Monday, October 21, 2013

Grandma and Grandpa visit

Tim's parents came to visit last Sunday and stayed with us until yesterday afternoon, with a mini-trip to Myrtle Beach in the middle to see friends.  It was such a welcome change to our routine to have them here.  It always is, but particularly last Sunday.  It had been a tough weekend, with not a lot of sleep for me to begin with, and a lot of things to do.  Then Delaney came out of her room on Saturday night to tell us her ear hurt.  And no matter what we did, she kept coming out.  Ibuprofen didn't help.  A warm compress didn't help.  I ended up just getting back out of bed at midnight and staying up with her in the living room to try to get her comfortable enough so that we could both get some sleep.  But that was not happening, and she was in so much discomfort she couldn't even sit still.  So I decided there was no sense in waiting until morning for a visit to the ER, and I took her there around 3 a.m.  It turned out she had an ear infection and within a couple hours we were back home with a prescription for Amoxicillin, and we were alternating doses of Tylenol and Motrin every few hours to manage the pain and fever.  So it was extra nice have their visit to look forward to after all of that.

Delaney was back to being herself by Monday night, but I kept her home from school on Tuesday and Wednesday because she still had a fever.  That was the first ever ear infection for us.  

Here are some pictures from the week.  Some were taken by me and some were taken by Tim Sr.  We didn't do anything too exciting, and Tim didn't take off work, so it was just a laid-back fall visit with some trips to parks and downtown, a lot of which happened without me, as I was home enjoying some time to myself when they took the kids out.  
Out to dinner on Tim's birthday.  We're studying the menu hard -- tough decisions to be made.
This is what Tim's parents got him for his birthday.
Kidding!  But a new lunchbox, book, bag of M&Ms, and homemade cards from the kids are nice to get too.
I can hold your hand OR I can hold the groceries, Grandma.
Grandma found her dream car, eyelashes and all.  Too bad she just bought a new Subaru.
After Tim came home from work on Friday we went downtown for the kids' fun run and packet pickup for our race the next morning.  It seemed to me the kids' run was better organized this year, and there was no chaotic herding of kids from one place to another.  The little runners were all so cute.  The grownups were funny too, practically tripping over each other to get a picture of their kid.  I know I'm lucky I didn't run into a tree or a sign or another parent. 

Delaney and I had to squish together in the third row with Annie.  
Walking to the convention center
High fives for the big panther
Delaney and a couple pals waiting for the pre-race warm-up to start
Just like last year, Delaney was in the 5 - 6 age group.  But they were a LOT faster this year.  The others took off right away, leaving her far behind.  Little Delaney brought up the rear with the law enforcement trainees jogging along behind.  I said to Tim at one point, "Look, there's one kid behind her.  She's not last!"  Tim said, "That kid's not even in the race.  He's a 3-year-old."  Oops.  They ran twice around the course, so about a half-mile.  I know that would have been tough for me to do at the age of 6.
She reminded me of a famous celebrity with her detail of bodyguards running along with her.
Look at her big smile.  She was having fun, that's the most important thing.
Phew.
Obligatory sister picture
Early Saturday morning, Tim and I snuck away while everyone else slept to go back downtown and run the 10K.  This year has been a really good running year for Tim and a bad one for me.  At the starting line I just prayed that I wouldn't do too miserably, with my sore knee and legs that turn to lead after two miles during all my "training runs."  After we reached the other side of the big bridge and the two-mile point, Tim gave me the iPhone and said, "See you at the finish line."  He loped off and that was the last I saw of him until we were done.  After I crossed the finish line, Tim heard my phone go off.  Our results had already been texted to us.  High tech!  Tim had shaved a couple minutes off his time last year, and finished at 47:16.  I had added a couple minutes on to my time last year, with a chip time of 51:51.  Last year we did it in 49:48 and 49:50, respectively, with Tim being first.  I was really amazed at Tim's improvement in a year, and I told him, "I think your best days might still be ahead!"  As for my own time, I was just pleased that my knee didn't hurt too much and I didn't have to go too slow.  Later on, the complete results were posted online and I was shocked to see I'd placed first in my division (women age 30-34).  Tim placed second in his (men age 35-39), and that was not at all surprising.  
When we got back home Tim and his dad went to the commissary, and then we had a lazy day at home until it was time to take them to the airport.  I hope they had as much fun as we did.  Now we are counting the days until Tim's sister Karen comes to visit in November.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Day in the Life: Fall 2013

It's time again for Navigating the Mothership's Day in the Life.  Today is Thursday, October 10.

6 a.m.  My alarm goes off and I think about whether I want to get up or snooze for a little longer.  I remember how appreciative Tim was the other morning when I showed my face in the kitchen as he was getting ready to go to work.  He says it's lonely getting ready and leaving for work with the whole house asleep.  So I reluctantly drag myself out of bed and brush my teeth.  I go out to the kitchen and pour some coffee.  Tim is in the office on the computer.  We don't say much to each other if anything.  I guess the novelty of me being up at 6 has already worn off.  Oh well.  I sit at the table and check email and Facebook on my phone while sipping coffee, still deep in the fog that I start every day in.  At around 6:15 or 6:20 he pours coffee into his travel mug, gives me a kiss and heads to work.
6:30 a.m.  The girls come out and get dressed.  They are happy to be putting on their new clothes.  After two damp and chilly (sub 70) days, I am finally declaring fall around here.  Last night we picked out a couple new outfits for them to wear with long sleeves and pants.  Ooh, how exciting!
6:40 a.m.  Breakfast time.  Cinnamon Chex for Annie and a mix of Lucky Charms and Go Lean Crunch for Delaney.
They ask me to change the TV from SportsCenter to the news, and I do.
I spoke too soon about sub 70 temps.
On a normal day we leave at 7:30 to take Delaney to school, but the kids have a dentist appointment at 9, so we don't have to leave the house until 8:40.  What will we do with all that extra time?  I will waste about 80% of it just loafing around and waiting for the fog to lift.  I'll take a shower.  Delaney will read her Cheetah book she got from the "treasure box" at school yesterday.  Annie will color and be cranky.  Timmy will sleep until 7:35 and we will have breakfast together.  I will clear away the breakfast dishes and try to make myself presentable.  Suddenly we'll only have five minutes to be out the door and I will start barking at all of them as if my poor time management is their fault.  
Weekly agenda
My breakfast.  Only half a banana because Timmy has the other half and I'm betting he won't eat it all today.  I'm wrong.
Today I am blow drying my hair and putting on real clothes.  On a typical Thursday I go to Piyo so I just put on workout clothes, throw my hair in a ponytail and I'm done.  But this morning is special because I have all this extra time and I'm not working out.  Why not put myself together?  I enjoy finally putting on a fall-ish outfit too.  I love putting on my skinny jeans and boots again, and the colors of that shirt and scarf make me happy.  I give up on styling my hair.  With that fine mist falling outside, it's a lost cause.  
I may not look happy in this picture but I really am.  Still not so great at mirror selfies.
8:45 a.m.  We are on our way to the dentist.  I really wish I could have left five minutes sooner because I don't like being even a little late for these appointments.  But this is what happens when I think I have all kinds of extra time -- I end up running late.  But we arrive at only two minutes after 9 so that's not so bad.
On that chair that is ahead of Timmy, there is a little girl screaming like she's being tortured while being held down by her mom and a couple of hygienists.  I don't know what's being done to her, but I glanced over a couple times and it looks like there is some device propping her mouth open.  Very medieval.  She might be a good candidate for sedation dentistry.  At least give her some laughing gas!  But maybe she's only having her teeth cleaned.  My kids do not appear to be fazed by all the screaming, but it is freaking me out just a little.
I chat with the hygienist working on Delaney's teeth.  It turns out she lives in my neighborhood.  When I describe which house I live in, she says, "The one with the big truck, right?"  Yes.  "I can hear that thing start up every morning."  I agree that Tim's truck has a distinct rumble.  We talk for a few more minutes and I tell her we will definitely bring the kids to her house trick-or-treating.  Before we leave she brings up a picture of Delaney on her computer, and tells me that was her on her first visit here three years ago.  I didn't remember any photos of the kids being taken.  Wow, she's grown up so much.  And look at little Annie, peeking from the couch.
It's a good visit for all three of them.  No cavities.  I schedule their next appointments, and then get them to pose for a picture with all their loot before we leave.
10:00 a.m. We arrive at Delaney's school, according to plan.  Annie won't play along when I say, "Everybody lean your heads to the middle and say, 'Cheese!'"  She's not much fun.  She's also not happy with me because we're going to Food Lion next.  It seems that last night when she asked what we were doing today, I only told her dentist but not grocery store.  I need to clear grocery trips with Annie the night before.
Ugh, Food Lion.  It's the last thing I want to do either, but we're running critically low on milk, eggs and bananas.  Tim also wants me to get things for pizza on Friday, so I grab two tomatoes, a package of mushrooms, and pepperoni.  As I'm wandering the produce section, Annie asks for strawberries, but I'm just done with having to think or talk for right now, and strawberries are not on the list.  An older man nearby heard my frustrated-sounding reply, whatever it was, and chuckled.  I looked up at him and said, "There's too much conversation!"  He said, "I know, but they are so good at this age.  Just wait until they grow up."  Or something like that.  But it's late morning and I'm getting hungry, and the kids are getting fussy, and Annie keeps moving around in the back of the cart and endangering my delicate tomatoes.  I really dread those between grocery trips.  They are always a hassle.  It's always prime time for all of us to be on our worst behavior.

11:00 a.m.  Home at last.  The first thing I do is run back to my room and get out of my jeans and boots and into my comfy yoga pants.  It was nice wearing real clothes, but that portion of the day is over.  Then I heat up some broccoli cheese soup and make grilled cheese for myself and Timmy.  Just yesterday he was asking for bite after bite of my grilled cheese, which doesn't make me happy since I'm very hungry at lunchtime, so today he gets his own.  They each get a pickle and a cheese stick.  I also have a helping of that big veggy-packed pasta salad that Tim and I made on Sunday.  We made it just so we would always have something healthy and filling for lunch, and would travel well for him to take to work.  I think we should make it every week, and hopefully we don't get sick of it.
When lunch is over, I turn on Disney Jr for the kids, check my email and then go see if I can't get done hanging up the girls' cold weather clothes before naptime.  The changing of the clothes in the closets has to be a transition.  The first fall we were here, there was a cold snap in October and I put away all the summer clothes.  In a couple of weeks, the highs were back in the 80s and I was unpacking all the summer clothes again.  Very silly of me.  Now what I do is, in the second week of October, all sleeveless shirts and pastel summer dresses go away, but some shorts, skirts, and short-sleeve tops stay.  Then I add in all the cold weather clothes -- some new stuff and some stuff from last year that is in good shape and might still fit.  

The girls wear the same size this year, 6 or 6X depending on the brand or item.  Delaney's an inch taller but they weigh exactly the same.  So I've already told them they're going to have to share clothes because I won't be able to remember whose is whose.  I hang tops at random in one closet or the other, but try to keep all the pants in one place in Annie's closet.  We will see how the sharing goes.  The two of them fight over everything.  Tim thought I should initial the clothes with sharpies, but none of these things have tags anymore.  First world problems, right?
12:45 p.m to 3:10 p.m.  I was ready for naps about an hour ago, but I'm trying to stay on schedule.  I get Annie and Timmy down for nap and then go take one myself.  This weather is so sleep-inducing.  I am so grateful for the chance to take a nap and feel bad right now for all the people who go all day without one, like Tim.  When I wake up I make a cup of green tea and read for awhile.

3:10 p.m to 5 p.m.  Annie and I go outside to wait for Delaney's bus.  Timmy's still asleep as usual.  The bus comes at 3:15 and when Delaney gets off she at first looks grumpy, but when she sees me with my phone in hand ready for pictures, she starts hamming it up.  
She and Annie play for a little while on the driveway.  Then it's snack and homework time.  Delaney gets a little break today.  No math worksheet.  Only a spelling pre-test and her 20 minutes of reading.  I am not wild about the 20 minute reading requirement every night, which from what I understand is very common for all elementary age kids.  I always read because I love to read, not because anyone told me I had to for a set amount of time.  I'm not comfortable with the idea of reading on a clock and then recording it in a log.  Delaney doesn't mind doing it, but what normally happens is she reads her book in five minutes or less.  I'm always asking her, "Can't you pick a book that is 20 minutes worth of reading?"  Today she tells me she is only allowed to pick books with a yellow or green circle on the spine.  I once asked her teacher what we should do if her book doesn't take 20 minutes to read, and she said to re-read.  I think that re-reading sometimes is a good thing, that you can get more out of it the second time around, but not in the case of the books Delaney's been bringing home lately.  They are extremely easy.  20 minutes is way too much time to spend on these books.  Today I play along when Delaney wants to spend some of the "reading time" having me guess things that are on the pages.  But it feels like cheating.  Maybe I should email her teacher.
I tell them I'll play Uno with them once Delaney's done with her homework, but Timmy wakes up around 4.  I say that if I can get him strapped into his chair and occupied with something, we can still play.  So I buckle him in his chair and give him a little matching game and yogurt raisins.  I tell them how much fun I'm going to have winning.  Annie snarls at me but she's smiling too.  She loves to compete.  She still needs to work on her temper when things don't go her way.  Bronx cheers are always uncalled for, even when you have to draw four.  Also are repeated unfounded accusations of cheating directed at the other players.
I wanted to break up the endless scrolling through photos with a couple collages, but Picasa seems to be my only option, and I find it very difficult to work with.  I keep making the same collage over and over.  I really want a premium Ribbet account, but I need to learn how to use Picasa since it's free, or at least included with the $2 or so I spend a month on maintaining my storage with Google.  Ppppfffttt.
One variation of Disney Princess Uno is "slaying the dragon."  When a player puts down the dragon card, which is second from the right in my hand pictured above, the other players must in turn slay the dragon with a prince card, one of which is shown on the far left of my hand.  If one does not have a prince card, he or she must draw until they get one.  Annie wound up with about 25 cards and she can't even manage a normal hand of cards.  So she kept them all face-down and lifted the corners one at a time to find the card she needed every time it was her turn.  After that game I changed the rules.  There will be no more slaying the dragon.  The dragon card will now be treated as a wild card.  But I am amazed that she didn't just have a fit and stomp away crying when she had to pick up all those cards, not even when Delaney looked at me and giggled.  There is hope for this girl.

5 p.m. We've played two games, and Timmy's getting restless in that chair.  I will only give him so many yogurt raisins and the buttermilk pancakes won't make themselves.  Mmm, buttermilk pancakes.  My stomach is gnawing itself just thinking about them.  But first, a stretch.  I keep feeling twinges in my lower back.  I do child's pose for five minutes while they all take turns climbing on me and falling off.

It gets a little crazy in the kitchen with my three little helpers.  Delaney and Annie take turns dumping the dry ingredients into a bowl, and they each get a turn to stir.  Then Timmy decides he wants Delaney's little red stool and tries to pull it right out from underneath her.  I tell him to go get a chair, and then I let him help me pour the wet ingredients into another bowl.  This makes him happy.  They all get a chance to stir the big bowl with everything in it.  Then I turn on Disney Jr while I fry the pancakes and get the kitchen in order.  Thursdays are always breakfast for dinner and tonight it's pancakes, bacon and eggs (for those who want them).
5:35 p.m.  Tim texts me to let me know he's "trying to escape", and to have dinner ready for 6.  Fantastic.  I can not get used to the new normal of dinner at 6.  That is just too late.  

6 p.m.  He made it!  Now the only thing left to do is make the eggs.  While I impatiently wait on them to cook, Tim chases the kids around with the Ninja Turtle mask Delaney picked from the treasure box at school a couple days ago.  She doesn't even know what a Ninja Turtle is -- it must have been slim pickins in the treasure box!  Annie scared the devil out of Timmy with that mask a couple days ago.  Timmy's still kind of scared of it, but not as much as before.
6:15 p.m.  We're finally eating.  We're all hungry, and everything goes fast.  Afterward it's the usual whirlwind of cleaning up, making lunches for tomorrow, baths and showers for the kids.
If I remember correctly, Annie's pouting because she wants to sit where Delaney's sitting.  It used to be everyone in the family had an "assigned seat", then  we replaced two chairs with the bench after having company one night, and forgot to switch them back again.  At first everything was fine, but now spots on the bench are being disputed.  Time to bring the chairs back.
7:20 p.m.  Storytime and religion lesson (in lieu of Delaney going to Sunday school, which we have decided is a waste of time).  Today we are learning about the Second Commandment, and just like always, Timmy is very boisterous and loud during the lesson.  Then it's prayers and lights out.
This face says it all.  It's the end of the day and I'm ready for a break!
When I'm putting Timmy to bed, he likes to just sit on my lap on my lap for a minute, facing out, thumb in his mouth.  Then I nurse him, turn his Mr. Clock blue, and lay him in bed.  Tonight right before I get up from the glider rocker, he reaches up and wraps his arms around my head and hugs it.  Then he says, "Hug Timmy head."  I take his head and press his cheek against mine.  Then he says, "Hug you head," and gives my head another hug.  I love Timmy's head hugs.  They warm my heart.
7:55 p.m. to 10 p.m.  Tim does his Command & Staff homework and then we watch two shows -- a Criminal Minds and Hostages that we have on the DVR.  I love how many good things we have to watch this time of year.  After that I am ready for bed, and Tim gives me a hard time for not staying up later and spending more time with him.  I tell him if he would stop working until 6 we'd have more time to spend together, but I'm always going to want to go to bed at 10 as long as I have to be up at 6!  I probably should be in bed sooner because I've been having trouble falling asleep, and I wake up two or three times while I'm still in the drifting off phase.  Even though I'm bone tired!  

I am neither a morning person nor a night owl.  I'm pathetic at both ends of the day.  There is a short window of time in the morning, and again in the evening when I am awake and feeling good.  During the other hours I'm either sleeping or wanting to be. Tim, who is both a morning person and a night owl, and has no sleep issues, does not understand this.  He's always giving me grief for not spending more time with him because he looks forward to it during all the 11 + hours he's spending at work.  I look forward to him coming home all afternoon, but he doesn't get home until 6, it's time to eat dinner, and when I want to talk about the day, I have to compete with all the little chatterboxes at the table who also want to talk to him.  So we don't really have conversations during dinner anymore, at least no grownup conversations.  And that's fitting, since the kids don't get much time with him on a typical day.  Then it's the bath and bed routine.  By the time the kids are in bed, I've got nothing left to say and I'm just wanting time to myself.  Weekdays are draining.  I don't think he really resents me going to bed at 10 so much as he just likes to get me riled up.  A couple weeks ago in bible study, one of the girls was talking about how she's always trying to get her husband to stay up a little later too, saying, "We don't spend enough time together!"  I wonder how many other couples there are with different sleep needs, and one always trying to change the other.

And that's the end of another Day in the Life.