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Taking one day at a time...

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  • Friday, September 30, 2011

    Fall, Farts, & Fasting...

    *Friday just couldn't come fast enough this week. I am so tired. I went to bed at 9pm on Tuesday. When I woke up on Wednesday, I'd felt so refreshed and recharged. I may have to start going to bed at 9pm from now on. I get up at 5am every morning, so a solid eight hours will do me some good, if only I could get that every night.

    *It's the last day of September. It's cool and windy here. Fall has definitely arrived. I need to do some Halloween decorating with the kids this weekend. Before I know it, snow will be on the ground. Heh. In a weird way, I kind of miss the snow after such a scorching summer. As is typical in Chicago, we go from summer straight to winter and vice versa. Spring and fall are short here.

    *I got home from work the other day and Liv couldn't wait to tell me that a kid farted in class. The whole class erupted with laughter as the teacher explained, "THAT was gas." There wasn't a dry eye in class. She couldn't wait to go to school the next day to see if that same kid would fart again. I love kindergarteners.

    *Jack is doing very well in school. He's a little soldier. He tackles his assignments, on a mission to complete them. I just wish he would eat. Something. Anything. This is Week Four of his "hunger strike." If he doesn't eat something healthy soon, he's going to see the doctor. He just wants to eat junk food, nothing healthy. We offer many different choices of his favorite foods; he just doesn't eat at all. If it's not fruit snacks, he doesn't want it. We've tried everything and now we feel that this has gone from a typical food phase into a habit. Livie even tried telling him that if he didn't eat, he was going to die. I think his body is trying to tell me something, but I don't know what. He might see the doctor next week if this keeps up. He eats just enough to get by, but he's not getting anything nutritious except his gummy vitamins. I'm going to try power bars; he might think they're candy or something and maybe he'll eat them. The next step is the doctor. We can't do this forever.

    *I'm so glad it's the weekend. I need one day to sleep late, if I let myself. It's nice to think I could, if I really wanted to, but I never really let it happen. A girl can dream, right?

    Thursday, September 29, 2011

    The Rush...

    I can't believe September is just about over. It seems like only yesterday when we were preparing for the school year and getting our supplies ready. Now, it's already a month into the school year and I can't believe it's gone by so quickly. Sigh.

    What does this mean? Well, it means that the twins will be turning 2 years old in a matter of days and Halloween is not far off. Once Halloween is done, there's Thanksgiving. Fast on the heels of a turkey dinner is Christmas, followed quickly by New Year celebrations. And then my 40th birthday. And then our 13th anniversary. And then Jack's 7th birthday. And then Liv's 6th birthday. Gah!

    The next few months will go by very, very quickly because they are such busy months for our family. The rest of the year drags, but the next few months will be nonstop celebrations. It's hard to believe that time could ever go so quickly. Before I know it, it's summer again.

    Sigh. I'm getting old.

    Wednesday, September 28, 2011

    Right There...

    So, do you see it? What...the...?

    Tuesday, September 27, 2011

    And Then It Dawned On Me...

    Jack has been eating pretty much nothing for the last three weeks. At first, I attributed the lack of eating as a manifestation of the changes he was adjusting to (new school, new teacher, new bus route, etc.). Then, I figured it was his very first incredibly loose tooth. I'd been offering his favorite foods and still do to no avail. This kid just will not eat a thing and when he does, it's not anything that is healthy, but it's better than nothing at all. One cannot possibly live on air and water alone.

    And then it hit me. He was messing with his mouth, sticking his finger all the way in the back and he told me it hurt. I thought he might've cut himself on something, so I checked it out. Lo and behold, he's getting his first set of permanent molars, in addition to losing that first tooth (which happens to be a top one)! My poor boy is having so many mouth issues at the same time right now. It reminds me of when he was an infant and he was teething; he'd gotten eight (yes, EIGHT) teeth at once. It was horrible for him then and it must be just as horrible for him now. There's nothing easy about molars coming in; it's a lot of surface area to poke through the gums. If that were me, I wouldn't want to chew anything either. Duh.

    So, in addition to adjusting to the new school and teacher (which he's doing an excellent job at) , he's also losing his first baby tooth (which happens to be the first tooth he ever got, a top one, nonetheless), AND cutting his first set of permanent molars! My poor boy!

    All I want him to do is eat, but I certainly understand why he doesn't want to right now. He's not dumb enough to starve to death; but he's also stubborn enough to wait it out until he knows we can't take it anymore and will give him whatever he wants to eat, even if it is junk. At this point, I'll let him eat anything he wants. If he were ten pounds heavier, he'd have something to fall back on. He doesn't have that, though, so we're keeping an eye on him, making sure he drinks, and offering healthy foods that won't hurt his mouth. If he refuses those foods, we try to make deals with him to cajole him into eating something healthy before he can eat those fruit snacks/Doritos/cookies he so desperately wants.

    Other than that, we wait. I just hope he can handle this whole losing teeth/gaining teeth thing at the same time. It's a lot to ask of a kid with sensory issues to begin with. On the plus side, he's really looking forward to a visit from the Tooth Fairy. He understands the whole concept and is okay with it. The permanent molars thing, though, is throwing him for a loop and it's affecting his appetite in a negative way. Perhaps he'll turn the corner and eat again soon. Fingers crossed tightly.

    Monday, September 26, 2011

    No One Is Entitled...

    This is so true. So often we think our lives are supposed to be a certain way, go in a certain direction because we think that's what's supposed to happen just because we want it that way. It's a sense of entitlement that we as human beings feel. Life throws some twists our way that bring uncertainty about our futures and we mourn what we feel should've been ours in the first place. What we don't always understand at the time is that whatever happens is supposed to happen to us for a reason. We are made for these twists and turns and just because we want things to go a certain way does not mean they always will. How we deal with what life throws at us is what ultimately defines us.


    It's never about what happens to us; it's about how we handle it all when we're not sure if we can.
    My son's high-functioning autism has changed my life, but it does not define him or me. It's all a part of our journey together, a journey that teaches our family about the power of love every single day. Life's challenges can be gifts; it's all about the perspective you take on it.

    Sunday, September 25, 2011

    The Highest Level Of Language Development...

    The ability to make and understand puns is considered to be the highest level of language development. Here are the 10 first place winners in the International Pun Contest:

    1. A vulture boards an airplane, carrying two dead raccoons. The stewardess looks at him and says, "I'm sorry, sir, only one carrion allowed per passenger."

    2. Two fish swim into a concrete wall. One turns to the other and says, "Dam!"

    3. Two Eskimos sitting in a kayak were chilly, so they lit a fire in the craft. Unsurprisingly it sank, proving once again that you can't have your kayak and heat it too.

    4. Two hydrogen atoms meet. One says, "I've lost my electron." The other says, "Are you sure?" The first replies "Yes, I'm positive."

    5. Did you hear about the Buddhist who refused Novocain during a root canal? His goal: transcend dental medication.

    6. A group of chess enthusiasts checked into a hotel and were standing in the lobby discussing their recent tournament victories. After about an hour, the manager came out of the office and asked them to disperse. "But why?", they asked, as they moved off. "Because," he said, "I can't stand chess-nuts boasting in an open foyer."

    7. A woman delivers a set of identical twins and decides to give them up for adoption. One of them goes to a family in Egypt and is named "Ahmal." The other goes to a family in Spain ; they name him "Juan." Years later, Juan sends a picture of himself to his birth mother. Upon receiving the picture, she tells her husband that she wishes she also had a picture of Ahmal. Her husband responds, "They're twins! If you've seen Juan, you've seen Ahmal."

    8. A group of friars were behind on their belfry payments, so they opened up a small florist shop to raise funds. Since everyone liked to buy flowers from the men of God, a rival florist across town thought the competition was unfair. He asked the good fathers to close down, but they would not. He went back and begged the friars to close. They ignored him. So, the rival florist hired Hugh MacTaggart, the roughest and most vicious thug in town to "persuade" the friars to close. Hugh beat up the friars and trashed their store, saying he'd be back if they didn't close up shop. Terrified, they did so, thereby proving that only Hugh can prevent florist friars.

    9. Mahatma Gandhi, as you know, walked barefoot most of the time, which produced an impressive set of calluses on his feet. He also ate very little, which made him rather frail and, with his odd diet, he suffered from bad breath. This made him (Oh, dude, this is so bad, it's good…..) a super calloused fragile mystic hexed by halitosis.

    10. And finally, there was the person who sent ten different puns to friends, with the hope that at least one of the puns would make them laugh. No pun in ten did.

    Saturday, September 24, 2011

    What Dr. Seuss Would've Thought Of Facebook...

    Yeah, that pretty much sums it up. Has anyone tried Google+ at all? Facebook changes so much at will lately, but I'm not sure if I want to jump ship and head to Google+ yet. Does anyone do Google+?

    Friday, September 23, 2011

    Irritated...

    Blogger just ate my post about the long day I had yesterday. I'm not even remotely thinking about rewriting it.

    WTF?!

    Mad is NOT the right word to describe how I feel right now.

    Thursday, September 22, 2011

    Mama Loves You...

    I've joined Pinterest and have been spending some time perusing through all the pins. What a cool website to share things you find interesting. This particular photo caught my eye. I'd like to hang it in my kids' bedrooms, but something tells me they already know this.

    Wednesday, September 21, 2011

    Making Progress...

    All is well this week, so far. Jack's been so good at school. I spoke with his teacher on the phone for over twenty minutes yesterday. She's got nothing but good things to say about Jack and his progress in class. She says he works very hard, has fallen into the classroom routine quite well, and follows all the rules (we knew he would). Yay! She's much nicer on the phone than she is in person, that's for sure.

    Liv got in a little trouble yesterday for pushing the point of a marker in and laughing about it. I made her write an apology and we replaced the marker. Her teacher was really nice about it and didn't require that we replace the marker, but I did anyway just to teach Liv about consequences. I told Liv that the marker we were giving to her teacher was her favorite one (it really wasn't). She learned an important lesson and probably won't do that again. Other than that one minor incident, her teacher finds her to be absolutely delightful, just like we knew she would.

    Work is work. The days seem to go by quickly. Liesl and Leia are loving having their Papa all to themselves every day. They even sleep until 10am on most days! He gets a lot done around the house before they get up. Win, win!

    So, all is well. Each of us has found our own grooves in the new routine, just like we knew we would. And once Friday comes, I only have 37 more weeks of work until summer break, but who's counting? Heh.

    Tuesday, September 20, 2011

    Psychological Word Search...

    This is very interesting. Click on the picture to enlarge it. The first three words you find describe you.

    You don't want to know what the first three words I found were. Heh.

    Monday, September 19, 2011

    Everybody Is A Genius...

    Albert Einstein couldn't have said it better.

    Sunday, September 18, 2011

    Taking Off My Pants...

    I know Liv is 5 years old, but sometimes her logic is strange. The other day, she wanted to do something and I wouldn't let her. She resorted to telling me at the top of her lungs, "Well, if you don't let me, I'm just going to...take off my pants!"

    I digested her reaction and it occurred to me why she said that. You see, on Planet Liv, getting back at me for not letting her have her way consists of doing something I don't want her to do. We're not in the habit of letting the kids run around naked in the house, or ourselves for that matter. So, in Liv's head, taking off her pants seems to be a perfectly logical way to get back at me.

    Last night, she was particularly demanding and kept doing something I didn't want her to do. So, I gave her a dose of her own medicine. I told her, "If you keep doing that, I'm just going to have to...take off my pants!" She looked at me, digested what I'd said, and figured that listening to me in the first place would be a much better option than seeing me naked. It worked.

    I could write a book on things like this. I'll save the cemetery conversation with her for another post. THAT one was a real doozy.

    Saturday, September 17, 2011

    On Being A Blob...

    I am so glad the weekend is here. I plan to be a blob today. It's a good plan. It was a hard week and I deserve it. After all the schedule changes at work this week and all the adjustments made by the students and the teachers, I finally found a groove I can live with during the last couple days. It's a work in progress, but I take my craft very seriously. If you want things done right, you have to plan ahead. With multiple changes and the aftermath, it can be easy to lose your ground. I'm fortunate that I'm good with change and can hit the ground running. Nevertheless, it's cathartic when you finally stop moving. I think I've earned my day of nothingness this week.

    So, now if you'll excuse me, I have some "being lazy" to do. I wonder if the kids will let me. Heh.

    Happy Saturday, my peeps!

    Friday, September 16, 2011

    Oh, My Aching Everything...

    Ahhhhhhh, Friday, I thought you'd never get here. It's been a long and full week. I'm glad it's over. I'm going to relax this weekend and rest my feet because they're killing me. I'm not a teacher who sits behind her desk. I am constantly moving around my classroom; therefore, my feet are very, very tired right now.

    I'm still sick, of course. This sinus infection is killing me and there's nothing like a sore throat from postnasal drip when you're trying to teach a class. For that reason and many others, it was a difficult week.

    On a very positive note, both Jack and Liv's teachers report that they love, love, LOVE school. Knowing this makes my rough week seem so small in the grand scheme of things. MY KIDS LOVE SCHOOL! As a teacher, as well as a mother, this is music to my ears. Can you hear me gushing?

    Thursday, September 15, 2011

    Just Brutal...

    Has this been a long week or is it my imagination? I have been so crazy busy that I don't even have time to think about anything. I get as much work done at night as I possibly can, but it never seems to be enough time. I certainly can't stay up all night working because I need to sleep. Schedule changes and class changes can be brutal for a teacher, especially when you're trying to compile all the necessary data that will inform your instruction. Throw in class changes and it's a recipe for a nervous breakdown if you don't manage your time well. Lucky for me, I adjust to change well and I'm a stickler for time management; I can get what I need done efficiently. It's just a bitch getting there.

    I'm looking forward to the weekend so I can let my bed just swallow me up. I soooooo need some R&R. My brain hurts.

    Wednesday, September 14, 2011

    Open Houses...

    Liv's school is having their Open House tonight from 5-7pm and I can't wait to meet her teacher! I'm very excited about it. Hubby has a dental appointment at 4:30pm, so as soon as he gets home, I'm headed out the door. I hope his appointment doesn't take forever. I really want to meet Liv's teacher.

    My school is having their Open House on September 22nd from 4:30-6pm. Jack's school also happens to be having their Open House on that same evening. My plan is to leave my event a half hour early so I can make it to his school. Hopefully traffic won't be ridiculous and I'll be able to get to his school and meet some of the people who work with him. Fingers crossed.

    I can't imagine what it will be like when all four of the kids are in school and I have to meet several teachers. Hopefully, they'll all be at the same school by then.

    Tuesday, September 13, 2011

    Happy Birthday, Hubby!...

    Happy Birthday to Hubby!

    I love you so much for everything you do, everything you are, and everything you bring to our family! The kids and I could never do this journey without you. You are an amazing husband, father, and friend.

    (He's going to kill me for putting his picture on the Internet. Heh.)

    Monday, September 12, 2011

    You Reap What You Sow...

    I have been so unbelievably busy lately. Work is kicking my ass, but that's because I half-ass nothing at all. If the tasks are to be done right, then the payoff later is well-worth the effort it takes to get the jobs done in the first place. If you half-ass something, you only reap half of the benefits later. It's a cryptic description of what I'm doing, but it can apply to so many areas, too.

    It's a five-day work week this week. Mentally, I'm ready. Physically, I just wish I could kick this virus that's living in my sinuses and lungs once again. Sigh.

    Sunday, September 11, 2011

    Where Were YOU?...

    It was ten years ago, but it doesn't seem like so long ago. I remember exactly where I was and what I was doing when it happened. I was waiting for my students to come in the morning when one of my colleagues told me to turn on my television. I couldn't believe my eyes. It was surreal.

    We wound up watching the television coverage all day long and there were a lot of teachable moments involved. A lot of students were pulled out by their moms and taken home to be together to pray.

    When I got home that day, I was hoping that it wasn't as bad as it seemed, only to find out it was so much worse than anyone could've imagined. I don't think 9/11 is anything anyone in the United States could ever forget about. We were a bold nation that thought we were untouchable and wound up realizing just how vulnerable we actually are.

    I hope I never see anything like that in my lifetime ever again. I'll never forget it or the people whose lives were taken because of it all (then, since then, and now).

    Saturday, September 10, 2011

    #2,461...

    Yes, this is post #2,461 on my blog. I can't believe I've ever written that much, but this blog has been years in the making. That's a lot of posts and it doesn't even include the blog I had before this one. Yeesh.

    Well, my first week back with students was a very busy one and much was accomplished. Lots of baseline data assessments were completed. Now, it's time to crunch the numbers, which isn't always easy. These numbers help me place kids with appropriate groups within the classroom and grade level-appropriate reading materials, which in turn helps them progress throughout the school year. I have my work cut out for me because I like to adhere to strict personal deadlines which are always weeks ahead of their required deadlines. I'm such a stickler for time management, so I tend to dive in and get things done as soon as I can. It's part of my OCD.

    Jack and Liv LOVE school and everything about it. I couldn't be happier about it. I've had lots of communication between their teachers and staff, so I'm happy about that. Everyone seems to have started off on the right foot and they all know I'm keeping track of it.

    I will never be able to put myself in my children's shoes. I can't even imagine what it's like to have a Mom who is also a teacher. All I know is that, by watching and communicating with my children's teachers very closely and very often, I'm confident they'll always get the benefit of the doubt. Teachers have a society of their own and so do Mothers. Combine the two and you get a whole new camaradarie.

    All in all, I'm happy about how the school year has begun...for all of us.

    Friday, September 09, 2011

    None The Wiser...

    At the age of 39, I am finally cutting the only wisdom tooth that ever formed in my jaw. Howevah...the way it's growing in is very problematic. You see, I had the molar in front of it pulled last year and the wisdom tooth now has room to move forward. The problem is the way it's situated in my jaw. Instead of growing upward, like a normal tooth, the top surface is growing toward the front of my mouth. My wisdom tooth literally lies sideways and now one corner of it is poking through the gumline. It's very painful to eat anything right now and it seems to be growing out quite quickly.

    Open enrollment for my insurance is in December, to be effective January 1st. We currently have a dental HMO, which is great because it costs almost nothing to have work done to our teeth. We need to switch to a dental PPO so that the kids' pediatric dentist is covered. It's about $1,000 a year for two visits each for Liv and Jack because they don't take our HMO; they only take PPO. Hubby goes next week and will probably get a referral for a pull for a broken molar he has. With just novocaine, a pull from an oral surgeon is $25 under our current insurance; with general anesthesia, it's $525 because getting put out isn't covered. A wisdom tooth needs general anesthesia, which I don't mind paying. I just need to get it done before the end of the year before the new insurance will kick in.

    Essentially, Hubby and I need to get anything major we need done to our teeth done ASAP. I got all my major work done last year and this wisdom tooth thing is new, so I need to get the ball rolling on that one. And if the kids' fabulous pediatric dentist is going to cost so much out-of-pocket, I'd much rather switch to a PPO so that it doesn't cost so much for us. Liesl and Leia will have to go sometime soon; with four children and out-of-pocket dental costs, we'll be in the poor house.

    So, Hubby and I will be going back and forth to the dentist to take advantage of the low costs of our HMO now because anything we'll subsequently need done later is going to cost way more with a PPO. Paying out-of-pocket for all four kids is just not an option, so PPO it is.g

    Wise move?

    Thursday, September 08, 2011

    Bring On Autumn...

    Summer is officially over here at the House of Eatmisery. Hubby spent the last few days draining the pool, cleaning it, and airing it out. Today, he dismantled it and put it away until next summer. Sigh. It seems like it wasn't up long enough.

    The crisp autumn-like weather lately assured us that there would be no more 90+ degree days in the future. It was time to say goodbye to the pool for a while. We left down the tarp and put the kids' playsets on it, little lawn chairs, and lots of toys for the twins to play with while the older two are at school. Fresh air does everyone a lot of good.

    Now that Hubby only has the two little ones to look after during the day, he can let them run around in the yard and play on the playsets for as long as they want. Without the pool, the yard looks so big now. To Liesl and Leia, the yard must look huge without the pool in it anymore. They had a lot of fun playing out there yesterday and I'm sure there will be many, many more days like that.

    I don't know about you, but I'm ready for butternut squash soup, pumpkin chocolate chip muffins, and crock pot recipes. Autumn is upon us and it's okay with me.

    Wednesday, September 07, 2011

    Blatzed...

    I wonder what La Leche League would've said about this ad if they were around back when this ad was created. Heh.

    Tuesday, September 06, 2011

    First Day...

    Today is Jack's first day of first grade in a new school. Today is Liv's first day of kindergarten. Today is my first day with students this school year.

    Sigh. I have nothing else to say. You already know how I feel.

    Monday, September 05, 2011

    Constantly Evolving...

    In less than one month, Liesl and Leia will be two years old. Yes, TWO. When the hell did that happen? Weren't they just born? It sure feels like it.

    They sure have evolved quite a bit this summer. They do all kinds of things they couldn't do before and this is just the beginning. It's hard to believe that they're little people now. Of course, they were always little people, but now they are so much more involved in everything every single waking minute of the day. They have opinions, disagreements, full-on belly laughs, jokes, and seem to get into everything lately. They are a handful, but I'd never trade them in for anything.

    Two years old next month. It's crazy. Before I know it, they'll be in preschool. It's not that far off, after all. Sigh.

    Sunday, September 04, 2011

    Another Notch On My Mother Guilt Belt...

    Juggling. It's what we do on a daily basis. With me going back to work, it means there's more to juggle now. We get through it because that's what we do. There are no other choices. The logistics of this school year are a bit different and the timing of it all is critical. We'll find a good groove we can manage, but it won't be easy at first.

    Tuesday is coming up way too quickly and the first day of school is upon us. Another school year is starting and I am unable to see my children off on their first day because I'm at work, teaching for the same school system they belong. The Mother Guilt of not being there breaks my heart every year. It just plain sucks.

    Lucky for me, I keep in touch with their teachers several times a week, through email and notes back and forth. I'm on top of it all, but sometimes I wish I could be more of a physical presence. As a teacher, I know it's one thing to get emails from a parent; it's another thing to see his/her face. I have a feeling I'll be taking some days off this school year just to have some physical presence in their classrooms. After all, my priorities, first and foremost, are my children. While I hate missing their first day of school, I also know that as a teacher it looks really bad if you're not there on the first day for your students.

    I wish it were still summer.

    Saturday, September 03, 2011

    The Kids & Their Isms...

    Jack-ism of the week: When I asked him why he slept on his bedroom floor the other night, he replied, "Because my balls were sweaty." I thought that was the best answer ever!

    Liv-ism of the week: "I can't possibly make a promise to be good while you're gone. I could never live with myself if I broke it." Such a drama queen.

    Leia-ism of the week: When I told her I was going to work and she needed to be a good girl for her Papa, I asked her if she thought she could do it. Her reply as she looked at me with her steely blue eyes, "Okay, I'll try it."

    Liesl-ism of the week: When I asked her if she missed me while I was at work, she replied, "No," and proceeded to wave and tell me goodbye as she walked out of the room.

    These are the days of my life.

    Friday, September 02, 2011

    Learning...

    I wrote a post about meeting Jack's teacher yesterday, but I'm not sure I want to post it yet.

    So, I'll just say that Jack will learn very quickly that his teacher does not have to love him, but his Mom always will.

    It's going to be an interesting school year. I have a lot of faith in Jack.

    Thursday, September 01, 2011

    Think Happy Thoughts...

    Well, I got through yesterday. I spent most of the workday vacillating between needing to puke or choking back my tears. It's always so difficult to leave them to go back to work at the beginning of every school year.

    That first day back never gets easier. I know it's coming; I try to mentally prepare myself; I still end up a nervous wreck.

    Today is Day 2. I will probably survive it, but barely. I wish I could be emotionally numb for the first month of the school year. Leaving home hurts so much until I get into a groove I can live with.

    Jack and I are meeting his teacher in his classroom this morning from 7-7:30am. Yes, it's insanely early, but she's accommodating me because I have to get to work on time, for the same school system she works for. I'm crossing my fingers and hoping for a fabulous school year for him. I hope I get a good vibe from her. So far, she seems wonderful.

    Think happy thoughts.