Saturday, November 29, 2008
Okay, she's not really doing what it looks like she's doing. I mean, she is, but actually, she hurt her finger and was showing it to her daddy who, of course, grabbed the camera. You have to admit it's funny . . . in a disturbing sort of way.
I'm sorry, I've just never outgrown that adolescent brand of humor :D
Friday, November 28, 2008
Thursday, November 27, 2008
(The raspy voice in the background is moi . . . day 3 of laryngitis.) Lilah, I'm guessing, is thankful for the nap she is taking right now (I'm thankful for it too!) . . . oh, and breakfast, lunch, and dinner . . . and snacks (the girl likes her food). Finn is thankful for boobs.
Confession: I don't cook Thanksgiving dinner. Two years ago I went out on a limb and ordered the whole shebang from a local restaurant, and I've never looked back. I don't enjoy cooking and I'm not all that good at it anyway. This way is better for everyone involved. It tastes better, it minimizes my stress level, and it probably costs less than it would if we bought everything individually and cooked it all ourselves. Some friends are coming over in a little while to share in the festivities with us. We are a house and family of plenty, and for that I am thankful.
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
So we got the girls' assessment reports back today. Both were okay and contained some nice comments from the teacher about how well they play with other kids, follow directions (Annabelle?!), sit and listen when appropriate (again, Annabelle?!), etc.
I was actually a little nervous about opening the envelope containing Daisy's assessment. Who knows what I was going to find in light of her "issues" (phobias and speech). But all in all, it was very similar to Annabelle's and very positive . . . except . . . EXCEPT, the teacher wrote that Daisy can only count to 5 (!!) and she did not check the box on "I recognize my name." What?!? Now, I have to assume that her failure to check that box was an oversight - there's just no other explanation for it. Daisy most certainly knows her name, and often corrects me when I call her by one of her siblings' names (which happens about 48 times a day - I figure at this point, all their names are pretty interchangeable). Also, I asked Daisy to count for me after I looked at this assessment report and she counted all the way to 29 with no problem. So, what the hell?
It just has me thinking: firstly, an assessment is only as good as the person performing it. Also, what does an assessment really say about any person? Really? It only says what that person can do at that exact moment. It says nothing about who they are or what they're capable of outside of an "assessment" environment and out in the real world. And why does this bother me so much? Well, because it's my kid, first of all. And second of all, I know that we're going to be faced with countless assessments like this concerning Finn over the years to come, and it just hurts me somewhere inside that a child can supposedly be reduced to a written assessment like this that really gives a very one-dimensional portrayal of them - and yet, so much weight is given to these reports.
Monday, November 24, 2008
1. It's really mean to say that.
2. It hearts people feelings a lot.
3. You should never say I hate you.
4. You will get in big troble.
5. It's really mean.
6. It's a mean sentance.
7. It will make you cry.
8. You sould say your really really sorry.
9. You will get a punishment.
10. You'll get a spanking.
11. You'll get hot soss on your tung and it will heart.
12. It's mean.
13. You'll have to hug and say sorry.
14. You will get yelled at.
15. You will be sorry.
16. They'll say something mean back.
17. It's not nice at all.
18. They won't like it.
19. You should never say something mean like that.
20. You'll have to write something nice.
21. You'll get something taken away.
22. It's bad.
23. You'll get a timeout.
24. And say that's in troble.
Sunday, November 23, 2008
Today was a busy day: stripping beds, laundry (which is endless around here), Target, book store, grocery shopping, baths. Thank goodness Michael cooked. I'm glad it's a short week this week.
My good friend, Lisa B., left this comment on my other blog.
It's just not true. I know this is said from love, but it makes me feel like a fraud. Why do people think this about me? It's a rare day that I truly feel like Super Mom. Most days I feel like I'm failing in more ways than one, and every single day I start the day off vowing to be a better mom than I usually end up being.
My house is not always clean. I am fortunate enough to have a housekeeper who comes once a week and does all the heavy cleaning: mopping, vaccuuming, cleaning the bathrooms, dusting, etc. (okay, she breaks things and lies about it too, but let's not go there right now). Aside from that, the kids trash the house every day. There are usually toys and books and games littered across the floor from the playroom to the bedrooms to the living room. I am an anal retentive control freak, that is true. So I do make sure that things mostly get picked up by the end of the day (so they can start the whole mess over the next day of course). But it's just not true that my house is always clean, and for some reason a lot of my friends have this misconception. Also, my kids are not always great. They're at heart all good kids (well, except for Annabelle who I am convinced is the spawn of the Devil), but they fight and bicker and whine and talk back and do all the bratty things that everyone else's kids do. And I yell. You could reasonably call me Old Yeller. I yell and I use ridiculous threats ("If you don't stop that right now, I'm never going to feed you again!" . . . and then I have to remind myself that by law I must feed them . . .). And I spank. Which I was never ever going to do. (And by spank I mean giving a good solid swat to the butt, not beating the crap out of them with a belt or kitchen utensil like my own parents did . . . but I digress.) There are days that I become so overwhelmed and frustrated by this whole mom thing that I close myself in the bathroom and cry (I don't know why I bother with the bathroom - the kids just barge right in usually). When I see Michael's car pull into the driveway every evening, I swear I come close to crying actual tears of relief.
Anyway, my house is like everyone else's house pretty much. It might be true that I put my best foot forward when other people are here, and maybe that's where the impression of Super Mom comes from. But if you could be a fly on the wall in my house for a day, you would quickly see the truth of the matter.
Saturday, November 22, 2008
I'm not blogging about this here to brag. The truth is, I have a lot of doubt about my writing abilities. Have you seen some of the other stuff out there? Seriously. The stuff I write pales in comparison to even some of the other blogs I follow. I think I have a pretty good handle on sentence structure, and proper grammar and stuff like that. But do I have the ability to move people with my writing? To hold someone's interest through maybe a few hundred pages? I don't know. I'm told that I do, but the doubty voice in my head usually says "Oh, they're just being nice." Jennifer Graf Groneberg, the author of Road Map to Holland, even commented on my blog today that she thinks I should write. But gosh, really? Does she mean it?
I've actually (secretly) fantasized about being a published writer for many years. I used to fantasize about writing a novel. I could come up with these (I thought) great story lines in my head, but I could never get past the outline stage. I don't think I have the imagination to perform real character development, plot, and all that.
Essays, though. I can write about things that are in my head, things that are in my heart, things in my life. True things. Maybe that's my niche.
I would love to have my own experience with Finn and his dianosis published. Imagine thousands of other people reading it and benefitting from it in some way. Wow. But I don't know if I really do have the talent necessary for anyone to actually be interested in publishing what I have to write. I even asked Michael today what he thinks. And that was hard, to bring myself to ask him, "Do you think I can write?" because (a) I think he's a brilliant writer, although a completely different sort of writer, (b) I value his opinion too much to not be hurt if he said "no," and (c) asking him is akin to presuming that I do have some talent, which feels weird. Anyway, he said, yes, he thinks I can write, and even that it's worth at least looking into getting published.
I don't know, though. Where would I even start? I haven't a clue. But the seeds are there.
Friday, November 21, 2008
I have no problem with the moral aspect of her/him (?) raising kids. Whatever. If the kids are getting love and all the other stuff kids need, I think that's just dandy. It just rubs me the wrong way - as a woman - to hear and read this person called the "Pregnant Man" and to be touted as some medical marvel, the first "man" to ever get pregnant and give birth. She's not a man for crap's sake!
1. Who was your 1st love? His name was David C. We were both 11, and he was the first boy I went steady with, which basically involved holding hands and calling each other boyfriend and girlfriend. He stole a necklace from his mom and gave it to me. He also bought me a goldfish which I ended up having for a couple of years until it died. He wanted to french kiss me and I was absolutely appalled at the thought of someone putting their tongue in my mouth, or vice versa. He broke up with me (perhaps over the tongue thing?), and we moved away shortly thereafter. He was the first person I was truly heartbroken over. I remember crying my eyes out and honestly feeling like I was never ever going to get over him. It all seems so quaint now.
2. Do you still talk to your first love? Nahh. I never laid eyes on him again after we moved, and that was 30 years ago.
3. What was your 1st alcoholic drink? Unless my dad gave me beer when I was a tot (which wouldn't surprise me, but which I also wouldn't have any memory of), my first alcoholic drink was something my friends and I called "Jungle Juice" which basically was whatever hard liquor could be found in a parent's liquor cabinet all mixed together. It tasted something like gasoline. I was 13 years old, and I got drunk - the first time I ever drank. Sad.
4. What was your 1st job? Aside from babysitting, my first real job was at Barro's Pizza. Which made me feel very cool. Way cooler than my friends who were wearing polyester uniforms and working at McDonald's.
5. What was your 1st car? A 1972 Dodge Dart, given to me by my great aunt. Turd brown with a white vinyl top. I named it Spanky.
6. Whose the last person you text today? I haven't texted anyone today. The last person I texted was Michael, yesterday.
7. Who is the person you first thought of this morning? Gosh. I don't know. My first thought was not about anyone. My first thought was "Shit, it's 5:30 already?" My second thought was "I gotta pee!" When I eventually got around to thinking about a person, I'm sure it was Finn.
8. Who was your 1st grade teacher? I honestly can't remember. We moved pretty much every year when I was a kid, so every year it was a new school, sometimes two different schools in one school year. I can't remember many of the teachers I had.
9. Where did you go on your 1st airplane ride? Nevada, and it wasn't until I was about 25 years old.
10. Who was your 1st best friend & are you still friends with them? Gosh, hard to remember. I remember a blond girl named Robin in very early grade school.
11. What was your 1st sport played? I didn't participate in organized league sports growing up, but I played a lot of baseball out in the street with my brothers and the neighborhood gang. I can still throw a ball and hit a ball pretty well.
12. Where was your 1st sleep over? Not counting relatives, the first sleep over I remember was at a school friend, Heidi's house. I remember she was this little thing with red hair and she was allergic to dairy.
13. Who was the 1st person you talked to today? Kevin and Joey. As in, "Time to get up for school!"
14. Whose wedding were you in for the 1st time? My mother's second wedding. I remember she put all this hideous blue eyeshadow on me. But it was the '80s so . . .
15. What was the 1st thing you did in the morning? Went pee.
16. What was the 1st concert you went to? Ratt.
17. What was your 1st tattoo or piercing? I believe it was for my 6th birthday. My mother sent me down the street to a neighbor's house (by myself) to get a home ear-piercing job. The woman put clothespins on my earlobes to numb them (didn't work) and then stuck big sewing needles through my earlobes. I later added additional ear piercings myself. My first tattoo was of a butterfly on my hip to symbolize the changes my life was undergoing after my first marriage ended and my first husband died. It was sort of my statement of independence since I had long wanted a tattoo and my husband had always told me that he would divorce me if I got one. It was also in memory of my dad who had passed away; he had a butterfly tattoo on his back. I added a smaller butterfly not long after to represent Kevin, since he and I were going through a lot of transformation together at the time. After Lilah was born 2 years ago, I got a tattoo on my arm of two intertwined hearts representing me and Michael, and 5 flowers underneath, one for each of our children. After Finn was born, I had a flower added for him.
18. What's the 1st foreign country that you went to? Mexico.
19. What was your 1st run in with the law? Well, I got caught shoplifting at Mervyn's when I was 14. Security grabbed us right outside the store (my girlfriends and I were stealing bathing suits) and hauled us upstairs to the business office and called our parents. But no police were involved. Does that count? I've never been arrested, and the only ticket I've ever gotten was for tossing a lit cigarette out my window when I was driving on the freeway.
20. When was your 1st detention? I really don't remember ever getting detention. I was a pretty good kid in school.
21. Who was the 1st person the break your heart? Definitely my parents.
22. Who was your 1st roommate? Living away from home roommate? Kelly.
23. Where did you go for your 1st limo ride? To the church for my step-sister's mother's wedding (convoluted, eh?)
I tag you!
Thursday, November 20, 2008
I cannot, to this day, go to any school function for my kids - whether it be a performance like this, a parent/teacher conference, or Open House - without crying. It's something I've always been rather embarassed about. Sometimes it feels like there must be something wrong with me, that seeing this part of my children's lives, that is somehow separate from me, always brings me to tears. Another mom who was there today, though, explained it in one word to me: pride. And it's true. I just feel so proud of my kids, of who they have become, who they are on their way to becoming, and seeing their life at school is such a bold illustration of that.
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
Happily ever after. That's what I'm living. That's not to say that everything in my life is perfect. Far from it.
My dad died almost 10 years ago, and I still miss him terribly. My kids will never know him, and that is something that makes me very sad. I don't have a relationship with my mother . . . it's just an impossibility that I accepted a long time ago. I am also estranged from a younger brother whom I grew up being extremely close to. Michael and I had a baby this past summer who was diagnosed with Down syndrome.
Those are the big minuses at this point.
My dad still lives in my heart, and in my children. I see little glimpses of him in a gesture here, a facial expression there. I have wonderful, loving friends who have become like family to me. Finn's diagnosis hasn't turned out to be the tragedy I anticipated. I love him with all my heart and can't imagine him not being a part of our family. I have a houseful of kids - something I longed for for so many years (even if they do drive me to the brink of insanity pretty regularly).
I have a husband who I just can't say enough good things about. He's my best friend. As cliche and contrived as that sounds, it's the truth. He's loving, devoted, honest, and loyal. He's the first person I want to talk to when something happens, big or trivial. He makes me laugh until I cry. This is not blissful newlywed ignorance talking. We've been married for almost 7 1/2 years. We've had our ups and downs. We've worked very hard to have a good, strong marriage. There are still - and always will be - hot button issues between us, emotionally charged things that we do not see eye to eye on. But we know how to weather the down times and come back together even stronger.
I don't know what the future holds for me, for us. I know very well that things can change in the blink of an eye. We still have the teenage years to look forward to with our kids (and Kevin is fast approaching that stage). I have three daughters who will be hitting puberty just as I'm probably going to be hitting menopause - fun times! My biggest fear is losing Michael. He doesn't take the best care of himself, and is a prime candidate for a heart attack at some point. I worry a lot about that.
So, no, life is not perfect . . . but it is perfect, with all of its imperfections. This is my happily ever after. I'm living it.
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
I sent this email to Daisy's speech therapist this evening:
Hi Tara - I meant to get this note to you all day, and the day just got away from me. I wanted to let you know that Daisy won't be at school tomorrow (Wednesday). The preschool class is having live animals in the class, and Daisy would never be able to deal with that. (Has any progress been made with the school psychologist, by the way?)
I wanted to tell you, too, that it already seems as though Daisy is making some progress with some of her sounds! She is able to say the F sound and the L sound when I work with her on those. When she's not conscious of it, she still defaults to her substituted sounds, but when made conscious of it, she can do it. I'm so pleased.
See you on Friday!
Lisa - Thank you for letting me know. I too see a difference right away. During speech on Friday I did initial benchmark testing with Daisy while we waited for the other students to arrive and she was able to produce the/f/ sound in all positions of a word with 85% accuracy. /L/ was the sound we targeted on Friday. At first she was struggling to find the correct place for her tongue but by the end of our session she was doing it correctly without any cues from me.
I have told the psychologist (several times) the problem is that he is only here on Tuesdays. He did get to meet her on Friday for a short few minutes during our speech session since he was here for an IEP meeting. He is planning to give you a call to get some more information, however it won't be until he is back here on Tuesday (next week).
Daisy is very smart. She takes to new strategies so easily. I am confident that this early intervention will result in great gains and she most likely won't need speech for very long. Her language (comprehension and expression) skills are very strong. There is no concern in that area.
I am glad to hear that you are seeing progress already. See you on Friday.
I really am so pleased. The note back from the speech teacher was very reassuring.
As far as the issue with the live animals . . . well, Daisy is an extremely phobic little girl. She's afraid of a lot of things - any kind of animal, insect, or creature that's not human, plus a whole host of other things. She started manifesting these fears when she was around 2 and all this time (as with her speech issues), we waited for her to outgrow them. Her phobias have gotten to the point of interfering with normal activities (for instance, walking to school to pick up Joey inevitably involves watching Daisy get hysterical because we almost always encounter somebody walking their dog; she can't attend birthday parties or playdates at someone's house if they have pets; she refuses to use the bathroom at school because she's afraid of the loud flushing the public toilets make; and the list goes on). I don't know why she's afraid of so many things. (A friend of mine actually asked me once, "Do you think Daisy is like that because you're such a clean freak?" Seriously. I'm still not over that one.) She's never been harmed in any way by any of the things she's afraid of, so it's a mystery as to where these fears come from. It's only been recently that we've realized she's not going to outgrow these issues - not without some help. It's hard to accept that as a parent, but of course we want (and are willing) to do whatever needs to be done to get her over these hurdles. So we're trying to get the school psychologist to step in and if he can't help, at least point us in the right direction. Because the truth is, she's never going to be able to go to kindergarten next year if we can't get a handle on some of this stuff.
I had to explain rape to Kevin today. Why? Because he really wants to read To Kill a Mockingbird. And I want him to, and I believe he's mature enough. He's a lover of literature like his mom, and I want to nurture that love. And To Kill a Mockingbird is a classic and one of the best books ever written, and it will likely be required reading for him in a couple more years anyway.
But yeah, it was a little uncomfortable explaining that term to him. My explanation was short and sweet and I've left it up to him as to whether to go ahead with the book now, knowing that there is some adult subject matter contained in it. He still wants to read it. And you know what? I think he's really going to like it.
My boy is growing up.
Monday, November 17, 2008
Sunday, November 16, 2008
When I got up yesterday morning, it was so beautiful outside . . . the sky was this pristine blue, and I was inspired to get outside and take a few pictures:
This is in front of our house:
By early afternoon, everything had a yellow/orange cast to it.
Michael and I actually went out to dinner last night. I felt weird about it. It was nice to get out, but I felt a little guilty going out for dinner when people not too far away from us were losing their homes. The air quality was (and still is) just terrible. There were ashes visibly floating around in the air and everything smelled like heavy smoke. The downtown area where we went for dinner was virtually deserted.
Friday, November 14, 2008
Just wait for Three!
Thursday, November 13, 2008
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
As for Elisa, the cleaning lady. I am so pissed. I've been all nervous about confronting her about the broken picture frame. So I left it sitting on the dining room table today so she couldn't miss it and then I said to her, "Oh, by the way, did this fall off the wall when you were here last week?" She looked like a deer in headlights and she said "Umm, no." I was floored. I didn't even know what else to say. I just said, "Oh, okay." I figured she would get defensive or something, but I really really didn't think she would just blatantly lie to me. I could give a crap less about the picture frame (although it cost me $30 to replace it, but whatever), but the fact that she would break something - I'm sure accidentally - and then not say anything to me about it and THEN lie to me! It really is so obvious that it happened at her hands. The kids can't even reach it, so I know it wasn't them. I've been nothing but good to her. I'm not demanding, I never ask her to do anything extra, I never complain about the things she misses, I gave her a really good holiday bonus last year - and this is what I get. And I am kicking myself because it's probably at least partly my fault for not showing a little spine. I don't know what to do. M thinks I should just fire her, but honestly I just think I'll find more of the same elsewhere. This is someone who came highly recommended to me by a neighbor who has used her for several years. If that kind of recommendation results in this, I guess you just can't trust anyone.
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
- Confront cleaning lady about breaking stuff. Actually, it's not the actual breaking of stuff that bothers me (yit happens), it's the breaking of stuff and then not saying anything to me about it. This has happened a couple of times. The latest was last week, the day after she had been here I noticed that a large photo collage we have hung on the wall was a little cockeyed, and on closer inspection, I realized the whole damn frame was broken and the glass had a crack in it. It clearly fell off the wall and she clearly put it back up and then didn't say anything about it. So I'm bothered by this. And I have to say something to her about it tomorrow, which I hate.
In other news, I forgot to mention that somebody got a hold of my freakin' debit card number and tried to use it at a couple of different gas stations in NEW YORK!!! Seriously! I got a call from the fraud prevention department of my bank yesterday alerting me of this. So I had to have my debit card cancelled and have to wait for a new one. In the meantime, I guess it's back to the old-fashioned way of paying: writing checks :/
Monday, November 10, 2008
~ Get on that elliptical machine a few times this week, and while I'm at it, do some crunches. Time to stop whining about my post-partum body and do something about it.
~ Make a decent dent in Robin's book club pick already!
~ Go to Social Security office to obtain social security number for Finn. I'm dreading this. I'm going to have to take Lilah and Finn with me and likely sit for god knows how long waiting. Ugh. But it has to be done.
Saturday, November 8, 2008
Thursday, November 6, 2008
$3.55 . . . the cost of one grande no whip mocha
$24.85 . . . the cost of a week's worth of grande no whip mochas
$1,292.20 . . . the cost of a year's worth of grande no whip mochas
This is a startling number. I think this is more than we pay for our combined auto insurance for a year.
Over the last 12 years, the cost of my addiction has fluctuated, since Starbucks occasionally raises its prices and for a time I was drinking a Vente Mocha with an add shot every day, and for a time I cut back to just a tall mocha every day. But I think it's safe to say that over the last 12 years, I've spent somewhere in the neighborhood of . . . gulp . . . $12,000.00 on effing coffee!! And that's not even factoring in Michael's coffee. He gets regular coffee from Starbucks (although he claims not every day) at the cost of $1.60 a cup. I don't even want to do the math.
This got me thinking about the other ways I treat myself. How about the $75ish I spend every month to get pedicures and my nails done? And how about the $30ish we spend every week on pizza night?
It's certainly nice that we can afford these things, but man. Just think if this money went into a savings account instead. Kind of depressing.
Wednesday, November 5, 2008
In addition to Daisy's first speech therapy session going well, I put $60 into my gas tank this morning and it actually got me a full tank! That hasn't happened in I don't even know how long - a looooong time, that's for sure.
As I was walking to school this afternoon to pick Joey up, a woman whom I've never met before caught up with me and told me how she sees me all the time walking to school with my kids and how "wonderful" a mother I seem to be (her word, not mine), and how well I seem to have it all under control. Honestly, I was like "Ummmm, you sure you have the right person?" Okay, even if she is seriously deluded, I'll take the compliment. I wish I could say that I was above needing outside validation, but I'm so not.
And the best news of all is that my friend Laurie's son Dylan, who had open heart surgery yesterday, is fighting the good fight and showing everyone what he's made of.
A good day, indeed.
Tuesday, November 4, 2008
I don't promise excitement or lots of juicy, thought-provoking stuff here. Maybe some, but mostly it'll just be a place to chronicle my chaotic life as a wife and mother of a whole lotta kids :) People often say to me, "I don't know how you do it." Well, stick around, and you'll see how I do it. It ain't easy, it ain't always pretty, and I don't profess to always do it well. But, my kids laugh a whole lot, and I take that as a very good sign.