Family - it's where your story begins.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

He's forgetful and today I am grateful

Last night at church, the boys went their separate ways (to their designated classes or groups). J is in the youth group (middle school & high school kids) and I'm not totally sure he pays attention to what is being said by the pastor. When he came downstairs after his service was done, he handed me a sheet of paper. All he said was, "Here," and handed it to me. I glanced at it and it was a permission slip. I said, "What's this for?" He said it was for next week's gathering and after I really looked at it, it was for the holiday party. I asked how much it cost as there is usually a fee involved when I'm handed a permission slip. He said it didn't cost anything. I looked down at where it said "Cost:" and saw that it said "Offering for a Wii." I asked who the Wii was for, like if it was for the youth group, and he said it was for old people. I said, "Old people? What old people?" He said the youth group was going to some place that had old people. I was thinking maybe a nursing home or something but not totally sure. I said, "How old are these old people?" He said, "I don't know. They're just old." I then asked how much he was going to give to the offering. He said, "Well, I have two quarters." WHAT???? TWO quarters? That's it????? I got mad and let him know it.

Have I not raised him to be sacrificial? I thought I had. Of course, he came to live with us when he was eight, and before that he had been given everything he wanted without having to work for it. Spoiled little kid to some extent, but living in squalor and filth didn't make up for it. I know that my birthday came and went and he never would have lifted a finger or done anything for me, being that he's 12 and self-centered, but my husband made him go shopping for a present for me. Apparently J, at the cash register, remembered he hadn't brought his money and/or debit card. So, after the fact, I learned that J still owed my husband the money for the present. I told hubby to just transfer the money from J's bank account to his (hubby's) and be done with it. The fact that J doesn't want to part with his money is one thing, but to only offer 50 cents out of his stash of at least $100 is pathetic. Fifty cents for the Wii offering - not my present. I know that ended up being $25. Hubby made J spend a good amount because I am mom and I have done so much for him.

When we got home from church last night, I was still on J's case and hubby said "Are you going to lay off him now?" I said, "No, because for some reason he is being very selfish and unwilling to part with his money. He won't even pay you back for my birthday present!" And at that, hubby agreed with my point of view about the offering. J had gone to put on jammies and went into the bathroom. I was walking down the hall when he came out of the bathroom, and he just walked right past me without saying a word, went into his room, closed the door and turned off the light. I said, "Goodnight to you, too."

This morning I was ready for the worst from him and was ready to discuss the issue rationally and without getting angry. Well, he was in a great mood and either forgot about the whole topic entirely or just didn't care. He gave me a hug and started talking about the weather. Fine. I am actually relieved. However, I know it'll come up again and we'll have to talk about why he only wanted to offer 50 cents towards a Wii. I actually want to e-mail the youth pastor to find out exactly what the holiday party activities will be and who these "old people" are. Maybe he can enlighten me.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

The hiding place

Keeping stuff off K's floor didn't last long. That little guy thought he had all the answers. He was putting things on the floor between his bed and the wall where he thought no one would look. This morning, my husband went into that bedroom to check out how clean (or messy) it was, and he noticed a bunch of stuff between the bed and the wall. There is about a 12" x 5' area between the bed and the wall. Here is what hubby found:

last week's homework, not turned in
several pieces of Knex
green marker
knit hat
2 posters rolled up
Ben-10 watch
spy scope
pair of dirty socks
dirty underwear
3 juggling balls
hair clip - actually, K said he "found" it in the classroom. Why he didn't hand it in, I'll never know
a few miscellaneous plastic toys

What I am most pleased about is the Ben-10 watch and the spy scope. These were sources of light for K and he played in his room when he was supposed to be sleeping.

Monday, October 5, 2009

The pup dog

No, we don't have puppies but we do have dogs. One has gone off to the vet today as she has a lump on her side. She's also quite the fatty. I look at this picture of her (she's 7) and it looks like she's laughing. Anyway, she's had a lump on her side for a while now and it has grown in size. It started out the size of a dime and now it is like a small potato. Time to do something about it! It doesn't seem to bother the doggy, but it bothers us to look at it. I hope she's ok!
This is Shelby. Shelby Girl, the Mustang Mama. She follows me wherever I go. She's my shadow. If one of the kids is looking for her I'll hear, "Where is Shelby?" The other child will say, "She's with mom." (smile)

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

I'm on to him

He can't get away with his old tricks anymore. I'm talking about my 12-year-old son, J. He can't pull the same stunts with schoolwork that he pulled in 6th grade. He's in middle school this year - a big 7th grader - and he is already flunking one subject. I believe it's due to his lack of organizational skills and the fact that he has ADHD. He's on meds for his disorder, but 7th grade is a totally different ball game than 6th grade. He has six different classes which means six different teachers. He has to come up with some way to keep from being scatterbrained. I guess that's my job as a mom. I've got to figure out something that works for him and me. I'm the one that helps the kids with their schoolwork.

I am grateful that J's school is techologically advanced. Grades, assignments, attendance, agendas and the like are posted online. YIPPEE! It's every parent's dream! I check J's records a few times a day. Yesterday, for example, I knew (before he got off the bus) that he's running an F in History. When I asked him why his teacher gave him an F, he had all sorts of excuses. My first instinct was to blow up at him but I held back and kept my anger inside me. Instead, I told him that if he was unsure about anything regarding schoolwork, he could just come to me or his dad. We are here to help him. Apparently he had to make a bookcover for his textbook. Seeing as how he had no clue what to do, he just decided not to do it at all. When I talked to him about it, I told him that he could have asked us. I remember making bookcovers out of brown paper bags when I was a kid! When I was done with work, I went upstairs and gave him a bag. I asked for his book and he said he left it at school. Of course. Gee, I should have known! Also, J left his binder for all classes at home. On top of it was an assignment due today (I believe) for... you guessed it - History! UGH!

This morning I am on top of it and already have e-mailed J's Shop teacher to ask about the Shop fee that is due next week. J says he has no idea how much it is and what it's for. Hmm... me thinks he isn't paying attention in class. He got a B- on Bandsaw Safety and he needs a perfect score.

In my not-so-spare time I need to brainstorm and think of a way to get him to stay organized. I am not sure how to go about this. My life is busy enough as it is and now I have to help him with his school issues. Well, hey, I'm a mom! I should be used to this by now, right? I think I got so used to summer that I'm having problems adjusting to the school year. It's only the third week of school, so I figure by October I should have a game plan in place. Pray for me! :)

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Back to the topic of messy rooms & toys being taken away

I thought of something yesterday and was thrilled at my bright idea! I just had to find hubby and tell him. First off, you know how I mentioned in an earlier post that things found on the floor in the kids' rooms would be removed permanently? Well, in the middle of the night I thought of this: What if we wrapped up those toys and re-gave them to the kids at Christmas? Brilliant! Or so I thought. Hubby didn't like that idea. He figured they would never ever learn to keep things picked up. They might think, "Gee, mom took this away but I'll get it back at Christmas." My thought process was this: "Gee, I took this away but I'll give it back at Christmas all wrapped up like a new present, and then I won't buy anything new." That didn't go over real well with hubby.

On the topic of cleaning up the rooms: When I was working in J's room, he found some books that he didn't know where they came from and said he could give them to K. They were a bit over K's head, but I figured we could save them for him. I had put them on K's dresser and this morning when I was looking for a book to read to K (who was not feeling well at the time), I looked closer at these two books from J's room. One was from J's classroom LAST year in 6th grade! The fact that J couldn't even REMEMBER where it was from ... I do recall that J didn't enjoy reading that book last year and he never even finished the first chapter. Hubby returned the book to the elementary school today while he was out running errands. I truly hope we don't find more things that belong to that school.

I've got a sick little boy

My deep slumber was rudely interrupted this morning at 4:15 a.m. My husband woke me up to say that K was sick and throwing up. When I got out of bed, my husband said, "He threw up in the living room and I'm cleaning that up."

I found my son in the bathroom by the toilet. I took his temperature and there was no fever. I asked him questions such as "how do you feel?" and "what hurts?" and he said his tummy was hurting and then he started crying. He then mentioned that he had puked in his room. I left him in the bathroom and went across the hall to his room and yes, indeedy, there was a pile of last night's dinner on the carpet. Yummo! NOT! I went and got the spray cleaner and paper towels from my husband and told him that K had vomited in his room as well. Hubby was not happy at all with that news. We used Oreck spot cleaner - the stuff works! Anyway, after I got that spot all cleaned up, I went back into the bathroom to talk with K and he told me that he also threw up in the dining room. WHAT??? UGH! I told him to stay in the bathroom and I went into the dining room and also mentioned to my husband (who was in the living room) that K told me he puked in the dining room. Ok... I will not repeat what husband said. Just some colorful words. I told hubby, "This is just like one of the dogs," as we have a dog who likes to puke after eating grass. Hubby said, "No, this is worse!" I asked K why he didn't throw up in the toilet and he said, "I didn't think of that."

After all the puke piles were cleaned up, and child was still complaining of a tummy ache, I gave him some Children's Pepto and he asked if he could go lie down. I told him that he could. I then went to hubby's laptop and went online to look for symptoms of Swine flu. Everything I read said it comes with a high fever and that wasn't what K was experiencing.

I went back to bed and woke up at 6 a.m. for work. I called the school to tell them that K would be absent today. K did finally wake up around 8:00 or so and told me that he had been puking all night, even after I had put him back to sleep. Great. Unfortunately, we had insulation blowers (people who install insulation) here and they had a hose running down the hall which sort of would be a distraction to a little boy needing to go puke in the toilet. I put a box of Kleenex and the bathroom wastebasket in K's room and told him that if he needed to throw up, he could do it in the wastebasket. I told him I would check on him every once in a while. I went back downstairs to work.

At 9 a.m. I went up to check on K and he said that he threw up in the wastebasket. I took his temp again and it was low. No fever. I am blaming last night's dinner which also gave me a stomach ache. Hubby threw out ALL leftovers from everything and we will start over for dinner tonight. K told me his legs were hurting so we gave him Children's Motrin and put him back in bed.

At 10, hubby told me the insulation was done and the guys were gone. I checked on K and he was awake and feeling a bit better. I decided to read some library books to him and he seemed to perk up. One was "Monsieur Saguette and His Baguette." If you haven't read that, please go check it out. It's hilarious! My son, who is 7, LOVED it!

Now it is is a bit past 12:30 and K is watching t.v. in the living room. I think he is feeling a lot better and I truly do think his stomach issues were due to something he ate. He even got dressed in his favorite Ichiro t-shirt.

Let's hope my other son doesn't feel ill! I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Soccer season again

Yesterday was J's first soccer game of the season. He's been practicing for a few weeks now and yesterday's first game was a success. His team didn't lose! They didn't win, either. It was a tie. Score: 1-1. That's the way it is with soccer; the game is timed and when the time is up, you are stuck with whatever the score is.

It was a beautiful sunny afternoon for a game. Last year, his team played in the mornings, rain or shine. We (as onlookers) were always cold and/or wet when the weather was bad and bundled up in coats and blankets. Mornings are chilly here even now, so I'm glad the games are in the afternoon this year.

We received the game schedule a couple weeks ago and noticed the time change for the games, but what we also noticed was that there will be no game over on the islands. Last year we had to take a ferry over to Whidbey Island for a game. Apparently the ferry system is used to having soccer players on board as there was a sign from the car deck to the stairs going to the passenger area (food area, tables, etc.) that said, "NO CLEATS!"

On the schedule we also noticed that J's team will play a team that they have never been able to beat. One player on the opposing team was very tall with blond curly/bushy hair. He was #12, according to his jersey. Oh, how we secretly wished he'd fall. That kid was never pulled out of the game to rest or be replaced. Why, no, why would his coach ever pull him out? He was their star player.

J had a couple head butts with the ball that moved the ball far across the field. Too bad he had a headache afterwards! He wasn't using his head properly, no pun intended. He didn't hit it with the right part of his head. His coach had said, "Use your forehead next time." J said, "If I'd have done that, I probably would have gotten hit in the nose." That's the thing with soccer - injuries. We had to sign a concussion waiver this year because of some new law. That made me realize that yes, my child could get hurt playing soccer. I guess I was in fantasy land last year or something and didn't bother to think that way. I'm more optimistic about things and don't really think of what could happen that is bad.

Anyway, we are looking forward to the next game and also the next practice. Practices are an hour long and the second half of practice is spent scrimmaging with another team. It's like a mini game and the kids have a lot of fun. They have fun during regular games, but their comments during practice are funny. A bunch of 12- and 13-year-old boys running amok on a field.

I swear something blew up in my boys' rooms!

Yesterday I helped my 12-year-old son clean his disaster of a bedroom. You wouldn't believe the amount of stuff we threw away. Well, maybe you would if you had kids. This guy is a packrat! I was in charge of the garbage bag. I held it firmly and tossed all sorts of things into it - things I didn't want handed down to my youngest who had his room cleaned a week or so ago.

I started on the dresser and went through each drawer. We removed items from each drawer and put back what actually belonged there. If there were clothes that were too small and in good shape, they got passed down to the little brother. Other things got put into piles on the floor (cars, cards, bouncy balls, army men, etc.) for figuring out what to do with later.

Next items to attack were the two drawers under the bed. These were filled with anything and everything and it's a wonder the kid could find anything. Everything got pulled out and put on the floor.

On to the cubby! It has nine squares for storing things and there are two canvas boxes. The boxes have handles and are much like drawers. Each cubby was dealt with separately and items were put into the floor piles. We even unearthed a school library book - from last year! This child attends middle school now and the book was from elementary school. My husband is going to return the book and see if he can get his money back (apparently he paid the overdue fine last year, unbeknownst to me or J).

The nightstand was next. There are two drawers in it and they were full of junk. Everything came out and put in its rightful place - on the floor or in the garbage bag.

Closet next. Hangers were on the floor, clothes were on the floor - is this typical of boys?? My 7-year-old son's closet was the same way. He used to take pride in his room (the 7-year-old) but now he's taking after his brother.

I also attacked under the bed and between the wall and the bed. I unearthed foam darts from underneath the beanbag chair.

After arranging the dresser, cubby, closet and nightstand the way J liked it (and the way I liked it), we began organizing the mess on the floor. Like things went into plastic shoeboxes (Yu-Gi-Oh cards in one, army men in another, cars in yet another, and so on) and labeled. These boxes were put in the drawers under the bed.

Everything is now in its place. We have a rule for K (the 7-year-old) that if something is out of place and he is not in the room (or in the bathroom), that thing (book, toy, etc.) gets taken away. This may sound harsh, but if you were me (or hubby) and have been telling these kids to clean their rooms and they don't, then you'd understand. After walking into K's room and stepping on a Lego in sock feet (OUCH!), that was the last straw. J's room was just as bad. Dice on the floor, forever a game board out, shoes everywhere. Enough already! So... the rule for K is the same for J. I don't care if they are five years apart in age. If they truly treasured their toys, they'd take care of them and put them away!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009


I love this picture. It was taken June 2008 at the ocean. The kids had no idea I was taking a picture of them, and that's the way I like it. I don't like people posing for a shot.

The little guy on the left is my baby. He was five then. Look at his hair blowing in the wind. His hair gets out-of-control curly when not kept at a decent length.

The one on the right was 11, and I love the stance. It appears he must be thinking, "Come and get me, waves!"

This picture is my profile picture. It's also the desktop wallpaper on my PC. I never tire of looking at it. That trip to the beach was such a fun time even though it was chilly most of the time. We brought the dogs (which sadly, I never got pictures of) and let them play in the water. The one who stunk up my office this morning is the one most likely to jump in the water first.

Our last night at the ocean, we all wore packs full of firewood and we hauled the wood (along with s'mores ingredients) to the beach. We found remnants of someone's driftwood fort and added our firewood to it. Hubby got a fire going and we started to make our s'mores. As UNluck would have it, the rains began to fall. We were prepared with our raingear and promptly dug it out of our packs and put it over our clothes. However, the rain was more than we really wanted - really now, would YOU want to sit out in the cold wet night trying to make s'mores?

After one or two s'mores in the rain, we decided to pack up and get back to the condo. We were good little beach goers and put out our fire. We trekked back to the condo but... we will never forget that trip!


This morning after I got out of the shower, I walked into the bedroom and smelled a foul odor. It smelled like vomit. I looked around on the floor to see if one of the dogs upchucked something, but I could not find anything.

I went about my merry way and got ready for work. I went downstairs to my office and sat down at the computer and began my workday. My one little dog that follows me everywhere came along and plopped on the ground by my desk. There was that hideous smell again. I realized it was her! I briefly thought of spraying her with Febreze, but instead I ushered her out the door and closed it.

A bit later, when I needed to heat some water for tea, I went upstairs and told my hubby that the dog stunk horribly and she wasn't allowed downstairs in my office. J was there in the kitchen and said, "I was petting her. She didn't smell to me." Hubby looked at the dog and realized she must have rolled in poop the last time she was outside. Gross! As I was waiting for water to boil, I took a couple of wet paper towels and started to wipe down the dog where the poop was. Oh, it stunk! I realized this job was more than a few wet paper towels could handle and I said she needed a bath. Hubby was about to blanch a bunch of beans and he said he couldn't wash the dog right yet, and I couldn't do it either because I was working. We both looked at son #1 and said, "J, you are going to wash the dog." This was a first for J who had never done that before. J had to get dressed first as he was still in jammies.

I don't know exactly how it went, but the dog got washed. I was busy downstairs in my office. Hubby brought the dog down after she was clean and he closed my office doors (there are actually two doors that fold closed) with the dog inside. Oh she smelled lovely!

Thursday, August 20, 2009


It always amazes me when kids are doing chores that they take their own sweet time, dawdling all the way. They don't want to be doing the chore - they want to be playing. So why don't they get the chore done quickly and get back to playing?

I was outside a little bit ago and saw all the plums that had dropped to the ground. I came inside and told the kids that there are plums that needed to be picked up. It's their job to do it. Anyway, I know that when I've picked them up myself, it takes maybe five minutes. It will take those kids an hour! They were happily playing in one of the bedrooms (quietly, I might add) but the plums needed to be picked up so our pet doggies don't eat them later. Time is of the essence - we need to leave for swim lessons soon! It'll be interesting to see how many plums they've picked up when I go out to gather the kids up.

Friday, August 14, 2009

"Mom, do you know where my ___ is?"

Every mother has heard this question, I'm sure. Your child asks if you know where X is. Apparently you, as a mom, are supposed to know where your son or daughter left X. The thing is, we have too much going on to have ESP or psychic abilities. I know I certainly have no idea where my 7 year old left his Leapster. He carries it all around the house and usually leaves it somewhere other than his room. In fact, it happens so often (when he leaves things around the house and yard), that we've started throwing things away that belong to him. He has enough stuff anyway and never misses these things at all (and doesn't know we tossed them, nor does he realize they are missing).

This week I have thrown out:

  • Two plastic croquet hoops left in the backyard for at least a month
  • An assortment of paper items (miscellaneous construction-paper pieces of varying shapes and folding techniques) that were all over his room
  • A suction cup
  • A pencil left on the couch
  • Broken pieces of something of which I know not

However, for some freak reason, I decided to hand over a piece of K'nex and a Lego head that I found in the grass. My young son and I were picking up plums under the tree and I saw these two items. I said, "Here is a K'nex piece," and handed it to him. Then I found the other item and said, "Hey, here's that Lego head you lost," and handed it to him while also telling him to put these things in his pocket so he could (hopefully) remember to put them in his room when he went back into the house. Of course, when it's laundry time, those pockets better be checked (by my other son who does his and his brother's laundry)!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

You found WHAT??

Yesterday morning I was busy working in my home office as usual. My husband had been outside mowing. My oldest son (J) was in his room, happily playing. My youngest son (K), who will be seven soon, was playing outside and hopefully staying out of his dad's way. Let me back up a minute here. We don't have a typical yard and we don't live in a typical neighborhood. We live on a rural street with houses scattered about. We have a portion of woods on our property and we have private forestland in back of the house.

K came inside and came down to my office (which is on the lower level of the house). He was all excited to show me something. It was two teeth stuck together. He said, "Mom, I found this. It's teeth." Yes, upon inspection, it appeared to be an animal's teeth. I couldn't quite tell what kind of animal as there were only the two teeth, but they were brown and looked rather old. He said, "They were on a stick and I pulled this part off." I said, "A stick? Where?" He said, "In the woods. Back down by the fence." I said, "Could you find it again? I want to see it." He said, "I know you can't come see it right now because you are working, but when you are done can you come see it?" I said, "Yes, when I stop for lunch." He left the room and went back outside. I immediately went to Facebook to post that my son found teeth in the yard.

When it came time to stop for lunch, I went outside to find K and ask him where the teeth were found. He led me down into the woods, along a trail, and I realized that some tree branches had blown over during the last strong winds and decided they'd need to be removed. I had to either duck real low or pull them away in order to get through. At one point, I saw what looked like K's black knit hat. I said, "K, what's this? Why is that there?" He said, "Oh, it's wet," and kept walking. I picked it up and it was sopping wet. I wondered how long it had been out there! I carried it with the intent of draping it over the porch rail when we got back to the house.

I followed K deeper into the woods and along the back fence where my husband and I planted tree seedlings. Here, you might be wondering why, if we have all these trees already, why we planted more. Well, you see, we didn't want to be seeing Bob's house in the winter when the leaves fall off the alders and other leaf trees. We can barely see Bob's roof but just don't want to see it at all.

Anyway, back on track, K got to where the teeth were found and the 'stick' that the teeth were on. I saw it on the ground at the base of a fir tree. I said, "K, that isn't a stick. That's a part of a jaw." It was about seven inches long with a slight curve to it. It looked like a side portion of jaw. My first thought was that it came from a coyote, but maybe not because the coyotes around here aren't very big. K asked what he should do with the two teeth he found earlier, and I told him to put it back into the jaw with the other teeth where it belonged. I said he could keep the whole thing, but NOT in the house. He put the two teeth back into the jaw and carried it with him back towards the house. When we got halfway there, he noticed that the two teeth were gone from the jaw. "Where did the teeth go?" he asked. I said, "They probably fell out somewhere on the trail. You still have the jaw, though, and there are teeth on it." He said, "Yeah, I'll keep this." I said, "You can keep it, but I don't want it in the house. You find a place outside where you want to keep it."

When we got back to the house, K decided to put the bone on a landscaping brick sitting in the front yard. We went into the house to fix something for lunch, and I told K to wash his hands. Seeing as how that jaw was part of a mouth and who knows how long it had been sitting out there, I didn't want to chance a germ/bacteria infestation.

K is happy to have an artifact that he can show people. I love how he is imaginative and creative and will play outside til the cows come home. Look what he found! A jaw and teeth. That wouldn't have happened if he had been indoors all day like his brother. The two of them are so different which is why I love them so.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

"It's a 6!"

I am a work-at-home mom - thought I'd throw that out there because I don't think I mentioned it before. This started in mid March. So I was downstairs in my home office, working away, when my six-year-old son came down carrying a polo shirt. He said, "This is too small," and he handed it to me. I said, "It can't be, it's a 6." He said, "The sleeves are here," and he pointed to his upper arm, halfway up. I said, "It's a short-sleeve shirt. The sleeves are supposed to be there." I tossed it back to him and told him to hang it up in his closet. I think he thought it was too small because my husband and I often tell the kids that their long-sleeve shirts are too small when the sleeves are well above the wrist!

Friday, May 8, 2009

It's Friday and the kids are home

It's kind of hard to work when you constantly have a child coming to your office to ask if he can play next door. It is hard to work when it's sunny outside! Most of all, it's hard to work when the child keeps coming into the room to ask questions. Why is it that even though his dad is upstairs and not doing anything significant, the child must come down to my office to bug me? Well, it's because I'm mommy and I usually give him the attention he needs. Now that I have officially quit for the day (quit working, not quit being mommy) that child is nowhere to be found. At least it's quiet upstairs. Makes me wonder what the kids are up to!

Friday and the kids are home. They had school but they get out early each Friday. A working parent's nightmare - if they work outside the home. We used to pay for daycare for the kids and it was quite a struggle getting the older one to agree to get on the bus to go there. The daycare was basically geared toward the younger set (toddlers, pre-K, etc.) and while my youngest didn't mind it, the older one was bored. As luck would have it, my husband ended up at home during the day and the kids no longer had to go to daycare. Now that I work from home as well, the kids will never have to go there again. Amen to that!

It's sunny out but it looks a little cold, so I am going to get out of this chair and go outside. I'll bring the dogs (and maybe the kids, too - if I can find them) and get some fresh air!