Nanny Knowledge

Never in a million years did I think I would be spending my summer (or ANY amount of time, for that matter!) babysitting/nannying.  My opinion of parenting/kids has never been stellar - there is nothing that makes my blood boil faster than a screaming/misbehaving child and an ignorant parent!  But that has alllllllmost changed entirely thanks to Ryan, Kate, Paige, and CJ, and their parents Scott and Heather.  All of them have opened my eyes and have taught me many, many things, especially the type of parent I aim to be one day.  Below is just a sampling of all of the lessons I have learned throughout my experience this summer and I'm sure I have more to come.  It may seem like a lot of them are negative, but I think they're just honest, truthful tidbits!

  • Kids move at their own pace.  And it is often not the pace that will get you to where you need to be going on time.
  • Video games are the most confusing, heinous, pointless things ever invented... I have thoroughly decided to outlaw video games in my future house.  No kid of mine will be caught dead wasting away in front of the TV or computer when it is a beautiful day outside!  I can see the value of a Wii since the games require physical activity and can be a fun opportunity for family bonding on rainy days, but otherwise there will be NO video games.
  • Public pools are GROSS.  I could write a book about all the gag-worthy things I've seen at public pools.  From kids spitting/snotting/coughing/peeing in the water to walking around in the shower/bathroom area without shoes on. I've always seen public pools as giant toilets... but, then again, I love going to Water Country USA.  Hmm, I should think twice about that...
  • They never agree on anything. While one wants to do one thing, the other is vehemently opposed to that idea.  A fight then ensues and I resist running to hide in the pantry or iron my ears while they argue and whine.
  • They can be quite manipulative. If you tell them you are running into the store for ONE thing (i.e. sunburn relief gel), be prepared to hear a well-rehearsed speech about why they need and should be allowed to buy a Slip-and-Slide and a remote control speed boat.  Oh, and can't forget how they promise they can "pay you back" with their report card money.  Another one of my favorite lines: "Our Mom/Dad lets us do that."  Oh, really?  Your Mom/Dad allows you to jump off of the roof into the bushes for fun?  Nice try.
  • Apparently sneezing does not require you to cover your mouth anymore... just like using the bathroom doesn't mean you have to wash your hands either.  Ew.  Hand sanitizer has become my best friend.
  • The volume of the TV has to be as loud as possible.  And so does the volume of their voices. I'm getting used to screaming, "OKAY, KIDS, I'M GOING TO START MAKING YOU LUNCH.  WHAT WOULD YOU GUYS LIKE TODAY? NO, WE AREN'T GOING TO MCDONALD'S OR SHEETZ. ONE PLATE OF CHICKEN NUGGETS AND ONE SANDWICH? ALRIGHT, BE RIGHT BACK..."
  • I can't be in two places at once! Trust me, I've tried!  I can't watch you play a video game in the basement (shoot me in the foot instead, please!) while spotting the other for back handsprings outside in the yard.
  • No one seems to lock their doors anymore. This bugs me to no end!  I am such a stickler for keeping doors and windows locked, yet it doesn't seem like a big deal to leave the garage door wide open and the house door unlocked while we are away.
  • Horses are scared of umbrellas being openedThe very first day of watching Ryan and Kate, I had to take Kate to her horseback riding lessons.  Of course, it was pouring down rain, I was wearing flip-flops, and she wanted me to walk with her to the stable - down a dirt (now entirely muddy) road.  After returning to the main barn with mud splashed up my entire backside, I re-opened my umbrella walking out behind Kate and her house to make the short sprint to my car.  This spooked the horse (I should have known better...) and embarrassed Kate.  Oops!
  • Never underestimate the power of temptation with food/candy/toys. Always a way to come to a unanimous decision or compromise.
  • A 12 year old can break into his own house if need be. Ryan proved to be quite the criminal mastermind when we discovered we were locked out of the house one day.  While Kate and I waited for Scott to come home to deliver the extra key, Ryan proceeded to pry, thus bending, an expensive screen off of a front window to slip inside.  THAT was fun trying to explain to Scott how we had magically appeared in a locked house.
  • Their feelings only stay hurt for, like, .056 seconds.
  • Just when you think you couldn't POSSIBLY be more annoyed... they go and do or say something sweet.  Darn it!  I was so convinced you were an evil little brat!
  • A lunch of boogers and chips is perfectly acceptable. I'm not sure the nutritional value is in either, but the kids haven't died of malnourishment yet...
  • Cats are better than people. And I silently cheer the cat on when they bite the kids after the have been picked on for the past 15 minutes straight.
  • Some kids will talk your ear off while others won't speak at all unless spoken to.  I slightly prefer the ones who don't speak unless spoken to... Sounds horrible of me to admit, I know.
  • Nutella is like crack to them. Give them a spoonful and they're pacified for the next 15 minutes.  Ahh, peace and quiet.
  • Saying "no" the first 5 times won't work.  It only works if you gradually raise your voice each time, begin turning a shade a purpley-red not found in nature, and after you've reached the 12th attempt.
  • Just to be safe, always wear shoes (or flip-flops, at least) in the house. You never know when you're going to step on a small toy, guinea pig droppings, or a dried booger.  Jesus take the wheel...
  • Kids put their hands EVERYWHERE.  Down their pants, up their nose, and then right into the bag of pretzels we were all just sharing.
  • They may all be potty-trained now, but it often smells like they crapped their pants. Seriously?!  STOP. FARTING!
  • You don't have to know a person's first or last name to be in a relationship with them. Ryan informed me one day as I picked him up from school that he had a girlfriend.  Considering he was being bullied for being "gay," I thought this was a step in the right direction!  When I asked him what her name was, he didn't know.  All he knew was that he was planning on breaking up with her already so "people wouldn't know."  Ahh, young love...
  • They don't care that that gummy bear was on the floor just a second ago... because now it is in their mouth along with the fuzz, dead bug, and piece of hair that it fell onto. Yum.
Well, there you have it.  It has been a weird and humorous ride thus far and we still have another week or so to go, but I am so appreciative of the opportunity to get to know these kids and their parents.


Book Nook: Mockingjay

I have finished the Hunger Games trilogy!  It has taken me a few days since finishing it (almost a week, actually) to write this post, but I blame that on the fact that I am still trying to recover from my "book hangover."  I've coined the term "book hangover" as the feeling of not wanting to start another book after finishing a really good one.  Plus, I've just been busy...

 Mockingjay was took a bit of time to get used to.  Since the last book (Catching Fire) ended with Katniss waking up to Gale telling her District 12 was no more, I was biting at the bit to read the next book.  But the first two books followed a relatively similar pattern: the Hunger Games is announced, there is a reaping, Katniss and Peeta get ready for the games, and then the Games begin.  However, now that the Games are over and District 13 is planning a rebellion, the story becomes more high risk.  It also didn't help that Peeta was captured by the Capitol and was being tortured for information about the Districts' rebellion on top of everything else...

Overall, I enjoyed the book... not as much as the first one though.  I got a little confused towards the end with the information about the Capitol's protective "pods."  I had trouble picturing where the rebels were within the Capitol at times, but other than that the ending was really action packed and kept me reading.  I didn't like how Finnick died in the sewer (in my opinion, he should have lived!) and I also didn't like how Gale moved to District 2 and then there was no further mention of him.  Ever.  But I was glad to see Katniss and Peeta end up together, despite having a less than ideal reunion in the middle of the book.

I'm not exactly sure what I'll be reading next.  Like I said before, I'm suffering from a massive book hangover, so it is going to take some time for me to find another book or series that I can get into.


Incoherent Ramblings...

I figure I needed to take a break from being such a bookworm and write an actual post.  You know, one where I don't bore y'all by advertising how much of a nerd I am.  The only problem is: I don't know what to write about!

There are a bunch of random things running through my mind right now, but nothing that would make a coherent post.  For the looooooong time while Matt and I were apart, I would send him e-mails like this when I had too much to say but no real train of thought.  So, enjoy a mish-mash of random thoughts crammed into one post!

  • MATT IS HOME!  And it is about time too!  I was going absolutely bonkers waiting for the days to tick down until I was able to see him again.  Last Tuesday, I drove to Harrisburg to pick him up and to do some shopping at the Capital City mall until his flight arrived.  As I was driving through the ghetto of Harrisburg to find the mall, I got a text from Matt saying the flight was delayed 2 hours.  I then received another text about an hour and a half later saying the same flight was delayed yet another hour and wouldn't be in until 1030-ish that night.  At that point, I was sitting in baggage claim watching flight after flight arrive and keeping my nose buried in my book.  But, the next thing I knew, Matt was walking toward me (with what seemed like a halo of light surrounding him) and we were back together!  YAY!  Now we only have 39 days until the wedding and are enjoying spending as much time as we can with each other to make up for lost time.
  • I had a great time at my bridal shower and couldn't be more grateful for all who came and made my day special!  I've been slacking on writing my Thank You cards, but I promise anyone who came or gave Matt and I a gift will be receiving one shortly!
  • All wedding RSVPs have been received and we started putting together the seating chart.  It has been a fun process thus far, even though we have a few random people/groups that we just can't figure out where to put them.  The next step is to work on the menu and get our marriage license, and we were able to go to PNC this afternoon to set up our joint bank account.  Whew!  So much to do yet!
  • I don't eat healthy foods and I certainly don't exercise, but recently I've found my clothes to practically be falling off of me.  These are clothes that originally (at the beginning of my senior year of college) were painfully tight and unflattering.  Now, I struggle to keep pants up with a belt and shirts look like they were stretched out by a sumo wrestler.  I don't understand!  A lot of people ask if I'm on a diet/exercise plan for the wedding, but I tell them I'm not and then dig into my plate of french fries, chicken quesadillas, and mozzarella sticks! 
  • Matt and I will be going home to spend the 4th of July with my family on Wednesday.  I think we will be going to a family picnic at my great uncle's cabin and then coming back to my parent's house to grill and set off some small fireworks before we head to a big fireworks show that night.  It should be fun.
  • Never sign up for an Old Navy VISA credit card.  I was a naive senior in high school (or maybe college freshman? I don't remember...) when I signed up for the dreaded thing and have regretted it ever since.  I am not responsible with money (which is why I am so grateful that Matt is!), so I let my spending on that card get a bit out of control.  Tack onto that an unexpected $50/month security fee that I was never properly informed of, and I found myself to be in trouble.  I've been making regular payments to pay it off, but noticed during my most recent payment, I was charged another $52 fee for interest.  When I called they company, the woman explained that even though the card was closed, they still charge a monthly interest fee unless I pay off the COMPLETE balance (which I certainly cannot do right now!)What a joke!  I probably sound like a moron, but when I told Matt, he was understanding and very supportive - what a guy!
  • I have also been trying to figure out what to wear to our temple sealing in December.  I obviously cannot afford ANOTHER wedding dress after having NO luck finding a modest, temple-approved wedding dress while shopping for a dress for an August wedding in central PA.  Even though we will be sealed in December, I really would like to find a poofy-ish, tea-length dress for the occasion.  I've been looking on Latter-DayBride.com at the temple dresses (many of which I like!), but the wedding dress to wear outside of the temple is what is frustrating me.  Surprisingly enough, I've found a few that could work, but they are considered  "Bridesmaids" dresses.  But they could become poofy-ish if I found the right underskirt (or whatever those thing are called...)... Hmmm...