I’ve missed you, old friend

Yes, I know. It has been eight months since I last opened up this blog to write. EIGHT MONTHS! It’s not that I haven’t wanted to write, I have. More than once, I have constructed interesting posts in my mind, only to never find the time to put pen to paper, or I guess fingers to keyboard as it were.

My last post came right before school started for the year. I guess that should say it all. This year has been busy; busier than I could have ever imagined. I actually remember thinking that with my youngest boys starting preschool, I would have all this spare time to work, to get caught up on projects, to have time for myself….. except that isn’t exactly how it has gone.

Instead I have spent a very hectic last eight months juggling everyone’s busy schedules. My days are spent driving kids to school, picking them up, volunteering at their schools whenever possible, driving to after-school activities, finding time to help with homework, trying to keep the house running, and just occasionally sneaking in a few moments to sit back and enjoy life at this stage. It’s exhausting. Seriously. I don’t know how other moms do it, especially if they have more kids than me. I am worn out….

So no, by the end of a long day, I’m usually not in the mood to sit down and write. I’m much more in a curl-up-with-a-book-and-glass-of-wine mood, or maybe a Netflix-and-ice-cream-sundae kind of mood.

As it is, I find my time here drawing to a rapid close, as the clock tells me I must head out very soon to pick up my boys from preschool. I’m glad I was able to at least sneak on here for a few precious moments.

So tell me fellow moms, how do YOU do it? How do you get everyone where they need to go, get all the homework done, and get dinner on the table each night? I’m open to any and all suggestions. And maybe those of us who have this craziness worked out into a well-oiled machine, can offer some inspiration to the rest of us who are trying our best to keep up.

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Getting out of my funk…

Okay, I will admit it, I have been in a full-fledged funk lately. I haven’t blogged in… well…. a long time. And I haven’t wanted to. There have been a number of things going on in our lives, weighing on my mind, cluttering my brain, and just generally distracting me. And I haven’t really had the energy or desire to clear the fog. Until now.

I am clearing it. I have to. It is time to get mentally back on track. The first step, I need to start writing again. If I can get the clutter (or at least some of it) out of my head and down on paper (computer), then it will help. So here goes. I’m going to attempt to blog every single day for the next seven days. Sort of a back-in-the-saddle blogging purge, if you will. I can’t guarantee what I write about will be super interested, though I will try to make it so. That isn’t the point. The point is to just get back in the routine of exercising my brain….

IMAG0471So tonight’s get-out-of-the-funk exercise was baking! Thanks to my amazing neighbor, I have been wanting to make chocolate chip zucchini muffins for about three weeks now… and never found the time or energy. Tonight I bit the bullet and got my baking on…. and the kitchen is already starting to smell very good! I’m hoping the boys will enjoy them as a treat in the morning. I always love to give them yummy things that have a little nutritional benefit to them….

Tomorrow’s funk-free agenda: swim lessons! In a totally last-minute thing, a friend of mine got us hooked up with her children’s swim teacher. I was going to forgo lessons this year, since the twins are too young. I could only imagine that dragging them poolside and forcing them to sit still, out of the water, while big brother got to swim…. would be neither feasible nor fair. But this way, all three can take lessons together!

PS: It feels good to be writing again.

Speaking Two-eese and Learning to Spell

The other day, Alan met with a local kindergarten teacher, regarding an upcoming star gaze at her school, and they got to talking about the boys. You see, she teaches at the magnet school we are hoping to get Connor into, where they utilize an International Baccalaureate (IB) Primary Years Programme (PYP). It is a very advanced program, designed for advanced students. Alan mentioned that we were looking into it for Connor (and of course the twins down the line), so she asked some questions about the boys and their development. And after their brief interview, it has become even more clear that this accelerated program will likely be the right fit.

letters2Connor continues to excel with his current preschool curriculum. He is always eager to learn, and masters the concepts quickly, which is especially exciting when I stop to remember that my 3 year old is in the 4-year-old program right now. When we aren’t working on the more structured lessons, Connor and I are continuing our endeavor towards reading and writing. He can identify all of the letters and almost all of their phonic sounds. He will constantly give me a new word and ask what letter it starts with. We then work together to sound it out and figure out the letter, and he does wonderfully at this. And he is starting to spell! Connor can spell his own name, as well as Mom and Dad, Ben and Alex. We are primarily focusing on three-letter words to begin with, since their structure is the most straightforward. For example, we work on spelling “cat,” and from there we can then spell “bat” and “mat”… you get the point.

A quick side note though, a downfall I have found to this spelling exercise… I wanted to teach Connor to spell “Mom” before “Mommy,” since the double-M and the Y that sounds like a vowel can be tricky to understand. But ever since I started quizzing him on how to spell Mom, that’s what he calls me. I’m not Mommy anymore. And it makes me sad! I don’t know why, but hearing “Mommy” from your little boy just seems to have that extra love in it that you don’t hear as clearly with plain old “Mom.” So now I’m making him call me Mommy again, even as we spell Mom :).

My next goal for Connor is to continue learning how to put together shorter words, but I also plan to begin having him write his letters. Through preschool, he has been practicing tracing, connecting the dots, drawing straight lines, drawing circles, and all of the necessary fine motor skills he needs. So I think we are ready to add the next step.

Meanwhile, my other little scholars continue to expand their “two-eese” vocabulary by leaps and bounds, still months ahead of turning 2 years old! At 21 months, they can say more words than I could possibly count, and they regularly string two and three-word sentences together. They understand virtually everything we tell them, and neither Alan nor I have ever been one to “dumb down” our conversations for our kids. They are also extremely good at articulating what they want, how they feel, and what they need. They know animal names and the sounds the animals make. They are beginning to memorize the Alphabet Song. And they are even beginning to understand colors, though right now everything is “blue-green,” at least to Alex.

Now proper pronunciation is still a way off for the twins, which is why we jokingly refer to their language as “two-eese.” But make no mistake, they are speaking 100-percent English, there’s no “twin-talk” made-up language in this house. The key to understanding them is to listen to the words, knowing which sounds they might be leaving out. It takes a little practice, and there are even times I have to translate for Alan because I am around them all day. Here is a quick translation of some of the most commonly used words and phrases that might be hard to understand:

Beh- Ben
Alah- Alex
Concon- Connor
Gogog- Doggie
Guck- Stuck
Jew- Juice
Wing- Swing
I La Loo- I love you
I Eee Oooh- I need you

I have to be perfectly honest, I love two-eese!!!!! They just sound so cute all the time! Hearing their tiny little voices create grown-up words in their own special way…. I can’t even describe how adorable and sweet it is. I wish I could have a tape recorder running 24 hours a day to capture it all, I would save and treasure that recording forever.

Of course, there are a few words that don’t come across so well in two-eese. For example: “sock.” The twins still don’t say their S’s very well, so this one typically comes out sounding like a different four-letter word with a much harsher connotation. I’ll let you figure it out. It’s pretty funny now, but I’m hoping and praying they don’t find the need to say “sock” in mixed company any time soon.

It is an amazing journey to watch my little men grow and learn something new each and every day. I wouldn’t trade it for the world.

Sleep Training: Night 2

I’m not going to lie, last night was rough. Part of it may be that I was just so unbelievably tired all day yesterday, didn’t get a nap, didn’t go to bed very early… but if I had been hoping to see progress from the first night to the second, it wasn’t there.

Here’s what last night looked like:

10:20. Alex starts some light fussing, I went in to comfort him and turn the lullabies back on. In hindsight he wasn’t really crying, so I probably should have left well enough alone.

11:50. Alex is crying again. I turned the lullabies back on again (they run for an hour). I tried to comfort him, that wasn’t working. I tried offering him some water (something we thought we should add o the mix since it’s been so dry lately, maybe they are thirsty?), he didn’t want that. Finally I left him and he cried for about a minute of hard crying before settling, but then fussed off an on for the next 20 minutes.

12:09. It’s been 5 hours now since they ate last, so I nurse Alex.

1:15. Ben is up now, it’s been more than 5 hours for him, so I nurse him.

?? I think Alan got up with one or both of the boys at this point, I don’t remember.

3:45. Ben is up and screaming. I had to pick him up, I couldn’t leave him like that. I rocked him and he settled down, but as soon as I tried to put him back in his crib, he was screaming again. I had to leave him, he quieted down in about a minute or so.

4:00. Ben again. Alan tries this time and at 4:07 tells me they are moving to the couch to lay down together. Yes, this breaks one of the cardinal rules, but I say, go for it. Not sure what happened after that. I fell back asleep until roughly….

5:45. Both are up and fussing, I nurse them both and put them both back to bed, but they are awake. I go back to bed, Alan is already up. He can’t even remember when they got up for the day.

Ugh. Yeah, that was about as sucky as it sounds. When does this get easier?!?!?!? Deep breaths, we keep trying…

On a totally unrelated note, now that I am basically putting their “go to sleep” lullabies on auto-repeat, what is up with nursery rhymes and lullabies??? I mean, seriously, cradles fall out of trees, bridges fall down, mice with special needs get their tails cut off, birds bite maids on the nose… it’s brutal. WTF??? This is what we sing to our kids? Have I just stumbled onto the secret of what is wrong with our society??? But hey, the tunes are soothing, so there’s something.