Monday, October 31, 2011

Let the Crazies Begin!

Phew! Halloween is over. Yay! Now for the real stuff.

As much as I love the hullabaloo of the holidays, I do have to remind myself on a regular basis to take things one day at a time. And the next 2 weeks, there are going to many moments of one HOUR at a time. Why is it that we have weeks where we have absolutely NOTHING to do, and then weeks where there are four things that need to get done every day?

Thankfully, my boss informed me this morning that she may have finally come up with a solution to me getting a day off each week. And boy do I need a day off.

Our craziness goes into full force beginning on Saturday. In the next week we have:

10. Noah's basketball trials and placement on Saturday
9. MIL and FIL performing in a play that we are expected to take the boys to and pray that they actually sit quietly and pay attention the entire time on Sunday
8. Symphony week all week next week, meaning mommy will be gone every single night until after 10:00 with performances both Friday and Saturday night-Beethoven's Ninth Symphony (The one you all know as Ode To Joy)
7. Conferences for both boys
6. ENT appointment to schedule Noah's tonsillectomy
5. 7 year well child visit for Aaron
4. Daylight savings time-always throws the boys for a loop for a few days
3. Sonatina Festival next Saturday where three of my students are performing
2. Day off of school Friday meaning boys will have to come to Gymboree with me all day
1. Speech assessment for Aaron
I know I am missing a couple of things but I seem to be drawing a blank at the moment.

All of these are in addition to the regular work five days, four evenings, homework, housecleaning, carpooling, etc.

I am sitting here thinking about the approaching week with less stress than I would have figured. I think it's because I am thinking about where we were a year ago. Last year at this time I was starting an overnight stocking job, which turned out to be miserable and made me sicker than I've ever been for the entire holiday season. On top of that, we were facing foreclosure during the entire holiday season last year. And I was desperately applying for any job I could think of...with no success and the resulting despondency that accompanied unemployment.

So as I think of last year's approaching holidays, I can't help but be thankful that this year should feel a little more smooth. No, we really aren't really any better financially than we were last year, but I do have a couple of things to put under the tree for the boys, our extended family celebrations are planned and on the calendar, I have a job, and for the moment at least, our house is securely our own. I'd say that is definitely a better place to be than a year ago.

So the next week is going to be crazy. But it's okay. One day at a time...one hour at a time...one minute at a time...we'll get through it.

Whatever it takes, I am going to enjoy the season this year. I am going to try very hard to NOT let it go by in blur.

I am going to smile and wish goodwill upon others.

Here we go...

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Halloween Scrooge

I have become a Halloween equivalent of the Scrooge.

I don't know. I use to like it when I was little so I'm not sure what changed. But really, I could take it or leave it. Thankfully, the kids go to a school that doesn't celebrate it so I don't have to deal with a sugar filled party during the day followed by door to door begging on a school night. I have no creative skills to make costumes and just can't bring myself to spend $20 for a thin veil of fabric that will be worn once so my kids can go begging at houses of people whom we don't know.

See, I told you...Halloween Scrooge. It's not for any big personal beliefs reason. I don't have any opinion on the "holiday" itself. I just really don't care about it either way.

So Monday night we will probably be handing out candy to the other neighborhood beggars and heading to bed on time.

But I have to give in to the kids' participation in the festivities at least a little. So tonight, there is a safe trick or treat Halloween alternative that I we will bring the boys to. It looks like fun and the boys are fine with re-wearing costumes from previous years in order to participate. So we will head to a local college, trick or treat from dorm room to dorm room, play fun games in each of the building lobbies, and come home for bed with our annual sugar high accomplished.

We'll get through Halloween and then finally be ready to start the preparations for the real holidays.

That's when I go overboard in the other direction. I imagine I will start playing Christmas music once November arrives. Yes, I'm one of THOSE people.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Oh How The Years Go By...

The song in the title of this post by Amy Grant from quite a long time ago is running through my head this morning. As are tears of sadness as well as joy.

My baby boy is seven today.

He has made it very clear that he is finally a big kid.

And he really did look older this morning.














































































Okay, you may be a big boy now.

But let me tell you something...

You'll ALWAYS be my baby.


Happy 7th Birthday Aaronator!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Weekend Fun

Another weekend over and a new week begins. It is a beautiful sunny afternoon outside and it makes me grateful for how gorgeous the weather was all weekend long. Thankfully...since we had outdoor activities planned the entire weekend, which is daring in October in Michigan.

Saturday was our annual cousin family trip to the pumpkin patch. We had smaller numbers this year than in past years, but we had a very fun time. Aaron has been talking about the zip line at this orchard since he went last time two years ago and was so excited to slide down it again. Noah was pretty much all over the place, as he was the entire weekend, but he had a good time. He has been wacky ever since he started a new medication that FINALLY worked (he was diagnosed with walking pneumonia last Thursday) so I am counting on him finally acting normal again after his last dose tonight. But I know he had fun running around being crazy so I won't deny him the happy memories. We came home with four cute little pumpkins that I am hoping that we get carved/painted some time before Halloween.

Saturday afternoon was spent getting ready for Aaron's birthday party with the cousins on Sunday. We managed to get the yard raked, mowed and cleaned up and ready for the festivities. I actually enjoy raking leaves and the clean look the yard has after it's finished.

Sunday dawned another beautiful day. Aaron asked for a pinata for his birthday party and we were so lucky that it was sunny and warm for the pinata activity outside. He picked out a cute spotted dinosaur and Steve hung it up and was ready for action. Aaron took three swings (although I think he could see from under the blindfold) and cleanly knocked the head right off the thing. Since the candy didn't come out, each child that wanted to took a shot at destroying the thing and kids wasted no time digging right into their candy loads. Aaron had a blast opening a pile of wonderful gifts, eating cake, and playing with his cousins. Although we stayed pretty low key this year, Noah told me later that night that it was the "perfect kind of party" that he wanted the same thing next year. Aaron went to bed smiling with his arms wrapped tightly around his two new Angry Birds stuffed animals.

The week ahead is a busy one. Aaron's actual birthday is tomorrow and I managed to find a teacher to cover some of my classes tomorrow morning so I can take treats up to Aaron's class. It will be the first time this school year that I have actually been able to be involved with anything at school so I am happy to have it. My BABY will be seven years old. I think that makes ME old too...

Heading out to enjoy one more beautiful afternoon:)

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Thoughts on a Cold Wednesday Night

It's cold outside...and wet. The perfect night to curl up in bed with a book. And that is exactly what I intend to do as soon as the boys get home from choir practice and I put them to bed.

It's been a rough week around the Wheelz Home. Noah has been sick for a week and doesn't seem to be wanting to break it any time soon. I've been sending him to school most days anyway just because I have to go to work...the guilt which is tearing me apart. My boss is gone and the new people we hired just quit so there is no one to take my place if I don't go. Talk about pressure :( I do think he's on the mend but it has been hard to see him under the weather for so long.

Meanwhile, little brother has luckily stayed healthy considering we are heading into his birthday weekend. I had a crazy run around for 48 hours trying to track down his birthday present since it has now been officially discontinued and it was hard to find a store still carrying them. We are also experiencing some Big Brother jealousy this time around which we have never had before.

Waiting to hear about job applications that were put out last week. That is kind of keeping the Wheelz Family on pins and needles a little as well.

And believe it or not...I started making a dent in Christmas shopping already. And kind of having fun with it. Knowing that funds are going to start dwindling soon when I drop hours (hopefully soon) is driving me to get started every time I see sales one the things that I want to get the boys for Christmas. You know what I think my dream job would be? Christmas shopping for rich people (with their money of course) who don't have the time to do it for themselves. It is so much fun to get things for people that you will make them happy and then I love the anticipation of their smiles when they open them. That job would be so much fun.

Big time on my mind...I got an email from Aaron's teacher today saying she referred him to the speech therapist in the school for further evaluation. I should be happy about this since I spent the years from when he was 2 until 5 trying desperately to get a referral and everyone kept telling me he was fine when I knew something wasn't right. Now, when I have finally let my guard down and believed that he really was the same as everyone else, I get this email about special services he may need. I should be happy. I know I should be happy that they want to give him some help, But actually, I am upset. And sad. And even a little angry. I think I need to sleep on this one and get a fresh perspective on it in the morning. And then be patient to wait to hear from the woman who is supposed to be calling. I wish I had known he was going to be referred BEFORE he got evaluated so it didn't seem like such a blind side.

SO those are my thoughts on this cold fall evening. Aaron's birthday and our annual extended family trip to the pumpkin patch will bring some much needed cheer and celebration this coming weekend. I hope that after we get through these next two days, we can truly just relax and enjoy the time this weekend letting go of all this stuff.

As a matter of fact, I'm counting on it.

Monday, October 10, 2011

A Wonderful Nothing Weekend

The title pretty much sums up our weekend. Fall is always such a busy time for us that we were surprised when we headed into last weekend without a single plan.

The boys were wonderful enough to let me sleep in a little on Saturday morning so I was in a pretty happy mood when I got up around 8:30. After some reminders that rooms had to be cleaned on Saturday, we headed out to run some Saturday morning errands.

First stop was the craft tables at Lowe's. They have crafts approximately twice a month and the boys enjoy them because they get to do all of the construction themselves. It was pretty funny because during the one last month Noah decided to forgo the directions and ended up having to take it apart and start over. This time, he read the directions thoroughly before he started and stuck to the directions completely. I love it when he learns things that way and actually follows through on them.

Afterward, we headed over to the party store to see if we could find an inexpensive costume for that evening's pumpkin path sponsored by our city. It's kind of like a trick or treat through the park deal. We didn't find anything reasonable and left without a purchase. And strangely enough, the boys were absolutely fine with it.

As the day rolled along, it was beautiful, hot, and sunny all day, unusual for an October afternoon and we stayed outside playing most of the day. The boys discovered treasures that had been left untouched most of the summer (roller blades, scooters, etc) and they decided to continue to play instead of even going to the pumpkin walk, which brought relief to Steve and me. (We really don't need all that candy in the house anyway)

Sunday was yet another GORGEOUS day out and after we came home from church, we again settled in for a day of outside nothingness. Thanks to our neighbor selling her very large picnic table in her garage sale last week, we had a blast sitting out on the table, reading, coloring, and even doing Aaron's math review and Noah's spelling review for the week outside.

Steve and I also spent sometime working on resumes and other career related stuff. We are working to figure out a way to make our lives better for the future. A couple of quick prayers sent our way on that front would be awesome if you are so inclined.

At dinner Sunday night, Noah and Aaron both declared it a "GREAT WEEKEND". I asked them why and nobody could answer.

It was just a great weekend of being together doing nothing.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Guess What They Want Now?

We made a quick trip to our favorite apple orchard a couple of weekends ago to pick some apples. We enjoy the slide that comes out of a barn that goes quite fast, petting the goats and seeing the cute tiny brand new baby goats, and in the past Noah's favorite part was the "kitty barn". The kitty barn is just that...a barn FULL of new born kittens that Noah has loved each time we've gone.

But this year...no kitty barn.

To which Noah was disappointed.

Until...

Yes, the pen filled with bunnies was an immediate hit!

Noah has always been fascinated about the stories of the pet bunny Steve and I had before the busy were born. We have a picture of our dutch rabbit sniffing a Newborn Noah right before we had to find a new home for her.

So the entire time we were at the orchard, Noah continued to return to the bunny pen. And pick up the same bunny over and over again.

He named it "Nibbles" since it was the one that kept eating his jacket. And Steve's jacket.

They were so sweet and soft that it did remind us that it was probably the best pet we've ever had.





But alas, Minnie Cat and Lily Pup are part of the Wheelz Family at this time.

But boy were those bunnies sweet!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

An Apple's Journey

A. Noah checks out the selection and picks the very best apples he can find. Schwallier's Country Basket is the best apple picking orchard in Grand Rapids. They are sooooooo good!


B. Aaron is ready to take his bag home


















C. Both boys help to peel the caramels and only eat a small few :)












D. As the caramel melts, it's time to insert the popsicle sticks












E. Aaron helps drip the caramel onto the apples













F. Picture Perfect













G. Noah declares them "Sticky but Delicious!"

Saturday, October 1, 2011

I'm Back...

...and really happy to be!

I made a dramatic decision this week to stop facebook for the time being. I already miss seeing what's up with my family members and I KNOW I am going to miss the pictures of them all, including pictures of a new baby niece who was born last week.

But I also know that the changes will be for the better. Some of my hopes in this change are:

A. I plan to stay in better contact with family members and friends through email or phone calls. Less stalking...more talking. That's my goal. I just made that up myself..see how returning to blogging brings back the creative juices :)

B. The time that I previously spent finding out what was going on with my family and friends in the cyber world will now be spent finding out what's happening with my family in my very own house.

C. I missed writing. Real writing, not just one liners about random things that happen. That is why I started this blog originally. Although it went through several stages, it started out as a way to chronicle our lives and write funny stories that I would want to remember. That is what I want to return to. BVelieve it or not, I used to love writing when I was a little girl and wanted to be an author at one time. (Actually, I secretly still do).

So yup, I'm back. I will still not be sharing the knowledge of this blog with my in-law family. This is mine. And I am so excited. I have so many stories and pictures that I haven't put on here that I will want to record for future memories. Since I am unable to write when kids are around, I will be able to only blog after kids go to bed, which should make it not interfere with our family time...the biggest reason for shutting down my facebook obsession.

I'm back. It feels so good to be writing again :)