Thursday, September 30, 2010

Friends With Powers

Nothing beats having friends.  Good friends.  Friends that are so good, they will watch all 4 kids for you.  And, friends that are so good, they trust you to watch THEIR kids.

We have started a "date night" here.  One week, B&C watch our kids, the next, we watch theirs. It's been wonderful.
Sometimes, the hubby and I go grab a bite to eat. Sometimes, we sit at home, eat Ramen and watch re-runs of "King of Queens".  But, either way, we have some alone time.

When you have other people watch your kids, you basically open your self up. Make your parenting skills vulnerable to critique. To questioning. 
Luckily, we have good enough friends, they laugh. 

For instance:

B&C have been building a shed.  This particular night, they were working on painting the shed, while watching our kids + their two at the same time.  Fortunately, they have a huge back yard with a huge swing set.  So, it was "easy" to watch kids and paint at the same time. So to speak.

Jeven kept saying to B "Watch me do my tricks!!" to which B would say "In a minute. Hold on. I have to look at my painting."
Jeven would get impatient and again beg for her to watch him. 
B was trying her hardest to paint and watch Jeven at the same time but it just wasn't happening. 

Finally, Jeven was done waiting. He walked up to B and told her:
"Ya know? My mom can watch me without even looking at me.  Sometimes, she doesn't even turn around! You should try it!"

Jeven did his trick.
B announced:  "You're right!!  It DOES work".

I think B should have THANKED me for the best parenting trick ever. Not laughed at me. 

What are friends for?

Friday, September 24, 2010

Never Boring

Some of you have been around the Boring Stay at Homer house for a bit and recognize the irony in my screen name. 

Truly, it's never boring around here.

Homeschooling is going much better this year.  Partly because Jayce and Josie know what to expect  and partly (hugely) because 2 of the heathens boys are gone part of the time. 

However, there's still the "I don't wanna do it!" attitude the comes up with a certain "student". I won't use a name but here's a clue:

To be fair, both Jayce and Josie sometimes give me attitude about doing school. It's just that Josie is louder about it.  If you're new here, go read THIS to perhaps get a better understanding of what I'm talking about.

Yesterday was not a good day for Josie. 
To say she woke up on the wrong side of the bed would be an understatement.

But, I had her doing some school and I was a good candidate for Mother of the Year with all my patience when, (JAWS music here) she got. an. answer. wrong.  It all hit the proverbial fan from there. 
There was no getting her back and my award was quickly being handed off to Angelina Jolie.

So,to her room she went. 

Now, Jayce was free to do his Literature exam on the computer. 
What Jayce is trying extra hard this year to do, is pat himself on the back.  When he gets any answer correct, he likes to celebrate.  Usually by yelling out "I'm a natural genius!!".  First, your mother telling you where to find the answer and how to spell it, does not make you a natural genius.  But, he's doing school and trying to make the best of it. Who am I to burst his bubble?

This particular exam was multiple choice and it gives you a nice "DING" when you are correct. 

Jayce, feeling extra intelligent, decided the "DING" from the computer wasn't enough.  He felt a loud "BA-DING" from him would just be better. 

Remember, I still have Josie wailing in her room over the un-capitalized "F" in Uncle frank.

Here is the rundown:

Josie:  Cry, cry, scream, wail, sob
Jayce: BA-DING!!
Josie:  Jayce!! I hate you!! Stop!!
Jayce:  BA-DING!!
Josie:  JAYCE!! cry, cry, sob, wail
Jayce: BA-DA-DING!!! 
At this point, I'm trying to tell Jayce two things:
"Good job!!" and "Quit tormenting your sister" but I was laughing too hard to be coherent. 

Today is a new day. Josie has long stopped her fit (at least that particular one) but at lunch, Jayce decided to test the waters and gave a random "BA-DING". 

Let me just say, it was not well received. 

Saturday, September 18, 2010

What To Say?

Recently, it hasn't even been a week yet, a dear friend's brother died in a horrible motorcycle accident.  While home from Iraq.  He wasn't in the military but still.  You'd think being home would be safe. 

We are close enough to this person to want to help. In anyway possible.

The things is, what does that mean? What does one do to help in a situation like this? 
I've taken food to them. I've offered to take their kids for them, to give them some time.

The family is large and they are all together, mourning their loss. 

In my mind, there's a fine line between being caring and helpful and being annoying and intrusive.

I am not one of those people that wants lots of hugs and pity, when something horrible happens. On the other hand, I don't like it when a situation is ignored either.

In 2000, I suffered a miscarriage at 12 weeks.  Many people were kind and loving and helpful.  Others didn't even say "I'm sorry" or anything.  To me, ignoring a bad situation is hurtful. Yet, saying something stupid (like "God just wanted your baby in Heaven (HELLO!! I wanted my baby too!!))  is just as hurtful. 
I learned from my particular experience, it's better to say "I'm sorry. I don't know what to say" than to say nothing at all.

So, that's what we've been doing.  A lot of praying, a lot of "Let me know if there's anything we can do" and a lot of  "We love you guys." 

It's just so awful that there's nothing else we can do. 

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Back To School

Technically,we've been "back to school" for over a week now but today was the first day everyone was where they were suppose to be.

Jeven is going to preschool 2 mornings a week.

Jarrett is going to kindergarten 5 days a week (well, almost.  The amount of days off for the public school system is unbelievable!)

That leaves Josie and Jayce home with me! 

I am really hoping having the mornings to ourselves will help with the home schooling. My biggest challenge last year was finding things for the little boys to do. That didn't involve a t.v. and dvd player. 

My visions of everyone sitting at the table doing school together quickly went out the window.  It only takes approximately 3.4 seconds for a preschooler to color a purple triangle.  Leaving me no time to help Jayce with his prepositions.

So, again, my fingers are crossed for a little "smoother" ride this year. 

I was a little surprised at how emotional I was, those first days of school . Jarrett's first day at kindergarten. Jeven's first day today.

These are my babies!  I've always had a kid "in reserve". But, I look behind me and there's no more babies waiting to grow up.  No more babies waiting for their special "school" day. 

And, having the school secretary tell me that "Jarrett was so cute today when he was crying because he couldn't find his class!" didn't help things.  Why on earth would you think telling a mother that her child had a horribly traumatic experience without her to help him would be a good thing?  

As we say goodbye to summer and start new schedules and routines, I try to slow things down and just savor the good times.   I just wish Father Time would cooperate with me.

Jeven ready to play with the play-doh! (Get the heck outta here Mom!) 

Jarrett ready "to go already!!" (why is it takes a picture to realize how dirty your walls/doors are??)

Josie--grade 2!

Jayce--grade 6. (and oh, so thrilled to get his picture taken!)

Thursday, September 9, 2010

You Know You've Been Married Awhile When... resort to scheduling certain events.

Take a look at what we have going on the 14th.

So, don't call or stop by here on the 14th. We will be busy. Apparently.

(FYI:  I babysit 2 little kiddos occasionaly with the first names Tanner and Anna.  It took one of Judd's younger, single friends looking at our calendar to make me aware of what we have on our calendar for the whole world to see.  Needless to say, this young man thinks Judd is either :
a) lucky he gets T&A at all
b) pathetic that he has to have it pre-planned weeks in advance. )

Tuesday, September 7, 2010


I love my daughter.  I probably don't have to tell you that.

She's a beautiful, intelligent, funny, smart and sweet young lady.
She's 7 1/2. Going on 19.

It's just her and I against all these boys, in this house.

I have to be honest, that's the whole reason of this post.  She is the one that pushes my buttons the most. Exasperates me the most. Makes me want to scream while I'm pulling all my hair out and stabbing myself with a sharp stick the most.
And, it's not just recently. It's always been this way.

She wasn't a difficult baby, really.  Wasn't colicky or anything.  I do remember putting her to bed and she would scream for what I thought was an unusually long period of time. She was perhaps a little more difficult to please. But, at that time, I only had one baby to compare her to--Jayce.
Jayce was an easy baby, an easy toddler, an easy child.  Once was usually all it took as far as correction.  Being told not to do something and why, that was all Jayce needed.  I knew that was unusual, so when Josie came along, all the difficulties, I thought THOSE were normal.

Until she hit about 5. And things were STILL difficult.
At one point, her dad and I wondered if there was something else going on.  Some sort of "condition" that made learning and understanding difficult for Josie. We never pursued our theory with a doctor or therapist.  We didn't really have "evidence" other than she was sometimes frustrating.

These days, things are not much different.  She has days where she's eager to please, and others when she just wakes up spitting.

We've come to accept it's Josie. It's just the way she is.

Let me give you an example:

A day last week was just one of those days when Josie was being contrary, disobedient and sassy. 
I had handled it all to the best of my ability.  Patiently telling her it was not acceptable to act that way, putting her in time out and even spanking her.  (believe me, at 7, the last resort is spanking but we do do it)
Evening time rolled around, I let the little boys and Josie ride their bikes and scooters out in the cul-de-sac. We also borrowed the neighbor's puppy and had him on a leash.  The little boys were taking turns holding Fritz.  At one point, Josie stole Jarrett's scooter.  Jarrett asked for it back several times. I finally intervened and told Josie to give her brother back his scooter.

She then jumps off the scooter, throws it to the ground with a snotty "fine".
I announced that is was time for her to go in the house and go to bed.

You would have thought I announced Santa Claus wasn't real.
There she stood, in the middle of the street (basically) sobbing and whining for all the neighbors to see.

I finally gave the puppy to one of the boys, and walked Josie into the house. Told her to get dressed for bed and get into bed.
This was at approx. 7:30

After sobbing and asking over and over and over again to get up, she finally went to sleep.

At approx. 1:15 a.m.

That's 6 hours, in case you don't want to do the math.
And, while it may be somewhat abnormal to not just give up and go to sleep, it's not abnormal for Josie.

I'm not quite sure why I am posting this here, for all the world to see.
I certainly don't want to open myself up to criticism about how I should handle my daughter. And, I also know there's parents out there facing far more challenging situations with their own children.

I guess I just needed to voice that sometimes, I don't understand my child. And that frustrates ME.  I am her mother.  I should know how to handle her. I should be able to predict what she will do. And, I can, to some degree.

But, there are times when I put her to bed so relieved to be done for the day.  With her.

And the guilt eats me away and I try again the next day. To understand her and to love her. Of course, the loving her part isn't the challenge. Giving her the best of my parenting skills is the challenge.

I truly believe her stubbornness and her"challenges" today will be her blessings and best character qualities later. I believe God has a plan for my darling Josie.  I just need Him to be patient with me and give me the wisdom to parent her the way she needs NOW. To cultivate her strengths.

It would also be nice if He would take pity on me when she hits puberty.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Camping 2010

A couple weeks ago, we went on our first family camping trip!  Actually, it was our second but the first one only included 1/2 of our current children.  Jayce was 4 and puked the whole time and Josie was 6 months old and cried the whole time.  For some reason, we've waited another 7 yrs. before trying again.

I've written this post several times over the last few days, in my head.  I want to try and tell you EVERYTHING that happened but realize that may be boring.  Some of the fun and exciting things were certainly "You had to be there" moments. 

I came up with the idea of writing this post from each family member's point of view. I should say, their point of view through my eyes. So, their point of view from my point of view. Makes perfect sense. To me. 

I'll start (of course).                       
Growing up, I was very fortunate to have parents that took the time and effort to plan family trips. We went camping, we went to Disneyland numerous times, traveled to B.C to the aquariums and zoos.  We went places and did things together. Sometimes huge, special things. Sometimes simple picnics at the creek.  
Now, as I parent, I cannot believe I am the one in charge of planning the family outings.  Where do we go?  How do we get there?  How much do we plan to spend?  What do I pack?  If an emergency happens while we are traveling, what will we do?  

We (I) decided we'd go to the Wild Animal Park in Bandon then proceed to our camping destination.  Spend 2 nights camping, then come home.  

It all worked out splendidly!  I packed. I planned. I shopped for groceries.  I rock!  Well, except for the fact that I didn't pack enough blankets (TO GO CAMPING. AT THE COAST!  kinda a big deal) and I left my 11 yr. old to pack for himself.  But, the way I'm looking at it, if those were the worst things that happened, it's all good.

We didn't tell the kids we were going to the Animal Park until we pulled into the parking lot.  They had a great time!
Yes, that's a baby tiger!  By the time it was finally our turn with the baby kitty, the silly thing was pretty wound up.  A cute little kitten playing "tag" is one thing. But, a baby tiger, that's an entirely different story! But, he was a cutie and the kids loved him. 

Camping was fun!  But, I am realizing unless we go somewhere that provides room service, I will never get away from cooking and cleaning.  Seemed by the time I got done cooking breakfast and cleaning up camp, it was time to start lunch. Pretty much the same as at home.  Except I didn't have to worry about spills on the floor. 

My favorite part was going up the road a bit to a wildlife lookout.  We went up there several times a day, each day.  We saw seals, sea lions, and more than one whale. I could stay there all day and just watch.

Judd's point of view (POV):  I hate campgrounds. I hate people.  But, since my wife is a wimp and insisted, at least for this first time with the whole family, that we be somewhere with running water close by, I gave in and we camped at an Oregon State Campground. It had an interpretative center. What the hell is an interpretative center?!  And, there were people EVERYWHERE!  I hate people. Especially loud, drunk, stupid people. We got lucky though. The people next to us, and across from us didn't speak English. They were Asians. From Canada.  That didn't speak  Canadian.  And there were about 30 of them. They got together at night and sat around one campfire and played games. And sang songs. In their native language, whatever it was.  Surprisingly, it wasn't irritating, it was nice.  Especially when they were singing "How Great Thou Art". We couldn't understand the words but we knew what it was by the tune.

Sleeping in the tent with the whole family was interesting. Wish we would have had more blankets. 
Next time, we camp MY way.  THAT should be interesting. 
That ram kept, well, ramming me for more food.  I showed him who was boss and kept the ice cream cone.  

Jayce's POV :  Camping was awesome!  Except, my mom made me a list of stuff to pack and she wrote "sweats to sleep in" and I packed my break-away basketball pants.  They didn't keep me very warm. And, we didn't have very many blankets so I was pretty cold at night.  But, that's ok. I still had fun. We saw so many animals over the 3 days we were gone. Between the Park, the campground and the drive we saw lions, tiger and bears (my mom always says "Oh my") elk, kangaroos, sea lions, whales, chipmunks. I tried to catch a chipmunk but didn't. 
I had lots of fun, even though Josie is always so annoying. 
My mom cooked awesome food. Although, she didn't seem to like cooking it so much. 
This parrot was so cool!  He talked more than my sister!  He liked to play peek-a-boo.  See how he's posing for this picture?  Also, notice how it looks like I'm in a cage and the parrot is observing me?
I hope we get to go camping again. Although, when my mom and dad talk about it, there seems to be differing opinions about it. 

Josie's POV: I liked camping.   I also like changing my clothes 10 times a day and that doesn't go well with camping. By the end of the first day, I had no more clean clothes. My mom kept warning me about that but...I didn't listen. So, on the last day, on the way home, I had to wear my clothes that I slept in. I cried all the way home saying " I want to wear my brown pants!!" but my mom just ignored me. And kept saying "You are so tired!". But I wasn't. Well, maybe I was. Probably because I didn't sleep very well because we didn't have enough blankets. Who knows. 
I loved going to the beach!  I found a sea star but it was dead.  My mom said we couldn't keep it. We asked the Ranger about it and he said it's against the law. 
I also collected some shells at the beach.  When I showed them to my mom, she just laughed. She said something about "Pistachio shells".  I think those are a rare kind of sea creature. 
I do hope we go camping again, next time I want to sleep right next to Jayce!

Jarrett's POV:  I loved camping!  I never had to take a bath or even change my clothes! I wore the same clothes for 2 days in a row!!  We got to hold a baby tiger, he kinda bit me but it didn't hurt. He was just playing. 
Here I am talking to a llama. Or alpaca.  I don't know exactly what it is, it just came up behind me and nudged me!  I think he thought I had food. But, I didn't.  I had already thrown my cone on the ground and ran away when we fed the animals. I wasn't scared, there were just SO many animals, wanting the food. 
Sleeping in the tent was fun!  I was a little cold but my dad kept me covered up pretty good.  I hope we go camping again, I would love to see if I can get dirtier next time!  

Jeven's POV:  My mom told me weeks ago that we were going camping.  Which means we were going somewhere to put marshmallows on a stick and roast them. Imagine how surprised I was when we went to sleep in the tent!  I whispered "Mommy! What are we doing?"
She said "We're going to sleep now"
I said "In the tent!!" I couldn't believe it!!!
She said "Yes, Jeven!  This is camping!"
Now I know what camping is! 
We had three sizes of marshmallows--extra huge (my favorite!) large and mini.  They all are SO good!! 

I liked feeding the animals at the park, although it took me a while to get brave enough. 
I liked sleeping in the tent. I didn't get cold at all!  My mom says it's because I'm always so hot, I'm always so sweaty.  She said it finally came in handy. 

I loved getting dirty and eating everything in sight!  I hope we go camping again, really soon. Now that I know what it is!!  

I think camping was a hit!  And, something we can certainly do again.  I am pretty darn sure I can handle it. And that I will be reminded to pack enough blankets!