Sunday, October 28, 2012

Family Fun

I took Erin, Kate and Ty to Theresa's Saturday for her annual pumpkin carving party. We all had a great time, as usual. Theresa invests days in preparations each year for all of the treats and the kids have a blast. The grown ups do too. This year, we also joined my brother-in-law's family on a local campground for trick-or-treating. Ty was a little uneasy about the scarier costumes, but found the mommy-pulled wagon ride for candy quite relaxing. Little stinker.
He may be one of the cutest little UPS guys, but he isn't the hardest working!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Welcome to My Office

I confessed to a friend the other day that I hide in my van to talk on the phone when the call really matters. I reserve it for rare calls like a doctor's office, a friend in need, the once a year call from my friend in Iowa, etc. It is sound proof. The little ones don't know where I am and it is a clear signal to everyone else that it is important; therefore, don't bother me with insignificant information right now. Mommy needs to be "Sherri" for a few minutes. I hardly know what that means most of the time, but my fellow Mommies know what I am trying to say here. Anyway, having a mini van for an office does present it's challenges. I need to plan ahead if I want tea during my conference calls and I don't exactly have access to important documents, a computer or chocolate. That last one being the most essential in a real office, I assume. So, during a tough season for one of my good friends, I would call to check in with her on my way home from the grocery store.....otherwise known as, "Mommy's time out" to see how she was doing. She was losing her dad to cancer and I desperately wanted to be there to support her. Given how wild my house is the second I pull back into the garage because everyone suddenly becomes aware they just survived an hour without me, I pulled over and parked in the neighborhood to let my friend finish her thoughts. All three times this occurred, the same police officer neighbor caught me. He would drive by very slowly, staring at me as if trying to figure out what I was doing. I suspect he thinks I was up to no good. Every time I see that man I feel compelled to explain myself but can't figure out how to do that without sounding guilty or crazy. I've kept the office parked in the garage for all my conference calls since, just hoping to convince the neighbors I am relatively sane.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Toothless grins

I love this stage. She's seven and still in awe of the world around her. She believes in all things magical and good. She sees the best in people and loves them unconditionally, even if they aren't always kind to her in return. She is still generally happy and carefree. Last night, the tooth that has been precariously dangling in her mouth the last several days finally fell out while she slept. The grin. It's priceless.

Loud Train


Sunday, October 21, 2012

Quick Transformation

It is amazing what a quart of paint and a few hours can do the overall feel of the house. These little projects have been on my to-do list for a few months and the beautiful, warmer weather gave me an excuse to complete them.

While I had the black paint out, I also put a fresh coat on the front door exterior as well as the garage door entrance from the mud room. Everything feels richer and updated. I am really pleased.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

I love him to infinity and beyond

Buzz wants to fly. His mommy is worried he'll find ways to do that and land us in the Emergency Room.

The leaf run

It is simply gorgeous in my neck of the woods. I can't breathe in enough of it and am almost manic about capturing the color on camera, trying to remember the aroma of the fallen leaves and desperately encouraging my family embrace the beauty of the world around them these few short weeks. In the car, I am constantly pointing out areas with vibrant color or asking Greg to pull over to let me take photos. There is a strong likelihood I just annoying them all but I need to remember this. It's my favorite time of year. Change. It can be beautiful. Given how resistant I am to change in general it is almost ironic how much I crave this season with weather that is in a constant state of flux and color that pops up suddenly and then all too quickly disappears. My little people are enjoying it too; adding another layer of "I can't get enough".


Saturday, October 13, 2012

Daddy's Helper

Ty insists his dress shoes are work shoes and he wears them all the time...even with sweats because he may need to get some work done. Last evening, as Greg was getting up, Ty asked him if he could help him get his work shoes so they could go work on stuff. As it turns out, there was "stuff" that needed worked on!
Does it get any sweeter? I found him working on my van with his plastic hammer this week. He was quickly redirected and then he decided the stop sign needed attention. He worked on it for a long time. The sound of metal being struck by plastic is unique. Our neighbors are amused rather than irritated and I am grateful.


We hosted a bonfire for the kids and their friends last night. Having such diverse age groups represented in our home presents some challenges in finding family friendly activities for everyone. We tackled this one by inviting younger kids and families to join us for dinner until the typical bedtime. The teens brought their friends after attending the football game. As much as I would love to have them all at the same time, it is probably best to keep the teens in their own time slot as they don't always have filters and say things that are perfectly acceptable to say at 16 that may not be as acceptable at 7. It was a beautiful evening, we all enjoyed ourselves and it was needed after the week we've had. I wish I could say fall break was the relaxing break we needed but I would be lying. I've been fighting sinus symptoms for two solid weeks now, convincing myself they will go away if I ignore them long enough. This would be my typical approach to all things medical. But by yesterday, it was clear things were progressing, not improving so off the the walk-in clinic I went, knowing full and well I would come home on an antibiotic. Ugh. I am grateful they exist but really don't like taking them.
The football game was a "pink out" and all ticket sales were given to breast cancer research. FC lost by one point in overtime. The kids say it was a great game.

After the dryer incident with Kate this week, she had difficulty sleeping and has been pretty grumpy. I can't blame her but going on very little sleep myself because Ty has also been running a fever off and on this week and not resting well left me with very little patience for it all. I feel horrible even admitting it but I found myself irritated more easily and ready to hide with tea somewhere quiet. I treasure my kids and know how quickly these days pass. I don't want to take any day for granted but the total accumulation of issues this week left me depleted.
This girl makes me crazy! She licked the jug of fruit punch so no one else would drink it!

The goal was catching marshmallows on fire. He didn't actually want to eat them.

Lauren attended a birthday party for a classmate Thursday night. I felt uneasy allowing her to go. She went to this girls' party last year and noted the mother made her uncomfortable with the way she glared at everyone and didn't interact. I questioned why she would want to go again and she said more of her friends were going and they would have fun no matter what. I can't explain it further but just didn't feel settled. Greg called after dropping her off at the party and said he wasn't comfortable leaving her there because it appeared to be a rough area. We were both texting Lauren, questioning her comfort level, which of her friends were there, etc. The party was supposed to end at midnight. We'd already said 11 was late enough but after Greg dropped her off, I decided 10:30 was best. She agreed but texted at just before 10 and said some girl just hit her and she wanted me to get her immediately. It took me twenty minutes to get there and I called Greg to meet me, even though it meant he'd have to leave work for a little while. We've never had to do that in all the years he's been there so I was fairly certain it would be okay. He needed to be there. I am so glad he was. He took the bull by the horns, so to speak and made sure things were handled assertively and calmly. His demeanor was exactly what the situation needed. I would have taken Lauren home just to get out of there. Greg asked for an explanation from the parental chaperones and was offered none. He asked if the girl's parents had been called and then insisted that call take place immediately. He handled the phone call with that parent and determined the police needed to be called as well.

Lauren went to the party with her friend Dylan and his friend Dalton. Lauren and Dylan have been friends for over a year and we carpool with his family. She was dancing with a group of kids, including Dylan and Dalton when a girl she doesn't know, who is new to the school walked up to her and asked her if she was trying to make her mad (language cleaned up a bit). Lauren asked her what she was talking about and she repeated her question. Lauren was confused and again asked what she was upset about. She apparently had dated Dylan for a week or so and was mad Lauren was dancing with him. Lauren laughed it off stating they were good friends and she had nothing to worry about and even invited her to join them. Hailey acted like she was going to walk away so Lauren turned her back to her to go back to dancing when Hailey grabbed her from behind and punched her in the forehead. Lauren was shocked and walked away. Hailey's friends held her back and were yelling at her for doing it. Within seconds, Lauren was grabbed from behind a second time and hit. This time she said she turned, swinging but Hailey grabbed her shirt and pulled it down. Lauren knelt down quickly to avoid being exposed and was hit again as she slipped. Several people took Hailey outside and a parent from the party drove her around to allow her to cool off. When we arrived, they acted like they had no idea what had happened and had already sent this girl back into the party!

This girl was dancing as the police arrived, admitted everything and had no remorse. Lauren is fine but was shaken. She is concerned about school on Monday but we've already made the school aware and they will be intervening first thing Monday morning. Greg and I are both upset with ourselves for ignoring our initial instincts about this birthday party. We have no reason not to trust our daughter but just as this situation revealed, our kids aren't the only ones we have to trust. When Greg called the police, a parent from the party rounded up a van load of teens and drove them away. It was something we noted but didn't really think about until later. Once we were in a state of reflection, rather then reaction it occurred to us there was a lot more going on at that party than initially understood and the parents were fully aware. We've talked with Lauren, who was clueless about the extra activities about being more aware of her surroundings and using our code word text to be rescued from situations she isn't comfortable. She wasn't uncomfortable until the attack which again reiterates that we were negligent allowing her to be there. Once we talked with a few locals and the police officer we were warned that we were in a really bad area of Louisville and should NEVER be there. Thank God this was the only incident and our daughter walked away relatively unscathed. Lessons learned.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

I can't turn my back for a second

This morning, I made a hot cup of tea and called Kristin for a sanity check because it had been a rough night. My son has been up more than down the last three nights and I cannot explain why. It is just something he's doing right now. It is not fun and does not make for a very happy mommy in the morning. There are tears, lots of them, mostly his. The kids had taken a view finder projection toy into the laundry room and closed the door so it would be dark enough to see the images. They also play in the laundry room with flashlights. In other words, it is a common thing for them to do and it provided a few minutes of relative peace for me. Kristin and I discussed our current state of crazy and were about to wrap up our conversation when I heard a horrible thud, the sound of the dryer running and both of my younger children screaming. I ran from the living room to the laundry room in the amount of time it took Kate to take three full rotations in the dryer. I frantically opened the dryer door to my hysterical Kate who was pretty banged up but going to be fine. Praise the Lord. I removed Ty from the top of the dryer as he was also screaming uncontrollably. It took awhile for all of us to stop shaking long enough to ask questions. First, my clever husband asked Kate if she was warm and dry yet! I wasn't sure if I wanted to laugh or slug him in that moment. He bravely went back to bed and let me handle the interrogation. As it turns out, Kate was playing in the dryer. Ty closed the door and scaled the dryer with his bare feet so they were able to stick to it as he climbed. He turned the knob and hit the start button. I am still in a state of disbelief. Why? Just Why? Ty swears he will never start the dryer again. I am certain this will be his lifelong ticket out of laundry and his future wife will hate me for it. The "what ifs" have played in my head over and over today. I keep thanking God for His protection. Kate has bruises and abrasions up and down her spine. She is sore but safe. Again, I thank God.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

A Day with Friends

We took a road trip for the day to see Colby and his family. I can't begin to express how much we miss that little guy or his parents. It was a great day full of sugar, fun, fresh air and laughter. We will be back. Not soon enough.
 Audrey asked to join us for the day because she also misses Colby. He really does feel like part of the family. For that matter, Audrey does too.
 I can assure you this is trouble.....they were working together to decide how to get Colby up that tree.
 Makenna and Colby didn't miss a beat. They are rather fond of one another.
 The look on Ty's face cracks me up.....I think that flaming marshmallow concerns him a bit!

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Weekend Review, The Pa-pa Edition

Approximately twelve hours before Pa-pa was due to arrive Friday, Ty started asking me to join him on "Pa-pa watch" out the window. We repeated the conversation every fifteen minutes. All day long. He was a little excited. Not twenty minutes after their arrival, Ty told Pa-pa we were out of suckers. Saturday morning, he mentioned it to Grandma. Saturday afternoon, he was taken to the grocery store for suckers. Two bags. I am not kidding. The boy only had suckers at one point because he had strep throat! I don't consider them essential. Grandma and Grandpa disagreed.
Ty was invited to Grandma and Kate's traditional tea party.  "Oops, Mom we need a towel" and the repeated sound of china hitting the floor noted his participation. Grandma's a good sport. Kate thinks she may have a future as a hairdresser.
Thursday and Friday we were able to keep one of the little guys I watched at school. He is adorable and my kids were rather taken by his sweet disposition. We'd love to keep him frequently.

Karston actually napped on Ty! I don't think I have ever seen him sit this still for this long!
I spent this beautiful fall day driving up I-71, taking in the colorful landscape. It was the communion I needed with God today. Dessert was meeting Kristin in Cincinnati. As a group, we promised to do it more often this year. Our last outing was in January. It isn't easy to get us all together and today was no exception. Jill had to miss to care for her husband who had surgery on Friday and Cherie found herself in the ER last night. Days like this make me wish I lived close enough to have a house full of extra boys so my friends could rest. I miss being there for them.