Wednesday, December 23, 2009

A Charlie Brown Christmas

The title doesn't really refer to our children's Christmas-time experience. However, we do know the real reason for this season is the birth of Christ and not the commercialized event that it has become. I'll start by saying that... before I get into what funny things they have said lately.

We were watching "A Charlie Brown Christmas" which is a pretty common movie to watch this time of year. It has a great point. A child, we don't really know his age, has conflicting thoughts about Christmas. Why? Because of the commercialization and so many things that come along with it. For instance, questions like, "Why aren't we nice to each other every day, instead of just on Christmas Day?"

Anyway, Kaleo, my very sensitive sweet-hearted child, asked me towards the end of the movie, "Where are all their mommies & daddies?" I guess it had never dawned on me that there are absolutely no adults in the Charlie Brown holiday movies. I say this because I bought them the set of movies. The "great pumpkin" and the "Thanksgiving" and the "Christmas" movie all in one handy set. No parents. No adults. Very strange. And yet, I never noticed it.

So Christmas is truly upon us. I have friends who enjoy the hussle & bustle & get out & fight the crowds and go to the malls & do all of the shopping the last two weeks before Christmas. Not me. I had my shopping pretty much done in October. And most of it, I had done online with free shipping. I don't understand why people wait until the last minute, or why anyone would want to go out and fight crowds. It takes away from the joy of the season, doesn't it? Those angry Christmas shoppers do not bring joy, and when one of them bumps into you and yells into your face, for no apparent reason, that does not bring anyone joy. I say, stay home, shop on Amazon & get your gifts before or after the rush. Stores have clearance sales in February & in October. Why not do your shopping in the stores then? And then the expense is spread throughout the year instead of all in the last two weeks of December.

We got the kids their big gift in September off of craigslist. Who cares if it's used? Two 50's, a quad-runner & a little dirt bike. They needed a little bit of work, but Davin fixed them up and has tested them out (that was the highlight of my day... watching him drive around the neighborhood on those little 50's). And now we're just waiting for the big day. Other than that, we really didn't dive into commercialism this year. We did try to have a little something for each individual, especially those we knew would be buying us things! But there was a $10 limit. I am not sure if that was reasonable. But it was what had to be done.

"Merry Christmas Charlie Brown"

Friday, December 4, 2009


So the roller coaster ride has almost come to a stop. It's kind of at a coast at this point in time, though. Basically, after many hospitalizations, I had to have emergency surgery on 9/22. I also lost my childcare license that day because although I was not at home, the parents that I do daycare for still left their children in the care of my husband, Davin! Obviously, this is not allowed by the US Navy's standards. He was doing the extremely nice, gentlemanly thing by taking a bunch of kids on when he knew I was at the hospital by myself having surgery. It was a very emotional time! I woke up with no one there. That was very upsetting, of course.

But not to get upset by these details... since then, I have gone before the Quality Review Board of the Navy to petition the charge they had assessed me with. They took back the charge and gave me back my licensure plus a bonus to boot. Now Davin is in the process of getting certified to do childcare so that he is able to help me when I need his help. We never want to run into a situation like this again.

I took a part time job working at the local Sears Dept Store. That was a huge mistake on my part. At the same time, it opened my eyes to what hourly employees have to go through. I have been a salaried employee for such a long time, and Davin has also. We haven't had to face the reality of what hourly workers go through to earn that little tiny paycheck at the end of the week. Even though I have a B.S. in Business & a M.A. in Human Services I took a minimum-wage paying position solely because the Human Resource Department gave me permission to make my own schedule around my husband's schedule. I figured... this is going to be so easy. Every dollar I make is free & clear, I'm not paying for any daycare, and I'm getting out of the house a little bit. Getting out of the house is something that I have been struggling with, as I have been locked in the house for the past 6 years finishing a Master's degree. I have longed to be a part of the outside world. That is, until I actually joined the outside world.

The experience taught me a lot of things. First of all, Human Resource Departments do not keep their word when they give permission for such things as a hiring agreement to "make your own schedule". After the first two weeks, I had one manager in my face yelling at me that if I couldn't work when she put me on the schedule, that she would have me fired. I gave her my availability, and she gave me the schedule the exact opposite of that. That would mean I was making minimum wage, and would have to pay $3/hour per child (2) for my children to go to daycare somewhere. Now, would you work for nothing? I tried to resolve this issue with the management team. I wrote two separate letters to the Human Resource office. I physically went into the store to talk to management on two occasions, and I called the Human Resource attendance line to try to resolve the issues.

I never used my degree to an advantage. I never talked down to anyone. But I will never forget how bad the experience actually was. Years ago, when I was working on my Business degree, I read a book called "Nickel & Dimed in America" about a woman who went from town to town as a single woman and tried to make a living on minimum wage. She tried it in various locations all over the country to gauge the differences in the cost of living, etc. However, minimum wage has since gone up. She wrote about how ignorant some managers were. She wrote about how, although she had a Master's degree, that she never used that education to get her a higher position. She wanted to see what it was like. Not so the case for me. I have applied to 80 institutions of higher learning. I have gotten 3 responses, but I cannot start teaching until the Summer 2010 or Fall 2010 semesters at any of them. Ideally, this is what I hope to do with my life. However, I am impatient. I applied at Sears one day when I was helping a neighbor's kid on apply for positions. I thought, "a pricing associate, how bad could this be?" And I found out upon being hired.

Although it's been a difficult thing for me to adult whole-heartedly, I will confess that doing childcare for the US Military is a whole lot less stressful than working for minimum wage under ignorant management. This is for many reasons, but mainly because the military lets you set your rules (under their rules of course), and keep your customers in line. I have maintained professionalism throughout the years (even though I'm working with children - and their parents), and could not believe how the outside world's professionalism standards have flopped into the toilet. Davin had previously warned me. I did not believe him. But I will say, that I will not forget. I will not forget anything that I went through. I will not forget that the paychecks after busting my pregnant butt all week long were not enough to pay for groceries for our family. I will forever be grateful to the freedom that I have had through running my own daycare. And although sometimes I feel that the Navy keeps childcare providers from having any privacy, I will be thankful because I am a salaried employee. I take additional children, I make a lot of money. They pay for food. They pay for the parents to get a discount, and they help to make sure parents do right by us. I couldn't ask for more.

I do long to change careers, obviously. On a scale of valuable employees from 1 to 100, childcare providers are ranked #22 by way of respect & by way of pay. However, minimum wage pricing associates aren't on the list at all. And so maybe I'll take that #22 position for the time being. My children are young. And I don't desire to juggle them. I long to teach at the adult level (or at least the teen level), but I know now that patiently waiting for the RIGHT door to open up, is likely the thing I ought to do, rather than taking anything that comes my way.

Thankful, is what I am!! :)

Saturday, September 19, 2009

This summer has been quite a roller coaster! Between me being in the hospital, and having to bury a close friend, we've barely had time to realize how wonderful our children are as they are growing! Kaleo started school the day after labor day. Samson has been very upset every day when he is reminded that he will not be joining Kaleo at school. As we load into the car every morning, he packs himself a backpack full of supplies he deems necessary to bring. He has high hopes that I'll let him stay one of these days.

Samson has informed me that the baby in my belly is his baby. And that he is going to take care of it. Kaleo has stated that he will be taking care of the baby, and my job will be to tend to Samson.

Samson told me Friday, after we'd dropped Kaleo & Esias (one of my daycare kids who also goes to Kaleo's school part time) off at school, that he knows his name is Samson but he wants me to always call him Sammy. He shrugged when I asked him why, but I still thought it was pretty funny, and completely out of context to our conversation at the time.

We are watching Babe right now as our Saturday movie night. Samson chose it while Kaleo was outside working with Davin welding something together (Davin has the proper protective masks for them both), and Kaleo is very unhappy with the choice. He'd much rather watch Scooby Doo for the 867th time this week. But hey, I have a lot to be grateful for! At least he's off the Grinch phase!

Samson's new kick is changing his clothes every hour. He goes into his drawers and picks a new outfit for every situation. I don't understand it one bit. I do laundry every 4 days or so, and he had (no exaggeration) 17 pairs of underwear that were in the dirty laundry. And not because he has accidents or anything, but because he just changes his clothes so much. Because Davin saw the stack of laundry that Samson had to put away, he has made a new rule: Samson may not change his clothes during the course of the day. We've already had massive throw downs today because of this new rule being put into place.

Luckily, Davin dealt with it in it's first effectual day because I was at the Crisis Pregnancy Center doing some volunteer work today. And speaking of that, it seems so funny to me that the work with pregnant teenagers or any other unplanned pregnancy is less draining than my job running the military home daycare. Of course, it's only when I choose to do it, but I believe that speaks measures about the military's daycare policies.

Well I must get back to the husband & kids. They are watching Babe and eating some kind of candy that should probably be regulated by the female of the house. Otherwise, the children will never go to sleep tonight unless drugged with some benedryl or something of that nature. Haha, I'm kidding, I've never even administered benedryl to the kids, but I know it puts me to sleep! I'm tired myself already, and my feet are hurting.

The best news of the week is... I have vomited in 6 days. It is truly a record. I am now able to take prenatal vitamins daily, and am feeling so much better. I had forgotten what it felt like to have energy, to not have to walk around with barf bags in my purse, and to desire to eat! Finally an appetite! 20 weeks & counting. We go for more measurements to be sure of the due date in October. Right now, it looks like I'm due somewhere between Feb 1 & Feb 22. Hurray! I'm half way there!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Still Moving Forward

I know we have learned much through the tragedies of the past few months. We have learned what's most important in this lifetime, and sometimes, it almost feels shameful that we didn't realize it in it's entirety before these events happened. But now we do, and we will remember from here on out.

With that being said, Wednesday, I had my first real OB appointment at Sewells Point. I suppose I have to stick with the military doctors, even though they have no idea what they are doing much of the time. I am around 15 weeks or so, with a due date of February 20, 2010 which is so silly since Samson's birthday is February 20, 2007. I suppose these babies will be just about 3 years apart. The midwife did an ultrasound and could not find any boy parts yet. Davin has called everyone to tell them that we are having a girl, so hopefully the baby does not suddenly sprout boy parts! I thought it was too early to tell but apparently, it's okay. :)

Monday, July 27, 2009

A rough weekend

Really, there's no other way to describe this weekend. Horrible. Awful. Tragedy-filled. One of our friends that Davin has know since he was 9 and I have known since I was around 13, was killed in a motorcycle accident in Virginia Beach. Mat Mason, only 24 years of age, flipped into oncoming traffic after he lost control of his motorcycle on Shore Drive.

Davin & Mat had been very close friends growing up probably because of their location and their love for the outdoors & speed. They lived only about a quarter of a mile apart (which is not much space on the eastern shore) and was a quick ride on a dirtbike or a 4-wheeler which was their typical mode of transportation until they both got their Chevy trucks when they got their licenses in the summer after the 10th grade.

Mat & I met at Onley Baptist in the church youth group. Andrea started taking me to youth. I don't remember why she wanted to go to this church, but whatever it was, we both ended up sticking. Mat was the goofiest person I'd ever met and he just had me laughing every time we got together. He told cheezy jokes (those are my favorite), and in every picture, he'd give us bunny ears. It's like bunny ears never got old for him. They were funny in 1st grade and equally funny 11th grade.

Weekend night life on the shore consisted of a few illegal activities. Most of which we have on video. Street racing down one of the straighter backroads, with the whole crowd of people at the quarter mile marker. Mat was always challenging someone in his little Chevy S-10. He always had a great excuse for why he'd lost each race. Even Justin McKinney's Jeep could outrun Mat's truck. Davin would smoke him every single time in his Chevy C-10. No matter what, we always had a good time.

Together, we were always eating. Wendy's or Chinese food. Back then, Mat was a little heavier. It didn't matter to us, we just all had love for one another... the kind of love that you don't notice petty things. Just being together was a whole lot better than being alone, and together we were. Davin had 2 twin beds in his bedroom. So many times I remember waking up and Mat being in the bed next to us. "Do you ever go home? I mean, it's just across the street!" we would joke.

And then there was the time that Trey was hanging out with Mat. I think my mom was confident that Mat would be a good influence on Trey. Mat had a big container of what looked like cherry red gumballs. Trey asked them if he could have one, so Mat gave it to him and Trey ate it. It was a paintball. Every time I think about it, I have to smile, even laugh. When I asked Mat why he'd let him eat a paintball, he said, "Well I didn't know he was really going to eat it!"

In recent years, Mat had his fair share of trouble. He tried to do what his family wanted him to do to be successful, but he wasn't happy overall (My brother went through something similar). So he ended up close to his roots, in Virginia Beach, which is close enough to Davin & I. He would come to us whenever he was lonely or just needed help with his car or his motorcycle. Last summer, we went to the free military concerts together. He tried to help Amber find herself a man at the Gary Allen concert. *good times*

Just last week, he came over because his bike was making some crazy noises & he needed Davin to help him fix it. Of course, Davin is always up for helping a friend. Mat came in & checked on me because of my recent bouts of hospitalizations. He had been over the last few weeks and I had been MIA because I'd been in the hospital. He went into detail about how he was going to ask his girlfriend of 2 years, JoAnn, to marry him in the next few weeks, and debated with me & my Grandma Joan about the ring and the way he should go about asking (restaurant... no restaurant.... home cooked meal... which of his grandmother's rings he should use, etc).

I wish for different circumstances. Of course I do. A quick act of irresponsibility left huge family and set of friends devastated, and a community confused. No matter what, we have our memories of Mat. But it doesn't seem like it's enough. He's gone, he's not here any more. And he never will be. And thinking about that might be selfish of us. But selfish thoughts of this situation is all I have in me right now.

Thursday, July 16, 2009


A great number of events have occurred since my last entree. I don't know that I can actually name them all. Basically, 2 separate hospitalizations. The first one was for an infected gall bladder. The last Friday in June, I went to Sentara Leigh since Portsmouth frequently sent me home although I told them how badly it hurt. Eventually, Portsmouth had me transported by ambulance from Sentara Leigh back to their facility with a new level of belief since Sentara Leigh had actually performed tests that showed the infection, rather than sending me away telling me that I "didn't seem to be in enough pain for anything to be really wrong with me". All because I refuse to throw a tantrum & cry. I think not. How about a hospital staff that believes people when they say something hurts? I am not the overreacting type of individual. There are no throw downs on my behalf. I should have been believed.

Needless to say, after that drama subsided, I was admitted & a drain was inserted through my liver & through my bottom 2 ribs to drain the infected gall bladder. I was released the following Thursday (a 6 day hospitalization). By Saturday, the drain was filling with blood instead of the fluid it was supposed to be filling with, and I ended up back in the hospital. This time, until Wednesday. Diagnosis: pancreatitis.

By the weekend, I could tell the drain itself (the tube coming out of my side) was beginning to get infected. I was not in for another hospital stay. So on Monday, I called the hospital to tell them my findings. They requested I come in just for them to check it. Davin came home & drove me to the hospital. They told me to lie down & they yanked the drain out without giving me a whole lot of notice that they were going to do such a thing. It was pretty disgusting (more disgusting than just thinking about it).

So as of Thursday, I'm drainless & I have not had an issue with the gall bladder. I'm really hoping that this gall bladder doesn't act up again until at least the 12th wk of my pregnancy, because that's the only time that anything can be (safely) done about the problem. Let's keep that positive attitude!

Monday, June 22, 2009

I'm NOT singing..... NOPE

Kaleo is such a trip. I have spent a lot of time recently on the computer and driving around to find vacation bible schools in our area for our kids to attend. I know that Kaleo is used to the school atmosphere, and while he's at home, he has to deal with 3 younger children. He's used to being with a classroom full of 5 year olds, while I take care of a 3, 2, & 1 year old each day. Therefore, it was my desire to fill his summer with simple activities. I didn't want to overwhelm him with a bunch of lessons and all. I know he wants to have fun! Sometimes parents enrolls their kids in too many things and the kids are so exhausted that they can't really even enjoy the activities.

So I thought.... vacation bible school is simple and it typically lasts for 2 or 3 hours a day or night at the most. There are tons of kids his age, and they do a load of fun activities with them. To top it off, it's either low-cost ($5 or less) or free entirely. I am down with that!

So tonight was the first night of Vacation Bible School at the church that we attend. It's also the first for the season. He did not want to go. He insisted that they would "make him sing". I had no idea what he was talking about. He just did not want to sing. He said it multiple times, and was getting really upset. I explained that he didn't have to sing unless he wanted to and that no one would make him. I told him he'd get to make things, play games, and a bunch of other stuff. He was still a little doubtful about the whole situation.

I was 5 minutes late picking him up and he had his bag full of crafts and a big smile on his face with a report that he got to be simon when they played "simon says". His teacher said he was so well behaved and there was one individual who was shy & he sat with her and helped her get comfortable with the group. He has that kind of spirit about him, and I just love that he is sensitive to other people's needs. He's only 5 and reaching out to others around him that he sees are having a difficult time adapting to whatever the surrounding situation may be.

When we got to the car he told me he wants to come to bible school every day. Too bad it's only a week long!


The busyness has not subsided yet. However, there has been a massive amount of exciting news to go along with just being "busy". For instance, this week on Wednesday evening, I drove myself to the hospital with a awful stomach ache. I was in an extreme amount of pain. At 1am, I realized that this pain was just not normal (not that stomach pain is in the normal catagory, but I have acid reflux so stomach pain is a common feat for me). So basically, I was in the hospital. They gave me all kinds of good stuff... narcotics... yippy! I was good & loopy when they did the ultrasounds on my gallbladder. Yes they did two ultrasounds. The first was a doctor in training and the second was his supervisor, who rolled the portable ultrasound machine in just a few minutes after the first doctor left. I suppose the first doc did not get the images the supervisor had hoped for.

Soon after, the doc in training came back into the room, again with the portable ultrasound machine. By this time, I'd had plenty of morphine and I remember thinking how inappropriate I sounded when I asked the doctor, "OH so you're gonna do it to me again huh?" OH BOY very embarrassing. The doctor smiled and just said, "well this time we're not looking at your gall bladder. We are looking for a baby. I said, "WHAT???" and he said, "yes you are pregnant..."

They told me that I could go home & I was convinced, after falling out of the hospital bed and then dressing myself, that I could drive myself home. After all, I'd driven myself to the hospital even though I was in such pain. They said absolutely not & that my husband had to come & get me. While I was waiting for Davin to come get me at 5:30am, I realized that not a soul was watching me. I walked out to the parking lot & got into the car & called Davin and told him that I felt completely fine & that I'd just drive myself home. After all, no need for him to get the kids out of bed and all this early! He said that he was almost to the hospital. I told him it was fine & he should just turn around & go home. He refused and told me I better not drive the car anywhere.

Looking back, I'm certainly thankful for his common sense. I just remember that I kept saying, I feel fine, I'm good, I can drive.

So that's my story! Very exciting!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

So Busy!

How is it that we are so busy? It's like the hussle bustle consumes us. But what are we gaining from this? I'm unsure exactly. We have been so busy but it's difficult to say that we have actually accomplished anything. I still have not acquired work with my newly earned degree, although I feel that my daily search takes up much of my time.

I remember being young and in love. In my cleaning out the last closet this past week, I found a letter that Davin wrote to me back in 2003. It reminded me of the way we used our time back then. We had no clear concept of time. Reality was not for us. Fairy tale fantasies were, though. Davin writes, "No matter how bad of a day I have, just as long as I know you're waiting for me at home will make all of my problems go away". Mind you, this was a year into our dating relationship.

My own children have difficulty in grasping the time concept. I was 18 years old and hadn't grasped it, so how do I expect a 5 & a 2 year old to have the ability to handle it? Well.... I'm not sure. Off to the job search!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

The Job Hunt

I have begun the strenuous job hunting task, and have had no luck thus far. To date, I have applied for online college professor positions so that although I need to be able to hold a job and eventually replace Davin's income for his exit from the Navy into full time college, I am not having much luck just yet. Basically, my goal has been to go through the list of U.S. universities and apply at one each day. I have been getting call-backs with suggestions for various other job possibilities from recruiting agents, as many of the universities are out of funding and have capped off enrollment.

Altogether though, this is a very frustrating process. I have about 2 years to replace Davin's income, so I'm not going to get discouraged just yet. It's only been 3 weeks so I know there's still hope. I'm going to fight for it! :) I don't want to have to leave my babies. To sum it up.... I want to have my cake & eat it too! I always have had it good & I don't want any of that to change, but I also want to provide Davin with the chance that he provided me.... the fact that he worked his butt off & re-enlisted in the Navy so that I would be able to finish my degree blows my mind. Every single day. Such an unselfish man.... the government owns him for 3 more years all because he knew how badly I wanted to have that education. His chance to do the same is coming soon! He works so hard!!

I'll keep you all posted!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

It's been a while!

Well the events of the last few weeks have been quite the experience. I haven't had time to write or update. But now it seems I have all the time in the world to catch up on so many things that I've been longing to do!

I graduated May 9, 2009 at 10am. It's a very exciting event for me, as I've had two children along the way. I'm so excited to finally have those letters following my name: Tiffany Ann Cooley Feliciano, M.A. The person with a normal life, who did things in the proper order, may not realize how much it means to a person who was disorganized in the beginning and started out completely backwards. I've always been an advocate for education, and therefore, could not bear to fall behind in my schooling. For the most part, my high school graduating class (2003) is behind me in this race for the finish. They ask me where I get my drive. They are in disbelief when they see me balance the massive juggling act. Chaos is just my thing!

So after graduating, we had rented a bed & breakfast cottage in Lynchburg on a 60 acre horse farm. It was so nice, and just a break from the hussle bustle that we deal with on a daily basis living in this military community. We had quite the crowd staying with us including Davin, me, Kaleo, Samson, Vickie, Sloane, Amber, and my mom. There were enough beds for everyone and the kids had a great time too.

And then... we were off to Disney. Honestly, I need a restful week after that kind of vacation but I didn't know it would be such a tiring event or I would've taken a week off. No, I suppose I prefer the chaos. And so, although we arrived home after 11pm on Sunday night, the kids filed in around 5am on Monday morning. Exhausted from unpacking half the night, but enduring every second of it knowing that at naptime... it can be MY NAPTIME too if I so choose for it to be! And I'll finally have a clean house. And possibly a high-earning income too. Right from the comfort of my own home. IN MY PJ's IF I SO CHOOSE!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

"Yes Ma'am"

It's not very often that Samson & I have time alone. For the most part, I have children here for many hours out of the day and if Kaleo is at school, we are tending to other people's kids needs. It's our way of life, and we are very immune to it. However, on one particular day this week, something odd happened. No one brought their kids. So I got Kaleo ready for school & Samson dressed for the day. It was just the three of us. How nice, I thought to myself. A morning to ourselves!

After I dropped Kaleo off at school, I headed to the commissary. I got there so early, they weren't even open. Samson & I sat outside the store on the bench with an elderly couple until they opened the doors. And he refused to sit in the cart. He was determined to stand throughout the entire trip. I'm sure a lot of the older people were thinking.... you need to beat that kid! But no, I just kept telling him, "Samson you need to sit down, you could fall & hurt yourself". And by the time we got to the cereal aisle, I was just tired of saying it. He was starting to get cocky standing there in the buggy and while I pushed, he bounced back and forth singing a little song.

Until I stopped. He continued to bounce and fell backwards into the cart. Since there was not a lot in the cart, he landed on the metal part of the bottom. His legs were straight up in the air. He was screaming "Mommy ouchy, Mommy Ouchy" over & over. I said, "Samson, are you going to sit in the cart now?" And his response was "Yes, Ma'am" and he sat for the rest of the trip.


The Gloves Make Him Strong!

We probably had the busiest weekend in a very long time. I don't remember having that much to do in one week's time period, much less two & a half days. So on Friday, we had plans to meet with Matt & Kari & their twins at Qdoba. Then Brad & Valerie flew in from Mississippi and also met us there. What started out as a 6pm dinner date turned into a night-owl chat. We were there til after 9pm.

Saturday we had Gary & Tanja & Maison over for a home-cooked breakfast. Then we loaded up to go to the car show on the Virginia Beach boardwalk. Before we could leave, we got a call from Brandi who was on her way over. She got here & went with us to the car show. Afterwards, we headed to Target to get a movie and a frozen pizza. We all had run around enough for one day!

Sunday we had church at 9am. And amazingly, we got there on time. Sloane, Amber, & Jason were waiting for us when we arrived home. We loaded up. They drove our van and we drove the motorcycle. Fun fun! We went to Dunkin Donuts, Big Lots, and Cycle Gear. At Cycle Gear, as per a previous promise that Davin made Kaleo, he had to purchase him a pair of Fox racing gloves. (Davin promised that if Kaleo practiced & learned how to ride his 2-wheel bike, that he'd buy him these gloves.)Then we headed across town and went to Lynnhaven mall to look for maternity gear for Amber. Last, Fresh World.

And the funny stuff happened there! Outside was a guy trying to get people signed up for tae kwon do. He said for a $5 donation, your kid could get a free uniform, and 2 lessons. I thought... well that's wonderful! So I signed Kaleo up. The guy asked Kaleo to show him his fist and to punch this soft thing. I don't know what the thing was. It looked like a padded tennis racket. Then he showed him a wood board and ask him to punch it. Kaleo did it, and hurt his knuckles and didn't break the board so he ran into the store crying.

Davin was somehow able to talk to him about the tae kwon do. He got him very excited about getting a "costume" (the uniform) and by the time we were checking out, Kaleo was talking about trying to break the board again. But this time, he'd use the gloves we had got him at the motorcycle store. He tried on our way out, and he did break the board!!! Very exciting. He took his board with him to school on Monday to show everyone.

Such a funny kid!

Now he's on his way to his first tae kwon do lesson. He is pretty excited, especially that he gets a "costume". And he definitely has his gloves on!

Friday, April 17, 2009

"Freakin' Huge!"

Davin & I went our separate ways yesterday afternoon. He headed to Wal Mart to get some replacement pedals for Kaleo's bike and some copy paper, and I headed to Sears to shop their clearance. When I arrived home, Kaleo greeted me at the door by saying, "Mom you should see my new pedals, they are FREAKIN' HUGE!!" and so it seems... Davin could not find replacement pedals for a child's bicycle, so he bought the replacements that would fit an adult's bike. Lovely.

Now, you must understand that the reason we had to purchase these pedals in the first place was because during the time it's taken Kaleo to learn to ride the bike, there have been about 247,891 falls which have caused the bike pedals to break off piece-by-piece. Now we won't have to worry about them breaking, because not only are they adult sized bike-pedals but they are metal. And now, I must worry about my child's leg getting chopped up by his bike pedal!

Monday, April 13, 2009

Life is Good!

It's cheesy I know. But it's true. We have a lot to be thankful for. I have 26 days to go on my Master's degree & Davin & I have turned over a new leaf. Things are going well, to say the least. Thinking back, things haven't been all bad... just challenging... and a huge learning experience. Our kids are happy & healthy. Davin's enrolled in the civil engineering degree program at TCC and I think he's finding himself there. Now that I'm just about finished, I'm also finding myself. This life is quite a journey!

Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.
~1 Thess. 5:16-18

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Easter Weekend

Well not a whole lot is going on this weekend. I had a midterm, which I did so-so on, and we've pretty much just gotten ourselves together. We got the windows tinted in the new Mazda. Davin refused to drive to Lynchburg in May with them untinted. We've been at home for the entire day just washing the cars and having a good time outside. Kaleo has been riding his bike with no training wheels but he's fallen down so many times the bike is officially not ridable because both pedals are broken off. Davin put Samson to work scrubbing the floor mats of the cars while he washed the cars. I planted some bulbs in the front walk way garden. Hopefully they grow this year.

A lunch time conversation had me concerned for my children's safety. Kaleo said that "at nine o'clock, after you & daddy are sleeping, someone talks outside my window and says 'sammy, kaleo' real fast". However, we know that this is not true. Even so, Davin and I were blown away by this. Now that it's dark, Davin's convinced that we should go outside and yell "sammy, Kaleo". No, I don't think so.

On a lighter note, my mom came over on Friday and we did a bunch of stuff. Then she stayed with the kids & Davin & I rode out on the motorcycle for about 3 hours. I have to say, my buttocks was quite sore when we got home because there is only a 6 inch seat on the back of it, and my behind is a bit wider than 6 inches. And I'm very pleased to say that now that Davin saw the bruises the seat made, he has ordered a very nice, 12 inch wide seat for me! I mean, it benefits him too since it came with a new 16 inch seat for him. But now we can ride comfortably & I won't have this sore issue after a night of cruising!

There's a BEAR in that car!!

So maybe I've gained a newfound sense of humor. Who knows. I do know, however, that Kaleo is a funny kid! We were driving home from Cycle Gear a couple of days ago, and there was a huge dog in the front seat of the truck next to us. I'm sure most of you know where this is going from the subject line. It may just be one of those "had to be there" moments, but he said, "Daddy, there's a bear in that car!" Davin barely gave it a second thought and corrected him, "Kaleo, it's just a dog" but Kaleo was convinced that this huge dog was a beast of some kind. He said, "No dad, for real, it's a bear". I have to admit, the dog was very big and furry. Davin just looked at him and said, "Kaleo it's just a really hairy dog". I do believe that Kaleo was disappointed by Davin's bland responses to his utter excitement.

I laughed so hard for the next 5 minutes that I cried. I couldn't contain myself. It was hilarious.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

A Flower, Mommy!

In a recent visit to Qdoba Mexican Grill, I got a naked burrito for me & the kids to share. They love it and I don't get it spicy. If anyone has every been to Qdoba, you know that there are all kinds of spices in their seasons including whole parsley leaves. Samson picked out two of them and gave them to me & said, "Here mommy, a flower". I didn't know what he was trying to say at first, because he's 2 and the word flower was a little jumbled. When I realized he was saying flower... I had to laugh!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

So Little Time! So Much To Do!

Or so it seems. Honestly, the list seems to grow on me daily. I mean, make the dog's vet appointment, check on the car insurance, call the bank about some crazy security emails I've been getting, call Holly wood video because they have charged us a ridiculas late fee because we did not know that although they are a franchise, you can't return the video to just any Hollywood video, it has to be the one that you rented it from. And then comes the schoolwork which includes a critical analysis of a peer reviewed journal article and a midterm by the end of the week. Easter is this week, also, and I assume that some traveling is in order.

So like I said... so much to do & so little time to do it!

Today has felt chaotic even before I've begun my to-do list. It's been madness. There are so many children in my house that I feel overwhelmed. The baby I've been keeping is finally walking so he's toddling around running into stuff and then there are three others that are RUNNING around like maniacs. Here's a great example: I told Esias to stop walking on my couch. He said "Miss Tiffany, I not walking, I running!!!" And that he was. My ultimate goal is to teach them that it's okay to have fun, but that certain things have limits, and we must be civilized even when we have fun. It's very challenging when there are 4 boys in the house all day long!

Now on to the to do list!

Friday, April 3, 2009

Blue Spots on your forehead

And the question is, "why are there blue spots on you & your brothers foreheads?" and the answer did not shock me coming from Kaleo: "because, mom, I stamped our foreheads with the stamper at naptime". I asked, "why would you stamp Samson's head while he was sleeping?" and the answer, again, was not shocking, "Samson wasn't sleeping, he was awake, and I asked him before I stamped him and he said it was okay".

And so that is why there are blue & orange spots all over Kaleo & Samson's foreheads and hands. Oh yes, they do say & do the darndest things!

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

What Time Does the Day Begin?

Well I can say that mine officially began at about 4:20am. And it has been drama all day long. One of the parents that I do childcare for goes in to work especially early. She texted me & requested that I call & leave her a message saying that I was sick so that she could get off from work. So I thought, well I am sick. I've been sick for 4 days now. Plus who wouldn't love a day off? Still, at 5:25am, there was a knock on the door. It was the father, dropping the baby off. Oh, okay... I'm confused. I thought I called your command so you could have the day off & spend some time with your child. Maybe not. I cuddled the baby until he fell asleep around 6:10am. Then at 6:30am, there is another knock on the door. WHAT IN THE WORLD? Yes, the mother had arrived to pick the baby up.

And the whole situation came back to bite the mother anyway because her 1st class started calling around to find her a back up provider. This is basically a tactic used by those high in the chain of command that says "don't try to miss work for no reason" and so the mother ended up calling her 1st class and telling her she'd be there in a little bit. So I have the baby anyway. My kids are napping. I wish I was.

And so, if I am snappy today, please excuse me. Each time I attempted to go back to sleep, someone interrupted the my bliss 5 minutes after I closed my eyes. Sleep has been teasing me all day long.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Indoor Jumping Jacks

Whoever heard of indoor jumping jacks? Well I'm a slave driver I suppose. It's been raining for over a week and these boys have been cooped up in the house that entire time. They were fighting, bouncing off the walls, and general being altogether too rough with one another from all the energy that needed to be expelled. So we had an indoor exercise program. I made them do all kinds of strengthening exercises. Everything from squats to jumping jacks. By the end, Kaleo was saying that he couldn't walk. GOTTA LOVE IT!!

Sharpening Fingers

It has never occurred to me that small fingers could be cut by a pencil sharpener. I mean, it's a very small hole and most children wouldn't dare put their fingers into the sharpener. However, Samson is one of those children that has no fear. He sharpened his pointer finger on Saturday. I'm sure it hurt and Kaleo screamed, "Samson, don't sharpen your finger!!" which made the incident stand out all the more. The finger has been bleeding a little bit, but mostly, he's just missing the top layer of his finger nail. Luckily, there's only a tiny bit of skin missing... enough to make a hang nail. Boys do some crazy stuff!

Monday, March 23, 2009

This weekend was a bit on the boring side. Davin is so handy so we ended up spending the day helping two of our friends with some of their to-do list. I spent the majority of the day cleaning up the house & catching up on schoolwork. Or rather, getting ahead on schoolwork. Sunday, my mom & sister came to visit and we spent the afternoon eating & walking around Target. I didn't even buy a single item. Amazing, I know. I totally forgot that Kaleo had homework this weekend, so I felt like an incredibly bad mom this morning rushing him to get ready so that he could do his two worksheets!

Which brings up the point... why don't kids have any sense of time? I mean, Kaleo is 5 and has absolutely no sense or respect for time. I tell him to get himself dressed and when I check on him 10 minutes later, he hasn't even started the process of dressing himself. If I ask him what he's been doing... he says he doesn't know. What do you mean you don't know? It's so strange.

We spent the afternoon today planting 2 dozen yellow squash plants and 3 dozen zinnea plants. Hopefully a few of those will survive. We have green squash & daisies to plant later on in the week. I absolutely love the idea of growing your own food to use. Usually I'm too overwhelmed with school work but I believe that this year, I'll be able to grow something. Or at least I'm hoping I will.

I must get to work. Premartial counseling text is calling me!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Big Poopy Mess!

It really warmed up outside today. And now that Samson is 2, he has really turned into a youngster that wants to be independent. So with 70 degree weather, comes naked babies. And he did strip himself throughout the day. I re-applied his clothing several times. The last time, which was obviously the most interesting, it was bad - to say the least.

He pooped in his diaper and then pulled his pants and diaper off. The doo doo was everywhere. His hands, butt, legs, and oh it was so yucky! So Davin told me I was supposed to take care of it. All I can remember is screaming "Don't touch me" over and over, and Samson crying. We paid it to the bathtub, where he was scrubbed down.

And then, he promptly fell asleep on the couch.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Monsters Mommy!

So here we go with another tale of the children! For the past several nights in a row, Samson has been crying before he goes to sleep. It's unusual because he's used to his "big boy" bed now, so I haven't been able to figure out what the problem is. I check on him and ask him why he's crying and he says "scared, Mommy" but when I asked him what he's scared of, he just points to the toybox. I have resorted to leaving the hallway light on and leaving the bedroom door open. That seems to satisfy him.

At naptime, however, we had the same struggle. It was pretty light in the room, and he was still crying about being scared. He went so far as to pull the covers back and clearly order me into his bed with the words, "Mommy, snuggle". I did as I was told for a few minutes. Then I asked him to show me what he was scared of.

The short little man got out of his bed and went over to the remote controlled robots and said "monster scared monster scared". The top of the robot did look like it had a face. And because I cleaned out the boys' room last week, it was was facing his bed and appeared to be looking right at my little Sammy with it's silver windshield (looked like eyes I suppose).

These are the realities that make us realize that our kids aren't lying or trying to stay awake late or just be spiteful by making us run to them. They may really fear something, they may really be in need of something, as Samson was.

~Give thanks to the Lord for He is good; His love endures forever. ~Psalm 107:1

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Confiscating Snickers Bars

It seems that there is always something going on in our household! Since it has been raining for about a week straight, we have gone through the rooms, thoroughly cleaning anything & everything. The boys have not had fun. There were toys that were given away, and anything broken made it's way into the trash.

However, there were some odd finds. Mainly, the full size Snickers bar hidden in Kaleo's desk drawer. He has a sweet tooth like someone I've never seen (and if you've met my mother, you wouldn't think anyone could love sugar more). So it's typical that I find bits and pieces of fun-size, individually wrapped candy, gum, and other novelties. But a full size Snickers bar? I don't think any normal 5 year old could consume a full size Snickers bar in one sitting.

So Davin asked Kaleo where he'd gotten the Snickers bar. Kaleo answered, "the big cabinet" which is the cabinet beside the refridgerator. It's much too high for him to reach, though, so he had to climb up on top of the countertop to get to the candy that I purchase to pack in Davin's lunch everyday. And then he took it to his room and hid it in the desk drawer.

I know he's 5, but I'm confused. If he went through all that trouble to steal the candy... why didn't he just eat it right then? Or at least open it and attempt to eat as much as he could consume?

Needless to say, Davin confiscated the Snickers from him. He also gave him the "no food in your room" talk. Kaleo gets this talk often, but he forgets it soon after. Hopefully we can get this lion of a sweet tooth tame sooner than later!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Answer to Bad Breath Question

I was concerned about Kaleo suggesting his breath was so bad I could smell it in my bedroom. I mentioned to my husband that Kaleo asked this question, and he began laughing uncontrollably. I knew that there was something that I was not aware of about this situation!

When Davin got up this morning and got himself ready for work, he did the norm. He got himself together and right before leaving, he checks on the boys in their beds. At around 4:50am, he found Kaleo practically sleeping with his face on the baby monitor. He told Kaleo not to put his face on the baby monitor because his breath was coming through it into our room and stinking up our room. Kaleo moved himself over so that his head was not near the monitor.

And so, the odd question actually has a reason behind it. And I thought kids just came up with these crazy ideas on their own. No, creative parents are behind these wild, whacky thoughts. :)

Can you Smell my Breath, mom?

It was the usual Monday morning routine for me and the kids. I tried to pry their tired bodies out of their beds at about 6:50am to get ready for the day. When I had woken Kaleo, finally, after much singing and discussion about the fact that school was going to be in session today, he jumped down from the top bunk. He asked me very frankly if I had been able to smell his breath from my bedroom. I said "no" and he said, "well mom, it's real stinky this morning, I thought you could smell it from your bedroom".

So that's the start of my day, and it had me cracking up from the beginning!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Rise & Shine.... It's Saturday!

Sure, normal people sleep in on Saturdays. Every other day of the week, I have to go into my kids' bedroom and sing and make all sorts of noise to wake them up. But when Saturday rolls around, they are up at... literally... the crack of dawn. Since we are military, our day starts off very early. The hubby leaves the house just after 4am and I usually get up around 6am to have some reading & treadmill time to myself. I wake the children at 7am to get ready for school.

So why, I ask, do they feel it necessary to roll out of bed before 6am on Saturday? We decided to try something new. We told them that they could just play & watch tv Saturday morning, and let mommy & daddy sleep in. Oh that worked wonderfully. Of course that is sarcasm.

At about 7:30, there is crashing and banging. When I walk out into the living room, there is sweet tea everywhere. And I do mean everywhere. They have cut themselves banana bread, so that is also scattered throughout the kitchen and dining area, but the iced tea is the problem for me. Crumbs, I can deal with... sticky liquid all over the place urks me.

Let the cleaning begin! We sprayed the floors & made the children scoot around on towels to help get the stickiness off the floors. That lasted about 5 minutes. I ended up spending nearly 2 hours scrubbing the two rugs covered in iced tea. There is so much up for debate about child abuse... isn't this mom abuse, though? The floor is still sticky in some places. Our feet make that lovely sticky floor noise when we walk over those spots.

It's been a very fun start to a rainy Saturday!

Friday, March 13, 2009

Eat Eat NOW!

I don't think I have ever had anyone yell at me in such a fashion. But, being that the young man is only two years of age, he is somehow permitted to get away with speaking to those surrounding him this way. He climbs up onto one of the dining room chairs and screams at the top of his lungs: "MOMMY EAT EAT NOW".

My best guess is that the little chubba chubba of a boy is hungry. Oddly enough, it seems that his hunger pangs hit nearly every hour, on the hour. I remind him politely that he should ask nicely when he is hungry. He looks at me with that sweet little innocent face and says "peas mommy".

Once your heart is melted, you give him the fruit or the cracker or pretzel or whatever it may be. He really is a sweetie, but he comes across so obnoxious sometimes.

Yesterday it was warm, and we couldn't seem to keep his clothes on him. He kept stripping himself naked. My husband thought it would be great for potty training since they were outside, but lo & behold, he held the pee pee until I put the diaper back on him.

However, while he was still running around buck naked, he decided to take the power wheel for a spin. We have two power wheels. One of them is larger for our eldest son, and the other is small, for him to ride. He took his older brother's tractor. His older brother did not like that too much, because his bare butt was on the tractor's seat. He cried the entire 3 minutes until the tractor made it's way back to the front of the yard and the naked one decidedly forfeited ownership of the toy.

It's Friday and my hubby will soon be home. We're going to watch Fireproof while the kids are taking their afternoon nap. The rain is causing it to be a stay-inside & get cozy kind of a day. I suppose a walk on the treadmill will have to suffice instead of our usual family walk around the neighborhood. And my favorite, oh so yummy mexican food is awaiting!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

The Last Class

My excitement has risen to the point above any appropriate description. I am currently about to start on my very last class to finish the sought-after Master's degree. I'm not sure where that will lead me, but right now, I'm hoping that with the completion of my educational goals behind me, I can breathe easier! Or maybe just get some time to do whatever I feel like doing.

My husband and I have worked through our odd scheduling. He was working from noon to nine, but I was working the usual 6am to 6pm. So now we've straightened that mess out for the good of our family. It seemed like an uphill battle working such a strange shift between the two of us.

My oldest son is doing extremely well in school. He is excelling in so many areas for a 5 year old. I'm so proud of him. He has such a wonderful demeanor for a 5 year old child. He is giving, and just as sweet as he could be. And I'm not just saying that because he's my child (or maybe I am... I don't know).

He started asking me some really funny questions a few days ago. I have some scar tissue on my stomach from a surgery I had when I was 9 years old. I suppose he assumed that was where he and his brother came out when they were born. He asked me to show him where the baby came out. I told him that I could not. He asked me "why mom?" and I just told him, "Really, it's a long story". I figured... he's 5 years old and he'll drop the subject.

Much to my suprise, he looked at me with all seriousness on his face and said, "Mom, just tell me, we aren't in a rush or anything". So my husband looked at him and said, "Babies come out of a mommy's vagina". And my son's response was something I will cherish forever! He said, "Dad, no really, tell me the truth".

And with that, my friends, I must get to cooking dinner for the family. It's steaks & hot dogs on the grill tonight! A side of rice and baked beans are also in the making. I must say, life is great. Even with the current economic situation, we certainly must remember to cherish the times together, friends & family, and to remember what's truly important!