Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Summer Break Day 59

A new doctor. A rather daunting task. For me anyway. I hate looking for new healthcare providers. I'm hard to manage so it needs to be the right person. I'd rather jump off a bridge than go through this process.

So... today was the big day. My refills ran out and I had to take the plunge. I saw a man, yes, a man. Not my first choice but he was recommended to me by my last nurse practitioner. I mean, really, how can a man understand how crazy us women are? You know what I mean? We are a mess of hormone craziness - at least I am. And on top of that, my brain is extremely dysfunctional. It's depression, but I'd much rather say I have a shrinking hippocampus. It sounds so much more exciting, doesn't it? I mean, the word depression is so depressing. Clearly a depressed person came up with that word.

So, beyond the med refill, I discussed my tummy issues with the new doc. I understand that the stomach is a fickle being so my expectations were low going in. Because really, it could be one of a hundred things causing my stomach problems. It's okay, I get that.

Of the few causes he considered, one of them was gastritis. I responded, "Eww, I have to be careful what I eat if it's that, right?" He replied, "We discourage eating a lot of chocolate, blah blah blah." I heard nothing after chocolate. Nothing. REALLY? NO chocolate? I said, "NO chocolate? Are you kidding me? I may as well jump off a bridge. I can't believe Donna recommended you." He laughed. I didn't.

So I am trying some things for two weeks and then we will reassess. Wish me luck. Please, God, no gastritis.

On another, way more interesting note, the boys and I joined the Kennedys in taking Zane for a long walk. We went to the park and to Lakeview to see the tractors. The little boys thought it was pretty fun hanging out with Zane and the Kennedys. I know Cooper and Zane will miss each other this year but hopefully they will reconnect at the middle school.

Day 59 Life Lesson: Change is hard.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Summer Break Day 58

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. This describes my parenting of late.

Today, the worst of times.

I don't do clutter well. It sends me into a despicable rage that even embarrasses me. I try really hard to be okay with messes - "they're being creative, they're engaging their brain" - but then the fuse blows. Today the fuse blew loud and I am not proud. I quite possibly was the mommy heard 'round the world.

But, at the end of the day, a conversation with each son, a heartfelt apology, a hug and kiss and finally an eye to eye, " I love you" is what, hopefully, will be embraced. I can only hope that this best of times moment will linger with my three sons more than the worst of times moment. It's all I have, really, to keep me from calling it quits.

Day 58 Life Lesson: At the end of the day, make sure they know you love them.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Summer Break Day 57

New favorite thing - scootering around the lake.

Day 57 - 2 words - Praise God!

I am so excited for school to start. When I was an elementary student a million years ago I loved the first day of school. I am even more excited for the first day now that I can shoo the boys out the door and into the hands of their trusty teachers. I think I will set my clothes out for the first day at the bus stop. Yeah, I said MY clothes.

Granted, summer for the most part is really great. We go to bed late. (They still get up early.) No homework. No making lunches. No rushing out the door to the bus stop. No picking up kids from school. No after school meltdowns. BUT, I still look forward to sending them out the door come September.

Speaking of meltdowns, Coop has been an emotional wreck this week. Crying, whining, big frustrations over tiny things. I'm thinking this might be new school year anxiety. Lots of unknowns for him and that might be unsettling. Unfortunately, it comes out in a very toddlerish way.

So the countdown begins. 8 days until schools starts. As the song says, "Wake me when September ends."

Day 57 Life Lesson: Meltdowns are ugly at any age.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Mankato Weekend Part 2

I love the peaceful setting at my in-law's house in Mankato. It is so tranquil sitting out on the porch listening to the birds and enjoying the fresh air. It is really good for my spirit.

We got spiffed up for the boys' inaugural visit to Target Field. We got a quick shot with grandma and grandpa before heading off to the game.

Enjoying the game at Target Field.

The boys were a little antsy during the first few innings but once we got some food in them they started to enjoy themselves. We were seated up in the right field corner which didn't sit well with Cooper, so we walked around a lot after the 5th inning. He felt better once we got down from the high seats. We had lots of yummy food and all in all I think it was a great time. It's always more fun when the Twins win so the 11-4 victory made the day even sweeter.

Mankato Weekend Part 1

Giving Boy-O a smooch before he comes into the world.

Aw shucks! Helping Uncle Jake clean the corn. It's a tough job.

Helping Grandma Joyce cut apples for a salad. I am happy to report no fingers were harmed in the making of this salad.

Relaxing with Uncle Jake and Roscoe P. Coltrainer.

Slip sliding away at Jake and Jodi's house.

On Saturday we took a trip to Janesville to have dinner with Jake and Jodi. They have a fantastic outdoor space at their house which made for a very fun time for all of us. We even ended the evening with a fire. Thanks for a great evening.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Summer Break Day 56ish

We drove to Mankato for the weekend. It's about a 2 and a half hour drive but after our 12 hour day, it seemed like a run to Target. The drive flew by.

I had super fun girl time at my sister-in-law's baby shower. It was so great to be silly and have girl time.

On another note, our credit card got hacked tonight so I had to cancel it. Bummer.

Day 56 Life Lesson: Girls rule.

Summer Break Day 55

We found out today that Cooper will be catching the morning bus at a different location than Kyle. Hmm, how is that going to work? I wonder if this year Kyle will run kicking and screaming from the bus stop like he did last year. Beginning of the school year jitters. Not sure if the boys have them but I certainly do. An anxious 1st grader on his own without big brother. Biggest brother going to a new school. Littlest brother stuck with his mom, likely boycotting his senior year in preschool, as he has the last 2 years. (Insert big deep breath here.) (Another deep breath here.)

Lif is ever changing, that's a constant. Transitions, milestones, stumbling blocks, forks, speed bumps, yielding, stopping, going, steep hills, scenic views, curves, hairpin turns, slowing down...

Day 55 Life Lesson: "Change is inevitable, growth is optional."

Summer Break Day 54

I am doing some rearranging and organizing around the house hoping that will create order. Unfortunately, it doesn't really have any affect (or is it Effect) on children's behavior. I thought if I created order in the physical layout of the house it would translate to behavioral order. But, alas, not so.

Day 54 Life Lesson: Accept the things you cannot change...

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Summer Break Day 53

I am reading a book by Russ Masterson called, "40 Days Without Food." On about day 30 of his fast, he talks about ability and value not being synonymous. So I was thinking about what a great message this is for my three sons and also Corey. I need to make sure they know that when they fall short on ability, that doesn't change their value. I love that. I need to remember that, too.

On a similar train, I was thinking today about how frustrated I have been with sons who want, want, want but don't want to do, do, do. Does frustration mean ungrateful? Not to me, but maybe to them.

Processing... processing...

Day 53 Life Lesson: "My failure might be a comment on my ability but not on my value."

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Summer Break Day 52

Grace's first day of school. We walked her down to the end of the driveway to wait for the bus. After 6 days, it looks like everyone still likes each other. The bus finally arrived at 8:15 and we drove off right behind it.

At hour 4ish, we stopped at a very cool rest area just over the Illinois border, Salt Kettle. It had a nice pond with fountains, a playground, and covered picnic areas. The place was so clean inside and out. I could live there. On another note, Cooper LOVES dill pickle chips.

Coop was a great sport the whole trip considering he had a bad cold and cough. Way to hang in there, son.

Now that the trip is over, I am just giddy with gratitude. We arrived home 12 hours later after 1 rest stop, 1 gas stop, and 1 Cold Stone Creamery stop. The boys were incredibly patient. Thank you honey for getting us home safely.

As we walked into the house, Kyle burst into tears. I scooped him up like a lost kitty and held him tight. It's not easy to hug Kyle. Have you ever hugged a straw? It's a lot like that. He told me between his big sobs that he wanted to go back. He had a really great time being with his cousins and doing lots of fun things.

I could have burst into tears, too, but for a different reason. I learned something about myself this past week. You have to walk through the puddles, not around them. My stomach has been a wreck for several months and this past week was no different. The first night was spent on the bathroom floor. The days that followed were better but I still had many long stretches of quiet misery wondering if an embarrassing event might occur. Most importantly though, I plowed, stomped, skipped, kicked and screamed, right through it. And I will continue to do it. Because I can.

Boys, when you look back at this blog know that I am so very, very proud of you. You done good!

There is something so settling and wonderful about looking through your bug splattered windshield, after a time away, and seeing your home on the horizon that causes a grateful sigh to burst from your soul.

Day 52 Life Lesson: There is NO PLACE like home. No place.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Wild Animal Weekend Part 2

Cameron Monkey

Cooper Turtle

Cameron & Landon Monkeys

Mmmmmm, fragrant!

And finally, Gorillas in the mist!

Wild Animal Weekend Part 1

Those are two pretty wild animals on the couch, right? Cam is snuggling with Herbie Hancock who I commonly refer to as Herbert. My niece and nephew don't appreciate that and correct my often. What can I say, I like to give animals and people nicknames.

I found with our visit to the Cincinnati Zoo that kids LOVE looking at animals, insects, and reptiles, oh my. Kids just think a zoo is the coolest thing ever. When the day was over I asked Cam what his favorite part of the day was and he said, as only Cam can, "Everyling."

I think these 5 wild things fit right in at the zoo. This was at the end of the day so it was great to start with 5 kids and leave with 5 kids. There was one point in the day when we had 6 kids but we found the parents of the extra child without incident.

Summer Break Day 51

Had a splashing good time at the neighborhood pool. It has been pretty sticky here so a dip in the pool was very refreshing.

Salesa (sister-in-law) and I hung out with the kids all day while the men-folk trekked off to the Truck and Tractor Pull Nationals. Corey was like a little kid when he got home at midnight. I was half asleep but still caught some exciting stories of giant engines and big power. So happy for him that he got to do it and I only had to hear about it :-)

Day 51 Life Lesson: Boredom is soooo wonderful... when you're an adult.

Summer Break Day 50

On Day 50 we are still in Ohio. We went to the DQ Car Show and indulged. Cooper got to ride home in Uncle Jason's Trans Am. He thought the T-Top was weird but loved the noisy exhaust.

Corey likes to get the kids wound up. The moms don't like it but the kids do :-) We are having a super great time being away from the stresses of home. The boys miss their toys but the cousins are great at sharing.

Day 50 Life Lesson: Laughter might possibly be THE best medicine.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Summer Break Day 49

We had a super great night at the hotel. The boys hadn't stayed in a hotel before and they thought it was really cool. Everyone slept well but me but that's okay. I thought for sure Cooper's cold and cough would keep us and him up all night but we stayed away from the croup for another night.

The cousins took a bath and had a tub tea party. So much fun!

Cameron latched onto Uncle Jason to have him read a spirited version of a Cars book. Way to go, Uncle Jason.

Nothing like a little bedtime reading with your cousin after a bath.

Finally, my pageant dreams have come true. My niece crowned me Queen. It was a very emotional moment and honestly I still get teary eyed talking about it. I may never take the crown off my head.

Day 49 Life Lesson: Dreams DO come true.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Summer Break Day 48

It was a great afternoon in the car. The boys were content to stare at the DVD player and play their road games. We stopped at a rest area to eat out of our cooler and play some frisbee. The weather was great for a picnic.

We made it to Bloomington, Illinois, around 9pm. We snuggled up in our pjs and hit the sack.

Day 48 Life Lesson: Boys rock.

Summer Break Day 47

Kyle woke up on the wrong side of the bed. It was pretty funny. He likes to make us laugh.

It was a busy laundry day. We are heading out of town on Tuesday so much laundry needs to be done. The boys packed their car toys and pillows. Cam decided he needed to bring every single item he owned with him. He was none too happy when I explained to him that the van wasn't that big and that he would need to leave many of his precious possessions behind. He still decided to bring the crumpled up pieces of paper off his floor with him. Okay, whatever.

Day 47 Life Lesson: You can't take it with you.

Dam Weekend

A first time visit to Lock and Dam 5A proved to be very educational and interesting. Each year during the Fountain City festival the dam is open for visitors. We had an adventurous time walking to the lock over the see through grates. It was a little scary for Kyle (and me) but we were really proud of ourselves for going. We also rode the gate in the lock when they were opened and closed for river traffic to get in and out.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Summer Break Day 46

The last day of Camp Invention. Phew! It was a lot of fun but also a great learning experience for Coop. We are so proud of him for hanging in there and doing his best. I think he had a really great week even though it was exhausting.

On another scary note, Cameron has graduated out of his car seat and into the much less confining booster seat. It is a very hard day for me. I can no longer confine the boy to his car seat. He has his freedom back and I have lost all control. (Big sigh!) Cooper has also graduated out of his booster. Wow! That happened really fast. I can still remember carrying Coop around in his baby seat. (Another big sigh...)

Day 46 Life Lesson: Time flies... no matter what you're doing.

Summer Break Day 45

One of the highlights of the summer was having friends come and visit for the day. They brought their special guest from Italy, Stephano. We had such a great time being silly and trying new things. My dad took Stephano for his inaugural fishing trip. He caught three fish! In the evening, we ventured over to Suncrest Gardens for some outdoor dining and fresh country air. This was our first time there and it was super fun being outside to eat. I mean, where else can you go out for a great dinner and it's actually okay for the kids to run around. We knew at least 10 other families. It was quite a Winona gathering.

Kyle played frisbee with Marcus while waiting for the pizza.

We checked out the huge garden with our friend, Kay. We snuck a purple green bean to taste. The garden is very fragrant with lots of basil growing.

The pizza was super yummy. We decided to go low maintenance so we didn't take plates or anything. It was fun to grab and eat. That's how we usually eat with three boys, anyway :-) Shirt sleeves make really great napkins.

And if you drop your pizza, you just pick it up and wipe the grass off and keep eating.

We are so glad our friend smade the day trip to visit us. We had so much fun hanging out with them. I hope we can do it again soon.

Day 45 Life Lesson: Want less, do more.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Summer Break Day 44

Wednesday: Coop is struggling with the Camp Invention schedule. He is not getting to bed early enough which makes for an ugly boy at pick up. His day is long, 9-3:30, and intense. He has high expectations for himself in all things academic so when he struggles he doesn't know how to handle it. I hope he can make it through the rest of the week.

After dropping Coop off at karate, the little brothers and I went to play frisbee golf for the first time ever. We had so much fun chasing the frisbees. It was hilarious watching the boys being really careful not to hit the walkers and drivers.

Day 44 Life Lesson: Sleep matters.

Summer Break Day 43

I caved in to some serious son pressure to have my nephew over to play. Holy testosterone, batman. My nephew never stops talking and never stops trying to outdo everyone. All boy and oh, boy. To aid in the sanity and safety of everyone, okay mostly me, we played outside all day. The favorite game of the day was "Fake Wipeout". They cruised around on their scooters pretending to fall down and wipe out. I think Cam won the prize for best "Fake Wipeout."

Kyle enjoyed yet another night of tee ball. He didn't tackle anyone but he did steal several balls from his teammates. Gotta love the intensity.

Day 43 Life Lesson: Throw like a girl.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Summer Break Day 42

Wow, day 42. Is it almost over?

Coop went to Camp Invention today. It is so peaceful when one son is away for the day. I took the little brothers to the park. We played tag. Man, am I slow and old. It was demoralizing. How can I not catch a 4 year old and a 6 year old?

We made fun snacks. Bananas dipped in yogurt then rolled in frosted flakes. We put them in the freezer and they were so yummy when we ate them for a snack later in the day. We also made pretzel stick kabobs with cheese cubes, deli bites, and grapes. Playing with food is fun.

Day 42 Life Lesson: Run, Forrest, Run...

Resurfacing Weekend

Corey resurfaced the driveway this weekend. It's a really dirty job. I made him go shower at the car wash after he finished. Ok, not really, but I so wanted to.

I have a confession to make. I cheated on my husband... with ICE CREAM. That's right, I did it. But before passing judgment you should know that I had his best interest at heart. It's also not my fault. It's my friend's fault. She introduced me to the root beer freezes at A&W and I can't stop buying them. Back to my husband. He is trying to cut back on sweets. So, when I go run errands, I stop for a root beer freeze and finish it before I get home. But I'm so bad at sneaking around that I, more than once, mind you, left the A&W cup in the van for him to find. Maybe I wanted to get caught.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Summer Break Day 41

I no longer fear Franklin Street. In fact, I purposely turned onto it twice this week. I love that new stoplight. I think a whole new world has opened up to me. All because of a well-placed, long overdue, arterial. Life is good.

After much research, I have come up with the number one reason NOT to turn on the TV with my three sons in the room. E.D. That's right, erectile dysfunction. If I leave the TV off when my boys are in the room, I will never have to explain erectile dysfuntion to them. That is a really good reason to leave the TV off when they are around.

Speaking of screen time, the picture in this post is Kyle, on the computer, staring at the TV. It's a very proud parenting moment for me.

Day 41 Life Lesson: Take the road less traveled sometimes.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Summer Break Day 40

My three sons and I went on an adventure with Snaps. The view from Buena Vista Park was fantastic. The boys had a blast climbing down the rocks and hiking through the woods. We are so lucky to have a fun friend. Thanks Snaps!

Day 40 Life Lesson: Enjoy the view.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Summer Break Day 39

My niece and nephew were with us all day today. 5 kids together (especially these 5) has the potential of getting really ugly, however, the day went very well. Lots of playing inside since it is still pretty warm these days. Olivia cleaned a lot, as usual. Great for me but the boys hate it because then they can't find their "duff". I folded laundry all day and watched cooking shows until I got bored and shut the TV off.

Did you ever notice that boys like to pick up people? I mean, even total strangers. Kyle will walk up to someone and say in his most studly, 6-year-old voice, "I can pick you up. Wanna see?" So what do girls do? Do they want to do everyone's hair? Hmm...

Day 39 Life Lesson: When momma's happy, everyone's happy.

Summer Break Day 38

Very tired today. Not sure why. Maybe I am still recovering from the weekend.

Kyle had a tee ball game tonight but I stayed home and let all the boys go with Corey. Went to bed early, very early.

Day 38 Life Lesson: Early to bed, early to rise... doesn't seem to do much for me.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Summer Break Day 37

I used my iPhone for this shot. This hawk likes to hang out on this post guarding traffic.

The day was filled with painting. My mom's friend Shirley, a most amazing artist, shared some tips and cool painting supplies with my three sons and my niece and nephew. The kids had a super fun time being Picasso-like. The pieces they painted were beautiful.

Coop had a busy day of painting, photography class and karate. Poor kid was exhausted by the end of the day and so was the mom. We were all in bed by 8:30, leaving Corey to some peace and quiet and total control of the remote.

Golfing is normally a sweet event for me but doing it in 500% humidity is not so appealing. Thank goodness the sun wasn't shining. Really? I was thankful the sun WASN'T shining? Brutal winters and brutal summers. Minnesota is hard to love sometimes. But aren't we all?

I did have a good time hanging with my friend on the golf course for extended girl time. We golfed horribly, lost a lot of balls, got really stinky sweaty, but it was SO much fun. I know, its crazy, isn't it? And LB parred the last 2 holes and I mulligan parred the last one so now we think we like the game and might actually be able to conquer it so we'll play again on Thursday. That's even crazier.

Should I be worried that my 6 year old came up to me last night and in his most sarcastic, sassy voice asked, "Really mom? Really? You leave my room, tell me you'll be right back and then you don't come back? Really mom?" It's about the tone for me. Granted, he was absolutely right. I do this all the time. I say something but then I get distracted and often don't do what I said I was going to do. Women are supposed to be good at multi-tasking but I am not. Last night was all about the whole "what goes around comes around" thing because it was my sassy, sarcastic voice coming right back at me. Ouch!

However, my voice also came back to me in my 4 year old when he said to LB and I as we went off to golf, "Don't have too 'mut' fun 'witout' me, okay? And you two be good 'littners'." Now that's redemption. The good stuff coming right back 'atcha. I think I'll just hold onto that one. It will make me think I can conquer this mothering thing and I'll come back for another day.

Day 37 Life Lesson: What goes around comes around so be careful what you put out there.