Thursday, June 20, 2013

Discussions I never thought I'd have

Bug has a birthmark on the right side of his nose, kind of between his eye and the bridge.  As a baby it was puffy and very dark red; it couldn't be missed.  It started to show up about a week after he was born.  At first we thought it was simply a scratch he had gotten from his fingernails being too long.  Then it didn't go away and Hubby said he thought it looked like it might be a birthmark.  Gradually it grew bigger to become about the size of a penny.  The doctor said it would eventually fade and go away, which it has.  People still comment on it but they don't have quite the same reaction to it as they did when he was younger.

When Monkey was around 3, he acquired a beauty mark on the right side of his nose.  It is in the exact same spot as Bug's birthmark.  The first time I saw it I mentioned it and said something along the lines of, hey, you have a beauty mark in the same spot as Bug's birthmark!  He asked what a birthmark was and thought it was awesome that he and his brother were "twins".

Fast forward a few years.

The other day in the car Sunshine mentions that it looks like Bug has a new freckle.  Bug doesn't have freckles and the spot she saw it was on the underside of his arm, not the spot where you would suddenly start to acquire freckles.  I told her it probably wasn't a freckle but a beauty mark, and then this happened:

Monkey: I have a beauty mark just where Bug has one.  We're twins.
Sunshine:  Why does everyone say that Monkey and Bug look the same?
(Before I can answer)
Monkey:  It's because we have blonde hair and we both have birthmarks on our noses in the same spot.  (how convenient that his beauty mark turned into a birthmark)
Sunshine:  That's not fair!  Why do they both get one and I don't?!
Me:  Really?  Are you really getting upset about this?
Sunshine:  What?  Why do they look alike and I don't?  It's not fair!
Me:  I believe you do have a birthmark, don't you.  In fact, don't you have two birthmarks?
Sunshine:  Yes, but it's not the same.
Monkey:  I want a birthmark too!
Sunshine:  You already have a birthmark!
Monkey:  No, it's a beauty mark!  I want a birthmark!  Why don't I have a birthmark too?!
Me:  (Not believing that we are having a discussion much less an argument about this)  Both of you be quiet and stop arguing.  Let's play who's the quietest!
Sunshine:  Yeah!
Monkey:  NO!  I hate who's the quietest.  You know I'm not good at it.  Let's play who's the loudest!
Sunshine: Quietest!
Monkey:  Loudest!!
Me:  I will turn this car around and we will go back home if you 2 don't stop arguing!

These are the arguments that no one tells you will happen.  People may tell you they argue about ridiculous things, but you don't really know until you are in the midst of it.  Driving.  For 20 minutes.  By yourself.


Tuesday, May 14, 2013

The circle of life

The other day Monkey and Bug were eating lunch, I was unloading the dishwasher with my back turned to the boys, the TV was on in the other room.  The boys were being fairly well behaved, eating their PB&J sandwiches and strawberries and milk.  

Did I mention the TV was on?

Monkey was watching Planet Earth earlier and apparently it either wasn't over yet or he started a new episode.  He kept leaving the table to go watch the show.  I wasn't too concerned, the sound wasn't even on, he was just watching the animals run around and in this episode, it was all sunshine and roses.

So there I was, with my back to them, emptying the dishwasher (did I mention I was also on the phone), and Monkey comes running up to me in hysterics.  He is absolutely sobbing and I must admit, he's been in this crying phase lately so I wasn't too concerned and was about to tell him to go finish his lunch.  He was attempting to tell me something though and he really was upset and not just the kind of upset he gets when he thinks he can get his sister or brother in trouble.

Me:  "What's wrong?"  (This is said sincerely by the way).
Monkey:  "He ate the apple!"
Me:  "What?  He ate the apple?  Ian?  You didn't have an apple.  You mean the strawberries?"  I double check his plate to see if I somehow forgot that I gave the boys apples.  Nope, and their strawberries were long gone.
Monkey:  Still in hysterics, "NO!  They ate all the apples!"
Me:  "What?  Monkey, you need to calm down a bit so you can tell me."

Incapable of calming down I am still not able to understand this apple predicament.  Every once in a while, I still have problems with Monkey's speech, especially if he's upset or if he comes up to me with a random statement or question.  This was apparently one of those times.  I ask if he can explain it differently or use different words.  This calms him down enough for him to announce, "They ate all the animals!"

Oh.  No.  Did I mention he was watching Planet Earth?  Just to be clear, "They ate all the animals?"

Monkey:  He starts sobbing again, "All the animal are eating each other!"

I had visions of animal carnage with dozens of animals randomly eating each other.  I was pretty sure it was a zebra or a seal but at that point it was over.  "I don't ever want to watch that show ever, ever again.  I HATE it!  It's awful!"

We cuddle on the couch while I try to explain to him why things happen as they do without freaking him out and making him a vegetarian.

Fast forward to later that afternoon.  Sunshine says she wants to watch something.  Monkey has the remote and asks what a particular item is reading.  I tell him it's Planet Earth (the irony).  Sunshine asks what that is and Monkey tells her it's about animals and they should watch it.  Sunshine seems gung ho about it and then he announces that animals each other.

Horrified, Sunshine is on the verge of tears and says she doesn't want to watch it.  She questions me if it's true and if we really have to watch it.  I tell her yes it happens and no we aren't going to watch it.  

I then ask Monkey, "Why would you do ask her if she wants to watch it?"
Monkey:  "Because I want to watch it."
Me: "You said you never wanted to watch it again and that you didn't like it."
Monkey:  With a very smug look on his face, "Now I do like it."

*Sigh* and this is how my life goes.


Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Losing our rights - The First Amendment

I'm not the most religious person.  I believe in God, I believe in Jesus and heaven and hell, but I'm not one to be overly open about it.  We don't go to church like we should but we're raising our children with a Lutheran background.

I do not need to be a right winged conservative to recognize a problem though.  The other day, my sister-in-law posted on Facebook a link to a Christian blog with the post, "Intolerant Atheists Viciously Attack Christian School".  As I said, I may not be the most vocal about my religion, but attacking religions is just plain wrong and deserves to be vocalized.

So I went ahead and checked it out and saw, in black and white, what I've noticed happening for quite some time.  Reverse prejudice and this time toward religion.

I am an American, I have every right to teach my child my beliefs of my religion.  Many of the beliefs they talk about in the blog I do not agree with BUT I do believe that it is, without a doubt, their religious right.

Our government, our country, was built on religious freedom.  Freedom from persecution.  Freedom from intolerance.  Freedom to choose.  As a Christian I have as many rights as every other religion and that includes teaching my children how I want them to be taught.  I have every right to teach my child, as long as it does not harm or suggest harm to themselves or others, as I see proper and right.

Believing in someone's religion is different than agreeing with it.  Accepting it as the right way is different than accepting them as a citizen with rights.

For those who are questioning what exactly are those rights?  Where can you find them?

The United States Constitution - First Amendment - Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof: or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

I think many people forget the freedom of religion in the First Amendment, often remembering freedom of speech and press, but forgetting that the very first thing that is written by our forefathers is about religious freedom.  Before the freedom of speech to slander another's religion comes another's freedom to choose that said religion.
It's not just the US either:

United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948, Article 18
Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance.

According to United Nations Website the declaration was a direct result of WWII to prevent the atrocities that occurred from ever happening again.
Why is this school being persecuted?  Because it's an easy target.  They're not teaching what is the norm.  They aren't teaching what is accepted by the mass of Americans.  No, instead, they are teaching what they believe in.  The parent that started this all was mad because of their own failure.  They chose to not look at what their child was learning.  They didn't ask the school what their belief was on evolution, science, and history, both geological and human.  This is a failure of the parents, not the school.

Is it the press's right to talk about it?  I suppose.  Is it their right to attack them?  No.  Is it other American's rights to talk about it?  Sure, what do you think I'm doing.  Is it their right to send hate letters and threats?  Absolutely not.  Is it the parents' choice to ask about their child's education, question what they are learning, and decide to send or not to send their child to this private school?  Of course.  Is it the school's right to continue to teach their beliefs to others that share their beliefs?  Absolutely.

As a matter of fact, it's not just their right, it's their freedom.


Friday, May 3, 2013

Saving a life with Safe House

After losing our cat Riesen, I've been checking out the cats and kittens on craigslist.  I saw an interesting ad stating Barn/Shop/Warehouse Cats Looking for Work.  I was intrigued and decided to take a look.

I was nothing less than surprised.  The listing brought me to a site called Safe House, a program committed to sterilizing, vaccinating and rehoming cats.  What surprised me was the program that they offered that I have never seen before.  Safe House has a special Barn Cat Program.  These are cats that have been brought to shelters and have been deemed unadoptable.  Safe House will come and rescue these cats and get them in this program.  Safe House does not take feral/wild cats off the streets, rather they save those cats that have been brought into shelters.  In regards to finding feral cats, Safe House's site states, "The most important thing to remember is that feral cats should never be taken to animal control pounds or shelters.  Because feral cats are not socialized, cannot be socialized, and are wild animals unsuitable for adoption, even no-kill shelters are not able to place feral cats in homes - they will almost certainly be killed immediately."

The Safe House barn relocation program works solely on donation.  These cats are free with the promise that they will be taken care of, however, donations are welcome and very much needed.  If you live in IL from Rockford, to Princeton, to Joliet to McHenry or anywhere in between, Safe House will bring you your new, neutered/spayed/up-to-date vaccinated mouser to your barn, shop, or warehouse complete with the kitty condo and litter box she will need during her 2 week acclimation period.

In addition to the barn program, Safe House also has cats that are looking for homes with people to call their very own.  These are cats that have been given up by their previous owners for different reasons.  Safe House works with foster homes, cats live with a family, in a home, awaiting adoption.  The foster parents will be able to give you an honest description of the cat's personality so you may make a proper decision on whether a particular cat is a match for you and your family.  Adoption for these pets is $50, the cats will be spayed/neutered, up to date on their shots, dewormed, microchipped and tested for FIV and FeLV.
Ernie is part of the Barn Cat Program.  He is a young, medium sized, orange tabby.

Jim Bob is part of the Barn Cat Program.  He is a young, medium sized, white and gray tabby.

Kevin is a medium sized, adult, male tabby.  He is available for adoption

 Bessie is a large, adult, black and white female.  She is available for adoption.

Safe House is a nonprofit organization, run exclusively on volunteers.  "We focus on rescuing at-risk pets, adopting these pets into loving homes, practicing Trap Neuter Return as the humane and effective solution to community cats, and offering impounded feral cats a second chance at life as working mousers through our Barn Cat Program. Safe House is a no-kill organization where no pets are ever euthanized for space."

To learn more about Safe House and the organization or to view the other adoptable cats, please visit their website or Facebook

Taking home a pet is a big commitment, one that should not be made lightly.  If you are not sure if you are ready or if you are not able to have a cat but would still like to help, visit their "Get Involved" page here.


Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Aaawww.... young love

Sunshine has been best friends with this boy J, she has been playing with him since November.  She talked about him and his twin brother S during Thanksgiving and Christmas break.  They were invited to her birthday party and she to theirs.  The 3 of them play on the playground all the time, although it is mostly Sunshine and J who play together and S tags along.  Apparently chasing, poking, yanking and giggling is great fun.

A few weeks ago, they invited Sunshine to one of those bouncy places that happened to have one of those fight ring things where you can knock the other with one of those padded gladiator jousting sticks, which is just awesome.  And by awesome I mean stupid and a black eye waiting to happen.  So there they were, at this bouncy area, and Sunshine decides she wants to try these gladiator jousting sticks.  It's funny, she doesn't like to rough house at home, but with J, she is all about it.  Well apparently she was in this ring area and a not very nice boy "the-boy-with-the-red-shirt" kept taking her stick from her.  J and his twin brother S, continued to get in front of their friend and keep her safe and allow her to play with these jousting sticks.  The act made the mom of 4 boys proud and this mom feel better about having her daughter hang out with the 2 boys who were willing to protect her.

Two weeks later, Sunshine wanted to invite the boys somewhere for a playdate so we decided a different jumpy place.  This one didn't have the crazy jousting area and I knew it would be good for both Sunshine and Bug since Bug and Monkey would be joining us.  Well, Sunshine decides that this is not a playdate, it's just a date and she and J would be kissing in the bouncy house.  Uuhhh, excuse me?  She blushes a color I have never seen on her before and giggles.  "What did you say?"  In this high pitched, squeaky voice, she says, "We're going to kiss in the bouncy house." (hehehe-giggle giggle giggle).

We had a discussion about this and I'm sure she didn't listen since "all the other girls in school have been kissed" (when I asked who, she was able to name one girl and the one boy who kissed her on the cheek - whew).

Later in a different discussion she says that J is her best friend and yes she loves him.  She announces she is going to marry him.  She also said she wondered if J was allergic to cats or dogs because they don't have a dog or cat.  The names of their kids will be Liam and Rosie.

I asked her when she was planning on getting married and she said "not until I'm a grown up.  Like when I'm 16."  Haha, maybe a few years later.  She has written in her journal, "I love J", "Sunshine and J" with a picture of 2 people holding hands with giant eyes staring at each other with a heart between them, and "I have a boyfriend, his name is J."

I suppose I'd better start working on their wedding present!


Monday, April 29, 2013

Nurse Child

Every child has a different sense of empathy and sympathy.  Having three kids with a mix of boys and girl, I'm able to see how my daughter and sons behave and question: Is this a girl thing?  a boy thing? or a birth order thing?  I have 3 kids and they all have different responses to when Mommy isn't feeling well and wants to rest on the couch with her feet up.  Kids being kids though they can only be on their best behavior for so long.  Here is a typical progression of their own responses and their responses when they are with their siblings when mommy is sick:

Sunshine, she is 7 years old:  With concern in her eyes, she will come up to me and ask if I am ok.  She will proceed to get me a glass of water, and a snack for me if I were to ask.  She will sit next to me on the very edge of the couch so she doesn't disturb me.  She will proceed to do the very motherly act of caressing my cheeks or hair and make sure I'm comfortable.

Monkey, he is 5 years old:  He will see Sunshine over by me, come over and ask me if I am ok.  He will also get me a glass of water.  Sunshine will tell him, "No, she already has some."  He will ask if I am cold or not and will proceed to get me his special blanket, his pillow, and one or more of his special stuff animals.  He will cover me up, put the pillow under my head and crawl under the blanket and cuddle with me.  He will then wiggle his feet and toes back and forth under the blanket.

Bug, he is 2 years old:  I am now lying down on the couch and cuddling with Monkey.  He has taken this as an invitation to also cuddle with me.  He crawls up on me, cuddles for about 5 seconds, and decides that it is much more fun to use me as a stepping stone to get to the back of the couch.  He will slide down from the back of the couch and land on my legs and stand there, rocking back and forth, watching TV (use TV to distract the kids while you rest).  When I tell him not to do this, he will walk along the length of my body, using my thigh, hip, side, and head/face as a balance beam.  The best way for him to turn will be for him to stand on my cheek and hair.  He will also decide my  side is an awesome horse and will bounce on my side.

At this point, Sunshine has seen the commotion, she pushes Bug out of the way and lays down with me as well.  Sunshine and Monkey proceed to argue and push each other back and forth trying to get the best view of the TV which has now become my enemy.  One of them has decided to give and is now laying behind my knees, using my butt as a pillow.  Bug, the one who needs the most supervision, is now standing 2' from the television.  He will become distracted in a few minutes and I will then have to get up to go chase after him as I realize someone left markers on the kitchen table and the gate to the upstairs was never closed.

I drag my sick self up off the couch go chase down Bug and find him in the kids' bathroom with his brother's toothbrush in the toilet.  When he sees my, he promptly shoves the toothbrush in his mouth and then cries when I yank the nasty thing from his grasp.  The crying and toilet water leads to drooling and a snotty nose, he realizes the best towel is my clothes and am now covered in toilet water drool and boogers.

With soiled toothbrush in hand, to be disposed of downstairs where Bug will not dig it out of the bathroom garbage, I head downstairs.  When I get there I find Sunshine laying on Monkey's pillow and blanket and the two of them arguing.  They are both holding a bag of fruit chews and as soon as they see me, they ask if they may eat the said fruit chews.  When told no, they continue to fight and tell me every single detail that has happened while I were away for 3 minutes upstairs.

I take the fruit chews from them and as I walk past the kitchen table I look at the kitchen table.  Sure enough, Bug got ahold of one of the markers and decided he needed to show his creative side on the table.  I thank God and Crayola for washable markers and wash off his masterpiece.

It is now 4:30 and dinner needs to be cooked.  I take some Advil and call Hubby to see what time he's going to be home.

And this is the reason why I can't rest when I'm sick.

True story.


Saturday, April 27, 2013

Deadly bouquets that live in your own front yard!

The other day, Sunshine, Monkey and the 2 little girls (N &M and their mom K)2 doors down, were outside playing.  At one point Monkey runs in saying, "Mommy!  I have a flower for you!"  I instantly think of my tulips that had just the beginnings of buds, picturing them being yanked from their stems.  "What flower?"  He comes into the room holding a dandelion and proudly announces, "It's a dandelion!  I picked it because I know they're your favorite."  Aaawww, how sweet, how could I think anything but?

Fifteen minutes later Sunshine comes in and announces, "Mommy, I have some bad news about Bug."

Bug was right in front of me so I wasn't too concerned.  "What's the bad news?"

"K says that dandelions are poisonous and we shouldn't touch them."

"You must have misunderstood her.  Dandelions are not poisonous.  People eat dandelions, they're not poisonous."

"K said they are.  She said don't touch them, they're poisonous."

"Well maybe they put fertilizer or some kind of chemicals on their lawn and now there poisons on the lawn and dandelions.  But dandelions aren't poisonous."

"I'll go tell her you said she was wrong."

And off she went before I could tell her to rephrase what she was about to blurt out.

A half hour later and it's time to come in for dinner.  We're about to sit down and Sunshine says to me, "Mommy, you were right.  K said they put stuff on their yard and we shouldn't pick their dandelions."

Monkey (who listens a lot more than he lets on) pipes in all happy to be part of the discussion, "I can touch the dandelions."

To which Sunshine responds, "Monkey, no you can't touch them!  K says they're poisonous and you could get sick!"

Monkey, quite confused now, "I touched them.  I'm not sick."

Sunshine grabs ahold of Monkey's wrist and starts dragging him.  She is frantically yelling, "Monkey, come on!  You have to go to wash your hands!"

Monkey calmly replies, "No, I don't."

Still frantic, she screams, "Monkey, if you don't wash your hands YOU COULD GET SICK AND DIE!"

Rather than freaking out at the concept of dying, he tells her he already picked a dandelion for me and yes he already gave it to me.

Poor Sunshine, she is practically in tears, "Mommy,  you have to throw that dandelion away!  Don't touch it though!  What if Bug or Lily ate it?!  I don't want any of you to die!"

What was discovered/learned from this event:
Don't touch other people's dandelions, trespassing won't be an issue for quite a while.
Yes, she really does love her brother.
I may have lost my 2 dandelion pickers for the summer.