December 31, 2008

Kids who read are happy kids

Posted in Books at 6:58 pm by Erin

So, about a month ago I said I would participate in the Mother Talk blog tour for Read Kiddo Read.

And then, amongst finals and grades and concerts and holidays, I promptly forgot that I was supposed to do it.  Ahem.

But I am finally getting to it, because I REALLY like this website.  It's written by James Patterson and gives all sorts of ideas and books for kids to read.  They're separated by ages and subject, and are a fantastic resource.  I was looking through it and found a million books to add to our reading lists, either to get from the library or to buy.  I especially like that there are links that will take you to a library finder, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, etc to find the book in one of those locations. 

At the bottom of each page is a section about "If you love this book, then try…" and a selection of others within the same age range.  That's a nice touch, since I'm always looking for books for my kids.  As a mom of two boys, I love the "Almost Can't-Miss Sure Shot Books for Boys" link at the top of the main page also.  My boys are, thankfully, book lovers.  We read to them all the time.  With P, it might be genetic–I'm the daughter of a library director.  With K, it was definitely a nurture thing.  He didn't have any interest in books when he came home, and now always wants to take one to bed with him.  I want to make sure that we've nurtured this love of books in both of our kids.  Several of the books on the list are ones we have already read and enjoyed; I look forward to reading the rest of them!

As if this wasn't enough, there is also a community section that links to blogs and groups of people who like to read.  There is a ton of information on there.  It looks a little sparsely populated right now, though hopefully that will improve as more people find this great site.

The only real suggestion/improvement I would have for the site is to have MORE books in each section!  Right now, there are only about 6 or 7 in each one and I can think of millions more.  I would love to see a section where users could suggest books to put on the site and possibly even write the reviews for the book. 

I’m doing it again with the resolutions

Posted in The musings of Erin at 3:14 pm by Erin

Last year I made some resolutions, and I think I did pretty well with them.  The environmental stuff, check.  I am happy with what I've done for this year, and have some new things planned for next year.  The organization…not quite as good as I was hoping, but somewhat better considering I had a second child for most of the year.  The exercise.  Um, yeah, forget about that one.  I was doing really well with jogging until I got that whole pneumonia thing in September, and that killed it.  By the time I was over that and the sinus infection that soon followed it, it was too cold for me to jog without triggering my asthma.  But we got a Wii for Hanukkah (J is the best husband ever, have I mentioned that?) and I'm going to get a Wii Fit as soon as I can find one.  I'm really excited about it.

So this year, I have several resolutions:

1) More blogging!  2009 promises to be a busy year for us in terms of building our family.  We're tentatively planning to do IVF in August, unless some miracle pregnancy happens before then.  (And without the miscarriage this time, thank you very much.)  If it works, fabulous.  If not, we're planning on starting the paperwork for adopting siblings from Ethiopia in November, right when K turns 3.  And if the IVF works, we'll push off starting the paperwork for the siblings until 2010–but it is definitely in the future.

2) An actual vacation without the kids/second honeymoon.  Our 10th anniversary is coming up in June, and it sometimes felt like we would never get here.  Although I haven't been talking about it here, we've been seeing a marriage counselor for several months and it has been doing a lot of good for us.  We've already asked my ILs to come out and watch the kids for 5 days or a week while we go on a trip.  Right now I'm thinking Costa Rica, although it will be hot, but I'm open to suggestions (which reminds me, I need to get my passport renewed).  J likes to do stuff while on vacation–he really can't do the beach for more than a day or two because he gets bored.  Suggestions?

3) Trying the organization thing again.  I think I need more motivation to keep organized.  Remind me how great it is to be organized!

OK, I'm limiting it to 3 again.  What are yours?

December 18, 2008

Last one at the party

Posted in The musings of Erin at 7:39 pm by Erin

The Facebook party, that is.

A friend finally nagged me into joining it (after many months of her nagging me about it) and finally, I gave in since I never use My*Space anymore.  Not that I really used it a lot in the beginning.  Something about already having two blogs (oh yeah, and family + full-time job) kind of limits my time for things like that.  But I decided to give it a whirl anyway.

It has been 3 days.  I have 135 friends now.  Half of them are people whose name I saw and said "Oh my GOSH, I haven't thought of that person in 10 years–I MUST add them to my list right now!!!"  Some of them are even people I've thought of several times over the past 10 years and had no idea how to get in touch with them.  It's nice to see them on there again, and to catch up.

But oh my hell, can I tell you how STRANGE it is to see some of them?  Some of the people that I knew in college as complete partiers/random hook-ups every other weekend/cheated on not one but two of my friends (hypothetically, of course) are now respectable people.  Most of them are married, some of them are divorced, some are parents, some live in the city, some even live here in Atlanta.  Weird.  A guy I used to hang out with in college (just friends) sent me a message saying something about "I remember you–you were the cute cherubic one…"  Cherubic.  Ha!  I didn't know there was anything cherubic about me, but OK–I'm fine with being remembered as cherubic.

Anyway, I've requested friendship with some of you if I know your real names.  If you're interested and I haven't already done that, e-mail me at pcosbaby at gmail dot com and I'll let you know mine so that we can be Facebook friends!  I tend to post inane little status updates and write on people's walls every once in a while.

December 15, 2008

Now the fun begins

Posted in The musings of Erin at 8:18 am by Erin

I had to deal with an awkward situation yesterday.  So I promptly did what any good girl does–and asked my mom for help.

P got a present the other day from my aunt and uncle (my mom's brother and his wife).  However, J opened the outer box and thought it was a Hanukkah present, so we put it aside and hadn't opened it yet.  Yesterday I found the packing slip and saw that it said "Happy birthday!"

Then I realized the problem.  The same aunt and uncle didn't even send a card for K's birthday, which was two weeks before P's.  Erm…..

My children will be treated equally by family when it comes to things like birthdays and holidays.  If one gets something for his birthday, the other should also.  Especially since their birthdays are so close together.  And if one child gets something and the other doesn't, I'm perfectly willing to send something back and explain why.  I was about to do that when I stopped and thought for a second.

This aunt and uncle are very nice people, and I would have a VERY hard time believing that they deliberately didn't send something for K.  Instead, what I realized is that maybe they don't know when K's birthday happens.  It's a stretch, since I think they know that my parents came down for K's birthday party a few weeks ago, but I am willing to give them the benefit of the doubt.

Still, I am a coward.  Instead of calling them myself, I called my mom and asked her what I should do.  I said that maybe they didn't know when K's birthday was, or perhaps the gift was supposed to be to both of them (though the packing slip was clearly only to P, and the gift is almost definitely for a 5-year-old and not a 2-year-old–we haven't opened it yet).  And said "What do I do???"  She offered to call and ask them if perhaps it was for both of the kids.  Coward that I am, I took her up on it.  She left them a message and asked them to call her or me to let one of us know.

I still haven't heard from either my mom again, or my aunt and uncle.  If we haven't heard from one of them by the end of the week, I'm going to be in the very uncomfortable position of having to return the gift and say "Thank you, but we want the kids to be recognized equally."

I feel awkward saying something like that because my kids don't need presents, but it feels like I'm asking for more presents for them.  They'd be perfectly happy with a card*…both of them love to get mail and cards are a wonderful treat for them.

Any ideas on how to better word it, or how to deal with the situation in a better way?  I had heard of situations like this happening before, but I am shocked that we are dealing with it.  And because it is this aunt and uncle, I am willing to give them the benefit of the doubt–for a few days.  While I know K is too young to figure anything like this out now, I would rather deal with it while he is too young than later when he's old enough to remember.

Any help would be much appreciated.

*My mom's sister this year announced to my mom that she was going to stop sending birthday cards for her "greats" because it was just too much.  Guess how many great-nephews my aunt has?  Two.  My kids.  That's it.  We brought home a second one and all of a sudden it is too much.  In the past, she's always sent P a card with $10.  In my mind, you take out the $10, spend $2 of it on a card for K, and send the kids cards.  Don't ignore them entirely. 

My mom is ticked off at her for that because my aunt's grandkids, 3-year-old twins, live nearby and so my parents are not only expected to give cards but also presents.  But my mom's grandkids don't get anywhere near the same courtesy.  Not even a card.

December 4, 2008

Is this a little nervy?

Posted in The musings of Erin at 7:27 am by Erin

P's birthday party is coming up on Sunday.  It's at the Children's Museum, which has P very excited because he wanted a party there after going to one last year.  I thought it was going to be too expensive because we have five million kids invited, but they had this great special…

Oops, slightly off-topic.

One of P's friends RSVPd yes several weeks ago, but his mom e-mailed me yesterday to say that there was a conflict and she didn't think she'd be able to take him.  That was fine, I totally understand that things come up.

Then she asked if we could bring her son with us.

Were this a party in a confined place, that probably wouldn't be a problem.  If all the kids were in one room that was for our exclusive use the whole time, we could manage it.  But at the Children's Museum, the kids are in the room for an hour and then they are free to use the museum for as long as they want.  All of that is on the invitation.  And the museum is open to the public.  Once you're out of the room, you could be anywhere for as long as you want.

I was a little surprised that someone would ask us to babysit their child at our child's birthday party, when we've already got two kids of our own to watch in the museum–and we have social responsibilities to the other guests (who will each have a parent there). 

I did respond that I thought it would be too much for us and I was sorry but I just didn't think we could manage it.  But am I being oversensitive for feeling like this was quite an imposition?

December 3, 2008

Actually, today is an incredibly good day

Posted in Happiness is a true gift at 9:19 am by Erin

Today, I found out that M, our first referral that we turned down because he has cerebral palsy, is listed as "MATCHED" on our agency's waiting child list.  Thank you, G-d.  It has been over a year since we got his referral.  I am so thrilled that he has a family at last, and that they are the kinds of wonderful people who will be the best family for him.

Today is our referral anniversary for K.  We got his picture one year ago today, feeling the sadness of turning down M's referral and joy of learning that we would have a son.  And there was more joy on December 3rd because…

It is P's birthday.  Today he is 5.  He is an amazing child.  Incredible.  I grow more thankful for him each day.  He is rapidly learning to read, wants to do nothing more than write words (and is good at it if you help him sound them out), is good with numbers, and even more importantly than all of that, is a really nice kid.

This time (12:15 p.m.) 5 years ago, I was feeling like I couldn't do it, I couldn't do natural childbirth.  I was in a lot of pain.  I was exhausted.  I was in transition.  Just over 3 hours later, at 3:29 p.m., I met this tiny, scrawny, and peach-fuzz haired baby boy.  Weighing in at 6 lb 11 oz, born 2 1/2 weeks early.  He was perfect.  And he still is.  Now he's around 40 pounds and seems incredibly tall to me, with dark blond hair and beautiful brown eyes, and the sweetest face and voice ever.

He's giggly, he's funny, and he's sweet.  His teachers, despite all of the issues that we've had this year, will readily say that he's probably the most loving and affectionate kid in class.  And SMART!  He was the first kid in his class to start sounding out words and writing them.  He drew a picture of a rainbow-colored bird and then wrote "RMBO BRD" next to it.  No prompting from them, no help.  On his own.  I was mightily impressed that he was doing that at 4.

I am so thankful for this day in my life.  It could not possibly get any better than this.

Let’s play “Good news, bad news”!

Posted in The musings of Erin at 9:06 am by Erin

Good news: it's not iritis!

Bad news: it's a corneal infection

Good news: it's not contagious!

Bad news: it's going to require a long course of treatment

Good news: it can be treated with antibiotics!

Bad news: I'll have to wear my glasses* the whole time it's being treated

Good news: feeling much better about it all now!

Bad news: now I have to shell out for a new pair of glasses at the holidays, because the prescription in my old ones is at least 5 years old (since I never wear them except when I'm reading in bed at night)

Good news: I will be OK!

And that's where I'll stop.  Thanks so much for the good wishes!

*I hate my glasses.  I can never see as well with them, they get fogged up and smeary all the time, and K always tries to grab them off my face.  This is going to be challenging.

December 2, 2008

Slightly freaked out

Posted in The musings of Erin at 1:37 pm by Erin

Most people who have a red eye have pinkeye, right?  Common assumption.

No, not me.  I have iritis, or at least my doctor thinks I do.

I got my prescription for antibiotics for pinkeye while in Utah, because my doctor felt that was what it was.  Started using them Sunday morning.  I could open my eye without writhing in pain within a few hours, though I still had some bad light sensitivity.  But hey, I could open my eye!  The pain that was bad enough to wake me up the night before was gone!  (Eye pain that severe may be the worst pain I've ever felt, no kidding.  And I did natural, no drugs at all, childbirth with P.)  It was all good.

Monday: though my eye felt pretty good, it was still red.  And still a little swollen.  And by the end of the day, it ached just a bit.  But worse than that was the fact that my vision was going screwy.  I couldn't focus on things well, which made driving in Atlanta scary as can be.  My eyes would focus on something then the left one would go out of focus, which would make the right one go out of focus.  It would be that way for a bit and then clear up.  And then happen again.

So I called the office and they got me in late morning.  The PA looked at my eye and said "I don't think it's pinkeye, I think it's iritis."  They didn't want to treat it there, so I got a referral for the opthamologist.  At that point, I said that I would make an appointment for Thursday morning–and the referrals person said "Honey, we'd really like you to go in as soon as possible.  I'm going to call and see if I can get you in now."

That was when I got nervous. 

I told her I had a class at 2 (and had absolutely no way to have it covered, so I had to be there), so she made me an appointment for 1.  I drove over.  By 1:15 when I hadn't been called yet, I asked and they said that the doctors weren't even back from lunch yet.  So I rescheduled for 8 a.m. tomorrow morning and went to class.

Then I came back and looked up iritis.  And now I'm a little worried.  The symptoms are exactly what I'm feeling.  Every one. 

This says that iritis can be caused by blunt trauma to the eye but is usually associated with a systemic autoimmune problem or a viral infection (not a simple cold-type virus, but more serious and often chronic ones).  As far as I know, I don't have any of those–but the Wik*pedia site mentioned that iritis can be the only symptom of one.  Maybe I do have one and just didn't know it until now.

So I'm a bit freaked out, and wishing that I had skipped class to get it taken care of today.  And am glad that I have an appointment in the morning.