Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Near Death-and other Walmart Experiences

Yesterday I managed to get the hubs to agree to keep the boys home while I took our daughter to her weekly appointment. After the appt we used the rare opportunity to go to the store. Alone. No little boys to make inappropriate fart jokes or show us freshly picked boogers. Alleluia!!

As we walked into the store daughter convinced me to let her sit in one of those HUGE buggies with the big plastic toddler seats. I despise those things yet was feeling unusually agreeable and generous since I wasn't lugging an enormous baby and refereeing arguments and forgetting what I went into the store for. Our conversation was limited due to the noise coming from that buggy, which was comparable to a freight train. The buggy and I also took out two separate displays, a rack of clothes, and a shelf of chips...but I digress.

We had a short list: large envelopes, coffee creamer, hamburger buns, and socks-so poor daughter could finally stop wearing her brother's. Of course, being at Walmart mandates over-spending at least $20 (how do they DO that?). So we added a few unnecessary little things to our buggy and headed to check-out. Here is some little-known trivia about me:
It never fails, no matter how short the line appears, I always-ALWAYS-pick the longest line. Someone has a problem, the cashiers are changing shifts, whatever-I always wind up in the line that takes forever. We walked out of the store about 30 minutes later than I had anticipated. We walked out of the door, diligently looked both ways before heading into the parking lot, as I always do. A car was coming down the lane in front of the store. I was nearly halfway across the street and I noticed she wasn't coming to a stop at the end of the parking row she was driving down. She totally California rolled right towards us! I heard myself yell, "STOP!!" and felt my body move to the right in order to grab my daughter. It did not happen in slow motion the way some events tend to transpire. This was real time. I went on auto-pilot. I don't know about anyone else, but often times my mind wanders and I imagine certain scenarios and how I would react...a house fire or robbery for example. I never envisioned how I would react to nearly being run over. The experience taught me that it doesn't matter what you think you will do. Your instincts will react, not your brain.
Getting back to my story: I noticed that she wasn't stopping, but there was nothing I could do about it. I couldn't stop, she would hit us anyway. I couldn't back up, I couldn't run, the cart was too big to get out of the way fast enough. So I just yelled and tried to grab my child out of harm's way. By the time I heard the thud of the car making contact with our buggy it was too late for me to grab my girl. The buggy was being pushed into me by the car; I didn't have time to think about anything. This sounds counter-intuitive, but I forced the buggy forward, towards the car, hoping to at least cause some damage with my last breaths on Earth.

Finally the old lady realized she was literally plowing down a young mother in front of her own child and slammed on the brakes. She rolled her window down and said, "I'm sorry, the light blinded me..". My normal self would have chewed her a new one for not stopping before proceeding into where pedestrians cross, but my heart was pounding so hard and all I could think of was how happy I was that my guts didn't have to be scraped off the Walmart parking lot...what an undignified way to go.

Thank God my kid forced me to push her in that ridiculous vehicle. I honestly believe the sheer volume is what kept her from being injured. A regular buggy may have been overturned or not made enough of an impact to alert the lady to stop in time.

After checking to make sure my girl was unscathed (she was completely oblivious to how unnerving the incident was), I continued to our car. It was then I came back to reality and noticed the crowd that had gathered. Store managers, passersby- so many people ran over to check on us. It dawned on me that I should feel embarrassed, so I did. I stole a quick glance around and noticed women holding their chests and mouths agape, employees looking around, presumably looking for the old lady. I high-tailed it to the car to escape the attention and catch my breath.

While waiting for my heart rate to return to normal I received a text. My husband. Under the caption, "Guess what you missed" were pictures of my son with his first missing tooth! He looks so cute; the one right beside it is very wobbly so it is considerate of him to provide me with an encore. ;)

That's what I get for trying to sneak away.

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Farewell, Pope Benedict

For nearly a week we have been battling the sickies. The females of the family have been spared while the weak men have succumbed to the runny nose, disgusting hacking cough and, most recently, fever.
Over the weekend I harbored high hopes that all these days spent resting (read: doing not much besides watching TV) would be rewarded with healthy children by the time the last day of February arrived.
After the worst night that we've had in a looong time, the last day of February has arrived....today. They are still sick. Sigh.
Today is a historical day: Pope Benedict said "Farewell" to the Vatican and his Papacy, spoke encouraging words to the Cardinals whom are tasked with electing our new Pope, and flew via helicopter to live the rest of his days out of the public eye.
Viva Papa Benedicto!!

I feel the need to impress upon my children the importance of this day (the last time this happened was over 600 years ago after all) so I made sure to acknowledge the Feast of the Chair of St. Peter on Feb. 22 by taking a virtual tour of St. Peter's Basilica (paying special attention to the Chair, of course), and making an after-breakfast craft from Catholic Cuisine.
The craft was a hit and over the next several days I searched sites and blogs looking for something special to do to explain to the kids how the process of electing a new Pope works. I had more time than usual to search since I was more or less trapped in the House of Germs and Sickness, stuck wallowing in my inability to accomplish anything on the Couch of Misery. I came across this cute conclave smoke craft on Catholic Inspired. On Monday, during my daughter's speech appointment, I took the free time to yet again look for Pope projects/activities. Lo and behold! A Cathloic-homeschooling-blogging-momma had just finished posting about the lap book she created for her children. What an amazing find, and just in time!

This morning, while trying to soothe a miserable, crying (not to mention GINORMOUS) baby, I was bound and determined to make this lap book and start the unit study. So I set to work printing, folding, and cutting. Usually I would welcome help from my "students", however I wanted to keep our stuff as snot-free as possible so I decided to go it alone.

Finally, after literally HOURS doing tasks which would have normally taken mere minutes, the lap book is complete and ready to work with. Yay!  And I get bonus points for doing it with one hand...while wiping gross noses...and obsessively washing my hands...and washing load upon load of germ-laundry......

Ours doesn't look quite as pretty as the blogger's of course, but that's okay.  And I changed it up a bit to better suit my kids.  Absolutely amazing resource.

The conclave craft will have to wait as there is no way humanly possible to accomplish anything else today.
I want them to enjoy it so I think we will wind up waiting until after we can all get a decent nights' sleep. ;)
Which feels an eternity away...

Monday, January 21, 2013

The Dishwasher

My husband generously watched the children so I could meet up with a friend. We chatted for a long time and walked around the lake. It was much needed and if you know me personally you know I just don't do things like that...pretty much ever.

When I returned to the house I found that the older kids hadn't budged from their technology, number 3 was chillin in the hot tub with a nutritious bag of cheese doodles (seriously), and number 4 was scooting around butt naked. This is actually a win in my book because I have left and returned in the past to find the state of affairs to be much, much worse.

I am fairly sure the following narration of the thoughts in my head happens to other moms as well. Either that, or I have a raging case of ADD:

I got to work putting things back in order and de-zombifying the two eldest children, de-cheese doodling the third, and de-nakeding the fourth.
After that I tackled the house, which honestly wasn't too bad.
I had started the dishwasher before I left so I began unloading and putting the now clean dishes away while baby was sitting on the floor playing in the Tupperware cabinet. As I sorted silverware I couldn't help but notice how messy the drawer had become. I emptied and straightened it. But it wasn't good enough. So naturally, I busted out the cereal boxes, tape, scissors, and wrapping paper and "built" little compartments. But 15 minutes into the project I got distracted by all the clutter so I had to put some things away in order to give my "drawer mess" the space it needed. My hand came into contact with a box of brownies....mmm, brownies....we need brownies....they can bake while I work. The kids caught wind of the brownie-making and fought like starving dogs over the bowl. Brownie mix on the floor, yes I need to get that right away before it gets tracked onto the carpet. On my hands and knees cleaning the brownie mix somehow, before I realize what is happening, I've made my way around the entire room with the towel. The bowl....spoons in the sink...the dishwasher. That's right, I should finish unloading he dishwasher so I can put the dirty dishes in there. Back to the dishes. Oh plates....I should make the kids a snack since I have neglected them all morning. Ahh, more dirty dishes, I really need to finish putting those dishes away.....oh cups...yeah, I'm thirsty, I should make some tea. Mmm, tea. Let me put this in the fridge. Ew that shelf is pretty sticky, I'll just wipe it down. Oh what the heck, I'm already here I may as well wipe down the other shelves. Yikes, what is that it looks kind of like bird poo...birds are creepy...the way they look at you...grr stop thinking about birds and get back to work. Well, before I can get back to work I need to change diapers and entertain little people. Well, that was fun--Back to my messy drawer project. Wow, this is looking so much better! Almost finished, yay. Hmm I will put the straws right here, huh. Looks pretty empty; we definitely need to restock the straws. Let me just jot that down on my list. My list. Yeah I should take a quick walk around the house and see what else needs to go on the list-good idea! Back to the kitchen. Woohoo look at that organization. I'm stoked. All that is left to do is empty the sink of these dirty dishes...oh wait, that's right I need to finish putting the clean ones away first. Wow, look at the time. How in the world did it take me 3 hours to unload the stinking dishwasher!?!?

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Running Errands

I was cleaning up my blog a bit and came across this unpublished draft.  It is dated 2010 so the kids were 1, 4, and 6.
I remembered the otherwise forgettable day as I was reading it...this is why I blog (and why I am bummed I don't make time to write more); one day these memories will be here for my kids to read and feel immense guilt for what they have put their dear momma through.


My computer has been sick lately so I decided to take advantage of the warranty and send it in for repair or replacement. Before sending it in I wanted to get my precious photographs from the hard drive since I am stupid and never bothered to back them up before now. I am too busy with kids to do it myself so I paid someone else to do it for me. The peace of mind knowing it is finally done is worth every penny. :)

Earlier in the week I decided to bring the laptop in. I dropped it off, treated myself to a rare breakfast out with my darlings, and ran my errands while we were already dressed and out of the house. Then we came home and enjoyed the hot afternoon in the pool together. My helpful hubby happily picked up the laptop on his way home from work and we all relaxed around the supper table eating and sharing anecdotes from our day.

That's how the day was planned in my head. This is how it went down in reality:

We woke up and the children immediately started arguing and yelling amongst themselves. We did a school project in a vain attempt to distract their attention from bickering. It took me 10 minutes to set up the supplies for the craft and about 3 minutes for them to complete the craft and move onto something else. Then another 15 minutes of clean up. After we finished school (Sarah actually did rather well and sat for 45 minutes straight practicing handwriting and flashcards), we got dressed. By "dressed" I mean "found the least offensive ensembles that we could off of the floor". It felt much, much later than it was. The clock my room claimed it was just after 10 am so I loaded the kids in the carseats and headed into town. It was only then I realized someone had pushed the hour button on my clock and it was really only 9 am. An hour before the stores open. Too much time to sit there and wait, not enough to just go back home. WOOHOO-Hardee's breakfast!! I decided against eating inside the restaurant on account of all the errands I still needed to do, and the kids needed to stay somewhat presentable. So after getting food from the drive thru we sat in the car in the parking lot to eat and wait for the store to open. The kids were very excited to be treated to fast food for breakfast...so excited that they wolfed down their food in just a few minutes. I quickly grew clausterphobic as the minutes ticked by. So we went down the street to a nearby playground. Finally! The hour was up and we were loading up again when I realized the little one needed a diaper change. To my horror, and despite my begging him not to, Rick cleaned my truck. This includes taking everything not bolted down-such as diapers and wipes and spare clothing-out of the truck and putting it somewhere useless to me, like the utility room. So we were stranded at the playground with stinky baby and no way to un-stinky him. Since I needed to go to Wal-Mart anyways I figured I'd just buy diapers and wipes once I was there. So we booked it back to the mall (this was an emergency and could not wait till Wal-Mart) and went into the first department store we came upon to use their facilities. Their facilities had no baby changing table so poor Luke had to stand there in the middle of the bathroom stall while I stripped him and cleaned him up with wet paper towels. The carseat didn't do me any favors and neither did my daughter, who refused to get near Luke in order to hold his shirt up out of the way of danger. This was a messy situation. I pulled up his shorts over his naked butt, but his shirt was not salvagable. So I tied it up to cover up the "yucky" part and decided to just get my computer to the shop and count my losses and go home before any other disasters occured. While I was telling the computer guy what I needed I was silently praying Luke wouldn't pee all over the store. Fortunately, he didn't. Sarah and Patrick were occupying themselves quite nicely and I gathered them up and practically ran to the car so we could retreat to the solace of our home. Once we were all in the car Sarah sadly announced her tooth fairy money that she had in her pocket (the tooth fairy splurged on tooth #2 and gave a whole dollar!) was gone. Sigh. Back into the mall. We trapsed along and searched, but to no avail. I comforted Sarah by explaining she had made someone else's day by giving him or her the chance to find a dollar on the ground. Sarah had to learn the hard way to be more careful with special things like money...she wasn't able to buy the gum she had her heart set on.

I was so happy when we pulled up into the safety of our driveway. I got the half naked boy out of the car and we went inside for a nice bath (yes, it was so bad that he needed one). By that time four hours had gone by and all I had managed to do was drop off the laptop and spend/lose a dozen dollars.

THIS is exactly why we hardly ever leave the house. ;)

Friday, January 18, 2013

Pinterest Friday

Our craft this morning was puffy paint.

Equal parts flour (2 tbsp is what I used) and salt. Mix in a couple of drops of food coloring and just enough water to make a paste. Once the kids have finished their paintings microwave for 30 seconds.

It turned out nicely! Definitely worth the 2 minutes of prep time.

Another App Recommendation

Stack the States.
Worth more than the 99 cents I paid for it. Once your child has mastered the 50 states (some light trivia, capitols, location, and flags) there is another app-Stack the Countries-to keep up the geography knowledge. I admit it: I was totally embarrassed how much I did not know.

My 3 year old plays even though for the most part he's just guessing randomly. He is being exposed to the information and is having fun at the same time. And in my opinion that is what makes an effective educational app! He can identify several states now. My 6 year old knows nearly all of the flags, some capitols, some geography, and all names of the states. My 8 year old can properly place the states on a map in just over one minute. I (shame shame, I know...) have not exposed them to any Geography with the exception of one Florida unit study. They enjoyed it so much that I searched and found this app.

Go get it if you haven't already! :)

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Chore App Shout-Out

I have been searching Pinterest for chore chart ideas for literally months. I needed something that would actually WORK. I have made schedules and chore charts many times over the years, and it never fails-within 37 minutes of creating and displaying them they are forgotten, ignored, or otherwise useless.
Finally, my chore chart dilemma has been solved! The answer came in the form of an app by Appdads. Chore Cards features a boy and girl tiger completing their tasks. It is customizable and this is the seriously awesome part:
Once you customize chores for your child(ren) you are then able to email the list and print scan cards onto card stock. The kids (or yourself) can then scan the completed task for a point reward (also fully personalize able ). They can redeem their earned points for rewards.
We have been using this system for just a couple of weeks. I honesty thought once the novelty wore off, you know, after a scan or two, the chores would stop being completed. Nope. It has become a habit and I have actually had to re-assign days to include everyday (as opposed to only certain days) because they are so eager to earn points.
Examples of my rewards are 30 minutes on Wii, 30 minutes on iPad, a trip to the Dollar Store to pick out a prize, and ice cream. If they can go an entire day without fighting they get the mother load 50 points and earn cash to spend or save as they choose. This has yet to happen. Almost certainly never will.
A few things I do not like about the app:
It is too easy for young kids to accidentally reset the chore lists, or rewards, etc. I wish there were some sort of password or...something to prevent this. I also had trouble printing onto business card template which the instructions provided. I am sure someone more technologically inclined could figure this out, but I opted to just print on card stock color coded for each child.
Here is the link to the app; I hope you find is as helpful as I did/do!