Monthly Archives: March 2008

Mission: Birthday Party (Accomplished!)

Saturday was C’s second birthday. It is amazing how quickly time seems to fly now that I have children. They grow up at an astounding rate. It was so strange to have my little baby telling me who he wanted to come to his birthday party. Who gave him permission to have an opinion on things like that?! He’s supposed to be too young for those kinds of things, still.

Ahhh, but he’s not a baby anymore.

I managed to have everything ready (mostly) before Elaine, her kids, and my dad arrived for the party at lunchtime (my mom and Matt were, of course, absent due to the fact that they are still in Vietnam). This was despite the fact that I was extremely tired due to my attempts to get rid of the beginnings of a migraine with two Mt. Dew’s the day before (then couldn’t fall asleep until after 2:00 am because I usually only buy the caffeine-free version). Thankfully, the headache had the decency to go away before the party.

C~ was thrilled with his gifts. As I type this, he is watching one of the six (!) Thomas the train DVD’s that he got–four from my parents, two from Sean’s dad and his wife. (Did you know that Alec Baldwin did a Thomas the train movie? Because Alec Baldwin is, of course, the first person I think of when I think of kids’ movies.) His book and art supplies from Elaine and the kids are scattered on the floor (he just told me he needs to clean them up). He has now spent the past two nights sleeping in the “big boy bedroom” on his new bed with Elmo bedding.

And the toy that I was so excited about? A total hit. And, yes, I went back to the store and bought another one to give to my dentist (turns out that my appointment is tomorrow).

All in all, it was a good day. C~ was even excited about his party decorations–Shrek all the way. We even ended up watching Shrek the Third since his cousins had never seen it.

 the bed

C’s new bed

 

the toy

 The Toy. It is officially called a “Flip Flop Egg Drop,” but I just call it the dentist’s office toy

Today, I took C~ for his two-year check-up. He was a little over 37 inches tall and 30 pounds. That means he was over the 97th percentile for height, and was 75th percentile for weight. Tall and skinny–no surprise there. Well, no surprise to me. Sean was surprised that he was that high on the chart for height. Of course, that is just because he still looks small compared to his brothers.

C~ really cracked me up during his appointment. He refused to talk to the doctor at all. He cooperated and let her do everything she wanted to (except looking in his mouth–he kept his jaw clamped shut), but he wouldn’t even nod in response to her questions. He just glared at her every time she said anything to him, just like he did to pretty much everyone except me when he was a baby. That side of him doesn’t come out very much anymore, but the face always makes me laugh. He gets the same grouchy face as my father. It is just so funny to look at my two-year-old and see my dad.

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Protected: Birthday Pictures

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Who Are You?

Despite a day full of church and family activities, I was determined not to miss another Sunday in my goal to explore faith more fully. I sat down with this month’s issue of my church’s magazine, the Ensign, and was drawn to the title of one particular article, Your Divine Heritage by Elder Robert C. Oaks. Two quotes from the article really got me thinking.

In the first paragraph, Elder Russell M. Nelson is quoted as saying “Understand who you are in God’s plan.” A little while later, a story is recounted where Elder Henry B. Eyring received the impressing that “When you find who you are, you will be sorry you didn’t try harder.”

What powerful messages.

At the same time, what amazing reminders of my own insecurities.

I have mentioned recently (although in a password-protected sort of way), that I have a real tendency to feel like I don’t measure up. I am plagued by fears that there is something I should be doing–someone I should be being–that I’m not. And that makes me feel like I’m failing. When I read the Elder Eyring quote, “When you find who you are, you will be sorry you didn’t try harder,” it touched a nerve. At 31-years-old, I still don’t feel like I know entirely where I fit in God’s plan. And I wonder if I will have regrets when I figure it out.

Let me back up a bit and clarify. In a general sense, I know who I am. I’ve been learning and believing it my entire life.

I sang about it in Primary.

I Am a Child of God.

I recited it in Young Women.

We are daughters of our Heavenly Father, who loves us, and we love him…

I believe in the divine potential within myself–within us all.

It is the specifics that elude me. And, just maybe, my inner control freak has a hard time processing that.

But, how do you find out those specifics?

A scripture quoted from the Book of Mormon near the end of the article reminded me of a concept that I learned in a college religion course:

And now, my sons, remember, remember that it is upon the rock of our Redeemer, who is Christ, the Son of God, that ye must build your foundation; that when the devil shall send forth his mighty winds, yea, his shafts in the whirlwind, yea, when all his hail and his mighty storm shall beat upon you, it shall have no power over you to drag you down to the gulf of misery and endless wo, because of the rock upon which ye are built, which is a sure foundation, a foundation whereon if men build they cannot fall.

~Heleman 5:12

Remember. It is a word that is used frequently in the scriptures (especially in the Book of Mormon). Remember the covenants you made with the Lord. Remember His deliverance of the faithful. Remember who you are.

The amazing thing, though, is that remembering can be a way of determining your future. Similar to the concept that those who don’t know the past are condemned to repeat it. Except much more positive.

Those who understand the past have the opportunity to shape the future. Those who remember their worth and potential are able to do anything.

Therefore, cheer up your hearts, and remember that ye are free to act for yourselves—to choose the way of everlasting death or the way of eternal life.

Wherefore, my beloved brethren, reconcile yourselves to the will of God, and not to the will of the devil and the flesh; and remember, after ye are reconciled unto God, that it is only in and through the grace of God that ye are saved.

~2 Nephi 10:23-24

Does this suddenly open my eyes to who I am, or what I should be doing? No. But it gives me a place to start–a clue of how to find out. Maybe, instead of trying to find the future, I should spend more time remembering the past. Remembering the doctrines of the scriptures. Remembering the words of the prophets. Remembering impressions, promptings, and counsel that have been given to me.

Maybe, once I’ve done that, I will remember who God planned for me to be.

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Pieces of Childhood

Rain, rain, go away

Come again sometime in May

Or this flood won’t go away.

 

The water in my backyard had been receding. Then, it rained buckets again last night. I think the flooding is now worse than it was initially. Add to that the fact that it is scheduled to rain almost every day this coming week, and I fear I am screwed. A reasonable person might point out the fact that I have almost an acre and a half of yard, while only about an eighth of an acre is flooded. That leaves a lot of yard that the kids could still play in.

But we’re talking about an almost-five-year-old and a three-year-old. Boys. What are the chances that they would actually stay out of the flooded gunk if I sent them out to play on their own? Honestly, N~ would probably be fine–he doesn’t like being dirty. But W? Yeah, there’s a reason that we frequently call him “Pig Pen.” The kid attracts dirt. There will be no keeping him out of the flooded muck.

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I have some parenting questions that I would love to know how to deal with. First, how do you break a kid of wearing pull-ups at night? We were out of them last night, so I told the two older boys to just go to bed in their underwear. They almost never have accidents. W~ was fine with the idea, but N~ had had a rare accident the night before and he didn’t want to risk it. Sean and I both reassured him and even came up with a plan in case he were to have an accident. He still wasn’t interested. I actually had an argument with him over the fact that he wanted us to let him wear one of C’s diapers to bed. An argument that I thought I had won.

When N~ got up this morning, I caught him taking one of the diapers off. Somehow, he had managed to put one on himself before going to sleep. I’ll give him credit for determination, but I’d prefer that he applied it to the idea of sleeping in his underwear.

My next question: What do you do when a stranger’s kid (in a public place) is goading your kids into bad behavior? I have started taking my kids to play at our YMCA again lately (my sanity does better when they’ve had a chance to burn off some energy). There are almost always other kids playing at the same time. Now, I don’t claim that my kids are perfect, or that they are always well behaved. They certainly do their share of acting up. And I make them stop playing for awhile when they don’t play nicely with the other kids. But, sometimes, it just really isn’t their fault. Today was one of those days.

Shortly after we arrived, another mother came in with two boys close in age to N~ and W~. They all started playing tag (and I’m thrilled because, hey, we’re running them down). The older boy decided that W~ was “tagging” too hard. Honestly, he wasn’t tagging any harder than this kid was, but I still kept telling him to try and be more gentle. Well, this boy started hitting. At one point, he even managed to kick W~ in the face and make him cry (and W~ is a tough kid). This kid’s mom never made him stop playing, and would precede talking to him about his behavior by saying “You’re not in trouble…” W~ got sick of being hit/kicked/knocked to the floor and started fighting back. OK, I’m not alright with that. So my kid is getting in trouble for reacting to how this kid was acting.

I thought a lot about this on the way home. What is the right way to handle that kind of situation? I don’t want my kids to think it is ok to fight and be a bully. But, honestly, I don’t want to teach my boys to be wimps. I want them to know that it is not ok for other people to pick on them. I want them to stand up for themselves. And I want them to know that I don’t expect them to let other kids bully them. But I don’t want them to hit (and, when you’re three, that is the logical reaction). So, when the other kid’s parents aren’t doing anything about it, how do you fix the problem?

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It is 10:30 pm and we are in party-prep mode. Tomorrow is C’s second birthday. We are having a party tomorrow for him and his cousin, Midge, who also had a birthday this week. I’ve got the cake in the oven. Sean is working on assembling the toddler bed we are giving him for his birthday (with any luck, it will excite him enough to make him want to move into his brothers’ bedroom instead of ours). The bed is definitely going to be cool–a cherry-finished wooden sleigh bed. Quite sophisticated looking. Of course, the effect will be lost with the new Elmo bedding he is also getting.

The birthday present that really has me excited, though, is the toy I picked up for N~ and W~ to give to him. I don’t even know how to describe it, really. It is a kind of puzzle–balls inside of a clear plastic box that you have to manipulate through several levels. I will post a picture of it tomorrow.

So, why does this toy excite me so much? Well, from the time I was a very small child, my dentist has had the same basic toy in his waiting room. It was in the house that he turned into his first office when he bought it. Even then, when he first found it, it was old. I used to love playing with that toy while I waited to have my teeth cleaned. Thirty years later, the toy is still there, although the plastic is so scratched that you can barely see the balls inside and one section of the toy is now jammed. My dentist told me once that he had tried to find something similar to replace it, but has never been able to. For ten dollars, I think I may just go buy another one and give it to him when I get my teeth cleaned in a couple of weeks.

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SAD and Smiles

Last night, as I was cleaning up after dinner, Sean called to me. E~ had smiled at him. Twice. Not the fluttering smiles that come when he first falls asleep. Oh no, these were intentional, wide awake smiles. And they were for him. While I was out of the room.

No fair.

I rushed into the room, but the moment had passed. And, of course my husband, being the sympathetic person he is, rubbed it in.

It’s a good thing that I got my own smile today. Fully awake and intentional. I was talking to E~ as I was getting ready to nurse him and he just looked up and grinned. And my mommy heart melted. Somehow, there is something more rewarding about the parenting experience when they start acknowledging your existence. Not that I wasn’t already head over heels for him, but it still bumps things up a notch.

Speaking of cute kid things–there is just something really cool about having your kids enjoy your music. As we drove to the YMCA today, W~ was singing along with Tom Petty’s “Don’t Come Around Here No More.” My kids also like The Beach Boys, The Eagles, and Daniel Powter. They are officially cool.

Today was a good day. For the past several days, N~ has repeatedly asked me if we could, please, have a “fun day.” I can’t deny that life for them has been much more dull since E~ was born. We haven’t been going out to do things, and they have been going stir crazy. So I made a real effort today to improve that. We went to the YMCA this morning so the boys could play in the big playland and run around in the mat room. They had a blast and burned off a lot of pent-up energy. It ended up being nice for me, too. The wife of the other insurance agent that Sean shares a building with was there with her kids, too, so we got to chat while our kids did a great impression of The Lord of the Flies in the mat room.

Since we got up to almost 60 degrees today, I was also able to take the kids out for a walk this afternoon. Well, N~ and W~ went for a bike ride, while I walked behind with C~ and E~ in the double stroller. It was E’s first outside excursion, and he did great. He didn’t mind being in the stroller at all. And the sunshine and fresh air did me a lot of good.

I am convinced that I have some form of seasonal affective disorder. Nothing severe, mind you. It is just that, as we go through long months where our midwestern skies stay gray, well, my mood can follow suit. Of course, I don’t always even process it until the weather starts to break. But a day like today, where I go out in the sunlight and relative warmth for the first time, I can feel my emotional self soaking in the light. My body actually feels hungry for the sunshine. Does that sound weird? It really is a very real feeling. And it definitely makes a very real difference in how I feel. It was great. Now it had better stay that way, or I may just go crazy.

Bring on the Spring.

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Protected: You Must’ve Been a Beautiful Baby

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We’ve Got Pictures!

But I’m not posting them tonight (how mean was that?).

Mom and Matt are back in Hanoi with Quinn. They have a good internet connection and lots of photos to send home. We have already gotten some of them. Quinn is adorable and, apparently, a very happy little boy.

Anyhow, the point of this post is just to let you know that I will post pictures tomorrow (if you have Elaine’s password, you can go there to see some already).  I will be protecting the pictures, too. If you want the password, just ask (and leave me an email address to send it to). As long as I know you, or can verify through your blog that you aren’t a creepy internet wacko, I will share.

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