Wednesday, April 30, 2008

End of the Year Blues

The end of a school year for a teacher is one of the most stressful times ever. There is an unbelievable amount of paperwork to get done, tons of end of year events, and of course cleaning and taking down your room for the year. I get crabby every time I go through it, but this year I am about to have a breakdown. By the time I get to the end of the day, I am completely worn out and without patience from all the demands at school. The kids are so completely stir crazy with spring end of the year fever, that it takes all of my energy to keep them under control and productive for 7 hours. When I get home at the end of the day, I feel like I have a fireball in my stomach from stress. Evan, Charlie, and Sam are getting the worst of me everyday. I always go home intent on trying really hard to be patient and understanding, but I am not sure I have what it takes to deal with 30 7 year olds all day, and then have two toddlers, a 9 year old who has mounds of homework, and then all of the work associated with running a house. Last night while I was doing the dishes, I was trying really hard to ENJOY doing the dishes, and to remind myself how lucky I am to have a family that I need to wash dishes for. There is a huge part of me though that just wants to SIT DOWN, BY MYSELF, and just BE. From the moment I get home from a full day of work I am still on the run-making dinner, breaking up fights, doing homework, cleaning up dinner, giving baths, doing the laundry. When the kids finally go to bed, then I have MORE SCHOOL WORK!!!! I am never just at rest. My stress level is through the roof. Will this ever get better? Am I cut out for this?

The other dumb thing is that even though I am craving the slow pace of summer life, I am totally scared of having all day long, 5 days a week, of being alone with the kids stretching out endlessly in front of me. I think I would be a terrible stay at home mom. I love my kids. I love that I have kids. I love our family. There just isn't enough of me to go around though. There certainly isn't enough me left for me.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Table for Two

Jeff and I had the best night last night. My sister came over to babysit the kiddos, and we had the whole evening to ourselves. We went to church first, which was wonderful. We haven't been to Mass together since Evan made his 1st Communion last March. It's just so hard to take two toddlers to church (one is bad enough!). I usually take Charlie and Evan while Jeff stays home with Sam, and then he goes to a different service. It was even the very first time we had ever been to church BY OURSELVES! We have always had a kid with us, so it was nice to be able to listen and just be. Afterwards, we headed to SVdP which was hosting their annual Table for Two mini marriage retreat. It is such a nice evening. They serve a five course, candlelight meal. Before each course there is a 10 minute presentation by someone who is an expert in marriage issues, and then while you eat they give each table a list of discussion items for you and your spouse related to the topic presented. Last night the speaker was an expert on the 5 Love Languages. I discovered my love language is words of affirmation, while Jeff's is acts of service. I felt as though someone handed me Jeff's instruction manual. I got so many insights into how his mind works, how he is trying to relate to me, how we can be better together. I also feel like someone put a bunch of new tools in my "marriage toolbox" to help me better deal with things. My favorite part of the evening was when they broke down the marriage vows and had you think about them as they related to your marriage today, as opposed to when you first said them at the wedding. We got a chance to say them again to our spouse, which was so much more meaningful to me at this point, three kids, a house, and everything later than when I first committed myself to Jeff. In fact, as I was looking at this man that I adore, saying these things to him, I was totally overwhelmed with love, and that thing girls are so good at started to happen to me-my eyes welled up, and Jeff looked at me in horror. He HATES crying in public places! He looked at me desperately and said "Christy, I love you so much too, but PLEASE try to stop crying! I'm not that great!!!! PEOPLE WILL SEE YOU!!" Which just made me laugh at his comic distress, so then I was crying and snorting at the same time. The snorting resulted from my efforts to try to stop doing both the laughing and the crying. I'm sure people did see me, and they probably thought I was a sap, but hey, who wouldn't cry when they realize they are married to the best guy in the whole world?

Thursday, April 24, 2008

On The Verge

As I was looking at Evan walk around the house this morning getting ready for school, it suddenly struck me how grown up he is starting to look. I thought to myself that if I didn't know this kid, I might take him to be a 5th or 6th grader. He comes up to my chin, and is quickly loosing that round baby face. His features are starting to get that "young man" look to them-just a little more chiseled. All dressed in his school uniform with his messenger bag thrown over his shoulder, (the latest craze at school... It is so NOT cool to have a backpack!) he looked so preppy and put together. The detail that brought tears to my eyes though was the blankie thrown over his shoulder. Just a glimpse of that baby I used to rock to sleep. He is so on the verge of being a tween, but I am so glad he hasn't totally grown up. I can see the man he will become starting to peek through, but I am so not ready to give up my little guy. Why is it that the thing we work so hard for as mothers (successful grown up children) is also the thing that is so hard to move towards?

Friday, April 18, 2008

Charlie is a Swim Lesson Flunkie

Last Wednesday marked the last swim lesson for Charlie for awhile. I even suited up and got in the pool with him-which let me tell you was a barrel of monkeys because the time slot prior to my boys' has about 20 of my school families in it. It is so lovely to appear in your swimsuit in front of the students in your class and their parents. But-all in the name of motherhood! Just add it to my time off of purgatory list.

He was happy to get in the water, happy to play with toys, but only with me. The co-owner of Swimtastic, Megan (who incidentally is a totally awesome SVdP parent) even got in the pool to evaluate Charlie herself (cementing for me that I will never leave Swimtastic for lessons. The individualized attention and caring of staff at all levels is fantastic!). She came to the conclusion that it is more an issue of Charlie being very shy, and just not ready to combine the scariness of getting in the water, and having to do that with a relative stranger. So our strategy is to get him in the pool as much as possible over the summer and try again in the fall. There is a public pool nearby in Elkhorn that also has a baby pool, so I think we are going to try that. I am disappointed that the lessons didn't work out-just because I saw other two year olds in the pool having the best time, listening well, and having no troubles at all! I am hoping that someday I get to be the mom who takes their kids to activities and the children are star performers, or at the very least participate without wailing, screaming, and kicking their teachers.

In other news, the new May Edition of Sekund Mag came out today and MY ARTICLE HAS BEEN PUBLISHED! I am pretty excited. Here is the link:
www.sekundmag.com
Click on the articles section. Mine is the one about vasectomies! Bet that got your attention!

Monday, April 14, 2008

The Monday Blues

It was a very tiring day today in my classroom...everyone (including me) has spring fever, so it was hard to think about pronouns while the blue sky with such nice puffy clouds was right outside our window. It made all the kids grumpy, which of course made their teacher grumpy. One of the parents in my room (who I will now be nominating for Sainthood) stopped in my room after school and brought me a Starbucks frapacino and some zuchini bread. It was the nicest thing to do, a wonderful surprise, and immediately made up for all the whining, tattling, and complaining. God Bless those people who remember to appreciate others-I know I need to do a better job of this myself.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Charlie is Asleep (So Far...)

My fabulous father in law came down today to help his tool impaired kids, and Charlie is now the proud half owner of a bunkbed. It is a little crowded in the babies' room now that it's up, but once Sam's baby bed comes down too, it will be great.

I was really nervous about bed time tonight, but Charlie was pretty excited to get in his big boy bed. He didn't whine or complain at all. About 10 minutes after he went to bed, we heard the doorknob rattle, and the door open and close, but when Jeff went to check on things, he was back in bed. So, for now, he is aleep, all tucked into his bunkbed. Now, the trick will be will he STAY there if he wakes up?

What Happens When Jeff and Christy Try a Home Improvement Project?

They get locked into a bedroom with Sam and Charlie is left to ruin the house at his leisure.

Last night Jeff and I were trying to replace the doorknob on Evan's room with one that will lock so he can keep the babies out of his room. I was taking a turn at trying to get the plate to fit the right way to the edge of the door when I accidentally shut it. It jammed into the frame, and there we were, stuck in Evan's room with Sam. We shouted and yelled for Evan who finally showed up and we tried having him push from the outside while Jeff pulled, but that didn't work so we finally had to take the hinges off. Not wanting to waist a golden opportunity, Charlie found himself a black permanent marker and decorated the kitchen table, the salt and pepper shakers, the counter, and his face with some truly lovely scribbles. It was hilarious and depressing at the same time. The sad part (other than my kitchen) is that now Evan's door has NO KNOB.

In light of our grand success yesterday, we have called in Jeff's dad to help us assemble the new bunkbeds we bought on Thursday night, and to help us out with our doorknob issues.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

The Trouble With Toddlers

is that they have temper tantrums. Especially my Charlie. My mom tells me repeatedly that I was famous as a child for the size and magnitude of my temper tantrums so I suppose that pay back is fair game. Charlie is amazing. He screams at the top of his lungs, bangs his head into any available hard surface, kicks, hits, etc. I am trying desperately to train him to do the naughty step technique that Super Nanny does. Last night he had an absolute melt down because Sam took one of his toy trains. He knocked Sam to the ground and was smashing his head into the floor when I pulled him off. Of course, a major time out was necessary, so I put him in the naughty chair. (Keep in mind I have dinner on the stove at the same time all of this is going on!) Charlie always gets right back up. You are supposed to just keep putting them back without talking to them until they give up and just stay put. I did this for 20 STRAIGHT MINUTES all the time I am trying not to burn anything, trying to help Evan write an essay for Social Studies, and Sam is crying and now getting a bruise from his head bashing. I finally didn't have time to keep running after him and putting him back, so I put him in his crib thinking that would force him to stay in place. He was so mad he jumped out, off of the railing like Superman and smashed his head into the floor. What in the world do you do with a kid who has more staying power/time/energy than you do? I finally put all of his trains in their case and up on top of the fridge which seemed to make an impression on him. I am truly at my wits end. We are going to replace the door knob on his room this weekend so that it will lock from the outside, and then we can at least put him in his room to calm down, and then he won't be getting attention of any type to reinforce the tantrum. (He has already figured out the toddler proof doorknob safety covers we have.) We are also looking for a set of bunkbeds that detach so that we can get his crib down, since he is going to act like he is a superhero. I have a really bad feeling about this one-the teenage years could be brutal. My brother Ben says it's a good thing we named him Charlie, because Chucky (as in the doll) is such an appropriate nick name!

Monday, April 07, 2008

Jarring

I was/am the lucky recipient of an iPod over the weekend, courtesty of my truly rockin' little brother. I have been ripping songs off of CDs ever since (I am told by the technically talented in my family that that is what you call it). I was listening to my iPod tonight while cooking dinner to block out the screams of Sam who was trying to make it immediately apparent that he was HUNGRY!!! RIGHT NOW!!! and the screams of Charlie was shouting equally loudly NO!!! DON'T TOUCH MY TONNY!(Charlie speak for Thomas the Train). I had it on Shuffle and it went from Why Don't We Do It In the Road by the Beatles to Close to You by The Carpenters. What a jarring switch...

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Life After Children

Friday night Jeff and I had wanted to go out to dinner and a movie, but we couldn't find a babysitter. We haven't been out just the two of since early January, and pre-tax season. So, instead Jeff made a Dairy Queen run (I let myself indulge in my favorite Peanut Buster Parfait) and we watched an episode of Dallas and Dynasty together. Nothing big, but it was really nice to have a treat and spend quiet time together. It's amazing how the small things seem like bigger things after you have kids.

I picked Evan up a new DS today at Walmart, same color (red) even. He was ecstatic to be reunited with his favorite toy.

We spent two hours outside today with the kids. Charlie went up and down the slide almost the whole time. He is absolutely addicted to it. Jeff is teaching both Evan and I to throw and catch a football, and we played almost the whole time we were out. By the time we were done, I was getting a lot better! My arm is now killing me though. I figured since I couldn't beat all the testosterone around here, I better just join in.

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