Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Poor abused second child

So I headed to gymnastics with the kids this evening with the intention of disenrolling. Or unenrolling. Whatever the opposite of enroll is.

See we had joined gymnastics because AB mentioned that we always do sports and stuff for Leif, but not Skadi. I suggested gymnastics. Certain, that like me, she would love tumbling.

The first lesson went by and the teacher commented that she seemed a bit bored.

Second lesson went by and she liked it ok.

Third lesson ended in tears with questions like "why can't I just do swimming mommy?"

Well because swimming is opposite soccer, and Leif is doing soccer. Yes, sure, we could divide and conquer, but I was getting a bit weary of swimming. See she has been in swimming forever. Seriously forever. Like nearly her entire life.

And the teachers have a horrible time with where to place her and we finally decided to leave her in the younger class so that she was in with kids her own age. Occasionally we would get a class where her classmates were all about her same age and level and had been doing swimming for ages also. Those were good sessions.

Then we would get ones where the kids hadn't ever been in the pool. Those were the bad sessions.

We decided to take a break for a few months and resume when she was closer to being able to move up to the next level by age.

So here we are. Gymnastics.

And here we were this evening, convincing her to get her leotard on and go to gymnastics. She is whining about swimming, or maybe she could do ballet? Or maybe, she even suggested, she could try baseball! Yes, my daughter is asking to try baseball instead of going to gymnastics. I did give her the opportunity to stay home with Aunt Tara instead and then she did decide that maybe she would try it again.

Why push her? Why continue?

Because she has this older brother of hers. See the deal is this... he could either sit with me through the gymnastics lesson, or be in one himself. Yeah, sit and whine through the session. Forget that. He was getting enrolled. So I found lessons at the same time and we were good!

Except that for every bit that Skadi despises gymnastics, Leif loves it.

And as I watched both kids I realized what a great class it was for Leif. He isn't terribly coordinated, and his upper body strength needs work. And here they were working this stuff. In an organized, small group fashion. And he loves it. And he isn't terribly bad at some of the stuff.

Still. This was for Skadi. I decided to give them 4 more weeks and submit my disenroll this week so that in November we were done with that experiment.

Then AB came with me tonight. He wanted to see.

And well maybe, he suggested that this is really good for Leif. And he has no problem doing dinners on Tuesday nights. And I can get some downtime sitting and watching the kids. And Skadi isn't doing that bad, though she gets bored.

So I didn't disenroll.

Nope, the poor second child is being forced to continue with gymnastics for her brother.

But I have promised and committed many times over to put her back in swimming as soon as possible.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

A fall day at the park

About a year ago my kids sat on the same rock. And I took the picture that is in the banner of my blog. Sigh. A year older already?

Kisses for Aunt Tara!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

It's that time of year...

when I become a bit scarce.

Fiscal year end is September 30th and work as a whole becomes a bit maddening. I suppose what is really maddening to me is that none of my five projects ends with the fiscal year. In all cases, not only do the projects continue, but the money carries over into the coming year and my teams are all covered. Yay me!

This is something that I probably shouldn't say too loudly though. Because when the calendar flips to October 1, many many projects end and there is a distinct lack of money, which means lack of projects among many sectors thanks to the ineffectiveness of the government at getting a budget settled. This often morphs quickly into continuing resolution. And people start sending out e-mails and showing up in offices looking for work. It's what happens. And I have been on that side of the fence. It sucks.

Because the fiscal year end affects so many projects and so many people it becomes a very palpable sense of stress at work. You can feel the stress. You walk down the halls and fiscal year end is the topic. Have you certified your time card? Have you planned your work for the next two weeks (and therefore filled out your time card for the next two weeks)? Are you following the shipping and ordering requirements? Nevermind that none of this is really actually applicable... to me at least.

Anyways. It is a stressful time.

Way back when, when I used to work on projects that ended on September 30th we would pack up our bags and take off for vacation the first week in October. It's a great time of year to vacation, but no real point to doing it this year.

This year I have my regular work to do on my projects that do not end. Then I have a total of five white papers (first stage proposals) going out to two different agencies. And then all the little peripheral things - like the organization I am presenting at in November wants my presentation to clear it by October 8th. And my lab still has loads of things that need to be done in order to do actual work in it. And my kids have parent teacher conferences.

So needless to say... this is just a long post saying I am not really around.

See you next year!

(Fiscal year that is...)

Friday, September 17, 2010

Things that make you go 'hmmm'...

The other night I hugged Leif and told him as I do almost every night, “I am the luckiest mom in the world to have you as my little boy, how did I get so lucky?”

Leif, to my surprise, replied to that. “Well when I was in heaven before I was in your tummy, I picked you, that’s why” he told me.

(Insert my surprise here.)

“You picked me when you were in heaven?” I asked him.

“Of course I picked you, I remember,” he says all matter of factly.

“Why did you pick me?” I asked him, deciding to push this a bit further.

“Because I liked how you looked,” he answered simply.

At that point all I could do was hug him, of course.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

A story of a dog and her 18 lives.

This dog has many, many lives and has this latest life to thank from one little 3.5 year old little girl who "LOVES Freya so much! Smooches!"

She had two names before landing at our house at only just over a year old. Let this be a lesson before adopting a rescue dog. Research. Spend time with the dog. There sometimes is a reason why she is in rescue, it isn't always the people.

Nope, I always thought it was the people. People that just weren't good dog owners. Any dog is trainable.


There was a most unfortunate incident in the house last week that has prevented me from progressing on my quilt. I know, people may have thought I would have had it done by now. And under normal circumstances I probably would have.

But no.

THAT dog was in the kitchen, mooching around the table for scraps. (She has put on 20 lbs since landing at our house...). I was running up and down the stairs sewing strips of blocks together all happy like.


I turn around and see the dog bolting from under the table and somehow grabbing the cord for the sewing machine with her and sending my beloved Viking Huqvarna tumbling to the tile. Yes tile. Dangerous for little baby teetch and sewing machines alike.

I haven't found anyone who thinks they can fix - i.e., bend the machine back into shape... yet. And I am not sure if I find someone, if it will be worth it or not. Or if I should just pony up and buy a new sewing machine.

Destructo dog.

Lucky for her she has a 3.5 year old who loves her like no ones business.

No rescue dogs EVER again.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Just another one of those things I may have said I would never do

Let this be a lesson for those of you without children (yet). Just stop now. Don't list off those things you won't ever do when you have kids. Don't even think about it. Because it will bite you in the butt.

I am quite positive that years ago before I had children I espoused something about what my husband and I intended to do for vacations with our kids. It went something like this... camping, National Parks, camping, culture of the big cities, National Parks. And there may have been statements that put the words "never" and "Disney" in the same sentence.


My grandmother took my sister and me to Disneyland when I was an awkward 13 year old and my sister was almost 10. Not exactly the ages to haul kids to Disneyland... but it was a memorable trip. We walked around Disneyland for a day or two riding rides. I have never been a rides person - even at 13. I did enjoy Space Mountain, but "It's a Small World" was probably more my speed.

I had saved my money for months so that I could buy an actual Swatch since the real ones weren't available in Casper, Wyoming. But then I couldn't stomach the notion of spending that much money on something to put on my wrist and I instead spent my money on random little trinkets.

I remember fighting with my grandmother a lot. Her telling us how ungrateful we were. And we probably were. But wow, it wasn't the ideal trip to Disney.

I didn't have a trip to Disneyland until I was a preteen. AB didn't go until he was an older teenager. Our kids certainly don't need Disney to lead a well rounded life.

When a coworker of mine (before I had kids) made a trip to Disney, squeezing it in before her son started kindergarten with the express purpose of "I don't want him to go to kindergarten without having been to Disneyland" I nearly puked.

So all that said...

Guess where we are going in November?

You will never guess.

I will give you three guesses and the first two don't count.


And you know what? I am actually really excited to haul my 6 and 3.5 year old to the Magic Kingdom!

I happened to get an invitation to submit an abstract to one of the leading conferences in my field... in Orlando. I wanted to go last year but had commited to going to DC to meet with two clients instead. So I couldn't go. This year, no such commitment and when I read the word "Orlando", I knew I had to submit.

Then a week or so ago my acceptance came and I decided to get serious about planning.

And wow things can erupt quickly!

Initially I just planned to keep whatever hotel I ended up with through work and the rental car and we would go hang out wherever our whims took us.

Well things have kind of evolved over the last week and suddenly we are talking Disney hotel package and all.


Yes, I admit I balked at these fabricated destination vacations in favor of camping and national parks. But we have tent camped exactly three times since Leif was born. I am 38 years old and have slept on the ground in a sleeping bag way way way too much. A tent with my husband, two children and two dogs holds very nearly no appeal.

I am not dissing the natural vacations actually. I still love them and since we do hope to get back to these types of trips once we get a travel trailer later this fall or so.

But here is where I am kicking my pre-kids self... easy vacations with the goal of strictly entertainment for the kids?

Sign me up.

Monday, September 06, 2010

Beaner Banter

Skadi and I were changing her sheets on her bed this morning.

Skadi: "I like beautiful things. My bed being made is beautiful mommy!"

Me: " I agree."

Skadi: "Daddy does not like beautiful things. His bed is all tumbly."

(Ok, that is my bed too... and I get it made most days...)


Watching morning cartoons and (gasp!) a commercial came on. The kids have become more tolerant of commercials lately.

Skadi: "Look, that mommy on TV is cleaning the bathtub!"

Me: "Yep, she is."

Skadi: "My mommy doesn't clean bathtubs."

(Ok, must change to a different topic... this blog is starting to reflect poorly on me.)


Skadi and I went to go get a pedicure. Skadi was very excited to go get her toenails done and couldn't wait to finish up lunch. On the way there she raved that this was a mommy and Skadi outting and "no boys allowed!"

She did great getting her pedicure! She sat very still and got bright pink paint that SHE picked out all by herself. The technician had her pegged right off the bat and painted flowers and put rhinestones on her big toenails. All the while I got to enjoy the warm water and massaging chair while someone else primped my daughter.

She came and sat by me when finished and was for the most part quite good. She watched Dora on my iPhone and played Fling.

Skadi: "Mommy, when is she going to do my fingers?"

Me: "Well honey, we just came for toenails."

(Lower lip quiver.)

Technician: "I can paint her nails too!"

Ok... I can either be the real bad guy here or I can indulge my little girl.

Me: "Fine, she can get her fingernails painted too."

When we were all finished...

Skadi: "Can we come back and do this again next weekend?"

Me: "Probably not."

Skadi: "When can we do it again?"

Me: "I am sure we can have another girl's afternoon soon."

Skadi: "Ok then. I think we should go shopping at Target now!"

Oh my.


Leif has lately been into trying new foods. Part of it probably has to do with our marble rewards system. Each of the kids have a jar and I have a big fish bowl thing full of multicolored glass rocks. When they do something good, they get a marble. When they do something bad, they lose one.

AB added in the rule that if you lose a marble then you have to take it out yourself and if you refuse and we have to take one out, we take two instead. This has been working pretty well in our house. It works better than sticker charts for me and the kids because I don't have to remember to make a new sticker chart, and so far the rewards are pretty vague. Leif has stated he is saving all his marbles to get a Wii Spiderman game. We have been doing this for about 6-8 weeks and his jar is about 1/8th full... but he is still targeting that Wii Spiderman game. I figure he will earn it at about Christmastime.

Skadi hasn't done as great with the marbles. It does kill her to lose a marble, and she keeps getting them for things like a good report from her teachers, sharing with her brother and sleeping through the night. But she doesn't succumb to the marble bribery like Leif does.

Me: "Skadi if you eat some salad you can get a marble."

Skadi: "I don't want a marble."

Compare to...

Me: "Leif if you eat some salad you can get a marble."

Leif: (Gobble gobble gobble.) "Mmm, I like salad. Can I try some of that asparagus and get a marble too?"

Leif has even been trying new foods without us asking, counting on the fact that we do notice this and will immediately tell him he can get a marble. This is amazingly broadening his culinary horizons substantially.

I look forward to the day when Skadi views this as a competition...