Archive for February, 2011

Time for the goal list check in which is totally on time this month so I win the internet today! Here goes…

1. Learn the ins and outs of my new camera lens. Here is one thing that I learned about my new camera lens: It doesn’t have a built in image stabilizer. The big problem here is that I have very, VERY shaky hands- almost comically so. They’ve been that way all of my life and it gets exaggerated depending on whether I’ve eaten or not or what kind of sugar or caffeine intake I’ve had that day. I’ve been trying to figure out why I was getting much blurrier pictures with the superior lens when it finally dawned on me. So that sucks but I’m determined to figure out a way to work around my old person hands.

2. Take a DSLR workshop online or through comm ed. Last Saturday I went to an all day workshop that helped get me more familiar with the manual settings on my camera. The first half of the day we went over composition, ISO, A/V (aperture), T/V (shutter speed), and different lens types, while the second half we were sent out with a partner with assignments to make good use of different types of light, and shoot scenes with a partner. I had an OK working knowledge of most everything we talked about going in, but it was a good solidifier to the research I’ve done on my own. I’m also pretty sure I’m going to go ahead with a 5 week course to work on a photography project with the same instructor. The only thing holding me back is that the class is on Tuesday nights and that would leave Bill taking both kids to Keaton’s soccer clinic which with homework and dance practice would make for a packed, rushed evening. We’ll see…

3. Run/walk/crawl a formal 5K. …

4. Make a decision about faith and which church is right for us. …

5. Get a freaking haircut already you hippie. I will say I thought really hard about just walking into a Fantastic Sam’s last Friday. I didn’t, of course, but still- that counts for something…?

6. Drink water. This month? FAIL.

7. Go on a debt diet from Jan-March. FAIL. Bill did get a promotion and a nice little bump though, so even though it’s cheating we are in a better position than we were before. We also took a chunk of his freelance money and paid off Rowan’s dance lessons through the end of May so that’s a big helper to our monthly budget. Now we just need to learn to live within that budget.

8. Find a workable routine to manage my free time during naps and preschool. This is a routine called whine and feel sorry for my diseased ass. So far this month if I’ve been feeling even remotely up to it I clean like a mad woman- scrubbing floors and disinfecting doorknobs and wiping down cabinets. Then I wear myself out and feel awful. I’m pretty sure this is not what I meant by “workable routine” to manage my free time.

9. Say I love you more. I LOVE YOU, INTERNET! {Just practicing. This one’s going to be really hard for me.} Uh…I’m just going to go ahead and say it: I’m an asshole when I’m sick. If I say “I hate you” like a pathetic hormone-seething teenager less than 10 times in 24 hours? Around here we call that a win.

10. Be a diaper-free household by June 30th. The plan is to try night training again over spring break, which for us is March 14-18.

11. Eat more raw food every day. Do Tagalongs count as raw food?

12. Complete a 7 day cleanse. DONE.

13. Say ‘thank you’ more often. See #9

14. Knit something. …

15. Decorate this damn place already. I’m TERRIBLE at colors and putting rooms together. Someone offer to help me and I promise I’ll number 13 your ass. …

16. Be a nuk-free household by February 28th. Next weekend is IT people. PRAY FOR US.

17. Read for the love of God. Find a better balance of fiction and non-fiction. You know what you CAN do when you’re sick? Number 17, bitches. This month I read Love Walked In, Belong To Me, Shiver, Half Baked, The Middle Place {Thanks, Sara!} and am now well into Cutting For Stone. The balance was pretty good as the first two are probably what you’d classify as chick-lit, Shiver is teen-fiction, the next two are memoirs which I devour- it only took me just over 24 hours a piece to read each- and then the last one is literature and definitely more meaty than the others. It’s been a really great experience to be able to lose myself in good books again. If you have any great fiction or non-fiction suggestions lay them on me or friend me on Goodreads.

18. Get core in shape for the spring running. I made a very honest try for this. Starting January 31st I got up at 6am to do the shred but with the plague I only made it 6 days before I realized that trying to work out when you feel like death is maybe not the best idea. I get how moderate exercise can help some people to recover- unfortunately I am not one of those people.

19. Go to at least one B&B this year. I’m trying to talk my husband into taking me here so I can both bed and breakfast with murderous ghosts and hang out with this awesome lady.

20. Go back to Tetagouche. Take kids. …

21. Keep up a weekly to-do list. This is what my weekly to do list looks like:

Monday: Try not to die.

Tuesday: Don’t die

Wednesday: Curb death. Also buy more DayQuil.

Thursday: Stay alive, etc. etc.

22. Keep my reactions to disappointment in check. Eh. I sort of just expect the worst in the cold, dark winter months so as long as we all stay alive I’m moderately surprised/content.

23. Remember to model myself, the behavior I expect form my kids. Well since I sort of expect them to be whiny demanding assholes when there sick, I think I’m doing a goddamn good job on number 23.

24. Purchase bed sets for the kids. This weekend we went bunk bed shopping for the kids. Ideally they aren’t our first choice, but with the space we have, they make the most sense. After seeing what was out there we came home and looked to see what the Almighty Internet had to offer. Unfortunately we made the mistake of letting Rowan sit with us while we looked and so of course she picked out this one for herself: Or if that one wasn’t available she would settle for this one:When we pointed out that it maybe wasn’t fair to Keaton to get such girly sets, she not-so-surprisingly wasn’t too concerned stating that his bed would still fit in the corner of the room and if he was good she’d let him use the slide for a small fee.

25. Start free-writing again. On paper. …

26. Make this the last full year in this house. …

So there you have it. Sort of two steps forward, two steps back, but for February I guess things are looking pretty good. I could seriously do with a good two weeks of NOT being sick though I’m not holding my breath because I feel like whatever I have is slowly moving into my chest, producing a lovely, dulcet gagging cough that sort of sounds like I’m drowning on a pack of cigarettes, which is, you know, a pretty awesome party trick.


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Well hi there! I am slowly crawling out of my grave, uh, bed to greet the world after what I can only assume was the black plague even though the doctor assures me it was probably a sinus and double ear infection or even a glorified head cold but what does he know? I mean, besides a lot more than me?

Anyway a certain somebody in our house just passed the half year mark yesterday so I thought you’d all like to catch up on what things are like for Rowan at 5 and a half.

School is going pretty well. While we’re still not thrilled with how things got started this year, Rowan seems to have rebounded nicely. Her second quarter report card showed why the teacher was so adamant about us not having her repeat Kindergarten and while I think academics are only one piece of the puzzle, I can see now that it’s likely a whole new crop of problems, namely boredom, would come up had we pulled her out and/or held her back. So I’m mostly at peace with this. It’s still up in the air where she’ll attend first grade but after we’ve made it through this year I’m pretty sure we can take on anything.

Her school seems to be really focused on math, which is probably a good thing because she has the genetic code for Utter and Complete Math Stupidity from my side, but I’ve been disappointed in the amount of reading information we’ve gotten. Rowan has had math homework roughly 4 nights a week since a few weeks in the school year. She was excited to do it the first couple of months but it’s become really repetitive and so now it’s a battle to get her to sit up and finish it and I can’t really blame her {although I would never tell her that}. I wish they’d mix it up with some reading homework but the only instruction we’ve gotten is the same thing the baby manuals told us five years ago, which is read to your kid, which yeah, DUH, I get- but I’d like to be able to help her a little more than that. This is a kid who has been OBSESSED with books since she was 8 months old- memorizing entire passages of Horton and repeating it out of the blue. At 18 months she would sit amongst a pile of books for literally HOURS and be happy as a clam. She wants to read so bad and I feel like I’m not helping her enough. She’s very adept at sight words and she can sound out most 3-5 letter words but I’m at a loss for how to really explain how to sound out words like “loud” which sound nothing like how a kid sounds them out. Reading is such an automatic thing that I’ve forgotten all the little tricks and rules that I learned as a kid and I feel like the support for parents just isn’t there. Have I whined about public school enough for one post? Yes? Ok! Moving on…

Dance has been progressing along pretty well. Rowan loves her class and the friends she’s made and that above anything, has given her the drive to work hard to keep up. I love that she’s shown herself what hard work can get you through the course of this class. She came in woefully behind and to be honest, without a ton of natural ability. But she’s stuck with it and I see how proud she is when she realizes she not only knows the dances but is really enjoying herself out there. I sort of wish we could be in the class without doing the competitions though. I love the work ethic this studio instills in kids but I could do without the be-jewelment of costumes and ridiculous amount of money required for MAC makeup for a freaking five year old. Do *I* even own any MAC makeup? The answer to that question is a big fat NO.

The biggest news* is that we’re winding down her OT appointments with a plan in place to take an 8 week break at the end of this month to see how she does without it. If all goes well we will probably be done or {more than likely} we’ll go back over the summer for a little refresher. Between dance and OT, Rowan’s vestibular issues have seen huge improvements, along with her fine {mainly handwriting) and gross {mainly lack of upper body strength} motor control. The best part of this is that the kid has been so much less frustrated with herself and started to be really…happy. It was such a hard decision to admit she and WE needed the extra help but OT has been a resoundingly positive experience for Rowan and Bill and I.

The biggest thing with Rowan, from the time she turned 14 months old, is that everything’s a battle. EVERTYTHING. She doesn’t take anything at face value. She needs to question every aspect of a situation until she sees how we got there and she will FIGHT until she understands and even then, just for the principle of the matter. Yes I realize that this is actually a really good thing in the long run but it’s made being her parent really really hard. From getting dressed to eating meals to choosing games or activities, to watching movies- everything is an argument. We’ve tried every discipline tactic under the sun- some have helped pull us out of the low points and some have been disastrous but at the end of the day Rowan has let us know that this? Is who she is. She is strong-willed and hard-headed and that’s not going to change. Does that mean I’m going to stop disciplining her? Um, NO. But it helps to know who your child is when choosing how to handle them.  It’s also hard because I have Keaton who is malleable in comparison- much more go with the flow, so I can see how easy it could be if she would JUST LISTEN. But. She is my Rowan and as tempting as it sometimes is, I wouldn’t trade her and her strong wills for anything. As long as she stays out of prison.

The difference between five and five and a half has been huge. And the path here had so many highs and lows I can’t begin to recount, but I’m excited, if not a little scared, for what the second half of her fives will bring.

* Actually the biggest news was that fully clothes and with boots on {SHUT IT, STILL COUNTS}, our 5.5 year old finally tipped the scales at 35.0 pounds. We’ve been waiting for this moment for over two years, partly because we could finally switch her over to a lap-belt booster as opposed to the 5 point harness she’s been sporting since she was born. Funny that they just changed the requirement to 40 pounds, huh? BALLS.

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We go to the motherfucking doctor. And we also get brownies.

We are so damned sick of the plague of pestilence {which *BTW* is supposed to be for livestock, not human children, UNIVERSE, ohmygodgetitright} that right now we’d welcome the frogs, gnats and locust. Hell I’d even take the wild beasts over another week of this shit:

Rowan J Gunter: Put Upon.

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Rowan’s school called at lunch and asked me to please pick up my disease-infested daughter whose eyes are bright red and goo-ing green goo everywhere. Eyes that this morning looked juuuust fine. But on top of the colds/fevers/ear infections/and wracking coughs? I give up. I tried to be a good little hippie by staving off unnecessary antibiotics but this afternoon I’m taking them to the doctor’s office, aka: MY ARCH NEMESIS. A place where they end up not treating you or over treating you and all the while you’ve all caught some other drug-resistant form of whatever plague is fashionable these days.

So stay tuned for lots of first-worldy, over privileged bitching on that. You’re welcome!

*Right after I punch somebody in the face with it**.

**I realize that punching somebody with a flag is probably not going to do much damage so I’ll be sure to wrap it around my fist first.

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But in our house it also equals suckers which then turns that frown into a very pathetic smile. Poor bugger.

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Me: Dad said that Michele told him you have a boyfriend in dance class?

Rowan: *smiles demurely*

Me: So do you?

Rowan: Don’t worry about it mom.

Me: What? What is that supposed to mean? That you don’t have a boyfriend?

Rowan: No, I do. You just shouldn’t worry about it so much.

And then {WTF} she gave me a condescending double pat on the hand and walked away.



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You Know? I try to be a good mom. I read to them. I feed them fruit and vegetables and proteins and whatever the hell else is on that stupid pyramid. I discipline when they’re hellbent on trying to murder one another. I laugh with them. I hug and cuddle and hurt with them when they’re unhappy. And I try to inject fun into their days of being told to do this/do that, don’t do this/don’t do that. It’s sad to me that already at 5 years old I feel like I’m dominating Rowan’s life with instructions, admonitions and insistences that from 3:45-7:15 she practice dance, do her math homework, do stretches, eat her dinner {and quickly!}, and work on reading, all the while listening to her ask if she can just PLAY? PLEASE? just for 5 minutes mom, PLEASEPLEASEPLEASE?

So once in a while I say screw dance. Screw reading. And screw stretches. {I never say screw homework because I am a rule follower and am scared not for Rowan but of what that Kindergarten teacher will think of me Me ME!} Anyway, I only say screw in my head. Out loud I say: How bout we go sledding right when we get home? And the car? It erupts in cheers. And I’m a hero. I am not Mean Mom. I am Fun Exciting Lovable YOUDON’TSUCKAFTERALL Mom. I don’t break her out very often but when I do I make it count.

And what do I get for it? Fevers. Hacking coughs. Stuffy noses. And deep purple smoothie ejected from the stomach of my second born onto my off-white carpet. There have been 7.5 measley days in the last 8 weeks that my family has been healthy. That’s 48.5 out of 56 days that we’ve been plagued with some kind of illness. I don’t mean to seem like a whiny baby but WAHHHHHH godammit.

Regardless, I’m pretty sure if asked Keaton would proclaim from his sickbed {otherwise known as the right-hand corner of the couch, outfitted with a soft pillow, warm afghan and in perfect line of sight of OHMYGODWHATELSE Cars.} in a small but confident voice, “it was worth iiiiiiiiitttt…..”

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