Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Pink Day

Melina has declared today Pink Day. Only she and I are participating, considering she made the request after the kids had left for school.

I found a pink hoodie, put on my pink vest over it, and managed to scrounge up pink underwear and pink/white socks. Thankfully, in my opinion, I do not own pink pants. That fact did not go over well with Melina, however.

As I slid my pink/white clad feet into my navy blue slippers, Melina leaned over and whispered, "Mommy. I don't want you to wear your slippers. I cannot see your pink feet then."

Yikes. I put the slippers on anyway. I'll wear my gray/pink sneakers to the store a little later, and that should appease the little princess.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Miss Independent

So wasn't I just complaining about Melina being too dependent upon me? Yep, I sure was. Well last night, she displayed a most convincing act of independence, I am still astounded by it.

After dinner, Melina and Aaron were watching a Batman show, in the family room, while Tim was using the computer in the same room. I was reading a book to Zoe and Talia two rooms over, in the study area.

All of a sudden, I hear the pitter patter of feet that can only be from one person: Melina. I asked if she was okay. She said yes, but since she was in the kitchen, I thought I'd see if she needed anything. I excused myself from Zoe and Talia, and went to investigate.

Melina had taken the kitchen towel and was wiping her face. This is not out of the ordinary, as she often swipes the towel to wipe her nose when it is running, and it hasn't stopped running since February 1st. Don't worry, I am aware of this habit and make sure to change towels often in the kitchen, plus hide the one I want to use for drying hands or dishes. Anyway, I approached her, asked if she needed help, and knelt down in front of her. She extended her arm to me, and said that she had gotten her sleeve dirty.

She had. There was something brown on her sleeve, and when I smelled it, it smelled like the mint cookie I had given her. But brown was smeared everywhere on the cuff of the sleeve. It couldn't have just been a bit of the melted chocolate on it. She had to have done something else. And that is when Melina said, "I just spit up a little bit."

What?!? You just threw up and you had the ability to walk, calmly I might add, into the kitchen and try to clean yourself up? Really? I then moved the towel, and sure enough, there on her shirt was evidence to back her up. I asked Tim if he had heard anything from Melina in the family room. I asked Aaron if he had heard anything from her as well. Neither one had, but the pillow was wrecked. The entire family was impressed, to say the least.

We cleaned Melina up (and again and again) and had the same night we always do when she gets sick. She is currently finishing up Batman, which she requested a few moments ago. I hope the virus stays put within her, because I doubt the rest of the crew will be so proactive in their own clean up.

Friday, February 24, 2012

French Letters

Did that title intrigue you? If you don't know what French letters are, go look them up. But don't worry, this is not a post about anything indecent.

Some of you may not know this, but I was a French major in college. I haven't used the degree since, but to be honest, I never planned to. Instead, I was planing on going to medical school, so I balanced out the science workload with French. Upon graduation, I could speak pretty well, although not well enough in my opinion. However, I was a fluent reader and writer. I still love the French language and have thought about going back and brushing up on it.

A couple of weeks ago, the school sent home a notice that they would be offering French lessons to 4th and 5th grade students. We signed them up, and last night, there was a meeting for parents and students.

I wasn't sure what to expect, and so I was flabbergasted by what happened. The meeting, in a word, was phenomenal! The energy of the instructors, both undergraduate students and professors, was contagious. They walked us through a sample lesson, and the parents and students alike were having fun and -- get this -- learning. On the first night!

The instructors plan on immersing the students in the language, so even last night, only French was spoken. I am happy to report that almost 17 years after college graduation, I could still understand everything the instructors said, although I know they were speaking slower than they would in a regular conversation.

So now, not only are the kids energized, but so am I! I looked for my old French texts, and this morning, I was speaking French to the kids. We covered coffee, breakfast, boy, girl, little, big, and a few others. We sang the letters of the alphabet, in French, and we also pointed to parts of the body. All before 7:30 in the morning! Awesome.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Funny-isms As Of Late

It has been a while since I've posted some of the funny things that the kids say. Since the kids are getting older, I find fewer silly things come out of their mouths on a daily basis. Even from Melina.

However, we had a few good ones from the little princess as of late.

Item #1: Mom! My nose is melting! She meant that there was mucus running down her face.

Item #2: I am going to bust my bum right out! Yep, she was on the toilet, and I made this the second item for a reason, if you get my drift. But where she got that one? No idea.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Life Is Funny

I posted yesterday that I needed a job.

The college called me today and said they needed me.

No one there reads this blog, so I guess I just got lucky. Or unlucky, as the class is an evening course.


Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Tears

I haven't worked outside of the home now since the end of November. Which means Melina and I have spent quite a bit of quality (and non-quality) time together. Whether or not I am going crazy from not working is another post for another day. What I am talking about today is Melina's dependence upon me.

I thought, when we got rid of the nursing, that I'd see a bit of independence flare up from her. And I think I did. But then, two months later, I took a hiatus from work. Brooke has been over from time to time, when I need to get things done, or I'd just like to volunteer without a mini-me by my side. Usually, Melina does well. And, she does go to school two times a week.

Last week and today, though, Melina has decided that she doesn't want to go to school. Why? Because she wants to stay with mommy. I tried to tell her that really, I am not all that appealing. But in her head, I am her favorite person. I tried to tell her that I have things to do that are easier without her; she didn't understand why she just couldn't come with me. I also tried to tell her that school is important, that she learns there, and that she has so much fun with her teachers and classmates. She just looked up at me, tears spilling over her bottom eyelids, her lip quivering.

I got her in the car today, where she still whimpered at me. I carried her into the building, helped her hang her things up, and went to give her my customary hug and smooch. On a normal day, she'd have kissed me on both cheeks and said goodbye. She'd have run gladly into the classroom. Today, she hid behind me, tugged on my legs, and had to be pushed into the room. Mrs. F, the director, picked her up and gave her a giant bear hug. When I left, she was still holding Melina, and I was in tears.

And so, I think I need a job. A job that takes me away from the house. It is too late for me to pick up a class in the spring schedule, I think. Even though it won't start until the end of March, the good times have been picked over, and I'd be stuck with paying more for the sitter than I was making, since I'd have the bad times. I could tutor, but most of the tutoring jobs would likely be after school, when I am most needed for help with homework or to pose as the chauffeur. I guess I could do more work for my friend out in New Jersey, and just take my tablet to the library to do it.

It is sad, for me at least, that a few hours away from Melina each day or two just might be what she actually needs to be a bit more independent. How does that work? It seems a bit out of wack, really. But I know that the other kids did the same thing. The more they saw that I would leave and come back, they knew that I would, indeed, come back, and that mommy would be there for them. So I know that she is on track, but it breaks my heart to think that not only might I need to find some time to schedule away from her, but that I might also have to endure the tears that come with dropping her off at school. This is a little unexpected from Melina, of all people. Kids do that do you, though: keep you guessing.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

All Year Christmas Decorations

The kids' preschool relies on making something homemade each year as a parent gift at Christmas. In the past, Tim and I have received ornaments of various shapes and sizes from the kids. Of course, we have loved (and kept) them all.

This year, when Melina said she had a surprise for me, I expected to see yet another popsicle stick-ed something. But oh, was I surprised! Melina had me close my eyes, she counted to five, and pulled, with a flourish, something much larger from behind her back.


I literally squealed with glee, gave her a huge hug and kiss, and found the perfect spot for it above the stove. When the kids asked if I'd be putting it away with the other Christmas decorations, I nodded my head no. This decoration is up here for the long haul.

***
You might wonder why I am just now posting about this little tidbit that occurred back in December. That is just how far behind I am. If you don't like it, then why don't you come on out and visit? I can certainly put you to work!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Erma Bombeck Moment

I likely won't forget this Wednesday for a while.

It started out like any other: I got the kids ready for school, went for a run, and started on my day of errands. Melina and I saw the cat to the vet, went to Trader Joe's, and had a meeting with a teacher. I helped with homework, and unloaded the dishwasher. I didn't get my house clean, but then again, on a usual day, I don't. Therefore, it was a busy, yet completely ordinary, day.

Until after dinner, when it started to rain in the kitchen.

I heard the drops before I saw them. They dropped from the recessed lighting and hit the stool and the floor beneath. The kids bath is above the kitchen, so I ran up the stairs.

What did I expect to see? Perhaps a leaking toilet or a spilled bowl of water that the cats use for drinking. Maybe, but probably not, the kids had plugged the sink and left the water running. A whole number of things must have gone through my head as I skidded to halt in front of the bathroom.

There, in the hallway, was Mr. Diabetic himself, Ferdinand. Squatting. Urinating on my wood floor, just outside the bathroom. Don't ask me how, but the cat who cannot manage to put his piddle or poop into a litter box, somehow managed to finagle his stream through a crack in the floor between the linen closet in the hallway and the outside wall of the bathroom. Gross, right? I know.

Tim and I shooed the kids and dog out of the kitchen, and started cleaning up. We wiped, we Lysoled, we bleached, we pulled apart the recessed lighting. In all, at least a quart of urine must have fallen through the lighting into the kitchen. How much did I find upstairs? A couple of tablespoons full. That is how good Ferdinand's aim was. Amazing.

In the end, the day turned out to be slightly out of the ordinary, and one that I hope not to repeat anytime soon. As for not cleaning today? I guess I need to look at this in the half empty or full kind of way. At least my kitchen floor is now spic and span.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Valentine's Day Surprises

Happy Valentine's Day to you all. While I normally wear green on this day -- in an effort to protest the abundance of red -- I do have a pink shirt on today. I am headed in to school to help with class parties, and thought maybe I should be festive. To be honest, I don't think anyone will care.

We don't do too much around here for this day, but Tim did get the kids a small box of chocolates, one for each. The boxes are small hearts, inside of which are about 5-6 pieces of chocolate. I told the kids that they could open them this morning, but they couldn't eat any. It was just 7:30 am, after all.

Once Zoe, Talia, and Aaron had gotten on the bus, I was putting things away, and stacked all the heart boxes on the table. I opened Melina's and found (surprise?!?) that she had already eaten one. In my head, I remembered seeing her hiding in the corner of the family room and I put 2 and 2 together. The other kids would never have tried this at the age of 3. However, the behavior was pure Melina, so I really should not have been surprised. She did admit to eating the chocolate, and tried for the rest of the day to see if she could have more.

While I was cleaning up cat messes in the basement, I found two more lovely surprises from the cat behind the basement couch. I guess I should be thankful that the puddles were in the basement. We just recently took out the carpeting from there, since Ferdinand had single handedly piddled, pooped, or vomited on every inch of the carpet. Won't the garbage men be surprised on Friday when they need to haul that treasure away? Tim thinks we should put a warning message on it, and I am inclined to agree.

Later on, I thought maybe it was time to check on the kids' progress in school. I logged onto the website and was completely flabbergasted, shocked, and gobsmacked, when I found that one of my children is sporting some Ds. I will not embarrass the child by telling you which one, but you have a 1 in 3 chance of getting it right. While I took said child to task, it is apparent that two of the Ds can be explained by the fact that there are only two grades reported for that subject (one of which is clearly unsavory, but we knew about it when it came home). However, there was a grade of NI in the subject of...MUSIC! Apparently, the child forgot to turn in a worksheet, and didn't think it was important.

I would have preferred some more positive surprises this Valentine's day, so I am going to hold out hope for next year.





Friday, February 10, 2012

I Made This!

This blog has been a bit whiny lately, and I apologize. But thank you for hanging in there!

There are many things that I can do. Unfortunately, sewing is not one of them. To be quite frank, I am not even that good when it comes to just sewing buttons back on. So, when the girls asked about making a skirt for the sock hop, I knew that I needed to find a no-sew version.

Well, I found one.

And I am proud to say that I was able to make Melina's skirt with minimal effort. I decided that I would make hers as the test case. I plan on having the girls help make their own skirts.

Melina and I made the trek to the craft store, practically bought out the store, and then made our way back home. The best purchase of the day, in my opinion, was my very own hot glue gun, in a nice shade of hot pink!


After we took everything out of the bags, I followed the directions. I took the next picture when I had already cut the circle for the skirt and the poodle out of felt. Notice the straight pins! I felt like a pro when I attached the poodle pattern to the felt using those pins.


And here is the finished product. I have yet to get a picture of Melina wearing the skirt, but I promise to get a picture of all the girls in their skirts once they are done.

By the way, the pink pom poms were Melina's idea. But I bet you knew that.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Speaking Of Circuses...

This has not been my best week. While I seem to be saying that a lot lately, I am not too worried. It is winter, after all. Anyway, this week, I packed in far too many activities, most of which were not for my benefit. Of course, that statement is going to sound selfish to some people. But if you are going to have a crazy week, don't you think that there should be some fun involved? Well, I do!

I realized the other day, in what was my fourth trip to the kids' school within that day alone (so four trips back means eight total...gotta keep up on my math), that I was feeling as though I couldn't tell the difference between my life and the circus we went to the previous Sunday. Usually, my life is better compared to being at the zoo: full of exotic animals and rife with weird smells. But this week, I have felt as though I was literally in the center ring of a three ring circus. If I looked to the left, I saw the juggling act, struggling, I might add, to keep all the balls in the air. If I looked to the right, I saw the unicycle people, with their arms out to the sides, hoping to keep the balance. And in that center ring with me? Well, there were the monkeys: jumping and flying and just going crazy.

So, I am sitting back right now, just taking a breather, because I am certain I will stumble upon another act tomorrow. Let's hope it isn't the tightrope walker.


Tuesday, February 7, 2012

It's All In A Name

Many of you have seen this posted on Facebook, but I have some readers who have not joined, and likely never will. And they are important readers, i.e. the grandparents. So, I am posting a picture of Melina and the chalkboard, on which she wrote her name. She is pretty good about writing the letter M, and the letter A. (Hmmm, I can't imagine why.) She needed a reminder of what the other letters looked like although she can recognize and partially form them all by herself. Furthermore, I held her wrist for some of the letters.

So, while Melina did do a pretty good job of writing her own name, I can be honest and say she had a little help. But, we are moving in the proper direction. She was especially proud of herself after accomplishing this task, and I think she had every right to be.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Under The Big Top

A couple of weeks back, the Shriners called us and asked if we'd support them by buying tickets to the annual circus. I asked them to call back the next night, and then I went and asked Tim. Tim is not a fan of clowns, and I certainly didn't want to buy tickets to something he wouldn't attend. And, I had no plans to bring 4 kids to a circus by myself.

Well, Tim works with a Shriner, so at work the next day, he spoke to the Shriner, and bought some tickets to the Sunday afternoon show. Melina was especially excited for the circus. She asked every day this past week if that particular day was the day we were planning to go. When she came down with a cold, I told her that she'd need to be better, and without fever, before she could go to the circus. Thankfully, a fever never manifested, and her symptoms abated by yesterday.

So to the circus we went. And let me say that we all enjoyed the show.

First off, we didn't have to pay to park. That seemed a little odd to both Tim and I, but we don't look a gift horse in the mouth. The lot wasn't nearly full when we got to the arena, so our parking spot was actually pretty perfect. Once inside the arena, it was easy to find our seats. The seats were very good ones; the little ones with us had no trouble seeing anything. I do think that all the seats were probably pretty good, but we were close enough to see faces and details that you might not be able to see further back.

Now, as many of you know, the Shriners are considered a charitable organization. So we didn't just go to a circus. They had set up an elephant ride, a pony ride, a snake photo booth, and a bounce house. These extras were interesting and cool, but thankfully, the kids didn't ask to get on any rides. I imagine that the tokens you bought to get on the rides were a way to raise more money, so they tried to serve as many people as they could. Therefore, the 1 pm show actually didn't start until 1:30 or so. It didn't matter too much. The rides and the clowns and just the entire aura were enough to keep our kids occupied while they waited.

Much to my surprise, the show itself was great. I have been to one other circus in my life, and I don't remember anything about it. But I think the kids might remember this one. There were dancers, jugglers, a balancing act, and a trapeze artist. People rode unicyles and bicycles; a couple performed a quick change scene; there were rhesus monkeys, elephants, dogs, high wire acts, motorcycles in a cage, balancing circles, and clowns. The kids sat there, mesmerized, with a bucket of popcorn (reasonably priced, I might add) and smiles on their faces. Aaron whispered to me at one point, "This is better than I expected!" Overall the show did not disappoint, and all for 10 bucks a ticket!

Was there a downside? We were there a long time, as I said, since the show also offered rides during an intermission, which seemed interminable to me! And, the price of the circus souvenirs seemed a bit high, but that is usually how it goes when it comes to shows like this. Nobody says that we need to buy a circus souvenir should we go again next year.

***
The one thing I did not post, or even bother looking up before we bought tickets, is how fiscally responsible the Shriners are. Do I care about whether or not they are a good charitable organization to support? Usually, I do. But in this instance, we went to see a circus, and to be entertained, and I am guessing that at 10 bucks a pop, there isn't much of that money that gets used for anything other than the circus. The information is out there...I am just choosing to ignore it this time!

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Mish Mash

I was woken up this morning by Melina's voice over the monitor. We still need to use one of those, because she stays in bed until someone gets her. And, it is actually quite difficult to hear her when she calls out to us. In fact, she usually whispers.

This morning, however, was a bit different. The first thing I heard was her own version of Funny Bones, the book by Janet and Allan Ahlberg. Melina was talking about the big skeleton, little skeleton, and dog skeleton, and as I listened, she launched into singing about how the bones were connected. It was a little early for a Sunday morning, but her mirth gave me a good chuckle. I reluctantly got out of bed, and now, here we are.

***
Apparently, the teachers at the kids' school waver about the homework debate. Remember how I said that I went in to the principal's office to mourn the lack of homework? He pointed out the debate and said that I could request homework for my kids; the teachers should comply with my request. I found out last week that I am not the only one looking for homework AND several of the teachers believe in the "repetition, repetition, repetition" motto themselves. I do find it somewhat funny that Mrs. M, the girls' primary teacher, has been sending home more homework these days (still not that much). I don't know if it correlates with me volunteering in her classroom, and telling her, quite honestly, that the kids with whom I am working need lots of help (they do).

***
Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow again earlier in the week. That means six more weeks of winter are in store for us. But my question is this: When will winter actually start? I can count on my one hand the number of times so far, since December, that I have pulled out my parka. Lately, I've been tooling about town in sweaters and my down vests. Are we ever going to get winter, and if so, when? I hope it doesn't arrive in July, that is for certain.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Mirror, Mirror, On The Wall

The mirror has never been my favorite thing. I don't remember at what age I started to become especially critical of the way I looked, but at some point, it happened. My eyes weren't right, my nose was too large, my teeth could have been better. I tried reflecting (horrible pun there) on the good things, but you know how it is sometimes. Despite all the blessings you have, you see everything that you don't.

I find it fascinating, then, that Melina loves the mirror. I know -- that really shouldn't surprise me. Or you, for that matter, if you know anything about Melina. A kid who loves pink, princesses, fashion, and hair bows will probably like the mirror. But what I think is most fascinating to me is what I imagine goes through Melina's brain when she looks in the mirror.

Sometimes, I find Melina standing in front of the mirror, clothed in old pajamas and slippers, a big smile on her face. Other times, she stands there all decked out in fancy accoutrements, again with the same smile. It doesn't matter to her whether she is wearing those fancy accessories, because in her head, she is beautiful no matter what she has on. The fancy duds -- the pink headband with the flower, the sparkly shoes, the long braid -- they all are just icing on the cake she already is. And I love that! She is mesmerized by her own beauty, and I am mesmerized by her.

Of course, it doesn't matter to me what she wears or what she looks like. She is Melina, and I love her. Do I happen to think she is beautiful? Well of course; I am her mom, after all. I always tell her that it is the beauty within that we need to worry about more than what we look like on the outside. I don't want her to grow up vain. On the other hand, I think she should take pride in and be happy with what she looks like. I hope she is always this accepting of her looks, and if I could bottle that feeling she has, that complete and utter satisfaction at knowing you are a thing of beauty, I'd give it away for free.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

What A Difference A Year Makes!

February 2, 2011:
Ice everywhere, no power, Aaron sick, everyone else on the verge of being sick.

February 2, 2012:
Sun galore, 50ish degree weather, Melina has a cold, but smiles all around.

Need I say more?

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

And This Is Why I Am In Trouble

I made bean soup, the girls' favorite meal, for their birthday yesterday. Only Aaron isn't a fan of the soup. Melina usually eats it happily.

Yesterday evening, when Melina came to the table to eat dinner, she looked at the meal that I had set at her place. Her lip started to quiver, and she put her head down. I saw a few tear drops hit the floor, and I had no idea what the problem was.

Me: Melina, what is wrong?
Melina: I didn't want bean soup. I wanted pasta.
Me: But you love bean soup. What's wrong with the bean soup?
Melina: If I drop the bean soup on my dress, it will stain.

Apparently, Melina is more concerned with fashion than with food. God help me.