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.