Friday, March 29, 2013

the sandbox

We have a sandbox in our backyard.  It's a pretty popular place to play for our younger kids.  It will keep them occupied for quite a long time.  The things they build, the imagination play that they come up with...well, you just can't beat a sandbox sometimes.  They LOVE our sandbox, and we've had it for many years.  

It can be a bit messy, however...

Now, you might be interested to know that Rich and I are complete polar opposites when it comes to coping with kids' messes.   I'm much more laid back, and he's....well, let's just say he's the exact opposite of laid back.   The kids' sandbox days are always followed with a short nagging from daddy.   Always.  No matter how hard we try to clean up, he will always find something that's amiss.  We've just learned to accept this as one of daddy's "quirks" and focus on all the other awesomeness that he has (and he has a lot of awesomeness!)

The things that bother my husband about the sandbox:

-- when the kids bring water into the sandbox--

I let them bring buckets of water into the sandbox, but he doesn't.  He doesn't like the mess of "wet sand" -- but yet, how do you build a sandcastle out of dry sand?  You can't!  See, I understand this, so I let the kids use water in the sandbox.  And yes, it gets messy.  But so what!!  They are having fun.   But Rich will say, "Come on, water in the sandbox!  Wet sand is harder to sweep up off the concrete."  

And I roll my eyes.

-- when the kids get sand all over their clothes from sitting in the sand--

Well, this is going to happen.  There's really no way around it.  How can you "play" in a sandbox and not get sand on your clothes?  You can't!!  And I couldn't care less about sandy clothes.  I have the kids shake off on the grass before coming into the house.  Do they get every single tiny grain of sand off their clothing?  No.  Does some of it end up in the house?  Yes!  But do I care?  NO!!  So what if a few grains of sand get into the house!!  That is what brooms and vacuums were invented for.  But Rich will nag, "Guys...come on now.  Shake off the sand before you come into the house!"  and they will say, "But dad, we did!" and he will say, "Then why is there sand all over the kitchen floor?!!"  and then they will all rush over to the kitchen floor to look for sand, including me.  "Where?  Where do you see sand?" I will ask.  And I swear he will pick up a few microscopic grains and show me, "You see? Sand.  Sand belongs outside."

And I will roll my eyes.

-- when the kids get sand around the surrounding areas of the yard instead of keeping the sand in the sandbox--

Okay, how impossible does that sound?  Really.  There is NO WAY the kids can keep every single grain of sand INSIDE that sandbox.  When they dig some sand gets onto the cement, some in the planters, some on the grass....WHO CARES??  Not me.  But Rich does.   He will nag the kids, "Guys...come on now.  Let's keep the sand INSIDE the sandbox."   which is always followed by a heavy sigh.

And I roll my eyes.

And yeah, in case you are wondering, he does see me rolling my eyes.  He knows that I think he's a bit much.  And I know that he thinks I'm a bit too laid back.  It's just one of those things in marriage that we've accepted about one another.   We don't see eye to eye on every little thing.  And that's okay.  We are both good parents, and we know that about each other.  So it's all good.

But in the case of the sandbox, the kids love ME best...because I'm the cool parent who doesn't worry so much about the mess, or about the few grains of sand that make it into the house!  It just makes me feel good to know that they are having a good time, that they are getting along (for the most part) and that they are staying outside while giving me some peace and quiet inside.  And hey, I'm not going to lie, the peace and quiet is my favorite part!  It's worth every single little grain of sand that makes its way inside the house!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

30 weeks & park days

And so here I am today, at 30 weeks pregnant.  Only ten more weeks to go?  How is that possible.  Time seems to be speeding up lately, instead of slowing down like I'd like it to. I'm enjoying this pregnancy; feeling the baby move, sharing the experience with my kids...and I am not in any hurry to have it end. Except, of course, I'm super excited to meet our new little boy.  So looking at it that way....YAY! Just ten more weeks left!

I'm feeling good except super heavy this time around. I went into this pregnancy much heavier than I did with all my others, so my weight is really getting up there.  Of course in this photo I'm wearing black, and black always  makes you appear slimmer than you really are, and it helps that I'm 5'9" tall.  But don't let my height and my black clothing fool you; I'm really getting huge.

But it's all good.  Just so long as the baby is healthy, and he is healthy!  And strong.  There's a soccer player in there, for sure.  

And I love when he kicks and moves when my kids are touching my belly.  They get such a thrill when they get to feel their baby brother.   

They also like to press their face in my belly and talk to him.  Mostly they say, "Wake up!"  because they want him to move.  Poor kid, he can't even get uninterrupted sleep in the womb with all these brothers and sisters bothering him all the time.  Ah well, such is  life of the youngest of ten.  He may as well get used to it.

 We have been going to this park lately 
because the kids love the rock wall. 

And they love sitting up high to eat their lunch.  
It makes me a bit nervous, them being up so high.  

They look like high rise construction workers on their lunch break.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

my personal photographer

Andrew has taken quite a liking to my Canon 60D.   At first I was hesitant to hand it over time him, being that he's only six years old and the camera is an expensive one, but in time he has proven to be very careful with it.  So I trust.  

Besides, I think he looks pretty cute as a photographer.  Very professional, even.  Well, you know, for a Kindergardener.

Most of the photos he has taken are of me and my belly.  I am his model while he learns how to work the camera.  Of course I do not mind one bit, because usually it's me behind the camera taking the pictures of everyone else.  So it's nice to be the subject for once!

He's still only working in the auto mode, learning how to zoom the lens and press the shutter release only slightly to put things in focus.  This is taking him some practice because it takes patience, and six year olds boys aren't really known for their patience!  He would rather press the button quickly to capture a shot.  But then he sees the result of that - a blurry photo - and so he's learning to take the time to be sure everything is in focus first.

Another thing he is learning is to put the subject of the photo off to either the right or the left of the frame - not always in the center - which makes a more interesting photo.

He is pretty good with the zoom!  I love these belly shots he did.

I'm so proud of my budding photographer!

Friday, March 15, 2013

it's just a baby tooth!!

The other night my six year old complained that he couldn't sleep because his tooth hurt.  I asked him to point to where it hurt, and he pointed to his top left side, way in the back.  And sure enough, I saw a tooth back there that had a dark spot in it.  I thought it might be food, so I poked around with a toothpick to see if I could get anything unlodged, but nothing was there.  It was just a dark pit in his tooth.

A cavity.  Nice.

So I took him to the dentist the next day, where  x-rays confirmed that it was indeed a very deep cavity.  The dentist compared the x-ray to his last x-ray which was taken barely a year ago.  In that x-ray he didn't even have the start of a cavity in that tooth - so this cavity managed to grow in just a year's time to the point that it was deep into the root already.  Not good.  That was why he was having pain.

The dentist explained that although this was a baby tooth that he would eventually lose in a couple of  years, they always did all that they could to preserve a tooth whenever possible.  He went on to say that he recommended a baby root canal, and told me all about what would take place in this procedure.  And I listened.  It sounded like a lot of work just to save a baby tooth, but whatever.  If that's what his pediatric dentist recommends, then that's what I would do.  Whatever is best for my kid, you know, because I'm a good mom like that.

So I went up to the front desk to make his appointment for the following day to have this procedure.  I wrote them a check for the visit we just had, and then the receptionist handed me an estimate of what I'd be paying tomorrow....

$ 550.00

that's five HUNDRED and FIFTY dollars

for a baby tooth?!!

I thought it was a mistake.  
So I said to the receptionist, "This is before my insurance pays it's share, right?"
And she said, "No.  This is your portion.  Your insurance only covers 40% of the bill."

My jaw dropped.  I didn't even try to hide my shock at the price.  All I kept thinking was ... for a flip'n baby tooth?!!!

So I said, "Well, how much if we just pull the dang thing?!!"

At this point I saw the other two receptionists behind the desk look up at me, and I know why.  They wanted to get a look at the loser mom who'd rather her kid lose a tooth than to pay to fix it.  I had gone from good mom to bad mom in about a 60 seconds.

The receptionist's eyes widened a bit, and she said "Excuse me?"

"How much will it cost if the dentist pulls the tooth out?"

She looked at me as if I had just suggested the guillotine for my son.
"You extraction?"

I guess I wasn't speaking dental talk.
"Yes, for an extraction.  How much?"

"Err, uh...well, let me check..."
So she did some things on her computer, and then looked up at me.
"Your portion after insurance would be $50."

I said, "Fifty dollars to pull it?"

"Yes, for an extraction."

"Okay, let's do that instead."  I said.  We made the appointment for 9:00 the next morning.

I walked out of there knowing that the ladies behind the desk must have thought I was the worst mommy in the world that I would render my child toothless over a $500 difference in payment...

But you know what I say to that judgement?  BITE ME!  That's a five HUNDRED dollar difference!
And it's a BABY TOOTH, people!   He's going to lose it anyway!  Seriously.  I felt fine with my financial decision on this one.  No mommy guilt at all.

I told Andrew all about his bad tooth and that tomorrow it would be pulled out of his mouth and it would not hurt him anymore after it was gone.  He said, "Will it hurt when they pull it out?"  and I said, "The dentist will make it so that you don't feel any pain."  and of course he asked, "How?" So I told him that he'd get a few numbing shots in his mouth, and that the shots only pinch a bit but soon after that he would not feel anything on that side of his mouth.   And he was perfectly okay with that knowledge.

The next morning he woke up looking forward to having his tooth pulled.  I reminded him of what was going to happen, the shots and all that, and he was still fine with the whole thing.  Brave boy.  

We arrived at the dentist at 9:00 sharp.  When the dental assistant called him from the waiting room, she said, "Hi Andrew!  We are going to give your tooth some sleepy juice, okay?"  and he looked back at me all confused.

So I asked, "Your going to give him what?"   I did not order any kind of juice - what were they going to charge me for now?  and was it covered under my insurance?!!

"Sleepy juice." she repeated.

And so I thought she meant the nitrous oxide (aka laughing gas) which I did not want him to have, mainly because I didn't want my kid acting like this on the ride home...

So I said, "Sleepy juice? You mean the nitrous oxide? I don't want him to have that."
And she said, "No, not that.  I'm referring to the juice that makes his tooth go to sleep, you know..." then she kind of winked at me.  

I guess I'm a little slow with clues, but then the light bulb went on and I said, "Oh, you mean the numbing shots!  Okay, I get it now."    

Well, I might as well have dropped the F-bomb by the look that she gave me.  She looked absolutely mortified, and quickly tried to hush me, "Oh, we don't say that word..." and she gestured toward my son with her eyes, as if to say, "He's listening!!"

Sleepy juice? Please. They are shots.   As I kid I had plenty of dental work done, and my dentist always called the numbing shots "shots" -- not "sleepy juice".  Give me a break.

Anyway, I got a few more looks from the receptionists.  Yep, bad loser mom is 'da the house...saying the "S" word out loud for all the children to hear.

Andrew skipped over to "the chair," climbed up, and began watching the Cars video on the overhead monitor that was dangling just  6 inches over his head.  Each chair has them, each with CD players and video games.  Kids these days have it so easy.  Where was my personal tv back when I was having dental work done?

Seeing that Andrew was at ease, I went back into the waiting room to...well, to wait until he was done. In about 20 minutes, out came Andrew with a big wad of gauze sticking out of the side of his mouth.  I won't say he was the most cheerful that I have ever seen him.

"Did it hurt, buddy?" I asked, when I saw the look on his face.
"No." he said.
"Then what's up with the face?  You seem upset."
"I don't like this...." and he pointed to the wad of gauze in his mouth.

Once we got home, he made me change the gauze every 3 minutes.  He didn't like how it got all wet and "yucky" with blood.  The bleeding stop within 15 minutes and no more gauze was needed after that, so he was a happy boy again, and was having fun showing his siblings the hole in his mouth where his tooth was.  When he smiles you can't see it, but when he pulls back the side of his cheek you can.

The dentist says that when he's around 9 years old the new tooth should come down, and because there's no baby tooth there it might even happen sooner.  So my boy won't be toothless forever, don't you all worry about that.  And he was thrilled with the $2 that the Tooth Fairy left under his pillow that night.   

So you see?  It all worked out just fine.  Andrew has something to show off to his friends -- because to a six year old there's nothing more cool than a missing tooth -- there was no pain involved, and both he and I have more money in our pocket.  

Friday, March 1, 2013

raising funds = no fun

So today was the annual jog-a-thon fundraiser at our elementary school.  It's when we are supposed to collect a bunch of pledges from friends and family so that our kid can run around the track for 30 minutes and earn money per lap for the school.

 ...and there's AJ running his little heart out

I know there is a need for fundraising.  I know our schools are terribly underfunded and these fundraisers are needed.  But I hate sending my kid around to neighbors, friends, and family to ask for money for their school, for sports, for whatever. It's bad enough that my girls go around each year selling Girl Scout Cookies.  Well, actually that isn't so bad because people actually get something for their money, and Girl Scout Cookies sell! But to give money for my kid to run around a track for 30 minutes?  I just can't bring myself to ask for that. 

They even have the little Kindergarteners out there running...running for funds.
Go, Andrew....Go!!

Fundraising isn't all that fun.  The word FUN shouldn't even be in it.  (yes, I know it's FUND and not FUN...I'm just say'n)   It's really not fun asking people for money. It's actually very awkward. Not only do we have the jog-a-thon fundraiser, but we also have school magazine drives and wrapping paper sales.  And I don't send my kids around to sell those items, either.  Not because they aren't things people might want - they actually have very well-made and cute (yet overpriced) wrapping paper,  and who doesn't want a magazine or two delivered to their home?   But I think that for us, for our family, it's just too much.  We have a too many kids for fundraising.  They can't ALL be walking around the neighborhood asking for pledges and trying to sell stuff.  How would that make our family look?  Girl Scout Cookies, magazine drives, jog-a-thons, nut sales, gift wrap -- all the fund raising they are asked to do throughout the year is just too much.  It would be too many kids out there from one family trying to sell.  The neighbors would hate us.  Our friends and family would stop answering our phone calls for fear we are trying to sell them something again.  

Nope, I'm just not going to do it.  I won't ask others.  I won't.

so thirsty after his run!

But yet I know fundraising is necessary, and I want to do our part.   So, guess who buys it all?  Guess who takes the place of the neighbors, friends and family that they won't be asking?  Yep, that would be me.  I buy.  I pledge.  I donate.  Just a little bit for each kid, to make it fair.  I do this for two reasons: 1) to help the schools, and 2) because they always have some kind of classroom ice cream party or something if EVERYONE in the class turns in at least one order.  They strive for 100% participation, and the pressure of that is huge.  Each kid feels it.  And do I want MY kid to be the reason that the class didn't get the ice cream party?  No, I don't think so!