Thursday, January 29, 2009

My classroom, the barnyard

Three days inside will turn four year olds into animals. That is a fact. Three days inside with a hint of snow...puleeze! Just hire me on at the zoo. Crazy with a capital Prozac!

So we have watched the weather and speculated on what might come of days out. We have been stuck inside our classroom looking at each other for 7 hours a day. We have played with forgotten toys, made new games, done TONS of crafts, and passed our time as productively as possible. The expiration on productivity was yesterday around 11 a.m. when every toy became a projectile, and even my sweetest little one was looking kinda "Lord of the Flies." Time for sunshine!!!

So my kiddos have the complete capability to turn to animals. But today we had the pleasure of adding to our normal, everyday barnyard hubabaloo. We had a pig in the room.

One of my little girl's dad had rescued a piglet after hunting down mama...images of Bambi gone bad. Being a sucker for baby animals (we raised a litter of baby rabbits inour class last year,) and for exposing my students to any possible experience, we asked to have the pig for a visit. The visit turned to a day-long pig sitting adventure.

This little piggy went to school. I am not talking about a Wilbur kinda swine. I mean a wild hog, soon to be boar with tusks, kinda fella. He was probably all of 3 pounds and still on the bottle, but boy could the little guy holler. He squealed and squeaked and grunted. We bottle fed him, and even took him outside to recess on his tiny leash. He spent naptime visiting other classes-apparently his schedule wasn't the same as the kids. Good times.

The best part for me was the other kids on the playground. They ran quickly up to him hollering "puppy." He would grunt or squeal, then they would get this priceless expression on their face, first of shock, then of bewilderment at what was this tiny beast, and why would a teacher be carrying it out to play.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

It's a Girl!!!

So being a mom of boys is great. They are happy eating off the floor. They can't wait to get outside. And they LOVE their mamas. I believe in my heart that boys are easier to raise (except for potty training.) At least until they are teens. This is partially because I was a HORRIBLE teenage girl, and I would send my daughter to a boarding school if she even thought about some of the things I did.

Boys are great, but secretly (or not so) I have always wanted a girl. Someone to dress up, look pretty, play nice. After Kaden was born, I truely thought I was done right up to the surprise that is Maddie. I was surrounded by boys. At the school where I worked all of the teachers had boys (lots 'o boys.) Girls were this mysterious creation that existed only in theory for us. Even laying in the ultrasound room I wouldn't believe that I was having a girl. I didn't paint the nursery. I didn't buy lots of pink ruffle socks. I just didn't think it could happen.

My father-in-law made the comment the other day that when I had Maddie I said I would have her in pink and a dress every day. "And you have!" Weeelllll....what else was I to do? After two boys in blue, spiderman costumes and dirty socks, I needed a little girly in my life. Brad swore that I was gonna make her hate pink before she was 2.

Turns out I haven't scarred her! She is turning out every bit as pink as I wanted her to be. We disappeared the other day, and were found quietly playing babies in her room. She will be two in a couple of weeks, and already her playtime is spent rocking dolls, singing them songs, and patting them, whispering, "Shh..." Such a little mommy.

She is also my little shopping buddy. Her first word...and I am not kidding....was, "Shoes!" We love to sneak away and look for pretty things. Turns out dressing a girl is not only more fun, but also more expensive. Boys are easy: shirts and pants. Blue and red. Girls.....oh, my. Dresses and skirts, and bows and ribbons and ruffle bloomers and matching shoes.....we could go forever. Thankfully I have a great friend with a little girl who loves to pass cute clothes on to Maddie. And we love us some hand-me-downs.

Now...having a girl is great, but I wouldn't trade my boys for ten bow-wearing, doll-toting little ladies. I have said that if we were having another I would want him to be another boy. Because girls are sweet and soft, but....I love me my boys, too, in a very no muss, no fuss, mama's boy kinda way.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Frugal...Shouldn't that be a four letter word?

So I have been spending time this week catching up on blogs that normally get passed over in our frantic fight to survive the battle that is our children. Thanks to all of the little angels adding so much to my life, I was endowed with the gift of Strep Throat. Me, as an adult who is never sick thanks to the immune system enhanced by my petri dish-like surroundings, found myself in the doctor's office Wednesday with a sore throat. So ridiculous, and so only the beginning of the fever-aches-chill cycle that would be my week in review.

Any-hoo. Found myself at home ALONE for the first time in, like, 8 years. Kaden and Parker tucked safely away at school, and Maddie at daycare, with my Mom running interference and night duty. Totally on my own to wallow in my suffering.

And that's just what I did for Wednesday and Thursday. Literally didn't move out of the bed. By Friday my heavy antibiotics and pain killer had finally hit the spot, and I began to feel like myself again. Like myself who hadn't read, saw, or talked to ANYONE in days. Like myself who had barely been coherent long enough to be sure I was taking the correct drugs and to use the bathroom. Like myself who (gulp) hadn't seen what my loving husband had refused to see in his man-blurr of unknowingness about how the house gets messy and his random trash and food and laundry here and there has nothing to do with it...........I digress. Breathe and count. That's better.

So I emerged from my strep/fever/drug hibernation and entered what I had feared to be a battle zone of fast food wrappers and dirty socks to find that...he had cleaned house! He had washed dishes AND taken out the trash, and since the kids were gone there was no clutter. OH NO HE DIDN'T!!! Oh yes, he did.

I had a good portion of my kid-free, finally feeling alive, sick day left to entertain my VERY BORED self. Which is a completely wordy-haven't talked to anyone in days-way of telling you that I have been catching up on my peeps.

Apparently there is some movement to be frugal. Now I like the sound of this, and we all can afford to save a little money, and the holidays are over, and REALLY we already have too much.

But seriously. These folks are airing their dirty pocketbooks and posting day-by-day plays of what they are spending! I am aghast (and totally entertained and inspired and disgusted and intrigued.) And, well, hooked like I am a toothy-smiling, tank-top and scarf wearing bachelorette about to ride a blimp.

There is no way I am anywhere evolved enough for this kind of public confessional. I think first I would have to get a grasp myself on how much I spend myself. Not that it is a lot, because, well I am a teacher and you know how we roll. But it is often, and daily. And, well....I am kinda the debit card queen. Please don't tell Brad-you have no idea how organized he is about his banking and financing. We are not only talking separate bank accounts. We have separate banks, people.

So my newly-well resolution will not be to stop using my card on bubble gum and the RedBox. It will not be to (this almost seems inhuman) avoid Target. But I did see a few things I like, especially about meal planning and shopping, as well as cooking meats and freezing in meal-sized portions to cut down on cooking and clean up times. I'm all 'bout that. And I really have hated the whole "I don't know what to cook" feeling, and that it seems like we have the same meals over and over again, and I know I have done better in the past.

So thanks for inspiring me. I can't believe how amazing and controlled and organized you all are. And good luck to everyone in their endeavors-they are worthy. And if any of you feel the need to confess or air your my guest. Because as you know, the most dramatic "Bachelor" ever will not air until Monday night. Plus I'm still not well enough to make it to Target.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Wii are family

Santa was gonna bring Parker a Wii for Christmas. He looked high and low, beginning in November right until Christmas Eve. A Christmas Wii miracle was not to be found.

When Santa left Kaden his ridiculously expensive Ford F150 riding toy (with working radio,) and Maddie woke up to find her Rose Petal Cottage, Parker tried to act excited. "Oh, a guitar..." Could you blame him? The two little ones were on stimulous overload, and he looked like he was one step away from coal...which, in theory, is really what he sould have gotten.

We still wanted him to have the Wii, but if he knew about the plan he wouldn't have stopped until it was purchased and playing, and since we didn't know when that would be it remained our little secret. I have stalked out Walmart and the game store here in town, but always seem to miss them as they come in. How is it that there could be twenty people in Arkadelphia who want a Wii and happen to be in Walmart in the first hour they are on the shelf? Cause apparently that's how they go...super quick.

Today we went on a Wii hunt. We started out headed towards Little Rock with clear intentions: do not come home without a system. Malvern was the first stop, and even though they didn't have one ate the game store there, he happened to be on the phone with the Hot Springs guy who had just gotten in six last night. "Hang onto one for me. I'm on my way right now!" Brad was beginning to think I lost my Wii mind by the way I was rushing him, but when I got there he had my one left. The rest had sold during our 20 minute drive. CRAZY!

So we brought our new toy home (after everyone picked out their own game.) We have spent the night driving, bowling, and hunting. I have two revelations thanks to Nintendo:

1. I am NOT smarter than a fifth grader.
2. My kids find great joy in knocking us out.

So we are a Wii family. If you meet me driving down the road, move over a couple of inches because my eyes are bloodshot and swollen from staying up until 3 a.m. with Mario. And my arms hurt too much to move from I boxing my children.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Ain't Nobody Sleepin' Round Here

We have been having the most terrible time around our house with sleeping. No one is sick. No one is hurt. No one is having bad dreams/worried/afraid/stressed. Just no one is sleeping. And tonight I pinpointed the culprit.

Due to Parker's need for order and scheduling, our bedtime routine could be written on stone tablets. Baths, snacks, brush the pearly whites, tuck in. Everyone snug as a bug by 8. It is that simple and story book perfect. Until the lights go out and I close the door. Apparently that is when the party starts.

On weekends and holidays I have to admit our rules are pretty lax. Same schedule, same routines. But the boys are allowed to take a toy or book to bed as long as they stay in their beds and keep the noise to a low roar. Somehow our adjustment to back-to-school has been harder than usual, and as a result no one is sleeping.

Bedtime goes as usual. Prayers, talking about the day, discussing crucial upcoming events (like toy day @ school-arg.) By 8:30 it sounds like Ringling Brothers is holding try outs in our house. There is thumping. There is bumping. There is fighting and crying, and the other night I was actually opening the door just in time to see a body fly from the top of the bunk onto a pile of all bedding on the floor. Good thing they were cushioning because the sheer look of terror on that 2.2 second drop was enough to break a bone.

So we have done everything. Threats (followed through, thank you very much,) earlier bed times, taking away part of the ritual (snacks!) We have talked about why we need sleep until we are blue in the face, and I even got them up extra early one morning so they could see how tired they were. Doesn't matter. We are still rockin' every night until PAST 11!

Tonight I was past exhausted, and had resolved myself to the idea that you can make someone do a lot of things, but you can't force someone to sleep. I don't even know why you should have to-they don't realize how much they will covet that rest later in life. So the only thing I knew to do was to seperate the little darlings. Kaden was exhiled to the couch. The little precious is so rowdy-such a little fireball of a guy. Within minutes...M.I.N.U.T.E.S...he was out. Checked on Parker...out. So finally tonight after being dog tired for days the house is quiet before midnight.

Now I can't sleep...I think I have become used to the steady thudding from the boys room.

Monday, January 5, 2009

A Return After Break Fairytale

Once upon a time in a magical land far away there was an enchanted primary school. This school was full of amazingly brilliant and lovely teachers. Teachers in this school had endless ideas and resources, were supportive and encouraging of one another. They loved their coworkers and children, and reaped benefits mentally, emotionally, and monetarily from their rewarding career.

This school, like many others, provided teachers and students with much needed and deserved vacation breaks. During these breaks, pajamas were standard attire, and hot chocolate and cookies flowed. Teachers transformed into mysterious beasts called "moms," and were able to cook whole meals for their own families. Things were beautiful.

After two blissful weeks, teachers and students prepared for school by enrobing themselves in attire previously neglected-pants with real waists. As the lovely educators pulled on khakis and slacks they discovered that sometime in the sugar cyclone elves had sprinkled magic shrinking powder onto all real-waisted wardrobe items, completely neglecting stretchy "workout" pants and pajama bottoms. These teachers were now not only brilliant and lovely, but imagined themselves magicians as they tried to accomplish the impossible...put ten extra holiday pounds into previously snug-fitting pants.

Teachers returned to school one and all admittedly relieved to find their friends had been visited by the same band of elfin intruders. Before they became too comfortable in their rolling chairs and heavy winter coats, however, they were assaulted by one unnamed assailant (Nurse Jo.) "We are starting a new weight loss program today for all teachers. It will be great!"

Really. Nothing quite like weighing in weekly, keeping food diaries, and having others give you that guilty look as you walk down the hallway with your one miniature Snickers...really JUST one.

Not to mention the joys of food diaries, point exchanges, and exercise logs.

There was even mentioned not to beat yourself up for sinning. Jeesh.

So the exceptional teachers gathered their strengths and talents, banded together, and ...

stepped into the dungeon of the evil Scale Dragon. Because individually they are amazing. But together they can get through this. And for the pure entertainment that comes through this kind of support. Like...

"I'm gonna do this, but I am not starting until I finish the pan of brownies I made last night." or

Hearing a whole group of kindergarten teachers discuss the dietary exchange of a beer or glass of wine to replace food. or

A well timed snort and grunt after hearing, "Don't forget, you need to plan for exercise." and my favorite...

"Wow! Cucumbers and Jello are free! That's all I'm gonna eat!"

So...And they all lived happily ever after? Whatever happens, we are all in this together!