Wednesday, December 22, 2010

And that brings us to Winter Break

Trevor just got out of school and that starts his Winter Break. He's obviously very excited for being so close to Christmas but this past week has been very interesting as well. Last Thursday we went to the golf course where they had a Santa Bingo night. We had dinner there because kids eat free! Yay!

I had never stayed for Bingo before, so I wasn't sure exactly what to expect. They had one of their staff who had dressed up as santa. Her name was Brooke, and Trevor right away was asking why it was a fake santa. Gwen still says it is a girl if you ask her. There were some real ringers playing the game as they did charge $3 a card, and some people had 3 people each with 6 cards each. But we actually won a game. The kids decided to pick out a tiny billiard table. And they would not be talked out of it. Gwen wasn't really into the game after the first one, so we decided to leave before the game was done.

Saturday, I was able to get out to go bridesmaid dress shopping with my soon to be sister-in-law, in-law. Or however that works out. It was so nice to be out away from the kiddos. I even bought myself clothes. I seriously don't think that has happened before in years. It was very peaceful and nice to be out with an adult and not have to talk about the kids even. Now if I can find time soon for Russ and I, I'll be set!

Sunday Trevor, my mom and I went to the performance of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. I don't remember the exact year I saw it with Donny Osmond, but it was another great show. Trevor said he enjoyed it as well. We had great seats for viewing, but not great seats to catch the streamers that were thrown at the end. It was very nice to get to see that story again and start a new tradition with my own son.

Monday was almost a typical day. Gwen didn't have school for the rest of the week, but we were able to hang out and organize the house a little bit.

Tuesday, I went over to visit Ethan and Kelsey while Gwen was at my mom's house. He's at the cooing-smiling age, and very fun! Yet I was able to hold him while he slept too, which really works for me!

Tuesday evening was our Benihana birthday dinner for me. It. was. awesome. We sat at a table with 3 other people, one of whom was a boy, the same age as Trevor. They yelled across the grill at each other for a lot of the dinner, Gwen was actually mesmerized by the chef and ate a bunch of shrimp with shrimp sauce for the first time. It was a chunk of change like it always is, but when you use the big coupon they give you for your birthday, it was well worth it!

Also Tuesday evening was the end of my school term. I am not sure of my grades yet, but I'm happy to have them done. It was a big "to-do" off my list when Wednesday morning came.

And now today, Wednesday, I helped out with Trevor's class party. I was in charge of the games so I organized snowman bowling and pin the carrot nose on the snowman. It seemed to be a big hit and it was fun to see the dynamic of the class. Trevor decided he wanted to get all spiffed up for the party and asked me to do the same. I tell you, that Trevor is a pretty cool kid when he wants to be. I'm pretty sure he's off Santa's naughty list this year.

So now the real craziness begins. Trevor has 12 days off from school, hopefully we won't be driving everyone crazy. I have started to use helpful hints of the book called "Siblings without Rivalry". It's all about how to encourage good relationships between siblings and promote your own feelings about the kids in a more positive manner. Gwen of course is fighting me the whole way, but I think the kids really are starting to work together more often than they used to.

Case in point, this week Trevor came up with an idea of feeding all of Gwen's baby dolls. She has recently gotten two princess babies as rewards for potty training. These dolls came with musical bottles. So it works out since that each of them can have a baby bottle and feed all dozen or so baby dolls that they have lined up on the couch. HA Trevor, if only that were so easy, although thankfully I've never had to take care of more than one bottle-feeding baby at a time. Anyway, I was quite surprised when the next morning, Trevor asked Gwen if they could feed the babies again. They also like to play a delivery game with the train setup around the Christmas tree. They each sit on one end of the tracks and put an object to be delivered to the other side of the tracks. I know it isn't probably related to my changing habits, but I'm going to try to promote any group activities for the kids that I can so that maybe they can always have a playmate. Who knows in this parenting thing....

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

The Big Snowstorm

I guess I need to record something about the giant snowfall and blizzard that we had last Saturday. It amazes me that although I can get through a week or so of having the kids home because of breaks from school, one day where we could not really go anywhere as everyone was confined to the house, and it seemed like everyone got the crazies.

As luck would have it, Russ was scheduled to touch down from his return flight to Minneapolis around 1:45 or so. On Friday, I emailed him a story about the projected weather for Saturday. Thankfully he knew he wouldn't have to wait for that Saturday flight in order to get his work done. So, he decided to call Delta to see if he could go standby on the flight that left California at midnight. They said that it would require a change fee because his flight was still on time. After he had checked with his company to make sure it was ok to change his flight, and then called back, strangely enough his flight for the next day was delayed 15 minutes. By their definitions, the flight status had changed, so he could change flights without a charge. The flight was slightly late taking off, but it arrived only a half hour later than scheduled here in Minneapolis at 6:15 or so. It had snowed a few inches, but he still got a taxi and made it home a little after 7:00. The next flight due in from California missed the airport closing by 15 minutes and was re-routed to South Dakota. Russ's original flight was then cancelled.

Trevor's basketball was cancelled on Friday, and hockey was also cancelled during the day. So we were all stuck in the house for the day. I did my gingersnap cookie baking for the family that day. They are all gone as of today. I stuffed my Christmas cards and wrote our Christmas letter. I tried to get all the last online orders I could that day as well as some homework for school.

In the end, what really amazes me is the plowed, drifted, and huge piles of snow. I remember them when I was younger, but I don't think there has been this much snow this early for a very long time. Unfortunately, I'm pretty sure that the grass will remain hidden now for the next three months at least. It sure does make for a long winter.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

A Giant up and down week

Thankfully the week is ending on an up swing, but it was a crazy week here. We were planning on Gwen's preschool program on Wednesday night, swimming lessons on Tuesday night, but things quickly became more busy as the week went on. Gwen's program was great, she made it through the entire 30 minute-or-so portion of the kids program. There were the older preschool program and 3 kindergarten kids that also go to school there involved in singing. Gwen was front and center for all the world to watch as she did the typical waving, dancing, and fidgeting as is a typical 3 year old. She even called out to Trevor and I on occasion during a song or two. Guess that must be a hereditary thing as well.

On that very same day, Trevor lost his first upper tooth. While Trevor has always talked about all of his loose teeth, this one really came out quick compared to all the wiggling that he had done with previous teeth. It came out over the course of three spoonfuls of Cheerios. He was totally excited that he would get to put a tooth sticker on a chart for December in his classroom. Additionally, he came home that day with enough stickers to finish his sticker chart in order to go to a water park. Later that night, Russ had to rush out to California on business for the rest of the week. It was a shorter week than usual as he was planning on being back on Saturday.

Then on Thursday, it all went downhill. Actually, it was all isolated to one event, but after the great high of the previous day, I took it pretty hard. At 2:45 I got a call from Trevor's school that he had to sit in the "quiet room" based on an incident on the playground. Trevor then got on the phone and explained that he had punched a girl in the stomach. He also quickly noted that he lost all of his stickers. I was able to keep it together with him in order to understand that he had apologized to the girl, and that he was pretty devastated after he did it. But after his teacher called me that afternoon to answer any questions I might have, it really hit me. Boy did I feel like the world's biggest failure. I understand that it was a choice that Trevor decided to make, and that since that time a big light bulb finally went on in his head, but the big hit that I felt was just a big deflation after the great day we all had the previous day.

Friday came and went without incident. Trevor drew an apology card to the girl and we decided not to allow him back out for recess that day. He instead spent the time reading a book in the lunchroom by himself. We will be continuing to discuss his thoughts and choices he needs to be making, but it was pretty obvious from our continuing talks that he is pretty shaken by what happened. I guess I am happy at his reaction for this whole thing, he didn't claim that what he did was justified. He feels horrible for it. And from what I understand, he isn't at the age yet to completely control all of his quick responses to situations. But of course none of this justifies anything. We are trying to find more and more ways to make up for the act. I think next up is to take some of his money and buy a gift to donate to Toys For Tots at his school. He came home on Friday to show me that he got three of his stickers back because he had a perfect report.

Because of the impending blizzard I told Russ he might want to consider coming home on an earlier flight. Because his flight was already delayed, that was able to allow him to switch flights free of charge, and actually be booked, not on standby. He arrived home at 7am this morning, well before the blizzard conditions. Hence the upswing of the week. I'm pretty sure we'll be confining ourselves to the house today.

Monday, December 6, 2010

A New Tree

I guess I will still have a few surprises in store for the years to come. Through the past few days, a lot of things have happened that make me want to write them down and remember them. Last year, our Little People Nativity set was used mostly by Trevor, or at least in the year's previous, but this year, it was all about a new "house" for Gwen. We have a 2ft tall Fisher Price Dollhouse, that was a quick grab for $1 at a garage sale 3 years ago. The family that lives there is our family, with Elizabeth and baby Sam as the additional kids in the family. We have a Little People dollhouse that is used by any other dolls or figures that appear in the house. They can be princesses, little people from various toys, like we have a carnival playset and Noah's ark. We have two castles for the small princess dolls. Yet she still loves to have anything that might be like a house used as one, hence the excitement with the nativity set. She is learning about baby Jesus in preschool and Mommy Mary and the angel but the animals seem to travel among the houses. I remember when the nativity was used for Lightning McQueen and his friends.

On Saturday, we went to our usual tree place, and I was quite unhappy with the selection. We have a vaulted ceiling so we can and do usually get an 8ft + tree. I was surprised not just at the lack of height in trees, but usually I can find a few that have a good girth to them. Not so this year. Pretty much all of them I could wrap my arms around no problem. The one we got is no exception, but I guess it is better than some of the ones I saw. I did also settle for the 7ft one, so I did save about $20 on what I usually get.

Sunday after church we decorated the tree. Gwen had found the Cinderella doll-like ornament when I brought all the Christmas stuff upstairs and had been playing with her like a doll. Except after a while I think she realized that she wasn't meant to be as a doll because she didn't have any legs. After that experience, I figured that a lot of the ornaments she would see would become dolls, similar to how Trevor had played with all vehicles and toys that he liked to play with, rather than put them on the tree.

Not so: she loved opening all the boxes for the ornaments and having me put them on the tree. She didn't care at all to play with them and keep them off the tree. Trevor's annual tradition has continued though. All of his Star Wars ships, Luke, and Toy Story ornaments are not on the tree because he would rather play with them. I tired to sneak one on, but he found it and took it off the tree. As if that weren't enough, the ornaments he does play with he will put them on the tree, not as ornaments but as if they are hiding. I guess the tree is part of the game now. So other "ornaments" are now on the tree. He has lego ships on branches, our Super Why vehicles, and even a Luke figure that he got for his birthday that looks identical to the ornament we have of Luke.

Gwen, on the other hand takes or asks to have ornaments taken down to be played with and then put back on the tree. Her favorite are: what looks like a wedding topper with Russ and my anniversary date written on it, a stuffed crocheted Christmas tree in the shape of a small rectangle that Gwen uses as a pillow for her dolls, and my dried clay figure of when I graduated from High School in 1996 - she calls it the red doll. She does not bring these upstairs, and once she is done she asks to have them put back on the tree. She will also spend time just looking at the ornaments she can identify and talking about them: Look, that's Trevor with his nuk from when he was a baby. That's Mrs. Potato Head. That's my name with a crown and a princess.

One other tradition that has been recently re-started is Elf on a Shelf. For those of you that don't know, you can buy a book with this elf that sits on a shelf in your house. Once you name him, he travels to Santa each night to report to him how the children in the house have been. On Christmas Eve he reports for the last time and does not reappear until the next year. Last year was our first year, and Trevor named our elf Frankincense. We weren't sure when he was going to reappear, but he did right after we got our tree. New to our tradition is that Trevor has been giving Frankincense a piece of chocolate from his advent calendar to eat every night. I don't think he understands the concept of bribery yet but I do wonder if he thinks it will get him better reports.....

Then on Sunday afternoon we went as a family to watch the movie Tangled. Very well done movie. The kids would have done fine but they each had their own bathroom break during the movie. Gwen asked me today if we could watch it again, so I know she liked it. Plus her miniature Rapunzel doll has a whole new life which she can reenact. Trevor thought he wouldn't like it because the main male character is sort of a bad guy, but he said afterwards he was going to be unhappy if he would have died, but otherwise I think he did like it.

So that's it for now. Less than 3 weeks to go! I have to start checking things off my list!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

He's 7 and it's Christmastime!

Wow...I had no idea this weekend was going to take so much out of me. For some reason I was so on top of Thanksgiving, I thought that I could handle Trevor's birthday just the same. Not so. Compared to Thanksgiving, I was a disaster. I forgot to get half of the things we needed for the party, the cake fell apart, and because it was on a Saturday, there wasn't a whole lot to do. It seemed as though Trevor didn't notice, because he seemed to have a good time regardless. We were able to watch Toy Story 3 and some of our guests had to leave early. Russ got the kids ready for bed before he had to leave, and although it was 7:30, both kids asked to get to bed. Usually, Trevor asks me to read stories up until 9:00 if not later, but when I was done a little before 8:30, he didn't complain at all. I guess everyone was a little tired from the busy weekend.

The day after Trevor's birthday is usually the day we bring up Christmas decorations. We won't be getting the tree for another week or so, but I still get the movies, CD's, stockings, and toys out. It was a very different feeling from last year. Trevor was all gung-ho about getting the stuff out, and this year he seemed almost bored by it all. Maybe because the books are now too young for him, and the Little People Nativity set is really too young for him. I have a feeling when we get the tree out and decorated, it might be more of the same for him. Gwen loves to look at any Christmas tree decorations, and I remember last year how she loved to give me all of the decorations, one by one. Trevor likes to look at them, but doesn't really care a whole lot about getting them on the tree.

It seemed to be a little better with the turning of the calendar. Perhaps a little chocolate motivation was needed. Gwen keeps asking if she can have more chocolate, and the kids seem to be ok switching off with our Mickey Mouse Christmas Calendar.

I do have to admit I have found my weakness this season. Last year and this year we are using amazon's wish list for our Christmas wishes. I keep getting notifications for a free amazon prime trial, so I figured I'd try it this year. I never thought about it, but they often price match with Target, and they don't charge sales tax, plus free two-day shipping with this trial membership. I think I've ordered at least 8 or 9 different orders. It ROCKS.

On a slightly different note, I believe my 38 month old daughter is completely day-time potty trained! I knew it was all about letting her do it herself, and motivating her with sticker charts, and she has done it. Gotta love the decreased cost of diapers about to head into the house, or at least be dramatically less.

So it has been quite the busy time. I only have 3 more weeks of classes then this session is done. And I will be very close to being done. Hopefully I will be able to organize the house like I want it to be. Maybe there can be a light at the end of the tunnel!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

It's another new year

Another new year in the life of Trevor. Dearest Trevor, how you have changed the lives of so many people just by being you. While it hasn't always been simple, and it has often been something I, as a parent, have to sort my way through because it is a whole new experience for me; I have loved watching you grow to become the little man you are quickly becoming. It is one of my favorite events to watch you have a huge glow of excitement coupled with quick jumping and wrist flapping at the things that make you happy. One of your most favorite activities is anything social. You love baseball, playing with your best friend, or having people over for one of your events.

I love that you are inherently helpful and I will continue to use that to my advantage. I know it makes both our hearts sing when you can do something for someone else and gain the pride from doing it. I love that you love to read and have finally found a series of books to read. I love that your school has programs that fit your learning style and your teacher has helped tremendously in working to make your experience the best possible. I love that you are always noted as a kind and caring person to other classmates.

Although some may think it is strange, I also love that I know you well enough to know what you are thinking most of the time. This is the first school year that you are gone all day, and I have been a little sad by that, but like I mentioned, it is wonderful so see and hear about all the things you are learning and enjoy doing. Maybe genetics has a lot to do with temperment and spending so much time together in the early years is working in our favor.

I love your love of video games and games in general. Your love of baseball is very apparent even at this age, and I know it is going to be something you will be thinking about or doing for a long time. As soon as it was done in October, you were asking when spring training started and when opening day is. You love to make baseball lineups, not with family but various celebrity (by your standards). Yes, most of the people are Twins players, but then you'll throw in Obama and Tiger Woods into the mix as well.

You memory is fantastic, and I suppose it can be detrimental on some occasions, it is another way you can get excited. You ask questions on more than one occasion about what I like, not because you don't remember but you want to find some way to make it happen so I will be happy. You know that I hate the cold and snow, but want to remind me that my birthday and Christmas are in the winter so that has to be good for something.

And it is with that that I shall say, Happy 7th Birthday Trevor! I can't wait to experience all your jumping wrist flapping that you have planned for today. It is your special day.


As this part of our season comes to a close, I am remembering all the things to be thankful for this year. Health, happiness, family, financial stability, preparing for the future, vacations, warm weather thoughts right about now. It was a very happy Thanksgiving here at our house. We host it every year, and invite everyone to come, and people who are able to make it do. Of course with Trevor's birthday either on or nearby, it can be a lot to ask people to do both Thanksgiving and his birthday at our place. But we are thankful to not have to split Thanksgivings ourselves. There was a time many years ago where that is what we would have to do.

I was also able to not feel very rushed as I'm beginning to really get down the rhythm of things that need to get done and the timing of it all. Other than cleaning and buying all the ingredients, I don't really do a lot of prep work. I finally feel confident to pull it all together. I wonder if that's a signal to getting older.

I was also able to get out early with a friend this morning for the Black Friday deals. Usually I don't go unless I have a specific must have deal in mind. Next year, if this becomes a tradition, I think I'll wait and plan for more gifts. There were some great deals if I wanted to get them, but I felt like I had the gifts covered already. We were in line when Target opened at 4am, which was at least an hour earlier than previous years. It wasn't crazy, like pushing people over, but it was very busy and the line wrapped around two buildings.

We went to two other stores before getting too tuckered out. Gwen didn't sleep well the night previously and I wasn't able to get much sleep as a result. But I did get a nap when I got home. But now starts the new season. Trevor has his birthday and then we formally celebrate the coming of Christmas. Although Gwen's birthday is "first", Trevor's birthday kicks off Christmas and I think he likes that as part of his birthday.

Hope all my friends and family had a wonderful day and knows how thankful I am to have everyone in our lives.

Monday, November 22, 2010

There went another week

Those of you that are keeping track, we are now less than 5 weeks from Christmas. I suppose I better get ordering/shopping or whatever it is I am going to do. I think it is hard for me to get motivated before Thanksgiving. Maybe this year is an exception because with Trevor's birthday I kind of have to plan out what to get for his birthday and what to save for Christmas.

Anyway, the weekend was crazy busy with hockey, basketball, the kids got to see Curious George the live action show, and then we had a birthday party as well. Because both kids were busy at the show on Saturday I actually got a lot of organizing and cleaning and homework done. I'll have to remember that. Usually when the kids are gone, we have an event to go to, so nothing still gets done around the house. But this weekend was the exception. I actually feel pretty good about the condition of the house right now. Granted, I'm not even touching the family room or the kitchen until Wednesday because the kids would destroy it again before Thursday anyway.

And that brings me to a new event. I was actually able to get Trevor to vacuum for me. I explained that tonight we were going to clean and that everyone had to pitch in. I was pretty sure that Gwen would do the opposite of cleaning up, but I had to give her a job, to keep it fair. Trevor's job was to dust and vacuum both sets of stairs. We have a loud but small hand held vacuum for doing stairs that I have used for many years. While I'm sure the dyson we have works better, I knew he couldn't handle the big thing. Luckily the hand held has a lower and higher setting, so at least he could tolerate the lower setting. I knew I was going to have to show him exactly what he had to do with the vacuum but he did it to perfection. He didn't whip through it like some people do, he took his time and got through it all, and they look great. I was able to clean up the laundry room in the mean time.

I think I can safely say, he can start doing some real chores now. He has liked to clean his room, probably because it doesn't really ever get all that messy. Actually, he has never really been a messy kid, perhaps because he doesn't really own that much stuff, or I get rid of it really quick. But what ever the reason, I'll take his thoroughness in cleaning and enjoying to the point of not complaining. And NO, he is not for hire because I don't want to ruin this for us. Even offering him money does no good because he thinks he has so much money he needs to give it away. He won a small chuck-a-puck game this weekend and was trying to give it to me because he knew I had to buy birthday presents for him. Did I mention he is impossible to buy gifts for because he doesn't want anything? I'm all out of ideas for this kid. We'll see how we make it through this week.

Monday, November 15, 2010

What a wonderful day

Well, we are on the downside of a bump....I can feel it. Gwen has been clingy and upset for a while now and I think she is slowly getting over it. Usually our Mondays are pretty low key, and that my only for sure plan is to go to the grocery store. I was able to get through the entire store and picked up everything on my list, so I can say I'm ready to start the Thanksgiving Day planning. Gwen did a great job as always, and as long as Trevor isn't nearby she can stay still for quite a while, especially with the bribe of a free cookie.

When we got home, she played in the car for a while, and I started to unpack the groceries. I also do the laundry on Mondays, so that was something I was also keeping an eye on. She asked to play Candy Land while I was in the middle of unpacking, so I asked her if I could finish unpacking, change the laundry and I would play with her. I got the box down so she could set it up for us.

As soon as I came into the room, she knew we were ready to go. I know she had previously played the game with my mom, although I don't know how "by the rules" they played it. So I tried to teach it to her, and she picked it right up! I got stuck in the molasses, and I picked the beginning candy, in this one a plum, right towards the end, so I had no chance. I explained that you are just trying to get to the end, which again in this game is a castle. She never cared if she was winning, and waited for me to finish after she was done. It is so nice to think of her starting to play the little kid games! I'm sure Hi Ho Cherry O is next, but for now, she still has the gingerbread guys out and playing in the Cinderella Castle or laying down in the bed (because every toy quickly becomes a doll family accessory, don't you know?).

That and now that she can do every 24 piece puzzle we have, by herself, has just shocked me into believing that she is quickly growing up. But what is even more amazing, after I spent the time playing Candy Land with her, she pretty much let me clean the rest of the house. That is a wonderful thing, when I get to do that. I'm pretty good (or should I say bad about the housework) about putting down the unimportant housework and playing with Gwen when she wants to, but that leads to a pretty messy house.

So what a wonderful surprise today turned out to be. Thanks Gwen! It was a heart warming and successful cleaning day for me!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Is it a funny story? To me anyway...

Seeing as this blog is meant to be a reference for the kids someday, I suppose they deserve to hear the story of how Russ and I met. I am taking a slight risk since there are other people involved that I am currently friends with on facebook and this does get published on facebook, so hopefully I don't step on anyone's toes.

Russ and I have talked about this enough to know each other's viewpoints on the situation which is why to us it is slightly funny. He was a junior in high school, I was a senior. Neither one of us were looking for a relationship, let alone trying out for husband/wife material. Russ's best friend and my good friend were currently dating, and both friends asked us to come along on a sort-of meeting, date, whatever you want to call it. I just thought I was coming to go to watch a cross country meet. I also wasn't sure what my "role" was because I got the impression that it wasn't really a set-up situation, more just a bunch of people getting together.

By the end of the night, I was practically begging my friend to go back so we could hang out again. We ended up circling the parking lot trying to figure out which apartment complex they were in because we weren't exactly sure. Remember, this was way before the time kids had cell phones.

I guess what really strikes me is how un-set-up the set-up was, and how neither of us was really going into the evening expecting to come out of it with a serious relationship, let alone find our life partners. It just goes to show, finding things comes when you least expect it.

Do you remember what you were doing?

15 years ago? I do. I just happened to be meeting my future husband and wonderful father to my two beautiful children. While we don't ever plan anything for our pseudo-anniversary, I do think it is always nice to remember the date and always laugh about the circumstances that we were brought together.

And also, because it seems to be a wonderful way to recognize and give thanks for all relationships, I give you:

The 11 reasons why I'm thankful to have such a wonderful husband that I do:
1. That you are able to provide for our family to the extent that I have the opportunity to stay and home and raise the children. It has been such an invaluable experience and while there were plenty of times that I was driven crazy through not enough adult-time, I wouldn't give it back for anything.
2. For your stubbornness. While disagreements can be tough on both sides, I do think that it has taught me to become more flexible and listening to another side of the story.
3. For your movie quoting ability. Something both kids have inherited which makes me giggle, although Gwen has also taken it to a different place in that she loves to memorize song lyrics.
4. For your sense of humor. My family knows you are good for your quick comebacks and memorable thoughts in a situation: Kettle, black and Remember baby Jesus to name a few.
5. For your intelligence. You are always going to be the parent to go to when the kids are in high school and have questions in history, english, social studies, science, and probably math. Although I'd like to try the math part since I did enjoy it. I'll take the music side of things when we get the kids in music lessons.
6. For your way with children. Both as a coach and as a parent, kids love to play with you. Must be that inner child or something.
7. For being a techie. I'm pretty sure the amount of money you have saved us by being able to fix things is at least a year's salary by now.
8. For loving nintendo like I do. While we may not agree on all the same games, at least I can try to kick your butt in Mario Kart or Super Mario Brothers once in a while. Not to say I win all that often, but I still like to try.
9. For being my partner if I am too sick or need to get something else done by taking the kids.
10. For being my golf partner. It is so much fun to share that time with you as I enjoy it - assuming we are in Hawaii, or a warm stretch in Florida or Minnesota.
11. For letting me be who I am - a disney nut job, accounting-loving, cheapskate mother of two. To steal a movie line, "you complete me" yet know not to change me and love me regardless. Only two more years and I will have known you for more than half my life (only one for you, you youngun :-)

Of course I could continue to go on and on with this list, but 11 being the lucky number here I will stop. I love you Russ.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

You would think they would be more different

Well yesterday was a busy day. Happily so, as nothing was too much, yet the day went by so fast because we had so much going on. Grocery store, playdate, closing on our refinance, getting Gwen's new dresser, playdate, and Gwen's preschool conference. In addition, it is nice to get some things done that needed to finally be over with. Our refinance started before Labor Day, and we closed in November. Wow.

And we went to Gwen's conference at her preschool. The kids were able to play in the childcare room where there are tons of toys, and the meeting was just 20 minutes. Now, I do have to remember that Gwen is going to preschool a year earlier than Trevor did, but really, just about everything that she was evaluated on, she came out just like Trevor. I guess there is something to say about the strong characteristics of nature and nurture. Gender and birth order don't have a whole lot to do with it, at least in our family. Wait, I do have to say that she was reported to be in love with their dress-up corner, and playing princesses and house. I can't say that Trevor was ever that into those things. He much preferred cars and blocks.

She is doing a great job learning to share, developing friendships, knowing her number relationships, and she is working on listening to instructions, and fine motor skills with cutting and drawing her name. She also is learning about her emotions and how to label them and deal with them. I guess that would be one other difference between her and Trevor. She is a lot more emotional quicker. At the conference, I hit a big light-bulb moment. I had been noticing that she had been a lot more whiny lately, even to the point of not wanting to talk about what she wanted, more cry about it. All you really can do in that situation is explain that I need her to tell me what is going on, that I cannot understand her when she cries. When her teacher said that she noticed it had increased in the last week or so, that is when the light bulb hit. While we don't have a new baby in our house, we do have a new baby in our extended family, and one that I have been lucky enough to spend a decent amount of time with, and Gwen knows that. I'm guessing that if we were to have a new baby in the house at this point, this behavior would only be many times worse. So her teacher noted that she would read some new baby books to see if maybe that may help her understand her feelings more. I'm very thankful that she can get this experience without me having to have another baby!

But bottom line, we were very pleased with both kids' conferences this year. So bring on the holidays!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

I'm already behind

We've had a pretty good week, and I've been meaning to post earlier this week, but haven't found the time. I'm already in my 4th week of classes (we have 10 weeks in class) and they are actually manageable. No more papers, which usually take up the most of my time. Trevor's school stuff is in process for being done. Maybe I can catch up a little on that during his and Gwen's two days off of school next week. But that is when our new furnace is coming and we are closing on our refinance. Blah.

We had a really good Halloween. A family friend threw a little party for everyone to say hi and see everyone's costumes. Then we could go off and do trick-or-treating. We decided to put a bowl of candy out so that we could head out with another family. Our immediate neighborhood isn't exactly filled with young kids so I figure it would be better if the kids could be out with someone they had fun with to enjoy the evening a bit more. We were only out for an hour or so. It did get a bit chilly and we got to see a pretty cool decorated house. We came back and also got to hand out candy to three groups of people. At which time I unloaded most of the rest of the candy. The kids did have fun unloading and organizing their stash, but since that time, they asked about having more candy the morning after and since then haven't said a peep. Trevor likes more types of candy than Gwen but because it is all out of sight, he doesn't really remember to ask about it and would prefer other snacks after school. I also have my favorite candy, but I don't even care about it enough to eat four or five pieces during the season.

Hopefully this weekend I can take down the Halloween decorations. 3 more weeks before we get out the Christmas decorations (the day after Trevor's birthday) and 7 more weeks until Christmas. Hopefully soon I'll start making my lists so I can search for good deals.

This past Tuesday was the kids first swimming lesson of the season. It was the first time Gwen was able to have her own swimming lesson. I never took her to parent/child swimming lessons, and I don't do them during the summer since we go swimming at the lake. When I started talking to her about lessons, she started to freak out a little bit. When I described them as games, she seemed a bit more willing to do them. I was also able to snag similar lesson times so that they both started at 4:00 and she got done at 4:30, and he got done at 4:40. I explained to Trevor's teacher that I couldn't come and get him because I was helping Gwen get ready. He seemed willing to help me get him into the locker room after his lesson.

When we got all ready for their lessons, I think I discovered that the part Gwen was more concerned about was that she thought I was going to leave her and go upstairs behind the glass to watch the lessons. Instead I sat on a ledge right next to the lessons so I could encourage her. She was a bit timid at first, but they had a belt and a noodle so she could try to swim on her own. There was one point where she swam all the way to the ladder and got out to walk over to the locker room. But then she got back in and kept going. I know she also got a kick out of going into the "warm pool" and found out she could touch. Hopefully, once she learns the routine, and understands what they actually do at her swimming lessons it will be easier for her. She did great for her first time. Trevor did his lesson and came back to the locker room when he was done. I'll have to talk to his teacher this week to see how he did.

I will admit that because I wanted the afternoon to go well, that I used McDonalds and watching Toy Story 3 as a bribe. It seemed to work, and I know based on past swimming lessons that Gwen was pretty tired afterwards. We'll have to wean them off of the bribes next week. Hopefully their swimming classes will continue to work out like this.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

The end of the Birthday Month

Well, I didn't get around to formally asking my mom if it was ok to post these things, but when I thought about it, I really couldn't come up with a reason why she wouldn't want me to post this. And since I posted the ones about my dad, it is only fitting that I post the ones I did for my mom. I also believe that affirming good thoughts keeps them coming. I'm sorry I didn't get these out on your actual birthday, but it was a birthday month, wasn't it? So happy birthday month mom!

Here are the 60 reasons why I love you:
1. For being Bubba
2. For keeping an eye on us kids by working at school
3. For being a stay-at-home mom
4. For being so close and open about your family
5. For trying the family meeting
6. For bringing us to the Children’s Theater
7. For making my birthday special
8. For being there to take care of Trevor when Russ and I were sick
9. For being a night owl
10. For the way you make chocolate chip cookies
11. For your love of late night games
12. For letting me see a little of your relationship with your mom
13. For helping me learn from your mistakes
14. For being involved at school as a chaperone for field trips
15. For helping organize and run events like the school carnival
16. For taking me school shopping every year for new clothes
17. For allowing me to date before I could drive
18. For teaching me how to sew
19. For teaching me how to cross-stitch
20. For letting me have my own boy-girl party
21. For not forcing me to do activities if I said I didn’t want to
22. For showing me the value of the Catholic religion
23. For the countless times you have cleaned my house
24. For praising me about what a good mom I try to be
25. For showing me through example that it is important to take time out for yourself
26. For sharing the time of being mother of the bride with me
27. For generally not showing dissatisfaction with any of the guys I dated
28. For not trying to live vicariously through me
29. For taking us on trips without dad
30. For standing in such outrageous lines to be on TV and getting me my own Cabbage Patch doll
31. For taking care of me whenever I was in the hospital, had surgery, or had major testing done
32. For shielding us from your and dad’s arguments
33. For finding ways to keep me learning in school
34. For piano/music lessons
35. For finding ways to continue “Grandma with glasses” traditions with her great-grandchildren
36. For participating in your grandchildren’s favorite activities (currently baseball and playing food)
37. For doing my hair all those years
38. For teaching me about family responsibility and how to clean (I really needed the teaching) through chores
39. For once-in-a-while breaking your own rules – for example food fights
40. For sewing and creating so many of my Halloween costumes
41. For teaching me about pets through Cleo, Corky, and then Rudy
42. For your love of reading and kids books
43. For your love of crossword puzzles
44. For making family videos
45. For the annual Christmas Cookie decorating complaining-fest
46. For organizing and allowing me to take trips by myself: Paris and Madison by train
47. For trusting me enough to let me babysit both inside and outside the home
48. You may not remember this, but letting me play with your jewelry and organize your underwear drawer
49. For taking care of your grandchildren during any previous or future Tiki Bar trips
50. For creating and reciting our evening prayer: “Now goodnight, Jesus sweet, let me kiss thy little feet
51. For singing us lullabies
52. For TV trays with TV dinners!
53. For donations during casino trips
54. For all your words of encouragement to me about being a good parent
55. For creating lunches like a beefstick sandwich
56. For your rice krispie treats
57. For your “love” of playdough yet providing us with toys in order to play with it
58. For your Orange Juliuses
59. For the way you decorate for major holidays
60. From Trevor: How kind and loving you are to people when they are hurt.

Also from Trevor: That you don’t kill people. That you tell us to back up when something is hot like the stove. You read to us a lot.

The story about the Trevor post was that he gave me such a good answer when I asked him what he loved about Bubba I thought I might add a few more. Except when he gave me the few more, I felt like they belonged more to him and didn't fit with my 60 reasons. So he got one, and a few added ideas.

We all love you so much Bubba!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

8 weeks and counting

Granted, counting as in I'm sure it will be here in less time....8 weeks from today is Christmas. 4 weeks and it is Trevor's birthday. Tomorrow is Halloween. As with all other retailers, I'm feeling like although most count the "holidays" as Thanksgiving and Christmas, I'm thinking our "holiday season" kicks off with Halloween. The kids are already feeling the excitement of an upcoming holiday, even though I've never made a huge deal of Halloween. Last year Trevor was barely getting over the flu and he didn't get to go to the school Halloween party. I let him go trick-or-treating but he was finally on the mend. This year, we kicked it off with the school party last night and tomorrow is the big event. Pumpkins are being carved tonight and we will be bundling up to make the rounds tomorrow.

I've been meaning to include a little taste into the life of a first grader in our neighborhood elementary school. Someone decided to come up with something called "Cheese Touch". I have no idea how far reaching this game is, but I would guess that it actually might not be in other elementary schools in the area. I could be completely wrong though. Anyway, the Cheese Touch is kind of like a secret tag, probably done throughout the school day. If you are it, you are trying to give the cheese touch to other kids in school. Your first two fingers must be crossed and your thumb must be out when giving the cheese touch. If you don't want to be it, you must cross your own fingers before someone declares "Cheese Touch". Trevor knows all the rules, as I guess you can also declare that you are not playing in order to avoid it. Anyway, it is a good conversation starter with people that he doesn't go to school with and I love to hear about all the rules that may or may not be real. As long as no one is hurt by it, I think it is pretty cute.

And for those of you that were expecting other news when I was talking about 8 weeks...sorry to disappoint. Although I have heard similar news twice in the past two days! Congrats to those special people!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Pumpkin Patches

As might have been mentioned previously, I am not exactly an outdoorsy person. My enjoyment outside is pretty much sitting in the sun on a hot day or golfing on an equally hot day. While I can think that the leaves do change beautiful colors in the fall, I am often more upset than anything because it means that summer is over and winter is coming quickly. Besides winter, I think that I also don't like fall because of the changing cooler weather, so I guess I'm a bit of a grump when it comes to fall activities. But as a mom, I know that it is much more important to get out and have your kids enjoy the activities in each of the seasons rather than sit in my grumpiness and make them unhappy too.

In this past week, I have been to a pumpkin patch twice. Two different locations, so it was fun to see the differences and what each of them had to offer, as I have not been to either before. On Sunday, we were able to head out to Minnetrista to the Minnetonka Orchards with Derek and Kyrsten. Although their pumpkin selection was a little picked over, the kids still got to enjoy the goats, corn maze, hay jumping, hay riding, and doughnuts. It was a fun afternoon and yes, a little chilly, but I did survive.

Then on Wednesday, Gwen had a field trip to a pumpkin patch in Shakopee. This location was actually someone's home that had the pumpkin patch, corn maze, face painting, hay ride, necklace making, and picking out your own pumpkins within their yard. It was nice to not have to walk such a distance to get from one thing to another and get too chilly. Again, the temperature was not as high as I wanted, but at least the sun made it a little warm.

Trevor has been off of school since Tuesday, and since Gwen has still had two days of school, it has been nice to chat with Trevor and spend some extra time with just him, not having to worry about homework or other "duties". We played some board games and got some more of his series books at the library.

Our family has slowly gotten back to healthy, although this cold bug was a doozy. I think everyone except Gwen has a lingering cough. Trevor just finished his antibiotics for his ear infection yesterday. Of course our house has suffered because of it. I just hope our neighbors don't disown us for our yard work. Perhaps that will be on the list of things to do today since it is going to rain all weekend.

And one last thought for all you planners. Did you know it is 9 weeks until Christmas? All those Black Friday ads are popping up, so you better start your shopping lists! I guess it is time to think about birthday gifts for Trevor.


Saturday, October 16, 2010

I win!

I have been wanting to do a pumpkin muffin of some kind for the past month or so. When I first wanted to do it, I went to our local grocery store only to find out there has been a shortage of canned pumpkin for the past two years. They do occasionally get shipments, but it is gone quickly. Well lo-and-behold, this past week, they got a big shipment in. I had no idea how much I would need for a batch of muffins, so I just picked up three cans. I hadn't even found a recipe to use at the time.

So I went too and searched for pumpkin muffins. The one with the highest rating had was a chocolate chip pumpkin muffin. I looked down the list, and didn't see anything else I was looking for, so I figured I'd try it out. The recipe only makes a dozen, so I figured it was a good test. The recipe includes seasonings of nutmeg, cinnamon, and cloves so it really smells harvesty. When I opened the pumpkin can, immediately I was brought back to the time where I was making baby food. It smelled very similar to sweet potatoes. And each recipe called for less than a half a can of pumpkins. Guess I have a few recipes worth of canned pumpkin. But the real kicker is that both kids really enjoy them, I feel entirely good about letting them eat them for snack, and I have already made three batches. I'm getting quick at preparing them, so now that Russ has had one, I think the final verdict is that the entire family enjoys them. It is a great harvest snack, and if we really wanted to, I think I could omit the chocolate chips, but it gives them a nice kick.

So I'm stating, I WIN on this one. So rarely do my ventures into baking or cooking turn out well that it is the reason I rarely venture out to begin with.

On the other front, the family is slowly getting back to the healthy side of the spectrum. After 6 straight nights of coughing from Trevor, he only was coughing for a few minutes last night. Next week is 3 days off for school, but none for Gwen. I guess I'll be getting some alone time with Trevor. He has been really enjoying some of the recent books we have been reading.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

An up and down week

It is only Wednesday and it feels like it has been double that. I don't get what is up with Trevor and his cough. He got a cold starting on Friday and it has manifested itself in the form of a horrible hacking cough. The normal stand-by Delsym does not work and he was able to take a nap on Monday, but not since then. He wants to try to go back to school today, but I really wish his cough would hold up. Last night was no better than the other 4 nights. It is tough to think he's going to get better fast if he can't sleep well.

Gwen has probably the same thing but only coughs on rare occasions. She went to school yesterday and her spirits have been fine. I took Trevor to the doctor yesterday in hopes to get a cough suppressant but turns out they would rather give him a antibiotic for his ear infection that he hasn't been complaining about. While the doctor we saw did have kids, I have a hard time believing that they have been through things like this. Or I wonder if they are bound by some sort of statement by the company that they work for that they cannot suggest cough or cold medicine to children under age 12. But I'd love to see how many of these decision makers have children who go hours before being able to cough themselves to sleep.

A wonderful day was had on both Sunday and Monday earlier this week. Bubba had her big party and a nephew was born on Monday. Lots of early October birthdays in the extended family! I have to say that with the lack of sleep, it has been tough to keep my happy attitude, but I have explained to the kids that I do not have a lot of patience because I often wish that it was the end of the day so I can go to sleep. I don't necessarily know that it makes the kids behave any better, but I think it may make Trevor understand that I don't have a lot of tolerance for the normal bickering. I'm only human.

School starts again for me today with two classes, and I'm going to try to get as much done early as I can. We'll have to see how I pull that off. Time to start the day!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Absolutely amazing

I really need to take time to be very thankful at the wonderful children we have been blessed with. There are times where I wonder what I am doing wrong, but after the past few days, I know I am remarkably blessed to have two wonderfully happy, healthy, and smart children. On Monday evening, we had Trevor's fall parent-teacher conference. It was a great change from last year where they had been doing conferences in November. Instead they wanted to get a jump start on evaluating and identifying goals to have for the whole year, rather than the last two-thirds.

I thought I had done a good job of filling out all questionnaires that the teacher sent home, and even emailed her making sure that I gave her suggestions on what helps Trevor learn, in terms of his behavior. Although his conference was 15 minutes, it was such a pleasant experience. In Kindergarten, it was kind of a nervous situation for me because I wasn't sure what I was doing, and wanted to see how best to help Trevor in a new situation. This year, it is not new, he knows what he is doing. It is a new teacher, but she is wonderful. He loves being able to see last year's teacher to say hi to her. Academically, he knows all the 1st grade sight words, and only did not know 2 of the 2nd grade sight words. He is challenged with his reading partner, and in math, they are doing timed tests. I'm excited to watch him grow with that. I remember we didn't do timed tests until 3rd grade. We are working on doing extra math homework when we feel like it. He is making good choices in his friends, and as I had the feeling, he really likes the 2nd graders in his class. His only behavior that would be nice to be changed is that if he gets antsy, he starts to want to move around. Totally normal for his age and his temperment. Unfortunately, it isn't a behavior that is something he can really control. It is more of a subconscious thing. So we keep asking about it to continue the reinforcement at home, but there really isn't anything that he is going to get into serious trouble doing. Such a relief!

As we were walking out, we saw his Kindergarten teacher and had a fun conversation with her. We told her how much better he is doing with his behavior and how she was much to credit for that. She said that she loves that he says hi to her every afternoon. And that when she too met with his teacher and tried to give her some hints as to what worked well with him last year, she quickly dismissed it because they were not having any similar issues this year. Who would have thought that he just needed to do some growing up this past year and it would all be behind us? This year is going to be much more fun for him. And we even have some suggested books for him and us to read at home. Anyone who has a similar aged child, check out the Magical Treehouse series. We are almost done with the first book and there are 40 more to go.

On to Gwen: We had her well-check on Tuesday. It tickled me a little bit to get a questionnaire about my concerns with her development, either physical or emotional. I couldn't think of a single one. I do know part of it has to do with her being a second child, but it is nice to be able to have her look forward to and learn about all the check-ups she will be getting. And look forward to them because she is a very healthy girl and isn't going to need shots for another year or so. She got her flu mist, and didn't put up a fight at all. Next I have to get Trevor in for his mist. The doctor and I chatted mostly about kids in school and how everyone was doing. Gwen got to have her first hearing and vision screening. It was pretty cute. She had no fear and got to wear silly glasses. I love that these visits can be quick and almost fun for her. Of course I forgot to ask about her measurements, but the doctor said she was right at 50% for both height and weight. I have a feeling we might have been a little off for her growth spurt. I think she is just about due for one.

My classes are done for this term. I have a week before they get going again. Thankfully I aced both classes no problem. Only three more classes to go. Then what? I'm not exactly sure. I'll have to look at contract-type work that I may be able to do from home. I would like to start making some income but on my own time. I'm not sure how available it will be for bookkeeping stuff, but maybe something else will fall into my lap.

I did want to say an extra-special thank you to everyone that attended the Gwendolyn Princess Party on Sunday. The presents have been extremely fruitful in occupying her time and imagination. Contrary to a family member's thoughts, I have a feeling we won't have any problem finding more things for her to play with come Christmastime.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

It's time for the princess

My darling Gwendolyn,
Who would have known that having a girl would have brought such completeness to this family. Three years ago today you entered the world and nothing has been the same since. This past year has been a year of growing, both physically and otherwise. Obviously your personality is really shining now. A few weeks ago we stumbled upon the home movies from when Trevor was in preschool. I know that everyone says it is hard to imagine life before kids, or even when your babies were babies, but wow. I always knew that you talked early, but I feel like I was a spectacular mind reader compared to everything you talk about and communicate to me now. It is wonderful that you can rationalize even just a small amount, such as being able to predict things that happen. I can tell you something like, at 1:00 (our movie time if we are not out and about) and you know how to look for it. I can explain what we are going to do tomorrow and you know that doesn't mean in a few minutes. You really enjoy playing with people, especially kids around your age. While I do love to play with you, I finally feel happy to have kids over because I know what kind of a joy you get when you have someone to play with.

Your strong independence has been challenging, yet I have found ways to use it to my advantage. It was what caused you to be potty trained in less than a week. I made it as easy for you to do as possible. You used a stool, a chair that made the seat smaller, and you had shorts that were easy to get on and off. If there is anything that you want to fight me about, I often give you the choice to do it yourself or I will help you and that often speeds up the process.

Your kind and caring nature has been wonderful for everyone. Although Trevor isn't that way naturally, I have been using your hugs to teach him that it is a wonderful way to share love between family. You love to dance and sing songs. If I can find a good fit, I would love to get you into dance and gymnastics this year. And swimming.

Your party this year was amazing. It was an all day event that so many of your loving family was able to attend. We will be having a lot of fun playing with all the toys for many weeks to come. Then Christmas will be here and even more toys! (Note to self: Now I really need to gut more toys, or at least make more space for the new ones...) The look on your face as you were opening gifts was perfect. Now we have to duplicate the feeling for Trevor. As he was going to bed tonight, he said he felt sad because it wasn't his birthday. I asked him if we tried to do the same thing for his birthday if he would like it, and he said yes. (Note to family, plan on another all-day thing on November 27th!).

As it is after every party, I'm beat. But I wanted to record on this special day these special thoughts for my princess daughter. I love you Gwen!

Monday, September 27, 2010

I guess sometimes things happen in threes....

I wouldn't have believed it unless it happened here first, but the kids were in for a doozy of a weekend. And by weekend, I mean Thursday - Sunday. As I wrote about earlier, Gwen had a crazy ear infection that except for the medicine you never would have known she had. She is so unlike Trevor with ear infections. It is a good difference, and maybe it is because by this time, Trevor also was trailing off of his ear infections.

So anyway, on Friday, Gwen and I were playing around, and she always loves going upstairs, sometimes to pretend to tell someone to go to bed as if she is the mom. Anyway, I heard a thud at the top of the stairs and I knew she was coming downstairs, not of her own power. I looked up to see her on her head flipping downwards. Thank goodness our stairs are carpeted or it would have been a much harder fall. She landed on her knees and fell forward to her face, but caught herself a bit. She was crying after she landed, but by the sound of the cry, it wasn't from pain, it was because it scared her. I double-checked and asked her if she hurt anywhere and she said no. I wonder if her balance was a little off because of her ear infection, but regardless, she wasn't hanging onto the railing, and I reminded her that she probably should be doing that. And now she does.

Then on Saturday, Trevor was able to go golfing with Russ and his family as well as to a Wild preseason hockey game. According to Russ, he was fine at golfing, and then when they got to the hockey game he was complaining about his stomach hurting. He didn't eat much at the game and was saying he was tired. They left after the three periods were done and stopped by McD's for some food because Trevor will never turn down McD's. He eats three bites and asks Russ to pull over so he can be sick. But he doesn't get sick. He is probably really zoned out by the time they get home and he changes into his pj's and goes to bed. When I get upstairs to get ready for bed at about 11:30, I can hear Trevor getting sick. I go into his room to find him on the floor, out of bed getting sick. I rub his back, put him back in bed, clean up the mess and go to bed myself. Nothing else happens that night.

The next day, I had him eating a bland diet of toast and noodles, and he wasn't really that hungry. But when I told him that he got sick last night, he didn't believe me. He told me that he felt like he was going to be sick in the car coming back from the hockey game, but he did not remember being sick that night in his room. Sorry bud, but I would not make that up. Anyway, he never was sick again, but does now seem to have a cold. Don't really know what that is about.

So things happen in threes for the kids this weekend. I'm done for another year or so, thank-you-very-much!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

What is with ear infections, anyway?

So Gwen has had a cold for a week or so, and the coughing started a few days ago. Trevor and I also have the cold, but no one (including Gwen) was really run down all that much. No fevers to speak of. Gwen had taken a nap yesterday and woke up with her ears hurting a little bit. But no big deal, she woke up, we had dinner, we went to get Trevor's hair cut and came back home. No complaining at all. We made some chocolate chip muffins for dessert and all of a sudden she went down to her knees and cried out that her ear hurt a lot. It really freaked me out and because we recently changed clinics, I immediately started wondering if I was going to have to take her to the ER or if I had any other options since it was so late. Then I started thinking what I was going to have to do with Trevor.

But once I calmed down and called the nurse line, I remembered these times with Trevor way back when. Again, like Trevor, no fever, but didn't want anyone near her. I gave her some tylenol and let her watch some Super Why. I brought Trevor upstairs for his shower and bedtime when 10 minutes later Gwen yelled upstairs that her ear felt all better.

Unfortunate timing, I had to get Trevor down and attend my last class of this session, so Gwen going to bed had to wait until 10. She was able to stay awake no problem. The Tylenol put her in perfect spirits. After class we got her ready for bed and said goodnight. I thought for sure I was going to have to give her another dose of tylenol mid-night, and surprisingly I was wrong. She slept all the way until almost 7:30, but did wake up and say her ear hurt again. More tylenol and she was her normal self. I made an appointment for 9:45 this morning and called to say she wouldn't be in school. Trevor went to school and we went to the doctor shortly after. I think when we saw the doctor he was surprised at her normal attitude and lack of even pulling on her ears, but the second he looked in her ear there was no doubt.

I can't quite remember how long it has been since she had an ear infection. The last one I can remember for sure was at 18 months. I think I might have taken her in one other time to Urgent Care because I thought she had one, but she didn't. At least now she can clearly tell me that her ear hurts, and if she does, I know what that means. And because she has had so few infections, she is still on ammoxicillin.

Seriously though, what is with ear infections? They are so strange. I had heard one of our previous doctors say that ear infections can inflame in a manner of 15 minutes. Crazy.

Glad to know that she should be good by her birthday. Actually, she has had one dose of her medicine and she is her normal self again. Strange....

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

So what are the kids up to?

Before I remember to write what the post is going to be about, I just wanted to say what a fun, and even lucrative wine tasting we had at our house on Friday! It was really cool to see everyone's favorite wines of the bunch and to hear everyone say they wanted to do it again next year. Hopefully it will be a tradition for many years to come!

With birthdays and Christmas fast approaching, I think it is interesting to take stock of what the kids truly play with and how they play with it before new toys and games come into the mix. I have yet to really weed through the toys, but it is coming in about a week or so. I'm mostly getting frustrated with all the accessories of Gwen's toys that she can't even play with yet, and the dolls that go with the accessories are so beat up that she isn't going to want to play with them by the time she is old enough to. So that will probably be the biggest group of stuff to go.

First of all, Trevor has gotten rid of his rectangle tv of past, and while he does play out a few different Mario baseball games, or maybe they are Twins baseball games, he doesn't jump on the trampoline much at all. What he does do, when he remembers, is take a little notebook that Russ once used to write notes to himself, and create a batting order and field position for the Twins baseball team. It is pretty cute as he has been learning the why of certain positions in the field as well as your number in a batting order. Rather than have him go into the Children's Liturgy where he usually messes around, I let him stay in church with me and plot the next batting order or two.

Gwen, on the other hand has plenty of toys, and she does use her old stand-bys of dollhouse dolls, princesses and fairies, but what she is really interested in is her food. Not really cooking it, but using the food like a grocery store. She takes the food out of the grocery cart, and puts it on an arm rest of either the couch or recliner and wants me to take it off of the arm rest. That means she bought it. Then, I have to buy it back. I put the food individually back on the arm rest and she puts it back in the cart. This game literally can go on for over an hour. I have no idea why it is so interesting. Maybe I should introduce the bagging concept? I have a lot of little bags she could use. But really she just wants to keep buying the food.

Then today, the best thing happened....she started playing "preschool". I always thought it was the cutest thing when Trevor did it, and when I volunteered at his preschool I loved to see all the kids playing preschool. Today she was mimicking music time and library time. She said "Boys and Girls" a lot so I knew right away what she was doing.

So anyway, that is what the kids are up to for now. I'm sure it will change soon, but for now, it is what they enjoy.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

So much to update

My classes are almost wrapping up and greatly increasing their projects and papers and such. Add to it PTA responsibilities and Fall Fundraising Chair stuff, it makes for a very busy time. It was the first full week of school and it has been flying by. I can't believe we are halfway through September. Practically two weeks until Gwen's birthday, then we have to get ready for Halloween. If I haven't said it lately, I love being crazy busy like this. I had a wine tasting party yesterday and I did some crazy cleaning for the previous 3 days and it was really nice because I know it won't be as hard to keep up for another two weeks, then another 7-8 weeks for Thanksgiving and Trevor's birthday as long as I can quietly and secretively get rid of the really little toys or pieces of toys that we don't even have the whole set for anymore.

I digress.... Gwen has become very attached, as has most of her class actually, to being in preschool. I went to pick her up on Thursday and she practically refused to leave. I did have to talk with her explaining again and again that she could not stay because school was "closing" but she also knows that they have childcare next door that she toured and it is obvious she wants to stay there after school is done, or go back so she can spend more time there. What is crazy to me is that while she is only at school for two days a week, and while I get anxious for her on Thursdays, having to wait and explain that she doesn't have school for another 5 days, but the time goes so fast, I don't think it really occurs to her to think it is something she is missing out on. We do grocery shopping on Monday, I have an envelope stuffing thing at Trevor's school on Wednesdays, and we run errands on Friday or just hang out with a friend if we can. She started library day on Tuesday and he brought home her favorite book from the lake house. Then when we read the book she wanted me to take out the folder that held the check-out card stating who checked it out. It is a pretty fun time for her to tell us what she learns in school.

So for Trevor, I have spent a good chunk of my time at his school. I am a volunteer that stuffs all the kids' weekly envelopes on Wednesdays. I am the chair for the school's fall fundraiser. Thankfully the previous chair is sort of helping me out with my job since it has almost been done for most of the year. I have set up 3 display cases at school prior to school starting, picked up the envelopes and applied labels to them with each kid's name only to find out that because of our enrollment increasing over the previous year, we don't have enough packets. Minor problem, but had to get the vendor guy on the phone to drop more off the morning of the first day of the fundraiser. We had a PTA meeting that evening to boot. Between the weekly envelopes, labeling the extra envelopes and attending the kickoff for the kids, I was at school a great deal. I think Trevor got a big kick out of seeing me at his meeting and his teacher let him say hi to me afterwards.

Our fundraiser is unique in that they don't offer individual prizes for the kids, it is a group goal that the principal offers things he will do for the school. It is pretty nice, he likes to promote the team feeling.

Trevor has been doing well, settling in, and seeming to have a good time. He came home with his first math homework on Friday, which he tried to convince me he didn't understand it. So we are slowly remembering the old routine. I heard about the whole Silly Bandz craze a while back, and Trevor has never shown an interest. We got a note from the teacher that she is considering banning them from her classroom because they are causing a lot of distractions for the class. I asked Trevor about them, and he says that there are a lot of kids getting in trouble but he isn't one of them. Mostly because he doesn't care I'm sure, but it is such a welcome change for the way last year started out for him. Another change from last year is that they are having teacher conferences in two weeks so that we can talk about year goals now rather than in another two months of school. I think it is smart.

I'm trying to get a sense of Trevor's school life, and it is pretty hard. It seems like he sits with different kids at lunch and plays with different kids at recess. He always tells me which of his former classmates he sees during the day. I'll be interested to see what his teacher has to say about the social side of class. She called me after the first few days of class and said that he is such a sweet kid. That day she had given him a kleenex because she thought he might need a tissue. Later that day, she had a few sneezes and after their math lesson was done, he told her that he didn't use the kleenex but that she might want it for her sneezing.

It will be interesting to see where the next days go.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

First day of school time!

I have to say that it was pretty special to have both kids start school yesterday. I think it was that much more special for Gwen to be able to head over for her first day of school right after Trevor. She was very tired at the end of the day, but she could talk about her own first day of school and teacher right along with Trevor. It will be another few years before they have their first days of school on the same day again. Kindergarten starts a day later to avoid the craziness of the other kids on the first day of school. Makes sense, but she is not going to be the same day because of it.

I had to wake both kids up, although Trevor was already up, he just didn't want to get out of bed yet. On those cold mornings, neither do I. Gwen was pretty happy to get up, which is a change for her. Trevor took a bag lunch for his first day because I wasn't sure that he would like whatever they had for the first day. I had also sent a few papers with him to bring to school. I dropped Trevor off first and had to head out to drop Gwen off right away. We were a little later than I wanted to be because it was a little tricky to get both kids smiling together. This is the best I could do:

Gwen only has 11 kids in her preschool, and I got a good report for her on the first day. No crying or anything. She was happy to know she would be going back again soon. It was nice to have a few hours of quiet time that day. I didn't really think about it, but when Trevor first went to preschool, I had about 3 weeks before I had Gwen that were those quiet hours to myself. I think I was too preoccupied to actually enjoy them. But now they are back.

Trevor had a great time at school as well, although I wasn't really worried about it. He was able to talk to all his friends, and talked about how he saw all of his Kindergarten classmates at lunch and recess. We will be working on the new schedule and doing things like bringing papers to class. I asked him where the papers I sent with him ended up and he doesn't remember. They could be in his desk, they could be somewhere else, but they are not in his bag anymore. Also, he said he couldn't find his snack that I packed him. Of course I put one in where he had had snacks during his summer classes, but he didn't look there. So we'll try again next time. He also wants to do lunch today. I explained that we still don't have a menu so I'm not sure what it will be. He explained that he is sure he can find something. We'll see what he comes up with after today.

It's time to get ready for day number 2!

Monday, September 6, 2010

The Last Hurrah

Well, it is the last day of Summer Vacation, and we all made it relatively unscathed. Surprisingly Gwen is a little more anxious/bonkers than Trevor has been. The past week has been kept busy by going to the State Fair, Back to School night, and taking one more trip to the cabin for the summer. I went with the kids to the State Fair on Wednesday. We got into the grounds at 9:00 and left after 1:00. It was my first time going solo, so rather than even attempt the rides this year we just walked around leisurely. We did go on the sky ride, the big slide, and sat down to eat, but otherwise the kids were on their own power walking around. They both did really good. I think we are starting to get a good routine down where we do the animals and a few snacks first, then end with the kids rides. By the time we were going to do the kids rides, I could tell the kids were running out of steam. But it will be a good goal to have for future years.

Then on Thursday evening, we were able to go to the back to school night at the Elementary school. I had already introduced myself to Trevor's teacher earlier in the week, so it was nice to know that I didn't need to try to talk to her for longer to get to know her more. As is normal Trevor, I'm pretty sure he would have chatted with his teacher forever, but he was easily distracted as soon as he saw a few of his former classmates. I think it is really going to be a different situation with him really knowing a few of his classmates, knowing his school, and being really excited to be at lunch and recess. That and I'm sure he has matured since last year too. Gwen was surprisingly timid and a little scared by the whole thing. I think she wanted Trevor to go back to his old room with his old teacher. We put Trevor's supplies in his desk (first year for that!) and picked up his paperwork and then headed out to the cabin for the weekend.

We had been really lucky this summer to get such warm weather at the lake. Both so we could swim and that the water temperature was so warm. We were hoping to be able to swim one last time this summer, but no such luck. Looking back over our family Labor Day vacations up to Brainerd, we never had warm enough weather to swim, or at least it was rarely. I will take the summer weather we had over being able to swim on Labor Day anytime. Although I am sad to be chilled and have to get out the long pants and shirts for fall.

So this closes another summer vacation. I know we will have many more adventures in the next year. Here we go!!!!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Maybe I will get more time

Once both kids are in school for a total of 4 hours a week, I will have more time to run errands. I am worried about the time I'm going to lose when I need to go pick up Trevor from school and then wait to put Gwen down for her nap. But we will have to see how it all works out. Right now I'm just trying to get things done on my mental to-do list.

Last weekend, we were lucky enough to run up to Derek's and Kyrsten's house to say hi to the pets before heading out to Dave and Busters. The kids had a blast, like I knew they would, but both were a little questioning when I said it was like Chuck E. Cheese. They had been to that place before, but never a Dave and Busters. It was a little too old age-wise for Gwen, but she still found her favorite places to be and pretend to play games. Except for Deal or No Deal. She knows how to play that one, and had gotten the top two prizes out of the 3 times we played. Trevor probably could have played all day. When it came time to pick out prizes, Gwen immediately found a Sleeping Beauty nightlight that she wanted. Lucky for us it was the last one, and the lady felt bad giving it to me without a box. I think it would have been worse if it would have had a box because she wanted to play with it right away. Trevor got a Twins teddy bear and Viking's mini helmet so we were set with the prizes.

Then on Tuesday this week we headed out to the waterpark of America. It is right near the Mall of America and we had never been inside it before. Tracy and Kyrsten were generous enough to go with us, so with a ratio of three adults to two kids, we were golden. It says on their website that they keep the air and water temp at 83 degrees, but when they have the fans blowing, the water by the fans seems much cooler. We were swimming for over an hour before we took a lunch break, and the air temp in there was even cooler. Gwen had just begun to get chilly before lunch, and the break didn't help her. Although she did get a bit dryer. When we went back to the water, I think she only lasted 15 or so minutes before she was blue and shivering. I had found a nearby pool where she couldn't touch, but the water was much warmer. She could tell and she pinked up within 5 minutes. Not only that, but by a few more minutes she was asking me to let her go underwater after she jumped in from the steps. I have a feeling if the water temp is warm at the lake again, she might be jumping in by herself without jumping to anyone. Trevor also enjoyed the pool area so he could do his somersaults and such. While I know he feels safer in the lake with his lifejacket on, it gains his confidence when we are in a pool that he can touch and practice swimming in shallow water.

Yesterday we split the kids up and my mom took Gwen to the Children's Museum and I took Trevor to Edenborough Park, an indoor climbing gym. He went at it for over 2 1/2 hours. From what I heard from my mom, both kids enjoyed their day.

We are on the brink of refinancing our mortgage to a 4.375% rate and a three year term reduction. Who knew that could be so easy. Next week, we will hopefully be golfing with a couple that we both know at the golf course we play at. Then maybe going to the fair one day. After that, bring on the school! It is almost time for summer break to be over.

Trevor's behavior recently has had it's ups and downs, and right now we are in an up stage, so I almost don't want to jinx it. But he has been doing a lot better with completing tasks that I give him. Or maybe I've just been better at sticking to my promises. Either way, I had to give him a big hug today for all the help cleaning up that he has been doing when I ask. He has even been reading an occasional book to Gwen if it is a book I know he can read. Pretty cute I must say.

Now Gwen, I'm pretty sure she can sense a big shift in schedule coming up. She has been fighting going to bed, especially her naps. She has developed a screaming fear of bugs, any and all. So that is what happens for her day-naps. She gets into her room and she thinks there are bugs on the ceiling, in her bed, if she is outside and sees one, she screams. Poor girl. I've been combating it every way I know how. I even told her that Prince Naveen (the stuffed frog that she has from Princess and the Frog) loves to eat bugs, so if she sees one, she can tell Naveen to eat the bug. She got a chuckle out of it, but I wonder if it doesn't calm her down a little bit.

Now if I can just stay ahead of the homework stuff....

Thursday, August 19, 2010

It's been a week?

A week ago we were at the lake for an extended week-end. The weather was so nice and hot. The water was so nice and warm. Even Wednesday afternoon when we got there, the kids didn't want to get out of the water for dinner. It was calm and so warm that Gwen could swim and swim for hours. We did it again on Thursday after Trevor, Russ, my dad and Dave were golfing. I was so surprised and had really forgotten what it was like to swim while the water was like bathwater.

There was no air conditioning in the cabin, but as everyone knows, I like that. By opening the door to the bedroom and the windows as well, a breeze blew around in the room so it kept it non-sweating at least for me. We had a really fun shower, mom you really can throw a good one :-)

We came back early so Russ and I could play in a couple's tournament. I guess my luck finally ran out when it comes to golfing. I played as bad as I had all year. I hit two balls out of bounds, and I hadn't done that all year...honestly I can't ever remember hitting a single ball out of bounds on these two holes ever. I made it over one water hole, only to hit three balls in a row off of trees and backwards. I had a 10 on one hole and an 8 on another. I was nowhere near close to where I wanted to be on my round. It would have been nice to play with a couple we knew, but maybe next year. It seems we have a pattern of winning one year and then losing the next. So we are due next year.

After that horrible round, my attitude stunk. The kids were crabby and so was I. Trevor has been taking the bus to his sports camp this week, but after Friday we are done with activities. Hopefully he will behave for the two weeks until school starts.

I played golf again on Tuesday, and had a very good round, so I guess that improved my mood a bit. I haven't even started my reading for class, which is very unlike me. Someday soon, I'll have lot of catch-up to do. My two professors this session have been very absent the last week. So I haven't gotten a lot of information on how I am doing in the class.

Wednesday, I met with some of our PTA officers because I had gotten my responsibility as Fall Fundraiser Chair. They were stuffing envelopes, and we ended up staying over an hour after they were all stuffed sharing ideas for the next year.

My mind is a flutter with lots of random things to get done soon. While school is just over 2 weeks away, I can't even get there yet mentally. Thank goodness I have already gotten the school supplies or that would also be grinding on me.

On to a few more things to try to check off the list....

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

There went the weekend

Well, at the end of the week, I could tell that Trevor really enjoyed his Tennis lessons put on by the Summer Spectrum group. He had the class with a few kids he knew, and got to ride on his bus for the entire week. We picked him up on Friday and headed to my parents house for the weekend so Russ and I could golf. I was excited that the weather was going to be hot, although there was a good chance of rain, which is never fun to play in. It never got called off, so all that meant was that there wasn't any lightning.

On Saturday, I was playing in the rain until hole 12. I shot a 99 and was tied for first place after the first day. Then on Sunday, the heat and humidity really kicked in. I don't know why I tried to make it through without taking an electric cart. But I did. And I was pretty exhausted after that round. I shot a 105 that day, which ended up winning my flight. I feel kind of bad because I didn't care at all if I came in first or last. As long as I shot under a 110 both days. Russ came in a tie for 2nd in his flight, so he did well as well.

The kids seemed to have a blast as they always do when they are with their extended family. They got to go to the county fair, teddy bear park, and play in the sprinkler. Trevor also lost his 3rd tooth there. I knew it was a possibility, but I forgot to send his tooth "pillow" with him so he had to make do. It is a bottom tooth, but it still changes his smile. Looks like his top two teeth might not be out for a few more months. Maybe it will be a Christmas time event. Then he can sing the song, "All I want for Christmas is my two front teeth."

Trevor's attitude seems to have slowed down over the past week. I wonder if it is getting him back to the park for a few days, or just his cycle. Gwen has turned it on in the mean time, but I seem to have more patience with her because I know she doesn't get it yet. But today, when I came downstairs this morning, Trevor had turned on the FSN channel and they were recapping yesterday's baseball scores. Trevor was loving it. He was able to tell me scores and what was going on around the country. I thought it was really cute. I would have thought he would have been tired out with baseball by this point, but it sure doesn't sound like it!

We are off today for a longer weekend at the cabin. We are celebrating the new nephew coming into our family! That time sure is getting close!

Friday, August 6, 2010

Hoping to give myself a break

It has been a little better week all around, with a little trouble from Trevor, but I'm actually confident that I'm letting him make his choices and if he wants to keep making not good choices, it will lead him to not getting things he wants.

It has been a pretty good week from the perspective that I've been playing a lot with the kids. While I don't get all the other things I need to take care of done, it at least relieves some of the mom guilt I have.

Gwen has been wanting to play food or babies all the time. So that is where I have been spending most of my days. While she is starting to imaginatively play, she can't quite grasp the concept of naming something. I think she thinks that things either already have a name or that whoever is playing with the toy, inherits the name. So we have mommy baby, baby, and daddy baby that we play with. She plays with them similar to a real baby, we dance, we change diapers, we put them to bed, we give them bottles, but she is not the mom. She is Gwen. I am mommy. Because it is my name. Now she gets that my mom and other people call me Krissy, but my name still is mommy.

We went school supply shopping for Trevor, (more on that later) and at the end, because the kids were good we headed over to look at the toys. Gwen is starting to understand that you need to get something in order to take it out of the store. So she is starting to ask to get things. Target just set their toys that will be in the stores for Christmas, so they have a bunch of new toys. The one she found that she really wants is the one fairy that she doesn't have. She was kind of a "bad" fairy in the first one, and not even in the second one, but I hear she has a bigger part in the new movie coming out. So when she saw it in the store, she wanted it. Now is the time she needs to learn how to wait for her birthday. It is under 2 months away, so she won't have long to wait, but she now is asking to have her birthday so she can get the fairy. What I thought was a cute sidenote: Trevor asked in a quiet voice if he could get that for her for her birthday. I thought it was a nice gesture, so I think we will be doing that.

So we brought Trevor's school supply list to Target last night and I read the list off while he searched for the items. We found everything we needed, so we are all set. I could see his excitement growing, and he even said it himself - yes doing the wrist flap and jumping up and down - I'm so excited for school to start! I thought it was another moment of cuteness for him. Or maybe I just like remembering what it was like to be in his shoes.

And one more cute moment for Trevor, but this has to be something that is not teased because I know it could easily be. Hopefully those that would think of teasing will remember the many times where they themselves could have been teased for what they enjoyed doing. Anyway, after Gwen went up for her nap, I left it to Trevor to decide what we were going to do. Sometimes it involves a game, a card game, me watching a Nascar race of his, or playing Cars. That day, he wanted to play with Gwen's Fairies. I wonder why he chooses things like that, and I think it is because he likes the Tinkerbell movies, and always likes to act out or slightly change the stories in the movies. I acted out whatever Fairy he asked me to be, and I think we had a good time. Not having a sister around screaming at you to stop playing with your things is nice for him from time to time. There isn't going to be much more time of that, I don't think. I'm not sure how much time he will have to himself once he is back from school.

So this weekend, the kids are going to the fair with Bubba and Papa. They are both really looking forward to it, and I hope the weather is good for everyone. I have plenty of homework to get done in addition to having some fun times at golf. Hope everyone has a great weekend!