Saturday, December 20, 2008

Snow Pictures

Let it Snow!

The High Desert is known to get snow once a year. Since we moved here 4 1/2 years ago, we've seen snow twice. The storm that came in this week was brutal, one they haven't seen up here since the 1930's (so says my Grandma). It snowed for over 24 hours and we had at least 14 inches of snow on our ground. It was amazing, while it was happening. The kids enjoyed watching it come down and play in it. I can't imagine living in this all the time. The steps it takes to get children outside in the snow is very tedious, especially when they only are out there 20 minutes. Two pairs of pants, socks, shoes, 1 shirt, 1 sweatshirt, 1 winter coat, mittens, beanie and a scarf. Then when we get back in, all the wet clothes need to come off and new warm clothes need to be put on. 
Mason loved the snow. He could have been out there for hours. He loved to make snowballs and throw them at his sister. He even ate some and thought it was so cool. He did make sure to remind us that we only eat white snow. 
Avery loved it just as much, but only at the beginning. She got the hang of making snowballs right off the bat and began throwing them at anyone she could find. She assisted with the snowman that Allen and Mason were making. Then she fell down and the snow started melting in her hands and legs. She was cold and over it.
Jackson didn't like it at all. Immediately after walking out side he said, "I go inside, I not like this cold snow." We told him he could go inside, but then he remembered that he would be the only one inside with Monkey and decided that being cold was better then being alone and scared. He sat like a grumpy old man under the patio cover. He ventured out one time to put the buttons on the snowman and of course was fine when being held by Mommy. That kid is all talk because ever since we got in from the snow, he couldn't stop talking about going back out and how much fun he had. 
Allen and the kids made the cutest little snowman, straight with a carrot nose and rock eyes. We really did have a great time being stuck in the house for two days.... but I've decided that I could not live where it snows more frequently than this. At least right now, while I'm in the "it takes 20 minutes to bundle kids up to go outside stage," I don't think I could do it. Maybe when my kids are older and find interest in keeping themselves entertained all day without fighting, I could find a good book and curl up by the fire. This would make it feasible to be stuck in the house all day.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

A few things that have happened lately.

Our cat situation is getting better. It took about 9 days, but the kids are adjusting nicely. Avery and Jack are far from being friends with Monkey, but at least the screams have gone to a minimal.
We got some snow here on Monday. Nothing stuck to the ground, but it was still fun to talk to the little ones about snow and experience it through their eyes. 
Since it only snows a few times a year in the High Desert, people have no idea how to react. The freeway was closed down because of the weather, which caused much congestion on the freeway. It was like every semi was congregating right by the freeway on-ramps in hopes that any minute the highway patrol officer would allow them to get by.  The semi party was super annoying and caused me to be in traffic for over an hour on my way to Mason's school. Needless to say, I didn't pick him up on time and once again looked like the slacker-mom who forgot her kid (yes, it has happened more then once.) 
Today we were doing our million errands that the holidays bring. I always seem to think I'm getting stuff done early, but for some reason things still are on the list a week prior to Christmas. We were at Target today, partly to kill time before getting Mason, but also to cross things off our list. We had about an hour to shop and with a 3 year old and 2 year old that could seem like an eternity, depending on their moods. Jack is approaching the ever-famous 2.5 year old stage which is horrendous. He is moody, screams a lot and has an opinion about everything (which seems to always be the opposite opinion that I have). Of course he had to pee when we were across the store and when I told him "one more minute," he screamed that he was going to go in his pants. We took off running. I was pushing a full cart with Avery inside and Jack was running along side the cart moving his little legs very fast. We were about 25 feet from the bathroom when he slipped and fell flat on his face. The screams were so loud that every worker in a 30 foot radius came running. I picked him up and kept running, nodding to all the nice workers that he was fine. Between screams, Jack begins yelling, "My penis hurts!" I try with no avail to press his head into my neck to muffle the noise coming from his mouth. I cringe as I see the snickers coming from the people around me. Just for the record, his penis was fine and he stopped yelling the minute we were behind closed doors and to top it off, he did not pee! 

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Another Monkey in the house

I've blogged about my kid's fear of animals and how it's the most annoying thing to go somewhere where we encounter a dog or cat. The screams that come out of their mouths are that of sure terror. You would think that they once had been attacked by an animal with how they react. I've never seen something like this before. So a few months back, Allen and I decided that something had to be done.
We had contemplated getting a puppy. I was never really excited about that since I would have to do most of the work and puppies are a lot of work. We then thought about getting a cat. Two problems with that. 1 - I don't like cats and 2 - there could be a chance that this cat would not like us, as cats tend to be moody, and hide under the bed all day. So we put our plans to "de-fear" the kids on hold. Sunday we were at a friend's home and they have a kitten that they had hinted of getting rid of. Allen and I took the kitten in the back room and Allen gave the cat a "look over." He played with her and determined that she would make a great match for our family. We told the kids and they immediately went into a panic. No one wanted to take this cat home. We played the parent card and put our foot down. The cat was coming home.
The ride home was eventful. Avery whined in the back seat most of the way. Jack was the closest to the animal in the cage and every time the poor cat peeked out with her nose or paw, Jack would scream. We decided that it was time to discuss a name. Jack shouted out "monkey." Mason had to make sure that it went well with the list of our names and once he was convinced he gave his blessing. There we had it... a name for our first family pet! 
Sunday night was an adventure. Monkey was locked in our bedroom for a good hour and  the kids went to bed early. 
Monday I flew solo. Avery and Jack couldn't go or do anything without being attached to me. I carried them into the kitchen to eat. They sat on the counter while I made pancakes. I carried them into the bathroom to pee. Let me clarify that, yes, I did carry both of them at the same time. More then 50 pounds in my arms walking the halls of our home is not my idea of a good time. I put an end to the carrying really quick and that resorted to them clinging to my legs everywhere we went. 
One would think that Monkey might get tired of all this screaming. NO! This cat is very playful and just loves that she gets any attention, even if the children are louder then most. 
I have tried as many tricks as I could think of. I did a therapy session with them, asking them to define the reasons they were afraid. Avery narrowed it down that she thought the cat "would get her." I attempted to show her that this would not happen, but she was not convinced. We tried chanting that "We are not afraid of Monkey! We love Monkey! Monkey is our friend!" I had felt that I had made a breakthrough with this method of psychology because they were repeating the chant and laughing at the same time. Then Monkey walked around the corner and the mayhem started all over. Whew! 
Needless to say it's been about 48 hours since Monkey joined our family and Avery and Jack have made little progress and I'm wore out. Monkey seems to know no different and wants to be with them wherever they go. This presents a problem while they use the bathroom, take a bath, eat breakfast, play in their rooms, etc. 
Mason is adjusting fine and is attempting to show the others that Monkey is not out to get them. He also has very little patience and begins yelling at them when they start to scream.
I have high hopes that by the end of the week things will be significantly better. 
Monkey is not going anywhere, despite what Jack thinks and so far CPS has not been called about the screams coming from our home. 
Stay tuned because I'm sure more stories will follow. Attached you will find the pictures of our first hour home. Mason was doing really well. The others... well, the pictures tell it all! 

Friday, November 14, 2008

White Christmas.... or at least a white living room!

So here we go again... just when you thought all was safe and you have made it through the early toddler stage where you can be a bit more laid back and you don't have to watch every move your child makes, they surprise you. 
I was getting ready for the day, checking work emails and getting ready to get dressed, when I hear lots of laughter coming from the living room. Silly me. I was under the impression that laughter when two kids are involved means happy play and no fights to break up, so I have more minutes to get ready. NOPE.
I round the corner of my bedroom where I get a full view of my living room. What was once a larger purple rug and leather furniture had turned into a "snow" filled room. Jackson had the baby powder (which was left out by Allen.. enough said on that note) and was throwing the baby powder all around the room. While his lovely big sister was next to him with her magic wand exclaiming with glee "Abracadabra let there be snow!" Since Jackson must have thought he was her fairy godmother, he granted her wish.... ALL OVER THE LIVING ROOM!
To be truthfully honest I had to hide my laughter cause it was a very cute sight to see. After all they were being imaginative. It was just a mental note to not let my guard down - they seem to always get into something! 

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Poop or Mustard?

So today was another crazy day in my mom/worker life. I had a meeting that needed to be moved up. I told the mom that I would have my kids with me, so let's make it a quick meeting at Starbucks. It was about lunch time, so I drove through Wendys to get them some food and keep them busy for at least a little while. 
We snagged two tables outside so that the kids could have one table and I could have my meeting at the other. I set them up with their food, ketchup, drinks and then crayons, coloring books, and puzzles for when their food was done. It was a perfect set up. So I thought...
Jack starts screaming that he has to pee. I turn around to see some mustard liquid dripping off his chair. I gasp and jump up. The mom from my meeting was helping her son with some math problems, so I don't think she caught on right away - or if she did, she didn't add to my embarrassment. I grab the kid and run. I really didn't have a plan. I just knew to get him out of there. I yell for Mason and Avery to follow me. I head to the car. I clean what I can from his back, but to take off his pants and underwear, would have been a long process, so I just left him in it. (I know, Mom of the Year award goes to me, again!) 
I buckle him in his seat and hurry Mason and Avery into the car. I thought about leaving, but then remembered that my computer bag and lots of important information was still left in Starbucks. I notice an open parking space right next to our two tables... Thanks God... so I move the car to them. I tell Mason that he's in charge (he loves this) and I go and finish my meeting. Thankfully for the next 20 minutes Avery and Mason keep Jack busy enough that he doesn't remember about the poop in his underwear. 
After my meeting is over, I clean up what I can of the gross mustard mess off the chair and floor. I can't fully clean the liquid off the wicker chair, despite how hard I try and then put a note in the back of my brain to make sure I look where I sit from now on cause I can't be the only one this has happened to. I gather all our belongings and rush home to bath the child.
I sit and reflect about what happened a few hours ago and wonder if the mom and her boys realized what was happening. I wonder how I would feel in the same position. Totally grossed out, that is for sure. I hope for their sake, they thought it was just mustard from the burger leaking onto the floor! 

Monday, November 10, 2008

Potty training made easy

So I know that my putting this in writing may back fire on me, but I can't resit the urge to tell the world how awesome my two year old has been doing with potty training. I never expected to start training this soon. In fact, my plan was to wait until Christmas break, when Allen and I would be home and our lives would be a little less chaotic. That way we could train the little man together with little interruptions. Well, for the past few months he's been wanting to wear big boy underwear. He also has shown the signs of telling us when he has gone and gagging at his own poop. 
One day I thought, what the heck? Let's try it. It was last Monday and I put him in underwear. The day went horrible. I set my timer for every 20 minutes and he never made it to the potty. I adjusted my timer to 10 minutes and he never made it to the potty. In fact, he would sit there every 10 minutes and nothing would happen. Then at minute 14 he would pee on the floor! 
By the end of the day I had used every towel in our home and every underwear this kid had and no success. 
Tuesday rolled around and it bible study, so we were training only 1/2 day today. I thought to myself that I would try again after naptime. One success! Yippee! 
Wednesday was another home day and he did great again. By lunch time he was telling me he had to go. This was amazing. Both of the other kids NEVER told me they had to go until they were closer to 3. I went to bed proud and happy for my little guy! 
Thursday he was with a friend of mine because I had work meetings to deal with. I put him in a pull-up and was doubtful he would have success being with a new potty. But he did! He stayed dry all day and told her every time he had to go! 
Wonderful. We are now a week into training and that little guy can pee standing up and when he sits, he doesn't even use the potty seat anymore. Today we went to Target with underwear! I brought along all my out and about "potty training" supplies. A backpack of changes of clothes and a large beach towel to sop up any pee that might occur from the Target cart. I didn't need any of it. Of course, we were in the toy aisle when he grabs his private region and says he had to go. All four of us and the Target cart ran to the other end of the store to make it to the potty in time! WE MADE IT! 
This new transition is so exciting to me. No more diapers for our family. WOW... I haven't been able to say that for 6 years. I may take this extra money and get a massage! A small reward for potty training three kids.... in my opinion! 

Monday, November 3, 2008

What is heaven like?

We have this book called "What is heaven like." It's about a little boy who's grandfather just died. He goes about his day asking his sister, the dentist, the librarian, his teacher, etc. if heaven would have this or that. It's a very cute story and the kids love listening to it. 
Tonight it brought up a very deep sadness that creeps up from time to time within me. My grandfather passed away 7 years ago right around this time. It was a quick battle with cancer, that left us sleeping by his feet when he passed one night. He was such a fun man and I miss him dearly. I especially miss him when I see my grandma with my kids. He would have had so much fun with them. He loved to roll around on the floor with my brother and I. He loved reading us books and playing games with us. 
As we were reading tonight, Mason whispers to Avery that this book makes him sad cause he thinks about Mommy's grandpa. So sweet. That boy is always looking out for me.
Mason asked what would happen if after we were in heaven if we died. He wanted to know if life started all over again. Would we get to go back into a mommy's tummy and be born into Earth again? Oh wow... the deep thoughts of a five year old. I explained to him the best I could that there would be no dying in heaven - just good times and happy thoughts. 
It's great to know that God promises us eternal life in heaven with Him. I was thankful for that reminder tonight and to be able to share a piece of that with a 5, 3 and 2 year old.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Halloween with the Neuenschwander kids

Halloween was interesting this year. Lots of running around and lots of people. Both of these things are not favorites for my kids... for me either! They were mostly excited to wear their costumes... but would probably have been fine getting a few pieces of candy from some friends and passing out the rest at home. I will have to remember that for next year. Our stop this year was my parent's church, Christ Church of the Valley in San Dimas. They do an annual trunk or treat. All the cars pull into the parking lot, open up their trunks and pass out candy. We got their early to beat the rush. We went down a few very unorganized aisles and came across a few dogs. WHY oh WHY would you bring your dog trick or treating? At that point we lost Jackson to Papa's arms where he was not coming down. Avery, who had already been timid to begin with, was very aggressively gripping my hand. Mason, who can't really see out of his spider man mask, is clueless about what is happening around him. I try and force Avery to say "Trick or Treat" and "thank you," like we have practiced several times prior to this social experience, but she refuses. So now, she is done. We finish the aisle we are on so the boys can fill up their candy bags and head over to the bounce houses. Here is where my kids let loose. They were no longer forced into a situation that made them uncomfortable - they were able to run around and be kids. 
I realized that sometimes I have to remember how I feel in uncomfortable situations. I hate Disneyland or Costco on crowded days. I don't like being around a lot of people I don't know. So I could relate to how Avery was feeling. Next year, we will try something more low key. After all, the huge bucket of candy that was the result of the night is just going to get thrown away by the end of the week.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Date night

Tonight is family date night. Mason is going out for his very first time without us or my parents. He is going to the movies with my cousin, Cassandra, whom is 12 and her mom (my aunt) and my grandma. Okay, so it's really no big deal cause he is still going with family. But he is packed with money and jacket and he looks and feels like such a big boy on his first alone outing. Cassandra won tickets to see that weird looking movie, Beverly Hills Chihuahua. He is going to love it. He's been talking about it for weeks. I'm happy cause he gets to go for free and I don't have to watch it. Perfect!

Currently Daddy and Avery are on a father-daughter date. Avery has been very grumpy Allen lately. She is a moody girl to begin with, but she has been especially moody with her towards  dad. He decided to take her out to ice cream and spend some alone time with her. She was super excited to go - so I'm sure it will be time well spent with the two of them.

That leaves me alone with Jackson. He is cutting his two year molars, that seem to be never ending, and is a bit of a pain. I gave him some Tylenol when he woke up from his nap a bit ago and that has seemed to help. We have played a few games and now he is watching Dora, while I sneak away for some computer time.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

A crazy few weeks.

I've been missing my blog land so much. Life has been very uneventful and every time I sit down to write a blog, something else seems more pressing.
The possessions in our life all seem to be breaking one by one. I have been wondering what God is trying to teach us. The door on the microwave has been falling off for the last several months. You have to pull it just right so that the whole door doesn't come off every time you open the door. Last week I stepped on the lever on the vacuum that makes the handle lay down and the whole lever broke and can't be put back together. Allen went to start the dishwasher on Sunday morning and it would not start. He took it all apart and attempted to fix it, but it just wouldn't start again. We have been washing all our dishes by hand and it is very much the pain. I realize now what a blessing a dishwasher is to have. Today I dropped Allen off at the DMV and then went to get us some Diet Coke refreshments. A sign caught my eye and I ran right in the back of a Honda Accord. Of course my American made car was fine - but the Honda's bumper was smashed to bits.
Seriously, God, what are you trying to teach me?

Allen getting his license back really made a great ending to this week! It is going to be so nice not driving him around and just to have someone else help with the extracurricular activities for the kids. All in all, this time has really taught me the importance of family. We lean on our family in hard times and this has been 7 months of hardship - for both Allen and myself. We had some great family memories in the car at 6:30 in the morning or packing up all the kids just to get on thing from the Lowe's down the street.

Allen's sister had a baby last week. She is our first niece. It is exciting to be so close to a situation and not be the one expierencing it. I have mixed emotions. Part of me is envious of her situation and remembers the eventful time with a newborn. And the other part of me is glad that stage of my life is over and I can sleep through the night and I have freedom to come and go as I please. I am excited to be an Auntie and spoil my niece (and any future siblings she may have) and then give her back to her parents!

Jackson has shown quite the imagination lately. Him and Avery were chasing lions down our hallway yesterday. He started to cry cause he was scared, so I gave him some lion dust that would make the lions disappear. It was so sweet to watch him run down the hall throwing his imaginary dust all over the place and telling the lions to go away.

Avery is becoming such the little lady. I looked at her tonight and saw no hint of baby left in her. Her little face and hands are all girl. Her body is stretching out and her baby pudge has disappeared. Her little attitude is becoming more and more apparent and I've had a glimpse of what it may be like when she is a teenager... scary thought!

As the possessions in my world are all breaking and causing me much grief - I need to remind myself what is really important. My family and the time that is slipping by each day. The kids are growing up. Who cares if the dishes never get done or the floors never get vacuumed, I'm going to watch my kids grow up! I'm blessed.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Another step into big kid land

The last picture of the full set of baby teeth!

I feel like I've been blogging alot about my big boy, Mason. So many changes have been happening in his life lately. Last week he lost his first tooth. He had been wiggling it for a few days and then it was just hanging there. He refused to let us pull it out, so for a few meals I had to cut up his food like he was an infant again. But then one morning, when he was up laying in his bed waiting for the sun to rise, he was playing with his tooth when it fell out. He said that he put it under his pillow, but the tooth fairy did not come. "Maybe she is on vacation." I told him that maybe if he put it under his pillow the next night and used the special tooth pillow that his Great Grandma LaVerne made for him, then she would probably come. Sure enough, the next night she came. She left Mason 5, $1 bills and a note. The note stated that the first tooth is always the best tooth and deserves more money then the rest. He should not count on that much money for each tooth.
Mason was so excited and was even more excited to find out that another tooth is loose!

Wiggling the loose tooth

It's finally OUT!!!!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Mason's performance

I have finally uploaded the video from Mason's performance on Friday night. The quality of the video on youtube really sucks.... Allen says its because our camera is 6 years old.

But you get the gist of the performance. He is the clueless one behind the leader in green. At times he is turning the wrong way and scratching his nose! He sees his teacher in the audience and that almost sends him for a loop. He tells me after, "I didn't know Ms. Muzquiz knew about my church."

Everyone told him and me how cute he was.... despite not knowing the whole routine! I'm proud of the hardwork that he has put into learning some of it and I know he will only get better cause he loves it!

I'm not sure how to upload it here.. I actually tried and it took all day and nothing happened. So here is the youtube link.

Monday, September 29, 2008

A spy in volunteer's clothes

Today was the first day of my volunteering career in the classroom. I plan on working at least 3 days a month in Mason's class. I want to make my face known amongst my kid's teachers so I can stay informed of what is happening. I'm also doing it to spy on Mason. Boys tend to not tell you everything that happens during their day. One word answers is usually how he tells me how his day goes. I'm very curious to know who he chooses for friends, how he acts in class and how the teacher handles her students.
The first thing I noticed was that Mason was super excited to see me in his classroom. He was all smiles the whole time I was there. Of course, I soaked all this attention up since I know that this may only last for a few more years.
I'm also quite sure that I'm not designed to be a kindergarten teacher. They are very needy and require a lot of attention. I was in charge of helping a center group make a leaf man. They are working on the letter L this week. I had to help a few kids hold a scissors and show them numerous times that the leaves were legs not arms. I can't imagine having to deal with all those students on a daily basis. His teacher must always be tired!
I also realized today how much Mason really does know compared to other kids his age. I'm proud to say that he is one of the few kids that can read. Again, the thought of homeschool crossed my mind. He is not challenged or learning anything new in his current school situation. I know that if I homeschooled him he would be learning new concepts daily. He loves to learn. I also know that he struggles in a few areas that I would be able to focus more time on then he coudl get with a classroom of other students.
One thing I realized as I was contemplating pulling him out of school was that he is in need of socialization. He is sort of the loner kid during recess. He sat with a few girls on the floor to eat his snack and then proceeded to ride the tricycle while talking to only a few people. When I asked him if he had any friends he said that he had lots of friends and that all the kids in his class where his friends. I felt responsible as tears came to my eyes watching my child play by himself. Did I not expose him to enough playdates? I'm fairly certain that since birth I have very successfully introduced him to many friends that he has enjoyed. I think that is the difference between toddler-hood friends and school-age friends. One is mom introduced and the other they pick themselves.
I realized once again that my first born has a very different personality then his mom. He is happy to play by himself and is not affected at the least that he has no "close" friends to share his secrets with. In his five year old mind anyone he meets is his friend and in reality that is how it should be. I know that at least for today our decision to keep him in public school will help him make friends..... a priceless resource.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Mason... a celebrity?

Mason made the paper! Yep that is right... right there on the front page was his little face.

Monday night was the Hesperia District Board Meeting, where they honored Ms. Sherri for giving Mason the Heimlich while choking on a fruit snack a few weeks back. We attended to honor Sherri and to give the board a face to the little boy that Sherri saved. The local paper got wind of the whole process and showed up to school on Tuesday morning. They received permission from Allen to interview Mason and take some pictures.

Wednesday morning, the picture and story is on the front page. Mason was more then thrilled. I received 4 phone calls and 3 emails from people in the High Desert that wanted to make sure we knew about the article. One of your dear friends was over tonight and asked Mason for his autograph. Mason is happy and giggly about his new found celebrity-hood!

It is sad that in this fallen world, a sad thought crosses my mind. The newspaper article which is viewed by all the cities in the High Desert contains Mason's full name, school name and picture. It is scary to think of what could happen if this information falls into the hands of an evil-doer. I am sure this thought did not even cross Allen's mind as he gave permission for them to interview Mason as it probably would not have mine. This just reminds me to have one more talk with my kids about strangers and safety in public. How sad that we have to even think about things like this.

Monday, September 22, 2008


We decided to brave camping again. I felt that it was necessary for our kids to be campers. Isn't that what kids do. My last post about the animals and our lack of exposure to them is very scary to me. I don't want my kid's friends to mention camping and them have fear of it cause it is unknown. So we ventured out.

We went to Vail Lake. It is close to home and some dear family friends were also going and said that they would provide all the food - so just pack what we needed for a night. HA! We took out one seat in our van and still had to unpack some stuff cause the kids would not fit. After the 2-3 hours it took Allen and I to pack us for one night.. we were off!

We arrived at the camp site at about 2:30 pm and started the unloading and setting up. Setting up the tent in the heat with three children who just want to run and play and can't cause they are too young to be off by themselves, was not pleasant. The kids rode bikes and we took walks. The two hours between set up and dinner time was the best! Then dinner time hit. We had to eat on dirt. The floor was dirt. Everywhere was dirt.

Sleeping was awful. 5 people in a tent. Our tent says its a 10 man tent.... really? How small are these men that are fitting into this ten and I'm sure they were not sleeping on an Aero bed! IT was freezing the whole night and I spent much of it comforting a whimpering baby or sleeping in the bathroom. Of course as luck would have it something did not agree with my tummy and I feared of getting sick in a small-very thin walled tent. I spent alot of the night in the public restroom sitting in a chair trying to sleep, so that I would be near the toilet if it called for me.

The next day Avery was stung by a bee. Bees where everywhere and lo-and-beyond - the minor tempered kid who did not swat at the bees was stung. Poor girl was a wreck. She cried for about 3 hours (no exaggeration). It was cute to see her Daddy and big brother in action. Both were ready to take that bee and any bee that crossed our path and squash it with their bare hands! We ended up leaving the camp site earlier then planned to tend to our tired bodies and Avery's swollen hand.

I made a mental checklist on the way home about the pros and cons of camping. We own a timeshare and I think that we are perfectly fine doing timeshare vacations from here on out.

Timeshares have tables and chairs and carpets under our feet - where as camping has dirt!
Timeshares have bathrooms within the same walls as your bedroom - where as camping requires you to walk 1/2 block to the nearest bathroom.
Timeshares have heating and air conditioning for the inclement weather - where as camping you have to layer your clothes or sweat.
Timeshares don't require you to build your bedroom upon arrival.
Timeshares have kitchens to prepare your food and do your dishes - where as camping you do it on grill in the dirt.
Timeshares allow you to sleep alone in your big bed and your kids are in the next bedroom - where as camping, everyone is right next to each other.
Timeshares have TVs for those moments that you just don't have the patience to keep the little ones entertained.
Timeshares have locks on the doors so that you can prevent a 2 year old from escaping down the road.

My mental list goes on and on. I have convinced myself and Allen (who didn't need much convincing) that we will only vacation in a hotel or timeshare from here on out. We see nothing wrong with raising our kids this way and when they become boy scouts and are old enough to not be stolen by strangers we will try again.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Kids and animals

So we have put a lid on the bird idea and now we are on to dogs or cats. I hate cats... When I look at them I see a moody animal armed with claws and sharp teeth. My aunt had a lot of cats growing up and they always jumped on me. This could be where my fear lies. In the same sense a cat makes a good pet. They potty train themselves, clean themselves and leave you alone - for the most part. I'm just not sure this is what we need to de-fear our children.

My kids have a terrible fear of animals. We were eating breakfast at a friends house last week and out comes their cat. Jack and Avery screamed and jumped into my arms, as if a tiger had just tried to claw out their eyes. Mason tried to be brave... but I could see fear in his eyes as he side-stepped to my leg. This is RIDICULOUS. Not only is it super embarrassing, but I feel like I have not done my job as a parent and exposed them to animals. Maybe its too late and I've already scarred them for life. I know a lot of their fear is my fault. I'm not an animal lover and tend to steer the stroller away from stray dogs. I arm myself with a walking stick to "beat the dogs" if they come near. Maybe the children have picked up on that. I'm fearful... but I'm not a maniac. I don't crawl up Allen's arm at the sight of a hampster.

When people are afraid of clowns, closed spaces, heights, animals... what do you do? Despite my lack of psychology degree, I think you should conquer your fear my meeting it head on. ON the a way home from our breakfast date last weekend we stopped at Pets Mart. The animal shelter was there with 6 dogs for adoption. AWESOME. A dog would be perfect. He would play with the kids and maybe even settle my urge for a fourth baby (wink,wink!). We fell in love with a small dog in the bottom cage. The kids were okay looking at the animal from behind the cage, until a big dog on a leash walked by. Ear piercing screaming began and the whole store was staring at us. The lady from the shelter told us that maybe we should visit a few more times before we take one home. She was probably right and I realized that my problem would not get solved overnight.

I'm hoping that bringing home a dog will quickly cure the fear in my children's minds. I know it will be hard and I know that the kids or the dog will be in their room/crate for the first few days. I anticipate a lot of tears. I'm also aware that this new family member will be a lot of work. Training, feeding, cleaning. This is where I want to throw in the towel. Do we have time to do all of this? My kids need this and I feel like in the end our sanity needs this. I don't want to raise children who are scared of things, especially my boys.

A dog will be in our future. It's exciting. It's right. It's scary..., but here we go!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

A bird as a pet?

I have a new family on my roster this school year. Very sweet. Mom has three grown children and has adopted 5 children into her home. 4 of them are in CAVA this year. I stopped by their home to have them sign some paperwork this morning. Avery and Jack were with me. Avery is a grumpy kid to strangers... which is another blog for another time..... so that was frustrating cause she was attached to my hip the whole time.

This family has a mini-farm. They have 7 or 8 baby quail and 1 baby duck. She said they buy the eggs through the internet and then they "heat" them and watch them hatch... WOW... such a cool experience for the kids. They have a duck pond in their back yard with a few ducks and geese. They have 2 turkeys... which they plan on eating in a few months. They also have lots of chickens, which they use for eggs. How cool! I'm not sure I could handle all of this work.... but i think it's so cool that their kids are experiencing all of this.

My kids are huge chickens (no pun intended). They are afraid of everything, especially animals. I carried both kids on my hip - yes, that was 60 pounds in my arms - so we could avoid the D-O-G that would have ate them if they we not in my protective arms. We successfully made it to the chicken coop and I was able to release the heavy weights in my arms. The kids were less then thrilled to see the chickens and ducks. In fact they seemed to be more excited to see the outside of my leg. The other children did not understand why my kids were acting so strangely... I tend to wonder if I'm doing them an injustice for not having any pets or not forcing them to like animals... It's something that stresses me out alot!

As we were leaving, the Mom asked me if I wanted to take home one or two of the baby quail. She said all we would need would be a cage and some feed.... I'm not an animal person (apple doesn't fall far from the tree), but maybe this is the baby step we need to start our kids on the 5-step program towards animal tolerance.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Waiting around for people to show up

The last several days I have been having teacher meetings with my 13 families. They are scheduled hourly and I do them at our local library.... which has wireless access so that I can blog or facebook when I'm bored!
Well today, I have been stood up twice! I don't like to be stood up... I'm currently waiting for appointment 6 today, for which I hope they show up cause I'm starting to run out of things to do.
It's been interesting people-watching these last few days. Many weird people live in the High Desert. I mean you have the normal "scary-looking" people, in which I respond with smiling. My theory is that people can not shoot you if you are smiling. It's just rude!
Yesterday a lady walked in with her four children. She had a baby carrier, a 8 year old, a 4 year old and what looked like a 6 year old. She put her backpack looking thing on the table next to me and pulled out a nursing cover. I thought "oh, how sweet, she's going to nurse her baby." For those of you that know me, I'm obsessed with breast feeding. I always have to know if they are breastfeeding or formula feeding. I'm not judgmental about it, cause I didn't nurse all my babies for that long... I'm just super curious. Part of me is a bit jealous cause I wish I could be nursing a newborn right now too (but shhh.. don't tell Allen that part!) Well instead of hooking the baby up under that blanket, she pulled out a breast pump! We were in the middle of a very crowded library. I was very nosey and kept sneaking peeks at her. I just wanted her to talk to me and tell me why she would be pumping her milk, instead of feeding the baby. She looked like she did this all time, as she rocked the carseat with her foot and yelled at her 4 year old to sit down.
I love people watching..... it kills the time while I wait..... Oh, here is another one of my appointments....

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

A busy mom.....

I realized yesterday that when I’m busy, I do what ever I can to make the “needy” child happy.
The place was the car, which is where we seem to spend most of our time these days. Avery, Jack and I were on our way to pick up Mason from school. I decided to call one of my dear friends. I never get to talk on the phone anymore because I am constantly having something to do that supersedes the friendly phone call. I thought I might have 20 quiet minutes in the car while VeggieTale tunes kept the other two kids busy.
The first 10 minutes of my drive was smooth. I was able to chit chat as if their were no kids even in my car. Then the car came to a stop in the school pick up line. Jack started yelling to go, as if he didn’t notice the large grey SUV in the way in front of me. He didn’t like the way I answered him and began yelling again about the CD’s above my head. We have a CD case filled with kid-friendly CD’s on the visor of the car. He noticed them and I handed them to him. This was Step 1 of Operation Try to Get the Kid to Stop Screaming. It crosses my mind that a 2 year old holding a stack of CD’s could end up with non-working CD’s at the end…. But I really wanted to talk!
The CD’s lasted another 5 minutes and Mason was still not out of his class yet. Jackson grew impatient. I gave him a bog full of pennies that I had in my car. At this point, anyone reading this might question my parenting. Aren’t pennies chocking hazards? Jackson chocked on a quarter about 6 months ago and since then he has never put things in his mouth that should not be there. He loves counting pennies, so I felt very safe about Step 2 of this operation.
Well Step 2 lasted a few more minutes before he started throwing all the pennies around the van. I gave him a sucker. Step 3. He asked for another, I gave him another. He asked for another, I gave him another. I kept unwrapping and handing him Dum Dums and he kept screaming for another. I kept talking. Mason got in the car and we headed home. I had to cut my conversation short cause I just could not talk through the 2 year old screaming for suckers and the other two yelling in excitement to see each other.
We arrived home 30 minutes after we had left. When I opened the van door to retrieve the 2 year old. I found 6 CD’s and 30 or so pennies thrown around his carseat. I also found 7 suckers clung to his little hand. All of them licked once or twice.
I realized that no matter what I handed that kid he would have kept screaming. He just wanted out of the car because the minute I unbuckled his little body – he stopped screaming.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Costco Trip

I'm not sure why I encourage the whole family to take a Costco trip with me. I'm exhausted at the end of a normal trip to Costco, let alone with three cranky children who just want a churro at the end and a husband who is in awe of the "Costco-amazingness." Today we decided to go after church. I had like 6 things on my list, which you know means we are at least buying 10 and spending well over 100 dollars. Why oh why is toilet paper 18 dollars? Good grief!
Jack is always causing mischief and trying to run through the whole store. He thinks the cart might eat him and so he has refused to sit in carts anymore. (Neither of the other two ever went through a stage like this - in fact they would jump at the chance to still sit in the cart!)
Our Costco has a "dairy cooler" and I guess it makes a loud rushing air sound when you walk it. Of course, that sent Sensitive-ear-boy-Jack off on his first screaming escapade of the day. The cooler was going to "get him."
We then proceed to buy the golden toilet paper and move our way to the cooler sections. Mason who is in la-la land for most of the trip is running into people, getting hit by their carts and has already caused me to run his foot over twice. As if its not hard enough to push the thousand pound cart, worry about Jack being eaten by the dairy cooler, then I have to continually tell Mason to "watch out, get out of the way, look where your going, etc."
Our last stop is the snack aisle, where the asking begins: "Can I have these fruit snacks?" "Ohhhh - I have to have these Sponge Bob cookies." I just keep walking trying to ignore the comments and get into line. I pay for the cart full of groceries but not before I get cash out so we can brave eating lunch at the Costco food court.
We like to eat lunch there cause we can all eat, with dessert, for under 14 dollars, but the experience is always the same.... Me bringing the food to the table, while Allen gets a table and mans the kids. I then fill the drinks and take anyone to the potty that may need to go. When I return, Allen is usually cutting up the food, while I take the hot dogs for their fixings. I finally return to sit down and try to enjoy my extremely high calorie lunch. The plan is for the three kids to share one drink, after all there are free refills. Today this caused an uproar among the natives. Maybe it was because we came from church where they only drank dixie cup sized water with their snack (my kids are drinkers). But sharing was not in the cards today. Everyone devoured their pizzas and hot dogs while yelling back to each other that they were so thirsty and it was their turn to drink.
We ran into a family from church, which somehow sent my kids into overdrive and the loud talking and hugging began. They have three kids too, so between the 2 of us, we tried to eat lunch with 6 kids all 5 and under. We survived and headed out with our heavy cart.
The kids take turns holding the receipt for the door lady to make a pretty smiley face on it as she checks to make sure we did not steal anything. Today was Avery's turn, which made her extremelly happy and thankfully the boys didn't seem to care.
You would think a Costco trip woud end there.... but the story continues as we load the car in the parking lot, unload the car in the driveway and everyone takes something in the house where things are put away.
Whew.... now the house is quiet and there are two sleeping children and one who is reading quietly. A Costco trip well accomplished today!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

This is why you don't have a lot of kids......

I have one kid in school, but I feel like I'm already a taxi service. Tonight Mason had his first choir practice. We have been trying to figure out what "activity" he will do for the Fall. I asked him to play soccer... and he was not into that. He wanted to do karate and that sounded good to me, but then one Sunday we got a flyer after Sunday School for a choir that was for K-2 graders. Oh man... this couldn't have been more perfect. Tonight was his first practice and he loved it. They sing very fun songs and they even dance. It was hilarious watching him try and keep with the dance moves - but he loved it! I'm so excited that he has found his niche.
Then after choir practice, we went to the book fair at his school. That was fun too. There always seems to be something to do.
Avery starts her gymnastics/dance/yoga class next week. For September and October she will be taking a class at the college. She is super excited - but that will keep us busy another night a week. I wanted to wait until she was 4 to start her in an activity, but she has been begging me to do something and this seemed perfect for her. After October, we can take a break or figure out what area she wants to focus on.
I can't imagine what will happen when Jackson is ready to start something..... There is not enough days in the week to have more children... Three is good.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Life in a minute

Yesterday Mason was eating a fruit snack and it got stuck in his throat. The aide had to do the Hemimlich on him to get it back up. He vomited, they sent him to the nurse and got Allen out of class. Allen texted message me to tell me.... Imagine getting a text message that reads "Mason chocked on a fruit snack. Ms. Sherri did the Hemimlich. He is fine." I totally freaked out.. and I guess now, I should not have... cause he was fine!

I asked Mason about his day and he never brought it up. The kid talked about the Letter M, the picture they colored and the story they read... but never about the incident. I finally asked him about it and then he told me in a nonchalant way... like to him it was no big deal. The only thing he did say with any emotion was, "I'm never eating Batman fruit snacks again." Kids just let things roll off there back, when mothers (maybe I should just speak for myself) get freaked out over things that are not necessary.

After receiving Allen's text, all I could think about is the "what ifs." What if someone was not there, what if they couldn't get it out.... I could make myself sick with how my mind works in situations like this. I thank God that is is okay and that non of the what ifs happened. I am again reminded that these kids are not my own and that God had their days numbered. I pray that those numbers surpass mine....

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Nap time

I live for my children's nap time. In fact, I'm shocked when I find 2 or 3 year olds that don't nap anymore. I look at the mother and think "Do you not know that you are missing out on the most important time of the day?" I have done whatever I can to keep my kids napping as long as I can. Some say that is lucky.... I call it surviving.

Mason has began the no nap stage for about 6 months now. He has up until this week, been napping about 3-4 times a week. This week he has not napped at all. He is required to take a 20 minute rest on his bed and then if he is not sleeping after that time, he can get up and do a quiet activity. I have always stressed that this time is "mommy time." I love that Mason has picked up on this and has found ways to keep himself busy during this time. He is very good at playing on the computer, coloring, watching a movie, or reading books to keep himself busy. I'm very blessed with a child that is very responsible and if he did not understand the importance that this time is on his mommy, he would still be napping!

Since I have a full time job of being a virtual teacher, nap time is when I get most of my work done. Currently I'm writing my blog, and listening to an online meeting. Meetings, phone calls to parents, paperwork, etc. can not get done when I have to change diapers, break up fights, play Candy Land and keep sippy cups full. I live for my nap time and our family pocket book needs me to continue this structured environment for my children.

Monday, August 11, 2008

First Day of School

Today Mason started kindergarten. WOW... what a big step for him.... what a hard step for me! He looked so cute in his brown polo shirt and brown oversized backpack. I looked at him as I was taking his picture today and remembered how he looked the day we brought him home from the hospital. He was wearing a blue stripe feet jammie from the Gap with a matching beanie. His little 9 pound body seemed so fragile and tiny. Now today his almost 60 pound body was kissing me good-bye as he walked into his class. He needed me so much 5 and half years ago and today he needed me much less.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

frustrated parenting

Sometimes its is so frustrating to be a parent. You never know if you are doing the right thing - there is no manual and you have to go with your gut. Well, my gut could be wrong... don't you think!
This week Mason and Avery have had swimming lessons. I made the mistake to put them in the city program, which is a pain in the butt to drive too and for my chicken children is way too many people to be around. Next year, we will defiantly do it at our home in our pool - where everything is familiar. Mason has come so far this year in the pool - so he had no problems - jumping in and doing what the instructor asked of him. The class is actually way too basic for him. Avery is a whole different story..... My brave little girl was so fearful of the big public pool. Here is how the week has gone thus far. Monday: we tried to coax her in with no luck. Tuesday: We made her sit by the pool and watch the other kids. One of the lifeguards sat next to her explaining to her how fun it is in the water and showed her all her lifesaving tricks in her bag; she still did not get in. Wednesday: Avery's friend came over in the morning to swim in our pool and Avery was not wanting to leave to go to her class, so we let her stay home. Thursday (today): She sat on the edge for like 5 or so minutes and the instructor was talking to her. I asked her if she just wanted me to dip her, and she said yes. I dipped her legs and then just handed her over to the instructor. She screamed and screamed! Bloody murder! The lifeguard said that she would just hold her for a while. She stayed in the pool for the rest of the class, which was only about 20 more minutes and cried the whole time. At one point, I stepped back because it was so hard to see my little girl crying. I wanted to rescue her so bad..... but would that have taught her anything? Here is one of those crossroads. What is the right thing? Do I let her scream and cry in the pool? On one hand, I know she is fine. She is always fine in our pool. She is strong-willed and afraid of the unknown. I should teach her that she should conquer her fears. On the other hand; could this scar her forever? Will she never trust me again?
We have decided to do the same thing tomorrow. It is Allen's day to take them to swim class and I'm so thankful. I don't think my mommy heart could handle one more 30 minute class of her screaming the whole time.
Parenting is hard work and I know it will only get harder...... I can't imagine how people do this without prayer and faith.

Monday, April 14, 2008


Mason started playing T-ball this last week and Saturday was his first game. T-ball is an interesting sport. There really needs to be about a 1-1 ratio of player to coach to pull the whole thing off. The game was the red team (Mason's team) vs. the blue team. The first time Mason was up to bat, he hit the ball like a pro, it even crossed the pitcher's mound. 1 of the 6 coaches told him to run and Mason obeyed. He just started running all over the infield while everyone red and blue was yelling at him where to go. He finally figured out where 1st base was located and the crowd calmed down. The next time he was up to bat, he thought it was time to practice his reading skills while reading the bat. Thank goodness the coach reminded him what he should really be doing with the bat. Okay, so now Mason made it to third base and he is having a conversation with the third baseman, Lloyd. Lloyd must have been just as bored as Mason cause he took his name tag off of his shirt and stuck it on his mouth. The kid up to bat, hit the ball and the 3rd base coach told Mason to run home. Mason responded with "all the way to my home?" Well, the kid has alot to learn.... but he's only 5 and is finding his niche. Maybe t-ball won't be his thing but we have 8 more games to try it out. Mason is a great sport with a willing attitude and thats all I can ask for!

Monday, March 24, 2008

Why do 1 year olds scream?

My little one year old, who is actually 20 months, has this horrible habit of screaming. For some reason there is no "real" meaning to his screams and they can be used interchangeably. In fact he will scream out of delight, if he is angry or frustrated. I used to yell "Why is the baby screaming." Only to get the same response every time echoed back to me "I don't know." Then I would go about accusing the other two kids of torturing their baby brother. I have since learned my lesson.... one year olds are smarter then they look. He is screaming cause of the response I was giving the other kids. He loved watching his older siblings get in trouble. Hmm.... now, how do I get him to stop screaming.... that is the question of the day.