Wednesday, November 16, 2011

What Noelle is Thankful For

Today was Noelle's Thanksgiving feast at school.  Justin was able to work from home in order to join her for the festivities.  It sounds like they both really enjoyed it, despite Noelle not wanting Justin to leave afterwards.

This was on the wall in her classroom:

Yes, it really does say, "I am thankful for having a clean Dad."  LOL!  I'm not sure how she came about that idea and what Dad she has encountered that isn't very clean.  I have no clue what the "dishes" part is all about.  Hmm...

On My Mind

Too much!!  That's what's on my mind.

1- I checked the Department of Child Care Services website today and noticed my complaint is filed as "founded" with a severity of 2 (serious), which means "Gross violation of ratios or serious physical injury have been reported."  I'm satisfied with that and it's time to move on.

2- You might be interested to know that I suck at communicating with my husband.  And since he doesn't take criticism well I end up keeping things to myself in order to avoid a fight.  I'm a great communicator with friends and the parent's of children I care for.  Just not when it comes to my husband (or parents).  I often have to find other ways to relieve the tension I feel and hold in regarding problems with Justin.  Writing it out works for me.

I'm having some frustration with my husband's handling of our children.  There, I said it.  I've always been thankful for a partner that is truly a parent with me instead of acting like a babysitter, and I still am.  I love that I am free to work in the evenings and on the weekends, go out with friends, whatever, with out worrying that he will forget to feed the kids or some other stupid thing.  (Yes, I've actually heard of this happening.)  

My (his) problem is a combination of him expecting WAY TOO MUCH and having very little patience lately.  I work so hard to keep a calm voice and have patience with the kids, I admit it freely.  It is easy with other peoples kids, but not my own.   It seems that Justin is constantly yelling/raising his voice now.  If  I can hear him loud and clear downstairs when he is in a nearly closed bathroom with a child upstairs, that's too loud!  You can't expect a child to listen when spoken to calmly if you start by yelling.  And he knows this!! The other part of that is just that he expects too much.  Noelle, at almost 5 years, is held to the same standards as her 7 1/2 year old brother.  Not cool.  I expect a lot from my kids, yes, but I try hard to be reasonable and age appropriate with it.  Adam has always been great at following directions and being responsible, but has been slacking off lately.  I'd say he is acting like a normal 7 year old, attitude and behavior wise.  (We're working on it.)  Justin is REALLY struggling with this.  Lastly, Justin has been frustrated himself by how much everyone is arguing with him.  I finally had to turn it back on him and ask him to consider if HE is the problem there.  I'm not actually having a problem with the Justin or the kids arguing with me.  So it seems to me he needs to look a little closer at his own actions in regards to all of us.  Okay, I got it out, I feel better now!  :)

3- So you know how I mentioned that I accepted the offer to stay with my current Nanny family after Little Girl is born?  Now we have to figure out salary for when I come back from Maternity leave.  Suffice it to say that we came to the table with very different thoughts on what I should be paid.  

Some background.  I work M-Th approx 34 hours a week at my employer's house.  Aside from my regular childcare duties I also do the baby's dishes and laundry, sweep, mop, vacuum, wipe down counters, dust, and 2-3 times a week I cook meals for the parent's dinner.  I am left with a recipe and all ingredients needed to prepare the meal during one of the baby's naps.  Oh, I also home make the baby food veggies.  

I am already very underpaid at under $13 an hour.  So after looking back at previous contracts I came up with a dollar amount for a new salary that would still allow me to "afford" to work.  (Hey, both daycare and B/A care are expensive!  I have to take home SOME money to make it worth my while.)  Turns out my employers were looking at it as a true Nanny share, not child bring along, in which case they would pay me $7.50 an hour.  They realize that's really low and are willing to go higher, but I gather they were thinking $9-10 an hour.  That pay would barely even cover my outgoing childcare costs I have to pay in order to go to work.  I was able to talk to the owner of the Nanny agency I usually work through (this position was through, not Colorado Nanny) today.  She gave me some hints and ideas to think about and talk with the family about when they come back to me after discussing it themselves.  Wish me luck!!

I think that's it!  It feels really good to write it out and empty my head a little.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Adam's first encounter with Manga

A couple weeks ago I took the kids to the library to get their own cards.  Adam needed one as a requirement for something in Cub Scouts.  I had them each chose and check out their own books.  Adam chose a book about Sea Turtles and Pokemon Adventures Vol. 7.  He told me the book cover was backwards but I didn't really pay any attention, just gave him a quick, "Yup, it reads a little differently."  A few evenings later I glanced over while he was reading it and noticed he was 10 or so pages in to the book, BUT that he was reading it wrong.  This book is a true graphic novel written in Manga form.  It reads from left to right starting from the "back" of the book.  I asked him where he started reading and then if it was making any sense.  Of course he started at the "front" and was reading in the normal left to right fashion.  And no, it wasn't making any sense.  Justin and I had a pretty good laugh before we taught him how to read the book properly.  We flipped that poor 7 year old's world all around.  From the day our children start looking at books, writing, reading, etc, we teach them that everything is ALWAYS left to right.  Um, that's until you're old enough to read a comic book in Manga form.  I'll be curious to see if he picks another volume in the series next time we exchange books.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

A Drawing by Noelle

I love this drawing that came home from daycare with Noelle recently.  She has progressed so much this school year!  For anyone who can't figure out what it says:  Momi DAD Noelle AlleN.  It's funny to me that she NEVER writes lowercase A's, no matter where in the word the "A" shows up.  It seems she has been doing the same thing with "N", even though we have shown her how to make the lowercase letters.  I'm not too sure we have actually worked on lowercase "D" though.

Over the summer I was very concerned that she didn't know her ABC's , much less the phonics part of it.  Now she knows the majority of the letters by sight and can write them, plus she knows most of the phonics.  She can even read a little!!  I'm so proud of her!

Whew! Crazy days!

It's been a crazy week!  We were super busy Sunday getting chores done around the house, groceries, haircuts for everyone except me, and lots of organizing on my part.  Justin even made homemade donuts in the morning!!

Noelle decided she wanted her hair cut short again.  They took off about 3 1/2 inches, which took about a year to grow out!!  It looks much better though and she no longer has to have a clip in her hair in order to eat.  The picture shows the length, even though we had to go back on Tuesday evening to have it fixed.  The lady who cut her hair was feeling really bad/sick and just did an awful job.  The front was okay, but the back got longer and longer until it nearly came to a point.  I was very clear that it needed to be all the same length, even though her hair naturally grows faster in the back.  When cut properly the hair at the nape of her neck should only be about 1 inch long or so.  It took about 45 minutes to have a different stylist fix her hair.  Noelle's hair has some serious quirks.  She has the same cowlick her brother has, right at the crown of her head at the natural part, plus her hair is naturally thicker on the right side and made worse by the fact that her natural part adds even MORE hair to that side of her head.  She is NOT an easy or quick cut which is why I normally pay a few extra bucks to take her to Jack and Jill Children's Salon (we went to the local place that Adam and Justin get their hair cut at this time).

I do not envy this child her hair.  I have straight thin hair.  Not ideal, but I don't have to style it.  This works great since I work with kids and always just pull it back in a ponytail.  And seriously, it only takes me 30 minutes to shower and get ready in the mornings.  No make-up, blow dryer, curling iron, etc...  I LOVE it!  Noelle on the other hand has an entire life ahead of her of actually DOING her hair.  She has great hair, but it will need to have a style and actually have something done with it as she gets older.  I'm very curious how Little Girls hair is going to be since Adam and Noelle fully have Justin's thick hair and the exact same cowlick as each other.  I wonder if thick hair is a dominant gene??

Moving on...Monday night was a Den meeting for Adam's Cub Scout group.  They had an extra long meeting in order to practice for Friday's flag ceremony at the Veteran's Day breakfast and still be able to do the other items on the agenda.  Noelle and I were on our own for dinner and getting ready for bed.  I was so stinkin' tired I was falling asleep at the computer while waiting for her to clean up her dishes and get into pj's.  It was only 7pm.

Tuesday night we spent 45 minutes at the hair salon and then rushed home to get Noelle showered off and cook dinner.  We had the pleasure of having my BIL Derrick over for dinner and a late birthday celebration.  We even had frosted homemade donuts!!  (I had frozen the leftover ones from Sunday morning. A quick pop in the microwave and they were ready to go!)  Noelle wanted Derrick to read her bedtime books so she chose Barbie Thumbelina and Dora's Christmas.  These have got to be the girliest books in the whole house, LOL!!  I kinda felt bad for Derrick with the choice of books AND for the fact that reading out loud is NOT easy when it's not something you do normally.  He was a great sport though and Noelle really enjoyed her Uncle D time!

We finally got to relax some on Wednesday night.  I fed the kids an earlier than normal dinner so we could sit down for a family movie night.  We have learned that Adam in front of the TV.  He can literally take the entire movie to eat SOME of his dinner.  LOL!  We watched Diary of a Whimpy Kid Roderick Rules.  It was a very funny movie!  Adam did get scared by the scene where Greg and Rowley watch The Foot.  We tried to explain to him that it was supposed to be silly, not scary.  He wasn't buying it though and it took a lot of talking to get him into bed.

Justin headed off to the Dermatologist with the kids bright and early this morning.  Noelle was in a mood at home in the morning, but I guess she did great for Dr. Swanson.  They both had the warts on their faces frozen again.  I'm not positive, but I think she wants us to try something else for the fingers and toes this time around instead of the beetle juice we have used the last two times.  I'll have to Justin tonight and find out what's going on.

Friday is going to be another busy day for me.  We have to be at the Elementary school for the Veteran's Day flag ceremony and breakfast by 7:45am.  My brother, Merle, will be joining us as the Veteran in the group.  They had 180 people RSVPed for the breakfast as of Monday.  I'm very curious to see how they are going to seat so many people for an actual breakfast.  (The gym is pretty small compared to what I grew up with.)  After that I have to rush to my 27 week OB appointment by 9am.  This is an OB teach and glucose test appointment, which means I'll be there for over an hour.  Bleh!  But at least I don't have to fast!  I am going to ask them to re-check my thyroid levels again too.  I have been extremely thirsty this week, very odd for me.  Normally, and even through my other pregnancies, I am NOT a drinker.  I can get away with 2-3 glasses of liquid a day.  Earlier this week I drank about 5-6 glasses of water, a coffee, a soda, and a hot tea.  And was still SO THIRSTY at bedtime.  And I can't drink much right before bed since I usually get some reflux that time of day.  It seems like the rest of Friday is free, but I still have lots of normal stuff to get done around the house.

The kids are spending the night with Auntie Stef, Uncle Steve , and Grandma Sheri Saturday night!!  As always, they are super excited and will get to go swimming.  Justin will get some time to himself that evening since I'll be out scrap booking with a bunch of friends!!  I'm really looking forward to it, it's been too long!

I hope you are all having a great week!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Just a few things on my mind right now

Over the last few weeks I've been trying to make a decision about my current job.  The family I work for Monday through Thursday would like to have me come back after Little Girl is born and would allow me to bring her with me to their house.  I would take a slight decrease in pay, but would be able to stay at a job I enjoy and know that I HAVE a job to go back to.  I have decided to stay with them!!  The hardest part has been trying to pick maternity leave dates since they will need a temp nanny to cover while I am gone.  Noelle was also due on February 9th, but was born January 26.  Adam was 4 days early, but he was technically induced even though I was in the very early stages already.  I am assuming Little Girl will make her debut toward the end of January.  On the other hand, I was talking with a friend who is due November 13th with her 3rd child and she still hasn't delivered, even though both her girls were born by this point.  Sigh.  I've decided to go with February 1st through March 15th.  Just cross your fingers that she is born very close to the first.  I am thinking a temp nanny will have some flexibility on start date, right??

I'm 26 weeks now!!  I am deep into the nesting stage and really enjoying it.  My house is clean again, I've been baking, and I'm feeling very comfortable body wise.  I am slowly getting my house back organized after all these months of pain and uncomfortablness.  We have the crib set up and I have located most of the baby equipment you need in the first few months.  The one thing that is frustrating me is that the changing table we ordered 7 weeks ago STILL hasn't come in, even though it was in-stock at the warehouse.  Without it I can't have Justin get down the baby clothes to get them sorted and washed, since I wouldn't have anywhere to put them.  I have repeatedly talked with the store and they can't figure out why it hasn't been shipped.  I am really close to cancelling the order and going to Target for a dresser that is 1/2 - 1/3 the price.

Next weekend I am going scrapbooking!!  I'm very excited to go again aince it has been so long.  I have a group of friends who all enjoy the craft and for a while I was setting up monthly dates at a local store.  Then I got pregnant and felt so crappy we stopped going.  I was able to reserve 8 spots, which is 2 tables!!  It will be so fun to get together and catch up with everyone without kids around wanting out attention.  Now I just need to get my stuff put away properly andd get my prints organized so I am ready to go next Saturday.

Now onto some more serious business.  I haven't talked alot about this and really only to those involved, Justin, and really close friends.  My kids don't even know!  Last February my dad and Sheri separated.  It look a REALLY long time to truly hit and affect me.  I'm talking 6 months here.  I think with the baby getting closer to actually being here I have starting to think more about it.  It's really been on my mind the last few weeks though since it's getting that time for making holiday plans.  We will be hosting Thanksgiving at our house with Justin's brother and sister.  But Christmas is going to be interesting.  Up until now I really haven't allowed myself to put much thought into the whole thing.  I grew up in the middle of a divorce and really don't want to put myself in the middle of one again.  And where as I know this isn't the same, I still try to keep myself out of it.  It is also made more complicated by the fact that we are a step family.  I know the time is coming soon when we will have to sit the kids down and let them know what is going on.  But, until one of them asks, or I absolutly can't put it off any longer, I'm not going to speak up.  Anyway, it was just time to say something and start being able to talk openly about it.  It is healthy to let things out and talk about them.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Random Tidbits 3

1.  My 4 year old begged to watch "The Safe Side: Stranger Safety" video by Julie Clark (founder of The Baby Einstein Company) and John Walsh (host of America's Most Wanted), this morning.  When I said no and recommended watching a "real" movie she responded with, "But Mommy, I don't remember how to be safe around strangers!!"  She got to watch it.  I really like the video and think is does a good job of teaching safety without scaring kids.  It teaches about different people, "don't knows", "kinda knows", and safe side adults.  It also uses great language for young children and is easy to follow and understand.  We watched it with the kids the first few times, but now they randomly ask to watch it on their own.  I highly recommend it!!

2.  This 4 year old had a 101 degree temp last night and was coughing horribly.  I'm very thankful she bounces back quickly.  (Clearly I am not someone who believes kids can't play in the cold when sick.)

Also, I LOVE that I have a sledding hill in my very own back yard.  I personally HATE the cold and snow.  The fact that she can play in the backyard to her hearts content and I can stay warm inside makes me very happy.

3.  I had to file a formal complaint with the Colorado Division of Childcare this week. Really long story short...a little over a week ago my daughter hit her head under her cubby and bled for over an hour before I arrived to pick her up and noticed the blood.  Not a single person at the school noticed the dried, bloody hair on the back of her head that was as big as my fist and had dripped down the back of her shirt.  I was NOT a happy Mommy that afternoon.  She ended up bleeding for about 2 1/2 hours before it finally stopped.  It was a scary experience and my first time dealing with a bleeding scalp.  Impressive after 12 years in childcare.  To make matters worse both the Asst. Director and Owner tried to touch the wet blood with their bare hands.  That's a really big no no and very common First Aid knowledge.  I had to speak up and stop them.  Now I am anxiously awaiting the outcome.

4.  We did not buy costumes or pumpkins this year.  Otherwise we celebrated in all our normal ways.  The kids never asked about carving pumpkins, thank goodness.  Noelle dressed up as Snow White (donated to us by a friend), a REDS baseball player (her t-ball uniform, minus cleats), and a Ballerina (hand me down tutu from who knows where, leotard from the 1 class she took 2 years ago, a.  Adam was a Wizard, Optimus Prime, and Wolverine.  The only costume that was fairly new was the Wizard.  I made it in July for our family's King's Day Celebration and it consisted of a tabard and cloak.  I think they actually enjoyed getting to pick a different costume for every event we attended.

5. We had a ghost pinata at out Halloween party last Saturday.  We always start with either the birthday child or youngest kid.  Noelle went 3rd and smacked the bottom off.  I was flabbergasted!!  Fortunately the kids were so excited for the candy pouring out that they didn't care that they didn't get a turn.  Not a single child spoke up about it.  WOW!!