Monday, April 30, 2007

Sometimes my kids drive me crazy, but then they do or say something that almost makes everything OK. I say almost because the moments of craziness are increasing rapidly while those brief moments of sweetness are becoming more infrequent.

But to focus on the moments of sweetness...I've been trying to bring some type of order to the boys' room and make toys more easily available to them. Since Spencer takes naps throughout the day, there isn't much time for Jeremy and Jack to play in their room and work their way through the toy box. So I have removed all the toys from their room. Jeremy sorted everything to a certain extent (the I-don't-know-what-to-do-with-this pile is quite large). Now I plan to implement an idea I've heard of before -- rotate toys. I'm going to put a variety of toys in a few different totes and leave one tote in the living room for a couple of weeks or a month before switching it out with another. Of course, I don't have much time right now, so everything is still lined up in the dining room.

Now to the sweet part, in an effort to make more room for the boys' clothes I moved a small dresser into their walk-in closet. (They already have two dressers in their room - one of which serves as the changing table.) The dresser in the closet is Jeremy's, so he can turn on the closet light, close the door so he doesn't disturb his sleeping brothers and get ready for bed or school. He is thrilled to have his own private space. I'm not sure how many times he stopped to kiss me last night and tell me he loves me.

Jack was also in rare form today. While he had numerous meltdowns, he was also very sweet. When I arrived to pick him up at my MIL, he was so excited to see me I thought he was going to run through the storm door. And tonight while I was helping him get ready for his bath, he gave me a big hug and told me he missed me. Of course, he added that I had left him, so that was a little sad.

I can't believe I didn't post at all last week. The scary thing right now is I can't always remember what happened. Another good reason to blog. This week won't be much better. I have meetings tomorrow and Wednesday, and a major project due on Friday -- my 11th anniversary. Hopefully, though, I will find time to write something.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Being a parent is getting scarier every day. I just finished watching a TV movie about a teenager who killed a mother and daughter while drag racing. I watched for two reasons: 1) I'm a sucker for a TV movie and 2) when I was in college I knew a young woman who was killed by a teenager who was drag racing.

When I started watching the movie, I was remembering Fronie. I was a freshman in college and she was a couple of years older. I had visited the BSU, so she and another girl were following up. After that first meeting, she was always friendly to me and encouraging. I had the privilege of knowing her for almost two years. She was an amazing girl -- working her way through college cleaning several houses and living with a family and taking care of their daughter. She was on her way to pick up the girl from school.

When I was in my last year of college, the BSU group I sang with performed a program based on Fronie's life. The way her death was described is still fresh in my mind...when Fronie topped the hill, she found herself in the presence of God. She was an amazing Godly woman, and while I am still sad that she died so tragically, I have a new perspective on the experience.

Although I strive every day to teach my children how to make good choices, they will still make poor decisions. I can only pray that their worst decisions may be the clothes they wear, the jobs they take or the college they do or do not attend. I know my children will make mistakes, but I don't like to go through life dwelling on what may go wrong and prefer to focus on the expectation that things will go right. However, I know there are instances every day where good kids who have never been in trouble are responsible for some bad choices.

D and I just have to take advantage of teachable moments, and today's moment came when a neighbor girl told Anna to go home and that she didn't want to be her friend. While I longed to tell Anna that this girl and her sister are brats, I just encouraged her to stand up to anyone mistreating her and to walk away if necessary. I know girls can be very mean and they still use the empty threat of "I won't be your friend anymore" or even worse "I won't be your BEST friend," but hopefully, we can instill Anna with the confidence to dismiss these people.

She's only 8 -- those teenage years are not going to be pretty.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Lately I've gotten so caught up reading some new blogs that I've neglected my own. When I first started reading blogs, I mostly read those dealing with infertility. Then I moved on to some general mommy blogs. Not too long ago I discovered some organizing and personal finance blogs. All of these usually made for some light, interesting reading. However, these blogs that I discovered recently make me count my blessings, tell my husband I love him and hug my kids (even when they are driving me crazy). A couple of these bloggers are women whose husbands have/had cancer. One of the women almost lost her husband in February but he is currently rebounding and is at home. The other women's husband died last week.

One of the things I have found so interesting about these two blogs in particular is one woman is a christian and the other who lost her husband is not. There is a noticeable difference in their approach to their situations. While the christian woman sounds overwhelmed and upset, she still holds onto her faith in God and that light (I know that sounds hokey) shines through in her writing. The other woman sounds like she is at the bottom of a dark hole and can't even see the light at the top.

A blogger I discovered today was diagnosed with a brain tumor a couple of weeks ago. She has three children - one of whom is a miracle baby who according to doctors wouldn't be born alive. Needless to say, she still has major health issues and was diagnosed with autism but she has made it to her fifth birthday. Now this mom is fighting an unimaginable battle, but her faith in God is amazing. I can only hope 1) that I will never experience such trials and 2) if I do, I would have the same type of strong faith. She is scared and cries often, but she is able to remember that God is in control.

The closest experience I have is the birth and quick death of my niece Lauren. Although I do not know my SIL very well since they live in another country, it has been my impression that she has strongly leaned on God during that time and in the years since. When terrible things happen, we often hear that God will use it for His glory. And while we may never know whey certain things happen, I can't help but think that the loss of my niece has given my brother and SIL a chance to be an incredible witness in a country where christians are a small minority.

The recent events at VTech have people wondering why do bad things happen to good people? I don't know. But a tragedy such as this, medical diagnoses such as cancer, diseases, infertility, etc., and marriages falling apart around me, continue to remind me how blessed I am. I don't have a perfect life. I had a tumor scare a few years ago that amounted to very little. My husband "does the laundry" yet leaves unfolded clothes piled on the couches until there is nowhere to sit. My kids fight with each other and talk back to me. The baby likes to wake up at 5 AM. I have a stubborn MIL and crazy family members. But tonight I am able to eat dinner with my family, help the kids with homework and fold their endless supply of jeans so they have clothes to wear tomorrow. Not everyone is so fortunate.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Happy Birthday, Jack!

Today is Jack's third birthday. If I could get to my scanner, I'd scan in the photo the staff took of him at the restaurant tonight, but I don't have time for that. For now I'll use a picture I took of him recently with my new camera phone.

He loves having his picture taken and thinks any camera will let him see immediate results. He really gets confused when I use my old-fashioned camera with film. For the past year, he's been our little redneck boy since he had a front tooth pulled. We could've paid to implant a false tooth, but why when he looks so cute?

I've been thinking about Jack's role in our family. Anna is the oldest and only girl; Jeremy is the oldest boy; and Baby is the baby. Well, Jack is Jack. In just the last few months, he's grown so much. When he is excited about something, he says "cool" or "awesome." He's the only child we have who actually does what the TV characters, such as Dora and Diego, ask. I often hear him yelling "backpack" or "no swiping!"

He loves playing outside. He recently inherited Jeremy's old bike and has very little trouble reaching the pedals. He also has fun riding around the neighborhood on his scooter. A few weeks ago, the boy across the street who is 1 1/2 years older than Jack did not play well with Jack, but now they are the best of friends, hiding behind the mailbox when a car comes down the street or throwing a frisbee around.

Jack also loves to help in the kitchen. It is not unusual for him to choose to help me make something rather than play with the kids or go somewhere with daddy. His two favorite things to make are pizza and cookies. One evening I ordered pizza, and he did not like that -- he wanted to make the pizza from scratch. I might as well appreciate the fact that he prefers my cooking since that will probably change.

In just another year, we will be standing in line registering him for pre-k. Time is flying by quickly, but I'm not really sad. I'll continue to enjoy each stage with my kids without dwelling on the passage of time.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

I'm not the greatest friend in the world, and I really don't have a lot of close friends. I'm OK with that (For anyone reading, I really like that friends I do have). I am able to socialize with people that I don't really connect with and am civil to people I don't really care for. And when it comes to family, I think this skill is very important.

As I've said before, I come from a very big family, and obviously you are going to have many different personalities. Some of the people are crazy and others are just dense. Some of them I actually enjoy chatting with and others cause me to keep any conversation as brief as possible (I must remember to share the story about stealing candy from a baby -- it really happened to Jack). And that's just my family. My husband's family is another story.

Over the years, D has encouraged me to spend time with certain people in his family. I'm not talking about a group activity. He would tell me I should call certain people up and get together for dinner or something. The problem is I really have nothing in common with them. As women, we are quite opposite. Almost every conversation feels awkward, but after almost 12 years, I've learned to deal with it. I can suggest grabbing a bite to eat with my MIL and SIL without D tagging along, but I don't do it often.

I don't think it's important that I become best friends with D's family -- only that I don't come between him and his family. I've seen the problems daughters-in-law can cause when they shut out or limit time with their husbands' families. I see it happening now in my extended family, and I just want to shake the girl. Life is too difficult enough to cause additional familiy drama when it doesn't have to be that hard. Nobody is too good that they can't apply the old saying "grin and bear it."

As long as I don't have to be best friends with my in laws and D can accept it, we will get along fine. My relationship with my MIL hasn't always been perfect, but what relationship is?

In other news, Baby has his first official illness -- bronchitis. He's on two prescriptions. I didn't hesitate to give him the first, but I wasn't looking forward to giving him the second. When Jeremy was on the same med as a baby, he hardly slept during the night. We found out later one side effect is hyperactivity! However, so far, baby is sleeping with no problem. Hope I didn't just jinx myself.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

I did it

I just sent off my first proposal on a freelance job. I'm a little nervous about it because I'm not sure if it was good enough. My contact who was supposed to look at it and discuss it with me never returned my email, so I just took a stab at it and sent it off. Now I'm not sure I even want to do it. Yes, extra money would be great, but the way this gig would be set up, I wouldn't probably get anything for awhile. It's really more of an investment on my part in their new company. We'll see how it pans out. Could be the start of something, but then again, I'd be happy never having to work for money. I've got enough other things in life to keep me busy.

Speaking of which, I think I did a great job of multitasking this evening. Since my wonderful cousin took Anna to an early dinner, I didn't have to worry about feeding her before soccer. So I picked up McD's for J, J and me; ate my burger while I drove very carefully; unloaded Anna at the soccer field; served the boys their food; set up the portable DVD player for their entertainment; then mixed some rice cereal and fed Spencer. The DVD player was really the best thing because I didn't want to drop her off and leave only to turn around and go back to get her, and it was too cold outside (April in Oklahoma - tornado one week, snow the next) for the boys to play.

Happy anniversary, D. It was 12 years ago today that we met over a donut. If I hadn't been so wiped out from a headcold and Baby's restless night, I might've gone to pick up donuts for him. On the other hand, he could've done the same thing for me. But even better, he let me sleep in while he got the kids ready for school and out the door. Of course, once he left Jack and Baby were ready for the day.

Thursday, April 5, 2007

If only

If only I had a Saturday to do what I needed to do...this Saturday I get to go to a strange baby shower. It's for my husband's side of the family, and of course he has to work. So I'm taking my MIL with me to make sure she goes. Fortunately, kids are invited and unfortunately, kids are invited. After the 30 minute baby shower, they are having an Easter egg hunt for the kids. But we can't hang around long because Anna has a soccer game at 12:45.

Best news of all?!? There's a chance of snow and the high on Saturday is in the 40s! I could make stew for dinner one more time before it's too hot for stew. I'm rambling but it's because I'm trying to avoid complaining. My house is a mess and since cleaning is not a priority with me, that's saying a lot. However, I don't have time to really clean it because I have to proof 100 mini bios before tomorrow. Thank goodness my mom watched the kids today because that wonderful woman folds the laundry and puts away what she can.

My neighbor brought over a tub of cookie dough to thank D for mowing her yard. Right now I could probably go through the whole thing easily. Anyway, she came just as CSI was starting and stayed to visit, so by the time she left and I inspected the damage the two older kids caused in both bathrooms, I missed the whole show.

Tomorrow will be a better day -- especially if I get to eat lunch at Alfredo's.

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

The other side

I don't want to jinx myself, but I might be seeing the other side of this wall. Of course, another wall will probably pop up again soon.

We hit some major milestones in the past few days. Baby has been sleeping approximately 10 hours for the past couple of nights. Next thing you know he'll be demanding his Thomas the Tank Engine shirt just like his older brother is doing right at this moment (10:45 at night!!). For now, I will enjoy Baby's sweet sounds before they turn to whining.

I spent Monday afternoon on the Great Bike Hunt. Jeremy was ready for a bigger bike, and I wanted him to be able to give Jack his old bike before Jack's birthday next week. (As the baby of the family, I am very sensitive to hand-me-downs. Nothing wrong with them, but I'd like to try to make them as painless as possible. Of course, Jack doesn't know the difference right now.) Anyway, Jeremy is so particular about EVERYTHING, so we went to a couple of different locations of the same two stores and the major toy store. Three hours later, he decided on the perfect bike, but then he had to wait for D to get home to assemble it. I could've done it, but why should I deprive him of the privilege?shnnnnnnnnbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbb

I had to leave the line above in the post because Jack forced my fingers onto the keyboard to write it. Then he told me "Dare you go. You welcome!"

I will end on that note since it's almost 11, and he must go to sleep!