Wednesday, June 30, 2010

180 lb Cherry on Top

Happy 6th Anniversary Surgery Day! Since I have written about surgery twice already there is no need to rehash. I wish I could say that I celebrated it up big today. I don't call a trip to BJs supercenter and splitting popcorn with a 4 year old while feeding the baby much of a celebration.

But it is. The simple fact that I have two beautiful boys as a result of this decision is celebration enough. And that is not to minimize the healthier lifestyle and hope upon hope that a family history of diabetes has been pushed a little further in the future.

The fact that Bill decided to do the same surgery last July and has since lost almost 180 lbs is also celebration. Half a person gone in 365 days. I am sure he will post his own celebration next week likely via twitter, but I DO hope he posts some before/after shots. He is 1/2 the person he once was, but he is twice the husband and father that emerged as the weight was shed.

I am so very proud on this 6th anniversary of my own decision to be celebrating his very successful year finding exercise and a healthier lifestyle was just beginning of what he was going to get back. SO PROUD!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

I Need a Hazmat Suit and My 10k Back

Checking in after dropping out of life for the last week and looking like I have been living in a Trailways Bus station. I'm on a long night doing sick dog duty until 2 am switch off and working on my class to get caught up grading and contacting kids not working in the meantime.


- Sick dog getting sicker. Over 20 seizures Sunday into the early am and more again last night. Feeling a hard decision to make coming soon. The Vet is not helpful, more like a shaming, punitive parent. The the medication that makes most animals lethargic makes our dog manic and uberhyper.

- Discipline problems out the ass. Ben was on TV restriction for the entire weekend for hitting his camp counselor twice on Friday. Let me tell you that getting the call to meet with the director in the carpool line sucks.

-On that note we are trying several strategies. This is a separate post later but needless to say we are part of the problem and are working to resolve it. Take tired parents, plus a new baby needing lots of attention, and add difference in discipline strategies and I think you can fill in the pieces.

-Ben cannot get booted from his 1/2 day Y camp as my online class is more than the believed 9-12pm commitment. It's like being a first year teacher learning how to translate the content I know into success online with my students. The good news is that each week has gotten easier and I don't have lunch duty.

- I'm using my afternoons with my own kids at the pool but paying the price in that I work another 3+ or so hours each night grading and calling kids. Our TV has not been on in days, minus my season 1 True Blood marathon last Sat night. SO GOOD!

-Long convo with the powers that be about job security both for Bill and my own situation. It's work decision time about fall options and as always, it's complicated.

- Replacing our AC unit at the tune of 7k tomorrow. We better get something back when we sell this house. A new water heater and AC in less than 2 years and I still have a 30 min commute to civilization. It's time to be out by summer 2011.

-Final IVF claim denied because it was 48 hours, yes 2 glorious days, out of contract. First appeal denied, going for another since we originally got conflicting info on filing deadline. I wouldn't care and should be grateful for the amount we did get covered but it is 3k we didn't have to pay if we had not been lazy asses in filing.

At least I didn't venture out barefoot no less to my local liquor store Friday night in a stained house dress. In a last minute car squealing into the parking lot 5 mins before closing much needed grocery run I was reminded that things really aren't that bad.

Thank you sad old lady for keeping it real and putting it in perspective. You made me laugh out loud the first time all week. I bet you would serve me some stale Archway cookies along with what you were drinking to wash down a really craptastic week.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Need Some Serious Schooling

Short post, busy day into busy night. I just got off the phone with one of my summer school kids. Yes, it's after 9 pm but it goes without saying that when you see an opportunity you take it. In the past 24 hours two real chances to put my $$$ where my mouth is. Chance #1 was yesterday after working the whole day, not just the 9-12pm that I thought I would be working each day on this class did I realize that I had really screwed up.

24 times on 24 separate reports I included a major, major typo on the report I sent to every student, their parent, their school, my online boss. Nice 1st impression.

It's not that I didn't read what I wrote, it's just much like this blog and anything I seem to write, I tend to get sidetracked/hurried and not be careful. Enough said belaboring the point but it's a major note to self for the need to reread, read it out loud if necessary, and always run spellcheck an additional time.

It's not like at my ripe old age I can't learn to be the literate person I want to be thought of as teaching your kid.

2nd chance came this am when this morning with someone in the class. I have been talking with him daily to get started on this class. I am super inspired by his risk taking to ask for help when everything about him says otherwise. My entire class is repeating Civics before taking a required to graduate state exam. Almost all are from a inner city school district where motivation and payoff are key to getting and keeping student attention. Each day I feel like their biggest cheerleader which feels amazing and a selling point to do this beyond the summer commitment.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Got Star Wars Cookie Cutters, Serenity Tickets, AND a Toy Story 3?

Then you got Bill's father day celebration. Funny that 3 different people told me about the Star Wars cookie cutters AND pancake molds when they debuted at Williams Sonoma! Th perfect gift for an obsessed fan that would say he's NOT obsessed in a 40 Year Old Virgin kinda way.

Chrissy and I conspired to get tickets for the Raleighwood Theater Serenity event next weekend. I totally thought I had pulled one over on Bill as the show was sold out when he heard about it. That was until Sat night he told me the owner of the theater was going to sell him a ticket from his lot. NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO I have already made this great card with our pics superimposed over the fearless crew of a Bill's all time fav Joss Whedon movie.

We grilled out both Friday and Saturday, spent time at the pool, and Bill/Ben went to see Toy Story 3 on Sunday. Good for the kid and the kid at heart.

Happy Fathers Day to someone born to be a dad!

Friday, June 18, 2010

Ask Moxie NurtureShock Friday- SLEEP!!!

Ask Moxie is doing an open discussion each week this summer on a chapter of NutureShock. At Bill's request after hearing about the book on and my copy of the book continually being recalled by the library this spring before I could get to it, we listened to it on the way to the beach. Each Friday, Moxie posts her discussion I am going to make my Friday Blog post what I contribute to the discussion.

I LOVE you are doing this series. DH and I recently listened to the book together on vacation in the car. I am a week behind on my thoughts on praise, but plan to comment as parent of two boys. I am a high school teacher (currently teaching repeaters in Summer School where praise is a key element) so I am on the front line of this argument.

On Sleep, the stats are staggering as to how much brain power and opportunity for learning is being lost. I agree that the old adage that getting more sleep makes you a happier more well adjusted person is not the debate. Rather why not insist on the same for children and look at why schools are part of the problem?

As a teacher that starts teaching at the un-Godly time of 7:25 am, I can vouch for the fact that kids come in exhausted due to not being able to shut down before rising before their internal clocks would have them up. Ideally my students are most alert around 10 am, ironically just in time for lunch at my school.
As I was listening to this chapter I wanted to force every school administrator to instead of sinking money into standardized test push & prep, and instead consider buying more buses. As the book details and I can testify to, school systems use a cost effective multi-use busing plan. Who can blame them in this time of cash strapped budgets? Cutting bus allotment seems to have the attractive appeal of being first for elimination in comparison to textbook, class size, or teacher salaries.

There is no simple answer until viable options are on the table and are presented to parents that allows for a later start time. This could include year- round schools/ modified calendar year, multi track options for working parents, split day, online class options. All have benefit considering that the sole reason that schools start early is money.

You wouldn’t handicap your best athlete by not providing the best training, nutrition, coaching, or insist on keeping them up night after night. Why is education any different? If we want our kids to succeed then schools need to investigate differing bell schedule options that must include parent education on the benefit of more sleep. Encouraging parents to limiting extracurricular activities as well as gaming and staying online past a reasonable time should be emphasized as making that parental favorite, the Honor roll.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Happy Camper

Our Summer "schedule" officially kicked off Monday morning and so far I think it depends on who you ask if it's going well. This is the start to the can I stay home instead of going back, summer experiment. No word yet on the verdict, it needs time, lots of time and some serious thought.

Ben is going to Y day camp from 9-12pm each day. Bill drops him at 9 and I pick up at noon. The time in between I am using for my online class as well as getting in a 6 am workout. This being the first week of class I have been working in the afternoons and at night to to get students on, understanding how an online class works, and troubleshooting computer issues with them (that last task is laughable), and grading, grading, grading since the course which normally takes 18 weeks is shoved into 8.

Add to it swim lessons twice a week at 5:30 and we are back to being busy. Ben seems to love, love, love camp when I pick him up. But each morning I have to pull up the pics they send each day to remind him that he had a good time to combat tears and fears. He finally told me yesterday he's sad that his friend from school is not there. So we took the chance to talk about trying new things, meeting new people, and getting to do special things Baby Ian doesn't get to do.

I've also restarted the prize box with a daily sticker chart for being nice to his brother, not hitting, not whining, staying in room for quiet time, and feeding the dog. So far he has not had a perfect day, but we are working on praising effort and redos when the am has gone badly to see the afternoon as a restart.

Ask Moxie
is doing a Friday series on NurtureShock and asking for reader comments. Bill and I recently listened to the book on audio on the way to the beach (something to drown out the multiple times Ben watched the Letter Factory). Wow, lots I want to say on this and it's more than a single post.

She started last week with Chapter 1 on Praise. So for the weeks she is holding this discussion, I'm going to post the comment I leave as my Friday post. Up tomorrow, Praise. Hummmmm lots to say on this being a teacher, parent, and in general believer that adults should build confidence in their charges.

Next up... chapter 2, getting sleep. Did she secretly interview me?

Monday, June 14, 2010

rethinking parties that require a shuttle bus

First off, Happy 2 months to my sweet Ian today.

Ben had been waiting for his party for weeks as we have attended the multiple 4th birthday celebrations from his 2006 Babygroup. Almost everyday he has ticked off who he was inviting and who couldn't come to his 4th birthday party. If mad at me or Bill he immediately uttered his now comical phrase, "you're not coming to my party." Really, buddy if we don't come and foot the bill, there will be no party.

My ground rules for this year after the water slide/grill out double family party in my yard extravaganza that was 2009: 1. Not at my House 2. Not with another family 3. No serving lunch if we could avoid it.

In January I started looking at venues and after several great trips to Durham Life and Science in the fall I asked Ben if he would like his party to be there and have his friends ride the train. YES!

So I booked the party with the date of June 12th. I expected it would be hot, but not OMG would they mind if I toured the Dino Dig in the nude hot. At 8:30am when we were uploading the car I was sweating like a sinner in church.

Also unknown to us in January would be that Bubble Blitz would be scheduled on the same day. Since we have never experienced the insanity of Christmas holiday train at the museum, I incorrectly thought it will be a little more crowed but really with all the summer events how bad can it be. SHUTTLE BUS from remote lots crowded B.A.D.

We could only reserve the party room for 1 hour so as soon as Ben was blowing out the candles I was ripping down decorations and loading up stuff to be out before the next scheduled party. Several of our guests texted us that they were stuck in no mans land and were trying to make it. And they did, but I totally felt like they make a 30 min drive only to slam some cake down and be thrust back into the heat.

The positive were that because we got there at opening I bought tickets for all families to ride the train. We actually filled up the entire train! Ben loved it and seeing that the entire day he wanted nothing to do with me or Bill he was all too happy to ride with friends.

Totally dissed by a 4 year old.

Being Martha Stewart wanna-be and also not willing to pay an extra 100 bucks for some employee to do craft time,I brought in foam sun visors and all the items (feathers, glitter glue, stickers and the like) for an activity prior to ghetto cake time.

Sat am I had panic attack that we didn't have enough to do, so I went shopping on the way to the party and got a pin the tale on the donkey game. Bill graciously ran that while I helped kids with visors. We also set up the chairs for an impromptu game of musical chairs if we still needed time filler and a friend ran freeze dance. I have suffered through enough Vacation Bible Schools to slap some last minute "keep kids busy activities" and true to form the kids were busy.

Our Cake Runneth Over- Friday night there was a last minute panic by Bill (and me too I must confess) that after running out of cake last year we didn't think we had enough with the 1/2 sheet I ordered. On our date night, we hit BJs 5 mins before they closed for another cake. Since it had as my friend Gillian commented, "1970s airbrushed balloons on it and was likely on the cover of a REO Speedwagon album," I opened all the unused party favor hotwheels cars and spelled out "4". This just added to the ghetto-ness of the original bright orange and Blue Hot Wheels car cake.

4th Birthday wrap up- overall good to have family here to help and visit, Bill and I got a much needed night out, Ben got so many new toys that I "might" do a massive toy purge before the fall consignment sale cycle.

One parent of a nine month old, who has not been to a gazillion parties in a given 2 month spread commented to Bill, "wow these parties are like enjoyment for the kids, but hell on earth for the parents." Just you wait, your time sitting in the little chairs is coming.

Ben said it best today when he uttered what I will hear for the next 365 days, you guessed it, "I can't come to his 5th birthday party."

Friday, June 11, 2010

Redneck Rivera Recap!

We decided to do a annual family trip to the beach a little earlier this year for 2 reasons. One, Bill has very limited time off with the new job and I need to see how much time I truly need to be available during the day since I have to lead online classroom activities daily and teach what normally takes a semester in 8 weeks.

The boys and I are driving to Hilton Head in late August to meet up with my in laws and the house they have rented for a week, but we wanted a separate long weekend trip as a family.

We went to a resort in Myrtle Beach after friends had stayed there last summer and more recently in May to high praise. Bill and I both wanted somewhere we could relax, not feel the need to get out unless we wanted, and most importantly have time with the kids.

I have been to MB more times than I can remember with friends and family. The drive down is beyond boring. Bill refused to play my game of: name a misspelled business sign, point out a church with the word "Tabernacle, Praise, Full Gospel, or Assembly" bonus pts if they contain all of the above, and are the number of pawn shops= title loan storefronts=chicken restaurants in proportion to the town populuation? All bets are off if a Confederate flag is flying at the entrance.

Sissy... he knew he would loose playing against a veteran. Seriously does your state have just gem town names as Turbeville, Fitchtig, or Monks Corner?

Yep, been to MB more times than I want to count and have several shirts to prove it. None of which have seen the light of day since anyone questioned George Michael's sexuality.

We did most everything we wanted ordering room service, gorging ourselves at the breakfast buffet, sitting by the pool, walking/digging in the sand/jumping in the water on the beach, heading out one night to ride Go Karts and to an amusement park, walking on the boardwalk.

One of the features of this hotel was a splash park with lazy river for kids. Seeing that Ben loves the pool at home, we were doubtfounded that he was scared to even get in the water. We tried playing with him on several of the spray parts and Bill did get him to go down the smallest slide one time with no tears. He instead wanted to float on the lazy river, so we spent time there playing sea captain on the boats before moving to the pool.

Both days we moved to the pool and later at night the hot tub, which he loved and kept trying to scoot further and further down into the water. Why did I keep thinking he is 15 years shy of a starting role in Boogie Nights 2 as much as he kept asking to go back and get in?

Overall we had a great time, we loved being in a place where everything was close and doing nothing an option. As always we did the trip recap of fav things:

Bill- Go Karts with Ben, Room Service as well as out great meal at the Chesapeake House complete with an alligator, watching the Apple Developers Conference online while I watched the kids

Heather- spending time with the family in a relaxed place aka not at home, sleeping, and a distant 3rd but it makes my list drinking by the pool while finally finishing thank you notes and birth annoucments (seriously wanted to finish these for the last month)

Ben- digging in the sand, esp at night with a special headlamp and flashlight with Daddy, Riding Go Karts and Bumper Cars, the lazy river, early birthday gifts of new water guns since we have already broken 2 this summer

Ian- sleeping, eating, pooping, all things he can do at home for free might I add

Great trip and time together which was the goal.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Get Ready, Get Set, Blast Off!

Why am I blogging when there is about 900 things to do before my MIL, BIL, and his new girlfriend get here for grilling out dinner? Much done in the hours home from the beach.

1. Online class made and is at capacity. Participated in my online group with all the other Civics Credit Recovery (aka.. taking it again) teachers across the state last night. Much to do since I just got my course section yesterday. Luckily in laws are taking Ben to the NC Zoo tomorrow and then tomorrow night for me to get some serious work done to load the class with the first week assignments

2. Party prep in full swing. No, I am not making the cake. Call me a lame mom for not wanting to take a Wilton Class and then create a masterpiece out of staining red frosting. Some things I am just going to farm out. Since they were out of the cake topper, came up with my own, so a crafty touch none the less. Still have to pull the craft for the kids together and make gift bags. No homemade jam for parents this year.

3. Finally found a workout bra after many, many returns. No less it's was at the PennyRich Bra Patch here in town. A busty girls dream store with lots of pretty not all institutional undies. I do have to wonder when the owners were thinking up store names where the idea for a "patch" came?

4. Ben had a fab family birthday. Pics to come and also the beach trip, but needless to say he went to bed with a giant leggo plane and a big smile on his face. Skype worked well with my mom and brother to celebrate with us.

5. Heading to school to return my laptop on this the last day for teacher. I inadvertently infected it with a virus somewhere in the last week, much to Bill's happiness. No really, he's been pushing me to get a new laptop with the new online class and not use my crappy, no battery life one from school. SOLD with the virus. I saved off all my files and it's going back. Funny that other than bringing home a couple of boxes there is NOTHING I would have to do other than resign not to return in August. Think this is a sign?

He is graciously letting me use his command center in his office for my class. I promised him I wouldn't mess it up (or attempt to clean it up).

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Happy Birthday Ben!

Happy 4th birthday my Sweet Ben! You woke up to your decorated room and "sparkle" doughnuts in bed to celebrate the day. We are planning for "choose a gift" on the hour tradition, playing with Connor, and then a big birthday meal tonight after you talk to Mema and Grandmommy through Daddy's special camera.

I'm glad that you as of 8 pm last night, I can come to your party. I was getting worried after you have disinvited me about 900 times in the last few weeks. Hate to tell you, but if momma doesn't come, there will be NO party.

You have grown up so much this year as you moved schools, finally mastered the all encompassing hurdle of pooping on the potty :-), have learned your letters and number and can recognize simple words, moved to a new bedroom, took swimming lessons, played a soccer on a team with friends, and became the wonderful Big Brother I knew you were waiting to become given the opportunity.

We spent our last morning on our family beach trip yesterday doing what you loved best, digging in the sand and jumping in the water. What more could I ask for but to watch you be totally in the moment with a smile on your face and filthy dirty.

I was so happy to be apart of your 4th trip around the sun celebration at school before the year ended. We had fun making your "timeline about me" poster as well as your fav food of blueberry muffins to share with your classmates.

This weekend you will finally get to have your party with your friends at Durham Science and Life in the Butterfly House complete with a birthday train. Since you have been planning this party for a good 6 months I hope it lives up to your 4 year old expectations. Believe me, I will do my best not to be disinvited before Saturday!

I love you my sweet, loving, inquisitive, adventuresome, ACTIVE, blue-eyed boy. You make me smile with your unconditional love and morning hugs. To hear your sweet cackle of a laugh makes me want to hold you in moment in time all of my days.

Be Still my Heart, my Beautiful Ben.

love mom-

Friday, June 4, 2010

Too Freakin' Cute

Ending the week on a much needed positive note. Over the past holiday weekend the Pressley folk came down to grill out with their boys. Ben idolizes their sons. Let me repeat, he talks about them as if they live in this house. Yesterday while at Trader Joes he bought bananas for them and wanted to wrap them up in birthday paper and then have me drive him to their house to deliver them.

Much of the get together was spent on the Slip & Slide they gave him last year for his birthday. The same Slip and Slide that stays up until Labor day as it is in use so much. My new en masse birthday present that I bought by the pallet for the multiple birthday parties we have been to this season. After dinner we were treated to a concert on our deck with handwritten lyrics by the 8 year old for an original creation called "Playtime Rules". While you can't hear the lyrics, it sounds more like a GWAR concert circa 1983, he wrote them out and indeed Liam is a budding songwriter.

supposedly they had spent time choreographing a fabulous ending to the song and in true style it didn't disappoint. Both Pressley boys still call Ben "Baby Ben" 4 years out, and it hasn't been until holding a tiny baby again that Ben looks SO old and more like one of them. I am betting if there is a way to get Baby Ian on the Pressley family trampoline Ben, Connor, and Liam will find a way.

Looking forward to our upcoming beach weekend, a much needed laid back, time stopping still vacation with lots of sleep, frosty drinks, and playtime with the kids.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Does Home Depot Install Urinals?

Again, where has my week gone? Camp Mommy is in full swing and no I don't count taking the dog to the vet for an almost hour wait and then appointment in the pouring rain yesterday on the agenda. We all, baby Ian included, looked like we had been in a wet tshirt contest. My vet actually used the words, "pitiful owner" when she brought up the dog was way overdue on vaccines. We are not talking the Rabies one here folks. Today Camp Mommy will involve a trip to the ABC store for Book Club liquor. I can't imagine what could go wrong with a stroller, a 4 year old, and lots of glass.

Appreciate the good thoughts I didn't mean to sound the alarm bells Friday. Thinking about options, how to settle into the 2 child thing, and remembering that working harder is not always smarter. In the scheme of things, this should be easy street. I'm bottle feeding,have a cleaner through the summer, and froze ahead like crazy. I need to get it together as this could be soooo much harder.

I'm looking at time wasting crap including what can I feasibly blow off without the pissing others off factor. I really have stayed home, and not over scheduled myself this week, even last week for those who don't believe it's possible.

Truth be told, staying busy, even an insane crazy busy is always preferable in my world, it staves off negativity and gives some fleeting sense of control. Believe it or not but going to the gym the past 3 mornings at 5:45 is worth the sacrifice of an hour of sleep. These next two weeks are the trial run for am workouts before the online class starts to roll and the summer routine starts. I live and die by the all holy routine, and that is a huge part to this stress is re establishing or better yet finding the two kid routine.

Tuesday I had Ben, Ian, and one twin. It cycled between pouring or so humid I thought my hair would explode if we ventured outside. It was a long afternoon in which my repertoire of camp (indoor) mommy fun was running thin between taking care of the babies. Play dough had long since become tiresome, Dora was about to be given an AZ come to justice deportation and I left the double stroller on the porch to be soaked leaving a trip around the neighborhood out of the cards once the rain stopped. Well Done Camp Director.

Ian was up continuously and was crying for a good chunk of the time. At some point of the day it occurred to me that as a mom to 2 boys, 3 maybe 4, even 5 on occasion when friends are over, that installing a urinal in the middle of the living room would save so much time. Call it a fleeting thought or a stroke of DYI brilliance.

take your pick-