The school year brings more business (pronounced BUSY-NESS not BUSINESS) in our household for more than the reason Matthew is in school. Some of you may not know this, but Steve is a high school principal. When the school year begins not only are we busy with Matthew's activities, but Steve’s schedule becomes jam-packed. From athletic games to choir concerts to a wide variety of meetings, there are some weeks when the boys rarely see him. It is hard trying to please his school's community and be a dedicated father. He is pulled in every direction!
I had to adjust managing many evenings alone with the kids. I do my best with what I have. Seriously, I do not know how wives married to business-traveling husbands do it. At least I know Steve will be home eventually!
There are days/nights when I get frustrated. I feel I cannot depend on anyone. Is it just me making all these decisions? Running the kids to the doctor. Driving them to and from activities. Steve comes home for dinner and is soon out the door to attend a game or PTO meeting. I have to hold the fort on my own. The boys get on my last nerve and I am ready to throw in the towel.
But I know my husband’s heart is at home. When his day is done he wants to be with us. He wants to play with the boys. He is quick to play catch with Matt and allow Mark to climb on his back after a long day at work. I cherish bedtime when it is just Steve and me on the couch and we can talk about our day or veg-out watching TV. Weekend mornings are nice when the whole family ends up in our bed to jump around. Oh how I love that laughter! We know there are no plans or schedules that day -- so nice!!!
I thank God for my husband. My provider. My protector. My best friend and great father!
Stephanie from Adventures in Babywearing requested my input on what I am into this month.......
The Book I Am Really Into (or one you want to get into!): I am such a lame reader. Is there a manual that came with my boys??? If anyone finds it please send it c/o GLASS HALF FULL promptly.
Magazine I Really Liked: I currently subscribe to Woman’s Day, Good Housekeeping, Family Circle, Parents, and Living Without
TV Show Worth Watching: Grey’s Anatomy like everyone else. Other shows on my Tivo list are Heroes, Lost, ER, and Survivor. When does 24 come back? Now that is the best show ever!
Movie I’ve Seen (In or Out of a theater): I am such a movie potato (is there such a name???) Recently I watched "Red Eye" and "Just Like Heaven". Both were good. There are several movies I can watch over and over again, but getting to the theatre right now isn’t easy.
The CD I Can’t Stop Listening To: In our van Matthew constantly requests his compilation of favorite songs be played. I am trapped!!!!
The Candle I'm Loving: Whatever grabs my nose at Yankee Candle. Right now I am burning Cranberry Mandarin – crisp and refreshing!
Blog I Am Always Visiting: Please visit my blogroll to the right ---->
What I'm Most Looking Forward To Next Month: Thanksgiving and decorating for Christmas
I am all about traditions. Soon the holidays will arrive and I will conjure up new ways to make the season memorable for our family. One tradition I started during the Halloween season is pumpkin painting.
If we attempted to carve guess who would end up doing all the work? That's right, MOM!! So painting is the way to go and Matt has a ball mixing colors together, which all end up looking brown anyway.
So, if you are not the carving type (like me) pull out a few brushes and get your child’s creative juices flowing. It's all about them anyway, right???
- A hand print craft by Matthew (preschool over two years ago) and a postcard saying "You Rock!" from Sunday School.
- Matt's kindergarten calendar and parent/teacher conference reminder labeled "Important"
- A photo of Julia who battled a Wilm's Stage Four tumor and is now cancer free (I play Bunco monthly with her mommy) The power of prayer!
- A photo of my side of the family and a picture of Matt and I at our Valentine's Day bowling date last year. Not to mention Matt's t-ball photos!
- Where is Mark? GOOD QUESTION!!!!!!!!!
Nothing beats a nice weekend! Saturday morning the baking fairy tapped me on the shoulder and all of the sudden I had this motivation to make gluten free yummies for Matthew...and Mark too! It is easy to make several and keep them frozen for future use.
Gluten Free Pantry makes a fantastic brownie and pancake mix. For those with sensitivities to dairy, there is a dairy free option too. All I can say is YUM-O!!! Matthew has several birthday parties to attend these next couple months and he always chooses GF brownies over the mainstream birthday cake offered.
I keep the pancakes frozen in a ziplock bag and microwave for a minute like you would any Aunt Jemima pancake. Breakfast is served – usually with sausage on the side. My boys love sausage!!!
Another gluten free mix that is praised here is Breads From Anna. They make a delicious banana bread mix and offer a variety of recipes online that work with her mixes (muffins, pancakes, and dinner rolls). I think Matthew devoured three muffins that morning!! Enough product plug ins...let's read on....
So my little munchkins enjoyed their treats as well as the bowl’s batter!!!
Sunday we all attended church for a change. It has been four weeks since we've gone together! Either Matt or Mark were sick with a cold. When I dropped Mark off at the church’s nursery he needed to get used to the environment all over again! In other words, my little Marky was not a happy boy, but did fine and most important: I enjoyed service.
To end our "nice weekend" we joined the administration staff from Steve's school town for some yummy Italian eats at Buca Di Beppo. Time with my hubby, adult conversation, good laughs...enough said!
This morning Matthew told me, "Mom, I had a nightmare that I fell into water and a squid was trying to get me. I prayed and God took it away." Sweet words to a mother's soul!
I joined the bandwagon and purchased my first pair of Crocs (Beach Clog in LIME GREEN). They are not the prettiest or designer-like shoes, but they are like sweet candy to my feet. AH - walking on a cloud!
Most of our downstairs' flooring is made of ceramic tile. Just plain socks are not enough and I seem to wear out my slippers every season. Tackling chores and cooking just took on a whole new meaning -- then again talk to me in a couple weeks -- HA!
Give Crocs a try and you will be hooked too!!!
It is not the most decorative or furnished deck. We do not have a nice patio set or elaborate landscape. It needs to be stained again thanks to the boys’ wear ‘n’ tear, but we didn’t make time for that this summer.
Our deck consists of a Little Tykes picnic table used frequently by Matt and his friends during the warm months. His favorite food to eat there is ICE CREAM. There is a deck box stuffed with outside toys –- some broken some that work. A Little Tykes toddler slide which Mark absolutely loves and a plastic basketball hoop that Matt throws balls at while riding on a Big Wheel. Mark screams to be picked up by Daddy and make a basket too.
It can be 90+ degrees or below freezing and my boys still beg to go out and play on the deck. They laugh, push each other around on their big wheels, and fight over who gets what. AH – siblings!
Some days I wish I had that nice patio furniture. A place for the adults to retreat to and drink a tall glass of lemonade. But watching the kids have fun together is more important. We chose family time over staining the deck last season. Matt devours his ice cream in bliss at the plastic picnic table and I will sit back and be content in these choices.
Labels: My Boys
Our front door
It greets visitors
Says “WELCOME” on the door mat
Opens to our home and hearts
Shows off seasonal décor
Sends Matt to school with a kiss
“Can Matt come over and play?”
A place to sit and watch the boys
Yells for Matt to come back home!
A place to give good-bye hugs
Our front door
We are still waiting for our main computer to be fixed. Steve decided to build an updated system, so it will take longer than expected. I have been taking so many cute photos of the family, but I cannot download them on our laptop. BOO HOO!
Matt is starting to name off items he would like for Christmas. Any time we are in Wal-Mart or Target or he sees that cool new toy commercial, he rattles off what he wants and I remind him, “Put it on your Christmas list.” Of course Mark just grins probably thinking, “Good, it’ll be mine someday.”
As he announced toy after game after action-figure I was brought back to a time when I was a little girl. Is it me or is this generation spoiled with more toys, games, entertainment, and just stuff? I look through my children’s toy boxes and think, “I never had this much as a kid or this many options!”
Growing up we didn’t have Game Boys or Leapfrogs. I had a stack of coloring and activity books. There wasn't V-Tech, Xbox, or for heaven’s sake........THE INTERNET! You were lucky if you owned Atari with PONG.
We had a family station wagon without a DVD/video player. Yes, we actually had to talk and look outside the windows! We made our “boundaries” and announced, “Do not cross my line!” The luxury of listening to your own music wasn’t an option. I recall many times being forced to listen to Barry Manilow, The Carpenters or Neal Diamond -- sometimes even TALK RADIO because we didn't have FM!!! Two words: Car Bingo!!!!!
My dress up clothes consisted of old outfits my mom wore in the early 70’s. That loud-patterned flower unisuite!!! Some were torn being held together by safety pins. I would grab my mom’s old slip and just like that (with a finger snap) I had long locks. I didn’t have princess dresses with heels or crowns. No no......I used old tulle and my dad’s old ties for that.
I had two.....count them.....TWO Barbies for several years: Malibu and Kiss-Me Barbie. I thought I could tan Malibu on top of a lamp shade. When her hair started to melt on the lightbulb I put two and two together. But did my mom go right out and buy a new one..........no! Lesson learned! I used my brothers’ blocks to make Barbie’s furniture, TV, and walls. She had a nice “waterbed” made with a zip lock bag and old fabric tucked underneath. My imagination went wild and I didn’t even own her Dream House.
Children’s cable stations? What children’s cable stations! PBS and reruns were my choice. I grew up watching I Love Lucy, Bewitched, and The Monkees reruns. Who can forget Mister Rogers, Sesame Street, and The Electric Company?
And let us not forget the best toy of all during our childhood: BICYCLES!!!!
Comparing my generation with my boys’, I worry. Are we teaching them to respect things? Do many toys affect a child’s anticipation for more and more? How many times have you been in a store ready to just throw an item in the cart just because your child wants it now? Or replacing a toy ASAP because they broke it? Do we lavish our children without limits? Are we guilty of this growing problem? I admit dabbling in these areas and quickly brought to conviction. Somtimes it's easier to throw the pair of Spongebob PJs in the cart to make my son happy. Are we raising a generation that expects no disappointments? I am convicted!
“Store your treasures in heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy, and thieves do not break in and steal.” Matthew 6:20
Bottom line: DVD’s can babysit. Leapfrogs can teach. Barbie can make a girl feel beautiful. Xbox can bring hours of entertainment. Spongebob is funny. But toys can break. The DVD can scratch. The Leapfrog’s batteries die. You can turn off Spongebob. And Barbie is not a real person. It all clutters into one big used pile of junk. In the end a child will search for a parent’s love, attention, and most of all time. Let’s all tune in!!!!
First I need to shout a big “thank you” to all of who prayed, thought of us, and gave a quick note of encouragement. May God bless you right back!
I thought about posting yesterday, but I was so tired. Since Mark could not eat before the procedure Steve and I were not able to get a bite before leaving. It wouldn’t be fair to eat around our Little Man! So I had a headache by the time we arrived home. It was exhausting and long.
With that said, let me say how impressed we are with University of Chicago Comer Children's Hospital. I have posted before how U of C treated my dad’s cancer and he is now cancer free. We were hoping for a good experience when we had to take Mark for his endoscopy Tuesday to test him for celiac disease.
From the waiting room to post-op, we were treated with support the whole way. Their equipment and technology awed me. Little things made a difference (then again, I guess they weren't so little):
- A lazy boy-like chair to comfort your child instead of those steel framed cribs
- A person whose soul job is to distract the child by blowing bubbles, etc
- TV’s in every room with On-Demand movies (anything from Disney to Chronicles of Narnia to internet)
- A private pre/post op. If a child was screaming next door or if Mark decided to lose control - just slide the door shut.
- Toys galore including Thomas track set ups everywhere!
That is just a taste of their accomidations. Their staff was friendly, quick, and understanding. I couldn’t be more pleased!
Dr. Guandalini’s team assessed Mark and took his history. We were able to throw out our concerns and questions. It was good to have a patient ear. After his procedure, which took 20 minutes, his team believes Mark may be NEGATIVE after all. His esophagus looks clear and not inflamed. The wall of his stomach looks good. Nothing would indicate a problem. By Thursday or Friday we will know if Mark has Celiac or not when the labs check the intestinal biopsies.
They used a less intense form of anesthesia, which made Mark’s “coming out” experience less traumatic. We woke him up and he just wanted to cuddle on me. Can’t complain about that!
There was no traffic going to or from the hospital. Mark did well during both trips – in spite of his hunger on the way. We were home by mid afternoon and I was ready to take a nap! Mark managed to go down for a little bit, so I took that time to regroup myself.
So God answers. Delivers. He is good. Supportive. Comforting and peaceful. He works according to His will. May all of us learn to trust Him more today and the next..........
I finally did it. I turned on the heat.
Every fall I wait and wait to do it. The thought of our electric/gas bill going up is dreadful. I like to see how long I can last before turning the heat on. This morning it was below 65 degrees in our house and Matthew complained about his feet being cold. (We have ceramic tile throughout our downstairs to boot.)
So I changed the furnace’s filter and flipped the switch. AH – a little more comfortable!!
When Matthew walked out to catch the morning bus, I saw his breath and that confirmed it was time.
We still have a few 70 degree days ahead (fingers crossed), but they will disappear. Steve will be tuning up the snowblower and I’ll be taking down the window screens. Better get out the fleece and winter coats.....winter is coming! Pass the tissues please.
To my fellow bloggers: I have been MIA lately. Mark has a viral throat infection with a slight fever which needs to fade away on its own. I like to use my free time to veg-out, watch TV, read magazines, or SLEEP. You’ll have to excuse my absence, but my mental health will thank me.
This afternoon I happened to turn on Rachael Ray’s new talk show. I was floored when I heard her topic of the day was cooking for a child with food allergies. Being a mom to a son with celiac disease, I was so happy to see Rachael Ray share about those that cannot eat all foods. Sometimes I feel children with special dietary needs are left behind.
To my dear friend, Stephanie, from Adventures in Babywearing: the recipe she shared is dairy and peanut free!!!
Why do weekends seem so short? I wish we had an extra day to sleep in not to mention having my hubby around -- good company!
My boys are doing better with each passing day. Matt is completely over this last nasty cold/respiratory bug. Mark is also getting better and in a few days he should be over it.
Steve and I were able to have some “together time” on Saturday morning. He was presented an honorary award for his achievement in education from his alma mater, Valparaiso University. I know – awesome! The faculty prepared a brunch with some entertainment and more. It was intimidating to sit at a table with PhD’s and listen to conversations about education policies and theories. To be honest, I just enjoyed time with my husband away from the kids.
Afterwards we walked the university’s campus. Steve shared college memories while we toured the new library. Even cracked a few jokes and made each other laugh. Time well spent!
I am ready to conquer the week. Ready to grocery shop. Ready to get Matthew from school every day. Ready to be a mom!