Wednesday, August 31, 2011

I am a self-proclaimed shopaholic.  Well, actually more like a husband-proclaimed, but whatever.  The first step is admitting it, right?

Anyhow, I was >this< close to making this purchase for Allison's birthday:
So cute, so girly.  It was $25, without shipping.  Couple of quick clicks and it could have been mine.

Buuuut since I was cut off, I had to either go without, or come up with my own version.  So I lugged out this tote full of scrapbooking supplies that has been collecting dust for YEARS now, and got to work.  After about 30 minutes, and without spending a single penny, I made her this:
You can't really tell from the picture, but each circle is tied with a little yellow ribbon.  By no means is it perfect, but it was different, and Allison loved waking up to it this morning!  I plan on only saving her name and hanging it up in her room.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

So last night I shared with Jay my idea to simplify our lives.  His response was "Uh, how about you just stop spending so much money at Target?"  Okay, so he's not following me, but I'm still on this quest.

First things first.  Our house is full of stuff.  Our home is roughly 900 square feet.  Small.  Our kids (remember when I said how spoiled they are in the previous post?) have toys ev.ry.where.  Toys they likely don't even know exist.  Therefore, we are going to have a garage sale in 2 weeks.  We have already started gathering items to sell.  We will use any money we make towards Christmas.

I also took Allison to church with me (Ethan is still out of town with my parents).  As I said earlier, it's so much easier to just leave her at home.  She won't go to Sunday School.  She cries the entire time and I just can't do that to her.  Therefore, she has to stay with me, which means I have to keep her quiet for at least an hour and a half and it can be pretty tricky!  But I did it.  She dressed sweetly in her ladybug dress.  Snacked on dried cranberries throughout the sermon, and when it was time to pray, she politely bowed her head.  At one point as she was sitting on my lap, she leaned back, looked at me, smiled and whispered "I just a little girl."

This afternoon, Jay had plans for the entire afternoon.  I wanted to take Allison to the zoo, but that easily would have cost about $60 with gas and the admission fee.  Instead, we drove 10 minutes away to Elizabeth Park.  We sat in the grass and fed the ducks.  We also counted them (there were 29!) and I helped Allison count all the way to 29.  After, we visited all the play areas, and finished off at the animals, where she pet 2 goats, said hello to a duck, and waved to the horses.  Then we came home.  We spent $0.00 and had a beautiful time.

Every day is a work in progress for me.  Heck, most days every minute is work.  I have to make the conscious effort to make my day good and worthwhile.  It's hard, but I am setting goals for myself and I firmly believe I will get back on track.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

I have done a crazy amount of thinking lately, so this is basically going to be a "brain dump" kind of post.

This has been one hell of a year.  Obviously, because of what happened to my sister (the one year anniversary is coming up and I am having a really hard time thinking about that), but also other things.  Any type of tragedy can put a strain on relationships.  Jay has been absolutely phenomenal throughout all of it, but it's me that has been difficult to live with.  I have been hit with depression that is worse than ever.  My mood literally goes from happy to angry/sad in the blink of an eye, and my way of dealing with stress is to shop, shop, shop, and unfortunately, our bank account doesn't allow for my amount of stress.

I love my job as a nurse, but sometimes, it also gets very draining.  Obviously there are a ton of legal aspects to my job, so that adds stress, and it seems like every time I go in to work, the load gets bigger.  I'm sure you've heard about the nursing shortage.  It's true.  And there is no end in site.

I think I have wonderful parents.  We had such a normal life, if there is such a thing.  Just my sister and I, my parents, and we always had a dog that was doted on.  We did family vacations every summer, but usually it was low key stuff, like camping.  My sister and I did well in school, we got along great, we grew up into incredible women (had to say it...haha!) was just all very normal.   Then I take a look at my current life, and I try to be as great of a mother as my own, yet Ethan can be SO disobedient and disrespectful, I wonder where I went wrong.  He has such a loving household and he has never gone without.  Why does he think this is okay?

While I was in Mackinac with my kids, I thought about a lot of things.  I thought about what is different with kids now versus back when I was a child.  Facebook, technology, and TV programming are just a few of the things.  When Ethan wakes up in the morning, he can usually find me on the computer.  If he needs something, he usually hears "hang on a minute."  When I was growing up, there was no computer.  My mom was THERE.  Not saying I'm not there for my kids, but it's in a different sense.  I'm distracted constantly.  I should be distracted by them, not some glowing screen.

Another thing.  In Mackinac, we were walking downtown, and there were t-shirt shops everywhere.  In one, Ethan noticed a shirt that had the Grinch on it.  He excitedly said, "Look, Mom!  It's the Grinch! he holding a beer???" (Yes, yes he was) ...and I shooed him away.  There were t-shirts everywhere, for anyone to see with very vulgar words on them.  Ethan has a TV in his room, and he is allowed to watch cartoon network in the evening.  Did you know cartoon network turns into something called adult swim later in the evening?  Inappropriate cartoons are shown at this time.  To Ethan, it's just another cartoon.  But if you watch it, it's full of sexual jokes and alcohol.

Sometimes when I think about Ethan and how he acts, I wonder what is wrong.  Do I need a doctor to evaluate him?  Does he need psychological help to determine why he acts so defiantly?  Or do I just need to take a look at his surroundings?  It was practically a slap in the face when I really thought about it.

My mission is to simplify.  One word, a whole lotta meaning.  We spend to much and give too little.  We get wrapped up in technology and disregard our books and conversation.  We spend time inside lounging when nature is all around us (wading in the Great Lakes looking at rocks with my kids?  Amazing.)  I allow church to be optional for my kids.  Praying at home?  Eh, we sometimes do it.  My kids have toys EVERYWHERE.  Run to the supermarket?  Buy them a treat.  Stop at a toy store to buy someone a birthday present?  Sure, you guys can get a toy, too.

In a world where manners are becoming taboo, I refuse to succumb to this new "norm".  It's easy to do things the way we are doing them right now.  It's SO easy.  My kids are worth the work, though.  And hopefully someday they will be adults with their own children and looking back on their childhood as fondly as I look at mine.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Let's talk about Ethan.

Ethan just turned 7 July 20.  He has always been a unique kid, and it's really amazing and fun to watch him.  He taught himself the alphabet at a super young age, and since then, has always been crazy about letters and reading.  He reads ALL the time now.  He also loves to draw, write, and design.  He writes books, that are very creative and he has now started designing comic strips.  He tells us when he gets older, he wants to be an author.

While he is a very bright child, he also has a side that is very, very difficult.  He is as stubborn as a mule when he has to do something he doesn't want to.  He hates going places, even fun places.  He wants to stay home, all the time.  He can keep himself entertained for hours at home.

When he is nervous about something, he won't come out and say he is nervous, instead, he will act out...he'll get mouthy and defiant.  He is very hesitant to try new things.

Take today, for example.  He woke up in a bad mood.  The first words out of his mouth crabby words.  I always try to be very patient with him when he is like this (he has literally been this way since he was an infant).  Allison wasn't awake yet, so I sat by him on the couch, rubbing his back, and I told him I loved him.  Yesterday he was begging to go to Funtastic and we never went, so I told him today we would go.  I had to go anyways, because I had to finalize the details for Allison's birthday party that is going to be there.  I got myself completely ready to go, got Allison ready, and when I went to go help Ethan get ready, he decided he didn't want to go.  This meant that he fought me as I got him dressed, he refused to walk to the car so I had to drag him, and he pouted the ENTIRE way there.  Now I know you are probably thinking, "If he is behaving that way, why would you take him somewhere fun?"  Well, that's because he WANTS to stay home.  If I gave in and didn't go, he would get his way.  Also, Allison wanted to go, so it wasn't fair to her to make her miss out because he was being a grump.

When we got to Funtastic, he refused to wear socks, even though it was a strict rule there.  He kept trying to run out the door, and repeatedly said "I don't WANT to be here."  Somehow I am able to remain very patient, and I kept asking him if there was anything upsetting him that he wanted to talk about.  He said no.  My friend showed up, so I took the opportunity to take him into the restroom where we were alone, to again ask him why he was behaving this way.  He was still struggling to just get away from me (and at 7 years old and 50 pounds, he is getting quite strong!).  I was so fed up and frustrated.  This is how things ALWAYS are with him, and it makes no sense to me. 

My friend mentioned maybe he needed some sugar.  I was at my wits end, so I bought him a Reece cup.  He ate it, and literally, it was like a switch flipped and he was a totally different kid.  He eagerly put his socks on, and ran out to play and had a wonderful time.  He laughed, played with another little boy, ate lunch, and just had a great time.

Now I do think Ethan has some VERY high anxiety issues, but I also am starting to associate his behavior with sugar intake.  When he hasn't eaten (and he didn't want to eat anything before we went to Funtastic), he acts very, very poorly.  As soon as he has something high in sugar, he is a completely different kid.

Now I know I can't give him candy for breakfast, lunch, and dinner to make him be appropriate, but how on earth do you handle a child who is so anxious?  He's only 7!  I'm terrified he will act this way in school, and that would just be a nightmare.

I don't know.  That is my vent for today.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Years ago, around 2003, I started writing in a livejournal.  I wrote in it almost daily.  I started it right before I found out I was pregnant with Ethan, so his entire pregnancy, newborn days, toddler days, and preschool days are documented.  I haven't read them in years, but just today I went back and read some of it.  A lot of it was just day to day stuff, which most would find boring, but I was SO THANKFUL that I had all of that! 

My intentions when I started doing a blog was to continue the same writing.  But of course, life got in the way, and I never did it much.  Then when my sister got sick, I wrote daily in it again, but now that there isn't much change in her progress right now, it's back to collecting cyber-dust.

It is now my intention to start writing again.  It won't all be about my sister, but of course, I will talk about her.  It'll just be about myself, my kids, and my life in general.  I realize it will be boring to most, but it is so priceless to look back on these crazy days in years to come.

I'll post a link to my livejournal in my next post.  I loved that thing!