You know I am not a fan of loose teeth. In fact, I handle stomach viruses better. I have a great aversion to the noise, the wiggling, the saliva, the blood...you get the idea.
So, when Thomas told me he couldn't eat and his tooth hurt, I knew it was time for mama to suck it up for round #3 of Thomas Tooth Drama.
As you may recall all of Gracie's teeth exits were filled with drama, and Thomas seems to be following in his sisters footsteps.
Let me catch you up on the technical aspects of my 5 year olds mouth--because you so need to know this--right?!
Thomas lost his first two teeth within days of each other last year in preschool. Well, as the old ones came out the new big teeth zoomed in. Well, that cause crowding and the new teeth to turn sideways.
A trip to the dentist and he was telling us that Thomas would need to have the 2 on either side of the new teeth removed. He wanted to double check his thoughts on that and sent us across the hall to the orthodontist. Well, thankfully she felt like they were okay and told us to give them 3 months. We came back 3 months later and she said the same thing, 9 months later and she was still okay with his teeth, but was closing the gap on how long to let them wait.
So, I am thrilled that one of the teeth that need to come out is wiggly. I do not want to put him through dental drama if I can avoid it.
Now you are caught up.
Cross your fingers that thing comes out soon. He let me wiggle it a little before wincing. It really hurts him to eat with it or move it, but it isn't nearly wiggly enough to come out any time super soon.
None of us had ever tried Gobstoppers and the kids were excited to open the candy. I waited until after I read how the gobstoppers were made in the secret inventing room and let them choose 2 to suck on while I finished the chapters for the evening.
It was a great surprise
and a great addition to our theme.
If we are going to move into a new house, we might as well move a LOT less stuff.
I don't think of myself as a hoarder, but I do accumulate too many things. Add that to the fact that I have a hard time of letting go of things from the baby, and toddler years, and you can see how this house can get very full.
I was on a roll all weekend. Actually since Friday. I have been cleaning up and out and really piling up things to go.
And, the kids, who hate to let go of anything--I was so proud to see them let go of several toys and plenty of clothes.
It is easier to breathe inside, and it was nice out today, so I set my eyes on the shed and the back yard.
This place is looking good, and empty! But a good kind of empty.
It took two fully loaded Pilot car rides to the Goodwill drop off to get it all out of here, but it is gone. And what we are finished with, surely someone else can treasure. (After all, I do it all the time :)
So, I had already signed up to discuss middle school options and classes with the school guidance counselor and Gracie this morning, but I hadn't planned on a long stay at the school, and a return visit for lunch.
While Gracie was getting ready for school this morning, a very unhappy Thomas was not doing a good job of getting himself ready for school and eventually melted in a face full of tears and sobs.
We did not have time for drama this morning, so I sent Gracie on to the bus stop and attempted to calm my kindergartener down.
Now, ordinarily I would have kissed him and told him it would have been fine and put him on the bus--but I can't really describe the fit of wailing and tears we were knee deep in when the bus arrived.
In my attempts to calm him, he listed a myriad of reasons he didn't want to go to school from: "I have no friends" and "no one will play with me" to "I miss Chewey."
After long snuggles and chats and a great buck-up speech by daddy our little man was feeling better.
I am still not exactly sure what made him loose his marbles like that. He LOVES school. He LOVES Mrs. Naff, and his best friend is in the class with him. I think he may be tired, and he just hit his limit. We all do that--even mamas.
Since Gracie's appointment was at 8:45, I just got dressed and took Thomas to school with me. We stopped by the office and signed him in "tardy," and headed to kindergarten class.
Hugs and smiles from Mrs. Naff seemed to do the final trick for having a good day. I felt pretty good dropping him off and giving him hugs. That is until I said "and it's cheese stick day!" Mrs. Naff gave me a puzzled look and walked him to the lunch choices board.
I had read the wrong lunch calendar day--which meant both kids chose to buy, and neither would want the option. I couldn't have another break down, so I crossed my fingers that he would eat the chicken nugget option. And, odds are he would have, but mama was standing there so he asked me "mama, can you bring me lunch today."
So, I made a promise and headed back to the school office for Gracie's appointment. (She told me she chose a salad since mama screwed up).
I picked up Chick Fil A for lunch and returned to school around noon.
Thomas was loving that mama was there, and asked if Bryce could eat with us at the parent table. I caught Mrs. Naff before she left the cafeteria and she said it was a fine. So, Thomas and Bryce got to share their lunch together with me.
When I left my boy for the second time today at school he was smiling and I felt confident that he was doing better.
This whole day is a very mixed up on in emotions for Thomas. If this was Gracie I wouldn't have been surprised--but Thomas?! Something is off, and I am really hoping it is just not enough sleep.
You probably know that I am not the best at backing away and giving my children a chance to do things on their own.
In fact, my helicopter style of parenting can make it difficult for my kids to shine--something I am actively working on.
While my children often find ways to positively surprise me with things they are doing, or can do, or want to do--today seemed to have a theme in that area.
I allowed Thomas to dress himself this morning--for school. As you also know I am quite rigid about what I allow my children to wear in general, but even more strict about school, and super strict about church.
So, to allow Thomas to choose his own outfit this morning, it was a pretty big deal.
Of course, as you can imagine, I was mortified at what he choose, but I help my lips firm, and he left the house proud of himself for doing it all by himself.
This afternoon, Gracie begged me to let her help Thomas with his homework. Usually, I am the one who does homework with him, but she wanted to do it, and he let her (big deal that he said she could!)
I couldn't help but peek around the corner and watch a little--and snap a picture.
Gracie has also been reading the "One School One Book" for this year to her brother. She has to read each day, he has to be read to each day, and both kids have to hear the story chapters from this book that are assigned to the entire school. Three birds-1 stone!
And, to wrap up a day of "independence," Thomas went to his second karate class this month. He is loving it, and while I am not a fan of how late it pushes the evening back, we are enjoying his excitement over learning something active and new.
While, I am praising both of my kids for showing their independent spirits, I also want to let you know that Gracie is again this year working to earn and save money to purchase the American Girl Doll Of The Year. While, she would have wanted to get AG items this year and make another trip to the AG store--when she found out the name of the Girl Of The Year this year, she just had to have her!
Daddy and I are always proud of our kids, but we are learning to better and better give them the independence they need and crave (okay I am, daddy is usually fighting me to let them do it in the first place).
...or at least that is what I have always thought about myself.
Nothing ever spectacular has happened to me. I am a stay at home mom. I graduated with honors from high school, graduated college, had an average wedding, got a job, worked until I had kids.
In our 14 years of marriage we have only lived in 3 cities (Kingsport, TN, Strasburg, VA & Mechanicsville, VA) and 4 residences (2 apartments, 1 townhouse, 1 house). We have two kids, one boy one girl.
Our kids have never been to Disney, we belong to a gym, I stay at home, our vacations consist of visiting family twice a year in Tennessee. We don't have trust funds or even college funds for the kids. I have never won anything, Garren has a few AP Awards from his days as a reporter.
Don't get me wrong, I am happy with my life, always have been (you know generally speaking, any given day your life can "stink" and you know it!)--but it has been a mundane life to me. Nothing exciting, nothing earth shattering--until I really looked closely at it.
14 years ago today I was sitting at a desk in a basement newsroom hammering out new stories of the day for my anchor to report. Probably for the 6am show, because I seriously earned my dues working the overnight shift for more than a year at my Johnson City, TN CBS station. While I longed for a better newscast to produce, I figured that was my life: working 12-14 hours a day on an adrenaline high of news and top stories and "talent" drama. I never knew what the day would bring, and I loved the excitement. I was an excellent writer and it came so natural. I would be a TV news producer until I retired. Garren and I would battle over the merits of newspapers and TV journalism every evening and I would probably give up first because he loves a good debate, and I don't. We weren't going to have any kids, and maybe we would move up the career chain, but we would probably stay in the state of Tennessee.
11 years ago today I was waiting for my first child to be born very soon. I was living in a small apartment in a small town and I was sure that this was just a small stop on our journey of life. Garren had taken a job at a small paper in Strasburg, VA and the rural area offered no jobs to someone like me with a college degree. So, I cleaned houses for a while and then worked the holiday shift at JC Penney's to make some extra income to help pad our move to this small town where the cost of living was surprisingly (and much) higher than our moderate city in TN. We weren't going to stay here long. Garren would surely get picked up by a bigger paper, and I would be staying at home with our first child and life would be good.
4 years ago today, I was likely still crying my eyes out 5 months after leaving the only place I ever wanted to call home. The people we meet and loved and knew were more family than neighbors. Garren couldn't have not jumped on this opportunity to leave journalism for good and go into politics. Its in his blood. We were fully moved into this house and Gracie was blossoming at her new school and Thomas was doing all the fun things 2 year olds do.
Last year, we had recently rung in the new year with new friends and Thomas was close to finishing preschool for good and I was trying not to think about Kindergarten. I was probably just getting around to cleaning up the Christmas decorations and getting frustrated with how small this house is and how much it is falling apart. We probably had already sworn two years in a row that we wouldn't rent this house another year!
While, compared to most people's lives, this may not sound like much--but there has been more change than I seem to remember...or recognize. And, none of those transitions were easy or carefree. They in fact were very hard, and very trying for us personally, as a couple and a family.
When we moved from Tennessee to Virginia, Garren struggled so much being away from his family for the first time in his life. We were a 7 hour drive, and we made frequent visits back to help ease his heart and mind. I couldn't get a job. I had a college degree and that is what disqualified me! No one wanted to hire a college educated person because they couldn't/didn't want to pay them a wage that reflected that skill. It was confusing and tough, and I never regretted cleaning houses, and I still remember convincing the lady that owned the company to take me. She hired high school dropouts and those who were just out of high school and weren't going to college.
When we left Strasburg my heart was broken. I had found a home and a family I never knew I wanted or needed. I was sure I would never heal or be the same again. I only wanted to go back. I wasn't working at all and completely gave up on my career when Garren got into politics. While I freely acknowledge that I never thought I would be able to return to news now that I had kids (I can't even watch it anymore--the babies!!), when Garren took a political job that ended any news career I might have after they are grown. (Again, I was okay with that, but there was another nail in the coffin of a 4 year college degree and student loans we are still paying for a career I will never use again).
And now, well last night my husband signed a paper to allow a realtor to offer another couple an enormous amount of money to buy their home. It will be our first home. Our first home that we own. Our "home" is always where our family lives, but this structure would belong to us lock, stock and barrel. The kids have friends, we know people, we are involved. We have "friends," and now we are looking to purchase a home in the Richmond area. We have come so far, and survived many curves and bumps in our road to get here. And even this curve isn't without turmoil. You see this house is not in the kids current school district. While Gracie was already going to have to change schools when she starts Middle School next year, Thomas will have to leave the elementary school we love, the teachers we know, and the staff we trust for a whole new school where we don't know any kids, parents, teachers or administrators. Thomas will leave his best friend behind, and we will move 20 minutes away from the person that has been the best and most helpful to me since we moved here.
I guess my life hasn't been as mundane as I always thought it had been. I went from bright eyed college graduate to a wife and career woman, to a stay at home mom in a small town, to a mom of two in a state capital, and now I am looking to turn around the next bend. I have no idea what still lies ahead, and 4 years from now I could be reporting a whole new adventure in life--but I think despite a whole lot change; the joy and laughs have far outweighed the tears. So, we shall remain thankful, and hopeful, and prayerful as we continue this crazy journey called life.
Thanks for riding along wherever you joined in. We are glad you came with us, and more than likely miss you if you got off the ride before now--more than you'll ever know.
Garren and I have been married for 14 years...and now we are finally in the process of buying our first home.
While the decision making process to even start trying (again anyway, we tried and gave up quickly a year ago) was a long time coming--the process for getting a house is moving pretty quickly!
Loan application filled out. We found out that we qualify for a USDA loan which is 100% financed (yea!), but will only include homes in areas outlined as "rural" (okay), which will force our kids out of the schools they are currently in (boo!!!!!).
We saw the house we really wanted, and two others. It didn't take long to not only decide the house we saw first was what we wanted, but that was ultimately the house we wanted in general.
We ask dad to come and take a look. While we like the home, it needs a lot of work. And while we (and by "we" I mean me!) welcome the opportunity and challenge of a lot of DIY, we were concerned enough about possible structural issues. (Yes, an inspection would have found this out for us, but we would have had to put in a bid and that bid would have had to have been accepted and we would have to pay for the inspection.--Grandpa is an expert and works for grand baby hugs!)
Grandpa finds the house structurally sound, and agrees that there is a lot to be fixed, but it can be done by us and without a great deal of expense over time.
I can't tell you how grateful we are that mom and dad gave up their Sunday and traveled 5 hours round trip to help us with this overwhelming decision!
We got the call--we are approved!!
We call our realtor and tell him we are ready to make an offer. We went tonight to his office and signed the papers for our first bid on a home. To say it was overwhelming and terrifying and exciting all at once is an understatement.
The people who own the home (and do not currently live in it) have until Thursday night to accept or counter our offer. Wish us luck. No, pray. We are praying people.
Now that he is in Kindergarten, Thomas is required to be read to for 15 minutes a night, 5 times a week. And, really, that isn't a big deal as I have always read to him at bedtime, but his "interests" are very few, so there are only so many books about cars and trucks and construction equipment and trains you can stand.
So, anyway, at the thrift store last week I found 1 book for Thomas, and 1 for me. It was a vintage Sesame Street treasury book, and for only 50 cents I had to buy it.
Well, we opened it and read half of it tonight. I loved it--and so did he.
And, here is a fun bonus, the latest copyright date in the book is for the year I was born! He got a kick out of how old this book really was.
And, Chewey loved listening to the stories as well. Chewey is always a good listener, even when Thomas gets a little fidgety.
He was super pleased that I used a real (but clip on) tie today instead of a bow tie. I hope he isn't going to refuse them though--he is so cute!! And, I love making them for him and dressing him up--especially on Sundays!
Well, mommy's "real man" was chosen this morning to model the armor of God for Pastor Jay and the other kids at the kids time in church this morning. So glad I packed the phone in the church bag!!!
When he came back to me down the isle he said to me "I don't want to talk about it!"
I think that might be the first time in his life he has ever been shy--or embarrassed!
Well, he couldn't stop talking about it. He loved it! And, now that he is 5, we said that maybe we could make sure he got to the gym on Karate nights.
Of course, there was no "maybe" about it. Karate was put on the calendar and he has been counting down the days.
My pain level was high this evening, so I couldn't go with the family, and even though I asked daddy to snap a picture, he wasn't comfortable doing that in the gym--so, I had to settle for some pics in the bedroom of a demonstration of what he learned.
Boy was he fired up!
Now, if he truly gets interested in karate we will look in to a more structured class/group, but really, we pay handsomely for American Family Fitness and he can get a free lesson each week. They don't do belts and white robes and such, but he can learn some basics. And, it is active and great exercise for his body and his low attention span.
I should be well by next week, and I have to qualms about sneaking a picture, so I'll share better ones then.
I am thinking that we are starting 2015 off with a great bang!
Typically, I don't buy into the sprint method of life, or running (because if you see me running, you so better start too--it would be that scary!)--I am more of a "pace" kind of girl. Ok, no, I am more of a "we'll get there when we get there" philosopher combined with a lot of panicked "why haven't we gotten this done yet?!!" Yeah. That's me.
But, I figure a little run of positivity for the new year can't hurt, right? Maybe it will mean a a nice long paced endurance race for the next 12 months. (Ha! Probably not, but who knows ;)
2015 Win: Relaxation
I got nothing. Daddy watched football ALL day long!! We are left overs and chilled. It was very much no productive, but very relaxing and nice to wind down before everyone heads back to the grind! Oh, and we watched the Rose Parade, that was Gracie's favorite part.
2015 Win: Making Reading A Priority (& Fun)
Mommy took Thomas and Gracie to the library this morning since daddy had to go back to work. Actually, each of us picked a place to go. Thomas picked the library, Gracie picked the mall (surprised are you?), and I picked Goodwill (surprised are you?! ;)
Usually Thomas randomly pulls books off the shelves, and then insists on taking them home and never reads them. Today though, he was excited to seek out special books and we read several of them in the library before we left. And, one of them he read almost the whole thing BY HIMSELF! Learning to read has opened up such fun and big doors for our little man!
2015 Win: Doing It Yourself
Gracie and Thomas both built their Home Depot Workshop crafts (mostly) by themselves. Gracie of course is our little building expert, but Thomas rarely needs much more than a little help holding his wooden project together while he nails.
Gracie has done more than 50 Home Depot projects now, and they had the pins to celebrate that this time. I believe she earned 50 back in September. She hopes to get 75 before she is too old to participate.
And, while Gracie shined at Home Depot, Thomas decided to shine at trying something new--Roller Skating! You can read a whole blog post on this outing on my blog here, or Grace's blog here, but ultimately you have to know Thomas rocked it--and loved it!
And, while we are bragging about doing things by yourself, and for yourself, our whole family took the first week of the new year to head back to the gym. It is my least favorite place on the planet, but I went. And, Gracie is now doing her own workout on her own! (She doesn't like going either, but daddy makes encourages us both to keep going)
We wrapped up the long, busy day by challenging daddy to a game of Monopoly. I warned the kids that we don't play Monopoly with Daddy and he is ruthless, but they excitedly took him on. The game lasted more than an hour, daddy made odd and devious side deals with just about everyone, and he of course won by a landslide.
2015 Win: Starting the Year Off With God
As Pastor Jay pointed out this morning, we now all have perfect attendance records at church. While we typically try to make church a priority in our weekly schedules, we also need to be making God a daily priority in our lives and our children's lives--so I think that will be one of those things that we strive to do, teach, and lead by example this year. Plus, we sang my all time favorite hymn today: Come Thou Fount Of Every Blessing.
2015 Win: Family Reunion
One of my biggest fears in life is that the people I love will forget me, or that I will forget just how much I love them. Distance is quite a theme and a curse for our small family. So, you can imagine the blessing we received today as we sat down to share a meal with people who are far more family than friends.
Colette and Mallory, 2 of the 3 Mozingos who were are dear neighbors for 7 years were in Richmond for an event and they came to our home and let me cook for them and share in their company.
It has been so long since we all sat at the same table, I can't even remember it. We have visited this wonderful family at least once a year when we return to Strasburg for apples or weddings or summer visits, but this was their first visit to our home. And what a precious one it was! I can't think of a better blessing for 2015 than this two special ladies sharing time and love with us!
2015 Win: New Challenges & New Beginnings
I got my wisdom teeth extracted today. It has been a long time coming, and not just because I am 36. I won't bang out all the gory details of how my tooth journey came to this moment, but I will tell you it was a personal victory, a long painful journey, and I am quite proud of myself for coming out on the other side.
Of course mommy being rather out of it (but oddly not in any pain!) made new challenges for daddy who had to work from home, get the kids off the bus (for only the 2nd time in his life), and take care of mommy and the kids for the remainder of the day.
That's when our Gracie stepped up to the plate.
I posted this picture on Facebook and remarked that I am often very hard on Gracie. She never seems to be grasping the lessons I am attempting to teach her in responsibility and other ways I attempt to groom her for adulthood. And, then she cooks dinner for herself, daddy, and brother, cleans up from dinner, loads the dishwasher and runs it, cleans the kitchen and packs her brother's lunch and snack for the next school day--and I remember that she is always amazing, and I smile with a great deal of pride and thankfulness.
2015 Win: Taking Time For Each Other
So yesterday I wasn't in pain, and today I wasn't in pain--but I didn't sleep last night and was exhausted, and then that pesky pain I was expecting yesterday decided to visit me at dinner tonight.
So, I made myself as comfortable as possible, and I invited the kids to snuggle with me. Far too often I get so caught up in the day to day tasks around this house that I keep my time with them far to formal: homework, shower time, clean up, dinner, bedtime. This afternoon we threw (most of) that away and we played games on my bed. Thomas entertained me with Legos while Gracie got her homework done, but then we played the Olaf Trouble game and several hands of the new game we scored at Goodwill on Friday. It was a brand new never opened pack of Littlest Pet Shop Go Fish.
The animals on the cards are too precious--you just want to squish their adorable faces! Needless to say, this new card game has been a hit with everyone, especially since it is easy enough for Thomas to understand and play.