Wednesday, August 31, 2005

If Jon can do it, then so can I!

For those of you that frequent Ziggy Thoughts, no, I'm not referring to peeing in the shower! That's just gross!!! What I am referring to is a rant, a good old-fashioned rant! And for my friend at Mommy Stories, I apologize now because I know this is old news to you. But there are just some things that a certain mommy must get off of her chest, and this, my friends is one of those things.

I absolutely hate cleaning!!! I can't stand the daily chores that stare me down...daily!!! Cooking, cleaning, doing the laundry (absolutely the least favorite thing on the list, by the way!) and the general picking up that is required by any good wife, mother, or general person, are not on the top of the list of "Things I love to do!". Getting a pedicure, massage or just going shopping all by myself - those are the top 3 on that list, but cooking, cleaning, laundry and the other stuff aren't there!!! Of course, the list that I've created is apparently fictitious since I don't actually get to go do any of those things...ok, maybe the occassional pedicure, but that's only once every 3 or 4 months! But, I digress from the matter at hand, which is completing my rant...

So, it is with much pain that I have spent the better part of this day not only dealing with a sick 2 year old little girl, but attempting to conquer the 6 loads of laundry that lay around on my bedroom floor, as well as sweeping & mopping (then crawling around after lunch to get the crumbs) off of the breakfast & kitchen floor. If you could only see these floors, you'd understand my plight. You see, the floors in question are made up of small 5x5 stark white, shiny tiles - not the best choice of tile for a busy family of 5!!! But, since this is a rental house and the floor was already here, I'm forced to deal with it none-the-less. Ok, that said, once I take the hour or more to sweep, then mop the whole darned thing, it kills me to allow anyone to walk on it, much less seeing anyone drop even the tiniest of crumbs on it! So, this is what brings me to the rant in youngest child Ian and my sick little daughter chose to eat the crumbiest things they could possibly think of today at lunch...crackers!!! Can I tell you how painful it was to allow either of them to touch the stupid things??? Of course, I could have just said no to the 2 year old, but after listening to her cry almost non-stop today, allowing her this one small pleasure was a survival tactic on my part. Granted, I don't think I could have stressed enough to her the importance of 'not dropping crumbs all over mommy's clean floors'. Of course, to a 2 year old, this means nothing. I even attempted to teach her (once again) that eating over our plate was the best thing she could possibly do for mommy today! But, again, this didn't seem to mean much to her. So, it was with a heavy heart that I simply walked away from the table and decided not to think about the mess that I would soon find under her chair!

This would explain why I just completed cleaning the floor again - on my hands & knees this time because I just couldn't bear to sweep & mop again!!! I think I've managed to pick up every last crumb, but I'm sure the next time I walk in there, I'll see another one since the stark-white, shiny thing shows every spot! It's only a matter of time before dinner time will be here, and I'll be forced to allow my family to sit at the table, which coincidentally sits on that floor I've been ranting about, to eat their dinner. Anyone have any ideas for a non-crumbly, spill-proof meal?

A House Full of Sicko's

Take the title for what it's worth, but what I mean is that almost everyone in my house is sick with one ailment or another! It seems that every year, around this time, we come down with allergies/colds that take weeks to get rid of. And, of course, when one person gets it, we all get it. But now that I've probably just jinxed myself (since my youngest Ian & I are the only ones that haven't come down with it) I guess I'll share some of the goings-on around my house as of the last 36 hours.

Two nights ago is when it first started, and you'd think that after all of the years of dealing with this same stupid thing, I would have clued into the fact that I needed to dose my oldest with his liquid steroid before sending him off to bed. But, do you think I did? Of course not! I decided to send him to bed with almost no voice and assume he'd be fine 'in the morning'. Boy, was I wrong! It was at exactly 3:30AM that I awoke to the sound of a barking seal in the doorway of my bedroom. Now, if I had been dreaming about the zoo, I probably would have ignored the sounds and drifted back off to sleep, but since I have no idea what I was dreaming, I immediately jumped out of bed and into my 'mommy take care of it' mode. My hubby jumped up too (surprisingly since you usually can't wake him without literrally pushing him off of the bed) so we were both 'dealing' with our little man, but only with about half of our senses since it wasn't a normal time of morning for us! Anyone that has experienced the 'barky cough' knows that the culprit can only be labeled as croup, and must be dealt with immediately to eliminate the chance of an early morning/late night trip the local ER. Anyway, Michael grabbed Alex and put him in bed with us while I went to the kitchen to grab his steroid - we always have plenty on hand since all 3 of my kiddos have had croup several times over. We're pro's!!! So, I managed to scare Alex into taking his steroid by informing him that if he didn't sit up and open his mouth, we were going to go straight to the hospital. Amazing how well that worked!!! So after dosing him, we all crawl back into bed and hope for the best. At around 4:10AM (and I know this because I couldn't stop looking at the clock) Michael & Alex were back to sleep, while I, on the other hand, couldn't stop wondering why I hadn't given Alex his medicine before bedtime. Nothing like kicking yourself about the 'why didn't you's' while being kicked in the ribs by one of your offspring! So, as any good mommy knows, I probably managed to grab about 30 more minutes of sleep over the next 3 1/2 hours!!!

So, Tuesday morning, we were all up around 7:30AM - getting Ian & Alex dressed for a trip to the doctor and Morgann dressed for preschool. When I left the house at 8:40AM, I never imagined that I'd still be in the car at 2:50! That's how my day went yesterday - doctor (1.5 hours), lunch (30 minutes), dropped Alex off at school, went to the bank, then to my doctor's office to pick something up (2 hours), then home for 15 whole minutes, then back in the car to go get Morgann from school (45 minutes). It's safe to say that I consumed way too much gas yesterday with all of that driving!!!

This morning started out better for us all, in that we all slept through the night! But, come 7:30, we were all back up & running! Alex & Ian were up first eating breakfast, followed shortly thereafter by Morgann, who is my patient for the day! She's gone to bed a bit congested for the last 2 nights, but yesterday seemed back to her normal healthy self. I guess that was the calm before the storm because today, she's a whinny, snotty-nosed, 2 year old! And since I have several items on my agenda that absolutely must get done (laundry so that we can all wear clean underwear & socks, and removing the sticky mess off of my kitchen & breakfast room floors), her expectation is that I should drop it all and 'hold me'. We've already exhausted our list of Dora the Explorers on TIVO, so we've moved on to Play With Me Sesame.

And then there is my poor hubby who left for a client today, feeling about as lousy as Morgann is acting! He thinks he caught IT from Alex who spent the night (2 nights ago) sleeping on his pillow, in his face. All I can do is pray that I can keep Ian & myself healthy, as I have way too much going on over the next few days & weekend to be sick!

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

A Mustard Seed's Story

Matt. 17:20 "Because you have so little faith, I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain 'Move from here to there' and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you."

I think - no I believe - there is a purpose, and a season for everything we go through in our lives. This has been especially true for my family lately! You see, it has been a very bleak summer, with things in our lives only getting worse, instead of better. It's been very rough as of late, the true meaning of the words "testing ground".

This has absolutely nothing to do with marriage or children, it's strictly money - the root of all evil, and the very thing that we require to get along in life. To some degree, money is our life-line - it buys food, clothing & shelter. It is the reason so many of us get up in the morning (to go to work) and reason we are able to function on a day to day basis (because of the utilities that the money pays for). It's a requirement to get along in life, yet lately it's been very scarce around here!

And I believe that this has been a time in our lives - my life, really - that God has chosen to see where we (I) stand. What is it that we (I) believe? Why do we (I) believe it? Is it because we've (I've) been taught it all our (my) life, and therefore it is just part of who we are (I am)? Do we (I) really believe it? Do we (I) really, really believe it? How much faith do we (I) have in what we (I) have chosen to believe? I'm sad to say that many times I've gone back & forth about what I truly believe to be real; what I truly believe at all! I think that much of my summer I've been in school to learn or re-learn what I should already know. The fact that God is God, no matter what I think, say or do. That God will be God long after I'm gone, long after my children are gone. Long after this blog has been deleted and wiped off the face of the earth.

And so, it is at this moment when I find myself in a heap on the floor of the office, crying because I have finally realized that God truly is God. That it's not my comfort that He is interested in. That it's not my agenda that he cares much about. That His agenda is the only one that matters and that no matter what I say or do, He will prove Himself to me, and that He really does know best! He has brought me to the absolute bitter end of myself just to prove that He will take care of a very desperate need in the life of my family through someone that is so dear & precious, words can't begin to express the gratitude that I have overflowing through my tears. It is at this exact moment that I have decided that I will give my full heart, trust, and, yes, my agenda to Him and allow Him to do whatever He wants to. It is at this moment that the mustard seed I planted at the beginning of the summer finally has it's first bloom!

No More Nap!

Do any of you remember that line from "Honey, I Blew-up the Kid!"? The 80 foot tall baby toddling through Las Vegas yelling "No More Nap!" to his daddy, who looked only inches tall in comparison. This seems to be the rallying cry of the day at my house. Not only has my 2 year old decided that she no longer needs to take a nap, but my 11 month old son is following suit today! This is not turning out to be a very good day!!!

Here I was, sitting at my computer finishing up a small business project, when I suddenly hear a door slam upstairs. "Hmmm, that better not be the baby!" I think to myself. But when I hear it again for a 2nd, then 3rd time, I figure it most certainly must be the 2 year old that for the passed 3 weeks has refused her afternoon nap. I usually hear her in her room playing or singing some silly song (that most of the time I cannot dicipher), but as long as she's in her room for a bit, I'm ok with that. However, over the last few days, she's decided that it would be fun to try to sneak out of her room and down the stairs - but only half-way - to see what mommy or daddy might be doing. Of course, in her 2 year old brain, the slamming door should in no-way be a clue that she's not in her room where she's supposed to be! So anyway, after another few minutes, I suddenly hear crying, and since I cannot differentiate between my daughter's crying & my son's crying, I am immediately taking the stairs 2 at a time to check on whomever it might be. Lucky for me, it's Morgann, the 2 year old! So, just as she had planned (and I know she did!) this caused me to relent on the nap idea since I was concerned her crying might wake up Ian. On our way down the stairs with pillow, blanket and bear in-hand, to my dismay, I hear Ian beginning to cry! Uuuugggghhhhh! It's a conspiracy.

So, here I sit with a distant memory of the nap I had planned to take this afternoon. I'm wondering if I might end up with any time to myself at all before bed? But at this stage, I'm doubting it!

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

The Quiet Times

I don't know about you, but it is always my goal to read a bedtime story to my kids. I love to read, and one of my desires for my children is that they inherit my love of reading! So, like I said, it's always my goal. But sometimes I miss that goal by just a few inches, other times by 100 feet, and every now & again, I manage to hit the goal dead center. I just never know what bedtime will be like around here. And, since this tends to be one of my favorite times of day (quiet time for mommy & daddy to talk uninterrupted, or to sit in front of the TV to catch up on Oprah), we try to adhere to strict bedtimes - if it's later than 8:30 and there is still a monkey out of his/her bed, there's a problem!!! I don't know how single mom's of more than 1 child do it because I don't think I could! Getting 3 kiddos to bed is a major undertaking that starts around 5PM and requires both parents! Seriously!!!

Since school is underway, along with soccer practice and gymnastics, it is my duty - no, my mission - to get an early dinner on the table so that we can get whomever to wherever on time. Right now, my son is the busy-body so it's his fault that we find ourselves running from point A to point B, then to point C. Wait, maybe saying it's his 'fault' isn't the right way to say that, but I think you get what I'm going for, don't you? Because he's such an active & social child, my husband & I feel compelled to have him involved in several different activities. So, I guess this would mean that it's my husband's fault and not that of my oldest child :) Anyway, it's because of his social calendar that we all must eat an early dinner before heading out the door. Then once we're home, it's total chaos!

My husband & I find ourselves arguing over who was the last one to change the baby's diaper and dress him for bed, or who it was that had to wash Alex & Morgann's hair and dress them the night before. Then to keep from arguing about it further, we resort to Rock, Paper, Scissors. Wait, that's what I'd like to do, but what usually ends up happening is that I get baby duty and my hubby takes toddler/oldest child duty. And, if I do say so myself, I think we're a pretty good team. You see, while I change the baby's diaper and dress him for bed, Michael washes the other 2 and gets them out of the tub - or tries to anyway - the 5 year old is pretty poky and would prefer to be told 5 or 6 times that he must exit the tub immediately or face sudden death! Anyway, after Michael finishes dressing our daughter, he passes her off to me so that I can brush her teeth and brush/blowdry her hair. Once we finish with the 2 youngest children, he takes 1 to bed and I take the other. That leaves the 5 year old that is usually still in the tub. Once we managed to get his pruny bottom out of the cold, soapy water, it takes him about 20 minutes (and I do not exaggerate this) to brush his teeth and to put on his underwear. He spends most of that time admiring his big, strong muscles in the mirror, or seeing how many funny faces he can make without totally cracking himself up.

It is at this juncture that I would dearly love to sit & read him a story before sending him off to the Land of Knod. But, since it's now after 8:30 - that precious hour of the night I would love to call MINE - any story time we might have had is gone. Then there is the ever so popular, "but mommy, I'm hungry!" whine that we hear on a nightly basis. Sometimes I relent and give him 1/2 an apple or some grapes, like the nights when we've had an early dinner and he's had an active evening. But other nights, he's reminded that he's either already had dessert, should have finished his dinner, or already had an evening snack. So, off to bed he goes with my hubby - he prefers that Michael put him to bed because he's more fun than mommy, and frankly, that's fine with me.

Ah! At last, my favorite time of day has arrived...bedtime :) Not mine, of course! But the quiet that floods the house is almost deafening. All the kids are in bed, and Michael & I finally have some time to ourselves. So, this is when I plop down on the couch for the first time all day to watch a movie with my sweet hubby, or see which one of my shows recorded today. And, when there's nothing to watch, I curl up with a good book or magazine before turning off my light and meeting my children in dreamland.

I love being a mommy :)

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

What little boys are made of?

It doesn't seem to matter what I give my youngest son Ian to eat, he chokes on it! Then there are the things that I don't give him - paper, hairbands, crumbs of food, roaches, dirt, his spit, etc. It's all a choking hazzard. Of course, seeing as how anything that's on the floor (and yes, I did say roaches!) goes into his mouth, I guess I can safely say that my house is not as baby-proofed as I'd originally thought!

How disgusted do you think I got when my mother-in-law told me that while she was sitting with him here at my house he choked? Of course, the disgusting part was when she informed me that what she retrieved from Ian's little throat appeared to be the legs & wings of the so-called roach. She mistakenly thought it was part of a grape skin at first! Uugghh!!! But then, just a day later, I found myself doing the same thing, only this time it was the entire body, less the wings & legs!!! Can you imagine the scream I belted out at that point? But then, just 2 days ago, Ian again decided that the protein he was getting from these dead roaches was worth the risk and he, yet again, choked on another one!

Now, I guess you're wondering how I can live in a house with roaches? I don't!!! I've had the house exterminated several times, so I'm doing my very best to eliminate this problem - thus the dead roaches! But, anyone that lives in a hot, moist climate like Houston can tell you that no matter what you do, these pesky critters will always find a way into your house. Sadly, this seems to be the case for us. I guess the upside to all of this is that they are dead when he finds them; at least, I think they are! I've even gone so far as to walk around my house every morning looking for these dead creatures, but he seems to always find them first! Then there's the fact that it's dead which means that it's probably covered in insecticide! What's a mom to do?

I think I've decided to lock him up from now on! I can no longer bear to think that my precious little boy has taken a liking to this particular, rather nasty, bug!!! I start gagging just thinking about it... So, no more exploring, no more crawling around, no more pulling himself up on the couch or at the coffee table. He's going to become a prisoner in his own home!

Oh yeah! Forgot to mention that these aren't just roaches - they're the big Texas Water Bug!!! AAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Another Big Day

So, today was Morgann's first day of preschool - Yea!!! She was so brave and excited - she went right in, helped me to place her 'too heby" lunch box into the designated lunch box basket, then went on to play with the playdough placed on one of the tables. I was like the paparazzi snapping all sorts of pictures of her as she played away. I decided to stick around to be certain that the 2 screaming children that were left at the same time we got there would not ruffle her feathers or get her upset, but I think I probably could have left right away and it wouldn't have made a difference! I guess that since she was fairly familiar with the school already, it wasn't any big deal for her to be there again this year! Thank God!!!

I really have no idea how her day went since grandma picked her up and there was no written report in her backpack, but I'm guessing that things went fine since I didn't get a phone call during the day telling me otherwise. I can say, very proudly, that she made it through her first day of school with no 'accidents'! She came home in the same panties she left the house in this morning :) She has actually been fully potty trained for about 3 weeks now, but I was worried that being in a different place with strange people might cause her to 'hold it' or to 'not hold it', but, again, I wasted my energy being worried about her.

I guess we've done pretty well at raising 2 very independent kiddos. Now, if I can just leave the room without Ian totally coming apart, then I'll know I've accomplished something!

Friday, August 12, 2005

Back to Normal?

I don't know if I can truly say that or not, but we're getting close, I guess. Our definition of normal around here is what is typically going on for the better part of the year, which in this case is school. Alex has been attending preschool since he was 3, and both Alex & Morgann attended the same private preschool last year - he in K4 on Tues & Thurs, she in Mother's Day Out on Thurs. The peace & quiet was absolutely wonderful, but not long enough. Alex's class ended at 1PM and Morgann's at 2:30, and since they didn't start the day until 9AM, I was only allowed 4 hours (3 1/2 if you take out the drive-time) on my own. And, considering I had a newborn baby at home, I still wasn't alone! But, I'm not complaining! It was truly a blessing that we could afford to have our children in a private school with such an awesome reputation, and that I was given this downtime to sleep, eat, clean, etc. with my new baby :)

So, here we are on day 3 of the school year and things are going smoothly. I'm fully expecting a 'bump' at any time, but until then, I'm enjoying the ride :) Alex has made a new friend - also a kindergartner - up the street at the next bus stop, so watching them run & embrace each other this morning was fun! I was concerned about him making friends right away, but apparently I was wasting energy being concerned at all!! I will be taking Morgann to her school this afternoon for "Meet the Teacher", so she's very excited about that - we all are! She'll begin her 2 day a week preschool classes on Tuesday, so, again, I will have a bit of time for myself. My hope is that I can, at some point anyway, join a local health club, and begin working on getting my body back to it's former self. I have a closet full of clothes I can't wear, and it's killing me! So, my goal is to drop Morgann off at 9AM on Tues & Thurs, then I'll head straight to the gym where Ian can play in the daycare center for an hour or so while I whip my butt back into shape - literally!

On that note, I think I'll sign off. Since I've been up since 6:30AM - the days are getting earlier & earlier around here! - I'm leaning toward laying down on the couch for about 30 minutes before I start getting myself ready to leave for Meet the Teacher. To everyone that reads this entry today, I hope you each have a wonderful day! And for the mommies that frequent my entries, you should take the advice of Jelly Mom and enjoy exploring the world around you :)

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Waving Goodbye

It's done! As I choke back tears and try to 'be strong', my little man has stepped onto the school bus and into another phase of his life. He spent the better part of the morning asking if the bus was here yet - as soon as his eyes opened, during breakfast, and while brushing his teeth. Alex was so ready to leave that it almost hurt my feelings - almost. I know he's terribly excited about his first day of kindergarten and getting to ride the bus there & home, which means I also know not to take it personally :) As Michael & I prayed for his safety before he left, and that he would have not only a blessed day, but a blessed year, I couldn't help but think back to the first time I held him in my arms. It seems like so long ago, but then again, only yesterday. Hmmm...time really does fly!

So now, I'm forced to sit at home and hope that he gets from the bus to his classroom, then the classroom back to the bus, safely. Even though I'm very excited that this day has finally arrived and I will no longer have to endure the constant barrage of questions and daily chore of keeping his busy mind occupied, I will still miss him terribly!

I'll be sure to post more on his day when he gets home - I'm sure there will be lots of stories :) Let's see, only 7 more hours...

7:50PM - Well, so far this evening, the most I've been able to get out of Alex about his first day of school was "I don't remember, mom!" Can you believe that?!? All day - a whole 7 hours - and he can't remember? How typical of a man? I, on the other hand, accidentally met a parent down the street from us. A little girl got off at our bus stop, but apparently shouldn't have! I saw her walking very quickly up the street and crying, so I asked if I could help her get home. Unfortunately, I didn't know where her street was, other than it was 'that way' so we started walking. I caught a mommy on her way into her house and asked if she happened to know where this street was, and thankfully, she did! Her 2 older kids walked the little girl the rest of the way, but we stood and chatted for a while. They live at the next corner, which also happens to be the next bus stop, so she suggested that we go down there tomorrow so that I can meet some of the other parents and their kids! How fun :) There aren't any other kids at our bus stop, so I figure we might as well make some friends when we have the chance to.

So, until tomorrow comes, I'll be going through the stack of stuff that the school sent home for me to read, sign and/or return. Since when do parents get homework?!?!?

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

The Saga Continues...

Well, in my eagerness to drive my point home last night, I failed to consider what I'd be dealing with today! Something I didn't mention in last night's posting was that poor Alex gets very sick when he doesn't get enough to eat. He has blood sugar issues, so you can imagine my lack of surprise when I woke to the sound of his gagging as he entered my room at 6:30AM. Thankfully, we made it to the bathroom - the first time. After we cleaned him up a bit, I put him on the couch with his sister that had already been awake for more than an hour (she was up at 5AM and I'll tell you why in a second) with his usual gatorade & toast - this is what he usually eats after getting sick like this. He asked me to give him some grapes & apples too, which I did, but I gave him instructions to first eat the toast. Did he do what I told him to do? No! He ate only the fruit, which didn't sit well on his stomach. This time, he missed the bathroom all together and threw up the fruit & red gatorade all over our living room carpet. Anyone have any idea how to get rid of red gatorade stains? My OxyClean isn't working!!!

I'll just cut to the end and tell you that he continued to throw up for the next 2 hours - a total of 5 times! Our usual bout with his blood sugar sickness is only 1 time, so I was starting to wonder if maybe, however coincidentally it might be, he had a stomach virus. Thankfully, I can so no he doesn't. But because of the numerous missed trips to the bathroom, I was forced to sweep & mop the floor, do a load of laundry and I've been scrubbing the carpet ever since! I think I'm being punished more than him!

Backing up a bit now, the reason his sister Morgann has been up so long is similar in that she woke us up by throwing up in her bed. We still have a nursery monitor in her room, so you can imagine how shocked I was to hear her yelling for me, coughing, then choking. I think I took the stairs 3 at a time to get to her room! I think that with all of the chaos that ensued last night, I didn't stop to realize that even though Morgann had eaten a few bites of her dinner, she didn't eat very much. So, since she didn't get enough to eat (or so I'm guessing at this point), she too woke up sick. She just beat Alex to it! The difference though is that she ate a piece of toast, watched Dora the Explorer, and drank her gatorade; she's been fine ever since!

So, even more than ever, I'm totally doubting my ability to deal with my children appropriately! Michael & I have decided that the next time this occurs, we'll be sure to administer a consequence appropriate to the disobedience, but we'll give him something else to eat, rather than to send him to bed hungry. Like I said, our being punished like this wasn't part of the plan!

Monday, August 08, 2005

A Heartbreaking Moment

Tonight was a night that I think Michael & I will probably always remember. I'm sure it's a night that Alex won't soon forget either. You see, he went to bed hungry tonight - and it broke my heart! It truly made me wish that I wasn't his mother because I wanted so badly to give in to his pleadings. And, I now know what my parents felt during a similar battle when I was young. It all came about because he absolutely refused to eat his dinner. He insisted that he didn't like it, and came to this conclusion without even picking up his spoon! He simply looked at it, saw it was something new, and decided he wouldn't eat it.

I guess in his mind, he figured that if he cried long enough, cried loud enough, and begged enough times, he would eventually be given something else to eat. And, he was right with one exception. The instructions given to him were as follows: take 5 bites of your dinner and I'll give you some apples & grapes. These were my exact words. Five measly bites of something he'd never tried and very well might have liked! Was that really too much for me to ask of my son?

It wasn't so much that I wanted to him to eat the beef stew on his plate because of it's health value; it was the principle of the situation. I felt that it was a test for both of us. In my mind, if I gave in to his demands, then he won! What kind of parent would I be if I allowed a tantrum to win a battle? On the other hand, what kind of parent am I that I forced him to go to bed hungry? Talk about feeling torn!!! My heart wanted to badly to just give him the stupid apple to end what lasted for more than 2 hours, but my head told me to stick to my guns at all costs. I'm wondering what that cost might have been?

When I was younger, a similar occurrence happened between me & my parents. The culprit was cooked spinach - something I still can't choke down. My mother had put it into an omlet and my instructions were to eat the whole thing. Well, I did, except that I picked out every last leaf of spinach, leaving a nice little pile of the green mush on my plate. That just wasn't acceptable to my parents, so a battle ensued. Without re-living the whole incident over, or making my parents out to be horrible monsters (which they definitely were not), I very distinctly remember sitting there, starring at that plate and thinking that if I held out long enough, they'd give in. I don't think I could have been more wrong. So, of course, in this situation, I felt that Alex was doing the same thing to me. Though his personality is very different from mine, I cannot say that he would never do such a thing. Anyone is capable of defiance!

So, I'm wondering if sending my 5 year old to bed hungry was too much, or justified? I'm not sure I'll ever know the answer to that. I know that Michael, who wanted to have nothing to do with this battle, is upset because he ended up in the middle of it, having to enforce my rules. This too is something that I feel very badly about. But, had the shoe been on his foot instead of mine, and it has been many times, I would have been forced to carry out Michael's rules as well. This is the part of being a parent that you don't ever think you'll have to face. After all, "my children will never cross me like I crossed my parents!" I think I'll choose to hope that this will be a lesson learned by all of us; that Alex will always remember that we are the parents and sometimes he'll have to do what we say, regardless of what he wants or doesn't want at that moment; and that we will never have to go around this mountain again!

My heart breaks for my little boy! I truly feel about 2 inches tall at this moment, confessing my shortcomings as a parent to all who come across this entry. But, my hope is that the lesson that I feebly attempted to teach him will actually be a reminder to him, and not a wound he will carry for the rest of his childhood. I was sure to tell him about 100 times how much I loved him and that he was the most important 5 year old in my life. And, I made him a promise that I will be getting up extra early to fulfill - I promised him a big, yummy breakfast!

- - - Just a postscript to this entry: About the time I finished typing out my confession to the world, my sweet little boy came down the stairs and said one last time that he was hungry. Since he's been dead asleep for the last 2 1/2 hours, I figure that I've probably driven my point home. And, by the way, he's laying on the couch eating 1/2 an apple, a dozen or so grapes, and watching The Book of Virtues. So, for those of you ready to call the CPS on me, please know that I would never do anything to physically harm my children. My children are my life, my entire world! And, Alex, if you read this years down the road, know that I love you more than anything else, and, at this moment, my heart still hurts...

Friday, August 05, 2005

I've Been Tagged!!!

Ok, to vear off my normal course of stories about life & children, I've been tagged by a fellow Houston Blogger ( So, Ms. Epiphany, here it goes:

Five Light Reads: Ugh! It's been so long since I've read anything, do magazines count?!?

Five Reads to Make Me Think: Uuhh...still, nothing comes to mind! Guess this is a clue to make a trip to my local library, huh?!?

Five Favorite Songs: (several have some sentimental value to me)
* Broken Wings by Mr. Mister
* Livin' on a Prayer by Bon Jovi
* Yeah! by Usher
* Endless Summer Nights by Richard Marx
* Frozen in Time by Amy Grant

Five Best Movies:
* My Fair Lady
* The Lord of the Rings Trilogy
* Mary Poppins - sappy I know, but I have always loved this movie!
* The Bourne Identity & Supremacy
* Back to the Future Trilogy

Five Best Comedies:
* Father of the Bride - the Steve Martin version
* Hitch - Will Smith & Kevin James are an awesome duo!
* Wedding Crashers - just saw this a few weeks ago and laughed until my sides hurt!
* Notting Hill - I love Hugh Grant movies :)
* Napoleon Dynamite - great one-liners!!!

Ok, so I obviously failed at this one, but it's my first tag, so I was caught un-aware :( Maybe I'll do better the next time! Ok, so now I'm supposed to tag others, right? Let's see, I'll go for Cori (mommystories), Jon (the how-not-to-guide), and Bearsie-boo (thenotherhole). Maybe you guys will do better than I did!!!

Thursday, August 04, 2005

A Boat, a Tube & a Lake

Yesterday was a perfect day!!! It was sunny and hot, with absolutely no rain clouds in sight. Most of the time, I would say this was the kind of day that would be totally miserable, but yesterday, it was perfect. You see, we were at the lake with some friends. As a last minute farewell to summer, they called and asked if we'd be interested in going to Lake Conroe with them - and their boat. Since we had no other plans, we decided that it sounded like fun and would be a welcomed break from our day-to-day rituals.

So, after dropping baby Ian off at Grandma's house, we loaded up their Suburban, and headed North. Excitement was in the air! My kids, Alex & Morgann, were totally in the dark as to where we were going and what we were going to do when we got there, so the boat that was trailing behind us had them a bit perplexed. But, their little minds were turning, and the questions were flowing; "Where are we going mom?" "Why is there a boat following us?" "Are we there yet?"

Once we arrived at our point of destination, we hurredly unloaded the car and loaded up the boat with all of our necessary gear - beach bags with towels and sunblock, ice chests with drinks & food, more beach bags filled with water toys, and several different sized innertubes. The women and children stood on the dock while the men launched the boat into the water and guided it into the boat dock. I could see that my oldest son, Alex, was starting to get a bit worried. I just knew that the tears were going to start flowing at any moment. You see, he hadn't been on a boat since he was a baby, and the idea of going 'fast' anywhere outside of a car, much less on water, wasn't a very appealing thought to him. He's what we call a Nervous Nelly; he doesn't like to try anything new, so scary was definitely out of the question! His friend, Seth, on the other hand, could hardly contain his excitement and was ready to jump into the boat before it was securely tied to the dock on which we stood! I tried to point out to Alex that if Seth wasn't scared, he shouldn't be either, but that didn't seem to matter to my little man. He was just concerned and that's all there was to it.

So, skipping ahead now...we had finally loaded everyone into the boat and gotten all the kids securely fastened into their life vests. Alex, at this point, was really nervous, and started asking Seth's dad if we were going to go fast? Trying to get Alex's mind off of the unknown, Michael attempts to put him at ease and asks Alex to sit with him. Nope, wasn't going to happen! Alex wanted to be in his own seat, nearest a long silver handle that he could grip for dear life. I guess he figured if the boat was going to tip, he would be the safest person there because he certainly wasn't going to let go of that hot, silver bar! As we began to back out away from the dock, the inevitable happened...the tears started flowing! Alex had finally hit his breaking point and could no longer handle the fear that he was facing. Daddy was working hard to calm him down, but he was going to have none of it. Crying was definitely the right thing to do at that moment, so he was going to cry for all he was worth. I think we were going all of 5mph, if that fast, because we were going through the boat-dock area, but Alex was showing no signs of letting up, so we decide to just let him cry it out, knowing that he'd be ok in just a few minutes. I'm happy to report, we were right :) Once we passed the buoys, our driver hit the throttle and we were suddenly moving at about 25MPH. All of the sudden, Alex was smiling and having a great time, though his hand still hadn't left that silver handle.

Morgann's reaction to this very new and exciting adventure was totally different from her big brother's. My friend Debbie labeled Morgann as our "Adrenaline Junky". Very appropriate, I think. She was having a blast; smiling from ear to ear and loving every minute of it. The faster we went, the bigger her smile got! It was so fun watching her enjoy this new experience.

Once we arrived at our destination for the afternoon, a little island out in the middle of the lake, we dropped anchor and jumped into the very shallow water. Alex & Seth had a blast splashing and swimming around, while Morgann decided she'd prefer to stay in the arms of her daddy or mommy. Daddy & Mommy enjoyed ourselves too, getting to spend some time talking with other grown-ups. After a few hours of play time, we all jumped back into the boat and ate our lunch, then it was back to playing! We must have stayed in that spot for about 3 or 4 hours - not sure exactly how long it was, but that's a pretty close guess.

As it neared time to head home, we decided that it would be fun to do some 'tubing' before heading back to the dock. Seth & his mommy went first, while Alex sat in his seat, holding onto the bar that kept him so safe for the ride out. Seth's daddy was the driver, so he took them out nice & slow at first, but then gradually built up some speed. After a few minutes, Seth decided he'd had enough and it was time stop. Seth's mommy, on the other hand, took that opportunity to ride the tube alone. Since she too is an adrenaline junky, the goal was to see how long she could hold on, and how fast the boat could drag her & the tube she was in. After making a few hair-pin turns, whipping Debbie around from one side to the other at break-neck speeds, she decided it was time to relinquish the tube to Michael. I guess that watching Seth have fun with his mommy in the tube gave Alex a boost of bravery because it was at this juncture that Alex decided that he'd go out in the tube with his daddy. But first, he had to be certain that our driver, Mr. Campbell, knew to keep the boat at a nice, slow speed. After getting the reassurance he needed from Campbell, Alex hopped into his daddy's lap for the ride of his life. After moving the boat forward to get rid of the slack in the rope, Mr. Campbell pushed the throttle down a bit and we were off again. I couldn't really tell what was being said, but there was allot of talking going on between Alex and his daddy. I'm guessing that Michael was attempting to reassure Alex that they were totally safe, but whatever it was that Michael said, it didn't work for very long. When we saw the sign from Michael, we realized that Alex's tube ride was over and he wanted to get back into the boat as quickly as he could.

But, not to be outdone by her brother, Morgann started yelling that it was her turn to ride the tube. So after hauling a shaky brother back into the boat, we lowered Morgann down into her daddy's lap, let the slack out of the rope and were off again. My little adrenaline junky and her father were having a blast. Michael kept giving us the thumbs-up sign and indicating that we should pick up the pace a bit. I could see the smile on Morgann's face and knew that she was definitely her daddy's girl - mommy would never do such a thing! After a few minutes, Morgann was put back into the boat, and Michael finally had the chance to ride the tube alone. His parting words for Campbell were "There's no such thing as too fast". I think Campbell took him seriously because after only a few minutes, Michael went flying off the tube for the first time. After swinging back around to be sure he was still in 1 piece, we helped him back into the tube for a 2nd ride - this time on his stomach. Again, after only a few minutes, Michael went flying off the tube again, but this time skid across the water on his back for a bit before finally coming to a stop. With a smile on his face, he decided to go one more time. Are you getting the picture yet?

It was at that moment that I realized just how different each member of our family really is. Michael & Morgann were ready for anything, and couldn't get enough of the death-defying innertube. Alex wanted to be brave and show his daddy that he could do it, but his little psyche could only stand so much before he could no longer handle the shear terror he felt. I, on the other hand, wouldn't leave the boat. I'm not a dare-devil and I know my limits; that innertube being dragged behind the boat, at no matter what speed, was beyond my limits. I'm very content to watch everyone else, thank you :) I couldn't help but think of my friend and her recent adventure to a water park. She & her youngest son plummeting down a dark slide, backwards...nope, I just can't do it! I'm a chicken, and I'll be the first to admit it :)

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Looking Ahead and Reminscing

It's funny how exciting the "back to school" process can be when you're a parent! I remember how excited I'd get when I was younger - elementary and even jr. high age. Then there were the high school years when the summer would fly by and before I'd know it, it was back to the grindstone!!! Remember that? Oh, how I hated that grindstone! The countdown to graduation started in my freshman year, and went slower than all 9 years of school that had already passed! A day was a week, it seemed...

As I'd mentioned before, my oldest son Alex is getting ready for his first year in elementary school - Kindergarten! He's totally beside himself and has been doing the back-to-school countdown for almost 2 months now. Since we're down to only 8 more days, I'm doing the same thing :) You see, Alex is an extremely high-maintenance child and requires constant interaction and conversation. This causes myself & my husband great pains because there isn't really a time when he's just playing contentedly by himself. He's always "there". Most of the time this isn't a problem for me because I'm pretty used to it, not to mention that God has equipped mommies with allot of patience to handle these tough times. But, for my husband who works out of our home, it's a great bother! He just can't get anything accomplished when I'm not around the field the 'why's' and 'what if's' that come from the never-ending stream of Alex's mind. So, I can safely say that once school begins, life for me & my husband will greatly change!

This change will be both good & bad, I guess. Good because there will finally be a quietness in the house that hasn't existed all summer. Morgann, my 2 year old, is very happy to play on her own. Granted, she get's into many things that she shouldn't, but as long as I keep my eye on her, or check up on her from time to time, she's very good and easy! The baby, now 10 months old, basically sleeps the entire day, so he's REALLY easy. I'm not sure how it happened, but he takes 1 nap that starts around 10 or 11 in the morning and ends somewhere around 3 or 4 in the afternoon, sometimes later. Considering he also goes to bed around 7 or 8 and sleeps through the night, I count my blessings :) So, once we get the 5 year old out of the house, getting things done (anything) will be a much easier task.

The down-side to Alex's being gone every day is just that...he'll be gone everyday! Even though he's been attending a private pre-school for 2 years, the realization that my 1st baby is growing-up is a hard pill to swallow. Don't get me wrong, I'm very happy about the growing-up part! And, I fully expect to do the dance of joy when he leaves for his 1st day of school (have I mentioned it's only 8 days away?) rather than crying as he drives away on the school bus. But then there's that part of me that will be sad to see him drive away. My baby is no longer a baby!

So, my prayer for him is this: That he enjoy these years in his life and be able to look back at the memories with a smile; that I as a parent have instilled in him a sense of morals and values that will stay with him as he faces 'the world'; that he be a good student and hold onto the joy of learning that he has; and finally, that God be the center of his universe. Amen!