Sunday, September 30, 2012

My Grandfather's Rocking Chair

If you take a walk around my house, there is very little furniture that I have actually bought new. I love used furniture. Not any old used furniture but mostly stuff relatives are getting rid of. The only things we have ever gotten "new" are our mattresses, a chair in our bedroom, a assemble yourself desk, our family room couch and loveseat and our kitchen table. I don't know why I love used furniture so much. Maybe because I am cheap (frugal). Maybe because I am indecisive and hate making selections. Maybe because I like to see things get used and not thrown away. My dining room set was my grandparents dragged out of my parents basement. The kids dressers are our old childhood dressers. End tables were given to us as relatives bought new ones. There are a few bookshelves I got at goodwill and repainted or reused. I like to re-purpose things. A bookshelf became a baby's dresser with some canvas drawers. I love my eclectic style.

In Laci's room is an old rocking chair. It used to be my grandpa's and was in their old cabin. It sat for years in my parents basement before it sat for years in my old guest room, unused. When Laci was born, I had it re-upholstered. I didn't want a fancy new glider that you are supposed to put in a nursery. My in-laws offered us one of their rocking chairs but I declined. I had visions of sitting and rocking my baby in that chair. My grandfathers chair. The chair that may have rocked my mom. It turned out Laci wasn't a rocker. I never rocked her as a baby in that chair. When she was about 2 years old, she started to be a rocker and I did spend quite a bit of time in that chair. It wasn't the magical chair that I thought it was. Or that I wanted it to be.

Sometimes I love my old furniture for the stories that they could tell. I have my grandparents old dining room set including the hutch. My mom gave me a vase of fake flowers when she gave me the hutch.   It was the gift my grandfather gave my grandmother for their 40th wedding anniversary. That was the last anniversary they had and one of the last gifts he gave her. Those flowers were always on the hutch. I left the flowers on the hutch also for several years. Most of the items do not have special stories and are just pieces of furniture. Charlie's grandfather did a lot of woodworking and I am thankful that we have several of his pieces - a small table, lamps. But lately, my grandfather's rocking chair has been a little bit magical to me. I haven't sat in it for awhile. It sits in the corner next to empty boxes (to play with) and plastic tubs of barbies and doll clothes. My grandfather died several years before I was born. I never met him and  I only have pictures of him. I often wondered what he was like and what he would think of me. Laci and I sit in her bed and read books every night. I can't believe how much her reading has improved in the last month. Lately I have been looking over at that chair and feeling his presence somehow. I can't explain it but it is how I thought it would be to rock my baby in my grandfather's rocking chair. My grandfather is looking over my little girl. Now and always.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

So many loves...

I know what people mean now when they see their childhood and their dreams through their child's eyes. We made a decision to not overly involve our children in activities too early. They get plenty of socialization time and time to learn directions, etc. at daycare. It did not seem necessary to get involved in too many activities too young. I have tried to stick to the rule of one activity at a time. But it occurred to me the other day that Laci has tried a lot of things - tennis lessons, swimming lessons, soccer, gymnastics, Awana, ballet/tap. She is begging to play baseball in the spring and is constantly asking when baseball starts. Our amount of sporting equipment went up tremendously this summer, especially with her birthday this weekend. New cleats, soccer ball, tennis racket, baseball mitt, golf clubs, ballet shoes, tap shoes.

Growing up, I played soccer and danced, ballet and tap. The world of tennis, golf and baseball are completely new to me. I am excited to enter these worlds with my kids. Every time I see Laci try something new, my heart grows so big. I am so excited for her. I am so proud of my big girl. Yesterday, I realized I was "that mom" that watches dance class doing the steps with them in the lobby. The first time I entered her dance studio, I felt like I was coming room. It reminded me so much of my dance studio growing up. I don't know what direction and what sports she will ultimately chose to stick with. But I need to make sure I step back and let her choose what is right for her and where her loves lie.


Friday, September 21, 2012

Time to make the lunches!

I don't know why but I love making lunch for Laci every day.  I realize I have only packed luched for her for 30 days and I have 16 more years of packing lunches for the kids.  I am sure I will sing a different tune in a few years.  But I packed my lunch every day for 12 years.  It's normal to me.  I still pack my lunch 2 or 3 days a week.  Charlie thinks we need to force her to buy her lunch at school for two reasons - so she knows how to do it and so she is forced to sometimes eat what she doesn't want to eat. I had assumed that some days she would buy lunch and some days she would take her lunch.  She refuses to buy a lunch.  I feel like I should make her do it at least one day so she knows now.  But it has been so long that she is afraid now.  Plus, the line for the lunch is long and by bringing her lunch, she has more time to eat.  I still make her buy milk but the milk only line is first and short.  

Her lunches are pretty boring and plain.  At one point, she actually asked me to pack less because she didn't have time to eat it all.  It's hard to know what how much to pack.  So I stopped giving her chips and I don't throw in a cookie.  I don't mind because I like knowing what she is eating and how much.  So every night I ask her what she wants for her lunch and then I go pack her lunch.  In the morning, I finish packing both of our lunches.  Her sandwiches are either two cheese roll ups or a peanut butter and jelly pita sandwich.  Her fruit is either banana, strawberry, grapes or yogurt.  Occasionally I sneak a carrot stick in her grapes.  We ran out of pitas and roll ups so this week she has had yogurt, banana and granola bar.  I have no idea why she has never requested a sandwich with bread.  The lunches have been pretty simple to pack.  She wants to bring a juice box too so she doesn't have to wait in line for milk so we made a deal - Friday is Capri Sun day.  

As a side note to packing lunches, I learned a few years ago that I have a secret obsession with lunch boxes.  I didn't realize how much I love lunch boxes until I got one for Christmas a few years ago and thought it was the greatest thing ever.  I have several now.  I got an even cooler one last year for Christmas.  It may have been my favorite Christmas gift.  I didn't get Laci a new lunch box before school started but I snuck a peak at her birthday gift from her cousins and I love it.

Today was pizza day.  We have been talking about her buying lunch on pizza day.  Last pizza day, she wanted to see the pizza before she fully committed to buying her lunch.  Last night, she almost agreed to buying her lunch.  There was a sudden sadness in me.  No lunch to make?  What to do?  I wanted to encourage her to buy her lunch and try something new.  But I like making her lunch.  I wasn't disappointed when she changed her mind and said she wanted to bring her lunch again.  I really need to encourage her more to try new things and not selfishly encourage her to do it my way to be dependent on my sandwich and banana.  

Sunday, September 16, 2012

From one mother to another...

This morning was my turn to volunteer with child care at church.  I know our church is pretty disorganized with drop off and pick up between services and do to several factors, now is worse than usual.  Plus Laci is clingy and always wants to stay with me in the preschool room instead of going to her own sunday school class.  Anyway, there were lots of tears from her and somehow Calvin walked off with Charlie.  I assumed Charlie took Calvin to the 2 year old room.  That is where he always goes.

A little while later, everything had calmed down.  Laci ended up staying with me.  I was talking to one of the mothers who was dropping off her child in the preschool room and asked if she saw Calvin in the 2 year old room.  No.  He wasn't there.  That's strange.  Charlie always puts him in there.  I was sure he was with Charlie somewhere.  But where?  For a second I panicked that Calvin was sitting in the dining room by himself eating a donut - she said she hadn't seen him in there either.  What if Charlie didn't see him follow him out and he walked off by himself?  I was sure he was fine but what if?  After a while, I was still a little worried and thought about running into the sanctuary to make sure Charlie had him in there.  Why would Charlie take him in there?  A few minutes later, the mother popped her head back in the preschool room to tell me that she did see Calvin with Charlie in the sanctuary.  I was so glad she did that because deep down, I was a little worried.  It is a strange feeling when you really aren't sure where your child is.  She said she saw him and she thought she would want someone to reassure her if she wasn't quite sure.  I thought, only a mother would think to run out and reassure another mother!  But I'm glad she did.  :)

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Running Updates

My running is going great! I had a horrible month of July.  There were a lot of things that may have attributed to the horrible month - heat wave, new medication.  But there were some days that I barely got 3.5 miles in.  By the end of June, I was running about 4.5 miles, almost 3 times day.  I was pretty down about the runs.  I was just exhausted in general.  I felt bad because it was too hot too ever go out and play and almost every day became a movie night.  I missed playing with the kids.

But by August I was starting to get things back.  It cooled down - if you can call "only" the 90s cooler weather.  I felt more adjusted to the new drug.  We started to take walks again and trips to the park.  My running slowly started to come back. 

Now in September I feel like I am where I was at the end of June.  I even ran 5 miles today.  True, I had the help of the "magic" treadmill but I felt great.  After the disasterous run of the Fourth of July, I decided I do not want to do any 5k runs for awhile.  But I am almost ready to commit to the 5k run at the Purdue Half Marathon in October.

Speaking of the Purdue Half Marathon, Charlie is running it.  I can't believe he has commited to it.  Of course, he still claims he can back out of it.  He has only simply signed up for it.  He hasn't started training beyond his 3 miles a day.  He is concerned that the marathon may put his streak in jeopardy.  But I know he can do it.  Hopefully in October he can get a few long runs in.  My brother is running it too.  It's so funny because both of their approaches to training is so different.  My brother is so serious and passionate about training and running.  Charlie just does runs. 

My original goal of 400 is very attainable now.  I only have 52 miles left.  I hit 400 miles last year on Thanksgiving.  I am shooting for Halloween this year.  Everything on top of that is just extra.  Everyone has different motivations for running and hitting my mileage goal is definitely enough motivation for me.  It's been a great running year. 

Where's Calvin!

Everyday, when we go to pick up Laci at school, Calvin puts his blanket on his head and says "Where's Ca-win" (his word for Calvin) or "Where's Mommy". Then I realize we are playing so I will say "Where's Calvin?" And he answers "Under my ninny!"
He doesn't seem to be missing Laci at school anymore. When I ask him if we should go pick up Laci, he will often answer "No". That makes me laugh too. Then when we drive by his school, I point out the window and say "what's that?" so that he will answer "Calvin's school". We try to always call it Calvin's school instead of Laci's school so he will have his own sense of pride about going to his school, not just being in Laci's shadow. 
Charlie and I agree that the time spent with one kid while picking up or dropping off the other kid is really an unexpected benefit of having the kids at two schools. .

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Not giving our children the world...

Charlie and I decided when we had kids that we would not give them the world.  We did not want to create "premature affluence".  We want them to do without sometimes, hoping to create some character.  They do not have the latest or largest toys like a kitchen set or a red coupe car.  We do not go out for to the latest show that comes to town like Disney on Ice or Yo Gabba Gabba Live.  We don't buy them toys except for their birthday or Christmas.  We rarely even go to the movies or museum.  That is by design.  At this point, they won't remember it and it hards to say whether they could set still and enjoy it.  Those activities are expensive.  We don't go out for girls manicures or pedicures.  We want to make those experiences a treat, not an expectation. 

Don't get me wrong.  We do fun things.  Simple things like monthly coffee dates with Mom or a Purdue Football game with Dad.  Soon we want to take them to the high school games too.  We go to Dairy Queen once a month.  We go to parks a lot.  We go to the Children's Museum once or twice a year and therefore, it is a big event and a treat to go.  We'll go to the apple orchard in October and their grandparents will take them to the Pumpkin Patch and the Christmas parade.  Somehow even without buying them many toys, we have a house filled to the brim with them.  Last night, Laci and I went to family movie night at her school.  That was a simple treat for us.  And it was perfect because it was on lawn chairs in the gym.  She doesn't sit still for 90 minutes very well yet so being able to be wiggly was perfect.  We go to free concerts at the park in the summer.

Right now this decision is harder on me than the kids.  They don't know what they are missing yet.  I see people on Facebook with their daughters getting mani/pedis.  I see them taking their children to the latest show that came to town.  I wonder if we are short changing our kids because we aren't doing these things.  Are they missing out?  We go to big birthday parties at bounce houses and Chuck E Cheese.  I actually told Laci she could have her party at Chuck E Cheese but we ultimately decided that we could have a more fun party at home.  I can't wait to take Laci to see The Nutcracker.  I look forward to the fun and simple things we can do with them as they get older and appreciate more.  We will take them bowling, movies, putt putt, etc.  But not every weekend.  As the kids get older, it will be harder to say no to the latest gadget and gizmo.  We won't always say no.  They need treats, excitement and things to look forward to.  But they also need to know that they can't have everything and they don't need everything.  That lesson will last longer than the things they are missing. 

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

True Confessions

For a little more light hearted post, I will share my latest confession. It is a spin off from my cookie obsession. My latest obsession - Chocolate Chips. I keep a stash in a cupboard and when I am close to going crazy I sneak a handful. I am totally over having a two year old. Mine is crazy! I take that back - he has good days and bad days. And on crazy days, lots of chocolate chips get eaten. But I guess that is better than drinking, right?

I must not be hidden my obsession as well as I thought. The other day I asked Charlie to bring me up a snack and he brought me a cup of chocolate chips. Does he know me well, or what!

Papers. Papers, Everywhere Papers...

I know this is silly of me to complain because I only have had a kindergartner for a few weeks but the amount of paper she brings home every day is crazy! My plan is to have a hook on the wall for her backpack (she corrects me when I call it a bookbag, I'm old) and a couple of file holders for papers. But instead of hastily putting files on the wall, i am taking my time with that with the design of the "school station". And drowning in papers. I need to go to pinterest. Calvin's class is just as bad. Between worksheets, fundraisers, daily reports, movie nights, etc. it's hard to keep up with! I made the rookie kindergarten parent mistake and put Laci's worksheets on the top of the recycling pile. She found them and couldn't believe Daddy was throwing away her papers. I didn't correct her as I retrieved them. So there is a giant pile of worksheets on the counter ready to be hidden in the recycling pile.

The backpack hook was on the wall but I did not do a very good installation and it has already been ripped out of the wall. I need to put some better anchors in.