After four kids, ten moves and nearly two decades, we are still blissfully in love (most of the time) and I found myself back in the state I was born and raised in. It has definitely been a journey. In fact, on our 18th anniversary we pulled the last of our stuff up over the pass and into Montana, leaving our surprise love, Idaho, behind. But Montana is a great place. The last best place according to some. And we fully intend to explore as much of it as we can! Join us on our continued adventure through life, love and other stuff that comes with it.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Sneaky Sheep and a funny boy

Carsten is two.  And I find him hilarious.  He speaks in complete sentences, says the darndest things and does the darndest things.  He rules his world.

For example, complete sentences.  Last week we were dropping Violet, whom he calls by her French name of Why-Le, off at preschool when he spotted his dad walking down the hall.  My thought would that he just says, "DADDY!"  But no, he gets a goofy grin on his face and says, "Hey!  What are YOU doing here??" 

And yesterday he was sitting at the table and fell out of the chair, catching himself just in time but not in enough time that he could actually right himself by himself.  He needed help.  But instead of crying or saying, "Help!" he yells, "Hey!  I need you to come help me!"  And not just once, but several times while hanging off the table wedged between two chairs.

Today he did the same thing.  I said, "Carsten!" in an attempt to get his attention.  And instead of saying, "What?" he says, "What do you want, mom?."

He's a goofy kid.

He's a goofy kid who loves hats.  In fact, he owns five hats.  A bear hat from Glacier Park, a dinosaur hat I got for him in Washington DC this summer, a John Deere hat, a baseball hat he got for Easter, and a cowboy hat his great grandma gave him for his birthday. 

And he wears them all.  In fact, he picks which one he will wear depending on he outfit he is wearing--an outfit that HE picked out.  He also knows that he can't wear them at the table or to church.  It's funny. 

My personal favorite is the cowboy hat because he looks so cute when he wears it and he won't wear it without his cowboy boots, also a gift for his birthday. and his cowboy boots make him strut and apparently make him put his hands in his pockets.  Plus, I like to call him "cowboy" and he reminds me of my great grandpa. 

To illustrate my point:

But I also will admit that he isn't ALL perfect.  He's kind of a pill in church and I would love it if he would let us put him in the nursery.  But he won't have any of that, so one of us usually ends up out with him while he talks too loud and makes all kinds of odd observations. 
It would be so much more convenient if he would just go in the nursery.  Especially on Fridays.  I take the kids to a homeschool co-op every Friday and while I only signed up to teach two classes, I ended up with three.  Now, I love this whole teaching gig.  I really, really love it.  And I was thinking, and I have since realized that I was quite mistaken, that I might actually get to do it as a teacher and not as *mom*.  But Carsten would have none of that.
The first week I went to the nursery they provide, which is quite convenient because you know all of us crazy homeschool moms who drag all our kids with us everywhere we go.  But Carsten would have NOTHING to do with it.  In fact, I still heard him screaming when I exited the building after I went down TWO hallways and around three corners, up some stairs and out the door. 
He was absolutely hysterical.  But I didn't feel like I had a choice.  I didn't know who I felt more sorry for: him or the nursery workers or the other kids in the nursery.
You think I'm exaggerating.  But I'm not.  The next week was even worse.  He cried hysterically until I finally called Brent and told him to come get him.  By the time Brent got there Carsten had cried himself to sleep.
The third week I pretty much decided that I did in fact have all the tools necessary to not feel like I had to leave him in the nursery.  And I felt like I was emotionally damaging him if I forced him to go in there any more.  He told me all week that he didn't want to go in the nursery.  All week long.  "I don't want to go in the nursery."  And his little lip would stick out and he would look like he was going to cry just thinking about it.
So the next week instead of sticking him in the nursery, I got him out of the car and threw him on my back in a carrier.  He told me he didn't want to go in the nursery a half dozen more times before we even got into the building.  I told him he was going to stay with me.  And he did.  And he didn't scream like I was handing him to ax murderers.  That was nice.
He did pretty well in class.  Not too distracting and all the girls totally think he's the cutest thing ever.  Which of course he is.  And by second hour his was back in the carrier and headed for a nap.  He slept for an hour and a half. 
We have since repeated this several times.  Brent also has every other Friday off, so he takes Carsten when he can.  That works out nice, too. 
The kid also likes to read.  Sometimes I will realize that I haven't heard from him in a while and when I find him he is sitting with a pile of books just looking at the pictures intently.  And it is obvious that he has been doing it for some time.  He is quite mesmerized by them, actually.
One of his favorite books recently is a book we got from the library called Sneaky Sheep.  It's about these two sheep that are constantly trying to sneak away from the flock to go up to the high meadow because they are convinced it is lovely.  But the sheepdog always finds them. 
One day they manage to make it pretty far and they run into a wolf.
Now back to Carsten.  This evening he was sitting on the floor mesmerized by the book and then he got up and brought it over to us.  It was on this page where Rocky and Blossom find themselves face to face with the wolf. 

Carsten pointed to the wolf and told us it was the wolf.  I asked him, "What does the wolf want to do?" 

"He is hiding."

"Yes he's hiding.  What does he want to do with the sheep?"

"Put them in the nursery."

Yes.  Apparently he would rather get eaten by a wolf before he will ever step foot in a nursery again. 

I was laughing so hard I actually was rolling on the floor with tears in my eyes. 

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Stupid fundraisers

Today Violet came home with a note about Box Tops for Education in her folder.  Yes, she is in preschool.  She LOVES it.  I adore her teacher.  It's wonderful all around with the tiny exception of the social nightmare that is other preschool parents.  Apparently there is some unwritten rule that you are not to make eye contact, and if you do, you are glared at.  Whatever.

Back to my tirade. I hate fundraisers.  I always have.  Particularly fundraisers where I have to save labels from horrible soup, tops of boxes from horrible food, buy coupons or coupon books I won't use, or purchase over-priced cluttery things that I don't want.   I distinctly remember Grace, my ever on top of things kid, coming home and explaining to me in detail that we needed to save these things and why.  Even at the store I cringed when she got excited about them and felt we HAD to buy that box.  Eeek!  All this simply out of guilt or some other sort of motivation.

I told Violet's sweet teacher as much today.  I told her that the whole premise was ridiculous and I intended to just write the school a check for $10 rather than seek out horrible food to feed my family and a chance to give the school mere pennies.  I may have shocked her some, but she was very gracious.  Did I mention I love her?

Now since then I have made a vow.  I have vowed that if ever I am blessed with the opportunity to organize a fundraiser for some sort of youth program, I will buck tradition (surprised?) and probably shock a few people in the process.  Hopefully I will start some sort of a trend.

My idea is that I will make up a pledge sheet to give each child.  It will say something like:

Because I realize that nearly every fundraiser I have participated in has been some marketing scheme by a rather large company selling me a product disguised as food with a promise to give mere pennies to my school, and because I really have no need for trinkets or coupons or any other form of clutter, I pledge ($5  $10  $15  $20) to the above program with the understanding that I get nothing in return other than the comfort that 100% of my donation will be used for the purpose stated above and I am free of clutter and guilt. 

And then there are a bunch of lines for names and amount donated.  (Yes, that is one huge sentence.  But it's effective, don't you think?)

If someone came to my door with something like that, I'd sign up in a heartbeat.  So refreshing.  And honest, dammit.