Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Being a single parent for 48 hours...


The End.

Monday, May 30, 2011

A quiet holiday

I got to sleep in until 7:30! That was a nice beginning. I went to the gym with Caitlin, and after the workout we walked over to the cemetery to visit Mom. It was a nice, peaceful morning.

I rushed home to help Brian pack for his work trip. He's off to Texas for a couple of days. I am sad that he's gone, but I am excited for him to have this opportunity with his work.  Lila is just sad. She is not understanding why her daddy isn't coming home tonight.

So rather than sit around and feel sad we decided to go run a couple of errands and then met Grandma T. for lunch at McDonald's. Happy Meals and running around the play area seemed to perk everyone right up. Although I was once again reminded of one of my top ten pet peeves: parents who can't look up from their cell phones or iphones or other electronics for even a second to see that their out of control hellion is running amok and pushing smaller kids out of their way. Poor Lila has a lovely raspberry on her forehead from getting kicked by a bigger kid who wasn't looking where they were going. But other than that, lunch was a great treat.

Now we are getting packed up to go spend the night with Grandma T. She was so sweet to offer us a place to crash since I don't sleep very well when Brian is out of town.  The kids are excited to be having a sleepover/movie night with Grandma. I am excited at the thought of early bedtimes.

I hope your holiday has been equally relaxing. Happy Memorial Day!

Sunday, May 29, 2011

I'm glad that I live in this beautiful world...

Heavenly Father created for me.

Jake took this picture in his grandparents backyard after Sunday dinner. 

Grandpa T. showed the kids the nest and they were so excited to see real life nature up close. Jake came running in to ask if he could borrow Brian's phone to take a picture of the eggs, and Evie was close on his heels telling us at the top of her lungs that, "...there is a nest with robin's eggs, like we got on Easter, only they are really real!"

Thanks for a great dinner and a neat natural science lesson tonight, Mormor and Farfar. 
The kids were especially impressed by hearing you pray in Danish, Grandma!

Saturday, May 28, 2011

IHOP Happenings...

We decided to take the kids out for lunch today for a special treat. We opted for IHOP and told them all to get dressed quickly. Jake came back upstairs wearing jeans and pulling a golf shirt over his head. Suddenly he stopped and asked, "Mom, is this formal enough for IHOP?" I told him no, mostly to see what his idea of formal was, but Brian reassured him that he was dressed appropriately.

After we got to the restaurant and had been seated, all three children quickly decided on pancakes.  Lila even ordered for herself, "I have da baby cakes p'ease" and completely charmed our waitress. Then they happily settled to coloring their place mats. As we were waiting we talked and laughed, and just generally enjoyed each other's company.

And then out of the blue Jake turned to Evie and said, "So... Evie. Where do you think babies come from?"  The tables around us fell silent. Brian and I looked at each other in shock while trying not to laugh at the same time. Evie thought for a moment and then said, "Um...  from tummies."  Jake then leaned over and said, "Wait a second, " while he turned out the back of her shirt to look at the tag in it. "Ah-ha, " he said, "You come from Taiwan."  Brian and I looked at each other with a kind of what-do-we-do-now-is-not-really-the-time-to-have-this-discussion look, mixed with relief at dodging a really awkward moment.

At this point we had been waiting quite awhile for our food and as our waitress walked by Lila turned and yelled at her, "Where's my baby cakes?!" Again the waitress laughed and laughed, and said that Lila was just the cutest thing ever... and I couldn't help but think, "Yeah, the attitude is funny in small doses. Try dealing with her 24/7..."  Of course what I said was, "Thank you."

At long last our food arrived and I watched as Jake started his process. We've eaten at IHOP any number of times over the past four or five years and Jake always gets the same thing, the Silver Five. First he eats the eggs and bacon, then he arranges the pancakes in a circle around the plate. Then he eats them one at a time, each one with a different syrup. Counter-clockwise. He gets it from his dad...

All in all an enjoyable day out for all of us. And I'm sure the people sitting around us enjoyed the free entertainment.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Art imitates life?

This is a picture Jake drew in his school journal. 

When he showed me I had three thoughts:

1) Wow, Jake is getting to be a really good artist.
2) He misspelled crutches. 
3) I hope no one thinks this actually happens.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Hmmm, I think someone is trying to tell me something....

After yesterday's post it should come as no surprise when I tell you that I have been feeling like my parenting skills could use a little work. I mean, if I were a better mom then my two year old wouldn't be so rebellious and naughty. It's probably because my kids eat processed sugar and food dyes....

I am kidding, of course, but it's easy after a hard day to feel like you are failing where everyone else makes it look easy. I was reading through my blog list this morning and the title on The Idea Room jumped out at me. How to Avoid Taking Your Stress out on Your Children. It's part one of a series of posts by a Family Psychology teacher at BYU. I really needed to read this today. And the best thing I took away from it was noticing that some of her ideas are things I already excel at, and some ideas are areas I could work on, and some ideas were things I had never thought of before and am excited to try.

My favorite section of the post is Have Realistic Expectations. Especially where she says, "No one has our unique set of circumstances."  I want to focus on that for the next little while. I need to cut both myself and my baby a little slack and realize that neither of us have been in this situation before. I have said many times to others, "You are great mom! You love little so and so and want to do the best you can for them."  And now I am saying it to myself. I am a great mom. I love Lila (even when she is being a little so and so) and want to be the best mom I can for her. I am going to work harder at meeting her at her level, giving her my attention and making sure she knows that I am really listening to her.

I'll let you know how it goes...

p.s.- I totally plan on implementing these ideas with all of my children, it's just that Lila seems to be the one I butt heads the most with lately and who I feel the most out of control with.

p.p.s.- I really recommend taking a moment to follow the link and read the post, esp. if you have children.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

It's been a very long day... Lila-wise

I remember being in the hospital after Jacob was born, and family and friends stopping by to see my beautiful new baby. I can't remember who it was, but someone was holding him and admiring his perfect, new features, and while she held him she looked at me and said, "It's hard to believe that at some point in time you are going to want to kill this child, isn't it?" I just sat there, aghast, and thinking, "What a horrible thing to say to a new mother!"  Little did I know that day would come much sooner than I had anticipated with each of my children.

I've been thinking about this memory all day because Lila has been an absolute stinker from start to finish. (Well, almost finished, Brian is still trying to get her to bed as I type this.)  But she can still make me laugh, even as she makes me want to pull out my hair. For example, this conversation was had after I put her in the tub, reminded her twice not to pour water out of the tub, went out of the room for less than ten seconds to grab a clean towel, and returned to find her pouring water out of the tub...

Me: Lila! What am I going to do with you?

Lila: I don' know.

Me: I think I will send you to live at the zoo.

Lila: No mama, I want ta stay wif you.

Me: You don't want to go live with the monkeys?

Lila: No.

Me You don't think you should live with the bears?

Lila: No. I not a bear, mama. I just a Lila.

Me: Well, if you want to stay here you have to stop acting like a wild animal!

Lila: I want to stay wif you and daddy.... and Evie. Jake can go stay wif the aminals.

Me: You don't want your brother to stay with us?

Lila: No, he needs to go stay wif the aminals...

Poor Jake, he gets blamed for everything around here.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

A new adventure...

My boy scout. 

Isn't he adorable?
 (I can't say that around him, apparently we've reached the stage where any gushing by his mother is definitely uncool.)

He was so excited to go to his first den meeting(?) tonight, and when he got home the first words out of his mouth were, "Mom! I can earn my Bobcat by next week! There are eight paths and I can do one a day!"  I am not sure what all that means, but I am glad that he is so enthusiastic about scouting.  A goal orientated program is so right up his alley. I am just glad that my biggest responsibility will be sewing the patches on his shirt. That, I can handle.

Monday, May 23, 2011

If he backed up any faster he'd beep...

I have been dealing with a lot of frustration with my appearance lately. And a lot of that frustration is directed towards my hair. I enjoy the ease of a short style, but I am pretty sure the last person to cut it gave me the "Justin Bieber" special.

Anyway, yesterday we were getting ready for church and I kept fussing with my hair trying to get it to lay right. Finally, in total exasperation, I said, "Oh I don't know. Maybe it's just time to start growing it out again."

Brian popped his head into the bedroom and said, a little too enthusiastically, "That gets my vote!" Then he quickly followed up with, "Not that I don't like your hair now, because I think it looks really good."

Um, yeah right. That was believable. I know he wishes I would grow my hair out really long again, but I am just not a long hair kind of girl. As much as I would like to be, my hair just won't cooperate. I guess that will just have to be one of the things he'll have to wait until the next life for, along with no stretch marks and breasts that haven't migrated south for the winter. Good thing I know he loves me for all of me, otherwise a girl could develop a complex...

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Miss Independant

Today as I was walking Lila to her nursery class we met up with one of her teachers. Lila dropped my hand like a hot potato, grabbed her teacher's hand, waved and said, "Bye-bye Mama, See you afters class!" I smiled and said, "Okay, love you honey."

Because I am a primary teacher I was still heading the same direction they were. Lila kept turning around to see me behind them and finally she'd had enough. "Mom! Don't follow me, okay?" I laughed and agreed to go around the long way so that I wasn't following her. I noticed that she kept an eagle eye on me until I went out the other doors.

I am torn between being happy that she loves her nursery class so much and a little sad that she is ready to be more independent. I think the end of each baby stage is harder with her since she is my last baby.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

My two biggest accomplishments today...

1) I didn't eat any of the leftover birthday cake.

2) I organized the hair elastics. 

I am calling it good for today.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Happy Birthday Jake!

Warning* This post contains serious picture overload!

Today is Jake's birthday! I can't believe that my son is eight years old. But before we can even get to that I have to highlight the day in the order it happened...

Today was also Evie's preschool graduation. Brian was able to take the morning off of work, and Caite and Pa Dave came too. It was really nice because they got there early enough to snag us seats in the front row! I thought, "Score! I'll finally be able to get some good pictures of Evie during the program."

In the crazy rush of the morning I didn't realize until we were on the road that Lila hadn't gotten any breakfast. Fortunately Pa Dave was able to bring her some cereal and other things to snack on, so she was really well behaved for the most part and quite content to sit and chow down during the program.

They started with one of the teachers playing Pomp and Circumstance while the kids walked up to the stage. I caught this picture just before the meltdown started....

Evie spent most of the program like this. "Sniff, sniff... whimper, whimper....sob, sob"

Eventually they had her come off the stage and sit next to one of the teachers with her back to the audience and that seemed to help a bit. I am seriously rethinking the idea of putting her into a dance class or piano lessons, or anything that would require a performance. I'm not sure it wouldn't leave her permanently traumatized and then she'll grow up needing extensive counseling...

Evie and Miss Jody, her favorite teacher. She was the one who was able to help her calm down and feel a little more comfortable. Ah well, thus ends her preschool career. On to bigger and better things with Kindergarten.

We left the preschool and rushed across town to Jake's school to see the plays his class was putting on. Jake was the Emperor in "The Emperor's New Hair", based on the Emperor's New Clothes. I may be a bit biased, but I think his group was the best one. Jake did great memorizing all his lines and speaking loudly and clearly with great inflection and timing. He had several people compliment him and say that he was a natural born thespian. It does run in the family...

After the plays we got to stay and have lunch with him. Every year the school has an event called "Someone Special Lunch" where the kids can have a parent or grandparent come and eat lunch with them. Jake lucked out and had his parents, his sisters, an aunt and a grandpa!

Awww, what a good looking group of guys. 

Again, Lila was just happy to sit and chow down...

Aunt Caite decided Jake needed his birthday spanking.

And one to grow on...

After school we got home and after getting Lila down for a nap we hurried to tidy up the house and get ready for Jake's party. Caite was an absolute rock star and baked the cake with a little "help" from Jake and Evie. 

Jake got to pick where to go out for dinner and he chose Sizzler. Grandma and Grandpa T. joined us there and we had a great dinner together. Afterwards we all came back to watch Jake open his presents and then have cake and ice cream.

A Lego set and a couple of pairs of shorts from Grandma and Grandpa T.

A neat pirate card (complete with eye patch!) and some money from Pa Dave to buy Jake's Scout stuff. (Oh boy, I am going to have a cub scout. This is a whole new world...)

A cool paper planes kit from Caite and Patrick.

More Lego's from Mom and Dad.
A kit to build your own remote controlled dinosaur from Lila.
Mario trading cards from Evie.
I'm just realizing that pretty much everything he got was something to build or make. He should be entertained for at least a month!

Finally it was time to blow out the candles. 

Happy Birthday Jacob! 
I am so excited to see you have all the neat new experiences that are coming your way, and I am so proud of the great kid you are.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Three very random pictures...

The girls thought today felt like a hat kind of day.

Jake got his cast on yesterday. It's red. He can't wait for EVERYONE to sign it.
(He is mad at me for making him laugh when I took this picture. He had a good "Blue Steel" going on and he doesn't like his dimples. I know. He's going to be so much fun as a teenager...) 

Hey Aunt Kristen, you remember that sock that I started at Grandma's about a month ago that you were sure couldn't possibly fit my foot? Here it is. :) 

I call them "pucker" because the color of the yarn reminds me of sour candies. I have this weird new passion for naming my knitting projects.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Our bedtime routine...

Takes for.ev.er. Everyone puts on their pajamas, brushes their teeth and gets into bed. We read some scriptures, and then spend more time explaining them then we did reading them. (I truly don't mind that part. I like that my kids really want to know what we are reading about.) Night time prayers, lights out, hugs and kisses all around... and then the real fun begins.

Lila fusses and fights and cries and carries on until she wears herself out. Jake seems to be drifting off and then he'll pop up and ask random questions like, "How did the pilgrims treat broken bones?" or "Can the word 'victim' be used in a good way?" Evie lulls you into a false sense of security by laying there silent and still, and then two hours later will come running out with a big smile on her face and ask to be snuggled.

It is exhausting, but apparently not for the children. I know this stage won't last forever (at least it better not...) but right now there doesn't seem to be an end in sight and I don't know what to do. I'm pretty sure it's frowned upon to tie a child to their bed.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Today I want to remember...

The soporific sound of rain falling outside and my sweet baby breathing on my neck while we snuggled during nap time.

The funny way Lila can't say certain sounds at the beginnings of words, she would say we were "nuggling".

She also asked me to help her find her "neakers" and we looked with "noculars".

The happy sound that is my two older children getting along and the melodic tinkle of legos from down the stairs.

Proof that some of the lessons are getting through to my stubborn two year old, as she blamed her brother for writing on a toy with marker and told him that it was "a very much big NO NO!"

That although one of my favorite times of day is when they are all asleep, nothing beats a slightly sticky kiss and a sleepy good morning from them either.

I really do love being a mom.

Monday, May 16, 2011

I feel today is best summed up by this interaction...

Me: Jake? Will you please run downstairs and restart the dryer for thirty minutes please?

Jake: Oh sure!

Five minutes later...

Jake: Mom? I had a distracting thought enter my head. What did you ask me to do again?

Me: sigh...

I have to admit that this is an improvement over our normal pattern of behavior. Usually he would have the distracting thought, not realize it, and I would go down a half an hour later to switch the laundry only to find still wet clothes in the dryer.  Silly boy.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

I think we've finally done it...

Lila is now paper trained.

Yeah, I don't trust that mischievous face either.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

I guess he would know...

This is the card Jake made for our little friend Libby, who also broke her arm last week.

Step 1: You get an x-ray to check if the bone is broken.
Step 2: Splint and sling
Step 3: Hard cast (He is showing that it is still sore at this point because that is a feather that hit the arm and made the guy say "ow!")
Step 4: The "mmm" is either referring to the fact that it hurts less, or that it is hard to be patient while it heals...
Step 5: Back to the doctors to get the cast off.
Last One: All better! 

We are all hoping that both Jake and Libby get better soon!

We are also planning on getting pictures of them together while they both have their casts on.

So not p.c.

*Friday's Post

Tonight Jake said the dinner prayer. A perfectly normal "thank you for our blessings, please bless the food" kind of prayer. After it was over he looked at me and asked, "Was that too political?" I smiled and said, "No, no it wasn't."  Brian laughed and said, "It wasn't political at all."  Jake thought for a moment and then said, "Oh! Maybe next time I should pray for less immigrants."

When we finally stopped laughing enough to catch our breaths, we hurried to explain that that was definitely not an appropriate subject for a prayer. We are still trying to figure out where he even heard that phrase as political discussions are not something that happen in our house.

Every woman becomes their mother...

*Thursday's Post

I have really enjoyed having Caitlin as a workout buddy. Even though it means that sometimes we have to go to the insanely early class because of her work schedule. One of the things I like the best is that we often go walk for a mile after the workout. It's always nice to walk with someone who has the same size stride as you...

Today we took our walk and as we were leaving the parking lot Caite put her purse into her car. Because I didn't have any pockets I put my keys and phone into her purse. We walked and talked and enjoyed the spring morning, until we got back to the car and Caitlin put her hands in her pockets and realized that she had also put her keys and phone into her purse before locking it into the car. I just looked at her for a moment and then said, "Man. You are seriously channeling Mom right now."  She protested slightly and then said, "I'll have you know it's been quite awhile since I've done this... it's been at least six months!" I burst out laughing and said, "Caite. Most people measure the time between locking their keys in the car in years, not months."

I asked her as we were going in to borrow a phone to call for help, if Patrick was working or would he be able to bring the spare key over. She hung her head a little lower and muttered, "We don't have a spare key." Over my renewed laughter she said, "I'm going to go get some made when we leave here..."  She called Dad who came over to try and jimmy the car open. No luck. We eventually had to call the Centerville police department who said, "That's Bountiful's jurisdiction."   So we called Bountiful who said, "That's Centerville's jurisdiction."  I couldn't help thinking "So this parking lot is the perfect place to commit a crime, no one's policing it!"  A Centerville officer eventually responded and was able to open the car.

So what did we learn? I should always make sure I have pockets when I hang out with Caite, who is becoming more and more like our mom all the time.

Blogging drama...

I am so bummed. I was on such a roll. Four and a half months without missing a single day and then blogger freaked out and wasn't available.  And now my brain isn't available. So tomorrow I will catch up and tonight I will sleep so that said catch up will be intelligible. Good night.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

One year, one week, and one day...

That's how long it's been since the last time my son broke his arm.

I know. 

Just as I was walking out the door to pick Evie up from preschool I got a call from Jake's school. He had been hit in the arm by a soccer ball during recess. They said it looked okay and wasn't swelling or anything, but he seemed to be in a lot of pain and was asking for me.  I ran into the school and quickly decided that a trip to the Insta-care was probably in order.  Talk about serious deja-vu. Dinee was working again today and we were lucky enough to have her be our MA. I leaned over to Jake as we were in the waiting room and said, "That's pretty neat, that we get to see Dinee at work." He thought about that for a moment and then said, "No offense to Dinee, but I would much rather have her come over for a Mario party than have to see her at work."

They brought us back to the room and then followed the usual routine of questions, exam, and x-ray. Jake was fairly calm through the whole process, so I was really starting to hope for a sprain or some other mild injury. No luck. Another buckle fracture. Another splint and sling for a week, and then another hard cast. 

As we were finishing up at the doctor's office, Dinee was explaining a few things about wearing the sling and she said, "...you need to keep it at 90 degrees or higher." Jake looked extremely puzzled and then said, "Um, Dinee? I don't think it's going to be that warm for at least another month or so...." Oh we laughed so hard.  He really was confused about how he was supposed to control the weather to keep his arm warm enough.

Once we left the doctor's office we met back up with Grandma T., who was kind enough to meet us there and take the girls. She brought Jake a stuffed camel, because when you are hurting it really helps to have something to snuggle. We switched back cars and I drove off to get Jake's prescription filled. From the back seat I could hear the girls exclaiming and offering condolences on their brother's injury. And then, with all the asperity that only a little sister can manage, Evie said, "Jake? Why didn't you just catch the ball?" I was laughing so hard and poor Jake was doubly offended by our lack of sensitivity. I hurried to point out that sometimes accidents just happen, and that there was nothing Jake could have done in this situation. My point was probably lacking in conviction, seeing as I was saying it between snorts of laughter...

So here we are, right where we were last year. Less than a month before school gets out, a week from his birthday, and a broken arm. I told him this year when he blows out his candles, maybe he should wish that next year on his birthday he won't have anything in a cast.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

The danger of Tangled

Today Lila came upstairs with a small toy frying pan.  She took it in her room and was playing quietly for awhile. Then from down the hall we heard that distinctive boin-oi-oi-oi-oing sound.  Lila came walking out rubbing the back of her head, and Caitlin and I just burst out laughing. Caitlin looked at Lila and said, "Frying pans! Who knew?" Lila looked right back at her and said, "I don't know, maybe Mickey?" We started laughing again, and she didn't like that one bit. She put her hands on her hips and then said, "Look girls, this is my game." She shook her head in disgust and left us helplessly giggling...

Monday, May 9, 2011

A Girl's Day!

Today we went to Temple Square.
Tracie, Me, Lila, Evie, Michelle, and Grandma Terrie

The tulips were absolutely beautiful.

The weather... not so much.
We went into one of the visitor centers to warm up at one point, and it was really neat to see all the displays they had in there. The little girls were even interested and pretty well behaved.

We walked over to the Lion House Pantry for lunch, so yummy!

All the girls ate all their food. That's how good it is...

After lunch we headed to Grandma T's favorite store, Build-a-Bear! 

Grandma and Michelle checking out the new animals.

Lila's bear, Coco Bean, has needed to be repaired for several months. She was ecstatic to get to play with Coco again now that she isn't "bo-ken".

The girls each picked out a new outfit for their bears and Lila also got a bear carrier like Evie. Best seven dollars ever spent, now I won't have to listen to them fight over Evie's carrier.

We had such a fun day hanging out with the girls, thanks for such a special treat Grandma T!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Mother's Day

Last week as we were driving around my husband started a conversation with:
"So... next week is Mother's Day huh?" 
  "I don't know what to get you. We don't have any money." 
 "Well, I guess you better get creative then." 
And that is where we left it, him not knowing what to do and me not expecting much more than the obligatory sappy card... 

I have to admit that he knocked my socks off. 
Major points for both creativity and thoughtfulness.

Additional brownie points were earned by making me laugh with the fine print at the bottom, asterisks and all. 

I can't wait to use this! Who's up for a girl's night? I can stay out until midnight!

This morning I woke up to a wonderful breakfast in bed from Jacob. He was so sweet and made sure it was "diet" friendly. (Still more calories than I should have eaten, but no way was I going to refuse to eat what he had so lovingly prepared for me.)

I got a paper flower from Lila, a card full of hearts and flowers from Evie, and a book of poetry from Jacob. And not just any old book of poetry, these are all original poems written and illustrated by my son. I have to share my absolute favorite with you.

A Haiku- by Jacob

A swooping eagle
Downward it is coming now
Don't let it hit me

There is also a great portrait of me that he drew. I am standing in line at the grocery store and knitting. I love seeing myself through my children's eyes, and seeing how well my son really knows me.

Today I can honestly say that I can't think of any "thing" I would rather have than these handmade gifts and sincere offerings of love from my husband and children. I feel very blessed to be a mother and very blessed that I am able to stay home with our children and be a homemaker. I know that it is not an option for many people, whether through circumstance or inclination. I never wanted anything more than to be a wife and a mother, and I am truly grateful that I am living the life that I always dreamed of having.  

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Time for some tear soup*

*The title should be fair warning, continue on without kleenex at your own peril.

Tomorrow is Mother's Day. 
Tomorrow I will spend a lot of time missing my mother.
Tomorrow I will cry when we sing "each flower, dear mother, reminds me of you" in Primary, it's inevitable.

This week on Facebook a lot of people have put up pictures of their mothers' for their profile pictures. I'm not going to lie, it's been a little confusing for me. Especially in cases where I am friends with both the person and their mother. I think it is a wonderful way for people to honor their mothers though, and several times this week I've wanted to put up a picture of my mother for my profile. But every time I sit down to the computer and start looking at the pictures of her I have on here, I start bawling.  After a week of this I decided it might be cathartic to share the ones I couldn't decide between and tell you why they mean so much to me. 

I love this picture with four generations of my family. My grandmother, my mother, myself and Genevieve. I have a copy of it on my fridge where I can look at it everyday and take comfort in knowing that this eternal family stretches for generations in both directions. It makes me feel connected to part of a greater whole. Plus it was taken on Evie's blessing day which is a wonderful memory.

This is my mother brushing my hair while I was in labor with Lila. I think one of the most comforting and relaxing things in this world is having someone brush my hair. This picture brings me back to a time when my mother could soothe my pains with a soft touch and gentle word.  I also think about how lucky and blessed I was to have her be there with me as I gave birth to each of my children and the bond that created for both of us. 

This is the only picture we have of my mother with all of her grandchildren. Every time I see this picture I am just in awe of my brother's talent, and so grateful that he was able to capture such a beautiful moment. You can just sense how thin the veil was as sweet new spirits joined our family and my mother was preparing to go home. It touches something so deep in me, such joy and such sadness can only be described as sacred.

This last picture is a candid that I took during the last week or so of my mother's life.  The thing I love about it is how my parents were holding hands. This room was always full of visitors and people coming and going, but the sweet and simple connection of them holding hands just speaks of the wealth of love they have for each other. I feel so blessed knowing that I was born to these two people who chose to be together, who overcame struggles and shared that strength and love with me, and everyone that was a part of their lives. 

I love my mother so much. Sometimes I miss her so much it becomes a physical pain. Sometimes it is so hard not to scream at the unfairness of it all. Sometimes I am just grateful for the time I did have with her and the wonderful relationship we shared. I am so grateful for the knowledge that someday I will be able to see her again, because sometimes a girl just needs her mom.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Cautiously optimistic...

I am happy to report that we are now a binkie free house hold. It really happened by accident more than planning. We lost the last binkie on Monday and it still has not surfaced. While I am happy with the outcome, I am also a little nervous that Lila is going to find a binkie in some bizarre place and then we'll have to start this process all over again.

The saddest moment was nap time on Tuesday. She had gotten used to only having the binkie for nap time and bed times, so I decided to snuggle her in my bed and spend a little more time reading and singing to her than I normally do since it was the first time without the binkie. She looked at me with her big brown eyes and asked, "Binkie?" "Oh honey, remember? We lost the binkie." She thought about that for a moment and then said, "But mo-oom, binkies are for nap times." I gave her a hug and said, "I know honey, but I don't have one to give you. Besides you are a big girl now. Big girls don't need binkies like little babies do." Her lip got mutinous at that point and she said, "I NOT a big girl. I a LITTLE girl. LITTLE girls NEED binkies." It took a little more conversation to prove to her satisfaction that I wasn't just holding out on her and that the binkie was really gone, but she eventually settled down and went to sleep. And she has only asked for it a few times since then and not at all in the last day! Yay!

I am torn between being happy that the baby stage of my life is over, and being sad that the baby stage of my life is over. It's an interesting thing to contemplate as Mother's Day approaches and I am spending a lot of time thinking about the kind of mother I want to be vs. the kind of mother I am. I think I'm shooting for a happy medium somewhere between Super Mom and Earth Mother, with just a dash of June Cleaver thrown in. I think I'd look good in pearls...

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Getting a little culture in...

Tonight I took the two oldest kids to see Annie at the new CenterPoint Theatre. It was fun to share something that was such a large part of my childhood with them. The show was well done and both my kids seemed to really enjoy it. Jake kept noticing little things and pointing them out to me, like if a set piece didn't make it back to exactly the same spot in a different scene (Seriously, reminded me a lot of my brother...) and wanting me to explain all the political subtext of the Great Depression. I should have explained more before the show I guess. Evie was just entranced. The first act was a little difficult for her, when Miss Hannigan was being so mean to the little girls and when Annie was singing about wanting her parents to come back and get her. Evie clung to my arm like she expected to be hauled off to an orphanage at any moment. It was interesting to me to see how differently each of my children reacted to the play, even while they both really enjoyed it. On the way home I told the kids how Mima and Pa Dave took me to plays when I was a little girl and how much I always loved going to the theater, and how I hoped the performing arts was something they would learn to love and appreciate as they grow up too. Jake thought about it for a moment and then said, "You know what I would like to see, The Nutcracker." I told him it's a date!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

The laundry gods did not smile on me today...

I got home from the gym this morning with a grand plan. Today I would spend all day, if necessary, getting all of my laundry done. Folded and put away in the drawers kind of done. Well, you know what they say, they best laid plans and all that...

One of my children was awoken by an overfull bladder. I can count on one hand the number of times both of them have had an accident in the bed, even including while potty training. So I was unfortunately not prepared. The plastic sheet I used to have on the bed ripped several months ago and I hadn't thought to replace it. Oops. This meant a larger scale clean up as I had to clean and dry the mattress.  Jake saw me stripping down the bed and said in his most knowing voice, "I guess we'll be sleeping in our sleeping bags tonight. Huh, mom?"  I gave him my best superior look and informed him that I would have the sheets washed and the bed remade long before bedtime rolled around.

While the mattress was off the bed I decided it was as good a time as any to tackle the dirt that had accumulated on the wall from little hands and feet. And once that was done I started noticing all the places that Lila has decorated lately.

This one is hot pink permanent marker. Magic eraser didn't quite cut it. Any ideas? Other than repainting...

I also got to go on a little Easter egg hunt of my own, looking for all the places Lila has used her Easter stamp. So far the list includes her face, the walls in the living room, her bedroom, hallway, stairway, the kitchen table, Evie's bed, Lila's dresser, and the lid of the toilet. Oddly enough they all cleaned up fairly easily, except for the lid of the toilet which is still a pale pink color that I am hoping is not permanent. I hope my mother in law won't be offended when I tell her the stamp in question has been thrown away.

During all this I kept cycling through the laundry in a heroic effort to get the sheets washed and the bed remade before Jake got home from school. I threw the sheets into the dryer just as it was time to go and pick him up. We ran a quick errand and when we arrive home I went to pull them out and found this...

Why I didn't think to check the pillow cases for purple crayon I'll never know... such a rookie mistake. I took a moment to just breathe and then decided that the silver lining was that these are the old sheets that were already ruined by blotchy bleach stains and I still had time to wash the other set of sheets. I dug through the laundry where they had been patiently waiting at the bottom of the pile for about a month awhile, and I had forgotten that they needed to be washed because someone spilled a cup of chocolate milk all over them. I decided to give some Spray n' Wash a shot and hope they weren't stained for good. I held the sheet up in one hand and gave it a good three or four sprays before the bottom of the bottle fell off the trigger. I just stood there watching the entire bottle of Spray n' Wash spill out onto the floor. Since I need the pretreatment on the sheet anyway I used it to mop up the mess as much as possible and then threw it in the wash.  

Then it was time to make dinner and get kids bathed and to bed, and I just ran out of time.
Dang it. Know-it-all seven year old...