Archive for April, 2010

Would You Like Some Chicken?

April 30, 2010

After work and 2 Dr. appointments, it was time to head for Costco. The cupboards were looking pathetically bare and I wanted to get things stocked up before I had to use up the weekend on grocery shopping. After more than an hour walking the isles of Costco and loading a cart to capacity, I decided I’d make dinner easy and bring home one of their rotisserie chickens and a watermelon. After unloading the car, I got the kids into the kitchen and started making plates. Gabi came in and asked if she could have a leg-

Me-”Sorry Gabs, Max and Lex already asked”
Gabi-”Ok, can I have the head?”

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And with that I say-Good night~

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Mommy of Many Morning Short-A Growing Boy

April 29, 2010

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Max is going to go far in this world. He doesn’t let much stop him and he has his own ideas about how to get things done.

A couple days ago I found out that the lunches we’ve been packing aren’t sufficient to keep him going at school. His solution? He’s been eating his lunch at snack time and running a tab with the lunch truck.

Gotta love a kid who takes care of business. Anyone wanna pick up that tab?

Here’s to Doing the Dance of the Children~

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Wednesday…Better Catch Up

April 28, 2010

The last few days have gotten away from me.

Now that Clay is back and my brother is here and there are more hands and drivers to get the kids where they need to be, I feel like I don’t have a good grasp on everything. When I’m the only one who has to make it all happen, I have it all mapped out and know exactly what has to happen for whom and when. But now it’s all a little cloudy because I don’t have to know all the details. It takes me awhile to adjust to not being the only one in control.

Secretly I’m a control freak- *shhhhhhh* -Imagine keeping it all together if I weren’t!

But I’m letting go of a few pieces of the puzzle and letting Clay and Ted take them over. Don’t worry, there’s still PLENTY for me to do. I just have to get it all clear in my head.

Whew! This ever-changing life…Doing the Dance of the Children~

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Kids on Their Best Behavior

April 25, 2010

Kids are a funny bunch!

This morning, on the way to church, the older kids were REALLY giving each other a hard time. The bickering and picking was almost unbearable. Then we got to church and everyone pulled it together and attended mass the way they each know how to. Then, back to the van we go and the bickering and picking started right back up! Sometimes its positively merciless!

Bickering…picking…name-calling, all the way from the church, to Starbucks, from Starbucks to the reception we were heading to. Then something magical happened…

We got to the reception and suddenly everyone had happy faces, kind words and helpful attitudes. WHAT?! Who were these kids who just moments before were mortal enemies?! I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen this phenomenon in action.

So many times, over the years, other parents have complimented my children’s behavior and I’ve had to wonder what children they must be talking about. I’ve met the sweetest, most polite children and complimented parents on their children’s behavior, only to have them say, “I’m so glad they behave outside of the house because inside, they are always testing the limits”.

I’m convinced that this is the mark of a truly good child-one who tests all the rules and limits inside their own home, with their own family, while remembering what their parents expect of them when they go outside their comfort zone. It stinks for the parents, but we should take comfort in knowing that our kids have listened, but still need to test the waters and feel safe and comfortable enough to do it within the walls of their homes and the safety of the family that they know is going to love them, even with challenging behavior.

So, all of us, who have been complimented on how amazingly wonderfully behaved our kids are, should pat ourselves on the back and not worry about the fact that those same kiddos are going to give us grey hair and sleepless nights. We’re doin’ it right!

Here’s to parenting…may we all make it through another day of Doing the Dance of the Children~

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Happy Earth Day

April 22, 2010

Earth Day Cookies

We’ve been getting the kids in the classroom ready to celebrate Earth Day. They’ve been learning about bugs and we have caterpillars in a netted home where the kids can watch them go through all their phases of metamorphosis. I put together a playlist of songs about the earth’s changes from season to season, recycling and gardens (some of my favorite children’s songs are on that playlist!) and the class has been learning about planting and growing. They’ve planted sunflowers and watched as they poked thru dirt to becoming seedlings. A few days ago we had a great visit from one of the children’s fathers, who taught the kids all about growing tomatoes. We decided to have the kids each plant tomato seeds and the seedlings will be placed in hand painted pots for Mother’s Day. I think the kids have had fun learning about recycling, growing and conserving. Today and tomorrow we’ll give them a little treat (the cookies pictured above) and listen to the noisy classroom, since it’s raining and they won’t be able to go outside.

~sigh~

It’s tough to get the kids to be excited for the rain that’s helping the flowers grow, but keeps them inside. But they sure can be funny and creative! Here’s a funny story to share that happened while I was helping one of the little guys plant his tomato seed for his mom-

Me-”See how small this seed is? Isn’t it amazing that a whole plant is going to be able to grow out of that tiny seed and real tomatoes can grow on that plant? And then you and Mommy can go pick them and eat them!”

5yr old boy-”Um, well, Mommy is on the Medifast diet and there are no tomatoes on the Medifast diet.”

Me-*holding back a laugh* “Well, they sure will be pretty to look at”.

Happy Earth Day! I hope it’s a good one~

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Yesterday’s Update

April 21, 2010

“Hi Mrs Lang. Please come back on Monday. What time’s good for you?”
That’s pretty much how yesterday went. Ok, there was a little more to it, but that’s the gist of the whole thing. NMC Balboa has a walk-in breast health and mammogram clinic. With my busy schedule, I thought it was the perfect solution for me. They felt differently. Because I’m not yet 40 and have no family history of breast cancer, they offered me an appointment with the Dr. instead of walking me in for a mammogram.

So, there you go! That’s the whole story to all of yesterday’s hype. Geesh! I got all worked up for nothing.

What do you wanna bet they see me on Monday and then end up scheduling a mammogram? Such is life.

Have a great day~

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One More Rite of Passage

April 20, 2010

What is it about life that it just can’t leave you alone? There’s always another journey, another test, another milestone. Wouldn’t it be great if we could just petition to take all the tests and then live peacefully for the next 70 years?! Ok, I get that then it wouldn’t be life, but I still like the idea.

On my journey through life so far, I’ve hit many milestones and walked a path or two but I still haven’t fully joined the Club Woman. So, today I get to get my membership card punched one more hole toward full/lifetime membership. Today I have my first mammogram. It’s interesting to hear all the conflicting comments on this. I’ve heard, “why would you do that, you’re not 40 yet.” as well as, “why in the world haven’t you already done that?!”. I’ve heard that because I was a breast feeding M.O.M. that my risk is low and that because there’s no family history that I needn’t worry too, terribly much. Yet I’ve heard one too many story of survivors who “had no family history” and got caught by surprise.

So…in the name of taking care of me I’m off to go through one more rite of passage.

Then I’ll be sure that I can keep Doing the Dance of the Children with a clear mind and a healthy body.

Have a great day~

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Hey There Sunday-Where’d You Come From?

April 18, 2010

I woke up this morning wondering how the heck another week has flown by. I swear I was JUST waking up to LAST Sunday and spending a day with my sisters. At this rate, I’m going to turn around and it’ll be summer.

This morning started early. I usually let everyone (even me) sleep in on Saturday and Sunday, but Lex came in at 5 (admittedly, I was already up) asking for chocolate milk. What he got was a long bath and then some chocolate milk.

So, here’s to the beginning of another week. I’m hoping to meet it head-on, make the most of it and try not to feel like it’s gone in the blink of an eye.

Here’s to another week of Doing the Dance~

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Response and Continuing Update

April 16, 2010

I wanted to take a minute to address some of the comments I’ve received about the on-going issue of undone school work and my kiddo who isn’t happy with school. I’ve had several thought-provoking responses and I think they deserve to be responded to.

In my 21 years of parenting I have approached schooling in many ways. I’ve had children in public schools and in the private school system.  There was also a time when we were frequently moving because of military orders and it made sense to take schooling into my own hands at some points during those moves. There have been issues with the way a child learns or how to best help them glean the knowledge that’s within all those text books and I chose to bring a child home for a year and 1/2 to try to find the holes in their learning, plug them and get the child back into the classroom setting. We’ve worked with tutors and learning centers along the way. In my journey through parenting and schooling I’ve had to face something head on-when choosing to homeschool, both the child AND the parent have to be considered. I have had to be honest enough with myself to face the fact that I am not a parent that is well-suited to homeschooling. I have neither the time nor the space to give it the solid attention that I desire and that it deserves. It’s been a bitter pill to swallow. I have had friends and acquaintances throughout all of my years of parenting who have done a very good, successful and solid job of schooling their children. I have had to realize that it is not for everyone and just because I have a child or a situation that isn’t particularly suited to the traditional classroom setting, doesn’t automatically mean that the answer is for me to become the child’s teacher. Believe me, I have tried this, been successful (enough) at it and still had to accept that it’s not for me.

Many kudos to those that have done and are taking on this immensely, important task in their children’s lives. I TRULY wish I could join you. But we must all face our strengths and weaknesses, be honest about them and then work from there.

Many of you have suggested that my child who is having such a tough time at school and within the structure of the classroom, be home schooled. You have suggested I look at all the people, throughout history who have contributed great things to our world and how they didn’t fit, well, into the traditional settings of school. Thank you. I do see this. I will have to weigh all my options while leaving homeschooling out of the equation.

As for my meeting with the teacher…it could have gone better. I understand that she is just as frustrated as I am with what we are seeing. However, I give her credit for seeing that this isn’t an issue of work that is too difficult-it’s not the curriculum, but an issue of learning to work within the structured environment. I know that some of you are of the opinion that it isn’t particularly necessary for my child (or any child) to HAVE to learn to do this. On this point, we disagree. I feel that it’s important because in all the stages of our lives and in all we must do to be successful, functioning parts of our society require us to learn to work within the perimeters of that structure. We get to choose our outlets, whether they be sports, music or art, where we are able to find the way in which we like to use our time and let our thoughts be free-flowing, but there is always going to be the job that we must go to and the way in which that job must be functioned. If a child doesn’t learn to work within a structured environment and under time constraints, I don’t see how they can fully function, successfully as an adult, in society.

Thank you for all your suggestions and thoughts. I will continue to try to find the best way to give my child the tools needed to become a happy and successful student and growing kiddo.

Onto this day and Doing the Dance of the Children~

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The Continuing Saga of Undone School Work

April 15, 2010

A while back I talked about finding many, MANY pages of undone or partially done school work under one of my children’s beds. This happens to be the same child who is hating school. After making the kiddo climb under the bed and pull out all the papers and letting them know that they would be brought into the teacher and we would discuss how and when to get them all done, I figured the problem was over. Shortly after that, the teacher let me know that she had found several undone papers crumpled in the back of this child’s desk. We, again, made a plan for getting the work done-some of which no longer counted toward grades.

After having met with the teacher and my child and talking about the importance of the work and that if help was needed, all they needed to do was ask, I made the decision to change the way this child did homework and made sure that they were accompanied at the table, over each piece of work. So, since January, this child comes home, gets a snack and then sits down with someone and is guided through the homework that’s been presented from the back pack. Apparently even THIS isn’t a sufficient enough way of doing things to keep the child on task, because 2 days ago I received an envelope of papers and a note. Yep, more crumpled papers in the back of the desk!

So, last night I pulled all the papers out and organized them into piles. There was a total of 46 undone or partially done worksheet pages representing all of the subjects being studied. There’s the pile of “Done but not turned in” (I still don’t understand why that’s happening). There’s the pile of “Is this too old to matter?”. And finally the pile of “Completely not touched and needs to be tackled”. I wrote a note for each pile and am taking them into the teacher today to have her glance through and let me know that she wants each item taken care of.

~sigh~

This whole thing is making me crazy. Yes, I’ve sat and talked with my child. I’ve asked all the questions and offered all the help. I’ve taken the steps to make sure guidance is in place. I’ve done everything short of sitting in the classroom with them. Is that next?! Am I ultimately headed back to grade school?! I know, I know…just a little bit of being dramatic there.

Ok, getting the kids going for this new day of school and going in to talk with the teacher…again.

Prayers and well wishes appreciated!

Have a great day~

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When a Kiddo Hates School…

April 14, 2010

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~Sigh~

One of my kiddos truly hates school. Every Sunday they look at me and say,”I know what tomorrow is…the worst day of the week.” The work curriculum isn’t a problem. Friends aren’t a challenge. They just, truly hate having to go and sit in a structured environment and complete work in a given time-frame. This particular child is a big thinker and is always thinking of a better way to do things or a better way to build things and can get lost in thoughts of planning and inventing and building for a long time.

The teacher and I have had several meetings and have come up with all sorts of ideas to help this child look at the whole thing differently. But each plan has failed. I’ve got someone working with them to see if we can find better tools for them to succeed inside the perimeters of the school day and the classroom structure. But that takes time and the school year is speeding toward it’s finishing point.

I’ve had another child who felt this same way and was just as lost in thought and they are now a successful High School Senior who is headed off to college in the Fall. I’m hoping they will have something to offer their younger sibling to help change all these feelings.

Anyone been here? What did you do?

Have a great day~

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Overwhelmed M.O.M.

April 13, 2010

My to-do list just won’t ease up. It’s the time of the year to really feel overwhelmed! I’m getting ready for a high school graduation that I have NO control over, because it’s happening in PA. And I’m getting ready for 2 8th grade graduations and all the prep of getting those girls ready for and into high school. I wake up each morning, determined to tackle the hardest, most time-consuming and cumbersome items on my list, only to crawl into bed each night knowing that I face those items in the morning.

Tackle something already lady!

Of course, graduations aren’t the only things looming over my head. There’s the regular busyness of this household, personal items to take care of and some Mommy of Many items to look forward to and work hard at. Um…have they perfected cloning yet?

Alright, enough of this venting! Back to the morning busyness and getting these kiddos up and going for the day.

With a big breath and a glass of water, I turn on the music and go back to Doing the Dance of the Children~

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Homecoming

April 12, 2010

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Last Thursday was the big day. Clay’s flight was coming in at 10:50 pm. The kids spent the day making signs, asking “when are we going to the airport?” and getting excited to welcome their dad back. After the long day of getting everything ready, I loaded the kids into the van and headed to the airport. We unloaded, checked the monitor and headed to the gate. The kids held their signs and waited with big smiles…We checked the monitor again. It said the plane had landed…and the kids waited…again with the monitor checking…finally I texted Clay to confirm that the flight info I had was correct. After a few minutes I got a text back that said, “I’m here”. I told the kids, but still no passengers were coming out of the gate. Hmmm…I finally got a 2nd text, “outside”. GREAT! After all the sign-making and planning and getting 8 kids to the airport, his plane was early! I couldn’t believe it!

But, in he came and the kids were able to rush to him, just the same. Man! Plan all you want…

Everyone is happy to have Dad back. It was nice that JJ was home for a few days after Homecoming to be able to sit and visit. I know that Clay’s exhausted and hasn’t really adjusted to the time change OR the busyness of the household. But off we go, into the regular routine. I’m sure he’ll catch up.

Thanks to everyone for all the “Welcome Back” messages that have been sent.

Now…on with the Dance~

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Deployment…Done

April 8, 2010

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One year! I’ve gotta be honest-with the 2 visits and the overall busyness of our house and our schedule, it doesn’t AT ALL seem like a year has passed. But I knew that from the beginning. I knew that the way this house works, that everything would just keep rolling the same as always and that all of a sudden Clay would jump back into the routine.

The best part is that things really will keep rolling the same. Clay’s next set of orders are right here in San Diego. He gets to spend 3 years as a flight instructor at a training squadron at North Island. A beautiful set of orders!

So, today will be spent with the kids asking me a million times, “is it time to get Dad yet?” and by making Welcome Home signs, finishing up projects around the house and reminding that kids that 11pm is much, MUCH later.

Thank you for all the support by all the wonderful people who helped keep life rolling smoothly over this last year. I TRULY appreciate all the supportive comments and those that stepped in to help get kiddos to events and the chit chat over glasses of wine. THAT’S what I call community! Thank you!

Have a great day~

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Improvising

April 7, 2010

We had a pork roast for  Easter dinner and there were plenty of leftovers. I decided to use them for pulled pork. I looked up a recipe and got started. When it came time to add the BBQ sauce, I realized that my bottle was only about 1/3 full. Hmmm…I opened the bottle, filled it nearly full w/ ketchup, dijon mustard and garlic, shook well and add it to the recipe.

A little improv turned into a tasty meal.

Have a great day~

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