Friday, October 31, 2008
I hemmed and hawwed for a few seconds and then said, "You know it really is a mess. Could they possibly reschedule for tomorrow sometime?" The agent replied, "No, they don't mind if it's a mess. The clients are in from out of town." Well, out of town clients are better than neighbors seeing my mess, but I still wasn't comfortable. After considering that out of towners are more likely to buy, I gave in and said, "Okay, they can go in, but just know that it's a mess." I hung up the phone and immediately felt regret because I knew it was not in good shape - but my mortification would come later.
I met Chuck after work for soccer practice and as we watched the kids have their last soccer practice, we talked about the shape of the house and how messy we remember it being. Chuck made me feel better by saying things like, "They might think the pumpkin thing is cute." Yeah, yeah. And then I realized something that immediately turned my face a deep shade of red: While I was watching TV the night before, I removed a certain restrictive item of clothing in the living room. Girls, you know what I'm talking about. And, give me a break - it isn't like I was wandering aroudn naked, but I wanted to be comfortable in my jeans and sweatshirt without the over-the-shoulder-pebble-holder restricting my relaxation. So, when we got home, I wandered through the house finding evidence that the potential buyers had indeed gone into the house, and then, I saw it. There on the floor next to the couch was the prematurely removed bra laying out in the open for all to see - scattered among the newspaper, scribbled-on pumpkins, and my work boxes (no attorney-client information revealed thank Heaven). I am still embarrassed about this and want to call the realtor and apologize profusely, but at this point, I'm trying to just keep my head down and not bring anymore attention to myself. Awful.
Second incident - Several times a day I take a long walk down the hall at my office past several attorney offices and secretary desks to get to the restroom. On one such occasion yesterday, I got to the restroom and found that I had a blue post-it flag stuck to the front of my dress right about at hooha level, unseen by me because the protrusion from my body in which George lives blocks my view of that part of my body. Sigh. At least there is an excuse that goes with this incident as opposed the the multiple times I've walked around the office with redaction tape stuck to my ass, hips, hands, elbows . . . you name it. Oh, plus there's the perpetual pen marks staining the backs of my forearms. Evie calls me out on that one.
Thursday, October 30, 2008
First quote: Have you ever wondered if there was more to life, other than being really, really, ridiculously good looking?
This is from one of our favorite movies although it took a lot of pressure to get Chuck to watch it the first time. Now, he loves it. Maybe we'll watch it tonight.
And here is a quote from one of Chuck's all-time favorites. This is a real gimme, so hopefully you'll get it. A total classic in every sense of the word.
Second Quote: Inside of us, we both know you belong with Victor. You're part of his work, the thing that keeps him going. If that plane leaves the ground and you're not with him, you'll regret it. Maybe not today. Maybe not tomorrow, but soon and for the rest of your life.
Notice, I even gave you a name to work with. Of course, you could just google this and get the answer in a second. But, I know Chuck will get them both right off. Now we have two movies to pick from tonight.
Can you tell work slowed down a bit? This is what happens when you tell your boss that your blood pressure is slightly elevated and the doctor is threatening to impose limited work hours. I haven't been asked to do anything substantial or with a deadline since last week! (That's not to say that I haven't had plenty to do . . .)
We set to pulling out the seeds and carving the pumpkin - a rather grotesque project, I must admit. The kids were full of "Eewws!" and "Gross!" but it was pretty fun to watch them experience this fully for the first time. Both of them (but more so Evie) hovered over the knife as it went in and out of the pumpkin flesh, and I had to keep telling her to back up or she might get cut. Well, a few minutes later I sliced open my own flesh. I'm an idiot. Oh well, it wasn't too bad.
We finished up the pumpkin and this is what it looked like. Pretty impressive huh?
Okay, I'm kidding. That isn't really the pumpkin I carved. But, now that I look at it closely, it does look like the grinch! The picture below is actually the pumpkin I carved - rather crudely like a kid. That's okay, I've got more pumpkin carving experience than Chuck, whose parents deprived him by not celebrating Halloween. Poor kid - no sugar high on October 31 for his whole life. How crappy is that?
The first one on the right looks pretty scary - kudos to me. I designed the second one on the left (obviously, my give-a-shitter had given out by that time). I think it looks like Bert from Sesame Street - minus the unibrow. What do you think?
Oh, and here's a picture of the pumpkins the kids decorated with permanent markers last night.
They had fun. I had fun too. More pumpkin fun to come tomorrow. We'll see if anyone wants to steal my carved pumpkins off my front porch. I briefly considered booby-trapping them, but I think the crudely carved designs should keep the thieves away. Plus, I'm not sure how I could booby-trap a pumpkin - I wish I was that Data kid from the Goonies - I'm sure he'd have a great idea.
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
So, welcome to Baby Maggie! I can't wait to meet you! I hope you go easy on your mom and dad for the next couple days. They've been up almost all night waiting for your arrival. I promise that you and George are going to be great friends just like your dad and me! Oh, and I can't wait to show you all the fabulous pictures - particularly my favorite from Homecoming '96 - I swear, I'll never let that go!
And a shout out to Jenny A. - hope you have a great birthday! Now you have a birthday buddy!
Luke, "Mommy, where are the pumpkins?" Well, I proceeded to explain that someone had stolen our pumpkins and what it means when someone steals something and how it is a bad thing. Seriously, pumpkins?! So, I zipped up my anger and went to the store to buy two decent looking pumpkins out of the few scrub pumpkins that hadn't been snatched up by other Halloween-loving people. Of course, when I got to the car I noticed that both pumpkins had holes in them and one of them was actually molding. Bastard thieves, sticking me with crappy pumpkins. WTH? Luke noticed the flaws right away. Hopefully, our design will allow me to cut out the nasty parts. While I was at the store, the time was getting closer and closer to bed time so I bought some little pumpkin pie pumpkins for the kids to decorate with markers.
When I got home with the little pumpkins, the kids automatically demanded (and I mean DEMANDED) markers so they could decorate their pumpkins. All we had were two black Sharpie markers. Taking our fate into our own hands, we gifted each child with a permanent marker and let them at it after putting newspaper on the table. Luckily, the kids were pretty good. After they scribbled on their pumpkins I helped each one of them make a scary face on their little pumpkins and they proceeded to growl at each other and shove their decorated pumpkins in each others' faces and their parents' faces. Annoying, but cute. I'll have to post pictures of all our pumpkins tomorrow.
Have a happy day, and tell the Halloween Grinch to go to H-E-double hockey sticks.
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
Monday, October 27, 2008
By the way, Nell headed to Waco after our photo shoot to run a half marathon with her husband Sunday morning at 5:00 a.m. At 9:00 a.m., when I rolled downstairs to have a cup of coffee, I compared how much I had accomplished by that time of the day (zilch) with how much Nell had already accomplished (running 13.1 miles). I'm so jealous of people with that kind of dedication and drive in relation to exercise. Don't get me wrong, I have dedication and drive, but it is more focused on trying as many types of wine as I can and organizing dinners with friends.
I don't think I've ever explained how the game works, but it is relevant to the post today. You play four quarters. I don't know how long each quarter is, but let's just say I think there should only be three quarters instead of four - of course then we would call them thirds, etc - I digress. Each team has about a dozen players and you play four on four on two separate fields. That means you need 8 players to have two fields. We started out with six kids from our team so we were playing three on three on two fields. Luckily we got a fourth somewhere during the beginning of the game. At half time, one team switches fields and plays the other four kids from the other team. Sometimes (depending on the ref) you have the kids switch goals so that they aren't constantly kicking into the sun.
This weekend, we played four quarters and we were the team that switched fields. We did not get to switch goals, and our poor kids were kicking into the sun all four quarters. We played a pansy team called "the Wiggles". When I first looked at the schedule I felt so sorry for these kids since they were stuck with such a terrible name while our team is rocking with a cool name that an NBA team uses. Well, I feel sorry for the Wiggles no more. They smoked us! Of course, as I said, they were playing the bad news bears, so it was no surprise.
I have to admit that we are usually not great, but we're usually not terrible either. Well, the three boys and Luke who were "playing" on the same field were terrible. They couldn't have been less interested in soccer that first half. All the parents on the sideline were cheering them on with phrases like, "Luke, the ball's over there!" and "Jack, stop swinging Charlie by the shirt and get the ball!" and "John, get your head out of your shirt!" I must give them credit, that they did at least try to chase the ball, but the Wiggles had some super-freak boy (I swear he was over the age limit for the team) who kept making goals. He would break away and just run to the unguarded goal and score. This Harrison kid was a freakin ringer! I think they lied about his age so they could get a huge six year old on the team.
Also during that first half there were a few minutes after the Wiggles (Harrison) scored their 11th unanswered goal that our team was over off the field playing tag or some such nonsense. All of our parents were squinting across the field trying to figure out what they were doing as we laughed heartily about the dismal situation. The poor coach had to go herd the kittens as the parents from the other team were looking at each other in confusion and saying things like, "What are those kids doing over there?" Of course, Harrison got a little break so that he could continue to score on our team without breaking a sweat for the last few minutes of the first half. It was more than slightly embarrassing, but we were too busy laughing about the pathetic nature of it all that I couldn't get really embarrassed. Luckily when we switched sides, our team was more evenly matched and one of our players found a formula of his own and scored five or six goals.
The highlight of the entire game was that Luke's sense of competition actually started to kick in. First, he almost scored a goal, but it got blocked by the other team (Yet, another over-aged player I think. I wonder if they are also doping in addition to lying about their ages.) Chuck and I were so freakin' excited!!!! I swear I almost peed my pants when Luke broke away from the swarm of boys and headed for the goal with the soccer ball. And then . . . it was blocked and I sunk back into my lawn chair as if the Cowboys had just lost in the final seconds of the Super Bowl.
Second, Luke started to figure out that he likes it when his team scores and he doesn't like it when the other team scores. The other team only scored a few goals during the second half, but at one point Luke walked over to the sideline after the Wiggles scored and in defeat he hung his head and slapped his hands on his legs as he said, "We always lose!" Of course, we don't always lose, but we do most of the time so I get his drift. Chuck bucked him up, encouraged him to get back on the field, and told him we would score again. Luke ran back and of course, our ringer with the secret formula scored again. Luke came running back to the sideline so that Chuck could throw him up in the air in celebration - a habit that continued through all of Charlie's goals. It was awesome! We are so excited that Luke finally gets it, plus it was highly amusing.
I must admit that I don't have the patience to make it as a coach. First, I have no sports background, no competitive nature, and the thought of ever putting on shin guards again makes me want to vomit. Second, there is no way, I could pointlessly run around a soccer field with booger-filled tissues in my pockets, tying shoes and herding kittens. Yuck, and no thank you. However, I am eternally grateful to the the patient, loving, kind, and generous parents who are willing to take over those tasks. I am also equally grateful that their kids each have the same limited attention span as my kid.
Other good stuff this weekend, but I'll have to post about it later. Hope you had as great a weekend as mine - except for the one really, really low point which deserves a post all unto itself. Don't worry, no one died - except me - and that was simply because of extreme mortification, shame, and overall embarrassment.
Friday, October 24, 2008
Baby - Well, my mother drove in to spend the weekend with us and she got here in time to go to my appointment and catch a glimpse of George in the 4-D ultrasound, but again, George decided not to cooperate - yet another way he is different from the first two. Quite honestly, with the way he has been acting, I'm not certain he isn't adopted. And then to top it all off, he has turned around and is BREACH! As soon as the technician said he was breach, I lifted up on my elbows on the table and demanded, "What!?" while giving him a disbelieving look. When we were there two weeks ago, as you may recall, George was snuggled down into my plevis with his head way, way, way down there. I even asked, "So, will he stay head down?" The very experienced technician (and I'm not being sarcastic) said, "Probably, but there's always a chance he could move around." Well, WTF? Now he's breach? He gosh darn better turn around on his own.
After my last 4-D, I was talking to my friend Patty who is an ob about babies, etc. and she said that one of her favorite things to do is to turn a breach baby around using her hands from the outside. I shudder to think how that feels, but she assured me that it isn't really painful. I didn't really think about it much at the time since my baby was securely settled into the birthing position, but now I'm totally obsessed with the thought of having to have the baby turned or having to have a C-section simply because he refuses to cooperate.
Additionally, I was warned that my blood pressure is creeping up and I need to start cutting back at work. This, however, is an impossible task to follow what with everything that is going on. Of course, she basically threatened that if I didn't self-regulate, she would take care of it for me by ordering me to decrease my work load. We'll see how that goes over with all the partners who devoid of uteruses.
And finally, his heartbeat was low (in the 120's). Now, they assure me that this is within the normal range so there is nothing to worry about at this point, but I'm totally pissed that he isn't performing the way he is supposed to be. With all the stress going on right now, the very last thing I ever want to worry about is my child's health. I'm not sure how well I would handle my child being sick or hurt and me being helpless and unable to ease his pain or suffering. Now, I keep having all these thoughts about whether the umbilical cord is wrapped dangerously around his neck or anything else that might be causing him not to have a stronger heartbeat. We've seen the four chambers, etc. and so far, everything looks fine. All I can say, is that we both better pass all tests with flying colors at the next check up.
I keep thinking to myself that I should take things in hand and tell George that his tendency to buck the system is not going to fly once he leaves the womb - unfortunately, I think I might be the one with a rude awakening when he comes out with colic, reflux, or some other scary disposition that requires me to be up at all hours of the night dealing with a screaming child. (That's not to say that I won't be grateful that he is alive, healthy and happy) But, he's certainly doing his best to guarantee that he is my last child. With the way this pregnancy has been going, I'm afraid this will be one of those 48 hour labors, whereas Evie was out with two pushes and Luke was out with only 45 minutes of pushing.
The House - Yes, it is still on the market, but once the stock market crashed three weeks ago, we have only had two or three viewings (one tomorrow). Chuck and I were not at all surprised by the decrease in viewings and interest in the real estate market. It only makes sense, and if I think about it, I get a little worried about having to get a new mortgage amidst all this turmoil. Quite honestly, I'm not all that worried about selling the house at this very moment or even in the next couple months. Should I be?
So, house, kids, baby, school - all is pretty much well and I'm certain that my concerns about George having a low heartrate and being breach will all be remedied at the next appointment. As for my blood pressure - I think I might be screwed. I'll keep you posted.
Thursday, October 23, 2008
By the way, today is our second 4-D ultrasound. I think Grandma (my mom) is going to try and make it to town to see her newest little grandson in low-def. Hopefully, I'll have some better pictures to post of our latest blessing from above.
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
The sweet man made me dinner last night (no that isn't worthy of a post - but it is unusual). He grilled some pork chops with serious freezer burn and he made some fresh green beans from a can. It was actually quite tasty despite the freezer burn and the canned beans. We enjoyed our dinner together and then Chuck cleaned up while I gave the kids a bath and put them to bed. We then settled in for some tivo'd Monday night sitcoms (I LOVE Big Bang Theory!). At about 10:30 we took our old parental selves up to the bedroom to rest our bones, but as we turned out the lights downstairs, Chuck gathered up some trash and placed it in the kitchen trash can and I turned off lights in the den. As I was gathering my stuff and waddling around, I heard a string of expletives come from the kitchen in a panicked voice. "What the Filth-Flam?! Did you Filth Flaming put a filthing knife in the trash? G** D***! What the F***?! Son of a B****!" You name it, he said it. Well, of course, I ran into the kitchen to find out what was going on. My addrenaline was racing. I had no idea what had happened, but I was certain that the house was on fire or the cat was dead in the kitchen or Chuck had severed an artery some how. I was ready to call the paramedics or any other emergency rescue crew to remedy what had happened. I got into the kitchen and Chuck was rushing around, still flinging smaller curse words as he alternated sucking on his finger and putting pressure on it with a paper towel. At this point, it became clear that he had simply cut himself (nothing on fire, no one dead on the kitchen floor) and now I just needed to determine the extent of his pain and injury. He rushed over and turned on the light switch to figure out what had cut him. To his mighty surprise there was not a knife sticking up out of the trash can, but instead there was a green bean can and the severed lid to the green bean can sticking up out of the top of the trash can. Releif surged through me when I realized that he probably had not severed an artery on the green bean can, and I was not seeing enough blood spurting forth from his hand to indicate that he had been so injured that he would need stitches or a trip to the emergency room. With the disaster averted and while Chuck continued to gripe about how much it hurt and how sharp the green bean can was, I returned to my nightly bedtime duties and gathered the kids shoes, etc. and began making my way upstairs telling Chuck that I thought there were bandaids up stairs. When I got to our bathroom, Chuck was already trying to apply a bandaid to his still bleeding finger and I finally got a chance to get a good look at the mauled finger.
Turns out that it was just a cut about a half an inch long (and I'm being generous). It wasn't even that deep, but by the way Chuck reacted to the cut you would have though someone had taken a machette to his finger and severed the bone. I let out a laugh and said, "That's it?! I mean, I'm sure it hurts, but I was expecting something a lot worse." He sheepishly admitted that it was just "a paper cut on steroids." I'm not sure it even reaches that level of a cut, but I'll have to give him the benefit of the doubt since I've never seen him overreact to something like this before. I mean, he's got scars on his legs from where he missed with an ax during cut for A&M bonfire, or where he had this massive bicycle wreck in college and landed in the hospital for several days, or some of the injuries he brings home from basketball, and I've never heard him complain like he did with this little, teeny, weeny cut. I swear, if a Labor and Delivery nurse had witnessed his reaction, she would have laughed him out of the building.
So, big boy Chuck apologized quickly for jumping to the immediate conclusion that his innocent, presumably thoughtless, pregnant wife somehow put a knife in the garbage can with the blade pointing up so that someone would cut themselves when they threw their trash away. Additionally, that his sweet, kind wife would have found time to put a knife the in the trash can between the time that he cleaned the kitchen and then when he went to throw away the trash before bed. Poor baby Chuck
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
First day at the new school went well. Kids seem just fine with the change. Luke went right to work and had a great day. Yesterday he learned the parts of a plant and showed me a picture that he drew of the parts of the plant. He's back to learning. I love it! Even Evie seemed great about the whole thing. Now, they weren't jumping up and down like they had just left an amusement park, but they weren't crying and they were back to their old ways. I think it is going to take some time to break Luke of his excessive whining habit, but I'm glad to be on our way.
Oh, and a great big thank you to Mike (my brother), Lisa (my sister since I was four), Tony (my nephew) & Nick (my godson) for the great treats you sent, including a book about the first day at a new school. We read it before bed last night. (I was completely surprised at the end, by the way, and laughed out loud at the cleverness.) On the second page, it states something about it being her first day at a new school and Luke's eyes lit up and he said with amazement, "Just like me!" It was perfect!
Hopefully our second day will go just as smoothly.
Monday, October 20, 2008
So, the worst thing about this frantic need to go potty NOW as opposed to feeling the urge and gaging how long you have until you can't hold it any longer, is that when the kids say, "Pee-pee!", grab themselves and start the urgent pee-pee dance, you have to drop whatever you are doing and go get them on the potty. We have been at dinner many times engaged in deep conversation with our friends when the "Pee-Peeeee!" announcement is made. Never have I seen chairs screach, napkins fly, and a pregnant mother move so fast as when her child is threatening to let the pee go in a public place. This happened to me at this restaurant called the Purple Cow a little over a week ago. I had gone to dinner with our friends Em and Ben and their daughter Maddie. The kids were having fun and the parents were talking about rather important stuff - the school - and thoroughly engrossed in the conversation, when I heard Luke announce, "Mommy, Pee-pee!" He grabbed himself through his pants, danced a bit and looked pleadingly in my eyes. As I screached my chair back, I promptly ignored all conversation, briefly mumbled sorry, and rushed Luke to the restroom. (I must tell you that it doesn't matter what we were talking about, I would have left the table with only a brief apology - Em could have told me she was just diagnosed with cancer or her father died, or you name it, and I would have bolted out of my seat and herded my child to the restroom.) Of course, he protested about it being the girls bathroom. "Not the girls room (whine), The girls room is Bo-hor-ring! I want to use a urinal." Me, "Too bad, there are no urinals in the girls' restroom and mommy can't go into the boys' restroom" (I just love referring to myself in the third person). More whining, as he continues to pinch his penis (or at least that's what it looks like he is doing). We got into the empty restroom and went to the last stall so I could squeeze the boy and my pregnant belly into the handicapped stall so that I didn't suffocate us in one of the smaller stalls. Luke (still doing the pee-pee dance) lifted the toilet seat, pulled down his pants and aimed (without touching his penis - a whole other debate we've had) and peed one of the strongest streams ever. Why do they wait until they have to pee so bad it looks like water coming from a fire hose?
Well, as we are standing there peeing, another person enters the restroom and then gets comfortable in the stall next to us. I glance over as Luke loudly chats about his pee saying things like, "See, I don't need to use my hands, Mom." and I see white crocs in the stall next to me. As I'm standing there watching the fire hose with wonder, a noise comes from the stall next to me - yes, that kind of bathroom noise. Luke's eyes get wide, he gasps and says with a laugh and a smile, "Mom! That was a farting noise! Eeeww!" Now, as soon as I predicted what he was going to say, I quickly covered his mouth with my hand so that his words "farting noise" came out muffled, and I quickly said, "No, that was just the door closing." Did I cover that quickly enough? Apparently, not, because Luke was still laughing as he finished peeing and began pulling up his Spiderman underwear. And sadly, I had to try to keep a smile off of my face as I recognized us approaching an age where my kid loves bathroom humor.
Even on the soccer field this weekend, we parents watched as three boys cracked themselves up during a water break trading lines like, "It's a poo-poo head." and "No, it's a big gummy poo-poo farting head" and they go on and on. The laugh is a distinguished laugh denoting that the joke is clearly one involving bathroom humor. Do men ever get over these? Will poop and farting always remain so funny?
P.S. happy birthday to my dear friend Crystal who is celebrating her second 29th birthday!
Friday, October 17, 2008
And now, a tribute to an old family favorite. We used to listen to this song all the time growing up and it is still a favorite. I had it in my head today so I thought I would plant the song in your head too (one solution to earworms!). http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zyXrxfjEOhs
Name that movie. It's a classic line from a classic movie. If you can't name it, shame on you!
Have a great weekend!
Thursday, October 16, 2008
Nonetheless, I have so much to do that I could be here all night for the next week and still not clear my desk. Sadly, Chuck is headed out of town for the football game so I can't spend the weekend here at the office. Plus, we have a soccer game, two birthday parties, and an open house this weekend, so I'm pretty much swamped in every area of my life. Oh, and did I mention that I spend 24/7 creating a new life? Yeah, it takes it out of me.
So, just a little note to tell you all that the day is very fall-like with cool winds and crisp air. The leaves are really starting to fall at my house and I'm loving every minute that I get to enjoy it. We still have to hit the pumpkin patch and get some fun family pictures. Plus, I think the kids might even enjoy decorating a pumpkin this year. They're both so cute.
Oh, and here's a school update - We made our announcement today. We start at the new school on Monday. It's a small house in a middle class neighborhood and it feels so weird to drive up and walk up to a house with a doorbell to drop off my kids. I'm hoping it will feel more natural after we've done it a few days in a row. I have to admit that it felt pretty awkward when I visited. The house still needs some polish, and I'm hoping that I can contribute somehow (but I don't know when I would do so). Wish us luck! I'm really having trouble since this is such a big change for me and the kids. As I said before, all they've ever known since they were six weeks old was the old school. With us moving, I'm really worried about making too many changes in their life at one time. We just have to pray that we are making the right decision.
*** Good news! The project finally finished a full hour and a half after I started it. Hooray!***
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
I'd love to hear your thoughts. I think he's got some great points that I've never considered nor heard in relation to the Democratic party versus the Republican party.
For the purpose of full and open disclosure, I vote independent of any political party and have not decided who to vote for yet. (Does this shock you since I'm married to Mr. Republican? Yeah, me too, a little).
Well, I recently saw in a magazine and then on a kid's sippy cup when we were at a restaurant this new kind of label by inchbug.com, and I'm absolutely sold on getting these labels for George's bottles. These are labels that appear to be made out of the same kind of rubbery material that Lance Armstrong wears around his wrist, except that these are imprinted with your kid's name. Genius! They are dishwasher safe, microwave safe, and they never fade. You can stretch them over the bottle or sippy cup and they stay secure and snug until you pull them off and use them on another bottle. I'm so excited about this that I wanted to share it with all of you. The link to the website is http://www.inchbug.com/.
Here are some pictures of the labels:
I talked to the parent at the restaurant who had one of these labels on his son's sippy cup about the label and he was just as impressed with it. I plan to order mine soon! What a great invention!
It is now my understanding that there are, and will remain, two primary classes. I apologize for causing such an uproar among parents yesterday, such that I was barely able to get any work done at all. Nonetheless, Chuck and I are still convinced that changing schools is the right course of action.
I will point out that although there are still two primary classes, Evie's class only has 7 students and Luke's class has over 20. It seems logical that there will be some redistribution to even out the classes, and I am curious to see how that shakes out.
Luke's classroom was more controlled this morning when I dropped Luke off although the kids were still working in groups as far as I could tell and it was noisier than Evie's room (of course, I have to recognize that there are fewer kids in Evie's room). The director was up there when I dropped off, so all I saw was a group of kids playing with Legos. This is apparently a new addition to the room, and not a Montessori approved activity (I looked it up). Don't get me wrong - Legos are fun and a fine tool for motor skill development so I'm not mad - just curious how they are planning to maintain the Montessori principles I'm paying for if they increasingly employ non-Montessori activities. I personally like Legos and have a boat load of them at home for the kids to play with. Plus, I think the kids should have some fun time - but at an appropriate time during the day. The classroom was still loud and unlike Evie's class there was no Montessori work laid out on the floor. Luke used to be learning his planets, states, letters, rhyming, writing, tracing, counting, etc. He's not doing much of anything these days.
Monday, October 13, 2008
We're pulling our kids sometime in the next couple weeks, maybe as soon as Thursday, and they will start at a new Montessori school where the kids' old teachers are now working. The situation at school has progressively gotten worse and worse, and now I've been informed that Luke's disastrous classroom is being combined with Evie's calm, organized, productive classroom because six more kids dropped out today. Sadly, this is somewhat good news because now there are fewer kids to divide the teacher's attention. In the way of bad news, now all the primary aged kids will be subject to the bad behavior of a few kids and the poor classroom management skills of the teachers that are supposedly "running" the classroom. Frankly, the kids are running the classroom according to what I've observed.
When I dropped Evie off this morning in her quiet classroom, I let her continue eating her breakfast in her room - blatantly disobeying the "no breakfast rule" as well as the "drop your kid at the door rule". I took her into the classroom and dropped her lunch in the fridge. As I was doing so the receptionist (who was watching her class for some reason - I don't even know if she is child care trained) told me that now I have to check in Evie by signing a sign in sheet at the door even though the school requires us to check in the kids on the computer at the entrance. Annoyed, I said, "Why?" in a flat, even, pissed voice. The poor receptionist replied something along the lines of having the parents get more face to face interaction with the teachers. I scoffed at her reasoning and said, "That doesn't make any sense. I'm not even allowed in the room usually. I have to drop my kid at the door and I'm not allowed to walk her in here. I only did that today because I let her bring her breakfast in, even though I'm not supposed to do that either." Dim-witted receptionist (DWR) replied, "You're not allowed in the classroom?" Me now highly annoyed, "No. I'm not. I have to drop my kid off at the door and leave without entering the classroom. So exactly what kind of parent-teacher interaction are you looking for if I can't even come in the classroom generally?" DWR - "Oh, um, well, I don't know what . . . um, hmm." Me, "That's fine. Let me just sign it."
I give Evie a hug and leave to take Luke to his room where I run into another teacher that the kids have had in the past and I say, "Hey, what is the deal with two sign in sheets?" She gives me the same line on parent-teacher interaction. I reply with the whole deal about not being allowed in the classrooms and she says, "Really, it is because some parents drop off their kids and the kids never actually get into the classroom so this makes the parents let the teachers know that their kid is there so the kid isn't just wandering around the hall without being in a classroom."
Still generally pissed off, I leave in a huff, drop Luke off in his classroom (which looks like the first day of Daddy Daycare - kids running around, screaming, talking, chasing, not working - not a single kid is working, reading a book, or coloring a picture). I'm effing furious! I hug Luke and take off. He's still trying to take in the entire scene - it's like he doesn't even know what to do or where to go. I told him to get some work, but everyone else was having a grand time playing so I'm sure that is what he did. I sign him in at the door, then sign both in at the computer on my way out. I hate redundancy. What is the effin' point? (By the way, this double sign in thing wouldn't normally piss me off, but it was just the thing to set me off today on top of everything else).
All this is on top of the fact that Luke is now exhibiting certain behavioral issues that we've never seen before. I'm not proud of this, but Luke actually bit his sister on the hand Friday night and then he bit his good friend Maddie on the hand Saturday night. I gave him a blistering talking to, made him apologize to Evie and kiss her boo-boo, put him in time out, and sent him to bed without a book or song Friday night. Saturday night after he bit his friend Maddie, I gave him a spanking (because I told him Friday that he would get a spanking if he ever bit anyone again), made him apologize to Maddie and Maddie's parents, and he got one hell of a talking to . . . again. WTF?! He has never bitten anyone that I recall, even when he was in the biting age (18 months). Now, suddenly, he is biting people? Where is this coming from.
On Saturday night, I had Maddie and her parents over and I was explaining about how Luke had bitten Evie the night before and how I had punished him and threatened him about ever biting someone again. Maddie's parents listened and told me that other good kids are having new behavioral problems since the two primary classes merged. Add my kid to the list, I guess because not 20 minutes later he bit Maddie as described above. I am sick about this. He isn't a bad kid and I don't want him to become one. Now, don't get me wrong - I'm more than willing to acknowledge my kid's deficiencies and behavior problems (e.g. crying at soccer, throwing a fit so he doesn't have to do something, etc.), so I don't want you to think I'm being unrealistic about this situation. Neither of my kids is perfect. Nonetheless, I have no reason to believe Luke is learning or picking up biting anywhere other than school. I'm furious!
So, this morning was all I could take. I called Chuck and told him what was going on and how mad I am about it. He left work, drove downtown and stopped at the school to see whether the kids were doing work around 9:45. He said that five kids had work out, but the rest were playing and talking in little groups. Remember, Evie's class is calm, quiet, productive, and set off by the classical music playing in the background as the kid's little brains soak up their education. he visited some other schools and went back around 11:15 to see if the status had changed in Luke's room -- it was the same. Moreover, he watched the one girl with serious issues (that I mentioned in my earlier post) actually hit another little girl during the span of time that he was there. She poses a threat of physical and mental harm to my son, and will soon pose the same threat to my daughter when the classes merge. I can't keep my kids there in good conscience, and luckily, we have an alternative available to us.
We confirmed that there is room for both of the kids at a different school and we plan to move them this month. The only thing stopping me is the fact that we have paid our tuition in full for this month. The new school is cheaper and better organized. The teachers will keep the kids in line and devote themselves to making my kids the best little people they can be. I will be so relieved when they get there. The only problem is that George needs a school. They will have to be at two different schools, but Chuck and I are resigned to that fact.
The biggest sadness we are facing is leaving our friends behind at the old school. Both are kids have been there since they were 6 weeks old. They know nothing else and have always been friends with sweet Savannah and Maddie. We hate to leave, knowing that we will be disrupting that wonderful friendship, but it is the decision we've had to make. Luckily, there will be plenty of kids at the new school that were in Evie and Luke's classes at the old school and we know, without a doubt, that Savannah, Luke, and Maddie will remain friends because their parents are such good friends to us.
Enough of my rant.
Friday, October 10, 2008
Here is young George at about two pounds snuggled up and napping against my uterine wall, which I've been told is on the left side of the picture. His nose is pointed toward it and his ear can be seen on the right side of the picture. We did get to watch him jump with the hiccups - he gets those a lot! His head is way, way down, below that pointy bone in my pelvis, on my left side and facing my left side so we couldn't get a good look at his face. While I was in the waiting room, waiting and waiting and waiting (after they told me there was no wait), he was jumping around like crazy doing some tae kwon do or something like that. Hell, maybe he was rearranging the furniture, who knows. We all want him to have a comfy home, right? I'm a little biased, but he sure is a cute little thing. Hopefully I'll get some better pics in a couple weeks.
Thursday, October 9, 2008
Wednesday, October 8, 2008
Okay, crappy burger for lunch. I swear they didn't cook it all the way through. Can't they see my enormous protruding tummy and gather that I am pregnant - hence I need my food cooked thoroughly? Of course, I have to deal with the overly protective too - all those people who think I can't even carry a single law book from the library to my office or stand up for more than five minutes at a reception. Seriously, don't you think I look more awkward sitting in a chair while everyone else around me is standing and all I have at eye level are crotches and boobs? It boggles the mind that people think I would be more comfortable like this. If you can't picture this, try pulling up a chair at a happy hour where everyone is standing around conversing as they sip on their delightful adult beverages. It probably wouldn't be so bad if I wasn't dead sober at the same time, so make sure you do this at the beginning of the happy hour so you can fully appreciate the awkwardness of staring into your friends' pelvises or craning your head upward so you can follow the conversation and relieve your eyes from darting awkwardly from one crotch to the next. Moreover, you can't really participate in a conversation when no one is looking at you. Okay, that's off my chest now. Thanks for listening.
Tuesday, October 7, 2008
I know my life would be reflected like that, but I hope that the life I live makes up for my lack of scripture. Don't get me wrong, I'm not completely devoid of scripture, but I certainly can't compete with my in-laws. I keep a bible in my bedside drawer and read it now and again. I just don't know if spending my time and effort on events or organizations such as Legal Aid, the warm clothing drive, programs for underprivileged students, mentoring law students and UTA students, etc. fulfill God's path for me. When and if I ever get to Heaven, will God look at me with disappointment or with pride?
It is a tough question for the morning, but one that deserves reflection and analysis. In my mind, we can't all be Mother Teresa. If we all gave up our lives, our families, our pursuits, our careers or hobbies, our world would be very one dimensional in my mind. I think it is a collaborative effort that must be balanced by all of us, giving what we can and continuing to build a world of industry, charity, family, and education, the likes of which benefit each of us in different ways, although we may not always recognize it.
For example, Chuck provides high-interest car loans for consumers. (We'll all admit that neither he nor I (a commercial litigation attorney who sues widows on occasion) are going to win the Nobel Peace Prize or really any other prize for that matter.) Chuck's consumers are necessarily individuals who cannot find better credit rates elsewhere. Does he benefit from it? Yes. Do his consumers benefit from it? Yes. Are there better credit rates out there? Yes. Are there better credit rates out there that are available to his consumers? No. Do his consumers need cars? Yes. The logic is that Chuck provides car loans at high interest rates to protect the loans being made (and they get defaulted on all the time), and consumers take those loans because they have to have a car to work or take care of their families. It is all supply and demand, I think. (Economics isn't my strong suit, so I'm sure Chuck will want to correct me.)
Although the credit rates are outrageously high in my opinion, it is the perfect example of balancing the needs of industry and consumers so that each party can mutually benefit. So, too, must we balance our world with those who dedicate their lives to industry instead of charity, or family instead of medical research. We must have loan sharks, commercial lawyers, garbagemen, cafeteria workers, wallstreet moguls, etc. to balance out the clergymen, nonprofit organizations, medical researchers, teachers, doctors, etc. So then, isn't it required that this world be at least half occupied with people who won't necessarily have a card catalogue full of charity, scripture passages, and donations?
Enough of my philosophy. It's all just crap anyway.
Monday, October 6, 2008
Luke v. Soccer Update: Saturday was Luke's fourth soccer game. At last week's game he cried for 15 minutes and then was in and out as a sub. This week, Luke conquered all and (although I was not there to witness it) he didn't cry at all. Chuck conveyed this information to me in hushed tones as if mentioning any crying would conjure up the bad joojoo all over again. So we are pleased to announce, that while Luke is not a pro, he has really come a long way in the past few weeks.
While Luke was at soccer Evie and I attended yet another Jumping Party - Ahhhh. I hate these things. (whoa! George is getting jiggy with it down there. Perhaps I should turn on some music so he can really get his groove on). I have to admit to hosting a few of these Jumping Parties myself, but I swear it wears me out. Luckily, I am prego so I've got a great excuse not to get on any of the inflatable bouncehouses from hell. I swear, if you want a workout, try hefting your two year old through one of those obstacle course bounce houses. I've left those things and been sore for days! With that said, it's easy and convenient for parties and the kids just adore them!
Saturday night was dinner at our friends' house. So much fun! Homemade Bruschetta (yummy - I think I had 5 or 6 before dinner). Homemade baked Ziti (even better). And a fancy salad with polenta croutons. I love having friends who can cook. But better than that, I love having friends who don't mind that I put my feet on their couch and let my kids run around like crazy in their beautifully decorated house. The night was perfect! I had been looking forward to it all week, and then to my surprise, it turned into a birthday party for me, where I totally raked in the loot. Festive fall candle (apple pie scented - how appropriate since I brought Apple Pie No. 2 to the party - better than Apple Pie No. 1), fancy maternity/nursing pj's for my hospital stint (since the past two times I've sported the stylish hospital gown that makes me look like I should be in the morgue), a cute little psuedo wallet for carrying my many little things such as Bosslady Gum, passkeys to the daycare, and . . . . wait for it . . . . my brand new iPod! I feel like I was on the Price is Right! Yup, I finally jumped into the 21st century and Chuck got me an ipod, complete with pre-loaded chick songs - and it's pink, my favorite color! Sadly, I had to have everyone help me figure out how to work it. I couldn't even figure out how to turn it on. And to top of the night, TCU decided to have fireworks in honor of my birthday party (okay, maybe not really for my birthday, but there were fireworks and it was right after we had cake). Muchas gracias to the fun hosts and attendees for my impromptu b-day party. I had a great time!
Now, however, the real birthday might be a bit of a letdown since we did so much wonderful and relaxing celebrating Saturday. But, I have it scheduled to go get our 4D ultrasound on the afternoon of my birthday, so at least that will be a highlight when I get to catch a glimpse of sweet little Georgie. I've never ever looked forward to going to the doctor except when I'm pregnant. I just love it!
Hope you all had a great weekend too! Oh, and Happy Birthday to my Mother-in-Law who turned ?? on Saturday.
Friday, October 3, 2008
Because we're at kid number 3, there isn't a huge price differential between paying for a nanny and paying for three kids in daycare - particularly when your daycare makes you bring meals, snacks and pay for all extracurricular activities on top of your $900 bucks per kid per month (I'm rounding - Call me Al Gore because I've always been fuzzy at math).
I used to think the money was worth it because it was a Montessori school, the kids were learning all kinds of great things (even in the infant rooms), and I just loved the teachers. Well, it's not worth it anymore. The school got bought out by Bright Horizons about a year ago (which we thought would be a good thing). BH hired a young, inexperienced director. In the last month, BH called CPS on Luke's teacher and two others to report that she had put a child in timeout (a child who has mental and physical disabilities and must be separated from the other children for the safety of the other children - she's really a special needs child and should be in a different school altogether - I digress, but I could go on and on). They conducted a full-on investigation, during which we have recently learned that (1) the child reported that one of the teachers (not Luke's teacher) bent her arm behind her back and took kids into the bathroom and spanked them; (2) the investigation revealed that she was not telling the truth at all and none of the alleged events ever took place; and (3) the director took this opportunity to fire the teachers (Luke's in particular) who had been at that school for over 10 years. A total of three teachers were fired over an incident that was completely fabricated by a special needs child. We've hashed and re-hashed all the scenarios as to why this happened and if there could be other reasons for the teachers' termination - there is no other reason.
The day after Luke's teacher "left," his classroom fell to chaos. They don't use the Montessori curriculum, the kids are all talking and running around, and I've complained more times than I care to count about the fact that it is a mad house down there. Evie is in the same level classroom but she has a different teacher - another Montessori teacher who has been there for years. When I drop her off at school the kids are all quietly working on their Montessori work - no chaos, no running, no playing, and you can hear classical music playing in the background (just like Luke's class used to be). They are learning. This is what we pay for - Montessori education. Well, now Evie's teacher is leaving too, and I can only expect that her classroom will fall the same way Luke's did. There are no Montessori teachers left at the school. The new director isn't even Montessori certified. WTF am I paying for!!!????
Plus, now my kids are totally disrupted and I have to field questions such as "Where's Ms. D?" Me, "She went to a different school." Him, "Why?" Me, "Because she wanted to." Him, "Doesn't she like us anymore?" Me, "No, sweetie, she just wanted to go to a different school. Maybe she'll be happy there and we should be happy for her." Him, "What's wrong with our school." Me, "Nothing sweetie, sometimes people just change where they work. it will be okay." Him, "Why does she want to change where she works?" Me, "Arrrghhhhhh!" - but only on the inside. Then I respond, "I dont' know. Let's just go to class, I'm sure you're going to learn so much today and have a lot of fun with your friends." I'm totally pissed that the director has made me have this conversation with my sweet boy.
Now, there are at least 20 families that have left the school. Luke's friends are leaving (but not all of them) and they've had to combine classes because there are not enough kids to justify three primary classrooms. How is it that BH hasn't taken control of this situation? I'm calling headquarters today to make a threat - but my threat won't have much teeth since I don't have much choice as to where I send my kids at this point. The other Montessori teachers and families have gone to another Montessori school, but they don't accept infants. I could send the kids there and send George somewhere else. Or I can just hire a nanny - but where will she take care of the kids since my house is on the market and must be perfectly at all times and abandoned when there is a showing? I'm at a loss, but not horribly desperate yet.
And all this has been going on in addition to all my work-related, house-related, pregnancy-related stress.
Thanks for letting me vent. I'll keep you updated, if you care.
Thursday, October 2, 2008
Wednesday, October 1, 2008
Today is picture day at school. Luke and Evie picked out new outfits at Target last night. I love that place. Evie has grown quite particular in what she will and will not wear. I finally convinced her to wear this really adorable pink dress with brown polka-dots. Now, trying to explain what polka-dots are was quite a feat. I thought it would be easy to explain, but Luke kept asking, "Yeah, I know what a dot is, but what is a polka." He has a good point. Anyone know why it is called a polka-dot and not just a dot?
So this morning I wake up my bright, shiney, cranky kids and start getting them ready for school with their special outfits. As I'm dressing them, I ask if either one needs to go potty. I get an emphatic "no" from both parties. I continue to dress them and then send them to the bathroom to brush their teeth. They both share a little stool to reach the sink. I put a dab of toothpaste on her Hello Kitty toothbrush his Power Rangers toothbrush. They proceed suck all the toothpaste off their brushes and then reload their brushes with water that they suck down as well over and over again. They are doing all this while I make their beds and tidy up in their room (remember - perfect house in case of a showing). Then I hear the faint (and then not so faint) crying of Evie. I rush around the corner where I see her grabbing her dress and pathetically and desperately crying as pee trickles and then begins to stream down her legs. No wonder - the sink water probably would have done it for me too if I hadn't peed first thing in the morning (remember, I freakin' pee four times in the middle of the night these days).
I feel so bad for her and repeat over and over, "It's okay, it's okay." I quickly rush over and strip off her new dress as she continues to pee. Is it bad that I go to save the dress instead of getting her on the potty? Then I let her continue to pee and I stick a towel under her so that it isn't just leaking onto the wood floors. She is still totally freaking out about the accident and is sobbing as I continue to tell her it will be alright. She finally stops peeing. I wipe up the puddle, take off her panties and send her to my bathroom for a quick bath. (So much for getting into work early.)
I give her a bath. Luke decides he needs to help because, in his words, "It'll be a lot of work to get her clean." Whatever. I wash her hair (why not, since we're already in there), rub her down with some bath wash, rinse it off, get her out, dry her up despite her complaints, put on the only slightly damp dress and a fresh pair of panties and proceed to dress her hair in a sweet bow. She, of course, complains the whole time.
What amazes me about these events is the fact that she pees all over and is horrified by it, but I'm completely calm and collected. We go to take a bath and she is no longer crying or upset by the fact that she is dirty. Like my dog, her attention span is quite narrow, and now she is totally ticked off at me for making her wash her hair and have a bath. I think I'm frustrated that I was able to keep my patience about the peeing thing, but I couldn't keep my patience with her unreasonable whining about the bath. She loudly whined that I was drying her wrong, or I wasn't washing her hair right, then I used the wrong hair dryer. I couldn't maintain my calm when she was totally pissing me off with her normal child whining. I admit it - she's a kid and kids whine - about everything. But what is wrong with me that I let the everyday whining get to me? More hormones?
My frustration gathered and finally exploded when both Luke and Evie suffered a new bout of temporary deafness. I ended with a "LUKE! GO GET YOUR SOCKS ON! EVIE! LEAVE THE CAT ALONE!" Luke, not bothered by the raised voice, and still ignoring my commands, responded with, "Why are you angry, Mommy?" This would be sweet normally. I'm glad he doesn't break down into tears at my raised voice, but this morning I just couldn't take it and I said with eyes wide, "I'm angry because you won't go put your socks on even though I've asked you sixteen times already!" He is still unbothered and continues to play.
The only thing that seems to really get their attention (although I know this is a temporary solution until they call my bluff) is "Okay, fine, I'm ready so I'm leaving without you." The truly believe I'll leave them behind. They're sufficiently smart to grasp the fact that I'm not actually going to leave them, but apparently they haven't figured it out yet.
So after all that, these pictures better be great.