Friday, April 27, 2012

Lack of Communications

I remember years ago, before I was married or had kids, I was at a Party Lite party at a friend's house.  I remember her jokingly saying that she and her husband never talk or communicate.  Messages just get passed back and forth and information is rarely shared.  I thought that sounded so strange.  How do you not talk to your husband?  Little did I know that it is so true!  Charlie and I never talk.  We miss messages all the time.  Emails and phone calls at work are the only time we talk.  And even that gets screwed up.  Last week, I told him I have a new project at U of I.  He assumed University of Indianapolis.  I corrected him and told him University of Illinois.  Tuesday, I emailed him and said I was going to U of I on Thursday.  Last night, I mentioned my trip to Champaign.  He looked at me and said "I didn't know you were going to Champaign today".  I actually pulled the email up and proved that I told him and that he doesn't listen.  Laci is going to a birthday party Saturday.  Charlie claims I never told him.  I am pretty sure I did.  Plus, the invitation is posted on the bulletin board and the calendar says "A's birthday".  Again, proof he doesn't pay attention to anything in the house!

We had a similar communication lapse Wednesday night.  We had a rare Wednesday night family dinner.  That thing happened when one person is talking about one thing and the other person is talking about something else and it takes a few minutes to realize that you are having two conversations and not talking about the same thing.  I finally said "Stop, we are both talking about two different things.  What are you talking about?"  Laci looked at us and said "You really need to start listening to each other."   Duh - good reminder.  We need to do that.


A very wise woman once told me that one of the easiest things that someone can do for someone else to show respect and that they care is to hold the door open for them.  I really struggle with this because I hate when people hold the door open for me.  Maybe it's the chip I have on my shoulder.  Maybe it's my independent streak.  But I am perfectly capable of opening a door.  Unless my hands are full of boxes and bags.  If the person is really far ahead of me, there is that awkward silence when they are waiting for me to get to the door.  I feel like I have to hurry to be polite.  Then there are the awkward pleasantries.  I have to confess, sometimes, I run ahead to avoid having to hold the door open for other people or run up the stairs so I don't feel bad for not holding the door for them.  Not because I don't care but because I am bad at small talk and pleasantries.  I don't shut the door on people but I don't wait either.  The woman's point is that it only takes a few secrets to hold the door open and that little act shows that that person is important.  You don't hold the door open to make yourself feel better.  You do it to make the other person feel better. 

This ties in to a point that I have been thinking a lot about graciousness.  My mom is a taker.  That sounds bad but rarely is my mom offered something that she doesn't accept.  Sometimes it is for selfish reasons.  But there is a greater lesson in there.  She doesn't always take to get things for herself.  She often takes because the other person is offering.  When someone offers something to someone, it makes them feel good.  People feel good when they can do something nice for other people.  Always turning down offers, while it may make yourself feel better for being unselfish, it may hurt someone else's feelings.  I remember one time someone offered my mom $20 for something she did for them.  I forgot what it was. My mom first refused.  That is the polite thing to do.  Then she accepted and turned around and put the money in the offering plate.  It was a "pay it forward" moment.  It taught me that sometimes accepting things is just as important as giving.  

My MIL doesn't like to have people do things for her.  She is constantly refusing when we offer her something.  Whether it is dinner, to stay overnight or a cup of coffee in the morning.  They never want to "impose".  Sometimes they will drive home late to avoid imposing on us and staying over night.  If they do stay overnight, they will get up and go in the morning saying they would rather stop at McDonald's for coffee and breakfast rather than trouble us.  I am just offering bagels and cinnamon rolls - things that we are eating anyway.  The other night, she was visiting and said she would rather take the kids and I out for dinner than have me make dinner - to give me a break.  I make dinner every night.  It's not a big deal.  In some ways it has become a joke with us.  We are constantly offering, knowing that they will refuse.  It's hard not to start to think that I must be the worst cook in the world because she has rarely had dinner with us.  Sometimes when she comes, she will bring the food for dinner and cook, rather than have me cook.  Sometimes I just want to be able to do something for them.  I can appreciate that they are trying to help.  But I wish they would be more gracious and allow us to do something for them.  

It's a fine line.  But a line that I want to teach my children. It is better to give than receive.  But it is also important be able to receive graciously.  Not for yourself... but for others. 

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

A few of Laci's funny sayings

Laci's vocabulary is still progressing but funny too.  She has a few favorite words and a few words that are just wrong.  But when I try to correct her, she tells me that I am wrong.  And it's fun that she is starting to pick up on cliches and use them - sometimes correctly, sometimes not.

Favorite words - Camouflage - I don't know why but she loves to use the word camouflage.  If something is hidden, it is automatically "camouflaged".

Wrong words - Forechin - This is what she calls a forehead.  She corrects me when I tell her it is a forehead.  "No, Mom, it is a forechin."
                    - Fire bomb - This is a fire drill.  It sounds much more dramatic when I pick her up from school and she tells me they had a "fire bomb" today.

Cliches - "Speaking of..."  The other day, while eating an apple, she said "Mom, I like apples because they are so juicy.  Speaking of juice, can you get me some juice?"
             - "I'm Positive" or "Are you positive?"

Okay, of course right now I can't think of anything else funny she says.  I know there is more.  I'll have to update this later!
Calvin's vocabulary is increasing every day too.  He is constantly repeating what we say and has his own favorite words - Basketball, moo, cow, duckie, more, juiceetc.  Yesterday he even asked for water.  I was so impressed.  :)

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Where everybody knows your name

I have always thought of home as where I grew up.  I have lived where I live now for 13 years.  13 years!  Where has the time gone?  That is longer than I lived in the town I grew up.  My home.  No, my town now is my home.  I drive around town and I am reminded that I am home.  I don't visit my parents ("home") very much - maybe once or twice a year.  There are lots of reason why - traffic through Chicago, hard to find the time, etc.  When I do visit, it doesn't feel like home anymore.  Sure, everything is familiar - my high school, the "old hangouts".  My room is how I left it plus my mom has overtaken it for extra storage.  It's fun to show Laci my elementary school and memories always come flooding back.  But home is where I live now.  I feel like this is where I really grew up.  This is where I learned to make it on my own.  I learned to be an adult here.  I moved here and knew very few people.  But somehow I found my life here.  I remember my first apartment and how grown up I felt just taking the trash out and getting my first oil change.  Mowing the lawn at my first house was my next "grown up" task.  I had to find a church and I had to get involved.  I met people and I met friends.  I played soccer.  I coached soccer.  I met Charlie.  I had a family.  Now I know my town.  It is my town and I am very proud of it.  Laci is getting to the age to start activities and will start school soon so I am learning about the school system and the park district, dance studios, gymnastics studios, swimming lessons, etc.  I remember doing all these activities as a kid and now I am making these memories for my children.  

When I talk to my mom, she is often telling me about old places and changes around town or people she runs into that I knew.  I don't have the heart to tell her that those things don't really matter much to me anymore.  That place isn't my home.  It is her home.  She has lived there for nearly 30 years - longer than she has lived anywhere else.  Just like where I live now is my home.  I have lived here longer than I have lived anywhere else.  

Charlie's parents don't leave in the house he grew up in anymore.  When we visit his parents, he doesn't get flooded with childhood memories much.  It's a different feeling for him to visit his parents house.  But occasionally we do find ourselves in his hometown and he gives us the tour and I know all of those childhood memories come flooding back for him, just like they do for me when we visit my hometown.  

I know people who still live in the town or near the town I grew up.  I wonder what that is like.  I don't have any comparison to that.  I see pictures of their kids on facebook doing the things we did as kids.  It must be fun in its own way to be able to share your children memories and activities with your children.  It would be interesting to have the "other" perspective - the parent perspective on all those things.  My brother still lives near my parents and sees them often.  They still help him out a lot.  I wonder what that is like - especially when I see them help him with all of those things I had to do on my own. 

I keep running into people I know around town - at dinner, the grocery, the dentist.  Co-workers, old co-workers, people from church, etc.  Whenever I see someone I know, I reminded that this is my town.  This is my home.  I belong here.  I have a past here and I have a future here. 

Thursday, April 19, 2012

We all have our little goals...

I was emailing Charlie a story from last night.  Laci was driving me nuts because she was walking around eating a banana naked (I don't know why) and then Calvin dumped an entire box of crackers on the floor.  As I went "AHHH", Laci got dressed and turned to me and said, "Mom, I'm sorry I frustrated you but are you done being frustrated with me and are you more frustrated with Calvin now?"  I'm glad she wanted to get that straight.  

Charlie's response: That’s kind of what I go for too.  Make sure you are more frustrated with one of the kids rather than me.  J 

I guess we all have to have our little goals. 

Monday, April 16, 2012

Laci's Amazing Memory

I don't know what kids remember and what they know.  I only know my kids.  And everything my kids do is amazing to me.  Maybe it's all normal but it is all amazing to me.  Laci has inherited Charlie's memory.  I can't remember squat.  Charlie remembers everything.  She remembers everything.  This weekend we were at Purdue.  We were driving by the Neil Armstrong building and Charlie started talking about Neil Armstrong and his accomplishments.  There is also a big statue of Neil Armstrong.  Charlie mentioned that we took a picture of her in front of it a long time ago.  Her response "Oh, that is Lincoln."  She was remembering that we took a picture of her with her cousins with a statue of Lincoln last Labor Day.  We were impressed that she not only remembered taking the picture with a statue but she remembered that it was Lincoln.  The next thing we need to work on is history because Lincoln did not walk on the moon.
Look at me... I'm Abe Lincoln!

Saturday night, we started talking about the night Calvin was born.  It amazes me that she remembers waking up at our friends house as Charlie passed her over in the middle of the night so we could go have Calvin.  She remembers watching Thomas the Train with them and playing with them all night long.  We were fortunate that night to have somewhere to take her.  But she doesn't remember that before he was born, she was insisted that we name him "Christopher" and now she claims that she is responsible for naming him "Calvin".  

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Calvin's Love of Basketball

I know toddlers can get fixated and obsessed with something.  Laci never was.  Calvin is.  He loves Basketball.  He is obsessed with Basketball.  All he talks about is Basketball.  The only 3 syllable word that he knows and says constantly is Basketball but it is more like Ba-ket-ball.

He got a toy basketball hoop for Christmas that set off his love of basketball. Anytime he sees a basketball, ball or anything that resembles a ball, he starts yelling Basketball.  It's pretty funny.  He has a Purdue board book and one of the pages has sports and all the different balls.  We keep going to that page and he will yell Basketball each time like it is the first time he has ever seen it.  If we are driving through a neighborhood and there is a basketball hoop - Basketball!.  Saturday morning, Calvin was up before Laci.  We went downstairs and started doing flashcards (his second love) and then he started pointing to the TV.  I thought he would ask for Mickey Mouse. But no, he wanted to watch Basketball.  I wasn't sure I could find a basketball game off season at 7:00 a.m.  Thank goodness for on demand.  He was fine with a 10 minutes highlights of the NIT finals.  When Charlie's Sports Illustrated comes, he will go through the magazine page by page many times looking at every single picture of a basketball.  We can spend 15 minutes on a magazine.  We do the same thing with the sports section of the paper.  He also read Charlie's Tennis magazine the other day.  He was pretty disappointed when he brought my People over to me and there weren't any basketballs in it.  Fortunately, there was an article on animals with lots of pictures.  

I'm curious if he will continue his love of basketball and sports in general.  I just hope he inherits his dad's height!

"Reading" the Sports Page -
Pointing and yelling "Basketball" at every picture

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Easter Weekend

We had a really nice but busy Easter weekend.  Charlie and I took Good Friday off.  The weather has been so nice lately that I thought it would be a good day to go to the zoo, especially since it was the last week for winter rates.  My parents and brother came to visit also.  Laci was so excited about everyone coming that she woke up at 5:45.  Apparently, she didn't get the memo that she is supposed to sleep in on stay at home days... or at least until 7 or so.  My parents got to my house around 1 and by 1:30 we were off to the zoo.  Unfortunately, no nap plus lots of excitement led to a complete meltdown at the zoo.  Laci was so excited that she just went berserk.  After her breakdown, I got her calmed down and the rest of the visit was nice.  Plus, I got a nice arm workout by carrying her around for 20 minutes while she screamed.  She stayed up late that night so she could read to Grandma and show Grandpa the stars and planets outside.  
Calvin enjoying the animals

A calmed down Laci hidden in the snake. 
I love this picture.

All the excitement Friday lead to Laci sleeping in on Saturday.  By sleeping in, I mean 7:30.  We decided to go to the Easter Egg Hunt at the kids daycare at 11.  I was really disappointed.  Usually, events at their school are really well done and we have a good time.  This time, it was almost too organized and scheduled.  The flyer said 11:00 a.m.  So I assumed the egg hunt would be near 11 and the crafts and activities would be after that and home by 12:00 for Calvin's nap.  Unfortunately, 11 was just the gathering time, following by lunch at 11:30, crafts from 12:00 - 2:00 with the egg hunt at 1:30.  I had not planned on a 3 hour event so we left after the lunch.  At least we got some hot dogs out of the deal.  

A big bump on the forehead is all Calvin got
at the Easter Egg Hunt.  :(

That afternoon, we planted my garden, colored Easter eggs, made cookies and went to the park.  By evening, I am not sure who was more tired - the kids or Grandma and Grandpa.  

Sunday morning was Easter.  We have never really played up the Easter bunny.  I think my parents were surprised that we didn't make a big deal about it.  But we did set out Easter baskets and hid plastic eggs with candy.  That morning when Laci woke up, I told her "Happy Easter.  Do you remember what happened on Easter?"  Her response  "Jesus died."  "No, that was Friday. What happened on Easter Sunday."  Her response "Jesus wasn't where they had put him because he was up with God."  I loved that that is what Easter means to her right now more than the Easter bunny.  Then we went downstairs to see Easter Baskets and find eggs.  
All dressed up!  So spiffy. 
He's my sharp dressed man.

Sunday church was so crowded but we got there early.  Calvin walked right down to his Sunday school room, got a play vacuum out, went back to the hallway and walked down to the donut room.  He was not happy when he was told it wasn't donut time yet.  Laci refused to go to Sunday school.  But she refused to go to church also.  Charlie finally took her again half way through the service.  Her teacher is so good with her and understands.  After church we went home and had a big Easter dinner and my parents and brother went home.  It was a busy weekend and we spent the rest of Sunday just recooperating.  The kids were wiped out.  They got some new outside toys (jump rope, bubbles) but it was too windy to play outside.  My parents gave them a kids picnic table that Laci is thrilled about.  It warmed up and we had a really nice dinner on the deck.  A nice ending to a nice weekend. 

Monday, April 9, 2012

My New Training Schedule

My new training schedule seems to be working.  My brother, the runner, is big into training programs.  He reads running magazines about training programs, nutrition, rest, the proper trait, etc.  Charlie's training program is simple - run every day.  My training program is pretty much schedule induced.  I run when I can.  I have written before that I run primarily at lunch and occasionally once on the weekends.  Lunch time runs are perfect because the kids are at daycare.  But it does limit my run to about 4 miles.   That's not really a problem because I rarely want to run more than 4 miles.  Lately, my schedule has been such that I have been hitting it hard one week (3 - 4 runs a week) and then I'm busy the next week and only getting 1 or 0 runs in.  I ran today after a 9 day break.  I was a little concerned that I would be out of shape.  I was wrong.  I felt great and got 4.1 miles in.  I haven't been able to use my magic treadmill #5 in awhile.  But I have been increasing my speed regardless.  I am now averaging a speed of 7.0 for the first two miles and finishing the second two miles at 6.7.  My new training schedule of one week on, one week off must be working.  I feel great this afternoon.

My brother recently bought a new GPS watch.  He is using it to train for an upcoming marathon.  He has set up paces on the watch and it is really improving his time.  Right now on his training runs, he is working towards a 3 hr 10 min marathon.  I saw a similar watch on groupon and splurged and bought it.  I have only used it on a couple of walks because I haven't gotten an outdoor run done this spring yet.  But I am looking forward to seeing my distance on some outdoor runs this summer.  And maybe get a few 6 or 7 mile runs in this summer.   

I have also discovered that I have a cookie weakness.  I have no self control at the grocery store.  I love cookies in the afternoon after my run.  Today I didn't pack any!  My house is full of Easter candy and I didn't remember to pack any of it in my lunch box today.  Grrrr.  All I brought was a blueberry muffin for my afternoon snack.  It's just not the same. 

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Some one-liners from Saturday

Laci had me chucklying yesterday with a few good one liners.  My favorites -

1.  Some how after lunch, the kids moved the kitchen chairs over to the other side of the room and were standing / jumping on them.  Laci declared herself the Officer.  I didn't even know she knew what an Officer was.  I said I was an officer too.  She said that I was not.  So I said I was the Petty Officer.  Her response - "Okay, you can keep track of the pennies.  That is what the Penny Officer does."

2.  "Daddy, Smile.  You need to smile more because you always look mad."  That made me a little sad.  The truth hurts.

3.  We went out to dinner at a new restaurant.  It's at a golf course that some friends of ours own.  It is a nice place and we were hapy that both kids behaved.  But we still apologized for the mess we made.  On the way home, Laci was playing with a Beanie Baby and said "Mom, I have a problem.  I have a meeting and I have to take her to her ballerina class.  If I don't go to my meeting, they are going to shoot my son!"  Charlie and I were laughing at this point.  But it sounds serious.  Where does she get these ideas!?!  I solved the problem by taking her daugher (Beanie Baby) to her ballerina class.  Whew - her son lives! 

On this drive home, somehow Calvin ended up with my phone and Laci had the play phone.  It was pretty funny watching him hold up the phone to his ear saying "-Ello, -Ello".  Then he held the phone up and started saying "Cheese" and pretended to take pictures.  :)