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Taking one day at a time...

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  • Wednesday, August 31, 2011

    The Four Reasons Why I Work...

    Jack Gregory

    Liv Addison

    Leia Belle

    Liesl Marion

    These are the pictures that are on my desk at work. They will remind me of what my priorities are every single day.

    There is nothing easy about going back to work today after having yet another wonderful summer with my children. I am fortunate enough to have chosen a career that allows me to spend such quality time with the ones I love.

    I just have to keep telling myself this as I look at their pictures through the tears in my eyes. There's nothing easy about "back-to-school" when you're a teacher who is also a mother. It'll all work out, like it usually does, but it doesn't mean I won't have my moments until I find my groove. Today is the hardest day of the school year for me. Believe that.

    Tuesday, August 30, 2011


    I always get blue this time of year. Many people get excited about back-to-school and the hullaballoo associated with it. Not me. "Back-to-school" means "back-to-work" for me and leaving my children behind for several hours a day. Ever since I became a mother, back-to-school creates a bad taste in my mouth.

    Don't get me wrong. I'm a teacher and I love my job. It puts a roof over our heads, food on our plates, and all the amenities we enjoy that others can't afford. I get to meet some really great kids and their families who I wind up keeping in contact with for years, too. I picked a great career that allows me to spend the summers with my family. I couldn't ask for a better gig and I busted my ass to get it. However, leaving my own kids is always so hard, no matter who they're with. Perhaps it's because our arrangement is not a conventional one, with Hubby being the Stay-at-Home Dad. The hunter-gatherer has become me, for financial and insurance reasons, which is fine. The cavewoman in me, though, wishes it were me doing the Soccer Mom thing sometimes. I wonder if other working moms whose husbands are SAHD's ever feel this way, too.

    So, I'm blue yet again because September is approaching. Liv is going to Kindergarten and the information regarding the pick-up/drop-off procedures is unknown, as is her room number and teacher. And the time they let her in the building would make me late for work if I were to drop her off. Naturally, I'm a nervous wreck. Jack is going into first grade in a new school with an autism program. I've spoken to his teacher already and I'm taking him to meet her at 7am on Thursday morning, after which I have to go to work. His teacher sounds great and I'm glad she contacted me to set up the meeting and was willing to do it so early in the morning just so I could get to work on time. Sigh. One of my neighbor's down the street has offered to take Liv to school every morning, since she has to take her other two kids, too, and Liv and her daughter are friends and just might be in the same class. That's a load off my mind because I'd never be able to get Liv there, wait for the teachers to call her name, and get to work on time. It might be the thing that saves my sanity. Hubby can pick her up, but if our neighbor has offered to drop her off, my mind is at ease knowing that Liv will be supervised before she gets in the school.

    It's so much chaos and I've got my own work chaos to worry about, too. The back-to-school rush is never fun. That's why this time of year makes me sad. I get more and more on my plate and less time to separate the peas from the carrots. Naturally, I'm in a funk. It won't last long, but for now it's here. I know I'll find my groove, but I hate the pre-groove part so much.

    I go back to work on Wednesday. You'll find my curled up in a fetal position in a dark closet with a bottle of Jack Daniels until then. Just kidding...maybe.

    Monday, August 29, 2011

    Corn Poo...

    Jack loves eating corn because he loves pooping it out. After he went poop yesterday, he said, "I went poo and it has corn seeds in it." I was rolling on the floor, laughing. Since we were at a family party when it occurred, others also heard it and were just as amused as I was.

    I guess you had to be there. Sometimes he says the corniest things. Pun intended. Heh.

    Sunday, August 28, 2011

    Funny Face...

    Liesl has decided that she likes to make funny faces. It's quite endearing, so I'll make sure to save this for her future prom date. Perhaps they can put it in her high school yearbook. Heh.

    Saturday, August 27, 2011

    Some Vacation Photos...

    Liesl and Leia loved going out on excursions everyday. They loved seeing new things and smelling new smells. They did a great job adapting to a week away from home.

    This is what happens when you take the twins to the waterpark and then out to eat. They get a food coma. It makes for a somewhat quiet ride back to the cabin.

    Liesl loved going up and down the slide at the waterpark. Leia did it before she did and she decided that she could do it, too. Both girls are "water babies."

    Leia and Liesl could live in the water, if we let them.

    I always take a picture of Jack under this waterfall at the waterpark because it must feel so relaxing to him. That's probably why he enjoys it so much.

    Liesl has absolutely no fear of horses, unlike her twin Leia. This kid could live in a stable.

    Leia was very, very excited to be at a stable...until she realized just how big those horses actually are. She prefers animals smaller than her, except for our dog Java.

    Jack loves feeding the horses. He, like Liesl, has absolutely no fear of horses, even though they are quite large. It's as if he doesn't even realize how big they are; he just instinctively knows he has to feed them and he does it quite well. Horses seem to just love Jack.

    Liesl and Leia love, love, love the wind in their hair.

    Liv hopped onto this sea otter at the waterpark and I couldn't help but take a picture of her. Jack is skipping around in the background.

    Every single time we go to this particular wildlife park, a goat always tries to eat Livie's dress, which is part of the reason why she insists on wearing a dress every time we go there. Livie always says this each year, "No, no, no, Mr. Goat. You don't eat dresses; you eat food!" She has said this at the wildlife park since she was two years old.

    Every year, I take this same picture of Jack because I love it so much. And each year, the tunnel seems to get smaller and smaller.

    I usually have Jack and Liv sit side-by-side for a brother-sister picture, but this year I captured this moment instead. I like how it wasn't staged at all and they were more concerned with their balance than my camera lens.

    Jack loves baby bunnies. I was probably more frightened of him holding the bunny than the bunny was. He was very gentle.

    And Liv was very careful with her baby bunny. She wasn't quite sure if she liked the feeling of holding something so small and furry, even though it was her idea to do so. She's skittish around large animals and really small ones. She prefers a 95lb. Chocolate Labrador, but will try to get to know pretty much any animal before she decides what she likes the most.

    These are just a fraction of the pictures I took while on vacation last week. There are so many and it's always so hard to choose which ones to post. It was a great vacation and it's nice to be back home again.

    This time next year, I'll be posting pictures like this, but the kids will be much bigger. They just can't seem to stop growing! I love it, but it makes me feel old sometimes. Nevertheless, I love how happy they look in all of the pictures. It makes me feel like we're doing something right.

    Friday, August 26, 2011

    And...We're Back!...

    We are back home from our vacation to the Northwoods and I am way too exhausted to post anything remotely brilliant. So, I'll post some pictures in the next few days or so and I'll rest as much as I can until I have to get back to reality next Wednesday.

    Yep. You got it. I go back to work next Wednesday. Sigh... This summer seemed to have gone by so incredibly fast and I'm not happy about it at all. We're back from vacation, though, and everyone is in one piece, happy, and glad to be reunited with their toys again. Heh. We had a great time and everything worked out well.

    Right now, I'm just hanging out and enjoying the last few days I have left with my kids this summer. I hate this time of year because I'm always reminded of how much I'm going to miss out on in their lives when I head back to work. I love having my summers off, but going back to work always stings. I often wonder if other mothers who work as teachers also feel the way I do.

    I can feel the sting already and I don't like it at all. Pshaw!

    Wednesday, August 17, 2011

    Oneida County...

    We'll be on vacation in the Northwoods for the next week or so. Two adults, four young children, one dog, two playpens, one baby gate, two booster chairs, and several duffel bags of clothing for warm and cool weather... Yes, we're nuts.

    It's so deep into the woods that we have no cell phone usage and no Internet access. By the time we get back from vacation, we're going to really need a vacation. Heh.

    See ya next week!

    Tuesday, August 16, 2011

    My City Kids...

    We'll be leaving for vacation tomorrow. It's going to be crazy. Today, we're packing, doing laundry, cleaning out the fridge, tidying up the house, etc.

    There's been so much pre-vacation chaos. The kids are clawing at the walls just to get out of here. They know school is starting soon and they know that I'll be going to work. They want to get out and do some cool stuff at the vacation house. Plus, they love the fresh air.

    They hate bugs, though. And going deep into the woods, it's highly unlikely we'll be able to avoid them. Jack freaks out about flies; Liv freaks out about ants. Liesl and Leia are fearless still, so the bugs probably won't bother them at all. Liv and Jack are a different story, though. Don't tell them about hornets or their nests. There are animals everywhere, like skunks, raccoons, deer, snakes, chipmunks, frogs, wolves. We won't mention the porcupines. And we're not even going to get started on the spiders.

    My city kids love going to the vacation house, but they always seem to forget how large the mosquitoes and deer flies are. It's funny watching them try to conform to their surroundings. By the end of vacation, they won't mind the tiny houseflies they see at home. Or perhaps they'll have PTSD from the sight of any insects at all. Heh.

    Monday, August 15, 2011

    What Money Can't Buy...

    For the first time ever, Liesl and Leia sat in booster seats at during dinner. I wanted to see how they'd do in them, since they'll have to use those when we're on vacation. Lo and behold, they LOVED sitting WITH the family at the table, instead of in high chairs off to the side.

    Liesl ate like a little lady and was so excited to be a part of it all. She just kept gushing, "Mom!" and giggling like she'd burst from all that happiness. Leia kept saying hi to everyone at the table and ate very little because she was so busy taking the food off her plate and putting it back on. Both girls were so excited to sit like big kids. It went a lot better than I thought it would. For once, there was no food thrown to the dog. Coincidence?

    A part of my heart sank, though. My babies aren't really babies and I've known that since they began talking and walking and running all over the place. However, graduating from high chairs is a big one. They really ARE little people. They aren't delicate little babies that need me like they used to when they were brand new. They have opinions, tantrums, disagreements, and frustrations, just like any other human being. And now they're out of their high chairs. It's another milestone recorded right here in this blog.

    I know they can't be little forever, but why do the younger years always go by so quickly? I'm quite sad about it; however, I can't help but feel happy for how exciting this new step is for them. When I think of Liesl's reaction to actually sitting at the table and not in a high chair, her facial expressions were priceless. You just can't buy that kind of happiness.

    Sunday, August 14, 2011

    Surf & Turf...

    The kids had an exciting day at Grandma's yesterday. They played in the sand, sometimes all together and sometimes one at a time. It was hell getting it out of their hair, but the fun they had was worth it.

    Jack and Liv stayed outside to play in the downpour of rain. They had the best time ever! One of the fondest memories I have as a child was when my Mother would let me go outside and play in the rain. I want my kids to have those memories, too. I wish my camera's phone could've taken a better picture because those two kids were in absolute heaven and I'm pretty sure they'll never forget it. No camera could've ever captured that bliss, no matter how good the camera was.

    It's always so difficult to choose which pictures to post because I take so many. Sigh...

    Saturday, August 13, 2011

    Pictures From Yesterday...

    It's a party on Mom's bed!

    Leia brought the hair.

    Liesl brought the million-dollar smile.

    Liv brought the sass.

    Jack brought the testosterone, nevermind the princess crown he's wearing backwards on his head.

    My three girls couldn't be anymore different from each other & poor Jack is so outnumbered.

    I love all four of my kids like I've never loved anyone else. It's going to be tough going back to work in a few weeks. Sigh...

    Friday, August 12, 2011

    No More Parties In The Crib...

    Jack has come down with a touch of The Plague. Liv is getting over it; Hubby is getting over it. I had it for six weeks at the end of the school year/beginning of summer. Liesl and Leia seem fine...for now. When Jack gets sick, it's horrendous around here, especially since he's the barometer in our family.

    I took him with to Liv's last gymnastics class yesterday morning and we played on the playground and walked around the park. He saw people he knew and he seemed okay for a little while. When her class was over, we all went to the store to pick up more children's acetaminophen; I figured we'd be needing it. Jack spent the rest of the day either on my bed watching TV or in his bed, just thinking and resting. He barely ate or drank. He didn't have a fever, though, but he still felt warmer than normal to me.

    Wednesday night was a rough one. I don't think anyone in the house got much sleep at all, even the dog. Jack was up most of the night, whining because he felt sick. Leia decided that she would pull an all-night party in her crib, laughing/talking/whooping it up all night long...literally. And she was L-O-U-D. She was naked when she woke up, of course. Sometimes she thinks she's in college. Yeesh. Poor Liv and Liesl, who share the same room with Leia, did their best to tune her out. It wasn't easy, though. Hubby and I kept running up and down the stairs, either for Jack or for Leia. It was a horrendous night, one we haven't had like that in a long time.

    So, I'm hoping everyone feels better and gets enough rest in time for us to leave for vacation early next week. I don't really want to travel with sick kids, far from their comforts of home. That's no way to spend our final two weeks of summer together. Fingers crossed.

    Thursday, August 11, 2011

    This Is What Happens When I Stay Up Too Late...

    Okay, so I had nothing to do after the kids went to bed last night, so I looked up an age difference calculator and played with it. Here's what I plugged in:

    Jack was born on 2/8/05 at 7:36pm. Liv was born on 4/8/2006 at 10:35am. Leia was born on 10/4/09 at 5:12am. Liesl was born on 10/4/09 at 5:13am.

    This is what I learned:

    Jack and Liv are 60 weeks, 3 days, 13 hours, and 59 minutes apart in age.
    Jack and Liesl are 242 weeks, 4 days, 8 hours, and 37 minutes apart in age.
    Jack and Leia are 242 weeks, 4 days, 8 hours, and 36 minutes apart in age.
    Liv and Liesl are 182 weeks, 0 days, 18 hours, and 38 minutes apart in age.
    Liv and Leia are 182 weeks, 0 days, 18 hours, and 37 minutes apart in age.

    What does all of this mean?

    It means that in the time span of 242 weeks, 4 days, 8 hours, and 36 minutes, I managed to give birth to FOUR children. And I nursed them all, which accounts for roughly two whole years of my life; nine months more of nursing if you count the twins as two separate babies nursed and double their nursing time. So, I guess I nursed my four kids for the equivalent of thirty-three months, which is the exact same amount of time I was pregnant with all of them combined (if you count the twins as two separate pregnancies, which you could because they're fraternal twins that had separate sacs...just two different babies that just happened to be born at the same time, really). Yeesh.

    Don't even get me started on the numbers involved in these kids or my whole family. Jack and Liv were both born on the 8th of a month. Liesl and Leia were born on the 4th of a month. Double that and you have 8. Our dog was born on the 8th of a month. Add Jack's 8, Liv's 8, plus Hubby's 13 and you get my 29, which we figured out prior to the twins being born. Add Jack's 8, Liv's 8, Liesl & Leia's two 4's and Hubby's 13 and you get 37, which is how old I was when the twins were born. Add everyone's numbers and you get completely and utterly confused. I guess I should've gone to bed earlier. Sigh...

    All I know is that's a lot of kids in a short period of time. That's also a lot of booby juice. I'm not bragging, but I am. Heh.

    Wednesday, August 10, 2011

    Grilled Naan and Coconut Curry Chicken...

    I'm going to make this and this today. I'm really excited about it! I'll make the dough for the naan in my bread machine and then Hubby will grill it. I'll marinade the chicken for several hours in the coconut milk and curry, but I won't be adding as much curry as the recipe calls for because I want my kids to actually eat it. Curry is an acquired taste and I don't want to overwhelm them with it, especially since they've never had curry before. We'll serve it over rice and if the kids don't like it, they can eat the rice and the naan. I don't know what kind of veggie we'll have, though. I suppose anything will do. I just want to stimulate our palates a little bit and with Jack eating everything that isn't nailed down lately, maybe he'll actually enjoy something completely new, too.

    I've always wanted to make these two recipes, but never had the time or the industriousness (is that even a word?) before. I figured I'd better do it now before life gets more hectic (e.g. vacation, back to school, back to work, etc.), as if life isn't hectic enough already.

    I'll let you know how it turns out. I love trying new things and I love it even more when they are a success. Keep your fingers crossed!

    Tuesday, August 09, 2011

    A Spanish Lesson...

    A Spanish teacher was explaining to her class that in Spanish, unlike English, nouns are designated as either masculine or feminine.

    "House" for instance, is feminine: "la casa."
    "Pencil," however, is masculine: "el lapiz."

    A student asked, "What gender is 'computer'?"

    Instead of giving the answer, the teacher split the class into two groups, male and female, and asked them to decide for themselves whether computer' should be a masculine or a feminine noun.

    Each group was asked to give four reasons for its recommendation.

    The men's group decided that "computer" should definitely be of the feminine gender ("la computadora"), because:

    1. No one but their creator understands their internal logic;
    2 The native language they use to communicate with other computers is incomprehensible to everyone else;
    3. Even the smallest mistakes are stored in long term memory for possible later retrieval; and
    4. As soon as you make a commitment to one, you find yourself spending half your paycheck on accessories for it.


    The women's group, however, concluded that computers should be masculine ("el computador"), because:

    1. In order to do anything with them, you have to turn them on;
    2. They have a lot of data but still can't think for themselves;
    3. They are supposed to help you solve problems, but half the time they ARE the problem; and
    4. As soon as you commit to one, you realize that if you had waited a little longer, you could have gotten a better model.

    The women won.

    Monday, August 08, 2011

    The Best Thing For You...

    Drinking water at certain time maximizes it's effectiveness on the body:

    2 glasses of water after waking up - helps activate internal organs

    1 glass of water 30 minutes before a meal - helps digestion

    1 glass of water before taking a bath - helps lower blood pressure

    1 glass of water before going to bed - avoids stroke or heart attack

    Are you drinking enough water? I'm making a point to do that every day, but it's a conscious effort.

    Sunday, August 07, 2011

    One Year, Ten Months, Three Days...

    Leia Belle

    Liesl Marion

    Adorable, beautiful, curious...

    ...better than I ever imagined twins could be.

    In less than two months, they'll be two years old. It's hard to believe that so much time has passed since their birth. I still think of them as babies.

    Saturday, August 06, 2011

    Disorderly Conduct...

    These children were placed under arrest for disorderly conduct. Heh. Actually, when things get a bit too chaotic, I have all the kids "push the wall" because it gives them something to do other than going apeshit crazy in four different directions. Yes, Leia has a nummy, but she only ever gets it if she's absolutely miserable and crabby when she's awake. This was a perfect time for our "push the wall" activity. Seconds later, the nummy disappeared. And, as usual, Liesl is smiling for her mugshot...the little devil.

    For some reason, they all love pushing the wall, as if it's going to go somewhere. I also have them push the floor, too. It's fun to watch them try to move the wall and the floor. These were some of Jack's old occupational therapy techniques years ago that we've made great use of for many years now.

    I hope that as they all get older, they won't actually be able to move that wall as they get stronger. That would totally suck, but it sure would make for quite a picture. Heh.

    Friday, August 05, 2011

    A Storybook Ending...

    Yesterday was Jack's last day at summer day camp. I chose not to send him on Wednesday and took him and Liv to the doctor, instead. He went yesterday, though, and he had a great time, even though it wasn't his regular aide, Dave. He misses Dave, but he understands that he has to go back to work now.

    Jack had a great time walking around the park, playing on the playground, and swimming. Derrick, his replacement aide for the day, took Jack's cues on his routine and followed along. There were no meltdowns and no issues at all; I didn't think there'd be any. Jack is a good boy and Dave prepared him well. He played with his friends and enjoyed his last day at camp. I let him know that yesterday would be his last day and he was okay with it. He'll miss his pizza party today, but even if he had gone to camp, he'd be with a shared aide with a totally different group...the therapeutic kids who are disabled in more ways than one; he wouldn't be able to be with his buddies because his rec leader is a young girl who just doesn't want the responsibility and she's not exactly educated in autism or sensory issues whatsoever. Plus, they couldn't find an aide for the last three days. The group of therapeutic kids is not the group I want him to be with because he fits in so much better with his neurotypical friends, moreso than the group they'd put him in. Jack's replacement aide for yesterday knows Jack and he frequently was present with Dave when Jack learned how to swim. Jack would go back and forth between the two of them, swimming his little heart out. I'm glad that Derrick, the one-day replacement aide they had, was someone Jack already knew and liked.

    It was the perfect end to a wonderful summer day camp experience for him. I look forward to sending him back there next summer...and Liv, too, since she'll be old enough by then! Heh. Right now, he's got a lot of pleasant and lasting memories of Dave, summer day camp, and friendships. It's a storybook ending, really.

    Thursday, August 04, 2011

    An Earful Of Bullshit...

    I just LOVE it when the kids are sick. It started with Liv. She had a cough, but nothing else. Then came the fever...for several days. And then the congestion with a cough that so much worse now. Not surprisingly, Jack developed the fever (for a day only), too, minus the cough. Now he's congested and not sleeping well because of it.

    So, I took them both to the doctor yesterday. I got nothing out of it but a prescription for more hydrocortisone for Jack's terrible eczema, which I practically begged to get. I was hoping the doc would agree to allergy test Jack since his eczema has gotten so much worse over the past few months, the OTC Children's Allegra isn't doing shit, and I suspect it could be a food allergy. He declined my request. I walked out of there pissed off, $5o less, and acquired an earful of bullshit. It's typical of doctors, really...especially when they have too many patients to actually get to know or care about any of them. Sigh.

    So, Liv and Jack have a virus. Duh. And now I feel a sore throat coming on. And by the time we leave for vacation in a couple of weeks, we'll all have a blast being sick together...on the road and in the middle of nowhere.

    Wednesday, August 03, 2011

    Boy Love...

    Summer day camp was the best thing we've ever done for Jack. Here he is with his buddies who love him just the way he is. It's boy love and it's the most wonderful thing in the world, especially for my little guy.

    Tuesday, August 02, 2011

    A Bittersweet Kind Of Day...

    Today is Jack's last day with his one-on-one aide, Dave, at day camp. The park supervisor will let me know today if they'll have a replacement aide for Jack for the last three days of camp. If they don't, he can't attend anymore. He's had such an amazing summer with Dave and the friends he's made while there. I'm thinking about just not sending him for the last three days, just so it ends on a high note for him. Even though he has friends there, I'd hate for his day camp experience to end on a bad note because Jack needs to adjust to someone new who doesn't know his routines. I'm on a fence about sending him for the remainder of this week. I just don't know what to do and I guess I'll find out today.

    They have a field trip downtown today, to see a Harry Potter movie. If you ask me, that's a bit over the little ones' heads. Jack doesn't even know who Harry Potter is! Why would he want to see that movie? Well, Dave has other things planned for Jack, which include a Children's Museum near the theater the other kids will be at. Dave has assured me that Jack will have an amazing time today, especially since it's their last day together.

    I'm sad about it. I hate when really good things have to come to an end. Jack has learned so much with Dave, mainly socializing and self-regulation. The other kids have also learned how to appreciate kids who are different. It was a win-win situation all summer long. And now it ends. I'm so sad about it; I can't even imagine how Jack is going to process this.

    I met with Jack's friend's Mom yesterday and talked to her a little bit about Jack. She's all for her son having playdates with Jack. I couldn't be happier about it. We'll work out our schedules and figure out how often they can see each other. Justin just might become a lifelong friend of Jack's. You never know. It's a start, though. And for a kid who has trouble figuring out what to do in social situations, to have a friend who accepts him, quirks and all, is an amazing accomplishment for Jack. He's not as different as he might think he is, after all.

    So, today is going to be a hard day. No one likes goodbyes, especially me. And I'm sure it's going to take a week or so for it to register for Jack. When it does, he'll be inconsolable because he won't understand why it had to end. By then, I'm hoping we'll be on vacation and Jack will be busy enough where the loss of his "friend," Dave, will sting less. It's been an amazing summer for my little guy. I'd like to keep it that way.

    Playdates, vacation, back-to-school preparation for his new school, Mama going back to work...We've got a lot of transitions to prepare Jack for. It's a good thing we know how to do it. Still, today I am sad and trying very hard to not give off those vibes to my son. It's not easy and is a conscious effort on my part. I'm so grateful that Jack's summer day camp experiences were positive ones. I just wish it wasn't over so soon. I've never seen him happier.

    Monday, August 01, 2011

    August Already...Sigh...

    August already, huh? It's going to be a wacky month, yet again. This summer has been going by very fast for me. Jack's last week of day camp is this week. We'll have a week of down time and then it's going to get crazy again, as if it isn't crazy every day in this house with four children between 6yo and nearly 2yo. Ha!

    This week is full, especially if Jack finishes his last week of day camp (depending on whether he's still running a fever or if they're able to get a replacement aide for the last three days). We'll have a week of "family time," where we'll prepare for our trip to the Northwoods. We'll be gone for almost two weeks. When we get back, I'll be heading back to work two days later. Sigh. And then Jack and Liv go back to school. I can't believe it's happening already.

    Last summer was the best summer of my life. This summer was great, but it has seemed to go by a lot quicker than I'd like. I still have a month left of jammie days, so I'm going to be doing just that. And lots of pool time when I can get the chance.

    August already. I'm not happy about that.