Thursday, August 6th, 2015

This is a blog post I started months ago. Life is crazy and a little hectic (and I’m a huge procrastinator) and I’ve never gotten around to finishing/posting it. The boys are at WOPWOP now so I have about an hour to get this blog caught up!
Well, there have been big changes here since mid Feb. Tj got a call Jan 30th from Atlas Air offering him a job, and telling him to go into work that day and give his 2 weeks’ notice! Two weeks later he was packed for 2 months and drove to Miami (a 19 hour car trip) for training. I was very optimistic and even cocky about him being gone for two months…he’s had 3 6-month deployments that we fared well with, 2 months was gonna be a breeze!

The week he left the water heater sprung a leak and filled the pan so much that it put out the pilot! I spent several hours on the phone with my dad troubleshooting till he said I needed a man to come fix it. I knew what the problem was, but needed someone stronger than me who could tighten the bolt up top. Tj put the call out and JT came and fixed it in just a few minutes. Woot! Then the next week we had a huge freeze and my heater stopped working! Another long phone call to my dad and much going in and out ended without success. Tj put out another call and JP and Jenn came by to see what could be done. Many hours later he figured out that snow had covered the vent and wasn’t allowing enough oxygen to let the furnace burn well enough to heat the air. I’d already packed to spend the night at their house, so they drove the boys and me there for the rest of the afternoon. JP took all the kids except Jack sledding, Jack played out in the back yard, Jenn made brussels sprouts for me to try, all in all that day ended better than it started.

Despite that rough start it wasn’t too bad having Tj gone. We had school to occupy us, and lots of snow to play in. One day the boys and I played outside with the neighbor kids and built a snow fort. Max spent 6 straight hours outside that day, only coming in for about 15 minutes once for some cupcakes and hot chocolate. I never thought about it but he got severely sunburned that day!

Things were rocking along, and then they weren’t. Tj was supposed to start driving home April 22nd, but about 2 weeks before that I hit a real low. It started with Max’s trouble with math and Jack in the backyard. After much wailing and gnashing of teeth it seems like I need to sit with Max while he does his math, or at least go over it all with him before grading it. He just keeps getting so many wrong, but practically none because of not knowing how to work the problem…it’s all simple/foolish mistakes. He spends long minutes staring off into space and then working quickly and haphazardly to finish his math. So while I’m sitting with him I’m not doing what I want/need to be doing. I try to remind myself that this is this time. This time will pass. This is my job, to train him and Jack, and there will be many years without him, but for now he needs to take the priority. Some days I remember this better than others. Annnyyywayyyy… while I was helping Max Jack was in the back yard playing. At a stopping point I turned to check on Jack and saw his very shiny white hiney with a large brown streak from his butt to his knees!!!!!! Ugh!! He’d pooped in his pants and then taken all his clothes off and was trying to push the big yoga ball over the neighbor’s fence. Ugh again. I was totally frustrated! I got a big towel and wrapped him up and carried him to the shower.

After that I just couldn’t get my good attitude back. I tried really hard but the next few days were just miserable! I finally quit homeschooling Jack and just focused on Max, but even that wasn’t relief enough. I was just trying to hang on till Tj came home.

March 22 my two gf’s and their families and the boys and I went out to eat lunch after church. Before the meal was fully underway they said they had something for me and handed me an envelope and then everyone sat there watching me expectantly. It took me a few minutes to understand, but they’d bought me a ticket to go see Tj! What utterly awesome friends!They’d worked it out with Tj (and he worked it out with my folks) that I’d drive the boys to my parents’ house and then fly alone from there to Miami. At that point Tj had 3 days of training left, and then we’d drive back to Atlanta. What a wonderful time of rest I had! I hardly left the room all day while Tj was at work. That’s my kind of vacation.

That’s all I had typed so I’ll try to fill in the rest now. I really can’t express how grateful I was for that ticket. That time was one of the lowest I’ve been in my life, and to see the care my friends had for me…I’m so blessed to have such friends.

I don’t remember the exact dates (and if I wait to clarify with Tj I’ll never post this!) but we drove back to Mom’s and stayed a couple of days there. On the way home we stopped halfway at a nice hotel in Al for a couple of nights. We expected to be home for another several days before they called Tj to work, but he got a call while in Al I think and accepted a trip for two days after we got back home. It was so rushed, but we were excited for him to have his first flight, and to really get into this job. We were also excited for him to finish his training and get off of training pay!

His training flights didn’t go quite as expected. There was a moment there that I think he feared for his job! The dude he was flying with seemed to have it out for the company, and in trying to stick it to them he stuck it to Tj. In the end it turned out not to be a big deal, but Tj had to go back to the sim in Miami for additional landings and our training pay lasted a month longer than we expected. He’s off of training now and we never had to use our reserves, which was another great blessing from God. He loves this job, and he flies everywhere! I love that he loves what he does, and him being gone for 2-4 weeks at a time is ok. But I think the greater toll on me is the constant change of back and forth…him gone then home then gone again. It’s taking me longer to adjust to that than I ever expected, but I think this is just what comes with a new job and totally new lifestyle. We’ll get the hang of it.


Some highlights since the last time I blogged:

Mother’s day. Max fixed breakfast for himself and Jack as he usually does now when Tj’s gone. I came out of the bathroom after a while to check on them and Jack’s breakfast was just sitting on the stove…Max was just about finished eating. I asked about what was going on and Max said, “Oh, I wondered why I was eating so fast!” I have no words.

14 May Jack’s prayer for lunch: “mumble mumble mumble down black slide. Not full sentence. I want down black slide please, Mama. Good full sentence. I want down black slide please, Mama. Good full sentence. Good boy! Good boy! AAAAAAAmen!”

Friday May 15 Tj just txtd me: I did notice the Burger Beast Burger Brawl is tonight at the casino within walking distance. Is that why God brought me back to Miami?

There was a curriculum sale at church and I made $74 selling books!!

Talking to Max about camp after he came home (his biggest gripe last year was that he never got enough sleep): Me “Bet you fall asleep quickly.” Him “Well, there are a bunch of hopped up kids.” Heh, isn’t he too young to be referring to other kids as ‘hopped up’?

Max and I were talking about the ball pit that used to be at the skating rink. He told me he found a Twix in it one time. I cringingly asked him if he ate it but he said Tj “con fist i cated” it.

Jack talks in his sleep a bit. One day I went to wake him up and he said ‘David’s’ twice as he was tossing and turning. David’s is a restaurant with the best hamburgers and fries!

23 July I heard Jack from the bathroom saying “Beard is on. Beard is on.” At first I thought he was saying ‘bear is on’ which made as much sense as ‘beard is on’, actually. When I went to check on him he was rubbing his neck where he had a scratch…he thought he had a beard.

2 Aug Jack and I were laying in bed looking a pictures on my phone…our nap-time ritual. I had a web-page open to “Worst actual names of schools”. I wasn’t lingering on any picture too long, and one of them was ‘Krap’ written on the side of a school bus. Jack sounded it out perfectly! I laughed but just praised him for his great reading skills. That same nap there was an incident with us locating his car, but I don’t want to post all of that.

Yesterday the electricity went out. Later when Jack flipped the light switch and it didn’t turn on he said, “Light switch doesn’t work”!!! What a great full sentence!

Tuesday, June 16th, 2015

I told Max Sunday  that our friend Jerry would be having surgery on Tuesday (today), and that we should pray for him. This week is VBS so it’s crazy, but I’ve thought about him and prayed for him and his family several times. I thought this morning that when we got in the truck to go to VBS I should have us all pause and pray for Jerry and for Tj (who’s flights are crazy and out of control!), but of course I didn’t remember it again till halfway through VBS. When we got in the truck on the way home I said when we got home we would pray for them and Max said he’d already prayed for him that morning! He remembered during song time and prayed then! What a blessing.

Saturday, May 2nd, 2015

Here’s my backlog of blogging:

An infuriating thing about Jack is whenever I tell him to do something or go get something, he either stomps his foot and fusses, or he changes the subject as slowly and “politely” as possible. I said to Jack, “Go get me a kleenex” and he immediately said, “Mama,” in a super-slow voice, and then he just waits for me to say, “What?” and then he changes the subject. I guess I need to nip that quickly!

Max said, “Don’t you think it’s kinda weird that I can sing opera at the age of 10? I think its even more surprising that I can sing in a lady’s voice!” and, “Why aren’t you surprised when I tell you cool stuff that I can do?” I don’t really know what to say to that last one (or any of them, really).

We were all in the living room and out of the blue Max says, “In Max’s circle, pants are for squares!!” and took his pants off!! What a crazy kid! He really makes me laugh often.

Jack calls ice “mice”. I guess it’s because we always say, “Do you want some ice?”

13 Feb Jack read “You are the best”. Max wrote this sign and it’s been hanging from Tj’s mirror for a few years. I think it’s amazing that Jack could read Max’s handwriting, and that he has the desire to read things that are around him! I really hope he has a love of reading like the rest of us.

15 Feb was a hard day. I woke up to the sound of J hitting the glass shower door upstairs. Later I sent him out to eat while I finished up in the kitchen. I think he spit up every pancake he ate! I finally took the rest of his pancakes away and gave him a banana and peanuts for breakfast. Ugh! Later he unplugged Momee’s fan and it took me forever to get it to start again. (He’s been on a spitting up streak this week…three times.)

18 Feb The Jones girls have come over a few times for Friday Funday. When I told Max they were gonna miss one Funday Max said, “I hope an amazing change of events happens and the Jones girls can come over again.”

25 Feb Amy gave me several gallon ziploc bags full of letter stickers and Jack has been playing with them for fine motor exercises. This morning while in the drive through for doughnuts he read aloud the OPEN letters on the building; I helped him sound the word out and he read it. After we ate doughnuts while playing with the stickers he actually spelled OPEN!! That’s a first!

4 March Jack knows how to open medicine bottles now!

5 March I said I was gonna put lotion on Jack’s cheeks cause they were red and he said green. I said your cheeks are green? and he said yes’m. Cheeky!

I asked him to put his socks and shoes on because it was almost time to go to church. I checked on him a few minutes later and then spent several minutes searching for his second sock. Finally I gave up and got him another pair. While helping him put those on because now we were barely on time I saw that he put both socks on one foot. Sometimes I feel like I can’t win!

9 March Jack sprayed his nose spray all up the mirror less than an hour after I’d cleaned it.

14 March The day of Rebekah’s BD pool party at (2:30pm) both boys came downstairs at 7:30am with their swimsuits on!!
Same day Jack touched the griddle while Max was making pancakes. It was red and I could see the outline of the rim in his hand, but it never bubbled up and he didn’t cry. I know it hurt, but doesn’t seem to be bad, thankfully!!! We’ve told him many times that the stove’s hot, but I’ve seen him a few times (even while I’m cooking) say ‘hot’ and run his hand along the stove edge until he gets to the hot part. I wonder if he’s trying to learn what hot is?

15 March Jack says, “I want run please, Mama.” I said, “No.” He said aloud, “Ask Mama run.” “I want run please, Mama.” It’s always funny to hear him talk things through. I’ve heard him many times tell on himself by saying aloud, “No no, Jack! Spanking!” or, “Ohhhh noooo! Jaaaaack!” really slow and drawn out. It’s so funny, except that I then have to stop what I’m doing and go check on him.

At the BD party Max says a girl with yellow hair asked if Jack was adopted. Max said it was just like the girl who asked me questions about Jack at Harp’s. She was about 20 years old and worked there and we were chatting. I said we’d been cooped up at home with all the snow and she asked me if Jack “was adopted or something?” and then asked if Max had “anything”. I didn’t have my feelings hurt but it is amazing to me that someone that old didn’t realize that whole conversation was inappropriate to have with someone she didn’t really know.

21 March Jack was playing in the other room and saying “I’m ok!” like he was convincing himself of that fact.

I was talking to Max about not getting his feelings hurt by Caleb and asked what Caleb might generally do that would make Max mad. Max said that Caleb has called Max stupid, “and when I challenge him to a math duel he says “What Stupid?” I started laughing out loud and said that yes, that was mean, but it was also really funny. Caleb is such a punk and Max gets his feelings hurt too easily.

We went to get doughnuts (I know it sounds like we eat them a lot, but we don’t really) and Jack crawled like dog on his hands and feet all the way to the truck, barking all the way. Heh.

Max and I were reading the Bible and we heard a loud thump. Jack went down the stairs in laundry basket!

Max got food coloring and bottles for Easter to make colored pancakes. He burned a bottle on the griddle and came to tell me. When I saw it I just chuckled a little…the damage was done and there was no lasting harm besides the loss of the bottle. He chuckled a bit with a worried look on his face and then said “Why are we laughing?” The night before one of my friends (who shall remain nameless) cooked a chicken pot pie without removing the plastic lid…it shriveled up and made a strange lumpy blob on the pie that took us a few minutes to figure out what it was. LOL

30 March I took the boys to eat at Popeye’s. Max had his history book so he found a seat and started reading. Jack stayed with me while I tried to figure out what to order. There weren’t many people there and Jack was walking to the Coke machine and back just talking and singing…staying out of trouble. After I ordered and was paying I realized Jack wasn’t by the Coke machine! I had a moment of panic and then the girl said ‘He’s sitting right over there”. He’d gone to sit with the last girl who’d ordered who actually worked there. She had food and I’m sure he had some designs on her chicken! That boy’s gonna be the death of me yet!

Tuesday, February 3rd, 2015

January 23rd, Friday: Jack said “Ax the blessin, mama” and “Sit with us!” to Tj while we were on the big brown chair. That’s the best sentences he’s done on his own ever!

That night Tj worked late. I was sound asleep when about 1:30am I heard what I thought was a kid running down the stairs. I jumped out of bed to go check and saw Tj in the upstairs bathroom. I asked if everything was alright and he said Jack was taking a bath. By himself! He’d just walked in from work and while walking through the laundry room (directly downstairs from the bathroom) he heard water dripping and there were puddles at the bottom of each side of the door frame! Apparently Jack got up in the night, he took off all of his clothes and put them in the dirty clothes basket, and then he had a fun, very splashy bath. The tub wasn’t overflowing, so he must’ve used the cup in the tub to pour water on the floor. Now that it’s been a few days and the water has evaporated we still have some ceiling paint that’s bulged out.

The next Sunday as he was waking up from his nap he sat straight up, kept his eyes closed and mumbled, “Down slide…….I want………flashlight.” and then he fell over again and slept a little bit more.

That night after church Tj took Max home and I had Jack. I walked to his side of the truck and closed the door after him and went around to my side and got in. He immediately said, “Fall down” while looking out of his window. He repeated it a couple of times, and when I went to look the DVD case had fallen out of the truck without me noticing! A few months ago he would have just grunted or whined until I (maybe) figured out what was wrong. And probably a year ago we would have just driven off without him making a sound at all. It always amazes me that with how smart he is in tons of ways, communication comes so so hard to him.

Monday Max said he was cartoonifying me. He said, “Sorry Mom, I have to make you a bit deranged…one of your legs is too big and your eyes are a little weird.”

I started keeping a potty chart again because it seemed like the accidents were accumulating. In the first 12 days of January he had 3 accidents. Then he had almost 2 full weeks of no accidents. Then last week he peed himself 5 times in 2 days! Ugh!! The last day, Wednesday, after that day’s accident he went to the bathroom by himself and said to himself “Potty on toilet, yes” in a very self-satisfied manner. He makes me laugh (when he’s not making me cry!) The crazy thing is pretty much every accident is at home. He did wet his pants at Amy’s once recently, but other than that it’s at home. We’ve even stopped bringing his bag into church.

Jack is in the 1st grade Sparks class and Mrs. Sue and I lead the class. One of the games we play is dodgeball. Any game with a ball (or a balloon for that matter) no matter what the rules are Jack gets the ball. I sometimes feel bad for his team because he’s in the circle with the other team throwing the balls in at them, and Jack grabs the first ball he can get and then throws it at his teammates…or whoever is near, honestly. It makes me laugh, but it wouldn’t be quite as funny if his teammates realized what he was doing.

Friday: I forget what I was talking about, but I said the word ‘sentimentality’. Max said “Yum!” I think he thought it had something to do with cinnamon.

Saturday Max made pancakes all by himself!

Sunday we had our 3rd annual Superbowl party. Everyone stayed late, and the boys went to bed around 10 pm. Jack woke up at 7am, and Max at 8. Max asked about the Oreo package in the kitchen and I told him to keep his paws off…there were 3 left and they were mine. Just about that time Jack sauntered in and there was a black ring around his mouth!! I was worried! I asked him what he’d eaten and he said, “Cookie”. An actual answer to my question! I had to ask him a few times and a few different ways but he finally said he got the cookie off the floor. Then I remembered that I’d seen a part of an Oreo under the edge of the island. At least it wasn’t my Oreos!


Friday, January 16th, 2015

The other day Max said, “When I really think about my younger self, I think I had a really low IQ!”

At some point in another conversation he said, “The only girl who my heart’s on a journey about is Rebekah”. He talked about how having a girlfriend who’s shy is better than having one who’s not because she won’t be bringing you to all her friends who are so loud and might laugh at you. We got into this conversation somehow after talking about how he wants to go visit Aunt Kelly again (but really because they all watch so much TV!). I asked if he had fun and he said they had a water bouncy thing one time, but he didn’t want to go on it because there were just a bunch of girls. He told me he’s the kind of guy who doesn’t want to go around a bunch of girls when he has a mohawk or sunglasses or something because then all the girls will be noisy about him and say stuff about how he’s cool. This is how we morphed into the Rebekah thing. When I asked him what he thought about Rebekah he said she was pretty, and shy, and had cool parents, “But really all my friends have cool parents because they all have their own iPod or iPad or something.” (If only that were the only thing keeping me from being a cool parent!) Some other place in this conversation (it was only a couple of days ago, but I was cooking at the time and didn’t have time to jot down too many notes) he said in an exasperated voice, “…and please don’t say I get all my info on romance from movies!” I asked him where did he get his romance ideas from and he grudgingly said it was movies. Humph.

Tonight at supper he asked me what age I thought having a girlfriend was a good idea. I asked him what age he thought. He said around 12 or so. I asked him what a girlfriend was for. He said to see about marrying or something. I agreed and said having a girlfriend is getting to know someone well enough to see if you want to marry her…and if you’re not ready for marrying then you don’t need a girlfriend. I hope he has friends who are girls, but I didn’t think he should be thinking about girlfriends until he was 16 or so. We’ll see where this goes.

In Jack news: I’m hoping we’ve finally gotten his allergy meds worked out. We had to go to the base to pick up a new prescription yesterday and as we were leaving we stopped to see a tiny service dog on a lady’s lap. Jack asked me and I asked if he could pet the dog, and then kiss the dog’s head, and then kiss his paw. The lady explained that the dog wasn’t around kids much and was nervous but Jack was being gentle and they got along together well. At one point I guess Jack saw the dog lick so Jack put out his extensive tongue and licked his own nose and the lady commented on how long his tongue was. We talked a bit about DS and his tongue. After a minute or two of chit chat I saw Jack lean close to her leg, and then he licked her!!! Oh that was sooooo funny! He’s licked plenty of things in his life, but the few times he’s licked people it’s just hilarious. Mom says he’s a service boy. Wonder if we can make any money lending him out? He would make other people so happy. :-) He barked loudly three times as we were leaving. That’s my boy!

Friday, January 16th, 2015

Tj and I have been so blessed since we’ve been married. We haven’t struggled so much like so many couples do. He’s always had a great paycheck, if his job hasn’t been the best, and really for many years he’s had some really great jobs, too. It was a real struggle when he retired, first for a while there he was submitting resumes like crazy and not getting any feedback at all. And then when he did get a job it was non-flying, which has never been what he wanted, but he tried to make it work. He struggled, too, with just leaving the AF; it’s the only job he’s had for so many years, and he loves the AF so much, it was hard to leave it though it seemed like the best thing for him to do. We finally came through that, though, and have been settled for the most part for a while now. Life has been rocking along.

Right at the end of September of last year is when I first remember hearing serious things about his job. A new firm got the contract so there would be a changeover. Tj said everyone said generally these turnovers went smoothly with basically the only change being where the check came from and what logo you had on your shirt.

Sometime in October there was a meeting where the new firm said they were cutting everyone back to part time, no paid vacations, not hiring any schedulers, etc, etc, crap, crap, crap. We began to get a little nervous. We’ve operated with no debt for practically our whole marriage, but we went on a big cruise in May, and then both of our cars needed serious repairs, and then…and then, by the end of the summer we weren’t paying off the credit card every month like we’ve always done. It was weighing on our minds. By this time I’d cut out frivolous spending, and was trying to cut down on necessary spending as I could as well.

After trying not to spend so much for a few weeks on groceries and failing, I started thinking about a no-spend November. I kept going to the store to pick up just a few things, but would see a staple on sale and would stock up as I normally do. And then there was that last trip to Sam’s…our membership was expiring so I made a last run. It’s hard to buy just a little! So I decided I wouldn’t buy any food for me or the boys for the whole month of November. Tj was still eating fresh fruits/veggies every day so I’d get his normal things, but I thought I had plenty of food in our pantry (and the garage food shelves, and the ref/freezer, and the garage freezer) that it wouldn’t be too hard.

We made it through the whole month…we ran out of milk 3 days before December, we were almost out of eggs, and the biggest tragedy: we were completely out of hot chocolate mix!!!! But we had veggies every day, and fruit probably every day. Heh. I’ve come to the realization that I’m a food hoarder (I won’t mention all the other things I hoard, it’s enough right now to only talk about the food hoarding.) But really, that hoarding really came in handy that month. :-) I really enjoyed the challenge. Two surprise helps: our church hosted a luncheon for G-lab workers and we got to bring home some leftover baked ziti and enough salad to last us a week. And then my girlfriend moved and I cleaned out her refrigerator. I mixed the creamer I brought home with some chocolate chips I had from my stash and made us hot chocolate. Heaven! :-)

In December I challenged myself to only spend $100/week for all 4 of us for food and whatever else I’d normally buy at Wal-Mart. I had already been price matching Kroger’s sales at WM for the last several months, but I’ve really stepped up my game. I’ve compiled a price list in Excel, and now when I go to the grocery store I pretty well know how much I’ll spend. I did go a little crazy with the sales last week: Kroger had milk for 40 cents less than usual per gallon so I bought 5, and eggs were 50 cents cheaper so Tj and I decided to make breakfast burritos to freeze for him to have on the go so I got 5 dozen eggs. Then when I was there I saw that WM was selling their pepperoni for $1 less than normal! I bought it all. :-) That combined with other sales I found I think I’ll only buy a few fresh veggies next week. I’m enjoying the thrill of the hunt with these sales, and I like being better informed when I shop about what actually constitutes a good price, but it’s hard not to stock up on a good thing if I’ve already spent the money for the week. If he ever has a job where we’ll actually have to live with this budget I’ll be a lot more prepared and confident now. Other areas we’ve cut way back on: eating out (we’ve eaten out once in November to celebrate an interview, and twice in December to celebrate him being hired and hearing from A), we haven’t opened the hot tub (we have to buy a new cover before we do), and we didn’t buy a Christmas tree.

We told Max that Christmas was going to be slim because of the job situation and he took it like a champ. Because he knows Santa isn’t real, and because Jack still doesn’t understand Santa (although he definitely knows what presents are), Christmas was almost kind of a let-down. We planned on staying home for both Thanksgiving and Christmas to save money, and really, the boys and I had a whole month off of school by then, so Christmas day was not too much different than the other days we’d had. I forgot to mention that Thanksgiving wasn’t as fun as it had been the last couple of years when I spent the day leisurely cooking after we delivered meals and then we all sat down and had a nice dinner. This year I cooked and Tj mostly filled out applications and worked on keeping himself employed. We were convinced the week before Christmas that Tj wasn’t going to be offered a job with the new firm. They had to hire in order of seniority, and he was 7th from the bottom! Finally, 8 days before Christmas he was sent an email around 9pm offering him a job! We were so relieved!

Even though we’re so happy for Tj to have a paycheck, the crap hasn’t stopped. The first thing his boss said to him in front of the other hundred or so employees was, “You don’t take a good photo so you can’t get a company badge today”!! When I asked him what he’d done that was such an affront he said that the guy taking the picture okayed the pic even though Tj had his eyes closed. Whatever. From them dangling unemployment in front of 90% of the staff for months before Christmas to them letting go of 20% of the staff to them not having good business etiquette (showing up to an 8am meeting at 8am and still not being ready for it by 9:20), they’ve really created a hostile work environment. I really wonder where this will take us.

Thursday, January 15th, 2015

I’ve put off blogging about this too long. This was from Max and Caleb’s boot camp 5 Sept 2014. For some reason Caleb and Max have never gotten along for any length of time. I think Max has been basically an only child for so long now, and Caleb is out to prove himself a big man to everyone he meets. So Max gets his feelings hurt by Caleb because Caleb knows how to push Max’s buttons, and Max hasn’t learned he’s not the only one who matters yet. Caleb is the little brother Max needs until Jack grows up enough to be that brother.

Amy and I concocted this plan that for boot camp they would each have the other over for a sleepover. They would have time to spend together without Adam and Dan to buffer them…they’d have more time to spend alone to try to get along. They had to serve each other, and be super great hosts, and they had to provide a gift for the other with money they’d earned.

Caleb came over and it was fairly benign, but there were some jewels:

Caleb told me I needed to vacuum my kitchen because they broke the water balls all over the floor…they made a huge mess! That really annoyed me so I fussed at him a little bit for that.

I was fixing ice cream and Caleb said ‘Am I right that I get first pick?’

Later on in the evening I sent Amy some text messages:

Just put J in the bed (only 1.5 hrs late) (not that it really matters…) and bit Caleb’s head off. Everything I do he’s sassy about. So I told him his sassy pants had to go, he had to be happy about something. He looked at me like he was thinking hard if there was anything he could be thankful for, and I finally said, like the ice cream??? He murmured thank you. Now he and Max are cutting out pocket knives out of cardboard

Heh, Caleb told me my phone alert was annoying…it went on too long. I said so things that go on forever are annoying? and gave him a look. He got it.

Ok, they’re eating a lot of sugar and start playing truth or dare. Caleb says I dare you to take off your pants, then it escalates since they’re both laughing, your underpants, your shirt. I said I didn’t think they wanted to see each other naked and one of them said something about seeing a mom naked…I put a stop to that right then!

Since the boot camp things have gotten marginally better, although after church last night Caleb came and told me that Max was calling him names. I asked what Max had called him (not really thinking it would be something I’d think was too bad) and Caleb said ‘big butt’. I told him to tell Max his mom said come right now, so he did. When I asked Max he said yes, he’d called Caleb that. I made him sit out the rest of the time while the other boys got to play. Tomorrow I’m making him make Caleb some cookies and I won’t let Max eat any of them (though the rest of us should try them out to make sure they taste good).


Thursday, January 15th, 2015

We’re at the end of our second week back to school, and things are going pretty well. Max is having trouble waking up this week, though he didn’t last week, so I’ve told him to go to sleep at 8pm. If he starts getting up by himself with his alarm (at 6:30) I’ll let him go back to 8:30pm. Jack is doing fine with the wake-up, and even stays upstairs till 7am.

Max will finish 5th grade math next Wednesday, and starts 6th grade math Thursday. If he does this double-time till the end of school (like he’s done so far this year) he’ll be 2 grades ahead when he starts back in the fall! That kid definitely has his dad’s head for numbers (thankfully). We’re taking off Monday for MLK day (I’ve scheduled us off every PS off day) and Tuesday for his birthday. He was surprised to learn that PS kids have to go to school on their birthdays! I feel bad for them!

Speaking of PS, I found these notes I’d made to give to J’s teacher last year when he started school. I figured this is a good place to keep them:

Teacher: don’t chase him. He knows what you want him to do. Make him do it with your voice. (Several of his teachers/therapists think they have to chase him to force him to do what they want.)

Don’t ask him to do anything, tell him. Ask = high pitched voice; say it low. (When you ask him nicely to do anything he takes it that he can choose not to do it. Tell him to do whatever by being firm.)

He will repeat what he wants to a million times even if it’s not what you’re asking. (He still does this…pays no mind to anyone else talking, or to the fact that he’s alone in a room. He’ll just randomly ask for Animusic and expect me to hear him even if I’m in the bathroom, or at the store.)

Don’t spit (thankfully not actual spitting, but hissing/growling when he doesn’t like what he’s getting/being forced to do).

‘No hands’ when I see his hands in his mouth.

Things we’re working on:
Tongue in
Potty training
Please/thank you
Yes/no ma’am/sir
Excuse me after every burp and fart
I want _____ please teacher (not just demanding what he wants with one word).

“No thanks” if he doesn’t want something. I say ‘no fussing’ or ‘get control of yourself’ if he throws a fit, and I place a hand on his chest and back or on both of his arms to try to calm him down.

He goes overboard sometimes with crying/anger when he’s hurt. I tell him ‘calm down’.

I also made a list of things to feed him. I had most of his breakfasts made ahead of time, but we went through a time of smoothies, too.

boiled egg
cheese stick
cherry tomatoes
veggie straws

It sure was nice to only have Max to school, but I’m grateful to have Jack at home.

Monday, January 5th, 2015

Well, so much for blogging during my Christmas vacation! With 6 weeks off I surely could’ve done better. But I spent my time cooking, eating, reading, watching and sleeping. Nice. Some of the things I made are: lots of biscuits (I learned hot to make those from scratch), orange cranberry bread (good, but not worth all the effort of that recipe), fudge, cinn rolls (Pioneer Woman’s recipe…tons of rolls!), cinn toast (also from Pioneer Woman…we had this a few times…like breakfast candy!), choc chip cookies, Pioneer Woman pancakes (Tj made those…too much work for me and I don’t appreciate them enough), hamburgers (the huge decadent ones from Cooks Illustrated), beignets, homemade rolls (the recipe made a ton so they’re in the fridge and every other day I go pull off a bit and bake it. Yum!) and cherry cheesecake bars.

Anyway, today was our first day back, and it was wonderful! If every day of school was like this everyone would homeschool. Jack did all his chores without fussing…I helped him pick out his clothes but he got dressed by himself while I got ready downstairs. He put up his dishes, brought the laundry to the laundry room, put a new bag in the garbage can and cleaned off the coffee tables like a pro! Max got up with the alarm (which wasn’t a sure thing since we didn’t follow my wonderful plan for the last week of vacation to gradually get us used to waking up with alarms again), dressed and made/ate his breakfast, did all his chores including sorting the laundry, and was ready for school on time. We read our Bibles, and Jack even read a few words. Then Jack copied his Bible verse pretty well. Max was finished with everything but math by 11am, and then (as usual) took much longer with math than he needed. All in all though, it was a wonderful day.

I’ve decided to go back to the basics with Jack…reading/writing/math. He did really well on all of those, so he and I went to the library and a couple of grocery stores while Max finished up his math. I thought we needed to celebrate such a great beginning so I used my (now twice used) two coupons for free ice cream cones for the boys.

The boys are upstairs (Max with a fresh pile of books [I've finally started taking advantage of the ability to place books on hold at the library] and Jack tucked into bed) and I’m about to fold the wash which is all clean now.


A couple of notes from our Christmas break:

Dec 25,2014 Max to his Minecraft toys: “Never use your head as a projectile.”

Dec 31,2014 Max wants Tj to get a job at the new Japanese restaurant so Max could ‘help old people get their food’. He’d have a sign on his head that said “Helper”. Doesn’t that sound like a great idea???

3 Jan 2014 Tj put Jack into bed and made Mutant Cuddly Dog (named by Max) ask Jack if he wanted in the bed. Jack then made MCD tell Tj ‘I want music please Daddy’!!! Reminds me of the time Robyn told Papa (through her stuffed raccoon) “I’m not a doggy, you idiot”!!!

And I can’t believe I haven’t written this one yet, but for the longest time Jack has been inadvertently sounding like a pirate/cowboy. When I call him and he really doesn’t want to answer, he replies in a very loud, super slow, slightly annoyed tone “Yarrrssum!”

Monday, December 15th, 2014

Man, I was doing pretty good there for a while, but homeschooling Jack bogged me down and now it’s been forever since I blogged! We sure have had a learning curve this year. I really think Jack and I were in a good homeschool groove and then here we are at Christmas break. We’ve been off of school for 3 weeks, and have another 3 to go! Woop woop for homeschool!!! I’ve really been enjoying living in my pj’s, learning how to make biscuits from scratch, making up my own recipe for our Chocolate Bread House (I thought I had it nailed but one of the walls really cracked today…back to the drawing board), etc.

These last few months I’ve just been jotting down notes for blogging so here’s a massive info dump:

I noticed this summer we’ve stopped holding Jack’s hand in every parking lot. I still do it in big places, but at church or smaller stores I can let him go.

Spirit cheese: Mom and Papa kept the boys while Tj and I went to an AF football game. The cadets threw ‘spirit cheese’ on the field: prewrapped cheese slices easily swiped from the chow hall. It was tons of fun!

We were talking about a Lego motorcycle one day and out of the blue Max says you know about the sperm and egg? When I asked what he wanted to know he said, “How do they get together?” I told him he didn’t need to know about that yet, we’d tell him when he was older.

One day I told him ‘Your daddy went big’ about something. He said, “That’s what I’m gonna be when I grow up.” When I asked him what he said, “A going big guy. I’ll get everything I need for the right occasion. For a birthday party I’ll have number candles, I’ll buy a set of the numbers 1-9, make a cake; I’ll just always have everything I need.” I guess I haven’t been doing it right since I usually just have the right amount of candles, not the ones shaped like numbers!

I told Max, “I’m a neat freak.” He said, “So am I, in my mind.”

We were playing with salt dough and Max said, “This dragon’s neck looks like a scrunchy old lady’s neck.” When I protested he said, “I didn’t mean yours!!” Thanks Max.

Jack asks me for something, and while I’m mentally debating he says, “Says yes!” I wonder if he’s trying to trick me into actually saying yes?? It makes me chuckle every time.

I tell Jack to come here. He comes and then when he’s 2 steps away he says loudly, “Coming!”

One night as I was putting him to bed we were singing ‘the baby on the bus says ‘wah wah wah’. Jack sang it again and said he says ‘happy happy happy!’ He really feels bad whenever he thinks anyone else feels bad or is crying.

Nov 5 Jack pooped in his underwear. I think the last time was right after we came back from Atlanta. Now he’s pooped in his pants two mornings in a row. Third morn I found him in tub with poop. Ugh. I started keeping track because he’d gone a while since he’d had an accident…but I’ve stopped because it’s becoming more common. Ugh again.

A friend said he told his 3 kids if they didn’t all get new Halloween costumes or go trick-or-treating he’d take them to the store and they could get whatever candy they wanted. They didn’t take him up on it, but I offered it to Max and he did! Tj was working that night, and none of the neighbors on our street were going so I didn’t really want to take the boys by myself. I told Max I’d still take them to the church’s fall festival, and then the morning after Halloween I’d take him to WalMart and he could have $5 of whatever candy he wanted…it was all 50% off. He picked out 2.75lbs of Smarties Saturday around noon. He finished it off the following Friday night. He did share some with Jack, Tj and a couple with me, but he basically ate the whole thing himself.

Max and I have been reading through the KJV together and one day the verse he read was Isa 59:17, “For he put on righteousness as a breastplate, and an helmet of salvation upon his head; and he put on the garments of vengeance for clothing, and was clad with zeal as a cloak.” As soon as he was finished he said EWWWW! When I asked him what he said, “Isn’t that some sort of meat?” He confused ‘zeal’ for ‘veal’. That really made me laugh.

Jack is noticing the outside world more and more, and realizing he can change what goes on. Lately he’s been saying stuff like, “Mom, eat Max dessert” (meaning I want to eat Max’s dessert), and “Trade” (his empty plate for my full one). Smarty pants!

Jack still says ‘mummer’ for ‘number’.

It’s taken half our school year but I can finally put Jack at the table with writing work and he’ll do it…only coming to see me 10 times in half an hour. Progress!

20Nov Jack peed on bedroom floor, stripped and got in shower.

29Nov I told Jack to pray for the food and ask that Max’s head feel better (headache). Jack said “God, poor Max, Animusic on please Mama, amen.”

I was cooking gumbo on the stovetop and Jack just walks up to stove, sees something’s on there and puts his hand on the edge, creeping closer to the hot burner. He still doesn’t know which one is ‘hot’ or ‘cold’, but I would’ve thought he’d know the stove could hurt him after all the times we’ve told him. I guess he’s still figuring it out, and maybe he’s just so hard-headed he won’t figure it out until he gets hurt.

Dec 8 Jack lost his 2nd tooth, and then I lost it! We ate breakfast in the living room and then I was giving him his medicine. He kept fussing, and I assumed he didn’t want to sit still for the medicine. I told him to cut it out, and then he said ‘tooth’. I looked, and it was gone! I asked him where it was (I’d told him a couple of times if his tooth came out and he gave it to me I’d give him a piece of candy) and he pointed and said ‘chair’…it was on the brown ottoman. I put it on the counter, far back under the plant. Later that afternoon when Tj came home and I told him about it I went to look for it but couldn’t find it! I rolled out the first of our Chocolate Bread House near there…I’m sure it didn’t end up in the house! Craziness!

13Dec Flutabee Jack said about a dragon fly.

14 Dec Jack is literally jumping on the trampoline with his flag and ironing board right now. At lunch he tried to use his finger as a pusher to get his garbanzo beans on his fork. Finally gave up and picked them all up in one hand and put them on the fork slowly, dropping them one by one. Picked up the fork and they all fell off on the way to his mouth, one by one. Sometimes having children is so much fun. I love to watch them when they’re in their own little worlds trying to be big.