Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Long Weekend!

Well, the weekend went fairly well. No major issues, just a couple of smart-alec comments and attitude problems. Sunday we went and looked at a house, but decided that even though we could make it work to suit us, we're just not convinced that it's where we are meant to be at this time. Monday wasn't so great, as when Mike was fixing a part on the car, another part broke off. So he's been using my van this week, and will get the part that he ordered on Thursday or Friday.
Fixing the car means we probably won't be doing anything longer than a day trip this month. I had planned on maybe taking in the museum and the Domes, and maybe a few other things on a 2-3 day trip, but financially it just isn't feasible right now. I want to concentrate on getting all the little things done that we need to do before winter. Like getting his tires, and getting the salt for the sidewalk. We usually get a few 25 lb bags, and we each keep one in our vehicle, plus we have a few for the house. We also want to get a few windows covered with plastic, to help insulate.

But, the best news that I've gotten so far is that my dad is getting his books published! He got word this morning that Barnes and Noble and Amazon will both be carrying his book within the next week or so! And he also gave his publisher some other manuscripts and they will be starting production on those within the next few weeks. They are supposed to be sending him a list of 50 of the 200 companies/people/groups/whatever that will be carrying his books within the next little bit.
I'm so happy for him, he deserves to be happy with all that's gone on in his life.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Busy Day Yesterday

Every time I get ready for a trip back and forth to Milwaukee (or more precisely, several in one day!) I forget how tired I am by the end of the day. Wow was I wiped lout last night. Got home about 7:30 and was asleep by 9:30, finally woke up about 7:30 this morning.
Left home yesterday about 9 in the morning to go and get Dad and Colleen. Had Gabe, Caleb, and Adrian with me for the trip. There was a lot of construction on the way up and back. Finally got back with them about 12:30 or so, between the construction and potty breaks on the way there and back.
Went to David's birthday party and had a great time! Cake, ice cream, presents and pinata. Lots of chatter and playing. Catching up on what all had happened in each others' lives since we last saw each other on the 2nd. Left to take them back up about 3:30 because there was a game Dad wanted to catch last night. Pretty uneventful trip back, aside from the construction.
Took a side trip before I went back home. I drove by the school I used to go to, our old house and my grandma's old place. Just remembering how things used to be. I never missed a visit with her, every time I was up I went to see her. Usually at least once a month, sometimes more often, we'd make the hour trip to see her and spend the day in Milwaukee. I spent most of the month up there when she was in the hospital the last time. I'd leave work on Thursday or Friday depending on my schedule, I'd stop back home and grab one (or more) of the kids and grab mom and we'd all head up there. We'd come back sometime Monday morning. I'd grab a power nap and be ready for 3rd shift and do it all over again. I'm glad we got to spend all that time at the end with her. I think about her every time I go to Milwaukee. The way I would take to her house, the way to the hospital, to Kevin's work. The way grandma would laugh when the kids were goofing around.
Makes for lots of memories on every trip. Not all great memories, especially the ones about the last few days of her life, but a majority are great ones.
I'm planning our next field trip for October and I think it's going to be a few-day-trip to Milwaukee to see the Museum and the Domes, and of course Dad and Colleen. Maybe we can even catch a fall festival or something. All I know is if things work out the way I hope, we can have a lot of fun and enjoy our few days up there.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Changes..And Good Ones!

The wheels of change are working in our favor right now! I can't go into details, but suffice to say that things are getting better. Financially, things are getting caught up, vehicle-wise things are getting straightened around, and there may also be a move in our future.
I know, we already moved, and yes we're happy where we are. But IF we move, it will be a better environment neighbor-wise for the kids. And we'll be closer to Grandma. It's not a definite thing yet, but it is "in the works" so to speak.

Saturday will be busy, as I have 2 trips to Milwaukee and back to get Dad and Colleen. And again sometime between the 24-27th so he and Colleen can come back down and meet my sister's kids for the first time ever.
School is going well, kids are doing well. Mike and I are doing well. Hope to post more about our experiences and what will hopefully be happening at our place soon!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Bugging Me...

Okay, so there's a few things that are bugging me right now. One, is people who say that their only child is so hard to deal with, but then in the next breath tell me that they're trying for number 2(or 3 or whatever). If you can't handle the one you have, why are you trying to have more? Only children can do fine, they don't HAVE to have a ton of siblings to make things ok.

Two, the way that my own kids act when I tell them "one more time and you lose xyz privilege for the day" and they feel the need to keep at whatever they are being told not to do in the first place. Today for example, Caleb is making LOUD obnoxious noises, I tell him nicely to stop please several times. Then, I tell him this is his last "nice warning" and that if he continues to make those noises he will lose the love of his life (which right now is Xbox). He looked right at me, opened his mouth and smiled while he made the same noises over and over again. So obviously he has lost that privilege for the day, and possibly for tomorrow if he doesn't straighten up.
Ok, all better on that one too.

Three, people who think they have to tell me every time they see me that my child should be doing xyz because their child is, and how slow my kid must be because he's not. Mind your own business and take care of your own kid. Yes, your little booger may be able to add 3 digit numbers, but he can't operate the washer or dryer, nor can he make (or even pay attention long enough to help) dinner. My kid may not be the next Nobel Prize winner, but he's not the next little thug that's gonna get picked up for throwing bricks through windows and snatching stereos either. Yes, I'm proud to say that I'm the most over-protective mom on the block. But that means while your kid is out running the streets and catching god-knows-what from his little girlfriend, mine is at home, staying out of trouble, not taking a chance with his health or getting some girl in the family way.
My kids may be naive, but I'm proud to say that I'm hopefully not the one who's gonna be a grandma in a couple years when my 13-14-15 yo gets knocked up or gets someone else's little girl knocked up because he/she/they were not being properly supervised and taught that those activities can cause babies (or diseases that can harm or kill later down the line).
I'm not trying to play holier-than-thou games. Kids make mistakes, and it is our job to teach them the correct way of doing things. I was a teenager once, been there done that. I wasn't a perfect child, I made plenty of mistakes, but I was also taught to learn from the mistakes I made.
When Mike and I got married, we were 18. He had already graduated, and I was in my senior year of high school. When we married, we had just found out a few weeks before that I was pregnant. Was it a good decision to mess around and get pregnant? Not really, but the fact of the matter was, I wasn't going to not have the baby. I knew that once I made the decision to have sex, that it was my responsibility if I got pregnant. That's not to say that there weren't times where I wished that I wasn't pregnant. There were, plenty of times in fact. But I don't believe that it was an option for me to not have the baby. It's just the way I was raised. If I had it to do over again, would I do it the same? Probably not. I think I would have waited to be with Mike, waited to have a baby. But I wouldn't trade him or the other kids for anything.

Sorry, I'm just in a rant-y type mood today. Dealing with a lot of things right now, and very frustrated with the way things are going.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Great Weekend!

We had a great weekend. We took the kids and Scooby to Heritage Days. They got to dog for potatoes, ride in a horse drawn carriage, see a blacksmith work (actually 2 blacksmiths!), and see an old Mill. They got to watch some people grind corn into meal, and see an old cooperage. It was an awesome day!
Scooby was very well behaved, and got plenty of compliments on how well he was behaving with the other dogs there and other kids. Caleb found half of an old hinge, and the blacksmith straightened it out for him and told him he could take it home. Caitlin found a dead bat (no she didn't take that home!), and all the kids got to look at it. We visited the people that run the honey stand at the Farmer's Market downtown. Bought more honey and got to taste several different flavors.
When the kids dug for potatoes, they got about 40+ in 10 minutes of the 4 of them working together. They also got to look at all the different crafts that people did during the fall/winter season when they spent more time indoors. Basket weaving, rug making, re-caning chairs. We got to watch some of the older men carving on wood and making little trinkets. There was even a man there who carved a beautiful chain out of one solid piece of wood. The little links in the chain were just awesome!
Scooby was very intimidated by the horses, and sat there hiding behind my legs while the horses whinnied and neighed at him. He did seem to enjoy meeting all the people, especially the other kids.
And the kids got to see a mock-up of the Civil War era tents and weapons, along with how they built fires and cooked their food. They were amazed by the way things used to be back then. And last night for dinner, we made a beef roast with the wonderful fresh potatoes that the kids dug. All in all a good day together. Everyone enjoyed themselves immensely, even Gabe, up until the last few minutes when he decided that he'd had enough and wanted to go home.
I think we have enough to work on in our journals for the next week or so, and we'll continue to learn more about the early 1900's and how they used to amuse themselves over the winter, what they ate and how things were done back then.

Saturday, September 12, 2009


Got bored, so I figured I'd use my time to mess around on here and change things up a bit. Not too bad if I do say so myself. We've been adding to our school day little by little during the week. Most of what Gabe's been doing school-wise is "child-led" type stuff. He's been willing to work with me on counting, as we use skittles or m & m's or other small candy pieces to count. He's also done the alphabet (repeating) on average of 3-4x a day with me. The other kids are doing journaling, and we do it first thing in the morning before our workbooks.
Attitudes still need some adjusting, but all in all it was a pretty laid back week. We got a lot done, and also did our regular housework and laundry.

Today was Scooby's first vet visit. He got his shots, was weighed (27.5 lbs) and was generally checked over. He's in perfect health, and goes back in 3 weeks for a booster shot. He and Shorty are getting along fairly well, no major issues there. He's very food-oriented and is willing to sit or lay down if he thinks you have a treat for him. I'll be getting their licenses on Friday, and plan to start walking them more then. They both walk together well already, bit Scooby needs to learn to not walk in front of me when we're walking.

Not much else going on, just sitting around today watching the kids play video games and the dogs sleep.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009


As some of you may know, we've been Home-schooling the kids since December. It's gone pretty well for the most part. We have more time to devote to the areas that each one needs extra help with. Mostly anyway. James has struggled with his reading since Kindergarten. It's gotten a LOT better, but in all reality he really reads at about a 3rd grade level. When he was in public school they had him held back (they say no learning disabilities), and if he were still in public, they would have him going into 4th grade this year instead of 6th like he should be going into. I'm looking for ideas to encourage him to want to read more.
Caitlin is about 2nd-3rd grade as well, she's had some issues as well with reading, but with her it seems to be more of the not wanting to sound it out in case she's wrong variety. I'd love to hear from any of you on ideas for motivating her to want to learn to read better as well.

My big problems right now are Caleb and Gabe. Caleb is currently doing 3rd grade work (as well as Caitlin), except in reading. In reading he's at about a late kinder level. He's learning, but very slowly. Math isn't a problem, he's great at it as long as it's not story problems lol. What I've been doing with them is if they need help reading something, as long as they're willing to try and read it and make the effort to sound it out etc, I will help them figure it out (book reading wise, for workbooks I read the directions and then help individually with issues as they arise).
Caleb doesn't seem to have any "drive" to want to learn things on his own, unless it's about snakes or scorpions. I've tried to make things about his preferred subjects, but there are only so many things that you can do.
Gabe is the hardest, and the reason that we break our school day into 30 minute (or less some days) increments. He HATES school of any kind with a passion. It gets better sometimes, but that's usually very very rare. He knows the alphabet, although he still reverses letters (usually p, q, r, m, w), can count to 10 with help most days (has even counted to 15 on occasion). But he has no excitement to learn, he doesn't want to be made to do things that seem to have no meaning for him.
He's working on pre-k to kinder level work, and has made alot (for him) of progress since December. But I'm really worried that maybe I can't do a good enough job with him. I worry that he'll never learn to read, never potty train all the way, never talk clearly enough. You name it I worry about it.
It's gotten to the point where I really wonder if it was so bad sending him to school everyday. The screaming and biting and tantrums and throwing things and all that. He got to the point for the longest time where we had to spell out the word school or he'd totally flip out and cry/scream/hit. He's getting to the point now where we can go past a school without him getting anxious, but it's taken since I pulled him in December. That's a LONG time to be worried. I don't want him to be like that again, but I also don't want to fail him as a parent or as a teacher. He's so hard to teach, and some days I wonder if I can reach him with as far away as he seems.
I guess I'm just looking for some reassurance that it does get easier, that he will learn.

Monday, September 7, 2009

New School Year

Not a whole lot going on here, just gearing up for another school year. James is doing 5th grade this year, the twins are doing 3rd, and Gabe is doing 2nd grade. Or more correctly, he's in 2nd, doing Kindergarten age work. But it's better than it was at this time last year. I've gotten a lot accomplished with him. He's also much happier with how things are going now.

Shorty is home, he's doing great. I went and got him on Saturday and I couldn't believe how happy he was to be home. He and Scooby are getting along fine, almost as if he missed Scooby as well as the rest of us.
Gabe is finally feeling a little better, no more fever, but very chapped lips. And the more chapped they get, the more he resists my putting anything on them. They were getting quite cracked for a few days there, but are starting to heal now. Still has a cough, and a bit of a stuffy nose. Hoping that all goes away soon.
And the boys all got haircuts tonight too. Buzzed it right on down lol. This will probably be the last haircut for a while, maybe till Spring.
We're going to do a bunch of Fall stuff for the first couple of weeks for school. Then about Mid-October we will start doing Halloween things. I plan to do studies on the origins of Halloween and then Thanksgiving in November, and then on the origins of Christmas and New Years celebrations. We aquired a book entitled "Holidays Around the World" and we plan to do a number of lessons out of it.

Guess I need to get moving and finish finding the pencils and sharpeners before we start our studies in the morning.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Not Much Going on Here

We had Mom's birthday party (surprise party!) on Wednesday. I drove up to Milwaukee to get Dad and Colleen, and took them back up after the party(and didn't finally get home until a little after 11pm!). Dad got to meet some of the people from the VFW/American Legion post where mom and Dave go, as that's where we had the party.
They also got to spend some time with the kids and have dinner with us. Gabe wasn't in the best of moods, as he's working on another cold/sinus infection/plague. Seems like every time the weather changes dramatically he gets sick again. But this time I can partially blame it on Adrian. He was over last weekend hacking and coughing with a runny nose and bad attitude, and gave it to Gabe. Problem with Gabe being sick and feeling crappy is that since his nose is running all the time, he's always wiping it on his sleeve, and he's been licking his lips CONSTANTLY! Poor thing looks like he's been rubbing cherry koolaid all over his mouth and chin, that's how red it is. And with the runny nose also comes the drooling.
We've had the drooling under control for the most part, but when stressed or sick he drools more, and chews his shirts more. He's ruined at least a dozen since the beginning of the move.
We started going through our books for school today and even managed to read some. I'm planning on formally starting on Monday, and from there we will be on a 4 day a week school schedule. I'd like to do 3 weeks on and 1 week off, ideally. But we all know how things work out when we want to do something a particular way around here.
I'm hoping that Gabe will be feeling better by next week. For all our sakes! The more icky and out of sorts he feels, the worse he makes every one else feel. Tonight we went to Walmart to pick up some last minute things for dinner, and to pick up some school supplies. That went pretty decent until he decided that it wasn't fair that he wasn't getting a toy. Wow, you'd have thought I said that we were going to amputate his feet and make him walk over hot coals! All hell broke loose - at the checkout of course - and Mike had to take him out to the van to calm down. The cashier was very nice about it, and we talked about autism and mental retardation while she scanned our things. But the "lady" in front of us in line wasn't so nice about it. Kept shaking her head at us and mumbling things about kids these days and needing a good butt-warming.
Of course to top off the wonderful week I've been having, my computer is acting up. Sometimes it just doesn't want to turn back on and takes a few tries to get up and running. I'm actually thinking of buying a new laptop when we get taxes back in February. Maybe.
guess that's all for now, gotta go give the little monster his cough meds so he can hopefully sleep a little better tonight.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Been a While.

Wow what a month it's been. Not all of it great, but I guess it could have been worse. Somehow. Maybe.

Our move went fairly well, no real problems there. Just lots and lots of small trips over the space of the month, and then a couple of weekends worth of HUGE trips. We are getting settled, and into our new routine. The kids' beds came on the 18th, and we got them set up and looking great in no time. Our room is slowly getting unpacked, and little things all over the house are finally getting put where they need to be.
The boys have the big loft bedroom upstairs this time, and we have it separated into two bedrooms. I shouldn't say WE have it that way, it's naturally that way. The smaller room is on the right at the top of the stairs is James' room, and also has Adrian's toddler bed in it, along with James' dresser. The larger bedroom has the boys' and Adrian's dressers, a captain's bed with trundle, and a full size futon. And of course all the seasonal clothes that I need to switch over in the next few weeks.

The last week has been really hard though. I posted before about the neighbor kids, and how he was coming over all the time. Well, I'd been hearing from the neighbors that he wasn't to be trusted around the dogs, as he's been caught mistreating several of the other neighbors dogs. Hitting, kicking, throwing rocks and sticks, running at the fence, etc. I figured maybe it was exaggeration, and that as long as he was supervised, it would be fine.
Guess what? I was wrong. Very wrong. He's been caught several times over here being rough with the puppy and the dog, and been told to settle down and not be so rough. Last Tuesday, he and Caitlin were on the back patio playing with Shorty (our 100+ lb shepherd/mastiff mix). The playing got rough, and the neighbor boy was "pretending" to kick and hit at the dog. Well, the dog turned around, and one of the kicks connected. With the dogs FACE! Shorty grabbed him by the leg, and let go. No punctures, no stitches, only a couple of scratches and a bruise. If he'd WANTED to hurt him, he could have done so with no problem. Shorty came in and hid, he knew he did something wrong. The kid was fine, said he was ok and it didn't hurt. He didn't even tell his mom until almost 8 that night (this happened around noon). His mom took him to the clinic to get it checked. Fine, no problem, I would do the same thing if it were my kid.
The problem came Thursday, when Animal Control came to the house. The lady was really nice, and explained that when a dog bite is reported, she has to come out, and all that jazz. That wasn't a problem for us, we understood. The problem was that she showed us the paperwork from the Dr visit. The mom apparently (according to the paper) told them that the dog was "a purebred pitbull" and "ran out of the house unprovoked and bit him". And since Shorty was overdue on his shots because of all of our funds going for the move, he needs to be quarantined for 10 days at the vet's office, at a cost of $400+ to us. A whole lot of freakin drama. And of course his mom is apparently expecting me to foot the bill for this. I told her that I'd be happy to HELP pay for the visit, but she's beating around the bush about wanting me to pay the whole cost for the visit, and any and all other bills that she can claim to be related to this. I understand about being morally responsible for my animal, but really? To expect me to pay the whole cost, for a couple of scratches that were incurred when your child was causing the trouble in the first place????
That's like me saying my kid beat up your kid on the playground, and since my kid also got a broken nose out of it, you should pay for your kid and mine. Talk about some BS. Especially since her kid has been caught doing this crap before, and SHE KNOWS ABOUT IT!
Shorty should be coming home sometime Saturday night. As of right now, NO child is allowed over here without his/her parents unless we are both home. And no child is allowed in the yard if the dog is outside. It's not for their protection, it's for the dog's.
So, yeah this month has really sucked. September HAS to be better than August was.