Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Improvement!

It seems there may be light at the end of the proverbial tunnel. Yesterday I drew up a chart for Cody and Jamie and showed it to Cody. It involved a system where he would get a sticker or smiley face for each morning that he did not come in our room and wake us up, or, he would get an X if he did wake us up and steal food in the morning, etc. Then, when he gets three stickers in a row, he gets a privilege, like using the iPad, or watching a TV show, or playing Wii, for a short amount of time. He was really pumped about this challenge, though he said it would be hard for him. This morning, the boys were WAY better. I did not get woken up until some time after 7 a.m. and even though I was up by 7:30 a.m. it did not feel nearly as horrible when I had not been awake since 5:30 or 6 a.m. The downside was that Cody "accidentally" came in after a while and took Mike's iPhone. Sheesh. So he blew it today, but I still told him how much better he did and told him we would work out some kind of reward. This way they learn that things like TV and video games are not a given. They are not something they are allowed to do all the time. They are special privileges only, and will be earned. They will also be administered in short doses only, like half an hour. I will make exceptions when they are sick.

The other thing I did was put specific snacks out for them at their places at the table. I have tried that before, but today it seemed to work, for some reason. Wow. What a difference it made to not wake up angry today. I feel so much better. There is room for more improvement of course, but still. Wow. That is my update for the day. I am in the midst of a bit of a frenzy of activity right now preparing for my weekend away as well as preparing for another possible weekend away in three weeks. Cody is at school and there is not that much time left before I will have to go and get him, so I have to sign off.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Hiding.

I'd be lying if I said today was not a rough day. The boys got us up at 6 a.m. as usual, only this time the day started with Jamie having an accident that was bad enough to require a shower. He is still suffering from lingering flu symptoms, so you get what I'm talking about here. I found him in the bathroom with nothing on, and had to lift him straight into the shower. I never found his clothes though. Mike had the pleasure of stepping in them when he went into the kitchen for breakfast. Yikes. I guess that means his day officially started off worse than mine did.

I tried desperately to get back to sleep. It did not happen. Once again I was extremely upset by the time I forced myself out of bed, which was around 7:30 or so. The boys were loud and obnoxious, as they are every morning before sunrise. I started the day in a horrible mood yet again. The first couple of hours of the morning were not good. Cody was also in a mood, though I don't know what his excuse was. Finally I decided to get proactive and try to emulate those moms who really have it together. Surely if I did some kind of fun activity with them or employed some type of schedule of activities they would be happier and therefore easier to deal with. I pulled out a bunch of colouring books complete with stickers, and markers and crayons and sat all three of them at the table together. Great! It was working. They were happy and occupied. For a while. Honestly, I don't even remember what happened after that. All I know is, as a special treat, right after lunch I pulled out Jamie's Lightning McQueen tent and set it up for them in their room. Micah was sleeping and I really wanted to have a shower. So, I told them there were only two rules. This was the quiet time of the day, as they know from every day, so the rules were: No hypering, and Play quietly. That's it. That was all they had to do. I even gave them Mike's miniature air hockey table to play with inside of the tent. Then I went to have my shower.

When I came out, they were jumping on the beds, jumping onto the floor off of the beds with massive thumps, screaming, running up and down the hall nearly fast enough to suck the paint off the walls and shouting as they went. I could NOT believe it. Maybe that is because I am an idiot. How could I possibly believe that a three year old and an almost five year old would actually follow the rules? Well, I did. At any rate, things got much worse from there. Cody got very belligerent and had several time outs. Jamie had a monumental meltdown because I forced him to use the toilet. I had to. He hadn't gone in like six hours and the last time I let him be, he ended up peeing all down his legs and into his rubber boots, which he wears nearly all day. Well, not since he peed in them, but prior to that. I can't even describe the level of meltdown that he had. His bladder had to be absolutely bursting but he still sat on the toilet for a good fifteen minutes bawling and howling at me before he even allowed himself to go.

So, as sickening as it must be to read this in nearly every post these days, I am completely fried and I don't even know what to do with myself. Right now, Mike is eating supper with the boys. I am opting out. I am not hungry, and I certainly am not craving their company right now. Is this normal? Probably not. I don't remember my mother ever skipping meals to hide in her room, but she must have been tempted. I'd love a good dose of chocolate right now. It obviously would not help, but it would feel good for the moment. If I were a drinker, my bet is that a glass of wine would be calming. A hot tub would be heavenly right now. By myself, I mean. Or, a hotel. With a hot tub. I'm still craving my hotel experience.

I could say more, but I think I'll stop for now. This desperate house-mom needs to search for her sanity. Oh how I hope winter leaves soon. I really think that would help in many ways! Bye for now.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Sunrise, sunset.

Most people have probably heard the phrase, "Do not let the sun go down on your anger". It is, in fact, a Bible verse from the book of Ephesians. It is also very wise counsel. I am a very flawed individual, but I don't usually find myself in a situation where I go to bed angry because usually my evenings are fairly peaceful and quiet. No, sunset is a blessed time of day for me, as that is when we put our three boys to bed and calm once again descends upon this household. That is when I finally get to let out that sigh of relief and collapse in a heap after a day of confiscating stolen food, removing my 18 month old from the oven (yes, he likes the oven right now and it is a constant worry, and I'm talking about the inside of the oven, not the stove top), administering time outs, making and remaking beds and other furniture as it is repeatedly disassembled, changing diapers, mediating fights...well, you get the picture.

No, evenings are not the problem. I'm afraid I'm having more of an issue with the sunrise. Every morning is an exercise in ever-intensifying rage as the older two boys get up earlier and earlier. This morning it was 5:17 a.m. Okay, you say, what is the big deal if they wake up early? Nothing. If they just woke up, I wouldn't care. Here's where I have a problem. First of all, the first thing either one of them does when they wake up is barge into our room. "Barge" is an exaggeration. It is more of a badly botched attempt at sneaking in. You see, they want to steal the iPad or the iPod or the iPhone or the iAnythingtheycanfind. The sneaking is loud and clumsy, and goes on for at least a half hour straight despite being reprimanded and at times yelled at every single time. Then, whoever got up first invariably wakes up his roommate (Cody and Jamie share a room, for anyone who is unaware), and the action begins. Jamie does multiple food runs into the kitchen, whereby he either raids the fridge, the pantry, or both, and brings load after load of forbidden food back to his room to share with his not-so-silent partner. After they snack, often on chocolate chips or some other expensive baking goods, one of two things happens. They either get hyper and very, very loud, or the fight and get even louder. Cody has the loudest voice in the universe, even when simply talking, and Jamie has a wicked scream when he is offended, hurt, or stolen from. Usually the fight happens right outside of our doorway, and the screaming makes our blood boil...or it makes mine boil anyway. And of course, that places them right outside of Micah's door too. Then he wakes up and begins wailing in the monitor, which is conveniently located inside of our bedroom so we can't possibly miss any of the commotion. I'm telling you, today I was so angry I was in tears before I even crawled out of bed. This happens daily, though today was much worse because of the obscene hour.

I was thinking about it this morning and wondering exactly what we can do about this. Our discipline of choice is a specific method of time-outs, and they work very well during the day. Confiscating objects of great affection is a secondary method that we use for back-up. I have to wonder, how exactly am I supposed to give a time-out at 5:17 a.m.? Am I really going to get out of bed and put them in a chair in the kitchen and sit there for the designated number of minutes? Like they are really going to care. It is SO maddening. I just feel like the only thing that will work is to spank them, but that is not an option at this point. I am strongly considering separating them so that one shares a room with Micah and one has his own room. I feel bad about it, as I think it will make them both really sad (though Micah would be thrilled), but I am SO sick of being woken up this way every single day. If anyone has any brilliant ideas for me, feel free to comment.

For now, the sun comes up every single day on my anger, and it is a very negative way to start my day.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Dump Day.

I'm glad it's the weekend, but not for the normal reasons. I need back-up here because of all the sickness. Things got really bad yesterday. I am still sick. In fact, I have lost five pounds in the last 24 hours, which would be a nice bonus if there was any chance of it actually staying off. Cody got very sick, very suddenly in the afternoon and spent the rest of the day throwing up, among other things. He was so pale and weak. He seems to be better today. He requested waffles for breakfast. That made me cringe, but he ate part of one. I'm very hungry, but I'm not naive enough to eat a waffle.

I think Jamie is fine. For once he seems to have gotten the mild version of it. I hope I am not wrong. I hope he is over it and will not get any more symptoms. Micah is still okay and I am praying he will stay that way. Mike is also doing fine so far. Phew. So I guess today will be a "quiet" day for me, just messing around on the laptop or watching TV or something. I wish I had a good book to read, but I have read them all! All of mine, that is, and several of them more than once. I might have to pick out one to re-read if I get desperate. Otherwise, maybe I'll work on my own book, depending on how much pain I am in today.

We were supposed to have company for supper, but we have cancelled, so our weekend is now wide open. Probably restricted to sticking around home, but no plans. Mike is preparing for the dump run now. I won't be going on that one, but might do a few of my own while he is gone. Haha. I'm off for now.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Sick again.

It seems we have a stomach bug. Cody was not feeling well yesterday morning, complaining of a tummy ache and the runs. I wanted to keep him home from school in the afternoon, but he really wanted to go. He said he was all better by then, so I took him. Now I wonder whether that was a mistake. Jamie was up at 2 a.m. with a tummy ache. That familiar sense of dread came over me. I sat with him in the bathroom until 3:10 a.m. when I finally woke Mike up and asked if he could do anything with Jamie. Jamie was refusing to go back to bed and complaining of stomach pain but was not able to get much out of his system. Mike got him to bed within about five minutes, so then I felt like a jerk for waking him up. I couldn't sleep for a long time after that, and I don't think he could either. The highways were really bad last night so I was hoping Mike would not have to go to work today, but he did. Unfortunate, seeing I woke up with bad stomach pain and that horrible queasy feeling. Jamie is still in pain and not himself, and I feel really gross. Cody is fine, and Micah seems okay too. Bring on the long weekend. Woo.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Bright sunshiny day.

Ah, what to do? What to do? Two thirds of my boys are outside, riding their bikes of all things. It is going to be another really nice day here today and then our temperatures are going to take a turn for the worse. For now, the sun is shining brightly and it is giving the house a very cheery feel. I just finished a whole bunch of dishes and now I'm trying to decide what else I should attempt to accomplish before the boys come back in.

This afternoon will be my workout as soon as Micah goes down for a nap, so I will not get much housework done then. The kitchen is still pretty messy even though most of the dishes are done. For some reason, everyone seems to use this room as a storage facility. Mike's work stuff is in here. Some leftover Valentine's cards are in here. Broken toys are left on the counter for some distant day when they will be fixed. Anything we don't want Micah to reach gets put up here "temporarily", including items that we confiscate from him all day, every day. The boys scatter toys and books all over the kitchen floor all day. I just can't seem to keep it clean despite much nagging and many moments where I break down and do it all myself.

Uh oh...a bike crash. I might have to sign off.

Okay, turns out everyone is fine. Cody came in, but Jamie chose to go back out into the great outdoors, complete with big alligator tears on his cheeks. He is out there somewhere now, though I don't see him at the moment. This is not a very exciting post. I plan to tackle the kitchen for now. Wish I could post video of Micah dancing. He's really got the moves! Sorry for the dull post!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Horsey fun outside. (Lots of pictures.)

We are officially more than half way through February, which brings us that much closer to spring. Today the sun was shining and though the wind was very strong, it was a gorgeous day with temperatures just above zero and snow melting all around. That is not to say we don't have a ton of snow left, but at least we made some progress today.

I could post about my weekend away, which went really well, by the way. I could do a post about Valentine's Day, which is a delightful non-holiday for some and a depressing over-commercialized day to remind others of their singleness. For me it is somewhere in the middle, but yesterday was nice and though it was not an exciting day, it was enjoyable.

Instead, I have to post some pictures on here because I think they are fun and cute. Today my sister came over to ride her horse for the first time since some time early last summer, or perhaps late last spring. This was the first time she rode him since she had her baby in December, and it went very well. Getting on a horse for the first time in a long time is therapeutic, provided they don't do something stupid and dump you, which he didn't. I did not choose to get on, though I could have. I can't decide whether I was too nervous, or whether it was because the sun had gone away and then the wind got quite chilly.

What did happen was that once Indy was being ridden outside the fence, Maybelline and Sasha went crazy inside and galloped back and forth along the fence whinnying and bucking and just being very silly. So I took lots of pictures and I am going to post a bunch in here. Here we go.

This is Maybelline. She is Mike's, and is a paint, for anyone who does not know. She doesn't look like a paint, but she is! She is the only one of our herd right now that doesn't look too bad with her winter hair. 

Here's Maybelline again. Can you tell she is half Thoroughbred?

And Maybelline, in mid-whinny. She is a talker. She whinnies every time we come out of the house, but today it was extreme as she called to Indy over and over again. She is very cute.

Here is Sasha. She is mine, again for anyone who does not know. She is a Quarterhorse and is just turning four years old. She is also the one who bucked me off in August. I look forward to riding her again in the spring, once I get up the nerve. 

Here she is again, a nice action shot. That's my girl.

I love this picture. They were both hopping and bucking around and this shot captures that action. Check their front hooves. Maybelline is especially funny in this one.

Here they were taking a rest, but watching Indy intently.

Another shot of Sasha pacing the fence line. She is not normally this active so it was fun to see her running around.

Another rest while they looked for their buddy. Well, Maybelline's buddy. Sasha doesn't really care for Indy, but he's still the herd leader so I guess she did all this out of respect. Or maybe peer pressure.

Maybelline comes flying down the fence line. Glad she didn't just jump right out of the fence!

And here is Sasha galloping along the fence in the trees. She holds her tail like an Arab, which is kind of funny. What a fancy girl!

So, that's all I want to share today. I had a nice time outside and got some good pictures out of the deal too. Cody had Jr. K this afternoon which went well, and the boys did lots of bike riding outside. Oh, maybe I need to add a few more pictures. Just a sec...

This is Cody on his bike, racing his auntie on her horse. Needless to say, Cody won every time. Hehe.


And now everything is falling to pieces as two pyjama-clad boys just snuck into the kitchen and drank water out of the fridge (which I had forbidden just minutes ago) and the third pyjama-clad boy is standing in front of me wailing pathetically and using his guilt-tripping powers to make me feel terrible that I am not holding him right now. So, it is time for me to sign off. Hope you enjoyed the pictures.













Thursday, February 10, 2011

Why can't the snow be the one having the meltdowns?

Oh wow. This has been an interesting week. Cody started Junior Kindergarten on Monday and I discovered just how difficult it is to put an 18 month old, a three year old and a four and a half year old in winter stuff, carry multiple bags and the 18 month old to the van while continually hollering at the other two to get in the van and into their car seats, then buckle in the 18 month old, go around and climb in the back of the van to buckle in the three year old, and then shut the door, get in the driver's seat and continue nagging the four year old to do up his seatbelt. Then, to navigate the icy gravel roads to the highway and into town and park outside the school yard and then unload all three and carry the 18 month old across the entire field and playground while waiting for the three year old, who is walking at approximately half a sloth's top speed, and while continuously tripping on the four year old, who keeps stopping right in front of me. Meanwhile my arms are falling off and I'm thinking, "What am I doing here?!" and I can't wait for this snow to melt. Of course, then we'll do the whole routine again through a muddy field. So, terrible or not, I determined that I will be leaving thing number two and thing number three in the van from now on. The van is never out of my sight, so I think it's pretty safe. That makes it easier for sure.

I also found out it is very difficult to get anything done in the afternoon between getting Micah settled for a nap, getting Jamie settled into whatever he is doing, doing laundry or dishes, or whatever needs to be done. Okay, I can get stuff done. What I meant was, I can't do a workout that easily, and I also can't get much writing done. Too many interruptions. Dang.

On Tuesday I was talking to my sister on the phone and I looked out the window to behind the round pen and I saw Sasha, my horse, laying on her back in the snow, all four feet in the air, not moving. There was a light dusting of snow all over her belly, and Indy was there, sniffing her feet. He would nudge her back foot and it would flop back to where it had been with no visible response from her. I freaked out. I was alone with the boys, but needed to get out there right away. By all appearances, she was dead. I hung up the phone and ran around for about a minute like the proverbial decapitated chicken and then called Mike, thinking if he were nearly home I could just run outside and not worry about the boys. Then while his phone rang, I looked out the window and Sasha was standing there with Indy, all casual and normal. It would seem she tried to roll in the snow and got stuck on her back because the snow was so deep. Yet another reason why I'm done with winter.

The whole week has been a grouchy and snarly one, and today is no different. I'm not talking about myself, though I am certainly in their camp now. I am now hiding in my room with the door locked. Micah is napping and I am hoping the other two can keep from killing each other long enough to give me a bit of a break. I can't do my workout today. This week has been a pretty big failure in that respect. I got a migraine this morning and though it has improved, it has got me feeling a bit dead on my feet.  We will be away this weekend, so I will not be making up for it then either. Hopefully I can get back on track on Monday. Tomorrow is Jr. K, so it is unlikely I will work out then either. I will likely be packing and cleaning in preparation for out trip. We'll see.

Now it's time to sign off so I can try to rest a little before things get ugly again. I probably won't have time for this tomorrow, but you never know. Bye for now.

Monday, February 7, 2011

First day of Kindergarten...sort of.

I'm in for a challenge today. I suppose it already has been. For some reason, Cody is having a bad day. He has been rebellious and rude, which is really not typical of him anymore. Usually I have more trouble with Jamie, being that he is three, which is a brutal age in my experience so far.

We made it through all the tantrums and outbursts, but not without a very lengthy series of time-outs. Yikes. Then, I got Cody's stuff packed so he could go to Junior Kindergarten this afternoon. It's his first day. When I was nearly ready to get them dressed to go out the door, I discovered that one of our cats peed on Cody's winter jacket and Jamie's ski pants. I was furious! I could not send Cody to school with cat pee on his jacket, and it's the only one I have that fits him. So I had to send him in Jamie's jacket, which is way too short on the sleeves. I feel horrible about it. Sure enough, I found out when I got there that he will indeed be going out for recess today. In a jacket that is way too small for him. It is currently -25 C with the wind chill. Poor Cody. I'm washing his jacket right now, along with Jamie's ski pants. Jamie has spare jackets and ski pants, so he was okay. It was still not ideal, but we made it work.

So Cody is now at his first day of Jr. K, which is at the actual school, with the kindergarten class. I was thinking about it on my way home, and once we get into this routine, this is going to seriously lessen the stress of Cody starting school in the fall. I'm talking for me, not for him. I already knew it would lessen it for him, but in a sense, today was his first day of real school, so I have gotten past that milestone. On the other hand, it is only for the afternoon, whereas once he starts in the fall it will be full days.

Anyway, I am absent minded here. I had something to say but can't remember what it was. I cannot work out this afternoon because there is not enough time before I have to go back to pick him up again, so I'm going to take this last hour to work on some writing. I'm off!

Friday, February 4, 2011

Whine and Cheeser

It is February 4th, the 11 year anniversary of the day Mike and I had our first official date. I didn't even realize that until I looked at the date on my computer.

The day has passed and all three boys are in bed, even though Micah is still wailing in the background. I was too busy to finish this post today. The title alludes to Jamie's incredible non-stop whining this morning which turned into an epic meltdown, cured only by putting him straight to bed before it was even 1 p.m.

I made Kraft Dinner for lunch, a favourite of Cody's. He loves to pour the cheese in when it's time. Today he asked me, "Can I be the cheeser?" I kind of liked the term, so I think I might use it on a regular basis from now on. Given that the cheese quote happened just prior to Jamie's ridiculous meltdown, I couldn't help but connect the two of them in the title.

The rest of the day passed quietly with Cody at Mike's parents' place and the other two both sleeping while I worked out and showered. We all went to the farm for supper and only got home an hour ago, at 8 p.m.  Oops. That's really late for our boys. I am certain we will pay for that tomorrow, but no matter. I will be going out in the evening so I don't suppose I will suffer too greatly. And now I am off to play the final and most stressful level of Super Mario Brothers Wii with Mike. We have tried passing it countless times. Maybe tonight will be the night. I'm off.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

February and Flames.

Ah, February. The month of hope. Still full-fledged Manitoba winter, but the month is filled with the promise of spring. The days are getting longer and the sun seems brighter. Maybe not everyone thinks of February the way I do, but for me, I expect nice weather, no matter how irrational that is. Today is the first day of February. It is -40 outside, with the wind chill, of course. This is the weather I have been dreading all winter. I had to wear two pairs of pants and two shirts along with my winter attire this morning when I went outside to feed the horses. Their faces are white. Frost-covered, and even their noses have frozen mucus on them. Yuck. 

February also brings with it Valentine's Day, an admittedly useless holiday that works a woman's emotions into a frenzied high or an all time low, depending on her romantic status. Valentine's Day brings with it a flood of pink and red, and while I am not a fan of pink, I must admit there is something appealing about the decorations in the stores in February. Pink is a colour of innocence. At least, the pale pastel pink that is frequently associated with Valentine's Day. (Fuchsia has a different vibe, in my opinion.) So February is a month of hope and innocence, and budding romance, while January is like a bleak arctic scene. Flat and white and bitterly cold, with no foreseeable end. Or, maybe I'm just being dramatic. 

Speaking of dramatic, I had a scary incident here today. As usual, I am running from one task to another, never finishing the first before moving to the next and the next and the next. I put a pot of water on the stove and turned the element to high to boil it for some Kraft Dinner. Yes, I am quite the gourmet chef. I thought I'd let it boil while I switched my laundry. So I was in the laundry room, which is off of the kitchen, trying to get another load started. Then Jamie started complaining to me and asking me to get his ball. I wasn't paying much attention until I glanced across to the stove. Two things struck me. One, there was a tennis ball on the stove, between two elements. Two, the front element was on and was bright red, whereas the back element which had the pot of water on it, was stone cold. The ball was against the red element. I ran to the stove and grabbed the ball, which had already started to melt and has a dark patch on one side. It stunk too. What if I had gone to the bathroom or something instead of being in the kitchen where I could see immediately what was going on? I would never have cared if Jamie was asking for a ball. He knows he's not allowed to throw things in the kitchen, and that is one of the reasons why. However, Jamie doesn't really seem to care much about what he should and shouldn't do. Maybe it's his age. Maybe it's his gender. Maybe it's a combination of the two, or maybe he is just so much in his own little world that he has his own rules and nothing else matters. Either way, I'm glad the ball did not burst into flames. Sure, I'd like a little warmth on this frigid day, but that is not how I want to get it. 

Now they are all eating. This has not been a good day so far, so hopefully after lunch things will improve and I can do my workout. I'm still quite fried. I have to sign off so I can go outside and get the horses their oats. Yay. Bye for now.