Sunday, February 24, 2008

A Stay at Grandma's House

So we're on the road. It's been hard for me to blog since my computer isn't online. But we are staying at Grandma and Grandpa's house (Nelson). There are many advantages of staying with family when you are on the road. There are also many disadvantages. Let's explore a few.

Advantage: Grandma has new toys. They are so enthralling -- for two days.
Disavdvantage: Grandma only has two sets of toys. There is only so much you can do with two sets of age-appropriate toys.

Advantage: Grandma and Grandpa will watch the kids for an overnight get-away for Mom and Dad! Despite the ice, we went to the Mansion at Elfindale and stayed in the suite where we had spent our honeymoon night. It was delightful!
Disavantage: Kids are hyped up from abiding by grandma and grandpa rules.

Advantage: Free room and board. We even have a separate room from the kids!
Disadvantage: Kids are sharing a room. On the East side of the house. With an uncovered semi-circle window over the regular window. They haven't slept past 6 any day this week. >:( (If you don't really know me and my kids, Reed gets up at 7:30 and Ashton and I don't rouse before 8--9 if we're lucky.) This makes for very long days, in more ways than one.

Advantage: Grandma has found the entire series of Berenstain Bears books to give to us!
Disadvantage: The Berenstain Bears books are the longest books ever written for preschool age kids! And since my kids are used to two books at bedtime....

All in all I wouldn't trade it for the world! I know this time with Grandma and Grandpa is precious. Later this week we will be moving to my parent's house. Things there will be just as good and bad. But also very precious. What a blessing!

Friday, February 15, 2008

The Perfect Valentine's Day

Since Ryan and I will be celebrating Valentine's Day next week (when we have free child care), we decided to make today a family affair. So I decided to go all out and give the kids a Valentine's party. Now before you get all impressed, I only invited one other family (my friend and her two daughters whose age match my kids) and I have never thrown either of my kids a birthday party to this degree. And I guess I missed my teaching days.

We started by making our own pizzas with heart-shaped pepperonis and then cut sugar cookies from already-made dough. (While the cookie dough was very good itself, the cookies were a disaster at almost every point, although the kids didn't seem to notice!) Later we had crafts: lacing hearts with red ribbon, gluing hearts around the paper plate to make a heart wreath, and gluing your name on the heart (like the conversation heart candies) for the older ones. All the kids seemed to have fun, although when it came to the conversation name heart, Reed said with a cheerful attitude, “That's not really fun, but I'll do it anyway.”

Tonight we cooked a fancy dinner at home. Grandma Pat's famous golden chicken nuggets, baked potatoes, individual sweet potato casseroles, stir-fried ginger pea-pods, and pudding with cookie crumbs (from above failed cookie attempt) for dessert. Reed was impressed that I could make chicken nuggets that taste good! And for the peas I got the thumbs-up from Reed and the index-fingers-up from Ashton! We even ate on the china and (two of us) used the crystal glasses! (Granted: while making all this, I actually said to the kids, “Mommy is trying to make a special dinner for you and all you're doing is screaming at each other! Go to your rooms!”)

It was a pretty perfect day!

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Two things I wasn't ready for

If you were around when Reed was a baby, you know that I dug in my heels when it came to him growing up. I didn't let anyone mention his impending first birthday, and I put off the first haircut as long as I possibly could. I realized later (when dressing Ashton) that I had even kept him in clothes longer than I should have, just because he was that age and still supposed to be that size!

When Ashton came along I realized that time would slip by, but I could celebrate the milestones of growth rather than dread them. I have gotten into a rhythm of enjoying life and seeing how she grows as a person each day. That rhythm was disrupted last week.

Ashton has been hinting for some time that she might be ready for potty training—going every time she was on the toilet, insisting I change a wet diaper, and even trying to use the bathroom on her own. I, on the other hand, am not ready for this. I know why children used to be potty trained so much earlier. What is the difference between washing cloth diapers and washing underwear? Nothing. Now there's a big difference!

So I broke down and got the pull ups—little pain, little gain. Since she has donned the pull ups, which she is very proud of, she has not made one attempt to go on her own and keeps them dry for about 10 minutes. So I guess this is good news. Neither of us is ready for potty training. This was not so hard on me.

The other thing we did last week was try out the big bed. We have had a double bed in her room since Christmas. Ryan suggested we try it for nap, so we did and she did great. I laid her down and closed the door: she immediately followed me out. I simply took her back and encouraged her, “If you get up again, I will put you in the crib.” She did not get up again and napped well.

That night I said we would go back to the crib for night time. She pointed and said, ”No, big bed.” She is a very insistent little thinker. It is hard to dissuade her from her plan. She got in the big bed and did not get up at all.

When I went back to check on her that night, I was suddenly overwhelmed. I remembered when we first moved her to her crib. We would lay her down perpendicular to the bed. We set the baby monitor camera about a foot away from her so her sweet wondering face filled the entire TV screen.

I am not really a cry-er—Ryan cries at the Extreme Home Makeover, not me. But I sure cried then and there. I had to come out and explain to my alarmed husband that it was really nothing. Everything was okay It was just time that was lost.

The good news is that I can now lean over and kiss her while she sleeps. It's been about 2 years since that has been possible without a gymnastic feat. And she can sleep perpendicular in the bed again.

Friday, February 1, 2008

I've Finally Come Around

For years I have gotten emails from friends and family announcing their new blog. My response has always been, "I'm supposed to have time to blog now, too?" I have resisted the idea of adding one more responsibility into my day. But it hit me a few weeks ago as I was doing laundry..."I am blogging." Until today it has only been posted in my head.

I have always loved words. I believe words are very powerful and I do not take their meanings lightly. You can ask my husband, who has learned over they years that, when we are in the midst of "discussion," 10 minutes of silence is not necessarily me ignoring the question. I am simply crafting the words that will best describe my emotions and point of view best. (He wisely waits several minutes and simply asks, "Did you hear me?")

I believe the written word to be even more powerful! Though they may sometimes be misconstrued, words that are written are methodically crafted together and can convey an even greater truth. This is why I have been writing in my head for years. (As a mom I rarely get time to write with anything slimmer than a crayon.) And since I have organized my thoughts with article titles and subheadings and the little bubble to the side with the "how to" bullets (more appropriately "how not to.."), I have decided to publish my head here. Well, at least what's left of it.

I do not promise regular posts. I do not promise profound reflections on life. I do not even promise to be funny. What I promise here is "Truth." At least the truth as I know it so far.