Tuesday, December 1

Life's a parade!

Just a reminder for everyone in the Lincoln area that the Star City Parade is on Saturday!!!!! WHOOO!! I love the parade though it is always soooo COLD!! Almost without fail!! ;D

Anyway, if you are planning on going I may see you there!! Have a great time!!! :D

DECEMBER 1ST!! :D Yippppeeee!!!

I have to say, I do love the Christmas season!! ***Happy sigh*** !!

The kids are in the room singing to Christmas music on the radio...!! Too sweet!! I'm all up~and~at'em since my friend Lisa and I are having a contest to earn points and ultimately to win free dessert!! We get bonus points if we get up, showered and dressed before 8 am.... ! It's a good motivator to get out of bed in the cold winter mornings!!

I hung our Advent Cups out last night and I LOVE them! They are so pretty! :D The children were thrilled to come downstairs and hunt for the first one and happily shared out the jelly beans!! Today's "event" is to go to Super Target (dun duh duh duuuuuuh!!) and get "Zappers" so the children can "zap" the toys and gifts they like and make an online list for friends and family. Part of me worries that they will be greedy and just blindly ZAP everything but whenever we have done this in the past, they always impress me with how considered they are and everything they pick is something they really like. Also I'm always surprised how they don't even think about it once the list is made... the best fun for them is simply the zapping! They hardly even think that they might actually get something afterwards!! ;D

Well I suppose I should get to work... lots of invoicing to do today, ugh... and it's bill paying day, just remembered.. : ( Boo. Ah well.... I'll get them done!! Also library van day....!!! Glad I got up early!! ;D

Sunday, November 29

Only make this if you have company coming or will be giving some to friends!!!

Oh man!! I made this at Thanksgiving and I've made it before a few times, but honestly, if you don't have someone else to share them with… well, I'm just warning you, you will eat them all. You won't be able to help yourself!!!


PS….. Here I would usually add a photo….. but we ate them all…..!!! ( the bars, not the photos! Silly!!)


Merry Berry Cheese Bars from Eagle Family Foods, Inc.


2 cups unsifted lour

1 ½ cups oats

¾ cup + 1 tbsp firmly packed brown sugar

1 cup butter, softened

1 ( 8oz) package cream cheese, softened


1 (14 oz) can Condensed Milk

¼ cup Lemon Juice

1 (16oz) can whole berry cranberry sauce

2 tbsp corn starch


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. With mixer beat flour, oats, ¾ cup sugar and butter until crumbly. Set aside 1 ½ cups mixture, press remaining mixture on bottom of greased 13 x 9 inch baking pan. Bake 15 mins or until lightly browned.

With mixer beat cheese until fluffy. Gradually beat in condensed milk until smooth, stir in Lemon juice. Spread over baked crust. Combine cranberry sauce, corn starch and remaining 1 tbsp sugar. Spoon over cheese layer. Top with remaining crumb mixture.

Bake 45 mins or until golden. Cool and cut into bars. Refrigerate leftovers. The recipe suggests you cut these into large bars and serve with ice cream (!! Are you KIDDING me?!? ) but they are sooo rich that I cut them into 2" squares and we devour them unadulterated!

Christmas is coming… apparently!! ;D

Thanksgiving's over…. You know what comes next !! ; D


EVERY YEAR I am blindsided by Christmas !!! EVERY SINGLE YEAR !! Each year I VOW that this time I'll be on top of it, gifts bought, cake made, cards HOMEMADE, written and mailed by November's end. Um…. Have you noticed today's date?!? Yah. Have I done ANYTHING from my list yet??? Nope !!! LOL!! I guess I'll have to get cracking in the next ONE DAY I have before November ends. I don't know about where you live, but here in the Central time zone, the hours run three times faster in December!!


Anyway, griping over!


The children and I did have a super time recently building Babylon from a piece of Styrofoam and Lego pieces!! I wrote about it for the Online Examiner and included tons of pics….. Please feel free to check it out! I'm actually quite pleased with this article and we really enjoyed the project! It came up from nothing since Jack had this really neat piece of Styrofoam that reminded me of Aztec homes… I looked up images of Aztec homes and then realized that actually Babylonia was more like it!! I read more about Babylon to the kids and we remembered reading about the Hanging Gardens of Babylon…. And so it went on!! Bunny trails they call it!! ;D Anyway, if you read the article you'll see what I mean! ;D


So today is bright and sunny ( oh yeahy!!!! ) and 48 degrees outside!! I will no doubt be cajoled into a walk with the dogs and kiddoes before too long and I'm going to make the most of it whilst we still can! I keep threatening the kids with … you should play NOW…. It's going to get COLDER soon!! ;D But hey, it's the end of November and yesterday the temps were in the 70's….. WHAT is going on?!!?!? Here in Nebraska they have a saying.. "If you don't like the weather, wait 15 minutes… it will change!!!" I have honestly seen days that have been 80 degrees one day and SNOW on the ground the next !!! CrrrrrAAAAAzy!! ;D


Well folks, I suppose I should get back to the chores… right?? The kitchen is a disaster, the living / dining / bath/ basement / bed rooms are ALL disasters…..and Mum is flying in two weeks today!!!! ;D Aie aie aie!!!

Hold on tight folks, it's a slippery slope from here!! ;D



Thursday, November 26

Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!!!

I hope everyone had a lovely Thanksgiving!! I spent the entire day prior and the entire day OF Thanksgiving in the kitchen, but luckily a) I like my little kitchen and b) I had Miss Jessie to help me! She made the cranberry sauce, helped make pumpkin muffins for breakfast, set the table for dinner and basically was a super big help today! She kept telling me " I LOVE Thanksgiving!!" Awwww!!! Jack was hilarious! Rex was taking a short video at the dinner table and Jack waved at the camera and said "Hello!! I'm eating yummy food!!" LOL!!! He'll eat ANYTHING but it's a great day when anyone compliments my cooking!!! So anyway, a lovely day was had by all, our Thankful Tree is full of leaves and our bellies are full of "Yummy Food!" ( The fridge is ALSO full of yummy food so I guess I won't have to worry about dinner for the next week or two..!! LOL!!!

We are thankful for so many things, big and small.... Jessie said "I'm glad we have a good home and a fair amount of money" !!! She cracks me up!!!

Jessie made this adorable owl to sit in our tree this year.... I LOVE it!!!!

Watch out folks..... we know it's full steam ahead to Christmas now!!! ;D Whoooo wooooooooo!! ;D

Friday, November 20

Another odd phone call today!! ;D

So this afternoon I answer the phone, this time thinking it's my boss, only to have a small voice ask "Is this the Guinness Book of World Records??" Being a pedantic so~and~so and having a suspicion that this might be a friend of my daugher's I of course answered "Yes it is!!" and this little voice said "What is the size of the World's Smallest Pencil?" LOL!!!!! I was a little flummoxed and had to admit I had no idea!! I asked who was calling and determined it was a little boy named Dillon. ( I don't KNOW any one named Dillon!! ) I asked what town he was calling from and he said a nearby small town in Nebraska. I then asked him how he got this number and he said "I just Googled 'Guinness Book of World Records phone number".....! And MY number was on there?!?!!? LOL!! Sure enough, I Googled the same thing and there it was ! My phone number!! Bold as you like!! ;D LOL!! I guess I need to brush up on my world records!!! He and I decided that the world's smallest pencil couldn't be TOO small or you wouldn't be able to write with it !!! ; D

Just a quickie! ;D

I just answered the phone thinking it might be my Mum since I'd just sent her an email with my First Online Examiner Parenting Post ( wow!! Subtle segue eh?!? ) and I was expecting she might be calling to heap on the praise!! ( Isn't that one of the reasons we love our Mummies??? ) but no... it was not. It was a recorded message from Windstream phone company asking ME to call an 800 number so they could try and sell me another phone package !!!!!!!! WHAT!?!? The NERVE!!! Now I have to TELEMARKET MYSELF!??!!? Talk about a troubled economy!! ;D LOL!!!

Sunday, November 8

Update! ;D

Hello Folks! ;D

I'm making time for my writing amongst all the chaos and hoopla of daily life around here! A Quick Update for now and more later, of course! :D

Firstly, ... hmmm... where to start.... Well the good news is my Mum is coming over for Christmas!! I'm so thrilled as we had all thought she wouldn't be able to come this year and it really just isn't Christmas without family around. The children are excited too and my new British friends are also chuffed to bits as it means she can bring us a stash of goodies from home!!! ( chocolate, some chocolate, and more chocolate!! ;D )

We lost our sweet Minnie dog to a car accident a couple of weeks ago.... she was hit right outside out house and died quickly. I was amazed at the depth of our pain at her loss. What a sweet, sweet soul she had and what a great hole in our lives she has left. We have had her cremated and her ashes remain on the mantle for the time being. We plan to scatter them along the paths where we walked...but not just yet...

The children are doing marvelously! I've taken on a part time job working from home... only, as anyone who works from home knows, part time turns into full time in no time!! :D Jessie has declared more than once that she hates my job and Jackster sure knows how to pick his moments of mass destruction and mayhem to coincide neatly with any work calls I may be trying to complete! I have learned to share my time with my job and the children as much as possible and have taken the time to sit and watch re runs of The Gilmore Girls with Jessie as we eat our lunch. She loves the quality time we spend and it has become our little tradition to do together. The other day I was sitting staring at the small screen, pulling my hair and cursing through gritted teeth.... she walked up to the computer, turned off the monitor, took my hand and led me to the couch. "Gilmore Girls Time..." she said..... smart kid that one!

So basically, to sum up, life is rocketing along nicely! I'm STUNNED it's November already... what happened to the blazing summer heat?!? oh wait... yeah... it was in the 70's today....!! Nebraska weather... I'll never get used to it..!! We are all doing well! I'm planning on volunteering with the children at the Cat House in Lincoln...! We have orientation on Wednesday.... ahem...... we'll see how it goes, shall we!!?!?

Anyway, lovely to be back! Hope you are all fit and well and avoiding the dreaded H1N1 .... Can't wait to catch up again soon....

Mustache....!!! : )


Sunday, July 26

Hope is the thing with feathers.


Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul,
And sings the tune--without the words,
And never stops at all,

And sweetest in the gale is heard;
And sore must be the storm
That could abash the little bird
That kept so many warm.

I've heard it in the chillest land,
And on the strangest sea;
Yet, never, in extremity,
It asked a crumb of me.

Emily Dickinson

This post is a little different from my usual posts. For a long time I followed the story of a friend's daughter's battle with leukemia. Her mother would post updates online, through the Caring Bridge Network. We journeyed together to the present day where Chloe is now finished with her therapy and is making great and positive strides to good health. Sadly this is not the case for many children and one little girl especially has become dear to me. Anika Wilke was diagnosed with leukemia at 22 months of age. After enduring more than two years of chemo she was free of cancer.....three years later it came back. Next Saturday will be Anika's ninth birthday. Her parents are hoping she lives long enough to see it, but they know the cancer has her now. The doctors have told her family that she will not survive. All they can do is try to manage her pain. Her family would love to have her come home for just one day but it doesn't look as if that will happen...

Anika's story is obviously heart breaking and the worst of it is still to come. It makes me feel so very grateful for the health of my own nine year old girl. Life is so fickle and so hard for some people. I'm so thankful for the life I am fortunate enough to lead and I wish for peace for Ani and her family. I can NOT imagine their pain.

Jessie and I want to send Anika a little something for her birthday. Apparently anything pink would go down really well with her! You can't go wrong with pink! If you felt so inclined, this is Anika's address.

Anika Wilke
c/o Banksia Ward, level 3 Woolworths building
Royal Children's Hospital
Herston Road
Brisbane Qld 4029

Here is the link to the Caring Bridge Network for Ani.....


Thanks for reading.

Sunday, July 12

I am so AWESOME!! :D

OK, so I'm not so awesome at keeping a blog frequently updated but that's ok.... it's mine and I like it ....!! I AM awesome at this biking thing !!! My friend and I biked TWENTY FIVE MILES this evening !!! TWENTY FIVE !!! and I didn't puke!!!!!! LOL!!! This may not seem like a parenting post, but you know what, it totally is. This bike riding is making me a MUCH better parent. I'm getting two nights a week ( or two blocks of hours a week ) to myself.... I get to visit with my friend, get lots of exercise and amaze myself at my endurance!! This leads to me being a much calmer, happier and more patient parent.

We are working our way up to a goal of 100 miles in one day and 1000 miles by next June in time for the BRAN. It's so empowering to have a goal to work towards. I've started setting smaller goals for myself... some are worthy ( keep all the laundry out of the baskets and off my floor!) and others maybe not so much ( get a gold star in Bejeweled Blitz....!!) but by setting myself goals of various sizes I get to have something to aim at....and by setting smaller ones I get to achieve something quickly and easily as I am working on my bigger goals. It's very satisfying!! I read recently about a young girl who has chosen to set herself a goal of climbing 14 peaks of 14,000 feet by her 14th birthday!! What fun!!! I have asked Jessie to think of some goals she would like to achieve and am keen to hear her responses. Goal setting gives us direction, a focus, a point on the horizon to steer at without which we are just treading water, waiting for the tide to carry us wherever it may.

I can not end this quick post without mentioning my hubby and kids and their contribution to my efforts! Rex has been so supportive.... he readily picks up supplies for me that are indispensable for my rides... he's bought me books to read on cycling for women, he buys me all the Gatorade I can handle.... he has fixed my tires, helped me figure out trail maps, filed my brakes, but most importantly he has encouraged me to ride, he takes care of the children, he puts them to bed, he lets me sleep in. He's my SAG support and my kids are my cheering squad. I love 'em all to bits! :D

Monday, June 29

Where have I been all my life?!? :D

I've recently awoken from a deep sleep. A looooong deep sleep. I feel as if my eyes are open and my arms are stretched out to embrace life to the fullest. Recent events have unfolded before me ... I finally got together with "The New Lisa" .... remember? from Waaay Back?? I'd met her in Hobby Lobby in 2007 and it is only recently that we finally got together!! Since getting together though we have made a plan to ride in the Bike Ride Across Nebraska in 2010! It's about 500 miles!!! My bike was found on a dump and I was not much of a rider !!! Within the space of a little over a week we have ridden a 10 mile ride through the Lincoln trails, participated in the Trail Trek ( another 10 miles ) and we plan on doing a 20 mile ride this weekend. On our Trail Trek Lisa's friend, Michelle came along and I made a new friend.

Lately Farrah Fawcett died as did Michael Jackson, Ed McMahon and Billy Mays. My friend suddenly lost her father, a relative was diagnosed with a "cherry" aneurysm in her brain... all on the same day. Life suddenly started looking really short. Getting together with Lisa, taking on the challenge of the BRAN, meeting new friends like Michelle and Elayne, another new friend who loves to Geocache and sew... it's opening up my life. Lisa speaks Spanish and has SWORN to teach me! She also wants to play guitar so she and I are going to get lessons together. Elayne plays SAX !!! Finally! I have found a friend who can play Sax and she has already been able to get me started on it! I've had it years and not got a note out of it, suddenly I can play at least TEN !!! LOL!! It's a HUGE start !! A friend of Rex's is a drummer in a band !! NO WAY !!!!! Someone to teach me DRUMS!?!??! How AWESOME is that?!?! I am hoping to sign up for a class next month on Sailing and Kayaking! It sounds such FUN!! Lisa has a friend who shoots clay and I'd LOVE to try that, so I'm pumping her for info so I can have a go !! Another friend of Rex's has a handgun I'd love to take out to a shooting range and play with !! Last time I shot any targets I was pretty dang good at it! I'd like to prove to myself it wasn't some sort of fluke !!! I'm making something of a bucket list I suppose! Here's what it looks like so far...

*Learn to play the guitar
*Learn to play the Sax
*Learn to play the drums
*Learn Spanish
*Ride the BRAN
*Learn to Sail
*Try Clay shooting
*Fire a gun at a shooting range
*Ride a motorcycle
*Race a car on a race track
*learn to fly a plane
*ride in a hot air balloon
*learn to Ski
*get a tattoo (a reeeeaaally small one!! )
*get my nose pierced
.... and more and more and more ......!!!

I can see so many of these things if not all of them as totally do~able. The funny thing about them is the more I sense their possibility the more things fall into place to make them happen!! :D I'm trying to open myself up to new situations, new possibilities and see where they lead me!! Look how just meeting new people has totally opened up a new WORLD that was there, hidden behind my once closed eyes!!
I haven't seen the movie "Yes Man" with Jim Carrey, but I feel like I am him... I'm trying to say YES to the situations that come my way, thrilled to meet new people, enter new situations, try new things....!! Yes yes yes!!!!!

Where have I been all my life!?!? Right here. Where am I going?!!? Anywhere I can!! : D

Tuesday, June 16


Well, all I can say is the earth MUST be flat, otherwise how would it be SOOO easy for me to fall off it like that!! : D My problem comes mostly with photographs. I have SOOO many pictures I want to share with you and the constant resizing and farting about with them to get them on my blog is very waring. tsk.

Anyway, we're all good over here... well most of us anyway. We lost two of our pets rats in one day.... there's more to that story but I'll have to remember to tell it some other time.... We've been doing lots of geocaching and have been working hard trying to find a bicycle situation that will work for Jack. Speaking of Jack he's driving me mad too!!! Today started off terribly but by the end of it seemed to have smoothed out some what. I have set the children on to chores... and they LOVE them the goofy kids! Who knew kids would fight over who gets to clean the toilets?!!? Jack is a star about chores and seems to relish the responsibility of it all. Bless him! He emptied all the trash cans, cleaned all the toilets, vacuumed the living and dining room, set the table for dinner (with drinks) and cleared the table afterwards! Jessie has done two loads of laundry today ( washed, dried and folded ) made a salad for dinner and helped clear and wash the dishes. I feel like a slave driver but I LOVE that they are learning to take responsibility for things and I am happy to be getting things done in the house!! Anyway, with the responsibility of the chores Jack really did seem to relax a lot. He does need to be kept productive I think. I do him a disservice by not keeping him busy enough. He went to bed, with no argument, at 7:30 and was fast asleep before 8:00. A Good Day....!! ;D

I've been trying to work out on my Wii Fit ( but have slacked off lately and now I have guilt.... gah!!! ) I rediscovered the joy of Vitamin B this afternoon and think the lack of it may have been a huge contributing factor to my feeling terrible lately. I've been sooooo tired ALLL the time. I can sleep all day long and wake up exhausted!!! What's THAT about?!!? I took a vitamin B this afternoon and am amazed to find myself feeling quite alert now.... of course I've just realised that instead of sitting on my warm and Oh So Comfy recliner, I am typing on the computer which would naturally leave me more awake, but heck, I FEEL better!! ' D

Anyway, I'm really busy with lots of little things here and there... I'm hoping to catch up with more friends over the summer, and I also want to try taking cuttings from my rose bushes and rooting them! ( I accidentally typed Rotting just then. Hmm.... very telling! )

I'm going to go and make a cup of tea and revel in my cleaner and tidier house ( we'll all ignore the kitchen shall we?!!? ) and then I'm going to try for an early night! ; D

It's good to be back! : D


Monday, May 25

Memorable Memorial Monday!

I took the children, backpacks crammed with picnic goodies and all our bikes to Pioneer's Park today! It was a gorgeous day and the park was full of people celebrating Memorial day. The air was filled with the smell of grilling and the plink of baseball bats meeting baseballs. We biked for MILES and I'm so proud of the children's stamina!! Jack began to grow weary near the end and made several attempts to coax us into stopping and picnicking at every opportunity, but really considering the heat, the terrain and the fact they are kids, I think they did wonderfully! ;D I didn't stop at simply bike riding either!! Once we'd returned to our start point we loaded the bikes into the van and then set off hiking!!! We stopped off at one of the nature centers for a potty break, to get new pencils, pet a couple of snakes and play some games, then headed out the other side of the building to continue on our adventure. We saw Elk headed for a swim, Geese and Goslings, a Blue Bird, fish, frogs and all manner of wild life. I'd signed up for a Waymarking site and we searched out some particular monuments to log on the site. We spent literally hours at the park and I KNOW the kids will sleep like LOGS!!!! ( I HOPE they sleep like logs!! )

For now, here are some pics... I need to go and do a quick tick search and then put the grubby kiddoes into a nice cool bath!! ;D


Jack needed a helping hand on some of the hills!!!




Jack watching an ant on a tree trunk!! ( The tree turned out to have a hollow limb that was home to at least one angry wasp....!! )


Jessie kept an eye on the bird population!


Jack took his little bug net and tried to swipe a few critters to study!


Finally time to stop for the picnic! You may not be able to tell in these pics, but the kids were SHATTERED!!!




Once the bikes were back in the van it was time for the hiking part of our program!!



Sandals and mulch don't work too well.....!!!



Jack LOVED this drinking fountain!! ;D


We really enjoyed this suspension bridge! It was great fun to make it swing and jump! The kids hated LOVED it.....ahem.....!!!


Here Jack and Jessie are pondering just what may have made the rather large, deep hole in the ground! My money was on Man Eating Scorpions, but they weren't having any of that!!!


A lovely day all round! Only Ice Cream could have improved it!! ;D

Sleep well???

Oh my! Another long night! I went to bed late as I stayed up to wait for the laundry to finish in the dryer, then I folded it rather than leave it to wind up a crumpled mess. Naturally just as I was getting done the dog needed to go out, then puppy needed to go out and was AGES pottering about...I finally got upstairs about one ish, then about one thirty the puppy started barking her head off downstairs. I got up and hissed at her to shaaaddd upppp!!! I went to the bathroom, came back to bed, settled under the covers and snuggled into my pillow.... and she started barking again. I got up, hissed at her to be quiet and went back to bed ( noting at the same time, that one of the children sounded restless.....) It was a really hot night and all the windows in the house were open so as I lay down and settled under the covers and snuggled into the pillow I was not surprised to hear the roar of a train and then the relentless wail of the horn. I lay awake for a while before finally getting back to sleep. At about 3 the puppy came upstairs and started mantling about in the bedroom. I patted the bed and called her to jump up but she didn't and eventually she left again. I settled down under the covers and snuggled into my pillow and was just settling down to sleep when the cat started clawing at the door frame. I sat up and hissed at him to STOOOOOP IIIIIIIIITTTT!!!! Lay back down, settled under the covers and snuggled into my pillow. I had just closed my eyes when the cat started up WOWLING. "wwwwWWWoooooOOOOOOlllllLLLLL".... in the hallway, right outside the kid's rooms. AAAAGGGHHHH!!!! I got up, snatched up the wowling cat and shoved him down the stairs, closing the door behind him. I went back to the bathroom, came back to bed, settled down under the covers and snuggled into the pillow. No sooner were my eyes closed when I heard a scritch scratching at the door at the top of the stairs. Next thing the cat comes hurtling sideways into the room on his tip toes with his tail jauntily raised over his back. He skittered around the room, attacking socks, pants, books, rugs, anything that caught his eye. He scarpered out of our room, belted back down the hallway towards the kids room, made a fast U turn and shot off into the bathroom. He leaped up on the counter, back down, out the bathroom, back into our room, caught up a sock and killed it with his deathly claws.... rampage rampage......I got out of bed, SWOOPED him up and brought him into bed with me. Hubby sleepily reached out to pull back the covers for me. I scowled in the darkness at the cat and said "Now just lie down and shut the hell up will you!!!" ...."Me???" Rex asked sleepily !! I held onto the cat as he struggled wild eyed and batshit crazy. Clearly he wasn't going to go to sleep. I got up, carried his crazed ass all the way down to the basement where I rather unceremoniously shut him in. Sigh. I came all the way back upstairs, went to the bathroom AGAIN ( I don't know what's wrong with me! ) climbed back into bed,settled under the covers, snuggled into my pillow and closed my eyes. Suddenly there was a strange sound and Rex jumped out of bed. "What was THAT!?!" he asked. Ugh. It was the garbage trucks. It was 5am and a holiday weekend, but apparently it's necessary for the garbage trucks to come and empty those gigantic roll off things. Yeah. Those are quiet. Rex closed the window and got back into bed. I settled under the covers and snuggled into my pillow. I was just drifting off to sleep when I was assaulted by a pair of underpants to the eye. Next a pair of shorts, a T shirt and a small boy took umbrage on my head, legs and nipples respectively. Now, my son is six and it's been many a moon since I nursed him,but still he manages to cause my nipples injury. As a rather small breasted woman I am constantly surprised by the child's particular skill of stepping on, leaning on and other wise compressing my nippular regions. Sigh. Again. My dear husband suggested that my son get up and get dressed and go downstairs leaving "Poor Mommy" to sleep. They went off downstairs together, I settled under the covers, snuggled into my pillow and closed my eyes.... only I was too hot. I dragged myself blearily to the window and threw it back open, went back to my bed, settled under the covers, snuggled into my pillow and drifted off to sleep....... for about 2 hours.......

Tired much!??!?! : D

Thursday, May 21

How to AP Parent a boy who won't be AP Parented and other such piffle...!!!

Well I'm not going to mention how much time has passed since my last confession blog post!! It's been a while, I've been busy, let's leave it at that!!

Moving on! ;D

Our weather has suddenly grown magnificent and I find myself spending as much time out in it as I can. I also find myself encouraging the children to be out in it whilst I remain indoors, in the cool and the peace and quiet. Yes. It's like that.

Jackster is proving to be problematic. Oh I know, we aren't really surprised by this are we? After all, he is a boy, he is nearly 7 and he is hampered in his lack of communication and social skills due to his Down's. I've finally come to the conclusion that I can not parent him the way I parented Jessica. It just won't work that way. That has been my problem I think. I have tried to parent both children in the same way and they are as different as chalk and cheese. Jessie longs to please and always has. She wants to hold my hand, be polite, be helpful and kind. Jack ... not so much. Jack seems to feel no compunction what so ever to make me happy and seems sometimes to be TRYING to make people crazy! Awkward doesn't seem to cover it sometimes!! Awkward and stubborn!! As I said, I have reached a difficult conclusion and that is I have been too soft on him. I've been parenting him incorrectly. With Jessie I could reason with her. I could make suggestions, encourage, discuss.... with Jack he doesn't care for reasoning, ignores suggestions, yells at me and talks over me when I try to encourage and is as likely to threaten "'Mack you?!" if I want to discuss something with him. Ergo my thought that he needs to be parented a tad more firmly. What we have tried, and what seems to be working for Jack, is a zero tolerance approach. OK, not Zero, perhaps one ! A One Tolerance approach!!! We have found that "suggesting" something to Jack doesn't work. We now TELL something to Jack. He gets choices when it's reasonable, but only when it's reasonable. For instance, at the dentist recently. I'd sent the kids in with the dental tech and waited in the waiting room for them. I had to speak to someone about my insurance so was near the door to the surgery. I peeked in through the window..... Jessie was in the chair getting her teeth done and Jack was on the floor playing whilst a dental assistant stood by looking frustrated. I popped my head in and asked if they WANTED him to be playing or were they wanting him to do something else. They said they wanted him to have his X rays, but he was busy playing! They had asked him "Jack, do you want to go and get your teeth X rayed now?!!!" I told them to say "Jack, it's time for your X rays now." They did. He got up and went with them to the X ray room! ;D Like magic!! If I tell Jack he needs to do something or to stop something he gets one chance to do it. If he doesn't do it I will remind him again, if still nothing, then he will have to go and sit in the corner until he is ready to do what he was asked. I do all this as calmly and gently as possible, but also, firmly. No messing. I have also found if he asks me, say, for more ice cream, and I say no, and he continues to whine and beg for more I tell him as reasonably as possible that he has had some ice cream, he is not going to have any more just now and I will no longer be discussing it as it is non negotiable. He may continue to beg or whine on, but I refuse to even acknowledge his whining and he soon tires of it. I have already noticed that the whining is lessened. A huge part of our problem stems from my tendency to baby him and side with him due to his Down's. He has been able to get away with a lot more poor behaviour than his sister ever did mostly because she was so easy to parent. With Jack I would do everything I did with Jessie and it wouldn't work. I'd get so worn out trying to get him to do as he was told that I would eventually just give up and let him do what ever the hell he wanted just so I could get some peace.

Wrong wrong wrong.

Yeah, I know that now. Anyway, happily I think there is still hope for us here. I'm going to try treading this tougher, unused path and see what gives. It feels hard as I don't like being tough on him, BUT I don't like him being so mean and rude.

Wish me luck folks, it's a new and steep learning curve for me! I'm going to need some new climbing boots!! ;D

Thursday, May 7

May Day! May Day! ;D

Ah hah hah hah....!! :D

Yes yes, May is here, May the ....um......SEVENTH no less, and I have once again forsaken thee for the fast and loose state of Iowa and the headiness of the Ice Cream Capital of the WORLD.... (again!) We went to Iowa last weekend and met up with the FABULOUS Alicia. We went to a lovely park to eat sandwiches and play, then we came back to the Ice Cream Capital of the WORLD and had HUGE and FABULOUS ice creams, THEN we went back to their motel and swam for a while THEN we collected our cares and woes and VICTORIA and headed back to our house! ;D Victoria is staying with us for a while and we are all having a really fun time together! ;D We've been for lots of walks, played at the park, learned long division, made a human cell (or rather a representation of one made with Jello and candies!! ) We've been to the library van, shopped at the store, built tents, practiced multiplication tables, played Wii, learned how to burn wood with a magnifier and the sun, identified birds, practiced bird calls, found a bunny tail ( :( ) planted pansies, made a scrapbook, done chore sticks, tried on prom dresses, played with make~up, made cards, played Hyperdash, made some time~lapse movies, ridden bikes and this morning we are going to bake a cake and this afternoon we are going to visit a friend's farm. I have still to make good on my promise to take the girls to a mall, Toria wants to teach us some of her soccer drills and Jessie and Toria have asked if they can host a party in the basement!!!! We're pretty busy around here right now!! :D I have lots of photos to post and will do so momentarily! I also need to share some photos from when Jessie and her cousin Megan went shopping for flower girl dresses! Oh MY how my little girl is growing up! :D

So I'll bid you adieu! I need to go and get dressed!! The girls have showered, had breakfast, got dressed, taught the dog some tricks and are now outside putting up another tent. LOL!! It's amazing how having an eleven year old suddenly in your life can wear a person OUT!! ;D It's like they are moving at three times my speed!!!!

Photos to follow.... Enjoy!!! More soon! I promise!! :D





Ice Cream Parlor!


The kids love the Giant Ice Cream Cone!


Jackster in the pool .... obviously!!

Victoria reminding me of Esther Williams...!

Annalee and her baby brother!

All the kids in the pool!


Growing up Glamorous!

Smiling girls!

Thursday, April 30

The Power of Imagination! ;D

Has anyone here read Llama Llama Mad at Mama?? It's a wonderful story about a little Llama who HATES going to the grocery store and has a temper tantrum. His Mama is a really AP Mama and she sorts it all out. This book has saved Jack's tiny heiny more than once and this past Tuesday was no exception although THIS time what we came up with was, in my humble opinion, nothing short of genius!! ;D Jack and I were alone in SUPER TARGET!!! ( dun duh duh duuuuun!!!! ) and we were doing OK until I started to check out sun visors and got into the "compare and contrast" mode that I am likely to get into if I am considering buying anything a) I may not really NEED and b) that costs more than $5 !! Jack took off running and came back with a tub of Ice Cream. Peanut Butter Chocolate Caramel Swirl or some such flavor! Now, Jack had NOT been a very pleasant boy all morning but on the way to the store we had listened to NPR's classical music and he fell asleep in a flash. Having had a nap he was a lot more personable and I ALMOST got the ice cream. It was super cheap BUT it was super CHEAP! I made the mistake of checking out the ingredients ( yes, I'm one of THOSE shoppers....! ) and put it hastily back on the shelf. Jack took off again a while later and returned bearing a large container of Cottage Cheese. Hmm... I asked him if he knew what Cottage Cheese IS and he indicated his uncertainty. We returned that to the shelves too. I began to get the notion that possibly Jack wasn't enjoying this shopping trip as perhaps he might, so I came up a cunning plan...!!! We would PRETEND to shop!!! ;D Every time Jack saw something he wanted to buy he would PRETEND to put it in the cart!!! We picked out juice, cheese, puddings, pies, cakes, pizzas, toys, games, flowers, candy.... so much stuff that we couldn't see around the top of the cart and Jack had to help me push!!!! He helped unload all the pretend stuff at the checkout and the checkout lady was amazed at all we had purchased!!! I was pretty pleased at the price!! 'D Jack helped me push the cart back to the van and helped me unload all the pretend groceries into the trunk!!

Happy Jack = Happy Mama.....!!

Genius I tell ya, Genius. !! ;D

Tuesday, April 28

Who's afraid of Long Division!?!? :D

Do YOU know what 12 billion, 984 million, 635 thousand, 786 divided by 7 is?!?!?! :D Jessie does!!! :D LOL!! We'd been working on long division for a few days on and off and Jessie HATED it. She had decided she was a numb skull and would actually cry in frustration about it. Poor lamb. :( I tried all sorts of things including using pretty colors and virtual pies, counting blocks and imaginary apples, but to no avail. It just wouldn't seem to stick..... until now!! I remembered the Living Math forum on Yahoo groups. I used to get their mail every day ( that's a LOT of math mail for a non math geek like myself...) and I distinctly remember seeing an enormous math problem the moderator had given her daughter to work on. I realised that Jessie's problem was simply a lack of repetition! The long division problems she was attempting were not long enough!! If they are too short her brain has to flit from one problem to the next without being allowed time to absorb the process. I wrote out an enormous long division problem for her and told her not to panic. She used her multiplication chart to help her out and away she went. She did balk initially, but soon found she was getting the hang of it and you haven't SEEN excited until your daughter leaps up and down squealing with pride and delight at mastering such a seemingly impossible challenge!!! Natually she begged for more!! :D I had to tell her I wouldn't write her ANY MORE huge questions last night and she had to go to bed and rest but I promised I would write more in the morning... sure enough the girl was still in her nightie and not even fed yet when she came to me, pen and pencil in hand, begging for another question!!!!


So, I guess we don't need to do any more homeschool for another six weeks or so now!! ;D ( Just kidding Mum....!! ) LOL!!!!

Initial attempts with color...

Loooooong division!

Tuesday, April 21

Hello again! :D

It's not you, it's me. I've been like this with everyone lately! :D I MEAN to write, I have lots to say, but I think it's going to take me too long to get it all down and I never feel I have enough time .... so I put it off. Meanwhile MORE stuff happens and I get behind .... ugh. So.. this is it! Time to put off putting off... ( in all honesty I have TONS of laundry I need to do so blogging is my way of putting THAT off instead!!! LOL!! )

Here goes!!

Firstly I know you'll be wondering about this, hubby still doesn't have a job BUT we are amazingly pretty positive about it all. I'm surprised how well we have adapted and how smoothly things are going so far.

We spent Easter weekend painting and decorating Jessie's bedroom, the old nursery. She and Jack had shared a room for years but we recently asked her if she would like her own room and she thought it was a great idea. We LOVE her new room... and we REALLY love the CLOSET best!!! Oh to be a kid again and have a room like this one! ;D LOL!!

Here are a couple of before and after pics! : D

This is the room after we had cleared out all the baby stuff that was in there...

The closet as it was...

Jack helping with the painting! Note the ingenious paint bucket! :D

Here Jessie and I are demonstrating the Bump hubby and I drew on the wall as I was pregnant. We drew around my belly every month or so...! It's pretty cute! ;D

Some more pics......

This gives you an idea of what the room looks like... I don't really have a wide enough angled lens to get a good shot of the whole thing!!

Here are some shelves in her closet....

Shelves above the desk we made for her....

Hanging space...!

We've since added a bead curtain in the closet doorway....!! I LOVE her room!! ;D LOVE it!! :D

Next... Jack's room...!! I still need to plan some more on that one though!! Jessie's was really easy!!

Ok so other than that, what else have we been up to?? Well, there's always laundry of course...and dog walking...!! We went for a walk yesterday and as we walked Jessie looked down and gasped **OH!!! An OWL PELLET!!** sure enough! It was!! We looked closely at it and saw lots of fur and bones. As we looked further we saw evidence of many more tiny bones scattered around. We didn't have anything to pick it up with and as I was walking three dogs in one hand and pulling leash attached to a bike upon which sat a very heavy boy in the other I didn't feel I could do much with it at the time. We went home and Jessie raved to her Daddy about it. Together they walked back to the footpath, this time armed with plastic bags. They gathered up what they could find and brought it all home. Jessie then spent the evening dissecting it and speculating upon which wee beastie may have been dinner for the owl. We had noticed a huge owl on a previous walk a few days prior to the pellet discovery so now we know where it likes to eat!!! I think it was a Horned Owl, but could have been a Barred Owl... either way, it was a biggie!!!

Let's see... what else.... oh yes... sadly Shadow, our gerbil died yesterday. She was remarkably old and so it wasn't a surprise, but it was still sad as we did love her so and she was such a funny little thing. I took her out of her tank and held her so that Jack could see her and pet her. He said she was so soft... He sighed and said "ok.." when I said I was going to bury her. Jessie cried when we put her in the ground, but was mostly alright about it. She HAD just been cutting up Owl pellets... it sort of puts a perspective on things I suppose!

Jack learned an important physics lesson last week! We went for a bike ride and he headed downhill at top speed with his legs splayed out either side and the pedals FLYING under him! He was doing fine until he hit the curb at full speed, FLEW off the top of the bike and landed on his chin and knuckles. Oops. Jessie and I had been yelling for him to stop for sometime before the accident so I suppose that's just what happens. I'm really glad I had insisted he wear his helmet before we left the house. He's a LOT more cautious when riding now...!!

We bought some math game books recently, Fraction Jugglers and Number Jugglers, both by Ruth Bell Alexander. We got them used from Amazon.com. PLEASE be sure and check that the book you order comes complete with the number cards you need to play. Took me two tries to figure that out. Ahem. Anyway, they have really fun math games that can be played at any level and that encourage children to think differently about numbers. There are no right or wrong answers so children don't worry about trying different things...!! (ugh! Enter note of frustration here.. I can NOT concentrate at the moment so I can tell my thoughts sound scattered but I can't focus enough to fix it!!! Forgive me..!! Moving on...!!) For instance in one of the games you are encouraged to "Make 10"... you are dealt some cards and you need to use as many of your cards as possible to make 10. You could say 8+2= 10 OR better you could say 2+4+2-3+5 = 10 !! the idea of course is to get rid of your cards first. Children who are just learning math can use simple addition or subtraction, but the more advanced child can also use multiplication, division and so on and STILL BE PLAYING THE SAME GAME!! :D The books are a hit and I'm very glad I got them! ;D I WILL be looking for another copy of Number Jugglers WITH THE CARDS as we ended up having to make our own!! ;D

We've also been playing lots of Scrambled States of America, Webkinz quizzes, Wii, War, Scrabble and so on. Jessie has been working in her "office" ( closet! ) and doing some schooly stuff. We watched an awesome DVD from Netflix called The Human Machine which was amazing and taught us everything we needed to know and then some about the human body. One sad fact that stuck with me is that if we were to eat just 15 extra calories a day ( which is the same as only three pistachio nuts ) in a year we would put on a pound and a half in weight. Oh. Oh dear. That explained a LOT to me!!!

Anyway, there ya have it!! I had a few minutes while the children were playing relatively quietly and happily together and I was able to put together this hodge podge of a blog post for you! Now the children are squabbling ( really!?!? Oh that NEVER happens....!!) and the laundry has beeped some time ago and I know it's just wrinkling up in the dryer as I sit here... I ought to go.

It's been lovely to catch up... let's not leave it so long next time eh?! :D