Friday, December 31, 2010

One of Many Reasons....

Tonight we were supposed to go to dinner and a movie with some friends. It is FoTB's weekend with Zack and I had asked him last week if they had plans or were just staying in. He had told me that they would just be hanging around the house and so it would be fine for him to have Zack. (I offered to keep him if they were going out and going to get a babysitter) I even reconfirmed this with both him and his girlfriend on Wednesday night when I picked up Zack and they told me they would all just be at home. That some friends of hers and their kids were coming over.

So this morning, after staying up till 10:00 watching movies with us, Zack got up at 6:45. We went back to bed but I'm unsure that he fell back asleep. So at 10:30 when he was falling asleep watching a movie, I thought nothing of it. At 11:45 when he got up and still looked glassy eyed I thought something might be wrong.

Fever: 101.5....

So I text FoTB and told him that Zack had a fever. My thought was, perhaps you will not be able to have your friends over if you don't want their kids to get sick. Instead what I got was a phone call from him telling me that they were taking her son to her home town (about an hour and a half away) to stay with his Grandma and that perhaps he should just pick up Zack in the morning instead of putting him in the car for that long when he was sick.

Translation: I was going to drop our son off with a woman he doesn't know to babysit him without consulting with you but now that he's sick she probably won't want him so can you just keep him?

My options at this point were to cancel our plans with our friends and stay home or force him to take Zack, knowing full well he would pack him in the car and take him there anyway, instead of staying home with him like a real parent would. I choose the former. I would rather stay home and know he was happy and safe then ship him off there not knowing what was going on.

So I called my friend and then I text Jim. With tears running down my cheeks I text him that I felt REALLY bad about ruining our night out but I REALLY didn't want to make Zack ride in a car for an hour and a half (possibly three if they just dropped off her son and brought Zack back) when he was sick.

And of course the answer I got was not to worry about it. That it was fine.

And then 20 minutes ago I looked at Facebook and this is what I saw:

So, my stepson's dad is to have him this weekend. Zack comes down sick this morning. So, the idiot doesn't want to take him tonight since it'll ruin his New Year's Eve plans. For lack of wit, I'll just say I'd like 5 mins alone with him to show what dad will do for his son. So I'll stay home tonight with my fiance & MY son, & relish in what I've gained in '10 & get to look forward to in '11.

Just one of the many reasons I love that man!!

Happy New Year Everyone!! I hope you are spending your evening with people who love you as much as Zack and I feel loved tonight!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Weather Beacon...

We are having a bit of a heat wave around here. Yesterday it was 37 degrees and today it is supposed to be in the low 40's. Consequently the snow, it is a melting fast. Much to Zack's dismay, might I add.

Last night when he got out of the car he looked at the ground and he said in his most sad four year old voice, Mom... why can I see the grass? Why is the snow melting? That isn't even fair!!

Then this morning, while Jim was getting him ready to get in the shower he mentioned to him that it had not gotten below freezing last night and that even more of the snow had melted. He didn't believe him and demanded to be held up to the window. So Jim picked him up and out of his mouth squeaked the most pathetic.... "Why??"

You would have thought that the world was ending. His favorite song right now is frosty the snow man and in his words... there isn't even enough to build a snow man and that is not even fair!! (I have a feeling this could become a catch phrase in our house.)

On my way to work this morning, I was looking for the weather beacon to get an idea of what to expect today.

In Des Moines there is a weather beacon. It is basically a tall tower with colored lights that is supposed to give you a quick glance at what the weather will be. When I was little I learned a poem about it:

Weather beacon red, warmer weather ahead
Weather beacon white, colder weather in sight
Weather beacon green, no change is foreseen
Weather beacon flashing, precipitation is on the way

I know... the last line just kills the whole rhyming thing. Don't judge, I didn't make it up, I just recited it.

Anyhow, as I looked for the weather beacon this morning I noticed something strange. The tower was dark. The tower is NEVER dark....

Apparently this weather has the weather beacon all confused too. Perhaps it just gave up and will turn back on when the weather drops back to what it's supposed to be again. :-)

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

You Have to Feed Me....

Monday night FoTB had Zack. Actually, he had him all day. It was his birthday. Terms of the divorce decree I suppose. He gets him on his birthday, I get him on my birthday we switch every other year for Zack's birthday. Such is life.

That part I have somewhat adjusted to.

On Sunday they moved, so when he picked him up on Monday he took him to his new house. The new house which apparently has no food.

At 7:00 I arrived at the new house to pick up Zack. He was grumpy and tired, which I've come to expect. FoTB told me he did not nap and he played hard all day.

I was standing in the entry way, FoTB was about 5 feet from me, his girlfriend was in a chair about 10 feet away and a friend of theirs was next to her. They were all three looking at me and listening to me as I said to Zack, "It's ok if you're tired buddy. You can fall asleep in the car and Mommy will carry you in."

Not one of them said anything about this. So we left. We pulled out of their subdivision and I once again told Zack if he was tired he could close his eyes. It was at that point that he said to me, "I can't go to sleep Mommy. You need to feed me!"

I what?? Huh??

For a year and a half now we have been doing visits during the week (Mostly Wednesday) and every time I have picked him up at 7:00 he has fed him before I got there. EVERY TIME.

So I text FoTB and asked if Zack had eaten.... no response.

So I called FoTB... no answer.

Finally, I got a text message saying that they ordered pizza but it wasn't there yet and they had eaten a late lunch so they weren't hungry yet.

WTF?? Three adults sat there and listened to me tell him he could fall asleep on the way home and not one of them felt it pertinent to mention to me that he had not had dinner yet?

Their new house is two blocks from a gas station, yet not one of them thought, hey we should get him a hot dog and a bag of chips or something so he can eat since we are not hungry?

I ended up swinging through McDonald's with him but he was so tired he fell asleep mid-chicken nugget in the back seat.

And this is the man who thinks that I should consider amending our visitation to 50/50 custody..... yeah right.... I think not.....

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Party Time

For: Zack

Do I put Zack or Zack Lastname... hmmm... I think there is only one Zack.... how about Zack lastname here and just Zack on that paper... that looks good...

Date: January 9th

01/09/11?? Or just January 9th... surely I don't need the year. The year is obvious....

Time: 2:15 - 4:15

Why couldn't they have assigned me 2:00? 2:15... what a pain... did I write that right on the last one? Oh man... maybe I should go back and check.....

Place: Kid's party place - nearby town

Do I need the town? The address is on the insert I put in there. Should I just write the name? Do I need the full name? Maybe just a short version...

R.S.V.P: Heather - 123-4367 (call or text), heathersemail@yahoo.com

Are they going to think it's strange that I put they could call or text? Is it too much to give them my email? I want them to be able to RSVP either way and I know they are more likely to do it if I give them some very non-confrontational methods. Just shoot me a text or an email. How did we get so connected? What happened to the days of check the box yes or no?

More importantly... how did I get here? Filling out 25 birthday party invitations for a four year olds birthday. Wasn't I going to wait until he was 5? But he has been invited to two other parties this year. Is four the new five?

So, there I sat yesterday, filling out the invitations. One for all the kids in his class. Can't leave anyone out. Several of them are his friends, several others will here him talk about the party. A few more for friends who have moved up to other classes and about 5 that we had to put in the mail. All strategically delivered AFTER Christmas, so as not to get lost with all of the Christmas cards and festivities, but early enough that they can plan to come.

Oh how, oh how did I get myself into this??

Monday, December 27, 2010

Happy Holidays!!

Sorry to go kind of silent. Work was CRAZY last week. 40 hours in 4 days and then all of the Christmas festivities this weekend. Right now I just want to go home and take a nap. So, I just wanted to pop in really quickly and wish all of you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!!


Heather, Jim & Zack

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Partial Solution

After racking my brain all night on Friday I finally came up with the only thing in Zack's life that has changed in the last few weeks.

FoTB is moving. On Wednesday when I got there to pick up Zack his living room was filled with boxes.

So Saturday morning I sat down with Zack and asked him what he thought would happen when daddy moved. Dud he think he would get to see him again. His answer was no.

So, we went to the bookstore and bought a couple books about moving. Since he has never known anyone that has moved it makes sense that he is wondering what happens to his things? What happens to this new little boy who has been telling Zack he is going to be his step-brother

After we talked about it and read the books his attitude seemed a bit happier. I also let FoTB know about it so he could talk to him and reassure him.

Then on Monday we took his new books (I bought two copies, one for us, one for daycare) to daycare with us. I explained to the teacher and the director a bit about what I thought might be going on.

He was in the office once on Monday. Not great but a vast improvement over Friday. Still the director and I both agreed that something still needed to be done.

So, yesterday we started him on a positive reinforcement program. Basically they break his day up into half hour incriminates and for every half hour he has without an incident he gets a stamp. Every 4-6 stamps earns him a reward.

Yesterday he had no incidents and he only lost one stamp. (For getting off his cot during nap time) He was so excited when I picked him up yesterday. He talked my ear off about how he had gotten his stamps, etc. Then when Jim called he had to tell him all about it.

At this point I'm hoping it's a good start. I know he could still back track, that the novelty of this could wear off. I hope not for awhile though.

Like maybe when he's 10.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Discipline for a four year old...

My mom just picked up Zack from daycare and she made him call me from the car.

He was in the office six times today.

He hit his friends in the back. (Two of them that I know of)
He woke everyone up from nap because he wouldn't sleep.
He told his teachers no.
He threw water on the floor in the bathroom.
He kicked a wall.

I'm frustrated beyond belief right now. My child hardly ever acts like this at home and I'm at a loss for how to discipline him at home for behavior at daycare. More over, I am at a loss for how to consistently discipline between two households.

I text FoTB when I got off the phone with my mom. Told him Zack was in the office six times today and that he would not be taking phone calls. His reply, "Great. Ok well maybe next week will be better..."

There are no consequences with him. Luckily he is at home with us this weekend so at least there will be consequences then. The most frustrating thing for me is that we have him for a week or so, get him acting well at daycare again and then one weekend over there and boom... back to terror of the daycare.

I just got off the phone with Jim. We are going to take the presents out from under the tree and take down the Christmas train before Zack gets home. We also tossed around the idea of making a Santa video for him using the option of he has not been good this year. (Although I kind of hate to use that as a ploy.)

So... oh wise people out in the blog-o-sphere... what have you done? What worked for your kids? Do you think part of it is just him being a four year old boy?

He Threw A Rock at His Teacher....

Yeah... I think the title pretty much sums it up.

I was not pleased. Jim was not pleased. FoTB... well who the heck knows what he was.

The plan last night was for Jim to pick him up early and for them to watch Christmas movies and then we were going to show him the Santa video I made.

Quick side note... if you haven't been here to make one of these for your kids yet, go. Go now... it's TOTALLY amazing and completely free.

Anyhow, I got a phone call at 4:15 from Jim and he simply said, "We are not watching Christmas movies."

Apparently he was playing with another boy, he hit him (in the context of the game I'm sure) but the teacher didn't like it and was going to make him sit in time out. That is when he threw the rock at her.

Jim made him sit in his room for awhile... the exact details of how long are sketchy but I'm hoping it was not the original "hours" that were threatened when he first called me. Then he talked to him about it and by the time I got home from dinner with my co-workers he seemed resigned to the fact that he was never ever going to do it again.

His description:

"First I sat in my room and thought about what I did. Then I came downstairs and sat in the chair and we talked about what I did. Then I could get up."

When FoTB called for his nightly phone call (another matter all together) I didn't answer. I text him back and told him Zack was not taking phone calls. That he was in a lot of trouble because he had thrown a rock at the teacher. His text back to me said that he would like to tell him what he thought of that. Thinking perhaps hearing it from all three parents might be better I agreed to have Zack call him.

It was a waste of time... I should have known better.

The phone call went something like this:

"Hi buddy, did you have a good day? You didn't why not? You know I'm not very happy with you about that and neither is your mom. You're going to make better choices tomorrow right? Ok, I love you. Good night."

No, I'm not paraphrasing for times sake. That was the whole conversation. I just looked in my phone. One minute and 30 seconds. So much for that great parenting moment.

Anyhow, after that phone call Zack and I sat and talked for awhile about what he did, why he did it and what would happen if he did it again. He then went to bed right around 8:00 (which is early for him but well needed...)

This morning when I asked him what he was going to do today he told me "be good." so I hope he's right. I feel like I'm now the mother of the problem child. I'm just waiting for him to attempt to burn down the school or smash another child with the giant "love rock."

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Help for a Friend

A Message from Katie:

I hope I never wake to find my husband unresponsive.

Kathy did.

I hope that if I ever have to go through something as heart wrenching that I have half the strength that she has shown. On November 30th, She posted this on her blog:

24 hours ago, I was sleeping peacefully. blissfully unaware that my husband would be waking me up, having a stroke. my amazing 27 year old husband. who knew that in the future hours to come, he would be poked, prodded, moved to three different rooms in two separate hospitals. that the high point of my day would come when eye contact would be made, his good arm reaching up and being pulled in for a kiss. that we would celebrate something as simple as a flinch from pain. that our future plans – this week, next month, the year to come would flip on it’s head.

24 hours ago was a whole different world.

Since then her husband has shown improvements and Kathy has shown so much love. Every time she updates her Facebook it is a testament to her love, and strength, and courage. So much courage.

The Cambpell family is supported by Kathy's job and her husband being a rock-star stay at home dad to their daughter.

Right now, and for the foreseeable future they will no longer be able to live as they have. They cannot stay in their home and have to move before Christmas. I am sure there are multiple reasons for this, however the one that I would like to help with during the holidays is the money.

I am going to donate all proceeds from my Etsy shop to her family for the month of December.
My prints start at $7.00. Think of what that is-- a lunch out, two cups of coffee at Starbucks, less then the cost of a movie ticket. Really, not much. But if we can all come together it could mean a whole lot to their family.

So please go take a look, consider a purchase and think about just how much you have to be thankful for this holiday season.

Youtube Fun

Ok, I couldn't pass up sharing this with you. There are several videos. If you go to youTube each one links to the other ones but I'm going to put them all here for you. Just watch them in order and then let me know what you think. Music geek or not, these guys are pretty good.

If you go to the one guy's YouTube channel it is the two of them performing together so they are friends in real life and just do this for fun.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Monday Magic

Yesterday we went shopping for the last of our Christmas presents. While out and about we stopped into the jewelery store to look at wedding bands.

Right now, on the table in my living room sits my wedding band. The only one out of 10 - 15 I have tried on. The one I liked two months ago, and last month and again yesterday.

It sits there, waiting for the time, six months from Saturday when it will be placed on my finger for good. Six months people and I will be married!!

And I haven't stopped smiling yet....

Friday, December 3, 2010

Counting My Blessings...

This morning when my alarm went off I didn't even have to roll over to know Jim was in the bed with me, his arm was already around my waist. Where it seems to be more often then not when I fall asleep, when I wake up and sometimes most of the night.

I usually don't think much about it but today I want to take a small moment in time to say how grateful I am to have this man in my life. How much I appreciate the little things and how I hope, in 20 years I still wake up to him, with his arm around my waist.

Last night we all decorated the Christmas tree as a family. FoTB and I lived in that house together for 6 1/2 years. We celebrated 7 Christmas's there. If the tree went up, I put it up. If the decorations went up, I put them up. If there was Christmas shopping to do, I did it.

Most people take for granted the small things in life. Shopping together, eating dinner together, decorating the Christmas tree together. I do not. I hope that is the case for the rest of our years together. I hope in 20 years, in 30 years I can still appreciate the little things in life. The fact that I get to sit on a couch with a man that I love more than I can possibly put into words and bask in the glow of a Christmas tree decorated as a family.

Last night, sitting there watching Zack marvel over the Christmas train it really hit me how different my life is just two years later. How I never, in a million years thought that I could EVER be this happy and how lucky I feel each and every day to have the life that I have right now.

So, today, I'm going to take some time to count my blessings. To bask in the glow of this new life and just be amazingly happy for all of it.