Monday, November 30, 2009

oh my

I have one question for myself today. Why is it that I have convinced myself that I could never be a runner? I can assure you that most days the energy I exert between coming home after work (an entirely separate discussion by the way) and falling asleep is close to a half marathon.
I will spare you the details, but let me assure you this day has been filled could say...moments. One of the most recent ones today has to do with Maggie sneaking into my bathroom garbage and taking out my used feminine product. Thanks Maggie. That was just the way I wanted to end my day.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Thanksgiving & an early birthday

We survived Thanksgiving, Black Friday, an early birthday party, and even putting up the tree.
We all went to church on Thanksgiving morning. Brady was all smiles, but shortly after when I tried to take pictures, he was so over the happy gig. The other children cooperated though.
My sister in law & family came up late in the day on Thanksgiving. Bless Jo for putting up with four adults, six grandchildren, and four dogs in her house for a few hours. As always, everyone had a nice time playing, chatting, laughing, etc.
I did get up a do a little shopping on Black Friday. I will likely buy way too many things for my family, but I just love giving gifts. I hit Walmart, Target, and Herbergers. By 9am, I was done, so it was worth it.
Last night we celebrated Ryan's birthday which is on the 5th. I cooked a really nice meal for the family. Okay so the Hi-Ho Tavern. Dang there is nothing like a good burger with a little raw onion...but I digress.
Today I did some more shopping, we went to get haircuts for Brady, Olivia, Kate, and Thad, Ryan had a game, ate at Pizza Ranch, and then put up the Christmas tree. So far Maggie has been pretty good with it. The presents are not under the tree yet, and I am a little worried to even trying. Brady hasn't really shown any interest in the tree yet either.

Up next is getting my mind wrapped around my incredibly busy week. On top of all the stuff I have going on, Thad leaves town tomorrow until Friday night. Until then....
Monday: hockey
Tues: dental appts for three of our kids, I have parent teacher conferences from 5-8:30, and now must have a clean house for the babysitter.
Wed: to be at school by 7am for a meeting, religion for the kids after school, Kate's first reconciliation interview that night.
Thurs: Ryan has his travel team practice, dry land, regular team practice, Olivia and Kate have dance, and so I am not really sure how that will all pan out. Oh, and I have to be in Fergus Falls that day for a history meeting.
Friday: If I am still alive, I am told Ryan we could have a casual gathering for some friends for his birthday....he wasn't sure if he wanted to. I think he wants a "real" party, but as you can tell by our schedule, who the heck knows when that will happen.
Saturday: The girls have their last day of skating, Kate has a dance performance, Ryan has his first travel game in West Fargo, Olivia has an evening recital, and it's Ryan's 10th birthday.
Sunday: Church, Ryan has a game in Grand Forks, and by then we will have no clean laundry, groceries, or anything else I'm sure.
Wait, I didn't mention a league game that weekend did I? I am sure it's somewhere in there too....

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

The season of giving

Today at lunch we had an interesting conversation about Christmas, gift giving, the rising costs of presents, and how most of us moms tend to do 99.9% of the gift buying. Our conversation (as you can guess) went in many directions, and I am going to share what I found striking.
~Many of us stress over money during the holidays. Each year we vow to 'cut back.' What is sad, though, is that many of us truly enjoy giving more than anything else. Money really shouldn't matter when it's a gift that we choose a special gift for someone in particular. Whether it costs us ten dollars or way more, some of us just enjoy seeing the reaction on our loved one's faces when they see what we chose, made, or sought out just for him/her.
~A few colleagues complained about spending the holidays with in laws and the clash of personalities that comes with it. I personally don't have to deal with this, because my mother in law is awesome. There is no guilt, greed, or anything that she does that would ever cause me stress during this season--or any other for that matter.
~People often comment about what Christmas is really about: the birth of Jesus. Have we gotten away from that? Is taking time out to send cards, update others on our lives, getting excited when our mailboxes fill up, giving gifts to friends and family, enjoying the yummy treats that coincide with the holiday season not right?

We can blame the media, the stores, and whatever else on the pros and cons of Christmas. It's up to us as parents to choose what we want to instill in our children about Christmas. I am the first to admit that my favorite part about Christmas used to be getting gifts. (DUH) My parents never went over the top. In fact, I have some funny stories about rather...ahem...bad gifts that I have received. Now I just love giving. I love debating over what to buy. I love expressing my love for family and friends by taking the time to picking out a special gift. I find it rewarding.
So give if you want. Don't give if you don't want to. Teach your children want you really want them to get out of Christmas. What you teach them will most certainly stay with them for a long time.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

in the last twenty minutes...

First off, I hope you all choose to read this STRICTLY for entertainment purposes. I don't like to whine about my busy lives because, frankly, who doesn't have a busy life. "Busy" is a relative term anyway. Who cares that I have four kids, many places to go, a new puppy (not by choice), and a husband whose job dictates our life? Don't go thinking I need a back rub or a medal. It's all just part of life.
So, back to my entertaining blog right? I thought of you all--whoever you are--in case you need an excuse to smile or laugh.
In the last twenty (okay maybe thirty) minutes:
I busted Maggie (the dog I like but don't love) eating through a garbage bag I had just tied up.
I re-bagged the garbage bag.
Cut Olivia's bangs.
Started the tub.
Changed a poopy diaper
Began believing in miracles when Maggie went into her kennel for the first time EVER.
Realized that it was no miracle when she got out just as fast.
Answered the phone and briefly began talking to my friend Jenny when Olivia screamed, "Maggie jumped into the tub with us!"

You can't make this stuff up!

time to vent

Today I am crabby.
I am exhausted...
from the puppy getting up several times
from the puppy pooping in my house several days in a row
from the puppy peeing all over even though we let her out every half hour
from having to scold said puppy for being a typical puppy
from Brady waking up in between the puppy waking up
from single parenting all week
from figuring out how to deal with kids who need to be in different places at the same time
from trying to use the quiet hour in my house to do school work
knowing that Thad will now coach a second team for hockey

this dog doesn't fit in my life right now
I like her but I don't love her
I am ready to scream
I am desperate for a night of solid sleep

I will figure out how to get the two girls to dance tonight and Ryan to hockey at the same time
I will clean up more poop and pee since Thad will be gone if not at work, then at hockey
I will play with the kids and act as normally as I can. This isn't their problem.
I will get the school work done.
I may have a meltdown by Friday night. That or I will go to sleep by 7pm. That is, if Thad's home.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

an interesting conversation

Kate and I have been butting heads lately about what she wears to school. She has a closet full of nice clothes. In fact, many of the items were chosen by Kate herself. Anyway lately she wants to wear the same (old) clothes and argues relentlessly with me.

Yesterday I asked her why she hadn't worn a shirt that I had just bought her. When she saw it for the first time she loved it. Then I never saw her wear it again. Today she said, "I just don't like it. It looks weird on me." All of a sudden it dawned on me so I said, "Has someone said something to you lately about what you wear?"
Kate: "Yeah. xxx told me I looked weird in that shirt. So did xxx."

Wow. How did I not think of this sooner? Suddenly I recalled her wearing (again) a pair of jeans, an old shirt, and a spud sweatshirt the other day. Even before she put it on she said, "xxx wore this yesterday!" Kate isn't being teased or harassed, but she is so sensitive. Furthermore, Kate is very impressionable. She is a follower. She cares way too much about her appearance. So, our conversation turned into, "Kate what matters is what you think, not your classmates. If they don't like your shirt, who cares?" Easier said then done I realize, but hey, I had to start somewhere.

Tonight after we worked on her homework, spelling, and her reconciliation packet, we discussed things she could say if someone tells her that her shirt is weird again. We even role played. The plan is for her to reply, "well I like it" and leave it at that. Then I had her practice things she could say if she hears someone saying unkind things about anyone else.

It felt so good to connect with her. Thad has been working overtime nonstop this week, and I have been so stressed out that I forgot to be 'there' for my kids. What's funny is that I can't even imagine having this conversation with Olivia. She doesn't seem to be bothered by this stuff. Then again life is a whole lot different when you are four.

Do you remember ever having what you thought was the cutest outfit, haircut, toy, or something only to have your heart broken by some comment? I know I do. For now, we will continue to work on conflict resolution. Good luck to all you moms of girls.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Happy Birthday Thad!

Our attempt at a family photo

Brady is trying to text his girlfriend Kate who lives in Maryland.

The ultra crabby Olivia who appears happy!

Another tired Stafford child
Today Thad is 36 years old! Holy cow I still remember when he turned 19. Okay I really don't remember it, but we were together. In typical police fashion, he is celebrating his birthday working late on a case. It's a good thing we went out on Saturday night to Famous Daves (his choice) for dinner before taking in Peter Pan at the high school. If you live around here, you must see it. It was soooo good. In fact, we might go again since Olivia was too tired to go.
Thad thought I was weird for bringing the camera along to dinner, but in hindsight, it's a good thing I did. How else would we be able to document his birthday?

To add to the hectic schedule he (and I) have, he is now going to coach Ryan's traveling hockey team. He vowed he wouldn't do this to me (sounds selfish I know, but you try dragging three kids alone to every hockey game and see how you feel!), but there has been a change in plans. Without getting into too many details, Thad was hoping Ryan would make a team that is one level above what he made. Ryan was a 'bubble' person (new word that I just learned in reference to hockey), and though it was close, the decision was made to have two second year players play up.
Ryan was a bit shocked to hear the news. Ryan seems to take this sort of stuff in stride, and so I think he's okay with it. Now he will likely play on the first line rather than the third line. To be honest I could care less, BUT this team has no coach who (supposedly) has ever played hockey. He came home last night and said, "We need to talk." Of course I glared at him, but really what choice to I have? His heart is in the right place, and I have to give him credit for that...I guess.

Monday, November 9, 2009

I forgot!

Well I guess I have some news to share. If you haven't already picked up the latest issue of On the Minds of Moms you should! Why you ask?
Well here are a few reasons in no particular order:
~You get to read a fabulous article by Melissa S. who helped me organize/redecorate my living room. I will have her back when I get the refund?!
~Another wonderful article by Holly M. who co-owns Pout. She wrote about cloth diapers, and how absolutely cute they can be.
~Another fascinating read by the one and only Kathleen Wrigley. I know first hand that she is an amazing lady. Her story continues to be inspiring.
~An ad for Healthpros, the place I work out. Really girls, if you are looking for motivation, how about a buy one get one free session?
~Continued awe-inspiring photography by my friend Ria. She is the primary photographer for OTMOM.
~Oh, and one more thing....Thad (as in my husband Thad) is featured as this issue's "Rad Dad!!!!!!!!!!!" That's right. Thad was selected to be featured.
I must add here that I was thrilled mainly because that got us a photo shoot with Ria. Ria has been beyond accommodating with me. Bless her heart, she can take excellent pictures of our family in under thirty minutes flat. Not only did she take pictures of Thad and the kids, but she was also kind enough to get some one year photos of Brady, our entire family, and enable me to send out a WAY better Christmas picture than last year.

Most of us don't really know what kind of parent we will be when we have children. The same goes for our spouses. Sure we all plan to love and hug a baby, but as us mothers know, much of the real work begins later on: tantrums, sleep issues, behavior issues, tantrums, discipline, peer issues, school, activities, and whatever else comes up.
Thad is a wonderful father. Do I nag on him more than I should for certain things? Well, yes I do. I reality though, he is a much deserved 'rad dad' in my opinion. All of us have wonderful husbands/fathers. In no way am I taking away from anyone else's experience. I am just very thankful that Thad shares the duties with me (for the most part) forty nine percent of the time.
We have always been in it together, so the successes and failures we experience as parents are ours to share. I didn't sign up to do this alone, so here is a big thank you to Thad!

No news

I guess no news is good news right? In our "no news" world:

Maggie is a good little puppy. We need her to learn to sleep all night AND not wake up at 6am. Thad is bearing the brunt of the puppy raising, and I am grateful for that.
Ryan just finished hockey clinics. He is a Squirt this year. Traveling teams will be announced in a few weeks. This weekend is his first Jamboree, which really just means he has three games instead of one or two.
Kate has been a sassy pants these days. She just brought home a letter inviting her to join Junior Great books. I am proud of her. She did tell me she doesn't want to do it. Don't worry, I told her, "too bad."
Olivia is Olivia. She just 'drew' (scribbled) a picture for her Great Grandpa Harris. She dictated a little letter to him too.
Brady, oh my sweet Brady. He is so busy/happy/fussy/clingy/independent all rolled into one. Sounds like a typical one year old huh?

Oh, I guess I did book a little (BIG) family trip for August 2011. It wouldn't take a rocket scientist to figure it out, but for those of you who really don't know, I'll let you take a guess if you care to. Who I am I kidding? No one cares, but if you are bored enough to do it, go for it.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

when things could be better

you just have to focus on the things that make you smile! Like my one year old who gets into everything under the sun without walking, my children who all are so sweet to Maggie, my nine year old who got me pretty good tonight with a trick he learned at school recently, and my sweet girls who make me smile constantly.

The levy didn't pass today. It was close. I mean really close. Close doesn't matter in an election though unfortunately. It was a somber day. Students were relentless in their questions:
"What's going to happen to teachers?"
"Will our classes get even bigger?"
"Are they going to cut activities and athletics?"
"Where is such and such on the seniority list?"
"Is our schedule going to change?"
Really I could go on and on. It's scary knowing that some of the best teachers might not have a job next year. There are so many what ifs and we should haves.

For now, though, I am going to try and focus on here and now. I have great students, great colleagues, and wonderful people in my life.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Dog & other stuff

I thought I would clear the air with a little dog update, since so many of you posted thoughts...
1. I like the dog. I don't love her.
2. Thad adores her. He has been working tirelessly with her, bless his heart. I think he has placed an extra burden on himself since he sprung her on me/us.
3. Thad was home all day with the now sick Kate (H1N1 sucks!), and he has made progress with Maggie.
4. I walked in tonight as Thad left. That's pretty typical for us on hockey nights. I get frustrated, because I am already caring for a one year old, a four year old, and a sick seven year old, and now, a puppy. It's a lot more to take on even though you wouldn't think so. Oh well.

Other things causing me stress:
1. Missing MORE work due to illness. It just stinks. It's not like I can call in leave my job behind. Lesson planning for a 90 minute block class is not simple. Most importantly, my girl is sick. Poor thing.
2. I am out of my classroom again on Thursday and Friday. Eek.
3. The school levy vote tomorrow. Our district is in bad fiscal shape. State funding has not risen, but costs have. We cut lots and lots of teaching positions last year. My highest class has 41 kids. My children's elementary classes are too large. If this levy doesn't pass, I fear where things will go. In my opinion, this isn't political.
No one wants taxes to go up. There is no good time for it to happen. But for my children, and the future of Moorhead (including other people's children, value of homes*, and a continued standard of excellence), I pray it passes.
*when I say value of homes, I mean that if it fails, I can't see selling a home here to be as easy as it would to in, say, Fargo.

Regardless of what happens, each person is (as always) entitled to their own opinion. I just happen to post mine since it's my blog. I encourage everyone to vote. Our founding fathers wanted us to do this! (Like my little "go history" pitch? Ah if only my students would appreciate it.)