Monday, May 26, 2008

2008 Graduates

I love three-day weekends--especially when we don't have any essential plans. So, we got a few things done around the house, but mostly spent time playing outside, napping and having fun family time. We went to the McGowan's boat in Saugatuck, went to the parade in Holland, went to the park and took a few naps. I've decided that since we won't likely be taking many vacations this year, maybe Lance will just take some random Mondays off on occasion so we can have some three-day weekends more often.

I came to a realization today. The students I taught in my first year of teaching might be graduating this year. I say "might" because, unfortunately, most of them have likely chosen to follow a different path. I taught a class of 29 very difficult fourth graders in a bad neighborhood. As teachers, we were not allowed to stay at school after 5:00 because of the high crime rate in the area. I remember once walking out to my car and having a teenage boy with his hands on my trunk while a police officer patted him down. Yes, most of these kids were not raised with positive role models. None of their parents went to college. Only two lived with their mom and dad, and only one of those couples was married. I once asked about their future goals and found out that only 2 of my students even planned on graduating from high school. One of those was hoping to go to college. Her name was Kiwana and she was being raised by her grandparents. On my 22nd birthday, Kiwana said "Hey, my mom's 2 years older than you!" Kiwana was 10. Do the math. Anyway, I'm wondering if Kiwana or any of my other former students made it. Though that year was the worst of my life, professionally, and my stress level was so high, I struggled to keep my weight above double-digits, I really hope for the best for those kids. And though I imagine it will be much more likely for my to hear about one of these kids on the evening news with a mug shot accompanying the story, I'd like to imagine at least some of them made it to this graduation and are heading to college to do bigger and better things with their lives than they could have imagined in fourth grade.

Friday, May 23, 2008

My Life as a Reality TV Show

So, Lance and I just finished watching a few episodes of The Hills (I know, I know. It's just a guilty pleasure of mine) and I got to thinking about my life and how it would make a, well, less-than-thrilling reality TV show. Instead of galavanting around fabulous LA hot spots and wearing designer couture, I could give a little insight into the life of a stay-at-home mom. Today's episode would feature a walk to the park only to find 7 bus loads full of children there to celebrate the end of the school year, several attempts at the perfect swaddle, me constantly washing my hands to look inside Tate's mouth to make sure the crankiness and less-than-perfectr nighttime sleep isn't a result of early teething, pulling Dora stickers off the carpet, a glamorous dinner of meatloaf, rice and green beans which Rowan promptly declared "not good, not yummy" and then Lance and I watching TV on our computer. Scenes from the next episode would most likely feature very similar events, just with different outfits. Next season would cover our big move to the sprawling metropolis of Byron Center and might feature dilemmas such as: finding the nearest decent grocery store, Rowan taking a gymnastics class and taking almost daily walks to the park, but to put a new spin on that season, it will be a different park!

Yes, that is the life of a stay-at-home mom. Of course there are always date nights to look forward to (at least I hope there will be. Tate is still banning the bottle), but for the most part, my daily routine is just that--routine. But there are little pieces of my routine that I couldn't trade--cuddling with Rowan after her nap, finding new ways to make Tate laugh, watching Rowan dance and "spin around", eating dinner as a family and singing the kids their "special special" songs before bed. And I'm also very glad that I had my college days to live a more reality-TV worthy life, complete with many, many parties, lots of late-90s fashion and more than enough drama to make a 30-minute episode each week.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Officially Under Contract!

We're so thrilled to finally be officially buying a house. The paperwork is signed, the inspection is tomorrow and we can't wait! We'll be moving in around the end of June, so we still have around a month to take advantage of walking to Tunnel Park, Lance coming home for lunch on occasion, and enjoying a great farmer's market. Then we'll be moving to Byron Center where we'll enjoy a much shorter drive to Grand Rapids and Portage, a large back yard that we will immediately fence in, happier dogs due to the fence and finally a chance to unpack all of our things and find things we had completely forgotten about. And I think there's a farmer's market there, too!

In the meantime, Tate has decided it's no longer fun to sleep through the night. So, we're up in the middle of the night for a feeding and then Tate falls right back to sleep and I don't. Let's hope this is just a quick phase. Let's also hope this cold weather is a short phase. We walked from Lindsay and Cooper's house to the farmer's market and were all freezing by the time we got back. And then Rowan promptly threw her lunch on their floor. But, the absolute adorableness of Cooper and Rowan holding hands in between their strollers made it a great playdate nonetheless. I wish I had my camera and I'd post a picture.

Now for my current argument with Lance (this really is a long-term argument, but we are at it once again). Lance thinks that brown and khaki are the same color. This irritates me because Lance will often ask for something specific (i.e. Could you find my brown pants?) and then I won't be able to find what he's talking about because he's really referring to khaki pants. He is now talking about our house and how the walls in one room are blue and brown. They are actually blue and khaki. I explained to Lance that khaki and brown are kind of like pink and red. They're in the same family, but are not the same color. If you agree with me, please let me know. And let Lance know. This argument really needs to be settled. And I need to win.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Catching Up...

Yes, it's been quite a while since I've written anything. So, I'm going to play a little catch-up here.

Friends--Last Friday Heather, Mike and Wyatt came in from Kentucky for their nephew's birthday party and baptism. As to avoid any unnecessary family time, they came over for the day. Andrea and Isaac joined us later and it was so nice to hang out with friends for a while. Really, this happens all too infrequently. So, for those of us living within driving distance to each other, we really need to get together more often. Let the kids play, sit around, eat too much food. Really, there's not much more to ask for in life.

Mother's Day--A nice, relaxing day spent at my mom's that included lots of yummy food, way too much chocolate, a deliciously trashy US Weekly magazine and Rowan saying "Happy Mother's Day, Mommy. Happy Mother's Day, Grandma. Happy Mother's Day, Daddy." She'll get it someday, I'm sure.

Sleeping Through the Night--Tate is continuing to sleep through the night. Only once this week did he wake up in the middle of the night. He wakes up a very sweet, happy boy.

A Broken Elbow--Lance's dad fell on Monday morning and broke his elbow--chipping a bone, tearing ligaments, etc. I think it was scary for everyone and might be a catalyst for his parents moving out of their current home and into a condo. Surgery followed on Tuesday which involved turning off Carl's machine (from a previous brain surgery) and trying to give proper doses off all of his medicines as well as new pain medicines. This resulted in lots of tremors, but he went home on Wednesday and is doing well now. We'll be heading there today for the weekend.

Car Rides--Tate, like Rowan, hates his carseat. But unlike Rowan, he doesn't eventually give up the crying and fall asleep. He just continues crying for hours, often throwing up, and he doesn't stop crying until we get him out of the car. This made last night's house hunt a bit of a nightmare and I'm already dreading the drive to Canton tonight. I shouldn't complain as he is generally happy the rest of the time. But, it makes things as easy as grocery shopping happen rarely.

Boob Man--I've made a major mistake with Tate and introduced a bottle way too late. He took a bottle once when he was a few weeks old and I somehow thought it would be no problem when we gave him one again. So, when I went to look at houses on Monday, Lance stayed home with both kids and Tate refused a bottle. Not just refused, but screamed like he was being tortured. Since then we have tried a few times a day to give him a bottle and similar screaming ensues. Lance and I would really like to go out by ourselves longer than the 2.5 hours between feedings, so any advice here would be great. Really, Tate must be happily taking a bottle before Girls' Weekend!

House Hunting--Yesterday's house hunt may have been a success! We put an offer in on a house in Byron Center, just off M6, in a neighborhood we like. Since our last offer ended in the seller's saying we had to pay $8000 more than asking price, we're not holding our breath. But we're hopeful it will work out and we can end this whole ordeal! We met the neighbors who said they love the neighborhood and the schools. There's a park across the street from the neighborhood and the elementary school is fairly close by. I'll post pictures after we know if the house will be ours!

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

House-Hunting Hatred

After spending the day with Susan, Lily and Ally, our realtor, Monica called to let us know that our first offer on a house had been declined. Not even a counter-offer! Let me just say that our offer was about 5% less than asking price--not ridiculously low at all! She said their realtor wants to get at least asking price, if not more. What? If you're expecting more than the asking price, why not just change the asking price? So, we're frustrated and may go in with a higher offer, but I refuse to go above asking price.

Happier news, though, is that Tate slept through the night--from 9:30 to 7:30! I couldn't believe it. He slept 8 straight hours the two previous nights, but that was from 8 to 4. I wish I could say I slept that long as well, but engorgement kept me awake and I kept thinking "Do I pump? If I do, he'll be certain to wake up and want to eat. If I don't, I'll just lay here wondering if I should be pumping until he finally wakes up." I didn't. I probably should have. Supposedly milk keeps in the freezer for 3-4 months, so I could potentially be saving up for Girls' Weekend already!

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Mommy has nipples, too!

As of late, Rowan has been pinching her nipples anytime her shirt is off. Apparently they are very annoying to her. I keep telling her not to pinch herself because it will hurt. Today she said "But what IS them, Mommy? What IS those things?" I said "They're your nipples, honey. Everyone has nipples. See? Here are Tate's nipples." I proceeded to show her Tate's nipples (sorry, Tate). "See?" I said "Rowan has nipples and Tate has nipples." She then got a huge grin on her face and said "Mommy has nipples, too!"

Monday, May 5, 2008

Rowan's "special special" song

Lately Rowan has been obsessed with a song I sing to her at bedtime. She calls it her "special special" song. Anytime the word "special" is used, she says it twice (i.e. "special special treat", "special special surprise", etc.) So, here is Rowan's special, special song. It's part of the song "Lullaby" by the Dixie Chicks.

*They didn't have you where I come from
Never knew the best was yet to come
Life began when I saw your face
And I hear your laugh like a serenade

How long do you want to be loved
Is forever enough, is forever enough
How long do you want to be loved
Is forever enough
Cause I'm never, never giving you up

I slip in bed when you're asleep
To hold you close and feel your breath on me
Tomorrow there'll be so much to do
So tonight I'll drift in a dream with you

How long do you want to be loved
Is forever enough, is forever enough
How long do you want to be loved
Is forever enough
Cause I'm never, never giving you up*

For good measure, here is Tate's special song, "Godspeed", also by the Dixie Chicks.

*The rocket racer's all tuckered out
Superman's in pajamas on the couch
Goodnight moon, we'll find the mouse
And I love you

Godspeed, little man
Sweet dreams, little man
Oh my love will fly to you each night on angels wings
Sweet dreams

God bless mommy and match box cars
God bless dad and thanks for the stars
God heard "Amen," wherever you are
And I love you
Godspeed, little man
Sweet dreams, little man
Oh my love will fly to you each night on angels wings
Sweet dreams*

Unfortunately, Tate's song is slightly out of my vocal range, so I'm not sure he'll ever quite consider it his "special special" song.

Happy Cinco de Mayo! We celebrated by eating yummy fish tacos that I made without a recipe. Even Rowan devoured them!

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Medical Maladies Part III

Yes, we couldn't stop with the previous maladies. After yet another abscess, I went to the doctor, had a culture done and found out that, in fact, I do have MRSA. Yep, it's the infection that's been all over the news. The one that the newspaper writes articles about healthy people dying from this antibiotic-resistant infection that takes over their body. Evidentally I've had this since my c-section. So, I'm now being treated for it. And I'm hoping it works. And I'm hoping that Lance, Rowan and Tate are MRSA free. The thing about MRSA is that once you have it, you have it forever. So, from now on, any skin abnormality means a trip to the doctor for lancing and culturing, more rounds of meds, etc. I am not a happy camper.

My mom came to visit on Wednesday and was here when I got the news. Of course my first thought is that I'm going to die and leave my children motherless. I know, I'm ridiculous. But, now I'm just a little annoyed, irate with the hospital because they need to step up their sanitation practices and slightly worried for my kids. I'm doing everything I can do to get rid of this outbreak.

Before the dreaded phone call, my mom and I went to the tulip farm with the kids. Rowan loved the windmills and wanted to stop at every one. She also seemed ot like the tulips and the bison. I felt like such a tourist, but it was actually pretty fun. It was a nice day, Tate slept in the Bjorn, my mom carried Rowan around in the backpack and we just got to hang out a bit.

This weekend was Hope's graduation which means Lance has been working all weekend. He did, however, have a short break yesterday and we all went to Kinderplaats at Tulip Time and to Cooper's birthday party. Rowan had a great time. And today the kids are remarkably asleep at the same time. So, I've added some pictures to some of my older posts (I love the one of Tate in the "Fat and Balding" post. Thanks, Andrea and David, for the cute little outfit). Yes, I should be doing laundry or deciding exactly what it is I plan to do with the tilapia in the fridge, but I am just so good at wasting time!