Sunday, July 25, 2010

How to deal.....and chubby, sweeter than any other baby, Oliver.

Gary snapped this photo of Oliver and I right before his bath tonight. He is such a sweetheart right now. So happy and content. I feel like I know what he wants and can give it to him. One thing that is interesting is that he has started to scream. He's perfectly happy but it's like he gets excited and all he can do is make the loudest noise he can. It's adorable except when you are trying to nap in the next room or you are right in the middle of the quiet part of church. Each morning I look forward to seeing the little guy.

Also this weekend we had the pleasure of experiencing one of the negatives of owning a Dodge Grand Caravan. We were happily riding down the road in our '08 Grand Caravan when Gary hit the breaks and we heard grinding metal. There had been no squeaking brake noises or any indication at all of excessive wear on the brake pads. And this has happened to us before in another Grand Caravan. Now I was severely annoyed because there should be a wear indicator so I can get the pads changed before my rotors are ruined.
We drove straight to the dealership and were told it was going to cost $230 for a brake pad change and rotor repair but $430 if the rotors needed to be replaced. I knew they would have to be. I've heard that nasty noise before.
At home I was teetering on the edge of a flip out. Warranties don't include things like brakes although I felt like ours should since the car is only two years old, I don't thrash the car, and there was no wear indication at all. But I took a very deep breath and decided to let it wash over me. Not an easy thing for me I can tell you. I went to Borders, one of my happy places by myself to de-stress.
When I got home Gary had received a call from the dealership. Literally a week ago, Dodge had extended the warranty to include brakes on vehicles with less than 32 000 miles on them. (Ours has 23 000 on it) Apparently we are not the only people having brake issues. All we had to pay was a $100 deductible type charge for new brakes and rotors because of course they were done. HUGE improvement on what we initially thought we'd have to pay. And the new brake pads I'm pretty sure will give me some type of wear indication although I better double check that!

Maybe, just maybe, I should try and deal with adversity in a similar way from now on. What do you think?

Tuesday, July 20, 2010


Well we have just a few weeks until the kids go back to school and I think I can confidently say that I am counting down the days. I've said before that this summer has been really great and not too crazy but all in all, my kids do well with the structure. Nathan especially needs to be on a schedule and needs a break from the computer, DS, and tv. I am concerned about the first few months and how he's going to cope with all the sitting still and focusing on work, although Kindergarten is usually a fairly kind introduction to academics. I am anticipating a few calls from his teacher and wouldn't be surprised if it is suggested that he needs to be medicated, even though I know better.

Leia will probably have a rough transition back as she is also a social animal and not especially interested in A grades or beautiful handwriting.

But we're getting to that point where I am losing my patience a lot quicker and my enthusiasm for the summer schedule is becoming somewhat diminished. Yesterday I took the kids swimming. The amount of vigilance I need to have even though I had the help of a friend is HUGE. Last week Spencer swam out of his depth despite me having both eyes firmly on him and had to be rescued by a lifeguard (there's a story I'll save for later) so this time I obviously didn't want it to happen again. Oliver is not exactly thrilled with this new pastime of being held in less than warm water while seemingly hundreds of crazy people scream and splash around him. He needs the most of my attention but Nathan has no fear and could easily get into trouble. When we got home I had the worst headache and felt like I had been run over by a freight train.

I find myself longing to fold laundry in a quiet house and to go grocery shopping with one child only.

And to the annoyance of the day. Naptime is once again at the top of my "to do" list. All of my children have been wonderful at going to bed and sleeping through the night at an early age. So long as there is a bedtime routine and they go to bed at the same time each night we are well away. But then naptime has ALWAYS been a different story. You'd think it would be no big stretch to go to sleep in the same place you sleep every night when you are ready for a nap. But apparently not.

Oliver starts getting fussy and tired at about 10am each morning. It's obvious to me that he's ready. Between 3 and 5 months he has been able to go to sleep after I've gone in and put his pacifier in a few times but lately nothing is soothing him. It's been very similar with all the children. They get to about 6 months or so and then think they are going to be missing something or they don't want to see Mommy leave the room and then nothing is going to do except being removed from the crib.

This is the point at which I start the cry it out method. As far as I can tell nothing else gets me to where both the baby and I need to be. He needs his nap and that's all there is to it. Yesterday he got ten minutes here and there in between activities and by 4pm he was the grumpiest I've ever seen him. And this is where the root of the problem lies with Oliver. The summer has definitely delayed a solid routine for him except at bedtime.

This morning however I decided I just did not want to go anywhere or do anything. The perfect time to attempt the first cry it out naptime. Sure enough at about 9.30am Oliver started to fuss. I picked him up, cuddled him a bit, let him know we were headed to his room for a nap. I layed him down with his pacifier and cuddle cloth and quietly left the room. As he began to fuss, I went in and put the pacifier in his mouth. I had decided to do that three times before he was on his own.

Once those three times were up he began to scream, and scream, and scream. Now although this method had brought me results quickly I still hate the actual experience of it. but this time it took on a whole new life of its own. My other children were immensely bothered by it. For about 15 minutes I went back and forth with the kids like this.

Spencer: I'm just going to go and comfort the baby.
Me: No you're not.
Spencer: I could just go and stick the paccie in his mouth.
Me: No you couldn't.
Spencer: But he's really crying
Me: He's fine.
Spencer: But he sounds like he's hurt
Me: He is not hurt, I promise.
Spencer: But if I just put the paccie in he would stop crying.
Me: No, he wouldn't.
Spencer: But I could just check on him.
Me: Spencer I did this with you. He needs to learn that naptime is for sleeping.
Spencer: But maybe he's already taken a nap.
Me: No, he hasn't.
Leia: I really think you should just go and check on him because there could be a man in his bedroom trying to steal him.
Me: No one is trying to steal him

Just at the moment I felt I was going to have to scream myself, Leia went downstairs without me knowing and held a cardboard tube up to the vent in the boys' bedroom that connects to the vent in Oliver's room and proceeded to try and calm him down. Of course it had the opposite effect. It didn't take me long to realize why the screaming had officially become shrieking and Leia was officially in big trouble. HELP!!!!!!!!!!!

All I can comfort myself with at this point is that Oliver is finally going to be left alone for more than 5 minutes at a time and I will be able to establish a routine with him starting August 3.

He finally fell asleep after about 30 minutes of crying and slept for about 30 minutes. I'm hoping that in a few days he'll be falling asleep in about 5 minutes and sleeping for about an hour.

Thankfully he greeted me with this face (below) when I went to get him after the nap so I don't think he's holding it against me.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

New specs.

So last week Spencer got his new glasses. They were not cheap glasses (thank goodness for insurance!) so this time I got an 18 month replacement plan as well. I think he looks very cute.

You can also see the glued together cut he got on his forehead.

Today he found a metal ring amongst his legos that he wore on his middle finger to church. He kept holding up the finger in question to show people this ring. He had absolutely no idea he was systematically flipping off the entire congregation. You have to laugh or you'll cry.

Friday, July 9, 2010


So probably my favorite way to personalize my house is through lighting. When we moved in, Gary really liked all the canned lights in the kitchen. We have 8 of them. Me not so much. I like that they are modern and streamlined but that's about it. I decided that I wanted two pendants over the bar area. We found kits to convert the canned lights to pendants but we had a problem. One light over the sink was on it's own circuit, and the other 7 lights were on a seperate circuit. I wanted two pendants that could be on one circuit so I could choose to have just those two lights on sometimes. I described what I wanted to Gary and sensational husband that he is he climbed up into the attic and re-wired the circuit so I have the two lights over bar area on one circuit and the other 6 on another. We now have two pendants that just make the kitchen glow in the evening. I love them. The picture doesn't do it justice but you can get the idea.

And then I saw a light and fell in love. I was wanting a new light for the dining room area. The fixture that was there was what I'm sure the builder installed in every dining room on the whole street. Unappealing to say the least. I really like drum lights but they can run anywhere from hundreds for ones I like the least up into the thousands for the ones I like the most.

So I saw this lantern type light and couldn't stop thinking about it. Unfortunately it was a plug in light, not hard-wired. I was heartbroken for about five minutes until I convinced Gary to hardwire it for me. He thought about it for a bit and with a tiny bit of breath held he cut off the plug and installed it in the ceiling for me. What a treasure he is. And now I can't stop staring at it.

It's a drum style in the middle with a rattan globe. Perfect.

It also casts a glow that just illuminates the table enough for a romantic dinner for two. Hmmm...that doesn't happen very often but now I have an excuse to make it happen.
As you can see I've painted the walls. It highlights the shutters although once again the pictures don't do it justice.

What do you think? I suspect I may be watching too much HGTV.


I'm not sure I could adequately describe how much this little guy has completely taken control of my heart. Having a baby is just like falling in love. This time for me it has been intense. The experience I had with Leia was similar but with Spencer and Nathan it was tempered a little bit as the needs of my other children who were still babies themselves also came into play. With my other children being 9,7, and 5, I have been able to soak myself in adorable babyness once again.

He's just magical. With his hair, those eyes and his two little teeth. I look forward to waking up to his smile and I am loving pureeing his food and have vowed not to feed him anything from a jar. Since breastfeeding didn't work out I can pour my soul into yummy organic, homemade, tasty babyfood. So far, I have made him sweet potatoes and he loves them. I'm going to try peas next.

He's so chilled and happy and he's finding his voice. He screams, coos, yells, all to hear his own voice and make his feelings known. I can't stop kissing him and I protect him fiercely from his brothers and sister. He might end up being very spoiled.

But really............

Could you blame me?


I haven't really blogged in a long while and so I don't expect anyone to be reading this but just in case, I am about to relieve some stress. Blogging for me in the past has mainly been a stress reliever. Of course I have written about the fun stuff but looking back over my entries, the longest ones have been about trying days and things that I need to laugh about desperately to avoid dissolving into a puddle of tears.

Lately though my stress levels have been low. Last summer, they were at an all time high. I was still suffering from depression going back to the death of my father (untreated of course as I am English and we don't talk about our emotional problems with doctors), our house in Ohio had been trashed and abandoned by our scum of the earth tenants, and we were facing yet another undetermined amount of months attempting to pay a mortgage and rent amounting to about half our income, not to mention all the utilities on both homes.

So this summer has been positively idyllic in comparison. We sold the house in Ohio last November and have now bought a house here in our new home, Colorado Springs. This house for me ticks all the boxes. I have been beyond happy with the decision to buy again despite feeling so burned over our last house. We have over 3000 finished square feet, five big bedrooms, hardwood in the entryway, dining area, kitchen. The ceilings are high and we have loads of windows, even in the bathrooms. The previous owners landscaped the front and back yards, put up and stained a 6ft fence. They installed shutters on the windows and splurged for the upgraded cabinets and backsplash in the kitchen. I have a room to turn into a library once again and I am in decorating heaven.

This summer so far has been busy. I've been making new friends, painting the house, enjoying my simply adorable 4-6 month old Oliver, and keeping my 9, 7, and 5 year olds entertained. They have completed the library summer reading program, gone on many playdates, had friends over here, splashed around in the hot tub, eaten ice cream, baked goodies, riden bikes, broken bikes and gotten new ones, had telescope nights, played games, laughed themselves silly over wipeout, rented numerous movies and much more.
Sounds fantastic right???

Well this morning, after about 5 weeks of relative calm I totally lost it.
I have a few rules about morning behavior over the summer. I don't want to have to get up before 8.30am especially since I am running around here, there, and everywhere for the kids. I expect them to stay out of my bedroom and remain quiet until I get up. Oliver wakes up around 6am and at that point joins me in bed and I want him to go back to sleep for a few hours as well. For the most part they obey this rule. We've had the occasional disturbance with one of them telling tales on someone else but generally I've been able to get up about 8-8.30 pretty regularly.

This morning I was grumpy. Gary was gone at scout camp and when he's not here I tend to stay up late and not for anything worthwhile. I found myself watching music videos at midnight last night and then at 4am Oliver kicked off. He grumbled for about an hour and he was screaming by about 5am so he came into bed with me. I was hoping that I could stay in bed a bit later but Nathan came into the bedroom before 8, waking both me and the baby just to ask for an apple. I was NOT happy. When I got up I discovered that Leia and Spencer had gone into the pantry while I was asleep and eaten half a bag of rather expensive chocolate that I bought for myself. Now I am very lax when it comes to candy and my kids. Almost any time we venture into Target, Wal-mart, King Soopers, whatever, I buy the kids candy. Occasionally I have something in the house for myself. And this morning they ate that too. Writing it down totally lessens the crime. I'm kind of thinking "so what?" but this morning when I was tired I was MAD. Then the kids went outside to play.

Now we have a certain neighbor who is a good looking young man age 10. He has completely captured the hearts of all three of my older children, however I cannot characterize him as a great influence on them. He tells them we don't love them because they go to bed at 7pm and he threatens them with Samurai type violence according to Spencer, so the crime I'm about to describe doesn't sound too bad but it was a headache for me. The other day he convinced them to dig a big hole in the ground of the empty lot across the street and fill it with water creating a massive amount of mud. They then splashed around in it and attempted to track it through the house. I subsequently forbade them from playing in it. Gary's tools in the garage are also off limits to them.

So this morning while I was still grumpy they proceeded to get out Gary's tools, (fortunately I caught them before they did anything with them), and then they rode their bikes through the mud and covered our driveway in it as well as themselves and the garage floor. At this point I lost it. I docked their allowance to cover my chocolate, shouted at them pretty good and made them spend the rest of their morning cleaning their bedrooms and bathroom. I knew I appeared pretty insane to them as in the end they were crying and accusing me of not loving them. I rarely shout at them. OH BOY!
Well I apologized and we had a good talk about what I expected from them since they receive a lot of service from me 24/7. But I understand how little children can grasp of that concept. I never had a clue until I became a parent myself. No doubt we'll have the same conversation many more times in the future.
I've cooled down a considerable amount but going out for icecream has still been cancelled and I think I might go and buy a book.

On reflection I feel incredibly blessed. 5 weeks into the summer and I have had tiring busy days but this has probably been the only one where I've cast my mind ahead to the start of school. I even didn't feel burned out when Spencer split his head open AGAIN on Wednesday. We have about 4 weeks left and I think we can manage nicely. I might even be sad when school starts again, something that I couldn't have said at the end of last summer.