Monday, August 30, 2010

Giving Cookie Fleck A Limp For the $$$

Pic/wrap up from Hilton Head coming soon, but I can't NOT comment on yesterday. After spending a week eating my weight in seafood we made a 2 hour appointment in the child activity area for the boys so we could hit the gym, then the pool with Ben.

The *plan* was to go to a am spin class while Bill did Couch to 5k. We got there late, so no spin class. I instead I opted of the elliptical with plans for weights and core afterwards. At 10 am I decided to change to the Stairmaster so I could watch Meet the Press and finish cardio.

I was getting off and bam... hit the final step up under my kneecap. Holly Hell I was in pain. I tried walking around and even got the treadmill at a super slow pace thinking that moving it would help and I could walk it off.

I looked like Cookie Fleck from Best in Show dragging her leg showing her Norwich Terrier before the Captain took over with his 2 left feet.

Bill and met up and I was nearly in tears. I wanted to just go home and ice it and put it up, but Bill overriding my usual stubbornness took me to the Urgent Care. This with a hangry and whiny Ben, and Ian who has taken to screaming, not just crying anytime we put him in the car. Yes, all 8 hours home Friday from HHI were spent crying escalating to screaming.

Good times, Good times....

Note that this didn't happen on the drive down but has happened every SINGLE time I have put him in the car since Friday. Can we say our drive in October for family vacay will be done at night, even if Bill and I succumb to taking Speed to stay up to drive in shifts.

Back to my knee, which after 4 x rays, my refusal to get in a wheelchair and decision to instead walk out, and then most of the afternoon fighting with Bill to stay off my feet it's only severely bruised and swollen.

A fav pic from a really great trip. Wrap up coming soon as well as a link for my recent guest post for a friend's blog.

Friday, August 20, 2010

LOVE, the *short* version

Yes it is possible to be brief :-)

LOVE these cheesy but sweet pictures of the boys from the quick pics for gmom/MIL

LOVE that there were tears all around at final day of camp last time hugs. Thank you to wonderful counselors for not booting us, esp Mr. Steve, Ben's 22 year old superhero.

LOVE that Bill put up with my mini-loosing it and went to REI at 9 pm along with help getting us out the door. 7 days of quiet what will he do?

LOVE that our pool/beach bag is bigger than our suitcase of clothes

LOVE that for the next week there are extra hands to hold, change, feed, entertain, and love on the boys

LOVE that when I get home is up to me. I can't recall the last time I used the phrase "open ended."

Thursday, August 19, 2010

That's What I Get For Thinking Out Loud...

So my little aside that we were thinking of letting Ben help make the decision about changing schools has generated some thoughts. I brought it up with friends last night and again today over the phone with a couple more. Wow, I didn't think that "thinking out loud" would generate interest.

The boys fell asleep in the car after the outdoor movie we attended tonight. We proceeded talk over the options and make a decision. Bill is going in early to meet with the Director (again)the other classroom teacher. Letting Ben "decide" was not the plan, rather that I wanted to gage what he thought once we checked out the new setting. There's stupid parenting mistakes and then letting your kid run the show.

I had already preplanned to take Ben back to introduce him to his new teachers today and see his new classroom. We went this afternoon and lucky me the firehouse next door were washing the trucks. So before and after the visit we sat and watched and talked while Ian napped. I think Ben is expecting firetruck fun everyday at the new school.

Here are the options:
Start at a new school for his final year of preschool or return to the school he was at last year. Both days will run 8:30-3:00 are are around the same price.

Pro- New Scho
ol. Seriously closer as in no more 1 hr round trip commutes, more transparency in what they are doing (workbooks, "homework", parent involvement is required), lead teacher has years of preschool experience and is focused on getting the K ready, computer in the classroom that is used for more than gaming, inside play area for cold/wet days, school lunch is provided.

Negatives- This is 3 schools in 3 years and while I agree kids are adaptable, Ben is a creature of habit more so that I think people realize. Getting him out of any routine = major ugly meltdown. While I have mentioned that this summer has been tough I will likely never publicly post how bad it had gotten or to the extent I feel I crossed the proverbial parenting line to reel him in.

I simply do not want to set up a situation that then takes months to recover from or pushes him back into negative behavior. Today when we visited, Ben was shy, hesitant to join in and later told me he didn't like the teachers. I know that given time he would adjust so I want to give him every chance to adapt and make the change be positive. Adapting to change is a social skill to be learned on the way to Kindergarten and

Pros on going back to the Old School
- Ben had an amazing teacher experience with Ms. Becki, he knows the routine and how Montessori works, a huge focus with this method is teaching self-control, there are monthly field trips (which I can now go on) and monthly walks to the library. There is a lot of outdoor time which he needs.

While I can recreate much of the pros, there is something to be said of doing it as a class. If I need care past 3:30 then it's always an option on a day by day basis. If we decide we wanted one of the 8 spots for Ian at 18 months staying there is about our only way to get him in. Most importantly, I know Ben was loved on the most difficult days this year.

Cons- the drive, the feeling that sometimes I wonder just what he did as there as there is not a weekly report in the way I expected, his best friend has moved to K and Ben has been very upset in a way I have never seen him. Part of me thinks going back to this school is just a daily reminder that this friend is never going to be in his class again and that too is a lesson I don't want to have relive every single day.

The visit today was so -so. It was a lukewarm reception today, reaction to teacher bordered bad based on his comments later. Hearing that the indoor play area is not always a weekly thing will be crushing to him as I think it's the only card I can play to keep him interested and willing to try something new.

SO as of now unless something drastically changes after Bill's visit tomorrow am, Ben is going to do 2 trial days when we return and hopefully make the change. Damn, I don't want to be classified as one of those, "the grass is always greener parents", but Bill and I just want to make sure that we did everything we could to set him up for a successful year. I think I am going to get t-shirts printed that say, "parenting is not for pussies." Want one?

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Divide and Conquer

Each Tuesday night is date night with Ben. It's been part of our summer strategy to work on discipline by giving him one on one time. Our ground rules are: that we alternate weeks with the other parent at home with baby, try to do something different each week, and that bad behavior cannot take this night away. Date night happens even if he's acting like a total tool.

In the rotation are: Chick Filet Kids night, 1.50 theater kids movies, picnic at the park and feeding ducks, and the ice cream parlor. Last night I took him to our local kids museum's $2.00 family kids night. We got there only for the last hour, but it was just enough time to play together and talk in the car. Last night's topic was about bad dreams and Mr. Steve at daycamp.

We checked out the outside exhibits including this awesome sustainable garden. Inside we did the items he typically gravitates towards car building, giant block room, driving the bus, and the balls that dump from a giant pig into a pit.

He also loves to role play so we spent some serious time making lemonade and then selling it to other kids and then played Vet and brushed fake dogs. Note, this last activity we can do for free at home.

This is a great museum and if it was closer I would consider a membership. But since we already have ones to Durham Science and Life and the NC Zoo, it's worth it to check this out on occasion for our date night. Total cost for dinner and admission was $10.

On the discipline front as a whole the last few weeks have been MAJOR improvement from earlier in the summer. Ben has had several great weeks of daily good reports at camp and aside from some pent up weekend crazies, he has made great strides.

We have been talking to him about the move to the new school. Part of me wants to just let him go back to the familiar even if it's a long drive each day. I fear that moving to a new place, new teachers, and friends we are going to regress back to early summer behavior. So, much to think about, visit the new school again, and believe it or not let him be part of this decision.

Is that crazy to ask your 4 year old their opinion and actually take it into consideration?

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Momma Reece

Today is the first day back in workdays for most teachers in the state. Guess where I'm at on a weekday morning? Drinking coffee, doing launrdy, and watching sweet baby play in the bouncy. Guess what I'm NOT doing? Sitting in a welcome back assembly watching all day powerpoints about school scores and being pepped up to start a new year.

Over the weekend one of my favorite SuperTeachers came by to visit the boys. When I think of people that saved my ass first year I think of Kim Reece. My first year was a decade ago and as I started I will be honest, I had no idea what I was doing. I had a great mentor during student teaching who believed baptism by fire method of learning. While others in my masters program where lucky to take attendence for their teacher, mine was having me teach the federal court system two weeks after I started.

I owe Marty B giving me confidence I never knew I had for the year we worked together. But with that said, nothing compares to having your own classes that you are totally responsible for day after day. Because the county I currently work in is near impossible to land a job just out of school, I taught for my first 2 years in a neighboring rural county that at the time had one very large high school.

I worked in a large department of over 20 other teachers that took up an entire floor. In my interior windowless, hot as hell room I moved all my stuff in and started to plan for the 3 preps I had been given including an AP class. Needless to say I spent around 60-80 hours a week for the next year including most Sundays trying to stay ahead. I don't think people outside education undertand how much work adding one new prep for a new class means: creating lesson plans for 90 min blocks, finding media that can be supported, working within the confines of a state mandated objectives (78 in civics alone with 800 terms for the course.)

In walked Mrs. R to the resecue with her lessons, open file cabinate, listening ear, and years of tried and true classroom management techniques. She was mom to both me and my friend Laura H who was also a new teacher next door. I cannot tell you how much I owe Kim for saving me that 1st year. As a graduate of the high school and long time resident in the town she knows (and has taught) most folks in her 25+ years. Her creation of a Mock Life Project is the reason that I wanted to teach, to help instill some real and meaninigful skills outside of sit and get teaching to the state test.

Her B/G twins, who were sweet Freshman my 1st year, are out of college getting married and heading to law school. Just saying that makes me feel really, really old. Just that just as Kim would agree that it's not the bureacatic aspects of the job but the kids are the reason you come back year after year.

As I start next week with my fall sections online I'm reminded that teacher like Kim are the reason that kids succeed. They have a personal cheerleder in their corner that refuses to let them get lost in the system.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

A Weekend Phone Photo Friday-SERENITY NOW!

Do you need to ask how this went down? *Hint* it involved my Dyson "animal" vaccum. Aptly named.

Note that the 10 cans of playdough and subsequent mess are behind me, ground into the carpet. The same new carpet that I put two cats down to get in hopes of selling this house.

The chair and leggo table are now out of the room. If he wants to get to his shelves he will have to scale them. May I point out this would be good practice for prison.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

The Last Time I Reference Hobos

So after publicly declaring that I have the oral hygiene of a hobo yesterday I am indeed the owner of a mouthful of new fillings. Since it took 7 shots to numb me up I opted to fix another small one on the same tooth. I could not feel my face given that all sides top and bottom were numb until afternoon.

The boys were FABULOUS yesterday. Ben asked me if I wanted to lay down with him so we curled up in his tiny bed where I was out cold and woke up covered in stuffed animals. He was all too fascinated and kept wanting to rehash why only Baby Ian had gone to the dentist.

Ian was a sweetheart and minus having to change a poopy diaper while totally drugged up he was a happy, content baby. It probably helped that I think everyone in the office carried him around during the 3 hour visit.

My dentist is quite chatty so I brought my own music to zone out. Instead I think he talked louder and his assistant turned up her morning TV viewing of Dr. Phil, The Doctors, and then the Price is Right. After crashing super early thanks I feel much better today.

So I am a total coward when it comes to dentists. It's like I can deal with pain most anywhere else on my body but not anywhere related to my face. Given that I never had a single cavity until after I had Ben and found out I had nine, I think I get a pass.

Actually being post gastric bypass it is more likely related to vitamin deficiencies which I thought I was treating with a hella lot of supplements I take each day and extra bloodwork throughout the pg to check levels.

Can not wanting to go to the dentist be a valid excuse for being done having kids?

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Tattoo Removal

Reason #912 I should have turned around on the drive home from the pool when it was too quiet. It took a good 30 mins to remove all those stickers aka "tattoos" as Ben so proudly told me as he begged me not to rip them trying to remove them.

Ben demanded band-aids to cover all the places the tattoos had covered as a small amount of leg hair was removed in the process. Uh.. no you get 4 bandages, pick your favorite places you LA INK lovin' preschooler.

Speaking of pain, I'm on my way to have FIVE cavities filled post pregnancy. I had 9 after Ben. With those numbers you would think I have the oral hygiene of a hobo.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

The Insanity Meter

As of around 2 am I am DONE, DONE, DONE with grades and contacting schools for my summer class. For the next couple of weeks I am free to get done with the neglected summer to do list.

Item 1- Clean out my classroom and haul 10 years of teaching home.

I am driving solo with the boys to meet the inlaws in Hilton Head in a couple of weeks. Seriously looking forward to a week of an extra set of hands as well as the only real vacation we are taking this summer. We do have a big family trip in the works for October.

This past weekend was filled with highs and lows mainly on the parenting front. I'll give it 1-10 on the insanity meter.

Friday afternoonn- Met up with a friend contemplating IVF while the boys played in the pool and Ian napped. Insanity factor- 2 (the boys did great and Ben had 5/5 great days at camp)

Friday night- Great family pizza night, Bill and I got caught up on True Blood Season 2 after the boys were in bed.

Sat- ALL HELL BREAKS LOOSE before 7 am. Ben is in time out before 7:30am, the first of many 4 year old showdowns. The whole day is like one extended fight with him. We swap kid duty half way through the day. Ben is a holy terror until he goes to bed. We bypass watching tv in place to talk about what is triggering behavior outbursts. Also, after 2 years my Obama car magnet was taken off my car while we were out to dinner. SUCKS! Insanity factor- 10

Sunday- I took the boys to the child activity center to head to the am spin class I've been going to the last month. It's typically a great workout but I should have known something was not right when the substitute instructor put on the best of Superbowl highlights instead of the usual visual of rolling hills. Add to it, his playlist was no less than 60 mins of speed metal. Really dude, this was NOT what I needed today. I thought about bailing half way through the class. I stuck it out and hit the pool with Ben afterwards where we managed to loose half of the pool toys we packed. Much crying and mom checking the drains. Insanity factor- 5

When we got home both Ben and Ian took a glorious hour long nap at the same time giving Bill and I both time to get some time to get something done for work. I almost cried that I had to wake either of them up to head to a big 1st birthday party for our friends' daughter. Ben so rarely ever actually sleeps anymore and not sleeping usually means the late afternoon until bed is crazy town at the house.

The party was really cute in a 1st birthday's are really for the parents way. I had gotten a super cute ladybug hat for winter made for Gretchen on etsy. Ben was well behaved until we got home and he was wired on sugar, the heat, and way to many times playing Peanut Butter and Jelly Time on the hour drive home. Insanity Factor - 7

Luckily yesterday was good from start to finish minus once throwing a screwdriver from helping replace batteries in his jambox for afternoon dance party. Thankfully his playlist is restricted to the car.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Result of a Preschool Hip Hop Dance Party

I have to admit I stole this idea from Beth and have for months been planning on setting up a car playlist for Ben. We are in the car at least an hour a day most days, shuttling somewhere and if Ben is being grumpy the drive is painful.

After attending a recent Family Day Y camp (a hip hop dance off) Ben begged me to have a dance party at home.

I talked to one of the counselors and asked for some of the music that he has been singing in the car. The list is not totally complete but as of Thursday pick up I am proud owner of my first Hannah Montana song, set on repeat 4 times on the drive home. Oh brother.

Some songs aren't that bad. I'm thinking after playing this list repeatedly on an upcoming 8 hour solo drive to Hilton Head I'm going to be beating my head again the steering wheel.

Apache (Sugar Hill Gang)
Ice Cream Freeze (Hannah Montana)
Real Gone (Cars Soundtrack)
Peanut Butter and Jelly Song (DJ Chipman from The Buckwheat Boyz)
Life is a Highway (Cars Soundtrack)
Woody's Song (Toy Story Soundtrack)
Jai Ho (Slumdog Millionaire soundtrack)

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Walking the Plank

Last night I was making dinner with Chef Ben's help. He decided to proceed to pull out all his hats (don't ask why they are in a kitchen drawer) and try them on Ian. Too cute! .

And YES I know that using a Bumbo on the counter is like literally making your kid walk the plank into the floor. No worries, I was within arm's reach. We learned the hard way with Ben, who managed to get out of a Bumbo and was sitting on the kitchen counter in about .0934 secs. Yeah.. not a fine parenting moment.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Hot Pocket

Last weekend Bill and I had 24 glorious hours sans kids. Back in April in our newborn haze Bill found out through Twitter that one of our fav comedians were going to be within driving distance.

If their is one thing I want to be remembered for its loving to laugh and making others laugh. I spent much time in detention for either being late to class or being part of a disruptive pair with my friend Nathan P. We singled handed were responsible for our 9th grade Science teacher retiring early. Yes, she actually told me this when I saw her after I graduated.

Bill and I our entire 16 year relationship have seen more comedians than music concerts. In fact we have planned whole Vegas trips based on who was going to be headlining.

We had a fab time. I booked a suite at the Marriott, sat by the pool and read for a full hour minus MY own screaming kids (other than the family reunion that took up the entire 2nd floor, pool, lobby all in matching tshirts.)

We had a great dinner at the Chesapeake House (actually sat at the same exact waterfront table as we did on our June Beach vacation), enjoyed the show, and leisurely walked around an outdoor shopping area afterwards and shared ice cream at Maggie Moos. The presentation was in the Alabama theater complete with this ginormous painting circa 1987 of the band. I don't know what is worse the vomit sweater, sunglasses, or the use of a directors chair in a painting.

We did find the MOTHERLOAD of redneck/Dixie Flag shirt shops. I had to hold Bill back from buying a General Lee shirt from Ben not to spend my $$$ supporting the ROOM of confederate flag shirts. I now know where the state of SC shops. Minus the speeding ticket we got coming back it was a great break, although I missed bedtime stories with Ben and rocking Ian to sleep.

Several folks mentioned they had never heard of Comedian Jim Gaffagin. So to check out his most famous bits about the nastiness of Hotpockets... Enjoy!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Hole in One

One year ago today we found out that sweet baby Ian was a reality. My apologies to those trying to play Wacky Golf in Destin, FL when we got the news. Jumping up and down on hole 11 should have been a tip off we were shooting MORE than a hole in one.

Man, where did the last 12 months go?