Monday, April 07, 2014

Frustrating but Still Wonderful

I've been remiss in blogging, but in my defense things have been insane. My grandmother died at the end of February and while it was not 100% unexpected the 'business of death' was. The going through of the things, the figuring out what goes where. Making sure my mom did not have to do this alone. Many commented on my help and my response was the same - just because my mom was an only child does not mean she should have to do this alone.

At times it was hard, getting rid of things we knew meant much to her but would not mean as much to anyone else (the 5 or 10 years worth of knitting magazines she had) was hard. Finding about 20 different pairs of gloves - 1 in EVERY jacket as well as several others, including opera gloves she had not worn in 15 years was funny (as was the balled up tissues found everywhere). I kept a few things, Kieran actually asked for a few things as well and I am happy to have them in my house. I wear a necklace that she did nearly every day and it makes me smile.

So there was that.

Kieran's up and down temperament came to a head when he punched a teacher. Yes, you read that right. So, we're at our wits end and have reached out to get additional support. It is frustrating and feels like we have failed him as parents, though I know that we have done what we can. He knows what to do, but his temper just gets the best of him. Hopefully, a fresh set of eyes and ears will help us and put Kieran on a path to better behavior overall and less physical reactions. I cannot begin to express how upset I am at the whole thing, but I am trying to look forward and not backwards.

Amelia's doing well, though very defiant. She's getting somewhat better (though I admit the difference is microscopic, at best) but she still responds with "no" a lot. She gets the "I wasn't asking" response from me a lot. A daddy's girl at heart, she will let Ken comb her hair without issue. But I put a comb to her head and you would think that I was hurting her just by holding it in my hand.

This past weekend was Ken and my 17th wedding anniversary. Ken went to a tournament in Cleveland. Originally, we were all supposed to go and I was going to take the kids to see a friend, but unfortunately that fell through. Though, after sitting in the car with Amelia for an hour and a half on Friday (traffic) I can honestly say I am grateful for how it played out. Ken came home Sunday and we celebrated at a restaurant. It was fun and quiet.

Because Ken was gone, I ran the kids ragged all weekend - Friday night after school/work Kieran had a good day so we went to the rec center's Fun Friday. Mia was so tired afterwards she didn't even want bedtime stories, just a chance to sleep. Saturday we spent an hour and a half at the playground, followed by lunch, followed by the Fairtale Festival at the main branch of the library (which requires a bus ride). By the end of the day, Mia again was exhausted (so was Kieran) but both had a great time. Saturday night, however, was AWFUL. Amelia slept fine from 7-10 pm but was then up off and on until 2:30 AM. She woke up at 6. I had to get up at 5 to be sure I could shower before the kids woke up. So I was no fun on Sunday. There was a lot of yelling involved until Ken got home and I could get Kieran out of the house (Mia refused to go anywhere after shopping, but also would not nap for me). Some time at the playground followed by the dinner out was just what the doctor ordered. Everyone slept well last night.

Now, back to our crazy everyday lives. Sorry it's been awhile. I still need to post some newer pics of the kids. I will endeavor to do that in the next month.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Book Love

This past weekend we went to our library. We had about 10 books to return, I needed a book club book (and to pay off my fines!), and the Friends of the Library was having a book giveaway/book sale.

So, we get there and as usual, Kieran makes a beeline for the computer to go play games. I let him do that for about 5 minutes before I cajole him downstairs to look at the books. We can each take two free books as well as purchase any additional books for 50 cents each. Kieran quickly finds four books he wants. Mia looks at all the books, talks to all the people there and then picks up a book that has a purple cover. I try to convince her to find another book, but no.

So, given that it is free, I let her take the (Shadowrun, Book #3) tome with her. All weekend long she refuses to let it out of her grip and on Sunday begins to 'read' it to us. It's a book about pirates, Ariel, dogs or whatever strikes her fancy. She sits with it open, looking at the words on the page and says "Mom, I need to show you this." and points to a page. "It's a dark cave." or "Look at the pirate."

The book is falling apart - and I don't care. It's convinced me that once this book is beyond repair we'll probably have to take her down to our used book store and let her pick out a book that's a few dollars and do it all over again. I want to instill her love of reading.

Kieran reads very well, but he only wants to read a few things - and games win out over reading. I have about six books on order from the library for him, and I would be that he'll run through them very quickly because once he starts a book, it's very fast for him to finish. It's getting him to start that's at issue.

Anyway, just some kid stories to share.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Feh! (A Tribute to Mutti)

My grandmother passed away last week. She was 95. I am exceedingly lucky to have had as many years as I did with her. While she could be difficult, I know she loved me very much.

I'm certain that Kieran's memory of his Oma will fade over time. She kept shushing him and asking him to sit still (not something that he did easily until this past year - and then only with a book or device in his hands). Sadly, Mia will likely not remember her at all, though she has been asking to see her almost daily. I hope that they will at least remember that she loved them, loved their visits and smiles - even if she wanted them to do it quietly.

Mutti (as I called my grandmother) was feisty. A word often used by the staff at Roland Park Place, likely in lieu of 'difficult' or 'pain in the ass' to describe her. As she aged these past few years, she grew more docile. Frankly, the more agreeable she got, the more I worried for her health. And yet the last time I visited her, though she barely spoke and was obviously week, I thought to myself how beautiful she looked. I will carry that memory with me like a treasure.

Her stories are legendary and, while they changed over time, I know that she lived the truth of them. From being robbed on a train and helped by strangers in France (I think) to living in a house of ill repute that would tell her when raids were coming. She was progressive in many ways - she lived 'in sin' with my grandfather for many years and finally proposed to him (spoiler - he said yes). She worked, she volunteered and knitted. While the yarn gene seems to have skipped my mom, I definitely got it and the overall creative gene lives on in my niece, Becca.

I think the thing I'll remember most is the fact that I was (OK, am) such a picky eater that her favorite refrain for me was "Feh! You don't know what's good!" in response to whatever it was I had refused to eat. I'm a significantly more adventurous eater than I was as a kid - but even then I tried things like beef tongue. She cooked a variety of things because my grandfather was a human garbage disposal, he even ate apple cores. Now that I have a picky eater of my own, I will pick up the mantle of forcing him to try a lot of things. I may keep the "Feh!" but I think I'll let him decide for himself what's good.

I'll miss you, Mutti for now and always.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Sibling Stuff

This month has been a whirlwind of activity, sickness, new endeavors, new jobs and just general craziness. Amelia has been on a "Mommy" kick since I got back from my trip, which means Kieran has not gotten as much time with me as either of us would like.

Ken has started his own law practice, we both got sick, Kieran got sick, Mia got sick, we had my brother's birthday, Kieran's birthday and a lot of other crazy things. A few things come to mind since last I posted. Kieran (well, mostly me and Ken) raised $635 for the Carrie Murray Nature Center. Kieran's birthday party there was a blast - everyone who said they were going to come did (even with the snow). As a thank you for raising funds, Kieran received a vial of Iberian wolf fur. There are something like 300 of those wolves left in existence. He treasures that.

Here is he with Cupcake the snake. I have a photo of me & Mia holding the snake but it comes out sideways.

Anyway, PJ (who works there and gave us a talk about animals) was the one who got the fur for Kieran. They were really impressed with his giving up gifts in order for the center to get the money.

So, that's Kieran's party. We've all been in somewhat of an ongoing state of sleep deprivation because of sickness (ours, the kids) and though I thought we'd finally come out of it, lo-and-behold last night Kieran had a nightmare that sent him upstairs to us. Ken had him sleep next to him all night (which is never a good night's sleep) and this morning we woke up late. After rushing through my shower and getting dressed, I hear Kieran downstairs in Mia's room. As I walk in her door, I see Mia on the floor, mostly naked with one sock on, Kieran's trying to get the other one on and he's already got clothes laid out for her. He's dressed himself and ready for school.

It was very sweet of him. He wanted to help because he knew that Ken and I were rushing around, late. Even after I was able to help, Kieran wanted to finish what he'd started by getting Mia's shirt on and I finished up with her pants, etc. Mia wanted Kieran to finish getting him dressed (she LOVES him and whatever Kieran is doing, she wants to do - hence the snake handling), but I was in a rush and couldn't wait - plus I think Kieran was ready for me to take over.

Even though he's been angry with her for bogarting my time, he thought enough to help her get dressed. I do hope this love continues throughout their lives. I know they'll piss each other off, that's normal, but underneath I hope there is always this type of love.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Happy 7th Birthday, Kieran!

You've grown so much in the past year it's unbelievable. You've got a better handle on your temper and your sassing (sorry, I believe you may have inherited those traits, though the sarcasm was taught). You also know yourself now. You know who you  like and who you don't, but still treat those you dislike with courtesy (mostly).

I know your little sister irritates you and you're feeling like she's stealing our time (she is, we won't lie), but you still manage to help out. This morning, for example, when I needed to walk the dog and she wouldn't let me go - there you were asking "Mia, want to play with me?" and then having her chase you around so Devin could get outside. Amazing.

You frustrate me, I won't lie. But it's only because I know just how smart you are. How capable you are and I want so much for you to do more than you think you can do. To stretch what's comfortable and be proud of what you accomplish. I'm always proud of you.

Seven years ago you were born and I sobbed at your 'curly' hair (forgive me, I was drugged). Today you are my little man - taking the world by storm.

Love you oodles and oodles, booger. Forever.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Wow, 2013 Went Fast!

I can't believe that we have just 3 days left in the year. I've been miserable about blogging regularly, which I think I noted at the end of last year. Last week with the kids was fun. I'm off until January 2nd, so we have today and 3 more days together before work begins again.

The kids got a lot of great things from Santa, but unfortunately this year was Mia's year to freak out and refuse to sit on the old man's lap. Oh well, maybe next year when she 'gets it' a bit more. Kieran's favorite present so far this year seems to be his Snap Circuits Jr kit. Mia's loving her LeapPad and Ariel doll.

My favorite present is spending time with the kids - and a working oven.

Yesterday, Kieran wanted a little extra time with me so we went to see Frozen. Kieran declared he thought it was too sad (same as Wreck-It Ralph) and he would not want it on DVD when it came out. I really enjoyed it and think Mia will like it too. Something that struck me (spoilers ahead) was that this is Disney's very first self-rescuing princess. I read a few reviews and was surprised that none of the reviewers noted this (granted its a spoiler, but still). This movie focused almost exclusively on the relationship between two sisters, their familial love and striving to do the right thing. I did not miss any 'big' villain (though their villain left a major plot hole I am willing to overlook because it's a kids movie), and am kinda sad that Kieran felt it's overall story was too sad for him (but I do get it). It was good to get out and do something just the two of us. After the movie we talked about different kinds of powers we would want to have. Kieran wants to be able to talk to the animals, I want tropical powers (Create beaches and be warm).

If I haven't said so recently, Happy Holidays to you. I hope you're having fun wherever you are.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Musings on a Lovely Little Weekend

So much is still going on, I don't know why I ever thought they might slow down. Crazy, I guess. This past weekend was really quite nice. On Saturday, Ken took Kieran to the Carrie Murray Nature Center. This is where Kieran will be having his birthday party this year and, instead of presents, he's asking people to donate to the Center instead. We've got a gofundme page set up for him, so he can give them a check at his party. We're up to $235 already.

Kieran does not know it yet, but Ken and I have gotten him tickets for the Wild Kratts Live event in Pennsylvania in February. Going to be VERY hard to keep this one quiet until his birthday - but I am doing my best.

Anyway - the event on Saturday was for people to come and take photos of the birds they have (owls, raptors, a turkey and turkey vulture). At the bottom of this post are some of the pictures that Ken took, Kieran's will be posted soon as well.

After that, Mia had her first haircut. Of course, we took no photos of that. She LOVED it and told me this morning that she liked her haircut from Ms. Annie. After her haircut we had lunch, she napped and then we all went down to the inner harbor to watch Santa's arrival. Mia freaked out and I had to take her home before Santa got there, but just barely.

Sunday I took Mia swimming (Kieran was not feeling well) and then I ran out while the kids stayed home with Ken. Shopping by myself is usually a pleasure but it was packed at the stores on Saturday. People (like me) were probably freaking out about how close to Hanukkah it is. I managed to grab a few small gifts for the kids and sneak them into the house for Wednesday night's festivities.

But the real fun came after I got home. Ken was sitting on the floor and the kids kept piling on top of him and giggling. Mia would jump on him, then jump off and declare "Kieran's turn!" and Kieran would immediately jump on Ken and then step back so Mia could have another turn. They did this off and on for an hour. Afterwards, we're on the sofa snuggling and Kieran invites Mia to come over and snuggle with him. She does and the two of them lay quietly together for all of 2 minutes while watching a movie. It was so sweet. I know our time is limited with this type of connectedness, but I relish it while it lasts.