Saturday, June 27, 2009

Thank Goodness

I am so glad it is the weekend. This has been one of the busiest weeks EVER.

I am ready for some down time with my kids, and my husband. I have so much to do around the house that I didn't get done during the week it isn't even funny. Laundry is once again taking over my hallway. Costco is calling my name, and reminding me that if I don't get there soon Sammy won't have any diapers left, the cat will run out of food, and I won't be able to run the dishwasher. All of which would just add to the general mess of my house.

I did realize late last night that I had gotten engaged to my super duper awesome Jeff 5 years ago on Friday. Which makes for almost 6 years total together. Doesn't time fly? In some ways it feels like we just met, but then I look around and see the house, the minivan, the children, and realize that is has been awhile. I love him dearly and I am thankful for every minute we've had together!

Hope all of you have a great weekend!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Random Updates

I haven't been around this here blog for a few days, and it makes me sad. As I sat waiting for Evan to be done at eye therapy this afternoon, I thought about why. And the biggest thing I can come up with is that Evan's schedule is ruling our lives this summer, God bless him. I love the effect that his activities are having on him, but between swimming practice four days a week, a three hour swim meet every Wednesday night, once a week eye therapy at the doctor's office and daily home therapy sessions, Vacation Bible School, and Hummel Day camp-we hardly ever have a day to just putz around. And putzing? It's my favorite summer time activity. And you know what's scary? What will this be like when Charlie and Sammy have things to do too? Will I ever leave the car?!!!

At any rate, here are some random life updates, and I promise to try really hard to be here more often.

After the debacle last week of not finding the pool, Evan attended his second swim meet tonight. He placed second in the 25 meter butterfly, did pretty well with his first attempt at diving off the blocks, and helped his relay team to come in third by catching them up from last place as the final swimmer. Swim meets are something else. The pre-meet practice is from 5:15 to 6:00, with the actual meet taking place from 6:00-8:00 PM. Which makes for almost three hours of sitting in the blistering heat (and here in Omaha it has been close to 100 for the last three days) for the toddlers and I. Today, after only sitting about 15 minutes, Charlie and Sam were completely drenched in sweat and red faced. I starting getting worried about the safety of having two small children in severe heat for 3 hours, so I stripped them down to their shorts minus the undies and put them in the baby pool which was next to the main pool. Other parents soon followed suit with their small fries, and the mothers all stood with their feet immersed in the water as we cheered on our swimmers. I have seriously never sweated so much in my life. It was torturous. I love the boost to Evan's self confidence, the vastly improved swimming skills he is achieving, and watching my kid be a star, but let me be honest. I hate swim meets. Period.

I tried putting Sammy in undies the last three days. He just pees and poops whever he is, and happily goes on about his business with completely disgusting pants. I am giving up for now. He could care less. Yet again, I am stuck in a situation where this is fine with me, and daycare is going to throw a fit when school starts again. Yet another reason I would love to be a SAHM.

Charlie has been throwing huge temper tantrums again the last three weeks. I am at my wits end. I have talked with his pediatrician, and I am following his advice, but I may need an IV of valium to get through this stage. Maybe Super Nanny would take pity on me.

Jeff is back this week after a week long trip last week to Sacramento. Nothing shows just how much I love and appreciate my hubby as a week without him. MAN, I love that guy. SOOOO glad he is back!!

And also? I woke up this morning with a HUGE spider bite-on my rear end! First of all, YUCK to spiders in bed with me! I am completely disgusted by these horrid things. Second, it itches like the dickens, and you know, that's just not a good place to have to scratch. And lastly, it is swollen up to the size of a golf ball. Which makes sitting oh so fun!

And finally, here is a completely random thought. I wish that the micro scrubbing beads that they put in facial cleansers were colored instead of transparent. That way, when it gets in your eye and you are exfoliating your cornea instead of your pores, you could actually see it to remove it. Let's just say my left eye looks like hamburger meat after a bad experience this morning.

I promise to try and be back here more often so I don't have to do any more of these crazy random posts.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Lost

Have I ever told you about how stinkin' awful my sense of direction is? If not, let me sum it up in a nutshell. CLUELESS. Even though I have lived in Omaha all my life, it is still hard for me to find new things on my own the first time. I have to drive somewhere about 10 times before it really sticks in my brain and I can find it again without looking at the directions, especially if it is in an unfamiliar part of the city.

In fact, when I was minoring in Special Education in college, I took some type of a brain typing test, and I came up as learning impaired in the area of spatial sense. I was the special ed kid in special ed.

Thank goodness for me that I live in the age of the computer, internet, and Mapquest. Thank God I can put in an address and have my computer print out driving directions for me. Thanks to this not so little invention, we get most places we need to go without a hitch.

Every once in awhile though-it doesn't work. Unfortunately, tonight that collided with Evan's swim meet. It was located at a country club deep in the heart of old Millard, a place where they laid out the streets in the 1800s while walking behind a wandering cow. Streets disappear, end abruptly into alleyways, and turn suddenly into other roads. We drove and drove and drove for 45 minutes, trying to find a section of the street that was supposed to turn into Harry Anderson Drive, but sadly, old Harry never appeared.

Evan has learned over the past 10 1/2 years to be patient with this, so when I apologized over and over again he just said, "No problem Mom. You tried your best, and nobody's perfect." Gosh he's a great kid.

There's nothing so humbling as looking like a moron in front of your kids. What a gift to be forgiven by your child. I just hope he keeps this trend of forgiveness up as we move into the teen years.

Monday, June 15, 2009

First Movie

We got back a bit ago from taking Charlie and Sammy to their very first movie. Evan earned being able to see a movie for one of his rewards in eye therapy, and I had promised to be the one to take him. I feel badly always asking my mom to babysit, so we bravely set out for the theatre this afternoon with two toddlers in tow.

I took Evan to see his first movie (Monsters Inc) in the theatre when he was Charlie's age (3 1/2) so I felt pretty good about Charlie, but Sammy is such a wild card. At home, he is my patient, loving, and agreeable guy, but get that kid into a public place and you just never know what he is going to come up with. And the hard thing about Charlie and Sammy together lately is that they are TOTALLY at this awful preschool humor stage. Anything from poop to eyeballs can be funny, and they can get each other completely out of control in 3 seconds. Once that happens, they want to wrestle, and then the testosterone starts flowing. Raising one boy is SOOOO much easier than three. Sometimes Evan and I both miss the good old days of just us.

Anywho, we went to see UP! I love Disney/Pixar movies, and this one was great as always. The story line wasn't what I expected, and a little sad in spots, but the humor was great. We laughed all the way through. Luckily, there were only three families in the theatre, including us, which took a lot of the pressure off. We found a row with exactly four seats next to a railing which helped to pen the little guys in place. Charlie and Sammy ended up spending most of the movie in the same seat though, since neither were heavy enough on their own to keep the seat down. I got a jumbo bucket of popcorn for everyone to share, which helped to hold their attention as much as anything. My kids think popcorn is the best treat ever for some reason.

The best part for me, aside from seeing the amazement on their faces when the movie started rolling on the huge screen, was the feeling that just maybe this is starting to get a bit easier. It's so nice to think that maybe the little ones are finally big enough to do some things, and give us an opportunity to relax in public.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Sick at Heart

I began teaching in the year 2000, with a class of 17 3rd graders in an inner city school. Most of my students spoke English as a second language. They came from good homes, albeit poor homes. Many of "my" kids had parents that had come as immigrants from Mexico, and while they didn't have many physical goods in their homes, they did have a lot of love and parents who supported education. All of my students that I have taught will always hold a special place in my heart, but especially those students in my first class.

Which is why my stomach dropped like a rock this morning when I opened the front page of the Saturday morning paper. Pictured on the front page was a picture of one "my" boys. The students in my first class are all now 17 and 18, about to enter their senior year of high school in the fall. This student probably won't be joining his classmates, as he was arrested and charged with robbery, murder, and attempted murder. He is a gang member.

When I knew him at 8, he was sweet, loving, and always smiling. He had a lot of trouble learning the language and learning to read English, but he had such determination. He always had a hug for me when he walked in the door. I can still hear him saying "Hola, Miss Micek! How you today?" with a huge grin plastered over his face, his brown eyes dancing.

What in the world happened between now and then? The pull that gangs have over young people in poor areas makes me sick. This boy had such potential, could have done so much. Instead, he will be spending his time in jail. He won't have the chance to share that beautiful smile.

I wish I could go back to his time in my classroom, and protect him somehow. I wish there was more I could have done to cement his path in life. My prayers are with the victims affected by his actions, but I will also be praying for the 8 year old little boy that must surely be locked away somewhere in his heart. I will be praying that even if he is in prison, that he will be able to turn his life in the direction it should have gone.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

A Proud Momma

For many years, when we didn't know that Evan was seeing double all the time, he struggled with sports. He badly wanted to be able to participate, and we kept thinking sports would be good for him, so we signed him up for various sessions of soccer. Each time was a disaster, but it got worse when the other kids started getting better, and Evan could still hardly run. Looking back, it all makes sense now, knowing what we know about his vision. At the time, it was really hard for Evan and his self esteem.

About 2 years ago we signed him up for swimming lessons. He has always loved the water, and I thought it was a good survival skill to have, plus it was a sport activity where no team was involved. He really progressed quickly, which is how we ended up on the swim team this summer. I also believe it is due in no small part to the eye therapy he has been receiving since January. Suddenly he has balance and coordination!

Yesterday was the first swim meet of the season, and let me tell you, Evan and I were both nervous wrecks. He because he didn't know what to expect and because of his previous negative sports experiences, and me because I was so nervous that I had put him into this too early and set him up for more failure.

His first event was the 25 meter backstroke, one of Evan's favorite swimming events. As they lined up at the wall, ready to spring into motion with the blow of the whistle, I was praying like a madwoman. "Please God," I thought, "Just don't let him be last. Fill him arms with speed!" As the whistle sounded, my heart was beating like a steam engine, first with nerves, and then with amazement. Evan flew away from the wall of the pool and started pulling back with long, strong strokes. I looked into my baby's face as he grunted with effort-I could tell he was giving it his all. And I screamed his name as he made it to the end WAY before any of the other kids in his heat. The look of surprise on his face as the judge told him he had won was priceless. From across the pool I saw him point to himself and his lips formed the word "ME?!"

And then I cried. I was proud of him for just trying his best, and getting in that pool when he was scared. I would have been extremely proud of him for just finishing the race. But to win? Awesomeness. His self confidence this morning at swim practice was beautiful to see. It meant so much to him to know it is possible. And I can do this-my hard work WILL pay off. And I am just so thankful. Thankful for this chance for my kiddo to bask in the limelight, if only for a brief moment, for the first time.

He also swam the 25 meter freestyle, where he came in third (we need to work on diving into the water from the starting blocks) and he swam a relay where his team came in second.

My kid can SWIM!!!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

You Capture-Nature

Beth over at I Should Be Folding Laundry offers a weekly photo challenge called You Capture. Each week she suggests a photography "assignment" for photographers to post on their blogs.

I love looking at all of the entries each week, as I love to look at photography, but I've never entered because I have no idea what I am doing when it comes to taking pictures. I also just have a plain old digital camera, and not a fancy one like a lot of the other bloggers do.

Last week the assignment was NATURE. And I just happened to have a flower bed of beautiful flowers in my front yard that I wanted to capture and remember. So I thought, what the heck? I'll give it a try. Here are my results:


This one is straight out of camera, as Beth would say, with no editing. Here is the same photo after I tried fiddling with it on Picnik, a photo editing site. Let me remind you that I have NO IDEA what I am doing!



Here are a few more of my favorites, which are also just out of my camera, and which I didn't do any changes to editing wise.








I am pleased with the results, although they are not as nice as the AWESOME pictures Beth takes, and which I have paid for and now proudly display in my living room. I may even blow one up and hang it somewhere. Thanks for encouraging me to take a step outside my comfort zone Beth!!

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Fun With Papa John

We had the best time on Saturday. We piled the kids in the car and went over to Harlan to visit my A#1 father in-law. I sooooo lucked out in the in law department. I love Jeff's dad, and his family. They have welcomed both Evan and I into their family with open arms, and this is no small gift. Evan feels that he is just as much a grandchild as Charlie and Sammy.

John fixed us all a delicious lunch (sadly, Jeff did not pick up on his Dad's awesome cooking skills) and then we headed out to play.



John has a wide variety of outdoor riding toys, and he will chase those kids forever as they zoom up and down the street.





It has been such a blessing to me that my in laws have turned out to be as close to my heart as my own family. What more could you ask for?

Saturday, June 06, 2009

Bliss

I had the pleasure of babysitting my adorable Godson Joel Friday night. I love that kid to pieces. It was pure bliss for me, because I got to have HOURS of uninterrupted snuggle time. Seriously. This kid is the easiest guy to spend time with. He is so cheerful, loving, and happy to go/do whatever you want him to. And he will cuddle with me. Is there anything more blissful than spending some cuddle time with an adorable toddler? No. There isn't.



I love it that he is friends with my kids. Here is Joel and Sammy eating dinner together, and having a lengthy discussion about red cars.

And, just because I love him-here is a picture of my adorable husband.



It's lovely to be surrounded by so many adorable boys!!

Thursday, June 04, 2009

So Annoyed

I am a HUGE fan of Mabel's Labels. I use them in all of my kids clothing that will be coming and going from daycare, on school supplies, and in all of their shoes.

When we set off for Lifetime Fitness this morning, Sammy's tennis shoes, which he has owned for a total of maybe a month, were labeled with large yellow stickers inside the soles that said his name in big letters.

When we arrived in the play area, I helped him to take off his shoes and stow them in the shoe cubbies. But when I returned to pick him up? No shoes. They were AWOL.

Several teachers and I scoured the center, but we couldn't find them anywhere. We did find a pair of shoes that looked remarkably similar to his. Our only thought was that someone grabbed Sammy's instead and put them on their kid without looking very closely. Which totally annoys me. Can't you see the huge yellow sticker inside with someone else's name?

I guess it really just annoys me because I don't want to have to buy him new shoes-AGAIN-when I just forked out money to do so a little over a month ago.

My only hope is that the labels make it apparent to whoever has them that they HAVE THE WRONG SHOES! And that they are nice enough to bring them back to the gym.

Argh!!

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

A Funeral

It's been a tiring two days for me.

Last night was the wake (why do they call it that anyway?) for my Grandpa. I found out about three hours before hand that I had been elected to read the eulogy. I really wanted it to be nice for Papa Dave, and have it be a way for people to remember the important events of his life, but I was so worried that I wouldn't be able to make it through without becoming emotional. I said lots of prayers before hand, and thankfully it turned out okay. I was honored to be able to give him that last gift.

I was so touched that the two women I teach 1st grade with both came to the wake service. I am not even sure how they found out about it, since school isn't in session, but it meant so much to me that they took the time to show they care. All of Charlie and Sammy's daycare teachers from school also came, and one of them came up to me and said, "So what time should I come to your house tomorrow to babysit?" What a gift! We had thought we would have to take Charlie and Sam with us to the funeral service. (Have I mentioned lately how naughty Sammy is at church?) It was so very nice to be able to sit quietly and listen to the Mass without having to chase toddlers. I am so glad I had the peace to take it all in and pay attention. It was such a considerate thing for her to do. I am so thankful for the people I am blessed to work with.

The funeral itself was beautiful. The priest gave a very nice homily, and he weaved personal facts about my grandpa throughout the service. At the graveside, there was a 21 gun salute, a bugle player who played "Taps", and a military honor guard. 65 years ago today my Papa Dave was on a boat headed for D-Day and Omaha Beach as a part of the first wave of soldiers to hit the beach in the invasion. He would have been so proud to see all of the military honors at the service. His service during WWII was the defining event of his life.

Even though the occasion was sad, it was really nice to see out of town family. We usually only get to all be together at Christmas, so we took advantage of the unexpected time to be together.

It is sad for us, his family, to say good-bye to him today, but I am so filled with joy in the knowledge that he is with Jesus in heaven, and that he is finally free of the prison Alzheimers had made of his mind and body. I can't imagine how wonderful it must have felt to have control of his thoughts again, and I know he is having a delightful time telling stories to all of his friends and family, just like he used to. We will miss his presence here on Earth, but I am so thankful that his struggles here are over.

God Bless you Papa Dave. We love you.

Swidget 1.0