Sunday, January 30, 2011

A Break in the Clouds

Yesterday it was 50 degrees! And the sun was out! THE ACTUAL, REAL LIVE SUN!

It was a happy day in the land of Hull. When I said to Drew, "Let's go play outside. It's warm." He replied, "It's WARM???" I know son, I know. Only one more day of January, the most dreadful month of the year, and we're on to February. February wins a prize, because although a winter month, it's short. And then maybe winter will go away for good. Ok fine. At least until next year after I've been complaining all summer about how IT'S SO HOT.

My state of cabin fever has hit an all time high. It dawned on me the other night when I said, "Oh, I'm so excited! This is my favorite episode of The Backyardigans!" And I meant it. (Polka Palace Party, if you must know...) Something has gone terribly, terribly wrong.

I know the kids are feeling it, too. Not just my kids at home, but the kids at school. There is definitely an undercurrent of ALL THE CRAZY that just might explode any minute.

Emily is definitely in on the act. Girlfriend is in a mood today. I had a big fantasy of getting some actual housecleaning accomplished this morning. We skipped church because I have what I'm pretty sure is a raging sinus infection and I'm waiting for the right side of my face to split in half. Nobody wants to have to clean that up at church. So, as I was saying, I was going to tackle my house and wrestle it into some sort of shape. Only my kids had other big plans. Drew wanted to watch "Beauty and the Beast" on the VCR. Yes, we still have a VCR and VHS tapes. He wanted me to watch too. DESPERATELY. Emily was attached to my leg like a giant barnacle, so I gave in and sat in the playroom floor and watched. Drew's favorite part was when the Beast fought off all the wolves. He exclaimed, "He's like a superhero!" I guess you see what you want to see!

In the meantime, Emily was furious and needed us both to know it. She screamed and thrashed and THREW TOYS. Like, in a fit of rage threw toys. A.palling. She got in big time trouble, and then of course was heartbroken and needed to sob about that. Hit the repeat button on that about 1600 times and you'll have a good glimpse of the Lord's Day here.

Emily is starting to put together two words, which is pretty great. She says, "Up please" and "I do"-which she got straight from Van, and "I stuck" and "I bonk" anytime she falls or hits her head, which by the way, is A LOT. Today she added "I bite" to the list. Yep. She kept trying to bite me and I would say, "Emily, no bite!" And she would laugh and say, "I bite!" Is anyone out there afraid for me yet??? Annnnd, if "I bite" is not devilish enough, she's already started hugging things to her and saying, "Mine!"

You do realize she's nowhere near 2 yet, right?

Thursday, January 27, 2011

So Glamourous

You know that old cliche, about a mom with young kids and how all she wants is to get a shower? You know why it's an old cliche?? Because it is so freaking true. The first challenge is remembering that you need a shower. This seems fairly basic, but I'm sorry to admit, there have been times I have outright forgotten. Wow. That's fairly embarrassing. The second challenge is finding that golden window of time when the stars align and you can get a three minute shower without someone falling down or falling apart. All those quick camp showers in my past trained me well for motherhood. Who knew?

Yesterday I grabbed a moment and did my best to shower and fix my hair. The shower thing has become even more challenging now that Drew is too old to just wander around the bathroom while I shower. I mentioned the horrid glass door we have right? Well, let's just say we've reached a gawking stage. Is that too much information? He cannot understand why Emily can wander about freely in the bathroom, but he has to hang out in my room until I'm done. Which, by the way, is all of 5 minutes. But apparently, it's SO LONELY out there all by himself. And I'll take FOREVER. He is honing his hyperbole skill.

After I finally finished showering I had to try and tackle my hair. Emily is terrified of the hair dryer. She sees me pull it out of the drawer and goes running. And then proceeds to stand outside my bathroom door and scream in terror for the entirety of the hair drying experience. Which is a while, because, in the words of my hair dresser, my hair is "massive". Is that really a word you want used in regards to your hair? Lustrous? Yes. Shiny. Yes? Massive? Eh.

As I went to begin the very complicated clip and dry in layers system yesterday I realized my round brush was nowhere to be found. In case you didn't know, the round brush is crucial to the straight hair. This is so riveting, I know. Finally, in frustration, I just decided never mind, forget the drying. I knew as soon as I gave it up and moved on to something else, I'd find the brush. And I did. In the kitchen, under the pots and pans cabinet. Because, where else?? Of course, when I found the brush I then spent 10 more minutes looking for my clip that I took out and laid down ??? Good thing I went to all the trouble of drying my hair because that 15 minute trip to Kroger? Well, you only want to look your best when you're cruising the aisles with two little ones in tow.

In other news we had a completely meltdown free day yesterday. Come to think of it, maybe it was my scary, curly hair that put Drew straight over the edge!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

God's Drawl

Well. It's another snow day here in Davidson County. I just can't tell you how happy I am to live in a city that apparently lacks the infrastructure to handle 3 inches of snow. We needed this one, kids. (Don't you love how I say that every time?)

It has been a maelstrom of sickness and massive meltdowns around here for the last few days. And last night I was almost certain my head might really explode. The weather men and women were so certain there would be "significant accumulation" that I got crazy and did not even go over my lesson plans or pack lunches. Crazy, I say.

Poor Drew. I'm not entirely sure what is going on with him, but whatever it is, it ain't pretty. After much mother mulling, I think it is just a combination of a lot of things, put over the edge by a fever and a belly ache. In case you don't know this about kids with reflux, anytime they get sick, their reflux kicks into high gear. Which, really, just makes for an all around delightful experience. Drew has had these episodes before. But it has been a long time. And frankly, I was a little scared by his behavior. It was a big ol' mess of defiance and screaming and flailing around. All of that happened BEFORE school on Monday. By Monday night, he was like some other child. Some other child who was possessed. After being put in his room he proceeded to scream and cry until a little while later I found him dead asleep on the floor by his door. I don't know if this makes me a bad mom or not, but I will assure you it was much better for him to be up there than downstairs with me. We were not, what you would call, bonding, in those moments.

Yesterday I tried to keep on top of things with the Tylenol and the sweet, understanding mom voice. DO NOT upset the savage, you know what I mean? We did great until about 11 a.m. and then the, well, you know, hit the fan. I'll fess up and tell you that I cried actual tears. I had no idea what to do. The dad was called, the screaming escalated. It was an all around banner day for this mom. Not to mention how the little savage himself was feeling. I gave him some lunch (in his room) and went back up to retrieve his plate and found him snuggled down in his bed, fast asleep. Poor guy.

The rest of the day went much better. I dug deep and prayed to the Lord for patience and kindness. And some more patience. Then I made up some errands to run just so we could get out of the cotton-pickin' house. While we were driving, Drew said something that can only be described as perfection.

Drew: "You know what, Mama?"

Me: "What Drew?"

Drew: "I think yesterday when I was screaming on my bed God said, 'Bless his heart!'"

I could laugh for 7 hours now just remembering it. HILARITY. And also, so sweet. I cannot tell you how thankful I am that in that moment of HORRIBLE behavior, his response was to believe that God felt sad for him, not angry. Man. Couldn't we all use a little more of that in our lives?

Not to mention that God apparently speaks southern to Drew as well. Which is just grand.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

A Little Blog Soup

Every single day, I think, "Hey, I should put that on my blog" and then I realize it amounts to exactly one sentence, probably a run-on, and I don't do it. So, today, I'm doing a good old fashioned brain dump and telling you all sorts of fascinating information about my children and my life. I can feel your excitement from here.

1. My children are complete and total fruit-a-holics. I don't know what the deal is, but they are flat eating me out of house and home, especially in the fruit department. I know I should be glad. At least they are not addicted to cheetos, but it is difficult to keep up with all the eating of the fruit. And, just so you know, I did not freeze and/or can any fresh, local produce over the summer, so we are eating bananas shipped all the way from who-knows-where in the amount of AT LEAST two bunches a week. And don't even get me started on the grapes.

2. Emily has learned to say "Hold me". While I'm glad she is gaining more words, I'm not particularly ecstatic about this one. It ran its' course in about 2 hours when she proceeded to say it approximately 1,000 times.

3. One of my favorite people ever recently moved to Nashville. Ashley and her new hubby live here. She came over to meet the kids and hang out. Drew cried because she wasn't here to play with him. And asks about her at least once everyday. I love when my kids love the people I love.

4. An open letter to winter:

Dear Winter~I.AM.SO.OVER.YOU. I'm done with your cold and your dreariness and your just plain bad attitude. I'm done with your germs and your colds and your fevers. Feel free to be done with your business early.

5. I need to start buying motrin and tylenol in massive bulk quantities.

6. Remember how Emily only had four teeth for months on end? No more. That girl is cutting every single tooth in her head RIGHT NOW. It's a really fun time. She's miserable, her reflux is on high alert and never has her desire for "hold me!" been greater.

7. Both of my kids have just had growth spurts rendering their clothes too small. At the same time. Thanks a lot kids!

8. We went to a birthday party at Chuck E. Cheese. Drew had only been once before. He had a pretty fun time. He was super enthralled with Chuck himself and spent quite a bit of time watching the motorized version while he waited for "the real Chuck E. Cheese" to come out. I'm the kind of mom who tries to pretend things like Chuck E. Cheese don't exist, and so far, I think Drew doesn't realize you can go there anytime. And also? I did not even tell him he could use his tickets to get a prize. He had no idea. Just thought the tickets were the prize. And was totally excited about them. Don't judge. That's 30 minutes of agonizing decision making I avoided and one less piece of plastic crap to clean up off my floor. I'm sure he'll tell his therapist all about it some day...

Well. While 8 seems like an awfully random number to end on, I think this mind numbing post should come to an end. It might snow two whole inches tonight, which pretty much guarantees Metro will be closed. Could I be so lucky???

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

All the Fun

**Edited to add: Yeah, so I wrote the post a couple of weeks ago. Just in case you wondered how it was that you completely missed out on some snow!

I have to say I'm a little bit conflicted about bragging about another snow day. Only because when I talked to my sister yesterday she'd had about all the snow fun she could take. She told me she was praying school would be in. I told her in honesty and openness that I was praying a prayer in direct opposition to hers. Hmmmm...I guess we would have to see who God loves best. I'M TOTALLY KIDDING!!!!!!! I kept hoping that since she lives in another city we could both have our wishes.

It was a wait of epic proportions. Yesterday, late afternoon, I got an email from my director asking us all to report in about road conditions in our neighborhoods. Wait. What??? Metro had already closed schools. That's our policy. Surely, we aren't going to break policy??? I groaned. All I could figure was that some desperate mom with cabin fever was putting on the pressure. I guess those moms exist. I can't imagine ever calling up a PRESCHOOL and demanding they open their doors. And, of course, it's possible that didn't even happen. I do know there was a lot of angst about WHAT IF WE HAVE TO RESCHEDULE SCHOOL PICTURES?? I'm mocking. Not nice, I know. So, around 8 p.m. last night I got the email informing me that we would be open today and that I needed to contact all of my parents to let them know...and figure out clothes for the kids...and pack lunches...and gather materials...

To say that I was not walking with a Christ-like attitude would be a gigantic understatement. And I knew I wasn't the only disgruntled employee.

This morning I dragged out of bed before dawn and proceeded to do all the things I neglected to do the night before. And then the kids were up, and breakfast was going, and lunches were being packed. And the phone rang. Oh, well, let me back up to say that the road in front of my house was super icy and I completely stalked the neighbor as he was leaving for work to see if he would careen off the road into someone's yard. He didn't. So, the phone rang and it was the director. Guess what?? School is back OFF. Repeat: no school. Which was great except for now I have to call all the parents in my class in the middle of breakfast, toddler meltdown, preschooler neediness. Don't tell anyone, but I texted instead. I know. I live on the edge.

Another snow day. Another day PAID to be home with my babies. Thank you. Thank you very much.

And just because I'm attempting to make this the longest post ever, I'll tell you that yesterday Drew and I had THE MOST FUN sledding. I LOVE to go sledding. It's on my top 10 most fun things to do list. You might remember last year when we had to sled on a cookie sheet. But, my late winter purchase of the green disc paid large dividends yesterday. Drew was totally fearless. Fearless, I tell you, and belly laughed his way down the hill over and over and over. He didn't even whine about having to climb back up the hill. Or having cold hands. Or anything else. Emily and I shared the sled on our turns. Let me just say that I'm pretty sure I've found a roller coaster riding buddy. She LOVED it. And at the risk of sounding like a gigantic sap, I have to say that I was having to hold back some tears. Moments like those, seeing your kids blissful, well, to me there is just about nothing better.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Snow Day!

Well. Some more of the white stuff showed up at our house! We've had quite the busy winter already with all the weather events. This is my second snow day as a teacher and I must say: I'm in love with the snow day! First, I get PAID on a snow day and unlike a public school teacher, I don't have to make the day up!! Therefore, I am getting PAID to stay home and play with my kids. Do you hear me?? I'm living every stay-at-home mom's dream on a day like this!!

Emily is sick (apparently a weather event brings on the sickness for her...) but that has not stopped us from having a total blast. We got out in the snow yesterday and played our guts out. I mean, for the relatively small amount of time we could be out there before baby sister starts to shiver all over! But, Emily? LOVES THE SNOW. I don't know if you remember Drew's first encounter with snow, but "love" is definitely not the word I would use for it. Such different kids. Both so awesome. I know, I know. It's so annoying when a mom talks about how awesome her kids are. But, I aim to speak truth. And they are awesome.

We dragged out a beach bucket and proceeded to make snow castles that were so much for Emily to smash with her hands. Did I mention she laughed the entire time we were outside? Then we got out the wagon and did some running down the road in the wagon. This was a favorite game in early fall when it stayed light outside for longer and we could play outside after school. It was especially hilarious in the snow. I just work on trying to block out the humiliation that comes from my running down the hill. It is paralleled only by the week after Christmas when I almost missed trash pick up and RAN outside in my robe and rain boots trying to get my trash to the truck. Have you ever been laughed at by the garbage men? It's a good time.

Anyway, after our wagon fun and some time inside to warm up we played out back on the deck where Emily sat in the snow and laughed and Drew and I engaged in an epic snowball fight. We were super heroes you see. He ran around the yard while I stood on the deck and threw snowballs at him. I don't really think he comprehended the distinct disadvantage being in the yard gave him. I don't think he cared, either, because he was cackling like the Joker the whole time! The best moment came when he took a flying leap off the top stair and jumped down to the ground. He stood up and said, "YES!" I kept telling him all night, "Remember when you did that big jump off the deck. That was so awesome!" He was beaming so much I really didn't need the lights on at all.

We pulled out the couch bed and watched movies/TV all day. We made some toasted garbanzo beans and homemade pizzas. We practiced our somersaults on the couch bed. And yes, Mama hauled her buns over her head exactly once and HOLY MOSES the dizzy. After having Emily my equilibrium does not seem to be the same. I get sick trying to read in the car and apparently somersaults are OUT of the question. Good to know.

So yeah. Paid for all the fun. You might not be surprised to find out that I'm really crossing my fingers for another snow day tomorrow!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Our Twist on the Shelf Elf

I'm sure you have heard of the "Elf on the Shelf". You probably even have one. Just in case you're in the dark about this weird little guy, let me enlighten you. In 2005 a lady wrote a book about a little elf who comes to one's house, sent by Santa to keep an eye on behavior. He hangs out on the shelf waiting to see what kind of choices the child makes, and then, supposedly reports it to Santa. I was not fully aware of the whole idea of the elf when I purchased my own a couple of years ago.

And when I read the book, I was appalled.

Let me stop here and say, I am really, really, really not trying to offend all of those who use and love the Elf on the Shelf in its' intended way. But, I just can't bring myself to do it.

I am not a big fan of a Santa who is merit based. I can't get behind the whole naughty/nice list, because, really? You only get gifts if you've had good behavior? First of all, we know that's not true. I've never known a single person who, on Christmas morning, had nothing from Santa because they were rotten. And we all know some people who would qualify if that were the case. Second, we all-FINE-I have enough issues with hopping on life's treadmill and trying to earn my way to love. I know my kids will struggle with this because, well, they're human. I just can't add to the behavior angst by setting up a creepy little elf, who has no hands and feet, and suggest he's always watching. I know, I know. For some of you it works like a charm and makes for some beautiful behavior. I don't begrudge you that!

So, I decided to change up our approach. We use our elf. He comes every morning of December until Christmas and brings a chocolate kiss and an encouraging note. He recognizes some good choice or an example of kindness Drew had the day before. This is something I have been working on-pointing out the times he makes the right choice. He has LOVED his notes and has grown very attached to Elfie.

Elfie is supposed to go home with Santa on Christmas Eve. When I mentioned this to Drew it invoked a holy meltdown like you have never seen. Here I was, in front of uncles and a grandmother, wrecking my kid's whole Christmas. Thank heavens Big Dan swooped in and saved the day. He told Drew he had heard about a rule where you could write a note to Santa and request an extension of Elf stay. It is a really handy thing to have an attorney for a dad. The document was drafted and...approved! Elfie was granted a stay at our household until January 4. If you're paying attention that's in three hours. At the stroke of midnight, Elfie will use his elfing powers and scamper back to the North Pole until next Christmas season.

And I will no longer have to remember to put out notes and candy every night. Which is a good thing, because as the days have gone on, my memory has been getting lax. Elf's are not encouraging when you find them lying facedown on the sofa right where you left them. Just sayin'...

Sunday, January 2, 2011

I Think a Change...Will Do You Good...

Well, the halls are officially undecked. There was much wailing and gnashing of teeth when Drew realized that I was subtly removing decorations a little at a time. Every item being removed was met with a mournful "Oh no! Not the _______!" Mind you, it could have been an item he failed to notice for the entire holiday season, but it was SO SAD to take it down. In fact, the Little People Nativity set is still lying on the couch because I could not deal with the drama. Which, lucky thing we kept it out. He spent last night sending baby Jesus down the slide over and over and over.

The kid does not deal well with change.

I got my hair cut last week. It's been on my to-do list since AUGUST so I finally just made it happen. I got a lot of hair cut off. A lot. When she was finished it looked like a medium sized animal lying on the floor. With severe split ends. I told my stylist (yes, I said stylist. Big shout out of Melissa at Bishop's Salon. She cuts some freakin' good hair) to have at it. They love it when you tell them that, you know. And then I went and got crazy. As she was cutting I said, "Do you think I should have some bangs?" She said, "Ok!" And I said, "Wait a minute, I'm ASKING you." She was all for cutting a bang. (Did you know they are no longer referred to as "bangs" rather "a bang"? Me neither. Duly noted.) I was thrilled. But I laughed, saying, "My son is not going to be excited about this." I knew when he saw me sans ponytail he would flip out. And he did. Because he has such a huge heart he came back later and said, "I decided I like your new hair mom. You look pretty." I'm not sure he really feels that way, but somehow he knew that was the right thing to say. Bless him. And then I went and fixed it wavy today. He looked at me with a look of horror on his face and said, I kid you not, "I need to go to my room and be alone." Bahahahaha!! He emerged a while later, feeling better about the whole matter. On the way home from church he finally came around. "I do like your curly hair after all, Mommy."

Poor kid. Life is full of changes. It's taken me 34 years to learn that I need to be ok with it. Rest easy. Take a breath. Notice I said I've learned I need to. Not that I am doing it well. I hope I can learn it, so I can pass it along. Life is lots more fun when a new haircut doesn't send you into a depression.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Ringin' It In

Someone posted on facebook yesterday that however you spend New Years day will be an indicator of the rest of your year.

Uh oh.

Let's hope in this one instance, facebook is not the be all, end all of wisdom.

I really like to pretend that my kids are flexible, go with the flow children. You know, seeing how their mom is so super laid back, it really makes you wonder why they are so high strung. Ahem.

Last night we "went out" for New Years to my sister's in-laws' house. And by "went out" I mean we were home by nine. I was fairly impressed that my kids made it as long as they did. I was really banking on them falling asleep in the car on the way home, since it was sort of a drive. No way, Jose! They kept those peepers wide the whole ride home. After I got them both in bed I made the giant mistake of watching the movie "Inception". Which I'm still all twisted up about. Another time... By the time the movie was over, it was 11:45 and I thought to myself, "Well, what the heck. I can stick it out 15 more minutes. And anyway I'm sure the kids will sleep in a little." [cue ominous music] And LUCKILY I got to catch a performance by NKOTBSB. The ridiculousness of this combined has-been group boggles the mind. This was followed up by the slightly uncomfortable moment when poor Dick Clark did the count down. It was one of those moments when the crazy starts to creep in, and you know it's only because you are exhausted, and yet somehow, you still put off going to bed. Besides, the kids would sleep in. Surely.

Happy New Year! 6:30 a.m. Drew is raring to go. I turned on a show for him and rolled back over. A few minutes later he brought me a fruit roll-up. To have for breakfast. And I let him. Because that's how I roll. Back over to sleep that is. Only a few short minutes later, Emily was up. I was pretty sure my head was going to start spinning around.

Skip to right now, nap time an hour early because both kids were a super new year wrecktacular. Emily is cutting 6 teeth at one time, probably still has an ear infection and is just generally PISSED OFF. Drew is like a caged animal and was shocked and dismayed (to put it mildly) when he held some cheese out to the dog-the dog actually ate it. The nerve.

Mommy needs a nap. And a month's vacation in the Rocky Mountains. And a caffeine IV. 2011, you'd better change your attitude right quick!