Wednesday, September 28, 2011

I'm just going to Zumba...

Today was a special night.  It was an ordinary night but Charlie was home for dinner!  Due to work and golf schedules, it has been several months since the 4 of us had dinner together.  It was nice.  After dinner we took a walk, Calvin in the stroller and Laci in the wagon.  We passed a minivan pulling out of a driveway with a little girl running behind, crying and trying to chase it.  The mom leaned out the window, shrugged at us and said "I'm just going to Zumba".  I smiled and said "I've been there.  We go through that all the time."  Charlie and I looked at each other and laughed because it is comforting to know that we aren't the only ones who go through drama when Mom leaves the house.

Last week, we were at the park with a neighbor and her girls.  I had to leave to go to a church meeting and Laci cried and screamed.  My neighbor laughed as she realized too that she isn't the only one to go through that scene.  I assured her that we have the drama all the time when I leave the house and told her it is nice to hear that I am not the only one!

Back to our walk tonight - Laci had put an umbrella in her wagon last week "just in case".  Tonight, it started sprinkling and raining on our walk.  Fortunately one of us was prepared!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Just Borrowing Her...

For Laci's first birthday, I wanted to write her something special.  I even left space in her baby book for my letter to her.  But the words weren't there yet.  The words didn't come until closer to her second birthday when I wrote the following.  Looking back, it's more about how motherhood has changed me rather than about who Laci is.  

So many of my expectations of being a mother have been exceeded and so many things have been surprises.  The chaos I expected.  It’s hard to remember the joy in the moments of chaos.  I love watching Laci experience new things and being so in awe of life.  I expected that and have looked forward to that “renewness” that comes with a child.  I love the simplicity of our life together.  I didn’t realize that I could be so content and happy with our boring little simple life.  We do the same things every day.  We don’t go to play groups or story time at the library.  We don’t go to concerts in the park or special events.  We play, watch TV, walk around the neighborhood, throw rocks in the pond and swing.  But it is truly a case of the “ordinary being extraordinary”. 

I have often heard people talk about the intense love for your child that you receive when they are born.  They describe it as indescribable and it can’t be felt until your child is born and placed in your arms.  They say that it’s not about you anymore and you learn how to live your life for someone else.  I never had that intense feeling.  At first I wondered why and I wondered if I was missing something.  Then I realized that it wasn’t a change for me because I have always loved Laci like that and always lived my life for her.  Every decision I have ever made has been in anticipation of her

I always expected a feeling of my child being “mine”.  I am surprised that I don’t feel like Laci is mine.  I look at her and I know that half of her DNA is mine and half of her DNA is Charlie’s.  But she is 100% all Laci.  I don’t feel like she belongs to me.  I don’t look at her and think “she is mine”.  I look at her and see God’s child.  Every night I rock her to sleep.  I know I shouldn’t but I need those ten minutes with her.  It’s for me as much as it is for her.  Charlie can teach her to fall asleep on her own when it is his turn to put her to bed.  As I rock her to sleep, I look at her and see God’s child.  My angel on earth.  We are two of God’s children rocking together.  I feel like I am just borrowing her from God.  He has given me the greatest gift to parent this child.  In a sense, I feel like her guide through life.  It’s my job to bring out the best in her, to give her the tools and confidence to get through life, to make her own decisions.  She is God’s and she belongs to the world.  I have been entrusted with her childhood.  That is an awesome responsibility.  I hope I don’t screw it up.  At 18, she is an adult.  I know that parenting doesn’t end at 18.  But I pray that at 18, she has the tools she needs and that she knows her parents are always there for her

When we rock at night, she puts her little arms around me, pats me on the back and hugs me.  She is my daughter and I am her mommy. 

Friday, September 23, 2011

I love hummus

I love hummus.  This is a new development for me.  I just realized my love for hummus a few weeks ago.  This is significant for several reasons.  For one, I was a picky eater as a child and I did not like my vegetables.  I ate what my mom said I had to.  Carrots and corn were as close as I got to vegetables.  But I am not sure if I can count them because they aren't a green vegetable. Slowly, as I grew up, my tastes began to change.  I am still a pretty simple eater but I eat my vegetables.  I even want to eat my vegetables.  I even like my vegetables.  My vegetables are pretty basic - green beans, peppers, broccoli, peas.  I still refuse to eat beans.  Laci does not eat her vegetables at all.  Charlie grew up where vegetables were a big deal and they couldn't leave the table until they ate them all.  I only had to try them.  He gets upset that she doesn't eat her vegetables and worries about her health and vitamins.  Our doctor said not to worry about vitamins because most foods are fortified now so kids plenty of vitamins.  I remind him that I didn't eat vegetables and somehow I survived my childhood.  

Hummus and carrots have become my morning snack.  Several years ago, I ate carrots every morning.  But then I became so sick of carrots and stopped eating them for awhile.  Hummus has brought carrots (a vegetable) back into my life.  If you had told me as a child how much I would like broccoli and peppers now, I would not have believed you.  If you had told me 5 years ago that I would love hummus (made of chickpeas!), I would have not believed you.  But I love hummus.If I love hummus, anything is possible.  I have faith that my children too will survive their childhood and maybe someday they will love hummus too. 

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

How will I deal with it?

How am I going to handle other children with my children?  I saw two people, independently, comment on facebook today something along the lines of how to deal with other kids "attacking" their kids.  For example hitting and name calling.  I am not very good at dealing with these situations.  Both made comments, jokingly or not, about "going after" the child.  There were also comments about reporting it to the school.  I understand the need to report it.  But I tend to have a more passive approach.  I would rather teach my child to deal with the situation.  I can't control how others raise their children and what they teach them / allow them to do.  I can't control other children.  I can teach my child how to deal with the situation.  This is beyond school.  This is about life.  But isn't school life?  I hope to teach my child about "sticks and stones" and not to fight fire with fire.  I don't want to rely on school to protect them.  Life isn't about protecting our children.  We can't protect our children from other children.  Life is about teaching our children. 

But my children are small.  I haven't had many instances yet to deal with this.  Occassionally, Laci will come home and tell me that so and so hit her at daycare and not on accident.  I usually tell her that I am sure he didn't mean it.  Or that he is just mean.  :)  I also remind Laci not to tattle and that these things happen.  I am never sure how to handle other parents and other kids at the park either.  It's easy to talk a big talk about tolerance and not "going after" others when it hasn't happened yet and about teaching my children about how to deal with other children.  But how am I going to handle these things when they actually happen.  How do I teach my children to deal with other children.  I want to raise children that become adults that know how to deal with other adults. 

Monday, September 19, 2011

7 Years

Sunday was our 7th anniversary.  This is how I know we have been married awhile and have young children.  We celebrated Saturday night because the kids both went to sleep early and who knows how Sunday night will go.  I got Charlie a card a few weeks ago but lost it.  He will get it when I find it again.  Our "anniversary dinner" on Sunday was soup and an egg salad sandwich from Target for Charlie and cheese & chips and carrots & hummus for me and a jelly sandwich and banana for Calvin.  Laci was at Awana.  It was very romantic.  We even lit a candle.  We then took a walk before it was time to pick Laci up.  The evening was cloudy but beautiful.  It was actually quite nice - an ordinary extraordinary moment. 
We take a picture every year as close to our anniversary as we can get.  Laci's birthday is this weekend so the year she was born, our "anniversary" picture was the night before she was born.  We went to the Purdue game Saturday and had our "anniversary" picture taken in front the engineering fountain.  That is a special spot for us because it is where we got engaged.  I have a 15 x 15 family photo album where each page is one year of our marriage.  Our anniversary picture is always at the top.  The first year, the album was just one page.  Now it is a legitimate album with many pages.  Vacations always get a separate page too.  It's my favorite scrapbook because our entire family history is in one book.  I love looking back and seeing the highlights of our year and watching our family grow.  Now I just need to find time to finish this years page...

A New Role

I have reached a new stage in life.  Soccer has always been in my life.  I started playing soccer in 2nd grade and played throughout high school.  When I graduated college and in the "real world", I started coaching in a youth league.  I coached for 9 years.  I also started playing in a women's league and played until I was pregnant with Calvin.  I may go back to playing again when the kids are older but right now I need a break and I need to spend my Sunday evenings with my kids.  
Saturday, I reached a new milestone.  I became an official Soccer Mom.  Laci had her first day of soccer.  It is a small church league near our house.  Friday night, I got out all her soccer gear and we tried it all on.  Then out to the front yard for some practice.  She was wearing her Disney flannel pajamas which is about all she wears these days at home.  She even has a Disney princess soccer ball. 
Saturday morning, she kept repeating "I'm dying to go to soccer practice."  I was excited too.  The whole event was pretty funny.  It's just bunch ball and the kids running around after the ball.  They "practiced" for 30 minutes and then played the other team for 30 minutes.  During the practice, I kept gringing as I saw the kids all kick the ball with their toes.  Laci and I may have a little practice on how to kick the ball later.  :)  She ran off to the side a few times for water.  Laci volunteered to sit out the first quarter and spent the whole time asking me for snacks.  Then she played goalie and complained she was cold.  We told her to do jumping jacks and push ups.  She played the 3rd quarter but asked to sit out the 4th quarter because she needed a break.  She did go back in for a few minutes.  Charlie and I were mortified!  We would have never asked to sit out!  We kept telling her that there are no snacks in soccer but after the game when they all got their snack, she was quick to point out that she was right - there are snacks in soccer.  It was her first time having a fruit roll up and she declared it her new favorite food - next to cookies and ice cream.  I can't wait to see how next week goes and I am sure she can't wait to see what the snack is.  :)

Friday, September 16, 2011

Best day of Vacation!

I built up our vacation pretty high for weeks before we left.  We were going to the ocean.  We were going to the beach.  But we went in hurricane season.  So the weather wasn't great.  Cloudy and rainy.  All I wanted to do was show my little girl the beach and the ocean.  By golly, that is what I was going to do.  We arrived in Delaware Tuesday afternoon.  Wednesday, there were tantrums all day.  It was a long day.  Then there was playing with cousins.  This was an important part of the vacation.  Wednesday night, I took Laci with her cousins and my brother and sister in law to DQ and then to walk the beach.  I could tell that Laci is not used to beaches and oceans.  She started playing with the sand in the parking lot at DQ.  Finally, we had our ice cream and walked to a bench on the beach.  We made it!  We were at the beach!  It was cloudy and dusk but it was a beautiful night and I was at the beach with my little girl.  That was my best moment of vacation.  She set her shake down and ran to the birds that are always in mass at beaches.  We ran to the water.  We played in the sand.  We spelled our names with sticks in the sand.  My sister in law buried the kids in the sand.  All Laci wanted was to be buried in the sand.  She was in heaven.  The ice cream was long forgotten.  I saw the joy in Laci's face to the ocean and the sand.  Okay, it was really the bay but in our midwestern minds, it was the ocean!  

We went to the beach again for a little while Thursday.  There was a break in the rain long enough for us to go.  The winds and waves were huge due to tropical storms and hurricanes so it was fun to be splashed.  The weather turned out perfect.  The beach was almost empty.  The kids had a great time.  Calvin didn't know what to think.  We stood him in the water and he had the most serious look on his face and then cried.  It was enough for him.  We set him in the sand and he just kept looking at it.  What is this stuff?  We were only at the beach for about an hour.  But it was enough.  Enough for me to be washing sand out of our clothes, van and hair for days.  :)

Worst day of Vacation

This post will be about the worst day of recent our vacation.  And it really wasn't that bad.  This is the day we started for home.  We left Delaware at 11:00 and planned to drive as far as we could.  It turns out that it wasn't that far.  We may be the only people who do not have a GPS system.  We used the old fashioned Mapquest printed directions and an atlas.  First, we missed a few turns in Delaware.  It's a good thing we had that atlas.  After awhile, we finally got back to our original route.  Then it was getting close to lunch time.  Rural Maryland does not seem to have any McDonalds.  We could not find anywhere to eat.  We were hoping to eat before getting to the Bay Bridge.  Finally, right before the bridge, we found a Chick Fil A.  Everyone needed a break and Laci needed some time to play.  This is where the rain started.  We made it across the bridge.  As we were approaching Frederick, MD we saw a sign for an accident.  The backup was 5 miles before the accident.  Charlie made the decision to drive through Frederick and try to avoid the accident.  We drove through Frederick, took a pit stop and got back on the highway and still sat for 10 minutes.  By now it is raining pretty hard, we are in the mountains and for the next hour, we had to stop/slow down 4 times for accidents.  We do not enjoy driving through the mountains and the accidents and rain did not help the situation.  Neither did the fact that this is the particular hour that Laci decided to throw a tantrum.  So now I have Charlie next to me freaking out because of the traffic and Laci's tantrum and Laci is refusing to do what I ask (be quiet) and is kicking the back of his seat. There was nothing I could do to help the situation.  I wanted to cry.  I just saw images of crashing.  Finally, the rain stopped and the sun came out!  Everyone behaved.  We stopped at a Welcome Center and breathed a sigh of relief.  We decided to stay overnight in Morgantown, WV.  I looked online and saw that they had a home football game that weekend.  Did we really need anything else going on?  I called ahead and reserved a room.  

As we were getting on the exit to stop, we heard Laci crying in the back saying that she forgot the rule.  What rule was she referring to?  As we thought hard and saw her cry, we realized she forgot the rule to not stick anything up her nose.  She stuck a rock up her nose the day before we left on vacation too.  This time it was the foam piece that goes over an ear bud.  Charlie and I started panicking.  Visions of looking for an ER in WV ran through our heads and I started looking at the exit for a pharmacy to buy tweezers.  And to think I almost packed tweezers for this exact situation!  We stopped at a gas station and fortunately, Charlie was able to get it out with his fingers.  What are we going to do with this girl!  

We settled in for the night and walked to Bob Evans for dinner.  Charlie put Calvin to bed while I took Laci shopping to kill time and then we played in the lobby of the hotel.  Finally at 10, we went to the room and the boys were asleep.  By 10:30 I heard the sweetest sound I had heard all day - my 3 loves snoring.  

Monday, September 12, 2011

Adventures in Clothes - The Changing Seasons

I had a small panic of worry last week while we were on vacation. While it wasn't warm and sunny, it was still shorts weather. I saw that back home, it was chilly - pants weather. I have not looked into my kids closet to see if I have pants for them. Both of them still need a new wardrobe each season because they still outgrow their clothes too fast. I am looking forward to the day that I can actually pull out clothes from last season for them to wear. I looked ahead to the forecast and realized by the end of the week, the kids will need to be wearing pants and sweatshirts again here.

So yesterday, I spent some time going through their closets with an emergency plan to run to Children's Place on a clothes run. I do not like shopping so I was not looking forward to this. Calvin is fortunate to have two boy cousins close in age and my sister in law has been giving me boxes of clothes for him. I pulled out the 12 m boy clothes and had plenty of pants and a handful of long sleeved shirts. Enough to get him by for a few weeks. One down, one to go. I moved over to Laci's clothes. Between hand me downs from her cousins, things I got at garage sales and things that appear in her closet from "the clothes fairy" aka Grandma, she should be good to go for a few weeks too. They both definitely need more clothes for winter but the emergency run to the mall was cancelled.

I found a pair of Princess flannel pajamas that I had gotten out a garage sale this summer. Laci saw that and immediately wanted to put them on. Of course, who doesn't wear flannel pajamas during the day when it is 75 degrees outside! We played outside in the jammies and took a walk in them. I finally told her she had to change before we went to church Sunday night. I sent her upstairs to get dressed by herself. The clothes she started the day with were still on the floor in her room so I assumed she would just put those back on. Why do I assume anything? She came down with pants, a pink shirt (close to matching too!), underwear and two pairs of socks, her Valentines socks and her Christmas socks. She explained that she needed to bring extra socks to church "just in case". Getting dressed was another adventure. After dancing around the house naked for awhile, she finally got dressed as we were loading up the car. I should add that during this time, we realized we should get Calvin dressed too - he was in a t-shirt, diaper and one sock. Apparently, clothes are optional in our house.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Ten years later - 9/11

I am not going to post a lot about 9/11. There is so much out there right now. We all have our own personal stories. But I have often thought about what I will tell my children about that time when they are old enough to ask. I have wanted to write and journal about my personal story but ten years later, I am still not able to. There are a few things that stand out to me that I will tell them about.

There was no laughter, no TV and no music. I have often heard people comment about the quiet due to the lack of airplanes in the air was noteworthy. I always remember the quiet. I remember thinking what it would have been like to have young children that didn't understand what was going on. Life had to go on for them. That would have been difficult. I remember how strange it was for all the "normal" to come back. I remember the first time a regular song was played on the radio days later. It would take weeks before late night TV would come back.

The images. We all have images that stand in our mind. The strong leaders. The crowds running. The smoke. The firetrucks. The image that stands out for me was the doctors waiting at the hospital for the ambulances that never came. There weren't injuries. People either made it out or they did not.

As I look back now at all of the coverage from the time, I can't help but wonder how did they get it all cleaned up? The buildings and the steel alone was a challenge. How did they move on? That they did is what makes America great.

A friend of ours daughter was born that day. He has said how strange it was to be holding his brand new baby while this tradegy was going on. I can not imagine the range of emotions they must have been feeling.

We will never forget. That became the tagline. So much is said in those 4 words. And it is as important today as ever. I was not directly affected and living where I do, I know my memories and how it changed me is so different than so many others. I am proud to be an American and I will never forget.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

My family - in ten years...

We spent a few days this week with my brother and his family. It was a wonderful trip. I love spending time with them. My brother has three kids - they are now 10, 10 and 12. I was fortunate to live near them when they were young and spent a lot of time with them. I miss them very much and really enjoyed getting to spend this time with them. I love seeing the people they are becoming. They are great kids. I love watching them with my kids now and being the "big cousins."
It's fun to watch them because their family is in the "next stage". They are beyond the preschool and toddler years and are now in the "tween" years and quickly approaching the teen years. My sister in law has always been a mentor to me in many ways. I have learned a lot from her. We joked that kids problems may change as they get older but it's always something with kids and parenting.
I love watching them as a family unit. The "family unit" is so important to me. Every family is so uniquely different and special. They each have their own traditions and special moments. It's fun to learn about their family traditions - ranging from Christmas morning, going out to dinner, getting ice cream or going on vacation. The kids are old enough to know these traditions and these moments are important to them. My brother and sister in law have been married for 18 years now and have more history as their own family just the two of them and now the five of them then their own individual families. I have learned that so much of being our own "family unit" is taking a little bit of both of our individual families growing up and making our own.
I love my kids in the chaotic preschool / toddler stage we are in now and am appreciating every moment. I know that it won't last forever. After spending time with my nieces and nephew this week, I am reminded that it always just keeps getting better.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

long night

Anybody have any good ideas to get kids to sleep and to sleep all night in a hotel room. I don't think any of us slept last night! I am sure the nurses conference and wedding party here loved us screaming at 6 am.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Laci's Families

Laci is really into families.  She is into the world of make believe.  She loves play sets and doll houses.  Anything she plays with is a family and anything (like a crayon) can be a person in a family.  The one that makes me chuckle the most is her toothbrushes.  She can play with toothbrushes for hours.  She will specifically ask to not take a bath with Calvin so she can play with her toothbrushes without him bothering them.  The "family" that is most precious to her is the Bear Family.  The Bear Family has been with us for over a year now.  The parents are a Bride and Groom white (now gray) stuffed animals that I got before our wedding.  They are the Mom and Dad because they are the biggest.  Beanie Babies make up the rest of the family.  My favorite member of the Bear Family is the Monkey.  I don't know why but the Monkey Beanie Baby has always been a member of the Bear family.  There is a brother bear, sister bear, little brother bear and little sister bear (they are twins) and a few other members of the family.  I have trouble keeping track of them all.  There are about 8 in all in the Bear family.  She sleeps with them every night.  There are about a total of 20 or so stuffed animals (dogs, beanie babies, Santa) on her bed at any given time.  I don't know how she fits on the bed.  Last night I accidently moved the bears to make room for her and I got in trouble for stacking them because I was going to give them bruises.  I also get in trouble when she asks me for a certain Bear and I bring the wrong one to her.  Each bear has a personality and she knows them all well.  It's her own little world.  I remember those little worlds when I was little.  I miss those worlds.  

Last night, her "family" of choice were spoons.  She kept running into the kitchen for more spoons.  I looked around the family room and saw tons of toys and then I looked over at Laci, sitting at her little table playing with a pile of spoons as if they are people.  Calvin was playing with a bowl and a wooden stick.  Why do we bother with any toys at all!