Wednesday, November 19, 2008

The Bi-Annual Update

Wow - time is going by so fast! With the upcoming holiday season, we are just swamped, and me with very little time to blog! But it's been over 6 months since my last update, so here's what's been going on with us lately.

Since my last update, we've had two major changes. First, Jonathan started pre-k, which I'll talk more about in a minute. Second, I started working again. I work from home, part-time as an independent contractor for an environmental firm. I do digital mapping, or GIS, and so far, it's working out great. Working from home certainly has it's challenges, but Mark's been great about watching the kids while I work in the evenings and sometimes a few hours on weekends. And it's only part-time, which means I can set my own hours and just work as much or as little as I want. So if you do the math and figure that I actually haven't eliminated anything in my life, but actually added a part-time job, you now know why my blog has been suffering lately. Hey, something's gotta give!

Jonathan is now 4 years, 8 months. He goes to school 3 mornings a week, and so far is doing very well. He loves it, looks forward to it, talks about it all the time and when he's home, he wants to "play" school, so I'm thinking the choice we made to go ahead and send him was a good one! It's a new chapter in our lives, for sure - pick-ups, drop-offs, school fund-raising, constant, constant communications from the school in the form of reams of wasted paper that gets sent hom every single day....sigh. They sent a full-year calendar of the school's events all the way back in August. I do not need to be reminded of them 16 more times with 16 more sheets of paper that is stuffed into Jonathan's backpack everyday. But I guess if that's my only complaint, then it's okay. In other Jonathan news - he's reading now, probably at a second or third grade level. How he got there, I have no idea. But I give him harder and harder books and he reads them straight through, and if he hits a word he doesn't know, he SOUNDS IT OUT. Ummm, who taught you phonics, Jonathan? When he's home, Jonathan has been showing a great interest in learning to cook and bake. Any long-time reader of my blog must know that this makes me happy - now if I could just get him to EAT what he makes, I'd be even happier! But so far, no dice. He started out assisting me with some recipes that I make all the time, like waffles and pancakes, but now he's been starting to look for recipes on his own and showing a desire to make them for others. Just last week, he found a recipe for oatmeal-raisin cookies in his book "Mouse Cookies and More", and with just a tiny bit of supervision, he made the whole thing himself, including cracking the egg! When I suggested he eat one of his cookies, he told me "No, Mommy, I made them for you!" Awwww. How to melt a mommy's heart in one simple step. So then, a few days ago at his school's book fair, the teacher sent home a list of books each child found and was interested in buying, so it was no great surprise to see at the top of Jonathan's list "Disney's Magic Kitchen Cookbook". What a cute book! Full of recipes geared toward kids with a Disney character on every page. How could I not buy it for him? Maybe this cooking craze will last, or maybe it will just be a passing thing. But knowing my little Jonathan, once he's hooked, he'll be hooked for life. Maybe he'll be a great chef someday.

Then, there's Matthew. Matthew is currently 2 years, 5 months. He is finally learning to talk, although he still seems to prefer his own language, which is most certainly not English. We're working on this, but haven't yet ruled out a little intervention if he hasn't made a lot of improvement by Spring. This is not to say he doesn't understand us! It's pretty obvious the child hears and understands every word we say, and, just like his brother, doesn't miss a thing. He just picks and chooses what he hears and goes with it! One of Matthew's favorite activities lately is sneaking into the bathroom, and emptying the contents of our vanity drawers into the trash can. Or knocking down whatever his brother just built. Or sneaking off with a non-washable crayon and decorating our walls. Or discovering the lid off of the liquid soap and fingerpainting the whole house with it. In other words, can you say Terrible Twos? But he's also the sweetest little snuggler you'll ever see - he loves to curl up with us and read or watch tv, or to just "be". In many ways, he's a gentle little spirit, but, like his brother, and I imagine many children his age, he has an agenda and he's sticking to it! Many a tear has been shed because Mark and I, and sometimes even Jonathan decide that we're not going along with the agenda, and it apparently breaks his heart!

I'm sorry to say the sibling rivalry hasn't gotten much better since the last update - there are days when the two of them are offended that they're each breathing the same air. But overall, I would think that things are maybe ever-so-slightly changing. The times when they actually play together and erupt into giggles and squeals may be catching up to the times when it erupts into screams and tears, so that's a step in the right direction. The biggest problem is that Jonathan is very independent, and Matthew likes to follow him around and do what he sees Jonathan doing. Hmmm, what's wrong with THAT picture?!

As for Mark and I? Well, you know about me. My busy is now even busier. And Mark, as a direct result, is busier too, but I can't say enough good things about a guy who comes home from working an 8 hour day, gobbles dinner, and then is responsible for watching the kids, bathing them every night, doling out the bedtime snacks, getting them into bed, and then cleaning up after them, i.e., picking up all the toys and putting them away, cleaning up all the sippy cups and bowls lying around, picking up their clothes, etc....whew, makes me tired just thinking about all that! But he does it, and lately he's been doing it every night. Sure, I'm there to intervene in a crisis - helping out with soap in someone's eyes or finding the one and only bath toy that's acceptable that evening. But Mark's a saint, I'll admit that, but only once! Mostly, he just knows, as I do, how fortunate we are to have this little arrangement where I can work from home, saving us all kinds of extra expense while actually providing us with more cash in these depleted economic times.

So there we are. Just re-reading this update before I save it and post it, I can't help but notice that if someone were to read this, and then ask to describe our family in one word, that word might be...well, not to overuse a word, but that word might be "busy." I'm guessing many families can be described this way these days, but I hope it doesn't seem like that's all we're about. Sure, we have a busy life, but we find time, or rather, we make time and plan time to be a family, to do fun things together, and to make it work. And it's ever-evolving. What worked for us 6 months ago isn't working now, and what's working now probably won't be working 6 months from now. So on that note, I'll check back in 6 months from now and re-assess where we are, then. In the meantime, stay tuned for holiday festivities, more cooking fun and yet another "getting to know you" - this time with a Christmas theme!


C.S. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
C.S. said...

What a cool picture! Is that a church picture for a directory? It seems photographers for church directories all have exactly 1 background, but everyone looks happy, although it appears Matthew is getting ready to jump through my screen. Thanks for the update! Sounds like an amazing, wonderful life!!!

Rebecca said...

Nope, not church. Fire department fund-raiser!! You knew it had to be one or the other. And yes, they might have a boring background, but the photographer was a riot - thus those happy faces. In real life, we never actually smile....

Ohighway said...

Wow, what a nice family shot !!

We missed our FD fundraiser photo shoot, so we'll have to stay tuned for the re-take date!

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