Friday, August 27, 2010

My Second Grader

Today my little boy starts 2nd grade! 

This morning I got my little man up, dressed, and fed him a good breakfast. Well, cereal, but that counts, right? Then it was off to the bus stop. Doesn't he look handsome? I am so proud of him! He has grown up into such a polite, kind, and respectful little man. 

It's hard for me to believe he is eight years old. It seems like yesterday he was just a little tiny baby that I would cuddle and rock. I love that kid so very much!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

My Crazy Morning

Today is not my day! It's only noon and this morning has been a string of mishaps! Let's see... I had to drive to the other side of town to a blood test before work, got to work only to realize that I forgot that I had a training scheduled in a different building today, and then I got hit by some asshole in the effing parking garage just to have him try to say it was my fault!!

Let's start from the beginning...

This morning I got up extra early to drive to the other side of town to go to my doctor's office for a blood draw. We've been doing fertility shots this month and they have to monitor my hormone levels. This blood draw today was especially important because the levels will let the doctors know if the shots worked to help me achieve ovulation. I won't get the results until tomorrow, and I am praying they are good results. Bad results would me that I didn't ovulate and there's NO chance of my being pregnant. Good results mean I have to wait at least 10 days to take a pregnancy test. 

Although I arrived at the lab five minutes early there were still FIVE people ahead of me! Geesh! Next time I will have to be 15 minutes early! So I sat there and waited my turn. The plan was to get the blood draw over with and still make it to work by 8:30. Even though I had to wait a little while, I was still ahead of schedule and could get to work by 8:15! So I'm driving to work and I call call hubs, who was taking Riley to the babysitter. We start talking and I totally miss my exit! Ugh. It was 8:30 when I finally got to my office.

As I was walking in I passed a co-worker leaving the office. I asked her where she was going and she told me she had training at 9 o'clock in a different building. Shit! That reminded me I was also scheduled for the same training. How in the world did I manage to forget that?! I decided that I was lucky because if I wouldn't have missed my exit then I would have just when to my cubicle and went on about my business and I would have missed my training.

I turned around and headed out to the parking garage. (Cue the horror film music) As I got to my car I saw I missed a call from my sister so I call her back and start winding down the floors. It's a lot of winding down because I park on the roof of the garage - it's less expensive that way. As I got to about the 4th floor I was turning left to wind down to the 3rd floor. As I was straightening out my car to prepare for a left turn, I saw this other car was turning wide so I hit my brakes - I was only going 10 MPH to begin with - and stopped my car so the other vehicle could stop and adjust to avoiding hitting me. Then, I watch awestruck as the car drives right into my drivers side door!  

Now, I was in a hurry to get to this 9 am training. We pull off to a couple of empty parking spots and I get out to access the damage. There was damage, but my car was drivable. I tell the guy, "Let's just exchange information since it was obviously your fault and move on with it." Then, the asshole, as I will call him from here on out, looks at me and says in a gruff voice, "Well, that's debatable. You were talking on your cell phone."

OMG! Are you kidding me?! Seriously, I sat there, my vehicle stopped, and watch you drive right into me, and you have the audacity to say it was my fault?! Seriously?! I was pissed.

Fine. You wanna play that way? Fine. So I say, "Fine then, if you want to be that way about it we can waste both of our time and call the police to file an accident report." Well, apparently the city PD will not come to you to create an accident report if it was on private property. We would have to print a report from their website and take it to the department. Fine. At this point I was shaken. Crying. How dare that asshole say it was my fault?! 

Then I realized I didn't have a pen. Now I have to ask him to borrow a pen to write my information down. Eff me. (Ma, if you're reading this, sorry for the language). I call my husband, desperately needing his calm cool collected take on this situation. Voice mail. Effers! I get out and the asshole hand me a tiny piece of paper - presumably with his information. Sobbing like and idiot, I ask him to borrow his pen. Then I look at the paper he handed me. It ONLY had his phone number and insurance company name on it. No policy number. No address. Oh, and we have the same insurance company. Nice. That means they'll probably make us both pay for our own damage.

So I tell the guy asshole that I want his policy number. Then I write down his license plate number, as the make and model of his car, write that down, and then I called my insurance agent. In the mean time, I am holding both pieces of paper and his pen hostage. My insurance company said to get his home address too. And to take pictures. So I did both. As I hang up from the insurance agent the asshole tells me he is calling his agent too and will give me his policy number. Well la-di-da-da. Good for you. Asshole.

Then hubs calls and I start crying as I rehash the whole dramatic story. Why am I crying over something so stupid? Talking to John calmed me down, just like I knew it would. I was fine. Until I had to face the jerk to give him back his pen. Then I started crying again. Very embarrassing.

At this point I was late for the training, and if you're more than 15 mintues late you don't get the CEU's so it's not worth even going. But I did not have it in me to go back to work so I called my boss (my voice only crackled a little) and told him I was in an accident and asked for the day off. He said that was fine so I headed home.  

Just talked to claims adjuster and found out that the jerk asshole didn't give me a valid policy number. It was missing a digit. Hopefully it was an honest mistake... yeah, right.

This morning has gotten off to a crappy start, to say the least. But, been the positive person that I am - here is what is good about this situation. I wasn't hurt. I have the day off now. I get to spend Riley's last day of summer vacation with him. The police station is close to my place of employment so I can easily walk over there tomorrow to file the accident report. It gave me something to blog about. I can take a nap this afternoon. And tomorrow's another day!

What's Your Homework Policy?

My boys start back to school this week! Our district has a policy of a "staggered start" which means each of the boys will only go to school one day this week, but next week we'll be back in the full swing of things. And that means homework.

My boys are so different when it comes to academics and their learning styles. Riley usually catches on pretty quickly when it comes to math, but Khegan takes a little longer. Khegan is very good at writing creative stories. Riley struggles a little bit with keeping his handwriting neat. Khegan is patient and will listen when you are trying to help him. Riley (not unlike his mother) gets frustrated very easily when he doesn't pick stuff up right away.

All of these differences play out at homework time. Khegan is very slow in completing his homework, while Riley tends to zip right through it. Last year it was quite challenging to be done with homework before 9 o'clock. By the time I get off work, fought down town traffic and picked up the kids from the sitter, we don't get home until almost 6 o'clock. John gets home later than that. Once home, I have to get myself organized and then start dinner.

This is how our routine would go. Riley would zip through his math worksheet and go off to play. I would continue to work with Khegan on his math and spelling while also cooking dinner. Then we would break from homework to eat. Then John would take over finishing up the math and spelling with Khegan while I'd clean up dinner. Then we would each grab a kid and sit down to listen to them read for 20 minutes. Somewhere in there we managed to squeeze in a nightly shower for each kiddo.

It was tough - especially on nights when they had ball practice.

This year the routine is going to have to be different. It's too exhausting (for the boys & for us) to be doing homework for so long and until so late. The plan is to have them do all there homework, except for reading, at the babysitters house. School gets out at 2:30 so they have a good three hours before I get there to pick them up. Then when we get home, I will review the home work with them and redo the problems they missed. Then all that is left is their reading. Instead of having them read to me for 20 minutes, I will have them read to me for 10 and then read to themselves for the other 10 and give me a short oral "book report".

Hopefully this new homework routine will give us a little more free time in the evenings!

What's your homework policy? Do you have your children do their homework as soon as they get home? Or, do you let them play a little bit first? Are they pretty independent in completing it? Or, do you have to help every step of the way? 

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Marriage is a Partnership: Addressing a Distorted Marital Practice

Yesterday I read a very disturbing blog written by a married couple who practiced something referred to as "domestic discipline". This blog apparently went viral and is now a private blog.  For many reasons, I have not returned to the blog to verify that it is no longer a public blog, nor will I post the link to that blog from A New Breed of Mom. However, I do feel compelled to write a response to such a disturbing marital practice as well as explain my opinions of how a healthy marital relationship looks.

The concept referred to as "domestic discipline," basically consists of the wife being subservient to the husband and the husband having permission to "punish" he wife by spanking her like a child, put her in the corner, ground her, etc. like she was a child. The "spanking" is really domestic violence - the husband beating the wife until her backside was black and blue. It's a disgusting practice, which only tries to glorify domestic violence. What is even more disturbing was that when I Googled "domestic discipline" one of the first sites that came up was a Christian Domestic Discipline site.

Obviously, for anyone who is Christian, beating your wife is NOT a Christian practice. Beating your wife is called domestic violence. Domestic Violence (in my own definition, click link to see Wikipedia definition) is abusive behavior towards one's spouse, significant other, or family member who resides in the same home. Domestic violence includes physical aggression, extreme verbal aggression, emotional abuse, sexual abuse, and controlling behavior. In a DV relationship there is a predictable cycle of violence. There are also a variety of different types of domestic violence. On average, it takes a DV victim seven attempts before they successfully leave the relationships. Relationships involving abuse of any kind are NOT healthy, and despite what the abusive partner may say, they are not the norm.

A healthy marital relationship is a partnership in which two consenting adults vow to love and cherish each other til death do they part. The husband and wife are a team. They take care of each other. They discuss big decisions with each other and do not make a final decision until they are both in agreement. They compromise. If something is very important to one spouse, the other spouse may give in or let that spouse have his or her way. This kind of give-and-take goes both ways in a marital relationship. The married couple asks as one solidified unit, not two individuals fighting against each other. At the heart of healthy marriages is a deep, underlying friendship.

Through a marital partnership the couple relationship becomes central to the family unit - whether that family unit is a nuclear family or a stepfamily. In a two parent family, the couple is the heart of the family and makes decisions that affect the well being of everyone involved. I know that not all marriages last forever. I know that not all families are two parent families. Families come in many shapes and sizes. However, if you are married it is important to strive to make your marriage work. It is important to work towards a marital partnership. The couple's relationship is the most significant relationship model their children will experience. Let's teach our children that marriage is a partnership based upon friendship. Let's teach them that marriage is a 'safe' relationship based on mutual respect. Let's teach them how to handle conflict in a healthy manner.

I love comments. I know this could be a heated topic for some people, but I would love to know what you think are the most important ingredients in a healthy marriage?

Signs of Abuse and Abusive Relationships 
The National Domestic Violence Hotline
For Your Marriage

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Back to School Anxiety

My boys start back to school this week. Last week they were both very excited. Khegan is still very excited. Riley? Not so much. This week Riley has started to get more and more nervous about going back to school. Sunday night he had a meltdown at bedtime because he had himself so worked up about going back to school.

"Mommy, I'm never going to see you anymore!" That's not true. His day won't be any longer than what it has been all summer. He will go to babysitter after school and I will pick him up at 5:40 - just like I do every single night. So I explained that to him.

"But mommy, I have bad handwriting! Mrs. Krueser is going to make me do my work over and over again. Or, if I write slow(ly) I will always be the last one done!" He is sobbing as he says this. I told him that he needs to slow down so his hand writing is more neat. Yes, that is what Mrs. Donohue said over and over in 1st grade. I reminded him that he got nothing but good grades last year and the Mrs. Krueser (Khegan had her last year) is a very nice teacher. Also, I pointed out that even if he is never has the neatest handwriting, he will never have the worst either.

"Mommy, what if none of my friends are in my class?" I explained to him that he would have some kids in his class that he knows from last year, but would meet some new friends too.

"But mommy, 2nd grade has recess with 1st grade so I will never see my brother or my friend Zane (neighbor boy) during recess!" I told him he would have plenty of time to play with Khegan and Zane after school.

I thought the anxiety would die down after the Meet n Greet on Monday night, but it only seemed to make things worse. Riley has always been a "slow to warm up" kinda kid. However, once he warmed up all bets were off! He is then super outgoing, if not bossy, and is very charismatic - all the other kids want to be his friend. So it amazes me how he has this anxiety every year before school starts. 

Every time he gets anxious I do what I've been trained to do, as a social worker, to help dispell the anxiety. I address his fears and explain why they are irrational. We talk about ways for him to make new friends. (Which he usually does very easily once he warms up.) He has been to the school. He has met his teacher. He has seen his classroom. He knows how his day will go. I've encouraged him by pointing out that he is smart and cute and funny and kids like him. Still, it does not seem to be doing the trick.  

Have your kids ever had back to school anxiety? If so how have you helped them to overcome it?

Here is a great article I found on Ease Back to School Anxiety and how to help calm your child's fears.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Review: Cherry Valley Lodge and CocoKey Water Resort

Last weekend my family went on a little getaway to Cherry Valley Lodge and Coco Key Water Resort in Newark, Ohio. This fun-filled destination is a mere forty-five from Columbus, Ohio. It's a great place for families in Ohio to take a "state-vacation" or just to get away for a long weekend. My family had a fabulous time.

The boys loved Coco Key Resort, an indoor water park. When we arrived to the resort on Saturday it was raining, but no fear because we were inside! There are three different water slides, a lazy river, a lilly pad hop, a water basketball area, and two different kids play areas. The locker rooms were impressively stocked and clean considering the amount of families in the water park. There are lockers in the water park where you can easily stash your purse or clothing. Also towels are provided to the guests. There is a bar area within the water park where parents can sit and have a cocktail while still keeping an eye on their children. There is also a Pizza Hut Express right at the water park area for your convenience.

The arcade, which is right across the hall from the water park area, was a big hit with my boys! The rooms were lovely. We stayed in a Courtyard Suite. It had a main room with both a living and dining room area, a separate bedroom with a king size bed, a bathroom, and a balcony. The balcony overlooks the botanical gardens and it was a gorgeous view. Room service was available as well.

For a complete list of accommodations at Cherry Valley Lodge and Coco Key Water Resort click here.

The best part is that Cherry Valley Lodge and Coco Key Water Resort is offering a special discounted rate to my readers for this upcoming weekend of August 28th and 29th! For $99 you will receive an overnight stay, four 2-day water park tickets, 2 $10 arcade cards, and a pizza dinner for a family of four! This is a great deal so don't miss out - you can schedule online today!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Dear John: Our Wedding Day

Part III: Our Wedding Day

Dear John,

One year ago today we said, "I do." In front of God, our family, and our friends we promised to love each other for the rest of our lives - 'till death do us part. That is a promise I hold near and dear to my heart. That is a promise I intend to keep.

Our wedding day was like a dream. We didn't see each other until I was walking down the isle to marry you. After spending hours on hair and make-up, I took one look at you standing at the alter and burst into tears of joy. My grandpa cried as he walked me down the isle. I was so overcome with emotion, I could barely say my vows.

The ceremony was very short for a Catholic Wedding. Father John zipped right through the mass. Father was so efficient, in fact, that we had to wait on the limo. Our guests headed off towards the reception and there the wedding party sat, at the church, waiting on the limo.

Our reception was perfect. Everything had been planned out right to the last little detail. There were no problems that arose, proving once and for all that I was not "Bridezilla". The toasts were just the right mixture of heart felt words and humor. Do you remember how red I got when my mom ended her toast with, "Thank God for" We had a great DJ and a great mixture of music. Our wedding song was Shania Twain, From This Moment On. I remember that song came on the radio one day as I was driving to work and I knew that song was perfect for us. And do you remember Khegan dancing to "Move it - Move it"? He was such a ham.

Our wedding day was the most important day of my life. It was over very quickly and before we knew it we were on a plane to Jamaica. I've relived that day in my mind a thousand times. I felt like a princess. It was my special day and you were my prince. And you still are. I love you.

Always and Forever,