Friday, May 28, 2010

Seriously.. It's Like Friday Already?

Does having the 2nd kid somehow suck time away in some new way that the solo child parenting experience doesn't? Stupid question, but Dude where's my week? It seems like yesterday that we were watching Lost.

Well meanwhile back at the ranch it has been kinda busy:

1. Final week of Preschool for Ben. Camp Mommy (an unfun camp with no-sing along) will start Monday until Y daycamp on the 14th. Everyday will not be fabulous and fun, but some plans up my sleeve including a weekend beach trip, trip to the zoo, farmers market, couple of play dates, and can watching mommy feed and diaper count as an activity if glitter is involved.

2. Interviewed for a job I didn't think I would likely take due to hours and in state travel. But they offered it and I hope that at some point it's an option. I'm always keeping choices on the table for my one, five, and ten year goals on the dashboard.

3. Working furiously on setting up my online class to start the 14th. Was told to expect around 100 hours of training and prepping as a 1st timer. I wish that was a mistype but alas I am working about 5 hours a day to pull off learning how to do this. I'm learning that not a lot translated from being a Face to Face teacher other than knowing the content. Before you say, ahh Heather did you just write about not shortchanging your kids lives for a career recently?

Teaching online, once established, will give me more time at home, a flexible schedule, and the ability to continue to do something I like without the things about it I am not fond of (6:45 start time, lunch duty, 5 zillion meetings, double daycare expense). Again, it's about putting options on the table and summer is the trial run for the change this fall working from home full time.

4. Sick dog resulting in midnight emergency visit to the local pet hospital and a very expensive bill. Monitoring for 24 hours with no confirmed reason for reoccurring grand mal seizures. In addition the medicine prescribed that normally makes dogs uber sleepy, uh...not here. Instead we have a manic, crazed dog that broke her leash and wound up 2 streets away yesterday with Ben, Mom, and baby in tow running after her. This after peeing and pooping multiple times on the floor. Think she could wear a size 1 diaper?

5. Have hit a real patch of anxiety lately. Thinking it may be time to be the adult in the room and ask for the blue, red, whatever pill. Ten years in and haven't succumbed to the med route, but questioning my quality of life is smacking me in the face. Thinking long and hard on this decision as I don't want this to be a way of life and hoping it's just post partum fun.

6. Plans to hit the gym this weekend as I haven't been since early week (again online course may move this goal to am when Ian is sleeping longer). I HAVE to make time for this whenever I can get it in. 6 am sucks, but if I'm committed, then I have to schedule it as part of the day.

7. Make that keep working to help Ian try to get on some type of sleeping longer schedule. Not to self, maybe the dogs medication would help. Just kidding of course.

Happy Memorial Day weekend to all. Plans for pool time with the family, more online work, friends to grill out with on Monday,and sleeping... me that is.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Going Back to the Island One Last Time! (Spolier Alert)

I can't help myself not to write about LOST finale last night. Plus I am really putting off working on the online class, so I am giving myself time to write and then back to work until Ian is up again.

Series Finales should live by one cardinal rule.... Give your viewers what they WANT. We invest in watching your show week after week so don't take us off on some crazy, it was all a dream (the St Elsewhere finale approach) ending leaving us shortchanged. Seinfeld followed this rule beautifully as they paraded in all the ridiculous characters that made the show great in an over the top final episode that proved it really was the show about nothing.

ER which I watched until the last couple of seasons and then came back for the finale was HORRIBLE, contrived, and a shell of a good show by the finale. Should have ended it when Doug reunited with Carol. I want back that hour of my life. Same thoughts for my beloved West Wing. You overstayed the party.

SATC- Great final episode but your final season SUCKED.

My personal fav TV show (even after LOST) still remains Six Feet Under. I can watch that final 10 mins character montage still sob. I bow at Alan Ball's temple for making a show so good for all of it's seasons, making me care more about the Fisher family than mentally healthy, never jumping the shark, and to wrap it up exactly the way I wanted.

Sopranos- If I ever meet creator David Chase, I going to punch him. IT SUCKED! And don't even get me started on the finale of nip/suck.

My hopes were high with LOST. I can't remember why we decided to take a change on the Pilot as for the record we really don't watch lots of network shows, even fewer Pilots. But we knew that JJ Abrams of ALIAS fame was involved. Why wouldn't be sucked in after the plane crash on the beach? I re watched the Pilot at the gym Sat night and damn if I wasn't picking up on things I totally missed! MUST re watch this series from the start. SO GOOD!

SO here are my final episode thoughts-

I liked but was not blown away by the final scene. Ending with everyone had died at some point either on or off the island and were meeting back was the same reunion theme that almost every season ended. Bring in the soring music and the slow motion camera with everyone hugging each other and it was kinda old hat. Anti-climatic for what they had built up!

Bill and I both thought as the finale was progressing that Jack was not going to make it off the island and that in turn the ending scene was going to involve his death. Bill called it with the location in the bamboo. Ah.. Jack, what a quintessential good guy. I forgive Matthew Fox for Party of Five uber sappiness level with his portrayal of Jack Shepard.

While a nice touch reuniting Jack with Christian was a little red bow for me. But since personal conflict was a major theme, why not let Jack die in peace with his father's approval.

Why was Desmond such a major player in the final few episodes, I would have though Sayid? I thought they killed him off with little fanfair for such a key character. There was more focus on Jin and Sun not making it off the sub, but what about a character that literally was written to break stereotype in our xenophobic culture. Seemed like a missed chance to send him out with more than a bang, literally.

Loved Hugo's Sawyers one liners and any last chances to say "son of a bitch" to Hurley's DUDE once more. Add to it more random social references than Chuck Klosterman can publish. And DAMN if they didn't name a major character Locke for my benefit to teach social contract theory for 6 years in Civics.

I could write more, but my timer is up.

What did I LOVE in the Finale??? The main characters realization of their life on the island. To me this was was better than the actual reunion at the end. For all the cool special effects, plot twists galore, introduction of new characters, and superior writing that connected a show in a unique and ground breaking way, none of these reasons were what kept me watching for 6 seasons.

It was in the end was the relationships between the characters. Not since SFU have I felt personally invested in specific characters and wanted to watch just to know how individual stories would play out. I loved that they started and ended with why people were on this fated plane and played it out to the end.

LOST didn't disappoint by any means and I'm feeling a little let down this morning knowing it's all over.

Friday, May 21, 2010

And I Was So Hoping For A Hemp Bag

Ben's school year ends with a half day next Friday. I chaperoned the field trip to the strawberry patch yesterday and loved watching him pick and more often stomp berries with all the classmates I have been hearing about all year. I feel like I personally know the lives of Kian, Noah, Demir, Smirti, and Luka through his eyes. When we moved schools last year I really struggled as I sat in a parade of little chairs attempting to find the right match for what I felt was an all too important 3-4 year old timespan. Since I missed most of the events for parents due to work during the school year, it's been good to get to participate these last weeks.

I recently read that have three consecutive years of a good teacher can go more to help a child succeed than most any other measurable indicator. I have to believe that good teachers can truly make a difference regardless of when you have them. Ben's lead teacher Rebecca is the old school teacher that you know will love your child to pieces but also bring it when needed. We saw her at Target earlier in the week and Ben was over the moon to see her outside school.

Although we are changing schools (or at least that is the plan) since I will need infant care I would have to really think that if my plans change would stay for another year based alone on the motivation and impact she has had on him? In Montessori children stay multiple years in the same classroom and teacher and I think in the final year before Kindergarten she would again work her magic.

I was SO hoping that the hippy school would make hemp bags for mothers day. I did get a cookbook of fav foods they have cooked at school complete with Ben drawn pics and his face in a giant chef's hat on the cover. Instead I got so much more in the working relationship with someone who has really made a difference to him during a really trying 3 year old year. I give Rebecca props for being the straw in the potty training saga for nothing else.

Ben asked me today why his school was ending and that he is going to miss his friends (and eating ice cream after the monthly walks to the library). Rebecca told me today about a great new park in Cary that they had done a field trip to back in March. So to reward listening and good behavior at pick up we went by after school. We will be back, I love, love, love the design of the playground and have to wonder where was this fun when we were kids??

Busy weekend ahead and Bill is at a conference for most of it. But plans to do a family afternoon at the pool on Sunday. As well as make a 2nd batch of these strawberry muffins.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

The Collective I Told You So

wow... a whole week almost between tending to the blog. Shame on ME! Although we have had sickness to deal with with 3/4 of us and the reality that I am kinda a little overwhelmed with the whole 2 child thing and don't really want to admit it. A post unto itself, and then the fact that Ian is sleeping in 2-3hrs at best, and damn if I'm not in stupid tired mode 24/7.

BUT.... then there is the preventable stupid like at the end of very trying month in part to changes at school also meant that the way something has been done in the past would not be the way it was to be done now. Enough said as it has been the month from hell with blowback with me in the end having to publicly eat a bunch of humble pie. It goes to say that I SHOULD have listened to my gut reaction back last July when among all the stress I agreed to stay on another year.

The result was me planning, organizing, setting up, and then cleaning up a ceremony and then reception for 300 on Tuesday night. So why might you ask when family and friends asked what I had to prove to stay on another year? Well yes, but since I literally built this chapter from the ground up since June 2006 (also note that I was in the hospital having Ben when I was given the choice between Organizaiton or SGA) and I'll be damned if I let someone else run it my final year teaching. Control issues you bet, but also I have a sense of personal pride with what I have helped facilitate in 4 short years.

So I stayed on despite this year my co-chair moving schools, my long standing committee being reorganized all the while kicking myself in the ass for being this stubborn and doing it alone. Tuesday night came and had it not been for those awesome and amazing students I would have not pulled it off.

When my outgoing President gave me a big hug she said, "Mrs Vinson I don't know of many people that would do what you have done for us, esp this year with all the changes with structure of the school, but you need someone to help you for next year as you look really tired even before you had a baby."

She's right along with everyone else who repeatedly told me that my priorities needed some adjustment. I'm still tinkering with going back in August or likely January to teaching. As much as I hope I am not burning some bridge I might later need, I'm needing a break to do something else. I am teaching a single online section of Credit Recovery in Civics for 8 weeks this summer with the hopes that it might lead to another section this fall. I also was contacted this week about interviewing for a job that I had researched last year, one with flexible hours that would allow me to have more time at home. Going to the interview with an open mind.

Regardless of what the future holds, I have more guilt about not being a better mom with Ben because I think I put work first more times that I want to admit. I swore that I wouldn't do this with a 2nd child too. I know myself to know that being a SAHM in the end is not good for me psychologically. I need routine, structure, order and some type of outside work to help fill that gap between cleaning up messes and wiping someone's butt.

As selfish as it sounds I work for my sanity more than for the $$$. BUT I learned a BIG, HUGE, RESOUNDING lesson from the last 30 days. I'm holding myself to this..

Friday, May 14, 2010

Happy One Month Birthday Ian!

Where did the first month go my sweet blond haired and blue eyed boy? You have put on almost 2 lbs in the last 30 days and just look less and less like a newborn (which is good because I hate the way all newborns look like constipated old people) and more like your brother and father.

You have brought me so much happiness and joy getting to know you, smell your sweet head, rock you in the middle of the night, try to keep Ben for playing full contact sports with you. Waking up to your cooing and also crying reminds me that it's all just comes back without thinking.

You were dedicated on a very special mothers day to be loved and cared for all your days. I could drink in all your baby goodness and sweetness as before long you will be moving and exploring your world and trying to keep up with your brother.

Watching you discover the lights and try to pull up in these past few days, while small milestones, remind me that I need to remember that 2010 was to be about realizing that I only have this time with you and your brother and that everything else can wait.

For now I will hang onto every moment I can get with you, to eat up your sweet baby feet, and to snuggle with you in the early morning when the whole world stops for just us.

love you- mom

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Wed Gumbo

I am reading two books right now for two VERY different book clubs. One, the Shack that I am having a hard time getting into it, despite hearing alot of chatter when it was the IT book. I pledge to finish it though, as I didn't read last month book and only went for the food.

The other, Drop City, is my choice when I host Book Club next month. LOVE IT! I got it on audiobook with the intention of uploading onto my iPod while walking with Ian. I am hoping that others finish it as it will make a good discussion if you aren't turned off by the language and sex (I obviously am not, he..he)

I am freakin' tired, super tired. It seems like night comes and I just dread knowing that tomorrow I am going to be even more tired that I am today. I am not good at "trying to sleep when baby does" I didn't with Ben and the same MO is going down with Ian. I feel hungover when I get 1 hour here and there. Better to just stay up. True Confession but I never realized how much harder the whole more than one kid thing was going to be. It's like more housework descended on me and I can't keep up.

Twins are ASS hard. Repeat! AND, they are not even MINE! AND, I only had Max along with Ian. I helped with Max and Leo again yesterday and damn I was tired within one hour and was trying to keep crying to only one child. On the good news front the weekly visits are helping the the upcoming surgery prep this summer and I love, love, love getting to visit with my old friend and see the boys. As much as I tried to anticipate to have stuff within reach, I still was running the entire afternoon. I again say there is a special type of mom, and I don't think I'm it.

I rejoined the gym on Monday. More to come but I have been shopping for new workout clothes as an reward and incentive and to NOT look like I'm going to my 1993 Jamaica Me Crazy Sorority party in a long since prime t-shirt. Baby step to a goal I really want to reach. Going tonight no matter how tired I am once kids are in bed and dishes done.

I signed off on my paperwork to teach an online course this am. Step one to making a career change and giving me more time with the boys.

Lastly, Bill took some pics of me and the boys in my mom's front yard on Sunday after the service. I really liked some of these, although I look kinda drunk... or maybe just tired.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Post Game Wrap Up

Pro- Bill offered to help drive and be of support all weekend, GReenville Zoo, playground, and picnic on Sat, my mom was able to hold Ian for the service without assistance, the service on Sunday was nice and I know it meant alot for my mom to participate.

Con- Ian didn't sleep more than 2 hours straight either night and I pulled all night duty both nights so Bill could do AM Ben duty, screaming children in Charlotte traffic, arguing on mothers day, digging through the IKEA ball pit in search of the few pairs of matching socks Ben owns, total exhaustion while driving and most of the weekend

Just Funny- the THREE busloads of matching t-shirted church youth spilling out of chartered buses at the SC welcome center in the midst of Ben runinng in between and knocking over trashcans while I attempted to feed and diaper Ben.

My brother's continual comments about removing my Obama sticker unless I wanted my car keyed, by the Pastor.

Ben telling us that, "I won't go crazy" just before we walked up to the pulpit area to join the 13 other families also dedicating their kids. I just about busted out laughing out loud, but I think the man dressed in head to toe seesucker including a bowtie. We were very, very out of place in Camp Palin. They accounced Raleigh, NC as it was another planet. I think Newberry was the next farthest away that family had come for the annual dedication...aka... How much hand smocking and jon jons can one stage stand. It looked like the Kappa Alpha Old South Ball, Childrens Version

Mission Accomplished- GrandMother happy with clothes, baby and Ben time, food and gifts well received.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Mothers Day Thanks to TAL

Damn you TAL and your rebroadcast of one of the BEST shows ever last Sat! How can in the course of one hour can I be laughing my ass off to wiping away tears and hoping the boys will sleep 'till I get home so I can hear the end.

So on that note Dan Savage's piece about his mom, her extraordinary but yet ordinary life, and how much he misses her is the reason I bow at the alter of Ira Glass for bringing this story to me.

It is also on that note that we are leaving mid afternoon to visit my mom for the weekend. I didn't decide until last week that I couldn't in good conscious not go when I have gone every mothers day since Ben was born to usually help her around the house, cook, clean and in general give my brother who is her full time live in caretaker a weekend break. Plus she is unable to travel to Raleigh to see the baby so we are going to her.

Typically I go by myself whenever I head to see her. No expectations that Bill should have to come for any the visits that end with me needing about a week to decompress. He nonchalantly mentioned that he didn't want me driving all that way tired with both kids. LOVE HIM... again and yes to an IKEA trip on the return home!

So I am doing the right thing, sucking it up, trying to take the high road and going. I even called her church to tell them we would participate in the once yearly child dedication they have on Mothers Day. Think grandmothers parading children dressed in traditional southern church garb while the congregation oohs and ahhs. I have spent a ridiculous amount of time finding the perfect coordinating outfits that will be grandmother approved this week.

As for what I am giving her this is a little bizarre but I am restocking her freezer freeze ahead cooking for dialysis days, printing out a ton of pics of Ben and Ian, and lastly made a new grave arrangement. I am going to take it out to my dad's grave on Sat night and then drive her out after church on Sunday for her to see it. I am also doing a big Mothers day breakfast as well as picking up Sat dinner at her fav place in Greenville. I am also taking a basket of art supplies for her to help Ben make a ME Timeline for school next week.

What changed? Not really anything other than owning up to the fact that I have no right to keep her from her grandsons regardless of my relationship with her. I can't expect Ben and Ian to want a relationship with me unless I make the attempt with her. Call it being stubborn and not learning from years of trying to make this right, call it recognizing that one day I'll not have a reason to be traveling to SC on mothers day. All I will have is guilt and regret for not trying to make it tolerable while she was here. You can't pick your family but you can make the best of what you have.

Happy Mothers Day to her, my mom friends, all those wanting to be moms, and to my 2 beautiful boys, thanks for making me your mom.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

The First Rule of Fight Club....

Oh wait, I meant to say "book club" is that if you don't read the book, don't go for the snacks. I am ashamed to say that neither book intended got read for the month of April. I DO get a pass that I had already read the neighborhood book, East of Eden in high school. I only stayed last week for an hour to visit and for the yummy food that I didn't have to cook.

On the other book, Father Father Melancholy's Daughter, I bailed after a good 5 attempts to get past the first 50/60 pages. I even took it to the hospital.. yeah... bad idea. although if I hadn't had to do a stack of NHS denial letters I had put off then I would have had time to read something.

So for the month of May I have already gotten both books, started the first chapter on Drop City last night and I think this is going to rock! I love dust jacket write ups as well as the artwork on the cover. I often wonder if the cover is going to be anything related to the book or it was some hairbrained idea of the editor. Can we say TC Boyle looks like an escaped member of the HBO show Carnival and the cover with a circle of naked people, yeah I'm interested in this plot.

The later book is The Shack. I remember this was the IT book a few years back. Is it religious? Thinking it is as everyone I remember talking about it did so in the context of a bible study. Going to give it a fair shake. After Drop City I might need something to redeem myself.

Onto to some freeze ahead cooking and picking up the last of mothers day stuff for the trip tomorrow. Going all out this year.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

scary stuff

Imagine what could possibly be worse than a missing child. I cannot imagine the anguish of not knowing where they are, were they taken or did they leave on their own accord, and in the darkest of places to wonder if they were hurt or dead.

When I got to school for afternoon pick up Monday I couldn't even turn onto the street where Ben's school is located for the multiple news vans and a host of local EMS, police, and firetrucks.

I seriously don't remember what I said out loud, but I wanted to throw up when I saw the blocked off street. Bill had called me en route to say that am email had just gone out that kids were missing from the school and to text him as soon as I had Ben in the car. I parked on a side street pulled Ian out of the carrier and took off towards the school.

As I was making my way past all the other frantic parents some news guy asked if I was here to help search ... uh NO I am here to get my son and I pushed past him.

All the kids were on on lock down in individual classrooms and the teachers were doing the best as I could tell to keep it together. I asked one of the pm teachers what had happened and the story was that 2 eight year olds hopped the back fence when time to come in. There were looking for them, but as of 3 pm they had been missing since lunch around noon.

Here was the "official story" that went out to parents in email from one of the directors.

The two lower elementary girls who left the playground were found on the dirt road near the end of Byrum St. towards Walnut St. They said that they climbed the chain link fence along the back of the playground as their class lined up to come in from recess. The teachers missed them immediately but the girls said that they ran through the neighbor's yard and went towards the woods at the end of the dead end road. Unfortunately, they hid and did not answer the calls of the teachers and parents.

Needless to say, the plan will be to erect new, TALL wooden fencing to replace the chain link ASAP.

The staff and HW families are so relieved that this had a happy ending.

While I am not upset at the fact that this happened, as I think it could happen even with the best of staff. I am more upset that when interviewed last night on the local news and again today at pick up the director has taken a "kids pull pranks" attitude. as director of your school there is no room for a nonchalant attitude. I am pleased that it sounds like they are moving to install a better barrier around the school. I hope to see that they will also buzzer the front door and make the two front gates also with some type of coded entry.

Back earlier this year when we were deciding what options we had for care for Ben and Ian this fall we decided that were were going to move both boys back to a school closer to home. Doing double drop off and pickup was not in the cards, even if I go back to work in January. I have already been making the hour round trip after school for pickup and while I gladly have done it another year, I can't logistically make this work with two. As our current school does not take children until 18 months the decision was kinda already been made.

We looked again at all the schools/daycares in the area and both Bill and I toured one in particular over Spring Break. We have decided on a new school that is near our home for Ben in late AUgust and for Ian in either August or January. I also know of 3 other teachers at my school that have been with this new school since they opened in 2007. As much as I hate to move him knowing that he only has one more year until kindergarten, my hands are tied as to what is best for our entire family but more importantly be a good fit for Ben.

I don't regret for a minute that Ben has had this year at the Montessori school, or the outstanding teachers, or the chance to mature using much of the curriculum. But with that being said, the events Monday do make me pause to think that the school itself is a bit to comfortable. The fact that being located off 2 major intersections and surrounded by neighborhoods they should have better security.

This was a preventable disaster that so easily could have ended badly. Even a friend that recently picked up Ben commented that she thought the security was a bit lax when they didn't ask for her license at pickup. The fact that people can literally walk into the building with an open door and take a child without being stopped is scary.

Ben and I took this chance to talk on the way home today about always making sure that we listen to our teachers and other adults. Interestingly enough he brought it up so obviously it had also been emphasized at school also. I just can't imagine if one the missing children had been my kids. Really and truly that is incomprehensible.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

the good, the bad, the ugly, and the super ugly

The good was a great time out Friday at the season opening concern at the American Tobacco Campus (old Lucky Strike factory that is now a revitalized corporate and dining establishment.) Our local public radio that is on the property hosts Back Porch Music free bluegrass concerts all summer.

We met up with friends which in turn lead to running into even more people knew from Bill's old employers. The music was great as well as the company. We got home around 10 all exhausted!

Sat I took the boys to a 4th birthday party at a local farm. I wasn't sure that I was going to head all the way out there as it was over an hour drive, but a glad I did. The farn featured a train, haywagon, hayjump, a giant slide with potato sacks, and did I mention feeding animals upon animals. I did get to listen to TAL in it's entirety on the quiet ride home.

Note again that we were all exhausted. We headed out for dinner, Target, and then all crashed. Bill and I both traded time to get a block of makeup sleep.

the Bad was Ben and his loose poop on his first ever port-a-potty visit.

This led to the Ugly, Ben with a full-on stomach ache and more poop on Sunday am the 2nd birthday party (one for his class I didn't want to go to anyway) was on the chopping block. We had actually planned a quiet day to do laundry, buy plants, dishes. What resulted was Ben in sick mode on the couch while mom tended to a very fussy baby for most of the day. Did I mention I was secretly glad to have a pass on the 2nd party.

I did happen to escape from the house for a couple of hours to finish off plant purchases. Happy to say I spent within my plant budget and am planning on putting them in this week. I even couponed it to get $20.00 off my plant purchase!

So I am starting a to do list for the week and alas there are 19 things already making the cut. And this was to be an easy week in preparation for being out of town by Friday. Oh well, at least Ben has been poop free for 24 hours and back to his normal self and so far Ian is not sick.

*UPDATE* Since I wrote but forgot to post this in the wee hours of Monday. The super ugly came yesterday when two children disappeared from the playground at his school. More tomorrow, but both found and were ok.