Writings of a teachermom, choosing to stay home with her kids, while loathing all domestic responsibilities! In late Aug. 2008, I was diagnosed with Triple Negative breast cancer. After surgery, chemo and radiation, I was given theall clear. However, in the late summer of 2008, I was diagnosed with a brain tumor, which metasticized to other areas.

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Mind Stretch

Sometimes I'm so amazed at Cameron's intelligence. The other day, Max wanted to cut stuff, so I rolled out some wrapping paper for him. He quickly was distracted with something else, so Cameron decided to use the paper for his own purposes. Completely on his own, he sat down and wrote a story. And although it uses "invented" spelling, he actually spelled a lot of the words correctly, and I could still understand most of the phonetically spelled words. He first wrote a story about all the things a little boy named David was doing wrong. Then he wrote a story all about his favorite things. This to me was impressive.

But other times, I must question whether there are any braincells working up in that head of his.

Friday, December 29, 2006

In mourning

This morning, minus the two sips I had just taken, I spilled an entire mug of hot coffee directly onto my laptop keyboard.

It's dead.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Why bother.

I’ve been kinda slacking in the cooking department. Since Christmas, Melvin has been munching on left-overs. So today I decided to cook dinner. A little mealball-type meal my mom taught me how to make called “Porcupines.” It’s not hard to make, but it does require more steps than just turning on the oven and heating it up. In addition, I made broccoli and rice.

When my husband walked in the door, he said, “You made dinner?” as if he was quite surprised. I told him what I cooked, and he reminded me that I made that almost everyday when we were first together. He reminds me this every time I cook this meal.

As we sat down to eat, Cameron took one look at it and said, “I don’t like it.” I made him try it, because he used to like it. And he only complained more that he didn’t like it. When I told him he had to eat five big bites before he could play his new computer game, he started gagging on the food.

Ella ate a little, then wanted nothing to do with her food. As she was leaning over to try to stand up in her high chair, she literally started to fall head first. Luckily, I caught her arm just as she was losing her balance.

Max took one bite and proceeded not to eat any of it. Not the rice, not the broccoli, not the meatballs.

Melvin asked, “What kind of meat is this?” I told him it was ground turkey. “Oh, that’s why it tastes so funny.”

With such a reception of my food, can anyone really blame me for not wanting to cook!

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

I like YOUR present!

Our Christmas morning started long before the kids woke up, as our heater decided not to work. Haven’t been in this brand new house more than 2 years and the heat breaks down! Luckily, we had lots of blankets, a fireplace to turn on, and someone who was actually willing to come out Christmas morning to fix it.

Cameron tried to wake up at 5:30 AM, but we promptly put him in our bed and told him to go back to sleep. He would lie there for a few minutes and then ask, “Can I open presents now?” To which we’d mumble “No.” Then a few minutes later he’d say, “This is taking too long. Can I open them now?” Same response from us. A few minutes later he decided to try a different strategy. “Well, can you open your presents now?” Except for a few chuckles, our response didn’t change. Eventually he went back to sleep.

Once everyone did get up, the present opening began. Cameron jumped right in and wanted to play with everything as soon as he opened it. It was fun to see him jump up and down and proclaim, “I’ve ALWAYS wanted this!” with several of his gifts.

At first, Max had very little interest in opening his own gifts. He liked giving Ella hers, mainly because he wanted to play with all the food and kitchen utensils. And Ella was actually more interested in Max’s Dora and Diego toys than her own. At one point, they were actually fighting over the small basket of food I got from the dollar section of Target! I knew when purchasing their gifts that they would be “shared.”….now if only they actually understood this concept.
The rest of the day I cooked while Melvin did a lot of sleeping. He was up almost all night creating my gift and dealing with the non-heat issue. It was a low key day in that we didn’t have any visitors, and we all spent the entire day and evening in our PJs. Sometimes the kids played beautifully. And other times…many other times…it seemed like there really was a war occurring in our house.

Melvin and I went the sentimental route this year with gifts. I bought him an iPod that he had expressed an interest in several months ago. Then I programmed it with songs we listened to back when we met as camp counselors in 1993 and then several other songs that had some sort of meaning to us throughout the year. He said it was the best Christmas gift I had ever given him.

And what was he doing all night for my gift? I opened the box to find two albums filled with all of my blog entries. He purchased a color printer and spent the entire night printing out a year and half of my posts and placed them in plastic covers. It was so sweet, and I had a lot of fun looking through all of the different entries and pictures (but cringing at all of my mistakes!).

It was a nice Christmas, but now I must go figure out where I’m going to put all of these toys!!!

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Christmas Eve Birthday

My mother-in-law turned 50 this weekend. We were able to make it out to Detroit for a brief trip to be part of the "suprise" party. It was fun, and the kids, especially Max and Cameron, had an absolute blast. We flew back today so that we could be home in time for Santa.

Happy Birthday Ma!!!

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Comical Max

This past week has been so up and down with Max. Due to his fever, an ear ache, a cough, sneezing and the possible beginning of pneumonia, he's been crying a lot, snuggling a lot, and crying a lot.

Yesterday I brought him back to the doctor's again, where the poor kid kept having things poked in his ears. First the Physician's Assistant to the ENT looked, then the peds nurse stuck the ear thermometer in his ear. The the peds doctor did used the otoscope again to look. Max had just had it. He kept saying, "I DID have look in my ear." "Yes, Max, I know you already did have your ears looked at today, but they need to look again. To which he just repeated himself with tears running down his face. He even had to have a chest x-ray. He was so good just standing there, and then when they were done, he wouldn't move. It was as if he was remembering the last time he had a chest x-ray when they put him in that antiquated crazy contraption. He probably thought if he moved, they'd bring that awkward thing out again!

After taking an antibiotic, mostly today, he was just plain funny. As usual, he wanted to look out for Ella by feeding her. You can see him sneaking her a piece of food in the corner of this picture. No matter many times we tell him not to do this, he must fear she will starve if he doesn't.

Cameron had fallen asleep on the couch today. Max found a blanket and covered him up. Then later, when apparently Sara and I were talking too loud, Max said, "Cameron sleeping. Be quiet."

At dinnertime, I told the boys to say their prayers, Max equates prayers with nighttime prayers. He mummbled a few names, and ended with blessing DORA!!! Cameron thought this was hilarious, and he then asked God not to listen to Max about the TV cartoon character.

Later that evening, while Cameron was having a complete and total meltdown/tantrum for over 30 minutes, Max decided that Mommy needed someone to balance out Cameron's horrendous behavior. Max helped me clean up the toy room....and he was REALLY helping. He put every toy in its exact spot, and if he didn't know where it went, he would ask me. All along, he just kept mumbling, "Cameron crying. Cameron sad. Cameron mad."

After cleaning he must have been very hungry. While I was putting Ella to bed, Max had once again gone against my constant scolding and once helped himself to whatever is in the fridge. He brought a clementine upstairs to me and said, "Help" expecting me to peel it for him. "I'll help you as soon as I'm done Max." "Okay!" he responded, and trotted off down the stairs. But apparently I was taking too long, because by the time I came down to help him, he had decided to take matters into his own hand.

And once he discovered that he could peel his own orange, he helped himself, without asking of course, to two more after this one!

The funniest part of the dsy was when Max got his potty training toilet seat (which usually gets no use), stuck on his head.

He didn't think it was funny, but Cameron and I thought it was hilarious!

Monday, December 18, 2006

Finished...for now

Big sigh of relief!

Those of you that come in contact with me on a weekly basis probably often hear me talk about how much work I have to do for my class. Well, brace yourself...I'm done!!!! At least for now.

My final proposal for my research project (all 40+ pages) was e-mailed to my professor at 3:30 today...30 minutes early! With being sick this weekend, I REALLY was working down to the wire. Thank goodness she gave us the option of e-mailing it, or else the 40 minute treck to campus would have caused my work to be late. To my doctorate friends (Lanette & Lauren), I'm sure my measly 40 pages seems like a piece of cake compared to the hundreds you had to do for your dissertations. But you know....it's all relative. And believe it or not, I actually did enjoy doing the work. I found that I liked research.

Thank you to my friends who were so understanding when I wasn't as social as I would have wanted to be so that I could in complete my assignments.

So until next term...when I'll actually have to try to carry out the research project I designed (or some other master's level project), I should be free from academic stress. Now other stresses....oh they'll still be there!

Sunday, December 17, 2006

A little too close

My friend Andrea has two sons. One of them was sick the other day, and she told me she was trying to keep the sick one away from the well one, so that he wouldn't get sick, too.

If one of my kids gets sick...it's just inevitable, they'll all be sick.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Sickness Stats

Cameron: Started Monday night. Out of school Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday. Highest Temp: 101.3 Some coughing, headaches, lots of booger filled sneezes, causing globs of snot to land everywhere!

Max: Started Wednesday night. Continued Thursday and Friday. Highest Temp: 104. Doctor says its viral....meaning there's no medicine to prescribe. Some sneezing, lots of naughty behavior. Wants to snuggle with me.

Ella: Started Thursday afternoon. Continued Friday. Highest Temp: 103. Constant mucus running out her nose. A lot of moaning and whining. Constantly wanting to be held. Sleeping a lot during the day.

Me: Started Thursday night. Continued Friday. Highest Temp: 102. Headcold, hard coughing. When husband told me "You're hot" last night, I just grinned and responded with, "Thank you." Woke up with a wet shirt due to night sweats.

My husband: Has been on call and working incredibly late so he hasn't been home enough to catch any of our illnesses.

This should be a wonderful weekend!

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Away in a Manger

You didn't know that strange robotic-like dinosaurs with Power-Ranger type warriors on their back came to visit Jesus in the manger, now did you?

Apparaently Max knew.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Interior Designer...or Ladies' Man ???

This weekend, while Melvin was at the hospital, I was home with all three kids. I was in the basement playing with Max when I heard several huge pounds upstairs. Ella was in her crib sleeping, and since I was with Max, I figured Cameron was just being rather restless and must have been jumping around the house.

When I finally did make my way upstairs, I walked into the kitchen and noticed that the heavy, wooden pedestal table had been moved about two feet. And then I walked into the dining room and discovered the same issue with that huge table. I made my way into the living room, where the coffee table was turned 90 degrees, an end table was moved to another wall, and an ottoman was out of place. I walked into the foyer, where the rugs had been moved a few feet, and peeked into the piano room where Max’s miniature piano was relocated in a different corner. I then headed upstairs to see that the console table in the hallway was on the opposite wall, the end tables in the guest room were switched around, and in the boys’ room, Max’s toddler bed was moved from one corner to the middle of the room, leaving no walking room to get to the bathroom. I found Cameron in my bedroom, lifting an ottoman.

“What in the world are you doing?” I asked in disbelief.

“Oh, I rearranged the furniture. Now we have more room for other things.”

That crazy boy had literally moved something in EVERY room on the 1st and 2nd floor…and most of the things were quite heavy.

I guess that’s what happens when a five year old is tired of being cooped up in the house and is trying to find a cure for his boredom.

----------------------------- ------------------------------------ ----------------
Earlier this year Cameron’s teacher started to read a Junie B. Jones book. For those of you who aren’t familiar with this series, it’s about a very unique, very sassy and very funny kindergarten girl who is over dramatic about EVERYTHING (and has grammar issues). It’s so much fun to read aloud, and threatening to not read it often calms Cameron’s rather obnoxious nighttime behavior.

The last book we started to read, Junie B. Jones Loves Handsome Warren is about a new boy in the school. Junie B. and her two best friends, Grace and Lucille, are all in love with him and are competing to be his girlfriend (although he really could care less about them).

After a couple evenings of reading about how the girls are arguing and fighting for Warren’s affection, Cameron said to me. “Mommy, they don’t have to fight over Warren as a boyfriend. They can just share him!”

To which I told him that you can’t have 3 girlfriends. You can only have one at a time.

Then he simply stated, “Well, then they should just take turns being his girlfriend.”

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Say Cheese...please! (And look at me while you're doing it)

Somehow I had this “brilliant” idea that if I paid a real photographer a lot of money, my kids just might actually cooperate more than for me for some lovely holiday photos. And they did cooperate….just not at the same time.

Actually, Cameron was wonderful! And Ella was great for her 1 year old photos. But to get Max AND Ella to even look at the camera at the same time was virtually impossible.

You can check out the photos at http://www.pictage.com/. Just enter my e-mail address: minnashford@yahoo.com and “ella“ as the password and you can see all of the photos.

There are some very cute individual pictures. But I think I should wait a year or two before I can expect any kind of decent photo of all 3 of them.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Thinking of putting him up on e-bay

Yesterday, while Sara and I were cleaning up Ella and her birthday cake mess, I sent the boys upstairs to brush their teeth. They were up there for a while, and started to cause a commotion.

“What’s going on up there?” I hollered.
“We’re cleaning!” said Cameron.

Scary thoughts of what their idea of cleaning might entail started to run through my head. But what I actually encountered when I finally made it upstairs was beyond scary…it was a nightmare.

Cameron was running butt naked to the linen closet grabbing towels. He was so flustered he couldn’t tell me what was going on. He just pointed toward the bathroom, hopping all around, and gasping “Max!”

When I entered the bathroom, I found Max on the step stool, filling up a cup from the sink and then dumping the entire thing on the floor. His PJs were soaking wet, as was the entire floor, the carpeted entrance from Ella’s room and the carpeted entrance from their room. Also, a pile of soaking wet towels were heaped up in the corner.

“What in the world?” I yelled, as Cameron proceeded to tell me that Max had been throwing water on the floor, and he had been trying to clean it up with the towels.

“Why didn’t you tell me when he first poured the water on the floor?” I said exasperated.

“I was waiting until there were no more towels left,” he said, as if it was a completely logical explanation.

It took four more big towels, in addition to the seven that Cameron had already used, to clean up that wet mess.


Anyone interested in taking in an adorable looking 2 year old…just for about a year. Then, once he's well-trained, I might consider taking him back!

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

My baby's first birthday

My precious baby girl turned one today. Cameron has had his own personal countdown going for the last month, and the first thing he said to me this morning as he came bounding in my room at 6:45 was, "Mom! Today's Ella's birthday! Can I wake her up and give her her present?" To which I quickly responded, "No!" She'll wake up when she was ready, and at 6:45, neither of us was ready.

But eventually Max snuck into her room, and she was nothing but smiles!...as if she actually understood that today was her special day.

Every morning since we purchased the gift last week the boys had been asking me if we could open Ella's present. Today, they finally had the opportunity to "help" their sister open the gift they had been dying to play with!

While the boys were preoccupied with HER new toy, they were no longer helping her with the wrapping paper. So she decided to take matters into her own hands...I mean mouth.

After Cameron left for school, Max showered Ella with birthday kisses.....and then while I was upstairs, he showered her with his juicebox.

Even though I had class tonight, I was able to leave early to help celebrate my baby's special day. At first she was very careful and neat about indulging herself in her personal birthday treat (free from Kowalski's).

But then she eventually got the hang of it and all semblence of civility went out the window.

What a precious child she is. I am so fortunate that God blessed us with her.
Happy Birthday Ella Helene! I love you!!!!

Monday, December 04, 2006

5 year old American boys

Yesterday, I took Cameron and his friend "British Ben" (his mom's from England) to a local indoor playplace. Before leaving, they both had to go to the bathroom. As usual, I peeked in the little boys' room to make sure there were only little boys in there, and the coast was clear. I let the two boys go in alone. However, they seemed to be taking a long time, and I heard a lot of laughing as I was bundling up Max right outside the bathroom door. I banged on the door and told them to quit fooling around.

When they came out, they couldn't stop giggling.

"What was all that comotion going on in there?"

Cameron loudly and clearly stated, "Oh, well I accidentally peed on Ben's penis, and then he accidentally peed on my penis."

Oh. I stood there in disbelief, having no idea how to respond to them at that moment. "Why in the world were you using the toilet at the same time?" was all I could think of.

"Oh, we thought it would be faster,"Cameron replied without any hesitation.


Ben's mom Libby might want to see if Gwyneth Paltrow has any extra room in her home in England. Maybe there is some truth behind Paltrow's statement, ""I like living here because I don't fit into the bad side of American psychology. The British are much more intelligent and civilized than the Americans."


The Lord was looking out for Ella this morning.

While I was sleeping, Max woke up and decided he was hungry. Without my knowing, Max came down into the kitchen, pushed a bar stool into the pantry and found something to eat. However, being the concerned brother that he is, he apparently felt that Ella might be hungry as well.

Because when Cameron finally woke me up due to his own hunger, we found Max sitting with Ella in her crib, both of them grinning with closed mouths. Max couldn't wait to tell me, "I give Ella food!" I immediately pried her mouth open to find a whole gummy spider resting on her tongue. One swallow, and she would have choked.

Time to find a lock for the pantry.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

"Mom, can you please be quiet. I'm trying to do my math!"

Seems to me that if my son willingly spends almost 2 hours doing addition and subtraction problems, almost all correctly, at home........

then at school, he could probably do more than count a few dots and circle the correct number.

Apparently his teacher doesn't think so....at least not until the end of the year when the kindergarteners will start addition and subtraction

I'm hoping the principal will have a different outlook.

Differentiated Instruction....ever hear of it??????