Tuesday, April 27, 2010

2 hours. 2 freaking hours.

That is how long it took me to get my little darlings to sleep tonight.  Part of the problem is that here it stays light later, so at 8:30 when we say it is bedtime, the sun is still setting.  In Texas the rule was you go to bed when the sun goes down.  The last couple weeks they have been going to bed pretty late as we all adjust to the time change and our routine here, but the last few nights we've been trying to get them on a better bedtime schedule.  It is NOT working.  Last night bed time was 8:30 but since they horsed around so much we said that tonight they had to go to bed at 8.  By the time teeth were brushed, cups had ice, stories were read, itch creme was put on (B is still having rash issues.  Will have to take him to a dermatologist I think.)  Teddy bears and blankets were found and kids were tucked in, it was almost 8:30.  By the time I had sent them back to bed with etra hugs and kisses and told a certain little girl that no, she couldn't have a "popscible" before bed and dealt with the ensuing tantrum, it was almost 9.  Scott had gone down to the boat to put the new gas tank in and when I looked outside he was fishing from the boat (while it was tied to the dock LOL).  I was annoyed for a minute then I realized I couldn't blame him for trying to calm down after the ordeal of bedtime.  Thinking that the children were nestled all snug in their beds, I left the screen door open so I could hear them and went to join them. We were able to peacefully enjoy the sunset over the lake, but of course it couldn't last; about 20 minutes after I had gone down there, I heard the unmistakable sounds of arguing coming from the house.  Since Meg's room is upstairs and Brendan's is downstairs, I figured I needed to investigate.  As soon as I headed up to the house I saw them darting around downstairs.  It took us until 10:00 to finally get them settled and sleeping. 

I dread bedtime as much as I look forward to it every day.  I'm so tired of the fights and threats and arguments and pleading and begging (both by me and the kids!).  I'm so tired of being so tired, that by the time we finally get them settled we're too tired to watch our shows.  Our DVR is backing up and we have tons of shows to catch up on, but we're just mentally and physically drained.

I know I probably need Nanny 911 but she'd spend an hour with my kids and run away screaming.  I look forward to Wednesday nights all week because it is the one night that I don't have to deal with bedtime (that is my knitting night when I go to my knitting group and Scott deals with the monkeys.) 

Since I haven't heard a peep from either one in about 10 minutes, I'm hoping that means it is time for us to watch some TV. . .if we can manage to sit thru a whole show without falling asleep!

Friday, April 23, 2010

It's all fun and games until someone needs stitches.

Our dock was installed this morning.  Of course the kids wanted to play in the water and fish and everything right away. The fact that it was only 65 degrees apparently didn't bother them at all @@.  I let them play on the sand and wade in the water a bit because I'm nice like that, and because I had a friend coming over that I haven't seen in 10 years and wanted to talk to.  I did say no going on the dock without me and I will say I was pleasantly surprised by how well they did at following that rule!  My son begged me to let them go fishing because Daddy had set up their poles, but I have a hard fast rule--Momma doesn't touch fish.  EVER.  So they had to wait for Daddy.  Well by the time he was done with work, they were chomping at the bit to fish so I sat up on the deck with my friend while the 3 of them sat on the dock and fished.  The baby was asleep.  Of course Meg got too excited and tried to jump or something and started screaming because she cut her knee.  Got her up to me and there was a tiny little scrape, barely bleeding.  I got a bandaid and a wet paper towel to clean it and was doing just that when I noticed there was blood on the ends of her hair. . .and dripping down her chin.  WTF?!?  Turns out she must have hit the post at the end of the dock when she fel,l, the post Scott hadn't capped yet b/c his children were clammoring to fish.  Of course she's more concerned about the knee and didn't even notice the gash on her jawline.  After mopping up the blood, and of course after applying a bandaid to the booboo on her knee, I decided that this would need some medical attention.  It was a pretty good sized gash.  Of course Scott (the same man who fixed a huge cut of his own with a paper towel and duct tape) said Naw, just stick a butterfly closure on it and it'll be fine.  Well, I know my daughter and I know if I did that, she'd peel it off an hour later and say she was fine, so I unfortunately had to cut my visit short and take her to urgent care.  I mean, for crying out loud, we don't even have a pediatrician picked out yet and I'm already having to take her in! 

Once we finally got called back to the exam room, the nurse took one look at the gash and relocated us to the surgical room.  I'd like to say Meghan was a calm brave girl, but that wasn't the case.  I had to physically restrain her so that the doctor could numb it without accidentally jamming the needle thru her cheek when she thrashed, then suture it shut.  Meghan screamed thru the first 2 stitches, at which point she finally just calmed down.  I thought maybe she'd passed out or something, it was really weird.  Lucky I went and not Scott, he would have passed out or puked because my face was like  6 inches from the wound, and I watched her stitch it up.  I'm a Mom, things like that don't gross me out.  Plus I think as a Mom, you just enter this state of mind where you just suck it up and do what needs to be done, and freak out later.  That's how a mom can sit still and hold a baby while they're puking all over you (because you know if you try to run them to the toilet, they're just going to get puke on the carpet that you're going to have to clean up later, and they've already got puke on you, might as well let them finish), you just go into what I like to call "mom-mode".  I didn't cry or freak out or anything, I just spoke calmly to her and tried to distract her while the doctor stitched her up.  She got 4 stitches by the way.  Afterwards, when it was all over and she had her boo-boo bag and was ready to go (she got a bag full of goodies, 2 beanie babies, a coloring book and crayons, a couple of little books, and a mini chalkboard) I started feeling pretty shaky.  I'm not sure if it was from the adrenaline or the effort of holding her down (she is STRONG) or what, but I was pretty wobbly.  Still am.  I still feel like I could use a good crying jag too, but no time for it right now.  :)  I am really proud of my baby girl though, she did pretty well.  I somehow knew she'd be the first of my kids to get stitches.  She has inherited my grace, or lack therof.  She can trip walking thru an empty room. 

As a treat, her daddy took her to McDonalds when we got home, and they are on their way back so I need to sign off and get ready for dinner.  I just hope it doesn't start hurting her too much later, I hate when my kids are in pain. 

Friday, April 16, 2010

RIP, Tuck. You were a good turtle.

Yesterday started off horrible wonderful and just kept getting better.  First, we were having a land line installed, since we can't get reception on either of our phones and Scott needs a phone for work.  The guy was supposed to be here between 8-10 so Scott got up at about 7:30 and said he was going to take a shower before the guy got here.  Of course 2 minutes after he gets in the shower, the doorbell rang and I was still in bed, in my jammies.  Yay.  So I threw some clothes on and ran to open the door.  Of course the dogs barked at him, so I asked Brendan to let them out.  I should have known better, but I can't do 2 things at once, usually.  Well, when I took the phone guy downstairs to show him where the cables and stuff were, I noticed that the dogs were loose.  Brendan hadn't put them on their chains, and we don't have a fence.  So I went out there and wrestled with 2 dogs, trying to keep them from bolting while I found the clip ends of their cables and hooked them.  Well, come to find out, I had hooked them to each other by accident because one of the cords wasn't attatched to the post!  I found this out an hour later when I looked outside and saw them running loose again.  I was on the phone trying very hard to have a conversation with my mom (which had to be interrupted every 2 minutes by the kids!) so I told Brendan to tell Scott and have him take care of it.  Then a minute later Meg comes up and says that Tuck is missing.  Tuck is our turtle, he lived in our pond in Texas and we hadn't gotten an enclosure for him yet here so he was living in a rubbermaid container outside where he could get some sun.  "What do you mean Tuck is missing, Meg?  He can't get out of that thing!"  Then Scott hollers up that someone dumped the bowl.

 "Great, fine whatever, I'm trying to talk to my mom!  Give me a minute and I'll be down".  So I try to continue my conversation, and a minute later I hear wailing from Brendan.  He's coming up the stairs having a complete meltdown.

 "What happened now?"

 He wails "The dogs ate Tuck!!  He's bleeding and dead!!"  O.M.G.

 "Mom, I have to let you go, apparently the dogs just ate the turtle".  yay.  Yep, they tried to make a snack of the turtle.  His shell was pretty damaged and there was a good sized gash in his side.  He was still swimming but things didn't look good, and Brendan was bawling his eyes out.  I didn't know how to put a turtle out of his misery, so we decided to put him in the lake and let the fish let nature take it's course.  We told Brendan that he might not live, but that if he did, he would be with other turtles.  Well, last evening we went to the waters edge so the kids could play on the beach, and there was Tuck washed up on shore.  We quickly removed him so the kids didn't see.  Yeah, I know, we could have told Brendan but I fugured let him wonder, and think that maybe Tuck is still out there.  Poor kid has been thru a lot lately.  No need to traumatize him further. 

Of course my dear darling hubby thinks it is the perfect opportunity to get the bearded dragon he's always wanted.  For the boy, of course.  @@.  We did a lot of research and they look like a pretty decent pet, we've had lizards before so we know how to care for them, but we decided to wait for at least a couple weeks.  I'm not keen on adding another animal to this house right now, and I don't want a kneejerk reaction to a dead pet by replacing it right away. 

One thing I'll say, Life is never dull at our house.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Healthy meals can be a challenge

My son, as much as I love him, is a complete pain in the ass when it comes to mealtimes.  He's the pickiest eater I've ever met!  I used to think, when he was 2 and 3, that it was just a phase he'd grow out of.  Now he's 6 1/2 and still refusing to eat anything that isn't chicken or peanut butter related.  He has a very small list of food he'll eat, like cheese pizza, mac n cheese, scrambled eggs, and, well, that's pretty much it.  Oh, tomato soup, but that's only because we call it "red soup" and not tomato soup.  I have to hide the cans from him now that he can read lest he figures out that there's :::GASP::::  vegetables in it!

Since I don't want him to come down with scurvy or something, I have to get creative.  Plus, while weight isn't an issue for him right now, I don't want it to become an issue in the future, so I have to limit the pizza and things. 

Our old neighbor showed me a book, Deceptively Delicious by Jessica Seinfeld.  While it may be full of cook-from-scratch recipies that I'm not capable of (I'm a TERRIBLE cook!) the principal of the book is brilliant.  Mix in small amounts of pureed veggies into your kids' favorite foods and they'll never know!  For example, the other night the kids wanted mac n cheese.  I got velveeta shells and cheese because it is creamier that Kraft (easier to blend veggies) and they have a 2% milk variety that is lower in fat and calories.  I got a can of northern beans and pureed it then mixed a few spoonfuls in a bowl with the cheese sauce before dumping the noodles in, that way the beans were mixed in completely.  It added a protien and potassium boost to the food and the kids were happy. 

Some other ideas for picky eaters and moms who can't cook (AHEM, me, AHEM)
1. If you don't have time to cook and puree and freeze your own veggies, buy baby food.  One jar is usually the perfect amount for adding to a dish!  I did the cook/puree/freeze thing myself as the cookbook suggested, but it took a good 2-3 hours and I had to do it after the kids went to bed so they didn't wonder why I was doing that.  Didn't want them to figure it out!  When Erin, my youngest, started on baby food, I realized it was the same thing.  better, maybe, because it was pureed better than mine was!  Plus the kids never wondered why I was buying so many jars of carrots and squash.  Now that she's on table foods, it is a little trickier but just slip the jars in the cart when they aren't looking.

2. When in doubt, add some shredded cheese.  The mac n cheese had a slightly different texture the other day, so I threw a bit of cheese on top and it masked it.  I do the same for tomato soup; instead of adding the whole can of water, I add half a can of V8 and half of water.  Sometimes I'll throw in a jar of baby food carrots too, to sweeten it.  The V8 does change the flavor a bit, so I just toss a spoonful of cheese on top.  I also let the kids drink their soup thru a straw, so the novelty of it causes them not to think too much about the taste.

3. Everyday foods can be fixed up this way.  Brendan likes to take spaghetti o's in his lunch for school.  I mix them with a jar of baby food carrots and microwave them for 45 seconds before putting them in his thermos.  Gerber carrots are actually pretty sweet (yes, I tasted them.  If I'm going to feed them to my kids, I want to know what they taste like!) so he's never noticed, and I get a jar of carrots into him 3x a week. 

The book also had things like carrot cake from scratch, which i'm not capable of.  I bought a box mix and did it that way, added a full cup of pureed carrots and a half cup of cauliflower.  Spread a tiny bit of frosting on the top and the kids thought I was the best mom ever because I was letting them have cake for breakfast.  Sure, there was sugar in it, but there's sugar in syrup too and waffles don't have veggies! 

Green veggies are a little harder to hide, because they change the color of everything.  Pizza sauce is a good one for them, instead of buying frozen pizza or Dominoes, make your own..  You can get the pre-made crusts and the jars of sauce, then just sneak in some baby food green beans or some pureed broccoli.  Be careful not to put too much, but the spices in the sauce mask them pretty well.  The kids get a kick out of making their own pizza, it's healthier than other pizzas, and they're getting veggies!

The biggest trick is to make sure they don't know you're doing this.  I'll probably tell Brendan eventually.  Like when he's a dad with his own picky eaters!  My mom loves to tell the story of when she snuck spinach into lasagna for my brother and while he was eating he asked what the green stuff was.  I didn't know he hated spinach so I told him.  He refused to eat another bite, even though he had loved it before I told him.  So make sure to give a heads up to people who know your secrets!

Hope this gives some of you some tips for picky eaters.  Do you have any tips?  Please share them!

Monday, April 12, 2010

isn't she too old for this??

Meg will be 4 in just a couple weeks. I don't remember Brendan throwing tantrums at that age or older, at least not very often.  With Meg, it is several times a day.  Anytime I tell her no, such as "No, Meg, you can't have popsicles for breakfast" or "no, meg, your fish can't join you in the bathtub" she freaks out.  she starts screaming and whining and yelling "please!  Please momma!" as if that will get her what she wants.  It has never worked before, I don't know why she thinks it will work now, but whatever.  Crazy child.  At home I usually just say "go to your room until you calm down" or spank her butt if necessary, but sometimes she does this out in public.  Yesterday we were out at the grocery store and the kids had already picked out what they wanted to get with their allowance.  They each only had about $5 but the idea of saving and waiting a week was too much for them, so Brendan managed to find a toy that was originally $10 on sale for $5, and Meg picked out a small Littlest Pet Shop thing.  Well, all the way thru the store she kept grabbing stuff saying "I want this!  PLEASE MOMMA!" (no, I'm not buying you that.  It is a dishtowel.) we finally had enough and told her if she didn't knock it off, she wasn't getting her toy.  OMG you would have thought we killed her puppy or something.  She screamed the whole way thru the store.  And the whole way home, mainly because I flat out refused to answer her.  I have an amazing ability to ignore and tune out noise.  :-)  Scott, not so much.  He was gripping the steering wheel so tight that if he had been a Cullen, it would have snapped.  LOL.  But anyway, when we got home I calmly got her out of the car, told her to go inside, spanked her little rear end and put her in her room.  I told her she was there until dinner (about 40 min) and did it all without yelling, so I was proud of myself.  She stayed there too, which really surprised me.  I think she dozed off, she sat up when I came in to tell her dinner was ready but she looked pretty groggy.

Now, I'll bet you're wondering, did she get the toy.  Well, it went on top of the fridge (I had planned to take it out of the cart and not buy it but in the chaos of stopping B from grabbing candy from the impulse isle and keeping Erin from climbing out of the cart even with the seatbelt and Meg crying, I forgot.).  I did give it to her before bed, and I know that is kind of caving but after thinking about it, I think the tantrum was as much my fault as it was hers.  She's a lot like me, she needs a lot of sleep.  She will still take naps, even though her brother stopped when he was 2.  However, I don't always put her down for a nap.  Yesterday it was beautiful outside and after lunch Brendan asked if he could go down to our beach and build a sandcastle.  She heard him and wanted to go too, and I didn't feel like being a really mean mommy and telling her no.  I know how much I loved to play in the sand as a kid and didn't want to make her stay inside on a beautiful day.  I should have known better, because when she doesnt nap she gets crabby as hell.  So, I paid for being a nice mommy by having a monster on my hands.  She rested in her room when we got home from the store and ate her dinner without complaints or problems, then played pretty nicely with her brother for the evening and took a bath without complaining, and since she didn't ask about the toy or whine for it, I thought I'd be nice and give it to her.  Plus I used it as a bribe to get her to go to bed.  :-)  Hey, whatever works.

Gotta go get my baby girl out of her high chair.  she's super crabby too, her top 2 teeth finally came in, both this week, so she's got awful diaper rash from the wonderful symptoms of teething.  yay.  the joys of parenthood.

Monday, April 5, 2010

N-n-n-o, I'm n-n-n-ot c-c-c-c-old. . .

My children are crazy.  If you've met them, you know I'm telling the truth.  But seriously, I question their mental stability. 

We're at our new home in Michigan.  We live on a lake which is wonderful in so many ways.  I'm really looking forward to swimming---in the summer.  My children seem to think waiting for summer is for sissies.  I let them play down by the water today, building sand castles in the small beach area.  Brendan wanted to stick his toes in the water.  Sure son, go ahead.  Mind you, the air may be 75 but the water is still around 45-50 degrees.  Well, he stuck his feet in.  The bottoms of his pants got wet but no biggie.  Then Meg wanted to do the same thing.  Then Brendan wanted to wade in to his ankles, and I said no because his pants would get wet.  He said "Oh don't worry, I've got an idea!" I knew he what he was planning on doing but didn't stop him.  Sure enough he came back down wearing his swim trunks.  I just rolled my eyes, figuring as soon as he got into the water he'd realize it was freezing and stop.  Apparently I underestimated his tolerance for cold.  This is the child that complains when the temp in the house drops below 73, yet he waded in almost to his knees without complaining.  Next thing I knew he was running down the backyard and jumping.  Landing on his feet, but still in water past his knees.  Of course before I knew it, Meghan, who has to do everything her brother does, had pushed her pant legs up over her knees and was running and jumping.  She has unfortunately inherited my gracefulness, so she landed on her butt.  Within 5 minutes they were both soaked and wading up to their waists.  I told them not to go any further 'cause I didn't want to have to jump in the frigid water to save them!  Meg even tripped at one point and landed face first in the water, and came up laughing and wanting to do it again.  She got out at one point and was shivering so much she could barely talk, so I tried insisting that she go inside and she said "n-n-n-ooo, I'm n-n-n-ot c-c-c-cold."  I told her "but baby, you're shivering!" and she said "Thatj-j-j-just means i n-n-n-n-eed to g-g-g-o b-b-b-ack in!" and she jumped back in.  I finally bribed them to come in by offering them hot cocoa, and hubby helped me give them both showers to warm them up. 

You know, I say I question their sanity, but Scott says he questions MINE, since I was allowing them to do that.  Well, what can I say?  When I was their age, I was the same way.  I remember going to Lake Huron or Lake Michigan and the water was freezing but it didn't stop me.  I'm a little older and wiser now, but I still wish I had youthful exuberance to blame so I could have jumped in there with them!