Saturday, January 16

Hooray for the weekend!

A quiet and simple day today! I slept in this morning ( Whooo hooo! ) thanks to my lovely hubby and Wallace and Gromit!! I didn't get out of bed until 8:45. When I did get up it was due to yelling and fighting going on downstairs! Jack had been good for a couple of hours but for some reason did NOT want Jessie to feed the dogs so he shut her in the coat closet. Naturally she objected which resulted in Jack YELLING his head off. I came down and started the day by putting Jack in the corner until he felt he had calmed down and was ready to apologise. Hmmm. Took a while !! ;D Whilst he was in the corner I made him some toast and the MOMENT after he had finished it he seemed to flip and switch and was all nice and contrite. Bless him. I think his blood sugar really needs to be watched... it's so easy for him to get hungry and then just freak out!! Anyway, once he'd come out the corner and apologized he got to help me empty the dishwasher ( as he'd been mean to Jessie... "If you're mean, you clean" and then we did some spelling words "If you yell, you spell." He really enjoys doing both things and we get to spend some time together being nice and friendly. He didn't want to STOP spelling and he's really making great strides in spelling and reading now.

Daddy suggested we go out for lunch so we all got ready and went to The Two Twins Cafe for some delicious food. Whilst we were waiting Jack was in SUCH a lovely mood. We sat down next to a lady and Jack put his arm around my neck and hugged me, then he reached over to the lady, touched her gently on her shoulder and whispered "I love you" !! She was very touched! ;D As people got called to their tables we scooched closer to the maitre d' and we came upon another nice lady. Jack kindly invited her to sit with us! Unbeknownst to Jack the said Lady's date arrived and wondered at Jack sitting so close to her! When Jack and the date were introduced Jack stuck out his hand and said "Hey, Man!" !! LOL!!!! Funny kiddoe.

We had a really filling meal but it was delicious. Jessie shared her french fries with me and Jack helped Daddy eat his grilled cheese sandwich! At one point Jessie left the table to go to the bathroom and as I watched her walk away I was struck by how tall she is, how grown up she is, how beautiful she is. She doesn't get anywhere near the attention Jack does and I'm sure she feels left out by that, but boy, we sure do love the heck out of her. She is an enormous help to us and we are madly proud of the wonderful, smart and feisty young lady she is becoming. A young lady with the biggest heart and the warmest hugs any mother could ask for.

We spent the rest of the afternoon driving up to Omaha and back. We'd planned to attend an event but once there it didn't seem to be all that thrilling so we drove back home again!! Truth be told Rex just wanted to show me the enormous snow drifts that had caused the interstate to be closed last week. I was impressed!! ;D

You can see here where the plows had to cut THROUGH the drift... it's a WALL of snow! The black line you see is not the road, it's dirt etc from the FIRST snow...!! The snow had been that deep all the way across the lanes! I would NOT have wanted to be the plow driver at that point! Yowzah!

We drove home in the thickest fog

The picture below is as you drive into town... you can JUST make out the gas station on the left!!

As we arrived home we were greeted by two very chipper pooches, one of whom had left me a puddle of pee on my bedroom floor and an even MORE special surprise on Jessie's floor. *** hangs head and sighs *** If it's not the kids it's the blooming dogs. Tsk!! Anyhoo. After a dinner of baked potatoes, baked beans and cheese and a viewing (over and over again) of Wallace and Gromit in "A Matter of Loaf and Death" I took a weary Jack and an equally weary Jessie up to bed. I read Jack a book called The Story of Trains and it was WONDERFUL! I had only intended to read the first chapter but it was so interesting and contained such wonderful information we ended up reading the entire thing! I brought it downstairs so I could read it again to Jack tomorrow and when we get our timeline back up we'll make cards to show the evolution of the railways! If you have a child who enjoys trains I seriously suggest you look for this book at your library or better yet, buy yourself a copy!! ;D

Well I'm off to scrounge around for some yummy chocs I got from my Mummy in the mail yesterday!! I LOVE my Mummy!! ;D

How Now, Brown Cow?! :D

In the interest of sticking to my goal of one blog / examiner post a night I'm quickly posting a blog post now before I fall asleep in my chair! ;D

Good news! Jack was amazingly good today!! ;D Last year, or, heavens, it may have even been the year before that (!!) I bought the entire collection of "Draw Write Now" books. If you haven't seen them, you should! They are wonderful for little kiddoes to help them draw and write. Jack LOVES them and today he and I drew a cow!

We wrote the word "cow"

and later, with his magnet letters, we made the word cow!

(Please let it be known I was instructed to "make a crazy face" here!)

Jack also helped me feed the birds

and we spotted a woodpecker and a nuthatch who was chattering at us to hurry up and refil the suet as she was HUNGRY!!!

We took a trip to the pet supply store in the afternoon. Petsmart is one of the kiddies favorite stores and Jack looked ( and looked ) at the fish tanks. Jessie loves to look at the kitties or go and chat to the groomers and watch the dogs get haircuts, but all the cats were sleeping today and there was only one little dog getting a trim!

After the pet store, Super Target!! We got a little frazzled there as I was getting calls about work which were stressing me out, I had my coat on and was overheating and Jack did not want to leave the toy aisle... ( really??? You don't say!!) We negotiated a truce after I dragged him out the store and threatened to leave him in the car whilst we checked out!! He was very good after that and helped me pack the cart and load everything into the car! He was such a helpful sport. The rhymes really seem to be working. He does respond better to consequences!!

Jessie had a nice day I think! ;D She decided to give up the computer and daytime TV watching until the end of the month and so spent her day working on math problems, spelling lists, listening to music and reading books. She had rather too much enthusiasm in Super Target driving me nuts by skipping and leaping around, but, as she told her Dad... "How can anyone NOT skip in Super Target!! " On a good day I totally know what she means! ;D

Anyway, it's very late and I'm sooo tired! Sorry for the short and sweet post.. maybe more tomorrow.... who knows?!?! Until then, I think I need some hot chocolate....!! mmmmmmmmm!!!

Thursday, January 14

Winter is OVER!! Winter is OVER !! :D


Yesterday I was sitting working at my computer... again.... and I happened to glance at our weather station thingy. I had to glance more than twice before it registered what the outside temp was claiming to be...!!! 48 degrees. 48 degrees ABOVE freezing!!! Lately it's been 20 degrees BELOW freezing so I was AMAZED at what I was seeing!!! I hustled the kiddoes to the window CONVINCED I would see a squirrel sitting on the temperature gauge, but no.... it really was warm AND THE SNOW WAS MELTING!!! The kids and I put on our boots, coats and gloves, grabbed up the exhilarated dogs and we headed OUTDOORS for FUN!!!!

It was like emerging from a cocoon!

The sun felt so good on our faces, the sky was so BLUE!!

The snow glistened and glimmered, birds sang louder, trees seemed taller...!!

We looked around us as if we'd been kept underground for years....! It was so magical!!

We had a leisurely walk and it honestly felt odd to not be scurrying, muscles clenched against the cold, shoulders hunched against the wind... We STROLLED along the footpath. The melting snow had become perfect snowball snow, so naturally we had to have something of a snowball battle!

The children found an enormous pile of snow that the city had made with their huge plows! This pile became a fort, a mountain, a slide... a kiddie paradise!

Another drift formed a snowy bathtub!!

After about 30 minutes of snow play we slowly and happily headed back home,

reflecting and reminiscing about our fun walk! One WONDERFUL thing about Nebraska is smack in the middle of winter you can get fabulous days of warm sunshine and BLUE blue skies, just to lift your spirits so we can make it through until spring.

*** HAPPY SIGH!!!***

I can't WAIT for SPRING!!!!!!

Wednesday, January 13

Raising Jack!

I'm not a big proponent of "Time Out" as I feel an arbitrary amount of time with a child sitting in a corner doesn't do much to help the child figure out what's wrong or work out why he needs to change his behavior. However, we DO have a corner where Jack goes to sit when he's insane!! He usually gets to sit there until he feels he has calmed down and is ready to be part of the household again and I had never put a time on it. Today I started adding the element of time. I still don't think it's a great plan, but I think it worked non the less!! I have said, countless times, that raising Jack is very hard work. Jessie was ( and is ) a cakewalk compared to Jackster and Jack is getting BIGGER and STRONGER and ANGRIER. I have been calm, I have spoken quietly with him, I've expressed my disappointment, sent him to his room to calm down, I've yelled, begged, cried, screamed..... nothin'. That boy is stubborn and determined and I have not yet found that switch to help him behave himself in a reasonable manner.... although...I do feel like we turned a corner today. I feel like we turn so MANY corners that we are going around in circles, nevertheless we have to keep trying, what are the choices otherwise!!! ;D

We've been studying Time lately so if he had to go in the corner for beating up his sister then I told him he had to sit there for 5 minutes. It's right by the kitchen and he can have a book to read if he wants... anyway, he took off and tried to steal some brownies from the I said I would add an extra 5 minutes to his time if he didn't hustle back to his spot... he started yelling at me, so I threatened 10 minutes.... he figured out that would be bad and went back to his spot. See? He's learning time management!! :}

Jessie and I came up with some rhymes to help Jack remember how to behave... it's all very well me telling him he needs to "be good" if I don't actually tell him what "good" is. Our rhymes remind him of what not to do at this point but I'll try and work on some that reinforce a positive message!! From the book "Kids are worth it" I think, comes "If you hit, you sit." If Jack beats on anyone he gets to sit in the corner, in the bathroom, on the couch... wherever.. but he needs to sit and stay there until he is ready to calm down and apologise for hitting. We have "If you yell, you spell!!" sounds crazy, but if he yells at me or Jessie, and BOY does he yell sometimes, then he has to go with me and we work on some spelling words with him until he has relaxed and calmed down ( hah! Sneaking in some school work!! ) actually he really enjoys "building words" so it does help him cool out. There is "If you are mean, you clean" ! Mean children get to help me with chores. Again this isn't really meant to be a "punishment", I simply find work for him to do ( which, as I've said before, he really rather enjoys! ) and it calms him down and refocuses him. Maybe he'll sort laundry, dust the house or help me with the dishwasher... The last one so far is "You thrown, you get low" ... he throws anything he has to lay on the floor for a while until the urge has passed!! We'll see if any of these things work for any length of time, so far the novelty alone has got us through the day! Hopefully just having these things in his mind may make him eventually think twice before being a crazy person. I've always tried to treat him as I would like to be treated and to be reasonable and understanding etc, but man, this kid cries out for structure and consequences. It goes against my grain but we're working on it.... every day's an adventure!!!!

Now.... where's that chocolate bar..??

Tuesday, January 12

Bathtime, Bedtime and TV guilty pleasures!

Tonight was Jack's bathnight. He and Jessie alternate nights and it was his turn tonight. I LOVE when Jack has a bath. It seems no matter what I do with him, his face is always sticky and his fingernails are black but on bathnights I put him to bed squeaky clean and soapy scented. There's something about a squeaky clean kid at bed time that just warms my heart! Jack is tremendous about going to bed... once he's upstairs he's quick and easy to get ready. We DO have problems getting him to keep the bathwater in the tub and have once had water dripping on us in the kitchen below, but for the most part he's a treat. Zipped up in his footy pajamas and tucked under the fabulous quilt his Garry made him for Christmas and the little man is out like a light. The only thing that warms my heart more than a squeaky clean kid is a SLEEPING squeaky clean kid!! Usually the children sleep like rocks all through the night, but tonight Jack decided he was thirsty and we heard his padded feet heading down the stairs as we watched TV. He had a little drink and then sat with his Daddy on the couch, both had their feet up, both covered in blankets, both yawning.... My men!! Anyway, seeing Jack on the couch when he should really be in bed reminded me so much of being a child and coming downstairs in the middle of the night ( or what SEEMED like the middle of the night to me!! ) Everything seems different. The quality of the light seems different. The pace seems different. Everything is peaceful and calm, nothing but the flickering light from the television and a lamp in the corner. I remember that feeling so well. I felt so warm and safe and special. It's such a comfort I think to know your parents have the helm whilst you sleep. I always remember that sensation whenever the kids come down at night. Of course it helps that it's a rarity, but I want them to feel the same sense of peace as I did. Anyway, before long Jack decided he was ready to go back to his own bed and two minutes later he was fast asleep leaving me to my computer and streaming Netflix episodes of Jon and Kate Plus Ei8ht! Now THAT woman has her hands full... and you hardly EVER see her eating chocolate! ;D

Monday, January 11

Examiner article for today!

Amid all the chaos I DID get an article written for the Examiner today. If you are on Facebook you may have already seen it, but if not check it out here. Have a look at the slideshow too... there are some sweet pics of the kids! I'm not sure if I've mentioned the Examiner articles but I get paid something like 3c everytime someone reads it... I'm not going to get rich but it's fun to do and hey, at least I can say I get paid to write !!! LOL!!!

I am trying to write a blog post OR an Examiner article everyday this year.... we'll see how it goes but I'm enjoying it so far! ;D

Let me know how you liked the article, I love reading people's comments and knowing that SOMEONE is reading them! :D


Maniacal Monday

Wow. Today was um...challenging...!! My friend's children managed to lobby their poor mother into letting them stay here another night, which is MORE than fine by me, they are great kids, they make my kids happy... what's not to love. Jack ADORES them and was so thrilled to wake up and find them here this morning. He wanted sooo badly to play with them today but the poor kid... his communication skills, whilst MUCH improved, are still way behind his peer group's. I don't notice UNTIL he gets around children of his own age and it's a bit of a shock to be honest. Anyway, Jack wanted to play with the kids but couldn't really find a way to communicate his needs. The children were all pretty wild today and there was a LOT of charging around and squealing which makes it even harder for Jack to be heard and understood. Too much excitement tends to lead him to throwing things and lashing out at Jessie. So many times today I had to go to where the children were playing and remove Jack from the scene. So many times Jack assured me he was "a nice boy now" and I, thinking we'd got to the root of the problem, sent him back into the mix. The bigger kids really were doing their best to include him but were unable or unwilling to figure out what Jack wanted and after only a short time mayhem would ensue again. I had hoped to get a ton of work done whilst the kids played together but this time it was not to be. I DID manage to find several things throughout the course of the day that would help Jack cool out. One of which was to have him help me do chores. I asked him to help me sort the laundry into piles until he felt calm enough to go and play with the others. It worked. He LOVES to sort laundry and I could tell that being of use and helping out was really making him feel better. Another thing that worked was to have him sit in a chair or to stand still and to show me how calm he could be whilst I counted ( slowly ) to twenty. I asked him to try and focus on his breathing and I could see the poor little guy trying really hard to take nice deep breaths. By far the biggest thing that worked for us today though, was time, love, attention and empathy. I really felt for him, despite how angry and mean he was being. I knew that he was really hurting inside and wanted desperately to play along and be part of the gang. I held him on my lap and talked to him. I cuddled him and loved him. Most importantly I looked at him with love in my eyes. He had seen anger, confusion, frustration, disappointment, bitterness and concern in my eyes today, but he hadn't seen love. I made sure to soften my expression, smile tenderly upon him and let him see just how much I love him, no matter what. THAT really seemed to work. Suddenly he seemed like a happier, calmer boy. I held his hand and we went up to see the older kids. Jack said he was sorry for being wild and he agreed to sit nicely with them. An hour or so later, after Daddy had come home, Jack came up to me, hugged me and patted my back and said "I love you, Mummy"

And I love you, Jack. So much more than you know.

Sunday, January 10

Sunday so soon?

Well today we had a little parenting test....I'm not sure who won or if I passed but still, we had a moment. Jessie and Jack had been invited to a birthday party. Jack was (somewhat surprisingly) excited to attend and had been singing the Happy Birthday song for a few days. I had told him that he'd need to be good if he were to go to the party. I'm sure there are some hard core AP'ers who would tsk tsk at me for using blackmail or coercion to get my way, but there ya go, life's like that sometimes! Anyway, today Jack was NOT good. He was WILD. There's no other way to describe it. He was angry and throwing things, yelling and being monstrous. I really didn't think it would be a good idea for anyone concerned if Jack were to go to the party... but I really wanted him to go because HE wanted to go. Nevertheless, I told Jack that if he couldn't calm down and be nice then he and I would stay home and Jessie would go to the party with Daddy. Jack weighed his options and decided that staying home sounded fine to him. **sigh**. So stay home we did. It really was for the best, Jack was just wound tight today. Lots of cuddles, food and being helpful seemed to make him feel a bit better. He enjoys being of use and feeling important. Jessie had a marvelous time at the party ( as I knew she would ) and Jack and I got to have some bonding time together.
No harm,no foul! ;D