Thursday, April 30, 2009

Random Thought Thursday

Following in her stiletto steps, I'm stealing Random Tuesday Thoughts from Mom in High Heels. (And many others, I'm guessing.) Only, I'm going to do mine on Thursday's since Random Thought Thursday flows off the tongue a bit better. (Hey, I'm all about alliteration!)

So here it goes...

1. Kids today rarely use email. Texting, facebooking, and IM'ing are much more prevalent. This is just an observation, not a complaint. I constantly have to remind my students to check their email every 24 hours. I wonder if email will someday be as rare as a phone call? I do love the concept of IMing but sadly, no one I know really uses it.

(I can't believe I just used the term "kids, today...". Yeah, I'm getting old.)

2. Someone asked me why I wasn't on Twitter. I don't really have an answer. I probably should be but it just seems like another way to suck the time out of my day. I can barely keep up facebooking and blogging...

3. Divorce sucks. I understand (sorta) why people get divorces yet I'm always shocked when I hear about it happening. It makes me sad.

4. Why is the toilet in fourth stall in the work bathroom taller than the other five? And why are there only two rolls of toilet paper compared to the four rolls that are in other stalls?

5. Nicklas expresses so much emotion on his face. He should really go into drama. I think he'd make a great actor. His grade will be putting on the Wizard of Oz for an end of the school year celebration. He wants to try out for the part of the Scarecrow because he "doesn't have a brain" and it means Nicklas can "act all crazy". I really hope he gets the part.

6. I've hit a wall with the Get Fit Challenge. I've done well and lost about 20 lbs but I'm in a slump that I'm desperately trying to get out off.

7. I'm still not used to seeing Stringer Bell on The Office. I don't think I ever will be.

8. I should probably stop drinking diet soda (see #6). And I definitely need to drink more water.

9. I wonder how our exchange student, Mia, pronounces her name? Is it Mee-ah or My-ah? She arrives in August. I am super excited.

(Mia or Mia's mom, if you're reading this, let me know!)

10. Seeger has the best smell to him. It's addicting. Sometimes when I'm sitting in my office at work, I can almost smell him and it always brings a smile to my face. How long will that smell on him last before he turns into a stinky boy?

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Seeger's birthday party

Seeger decided to have his birthday party at Chuck E. Cheese this year. (Our kids get a big birthday party every other year.) Some kids choose this venue because of the games, some like the pizza, others like to hang out with Chuck. Seeger? He just wanted the medal that the birthday star gets.

I usually bake the birthday cakes but my cakemaking skills are TERRIBLE and the cakes look awful. (That's a post for another time.) Seeger wanted something Spongebob so I was relieved when he decided cupcakes were the way to go.

And of course, he loved opening his presents.

Especially the gift from his Uncle Jake who gave him a $20 bill. He decided he could buy a lot of trains with that.

Let's see, I didn't have to clean my house, worry about decorations, or plan games to get ready for Seeger's birthday. I might suggest Chuck E. Cheese for Nick's birthday in November!

Monday, April 27, 2009

JHendon Photography

So I have this friend who is smart, caring, talented, and beautiful. She recently started her own photography business which is taking off like wildfire. It's been so cool to see her work progress over the past few months. Of course, I always thought she was a great photographer but in the past several weeks, she's gone from great to fantabulous (yes, I just made up that word). Really, truly, seriously.... her skills are growing by leaps and bounds. And I'm not just saying that cuz she's my friend. It's really, really true! You should check out her out.

Over the weekend, she did a shoot with the Kubatski family. Four kids under the age of 8 and a bunch of Polack's? She's talented AND brave.

Thanks for making us beautiful, Julie!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

The chores weren't meant to be

As a parent, I try my best to always plan and prepare to stay on top of the household activities. This is especially important in the spring when the Polack is immersed in the baseball season and the boys are in the middle of tennis/swimming/soccer/baseball. I'm constantly checking my calendar to planning who has to be where at what time while trying to fit in things like homework and dinner and chores.

So imagine my surprise when Nicklas's soccer practice was cancelled yesterday and the Polack arrived home earlier than usual from baseball practice. By 6pm, we were all at home with no plans. No plans? Free time? I literally didn't know what to do with myself. The boys had no problem though. It was a beautiful evening and they spent every minute outside. I thought about having them help me with some housework but then I decided I didn't want to waste a gorgeous evening. So while they played with some neighborhood kids, the Polack and I took a walk around the neighborhood.

There is a bush right next the walk to our front door. It's pretty and I love the red but I hate the thorns because the boys always seem to touch the branches and get hurt. (Plus it's a pain to prune!) Anyway, I have seen a bird flying in and out and wondered if there was a nest. When we were outside, I decided to check it out. It's pretty thick so I kept leaning in closer and closer to take a look. Everyone was watching me, including the neighborhood kids and I hadn't even seen the nest when all of a sudden, the momma bird flew out. It scared the be-jesus out of me and of course I screamed. Everyone got a kick out of that. I did take a picture and if you look closely, you can see two eggs.

Speaking of family activities (was that the point of this post?) we were finally allowed to make contact with our exchange student. She and I have friended each other on facebook so it's been great to see photo's of her. (Although it stinks that everything is in Norwegian so I can't actually read the captions or comments!) She told me that when she was given our names, she immediately googled us and found this blog. So she's been showing our pictures to her family and friends in Norway. We're very excited to meet her and I'm anxious to get her room set up and ready. After tennis/swimming/soccer/baseball ends, of course!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Five years ago...

On this day five years ago, I woke up very early in the morning, maybe around 4:30am. At nearly 9 months pregnant, sleep didn't come easy for me. As I waddled my way to the bathroom (a common venture at all hours of the day), I felt a light trickle. Realizing it could possibly be my water, the thought that I might be giving birth that day made me giddy with joy. I was ready! I made my way to the computer in our basement to start googling. I wasn't having contractions and since I hadn't felt a gush of water like you see in the movies, I wasn't 100% sure it was time. I also had a paper for a graduate class that I needed to finish. It was due in six days and I had completed my first draft. I figured if I was getting ready have the baby, I better complete what I could with my paper. I considered trying to go back to sleep but I was too excited.

Time moved so slow as I waited for an appropriate time to wake the Polack and Nicklas. I thought 6:30 was early enough (I'm not sure the Polack agreed but darn it, I was had to share the news!) Everyone got up and started getting ready for the day. I must have glanced at the clock every 2 minutes waiting for it to say 8:00. This meant the doctor's office would be open. Finally I was able to call and schedule an appointment to see my OB/GYN. We dropped Nicklas off at daycare and waited for our appointment.

My appointment was for 11:15. As I made my way to the exam room, I had a big smile on face. I had my final weigh-in. I'd gained 32 lbs. with the pregnancy. Not bad considering I gained around 55 lbs. with Nicklas. I explained to my doctor that I'd felt the trickle that I thought was my water but contractions hadn't started. He did an exam, did a swipe and went to test it. He came back and explained he didn't see evidence of any embryonic fluid.

Really? I asked. Because I can feel the trickle right now. Seriously. I'm dripping all over your exam table.

So the doctor swiped a sample from the liquid on the exam table and left to test it again. This time he came back and said it was time to head to the hospital.

You mean right now? I asked. Yes, he said, we'll have to deliver this baby within 24 hours or risk infection.

That's when it hit me. I WAS HAVING THE BABY TODAY!!!

The Polack and I went home to grab my stuff and then made quick stop at the daycare. My mother-in-law worked there so we let her know we were headed to the hospital and asked her to take care of Nicklas for us.

We got the hospital. I was feeling great! I got checked in and chatted cheerfully with the nurses. I asked what would happen if I didn't start having contractions. I was told I would probably be given pitocin. The look on my face indicated I wasn't happy about this so the nurse said I could ask my doctor to fully break my sac (at this point, there was just a minor leak) to see if that would get things going. He did this when he stopped in to check on me at around 2pm. Man, did that get things going. The contractions started immediately and came on strong. At this point, my mom had made the three hour drive to be with us in the delivery room. Was I ever glad she was there too.

(No offense to the Polack but he doesn't do well in hospitals.)

(And sometimes, you just need your mommy.)

I spent time a lot of time on the inflatable ball, rocking back and forth and around 4pm, I requested my epidural. It couldn't come fast enough! The pain was extreme but getting the epidural set up was even worse. It took the anesthesiologist FOR-EV-ER. And once the needle was in, I didn't feel the epidural working at all. After moaning a bit, my mom (who is a nurse) asked about the dosage and convinced them to up the amount.

Ah, sweet relief! It was around 5:00 at this time. I asked how long it would be before I could start pushing. The nurse said I was ready, they just wanted to get the doctor. He arrived about 15 minutes later. I pushed once for "practice", pushed again and held it to allow some stretching (I didn't want an episiotomy) and pushed once more. That's all it took.

Seeger arrived at 5:20pm. So sweet, so precious, and all boy. He weighed 8lbs. 13 oz.

Happy Birthday, Seeger!!!

Monday, April 20, 2009

You're hot then you're cold...

What's up with this weather? Is it spring or is it winter? Do we get out the shorts or keep wearing jeans? I could blame it on Indiana weather but from the looks of the posts I'm seeing on Facebook, this crazy weather isn't exclusive to the Midwest.

Friday was beautiful. The Polack had a home game so I took the boys to the baseball park to enjoy the sunshine. After the game we went to dinner at a local Japenese restaurant.

Nicklas tried using chopsticks for the first time.

Saturday was just as nice. We tried to spend as much time outside as we could. Seeger even took Freddie and his animals on a wagon ride.

Then the rain started up again. Sunday afternoon was a soccer game. This is what the fields looked like:

The poor kids, they were troopers! Nicklas was covered in mud by the end of the game.

Seeger was a trooper, too. He was cuddled up on dad's lap to stay warm.

That sun... she's such a tease.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

The Seeger Show

While Seeger was at Pre-K yesterday, I received an email with the following photo attachment:

I didn't recognize the phone number it came from but when I got home, there was note from his teacher:

Seeger asked me to send you this picture "for mom's blog".

I never thought Seeger really understood what "mom's blog" is about but apparently I underestimated him. Perhaps he's changing his career aspirations from train conductor to PR representative? Look at that face...

I'd hire him!

Easter pics

I thought you might enjoy these Easter photo's with the kiddos. My boys look so grown up!

I tried to get a photo of the little ones during the egg hunt. They had no interest in posing for me....

After the egg hunt, the cousins enjoyed some cupcakes and wine. (Just kidding about the wine!)

Nicklas eating his cupcake. AND A FOURTH DINNER ROLL. His version of heaven.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Parent/teacher conference

This week I met with Seeger's Pre-K teachers to discuss his progress over the school year.

His teachers written comments from the fall:
Seeger is a sweet boy and it has been fun getting to know him this year. He does a nice job entering the room each day. Seeger is cooperative with the teachers and his classmates. We will continue working on gross motor and fine motor skills. Playing with playdough, clay, small toys will all help Seeger build the muscles in his hands and therefore help with writing.

His teachers written comments this spring:
It has been a joy to have Seeger in Prek-K this year. He is a very sweet boy with a tender heart. Seeger enjoys free choice time, especially when we have the trains out! (I'm sure you're not surprised!) This year Seeger has made some nice improvements in his fine motor skills (writing, cutting, coloring, etc.) and also his gross motor skills (running, balancing, hopping, etc.). Some things to work on this summer would be: learning address & phone number, continue working on fine motor skills, and games & activities to reinforce number and letter skills. We hope you have a wonderfull summer and a great year with Kindergarten.

He's achieved nearly every skill they test for although he needs to continue working on the following:
Interpret main idea of a story
Makes a simple comparison of two objects in terms of difference and sameness
Identify ankle, wrist, and heel
Learn address & phone number
Bounce a ball three times

I asked his teacher how Seeger does with following directions. They mentioned that sometimes they have to direct him more than once to move from one activity to the next although this is common with many of the children.

I asked about his speech (since he was in speech therapy for 18 months.) They were surprised by my question and said his speech is excellent; the kids never have trouble understanding him. I asked if he ever stuttered (which had also been a past issue) or had trouble getting the words out. They do notice that sometimes his mind moves a bit faster and he forgets what he's said versus what he's thought.

I asked how Seeger stands out from his classmates. They mentioned that he is very caring of the other students. He is quiet but thoughtful. (Quiet?? Yeah, we don't have that problem at home!) They said he knows more about Thomas the Tank Engine than anyone else. (Duh!) They also mentioned that his math skills are more advanced than others. He sorts his snacks into groups, makes patterns when completing activities (ex. he had to stamp the letter N nine times and while doing that, he went white, green, purple, white, green, purple, white, green, purple), and does subtraction with objects (he announced once that he had four jellybeans and if he took two away, he'd have two left).

The Polack and I have been very impressed with this Pre-K program. They have done some amazing lesson plans and awesome activities. It's great that both my boys love school and look forward to going everyday.

Even Nicklas, despite some of the troubles he's been having, still enjoys school. This week he did some more testing in our quest to figure out why he's been struggling in school. I hope to get the results soon. (They tested for ADD; we'll see what happens.)

There has been good news though. Last week, his class started the spring NWEA testing. They're doing one subject each week and his first test was Literature. We talked a lot about the test and stressed that it was important he concentrate, completely read the question, and consider ALL the choices before answering. We put him to bed early the night before, let him sleep in a bit that morning, and sent him to school with a big breakfast. He came home with a smile on his face. His score was nine points higher than last time.

Today is his second round. We're hoping it goes well.

That time of the year

It's the time of the year when our family activities kick into overtime. Nicklas has started soccer and Seeger has started tennis.
This isn't a problem in itself but now that the baseball season has started, our lives will be a blur of shuttling across town between the house, three baseball parks, and every fast food restaurant in between. Nicklas is in the Pinto league, Seeger is in Shetland, and the Polack is coaching the high school freshmen team. Once the freshmen season ends, he tackles being commissioner of the Shetland league. And because we're crazy, we've signed Seeger up for swimming lessons.

School and work will seem like a vacation for awhile.
(And before you all shake your head about the overscheduling of our youth today, please understand that everything only overlaps for two or three weeks and then becomes much more manageable.)
(And then send prayers that I don't have a nervous breakdown while coordinating schedules.)
(Or gain 10 lbs due to lack of a dinner with any sort of nutritional value.)

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

This just in...

I'm at work right now and just got back from a meeting. But when I checked my phone, I saw this message from Uncle Mike that I wanted to share it with you:

Seeger wanted to say hi!

Seeger's second story

We received another story from Seeger's preK teachers last week. Apparently this was a two parter:

Once upon a time there was a little engine. His name was Percy. He was cheerful. Then he was going to the water tower to get clean. Then it was raining food and blocking tracks. Then they couldn't get all the food on the engines. Then there was a big engine called Gordon who was stuck.

Chapter 2
There was a little engine called Lady. She was shunting cars and was going to the water tower next. "I want to play with you," said Lady. And then Tomas said, "I don't want to play with you today.

Chapter 3
Today Thomas was going, "We need a good clean wash to wash down and we want to get first prize. Now we're clean. Now we're gonna get first prize."

Chapter 4
There was an elephant in Henry's tunnel. Henry was trying to get the elephant out of the tunnel. "And we have to do this. Oh, I can't do it, I have to decorate this room! We only want to go now and I have to go there." And James said, "I'm tired. I've got to go to Tidmouth Sheds."

"Okay, now I'm going to do this."

I'm done with my story.

Monday, April 13, 2009

9 years ago....

During our family celebration at Easter nine years, the Polack and I had some exciting news to share with our family. It was joyful, although a bit unexpected, therefore we pondered how to "present" the news to everyone. As the hosts of our annual Easter dinner, we decided to incorporate the news in the annual Easter egg hunt. (Although there were no children at the time, as adults, we still had Easter egg hunts.)

We spelled out our news on the Easter eggs - a four letter sentence with one letter on each egg (with four different egg colors, one color per word). After finding the eggs, our family worked to put together the puzzle. With some hints, they were able to spell out our message:

We're having a baby.

Some squealed with delights, others stared at us in disbelief. The Polack and I had only been married for nine months and no one was expecting a grandchild/niece/nephew from us so... so... so quickly. But life is funny that way. Nicklas was born seven months later.

This Easter, we had news to share once again. We thought about hosting another Easter egg but decided against. Rather, Nicklas announced to the adults, "Guess what? I'm getting a new sister!" No delighted squeals, just more stares of disbelief and lots of questions. After watching the adults flounder a bit, we announced that this fall we're opening our home to an exchange student.

The Polack and I have been discussing this for the past several weeks and while we have always been interested in the possibility, we thought it might be better to wait until our kids are bit older.

But like I said, life is funny sometimes. I've been talking to other host families and learning more about the program. My mother hosted a French student for a month when I was in high school. It was a great experience for me and my family.

This is something that feels so right to me and knowing how passionate I felt, the Polack quickly jumped on board with the idea.

After scouring the host organizations website, we decided on a country and we've been looking at profiles of the female students. We've even picked one out. And I'm super excited.

This next school year will be a huge adjustment for us. We're opening our lives to a complete stranger, a teenager no less, and it will be an experience of a lifetime.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Aquarium Envy

We were at the pet store recently and guess what we found? An R2-D2 aquarium. Complete with sound effects. And it lights up.

I totally want one!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Komets game

My wonderful brother secured four tickets for the Polack's to attend a Fort Wayne Komets hockey game. (He even made us dinner before the game. How sweet is that?) It's been a few years since our last hockey game and even though it wasn't the Red Wings, we still had a blast.

We had AWESOME seats - third row, baby! We were right next to the opponents penalty box and enjoyed hearing the banter between fans and the players who were "in time out" as Seeger liked to say. (It's a good thing our boys don't understand adult humor yet.)

Have I mentioned how much Seeger likes popcorn?

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Freddie update

We're still adjusting to life with the new puppy. We're making progress on the housetraining although "accidents" still happen quite frequently. Good thing he's so darn cute...

Friday, April 3, 2009

Stomping our way to the boats

As much as I've been complaining about working while the boys are on spring break, in reality, it's probably a good thing I didn't my use vacation time to hang out with them. Nicklas and Seeger have both been sick. Nicklas was diagnosed with mono last week and Seeger has caught some sort of bug that has kept them both feeling pretty lazy. I'm glad they've been able to spend this week chillin out and relaxing. I think they definitely needed it.

We did do one fun activity this week. STOMP made it's way to Purdue and my friend Christy got tickets for her and I. The Polack had seen the show before and thought Nicklas would love it so we ended up getting two more tickets. We all really enjoyed the performance.
Tonight, the boys are spending the night at their cousins house and the Polack and I are heading up north to try our luck at the gambling boats. It's been awhile since our last trip and hopefully we'll be able have a few hours of entertainment before we gamble our money away. Wish us luck.
Tomorrow night we're headed to Fort Wayne to catch a Komets hockey game. We'll also spend some time with my family which is a rare treat. I'll try to get some pictures posted soon.
Have a great weekend, everyone!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Still NOT happy

It's been two months since the haircutting fiasco of 2009. I'm still devastated about Seeger's hair.

Yes, I know it's hair and I know it will grow back. And I know that it's not really that bad. But still... I miss it. It's more than just hair to me. When Seeger had long hair, he was still my baby. And let's face it, I'm probably not going to have any more babies. So his haircut symbolizes a new chapter in my life. The next stage of motherhood; babyless motherhood, kids growing up motherhood, getting old motherhood.

This is how my mind works - I jump from thought to thought to thought - it's exhausting, I tell ya!

Damn, I feel like spaghetti.