Saturday, January 30, 2010

The Derby Experience

So when we signed Noah up for scouts, we didn't really know that the scouting experience had potential to kind of "take over" our lives. I think we will figure out a way to balance it with all the other things in our lives. But it is a great experience for Noah and he is already learning so much.

When we signed up, the pinewood derby was only a few weeks away. We thought we were so far behind but then found out last week that most people hadn't even started their cars. We had panic about how to do it (even though Steve had been a scout when he was little).

With a lot of help from our neighbor (and his dremmel tool), it all worked out.

Daddy spent hours using the neighbor's dremmel to make it into a shape

Noah trying to saw out a seat for his lego guy to drive the car

Sanding the car

Painting the car

Daddy and neighbor sanding down the "axles" (nails for the wheels)

Ready to race

Nerve wrecking weigh-in...will it come in under 5 ounces? Yup...4.94

Checking out the prizes

Car lineup

Let the races begin. First launch of about 30 (2 hours worth of launches)

You win some

You lose some

Lots of pictures of empty track because the new camera doesn't have the same reaction time as the old one

You wait a LONG time while other people are racing

7th out of 13 for his first race. Not too shabby, although he was quite upset that he didn't win a car stand.

The winner only lost one race the entire night. I think we will have to study his car for next year. We will definitely have a better idea of what to expect and do next year. And now Noah has a fun (and colorful) car to play with

Friday, January 29, 2010

I'm just Not Hip

So, last week Noah had something (I don't remember right now) and was pretending to "text" his friend at school. I kind of blew it off a little, not ready to deal with it. He also asks periodically if he can have a cell phone.

Last night while he was playing with his DS (He gets a half hour each day that he gets no behavior tallies at school), he was once again saying he was texting his friends at school. We had a little discussion that he couldn't text on a DS anyway.

But then the conversation went a little further this morning. Why does a second grader need to be able to text people? Won't he see them in a half hour any away?

But it brings me to a bigger issue. My own lack of full entry into the world as it is today. I may be the only thirty something who doesn't text. We don't even have it activated on our phones so that we're not tempted. Both of our sets of parents, and all of our siblings, text people every day. Yet I am still in the Dark Ages. I see nothing wrong with it, but I just don't want to enter into that world just yet. And I REALLY don't want to enter my boys into it.

While we were at Steve's family's home for Christmas, my two nephews (ages 19 and 15) were playing pool...kind of. After a shot, each boy stopped and texted with someone else during the game. Have the teenagers of today lost the ability to focus on one person at a time?

I think I am mainly thinking about young people at the moment. I completely see the purpose of texting as an adult. Can you pick up some milk on the way home? I think I'll stop by for a visit later? Where are you? etc.

But do our kids REALLY need this? If something is important, couldn't they pick up the phone and call, thereby ensuring human contact?

Please, please, please do not be offended by this post. I am not against anyone who texts and I know at some point I will break down and join in. But I am fighting the entry of my children into this world. Between car accidents cause by teenagers texting, the stories of "sexting" going around, and other issues, can't I just keep my boys sheltered just a little bit longer? But is sheltering them putting them behind in the times?

When we were talking about it this morning, Noah listed almost all of the kids in the class who were talking about texting yesterday. I think there are genuinely times when children DO need cell phones. If they are in situations when they have to contact a parent, then it may be necessary. But there is rarely a time when Noah or Aaron are not in the same vicinity of one of their parents. So doesn't that mean that they really don't need one...yet?

I know there will be a time. And probably sooner than I realize. But for right now, I choose to be the uncool mom who does not see the need for my seven year old to text people. I've told him that if he wants to call someone on my phone, he is free to do that. They are growing up so fast and I am still struggling to find the balance between letting them grow and keeping them innocent.

If you have a comment, just text me. Oh wait, you can't... I'm still in the dark.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Letting Them Grow Up

When our helpless newborn babies are put into our arms, we have to do everything for them. And we enjoy doing everything for them because we like that that is our job...helper, protector, nurturer.

I have noticed a trend with myself, as well as my friends, that as our "babies" grow up, they are capable to do so much more than we ask them to do.

It starts in the chores we give them. We may forget to increase responsibility as they get older. Perhaps because it doesn't occur to us that they can do more for themselves. And whether they realize it or not, they WANT to do more.

This becomes more and more clear to me each time I watch one of my children have a new experience. It is one of the best reasons that, although I am a strong supporter of home schooling, I am glad to be sending the boys out into the world for their education. Other people see our kids as one of a group and ask more of them sometimes than we do. Perhaps because they are not so personally connected to our "babies".

This weekend, on a whim, I asked Noah to go get the laundry basket, take it to the basement, empty the dryer of clean clothes into it and bring it up upstairs. I was expecting a complaint. What I got instead was a basketful of clean clothes upstairs ready for me to fold. This morning, as I headed downstairs to start two more loads, it was Noah who was begging to go do the laundry. They have been sorting and putting their own laundry away for over a year now, but it was the first time that I realized that they were indeed ready for even more.

And then along comes Aaron this morning asking for juice. Out of curiosity, since I was in the process of writing this post, I responded with, "Sure Honey, go ahead and get it." Sure enough, he went to the fridge, got it out, got out his own glass, poured it, drank it, put the juice away, and cleaned up his dishes.

It is so hard to give our kids the independence that they are craving. Either we don't want to believe that they are ready, or we're just not ready to admit that inch by inch, these Little People are turning into Big People right in front of our eyes.

And then there's the POWER TOOLS.

This past Friday night, Noah's cub scout troop all got together to build a bridge. The troop is very new (only it's second year) so they need a ceremonial bridge for the senior cub scouts to cross over in preparation to becoming boy scouts in fifth grade. They wanted all of the boys to participate in the building of it, which I thought was a really neat idea.

So we went over, and the dads that were in charge did a wonderful job rotating all of the boys so they had a chance to participate. I was thinking that it would be simply having the boys pound a few nails.

But I was very wrong.

Apparently, seven year olds are old enough to not only learn the rules of power tools, but also the ability to use them correctly and safely with minimal guidance. By the end of the night, Noah was rotating the three different drills needed for each hole without much help at all. I have a feeling that a lot of these moments are going to arise out of cub scouts. It's a good way for me to learn even more about letting go, as difficult as it is for me.

But all this being said, it doesn't mean that I'm happy about letting go. It's weird how it's so exciting to see them becoming more themselves and less of us yet so sad at the same time. This will probably become a theme this year as my "babies" continue to grow.

But I can still go in while they are sleeping and take solace that my "big boys" are snuggled deep down in the covers with their arms around their favorite stuffed buddies. At these moments, they are still my "babies" after all.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Random Shots from the Week

It's Friday and the weekend is upon us. We have quite a few things that we MAY do this weekend, but I'm not sure what we will actually end up doing. It is always kind of fun to go into a weekend with all sorts of possibilities.

It's been a pretty good week. Aaron had school off on Monday and was not real thrilled about tagging along while I ran errands, but that's what my Monday is. Monday was also the day of my window incident.

Tuesday Noah had scouts again. I really like his scout troop. They require respect from start to finish and they have even done some of the requirements toward his second patch while there. They sent home both some lines to learn for a skit next week and a responsibilities chart to keep for two weeks. Steve started working on Noah's pinewood derby car that has to be done a week from today. The entire basement is covered in a film of sawdust. Noah and Steve will probably be spending some of the weekend sanding and painting the car

Wednesdays are so much nicer now that we don't have to rush to church anymore. Since Noah had a great week at school (and Aaron had been begging every night since Sunday) we decided to have a family Wii night. Steve tried the rhythm boxing and the boys joined in. Very fun night and it may be a weekly staple in the Wheelz house.

Thursday had a few scary moments when I took Aaron to school and proceeded to accidentally slam the side van door on his elbow. It ended up being fine in the long run but he screamed and cried for quite awhile and I was worried that something was injured.

Here's the strange thing. It was almost the same day two years ago when Noah was the same age (5 years) and injured his same arm from the same van door. Pretty freaky, huh? Luckily, some extra snuggles were all that were required to heal this injury.

Today is Friday. Aaron and I will be taking Noah a special McDonald's lunch since he had a PERFECT week at school. Miss O is getting harder on them and perfect weeks are becoming more rare for everyone in the class so he is pretty excited about this. I am too. Then we will spend the evening with scouts building a ceremonial bridge.

Have a great weekend. See you on Monday!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Wordless Wednesday: My Handsome Cub Scout

Aw Crud!!!!!

About a year and a half ago, my husband called me on his way home from work.

"Uh, Honey, my window just exploded."


Sure enough, I went to go pick him up and his entire back window had just burst into a bazillion pieces, just out of the blue.

Pretty strange, I know. After driving around with various plastic coverings for probably close to a year since his truck only has PLPD insurance and we couldn't afford a new one, he finally found a junk yard with the right glass and a friend to install it at a fraction of the cost.

And we went on with our lives.

Until yesterday.

I had gone to pick up Noah from school and thankfully Aaron was able to stay home since Steve had gotten home early. Just as we were sitting waiting to turn onto our street, we heard a huge BOOM. I thought we had had gotten hit by another car until I realized we didn't feel anything, and then I looked back. The passenger window had BURST. Just like Steve 's back window had a year and a half ago. On the same street that his had a year and a half ago.


Luckily (I think) this time it is on the vehicle that has full insurance but now I have to worry about our rates going up, when we are really not even making our monthly bills as it is. I just needed one more worry.

So today, among trying to convince the mortgage company that they don't REALLY need money for another month, volunteering in Aaron's class, and taking a brand new camera (thank you warranty) back to the store three days after I got it because it is making funny noises, I also need to make a block of time to be home for the glass place to come replace the window. I can't believe that the smallest window on a van is the most expensive, just because it is "specially shaped" and "privacy tinted". It's not like I ASKED for privacy ?!

As annoyed as I am with this expense and inconvenience, I am still thankful that the glass was in the way back and didn't fly up and hit Noah and I am also VERY thankful that Aaron wasn't in the car. He would have flipped out.

Mixed blessings, I think.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Tackle It Tuesday: Hubby's Tackle

This week's Tackle It Tuesday is actually Steve's. One of the things we noticed about our house seven years ago when we first looked at it was the MAJOR lack of closet space. We have made do the best we could, but it still remains a challenge. I have to use the front hall closet as my clothes closet and Aaron does not have a closet in his room at all.

About three years ago, we solved the no-closet problem in Aaron's room (I think it was Noah's room at the time. I don't know, they have changed so many times) by adding a second rod in the closet in Noah's room. Now each of the boys' clothes have a rod.

So this weekend, as clothes had created a mound beyond all comprehension on our bedroom floor, Steve decided to do something about it.

Here is the closet before the reconstruction. Notice we have tried to solve the problem with a set of hooks on the wall for his work clothes. That did help a little, but there are still things spilling out into the bedroom.

So while we were trying to find other things to do all weekend, hubby hung out in the closet. At this point, he was actually still smiling. That was not to last :(

The mound of stuff was temporarily moved to the bed during demolition and construction.

As with everything we try to do in our old house, this project had some hidden obstacles. After Steve was done tearing out the shelf and the rod that was already there, he noticed plaster starting to fall out. As he progressed to trying to drill holes for the new rods, entire chunks of plaster came out, creating big holes in the wall. He finally figured out a way to jerry rig some wood to hold up the second rod and it seems to be holding for now. Hopefully we won't have he whole thing come crashing down in the middle of the night and scare us to pieces at some point.

Here is the final product. Pretty good, huh? Next weekend, we will be attacking the huge carpet remnant in our basement and making it fit into this bedroom so we have some semblance of decent carpet in this room. It should make quite an interesting Tackle It post next week.

Stay tuned...

Have a good Tuesday!

Just Stuff

Wow, the comment mill was definitely rolling last week. I must have touched a nerve (in a good way, I think) with my potty post. It is very clear that this is a topic that everyone deals with. It is equally clear that I am not the only one whose kids are completely different from each other in this, as well as so many other aspects. Your suggestions were so varied and great. We haven't made any changes yet, but I think we have a plan in the works. I'll let you know.

We had a pretty lazy weekend. Didn't really do much at all. We returned to the church we visited last week for a second visit yesterday. I am still not quite sure what to do about Aaron and the Sunday school class since it seems that there is some sort of issue there. I think I will walk him back next week at the start of Sunday school to see what we can work out. Noah is a little concerned when we told him that we are going to visit a lot of churches, not just settle for this one. The main pastor did the sermon this week. It was very long, but I really liked how he interspersed different scriptures throughout the entire sermon, and also put each one up on the projector screen so we could read them along while he was speaking about them. Afterward, we stayed for the fellowship time this week and the pastor and his wife came over to speak to us, and even offered to give us a tour of the entire facility. If we can just figure out this issues with Aaron, I don't think we would really have any complaints. We'll see what happens next week.

I had Steve bring our Wii upstairs and put it in our living room and I think I will be much more consistent about exercising with it upstairs. Our basement is not heated and it was very difficult to get motivated to go down there. We spent some time as a family trying out some of the new games on the Wii Fit plus and it was fun, except for the bird flying game that got Steve quite angry. Sometimes I feel like I have three kids in the house when he gets all emotional about something like a video game. As angry as he was, it was still extremely funny watching him try to flap his "wings" and still not get anywhere.

The strange thing is that Aaron is like his daddy in that way. When a game gets challenging or doesn't go his way, Aaron has a tendency to throw whatever is in his hand, scream, and stomp out of the room crying. And that's what happened numerous times throughout our Wii session yesterday. I know it's because he hasn't learned yet how to control those intense emotions. I also know that this intensity will serve him well in the distant future. But for now this is definitely something we need to keep working on with him. His teacher said that it doesn't show itself in school much, which is good. But it is the one reason that I am still glad he ins in Young Fives, instead of Kindergarten, even though I second guess that decision on a regular basis.

Aaron has the day off today for a records day so I have an appendage for all of my regular Monday duties; laundry, recycling, cleaning, etc. Probably not the most fun day for him and I imagine he will be thrilled to return to school tomorrow.

Dryer just dinged...gotta go fold load #2 and start loads #3 and 4.

Have a great week.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Potty Issue Question

I know quite a few bloggy friends who are all dealing with potty training issues with their young ones right now. Even though Aaron has been potty trained for several years, he is still waking up every morning soaked to the skin through his pull up and pajamas every morning.

We limit his drink intake for an hour before bed and also have him go before he goes to bed. He still wakes up soaked. I think he's such a sound sleeper that he just doesn't wake up. While we were at my brother's house over the break, I found out that my nephew (very close in age) still does the same thing and their pediatrician suggested getting him up to use the bathroom around midnight right before my brother and SIL go to bed. It is working for them and makes perfect sense.

So Steve and I decided to try it. But when I went to try it last night, several issues arose.

A. We go to bed fairly early so Aaron had only been asleep for about three hours. Would that really make that much of a difference when most of the night still lied ahead of him?

B. Unlike my brother's house, where the bathroom is right near my nephew's room, we would have to bring Aaron all the way down the stairs to the bathroom, coming much closer to fully waking him up rather than just letting him stay half asleep

C. Steve is concerned (and rightfully so) that with Aaron's personality, he may just decided to not go to sleep at bedtime if he knows we're going to be getting him up to use the bathroom in a few hours anyway

D. The kid is just way too heavy to carry when he is in a deep sleep that we can't wake him from

So because of these issues, I chickened out. And Aaron was so soaked this morning that he was changing his clothes at 6:00 before the rest of us had even gotten up.

I think it is a great idea to try but the logistics of it just don't seem to fit. So many out there are just saying, "Just wait until he's ready." But at the moment, he is almost 5 and a half, waking up SOAKING WET and cold every morning by 5:30 AM and even his brand new pajamas are becoming threadbare since we have to wash them after every single wearing. PLUS...I am really ready to not spend money on pull ups anymore.

So, my bloggy friends, what's worked for you?

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Church Search Week 1

With the new year here, we finally felt ready to begin our search for a new church. It is quite overwhelming to find a new home in which to worship after 10 years. What we learned in only our first week will hopefully guide us through this process.

The first thing we learned is that we need to be clear about what we are looking for.

We learned that we need to be clear about which things are priorities, which things would just be nice, and which things don't really matter at all.

We learned that there were things about our old church that bothered us that we didn't realize bothered us until we saw a different way to run them.

This is how our first week went:

We picked a church under the same denomination that we had been attending. We don't necessarily feel that we NEED to stick with it, but it seems like a good jumping off place. Most of the churches around here that are the same denomination are very closely connected, so to get a fresh start, we are pretty limited in which ones we can try.

We walked into the very spacious and bright, new-looking building and Noah instantly said, "Can we stay here?" Christmas trees were still lit up and the whole building looked beautiful.

We went to go find where the boys would go for Sunday school and were greeted by a very friendly family who showed us where they would go. There were only two for 3 year olds through kindergarten and one for first through third graders. More on that later.

We then headed into the sanctuary. The next thing Noah became very excited about was the fact that there were stained glass windows. He LOVED hem and continued to marvel over them. Our old church had none.

Aaron was excited to see the projector screens up front where all words for the music were displayed. As the service started, we were instantly drawn to the contemporary style of music, and pleased that we knew all of the songs. The music leaders seemed to be great and we enjoyed the music.

During children's time, the boys had no trouble heading to the front and the story that was told held their attention and was educational as well, a huge improvement from what was being done by the somewhat new children's director at our old church.

With the boys released to Sunday school, it was time to sit back and enjoy the "grown up" part of the service. One of the first things that struck me was that during the "greeting" time, the pastor came all the way down from the front to shake our hands and welcome us. We had never realized how awkward it was at our old church that the pastor never left the comfort of his chair in the front, even during greeting time. Our old pastor also never made an appearance around before the service either. This led us to discuss just how "stuffy" everything was kept at our old church and also made us realize that we had been uncomfortable with it the whole time.

The music was enjoyable. Their choir was tiny, but now that my music needs are being met by the symphony choir, I'm not sure that I need to be involved in a church choir. I think I will be content to sit back and enjoy music in church without having to be involved, at least for the time being. I liked that the praise band that led the music had a wide age range. There was a senior citizen guitarist and a teenage guitarist, with all age ranges in between within the group as well.

The youth pastor gave a sermon on Jonah and I actually learned things I hadn't known before, and it kept my attention the entire time. I don't think I had stayed focused on a sermon in our old church for at least three or four years. I learned that I need to be more spiritually fed during the lesson than I had been before.

So the service itself we really enjoyed. Then it came time to pick up the boys. The room for "3 years to kindergarten" was full of very young preschoolers and apparently Aaron was shooed into the room with the older kids, which I was glad for. But them the teacher told me that even though it looked like there was another little girl Aaron's age (or maybe a little younger), and even though he was perfectly behaved and interacted with the group fine, he would have to go back to the right room next week. I thought that was a little weird.

One thing I really liked was that they do their children's choir rehearsals right after church while the parents are enjoying fellowship, rather than bringing families out for another night activity during the week. I think that is a wonderful idea.

So as we have been reflecting on our first church visit, here's what we've some to decide. Steve and I really enjoyed the service but we're not sure if there are enough kids for our liking, or if there really even is a place for Aaron in this structure. We know we can't base our entire decision on one week though, since numbers and teachers fluctuate, so we will probably go to the same church a few weeks before we decide to move on and try another.

Like I mentioned in the onset, it is interesting to see how our factors have changed from what they were ten years ago. As much as we really enjoyed the service, we need to make sure the kids needs are met before we can even think about making a place a permanent home.

This is definitely going to be an interesting journey.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

I Just Laughed Out Loud

Just had to share the conversation I had with Aaron a few minutes ago

I walked into the bathroom to do my thing. Minnie the Cat followed me in (as has been her thing lately) and I quickly closed the door, but not before Aaron saw me.

"Mommy, can I watch you pee?"

In a not so nice scolding, "Aaron, that's disgusting. Don't say that again!"

"No, Mommy, can I watch U-P, you know Up?"


Aaron is going through a spelling phase now that he can read a lot of things around. He was holding the Disney movie Up and wanted to watch it while I was in the shower.


Monday, January 11, 2010

Weekend Top Five 1/11/10

Yeah, I'm bringing it back. I realized last week while I was reading through my old blog posts, both here and at the old site, that I like reading the weekend top fives to remember the things we had done as a family. Unfortunately, the Weekend Top Five does not come with pictures this week, since my camera got injured sometime this weekend and I am now without a picture maker. A blogger without a camera...not a good thing. I'm so sad. We also started out church search this weekend, but I will be writing a separate post about that later this week.

Moving right along. It was an okay weekend. Much needed after a very long first week back to school last week and lots of new extra curricular activities to boot. Here is what we were up to this weekend.

5. Scouts
Noah started cub scouts last week. Apparently, cub scouts is going to require a full family participation, and quite a large pocket book as well. In order to get started, he needed a $25 shirt, handbook, and several patches. I spent much of the weekend trying to learn how to sew patches on the shirt in a straight-ish pattern. Friday night was also a parent meeting for upcoming events. We have three weeks to build Noah a car for the pinewood derby, give up another Friday night in a few weeks to literally build a ceremonial bridge, and two Saturday field trips, in addition to the regular Tuesday scout meetings. Wow!

4. Movie Night- Stuart Little
When we got home, I rewarded the boys for a great week at school with movie night. We watched Stuart Little. It was really a cute movie, but Steve and I were both dismayed that they had to have the wild cats use several words of profanity. Why do they do that? These movies would be just as entertaining without using swear words that we have to worry about the kids picking up on. Luckily, the only one the kids noticed was "stupid" which is by far NOT the one that caused worry to us.

3. Concerto Competition
Saturday morning a piano student of mine auditioned for the symphony piano concerto competition. It was quite an ordeal since she had to learn and memorize a 14 minute piece and I had to learn to play an orchestral reduction on another piano with her. She had some struggles and it was very nerve wrecking with the Grand Rapids Symphony Orchestra conductor standing right there while we were playing. She made some mistakes and most likely will not win, but it was a good experience for her (as well as myself). I am just glad it's over. The music was more difficult than anything I played in college and I generally do not like to perform.

2. Chuck E Cheese
After Aaron's birthday party in October, we still had a pile of tokens left over. Steve had a concert with his singing ensemble Saturday night so the boys and I headed out for a couple of hours to Chuck E Cheese. It's kind of interesting. When we go as a family, it usually costs us upwards of $30 to go so we don't go very often. When I took the boys alone, we got away with one small cheese pizza and a drink for me (bringing juice boxes for the kids) and we ended up only spending $12 for our entire visit, using the money I received as payment for the piano competition above.

1. Skating
Steve's dad was singing in a barbershop quartet at a local nursing home Sunday afternoon and Steve was required to go. I knew that it wouldn't go well to take all of us, so Steve took Aaron, the more artsy of our two children, and the one more likely to sit and listen. I decided that Noah and I had to go do something, so I took him to open skate at the local roller skating rink. We had only been there twice for birthday parties and it was definitely different going just on our own. It was VERY crowded, but Noah is little skating machine and was thrilled. At one point, they cleared the floor for "races". I called Noah off the floor but he insisted that he wanted to race. So he went and lined up for the 7 and under race. He came in 6th out of 7 but was so proud for his race that he talked about it for the rest of the day. He also tried some "tricks" by jumping up and landing and attempting one foot skating. Too cute.

The Week Ahead:
I'm having lunch with someone from our old church today. I have my first chorus rehearsal tonight that I am a little nervous for. It's going to be another busy week for the kids as well, but we'll just take it a day at a time and get through each challenge as it arises. That's the Wheelz way.

Have a good week.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

I'm Improvising

I had two improvisations during this holiday season that I took pictures of, just thinking that they might need to make it into the blog at some point. Aren't you lucky? I am making my new folders for 2010 pictures and just found them.

We had a ton more Christmas lights this year to put away, since we had a real tree, rather than a pre-lit artificial one as in past years. So when I was taking the lights off while putting the tree away, I realized that I didn't have some snazzy light reel to keep them from getting all tangled. I looked around and found the first thing I saw.

Yup, one of MANY mismatched lids to bins in the basement serves the purpose perfectly for winding up four 100-strands of lights for next year.

Genius, if I do say so myself :)

Well, my second one will hopefully not offend anyone. I know a lot of people do as I do when they pout their Christmas creche out for Advent. We leave Baby Jesus out, making his arrival on Christmas morning instead. I put the Baby up on top of the cupboard, but I usually leave the empty manger there. As I have mentioned, we allow the kids to "interact" with our creches, believing that it is good to experience the story in whatever way they are moved to.

However, come Christmas Eve after the presents were put out, Steve went to put the Baby out in the manger and we found that the manger was gone. Completely! It still hasn't shown up and I can;t imagine we will find it.

I couldn't bring myself to putting the baby on the floor. So I went digging in the kitchen to find something that would work. The best thing that came to mind?

Yeah, a muffin cup from the muffins I had just made for Christmas morning breakfast. It is now two weeks after Christmas and I have decided to leave our creche out throughout the year this year, rather than putting it away. I think it will help us all to keep it foremost in our thoughts.

But I think we may have to find a new manger for next year, don't you think?

2 Year Blogiversary

Two years ago today, I started a little blog called Music Mom Of 2. Not a very original name, but it said who I was. I was the mother of a kindergartner who was getting in trouble in school EVERY DAY for horrible behavior such as throwing books across the room and also of a three year old whom I didn't spend much individual time with since I was so stressed about the older child.

Two years later, I have a second grader doing quite well in school with the help of a lot of changes we made and some wonderful teachers (not to mention mommy getting on hormones that same kindergarten year) and a very cheerful kindergartner (actually young fiver) who loves school, life, and his family.

I also have a completely different blog too. After telling the whole world, including my in-laws and church people, about my blogging life, I immediately saw the perils of the whole world knowing about everything you backfires...BIG TIME!

So after a lot of soul searching, I began again with a new blog with a new title and new address. I was a little more discretionary about letting word get out. And it has paid off. I was able to share my feelings about leaving a church that we had called home for ten years. I was able to share some a little of my parenting frustrations, although I am not nearly as open about these as I was before. I have tried to become not only more discerning about the types of stories I tell about my children, and have also tried harder to respect my other family members whom I do share about in my words and pictures.

I have lately become more lax in my commenting on other blogs, which has caused my comment numbers to drop. I chock that up to more to get done now with two boys in school. I am working more and trying to keep up better with all of my other responsibilities. It doesn't mean I turned my back on those whom I have come to know through the blogging world. There are some amazing women who I have come to feel like I know so well, just from reading them and from their emails to me. I would not have met them any other way.

I have had periods of time where I just didn't feel like writing anything. But I never stopped completely. I still love to tell a story. And I just really like to write. As I sat yesterday reading the old blog, and then the new one, from the beginning, I had so much fun reading stories that I had forgotten about. It made me so happy that I had chronicled these events.

While watching the movie Julie and Julia last weekend, it reiterated the fact that blogging really is a self centered hobby. But isn't any hobby that you put your everything into? Isn't that what a hobby is? Something to help you release your stress with some "me time"? And after reading my posts, I am so glad to have that record.

My own personal digital diary, complete with pictures.

So Happy 2nd Blogiversary to me. If you have followed me from the beginning, thank you. If you have found me recently, thank you also. I can't wait to see what kind of stories 2010 will create.

Only time will tell :)

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Baby It's Cold Outside! A Sledding Tale

Most likely, the only reason for that title is because I just came in from outside and my fingers are still numb :)

Yup, here in Michigan, winter has truly arrived. Cold, cold cold. I always laugh because so many people complain ( present company included) about how cold it is, but it's not like we live somewhere where it's a surprise. You can't really say, "Wow, I can't believe it's actually below freezing outside!" It happens every year.

Yet, we still say it...time after time again. And yup, it's cold tonight.

I am a self proclaimed wimp when it comes to cold. I want to enjoy outside activities, but I still dread the thought of getting cold.

By the way, Happy New Year! We had planned to spend New Year's Eve with my brother's family in Illinois, but the morning of New Year's Eve arrived, and so did a walloping stomach flu. So rather than heading out for three fun days away, I spent the time in bed. When I wasn't running in and out of the bathroom, that is.

Thankfully, Steve had taken the day off for our little mini-vacation, so he was home with kids during my illness.

Now, how does Kristi intend to weave those two seemingly unrelated stories together?

Like this:

Steve HAD to get the kids out of the house after about three hours of listening to some nasty noises come out of Sick Mommy in the bathroom. So he bundled them up to go sledding. We had been sledding already that week, but Steve had heard of another hill nearby that was HUGE and decided to take the boys.

After about an hour, they came home. Noah wasn't feeling well by now and proceeded to throw up all over the front porch as they came inside, followed by another trip to the bathroom immediately afterward.

The next morning, I was starting to feel better and we thought about heading to my brother's. But since I had told them definitely we would wait until Saturday to come, we settled in for another day to find stuff to do around the house.

As I still wasn't feeling all that great, Aaron was begging, pleading, nagging, whining, DEMANDING that Steve take them to the "big hill" again.

So for day two in a row, Steve bundled up, bundled up the boys and headed out. I think he was a little annoyed that I didn't want to come with them but sub zero wind chills, plus a lingering stomach ache, didn't make it seem too appealing to this momma.

TWO HOURS LATER, I started worrying that something had happened to them, given the size of the hill and the freezing temps. Right about the same time, my phone rings. Steve tells me they're having the time of their life and they ended up staying for at least another hour. CRAZY!!

So comes Saturday morning, the coldest one yet. We bundled up the fam and finally headed out for the now abbreviated, but much anticipated trip to Illinois.

After a somewhat challenging but not too terrible drive, we arrived there and got settled. After a little while, my SIL put my youngest nephew down for a nap and we bundled up all of the cousins for YET ANOTHER trip outside. This time, to attack the sledding hill left over from construction crews making my brother's new house. It was sooooooo cold that I figured everyone would be in within ten minutes.

Noah immediately started trying to sled down the side of the house when my SIL told us that the kids had been sledding on the other side. So we headed over there. To their dismay, rather than snow, we found a great hill, but almost all sand rather than snow. So the boys, led by the biggest kid of all (my hubby) set forth trying to create other hills to sled down.

After awhile, Steve headed down to a more tree filled area to create a slide. And they finally succeeded.

Lots and lots and lots of trees took a beating in the name of fun, and after lots and lots of bumping, crashing, veering off course, laughter, and unfortunately pain, a very cold group of people headed inside to warm up.

So arrives Sunday morning. We are ready to pack up and head home. With Steve complaining about his painful buttocks from three straight days of sledding and my poor brother sitting on a heating pad from the trauma to his back from our sledding adventure, what are some of Aaron's first words?

Daddy, can we go sledding?

Sorry Baby, we need a day off.

Three more months of winter to go. I sit here with STILL freezing fingers and yet wonder if I could ever live a place where it never snowed.

I don't think so.