Monday, August 31, 2009


Remember that blog post a while ago about a magical peace and the two jars with chips? Well, that's nothing compared to REAL peace when the kids are all at school on a regular routine and there are no more uncertainties with my schedule!!

Finally. A full week of school for everyone!

Sunday, August 30, 2009

My Life's a Cartoon #1

The other day Ethan kept going downstairs and Ivy kept screaming and I kept calling Ethan upstairs for little things to try and distract him which WASN'T working. So I finally gave him a big job--clean the living room. He whined, "I'm tooooooo tiiiiiired." I said, "You're not too tired to bug your sister." He said quite cheerfully, "Hey, that's no trouble at all!"

In Ethan's defense, this describes BOTH his sisters!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Good News!

I just looked at my last post and realized it was a bit of a downer, so here's some more positive news:

OUR CAR IS FIXED!! It's been fixed for a while but I haven't written about it. The first week we had it I was craving weird things for dinner and was glad I could make a quick run to the store. One night I had to go for meatballs for meatball sandwiches (I have NEVER made or had one before but for some reason they sounded really good)! Another night I was craving White Bean and Kale soup. Don't ask me why. I think part of it was that I just wanted to fully enjoy the luxury of running to the store whenever I wanted to! Vince and I enjoyed the soup, the kids not so much. I had never had or heard of it before but when I was browsing recipes on the computer I had to have that for dinner! Which leads me to the next good news:

VINCE FIXED OUR COMPUTER!! It's not perfect but soooo much better. He fixed it almost two weeks ago and I haven't blogged much. I think this is because I have been on the internet BROWSING just for fun. Because I wanted to. It's been nice to get on the computer and look up things I have questions about or want to research and not always being in a rush to get off before the computer kicked me off.

OUR SCHOOL HAS A NEW SPEECH PERSON!! And not just ANY speech person. MS. COREY!! I know most of you don't have any idea who Ms. Corey is but she is the speech therapist that helped Ivy a few years ago. She is also the speech therapist that has been working with Nathan for the last two years. I had virtually NO confidence in the skills and/or work ethic of our school's last speech therapist and have spent months praying and pondering about what to do about it. I had decided that I would just have to try to work with him, follow up to make sure he was working with Nathan, and then file complaints with the district if there was any problem. We felt VERY blessed when we found out that Nathan will get to pick up where he left off with the teacher that he already knows and loves!! AND she gets to be at our school FULL TIME! Usually our school only gets the speech therapist two days a week so this is very exciting news! It's one of those times when you know that Heavenly Father hears and answers prayers.

Eva got hired by the our town's Choral Society to play a couple of solo parts for 6 performances in their fall season. She will be paid $50. She's pretty excited and we're very proud. It helps that the Director is a good friend of mine, but she never would have been hired if she hadn't been practicing and developing her talent. She's getting scary good at the violin.

Ethan has agreed to ACCOMPANY ON THE PIANO at least two songs for his fourth grade program. This will be the first time he's done anything like this but I'm certain he has the skills. The big news is that he's agreed to do it!! Of course he'll be making a little money, $10 per song to be exact, but it's a good experience for him and I don't mind paying him. He always used to HATE playing the piano and was always very angry that I made him do it but I think hate would be a strong word now--he seems to be more peaceful about it. Still, I think I will have to pay for every performance, big or small, outside of recitals for quite a while.

After learning the truth about cornions Ivy seems a little more open minded about trying new things. I wish we'd thought of cornions years ago! As a second grader Ivy is ultra responsible about homework and studying. I am so relieved. She always did it in first grade but I always had to push, remind, OK--nag her to do it. This week she just sat down right after school and got it done. She's like Eva and Ethan now--nagging ME to sign her stuff and help, etc. They don't really have to nag, but when they all come at once it's a little challenging!

Vince gave the kids Father's Blessings on Sunday and that was very special. One thing I should share with everyone is that Nathan was blessed that his tongue would be loosed this year and that he would be able to communicate with his teachers and they would be able to understand him. This was a welcome part of the blessing and I was very excited! But...

Poor Nathan. Good news and bad news for him. He's getting better, not quite as sick--that's the good news. The bad news is the nebulizer. Thursday he didn't look quite right so I took him back to the doctor and he has to use a nebulizer 4 times a day for a week instead of the inhaler and he HATES it! He also has to take an antibiotic and a steroid every day. The antibiotic isn't bad but the steroid tastes awful and he throws fits about it. He was excited to go to school yesterday which was great--he ran in and didn't want me to come with him!! He's such a big boy! But he came out of school in a terrible mood, said it was too hard, that he didn't like it, he doesn't like his teacher (but he will say she's nice) and didn't want to go back. Sigh. I'm hoping it's because he's not feeling 100% but I am concerned. I really wish he had been placed in full day with the teacher I know would be perfect for him. We'll have to give it a few weeks and see what happens. I've been kind of wishing I had put him in the Title 1 preschool--oh well. All three of my kids have loved school so far so maybe it's my turn to have one that I'll have to motivate a bit. It might just take a few months for him to get in a routine and build some confidence. We all talk with Nathan about how great school is--he just sticks his thumb in his mouth, covers his head with a blanket, and kind of growls. Or else he walks out of the room in a surly mood. He'd rather not talk about anything to do with school.

More good news--I'm almost DONE WITH THE LAUNDRY! For the last 3 weeks I have been unable to finish laundry and there has been little baskets of it in my room or in the living room, or in the laundry room, or in bedrooms, and I have been too distracted with getting ready for school and starting school and all kinds of stuff to just do it but in two hours it will be FINISHED!!

I'm excited to start a school routine and hope that will really begin this week!!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

First Week of School: Good, Bad, & Ugly

The Good: FINALLY! The first week of school! We were all so excited!!! Eva, Ethan, and Ivy started on Monday. Nathan was a little disappointed because he didn't get to start until Thursday (today--we'll get there eventually). Eva, Ethan, and Ivy all got the teachers they were hoping to get AND they got to have their best friends in their classes! This is some kind of a record at our house and school has been a pleasure for them all week. I'm really happy with their teachers also--since I've spent a lot of time at the school I know the teachers well and think they're all great but the teachers' personalities fit my kids well this year so I'm excited!!

The Bad: ALREADY! I have had to drag two of my kids out of their beds in the morning TWO days! There's only been four days of school so far and it's the first week of school. I'm thinking it won't be too long before they end up having to walk to school and accept the consequences for being late.

The Ugly: I'm HATING that I had to be a forceful parent this week in order to help Nathan get what he needed. He gets pulled out of class this year for speech, adaptive PE, and Resource (where they help him with the Occupational Therapy recommendations) and he was placed in half-day AM Kindergarten. Which I could live with as long as I could bring him after lunch for the extra stuff, which I was told I could not do. ARGH! I did a little math and realized that if they pulled him for all that stuff on his half day schedule he would be out of class 25% of the time! After a long emotional day and a couple of email exchanges I was able to meet with the principal and insist that Nathan be placed in PM Kindergarten with most of the other activities scheduled in the morning. This means several trips to the school each day and that I had to reschedule and/or drop my homeschool students and somehow find Nathan a ride home from school. I just finished arranging all that yesterday in the middle of Kindergarten Tea and Back-to-School night when I realized...

The Super Ugly: NATHAN was very sick. He had been a little sick all week but yesterday I realized that he was getting worse so after I met the kids' teachers last night I took Nathan to the doctor. His oxygen level was quite low so he had a breathing treatment in the office and we were sent home with 3 prescriptions that cost us $83. Poor Nathan. But that's not the worst part....

The REALLY Ugly: After all the weeks and weeks of waiting and planning and the plotting, scheduling, meetings, etc. Nathan MISSED the first day of school today because he was so sick!!! He was SOOOO disappointed!

And to think I was excited for school to start.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

A Magical Peace--At Last

A conversation overhead this morning between Ivy and Nathan:
Ivy: "Nathan, Duct tape is good tape. You can tape lots of things with duct tape."
Nathan: "Dog tape is better!"

Not long ago I wrote about the contention in our house and how frustrated I was with all the fighting, arguing, whining, etc. Monday a solution presented itself. It was kind of Nathan's idea but we now have a system with two jars and lots of Bingo chips. One jar is larger than the other so we can tell them apart. We are trying to move all the Bingo chips from the large jar to the smaller jar and Monday evening we had a "secret" family vote and decided that when all the chips get into the smaller jar we will go out to eat as a family. Every time someone does a chore without whining, does something nice for someone else, goes to BED and STAYS there at bedtime, practices their instrument, etc. then a chip goes into the jar. Ever time there is fighting, whining, arguing, hitting, tatteling, refusal to do what we ask, etc. a chip goes OUT of the jar. The jars and chips are magical!

Tuesday was the first day. Ethan came into the piano studio and interrupted a lesson to tell me (only HALF tearfully) that Eva had "kneed" (I think that means she somehow hurt him with her knee) him on the leg and so a chip needed to come out of the jar. I told him that it sounded like it DID need to come out of the jar and to go ahead and take care of it. Then when the lesson was over I went in the living room and announced that I had to take a chip out of the jar--Ethan quickly protested, saying that he already had taken a chip out and I told him that I had to take another one because he was tattling. It wasn't until I related the story to Vince last night and we were chuckling about it that Ethan seemed to understand that by not keeping his mouth shut he cost the family two chips. He was so worried about Eva getting in trouble that he forgot that it's a FAMILY effort. There's been no tattle telling today and I am SO HAPPY!

The boys' room was very messy and last night I told Ethan that if he didn't get his room clean by the end of the day today that he would lose 5 chips but that if he DID clean it he would earn 10 chips. When I got home from the gym at 6:30 this morning his room was clean!

Last night Nathan was crying loudly about something, I don't remember what and I usually get so frustrated with him because I can't get him to stop. Last night I looked at him and told him that I was taking a chip out of the jar because he was crying. He IMMEDIATELY stopped crying and said, "OK Mom, I won't fry anymore." It's not a typo--he says fry instead of cry and I think it's cute.

Today I actually have been able to put in many extra chips because: Eva made cookies with and for the little kids, Ethan spent most of the morning constructing a doll bed and doll clothes storage thing for Ivy out of cardboard (complete with colored scrapbook paper which if you know Ethan is really impressive!), Ivy let her cousin have her little library toy to make peace, Nathan suggested we give cookies to someone else, Eva spontaneously unloaded and loaded the dishwasher, Ethan hurried and got his chores done early so they would be done before I started teaching this morning, and when Ethan wanted a friend to come in and I said No he started to protest but then shut his mouth and said, "OK Mom."

Even scripture reading is better. Usually Ivy whines and cries every time she is asked to read a verse longer than 4 lines. It's pathetic and drives the rest of the family CRAZY. We decided that any whining before and/or during scripture reading time constitutes the removal of a chip from the jar. For each episode. Last night we read many more verses in less time and it was MUCH more pleasant!

I'm going to leave right now and put a chip in the magic jar because I've been on the computer for 40 minutes and there has been not ONE raised voice or disagreement and Ivy and Nathan have been playing together!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Car/Cornion Update

Our car is fixed!!! We are so excited and grateful!! And not trapped. And school starts in ONE WEEK!! Everyone has reason to be grateful!

Last week I came home from the grocery store with onions. Ivy was helping me put groceries away and she held them up and said "Mom are these cornions or onions?" Of course I told her they were cornions. She said to me, "I'm glad mom because cornions are so much better than onions. Why do they grow onions anyway? They should just grow cornions because they taste so much better. Can we grow cornions in our garden mom?" I told her that I didn't know where to get cornion seeds. She said, "That's OK mom. We can just buy cornions. Will you always buy cornions? Will you show me cornions in the store the next time I go with you?" I was starting to feel a little guilty at this point and talk-a-mile Ivy didn't stop there. "Mom, do other people like cornions too? I'm going to ask the cafeteria ladies at school if they use cornions."

OK--so I finally had enough and I said to Ivy, "Ivy I need to tell you something--there is no such thing as a cornion. I just made that up so you would eat your onions because I was sure you would like them and you do. Isn't that great?" Ivy looked a little puzzled. Then she kind of smiled. Then she looked at me and said, "OK mom. But can I still call them cornions?" This totally captures Ivy--she loves fairy tales and she can imagine just about anything!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Cabin Fever

Cabin Fever:"A condition of increased tension, boredom, blahs, etc. caused by living for some time in a confined space or an isolated area, especially in winter."

I like that definition but in all honesty I think I would have to add a few things, like increased, yelling, screaming, fighting,.... (OK--maybe increased tension covers it.)

This little poem makes me think of my kids:

Little bug inside my head,
why I wish you hadn't said,
all those words to make me antsy,
now I've got you in my pantsy.

Yes, I'm thinking they have some kind of fire ants in their pants and they are driving me insane. Why? I am convinced it's because we have not been able to go ANYWHERE as a family for over two weeks. ARGH

Our family car needed a new engine so we are getting that replaced. Unfortunately, the engine supplier lacks regular human intelligence and will probably soon be bailed out by our government. We took the car to the mechanic who took THREE part numbers off the engine and the VIN number and called his supplier. They sent an engine from their warehouse, we dropped off the car and then the mechanic took out the old engine and went to put the new engine in. BUT it was the WRONG engine! So he called the supplier back and they said something like, "Oops. Sorry 'bout that" and then ordered us a new engine from somewhere far away--it takes 4 days of road travel for the engine to arrive.

That engine was supposed to be here last Thursday afternoon BUT the highway into our town was closed for a shooting and fires so the engine arrived too late to for the mechanic to start work last week. So Monday morning our mechanic, Ed, started putting in our new engine. Except it was the WRONG engine! Now we've had TWO wrong engines! These guys are only slightly smarter than the guy who drove with live baby snakes in his pockets!! So Ed called them and yelled at them. We like Ed! And so they asked for the part numbers again and he gave them the SAME numbers he gave them the first time and they said something like, "OH. We should have sent you this other engine. Sorry 'bout that."

Meanwhile, home life is deteriorating. We are crossing our fingers that the engine comes without anymore trouble tomorrow and that it can get installed quickly. Then I'm going to take the kids to the library. And let them all check out books. At the same time. And they can play with the library toys because we won't be in a hurry to go home and let someone else come to the library. Then we will take our books to the park and have a picnic and I will sit on a blanket in the shade and let them run like Indians and pretend they don't belong to me. Then I will drop them off at the swimming pool (probably not, but hey, I'm daydreaming) and they can swim and play in the water for a few hours so they come home EXHAUSTED and sleep and I will not be tired and then I can stay up and enjoy the peaceful house.