Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Simply Put

It has been one heck of  a year for us...and it is amazing to think of all the things we have been thru, or done in this past year.  I don't think we could have possibly fit in anything else into 2009.  It was literally, jam-packed.  Although, it took us down some pretty bumpy (we're talking potholes the size of the Grand Canyon), it has also brought us to a beautiful, serene, resting spot. I could not have picked a better end to 2009.
So, here we go again.......

Every year, like people all over the world, I make a list.  For some people these lists last a week, a month or even the whole year.  I have been pretty good about setting goals in the past, that I somehow manage to meet by the end of the year.  Sure, sometimes my list seems a little wishy-washy.  Kiss my kids every single day, say I love you to my husband every night.  Easy Peasy.  Every year I resolve to do more, do less, be something.  This year, part of my list (the important part) has already been formed, spoken, and voiced to various people. 

Because, this year I realize I do the best that I can....my kids and husband know I love them.  I am a good mom, I am a good wife.  This year, in 2010 I am going to do something good for me....and in turn, my family
will also be rewarded from my resolution.

 My resolution is to SIMPLIFY my life.   The goal is to declutter the areas of my life that are weighing me down.  This will include cutting out negative people, activities that suck the life and time away from what is important to me.  I will simply eliminate things that do not add happiness to my life. 



1) Simplify socially, I will facebook socialize less, and share less with people I hardly know...I will socialize less with people who are negative and filled with drama.


2) Simplify driving- I will not answer my phone while driving. Good thing Kyle drives most of the time.

3) Simplify our eating, going back to the natural, healthy, basics...(this does not mean simpler meals like Hamburger Helper, it actually means the opposite-- more from scratch, know exactly what is in your meal kind of meals) 

4) Simplify my entertainment- Play more board games, play with my kids, play with my husband (don't be dirty, I was talking about the wii).  Really let myself forget the complexities of life, and roll on the floor with laughter with my children, without ever letting the thought of a bill that needs to be paid or a ringing phone disturb us.


5) Simplify my liquid intake.  Again, less complex drinks (wine, margaritas, beer) and more good ol' H20.  I can't bring myself to getting rid of coffee--but,it really isn't all that complex, is it?

6) Simplify my closet and my makeup case.

7) Simplify my relationships with my husband and kids- No matter what, simply Love them.


8) Simplify my scrapbooking style, so that I can catch up!

The last one is not simple, but it has to be done-- I need to find out what I want to do when my kids go off to school in less than 2 years.  Do I go back to get my masters? If so, in what?  Do I find another job teaching?  Do I change my entire career path?  Do I open my own business?  I have been a mommy for the past few years, I haven't put much thought into the next step for me...but, I do know that I am not the type to sit at home til the kids get home...

Oh, also...I hope to get re-engaged in 2010 ;)   Isn't that exciting!!



So, with this-- I give an eager "goodbye," to 2009, and I look excitedly ahead to 2010

Happy New Year.

See you in 2010.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Messy Love


I have had pretty good luck with potty training with my first being a daughter.  Then my son came--and we keep getting close, but then we slide down that slippery slope made of pullups and wipies.

2 days ago, he was quiet.  Every mother of a toddler boy, knows that when it is quiet--there  is something wrong.  So, I called for him, and he didn't answer--then I asked if he was going, "potty," in his pants--and he said from the bathroom-- "no."  But, in that shaky voice, I knew he was.  I swung open the door, thinking I would find a boy standing in the diaper, not on the toilet, doing his business. 

Instead, I found my sweet boy, pants off, sitting upon his potty, doing his business...in the potty, by himself, in the potty....WOOHOO!   (Did I mention, in the potty?!!)  He looked at me, and put his hand up, and said. "please, go now."  I understood quickly, he wanted his privacy.  After he was done, we threw him a little vocal praise party-- let him call grandma, the whole 9 yards.

Then yesterday, Jaxen told me he had to go potty, so he went into the bathroom and did not want my help.  I let him have his privacy, thinking this was the key to the potty training for him alll along.  After a little bit of time had passed, he ran to me, excitement all over his face--saying he did it- he pooped in the potty!  Again, I was happy for him, and as he walked away I saw traces of his "business" on his little cheeks.  Uh-oh.

I told him we needed to clean up a little, and we went to the bathroom together-- where I walked in on a very big, mess. ( I am trying not to use too many descriptive words, for fear of gagging).  It was smeared on the toilet seat, and on the floor.  I started to clean him up first, and as I was wiping him down-- he began to say in a soft voice, "forgive me...forgive me?"  This was the first time I have ever heard him apologize in this way, and it made me smile through my frustration.  I told him of course I forgave him.  I explained to him that if he needed help, he needed to let mommy help him, and it was okay to ask for help.  He then looked up at me, with sweet eyes, and said..."friends?"  This I have heard before, and I love it when he says it, and reaches to hold my hand as he says it.  I told him we would always be friends, no matter how big the mess. 

And, as I went to take his hand, I said..., "Is that poop on your hand."  He looked down at his right hand, and said without hesitation or embarassment, "yes."  And, then he looked at his left hand, and said..."not this one."  I had to laugh.  He saw the positive in this stinky situation, he saw no mountain (or pile of sh*%) standing in his way , to show his mommy how much he loved her and was sorry. 

How could one not learn and be humbled by this act of determination and love.  My 2 year old, "terror," full of undying, unwavering, messy love---He truly amazes and inspires me.

So, yes, Alexis was easier and less messy to potty train, but Jaxen shows me how to love in the midst of any kind of CRAP.

Monday, December 7, 2009

The Cleaning Fairy makes me so Happy, I could...


One evening I informed my daughter that she had to tidy up her room, before anything else the next morning.  She agreed, however. the next morning she slept in...for a very long time.  I thought she must be getting sick, and needed her sleep- so I let her sleep.  I took the opportunity to tidy her room for her, before she awoke.

When she did wake up, she went to her room to clean it--only to find it was already clean.  She ran downstairs, ecstatic that someone had cleaned her room for her.  The only possibly conclusion, she could come up with is that a, "cleaning fairy" must have done it while she slept. 

Being a mom, that believes in miracles-- I didn't tell her otherwise. 

2 days later, my sweet 4-year old daughter was still revelling in the amazing, "cleaning fairy."  She asked me that evening, if the cleaning fairy would clean her room again...  Being very suspicious of this question, I went to her room--to see a very big mess.  I told her that the, "cleaning fairy," may or may not come, but that maybe it would be nice to surprise her with a clean room.  So, she cleaned up her room, and crawled into bed.

As we were doing our bedtime routine, we talked about our favorite part of the day, and said our prayers:
"Dear God, thanks for sending me a cleaning fairy, and please send my mom one to help clean up my dad's stuff.  Amen."   (oops, I guess I shouldn't complain about picking up daddy's dirty clothes anymore)

Our conversation about the fairy continued:


"Do you think God will send you a cleaning fairy, mommy?"
"Yep, I am sure whatever cleaning fairy cleaned your room, will clean my room." (sneaky, huh?)

"Do you think I will ever see the fairy in real life, mommy...or, does she only come out at night?" 
hmmmm...
"Sure, sweetie, we will probably see a real fairy when we go to Disney World."
"Will we see other characters, too?"
"Yes, we will see Cinderella, Buzz Lightyear..."

My son joins the conversation
"BUZZ LIGHTYEAR???!?!?!"
"Yes, Buzz Lightyear."

"I would be so happy, so happy, I would poop."

Wait a second....

"what?"

Yep, that's what he said....

"You mean, like, you would be so happy you would poop in the potty, right?"
"right."

phew.

I can only come up with 2 reasons for this strangely funny comment from my 2 year old son.  He equates mommy's happiness of him pooping in the potty, with a high level of happiness.  Or, he would be so happy he would always poop in the potty--like a trade off.  However that comment came to be, I will laugh about it for a long time....when he is not looking of course--- ;)

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Tears



Tears are a funny thing-- I can go weeks without shedding a one.  But, then there are times that I can't seem to skip a day from shedding a tear or two.  Tears are a cleansing way to refresh ones soul.  And, I have learned that, without a soft heart, it is hard to allow yourself to succumb to the release tears can offer you.

Today, I spent my first afternoon with my son in the ER.  A neighborhood puppy knocked him down, and he hit the back of his head-- and you know how those heads can bleed.  He was scared, and I was scared.  I cannot stand to see my babies hurting, and I cannot stand not being in control of the situation.  I kept my cool, scooping him up and holding him tight--whispering softly to calm him down. 

As we tried to get it cleaned up enough so we could see what kind of gash we were looking at--  emotions were running high.  Jaxen was still scared, shaking and crying, Alexis was nervous and worried, and I was overwhelmed with emotion. 

I wanted to hold Alexis, and comfort her as she was worried for her brother, to tell her everything would be alright.  Instead I had to hold Jaxen close to me, and simply wink at her- letting her know with a simple gesture that mommy had it under control.  Inside, I felt like the control I had on the situation was gaining, but the control I had on my emotions was quickly slipping. 

I held Jaxen while trying to keep his head down, and let Daddy clean it-- I couldn't bare to look yet, because I am nothing short of a coward, when it comes to my children being hurt.  I literally shudder, thinking about looking at it as I write this.  I don't prefer looking at wounds--but, could honestly say that most wounds on other people don't phase me, but when it is your baby, everything changes. 

I tried to joke and keep Jaxen's mind off of the situation--and then it started...tears.  I had been keeping it together, holding it together for Alexis, for Jaxen, for Kyle, for the neighbors that came over to check on Jaxen, and for me...and then  I couldn't.  I didn't sob, I just allowed warm tears to fall, reminding me that it is okay to hurt for your babies. 


Sure, I thought that it may scare my kids that their mommy was crying, but it is also important for them to know--that mommy doesn't always have it under control, and sometimes I am scared and worried.  But, that together we can work through it--and we did.  I am sure that there will be many more times that we find ourselves in the ER with our son--and there will be even more times that we have to face things together, where tears will fall.  I just pray that my heart remains soft enough, to allow those tears to come. 

Jaxen wound up getting his head glued back together, at the ER-- and he was a very brave boy.   I was so proud of his fearlessness.  I am also thankful for the concerned neighbors and a "calm," grandma on the phone.  She kept me calm, (afterall, she raised a very similar boy, and is a nurse)--even though I know, after I hung up with her she probably shed a tear or two too.  It's what we do. 

Friday, November 13, 2009

Daddy Love


I know it's important for our kids to spend quality time with both their mom and dad, but often times I am the one who gets the quality time with the kids.  My DH is working and when he is at home, so is mom--so, the kids tend to cling to the one they have been with all day. 

Last night, it was ladies night at one of our friends homes--so I went and stayed for a few hours, and past the kids' bedtime.  Daddy was in charge for dinner, for play and for the goodnight kisses.  Because I have such a great husband, I never felt guilty about not being home, or worried that he wouldn't get the, "job done."
I came home to a quiet house, and had a chance to talk to my husband before we  both went to bed.  He had enjoyed his evening, ordered pizza, had a tickle fight, and watched a movie with the babies. 

It was not until this morning, that I realized how much the kids need and want that special daddy-time.  Alexis woke up, happy to see her daddy.  She woke up wanting to cuddle and read with him.  She kissed him goodbye, and watched as he drove away, not able to tear her eyes away from him, for as long as she could see him.  She also, hasn't stopped talking about him, since he left. 

I KNEW that the time with her daddy did wonders for her soul.  It did  wonders for her daddy's soul too- because he wanted to sit and read with her, he wanted an extra hug goodbye, he couldn't stop telling her, how much he loved her.  Don't get me wrong- they have always loved time together, and loved each other.  But, somehow this quality time together, refreshed their love for each other somehow. 

Love between 2 people, is like silver-- It is always silver, although without the time invested in keeping it shiny--it becomes dingy.  We all are guilty of letting our love become dingy, when life gets busy.  But, I am glad that it is never too hard to get back that shine.  And, yes--I do believe they were both "shining" with love this morning for one another--

I am thankful to be married to a daddy who takes time for his daughter, and loves his wife and children with everything he has-because it is from her daddy, that she will learn how she should be treated one day.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Perfect for Me

As our wedding anniversary and Thanksgiving approaches this month, I feel really inspired to write about my loving husband.  I am a very blessed wife and mother- because of him.  We have been through some very tough spots, -- but, we held out and held on to one another.  We don't believe in giving up, and we don't expect that marriage is easy.

I am thankful that my husband is supportive and encouraging to me in whatever I decide to do-- he literally just wants me to be happy.  He doesn't resent me for wanting to stay at home with the kids, nor does he wish it were different.  He doesn't pressure me into doing what he wants, or even what he thinks is best--instead, he respects my decisions and feelings.  He does not tell me what to do, who to be friends with (even after I have thrown a little bitty fit about a friend), when to cook for dinner, or how much to spend on my hair ;).  He loves me and treats me with the same respect when he comes home to a perfectly clean house/grilled steak/quiet kids as he does when I have spent the day shopping and the house is a mess.

I know that this should be the norm for marriages, but it all honesty it isn't...and that is why I consider myself to be one of the "lucky" ones.  After being home all day with kids, he can look at me and know that I need a mommy time-out, spent at Target.  He encourages me to spend time with friends, encourages me to be a better person, and encourages me to take care of me.  I am thankful every single day for a man who can be so loving and caring towards the woman who can buy every pair of shoes she comes across ;p.

I also have to mention his ability to cook a mean gourmet dinner, pick the perfect bottle of wine and do any handiwork around the house or car---he never minds watching the kids for me, or the kid of a friend who I want to spend girl-time with.

Now, all that being said--like any person, he is not perfect--so, don't read this and then go tell your own husband what he should or shouldn't be.  We do argue, we do know how to push each other's buttons, and we both have our flaws---but, he is PERFECT for ME--and that is all I could ever hope for.

Happy Anniversary to my Perfect Husband-- I love you and I love the life we have created together.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Before I was a Mom

I have seen many of these little, "stories," in the 4+ years that I have been a mom-- and they always have statements that ring true--but, as I was gutting a pie pumpkin this morning, I started to think of all the things that have changed with me--since I have become a mom.

Before I was a mom I wouldn't blink twice to spend $200 on a pair of jeans I wanted, but the mom I am now, prides myself on shopping for great deals, and rarely spending more than $20 on a pair of jeans for me, yet spending $200 for children's "activities."

Before I was a mom I never thought to make a pumpkin pie, and now that I am a mom--I never think about not making the pumpkin filling from scratch.

Before I was a mom, I knew who I was, but not what I was capable of.

Before I was a mom, I wanted to change the world by teaching our youth, now my own youth teach me--and I am changing their world simply by loving them.

Before I was a mom, I wanted to see the world- but now that I am a mom, I am satisfied seeing the world thru the eyes of my children.

Before I was a mom, I never fixed lunch and then forgot to eat it.

Before I was a mom, I had no idea what being selfless was.

Before I was a mom, I didn't NEED coffee.

Before I was a mom, I could sleep thru anything, and now I will wake with intuition or at the slightest hiccup.

Before I was a mom, I had my life all planned out, and now my plans are altered for what's best for my children.

Before I was a mom, I flinched at scary movies- now nothing scares me--because I have/had a toddler.

Before I was a mom, I found time to lay around- and do nothing.

Before I was a mom,  I decorated my house in Americana, now I decorate my house in "kid".

Before I was a mom, snotty noses made me gag--

Before I was a mom, my heart never stopped beating in that brief instant when you turn around and your child isn't where you thought they were.

Before I was a mother, I drove fast, and lived life to the fullest--now I play it safe--not because of my future-but, because of theirs.

Before I was a mother, I dreamed of my future-- now I see my future every single day.

Before I was a mother, I never worried about what was "in" any pre-made food--now, I try to from-scratch everything.

Before I was a mother, I didn't feel the desire to document every memory, every picture- (scrapbooking)

Before I was a mother, I could clean the house and it would stay clean for longer than an hour.


However, some things never change--
I still love to shop, I still love high heels- (I actually, had a mother stop me once, wondering how I managed to hold on to a toddler and carry a baby seat, all in heels)
I will still see the world, after we see DisneyWorld.
I still have trouble sharing my Moose Tracks-- even with my kids :).
I still act silly- but sometimes those times include giggling in bed with all 4 members in our family--
I still go out for girls night, enjoy a glass of wine, and a date night.


My kids have changed me- and I like who I have become because of them.  Although, they may not see the change- I hope that they will listen and believe me--as I tell them how different I was before-

For the many mothers out there, take a quick glance at how life was before kids--and tell me what has been the biggest change for you since you became a mother/grandmother/aunt?

Friday, October 23, 2009

Roll Over Beethoven


I watch a sweet little infant, during the days--while I stay home with my kids.  I enjoy watching him, because he is such a great little baby!  I started watching him when he was 6 weeks old, and he is now about 3 months old.  Before I began watching him, I knew that since he would be spending so much time with me, that he was bound to do a, "first," with me--and I wasn't sure how I was going to handle this when it came time.

Then last week, something happened--and I knew it hadn't happened at home yet.  He rolled over!  So exciting, but I just had this feeling that it wasn't meant for me.  Afterall, I had watched my 2 babies learn to do new things--this was for his mom.  So, I acted as if I didn't see anything--and waited hopefully that he would repeat it for his own mommy.  A day went by, and the weekend went by...and nothing.

So, this week--he rolled for me again--and I thought okay, I will just video it.  So, I got out my little camera, which I always happen to have nearby, layed him on his belly and hit record.  Within seconds he rolled over.  I thought that I should showcase his new talent in a fun way, as to ease the bittersweet news.

Both mom and dad were both excited about the news and even more excited to watch the video.  But, I still felt a little guilty for having their moment.  Is this crazy?  Should I have never even told them?  Please comment and let me know your opinion on this--because there will be more, "firsts."

Please take a moment and celebrate with this great little family, and watch him Roll Over --

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Rockstar



Once upon a time there was a young girl who believed that the, "New Kids on the Block," were the best band ever--and no one could ever have been better--and noone would ever be better.  Her dad tried to convince her that this was not true, and there were  much bigger music artists in the world.

As this little girl grew up, her beloved band stopped being a band--and became less and less well-known.  There are generations who have never even heard of this band.  Ironically, this little girl became a fan of her father's bands--and would know the lyrics to their songs by heart--but, always held a special place in her heart for her first loved band.

More time passed, and this once little girl--had her own little girl.  She loved her more than words could ever express-- and saw the fire in her eye that her mother had.  She knew from the beginning her daughter would be a strong girl, a resilient young lady and a courageous woman one day.  The mother saw it in her strong cry, her way with words,  and her desire for knowledge.

The time came sooner than the mother had expected--as her daughter was only 4--and the moment was just as unexpected.  As the mother stood at the stove, cooking eggs and sausage on a Tuesday morning, the daughter came to her mother to state her opinion.  "Hannah Montana is a Rockstar--she is the best rockstar ever....noone will ever be as good of a rockstar as Hannah Montana."

Her mother stood in silence, trying not to laugh as she saw her own sweet daughter show the same characteristics she showed at such an early age.  Of course her daughter was probably wrong, just like the mother was wrong so many years ago-  Would anyone remember Hannah Montana in 10 years-- probably about as many people that remember NKOTB.  But, it was not a point worth arguing.


What was important was that she saw her daughter being able to stand up for what she believed in, ...even when no one agreed.  Standing up for a teen-band/singer is not life-changing by any means, but the idea of her feeling that she can state her opinions, and have them heard and respected means everything to someone learning to find their voice.

So, as my dad entertained the idea that NKOTB would be a world-known band, and even playing their music for me on weekend mornings-- I will equally entertain the idea that Hannah Montana is the BEST ROCKSTAR-- not because I believe it, but because I respect my daughter and her opinions. If playing Hannah Montana in our house will help me show my daughter that it is good to stand up for herself, give it all she's got,  never give up and in short be a Rockstar of sorts--then..."It's the best of both worlds, chill out, take it slow--then you rock out the show."




PS.  For the record, my father's band-- is The Beatles-- who even have their one ROCK BAND after all these years---so I think he was right.  There I said it-- :)




Thursday, October 8, 2009

Puppy Love

Okay, I am sorry-- I haven't blogged in quite a few days--and I have a cute, little excuse--an excuse that licks and snuggles--and sometimes pees on my floor.

Yes, we got the kids their first puppy!! *pause for aww's*


We didn't really plan on this step in our life--like most of our other decisions in life ;).  But, here we are, and if it turns out like the rest of our unplanned surprises--it will be a huge blessing, and make our family that much happier.

So, here's the story of how Riley joined our family:


Last weekend we went to Cedar Rapids to visit some great friends, who were celebrating the addition of new babies.  We brought gifts, held, and kissed on the first baby--and then, on the way to the second baby-- Kyle looked at me, and said, "okay, we can have a baby, or we can get a dog."  This was not a joke.  He was serious.  I had to laugh, at the simplicity of his comment, as if having a baby and getting a dog required the same steps, responsibilities or commitment.

Had we planned on having a third baby--yes and no.  The idea excited us, but the reality of what a new baby brought to our family of 4, made us nervous.  Afterall, we have not planned either baby to this point--we had never sat down and said--Okay, let's have a baby.  So, this was new to us.  We talked about it for a little bit- going back and forth.  And, when I say go back and forth-- I mean I went back and forth and Kyle listened.  See, I have discovered I am equally left and right brained, thus creating a constant battle within myself of logic vs. emotion.  How did I discover this, you wonder?  A completely accurate and highly recommended Facebook quiz! (hehe)

So, we came to the conclusion--that a new baby may or may not be for us-- but, we don't believe our family is ready at this time.  I would like to have a year home with just Jaxen, when Alexis goes to school next year.  I think Jaxen and I both deserve a year together, without the interruption of the dominant child :).

We also realized that we did not agree or could not even compromise on the breed of a dog.  I wanted a big dog, that would scare the crap out of a possible intruder--and Kyle wanted a small, yippy dog.  Okay, he didn't say yippy--but everyone knows little dogs are yippy.  Great Dane vs. Yorkie--   Kyle was adamant about not having a Dane, Mastiff, Pitbull, Boxer, etc.  And, I was adamant about not having a little dog.  We were not meeting on any common ground.  Oh well, no puppy for us.

So, we saw the babies, while Grandma and Papaw spoiled their only 2 grandchildren,  (Hmmm...maybe, if our kids had cousins--I wouldn't need to have another baby).  We headed home, putting the baby and dog idea out of our heads.  

Sunday arrived, and I googled Pet Shelters in the area.  I came across a couple, and I also saw that it was Adopt-a-Shelter-animal-month.  So, we decided to take the kids to a shelter, and just take a look.  We would see what they were drawn to, and teach them a lesson in responsibility by showing them what happens to animal when their owners don't take care of them.


What we didn't plan on--was falling in love with a sweet little puppy.  She was cute and wrinkly, and clumsy....and she was also most likely,  part Pittbull.  (One of the dogs, Kyle or I didn't want).   The kids walked her, she kissed the kids--and Kyle.  It was love at first sight.  Kyle forgot all about his anti-big dog statements and anti-pitt statements.  And,-he actually fell in love with 3 dogs, all PITTS ;)--and the kids would have been happy with any or all of the animals.

So, we went for ice cream.  We were going to have a family talk--but, we all knew, deep down that there was a puppy with Hamer written all over it.  So, we went back--and adopted our first puppy.  We followed up with an expensive trip to PetSmart, where the dog formerly known as Caramel, got her first pink collar and leash.


It took hours to decide on name that night-- Jaxen wanted to call her Buzz Lightyear or Boy, I wanted to call her Xoe.  Finally, Kyle came up with Riley--and it just seemed to fit.  Although, Alexis does think that her name is actually Riley Cyrus ;).  LOL

So anyway,  I have been busy potty training a puppy, reminding Jaxen to be gentle, along with all of my other motherly duties-- I can't say I haven't thought for a second, that maybe we weren't ready for a puppy, because I have. It is that whole equal right and left brain thing.  But, then I see my kids snuggle with the puppy, or Riley get excited to see her boy--and I know that we were ready.


As for the baby thing--it could still be a possibility.  We will wait and see I suppose...but, for now, my hands are full!

So, please help me welcome RILEY to our family!!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Mean Mom

I have recently come to terms with the fact that I am a if not, the, "mean mom."

We live in an awesome neighborhood--and when I say awesome...I mean everyone knows everyone, and everyone is friends with everyone.  It goes way beyond, borrowing a cup of sugar.  And, it is not uncommon to be at the neighbors house or gathering for neighborhood get-togethers every weekend.  We love it, and are lucky to have found such a great group of people to literally, surround ourselves with.

We have neighbors who love to visit with us as well as our children--and a nice mix of children in the neighborhood to keep our 2 kiddos in play-time heaven.   It is when they are playing with the other neighborhood kids, I have realized that I can come across like...oh, I don't know...my own mother?  My kids don't get to run to their hearts content all thru the neighborhood, they have to ask before they do anything, stay out of the street, ALWAYS use manners--you know...Be Perfect ;).

Physical limits of distance were easy to explain to the kids, although not always fun to enforce.  For example,  Jaxen went chasing his 2 little buddies down thru the backyards, I warned him to stop at his, "border."  He stopped, and looked at me, and then looked at his friends, still running ahead--and then hung his head and started to head towards me.  He was heart-broken to say the least.  You could see it written all over his cute little face--and I am pretty sure he was thinking--"oh, man-I never get to do anything!"  Afterall, that's what I would have said when I was age.  However, he didn't throw a fit, and he listened and came back immediately.  I may have been the mean mom--but, I was proud of my son, and I was keeping him safe.

My daughter knows her distance limits as well but, time limits were a little harder to explain. I know my parents, used to say--play til it gets dark, but it gets dark too late around here, and darkness is relative.  So, I had to think of something else. .  It seemed natural to me, that when she went to a neighbors house to play--that I set a time limit, or else she would be there ALL day!!  However, since she is only 4, and we are still working on telling time, it made sense to send her with a kitchen timer.  I would set it for 33 minutes-- 3 minutes for travel time, and 30 minutes to visit/play at a neighbors house.

The first time we tried this out--she went back out, with her timer in hand--looking for her friends.  But, they had moved locations--so, she frantically started searching for them, asking anyone she ran into--if they had seen them.  All the while, her time was ticking away and she was getting more and more frantic.  No one seemed to know where they went--but everyone took note of the mean mom's timer ;).  Time did run out, and we never found the other girls....so, Alexis didn't have a good first experience with the timer-but, I liked it.  And, the neighbors got a good laugh!

So, the next time, I watched as she went, with timer in hand to 2 houses over.  She and her brother had 30 minutes, to play at their house.  Just like clockwork, when that timer went off, the both started to head home -
The timer was a SUCCESS.

Now, I have been teased a little about the timer- and I have noticed that I seem to be the only one sometimes that makes her kids follow rules,  sit down to dinner, and so on.  I know this is not really true, but it does feel lonely sometimes to be the, "mean mom."  I have had to field a few questions of, "why can't we do this if they do this?  but, so and so is allowed to..."  But, they aren't anything I can't handle.  I just hope the questions don't get too much harder--because I don't know how long this, "mean-mom" attitude can last-- I guess when it starts to break, I can always say...

"GO ASK YOUR DAD!"


Thanks to my parents for not letting me do EVERYTHING I wanted, even though my friends did...thanks for being tough, when you had to- to keep me safe, and make me the SWEET GIRL I was, and the MEAN MOM, I am today.   I love you.



Boundaries and Limits = Love and Safety

Stain Fighter Superhero



I found the time, energy and I guess the want-to to clean the carpets yesterday-- I was a little proud of myself, considering I did this with 2 toddlers and a baby underfoot.  The wind was blowing yesterday, so I opened the windows--and the carpets dried super-fast.

This morning as I woke up to a chilly house, I turned on the fireplace, sat down with my coffee and thought about how clean and pretty my carpets looked.  It wasn't long before mommyhood called, and I was up and doing other things--while my coffee got cold, sitting by the chair.  I saw Jaxen walk towards the chair...and always being a step ahead of him, (because you have to) I said..."Jaxen, watch out for mommy's coffee."  "okay, mommy." he sweetly said.

Well you know as well as I, that if you don't move the coffee out of their reach, with newly cleaned carpets--it is inevitable--the coffee spilled all over the fresh carpets.  I know I said, "ugh..." as I grabbed the carpet cleaner.

Jaxen of course, said..."sorry, mommy..." and I knew he meant it.  Afterall, it's no use to cry over spilled coffee.

About 10  minutes later, we sat down to watch, Diego, when a commercial came on.  I heard Alexis, talking to herself out loud-- and she was saying..."hmmm...maybe, I should get that for mommy, for Christmas."  I hadn't been paying attention to the commercial- so, I asked her what it was.  And, with an excited, solve-all-your-problems kind of face, she told me it was a, "stain-fighter."  The way she explained told me that she believed this superhero-fighter could help me with all of my little boy stains! She had come to the perfect solution, and would save her money to buy me my very own STAIN FIGHTER for Christmas.

It was this innocent idea, that lead me to start daydreaming about a real-life stain-fighter hero that could follow Jaxen around all day long!  That would be nice wouldn't it?  But, since I realized long ago--there are no superheroes, I guess I will stick to Resolve.

What stain-fighters do you use?

Monday, September 28, 2009

Words to Pray


My sweet, son- excels in so many ways- but, sometimes cannot find the words to express where he is at, or what he wants to say.  He tries desperately, to get his point across- but, sometimes becomes frustrated when I don't understand him.

I love to see him communicate, and the light shine in his eyes, when he knows that the listener has understood him!  He sees the point in talking, he sees the effectiveness of words--and I couldn't be happier for him.

What I had failed to realize, as his vocabulary and speech was growing--that there was someone who could ALWAYS understand him, and know exactly what he was trying to communicate.

Jaxen has been very excited to say the dinner prayer, as we sit around the table in the evenings.  He has listened to his big sister pray for months and months--and he finally wants his turn.  At the beginning of August, he began by repeating a "recited" prayer.  I would say a line, and he would repeat it.  Although, we encourage our children to pray in their own words-- this was a way for him to not struggle with finding the words, yet feel like he was doing his part in Thanking God.

As we sat down to dinner a couple of nights ago--we were rushed with the day's activity--and Jaxen sat there, spoon propped in hand.  He quietly, said..."GOD...." and when noone helped...he said, "GOD...." again.  It took me just a second to realize what he was doing--he was beginning his prayer, whether we were going to remember or not.  It was the sweetest thing to see him, want to Thank God, with the limited words he has.  But, the awesome thing is--he didn't have to, "SPEAK," any words--God already knew his heart.

So, I chose not to give him "memorized," prayer lines that night.  Instead, I let him fill in the blanks.  Thank you for_______. He Thanked God that night for his mommy, and his daddy, his sissy, the food and Buzz Lightyear.  Who could ask for a better, more heartfelt prayer from a 2 year old-  Jaxen always knew what he was thankful for, he just didn't have the words to say it.

So, I will tonight's blog--with my thanks.
Thank you God for my sweet, precious family, and our perfect-for-us life, for granting me grace every day, for listening to me when I can't find the words.  Thank you for a family  and friends who show my children love, who accept me despite my flaws.  Thank you for morning snuggles, just woke-up grins, butterfly and nose kisses, the opportunity to be a mother, and finally for the reminding me daily, of the important things in life.

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Wine Tasting Party

This past weekend, my dh and I were able to host a wine-tasting party.  We had never been to one of these, or hosted one, but we were very excited.  We invited, cooked/baked, dusted, and were ready to entertain.

We had every guest or couple bring a bottle of wine wrapped up, so no one could see what kind of wine it was.  The table was set with tons of h'ourderves, and we began, "tasting".   The types of appetizers we had available were chocolate truffles, several different types of cheese and crackers, quiche, warm crab and shrimp dip, stuffed mushrooms, veggie and Hawaiian bread dip, etc) We numbered the bottles as they came in the door--so everyone would know exactly what number they were drinking.  We had a mix of reds and whites.

 Since, the guests were a mixed group, some knowing little about wine and some knowing more--we decided that the score sheets would be however they could remember which bottle was the best for them.  It was simply numbered 1-10, and they were allowed to write whatever they thought would help them make a decision at the end.   Although, we only judged 10 wines, we drank 21 bottles or so of wine.  The bottles ranged from $8-$60 a bottle.

We talked, laughed, and just enjoyed ourselves, while tasting the wines when each one of us was ready.  It was not long before we had rosy cheeks and noses!! The boys kind of went their own way, and the girls theirs.  At the end, it was mainly the women who voted on the best wine. 


The winner of our wine contest was a wine by a local winery,  Jasper Winery.  It is part of their Winemaker's Series, and is called Bed Head Red.   They describe it as A fun and easily drinkable sweet red wine, Bed Head Red has spicy aromas and deep fruit flavors of black cherry and wild berry, with a hint of vanilla, for $10.  


It is pictured on the left hand side, with the bright blue top.



The winner received handmade truffles and wine glass charms.  If you are a fan of wine, you should consider having a small get-together for a wine-tasting party.  If not, at least pick up a bottle of Bed Head Red, and try a glass or two!  

Monday, September 21, 2009

My son, Buzz


I have my very own superhero, living in my house--sure, he isn't even 2 feet tall--but he will come to my rescue at the slightest elevation in my voice. He looks a lot like my son, but his voice is deeper, he has a button that expands his green wings, and he calls himself Buzz Lightyear. He flies through my house, only transforming back into my son, when it is time to eat.

I have used this superhero alter-ego to my advantage. I find myself saying, "well, Buzz Lightyear goes potty like a big boy....and Buzz Lightyear would eat all of his veggies..."

It is fun to see my sweet little boy, so into a character- that he won't even change out of his Buzz Lightyear pajamas. I am literally going to have to peel them off of him. Luckily, we live in a neighborhood where this type of behavior is accepted and entertained. So, I don't have to worry as he runs out the front door--still clad in his pajamas for the second day in a row--

I just yell after him, "Where are you going, bud?" and he hollers back to me, in that deep Buzz voice of his, "To infin-it-y and be-yond!" And, without a moment of hesitation--I say back to him, "okay, as long as you stay in the yard, Buzz."



Friday, September 11, 2009

Sweet Spot


My kids did not have a "woobie," a "safety blanket," or anything of the sort--instead, they found the comfort and tranquility with a touch. At first came my daughter, who soothed herself with the gentle stroke of her mother's arm. I remember vividly, answering the question on a form: Does your child cling to an object when she is upset? and I literally wrote, "my arm."

This calming action, got to the point where she would be trying to fall asleep, and she would ask for, "your arm, your arm." She knew at such a small age, what it took for her to feel safe, cared for and loved.

My son, did not ever learn that the skin of my arm could offer peace, but he found his own placidity within the hollow of my neck. He found he could bury his tiny hand in between my chin and chest, letting the warmth and the thump of my heartbeat ease him into sleep.

Although, Alexis has grown out of this habit; Jaxen holds tight to the ritual. When he gets himself worked up, he knows that he needs to be held at an angle where his hand can find the valley of my neck. His hand is not as tiny, but he knows that size doesn't matter when it comes to finding a sanctuary of safety and love.

In a way, it is as if, these two very different children, were hard-wired to seek out a tangible love--one they can reach for, touch and hold in their precious little hands. How amazing is it, that with the simple allowance of a touch--that a child can find all that they are looking for in this world? With that caress of their mother's skin, they find love, understanding, grace, acceptance, a feeling of security, a feeling of importance and peace.

It saddens me to know that Alexis has outgrown, such an endearing and tender mannerism, and that it is only a matter of time before Jaxen will also outgrow his very own, distinctive touch. Will I be able to communicate the same amount of feeling, they could get from a simple touch, with words and actions? I am not sure, but I will try every single day-- and pray that they feel that peace within themselves, that I once could give, just by being their mom.


Thursday, September 10, 2009

Snot-faced


I have come to realize, that my son will never stay clean-faced, clean-clothed, or clean-anywhere for that matter. I have thought back upon, my new-mommy days often--remembering how over-excited I was to wipe my daughter's face/hands/chair/toys/everything every 5 seconds or so...
We kept her pretty clean most of the time, and her clothes were immaculate enough to be sold in second-hand stores--

and then there was a BOY!

Sure, some of it was also that he was the 2ND baby--and mommy was wiped out (pun intended). I could not and still canNOT keep up with the dirt this boy attracts. His face is like a magnet for dirt and grime--and his FEET--even worse! The biggest difference is, that it does not bother him in the least. His sister, always had to wash her hands and face, and still does to this day- Was that because I was a psychotic mother wiping her face every time there was a speck on it? Who knows--but, I do know that I have given up on keeping my SON clean...

I know that I am being forced to eat my words in a sense-- because, I was one of those "know-everything-about-parenting-but-have-never-really-done-it" kind of people at one time. (I know you know these type)
I stood in stores, with frazzled moms in front of me, with dirt on their children's faces, and thought-"ugh-my child will never have a dirty face like that," with my nose just slightly in the air ;).
And....now, I am that frazzled mom, trying to keep my son from climbing out of the cart, while digging for my debit card, that I swear I put in my purse--but for some reason, can only find suckers, baby wipes (unused, because my kids face is still dirty, remember?), half-eaten cookies, a shoe?....not daring to glance around me to see that snotty, little used-to-be-me, lady who is saying to herself--"my child will NEVER have a dirty face like that...."

And, do you know why-- I don't turn around to see that snotty lady, and give her a look of--"oh, honey--if you only knew..." because I am too busy looking at my snotty-faced son, wondering how long he has been holding my debit card!!

Then I remember, not even the cruelest, snottiest women in the world could scare me--because I am the mother of a TODDLER BOY!


Monday, August 31, 2009

Sweet Non-existant Sleep


My DH and I have been going to bed at vastly different times lately- either I go to bed earlier or he does--but we are never on the same schedule. If I go to bed at the same time as him, and am not ready for bed yet--I lay awake thinking of all that needs to be done, and getting extremely annoyed by his snoring.

It is this difference in sleeping schedules that I have noticed that, "heading to bed," means 2 totally different things for me (the mom) than it does for him (the dad.)

When the dad heads to bed, there are very few steps before getting to the snoring part. They shut off the tv/computer, sometimes turn out the lights, do the whole bathroom routine, and then climb into bed, close their eyes...zzzzzz

For the mom, when she decides to go to bed, the list of things on her checklist are much longer--and time-consuming. She wipes down the counters, loads the last few dishes, starts the dishwasher, picks up toys as she's headed up the stairs, puts those away, sees her sweet children asleep--kisses them and tucks them in extra tight, throws a load of laundry in, goes back downstairs to make sure the garage door got shut, and the front door got locked. Then she heads back upstairs, turning off lights as she goes, to do her bathroom routine--and sees a cluttered sink. Does a quick tidy-up of the sink, while brushing her teeth, takes off her makeup- and sees clothes that she has been meaning to hang up. Hangs up the clothes, and then crawls into a bed with a snoring husband --and it is only then that she realizes the coffee she so desperately needed at 4:00, has finally kicked in. Since, she can't sleep, she tries to read a book, and finally as her eyes get droopy and she begins to drift of to sleep--only to be waken up half an hour later to her child squeezing into bed. With a hand to the face, and a twist and a turn, the child is finally comfortable, and mom can try to get some sleep again--
5 minutes later it is time to wake up :)....

This is the life of a mom- What a wonderful, blessed job-- and all mothers find out very quickly- that SLEEP is for the WEAK ;)

Moms - get some sleep!!
Dads- Stop SNORING

Monday, August 24, 2009

Laugh-a-Lot


My son is rough. He likes to jump, tackle, wrestle, and pick on his older sister. I believe I will have my hands full, for the rest of my life. The thing is, though, I had a little brother also--who was very much like my son, and I was the big sister he liked to pick at.

Today, as I could see the frustration on my daughter's face, after Jaxen chased her around the kitchen--I decided to let her in on my little secret. I told her that I had a baby brother, who picked on me when I was younger--but, I learned a very good 'defense mechanism'- I learned to laugh at him- *well, for me--and my brother who was 5 years younger instead of just 2--it was honestly very funny when he would go after me...*

She looked at me puzzled, when I told her to laugh at her brother-when he pinched/poked/picked on her. I told her that by laughing, she would probably get on his nerves more than if she fought back, and she wouldn't get in trouble, but when mommy realized her brother was misbehaving-he would get into trouble. The idea seemed to sit well with her, and it didn't take long for her to give it a little try.

I heard her force a laugh, and then I saw it make Jaxen mad-- and go after her a little more-- as I watched, I began to think, that maybe this was the wrong thing to tell her. But, she hung in there laughing, and I corrected him for his behavior. This went on all day long, as I heard forced laughs, until eventually Jaxen would just give up on picking on her.

The best part of the whole plan was, that I didn't have to hear bickering, screaming, squealing--only laughing. As a mother, this is a whole lot more relaxing than the latter. Did he pick on her less? Probably not. Did she fight back? In a way, but not in a way that would get her in trouble. Will I regret this advice later in life? Maybe, or maybe not--depends on who she laughs at I guess.

Later on, she did ask me about how my little brother picked on me--and I told her a couple of stories--and she asked me if it was hard to laugh, when the things he did hurt. I told her sure, it did hurt--but, I just pretended like it didn't bother me-

Little brother, if you are reading this-- thanks for teaching me to laugh at your frustration :)-- and thanks for growing out of throwing things at me, even if you didn't grow out of picking on me....oh, and Alexis is not happy with the black eye you gave me as a kid!

Scooter Scare


I have found that as a mom, there are about a million things going on in your head as you load up kids in the car. We go through a mental checklist of all the things we are supposed to remember to bring with us, while trying to lift kids into carseats, strap seatbelts around our precious cargo, remember to open the garage door, and so on.

As the kids and I were headed to the gym for mommy's workout the other day--I thought I had remembered everything- I had my cell phone, both kids belted in, shoes on everyone, the ipod all charged and ready to go, the earbuds--and the garage door open. I started to back out, and thought I heard something crunch over the sound of my 2 kids chattering. I backed up just a little more, only to hear that crunch again. Not knowing what it could be, I got out of the car only to see that my daughter's scooter had been parked directly behind the car on the other side of the garage--*my new car will have a backup camera ;).

I moved the scooter, which now had a broken plastic wheel. I held my ground as my daughter dramatically pointed out that now she didn't have a scooter and as she hopefully suggested that I could probably just fix it. (you know us, super-mom's can fix anything--and if we can't -dad can)

I already knew by looking at it for that few seconds, that it was not going to be fixed. I gave her the mommy-talk, about how she was told not to park her toys in the driveway--and that I would not be buying her another one, because she knew better. (Of course, she will be getting another one, probably at Christmas--but, for the eternity of 5 months she will hopefully learn her lesson, and not come to the conclusion that her mom is a sucker.)

Being the worrier I am, I started thinking about backing over something a million times more valuable--a child. Sure, my kids are nearly always with me, so it would likely not be me, that backs over them--but, someone not used to having kids around. I began teaching my kids to stay in the grass when ANYONE is getting in a car in a driveway, or pulling up. I have been repeating worse than a parrot, to STAY in the GRASS-- when a vehicle is moving, and I will continue to do so, and I want to urge you to remind your small children of this safety precaution. Because, all too often, adults have a million things going thru their mind, and are not paying attention to the tiny things behind their vehicle--or they simply cannot see them, until it is too late.

So, to the kids out there--STAY in the GRASS, and keep your toys parked there too, if I am driving!!

And, to the adults--Please use extra precaution when in neighborhoods with children--you never know when one will run to get their ball that rolled right behind your Expedition.

Peanuts, Get your Peanuts!!


Before my husband and I had children, we decided as a couple, that when the time was right, we would teach our children the correct name for the female/male anatomy. We hadn't really thought about it as my daughter lived her 4 1/2 years of life--the topic really never came up-- "bottom" sufficed as an adequate all-around term.

But, about a week ago, there was a little confusion in her vocalizing clearly what she wanted to say. So, I took the time to introduce her to the proper name for the female anatomy--opening up a whole can of worms. "Well, then what does my brother have...?" So, I told her, and then decided, that even though Jaxen was only 2 1/2 he should also be told within the next couple of days. Because, in my mind I thought it better to come from mom or dad than to come from Big Sister.

The timing could not have been more perfect--as Jaxen came running down from upstairs, stark naked and giggling. He was running, jumping, and having a "free" time. I decided, to take him aside, and ask him if he knew what "it" was--to which he replied-- "my butt," with a devilish look in his eye. I gently told him that no, that wasn't correct, but it was called a, "penis."

His eyes lit up with this new knowledge--it was almost like seeing Helen Keller discover that water was called water, in the old movie-- I was witnessing a life-changing discovery. Jaxen spun around, smiling and continued the jumping and dancing--singing "peanuts, peanuts...peanuts, peanuts.." I giggled to myself, not bothering to correct him--because afterall, it was close enough--

As I thought about it more, I realized that I would have some heavy explaining to do at his first baseball game, when the peanut boy comes around!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Sir Robin the Brave


A couple of weeks ago, we visited some friends who live in the country. The boy, who is a little older than Alexis, had an endless supply of nature at his fingertips. He had an aquarium full of freshly caught frogs, a flowing river in his backyard, cats chasing mice--the whole 9 yards. I could tell it was fun for my 2 kids, as I hauled them into the back of the dirt-covered Audi, with their muddy little hands and barefeet, and their insect bites welting up as they tried to keep their eyes opened.


But, my kids kept talking about the fun they had and those dang chubby frogs! They put them in the pool with them, they put them in the sandbox with them and they tried to put them at the dinner table with them. "I wish I had a frog..I wish I could go see thief frogs again..."


So, it was very exciting for Alexis and Jaxen when we found our very own little frog in the backyard of or new home. It was the smallest frog I had ever seen--I was half expecting it still to have a tadpole tail...

I got out the Mason Jar, and placed the little hopper inside. The kids named him Sir Robin the Brave, or for short, "ruvy." I told the kids to be gentle, and to keep the jar upright so that he couldn't hop out--


They played for what seemed like hours with this frog--feeding it, and taking care of it. They thought he needed oreos and homemade focaccia bread--but then again what do city frogs eat, anyway?


Well, next thing you know, the little frog isn't being as active and Alexis is concerned because he is not coming out from under the oreo--so I take the jar, and tell the kids to go find Sir Robin the Brave a friend--


It was evident that Sir Robin was no longer with us and I was not going to be the bearer of such tragic news--so I handed the jar to daddy. He disposed of the froggy--and when asked--said that the froggy had gotten out of the jar. And, he had- with a little help. Crisis averted.


Luckily, we have not found any other frogs yet, and if we do, I hope they are healthy, fat frogs that like oreos, focaccia and little hands!


New Home

We have recently purchased a home in a small suburb of Des Moines--and are very happy with our choice, and very tired from the move--which is why I haven't written in a while.

As we have come to know our neighbors, we realize we fit in with this neighborhood beautifully and we can see our children growing up here- We have met almost all of our nearby neighbors, and have been warm welcomed by all. They BBQ together, keep an eye on each others dogs, they even build fences together. The point is--it is a very small town feel, where everyone knows everyone, but close to the amenities that I can't seem to live without--STARBUCKS, TARGET and the MALL.

Our kids have already become very friendly with the neighborhood kids, and Jaxen has been dubbed, "Action Jackson," --who would've guessed right? Alexis has memorized the address, and tells everyone she meets--so I keep waiting for the hyvee checker to come knocking on my door with something I have forgotten in my scramble to grocery shop with 2 kids!

I am excited to be content in our home, in our neighborhood, with the schools, with the people- Now, on to the "messy" stuff like painting rooms and finishing basements ;)

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

In-Between


Do you ever find yourself balancing between young and old--not sure where you are going to fall--but, just hoping you land there gracefully. I find myself teetering on this very edge quite often--knowing I should not be shopping in the juniors section, but still proud that I can fit into the clothes in the junior section.

I am not saying I buy sweats with, "juicy" written on my behind--or too-tight shirts that say, "for a good time..." Because, let's face it--I have had my good time--at least 2 times :).But, I can save money shopping in the teeny-bopper section, and I love to save money almost as much as I do spending it!

However, I have noticed as of late, that my shorts, skirts and dresses are getting longer, they are not looking like the "mom-shorts' yet--but, how long do I have before they do? I admit I get a little nervous as I sit at the park watching my kids play and noticing all the other mothers in "mom-clothes." I am wearing a cute sundress and sandals--while everyone else seems to be wearing baggy t-shirts and capris with some old tennies. Am I the crazy one? Or, am I 2 childhood events away from being them?

I am fighting the mom-look, but I know it's a losing battle- so I will fight with my head held high by working out more and letting my hair grow long for probably the last time-- and I will surrender to a few small battles--taking a spin around the (gasp) women's section, and I will pull out a couple of t-shirts that have been retired to my, "pajama pile."

This mom---somewhere in-between mom-jeans and "juicy" pants!



Sunday, June 21, 2009

Brotherly Love


Alexis loves her baby brother. She may not show it all of the time, but she has a deep love for him that never wavers. She tries to look out for him, she plays endlessly with him, she lets him pretend-rescue her, and she shares with him. What I love most about her relationship with him, is that she is always thinking of him. When we leave to go somewhere, she thinks to pack her little-bitty purse with a pull up and a couple of wipes and a buzz lightyear, "just-in-case." :)


Although, she can become frustrated with him--when he mimics her words or actions, or doesn't give her the center stage like she wants--she always seems to remember her love for him, when he falls fast asleep.


When he is asleep, is when she likes to snuggle with him, hold his hand, put her arm around him and kiss his forehead. I am not certain she is not trying to wake him up, so she can play with him--only to be annoyed with him within minutes--but, for now I will assume the best.


About a week ago, Jaxen was snoozing away, when Alexis decided to whisper to me, "one day I am going to marry Jaxen, because I love him so much." I tried to explain that I am glad she loves him, but she cannot marry her brother--that's the rule. ;). Well, she did not like this at all--it seemed as if her heart literally broke. With a sad face, she sat beside her sleeping brother, when I heard her whisper, "I am sorry Jaxen, mommy says I can't marry you--but, you will always be the one I love."


As I watched this miniature drama unfold, I thought about her limited understanding on society, and her unlimited love for her baby brother. If we as a society could show as much love as a child shows--would we be a better place, or would we all be married to our siblings?


Saturday, June 20, 2009

Amen!


My dear Alexis loves to talk to God. She talks to him like she is talking to a parent or a friend. I think this is wonderful, because it is how I want her to pray. I have never really taught her a memorized prayer to say at bedtime or at meals. I encourage her to use her own words to thank, ask for blessing, or express concern to God. I think this is because I am a firm believer in saying what you mean, and not saying just because it is expected of you.


There is one little problem, if you could call it that, with these from the heart prayers--My daughter LOVES to talk and hear herself talk. So, her bedtime and meal prayers can sometimes get pretty lengthy. I enjoy every moment of them mostly--unless I have let myself feel rushed from the day to day stresses in life. I almost always smile, or hide a chuckle at some of the things she prays--and I almost always peek at her little brother, while she is praying. (I know God will forgive me for this, because he knows moms need an eye on their children at all times.)


Jaxen, the sweet brother, tries very hard to participate willingly during Alexis' talks with God. He squeezes his eyes shut as tight as he can, he haphazardly folds his hands together, and he balances his butt on his folded up legs. He does not usually have a lot of things to say at prayer time--and when he gets impatient--he sneaks food when he thinks noone is looking.


It was one evening, at dinnertime, when Jaxen was trying his best to get through a lengthy prayer, while his dinner was staring him in the face. He listened for Alexis' words to slow, and come to a halt--but, there were only short pauses in her prayer. Jaxen not wanting to eat before the prayer had ended, listened for those pauses--and at each pause, he quickly butted in with an eager, "Amen."


He had learned that a simple word, was the key that unlocked the feeding frenzy. Alexis being annoyed by his impatience prayed louder and longer--and Jaxen never missing a beat continued to say, "Amen," at every hesitation in her words.


This time mommy could not hide a chuckle, but began to laugh out loud--because it was FUNNY--and I know God loves to hear us laugh! My beautiful gift from God, my 2 children, were doing exactly as I wanted them to do---Alexis was praying in her own words, and Jaxen was being respectful and as patient as he possibly could be---or as anyone possibly could be!


Friday, June 19, 2009

High-Tech Marriage


A fellow blogger reminded me of this story--It has been told several times over the past 4 years....but it's one of those stories that gets better with time, much like wine-(after 2 kids, anything can remind you of wine)

Anyway, right after my daughter was born- my husband's family called to check in--and I took the call, on my husband's "fancy" palm phone. If you know my husband, you know he LOVES gadgets--the newer and more technologically advanced, the better! I handed the brand new baby to the huz and took the phone and the free moment to go pee.

I am talking and peeing-(rude to some, but to mothers it's a must, because there just isn't enough time). And, as I turn around to flush, the 'slicker than slick' phone slipped out of my hand and plopped into the potty! I saw it fall in slow-motion and I froze. I couldn't flush--all I could do was just stare at this high-tech phone floating in my very own urine. I was not about to fish it out without gloves--afterall, I had to hold a baby in a few short minutes.

So, I frantically looked around, to see what I could use to fish the phone out--when I heard a voice--"Hello? Hello?" coming from the toilet~ the phone was still WORKING?!?!?! I guess it was high tech, indeed. I fished it out, with a toilet brush and rinsed it off lightly with tap water- I then held it far away from my face, and finished up the conversation. As I hung up, I realized the screen was pitch black and could only mean one thing--I for sure broke it...

What was I going to do? I decided I would have to tell my husband that I dropped his practically new and practically worshipped, phone in the potty at some point--but not now. I threw it on the bed, and went about the night.

Later on I heard the huz asking for the phone, and without thinking, I told him it was on the bed--He found it, and said..."hmmm...it seems like it's a little wet." I chickened out--and said..."hmmm.." I just wanted to go to sleep, and take care of everything in the morning.

Then he starts investigating it a little bit closer, and thinks there is water behind the screen--and decides to be Mr. Fix-it, even though I am encouraging him to just go to bed.(moral of the story for you men out there: listen to your wives)

As I pull my pajama top over my head, I look up to see my husband with his mouth over the end of the phone--trying to suck the liquid (you know what that liquid is!) out of the phone. Now, what person would think this was a good way to fix the phone, I have no idea--because it would have never crossed my mind. I panic--because, if I couldn't tell him before that I dropped it in the toilet, I sure as heck couldn't tell him now--because he is SUCKING my PEE out of his expensive PHONE!!!

I beg him to stop, and put it aside--and tell him it may dry overnight. When the next morning comes, I decide he has to know--because it is driving him crazy-- So, I find the perfect time to tell him--while I am nursing his precious, little, baby girl. :) I calmly tell him, not sure what his response is going to be--because this is our first "honey, I messed up big time," incident. He stares at me intently listening to what I have to say--and then he looks puzzled. It is quiet for a minute, and all you can hear is the baby sucking--which must remind my husband of something very familiar--and he says what I have been dreading him to say--

"You mean, I sucked your pee out of my phone?!" I timidly affirm his suspicions--and he does not yell, he does not even make an angry face at me--he half-smiles and tries his best to see the humor in the situation- and that's when I realize--

I have chosen the right man to raise my kids with--and if we can get through a little phone pee, we can get through anything.

I have friends to this day, that swear that if it had been them, they would have filed for divorce--or at least puked--Thank goodness I have a man with a strong stomach and an even stronger heart....
"

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Boys will be Buzz


Boys are different--it's true. I can handle girl things, and even the boyish things girls can get into--* bugs, a little dirt, sports But, what I was not at all prepared for was such a BOY!

My son challenges me in the best ways though--He loves superheroes, wrestling, climbing, AND stunning people (buzz lightyear style) I say stun because we don't allow the words shoot, kill, gun, and so forth. Stunning consists of him crouching down, putting his right arm straight out with a fist, and holding it up with his left arm, aiming at the soon-to-be-stunned. He stuns everyone, especially if he is not particularly happy with what you are doing...His family knows what he is doing, and will even stun him back or pretend to be stunned. It's the strangers he stuns that may get me into a bind one day. Stunning other people's kids in shopping carts in target isn't doing much for my, "good-mommy look." Luckily, most people have no idea what he is doing--and I am hoping that they are assuming the best when they see him make these curious movements and sometimes sounds.

As we rode our bikes today, I wonder what the drivers passing by were thinking as my son stunned each car--Were they thinking, "aw...what a cute lil guy..." or were they thinking, "my word, look at what that mother is teaching her son!" In any case, I didn't care for much longer than 2 seconds--I was just grateful my son was not jumping into traffic-frogger style, throwing rocks and sand in the pool, pinching his sister, climbing up something-anything he can find and jumping off, or running around naked. I could breathe a sigh of relief.....because he was just stunning strangers---

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

10 reasons I am/look CrAzY (and why it's okay)

1. My son has found it necessary to take 3 pacifiers with him wherever he goes--one in his mouth, one in each hand. (training him for college ;))

2. My son also thinks its necessary to wear a life jacket, while mommy runs errands. (practicing safety first)

3. My daughter loves to wear 20 barrettes of different sorts, clamping her hair in different directions, or just clamping on objects to her hair (short pieces of ribbon, dead dandelions, etc) (creativity)

4. My daughter introduces her parents to everyone she sees as soon as she sees them... "hi, my name is Alexis, this is my mom, Sarah and this is my dad, Kyle. (making friends/communication)

5. My daughter told a group of strangers that her mom likes to put leaves in her panties.... ?? (imagination)

6. Both children frequently put their shoes on the wrong feet, and I don't stop them. (independence)

7. I refuse to give up my cute shoes, even though I could easily break my neck once a day chasing after my son. (because they are cute)

8. I push my sunglasses on my head, and let it be my summer hairdo. (one less thing to do)

9. I wear sundresses frequently, even though both kids or the wind will manage to put me in a blush-worthy predicament. (I always catch it just in time)

10. I have my hands full of kids--and more babies always sound like a lovely idea-- (I have enough sanity remaining, to reason myself out of this one for now.)

Monday, June 8, 2009

Treat Yourself as you Treat your Children

I am not one to take precautionary steps for my health, or well-being. I rarely wear sunscreen, and if I do I only spray it on my shoulders--and I rarely look at the ingredients on things I choose to eat or drink (wine and lattes are healthy, right?). I stay up late, skip doctors appointments, and drive fast when I am alone. I live life thinking that I am indestructible, that I can handle anything that life throws my way, without any help....afterall, I am a MOM.

This theory of mine was severely tested 2 days ago, after taking the kids to the park and splashpad. They played, and I tried to read a little. But, who really reads at the park, while trying to keep one eye on one kid and the other eye on the other kid---? The gnats were horrible, and driving me crazy--so I convinced A & J to run to the nearest store to buy some insect repellent. I bought the "Family" bottle, meaning family friendly, not family-sized. We headed back to the park, and the kids ran to play and mommy sprayed herself with the insect-repellent. I did not spray the kids for 2 reasons: a: they are running too fast for the gnats to bother them b: who knows what's in this stuff anyway? The spray did little to keep the gnats away--so we left soon after.

The day goes on: we play, we eat, we bathe, we read...and we go to bed. About 1:00 am I started itching uncontrollably....and everywhere! I itched between my toes all the way up to my chin. I got so tired of scratching, I decided to get up, licked my lips, which felt really dry only to think..."that felt funny." I got to the bathroom, looked in the mirror to see lips Angelina Jolie would be envious of. I knew immediately, that it was the insect repellant. Hives, more itching, swelling of my hands, and 1 box of Benadryl later, I think I got it out of my system---swearing to NEVER allow any similar chemical to touch my kids... Had I just taken care of myself, the way I take care of them...there would have been no problem.

It was only after this "episode" that I realized I am not indestructible...I do need to take care of myself the way I take care of my kids...so that I can be there for them. All you moms need to remember how important we are in the equation of our children!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Grace at Target


Soaking in a bath may not be relaxing for me--but, there is one place I can go, and clear my head.

My mind begins to rest, my body becomes new, I find comfort and relaxation at Target. Yes, I know that might sound funny to you--but, for me it is like a mini-vacation. I go with a latte in hand, and stroll through the aisles perusing clearance rack after clearance rack. There are no worries, my cell phone does not work inside target, and I rejoice in the discovery of an amazing, "deal."

My husband supports me in this, "getaway." He comes home, and knows by the look on my face--if it has been one of those--"I need to go to Target," kind of days.

On rare occasions, we go as a family to Target. Although, these types of trips are not as relaxing and can create even more stress--I still enjoy the possibility of finding a good deal ;). We still make a stop at Starbucks before commencing with the shopping- I grab a grande latte, Kyle grabs a Dr. Pepper and the kids get a vanilla milk. This has been our Target tradition for years.


It was on one of these family trips, a few weeks ago, that the girls separated from the boys, to look at clothes. As we were searching for something that caught our eye, another mother and daughter were also bargain-shopping. The mother looked slightly frazzled, as her daughter of about 5 or 6 years, tried her best to drive her crazy. I could tell this is what she was doing, because she was whining and moaning. She must have said, "mooooooommmmmmmmmm" at least 100x as we stood near one another. Even as we walked away, we could still hear her ear-piercing wails.

As Alexis stared at this little girl, and I thought I would take the opportunity to explain that this would not be acceptable behavior for herself. I wanted Alexis to hear how silly, and annoying this other little girl sounded. Alexis agreed that the other little girl was being disrespectful and annoying.

Just as I was feeling good about curtailing a future, "target-scene," the little girl and her mother came close to us again. Alexis took this opportunity to speak to the frazzled woman. "Is that your daughter?" As I heard Alexis ask this question, I threw out a prayer, a wish and crossed my fingers that my very vocal daughter would not tell this woman how disrespectful and annoying her daughter was being.

"Yes, that is my daughter- she is not having a very good day."

I held my breath.

"That's okay, we all have those days." Alexis replied.

Sigh of relief.

Wow--had my daughter just shown more wisdom and grace than I in this other little girl's behavior. Had she just made the mother feel better about her whining daughter? How could it be possible for someone so small to show so much love and grace?

And, then I remembered-- Alexis was born out of grace- She reminds me every day that even when we make mistakes, God still loves us and covers us in his grace. Some may have looked upon Alexis' conception as a mistake, but- God took that, "mistake," and made something beautiful out of it.

I pray that I can show as much grace as my 3-year-old daughter. She is quick to forgive, full of understanding and over-flowing with compassion--much like our heavenly father. May I encourage these traits in her, because as a whole we could all use a little more grace.