Sunday, January 27, 2013

Weekend Top Five 1/27/13

Well, it was definitely an interesting weekend. After a very interesting week. The week was insane since the boys ended up with two snow days, which would normally have been wonderful if I hadn't had to bring them to school with me since our school DID NOT get a snow day. Which also would not have been so bad if the boys had not walked out into the hall right when my principal was walking by and questioned why kids she didn't know were in her school. It was a BAD situation.

That on top of some pretty unruly, mouthy, irresponsible boys has now resulted in a complete ban on screen time (TV and video games) until further notice in the Wheelz Home, which also contributed to a very interesting weekend.

5.Celebration Dinner
Friday was my first paycheck from my new job. Even though it is pretty much gone because of the difficult month we've had in transition, we did decide we needed to splurge and took the boys out for a celebration dinner at IHOP, their favorite restaurant. It was very yummy and the boys loved their happy face pancakes.

4. Basketball Week 4
This was an interesting week for basketball. Aaron's game was first for the first time and Noah spent the time "critiquing" which was funny since he isn't really a whole lot better per say. HOWEVER, having watched his brother first must have lit a fire in him and the kid was amazing during his game three hours later. He was not only focused, but fast, energetic and a mad man playing defense against some pretty fast guys. He didn't get any baskets but it totally didn't matter since he played such amazing defense. The game actually was the most fun game I've ever watched as the teams at this age are really starting to play the game rather than having to be TAUGHT how to play. Even the coaches and other refs who had been there all day were commenting on how fun that game had been. It really makes me look forward to next week's games. Aaron will get there too, it just takes awhile. It is still his first year.

3.Griffins Game
Steve got free tickets to another Grand Rapids Griffins game Saturday night. This is definitely a fun perk from his company. The boys were excited because it was "Griffin Gnome" night and everyone got a free Griffin gnome to take home. Noah was hilarious as he took his out of the box immediately and kept it out to dance with during the entire game. Although I have never been a big hockey fan, I have to say that these games really are a lot of fun and I find myself hoping that Steve gets a few more free games before the season is over. We got home after 10:00 and I have never seen the boys beg to go to bed as much as I did that night.

Oh, and yes, Noah is back to wearing a constant Sock Monkey Hat on his head again :)

2. Sledding Snowboarding
We bundled up Sunday afternoon for a fun adventure at a new sledding hill. Unfortunately, as a result of how tired we all were from the night before, the adventure was extremely short lived but Noah did make it down a more steep hill on his snowboard than ever before and even Aaron made it down on the snowboard about half way before wiping out. I really hope there will be a better snow outing before the snow goes away.

1. No Screen Time
It makes one realize how easy it is to simply say, "okay yeah, let's turn something on" when you make the rule of no screen time in the house. I have set parameters of how they need to act before we let them have it again and I wonder if they will ever be reached. We did play a few more games than usual, that's for sure. I hope when we come out on the other side of this experiment, whenever that may be, then we won't have to do it again.

The Week Ahead:
Who knows? That's kind of how I feel about my whole life right now. Who knows?

I know that if the kids get a snow day then I'd better get one too since I don't want to have to deal with that again. Also, Aaron is getting sick so I can only pray that that doesn't get worse this week since I have to work every day. What's ahead this week? Who knows?

Weekend Top Five 1/20/13

5. Movie night and A Good Cry
Talk about ups and downs in a short time. After dinner we settled in for Family Movie Night. The movie of choice was Tooth Fairy. If you haven't seen this movie yet, I highly recommend it. It was very funny and we all really enjoyed watching it together. Afterward, we put the kids to bed and I finally had a chance to let down from the emotion of the week (really the past two weeks) and sat and cried. As silly as it sounds, it felt really good. The last couple of weeks have been so overwhelming and frustrating that I have been working so hard to hold it together that I needed a chance to finally just let go and let it overwhelm me. I was shocked at how may tears came but when it was over I was just exhausted enough to fall asleep and was ready to face the morning fresh on Saturday.

4. Growing Independence
I have been working so hard to try and make the boys be more independent with their school supplies, but I didn't realize that there are a million things around our house that we still do for them that they could (or SHOULD) do for themselves. The funny thing is that it took working with four year olds every day for me to have that light bulb moment. So this weekend was our first foray into building the boys' confidence with more independent choices.  It was definitely a learning experience for all of us.  At dinner Friday night, and again at lunch on Saturday the boys were shocked when I gave them a "sharp knife" to cut their own meat. How did they get to be this age and we were STILL cutting up their meat for the? Crazy! Aaron also turned his own water on for is shower and even tied one shoe for the first time. And taco night Saturday night? Rather than making their tacos and salads, we put a bowl of meat and the toppings on the table and they did it all themselves.

I know you are probably all thinking I am a terribly mom for doing it all for them this long, but at least it hit me and we are fixing it now. The bets thing is that if they start doing more "little things for themselves, then I think the bigger ones will become easier going forward.

3. Basketball Week 3
Two games a hour apart made for our first travel challenge of the season. it worked out though but I unfortunately missed Noah making his first basket of the season. My parents came to the games and the boys were excited to have them there. As I have stated a million times before, we are sooo lucky to have my parents as part of my boys' life. I wonder if there is anything so special as a strong relationship between kids and their grandparents. Aaron struggled to find a place for himself on the court and Noah made his first basket, even though I missed it bringing Aaron to his game.

2. Playworld
It was a really cold weekend and the boys were bursting with energy so I took them over to an indoor play place for awhile Sunday afternoon. This is a place that Noah has been going to since he was a toddler and I haven;t taken them in a long time, really figuring that they'd outgrown it.  I was right in one respect. The don't really PLAY on the equipment anymore. Instead, the spend time finding ways to make little kid equipment play worthy for big kids, not always ending up in the most appropriate play for everyone. They weren't naughty, just showing that they're growing up. Noah, as always, made me laugh when he stuck play balls up his sleeves to "show me his muscles". Too funny.

1. Church Service
This series has been interesting, about upgrading our lives in different respects. This week's message was about upgrading your "thought life" which was a good one for me to try to get my view of the things that are worrying me in my life into perspective. Looking forward to next week and the message it will bring.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Weekend Top Five 1/13/13

Coming off of my first week of my new job I had really wanted to spend some time relaxing this weekend, and I kind of did a little. My first week at work was a mixed bag of stuff that I will probably not talk about on this blog but it's going to be a rocky ride for sure.

5. Haircut One (and Two)
I avoided getting my ID made at my new job since I was waiting for money to get my haircut this weekend. That was apparently a bad decision since I now look like a fifteen year old boy. I went Friday night to get a haircut but the girl did not understand what I wanted and I left very unhappy. Saturday morning I took a shower thinking it would be better afterward. However, quite the opposite was true and I headed back (with boys in tow since Hubby was gone all day) for another attempt to remedy it but it ended up that she pretty much hacked it all off in an effort to "fix" it.  Good thing hair grows back :(

4. Basketball Week 2
Saturday was a long day since one of the games was at 9 in the morning and the other not until 2 in the afternoon so the boys and I were pretty much dragging time all day, since Hubby had to work and then go to Lansing for a barbershop performance that night. Neither boy scored and Noah didn't even get a shot in. There was not particularly great playing by either of them but they didn't complain and Noah finally got a "Christ likeness" star for his behavior on the court so he was proud of that. Aaron's coach doesn't give stars to every one so he was sad that he hadn't gotten one that week.

3. Shopping One and Two
We finally got a paycheck on Friday so I was able to get some groceries. The boys were so funny since they woke up Saturday morning, went to the fridge for milk and Noah says, "Whoa Mom, look at all the food!" Pretty sad when your ten year old has a fit of gleeful hysteria just because there is actually food on every shelf of your fridge. We are still in transition so it will be a few more weeks before we actually get into a comfortable routine but at least we can eat for this week so that's a good thing. Then, Sunday afternoon I went to attempt to get a pair of pants for work, which of course was depressing and unsuccessful once again. I'll try again in two weeks.

2. Flat Stanley travels again
We took my nephew's Flat Stanley to the Presidential Museum Saturday afternoon and then Hubby also took him with them to Lansing (capital of Michigan) so as soon as I get the pictures developed he will be on his way back to Illinois. I hope he enjoyed his stay in Michigan with us.

1. Church
I was very tired Sunday morning and Noah didn't have to run soundboard so since Steve slept in from getting home from Lansing late, I toyed with the idea of staying in bed too,rather than going to church. I was glad that I fought the urge though. The service was about how to bring happiness into your work life which is a message I needed to hear after the week I had last week. I also had invited my partner teacher to the service and I am not sure if she went or not, but if she did, I am excited to talk about the message with her tomorrow. In addition, the music was uplifting as always and I got a chance to chat a little with the mom of a friend of Noah's about the situation at my new job and get some perspective. It was definitely a good thing that I decided not to skip.

The week ahead:
 Hopefully armed with the message from church I will be able to stay positive this week, despite the negative attitude of my partner teacher. This week also holds my COURT DATE to fight the ticket I got two months ago for supposedly running a stop sign. I can't imagine how I am going to fight it but I have to at least show up in the off chance that the nasty officer won't show up and I can get out of it. Otherwise, our insurance is going to skyrocket and we are going to be in BIG trouble.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Weekend Top Five 1/6/12

Let's see...first weekend of 2013, last weekend of Christmas Break. Should have been a biggie, right?

Nah, more of a weekend to try to get our affairs in order before life changes for  the Wheelz household.

Not a huge weekend but enough to write down I guess

5. Dinner out

Thursday night the boys went for their promised sleep over to my parents and Steve and I finally got a chance to go out for our anniversary (which was three weeks ago). We went to our favorite restaurant and had yummy burritos/enchiladas but really just enjoyed some lengthy time of just being able to talk. We talked about how things have been up until now, we talked about how really really really bad they are at this very moment and how there is actually hope for them to get better (hopefully) next month. We talked about two possible trips this summer as well as other planning we need to do for the future. Basically, it was just really awesome to sit and talk without being interrupted every two seconds but a child feeling left out whenever mom and dad try to talk for a second without them being part of the conversation.

4. Flat Stanley is Visiting
My nephew's class has sent Flat Stanley to visit. If you don't know who Flat Stanley is, you probably haven't had an elementary school child in the last ten years. So we spent some time taking him around to various venues. We have a few more visits for him to make next weekend and then we will be sending him home to Illinois. This weekend though he got a chance to visit his cousins at their grandparent's house, see a Lake Michigan lighthouse and the beach, and help Noah run the soundboard at church.

3. Clothing Misery
Since I am starting a new job tomorrow, you would think our money solutions would be solved. However, things are worse than ever until my first check on the 25th and I have a total of three outfits to wear for my new job this week. So while the kids spent time with their grandparents, I spent the better part of two hours at a Goodwill store trying to find something to wear this week. I came away with two pars of pants and a pair of shoes for $15 and then proceeded to put one of the pairs in the wash not realizing it was "dry clean only" and had to throw them away. So I am now starting this new job with a total of two outfits to wear in five days. Yeah, I'm not a loser or anything :( I don't even know what teachers wear at this school and I am likely to be labeled a nerd within the first five minutes of my first day no matter what anyway.

2. Basketball
For the next eight weeks, basketball will be taking over our Saturdays. With both boys playing at different churches and various times every Saturday we will definitely be busy. Their first game was this past Saturday and they both did pretty well. Since this is Noah's second year, he kind of knew what to expect and he was much more active and aggressive than last year. He even tried for a few shots. Aaron did great too and even made the very first shot for his team. Both boys' teams lost but that totally doesn't matter in a church league and I think it is going to be a great season for both of them

1. Haircuts and Mall
So thankful for free child haircuts at JCPenney on Sundays. I was able to take both boys in for much needed haircuts on Sunday afternoon, and then follow it up with a trip to Panera Bread for free smoothies and sweets thanks to their little rewards card. Afterward we wandered through the book store for awhile and really had a nice couple of hours wandering the mall together. I even ran into a Gymboree family that didn't know I was leaving which was kind of funny.

The Week Ahead
As I sit here pondering the week ahead I feel a gush of anxiety, worry and fear. I start back to work full time tomorrow but still have a full piano load every night as well. I am panicked because I don't know much about this program I am teaching, I have NOTHING to wear, my kids were NOT doing well in school before break so I don't know what is going to happen there, I am going to be completely exhausted from all of the double work load, and I don't know what I can sell to get enough money for gas this week. So really what should be an exciting evening for me is really just plain PANIC. I can't really do anything about it tonight except for planning out lunches for all of us tomorrow, trying to get the backpacks packed, and praying that my lead teacher will be patient with me as I try to figure out where I fit in.

I don't know...I just don't know...

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

A New Plan in Gift Giving

It's a new year so I am now looking forward to a fresh new start. But before I do, I have to post my present theory from this year, just so I remember NEXT Christmas.

I decided to make a conscious effort to only give gifts that the kids actually wanted this year, not just random stuff just so there were a bunch of presents under the tree.  I also know that as the boys get older, their desires will become even more expensive and I want them to start getting used to having fewer things wrapped on Christmas morning.

So the plan this year was something I found on a website about a month ago. It goes like this:
Something you want
Something you need
Something to wear
Something to read

I loved this idea but I had also picked up a couple of things that I wanted the boys to have for outside since it is hard to make them go outside when there's not much to do around here. So I added:

Something for inside
Something for out
Something you will laugh about

Here is what we ended up with this year:


This was hard to narrow down but we did it. Noah finally got a a game for his 3DS and Aaron got the drum set that I kicked through aisle after aisle on Black Friday (no carts available), only to discover 12 of them still on the shelf the following morning when there was NOBODY in the store.  I think I may be done with Black Friday shopping for good.

Aaron has gotten quite talented at turning music on his keyboard and then creating percussion with it on the drum. I had many people tell me I was crazy for getting an eight year old drums but I truly love listening to him play them.


These were not met with joyous excitement when they opened the huge boxes, but when we used them two days later on our trip and they realized they could put two people's worth of clothes, PLUS their blankets, pillows, buddies, etc. in them with room to spare, they realized how awesome these duffles were. I was excited to get such a deal.  Kohl's Black Friday was good to me for these...$100 adult sized duffels for $20 apiece and they will probably take them to college someday, as well as make packing for our road trip to Florida this Spring much easier.

Aaron even climbed inside his to check out the space:)


I originally intended this to be clothes but as I started thinking about things that would be more useful, we ended up with headphones for Aaron's keyboard and snowboarding goggles for Noah. Both were a huge hit so it was a good decision to stray from original intention.


There ended up being several "somethings to read" thanks to the Scholastic Warehouse sale a couple of weeks before Christmas but you can never have too many books, right?


Science kits and legos


Soccer ball with net that was NOT fun to assemble and football with lasers to play with in the dark


These are HILARIOUS!!!!!!!!

I'd say we did pretty well this year. Noah has said that he noticed fewer things under the tree this year but he also said that it was cool because he liked EVERYTHING  he got this year for the first time.

That's a home run if you ask me.