Weekend Summary

Eldest decoding a clue

Eldest loved his treasure hunt. He had eight clues and he had a great time figuring them out and then running to find the next one. It was really cool. We had flan instead of cake because it’s his favorite and my mom makes it deliciously.

Found one!

Friday ended up being a No-Spend Day for me which was nice. Saturday was the party day. I do the parties late in the afternoon because it gives me plenty of time to get things ready. Early in the day parties don’t work for me.

Another one!

Unfortunately for me, I woke up on Saturday feeling like total crap again. I was completely congested and miserable. My mom came over and got to work on cleaning with her super amazing cleaning abilities. I attacked my congestion with every treatment I could. I did the sinus rinse. I did the inhalations with a scoop of Baby Vicks (which had the unintended effect of making my house smell quite lovely actually). I took the Sudafed. I took the Nasonex. I took the steroid. I took the antibiotic. I took the Advil. Party time came and I was as ready as I could’ve hoped to be. I decorated the cake. I’d done the goody bags. I prepped the snacks. Guests arrived.

Gratuitous Kitten Cuddles

The party was chaotic but I guess that’s what happens when you jam a bunch of 7 year old boys together. They mostly played with the Beyblades and anything else they could lay their hands on in the play room. Finally when I was getting tired of all of the screaming and stuff, I checked the time and saw it was almost 5:30. YES! Reptile people should be here any minute.

Daughter's photo of the cat in the bag

Except they never came. We called over and over and over again. Nothing. No shows. I was sad. And I was relieved I hadn’t told Eldest what I’d planned but I was still sad. Really sad. But we did the cake and gave the goodies and collapsed.

Made by my mom, decorated by me

At least that made Saturday another No Spend Day for me. Yay I guess. And it also meant I now have freed up $250 I’d been reserving. But still. Major letdown.

I'm gonna eat you!

Sunday we were useless. Even the kids. We watched movies and played with the cat. Actually, we did have a productive morning and picked 69 avocados from my tree. There are at least another hundred up there. I think I might sell off a bunch of them. At a dollar each, I could make another $50 bucks and have plenty to eat and giveaway. And that’s just from this harvest. There are plenty more that need to keep ripening. We wrapped up the day at my cousin’s house for his going away dinner. He’s heading to college this weekend.

Bonding with the cousin

So Sunday was another No-Spend. Three in a row. Who would’ve thought it possible?

And then yesterday I couldn’t keep food down. And today, I’m fighting to keep down toast and Gatorade. I think I’m going home soon. Someone tell me something lovely is heading my way please.

Staying on top of August

Happy Birthday Eldest!

It’s Friday! I can’t believe it. Just going to follow up on some stuff I’m focusing on this month.

Today is Eldest’s birthday. He is awesome. Seriously, he’s everyone’s dream first-born. He’s smart. He’s loving. He’s sweet. He’s obedient. He’s strong. He’s handsome. He’s amazing.

Tomorrow is his much deserved birthday party. My plan was to keep it all under $400 including the food, the entertainment, and his gifts. Mission accomplished. I thought I could do it for under $350 but I ended up at about $376. Considering the HUGE bulk of this is a reptile show at the party that’s costing me $250, I think I did pretty darn well.

I spent less than $75 on gifts and the vast majority are books– Books 5, 6, and 7 from Harry Potter, a Gods and Heroes Pop-Up book, Book 1 of The 39 Clues, and Ultimate Fallout #4 that reveals the new Spider-Man: Miles Morales. In addition to all of that reading material, I got him a new Beyblade, a new pair of flip flops because his little toys were wriggling out over the tops of the old ones, and a couple of Tech Decks because he specifically requested that. One of the Tech Decks was a totally awesome Target clearance score and only cost me $1.74! The gorgeous pop up book was only $8 at Marshall’s.

I’ve planned a very elaborate Treasure Hunt for him when he comes home today. Friend is at my house now helping me set it all up. I wrote all of the clues in classic alphabet/number code and sometimes hid the clue in the gift to make it JUST a little harder. I hid one of the clues between the claws of a monster in the pop-up book for instance.   I started the treasure hunt for him last year and he really liked it. I think it’ll be a fun tradition and something the little ones can look forward to doing when they learn how to read. I actually had a lot of fun planning it last night.

My plan for August is 8 No-Spend Days. During my first week, I had two no-spend days and was super excited. This week I’ve had zero so far. UGH. This stupid sinus infection has been the sole cause of expenses on a couple of days this week and that’s irritating. Especially because the stupid thing is still hanging on for dear life and I’m taking like 5 different medicines to treat it and its symptoms. I am seriously hoping for a no-spend tomorrow and Sunday.

I’ve been working with the separate accounts for spending and bills. I have to say, I really like this system so far. It makes things a little less gray and a lot more black and white: Spend This, Do Not Spend This (Moron).

According to a super brief email reply from Ex this morning, money was deducted from his check today for child support. He didn’t specify what the amount was or anything like that. I’m not sure when I’ll receive it but at least I’m breathing a wee bit easier. My priorities in handling that money remain the same: 1) padding my super slim budget for back to school and 2) rebuilding the savings accounts.

So about working out… yeah. Not happening really. I just can’t get into it. I’m sure the sinus infection does nothing for my motivation but it’s just that I can’t care about it either. I know this will come but it’s not happening right now.

Getting stuff done the night before is kinda mixed. Sometimes I do, sometimes I don’t. I haven’t really had a chance to get the kids involved either because of the insane summer schedule. But it hasn’t slipped my mind and it does make things easier. I’ll probably really start working on this one come August 22.

No girlfriend outing. No money. No time. And I’ve been sick and whiny.

Books! I love books! I’m now up to 42 out of 60 books this year and that means I’m ahead of schedule. I finished Remains of the Day and then read Alex Flinn’s A Kiss in Time and Cloaked to round out the fairy tale trilogy. Beastly is my favorite and Cloaked is my least. But now, well I’m stuck. I still have Loving What Is going but I need something else while I work through that. My cousin bought me the next two books in the Parasol Protectorate Series for my birthday which I’m SUPER excited about. But, I’ve got library books with due dates. So, help me pick my next book(s). Here’s what I’ve got in order of due date:

The flowers of evil (this is Patti Smith’s fault)

Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ’s Childhood Pal

When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice for Difficult Times (Shambhala Library) (another suggestion from blog readers)

Fool: A Novel

My Own Two Feet: A Memoir Apparently this is part two. I didn’t know there was a part one. Should I read it anyways?

The Poisonwood Bible: A Novel

POPism: The Warhol Sixties (I’d meant to read this ages ago after seeing Factory Girl. Patti Smith reminded me)

Bossypants

You can vote via this poll!

On the blog front, I’m pretty happy with where it is and where it’s going. I got the past couple of weeks on various blogs including First Gen American, In Mint Condition, 101 Books, Molly on Money, Daily Plate of Crazy, and We May Be Poor, But We Are Happy. There might be others but I have issues tracking links AND the sinus infection is really messing with my thoughts. I’m having a great time meeting new bloggers and readers. It’s seriously the most amazing part of the Internet for me personally– community-building.

And last but not least, Mutant Kitty is doing very well. To think one week ago when I got her all she wanted to do was cuddle! She is non-stop these days and eats like crazy. The kids adore her. It’s so nice coming home.

See that? That's love, folks.

Baby, you’re three

Saturday was your big day—you finally turned “free”. I know you think you’re really super big but for me, Baby it’ll always be.

What can I say? You’re the last one for me and every family needs their own forever Baby and that’s you with all of the good and all of the bad that can bring.

You’re pretty impressive though, I have to admit. I actually kept telling people you were turning four because of how much and how beautifully you speak. That same day you used the word “underneath” in a sentence and used it properly. My jaw dropped a moment.

But then you do something like poop on the floor and I remember—totally not four. By the way, I’m tired of scrubbing poop out of Yo Gabba Gabba underwear so if you wouldn’t mind getting that whole thing under control, I’d appreciate it.

That’s the biggest quirk. Oh and the talking back. Oh my goodness that just sprang out with a vengeance didn’t it? It’s like you turned three and the aggressive gene turned on.

And yet, you’re this big giant sweetheart who demands loads of hugs and kisses repeated endlessly. You greet everyone with a giant leg-wrapping, face-in-the-knees hug.

You cry when someone leaves or if someone left before you got to say goodbye.

Lately you’ve been sneaking into your brother’s bed to sleep.

The other morning when I made breakfast, I was eating my bacon and eggs and you wanted some bacon. So I gave you my slice and you devoured it. You came back for more and went to grab the remaining slice on my plate but suddenly you put it back.

“You don’t want anymore bacon?” I asked.

“No Mommy, that’s your slice. I already ate one,” you replied. My friend and I stared at you. I tried to tell you it was totally ok but the only thing you allowed was sharing the last slice of bacon with me—half and half.

That sort of thing, it doesn’t sound like a huge deal until I realize you’ve just turned three and aren’t you the center of the universe still? How did you do that?

You’re seriously independent and like doing everything on your own and freak out when you can’t. Getting stuck in your t-shirt can cause a serious scream.

You eat pretty well and are still pretty adventurous with what you’ll try but adamant about what you won’t.

These are the last two months at the daycare you’ve been in since you were a tiny infant. They’re going to miss you. I’m going to miss them. I have no idea what you’ll do but I know you’re really excited to join your siblings at the big school.

Except for the whole potty problem. But we already talked about that. It’s not like it drives me crazy to the point of obsession or anything.

No, actually it does because you totally know when you have to go and you totally know how to go but you just don’t want to go on the potty and so your waste ends up on the floor.

But whatever, I’m over it.

Kind of.

You’re big time into sports. MutantPirate got you a basketball hoop for your birthday and you made him open that thing right then and there and you’ve been playing with it non-stop ever since. It’s a pretty great hoop. You’ve got a pretty wicked shot.

You love football too. And baseball. You like to wear basketball shorts and went gaga over the Jordans my friend got you. I don’t even think you know what those are but the sneaker force is strong with you little one.

I am afraid.

You like it when I sing to you. The two songs you request from me most often are “Take me out to the ball game” and “Once upon a dream”. You also like to sing with me and when that happens, we do all of the typical nursery tunes.

Oh my goodness you love your sister. Sometimes you try and beat her up and she freaks out but mostly you adore her. You like to spend time with her in her room. You like to play with her and have no issue playing with her dolls or kitchen or whatever. And don’t even try and pretend otherwise, I know you let her comb your hair when no one’s watching. You just love to be around her, I can totally see it. I know you guys are two years apart but seriously, you act like twins.

And then there’s your big brother you clearly idolize. I mean you think this guy is so cool and you want to be like him which is good because your big brother is seriously an awesome kid and I’ve got no problem with you emulating him. He loves you and cares for you.

I’ve been thinking about your great-grandfather these past few days because he was way head over heels in love with you. I don’t know what it was but there was some sort of spark between you two and you hardly knew him. But that short time you did know him you made him immensely happy. I will always appreciate that. He’s totally your guardian angel. Keep him busy but not too much, ok?

I love you Baby. Here’s to another huge year in your life and many more to come. I can’t wait to see what happens next and yet I just want to hold you like this forever. My baby. My last wee one. The one with the curls. The one with the gentle baby fat. The one with overwhelming affection. The one with the beautiful kissy lips. The one with the not-really-brown-not-really-green eyes. You’re so yummy. I love you. Happy Birthday.

Mother Meets Monster

It should be a WIP Wednesday update to share with you all. I do have some vague awareness of the calendar despite vigorous attempts otherwise. But, I haven’t had much time to photograph my progress on any projects and the past couple of days I haven’t even done much crocheting.

Instead, Monday and Tuesday were spent dealing with this one.

You see, in the middle of my Monday I got a call from MutantBaby’s daycare informing me he was running a fever of 102. I needed to pick him up immediately. Furthermore, the school had an outbreak of strep throat so I would not be allowed to return him to their care until he got the clean bill of health. And then begins the saga.

With my new job comes new health insurance which handily kicked in the first of this month (hooray). With new health insurance, for the first time ever, comes new doctors. This is actually not a bad thing because I really wasn’t pleased with the pediatricians my kids were with but we’d been with them since MutantEldest was born and so I was relucant to change. Money talks, doctors change. So, I come home with feverish MutantBaby on Monday and call the new pediatricians office and was told to call during regular hours (lunch time). And called back.  And left a message. And waited. And called back. And got the machine again. And called back. And left another message. And was not amused. Someone suggested Urgent Care. But my new insurance plan requires my paying a deductible for Urgent Care. Not interested thank you so much.

Tuesday morning comes and with it some interesting bits of information. It turns out the daycare did not give MutantBaby medicine to reduce the fever (duh) but by the time he was at my house, he was down to 99 degrees. After he woke up from his nap, he was down to the normal 97. The fever never came back. And Tuesday morning began with the really rambunctious Mutant pictured above. Eager to get this over with, I sent the other two to school and brought MutantBaby with me on the train to my office which is next door to the doctor (convenient!).

MutantBaby loved the train. It was so much fun! We went to the doctor’s office and I informed them of my predicament. The very nice lady informed me she was so sorry but they have a strict anti walk-in policy unless a child is very ill and especially as I was a) new and b) clearly not with a seemingly sick child there was not much she could do. I pleaded my case. I told the tale of the many calls. She went to the back where I assume the Nurse of Oz hangs out and announced I could return at 1:15. Oh joy!

I was so proud. I took my little Mutant right next door to my office and showed him off. And then when I was getting ready to bring him to my office which I work in alone, which has soundproof walls and a door which I always close, two very alarmed co-workers stopped me. They informed me there is a very strict policy where employees cannot have their children in the office. But they knew how completely bombarded I’ve been at work with my impending deadline. So we smuggled him in. Things were going well for about an hour. And then MutantBaby pooped. And I was reminded of how miserable I am at being Prepared Mother. Because I had NOTHING on me. Not a wipe. Not a diaper. Not a thing. So I left. MutantBaby and I went back on the train (yay for him), went to McDonalds (yay for him again), went home, changed, ate junk, and went back to the train (yay him one more time). We got to the doctor’s office just before they re-opened. I took him to the water fountains to play and he was so awesomely disobedient I resisted the urge to throw him into one.

But, the time came and we went back to the doctor’s office where he charmed over the entire staff and waiting room by chanting “Hi Lady!” over and over again at the very nice assitant working the counter. In the exam room, he got naked for his weigh-in (27 pounds, 10 ounces) and refused to be dressed again. We compromised and agreed to underwear plus pull-up. We went to the other room for the doctor and he drove me bonkers. While I distracted him with a notebook and pen (best inventions ever in the realm of childcare) I somehow dressed him. When the notebook got old, I drew on the paper thingy on the bed. And the doctor showed up. And went to hear his heartbeat. And he resisted. Then he grabbed it and put it to his ear convinced that’s what she wanted. And was so good. Until she thanked him and moved it to his chest. And that, ladies and gentlemen, was when $h!t blew the f#*k up. The temper tantrum of his lifetime commenced. And did not stop the entire rest of the exam. Did not stop while the doctor updated his chart. Did not stop while I checked out and all the nurses looked at him as if he had sprouted not one, not two, but possibly seven heads. Not out the waiting room. Not down the elevator. Not outside where he proceeded to make a run for the super busy street. Not while I crossed the street holding him like a football because otherwise he kept throwing himself backwards throwing me off my balance. Not until I plunked him on a bench, far from any sort of street, and put him on time out to cool it.

Needless to say, I got home ragged. And defeated. And yet had to figure out how to go out with him again, this time with his sister, to the supermarket. It was mostly ok, with some tough bits (him biting his sister repeatedly being the best one). But I was completely off my rocker when I came home. When I undressed them and he decided the toilet was not suitable for his pee and instead turned and aimed his stream at his sister and all of the clothes on the floor I really had to fight hard with the inner mommy demon. I plunked him in the tub and temper tantrum ensued. I ignored it. Went to the kitchen, mixed sweet tea vodka with lemonade, and began methodically making quesadillas. Somewhere in this mentally checked out state, my dad showed up with MutantEldest from his Karate lesson. MutantEldest begged me to come to karate class on Thursday “please please please” and I obliged. My Dad had already disappeared into the bathroom to work his psychology skills on the tantrum monster. At some point I read the letter of invitation and discovered I had agreed to PARTICIPATE in Karate class. Tomorrow.

My Dad calmed the monster. Things went fine the rest of the night. Until three in the morning. When some dog started barking. And did. Not. Stop. It was 4 in the morning when I called the local police and reported the dog for incessant barking at a god forsaken hour on a weekday. Seriously. It was over an hour. With no stopping in sight. About fifteen minutes after I’d placed the call, I’m pretty sure I heard car doors and a few minutes after that? Silence. Golden. Pure. Silence.