stat counter

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Constant lessons


I’m sitting here with Molli’s entire drawer of pajamas and a wooden spoon.  What do these things have in common? It is her favorite thing and her least favorite thing.  We are having a lot of bedtime issues tonight.  I’m not sure if today’s diet of way too much sugar is finally catching up to her, if it’s Daddy being gone for going on 4 weeks, three year old attitude or what, but I’m about to wig out.  For real.  

What started tonight’s incident doesn’t even matter (it was over her beloved pajamas of all things), but I had the misfortune of my precious angel pointing her finger in my face shouting, “You can’t take that away from me!” Then switching the direction of the finger toward her chest, poking with each syllable “They’re MINE, MINE, MINE, MINE!” Then putting her hands down she demanded, “You go out of here.”

I don’t say any of this to brag on her rottenness, or to mortify her later.  I’m not flaunting misbehavior. I’m just here with a depleted repertoire of discipline.  No one told me when I held her for the first time, completely in love with each tiny feature, that those sweet eyes would ever glare at me, and that when they do, it will cut straight into my heart.  No one held my face and stared me down to ensure that I understood that just a few short years later, those parted lips would spout ugly words, a swift kick in the gut. The tiny human, my daughter, would bring me to my knees, defeated.

Anger bellowing from her bedroom, the screaming muted on the monitor but the stomping reverberates through the house. In these awful moments, my love for her is confirmed.  If I didn’t love her from the deepest part of my heart, I wouldn’t care about any of this behavior.  It would be annoying for sure; No one wants to hear a screaming kid.  But it wouldn’t hurt so badly.  I would have no reason to shed tears for the tiny heart making poor choices and exhibiting behavior worthy of discipline.

The lessons of parenting are endless.  It’s a miracle anyone makes it to adulthood.  So far the outlook is bleak for my firstborn. Kids are like mean little animals, feeding off of weaknesses and preying on the lost.  The aforementioned kick in the gut and the stab through the heart bring me down quickly when I’ve poured out all my energy. Created in the image of an almighty Father, my attempts to love, discipline, understand and forgive my children are feeble at best.  My prayer tonight is to be the example of self-control and love that my kids need. He will provide the strength to be a godly parent.  Tonight, I’ve made peace with my girl and I take refuge in the promise of new mercies!

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Life these days

Upon sharing this blog with a friend earlier today, I realized how long it's been since I've posted.  My bad... again.



Gavin:
The sweetest little boy you'll ever meet.  I don't know how many times a day I tell him that he's so stinking cute.  Because he is.  Really.  His face gets me every time and I simply cannot resist a snuggle with his head resting on my shoulder/chest. This is his move of choice these days.  If he doesn't want to me to leave, he sneaks that move in on the last quick hug.


 At bedtime (probably my favorite time with him) it's all snuggles, complete with his arms wrapped around my neck and his little voice prompting me to sing.  He loves anything I sing to him, but specifically requests "ba, ba, ba, ba" (Baa, Baa Black Sheep) or "up, up, up" (Twinkle Twinkle Little Star).  He pauses the snuggle in the middle of "Jesus Loves Me" to show his muscles after "They are weak but He is strong." Then it's all "nah-night" when he's ready.  He sleeps with his little blue doggie/blankie thing and his special Lambie. I put him down and pull up his blanket as I tell him I love him, to which he always responds in a shout his own special version of "I love you."


Gavin is a little man of few words.  A lot of talking, but few real words.  I'm figuring out some of his code words, but he's certainly not working on sentences like Molli was at this age.  The boy still loves his food and is a pretty serious eater.  He's a pretty serious runner too.  Not so much marathon running, but he moves like he means business much of the time.  He prefers to run from one place to another (must run in the family) and he ducks his head and really pumps his right arm.  It must help, I suppose.

He loves blankets and playing with his sister, especially when the two come together.  Outside is his favorite place to be.  He has a snowsuit and he will put it on the floor and sprawl on top of it, waiting for me to put his limbs in place and zip it up.  Before this weird January faux-spring, we'd all go for walks pretty much daily and it was a time we all looked forward to.  Although, "walk" is probably not the word for it.  Gavin and Molli spend most of that time in the sled, so I guess they go for a ride while I go for a walk.  Either way, outside = good. Now everything is gross outside so we haven't been much.



Molli:
Spitfire.  She keeps me on my toes, that's for sure. I never really know what to expect from her.  She's a smart cookie with a mind of her own.  She started preschool a couple weeks ago and although I don't get a lot of information about what happens between 8:30-12 on Tuesdays and Thursdays, the little bits I do gather make me raise my eyebrows.


I picked her up one day last week and was a bit upset to see that she had colored all over the knees of her adorable burgundy skinny jeans.  Although it was in marker, it was just yellow and washable so it wasn't a big deal, really.  We talked about how to use markers appropriately and at the end of the conversation she knew that makers are only for paper.  Fast forward a few hours and I'm getting her clothes off for her bath and I see that her entire stomach was colored in with that same yellow marker.  I'm not just talking about a couple yellow stripes, I mean her whole stomach, from the top of her pants up through the ribs, colored in solid.  I looked at her and asked her to explain that to me.  Her explanation was simply that her tummy is now yellow.  I asked if her teacher saw this (also confused that a child could color THAT much skin with her shirt up and go unnoticed) to which she put on her best teacher voice and mimicked, "we're not coloring on our tummies right now, Molli."

(Apparently she's learning at school and bringing it home)



Yesterday she went to school and had a really cute Matilda Jane jumper dress on.  That afternoon she napped in jammies and she asked for help putting the dress back on and said "yeah, my teacher said it's a hard dress to put on me!" Now, she's right, it is a little hard, but why was her teacher putting her dress on her?  I asked and as always, the answer made perfect sense to her. "I got sweaty during show and tell so I took off my dress." Ugh... I guess I have never specifically told her that she has to leave her clothes on at school, or anywhere for that matter.



(This is the dress)




My world <3

Monday, November 18, 2013

Post-Vacation, Vacation...Please.


I think enough time has passed and I’m recovered enough to write about it.  We went on vacation to Idaho at the end of October and it was quite a venture getting home. I don’t even want to call it an adventure because that seems to denote something fun or enjoyable, and it wasn’t.

I have never been more grateful to be traveling with a partner.  I’ve done my share of solo traveling with kids and while it’s no walk in the park, I’ve kind of gotten a feel for it. However, traveling with anyone sick is a game changer. We were gone for about a week and right off the bat, Myles was sick with major stomach issues, I got it on at the end of that week, just hours before Molli woke up in the middle of that night with it. My concern, at the time, was Gavin.  Please, please don’t let him get it! But if he does, let it happen soon so we’re not traveling with it! 

The good news is, he didn’t get it!
The bad news is, Molli had it for days it and Gavin got something different.

The day before we were scheduled to leave, it was obvious Gavin was coming down with a cold.  Sure enough, he fussed and whined all night and Tuesday morning, travel day,  he was dripping green gunk from his nose AND his eyes.  I’ve never seen anything like it, but apparently that can happen.  I guess it all comes from the sinuses anyway.  Very gross! The poor guy just looked sick.  The droopy face, blotchy cheeks, swollen, droopy eyes.  Plus of course all the drainage. He was a total wreck.

Tuesday morning, the day we were scheduled to leave Boise, Molli was also a disaster.  She threw up again in bed again and I was up with her bright and early at 5am running her back and forth to the bathroom.  Kids are not good at being sick, especially tummy sick.  She had no idea what was going on, poor thing.  We called the airlines, knowing that traveling this way was not good for anyone, but had to dismiss changing the dates because it would be an extra $400+ PER TICKET to change to the next day.  At least $1,600 for a few hours grace… not in the budget.

So we sucked it up, bought some kids pepto and pull-ups, packed changes of clothes, plastic bags, tissues, extra wipes and ventured out. 

I think I’ve blocked some of the specific details from my memory but the first flight was more or less fine.  It’s never “fun” with kids, but it went fine.  No major meltdowns and no major bodily fluids is considered a win.  Of course there was ants in the pants on behalf of both kids, but Gavin is the more difficult one at this point.  Who wants to try to explain to a 16 month old that no, he cannot run and play, in fact, he can ONLY stay here, on laps and deal suck it up with the rest of us.  Obviously that logic is ineffective. 

Flight number two was long and squirmy beyond belief. There were seating issues and as I was waiting for things to be sorted, this man looked at me, rolled his eyes and told some guy next to him something along the lines of, “Ugh, there are so many kids getting on this flight.” I might have given him the evil eye as I thought to myself, I hope you’re in front of us. My brother (he will remain nameless) said I should have responded to him with, “Ugh, there are so many douche-bags getting on this flight,” Hindsight…

Anyway, that flight started with a very wiggly boy who wanted to touch everything he wasn’t supposed to, topped off with the flight attendant handing him the bag with the seatbelt, oxygen mask and other goodies for her safety presentation.  Look, I’m all for sharing with kids, but mine are already sick and the last thing I need is for them to intentionally be handed germy things that they aren’t supposed to be playing with anyways. Once we were in the air Molli informed us that she pooped her pants (remember the tummy bug, yeah, it was still wrecking her). Myles dragged her and a fresh pull-up to the bathroom. Which if you think about it, that airplane bathroom must have been beyond max capacity.  There’s hardly room to pull pants up in there, much less a big man changing a 3 year old’s pants! That happened twice on the plane.

We finally landed and thought we were golden. After gathering all our bags (thank you AK 49 club for getting to check everything for free!) I realized I left Gavin’s coat on the plane, told the lady at the desk, waited forever then found the coat in my back pack and Molli had one more accident. Eventually Myles set off to get the car. We waited another forever, loaded up and headed home.  At that point, what’s three more hours traveling with two sick kids? About ten minutes down the road we had the distinct pleasure of seeing everything Molli had consumed that day come shooting out her mouth.

Vomit everywhere. 

I almost lost it. We had to pull over at a gas station and clean her up. Myles took care of the nasty car and I walked her, covered in puke, into the gas station bathroom with a pair of jammies.  I ended up giving her a sponge bath of sorts with hand soap and paper towels. The poor girl was miserable.  She didn’t feel well (obviously), was naked, smelled like puke and was being washed up in a cold gas station. UGH!

We survived the trip home and I called the doctor the next day. She’s out of town. Greaaat. By then Molli had been unwell for a few days and Gavin was getting worse by the hour. I love the kids’ doctor but was fine to call someone else.  Unfortunately the one recommended was full but we got Gavin in with someone else. Good thing because he had two ear infections (one very bad), a sinus infection and pink eye in both eyes.  A couple days later we took Myles and Molli in.  Myles had bronchitis and pink eye.  Molli had pink eye in both eyes, a cold and strep throat.  It was like some kind of cruel joke throwing such a variety of sicknesses our way right before Myles leaves us for three weeks for work. 

Yeah, that’s right.  Three weeks without daddy.  He’s gone now and we are literally counting the days until his return (17). Everyone is finally healthy and I think I need a vacation. A post-vacation vacation.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Progress


Between the instances where I’m yanking out my hair and enlisting an army of friends to help me in the daily battle of life and parenting, I am so smitten by these kids.  They do things that make me smile and I realize that I AM doing something right sometimes! Little bits of progress are a breath of fresh air.

I got to watch a couple sweet kids for a friend this morning for a teeny little bit and I am proud of how everyone did!  Molli and the little boy (just a bit older than her) played together so nicely.  I let them play in her room.  I didn’t hover, I just listened and peeked in.  It made me happy to hear them playing and talking.  Some phrases that made me smile were:

“Uh oh, this room is a mess, what should we pick up first?”
“We’ll play with one thing, then when we are done, we will put it up and play something else.”
“When you are done with that, can I have a turn?”
“Can we go let the babies play with this for a little bit?”

You guys!  There were words of cleaning up, sharing and taking turns!  I can’t even tell you how happy that made me.  Not only because I think these things are good and important, but because it means I’m being heard.  They are listening to their parents and remembering what to do.  This is greatly encouraging considering the phase we are in with Molli.  She’s listening and remembering what I’ve told her and work SO hard to reinforce in her.  I want her to be a kind, respectful friend and regardless of how it seems sometimes, it’s in her little brain somewhere!

And Gavin… If you don’t know Gavin, you are missing out.  He is a sweet and very fun little guy.  He loves being silly, and he REALLY loves his momma.  He’s a momma’s boy through and through, well, unless Papa or Grammy are around. He wants to be held and tended to, always.  I wasn’t sure how he would cope with a baby in the house, much less in my arms, but he rocked!  He couldn’t leave her alone because he was so excited to see her.  He wanted to look at, touch and tickle her.  He was so gentle and didn’t even seem to mind that she was in my arms and he wasn’t.   What a pleasant surprise! He also cracked me up because in his excitement he wandered around the house shouting, "Baby! Baby! Baby!" (baybeh)

It’s a happy start to this day.  Let’s carry the happiness on all day!

Sunday, October 20, 2013

tough stuff


I don’t know if I’m being dramatic, but I am feeling deeply discouraged tonight.  Parenting is so hard.  There are some days when I feel on top of things, more or less, and can go to bed believing that I’m doing things right.  I’m instilling values, facilitating the drive for learning, reading, praying and cleaning together.  I’m making plans for socialization, developing motor skills and creative play.  The gamut of childhood experience is being addressed and I’m tired.  What do I do then when it all feels like I’m failing despite my best efforts?

From very early on, Molli has not been a “by the book” kind of kid.  Myles and I were part of a parenting class and always left feeling more lost than before because the guaranteed solutions for the various issues of infancy through toddlerhood fell short in our home.  We’ve been making things up and figuring things out as we go, praying that we don’t mess everything up. Like usual, once I feel like I have something about her figured out, it changes and new issues arise.  Honestly, it’s exhausting and I am struggling to find answers to the subjective parenting questions I’m facing. 

I have been blessed to stay home with our kids but sometimes there is so much pressure.  It’s the same pressure toward perfection that I’ve always felt and have always fallen short. All of the typical household things combined with raising kids is a lot. I feel like I should be able to do all these things with relative ease but of course, once I feel like things are smooth, it crashes and I am in the dumps about it.  I am no good at this!  I love being home but I have no idea how to not let these things control me.  How do you get a three year old be nice? To share? To obey? To love, be apologetic, sincere, responsible and caring? I want to instill love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness and self-control in her but I don’t know how.

We spend all day working on things and I really don’t let things slide.  Back-talking, hitting, not sharing, yelling, refusing to clean etc all get some level of discipline and I feel like the meanest mom in the world sometimes!  Timeout! Nose in the corner! Say you’re sorry! Pick that up! We don’t hit! Yell, yell, yell.  I’m sick of it! And when did I become a yelling mom? Would more spanking help or make it worse? Do I take away her toys until she learns to take care of them and clean them up? I know that I have memories from when I was 3 years old and it would absolutely break my heart if her only memories from this age are of me nagging and her sitting in time out. 

Tonight felt a little like a blow from someone I care about and respect on many levels.  There was a statement made indicating that I am not doing enough in terms of discipline.  It was an innocent statement, not intended to hurt, I know that, but it did.  Somewhere imbedded in those words were an indication that I am not good enough.  I am doing my best but I sometimes feel so lost. The details don’t matter.

These kids are the most cherished, precious part of my life and the investment of a lifetime. When it’s all said and done, I can just pray.  I pray for my children to be spared the memories of my failure and that the things I do right resonate and stay with them in their little minds.  I pray that my actions will reflect God’s loving persistence toward His disobedient children.

This feels like a very “woe is me” post.  I don’t mean for it to be, but I’m sure I’m not alone in this.  If you have any genuine, heartfelt advice, please share.  We are open to whatever creative methods that might be floating around out there.  I have no intention to raise perfect kids, but I do want to watch them grow up knowing that I’ve done my absolute best, and I’ve sought out the counsel of others who have been though this. 

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Pausing to appreciate


Molli came into my room dragging her sleepy feet and held her purple hippo by the foot as I was finishing getting ready this morning.  Her bed head was charming and her sleepy voice greeted me, “I waked up early today Mommy, the sun is still black.” Obviously the sun is not black, but it’s just rising later so her usual 7:45 is no longer met with glorious sun.  I smiled at her sweet pretence and led her to Gavin’s room where he was waiting to be rescued from his crib.



Excitement overtook him as he saw us enter his room and be began bouncing as well as he can with squeals and shrieks of delight. He handed me his little doggy blankie and acknowledged all the good things he did in his bed.  The projector and mobile were playing their clashing tunes and Gavin motioned to each with a point and a “da!” as if to show me what a big boy he is that he can strike up the band himself.



Following a diaper change, Gavin demanded to be fed immediately, as usual.  Molli slowly obliged but truthfully food is a bore to her.  Unless it’s sweets, she couldn’t care less about meals and generally only participates for the social aspect.  She is totally my daughter.  My kids couldn’t be more opposite in this way.  Gavin devoured at least twice what Molli nibbled on and I set them both free to play for a few minutes, pointing out that the sun was coming up. 


I got Gavin dressed and realized that Molli wasn’t in her room playing.  I looked over and found her sitting quietly on a stool in front of the sliding glass doors that face the back yard.  She was sitting there with her purple hippo just watching.  A gorgeous red and pink sunrise filled the sky and she knew that it was special.  I don’t know how long she sat there but I let her just be. Finally, she turned to me and declared, “God makes things so beautiful!”


All I can do is smile.  She makes me pause and appreciate the beauty that is everywhere.  The other day we were on a walk and she started talking about how much she loved being outside.  She danced around spinning in circles, facing the sky with her arms up and her actual words were, “I love this store! This nature store that God made for me!”  I don’t know why she called it a store, but it made me laugh.  She’s my little hippie child, my free spirit! I’m glad that she knows to attribute all this goodness to God and I desperately hope that she always acknowledges the beauty surrounding her. 

 

Today I’m inspired to appreciate things a little more.  I appreciate that she sings at the top of her lungs in the car and Gavin sings “la la la la” right along with her.  I appreciate that Gavin still wants me to hold him most of the time.  I appreciate the big toothy grin he gives me and the squishy cheeks (oh those cheeks!) that I get to kiss whenever I want!  I appreciate Molli’s desire to be active but also to sit and read books together. I appreciate the family I have, the home we live in and relationships that are beginning to blossom. I am tremendously blessed!

 

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

My beautiful mess


This morning did not start out the way I had intended.  Well, neither did last night.  I went to bed all wound up after a stressful evening knowing we had MOPS in the morning, which meant I had to get the ball rolling first thing. I had a whole list of responsibilities to remember and not mess up. No matter how prepared I think I am, a particularly difficult and sleepless night is always the surefire way to mess me up. Gavin was up for hours through the night upset and inconsolable unless nursing.  Let’s face it, my son is going on 15 months old and nursing will be wrapping up here sooner or later.  We are beyond the nurse all night long stage. So I camped on the couch and didn’t sleep.  (It’s a step above lying in bed annoyed that my husband can sleep through it all.)

I knew exactly how long I could stay horizontal without inflicting morning chaos on the household.  Despite the weird night, got myself ready, bags all packed and set up by the door, and breakfast made just in time to get the kids fed, dressed, and hair done.  Unfortunately, Gavin had different plans.  His plans involved a disgusting load of laundry and an impromptu bath.  Yes, he blew out in a very bad way.  I swear, these teeth need to lay off my poor boy.  They are destroying him and my gag reflex just cannot handle the toxicity of these situations much longer. Have you ever barfed on your baby?  Me neither, but I imagine it would be upsetting all around.  His unusual sleeplessness combined with my anxious noisy mind was a crummy combination. My attitude was still good, but I was in a bubble and not quite myself as we left the house.

We got to MOPS on time, and let me just say, I love this ministry.  It was refreshing to just relax, talk to people and keep my hands busy with something other than cooking/cleaning/wiping etc.  I am a table leader this year, which to me mostly means that I have the opportunity to encourage, pray for and connect with other moms in a unique way.  I did my best to push aside my fuzzy brain and just be with these ladies. Apparently, I at least partially failed because a couple people recognized “the look” and gave me hugs or words urging me to press on.  I got everything done that I needed to do, and in the end all is well.  However, it’s nap time and I’m about to bust out the headphones.  Sleep or no sleep, how about we all just stay put and have quiet.  Better yet, let’s have peace! 

The MOPS theme this year is “A Beautiful Mess.”  Could there be a better theme for any group of moms?! I think not.  I am far from the angelic pristine symbol of womanhood.  I probably fall closer to the “hot mess” end of the spectrum, but I’m mostly OK with that.   As a mom specifically, I’ve come to terms that my idea of what I should be is skewed and I am better off just being Mommy; Messy as it may be.

I do try to keep things neat around the house but really, nothing about me screams domestic diva.  Nothing even whispers it for that matter.  When I think of a beautifully domestic woman, I think of someone with a fully balanced, couponed out meal plan in a pinterest worthy frame displayed in the kitchen and strictly followed.  This is great, I’m sure these families have more than enough veggies filling their tummies and are gluten free blah blah blah. We don’t do a whole lot of perfectly balanced organic meals.  I confess.  We are no strangers of American cheese slices, peanut butter and jelly and bananas.  I’m not proud of it, but I’ve come to accept that I am not a chef.  I do not get any joy out of cooking, and probably never will.  Meat grosses me out, vegetables rot quicker than we can eat them and recipes are not fun for me to try unless I know for sure they will be loved and devoured.  For that matter, if I suspect that a recipe will dirty too many things at once, I’ll probably skip it.  Again with PJ&J, or maybe change it up a bit and make grilled cheese. 

For now, amidst the thrown together meals, cleaning and re-cleaning, dressing and re-dressing, bathing, wiping, disciplining, chasing etc, this is the most beautiful mess I’ve ever seen.  My family is incredible and I absolutely love this life of mine.  I am not perfect, and neither is my family.  We are just as in need of grace as anyone else, but man, these guys rock.  Myles has been a wonderful provider for our family and I am so thankful to have him alongside me.  I have much to be grateful for and my prayer is that my gratefulness will far surpass my ridiculous notions to be great in a way that has no eternal value.  It's about love, and I sure have a lot of it!