Sunday, August 31, 2008

This and that and nothing in particular

Proof that you can buy a kid every expensive toy in the world, but a cardboard box will still hold their attention longer.

I swear, I really want to be a better blogger. It's just that things get so hectic during the week that I don't seem to be able to find the time to sit down here long enough to put together a meaningful post.

J's adjusting to school much better than we anticipated. We made it through our first full week with only one grumpy, melt down sort of morning. I'm quite proud, and I know his teacher appreciates it, too. He can be a real booger in the mornings, and I can completely sympathize. You see, he gets it from me. I'm totally NOT a morning person, which is ironic, considering a I work a job that requires me to be up hours before sunrise, and keeps me going until after the sun sets. But I have the benefit of coffee to ease me through the first few hours when my brain can't seem to keep up with the world around me. J-man, he's just screwed. And I don't suppose it's a good idea to go stuffing kids full of caffeine just to avoid the morning grumpies. So we deal with it as best we can.

Did I mention that this year is going to kill me? J's school starts at 8 and I'm supposed to be at work at 7. Ummm... *scratches head*. I could force Wil to step up to the plate, since he doesn't have to be at work until 9, but the man can't get himself to work on time on a good day. Between the car shuffle that would be required, and the anxiety it would cause in me wondering if they're on time, if J's been fed, or is even wearing underwear, it's hardly worth it.

The second issue is that school ends at 11. On a good day, I can get to lunch by 12, but it's usually more like 2. Fortunately, the school does provide after-care services for a reasonable fee, so that's less of a headache. I'd be fine with leaving him there until I got off work completely, except that they close at 5:30, and we close at 6.

So my mornings now consist of rushing around in a brain fog, trying to rush my son around in a brain fog, then zipping across town to work, so I can be an hour and a half late, so that I can rush back across town on my lunch to pick him up and take him to Abuela's, so that I can rush back to work and finish my shift, then rush back to Abuela's to get him so I can rush home to walk the dogs before they explode.

Most days I'm on the go from 5 am, and don't find time to sit down, or even eat, until 8 or 9. I'm exhausted, and it's only week 2! This is going to be interesting.

But enough about school and work. Let's talk about those fun few hours of complete and total silence that occur on my days off while J is in school. Yes, those 6 hours per week are golden. It'd be nice if I didn't want to try and fit so much into those few moments. Most days I get nothing accomplished simply because I can't seem to decide which I'd rather do. Pathetic, isn't it?

There has been *some* knitting, though. Nothing worth writing home about. I'm working ever so slowly on my Shalom Cardigan, which is a really simple and quick knit, except for it's on huge needles with huge yarn, and well, it hurts my hands. So I only do a row or two at a time. I won't bother sharing pictures yet. It just looks like a burgundy blob.

And there's the Spidey afghan for J-man. I know! I'm crocheting! And I'm enjoying it so much! It just lends itself so much more readily to being picked up and set down constantly, and doesn't require the same attention that my knitting does. It's growing and growing, and people keep asking me when it's going to be done. I usually just shrug and say "when I run out of yarn". I fear that time is fast approaching, and I'm really not sure it's big enough for my taste. It's certainly big enough to be a cuddly blanket for J-- something to toss across him in the car, or while sitting on the couch, but it's not the bed-sized wonder that I was hoping it would turn into. All the same, I could stop right now and be perfectly happy with it, even with all of it's imperfections. I mean, for a first 'big' crochet project, it's pretty darn cool.

And I've also been playing around a bit with the sewing machine lately. I have a million and one things that I'd like to be sewing, and a huge bag of stuff that I'd like to do some recon on, but for now I'm just doing some basic stuff to get used to using it again. It's been forever since I've sewn anything.

Here are some pants I made for myself. They're made out of some super cheap mystery fabric, but they're soooo comfy. I want to make about a million and one pairs of these to wear every day! I did learn that pattern sizing is a whole lot different than regular clothes sizing. These are two sizes bigger than what I would buy in the store, and they're a little snug in the hips and butt, but not so much so that I can't wear them. I'll remember for the next pair to make them just a smidge wider in that area. Still, I love them.

And my other sewing project for the week was a pair of Blue Yonder's 'bandana pants' for J-man, which were featured on the SewMamaSew blog a while back. What a genius idea! And J really enjoyed helping to make them. He's so proud of them that he wears them almost constantly. It's all I can do to wiggle his sleeping bum out of them long enough to toss them in the wash. We'll make a bunch more of these, I'm sure. They're excellent play shorts and jammie pants. Yes, they' are a bit long- almost capri pants on him, but I couldn't bear to hem them and lose the cute little bones around the bottom. :)

I suppose that's all I've got for now. Right now J-man and the nephew are buzzing about making ungodly amounts of noise, but I have to admit, the noise is tolerable when it means that they are entertaining each other. I haven't existed since 8:30 this morning.

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Thursday, August 21, 2008

Rain, Rain, Go Away

Who'd have thought that a measly little storm like Fay would devastate the county the way that it has? I mean, four days ago we weren't even in the projected path, and now, after three days of torrential and constant rain, people are standing around, waist deep in water, and scratching their heads.

I got trapped at work yesterday. I won't even begin to tell you how I feel about the fact that we were required to come to work in the first place, but by the time they realized that it was a stupid idea, it was too late for me, in my little car, to even attempt to drive home.

Luckily, one of my coworkers with a big SUV was willing to be brave and selfless. She not only took me home, but drove through some of the deepest waters- think cars overturned on the sides of the roads and folks floating around in boats all around us- to get me to my son first. A huge thank you to Katy!

Every canal, lake, and other retention device in the county is overflowed, and it's eerie to look around and everything looks like a lake dotted with houses. The lift stations aren't able to do their job, so there's sewage backing up into the flood water, there are catfish in people's front yards, and it's STILL raining. It has lightened up some, thankfully, and the canal behind my house has gone from cresting last night to about a foot below the bank, so I'm feeling pretty fortunate. But it'll be a long time before things are the same around here again.

I won't fill this blog full of photos, but if you care to see what it looks like, and you haven't seen the weather channel or any other sort of national news lately, feel free to check out Florida Today for a ton of different galleries.

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Monday, August 18, 2008

My baby is how old?!

It's been a whirlwind of a few weeks- no pun intended with tropical storm Fay spinning just a little way south of us right now. But that's a whole 'nother blog post.

Last week we celebrated J's 4th birthday in style. J's not much for a party. It's just overwhelming for him to be the center of all that attention. And quite honestly, it's hard for me to justify the expense and physical work that goes into planning a birthday party for him, just so he can completely not enjoy it. So, with the money that we would have spent on a party, we decided to take a mini-vacation to Orlando. The timing worked out well since the parents were bringing the nephew home from a summer long visit in TN that same week.

We stayed at the Nickelodeon hotel and didn't even bother with any of the theme parks or anything like that. Lounging in the pool and running amok in the arcade was plenty fun for him.

Of course, being true to his character, he did find it more than a little overwhelming-- all the people, the loud noise, the characters. He wouldn't come within 50 feet of them. Not even Blue of Blue's Clues fame. Seriously, what child is afraid of Blue?! But I didn't push the issue. It scared him that they didn't talk more than anything. Weird.

But the pools were great fun, and we got a good sunburn. We also enjoyed cake and a good visit with the family, so it was time and money well spent.

I think that next year he may decide he'd rather have a party since he'll be making all these new friends at Preschool this year.

Yes, that's right. My little baby started preschool today. Not daycare, not Mommy's day out, but real, structured, have to do what your told to do, preschool. Seriously, it seems like they grow up entirely too fast, doesn't it? I know every parent says that, and I'm sure they truly mean it, but every time I look at my big boy sitting there, absorbing so much from the world around him, it just amazes me.

So, a big birthday, the first day of school, and today he also had his 4-year checkup at the pediatrician's. There's a whole separate drama surrounding that, but I can skip that for sanity's sake.

Essentially, he passed his vision test perfectly, and his blood pressure is good. He failed his hearing test completely, but I was assured that it's not uncommon at this age-- more of a selective hearing problem than a true hearing problem. But we'll monitor it, and if I have any concerns, we'll visit the audiologist just to be sure. He's still a bit behind in motor skills, but he's coming along in that department, too. I think being in school and trying to keep up with his faster classmates may solve a lot of that problem. He's off the charts in both height and weight, and the doctor tells me that, according to standard charts, he's obese. But honestly, he's just a big kid. I'm willing to admit that he's a little bit of a chunk, but he eats a healthy diet, and I think he's just going to be a tall, stout boy. Think linebacker. That's my boy. But I'll take the doctor's suggestion about cutting back on juice and adding more whole wheat options into his diet. Aside from that, I'm not about to consider putting my 4-year-old on a 'diet', or stigmatizing his eating habits. Especially when I know he really is a fairly healthy eater.

Anyway, I'll leave you with some pictures of our vacation/birthday bash. And I promise I'll try to be a better blogger in the future.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Break your heart with sweetness

Have you seen the ASPCA commercial with the pictures of abused and neglected animals being displayed while Sara McLachlan's song plays in the background? Yeah, it makes you almost cry every time you see it, doesn't it?

Well, J-man saw it about 2 or 3 months ago, and every time he sees it again he freezes, watches intently, repeating "Oh, poor puppy. Poor kitties!" and asks if we can help them.

His compassion for them is enough to melt me. I don't know if he understands that these are animals that we'll never see, hold, or physically care for ourselves. And I doubt if he'll find it rewarding just to send money to the organization and 'trust' that it's doing the right thing. I mean, that's a pretty big stretch for a 4-year-old mind, isn't it?

He saw the commercial again today, and once again asked if we could help them. He even told me that we could skip going to the "Spongebob Hotel" for his birthday if we could just do this instead.

How can I say no to that?

I think that I'll take him shopping instead, let him pick out lots of food and supplies, and drive it out to the local shelter instead.

My son amazes me and makes me proud every day.

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Sunday, August 03, 2008

Just another weekend post

Yesterday ended up being a ridiculously busy day, and it totally started out in a Murphy's Law sort of way. As I was getting out of my car at work, at the ungodly hour of a quarter to sunrise, sans caffeine, and juggling my large purse (mom-bag), my even larger coffee cup, and my soda, I fumbled my keys, and while trying to recover them, ended up dropping my soda. Sodas don't lend themselves well to 4 foot falls onto asphalt. And so there I stood, in an absolute shower of sticky soda, getting sprayed from head to toe, and soaking wet. What do you do? I cursed, picked up the now empty can, and slogged inside trying to figure out what to do about my situation. Too late to drive all the way back home for new scrubs, and no way I was going to be able to wear these, I went diving in the closet, hoping to find something at least relatively matching and in a size that might fit.

I managed to find a green top and green pants-- not the exact same hue, but close enough, and only one size larger than I usually wear. So, looking all wrinkled and frumpy, that's how my day started.

Then it just got better as I came home and got to mow the yard in triple-digit heat. Not so bad, except for every time I took a break to drink some water and sit in the shade for a few minutes, the darn thing wouldn't start back up. What's usually a 45 minute to an hour job ended up taking about 4. But it looks better out there, and I'm not going to lose a small child in the overgrowth now. :) Seriously, it's hard to keep the yard trim and neat when it rains every day after work. And true to form, just after I finished mowing, it stormed again.

In other news, I also have my first 'real' transcription job, and had to get it done yesterday, too. The transcription part isn't difficult at all, it's getting my templates set up so that they are identical to what the doctor is used to having. This isn't going to be a permanent gig, but if it works out and I do a good job, there's potential there for it to turn into one eventually. The girl that does the transcription for our office is on vacation this week, and so they've asked me to do it for her, instead of waiting for her to come back. I'm not looking to take anyone's job from them, but I'd really like it if they'd consider me for an in-house transcriptionist instead of sending out all of the reports. I could have a much quicker turn-around time-- same day even. Keeping my fingers crossed.

And finally, not really feeling like making a huge production over dinner, and yet absolutely starving, I made a big pot of chicken soup, using up some leftover rice from dinner earlier in the week and some other veggies we picked up at the produce store. It was warm and delicious, and a perfect dinner, despite the heat outside. There's just something so yummy about a big pot of homemade soup. And I'm thrilled that J agrees.

Today we're going to head up to Michele and Thomas' house to hang out for a little while and throw some ribs on the grill. I had to call my Dad to get instructions on the proper method, of course. No one I know can make ribs as yummy as his.

And finally, we're in the final week of preparation for J's birthday. I can't believe my little baby is turning 4 already! I know every parent says that every year, but truly-- where does the time go?

Instead of a big birthday party, we decided to take the money we would have spent on decorations and invitations and food and renting a place (since our house just isn't big enough) and we're going to the Nick Hotel in Orlando for a few days instead. The parents will be meeting us there, as well as the nephew and my sister. There's so much to do on site that I don't know if we'll end up going to one of the theme parks, or just enjoying ourselves there. Either way, it'll be great.

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