Tuesday, February 28, 2012

It's A Girl!

Twelve years ago today, I woke up at 2:00 a.m. in immense pain.  I waddled down the stairs to our living room, and sat in a recliner for an hour and a half just to make sure those pains were real.  By 3:30 a.m. I decided they were real so I got cleaned up, grabbed my overnight bag and woke my husband, Ben.  He got up, got dressed and called his parents.  The plan was for Ben to drive us the ten miles to his parents house, and then they were going to drive us the hour or so to the hospital.  We walked out to the car and thats when I noticed a sudden change in Ben's face.  Uh oh, I thought, he finally realized what was happening.  We were having a baby and the reality of it was sinking in, all the color had drained from his face and he started throwing up in the driveway.  "Are you okay?" I asked.  "I'm fine, but do you think you can drive to my parents?"  he asked.  "You are kidding, right?  I'm nine months pregnant and in labor with our first child, and you want me to drive to your parents?"

I'm tougher than I look so I drove  my sick husband to his parents.  I don't really remember it, but I do remember the drive to the hospital.  Ben and I sat in the back and his parents were in the front.  I've always had a pretty high tolerance for pain, and I remember at one point Ben's dad leaned into his mom and said, "I'm not so sure she's really in labor."  Once we got to the hospital and got a room, the nurses confirmed that I was in fact in labor, and that I was going to have a baby that day.  I was a bit relieved because it was February 28th on a leap year and I didn't want my baby born on the 29th if I could avoid it.  It's just one of those weird things, some people don't want their kids born on Friday the 13th or on an odd number or on the same day as someone else's birthday.  However, most times we can't avoid this.

After several more hours of walking, soaking in a warm bath and a great deal of pain our baby girl was born at 2:28 p.m.  She wasn't breathing very well and neither was I.  They gave me oxygen immediately, and I watched the nurses rubbing my baby roughly trying to get her to breath.  Finally we were both breathing normally and I was able to hold her.  She seamed so tiny at 7 lbs 7 oz and 19 inches long.  She had a mop of dark hair, and she was the most adorable thing I had ever seen.  In an instance my husband and I were wrapped around this tiny girl's tiny little finger and now today she's 12!

Where has the time gone?  So much has happened in the past 12 years, Montana's gained not one but two little brothers.  We've moved a few times, changed jobs, purchased different homes and different vehicles. It's amazing how much as happened in 12 years and how fast it has gone!  It is true what they say, the older you get the faster time flies so enjoy every moment.

I've come to the realization that I have one year left of having a teen-free home, so I'd better enjoy this year as much as I can!  LOL!  But the reality is, before I know it I'll have a child-free home.  I really do stress to my children to take every opportunity they can and to know their limits.  You can't do everything but do the things you love and enjoy.  I also encourage them to challenge themselves so they constantly grow and learn.  This is easier for children than adults, adults tend to get comfortable but if you are too comfortable then you are no longer growing.  My next blog post will be about forcing yourself oustide your comfort zone.  Well as usual I've managed to ramble on so I must close for now.

Making the decision to have a child is momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body. ~Elizabeth Stone

Thursday, February 23, 2012

What do YOU want?

Have you ever stopped and asked yourself, what do I want? I find most moms are busy worrying about making sure their kids are fed, clothed and happy. And then there are doctors appointments, extra ciricular activities and school work.  It seems that someone always needs something....like right this minute Boone wants to play war (card game), Montana wants me to take a picture of her birthday gifts, now Boone wants a snack and Cody wants me to give him the password to his ipod so he can get a FREE app.  UGH....In your family it might be Sally needs new shoes, Billy's got a school project and Maggie has to take snack to school.  Anyway I think you catch my drift.  Most of us are so exhausted at the end of the day we want to sit in total silence for just a few minutes.  If you are lucky enough to have total silence, take a moment to think about what YOU want.

I want to spend my time coloring pages with words, but perhaps you want to sell baked goods out of your home, or knit scarves, or go back to college to become a lawyer.  Whatever it is you want, you should put it on paper.  Brainstorm ideas, map out a plan and put that plan into action.  I recently read a blog post my cousin forwarded me from Gypsy mom and it inspired me to write even more.  Writing is what I love, and I realized that you never know how doing what you love could affect others.  By doing what you love you could inspire someone, who inspires someone, who inspires someone and before you know it great things are happening and you would never know, they may have started with you.

Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world.
Harriet Tubman

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Note to Self

I was watching a news program this morning while I was eating my breakfast, and they had a segment called 'Note to Self' where Maya Angelou read a letter that she wrote to her fifteen-year-old self.  Now at eighty three, and the fact that she is Maya Angelou, the woman is pretty wise.  If you could write a letter to your younger self what advice would you give your self?  I've often talked to friends and family about this over the years and a few of the commonalities are as follows:

1) Find your passion - research career options a bit more and spend more time job shadowing.
2) Relax - you will get through things, sometimes the things we get so worked up about aren't big deals at all.
3) Be nice and tell people you appreciate them - sometimes our younger selves were snots!
4) Enjoy life - get outside, try new things, take advantage of great opportunities and have fun!

I've written about it before but what would your younger self write to your older self?

1) Be fearless
2) Dance in the rain
3) Stay active
4) Write down all the funny stuff in laugh that happens so your kids can read it later

Last night my four-year-old told me he was going to grow up, get married, live by the ocean and have two black labs.  That kid is so random about his future but it seems he thinks about it a lot, which I find strange for a child that young.  Right now my oldest wants to be a teacher when she grows up and my middle child wants to be an architect.  I think when I was their age I wanted to be an astronaut.  It's fun to watch their career choices change as they grow up.  Some of us still don't know what we want to be when we grow up...maybe I'll have to make my next post about finding your passion in life.

When work, commitment, and pleasure all become one and you reach that deep well where passion lives, nothing is impossible.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Parenting Tips from Other Cultures

I've been a mom for nearly twelve years and even though I feel like I've read every parenting book and magazine, I am still searching for answers.  I realize that being a parent is a constant learning game and what works for one child doesn't always work for another.  So with three children, who are all very different, I feel like this parenting thing is just one big experiment!

Since my move, I no longer have my Young Mothers Group to assure me that what I'm going through is normal and I needed a fresh persepective. I saw an article in a local paper about a woman who did some research on French parenting.  After settling in Paris she noticed that the children there were so well behaved.  Toddlers in restaurants would sit patiently, waiting for their meals and then they'd happily eat fish and veggies.  While at a park she'd notice that children played quietly, without tantrums, and without demanding the constant attention of their mothers.  She also found that most babies slept through the night by the age of 3 month and she decided she needed to get to the bottom of French parenting.

I have a love of parenting and a love of all things French so I was curious to learn more about this.  The main secret to French parenting success is that rather than structuring their lives around a new baby, French parents expect a baby to fit smoothly into the life they already have.  They set firm boundaries but allow great freedom within those boundaries.  They discipline using "big eyes"...you know the ones, I'm sure you've seen as a child or tried on your own children.  They also use "the pause" - where they take a moment, or a minute, before responding, to teach patience and restraint. 

I'm not saying that these tricks will magically cure all of your parenting problems but they might be worth looking into.  BRINGING UP BEBE by Pamela Druckerman explores French parenting and is said to be a fun read.  I'll be reading this book, hopefully next week, and will be sharing other helpful tips.

Reading the article about French parenting got me thinking about how other cultures parent their children and what works and what doesn't.  I plan on writing more about this and it should be a fun way to learn about other cultures and maybe walk away with a parenting trick or two.

“If you want your children to improve, let them overhear the nice things you say about them to others.”
- Haim Ginott

Thursday, February 16, 2012

My kid is a genius and other ramblings!

My four-year-old is a genius.  He want's to be a cop and a NFL football player when he grows up.  He also wants to learn to speak Mexican and he's pretty sure 18 o'clock is a real time.  He also hopes to get married and have six kids, and he's going to name one of them after his brother and another one after his friend down the street.

Children are so ambitious and they love to be busy, however, at times they are lazy about looking for things to do.  I don't like it when they say, "I'm bored."  In fact, my kids don't say that anymore because they've learned that if they do I'm going to put them to work.  I love it when the older kids help do chores which they do often and Boone loves to help.  Unfortunately sometimes his helping just creates a bigger mess like the time he decided to eat shredded cheese under the kitchen table then got the broom out to clean up his mess.  He pretty much just pushed the cheese all over the floor.

The cheese thing reminded me that my four-year-old likes weird snacks too.  He loves to snack on shredded cheese, chocolate chips, Saltines, olives, marshmallows and pepperonis.  I think it's because these items seem easily accesible to him.

This morning, for the second time this week, he decided to play with his S.W.A.T vehicles on the bathroom floor.  My master bathroom isn't that big and I got out of the shower and stepped on his hand and one of his vehicles.  We have an entire house he could play in but he chooses to play on the bathroom floor!  I suppose I should go grab him some lunch.  He just informed me that he'd like lunch, then a popsicle and then he'll lay down for a nap.  A nap?  Yeah, right, we'll see if that really happens!

"The pursuit of truth and beauty is a sphere of activity in which we are permitted to remain children all our lives."  Albert Einstein

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

I'm not Martha Stewart!

I'll be honest at times I try to be really crafty with my kids but I've never been the Martha Stewart type.  I can't sew (or maybe I choose not too) and I don't keep a perfect home, I do love to bake, but I don't always have the greatest meals prepared.  I also don't always have my children doing the most crafty things, but that's what grandma's are for, right?  I see these other moms who are making their kids' Halloween costumes by hand or knitting their children's Christmas outfits and all I have to say to them is, "Let's lower the bar ladies!"  Ha!

All kidding aside, these super moms are actually slowly, but surely inspiring me to become a little more crafty.  I mean let's not get a head of ourselves I probably won't be sending hand made Valentine's to school that look like ipods or sending fresh fruit to class that is arranged to look like little snowmen, yes you over-achievers know who you are, but I might try to plan some fun crafts for this summer.  My daughter, Montana, will be twelve this month and she loves crafts, so with her help, she and I can surely draw up some fun ideas for her and the boys to do this summer.  We could take pictures and post them on the blog.  My ten-year-old son, Cody, will really enjoy this and Boone will too.  In fact Boone saves all of his crafts from school.  The newest one's get displayed and the older ones he keeps under his dresser.  Montana is sure this is a fire hazard but he just can't bring himself to throw any of them away.  This is where most mom's would sneak a few out at a time and pitch them but I'm saving them and then will save some of them to give him when he's married with kids.

Speaking of Boone, he came into my room this morning and crawled into bed with my husband and I.  Then he said, "So when is Eagle Day, I'm just asking?"  I looked at him.  "What is Eagle Day?"  I asked.  "Well, I think it's November 14th and its about eagles and what they eat," he replied.  I still have no idea what in the heck he was talking about but he was sure there was an Eagle Day.

“I find that when you have a real interest in life and a curious life, that sleep is not the most important thing.”  Martha Stewart.  (Speak for yourself Martha, I LOVE my sleep!)

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Oh to be Four Again!

My four-year-old, Boone, is so carefree and matter-of-fact, it cracks me up.  He thinks he is much older than he is. Today the Schwan's man stopped over and Boone tried to open the door, however, a shop vac and a step-ladder were blocking it.  My husband had been doing some painting.  Anyway Boone is trying to open the door and he keeps saying, "Oh sorry, so sorry."  I helped Boone with the door and then he ran into the kitchen and comes back with the food catalog.  He opens it up and says, "I'll take one of these," and points to some Popsicles.  The Schwan's man looked at me and I said that was fine.  Then he told me the specials and Boone was like, "Yeah, we'll take one of those too."  I told the Schwan's man we did not need the special.  My son was acting like he was the decision maker in the family and it was so cute.

Boone also spent all morning building a fort out of blankets and the kitchen table.  Then he gets under it and hides and yells, "Come find me."  I love it when kids do that.  He likes to do that in the mornings too after I get up he'll hop under my covers and yell, "Come find me."  I always pretend like I'm tired and I'm going to lay on the bed but the mattress is too lumpy and then he starts to giggle.  That carefree, not a worry in the world giggle.

A lot of adults have lost the carefree child in them because as we age we gain a lot of responsibility, which makes us feel like we can't let loose.  I've often thought about having my children write letters to their future selves and tucking them away for them to read  one day.  I'd like for them to document their hopes and dreams and then when they are much older, I would give them back their letters.  I think that would be really fun, to read at age thirty what you wanted for your life when you were ten.  In fact, I'm sure I wrote a letter like that when I was a sophomore in high school but I didn't give it to my parents to keep for me and over the years I lost it.  I don't even remember what year I was supposed to open it.  So ironically at the age of 16 I wasn't responsible enough to keep the letter I wrote for myself to read when I was a responsible adult!

Also I should mention that today is Valentine's Day, so Happy Valentine's Day.  Boone had his party yesterday and the first thing he said when he got home was that someone gave him a pencil.  He was a little disappointed until I assured him that a pencil was a great thing for him to have and that I'd sharpen it for him.  My older two children, 4th grade and 6th grade, have their parties today so it's getting interesting now.  We'll see what kinds of things they got.  In fact, in 6th grade bringing Valentine's were optional but if you did bring them you needed to bring one for everyone.  I remember in high school buying the little kids Valentine's to give to my friends.  I mean who at the age of 18 doesn't want a Care Bear Valentine?

"Just because I'm an adult, doesn't mean I always have to act like one."

Friday, February 10, 2012

Sometimes We Can't Do It All!

I absolutely love it when my kids come home from school with funny stories about their friends' parents.  It makes me feel human!  The other day my eleven -year-old daughter asked her ten- year-old brother why John was wearing his Boy Scout uniform at school.  My son answered, "Because he said it was the only clean clothes he had in the house."  Hilarious!!  So other moms slack on laundry too??  That is so refreshing to hear.  I'll be honest there was a time when I'd hear, "I don't have any clean underwear", or "All of my jeans are dirty" on a regular basis.  Now my husband and our two older children do their own laundry, so I guess my evil plan to get out of doing the laundry worked!  :) 

There has been a rare occasion when I've had to pull a dirty dish or two out of the dishwasher and wash them by hand so we could use them.  Also keeping the toilets clean in a house with three males is almost impossible!  The other day my husband went to take a shower and our daughter was using our toilet.  He asked her why she was in our bathroom and she replied, "Because there is dried pee on the toilet seat in the main bathroom."  Nice.

Keeping food in the house is difficult too.  I just can't believe how much kids eat.  I will stock up on fruits, veggies and snacks and in a few days everyone is complaining because there is no food in the house.  I always have food, probably because I hide my food so they don't eat it!  There is nothing more relaxing then hiding in a corner of the house scarfing down cookies or candy before the kids hear you or smell you and they say, "What's that smell?  What are you eating?  Can I have some?"

My house may not be the cleanliest and I might not have the most food in the house but I hope when my kids grow up they remember that I read them books, played games with them, sat with them while they watched their favorite movies and that we had a lot of fun.  Speaking of fun, I actually think a fun game would be to have everyone go around the house and see what interesting things they can find.  I recently found a piece of half-eaten beef jerky under the sofa, an M&M from Christmas under a chair and my son found two quarters in the recliner.  It could be like a fun scavenger hunt and a way to clean under and behind things.  Which reminds me I saw a gumball under our old fashioned kitchen cupboard the other day and forgot to pick it up.  I'd better go get that right now.

"Logic will get you from A to B.  Imagination will take you everywhere."  Albert Einstein

Thursday, February 9, 2012

An Imagination Run Wild

There are days when my children come up with the most interesting things.  They'll make up some type of invention or food.  Some of their made up foods I view as inedible, but they have fun being creative.  It's been a long time since I was a child, yet some creativity and imagination still linger.  I'm a busy mom, just like a ton of other mothers in the world, and the one thing that sometimes I hate to do, because it takes time, is showering.  I know what you are thinking, I DO shower daily, I just get tired of the monotony of it.  I hope that in the future someone will event a shower that is similar to a car wash.  You would just walk into a shower and turn a dial that reads, Rinse, Suds, Wax, Blow Dry and Moisturize.  That way I could just stand there and after a few minutes I'd be ready to jump into my clothes.  I guess that makes me sound sort of lazy but sometimes getting ready for the day and getting ready for bed is just plain boring.  However, as I grow older it seems that those are the times my children want to talk to me.

It never fails, I'll be going to the bathroom or trying to get in the shower, and one of the kids will walk in and need something.  I realized long ago that privacy is something you give up as soon as you become a mom.  Looking back these were some of the times I had the best visits with my own mother.  She'd be curling her hair or putting on her make-up and I'd visit with her then.  So now I cherish the times I have to share my bathroom because I guess if my kids still want to talk to me I should take every opportunity I get.  Even if it does remind me of a scene in the preview of that new movie, Wanderlust, where the guy is sitting on the toilet and two people are in the bathroom trying to talk to him.  In the movie of my personal life story, when someone calls a family meeting everyone would march into the bathroom instead of to the kitchen table!

Side Note:  I just got interrupted by my four-year-old who is upset because he just realized that Dora really isn't listening to him.  When Dora would ask a question then wait for an answer he started saying the wrong things to test her.  His suspicions were confirmed.  She's not really listening to him. 

Sometimes my imagination plays tricks on me, well at least I hope it's playing tricks, otherwise I've gone completely mad.  Have you ever been washing dishes at the kitchen sink at night, and you look up at the window in front of you and the person staring back looks much older and more tired then you think you look and feel?  Well this happened to me last night.  I figured the woman staring back at me was my future self, and she told me to stop washing dishes, grab a glass of wine and go watch television, so I listened to her.

"All Our Dreams Come True if We Have The Courage To Pursue Them." Walt E. Disney

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Amazon.com: Mom University: The Student Guide (9781413754490): Danae Branson: Books

Amazon.com: Mom University: The Student Guide (9781413754490): Danae Branson: Books

Back on Track

Let's try this again.  I've realized that I need to schedule time for even the things I love the most in life.  A lot of us assume that if we really want something we'll do it, sometimes if we really want something we have to pencil it in!  My new schedule should not only include time to work and time with my family, but it should also include time to write and time to workout.  I feel like I've failed on a New Year's resolution I never made.  Last year I kept up with my workout plan and my writing until a life changing event happened - the move.  After that I felt so consumed in moving and settling into a new place that I forgot to update my calendar.  I should've been writing this whole time because Lord knows my children have given me plenty of material!  At least I had the sense to write a few things down so I can share with you now.

My four-year-old wants to be a cop when he grows up, so when I took him to Menard's the other day he was shocked to see yellow caution tape around the area where the Christmas trees used to be.  "Who was murdered here?" he exclaimed.  I let him know that yellow caution tape is used for a variety of  things.

He attends a preschool at a church and after winter break the teacher asked if anyone had any suggestions for songs they could sing.  They typically sing Twinkle, Twinkle; Jesus Loves Me, You Are My Sunshine - songs like that.  My child, however, leaned into the teacher and said, "Do you know Sexy and I Know It?"  He is the youngest of three children so yes, he's listened to LMFAO.

While at home, my son loves to draw pictures, play cards and play with his toys.  On this particular day he was drawing a picture, and he wanted me to have it.  It very plainly looked like a picture of a woman with a straight line for her mouth.  I asked them who it was and he said, "This is a picture of you when you are mad at me."  I kept the picture as a nice reminder of what I look like when I'm mad!

Spending time with him has been an absolute joy but I won't lie, I'm a little anxious for all three of my children to be in full-time school.  I have a lot I'd like to accomplish in this life, and I'm trying to do it all and keep things in balance.  I get a lot of great advice from those that I love and my kitchen is full of some great sayings, here's just a few....Enjoy the Simple Things & Life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass, it's about learning to dance in the rain.