Wednesday, February 28, 2007

My little Linuses

It's amazing what makes children feel secure. Some suck thumbs (like Violet*) or fingers. Others have a special stuffed animal or blanket. We have two blankie addicts in our family. Dash has always had one special blanket. We had others that were the exact same blanket only different colors, but he always new which blankie was "the one." The other interesting thing about his blankie addiction is that ever since he was a baby, he has held onto the edge of the blanket with the tag. Now, six years later, that side of the blanket is well worn and unraveling. Fortunately, my mother is able to mend the edge enough to hold it together and keep him happy. Once upon a time he took the blanket everywhere, but now it stays at home.

We learned our lesson when we realized Jack was going to be a blanket lover, so we bought another blanket that was exactly the same -- color and style. And we've always used both so we avoid any major meltdowns when one is missing. While Dash holds the tag side of the blanket up to his face as he sucks his thumb, Jack chews on his blanket. Actually, he shoves as much of the material in his mouth as he can. He gave up his pacifier a while ago, but the blankie is still hanging around.

I'm not sure what will be Baby's special quirk. He likes shoving his blanket or any nearby material into his mouth when he's not sucking on a pacifier or his thumb.

Although all my kids look strangely alike, they all have different personality traits. Even though I'm not always sure I will survive various phases, I'm still having fun. One day they will be searching for their own children's blankies or pacifiers, and I will be enjoying the next stage in my life.

*Although I'm sure I will manage to embarrass my children several times throughout their childhood, I do not plan to do it intentionally. Therefore, I have decided not to use their real names. Since they like to pretend we are a family of superheroes, I have given them the names of the Incredible family -- of course they only had three kids, so Baby is going to be Baby for now.

Monday, February 26, 2007

The family

I can't imagine not having a large family, and I'm not talking about my four kids. I am very fortunate to have a very large extended family. My dad was one of 14, and several of my aunts and uncles live nearby.

My cousin and I just took a road trip to northern Oklahoma for a surprise 70th birthday party for one of the uncles. We spent most of the trip talking about how great it is to be a part of "the family." If anyone is struggling with health, finances, etc., we know that we can count on our family for encouragement and support. When I got the news that my dad was going to need emergency bypass surgery, I was able to breakdown in front of one of my uncles when I was not willing to do that in front of anyone else. He was there with us through it all, and several aunts traveled to Oklahoma City to spend time with us as well.

As I said at the beginning, I can't imagine what life would be like without my extended family. And because of our choices, my children will grow up having a relationship with their great aunts and uncles in addition to my cousins. Actually, my kids have more grandparents than just their grandma and papa, and I'm glad.

Yes, family can be demanding, frustrating and somewhat irritating, but they're still family. And I wouldn't want to live my life without them.

Friday, February 23, 2007

One of a kind

I have always known I was married to a very unique man, but over the last few weeks, I've developed an even greater appreciation for him. Unfortunately, we both know several couples who are having marital problems and I just learned of a couple who filed divorce papers this week. It is difficult for me to advise anyone because it can be hard for me to relate to what they are going through. So I usually just listen which is probably the best thing these people need.

It can be so easy to join in when friends or acquaintances are complaining about their husbands, but I really don't have much to complain about. There are a few minor quirks, but overall Don is a supportive and sensitive husband as well as a very hands-on dad. We are actually interchangeable parents. Whereas a mother might have to leave specific instructions for her husband when he is left with the kids, Don can handle everything -- feedings, clothing, education, etc. Sometimes he's better at some of the stuff than me (patience and playing to name a couple).

As a husband, he has been the best. We have been married for nearly 11 years. During that time, he has supported me through difficult jobs, extremely uncomfortable pregnancies and bad mothering days. We have had health scares and financial struggles, but we have managed to stick together rather than tear each other down.

If I were to give any engaged couples or newlyweds a suggestion, it would be to always keep their marriage first -- well, second after God. Once you have kids, it's easy to become a child-centered household, but you can't forget your spouse. One of the things I have always enjoyed about our marriage is how we celebrate our anniversary. We alternate years planning a weekend for ourselves -- we take a whole weekend and not just one night out. For our first anniversary, Don took me to a murder mystery dinner at a bed and breakfast. Since then, he's always outdone me.

There are a lot of other things I could say about our relationship -- the importance of family, how he proposed, his approach to fatherhood -- but I'll save those for other posts.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Gotta love those cookies

We are almost finished selling girl scout cookies, and I'm so ready. Violet is in her second year as a Brownie, and she loves it. I love that she wants to be in the group whether or not her friends are in the troop. Hopefully, she will continue to have something of an independent streak -- but then again, there are times when she wants to dress "cool" like her friends or gets upset because she's not on the same team as a friend. She is quite the drama queen, so I have a hard time being sympathetic because I am not like that and never have been (according to my mother).

Dash can't wait to join the boy scouts next year, so then we'll be selling popcorn in the fall and cookies in the winter. I'm sure my pantry will be well stocked with snacks and treats. I hope he enjoys boy scouts since he doesn't seem to have an interest in playing any organized sport right now. He plays a sport for one season, gets a trophy and he's ready to move on. I'm not too worried. There will be plenty of time for sports later. Violet's soccer team, which finished 2nd this fall, keeps us busy enough.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Hoping to make sense

I'm in a constant state of exhaustion, so I'm not sure I'm always making sense. With four kids, the youngest being three months old, and a part-time job, I don't get much rest. An uninterrupted night's sleep? I haven't experienced one of those in months.Tonight I decided to finally take the time to start this blog. I've thought about it for a couple of years, but I've never taken the time to do something about it. I don't really have the time now, but I'm going to try to make myself take a timeout and blog. I'm a basketball fan so the sport served as my inspiration for the title of this blog. In the midst of my busy days -- either work, kids, husband or house -- I hope to take a timeout and compose a coherent thought. I'm not sure what I will write about. One day it might be the family, the next it might be the latest current event, and I'll probably throw in my two cents about basketball or football.I'm not promising I'll always make sense, but I'll try to at least use correct grammar (but I'm not promising I won't get who and whom mixed up from time to time).