Sunday, August 31, 2008

Jared's Birthday

Today was Jared's 7th birthday. Yes, I now have a seven-year-old. That makes me feel old. We had a friend party on Wednesday, (1/2 off night at Safari Sams and a cake mix cake with a Transformer stuck on it-- yes, I'm creative) so today was pretty low key. I made coffeecake for breakfast and we stuck candles in it. (Note to self: Don't stick candles in a hot cake. They melt and leave yummy wax pools.) After our yummy breakfast, Dave and I retired into the office to debate over the presents I bought last night in the 15 minutes before Target closed. We decided on to keep a few of them for Jared to open and then give him a "certificate" to go buy a portable basketball hoop for our yard/garage.

We managed to be late-again- to 2 pm church. But despite our tardiness and the fact that Jackson is now loud and wiggly for the entire 3 hour block, it was an enjoyable set of meetings. I made garlic herb salmon for dinner (Jared even requested it: that would bring tears to my dad's eyes to have a child REQUEST fish for dinner) and then had ice cream for dessert.

As I was putting Jared to bed he said, "Mom, did you and dad buy anything for my birthday that you decided to return? Like anything with Transformers on it?" We actually had. I asked him how he knew this. "Oh, I saw a box in the office that said 'Transformers' on it." I told him that we decided to keep a few things and return some so we could get him the basketball hoop instead. The basketball hoop would last longer.

"Well, mom," Jared said, "I think Transformers last for a really long time. They can even last forever. They don't rust. Really.... unless you stick them on a birthday cake."

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Mystery and Mayhem

I am back at the library checking my email with Jackson pulling my hair, trying to escape the observation of the mean library lady that Suzie Petunia encountered. No, my computer did not die again. My laptop was stolen yesterday. Yes, stolen. From the office inside the master bedroom. You might think that I misplaced or lost it, but I use this laptop like a desktop-- it always sits in the exact same spot in the office off the master bedroom. The wireless is spotty, so I leave it plugged in to the ethernet. So no, I did not misplace it. It is officially stolen.

In good news, for those of you who haven't heard, our house finally sold and we close tomorrow. Yesterday movers came to move the remaining furniture that we used to stage our house to the new house. So after a 5 month dearth of places to sit, I have furniture again!!!

The movers were supposed to come about 11:00 am. So at 10:30, you would think that I would be madly picking up the house or clearing space in the garage, right? Well you might think that, but I was on my laptop in the upstairs office, checking facebook and tweaking with my blog (this is why I remember that, yes, it was in the same spot it always is). The movers called and said they were going to be late, so at 11:00 I left and took the kids to a friend's house to be babysat and headed to the old house to supervise the operation. They got there, without tools to disassemble the bunk beds or play structure, but despite my slight irritation, a trip to the garage at the new house fixed that problem. Taking apart the play structure took forever, but at about 2:30 we took over the truck and started unloading, leaving a few outdoor things to take in a second load.

After giving the movers the quick home tour (there's the kids room where the bunk beds go, that's the master bedroom- we aren't moving anything in there) and pointing out where things should go, I went to the kitchen to make chocolate frosting for Jared's birthday cake. You see, I in my infinite foresight and scheduling capability, set Jared's birthday party for the night on the same day that the movers were coming to transport our furniture to the new house. Yes, I am a bright one.

So they went about their business and I went about making chocolate frosting (incidentally, I accidentally doubled the cocoa and discovered that this improves the quality of the frosting immensely). When they were done, we went back to the other house, they loaded the outdoor stuff while I got the kids from their friend's house and we came back home. I paid the movers and then commenced to clean like a maniac to get ready for Jared's party. I bribed Jared and Camryn to play with Jackson and keep him entertained while I removed enough Cheerios to feed a 3rd world country from our kitchen floor. Connie came over a few minutes early and at 5:55 we were running out the door to Safari Sams.

For Jared's party, I had him invite a handful of friends to Safari Sams for 1/2 off night. We were not an "official" party, because I am too cheap for that. So we went "unofficially" to 1/2 off night, got 1/2 off admission, 1/2 off pizza and a bunch of tokens and then went back to our house at 8:00 for cake, ice cream and presents. I noticed that the front door was unlocked-- not too surprising considering that we were running out the door so we wouldn't be late for our own party. At about 8:30 everyone left our house, so I sent the kids upstairs to get ready for bed and went to the office in the master bedroom to nurse Jackson and check my email. I walked in and there was a noticeable bare spot in the 2-foot deep mess on my desk. "Wait a second, my laptop isn't here." I looked around, but didn't see it anywhere. Then I started to panic. I quizzed the kids: "Did you touch my laptop?" before it occurred to me that they had been gone all day and when they were home they were playing with Jackson or at the party. While I quizzed the older kids I realized that I had left Jackson- who now crawls- in my room with the door open. I ran back as fast as I could, but got back just in time to see him rolling down thae stairs screaming. Luckily we have carpeted stairs and the stairs have a landing 1/2 way, so he didn't roll that far and he was OK. But, I was traumatized by it, as if I wasn't traumatized enough by my laptop being stolen out of my master bedroom. Where was my husband? Why did we not install the gate at the top of the stairs when we knew Jackson could crawl and he loves to go for the stairs whenever he gets a chance? Oh yeah, Dave is in Austin, Texas on a business trip. At least that rules him out as a laptop-taking suspect.

After recovering from Jackson's fall, I tried to recall the events again. Nobody at the party went upstairs. I ran around to check the house, but nothing else was missing or appeared to even be touched: the plasma TV, the Wii, the DVR. My wedding ring-- I had taken it off because of a rash so it had been sitting in the jewelry drawer of my dresser. I ran to check, but it was there, untouched. There was no sign of anyone breaking and entering. The only thing gone was my laptop.

I called the moving company and the supervisor told me that all his guys are clean, have worked for him forever, etc. but that I should call the police and have them check it out. So I called the police and sent someone over. It turned out to be our old home teacher, who is a police officer. He checked it out and filed a report. I called Dave to see if he had the serial number for the laptop, but we had it kept on the computer (yep, we're smart). We should have it on our backup hardrive (which incidentally was sitting next to the computer but they didn't take), but I can't get into that without a computer.

So here I am, back at the library, getting mauled by Jackson on my lap while I sit here to vent. I think one of the movers took it: they had access to the upstairs for at least an hour, I was in another room busy with something else. Sure, someone could have broken in and left by the front door, but why did they only take the laptop? I can see not taking the TV because that is big and hard to move, but why not the Wii? (Maybe because the Wii was in the same room that I was in the entire time.) I just think it is weird that there were no dumped drawers, nothing disturbed or missing, except for my laptop (which, incidentally, is three years old and not worth all that much anyway--- except to me!!!). Grrr.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Behind Again

I really hate getting behind. So guess what is the story of my life? Be it the dishes, housework, bills or blogging, getting behind is what I specialize in. It's not that I don't try to keep up... I am generally a fairly organized person, but I think having children destroys whatever part of your brain controls organization and time management.

At least this time I have a decent excuse: after getting back from vacation, my computer died and was completely non-functional for several weeks. Not to be deterred, I took my children to the library and used the computer there about three times a week, but somehow, blogging loses some of its charm when it is done in a library trying to shush the child who is climbing all over you like a jungle gym using your hair as a safety mechanism. But after weeks of waiting, my operating system is re-installed and my laptop is functional again. Yes! But in the meantime, Jackson has learned to crawl and pull himself up on furniture and is generally less easy to contain while I am writing. Sigh! Not that I don't want him to learn to be mobile, but it is a very pleasant stage when they will stay where you set them and happily play with some toys.

I finally got Jackson down for his nap today and finished the first paragraph of this post when I heard a wail on the baby monitor. This would be the other major reason that I am categorically incapable of completing a task without getting sidetracked. Mothering sometimes can be an exercise in frustration in that regard: it is impossible to do a task without getting interrupted- usually several times. Jared and Camryn are fighting, Jackson wakes up, someone wants to be fed, the dryer is buzzing... just pick your favorite. By the end of the interruptions I often can't remember what I started out to do in the first place.

With the exception of the first week of life, when Jackson slept basically nonstop (after which he nursed nonstop for the next three months to make up for it), he has never been a great sleeper. I suppose this is partially my fault because I have been too exhausted/preoccupied/busy to create a predictable nap time and sleeping routine. On the other hand, I would be a lot more motivated to expend time and effort putting him down for a nap if he slept for longer than 20 minutes at a sitting.

I know people have very strong opinions when it comes to the subject of babies and sleeping... and babies (and grownups) are so different, that it is really hard to compare fairly. I am a big believer in attachment parenting: I think that for the first year or so of life, your job as a parent is to show your child that their needs will be met. Whenever they cry, you come and fix it. Later in the next year or two, after they are secure and know that their needs will be met, you show them that you are the boss and they have to play by your rules (i.e. You don't cry and whine to get what you want). It drives me crazy when people say, "If you pick up a crying baby you'll just teach them to cry to get what they want." What do you expect them to do? Announce, "I'm lonely, mommy. Pick me up and give me a snuggle." Teaching children not to cry to get what they want is a task for when they have at least some alternate form of communication, not to mention developmental readiness. You may miss more sleep during the first year, but I think the psychological benefits of "spoiling" for your child as a baby far outweigh the lack of sleep.

But enough of spouting lofty ideals and back to the real world. I don't think that people that "teach their children to sleep" are wrong or bad. I have at least partially done it with both my other kids. There is definitely a point where it can be appropriate and desirable. With Camryn it wasn't an issue because after the first 6 weeks she was a great sleeper. Jared wasn't so hot. I finally hit my wall when he was 9 months old and I was up with him for 2 hours straight from 3-5 am. Every time I laid him in his crib he started crying. I carefully nursed him, changed him, snuggled him and ever so gently laid him in his crib, but the instant he got close to the mattress he started screaming. And that's when I decided that it might be OK if he cried a little bit. I just get frustrated with people on both sides of the fence who act like they have the *ONE* magical answer and everyone who doesn't do it their way is either misinformed or evil. (Is that what I sound like when I spout about attachment parenting?=] )

You know, on the one hand, you get the Babywise crowd who brag that their children scream, er uh, sleep 14 hours a night starting at 6 weeks old. On the other hand you get the earth mother crowd that have a "family bed" on the floor of their master bedroom and children who sleep with mom and dad until they are 10..... Either of which is fine if that floats your boat and you are willing to deal with the consequences of it. I just personally think that letting your child scream it out at 6 weeks under-nourishes and psychologically damages them... and having my children sleep in my bed until they are 10 would psychologically damage me. =] (Hmmm, do I sound like I think Babywisers are misinformed or evil? Life would be so much easier if we could just be hypocritical!)

So, to each his own... but the reason I pick Jackson up and let him sleep in my bed at 3:00 am is not just because I'm stupid or don't realize there other ways of doing things. It's just that this way, despite its downsides, happens to work for me and I am willing to put up with the costs because of the benefits. And I have friends who I respect very much who do baby sleep differently than I do-- and that is fine.

So wait, what was I talking about? Oh yeah, about how behind I am because I'm always getting sidetracked and I need to catch up on my blog. But Jackson just woke up, so off I go....

Friday, August 15, 2008


I am at the library checking my email on the public computers because my laptop has been dead for almost two weeks. Not to sound whiny, but it's hard to blog with a wiggly, fussy baby who is tired of sitting on mom's lap. This is a serious cramp to my style (as you might imagine-- almost as bad as the demise of Scrabulous) but I'm making do as best I can.... More to come, hopefully sooner than later....