Monday, December 16, 2013

christmas conflict

i have a conflict with christmas.
receiving gifts has always made me feel extremely uncomfortable,
and i hate buying my kids things just so they have more stuff,
and i hate having them molded into people who expect things as a token of love.
i haven't found how to put our signature on this holiday,
balancing and enacting our own beliefs and priorities,
but every year i find little nuggets that help me find peace in it all.
this year it was this thought:

"My general belief is that in some regards, children need so much less than what they’ve become accustomed to getting. And that in other regards, they need so much more. The things that kids need less of can be bought, and that makes them relatively easy to procure. Meanwhile, the things they need more of cannot be purchased at any price because, in fact, they are free. Ironically, this makes them even harder to come by."
                                                                                                      Ben Hewitt

personal translation:
less stuff under the tree,
more time enjoying the stuff together that finds it way there.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

bloom where you are planted

i am a wanderer by nature.
a nomad perhaps.
i am in love with places i have never seen,
and i am in love with people i have never met.
for those reasons alone i find it unbearable to stop in one place.
the thought of settling in ONE place FOREVER,
no matter how endearing the place,
is enough to drive me mad.
i began my first excursion almost 15 years ago.
and i'm still here.
can hardly admit that i haven't even wandered far within this place.
about 3-4 years ago i began to be strangled by this reality.
almost suffocated to death to be exact.
part of my soul began shriveling up.
i was beginning to lose a part of myself i deeply valued.
a friend unknowingly threw me a line as i was rapidly sinking to a bottom that i did not know.
"bloom where you are planted."
that is what she said.
the message echoed in my mind constantly.
bloom where you are planted.
bloom where you are planted.
i am not one to take a personal development challenge lightly.
i decided that somehow i would bloom even though i could feel nothing but shriveling.
so, my first step was to make a pillow.
i could have made anything;
i just needed a constant, visual reminder.
i stared at that pillow often,
hoping it would whisper a formula that could help me bloom.
or better yet just make me bloom.
all the staring didn't change me,
but i did begin to come up with a strategy that did.
that was all i was going to do.
there were things that brought me here in the first place that i had neglected to remember.
i had exhausted those reasons,
and i no longer longed for the things that brought me here.
but i was here,
to my dismay or not,
so i was going to bloom by finding new things to embrace.
that is exactly what i did.
i found things to love.
i stretched.
i met new people.
i connected with people in a way i had not expected to do here.
i took up new interests.
i got involved in sam's school.
i started seeing my mountains differently.
i began to be present in my job, my family, and my life.
i abandoned the parts of this place that were beginning to exhaust me.
and, i began to bloom.
i blossomed.
i stopped focusing so much on the places i longed to be,
and i just stayed rooted here.
that was my only real choice considering my circumstances.
a couple of years have passed.
i have since made a pillow for my friend who gave me the advice.
she was moving to new york city and was afraid about blooming there.
i eventually stopped salivating at her opportunity,
and i can say i bloomed.
i got rid of my pillow today.
as you can clearly see it has been well used.
i have gone through many seasons of blooming, withering, and blooming again.
perhaps i'm even withering a bit now.
i know the blossom will inevitably come again.
i'm just hoping i have the chance to bloom on the coast someday or bloom in countries far from the only one i've ever known,
and i wouldn't complain about a blossom on the east coast either.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

all in a day's work

when i say work i'm not referring to the 8:30 am-8:30 pm haircutting schedule i had today.
and i'm not talking about the emotional and physical work out of getting a child to school.
nor am i referring to having to doctor my baby's bloody foot while i worked.
i'm talking about killing a rat.
in the midst of the previous workday i just described,
i had to kill a rat.
a big rat.
a rat that was in my back yard,
a rat that my six year old son was holding captive with a set of post hole diggers.
that's the rat i killed.
it would have been nice if our kitty would have killed it.
she is the one who tipped us off to it.
she was taunting sam's 5 ft deep x 1.5 foot wide hole that he dug in our back yard.
i had a feeling what was down there.
however, i was guessing a little mouse,
not a big daddy rat!
will, maggie, and i squirmed and gawked a bit,
then i came in to do a haircut.
a few minutes later will came in with a chunk of cheese.
he wanted to feed it to the rat,
but he wanted me to come with him for fear the rat would jump out.
in an attempt to convince him the hole was too big for the rat to jump out,
i promised him that if the rat jumped out i would give him $100.
what he heard was "if the rat gets out of the hole, then my my mom will give me $100."
3 minutes later maggie came in with news that will had the rat out of the hole.
she is NOT a storyteller,
so i ran immediately to the back yard.
there will was, clamping the rat between the post setters.
i thought "GREAT! what am i going to do with this rat!?"
i didn't think to drop him back into the hole until pete got home.
instead i thought to grab the shovel on the ground,
tell will to let it go,
and then i smacked the rat to death with the shovel.
i killed a rat.
all will could think to say was
"so, when do i get my $100."

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

one year older and wiser too

another year down for sam.
he has been counting for this day for at least 1 month.
the anticipation of a day for him is just too much.
i have begun to wonder what the coveted part of the day is for him.
for most children it very well could be the gifts.
i'm pretty certain that's not the case for sam.
his heartfelt and thoughtful approach to gifts this year is a true representation of the person he is turning into.
a few weeks ago pete asked sam to name anything he really wanted for his birthday,
no matter the cost or size of the item.
he thought for a minute,
and this was his sincere reply:
"i can't think of anything. i have everything i could ever want or need."
and that tone has remained.
he was still encouraged to make a list for grandparents, etc. whose preference was a list.
he struggled coming up with one,
but after much contemplation he made one.
the items on his list were equally telling of how satisfied he is.

a puzzle (100 pieces, not less and not more than 200)
plain legos
new shin guards
soccer warm-up suit
clothes like jeans or socks
soccer jammies
soccer hat
hooded towel
rainbow bracelet kit
movie ticket
lunch box
Leonardo museum ticket
electric guitar

he is a child who takes his satisfaction in relationships and activities,
not so much things.
he doesn't need much,
mostly his mother will do just fine for hair twirling, wrestling, or talking.
he also likes a notebook and pen for constant doodling and writing.
he looks forward to time with friends,
especially if soccer is involved.
for much of his spare time soccer is his thing...
dribbling around the yard, taking shots on me or blocking mine, playing one on one with me.
his time rarely contains a thing.
he is growing into a boy with a strong sense of who he is and what makes him happy.
he was born a miniature grown-up,
and with each passing year that becomes more apparent.
i adore his adult-like ways,
and i love it when he's just my little boy.
happy birthday, sam.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

software programmer

for the sake of this post, let's pretend i know something about computer programming.
(note: i know nothing.)
i may not know much about computer programming,
but i feel like i'm learning a thing or two about child programming.
i know that what kids are told at this age is what they believe.
it becomes what shapes their world down the road, too,
so i want to make certain it's not corrupted code.
i know i want to be the one writing their initial software code,
and i want it to be full of love and objectivity.
i know that i won't be the one controlling what gets written later in their life,
nor do i want to be totally responsible for that,
but right now i don't want the initial code to be written by friends, neighbors down the street, church teachers, media, or anyone else.
i want it to be written by moi, me, the mother,
the person who has given constant thought since their conception on what feels best for them combined with all the love and hope a mother has.
i mean that,
and i've never worked harder to write a better code.
however, on a lighter note to illustrate that i have written code,
i have a funny story.
this morning will was complaining about not wanting to go to church and crying about why he has to go.
i generally just try to explain that it's a family tradition that we honor in our family,
but this morning sam gave a better explanation than me.
in a loving, teaching older brother kind of way sam said:
"it's just part of the sunday daily job. it's one of the first things first for sundays."
cha ching.
that proved that the "first things first" and the "daily job" code has been successfully installed even if it didn't perfectly apply to explaining why we had to go to church.
it registered with will though.
he speaks that language, too.
perhaps i know more about programming than i initially gave myself credit for.

Thursday, July 11, 2013


i was remembering will's birth and the surrounding events.
it had been such a hot summer,
perhaps the hottest i can remember!
our street was being worked on for a few weeks,
and we had to park about a block from our house a few days before he was born because they had laid fresh, new asphalt.
those were hot walks with a big belly,
carrying a heavy 20 month old.
miserable really.
the night before he was born i found myself on norma's back patio with my swollen feet up trying to relax.
i told her i just did not feel right
and how it felt impossible to make it 6 more weeks for my baby's delivery.
the next night i had a major nesting craving.
the last bit of painting in the nursery was the bead board.
i stayed up til midnight painting it.
i was hot, exhausted, and relieved to have it done.
after a quick shower i collapsed into bed.
after half an hour of sleep sam crawled into bed next to me.
within minutes i was getting wet from a warm liquid.
i was certain sam was peeing on me.
i moved him,
and it wasn't him.
i couldn't believe that i would be peeing my pants!
i got up for the bathroom.
after sitting i realized i wasn't peeing at all.
my water broke,
and it was gushing into the toilet.
i called for pete,
and then i called for the phone.
i called norma.
through tears i told her what was happening.
i sobbed about what i was going to do.
she calmly reassured me that i was going to go to the hospital and have a baby.
that's exactly what i did.

in the past few days leading up to will's birth date,
i have remembered many things about his arrival to earth.
just as i haven't forgotten that time,
i hope to not forget this time either.
i want to remember...
our family daily thanks tonight was about will.
i was thankful that he is so easy to please.
pete was thankful that he's always happy.
sam was thankful to have him to play with.
(maggie was asleep)
i also want to remember how after our candlelit dinner we all got to make a wish for will before he blew out all the candles.
i wished he will not feel afraid for kindergarten and that he will find happiness there.
pete wished he could find many things in life that he loves.
sam wished he could have all the wishes he wanted.

i want to remember how it feels to have him in our family,
exactly right now.
he may get worked up a lot when sam gets near him or touches him,
but he would always choose to have sam around.
he loves to help me cook, especially if it involves cracking eggs or turning the blender on high.
i want to remember how much he loves cats, especially smokey lala
and how he didn't give up on begging for one and how the new hasn't worn off for him.
i want to remember how he loves to take you on a bike ride,
and he always starts the ride by saying "just follow me.".
we often end up in the woods by mill street.
i will remember how he was born to ride bikes,
but how he also hates going up the hill by the library and he even cries about it sometimes and wants to take a lot of breaks and begs for the bike trailer.
i want to remember watching him teach himself to rollerblade,
but how he still wants you to hold his hand while he crosses the street on his skates.
i will remember how he could care less about money.
if he has it, he wants to spend it.
he could care less about working to earn money,
but he has offered to pay sam if he will do his daily jobs for him.
he is generous,
not just with money but with everything.
i will remember that mischievous smile he has every time he is telling a story or a little lie,
or how sometimes he won't even mess with the smile and will just tell you it was a story.
i will remember he says it likes it is if he's not feeling too shy,
like telling you that you are bothering him if you are.
i will remember how much you like screen times and how you prefer to just use them first thing in the morning.
your game choice is friv and mario.
whenever you want to play you say "i just want to show you this cool game on friv.",
but you don't really want to show me, you just want me to get you logged on.
i will remember how you never mind doing garbages for your daily job,
and you are equally good at vacuuming the rug.
i will remember that he always says his best friends are emi, mackey, stockton, logan, and kol & luk.
i will remember that those are the only people he cared about coming to his birthday party at get air and at 7-11 for free slurpees.
i will remember all he wanted for his birthday was a remote control car,
and he is a pro at driving it.
i will remember waking sam up in the middle of the night because he loves to put the balloon wall around will's bed for his birthday and get everything (the presents and the beattles birthday song) set just right for will's special morning and seeing will be so pleased with it.
i will remember that he is 3 inches taller today than he was last year, measuring in at 48 inches and 48 lbs (82nd percentile for height).
i will remember that he has grown so much since the beginning and that he is still growing.
he is growing through some anxious moments with a mom and dad who will always love and support him.
i will remember that he is about to go off into the world of school soon but how grateful i am that we had an extra year with him at home,
and how pleasant he has been for each of these years.
i will remember you, will, just the way you are.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

get a move on

i have 2 types of children.
stallers and non-stallers.
will is not a staller.
maggie and sam are stallers,
big time stallers.
sam a bit more than maggie,
but he has been alive longer and had more practice.
she gives him a run though.
it makes me crazy.
sam will decide to organize something before he gets out the door or gets in bed.
(anyone know where that comes from???)
maggie gets engrossed in a book just before bed or has 213 tricks to show you before she gets out of the car.
bless will.
he may NEVER know where his shoes are,
but he gets in the car the 1st time you tell him, and he doesnt stop before he gets there.
he even gets ready for bed,
start to finish in about 6 minutes.
if sam & maggie would follow suit i might actually get more than 45 minutes to myself at night.
it wears me out just thinking about bedtime tomorrow with those 2!

Sunday, May 26, 2013


childhood is supposed to be the easiest time of life.
a time that should be relatively free of stress and full of innocence, simplicity, and fun.
i have a bit of a hard time relating to this.
i think i was born with the spirit of a grown up,
and i often view my own children as as miniature grown ups.
but they give me glimpses at times that they really are in the midst of a true childhood.
a few nights ago maggie woke up crying in the night.
i gave it a couple minutes before i got up.
sometimes she cries a bit in her sleep without waking up.
once i realized she was awake and really crying i got up.
in tears, she kept asking where her bedtime cup was.
i found it on the ground and handed it back to her.
as her tears slowed she whimpered,
"me had a bad dream. i dream daddy threw my cup in the dirt."
i was so relieved that's as bad as it gets for this baby!
if her worst nightmare is about losing her cup,
then she has it pretty easy.
then i realized how nice it would be to go back to a time where that was as scary as it got.
i didn't tell her that she woke me from a nightmare where i was trapped in a room in a city library trying to hide her under a table to protect her from gunshots someone was firing through the walls.
i'm a fan of preserving the childhood innocence, fearlessness, and freedom for as long as possible.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

lean on me

i have a distorted relationship with trust.
i have for as long as i have known myself.
it's a feeling that prohibits me from fully letting go with anyone in my life and knowing they will really be there if i do let go.
it's hoping someone will always be there even if  i haven't done enough to earn it.
and i have expectations as such that make me pretty sure i will never be able to do enough to always keep someone there for me.
a very cause and effect understanding of depending on someone.
for example, i do this and i will get this.
i don't deserve or won't get this if i don't do that.
i'm guessing/hoping that's not how it really is to have the people in your life there for you.
sam taught me something contrary to this scarred way of thinking.
he earned $3 on saturday for  doing yard work.
i had not paid him until today.
he was going to the  bank to make a deposit,
but i didn't have dollar bills,
so i told him i would give him quarters.
he kindly declined and said i didn't really have to pay him.
of course i was going to pay him!
i explained that it was important to me to keep my word so that he would know he could always count on me.
with sincerity he said
"i know i can count on you even if you don't give me the $3."
and guess what?
i knew he totally meant it.
that was a gift to me.
also an exciting moment to know that my own child wasn't born with the same distorted view.
he knows i am always there for him simply because i am his mother,
i don't have to do anything more.
(at least at this point. :) )
bless this child of mine to continue to know that he can always count on me.
and bless him to continue to teach me.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

tell me a story

will is my story teller.
he has a gigantic imagination that normally manifests in his conversational stories.
for example,
a few days ago he was eating a slice of watermelon,
went outside to the neighbors yard to chat while he was doing it.
as part of the conversation he said,
"You should see the watermelon tree in my backyard. We have one you know."
(we don't have a watermelon tree. watermelons don't grow on trees. we don't even have a vine.)
the one i love that he said yesterday was to his aunt sarah.
he said:
"My kitty is having 22 baby kittens tomorrow. Tomorrow is also her birthday. We are having a party. We have 2 cakes in the fridge.... 1 for the kitty and 1 for the kids."
(our kitten is not having kittens, it is not her birthday, and we don't even have 1 cake in our fridge for anything.)
his stories are not long,
but they are very regular.
the stories or the frequency aren't even the most imaginative part.
it's his face and voice.
he has almost a dead pan expression and a very convincing voice,
but very nonchalant.
that's what makes one question if this unbelievable story could maybe actually be true.
i need to write more of his stories down.
or perhaps get sam on it.
at this point in will's life i would predict that he will not have the desire or the action to ever publish any of his creative works.
sam has that mindset though.
sam perhaps might be more interested in the process of making the story official,
and will definitely has the story to tell.
i'm going to keep them together on this one,
and our family may actually have a published author at some point.
while they are absorbed in this process,
pete and i will still keep figuring out how to keep will's creativity alive while helping him discern between the truth and a story and when it is appropriate to share each one.

these are my things

since this space serves mostly as an account of my life,
then i must jot down the things that represent these times.
just in case i ever look back and wonder what things were the hardest as a mother for me in this stage,
now i will be able to accurately remember.

hardest things (i have 2 right now):

1. rounding up my kids to leave from somewhere.
i just hate it.
it requires so much physical effort on my part,
but mostly i hate the anticipation that surrounds it with me,
and i hate my lack of desire to be efficient with the process.
it goes about like this:
me: "kids, it's time to go."
no one listens and continues doing what they are doing.
me: "let's go."
no one listens again so i decide to keep talking, too.
30 minutes pass.
me: "ok. now it's really time to go."
no one listens.
i start getting frustrated and rounding up shoes, etc.
me: "ok. i have everything rounded up. let's go."
repeat the above scenario 1-3 times.
FINALLY we somehow manage to all get to the car.
buckle maggie
or try.
she insists on buckling the top buckle which often takes FOREVER.
then i buckle the bottom.
she is normally fighting me saying "no! it's tight!"
me: "buckle up so we can go."
sit. wait. finally.
then we go.

i don't know why i dislike it so much.
i just do.
i could change my strategy,
and it would probably go better.
it's just one of those things that i just don't like.

2. separation anxiety in my children.
this one is more serious.
it gets me on every level,
mental, physical, emotional.
it gets the child, too, on all those levels,
which in turn gets me double on all those levels again.
sometimes i get frustrated,
but mostly overwhelmed with sadness that they are feeling so afraid.
sad they feel so much inner turmoil and embarrassment.
sad that they waste so much time and emotional energy worrying about it.
i hate the inner conflict, too.
are they really needing me this time?
are they just manipulating this time to get what they want?
is this a phase?
are they having an emotional struggle with something that i'm not addressing?
am i causing this?
what can i do?
what should i do?
nothing helps.
then i still feel so hurt for them
and frustrated that i have to be the mom who has to figure out what to do and do it,
even if that sometimes means leaving a kicking, crying, distraught child.
the child recovers much faster than i do.
normally it's about 3 minutes for them.
for me it's about 3 days.
i hate it.
i hate it for them,
and i hate it for me.

oh, and one other thing now that i'm going....

3. losing things.
i understand we lose things/misplace things from time to time.
the rare items that are not used often i understand more and have more sympathy for,
but shoes???
you take them on and off several times a day,
and you have the same spot to put them that has never changed.
when you take your shoes off,
put them away.
when you need your shoes they will be there.
you (and i) should NOT have to search for your shoes every time you need to put them on!
i HATE helping look for lost shoes.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

these are the best days of my life

before i had kids,
i didn't 'get' kids.
i was even known to say some pretty stupid things about kids,
(things that i wish i could take back now.)
even my own future kids.
one ridiculous thing i said was that i wanted to send my own kids away when they turned 5 and get them back when they turned 13.
who says that?
apparently someone who has never been a mother.
and someone who has never been a mother of children of those ages.
i have 2 children that fall into that age range now,
and they are every bit as enjoyable as they were in any previous stage,
maybe even more so.
but i have said that every stage so far.
this time i really mean it though.
this is the best stage so far.
they are so much more independent but still respectful.
their personalities are so much more evident,
and they do so much more.
and they can talk!
which means i understand them more.
our relationships have grown.
not that we didn't have a relationship before,
but now we have just had one longer.
i keep loving them more with every stage
because with more time we have more things to love.
but why are these the best days?
i realized it a few nights ago as each one of them made their way into our bed throughout the night.
as i lay awake with all 5 of us wedged into a queen bed
i recognized that there will come days when they may not desire to all be in bed with us.
there may simply come a day when we don't all fit.
i would freeze it all right here if i could.
because right now we all do fit.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

the not so terrible twos

maggie turned three on april 1st.
she's an april fools baby.
it fits her,
not because she is full of practical jokes,
but because she is fun,
she keeps us smiling,
and she has a charm and a wit that you would expect from someone born on april fools day.
i've written this blog post in my mind for over a month.
i wanted to preserve just as accurately how she has been this year as i did for the first and second years.
the re-occuring thought about maggie being two is that she was never terrible.
how could a little girl be terrible who didn't speak much for the 1st part of this year
but who laughed and giggled constantly?
and when she did learn to speak she would say things like
"me daddy's baby and mommy's girl."
and who calls sam "bubba" and will "bubbie".
or would answer the question "who loves you?" by listing everyone she knows from daddy to mommy to sam to will to norma to auntie to mackey to emi and on and on until the list was complete.
or who every night at daily thanks says
"me thankful emi and mackey come to my house."
(she recently adds "me thankful emi & mackey come to my house to see my kitty.")
my favorite is when she says "two" instead of "more".

there's nothing terrible about a 2 year old who will still wants to take a 2-3 hour nap every day and still go to bed at bedtime and sleep through the night unless she decides she would rather snuggle with her mom and dad in their bed with a stack of books.

or how could a little girl be terrible who has used the potty far more this year than she hasn't?
and who has the cutest little bottom ever in little undies.
or who has a distinct sense of style wearing her boise state "belly shirt" or her red polka dot shorts with her OKC thunder shirt or red headband that "my daddy got me."or the dress ups.

oh my, the dress ups!
who could argue with a 2 year old who is wearing a princess dress and high heels or tap shoes or pink glitter shoes EVERY SINGLE DAY over her clothes no matter where she goes?
and who changes outfits about 5 times a day?
but who also doesn't mind cleaning them up.

or a baby that walks into her room and says
"my room a mess!"
and then gets busy cleaning it up.
or a girl who loves following rules instead of breaking them
and who also loves enforcing the rules by shaking her head or finger at her brothers when they don't obey.

there's nothing terrible about a girl who can play and entertain herself all day with her "bawbies" (barbies) or babies or her "bus house" or her books or anything that is available to her,
even photo albums that she can pour over while lounging in the living room floor.
i love a 2 year old that lives in a dream world.
her world has many facets,
but she is normally playing the role of "the lost princess" or "little mermaid".
and dancing.
always dancing and singing.
when she's not playing she has a book.
her favorite is "if you give a mouse...." series,
but she will take anything.
if she is tired she will get in her bed with a stack of self-selected books and "read" them to herself until she falls asleep or until she has gone through them all.
at night her lamp must remain on so she can see.

and there's certainly not anything terrible about a little girl who is in love with her dad.
and who cries when she doesn't get to say good-bye to him in the morning.

or who is constantly saying things about him.
"me love my dad",
"i strong just like my dad",
"i ask my dad!" (of course when she's not getting what she wants)
"my hair curly like my dad."
"my eyes not blue. they green just like my dad."

or a girl who also likes her mom
and who wants to take a shower with her every single day and then play in there by herself for half an hour.
and who loves to be right by my side while i'm cooking.
and who loves to dance with me,
if you call spinning her around while her arms are outstretched and head tilted back with eyes half closed while she sings.
that's far from terrible.
i call it magical.
just like a girl who still snuggles up every single night for me to sing "i am like a star shining brightly".
and who can be found saying "me pretty like my mom" whenever she sees a picture of me.

so far there just hasn't been anything terrible about this baby of ours.
(except a teensy tiny sass that comes out on very rare occasions but that you can almost see lurking underneath the surface. who says that is a totally terrible thing?)
i think she's going to have a pretty hard time ever convincing us that she is capable of being terrible.

Friday, March 22, 2013

friday book review: stuck

i used to write on here about some of our favorite books we were reading.
then i stopped.
we didn't stop reading,
but i stopped writing.
we recently found a book that we LOVE,
so i'm writing another friday book review about it so we can remember it.

by Oliver Jeffers

Chaos ensues when a young boy gets his kite stuck up a tree. He throws up his shoe to knock the kite down, but that gets stuck too. That is just the beginning of his troubles. In his attempts to knock down his kite he comes up with some pretty absurd (not to mention hilarious) solutions. Each page will leave you and your child laughing and wondering how on earth he came up with that. The surprise ending is just as quirky as the rest of the story.

i love every oliver jeffers book we've read.
i just love his quirky, creative style.
for whatever reason this one really made an impact.
how can you not love a book who the main character's name is floyd!?
be forewarned, this is not a book with a feel good message or a built in life lesson.
it's just funny,
and it will make you and your child laugh.
and we do laugh.
however, i get extremely confused by his use of the ladder.
will loves the lady in the house.
he is always studying her face and trying to figure out what she is thinking or what she is going to do.
maggie just laughs because will laughs.
i think the best ages for this book are 4-6 year olds;
they are in that stage where they question things that don't make sense,
and a whole lot of things in this book don't make sense.
the only thing i didn't like about this book was the font for the text.
it looks like sloppy handwritten cursive,
so it is a little harder to read and would be harder for a beginning reader to decipher.
other than that,
we love it.
read it.
you might love it, too.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

birth order

one thing that makes maggie so delightful is that she is the baby.
part of why we have decided to not have anymore kids is because she is the perfect cherry on top.
something has drastically changed since we got the cat.
she is reacting the same way kids act when a new baby comes home,
except she loves the cat and doesn't want her to go away.
but she tells us now she is not the baby.
"the cat is my baby!" she says.
she yells at people now.
she yells at me to "get away!" and "leave me alone!" whenever i come near her if she has the cat.
she doesn't listen and does a lot of acting like you are not even there.
she pees her pants again.
she even dumped the litter box out and peed in the litter.
i can't say i loved that.
i don't understand.
i want my baby back,
and i would get rid of the kitten if it would bring her back.
many people have tried to prepare me that girls could act like this,
but i never believed that maggie could.
oh, boy, please let this end as quickly as it started.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

part cat & part something

smokey-lala has been a hit.
that's putting it mildly.
i don't think she has been put down for more than 27 minutes since we've had her.
nothing has provided more entertainment for my kids than she has.
not even t.v.
will is pretty sure she is his cat,
and he doesn't want to even leave the house for fear of her being alone or missing her.
proof: he cried about going to the disney store because he didn't want to leave her.
maggie thinks she is the best toy/playmate ever.
she carries her by the arms, neck, and puts her around her own neck.
there have never been more giggles out of this girl
or more bossing.
she bosses the cat to stay in the beds she makes for her,
and she bosses her brothers to give her a turn.
poor sam is now complaining that he has to go to "stupid" school and never gets to be around her.
remember he is the school lover?
the cat trumps school.
i'm smitten, too.
and even pete had her on his lap yesterday.
i'm not sure how a cat could possibly turn out a normal cat with all the attention she is getting.
will has trained to walk on a leash,
and she had her first successful walk this morning.
maggie tries to take her on rides in her baby stroller.
(she hasn't mastered that one yet.)
the kids tuck her into their beds like she is a baby,
complete with pillows, blankets, nightlites, and sippy cups of water.
i'm not sure if she will turn out part dog, part baby, or part human.
i guess it doesn't really matter as long as she stays so sweet.

Monday, March 18, 2013

meet smokey-lala

i love cats.
there i said it.
i'm not a cat lady,
but i can surely appreciate the soft fur of a kitty and its squishy paws and how they curl up in your lap and sleep and purr with their eyes barely open.
or how they claw your hair softly when they are laying by your head.
or how they get so hyper when they get too much catnip.
i guess i just like them.
a lot.
pete doesn't,
but after 11 years he finally consented and let me bring one home.
i think it helps that we have another cat lover in the family.
something about being 5 years old and begging your dad has a different effect than being 33 and begging your husband.
we brought her home today,
and the boys named her smokey-lala vanderlinden.
we call her smokey-lala for short.
she is 8 weeks old,
litter box trained,
a gentle but playful nature,
and has more attention than any cat would ever need.
(mostly by that 5 year old who begged their dad for one.)

everyone has a story to tell

last week i went to a book club where we were discussing a memoir.
i can't say i loved the content or the person writing it.
i had many critiques,
and i wasn't alone.
perhaps i was quite critical actually,
even finding it hard to find some good even in a tragic story.
i have felt a little bit of "shame on me" feelings this week as i've continued to think about it.
we all have a story to tell,
some are better than others,
but that doesn't make anyone's story less valid.
sometimes it's even a great story that gets off track with poor writing style/ability or the words to express it accurately with just words.
i apologize for my harshness in my critique.
i have my own story to tell
and would hope for a little more compassion & understanding than i gave in my review of this story.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

another kind of moment

i suppose we wish all of our moments would feel how they felt last night.
i know i do!
it wouldn't be the full picture if i never mentioned the other days we have around here.
we had a lot of moments around here today,
but they weren't the "amazingly ordinary" ones.
they were the kind of moments that involved exhausted children,
LOTS of whining,
and not an ounce of listening,
or respect.
there was lots of yelling at siblings,
LOTS of nagging mom,
and many moments of being on the verge of losing it myself and acting just like my children.
i took a slightly higher road.
i shut myself in my room and threatened everything that no one was to disturb me.
i laid on my bed,
wishing for a nap,
or at least a break.
i didn't get either.
there are plenty of these kind of moments,
but thank goodness for the ones that offset days like this.

Monday, March 4, 2013

amazingly ordinary moments

i am no different than many moms out there.
our days pass,
fulfilling rountines,
without always realizing how fortunate we are to have what we have.
but sometimes i get lucky enough to  catch a glimpse of how special our normal is.
tonight was really nothing out of the ordinary,
or even really noteworthy.
we had just finished dinner,
and we were all still sitting at the table.
sam started challenging us all to rounds of arm wrestling.
we all happily obliged.
then the next moments were filled with laughter and competition as sam flexed his muscles and tried with all his might to beat everyone.
i, of course, beat him in the beginning just to remind that i am still stronger
(i'm certain that won't always be so),
but then began to really "struggle" ultimately to be defeated.
pete offered to only wrestle with his pinky
but still insisted on showing sam that he was strongest.
sam found will to be a better match.
they laughed through their competitions.
maggie was wondering around trying to find a lap to sit on.
we were all happy.
after the match broke up,
i couldn't help but continue to follow them,
wondering and hoping,
that someday they might have a family of their own,
that they might value time together like we always have,
that they may stay gathered at the dinner table for an arm wrestling match,
and that it might jog their memory back to their early childhood of being in this home,
doing the very same thing,
and that they might feel joy at the memory of such a happy life.
maybe they will,
maybe they won't.
but either way it will be my memory,
stored along with all the other simple moments we have shared,
and those memories will keep me happy.
i couldn't have asked for more in these amazingly ordinary moments.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

am i a sun or a moon?

last night on my drive home
i saw the moon popping up over the mountains
and shining on a city that i really do love.
it was big,
and full,
and beautiful.
i was so impressed that i kept pulling off the side of the road trying to capture it with a picture.
each picture just showed a tiny light speck way off in the distance.
nothing came close to capturing the magnitude & nearness of this great ball of light.
it instantly reminded me of the place i have been the last 2 years.
i have been struggling so on the inside.
it has been the darkest of times for me,
and often it has felt like if there was any light in me at all it was just a tiny speck.
there have been many frustrating parts about this experience,
but one of the most frustrating has been the feeling of not being who i know who i am.
i have always been sure my nature has been bright and very full of light.
perhaps more like a sun than a moon.
as i have been seeking and finding help
i am feeling a return of myself.
there has been a return of light on the inside.
it may not be as bright as the sun yet,
but it's at least as bright as that full moon last night.
and moons and suns both give light, right?
i'm just happy to welcome that back,
even if it's just the light of the moon.

Monday, January 14, 2013

written on her code

i am a hairstylist.
i have wanted to do hair since i was 4 years old.
any paper i ever filled out as a child about what i wanted to do when i grew up it was always hair.
now i'm doing it.
and now i have a daughter who has part of cosmetology written on her genetic code.
she prefers nails though.
her nails are always painted pink,
and she is always looking for someone who will let her paint their nails.
so far her dad & i are her only clients.
she has great accuracy in staying right on the nail bed.
she has such concentration & precision that it's hard to remember she is just 2.
she not only has sharp precision in her technique but also in the management of her product.
there have been 3 instances where she has gotten into polish unauthorized.

1. opened the polish and spilled in the bathroom. not 1 drop on her clothes and only in the sink so it could clean up easily.
2 & 3. she painted her own hands. she put a magazine on the table to rest her hand on and beautifully covered each nail without a drop on the floor, table, or clothes.

she's got a skill if i must say so myself.
i won't be surprised when she brings her 1st "what do you want to be when you grow up" paper home from school and it says "nail tech".
it is written on her code.
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