Monday, January 26, 2009

You've been Warned!

So it's no secret to anybody who has seen me that I need to lose some weight. I feel like I'm always trying, but then I have these serious bouts of weak will and it all goes down the toilet. Never so literally as lately. Since getting the Wii fit, I've managed to lose about 12lbs (and kept about 7 of them off) That makes me feel pretty good, because it's honest. It's walking more at work, exercising more at home, and throwing 2x as much veggies on my plate. So I figured there's little harm in a little bit of pharmaceutical help, too. I took what I read was the safest "diet aid" out there for less than a week and'd better follow the rules it sets out or SUFFER! And since the consequences of 2 slices of pizza with the kids last week and fried scallops and french fries this weekend have become miserable and gross, I can't disclose the horrible details and have to suffer alone. (I'd count sharing it here, but I'm honestly so embarrassed that I'll probably deny it if anyone brings it up.) It must satisfy my gentle reader to know I've never taken what I eat as seriously as I am right now. So if anyone is curious..don't be. Just say no! You've been warned!!!

Friday, January 23, 2009

Workin hard

This week has been kind of crazy at work, but I'm still really proud of myself. It feels good to have new daily/weekly goals for doing a better job and the day/week before. I love being in a profession where we understand the power of verbal positive reinforcement, because it really works on the kids AND staff helps me feel good about working harder. That said...

Today I felt like I worked my ass off. I group managed (working with 2 kids who should each have their own teacher) like crazy after a meeting yesterday that discussed the necessity of group managing kids and how to go about it. I found it very idealistic because it skimmed over the fact that should either kid have behavioral problems,all those helpful suggestions go out the door and we wind up with yet another child having multiple staff members and more kids with less staff. Should BOTH of those kids start having maladaptive behaviors..gooood luck with a side of yeah right.

However, Wednesday I was recognized on paper and verbally for the data I'd worked hard to take for the past week or two. I was told I was the staff member doing the best with that data. WOO!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Friday with the Kids

When 4pm Friday rolled around I was exhausted from work. Tantrums, chasing, a seizure at lunch time, and not much sleep this week left me dreading going home to clean. put laundry away, and get the place ready for Matt's niece and nephew having a sleep over here. On the way home, all I could think about was making things as comfy and homelike as possible. I remembered how sleepovers were all fun and games until bedtime, when things just got crappy. I called Matt and asked him to remember blankets, pillows, luvies, nightlights, night music, extra snacks they like, toys, books...and he told me to forget about cleaning and to quit spazzing and pick up some milk and juice for the kids and put the laundry away and that would be it. He'd taken care of the rest.OMG what a guy!
I stopped and got personal kid cups for each kid (princess puppy for Abbey, Spiderman for Jack) wet wipes, little toys including glow sticks-BIG HIT!- and all their fav snacks. I'm still sipping the 1% chocolate milk.

We took them to Friendly's in West Boylston, since the Holden one had apparently spilled hot marinara sauce on Abbey once. The Friendly's around here always seem like a good idea until you walk in and remember that your server options are a 15 year-old with an attitude and vocab deficit or a 65 year-old from eastern Europe. It was so disorganized and took forever. Matt and I just kept talking to the kids and coloring with them until food came. Ohwell. At least they didn't have that creepy carnival painting like the other restaurants..eeeew.
Erik came over and played with the kids and I have to say he's fantastic with the kidlets. I hope he and Tracy want to have their own.
Matt had this great plan of letting the kids play until they got tired and fell asleep. I had this great plan of letting the kids stay up sorta late because it was a Friday night and an exciting sleepover for them. We put Abbey to bed at a decent hour..ok..I laid with her watching Monsters Inc. until she fell asleep. Jack played Wii pretty much the whole time. It was a fantastic reinforcer to use in order to have him do things like eat, drink, pee, etc. All we could do was switch up games so that other people were involved with him and he was moving around part of the time. I got tired before he did and ended up sleeping across the top of the bed with Abbey sleeping with her head at the foot. Jack came in after I dozed off and used me as a pillow most of the night. I moved him back several times but woke up every hour or so with a body on me or little sleeping legs nailing me in the gut. I love those kids, but next time Matt sleeps with them if one bed is all we have. At dawn, I managed to get out from under Jack without waking him (not my first attempt) and sleep on the mattress by myself. Erik made the kids French Toast sticks from scratch, not like my frozen ones on Thursday. Abbey loved it but, Jack, of course, tried it because that was the only way to get back to the Wii and promptly spit it out on his plate. He did that every single meal I'd seen for the past few days, for some reason or another. I made him try a few other things before he could play Wii in the morning. Later on he was snacking on what I put out for everybody and spit chewed cheez-it out of his mouth and back into the snack bowl! It grossed me out enough for me to quickly stop him from letting the whole mouth load go all over the snacks (funny, but gross and unacceptable..even though I'm giggling about it now) and calmly have him clean it up and pretty firmly tell him no more Wii if he didn't remember to use a napkin or walk to the trash the next time. I felt bad for being strict out of nowhere, but I always sound more wishy washy than I think, anyway. After that, we took them to their grandparents. 5 minutes before it was time to go, the kids freaked and didn't want to put jackets on and didn't want to stop playing. Kinda normal, so once again I used a toy I put out for them to get the kids to earn time with it at the Medine's. I felt bad when it wasn't earnen, but I explained there's always next time I was sure they'd earn it then and how happy I was they came to visit.
And I was. Very happy.

Wednesday with the Kids

Matt's sister, Kirsten, and her family have been doing the impossible after the Ice Storm 08 took out the electricity and burst the pipes in her home. She and Dennis have been living in a trailer in their drive way with their kids Abbey (4) and Jack (6) while their house is repaired. This week they are both in St. Thomas (a Christmas gift from Den to Kirsten) We watched the kids Wednesday night. Here's how it went...

I arrived and Auntie Gail took off. I played with Abbey while Jack played with his DS until it was time to cook tacos. Being in a strange kitchen, I panicked a little when I couldn't find the thawed meat..which was readily available in the fridge. I thawed some hamburger and went to town making what Jack dubbed "the BEST tacos in the world" or something wonderfully flattering like that. They did great with the tasks I gave them to help me get dinner on the table faster. Fantastic stirring, Jack! Amazing soft taco placement, Abbey! We all helped Jack with his homework. Gotta love involvement. I packed him up for the next day and we watched Kung Fu panda together on the couch. Time FLEW and suddenly Jack declared he wanted Scooby Doo after the movie. I should've remembered he likes his Scooby Doo before bed, so we agreed that Scooby Doo would go on for 20 min and then bed. I was surprised how strict Matt is with Jack. I tried to stay on the same page with Matt, but I'm big on compromising and choices when possible and Matt is way more straightforward. In the end, I suggested Jack choose 2 episodes and we'd stop the movie early. But no other movie would be watched in addition (a much contested point for Jack).
Bed time was pretty easy too. The kids wanted to sleep in the same bed, but predictably discovered via elbowing that they liked their space too. We sat with the kids, Matt with Jack and me with Abbey, until they started to doze to the soft music in the hall. Jack woke up and protested sleeping without his turn with me sitting with him. Matt said no but he was busy doing the laundry so I sat with Jack for 5 min until he started his adorable 6 year old snore. Then I put a pillow in the hall and told them I was sitting there like Mommy does sometimes so they didn't need to worry and could go to sleep. I sat for about 2 min grooving to instrumental Beatles and the kids slept until Abbey needed to pee around 12:45. Easy Peesy..well almost. I got ready for bed, did some laundry, put Kung Fu Panda on the laptop since we traded it for Scooby Doo, and promptly fell asleep about by 10.

The next morning I impressed myself by waking early, showering, dressing, and packing everybody up before Matt and I gently woke the kids. Matt snuggled them in Abbey's bed, while I prepared-get ready for this folks-scrambled eggs, toast, french toast sticks, bacon (thank you Kirsten for having precooked meat!) and sliced fruit in the shape of a smiley face. If it weren't for Jack's missing boots (located neatly in his closet..or possibly Abbey's) we would've been early. As it was, Jack got to the bus slightly before it arrived and I went to work feeling pretty good about myself. I feel like my work with kids definitely helped me stay relaxed and in charge, even when drama surfaced. No meltdowns, no big tantrums, and it put a great start to the day.

Friday, January 16, 2009

New Kid in Town

I'm blogging my lunch break away in the staff office and I had to start over. I hear the kid I just spent 2 hrs with screaming from 2 halls away. WOO HOO! Safe! 11AM can be crazy hour so I'm beginning to like my early lunch time.

This week we got a new student, well, another new student. Complete contrast to the last kiddo to arrive (9 years old but looks 5, FAS eyes, adorable coo, bright mop of red hair, VICIOUS tantrums). This kid is 10 and looks like Agustus Gloop. More on his cartoony appearance later. He doesn't tantrum so much as get fed up, bored, or possibly attention-hungry. His personal mantra to be repeated often should have alerted me. "No digging (in other people's skin) no scratching, no biting, no hitting, no pulling..." He nailed every kid and staff except for a rather burly offspring of a linebacker and an Amazon. We have to block kids when they wander too closely.
I feel bad isolating him from the other kids at a separate table or with several seats in between. They did that enough at his last school. Kept the kid isolated by partitions in the back of the room so he wouldn't have a chance to go after the kids in wheelchairs and walkers that made up his class. But I've learned enough to know you can have an opinion but unless you are in the thick of it, never judge methods schools and teachers use to keep these little..or not so little guys safe. You just don't have a clue unless you're there enough.

He is easily the most advanced in the class, but I can't seem to see past the next aggression. My problem. The 2 kids I work with that have the most dangerous tantrums are giving me some personal issues. Rather than want to stay away from them, I can't wait to jump in and am kinda dissapointed when they don't have problems. How sick is that? They're working nicely and I'm thinking, "come on, me whatcha got! anytime you wanna go!" I'm itching to practice my meltdown skills with them and it drives me nuts when they don't seem to need them when I'm around. Freakin N* can't seem to look at the little one without him starting to scream.. I get nothing unless I really challenge them with demands, and so far it's been weak. So I'm left feeling sooo guilty that I am raring to demonstrate that I can help these guys out and know what to do. I want them happy, but I secretly love being the one that helps them when they're not. I would love comforting comments!

Friday, January 09, 2009

More boring than waiting for toast

Now that I feel like I'm on a blogging roll, I keep wondering what to say to stay minimally interesting, and I'm at a loss. Work today was ok. One of my favorite kidlets had a tantrumy day and it's heartbreaking to see him cry. To me, he doesn't have that annoying whiney or plain pissed off cry. Don't get me wrong, he's whining, but he just seems so genuinely broken hearted, plus I have a soft spot for him anyway. He is so loving and happy most of the time, but today he was freaking out and grabbed at me for the first time. No big, though.

Tonight, Matt and I are going to the postponed Christmas party for BCI in Auburn. Don't really know what to expect, but Matt will be there so I'm not too worried.

See? Wasn't that about as boring as waiting for toast? Yeah..I told you.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Snow Day

Yesterday I heard we were in for another storm, I didn't think it would mean another snow day. Still, I know better than to be caught off guard, so I bought a few bags of groceries to see us through. Last night Matt and I played Erik's Rock and waited for updates about Nanny, who went to the hospital last night for pneumonia, but is stable today. I was exhausted and aching from being pulled, grabbed, pushed, and hugged every which way. I chased, bounced, and picked up kids who let their 100+lb bodies go perfectly limp so I had to do all the work getting them to their feet. *side note* This, by the way, is called a flop and really sucks. Still, I wish I had the ability to release every bit of tension and control from every muscle at once in just a second or relaxing would that be?!* When I got home, I'd had enough of kids and tantrums and stress. I couldn't even watch my new Nanny 911: Season 1 on DVD! Too stressful!


Today is a snow day and I've had enough of crappy weather cancelling school. I wrote down 4 household chores to get done before I can go crazy with leisure and Wii. I got 2/3 through before I spent an hour rocking out an now I want a nap. Gooood job Caitlin. Oh well. I guess it's just another lazy snow day. Now where's my cocoa.

Monday, January 05, 2009

New Year

Today was my first day back and it gave me pretty good insight into what I'm like and how I want/need this year to go. I woke up to my alarm going off and outfit somewhat ready (Yay for planning!) but I still had a gnawing panic that I was doing something wrong. I was ready with plenty of time and thought I'd treat myself to a breakfast egg white sandwich. When I got outside, my sneakers didn't cut it against the wet ice and I penquin stepped it to my car, which resembled a Saturn flavored popsicle. Oh well, there's time for special breakfast tomorrow. Still, I was pretty psyched, because I like the drive to work (sick, I know). The first time I went to scrape ice off my windshield, I broke my ice scraper- and broke it good! When I finally got to school, anxious, but otherwise good natured, I found the parking lot empty except for 200 Verizon vans that park closest to the school entrace instead of in the back of the building where they belong but don't like because have to wait for everyone else in the lot. UGH! Turns out we had a 2hr delay. Yay. Except I didn't have anywhere to go. After a quick trip to Walmart , I went back to work and prepared every student's paperwork and materials... for things we never did. Work was much better than I expected and the kids seemed pretty happy to be back! I got tons of hugs from kids I thought would've forgotten me by now.

Feeling good, I came home, said hi to Ricky and lit some gingerbread candles, then got crackin' on taking care of long overdue business and designing and implimenting a brand-spankin' new database and payment plan for all my finances. Everything paid, I started dinner. As an afterthought, I heated the whole bag of frozen peas to keep extra around to put in dinners this week or take for lunch. I want healthy food easily accessable this year, and I figured this was a good way to do it. When I finished I got a mildly crabby comment from Matt about how I always cook/buy too many veggies and we have to throw them away. Ok, that's very true. It's a bad habit. But how can I break a bad habit without trying to get it right this time?! I took it very personally and spent like an hour brooding and thinking that I don't deserve to have my good decisions and hard work (well, as hard as microwaving peas..but still) critisized and how I couldn't possibly shake myself from my pity-filled funk. Honestly, I felt pretty dejected. Matt was apologetic but I couldn't snap out of it- until Wii Rock Band. *cue angelic chorus*
I went over to play a song or two because I didn't want to be rude or to let on something wasn't right. I stayed until now, gentle reader- 11:30. Dinner to 11:30 and I'm totally content and cheerful again after easily 2-3 hours of challenging my fingers and rocking out (and singing quietly to myself). I feel crazy for spending all that time playing a game, but chores were done and it felt like what I needed- Just what I needed! So I'm going to take these lessons away from today. I want to-
1. Stop worrying about what I'm doing wrong. If
I'm really that off, somebody will tell me and I'll fix it- no biggie.
2. Keep enjoying the little things. Car rides, morning toons, egg white sandwichs, hugs from my students, sitting close to Matt on the couch.
3.Embrace and work for better habits. Health, financial, social, emotional.

I guess all I'm saying is I want to develop the confidence to stop worrying and just do what I think is right and feel is right- and enjoy the things I love along the way- which, gentle reader, includes you. ....Awww aren't i sweet.

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Back Again

For those of you who read/follow the blog d'Caitlin, I'm sure you're very impressed with my 2+ bloggings in 1 week. The longest winter vacation in history is drawing to a close and I'm ready to head back to work tomorrow. I'm the tiniest bit nervous about heading back after almost a month off. But I'm MORE than ready!

This weekend Matt and I were invited to stay a few nights out in Springfield with Tracy and Erik. Going into this weekend, I think we both assumed that Erik had officially moved and wasn't coming back. I know the communication has been kinda..well male. No long talks, teary goodbyes, or even a general date discussed between those two. But some how they make it work.

We had a ball in Springfield. The first night we had a lovely dinner with Tracy, Erik and a few friends from Springfield. We haven't seen them since Halloween, so it was definitely a reminder to facebook those peeps ASAP. We played hard Rock Band until around 2. Well, I quit at 2. The boys called it quits at 3am.
The next day Matt was consumed with the need for our own guitar for Rock Band so we could all play at once. I wasn't thrilled with the notion, but hey, it wasn't my decision. I warmed up to the idea later (rationalizing helps), but by that time Matt had buyers remorse. This usually happens with us. We went to a great little brewery in Northhampton for lunch and made a stop at the (ok, I really don't remember its name)...Honeyoak? Holokey? I don't know, but with an extra guitar in hand, take a wild guess what we did when we got back to Springfield.

Tonight, the boys (Matt, Matt O., and Rich) are out rustling up some grub. Matt O is over to enjoy the various Wii activities and show us pictures from his New Year's Eve in Mexico City (which he says gets a bad rap- probably from the water.) I love having company and I can't wait until my visions for 3-8 are realized!

A comfy, non-broken green couch, a complimenting area rug to cover our nasty carpet, pergo (pargo?) kitchen floors, wall shelves to display the many nick knacks that are currently cluttering every freaking surface. Eventually, I hope for a nice flat screen TV- but there are more important purchases to be made first. Picturing this place slightly more put together and cozy takes me to my happy place. Much love, and thanks for reading!!

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Catching up...again

For the benefit of those lucky people that haven't heard much of the past month straight from me (I tend to ramble), let me break it down.

Thanksgiving was spent in Gburg. The aftermath was spent in full-bellied shame.
I came back to work and started to get the tingly excitement of the pre-Christmas time that makes it feel even better to work with kids at school. (Wish my kids could actually talk about Christmastime or winter break, but I'm pretty sure they were still psyched.)
Matt and I were geared up for a super-festive weekend, attending my work's Christmas party and then going immediately to his. I had signed up and purchased the ingredients for the fabulous Crinkle cookies I would bring to Basic's & Life Skills (the classrooms i work in) for a smaller celebration before the break.
The night before Rutland (and most of the surrounding areas, including well, everywhere I ever go) got coated with beautiful, shiny, evil, ice and trees and telephone polls blocked our escape (should we have wanted to go out that morning and make one). I'm still fuming from the reaction of Matt's employers after he couldn't make it to work during this STATEWIDE EMERGENCY!!!!! It was colder than the abandoned, heat-free condo that's for sure. I just wanted to pull that crank right through the cell and scream "Sure he can come in to work, let's just throw on the ol' cross country skiis. In fact, why doesn't he just borrow Santa's freakin sled!!" Personal time, my ass...but I digress.
We spent almost a week without electricity or heat, and I've never felt more welcome since I moved up here than when we received so many offers to come stay or help out. We spent the nights of darkness with those who had power (or a good generator) like Matt O's in Marlboro, Auntie Maurine's, and at Matt's parents. Since we got the power back, it's gone out only once for an hour or so, but every time someone bumps a light switch or a plug, or sits on the remote, I feel a twingey little panic that it's all happening again. Don't get me wrong, it was manageable. But I was more freaked out than I let on.

The biggest disaster of the Ice Storm '08 was Kirsten's house and the serious damage caused by the pipes. I can't even imagine the endless successions of freak outs I would have if it had been my home, so kudos for being so strong, Kirsten!

Christmas with Matt's family was just what I needed to get me back in the spirit of things. The big family fiesta was cancelled because of the next weekend's 16'' of snow. My first Christmas time away from home (or Pennsylvania) was a little surreal, so having at least a little get together definitely got me feeling more jolly. I felt terrible that the storm limited my shopping time (and replacing groceries so we could eat limited my shopping budget) and all I had for Matt's family were the small presents of Bath & Body works and homemade cocoa I got pre-ice storm or PIS, if you will. A rundown on Xmas pressies will come later.

The ice storm and subsequent snow storm the following week closed down schools for almost 2 weeks, which was followed by winter break for 2 weeks. I hated being out of work when I didn't have a job and wonderful kidlets to miss in the first place.

Christmas in Gburg was a little lonely without my sister and her family on the actual Christmas day. My mother and I went to my grandparents for a quiet day. On the 26th, my sis, Bob, and Maddie drove with Dad to Thomasville to Mamu's (my Dad's mom- dont ask about the name....but it's Meg's fault.) I hadn't seen Maddie for a month and a half and she was HUGE and talking way more than in November. It was great seeing my Dad, but prolonged exposure to Thomasville leads to brain leakage and occasional day dreams of pretending to be asleep. On the 27th, my mom's side of the family had the big Christmas where my cousins, grandparents, great aunt's children (and their children) all come and do the Christmas dinner and present thing.So, like 20 some people. Big news! My cousin Mallory is expecting, all beit a little ahead of schedule, and Matt and I will be heading back down for her wedding at the end of January.
I spent the next few days with Mom and Pennsylvania peeps. Early on the 30th, Mom went in for knee surgery and after I saw her safe recovery, I drove from Gburg to my sister's in Southern New Jersey. Had a fantastic dinner with Dad, Meg, Bob, Maddie, and Max (their lab) and then left at 7pm to drive back up to Rutland.

Last night we went to East Boston to Jeff & Sarah's annual NYE party. This is my second year and it was even better than last year- and I'm leaving it at that.

Well, folks, if you made it through all of this, get up and get yourself a piece of left over (possibly discounted) Christmas candy. Perhaps blogging more than once a month would be a good resolution.