The Picture of Compassion…or Not

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So, here’s the deal. I’m not a very good care taker. At all.

The Hubs either has the flu or a very bad cold (getting tested tomorrow to determine which). Either way, he’s a coughing, ear-plugged, nose-blowing, body-aching mess. He can’t hear right now, so he has the TV blaring as he moans on the couch and refuses to go to bed. I have to work until 11, so I’m just doing my best not to smother him to put him (me) out of his (my) misery.

Man Cold

Then you add in sweet Scorch. The plague is going around the kid’s school- a fun mix of the flu, strep and the stomach bug. Last Friday, there were 9 people plus the teacher out sick from Scorch’s class alone. Oddly enough (knock on wood), my kids have thus far stayed healthy*. Completely hale and hearty, which is awesome. But that doesn’t stop Scorch from worrying. A lot. And when Scorch worries, he talks and paces and talks some more.

Do you think I’m sick?

What if I get sick?

Everyone else is sick, I could get sick too.

Do I have a fever? Can you check? Where is the thermometer?

My stomach hurts. Do you think I’m sick or do you think I’m just nervous.

Feel my cheeks- do I feel like I have a fever yet?

Over and over and over, people. I try really, really hard to be sympathetic. Usually I succeed for the first 5 minutes, then I start running out of answers because no matter what you tell Scorch, it doesn’t matter. He’s still going to be nervous. Today I told him he could stay home from school, which I thought would make him feel better. Nope, he wanted to go to school. But he didn’t want to get sick there. So what should he do? We debated this for 2 hours (from 5:30 – 7:30 am) until he decided to go to school 15 minutes before we had to leave.** I’d like to say I was compassionate, understanding and the picture of calm this whole morning, but at one point I may have screeched to him “what do you want me to say? I don’t live in your stomach!”

Parenting and marriage – glamor and sunshine 24/7.

 

*Now that I put this out in the universe, I full expect the plague to fully hit our house within the next 24 hours.

**The kiddo had a wonderful day- no sign of illness at all once he got past his nervousness. He even crushed it at baseball tonight.

The “Accident”

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Yesterday morning I brought my A-game. The Hubs had to leave for work early which meant I was flying solo during the morning routine and I was determined to rock it. I woke the kids 15 minutes early so we could get a jump start on things. Both kids woke up happy, we had a great breakfast together and then…

Well, things fell apart.

First, I think my kids lost their hearing between breakfast and walking to their rooms to get dressed. There is literally no other explanation on why I had to repeat myself over and over until I finally resorted to yelling to get them to finally get dressed, brush their teeth and do their hair. You know, the things we do *every* *single* *day* before we leave the house.

I’m also pretty sure they lost their ability to keep their hands to themselves because there was a heck of a lot of taunting, teasing, snatching of each others clothes/toys/lovies. Which may have resulted in more yelling from all of us. Miracle of miracles, we finally made it out the door.

snowThe weather was a wintery mess yesterday morning, so I opted to drive the Hub’s car that day since it has 4 wheel drive. I got the kids in the car through the rear passenger door and walked over to the driver’s side door opened the door and saw snow. A lot of it.

Inside the car.

I was so shocked that I stood there blinking for a minute trying to process why there was a huge pile of snow on the drivers side seat, the middle console and all over the jackets, book bags, my purse and my laptop bag in the passenger seat. Then I hear the panicked voice telling me loudly and quickly that it was an accident, I swear!

According to Scorch, the Bean “accidentally” opened the moon roof. A two step process that includes pulling back the shade and pressing a button. All of which was done “accidentally.” Bean, the savvier of my two children, wasn’t saying a word. She just sat very quietly in her chair and buckled up while Scorch kept babbling.

And I just started to laugh. Because, really, what could I do? Yelling wasn’t going to get the snow out of the car and having to help me get it out of every nook and cranny in the car was punishment enough for the kids. As we (finally) drove away to school, I told the kids that we can clearly gotten all our bad mojo for the week out that morning and the rest of the week had to rock.

Happy Monday, Universe- you won yesterday. But today’s a new day!

Real Life

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So here we are, 4 days back into reality. I admit, I was patting myself on the back a little bit earlier today at how well this transition has gone. Everyone has gotten up and off to school with minimal complaints and zero tears. We have an extraordinarily busy 6 weeks that kicked off this past Monday and thus far we’ve gotten everyone where they need to be on time and with 99% of the equipment needed. I even managed to get the kids to school early one day- we were killing it this week!

And then tonight happened.

I knew we’d have roughly 45 minutes at home before we had to take Scorch to basketball and I knew I wanted to have a hot, easy, well-liked dinner on the table within that 45 minute span. So I did some advance work and had a meal ready to go in the allotted time. It was a simple meal- chicken, corn, fresh fruit and macaroni and cheese- one that I knew from experience the kids loved (which is key in order to get them to eat their whole dinner within 15 minutes).

Except for tonight, the Bean was not having it. Like, at all. She literally cried for 25 minutes over this meal. She wanted a peanut butter sandwich and damn it, she was going to have it. Now, if I had cooked something new or something I knew she didn’t like, I might have been apt to give into her. But this? This was one of her Top 5 meals of all time, so nope – she was not getting a PB sandwich. So we dealt with 25 minutes of crying and yelling that she was NOT going to eat that food. She HATED that food. It was the WORST meal EVER.

Meanwhile, Scorch was laughing hysterically over her antics which just enraged the Bean all that much more. So between the screaming about the food and the screaming at her brother, the child was losing her voice. I kept trying to keep Scorch out of the line of fire, while reprimanding him that laughing at his sister was not a good idea-  all the while trying not to laugh myself because the Bean was being a nutball.

Yeah, that was fun.*

Then before bed, she wanted a kiss. But when I got close to give her one, she put both her arms out to stop me and said she didn’t want one. When I walked away, she called me back saying she did want a kiss. After 3 times going back and forth, I finally blew her a kiss, told her I loved her very much and walked out. She cried herself to sleep muttering what a horrible mom I was under her breath. The good news is it took her literally less then 1 minute to fall asleep.

TGIF tomorrow is all I can say!

*Yes. She ultimately ate her meal. And asked for seconds.

Favorite Books of 2014

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This has been, without a doubt, the Year of the Book. I’ve read 90 books and listened to 8 audio books, as well as listened to numerous books with the kids. That’s all sorts of awesome! In case anyone is looking for some new reads, here’s what resonated with me this past year.

Read more.

Kids Audio Books
Scorch and Bean are 8 and 6 and these audio books have made all our time in the car so much more enjoyable! This year we listened to chapter books- the funnier the better in according to the kids. Here are their favorites:

> Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing by Judy Blume. This was, by far, the kids favorite book – I think we listened to it twice. Two huge thumbs up from all 3 of us. Too bad the next book in the series, SuperFudge, covers some topics that I’m just not ready to go into with the kids (Santa, specifically).
> Sideways Stories from Wayside School. Honestly, I couldn’t stand these books, but the kids loved ‘em.
> Ramona Quimby series by Beverly Cleary. These books were wonderful. Sweet, funny and full of good hearted sass- we loved the Quimby family! That said, the books are read by Stockard Channing- she’s an acquired taste as a narrator.
> James at the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl. I may have enjoyed this one more than the kids. The book was read by Jeremy Irons- can you blame me?!

Adult Audio Books
Audio books kept me sane during my 1.5 hour round trip on the days I worked in the office. I listened to some OK books but when I got a good one, they were amazingly good.

> Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand, read by Edward Herrman. I actually tried to read this a few years back when I bought it for the Hubs, but I couldn’t get into it. However, Edward Herrman’s telling of it made Louie Zamperini’s story come alive. A truly remarkable story that I recommend for anyone. (Side note: we saw the movie last night. While great, the book is so much better. Do yourself a favor and read it even if you did see the movie.)
> The Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and their Epic Quest for Gold in the 1936 Berlin Olympics by Daniel James Brown, read by Edward Herrman. After listening to Unbroken, I knew I’d be happy listening to Edward Herrman narrate the phone book- thankfully this book was a million times better then that. Another true story, this one set pre-WWII about grit, determination and the force of the human spirit.
> Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty, read by Caroline Lee. I started out entirely unsure of this book for a variety of reasons, one of which being the narrator is Australian. But once I got sucked in, there was no turning it off. A biting, often funny look at parenting and the silly competitions between moms- but with a dark side dealing with a startling tale of domestic violence.

Books
I’ll be the first to admit my book list is all over the map, so these books may not be to everyone’s liking. However, these are the books that stuck with me all year long and that I’d recommend to just about anyone regardless of genre:

> Written in my Own Heart’s Blood by Diana Gabaldon. There are two authors whose books I’ll pre-order and pay full hardcover price for and Diana Gabaldon is one. Book 8 in her Outlander series, WIMOHB was well worth the 2+ year wait. Reading her books are like finding old friends again and catching up their exciting adventures. If you haven’t read them, do yourself a favor and pick up Outlander to see what the fuss is about.
> Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline. The book itself wasn’t amazing- it was good, but it wasn’t a spectacular piece of writing. However, it introduced me to the Orphan Train Movement- the practice in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s that took over 250,000 homeless, abandoned or orphaned kids from east coast cities and shipped them to the midwest to be adopted out. Absolutely fascinating period of history!
> Wonder by R.J. Palacio. This book is about August, a 5th grader born with some very visible cranio-facial differences. Told from the point of view of August, his sister, his best friends among others, it’s a really eye-opening portrayal of  what it means to be different in today’s society. Cannot wait to read this with my kids!
> We Were Liars by E. Lockhart. This is the book that stuck with me the most. Yes, it’s YA and yes, it’s not for everyone. But its heartbreak combined with ultimate hope hasn’t left me since I finished it in June.
> The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin. This was a simple sweet tale of A.J. Fikry and his life. The life he lead wasn’t the one he set out to lead, but it was a great one nonetheless.
> The Kate Daniels Series by Ilona Andrews & Fever Series by Karen Marie Moning. I discovered Urban Fantasy this past year and these are the two series I couldn’t get enough of!

So tell me, what did you read that stuck with you this year? Hit me with your favorites!

 

 

Happy New Year!

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Dear 2014,

You rocked on a lot of levels- I’m so glad we got to be such good friends. 2013 stunk- we were hit with ill health, some house problems, job loss and financial uncertainty so when you arrived you were welcomed with open arms and high hopes. You did not disappoint. You brought:

> Kindergarten graduation & First Communion
> 2 new jobs that I adore
> A brand new kitchen and bathroom> Vacations- including one that let us see all my nieces and nephews in one week (that one was by far my favorite).
> Good health for my immediate family
> Health scares for my extended family that were, thankfully, relatively minor and resolved quickly
> Amazing books and stories that helped to expand our imaginations
> and so much more.

But now you’re out the door and 2015 is coming in. Here’s hoping it lives up to all the fun you brought along with continued good health and happiness for us and our families and friends. Here’s what I wish for all of you as well:

New Years Hope

Thanks,

Heather

Holiday Wishes

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This evening, Scorch and I were out and, in out travels, we drove by one of the local restaurants. I’ve only been there a handful of times over the years, but I distinctively remember the first time I was there in December 2011 because I sat at the table and cried in front of my girlfriends.

Scorch’s anxiety was just making itself apparent at the time. He was terrified of hairless cats and the boy, in Kindergarten at the time, wouldn’t sleep. He was terrified of going to sleep and would wake up numerous times a night. Putting him to bed would literally take hours and often times end up with all of us yelling and crying. It was an awful time and, that night out, I was just done. I dreaded going home knowing that Scorch would still be awake, and that I couldn’t do a damn thing to fix it. So when I sat down with my friends, I just let the tears flow. Thank goodness we were the only ones in the place that night.

Tonight I told Scorch that story. I told him how proud I was of him for coming so far and we had a laugh over the vision of me sobbing and sniffing at a table out in public. Then I teased him a little about having a phobia over the oddest thing ever.

Yeah, mom- I’m pretty much over being scared of hairless cats. 

*pause*
Except for spotted hairless cats. They are demons from hell. I’ll always be scared of them.
If you ever needed proof that 8 year olds rock, that’s it!
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From my crazy family to yours, we wish all who celebrate a very Merry Christmas! I hope this holiday season is filled with joy, love and lots and lots of laughter!

FilthyAnimla

Tis the Season

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Well, right now, tis the season to be really, really busy. Christmas parties, concerts, practices, Girl Scouts and more practices. Add in work (did I tell you all I started a 2nd job? I work at home a few night a week until 11 pm and it’s awesome, but still, work) and the day-to-day fun stuff like laundry and cooking, then throw in a metric ton of wrapping, baking (sort of) and shopping and you have one exhausted me.

My mad wrapping skills.

My mad wrapping skills.

The Hubs and I had a kid free night last night. Know what we did? Shopped then got take out so we could come home at 9:30 and collapse. Christmas is kicking our butt, you guys.

But, man, it’s such a fun time of year. The kids are in love with Christmas. The movements of our Elf, Buddy, overnight is something they marvel at every morning. Their reactions to the videos from Santa today revealing that they both made it on the nice list were the most priceless things ever. Seriously, I wish I could show you video of when the Bean found out she was on the good list- it’s amazing. The child was *floored*.

Scorch was literally wringing his hands because he was so nervous watching the video from Santa.

Scorch was literally wringing his hands because he was so nervous watching the video from Santa.

Despite the craziness, I’m trying to take the time to soak all this in. There is Christmas music on every minute we’re awake and the only thing on TV (besides football, natch) is Christmas shows. I want to just wallow in the kid’s excitement because I know it won’t always be this pure. So far this whole holiday season has been amazing- cannot wait to see what the rest of the week brings!

Winter Wonderland

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We got our first major snow storm earlier this week. It’s still early enough into winter that I find the snow charming and gorgeous. Don’t worry, Mother Nature will suck that joy out of me soon enough. But for now, it’s picturesque and I love rolling around in it with my kids. Have I mentioned how much fun 6 and 8 year old kids are? Because they are. They are funny, quick and really enjoyable to be around. Too bad I can’t freeze them at this age because I totally would if I could.

SnowLandscapeThe only down side to this weather (you know, outside of the treacherous roads, shoveling and car doors being frozen shut) is Crazy, our dog. She’s 12 years old and refuses to spend longer then 2 minutes outside when it’s 60 and sunny. But give her 28 and snow and she’s a puppy again. That’s her to the left of the Bean in the picture above after a long winter’s romp through the yard.

So my day has been spent today trying to distract the damn dog from wanting to go out over and over and over.  Most of the time I failed because when you’re trying to work from home, a barking dog isn’t exactly a boon to productivity and professionalism.

Snippets

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The Bean is playing flag football. She said she wanted to play, so we signed her up and then she lost her mind over the fact that we dared to do what she had asked us to do. Needless to say, getting her to her first practice involved a combination of lying (“Coach won’t have a full team if you’re not there- you don’t want to let the other kids down, do you?”) and bribery (hello dinner at Friendly’s!). But we got her there and she loves it. Can’t-wait-to-go, why-can’t-we-play-every-day loves it.

She’s the only girl on the team full of sweet, funny, nice 5 and 6 year old boys. Last week during the game, one of those sweet boy went up to the Hubs and asked completely out of the blue, “Coach, can I date your daughter?”

The look on the Hubs face was priceless. “No, you can’t. Pay attention to the game.” Then, as an after thought,  “Plus, you’re too young.”

That sweet little boy walked away, then came back 2 minutes later and very seriously asked the Hubs if he could date the Bean in 10 years when they are both 16.

I melted and the Hubs had an internal panic attack.

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The other day I was with the kids and we stopped by a Catholic school. The kids read the name of the school, written on the building in old fashioned script and promptly informed me that it was a Pinocchio school.

It took a lot of persuading to convince them that, no it wasn’t a Pinocchio school- it was a parochial school. Still not sure they believe me.

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We have an Elf on the Shelf, Buddy. Buddy’s been with our family since Scorch was 3 and his return every year after Thanksgiving is a Big Deal in our house. Thankfully Buddy is a lazy elf, so he doesn’t get into trouble or make messes- he just moves from spot to spot every night, finding a new vantage point from which to spy on the kids and narc to Santa.

Except for last night. Last night, Buddy didn’t move. He stayed right where was was because he didn’t want to go to the North Pole to have to tell Santa how rotten the kids were. Instead, he left them a note telling them (nicely) to shape up or face the consequences. I wasn’t sure how my delicate snowflakes were going to take Buddy’s letter this morning- but damned if we didn’t have the most peaceful morning in recent history today.

I’m hoping that elf is feeling verbose and isn’t afraid to drop a stray threat or two as needed the rest of the month!

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This morning on the way to the work, I passed a field of cows and sheep. So, as I’m wont to do, I pulled over, hopped out of my car and took some pictures with my phone (all the while cursing the fact that I didn’t bring my good camera today).  As I got closer to fence separating me from them, all the sheep turned tail and ran away. Then they all stopped at pretty much the exact same time and all turned to look at me. The absurdity of the group-think going on cracked me up, so I laughed the whole walk back to my car.

Babes- lots of them.

Is it any wonder that I got texts from 3 different people asking if I was OK by the time I got back to the car? Gotta love small towns where everyone driving by knows you and wonders at your sanity.