Thursday, April 30, 2009
It's true - I had gone to a doctor the day before. It wasn't Ethan's doctor, but he didn't need to know that. The doctor, bless her, gave me a John Rosemond article that suggested this approach to my child who hasn't wet his pants in months, yet refuses to poop in the potty. I love John Rosemond. His column frequently appears in the local paper and I love his no-nonsense approach to parenting. Like any other "expert," I take his advice with a grain of salt, but it's usually good stuff.
Ethan called me about 5 minutes into "poopy time." He hadn't gone yet. "I'm sorry, honey. You must've misunderstood Mommy. You only call me once you've gone poopy." About 10 minutes later, he called me again. "Mommy, read me this book!" "No, baby, I'm sorry, I can't. The doctor said pooping is a private thing and Mommy can't come in until you're done." (This part I totally pulled out of my butt.) At one point he came out of the bathroom. "Did you poop?" "No." "Then you have to go back in the bathroom. Doctor's orders!" Again, I stayed cheery. There was no yelling, no arguing, and 30 minutes in, he had pooped. He dumped the little potty into the big toilet, flushed, washed his hands, and got dressed, all with a terrific attitude! We didn't have to deal with it the rest of the day.
I was amazed. I still am. This morning there was a little bit more resistance, but not much, and again, about 30 minutes in, he had gone poop, we cleaned up, got ready for school, and off we went. I'll admit I'm a little worried about tomorrow because it's our preschool field trip to Green Meadows Farm and we're supposed to be there by 9:15, but that's okay. If we're late, we're late. It was really, really hard for me to not go in this morning and tell him to hurry up, but I didn't. That wouldn't be fair to him and it's not necessary. I just did some deep breathing and kept telling myself, "Stay the course. Stay the course."
It's funny how many things I've vowed to do different with Micah because of "mistakes" I feel I've made with Ethan. I really think I waited too long to potty train him. It might not have gone any faster, but I also might not have had so much resistance. And headaches. I'm starting Micah this summer. I'm going to enlist Ethan's help, I'm not going to rush, but I am at least going to introduce the idea of going in the potty. Who knows? Maybe in a year or two I'll be done with diapers. Done with diapers! Yea!
Wednesday, April 29, 2009
Mark and I took a business trip together a couple of years ago to California. It was very exciting to go without the kiddos and we were totally looking forward to it.
Well, it's a pretty good trek out there. It seems like it takes forever to reach the west coast, so we were tuckered out by the time we reached our hotel room.
Poor Mark was suffering with a really bad allergy attack. His head was sooooo congested. He was miserable and and yet happy that we could finally take a nap before the evening's festivities. We had just lugged all the luggage in and collapsed on the bed.
Everything was nice and quiet until we heard something weird. It was a buzzing sound. We tried to ignore it, but it just kept going on and on. We couldn't sleep! Ugh!
OK. I tried to locate the sound and it seemed like it was coming from the wall. I called the front desk and they sent a repair man to the room. He came in and informed us that the air conditioning switch was faulty and that he couldn't fix it. He suggested another room. Ugh!
So, I called the front desk and I sent poor Mark to go get the new key. We changed rooms.
Everything was nice and quiet until we heard something weird - again! It was the same buzzing sound! I informed Mark that this hotel was a dump and I just couldn't believe we were having to go through this!
So, I called the front desk and Mark then sent ME to go get the new key to a room in a totally different building. We surmised that it must be some electrical problem in the old building. Mark sent me to inspect the new room.
I went. Everything was completely quiet. FINALLY!
So, Mark and I lugged the luggage again and we tried again for a nap. Then we heard it again! What in the world was going on? Was this Candid Camera?
Using my newly perceptive hearing, I located the buzzing sound coming from the FLOOR!
The floor under my LUGGAGE! As I opened my bag I realized the culprit.
My electric toothbrush had been smushed ON!
We laughed sooooooo hard! I am laughing right now as I type!
Tuesday, April 28, 2009
The issue I'm facing this week, however, is that life is "back to normal," but we still feel like we are on vacation. I have a need to feel grounded. I feel the need for routine.
I'm going to start planning our meals this week (again), but I'm adding breakfast and lunch to the list. I'm always stumped by these two little meals, probably because they're pretty simple and I like to make things complicated if at all possible. I'm thinking "Waffle Wednesday" for breakfast and "Tuna Salad Tuesday" for lunch, etc. What do you think?
Another routine that is going to be necessary as the weather gets hotter is going to be getting out of the house earlier. Ever been to a playground in Florida once the sun has turned the slides into hot plates? Not fun. We're going to start getting up and out as early as possible so that we're ready for the summer months.
Do you have any routines I should consider? What do you do in your home that makes things run smoothly? I need your help!
Monday, April 27, 2009
My husband and I are both such big fans of Starbucks that when traveling, we make our pit stops at Starbucks. On the route from my parent's house to his, I can tell you every exit that has a Starbucks. It is this habit that almost cost us our lives one spring night. OK, that may be a little dramatic, but I was afraid I was losing my non-coffee crowd.
It was March 31, 2006. Alex was only about 18 months old, and we were visiting Charlie's parents for the weekend. We had only been parents for five months! For two hours, we were driving just north but parallel to an ominous thunderstorm all through Indiana. At Indianapolis, it looked like we finally got ahead of the storm. Our trek turned south as we got on I-65 and prepared to stop at our Greenville Starbucks. We had all of our drinks in tow and were ready for the last leg of our trip when the wind picked up. It was blowing so hard, I could barely open the doors, and it was actually lifting our car. Charlie grabbed Alex and told me to run back inside. The wind was pushing on my car door so hard that I couldn't open it. I had to climb out the driver's side.
Once inside, the sirens went off, alerting all of the coming tornado. Quickly we were all ushered into the women's bathroom. I think there were about 15 of us - strangers who quickly bonded as we rode the storm out. Even when he was young, Alex was friendly. He wanted one of the guys in a baseball hat to hold him. He was a crowd favorite. I managed to stay calm even with my brand new precious cargo in harm's way and my mocha in my car :(. We had to stay in the bathroom for about 45 minutes until the warning expired. The tornado touched-down about 1/4 of a mile away from us, and the buildings next door had some damage. God kept us safe. When we emerged from the bathroom, the workers even made us all free drinks.
Each time we travel that route, we have to stop at our store. Most of the employees from that night have moved on, but we still love to stop. Many of my mom-friends joke about coffee being a lifesaver, but in my case, it is true!
Sunday, April 26, 2009
Some nights as I gaze down on my sleeping little king I can see his baby face. The one that we got a picture of with his referral. We think the picture was taken when he was 2 or 3 months old (there is no date on it). Other nights he looks like such a big boy laying there in my arms and I can start to see glimpses of what he might look like when he is older.
When I get these glimpses of the past and the future I pray for my baby boy. Thanking God for my baby's past that brought him to me and praying to his future.
These are such special times for me, a mom and her son, bonding together! What are some of your favorite times with your kids?
Saturday, April 25, 2009
When we actually say with authority that it's a rule, our kids know we feel it's important. Kids appreciate boundaries. They like to know what we expect of them.
That brings me to the subject of consequences. Beyond the baby and early toddler years, natural consequences are fair and appropriate. It's not fair to implement consequences for a behavior if they've never been warned about it before. That also applies to positive consequences. If there is a reward to be earned, they need to know how they can earn it or lose it before they enter a situation. "Kids who stay right with Mommy in the grocery store get a cookie in the bakery when we're done!" If it's a new rule we are trying to establish, they usually want to know why we need the rule. I don't mind telling them the brief reasoning behind it ("to keep you safe"). It helps them make sense of it and to know that we have their best interests in mind.
Dr. Spock says that we should "avoid threats as much as possible. They tend to weaken discipline. It may sound reasonable to say, "If you don't keep out of the street with your bicycle, I'll take it away." But in a sense, a threat is a dare--it admits that the child may disobey. It should impress him more to be firmly told he must keep out of the street, if he knows from experience that his parents mean what they say. On the other hand, if you see that you may have to impose a drastic penalty like taking away a beloved bike for a few days, it's better to give fair warning. It certainly is silly, and quickly destroys all a parent's authority, to make threats that aren't ever carried out or that can't be carried out. "
Now, when I read the threat he gave as an example, my teacher alarm bells started ringing. Both parts of the statement are very negative. Instead of saying, "If you don't keep out of the street with your bicycle, I'll take it away," it would be better with a positive slant: "Keep your bike on the driveway or you'll have to park it." I remember reading somewhere that you don't want to make every consequence something that you'll do to them. Rather, you put the ball in their court and make their consequences something they choose for themselves with their poor choices. "Keep your hands to yourself, or you'll have to sit on time out."
I'm not saying I have this discipline thing down pat, but these are the things I try to keep in mind when I'm dealing with kid behaviors I don't like. What are some of your indisputable family rules?
Thursday, April 23, 2009
I am an only child and I don't entirely understand the sibling dynamic, but from my observations of others, I have decided that having siblings is a character-building exercise. I also think it can be a lot of fun and comfort. I am glad my boys have each other, even though they fight more and more every day. Sometimes I don't know how to handle the fighting. Ethan is older and bigger so I find myself getting on to him more than I do Micah. Although, sometimes Micah just needs to leave him alone and stop taking his toys, Kitty, drink, spoon, breakfast, etc. Most of the sources I've read say that most of the time I should stay out of it and let them figure it out on their own, so I've been doing that more since Micah has gotten bigger and older and more able to defend himself.
I want my boys to be buddies. I want them to love each other and be close. I know they won't always get along and there might be years where all they do is argue, but my prayer is that they will grow into lifelong friends. For now, though, I'll share with you a story that gives me comfort.
The other night Micah hit Ethan square in the face with a shovel. I could tell it hurt and so could Todd, so he took Micah and put him in the Pack'n Play for his first official time-out. We even set the microwave timer (1 minute because he's 1 year old). He was crushed. He cried that "hurt feelings" cry for the entire minute. What was funny was that Ethan was pretty ticked off when Micah hit him, but when Daddy put Micah in time-out, he freaked. He started bawling, too. "My baby! My baby!" "It's okay, honey. Micah made a bad choice so Daddy put him in time-out." "My baby! I want my baby!" Todd had to pick him up and hold him for the duration of Micah's time-out. Later, when Ethan was put in time-out, Micah walked over to him and gave him a hug. They just stood there and held each other for a while.
Like I said, this incident made me feel better about my boys' relationship. I know most of you have siblings. Any advice or funny stories you can share?
Wednesday, April 22, 2009
By Jeffrey D. Murrah
Do you enjoy your kids? Do others enjoy your kids? Hopefully, as a parent you are able to answer each of these questions in the affirmative. Parenting, like so many areas of life requires us to get our hands dirty. In order to enjoy our children, it is necessary for parents to extend themselves beyond their "comfort zone." Leaving the comfort zone means trying something new, novel and creative with your children.
Some parents attempt raising children without leaving their comfort zone. This type of parenting emphasizes parental convenience at the expense of experiencing childhood. Like window shopping or watching squirrels, children can be admired from a distance. Admiring from a distance is a cheap substitute for enjoying who your children are.
Admiration is important to children, yet doing things with them means more. Children generally crave attention, with calls of "Mommy! Daddy! Look at me!" A way to enjoy them, and them to enjoy you is to join them. This means that instead of just giving them a movie to watch, view it with them. When your children are swimming, join them in the pool. I have seen my own children overjoyed when their grandparents join them in the swimming pool, rather than just observing. After jumping in the pool, try really enjoying your children by splashing and playing instead of floating like an iceberg.
Be creative in finding ways to enjoy your children. Making cookies for them is nice, yet making cookies with them means more. Instead of just watching them play ball, try joining them at times. Playing games with them and reading to them are also ways to enjoy your children. Since the holidays are quickly approaching, look for opportunities to join your children in doing things together.
The word 'enjoy' literally means to enter into a joyous state. To enjoy children involves reaching out and joining them in having fun. As parents join their children, a new reciprocity often develops. Children then start showing an interest in the parents' hobbies or activities. Another benefit is that parents and children know who each other helps to strengthen bonds. Knowing and enjoying who your child is as a person is preferred to what your child does. Enjoying your children also builds their self-confidence and sense of security.
Enjoying children requires effort. It is easier to voyeuristically watch them, snickering at their antics than it is to join them. Watching them can send the message to the child that they are objects for the parent's enjoyment or that they are being made fun of. Joining them sends the message to them, "you are important" and "you have value." Our children look to us for affirmation. It is up to the parents to choose if children are to be put on display or enjoyed.
Jeffrey D. Murrah is a licensed marriage and family therapist with offices in Pasadena and La Porte. He can be reached at (713) 944-4335 or his website, restorethefamily.com.
Tuesday, April 21, 2009
Taking our own food has been a great way to save money in days past, but unfortunately it is also a great way to waste money. There is nothing worse than buying, packing, and hauling bags and bags of food for a trip only to eat out the entire time and return home with all of that food left over. After a few post-trek reflections I've come up with a few of the simple truths we have learned from our own experiences:
We only take what we actually like. One unopened box of crackers recently completed a third round-trip with us, and I finally realized that we just plain don't like them, even if it's late at night in a hotel room. They have now moved on to the local food bank.
On that note, what we take must be better than what we could buy there. I can't tell you how many times we have stood eating cardboard-flavored granola bars or peanut butter sandwiches only to be engulfed with jealousy when towering soft-serve ice cream cones walked by. At that point the, "Well, we ARE on vacation," reflex kicks in and it's ice cream for everybody with the premium vacation-price-of-ice cream tab on us.
We make room in our budget for local fare, and we make a point of experiencing it. Part of the fun of traveling with kids is the educational factor involved, and a great way to learn about an area is to sample the local cuisine. (Side note: I read a great article in the April 2009 edition of Good Housekeeping titled, "What Thin Women Know." One of the points of the article was that "thin" women indulge "deliberately." What that means to me is that when I go to Sarasota for the express purpose of eating that fabulous gelato at St. Armand's Circle I am actually thinking like a thin person! Imagine if I applied that to my entire vacation...I'd practically wither away before returning home!)
Keeping food cold is only fun for a little while so we limit the amount we take. Usually we try to eat a picnic one time during a road trip, and that picnic happens on the first leg of our journey so that we can take perishable foods and enjoy them without having to babysit them for the remainder of the trek. If we will stay in a hotel room equipped with a refrigerator we may pack a small cooler of cold foods or, better yet, we just buy the food once we arrive at our destination. Prices generally don't vary too much, and unless we have traveled to Outer Mongolia a grocery store usually isn't too far away. Unfortunately, several yogurt cups perished for us to learn this lesson.
That being said, here are some of the things we always take with us:
- Yummy Granola Bars: Some grain wrapped in chocolate is better for us than no grain in a candy bar. They cost less, too.
- Water Bottles (disposable): We use refillable water bottles at home, but on vacation I prefer not to wash dishes as much as possible. These are also handy as "ice" for the cooler when frozen.
- Drink Mixes: I'm a sucker for a coke on a hot day at an amusement park, but they are really expensive. I take a water bottle to refill and individual drink mixes to make the water from the fountain more interesting and palatable.
- Homemade Snack Mixes: That's a fancy way of saying that I take all of our toddler's nearly empty boxes of snacks (like graham crackers, goldfish crackers, and pretzels), mix them all together and throw in some M&Ms or marshmallows. I portion them into single-serve containers, and I have a pretty good guarantee that amongst all of those different ingredients there will be something the little guy will eat.
For more fun kitchen tips, head over to Kitchen Tip Tuesday.
Monday, April 20, 2009
Sunday, April 19, 2009
I think that it all goes back to my aunt, who used to paint earrings to match our wardrobe exactly. If you had a plaid shirt that you loved, she would paint that plaid pattern onto the earring for you. It was details like this that made it fun to put an outfit together. It is what gave me the passion I have today! Thanks Auntie Jill! : )
So, people should not be surprised that I also like to match my son. Sometimes our match is subtle, like we are both wearing browns. But, sometimes it is total twin, we both have on our jean jackets, blue shirts and khakis This is not to say that I dress my son like a girl, no sir! He is always dressed like a boy! It is a challenge that I look forward to every day "What am I going to dress my little king in today?.... now, what am I going to wear?" I love it when people notice! My hard work is appreciated! You never know when a photo opportunity will come up and we want to look good in our pics.
My Dear Husband would never let me match him when we got married, he thought it was lame (go figure!) However, since we have our son he has started to like to coordinate as a family (or at least humor me). I know that I only have a short time before my little king will start to have an opinion of his own about what he wants to wear, so I am taking advantage of it now! Someday I hope to have a sibling to match to their brother! What fun!
Saturday, April 18, 2009
Feeling pretty darn good about the fact that we wrestled two preschoolers into the car in their Easter attire by 6 am AFTER they opened their Easter baskets, we trundled on up Iron Mountain for the rising of the sun.
The service was beautiful, as always, with one little change this year: at every pause in the program, our little 2-year-old's munchkin voice would pierce the silence with "Is it over yet, Daddy?" At the end of every song and prayer, and even when we waited anxiously for the poor choir member who fainted in the middle of the service to stand and be escorted out, "Is it over yet, Daddy?" We became the little running joke in our seating area...toddlers are always good for a laugh.
We made it through the chuckles and sidelong glances from empty nesters who obviously remembered the preschool years all too well...their looks said, "Enjoy this sweetness. These years will be gone too soon." I smiled back knowingly, reflecting on how quickly our first child has grown. He's so big and mature. It's hard to believe 5 1/2 years have gone by! I vowed to myself, yet again, to accept the challenge and "enjoy these years while I can."
On our way back through the sanctuary, we stopped to take a picture of the kids in front of a colorful garden. KID 1 wore his red cowboy hat that morning and had even adorned it with a bright green feather for Easter morning. Paul took a couple of pics and then asked the cowboy to remove his hat for the last picture. I held it until they were done, then handed it back saying, "Your Easter bonnet, sir!"
He snatched it away and stuffed it back on his head, mumbling "I hate you!" just so I could hear. Let me tell you, it was all I could do not to start bawling right there, and I'm no cry-baby. I just couldn't believe this was the happy moment he chose to hit me with "I hate you!"
I didn't cry. I stopped him and had the "How Do You Think That Made Me Feel" talk with him, he apologized, I told him I love him, and we continued on with Easter morning. But it stung. It still stings. And I know there is more of that to come, I just wasn't expecting it so soon. I know he really loves me most of the time, but I love him ALL of the time, so my heart was just not prepared for that little dagger. I guess it's time to toughen up a bit.
Thursday, April 16, 2009
I just want to make it clear that I do not want to have any more children. I adore the two I have, but I don't want any more. Next month we are taking care of this permanently and I am terrified that there will be an "oopsy" in our last few months of fertility, as the procedure takes several weeks to "kick in." Yes, we are taking precautions now, but like Mama said, building on Maria's post from yesterday, abstinence is the only birth control with a guarantee, and, well, that ain't happenin'. Anyway, seriously, can you see me with another child? I can barely keep up with the two I have. You've seen me at the play park: "Where's Micah? Where's Micah?" and one of you has to point him out to me. So, no, no more. We're sticking with the man-to-man defense here, not going to zone. And call me selfish, but I just lost all the baby weight. I don't want to be pregnant again, if only because I blow up as big as a house and it takes at least a year to get back to normal. Anyway, to make a long story even longer, I am done having children.
However, I have been feeling very nostalgic lately; well, ever since Micah turned 1. He's 14 months old, people! How did that happen? I swear the other day he was 9 months old and now all of a sudden he's 14! The nostalgia started when I threw away the last empty can of formula. Never again will I have to buy formula. Soon thereafter we moved to sippy cups for him and one night my husband gave him a cup of milk before bed instead of a bottle. Micah didn't care, but Mommy sure did. So I continued to give him a bottle for about a week before I decided that I was being silly, that there was no reason to keep a baby on a bottle if he didn't even care. So yesterday I threw out the remaining 3 bottles we had. He stopped eating baby food months ago and has given up his morning nap. How is this possible? This stuff took forever with Ethan, or so it seemed. Even the get-up-every-two-hours-to-feed period seemed shorter with our second child. If we had a third, he/she would probably go to bed one night a squaling, pooping infant and wake up potty trained the next day. Although that would be cool, to skip all the potty training nonsense.
I'm not changing my mind about having another kid. Biologically, anyway. I'm not opposed to adopting later on if we decide we want another. That doesn't change the fact that I feel nostalgic about my baby turning into a big boy.
Wednesday, April 15, 2009
Don't you love those things you catch yourself saying to your kids that sound so, well, Mommyish? Here's a few.
It's my job to give you good food; it's your job to eat it. (My personal favorite)
You get what you get and you don't throw a fit. (My kids' favorite)
One day when I'm gone, you will miss my cooking. (My Mom's favorite)
Good food or good night! (Karly's family's favorite)
It's all about choices. (My husband's favorite)
Don't make me come over there!
I'll give you something to really cry about.
The early bird gets the worm. (This is the one I try to drill into my head daily)
Now these are some funny quotes that I googled.
“Cleaning up with children around is like shoveling during a blizzard” – Unknown
“I'm not going to vacuum 'til Sears makes one you can ride on.” - Roseanne Barr
“My second favorite household chore is ironing. My first being hitting my head on the top bunk bed until I faint.” - Erma Bombeck
“I want my children to have all the things I couldn't afford. Then I want to move in with them.” - Phyllis Diller
"My mother's menu consisted of two choices: Take it or leave it.” - Buddy Hackett
Now, some nice ones. These are the things that come to mind when the kids are sleeping like little angels. The house is quiet. You prepare for the next day.
“There is no way to be a perfect mother, and a million ways to be a good one” - Jill Churchill
“A mother's heart is the child's classroom.” - Henry Ward Beecher
“You don't really understand human nature unless you know why a child on a merry-go-round will wave at his parents every time around - and why his parents will always wave back.” - William D. Tammeus
“She never quite leaves her children at home, even when she doesn't take them along.”- Margaret Culkin Banning
“A mother understands what a child does not say.” - Jewish Proverb
Have any sayings come to mind that maybe you say to your kids? Maybe they've been passed down by your family. Feel free to share them with us too!
Happy Wednesday! By the way, don't forget it is tax day!
Tuesday, April 14, 2009
You may be wondering why I'm posting today. Yes, I have been Sunday Mom since I started writing here at MM, but when Bryssy decided to take a break I asked if I could move to Tuesday. Tuesday is an exciting day for me in the blog-o-sphere--have you ever heard of a blog carnival? It's a way of collecting articles about similar topics in one place so that readers can find them more easily. There's Meal Planning Monday and Frugal Friday, amongst others, but the carnival that I'm excited about is Kitchen Tip Tuesday. I love kitchen talk, and when I find something that works I love to tell everyone I know! I'm looking forward to participating in that carnival every now and then.
So on to hotter topics--have you sorted out your summer wardrobe yet? You know what I'm talking about. The poolside wardrobe. Swimsuits. I've spent a great deal of time avoiding them, but my water-loving toddler is probably not going to let that fly this year, so I'm going in a direction I never thought I would travel (at least I never thought I would during my cheerleading days!). I bought a tankini with short bottoms. Would you believe this was really a hard decision to make? I was pretty concerned about tan lines. Tan lines. Isn't that hilarious? Anyway, I picked a pretty sporty looking one, and as a friend pointed out the other day, I wear shorts with my swimsuit most of the time anyway, so why not wear a pair that can actually get wet?
And then there are the things I will do to fit into that new tankini. Cardio last night was a killer! There were so many people in class (which is a good thing) that the only weights left during the lifting segment were the heavier ones (which is not necessarily a good thing). My arms are trembling right now and incredibly sore. Shouldn't there be some point where the workouts get easier? It seems like the more I work out the sorer I get. Or there's some new "level" to jump to, which usually means more work and more soreness. Ugh. The price we pay for health and wellness. And looking hot in a swimsuit.
Well, I won't keep you. I've got some errands to run, and I'm sure you're busy, too. We are moms, right? Thanks for chatting with me today, anyway, and feel free to join in on the conversation. Take care, and have a good day!
Monday, April 13, 2009
This last newsletter was hard to take. Plastered on the front cover was an all too familiar face - my best guy friend Matt. Matt and I had the same major, so we had almost every class together. We had the same group of friends and even shared an office as SGA President (Matt) and Vice President (me). Right after college, I got married, and Matt moved on to Oral Roberts University to get his masters degree. Matt had goals. He wanted to be in politics on a national level.
I had goals too. I wanted to get married and have children. I didn't really care what my major was because all I wanted to do was stay home and take care of my future husband and the children we would someday have. Getting my college degree was a formality. Everyone expected me too, and so I did what was expected. I chose to major in business management because I thought the degree would give me lots of job options if I ever really needed to work.
Fourteen years later, Matt has achieved his goal. He is super successful, and I am really proud of him. He actually has a position in the Obama administration working for the Secretary of Defense. He has had that position for several years now even under the Bush Administration.
I have also achieved my goals. I am married to a thoughtful loving man, and we have a great child. So what's the problem? Even though I have spent way too much time trying to figure it out, I still don't have a solid answer. This is my closest guess. It seems like everyone else's life is easier than mine, and here's why. College newsletters don't give the full story. They don't say how many hardships Matt had to endure to get where he is today - how many times promotions may have been delayed or missed all together. They don't report on the amount of money still owed in student loans or ill side effects from having a successful but high pressure job. They don't mention how many late suppers and missed tee ball games went along with the obvious success. They didn't disclose that in Matt's article, and it wasn't reported four years ago when they published Alex's birth announcement. Our article didn't say after years of heartache and thousands of dollars in medical treatments and other costs, Pam ('95) and Charlie ('93) finally got the child they wished for. The article did say Alex was from Russia, but it didn't capture our fatigue from spending three out of eight weeks on the other side of the world in a foreign country. It didn't say that we actually had to go to court in Russia without any guarantee that he would be ours.
Ironically, the last time they reported on Matt was the same issue with Alex's birth announcement. I got the newsletter on a Thursday. Later that night, I would go teach my GED class while Matt would be attending an inaugural ball for President Bush. Even though I would never want his life, I still can't quit thinking that we had the same degree. We had the same qualifications and the same potential. I think the bottom line is this. I would love for all of my alums to be successful and happy. I would never want them to have sorrow or troubles, only success and joy. I just don't want to hear about it. Is it too much to ask that they loose my address? Who told them I moved to Florida anyway?
Sunday, April 12, 2009
On this first Easter as a mom I am going to reflect on God’s perfect plan for our lives. Just like God’s good and perfect plan to save us humans from our sin, by sending His son to die for us, and to conquer sin and death by rising on the 3rd day, God has a good and perfect plan for each one of us!
God also had a plan for 3 people becoming a family. We went through some infertility treatments, but they left use feeling depressed and with little hope. We prayed together every night that God would allow us to grow our family. We decided to look into adoption and found that the more we stepped down that path, the better we felt and we also felt like we had hope! The process was hard, but we don’t feel bitter about going through it. It made us take a look at ourselves and think about what kind of parents we wanted to be. It brought us together as a couple and made us put our trust in God. We had to daily trust that God would match us with a child and trust in God’s timing of it all. Looking back there are some pretty awesome signs of God’s plan. Here are some examples of how perfect God’s timing and plans are:
It is no secrete that adoption is NOT cheap. Every time we needed to pay a bill for the next step, God provided the amount that we needed. Often times at the last minute, as if to say “See, I told you I’d come through!”
We received our referral the week my whole family was together. One of my brothers lives in Czech Republic and only comes to visit once a year. My sister, Karly, as many of you know, lives out of state and cannot come to visit as often either. Needless to say, it is rare that we are all together. But the week that Karly and my brother were in town we were able to announce that we were matched with a child and show off pictures. It was really great to be able to surprise every one with news at a family dinner.
God’s plans for us:
I know that God matches children with the parents that they need either through adoption or biologically. Your child was chosen for you by God. He knows what your child needs and knows what you can provide for them. That being said, I still find it amazing what a perfect fit our little king has been for us. God chose us to be his parents! My son hates to sleep alone - I hate to sleep alone. My son has the same sense of humor as my husband (they crack each other up all the time!). My son is pretty stubborn, so it is a good thing that my husband and I are MORE stubborn! There are several others similarities that prove each day that we were meant to be together!
I wish you a blessed Easter. My hope for you is that you are able to rejoice in the plans that God has set forth for you!
Saturday, April 11, 2009
Then we wrote some of these things on palm leaves (strips of green paper) and glued them to our palm branches (wide craft sticks), symbolic of the palm branches people waved in honor and celebration of Jesus on his way into the city. Some of the children's celebrations were:
- my mommy
- my daddy
- my family
- communion (cumyoonyun, I believe, was the orig. spelling)
- good behavior
- The Holy Spirit
There it is, simple as can be. All from the mouths of babes!
Friday, April 10, 2009
Being that it is Good Friday I thought it would be good to reflect on God's love.
I became a mom through adoption. My little king was adopted from Korea and he is the light of our lives. Our story as Christians is all about adoption. Here are a few things that I have learned since coming home with my son. I have labeled this post "part 1" because God is not finished teaching me things about himself yet!
God’s love for us is amazing.
As I sit at night trying to rock my son back to sleep, I have a lot of time to think. One night as I rocked, I looked at my son and could not get out of my head how much I love him. It is indescribable the amount of love I have for this child of mine (as is true for you and your children, I’m sure!). I chose to adopt this little boy, he did not earn my love, he had it before I had even met him. It did not matter what his background was or what his birth family was like, I loved him and I wanted him to be mine. God’s love for us is the same. His love for us is indescribable! We went through a lot of work to get our son, paperwork, a home-study, meetings, classes, and lots of waiting. God has gone though much more work than that. He sent his son to die for our sins and he waited for us to choose him. We can do nothing to keep his love from us!
God wants us to love him back and rejoices when we choose Him!
Just the other day I was at the post office dropping off a package and my little king laid his head on my shoulder and cuddled in for a hug. The lady in front of me took a look and said “someone really loves their mommy.” It is true- my son loves me. It makes me OVERJOYED to think of it. I was worried about the bonding and attachment we would have with our son. Would he choose to love us as parents? He had a right not to. But he does love us! There is nothing better than our son showing us that he loves us, by giving us hugs, smiling at us when we come into the room, giving us wet and slobbery kisses, they are all great! I think that it is the same way with God. He chooses us to be his child and he longs for us to love him back. I also think that God is overjoyed when we show we love Him by getting into his word, praying, living generously, helping others and many other ways, even if it is a little slobbery God knows our hearts.
What have your kids taught you about our God?
Wednesday, April 8, 2009
I used to feel sorry for people who ate alone in restaurants. I used to be so self-conscious that I wouldn't eat alone in a restaurant, especially one in Winter Haven, where I almost always run into former students. However, my life has changed. I am rarely alone anymore. I'm not complaining because I love sleeping next to my husband and I really don't mind being walked in on by my son when I'm in the bathroom, but I am extremely introverted (90% according to the Myers-Briggs) and sometimes I. Just. Want. To. Be. Alone.
On the way back from Winter Haven, I was able to listen to 80s on 8 and sing Def Leppard without someone asking, "What you singin', Mom?" or requesting, "No thank you for singing, Mom!" I even flipped over to 90s on 9 and listened to "Do Me" by Bel Biv Devoe, a song I would never listen to with my impressionable children in the backseat, until I felt guilty and changed the station yet again. (Do you remember that song? It's really dirty!)
Anyway, I then went to my next appointment, which was with my psychotherapist (psycho therapist?), and I always feel great after that, so I bit the bullet and went to Publix. ALONE. And it was terrific. It's amazing what you can get done in a grocery store without children and with a list.
When I got home my children had been fed and were asleep. It was AMAZING. I was on an alone-time high for the rest of the day.
Well, not quite.
I feel like I need to tell this story, mainly because it scared the crap out of me and I think writing about it might take some of the horror away.
When Todd got home from work, we took the kids to the new play park. He was down below with Ethan and I followed Micah to the top of the play structure. There were tons of kids up there waiting to go down the slide and I was a little distracted by them and Micah hasn't really gotten the hang of steps yet, so he went right off the edge of one, which wouldn't have been a big deal, except that he then proceeded to fall between the posts of a climbing area to the ground below. I caught his ankle just in time and he dangled there while I got enough of a grasp to pull him up. I kept thinking of Michael Jackson hanging his kid out of that 4-story window or whatever it was. He was going down head-first. And yes, the ground of the playground is ground-up tires, very spongy and soft, but still. He was going head-first. Don't tell me he wouldn't have been badly hurt. It still horrifies me to think about it. He didn't know he dodged a bullet, but I sure did. In fact, I might go get him out of bed just to hold him for a little while.
"Oh, that's wonderful."
"That's the most important job you'll ever have."
"I stayed home with my children too and have never regretted it."
When I say that it surprises me to hear this, it's because while growing up I always had the feeling that I needed to go to school and "do" something with my life, "become someone" - meaning a career of some sort.
So I did.
I have to say that I really liked working in the customary sense. I've had some wonderful jobs and they have given me incredible opportunities to meet and work with some amazing people. It was nice contributing to the household income. Our lifestyle was pretty carefree.
When I had my first child, I planned to work so that we could afford the lifestyle we were used to. We had bills to pay. But while we talked about this, in my heart I knew that something different was happening to me. I began to see motherhood in a different light. My ears perked up whenever I heard someone talking about "staying home". My heart softened.
We took the plunge when I had my second child. We didn't know that our finances would be OK, but I had God's peace that it somehow would be. I was in his will. We did our part by cutting back and making some decisions that weren't very comfortable. It was worth every discomfort.
There is so much peace knowing that you are in God's will. I know without a doubt that I am doing exactly what I was born to do. Mother my children without the stress of a full time job. It will be such until the day comes that I begin working outside the home again. Things can always change, but for now this is how it is.
Now, this knowledge doesn't make me a perfect Mom. Is there such a thing? I think not. I do know that I try my best everyday to leave a legacy worth leaving.
My children are my legacy to this world. As I type this, I realize that's not quite right. Maybe I should say that my mothering is the legacy I leave behind.
Now, can I stop right here, please? I can almost sense how some people are taking this blog. Maybe you work full time and have kids. Hey, I commend you. I really do. That is such a sacrifice because I know how hard it is to do that. I think mothers that work are awesome mothers. Maybe you work because you want to/need to/hate to/love to. I don't know. Maybe you want to work, but feel you can't for whatever reason. I want to be sensitive to everyone, yet also tell my story. Yes, I think you can be a wonderful mother and work also. I just believe it comes in that order. Mother first, worker second.
Now, I would like to thank some people who have helped me in my quest to be a good Mom.
Miriam Rockness' Mother's Forum is a breath of fresh air. It quiets my mind to know that there has been a place where mother's of every age could come together and encourage one another. I would leave her home inspired and ready to be a great Mom.
MOPS. I can't say enough about this group. The encouragement is incredible. When I walk into this meeting, I feel a sense of belonging and love. I love the women there. Real issues are discussed and when I leave I feel uplifted and fortified somehow. I am not alone in my struggles. That is so nice to know.
My family. They encourage me to stay home and be a great mom.91.1 FM radio station in Central Florida (Moody Radio). There is often a program that encourages wives and mothers.
Most of all my husband. He is the one that took the most risk in supporting me. Society is also telling him that wives should work in order to pay the bills. He's not buying that anymore. He feels the peace we now have in our home and he will do most anything to protect that now.
If you are thinking about staying home or you are now staying at home with the kids or know someone who wants to, then there is a book that looks pretty encouraging. I heard about it today on the radio. It's called In Praise of Stay at Home Moms. It looks like a good read.
Well, my dears, this blog was from the heart. I hope I didn't offend anyone or cause anyone guilt about working (we all know that nobody needs more guilt as a Mommy). I merely wanted to share my story and uplift those who may be hearing some negative messages or feeling negative about staying home with the kids.
Tuesday, April 7, 2009
Maybe I'll get back to it, maybe not. Only time will tell. One thing I can tell you for sure is that you Motley Moms are awesome! I am so blessed to have you in my life. Thanks girls!
Monday, April 6, 2009
Before I explain Mayapples, I must tell you that last week, I took the "How New Yorker Are You" Quiz on Facebook, and I am 100%! I'd like to think that I am a big city girl. After all, I love visiting big cities, but I am a country girl through and through. I grew up in a little town called Cooks Mills, population of maybe 150. For fun, we would play down at the river, ride bikes or play football. When I say we played football, I mean we three girls played "smear the queer" with the ten boys from the neighborhood, and this is why I am such a good sprinter. Cable TV wasn't an option until the 90s. My family, like most other families, went hunting to provide meat (not at all like how Edward and his family hunt in Twilight). While I never hunted animals, each spring I would beg my dad or my grandpa to take me to the woods to hunt mushrooms - morels. Some people say you can find mushrooms under Mayapple plants, but that is just an old wives tale. Morels are the most delicious mushroom in the whole entire world. To make them even better, we batter them in flour and deep fry them. They are probably my all time favorite food. I don't know which I miss most, the taste of the mushrooms or the fun of searching for them.
Several years ago, one of our college friends found a great hunting spot in our small college town, but it was tricky to get to. You could either cross a small spillway or go way out of the way around a field. He had finally convinced his girlfriend to go hunting with us, so the pressure was on to have a great time. I had already fallen on the spillway once that year and scraped my shin, so I was very excited to learn he had found a shortcut. All we had to cross a log that had fallen over the small creek. Charlie went first and made it just fine. I started out across the log, over the rushing muddy water. About halfway across, I realized I was going to make it. One step later, I was falling off the log. I somehow managed to grab the log on my way down and was hanging on for dear life. The cold muddy water was rushing past me, and I was looking up at Charlie who was trying to come up with a rescue plan. My arms were scraped from the log, and I was soaking wet, but I was happy to be safe for the moment. Suddenly, I realized that the water I was in was only waist deep. I let go of the log that I was hanging onto for dear life and walked out of the creek. We still laugh when we think of that story.
Now, I am sure I could survive in New York City for a week or so, but how many New Yorkers could survive hunting with me in the country?
Sunday, April 5, 2009
And I'm not sure what to do.
I've seen some ugly behavior from parents at sporting events for little ones as well as for older players, and I don't want to be those people. I read an article in a parents' magazine a few months ago that suggested the role of the parent at practices and games should be to simply be there--even if that means sitting in the stands and reading a novel until it's time to go home. The theory was that the child playing is more concerned about the impression he's making on his coaches and team mates and as a parent I would be giving him less pressure to perform by not paying attention and then asking how it went afterward. Obviously I'm not going to unleash my 2 year old onto the t-ball field without supervising him, but it's an interesting idea to file away for the Little League years.
So, I'm asking for your input fellow Motley Mommies. I know many of you have already plunged onto the "Team Mommy" stage--what do you do? What do you feel your role is during sporting events? Do you read a book, make phone calls, help coach, or call fouls from the stands? Any thoughts? I can't wait to hear what you have to say!
Have a blessed Palm Sunday!
Saturday, April 4, 2009
The same theory applies to Christmas stockings and presents under the tree, by the way.
But my favorite thing about these special holidays is the set of traditions each one brings. For Easter, dyeing and decorating eggs, doing some special crafts, reading the Easter Story and making our resurrection crosses, choosing a new outfit to wear (we were not going to do new outfits for Easter, but Grammy went shopping and surprised us!), and attending our church's Lil' Kidz Easter celebration are all a part of our own observance of Easter.
Easter 2007 Sunrise Service @ Bok Tower
Then there's Easter morning: creaking out of bed before the crack of dawn to dress, make coffee, get the kids up and dressed, drink coffee, grab a couple of big towels, coffee to go, and the camera, then head up to Bok Tower's Easter Sunrise service (it's FREE, by the way). We don't always wear our Easter Best for this event, since it's often quite chilly and damp up there. One year on Easter morning when I was a kid, my mom got us four kids all dressed in our best and up to Bok Tower before sunrise (I don't know how she did everything by herself for so many years), and the trees dripped black stuff all over our nice clothes and ruined them! We have laughed about that every year since!
I need a recipe for hot cross buns. I think I'd like to try adding them to our Easter morning celebration.
I'm headed to Wal-Mart today to find a few basket stuffers. I noticed they have pastel monochromatic Easter treats like all-pink M&M's, pink-frosted cookies, and pink Whopper eggs. They also had pastel blue, yellow and orange. I thought I'd do an all-pink basket and an all-yellow basket...so there will be no disagreements over whose treats are whose.
We've already ordered this year's new Easter book, The Golden Egg Book by Margaret Wise Brown. Hopefully it will arrive in time for Easter!
What are your Easter plans?
Thursday, April 2, 2009
Wednesday, April 1, 2009
Wait. It's Spring Break.
It just doesn't have the same ring to it these days as it used to, you know?
A whole week of no school to rush off to in the morning is so nice. Leisurely mornings. Play park afternoons. This is fun, but just a different kind of fun.
Back in my youth, I remember Spring Break as a fun time of relief from school and a trip of some sort with the family and later on friends. It was always met with great anticipation.
These days, I'M the initiator. I'm the cleaner-upper. I'm the job-getter-doner. The freedom is nice, but just different.
Spring Break used to mean in college that my friends and I would maybe go the The Keys and spend a few days traveling and seeing fun stuff. Sunbathing and going out at night were the things we did.
Now, it's staying OUT of the sun (or at least slather on the sunscreen) and staying IN at night with hubby is what usually happens around this time. Although, last night hubby and I had a fun date night eating at Chilis and seeing "Taken" at the movie theatre. It's a well done and very disturbing movie.
So anyway. There's my ramble for this week. Happy Spring Break!