Thursday, September 30, 2010

Thinking of Family

I have been thinking about and missing my Florida family so much lately. I don't really know why. I feel in such a rut here I guess.

I didn't know much of my mom's siblings growing up. My mom is the oldest of five children. She has 3 sisters and one brother. And they ALL live in FL. How did we end up here in CT? Well, that's where they all are from originally. After my mom was grown and out of the house her father (her parents had split up by that time) moved with my mom's youngest sister to Florida. And eventually everyone followed. My grandparents have both since passed away so it's all aunts and uncles and tons of cousins that I have living in FL, but I miss them terribly right now.

The only aunt I really knew growing up was my mom's sister who was closest in age to her. She is the mom of two of my cousins. Her oldest is a year older than my brother and her youngest is two years younger than me. Oh the holidays and birthdays we used to have visiting with them. That made up a huge part of my childhood. We loved going over Aunt Lynn and Uncle Ray's house. They spoiled us so. And we loved playing with our two cousins. When I was about 8 years old though I think they had moved down to FL. That was difficult. Everyone was in FL and here we were the only ones left in CT. We began getting closer to my dad's side of the family at that time I guess. I have a cousin the same age as me so it was nice going through my teen years with her and she's still a huge part of my life. The godmother of Natalie and the maid of honor at my wedding and I was just the maid of honor at hers.

But I always had this draw to FL. I went to college there. I got to spend time with my other two aunts who I never really knew growing up. And I got to meet cousins I hadn't met before. And now those cousins who I will forever remember as 3, 8, 10, 10, 12, and 14 years old are all grown up.

And the cousin who I remember playing with for most of my childhood just turned 30 yesterday. She has a son who's just a few months younger than Natalie, another son a year older than CJ, and a new baby girl. I still feel such a bond and connection with her even after all of these years.

Then there are my aunts. You know growing up I always wished my parents would make that move to FL. When I went down there for college and spent time with my aunts I found out something about the "baby" of the family. The sister who was 10 years younger than my mom was just like my mom. I loved going to visit her. Not only looks wise does she bear the most resemblance to my own mom, but just everything about her was so much like my mom. Now don't get my wrong, my other two aunts are great too. They are tons of fun to be around, but I think I felt most connected to my Aunt Tammy. Still do. We've had some nice talks even recently thanks to modern technology and facebook. But like my mom she loves to bake and she loves to bowl. Never really understood why they weren't closer. I guess that 10 year age gap really made it tough.

I am just really missing each and everyone of them. My aunts, my uncles, and my cousins. I'm sure I'd miss a lot here in CT too if I left. Sometimes I wish things were like they were way back when everyone lived in the same town, same neighborhood, and same house. I hate being so far apart from family and really could use that closeness we used to have.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Just Tired

Have you ever felt like you just can't catch a break? Like everything that could possibly go wrong does go wrong? I have been feeling that way too often lately and I don't know how I got here. Don't get me wrong. I love my life as a stay at home mom. I love my kids more than life itself. And really I know I am very fortunate. I have three healthy thriving children. I mean who could ask for anything more? I don't want to sound selfish or anything, but really lately I am worried constantly. There is just so much going on in my life right now and I don't see a way out. It's mostly financial worries. I can't contribute to our finances because we couldn't afford child care and Joe's work schedule changes so much that I couldn't even work opposite shifts of him. Not that there are any jobs out there to be had or anything. I am sick to my stomach most days now. Waiting for the other shoe to drop. Seriously feel like we're just hanging on by a thread. I do not know what to do. And I feel so alone with no one able to help us out of this jam. I wish we could make a fresh start. Wipe the slate clean and have a do over. I just want to stop looking over my shoulder wondering what's going to happen next.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Monica's Musings #9

Just a bunch of random stuff from me...

For the most part school is going well. After 9 days of school CJ finally has stopped crying before he goes in. As a matter of fact today we pulled into the parking lot and he started to clap and say, "Yay school!" Always good to hear. Not sure how much more I could take of that and was thinking that maybe he was just too young.

Kaitlyn's teacher this year LOVES her! Feelings seem pretty mutual. I have come to the conclusion that the reason she gives me trouble with her Math homework (her best subject) is because she just wants that one on one attention with Mr. T. It used to be her writing/reading homework we had trouble with and she'd breeze through the math worksheets. And in all honesty I know she understands this stuff in math. Well, now she doesn't fight with me so much on the writing/reading homework, but without fail we fight about math. I gave up the other day and said you know what fine if you don't know how to do this or understand it then you just leave those problems the way you have them and tell your teacher you don't get it. Then I spoke to her teachers and he told me that he sat with her for a few and she was fine with it. He told me how he was teaching it to her (I said pretty much the same thing) and she got it right off the bat. Then yesterday she purposely didn't answer something on her homework because she wanted to get help from Mr. T. Guess what? She figured out the answer with very little help from me. Go figure. So basically my theory is that she is trying to frustrate me so much that I say oh just get help from your teacher and then she gets to spend one on one time with him and show her what she's got. She knows she can do it so that's why she's fighting me so hard on it because she wants to impress Mr. T with her knowledge.

Natalie hates middle school. Okay, I hated middle school too. But Natalie does not understand that it has to be different from elementary school. I knew this would be a tough adjustment for her. She hates change. I have no doubt she can pull this off and do well, but she needs to push herself to do it. And my controlling ways are fighting the urge everyday to just jump in there and intervene with her teachers. Seriously, I think I will feel much better once they call me with my username and password so I can get onto the parents site and view her grades and assignments handed in. Nothing comes home anymore.

I'm thinking about another picnic lunch today with CJ. It's a nice day out again and we had such a nice time last week. I don't feel like I spend enough time with him now that he's in school. He goes to school, comes home, eats lunch, and takes a nap until around the time Natalie gets home from school. So we don't get much time just me and him. So maybe we should just make this a weekly thing. Well, at least until the freezing cold weather gets here.

I guess that's about all I have on my mind now.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Picnic Date with My Little Man

Today I had planned a picnic lunch date with CJ. After picking him up from school I thought it would be fun mommy son time to go have a picnic. We had been talking about it for a few days so I think he was just as excited about this as I was. So at 11:30 I picked him up from school with our homemade sandwiches and some drinks in a bag. As soon as he saw me he said, "Picnic!" I told him that yes we were going on a picnic. The whole way to the park he was talking about our picnic. We got there and I thought he would want to eat by the playground and then play after, but I asked him if he wanted to sit by the playground or the water. He chose the water. So over to the pond we went. We set up the blanket and sat down and got our sandwiches out and CJ just watched the ducks. This is what I mostly saw of him throughout our picnic...

Getting some more of his sandwich

Back to watching the ducks

Finally he was sitting next to me

He ate the meat and cheese out of his sandwich, but not the bread. So we broke up the bread to feed to the ducks. I didn't get any pictures of feeding the ducks because there was this one sort of aggressive goose that was coming right up to us which was bothering CJ a little. This goose would not leave us alone either when we had no more bread left. We cleaned up everything from our picnic and decided to get out of there since this goose would not leave us alone. We went down to the playground where CJ was off. All those worries about his gross motor are quickly slipping away as I watched him run and climb all over the playground. He did insist that I take his picture at one point though, so here's my little jailbird...

It was a beautiful day for a picnic and it was nice spending time with just CJ. He's been making so many improvements recently. Growing up very quickly. I really love our time together. After running around on the playground we went to see daddy and then came home for a much needed nap. He should nap good this afternoon.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Am I the meanest Mom in the world?

Sometimes I think I must be the meanest mom. I mean okay I did get my 11 year old a cell phone. I swore I would never do that until she could pay for it herself. After all I did just fine without a cell phone. But now that she's in middle school I started thinking pay phones were easily accessible when I was her age. So if there's a problem she'd have a hard time calling me. So I broke down and got her a phone. It's a free phone and no extra money on our plan and she can only call our cell phones or my parents because that wouldn't use any of our minutes. So the phone has not really been used.

But yesterday Kaitlyn got off the bus with papers from her backpack in her hand and her backpack open and in her other hand. I asked her if she did her homework on the bus. She said she did. I told her homework is to be done at home not on the bus. She said okay and I even reminded her again this morning that homework is called homework not buswork for a reason. So I thought we were good.

She got off the bus with her backpack closed today and it appeared she hadn't done her work on the bus. Then I discovered her papers were all just thrown in her backpack and not in her folder so everything was wrinkled. She says she didn't have time. I thought she only had one math sheet for homework which she had gone through pretty quickly. I had to make her correct a few things and then all of a sudden she comes out with this fill in the blank paper that she found that she had for homework. Now reading is tough for her and these fill in the blank sheets tend to cause much anxiety for her. So as I was going through it I was pretty amazed as how easily she managed to do this particular homework. So at first I thought Natalie helped her with it. She did not. So I asked Kaitlyn about it and how she managed to do it so quickly. She claimed it was easy. I kept pushing though and the story changed to she started it on the bus, but she only did one problem when she remembered what I said, but I could tell she wasn't telling the truth. So I pushed more and it changed to she did a few and then it was the whole thing and a couple on the math paper. So then I questioned her about getting help with it because I know she couldn't have done this on her own. She said her friends only helped her with a few. I do not believe her though. But apparently everyone does their homework on the bus and she doesn't want to be the only one that doesn't. Sorry, I don't think I'm wrong in thinking that homework should be done at home. Not on the bus.

So anyways, mean mom that I am I emailed her teacher. I have requested another worksheet like the one she did on the bus for her for homework tomorrow as punishment. If she does her homework on the bus again tomorrow then she is not going to be able to participate in Bingo at school Friday night or have her ice cream. Yes, maybe I am a mean mom, but I do not want her taking shortcuts in life. Hopefully her teacher is receptive to my punishment of her and supplies the extra homework.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Monica's Musings #8

Back to school and things are getting pretty busy around here. So just a few things that have been on my mind...

Having 3 kids in 3 different schools has already proven to be difficult with planning. Already I have found events are occurring on the same day.

For the most part CJ is enjoying school. He's not enjoying the leaving me so much which has been tough, but he is making friends. He seems to be a class favorite already.

I'm having a hard time understanding why the school picture company charges more for different schools. I contacted them to find out why, but their answer didn't make much sense to me. They said something about offering different things, but it seems they offer more to the elementary school than the middle school, but yet the middle school pictures are pricier. Go figure.

For some reason Kaitlyn's school doesn't use the same school picture company as the other kids do. There goes my family discount.

I'm not sure how well Natalie is adjusting to middle school. It has only been a week, but she really doesn't seem to like it much. She has never been very good at handling change though so I'll have to keep an eye on her.

I'm going to my first PTO meeting at Kaitlyn's school tonight. I'm excited to see some of the things they do.

Kaitlyn's school offers a chance to be a room mother. Never had that before so I'm hoping I get chosen for it.

Time is going by way too quickly.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Kaitlyn's Teacher

I didn't want to steal CJ's thunder since yesterday was his first day of school so I waited to post this one. I met with Kaitlyn's teacher after school yesterday. It was just my way of introducing my smart, enthusiastic, amazing daughter to him and finding out how her IEP (Individual Education Plan) will be incorporated into her day. First I just have to say I am so optimistic about what Kaitlyn's year is going to bring for her. In just three days of school her teacher this year has a better understanding of just how amazing, sweet, and capable my little girl is than her teacher from last year managed to learn about her. He has made her feel so special and welcome in a brand new school and this whole transition has gone so smoothly so far.

Now, even though Kaitlyn has 3 hours of special ed pull out in reading a week she will not feel that it is a punishment or that she is missing out on anything. She will start her reading time with the class where they will discuss what he wants to see from them that day. Then everyone will split up into their groups and numerous groups will be leaving to go to other parts of the building or the classroom. Kaitlyn will go off with the special ed teacher for her group time with her. And in special ed part of the things they are trying to incorporate with her is teaching her the different sounds vowels make since she has zero grasp on that. When she comes back from her half an hour or so with the special ed teacher she will then do a small group with her teacher where she will read with him. She will not be coming back in the middle of snack or missing anything at all that the other kids are doing like what would happen with her last year.

Her teacher believes that the reason you can't read her handwriting is because she's just so excited and wants to get so much information out on the paper and her head is working faster than she can actually write. They are going to work on that with her so she can organize her thoughts and take her time. She has a good base of how to write a story with a beginning, middle, and end. I must say no one has ever said this to me before that I can remember. I mean I know she can tell one heck of a story, but it usually gets lost in translation when she puts it down on paper. I don't understand why it has taken this long for someone to find out that she can write.

Her day is extremely structured with a schedule written on the board that they follow to a T every day. There doesn't seem to be any if you can't transition properly as a class we will then miss out on that activity all together like would happen last year. Her teacher last year just seemed so frazzled and lost most of the time not knowing what time it was. That does not seem to be the case this year.

I am so far extremely impressed with Kaitlyn's teacher. He's equally impressed with Kaitlyn and I think just the fact that she knows he is really on her side will just do wonders for her. Her teacher last year had some clear favorites and it was obvious that Kaitlyn wasn't it. All of that is completely different this year. She has a teacher who truly gets Kaitlyn and finds so much good in her. There wasn't much I could tell him about her and what a wonderful little girl she is because he already saw it.

So I just have to say I truly appreciate this wonderful teacher who has taken such a shine to my little girl. The feelings are clearly mutual I must say. Kaitlyn can't help but gush and there is a twinkle in her eye when she talks about school this year. So I just know she's going to have the best year ever!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

CJ's a Preschooler

Today was CJ's very first day of school. Hard to believe he's ready for school. Well, and maybe he's not entirely ready, but this is such a great program the town has. I believe this is the 3rd year they've had a program for 3 year olds. It's only a couple of hours a day, but it's every day. So it gives them a nice taste of school. I must admit he did not start his day off on the best foot. He was woken up by his sisters before 7 this morning so he was crabby. He woke up quickly though. After getting the girls off on their buses we got CJ ready for school. And since pictures are worth a thousand words I'll let the pictures do the talking here a little...

Making a silly face

Doesn't want that backpack on

Going out the door

Walking to the car

Getting in the car

Lined up to go in

Found his cubby

That was where I left him. He began to pout and cry as I was leaving, but I knew I had to keep going. I ran home to make sure I didn't get any phone calls to come get him and I didn't. Then before I knew it it was time to go get him. We pulled into the parking lot and the little ones were all outside. I instantly spotted CJ playing basketball with a few other boys. He was having so much fun. I stayed out of sight though so he wouldn't run to the fence. When they got their backpacks on and went to sit on the side to be dismissed we went in there. Here he is sitting with his friends...

His teacher said he cried for a while after we left, but didn't specify what a while was. But he did stop obviously and had a good day after that. He was telling us all about the playing ball. Clearly his favorite part of the day. He said he had crackers and water for snack. And he seems to have picked up a new word. He now responds to all questions with the cutest little "Yup!" In the past it has always been a yeah so I think he must have heard Yup a lot today. I asked him if he wants to come back tomorrow to play and he said, "Yup!" So we will see how tomorrow goes. Hopefully he won't cry as much tomorrow.

All ready to go home

Friday, September 3, 2010

Pre-K Orientation

Today we went to CJ's Pre-K Orientation. The classroom is very nice. CJ found tons of trucks and planes to play with which are right up his alley. And he loved the little reading corner too. Got quite comfy in there and kept yelling: "Hi mom!" while I was trying to listen to the teacher. Love that boy! He's so cute. He seems excited about starting on Tuesday. We will see how it goes when he realizes mom and dad don't get to stay. I am worried about how he's going to handle it since at the screening all he did was cry. But he's had 3 months since then to grow up a little so maybe he'll be okay.

I have to send him to school in pull ups. I hate pull ups. I don't think they are a very good potty training tool, but he can't wear a diaper and he's no where's near ready for underwear for even a few hours at school. They will help with the potty training process. I was looking forward to the peer influence in helping him because really he's just not all that interested right now. He observes what other kids do so much though and there is that curiosity so maybe we'll get there sooner than I think, but for now I have to break down and get pull ups.

But we are looking forward to his first day of school on Tuesday.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

The Grass is Always Greener...

on the other side. That is the saying. It's funny how when the kids are in school you can't wait until they are out for vacation. Then once the kids are home they are driving you crazy and you can't wait for them to go back. Then they go back and you remember all over again why you wanted them home.

It has been an exhausting day. Our issues with the bus this morning carried over into this afternoon.

Natalie's bus dropped her off down the street instead of at the corner as was stated where her bus stop would be. I asked the bus driver about it and she said it's illegal to stop at the corner. Uhhh, what? That makes no sense. Kaitlyn's bus stopped there. So I called the bus company. I was on hold forever and they were supposed to look into the issue. Seriously, I want her bus stop at the corner. Then I can see her.

Then Kaitlyn's bus was super late dropping her off. Ugh, and it was so hot out there. She was not on the bus I put her on this morning. I asked the bus driver if maybe she was put on bus 2 instead. There were a lot of missing kids so it took her a while to get through. She said she wasn't on that bus. I had sent Joe to the other corner though to wait. I was about to go call the school to find out where she was when the other bus pulled up and she was on that one. Phew what a relief. Her teacher said she was supposed to be on that bus. I had talked to the bus drivers and there is room on both buses for her so I asked her which one she wants. She wants the one she came home on so that's the bus I'll put her on.

So now I've got homework and they don't. Everyone's telling me about their day at once. For the most part they had a good day. Natalie got to school with only a few minutes left of homeroom. Sigh, if her bus is that late again tomorrow I'll have Joe bring her in so she's not that late. She couldn't work her locker and her homeroom teacher wouldn't help her so she had to carry her backpack around with her all day. She had some issues I guess getting her lunch. She's got a mean girl in her Science and Math class so far. She knew this girl in 1st grade and she was mean to her then and she's still mean to her; pushing her apparently. We gave her extra money to get french fries today and she said they were awesome. She loves her computers class best so far.

Then Kaitlyn got a cute little note from her teacher saying he can't wait to see her tomorrow and hopes she had a good 1st day and that he too changed schools in the 3rd grade just like her. She really really likes him even though she thought she wouldn't. He gave her a bag of candy ;). She hasn't made any new friends yet. She has to share her locker with a bossy boy she said. But it sounds like all in all she had a good day.

Now the girls are back to getting on each others nerves. And CJ had continued with his disobedient 2 year old ways all day today. That has been escalating since the girls got home. He has Pre-K orientation tomorrow and then starts school on Tuesday. And I just want to go back to bed.

1st Day of School 2010

Well, this was it. The much anticipated and nerve wracking day for two of my children. Going off to new schools. A middle schooler and a 3rd grader now. Both riding a bus for the first time in a very long time. Both anxious. Both nervous. Both ready well before they had to leave...

Natalie and Kaitlyn

Natalie at the door

Natalie got her backpack

Walking out the door

Going down the stairs

Heading to the bus stop

Almost there

So Natalie waited 40 minutes for her bus to come. It finally arrived at 8:00 when school starts. Great, so first day at a new school with new things to learn and she's already very late. I know they were giving them extra time, but she was going to be very rushed. Poor kid. I'm anxious to hear how everything goes. No phone calls yet so I guess she's okay.

Kaitlyn all ready for school

She has her backpack

Ready to go out the door

Her bus arrived on time

Getting on the bus

So when I walked out the door I noticed that up the street from us there was another bus stop. I thought that's strange, but we walked down the street to the same stop Natalie was at. We waited for maybe a minute before the bus showed up. She got on the bus and was on her way. I walked back home with CJ and the children were still standing at the other bus stop. Hmmm, I wonder if Kaitlyn should be on that bus. It got picked up maybe five minutes later. Well, at least I know if she's ever running late she has other options. I went in the house and checked out the bus routes and discovered that other stop was a completely different bus. I wonder which one they will put her on coming home. We are literally in the middle of these two bus stops.

So even though we were ready on time I felt rushed this morning. Hopefully as the weeks go on we get a better idea of when these buses will arrive. Hopefully Natalie's bus won't be so late the rest of the year. Because I really only had five or ten minutes after she got on the bus to get Kaitlyn all ready for her bus. So I was a little frazzled with these buses. But everyone's in school and no phone calls so far so all must be good. Can't wait to hear how their day goes.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Happy September

Wow, I am really doing bad with my blog. It's September and I can count on one hand how many blog posts I've done over the summer. I can't believe it's September already. So tomorrow is the girls first day of school. Natalie starts middle school and Kaitlyn starts a new elementary school. We had Natalie's middle school orientation last night. I had hoped some of her fears would be put to rest, but I think it just made her more anxious. She has her schedule, her homeroom, her locker, and combination. She got to try out her locker. She does already have her locker number and combo memorized, but she's not all that confident in the use of her locker. She has a tendency to go slightly past the number and then tries to correct it by turning it back which is what messes her up. Sometimes I hate that I can't be there to help her. She'll get the hang of it though. She is definitely nervous though and by the end of the evening you could tell she was just exhausted with it all. I was trying to give her every opportunity to try to find her way around, but she was just not interested. I keep telling her that if she has any questions she just has to find an adult. They kept stressing to the kids that all they need to know is their name and their team color and they are fine. If they know those two things then they can get them where they need to be. So Natalie's ahead of the game there.

So Natalie's green team is the split 6th/7th grade team. What does this mean? It means Natalie will be walking the hall with 7th graders. They shouldn't be in class with her. I'm not crazy about that, but then again I guess she'll be on the bus with the 7th and 8th graders anyways. I'm sure she'll be fine, but I'm her mom and I worry about her ;). Her best friend is NOT on her team. So this is very disappointing for her. As a matter of fact she didn't see anyone she's friends with on her team. So she's very upset about that. I told her there will be other kids with the same situation that she can make friends with. She says she is not making any friends this year. That will change quickly I'm sure.

So anyways, here it is September 1st. Tomorrow the girls will go to the bus stop and ride the bus for the very first time and leave me and CJ home by ourselves. Then Friday CJ and I will go to his Pre-K orientation at his school. He starts on Tuesday. My kids are getting so big. Watch out for pictures from the 1st day of school. Sorry, I won't be able to get any pictures of them with their teacher this year like I have in the past because we are no longer in walking distance.