Tuesday, December 30, 2008

I guess I'll keep him

I was on the phone today will a few people, trying to giving my dog away. I cried all day long. Scotty can be both an angel and well, you know. He loves my husband, but it is not mutual. Why? Because Scotty jumps on my DH, pees when he arrives, won't pee when DH takes him out, knocks over the kids, gets into stuff, whines and whines. Families days become exhausting, instead of fun. But, my loving husband is indulging me. Scotty was my gift this summer. My dear husband loves cycling (all seasons) and I love dogs. A specialized bicycle was my gift to my husband. Is it possible to turn someone into a dog lover? Is it possible to tame a crazy 50 pound, 6 month old golden retriever?

He is sleeping at my feet. He is calm and content. But, tonight Scotty will sleep in his crate in the dining room. He will sleep out there alone, and be a dog. Usually, I drag the crate down the hall to my bedroom every night, and back out to the kitchen in the morning. No more. And, I will attempt to fit a walk in whenever it is possible. So far, well he never gets a walk. This dog's energy needs are enormous! I will try a dog obedience class again. This dog will learn to behave and be a good pet instead of a pain.

Another thing . . . .

The power went out Sunday morning. It was around 6:30. My husband was at work, and the rest of us, asleep. Kids screamed. It was dark. The sun rises here about 8 AM. I found one flashlight, and spent hours finding candles, batteries, lanterns, more flashlights, coolers, paper goods, and plasticware. Then, all the food got boxed up and went out in the snow. A kid down the street, looking for my husband, helped me open the garage door. I drove to buy water, we had 1/2 a Brita pitcher, that's it. We have a well, so no water in the faucets.

The kids had so many questions. Why can't I watch a DVD? I want toast! Can you make me hot chocolate? Mom! The lights won't go on in the garage, or my room, or the basement, or the hallway, or the bathroom!!! Why can't I keep opening the fridge? I'm cold! Why is it cold? I want my own flashlight? Everything is broken! The clock in my room is broken! The microwave is broken! Why won't the lights turn on -on the Chrismas tree! Nobody else has power either!! Will the power be off forever? When will the power come back on? Why can't I play my game on the computer?

Oh, but then imagine the excitement, when at 5 PM, it all came back on? Amazement! Go back and reverse most of the above statement, and you'll feel the joy. Our bird and friend's guinea pig did not freeze. It got down to 54 degrees in the house. I shut them in the bathroom (vented) with 4 candles, and it kept the room at 70 degrees! I couldn't believe the heat from 4 flames.

So, that's the newest stuff happening here - wishing you a Happy New Year and lots of electricity and calm pets.

Friday, December 19, 2008

I found a picture of heaven

This morning the dog woke up when my husband was getting ready for work at 5:30 AM. I took him out, because he wouldn't stop whining and making doggy noises to let me know that he had to go. I wasn't a very happy person. I am not a morning person. Sorry, dear husband!

My daughter however, is a morning person. She woke at 7 AM, rather came to my room at 7 AM (I'm sure she was awake before then) to tell me that she found a picture of heaven in her Bible story book. She was so excited. She showed me how beautiful it was, and told about how she would see Jesus there one day and live with Him forever. Then, she went page by page telling me about each story. Finally, I ended up reading to her the entire Christmas story, and she was so delighted.

Even though I'm not a morning person, its hard not to see the blessing this is. I mean, it doesn't get much better then to wake up and hear how much your child loves Jesus, and hear her excitement about learning more and more about God.

Now for that cup of coffee . . . .

Monday, December 15, 2008

Pre- Christmas ramblings

Today was a snow day, kind of. The schools were closed. The air station was closed, although my husband went in anyways, because the notice was posted late. We still did school at home. I worked for hours updating my lesson plans, this afternoon. Social Studies is almost done for the year. We will do science next. I will kind of miss it, my daughter loves using the globe and learning about other countries. Her writing is coming along. And, she is reading some books using sight word and picture cues. She will get phonics eventually, I really believe it.

My husband got the oil changed in both cars, and snow tires on them too. The food shopping was done (he ice biked to the supermarket, in 8 degree weather) and meals are planned for a few days. It was nice having him home. Tomorrow, I visit my son's preschool to see if progress has been made. Its been a rather weak preschool program, but I am hopeful. I am hopeful, because he loves it and I'm not sure I'm ready to homeschool him yet. Definitely in the Fall. Wednesday, I am a reader at church (I've got to dig out the script!), and Thursday, my son has a little preschool program, and my daughter's last dance class, before the holidays. Saturday, I have a sleepover, with my girlfriends three kids. I think we will all go to the movies. Oh, I almost forgot, Wednseday is therapy day. That's the day I get to find out how overprogrammed I am and spend the next week trying to practice being calm and tame my anxiety.

At some point, I need to the len for my daughter's glasses put in and drop off Christmas presents for the Occupational therapist and speech teacher. Oh, and write Christmas cards, mail the gifts (umm, they are gonna be late, aren't they!) My neighbor wants me to come over an bake cookies with her. I have to make arrangements for Scotty to get neutered again. Imagine if someone was going to visit for the holidays? I'm so glad they aren't going to! How did Christmas get to be like this? Can't things be calm?

It's almost midnight again. It sneaks up on me, the end of the day.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Food, you lose tonight!

I pushed past the urge to gorge myself with food. I am feeling unsettled tonight, and the desire to eat is very strong. So, here I am writing about it instead of doing it. Drinking sparkling water, and staying stronger than this unhealthy outlet for my stress.

Why do I get like this? Was it the unresolved feelings I have left from a past disagreement (I'm not going to share it with you)? Is it because I'm tired, yet too keyed up to sleep? Is it because the day was just too busy? I don't know. It just is.

My son is going to a preschool, that I don't really like. Of course, he loves it, he is 3. His teacher sent home a letter of changes, based on parental requests to change and improve the program. She sounded pissed off, and I don't like that. She was running the preschool like a glorified day care. Maybe that is o.k. for kids under 3, but my boy is ready to learn. He was playing for a whole hour, out of two. No letters, numbers, calendar, finger plays, songs, learning games, music, manners, hygiene, prayers, or even snack. Just play, art project, story, and go outside. I can do those things at home. Its part of being a stay at home mom. I put him in preschool, so I could really work with my daughter's homeschooling a couple days a week, without interruption. And, because his best friend was going. And, I thought it would prepare him for table work with me at home. The last one is a stupid reason, I know. I am successfully teaching my daughter at home, why do I need to send my son somewhere else to learn? I'm giving the preschool a month. I'm doing it for my little boy, because he loves playing there.

The eye doctor visit was today. My daughter just needs a new left lens. No more eye patching! She was brave, they dilated her eyes, and that stings. The lens is $60, the lady fitting the glasses was trying to talk me into a $200 eye glass package. Ummm, no, that is really dumb. Her glasses are fine, and they aren't broken. If they break, well, we will get new ones. She has had glasses for a year! Go rip off someone else, crazy eye glass lady.

My girlfriend and kids came over, and my hubby came home. We had pizza and bread sticks. The kids had a great time. My little boy, who eats nothing, and lives on air, asked for food, right at bedtime. How do I stop this? How do I get him to eat? I serve dinner, often foods he likes, and sometimes just what I decide to make. He isn't forced to eat, but if he doesn't that is his last choice of the day. I put it in the fridge. We eat at 5:30, and he goes to bed at 8. So, he could come back to it, but its not a neat habit to eat once in bed. He has had 2 1/2 hours. You can see his ribs. He is a bean pole. I hate this part of being a parent. I could remind him at 7:30, that its his last chance. But, then I have to remember to remind him.

I didn't binge, the intense calling is silenced. I'm sure this was boring if you don't struggle with binge eating, but then again, no one is telling you to read my blog!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Not Neutered, Me time

Today my daughter used the computer a lot. She plays My Littlest Pet Shop, and has a VIP pet, she played on the Arthur section of PBS Kids, and even some reading games on Starfall.com. She is good at it! She is so incredibly smart.

The dog did not have surgery. One of his testicles is stuck in his abdomen, and so we are waiting a month to see if the doctor can "pull" it down. If its left there, it will likely become cancerous. If they have to surgically find it and remove it, the neutering will cost over $400! Yikes! Yes, I am actually writing about dog balls. Cutting off dog balls. I should have gotten a discount when we bought Scotty. But, who knows about all this stuff? If I knew he had this issue, we would have picked a different puppy, I'm sure. And, well, even though this dog has been driving me crazy for 6 months, I actually like him, so maybe its good we didn't know. By the way, at the moment, Scotty is looking at the dog in the reflection in the oven door. Why do dogs do that?

I didn't binge all week! I am alone right now, again, and its almost 10 PM, and I am not binging. I am learning that I have to start to take care of myself and allow myself some simple pleasures, if I want to decrease my anxiety, depression,and ultimately stop binging. So, I took an hour tonight, while my daughter played on the computer and son watched a Thomas video, and I read a book, "the five people you meet in heaven". I am wearing jewelry and makeup. I am not sitting around in sweatpants splattered with paint and a stained tee shirt. I had one pudding cup and cup of Swiss Mocha coffee, not four or five pudding cups. I am going to go to bed at a decent hour (like in 15 minutes) and get a good nights rest.

Happy Turkey Day Eve! Goodnight!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

I'm not binge eating

Well, since Wednesday, I have not binged. Tonight is sort of a test, since my husband is on duty, and I am alone. And, I am not binging. I binge eat every time he is on duty. Always. If there isn't junk food in the house, I will overeat healthy or semi-healthy food. But, no, I have even gotten in the habit of planing a binge, making sure the Pringles or junk food is on hand, knowing that I will likely want it later.

My counselor had me keep a food diary of what I was eating last week, and I did - four out of the seven days. It was pretty gross, and also pretty typical. But, now I am planning my meals and snacks. If you've dieted, well, you've probably done that. The difference is, I'm planning exactly when I will eat. And, I suppose, when I won't eat. I am good at following rules, so this seems to be helping.

I'm not dieting, and planning meals when I'm not dieting is kinda strange. Will I lose weight anyways? Who knows? I am guessing that I will, because if you cut out full boxes of Little Debbie snacks, bags of dove chocolate and multiple trips to McD's well something good will probably happen to you :)

I am going to read a chapter from Men are From Mars and Women are From Venus Together Forever. Is this my midlife crisis? I'm inching towards my 40's! Maybe- but, its time to get somethings in my life under control and to stop hating myself, I think.

My husband told me in an anxious moment (like months ago) that he wanted our home to be a restful haven. I think my reply was something like, "yah, so do I, and I spend more time here than you!" Well, I do want this home to be a restful and relaxing haven, and it will be, because I'm going to make it that way with God's help!

Friday, November 21, 2008

This evenings random thoughts

We are sick. My DH is the sickest, and is still ice cycling into work each day. I can't stop him. He is coughing up a lung right now. He is awesome, and he bikes 18 miles a day in the snow and ice, on a bicycle! The rest of us wimps who complain as we get into a cold car, should be ashamed of ourselves. My DD has a sore throat, maybe, or maybe she just wants to be like the rest of us. My DS is almost over his cold (no asthma attack!), and I have a stuffy nose, and will likely start coughing again as soon as I lay down in bed.

Why do groceries cost so much when you are trying to eat better? Not dieting, just planning ahead so you don't end up running out to get fast food every other day. I just paid about $300 for my groceries. It had better last us twice as long as I planned! I am planning out my meals and snacks, as well as, when I will eat. The point is to cut off the binge eating. I'll keep you posted.

My dog will get snipped next week. Happy Thanksgiving little Scotty! Scotty, I would say that you will have no idea what you are missing, but I'm not a dog, and I don't have those parts, so I really can't tell you that. Perhaps you will stop humping our legs? I told my DD about the surgery. When our parakeet died this summer, she never shed a tear. She even asked if we would find worms and bugs in the parakeet, if we dug it up. When her gold fish died, she asked if it was in little pieces in the septic tank (ewww, gross!) But, when I told her that Scotty would have surgery, and be away for a whole day- she burst into tears and sobbed buckets! She told me that she would be all alone, and that she couldn't be without her favorite dog! And, that she would never see her favorite dog in the whole wide world again if we left him at the vet. Then, she sat by his cage and told him all about how he would be o.k., and sleep a lot at the hospital. She told him how he was the greatest and how much she loved him. She has grown a lot since this summer!

My DS is 3, and boy can he tantrum! Put him in timeout- and he screams and cries and pounds on the door. It sounds to me as though he is actually throwing his whole body against the door. During this preschool rage, he can't seem to calm down. After about five minutes of it, my DH opened the door, and my son finally pulls it together. All this because he did not like the shirt my DH made him wear.

Me, I was told to look into MINDFULNESS by my counselor. I did, and I won't be doing that. I don't care if it will help decrease my anxiety. I would be having anxiety about trying to be mindful. When did Eastern religion become acceptable therapy? I don't do yoga, and I don't believe in Karma. I think "My Name is Earl" is hilarious, but that's as close to Karma and Eastern Religion as I will get. Oh well, her other suggestions are good, and I think that there is still hope for me. Although, when told to try burning candles to use other senses than taste (like tasting an entire bag of Dove milk chocolate candies in one sitting), note to self- candles that smell like food, make me what to eat food. I did not eat the candles though!

My counter is covered with cans of store brand food which should not have cost $300. This is because gas is getting cheaper, isn't it?

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Trip to the Ballet

Last night I took my daughter to the Nutcracker Ballet. She was suppose to go with my mother, two days before, but the show was temporarily canceled due to a power outage. Although I felt bad for my mother for missing out, this meant I would be the one to go with my daughter. It was wonderful! I got to see the joy and excitement on my daughter's face. She had never seen anything like it- the costumes, the talent, the beautiful story. The music brought back memories of band in high school (umm, I can pretend that I played the clarinet that sweetly, and not squeakily).

We prepared by reading a picture book about the Nutcracker. So, my daughter understood the story. I'm not going to fill you in, if you don't know the Ballet, well, google it or something! Her favorite part was the battle scene. The toy soldiers and Nutcracker fight the Rat King, rats and mice. She also loved that one of the ballerinas wore glasses.

The thing is - I relaxed. I smiled and enjoyed myself. This is a big deal. I have been stressed out for weeks, months maybe. I can't seem to get a handle on it. At home, I made a list of what things I find relaxing. Do you know what I came up with? Not many things. Then, I made a list of what I do to relax, but I don't truly find relaxing or enjoyable. The list was so long! I have come up with two truly relaxing things- Water Aerobics and watching a ballet with my little girl. I started going to water aerobics last week- its hilarious! I think these things keep me from obsessing and worrying, because I'm to busy having fun.

There are other relaxing things, like reading a book, or talking to my friend Sherry with a good cup of Joe (and flavored creamer), and watching a funny show with my DH. But, its hard to remember that doing these things helps me be a good mom and wife. Taking time for yourself isn't a luxury, it keeps you sane! I'm not going to break the bank, but maybe I'll keep my eyes peeled for another good show once in a while and indulge a little.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Too much socializing

Today, my girlfriend and her three kids joined us in church. Our five kids (all together) did pretty well during the service, and then went downstairs for Sunday School during the sermon. My daughter had a meltdown during the last 10 minutes because of fruit snacks. They served cake for the pastor's birthday and to celebrate his one year ordination. He is 78 years old, its pretty cool actually. We are new there, as our last congregation was cold and kept to themselves. Note to self, this was good, except for the meltdown, friends coming to church with us, as well as, going to church, is good. (My husband was on duty, and so wasn't able to go to church).

Then, home to let the dog out.

And, off to a play date at McDonald's - note to self, next time, skip the food and wait to eat at home. It was so gross. Grease on a bun. A little girl, Kate, befriended my daughter. She told us all about herself. She was from Indiana. I visited with my girlfriend (whom I brought to church) and other girlfriend, while our kids ran around like crazy. Thank the Lord for girlfriends!

Then, we were went home, let the dog out again, and dressed for a Halloween party. My daughter went as Fancy Nancy, I dressed as Fancy Nancy's mom, and my son went as a train engineer. So, the kids and I, went to the party and they ate, ran around and I made small talk with parents. During musical chairs, my daughter had another meltdown, because she didn't win. This, after winning to games in a row during BINGO. I was the bad parent who let her keep playing BINGO. Of course, afterwards all the other parents made a point of only allowing their little ones to win one prize. Plus, I hated that all these moms who took it upon themselves to try to reason with my daughter that she shouldn't be upset for losing musical chairs, because she had won at BINGO. Why the heck shouldn't she feel upset. She just doesn't know how to hide her feelings. I don't like that she screams and tantrums, I threatened that if she didn't pull it together, we'd go home (she pulled it together), but she is learning the rules, that you can't always win. Even I don't like that rule, do you?

To be fair about why the day stunk, I really hate Halloween. And, I hate that I am fat, and had to squeeze into my costume and feel like a sausage. I dressed up for my kids benefit, and took them to the party to have fun with their friends, but celebrating a holiday that glamorizes evil and horror, is not something that I enjoy. When the age of dressing in cute costumes is over, and my kids are old enough to understand what the holiday celebrates, we will be done with it. All my daughter and son understand at the moment is that I won't let them dress up as a witch or ghost.

We came home, and I let the dog out. I peeled myself out of the sausage casing and put on my "fat"pants. I can breathe again. I don't actually let the dog out, I put him on a lease and walk him around until he pees and poops- often in the rain, like today. He takes his own sweet time.

My daughter recognizes that her meltdowns aren't so great. She told me tonight, "Mom, it wasn't a very good day. The sky was cloudy, and it was really windy. It rained on us, and there were white balls that fell on us (hail stones), I cried at church and then at the party when I lost. My day wasn't a good day, was it." (Sigh) I don't want my kids miss the joys in life - sweating the small stuff. But, I haven't figured out how not to sweat the small stuff myself.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Special Education

I have been reading post after post on my Autism Island website. Lots of stuff about disagreements at IEP meetings, poor teaching practices, lack of services and promises of services that are not keep. An IEP is a signed contract, but its a lot of work to follow through (lawyers and crap), so in someways its just a formality. Sure, there are really good schools and classrooms. There are awesome teachers and well trained therapists, but I think they are in short supply now days.

I'm a special education teacher, I've worked both private and public sectors, and all I can say is, what a blessing to be able to homeschool my daughter! What a blessing to be essentially free of all this stuff! I will make mistakes, and I will ask for help sometimes, but its working really well right now, and I don't think we will ever go back.

Today, my daughter has Occupational Therapy and Speech/Language at the local elementary school. Its a good set up. I bring her weekly for an hour session, and have "homework" for the week, input on some specific areas of weakness. And, she is meeting her goals! I love being the classroom teacher.

I have enough in life to juggle right now. I am waiting to hear from a therapist about setting up a consultation for my depression/anxiety. I hate taking care of myself, but I am trying to make it a priority, for once. And, I am waiting to hear from a dog trainer. Our puppy Kindergarten wasn't terribly sucessful. Scotty pees when he sees John, and still puppy bites the kids and I. Plus, all the jumping. I'm glad that I don't have to deal with school staff too (the two I deal with are on my side). I think it would push me over the top.

Monday, September 22, 2008


We camped this weekend, and it was fantastic! We took our new Scamp (new to us, its a 2001) to the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Park, on the Platt River and Lake Michigan. The kids were great, so well behaved! I didn't have a panic attack (umm, you can ask me about camping in Mississippi and our PCS move sometime) and I think I kinda relaxed too. My DH cooked breakfast for us : ) It doesn't get much better than that!

We had an awesome campfire, and roasted marshmellows to make smores. I tried to make a fruit pie, from bread, butter and pie filling with our "pie maker", but well, it just tasted like grilled cheese, minus the cheese, but with pie filling. Hmmm, I'll have to work on that. Our burgers stuck to the disposable grill, and but hey, it was five dollars at Rite Aide, so we had to try it. I found out why breakfast was so good. My DH cooked the bacon in butter! Wow, that was delicious!

Scotty was a good boy, for the most part. He kept wrapping his rope/chain around trees until he was completely stuck. Then, he would whimper. But, we went on a couple long walks. He slept so well! And, he loved Lake Michigan. There was a sandbar, and he would run/swim across it. Then, he and my DH fell asleep on the beach, together. Scotty dug a wide hole, and then climbed into it. He even made a special spot for his head. It was kinda funny!

Some lady on the beach told my daughter and I about blueberry picking, and we looked for them, on the drive out. No blueberries. My daughter whined about blueberries for over three hours! She cried at every farm stand we passed, because they didn't have blueberries. Stupid blueberries! Stupid lady who gave bad directions! Somehow, by the time we got home, my daughter was thinking about pumpkins and carrots in our garden after the hours of complaining.

The Sleeping Bear Dunes National park is so beautiful. This is new for us, usually we live places just long enough to miss out on the sights. Actually visiting some nice places while we live near them is fun! Although, my kids like scenic drives about as much as I did as a kid. My daughter told us, "I hate the Sleeping Bear Dunes!" as we drove. And, my DH and I soaked it all in, probably just like my parents did when they drove me around on scenic drives, when I was a kid.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

The dog walks

Scotty. He can make me so angry. He's been to two classes, and while the other dogs learned "lay down" and "watch me" commands, we still practiced leadership exercises, because all Scotty wants to do is jump and bite my hands. He won't listen long enough to sit. The trainer insists that he is making progress, and not to give up. Well, I can't very well give up- he has to get trained (if he wants to live or continue to be our pet).

Yesterday, as I went to take Scotty off his chain in the yard (our yard isn't fenced in, so I put him there if we are outside), he went wild once again. So, I picked him up by the scruff of his neck, as my trainer advises me. Only, Scotty panics and bite my arm - piercing me with his sharp puppy fangs. So, here I am bleeding, and trying to control my dog. Yah, this leadership stuff is a bunch of crap. Training without treats is stupid.

I got out the training collar, and took Scotty for a walk. You are thinking, he pulled me down the street right? Nope- he was walking like a pro before I even got half way past my neighbor's house. Scotty is finally listening to me! I couldn't believe it. After just a few corrections with the training collar, he was walking next to me and treating me like I am the boss. We walked like this for 45 minutes. I am so pleased!

Treats are good too : ) I started using treats to teach Scotty to sit before I put his lease on and Voila! No more biting my arms and going crazy. Today, Scotty played "grrr fight" (tug of war) with both of my kids. He only jumped up on them a couple times, and stopped when we reminded him. Our dog is shaping up : )

Monday, September 8, 2008

We are sick, sick, sick!

Its Fall. You know, my kids didn't go back to school and we still all got sick. Why is that? Because its Fall. Fall comes early to Northern Michigan, and blows in all the germs as the leaves start to turn. First, it was my son, with a fever for a few days. It was 103 degrees and it barely slowed him down! Then, he started with a runny nose and asthma flare-up. But, I got the asthma under control (Praise God!), Next, my daughter got a fever, and diarrhea. That night, vomitting. Boy do I hate vomit! Then, she got a runny nose and cough. The fever left for a day or two, but now its back, and she has a sore throat. My turn, I spent the whole night in the bathroom, I caught the bug.

So, we have to get to the doctor, at least the kids. My husband has been spared. But, for how long? Don't visit us ok? We will give you the plague.

Our days pretty much involve PBS kids, and videos until PBS kids is on again. I drove to McD's tonight and we ate gross processed food. My husband is at work till tomorrow evening. I forced the kids to walk with me tonight, before bed, to give our pup some exercise. I didn't know my daughter was still suffering. It was awful. I was nasty, yelling at everyone to keep moving, and the dog was pulling, and I was trying to keep the kids on the side of the road (not in it), while everyone whined about being tired. And, they were. We all were, even suprisingly the dog, who fell asleep right after we walked in the door. Maybe tomorrow will be a bright cheerful day- I'm off to bed.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

First Day of Kindergarten! (Ummm, for the dog)

Tonight was puppy kindergarten for Scotty. They said to bring the kids. HAHAHAHAHA. Whoever came up with that idea, doesn't have kids. I am enjoying a Black Cherry - Cherry Fizz Wine cooler as I right, I don't have one too often, but tonight, I think I earned one.

Scotty did the normal crazy dog thing. I think that I learned a little. I learned that you can totally pick the puppy up off the floor by the scruff of his neck, without hurting anything but his dignity. And, well, Scotty needs a little bit of that, he sits way too high up on the totum pole (that's a weird phrase, but you know what I mean). And, I think I learned a better way of stopping the biting and jumping. We practiced sit and stand too. But, mostly teaching him who was in charge, with various exercises.

My dear son, he drank water on the way here, and had a snack, but yelled for the entire hour that he needed a drink. He played with the portable fencing in the training area too, even though he was told not to several times. Yelled at me, hit me and went around pestering all the dogs. Then, my dear daughter, she yelled about wanting to go home, and about not having a snack. I barely heard anything. The trainer told us to call with any questions. That will be me tomorrow, calling to review everything she taught during the hour. Everything.

Scotty is sleepy, which is great! My son and daughter whined the whole way home about various stuff.

Tomorrow, is another day, and perhaps it will be better.

If you read my last post, well, I did it again. I started my morning by losing my balance in my stupid $110 Dansko clogs, and falling on my face when I took Scotty out to pee this morning. I hurt in a lot of places. I will not be wearing the clogs again. How they can market Dansko's as footwear for the professionals (chef, nurse, doctor, dentist etc.) I don't understand. What good is arch support if you twist your ankle every week? Plus, they didn't help my flat feet at all! Now, I'm just not thinking about how sore my arches are, because my ankle, both hands, both calfs hurt. I have sent an email to Dansko, and we'll see how they repond, if at all.

Tomorrow, my dear husband comes home from hurricane deployment, which thankfully was boring and uneventful! That should make my day cheery : )

Maybe in the next post, you will hear about my wonderfully trained puppy!

Monday, August 25, 2008

I fell down the stairs today

You know when you see something, and think to yourself, hmmm, that looks like an accident waiting to happen, but then go on your merry way and do nothing about it? Well, don't let your son throw his ducky rain boots down the stairs and leave them on the steps. Its NOT a good idea. Yes, I fell down the stairs today. My kids heard me fall and yell stuff (and can't tell you what words came out, because I can't remember, but they were probably not the ones you want your kids to hear). They were trapped upstairs on the other side of the puppy gate, and laughing hysterically, while I laid there in pain. I shouted to them, to quit laughting because I was hurt. They responded soon afterwards by kissing my boo-boos, so I forgave them for being so heartless. I came away with a sore ankle and some bumps and bruises, so it turned out ok. But, just like your mother told you, "Don't leave stuff on the stairs!" Oh yeah, I'm the mom now, aren't I.

My daughter is obsessed with growing stuff. I have my heart in the right place, but I'm not a very good gardener. Her pumpkins are wilting and have some kind of mold on the leaves. She is expecting a big crop. So far, there are four pumpkins, and they are hanging on for dear life (literally) while all the vines around them are dying. Our cherry tomatoes are doing really well. And, we got one bell pepper. Just one. And the other pepper - no one knows what kind it is. It was suppose to be a bell pepper, but it isn't. My husband doesn't think its a hot pepper, but then he can tolerate much hotter stuff than the rest of us, so I'm just leaving them there for now.

Back to pumpkins. The plants all have names. I think my daughter believed that pumpkins- orange and round- would simply pop up from the ground. When you are five, the concept of waiting for four months for a vegetable to possible grow, is really hard. When I say the plants have names, well, each plant has a labelled stake, "Molly Kirk", "Daddy Kirk", "Elmo Kirk" etc. She told us in June, "These pumpkins with be my class. I will be the teacher, and I will teach my pumpkins how to read. I will teach them how to jump and stuff like that too." All this imagining was happening as I started to homeschool her. She was teaching stuffed toys too.

So, we had the talk about how the pumpkin plants were wilting, and they might not make it to her birthday in November. She was ok with that, as long as I bought nine pumpkins to replace the nine pumpkin plants that she was growing. I thought we were on the same page. Until tonight. My son had preschool orientation at the church. He will be going two mornings a week. The teacher invited the families and had a craft for the kids and their siblings. My daughter heard the teacher talking about a Halloween party, and the pumpkin discussion began. The preschool teacher is growing a pumpkin patch, and having great success. She talked about bringing in pumpkins from her garden for the kids to paint, and one huge pumpkin that was already as big as a basketball. My daughter misunderstood and thought the teacher was going to bring the pumpkins in NOW. Now as in, "Oh yeah, I've got a trunk full of pumpkins outside in my car." Ummm, no, pumpkins two months from now, honey.

So, my daughter cried the whole way home. She cried and screamed for 45 minutes, and yelled about how it was going to be a really long time until October, and it wasn't fair! Oh, how I wish all the pumpkins in Northern Michigan still weren't green. But, such is life, and we all can't have what we want whenever we want it. Life lessons are hard. Even if the life lesson is about growing a pumpkin patch so that you can teach pumpkins how to read.

Now, I'm going to take some Motrin for all the aches and pains I have from falling down the stairs. Goodnight!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Scotty the "helper" dog at school

My daughter had a therapy dog (Great Danes) at preschool each day. There were several over the two years she attended. So, now that we have Scotty, she has decided he must be a "helper" dog, because he comes to school with us. (He really comes to school with us, because I don't want him to chew on stuff, poop in the living room or play to rough with my son, while I teach my daughter!)

Scotty isn't much of a therapy dog yet. He looks angelic while asleep. My son is so sweet to Scotty. After Scotty falls asleep, my son will gently pet him and yell, "No Scotty don't bite me! You stop that!" It has caused me to run in the room to help my son, only to find him yelling at the sleeping dog! Scotty does bite A LOT. Puppy teeth are really sharp. The trainer taught us to shove two fingers down the back of his throat to gag him briefly when he starts to bite our hands. Its kinda gross, and doesn't feel to good, but it is actually starting to work sometimes. And, I hold him firmly on my lap, do the finger/gag thing as needed, and tell him, "I'm the boss!" Relaxing my grip as he stops trying to bite and squirm away. When my DH does this, his, "I'm the Boss" sounds a bit like James Earl Jones as Darth Vader.

Why is it that puppies act crazy when they have to take a crap? I take the pup to the same spot outside. He has to go, but won't. Instead he tries to bite the lease, my ankles, ride my leg, or eat leaves and bugs etc. Once he gets around to why we are out there, he's normal again. Do all puppies do this? If I don't endure this torture, or crate him inside, the moment I turn my head, he's going poop in the living room. Gross! Ok, this has only happened a couple times, but twice was enough. The crazy puppy poop dance is all the time. Do puppies grow out of this?

The one thing that is working is this dog crate. I love Scotty's crate! He is starting to like it a lot too. He sleeps in it at night, NOT on my bed. I can put him in it when I go out, or am too busy with the kids. I truly love his crate. Can I have a crate to hide in when I want to get away from it all?

My DH spoke with the owner of Scotty's brother yesterday. They told him, "Yah, he whines to go out, no accidents at all. And, he never tries to bite us." Do you know what I think about that? JERK! No really, are you kidding me? I am working my butt off trying to train this dog to behave nicely, and his brother is already a trained family pet? Maybe I should send my puppy to their home for a few weeks. Either he will come back angelic or corrupt his brother.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

"I want to be fancy, like Fancy Nancy."

My daughter has two "Fancy Nancy" books and has decided that she should be fancy too.

For the last few days, she has studied her book. Last night, she wanted to wear a towel on her head, after her shower. And, all week she has been wearing dresses. It is so much fun! We went shopping for "girly" stuff at Rite Aide tonight. She got blue and orange nail polishes, a face mask, hair stuff, an emery board (although she had no idea what it was for), and lotions. After my daughter told her what all the stuff was for, the stupid cashier responded, "Wow! Your mom spent a fortune on you!" (I don't know why she tried to spoil our fun!)

So, after a shower, brushing her hair with a fancy brush, putting on fancy pajamas, and using the fancy face mask (it wasn't green, but she got over it), she found a doll in her toy box, and took her to bed. The dolly is named, "Fancy Nancy" of course. My daughter has really never played with dolls, and she rarely lets me brush her hair without a fight.

I'm not very girly, but I am loving this. And, I love my fancy little five year old girl : )

Sunday, August 3, 2008

"Beam Me Up, Mr. Scott!"

We have a big puppy. Scotty is a golden retriever, and adorable. He joined our family a week ago, and is now 7 weeks old. He sleeps, sleeps, sleeps, eats, drinks water, pees, poops, and goes crazy. Repeat.

My hands and neck are covered with little scratches, and when he goes crazy, he is all teeth. The kids jump up on the couch when he does this, and my DH and I attempt to shove dog toys in his little mouth. Its amazing how sharp puppy teeth are!

I have decided to crate train, and it is going really well. Not too many accidents, except for one huge one (the worming medicine made him go). My poor DH, he tried to get Scotty outside when he started, but it was impossible. I am a lot more relaxed about poop than he is, after all, I've just spent 5 years wiping butts on daily basis.

My daughter told me today, "Scotty is my very very best friend and the best dog in the whole wide world." My son loves to pet Scotty when he is asleep, because he isn't biting.

Welcome to our family, Mr. Scott!

Friday, July 25, 2008

Goodbye Parakeet

We had two birds, and our blue parakeet died last night. She use to be called Girabaldi from "Babylon 5", but then she stared laying eggs a few years back and we realized she wasn't a boy, thus he just started calling her, "The Parakeet". Not very creative, but it just sort of happened. The Parakeet was almost 8.

Our other bird is Bobo, a gray and white cockatiel. He is my husband's bird, and is 15 years old. He's kinda lost today without his "mate". I cried last night, held her a bit before she died, and then gave her some privacy. It wasn't long after that and she was gone.

I thought that my son would be really upset, because he loves to hold our birds on his shoulder. Sometimes she would nibble his neck or face. But, his reaction was to ask me over and over, "THE PARAKEET IS DEAD, MOMMY?" And, he wiped my tears. I had no idea how my daughter would react. She pulled a chair up to the bird cage and told me, "Mom, I'm going to talk to Bobo and make him feel better, because we are getting our puppy tomorrow, so its ok, we are going to have a new pet." She actually sat in front of Bobo's cage and talked to him for about 10 minutes. Then, I got many questions about the status of the parakeet. "Mommy, the parakeet is dead, and we put her in the dirt, will she always stay there? She won't be alive again?" She was also very concerned that Daddy didn't get to say goodbye (he is standing duty till this evening).

Yes, tomorrow we get Scotty our new puppy. He will be 6 weeks old, and our new pet. I have my doubts that his presence will console our cockatiel, but it will certainly be a distraction for the rest of us!

On a different note, "Daisy the Chrysalis" emerged yesterday as a lovely Monarch butterfly. It was amazing! She sat on both of my kids for a short while and then flew up into the trees. We have "Horace" (101 Dalmatians) eating leaves and becoming a fat caterpillar. I think that might be it as far as keeping bugs as pets for awhile.

Goodbye little Parakeet, and thank you Lord for blessing us with your amazing creation.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Mushrooms and Sore Throats

Today it rained and rained. Then John went to work and we had some friends over for a little while. It was nice, and broke up the long day stuck inside. We had a late dinner. At dinner, my daughter asked me if I grew the mushrooms on her pizza. I explained that I bought them in the grocery store. And, they came from a can. She insisted that, I was growing some mushrooms, because she sees them in the yard, and that they are part of our garden. So, we talked about poison. I wanted to make sure she understood that she could not eat mushrooms in the yard! Well, she asked if some people eat poison. So, we talked about how poison makes you sick, and you could even die from poison, but most people don't swallow poisonous stuff on purpose.

My daughter responded, "Yah, cause then you'd die, and you would have to go in the trash." I realized, she had no idea what happens to a person's body when they die (although, she does know that if our pet birds die, they will not get flushed down the toilet and float around in the septic tank with her old pet fish, because, I explained that yesterday), so I told her how people were buried in the ground when they die. She told me, "Well Mom, then they would be raised from the dead in three days, just like Jesus at Easter." So, we had a nice talk about the resurrection and salvation, and ummm, how most people aren't usually raised from the dead after three day.

Next, she asked what kind of poison my father ate, that made him dead. So, then I was standing there trying to explain cancer and illness, but in a way that she wouldn't worry about getting sick! So, she asked if she would see my Dad one day. When I said yes, one day in heaven, but probably a very long time from now, she explained, "Cause heaven is far away, like Kansas is far away too, and other far away places."

After dinner she and her brother played and watched a short video. Finally, it was time for bed. I guess it was just my daughter being overtired, but the what a tantrum!

My daughter always begs for a few more minutes, and I usually add a couple. Tonight, it just wasn't enough. She kicked and screamed and hit and yelled. She slammed doors and bang drawers and threw down the toilet seat. This went on for about 10 minutes while I helped her brother get ready for bed. When she finally relented and came to her room from using the potty, her sock had a hole. You would have thought her best friend died. She demanded that I fix it, because it was her favorite sock and she didn't have any other gray socks. (I didn't fix the sock)

At this point, she was sweating and bright red, and it dawned on my, well, maybe she is sick. She doesn't usually tantrum about going to bed. So I got the forehead thermometer and checked (no fever). I asked her how she felt, and guess what? Her throat hurt (hehehe, I wonder why?) So, out came the Tylenol.

Tylenol is a miracle cure for little kids. I don't use it often, when there isn't a fever, but how do I know if her throat hurt from screaming or if she screamed because she didn't feel well. All I know is, she became a sweet little compliant kid, suddenly ready to go to bed, because when you are sick- you have to stay in bed!

Last week, we learned about germs, while learning about Doctors and Nurses, if you recall from my "Puppy" blog. Well, tonight I was told, "Mommy, you can't kiss me, because I'm sick, and that's not allowed. So, just give me a hug, ok?" Then, she told me, "My throat is sick, it has something in it *dramatic throat clearing noise* I think its the Littlest Pet Shop bone I swallowed (this lovely event occurred over 6 months ago). I think there's snot in my throat too. You need to get a better light to look in my throat. I have to stay in bed and rest, cause that's what you do when you are sick."

She then took a moment to pray, "Please help me, cause my throat is sick, and I need to rest and get better, AMEN"

After I put a glass of Sprite and a straw by the bed, she went to bed. Five minutes later, she yelled downstairs, "Mom, my Sprite is all gone, and I'm going to put my glass in the sink. I am going to bed, because I'm sick, I love you Mom! Goodnight!"

Monday, July 14, 2008

Puppies, Germs and McDonalds

Today was a very enjoyable day. My daughter woke me at 6 AM, and this is actually sleeping in late enough. She watches the clock till 6, and receives a small reward if she is quiet until then. Of course, she yells to me at the top of her lungs, "Mom! Its 6 o'clock, time to wake up!" but, I never need an alarm clock. I would rather that she wait till 7 AM, but then I would probably have to put her to bed earlier, and I like my work day to end around 8 PM.

Ok, back to the nice day. Our caterpillar is now a chrysalis. It is a very pretty light green one, and the kids are so excited. I am too, in about 10-12 days we should have a monarch butterfly. It has survived longer than our goldfish did, and since you don't have to feed a chrysalis (or do anything to it). I have high hopes.

Next, we saw "Scotty" our new puppy. He is 4 weeks old now, and soooooo cute. He is named Scotty after "Mr. Scott" from Star Trek. You know, "Beam me up, Scotty!" We are the Kirk family, and we all love the Star Trek name jokes. My husband, John Kirk, has been called Captain Kirk for years (he is in the Coast Guard, so it could happen one day), and so has my brother-in-law who is James Kirk. Our daughter, Delenna was named after Delenn from Babylon 5 (also SciFi). Oh, and if you rearrange the letters in my name, it spells, "Kirkjilla" which my husband affectionally calls me sometimes, after Godzilla. Not exactly SciFi, but kinda the same thing. What can I say, maybe we are a bit goofy, but you can't take life too seriously.

Scotty will come home with us in two weeks. We are preparing for his arrival by purchasing a huge dog crate, bowls, toys, puppy food etc. The kids are so excited. My son told me dozens of times today, "I love Scotty!" Delenna remembered what we talked about during school this morning, I was so impressed! Our lesson was on Nurses, and we also read a bunch of books about keeping healthy and avoiding germs. She told me that we had forgotten to wash our hands after playing with the puppy, and that we shouldn't eat dinner at McDonald's until we did, because the puppy could have germs and make us sick. How cool is that?! I am trying to teach her that licking her fingers, playing with her gum, forgetting to use a tissue (five years old can be such a gross age!) is the same thing. But, now she understands why its important, and its not just one of the many things that she must do because "Mommy says so".

My evening ended with the kids playing some crazy game together which involved jumping as far as possible off the couch onto the cushions which they had thrown on the floor (don't tell me that you never did that as a kid when no one was looking), a nice phone call with my husband who is deployed near Chicago, happy kids not fighting me at bedtime, and a call from a dear friend who can join me for a "Mom's Night Out" tomorrow night. Oh, I can't wait till tomorrow! We are going to a new Greek Restaurant, and shopping. And my kids love our sitter, so everyone wins.

Saturday, July 12, 2008


Today we went caterpillar hunting. We didn't find any, but found milkweed plants to feed our new pet "Daisy". My good friend Sherry searched high and low for little "Daisy". She lives in an aquarium tank which was the previous home to "Dorothy" and "Bulgie" the goldfish. My kids' fish survived about 4 days. I am really good at killing off fish.

It is a really cool science project, raising a caterpillar. This one is really kind of pretty, it has black, white and yellow stripes. There are tons of websites devoted to Monarch butterflies, so I can explain its life cycle to the kids. It doesn't try to escape (there is a lid) and it really just sits there and eats or sleeps. Oh, and poops. Caterpillars are really messy!

Every night my kids say goodnight to "Daisy" and tell her to have a good sleep. I think they understand that one day she will fly away. Its hard to believe looking at her now.

Well, I could think of some theological statement to make, you know "butterflies, born again, etc." But, for now, I'll just say, we had some really fun moments today, and I thank the Lord for my children and the beautiful creation He has made. I feel very thankful for all His blessing in my life.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Social Studies

My daughter has been doing Social Studies a few days a week. For Kindergarten, the curriculum I chose started with Community Helpers. Its a nice introduction because she actually knows a lot about the people who work in our community, and there are tons of kids fiction and non-fiction on community helpers.

So, today we talked about the Dentist. If my husband is reading this right now, he is deciding whether or not he wants to read my blog today. He hates the Dentist soooooo much. I think with good reason. To him, the Dentist means pain. To the kids and I, its not so bad, because we've never had a cavity (yes, I'm 36 and no cavities!)

Anyways, our discussion of helpers sparked a converstation about what my kids want to be when they grow up. The current picks are: Daughter- "fly helicopters in the Coast Guard, because I want to be just like Daddy" and son- "I want to fly airplanes, Mom." When I asked if he wanted to fly helicopters, he said, "No Mommy, I want to be a pilot and fly airplanes." So I asked the question, "Hey guys, does anyone want to stay home like I do, and take care of the kids?" My Daughter told me, "No, Mom you will have to stay home alone. We will go to work with Daddy, and you will be at home, and you will be lonely. Then, we'll come home to eat dinner and go to sleep." Earlier this week, she wanted to know when she could be a Mommy and have babies. She wanted to be a teacher, just like me or Ms. Stephanie, her swim instructor, and Gideon wanted to fly jets.

I have also been told by my daughter, that she wants to learn about flight attendants. It is very important to her. And, when I asked her what other jobs she wanted to know about, she told me, "Oh Mom, you have the list, you know what to teach me!"

Its so much more fun talking about "When I grow up, I want to be ...." than actually growing up and working. Although, today it didn't feel so bad to have grown up to be a homemaker and homeschool teacher. Its didn't feel bad at all.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Car Rides

Does anyone else find car rides with your kids always lead to "The Road of Insanity"? It doesn't matter where we are headed, we keep detouring, and heading to this road, and there seems to be very little I can do to steer clear of it.

Here is an example. I start out by telling the kids in the morning, "After we have school, we are going to Traverse City to take Daddy's shirts to the tailor." Then after lunch I say, "In five minutes, it will be time to use the potty and get our shoes on to go into Traverse City." Then, after five minutes, I say, "Ok, its time to use the potty." My kids react this way: (Daughter) "No Mom, I don't want to go, I want to play outside! I hate using the potty! I hate the car! I don't like my sandals! I can't put my socks on by myself! I'm going to ride my bike in the garage, ok?" (Son) "I can't ride in the car! No potty!" So, I buckle them in.

As soon as we pull out of the garage, the first phase begins. Both kids start screaming that they are thirsty and need a snack from McDonalds. Their request is denied, since we just finished lunch.

The second phase is buying $70 worth of gas since my tank is empty. At the first station, not only can't I get to a pump, I get blocked in by people who crowd the pump and then leave their cars in the way to buy something in the store. At the second station, I realize there is no credit card machine at the pump (I'm not about to leave my kids in the car or unload them to go inside to pay for gas.) Finally we get gas at the third station. My daughter asks me if I'm frustrated, and then wants to know what frustrated means.

The third phase is repeated every trip. My daughter begins asking me what town we are in, what county we are in, she quizzes me if we are driving the correct direction, and as we move along, she repeats the same questions after I have patiently answered each one. If I stop answering for long enough, she will ask me if places are far away. (e.g., "Is California really far away? Remember when we flew on an airplane to GG and Poppa's- that was far away, right? Is Traverse City far away? Some people live far away, and some people drive far away to Chicago or Champaign to see Great Grandpa.") She does this the entire 45 minute trip. My son actually falls asleep.

We have a happy moment, my daughter has fallen asleep for about 5 minutes, and both wake at the tailor. No one tries to run into the street. The shirts will be done on Tuesday at the lastest. I am fooled, our next trip to the Target to buy a drink and popcorn goes really well. I even shop for a couple pairs of shorts and the kids are good in the fitting room. (Although my daughter talked about "boobs" the whole time and asks me if I didn't like the swim suits which I called "ugly" because I was fat!) We go to the play area as a reward, and then head back to the car. I'm almost relaxed.

The fourth phase on the "Road to Insanity" is my son screaming for water as we buckle into the car again. I have a jug of water, but no cups. If we stop at McDonald's I know I will cave and buy Happy Meals, so I pray that he can calm down and wait. Well, he forgets, because while driving in four lanes of traffic, my daughter screams that I forgot her seat belt. That not only skyrockets my blood pressure and causes me to start yelling, but she is yelling and crying too. So, I re-buckle the belt (I'm still sure I didn't forget at Target). As we try to calm down, I sing "Down by the Bay" with the kids, and nearly slam into the car infront of me as he hits the brakes in a line of traffic at the light. I am not calm anymore.

The fifth phase starts by me trying to save face for almost killing us, or giving us whiplash, so I tell everyone how much I hate leaving the house with them, and how much I hate the traffic from the "National Cherry Festival" that is clogging up the city. The kids cry for beach towels that I can't reach on the floor, They tell me they are FREEZING! Its 80+ degrees today, and the AC is on, but not very high. They fight over a wind up Santa Claus toy from a garage sale, and my son cries for a while.

Phase six is really a repeat of phase four, except there are a few questions thrown in about Turtle Creek, the Casino we pass on the way home. My daughter has an ongoing joke about how she is going to waste her money at Turtle Creek if Mommy or Daddy ever take her there. The rest in the normal "What town are we in now?" questions.

We get home in one piece. I mention that I will make mac n' cheese with fresh steamed green beans as we pull into the drive. My son tells me "Mac n' Cheese is gross, Mommy!" and my daughter tells me, "I can't eat green beans, because I hate them, you made a mistake, I need to choose a different food for dinner." Then I'm reminded that I forgot to buy straws and no one believes that they can drink milk from a cup without a straw. But, we are home and no longer heading to the "Road to Insanity". Thankfully God never let us arrive.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Coming Full Circle

I have been a Stay-at-Home Mom for over five years. After college, I had a career as a teacher. But, even before I got married and then pregnant, I knew I wouldn't be able to leave my future children in the care of another person. To me, raising my child is what motherhood is about. It is more important than any career, material goods or personal goal. I am sure that my view could be found offensive to some women. But, if you are reading this and my view bothers you, re-read what I said. TO ME, raising my child is what motherhood is about. If YOU think motherhood is something else, that is your personal view and I'm not telling you that you are wrong.

For five years, I have been exhausted. I've gained weight, I've battled depression, I've dealt with anxiety. I've dealt with military moves, and all of the little things that come with the territory of raising kids. But, a lot of these streses don't really have to do with child rearing. If anything, they have to do with nearing middle age (I'm 36 years old!!)

I'm not going back to "work". I have a full time position homeschooling my daughter this year. I am my own boss. I dare you to tell me that this is not a "career" or that I gave up my "career" to raise a family. I don't have to worry about getting laid off for the next 15 years. I am a one-to-one tutor for my daughter, in all areas of her education. I do not believe that our public education system can offer anything close to what I can give my child. We already started Kindergarten this summer, and its fun! We follow curriculum which I hand picked to suit her needs. I never knew how fascinated she was about geography and nature. She likes to learn and I love to teach. I can't wait till my son is ready to start school too!

I am still a teacher. I still have a career. My pay check may have changed a bit, but getting paid with hugs and kisses is pretty awesome.