Tuesday, July 24, 2007

8 Random Things About Me

I've been tagged by Mrs. Pivec over at Golightly Place. Check out the CUTEST clay creations her daughter made!! I'm soooo impressed.

OK, so 8 random things about me...
1. I have holes in my ear lobes but can't wear earrings. I've tried every kind of metal and plastic and every kind of hypoallergenic pair I've seen. Still, when I put earrings in, they itch me to death within an hour. Anyone have tips for closing those holes up? :)

2. I love music. I played the flute from 6th grade until past college. I shared the first chair position out of 20 flutists in my high school band. I sang in choirs from as far back as I can remember - church, school - whenever I could sing, I sang. I'm a sucker for musicals and trips to our famous Stl Fox Theater or Muny are very fond memories. Amy Grant is my all-time favorite singer. I fell in love with her music and voice in 4th grade, believe it or not. I even lip sync'd to a song of hers in high school (talk about a scary audience!!).

3. I love working with my hands. I wouldn't consider myself an expert in any one craft but I have a wide range of crafts that I've dabbled in. Someday I hope to master one. ;) I loved shop class and am always trying something new. This love of working with my hands probably spurred my love of typing...and blogging...and writing.

4. I was interested in sign language at an early age. I'm not sure if Sesame Street was the culprit or not but I've always been interested in it. When I was 15, I snuck into a college signing course (I was technically under age). When the class was almost over, the college decided to extend the class into an "advanced" course. It was the only time they ever did it. The next year in my school, I met a girl named Camille. She was deaf and we became fast friends. I'm convinced that God put us together.

5. My ears are highly sensitive. I've always wondered why God would call me to be a mom and give me ears that literally hurt when they hear yelling and running feet on the wood floors. Hmmm...

6. My favorite foods are chocolate and ice cream (but I don't much care for chocolate ice cream...hmmm).

7. As a little girl, I wanted to be the next Nadia. I took one day of gymnastics. I was three and because they had one-way mirrors into the room, I couldn't see my mother. I am told that I sat in the corner and cried and embarrassed my mother so much that I never went back.

8. I'm headed to Cali for my first time ever. It'll be a short weekend trip, full of a wedding, but I'm excited to see the ocean!! Living in MO all my life, ocean views are quite rare. I've only ever seen Florida ocean (and Lake Michigan, if that counts). I'm very excited to see my family and add another state shot-glass to my collection. ;)

I'm tagging Jean at Happy SAHM and Jen over at Sunny With A Chance of Clouds.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Surrounded by weddings

I have two older brothers. One is 3 years older and one is 8 years older than me. They didn't have much to do with me. The middle sibling and I butted heads a lot and, let's face it, our older brother was just too old to play games with me. ;) We lived on a gravel road with 11 other houses. They were big lots of land and there was only one other girl on the road who was my age, but she went to a private school so I was lacking in playmates.

I was also the youngest cousin on my father's side and the girl cousins were all older than me, not that I saw them enough to really matter. A couple times a year. My mother was an only child so there were no cousins on her side of the family for me but her father re-married and they had a little girl, Patti, just a year younger than me, who was also an only child.

Patti and I were inseparable when we got together. I think we were both the sister the other didn't have. Though she had two half-sisters (one being my mother), they were grown and out of the house. I remember being hardly able to contain myself on the 2 hour drive to her house. I remember being in trouble for jumping on the bed. We spent many hours walking in the woods and swimming in the pool and fishing and chasing the cats and dogs around. We snuck into the kitchen to get extra desserts at Thanksgiving and Christmas and spent hours upon hours playing with her huge collection of Barbies (of which I was so jealous), though our favorite game was, "House". In this game, she was always 3 and I was the older wiser sister. ;) When we got too old for Barbies, we started singing and lip syncing and making dance routines. My grandpa (her father) used to have the biggest house parties. There would be gobs and gobs of people around. I liked the chatter of all those people around...and they were great insulation for masking the sounds of the bed springs as we jumped. ;)

We're both older and don't see each other very often at all anymore. But I think of her fondly and I'm so glad she was there for me as such a good friend growing up. So today, when I got her e-mail that she eloped, I'm drawn back to thinking about what a great time we had together as kids...and I wish her all the happiness in the world. Congratulations, Patti!

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

The foolish man

The foolish man built his house upon the sand
The foolish man built his house upon the sand
The foolish man built his house upon the sand
and the house on the sand went SPLAT!

I remember joyfully singing that song at VBS and Sunday School and even at church camp growing up. It was fun to think of a house going, "SPLAT". Now it's not quite so funny.

You might think this is an old picture from a few posts ago when Hubby fixed the ceiling. It's not. It's a brand new picture. :(

Today we had a wonderful thunderstorm move through - fast and furious. Lots of wind, lots of rain. It cooled us down 20 degrees in 20 minutes. I enjoyed it so much that I stood on the porch, enjoying the light show and the beautiful cloud formations that changed so fast. After I came back in and was sitting down for a minute, I realized there was a drip...drip...drip...drip coming from the ceiling section Hubby fixed recently.

The good news is that he hasn't mudded that section yet. (His time is totally tied up right now with studying hard for his upcoming certification test.) So down came the bay ceiling again, down came the stuffing...I mean insulation. Hubby came home immediately and tracked the water, we think, to a spot near the window in Matthew's room. After much caulking, we think it's fixed. He's going to let the caulk cure and then try spraying the hose at the house to see if it is indeed fixed. Then he can replace the insulation and drywall...again. But then again, someone has to keep Home Depot in business...I guess it's our year. Who wants dibs on 2008?

Friday, July 13, 2007

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Wedding Bells

My brother is getting married! While he lives out of state and I haven't seen him in several years, I can tell from his emails that his fiance is a very sweet woman and I wish them the very best. Here are me and my brothers...a few years ago. ;) I'm the youngest, the middle one is the one getting married and our oldest brother is in the back.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Wonders of Wildlife

So I bet you're all wondering how my trip with 4 little ones went the week they did the floors. We decided to visit my SIL in Springfield, MO (and check out the cute pic of Linnae that she posted!). It took us about 4 hours or so to drive there, including lunch and a few pit stops. The kids kept themselves busy with movies and books on the road. It was really a pleasant trip. Many moms on the message board I frequent worry about the actual car travel. Not me. That's the easy part - they're contained, the little two might actually nap, and our DVD player in the van is a pure blessing for us all. My worries start when my kids are totally out of their usual routine, staying up late and missing naps...that's when things get hairy for us. ;)

On Monday, we let the contractors in and we left. It was so early that we stopped at McD's for breakfast before we left town. When we arrived in Springfield, we stared in horror at the fleabag hotel we'd booked decided to change our reservation to a different hotel for various reasons. Our new hotel suite was so nice! Expecting just a room with two beds, I got that with a door that opened into a living room will pull-out sofa and a kitchenette. It was a real treat for me (yes, does that tell you anything??). The first night, I had Rose and Matthew in one bed and me and Jade in the other bed but Jade pummeled me all night with her feet and I woke up with her feet actually kicking my head. Though the bed was extra comfy, I decided to use the pull-out couch. This way, I'd also get to unwind a bit by myself before I went to bed each night. That was nice though the bed wasn't that great..but what could I expect for a pull-out?

SIL and her family (also 4 children - but she was smart and had a nice age gap between #2 and #3 so she now has babysitters. lol) take advantage of summer by sleeping in quite late...they also stay up quite late. Given my druthers, I'd do that as well but when you have 3 kids whose internal alarm clock goes off at 7am regardless of when they went to sleep, you teach yourself to go to bed earlier. Maybe when they're older and can better fend for themselves in the mornings. ;)

So, because they like to sleep in, on Tuesday morning the kids and I went to the Wonders Of Wildlife Museum, next to our hunting-family-IL's mecca Bass Pro.
On the way in, we saw a baby duckling by their pond. He was so cute and the girls were tickled watching him jump into the water after his mother.

The museum was so much nicer than I'd expected. The majority of the museum was dedicated to Missouri wildlife. They had large stuffed animal exhibits.

They had huge aquarium habitats for all kinds of fish.

In one area, the aquarium was about 15 ft high from the floor where we were standing. Just a nice piece of glass between us and sharks. It was breathtaking. On the opposite side of the room was a touch tank. They had some urchins, a horseshoe crab, and various other creatures. There were two employees who were sitting there to answer questions. But they ended up just agreeing with everything Matthew had to say. I was especially impressed with his knowledge of the creatures especially since he knew more that I did.

Rose was enthralled with the sea lions and bobcats

Learning more about our wildlife was a great little field trip for us. The kids and I thoroughly enjoyed our time there and we learned a lot about wildlife.

And we close with a political statement from Jade:

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Tuesday pics

Finally, some long awaited pics!

We'll start with the cutest picture *ever*...
Baby Toes

And for those interested, here is my new bathroom floor

Today we met up with some friends. My kids are in the back...Matthew on the back left, then Rose (orange shirt) and Jade (kind of in front of Rose, wearing a blue shirt). The three kids in the very front (aren't they cuties??) are our bestest buddies. When they were younger, Matthew and his buddy, sitting in front of him, used to get confused for twins. They don't look so much alike now but ahhh, the memories. ;)

I actually caught Linnae smiling here.

And this one is her famous deer-in-the-headlights look that she gives when my flash unit goes off. ;)

And yes, pictures of the bay window that Hubby is working on. All that's left for this weekend is taping and mudding, which I hear is incredibly easy and fun. I'll be sure to take more pictures.
The best news about the bay window ceiling issue is that I can finally re-paint the living room. I originally wanted a very light green in there. Hubby talked me into the dark green that you need to almost brace yourself for. He also talked me into the lighter green of the bay windows. Now this may be his idea of a perfect color scheme but for me, it's just too dark. But I agreed to give it a good ol' college try and now, almost 4 years later, I get to change it. YIPPEE!!! I tried, I really did. Our furniture is dark, our decor is dark...we need light walls to balance it out. So I'm actually thrilled with the ceiling needing a repair (but please don't tell Hubby!).

Monday, July 09, 2007

They used to call it "Strong Willed"

Matthew is what Kurcinka would call, "highly spirited". In her book, Raising Your Spirited Child: A guide for parents whose child is more intense, sensitive, perceptive, persistent and energetic, Kurcinka describes my son in detail. From the moment he was born, he has been highly persistent. From the moment he was delivered, he began screeching about everything. He screamed bloody murder when I unlatched him from nursing. He flat refused to sleep on his own. He gave baby contraptions such as the swing, the bouncy seat and high chairs full on screaming fits from the moment I set him in them. Daily showers for me were agonizing for him as he required constant human touch; those 15 minutes he was on his own was too much for him and he let me know it.

As he's gotten older, I see he rates about a 10 on each scale in her book. Her opening paragraph sucked me right in:
The word that distinguishes spirited children from other children is more. They are normal children who are more intense, persistent, sensitive, perceptive, and uncomfortable with change than any other children. All children possess these characteristics but spirited children possess them with a depth and range not available to other children. Spirited kids are the Super ball in a room full of rubber balls. Other kids bounce three feet off the ground. Every bounce for a spirited child hits the ceiling.

My mother said tongue-in-cheek, "They used to call it strong willed". Whatever the term, I've been long convinced that Kurcinka is the only woman alive (aside from me) who really gets my son.

Tonight was the first night of Vacation Bible School (I had to spell that out for my Aussie friend but here in the US, it's known as simply VBS). The kids went with Grandma and Grandpa, who were teaching one of the classes. This is Matthew's third year attending so it's a familiar place and his sisters and grandparents were all there as well.

The kids happily drove off with Grandma at 4:30pm. A rare moment for Hubby and I to be alone, we went out to eat. Around 7pm, I get a call. It's Grandma. She says simply, "Can I talk to my son?" I could tell it wasn't her "happy voice". Apparently Matthew was having a major melt down and Grandma needed some backup. I've seen many of these melt downs. Remember, my child is more. So any meltdown is a major one. Hubby tries to talk to Matthew but he just keeps repeating, "I can't understand you. Can you stop crying and try to tell me what's wrong?" Grandma isn't sure what the meltdown is about either. I finally get to talk to him and he gets out through tears, "I just wanna go hooooooooome". But he can't tell me anything else. Grandma gets back and while she's troubleshooting with me to find the cause, she says, "I told him to go with Mrs. Parker...you know, like Peter Parker's mother (score for Grandma to come up with a Spiderman gem!) and..." Matthew says, "But they told me to go with the other class." Grandma gets him to the right class and he did better.

I'm sure, to a parent with non-spirited kids, they can understand the confusion and maybe disappointment he felt that caused him to break into tears and want to go home. What you missed was the meltdown over his name tag getting torn, the meltdown over not being in the same class that his sisters and grandparents were in and who knows what other meltdowns that I wasn't even told about.

He gets over stimulated easily. As a baby, he would never go to sleep in his car seat. Screamed as loud as possible on each and every trip in the car. Yes, even as a newborn. The only time I remember him sleeping in his car seat was the day he broke his leg and I think he slept out of pain control. Loud parties send him up 10 notches and remember that he's already a Super bouncy ball.

The singing and cheering at the beginning of VBS, meant to get the kids excited about being there, over stimulated my Super bouncy ball and put him into Super Mega Overdrive. And then they sent him to a room with people he was unfamiliar with (slow to adapt/uncomfortable with change). Then he realized his sister wasn't going to be in his class with him (slow to adapt). Then his name tag ripped (he's also a perfectionist). And his shirt tag was probably itching and it was too hot/cold for him (sensitive). All this added up to meltdown after meltdown, I'm sure. God Bless those seemingly tireless VBS workers! They got him through it. By the time I arrived to pick them up, he had survived the singing and cheering closing ceremony (have you ever noticed how looooooong a Super Mega bouncy ball can keep bouncing?) and met me with a t shirt wet with tears. They might not have realized it but he was so happy to see me that he almost cried from relief of knowing the night was over...but he was working very hard to not cry again.

We loaded the van up (after the teacher fixed his name tag situation for tomorrow night) and Matthew happily chatted with me all the way home. I couldn't imagine that he would want to go back or that he got anything out of his time there. But I forgot for a moment that my Super bouncy ball is also more perceptive. He told me that he indeed did have fun and does want to go back tomorrow night. "Oh Mom, we have to wear shirts that can get wet tomorrow because we have a water game...and we have to take a dry shirt to change into." Matthew told me the Bible verse was, "Care about others as you care for yourself." I asked him what the meant to him. "It means just what it says Mom!" I asked him how he could show Rose that he cared for her as much as he cared for himself. He was quietly thinking to himself and Rose injected, "And tell me how I can show Matthew that too." Matthew pipes up immediately and says, "Rose, you show me that all the time. You clean up my things when I don't want to. That's very nice of you. Thanks for doing that all the time." I was so touched that it took several minutes before my voice returned.

When we got home, he told me that they are collecting pennies for VBS. He said they're trying to get enough pennies to make a whole mile. And when they get that many pennies, they will send it to "ohhh..I forgot the name of the country" so they can dig a deep well and have fresh water to drink.

So in spite of all the things that went wrong for him, he grabbed hold of most everything. My Super bouncy ball is very perceptive.

As Hubby was putting the girls to bed, Matthew followed me closely into my room. He grinned as I plopped onto the bed and patted for him to join me. He snuggled in tight and sighed deeply. And I swear it was the same sigh I used to get when he was a baby after I'd pick him up and hold him close. He nuzzled his head into my neck, just as when he was so little. He was home. It was quiet. Snuggling with Mom, all was well with his world again.

On the good days, being the parent of a spirited child is astounding, dumbfounding, wonderful, funny, interesting and interspersed with moments of brilliance...The dreadful days are a different story.

Friday, July 06, 2007

The 7 Year Itch...

Not for our marriage, which by the way is in it's 14th year, but for our house.

June 17th marked our 7th year anniversary of being in this home. It was the first home we had built to specifications and we haven't been *totally* happy with some of the construction "flaws".

But in May, we had the major floor damage due to the ice maker dying. This is STILL a sore spot for me and probably why I haven't posted in a long time. This month has been totally nuts. I'm not sure if I'm coming or going anymore. The very condensed version is this...hardwood floors got put in while the kids and I had a visit with my SIL and her kids. The vinyl floors were put in as well but that contractor had some issues and my laundry room/pantry will have to be redone. The hardwood...well, that's a tricky one. Hubby and I aren't very happy with the installation. Either we had exceptional installers the first time around or we have bumbling idiots now. And we haven't totally decided which statement is true yet. There's a bubble in the kitchen floor and they've agreed they will have to, at the very least, take up half of my floor again, which is what started the whole thing in the first place. But we're so dissatisfied with the installation and new floor that, if we have our wishes granted, the whole thing might have to be redone. We'll see what the manufacturer says.

In a brief moment of idleness last night after dinner, Hubby was snuggling with Rose and Jade on the couch. He noticed that the ceiling of our bay window has drooped...a good 3 inches. After poking around and using stud finders and finally cutting a hole in the ceiling, he discovered that the builders never put studs up there. So he contacted a hunting buddy who works with dry wall and got some directions over the phone on how to pull out the whole ceiling part of the bay, install studs, reinstall dry wall, tape and mud. The good thing? I've been wanting to repaint this room for several years. ;) The bad news? We've never done this kind of work before so it'll be quite interesting to see how it goes. Hubby also is studying for a new certification and his testing date is set already. This job will eat up this whole weekend at the very least.

I feel like my life is the epitome of the bucket in that song "There's A Hole In The Bucket". An old folk song that tells the story of a couple trying to fix a hole in their bucket, the tale starts out needing straw, to needing a blade to cut the straw, to needing to sharpen the blade, to needing the stone, to needing water for the stone, to needing the bucket to wet the stone, coming full circle to saying, "But there's a HOLE in the bucket!"

Wish us luck. And I'll send pictures soon. ;)

Edited to add that I'm submitting this entry to TopBlogMag. This week's topic was "Choose a song whose lyrics relate to something in your life and then tell us about it". Though I've never seen the site before I wrote this post, Jen encouraged me to send it in. Neat site! Check it out!