The beginning of school already?

August 16, 2010 at 2:56 pm (Brody, Canada, Evan)

I cannot believe the summer is almost over.  The boys are back from Canada. They are starting school next week. On a Wednesday. Who does that? Since when does school start on a Wednesday? It’s quite annoying. They also have an early dismissal. ugh

According to everyone, the boys had an amazing time in Canada. I had a great summer and missed my boys terribly. However, they came back tanned and blonde (SUPER blonde!).

Things have been going good, I’m down-sizing my “things” and we are set to have a garage sale soon. I’ve got to get back into the habit of keeping this blog up to date. I was going through so much stress, it felt good to take a step back for a minute. It also feels like the right time to start writing again.

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I just need a little “I” time

May 3, 2010 at 8:16 pm (Brody, Canada, Evan, whining)

It seems I am in the trifecta of a poopy mood. My sciatica is THROBBING, it’s that time of the month and I’ve banged my hand in the same spot TWICE in two days. I think the boys can sense I am weak right now, because they’ve been relentless with me. They are like a predator hunting their prey. I feel as though I’ve done nothing but argue and yell at them for the past 3 days.

Of course, this is not completely single sided. They’ve been arguing and yelling at me for the past 3 days. I am so worn out I can barely write this. Right now, the boys are with their dad at Brody’s baseball game. I had to leave, I needed to spend a little time by myself – regrouping. And having a beer.

I don’t know how to resolve all the yelling. I don’t know where to find the energy the boys need me to have. My sciatica (which I never had until I got pregnant with them) takes all of my energy. I’m in constant pain – anyone who has chronic pain knows exactly what I’m talking about. It drains all of my energy, my patience (I’ll admit, I have very little patience to begin with), it runs me into the ground.

As an introvert, “me” time is fondly referred to as “I” time. I’m not gonna lie – I need a vacation! I need to lie on a deserted beach with a good book. For about 2 weeks. Uninterrupted. Except for the waiter … because someone needs to bring the drinks!

Did I mention we are going to Hawaii in July? Ooh… it must have slipped my mind! The boys were so upset they wouldn’t be coming with us, but they’ll be at their grandparents’ house by then – and honestly, that’s way more important than a silly ol’ trip to Hawaii!!

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I’ve banned another activity from the morning ritual

March 31, 2010 at 1:27 pm (Brody, Family, Ranting, Single Parenthood)

Talking.

First, it was TV.  If the TV was on, the boys weren’t listening. So, I did what any parent would do – I banned the TV in the morning. I’m slowly weening them off the TV in general, but you can’t go cold turkey. Like any addiction, you’ve gotta start out slow and work your way towards NONE.

Things were going great, the boys were getting dressed on their own. Brushing their teeth and combing their hair. We even started making breakfast together. I would get out the bread and toaster, they would pop the toast in, I would come back to put something on the toast. It worked (and still works) well.

When we woke up this morning… dun dun dunnnnnn – all heck was about to break loose.

Usually, Evan wakes up in a great mood. I wake him up, tickle him and give him hugs – then he’s good for the day. Happy, smiling, cheery. But Brody, on the other hand, is a freakin bear in the morning. Ahem… I’m not sure (ahem) where he gets that from. He needs to eat first before he does anything else – then after food, he magically turns into a nice kid. This morning was no different. Nothing I could do or say was going to move him from bear into nice kid. His head hurt. His knee hurt. He was cold. Evan was looking at him. Endless…

So I did what any (krazee, tired, and worn out) parent would do who was pushed to her emotional and mental limits by a crying, weeping 7 yr old whiney boy – I banned talking in the morning. It’s perfectly logical if you think about it.  Brody is no longer allowed to talk in the morning unless it’s positive or helpful.  He’d wake up on the wrong side of the cave and bitch and moan at me – then I would bitch and moan back and all of a sudden, we are all in a bad mood. So I discovered the root cause and have nipped it in the bud. You see, WE have this problem in our house, WE think (and by WE, I mean THEM) it’s okay to talk to people any old way WE feel like – without suffering the consequences of OUR actions (and by actions, I mean words). It’s unacceptable and it’s rude. Manners matter!

I once did an experiment with them where I didn’t talk to them, for what seemed like an eternity (hence 30 minutes) I did not answer them or speak to them at all. They felt it was fine to ignore mommy when she spoke, so I ignored them. As you can imagine, neither child liked that very much. What this did was give me ammunition (should I need it) to stop this behavior in the future. If they don’t listen to me, I can very quickly say “do you want mommy to not listen or speak to you?” and both boys know how THAT felt and can quickly change their actions.

So we will see how the NO SPEAKING (unless it’s positive or helpful) rule goes. I’m determined to make it work. Of course, I have no control over what they do at their dad’s house. Hopefully, with time, Brody will wake up and feel positive about the day rather than bitch and moan and make the rest of us cranky. Wish me luck!

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Brody….

October 23, 2009 at 8:58 am (Brody)

We had our first parent-teacher conference with Brody’s teacher yesterday.  As parents I am not sure what we were expecting. We’ve had conferences with teachers before, but kindergarten is very different than Grade One (oh sorry, First Grade). Miss Delmy (kindergarten teacher) and Brody had a very close relationship, Brody adored her and vice versa. She knew she could count on Brody to help with the other students or to refill the stapler – pretty much anything in the classroom.  In Brody’s school right now, he is in a class with Second and Third grade students and is low man on the totem pole (so to speak). Academically, Miss Sharon says he’s doing great but he’s having some adjustment issues.

Brody… the boy who was made for the montessori system of learning is having adjustment issues. Apparently he wanders around the classroom like he’s lost and doesn’t know how to focus. Miss Sharon says he loves to make announcements in the class, loves to be the helper – so then why doesn’t she facilitate more opportunities for him to be the helper? Because there are 39 students and 2 teachers. He is used to 1 teacher and 8-10 students. He’s the little fish in the big pond and I get understand where he’s coming from.  I know he’s adjusting to a new situation and I’ve got to give the kid a break… he’s had to deal with a lot of change this past year.  His dad and I no longer live in the same house, his grandfather died, he started in first grade in a new school with new people… That is a lot for anyone, let alone a 6 year old. I have to remind myself that he is only 6 years old.

Miss Sharon is confident that she and the other teacher can help Brody move towards positive behaviour and she is encouraging us to focus on his positive behaviours rather than negative. The thing is, Brody is very smart and knows exactly what he’s doing – he doesn’t need to act out at home because he gets a lot of attention from me and his dad. At school… well, I think he feels he’s lost in the shuffle of children.

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The weekend yo

September 28, 2009 at 12:42 pm (Brody, Friends, Melodie, Weekend)

I had a dinner party this past weekend. It turned out really good and I think everyone had a great time. The best part? I was the only woman! Way to increase my odds!  heh heh

Seriously, everyone knows I have some really great girlfriends (most of them live somewhere else, but I have a few who live close) – but I tend to make friends with guys (they are way easier and take less time to get ready). It’s been that way my entire life and I haven’t quite yet figured it out. I’m sure some of my girlfriends know the answer. Anyway, I’m not complaining, in fact, I like that I can hang with guys and be comfortable and relaxed.

Brody loves to entertain. That kid is going to be an event planner! He loves the idea of people coming over and loves to help. He doesn’t like to help with actual work, but he will “help” with entertaining. On Saturday night he made everyone sit in their chairs so he could show them rocks he’d collected. A big hit with the guys!

It’s been hard adjusting to single life – there are parts that are very easy. Then there are parts that totally suck. Preparing for a dinner party on your own is one of the sucky parts.  Fortunately for me, one of my friends ROCKS in the kitchen and he whipped up some amazing appy’s. We had delicious fresh oysters with some concoction Louisiana Joe whipped up as a topping to the oysters (a BIG shout out to Joe for shuckin em too!), Bryan made some delicious cheesy garlic bread (fortunately he made too much so I had it for lunch the next day) and the best salad I have ever eaten. I made ricotta stuffed manicotti and a pork roast. Oh and did I mention the margaritas? Yowzers!!  I did a bottle count the next day and those boys could drink some beers!

Seriously, one of the best nights I’ve had in a long time. It was great to sit around the firepit in the backyard and talk shit. I’m still trying to convince Jason to learn this (NSFW) so he can teach me and we can be the oldest white people on the planet doing the crip walk.

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The day the universe was against me…

August 31, 2009 at 9:44 pm (Brody, Evan, Melodie, School)

Today was the first day of school for everyone in this house.

Brody started first grade.

A first grader!

Evan started kindergarten.

A kindergartener!

Mommy started the last two classes of her associate’s degree.

No picture

We woke up late. Well, really, who wouldn’t? With all the partying we do up in here. I think the entire household was asleep by 9:20 last night.

Evan and Brody didn’t want to wake up. It took 4 trips to their bedroom before either of them stirred. It was a gorgeous morning – boiling hot this entire weekend, but the morning was cool. The kind of morning where you didn’t want to get out of bed because you are so cozy in your blankie.

For the love of god, no one could comb their own hair!

Breakfast… whatev… no one needed it!  Until it was the last minute and I’m shoving a bagel down their throats.

Lunches… usually made the night before. Made with love and thought to nutrition and the energy they’d be expending. The fuel to feed their bodies … neglected in favor of sleep. Rushed the morning of the first day of school (how could I be so silly to think I could wake them, dress them, feed them AND make lunches all in the same morning?)

The route to school is new. And long. And full of traffic. Including Rafael’s Landscaping, the driver of this vehicle was so safe and doing exactly 4 miles less than the speed limit. On any other day, I would have remarked on his thoughtfulness and safe driving. Today, as the minutes ticked closer to 8:15 – I cursed as he muddled his way through the neighborhood streets. I’m sorry I called you an idiot under my breath so the children wouldn’t hear. I only wanted to get my son to school on time and not have to do the walk of shame THROUGH the office to retrieve a tardy slip. How horrible is it that my son was late for his FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL??

I had the entire route planned out. I wanted to drop Evan off first – then make my way over to Brody’s school. I wanted to hug them both and assure them their day would be wonderful. Instead, Evan and I walked Brody to his classroom – through the office (walk of shame) and got lectured by the principal about parents walking kids to their classrooms on the first day of school. bah.

I cried on the way to Evan’s school for several reasons. It was emotional leaving Brody at the school for first grade (NOT Grade one, as I was taught). I was embarassed for getting him to school late. I was frustrated over the length of the drive!  And finally, let’s not forget how sorry I feel for myself when I am homesick.

Eventually, all boys were dropped off at school and I made my way back home. During the drive, I didn’t even want to sing to the radio … I listened and reflected on how quickly time passes. I don’t regret any of the past events that brought my children to me. I love them. I’m a lucky momma and I will never forget it. All of the emotions were worth it.

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Minnie… poor hormonal, lonely Minnie

July 27, 2009 at 6:32 pm (Brody, Canada, Evan, Kittens)

The rest of the kittens left yesterday. Honestly, I thought Minnie would be happy about it. The kittens were born on May 15th, so she’s spent quite a bit of time looking after them. I likened her to a stay at home mom whose children finally, FINALLY started first grade.  She could finally sleep without being attacked; she could eat all she wanted; she didn’t have to constantly clean their butts. She would be living the good life! She’d accomplished something, she had babies – she experienced nursing, experienced motherhood! She could feel good about herself and move on to do macrame and take classes on worm composting and preparing healthier meals for her family.

That’s what I would do.

The crying started at about 5:30 am and has not stopped. She’s looked in all of their hiding places, she’s cried all day long. What do you do for a hormonal cat whose last baby has gone to a new home? Well, you book her for an appointment at the vet to be fixed, that’s what. I thought I would add more lemon juice to her very raw heart and have her ovaries removed so she had more to cry about. No no no.. I’m kidding! If I was really cruel, I’d have her declawed too.

I feel bad for Minnie, but I know what she’s going through. My kids have been in Canada since the end of June and while I’ve not spent entire days crying or searching for them in their hiding spaces, I have felt the lonlieness Minnie is feeling right now. My boys are having the time of their life with their grandparents. They are growing and gaining experiences that I could never provide for them. They are establishing an undeniable bond with my parents and creating memories that will live in their hearts and minds for the rest of their lives. These summers are something I will never take away from them or my family. But I miss them. I can’t help it.

I wonder if Minnie wants a glass of wine?

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Being a Single Parent

April 26, 2009 at 9:10 pm (Brody, Evan, Single Parenthood)

The hardest part about being a single parent is having enough patience to get you through the day. Now, I understand this is a big adjustment for everyone. It will take some time for us all to get into our routines, etc. It wasn’t like we had an exhausting day – but after 12 straight hours of doing NOTHING, one tends to get edgy (one being Brody) and needs to be out! near people! other people! Again, Evan and I could lounge our entire day away but Brody is a social animal.

He wanted me to take him to Target because I have 10 dollars of his in my wallet – he can’t see it or touch it, yet it’s still burning a hole in his pocket (he’s just like my dad). He wants to buy more toys he won’t play with … apparently he doesn’t know what Target does to his momma. This was the main reason I started buying Melaleuca products on a monthly basis… not because they are good for the environment or work amazing (those were qualifiers though) – but because I couldn’t take the 200$ trips to Target anymore. I am a sucker for that store and everything inside of it! I especially love the cheap-o dollar items as you first walk in the store – that’s FAB!

Since I needed some items for lunches, Brody had to settle with Safeway. Both boys love to get inside the cart and have me lug them up and down every aisle – begging for crap they know we don’t buy. As we walked into the store – past the carts, Brody started whining. “I want to ride in the cart! wah! horrible mother who makes me walk 10 feet to the apples! wah! I don’t want to walk anywhere! wah!” Have I mentioned that both boys are about 50lbs? I’m not complaining, but on a Sunday evening (after a successful BBQ the day before where many beers were consummed) and after writing a paper, I just wasn’t feeling like pushing those two around safeway for an hour. I know… I’m such a party pooper!

Back to the patience. Once the boys smell weakness, they attack with the ferocity of lions. It’s 7:00 pm on a Sunday evening for goodness sakes! I’m tired! Just let me get apples and salami and get the heck out of there! Since they don’t watch where they are going, I am forced to direct them and point them to where I want to end up. At one point Brody actually swatted my hand away. Can I just say that little kids generally do NOT watch where they are going and it’s annoying and embarrassing as their parent (especially as their mother). Picture me holding a basket in one hand and directing two wandering kids with the other. And the whining! Dear god the whining! It just doesn’t stop.

At that point, I think I could have left them. Every parent has those times when they could take or leave their child(ren) and Safeway was one of those times when I wish I hadn’t even left the house. It’s best to stay within the comforts of your own home when the kids are like this. I’m sure I could have scrounged up a cheese and pickle sandwich for lunch… or a “just jam!” for Brody. What was I thinking when I took the lions out of their den? Thankfully we all arrived home in one piece and I did what any parent would have done. I sent them outside to the backyard to play for an hour before bed… it was either that or give them away to the next person to walk by…

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Tortilla Chips

April 23, 2009 at 11:18 am (Brody, Melodie)

Setting the stage:

Momma asks “who wants chips and salsa?” Brody says “Me!” 

So I pour the salsa in a bowl, put some chips in another bowl… and this is how the conversation progressed.

Brody (after realizing there are triangle chips NOT round chips in the bowl): Momma! I want round chips! Where are the round chips?
Momma: Brody, all tortilla chips taste the same no matter what their shape is. Unless the chips are a different color – then they have a different taste.
Brody: I want round chips (now heightening his voice to a whine) I only like round chips. Round chips taste the best!!!  (much whining ensues)
Momma: Brody, trust me – all tortilla chips taste the same! Just try one, I guarantee you’ll like it. Have I ever steered you wrong?
Brody: No! I like round chips only!
Momma: I’ve already told you – we don’t have round chips. I do have blue chips – do you want to try them?
Brody: No! No no no round chips! I want round chips!

Sidenote: I had this same issue with a recipe we got from the hippies for a lemon pound cake. The recipe was like 100 years old, had all of 6 ingredients and is the BEST cake ever. Brody watched us all eat it, me, his dad, Evan… we all had a piece. I brought a bite over to Brody who refused to even put his tongue on the cake. It was so ridiculous his dad had to hold him down while I shoved the cake in his mouth. I did this because I knew he’d like the cake – he is so unwilling to try new food (only for me though, his grandma in Canada doesn’t have this issue AT ALL). When I was a kid, cake was special – it signified a special occasion. To a kid… cake is the ultimate treat!

Here’s where we wrestle. I have a tortilla chip with salsa in my hand and I encourage him to just try 1 bite! Just one bite! I bring the garbage closer to him and ensure him he can spit it right out if it doesn’t taste the same. It goes on like this for 10 minutes. I have come to realize that Brody would not try anything new (food wise) unless I force him to try it.  Here’s where it gets really good…

Brody: Can I have a pop?
Momma: Yep, but you have to try the triangle chips first.
Brody: Momma! That’s not fair!
Momma: Yes it’s fair, try a chip.

Picture my sweet little boy making gagging noises and the most horrible faces that would scare the biggest monsters — all while he whines about how unfair it is! How he wants a pop! How he doesn’t like triangle chips! How he only likes round chips! Why didn’t I buy round chips! Go to the store!

Brody: Ok, I’ll try one chip.

Momma holds the chip for him to bite… he takes a bite and a huge smile shows up on his face! We start to giggle as Brody realizes his momma was right, triangle chips taste the same as round chips. Mommy wins another round!

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Baseball Update

April 4, 2009 at 4:17 pm (Baseball, Brody, Evan)

Here is Brody playing baseball

Here is Brody playing baseball

and

Here is Evan playing baseball

Here is Evan playing baseball

Let’s just say that Evan spends a lot more time at the concession stand or in the stands than he does swinging a bat or throwing a ball. I think he’s too young for baseball – it just doesn’t hold his interest. Which is a SHOCKER because we all thought he’d take to the sport quickly. We thought Brody would be the tough nut to crack. Evan LOVES the concession stand, they sell hotdogs. He makes me take the weiner out of the bun – so I give the bun to his baby cousin. Maybe he’ll get the hang of it because he can throw a ball with amazing speed and accuracy. I just wish he gave a crap!!  He really doesn’t and it’s very funny to watch. Their games are about 1.5 hours long and I would say that is 45 minutes longer than they should be. These are 5 and 6 year old kids – they don’t have the fortitude to pay attention to anything for longer than an hour.

Thankfully, the whining has stopped and they now get dressed for baseball with minimal yelling and begging (from their father). I make sure the uniforms are washed (because, seriously… who else would?) I know Brody loves being a part of this team, he’s having a ton of fun and that makes me very happy.

He's a happy boy!

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