Zufelt Family Feb 2015

Zufelt Family Feb 2015

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Toilet Update

All toilets were cleaned today by 10:47 AM. Just in time to pick up Maddie Mae from preschool right on schedule.

Shameless Plea for Email

I'm trying not to think of the day I lost my beloved hard drive and the life it held within it, but every time I try to send a darn email it slaps me in the face. So here is my request. If you read this blog, even occasionally, please, please, please send me an email so that I can put you back into my address book. Even if you think we don't really stay in touch much, you never know when it will benefit you to be in my little black book. Like just last weekend I saw a craigslist posting for a serious playground set in Purcelville for FREE if you were willing to remove it. Now I know the Packards, Bairds or Livseys all would love a deal like that, but did I have an email for anyone? No. It's probably long gone now. So, I'm just sayin' drop me an email today at azufelt@gmail.com. It can even be blank for all I care. Or leave a comment here and I'll type it in. Oh yeah. There will be no pictures until Brian has exhausted every software program and avenue for recovering said data. At least those aren't lost, but it'll screw up his mojo to have my camera downloading and me updating and just having things changing too much on all these hard drives while he works. I imagine it would be like trying to thread a needle while riding a bull in the rodeo. Can't keep track of where you are or what you're doing. Anyway, send me an email. Love you all!

Cleaning Up for Company

I'm having company for the rest of the week. My sister and her three little people are coming in about twelve hours. I was up late, late, late cleaning off the counter top in preparation of her visit and for making bushels and bushels of applesauce this week together. Anyway, so I was cleaning the kitchen up. You see, she's the clean one in the family. I'm the clutter bug. Maybe the best example is from the days when we shared a room as kids. She actually put tape down the floor of our bedroom to divide the room in two so she could have some "clean space" without my stuff "messing it all up." Too bad her side of the room was the side without the door. That meant she would have to cross into my side, the dirty side, to leave the room. A fight ensued...mom came in...tape was removed. I also remember a blue dresser we shared for a while. It had two doors on the bottom that swung open. To latch it closed you had to have both sides close together. My stuff was always falling out and making it so she couldn't close her side. Made her nuts. Know what else made her nuts? Oh, gosh, I'm all giggly just thinking about it! She would make her bed every morning. It was perfect. Sheets and bedspread tucked and smoothed to perfection. I would get my sheets up in the general direction of the pillow area and throw the bedspread over the top. Good enough for me. Here's the good part. When she was gone, I'd go over to her side and press my finger ever so gently into the middle of her bed to cause just the slightest of wrinkles in her bedspread. It would make her go bazerk! My poor mother. We did NOT get along. Don't worry. We're great friends now, but it wasn't pretty for a long, long, long time. Like from her birth until she was about 16. Of course, most of the time, she started it. Not me. I was just standing there doing nothing. So I cleaned and organized and put away all sorts of stuff. Piles shrunk by measurable quantities. Many items were returned to their rightful places. The recycling bin received generous donations, as did the trash when I finally gave up on the ginormous stack of broken toys of dollar store quality that just happened to fall in. Then the kids woke up this morning. Time's up. I did a little more this morning to dejunk the place, but didn't get far with Jacob and Maddie. Kristie will never notice, but I made a huge dent in the messes strewn all throughout our house. I worked hard. So I felt tired tonight after last night and then picking apples solo with three kids for three hours and the long drive to the orchard and back out in the lovely countryside of Virginia. Instead of scrubbing the toilets tonight after the kids went to bed I caught up on all ya'lls blogs. Yep I did. Read everyone. If you wrote in the last five days I read it. And that's alot of reading, folks. A lot. Then I talked to the hubby for an hour updating him on the exciting news of the day and the small glimmer of hope that Maddie might be coming around to potty training. Now I've sufficiently rested myself from the labors of the day so I'm ready for bed. Maybe I can scrub a toilet or two during my sanity window tomorrow morning while Ben is at kindergarten, Maddie is at preschool and Jacob naps. Cross your fingers and say your prayers that he naps at the appropriate time tomorrow. If not, my awesome tidy sister might see a dirty bathroom. Gasp!! It wouldn't be the first time I was caught. I hate cleaning so much that I always wait until the last possible second to do it. I remember one time in particular. Talk about last minute. Brian's parents were coming to visit us at college. Life was busy, blah, blah, blah, whine, whine, whine. I found every excuse in the book not to clean the bathroom until I actually heard a knock at the front door. I jumped to attention, ran into the bathroom, shut the door and cleaned that dumb bathroom while Brian greeted them. Tell me it isn't obvious when your guests come into your tinsy apartment and can hear you working and can smell the obvious scent of cleanser, etc. I knew I was caught. And I knew it wasn't the first time either. Embarrassing. Oh well. Like they didn't know I was a weiny before that dumb day anyway. Too late. Brian already said "I do" years earlier, sealing the fate of another totally innocent family. They're stuck with me. For better or for worse. In sickness and in health. With clean or dirty toilets. Oh heck, I could have cleaned all four toilets and Maddie's potty chairs while I wrote this. Sorry, K.

Jacob the Walker

He's doing it folks. Jacob is a walker. Better than seeing him walk is watching Maddie get excited about him walking. She gets all giddy excited and clutches her hands together at her chest and shakes them up and down and leans forward and shrieks and yells "Mom!! Jacob walked to the ____!! He did it! He really did!" Her whole body shakes and her smile is so big it looks like it must hurt her cheeks. He's gotten real serious about walking the last few days and is tending toward walking more than crawling now. Maybe that's a tiny exaggeration still, but by the end of the week it won't be. Mark my words. He's getting it down and walking all the time. I'm just glad to know he won't be labelled the "slow" one in the family by Brian now since he's hitting the Maddie Mae and Ben walking milestones so far. Still no significant progress with the stair climbing.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Two Little Missionaries

Maddie has been singing, "I hope they call me on a mission" all morning. She told me when she gets big like me she wants to go on a mission. I told her I thought it a great idea to go teach people about Jesus. Then I asked her what she would do on her mission. She plans to ride a horse around and play at parks and ride up horsey stairs. When asked if she planned to teach people about Jesus, she said "Yeah. I'm going to teach babies who can't talk yet about Jesus." At some point since school started some topic arose that caused me to explain that his teacher wasn't allowed to talk about Jesus. She might go to church on Sunday, but if she did or didn't, she couldn't tell the whole class and that they probably would never talk about God in school because not everyone in his class knows about Jesus but we should talk lots about Him at home. Then there was the pledge of allegience thing where he was all proud that they say "one nation under God" and he thought that was pretty cool that they can talk about God. I was proud that he had caught it. Last week after school Ben was sitting across the table from me eating his peanut butter sandwich. Just his little head pokes up above the edge of the table. It was so cute to see a huge grin growing bigger and bigger across his face as he announced to me that he had some exciting news. At recess he aparently went around to all of his friends that he knew their names and asked, "Do you believe in Jesus?" He was proud to report that Joshua, Connor and a few others did believe in Jesus. It really made him excited to know these kids were like him. Then he reported that the little girl he sits next to in class didn't believe. I was scared. I asked what she did when he asked. If only I had had a video to capture it. He said, "She just went like this." He crinkled up his nose and pulled up his shoulders and made a really sour face and said, "Then she said No." We talked again about how that was okay for her to be different. This weekend Ben has been obsessed with "Can I invite this person or that person to church with me so they can learn about Jesus?" It's so cute. I'm proud to see how excited he is to share Gods love with everyone.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

This is how jacob feels after he whack the power button on my laptop. he must know it takes of fifteen minutes to get back to where i was

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Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Lost My Tunes

Well, I lasted a long time. Longer than usual. Record breaking I'd say. I love Christmas music and will listen to it almost year round. Brian has always teased me that it would be impossible for me to wait any longer than July to break it out and listen to it on a regular basis. Of course I always contended that I wasnt THAT bad. One summer three years ago I was driving to the church early one Friday morning and popped in a Christmas CD for the first time of the summer. I laughed so hard I had tears running down my face when I realized it was July 1. So I did make it to July, but only by about six hours.

I don't argue with him anymore. I freely admit I'm a Christmas music junkie. That's what makes this morning all the more depressing. I realized my laptop has ALL my Christmas music on it. I've got nothing now. I suppose I can go to the basement and dig out an old CD or cassette tape. Do you realize our kids certainly won't know what cassette tapes are, possibly not even CDs? Weird.

Now it's got me lamenting my loss. This is just what I have remembered so far that I lost:

  • every email address I used in the last 11 years
  • all of our finances for the last 10 years, (accounts, investments, budget history, plus the "finance date" data Brian made us do before he would ask to marry me so he knew he could afford me - ultimately putting my worth at $82 dollars in the red each month)
  • well over 100 family home evening lessons that took countless hours of work to make
  • passwords to all my accounts for EVERYTHING in the entire world
  • journal of my life since I was 16 or 17 years old (including documents in Word and sent mail from my emails)
  • thousands of preschool files for teaching Maddie's preschool
  • my Christmas card list and every letter I've written since 2000
  • address and phone numbers for anyone that matters in our lives
  • every single real estate analysis tool, contract, spreadsheet and picture I've every taken
Dang. I'm depressed. I need a little Jingle Bells to cheer me up. It's off to the basement to rummage through old dusty CDs.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

More on My Tragic Loss

Wanna know the worst part? Mr. Computer here always keeps a backup of the files. The computer does an autobackup when any changes are made. It's like magic. Then, as an added measure of security, he has the backup make a mirror image of itself. This magic process happens on the little wireless device that has been plugged in beneath the guest bed in the nursery for a year or more. We call it the toaster. Of course, the toaster got all screwed up two weeks ago and he had to delete and reformat everything on the toaster. Now ask, "Angie, did everything get backed up again before the laptop died?" NO. Of course, Brian says it's basically just all my files, emails and such. Nothing of his is lost. RRRRRrrrrrrgggggg. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that he can recover my stuff. Please do the same. And maybe offer up a prayer for such frivilous things as my hard drive while I know your time with God could be much better spend asking for world peace and things like that.

Laptop Bites the Dust

Late this morning after Ben was off to school, Jacob was fed, played and ready for a morning nap and Maddie had asked to watch Snow White, I thought I could sneak away and check my email. I pushed the power button to boot up the laptop. Error. No problem. Restart. Error. Restart. Error. RESTART. ERROR. ERROR. ERROR. PANIC! How the heck am I supposed to survive without a laptop. I know. Frivilous. But it's my life. It's all on there. It was obvious that this was not one of those call Brian at work sort of problems for a quick answer, so I just turned it off. To be honest, it's probably good I spent the majority of the day visiting Stephanie so Ben could play with Margot. Otherwise I might have gone nuts. The laptop can go with me anywhere, anytime, give me any info. When I mentioned my loss to my cold and heartless brother, his first comment was, "Don't you have like five computers at your house?" Yeah, yeah, yeah. So what. That laptop and me were tight. So, if I don't get your emails for a week or two, call me. I probably haven't checked my inbox.

Medical Diagnosis

Tonight in a desperate plea for some reason to identify why Jacob screams for the majority of the day I asked Brian, "Do you think it's time to ask a doctor? What is wrong with Jacob? Do you think he might have some internal problem that makes him absolutely miserable? Is that why he screams all day long whether we hold him or not?" Brian's response came quickly and with a very sober face, "I can imagine he's in serious pain all the time." Dramatic pause. "He's squished into this little tiny body." Pulling Jacob's leg out to show me, "See, he's bursting out of his skin. Look how tight those fat rolls are." Thank you Dr. Brian. Your insight and medical skill amaze me. At the very least the diagnosis brought a smile to my face and made me laugh one of those deep down in your soul laughs for a while. That's why I love him.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Holy Terror

Today at church, Jacob would not play quietly and would not close his little mouth. He babbled, jabbered, then fussed and finally cried. The whole time he was moving like a crazy person. Wiggly squiggly so much that I could barely handle him. I imagine it to be much like trying to catch a greased up pig in the county fair. Finally, I took him out of sacrament meeting to feed him. I was back in time for the prayer on the sacrament. He was still a bit wiggly so I put him on my knee and bounced him a bit to keep him busy. He leaned forward and grabbed the top of the bench in front of us and was happy for a minute or two until he got too loud. I lifted him in a multi-tasking sort of way to attempt to reposition him, check his diaper and quiet him down. None of those goals were accomplished. Without me realizing it, he had grabbed the shelf that holds the hymnals. As I lifted him up, he pulled the entire shelf up with him and the screws came out of the bench, crashing the entire shelf and the two hymn books it held to the floor. The two screws rolled onto the ground. Now I tried, I really did, but it was darn funny. In that quiet moment of introspection that people were trying to have, I was about to lose it. I had to cover my mouth to keep myself under control as did the Helmick girls across the aisle from me. Sad thing is, the Helmicks were across the aisle when Maddie did the same thing a few years ago. If I didn't know they love us, I'd be mortified for them to have seen my kids destroy the pews, not once, but twice. Finally, I decided it was just best to leave. I took my greased up little pig with his motor mouth out to the lobby where I finished the sacrament. Of course, then I was able to check his diaper, which proved to be messy. After the sacrament, I snuck back into the chapel to nab a diaper and wipes from the bag. I sheepishly ducked back out, again, fearing I was becoming to appear to the other congregants the circus act that I certainly felt like. One clean diaper later, I settled into the chairs in the lobby to listen to the remainder of the service. Once I gave up on sitting with my family, I quite enjoyed the speakers. They reminded us that if family is the most important thing in our lives, we ought to probably quit putting off spending time with them for dumb things that don't really matter. Gotta do better at that. At least I had some quality time chasing our little holy terror, I mean Jacob in the lobby today. Does that count?

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Text Message Blogging

Sweet! I just sent a text to my blog and it posted online! Worthless technology, I know, but cool just the same. Of course, it's limited to 160 characters. Not much I can say in that short space.

playing a "Guess what number

playing a "Guess what number i am thinking" game brian kept letting ben win. ben said "i cant believe i can read brains."

Friday, September 18, 2009

Applesauce Time

Well, it's been a total bomb of a season for me. No strawberry jam, no raspberry jam, not a single cherry canned and I just verified that ever single peach orchard in the entire world is closed for the season. I am determined not to miss applesauce! So tell me, anyone out there interested in doing it together? I'm thinking we'll pick apples as a family sometime in the next three weeks. Then process them within a week of picking. What do your schedules look like? Wanna make a day of it in the country and try to pick together? Do you want me to just pick some up for you and can together? I think we'll have fun. Send me a note or leave a comment if you are interested in making one kitchen a nasty sticky mess instead of all of us doing it. Kristie - Buffalo isn't too far to come. Are you up for it yet?

You Forgot Jesus!

Ben is learning the Pledge of Allegiance at school. He asked why he has to do it and we talked about what each part means. He seems to think it's a good idea. Knowing it's pretty long, I have offered to help him practise at home. He has always refused any offer of help and seems embarassed to not know the whole thing, but he is working on it. It usually happens when I'm in the kitchen and he's playing in the living room. I hear snippets of the pledge recited, lots of pieces missing and/or misplaced words jump in, but he's really getting it. Last night while Brian and I were cleaning up dinner dishes and all three kids were in the living room, I heard him begin again. "I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America...(most of the rest of it until this)...one nation under God, indivisable," then Maddie loudly broke in. "You forgot Jesus!!" she hollered out at him. "No I did not!" came the defiant response. "Yes you did. You didn't say Jesus!" Maddie retorted. "There is no Jesus in it." "Yes there is." "No there's not." Etc. Brian and I were laughing in the kitchen enjoying our children as they explored the blessing of seperation of church and state.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Maddie On Potty Training

Maddie has been a huge helper and really excited about everything preschool. This morning when I was prepping things before the kids arrived she got it in her head to help me set up. I gave her some little task and after she completed it for me she returned to report she had put out all the sitting mats. I thanked her. She smiled and replied, "I will always listen and obey everything, everything you ever say." She smiled and started to walk away and quickly turned back and motioned with both her hands in front of her as if to say stop. She continued, "Except for pooping in the potty. I won't ever do that one. Okay, mommy. I won't do what you say to poop in the potty 'cause I don't like that one. I can do all the other things you say mommy and obey." Just in case I had missed that sentiment in our daily arm wrestle over the bathroom, she has now made herself perfectly clear. At least we know where she stands, right?

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Australia Cousins

My brother left for Brisbane last week to start work. His family follows in about a week from now for their two year work assignment. I was explaining to Ben that they are going to spring again and will have two summers in a row. He laughed and laughed and laughed. He thinks it's funny that it could ever happen like that. Happy spring to you Robinson cousins!

Friday, September 11, 2009

The Dinner That Wasn't Meant To Be

Though not as abundant as in years past, our church still does a pretty bang up job of taking care of new moms.  When Maddie and Jacob were born, I got at least fourteen meals brought in to my family, several while I still had my mom here to help me.  Yes, a bit excessive.  Okay, really excessive.  I ended up cancelling the last four meals both times because we had no fridge space to take any more, but ohhhhh, the pampering!  About two weeks after Jacob was delivered, we had a changing of the guard so to speak and someone else is in charge.  Now people only get three or four meals after the family help is gone, more if needed.  In my view, that's right on target.

My friend Jana had a baby a month ago and got her meals, but since she is a real good friend and she brought my family one of our favorite meals after Jacob was born, I thought I would take her a bonus meal.  After all, who doesn't want a night off from the drudgery of cooking?  We picked a date and I had a plan.  Pulled pork sandwiches, a fresh green salad, vegetables, cookies, the works. 

That morning we went to playgroup and one of the little kids had an accident there at the fountain.  She was just over a year and was standing up on a chair.  Her mother and I looked at just the same time to see her start to tip backwards as she clasped at the top of the chair back with panic on her face.  Neither of us were close enough to catch her and she went down hard, crushing three of her tiny fingers.  She ripped her hand out from its pinched position between the metal chair back and the concrete and in the process ripped off three of her fingernails.  What do you do then, but send mom off to the emergency room with the only one of us at the fountain that had a spare seat in their vehicle.  Luckily she had the presence of mind to leave us her keys to her van.  Then we had to figure out how to get 15 kids to 4 homes with 3 drivers and not enough carseats.  What a mess.  Can I just say that every woman needs a set of good girlfriends like we have here at our playgroup.  In a pinch, they step in so you can do what you need to do at the drop of a hat.  I love those women.

Anyway, back to the dinner that wasn't meant to be.  This, of all days, was the day I was supposed to deliver dinner.  Now I was watching three extra kids at my place, had to make them lunch at 2pm when we finally arrived at my home after the serious juggling act getting everyone to the right places.  It was approaching three hours late for putting the meat in the crockpot, but figured it would be okay I usually cook frozen meat and this one was totally thawed out.  Turns out I was wrong still.  Not only was I way late in starting, I had bought the wrong cut of meat.  It was soooo tough.  It needed lots of extra time, like three hours more.  It was ready to start shredding the pork at about 9pm, but dinner was to be delivered at 6pm.

At the last minute, I realized there was no hope on the pulled pork sandwiches.  I considered ordering pizza for them, but remembered I could whip out calzones in half an hour.  Brian called them to let them know I was running late and I threw together a decent dinner and delivered it about an hour late.  Good thing they're good friends and can still love me.

The next night I was pleased to have dinner ready to go. I shredded the pork and like magic, we enjoyed a lovely meal.  We had to rush out to the church for a baptism after dinner, so Brian packed up the meat and took Ben and Maddie for baths and changed.  I wiped down Jacob and packed up the last of the other food and opened the fridge to put it away when the entire bowl of delicious pulled pork crashed to the floor.  The lid popped off and instantly, I had warm pulled pork between my toes, all over the floor, all over the inside of the fridge, walls and anywhere else you can imagine.
I guess that it was the dinner that just wasn't meant to be.
  • three hours late cooking

  • a day late for eating

  • the wrong cut of meat in the first place

  • all over the floor in the end

Politics and the Health Care Disaster

I've copied a post from our political blog that my friend wrote. Check out the blog from LOTS more info. Please voice your opinion by clicking the link and anything else you can do. I am pretty passionate about the health care disaster up for vote soon and am working to stop it. Congressman John Fleming has proposed an amendment that would require congressmen and senators to take the same healthcare plan they enact on us (under proposed legislation they are exempt). Congressman Fleming is encouraging people to go on his Website and sign his petition. I have immediately done just that at:http://fleming.house.gov/index.html, then scroll down to the poll question under Express Your Opinion. Please urge as many people as you can to do the same! If Congress passes this for the American people, the Congressmen should have to accept the same level of health care for themselves and their families.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Two Ounces Shy of Turning Around

Jacob had his nine month check up yesterday. I figured it would keep me busy while I waited to pick up Ben from the bus rather than watching the clock to make sure I didn't get distracted and traumatize him by forgetting to come pick him up.  Jacob got the last Hepatitis B shot and a dose of the flu.  He remains our biggest baby, no surprise there.  His nine month weight is basically what Maddie weighed at 18 months and Ben at 15 months.  With only two ounces to hit the magic 20 lb carseat limit, he'll be our first kiddo to turn around in their carseat at 12 months!

Weight: 19 lbs 14 oz (40%)
Height: 28 3/4" (68%)
Head: 18 1/8 inches (70%)

He may be big, but he's still a tiny little squishy ball of delight. At least when he's not screaming.  Yeah.  He screams too much.  Full volume too.  It just grates at your nerves all day long.  The only rest for me is when he's napping.  This child cries in his crib in the morning when he wakes up like a normal kid.  I get him and we begin our day.  Within about thirty minutes the screaming begins.  In the last three or four weeks, there is rarely a time when he isn't screaming.  He just goes and goes and goes.  Without exageration, I can honestly say that eating a meal with him can take the standard thirty minutes.  He screams when you buckle him in his high chair, as you put on the bib, when you put his food on his tray, everything.  When it is a spoon fed meal, he screams at the top of his lungs until the spoon crosses the threshold of his little mouth, closes, swallows and opens his mouth instantly with another full volume scream (sometimes he doesn't swallow first and just goes for it with food in his mouth).  This lasts the entire meal, including the clean up wash up time.  Then he hangs out under the table while we finish (or rather start) eating our own meals, screaming the entire time. 

Then he screams until nap time arrives and I gratefully toss him in his crib.  It's increasing the stress level in our home immensly. I'm out of patience, the kids are tired of it.  We literally can't have any conversation at the dinner table.  If Maddie needs to ask for something, we have to tell her to yell it at us so we can hear over Jacob.  It's getting so old.

Last week I thought I was going to loose my mind.  I really did.  Even Mr. Together (Brian) showed signs of exhaustion with the whole scenario and he has nerves of steel and a gigantic portion of patience inside of him.  Yesterday it hit me.  Time to hit sign language full force.  Every kid comes with their own personality and I can't change that, but my only recourse to help solve the situation is to teach him how to communicate his wants so I have some clue what the heck he wants before I go batty.

Exploring Race and Five Year Old Friendships

I admit, we lead a pretty caucasian life. Even though we have friends of several nationalities in our neighborhood court, more than half of the people are caucasian, just like us.  It's one of the reasons that I thought I would like to raise my kids outside of the super white state of Utah.  It isn't anyone's fault, but Utah is very caucasian and I wanted my kids to see a diverse group of people living together.  Texas was a pretty good mix of racial groups.  Virginia is a reasonable mix too, but I often forget to notice.

On the first day of school, after Ben got off the bus, I asked him if he made any friends that day.  His response was, "Mom, you can't really make a friend in just one day.  It takes more time than that.  I didn't talk to anyone today. I was just watching people today 'cause I was shy to talk to them." 

No surprise that Ben has been hesitant to talk to anyone at school, but after three days I figured he would be warming up to his classmates and becoming comfortable enough to have made a friend or two.  So I probed again today to see if he's talking to the other kids yet.  I put Maddie and Jacob down for a nap and told Ben to wash his hands and we'd have a special reward snack.  We broke out the spoons, peanut butter, chocolate chips and M&Ms and ate while we talked.

Mom: "Are you talking to the kids at snack time yet?"
Ben: "Well...kind of."
Mom trying to get him to open up: "Do you laugh about silly and funny things with Jacob?" (the only name I can remember was written on his table at open house day)
Ben breaking out in a sly smile: "Yeah."
Mom: "Does everyone say silly things at snack time?"
Ben in a full happy smile now: "Yeah, I like to laugh with the two kids on this side of me." (pointing to his right side)
Mom: "Is one of those guys the kid named Jacob?"
Ben: "Yeah.  The guy that is two guys away from me."
Mom: "Who sits between you and Jacob?"
Ben: "A girl.  I don't know her name."
Mom: "Who else sits at your table?"
Ben: "I don't know their names.  There is the one guy that isn't the brown guy.  Like...he has skin like a match to you and me."
Mom (snickering and not sure how to interpret that comment): "So do you like everyone at your table?"
Ben: "No.  Not really."
Mom: "Who do you not like yet?"
Ben: "The girl that is across from me."
Mom: "Why don't you like her?"
Ben with a furrowed brow and frusteration in his voice: "She's always just staring at me the whole time I'm sitting at my table and she is at the table."
Mom: "Doesn't she look at the other kids too?"
Ben: "No.  She only looks at me and I don't like it cause that's all she does to me.  She doesn't even talk to me."
More conversing about how we could try to be nice and talk to her....

Ben: "I just have one best friend."
Mom: "Who is that?"
Ben: "The person that I can't explain their name."
Mom: "Tell me the things you know about your best friend."
Ben: "She is the girl I sit with on the bus.  That's all I know."

Where's Jacob?

After church today Brian and I split up the kids. He took Ben and Maddie. I had Jacob. From the instant I got in the truck he was out cold. Silent. Weird for me. I only get silence when I'm alone. It was only a few minutes drive. I parked and went in the house. I closed and locked the door and went to the kitchen to get a snack when I thought "Where's Jacob?!?!" I realized sweet sleeping Jacob was still in the truck. Panic!! How could I do that? I was so upset. How could I do that? He was so quiet. How could I forget him? I felt horrible and physically shaken. He was only there about 2 minutes, but still scary for me.

Busy, Busy Life

Lots to say. It's already late and I've been stressed from life combined with minimal sleep, but here's a quick update. Ben LOVES kindergarten. Okay. He actually loves the bus and snack time. He just endures the rest. If we're lucky, Brian will post about his first day getting on the bus. It was my job to meet him at the bus stop after school. It drives past us and turns around before it begins it's drop off route so the kids don't have to cross the street. It was so cute to see all the little tiny heads looking out the heavily tinted windows. All the little kindergartners heads just barely showed over the window ledge. I could pick out Ben by his glasses and his head followed me until the bus had past. When it returned five minutes later to deposit him in my care, the driver asked which kids me and the other mother wanted. We called their names onto the bus and lickety split, off came Anthony. Waiting, waiting, waiting. "Ben?" "Ben Zufelt, this is your stop," I called again. I climbed on the bus and he was stuck. Apparently, another girl stood up in the aisle thinking it was her stop, but she didn't sit down. Ben had a stressed out, worried look because he couldn't get off and she had no idea he needed to go past because he didn't say a word. Just waited. If that last minute hadn't occurred, the day probably would have been perfect. He recovered quickly enough though, by the time we had walked to the corner. Overall, the whole school situation has inspired a new sort of independence in him. It's a beautiful thing to see. Yesterday we bought Ben elbow and knee pads. Today I carefully observed his bike riding skills and then offered to take the training wheels off. I thought he'd say "no way" but he was totally into the idea. Off they went and we didn't have so much as a single spill. He did great with a quick tutorial of where to put the pedals to get a good start. When Brian came home he showed off his new skills and decided to go down the curb into the street. I gave a shabby explanation of how to do it (go fast, hold on tight and do it away from parked cars). I saw it all happen in slow motion. He went off the curb near parallel to it and crashed and burned hard. It was the end of a good day of biking. We're grateful for the elbow and knee pads now and when I gave him a good night snuggle, he told me his hands were all better and he was ready to ride after school tomorrow. At school today, the kids watched President Obama's speech to the elementary kids. Ben's unsolicited comments on it were that "it was sooo long and I didn't really understand anything." Sort of made me smile. I read it Monday night before it was given to review it and choose if I wanted to opt-out or not. Pretty neutral I figured. Just talked about working hard to be an asset to your country, but now looking through five year old eyes...yeah...it was boring and long. Cute kid. Today when I got Ben from the bus, he was chatting and was slow coming off the bus because he was telling someone something of the utmost importance, I'm sure. It was cute to see he'd become so much more comfortable in a fast 24 hours. When he climbed off the bus, the first thing I saw was a big, fat, swollen, bloody lip. Mother's first response? Who's picking on you? See, I have this fear that he'll be picked on, teased and beat up. I've always worried about it. He's the smallest of his age, he's young in his grade, he's quiet. Then he got glasses. I had glasses. To me, it sealed the deal. He was going to get bullied. People always made fun of me. I quickly snapped out of it, realizing that his fat lip was probably fine. Not likely he got punched by a nasty sixth grader on his second day of school when he was sheparded every step of his day and sheltered as a kindergartner. Turns out he was looking out the bus window when it went over a bump on the way home and it smashed his face into the metal window seal splitting his lip. Poor kid. After the bus, we had a playdate with Anthony, his little sister and their mom. The boys enjoyed zooming like crazy people on their bikes around some new orange cones. It was a good diversion and gave me the incentive I needed to stay outside and let the kids enjoy the perfect weather and wear themselves out. Maddie doesn't like boys anymore. I think the root cause has something to do with boys not letting her play dominoes in nursery class at church, but I'm not completely sure. In any case, Brian, Ben and Jacob are all boys so she doesn't like any of them anymore. Maybe this is why mothers and daughters are so bonded. There's no one else left but mom since all the boys are bad. There is no convincing this girl that boys are okay. Oh well, it will pay off when she's 16. Guess what? Maddie can read. Yep. She always is telling me, "It says, Mmmm Ahhhh ExxonMobil" if she's reading the sign at the gas station. "It says, Mmmm Ahhhh Princess Castle," for a picture of a castle or a toy. The Mmmm and the Ahhhh are what she deems to be the names of the letters that spell the words she proclaims to be written in front of her. I guess all words start with Mmmm Ahhhh. Jacob started walking last week. Both Ben and Maddie walked at 8 months. Last Monday, Jacob only had five more days until he hit the magic 9 month mark and Brian started talking to him about how he better pick up the pace and get walking or he would be the "slow kid" in the family. Well, even at his tender age, he must have understood, because the little man can walk. I declare that he walked on September 3, just two days shy of being "slow." Way to go, Big Boy! Of course I tried to record him with the camcorder for a long time and got zippo. He walks just fine for four to six steps if we're not involved. If we're there, he gets so stinking excited, he falls every time. Jacob also goes NUTS over climbing the stairs. If he sees the kids opening the gate, he goes as fast as he possibly can and sticks his head right in the crack as they get it open so he can climb them. It's becoming a bit of a problem. They can't go anywhere without me coming to hold Big Boy back. I've tried and tried to teach him how to go DOWN the stairs so we can ditch the whole gate phenomenon all together, but he's too wildly excited to concentrate and it just isn't safe still. I've been working my tail off to get ready for teaching Maddie's preschool. I have a weird obsession with having complete sets of things. I printed all the visual aids for every single lesson through May for both the regular lessons and the kindergarten portion (letters, numbers, color, shapes, etc.). Now I have to cut, bag, label and sort it all. I made some serious progress today. Maybe a waste of time, but it is such a life saver and makes a big difference in the amount of daily prep work I have to do to teach, so in the end, it will be well worth the work to get started. Our place in California still isn't rented, though we're getting hits now on our craigslist post. It will happen soon enough. We aren't exactly a Fortune 500 company, so when we run a credit check on potential tenants, we aren't allowed to see their credit score, but are given a 1-100 ranking that interprets where their credit score falls. We've done several to date. It's been our good luck that they have all been above 90. Great tenants. We had laughed once or twice wondering if the scale was really any good since we didn't get any variance. Well, Monday night we ran one that made me laugh. They scored a one. You read that right. One. My first question was if I read it right. Second question? What the heck to you have to screw up to get a ONE? I guess if you get evicted four months ago and are trying to move again already, it sort of looks fishy... Like I said. The place still isn't rented. Go figure, we didn't choose them. I may have bitten off more than I can chew with this one, but I've agreed to host a political blog for all things affecting people living here from the neighborhoods on up to national news. It's been stressing me out, but hopefully it will all come together. I'm crossing my fingers and have a volunteer to help tutor me remotely. The sheer volume of information is overwhelming coming in from the two other people doing it. One gal spends countless hours finding articles and summarizing them for posting. The other gal is an editor and crosses the t's and dots the i's so we have everything in order. Then I have it set up to auto-post (thanks Erin). Now my job is to make the blog fancy with tabs and stuff. I think I can. I think I can. I think I can. Brian is busy too. Not to sure with what. Computers and painting mostly I think. He's finally getting to some things he's been meaning to do for a very long time. It seems to be satisfying to him and I'm glad. Having the nagging list for eternity gets old. The clock keeps ticking away and the alarms will ring soon. Oh yeah, I have rarely used an alarm since Ben was born. That's FIVE years, people. Now with Ben in school we have the whole schedule thing going on. I hate it. I hate hearing the nasty buzz. I forgot how I loathed that sound. Just hoping I don't pass out again when it goes off. That's what happened a few months ago. Anyway, alarms will start ringing in six short hours. Signing off for tonight.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Consolidating and Clean Up Weekend

Consolidating. That's the best way to describe my weekend so far. The fridge was out of control. Since I dropped in at fridge clean out time for both Soderborgs and Pam, we had some (okay, lots) of that stuff you just sort of keep around. You know, stuff that's still good and you don't want to throw out, like ketchup. We had 3 bottles of BBQ sauce, 5 jars of jam, 6 pie crusts, 2 mustards, 2 soy sauce bottles and other similar things hanging out in there. Basically we had no room for real food. Sounds funny to say, but it was liberating to combine the bottles and in twenty short minutes, I had an entire new shelf available. Simple pleasures in my life feed my weird quirks. We also worked on other areas of the house. The bain of my existence is the kitchen counter. It was so out of control. I got it somewhat organized and nabbed all the finance stuff (bills, receipts, statements, and the like) and had it all nicely piled to file in the cabinet. Then someone needed something and then something else and something else and before I knew it the pile was redistributed across the counter. I had better luck tackling the piles in my bedroom, though it doesn't show it. I got through a lot of things and put them away, but didn't consolidate into any fewer bins of junk. All the preschool pictures are printed out for the entire year. They are sorted and organized so I can cut and bag them so we're ready to go next week. I've made a lot of progress this weekend. What's the bonus? It's a holiday weekend so I have one more day!! Now...should I keep cleaning or relax?

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

The Nice Guy Up There

While praying this afternoon, I was attacked by a t-rex. Needing some time to think and ponder a few things other than dinosaurs, I told my cute little t-rex that I was praying and I could come play in a few minutes. So she smiled at me and I bowed my head again. But she didn't leave. She stood quietly by my side. Watching. Waiting. Waiting. Watching. I'm sure she was thinking it would be fast. Why would a prayer be longer than, "Heavenly Father, thank you for the food. Name Jesus Christ Amen." Quick and simple, right? That is the exact thing Maddie says in every single one of her prayers. Unfortunately for her, I had a little more to discuss with God today than that. After a minute, she left and went into the living room with Ben where I heard her say, "Ben, Mom is pwaying wight now. She's talking to God. You know da God dat is da nice guy and da guy dat answers da prayers. 'Cause he walks on da clouds up dere." Then they both went back to playing.