Sunday, October 25, 2009

Somebody please slap me

I don't know why I don't learn. But every single time I've mentioned to someone that R doesn't get sick very often (which is true!), the NEXT DAY he comes down with a bug. (Luckily, I've only said this about three times. But still!)

So I did it again on Thursday when talking to another mom at the playground, and by Friday night, R was not himself. Yesterday he was coughing a lot. Last night, I was up with him several times to give him Tylenol, popsicles, take his temp, etc. Today he felt better except for a sore throat. But then the fever came back this evening, and as he fell asleep, he looked so sad and sick. Kind of like this:

That's one of the pumpkin faces he designed today. Because earlier today, he was feeling better. Enough that he was bouncing around the house and jumping on A and making up a song called "Daddy Is a Trampoline." So we took him outside because it was absolutely amazingly beautiful and we had some yard work to do.

We raked and mowed and washed out our rain barrel and cut plants down for the winter. And, R was a huge help. Then he started getting more listless and was complaining about his throat. So, we went inside and fed him a gazillion popsicles and read him stories and snuggled with him on the couch. (We still stuck to the no TV thing - amazing! And, it really wasn't that hard!) Then, I roasted a chicken and A roasted a bunch of vegetables (leeks, carrots, fingerling potatoes, zucchini, mushrooms, and shallots - drizzled with olive oil and herbs), and we had the most delicious dinner. R ate quite a bit in spite of his yuckiness.

After dinner we listened to music, got PJs on, then tucked R in his bed for storytime and bedtime. Poor little man.

I feel so bad for him because it definitely looks like he'll be staying home tomorrow, and he is sad about missing school. Plus, he's probably going to have to go to the doctor's and get his first-ever throat culture. But, worst of all, our work is having a Hallowen party with trick-or-treating and a sundae party for all the employees' kids tomorrow afternoon, and he's probably going to have to miss it. I'm not looking forward to breaking that news to him. :-(

So, please, if you ever hear me start to say something about R's general good health, just give me a good ol' slap in the head. Apparently it's the only way I'll ever learn.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Unexpected time

I don't know quite what to do right now. R came down with a bad cold or a mild virus (not sure which), and he fell asleep more than an hour early tonight. A is off at his ancient coin club meeting. So I have an unexpected few hours to myself.

I could...
  • wash the dishes
  • fold laundry
  • work out
  • clean the bathroom
  • read
  • Facebook
  • write letters to my Compassion kids
  • search for a pumpkin cranberry bread recipe online
  • do a combination of some or all of the above.
I'm so much more productive without TV! The no-TV thing has actually been really easy so far. R has only asked to watch it once, but only because he forgot about Turn Off the TV Week. When we reminded him, he was fine. And, I've been getting to bed by 10 or 10:30, which is AMAZING for me.

The best part so far was Friday night. R laid down on the couch, snuggled up under a blanket. We had a lovely fire going in the fireplace. A was reading Alice in Wonderland aloud. R fell asleep. The cat came out of hiding and decided to lay down on R (first time ever! we took a picture). Eventually, A scooped up R, carried him upstairs, and we tucked him into bed. The house was quiet except for the crackle of the fire. Absolute heaven.

Well, I don't want to waste this time to myself. Have a great night!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009


Tomorrow is the beginning of "Turn off the TV" week at R's school. A and I decided that if we're going to support R, we need to participate, too. For each day that R doesn't watch any TV or use the computer or play video games, we fill out a coupon and send it to school. If the whole school earns 1,000 coupons, then the school gets a big surprise prize. Fun!

I'm excited to see what things I do instead of watching TV. I'm guessing I'll do a lot of reading and that I'll get to bed much earlier. But I'm hoping to play the piano and do some painting, too. We'll see!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Looking back

I've been thinking a lot lately about people from my past. Mostly about how strange it is to be so close to someone for so long and to spend so much time with someone and then not to. Not suddenly (usually), but over time as life changed.

Facebook has brought up a lot of this for me. As I've reconnected on the weird, mostly superficial level that Facebook creates (I haven't talked to you since high school, but now I know what you had for breakfast), I've mourned silently the loss of some of these people from my daily life. That mourning never took place when the separations happened. It's all getting dredged up now. And, it seems like I'm not alone. I've received more than a few emails from people apologizing for things in the past and genuinely wondering why we stopped talking long ago.

Over the weekend, I found and played an old mix tape that I made a few months before I met A. I called it, "A Mix for the Worst Week of 1996 So Far." Man, there is some great music on there! But it took me quite awhile to remember why that week was so bad. Finally, I remembered that it involved an all-out war between me and another woman, who was actually the childhood best friend of my best friend and roommate. She was also dating my best friend H from high school - a guy who had had a crush on me for years. A bunch of us used to hang out all the time, but there was a lot of tension between the two of us (she is also named Kristen), and finally we held an intervention of sorts to get the bitterness out in the open because our mutual friends couldn't take it anymore. And, I had been dating this clown, I mean guy who after almost two months decided to tell me that he was moving to LA and had been planning to all along. So that's what constituted my worst week that year. LOL.

These memories make me laugh and wistful at the same time. I think it's so funny that my life had so much drama in those days. But not really important drama, just silliness and pettiness. It didn't feel that way at the time, of course, but looking back on it now, I laugh at my angst. No one was sick or dying, divorcing, trying to conceive and couldn't, no one lost their job or couldn't pay their bills. On the one hand, life now seems much more important and serious. But at the same time, my life now seems pretty boring in comparison. I don't have that 20-something angst anymore. I don't have the whole, awful dating thing to deal with. Life is good and comfortable and peaceful.

I'm not sure where I'm going with this. Except that it's weird how it all turned out in the end. In those days, I spent nearly every waking hour it seemed with those friends, especially my friend H from high school and then later his best friend and roommate, R. I loved that time and those people, even with all the turmoil and hurt feelings and messiness. I caused a lot of that hurt and messiness myself.

Last week, my friend R sent me a link to his wedding photos. I haven't seen him in years and we've only emailed each other here and there. It was the strangest thing looking at his wedding pictures and seeing him in his life that I don't know and that I'm not even minutely a part of. I've never met his wife. He's never met my son. And, that made me really sad. My once best friend, someone I thought I'd be around forever, is now a stranger.

The other Kristen and I keep in touch today. A and I met her for lunch when she was in town visiting two weeks ago. She watched R while A and I sang during our friends' wedding. My former rival is now my friend.

Part of me thinks that this is just the way life is - people come and go, their importance changes, and you move on with some sadness but not really noticing either. But then I look at A - he is still friends with almost everyone he knew from high school and beyond. He makes friends and keeps them. He doesn't see them all the time, but the friendships are still there. There doesn't seem to be many endings in his relationships. And, I wonder why there are in mine.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Thankful Thursday

The whining is over. I was just having one of those days where I felt like I was some sort of rule-spewing robot ("stop that," "sit down," "hurry up," "stop jumping on me"). I remember when my sister's oldest son was little, she told me that she felt like all she did was say "No" all day long. That gets tiresome.

But today is a new day, and I'm thankful for:
  1. Fall in New England. This truly is my favorite time of year - with apple picking, pumpkin patches, bright blue skies, leaves that make me gasp at the amazing colors, toasty warm fires, snuggly blankets, hot cider, cider donuts, and hay rides. I suddenly get the urge to cook stew and pot roast and soup and to bake cranberry bread and pumpkin bread. I even get excited about raking leaves!

  2. Heat. I'm so thankful that we can afford to heat our home and to have warm clothes to wear. I know that is not true for many people.

  3. My husband. Yesterday, I grumbled about him, but he really is an amazing husband, father, friend, and person. He's patient, kind, SO interesting, funny, handsome, and a great listener. He works very hard. And, he puts up with me! That's not an easy job. (Especially because we also work together.) And, to top it all off, he still loves me. Sometimes I can't figure out why, but he does. And I'm so thankful for that every day.

  4. Halloween. I know there is a lot of bad stuff associated with it, but I just love helping R figure out his costume and seeing him get so excited about trick-or-treating. And, I really enjoy handing out candy to the neighborhood kids. (Except for the tweens who come late and without costumes.)

  5. The Office. Yes, it's pretty lame to be thankful for a TV show, but it just makes me so happy! It's really the only show A and I get excited for each week, and we never tire of watching the old ones over and over again on DVD. I love it because it's funny and sweet and awful and stressful and appalling. It makes you laugh out loud and cringe at the same time. The writing is really, really good.
Happy Thursday!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Whiney Wednesday

I know that a few of you all have started doing Thankful Thursdays, and I'm going to join you tomorrow, but first I need to take a Whiney Wednesday.

I love being a mom. There is no doubt about that. But sometimes my little man is a giant pain in the butt!

During dinner tonight, I had to tell R at least 20 times to STAY IN HIS SEAT while he was eating. Yes, honey, I'm excited that you learned the Chicken Dance and the Bunny Hop during gym class today, too, but sit down already - you're getting food everywhere!

Then, it was shower time. For some reason, I've always been the one to give R his baths and to help him in the shower. A week ago, I told A he had to do it from now on because I HATE IT SO MUCH! I hate losing my temper and getting that frustrated. R has no problem swimming underwater or jumping in the deep end of the pool at his swimming lessons. But Lord help us if he gets any water on his face when I'm washing his hair. And, he won't do it himself. He will wash his body, which I am very thankful for, but the hair. Oh, the hair. I am so tired of having wrestling and yelling matches with him every other night. (And, A hasn't stepped in to help. Grumble, grumble.) I've tried everything - I let R wear his swim goggles, I hold a washcloth over his eyes, I've made up games. Sometimes, he's fine about it. But tonight. Argh.

Brushing teeth was the last straw. Why do I have to tell him over and over again every night that he can't just suck on the toothbrush, that he has to move it around and actually BRUSH? And, he dawdled so much at brushing that we only had 15 minutes to read stories instead of our usual half hour.

[Okay, breathe.]

Of course, as with my entire parenting experience -- the challenges are always tempered with inexpressible joy, and the night ended very sweetly. R has been making little books at school - they help him practice writing and reading his sight words. Tonight, he read one of them to me. It was called "I Watch My Garden Grow," and on the "Dedicated to" page, R had written "MOM" all by himself.

Man alive, I love that boy. Even when he makes me absolutely nutty.

Monday, October 5, 2009

A bit of a blur

Life has been busy and fun. We've become used to the routine of school for the most part, although I'm still adjusting to my new work schedule. I really miss working from home all day on Mondays.

R likes the after-school program better now. He sometimes doesn't want to leave when we pick him up because he's busy playing with Legos with other kids or listening to a story read by the program director. He seems to be making lots of friends all around, and he's giving us more details about school and what he's learning. Last week, I went to Curriculum Night, and I was so impressed with his school, the principal, and his teacher. I signed up to volunteer in his classroom to help with writing and reading and to do cutting projects and fix broken books. It was fun to see his drawings and writing on the classroom walls, especially how he tried to write out "I went to California" (for his summer vacation paper) and his depiction and interpretation of one of the classroom rules ("No kicking" - illustrated with a stick figure kicking another stick figure that had Xs for eyes).

R's teacher did talk to us about R's habit of looking for "treasure" on the ground and floor. Unfortunately, it's something we've encouraged because he finds really interesting things a lot of the time, including money, interesting rocks, beads, and jewelry. Other times he finds bits of rusty metal, asphalt, and trash. :-) But, apparently, he was scouring the classroom floor during circle time instead of focusing on his teacher. She told us that he would get excited about "staples and small rocks that come off of the children's shoes." LOL. But, she was so wonderful about it and just asked us if R had ever used some techniques for staying focused that she had tried before. I did talk to R about limiting his treasure hunting to when he's outside, and I think that's helped a lot.

Our weekends have been very busy between soccer, swimming lessons, errands, and fun stuff. This past weekend, we went to a co-worker's wedding. R wore a tie, vest, dress pants, and shirt! He's never been that dressed up before, and it was all his idea and he was very excited to wear his "suit." We all had a blast at the wedding. There were lots of activities and entertainment for the kids, so A and I actually got to dance and mingle and eat - woohoo!

After the wedding, we drove to my friend's mom's house to stay for the night. We hung out with my friend, her husband, and twins (we had all been at the wedding together). We had a lovely breakfast in the morning, then we met up with my friend's sister and her twins and husband and went to a local farm for apples, cider, bouncy houses, pony rides, and the unexpected surprise of .... GEM MINING! R was in absolute heaven. We bought three giant bags of dusty pebbles for him to sift and wash through - and he came home with an incredible amount of geodes, amethyst, quartz, pyrite, hematite, and many more. He had so much fun. He could have stayed there all day. The mining kit came with a little chart to identify the gems. R went over to other "miners" to find out what gems they found and to help them identify them. He's been very interested in rocks and gems and minerals recently, between his treasure hunting and visiting our local bead store, which also has many gems for sale. The woman who works at the bead store took a liking to R and told him he could have anything he found on the floor. So, R thinks it's his job now to clean the bead store floor. A week ago, he filled a ziploc baggie with his floor findings. Now he wants the tools to drill holes in rocks, polish stones and gems, etc.

We've been trying to balance all of these events with downtime at home. I'm excited because R has only a half-day of school one day this week, and I took the afternoon off to hang with him. And, we don't really have any concrete plans yet for the long weekend, which is so nice. Although I am hoping to have some time to make a raised garden bed in my front yard and to plant my spring bulbs. We'll see what happens.

Happy Fall!