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May, 2007:

18 3 and 4 Year Olds

Yesterday I had the pleasure of chaperoning my daughter’s preschool class on a trip to the zoo. The class had earned the trip by making good choices throughout the school year and filling up their jar with buttons. Each chaperone got assigned 4 to 5 kids for the day. I will be the first to admit that my daughter is no angel . . . she is a very loving, sweet, kind, smart little girl . . . but she is also very stubborn, strong-willed, and driven. However, after every event I attend for school, whether it’s attending Muffins with Mom, watching my son’s class read their country reports, or chaperoning a field trip, I’m always so proud of both of my kids. While they act like kids as much as any other 4 and 6 year old, they are courteous to adults and their classmates and they listen to direction (most of the time). Most of the kids on the field trip were very well-behaved, but I’m still always stunned by how much disrespect kids seem to have for any adult, whether it be the zookeeper, the chaperone, the teacher, or even their own parents. Some are quietly direspectful, testing you at every turn, trying to see how far they can push you (not very far with me as they found out). Others are loudly disrespectful, hitting their parents and actually yelling at teachers and sayin “No” to them! I’ve never told my children they can’t say No to adults, because they CAN say No to adults when necessary. However, we’ve also made it very clear that disrespecting their teacher, a chaperone, other parents, and their classmates is totally unacceptable. My daughter can attest to that . . . she lost pretty much every privilege she had the entire month of February for being disrespectful to Ms. Jennifer (her teacher). We made it very clear that was not acceptable, and the problem is solved.

When did we start allowing our children to be so disrespectful of grownups? I know the argument you’re all going to throw out there . . . “there are so many crazy adults out there, my kid shouldn’t have to be respectful to them.” Of course not . . . that’s why you never tell them they can’t say No to an adult – they can and should say no in certain situations. But, on the flip side, being disrespectful to teachers, grandparents, other kids’ parents, your own parents . . . those people that you’ve put your trust in to help your children through life? OMG if I ever thought of disrespecting someone like that I wouldn’t have seen the light of day for months!

Are you teaching your children to hold the door open for others, especially women and the elderly? Are you teaching your children to say Thank You to their soccer coaches, teachers, grandparents, friends’ parents, etc. just for being there and helping your child? Are you teaching your children to offer their seats to the elderly, whether on the bus or waiting for a table at a restaurant? All of this, of course, is better taught by your good example than by simply lecturing to your children that they should do these things.

I guess this is just one of those topics that’s always bugged me since I’ve been spending more and more time around kids after having two of my own. And after what I saw at the zoo yesterday with the gaggles of kids there on field trips, it really struck a chord.

Wordless Wednesday

Jason Fishing at Steamboat Lake State Park

Like A Good Neighbor

I’m not feeling like a really good neighbor at the moment. I had the neighbor’s (yes, the same neighbor that sold me the trampoline) car towed away from in front of our house last Saturday. I kinda feel like it was OK to do and I kinda feel bad about it. The story . . .

Our neighbors have 4 grown children – but they all still have stuff at the parents’ house, including cars. So at any given time, there are 6 cars in front of their house. Not a big deal – everyone needs to drive, right? The problem began about a year ago when the oldest son parked his old Suburban (I call it Burbzilla) in front of their house. And it just continued to sit there. The plugged it in all winter, but never drove it. Every now and then (pretty much at least once a week) they’d pull Burbzilla in front of my house . . . mostly when they had company over, etc. This continued all last winter, so the plow could never actually clear the street in front of my house because Burbzilla was there. Then every once in a blue moon they’d move it back in front of their house.

In January, they put their house up for sale. They made an effort to drive Burbzilla in front of my house, and from that point on, Burbzilla sat in front of my house – I can only assume because they didn’t want it in front of their house when they had people looking at the house. We let it go because we understood . . . for 5 months. The neighbors sold their house and moved out last Tuesday (May 22nd). The new people moved in on Wednesday the 23rd. On Thursday the 24th, Burbzilla was still in front of my house. On Friday the 25th, Burbzilla was STILL in front of my house. No word from the previous neighbors that they would come get it but needed a week or so to get settled, etc. On Saturday, I decided that was enough and called to report an abandoned vehicle (I don’t have a forwarding number for old neighbors). Someone from the Sheriff’s office came to check it out. We learned that Burbzilla was indeed still registered to the neighbors, but that the tags were expired. The last time they paid for the tags? 2000!!! After hearing that, I didn’t feel so bad about having it towed. I mean really, could I think they’d ever actually come get it? Should I have waited another 6 months with it parked in front of my house?

Well, THAT Was Easy!

Yes, IT is done! And do you know how long it took me to unattach and reattach all the springs the CORRECT way? 10 minutes. Yup, 10 friggin’ minutes. After all that crap on Sunday, it took me 10 MINUTES to get the trampoline all set up. No pulling, no dragging, no killing my back, no cutting my hands with rusty spring ends. 10 minutes of mildly stretching springs while whistling a little tune (OK, I can’t whistle – but if I COULD whistle, I certainly would have!).

Anyone who knows me KNOWS that had I been given insructions for this thing, I would have read them all through first before doing anything, and only after reading all the instructions would I have started over at step 1 and begun assembling the trampoline. You see, I’m a technical writer. I write instructions every single day for hours and hours. I would have read those instructions if for no other reason than to make the person who wrote them feel like they’d written something useful 😉 But I was NOT given instructions (used old trampoline dragged from the neighbors yard) and walking the 20 yards in to the office and turning on the computer to google “trampoline assembly instructions” would have taken an entire 5 minutes. And that, ladies and gentlemen, would obviously have been a waste of time :-)

Finally Friday

Finally, it’s Friday!

Finally, Dan gets to come home. He’s been gone 8 days. He left last Friday and was supposed to come home today, but he can’t make it home until noon Saturday. It’s been a long week! It’s always tough when he leaves on Friday cuz I end my 8 days as single mom at the end of a work week and am totally exhausted. It’s better when he leaves in the beginning or middle of the week and I have a weekend to break it up :-)

Finally, it’s sunny out and we can play outside after school. It’s been chilly and rainy (and snowy!), which I really don’t mind. I love rain – and we certainly needed the moisture here! But it’ll be nice to get outside with the kids, and maybe finish putting that trampoline together!

Finally, Jason and Keira finished decorating their bags and writing their thank yous for their teach gifts. We handed off the gifts today and it’s just one more thing off of my to do list.

Finally, we’ve gotten what should be our last snow (yes, we woke up to 2-3 inches on the ground yesterday!).

Finally, we’re looking forward to a 3-day weekend, complete with bike riding, swimming, yard work, and a golf tournament. Gotta love long weekends with beautiful forecasts!

Finally, my uninvited house guests have left the building. We caught a total of 5 squirrels (and released them down at the park) in one week! The last 3 were little guys, so we’re thinkin’ and hoping the family has decided to move on. We’re giving it one more weekend.

Finally, the kids and I finished our first “event free” week – well, other than gymnastics. But we’re finished with soccer and I’ve decided not to play softball or volleyball this summer. What a week we had – coming home after school, making good family meals, and relaxing while playing games and just hanging out! I’m looking forward to the summer.

Finally, we’re at the last day of school! Well, not technically I guess since they have actual school year stuff next week, but, they do start summer camp activities at school next week. And all the kids have pretty much checked out and are finished doing school work. The great thing is that Jason and Keira both have the same teachers throughout summer, so for Keira, that means she gets to continue with her Montessori work, but just on a lighter scale. She’s just starting to read and we are hoping we can keep her interested through the summer. For Jason that means that he’ll get to continue with all of his fun science experiments!

Finally, Jason has his last presentation at school today, so it’s my last day spending my lunch time travelling to school, watching a presentation, and eating a potluck lunch. They are so friggin’ cute with their presentations, and I was totally impressed with the quality of the country reports all year. I’ll be disappointed when these things stop :-( As always, we moms don’t want our kids growing up too fast, but we really have no control over it. We just sit back, enjoy the ride, and try to keep up!

What’s finally happening to you this week?

8 Things About Me

I’ve been tagged by Melanie . . . so here goes . . . hopefully you won’t fall asleep before you get through this . . .

 1. I do everything in 3s. If I have M&Ms, skittles, or anything else I can sort into colors, I do that, then eat them in threes. I count steps in 3s – I know exactly how many steps there are on every level of our house. I did not, however, have 3 children as originally planned.

2. I played fast-pitch softball in high school and college and got to travel around the US playing in tournaments. I can’t begin to tell you how fun that was!

3. I love Minnesota winters and miss them dearly – although our last Colorado winter was awesome!

4. I always eat my vegetables first – always, no matter what – I love vegetables.

5. I LOVE outside . . . my family is always doing something outside, even when it rains – we’ll put on rain gear and play in the puddles.

6. I love my job – yes, I did just say that. I love what I do, I love my coworkers, and I love the flexible schedule I have so I can spend lots of time with my family while feeling productive at work.

7. I miss my dog. I can’t wait for September to come so we can get another dog.

8. I have 3 tattoos . . . my two Mickeys and my wedding band.

Wordless Wednesday – 4 Generations on a Houseboat Vacation

Family Houseboat Vacation

No It’s Not Done Yet

It will have to wait until Wednesday. It rained yesterday afternoon while I was at work. When I picked the kids up from school, the first thing Keira said is “Hi Mommy! Can I jump on the trampoline when we get home?” I said, “Unfortunately, no. It rained today, and the springs are all wet, so I don’t think I can stretch them. I’ll have to try again on Wednesday.” Keira says “Awwwwww – darn it!”

Tomorrow it’s supposed to be cold and rainy all day – we’ll see what happens.

Keep your fingers crossed for me, my fingers, my shoulders, and my back!

Is It Done Yet?

We’re headed to the mountains to play for the day! The kids have been jumping on the trampoline, so I felt the need to share this previous post with you :-) I’ll post Part Deux tomorrow.

 

So I bought the kids a trampoline this weekend . . . an old used one from the neighbors. They had a moving truck out front so I asked if they had sold the trampoline with the house or would be willing to sell it to me. They said it was all ours – $50 – woo hoo! The dad who lives there (we’ll call him Jim Bob) and I were silly enough to think we could just tip it up and roll it to my yard. GREAT idea . . . IF we had 4 adults that were over 6 feet tall AND had yards with no trees or hills. When it’s just me and Jason, that wasn’t such a great idea. And I HAD to move it yesterday cuz they are closing on Wednesday. I didn’t ask Jim Bob to help cuz they were obviously busy packing and moving . . . figured they had enough going on. So, Jason, my 6 year old, and I tried semi-disassembling the trampoline . . . no luck. Apparently when you take just the legs off, the thing becomes unround and this freaky shape. So we started undoing some of the springs . . . which was a royal pain in the ass! Cuz once you undo one side, the other side is pulling so tight that you can’t stretch them anymore. ICK! We finally, with the use of a crow bar and bungee cords (don’t ask) got them all off. We totally disassembled the thing and took it to our yard, where I promptly realized we do not have a flat spot large enough for a trampoline :-) We found the “best” spot that wasn’t right in front of the storage closet and started reassembling. We’ll have to cut off a couple tree branches, but I’m OK with that 😉 We got it “round” and started attaching the springs. I got 3/4 of them done and couldn’t stretch the rest, so decided to put the legs on and get it as finished as I could. Bad idea. When you attach the springs first, the thing gets all contorted and not round (see statement above) and the legs won’t fit in the holes and you can’t rotate the frame. So, undo all springs – again. Attach legs, which is a pain with one person cuz when you lift one side to attach the legs, the legs on the other side fall out. Jason was a great help, really. Keira (she’s 4) not so much – “Is it done yet? When can I bounce on it? It’s REALLY big mommy – how did you get that over here? You should have waited for Daddy. He’s strong and could do it better than you…” Finally got all legs on and it’s round and actually sitting pretty level – wedged between some huge pine trees. Then I hear Keira yell “Jason, don’t swing in to me on that thing!” I yelled across the yard “Jason, get down! Do NOT swing in to your sister on that!” Then BAM – and Jason screams. He was standing half on the swing set with his legs around the new green disc swing thing and apparently “slipped” (whatever!) and swung toward Keira, but his plan didn’t go as well as he thought it would – and he fell half way off the green disc and the other side came up and smacked him in the mouth. Blood everywhere. He totally cut his top lip with those new huge pointy teeth he has – and knocked one of them a little loose! I was SO MAD! Took him inside, the whole time being the good mother I am and telling him that I’m sorry he hurt himself, but I don’t feel bad for him because I told him not to do it and he did anyway and this was his natural punishment for being a pain to his sister. Gave him and Keira each a popcicle – his to use as ice on his lip and Keira to have cuz, well, it wouldn’t be fair for just J to have one. You see, his mouth was dripping blood and I didn’t want him walking to the kitchen to get ice, which would have required him to walk across the freshly shampooed carpet and up the stairs, all the while dripping blood on it, so I sent him around to the garage for popcicles out of the freezer instead of to the kitchen for ice. I know, I’m in the running for the mother of the year award!

 

Anyway, back to the trampoline – I started attaching all the springs and got about 3/4 finished and can’t even come close to attaching the rest. Can’t stretch them far enough. I endure a dinner of my daughter looking longingly out the sliding glass door and saying “I sure wish I could bounce on that huge trampoline. When is Daddy coming home? I bet he could finish it.”

So I get online today to see what the “trick” is. Lo and behold, I have to undo ALL the friggin’ springs AGAIN! It says to do it in quarters . . . which I kind of did, but not really. So we’ll see if I actually get this thing completely assembled this evening or if my 4 year old will belittle me and tell me how much stronger Daddy is than I am.

Our New Tenants

Spring is here in full force, which means all the critters in our forest are out as well. The litters of baby fox, the beautiful blue jays, the singing birds, the pecking woodpeckers . . . and those damn squirrels! We have SO many squirrels in our yard. I don’t mind the squirrels – I mean, we DID move in to their neighborhood - but when they set up shop in my attic, then I mind. For the past 8 months I’ve been telling the hubby that I’m hearing scratching, etc. in the walls or attic. He says not possible for anything to get in there – and besides that, he didn’t really hear the noises. Finally, he hears it, too. He called animal control after checking out the attic and finding piled insulation, scratch marks, and chewed electrical wires! The other morning, the kids and I were eating breakfast and we could hear something chewing on the metal of one of the can lights in the kitchen! In 3 days we caught 3 squirrels. Claude, our trusty animal control guy, told us the first one was “A big mamma, and that the little ones should be big enough to come out on their own.” WHAT?!? So this thing had it’s babies in my attic?!?! Sheesh.

This morning there were two smaller squirrels in the other two traps . . . Claude will be on his way to set them free in the forest far far away from our house and also set some more traps. Here’s to hoping that our unwelcome tenants leave my attic soon so we can cover the vents and call the electrician so we don’t set our house on fire with the chewed wires.