Friday, May 31, 2013

Growth Spurts and Warm Fuzzies


It's been quite a week around here.  This is a Gavin week, and to be honest, it's been kind of a difficult one.  I'm fairly certain the little man is going through a growth spurt (which means none of his shoes will fit...)  He's been complaining that his legs hurt, and he's been very cranky and back talk-y this week.  Also, he's napped.  He never naps.  He HATES naps.  And so far, every day this week, around two or so, he's conked out on the couch.  Yesterday, he actually went up to bed for a nap.  We'll see if it holds true today as well.

This week has been a bit weird for us to, due to the Car Situation.  We haven't been able to have our library day, or go out to our favorite park, or even be at his house with all his toys.  So, we've basically been locked up in the house all week, and this has led to a cranky tiny human leading to a cranky nanny who was at her wit's end with this tiny terrorist.

Lo and behold, God (in the form of the blogosphere) provided.  I've been reading the Hands Free Mama blog, and yesterday she wrote this post about How to Fill Up a Child.  You should really go read the whole thing, because Rachel Macy Stafford is kind of my hero and she writes a great blog, but this post really hit home this week.  She talks about noticing the good, and the power of positivity.  She also talks about the Warm Fuzzy Jar.
“This is The Warm Fuzzy Jar,” I explained. “Whenever you do something helpful or kind, you place a pom-pom ball in your designated jar because kind and helpful acts make people feel good, like a warm fuzzy.” The girls looked at each other with wide eyes and big smiles, so I continued. “And if you are doing something helpful together or just getting along nicely, you can put two pom-poms in your designated jar. And when your jar becomes full, you can choose something special for you and I to do together.”
 I thought this idea was pure genius.  Not only would I be more apt to notice the good thing Gavin was doing, he would be more apt to do good things, hopefully without having to be told a thousand times.  Now that I think about it, I think I had an English teacher, Ms. Holcomb, who had a similar concept in the sixth grade. Only hers were shiny and for good luck during tests and quizzes, or something.  Twuzzles, maybe?  Anyways, here's our version of the warm fuzzy jar:

Basically, I took two mason jars, one large and one small.  I put a bag of 80 fuzzy pom poms in the big jar, and put the empty small jar next to it.  I explained the concept to Gavin, and we set the jars out next to the TV.  This happened about ten minutes ago, and Gavin already has three warm fuzzies in his jar.  His whole attitude turned around the minute I put the jars out.  It's been amazing.  Hopefully the trend will continue, and I'll keep you posted...

Thursday, May 30, 2013

I'm Not Dead, I Promise.

Just very overwhelmed!!!

I know, I'm terrible--I haven't posted in A MONTH.  Time flies, right?

So first, sincere apologies.  Life has been pretty crazy here in Georgia. I actually had to go back and check my blog to see what I've told you and what I haven't.

First of all, on a sad note, my Uncle Jimmy passed away after a long illness on May 8th.  For any of you who knew him and would like to see it, the obituary can be found here.  I have to admit, this is the reason I initially stopped writing.  It took a few days for me to be able to cope with his passing--although he wasn't a blood relative, he was as good as.  I've known Jimmy since I was four.  Aside from simply being sad he was gone, I initially had a lot of guilt about not being able to be there.  My parents visited him in the hospital the night before he died, and assured me that he wouldn't even have known I was there, but it still took me a few days to get over not being there.

Then, roughly two days later, my darling dogs ate my laptop charger.  This is the main reason I haven't posted.  For a while, I had a dead laptop.  Then, the replacement charger I ordered from Best Buy turned out to be faulty--it charges for five seconds, and then doesn't for five seconds.  Aside from taking forever to charge, it's also really effing annoying.  I still haven't gotten the replacement, but this morning I woke up an hour before my alarm with an urge to write, so here I am.

Jimmy and I also got to go visit his dad in Florida.  If I haven't mentioned, Jimmy's dad and his girlfriend Monica are presently living in an RV and traveling around the country, mostly in the south. 
A few weeks ago, they were on their way from Donna, Texas, to Clewiston, Florida.  Since they had to drive right through the panhandle, which is only about three hours from us, we went down to visit them in Mariana, Florida.  Confession time--that was the first time I'd ever been to Florida, and as far south as I've ever been in my entire life.  We had a pretty great time.  We learned to play Mexican Train Dominoes, which is my new favorite form of Dominoes, and we visited Florida Caverns State Park (pictures to follow once I re-locate my camera). 

Something funny happened during the trip, though.  When we got to Florida, we had a flat screen TV, two dogs, and no cat.  When we got home from Florida, we had a cat, two dogs, and no TV.  Let me explain.

When Jimmy and I moved in together, Jim and Monica were moving from their house into the RV.  They had this giant flat screen TV that wouldn't fit in the RV.  Monica had already promised it to her son Paul, but they weren't going to see him for a while and had no way to get it to him.  So we got to borrow it for a while.  Once it was decided they were moving to Clewiston, not far from where Paul lives, we had to give it up. 

While we were visiting, we cuddled with their cat BC for a while.  I had long wanted a cat.  Jimmy doesn't particularly like cats, and said the only cat he would ever allow in the house was BC, because he knew his dad would never give him up.  As I was petting BC, I jokingly told him that he could come home with me whenever he wanted, because he was such a sweetheart.  To which Jim replied, "Okay!"  Where they're at in Florida, they're about two minutes from the Everglades.  There are gators and many poisonous beasts in the Everglades, and BC thinks he's an indoor/outdoor cat, and always tries to escape the RV to explore.  In Florida, this could have been deadly for him.  So, in an effort to not let BC get eaten by a gator, he came home with us.

This is Jimmy cuddling BC just before we brought him home.  I have documented proof that he does actually like this cat, for all that he protests otherwise.

 And this is BC in my lap at bedtime, "helping" me read my book.  Sort of how he likes to "help" me crochet...  Anyways, now we have a cat.  He's handsome and cuddly and sweet and we love him.

Hmm... What else has been happening?

Oh!  There was a carnival.  We took Gavin with us, and we had a blast.  We went with the Kelly's.  Caitlyn and I took tons of pictures...

Jimmy and Gavin watching fireworks...

Gavin on the Frog Hopper...

Mike and Ayden going down the Funhouse slide...

And Mike and Jimmy on some spinny thing whose name I don't remember.  Jimmy is the one in grey with his mouth wide open in a scream.

We've also been working with our super wonderful fantastic amazing dog trainer, Roberta, who is turning our heathen puppies into well mannered, adorable creatures.  She dog sat for them this past weekend (which I'll tell you about shortly):

By the grins on their faces you can see that she spoiled them rotten.

Where were we this weekend, you ask?  Only having the best weekend we've had in quite some time.

Jimmy's family on his dad's side live in Tennessee, split between Nashville and Memphis.  We went to visit his cousins in Nashville, Carla and Russ, their daughter Lacey, and her son Nathaniel.

We had SUCH a good time.  We went sightseeing a little on Friday, after staying up literally all night drinking and talking (a running theme for the weekend).  Saturday night we went to a bar called Bar 100, I think and had a delicious concoction called a Bushwacker.  It's basically a grown-up chocolate milkshake with plenty of alcohol in it.  We then went back to the house, drank and talked more, maxed out on Pizza, and played dominoes, Rummy (which I only just learned I'm pretty good at) and Spades (which I really kind of suck at).  Nathaniel actually fell asleep at the table watching us play.

 Sunday we went to Unionville to visit Jimmy's Aunt Laura Ruth and Uncle Gene.  We chatted and visited with them for a while, and then Jimmy, Lacey, Nathaniel and I went for a walk out in the country.

 Another confession... This is literally the closest I've ever been (in my memory) to a horse that wasn't tied to a pole and walking in circles.  Go ahead, make fun.

This guy was SUPER friendly.  He was in the pasture when we walked by, and came running right up to us when he saw us.  He let us take plenty of pictures and probably would have let us pet him, too, but none of us thought it was a good idea to touch an animal that we didn't know that could have knocked us back ten feet if we irritated him...

Nathaniel was pretty insistent on either being on someone's shoulders or holding someone's hand the whole way.  Cousin love is pretty adorable.

Jimmy was less than amused that I forced him to take a picture with me...

See?  I wasn't kidding about the shoulders.

After we got back that night, we went stargazing at the Natchez Trace with Lacey and some of her friends.  It was a lot of fun, but my back did NOT appreciate all the time laying on the concrete.  All in all, it was a pretty awesome visit, and we're probably going to stop back again for a few days on our way back from leave at home in July.

This week, though, it's back to the grind.  Jimmy is back and work and Gavin has been coming to the house to hang out with me since Jimmy's car took a massive, expensive dump on us last week.  Since we're sharing a car now, Gavin and I have been stuck in the house together with little to do, which has made for a cranky boy and a frazzled nanny.  If anyone has any suggestions on what to do with our time, that would be great (but remember we have no car to go anywhere or even to go get supplies, so be creative...)

Oh, and I just broke a nail cleaning the cat litter box.  So now tonight I have to go get that fixed tonight.  I'm telling you, June and July had better be fabulous, because May has been very up and down.  The ups have been really up, but the downs have been REALLY down.

One last thought before I sign off for the day--go check out Hands Free Mama.  Rachel is amazing, and she makes a lot of really good, honest points.  If you have kids, work with kids, plan to have or work with kids, or really have ever even come in contact with someone under the age of 18, please go check out her blog.  Your kids, and probably your future self, will thank you.

I'm off for the day.  I solemnly swear that I'm up to no good I'll post again soon.