Category Archives: Parenting

Even the Bad Days Give You Things to Be Grateful For

Yesterday was a challenging day. Well, actually, most of yesterday went just fine. But those last two hours before Sean came home from work? Life pretty much went to Hell in a hand basket (side note: I used to think the expression was “To Hell in a handcart” which, ironically, I blame on my Mormon upbringing).

So, anyhow, I made it through dinner with the family. But after dinner, I went back to the bedroom to “feed the baby” and decided not to come out. Well, I came out long enough to give the baby back to Sean after I was done feeding her. Then I went back, closed the door, and watched TV in solitude. Or tried to. During the first two hours, while the kids were still awake, the door was opened by one little person or another, oh, maybe fifteen times. But once that stopped? I gave into the mental exhaustion and fell asleep until Sean woke me up to read scriptures together. Then I went back to bed.

All this to say, I missed writing the five things I was grateful for yesterday. So, once again, you get ten today.

 

Today, I am thankful for:

  1. The fact that my husband recognized how badly I needed space and let me shut myself in the bedroom all evening without complaining.
  2. The extra sleep that put a little dent in that huge deficit that I’m constantly functioning on.
  3. A sweet little five year old who apologized for giving me a rough day, even though he only contributed to it slightly.
  4. An evening together with my parents and brothers and our families.
  5. The work that my husband puts into taking care of our yard. It’s almost and acre and a half and probably has over 100 trees, so it takes a huge effort. And he does it without complaining.
  6. The work ethic my kids are learning from their father (have I already said that one?). There is nothing more awesome than watching your kids work together, especially when even the one and a half year old is pitching in.
  7. The focus that my husband (and I ) have on building memories with the kids. Even simple things like him taking them to pick out donuts for breakfast this morning. I hope that when my kids are adults, they will have fond memories of the little things that Mom and Dad did with them and know how special they have always been to us.
  8. I’m grateful that I was given the opportunity to be a parent. Anyone who has known me for awhile knows what a miracle each of my children has been. We were told we would never have kids on our own. Each of my pregnancies has been a miracle. And I truly believe that the timing that brought Noah into our lives through adoption was a miracle, too.
  9. The fact that Sean and I can tease each other and laugh at ourselves. I grew up in a family that teased, so that is part of my personality. Sometimes, that gets me in trouble with people who don’t realize when I am kidding. Sean gets me, though. And it really is a fun and loving interaction between us that frequently leaves us laughing to the point of tears.
  10. Having the kind of day that left the kids happy and worn out to the point of collapse on the car ride home from my brother’s house.

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Filed under Daily Life, Gratitude, NaBloPoMo, Parenting, Thirty Days of Thankfulness

And His Imaginary Friend Complains that He Doesn’t Call Anymore

This weekend, Noah and Wyatt decided to write letters to Santa Claus. These were given to Sean with the instruction to mail them to the North Pole today (and then my instruction to save them since I could see him not necessarily thinking about the fact that THEY MADE LISTS since he isn’t the one who agonizes over the Christmas shopping).

Right before bedtime tonight, Wyatt came up the stairs.

“Dad, did you remember to send the letters to the North Pole?”

Sean stammered a bit.

“Um, uh, I forgot to today. I’ll mail them tomorrow.”

“OK,” Wyatt answered. “But don’t forget. The North Pole.” Then he headed down to bed.

I looked at my husband.

“You were too busy to remember to PRETEND to mail a letter?”

That, folks, takes talent.

 

Today, I am thankful for:

  1. Someone who wants to buy our old stove. That’s one less large thing taking up space in my house and a decent bit of cash to add to the Christmas budget. Double score.
  2. A hubby who sweetly cleaned up after dinner while I laid on the couch with a sleeping baby. And is now going to fold laundry while I’m writing.
  3. My mother doing math with Noah today. It is always so nice to have a day with a little less school work to do.
  4. One last beautiful day in the high sixties before the weather turns crummy again for the rest of the week.
  5. The ever-present laughter in our home. Sure, we’re usually laughing at the ridiculousness of one situation or another, but it’s still laughter. It is a good thing when you still possess the ability to laugh at yourself.

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Filed under Daily Life, Gratitude, NaBloPoMo, Parenting, Thirty Days of Thankfulness

Seeing My Future

January 13, 1993

Dear Me,

This is a letter to myself to let me, in the future, see what my hopes and expectations were when I was almost 16, and to see how my life met up to those dreams and expectations.

In two and a half years I hope to graduate high school and probably go to BYU. I want to get my bachelors in English secondary education. Maybe minor in Spanish.

I would like to be married when I am 20 or 21. I don’t want to have children until I have graduated college and maybe even worked a couple of years. When I do have kids, I hope to be in a financial situation that I do not need to work so I can stay home and raise a large family.

I hope to remain active in the church and serve the Lord. I have given a mission a thought, but I doubt that I will go on one. I want to keep my virtue and stay pure. I want my husband to remain with me forever.

 

I found this letter to myself while I was cleaning last night. I wrote it 17 years ago—it has managed to survive all of those years and several moves. Amazing. Even more amazing is just how closely my life resembles what I envisioned as a high school Sophomore. Really, the only things I got wrong were that I was twenty-TWO when I got married and I didn’t minor in Spanish. Other than that, it all came true (well, I guess forever hasn’t happened yet so my husband had better hold up his side of that bargain!).

Who says that teenagers don’t know what they want? Or that what you do and think as a kid won’t end up affecting the rest of your life?

Today, I am thankful for:

  1. The fact that my boys are old enough to turn on the TV and entertain themselves until I get up in the morning when they wake up too early.
  2. The obvious and extreme amount of effort that went into the activity for the women at church this evening. My soul was replenished and I am so grateful to all the women who took time out of their lives to give me such a wonderful evening away from mine.
  3. Adult female conversation. All of the other speakers in my household are male (and most are kids). ‘Nuff said.
  4. The fact that after I asked Noah today how he feels about his adoption (he said there wasn’t really anything he wanted/needed to talk about) and emphasized that if he ever had questions or wanted to talk I am always willing too, he immediately grabbed a piece of paper and drew a picture of him hugging me under a rainbow with hearts and the words “Happy Birthday” (which I interpret as “I love you” given the overall sentiment and the fact that it is nowhere close to my birthday). And the huge, prolonged hug that followed after he gave it to me. A “moment” definitely occurred.
  5. My mother’s apparent reelection (not all of the polls have reported, but she has a comfortable lead). That job brings her too much purpose and joy for her to lose it.

 

One more thing for this evening. I am a big believer in the power of prayer, even if you don’t actually know the person you are praying for. I say this because I have a friend who could really use some prayers right now. Her daughter was diagnosed with leukemia a little over a month ago. A couple of days ago, she was put on antibiotics for a staph infection. This evening, she tested positive for H1N1. I know that a lot of people reading this blog are already praying for Candace. But I know a lot of you don’t know her. If you can find it in your heart tonight, say a prayer for her. Then say a prayer for her parents because, wow, I just can’t imagine how hard this is. Thanks.

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Filed under adoption, Daily Life, Gratitude, Kids, NaBloPoMo, Parenting, politics, Thirty Days of Thankfulness

Losing My Stuff…And the Dog

It had been such a nice weekend. Really, it had. Every year, my community does a big festival the first week of October. Friday night there is a cruise-in, Saturday is a parade, and Saturday and Sunday are a street fair. Since my mother is up for re-election this year, we attended most of it. While wearing “Vote for Nancy” shirts. With the kids handing out campaign stuff and asking passers-by to “Please vote for my Grandma.” Go ahead, say it. Awwwwww

We missed the parade, though, because Wyatt and Noah had their last soccer games on Saturday. Part of me is sad for them since they really loved playing. Then the part of me that doesn’t have to spend almost every evening at the soccer field throws a big fat party.

So, anyhow, the weekend. It was nice. It was productive. It was even spiritually enlightening. Overall, it was great.

Until approximately 5:45 Sunday evening.

That would be when Sean called me, as I was driving home from helping my mom one last little bit at the street fair, and said “Um, we have a little bit of an emergency here—are you almost home?”

As I wasn’t home to assess damage and daddy apparently gets a little more easily freaked out than I do, an ambulance was already on the way by the time I reached the house. Apparently, Eli had been on a bike with training wheels and Sean had asked Noah to push him for a bit. Sean thought Noah would know to be really gentle. Sean was wrong. One good shove later, blood was everywhere and Eli’s tooth was shoved way the heck towards the back of his mouth.

A visit to Children’s Hospital and an emergency office visit to my (cosmetic) dentist (that man is AWESOME), the poor kid had essentially been through hell having his tooth pushed back closer to where it belongs (but it isn’t wanting to stay there). By the time we got home and tried to put him to be, he was MAD. As in, punching anyone who got close to him. Except Noah. He got a good poke in the eye.

A little after midnight, when we were finally all settled into bed, it occurred to me that I didn’t know where our one dog, Thunder, was. He snuggles up to me in a thoroughly obnoxious way when the nights get chilly. And last night was definitely chilly. And he wasn’t there. And I realized he didn’t greet us with the other dogs when we got home from the hospital. And I couldn’t remember seeing him since, oh, around lunchtime.

We searched the house. We checked the backyard. We looked in both cars. We went into our garage and sheds.

We couldn’t find him anywhere.

I spent a restless night alternately being woken up by a hungry baby, a 19-month-old in pain, and worry. Worry about my son. Worry about the missing dog in the cold air. And COYOTES! Have I mentioned we have coyotes around here? And you know that Jessica Simpson just lost her dog to a coyote. And if it can happen to a celebrity, where does that leave us mere mortals and our mere mortal dogs???

When I left this morning to get Eli’s prescriptions filled, he was still missing. I even did a lap around the neighborhood on the way out to see if he was anywhere out in the open. Or squished on the road (horrible, I know, but I’m just being honest).

As I wondered the store, I got a phone call from Sean. He just wanted to let me know that his car stunk of nervous dog. But Thunder was safe and sound.  He had apparently gotten in there when Noah was getting a sucker out of the car yesterday and, even though he saw him jump in, neglected to make sure that Thunder got back OUT before closing the door. And the fact that Sean and I BOTH checked that stinkin’ car last night (Sean even opened the door!)??? Who the heck knows. I’d like to think the stupid dog learned his lesson but, well…Let’s just say that shih tzu’s aren’t the brightest breed in the kennel.

So here I am—sleep deprived and on the verge of a nervous breakdown. Oh, and unable to cook a meal for my family since Sean was in the middle of swapping our old stove for a new one when all hell broke loose. So I currently have two stoves, but they are both in the garage. Which is, of course, incredibly useful.

And my poor little boy, by son with an incredible smile, still has a horribly swollen mouth and a Cletus tooth. And I still don’t know if it will go back into place, fall out, or have to be pulled. 😦 Thankfully, though, he is feeling much better. And what kid is going to complain about living off of ice cream, popsicles, pudding, and applesauce?

So, when it rains it pours. But at least my dog is home—alive and safe. So every cloud has its silver lining. He maybe a stinky, brain-dead silver lining, but I’ll take it.

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Filed under Daily Life, Kids, Parenting, Scary Bits of Life

Kid Poops-a-Lot

*talking*

Oh. my. gosh.Becky, look at that butt.
That diaper’s big.
It looks like one of those diaper commercials.
Who understands those commercials?
They only talk to about poop because they can make a lot of money,ok?
I mean that butt!It’s just so big!
I can’t believe–it’s just so round!It’s just so out there!
I mean, *GROSS*
It’s full of crap!

*rap*

I like clean butts and I cannot lie.
You other mothers can’t deny
That when a kid walks in with diaper full of waste
And it hits you in your face
You go numb!
Ya’ gotta be all tough
Cuz you know that that diaper’s stuffed!
Deep in the jeans she’s wearin’
Is goo and I can’t stop swearin’.

Oh, baby, don’t wanna be near ya’
Or even hear  ya’.
My playgroup tried to warn me
’Cause that butt you got
Makes m-m-me so ornery!

Ooh, little Miss Smooth Skin
You say you wanna play with your friends?
Well ‘scuse me ‘scuse me
That diaper’s full of poopey!

I see her playin’
With that diaper swayin’
It’s wet, yet, that’s not the worst it can get.

I’m tired of magazines
Making diapers look all clean.
Take the average momma and tell her that
She’ll say you’re full of crap!

So mommas (yeah!) mommas (yeah!)
Your kiddo got a stinky butt? (Heck yeah!)
It’s time to change it, (change it), change it,(change it),
change that nasty butt!

Baby’s got crap!
(Gerber face with a barnyard booty!)
Baby’s got crap!

 

If that didn’t make any sense to you, you can look up Baby Got Back by Sir Mix-a-Lot on YouTube. But don’t watch the real video, because when MTV bans your video when it first comes out…um, yeah.

Anyhow, now it is out of my head and I can move on with my life.

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Filed under A Scary Look into My Mind, Just for Fun, Kids, Parenting

Real Education

Before I get on to more important things, can I just say that Julie Chen should fire her stylist over tonight’s outfit? Yes, that’s right, I WATCH BIG BROTHER. And Julie’s finale outfit? She looks like she’s wearing a Snuggie.

 

What do you want to teach your children?

I’ve been thinking about this for awhile, but even more so lately. I don’t remember how much I went into it here, but I seriously considered going for complete homeschooling this year instead of using the virtual school. This was because I wanted the freedom to teach my children what I wanted them to learn, including adding things like religious studies (and, in case you are wondering, that doesn’t mean that we would be going on field trips to the Creationism museum where they have Adam and Eve in the Garden with animatronic dinosaurs). Ultimately, though, I chose to stick with the virtual academy because I wanted that paper trail showing that Wyatt started school this year just in case it ever became an issue. Next year, I may feel differently.

The past several days, though, I have been thinking about more than just traditional learning. And a lot of that, I have to admit, has to do with things I am learning to do in my own life.

This is the part where I put my little disclaimer that I’m not criticizing my parents (Hi Mom! Love ya!). Seriously, I’m not. They did so many things right in how they raised all of us, and I have so much to be grateful to them for. And, let’s face it, even with the best effort, we all have things we could have done better.

I want to make sure that my kids develop life skills that will help them become self-reliant. I have reached a point in life where I look back on who I was as a college student and young adult early in my marriage and just think, “Wow, how did I manage when I was so clueless?” I was always really book smart. My parents insisted that I got good grades and threatened to limit my social activities if I didn’t keep up with my studies. They expected a lot out of me in that regard, so I performed. But so many of the skills that I need now? I had no clue.

The really interesting thing to point out, though, is that it was all available to me. My parents are some of the most impressive people that I know when it comes to managing their lives. My mother has always had a garden. She’s always canned food. She sewed everything from dolls to blankets to Halloween costumes to Homecoming dresses as we grew up. My father can fix anything. He took the time to learn about engines and plumbing and wiring so that he can do so many things on his own instead of relying on (and paying) others to do it for him.

All of that knowledge was available to me growing up and I didn’t take the initiative to learn. And, as a parent now, I understand a lot of why my parents probably didn’t push me to learn it all. It takes time and effort (and a whole lot of patience) to teach that stuff to a kid. And when you’re in the middle of it, it is a whole lot quicker (and less frustrating) to just do it yourself. That is the problem I run into with my own kids already. I have so much to do and so little time to do it in that I don’t want to slow down to make them learn how to do it with me.

Incidentally, this is one of the areas where I think my husband truly excels as a parent. As much as it scares the crap out of me on a regular basis, he is always letting the kids be part of what he is doing—even if that means the one-year-old is out there while he’s cutting down trees. Or the three-year-old is rolling a tire around the yard while he’s working on the brakes. Even though I’m the one who spends more time working around our kids, he’s the one who is teaching them more about work because he does it WITH them—I do it AROUND them.

I want to work on this. In the past couple of years, I have been learning to do a lot more things to be self-reliant and I want to make sure that my kids can do them all before they leave our house (unlike my sweet husband, my boys WILL know how to sew on a button so they don’t have to rely on their wives to keep their pants up). I want them to learn how to sew. I want them to know how to garden (and I realize this means letting them do it with me—as much as the thought pains me—and not just in the sense that I try to make them weed it for me). I want them to learn how to preserve food (I canned five quarts of peppers and EIGHTEEN quarts of salsa last week—go me!). I want my kids to know how to fix things so, unlike me, they’ll be able to change tires and oil and whatever else life throws at them.

I want them to be able to take care of themselves because, someday, I won’t be able to do it for them.

What do want to teach your kids?

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Filed under Homeschooling, Kids, Parenting

Important Life Lessons

As I was getting ready for the day this morning (shortly after scrubbing the carpet because I was stupid enough to put carpet in the dining room and, you know, orange juice BELONGS on the floor), my oldest three boys came running to me.

“Mommy, Mommy! We’re making a band! Can we have tattoos? We can’t be a band without tattoos!”

I am, of course, glad to see that my children have developed a strong awareness of pop culture. So, being the stellar parent that I am, I reached on top of the refrigerator and pulled down the sheets of temporary tattoos kept for just such an emergency. Within minutes of application, they had also retrieved the sashes from their Superman curtains, which were being worn as bandanas. Noah informed me that Eli would be playing the drum solo.

Can I just say how completely my children crack me up? (Of course, I’ve noticed it a lot more since I started putting all of their funny little moments up on Twitter. I guess I didn’t pay as close of attention to how funny they were until I started writing it all down.) Honestly, though, how can you not laugh at three little boys with temporary tattoos, Superman sash bandanas, a toy drum and an acoustic guitar who are “rocking out”?

Since our car has a nifty line in feature that allows us to plug in our MP3 players, we spent a few hours this weekend listening to our favorite songs while travelling back and forth to a family member’s house.  At one point, Sean and I got into a conversation about how wonderful technology is because we were able to expose our kids to the music we like without making them (and us) listen to all of the other crap on the radio. And really, how awesome is it that our kids can sing along to Tom Petty and Aerosmith? Or that Noah regularly asks to listen to Paradise City? Or that Wyatt asked us to play Bohemian Rhapsody a couple of times in a row because he liked the second half so much? Or that Caleb makes awesome “rockin’ out” faces while bobbing his head to the whole darn playlist? (I know, some of you are just shocked by this…) It is parenting nirvana (as opposed to Nirvana, which is not currently on the playlist but has some worthwhile offerings that the kids would probably enjoy…).

My kids are hilarious AND cool.

Changing topics…

I spent an entire hour this morning confused as to why my internet wasn’t working. Wait, backup, let me clarify something. We don’t actually have an internet connection (shocked?). What we DO have is a rockin’ signal booster that allows us to surf off of my (next door) parents’ wireless connection. So, if something goes weird, I reboot the signal booster. Or reboot my laptop. Occasionally, I hold the laptop in the air with the side that I think gets the best reception pointing out the window towards said parents’ house (seriously, I’m that pathetic). If all else fails, I sacrifice a chicken and dance naked streaked in blood.

None of it was working this morning, and we had done all we could with school without an internet connection.

I finally broke down and called my dad.

“Can you reset your wireless for me? I can’t get on the internet.”

“Nope,” was his only reply.

Then it hit me. He was having some electrical work done. He couldn’t reset it because he didn’t have any power. Which was why I couldn’t log onto the internet. Duh.

So I did what any good homeschooling mother would do. I turned on the Science Channel and told them that today’s attendance hours would be brought to them by Junkyard Wars (hey, you learn about mechanics AND get handy environmental lessons about how cool it is to recycle stuff).

I suppose that I could have done things more like they would have encountered in public school. I could have written several lists of rules that would be different for each subject, or had them jump on the trampoline yelling “Go Team!” to replicate a pep rally. Goodness knows how much of my school  time was occupied with things of that nature. And maybe it would have been more effective—after about 15 minutes, Noah was begging to do real school.

Maybe next time I’ll just pull out the Superman curtains and teach the boys to play air guitar for music credit.  I don’t think I’ve exposed them to The Doors yet…

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