Thursday, April 28, 2011

Extraordinary Moments

There is little I love more than ordinary extraordinary moments.  Special events are important too.  They give us something to look forward to.  But life is full of those little moments where I stop and say "Yep, this is it."  This is what keeps me going every day.  I could probably write a whole book about ordinary extraordinary moments.  I remember our first family moment.  Laci was about 3 or 4 weeks old.  One night she just cried and cried for hours.  The two of us could not get her to sleep.  Finally at about 5 am, she fell asleep.  I suggested crawling back in our beds.  Charlie pointed out that this was a family moment and we were staying.  She slept in her bouncer and we slept on the floor of his den.

A lot of my ordinary extraordinary moments happen when I get home from work.  There were many days when I first went back to work after Calvin was born that he needed to be held, Laci needed something and I was hungry and wanted to make dinner.  But dinner can wait and my babies can't.  So the three of us would just cuddle on the couch for awhile.  Lately, when we get home, I make dinner with Calvin either on my hip or playing on the floor in the kitchen and Laci coloring at the kitchen table.  Last Thursday, was a very casual dinner at our house.  Calvin was in a diaper and t-shirt and Laci was just in underwear (she had taken her leotard off after gymnastics).  I found myself eating dinner with two kids without their clothes.  Does it get any better than that? 

This past Saturday, Laci woke up at about 6:30 and crawled in bed with us and the three of us watched TV.  Sunday morning, Charlie woke up to all 4 of us hanging out in one bed.  What a great way to start Easter morning.  A few nights ago at bedtime, after Calvin was asleep, Laci arranged us all in her little twin bed by size and announced that we were Papa Bear, Mama Bear and  Small Bear.  Then she said she wished someone was with us to take our picture.  I took a few mental pictures.  I think they will last forever.    

Monday, April 25, 2011

A Mother's Strength

I could write a post about a mother's emotion strength.  We're strong women.  We can handle a lot.  But that's not the strength I'm talking about now.  Mother's are physically strong!  We have to be to tote our children around all the time.  The bigger my kids get, the stronger I get. It's nice that our children start off as tiny babies so we can work our way into strong arms.  I won't go as far to say my arms are toned but they are strong.  Even Charlie talks about how heavy Laci is to carry around.  She's 40 lbs and Calvin is 21 lbs.  I can lift her with ease.  I can carry her farther than I would like to admit that I am carrying her.  Calvin is just attached to my hip all day.  I ran today after taking almost 2 weeks off.  I am tired and feel like I took almost 2 weeks off from running.  Maybe I should stick to child lifting as my main form of exercise. 

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Can't get enough of your love, Baby!

I can not get enough of my little Calvie's smile.  I love to tickle him and listen to him giggle.  He has the best giggle in the world and the sweetest smile.  Whenever he sees me, he just erupts into grins and smiles.  It melts my heart.  When I walk into a room, he crawls over to me as fast as he can.  Tonight, I left him in the hallway and he completely bypassed Charlie to follow me into my room. 
Of course, right after I was feeling like Supermom from all the baby love I was getting, I remembered that I forgot to give him dinner.  So maybe he was just following me hoping I would feed him!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Folding Laundry

I love doing laundry.  I am not much of a housekeeper.  But laundry is a chore I don't mind doing.  Laundry is relatively simple.  Put the clothes in the washing machine, wait awhile, put the clothes in the dryer, wait awhile, fold, put away and you're done.  I feel productive at the end of the weekend when I finish the laundry.  I have to fold and put the clothes away immediately after the dryer is finished - to prevent wrinkling.  I do not iron.  Nothing makes me feel more married than doing my husband's laundry - especially his underwear. Maybe because it is such a personal item of clothes.  Maybe it is because there is no way that I would let anyone else wash and fold my underwear and he lets me do his.  Maybe it is because it is such a mundane but necessary task.  Whatever the reason, whenever I fold my husband's laundry, I feel very married.  I love being married and having that connection to one person and knowing it is forever and ever.  Even more than I love being married, I love the man I am married to!

My Brave Hart

My daughter is much braver than me.  One of the things I try not to do as a parent is project my fears onto my kids.  I don't want them to be afraid.  I can't protect them from fear.  Fear can be paralyzing.  I am scared of many things - storms, snakes, the dentist, walking into an unknown situation - to name a few.  These aren't the 'big things" in life but I have those fears too.  Laci still isn't afraid of much.  She says she is afraid of the dark but I don't think she really is.  That fear didn't show up until we read The Berenstain Bears Afraid of the Dark.  She says she is afraid when I take her to school but I think that is just because she doesn't want me to leave.  
I have a paralyzing fear of storms.  I feel like I am going to hyperventilate and spend the hours leading up to a storm glued to a radar. The other night, I was home overnight alone with the kids with a big storm brewing.  At 10, both kids were crying and screaming and the tornado sirens were going off.  I tried to be as calm as I could because I don't want her to have fears just because I do.  I tucked Calvin in bed and made Laci sleep with me.  She sat and watched the radar while I pointed out the pretty colors.  I didn't want her to know that we were watching the radar because I was scared.  I realized as I was falling asleep holding my sleeping girl's hand that I wasn't protecting her, she was protecting me.  She wasn't scared.  She slept soundly while I laid awake listening to the house creak wondering if the tornado sirens would go off.  The next day, she told Charlie that she slept with me because she was scared.  But I knew that wasn't true. 
Yesterday, I took Laci to the dentist.  This is one of my least favorite things to do.  Getting a cavity filled is the worst and I dread the dentist.  Laci had to have a cavity filled.   It was a teeny tiny cavity and the dentist didn't even have to give her a shot.  She was so excited because in the Berenstain Bears Go to the Dentist, Brother Bear gets a cavity filled.  We read a lot of Berenstain Bears at our house.  The first visit went so well that I wasn't sure how the second visit would go.  I almost warned her that it might hurt.  I had that sense of dread as we were walking into the dentists office.  I cringed and almost cried when I heard the little drill instruments clean out the cavity.  But I also smiled with pride as I watched my little girl sit there patiently with her mouth wide open.  She was so brave.  Her feet wiggled a little bit and that was the only indication anything was bothering her.  On the way home, I asked her how it was.  She said it was fine - it hurt a little bit and she didn't like the fire in her mouth but that was it.  I would have been crying.  I am so glad that the experience went well for her.  
This week reminded me that being a parent means I have to grow up and be brave - just like her. 

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

No worries

Just kidding.  A mother always worries.  As the child gets older, the worries change.  I worry if Laci is getting enough sleep (probably not), is she eating enough vegetables (definitely not), is she eating enough fruit (maybe), is she watching too much TV (probably), am I strict enough with her, does she obey enough, is she independent enough, is she polite enough, is she too attached to me (yes), etc.  The list can go on.  So I can't worry about these details.  There are just too many.  I am just going to keep her alive.  That was advice I got from a fellow mother years ago.  Well, I am obviously going to do more than that.  I want to raise her right, whatever that means.  That definition seems to change every day for me.  I'll worry about the big stuff now - she's learn to eat her vegetables later.

But Calvin... Calvin is a whole other set of worries.  Overall, Laci was always healthy.  But with Calvin we are in and out of the doctor's office.  He had jaundice when he was born.  He never needed a biliblanket but he had to be "sunned" and we had blood tests every week for a month until he was cleared of it.  He had a clogged eye duct.  Two appointments with a pediatric eye doctor and an ointment cleared that right up.  And then the ear infection started and never stopped... He's been on amoxicillin twice.  He didn't have any trouble with that but it doesn't clear up the infection.  So we are now onto stronger stuff.  It helps but it tears up his little bottom and digestive system.  Whenever the doctor says "antibiotic", I cringe.  I know he needs it to get rid of his infections but it makes me cry to see his little red bottom all the time.  And the dirty diapers... changing those also makes me cry a little bit too, but for a different reason.  I quickly count down the ten days he needs them.  I worry about too many antibiotics.  What are we doing to him by continuing to give them to him?  I talk to friends that go through this too and it reassures me.  It reminds me that he really does need these to get better.  Right now he almost has a clean bill of health, only eardrops.  
And the hearing.  Calvin is so little, we don't know what his hearing will be like or is like now.  The first time they told us he couldn't hear, we were both so shocked.  We hadn't expected it at all.  Who does?  I expected that he would need tubes.  I started talking to other parents with children with tubes and found out that the hearing loss due to the pressure build up is pretty common.  It is expected to be restored.  This reassured me.  Plus, he is so little, it's hard to say what his hearing really is like now.  He had his hearing retested last week.  The audiologist and Charlie came out of the hearing test looking discouraged.  But he is responding well to voices.  That improvement is apparent.  He didn't respond to the tones at all.  But he is 9 months old and babies get distracted easily.  It's hard to say if he heard it or not.  These other parents don't seem to be worried and act like tubes and the temporary hearing loss are no big deal.  I almost feel silly worrying about him so much.  So I am not going too.  Maybe I would worry more if I was in the hearing test with him and saw how he responded or didn't respond.  I think about my friends who have gone through so much and through so many struggles with their children.  They made it.  They have handled it.  They are dealing with it every day.  I can't worry about the what if's...  Not right now.  Calvin will have his hearing tested again in October.  We'll know more then.  Until then, I am going to enjoy his crawling, his laughing, his babbling, his smiling face, the way he pats my back when he is tired.  Charlie is worrying enough for both of us.  I have other things to worry about like if he is eating enough table food and if he is learning how to drink out of a sippy cup.  I have faith that he is will be fine and if there is something more, we will get through it.  I'll worry about it later.  Until then, all I can do is love him.  I just can't worry anymore.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Children's friendship and a Birthday Party

At school, Laci's class made friendship bracelets.  It was a little leather strap bracelet with beads that spell FRIENDS.  Very cute.  Right now, Laci is all about "best friends".  Everyone is her "best friend".  Except the boys.  I am usually her "best friend".  Yesterday, everyone in town was her best friend.  If she is mad at me, she will declare that I am no longer her "best friend".  I was talking to her teacher about the bracelets.  She told me that the "best friend" thing has gotten out of hand, especially with the girls.  They will constantly tell each other that they are "best friends" and then if someone does something a girl doesn't like, she will declare that that girl is no longer her best friend.  So they had to have a long talk about friendship and how they are all friends.  A good lesson.  But it is crazy that this silly girl drama happens wtih 3 year olds!  It got me thinking about what I want Laci to be, in relation to friends and other kids.  When I go to birthday parties, I am always watching her with the kids.  Do they interact well?  Do they include her?  She talks about her friends all the time but do they feel the same way about her? Then I start thinking about whether I want her to be "popular" or beating to her own drum.  I want her to be liked.  I want her to have friends.  I want her to beat to her own drum and have the self confidence to do that.  But how do I help her if she doesn't have many friends or if she does have social issues with the other kids?  And what kind of mom do I want to be?  The "cool" mom?  The mom in the background?  Does it really matter what I think?  Isn't this really about her?
Laci has a little friend that I know is having a birthday party soon.  Laci isn't invited.  That is okay.  I am not complaining that she isn't invited.  But I do wonder how I will handle this when Laci realizes this.  Laci frequently calls A her "best friend".  Tonight she asked me if she could go to A's birthday party.  I calmly explained that she wasn't invited.  She asked if she could ask A if she could come.  I still wasn't sure what I say so I quickly changed subjects. 

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Reliving the Beginning

I may be a self absorbed person.  I am really enjoying reading the blog and facebook posts of a friend who just had their first baby.  And all I can do is smile and relive the first few days of Laci's life.  Bringing her home, taking her on a walk, feeding her and changing her in the middle of the night.  Just staring at her all day long.  I have been blessed with two great newborns.  Laci had a period when she was 6 weeks old that was tough.  We struggled for a few weeks.  But other than that, the beginning was great.  I remember hearing from so many others about that moment with your newborn when you get home and you just stare at your baby and think "now what?"  I really looked forward to that moment.  I loved that moment.  I love hearing about other's birth stories and reliving my kids births.  They were so different.  Calvin's was the best ever - two and a half hours of labor and bam, he was out.  Laci's, not so much.  Perfect is not how I would describe it.  It was horrible.  

I do the same thing at weddings - I just relive my wedding and think about how perfect it was.  There are very few things, if any, that I would change.  It's ours and it was perfect.  Of course, I may have rose colored glasses and would have thought it was perfect if was in the middle of a blizzard and everything went wrong.  It was perfect because that was the day Charlie and I got married and our family began.  Maybe more on that another day. 

I remember hearing from others that babies grow up too quickly.  And it does.  I still can't believe Calvin is 9 months old already!  It seems like so long ago and just yesterday at the same time that I was pregnant with him.  I don't want to give this new family any advice - it would all be cliches anyway.  It really just has to be lived!  So I will keep reading as long as they will share and as happy as I am for them, I will only be thinking of myself and my special time with my babies. 

Monday, April 11, 2011


Something else that I keep close to my heart is my friends.  A few years ago, I read The Girls of Ames.  This is a book about a group of 10 women who grew up together and still stay close after 20 years and living across the country.  Girlfriends are so important, especially now as a mother.  I realize that I need all sorts of women in my life.  Close friends, acquaintances, mentors, mentees.  I need them all.  I need my childhood friends.  I have two women that I formed an email "Mommy group" with when our first children were born within months of each other.  I am not sure I would have made it through the first year without them.  We were in the trenches together.  We shared the good and the bad, asked questions, comforted each other and praised each other.  I share my memories of high school with these women and that was a time in my life that I grew into myself and started becoming me.  I know their families and they know mine.  They hold a place in my heart that the women I meet now can't.  But they do not live near by and we can not visit as often as I like.  Technology and email keep us close.  My college friends also hold that special place in my heart.  They were with me the first time I was out on my own.  This was the next step in becoming the adult I am now.  College is a very unique and critical part of our lives.  We had freedom to invent ourselves, find ourselves, grow into ourselves.  The memories I have with these women will always be in a special place in my heart.  I love staying in touch with them and hearing about the women they have become and the families that they have created. 

I need women in my day to day life.  To go out to dinner with, to laugh with, to share.  These women have children my age and it forms a community.  But it isn't all about our kids.  We are close in age and sometimes we need to talk about things other than our children. Sometimes we need to be without our children.  I need my GNOs (girls night out).  It helps me be a better mother.  I need women in my life who share my faith.  I have noticed that I am now meeting families, not just individuals.  I have watched my childhood and college friends fall in love, get married and start families.  I am now meeting people already in established families and learning about them and how they became who they are now, not watching it happen.  I love this new perspective.  I need to be friends with stay at home mom and working moms.  I learn so much from both.  I learn from people different than me.  I learn from people similar to me.  We're all in it together.  
I also need women in my life that don't have kids.  A coworker has brought me back to reading again.  I love reading books with her and forming an informal "club" to talk about what we are reading.  Not everything is about work and kids.  I hearing about their pets and things they do with their lives B.C. (before children).  I loved those days.  I need older women whose children are grown to lean on and ask questions and to hear that they got through it and I will too.  

Thanks to all of you who are my friend!

Stop Talking!

There are the cliches about the things we learn from our children.  Patience is always one of them.  I have discovered that Laci just likes to sit and enjoy the outside.  The other day, we went for a walk and decided to stop by the pond to see if our fish and turtle friends were out yet.  We talked about bringing bread for the fish.  She reminded me that we need to bring 3 pieces of bread - one for the fish, one for the turtles and one for her because she will get hungry on the walk over.  She sat on the little wall next to the path to look at the water.  I sat next to her and started to go on and on about how much I enjoy spending these moments with her.  She calmly said "Stop Talking."  Wow - good reminder.  Sometimes these quiet moments are best to be enjoyed quietly, without talking.  I found it ironic coming from the little girl who talks the other 99% of the time.  

The Gift of Prayer

The Gift of Prayer

Someone once told me that hearing their children say the Lord's Prayer is the sweetest sound.  I agree.  Laci already knows the Lord's Prayer.  She doesn't know what all the words mean but as she begins to talk better and articulate more, she is beginning to understand and ask questions.  We say two or three prayers every night.  One is the Lord's Prayer.  One is a prayer that Charlie has told her every night of her life.  The other one is my version of his prayer.  She is beginning to understand and ask questions about the prayer.  One night she asked what God's Word was.  I explained that it is the Bible.  Then she asked who Will was.  We always pray to follow God's Will.  She reminded me that Will is at school.  So she asked if we could follow God's Jackson (Will's friend), God's Emily, God's Laci, etc.  It's hard to explain what someone's will is so I just said yes.  We encourage her to say her own some nights. It's always interesting to hear what she prays for.  At dinner, we don't have a set prayer but let her do her own.  She has to thank God for her family and food and the rest is up to her.  Lately her prayer is this "Dear God, Thank you for Laci, Calvin, Mommy and Daddy, Dora, Diego, Baby Jaguar, Boots, Dora's grandma, Baby Sister, Baby Brother, Dora, Diego, Baby Jaguar, Dora, Diego, Boots...."  I have to cut her off after awhile and remind her about the food and that we want to eat.  Charlie wishes her prayers were a bit more serious and genuine but that will come with age and maturity.  Plus, what is more genuine than praying for Dora?  I remind her to pray when we worry and now she reminds us to pray. 

I have so many gifts that I want to give my children.  The gift of prayer and learning to pray is one of the most important.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Crusty eyes... = death?

One of the problems we have been having with Calvin's cold is eye drainage.  Yuck.  This morning his eyes were crusted shut.  As I took him into the bathroom to clean them out so he could open them, Laci kept saying "Is he dead?"  What an odd comment.  It wasn't a genuine comment.  She obviously knew he wasn't dead.  But it does make me wonder what her thoughts on death are.  One day at school they made those little shape things made of beads that you iron together.  She kept saying that you have to be careful because you could choke and die on them!  Choke and die?  Again what an odd comment.  I think I am okay with scarying her to safety. 

Friday, April 8, 2011

70 years!

Tomorrow is my grandparents-in-law 70th anniversary party.  70 years!  I can't believe that.  I can't imagine even being alive for 70 years, let alone being married to one person that long.  But they really are one person now.  I am not sure if one can exist without the other.  My mother in law had a large party for their 65th anniversary.  They had just moved to Indiana at that point.  Tomorrow is just a small afternoon tea.  Grandma isn't doing well and has dementia and Grandpa has more physical ailments.  He has reminded me many times that he wishes I had met Grandma when she was more herself.  A small tea will be perfect for the occassion.  I keep wondering why this is such a big deal to me.  It is because they are my grandparents now too.  I grew up being very close to my grandma.  She lived with our family nearly my entire childhood.  Her presence was one of my greatest presents from my parents.  I was 19 when she died.  My grandfathers died years ago, one before I was born.  My other grandma died 3 years ago.  So Charlie's grandparents are now the only grandparents I have.  That is a big deal to me. 

They had 2 children (my mother in law and her brother), 5 grandchildren and now 4 great grandchildren.  Unfortunately, only our family and my mother and father in law will be there.  I wish more family (the cousins) would come.  But I understand.  They are scattered across the country and we are nearby.  I don't know when the last time the cousins visited them.  If it were my grandparents and we were across the country, would we come?  I would like to think we would.  My mom reminded me that I didn't visit my grandma very much near the end.  We visited in 2006.  She had dementia pretty bad then.  It is a 6 or 7 hour drive from our house.  Excuses.  But Charlie had never met her and I wanted to make the trip.  It was a short visit and she repeated the same stories over and over.  But it was important that we do that.  It was important to me.  I remember when each of my nieces and nephews were born, my brother and sister would drive with their infants to Iowa to "present" the great grandchild.  I never got to present mine.  My daughter attended her funeral.  

70 years is a big deal.  It's important to me that we celebrate with them.  It's important to me that we take my children to visit their great grandparents.  They only have two.  So I will dress them up and take lots of pictures.  Not for the great grandparents.  Not for the great grandchildren.  But for me.  Without our grandparents, there would be no me or you.  

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Starting today

Blog one - I am jumping into the world of blog writing.  I have been blog stalking for years.  I love reading blogs.  I love the community of mothers that come together in sharing on blogs.  I say community of mothers because I mostly read other mother's blog, especially of mother's with kids the same age as mine.  There is a sense of knowing someone after reading their blogs.  It is nice to compare/contrast and learn from other.  To share in our struggles.  To know we are all going through the same things.

I am a full time wife, full time mother and full time professional.  I have been married for 6 1/2 years.  I have one 3 year old daughter who like most 3 year olds is 3 going on 15.  An independent little spirit with just enough spunk and too much attachment to her mother.  Fortunately (or unfortunately) the attachment is mutual.  I have a 9 month old little boy.  He is the sweetest, best baby in the entire world.  He has a smile that warms my heart and a giggle that I can't get enough of.