Monday, October 31, 2011

Multitude Monday 858-872 (Halloween edition)

The weekend didn't start off so great.  Friday after work it began with an argument filled with my selfishness and miscommunication in which I was also a pretty big jerk.  But by the time the Cardinals won the game, things were improving much to the grace and forgiveness from my husband.
Saturday and Sunday were what autumn weekends are made for.

Some morning chores. 
An afternoon drive. 
Carving pumpkins.

Red baseball shirts.

First teeth.

College football on t.v. that went into overtime. 
Intergenerational worship.  
Pasta in the oven.  
New friends over for lunch.  
Little boys in costumes.  


My heart is full on this Monday morning, ready to start the day, the week, the upcoming month with a bigger heart of gratitude and less room for complaints and comparison.  It is a choice, a choice I too often fail to make, but each day is a chance to try again.  So I thank Him this morning for  
blue skies 
and orange leaves, 
fun-size Twix bars 

and the continuous nudge to get out of my comfort zone and be pleasantly surprised.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

picture takers anonymous

Hi, my name is Amanda, and I take an insane amount of pictures of my kids. (because all of our family lives far away)

hello, amanda.

But for now, just a picture The Hubs took of me this weekend featuring my claws.  (You are not alone, FPFG!)

It also features Bugaboo not smiling as we carve pumpkins. Smiling pictures will come later this week for those of you not on facebook. :)  Because I am a picture taking addict.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

big day for Bugaboo

Things are starting to click for our little Bugaboo.

Two different times today he sat independently for over ten minutes.  He didn't fall or crumple forward, and he self-corrected when he got wobbly.  Yesterday he was doing well sitting for 30ish seconds on his own... then BAM! He has a huge gain.  We are so thankful for the work our physical therapist is doing and for the things she is teaching us.

Then, as if that wasn't enough, Bugaboo said his first word today.... MAMA. I was just holding him on the couch and he pretty much whispered it in my ear.  Then he looked at me and smiled.  Of course when I prompted him to say it again, he smiled big but refused.

Speaking of smiles... if I could ever get my sweet boy to smile for the camera, you all could see his first tooth - almost all the way in on bottom.

But he prefers to have a serious look for all photos we take.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

a boy and his bear

At just about two and a half, my oldest boy will turn a twig from the yard into a hammer, the vacuum attachment into a sword, and a tortilla chip into a car, plane, or train.

He can make truck and motorcycle and emergency vehicle noises, scale the kitchen table mighty quck for someone with an IEP for physical therapy, and discover ways of grossing mommy out already by dipping goldfish crackers in ketchup.

But along with this "typical" boy behavior, he loves to kiss his baby brother, snuggle up to read book after book, and just recently has developed a very nurturing manner towards his stuffed animals, especially Bear.

"Bear sleepin' in bed.  Go get Bear.   Mommy hug Bear." And so on.

Last night he determined to build Legos with his stuffed friend, so he patiently added blocks to the tower, setting both Bear and the supplies up when one or all would topple. The whole scene was precious, and for once my camera was nearby to capture this tender moment. I wish I could capture each minute of my boys' lives on film.

But this will do. 

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

ten month picture and some others

Bubby was up at 1:00 this morning - coughing and with a request for a drink.
Both boys were up shortly after 6:00, and at the end of his meal, Bugaboo spit up ALL over me, the bed, himself.  It was quite a way to start the day.
We all spent a lot of time snuggling today, reading books, playing legos, watching an unheard of amount of the one Leap Frog dvd we have.  I let go of my "minimal t.v." for my boys desire today.
There are stories to share from the last few days, but I just want to be in bed before ten tonight, which means the flannel sheets have to get on the bed before I can get there.
So instead of more words here, a very delayed ten month picture of Bugaboo and a couple of other shots of my sweet baby boy.

Friday, October 21, 2011

why am I a mommy

The week is done.  My babies are in their room, snoring away in footie pajamas.  Somehow the radio station dial must have gotten bumped because what is playing is almost the complete opposite of what usually lulls Bubby to sleep.  Oh well. "It doesn't sound like devil music," is what I told The Hubs an hour or so ago.  Whatever that means. 
I love the quiet of a Friday night.  I find myself very reflective on the couch by myself as The Hubs works on paperwork or homework.   I found myself thinking about all my mistakes this week instead of the things I did well. Why is it so much easier to do that?  I need to refocus.  What are my priorities?  What stresses me out?  What can I let go of? How can I be more positive? Why am I a mommy?
I can't answer them all right now - I don't have the brain cells to figure it out tonight.  But I can start with the last one.

to love
to teach
to encourage
to challenge
to support
to disciple
to give
to mentor
to enjoy
to share
to inspire
to love

And just now I was thinking about the wedding verses from last weekend's ceremony - 1 Corinthians 13 - and how those words shouldn't just be read for weddings, but they also should be read the day you bring your babies into your home, but with a slight variation.
  Mommy is patient and kind; 
Mommy does not envy or boast; she is not arrogant or rude. 
She does not insist on her own way; she is not irritable or resentful; 
she does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. 
Mommy bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

Isn't that what I would want to be?  It doesn't matter what I wear or how great my house looks, how many degrees I have or what clique I am a part of, my main responsibility, my main calling right now is to show and give and be love for my boys.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

I love you more, Today, than Yesterday

Today is a better day.
Bugaboo had a great PT session today - we are already seeing some improvement in his sitting up and putting weight on his legs.

Bubby had a fabulous Parents As Teachers screening. He is at "age level" in all areas.  This is without adjusting his age because at two they stop doing that.  Our preemie has officially caught up.  Still things to work on, but he has caught up.

The Hubs just got a phone call with some positive news on the job front. Pray that everything goes smoothly and quickly with that.

The sun is shining, and even though it is cool out and my boys missed their naps because of our appointments, I am  in good spirits.

So here are some more non-wedding pictures from  our trip to Illinois this last weekend because they make me smile.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

pressing on

Another door shut for us this week.
A door we were 99% sure would be open. On paper there was no way it wouldn't be open. Yet, it isn't.  So we press on towards another door or doors, and keep working as we wait.

But honestly I don't want to press on because I just feel stuck in so many areas right now. I am having a hard time with it today. Harder than I had on Monday or Tuesday when we received the news.   

Instead of pressing on, I just want to sit and cry awhile and eat ice cream.  And maybe sit at a lake house with just my guys and me and just be the four of us for a few days. (I have never been to a lake house, but it sounds like something I would like.)  Perseverence seems highly overrated today, and sitting and whining about the unfairness of life seems easier.

Unfortunately the whining doesn't solve anything. It just makes me and everyone around me miserable. I know because I spent about ninety minutes in this state earlier this evening.

So we will persevere because that is what we do around here, The Hubs much better than I.
On the plus side, I did get some ice cream tonight. And it helped a little.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

another goodbye

My dad resigned from his position as fire chief tonight.  I knew it was coming before the city council, before the media.  He talked about the high possibility of it with me this weekend. He called me tonight before the meeting, so that I would hear it from him and not facebook.  He resigned as a matter of ethics and integrity because many on my hometown's council/administrative board have none.  That is all I will say about that aspect of it at this time.
I cried this weekend because a big part of why he is leaving is because the council is getting rid of a very important program - a program my  grandfather started when he was fire chief of the same town.  I cried because many childhood memories involve the smell of the fire department garage and the Central Station kitchen, stories of crazy ambulance calls over dinner, knowing all the answers at the Fire Safety Week assemblies in grade school.  I know the last names or nicknames of firefighters my grandfather and father worked with probably better than I know the names of all twelve disciples.  Grunt, BirdDog, Irwin, Toy, Strandland, Boden, Ducey, Jewel, Walden, Brown, Smith, ...

I don't know when I'll have a chance to visit the fire station again. And so, in a way, tonight leads to  another good-bye to my belated grandfather. I know he wasn't his son-in-law any more, but I know Papa would have been very proud of my dad tonight.
We spent a long weekend at home for my (step)sister's wedding.  She was beautiful.  The ringbearer was pretty cute, too, if I do say so.  He continues to say, "Walk the aisle. Sammie's wedding!" even though we are back home now.

Bugaboo hangin' with the bride and the ladies Saturday morning

the flowergirl and Bubby

my sister and new brother-in-law

my other sister and me

Bubby with Uncle Chow
dancing briefly with The Hubs

most of my cousins, their spouses, and kids on my dad's side made it to the wedding

The boys were fabulous on the sevenish hour drive up.  They were miserable on the drive home.
But we are home now.  Trying to get back on a routine.  We crave routine (though not necessarily schedule) around here.  Bugaboo is napping like a champ, Bubby is watching about the only tv he is really into... Sid the Science Kid, and I need to finish the unpacking I started last night.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

I know you're going to hate me for saying this, but it has to be said...

Sometimes things in blogland, which I am sure are meant to encourage, only discourage me.

For instance, this morning I read some posts about an upcoming challenge to dress "frump-free" (or something) for a month.  The heart of this challenge was to be our best for our husbands, families, etc.  I respect that idea. I get it.   However...

To me this challenge is just one more "Christian woman" expectation that I don't live up to, nor do I want to.

First let me say that I love clothes.  If I ever have spare money again, I will buy some new, cute clothing.  But right now it is not a priority.  And at this stage in life spare money for coffee trumps cute clothes every time.

But this is not really about clothes.
It is the mindset out there that I should be put-together. 
The mindset that we, as women, should be put-together.

Well, friends, I'm not.

I put my make-up on in the car on the way to church. And on the rare night out with friends or The Hubs.
Monday-Friday I wear jeans and a random assortment of old college t-shirts , unless of course, I am feeling bloated, and then I wear yoga-pants (which have never been used for yoga or any other workout activity). I even wear this ensemble to the grocery store.  *gasp*

My priorities each day are getting the laundry done, the dishwasher unloaded, and oh yeah, the kids loved and educated (both my own and the ones I am called to watch). So I'm going to be a little frumpy because I spend my day getting snotted on, spit up on, and baby-food dribbled on.  And I'm not ruining my good clothes on that.  Plus, I spend 92% of my day on the floor, and shoes and cute clothes are not compatible with that.
If I DO dress nice (and there are days I do, even baby-sitting days), it is because I want to.  I could never be married to man who needed me to be put-together, especially in the line of work I am in.

So maybe this is just my issue, but could we as Christian women stop telling each other what a good wife/mom does unless we can clearly back it up with Scripture?  And I'm preaching to myself because while I can find fault with the no-frump-month-challenge, I know in my heart I have thought or said, "A good wife/mom/Christian does/doesn't do such-and-such." But it was based on my opinion.

There are enough comparison traps in the world, in the Church ... we don't need another one.  I think this challenge hits women where they are most vulnerable, and that makes me sad. 

Let's stop the guilt-trips.  Let's encourage one another instead to know that it is okay to have Cheerios on the floor, to keep the fingerprints on the coffee table, to order pizza when dinner burns, and to walk around in sweat pants and bare feet 365 days a year.

me rocking some brown sweatpants and a faded blue t-shirt today, no make-up as usual

*I am not writing this to be a jerk. In the past, I have read other things by this blogger that I like. I just feel like there are probably other women out there who read about this challenge and may feel the same way as I do and need some encouragement.  I did comment on the blog about this challenge, and respectfully let the author know that I disagreed with this challenge.  But it is a free world, and I think if women want to do this, good for them!  But don't feel like less of a woman if it is not your thing.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

a smidge of politics ... but not really

I really want to be BFF's with Liz Lemon.  I know she is a fictional character, but I do think I would be a better friend for her than Jenna Maroney.

Perhaps that is shocking to my readers.  Liz Lemon is liberal. And I am libertarianish. (At least I think I am: fiscally conservative, socially moderate).
But most people I wish I could go have a cup of coffee with (whether I know them in real life, read their blogs or whatever) tend to be much different than me. 

And we really do have more in common than how it may seem on paper.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

my little pumpkins (MM 844-857)

Sunday night I am always sad to see my weekend conclude.  Especially delightfully sunny and relaxing weekends like this one.  This was the  type of weekend where the towels are washed and dried but still sit in a pile unfolded because reading and napping and playing and resting were needed, and towels don't really get wrinkled anyway.

And I could get the Sunday night blues style overwhelmed at the prospect of all I have still to do in the week ahead. Or I could feel guilty that it has been two weeks since I've written down my gratitude and question whether or not I should list things that are "old news." I could get stuck trying to  remember if I ate a single vegetable in the last forty-eight hours, and wonder why I am even thinking about such a fact right now.

So instead my list of hodge-podge good things, mostly recent, but a few I didn't write down on previous Sunday evenings.

toddler independence tromping around a pumpkin patch ~ little hands trying to pick up the biggest one ~ more and more thoughts and promptings about mentorship leading to good questions in my spirit ~ baby boy babbling and chattering on car rides ~ same baby boy wanting to say, "Mama!" as his first word... I know that is what is trying to get out... c'mon buddy! ~ reading in bed like Mr. and Mrs. Brady ~ two year old sentences, and the wonder of how he learns so much each day just by watching and listening. oh the gift and weight of that responsibility ~ chubby hands on my face, nose, hair, finally grasping more this week ~ NICU reunion ~pumpkin spice latte on the way to a hair cut ~ protection from car accident ~ plumbing issue not going into the street, saving us $1,000 on our bill ~ reminder to trust the Sender ~ the way we sit, all four of us on one couch at the end of most days


Saturday, October 8, 2011

Christmas is comin' the goose is gettin' fat

Did anyone else have the Muppet/John Denver Christmas album where I think Gonzo and Miss Piggy sing this song?  True confession - still one of my favorite Christmas albums ever because it takes me back to being six years old.

Anyhoo ... this post is mostly for family who have asked Christmas-present-questions, although there is a mommy-advice question at the end of the post. 

Christmas is just a couple of months away, and sadly the goose is not gettin' fat at our house.  Just when we thought we'd be able to give again this Christmas (because our medical bills are paid off), we had the gigantic plumbing issue.  So we do not want/need anything. I know I have said this to some, and still have been asked what the boys want/need for Christmas.

They do not need any more toys.

I hope that doesn't sound harsh. Just fact. We are grateful for what they have been given.  The only possible toy Bugaboo may need is a new shape sorter because big brother lost the lid (the shape sorting part) and 54% of the shapes.  Educational gifts are good.  Experiences would make a great Christmas gift.  A zoo membership for our family to use in the spring/summer/fall would be an idea.  Parent-and-me swim classes for either or both boys.  Preschool "scholarship" to send Bubby one day a week next year.  Consumable art supplies for Bubby (We go through crayons, markers, watercolors and construction paper like nobody's business.) Board books for Bugaboo. I know some have given us the gift of airline tickets to see California family.  We are very excited and thankful for this gift because time with the people we love is the best gift of all. 

But before Christmas is Bugaboo's first birthday.  I hate that his birthday is so close to Christmas.  As a January baby, I always wanted to avoid having my children born in December or January because people tend not to care as much about those birthdays thanks to cruddy weather and the consumerism stress of the holidays.  Anyhoo - I am a little stressed because I want my second born's day to be special.  As special as our oldest.  I get sad when I look at the cards and notes that were sent when Bubby was born compared to when Bugaboo was born. Maybe I am overthinking. Maybe Bugaboo will not care one iota in the future, but when you are the second-born, same-gender as the first-born, born just a year-and-a-half-after-big-brother child, it seems you already have some things stacked against you.

Am I overthinking?  What can I do to rid myself of this guilt? What can I do to make sure Bugaboo gets just as much "specialness" as Bubby did? Suggestions? Advice? Or just get over it?

Thursday, October 6, 2011

daddy-son rhythm

In the backyard he chucks walnuts over the fence into the (vacant) neighbor's backyard.  The nuts are from their tree, so he doesn't feel bad about ridding our yard of the massive amounts of greenish balls that land in our yard each autumn.

My two year old follows his daddy around the yard, tossing the spheres a few inches in the air with enthusiasm.  When his efforts don't make it over the fence, with an enormous grin he gives it to bigger, more capable hands . And they walk around the perimeter, holding sticks and kicking leaves, in a daddy-son rhythm that makes me hold my breath and wish to keep them both like this forever.