Archive for the ‘Miscellaneous’ Category

Being a parent can be hard. No matter whether you’re a single mom, a working dad with wife who stays home with the kids, or a mom who’s part of a couple who both works, it’s tough.

But there seems to be one special stress that’s reserved just for working moms (whether single, or with a working partner). It’s that momentary panic you feel when you get that call from school or day care, saying that junior is sick and needs to come home. No, not that worry – I really don’t worry too much that my kids are going to get some horrible illness; most of the time they just have a bad cold, a tummy ache, something minor like that.

No, I’m referring to the “Oh crap, what are we going to do with Junior tomorrow?” panic that quickly sets in. Tim and I both work full-time, and while we do have sick time (and understanding bosses), that time is not limitless, nor is our bosses’ patience (presumably). So, we’ve already lost half a day by having to pick the kid up early, and now we have to worry about the next day, too – because all day cares around here have a 24-hour rule that means a child cannot return until they’ve been fever-free for 24 hours. Even if the fever was 99.8, even if the child is clearly just fine. This happened to us with Book Baby last week, and Tim and I each took half of Friday off to care for her.

Today, Tim got the call about Book Girl. Now, she’s clearly under the weather – had a temp, was complaining of a tummy ache, etc. – but I still worry about what’s going to happen tomorrow. I think she may go to work with Tim – the office is attached to the boss’ residence, she can rest on the couch and watch TV, etc. But since I started my new job four weeks ago, I’ve taken 3 half-days off due to sick children, 1 half day off due to a snow day (and no care for the kids), and 1 half day off for a dr. appt. for BB. My employer is very generous with vacation/sick time, and I know that my boss knows that I’m not an unreliable flake, but still – that’s an awful lot for just four weeks! (Possibly more unexpected time than I took in 6 months at my old job, some years.)

Anyone else get that same feeling in the pit of your stomach when you get “the call” from school or day care? Or is there another situation that does it for you? I’d love to hear it.

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How Much is Too Much?

I like having this blog. Admittedly, I don’t post nearly as often as I used to, but it serves its purpose, both for me and for my audience (whoever that is).

Of course, these days there are many other options available for “social media” – Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Yammer, LinkedIn, flickr, and more. Not to mention all manner of special-interest sites like babycenter.com and cafemom, which allow individual profiles, participation in public forums, etc.

I’ve tried others. At the moment, I have accounts on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and Yammer. I was active on babycenter.com for a long time, and iVillage for a while. And of course, I’m very active on car-seat,org, where I am a moderator and a senior community member.

I’ve been trying to keep up with all of them, but lately I’ve come to the realization that it’s too much. Why do I need to have all those outlets for my personal news/raves/rants/pics, etc.? Is there any personal benefit to expanding to, say, Tumblr reaching a new audience? What’s the point – getting more strangers to read my ramblings? Allowing people who know me to follow me more easily? Nah, they can do that on Facebook or my blog.

There’s no benefit, not to me. And I’m done. I’m keeping my blog, sticking with Facebook (I get a lot of use out of that, staying connected with family and friends), and staying active on car-seat.org. No more Twitter, no more Tumblr, no Flickr, nothing new.

If you’re looking for me, you know where to find me.

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When Book Boy was in first grade, he wanted to join Cub Scouts. He ended up deciding not to, and I was perfectly happy with that decision. (And might have, ahem, encouraged that decision a bit.)

He’s in fourth grade now, and asked us if he could try Cub Scouts again. Initially, he was interested because his former-and-now-current best buddy is in Cub Scouts. It turns out that the buddy is now in a different pack (through his church, perhaps?) but BB was still very excited about joining. I agreed, and we went to the informational meeting last week.

It turns out that most of the problems I had after the first information meeting three years ago actually don’t exist! They’ve switched the popcorn meeting so that it’s not first, and last week’s informational meeting was actually¬†informational.

  • It’s actually not that expensive. $100 dues for the entire year, $120 for sleep-away camp next summer. There are family campouts during the year, and the cost is $10 for the entire family. Badges, etc. are paid for by the pack.
  • The popcorn sale isn’t that bad. The goal per kid is to sell $250 worth of popcorn, and there are plenty of opportunities to sell outside local grocery stores. If they make the pack goal, the kids get a free trip to the local indoor water park.
  • The popcorn sales actually do benefit the individual scouts – about 40% of what each boy sells goes directly toward his dues, camp fees, etc. If he sells more than enough to pay for dues and camping, he can use his money at the Boy Scout store. (Even though our council covers six counties, we’re lucky enough to live just a few miles from the Boy Scout store. BB was in heaven when we went there last week to get his shirt, hat, neckerchief, etc.)

So far, BB is having a great time, and I’m really enjoying myself as well. I’ve never gotten terribly involved at school, and I’m pretty shy around people I don’t know, but everyone has been welcoming.

So … maybe I’m not such a bad mom after all!

Our proud new scout in his uniform.

Had to get Book Girl in the picture too, of course.

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Today’s happiness is having my internet connection back.

(Note the lack of “happiness” yesterday … )

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I saw this all over the internet today:”This August has 5 Sundays, 5 Mondays, 5 Tuesdays, all in one month. It happens once in 823 years.”

Since August is my birth month, I of course found this interesting.

The “happiness” part of it? I didn’t fall for it. ūüėČ August starts on Sunday (and thus has 5 Sundays, 5 Mondays and 5 Tuesdays) about every 5 years.

(Seriously, don’t people Google before re-posting crap like that?)

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Tim and I have been working hard on creating and sticking to a budget lately. With that has come a reduction in our weekly grocery budget. That’s not a big deal, but I have a feeling that it will be easier to handle the smaller budget if I can take the time to do at least some minimal menu planning in advance. One of my online friends recommended using All Recipes in my planning. She said that all of the 4.5-5 star recipes she’s tried have been great.

I’ve been browsing the site this evening, and it IS great! The best part is that you can create your own virtual “recipe box” and save all the recipes that sound interesting to you, so you don’t have to remember what they’re called or print out/write down the recipes for future use.

I can’t wait to try some of the recipes!

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Life as we know it is over.

Book Baby is mobile.

No, she’s not crawling or even creeping. But she is rolling, a lot. With a very clear destination in mind most of the time. She’ll roll a few times, get on her tummy, and literally rotate herself so that she’s aiming the right way, then complete her journey with as many rolls as needed.

She really didn’t start rolling a lot until the past couple of weeks. Honestly, I’ve probably held her too much, and was reluctant to put her on the floor very often. (The way our living room is set up, there’s no place to put her that she’s not in the path of two very rambunctious older children.) But I finally decided that she needed some freedom, and have been putting her on the blanket on the floor several times a day, for as long as she’s happy. The blanket is really unnecessary at this point, since she doesn’t stay on it, but it kind of gives the big kids a visual reminder that there’s a baby on the floor. (The toy arch was lovely for that too, but she’s not interested these days.

Ironically, Book Boy was also extremely adept at getting around via roll when he was around this age. Perhaps I’ll make a video of Book Baby this weekend and post it with a video we have of Book Boy, for comparison.

And OH am I regretting all those Littlest Polly Pet Shop Pocket tiny toys we’ve gotten for Book Girl.

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See full size imageIt’s obvious to all that Book Boy is a little geek. He loves Harry Potter, Star Wars, graphic novels, super heroes. His latest interest is Greek mythology, spurred by the Greek mythology included in the Percy Jackson series that he recently read.

But Little Sister – age 4-1/2 – is clearly following in his footsteps. She enjoys “reading” over BB’s shoulder when he reads a graphic novel – I swear the first book she learns to read will be a graphic novel, plays “Ultimate Alliance” (super hero game) with him in the back yard, etc.

This evening, she and I were looking at the pictures in a biography of Stan Lee (Spider-Man creator – BB is doing a report on him). She named all the super heroes we saw – Spider-Man, Hulk, Silver Surfer, Fantastic Four, and Wolverine – but made me stop when we saw Superman.

“What’s he doing in this book?!” she said.

“What do you mean?” I asked.

“He’s not Marvel, he’s DC!” she informed me. (For the uninformed, DC Comics include Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman and other Justice League heroes. The heroes I mentioned previously are Marvel Comics. The two never mingle.)

I actually knew what she meant, thanks to BB’s quizzes – he finds great humor on quizzing me on whether a hero is DC or Marvel and laughing when I don’t know. I know all the major heroes now, but don’t do quite as well when he gets to the minor heroes.

Can’t wait to see what the future holds for my little geeks.

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Today is ¬†Book Boy’s birthday. As impossibly hard as it is to believe, he turned NINE years old today! He had a fun day, complete with cupcakes at school (and even though they didn’t have Batman or Transformers rings, he admitted that they were a big hit with the kids), pizza for dinner, cake and ice cream, and of course presents. He was thrilled with every present he received and was very vocal about it. (He received Lego Rock Band, two Percy Jackson books, two Foxtrot books, and some cash from my folks and my sister [cash to be used to purchase Lego Harry Potter when it comes out in June]).

Just for fun, Tim put a collection of pics from BB’s first five years on his Facebook page today. I thought I’d share some of them here.

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Last week, I invited you to ask me questions to help jump-start my blog with some good topics. Only two of you have done so, but boy did those two ask questions! (Anyone else who has a question is welcome to ask it in the comments here or in the previous post.)

Question #7, from the Gal over at¬†One Gal’s Musings:

Do you have any plans for break time?

If you’ve been following the Book Family for a while, you won’t be surprised when I say that we’re not really much of a “go on vacation” kind of family. Mostly because we’re cheap. Our annual trek to Iowa to see Tim’s family usually suffices as our vacation.

That’s not to say that I don’t have a¬†little¬†bit of fun planned for Book Boy’s spring break. (He is off the week after Easter.)

Tomorrow he has a half day, and Tim is off work all day. Book Girl and I are going to ditch the baby leave the baby in Tim’s capable hands and pick BB up from school. We’ll go somewhere for lunch (probably McDonald’s or Wendy’s, if I let the kids choose). Then, because the temp is supposed to be in the upper 70s tomorrow – very warm for our area in early April – we’re going to go to their favorite park. It’s on the other side of town, so we don’t get there very often, but it really is a great park. We’ll stay until the kids are ready to leave or until I get a “Come home NOW” call from Tim. (To be fair, I haven’t gotten one of those calls yet.)

Next week, my nephew (age 5) is going to come visit for a couple of days. The kids have seen him fairly often the past few months, and they love playing together. I’m not sure what we’ll do – probably just stay home, since I can’t get four kids in my car without putting someone up front – but they’ll have a blast no matter what.

Book Boy will no doubt get in quite a bit of reading time. I don’t know what else we’ll do – depends on the weather, the kids’ behavior, etc. – but I’m pretty sure he won’t be wishing he had school next week.

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