Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Life Can Be So Unfair

The following scene is graphic. If you have a weak stomach, please turn away now.

Five minutes later...

One hour, one Mr. Clean Magic Eraser, and one 64 count of disinfectant wipes later...

(Did I mention that my husband is on the soccer field with my older two children, far away from any poop, and that I am watching all four of the younger children while I am cleaning up this mess all alone?)

Two hours, twenty eight trips up and down the stairs, two more Mr. Clean Magic Erasers, one load of laundry, one trash bag, and one can of Lysol later...

Three hours, one more Mr. Clean Magic Eraser, one bag of Huggies wipes, one tub of Clean Team wipes, another load of laundry and one load of stuffies, one shop vacuum, one Orek vacuum, and one steam cleaner, and the last thread of sanity later...

Three hours and fifty five minutes of scrubbing, sanitizing, washing, steaming, vacuuming, spraying, and sobbing later...

Add a wearable blanket, duct tape, and a zip tie on my little monster...

Then I say "Good Night" knowing that tomorrow is only 10 short hours away and I get to do it all over again. And he's the one who gets anti-psychotic meds and sedatives? Now I ask you, how fair is that?

Monday, September 29, 2008

50 Seconds with Kaeleb

This is an hour and a half after the last dose of medicine for the day. He screamed non-stop for the first hour after his nap, for reasons unbeknown to us. After taking a short break to eat dinner, he screamed for another hour. This is the scene of Daddy trying to calm him enough to get dressed for bed. This is approximately a 50 seconds glimpse of our entire day.

This is an incredible improvement from a week ago.

Snapshots from Toddler Haven

We have been in gymnastic for a month now and the kids are really enjoying themselves. Kaeleb and Kaedence love the trampoline.
How happy is my monkey??? I so need one of these for home.
Kaedence is working on following the group during "Listening" time. She managed to get into the circle, but she had no interest in getting out. Is the line of toddlers waiting to enter going to persuade her? Nope.
All three of my tumbling monkeys (and Kaelyn, the tumbling helper, too!).
On his first try at the bar, Kaeleb did a great job. Ashlyn helps to spot him.Round and round the obstacle course.
Five little monkeys, jumpin' on the bed...
Aoife is so excited! She smiles ear to ear the entire time.

Rocks and Minerals

School on Sunday? YIKES! But, Ashlyn doesn't seem to mind. Not when it involves a science project!
She spent her afternoon breaking, scratching, and adding chemicals to various rocks and minerals to test their properties. It was a really neat experiment.

This whole school-at-home concepts is changing the way we view our schedules and our priorities. If nothing else, it encourages me to find educational ways to fill our weekends. I am breaking the idea that learning happens Monday through Friday from 8 until 2.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Thoughts from Across the Pond

An Irish man's thoughts on the Presidential candidates:

"On one side, you have a pants wearing woman lawyer, married to a lawyer who can't keep his pants on, who just lost a long and heated primary that they still haven't paid for yet, against a lawyer who states he is "black" when it is documented that he is only 12% "black," who has stated that he wants his countrymen to learn to speak Spanish rather than English, who refuses to put his hand over his heart and say the pledge of allegiance or wear the flag of the country he wants to run, who can't remember if there are 50 or 57 states in his own country, who is married to yet another lawyer who doesn't even like the country her husband wants to run.
On the other side, you have a nice old war hero whose name starts with the appropriate 'Mc' terminology, married to a good looking younger woman who owns a beer distributorship. What in Lord's name are ye lads thinking over there in the colonies??"

The Irish are clear thinkers, now aren't they? Can we get our priorities straight already?

In case you missed it: Vote McCain/Palin 2008.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

There's No Crying In Baseball!!!

Er, uh, Soccer!!! LOL! Awww, my poor soccer monkey...
The Sea Monsters had another terrific game. Abbi has become quite the little defender. Again, no scores kept at the age. However, we did not get slaughtered! YEAH!!!

Birds of a Feather, Flock Together

Ravens ruled the field today. In the first quarter, we score three goals, one of which was solely Kaelyn's. Then we switched out our players, so that no one was playing their position. The other team played hard, but we just had them on skill. Defenders played on the attack, Kaelyn played Goalie, and we play three players short.
Yet, we ran this way...
And that way...
And over this way...just like a flock of birds!
It was good practice for all our kids to switch around positions.
Kaelyn was flawless at Goalie. The final score was 3 to 1 Ravens. They are a great bunch of players and the game was so much fun!

Avalanche Ties It Up

The two teams today were evenly matched. Every coaching strategy was utilized.

Both sides hustled up and down that field.
It was hot and all of the soccer players were drained.
This terribly exciting game ended in a tie. 2 to 2 was the final score. Ashlyn wasn't on her game today, be it the heat, the size of the other team, or the initial slam that bruised her leg and rocked her confidence. This league is tough. The U13 division is co-ed and boys, at this age, are considerably larger than the girls. She is still getting her soccer feet under her, but certainly she played with heart today.

Put Us In Coach!!

Cutting costs means cutting out the weekly soccer babysitter. So, the trio tagged along with the rest of us for our day of soccer. Because of our staggered game schedule, we were at the field from 9 am until about 1:30! They were good sports though. I think they would have been happier had we allowed them to venture out on the field with the players. In between the games, the monkeys were freed from the confines of the car to go run around on the grass with the soccer balls.
Aoife ran and ran and ran.
Kaeleb's feet were planted, as he is not a fan of grass. But, he sure did like the ball!
Kaedence was everywhere we didn't want her to be, LOL!
The goals provided with lots of climbing fun.
And soccer star sisters provided lots of cuddles.
They survived our long morning and even took a nap in the car. No soccer games for the next two Saturdays, so we all get some much needed time off.

Parent's Day at Preschool

Friday was a Parent's Picnic at Abbi's school. Kevin and Kaelyn took a lunch over to the school and eat with Abigeal on the playground. This was a fantastic end to "Family Week" at the school.
Abbi showed them around and displayed all of her beautiful artwork.
This is her family tree, as well as a very realistic drawing of me in a purple dress. How flattering.
On the playground, Abbi ran around with her school friends.
It was nice to see what she's been up to for the past month. It's taken a bit of adjustment, but she seems to be really enjoying herself.

UFO's in the Living Room

What is that?
A giant glowing orb? Yesterday, I borrowed two thousand dollars from my parents to buy toilet paper. Ugh...don't ask. So, we are trying inventive ways to cut expenses around our house. Last night, it was electricity. We opened the windows and turned off the A/C. We turned off the TVs and broke out the light sticks. Turns out it was they were a big hit with all of my monkeys!! Who knew they could have hours of entertainment with zero electricity!!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Don't Close Your Blinds

Although the author is unknown, the words are powerful and important. I thought I would share:
The other day, my nine year old son wanted to know why we were at war. My husband looked at our son and then looked at me. My husband and I served in the Army during the Gulf War. We would be honored to serve and defend our Country again today. I knew that my husband would give him a good explanation. My husband thought for a few minutes and then told my son to go stand in our front living room window.
He said, "Son, stand there and tell me what you see?'"
"I see trees and cars and our neighbor's houses," he replied.
"OK, now I want you to pretend that our house and our yard is the United States of America and you are President Bush."
Our son giggled and said "OK."
"Now son, I want you to look out the window and pretend that every house and yard on this block is a different country", my husband said.
"OK Dad, I'm pretending."
"Now I want you to stand there and look out the window and pretend you see Saddam come out of his house with his wife, he has her by the hair and is hurting her. You see her bleeding and crying. He hits her in the face, he throws her on the ground, then he kicks her over and over again, until she dies. Their children run out and are afraid to stop him, they are screaming and crying. They are watching this, but do nothing because they are small and they are afraid of their father. You see all of this, son...what do you do?" "Dad?"
"What do you do son?'"
"I'd call the police, Dad."
"Okay. Pretend that the police are the United Nations. They take your call. They listen to what you know and what you saw, but they refuse to help. What do you do then son?"
"Dad, but the police are supposed to help!"
My son starts to whine.
'They don't want to, son, because they say that it is not their place, or your place, to get involved and that you should stay out of it," my husband says. "But Dad, he killed her!!' my son exclaims adamantly.
"I know he did, but the police tell you to stay out of it. Now I want you to look out that window and pretend you see our neighbor, who you're pretending is Saddam, turn around and do the same thing to his children."
"Daddy? He kills them?"
"Yes, son, he does. What do you do?"
"Well, if the police don't want to help, I will go and ask my next door neighbor to help me stop him," our son says.
"Son, our next door neighbor sees what is happening and refuses to get involved. He refuses to open the door and help you stop him," my husband says.
"But Dad, I NEED help!!! I can't stop him by myself!!"
"WHAT DO YOU DO SON?" Our son starts to cry.
"Okay, no one wants to help you, the man across the street saw you ask for help and saw that no one would help you stop him. Now, he stands taller and puffs out his chest. Guess what he does next, son?"
"What Daddy?"
"He walks across the street to the old ladies house and breaks down her door. He drags her out, steals all her stuff, and sets her house on fire. And then, he kills her. He turns around and sees you standing in the window and laughs at you. WHAT DO YOU DO, SON?"
"WHAT DO YOU DO?" my husband repeated.
Our son is crying, as he looks down and he whispers, "I'd close the blinds, Daddy."
My husband looks at our son with tears in his eyes and asks him, "Why?" "Because, Daddy, the police are supposed to help people who need them. And they won't help. You always say that neighbors are supposed to help neighbors, but they won't help either. No one will help me stop him and I'm afraid. I can't do it by myself, Daddy! I can't look out my window and just watch him do all these terrible things and, and, do nothing! So, I'm just going to close the blinds. So I can't see what he's doing. And I'm going to pretend that it is not happening."
I start to cry. My husband looks at our nine year old son standing in the window, looking pitiful and ashamed at his answers to my husband's questions and he says, "Son,"
"Yes, Daddy."
"Open the blinds because that man, he's at your front door. WHAT DO YOU DO?"
My son looks at his father with anger and defiance in his eyes. He balls up his tiny fists and looks his father square in the eyes, and in a strong voice he says, "I'M GOING TO DEFEND MY FAMILY, DAD!! I'M NOT GONNA LET HIM HURT MOMMY OR MY SISTER, DAD!!! I'M GONNA FIGHT HIM, DAD, I'M GONNA FIGHT HIM!"
The tears roll down my husband's face as he grabs our son to his chest and hugs him tight. In a soft voice, he says, "It's too late to fight him now. He's too strong and he's already at your front door, son. You should have stopped him before he killed his wife and children, and before the old lady across the way. You have to do what's right, even if you have to do it alone, before its too late," my husband whispers, "that scenario I just gave you is why we are at war with Iraq. When good men stand by and let evil happen, son, that is the greatest atrocity in the world. You must never be afraid to do what is right, even if that means you have to do it alone."

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Soccer Update

7 to 2 Avalanche, bringing their overall standing to 2 and 1. Ashlyn (sweeper) had several terrific saves. She stood up boys twice her size without any fear!!! Kaelyn sub'd on the team for the first half. She was very aggressive on the attack.

3 to 3 Ravens tied, bring their overall standing to 1 win, 1 loss, and 1 tie. Kaelyn (forward) scored two goals for her team. She was running circles around the defense. Go Kaelyn!

The Sea Monsters do not keep score yet (yeah right! LOL!). But Abbi scored a goal (in her own goal), but contributed greatly to the defense. She played much more aggressively than the last two games. Perhaps she is finding her soccer feet after all.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Lost and Cameraless

The other day, my camera tumbled to it's unfortunate demise. The lens is shattered and the housing is cracked. Of course, now that I am without, I find myself surrounded by photo opportunities. So many snap shots of my life, that I would have shared with the world, have now grown dark.
If I had my camera, I would have taken a shot of Ashlyn playing her new note on the flute. Yes, she has learned a new note. Two even, adding to the "F" she has mastered. "E" and "D" are working their way into her musical repertoire. Imagine, if you will, my beautiful daughter with her gleaming flute in hand happily tooting her horn. Sorry folks, imagination is all I've got for you tonight.
Or, I would have shot my bubbly red head who returned from school covered in paint. Her shirt, her shorts, her arms, her face. Yep, all brightly colored and no fun shot to show for her efforts.
Or today, in a more sullen post, I would have shown my son after a very difficult day. His face bruised and bloody, as a result of his own frustration. What a rough day for our family and for my little boy, who feels more anger than pain. I would have posted how sad it made me to watch him struggle for hours without the ability to come to his aide. I would have told of our emergency trip to the neurologist in search of immediate help. I would have expressed the tremendous amount of hope I have placed in new medications and new restraint techniques. I would have finished with a shot of him sleeping peacefully in his bed this evening, as he puts his long day to rest.
Instead, I will tell you how greatly I miss my camera. Tomorrow I will shop, so that my posts can be written, and filled with pieces of us, once again.

March, March, March, March

Jack's Big Music Show has become one of our most favorite shows. Lisa Loeb, Laurie Berkner, Hot Peas N Butter!!! Does it get better than this?A few DVR recording and a box of musical instruments and my house turns into a roaring jamboree!
Add shakers and jingle bells...clackers and tambourines...
and a make-shift drum or two...
perhaps a little rump shakin'...
and the house is alive with the sound of music!

A flute, a piano, and a complete percussion band, I think we have the ingredients to be the next big hit!
Or, maybe we'll leave that to the professionals and wear our tambourine as a hat.