Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Never a dull moment...

Last night, Laci and I had a big stand off over her demands that I walk across the room and get her a toy.  I refused.  She had the funniest ultimatums.  If you don't get the toy, you can not tuck me in tonight...  you can not say my prayers...  I will take your seat (that was fun to watch her try to take my seat on the couch while I was sitting there).  A few times, she walked over to the toy, picked it up, looked at us, set it down and ran back to us and demanded we get it.  She finally tripped over something else, stubbed her toe, cried and came running for a hug.  The whole tantrum was very tired based.  Our next adventure was picking out clothes to wear tomorrow.  She went through her dresses but couldn't find anything "beautiful" enough.  She needed a dress to dance in and her skirts didn't twirl enough.  She finally settled on plaid purple leggings, a green striped sweater and a long sleeved halloween shirt.  No matter how many times I told her it is too hot to wear that, she insisted.  I wonder who will win the getting dressed battle this morning.  Laci or Charlie who hopefully has the sense to put her in the shorts and t-shirt I set out.  

Of course, by this time she was exhausted and super over tired which means she was still awake at 10:00 saying that she couldn't sleep.  She has decided recently that she wants to sleep with "beautiful" music on so I pulled out the music box from her pack and play and attached it to her bed.  I guess my country music on the radio wasn't helping her sleep.  She is also obsessed with wet wipes, kleenexes or washclothes and always has one in her hand.  She was holding a baby wipe in her hand while she was going to sleep and she asked if it was camouflaged.  I asked what she meant and she asked if it would hurt her eyes if she rubbed them with it.  I finally realized she was asking if it had chemical in it.  Camouflage, chemical... close enough.  I finally told her to stay awake all night and ten minutes later she was asleep.   

Friday, June 24, 2011

Attempts at a picture with an 11 month old.

My dad and I have similar monthly picture projects with Calvin.  I have 12 month CAL (from Cal State) onesie and every month since he was born, I have taken his picture in it.  My dad has a picture frame with a cut out for each month.  Every month it has gotten more difficult to get this picture.  I have almost given up on the 11 month picture.  I finally got a picture of me holding his hands while he is standing in his onesie so you can at least see the CAL.  I don't think he is smiling but he is not crying.  Nearly every day, Laci and I have a little photo shoot with Calvin trying to get the picture for my dad.  Every picture is either blurry, out of focus, he's crying, has a snotty nose or he is moving too fast and all I get is a picture of his clothes or back or back of his head.  Laci said that it would be easier if he was a stuffed animal so we could get a good picture.  I agree.  Some days I just give the camera to Laci.  Her pictures aren't any worse than mine.  When he turns one, I'll post the CAL pictures from all months.  It's been really fun to watch him grow into the outfit.  We have a few more days to get that "perfect" 11 month picture.  I'll try to post the finished product when it is done. 
Here are a few out takes.

"Mom, all I got was his pajamas." - Laci

I was hoping to get a nice close up on him while playing with his stacking blocks.
But he was concentrating too hard and never smiled. 

Another Laci keeper - I love the thumb.

My dad threatened to use this unique picture of him.
I just thought it was funny.

I moved over near the window to get better light.  Calvin decided to crawl away.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

My own pep talk...

So, my blog has become my own personal pep talk...  A few days ago I was doing some thinking and some journaling about whether it was time to make a change.  Is it time to pull myself together and become that "Really Put Together" mom?  But this morning I was talking to someone about the cuteness of lopsided pigtails.  I love lopsided pigtails.  I actually put them in lopsided on purpose.  I was talking to someone else about cute baby rooms and having everything coordinated.  I am sure you can guess by now that my children's room are not cute and nothing is coordinated.  Everything is a hand me down.  We reuse everything for new purposes - an upside down waste basket is a step stool.  A upside down plastic crate is a side table.  An old VCR tape shelf is a bookshelf.  There is nothing on Calvin's walls.  And I love it that way!!!  I love polka dots with stripes.  I love orange and purple together.  I love bold prints.  Laci has so many pink clothes that she is usually wearing several non-matching shades of pink at once.  Unless my kid's clothes come in an "outfit", there is a good chance the bottoms don't match the tops.  And I am okay with that.  If it wasn't for my husband, all of the walls in our house would be bare.  He has taken the initiative to put wall hangings up.  He is in charge of "decorating".  If it wasn't for my husband, my mother and my mother in law, none of our furniture would match either.  

I have to admit that sometimes I have a twinge of jealously when I see siblings in matching outfits or families coordinated for pictures.  I feel a twinge of jealously when I see "grown up" furniture sets at other people's houses.  But I am not jealous enough to try to match or coordinate.  It's just too hard for me.  It is just unimportant to me.    

Here are some pictures we had taken a few weeks ago.  We don't match and we aren't coordinated but my kids sure are cute!  They are both in "outfits".  We are all happy, safe, fed and well loved.  That is much more important to me than our clothes. 

Monday, June 20, 2011

Pulled together or barely hanging on by a thread.

Last night I had a meltdown.  I would like to say that I have these infrequently but these days they are more common than I would like to admit.  I won't get into specifics but it was a typical night with a tired preschooler and a teething baby.  As I brushed my teeth and looked in the mirror I thought to myself, "I am barely hanging on by a thread!  How do other moms do it?"  It seems like some moms have it all together.  Their children's clothes match.  They never complain.  They do it all.  They always remember the diaper bag and more importantly, they remember to put diapers in the diaper bag.  They take their children on fun outings. 

I don't know what goes on those really put together mom's homes.  Maybe they aren't quite as put together as they appear.  Sometimes I have to remind myself that it is a good day if they are safe, fed, healthy and well loved.  If I can get those things done, I'm doing my job - even if I am barely hanging on by a thread.  

Sunday, June 19, 2011

The English Language

Have you ever stopped to think about how silly the English Language can be sometimes?  I am enjoying listening to Laci learn English and the little nuances that go with it.  For example, there are lots of cliches and phrases that don't make any sense.  She often asks questions about why I say certain things.  But the other day, I laughed at her innocent mistake of just using the wrong word.  At dinner, she raised her glass and asked if we could do "bread".  Bread?  I asked her to ask again.  Then I realized her glass was up and she wanted to "toast"!  She was pretty close - toast is made of bread!

Tonight, she was brushing her teeth, so she doesn't get cavities.  She asked what a cavity is.  I explained that it is a little hole in your teeth and if it gets to big, it really hurts.  She answered that Calvin must have cavities because his teeth always hurt.  Teething, cavities - close enough. 

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Coffee and Mugs

Here are my random thoughts on my love of coffee and coffee mugs.  I usually drink one cup of coffee a day in the morning.  I used to think that it was a social thing at work and that I enjoyed chatting in the kitchen with people getting their morning coffee.  While I was at home on my maternity leave, I started to enjoy the time sitting and drinking my coffee.  Especially if I woke up before Laci and I could sit and read the paper and enjoy my morning coffee.  I have discovered the yumminess of flavored creamers and flavored coffee.  I only drank decaf while I was nursing Laci and I don’t have flavored decaf at home so flavored creamers worked really well.  I really like lattes.  A perfect cup is about half coffee, half milk, some sugar/splenda and vanilla.  Now that I am at work, I still enjoy my cup of coffee every morning.  Since I am often the first one here, I don’t run into very many people in the kitchen while I get my coffee.  I love being the first one to make the coffee in the morning.  I feel like I am making an important contribution to the office.  I even brought my flavored creamers here.  And I still savor that first cup of coffee every morning.  Sometimes while I drink it I feel like I should be on a Folgers commercial, sigh. 

Someone sent me a forwarded email once about coffee and mugs.  It was something about how given the choice people will choose the fancier mugs but the coffee is still the same in all of them.  The point was something about life being the coffee and the type of mug (job, society, etc.) isn’t important.  It’s a nice point.  But I really love coffee mugs and I think it makes the coffee.  For example, when we first got the mugs that we have at home that match our plates, I wasn’t impressed.  But now I love them.  There is just something about those mugs to wrap your hands around it.  When I was a kid, I had a Fozzi mug that was in the shape of Fozzi’s head.  Of course, at that time I was just drinking hot chocolate but it was special in the Fozzi mug.  I really wanted a Santa mug in the shape of Santa’s head and last year I found a snowman one like that - perfect for Christmas time.  There is just something distinctive about a diner coffee mug too, especially when you had two little packets of cream and it swirls around the black coffee.  The coffee just tastes uniquely different in a diner.  I love porcelain tea sets.  They are so dainty and fancy with the delicate handle and beautiful designs.  I would love a set of them some day.  I mentioned that to my mother in law once and she said that she has a couple of inherited sets and hinted that we may inherit a set too some day.  I love after dinner coffee in a china coffee cup.  That may be the only time I like coffee black.  It is so fancy and dainty in a china coffee cup.  Black coffee in a china cup goes so well with cake.  I have a Mickey Mouse mug that is brown/tan that matches the color of my coffee perfectly. I find myself changing my work coffee mug with the seasons too.  Hearts for Valentines Day, green for spring, snowman for winter. 
Its really the shape of the mug that I like.  Sometimes I see one that I just have to have.  Here is a picture of my Mother's Day gift - a new mug.   I had been eyeing it for awhile and told Laci to get it for me for Mother's day.  Look at the shape - it's tall but the handle is at the top.  It even came with a travel lid. 

All of my coworkers know my favorite mug.  Here are the pictures that I had put on it.  The first one is from Laci's 2nd birthday.  I asked Charlie to take a picture of Laci that morning when she woke up.  I didn't mean to flash the camera the moment she opened her eyes!  Could she look anymore hungover?  The caption is "Need Coffee!!!"  I took a few more of a happy Laci posed to be enjoying a happy cup of coffee. 
Need Coffee!!!

I am sharing my love of coffee with Laci too.  We frequently go on "coffee dates".  In the winter/fall, we split a hot chocolate.  In the summer we will get frappuchinos or smoothies.  At home on Saturdays, I will often make her hot chocolate with ice cubes in her little "Laci" mug.  I love just sitting at coffee shops and chatting and watching the world go by.  I hope we can continue this as she grows.  Especially into her teenage years as a way to stay close.  

So to go on with the analogy, coffee is life and mugs are the stuff around it, I love the stuff in life!

Here's a few pictures of the kids enjoying their "coffee dates".

My silly little girl

My little lady.  I love her crossed legs.
We're actually just waiting at Jiffy Lube - Laci, me and naked Trudy.

Calvin's first "coffee date" with just me when he was 2 months old.
I think we better stick to decaf with him.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Every Week...

I walked into church today as I do every Sunday.  Today was just an ordinary Sunday.  But up on the screen, it said it was Pentecost today.  Suddenly I had images in my head of Biblical times and everyone being filled with the Holy Spirit.  Can you even imagine what that was like?  My heart was suddenly opened and filled with the Holy Spirit.  I was suddenly crying.  Here is my blog confession.  I cry almost every week at church.  To me, worship is powerful.  The power of the cross.  The power of the music.  The power of prayer.  The power of community and worshiping together.  Baptisms get me every time.  To me, the sanctuary is my sanctuary.  The cross and flames in the bricks is almost magical, for lack of a better word.
I spent today's service, in between sniffles and tears thinking about what the church and my faith has meant to me and my life.  It's only four walls and a roof, right?  But to me, my church is so much more.  My church gave me my family.  Every important moment in my adult life has been in front of those bricks and that cross.  I thought about all the prayers I have prayed sitting in those pews.  I prayed for a love, to be happy by myself, to be married, to be a mother.  Every prayer, spoken and unspoken, has been answered, in God's way, in God's time.  I met Charlie through the church.  So literally, if it wasn't for that church, I would not have my family.  Charlie chose that church because it was two blocks from his apartment.  I chose that church because it felt like home.  It felt like family. 
The church is in a time of transition as we say good-bye to our pastors and prepare to welcome new ones.  I will miss one of the pastor's geniuneness.  His sincerity.  His daughter was born at the same time as Laci and I enjoyed that bond of parenthood and watching our children grow together.  The other one I have to thank for my family.  If he was not at the church when Charlie or I began attending, we may not have chosen that church.  We may not have met.  He married us and baptized our children.  He will always have a special place in my heart.
For one hour every week, I do not have any worries or any problems.  Today, I was filled with gratitude, humility and joy.  The phrase "To God be the glory" has been stuck in my head for a few weeks now.  I love how certain verses appear right when we need them.  This week our pastor's mid-week message included the following verse: Romans 11:36 "For from him and through him and for him are all things.  To him be the glory forever! Amen."

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Uh-oh, I may be in trouble...

A few weeks ago, I took Laci to the shoe store.  I was getting sandals.  Laci kept running around and when I told her it was time to go, she told me she was looking for some "cute" shoes.  I thought that was cute so we ended up getting her a pair.  Little did I know that she is a shoe girl!  Today at Meijer, while I was getting diapers, I found her trying on shoes.  "Look Mom, they fit perfectly.  We should get them.  They're cute."  No.  We are not here to get shoes!  I have already bought her three pairs of shoes/sandals in the last month.  She said she just had to walk through the shoe aisle to look on our way out.  This is not good news for me.  I am not a "cute" person.  I am not a "shoe" person.  To me, the only thing worse than shopping for shoes is shopping for clothes. 
So if any of my friends are shoe people and would like to take my daughter out to a shoe store to linger and look for "cute" shoes, she is all yours! 

Thursday, June 9, 2011

"Baby, I'm a Star"

"Baby I'm a Star" by Prince has always been my theme song.  It's always giving me the confidence to be who I am.  I don't know how the world perceives me.  But I have always felt like I beat to my own drum, just a bit.  Not enough to deem me odd, but just enough.  My mom tells the story about when I was 7 or 8, I declared that I had a different attitude than everyone else.  I think that was my way of saying I was just a little bit different and that is okay.  I like the line "Might not know it now, but baby, I'm a star."  I always felt that I judge my own success not the same as the rest of the world's.  And in my world, I'm the star of my own show.  I have had a lot of ups and downs and shakes in my confidence - in high school, college, the work place, etc.  But my theme song reminds me that I will be and am successful, if not by the world's standards, my own.  And I think that has worked for me.  For the most part, I feel comfortable being who I am and I don't want to conform.  Fortunately, who I am fits in the world pretty nicely.  One of my friends once told me that in college I grew into myself.  I took that as a compliment.  

One of my dreams for Laci is that she has this same self-confidence.  I don't want her to conform to the world or be someone she is not.  Don't get me wrong - I want her to behave in the world, be polite, know right from wrong, etc.  I don't know how to teach her this self-confidence, this bit of gumption.  That is one of the challenges I face as a parent.  My theme song for her as always been "Shining Star" by Earth, Wind and Fire.  'You're a shining star, no matter who you are.  Shining bright to see what you can truly be".  She is a star.  And I want everyone to know it.    

I don't know what Laci and Calvin's theme song will ultimately be.  But I want them to have one.  I want them to beat to their own drum just a little bit and to be confident in themselves and who they are.  I don't necessarily want them to be exactly like us.  That is one of the reasons I was thrilled that Laci came out a redhead.  I was sure she would be blond like I was as a baby and then eventually turn brunette.  She may eventually still turn out to be a brunette.  But right now she is a beautiful strawberry blond.  Just a little different than a typical blond or brunette.  A few weeks ago, she wore two different shoes to church - and a fuzzy winter cap in April.  It was great.  There were lots of smiles when we arrived at church.  I loved it.   I hope that she always wants to beat just a little bit to her own drum and smile doing it. 

Monday, June 6, 2011

The Quiet

One of the things I will not blog about is bedtime.  Bedtime is a struggle at my house for Laci and me.  Right or wrong, I have often found myself rocking Laci at bedtime or sitting in the chair while she falls asleep.  It is in the quiet.  No lights.  No radio. No TV.  No books.  No internet.  No Facebook.  So often in this hustle and bustle world, we rarely found ourselves in the quiet.  We fill the silence with the radio or the TV.  We surf the internet.  Even if I am doing something else, I often have the TV on for background noise.  The radio is always on in the car.  I even find myself falling asleep to the radio or TV.  Sitting in the quiet is hard.  It can be a challenge.  To be alone with our thoughts.  To be alone with ourselves.  To slow down.  I use this time in Laci's room to think.  To plan.  To pray.  To grow.  I challenge myself to be in the quiet. 
When I think back in my life, I feel like I grew the most between the ages of 22 - 26.  This is when I was first "out on my own" and before I was married.  I lived alone.  I spent time alone.  I spent time in the quiet.  I sat on my porch sometimes just to sit.  It was in this quiet time that I grew.  Looking back, this was a very special time for me and a time that I will always be thankful for. 
I find myself at many crossroads again right now.  I am going through many challenges.  With my family.  With myself.  But I am not alone now.  I am never alone.  I am constantly pulled in so many directions.  And when I am alone, I fill the silence with the radio in the car.  I feel like this is a time when I need that quiet again.  I need to grow now.  I need to pray more. I need to slow down.  I need to listen to the quiet.  While I wish bedtime were better, I am thankful for the time it has given me to slow down.  The time to grow.  The time to sit in the quiet.  The time to listen.

Friday, June 3, 2011

The Family Dog

There are so many comparisons to pets and babies.  I think Laci has picked up on these similarities too.  Calvin has become a very nice pet for her.  She often calls him "Boy" as in "Here, Boy".   Now that he is he crawling, she plays fetch with him.  And to confirm further that he is the family dog, last night while she was eating dinner, he sat under the table waiting for crumbs to fall.
He is also starting to get really attached and doesn't like to be left alone.  I went upstairs the other day and heard him crying.  A few minutes later, Laci started yelling "Mom, come quick. You have to see where Calvin is."  Where could he be?  I came downstairs and found him in the laundry room next to the garage door.  The poor baby had thought I left and was trying to come after me.