Friday, November 30, 2012

Reason's To Be Late To School

This morning, five minutes AFTER the time we were supposed to be leaving for school, S4 began what I could immediately tell would be a long story on how the red gloves on the floor were so cool because he could wear them OR I could wear them.

So I do the whole "look at me...We. Are. Late."  This has to be carried out with the greatest of care because if it is too emotional, he will burst into tears and then we will be even later.

The ladies working the cross walk at school have gotten to the point that they cheer when we are on time.

Not. Even. Joking.

But the best, the BEST reason we have been late to school lately is this jewel of a story....

Some well meaning teacher at Word of Life gave S4 an airplane.  You know whose cheap ones you buy flat and then slide the pieces into?  They are sorta made of foam?  Those.

Sorta like this but not this one - thanks Google Image.

They were ready for school early (SHOCK!) and had run outside to play.  Because it was a work day for me, I was still flying around getting ready.  S4 brought out his little airplane and S2 had a brilliant plan.

I'll let you pause a moment to think about what could possible be a brilliant idea.......…

Our kitchen on the house is a lean to built on ancient million years ago.  Our entire house was built so long ago that it doesn't have year — seriously.  And at some point they added the lean to kitchen.  The roof dips low and that roof had caught S2's eye.

"Let's fly the airplane over the kitchen.  It will look SO cool!" he suggested.

Since S2 has the best football throwing arm of the three of them, S2 threw the airplane.

It landed on the roof.

And it did not fly off.

S4 burst into tears.  S2 knew he was going to be in trouble for this one so he thought up a brilliant idea. Hockey sticks are long and have a sorta hook on sticks could get this airplane down.

Meanwhile, I am in the house thinking they are being so super good getting ready for school.  Imagine my surprise when I heard THUMP on the roof.

Do you think I could pull those boys away from rescuing the airplane?  No.  We ran to classes explaining that they had tried to get an airplane off the roof with hockey sticks and everyone stared at us for a moment and then just laughed because that pretty much figures with us.

That night I had forgotten about the hockey stick and airplane incident.  Being cold and ever so tired, I decided to take an early shower.  As I was lathering my hair in shampoo I heard the door slam.  Then I heard running feet on the upstairs steps.  Then I heard "thump, thunk, thump".  The dog began to bark. The feet ran down the steps.  The door slammed.

And then it started all over again.

No one heard my "Hey, what's going on?" shout from the shower.

When I got out of the shower, dripping wet, wrapped in the towel, three little boys filed into the house. "What was going on out there?" I asked.

S2 shrugged.  "We were just playing football."

"Yah," S3 agreed too quickly.

"Why was the dog barking?" I asked.

"The dog barked?" S2 asked blankly.

"Why were you running upstairs?  And going in and out of the house?" I drilled.

"Um, I don't know," S2 said slowly.  I had him pegged as the ring leader.

"I feel you are not telling me something."  I gave them all that mean, hard mom look which I must have mastered because, lets face it, it's hard to take someone seriously when they are wrapped in a green towel with a pink towel turban on top of her head.

S4 caved.  "We threw the football to get my airplane," he squeaked out.  He held up the recovered airplane for me to see.

"How did you do that?"

"Well," S2 began, all nonchalant like it was no big deal, "We just threw the football on the roof to get the plane down."

A light went on in my head.  "You went upstairs and threw it out the window."

S4 nodded solemnly.  He was certain I would take the airplane away now.  Tears were forming in his eyes.

S3 was not admitting to anything.  He was willing to let his brothers get in all the trouble and make a clear get away on this.

The three boys had run upstairs, opened the upstairs window over the kitchen, leaned out the window and thrown the football towards the airplane, attempting to hit the airplane to get it to move and fall off the roof.

It took a lot of tries.

S1 wandered in the front door about this time.  "What's going on?" he asked, looking us all over.  S2 tossing his football from hand to hand.  S3's eyes huge and his feet fidgety.  S4's head hung low with tears dripping down his face.  Mama in a towel in the middle of the room.

"Where have you been?" I demanded.

"I was in my shop.  Why?" he asked, thinking he should have stayed there.

I turned back to the other three.  "That was NOT a wise idea."  I could see them holding up the window — it doesn't stay up on its own — while they leaned far out the window to toss out the football.  "No football till you play with Daddy," I added.

The three nodded solemnly.  I headed for the bedroom to get dressed, S1 hung around to get S2's story.

Really, why am I exhausted at the end of the day?

Thursday, November 29, 2012

I Need An Assistant

I had just returned from my first ever trip to Costco.  We were out of everything...except pancake batter and coffee...and in all the busyness of the day, I realized I had forgotten to eat and was happy to pour myself a bowl of cereal.  Milk really is a wonderful thing to have in the house.

The phone rang and a child called out, "Toll Free!" so I poured on the milk and stepped over boxes and shoes and toys to get to the table to work on our puzzle that we have been working on all week and just cannot seem to finish.

The answering machine began to record the message of a girl saying, "Calling for Denise.  This is Republic Waste Services, we have received the receipt of the bill we sent you in a sealed, stamped envelope.  You filled out the receipt but we did not receive form of payment."

I answered the phone.

Yah, I really did make out a bill, seal the envelope, stamp it and drive it down to the post office to be sent without EVER making out the check.

I apologized and tried to get her to laugh about it but apparently it was not as funny to her as it was to me.

These past weeks have just been like that for me.  I cannot remember what day it is for anything.  I cannot keep weeks straight.  I have overbooked myself three times now and I hate saying, "I am really sorry, but I just realized that that is the same day that we are doing this...."


The best one was when I received an email saying, "See you Friday!" and I responded with, "Where do we meet on Thursday?"  Because "SEE YOU FRIDAY" was in bright blue, huge font and I was responding to that email.

The house is a mess.  I have no idea what to make for dinner.  My children nearly cried in joy when I brought home groceries.  I still have Christmas letters to write.  Christmas shopping to do.  Parties to attend.  Kid's homework to work on.  Books to read and books I want to read.  Blogging, how I miss it!

So I decided I needed an assistant.

Here is the thing - NO ONE wants to be my assistant.  They know if they were my assistant they would need an assistant to assist them assisting me.

How sad is that?

So I decided....

I need minions

They are cute, the make no sense and they can accomplish great feats.  They are happy to live underground and they always seem giggly silly happy.

Yes, I need minions.

Anyone else with me on this one?

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Insane is My New Name

Forewarning...I am writing this with only half a cup of coffee in my system

S3 and S4 have been on this kick lately...either they fight like no one else or they are adorable like no one else.


They arrive home from school and help each other get a glass, milk and cookie.  Best of buds.  They decide to go outside to toss the football back and forth.  Within five minutes they are screaming at each other, wrestling the other to the ground, shoving and pushing each other around.  Did I mention screaming?, it bears repeating. 

Because I continue to say, "You two are brothers and you will be FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE so figure this out", I try to let them hash it out themselves.  I cringe through the exchange and every once in awhile I have to separate them because they need to be separated.

At night, when they have gone to bed (finally), I sit down, hold my head in my hands and want to cry.  I am emotionally and physically exhausted.  I peer through my fingers at my husband and groan, "They are driving me insane....."

He laughs.

I am serious.

Last week the three youngest boys announced they are going to be in the church Christmas program.  Daddy said they could. Mama was going to make sure they weren't because she didn't want to do the practice running.  Daddy won.

The Christmas Play is a Spelling Bee Musical.  We have a cd.

We must listen to the cd because the boys need to know the songs and their lines.

So, we get in the suburban and the Christmas musical cd in on and singing "S P E L L I N G B E E" all happy high-pitched kid like.  You parents know what I mean.  It hurts your ears it is so high-pitched, happy, scrape your fingernail along the chalkboard sounding.  And the music is so loud as to soak into them that they might absorb the words.  They need to know every song, every line and all their friends lines too.

Today, I am listening to this super happy high-pitched singing and actually missed the moments that all I had to do is deal with them fighting over who hit who with a wad of paper or stole the others hat.

This morning I had only time to suck down a half a cup of coffee as I was walking out the door and had no time to make myself coffee for the ride, I am certain that has to do with some of my insanity at the moment.  However, if you see me with my head twitching to some weird beat and my eyes buggy eyed out and me singing in a chant sort of way, "Be nice, S P E L L I N G B E E, be nice, S P E L L I N G B E E," you will understand why.

Place coffee in my hand.

Perhapes consider kidnapping me.

And pray I make it through this current phase in our lives. 

Saturday, November 17, 2012

I'm Good!

S4 went outside to feed his bunny - Whiskers Gray - and was gone a long time.  Long enough that I began searching for him.  I looked out the front window, nearest his bunny cage, and didn't see him.  I did catch a flash and I watched him fly on his bike down a hill and land in a pile of leaves.

I did what any mother with a blog would do.

I grabbed my flipcam.

All the laughing behind me are his brothers who could not believe that S4 would attempt this trick on his own.

After this fall, he jumped up...and tried it all over again.

When he would land, he would lay there a second, shake himself off and give a thumbs up - "I'm Good!" he declared.

His brothers couldn't let him have all this fun on his own so they all ran outside, got on their bikes, and joined in S4's game.  He made a video of that - it's shaky but a hilarious 30 seconds and you can watch it here.

After a few turns for all the boys, I called them in.

"Ah, mama, we're having fun," they moaned.

"I do not feel like driving to the med center with one of you needing stitches or because you have a broken bone," I answered bluntly.

And so they decided Mama was right, even if she wasn't any fun, and we had dinner instead.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Why We Pulled Our Son Out Of School

"Mama, I want to be home schooled," my 13 year old son told me as just he and I drove to visit my brother and sister in law's new home.

The news came as a shock.

Okay, maybe not a total shock but a shock just the same.  Last year we had a few issues at school, I blogged about those, and he had said in passing he wished he were home schooled but this year is the first year he is in junior high.  This is the first year he changes classes and he really likes changing classes and he likes all his teachers.  His grades are great.  He has a close group of friends and he gets along easily with everyone.  He finished his first year at football, loved it and all the comrade of the game.

And now S1 was telling me he wanted to be home schooled.

He had asked last year and we had shrugged it off.  But this night, after he had taken that deep breath and told me, he went on to explain what he would like to study, how it could work and then, then he stabbed my heart with, "I'm really sorry I am asking you to do so much work for me, Mama, but I think it's that important."

What could make our son want out of school so badly?

He wants out because he is watching his friends, the friends he has grown up with and hung out with and we have had here at our home and he has gone to their home, suddenly more interested in sex and pornography.  They tell him he won't make it out of school without having sex.  They continually make sexual gestures.  Some of the older kids will rub up against him (as he says) in an "odd way" just to make him blush.  The way the boys talk to and about the girls disgust him.  He is afraid that if he stays in that environment, he will change and be just like them.  He thinks it will start slowly that he will not become aware of the change until one day he realizes he has become what he never wanted to be.

He doesn't want to leave his good friends behind but he knows enough that he needs out.

Throw in there some kids who are disruptive and stall class after class which in turn has him bringing home homework to work on until ten at night and anyone could understand how fed up he is with it all.  He wants better for himself.

On the day we went to the principal to let them know this would be his last day, S1 had written a letter explaining why he was leaving in hopes that morale could improve and it could be better for his friends left behind.  We never even had to leave it behind because the principal talked with us and was completely encouraging - not like he could have changed our minds - but still, encouraging.  I appreciated his words to us greatly.

"Until kids home lives change, it's pretty hard to change the school atmosphere," the principal explained to us.

All our back and forth trying to decide this seemed to be covered in peace when we finally said, "Okay, we are pulling you out."  It was as if a burden has been lifted from our sons shoulders.  His excitement is evident.  We had to keep reminding him to not talk with others about it while we figured it all out but that was impossible for him.  The joy he has now is something I had not realized was gone until it returned.  It does our hearts a great deal of good.

I have to admit, this new adventure has me scared to death.  "Totally freaking out" is how I describe it.  I am suddenly responsible for his learning.  Yes, he has to do the work but I have to hold him to it and that is overwhelming, I am not going to lie.

This also made me realize just how selfish I am.  Here I have reached this place in my life where life seems good.  I love love love my job at the library.  My passion for Praise and Coffee is deep.  I enjoy writing for the Kalamazoo Women's Magazine.  I enjoy meeting with friends for coffee and heading off to write an article.  I love my boys, I love my boys being home, but I had reached that point where I could see how it was nice to drop them off at school to get other things done too.  I really liked the way my life was going.

And now I am not sure how it's going to look.

But my son is more important than all that.  All my boys are.  And it's most important to us to do what is most important for our boys.  Doesn't mean I am not 'freaking out', doesn't mean we have it figured out, doesn't mean I don't like our little school (any long time readers know how much I love our little school - and the other three boys we are happy to leave in that school) but I would be lying if I didn't say I was a little excited too.  Some weird part of me lays in bed at night and thinks, "We can start with a study of the pilgrims and we could read that Plymouth Plantation book!"

It does mean I covet your prayers.  It does mean I am taking all kinds of advice.

It does mean I'll be having some interesting blog posts soon, I am certain.
We are so proud of the young man you are becoming, Andrew! Love you!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

When Dave Ramsey Promotes Your Blog Post

When Dave Ramsey promotes your blog post....

You will get a message from a stranger that reads, "Be prepared for your blog to blow up. Dave Ramsey just posted your blog on his Facebook page."

And you will thrill over 1,500 people looking at your blog and think,"Wow!  How cool of him!"

Then you will notice your phone making all sorts of vibrations and jingles.  For grins you will peek at your blog, not expecting much, and see that you have TWENTY-NINE THOUSAND people clicked your blog and you have 82 comments waiting to be confirmed.

You'll head home, mind spinning, with your sick with strep child.  You will tell your husband who won't believe you.  You'll be glad he happened to have a half day so he can look at the screen with you.

Tonight, as I head to bed, I have had SIXTY-FIVE THOUSAND, three hundred and forty hits on my blog.


On Dave Ramsey's Facebook page, the post had 4,192 likes, 331 comments and 709 shares.

Mind. Is. Blown.

Now would also probably be a good time to say I don't know what Marijuana (also, had no idea how to spell it) looks like, I do know what maple leaves look like - and those are the leaves on my blog background.  The leaves look like camouflage, my boys favorite color.

You all have been wonderfully kind to me.  I fully plan to read your messages all the way through, a lot of you had great idea for us about the envelope system. Almost everyone was encouraging and cheering us on.  Thank you.

But I just wanted to officially say THANK YOU to Dave.  I don't know if he will read this or not, but you surely made our family's day a ton of fun.  We giggled and laughed and my head cannot wrap around the amount of people you introduced me to today.

I find it even more hilarious because I disliked you so much.  My friends I complained to have been laughing hysterically about that today.

But thank you.  From the bottom of my bloggy heart, thank you.

Oh, and sorry for disliking you — at first.

More than that, thank you for giving us basic steps to achieve Financial Peace.

Why I Dislike Dave Ramsey

My husband is a big fan of Dave Ramsey.  He can quote him.

I am not. I tend to loath him.

My husband has tried to talk me into going to the Financial Peace classes and I am always dragging my feet.  Seriously? 13 weeks of talking about MONEY? I think this is some sort of cruel torture.

When our church had yet another Financial Peace class offered, I knew that Jake would ask me again, I would give him "the look" and tout a million reasons why we couldn't or didn't need to but then I thought about how happy he would be.  I found out some of my best friends were taking the class - one of my friends is a therapist and she and her husband signed up - so I figured this would be a good class to take.

We would require therapy and Renee would know why so that would help.

Jake's eyes shown brightly as I dropped the check in the offering plate.  He was nearly walking on air.  He finally was going to get me to change.

I had a pit in my stomach for weeks leading up to class one.

When class one rolled around, I let everyone know just how much I was dreading this.  You see, Jake has always wanted to be a millionaire.  And then he married me...and we promptly had four boys.  That sorta is a "money hit".  He has planned our lives around much of what he has learned from Dave over the years listening to his radio program.  He can literally quote his answers before Dave gets to it.  I am the one who pays all the bills.  I balance the checkbook and we have this system - I pay it, he doesn't see it and we all get along grandly.

That was all about to change.

At the end of Class One, Jake was nearly jumping up and down with joy.  "We get to budget, won't this be fun?"

Kill. Me. Now.

Jake was working a ton and I was sitting at football practice at the time so I committed to this, "If I am going to take this class, I am doing it all the way".  I read the book.  It is lined with my smart aleck comments.  I read it very critically.  Very very critically.

I did all the homework.  And about three weeks in I looked at Jake and said, "Hey, you wanted to take this class, we better get busy and actually DO this class," and so began the first budget meeting.

It went better than I thought it would.

We didn't even fight.

Did you read that last line?  We. Didn't. Even. Fight.  Jake pretty much nearly had a heart attack when he heard our grocery bill until he realized we were living on five dollars a day per person for our entire grocery bill.  If anything, he might have admired me a little.  At least I hope so.

People would see me with the Dave Ramsey book and cringe.  Then they would say, totally shocked, "You are taking that class?"  I would nod. "What do you think?" they would immediately ask because they knew I would tell them exactly what I thought.

I told them I was shockingly enjoying it.

We finished the class Sunday night.  It was a nine week class, but some friends who have taken it before are hoping to get one of the videos from the 13 week class videos for us to watch because they enjoyed it so much.

I am not a fan of the envelope system because it's hard to put the cash in an envelope so you can put it back in the bank so then you can pay a bill.  We don't like that at all so we are trying to figure that out.  But as far as us sitting down and talking about our money, well, I never thought I would end a conversation about money and bills with my husband and actually grin when we were done.  We talk about money and for the first time in 15 years it is not a stress or argue point for us.

I recently sent a text to him that read, "I just finished paying bills and actually missed you while I worked on them. What have you done to me??????"  

We have a long ways to go yet, but at least we are aware of WHERE we are going.  I have informed my husband we are not going to become one of those crazy people either....I think enough of you out there know what I mean by that.

Which gets me to my point...why I dislike Dave Ramsey.

I dislike Dave Ramsey because after all this time of loathing him, I actually found out that he isn't all that bad.  The things that my husband would say, "Dave Ramsey said we should do this and this..." well, he DID say you should do those things after you did a bunch of other steps that we hadn't completed yet.  I read the book and found that out and I might have pounced on my husband about it.

Not like I didn't have years of pent up anger or anything on that subject.

As it turns out, we didn't need therapy.  We took the class with a genius with money (who happens to be the therapist's father), one of my best friends who went through a job change and host of others and we actually had a good time.

So, again, why I dislike Dave Ramsey....

Because now I have to eat a ton of crow.

I mean, like a ton of crow.  Because our pastor asked us - um, yes, US - to 
teach the next class.

I feel this is Dave getting back at me somehow.

Anyhow, I never ever ever ever ever thought I would say this, but, if you would like a good class on money, look at Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University.  I actually recommend it.  A lot.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Sick Day

We were awoken at some time of the night with S2 at our door.  "I can't sleep!" he tried to sob but his voice sounded all funky.

He took a shower and then crawled onto the couch and fell asleep.  Jake awoke early and checked his forehead.  "He's got a fever," he told me, "I think he is pretty sick."

I woke up just before my alarm went off and had a splitting headache.  I tried to turn the alarm off before it went off and split my head in two...but I was a few seconds late and couldn't get it turned off before it began to ring.  I pulled the covers over my head and went back to sleep.

Before my "you must be moving at this time" alarm went off, I was awoken to a cough that sounded like it hurt all the way into someone's toes.  S4 began to wail, which made him cough some more, which made him wail, which made him cough.  He crawled into bed next to me.  "I think I am sick!" cough cough cough cough cough sniff "Really really sick!"

My head wouldn't stop pounding.  S4 crawled into the chair and fell asleep and I went back to sleep too.  It was if there were bricks on my eyelids.

When my alarm for, "If this rings, you are late!" went off, I got up.  I stumbled to the kitchen, turning lights off as I did and took two tylenol.  I poured out cough medicine for S4.  I poured out medicine for S2.  I checked with S3, "I feel fine," he attempted to smile at me but I think I might have looked alien like.  S1, who has been suffering a cold all weekend, slept on.

I made an executive decision.  I emailed all the teachers and told them the boys were sick.  And then I went back to bed.

After just a half hour nap, the tylenol could be felt to be working - the pain was there but I felt human again - and we began our day.

S1 sniffing and blowing his nose so it sounds like he is calling in a herd of elk.

S2 curled up on the couch, freezing cold, clearly miserable.

S3 happy to be home, playing his leapster.

S4 lining all his stuffed animals around him, coughing so it sounds like his lungs might get coughed up, and then going back to play with his toys.  But thankfully he didn't puke here.

S1 got busy with some homework, S3 and S4 had homework emailed to me and they sat down to get to work, S2 didn't move from the couch.

It wasn't long before S4 was sobbing, his head on the table, "I will never ever ever ever be able to count by five's! Never!"

He then fell back asleep when sent to bed. I got some mucinex in him and saw a marked improvement.

But S2 had to be taken to the doctor's because I was pretty confident he had strep.  He had the swollen tonsils and I could see the first puss pocket appear.  The doctor confirmed it and we headed home.

But not before a stop at our happy place.

His smile is bright, but you can see in his eyes how sick he felt.  When we got home, he went right back onto the couch with every blanket he could find.

And so, my dear friends, is how my Monday went.  How is yours?

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Let's Revisit Jake's Colonoscopy

One year ago today, I wrote the post about my husband and his Colonoscopy.  

Since this post published, we have retold this story too many times to count.  It is one of our favorites and people usually laugh hysterically through the whole thing.  So, since it's so popular and I love my husband so very much, I am reposting it today.

Read the whole story here....

But don't have a drink in your hand because you will drop it or spit it out in laughter.  I guarantee you.

While this date is circled on my calendar so we can giggle about it and celebrate we aren't reliving it, a week ago we watched this funny bit by Jeff Foxworthy and had to share.  Jake, puzzled, said, "He must not have been very drugged up".  He still forgets we asked to have him drugged to not remember anything.

For an update of how Jake is doing a year later....

We have slowly added coffee back to his daily life.  We started slow, then we added it once a week and now we have gotten to where he has a cup in the morning and very rarely one at night.  He used to drink two pots of coffee for sure a day, sometimes more.  As long as he remembers his medicine, the heartburn is gone.  But the key is remembering the medicine.  He has the hardest time remember he needs to take it every day because I think he just wants to think he will be fine without it...until the heartburn takes over and causes all kinds of pain again.  

Friday, November 9, 2012

Celsius Versus Fahrenheit

It's funny how a little thing you didn't notice before can be gone and WHAM, you miss it like crazy.

Thus is the experience of the temperature thingy in my rear view mirror in my suburban.

All of the sudden, I glanced up at my thermometer and it was blank.  Blank.  How can I drive safely if I don't know the temperature? I pushed the little button on my rear view mirror and it went to Celsuius.  I pushed it again and went blank.

I called my husband and asked him to fix it.

He drove it that night and fiddled with it and it my Fahrenheit reading is just gone.

"You should just learn to figure out the Celsius temperature," he told me.  "It's simple.  You just take the temp, multiply it by nine, divide it by five and then add 32.  Simple."


He expects me to do this on limited amount of coffee first thing in the morning?

I can't figure out a math problem every time I need to know the makes my head hurt.

I suppose I could look at this from the view that he believes his I could actually spout this information out all the time at any moment.  But reality hits you hard, bro.

The other sad thing about my thermometer being stuck in Celsius mode is that if my thermometer reads Minus Four (as it did this week), I actually feel like it is really minus four out.

And what is minus four times nine?

I. Don't. Know. (see me banging my head on the table???)

I sum up this rambling post with this thought...

I think this winter is going to be a very cold one for me.  I am going to look at that thermometer and it's going to read minus 40 this winter, I am sure of it.  And I will believe it is minus forty and want to cry about it but I'll be afraid to let the tears fall for fear they will freeze to my face and my eyeballs will turn to ice cubes.  I'm going to be very very very very very cold this winter.

On the plus side, I will feel like I can take on adversity if I can withstand minus forty degree temps.