It Builds Character

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

It's been a while

So it's been a while since I've posted. The reason is simply that I've been busy, but at the same time, I really don't have anything to report. Nothing eventful has happened lately, but I guess that's not necessarily a bad thing. Here's a very boring report of what has been going on lately:

I was sick on Monday. It just came out of nowhere while I was in the shower. So I didn't go into work that day. I just slept and layed around. Not a bad deal, since I was feeling better around 11am.

We did our taxes. I hate Minnesota.

My 2 bosses are in Boulder, CO tomorrow and Friday for meetings, so guess who's taking both days off?!? Yep, me! Thursday, I'll send the kids to daycare and have the whole. darn. day. to myself!!! When is the last time this happened? I really can't remember back that far. There have been days where I've had a couple of hours to myself, but a whole day? What will I do with myself? The dilemma is this: Should I be productive and take advantage of the absence of the kids and get something done? Or should I just lay around and bask in the silence? What to do, what to do. Then Friday, I'll keep the kids home with me (they're on Spring Break). I'm not sure what exciting things we'll do. I was thinking that maybe I'll bring them to my office since they've never seen it. I know, it doesn't sound very exciting, and why would I want to go into the office on my day off? But I work on the 32nd floor in an office building in downtown Minneapolis, and I think they'd really get a kick out of seeing all the skyscrapers and the view from my office. Plus, it fits my budget.

I think the weather is supposed to be decent the next few days. Here in Minnesota, that means that it'll be around 50 degrees, and people will be outside without jackets. It's practically a heat wave!

Hopefully over the next few days, something exciting will happen, or maybe one of the kids will say something worth reporting. If that happens, you'll be the first to know.

This photo has nothing to do with today's post, but I just love the little feet in the cute, way-too-big sandals. What sweet feet!

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Don't hurt yourselves

There are a couple of ladies at work that, I feel, are in danger of hurting themselves. No, it's not depression that's getting to them, and they aren't going to hurt each other, either. I fear that they will get hurt patting themselves on the back.

In the last month or so, we have been working on 2 huge projects that have come in. It was a total of 47 new jobs that needed to be worked on. These 2 jobs overlapped by a week or so, and it got really crazy. It was a lot of work for both of them, anyone in the office would admit to that.

The thing that's driving me crazy is that they both keep talking about how many hours they put in yesterday, last week, in the last month. They come into my office and tell me. Then I hear them go to the next office and tell that person. Sometimes, I'm not sure who they're telling, but make no mistake, I can hear them telling someone about it. There have been a couple of days where I can hear one of them tell each person as they come in for the day. "I put in 30 hours over the weekend!" "I put in 51 hours last week, and I was off Thursday and Friday!" "I worked 80 hours last week!" Enough already! You know how sometimes, you tell a couple of people a story about something that happened to you, and then you realize that, since you've now repeated it a couple of times, it's probably time to shut up? I don't think they have this sense. I think they don't realize that because no one else talks about all the hours they work, that they're not actually doing it.

The other thing about this is that they are both such control freaks that they won't let anyone else help them with their workload. They have actually exchanged heated emails about stepping on each others toes, and trying to do too much of the other person's work. I think the only thing that is keeping me from throttling the two of them is that they're not complaining about the hours, it's more bragging that they've given so much of themselves. This led me to realize the reason that they keep announcing their late nights--they want to make sure that the bosses hear this because they're lookin' for a big fat bonus!

Friday, March 17, 2006

And the winner is...

...Not Alex, unfortunately. Tonight was the Pinewood Derby, held annually by the Cub Scouts. Alex had fun watching his car do pretty well. I, on the other hand, thought it was excruciating. Jason had to work late tonight, so it was just me and the 3 kids. The Derby was scheduled to start at 6:30. Of course, when you get there, you need to register your car and you are assigned a number. Then you have to go and have your car weighed. It can weigh 5 ounces or less. We weighed Alex's car when it was completed, and it came in at exactly 5.0 ounces. When they weighed it tonight at registration, it was at 5.1 ounces. See, I knew it wasn't just me mysteriously putting on weight...even the car put on weight without an explanation! So, when the guy tells us that the car is too heavy, I was cursing Jason. Not because he was the one who put the weights on the car and weighed it, but because he was at work and I was the one who had to take a screwdriver and try to pry off a chunk of the weights. Actually, it ended up being quite easy, and it only took me a minute to do, so I guess I should just shut up about it. After that, it weighed in at a perfect 5.0.

After the whole registration thing is said and done, we sat and sat and sat and waited for the thing to get started. It was probably 7:15 before they had the first heat of cars ready to go. My only saving grace was that it was in a gym/cafeteria, so Lauren could run around and be loud if she wanted to. She also brought a couple of trains and a baby to keep her occupied. OK, so things finally get going, and it just keeps going and going and going. How many times do they need to run each car? Seriously, I think Alex's car ran about 8 or so heats. And there must have been at least 50 scouts with cars entered in the race. That's a lot of races! Then every once in a while, they would stop the race, and a den would do a skit. Hello? In the middle of racing? That's what all the other pack meetings are for. This is the Pinewood Derby. Then they went back to racing. Then a little bit later, a den leader got up and took the mic, and started announcing some awards that the scouts in her den were receiving. She might as well been speaking without the mic, because I couldn't make out a word she said. Back to racing. Then more announcements. More racing. Then a couple of jokes. I wanted to scream! By this time, Lauren was bored with her trains and her baby, and decided that the other side of the gym looked like more fun. So I'm off chasing her, while a bunch of other kids are apparently bored with the race too, and are running around at full speed. I just wanted to stick my foot out and trip them! (Is it horrible for a mom to say that about other people's kids?) By the time the event wound down, it was quarter to nine! People--I've got a 2-year-old who didn't take a nap at daycare today. I need to go home!!!

So anyway, back to Alex. Grandpa Frank helped him with his car this past Sunday. He cut the car out of the block of wood that it starts as, and sanded it as well. Then Alex did all the painting and designing. Jason then helped him nail the wheels in, and add the weights. Alex was really happy with how the car looked when he was finished. I have no idea what "place" Alex came in, other that it wasn't 1st, 2nd, or 3rd. He didn't care though. He got to have ice cream when he got home, and to him, that's the most important thing. Oh, and thank God he didn't place, because at the end, they mentioned something about tonight's winners moving on to a "District Race." I don't think I could take another night like this one.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

You've come a long way, baby!

Today was Catherine's 7th birthday, and she was so excited. Last night, as I was drying her hair after her shower, she sang "Happy Birthday" the whole time. Her excitement was contagious. The more she looked forward to the big day, I couldn't help but feel it myself. I really wanted her to have a great day, and I really think she did.

It started out at about 6:05am. She got up and came into our bedroom before her alarm even went off. That is unheard of. It usually takes quite a bit of poking, prodding, bribing, threatening, and yelling to get her butt out of bed, even when her alarm has been going off for 15 minutes. So we snuggled for a few minutes before I had to hop in the shower. When Alex came in the room a few minutes later, I heard her immediately say to him, "What's today?"

His answer: "Thursday."

"No, I mean what's special about today?"

"I don't know!!!"

"What special day is it for me?"

"Ohhhhh, happy birthday, Catherine!"

She was so happy that she got to remind him. So she got dressed and decided to put her hair up in a pony tail. This is a relatively new thing for her--she just recently figured out how to get all of her hair in the pony, and then twist it around to make sure it stays tight enough. I didn't have the heart to tell her that she should probably leave it down. She was happy with it, and I think she saw it as "special day = special hair-do." Good for her. She also added some jewelry to the ensemble today. Catherine is and never has been a "girly-girl." So I made sure to tell her how great she looked wearing the necklace she made from the bead kit she got from Sharkey & JP for Christmas. She was all ready to head out for her big day.

Last week she told me that she would like to bring some chocolate chip cookies to school for her birthday treat. So Jason bought enough for everyone in her class to have 2 cookies. Her teacher gave her the option to give everyone 2 cookies or else give her classmates 1 cookie, and then pass the rest out to others throughout the school. She decided to do the latter. So she grabbed a friend, and they spent the next half hour delivering cookies to other teachers, the principal, etc. Her teacher told me that when they got back, they had given out all 24 cookies! She had an ulterior motive here--she wasn't just spreading the love. A lot of the people who they gave cookies to gave her a little something in return. She got pencils, stickers, all kinds of little treasures. This added much enjoyment to her special day.

Last year, the American Cancer Society's annual "Daffodil Days" was close to her birthday. So Jason bought some at work, and gave them to her as part of her gift. She loved it! I was really surprised that it meant anything to her. So anyway, he got her flowers again this year, and had them sent to school, so that it would add to the "specialness" of her day. It worked. Her teacher said that everyone thought it was the greatest thing that her dad sent her flowers (and a bunny!). Truth be told, Jason forgot to order them the last 2 nights, so I called a florist this morning as soon as I got to work. She doesn't need to know that! Anyway, she absolutely loves her roses and her bunny!

Thinking back to about 5 or so years ago, I never would have thought that Catherine would be such a sweet little girl. She was a very difficult toddler. She was very independent and had her own ideas about how things should be done. I always joke that her "terrible two's" lasted for about 3 years. If I could have somehow figured out how to get her some nourishment without actually having to feed her, I would have been the happiest mom on earth. Mealtimes were always a nightmare. There was just no pleasing her, and it can be hard to like a kid like that. But now I look at how much she's changed, and what a great disposition she has. She's got a great attitude, has lots of friends, and is doing great in school. Her teacher says that she'd take her home if she could. (I asked if I could call her sometime) She's always willing to give out hugs, whereas when she was younger, that's the last thing she wanted, even if she got hurt. She says the funniest things, and I can't believe how much she's changing and growing up. I really enjoy being with her now. I just hope we can keep things this way, even through the dreaded teenage years. Happy Birthday, Catherine. I love you!

Friday, March 10, 2006

These kids are going to drive me to drink

Seriously. I'm having a drink right now. Nothing horrible has happened and no one has physically harmed another person. But they're driving me crazy! Let's start at the beginning.

Last night when I picked the 2 older kids up at daycare, the daycare lady told me that Catherine had gotten into a little bit of trouble. She and another kid took the family kitty and put her in the toy refrigerator, and would not let her out. Not nice. The cat was fine, but still, she knows better. So we get home, and it was just one of those nights that I was really crabby for no apparent reason. I gave everyone fair warning. "I'm just a little bit crabby tonight. None of you has done anything wrong, but you'll probably be better off to just leave me alone." And mostly, they did. There was some whining, a lot of screwing around, and questions of "why are you crabby?" Through gritted teeth, I replied, "I don't know. Go somewhere else." Things got better throughout the evening, until along came The Lie.

After her shower, I sent Catherine upstairs to brush her teeth. She was back downstairs within a minute and a half. I mentioned that she must have brushed pretty quickly, because it didn't take her very long. I asked her to show me her teeth. (I do this thing that only a mom would do--I scrape their teeth with my fingernail and then prove to them how pitiful of a job they did, by making them look at the crap that I scraped off.) So I looked at her teeth, and they didn't look too bad. But I knew something was up. I told her to breathe on me. Hmmm. "Why doesn't that smell minty fresh?" She tells me she doesn't know. So I asked her again, "Did you brush your teeth?" She told me she did, but that she didn't use any toothpaste. What??? "GET BACK UP THERE AND BRUSH YOUR TEETH--WITH TOOTHPASTE THIS TIME!!!" What is that all about? Gross.

We have a rule in our house that there are to be no video games played on school nights, so no video games in the morning before school should be a given. When I got up this morning, Catherine was already up, and had gone downstairs. So I went down there to tell her to start getting ready for school, and what do you think she was doing? No guesses? Let me help you. She was playing video games. (She has also been busted for playing her GameBoy DS under the covers at 10:30pm on a school night.) WHAT ARE YOU DOING??? "I don't know," she said, very meekly. I don't know either. She made up a story about thinking that it was Saturday morning, not Friday morning. Wrong. Then she admitted to the lie. Two big fat lies within 12 hours. What kind of kid are we raising? We had a long heart-to-heart just a few minutes ago, and I hope I got through to her.

So during this time of crabbiness last night, Alex was being himself, which is almost always a good thing. However, lately, Jason and I have taken to calling him "Jibber Jabber." He just rambles on and on about anything and everything, and it will drive you crazy if you're with him for any decent amount of time. It gets to the point where we just have to say, "Jibber Jabber! Quiet down, will ya?" It might sound rude for parents to talk to their kids this way, but seriously, sometimes it's all I can do to not pull my hair out when he's on a roll. So, while he wasn't doing anything wrong, he was still adding to the crabbiness.

Then there's Lauren. Cutest child to walk the face of the earth. Drives me crazy like no one else can, come bedtime. She always needs "something else." That "something else" might be a drink, a band-aid, another hug or kiss, or another stuffed animal from her toy box. If she's really desperate, she'll claim to have to go potty. That would be great news--if she actually did have to go. That's a tough one, and she knows it. We're trying desperately to get her potty trained, but she's just plain indifferent. I hate to tell her that she can't go potty, but I don't want to reward her stall tactics, either. We both win that one 50% of the time. When she finally gets into her crib, (a big-girl bed has been promised for when she stops peeing in her pull-up) she can barely fit, for all the stuffed animals and blankets she has in there. And she wants every single blanket on her. I counted tonight when I covered her up, and there were 12 blankets on her! Twelve! And within probably about 4 minutes of me walking out of the bedroom, she will be laying on top of them.

So anyway, I think I feel a little bit better now. Two out of 3 kids are in bed, with the 3rd one going soon. It's Friday night, which doesn't suck, and the weather was beautiful today and should continue to be warm over the weekend. Right now, 50 degrees is warm to us, and it felt great to have the doors open again! Perfect timing--I'm almost done with my drink.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Way too young

Last night as Jason and I were watching 24, a "breaking news" bulletin crawled along the bottom of the TV screen. Right away, I said to him, "Uh-oh, it's Kirby." And it was. Former Minnesota Twin, Kirby Puckett died after having a massive stroke on Sunday. He was only 45 years old. I've never been a huge baseball fan. If a game was on TV, I might pay attention when the announcer was clearly agitated or excited by something, but it's never been high on my list of things to do. But I think that just about every Minnesotan, whether they're a baseball fan or not, was a fan of Kirby Puckett. The way he played the game, they way he treated his fans, especially kids, and his huge smile. He's just one of those people that, when they're gone, you just can't believe it. It's really a shame.

Then, when I got to work this morning, I saw that Dana Reeve died yesterday as well. She was only 44 years old. They had done a good job of making us think that she was doing OK, so I was really surprised. After all she went through with her husband, she deserved a long, healthy life. I feel bad for their kids, whose parents are now both gone. It's just not fair.

Neither one of these events actually moved me to tears--that's hard to do. But both of them have been on my mind all day. Like Kirby said in a speech one time, "None of us is promised tomorrow." That's a good thing to keep in the back of your mind on the days when the "little things" are getting to you.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

That kid cracks me up

Tonight after eating dinner, (pancakes, yum!) Alex and Catherine were still sitting at the table screwing around and joking. Lauren came running to me in the kitchen, and shouted in her most concerned voice, "Alex and Catherine are not being-have!"

Friday, March 03, 2006

How's this for a first post?

So I've been considering doing this blogging thing for a while now. I go back and forth. I think, "Sure, just do it. It's a great way to keep track of things that happen with the kids, and life in general." Then I think, "Do I have enough stuff to write about?" Well, considering that I have 3 kids, there should be no shortage of fodder. Sometimes, I'll tell my sister, Sharkey, a story about one of the kids. Then she'll encourage me, and tell me that that could be my first post! So anyhoo, here goes.

Yesterday at work, I got a call on my cell phone. The display said, "Jason Work". It was my husband. I was in the middle of something important, so I ignored him. A few minutes later, it rang again, and again, it was him. I figured something must be up for him to call me on my cell phone twice in a span of 5 minutes, so I answered. He told me that the school called him, and that Catherine was sick. He couldn't leave work, as he was the only manager on duty, so it was up to me. Now this was about 9:20am, and school doesn't even start until 9:25, so the day was only going to go downhill from here.

So I arrive at the school, and head into the Health Office. The nurse told me that her driver brought her in after she vomited. Her driver? What driver? The kids walk to school from daycare, which is only about 3 blocks. Then I realized who she must have meant. Sometimes Billy's (another daycare kid) dad drives the kids to school, just for the heck of it. Do you see where this is going? Yes, she puked in his car!!! This man, who I've only chit-chatted with a few times while we're both there to pick up the kids, who was nice enough to give my kids a ride to school too, who drives an Acura, now has the stench of my daughter's vomit in his very expensive car. I was mortified! I called our daycare lady to get his phone number so I could apologize. And apologize I did--profusely. He was so nice about it though! I don't think everyone would have been that understanding. Heck, I don't think I would have been, if it was my car. I offered to pay to have his car detailed, but he told me that it wouldn't be necessary. He said she was very careful to keep it to herself, and being that he has leather seats, it just wiped up easily. I still feel horrible, but he definitely put my mind at ease about the whole thing. He was so understanding about it, it makes me wonder what horrible things his kid has done in the past!

She doesn't look like she could do any harm, does she?