Friday, February 27, 2009

Retraining the brain with Franklin Covey

I've been having problems the last couple (few) months letting my mind rest (since school started? Possible). To-do notes work when I get truly overwhelmed, but sometimes it's one or two thoughts niggling away for hours, even days. When I finally admitted this to Doug, I think he thought I was a little crazy. For example, I'm going on a scrapbooking weekend in 2 weeks and I'm taking my computer. I am already trying to plan when to dismantle it, how to do it, how to pack it in the car, what I'll need to use it at the crop, and what night all this should be done, because I'm going to have to have Doug show me.... and I don't have this thought occasionally. I'll think of it 3-4x a day.

Another example would be a pancake breakfast at Roman's school this Saturday. I saved the original email from 2 weeks ago, thus thinking of it every time I check my email. Then I started thinking that I'll have to talk to Doug about it. It's in conjunction with the school's book fair, so should we allow Roman to buy a book? Maybe we should let him buy it when his class visits the following week. Can we afford to the pancake breakfast? Will it be during Charlie's nap? Could we put him down early? We will have to miss karate if we go.... Again, this doesn't occur to me just once. I've been thinking about the pancake breakfast a couple times a day for 2 weeks. And this is just the mundane thoughts. You can imagine how big important thoughts are starting to control my every waking moment.

I have a monthly calendar that I write absolutely everything in. This doesn't aid in my obsessive thoughts, however, because I see the entire month in front of me and think about the whole darn month's to-do list versus say, the next couple days. And honestly, folks? Considering a switch to a weekly calendar almost panics me. How will I see what's coming up? How will I possibly know if we're free to plan something in March if I can only see a week or two ahead? Madness, I tell you!

But this overthinking is actually affecting our home life now (Doug and I can't have a normal conversation until I talk about everything that's in my brain. Yeah, you can imagine how he loves that). So today I stuffed my panic way down deep, went to Franklin Covey, and bought myself a cute WEEKLY planner (except I just saw online that's it on sale... I paid full price at the store... now something else I'm going to obsess over!). It has a space for "things to do" as well as room to write appointments. Doug told me to not feel dumb and actually write things like "talk to Doug about computer at crop" on a particular day. Then - cross fingers - I won't have to think about it again until that day.

It's interesting how I have a lesson planner at work and things go really smoothly; but I can't seem to apply it to the rest of my life. So this weekend I will be spending time penciling all my thoughts into my planner. Now, let's just hope I don't misplace it!

(and here's your bonus for reading about me - adorable picture I took yesterday with my new black velvet backdrop!)

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Look on the bright side.

Momentous things that occurred this week: Roman can whistle, and Charlie can say "hi." Now, neither are that great at it - Roman can only make one sound, and Charlie is kind of random at it (but did say hi to almost every person at Jo-Ann's). Either way, small things to celebrate.

Especially since we got our property tax info in the mail today. It's good news, I guess - it went down. Way down. Again. So we're saving money for the second year in a row. But wow, does that make our house really not worth much. Throwing around numbers, assuming things bounce back even this year, it'll be another 5-7 years before we can consider making a profit on this baby. So. Since Roman may go to high school here after all, I've been trying to think of all the reasons I like being in this city. To be honest, it's been kind of hard. But here are my top 10:

10. Our house is close to the elementary school.
9. We have a walkable/bikable neighborhood.
8. I am within 5 miles of some of my favorite stores: Costco, Target, CVS, Kohl's, Meijer, Toys R Us, Michael's...
7. There are kids Roman's age on our street that aren't going anywhere, either.
6. We have a great church and great church family.
5. There is a library within walking distance.
4. The layout of our main living area is nice.
3. Easy access via freeways to get to a major mall (and work, Doug points out).
2. My choice of hospital emergency rooms, depending on the reason for going.
1. Detroit Zoo & Henry Ford Museum.

Honestly, that took me about 15 minutes to come up with. I'll have to keep working on it.

Monday, February 23, 2009

and how is Roman doing?


It's so easy to get caught up in cute, adorable Charlie that I don't talk as much about sweet, thoughtful Roman. So now it’s Roman’s turn to be my subject. We have had two psychologist appointments, and the last one was rather interesting. While we haven’t zeroed in on whether there’s an “issue” that is measurable with Roman, he did get Doug and I to start considering our parenting and how it could be contributing to some of Roman’s behavior. There are some definite things we need to work on, such as more consistent follow-through with directions.

An example would be what occurred last weekend. Roman had been playing with Legos and they were spread all over the place at the bottom of the stairs. Doug told Ro he needed to clean them up. “Okay,” Ro said. Doug went upstairs and started doing stuff, (here’s the key!), got distracted, and 15 minutes later goes downstairs to find Roman fiddling with the Legos and not one had been put back in the bucket. So predictable pattern: Doug gets mad that Roman didn’t follow directions, Ro starts getting upset and defensive, then starts crying, and I swoop in to play middle-man and fix everything (and then often Doug and I get to arguing instead of sticking to the problem at hand).

So we really need to do better at quite a few things in that scenario: stick close by to make sure Roman is doing what he’s told to do, a better reaction than yelling when he doesn’t do what we ask, and stop dividing ourselves in front of Roman. Legos are a minor issue, but I can see if this pattern continues that things could get much worse.

In the scheme of things, however, we do believe Ro still has a movement/hyperactivity problem that needs to be addressed. The psych. took our questionnaires and the results will be discussed at this coming appt.

A rare photo of our subject - still! I haven't played with the lighting yet, but it was taken a week ago when he was so sick, he fell asleep on the couch right before dinner. I love it, though - beautiful eyelashes, perfect face. Just beautiful.

Otherwise he's doing normal 5-year-old stuff. He enjoys kindergarten and is reading more and more. Still has Star Wars on the brain most of the time, but is beginning to branch out into Indiana Jones and Speed Racer, which we borrowed from the library and the race scenes sent him over the moon. 2 bad words in it, but he hasn't noticed yet. We have noticed more and more that he doesn't actually *play* with toys, just fiddles with them. Not sure if this is normal or not. He has shown renewed interest in coloring and playing with my stamps, especially now that he can write people's names and short messages on paper. I bought him a small notepad at the Dollar Castle and he calls it his "diary."

He asks a lot about his world now, trying to organize his thoughts. For example, the diary. He wanted to know what one was, then pronounced that it was a "girl" thing. When I explained that boys can keep them too, to keep track of important days or events, he decided then he wanted to have one. He also keeps track of our moods on his own "mood chart" and marks whether we have been happy, sad, mad, or normal. Pretty neat boy!

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Benefits of tubes


Charlie is already showing improvements since he had his tubes placed, but it's hard to figure what is us attributing it to the surgery, or what really is a benefit. Immediately he began sleeping longer for both naps and at night, now waking up at 6am or 6:30am... before you scoff at that, we've been getting up between 4:30am-5:30am for about 4 weeks now. That extra hour is amazing. Doug also noticed that naps had increased to 1.5 hours in the afternoon. I think without that fluid or dull ache in his head, the boy can finally be his normal self.

Oh, and what a self! While he's a happy boy anyway, he is almost constantly all smiles now. He has spent half the day today laughing, I swear. He thinks everything is funny, every noise, every movement of his big brother's. Today at lunch I pretended once that he scared me with a noise he made, and he kept repeating it and laughing... to the point that he was giggling so hard he couldn't even make the noise anymore. He'd purse his lips, his eyes would light up, and he'd just start laughing!

I'm pleased to be on winter break this week, and have Charlie home with me. While in my dreams (and with full employment on Doug's part) I could have had this coming week to myself during school hours, it will be fun to get to know Charlie more. Plus, he's going to see some amazing places like JC Penney, Kohl's, Jo-Ann's, and perhaps even Dress Barn.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

All is well, I think.

Charlie had his tubes placed this morning and he was out within 25 minutes and on his way home. Whew! He's been grumpy and groggy today, to be expected. He fell asleep face down in his bouncer just as I arrived home, pretty funny.

Roman was told by his ped. that he has a virus and the temps are hanging on longer than usual. If he still has a temp in a couple more days, we have to go back again. He's losing his voice, which is pretty funny.

I went to the dr. today after completing my own 4th day of a sore throat. Surprise! sinus infection. 2x a year, without fail. Hopefully this is my "spring" version and I won't run into it again.

By the end of this weekend we should be all healthy... too bad I have 3 meetings and a field trip to get through by this time tomorrow. All I want is sleep!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

When Clorox wipes aren't enough.

This week has been just gross in our house. Monday I was at class, came home to Doug finishing up wiping up the puke in Charlie's crib. Out of the blue in his sleep, poor Charlie was sick. Appeared fine Tuesday and we waited for the other shoe (Roman) to drop... which it did around 4pm Tuesday afternoon with a call from his afternoon care. Ro threw up during snack, right at his seat. Oh, man...
Doug then fought his own urge to throw up Tuesday night but ended up with, let's say delicately, "other end" issues Wedn. and Thursday. I thought I had dodged it, but no... Friday I woke up just feeling gross and had the same issues as Doug until 6pm, when I too threw up. And you would think that's the end of it, right? But no... we had houseguests, my parents, and just as I recovered Saturday night it was my mom's turn to be sick. They made it home today and now we're just wondering... when will my dad get sick?

To top it off, of course, it's not just a stomach bug that has hit our house. Roman began to slide downhill again on Saturday, sleeping almost 2 hours around dinner and having a fever. This has continued all day today, along with congestion, headache, and general malaise. I think while his defenses were down from the stomach bug, he caught a darn good cold. So I don't know what will get this crap out of our house, but I can tell you I'm still not fully recovered (having a depressed appetite and some occasional nausea) and am facing a darn busy week. I do know this is going around though - had two reports of friends with little ones suffering the same thing this weekend. Yuck-o.

Other than the need for a bucket by the bedsides, our week was good. Roman had a Valentine's party on Thursday and is now on break until Wednesday. I got to help out at the party and enjoyed watching the class celebrate. My parents brought a Valentine's cake and some cupcakes for Charlie, since they missed his first birthday party. So we let him have fun with a cupcake and he obliged by crumbing and squishing it all over.



This week Doug is on layoff again (cross fingers, last time) which is lucky, because Ro is home Monday/Tuesday and Charlie has his ear tubes placed on Wednesday and will still need to recover Thursday. I have 2 meetings in one night, plus a field trip with the eighth grade on Thursday. Whew! Wonder what else we can cram into this week? Getting healthy, that's what.

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Weight loss - a fortunate problem

I have checked the weather for Florida in April and my goodness, it averages about 80 degrees. So I thought it best to see what, if anything, fit me of my summer clothes. Having lost 25 pounds, the end of last summer was dicey - capris too big, & my mom gave me some old shorts of hers because I had nothing else that fit. Now that I am holding steady and the leftover fat has redistributed (fallen to my hips & thighs, is the better explanation) I tried on 5 different things. Capris? Not so much. I love them, but when you can fit yourself AND your year-old baby into them, it's time to donate.

Of the shorts, one receive the comment "They give you a caboose" from Doug. So they're definitely going in the donate pile too. Two more didn't fit, and 2 more are passable. So. Two pairs of shorts (and no swimsuit, by the way, because the one I bought last year had the fastener break) to face vacation and summer. It's looking like I will be haunting JCP, Kohl's, and Sears on my February break to try to pick up a couple more items on the cheap.

Saturday, February 07, 2009

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Good news, so why am I not thrilled?

Doug got word today that he *will* be working next week, and just has to suffer through one more week of layoff after that - the week we need him to be off due to vacations & tube-surgery, so that's good. Doug was absolutely elated, dancing a jig in the kitchen and everything. My first reaction? A sarcasm-filled "oh, great." Doug was hurt of course, but I knew right away (with guilt) why I wasn't pleased.

I rather like being the breadwinner. I enjoyed those couple weeks with Doug home in the morning, helping me with the boys getting ready for the day. I only had to leave the house with one boy - the one who can gather his own things and put on his own coat. Doug did the errands and phone calls that either don't get done or get done in the evening, and so we could spend more time together those couple weeks. I had the option of staying after school to correct papers or prep the next few days, which is my best time to work. I had the option of coming home after I dropped Roman at school to chat with Doug or catch up on... anything. In short, I could be my own boss again, staying late when I wanted, going in when I wanted, and the kids? They were taken care of. I wasn't being run by the clock anymore. Well, at least not the "pick him up by 3:56pm or we're charging you $7" clock.

I freely admit - it's selfish. Of course I'm glad Doug gets to work, both for his state of mind and our bank account. But I have irritation with his company. We had to go through a lot of decisions, phone calls, and a few people are bending over backward to help us out with the daycare side of things. And with one quick conversation with his boss, now we have to go back and undo it all. Thanks for making all those phone calls for us, Ms. Ann - but Roman's going back to school-care after all. And now has to stay late a night because I had made alternate plans thinking Doug was home.
Thanks for putting all that info in the computer and allowing us 3 weeks off, Ms. Pat - but now it's just 2 weeks. It seems that we keep changing dates and we're on, we're off, we're on again... can't Doug's company just get their act together? Do they not get we're trying to coordinate an entire family here?

Supposedly this should be the end of Doug's layoffs. I am quite wary of it now. I don't believe it, and I don't trust them. Doug points out I should just enjoy the good news and stop waiting for the other shoe to drop. But it's amazing how quickly one learns to live hanging on the edge, and it's quite difficult to immediately say "it's all better now." One cool thing about the recall is that Doug is one of only two people at the company who can do this particular job they need done next week (can't let out any trade secrets!), so along with him working, he gets validation that his skills are valued. And that does make me happy.

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Things that make me smile

Charlie is getting very picky about what he eats. When he doesn't like something, he not only makes a face but he sticks his index finger in his mouth, hooks it around, and flings the food back out.

Roman and I went to the library today. When we were ready to check out, he said, "Wait! We should get a book about Obama!" I asked him if he wanted to know more about our new president. "Oh, yes." He was just so earnest about it, and he wants to be so grown up. However - they were all checked out! So we settled on a Star Wars graphic novel.

Charlie has naturally curly hair. This winter it has been hard to see except for a couple spots on the back of his head, but today (as it got up to mid-40s and humid a little) his hair was curled all over.

We got a "Magic Bullet" for Christmas from some friends. It's awesome. We process almost all our dinners for Charlie now; he has recently had ravioli, roast beef & carrots, and Hamburger Helper. And has eaten it all. Yum!

Charlie has begun initiating games with Roman. This evening he tried twice; once while he was cruising along the couch, and Roman was sitting with his legs crossed, Charlie grabbed Ro's toes and started mouthing his ankle and making growling noises. Roman burst into belly laughs while Charlie's eyes just sparkled. A little while later, Charlie popped up again at the couch and tossed one of Roman's socks on the book Ro was looking at. Roman tossed it back, and thus began a good 5 minute game of "toss the sock" with Charlie giggling more and more. I love seeing how they interact. Even though we keep telling him, I know Roman has no idea how important he is to Charlie.

Roman told me twice today, spontaneously, that he loves me. I rarely hear it intitated by him, so what a great day!