Friday, July 6, 2012

Just Because

I don't really have anything to type about right now, but I can always come up with SOMETHING. Just because my brain works like that. It's 2:00 in the morning and I should be asleep. I'm exhausted to be honest, but I'm up waiting for Hubby's work pants to get done in the dryer so that I can take them out and lay them out with the rest of his clothes for the morning.

Normally, we would have had all of this done quite a while before this point in the night, but tonight, not so much. We are house-sitting for my inlaws. They are off backpacking in Colorado or Wyoming or somewhere. (Their initial plan was for Colorado, but they weren't sure if they would be able to hike any 14'ers there so they figured they might have to go to Wyoming instead.)

But anyhow, the kids and I had a busy day cleaning house and getting things nice and neat because I knew that we were going to be coming over here sometime this evening. I also knew that I had some errands to run that I didn't get done earlier in the week. I tell you, I like to group my errands together, but when the heat is the way it has been, I am good for an errand or two, as long as they are somewhat in the same area. I don't like to be outdoors any longer than I absolutely have to. It's just miserable. Plus, I have always had a hard time releasing heat from my body, so that makes it even worse.

When Hubby got home, I ran out to do our errands while he and the kids stayed home and did some things around the house. Cephas wanted to mow. He has been begging all week to be allowed to mow, so Hubby let him do it today. Hubby also took the seats out of our van and loaded up some laundry into the van. Now, when I say "some" laundry, what I really mean is like ten totes worth of laundry. I had been going through clothes and then something came up and then the clothes got moved to the floor instead of my bed and then they got stepped on and then they got left there, so on and so forth. Anyhow, he gathered a bunch of it up and brought it over. Now, I am rewashing everything again so that I can go through it all and make sure what I am going to do with it. I know that there is more there than what we need for our six family members, plus the babysitting kids (I always have a few extra items on hand for them - just in case something were to happen) but even still, it's a mountain.

Well, Hubby's work shirt went into the first load I washed and somehow, his work pants went into the third load. Sigh. One of these days I will get it together. Maybe. Okay, probably not. But maybe I'll get better at pretending that I have it all together. Nah. :)

Tomorrow, I am going to continue to work on the mountain of laundry that Hubby decided to bring over here and go through it all. I am also going to be going back to our house and have the kids work on some extra chores there. It was so easy to see some extra things that needed to be done when I ran back there this evening to grab hangers (yeah, we forgot to bring the hangers. I could fold everything but then that just creates more work yet again, and believe me when I say that I don't need to borrow extra work). The house was just so empty and quiet. It was weird. I did a few things while I was there but since it was already late, I didn't want to take too long to get back down here, so now I have a list in my head of things that I want to go home tomorrow during the day and work on with the kids.

Tomorrow night, I am picking up BabyCakes from his daycare center and bringing him back to the inlaw's house. He'll spend the weekend here with us. While we are here, I am just doing laundry, watering the yard/plants/garden/whatever (I do NOT have a green thumb whatsoever so I'm doing my best!) and just making the house look lived in. Saturday afternoon, I want to go home and work on some stuff there and maybe even leave the kids here with Hubby while I do that. It will give BabyCakes a chance to see his dad too by doing that.

Then on Sunday, it's off to church and then take BabyCakes back to his dad and then work on our house some, come back here, tidy up the inlaw's house and then head on home in the evening. Thankfully, Hubby has Sunday off each week, so I can plan on him to help out with this stuff. After that, Monday will be my slowest day of the week and Tuesday begins the million mile a minute roller coaster ride that will be my new normal for the next few weeks.

I am so excited to have Calla and Angel around. I just can't wait. I'd like to get my house all caught up and organized and spotlessly cleaned, but let's be honest here. That isn't going to happen. So I will be happy with the house being neat and appear to be clutter free until the time comes this fall when I can make the reality much closer to the vision in my head.

See? I told you that I could make words happen even though I "didn't really have anything to type about," like I said earlier. It's now about half an hour later and I only have another half an hour to waste before checking on Hubby's pants. Maybe I might try resting for that time.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Fireworks and Meltdowns

There are so many different things that the title of this post could possibly refer to, such as: the heat around here, the wildfires in surrounding states, the fireworks, whatever. But this isn't about any of that, although they may all make it further into this post before I'm done.

I'm talking about emotional meltdowns. When my kids really get going, I fully and completely expect to see a big ol' puddle of Cephas or Koren, Oralee or Jeriah just laying there on the ground. Thankfully, it is a figurative term and not a literal one because with the heat around here, they probably would have evaporated in an hour's time. (Heat - further mention - 1 for 3)

Our city allows fireworks to be sold and lit only on July 3rd and July 4th. There are nearby towns that allow fireworks sales prior to that (something like up to ten days in advance of the 4th?) but here in the city, you are out of luck til the 3rd. (Fireworks - further mention - 2 for 3)

Our city's big holiday hoopla actually happens on the 3rd as well. Multimillion dollar display, free activities for the day for families, it's a great event and a great idea. However, with the heat indexes being over 100 and the humidity making it dangerous to even be outside (your body cannot efficiently cool itself), we had made the decision not to attend this year.

We went last year. Hubby, myself, our four kids, Shea, her hubby and their four kids. It was an absolute BLAST! (pardon the pun) We had discussed doing it again this year, but due to the fact that Hubby was scheduled the 3rd and the 4th and that we would be having BabyCakes overnight on the 3rd and into the 4th (weekday daycare took a holiday), we weren't planning on going to it. Add to that the fact that with two children on the Spectrum, one of whom needs a VERY consistent schedule - at minimum a regular sleep schedule - and the other who has developed some sensory processing issues, and how that would affect them, we made our choice.

Cephas and Koren wanted to spend some time outdoors yesterday (3rd) watching neighbors do their fireworks. I was completely fine with that. I gave them some very specific instructions. Stay away from the fireworks and ABSOLUTELY no holding or lighting fireworks. They both disobeyed and got caught. They both were given one more chance and did well with it.

Our neighbors decided to go to the lake nearby to just watch the fireworks display. It happens maybe only a mile or a mile and a half from us (as the eagle flies) but there are a lot of trees and hills between here and there and we wouldn't be able to see the display from here. They asked if Cephas could join them. I reluctantly agreed. Our bedtime around here is 8:30 year round. It seems really early in the summer, but the kids NEED it. Granted, there are times when it gets pushed back to 9:00 or sometimes even 10:00, but not much later than that at all.

The fireworks display doesn't happen til 10:00pm. It's a 22 minute show. Then there is traffic. So on and so forth. Cephas got home just before 11:00. He wanted to stay outside and watch the neighbors do some more of their fireworks. The fireworks are actually supposed to end at 11pm, but I didn't know that. I found that out afterward. But I let him and Koren both go over and watch the neighbors. The little kids were asleep inside and Hubby was too.

I sat on the porch and watched the kids and waited for BabyCakes to get dropped off as well (they had also gone to the show and had to walk back home after to drive over here). BabyCakes got dropped off, I brought him inside and put him to bed. He was out instantly. He normally goes to bed around 8:30 as well. I called for the boys to come in just before midnight. They were asleep within ten minutes as I figured they would be.

Today, everyone was up at their normal times. My kids have never figured out the whole sleeping in thing. Well, except for Koren. He'd gladly sleep in til 9am, usually. But the rest of them are usually up pretty early. They did their chores (most willingly, might I add) and earned their game time. I lost track of time and they ended up with double the amount that they were supposed to have.

Then, this afternoon, the friends starting showing up at the door, all asking for the boys to come out and play, which we allowed them to do. After awhile, we had them come in to cool off, even though they said that they were "just fine". Sorry kiddos, it is my job as your mom to be the parent and as such, I need to make sure that you ARE just fine. With this heat, you may not be able to tell the difference.

Then, they started asking if they could watch this person or that person do fireworks tonight. I told them that we would see. I knew that they were already short on sleep and after playing outside, it REALLY showed. I suggested that they go lay down and rest for a bit. They vetoed that suggestion.

They started talking about how they wanted to just be able to light this type of firework or that type of firework and I told them again, "NO fireworks. You may watch them and that is IT"

Shortly after that, they went outside to play again and both of them broke the rule and were caught lighting fireworks. They were told that if they were going to be allowed to watch fireworks in the evening, it would be from our porch. They had broken the rules again and they were done. They were not allowed to play outside, they were not allowed to watch the fireworks unless it was from our porch, they were just DONE with outdoor activities for the day.

That is when Cephas melted. Koren is eight, almost nine and he sat there, listening and quickly and quietly took his consequence for it and moved on. Cephas melted. He cried, he complained, he whined, he nagged, he kept at it. We explained, we reasoned with him, we remained firm on the issue. No matter how much he tried and tried to get his own way about it, we didn't budge. I told him that if he kept it up, he'd end up with an 8pm bedtime and miss out on everything altogether.

So then the evening came and the boys were outside on the porch to watch other people light their fireworks. I had the little kids inside, watching different displays on T.V. I asked the boys if they wanted to come in and watch the displays as well. They didn't at first. But then Cephas decided to come indoors and melt all over the living room again. So that was the end of the outdoors for him. I gave him the option of going to his room and watching out his window or laying on the couch and watching on TV. He chose his room. Koren came in as well and went to lay down because he was tired.

Cephas then came out and melted again, saying that he couldn't see anything. All the good stuff was every direction but the one that his window faced. I told him he still had the option of watching the display on TV. Koren came out and asked if he, too, could watch the TV display. We agreed to it and they fell asleep watching the display on TV (around 9:15 or so).

I know that this is an issue that will be coming up soon with Cephas' therapist. We see a behavioral therapist every other week to work on various issues with Cephas. Well, technically, we see her for Jeriah as well, but this whole post is about Cephas. So anyhow, we will see her soon and I know this will come up. I know that she will back me on these issues. And that is reassuring to know.

I am feeling a bit stressed myself right now though, because although I know that the B.T. will back me on this and Hubby obviously does as well, my mother-in-law probably won't. She is constantly pressuring me to "give him some additional freedom" and to "make his bedtime just a little bit later than the others, maybe an hour or so" and various other things like that. And it angers me. I am the one that has to make these decisions, I am the one who has to live with the consequences of my decisions on how I raise my children. Yes, I agree that my 11 year old should have a later bedtime than my 4 year old. But you know what? He can't handle it. He melts the next day if loses more than half an hour of sleep. He doesn't sleep in. We have finally gotten to the point where he is willingly staying in his room quietly (and usually without waking his brother) until 8am. He has room darkening curtains. There really isn't much more that I can do, so his bedtime will remain 8:30. He will not be allowed to play with fireworks. He will need to stay in his room quietly until 8:00am for the remainder of summer. These are all things that I am not going to budge on.

Also, with regard to the firework issue, basically, my thought on it (in addition to these ones that I had mentioned the other day) is that allowing my children to light fireworks is giving them permission to play with fire, which I don't think is okay at ANY point in time. Also, if I were to ever allow them to do it, they would have to show me that they could be personally responsible. They need to be able to be responsible and accountable for their actions - and by that definition, Koren would probably be okay to light fireworks but he's only eight. No way is he going to be allowed to do that.

Cephas mentioned camping and the fact that he is allowed to start fires in that instance. I explained that fires during camping are a tool, not a toy. It is used for warmth, for food in addition to enjoyment. But the first two are the primary reasons for a fire during camping. He is also a Scout and they have the "Leave No Trace" policy that they practice. And the last point about it, campfires (done correctly) are CONTAINED.

Speaking of fires being contained, the fire that was raging in our state's national forest (which I didn't even know existed until recently) is now 100% contained. I'm so thankful! (Oh - and wildfires - mention - 3 for 3 - got 'em all in here!)

Apart from the meltdowns, I'd say it was a pleasant 4th of July. It was a quiet day, mostly spent with just our immediate family here at home. I got some personal and family planning done, finalized some details for the remainder of the month (or mostly finalized) and just relaxed as much as possible.

How was your fourth? Did you go to a professional display or stay home and do your own? What is your take on kids and fireworks?

Monday, July 2, 2012

July kickoff

We are kicking off to a busy start here in July. This month, we have a lot going on. We have swim lesson registrations. Cephas leveled up AGAIN this session, so now we are going to have swim lessons at a whole new YMCA location. Only two locations where we live have deep enough pools to practice starts and dives. But out of those two, only one is a consideration in my book. The neat part about that, though, is that Cephas, Oralee and Jeriah will all have swim lessons AT THE SAME TIME! Koren won't, as he has opted to not participate in swim lessons this session. He has been complaining about the chlorine and the swimming bothering his asthma.

We also have registration for Koren, Oralee and Jeriah to play soccer. Cephas is already registered for Midget Football. We also have Scouts that meets year round. Cephas is an 11 year old Scout and about halfway to his 12th birthday. He has one more activity to do and he will have earned his Tenderfoot and his First Class rank as well. Then he will be working on his Second Class rank. When he turns twelve, he will be ready to just focus on the merit badges. I'm so proud of him! Koren is also very close to finishing his Wolf rank and being able to earn his awards for his electives. We had a really neat Pack meeting the other night, in which my friend, Bree's son, earned his Wolf rank. It was such a cool presentation, complete with drawing on the kids' faces with markers and eveything!

We have had BabyCakes again. His mom was going to start taking him on the weekends but she has once again backed out. It makes me so sad for him. I wish that there was something more I could do for him, to provide him with the mother that he should have in her, but I can't. So I just love on him and treat him like one of my own.

I have also started teaching in the Nursery class at church. This past week, our Nursery class consisted of only BabyCakes. Do you know how weird it is to have just ONE child to teach a lesson to? Or to add to it the fact that the ONE child happens to be the one that you are responsible for anyhow? I was so tempted to just skip the lesson but my teaching companion, Kat, said that we should teach the lesson anyhow, so we did. Since she had prepared the lesson, I decided that I would take the time this week to write out a letter to the parents of the kids who weren't there, summarizing our lesson from this week and including our handout/art project for them. Next week's lesson is mine to teach.

Speaking of teaching, my visiting companion and I spoke about our visits coming up this month and she asked me to teach the lessons. Since we have been companions, she has done most of the teaching or we have traded off and on for the visits, but this month, she specifically asked me to teach. Courage anyone? I'm so scared. It will be fine though.

Let's see, what else is there? Angel will be back with us soon (mid-month), and so will Calla. I can't wait. I miss Calla so much! I'm going to be so sad when she goes back to her mom's house after her July visit because we most likely won't see her again for quite awhile. (Boo.)

Let's see, for me personally, I have discovered that the YMCA offers a VERY EARLY morning water exercise class. As in, one that will allow me to go to the class, work out, shower, get dressed, come home and be able to still be there before Hubby's alarm goes off in the morning. Now, that's my idea of a way to start the day.

Also, since the little kids will all be having their swim lessons at the same time, it frees up the childcare option at the YMCA for me to be able to do some exercise classes or whatever. I know that I definitely want to do the early morning water exercise class, but it is only available at our normal location two days a week. I do plan to check into the other location to see if they have it on the off mornings, so that maybe I can get it set up for four days a week. Then, I plan to utilize the childcare center to do land exercise classes or cardio workouts. I haven't decided yet. I just know that I really need to get moving.

As I sit here typing this, I am hearing some fireworks going off outside. I have a very unpopular opinion about fireworks. I feel that fireworks should be left to the professionals and should only be done for the big displays. Needless to say, my children have (VERY RARELY) lit fireworks or even had sparklers, etc. I just don't like fire that could harm my children. I love campfires and firepits and fireplace fires, but in all of those instances, there is a CONTAINED place for the fires and they (usually) stay within those contained places. When you couple my fear of fires harming my children with the drought that we are currently experiencing, the high temperatures, the wind, the wildfires happening in many places across the nation, fires scare me. I was outside just a bit ago, watering our yard and flower beds and spraying down our roof. Yes, I am THAT person. I'm just doing my best to keep myself and my family safe. It may be a futile effort, it may be an unnecessary effort, but it makes me feel better and eases my mind, so I'm going with it.

We have some home projects in the works here soon. Our back deck has eroded and there are huge, gaping holes everywhere in it. We really need to replace the whole thing, but when we priced out the cost of lumber to rebuild it, we discovered that we were looking at around $300. For a SMALL deck! Ridiculous. I found a solution that I think will work out nicely. Or at the very least, keep people from falling through our deck until we can fully replace it next year (which is going to take some major saving effort between now and then!).

We also have plans to enclose our yard. Initially, we were looking at a wood privacy fence. That is mostly for Jeriah's safety (wandering) and for the ability to let our dogs out to just run freely. Right now, they are VERY much indoor dogs and they will remain that way even after we fence in our yard, but it would be nice to be able to just let them out and let them run around and exercise too.

However, once we realized the cost of putting up a privacy fence around our yard (once again, a small area), we have discovered that it is something that we are going to have to save for. These two combined amounts are going to be a HUGE financial investment on our part. HUGE. To fence in our yard with chain link, we are probably looking at something in the $500 range and to do it with privacy fencing, we're looking at closer to $2,000, which is a scary amount to me.

I'm thinking about going back to school as well. Or maybe getting a part-time job while the kids are in school. I would love to get a job as a para with our school system, but I need to make sure that a) Jeriah gets accepted into kindergarten and, b) I would be able to be off work by the time Bree's kids get out of school - they attend an "early start" school and my kids attend a "late start" school and Bree is also thinking about getting a part-time job and hiring me to pick up her kids from school, keep them for an hour - while I go to pick up my kids from school - and then she'd either pick them up from me or I'd drop them off at home for her. Cephas will be attending a school that has the same dismissal time as Bree's kids but he already has plans and people to walk home with and most likely, he'd get home around the same time that I would with Bree's kids. And by that time, Hubby would also probably be home as well, so then either he could go get the other kids from school or I could, but someone would be here at home with whichever kids were here as well. In the cases where he wouldn't be off in time, we also have a family friend who could pick the kids up as well or Hubby could even leave work long enough to go pick up kids and bring them home and then return back to work. We have done that before too. It's not our favorite option, but it's an option that works in a pinch. And then our last ditch option would be to have my mother-in-law pick up the kids from school.

I am not looking forward to the end of summer. It feels like it just started and it's almost over already. There are a few things that I am looking forward to though. I'm looking forward to my house being cleaner again. In fact, it will probably be the cleanest it has ever been since before we had kids. We have had little kids that needed our attention and that made messes, etc. etc. etc for the last eleven years. For the first time, we won't have kids around for a major part of the day. My house should be nearly spotless, I think. I don't know what to expect exactly. But I am looking forward to that. I can paint rooms and organize cupboards and drawers and closets and do home repairs and updates and all of these other things that I have been wanting to do but haven't had the time or opportunity to do. Oh, I could even take a nice, luxurious bath, I could shave my legs more (which would mean that ...... which would have a ripple effect on everything else at home), I could read a book or utilize my gym membership more often, I'm seeing lots of positives about the school year starting here in just over a month. But for now, I just want to hold on to the (HOT, HUMID, EXHAUSTING, BUSY, FUN!!!) summer with my kids. Afterall, we only get one summer break each year. I don't want to waste it!

Wow, talk about a hodgepodge mishmash post. I do believe that is called a "train of thought" piece, yes? Anyhow, it just feels good to write again and be able to get some stuff down on the blog. And kudos to all (any?) who made it through this post. We'll "talk" soon, I am sure!