Practice Runs

August 31, 2010 by Rieshy
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Trikes at Approximately 472 Miles Per Hour

Or: Why I Have So Much Gray Hair

Question: How do you prepare yourself to teach your teens to drive without experiencing a nervous collapse or requiring valium?

Answer: You spend years watching this....


And watching this...


And watching this... all without flinching.

O.k. I have to admit that at this point I did stop the games and rule that 2 year old feet cannot be on the handlebars.

Silly Mom.


Sniffle and Wahoo

August 30, 2010 by Rieshy
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Today, this little guy began his freshman year of college.  You should have seen those chubby little legs reaching the gas pedal as he drove off.




Do they truly appreciate the self-control required for a mother not to squeal and cry and otherwise totally emasculate them as they walk out the door?  

I doubt it.  Sniffle, sniffle, and Wahoo!!


A Pictorial Feel Good

August 27, 2010 by Rieshy
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Weeeeeeeeee.


Peek

-A Boo

Sunflower seeds anyone?
I wonder how many sunflowers are going to sprout under my deck next Spring?


This book...
It makes me happy because it makes my 16 year old daughter happy.  Anyone with a 16 year old daughter can understand the advantages of happy homework sessions.

I just found out there is an edition for Spanish students as well.  Perhaps next week my 14 year old daughter will be just as pleased.

All in all a great week! 


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Little Responsibilities

August 26, 2010 by Rieshy

After my oldest son mowed my lawn last night I heard Little Man exclaim with exasperation, "Who made this big mess?"
Untidy sidewalks and grass clippings must have preyed on his mind all night. 


This morning around 5:55 a.m. I heard an unauthorized opening of the front door. I went to investigate and this is what I saw.



 Little Man, hard at work.


Take charge personality at age 2.



Imagine how hard it was to explain that he could not, in fact, bring the grass clippings inside, through the living room and then on to the kitchen garbage.  
Mom is so frustratingly arbitrary.

FOD's N Fun

August 25, 2010 by Rieshy
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I've realized something that I've subconsciously noticed but never thought through.  For a mom like me, with two children with FOD's it was really interesting and exciting. 

Yesterday, for the first time, I took my 4 and 2 year olds to our library's story hour.   I scheduled the trip so that the boys had had a snack right before we left the house.

The Event: 
  •  My 4 year old in particular is loving it.  He sings and claps along in rapt attention.  They do the crafts.
  • Fun. Excitement.  My 4 year old writes his name on his craft.  By himself, while I am helping the 2 year old.  Evidently he's learned to print by osmosis.
  • Time passes.  I help my 8 and 11 year old children find some books.  I check the clock.  It's been two hours since the boy's snack.  Two hours of fun and excitement. 
  • We need to leave.  I've been monitoring the 4 year old.  Normally he can go as long as three hours without eating.
  • He's not falling apart.  However, he's also no longer reading or looking at things.  He wanders after me making his teeth snap together.  Loud clicking sounds. No one else notices.  
  • Suddenly I realize that he's using his mandibular joint to self-calm.
At home when his sugars drop he typically falls apart and/or starts arguing or fighting.  He has a weird high-pitched cry that everyone in the family both hates and instantly can recognize as a blood sugar "alarm."

But he's 4 now.  Public embarrassment is suddenly an issue for him, something he'd rather avoid.  He's trying not to fall apart in public.  He is "centering" himself with his jaw.

Isn't that remarkable?

It wasn't a crisis. We left and had a high-carb + protein snack and he was fine. Evidently story time is very exciting- and exciting, for a FOD'er like my son, means burning lots of energy.

This is the beauty of blogging, it helps me organize the puzzle-pieces of FOD's yet it is impossible to bore acquaintances (unless they are masochists or don't know about the back-button) with extraneous health info.  I can write and write... evidently, I process information through my fingertips.

Coping through typing. Coping through mandibular joint compression...

Time and Hope

August 23, 2010 by Rieshy
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Time is suddenly in short supply.  School has started again for my older children and my 4 year old is healthy.

School is an obvious time sucker, home schooling mom or not, but good health?

Healthy 4 year old's need to go to the park to run off extra energy.  Healthy 4 year old's need to be watched every moment and kept busy - especially if said 4 year old has a 2 year old brother with whom to plot mischief.

My 4 year old has never had such a long run of health and energy.  His last hospitalization was the end of April.  Coming on 4 months now of not just the absence of crisis but 4 months of glowing cheeks, growing body, almost normal energy levels. 

Wow.

I remember when he was younger, before his diagnosis, he would sit for hours playing with matchbox cars while I studied with my older children.  I could teach the whole morning with barely a peep.  He was the "easiest" 2 year old around- but only because he was slowly dying and we didn't know it.

Now.

Now, I am constantly being interrupted, my teaching schedule constantly challenged by restlessness.  My writing time ever shrinking.

I'm o.k. with this. I'm more than o.k. I'm in awe.  I'm ridiculously happy in that I-feel-compelled-to-do-a-silly-dance-and-embarrass-my-teens sort of way.  I'm in hope. Hope that this stage will last.

I love being annoyed that he's running around like a lunatic.  Not so much in love that he and the 2 year old took all the sheets, blankets, and pillows off all 4 of the boys beds... 

Hope is a delicious thing when you finally make peace with it.  Hope is not a prayerful demand. It's the antithesis of worry.

I've been afraid of hope.  Afraid of a broken heart.  But to learn to truly have hope that my son will be well enables me to smile and love and trust God- and to enjoy the today that I have.

Perhaps for people like me- people who don't like to be wrong- hope is especially difficult. It's ridiculously humbling.

We've been told that children like my 4 year old often have a stretch without crisis from age 4 or 5 until the growth spurt at puberty.  I thought that sounded wonderful- so hopeful.  My husband said, "Well I'm going to hope for no crises even during puberty."  Hope comes easier to him.

With time I'd like to be able to think that way too. 

With time.

Time is suddenly in short supply right now- because right now I have time with my son- with all my children.

Because of hope- I don't have to waste that time.

I do however have to go put the blankets back on all the beds.... grrr...

Psalm 71:5 "For You are my hope, O Lord God; You are my trust from my youth."

Matthew 6:34 "Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble."

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tuesdays unwrapped at cats


Chalk And Filth Make Me Feel Good

August 20, 2010 by Rieshy
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Coming home filthy and stinky at the end of the day is a good thing because it means that your 18 year old son been gainfully employed over the Summer.  Just wish he could come home filthy and already fed.


Gainfully Employed Little Ones are also something to feel good about.


Little Man reacts to being told how precious he is.  Evidently, I need to phrase things in a more Manly way.


More Chalk. 


More Gainful Employment.  
Yes, this momma freaked out with pride when she saw what her 4 year old wrote all by himself.
Sniffle Sniffle.

All in all 5 pictures of chalk and filth that make me feel good for the Girl Next Door's Feel Good Friday.

Old Friends

August 16, 2010 by Rieshy
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 In college I had a great pottery professor.  He was young and uber-talented with a young wife who oozed confidence and competence. While driving a small motorcycle, David was hit when a pick-up ran a stop-sign.  Patti and I talked on the phone in the first day or so after David's accident.  Patti told me to go hug and love my husband (and to let go of pettiness) because I could never know how much time we had to be together.

Her husband had a long, long road to recovery, but he made it- they made it.

Over the years, I've often thought of that conversation.  That conversation was a gift for my attitude and for my marriage.  I'm sure she's never known how many people watched her during that time period and how many were blessed by her strength and faith in the midst of their personal trial. 

About two years ago my husband tracked down David and Patti in order to surprise me with one of David's porcelain platters as an anniversary gift.  I love, love, love, David's artwork.

Patti was recently diagnosed with breast cancer.  Pray for her. Visit her "shiny new" blog, Someone Wake Me Up.

Laugh with her- this great post with the t-shirt photo almost did me in!  This photo captures perfectly the idea of enjoying the moment at hand.  (Pun intended.)

It seems to me that during this new trial, Patti's already blessing people again. 


tuesdays unwrapped at cats

Big Things On The Side Of The Road

by Rieshy
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Sometimes I drive by things and have to wonder...

For instance, what would you do if you had an old gas station canopy just sitting around?  You know- the metal frame roof that protects people and pumps from the rain.  For instance, would you prop one corner of the cover up with a, straining to hold the load, 2x4?

What if you also had a rabbit problem?

Could the canopy be your solution? 




I guess it would make a fine box-rabbit trap, for a really BIG rabbit population.



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Unfair on a Feel Good Friday

August 13, 2010 by Rieshy
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Life is not fair.  I know this because my 18 year old son had no cavities today yet my 16 year old daughter had several.  Guess which one of them has, from the earliest age,  been meticulous about brushing teeth?

When you have a million children you don't take them to the dentist all at once.  You stagger.  Which means that the final report card on how good a mother you are can take a whole month.  My report card?  2 cavities out of 7 mouths. 

Do I really think cavities are a reflection of my parenting worth?  No.  Except when I'm sitting with the hygienist and she is explaining that she can tell my 8 year old child has not been brushing well and my child blurts out, "That's because I lost my toothbrush at Grandma's house in May.  Remember Mom?  I kept telling you I needed a new one."  Then I do feel a teensy bit like, the Worst Mother In the World- Grade F.

The dentist's secretary gave my son a sword-shaped balloon and then put a sign on my back that read: Warning this mother failed her children in dental hygiene 101.  

That's o.k. because today's feel good for Feel Good Friday is the immense laugh I had when relating my dental-tale-of-embarrassment to my husband. 

Life really, really, isn't fair.   The 8 year old, despite his almost 2 month brushing hiatus, also had no cavities.

Fish Stories

August 12, 2010 by Rieshy
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Yesterday after school my two teen-aged daughters went fishing.  

I don't know what they were using as bait.

This is what my 14 year old caught.


The kitten was alone and crying by the lake.  It's mom and siblings MIA.  My daughter's kind heart couldn't bear leaving the poor thing.  

Drat  Bless her kind heart.

It made it through the night. I wasn't sure it would.

Funny how we want to raise our children to be compassionate but find it inconvenient when they practice compassion.

It's name is Wesley... or Anne.

It's the biggest fish my girls have caught all year.



Progress

August 11, 2010 by Rieshy
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I just realized something fabulous;  my About Me is completely out-of-date.

Potty training? Check- that's been accomplished for several months.

High school senior with college aplications, FAFSA and scholarship forms? Check- that's been accomplished. 

Breathing through my nose?  I've managed it fairly consistently.

Knitting a sweater?  O.k. so that's on hold.  How about knitting the world's slowest ever pair of socks? I think that counts- 7 months later I'm a rocking 1/3 the way through that.

Progress is my middle name.

Uh, oh.  Now for the rewrite.

Do you think, "Save the clock tower!" is too obscure a movie quote or too far down a convoluted line of thinking from, "Progress is my middle name" to be an About Me

Does anyone, besides me,  read other blog About Me's anyway?

How Not To Sleep Well

by Rieshy
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An anti-public service announcement. 

This will be short because I'm too sleepy from successfully completing the following suggestions.

  1. Work on German grammar with your 11th grader at 9:45p.m. When she leaves pick up a German novel and read for a while, using your very,very, rusty German reading skills.  These late night activities will ensure that your brain cannot remember how to dream, in any language, thus ensuring garbled sleep and the early morning desire to quote Dr.  Suess. (It's so fun to read in German, but makes my eyebrow get red hot.)
  2. At 2:00a.m., after you feed your little one and are getting back into bed, think about the 9 months worth of post-dated checks you had to write for the tutorial program where your two teen-aged daughters will be taking a few high school classes.  Think about all those checks and the amount of money they represent each month...  For spice, throw in thoughts of your son's college expenses.
  3. Ask your 18 year old son to get up extra early to do a few things before he goes to work. This will provide the opportunity for you to finally fall asleep about the same time his alarm goes off.  The alarm which, from all the way across the house, wakes you but fails to wake him. Make sure his alarm is playing Billy Joel so that you will get to spend time wondering what decade it is.
Good Morning, and feel free to add to my list.

What Was I Thinking?

August 9, 2010 by Rieshy
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I remember vividly thinking, "What was I thinking!!!",  as my husband headed out the door to take my mom back to the airport almost 19 years ago.

I had a body not-so healed from an emergency cesarean,  a new-born-first-born baby, and a strong desire to fling myself flat on the ground in order to hold onto my mother's ankles so she could not walk out the front door.

We made it.  My new-born baby's been house-sitting and working in another town for the past couple of weeks.  He starts college soon, and at least appears to have suffered no permanent damage from being raised by totally clueless parents.

We have more clues now.  Thanks to our firstborn, our guinea pig.

Today's our first full day back to school.  Minus my college son, I have a 3rd, a 5th, a 9th and an 11th grader along with my 2 pre-schoolers. Once again I find myself wondering/silently screaming...

What was I thinking!!

The thing is, at this point I can look back at all the fun the years with my children have been.  

I can look back and really understand how quickly the years speed by.  Because no matter how many older people tell you that, when you're holding your first baby and haven't slept in a month, you don't believe and maybe can't understand what they are saying.

Even if I can't remember what I was thinking, right now I'm thinking I adore school supplies and the smell of markers and new books, and I'm thinking that this year will be another grand adventure spent with people I love.

And if my children are cranky and threaten to burst my bubble when they wake up- I'll just give them extra chores...  

Years of perspective is a grand thing.


When Garbage Makes You Feel Good on Friday

August 6, 2010 by Rieshy
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It's time for the Girl Next Door's Feel Good Friday.  It's also garbage pickup day on our street.

What's the connection?

My oldest son has done the garbage chore for years.  However, suddenly he has a life outside our home.  College. Work. Girlfriend. 

Hopefully in that order- no offense intended, Brittany.

My almost 9 year old son has been in training.  This morning he did the garbage chore without forgetting anything.  Wahoo! 

We have another 10 year garbage run covered and then my current 2 year old can pick up the slack.  Boys... noisy and goofy, but also quite useful.

Which leads me to my second Feel Good.  It's worth at least 4 Feel Goods, bringing my total to the meme's required 5.

My 4 year old son dressed himself for our "formal" family portrait.  He could only reach the 2 year old's Winter clothing.  He made do.



He's so cute it makes me grin.

Anniversaries Come And Go

August 2, 2010 by Rieshy
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Early on my husband realized he was the luckiest man alive.  Why?  Because I never could remember the dates of our wedding anniversary/my birthday/his birthday/Valentine's day, therefore, I could never get mad if he forgot any of the above events.

I blame a faulty gene on my parents. I believe that the gene that enables other women to style their hair well must be the same gene that places enough sentimentality on dates to make one able to remember them.

It would explain a lot.

I finally had to have our wedding date engraved inside my wedding ring just so I wouldn't have to call my mother repeatedly during the month of December.

Hey, at least I could remember our wedding month.  I can't really take much credit though, it's hard to miss the poinsettia trees that are in a lot of the wedding pictures.

Recently I panicked and dug out my 8 year old's birth certificate just to make sure I'd been writing his correct birthday on his school forms.

Phew.  Got that right at least.

I'd planned on celebrating my first blogiversary with an incredibly insightful post that would definitely end up going viral.

But I forgot.

My blogiversary came and went without even a hard-drive backup to commemorate the event.   I only remembered when my parents-in-law commented on how grown-up my kids' friends were looking.  It reminded me that my first post had to do with my kids' friends laughing at some of the items I had on hand at an outing.

So one year, 6 weeks and 1 day later, anniversaries come and go.  But mothers, even blogging ones with faulty sentimentality genes, are always prepared.