep my mouth shut. On the other hand, should I say something and risk the relationship we have? I honestly doubt anything I say will change her approach to this situation, and if I stir up trouble, won't that just make it worse for Big Sister? I really don't know what's the best thing to do here, and neither does Hubby (although, he's usually a proponent of the "Keep Quiet" response). It's really bothering me that Big Sister is missing so much education because she doesn't seem to care enough to pay attention... but I don't see how we can change that in four days a month. In the past, she had problems with reading and math (again, due to lack of effort) and we tried to emphasize those things when she was here, but it never really worked. Yes, she'd practice sight words or addition- and we'd give her plenty of interesting, challenging (but not overly so) books to read, but in the end she'd go home all the work we'd done would be forgotten. Plus, who wants to go to their Dad's house and do schoolwork all weekend, even if it's a game? I don't want her to think we're tyrants... I'm so frustrated!
(I just reread that part, and I don't mean to give the impression that we're not willing to work with her- we are, I just don't know the best way to go about it.)

Third, my house cannot stay clean. I know this problem is hardly unique to me, but it really makes me feel better to hear there are other people out there who can spend hours straightening up one room, only to have it destroyed ten minutes later. So, if you could, let me know you're out there, okay?

I think that's about it right now. The lack of schedule for Magic Boy, the lack of interest in school for Big Sister and the lack of cleanliness in my house. There was a brief foray into potty training, but that's actually kind of funny (at least, it's probably funny if you didn't live through it), so I'll make that a post in itself. Plus, I've already written quite a bit and it's getting late... and we all know the boy will be waking me up soon enough!

Thanks for listening.

Monday, November 10, 2008

what to say about the big event?

There were visitors,


Baby Mittens, made by me during the Ravelympics

Saartje's Booties, made by Jen

Baby Surprise Snowsuit, made by me and nearly completed in time (stupid snaps).
Also, alpaca hat, made by me.

and of course pain. Lots of pain.

But would I do it all again, for my beautiful Happy Girl?

In a heartbeat.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

happy birthday!

"Happy Girl" was born Sunday, October 26, 2008 at 1:32 pm. (The doctor wanted me to be done in time for the 1:00 football games. I'd say we were close enough.) She weighed 9 pounds, 2 1/2 ounces (a bit more than the estimated 7 pounds 7 ounces of five days before), and she is already living up to her name- being quite happy (or at least content) most of the time.

She has been nursing almost constantly, but that's my arm, I swear.
I'll try to give some more details soon, but in the meantime, I'm going to get some rest! I'm so glad to be home- and so grateful for my three wonderful, healthy children!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

this week

I wanted to take a quick minute and let you all know that this week is Banned Books Week. I find it so frustrating that people criticize books they've never read, but to try and ban them is just ridiculous to me. Granted, I realize parents have the right to monitor what their children read (and they should monitor it), but eliminating books from schools or libraries just because you have a personal objection to them seems so medieval. (Okay, I know there's a better word for this, but my pregnant brain cannot come up with it. Ironic, no?) Anyway, I've been steadily working my way through the list of the 100 most frequently banned/challenged books (I feel it's my duty to give the government something to do. Did you know that according to the Patriot Act, they can obtain copies of your library records without your knowledge? Fabulous, isn't it?), and I figured I'd share my information, in case anyone else is annoyed by the Big Brother-like intrusion of our current administration. So, if you feel like celebrating your freedom (and have time), grab a book from that list (or preferably check it out from your local library- just in case they're watching you) and get reading. Might I suggest my favorite book series of all time? It just happens to be first on the list.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

a little boy's paradise

Our town had Touch-A-Truck day today. Kids were allowed to sit in and climb on over 30 trucks (not to mention play with buttons and levers and of course, blow horns). There were all kinds of different vehicles just waiting to be explored- fire trucks (new and old), bulldozers, line trucks, plows, car carriers, tractors, an ambulance, a giant dump truck, even a ride-on lawnmower. Let's just say Magic Baby enjoyed himself a bit.

Hubby's cousins own that last one, and they gave Magic Baby a hat, which makes him look like less of a dork than the sun hat does (although personally, I think it makes him look way too grown up, too).

Then, on the way out, there was a baby snapping turtle just sitting on the path. (Somehow my husband can find animals wherever we go- even if he's not looking for them.)

The turtle was cool, but not nearly as exciting as all the trucks (in Magic Baby's opinion, anyway).

Overall, another great day- and I'm even blogging about it in a timely way! Go me!

Thursday, September 4, 2008

these are days

Not to make anyone who has a job or kids that are in school or any other responsibilities feel bad, but want to hear how Magic Baby and I spent the day?

Running errands? No... (although he did tell me that he wanted to go shopping this morning instead of going "someplace special." If only he'd behave in a yarn store).

Doing housework? Clearly, you're new to this blog.

Sleeping? Only 'til 8:30 (what can I say, the kid rocks sometimes).

Give up? Here's a clue:

That's right, we hit the beach. And don't let the picture fool you (it was actually taken the last time we were there; I forgot the camera today) there was nobody there. (In case you're wondering though, yes I do dress him like that whenever we're in the sun- I have an irrational fear of sunburn.) It was a great day- not too sunny, a nice breeze off the ocean... and if the dern seagulls hadn't stolen our entire plastic bag full of food, right from under our umbrella, while we were swimming and the rude guys behind us just watched the rats and did nothing to help out the fat, extremely pregnant woman all alone with her toddler (I'm guessing on this part, but trust me- they seemed like the type), it would have been an absolutely perfect day. As it was, it was pretty sweet. And oh, did I mention that I was at the beach today? Just checking.

Randomly, as I was telling Magic Baby how we got to go to the beach while everyone else we knew had to work or go to school- I'm nice like that- my aunt and uncle walked up to us. Although I had to amend our discussion ("Apparently, not everyone had to work today..."), it was really nice to see them and Magic Baby had a great time finding shells and rocks with them, getting buried in the sand, making sand castles and splashing in the waves. Only in the smallest state, though, are you pretty much guaranteed to run into at least one person you know every time you leave the house. But I digress- the main point of this post is to say that I had fun at the beach while you were all working. Take that all you paycheck-getters!

Friday, August 29, 2008

made by me

Being the prompt mother that I am, I took the kids to get their birthday pictures done today. (Yes, their birthdays were six months ago. Why do you ask?) Here are the results.

That's Magic Baby in his Little Star Sweater and Big Sister in her Pirate Sweater (which I finally seamed up- it's only been waiting since March. That's how prompt I am). Personally, I'm very pleased with these pics. I think The Picture People always does a great job capturing the real essence of the kids. Don't you agree?

Monday, August 25, 2008

vacation, have to get away

So much to blog about, so little time.

A few weeks ago, my family and I took a trip to New Hampshire. I suppose I should qualify that statement by mentioning that my entire family went. Aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents. We were all there. More than 40 of us in 4 condos. Yup, 40. For an entire week. And honestly, it was great. Really.

We took the kids to Storyland, an amusement park geared at little ones. (Only 10 of us went that day- it was a small trip by our standards.)

Magic Baby loved the train ride through the park, which is good since that was practically the only ride pregnant women were allowed on. Yup, that means I spent $24 to ride a train, a mini-Ferris Wheel and a carousel (where I didn't even get to sit on a horse). Not to mention walk approximately 800 miles. Oh, and to see the joy on my kids' faces. That made it all worth it. Totally.

Okay, so he was really cute on the carousel. See the shirt he's wearing, though? It's an official Storyland one. Wanna know why he's wearing it? Come on, I bet you do... It's because he got carsick and puked all over himself on the way there. Of course, I, being the uber-prepared Mommy that I am, had nothing for him to change into except long pants (which my aunt had convinced me to bring). This means that Magic Baby was carried into the park wearing khakis and a Patriots sweatshirt that's at least four sizes too big... and we had to buy him a new shirt when we got inside. It has a train on it, though, and it was less than $10 (which is surprising), so I guess it could have been worse. Still, pulling over on the Kacamagus Highway was the highlight of my day, although riding home in the wonderful smelling car after all that hiking was great, too.

We learned our lesson, though. This is how Big Sister and Magic Baby kept themselves occupied on the three-hour drive home from NH. They covered themselves with pen. It wasn't pretty (or easy to get off), but it was a lot better than dealing with vomit.

About 20 of us also invaded Clark's Trading Post, where we saw the trained bears and I watched everyone else go on the bumper boats and go rock climbing and do other fun things that are not for pregnant people. Magic Baby spent much of the day shaking his fist and yelling "Scat, you old goat!" which is what you say to Wolfman, the old mountain man who chases and tries to board the train. If you've never been, don't ask.

It's a Clark's Trading Post rule that when the train goes through the tunnel (yup, another train ride), you have to cover your ears and yell as loud as you can. Magic Baby enjoyed this, but not as much as Big Sister did.

That's her standing behind me on the train, screaming her lungs out. At least she had the decency to cover my ears.

This fabulous teddy bear is handknit from real bear fur! How cool is that?! (I tried to get a better picture of it, but it's behind glass and the glare was horrid. Plus, people were giving me funny looks. Clearly, they were non-knitters.) There's a lady from Clark's who collects the bears' fur when they shed, spins it and knits it into teddy bears that are then raffled off. (The money goes to a local shelter.) There are only six of these bears in existence. Obviously, I think this is amazing, and I would have spent the whole day looking at the bears (there's a boy one too, but the glare was even worse on that one) but my family insisted we move on. Considering I had just spent all day not doing anything fun, you think they would have indulged me a little, but no.

And we hung out at the pool. A lot.

My husband, dad and some of the teenagers also played this Assassination game we made up. It involves drawing someone's name from a hat and using a water gun, well, to assassinate them. There are lot of other rules, too, but basically they all have to shoot each other as stealthily as possible (other players can't see you do it or it doesn't count). I know it sounds weird, but the game is actually a lot of fun (although you get really paranoid, since anyone could be out to get you... I'm not even going to tell you about what happened when someone had to use the bathroom), but I chose not to play because, honestly, there's not much about me that can be described as "stealthy" right now. (For the record, I won the last time we played.)

New Hampshire Assassins

Overall, my kids loved vacation this year, and while Hubby and I didn't get much rest, it was worth it. Magic Baby's favorite part was waking up to a condo full of people every morning, while Big Sister enjoyed the pool, and while I didn't get much knitting done, I was able to squeeze in a baby mitten (cast on during the Olympics and knit for the Ravelympics) and I got to teach my (also-pregnant) sister-in-law how to knit.

Overall, a great (if exhausting) time. And honestly, I can't wait to do it again... in a year... after we've all had a chance to recover.