Posted by: heartfull | July 8, 2011

Coming up

This past school year has been the season of overcommitment. PTO President. Baseball Team Manager. Swim Team Parent Rep. Two classes at the community college this spring. Working 30 hours. Wife, mother, blah blah blah. Too much.

PTO President is done. Swim Team Parent Rep will be done as of next weekend. I’ve given up the dream of acquiring my teaching degree. I’m looking forward to just being there for my family and saying NO to everything else. So, this next year I’m down to Baseball Manager, Employee, Wife and Mother. And maybe that means I can add roman-shade-sewer, re-upholsterer and hallway-painter to my titles.

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Chip starts kindergarten this fall. I’m so excited for him and yet filled with the desire to stop time. Freeze him at five. I love five. Of course, I loved 1, 2, 3 and 4. Which means I’ll love 6 too. And all the numbers after it. But man, five is cute and independent and adventurous and cuddly and inquisitive and pleasing and awesome.

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The question these days is money and how to decide how to spend it. So many activities want our money and yet this year, we have make some choices. The one I’m struggling with is piano lessons. So expensive and yet, so beneficial. Besides piano we are committed to:

Bird: Year-round swim team, Fall volleyball
Mare: Year-round dance (2-3 classes), Fall volleyball, Winter basketball, Summer Dive/Swim
Chip: Fall soccer, Winter wrestling, Spring Baseball, Summer Swim

And that, my friends, adds up to a lot of cash. Decisions, decisions…

Posted by: heartfull | August 27, 2010

Tranquility

Last Sunday I was at my wit’s end.  The girls had been fighting for days and it was not stopping.  Bird gave Mare a bloody nose on Saturday.  Mare bit Bird’s finger on Sunday.  And that is just two examples – there were more.  It was relentless.

Bird asked as I was making dinner on Sunday if we could go to church.  Um, well.  I had planned on us all going to the pool, but, sigh, ok.  She and I would go to the 6:00 pm mass.  Mare heard this and decided she wanted to go too.  That idea did not go over well with Bird.  I knew perfectly well that the only reason Bird wanted to go was to be alone with me.  And the only reason Mare wanted to go was to prevent that.  But I told Bird that I could not tell a child that they couldn’t go to mass with me, no matter their motives.  Bird wailed the whole way to church and my nerves were frazzled.

While in church, I reflected on all the fighting and decided on a plan.  As we exited, I told them that I had come up with a reward system to stop the fighting.  If there were no fights that included any kind of bodily harm, I would take them to see the knew Nanny McPhee movie the next weekend (obviously we don’t go to many movies in the theater – this wouldn’t work for every family.)  They were thrilled.  They got along beautifully the rest of the evening.  Monday was wonderful as well.  Tuesday we had a flare up that resulted in a slap;  Mare teased, Bird lost her cool.  I lost it because of *my* disappointment.  It  had been so nice!  But after running upstairs when I told them they had “ruined” the plan (I know – mature use of words on my part) they quickly got over it and were upstairs talking.  What?  Unheard of.  Usually I would be hearing slamming doors at this point.  So I went up and told them that since they had sorted out their differences so quickly, I would give them back the movie if the rest of the week went perfectly.  But no popcorn or drinks since they did slip up.  Yeah – I know.  Not exactly consistent.  But the progress!  I couldn’t bare to take away the goal completely when it had been working so well.

And perfect it has been.  No fighting at all.  Amazing how they can turn it off.  Mare was tired last night (Thursday) and tried to tease Bird.  I heard Bird tell her repeatedly “I’m asking you to stop Mare!  Just stop”. This response from Bird is unheard of.  It is how I have trying to get her to respond for years.  Mare wasn’t stopping, but luckily I got there in time to intervene, and we continued on towards our goal.

The result has been a more pleasant household all around.  No screaming.  No bickering.  I’m not on edge.  John’s not on edge.  Bliss.

I can only hope I keep bribing them into getting along.  We are approaching the holiday season, so plenty of movies should be coming out.  And someday?  This bribe might be come a habit.

Posted by: heartfull | August 27, 2010

whiff

Chip turned 5 a couple weeks ago.  And so I decided it was time to start mentioning to him that he might not be pronouncing some words correctly.

Chip:  I’m going to take that whiff me.

Mom:  Chip, listen to mommy say the word “with” – wi-TH… wi-TH.  Can you hear the difference?  You are using an “f” sound.  Mommy uses a “th” sound.

Chip:  …

Mom:  Try it!  “wi-TH”

Chip:  Whiff

Mom:  Wi-TH!

Chip:  Wi-th…  Mom, I don’t care.  Whiff.  I say whiff.  Agrhhhhhh!  I like WHIFFFFFFFF.

Yeah, so I gave up.  I guess he just isn’t ready yet.

Posted by: heartfull | July 1, 2010

Scalded!

We were at Autotire getting the oil changed in the van.  It took a long time.  Really long.  I was wishing we had just found a Jiffy Lube, but then all the stories the Car Guys tell would have haunted me.  So there we sat in Autotire’s waiting room with a broken TV.

Chip immediately started filling cups with water from the water cooler.  He asked me why one handle was red and one blue.  I told him the blue dispensed chilled water and the red dispensed room-temperature water.

“Not hot?” he asked.

“No,” I confidently replied.  Red does mean hot, of course, but I have never encountered a water cooler that actually dispensed hot water.  Of course, they all have white handles instead of red, but that didn’t occur to me at the time.

Chip pulled the red handle while holding his hand under it (which I didn’t see him do as I was busy reading Us, the only non-hunting or non-sporting magazine in the waiting room.  Of course, I wouldn’t have let him do this if I hadn’t been so engrossed with what the Kardashian’s were up to.  Which, actually is a joke, because I have no idea who they are other than having seen them on the cover of various tabloids and featured repeatedly on Go Fug Yourself)

“WAHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!  MOOOOOOOOOMMMMMMMMM!!!  It SCALDED me!”

Scalded?  What four year old uses the word scalded when they have been burned?  I swear, this kid is a hoot.

“Chip, let me see.  Oh baby, I’m so sorry, mommy had no idea actual hot water came out of that!  But I have to say, Mommy is so impressed with your use of the word scalded!”

I’m pretty sure the guy sitting next to me rolled his eyes.  Repeatedly.  Once for my stupidity in telling my kid to go ahead and play with the red handle and then a bunch more times for my pride.

And for the record, he wasn’t burned too badly.  Just red sensitive skin for a few minutes.  And then he was off climbing the tire displays.

Posted by: heartfull | March 8, 2010

He can ride!

On Saturday Chip asked me to help him ride his bike, the one I took the traning wheels off of last summer when he was almost 4.  I thought he was ready since he was such an ace on his scooter.  It didn’t transfer, though – he was not ready.

So, on Saturday I was pretty dismissive when he started pestering me to help him ride his bike.  I was busy and just didn’t have time to spend an hour running alongside his bike while he freaked out, which has always been my experience with teaching a kid to ride (I know hindsight is 20/20, but I should have known right there that my assumptions were wrong, based on his sisters, not him.  This kid isn’t afraid of physically falling.)  But I gave in, he climbed on and I gave him a push and started running while I kept my hand on his back.  I lifted my hand off his back and noticed he didn’t immediately freak out and fall.  In my experience teaching two other kids, that is very promising. So, the second time I gave him a push, I let go and ran along side him for a couple feet before stopping and watching with my jaw hanging open.  That was it.  He was riding his bike for the rest of the weekend.

He needs a push to start and he heads off into the grass to do a combination jump off/fall for stopping purposes.  But he can ride for as long as he wants.  So cool.

Posted by: heartfull | February 26, 2010

Happy Birthday Mare!

Mare,

Eight!  I can’t believe my baby girls is eight.  I keep telling you to quit growing and you keep going faster.

Have I told you how much I love having you in my life?  You are sunshine personified.  Just like when you were a baby, people are drawn to you.  Your classmates like you.  Your teachers like having you there.  You are quiet but still command attention.  As always, you know who you want to be friends with – you like vibrant girls, ones who stand out just a bit.

You have become such a reader!  Sneaking books late at night, devouring chapter books – though perhaps a bit too quickly – your teacher and I know you can’t actually be reading the whole book.  But the love of reading (or at least reading the paragraphs next to the pictures)  is there and that matters the most.

You also continue to love clothes.  You certainly have a knack for putting together outfits.  I get compliments from your friends’ mothers quite often!  Even when an outfit is a little goofy, it is obvious you have dressed yourself with intent.

Quiet time for you is spent reading or playing with your Littlest Pet Shops or sometimes your American Girl dolls.  You like to draw and write stories as well.

Your piano skills are really taking off.  You have an ear for the music and while theory may never be your favorite part, the actual playing seems to come pretty easy to you.

You gave up teasing your sister for lent.  Hilarious!  The wonderful thing is, there has been so much less fighting in our house.  Please, please let it become a habit.

You are cuddly and love physical contact.  You seek out grandmas’ laps.  Mom some times shoes you away – but then I remember that it won’t always be like this!  In fact, you need more mommy time than I am able to give.  That is the joy of having siblings – it will make you stronger, my dear.  But we do manage to get out by ourselves twice a month or so and I try to set aside a few moments every day where it is just you and me on a chair or in your bed or in the car.

I love you babydoll!

Mom

Posted by: heartfull | January 21, 2010

Moved In!

As of Tuesday, we have moved back into our 99% completed home.  The girls were thrilled to be in their rooms.  Pictures coming tomorrow because the rooms turned out so cute.  Both are unique and creative and I’m way impressed with their ideas and my designer’s paint choices.  Charlie loves his room but is very nervous about sleeping in it.  The last two nights he has started out in his bed but finds us at some point during the night.  I am fine with this – I just want him to have a secluded space to go to sleep.  Whether he stays there all night is irrelevant.

So, we are back but the house was a disaster zone.  I had cleaned the basement before we “moved out”, but the kids would get stuff out every time we went over to work on the weekends.  So my formerly pristine family room looked like a junk room.  Plus the Christmas Tree is still standing.  Not to mention that all the furniture on thh main level was still stuffed into one room and all the kitchen stuff was still in the basement.  Ugh.  I stayed up until 3:30 in the morning on Tuesday night/Wednesday morning making this house back into a home.  I accomplished a lot, but not enough.  I figured out what many of the drawers and cabinets would hold.  I ran about 20 bazzillion loads of dishes since they were all covered in dust and rubble.  I put the dishes in their designate cabinet.  Sometimes I just stood there, staring at cabinets and trying to figure out what made sense.  I only moved the essentials – a lot of stuff is still in the basement.  I think I’ll move it up as needed, effectively weeding out the paraphernalia that has accumulated over the years.  Oh – and I cleaned the refrigerator.  It was gross.  It is going in the basement and a new one is being delivered on Monday, but I’m glad I took the time now to get it clean.

Yesterday I cleaned more, moved more of the kids stuff around, moved more kitchen items and, after dinner, started putting the furniture back into the living room.  The new color in there looks amazing – I’m so pleased with it.  Thanks awesome designer!

I don’t even want to think about all the work involved with picking up the basement (including taking down the Christmas Tree – hey, we weren’t living there, remember?) and the girls’ old room (they are future hoarders, I swear.)  I’m tackling that today.  Woo Hoo.

Posted by: heartfull | January 11, 2010

Relief

They aren’t done – but we don’t care anymore.  My parents went to Florida right after Christmas for a month and we moved int0 their house.  Their clean, roomy house.

Sweet relief.

Posted by: heartfull | December 18, 2009

The home stretch

You know that feeling towards the end of your pregnancy when the newness and excitement of it all has worn off and you just want to be done?  That feeling that hits you about two weeks before you deliver the baby?  That is right where I am with the construction project.  Right.  There.

The dirt.  It is overwhelming.  Dusting is pointless.  Vacuuming helps.  Two nights ago I spent a couple hours vacuuming up all the dust, rubble and wood shavings that had fallen down into my storage closet in the basement.  Once they took the floor off the kitchen, only the subfloor was left, which consisted of 1″x4″ boards with big gaps in between each board – big enough to let just about anything fall into portions of the basement that weren’t finished (like my storage closet and laundry room.)  The kids’ toys were covered with it.  Our pockets of the clothes hanging in there were filled with it.  It was disgusting.  In fact, it had been like that for a couple weeks, but I just didn’t have the energy to tackle it because the rest of the basement needs constant vacuuming just to save the carpeting from complete ruin.  And the bedroom floors – lordy!  They are a mess all the time.

The invasion.  It is stressful.  Every day there are guys in our house pounding away.  Their stuff is everywhere and they leave coffee cups and soda cups all over the place.  Every night all five of us are jammed into three rooms – our only options are the two bedrooms  or the basement family room which also sports a card table for eating at.  Eating down there all the time has wreaked havoc on the carpeting.  Add the fact that it is December and a particularly cold one at that, and you have a lot of fighting, whining and screaming going around at the Heartfull household.  Joy!

The good news is we are on the home stretch.  The upstairs walls are painted, trim is installed and ceiling fixtures are up.  The trim needs to be caulked and painted and the bathroom vanity and other fixtures need installation.  The carpeting can go in as soon as they say it is in.  The stairs are done except for the railing.  The kitchen cabinets have been in for a couple weeks and the counter tops go in on Monday.  They should finish the trim in the kitchen soon, I would think next week.  Then we can paint the first floor and stain the wood floors.  I would say two weeks from now – though Christmas will throw a wrench in the timing.

Yeah – its going to be a great when we finally get it done.  But at this point, I’m a couple weeks from the “due date” and I’m just over it.

Posted by: heartfull | December 16, 2009

Apparently

I asked Chip for a bite of his free-from-the-grocery-store cookie.  Usually that results in a crumb being handed my way.  This time, he gave me a pretty good-sized chunk.  Enough to even taste the cookie.

Me:  Wow, that was a big piece of cookie, Chip.  Thanks!

Chip:  A big piece for a big person!

Me:  Ha, yeah, well, thanks.  Yep, mom is bigger than you and I do need big bites of your cookie…

Chip:  (with a very sly grin) Apparently a little bigger than Emmy, too.

And I laughed and laughed.  Emmy, the 20-something nanny who wears a size extra-small and sports a bikini at the pool is, apparently, so much smaller that even my 4 year old notices.   Luckily I’m not terribly sensative.  How can you be with a four year old around to keep your head out of the sand?

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