Sunday, January 31, 2010

Point of View

Annie got me thinking about blogs and why we have them. Or really, what is our reason for keeping them going. I started with a web page on Verizon. It began when I came home from my first trip to meet my Anna. I had written every detail. I wrote it with such care and poured every thought and emotion into it. It was lost when I tried to change my services to a different provider...If I could have sued Verizon for Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress I would have. I was devastated. I tried for months to get it back. Then I started to try and recreate it all at once, but got overwhelmed with it. So I started a blog. I originally wanted to share it with my adoption agency as I had done with my original site, but once I got it up and running I was past being able to share about Russian adoption procedures. Things change so quickly and I knew I couldn't offer current advice. Side note, I still serve as the "house single" to talk to any single women considering adoption with them...Anyway, Annie treats hers like her home. A comfortable, stable place to share. As I was trying to figure out my point of view, I think I have decided that I think of it as my personal diary, with ever changing covers. Because I do often judge a blog by its cover..I love a good blog layout. When I see the basic designs with very little change to the format, I usually click off. I guess I am shallow that way.

I don't ever think about writing it as a tool for anyone else. Offering advice for kindergarten teaching is about all I have absolute certainty of, but after teaching for 8 hours, I can only ever come up with is an occasional funny or cute "student story." And today I have one. I got an email from a parent who shared that her son wanted to make a Friendship Sandwich. The mom wrote that as her little guy made the sandwich with both white and whole wheat bread, he explained that it was like Martin Luther King Jr. bringing different races together. He told her that putting the jam in the middle was the "sweetness" that comes from embracing people who are different than ourselves. The mom was so pleased that her little guy, who is a very young kindergartner was never able to share anything about curriculum in preschool, was now starting to share concepts almost everyday..Just precious. See? This blog is the only place I can share stuff like where it will remind me of the "happy" months from now..
But I need to do more sharing of my town. I live in the suburbs now, in a little historic area on the Occoquan River. It is just delightful. The only thing missing is a good diner type dive. All of the restaurants are too foo-foo for us. There is a big new place that we haven't checked out yet, so maybe I can do that when my dad comes back this week. He's been back in Florida since Christmas and he is just missing the girlz so much. He usually stays a week or two. The girlz can't wait to see him either. They miss rough housing with him.




It was 19 and snowing, so I took these snaps from the coziness of my truck!







This is the Town Hall and the Police Department is in the basement. Not much crime on these streets.

And at my mom's house to shovel her out! August was inside, she didn't want to come out..She didn't feel like getting all "Bungled Up."

And after leaving my mom's house, I made August get all Bungled up and we made a quick stop at the Domino's for a pizza supper! The coat irritated her, but the thought of a good Brooklyn style slice made her very happy. She is . her. momma's . girl!

Saturday, January 30, 2010

It's snowing, we are tired from playing in it..So there is a new blog design. Sorry for all of you folks who dislike change..I planned on doing a Valentine Layout, but since I Loathe the holiday, I will not be participating.
And since report cards are due next week, I can only manage to decorate the blog and not add much content.
But here is a nugget for ya. My mom and I had a long talk about me possibly, possibly, maybe, teaching in Russia one day. It was the the snow and all. It was 19 degrees here so the day sort of lead there.
Anyway, it was good. She hates the idea. She asked if I would rather move to NYC instead. Funny, when I wanted to move to NYC, Pre-children, she begged me not to even consider it. Okay, my body aches from sledding, and I need sleep.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

There is a sweet little necklace on its way to.....

Jen
I really liked the idea of "fessing" up to something that was done before tattling ...For Anna, I like the idea of her having to be the "assistant" to her sister when she starts fussing too much.
I also like it that yesterday was Jen's birthday and she needs a cute little necklace!!
I liked everyone's ideas, and I am using the stairs and looking at each other, as Kate suggested. What is so great about the stair idea, is that our house is 3 levels. When all hell breaks loose, we could be on any of the 3 floors and it is good to know that there is a "time-pout" place near. (Lord knows I don't want to hike upstairs dragging a ticked off child with me just to put her in time-pout.)
So thank you everyone. It was fun reading your ideas...

Thursday, January 21, 2010

a quick update...

Out of fairness I should share that I am using two different strategies right now.....Both working well. But wouldn't you know it, the girlz have been "in love" with each other since the morning after I begged for help. Instead of using the advice on tattling or arguing, I have been using it for "tone control." Like for instance, I call the girlz from the top floor and they are in the middle floor..one child answers with a sassy, "maam???" Sounds nice, but it's all in the tone... (Btw, we say "Yes Maam" & "No Maam" in our house. I am southern, and along with double names and thank you cards, it's a requirement.) So I remind the girlz that we don't need to be sassy our words or with the way we say our words. For the most part, they have been great with just a reminder. But there have been a couple of times, and I mean a couple of times where I had to remind them of their manners.
I introduced the whole "new rule" of no tattling or yelling at each other at a very formal sit-down family meeting. I explained that i couldn't/wouldn't tolerate their bickering and tattling. I should add, that it is Anna who really needs this, because the little one follows her sister like a shadow. So if I get Anna to manage her attitude, then AugustRose will also.
I have also added some prayer into this. I asked God to help me be more patient and not internally lose my mind every time I hear, "MOoooommmmmmmmmyyyyy, she's copying me!"
So I am in a bind here, since I am taking two strategies and mixing them to fit into a 6 year old's ability to manage her own behavior and a 3 year old's ability to manage her own temper...
So now, I have one necklace, and two great ideas...Hmmmm.
And just so you know, I have read and loved every comment and idea. You are all so wonderful to offer advice to me. I believe we can always learn, and what a better group to learn from.
And Annie, some how, dealing with my own children is very different from my students. You are right, the love seems to get in the way!
So thank you to my dear blogger friends. We are making some progress!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

A Contest

In honor of this wonderful day with my bickering girlz, I am having my first contest. I was at Claire's searching for some cheap goodies, and I happened up this. I was so thrilled with them that I bought all 7 that they had. I gifted my god daughters with them and gave my girlz one. And now there is one for one lucky reader. It is a short chain and the nesting doll is very small. Big enough to see, but small enough to wear without being cumbersome.

(Sorry about the photo quality, my camera isn't so great on super close ups)

I cannot guarantee how long it will stay bright and sparkly, but I can promise this cute little necklace will make any gal smile!
All you have to do is leave a comment and answer this question.

"How do you make a 3 and 6 year old stop arguing and tattling?"

Who ever gives me advice that I can start using today, right now, will win. I will Announce a winner on next Tuesday January 26th. Or sooner if I read something that starts working TODAY! I will mail this little bit of deliciousness to where you live, whatever city, state, country, continent, Where Ever! Plus I may just put in a little extra treat if your magic ideas work without much effort from this tired momma!
(Can you tell I am completely over the tattling!!)
Have you ever looked at another family and wondered, "What in the name of our sweet Baby Jesus" are they thinking with all those children? Like for instance, John and Kate? Maybe the Duggar family? And now, I have just read that my blogger friend Christine is adopting again. An older child. Christine is in her mid 30's and she and her hubby already have a gazillion children. If I just think about the logistics of managing a large family, I get a wee bit of a migraine. The extra curricular stuff alone is enough to break the bank, so can you imagine college? I don't judge them for doing it. Really admire this choice. For them. I just imagine ME with that many and have to laugh. I can barely manage
the "Heiress and the Terrorist" (Anna and August). I actually cried this week because I couldn't clean all the rooms of this big ass house in one day. Again, I went from 1K square ft to 2.5K square ft. Yes, it's much more room. BUT much more mess. I want to call Nanny 911 to help me with my girlz. They behave so beautifully when we are out and about. But at home, these girlz can make a mess and then fake exhaustion like no body's business. I will watch them dance and sing on the little stage and then when I tell it's clean up time, they are both in PJ's and on their beds in record time. Yawning even. Stretching and using their sleepy voices to tell me goodnight. Then I look around and see the heaps of clothes, piles of Littlest Pet Shop toys, and the variety of paper cuttings AugustRose has created. And God forbid I toss them, she will walk around with her head tipped into the air screaming "why oh why did you gahbage my pichas?" When I am faced with this mess, I get teary eyed. Not just because of the mess, but because I know my mother, picture the mother from Terms of Endearment, coming over and rolling her eyes at the mess and starting her deep sighs. Lord I loathe the deep sighs. I have heard them since I was making the mess in my own room as a child. I can still remember my mother threatening me with "gahbaging" the EasyBakeOven and the Light N Brite. My mother kept an immaculate house. So much so, that we were not allowed in many rooms of my house until we were dressed in Church clothes. And we were only required to clean our own rooms. (She wanted everything else done to "white glove" inspection standard.

But messes really mess with my head. And here is some weirdness for you. At one point in my life I decided I would have OCD. Decided. I would only obsess about my house. I would clean it like a crazy person, organizing down to every drawer in the house. I lived in DC on Capitol Hill, and my apartment was not too large, just big enough to clean impulsively. That is when I started buying wooden hangers for all of my clothing and putting everything into little boxes with labels. I also started a very unhealthy habit of cleaning all flat surfaces with bleach. I always knew that I had decided to obsess about my house. I always felt like I could stop and relax at any point. Oddly, this over organization and choice to obsess gave me a sense of order and control. As a resident of the Hill, I had so little control over a lot. Traffic, parking, basic city services, all gave me such irritation. So the house thing gave me comfort.

When Anna came home, I was in the suburbs in a small townhouse, and I eased into a more normal approach to cleaning. I could easily straighten up her messes when she went to sleep. I could manage ALL the laundry on the weekend. And yes, my girlz do have color coded hangers. That just makes good sense. I stopped bleaching and began to use wet wipes to wipe down everything standing still.

But now everything is different. I am much more tired. Oddly tired. When I get home from work, I honestly want to get into the bath and crawl into bed. I am that tired.

The weekends are filled with activities that we do together and usually away from the house so I don't get a whole lot finished.

And the Terorista (august) is an epic mess maker. She uses scissors and cuts little creations in every room of the house. She saves everything. Like our Christmas cards. She took all of them down and packed them into her little back pack. So every few days she pulls them all out and reads them aloud. And then leaves them where they are. Then I pick them up, threaten to "gahbage" them, she cries, then I force her to put them back into her back pack. Rinse and repeat.

I know that I could do better. I wish I had more energy. There is always a mountain of mess growing behind me. And it is just me. My mom is so helpful with the cleaning. But sometimes, I just want to be alone for a bit. Just a couple of hours. I have not had a minute alone to relax and just regroup in a long time. I miss that. I am always "on." I know that my situation is not special, and that most people go through this.

So today, I wonder if my mom is right in thinking that my house should always be in white glove inspection mode or should I spend my free time enjoying my girlz? Or is there a way to meet somewhere in the middle. Oh and for those who think I should get a maid...It's not in the budget.

Hangers cost a lot of money.



and as a follow up to my week from hell with the girlz a couple of weeks ago, we are pretty much back on track. they haven't completly stopped arguing and tattling, but they don't want ME involved in their problem so they whisper their complaints. and this makes me happy...
and today we are home. My delicious principal let/encouraged us to use our teacher work day, to work from home. She's a gem like that. She knows we have lives that we need to take care of, and wants us to get a day or two every quarter to be away from the school. Anna is at school, and I got the pleasure of taking her to her bus stop. Seems silly, but I would LOVE to be able to do this everyday. You know, send my girl off into the world with a hug and some lovin'.
And the Terrorista went to my moms so I could do my report cards. She stayed an hour then she called me and said, "Mommy, I want to come home to be with you." We are snuggled up in bed together right now. She is keeps pinching and squeezing me all over, and says, "I just love you momma." How amazing is that. When I went and picked her up my mom said, she is really turned the corner...She is in love with her momma." (Her attatchment has not been at issue for a long time, but we keep seeing her make more and more progress in this area...) And me too. Everytime she pinches me, (in a soft sort of way) I want to eat this kid up. I used to kiss Anna all over her face and she would giiigggglle, but only recently has the Terrorista started doing it back to me..
So we are having a good little love day.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

She is becoming a Little Lady

Anna has wanted her ears pierced for a while now. She thought she wanted to do it for her 6th birthday, but sort of chickened out. I supported whatever decision she made. Since her birthday, we have gotten tons of different types of stick on earrings, and every time we get them, she is tickled with them and tells me she thinks she is ready to get her ears pierced. Saturday she ran out of ear stickers from American Girl. She told me that she was really ready this time. I decided to show her some YouTube videos of other little gals getting their ears pierced. She was really convinced that she could do it. I told her that she needed to decide, because once we invited my mom and sister to come out, she really needed to do it so as not to waste their time. She decided she would wait for a little while longer. But first thing this morning, she woke up and said she wanted to do it. The plan was set. We went to Church and I reminded her to pray for bravery. We left and met at Claire's. Unfortunately, there was only one girl working, so if she were going to have it done it would be one ear at a time. She chose to go ahead with it. She was super brave until that gun clicked, and she wrinkled her little face and yelled out. "Mommmmmmy!" I felt like crap. I wanted to crawl into a hole and undo the whole thing. She settled down quick, seeing herself in the mirror helped. Then she wanted to sit in my lap for the second ear. No problem. She yelled out for a quick second and by the time we walked around the store and then paid, she was just fine. My mom couldn't watch, and got teary eyed when the lady got close to Anna's ears,,We ended the day at our traditional "day out" restaurant, the Silver Diner.





You can't really tell, but they are multicolored daisies...

AugustRose was happy with her cardboard car from the diner.
This is the first time in a long time that I can sense that Anna is growing up and changing. I wasn't phased by potty training, or losing teeth. But this one, this one gives me such a pit in my stomach. Jewelry always makes me giddy! After AugustRose turns 5 I will let her decide when she is ready.
I taught Sunday School again today. All about Forgiveness. I need to ask for some myself. I wanted to put some of those kids in corner!! As a teacher, I have a hard time letting kids act ugly at Church. I always do feel better when I get home from my duty at the Church.
I wonder how long it will be before Anna will want to do something that I don't support? Like a crazy haircut, or shave her legs at 8, or Heaven forbid a belly ring...Oi !!!! I don't want to think about it!


Saturday, January 09, 2010

HELP

I need some help. I am pretty good at decorating this blog, but There are some technical things I don't do. Kate, you often respond to my comments by email, as if they come to you by email. How is that done?
And can someone tell me this. When you add pictures, do you add them first and then move them around, or do you add them as you go? It seems like every time I insert pics, it is always a pain to rearrange them. Maybe I am doing something wrong.
And tagging. How is that done?

On a side note. We had a bit of snow on Thursday night. So Friday morning we had a two hour delay. It was pajama day and RIF day at my school. In my class we made hot cocoa and smores. If you ever want to feel better about your job, ask everyone to wear their Pj's. and make treats. I just wanted to squeeze and hug on my little guys who were all snuggly in their "Jammies."
Maybe you would want to squeeze and love on your coworkers if they were as cute as my students!! I wish I could post pics of them..I think you may love them too.
I am going back to my plan of NOT trying any Russian Employment again. I got great feedback from everyone, and I know it's not in the grand plan right now. Maybe it won't ever be. What I am doing, is starting to plan for the summer. Disney for sure. The keys maybe. But fun for sure!!!

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

How Did It Happen?


How did I go from the girl in the pics above to the old momma I am now? Secretly, I am still that girl. Secretly, I listen to the Cure, Depeche Mode, and Culture Club on Youtube. Not so secretly, I wear shades of hair color that are not found in nature. And best of all, I still have hope that When I Grow Up, I will be fabulous..

Monday, January 04, 2010

Happy 101

I am sorry I don't know how to tag or link on the blog site, so I will comment to ya Annie and hope those I list will also comment to me when they have done this challenge.
The idea is to list ten things that make you happy, and tag ten friends to do the same..I don't know how to tag so I will list my friends below...

What makes me happy?

10. Driving to work. I am alone, and have my quiet time with God. I don't suffer from any sort of road rage, so it's a stress free time for me.
9. Doing favors for my friends.
8. Getting a myself and my girlz a haircut.
7. Comfortable shoes.
6. Having AugustRose tell me she wants to "snuggle and love."
5. Reading something funny on Facebook.
4. Hearing Anna read.
3. Watching my girlz belly laugh.
2. Seeing the love my parents and sister have for my girlz.
1. Being a mom.

Missi You Must Do this.
Stacey You will laugh at how much this will change once you get your little guy home.
Jen, I can't link your blog since I have lost it so many times!!

Saturday, January 02, 2010

MOSCOW HAS 25 OPENIngs

CRAP CRAP CRAP....
Just when I make a promise NOT to consider trying for a Russian job, I check the AAS Moscow site and see that they have 25 openings...Are you kidding me?
Even though I have 2 kids and only one teaching adult, I still dream that I could do it.
I am shocked at the number of openings. Wonder if they may have some trouble or if this is the end of many teacher's 2 year contracts.
St. Petersburg has an opening for teaching couple. And we all know I HAve NO HUBBIE!
No.
Not even going to let my mind go there. Remember a day ago? Big new house. Lot's of family, friends, and love around here in the burbs. Easy life, with a lot of day trips here and there...Tina, you can weigh in here. How hard would it be for your daughter if she was on her own?

I am in my 19 year at my job. I have 6 years left. At that point I can retire with full benefits. Full. I will only 47. My Anna would be going into the 7th grade and AugustRose would be in the 4th grade. And maybe I will have a husband by then. (Side note, I am not anxious about ever having a man in my life) (A husband would be the icing on the cake)(I do life well alone with my girlz) (Men confuse me, and I loathe that type of confusion)

The biggest part of this situation is how hard the economy is for everyone, and I would never leave my job permanently. I would gladly take a Leave Without Pay for a couple of years, but in order to do that safely, the paperwork is due to my county at the end of February. And since most of the job fairs are in that month, it ain't happening. There is also the matter of my new house. Would I really want to leave it? See, this is why I said I wouldn't do this. I wouldn't even let my mind wander in these directions.
I have already been told that 2 kids with only one teaching parent is out of the parameters for employment, but I am and have always been the girl who sees a wall, thinks of a way to get over, around, or through it..and then do it.
Funny, how God puts these things into our lives to help grow us in our faith. I honestly don't even know how I would pray through it...Well, actually I think I should just pray.

My house is a hot mess, and my girlz have just left with my sister to go Cosmic Bowling and then onto the book store to spend there gift cards. That gives me a few hours to clean up and try once again to get the girlz rooms in order. T R Y.
See, that couldn't happen if I was overseas.