Category Archives: Kids

Need for routine


I think I’ll just cut to the chase with this…

I hate when the kids have too many days off of school.

When they have a Friday off, I have to try to get more things done earlier in the week so that I don’t have to drag them around on all of my Friday errands. It disrupts my exercise routine as well. This also means that I miss out on my “me” time. I’ve learned in the past few months just how important my “me” time is for my overall well-being. Even if it is just a mere 20 minutes to sit in the house, alone, and do whatever it is I want…I really need to have “me” time. When they have Monday off, I don’t have that last day to finish up my own homework for Tuesday. I also miss out on my “me” time there too. I typically end up saving my grocery shopping trip til Wednesday, which totally messes with the menu for the week. When they go and give the kids a 1/2 day Thursday, off Friday and off Monday, then that messes with everything.

My daily routine at home is all out of whack. Their daily routine at school is all out of whack. Not to mention that this weekend we were visiting my in-laws, so I have a whole weekend of housework that I’m behind on. So yes, I was happy to send them off to school this morning. Even though I had school as well, at least they were re-entering their routine. umm…no. This was just enough of a break that it is going to take them the rest of this week to readjust back to the routine. That means a week of poor home to school communication, lost papers, forgotten belongings, etc.

The first 3 weeks back from winter break were all short weeks (4 days, 4 1/2 days, 4 days). They had 2 entire 5 day weeks before having last week and this week all messed up again. Maybe it just seems worse now, but I don’t remember their schedules being so choppy in the fall.

We’ve known for a long time that Tommy needs structure and routine. Now I’m starting to see that Anna and I need it nearly as much as he does. On days like today, I feel like someone pushed our reset button and we lost “unsaved information”.


Things are looking up


When I finished my post about Tommy’s sleep issues the other day, I looked down to find him sound asleep on the family room floor…right there at m feet. So yes, the lack of sleep did finally catch up with him. Now, was his problem magically solved? No.

Saturday night and Monday night were both a bit rough. Thankfully though, he woke up Tuesday morning looking refreshed and eager to go to school. I can’t say the same about Anna, but that’s another story. Last night he only came out of his room once, which is a huge improvement. At this point I’d say that I am cautiously optimistic. Time to get working on that new and improved bedtime routine!

Another thing I’ve noticed is that Anna has been stirring up trouble at night. OK…to be completely honest, she’s been stirring up trouble for most of break, but at night it has more of an impact on Tommy. She gets goofy, starts acting up and that just pushes his buttons. So, as we revamp the bedtime routine it will definitely involve keeping them separate after a certain point. Tommy simply cannot settle himself if she’s running around like a goofball.

Its so nice to be returning to normal around here!

Mommy…I can’t sleep


A phrase I’ve heard way too much of lately.

Seriously…I’ve heard it at least once a night on 12 of the last 14 nights from the same child.

Since right before winter break started, Tommy has been having trouble getting to sleep. This is not uncommon in children with ADHD, and we’ve seen it before. And yes, if he takes his medication too late in the day, that will also make it more likely to happen. We also know that Tommy really needs structure and routine, so we’ve kept bedtime the same for the break. Other than going to school, we’ve done everything we can to preserve his normal schedule over break.

I’ve consulted many sources regarding how to help my child sleep. We keep bedtime the same every night. He’s not allowed to have chocolate after dinner. Dessert has to be done a certain amount time before bedtime. We play a CD of ocean waves as white noise to fill the room. Recently, I also read advice that parents not dismiss their child’s sleeping difficulties. (Apparently its common for parents to just tell their kid to be quiet and go to sleep.) I definitely don’t dismiss them. I know that his sleep issues are real. I have them myself. I’ve told him this, and I’ve taught him all of my best relaxation techniques that I use. Muscle relaxation exercises, deep breathing, counting, even getting back up and writing/drawing what’s in his head to get it out. A shower before bedtime doesn’t really seem to calm him. We’ve also tried some of the calming activities that he learned in OT.

Now, I must admit that our bedtime routine isn’t fantastic, but we try. Plus, the routine has been rough for quite some time…not a new development. So, the questions still remain unanswered…what is the trigger that has caused this to happen recently? What the heck am I going to do about it? At this point, he’s lost anywhere from 1-2 hours of sleep every night since school got out. He’s still waking up at pretty much his normal time, so the lack of sleep HAS to be catching up with him.

I really don’t know what else to do to help him. I’m afraid that when he goes back to school next week he’s going to be a complete and total wreck. Sure, maybe going back to school and resuming a completely normal schedule will help set him straight. But, if it doesn’t “fix” his issues, then what?

At this point, I dread bedtime. I know that it is the beginning of a nearly 2 hour time period of me going up and down the stairs every 20 minutes. When he thinks he’s tried “everything” to get to sleep, he climbs out of bed, turns on his light, comes out into the hallway, turns on the hall light and yells down to me…”mommy…I can’t sleep.” I keep telling him that getting out of bed and turning on all the lights is just restarting the whole process, but he just won’t tolerate laying in bed unable to sleep.

I don’t have a magic mommy button, and I haven’t the foggiest idea what to do to fix this.

The Last Hurrahs of Summer


This week was our last full week of summer.  The kids start school on Wednesday.  Having just returned from vacation, I purposely didn’t schedule any camps or anything for this week because I thought we might just have a lazy week.  We did a couple of lazy days, but that’s really all that my kids can handle in one week.  By early Wednesday, they were driving me nuts.  They were sassy with me and fighting with each other.  I knew I had to break the cycle, so I packed up snacks, a book, and a comfy chair and we headed off to the biggest park around here.   Seriously…this park is unbelievable.  It has 3 separate playground areas (maybe more), a huge sand pit, swings, and a giant climbing structure.  We were there for 3 ½ hours!

Thursday morning, I cut them off from the hours of morning TV they’d been watching and started giving them chores to do again. LegoMan was far more cooperative than Ladybug, but I didn’t let that stop us from having a good afternoon.  LegoMan got the choice of activities and chose to go see the Smurf movie.  We ran a few errands, went to the movie, ran a few more errands, and came home for dinner.  Overall, a good afternoon…and a very cute movie, by the way.  After dinner, LegoMan was rewarded for his earlier cooperation with the privledge of renting a DS game.

After another morning of chores that played out much the same way as yesterday, we ‘re off at our fun outing of the day for today.  As I speak, the kids are running around like complete and total crazies at an indoor playground.  Imagine a fast food playland, only larger and MUCH cleaner.  They are having a blast.  And I am having an even bigger blast sitting here with my own thoughts and watching them enjoy themselves.  We were here over spring break and, as one would expect, it was insane.  It was very crowded, hectic, and loud.  Today it is so much better.  I think some of the area schools may have already started back.  Plus, it’s a nice day out so some are probably basking in the sun at an outdoor venue.  All the better for us.

FYI: My children really know how to play. We ended up being at the playland on Friday for 4 1/2 hours.  We shut the place down.

Can’t wait till the kids start school


I know it might sound bad, but let me explain.

This summer was my first ever summer at home with my children.  Headed into it, I was actually very worried about how it would go.  Tommy is one who easily gets out of hand without structure from daily routines.  It’s summer…I didn’t really want routines.  He also does better when he knows what to expect.  I didn’t always want to tell him what I was planning because I wanted some element of surprise in it.  It took me a couple of weeks to find a good balance, but I did find it.  We did a lot of fun things (not quite everything that I had up my sleeve, but that’s OK.) and neither of them is complaining that it was their worst summer ever.  I would definitely say that’s a success.

Yes it was fun, and I’m glad that I had the opportunity to spend this time with them, but I’m glad that it’s coming to an end. I think everything seems a bit more annoying right now because this is one of the few weeks in which we have absolutely nothing scheduled.  After vacation last week and school starting next week, I thought we could just coast through this week.  Not so sure about that now, so we’ll probably have to be spontaneous to keep them from killing each other.

There are many things that I have learned (or been reminded of) about their perspective on life having been with them all summer.

-There is no such thing as personal space.

-The kids get first dibs on any and all food that comes into the house.

-Quantities of food that come into the house must be divisible by 2 and it is my job to keep track of how many items each one has consumed.

-If I want to disrupt that balance of food, I am expected to consult with them first.

-Whining and growling are considered acceptable forms of communication.

-I am supposed to be able to read their minds.

-When I say no, it doesn’t always mean no.

I’m looking forward to those few quiet days I have to myself after they start school and before I start my classes.  I miss being able to eat what I want, when I want, without having to share.  I miss being able to get in the car and just run my errands without having to explain where I’m going, why I’m going there and how long its going to take.

Everything I learned this weekend…


Everything I learned this weekend…I learned from pirates!

Through this process of planning and hosting Tommy’s birthday party, I have learned a lot.  Just thought I’d share some of those tidbits here.

1) Planning a party is exhausting.  I guess I knew this before, but as I sit here today still feeling like I’m in a bit of a fog, I’m reminded of just how exhausting it is.

2) Things will not always go as planned.   

3) When things don’t go as planned, you don’t have time to stop and feel lousy about it.  You just have to keep going.

4) Always rent the bounce house from a place that does delivery and set up.  Usually I decide on a case by case basis which is more important, my time (and energy) or my money.  With this, I chose my money.  We rented the bounce house from a place that doesn’t deliver because their rental fee was $75 cheaper than most other places.  Aaron and I agreed last weekend, that pick up and set up on our own was worth it to save $75.  Two words…NEVER AGAIN!  We severely underestimated how much work it took to get it out of the van, hauled into the back yard and set up.  And I guarantee that it was even more work to get it back out front and back into the van when the night was over.  That thing weighed a ton!!

5) Shark fruit snacks do not do well in jello.  Don’t really know what happened with the ocean blue jello, but it was a disaster.  When I scooped into it, the jello seemed like it wasn’t set underneath.  The sharks had lost a lot of their color.  And a couple of the kids said that the sharks weren’t that good.  Perhaps I should’ve gone with gummy candy instead of fruit snacks.  Fortunately, it was so darn hot that many of the kids still slurped down the half set blue jello.  😉

6) Hawaiian punch ice cubes make everything better.  After we found that the jello was a flop, I quickly grabbed the stuff and served up the shark bite punch.  The “shark blood” ice cubes were a huge hit!!

7) Young pirates love a good treasure hunt.  I was so excited to see them all running through the house trying to find the clues.  It was one of the things that went exactly as I had imagined.

8 ) 8 kids is about the max I can handle in my house.  For most of the afternoon, we had just 7 kids running around (including my 2), and I was on the edge of my seat.  Besides the insane volume, there were several rough spots…doors slamming, kids fighting, and kids crying.

9) It’s not a party until someone gets a nose bleed.

10) Jumping in a bounce house makes you feel like a kid again.  Granted, we didn’t have these things at parties when we were kids, but it would’ve been a ton of fun!  After all the guests left, my sister and I got in with the kids and bounced around for about a half hour.  It was a great way to end the evening!

At some point, I’ll actually sit down with my camera and see what I took pictures of.  😉

Pirate Mayhem


Last week at this time, I was feeling completely overwhelmed with planning Tommy’s birthday party.  I had my sights set on bounce house in the backyard for the kids and a beer in my hand.  In between where I was and where I wanted to be, there stood a ton of cleaning.  I really had no intention of doing much of anything with the pirate theme that Tommy chose for his party, other than to pass out pirate goodies and include gold coins with the candy in the pinata.

Now that I’ve been able to get some of that cleaning out of the way, things really feel like they’re moving.  On Sunday, my sister asked me if I was doing anything with the pirate theme besides hiding the treasure chest (pinata) in the backyard.  At that point…nope.  Later that evening, I started to feel a bit guilty so I started searching for pirate party ideas.  Now, I have more ideas than I know what to do with, and am trying to figure out just how many of them I’m actually going to use.

I hope the kiddos come prepared for all sorts of pirate mayhem, cuz they sure are going to get some.  There will be eye patches, inflatable swords and tattoos.  They will have to walk the plank.  Hopefully they’ll get to play a rousing game of sink the enemy too.  In the meantime, they’ll be snacking on pirate peg legs, fish and cannonballs.  They’ll wash it all down with a splash of sharks blood punch.  I’m even thinking about making some Jell-o ocean blue.   They’ll have to complete a treasure hunt in order to find the pinata.  (And yes, there will be the bounce house too!)  I am on a roll, and perhaps I should be stopped. 

Sure, there’s still quite a bit of cleaning to do, and errands to run, but I feel much more optimistic about it this week than I did last week.  I’m sure that by Friday evening I’m going to be in an overdrive so high that I won’t be able to sleep.  Hopefully everything will go smoothly.  And the neighbors, they’d better just settle in for a long evening.  For all those nights when the boys behind us played night baseball games under a flood light…this is pirate revenge.

Arrrgh!  Walk the plank!