Thursday, October 31, 2013

A Year of Gratitude: Day 357 (still late)

Today I am grateful that I got to go on a "sister date" with my sister tonight.  We went to the holiday movie preview event at our local movie theatre, and it was a lot of fun, as usual.  But beyond the previews, it's just nice to get to spend time with her just the two of us.

Have a wonderful night!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

A Year of Gratitude: Day 356 (late)

Today I am grateful for all the help I've received as of late.  Last night my in-laws watched the kids (and put them to bed) while I went to a PTC meeting, and tonight my mom did the same while Christine and I went to the holiday movie preview event at our local movie theatre.  This is an insanely hectic week, and I am so grateful for all the help I've been given.

Have a wonderful night!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

A Year of Gratitude: Day 355 (late)

Think I'll be able to catch up by the end of the "year".  Man, I hope so.  I'm not very happy that I'm so far behind, but life is ... whew, exhausting right now.  Anyhow ...

Today I am grateful I did part of a crossword puzzle while we were waiting for Baylor to get out of school.  I love doing crossword puzzles; they were a staple during my time at MSU, and I miss doing them more regularly.  But today I did part of one, and it was wonderful.

Have a wonderful night!

A Year of Gratitude: Day 354 (late)

Today I am grateful that I have the wonderful children I have.  I wish I had more patience with them, for them; they deserve a mom who can help keep them on track without losing her cool.  I guess it's just difficult when you see some of the frustrating aspects of yourself in your children; you want so much more for them, and you wonder how much you've contributed to it.

But I digress.

They are amazing, sweet, adorable, smart, talkative kiddos, and I am lucky to be their mom.

Have a wonderful night!

Saturday, October 26, 2013

A Year of Gratitude: Day 353 (late, as usual)

Today I am grateful that the people, likely bored teenagers, who knocked over our mailbox today did not entirely succeed in their attempt.  Yes, the mailbox was laying on the ground, but I had already pretty much done that when I ran into it this past winter and Bryson was able to just stick it back in the ground, at least until morning.

Oh, and did I mention they tried to knock it over by throwing a big pumpkin at it?  Yeah, and the best part is that, because it didn't face much resistance with the mailbox, the pumpkin sailed into the middle of our lawn, unbroken, and ready for display (though Bryson later told me that the stem was broken off a bit).  I feel bad that this could very well be someone else's pumpkin; we saw pumpkins in most of the lawns in our neighborhood, so I'm guessing the youths didn't bother buying any large-ish pumpkins to use as cannons; they just stole them off people's porches instead.

Have a wonderful night!

P.S.  I am sorry if part of this doesn't make sense ... I was starting to fall asleep as I was writing.  You should have seen the first draft.  Yikes!

A Year of Gratitude: Day 352 (late)

Today I am grateful for the connection my sister and I have.  For whatever reason, we both have a tendency to quote movies and television shows in everyday conversation.  Most of the time, she and I are the only ones that get it - at least right away - and in that brief moment it's just ours, and I love that.

Have a wonderful night!

Friday, October 25, 2013

A Year of Gratitude: Day 351 (late)

Today I am grateful for the tights I bought at Meijer before heading out to go fishing with Baylor and his classmates.  Yup, I wore tights under my jeans to help me stay warm on the excursion ... and then ended up wearing them all day long because I never really warmed up.  The tights took the edge off for sure, though, and I might just have to get a few more pair to help make the winter a little more bearable.

Have a wonderful night!

A Year of Gratitude: Day 350 (late, late, late)

Today I am grateful that Baylor's first kindergarten field trip went really well.  He didn't catch any fish, but he looked cute trying to.

Plus, the weather held out and only sprinkled a little here and there.  They fished, found fun objects in the park around the lake, and did sketches of their findings.

Though it was very cold, everyone seemed to have fun and no one got hooked during a casting.  Win win!

Have a wonderful night!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

A Year of Gratitude: Day 349 (again, late)

Today I am grateful I got to see Baylor smiling and chatting with a couple of his classmates in line this morning.  They were comparing mittens and gloves - it was the first really cold morning - and Baylor was wearing his new convertible fingerless mittens and actually showed them off a little to the other kids.  And he smiled this huge, HUGE smile.

Have a wonderful night!

A Year of Gratitude: Day 348 (late)

Today I am grateful that the power strip that our treadmill is hooked up to was working when I went down to try to fix it this morning.

I am also grateful that Mollie rested for my entire run today.  Yup, when I couldn't figure out how to squeeze a run in before the kiddos got up, I decided to try fitting a workout in during nap/rest time.  There are a few logistical issues with this, sweating being the main one, but I have been dying to run since school started and I had to jump on the opportunity.  We'll see how long this lasts.

But for now ... yay!

Have a wonderful night!

Monday, October 21, 2013

A Year of Gratitude: Day 347 (late)

Today I am grateful I was able to help my mom out today.  She does so much for me and our family, and it was nice to be able to help her out for a change.

Have a wonderful night!

That's What They Said: Sweet Honesty

Amalia:  (to Bryson after he came in from mowing smelling like grass and gas)  You smell like punishment!

Me:  Baylor, how did you do on your lunch today?  Did you eat everything?
Baylor:  You'll have to look and see.
Me:  Baylor ... can you just tell me?
Baylor:  Okay.  I didn't drink any of my water.
Me:  Oh, okay.  Are you thirsty?
Baylor:  Yeah.
(I handed him his water bottle, and he drank as quickly as he could.)
Baylor:  Mommy, you should make me a shirt that says "Thirstiest Man Alive", and I can wear it on days I don't drink my water at school.

Amalia:  Mommy, this is the Dragon King.  (gestures to an imaginary person next to her)
Me:  Oh, yeah?
Amalia:  (smiling)  Yeah, he wants to marry me!  (turns to imaginary Dragon King)  I will love you and take care of you for-ev-er!  (then leans in for a kiss)

Baylor:  Mommy, Mollie got a gold medal.
Me:  That's nice, dearie.
Baylor:  Yeah, I gave her a gold medal in footsie games.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

A Year of Gratitude: Day 346 (so late)

Today I am grateful that Baylor didn't put up too much of a fight when I asked him to do his homework.  And he finished his homework in a pretty timely manner.  Unfortunately for him, he decided to doodle on his homework to the point that some of it was illegible, so I made him do it over again.  (He only had to write three words - things that made him think of fall - so don't feel too bad for him.)

Yay, for little victories!

Have a wonderful night!

A Year of Gratitude: Day 345 (late, as usual)

Today I am grateful for a little bit of perspective and optimism.  Recently my eyes decided to rebel on me again (this first happened right after I turned 30); they have gotten so dry I can no longer wear my contact (at least for the time being), and I have to use heavy-duty eye drops and this weird eye goop at night.  Incredibly near-sighted, I absolutely cannot go without wearing glasses.

So where's the silver lining?

Well, not having to put in my contacts in the morning and take them out again at night saves me a few minutes of time.  And those few minutes start to add up after a while; it means getting going quicker and getting to bed earlier, and quite frankly I need all the help I can get.

Have a wonderful night!

A Year of Gratitude: Day 344 (late, late, late)

Today I am grateful I was able to get so much laundry done.  Only the kids stuff got folded, but just having everything clean means less for me to do tomorrow and that's always a good thing.

Have a wonderful night!

Thursday, October 17, 2013

A Year of Gratitude: Day 343 (late ... shocker)

Today I am grateful for how my first time volunteering in Baylor's classroom went.  I first brought the idea up to him about a week ago, and at that point he was pretty excited to have me come and work for a little while in his classroom.  Fast forward to last night at dinner time and he was totally against it; the thought of me being in his classroom made him cry and he told me he didn't want me there.  I had a feeling this would happen - he's not a fan of seeing people or things out of context and can get pretty upset by it - so we talked about it some and then shelved it for the night.  Sadly this morning he was still unhappy that I would be visiting his class today.  I told him, in all honesty, that I was a little nervous to come to his class and meet all those new kids, and while that seemed to soften his stance a bit he still didn't want me there.

I warned his teacher of his feelings on the topic and ended up going to volunteer during reading workshop anyway.  When I first walked in he didn't see me, but as I became engrossed in listening to what his teacher was saying and how she was teaching them about learning to read I heard the beginnings of a familiar sob; poor Baylor had noticed me and was starting to cry in the middle of his classmates.  After she got the kids going a bit, she went over and talked to Baylor who emphasized that he didn't want to see me or talk to me, even shoving his thumbs in his ears and putting his hands up as blinders next to his eyes to make sure I was completely ignored.

Doing my best to let my little guy have his space, I went from classmate to classmate and listened to them "read" to me as best they could; some were better than others to be sure, and it was fascinating to see the wide range of abilities at this age.  Toward the end of their "read to self" time, I was listening to one of Baylor's classmates when I heard a weird slapping noise not far from me.  I looked up and over my shoulder to see Baylor smiling at me through a bookcase!  I motioned to him that I was going to keep listening to his little friend, and when he slapped his book again to get my attention he smiled at me and gave me a warm wave.

The rest of the time there was much more relaxed for me; I didn't have to worry about Baylor's reaction to seeing me because he had already become okay with me being there and meeting his classmates.  I think, by the end, he was even happy I was there.

And beyond Baylor being happy to have me there, which was awesome enough as it was, I got to meet the kids in his class (including his little "best buddy"), see how the class works, and get a glimpse at what he does during his days when he's away from me.

For all that and more, I am incredibly grateful.  And hey, I get to do it again next week!

Have a wonderful night!

Sunday, October 13, 2013

A Year of Gratitude: Day 342

Today I am grateful that, while I didn't accomplish everything on my list, I got a decent amount done today.  I really want to write more, but I can't keep my eyes open to do so.

Off to bed to rest this weary head.

Have a wonderful night!

Saturday, October 12, 2013

A Year of Gratitude: Day 341

Today I am grateful that I'm learning when to say when.  I have tons of stuff to do around the house right now, most of it sitting out, staring me in the face.  But I know that I need some sleep ... okay, I desperately need TONS of sleep, but I'll take what I can get.  And what I can get is now, going to bed a little earlier so the morning won't seem so harsh.

Have a wonderful night!

A Year of Gratitude: Day 340 (a day late)

Today I am grateful that my sink is clean.  Sparkling clean, in fact.  The rest of the house is, well, not nearly as clean or neat and tidy.  But my sink is clean and the dishes are done.  And sometimes that just has to be enough.

Have a wonderful night!

Thursday, October 10, 2013

A Year of Gratitude: Day 339

Today I am grateful to have my car back in working order.  The battery has been replaced, the oil has been changed, and now things are running semi-smoothly again.  Just like usual.

Have a wonderful night!

A Year of Gratitude: Day 338 (a day late)

Today I am grateful that I got to hear Baylor sing again.  He entertained us with the color songs he sang the other day and even threw in a new one about counting by tens.  His sweet little voice brings a smile to my face, and I'm so proud of him for how far he's come.

Have a wonderful day!

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

A Year of Gratitude: Day 337 (a day late)

You ever have one of those days that just doesn't go right?  Today was one of those days for me.  I have been having some eye trouble and needed to get in to see my optometrist, who happened to be out of town for conference or something, and today she was supposed to fly in and offered to see me for an "emergency" appointment ... at 3:25.  School lets out for Baylor at about 3:15, and then it usually takes me another five to ten minutes to get him and get out of there.  So my grand plan, if you can call it that, was to be the first car in the pick up line so we could get out of there ASAP.  Baylor's teacher, bless her heart, even said she'd let him out a little early for me so we could make it.

I got there 45 minutes (!!!!) before school was supposed to get out and managed to be the first car there by one minute; seriously, there was another parent waiting there right behind me for over 40 minutes.  It was a really gorgeous day, and Mollie and I like to have the windows open anyway while we're waiting for the little man, so I rolled down the front windows and turned off the car for a little reading time.  Slowly but surely, though, the car started to get really hot and for some reason the breeze was missing our van, so I turned the car on (but not the engine) to move some of the air around with the A/C.

About 10 minutes before dismissal time, Baylor and a parapro from his room walked out, and he hopped in the car.  (I should mention at this point that my eye appointment that we were doing all this crazy picking up for had been cancelled; my eye doctor was stuck halfway home and wouldn't be able to make it.  Regardless, I was glad to have a little extra time with Baylor before his PLAY therapy appointment at 4:00.)  As I reached to start up the car, a dad began walking up the sidewalk by the pick up line.  He heard what happened next and was clearly aware of how bad it sounded.  Yeah, that's right.  My car wouldn't start.  The air was on, the lights were working, the windows worked, but the car wouldn't start.  Panicked, I called my friend Shaun, who just happens to be an auto mechanic, and asked him his professional opinion as to what I should do.  He did some over-the-phone trouble shooting as best he could, but the car still wouldn't start.

To make a long story short, my car ended up sitting at the front of the pick up line for the main portion of the after school pick up extravaganza while I waited for a tow truck; teachers and other school staff directed the rest of the enormous line of cars around mine.  (Yes, I was mortified.  As I aptly described it in my voice mail to my sister, this was my personal hell.)  The principal of the school, a former teacher of mine, pushed my car into an open spot once things cleared up a bit and offered to drive us wherever we needed to go.  Thankfully my sister was nearby and was able to help out, but not before my car was hoisted onto a flatbed tow truck.

It was apparently quite a traumatic event for Mollie.  She immediately burst into tears at the sight, thinking we would never be able to go home again.  Baylor was initially very excited by the scene - he has a flatbed tow truck Lego set much like the setup used here - but soon became quite concerned at how upset his sister was.

It turns out my battery was toast and it would be an easy fix for Shaun.  We made it to Baylor's PLAY therapy appointment without a problem, and my mom lent me her car for the time being until I could get mine back.

Initially I was pretty upset/embarrassed/pissed off/etc. at the whole event, but after a while I was able to see all the things and people I had to be grateful for.  So here they are, in no particular order:

I am grateful that my parents and sister live so close to us and are so willing to help us out.  I can't imagine living far away from them, and I thank my lucky stars every day that they care so much for us and do so much to help us, whether our problems be small or mini-van-sized.

I am grateful for our friends the O'Neills, and Shaun in particular today.  He is always so happy to help, so ready to be of service in a pinch, and we're lucky to have him as such a close friend.  (His wife and kids are awesome as well, but I didn't get to talk to them today, though that would have been really nice.)

I am grateful for Baylor's school and all the people in it.  While the parking lot is a bit of a nightmare in normal circumstances, let alone the mess it was today because of my delinquent car battery, everything else about the school is amazing.  The people, especially, cannot be beat; they were so kind to us and so sympathetic to our plight.  They offered us a phone, a place to sit, and so much more.  Even the kids were awesome today; so many of Baylor's little classmates said hi to him on their way to their buses, and it made me so glad to know we are part of such a positive community.

I am grateful for my friend Melanie, the mom of Baylor's playgroup buddy, who graciously took Mollie with her and her younger son to the Gardens while I got the car from my mom's house and regrouped a bit.  Truth be told, I was a frazzled mess after the whole experience, and it was awesome to know that Mollie was in safe, kind hands.

I am grateful for the little funny moments here and there that helped keep me relatively calm.  Like when Baylor told his principal as he passed by us that our car was "stuck in traffic".  Or when Baylor, trying so hard to make me feel better, told me excitedly that, "Hey, maybe we could just get a new car!"

And I'm grateful that that was it, just a dead battery.  Thoughts swirled in my head the entire time as to what could possibly be wrong with it, and I'm glad that's all it was.

Have a wonderful night!

Monday, October 7, 2013

A Year of Gratitude: Day 336

Today I am grateful that I got to walk Baylor into school this morning.  I'm grateful for that because I got to witness something truly awesome; Baylor's little buddy (the one from the incident the other day) met him at the door of his classroom and exclaimed, "Baylor!  Hi, buddy!" then wrapped Baylor up in a huge hug.  Baylor was a bit bewildered at this but seemed pretty okay with it overall.  Then his little friend said, "Hey, let me help you put your stuff away," and started taking off Baylor's hat to help him hang things up.  I gave Baylor a quick kiss on the cheek, told him I loved him and to have a great day, and left, grinning ear to ear.  What an awesome way to start the day!

Have a wonderful night!

Sunday, October 6, 2013

A Year of Gratitude: Day 335

Today I am glad that, though the power strip that supplies electricity to our treadmill wasn't working this morning, I still powered through and worked out.  Yes, it was a little weird to run in a small oval on the other side of the basement, and yes, I hope no one saw me looking rather silly, but it was good to get my heart pumping really work out.  It had been way too long.

Now I just need to figure out when I can work out on weekdays.

Have a wonderful night!

Saturday, October 5, 2013

A Year of Gratitude: Day 334

Today I am grateful I solved a little personal mystery this afternoon.  For the last couple days my eyes have been bugging me.  Yesterday I woke up with them so red I thought I had pink eye and had to remove my contacts soon after my shower.  This morning they were red again, but they didn't have the characteristic gunk associated with typical pink eye and I was a bit perplexed as to why they might be so red.  I thought it might have had to do with Mollie poking me in the eye with the bill of her baseball cap on Thursday morning or because I haven't been getting nearly enough sleep.  Then I went out to play with the kids after nap time and quickly found out why my eyes were hurting; my allergies were acting up.  While running around my parents' yard, my eyes started to tear up and become incredibly painful; later on it dawned on me that this was nearly the same feeling as I had after I got maced back in college.  (Long story ...)

I am so happy to know what is up with my eyes, though I am not looking forward to wearing my glasses for the next few days/weeks/whenever until things start to clear up.  A trip to the optometrist might be in order for Monday so I can get my glasses fitting a little better; this whole sliding down my nose every half second is not working for me.

Glasses aside though, I am just so grateful I don't have pink eye.

Have a wonderful night!

Mollie Moving!

Miss Amalia is a bit of a mover; where her brother, particularly at her age, would be content to sit and read a book or play with Legos for an hour or two, Mollie is on the go most of the day.  Yes, she has her quieter moments where she'll "read" a book to her babies or plunk down and play with some Legos, but quite often she's moving, and adorably so at that.

A month or two ago we were at my parents' house for dinner and visiting, and Mollie decided that, a.) she needed every bow at their house in her hair and b.) she was Cinderella on her way to dance with Prince Charming at the ball.  Baylor quickly declined the Prince role, so I volunteered Bryson to do the honors.

The kids have been in swim lessons for a while now, but my parents' pool is shallow enough in the shallow end that both kids can touch and avoid practicing or showing off their skills.  And that's what they did almost all summer ... until Mollie decided enough was enough and it was time to bust out her skills.  (Baylor still phones it in a bit in their pool but does quite well in class.)

As I mentioned last night, in addition to getting a couple awesome videos of Baylor actually singing, I took a couple of Mollie singing as well.  She saw the attention her brother was getting and wanted a little for herself, and I can't blame her; Baylor's been getting a lot of attention now that he's in school, and that has been a bit difficult for her.  So here's her version of the numeral song Baylor sang last night.  Clearly she needs to work on her numeral formation skills a bit.

Then things got silly and she made up an even wackier version of the numeral song, which she adorably titled, "The Ding Dong Song".

She certainly keeps us on our toes.  I love all her energy and enthusiasm; it brings a lot of excitement to our day.

Friday, October 4, 2013

A Year of Gratitude: Day 333

Today I am grateful for what happened tonight during and after dinner.  Baylor, who has never willingly sung a song from school or with others in general, broke out in song tonight and made my day, my week.  I asked him if I could tape it - something so huge and happy needed to be documented - and he agreed!

So here it is, Baylor and his sweet little voice singing the color songs he learned in school and reciting some of the poems they use in his classroom.

Then I asked him if he'd sing the numeral song for us, a request that sent him into a complete meltdown after his second week of school, and he told me that he would, but only if he could do it in the living room to be able to do the hand motions with it.  Um, okay!!!

I can't stop smiling.  For most kids this comes easily, but for Baylor this is a big deal and I couldn't be prouder of him.

Have a wonderful night!

Oh, and I have a couple videos of Mollie dazzling us with her singing abilities, but they aren't uploading as quickly as I'd like so I'll have to post them later.  Until then ... enjoy!

Thursday, October 3, 2013

A Year of Gratitude: Day 332

Today I am grateful I didn't have to actually make dinner tonight.  I just heated up some soup I had made and frozen about a week or so ago and thawed some homemade applesauce.  Ah, woo hoo!

Have a wonderful night!

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

A Year of Gratitude: Day 331

Today I am grateful for something Mollie said right before I tucked her into bed.  This evening was perfectly awful, and my mood was bottoming out right about then.  I am not getting enough sleep and I was frustrated at how insanely long dinner took and the dawdling and the ... anyway, it was a long night and I just wanted them to get in bed and sleep.  I took my frustrations out on them a bit, mostly losing my temper and yelling more than I should have, and I was feeling like a terrible mother as I tried to pull myself together, perk up, and get them to bed as happily as possible.  As I went in to kiss Mollie for a second time, she gave me a huge hug and said, "You're the best mommy in the world!"

Thank you, dear girl, for saying that.  For showing me that though I might behave poorly at times, you can still feel my love for you.  And I do so love you.

Have a wonderful night!

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

A Year of Gratitude: Day 330

Today I am grateful to hear that Baylor played with a couple kids, including the friend mentioned yesterday, at recess.  I knew this was likely to happen; he's a great kid and kids are so easy-to-forgive.

With that said, I don't feel like I overreacted yesterday.  My concern was more related to his Asperger's issues and less with him, as a kid, losing a friend.  I remember being a kid and the little fights and squabbles kids get into and were he a neurotypical kid I probably wouldn't have batted an eye.  But he has difficulty reading social situations and I worried that he had done something socially unacceptable and didn't even realize it.  And not knowing what happened, I felt helpless to help him or get him help.  As a parent, helplessness is a familiar and terrifying feeling; it happens so often and in a variety of situations, you'd think it would get at least a little easier.  But ... he's my son.

Anyhow, he played well today and for that I am truly grateful.

Have a wonderful night.