Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Dresses or Jumpers

In my dreams of a little girl, cute little dresses were included with the pretty long hair.  Laci has phases where she likes the dresses and other times where she refuses.  Laci is starting to be a little picky with her clothes.  She has what I call "thunder thighs" already and denim has never been her friend.  She refuses to wear any denim or anything similar to denim.  She also has issues with long sleeves too.  Every morning she complains that her clothes "don't feel good".  Fortunately, she has learned that she just needs to get used to it.  Lately, she has liked to wear dresses and leggings.  But jumpers "don't feel good".  She only has one dress and one jumper right now.  So this fall, she has worn the same dress to church every week.  I am tired of the dress, even if she isn't.  I asked my mom for some more dresses - but no jumpers.  She came through with a few jumpers and dresses.  My MIL gave Laci the cutest Christmas jumper and asked her to wear it for her Christmas card picture.  I pleaded with Christmas to wear it - if only for a few minutes for the picture.  Laci has a mind of her which I normally encourage.  The best I could get out of her was just the jumper - no shirt and no tights.  She loves the jumpers as long as she doesn't have to wear anything with it.  At least she is cute and the weather was warm enough this weekend to get away with it!
Laci - striking her "model" pose

Monday, November 28, 2011

The Incredible Hulk Room

After we painted Laci's room, I was inspired to do something else.  We decided to paint the downstairs bathroom, mostly because it is a small room and would be easy to do.  We decided on green.  I painted a picture and wanted to hang it in there.  We both felt comfortable just picking a green at the paint store.  Remember, the "perfect" color isn't that important to me and I figured I would be fine with any light shade of green.

We got home from the paint store Friday night and Charlie was just inspired to get it all painted that night.  He was done by 2:00 a.m. and we had the room put together that afternoon.  I am glad we did it because it gave it a fresh look.  But I still think we may have been a bit drunk at the paint store.  The color is way too bright!  What were we thinking?!?  The bright green is slowly growing on me.  When it was just done, we joked that it is the Incredible Hulk room.  It was so bright, our skin actually appeared to glow green from the reflection!  But as Charlie pointed out, it is so bright, it is easy to read in there.  :)

Laci's New Room - Not Decorated by Martha Stewart

I am no Martha Stewart.  I am not a decorator.  The older I get, the more I have learned that having the perfectly decorated house is not important to me.  We have lived in our "new" house for 3 years now and have done nothing to it.  Laci has been in her room for almost two years and we put a few things haphazardly on the wall and called it a day.  It seemed good enough for me. 

My MIL decided to decorate Laci's room for her birthday.  She painted the walls, bought a new rug and curtain rod and gave her a pack of new wall decals to match the rug.  On a scale of 1 - 10, having a nicely decorated house is about a 10 to my MIL.  It is about a 2 to me.  I want Laci's room to be a reflection of Laci - not my MIL and not me.  So we compromised.  She painted the room a nice pink.  I let her pick the pink because the shade didn't matter to me.  It turned out nice.  She is going to make new drapes to match it all too.  The compromise is that Laci got to decide what goes on the walls and where it goes.  I love the craziness of the room.  I am sure it is not what my MIL had in mind.  It's not even what I had in mind.  But it was done by Laci.

Here is the tour of Laci's room - done by Laci.

L-A-C-I wooden decorated letters - This is the one thing I really wanted to do for Laci and I bought her white wooden letters for her birthday.  My MIL bought her letters too and was going to paint them to match.  But I asked her if I could do the letters with Laci.  I had it in my head that they would be really cute with polka dots and stripes.  I got the paint out and kept telling Laci to do the polka dots.  After she repeatedly told me no, I remembered that the letters were hers and she could paint them any way she wants.  I love her original painted letters.  This was a good reminder to me that I need to practice what I preach about letting Laci make her own choices and be her unique self.  I added the ribbons and hung them.  They are crooked so if anyone asks, Laci did it.  :)

The quilt - This is a very special quilt for me that has always hung in Laci's room.  I found the quilt half cross stitched by my grandma.  I finished the cross-stitching.  My MIL finished the edges of the quilt.  I love that it was a gift to her by my Grandma even though she didn't know it at the time.  I love that it was made by all three of us.

The wall decals - I thought for several days as to where the wall decals should go to look the best.  I got the wall decals out and gave one sheet to Laci and I took the other sheet.  Guess which wall I did.  I love all the stickers right next to each other in one corner.  It's not what I had in mind but it's Laci's room.

The rocking chair in the corner was my grandpa's.  My grandpa died before I was born.  I have several pieces of furniture that were his and I cherish them all.  I don't have any memories of him so the furniture is all I have.

The new drapes are still being made and there are a few other things that need to be put up.  But I am happy with how it looks.  I am happy that it is her room.

I would share pictures of Calvin's room but there is absolutely nothing on the walls.  It never seemed important to me to decorate a baby's room.  He is only in there to sleep and it will outgrow it soon enough.  In a year or so, we are going to move him into his "big boy" room.  After doing Laci's room this fall, I am inspired to let him help us with his room then.

Our week of Thanksgiving - aka A Week of Family Fun

Our Thanksgiving week was family packed.  But that is what Thanksgiving is supposed to be.  I can't think of anything I am more Thankful for than them.  Quick Recap - 

Sunday - Clean house frantically after church.  Cousins arrive.  Play day. 
Monday - Play day with cousins at home.  Chuck E Cheese.
Tuesday - Laci went to the Children's Museum with cousins.  Calvin got to go to school.  Yippee.  
Wednesday - Play day with cousins at Grandma and Grandpa's house.
Thursday - Turkey Trot for Charlie and me.  Charlie had a great finishing time.  I was about average.  But I successfully completed by 400 miles goal!  Christmas picture for the grandkids, play time, Thanksgiving dinner with great grandparents included.  I wish we could have taken a big family picture or at least some of the kids with their great grandparents but it never happened. 
Friday - Play day, drive to my families Thanksgiving.  Play with cousins, Euchre tournament
Saturday - Play day, shopping, Muppet Movie, Family pictures (thank goodness for photoshop!), drive home later
Sunday - Recuperate, laundry, clean the house.

It's so fun to watch Laci play with her cousins.  On Charlie's side it is two boys - 5 and 2.  She plays great with the 5 year old.  They are constantly one-upping each other, the best that a 4 year old and a 5 year old can.  They really do get along well.  The 2 year old tries to keep up with them.  Next year, he and Calvin can be buddies.  In my family, the cousins are older (12, 12, 11, 11, 10, 3).  She has two girl cousins (10 and 11) that she works so hard to keep up with.  They play with her so well.  She loves playing with "the girls".  It's fun to watch her with the bigger girls and be exposed to a little different stuff.  I always tell her that she is so lucky to have her "big cousins" to take care of her.  When her 3 year old cousin was born, we thought he would be her buddy but he keeps up with the big boys and she is with the girls.  I hope Calvin can join the boy group too when he is a little older.  

I think a month of thankfulness is a good way to kick off the Christmas season.  I love starting new traditions with my family and continuing old ones!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Why Daddy? Curious Laci's want to know...

Today we had some reminders that Laci watches everything we do.  Charlie is a huge newspaper reader.  He does not like online newspapers and still gets the regular daily paper - 3 in fact.  We get the local paper, USA Today and the Wall Street Journal everyday.  Today at lunch, as Charlie was browsing the paper, Laci asked him why he likes the paper so much.  Charlie loves to learn and the newspaper has been how he knows about everything all the time.  I hope Laci has that curious mind to learn too.  I hope she is learning how to learn by watching him read the paper every day.

Tonight we went to Taco Bell for dinner.  I know it's not Friday but we were out of town this Friday.  As we were eating and chatting, Laci piped in and asked Charlie why he doesn't like lids or straws.  He never uses them.  It's a small detail that we didn't even realize she noticed.  But she is very good at detail and watches everything we do!

I can't get anything past Laci!

This was a crazy Thanksgiving week full of lots of family.  Earlier in the week, Charlie's brother and his family came to our house.  They have two boys - 5 and 2.  The kids play great together.  Charlie and I took Monday off work to spend with them.  Unfortunately, everything in town is closed Monday.  So we went to Chuck E Cheese.  The kids had a great time.  They decided to go to the Children's Museum on Tuesday and offered to take Laci.  I hate missing fun activities like this but I know it's important to let Laci do things without me sometimes. 
We decided not to tell Laci about her "field trip" to avoid the drama when she realized she was going without me.  Fortunately, she was still asleep when I left for work.  The morning went great.  Laci was excited to go.  The kids had a great time.  D&E had a long talk with the kids before they got out of the car to go over the Museum rules.  Overall the kids did well.  That afternoon, I left work early, picked up Calvin and came home.  I walked in and made a big fuss to Laci about how I went to school to pick her up and she wasn't there.  Where was she!?!  She explained that she went to the museum with her cousins.  I asked her to tell me all about it.  I loved hearing about her adventure and seeing their pictures. 
About ten minutes later, I asked her if going to the museum was a good surprise.  She looked at me and asked "You knew?"  I explained that I did know that she was going there.  She answered back, "Then why did you ask me where I was a few minutes ago?!?"  She is too sharp.  I just can't get anything past her these days.

On a related topic to me trying to let go more and let Laci do things without me and vice versa, I have found a babysitter for Saturday night.  I feel like I have hit another parenting milestone.  I called the teenage neighbor and got a sitter.  I hope this works out well.  She lives two doors down and is in 8th grade.  The other sitters I have used were older but if this works out, she will be around for several years.  The older sitters I had all moved on to college!  The next question I have is what do teenage babysitters go for these days? 

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Laci's Views on Heaven

Last night, Laci and I had the sweetest chat.  Of course, it ended with a full blown tantrum complete with spankings, crying and waking her cousins up.  But let's not dwell on that.  Because it is Thanksgiving, we were talking about family and everyone we are going to see this week.  Charlie's brother and his family have been staying with us the last couple of days and she is having a great time with her cousins.  She mentioned "the brothers" (that is how she refers to Charlie and his brother) and how happy their Mom and Dad will be when they are all together Wednesday.  We talked about her great grandparents.  She only has two great grandparents left.  They are Charlie's grandparents and they will be at Thanksgiving.  She mentioned Grandma Price.  That is my grandma that I got to introduce her to by old home videos last week.  She told me that Grandma Price is her favorite because she is so special to me.  I reminded her that Grandma Price is in heaven so we started talking about heaven.  To her, Heaven is walking in the clouds.  In Heaven, we are going to meet all of her great grandparents.  I will probably already be there when she gets there so I told her that I would introduce her to them.  I started to tear up thinking about getting to introduce my special grandma to my special daughter.  She was concerned because she can't remember everyone's names.  I reminded her that when she gets to heaven, she will know everything she needs to know.  Her other big concern which she has shared with me before is that she won't get to take her toys to heaven.  I told her that we don't know what heaven is like so maybe there are toys up there.  She said with that duh voice, "Mo-om (always two syllables), I always look out the window when we are driving and I don't see any toys in the clouds!".  She followed it up with "The only thing I know about Heaven is that there is a giant beanstalk up there."  My tears turned to laughter.  She also said that she hopes Grandma Price is safe up there from the giant.  I reminded her that I am sure God is keeping Grandma Price safe up there.  
I love how her little mind works - all of this stuff we throw at her must be pretty confusing!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

My challenge

I hestitate to write this entry but with everything going on in the world, it has been pulling at me.  I don't want to be preaching or politically or talk about things I do not know.  I certainly do not have all the answers - or any answers.  I don't even know all the questions. 

One of Charlie's favorite sayings is "You can't legislate morality".  Think about it.  It's true.  There have always been bad guys and there will always be bad guys. The government can't change that.  I'm not saying we should roll over and give up.  I'm saying we should pray.  What amazing things could God do if we all prayed...  and we all listened.

Charlie and I tithe.  I try not to share that too much because it is a very personally decision to do that.  But I have shared with others why we tithe.  Because God told us too.  It's that simple.  I have heard people say that Jesus would have been a socialist.  Maybe so.  I don't know.  But the biggest gift that God gave us is free will.  I think that Jesus wants us to take care of each other because we want to.  Not because the government told us too.  Sometimes I wonder what would happen if we all gave because we chose to.  What amazing things could God do if we all tithed.  If we all gave more.  That is my challenge to myself in the upcoming year.  To do more.  To give more.  With my money, my time and myself.  I don't know what that means.  But I pray that I find out.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

We found Plan B

When Laci was a baby, we thought she was a great sleeper.  By the time she was 3 months old, she was sleeping 7 to 7.  The majority of the time, she woke up to eat and was right back to sleep.  We didn't rock her to sleep and she fell asleep on her own.  We did have a lot of those nights where she cried for hours but they didn't seem that often.  We still joke about the night I lost my mind due to her crying.  When she finally stopped crying, I could still hear crying.  I kept waking Charlie up and asking if she was crying because I couldn't tell it if was real or imaginary anymore.

We didn't know what good sleeping was until Calvin.  He put Laci to shame.  He never slept through the night until 11 weeks.  Even then, he usually ate and went right back to sleep.  Once we started, he never stopped sleeping through the night.  He rarely wakes up in the middle of the night - maybe once a month.  When he does wake up crying, we put a pacifier in his mouth and he is good to go.  He is so good, that we joke that we don't have Plan B.  Every parent knows their child and has several tricks up their sleeve to get them back to sleep.  We only know one way to comfort Calvin in the middle of the night.  If that doesn't work, there is no Plan B.

Last night, he woke up crying.  I slipped in there to give him his paci.  He reached up at me to pick him up and I ran out the door.  I woke Charlie up and told him to start thinking of a Plan B in case Calvin continued to cry.  A few minutes later, Charlie got up and started walking to the door.  He stood outside Calvin's door for a minute and the crying stopped.  He never even opened the door.  We have decided that Plan B is Charlie standing in the hallway outside the door.

My little girl

I know this is not politically correct and not something I am supposed to say but I love having a daughter.  I would love to be a mother of two boys.  But I am not.  I am the mother of a son and a daughter.  The best of both worlds, right?  Honestly, I love having a little girl.  I love spending time with her and going on "coffee dates" and holding hands.  I love playing with her dolls and looking at the girl toys with her at the store.  I love the girly stuff to do with her.  I am not even a girly girl.  I love her long hair and tights and dress shoes.  I love everything that comes with a little girl.  I love seeing the world through her eyes.  I look forward to the crazy teenage years - the good and the bad.  My relationship with my own mother is not what I want it to be.   I want the mother/daughter relationship with Laci that I wish I had with her.  Sometimes I wish Laci had a sister because I am so close to my sister but I am glad she has a brother too.  So I really do have the best of both worlds with my little girl and my little boy.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Handling the Flu

Up until today, I had taken pride in that my children had never gotten the stomach flu and never thrown up.  There was a couple times with each that they choked or cried and gagged so much that they threw up - like last week at Taco Bell.  Before never from a stomach bug or virus.  This morning Laci told Charlie that she didn't feel well.  Laci has always had a bad case of "Idon'tfeelgood-itis" so it's hard for us to take the "I don't feel goods" very seriously.  Charlie called me and told me this after he dropped her off this morning at 7:30.  I reminded him about the stomach flu going around school so maybe she was telling the truth.  A few minutes later, the school called and Laci had thrown up all over the breakfast room.  Eeks!  The flu has hit us.  I immediately called Charlie and he hadn't even gotten home.  He was not happy to have to handle this.  It would have been easy to rearrange my day to come home.  I had a training session in the morning and my annual review in the afternoon.  I complain a lot about Charlie not stepping up but sometimes I make it too easy for him.  So I decided that it would be okay to let him handle it. 

I called after he had gotten her home.  Apparently, she threw up everywhere and her friend got caught in the cross fire.  He took her to the store to get "sick day" supplies - 7Up, crackers, jello, etc.  She threw up several more times this morning.  Fortunately, she is old enough to be able to use the toilet.  I called after awhile and it was so sad to hear her say that she was sick.  It was harder than I thought to not run home to her.  But I knew she was in good hands.  I cancelled my night out with friends.  Charlie was doing great but it wasn't fair to not take my turn.  I called at lunch and she was napping.  She threw up one more time and the kitchen floor, entryway and bathroom were the causalities.  He just couldn't get rid of the sticky.  I felt a little bit better about not being home and having to clean up the mess. 

I came home a little early and cuddled on the couch with her.  It was still evident she was sick.  I asked about her day and I loved her answers - Daddy got donuts for himself at the store, he really wanted her to throw up in the toilet and he was concerned that she would throw up on the rug.  By dinner time, she was starting to feel better - the 24 hours may be up now.  Tonight, before bed we had a family jam session - Charlie on the woodblock, me on the cymbals and tamporine, Laci on the recorder and Calvin on the drum.  I took a moment to look around and realized that we survived our first flu. 

My silly girl the night before her flu

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

So Close to the Finish Line...

Running Update:  Today I was just about to give up on running.  For the last few weeks, everything hurts.  Last night my joints and legs hurt so bad, I wanted to cry.  This morning, walking was better but I just wanted to quit.  But I was 9 miles from my goal of 400 miles.  How can I be so close and quit?  Then I got to the gym and I got the magic treadmill!  Treadmill Number 5 is my magic treadmill.  Lately, if I am on any other treadmill, I can get 3 miles and have to push it hard to get to 4 miles but they are slow miles with lots of walking.  On my magic treadmill today, I got 4.1 miles in at a quick speed (7.2).  Even Fast Guy next to me commented.  I have little nicknames for all the people at the gym just like Charlie has little nicknames for the people he sees on his daily runs.  Fast Guy is always my inspiration and if I can run next to him, I can usually push myself.  I told him that I was on my Magic Treadmill.  He suggested that I mark the treadmill with some orange tape on the bottom so I can find it when they relocate the gym to a new building next week.  Surely, they won't renumber the treadmills.  I hope it doesn't take me long to find my magic treadmill again.  

Of my three running goals, I never got to run a race with my brother and I didn't complete a 10k race.  But now I am less than 5 miles from my 400 miles goal.  I must achieve it!  I am momentarily rejuvenated even though I think everything will hurt tonight.  I am signed up to run a Turkey Trot with Charlie on Thanksgiving and I think I can hit my 400 miles then.  The run begins and ends in the McDonald's parking lot so I am planning to treat myself with a McDonald's Peppermint Mocha after the run.  And take the month of December off if I so choose. :)

Maybe we are too close...

Last night I had a dedication on a project that I have been working on for 2 1/2 years.  Charlie was in charge of picking the kids up from daycare, feeding them dinner and putting them to bed.  He does not have to do this very often.  But he did fine.  As expected, the kids were asleep when I got home.  Most mornings, Laci wakes up early before I leave and I can say good bye to her.  So last night, Charlie told her that she would see me in the morning.  Of course, this morning was the rare morning she was still asleep when I left!  I was sad that I didn't get to see her.  I was sad that I haven't seen Calvin since Monday night!  Is this what it is like every week for him?  I told Charlie to call me when she woke up.  They called and she was just sobbing and gasping on the phone.  It was so sad.  I know she will be fine, especially when she gets to school. 

But it is just another reminder for me that sometimes time apart is okay.  I am very attached to the kids, especially Laci.  I do not do much without them.  I justify it by saying that I really spend a lot of time without them when I am at work.  So every moment I have that I am not at work, I spend with them.  It's not always a good thing.  It makes her too attached to me.  She doesn't want to do things with Charlie.  She does fine with him if she has to but she will always choose me if she gets the choice.  I try to go out with friends about once a month.  It's good for me and it is good for them.  Sunday night, I had Charlie pick Laci up from Awana.  I could have done it but I have to remember that they need a few minutes together too.  We are planning the "Christmas party" for his company.  He works with his parents so the Christmas party is just the 4 of us and now sometimes the 6 of us.  This year, we are just going to a nice dinner, just the 4 of us and I am getting a sitter.  My first choice is always to plan something with the kids but I am really trying (again, not always successfully) to make an effort.  Of course, now my issue is where to find a sitter!  

I never thought that I would be that crazy mom that didn't want to use sitters and go out as a couple but I am.  I need to remind myself that it is okay to do things without them.  But the older they get, the less I want to do that and the more I want to spend every single second with them.  I just keep thinking about how fast this all goes.  When they hit elementary school, there will be playdates and sleep overs, practices and games.  When they hit their teenage years, they won't want to spend every second with us.  When they hit 18, they will be gone.  They won't need us on a daily basis.  I know they will always need us.  Laci asked me recently why adults need mommies and daddies.  I told her that everyone needs their mommy and daddy to love them, even if they don't need them to take care of them everyday.  I know it will be important when they are older to spend a week with their grandparents.  I know it is important for the kids and the grandparents and us too.  I know all of this but I am just not looking forward to that yet! 

Monday, November 14, 2011

The Rain Bonnet

Yesterday, Laci was poking around yesterday and found a little case.  I opened it up and it was my grandma's old rain bonnet.  The kind from the sixties that were plastic and the older ladies unfolded them and wrapped them around their heads when it rained.  I have no idea how it ended up there.  But it was fun to put on and play with.  We all had a nice laugh.  It is raining pretty hard this morning so Laci wanted to wear it.  I put it on her and told her to be super careful with it.  It suddenly occurred to me how much that silly little rain bonnet reminded me of my grandma.

My grandma was so special to me.  She lived with us when I was growing up and was part of the family.  Charlie found some old home videos that he converted to DVD for my dad recently.  Laci and I watched them Friday night.  One of the videos was the last few years of my grandma's life.  It was so hard to watch them.  I still miss her so much.  But the last few years of her life were so much different than earlier.  She wasn't quite the same.  She couldn't get around as easily and she hear as well.  I didn't meet Charlie's grandma until a few years ago when her dementia had already started.  His grandpa pulled me aside once and said he wished I could have known her when she was younger.  Watching those videos with Laci, I thought the same thing.  I wished I could show her older videos so she could see my grandma the way I remembered her. But Laci loves being called her "great granddaughter".  I think she loves the "great" part.  

Sometimes with Charlie's mom, I think she tries too hard to be the perfect grandma.  She wants to give "perfect" gifts that the kids will love and cherish forever and give to their own children.  She wants to do perfect special activities that the kids will remember and cherish forever and tell stories to their own children.  I have been trying to tell her that the perfect gifts and the perfect memories aren't planned.  They evolve.  I don't remember a single gift my grandmothers gave me.  My special grandma was too old when I was young to shop and pick out gifts.  So her gifts were always toys bought by my mom.  My other grandmother didn't really give us gifts but I always remember the set of personalized pens and pencils she gave us every year with a $10 bill.  My mom loves to buy toys and give lots of gifts.  I have asked her not too give the kids too much because I don't want them too spoiled with toys.  I wish my mom spent more time with the kids just playing and being with them.  My memories of my grandma are the simple things - salmon patties for dinner, making pumpkin bars not only in the fall but the middle of summer, sitting on the porch and chatting and last but not least, her rain bonnet.  I don't know what memories of their grandmothers my children will take into adulthood but I know they will probably be very special to them and the littlest things that were not planned at all.

I just talked to Charlie and Laci wore it to school today.  I'll post a picture of her later.  He mentioned that she got plenty of smiles and chuckles from the other parents and teachers.  Maybe she will be a trendsetters and the old fashioned plastic rain bonnet will make a comeback among the local preschool crowd!

My grandma's "Great" granddaughter - no wind or rain can get to her hair!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Thank You to the Unknown Mother

Tonight at Taco Bell, I took Laci to the restroom.  When I came back, Calvin was choking and throwing up.  Charlie wasn't sure what to do.  And another mother was helping him.  Apparently, he started choking on something, then he starting throwing up his dinner.  Charlie only had a few napkins.  The choking brought the attention of a nearby mother who came over to help... and bring napkins.  I was very thankful.  After I got there, Calvin was about done and started to calm down and she went back to her family.  I only had a chance to give her a quick thank you and picked him up to hug him.  I wanted to thank her again before she left but she quietly left with her family.  So thank you to her.  I really appreciate you helping me take care of my family!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Discipline and Comforting in Public

I always feel other mothers eyes on me when I am in public with the kids.  I try to be calm and speak firmly with them and not yell or raise my voice.  I stress the word "try" because sometimes I am not able to.  Leaving the daycare is the worst.  I usually just want to pick the kids up and get home.  Laci wants to wander and say hi to everybody and everything.  If I ever get frustrated with her, I can only imagine what others thing.  Occasionally, there have been a yell or a small swat on the bottom.  I always regret that because "what will the other parents think?"  I know I shouldn't care and I should parent the way I feel is appropriate but I do care.  I do care what others think.  At the grocery, I am always motified when Laci starts a tantrum.  I usually stop and tell her that we will stand there and we can't continue shopping until she calms down.  Then, as I feel the stares from others, I announce that all these other nice people just want to continue their shopping and did not come here to hear her scream.  I hope they appreciate me acknowledging that my child is annoying them and that I am trying to calm her down and make it a more pleasant experience for all of us. 

When Laci has a crying meltdown, I hope that others see the compassion I try to have as a mother. Yesterday, as Laci was crying, I sat on a chair with her, hugged and told her to calm down.  I didn't want to yell or appear uncompassionate.  Plus, I know Laci.  I know that the best way to calm her down is to hug her, hold her and let her cry it out.  I didn't want anyone to see me frustrated or upset with her for crying and having a meltdown.  I wasn't upset with her at all.  One of her friends and his mother walked by and he was obviously concerned to see her crying.  His mother told him to mind his business and to not get involved and I told him that she was okay and just needed to cry it out.  A few minutes later, Laci started crying again as I was trying to get Calvin.  The boy's mother tried to distract Laci so I could deal with Calvin.  Her friend walked over and gave Laci a hug.  I really appreciated seeing his compassion.  

Whether someone is having a meltdown or I am just struggling to get them both in the car, I can usually nod to the other parents and shrug my head and most of them will nod back and said "We go through that too."  Then I don't feel so bad for having to display my misbehaving kids out there for everyone to see.  

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

"Stupid" and Accountability

When I picked Laci up today, her teacher told me that she had a good day, but...  When Laci heard the "but", she ran out of the room with her hands on her ears.  She only had 2 stars instead of 5 or 6 that she normally has.  She tied for the most but she didn't not get a piece of candy because she was caught saying the word "stupid".  My heart sank when I heard that.  Not that Laci said "stupid".  But because I know I use the word "stupid" way too much in front of her.  I know I set a bad example.  Obviously, I don't call her stupid but I call myself "stupid", other people and situations "stupids", etc.  Charlie and I don't swear but saying "stupid" is bad enough.  The other day I heard Laci call herself stupid. 

After her teacher told me this, I found Laci in the hallway crying.  Once Laci starts crying, it is hard to get her to stop.  We sat in some chairs in the lobby for awhile until she calmed down.  I wasn't sure how to address this with her.  She was already shaken up.  I wasn't sure if she was more upset about getting in trouble or not getting the most stars.  I told her she wasn't in trouble and she needed to calm down.  In the car on the way home, I told Laci that I needed her help in not saying the word "stupid."  She visibly got upset again.  But I didn't talk about her.  I told her that I do it too much and I need someone to help me stop.  I was hoping that she would see the connection on her own, without having to admit it.  Then I let it go for awhile.

At bedtime, I brought it up again.  This time, I reminded her that I needed help not to say bad words and that we could help each other.  It was a good reminder to me that I need to be held accountability for my own actions because they follow up and watch every word we say.  And by holding myself accountable, she is also being held accountable. 

Speaking of bad words, I realized how young they learn the "Oooohhhh, he said a bad word..."  She is always telling me about so and so in class saying a bad word.  I usually ask her what the word was and it is usually "doody butt".  That makes me chuckle because it is so innocent but I reminder that just because someone else says it, doesn't mean she should.  The other day, Charlie and I were talking and I said that "it wasn't my duty."  Laci reprimanded me and said "Oooohhh, you said a bad word.  You said "doody!".

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Somedays it is just a simple goal...

It was a beautiful fall day today so I took the kids for a walk.  Laci was on her bike and I pushed Calvin in the stroller.  We have a beautiful wooded trail in our neighborhood.  On the way back, Laci was quite a bit ahead and I was hoping she remembered to stop before crossing the street.  She usually does a good job of that now.  I had images of the worst flash in my head.  I was reminded of something a friend of mine told me at her son's first birthday party, just a few months before Laci was born.  She said "Sometimes, the goal of the day is just to keep them alive."  I think a lot about all of my goals for the kids - how I want them to be as adults, their educations, their morals, their faith, how to teach them by example, etc.  But sometimes it is just a simple goal - to keep them alive to adulthood.  From what I read in the paper, we are just in the early years of that.  I think the teenage years will be a whole other ballgame!

I'm leaving home and never coming back!

After what felt like an exasperating time to get everyone ready for church, I announced that after we got home from church, I was leaving and never coming back!  I wanted Charlie to have to handle it all for a day.  Laci looked at me as serious as can be and said "Mom, you have to come back."  So I changed my mind and said that I was leaving for an hour and then coming back.  She looked at me again as serious as can be and asked "Where are you going?"  As I was about to say "Starbucks", I realized that she was really asking if she could come along.  I decided my afternoon away was never going to work out.  So here I am at home.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

One Year Old Adventures

I was sitting at the bottom of the stairs today with Calvin.  My head was right next to his head.  We were looking up at the top of the stairs.  I could not believe how enormous the stairs looked.  It was like a mountain.  Sometimes it is easy to forget how big our world is to our little guy.  It reminded me that everything with him really is still an adventure!

Friday, November 4, 2011


I know it is common to teach young children sign language to help communicate.  We are definitely in that difficult year where Calvin knows what he wants but it is difficult to communicate with him.  We don't understand what he is trying to say.  At school, they have taught him the sign for "more" (tapping his fingers together).  I know I should be grateful for this help but I am not so sure I am.  Now at every meal, he is constantly tapping his fingers for more, more, more!  :)  When he is hungry, he just walks around the house signing, more, more, more.  I am not sure it means "More" to Calvin.  I am starting to think it means "Give me food!"  

On the talking front, he says Ball very clearly.  I also hear him try to say Banana (his favorite food in the whole wide world!, Boon (balloon) and Up.  He has always had a very clear sign to be picked up.  It is holding his arms up but he does a little flick of his wrist to really mean up, not just holding his arms up.  He is babbling a lot so I hope that words aren't too far behind.  

Thankful for... The Beauty of Life

The other day, I was starting to think that I am unappreciative.  Charlie was telling me that his parents went out of town the other day to look at the fall leaves.  That is quite common around here.  But I have never been into just driving around.  It seems like a waste of time to me.  The other day, someone posted on Facebook something about seeing the proof of God driving through West Virginia.  It was a nice sentiment.  I have driven through West Virginia many times so I understand what he is saying.  I wanted to respond that I have never doubted God and I just need to look around my life to see His proof.  I don't need to drive anywhere.  Of course I live in flat land.  Very flat land.  Most people around here think it is too flat.  I think it is perfect.  We drive to the East Coast about once a year and hilly and mountain-y terrain gives me anxiety!  The trees in the mountains just look like broccoli to me.   

I realized that I do appreciate the beauty of nature.  It's everywhere.  I find myself the most introspective in my car driving home.  When I look around at the trees on the side of the road, I see beauty.  Even those poor trees, not in the glory of a forest or the hills and mountains are beautiful.  The changing colors and the crispness in the air feel like fall to me.  They remind me of my childhood.  There is a certain fall-ish vibe to them.  As I was thinking this, I thought about how beautiful these trees are going to look in the spring as they are budding.  I usually take a moment when I get out of the car at daycare to appreciate the small woods next to the highway.  It is beautiful.  Even though I hate the mud stains, I love that my kids get to play in the dirt.  Yesterday, I even appreciated the concrete and asphalt roads that most people overlook.  Maybe it is the engineer in me but concrete and steel is beautiful.  Look at how strong it is.  Look at this gift we have been given to build our world.  

I have mentioned before that the time with my kids playing, walking, feeding the fish at the pond in our neighborhood are some of my favorite things to do.  They are beautiful.  It is beautiful to watch them play.  Just being quiet in my own life is how I appreciate nature.  Maybe I am heartless for not wanting to drive out of my way to "appreciate" the beauty of nature.  I am too busy appreciating the beauty of my life.   

I just realized that I am sitting here listening to one of my new favorite songs "Take the Back Road" by Rodney Atkins.  I love it because it is talking about slowing down to appreciate life.  But I am still not taking the back road home!  I am rushing home as fast as I can.  Then I'll slow down.  :)    

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Updates - Swimming and the Doll

Some updates on previous posts - Laci is already totally over swimming.  I had to drag her there today.  She seemed to enjoy it while she was there today.  I thought she was learning a lot and doing well.  But as soon as we left, she said she was done with swimming again.  I only have to drag her there 3 more classes. 

We have completed the doll exchange.  A new doll has been ordered.  We wanted to make sure that Laci did not see us bring the doll to school because we didn't want her to know we are giving away her doll.  And we are sure it is her doll.  I don't know if this is a coincidence or not but this teacher has been overly nice to my kids lately. 

More Terms of Endearment - Buddy, Sissy and Goober

Where I grew up, we didn't have Buddy and Sissy.  Here Bud and Sis are everywhere.  We found out about Sis when Laci was little and still an only child.  At the daycare, there are several teachers that use the nickname "Sissy" or "Sis" on every little girl.  It sounds so strange to me, especially when the little girl is not a sister.  I guess Sis is not short for Sister in that sense.  I have heard several others outside of her school use it on their little girls too.  All little boys are "Buddy" or "Bud".  I must confess - I use Bud and Buddy on Calvin all the time.  Laci is "Sweetie", "Dear" or "Honey" to me.  I didn't realize how much I called her that until she started calling me "Dear" too and her stuffed animals are "Sweeties".  Charlie calls her "Sweetheart".  "Sweetie" is me to him.  At one point, Laci referred to everyone's sons and daughters as their "Sweetheart".  I thought it was cute when she told me that I am grandma's sweetheart.  I use "Buddy" so much that I catch myself calling Laci "Bud" too.  Now Laci is referring to herself as "Sissy" as in "Calvin, come to Sissy".  I always correct her because I don't like "Sissy".  But Buddy is apparently fine to me.  I don't know why.  I should probably stick to Little Guy for him because a friend of mine's dog's name is Buddy.  It's definitely better suited for a pup. 
Here is my "bad mom" confession.  My kids are goobers.  No, not just that they are goobers but they know they are goobers.  For some reason, I started calling the kids Goobers when they did gooberish things.  I supposed I should have gone with Silly as in "You are so silly..."  I thought "You're such a dork" was rude and all the other terms from my childhood were mean so apparently I landed on Goobers for them.  I didn't think much of it until Laci started calling herself a Goober and Calvin a Goober.  I really hope that she understands the context it is taken in (love) and that I don't give her a complex by calling her a Goober!  Maybe we should start a therapy fund to go with the college fund!