Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Longest Day Ever

All day yesterday I kept thinking it was the 30th. As a matter of face I was so convinced of it I was arguing with Joe about it last night. I literally went through the entire day thinking in my head that it was March 30th. I knew it was Tuesday, but I swore it was the 30th. Sure makes March 30th a long day when it lasts for 48 hours instead of 24.

But today, the actual March 30th I had the last of conferences. Natalie's were last week and I had Kaitlyn and CJ today. So here's how my kids are doing in their school this year.

Natalie has ended the marking period with 5 A's and 2 B's. Her Language Arts class is her best class. Her teacher loves her. She has been a little tougher of a grader this marking period, but Natalie is still maintaining a high A in her class. Social Studies was a huge problem for her last marking period and the beginning of this one. She brought that grade up from an 84 to a 92. Impressive considering the work usually doesn't get easier as the year goes on. Her teacher says she's much more involved in class now too. Her Math grade went down from last marking period, but it's still a B. It's an 82. Her teacher seems to think she's doing well and also said she's more involved in class. I asked him what she's apparently having trouble with and he thinks on tests she's making computation errors and not reading directions. However, she's not apparently rushing through, but he says she has enough time so I guess she needs to do a little better time management. He is recommending her for Pre-Algebra next year. There are 3 basic math classes they fall into in 7th grade; basic, pre Algebra, and Algebra. The Algebra class apparently is high school work and really there are only a handful of kids in that class so she's right on target. Her Science grade was a huge shocker to me at midterm. She had a 62 at midterm. That was actually because of missing work which she wasn't missing, but there were also some low lab grades. So after conferencing with her teacher back in February Natalie had retaken a test and some labs and the missing assignment was found. It was the teacher who had dropped the ball there. So she managed to pull that grade up to an 87! And again her teacher feels that Natalie is asking for help more which is probably a huge reason for the improvement. So now her goal is to get that math and science grade up to an A so she can make high honors next marking period. I am confident she can do it too if she applies herself like she has been.

Next is Kaitlyn. I had spoken to her teacher a month ago so not too much new. He still remains impressed with her. I am too. As a matter of fact her report card is the best I have seen it ever. No letter grades; just numbers. Usually she's got lots of 2's with some 3's thrown in, but this time it was a lot more 3's and even some 4's. So that was good to see. And her reading teacher says she's right on target with the Wilson program she is doing with her. And we're on the same page. She wants Kaitlyn to continue with the program next year so hopefully when we have her PPT in May or June we won't see too many changes to her IEP. Well, hoping for no changes at all except for the goals maybe to be higher. She is responding so well to this teaching method though and I will forever be disappointed in her previous school that they did not listen to me and teach her like this, because this is exactly the kind of teaching method I was looking for them to do with her instead of the whole word memorization process they use to teach reading these days.

Finally we have CJ. His teacher says he's doing well. She was a little concerned that some of his things were low, but he has a lot of things that are high too so they average out. Plus, he's a young 3. Actually, the youngest in his class this year so in comparison with his classmates he's really the baby of the group. I did ask his teacher about his climbing. She said they haven't been able to get on the climber really so she hasn't seen him climb much, but she did say she's noticed that he has a hard time getting up from the floor and it's like he's really unsure of himself. So she said we could have OT take a look at him and see if there are any concerns. So I agreed to do that. Can't hurt to get him looked at. I know from experience that stairs are really tough for him. Of course he is so small and our stairs are so big and there are so many of them so it's intimidating and tough. This has always been an area which he has been behind in, but we want to make sure he's not falling further behind. Something he's really good at though (advanced even for his age) is interacting with his peers. Guess that's the benefit of having so many siblings though. He has a clear purpose to his play and makes up scenarios when he's playing with his friends. His teacher seemed impressed with that. Guess that explains why the boy is so popular and everyone screams his name when they see him.

So we ended the conferences with a trip to the book store today and CJ got two books. Natalie had gotten her books last week and we will take Kaitlyn to her book fair on Friday to pick out some books. CJ has already had everyone read his books to him too.

I'm glad to finally see March 30th come to an end though. It is about time.

Friday, March 25, 2011

A Tween Girl Giveaway

My friend Renee went to a special event with her 11 year old daughter last night. The Secret Keeper Girl event which is going around the country helping girls to see that they have inner beauty and not just outward beauty. It looks like it was a very fun evening for mom and daughter. And while she was there she had purchased some parenting books and ended up picking up a few extra to do a giveaway. You can read all about them here and enter the giveaway. But if you have a daughter between the ages of 8 and 12 then you'll probably want to take a look at what she's offering. I know I'm really hoping I win one of these books to help guide my 2 tween girls through this difficult time and help them get safely into those teen years. That's coming up way too quickly around here. So go ahead and enter her giveaway.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Who's Who Answers

Remember this post? The one where I had four pictures of my four children when they were about six weeks old? Did you answer it? Go back and take a look if you didn't and see if you can figure out who's who. Then come back here to find out if you were right.

Okay, ready now? If you answered that

#1 was Kaitlyn
#2 was Natalie
#3 was Alyssa
#4 was CJ

then you were right. It's really pretty amazing how much they look alike.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Mom Questions

I totally stole this from someone else's blog, but I was curious how my kids would answer these questions. There was a theme going on here with some of them and some of them were just funny.

1. What is something mom always says to you?
Natalie: Stop lying! (this is true, I do say this to her a lot unfortunately)
Kaitlyn: Clean your room.
CJ: Froggy! (I have no idea what he's talking about)

2. What makes mom happy?
Natalie: When I bring home good grades.
Kaitlyn: When I clean my room.
CJ: Daddy.

3. What makes mom sad?
Natalie: To know that I don't listen to her all the time.
Kaitlyn: When I don't clean my room. (a bit of a theme here)
CJ: When I do pee pee in my wear wear (underwear).

4. How does your mom make you laugh?
Natalie: Tells funny stories and jokes.
Kaitlyn: When she tickles me.
CJ: Cause she's funny

5. What was your mom like as a child?
Natalie: Polite, unlike me, behaved. (Oh boy if only she knew me)
Kaitlyn: I have no clue.
CJ: Pretty.

6. How old is your mom?
Natalie: 32
Kaitlyn: 32?
CJ: 25 (I'm surprised he didn't say 40!)

7. How tall is your mom?
Natalie: 5 foot 4 inches
Kaitlyn: I have no clue.
CJ: You big.

8. What is her favorite thing to do?
Natalie: Playing with her kids.
Kaitlyn: Cook cookies.
CJ: Watch TV

9. What does your mom do when you're not around?
Natalie: Talks about me a lot.
Kaitlyn: Watches TV.
CJ: Tickle Alyssa. (okay?)

10. If your mom becomes famous, what will it be for?
Natalie: How nice she is.
Kaitlyn: Baking cookies.
CJ: You be fired! (I think he was getting a little frustrated with me)

11. What is your mom really good at?
Natalie: Tetris. (this is true, I am good at Tetris)
Kaitlyn: Making cookies.
CJ: Tip toe. (uhh, what?)

12. What is your mom not very good at?
Natalie: Staying calm. (She had a very hard time coming up with this answer)
Kaitlyn: I don't know she's good at a lot of things.
CJ: You're awesome! (Awww, that's sweet all the kids had a really hard time answering this, if only they knew, there's lots I'm not so good at.)

13. What does your mom do for a job?
Natalie: She's a house mother, she takes care of her kids.
Kaitlyn: Nothing, she takes care of us.
CJ: makes cookies.

14.What is your mom's favorite food?
Natalie: Chicken parm
Kaitlyn: Chicken parmagiana.
CJ: Stars. (Again, what?)

15.What makes you proud of your mom?
Natalie: I'm proud of her when she gets her way.
Kaitlyn: When she makes such good cookies.
CJ: That he can beat me up. (?????)

16. If your mom were a cartoon character, who would she be?
Natalie: Mickey Mouse
Kaitlyn: Minnie Mouse
CJ: You Phineas

17. What do you and your mom do together?
Natalie: Talk
Kaitlyn: Sometimes we make friendship bracelets.
CJ: Hide. (Not sure, sometimes I help him find a hiding place when he's playing hide and seek)

18. How are you and your mom the same?
Natalie: We like the same kind of foods, and we look alike.
Kaitlyn: We both like cooking.
CJ: You fired, not talking to you. (Yeah, he was getting really frustrated)

19. How are you and your mom different?
Natalie: She's better behaved than I am.
Kaitlyn: Our eyes.
CJ: I don't know.

20. How do you know your mom loves you?
Natalie: Cause she takes good care of me, looks out for me, and makes sure I get good grades so I get into a good college.
Kaitlyn: Cause she says it.

21. What does your mom like most about your dad?
Natalie: How loving he is.
Kaitlyn: He's nice.
CJ: He's funny

22. Where is your mom's favorite place to go?
Natalie: Her friends house.
Kaitlyn: The mall (not really)
CJ: Outside. (I think this is his favorite place to go, lol)

Thursday, March 17, 2011

A Little Luck from the Irish

Happy St. Patty's Day to all of you from the Barnes Bunch!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

6 Weeks, Who's Who?

Today Alyssa is 6 weeks old. I was looking at some old pictures of the rest of the kids and thinking boy they sure do look alike. So I thought I'd see if you could tell them apart. So here's the four of them at about 6 weeks old. Can you tell them apart? Leave me a comment and tell me who's who. In a week or so I will post the results.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

15 Year High School Reunion

I was shocked recently to come to the realization that it has been 15 years since I graduated from high school. I was forcefully recommended to join a Facebook group for our 15 year class reunion. They are trying to put something together.

I have been amusing myself in reading the rantings of my old classmates talking about places to have the reunion and that we should do a pizza and beer thing. Or how about karaoke? There was a whole back and forth thing about how great that would be. When asked if spouses/significant others would be attending too because they were trying to get a head count someone had replied if her "baby's daddy" couldn't come then she'd be going with someone else. Not sure that I would have worded it that way and was a little shocked to see that on there.

I have also been looking through the people who are a member of this group and I can't for the life of me remember half of them. None of them had a strong impact on my life I suppose. There are a few on there who I had been in school with since Kindergarten so I remembered them, but the majority of I totally don't remember. I keep telling Joe I should get out my old high school year book to jog my memory here.

I have become a bit in sticker shock here too. Now mind you in all honesty I never had any intention of attending my class reunion. I doubt I'll ever go because clearly these people just meant so little to me or else I would remember them. However, it has been announced the approximate cost per person to do this is $75. The planner is trying to justify it saying hey we're in our 30's we should be able to afford this. It's 4 hours of open bar, food, and light entertainment/music. I can't help but think too though that we are in a recession. There could be a lot of people out of work right now. $150 is a lot of money for a 4 hour night out with my husband. Because on top of that $150 I also have to find someone to watch our four kids. Plus clothes for the event. Seems a bit much, especially since I'm not going to drink. Does it really have to be open bar though? Couldn't it be some drink vouchers maybe? Did they really look into all of their options to keep the cost down and maybe knock off $25 a head?

I am apparently not the only one who thinks the price is a bit steep either. There has been some other concerns about the cost. Apparently there are funds for these reunions too, but I'm not sure if any are being used for this night or they are saving them for the 20 year reunion. I can't help but wonder why the cost would have to be so high. And if they are going to do something bigger for the 20 year reunion I can only imagine what that cost will be. But as I said I have no intention of going. I just have been finding the ramblings of my former classmates amusing. Sorry class of 96, but you won't be catching me at any high school reunions. Certainly not at these prices!

Friday, March 11, 2011

Redbox Free Rental

Have you tried Red Box yet? If not you should. Redbox is the best - you can rent DVDs for $1 a night with no membership fees! If you click on my link and it's your first time renting online, they'll give you a free one-night online rental credit. And I'll get a free rental each time you rent via my link through 3/17/11.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Monica's Musings #14

Here are some more just randomness from me.

Recently I had commented to my husband that the SleepyTime wrap that I use for the baby to carry her around hands free was fitting me better. Here's what the wrap looks like...
When I first put it on I couldn't tie it in the front. So I had commented that either I'm tying it tighter now or I've gotten skinnier because I could now wrap it around again to tie in the front instead of in the back which makes it much more comfortable. My husband's response? "Or maybe it has stretched!" Yeah, I'm thinking he might have been better off saying that I was probably getting skinnier. For the record I think it's a combination of me tying it better and me getting skinnier. The SleepyTime wrap shouldn't get stretched out.

It's almost Easter. As a matter of fact today is Ash Wednesday. I haven't gotten ashes on my forehead since I was a teenager though. But what I do enjoy to partake in during this time of year is this heavenly treat that only is around during Easter:

I love mini eggs. I really can't get enough of them. There have been many years though that I have been too late in trying to get them and they have all been sold out. That has not been an issue this year. I think I've already gone through 6 bags of these. And Joe keeps teasing me about it. I do still have a bag left though, but I'm sure it won't last long. As a matter of fact it's 9:30 in the morning and I'm now contemplating going and breaking into my stash. My name is Monica and I'm addicted to Cadbury Mini Eggs!

This has been an exhausting week. Usually Joe has a day off during the week and will work one or two nights during the week. This week he's working all week during the day all the way until his day off on Saturday. What does this mean for me? It means that I have to get up at 6 to feed the baby, get her dressed, me dressed, make sure the girls are up, send Natalie off to the bus, load the kids in the car, and get Joe to work for 7:30 so I can have the car for the day. Then I came home and lug the two little ones up the stairs, finish getting Kaitlyn ready for school, then bring her to the bus stop. Back in to finish getting CJ ready for school. Get the baby and CJ back down the stairs and to the car to bring CJ to school. Then come back home with the baby. Maybe I get to eat something maybe I have to feed the baby. Do laundry and whatever else needs to be done around the house then go pick CJ up from school. Come back home for lunch and naps and after that go pick Joe up from work. We're halfway through the week and I am beat. It doesn't help that Alyssa hasn't been sleeping too well the past few nights.

I do get a reward at the end of the week for this. The reason Joe doesn't have a day off until Saturday is because I asked him to take Saturday off so I could go to my cousin's Pampered Chef Spring Kickoff party Saturday afternoon. So just me and Alyssa at my cousin's house for some girl time. It will be a much needed break.

This week the two big kids have state testing at school. This is Kaitlyn's first year and she was a bit nervous. She came home Monday exclaiming how easy it was though. Best part is there have been fun activities every afternoon for the kids to unwind from the testing. Monday they had a relay race which Kaitlyn was in and her class won. Yesterday was Minute to Win It which apparently Kaitlyn's class also won and today she had to bring in her beach blanket for beach blanket Bingo. Not sure what tomorrow or Friday is, but she's having a blast with this. And then there's Natalie, who hates change. She's looking at all the fun things Kaitlyn is getting to do and longing to be back in Elementary school to do all of this fun stuff too. Middle school students don't get a bunch of games after their testing. Sorry Natalie, it's all part of growing up.

Speaking of growing up, Natalie has definitely gotten to the point in her life where parents would like to send their kids away for a few years until they come back all nice and respectful again. Lots of issues lately with Natalie and her attitude and the way she talks to me. I keep telling myself it's a good thing she feels comfortable enough to talk to me the way she does, even though I'm really thinking if I ever talked like that to my parents I would have gotten in so much trouble. Gotta love those preteen hormones. Apparently she knows more than everybody though. And I know it's only the beginning. We've got many years of these battles coming up and they are going to get much worse.

My final thought for the day is Alyssa is 5 weeks old today. It won't be long before I'm having the same battles with her that I'm having with Natalie right now. Good times!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Here's what happens...

when this big sister

gets her hands on this empty soda bottle

and one of these Apple Grove pals

and decides it's a good idea to hit the Apple Grove Pal with the soda bottle into her little brothers face from about 2 feet away...

He ends up with a fat lip.

but he's still a happy little boy fat lip and all.

Friday, March 4, 2011

11 Things for 11 Years

Today is mine and Joe's 11 year wedding anniversary. So in honor of this special day I thought I would share 11 things you may or may not already know about us as a couple...

1. We met working together at Dunkin Donuts when I had come home my first summer from college.

2. We dated long distance and then broke up after a couple of months, but then got back together the following summer and have been together ever since.

3. There is a seven year age difference between us (Joe being the one who is older).

4. The number 4 is pretty significant in our relationship. The first time we began dating was on the 4th, then when we began dating again it was on May 4th, obviously we were married on the 4th, two of our children were born in the 4th month of the year, and now we have four children.

5. We grew up in the same town not too far from each other, went to all of the same schools and knew a lot of the same people. As a matter of fact we believe it is very possible that we had met each other before we began working together at Dunkin Donuts.

6. In our 11 years of marriage we have lived in 5 different places together.

7. Joe's mother and I share the same Zodiac sign (scorpian) and my mother and Joe share the same Zodiac sign (cancer).

8. For our 1st anniversary we gave each other the gift of ink in the form of a tattoo. We had each of our Zodiac signs tattooed on us (a crab and a scorpian).

9. Joe's mother and my grandmother could have gone to school together and known each other. Sadly we'll only ever suspect this since Joe's mother and my grandmother are no longer with us.

10. Joe and I didn't like each other much at first. He kind of frightened me with his bad boy persona and he thought I was preppy and stuck up. Good thing we took the chance to get to know each other and find out who we really were.

11. Joe is my first love! And they say 1st loves don't last. 11 years of marriage and going on 13 years together I think I'm proving everyone who ever said that wrong.

So there are 11 things you may or may not have known about me and Joe, the couple. Did anything surprise you? Did you know it all already? Find anything interesting about us as a couple?

Joe, if you're reading, Happy Anniversary! I love you!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Potty Progress

CJ will be 3 1/2 in 2 months. Since about September we have been trying to potty train him, but it just didn't seem to be sinking in. I was sort of forced to use pull ups with him though because of school. They wouldn't let him wear diapers, but also didn't want him wearing underwear since he wasn't trained. So the back and forth to underwear and pull ups wasn't working at all. And well the birth of a new sister probably didn't help matters, but I really need him trained already. So last week when the kids were on vacation I decided okay we're wearing underwear everyday. And he did. He only stayed dry two days during the week, but more importantly we had taken a trip to the store during that week and he stayed dry for a few hours while we were out and about. So I was confident that I could send him to school in underwear as long as the teachers would remind him to use the bathroom. So he didn't end up having school on Monday because there was a delayed opening due to some icy conditions. So Tuesday was our first try with it. He wet twice. Then yesterday he stayed dry at school, but wet shortly after he got out of school. Today he has had a few accidents, but there is a difference in these accidents. You see in the past him being wet did not bother him at all. He wouldn't tell us he was wet or anything. Now, he's starting to notice and not like it so much. I am going to make a chart for him. I got him some stickers which I showed him. If he stays dry all day he'll get a sticker. When he gets 7 stickers he'll get a match box car. He keeps asking for the stickers so I'm hopeful this will begin to work for him. I would like to have him potty trained before the summer. If not we'll be working very hard on it over the summer because if he's not potty trained then he can't go on to the 4 year old program and I think he'd really miss going to school everyday. Plus I'd probably end up having to put off Kindergarten for another year all because he won't use the potty.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

One Month or 4 weeks

It's amazing how quickly one month goes by when you have a new baby in the house. Where did the time go. Alyssa is exactly one month old today, but she's also 4 weeks old today as well. That's what happens when you're born in February. It has been a relatively good month. Alyssa did get her very first ear infection. Not something you'd want or expect in the first month of life, but with 3 other siblings all school aged in the middle of winter I suppose she's going to get exposed to a lot of illness. She has handled it pretty well though although, I do believe the antibiotic upsets her stomach. She has gained about a pound in the first month. She has some chubby little cheeks. She is spending more time awake and looking around. A very curious little girl who already appears to be trying to imitate people when they make faces at her. Her dark head of hair appears to be turning lighter. Makes sense since all of the other kids had blond hair at some point in their lives. For the most part she has pretty good sleep patterns. We usually go to bed between 11 and 12 and she'll get up once during the night and then again around 6 or 7 in the morning which is about when I have to get up to get the rest of the kids ready for school. So we are developing a nice routine already which is a huge savior having four children. I don't know what I would do without some sort of schedule. All of the kids still seem completely in love with her. Natalie managed to get her to go to sleep on her today. Kaitlyn is always checking on her and asking to hold her. CJ is still super sweet with her and always checks on her when she's crying and tries to calm her down by quietly telling her it's okay. She has really been such a great addition to the family. Happy 1 month birthday baby Alyssa!