29 May 2011

Syrup, A Skinned Chin, and Interviews

We had a full week last week (well, when do we not have a full week, really?)

It must be the season for birthday parties, because after only being invited to one or two all school year, Kolby and Lijah all of a sudden have about 5 party invites between the two of them (not including a couple that were on Sunday so we had to decline). So, the boys and I went and picked out birthday gifts earlier this week. We found these fun boxes that included all sorts of things – coloring books, markers, crayons, posters to color, stickers to color, cards, a calendar, etc. – and they were only $5 each, so that was a great deal for everything they included and we got several of those, plus Lijah decided to use his money that he has saved up and get himself a box too, which he has had fun coloring all week long.

Isaac did well in both of his speech therapy sessions this week. He’s working on pronouncing words that start with ‘f,’ and his therapist said she’s already starting to see an improvement. Right now, if you asked him to say ‘fish’ he would say ‘dish,’ and if you exaggerate the ‘f’ sound and ask him to repeat ‘ffff-ish’ he usually says ‘ffff-dish,’ but we’re working on it and he often ends up leaving out the ‘d’ sound after a few tries. The therapist always brings little games to play with him while asking him to say certain words with her, so he just thinks it’s a fun, special game time and he looks forward to it. Plus, she said she was able to free up her morning schedule, so we get to switch to mornings this week (which is really nice, because I have been having to wake Isaac up from naps to do it in the afternoons, so this’ll be easier now).

On Monday after school we went to Perinton Park for a little while, and the boys had fun playing there. There was a dad there with his two sons, and we chatted a bit. He asked if I was babysitting (I get that a lot), and I told him all 5 boys were mine. Then he asked something that was a little more blunt than I usually get: he said, “Are they all by the same man?” (I have had people ask me if they were all from the same marriage, which I guess is about the same question, but I hadn’t gotten that one before). It turns out he has a 15 yr old daughter from his x-wife, and his 2 little boys were from his x-girlfriend, so I guess his background explains his question a bit. I know that it’s becoming less and less common for people to choose to have large families (although a few generations ago, I think that most people wouldn’t have considered 5 kids to be a ‘large family’). But for some reason his comment just made me a little sad – just to think that people are so used to the idea of divorce and kids not having both parents present, that it’s just no big deal for so many people. And I do understand that because we chose to have our boys all so close together, and the fact that all 5 of our kids happened to be boys, people are curious about our family. I’ve mostly gotten used to getting questions about the boys whenever I go anywhere. I really don’t mind the questions/comments, as long as they’re not rude – actually, I get a lot fewer rude comments since I’m not pregnant anymore (you would be surprised at how many people said things like “Oh, that sucks!” when they found out I was pregnant with another boy). I do get the weird comments sometimes, but not nearly as often. Mostly, now that all the boys are big enough to run around and play together, I get lots of statements of surprise when people ask me the boys’ ages and they realize that there aren’t any twins or triplets.

Wednesday was a busy day for me. In the morning we went to Kreag Rd Park for a Moms Club playgroup. Then while the boys napped/were at school I worked on getting a video edited together that the Activity Days girls class had made a few weeks ago that we were planning on showing at the activity that night. After school we went to an outdoor story time at Whickam Farm where they read some books about farm animals, and they bring out an animal for the kids to pet and learn about. They brought out a small goat (about half the size of our dog), and the boys got to pet it and feed it. It was fun, and it was nice and laid back – once the group of kids started to get bored they just went over and played on the little playground. The lady was friendly, and just kept pulling more books out of her basket to read, as long as the kids sat there – my boys were the last ones to head over to the playground after about 5 books. It all went well, except for the fact that a little girl got butted by the mini goat – she was crying and her mom looked upset and took her daughter away from the story time, but I’m sure she was fine and the mom seemed to be overreacting a bit, but they put the goat away when that happened, but by then all the kids had had a chance to pet and feed it anyway so it was fine. Then that evening I went over to the church for the annual Mother Daughter activity that we do for the girls. We had a luau theme: there was a quick hula hoop contest, all the girls and moms got to decorate flip flops, they watched their movie they had made (the girls laughed through the entire thing), and they ate ‘Hawaiian’ ice cream (with pineapple and coconut). So that went well, and now we just have one more activity before the end of the school year. I have gotten used to teaching the girls (in the beginning I was a little overwhelmed by the shear amount of talking that pre-teen girls do, but I’ve gotten used to that), and we have a good group of girls. It’s also been nice that my friend, Danielle, is the other teacher with me now, because she has lots of good ideas and the girls have seemed a lot more excited about some of the activities since she started. So it’s been going well. But it will be nice to have the summer break – with working at the family history center on 2nd and 4th Tuesday nights, and doing the activities with the girls on 2nd and 4th Wednesday nights, it makes for pretty busy evenings every other week, so it’ll be a nice break. Can’t believe I’ve done this for 2 years now (well, 2 school years, at least).

On Thursday morning Melissa dropped Wyatt off before school, and he rode the bus with Kolby, which was fun for them. Speech and piano went well. And then we were invited to the Case’s house for dessert that evening, which was fun (we were excited, because I think we have enough kids now that some people are rather overwhelmed about inviting us over, so it was nice). We enjoyed some good food and conversation, and the boys played in the back yard a little in between rain showers. It was fun.

On Friday morning we woke up to find a few ants in the pantry, so I removed lots of things and cleaned up a few crumbs, vacuumed, and wiped off the floor and shelves. I made the mistake of leaving the pantry open, and found that Camden had taken the syrup out and gone down to the basement, the little stinker. When I came down I found that he had poured syrup on the dog’s back, and into a large empty plastic pretzel jar, which Courtland was holding over his head drinking the syrup as it oozed down his head, through his eyes, and over his face (picture Winnie the Pooh with his honey pot). The syrup was dripping on the floor, and Brax was licking it up. Luckily I’d caught it in time before they started moving around the room, and there was surprisingly little syrup on the floor. Camden spent the remainder of the morning in his room while I went outside in the rain and washed the dog off (he was not at all excited about being rinsed with cold water from the hose, and I probably looked ridiculous chasing a soapy dog around the back yard in my wet pajamas). Then I headed upstairs to wash Courtland off, but not before I got a few pictures of his syrupy face. But I’m glad to say I handled it pretty well – other than a little bit of surprised yelling when I first saw what they’d done. Actually, the boys have been on this kick the last couple weeks – several different incidents similar to this, involving cereal, crayons, honey mustard, hair gel, sharpie markers, and Michael’s razor. And it’s not even like I’m not paying attention to the kids – more like I leave one room to find a mess, and return to find another mess. (I even went so far as to remove all the pens, pencils, markers, and crayons that I could find in the entire house and put them in a box in the living room where the kids can ask me before they use them – we’ll see how long that works). But I talked to my mom on the phone the other day, and was telling her how things had been going, and she helped me to see the humor in it all – she and my dad thought it was very funny that I had to deal with a 4 year old who likes to color on the walls: One of the stories from when I was a kid was that when my mom was pregnant with my little sister and very sick, I was quiet for a while, and she knew that wasn’t a good sign but was just so sick. Anyway, she ended up coming into the bedroom to find that I had used a black crayon to color the walls in the closet from the floor up to as high as I could reach, and that it was all colored solid black. Anyways, when I think of some of the things I did when I was little, I can laugh about some of the things they do. I just remember once when my mom told me, “I used to wish you would have a child that was as difficult as you were, but then I stopped wishing that because it was just too mean.” :) All I can say is that I hope this summer isn’t nearly as rainy as this spring has been, because we could really use some more outdoor time at the Bradshaw house. We finished the day Friday with dropping Kolby off at a friend’s birthday party, and while he was there the other boys and I went to the McDonalds play place – they had a ball climbing and running around with the most kids I’ve ever seen in there at one time, while I sat and enjoyed a book – with no mess to clean up.

Yesterday the boys went to Mikey and Evan McDonald’s birthday party, and they had a blast. It was a Star Wars party, and the kids all had little blow up light sabers, had lots of food (very important to my children), played fun games, and finished off with a silly string war. They had a blast! We got some things done around the house and yard, Michael packed for his trip, and Michael spent some time with the boys while Courtland and I went to run a couple errands. We got groceries, and ended up finding the last plant for our garden that I’ve been looking for the last few weeks – a yellow pear tomato. I got that planted when we got home, and was excited to see that all the sugar snap peas that I planted from seeds a short while ago have started to grow (and I think some of the spinach is starting to come up too, unless those are weeds – we’ll see). And I was so excited to see little green strawberries starting all over the strawberry plants – this should definitely be a better year for berries than our first year planting them last year (and we still got quite a few berries last year, I thought). Oh, and this will tell you how much it’s been raining here lately: I usually try to go out and water our vegetable garden every 3rd day unless it’s happened to rain since the last time. And guess what? I haven’t watered our garden once this season. (Actually, we’ve worried a bit that the excessive rain might not be great for some of the plants, but other than a few leaves that are a little yellow on the squash plants, they don’t seem to mind. I am glad that we decided to do raised beds, though, because the grassy walkway down the middle of the garden was about 2 or 3 inches of standing water, even after it’d been sunny all day). So, after dinner Michael pulled out the hide-a-way bed in the living room couch and read the next Magic Treehouse book with the boys (this has become one of their special things they do with Daddy), and after they went to bed we had a date – we played Ticket To Ride while having some ice cream bars. It’s been a long time since we played board games, and it was really fun.

Michael left early this morning for the airport. Our friend Isaac Case was kind enough to get up and take him there at 4:30am, so I didn’t have to wake all the kids up at 4:00. Church without Michael’s help was a little hard, and Courtland and Isaac both had to be taken out in the hall more than normal, but then the boys had their classes. I was asked to substitute as a helper in Isaac’s class, which he was excited about. After church I informed that boys that we were having mandatory naps after lunchtime, and Mommy was going to rest too. After they got up, we drove over to the canal and parked near Turk Hill Rd and Church St. and went for a walk. We haven’t done much walking near the canal in the past because we knew that it would be simpler to go walking where there wasn’t a chance of a child ending up in the water, but lately we’ve gone a few times and the boys have done fine. We ended up going down a little trail and ended up in this fun little wetland area where there are wooden bridges that go out over the water and cattail plants, and it was pretty. Then we continued down the canal trail until we got over by the library, before heading back. Just as we started to come back, we happened to walk past one of the assistant teachers from Lijah’s preschool and her husband, and right at that same time Brax took off. Kolby had been walking him, and Brax ran about 10 feet down the path to go greet a person with another dog, but Kolby had his hand through the loop of the leash and got pulled right on his face, poor thing. (Kolby has always done so well with walking Brax by himself and he’s never pulled away from him like that before, but I guess he’s just too strong if there’s something that he goes after, so we’ll be waiting another year or so while Kolby gets a bit bigger before he tries walking him again). So, luckily Lijah’s old teacher offered to stay with the stroller, the dog, and the other three boys, while her husband showed me where the nearest bathroom was in a store on the canal front. We got Kolby cleaned up, and although he had lots of scrapes, there were no deep cuts (that’s all we need, is to need stitches while Michael’s out of town and can’t do the stitching, huh?). So, his chin and hands were scraped up, and he’ll probably get some pretty bad scabs as they heal, but he’s alright now. The rest of the walk back to the car was rather uneventful, other than getting to call and talk to Daddy in San Diego on the phone.

So, Michael’s got three interviews this week. The boys have been saying prayers that Daddy is safe, has a good time, and “says the right things.” :) I’m just hoping that at least one of these turns out to be a place that Michael would be excited about working – wouldn’t that be great to figure out his job situation and not have that to worry about next year when we’ll be dealing with selling the house, Michael’s board exams, and moving across the country? I’m sure that we’ll find out what’s best for our family. It always seems to work out for the best in the end. So, keep Michael in your prayers this week.

Well, I was planning on posting photos tonight too, but I’m about ready for bed, so that’ll have to happen another time. Good night!

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