Family - it's where your story begins.

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!