Friday, May 29, 2009

Embracing the moment.

I had a "moment" yesterday where I wished I could pretend my kids weren't mine. You know, where you can look at the crying child at your feet and say, "where's your mommy, honey?" secretly glad that the child isn't yours.

Before I go any further, I have to say that I adore my children and wouldn't trade them for all of the sleep in the world.

We were running errands yesterday and I forgot to pack snack foods in the diaper bag. It got to be way past lunch time and Nathaniel was getting cranky. Since he has already been pushing his limits this week I knew better than to let him go too long without something in his stomach so I stopped by the Starbucks in the Target store to get him a little something. Remind me to have the workers at Starbucks put in a quarter of the syrup they normally do for chocolate milk, because I ended up giving my cranky boy super sugary chocolate milk while we ran a quick errand in Target.

It wasn't too bad until we were at the very end of the trip. We were standing in line and Nathaniel kept running away from me into the next aisle. I told him that he needed to stand near me. I don't remember all of the details but he ended up crying and yelling at me (which is his new m.o. anymore. He yells, "I want *whatever it is he is crying for* RIGHT NOW!!!" Which makes no impact on me whatsoever if I've already said no). I could feel the eyeballs of people on me. Their judgmental glances were burning into the back of my head as I tried to hold my head up high and parent my cranky child.

As I looked down to quiet Nathaniel I saw the epitome of what an outsider would dub a spoiled brat. Nathaniel had chocolate around his mouth, snot running down his nose (this darn cold just won't be shaken!) and was stomping his feet and crying.

Rather than allow people around me to judge and get all, "If that were my kid..." on me I simply burst out laughing.

I know my son. I know that he was hungry, tired and probably on a sugar high that was created by my own lack of planning. I also know that he had been awesome while we were actually shopping. He stayed right by me the whole time without a cart and didn't run off at all. He was simply done with running errands.

I told Nathaniel, "Wow, you look awesome like that. If I didn't know better, I would think I was a terrible parent!" Then I hugged him and kissed him, paid for my purchases and headed out the door.

Let those other people judge me and think my kid is a brat. I know better. I know that he is just having a time where he is testing his boundaries. I also know that if Sam were around this would be easier because we would be sharing the load and it wouldn't all be on me to make sure our kid can act right in public. I also know that Nathaniel is a pretty great kid and mostly well behaved. He has every right to have a bad day (or week).

I just wish I could laugh more...

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Am I speaking English?

I can tell that Nathaniel is feeling better but still isn't quite up to par. At least--I HOPE this is the case. Today he was in quite the contrary mood. It was like I was talking to myself all day long. Either that or Nathaniel thought that everything I said was merely a suggestion, something for him to do at his leisure.

In the library he kept pulling books off of the shelf and throwing them on the floor. So, we left without taking any books out so he cried all the way home, "I want my books!!"

He was like this All. Day. Long.

He put his arm in the toilet. Twice!

He wouldn't get into his car seat, instead he went and laid down on the floor in the way back of the van. THAT was fun.

When I told him to pick up his blocks before his bath, he threw them all over his bedroom which just begs me to step on them in the middle of the night.

So, at 6:45 I was done with Nathaniel and he went to bed. He was in bed before Aaron! And--he was asleep by 7:15.

Ahhhh...peace and quiet.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Swine Flu?

About a week and a half ago we were hanging out at our friends' house when their 5 year old son went to bed early with a fever. Poor Caleb wasn't feeling well and ran a fever for nearly a week and when he was taken to the doctor was told that it was most likely the dreaded Swine Flu (you know, the flu that has been giving pork products a bad rap that actually isn't that big of a deal if you look at the big picture?). After a week of rest and pampering, Caleb was back to his old self by Friday.

I was slightly worried that Nathaniel and Aaron would catch the flu (or myself), but after a few days nothing happened so I began to breathe easier again.

Then Aaron got his croupy cough and I got a little nervous.

Then Nathaniel joined in the night time barking (along with the neighbor dog...) and I got a little more nervous.

Yesterday, Nathaniel began to run a fever and has kept it most of yesterday and today (although it started to break tonight I think. At least he was sweaty and his temp was normal as of 9pm). When I called my friend to let her know I couldn't watch her kids tomorrow because of Nathaniel's fever we were talking about how Caleb *may* have gotten Nathaniel sick. I assured her that it probably wasn't the case (and even if it was the case, who was to know? It's not like he knowingly contaminated people). Then she told me that the Swine flu has a week incubation period.

Oh crap.

So, if Nathaniel's fever is not gone by tomorrow I will be taking him to the pediatrician to see if he indeed has the Swine Flu.

Not that the pediatrician can do anything about it if he does. Nathaniel will just have to be miserable for a few more days and enjoy taking his yummy medicine. In fact, he threw a fit tonight because I didn't give him more medicine when his fever was down.

But, it's just more adventures for our family. Something to tell Sam about. I just hope Aaron steers clear of it! He's too little to get sick like that.

Oh. And I hope I don't get it because something tells me that getting knocked on my butt with the Swine Flu is not on my top ten list of things to do while Sam is on deployment.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Visit from Grandpa.

This week we were lucky enough to have Sam's dad come and visit us for four days. It was really nice of him to fly out and visit the boys and it was wonderful for me to have an extra hand to hold Aaron while I disciplined Nathaniel or so I could shower, run errands, sit and have a meal, etc. We didn't do anything spectacular, but we were able to visit the beach and the zoo and Nathaniel got to have some good "Grandpa" time.
Now, I have two weeks until my sister comes out to visit (I am so looking forward to that!!) and then after she leaves, about three weeks until Sam is home on leave. I can see time marching forward and the end of deployment not looming so far ahead. After all, it is already almost June!
Happy Memorial Day!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

I think he's actually trained.

I fear that I might jinx everything if I put it in writing, but I think Nathaniel is actually potty trained.

Sure, he still has the occasional accident, but he actually goes potty on his own now. I don't have to take him every two hours and force him to go. He will actually stop what he is doing and say, "I have to go potty!" and will run to the potty and go. The ultimate test was when he was wearing a diaper tonight (I still don't want to deal with a middle of the night wet bed, even though he wakes up dry most of the time now) and he ran to use the bathroom instead of just going in his diaper. It used to be that he would just go in his diaper if he was wearing it. There are even times I ask him if he has to go and he says yes, and then goes! I am so glad that the light at the end of the tunnel is finally here. Potty training sucks.

We had another earthquake today. 4.0 on the Richter Scale. Unfortunately (or fortunately?) we were driving and didn't feel it. I'm interested in seeing how Nathaniel reacts to another earthquake since he keeps bringing up Sunday night's earthquake. Mostly he acts it out. He waves his arms around and then crouches down covering his head. What a hoot!

Aaron has a croupy cough. I took him to the dr. today since this is his third cold and he is only three months old. They all looked at me like I was the crazy, over-protective mom. After all, kids do that apparently. But, I would rather be safe than sorry (and the actual Doctor who looked at Aaron said that it was good that I brought him in to be checked just in case). I hate hearing the poor boy struggle to breathe. On top of that, I found out that he wasn't covered by our insurance yet. I don't know if the Army hasn't caught up with stuff or if Sam didn't take care of it when I emailed a copy of the birth certificate back in the beginning of April. Hmmm...we'll see!

That's about it here. More when something exciting happens again.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Earthquake, take two!

Well, during Nathaniel's story time we had an earthquake that registered 5.0 on the Richter scale. I was much calmer than I was this time. I didn't even cry! I simply picked up Nathaniel and hurried to the kitchen to crouch by the sturdy counter. In hindsight, I should have stayed in the hallway when I grabbed Nathaniel, but I couldn't think of where to go and I have nothing to duck under.

Aaron was sleeping safely in his crib with nothing around to fall on top of him, so I wasn't worried about him at all.

Here are the funny things that have happened since the earthquake.

First of all, Nathaniel thinks we were hiding from the shaking since I crouched with him in the dark kitchen. When I put him to bed later he said, "If the house shakes we need to hide!" In his cute whisper.

Second, I turned on the t.v. to see the news so I could see how hard the earthquake was and they started taking phone calls from people and putting them in the news. So far, my favorite one was the man who called in and told the news people he was in the bathtub. Then he told us how old he was, 70. So, you know that everyone watching the news was trying not to imagine the old man naked and shaking in the bathtub. What was even better was when he said that his 12 year old grandson ran into the bathroom when the earthquake started. So, his poor grandson is scarred for life seeing grandpa naked in the tub.


Adventures in Kosovo

Hello everyone. The internet in my room has been a little touchy. When Carrie has been busy at home or I am busy at work, the internet works. But we don't have the time to Skype each other. However, when we do have the time, the internet is down. Ugh…

I just got done last week with a SharePoint class. For non-techies or people who don't use it at work, it is a shared database with an internet, Office 2007, and Window Explorer interface. This might bring out the inner geek in me, but it was a very cool class. I learned that you can publish blog posts strait from Word 07! I am doing that right now!

Last week was crazy busy. There were all kinds of protests and activities. The Serbs are protesting because they have no power and they don't want to pay (I poop you not, they are protesting because they don't want to pay for power! OK, it is a little more complex than that, but still…). The bus companies were striking in Gnjilane and threatening to protest. There was a protest in Ferizaj about the municipality building something near a mosque. It was crazy. And, of course, I was in class for most of it.

Anyway, I just wanted to drop a quick update on my adventures in Kosovo. This is an interesting place.


Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Things I think but would never say outloud.

I'm going crazy. Nathaniel has entered into a new phase of saying "no" to everything. Seriously. It needs to stop now. When I tell him to do something he says no. When he asks for something and I say no he whines, "please!?" over and over and over and over. Driving me up the wall! The other day I muttered out loud, "Son, I want to throw you through the wall!" without realizing he heard me! So, as I went over to help him put his shoes on he cowered and said, "No Mommy! Don't throw me through the wall!" Kind of amusing, but I reassured him that I would NEVER throw him through the wall and I gave him a hug.

I need to watch my mutterings. Here are some other things I've thought but HAVE NOT verbalized.

After telling Nathaniel over and over again to rinse his hair out and when he finally does it he gets soap in his eyes and whines that it burns: "That's karma. You keep telling me no and you are going to get soap in your eyes!"

After Nathaniel tells me he doesn't have to go potty and then a minute later pees all over everything: "So help me child, you are driving me to drink!"

When Nathaniel has asked me for the billionth time, "Why, Mommy?": "I wish you never learned how to talk!"

I would NEVER say those things out loud. EVER! I know that would crush my son's spirit. But, I have to know, does anyone else out there in bloggerland have an internal monologue when it comes to your kids? Is anyone else ever at the end of her rope? Does anyone else offer to give your child away to the next person who says, "Your kid is so well behaved and awesome!" and are only half joking when you do it?

Please tell me I'm not alone!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Random thoughts.

I don't have a crafty title for this blog post so I thought I would just be random. Speaking of random, someone just knocked on my door who did not speak English very well asking me about my daughter...wrong apartment (second time this week!).

Okay, so here are some random things going on in my mind.

I've been thinking about pride and the difference/line between healthy pride and arrogance. I think that there is such a thing as false humility, and I don't want to have that (you know, 'oh, it was nothing, I'm nothing, I don't do any good for anyone, yadda yadda yadda'), but I don't want to be boastful either.

In fact, if there is one thing that humbles anyone it's potty training. It doesn't matter how great of a parent you are or aren't, if your kid isn't ready to be potty trained, he ain't gonna do it!

But, lately there are some things I've been proud of. I hope I'm not braggy here, but I'm proud and I need an outlet. So, please, indulge me here.

First, I'm proud of Nathaniel. He actually got potty trained! He's not even three yet and he is basically potty trained. He even keeps his pull-up dry during the night and nap time for the most part. I'm just not brave enough to have him go without it yet because the last thing I want is pee sheets to wash. It's bad enough that I am up two times a night still with Aaron, I don't need another thing. I am so proud of him, and he knows it. I think it was the huge smile on my face, the giant hug he got and the stickers that got him to continue to go #2 on the toilet. He could tell that I was proud of him, and I saw him sit up a little straighter.

I'm also proud of Aaron. He's gorgeous. He is one stinking cute baby. To say otherwise would be lying. He's just so chubby and round and smiley and good natured. He even stopped the crying during supper time the last couple of nights. He goes to sleep at night without too much of a fuss and he has this laugh that makes me laugh too. He adores his big brother, and has since he emerged from the womb, but lately he has ignored Nathaniel to give ME the prize winning grin and the happy coos. That makes everything all better. And, he loves kisses and is starting to expect them so he opens his mouth and squints his eyes. So CUTE! Plus, it's hard not to notice the people who ooh and aw over my baby while walking at Disneyland. I get a lot of smiles when I'm wearing him. Of course, they aren't for me, but my adorable offspring.

I'm proud of my husband. I'm proud that he is overseas serving our country and helping others. I'm proud that he isn't a complainer about it, even though he has missed out on potty training (not sure he would complain about that) and the birth and development of his second son. He puts his nose to the grindstone and tries to figure out the best way to work with the people of Kosovo. He has explained so much to me about the problems there and how they are trying to manage things. Sure, I miss him like crazy, but I am so proud of him.

Finally, I'm proud of myself. This is where the line gets fuzzy for me. I think it's perfectly okay for me to brag about my family and their awesome-ness. But, I think it's okay to toot my own horn once in awhile. I'm proud that I have managed the past two months with two kids and no husband. I'm proud that I even rode the potty train during that time. I'm proud that I haven't lost my mind (yet) and have managed to have some sort of normalcy. I'm also proud because I've managed to stick to a quasi workout routine and have lost nearly all of my baby weight in only three months. I'm proud (and happy) because for once I am happy with my body, knowing that having kids did change the way I look, but that's okay because I have great kids to show for it and I don't look that bad at all.

So, I guess my random post turned into a brag session. Sorry if this read like one of those Christmas letters (and Johnny got into West Point, we are so proud! *gag*), but I felt the need to write and this is what my brain crapped out.

I'm going to go watch a movie now and relax before bedtime. Cheers!

Oh, and feel free to write comments about my evil pride. I don't mind! :)

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Happy Mother's Day.

I am being kind of a baby this Mother's Day.

I try not to throw myself pity parties due to Sam being gone, because I know how incredibly blessed I truly am. I know that there are many people around here who love me (or at least tolerate me :P ) and I know that I am so lucky to have healthy children. But, I also know that Sam is gone and my kids are young so Mother's Day will not be a special day for me where I will get treatment like this.

Besides, Sam didn't even know Mother's Day was coming up until the day before yesterday so I know anything from him will be about two weeks away (sorry Chris, I forgot to remind him! I think he's going to call you though, I told him he needed to do that!).

So, while I am so happy to be a mom and so happy that I have amazing children to wake up to, I am sad that they aren't old enough to give me a cool picture that they drew with their hand print or give me cold cereal in bed. I still have to change diapers (something that I don't do on Mother's Day or my birthday when Sam is here) and discipline.

But, my sister in law sent me flowers and chocolate (hooray, she is my favorite sister in law!) and I talked to my own mother today and wished her a happy Mother's Day. I will hug and kiss my boys tomorrow morning and be grateful that I get to be called "Mommy". I will also put on a happy face and not begrudge anyone their day.

Happy Mother's Day! May all the Mommies out there get pampered!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

We survived!

Well, some people thought I was crazy, but on Thursday I packed up the boys and we headed up to Portland to visit some friends and family. We flew JetBlue (I highly recommend this for anyone traveling with small children, they are a more kid-friendly airline and don't nickel and dime you to death with luggage fees or charging you to breathe. Plus, t.v. and yummy snacks make any kid happy!) out of Long Beach which was really easy for us. Of course, I wouldn't have been able to get anywhere without the help of my friends taking me to the airport and helping me lug the luggage and carseats to the baggage check.
The flight was easy. Aaron hung out happily and Nathaniel was pretty good too, even if he did talk the entire flight asking me questions about everything. Once we arrived in Portland we stayed with my second cousin (first cousin once removed? Not dad's cousin) who was generous to open up her nice house to me and my two children. Even with so many nice, breakable things lying around! Her and her husband were more than patient. Especially with an almost three year old running around chasing cats and saying things like, "Cheryl, play with me!" and being picky about things.
On Saturday we spent the morning and early afternoon with a good friend of mine from high school and his wife. God bless Ben for playing with Nathaniel for me. At this point I was getting weary and run down with a cold and was tired of chasing Nathaniel around. Ben entertained Nathaniel for me while I visited with Jen (his wife) and just relaxed a bit.
Saturday afternoon we had the privilege of visiting our friends the Weavers and celebrating Zeke's third birthday with them. It really warmed my heart to see how Nathaniel remembered his buddy so well. He even ran to him happily when he first saw him. We visited with the Weavers until Monday and had such a relaxing time. It was so sweet of them to spend time with us. Especially since my cold went from bad to worse with fever and chills and everything. I was alternating between shivering and sweating all day on Sunday.
Tuesday we spent the morning with another old friend from high school and her daughter and then we flew home. Once again, the kids were dreams. Aaron slept the entire time from checking in our luggage up to when we started landing. He was exhausted! Love my Moby wrap for keeping him cozy while we traveled.
So, I enjoyed my trip very much and am looking forward to returning with Sam.
While I had a great time, the highlight of my trip was that Nathaniel is officially potty trained!! He only had two accidents all week (which is awesome for a strange place!). I still have to take him to the bathroom every two hours, but he holds it in between that time and that is awesome. Hooray!!
Enjoy our trip photos!!
This is Aaron meeting my friend's daughter, Daphne.

Zeke, Nathaniel and Makayla hanging out.

I love this picture of Ben hanging out with Nathaniel.

Aaron chilling out one morning.

Nathaniel in front of some of the beautiful flowers blooming in the park.