Friday, January 31, 2014

Laci's Step Dad...

Laci obviously doesn't have a step-dad.  But we did have a discussion the other day on why she thinks she should call Charlie her step dad.  She knows that she grew and came out of my belly.  But apparently that is the extent of her knowledge.  She explained that because I created her and Daddy really had nothing to do with her, she should really call him her step dad.  At that moment at Steak N Shake, I really didn't want to get into the discussion of "where babies come from".  So I just agreed with her and took all the credit for her and Calvin.   Charlie clearly had nothing to do with it.  I was impressed with the one item that stumped her.  If Charlie had nothing to do with creating her, why does she look like him?  It really bugs her that people say she looks like him.  I mean, really... he's a boy and she's a girl!  But I loved that the fact that she resembles him and yet he had nothing to do with creating her really stumped her!  

Friday, January 24, 2014

Why Runners are the Best!

I have concluded that runners are the best people in the world.  I am proud to say I have been a runner for over twenty years but I am not sure if I am in the same category as these people.  I am what I call a casual runner.  I run one to two days a week but shoot for three days a week.  It's mostly treadmill miles at my gym during lunch.  I run 400 miles a year.  It's not pretty.  I don't train.  I don't race regularly.  I don't have speed goals.  But I get it done.  I run to feel good.  I run to stretch my body and move.  I run for some "me time."  I run to feel just a little bit sore.  

I have mentioned before that Charlie is a "streak runner".  He runs every day. No matter what.  My brother is a marathoner.  A very dedicated marathoner.  I love that we all have our own goals and successes and we are all runners.

A few months ago, I joined the US Streak Runners Facebook group.  This group quickly became my favorite group.  The runners are so supportive.  Whether you are on day 2 or Day 4000, they are behind you. They have given me insight as to why Charlie is the way he is.  They are all crazy.  :)  I gave Charlie a book for Christmas called "Wooden and Me" by Woody Woodburn.  Woody Woodburn is a long time streak runner that is frequently on the site.  The book is about his relationship with John Wooden - one of Charlie's idols.  Could a book by a streak runner about John Wooden be any more perfect for him!  Charlie found that there were a lot of similarities between Woody and him even down to the fact that they buy their wives flowers every month and have a Purdue connection. As crazy as these people are, they are a special group.

Recently I heard about another running site called I Run 4 Michael.  It's a group that matches runners with kids and adults that can't walk or run.  You "run" in honor of them.  The purpose of the group is to build relationships with these kids.  They would like you to post to facebook a note for your match 3 days a week whether you run or not that day.  It's more about the relationship and the kids knowing that someone is out there doing this for them.  Many runners send their race swag to the kids and lots of pictures are posted.  I have signed up to be matched but the group is so popular there is a 9+ week wait list!  I am still waiting for my match.  I think it will be a good motivation for me also to keep running.  Now I am in the group and see what people are posting and doing for the kids and the difference that it makes for these kids and the runners.  I am very inspired by all.  I'm really looking forward to being matched but until then I will run for all the other unmatched kids.  These runners are a special group of people. 

I have mentioned before about my theory that runners are readers... or readers are runners.  All the regular ladies in my book club are runners.  Interesting... 

There are so many reasons why people run - "me time", for exercise, spiritual time, in honor or in memory of some one.  One cliche that I often see is that no matter how slow you are running, you are faster than the person on the couch.  :) 

This winter has been tough with the extreme cold snap.  I pulled a muscle in my hip and everything just hurts.  I'm starting to get shin splits so I know I need new shoes.  It's hard to get the motivation to run, even inside.  But I will continue to run, even if it is just once or twice a week.  Both Charlie and I look forward to a day when we can run with our kids.  I will run and I am proud to call myself a runner because runners are the best!

Sunday, January 12, 2014

What do you see... Finding Jesus

This is what was on the front of our bulletin at church this morning.  What do you see?

We walked into church late this morning.  It's not unusual for us to walk into church late in the morning.  This morning had been a particularly difficult morning.  We are potty training Calvin and I am running out of patience.  In my head, I know that it will click for him at the right time.  This is what happened with Laci.  This is the advice everyone has told me.  It is easier to say this than to live it.  I am losing patience.  I threw a temper tantrum while changing him.  It was embarrassing as a mother to throw a temper tantrum and a diaper across the room.

By the time we got to church, I had calmed down.  After dropping the kids off at Sunday School, I sat down in the sanctuary.  I have mentioned before that church truly is my sanctuary.  It is the hour a week that I can just let go.  I am at peace.  I am with God.  I looked at the bulletin and saw a bunch of colors.  Colored what?  Colored Flowers?  Maybe a fuzzy cornucopia?  I was focused on the colors on the right.  I could not make out what the picture was and found it to be quite odd.  After a few minutes of staring, Jesus' face appeared.  It was so clear.  How in the world did I miss that?  I spent the rest of the hour staring at Jesus' face and wondering how many other times in my life Jesus is right in front of me and I am focused on something else.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

These are our stories...

I recently read a note written by a friend of mine about the "Snowstorm of 2014" and extra days of Christmas break with everyone stuck inside.  It's tough.  As mothers we want to create the "perfect" family memories.  We know that it is the simple, little things that matter.  But those memories are hard to plan and do.  We're mostly just trying to get by.  I read the comments and read facebook through the last two days and it is amazing how we all have our own stories.  We all found our own way to get by... good or bad.  The people with grown kids watched movies and cleaned their houses.  The mothers struggled to entertain their kids.  I worked at my dining room table for 2 days hoping to get almost 2 days of work in.  We had a family game of Hullaballu and that was our "special moment".  I felt bad like I should be "bonding" with my kids and doing fun things but then remembered that for every hour I didn't have to take vacation was another hour / day I could spend on spring break with them.  My birthday (May 30) is my last day of vacation day and it should be a day off for Laci.  I want my Girls Day, dog gone it!  

Someone commented that in time, this will be our story.  It reminded me of the Blizzard of 78.  I obviously don't remember any of it.  But Charlie and his mom still talk about that time.  I have recently read several articles about how kids who know their family history are more self confidence.  I love my family history and maybe that helps with my confidence.  It's the little things that matter - how our parents met, when they were married, what was their first date like, where their grandparents lived, etc.  I have always done it but recently made more of an effort to share our family stories with the kids.  Not at a formal "story time" but just little comments here and there, where it fits.  Years ago, I made a memory book about my parents with their childhood pictures and their stories.  I loved making it and sharing it with the kids from time to time.  It's amazing how times have changed regarding pictures.  My parents were able to each give me about 10 pictures from their childhood.  My children have hundreds of pictures from their childhood.  

I have my list of "favorite" stories from my parents / grandparents past.  The one where my dad got lost going to his new school in kindergarten.  Or how my grandma's mother sent her 3 year old little boy on a horse to get help when they were living out of their own in South Dakota and my great grandmother was about to have my grandma.  How my parents met at a church dance and my dad pulled my mom's shoe out of a pile to have the next dance.  How my dad said I am just like my grandma - fiesty, inpatient, independent and in a hurry.  My mom lived in such a small town growing up that when they trick or treated, they would stop and eat ice cream or other treat before going to the next house.  Someday I will start telling my kids things about my childhood like how their uncle could always get their aunt to spit up her milk at dinner time.  Or how Grandma was the reigning burping champ of our house.  I am learning Charlie's families stories and often tell them to Laci too.  

I don't know what part of our families life will make the family lore but I love making these memories, even if it is just playing Hullaballu after working on a snow day. 

Friday, January 3, 2014

Puzzle Day 2014 Complete!

The finished product.  We finished last night at 10:30.  Whew...  And Calvin was invited back into the puzzle room.  He played with his trucks and worked on his own puzzle.  I did laugh when I was helping him with his puzzle and he said "Mom, you are doing a great job on this puzzle but not very good at your puzzle."  :)
This is his "cheese" smile face.  Why do kids do that?  :)
He is working on his 63 piece I SPY puzzle.

The Finished Product! 
The other great thing I remembered about Puzzle Day is how therapeutic puzzles can be.  Charlie and I were goofy, sang songs and talked.  We talked about lots of things... everything and anything.  Important things.  Not important things.  Last year a good friend of mine lost her daughter.  She said that for a few weeks, she just sat at the dinning room table and did 1000 piece puzzles.  I understand why.  It would be therapeutic to be distracted and calm to get through that.
Our kids can be given our attention again... until 2015 Puzzle Day.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Puzzle Day 2014!!!

I started a tradition back in college / high school of doing a large puzzle on New Years Day.  This year we started on New Year's Eve.  We never get it done in one day.  Our child care still lacks on Puzzle Day.  We were gone for awhile on Wednesday dropping off Laci and when we got back, Calvin was clearly done with puzzle day and kept asking "Is the puzzle done yet?!?"  He was banned from puzzle day on Tuesday when he started to take it apart.  He keeps thinking we are "playing puzzle".  Fortunately, the kids are getting a little older and can entertain themselves a little bit.  Laci even tried to help with the puzzle too.  But I still found myself just setting out crackers, peanut butter, grapes and cheese on the table and calling Calvin over for dinner instead of actually making a good dinner.  In my defense, he was playing "puppy" and kept referring to himself as "Puppy Calvin" so setting out food like a dog wasn't too far fetched. 

At the end of Wednesday, we were over half done with puzzle hopefully tonight or Saturday we can finish it up.  And pay a little more attention to our children.  :) 

Letting Go... If only for a couple of days...

I talk a big talk.  I want my children to be independent.  I want to be able to let them go.  My goal is to raise Strong, Independent Christian Adults.  But sometimes I think I am all talk.  I don't do as much as I should to "let them go."  

My kids have been daycare kids since they were 3 months old.  I'm not getting into the daycare / stay at home mom / sitter debate right now.  But one of the advantages I have seen is that my kids are independent.  They have always had a life outside of me.  On the flipside, because I am working, I want to spend every second I can with them outside of work.  We rarely use sitters.  I have never left them overnight with someone.  The only nights I have spent without Laci are the two nights I was in the hospital after Calvin was born and two nights she and Charlie went to his parents house.  His parents usually spend about a week a year at his brothers to watch our nephews while my BIL and SIL go on vacation.  They love getting that week with the boys.  Sometimes I feel guilty that I haven't left my kids with them for a week.  But selfishly, I don't want to be without my kids for a week.

This Christmas break, Laci asked if she could go to her cousins house for a couple of days instead of the YMCA.  I talked to my sister and she agreed that it would be okay.  Laci hasn't had any sleepovers with friends so I thought this would be a good trial run.  She adores her big cousins.  We met them halfway yesterday to drop her off.  She was so excited that morning but ever so often on the drive up, she would say "I'm a little nervous."  Fortunately, my sister has dealt with other little girls on their first sleepovers so I knew she would know how to handle it.  

We told Calvin we were going to see cousins and he insisted on packing too once he saw Laci's suitcase and pillow.  So we packed his empty suitcase and pillow too.  He was exhausted yesterday after staying up late on New Years so he slept the entire drive up, the entire drive down and through a few errands.  When we got home, he was devastated that he didn't get to see any cousins and kept crying "I don't want to go home... I don't want to go home."  Then he stood out in the garage at the door of the crying "I don't want to go home."  I left the door to the house open for him.  A few minutes later, he had gotten into the car and was pretending to drive.  I went back to check on him a few minutes after that and he had accidentally locked the doors and was standing by his door trying to figure out how to get out.  I rescued him.  It was pretty funny when Charlie asked him about Laci and he had a look of surprise when he looked at her seat and she was gone.  He hasn't  mentioned her since. 

That night as we were working on the puzzle, I worried about Laci.  Worried isn't the right word.  I knew she was fine and I knew my sister was taking great care of her.  But I wanted to be with Laci.  I want to experience everything new with her.  I love seeing her face and just being with her.  I missed her.  This is how I feel whenever she does something new with someone else - like field trips or outings with grandparents and friends.  I hate missing these moments.  But I have to remember the goal - raising strong, independent Christian adults and that includes knowing when to let go.  Even if it is just starting with two days.