Friday, October 6, 2017

Scrambled Thoughts XXV

1) I'm all for his favorite color being pink, but his favorite helmet being rainbow sparkle unicorn?

Apparently there is a limit to my tolerance. As we scrolled through helmet options on the computer he jumped and pointed and begged for the chance to look at Ms. Unicorn a little more closely. And as he was ogling over it I whispered from the side of my mouth to McKenzie (who was doing her homework right next to me), 'Kenz... Kenz... help.'

She looked over to see what the problem was and tried valiantly to stifle her laughter as she gently helped me steer him in another direction. The Dory direction. And he's happy as a fish about it.

Now, had he pushed hard and felt even more passionate about it, I probably would have swallowed my pride and bought Ms. Unicorn for him. But admittedly and totally politically incorrectly, I know I would not have been fully on board with it.

2) No matter how bad a day you think you're having, someone always has it worse.

Like this guy, for example. After dropping Timothy off at preschool in that building, I was strapping Eliza back into her carseat when I heard a couple of men start speaking in rather elevated, excited tones. I wasn't processing what they were saying until they were a little nearer to me and I heard the words, "Fire! ... Fire! ... Dude! ... Fire!" I looked up at the guys and followed their gaze across the street and saw that there was, indeed, a fire. And that no one seemed to know or be doing anything about it (except for pointing and exclaiming the word 'Fire' over and over again).

"Oh! Geez!" I said and reached for my phone to dial 911. Ironically I happened to be parked in the police station parking lot, and had taken my scouts on a tour of the station last summer, and had been in the room where the 911 calls come in, and had met the two ladies who answer them. So that was cool.

But not thinking that they wouldn't know I was sitting in their parking lot I said, "There is a car on fire, right across the street!" and then, realizing my mistake added, "in the rec center parking lot."

While we waited for the fire trucks to come, we heard the air bags explode and watched as people gathered. One man came running out of the credit union nearby with a fire extinguisher and when he saw the car he stopped and mumbled to himself, "Oh... this isn't going to be enough," so he stood there and joined in the watching. The fire trucks came quickly and had the whole thing under control in no time.

But the prognosis on that car? Doesn't look good.

3) Speaking of cars, the sliding door to my minivan stopped working. 

So I took it up to the local car repair shop and since it's only a mile away from my house, I brought the stroller and walked back home after dropping it off.  I thought Eliza looked so sweet strapped in there like that with those tiny little feet and tired eyes. We walked home while the car shop found that the van needed $1500 worth of repairs. 


So hard to know...

4) Being wimpy and cold on the swim team is always better with friends.

Swim team has been even more fun recently since the Bacons joined. I laugh at them when they shiver and whine about the cold, but secretly I hurt for them and want to wrap them up in heated towels and sing lullabies about warm places. I hate being wet and cold.

5) Give him a sash and call him a leader and he will become one.

The elementary schools here do such a good job of empowering their students to become leaders.  They give them opportunities and then make it a big deal when a child accepts. Miles was in charge of directing all of the parents into the multi purpose room for the awards ceremony and he took his job very seriously and with a smile.

More than a smile, actually. When he saw Timothy, Eliza and I come around the corner to be seated, he started jumping up and down and flapping his arms so hard I thought there was a good chance that he was actually going to hover off the ground. He rushed over to us and kissed Eliza and proudly directed us to our seats where we watched his teacher issue him an award for being a really great kid.

So much love.

6) In other Miles news:

He's officially a cub scout now. If you know me well you know that I don't have many warm and fuzzy feelings towards the scouting program (and I really have tried to look at the bright side and change my attitude). But I do love that smile on his face up there and I can honestly say that I love that he loves it. Here we go for round two of cub scouts.

7) Huddling under the heat lamps.

Summer must be over.

Sitting, Eating and Scooting

After the big kids all go to bed, we get to have some good one-on-one time with this little ray of sunshine.  She rolls around on the floor finding treasures in nooks and crannies and she smiles and laughs at every eye contact. It's one of my favorite times of the day.

She's been working hard at the all the skills that don't seem much like skills once you're older than two.

Sitting was the first of them. She teeters and faceplants and tips to the side, but she's doing it! And she has a whole house full of cheerleaders who clap and cheer for her each time she tries. Which usually gives her burst of uncontrollable energy and topples her to the floor.

She's also been working on eating from a spoon.

It took her a terrifically long time, in my opinion, to figure out how to move her tongue the right way. Each little bite ended up in and out of her mouth three or more times before it finally made the appropriate journey. For two weeks we patiently (and sometimes less than patiently) worked at it.

Food and this girl got off to a rocky start in her life. She gave us a bit of a scare for the first four months as she wasn't gaining weight like she should, dropping steadily from the 25% at her two week appointment down to the low point of 3% by the time she was three months. During that time I fought valiantly to feed her like she needed - pumping and nursing around the clock, taking supplements like crazy, and giving her extra bottles whenever she seemed to want one. But still she dropped, and dropped, and dropped and I wrestled my emotions over the failure of it all. At her three month appointment when her weight came back in the 3rd percentile, the doctor said pointedly that I needed to stop nursing and start giving her straight formula, thickened with rice cereal, and to record every single ounce and teaspoon she ate.

Slowly she's been gaining her weight back - but it's been an emotional and stressful ride. Anyway - so it would have been nice if she had been able to take to the solid food easily, but she had her own little agenda and wanted to create a bit more drama. And so we worked at getting it right and now she's eating like a champ.

One day she figured out that she could scoot around a bit to get what she wanted. Her focus and concentration was impressive as she dug her tiny fingers into the carpet and pulled herself along towards her goal.

The kids (and I) all thought it was pretty funny to put things just out of her reach and make her work for them.

She never really gets frustrated, but she certainly gets confused and it's beautiful to see her think through the problems.

But regardless of whether or not she actually attains her prize, she is always, always beautiful to watch.

By the time she's two, all these new little skills will seem silly. But today they're so exciting.

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Scrambled Thoughts XXIV (Catch Up Post)

1) Bet you Didn't Know Brian Was a Fisherman

He didn't know either until my dad invited him along on an Alaskan fishing adventure. I'll never forget him looking up YouTube videos the week he was leaving... How To Catch a Salmon.

2) Babies Make Road Trips Harder.

Way harder. Cause if she's not happy, she's not very quiet about it.

3) Showing Your Kids a Piece of Your History Makes You Feel Old.

Also, it's fulfilling. I got to show my kids Swiss Days this year. I thought it would be a remarkable, beautiful experience... but turns out that the kids weren't so in love with walking around in the heat looking at a bunch of craft booths. Whowouldathought?

4) I Missed the Pastel Memo on the Family Picture Notice

But with so many beautiful faces all looking in the same direction AND happy? I don't really notice all that much.

When the rest of the family jumped in I felt like I blended much better.

These people are the world to me. Watching a family grow and work to figure out differences, sacrifice for the good of others, and show love regardless of any bristles that inevitably prick us from time to time is beautiful to me. Families are such a perfect platform to learn and grow - and I recognize that I am so blessed to have a great one that, above all else, is centered on Christ and on love (which, mostly, are the same thing). I love them with my whole heart.

5) Goodbyes With Smiles are my Favorites

Years ago it used to be that our goodbyes were sprinkled with tears. Because it meant that someone was getting on an airplane and traveling back across the country - generally without another solid plan of when we were going to see each other again. But since we moved to Vegas, most of our goodbyes are said with smiles and waves and a believable sentiment of 'see you soon'. I like these much better.

6) She Stops People Cold in Their Tracks

I think it's those eyes. I watch people watch her and, ironically, I seem quite invisible to her admirers for a time. They stop in their tracks and poke the people next to them to point out this beautiful baby. I smile at them, but they don't seem to see me. Occasionally their eyes flit up towards mine and they shyly smile and turn around when they see that I'm watching them. I wish that weren't the case. "I think she's beautiful, too!" I want to say. "Come closer and she'll smile for you," I want to offer. "Do you know that watching you watch her makes my day?" But they're not interested in an adult interaction. They just want to stare at something beautiful for a second.

And I get that. I respect that. I'm happy she sparkles the world.

7) Preschool is Happening For This One

Don't let the shielded smile fool you. He's ecstatic... just look at his eyes.

8) Ridiculous Puffy Outfits Deserve a Quick Photo Shoot

She just looked so perfect there on my white bed with all that light flooding in through the window.

I'm not sure all that lace is very comfortable for her, but she doesn't seem to mind too much, and she certainly is beautiful in it.

And, see the bear? It was her present from Brian's Alaska fishing trip. And when she puts it in her mouth all the black fur comes off and gives her a beard. It's kind of disgusting. But also it's soft... so...

9) Learning To Write Your Name Can Be Frustrating

After attempting to write that 'm' up there in the middle of his name he sat back to look at it and said, "Oh. Oops. I accidentally dwew a keh-wut." Those dang carrots show up at all the wrong times.

10) Bed-Headed Snuggles are the Best

But Eliza doesn't seem too convinced. There's a lot of love coming from Timothy's heart... but Eliza knows all too well that sometimes that love is a bit unbridled.

11) This Girl Can Do Anything

And she knows it, too. Not in an I'm Better Than You kind of way, but in a Why Not Me kind of way. She's been in choir for all of a month now and when word came that there was an honor choir audition happening in downtown Las Vegas she thought, well why not? If I'm being honest, I was a bit more reserved and anxious about it. I gently discouraged her from trying because I wasn't quite sure she was ready for an audition of this level and I wasn't quite sure how she would handle a rejection if not. But she was sure, so once I saw that I would not swing her determination, I hopped on the support wagon and helped her prepare.

I wasn't able to see her audition because it was behind closed doors, but she came back excited and days later we found out that she made it. I was so stinkin' proud of her. And in the middle of all that pride and love, I harbored a little uncomfortable pit in my stomach and I realized that if I had succeeded in discouraging her from trying, the blame of her missing this opportunity would have rested solely on my shoulders. And, what's worse, neither of us would probably have ever known.  How many times have I done that before? I decided right then and there that I never want to be the one to hold my children back - even in the good intention of protecting them from pain. If I have to choose a way to err in this, I want to err by cheering too hard and encouraging them too much, and then helping them deal with the disappointment when things don't go their way. I want them to know that I believe in them. Always.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Dates with Boys and Bears

One of my favorite things to do is to go on dates. Dates with Brian, dates with my girlfriends, dates with my kids. Sometimes I get a bit overwhelmed in crowds of friends and family because it takes a bit of mental effort for me to keep my chatting small and light, and I forget that crowds are not the time and place to have deep, personal conversations. 

But dates are different. 

On dates you can talk real or light. And that feels much more comfortable to me. 

It's a love language thing, really... I feel love easiest in the language of quality time - and dates are one of the best grounds to grow some quality time.  

Anyhoo, so when Timothy asked me with those gorgeous eyes if we could take Buddy the Bear on a date, how could I refuse? And what better date than to the candy store.

Timothy is going to a preschool this year named Tiny Tots, which I really do think is one of the cutest names for a preschool (especially when said through the small voice of the preschooler himself). They read stories and color and play on the playground and do all sorts of other preschoolish things, and one of the best of those things is Buddy the Bear (or Honey the Bear if you happen to want the girl version). Buddy comes home with one child for the weekend and the kids the parents take him all over town for three whole days, snapping pictures and recording all of Buddy's adventures.

We took Buddy to a swim meet where he sat quietly and well-behaved behind the bleachers for the entire thing (I tried to point out his remarkable example to my own children but they didn't fall for it) and then he joined us afterwards at Sonic to watch everyone else eat and get in some good cuddles before heading home.

We had lunch dates, too, and each time I made lunch for Timothy I made sure to put half of it on a plate put a special plate down just for Buddy.

I was concerned that Timothy would be a bit heartbroken when it was time to send Buddy back to school, but he was surprisingly neutral about it. So turns out my concern was for nothing (which seems to be the case more often than not).

More date ideas fell into the works when I stumbled upon the Smith Center website (Vegas's performing arts center) and found that Go, Dog, Go was going to be gracing the stage. My nostalgic heart strings pulled as I remembered little toddler Miles asking for that book again and again and again. He had the whole thing memorized! And so staring at that ad naturally made me feel that I just had to take him. And I figured Timothy might as well join us because, really, his age falls much more in line with the target audience anyway.

So i bought the tickets and we spent the next few weeks reading the book over and over again so the play would make sense (because, you know, the plot line is so intense with those Dr. Seuss books). When the day arrived, the three of us got dressed up (read: out of our lunch stained shirts) and showed up to find our box seats (fancy fancy).

I thought the show might be a little too young for Miles, maybe, but he giggled and enjoyed the whole thing. And Timothy was equally delighted.  The two of them sometimes have a hard time getting along these days, so I was pleased to be able to forcibly cram some fun brother time in to (hopefully) remind them that they have a lot in common and that, really, it would be okay for them to get along. You know, if they wanted to.

After the show, Timothy was conflicted about meeting the famous dog characters when they all came into the lobby to mingle. Miles was not conflicted and stood far away with his hand in his pocket looking and acting entirely too old.

In the end, Timothy decided he did want to meet one. Just one. 'The blue one' (who had been his favorite), so we pushed our way through the crowds of other kids to take our turn and snap our picture. And you can see in his face that he hadn't completely made up his mind to be comfortable about it.

But then he wanted to meet the green one, too, so I guess there was a little element of excitement in there somewhere.

I'm lucky girl to get to be the first date of so many handsome boys.

Monday, September 25, 2017

Balance of Motherhood

Eliza is sick today.

She's gooping and dripping and snorting and whimpering. She's tossing and turning and frustrated with her beautiful little body because she doesn't know about all of the incredible things it's doing to help her be well again. All she knows is that she feels uncomfortable and weary.

I know that feeling.

Timothy is grumpy today.

The Kindle reached its hour limit before he felt done playing, I scooped the strawberry yogurt into the bowl he wanted to fill, Eliza needed a diaper change at the very moment he wanted me to read The Ugly Pumpkin, and the blue Gatorade was packed into the car for his camping trip instead of being readily available to enjoy. He is frustrated because things aren't going his way today.

I know that feeling, too.

But just a few days ago the three of us sat in the living room having such a delightful time together that I grabbed my camera to try to capture the beauty of it.

Eliza was joyful and skillfully showing off her ability to push herself up with all those strong muscles. I honestly can't remember the last time I was so happy about doing push-ups. Probably when I was about her age.

We clapped and cheered for her and she charmed us by doing it again and again.

One of my very favorite things about babies and kids is the look of pride in their eyes when they learn something new. See it in her face above? Beautiful.

Eliza's face is one of the sweetest I've seen - and the little personality behind it matches it perfectly. Back when we had just decided to have another baby I was anxious about it but knew the time would come where I couldn't imagine my life without our newest little one... I just didn't realize that day would come so very fast.

Timothy makes Eliza laugh every day.

Even on days he's feeling grumpy. 

And through this ride of motherhood where days are good and days are bad and sometimes the happiness levels fluctuate minute to minute, I try to remember that for every goopy nose I wipe there's a beautiful smile to fill me. And for every grumpy tantrum there is a moment of the deepest sweetness.