Tuesday, December 30, 2008

The One Where I Actually Talk About Something Related To My Disability

So we three went shopping this weekend and pulled in to park in one of the handicapped spots in the store parking lot. Sweetie seemed to proudly declare, as Hubby turned off the engine, "The handicap spot!".

"That's right." I said. "We always get to park in the handicap spot.

Then I went on, asking her:

"Do you know which one of us has the handicap?"

To which Sweetie - probably too quickly - answered:

"Daddy?"

"No. Not Daddy."

Sweetie took another few seconds before cocking her head, shrugging up her face, and asking:

"You?"

"Yep. That's right."

Then Hubby asked her if she even knew what handicapped meant. No, she said. She did not.

By then we were getting out of the car and Sweetie walked to the front of the car, pointing to the sign, telling us - "This is the handicap sign. That's what handicap means."

Ah... no. No it doesn't.

I really wanted to pursue this line of questioning, this informative discussion. But at that point we were hustling into the store, trying to hurriedly dodge cars and get in from the cold. Then it was all about getting through the store, finding the things we needed as efficiently as we could. No time for meaningful discussion of any type. 

And then, by the time all that was through, of course the whole thing was forgotten. Even if the conversation was remembered by any of the three of us, it certainly, by this point, was too far removed from the original discussion to easily bring it up again with any kind of smooth transition.

That is to say - that was it. Nothing more has been said about what the word "handicapped" means. Why I'm the one among the 3 of us who is handicapped. Nothing. It is, again, a non-subject.

I suppose here is when I should make clear that I'm aware that "handicapped" is not the most PC term. "Disabled" is preferable. I personally don't mind either way. In fact, to say I'm "disabled", to me, literally translate to "unable" to do something - but the "something" is not defined. So, in essence, it's as if that term is stating that the "disabled" person is just plain "unable" to do anything. And I know I can do lots of things.

Anyway...

Sweetie obviously does not know what "handicapped" means. She knows that Daddy's license plate has a symbol on it that exactly matches the symbol on the signs in store parking lots. And she knows I have a hanging sign for my review mirror with a matching symbol. She now has been told that I'm the one among us that is handicapped. But she doesn't even know if that's a good, bad or indifferent thing to be.

(For the record - I think, and Sweetie will grow up to think - that "it" is an entirely indifferent "thing.")

Not that Sweetie is totally oblivious to my physical differences. She, of course, is completely aware that I wear leg braces and walk with the aid of a walking stick. She knows I often were a back brace (not that anyone out there - disabled or not - can't be helped by wearing a generic drug store back brace if need be). She certainly has noted - consciously or not - that my gait is way different than most people she's ever been around. But she has never - and I mean never - looked at me or treated me any differently than any young child treats their parent.

Sweetie knows - and has known ever since she was a baby - that I cannot lift her up. She knows that I not only want her help with chores in order to teach her responsibility, but - more exactly - I pretty much need her help; taking piles of laundry up the stairs, distributing them to the correct bedroom. 

Sweetie, on more than one occasion, has even seen the T.V. commercials for the Hoveround (and other like walking aids) and has helpfully mentioned to me: "Mama - you could use one of those. You should get a Hoveround."

But she does not think of me as "different." Even though we've never directly discussed it, I know this to be true. I am just Mama. That is all - nothing more, nothing less. 

Sweetie sees me - not my disability. As far as I can tell, my disability doesn't even register with her. Why should it? It doesn't affect the way I love her. Why should it affect the way she loves me?

Heck, I don't even think about my disability most of the time. The only time I really notice my differences, quite honestly, is when I'm around others who aren't comfortable with my differences. For instance, when I'm out and about in public and all the little kids - you know, the ones that are just about Sweetie's age - stare at me as I approach and walk by. They even turn their head and continue to watch me as I walk out of site. To them, I am... interesting. Very different. Something like they've never seen before.

Funny. Sweetie doesn't stare. Well, obviously she doesn't stare at me. But not even other people with disabilities that she's seen out in the world. Random people in public, going about their days. Members of the Spina Bifida Assoc. of MA - an organization I belong to - that she sees once or twice a year - large gatherings of people just like me. Some much "worse" than me, some not so "badly off" as me (I really don't like those qualifying terms). She could care less. She doesn't ask questions. She doesn't appear to feel awkwardly different. She just plays, makes new friends, and enjoys her surroundings.

I wonder if the "handicapped" discussion will come up again. I wonder if it really needs to. I'm not sure, but I wonder how much of a "discussion" my parents had with my older brothers when I was born concerning what was "wrong" with me (well, they must have told them something! Because obviously I needed to be in the hospital for a long time). Likewise, how much - if anything - did my nieces and nephews directly learn about my disability from their parents? Or did just growing up around me - much like Sweetie's experience - simply make my differences more or less a non-issue for them as well?

We all have our differences. Heck! Each and every one of us has some sort of "disability", whether big or small, physical, mental or some other sort of "quirky" thing. So why should my physical disability (or anyone else's, for that matter) - when you think about it - make any sort of difference at all?

That's just it. It doesn't. It absolutely doesn't. I am who I've always been. Some of my personality traits - maybe more than I'm even aware of - have been formed around my personally perceived differences to the general population. But they are my traits. How I've always been. Everyone else in the world has had experiences unique to them that have helped to form who they are as a person. That's what makes you, you.

We are all unique, all different, but all important and valuable individuals. That is what I know to be true, it is what Hubby believes, and it is the innate life lesson that will be instilled in Sweetie.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Mama Monday #45.1

Theme: Last

Phew! I made it! Sorry this is "late". I'm working feverishly around my house, trying to get many random things all wrapped up and completed. I tell ya - it not only is the last few days of 2008, it also feels like it's the last few days of life as I've come to know (and love) it.

Due to a huge ice storm that our state endured mid month, and now the regular "holiday break" Sweetie's enjoying from school, Sweetie has not had school since Wednesday, Dec. 10th. The 10! It's like summer vacation but with snow, ice, and freezing temperatures. 

I'm glad Sweetie is only in Kindergarten and doesn't realize how these many days off - and still more snow days yet to come this season, I'm sure - will negatively impact the start date of her summer vacation. Similarly, I'm glad Sweetie likes school so much and will be nothing but thrilled to return next September after a (presumably) very short vacation. But I do feel badly for all those Juniors and Seniors who totally got the short end of the stick due to good ol' Mother Nature. No graduating early this year, that's for sure!

Anyway, Sweetie finally goes back to school next Monday, Jan. 5th. That is, if a big snow storm doesn't hit then, thus canceling school for yet another day (bite my tongue!). And I'm already feeling selfishly sad about sending her away from me once again to resume her school days with her teacher and friends. I've enjoyed these days with her. We've all had a great, fun, exciting Holiday time. We've relaxed a little in terms of certain family rules (bedtime and wake up time, specifically). And I know it will be hard for both Sweetie and myself to jump back into the school days routine. Up early, out the door, brief time to myself to start everything - but yet not complete anything, back to pick her up, etc., etc., etc.

Routine and rules. Yuck.

And then there's a big change in my life that's literally right around the corner.

I'm starting some regular tutoring opportunities at the end of next week. As of right now, I know I have 2 children to tutor 2 times a week - pretty much until the end of the school year. Two more students are still pending. And my tutoring center director is fully aware that I'll take any and all tutoring opportunities that she'd like to send my way. From what I've been told, there is simply no end to the number of students waiting for tutors in this center's system. I hope to keep myself busy 4 afternoons per week, at least.

I've tutored for years. Over 15, to be exact. I've tutored at an adult learning center, as a peer tutor in college, and many, many junior and senior H.S. students either in their homes or at tutoring center locations. I know what I'm doing. I'm a good tutor and I thoroughly enjoy the work. In fact, it hardly even feels like work to me at all.

But this time around, I'll specifically be working with children in the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) program in my state. These are, unfortunately, the types of students I'm talking about when I say there's "no end to the number of students waiting for tutors." But I've not worked with NCLB students before. And I'm currently feeling very overwhelmed.

Mind you, I'm not anxious or overwhelmed about the students. That part is "easy" and familiar to me. Working with kids is what I love best about the job.

What I am anxious and overwhelmed about is all the paperwork attached to NCLB tutoring. Individual Student Learning Plans (ISLP) to create. Testing to be done. Monthly progress reports to write. Etc., etc., etc. It's a whole new ball game working with these kids and it's very daunting. Tutors working with NCLB students get an extra stipend per hour because of the extra work involved. I know I'll come to understand what I'm doing with the paperwork in time. But right now it all looks like foreign mumbo jumbo, with coding to learn and abbreviations to master and incorporate into my forms. I have 2 ISLPs due within the next few days. Excuse me while I bury my head in paperwork examples in order to find my way out of this - and create my own - maze of data...

And so - this week - this last week of 2008 - I'm finding myself clearing out clutter from my home; tackling mounds of laundry and stacks of dishes; making sure Sweetie is not feeling overlooked; keeping the home fires burning; struggling over, learning about, and creating needed documents for my upcoming new part time (ha!) work; and - finally - trying to relax as much as possible, enjoy some of the new books and "toys" I got for Christmas (while helping Sweetie enjoy some of her new games and projects she received which happen to require - or at least desire - parental participation), placing long-overdue calls to businesses and establishments I've ignored until now. Pay bills. Ironing out my bank register. Basically, just wrapping up the last of life's details before the school year "begins" (again) and my new professional duties kick in (ahem - they already have!).

This year certainly hasn't been the best of years. In many ways, as you can imagine, I'm glad to see it go. But on the other hand, this has been a completely wonderful year. Time with my Sweetie, time being a "housewife" who's easily able to get household duties done during the week instead of stressing each weekend to get things squared away. It's all been great. Really. And for that, I wish these experiences of the year could last forever.

As Hubby and I agreed, after my recent bout of "will they hire me/won't they hire me/do I really want to be hired anyway" stresses - he and I both, honestly, like having me home. And I believe Sweetie has enjoyed it too. So, for that, I'm thrilled that my tutoring opportunities will meaningfully fill part of my time professionally (and personally), while being home for Sweetie, Hubby and the house will meaningfully fill the rest of my time on a family (and personal) level. 

On to a new year. On to new professional pathways, duties and dreams. On to a new and better life for us all.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Sweetie Saturday #138 - Instant Change-o-rama Sweetie Edition

Wow! I'm so very impressed. Ever since Sweetie turned 6, she's so very eager and able to do some great new things.

For instance - brush her own teeth.

Night before her 6th birthday:

Me & Hubby: Sweetie. Go brush your teeth.

Sweetie: But I caaaaannnn'ttt! I don't know hoooooowww to brush my teeeeethhh!

Next morning:

Me: Time to brush your teeth, Sweetie. Let's go.

Sweetie: Oh! I'm 6 years old now! I can brush my own teeth!

Me: Hey! That's right! You can! Let's go and you can try.

Sweetie: No! I don't have to try. I can really do it, because I'm 6!

And now? She's been happily doing the job all on her own ever since.

She's also been eating extremely well - and that' been going on consistently for at least a few weeks now.

She does not need to be told over and over to eat her food - she just does it. She also eats a good amount of food, often finishing off her whole plate. She's completing her meals at a much faster pace. And perhaps best of all, she will now eat foods that she's not too thrilled about, but she knows now to eat these "unsure of" foods first, then save the food that she knows she likes best for the last thing she eats. 

All this - without complaint. Yee haw! I love 6!

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Sweetie and Hubby have been busy, busy, busy baking cookies over the last couple weeks. They made one kind of cookie where the recipe said to roll the dough into balls then place them on the cookie sheet. It also said to keep a small dish of water near you to dip your fingers in so that the dough doesn't stick to your hands.

The two of them quickly saw how messy that whole project was turning out. Hubby decided to put the 2nd batch of that dough in the freezer before making cookies the next day.

The next day, when Sweetie and Hubby started to roll out the cookies with the dough from the freezer, they saw that they didn't need to use the water anymore for their hands - their hands just didn't stick to this colder dough.

Wow! Cool - huh, Sweetie? This is so much faster!

Yeah! Now we're the fastest team without water!

And now, whenever Daddy asks Sweetie to tell someone what the two of them are, Sweetie doesn't even hesitate before proudly declaring:

The fastest team without water!

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We went to Hubby's grandparents' house today for some more Christmas celebration. They live about an hour or so away from us, and the trip can be a bit too long and boring for Sweetie. So on our way home, we played a game:

Someone was to say a name of a thing you can find around the house: for instance: chair. Then the next person had to use the last letter in the word given to use as the first letter in the answer they were going to use. In this example, after someone says "chair", the next person could say "radio". And so on.

We had more or less just started when I played a word that happened to end in "S" (I honestly cannot remember what word I played). That left Hubby having to come up with an "S" word of his own - something that was giving him a bit of trouble.

Or, was it?

Maybe he just couldn't get a word - or thought - in edgewise because Sweetie was piping up from the backseat, stage whispering over and over:

sausage.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

T'was the Day Before Christmas...

... and wherever you lookie,
Sweetie was stirring the dough for the cookies.

Mama at the vacuum, and Daddy at the oven.
Soon there'll be guests for kissin' and huggin.

Last minute items yet to get done.
With a wish and a prayer, before the next sun.

And you'll hear me proclaim, as I thought that you might,
Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Mama Monday #44.1

Theme: Happy

Photobucket

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Sweetie with a few of her favorite birthday presents.

Family, friends. Giving, receiving. Bithdays, Christmas. Snow, snow angels and snowmen. Food, drink and togetherness. This is truly the happiest time of the year.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Sweetie Saturday #137 - Happy Birthday Edition

Today is Sweetie's 6th birthday. We'll be heading out for her annual birthday picture with Santa sometime later, and we'll have grandparents, cousins & aunts and uncles over for a birthday dinner this evening. It's going to be a Super (Sweetie) party, complete with color-coded decorations, the Super (Sweetie) logo posted in certain places around the house, and a big ol' banner with Super (Sweetie)'s battle cry: Who's the braviest, the saviest, the waviest?...Super (Sweetie)!

Speaking of Super (Sweetie) I happen to know that Grammy is making Sweetie, and her other 2 granddaughters, super hero capes for Christmas. Now, since I do know my Sweetie pretty dang well, I asked my MIL earlier this week if she was going to have a logo on each cape (a first initial on top of a circle or triangle, for example). If so, I thought it best that we join up on what this logo would look like so that the logo displayed at her party tomorrow matches with the logo she'll find on her cape a few days later.

Phew! So, yeah, we did get that squared away. But then I saw Sweetie draw yet another picture of Super (Sweetie) - complete with her half green/half pink cape.

Oh no. What color is this cape Grammy's making going to be?

The answer? Red. No turning back now.

So yesterday I tried very hard (and as subtly as possible) to get Sweetie on board with the idea of her Super alter ego donning a red cape.

No. Super (Sweetie) always wears a pink and green cape because she loves pink and green.

I tried to convince her that all great super heroes wear red capes.

I tried to go the route of starting off with a caped in whatever color, but then - when you get to be a really great & powerful super hero - you graduate to a red cape.

I pointed out to her that Sweetie's favorite colors are pink & green, but Super (Sweetie)'s favorite color was red, because all super heroes love red.

I tried many angles. None of them worked. I texted Hubby (who was with Grampy at the time) that Sweetie was being very insistent that a cape must be pink & green.

Not too much later, Hubby texted me back, saying - I think I got it! - adding that he'd call me on the way home.

So, long story short(er) - Hubby basically walks in the door, happens to inadvertently bring up the whole Super (Sweetie) thing, and asked what her costume looked like. Sweetie answered with the whole pink & green cape thing.

Yes, but what does her whole costume look like? Cuz I always thought that Super (Sweetie) had a green top, pink pants and a red cape.

No. Still not completely buying it.

Then, shortly thereafter, Hubby takes a smaller transparent pink plastic cup and inverts it on top of an inverted larger transparent green plastic cup (yes, it should be the other way around according to his description, but that's what we had available). Where the two cups join, Hubby wedged in a bright red, rectangular napkin as our super hero's flowing cape.

See? That's what I always thought Super (Sweetie) looked like.

Yeah! That's Super (Sweetie)! With a red cape, a red cape, a red cape!!! (picture enthusiastic dancing and singing).

And that was that. Like she never questioned anything before. Completely in love with the red cape thing.

On one hand, I'm very relieved this is taken care of and Sweetie won't put up any adversity to the cape she'll get on Christmas (Bite my tongue! Knocking on wood because I'm sure anything can change is Sweetie's mind at a moment's notice. Shhhh....) But on the other hand, I am a little shocked and humbled by/envious of Hubby's easy work compared to what I was trying to achieve all afternoon long.

Happy Birthday, Super Sweetie! Daddy and I love you very much and are oh so proud of your super creativity, your super smarts, and your super silliness.

Have a super day!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

This & That

I've been checking online for my Praxis II exam scores in English Language Literature and Compositon for over a week now. They were posted, finally, last night.

The score needed to pass the exam is a 164 out of 200. When I was finished with the exam, I felt really pretty good about it. I felt that, over all, it was a relatively easy test. However, I know how deceiving that can be - you get over confident and think you absolutely know your stuff, and then - whammo! - you're quickly brought back to reality when you less than desirable scores come in.

Well, I'm extremely proud to announce that, yes, I actually did quite well. Out of a possible overall score of 200, I received a 186. Twenty-two points higher than the minimum passing score. Wow!

Furthermore, the score report breaks down my score into 3 separate subjects, each accompanied by the average score range for everyone taking this exam.

On the first subcategory the average range is 43-55 out of a possible 66. My score was a 57.

On the second subcategory, the average range is 11-15 out of a possible 17. My score was a 14.

On the last subcategory, the average range is 25-32 out of a possible 36. My score was a 31.

Hah! Take that! No honest-to-goodness studying, A very cursory review of the study guide book along with completion of the provided practice test under less-than-satisfactory conditions. And yet, a high score on the exam. Yahoo!

Yes, it's my blog and I can brag if I want too.

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Sweetie's school has cancelled classes until Jan. 5th. The last time she attend school was last Wednesday, Dec. 10th. We have electricity. I believe the school has electricity. But I also know that a good many residents of our town are still without. Christmas vacation was to begin next Wednesday. I guess they're assuming that, if power is restored by this weekend, to send the kids to school for 2 days before vacation would be rather pointless.

Sweetie is actually a bit disappointed, as she loves school so much. But yesterday I told her that, if she's not going to school, then she's got to work in her activity and workbooks everyday for some time. So last night she admitted that she was "happy" about not going back to school for awhile because she gets to work in her workbooks. That's my girl! (actually, this way is probably more challenging to her anyway, as we have 1st grade books for her to work in).

I'm probably sadder than she is about all this, as it's cancelled (maybe postponed???) the kids' Holiday Concert that was scheduled for 2 performances this afternoon and this evening. It's also taking away Sweetie's opportunity to celebrate her birthday with her classmates this Friday. I cautiously informed Sweetie that these things would now not happen. Surprisingly, she seemed a-okay with this seemingly disappointing turn of events. Huh. Okay, then. Moving on...

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Today I have done 2 (maybe 3???) loads of laundry, hauled in some wood and started a fire in our wood stove, done the dishes, wrapped some presents, started to tidy up for Sweetie's birthday party this weekend, and applied for a tutoring job. However, I'm feeling really bad that I'm not able to go outside and shovel our driveway a bit. Hubby is working over an hour away today on what seems to be a very tricky job with possibly not-so-nice home owners and I'm really pretty sure he's not going to feel at all like shoveling tonight. Luckily, the snow accumulation is not that bad, and we technically could get by without him shoveling at all - for now. But a big storm is coming this Friday. Then another this Sunday into Monday. It probably would be a good idea to get the snow we have out of the way so the next round of shoveling is that much easier to handle.

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It is Dec. 17th and I am almost completely done with Christmas preparation (gift-wise). I have one gift project to finish up before it can be wrapped, but I think that will take me only about an hour or so to complete. I have 2 more gifts for Hubby that I need to wrap. They are both purchased and ready to be wrapped - I just have to do it (yeah - but one of them is at my parents' house and the other is in my car, which is more or less unreachable currently with the snow on the ground as it is).  Oh, and I have one more thing to wrap for Sweetie's birthday, and one more Christmas gift for her that I need to wrap up. Yeah, yeah - I also have to write out the clues to a treasure hunt she'll be led on on Christmas morning. I know what I'm going to write - I just have to find the pretty paper and write it out all nice and neat to present to her. 

But that's it! Yeah, I know it kinda sorta still looks like a lot. But it really isn't. No problem at all.

HOWEVER - I do have one more thing that I absolutely have to do and I completely have not started AT ALL. I have to shop to fill Hubby's stocking. Ugh.

I usually have this all squared away at least a couple weeks before Christmas. But not this year! I intended to go out tomorrow or Friday, leaving Sweetie with my mom while I did so. But now I know that my parents' have afternoon plans tomorrow for which they have to leave their house by 2 p.m. No problem, I though. I'll just get Sweetie up and out the door by around 8 a.m. and then I'll have more than enough time to complete my shopping!

But then I just had to sign up to tutor online for tomorrow morning from 8:30 a.m. til 9:30 a.m. See, I didn't really pay attention to when the tutoring actually took place. When I get the notice that a tutoring opportunity is available, I have accept it extremely fast - before I can take a look at the details. That's what I did. I was successful at acquiring the opportunity. Then I saw the time. Oh well. That's still not too bad, I guess. I can have Sweetie to my mom around 10 a.m. Still plenty of time to shop, I suppose.

(I originally was not stressing about this at all, since I knew I had Thurs. or Friday - or even next Monday - to get it done. But then the word came down about Friday's storm. And a storm from late Sunday night into Monday. So it's really got to be done tomorrow. Huh. It'll get done. It'll get done...).

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Our couch is falling apart around the piping around the cushions. I want to fix this and I have a plan as to how I'll go about it. I just need some embroidery floss and a large needle. I found the floss, I just have to look in my sewing basket for the needle.

I can't find my sewing basket for the life of me. I've looked all around upstairs and down. It is nowhere to be found. It's a large basket, too! There's no way it's able to be hid so well that I can't find it.

I think I do remember Hubby taking it and putting it somewhere else the last time we had people over. I guess I'll have to wait for him to come home before I find the answer.

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I have to go now. Sweetie just informed me that I'm invited to the birthday party of her imaginary friends (there are 10 of them, all whose birthday is today. What is the likelihood of that?!) It's about to start! They're just waiting for me.

Gotta run! 

Monday, December 15, 2008

Mama Monday #43.1

Theme: Expect (continued ice storm edition)

(Sweetie Saturday - er, I mean Sunday - side note: After church yesterday, we came home the back way, taking roads we've very rarely travelled before. Most of the homes along this route showed the devastation that occurred due to the recent ice storm in graphic detail. Whole trees uprooted from the ground. Power lines down. Limbs of all sizes strewn upon the lawns and roadways. Ice still frozen on every single square inch of every single tree branch and limb. Hubby and I were truly in awe. We had previously thought our little road looked pretty bad. But no, not nearly as bad as these neighborhoods. It truly looked like a war zone.

We commented to Sweetie that we were very, very lucky. - Why are we lucky, Mama? - Because! We have our power back. Our house and our cars are safe. We aren't hurt. Look all around you. Do you see all the trees and branches that are down? These houses still don't have power and may not get it back for days. That's why we're lucky. Grammy and Grampy don't have power! Nana and Papa don't have power! Many, many people don't have power. But we do. We are lucky. 

There. Surely Sweetie can appreciate all that I just expressed. Even if not fully, some of what I just said had certainly gotten through to her. Uhhh... but, no. Obviously Sweetie didn't listen to a word I said. Because her comment from the back seat as we passed by another house that happened to have a colorful mailbox? - Oh! I know why we're lucky! Because that house has a green mailbox and I love green! I'm a lucky girl to see that.

Yeah. Okay. Whatever, Sweetie.)

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I woke Sweetie up last Thursday, got her dressed and fed - all ready for school. Then I happened to look at my cell phone. I could see that a call from her school came very early that morning, with a message saying that school was cancelled.

Huh. That was unexpected. It was raining that morning, but nothing more. But I did know that the storm was expected to start in the afternoon. Maybe they cancelled school in anticipation of the messy afternoon commute.

(side note: Sweetie has not been to school since last Wednesday. We already know it's cancelled for tomorrow. Who knows when she'll get back in the classroom! She'll be going to school until August at this point, in order to make up for all the "snow" (and ice) days!)

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On the night of the storm, after we lost power shortly after 11 p.m., Hubby and I headed to bed. The wind was howling so badly, and I think we already heard limbs coming down. I thought about the huge, old, rotting tree right outside Sweetie's bedroom. I wanted her moved to stay with us in our room.

Hubby went to gently wake her up and transport her to our bed. She opened her eyes, but allowed Hubby to carry her. As he came into our room, I saw that Sweetie was sitting up in his arms, her eyes open and looking at me. But she wasn't saying a word.

The very instant that he laid her down in our bed, she immediately curled up to me and was deeply asleep. Slow, steady breaths. Not moving a muscle. Completely and utterly dead to the world. 

She started to squirm about an hour later. Soon there after, she woke up, confused, asking.

Mama? Why am I in your bed?

We told her about the storm and how we thought it would be safer to have her with us for awhile. But she could go back to her room if she wanted.

She got up and took herself to her own bed. Poor thing. She waking up in not-her-own-bed is certainly an unexpected event. I wonder if she's wondered in the nights since if she'd wake up in her room or not.

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As I mentioned above, we know several people who do not yet have electricity. The news affiliates warned that it could be up to a week or two before some places see power on again. So many people don't know what to expect. Rather - they're expecting the worst, but hoping for the best.

One of my friends, though, was told that it really would be about two week before power returned to her neighborhood. As you can imagine, she was very concerned, as this would interfere with Christmas as well. 

Luckily, they actually got their power back yesterday! Wow! A Christmas miracle indeed!

But now? Ugh. I just got a message from them again, saying the power is out again. Wow. I know they weren't expecting that. Ooh, boy. Let's hope that is resolved very soon - and very permanently - for them and everyone else.

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Edited to update: Power is back for some of our family and our friends! Yay! Keep it comin', power company!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Sweetie Saturday #136 - Ice Storm Edition

Hi all. Sorry for no post yesterday. We just regained internet and T.V. access this morning. We were without power for over 24 hours, but have been "up" again, in that regard, since yesterday morning at 3 a.m.

Anyway, that's what's going on with us (and most of NH, for that matter). No "official" Sweetie Saturday, then - as you can imagine. We've got other things - and friends and family - to think about and help out as best we can.

Keep warm and safe, everyone. I'll be back very soon.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Sweet(ie) Little Lies

So a couple weeks ago I picked Sweetie up from school and asked her how her day was. 

Great! she said. We had another show (assembly) in the gym and it was a game show called The Brain Game!

Then she proceeded to tell me, with incredible detail, all about how she was one of the 3 contestants chosen to get up in front of everyone and play the game.

The game show host played various songs for the contestants who then had to buzz in to say what that song was.

At first she told me she won the whole thing. When I was happily surprised, she said, No. Did I say I won? I didn't mean that. I didn't win. I just won on a couple answers.

Sweetie said she got 2 right and was first to buzz in. One was a song from Blue's Clues, the other was "the wedding song" (the joyous one often played at the end of a wedding ceremony).

She told me that each contestant's buzzer sounded different and she demonstrated what her buzzer sounded like.

She told me that there were *2 girl contestants (she being one of them) and 1 boy contestant.

She said that she was the only kindergartener chosen to play.

Knowing that the kindergarteners had to leave before the end of the assembly because it ran longer than their school day lasts, I asked Sweetie if she was upset and cried when it was time to leave.

No, I wasn't upset, because I thought that the questions would probably get harder and I wouldn't know the answers anyway, so I felt good about leaving then.

We talked about this exciting morning Sweetie had all through lunchtime. We talked about it for more than an hour. I asked her if she wanted to call Nana to tell her about the exciting day.

No, I don't feel like calling Nana.

Okay, that's fine. We don't have to call her.

About an hour or so after we had pretty much worn out the topic, while I was sitting at the computer doing whatever it was I was doing, Sweetie came up to me and, very lightheartedly, told me:

I was just kidding, Mama. I wasn't a contestant on the show.

The poor girl didn't know what she had just gotten herself into.

Mama was. not. happy.

What?! You fibbed to me? You do not lie to me! You don't lie to anyone! Go to your room right now!

I was just a wee bit upset, you see.

Sweetie went to her room and remained there much longer than I thought she would. I went to check on her, figuring she was probably playing quietly by now. But instead, I found her huddled under her blankets. When I took the blankets down, I could see she had been/was crying.

I felt bad, but she was still not willing to say she was sorry or admit that she had lied. I asked her if I should just call her teacher to find out the real story (a fervent shake of the head - no!) I left, angry again, and told her she could come down when she was ready to tell me the truth. I told her how this particular instance wasn't really a big deal, but Daddy and I need to trust her and how can we do that about more important things if you lie about silly little things like this?

When she finally came downstairs, she was very insistent that she just couldn't remember what had really happened. She just didn't know.

That's not true, (Sweetie). You have one of the best memories I know. You remember tiny things that happened over a year ago. You can't tell me that you can't remember if you were a contestant on a school game show or not that happened just this morning.

Finally Sweetie decided to go with, Well, I meant to say it was all just a thought. I thought it happened. (I understood this to mean that she wished she could have been a contestant, and if she did, then her buzzer would have sounded like such and such, and she would have gotten those particular musical answers right, etc., etc.)

Well, okay. I get that. But you need to make yourself much more clear. You led me to believe that you actually did all these things. You didn't say anything to me to make me think otherwise. You knew I thought you actually were a contestant and you didn't correct that.

In the future, you need to make yourself much more clear. If you have a story to tell, you have to say first off that this is just something you imagined or something you wished would have happened. There is no lying in this house. We all need to trust that we're all telling each other the truth about things. Okay?

Okay.... now can I watch T.V.?

NO! Did you just tell me all that so that you could watch T.V. again? No. You obviously haven't learned your lesson. You just sit there for a little while longer.

You know were going to have to tell Daddy about this when he gets home, don't you? You can tell him or I can - but he does need to know.

Later, at dinner, I asked Sweetie to tell Daddy about the assembly at school.

She suddenly looked at me with great fear in her eyes.

It's okay. Just tell him about the game show.

No. No, no. no. (and she covered her ears with her hands).

Okay, then I'll tell him.

(still with ears covered), she said aloud to herself, Oh no.

(I actually laughed out loud at that. It was too funny and actually pretty cute).

So, anyway, I told Daddy the whole sordid story, with Sweetie butting in the whole time, explaining that what she meant all along was that she thought all these things.

We all had another talk about lying and needing to tell the truth all the time.

And that was that. The rest of the evening was your average, no-big-deal evening.

And Sweetie, to our knowledge, has not lied since.

... Until this weekend. Another silly little lie (had to do with where she just had been in the house - she said it was the dining room, but she really was making faces at herself in the bathroom. Why even lie about something that nothing-ish?!).

Another big talk was had. Another Sweetie looking ashamed. An explanation about the differences between lying and pretending. We also explained the difference between not telling about surprises (like not saying what someone's present is going to be = good) and keeping secrets (we don't keep secrets from each other in this house = bad).

So, that was that. It's only been a few days since that talk, but I think (I hope!) Sweetie has properly learned her lesson and fully understands the consequences she'll have to deal with if she does lie again.

Both such silly things to lie about! Why would she do that? And - in terms of the game show lie - that wasn't one little lie. That was a whole concocted story, with specific details included! What is going on?!

Anyway, that's it. I've looked around online and have seen that typically 5 and 6 year olds do start to tell "stories" at this age. Trying to figure out what they can get away with, and all. So hopefully this is just all part of regular development, a phase she'll grow out of soon.

Let's hope so, anyway. Whether big or small, I just can't take it to know my Sweetie is lying to me about anything!

(*Oh, and when the truth of the game show actually came out, she said the contestants were really 2 boys and one girl, not the other way around. I just don't get it.)

Monday, December 08, 2008

Mama Monday #42.1

Theme: Keep

Last week's Mama Monday post - remember that? Yeah. Well. I'm glad I kept my quiet. I'm happy I didn't go all blabbermouth on the exciting new path my life seemed to be on. 'Cuz as last week went on, and mixed signals continued to strew in - well. I finally had to stop and ask direct questions to find out real answers.

Backtracking - long story short (ish):

I was hand picked to come in and temp for a job I also applied for. I've been temping in this job for 2 weeks. Others were interviewed as well (?????). Time dragged on without a hiring decision made (??????). I finally asked. I'm not getting this job. It's possible, since my strong suits are writing/editing/proofreading based, that I could be placed in a position within this company that better utilizes these skills. But, to me, that's a really big "maybe" with an even more unsure future timeframe.

In the mean time - now I just gotta keep on keepin' on. Same ol' story I've heard myself tell myself more than a few times over the last 7+ months. 

However, this company does seem to like me and I am filling the original position well enough that they want me to continue until the new hire is settled in. Which, I suppose, is fine. It's getting me some extra money during this holiday season and it's keeping me in "good graces" with the management there so that, when and if a different - more appropriate - position for me opens up there, that I will be a well known, well liked, successful candidate.

Still - while keeping these full time hours at the office, I have to find time to fit in a continuation of my job hunt - something I've admittedly slacked off on lately because of the "sure-thing" I figured this job afforded me. And I've got to still do some shopping for Christmas. And Sweetie has a dentist appointment and some school related holiday activities going on this month that I want to be a part of. And I have to schedule a medical test for myself within the next couple weeks or so. Basically - I've got a lot of stuff to fit into a really full schedule.

Oh - and did I mention that we are hosting not only Christmas Eve for Hubby's family, but Christmas Day for mine? Yep. That too. Thankfully, Hubby is in charge of all things food-related. But it's up to me to get the house looking as good as can be.

But - through it all, I will keep my composure. I will do what I have to do to get everything done.

I'm actually relieved that I'm not getting this job I interviewed for. As I learned more and more about the position, I realized how much it really wasn't suited for me. I knew it wasn't a job I'd particularly love - but it would be a full time job, with benefits, great hours and close to home. It would have been security and I would have accepted it if offered.

I will ask to have time off from the job so that I can take Sweetie and myself to our various appointments. I am not obligated to do anything more for this company at this time than I am comfortable doing. I know I am basically doing them a favor - filling a space and taking care of basic duties - until the new person is in place. Priorities still lie with me and my family.

Keeping on keepin' on. Keeping my composure. Keeping true to myself and my family. I will never waver from keeping these things closest to my heart and my soul.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Sweetie Saturday #135

While Sweetie and Hubby were playing checkers together, Sweetie positioned one of her pieces very near one of Hubby's pieces. She muttered something about how now they (the checkers) would fight.

Then Hubby moved his checker away, causing Sweetie much distress:

She said:

But I wanted them to fight their PILES. OF. DIGNITY!!!

And then we all melted in a pile of tearful hilarity.

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As I expressed my sadness about not being able to be a Room Mom in Sweetie's class because of my ongoing job hunt (I'd hate to sign on as a Room Mom only to tell them shortly thereafter that I'm now employed and can therefore no longer come in) to Hubby at the dinner table, Sweetie began to pat my arm, telling me with all the sincerity in the world:

It's okay, Mama. It's okay. Don't be sad.

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More grownup speak out of the mouths of Sweetie:

If Sweetie thinks something is different than what she expected, she'll say - That's so odd.

If Sweetie has a choice to make - or to present to us - she'll ask for (or tell us our) options.

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While preparing some such holiday goody one morning, Hubby, Sweetie and I were all gathered in the kitchen, laughing and joking and having a grand ol' time.

As usual, Sweetie and Hubby were being their typical silly selves. But I have my moments as well. Apparently, one of those moments occurred during this time. I honestly can't even remember what I said, exactly (Maybe something about "Potato Dave"). But whatever it was, it caused all three of us to laugh, and for Sweetie to declare:

That's the first funny thing you've ever said, Mama!

Uhh, gee. Thanks. I guess....

Monday, December 01, 2008

Mama Monday #41.1

Theme: Quiet

Alternative Theme: Mystery

I know. I've been very quiet lately. Posting pictures, talking Sweetie silliness, or just not writing at all. With all the holiday craziness, plus some life questions/stresses/waiting-and-wondering, I've just been a lot more internal these days than up for exposing all right here on this blog.

See, it's taken pretty much my whole life - and especially the last several years - to realize that I really do speak too soon in so many different situations. Sorry - I know I've talked about this talking too much thing before. It's just that I'm trying to explain why, this time, I've been keeping my mouth shut tight, for the time being.

I think it's a superstitious thing. Too many times I've announced great achievements/changes/opportunities/hopes and dreams, only to have none of them pan out to the extent that I presumed they would or, perhaps, even not at all.

And anyway, this time - I'm still thinking. Pros and cons. Goods and bads. What's the best decision if, in fact, I'm given an opportunity to decide. Will this situation, if it goes through successfully, really be the best thing for me and my family?

Too many unknowns at this point. I know what I HAVE to do if the opportunity presents itself. I'm just not very sure, at this point, that I'll be extremely happy - on a personal level - with all the extra stuff that I believe will come along with this situation.

Yep - it's a mystery. To you, because y'all don't know what I'm rambling on about. And to me because I'm not confident, or feeling 100% great, about how all this will play out.

I'm hoping within a couple days I'll have some answers. I'll have a rock solid announcement to make. One that won't force me to later hang my head, admitting that nothing actually did happen with that after all. 

Hopefully next time I write, I'll be able to break my silence and unlock the mystery. Wish me luck, and see you soon.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Sweetie Saturday #134

Last Christmas Sweetie found a slide puzzle (very much like this one, but a ladybug instead) in her stocking. She promptly forgot about it, very rarely picked it up throughout the year, and always became quickly frustrated by not being able to solve it.

Well, all that is gone now as, within the last month, she has become a "master" at solving it. She can seriously spend an hour or more mixing it up and solving it (never taking more than 6 or 7 minutes to do so), or asking anyone around to mix it up for her (insisting that no pieces that are supposed to be next to each other are ever actually next to each other) so that she can put it back to right.

I cannot solve the thing. No adult in our family can (or, at least, has the patience to work on it long enough to solve it). 

We're thinking, this Christmas, she's got to get a 4x4 slider puzzle to tackle.

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Post-Thanksgiving Day dinner at my in-laws, we headed over to my parents' house for the evening. Activities there consisted of various gaming scenarios to choose from. The one Sweetie and Hubby found most interesting - at least for awhile - was Guitar Hero. Sweetie wasn't entirely very good at it, but she didn't know any better and had lots of fun, nonetheless.

Driving home later that night, Sweetie observed from her backseat spot:

Hey! The cars' lights driving toward us on the other side of the road looks like the notes you play on Guitar Hero.

Funniest thing about this? That Hubby knew exactly what connection she was about to make before the words were even out of her mouth.

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Sweetie and I driving to Nana's last weekend - listening to the radio as usual. The song Shattered plays. Sweetie's unsolicited comment?

Maybe he forgot something at home and that's why he has turn his car around.

Next song? Carrie Underwood's Last Name.

Sweetie's proud peanut gallery announcement?

I know my last name! Maybe Noki (our cat) is singing this song, cuz she doesn't know her last name.

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And in other news - as of Thanksgiving morning - all Sweetie wants for Christmas are her two front teeth.

Photobucket

Monday, November 24, 2008

Mama Monday #40.1

Theme: Sense

I am on sensory overload right now. I just want to calm down, chill out and simply "be". Sooooo much going on within the last few days and all this week. I'm making it a priority to take it easy whenever I get the chance and not worry about loading on too many extra responsibilities. 

I'll try to get back here within the next few days, but no promises. Holiday week, family to be with, random life changes - much goings-on. Will report back as soon as I can.

So, as they say: if I don't see you beforehand - have a Happy Thanksgiving!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Sweetie Saturday #133

Last weekend, early morning - before Sweetie was "allowed" to wake us up:

Hey, Mama! If your clock says 6-3-7 and you turn your head and look at it upside down and backwards, it spells the word LEG.

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This morning - same timeframe:

Hey, Mama! 6-5-6 on the clock is a number palindrome!

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Sweetie, why do you keep bringing alphabet or numbers books home from school? I'm tired of that type of book. Can't you pick out a storybook next time?

Well, I like the alphabet and number books because I like to learn new words and about numbers, so that's why I choose those kinds of books. I don't think a storybook would have instresting words for me to learn.

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Mama? I'm started playing a new game at recess now. Here's what it's called: Sliding Down The Tube Slide Once and For All. And you play it by going down the tube slide again and again and again with all the other kids.

(I don't get why that's a "once and for all" game - other than maybe she's taking it literally: Sweetie goes down the slide "once" and then "all" the other kids go too).

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Remarkable

The other day I asked Sweetie what she wants for Christmas.

You have to write a letter to Santa, Sweetie. What do you want for Christmas?

(after some thought and some whines) I don't knoooowww what I want!

Really? My creative and imaginative Sweetie doesn't have any idea what she wants for Christmas? Hmmm... well, actually, this is a good thing. I can gently "guide" Sweetie by "suggesting" things she my like.

Well, actually - first off, I forgot. She did mention that she wanted a "remote control doll".

You do? Where did you see that?

I didn't see it anywhere - I just made it up.

Oh. Do you really want that? You don't usually play with dolls. I wouldn't think that would be a good gift for you.

Well... A____ at school had her birthday and I thought she would want that for her present and then I thought I'd like it too.

Oh. Okay. But I think you usually like to other types of things. Like you like to do creative things. Would you like some crafts? Or - you like to learn and find out about things. Would you like some science stuff?

YES! Science stuff! Ooh! I have an idea! Why don't I draw a picture of what I want for Christmas instead of writing the words cuz I don't know how to spell all the words.

Okay, that's a great idea. So - draw some pictures of some science stuff. Like what? How about a globe (already purchased).

Yeah! A globe!

This all went on for awhile and Sweetie ended up making different categories of things she wants. A Magic (Sweetie) category, a Science category, a Detective (Sweetie) category and a Super (Sweetie) category.

Here's what her drawing ended up looking like:

Photobucket

Basically, she wants a magician's hat, cape and wand (the wand is in the works, although we imagined it would be more useful to Super (Sweetie) (You know - Harry Potter-style). Then she wants science things like a telescope, an experiment kit and a globe (the globe we got her is a typical globe by day and a map of the constellations by night). Detective (Sweetie) wants a cell phone, "clues" (I suggested a scavenger hunt - which is in the works as well - she drew Blue's Clues paw prints as a representation), a magnifying glass and a disguise costume (mask and cape). Finally, Super (Sweetie) needs a cape (I do believe Grammy is taking care of that one), super hero boots and super hero gloves.

BUT - remarkably - after drawing all this, Sweetie stated that now she has to go through it all again and cross out what she really doesn't want that much from all the drawing. Hmmm.... she hasn't done that yet, though. I think she forgot about the whole thing.

Anyway, part of my point in detailing all this is to point out my realization that, ya know?... Sweetie doesn't really ever ask for anything much. And I think that's remarkable.

She sees commercials for movies coming to the theater that I'd think she'd really love to see. She watches those commercials with interest, but she never asks to go see them. Never.

We go to Target or wherever and she doesn't ask for toys or anything. Not that we typically stroll by the toy area to tempt her anyway. But even when we sometimes do - nope. Nothing. She might comment that something is "cool". But she doesn't outright ask for it.

She LOVES looking at all the toy catalogs that come in the mail. She could look at them for hours. And she loves to point out all the items for 5+ year olds. She'll say something like - That's for kids that are 5 or older, so I can get that.

At first I thought she was thinking that, just because something says it's age appropriate for her, then she thinks she can and will get it. But now - I just think she's pointing out that it's something she'd be able to get because it's the right age for her - not that she really wants it.

I'm sure her lack of want, want, want has a lot to do with our very limited T.V. channels. We have less-than-basic cable - no Nick, no Noggin, no nothin'. She does see those channels at Nana or Grammy's house. But not at home. I imagine if she was regularly more tuned in to the onslaught of kid-targeted commercials, she'd be all over us with requests of what she wants. In fact, on Saturday morning cartoon channels - where toy commercials are frequent - she'll usually take note of one item or another and say that she wants it. But she's not saying it with much believability at all. I don't think she really cares whether she gets it or not, which is great.

I'm glad Sweetie is so non-materialistic and is so into creativity and imagination. Many of her gifts this year are going to be simpler, home-made types of things. Interactive games that we know she'll love. She's definitely going to have a great holiday.

Oh! That reminds me! Hubby and Sweetie were at Target this past weekend where Sweetie saw all the Christmas decorations already up. Hubby reported that Sweetie commented:

What are all the Christmas things up for? It's not even Thanksgiving yet! That's so weird - let's get out of here!

That's my girl. We'll have a great holiday - and your birthday celebration - all together as a family. It's a wonderful time of year. You make it the best, Sweetie. Christmas time is GREAT - just like you.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Mama Monday #49.1

Theme: Off

Sorry - taking a week off from this. I've got nothing remarkable to write about, no good theme words to work with, and only can think that I'd rather spend my time with Sweetie today.

You, though. You may take my theme word and run with it! And, if you do, I'd love you to leave me a link back to it in my comments area. Thanks!

TTFN!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Sweetie Saturday #132 - Big Kid Edition

Hey! You wanna know how to get a kid super excited about helping you clean up the entire house?! All you have to do is ask her if she wants to do something that has more responsibility to it and that only big kids usually get to do.

And you know what such a kid will say?

Yah! What is it?! What can I do?!

From there, you can get said kid to: wipe the dining room table, clean the bathroom sinks, wipe/dust the stairs, make her bed, and - get this - continue to keep on asking for more things to do!

Yeah. I know. So cool, huh?

See, Hubby and I have - rather unpremeditatedly - begun to intersperse new little duties to Sweetie, telling her that, once she's 6 years old, she'll have to know how to do these things. Things such as wash herself in the tub (rather than having me do it), brush her teeth (again - currently my job), and generally help out a bit more around the house.

So when I got on a cleaning binge the other day and set Sweetie to the task of cleaning off her "craft table" (the coffee table in our living room), well - she did it without much of a fight, but still not terribly enthusiastically, as I'm sure you can imagine. 

At the time, I was washing dishes in the kitchen. I suppose I was thinking about all the other rooms I had to get to to make the house really tidied up as much as I wanted. So when Sweetie finished her table chore, in that very second it occurred to me to ask her for more help - by spicing the job up with a taste of importance and "big kid" skill. 

Honestly - all I was looking for at the time was a little more help with the dining room table. But when Sweetie was so stinkin' excited to be doing the work of a 6 year old (!), she just kept asking and asking for more jobs. I even once caught her talking to herself while she cleaned, muttering proudly under her breath, I'm practicing for when I'm 6 years old.

That was two days ago. Then yesterday morning she asked if she could please brush her teeth all by herself - because that was a 6 year old job that she needed to practice.

Then, while watching me clean a few more dishes in the sink, she asked me if washing dishes will be a job she can do when she's 6 years old.

Uh... No. You're not tall enough for that one. In a few more years, though - yes. You can do that too.

Sweetie proudly reported to Daddy all the 6 year old jobs she practiced that day. And she told a friend in her class as well as Nana and Papa. 

She's very, very proud of herself.

Hubby and I are thinking she's going to be really helpful in getting the house ready for Christmas in the coming weeks, and generally more agreeable to helping clean up on a weekly - or even daily! - basis.

Heck! Ever since, she's been keeping an awfully close eye on that dining room table, wanting to wipe it down whenever she sees even the slightest smudge on it.

Imagine me, having to tell her, No, Sweetie. It's okay. It doesn't have to be cleaned off so much.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Half _______

Ugh. I'm feeling like I've got a lot on my plate this month. It's probably not all that bad, but just how I'm feeling in this stressed-out moment.

I'm feeling too busy to even post anything extensive here! Which is ultimately fine - in a world where real-life stuff is keeping me occupied, I suppose it's quite alright to let this blog slide just a wee bit. Still, I really do consider my writing here to be at least one of my priorities.

I think what's getting to me most these days is that I feel like none of the things I'm doing, I'm doing with my full attention on board. I feel, all at once, that I could be doing so much more at the same time that I'm more or less overwhelmed with what I'm doing already.

I'm home most every day, all day - yet the house is not at all tidy. Why can't I get it looking spotless? There's no good excuse.

I continue my job search. I search, and apply, everyday. But I've got nothing yet. I keep holding on to "all good things come to those who wait/something wonderful is out there and will present itself to me when I'm most ready for it." I also think about how I'll be taking the Praxis II exam this weekend and, after passing that, so many more education-related opportunities will be open to me. Still - the fact remains - I'm still jobless. I must be doing something wrong - or at least not as well as I could be.

As for that Praxis exam, I have studied a bit. I bought a practice study test/guide and have gone through it and taken the practice test. But I'm in no way freaking out about the test or over-studying/worrying. I guess I figure I know what I know, I'm pretty sure I know enough to pass the test, and that'll be good enough. But maybe I should be pouring over all my old college notes and grammar/literature books. I could, of course, do better on the test if I studied more. Yet I'm acting as if all I need to do is simply pass the test - with whatever passing grade I happen to get - and that'll be fine. Not the best attitude, I suppose.

I feel like I've gotten so far in all the different job interview opportunities I've found myself in. In fact, I'm still waiting to here if a decision has been made for the job I interviewed for about a month ago. I personally feel like I've done really well in each of the discussions I've had with different employers. But yet - nothing. I've been told a couple times that I was the second choice person. But second place doesn't help me. I need first place in this job-hunt race. What am I doing - or not doing - to get that first place position?

I still feel bad about the time I spend - or don't spend - with Sweetie when she's home from school. I feel like I'm always either on the computer, doing dishes, folding laundry, or trying to work on some holiday gifts/crafts. Sweetie wants to play and I have to tell her I can't for whatever various reason. While she eats lunch at the dining room table, I'm cleaning up in the kitchen. I tell her to go play on her own in her room for awhile or watch T.V. upstairs while I do some computer work. I don't feel like I'm as "here" for her as I should be, considering that I am physically "here" for her.

In short I just feel like I'm doing a whole lot of things half-tushied (sorry - I'm not one to curse. Even a little curse like the one needed in that phrase. See?! I can't even express myself fully appropriately!). So many things going on and none of them getting done the way they should be. 

I have an interview today (is it an interview?) with another employment agency. I'm actually not looking forward to it - not sure why. Maybe I feel like, at this point, even agencies aren't going to find me anything. One agency I'm supposedly signed up with - since June! - has presented me with absolutely nothing. NOTHING! And the other agency has given me 3 or 4 opportunities to try for, which has been great. But then again - those are the jobs where I've presented myself well, but not well enough to actually land the job. I'm feeling dejected, I suppose.

Everything I'm doing is important in it's own right. But no matter what project/activity I find myself doing at any given time, I feel like I should be devoting that time to some other, apparently more important, activity right then. It's a never-ending cycle of feeling not good enough. Yuck.

Anyway - I should get going. I've got to pick Sweetie up from school soon. Maybe if I sign off now I can get one more chore done before she's here. 

At least half way done, anyway...

Monday, November 10, 2008

Mama Monday #48.1

Theme: Share

FYI - Hubby has taken on a creative project for this month. Every day in November, he's making and posting a new woodworking project - auctioning them off at Facebook. If you're registered at Facebook, you can get to his page via this link: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Wilton-NH/Blanchard-Creative-Woodworking/32878627365. 

Become a fan of his page or not - you're still eligible to bid on any item by writing a comment under the project you're interested in or emailing him directly in order to keep gifts a secret from other Facebook members (email address available at Hubby's profile page). 

Better yet - if you like one of his projects and are interested in bidding on it, but you're not a member of Facebook, email me directly at sbmoms (at) gmail (dot) com with your offer and I'll personally (and anonymously) add your bid information to the comments area myself.

He's offering up pens, wine bottle stoppers, and other random wooden objects as suits his fancy. Most items start at $15 or $20 - including S/H and a refill pen cartridge (if it's a pen, that is).

Each auction usually lasts for a total of 24 hours before the next item is up for bid.

Check it out, think about holiday gifts, or treat yourself to something nice. And remember, there'll be something new every day this month.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Sweetie Saturday #131 - Improvement Edition

Hubby and I went to our Parent/Teacher conference earlier this week. I was both a little concerned to find out what the teacher had to say about Sweetie's behavior, and interested in hearing what she had to say about Sweetie's academic skills.

Well, as it happens, we didn't find out anything we didn't already know: Sweetie is academically smart but is often stubborn and bossy.

Yep - sounds pretty accurate to me.

On the other hand, Sweetie's teacher did note that she's already seeing good progress in Sweetie's behavior.  

Sweetie used to "complain" about a ton of things - not being able to sign her name every morning on the 5th line of the sign-in sheet (because she's five years old, so she has to sign that line!), to "arguing" with her teacher about why the white board says "we will go to P.E. today" when the class is reading it after they've already gotten back from P.E. (the teacher wants the other kids to recognize the sight words "to" and "go", but since Sweetie already knows those words, it's the whole time frame/grammar incongruity of the sentence that gets her upset). Even recess line up time is getting better (I owe that change to our including Super (Sweetie) in the process). 

And most impressive of all? A boy in her class accidently bumped into Sweetie the other day, spilling his cup of water all over her shirt - and Sweetie handled it all without (many) tears (it's still unclear to me whether she did actually cry or not. Sweetie says no, but her teacher thought Sweetie did ultimately cry a little in the end when the assistant teacher was helping her out). 

Don't get me wrong. According to Sweetie's teacher - and what I know of my daughter - Sweetie was obviously very mad. Apparently, when it happened, Sweetie immediately got a shocked/upset look on her face, balled up her fists at her sides, stomped her way - the long way - around her entire classroom, and (I think) complained about how she DID NOT LIKE SPILLS. But she didn't cry. Her teacher explained that it was just an accident, that neither Sweetie nor the boy were looking where they were going, and that it was just water - it would dry soon and be okay.

I guess that was enough to mostly calm her down. But then Mrs. M. said she soon noticed Sweetie talking to the assistant teacher, whom she convinced to help Sweetie take off her shirt (Sweetie was wearing a turtleneck and a shirt over that that day, so she just wanted that top shirt off). At that point, Sweetie may have been crying.

Anyway - still, an improvement. Obviously not anywhere near the ideal way to behave when such an accident happens. But much better than Sweetie's usual immediate breakdown into sobbing tears and shouts.

At home, I've also noticed some good improvement in Sweetie's behavior. It wasn't even a week ago that Sweetie was working in one of her activity books. At one point she was writing down a needed word, but she accidently wrote a wrong letter. And, ooh boy, was she upset! Even though we explained that she could just write the correct letter over the wrong letter - making it darker and more easily seen - or she could cross out the whole word and write it correctly underneath - both were horribly wrong fixes. In fact, there was no fix in Sweetie's mind. It was just plain, irrevocably wrong. The end.

But only days later? Sweetie's again working in the same workbook and, upon making the exact same sort of mistake, she easily, without even a hint of drama, wrote in the correct letter on top of the wrong one and moved on. No problemo at all. Yay!

And (knock on wood) the very few times that I have recently picked Sweetie up from school when she's been in a less-than-chipper mood, she's also been much more easily brought out of her grumpy state. Before we're even around the corner from her school, she's apologizing, laughing, and talking about the next fun thing she wants to do once home.

Academically - she's really liking math now. She gets in the car after school and tells me she wants to go home and "work on math" in her activity books. She's also brought home a lot of math-related books from her classroom (Mon. - Thurs. the kids all get to bring home one book a day from their room). She and I always sit down right away, once home, to read together and, in these cases, learn a little math. 

Then, of course, there's her reading and spelling. Those subjects have been of great interest to her for a long time now. This week she learned about palindromes. She's very interested in discovering all sorts of different words and phrases that are palindromes.

So - Sweetie is doing well. She's smart and academically curious - but seems not to be bored in a class where most other students are still learning what she already knows. 

She's improving socially - starting to play more with other kids (rather than on her own), learning to control her emotions, and realizing that things cannot always be the way she expects them to be.

Sweetie is where she needs to be. Kindergarten is necessary for her to improve her still-developing interpersonal relations. She's enjoying learning. 

And once she gets to 1st grade, there's an opportunity to separate out into an advanced level in reading, math or whatever fits best for her academically. She'll flourish in a group of peers who are equal to where she is scholastically.

Things are good. 

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Make That Move - A Thursday Thoughts Special Post

So... we have a new President Elect. A man of principle, hope, eloquence and strength. Hubby and I (and oh so many of our friends and acquaintances) are simply ecstatic with the outcome of this amazing election and cannot wait until President Obama takes office in January.

Barack Obama, I am confident, will lead our nation well. His very election has already done so much to unite us as a country. Indeed, countries all over the world closely took note - watching along with us as results came in. From England to Africa, Australia to Indonesia, people watched as Obama delivered his acceptance speech and spoke not only to the people of the United States of America but, in fact, the world. Not only do we live in a country where you can do and be anything you set your mind to, but there is hope that oppressed individuals the world over will one day be free to live up to their goals and dreams. Yes we can.

On a much tinier, entirely waaaaayyy less significant note, this unification of our globe's residents made me realize, once again, that my written words here are reaching not only people of the U.S.A, but so many other countrymen (and women) as well. A quick look at my stats tells me I have regular visitors from France, China, India and England (to name only a few). It's awe inspiring to think how connected we all are as a planet, simply by the existence of the internet. 

With that said, when I received a recent request to write an unbiased review of a website based out of Great Britain, I was a little detached - thinking I had no business rating any services meant for the people on an entirely different continent than my own. But after some thought, I realized that I do have an audience, however small, that would benefit from my review. My words can be helpful, regardless of where I call my home. 

In this case, the website, moveme.com, is a resource which helps individuals plan, organize and act upon their decision to move from one residence to another (using the site's verbiage, this act is referred to as "moving home" which honestly confused me at first. Moving home? Like college grads leaving school and moving back in with mom and dad? Are there really enough young 20-somethings who do that to warrant creating a whole website to helping them? Oh! No! That's just the British terminology for moving from one home to another). Lots of people move! I've moved many times in my life. It's not a country-specific phenomenon. I can write about this.

Anyway, moveme.com seems like a very helpful, really well-rounded site. They can help you with anything from getting free mortgage quotes, to connecting with your current provider for mortgage quotes, to switching your utility services, to removal quotes (quotes from various moving/packing services).

Like I mentioned, lots of what this site has to offer is specific to Great Britain - for instance, the bulk of the offered legal and financial information. But, at the same time, anyone can benefit from the packing, moving and decorating tips, to the site's frequently updated blog, to the moving check lists available for your use. And, as you can imagine, I'm particularly impressed with their section on Moving with Disabilities

Moveme.com is a free service to register and use. They do direct you to various services, if you need them, for which you'd normally expect to pay anyway. But even these prices will most likely be less expensive than if you found them on your own because of the different partnerships the site has set up with their vendors. 

So to all my readers in Great Britian - if you don't already know about moveme.com, please do check it out. From what I can tell, the site seems to offer a wide and helpful range of tips and services that are useful, even necessary, for when it's time to think about, and make, that move.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Mama Monday #47.1

Theme: Choice

I interviewed with a company a week and a half ago for a position I'm very interested in. I called on Friday to see how the decision making process is going. They're still interviewing. It may be another 2 weeks or so before I get any sort of answer.

In the meantime, an employment agency that's been working with me lately has presented another long term temporary full time position (would at least take me through the end of the year - possibly longer). But because I had felt I had to be honest with the agency rep that I potentially had this other exciting opportunity looming, he suggested that I not go for his position and wait it out for now.

But, the thing is - I need a job (duh!). And I have absolutely no guarantee that anything will come of this original job interview. And if nothing does come of it, and I've passed up this agency job, then I'm left with nothing. Again.

So I've put a call into the agency rep this morning, leaving a message that I really would like to go for this job he described to me last week. It does sound interesting and it would give me some income. And then, at the very least, I'll have a choice to make should the other job offer come to fruition. Choice is good.

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Hubby and I went to another gathering at our new church last night, this one describing the steps to take in order to become a proper member of the church. There happens to be a new members dinner coming up mid-month, with the Sunday service that week publicly introducing the newest members to the rest of the congregation. It also so happens that that particular weekend is really busy for us and we'll not be able to attend the dinner or the Sunday service. 

The next such dinner and service won't be until sometime in January. So Hubby and I have time to make our ultimate decision. But we're rather confident in our choice anyway. We want to become members of this church. They're good people, they've got a fantastic children's education program, and the feeling of belonging to a community where choice, openness and acceptance of all beliefs is focus #1-  well, it's really wonderful.

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Tomorrow, as we all know, is Election Day. I am SO EXCITED! At this late stage, I'm sure everyone is clear about who they're going to vote for. If so, GET OUT AND VOTE! As they say, you can't complain about the outcome if you weren't a part of how we got there in the first place.

Happy Election Day, everyone! This is big one. Change is coming soon.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Sweetie Saturday #130

Last Sunday at church, 4 ladies performed a 4 cornered chant - one woman at each corner of the room, singing a lovely song, a capella, in the style of a round. Sweetie was absolutely fascinated, turning her head to find, then watch each new woman sing her part.

When the women were done, all was quiet in the church as the singers took their seats and the speaker stepped to the altar. All quiet, that is, except for Sweetie's small voice coming from the back row, approvingly thanking the performers with a sweet Bravo! Bravo!

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Sweetie has been doing much better at school recess ever since we instituted Super Sweetie to the rescue. She's supposed to listen for the end of recess whistle, which calls Super Sweetie to attention, who then swiftly gets herself to the line.

However, it seems Sweetie employs her super powers more often then just at line up time:

One day this past week I asked Sweetie: How was recess today?

Great!

Did Super (Sweetie) help you line up on time?

Yep!

Great! And what did you play during recess?

I played The Adventures of Bouncing in One Place (Sweetie).

Huh. Sounds.... interesting.

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This morning, a distraught Sweetie came into our bedroom about 10 minutes before she was allowed to wake us up for the day. Her question?

How do I read when I have the hiccups?!

Uhhh... you just read.

But I want to read out loud so I can tell if I'm saying the words right.

Well, you can do that. Some words will just sound a little silly. It will be funny.

Still not completely satisfied, Sweetie heeded Hubby's question in style:

How can you be talking to us if you have the hiccups?

And with that, she silently left our room...