Sunday, January 30, 2011

Why does there have to be a down side?

For the past few weeks, I really think there has been made huge strides in having the kids play together. I have been trying to do my part by staying out of just about any part in it. Even if there involves hitting, I try to keep away. If I were to pull Trevor away every time he swatted at Gwen, she would keep antagonizing him so that he would keep getting in trouble. The other day I did have to pull him off of her because he did hit her square in the face, but after he did it he was quick to apologize because, "I wasn't aiming for her face." I am ok with the wrestling, hitting, whatever else as long as isn't something that could land someone in the hospital. They are both getting pretty good at giving each other the usual jabs, and Trevor knows when Gwen is going to hurt him such as when she bites him, so he runs away or screams at her to stop.

Anyway, for a while they were playing with the Mario characters. The game was something like Mario and his friends were trying to save Princess Peach. In the mean time, some of Gwen's dolls were hanging out in a dollhouse that makes noise. Trevor would be the voice of many of the Mario characters, and knock on the door or ring the doorbell of the dollhouse and talk to the dolls to explain to them everything that was going on and what they were going to do. A lot of the time, the phone would ring in the dollhouse and another character would also talk to a doll also explaining what was going on. Sometimes, it would even get so exciting as to actually get a character and go out and seek the princess.

Shortly after these fun games, Trevor got sick. He started coughing on Monday, and I could tell he was coming down with yet another cold. He had a really rough night Monday, didn't go to school on Tuesday, had another rough night on Tuesday, spiked a 103 fever on Wednesday, and then couldn't go to school on Thursday as a result. A very strange side-effect of Trevor's bad cold or maybe the flu? He did get his flu shot this year.... He has been having really weird nightmares or dreams. And they are such where he isn't ever awake, but he is really upset. Monday he put himself in the bathroom and cried for me, not ever able to finish a sentence. Tuesday, he opened his closet, took out part of a dress that I had worn as a bridesmaid which ended up on his bed and also cried out for me. Again, not able to explain anything...just jumbled words. Wednesday, he was out of his bed and in our bathroom, talking jumbled...looking for me. Every time, I simply try to talk soothing words, put him back in bed, and give him a hug or two. I guess thankfully he never remembers any of it the next day. It is just so weird to be watching someone with their eyes open, trying to talk but not really able to, and then they don't remember any of it when they are truly awake the next day.

Trevor's energy as a result of his sickness wasn't all that great, particularly on Wednesday when he had such a high fever. On Thursday, he was almost his old self but couldn't go back to school. He started playing with Gwen again, and when he did go back to school on Friday, Gwen told him how sad she was that he had to go back to school, and he told me how he just wanted a few more minutes to play with her. I think he was really looking forward to going back to school though as well.

So of course, Gwen has gotten sick and it is a result of playing so close with Trevor. So far, no spiked fever, but lots of yucky coughing and sneezing. She also got her flu shot so maybe it just makes it a bit more bearable for them. This morning, Gwen slept for almost 12 hours and was up a little after 8am, and Trevor slept also until after 8...which is unheard of in his sleep patterns.

A new game has also been started. This is only the second day they have been playing it, and it may not be the most child-friendly game, but it is called, "Robbery". The kids go and rob things. I get the feeling they might not exactly know what it means, but like I'm going to explain it so they stop playing it? I don't think so. Gwen dresses up as a princess, and Trevor puts on his Zelda hat, and they go robbing. I have to record a quote that Trevor said because it really made me laugh. Gwen was trying to play with one of her baby dolls, and she was suggesting things that they could do with it. Somehow Gwen decided they should throw rocks at the baby, to which Trevor said, "If we throw rocks at the baby, we will have to go to jail and eat bugs." I have no idea where he came up with that, and he comes up with such imaginative answers to her questions, that I knew I was going to have to record that one.

Visiting their respective schools

I meant to post this on the last post, and I will have to update right away again before I forget about this past week, but to keep things in somewhat chronological order, I wanted to post about visiting the schools.

Because Gwen was at childcare on Wednesdays, that made my lunchtime available. I had never eaten lunch with Trevor and as luck would have it, they were having Grilled cheese sandwiches...something that I knew I could stomach. So I told Trevor I was going to visit him at school for lunch. He was excited and I think it usually scores the kid some cool points when a parent comes to visit.

So I went to visit and the kids were getting their outdoor gear on when I arrived. They eat with snowpants on and their jackets on their seats. We walked around to get in line for lunch. Trevor was also having hot lunch that day, so I was able to watch him and his friends get their lunch and watch the lunch ladies as well. I can safely say not much has changed since the 25 years or so when I was in elementary school. They do have more fruits or vegetable offerings than when I went to school, but the whole procedure is much the same. I was also reminded at how while it isn't quite the age range where they have popular/unpopular groups, they already did have their groups. I don't know for sure if it was a result of me being there or not, and it probably did have something to do with it, but I was happy to see that it wasn't split boys and girls sitting at different sides of the lunchroom in Trevor's class. The boys were discussing what they were going to do when they got outside, some of the kids asked if I could help them open some of the packaged food that they got, and the girls were giggling and talking about what they had going on yesterday, today or tomorrow. I'll have to make it a point to keep going to lunch throughout the kids elementary school years. I'm pretty sure it will become uncool at some point. But until then, and as long as they serve decent lunches, I'll have to come and take part from time to time.

So the very next day I volunteered to be a chaperon for Gwen's trip to see a performance of If You Give a Moose a Muffin. It was her first time riding a school bus and I could tell that most of the kids were way more excited about that than anything. It was a good 15 minute ride to the show so they did get a good ride. I was also given one of Gwen's classmates to keep in our group so that was really interesting to gauge how Gwen interacted with her during the events of the day. Neither girl was all that interested during the entire show, but they both behaved very well. I think in general, the boys are a little harder to keep still and quiet. During the last few minutes of the show, both girls wanted to sit on my lap. Unfortunately, I don't have much of a lap to begin with, but I did my best and both girls were still able to fit in the seat with me.

I feel as though I did my part as being an active parent in both of their schools. Pat on the back for me!

Monday, January 24, 2011

More new things

Well, they really aren't all that new, just a continuation of things that are happening. Last Wednesday during Gwen's dance lesson, they had a picture of their spring recital costume. Holy cuteness. I don't mean to give away the surprise, but it is a red, white, and blue, stars and stripes tu-tu adorable costume. They were still working on the winter recital songs as their recital is this weekend so I have no idea what their song is going to be, but I have a feeling it will be patriotic of some kind.

Second thing, I let Trevor watch the Netflix Super Mario Super Show, although I moved it through to the cartoon because that is really all he was interested in. I remember now that because "Mario" was a former WWF wrestler, he often had other wrestlers that I recognize but cannot place the name. Funny thing, by the end of the first episode, Trevor was asking why the Mario and Luigi had their outfits reversed. Leave it to Trevor to notice. No, the green and red of Mario and Luigi were not switched, it was the shirt and overall colors. Luigi had green overalls and a blue shirt, and mario had red overalls and blue shirt. This was the design in the Nintendo and Super Nintendo version of Super Mario brothers, but now that the Wii version is out, they switched it to blue overalls and red or green undershirts.

Friday, after about a week and 5 days after the instructions said there was going to be "triops" in our triop tank, I finally saw one. Trevor was overjoyed. I guess we don't kill every pet that we get in the water. We'll have to see how long it lasts, as it seems to be a pretty lonely guy. At least Trevor has something to tell everyone he sees again.

This Sunday, we decided to host a Bears party. It was nice to see the family having been weeks...New Years I believe. Unfortunately, it was not a very good game...enough said. Bubba and Papa were missed, but they will be home shortly for the month. Of course, over the weekend Russ asked the kids if anyone wanted to go to Florida, and Gwen believes that is a signal to actually go RIGHT THEN. So since that point, I've been trying to give her some perspective on when we are going to Florida. She is just starting to get the concepts of days on a calendar, but doesn't get months or anything yet.

And today is another day off from school for Trevor. While I know it isn't the most consistent parenting, I decided to let the kids have at each other today, all the while watching and not being an active participant. They are now approaching a full hour and a half of playing. Yes, it is more like Trevor directing the playtime but I feel like it is slowly coming along. There has been more than a few instances of physical fighting, but it isn't one sided, so I'm not really sympathetic to either one if they get hurt...and by hurt it is more like whining to get the other one in trouble. Surprisingly, it has been a mostly smooth day. I don't even want to interrupt them to get Trevor to do his piano or reading.

Now if I can just get some motivation to finish this week's paper, I'll be all set for this week....

Wednesday, January 19, 2011


This post is going to be about the uses of the word "SCORE". The first part is my two trips in the past 5 nights to twice winning Gopher Basketball games. My first date night was with Russ, and my second date night was with Trevor.

With Russ there were guys in front of us that made comments as if they were coaches themselves. I am fuzzy myself on a lot of the rules of the game as I don't know that I have watched enough to remember what fouls are called when. But they were two good teams that night.

With Trevor, it was much more unevenly matched, but it was fun to bring him to the game. We got to eat Trevor's favorite meal: hot dog with popcorn. He discovered that there is a player who happened to be player of the game that night and he happens to share the same first name as he does. No comments please from the gallery on the lack of quality off of the court of this player. I did point out that this Trevor did need to work on his free throws. Anyway, I hope to continue both annual traditions if my dad keeps getting season tickets.

And the second score of the week....Trevor's second piano lesson. His teacher is a great fit for Trevor. After his lesson, his teacher told me that he (Trevor) is taking to it very well. He can tell that he has a good sense of rhythm and they introduced the metronome. Before the lesson Trevor was telling me that he was looking forward to showing his teacher how well and how much he practiced. And while the lesson was going on, I could not help but overhear how his teacher was trying to teach Trevor why and how he could learn to keep his eyes on the music and less on his hands. I was entertaining Gwen by having her watch a Netflix on the Wii, so his teacher saw that we had a wii. But he asked anyway, to Trevor: "Does your family have a Wii?" Trevor: "Yes." His teacher: "Do you know of the Mario Brother games?" Trevor: "YES!" His teacher: "Do you ever play Super Mario Galaxy?" Trevor: "Yeah, we have both 1 and 2!" His teacher: "Well, you know how when you are Mario and you see that you have to jump on the TV, you don't look down at the control to push the jump button, you just do it?" Trevor: "Yeah, like when you have to jump on top of an enemy?" His teacher: "Yes....well, just like that game, you should try to watch the music and use your fingers to play without looking down at them." Trevor: "Ok!" Score one for Trevor's teacher....and you will never guess what game Trevor wanted to play for his Nintendo time that day.....yep - Super Mario Galaxy.

In addition to that, for Trevor's assigned practice songs, he has been playing Old MacDonald. I know he read the title of the piece when he was practicing it, but when the song was recognizable to him, he wanted to play it over and over and over and ask Gwen to see if she could recognize it, and play it more and more and more....I knew that once he found a song he recognized he would enjoy it all that much more. And with the addition of the metronome, he has a goal to try to not only play the song, but play it at the correct tempo. I have a sneaking suspicion that it will be a huge goal for Trevor to keep playing it and practicing it until he can play it for his teacher at his next lesson. I wouldn't even be surprised if he goes over his allotted practice time, it actually appears fun to him. Score one for mom and Trevor :-)

Saturday, January 15, 2011

There went another week

A crazy week at that. I had thought the day that I brought Gwen to the other room at preschool that I would have time to get some things done, or simply rest at home. Not so. This week was a typical week in that the kids had school on their normal days, we had Trevor's first piano lesson, Gwen had dance lessons, and both kids had swimming lessons. It wasn't that so much that made me feel busy, but then add to that a few "extra" events, Norwex party, Gwen in the other room at preschool, Trevor's school had a fundraiser event that I helped organize, and a Gopher Basketball game.

Looking back, most of these events went very smoothly, but put together it made for a very hectic week. Then throw in the fact that we have had toilet issues to add to the mess. Thankfully those problems are solved for the time being but when it rains, it pours.

Gwen went to the childcare portion of her preschool with huge excitement. When I came to pick her up 3 1/2 hours later, she was beside herself as I'm sure she was a flood of emotions at meeting all the new people, playing with all the toys, and learning an all-new routine. Then the next day she had preschool in her usual fashion. But when I picked her up on Wednesday, she really was not sure how she was supposed to feel and burst out crying when she saw me, but made sure I understood she had a great time.

Later that same day we went to Trevor's school for a Magic Show. It was a fun event to watch and hear the kid's reactions. After next week, with one more event the Fall Fundraiser will finally be complete. Just in time to think about signing next school year's contract. Word to the wise: Do not believe a "simple" committee is any less work than a "complex" one and that even a well run and documented committee takes many hours to keep up with organizing and responding to people's questions even months after the event takes place. Hopefully with my one year of experience under my belt next year will run more smoothly and I can plan the event and my part of it better.

Dance lessons for Gwen, also that night went a bit smoother than last week. I think Gwen is testing a little bit, the teacher's boundaries in what she is having the kids do, but I was glad to see that Gwen got her sticker for being a good listener and I hear their spring recital costumes come in March, so I'll be interested to see what she thinks of that outfit. I have a hard time believing that she will not want to open it right up and have it become part of her princess wardrobe.

On to Trevor's first piano lessons. He has been assigned to a young male teacher, who seems to be pretty laid back. But also does a very good job of listening and trying to gauge Trevor's tolerance for learning. I think it is hard for Trevor to understand, and me to tell him what to expect when neither of us knows exactly what is going to happen. I was able to do some cleaning while the guys were practicing the piano during the lesson but still able to hear what the lesson was teaching Trevor. I completely remember some of the exact same lessons. His teacher told him that he needs to practice 15 minutes a day on the days that he does not have a lesson. I'm happy to have heard that he specified that to Trevor and it is such an easy thing to add to our routine of also having to read for school before he gets any of his Nintendo time. He had his first practice time, but I wasn't able to sit down with him and I think he instead of practicing what he was learning, he tried to attempt a quick song I taught him as his practicing time. So from now on, I think I'm going to have to make sure he at least gets started on a good spot to practice.

So then Thursday evening, Russ and I headed out to the Gopher Basketball game against Purdue. It was a very well-played game, and we got a lot of commentary from older gentlemen about how the gophers were playing that game and during the rest of the season. I will go on another date night with my son on Sunday to another basketball game, this time against Iowa.

Moving to Friday, it was supposed to be low key day. Laundry should have been the most exciting event of the day, however with Gwen still battling yet another cold, I figured it was time she got checked out, just to rule out a lingering issue. Sure enough, she had an ear infection. The last one she had in September, she screamed to me that her ear hurt. This one was a complete puzzle other than the cold and lack of eating. Regardless, it is time she got better as I would like at least a few days or maybe even a week of a healthy household. I even disinfected both of the kids' rooms as a request of my mom's but I wonder if I did it too early or something. At least soon I'll be getting some reinforcing cleaning products soon from the Norwex party earlier that week.

So this week, Trevor doesn't have school on Monday, but we still have a pretty normal schedule. Hopefully it will be a better adjusted week. Maybe....I can keep hoping.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

A New Year, a New Schedule

Well, I knew the time would come where I was beginning to feel like I'm getting the kids involved in a lot...perhaps too much....of activities. However, I believe one of my strengths is the ability to plan and be organized. There are some times of the day and week where I consider it very close to non-negotiable. I also take great care to try to avoid activities being scheduled for the same kid back-to-back on a continual basis. There are also things that I can tell the kids would love to do, or get a lot of benefit out of, so I have to weigh all my options before diving in to activities.

Unfortunately, the new year has not exactly gotten off to the stellar start that I would have hoped. Trevor, then myself, and then Gwen all came down with a bad head cold as we were coming home from our trip to the lake house. Trevor did not go to school on Monday or Tuesday and seemed a little sad because of it. It makes me feel good that he is at the point where he does like to go to school. I took him in to the doctor, just to make sure everything was ok, and two doctors checked out his lungs and said that it had the soundings of beginning pneumonia. He had not had a fever of 100.4 or higher, so he could still go to school, although his energy level was why I was keeping him home, not because of a fever, and he did not wheeze, but that I was welcome to have Trevor go down for a chest x-ray. If I would rather, I could also wait for a few more days to see if he could fight it off himself, or not. The third option, which I chose was to give him an antibiotic because if it did become pneumonia, that is what they would give him anyway. With the option of either letting him get worse, or helping him get better, I decided to help him get better. That was on Monday. He still did not go to school on Tuesday because he was up a good part of the night coughing and didn't get enough rest.

Gwen did catch a cold, but it wasn't bad enough for her to be up at night, or have a fever, so she did get to go to school on Tuesday. So then I decided during that day to call and see what kind of new activities the kids could get in to. Right now we do have hockey for Trevor and swimming for both of the kids. I found a close and reasonably priced dance studio for Gwen to take lessons at which started on Wednesday afternoon. It is a half hour lesson for both tap and ballet. I washed all of her clothes that I picked up at Target, and when Wednesday came, she was so excited to know that she could put all of it on and do her dancing that I promised her after we picked up Trevor from school she could put it on. When she got all the gear on, she was in heaven. The smile on her face was heartwarming. During class, I found it interesting that she actually enjoyed the tap part more because the class was going to perform a show with their tap shoes at the end of the month. I did not sign her up for that show. However, I did get her signed up for the spring recital on our Anniversary weekend. I have a feeling when that costume comes in, it will be added to her wardrobe of princess dresses.

The other thing that I found was for Trevor. There was a daily deal for in-home piano lessons, so I took advantage and called to schedule that session. Those start next Thursday for a half hour. I explained it to Trevor, and he seemed skeptical. He has always loved his own playing of the piano, but I don't think he has ever understood that taking lessons would lead you to being able to play songs that you recognize and like. A few days ago, I showed him an easy song on the black keys of Mary Had a Little Lamb and since then that is what he wants to practice. I think he thinks he needs to be able to show his teacher that he knows a song on the piano. I really like this option because it is during a time when it won't interfere with other activities and we don't have to go anywhere. Perhaps it will even make me keep my house cleaner than usual.

The third and final change to our schedule is something I promised Gwen. At her preschool, they also have a childcare room. Gwen has been asking to go in there forever. They have guinea pigs, different toys, and get to eat lunch as well. So during the time when my mom is not able to come over on Wednesdays, Gwen will be going into the childcare room at preschool. I'll have another four hours to do things for myself on Wednesdays.

So big changes for our family are coming this year. Hopefully everyone enjoys their new activities.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Our Four Christmases

I believe the last time I posted was to say that Trevor's final day of school was done before the Holiday break. He said that he had 12 days off of school and I asked him if he felt like it was a long time. He said that he did think it was a long time. Coming back from our New Years celebration and driving past his school, explaining that he was going back there in two more days, I again asked him if he felt like 12 days had past. He said no, he felt like he still had 12 days to go. I completely agree....our 12 days have flown by, mostly because we have been able to have multiple celebrations and such exciting events for the kids that it really hasn't seemed like much time has passed at all.

Our first Christmas was kicked off on Christmas Eve with Trevor waking me up a little after 5am. He totally had me fooled because I don't always look at the clock when he gets up. I explain he can go back and play in his room until I come to get him or he could go downstairs. After he decided to go downstairs, I then checked the clock. Our rules are not to go downstairs until after 7:00. I knew how he felt however, as I had been known to wake up extra early on Christmas morning because I was so excited. With his being allowed to bring down the donkey for Christmas Eve church service and the fact that our Christmases started that evening, he was the same way as I was, way back then. And asking him to try to go back to sleep was useless.

We went to church, enjoyed Trevor showing his donkey to the congregation and pose for his picture, and then he crashed. I had hoped that he would make it to the car so he could rest for a little longer, but I guess he took what he needed. Gwen was a hoot to have in church too as she would hear the priest talk about Jesus and want to chime in. They were learning about him in Preschool so she was quick to cue into the service being about Jesus.

We went from church to Grandma's house. We had our yummy dinner followed by the opening of gifts. It is always fun to start out the Christmases with them as I have for over 10 years now. We head home so that we can beat Santa home and put the kids to bed. Santa got some milk and cookies before the kids rushed upstairs to go to bed. I was interested to see if Trevor would pull another early morning the next day, but he didn't. Simply up at his usual time, a few minutes before 7. We waited until 7 to wake up Gwen who was really sad to learn that she didn't get to see Santa. She said she wanted to give him a hug. What a sweetheart. We then got downstairs and saw the kids' joy of celebrating Christmas in our own house. Especially given the fact that Gwen really didn't know what to make of it all. I will bet that she made a lot of good memories for next year.

We then made the trip out to Bubba and Papa's house for the third Christmas and my birthday. As is tradition, Christmas is celebrated first, followed by my birthday. The boys and kids got to go outside for a little playtime in the snow and I got to enjoy peace and quiet for a few moments. It was a good birthday surrounded by great family. Thanks to everyone for making it special.

Our fourth Christmas happened the next day, where we had more gifts and dinner at Grampa's house. We were so blessed to be able to spend that dinner with Great Grandma too. The kids got treated to ice skating after dinner which they really enjoyed.

From that point on, we have had random hockey practices, dinners, and a trip to the lake house before Bubba and Papa head to Florida. I just finished taking down our Christmas decorations so we are ready to head to school tomorrow. I'm also looking at starting Gwen on dance lessons and Trevor with piano lessons. It may just be a busy year for us, but it will be great. I'm looking forward to seeing what the new year brings us all!