Saturday, February 28, 2009

Powerless Lessons

Our power went out for a couple of hours tonight and I learned a few things:

1) It's useless to have a million candles if you're not 100% sure where they are. Looking around a pitch-black house with a cell phone light is not very effective.

2) I will, from now on, keep my flashlights, batteries, and candles in a place that does NOT involve going down in the cricket-infested storage area. Scanning every square foot of your path with a cell phone light is, once again, not very effective. Seconds after we were bathed in darkness, I realized I needed to go down there to get the flashlights and said out loud "Oh dang it. Crickets." This frightened my two-year old to the point where, an hour later, he couldn't close his eyes to say his bedtime prayer...and, when he repeated my "We're thankful for our home," he said, "Tankful fo home...and no cwickwits."

3) All TEN of our flashlights require either AA or D batteries. I have a plethora of C batteries. Useless. So, we had to ransack the kids' toys to find AA batteries.

4) Each time we light a candle, Carson will ask to sing "Happy Birthday." I think we sang the song 40 times tonight - to the candles, to the fire, to the jar the candles were in, to the bed, to the dresser, to the fan... It's still stuck in my head.

5) Doing things by candlelight is relaxing. When the power came back on at around 10:00pm, I found myself strangely disappointed. (But, then I heard the heater kick on, and I wasn't so disappointed anymore.)

6) Three long, white candles can produce enough light so that it's possible to read a book while sitting on the opposite side of the room.

7) I love my kids. Kind of a random thing to learn from a power-outage, but we had a lot of fun tonight. When the power went out, it was already past their bedtime...but I let them stay awake a while longer to light candles, find batteries, sing Happy Birthday, call Daddy, read extra stories, and try to move their fingers through the flames fast enough to avoid pain. I realized that I often turn very selfish around bedtime - I'm excited to check blogs, or organize my pictures, or have a snack... but when I had nothing personal planned for a powerless evening alone, the night became all about the kids. And what a happy night it created! Now, will you just remind me of that tomorrow night, please? :)

Friday, February 20, 2009

Perfect Bar Stools

Three bar stools. Rather perfect for the family we have now. One for McKenzie, one for Carson and one for me. (I don't mean for you to think that Brian isn't 'stool worthy'...but if he happens to be home for a meal, we usually eat it in the dining room; or, he sits on the counter in the kitchen which he says is much more comfortable for him...)

Painting them black has been moving up on my to-do list ever since we moved into the house - because they'd match my kitchen better. But, I've recently become aware of an interesting situation surrounding the stools. Let me first explain that meal-times are never smooth - the kids fight over the bowls, the cups, the spoons, the proportions... ...but I noticed that they never fight over the stools. Can you believe, the kids have developed 'favorites'...and the favorites are DIFFERENT! Ever since I made this discovery a couple of weeks ago, the stools have developed a treasured place in my heart and I quickly adopted the third stool as my own. Allow me to introduce our new friends:

McKenzie's 'Dot Stool'

Carson's 'Stripe Stool'
My 'Nothing Stool'

Every time I see these stools, I smile...because, somehow, Dot, Stripe and Nothing Stool are fueling the development of a unique bond between my kids and me - a bond of familiarity - the kind of familiarity that comes only from really knowing someone. So, perhaps, I won't paint them black after all. I fear I may break two little hearts (and possibly stimulate future contention if one stool develops a universally desirable marking pattern). And, instead of letting the color bother me, I'll let it remind me that I am not an interior decorator...

...I am a mother.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Notice Anything Different?

Do you see it?!?

How about now?!?

And now?!?

Well, she did it! I tried to talk her into it about 2 months ago when I noticed how adorable it was whenever I saw a little girl with cute earrings. I didn't get very far past the "Yeah, it hurts a little" part, however. "Ummmm," she said, "I think I'll do it when I'm 16."

But this week, she started mentioning it on her own and finally started asking, "Mom, can we please go do it NOW?"

After warning her (and warning her, and warning her) about the pain, she was still very serious and giddy about getting it done - so - I agreed to it. From the moment I told her we could do it today, 'till the moment she went to sleep, she has been bouncing off the walls in excitement, chatting our ears off with excitement, skipping and running and dancing with get the picture. The only exception to the excitement was about 60 seconds before the earrings went in (when we were marking her ears with the marker), and about 60 seconds after (in which, only two big silent crocodile tears ran down her face as she clung to me for comfort). As soon as she saw those earrings in the mirror, the giddiness returned - and she was so proud of herself!

And, I was so proud of the way she handled herself, too. I was talking to a good friend tonight on the phone who said, "McKenzie's stubbornness sure pays off sometimes," and, she's right! As soon as McKenzie sets her mind up about something, she doesn't let much (if anything) get in her way. She is turning into quite the girly-girl - and I love it! She wants to wear dresses, and enjoys getting her hair done up. She's thrilled by nail-polish, and has such fun dressing up...this ear piercing thing is right up her alley. :)

Monday, February 9, 2009

Do you believe in monsters?

You guys, seriously.

I don't know what it is...but there is something very disturbing under my house...or, maybe in my walls.

A groan of sorts. A dulled groan coming from somewhere. I first noticed it months ago on one of the nights Brian was on-call at the hospital all night (making for a terribly long night for my paranoid mind), and since then have noticed it intermittently. One day, after I'd heard the noise 4 or 5 times, I mentioned to Brain that I thought a monster lived under the house, and his 'your-crazy' expression led me to realize a rather confusing trend: I only heard it on the nights he was on-call.

"Am I going crazy?" I wondered.

But I was relieved from that thought when, a week later, Brian and I were getting ready for bed and the groan in the walls started again. I stopped mid-sentence, felt my eyes go wide, and held up one finger bent slightly towards the noise. "See!" I said once it was done, "That's the monster!"

Brian has been working late-shifts for the past couple of weeks and generally doesn't get home until midnight or one in the morning - so I wait up for him. This week, I've noticed something else peculiar about the noise: it always happens at 12:04 am. This, then, explains why I only hear it on the nights Brian is gone...because we rarely stay up past midnight when he's home.

But, I'm still left to wonder...what in the devil is making that scary noise in the middle of the night?

Verdict is in -

It's a BOY!

After a lot of fun bantering between the girls and boys in our household, the boys came out victorious! I was in the process of posting proof...but it felt kind of weird to put up a picture of my child's 'nakeds' on the internet...even if the picture is a rather fuzzy, black and white one. McKenzie and I got over the defeat quite quickly and have been tossing boy names out all over the place.

Brian asked McKenzie, "How about Clayton?"
McKenzie responded, "Ummmmm, no. That sounds too much like Satan."

Well, perhaps not Clayton, then. Any suggestions?! :)

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Happy Birthday, Kenz!

Whoa! What? Hmmmm? Come again? McKenzie is FIVE?!

February 4, 2009
Dear Diary: They say that the most crucial part of a child's development is from ages 2 through, I guess that means...I'M DONE! I only hope she can apply all the lessons she's learned. I sure hope she remembers how to wash her own dishes without getting water all over the counters, and to how to clean up after herself without smearing the apple juice all over the floor. I hope she remembers how to do her own hair, and pick matching colors for her clothing, and to at least try not to show her underwear to strangers. I guess she'll get by without a drivers license for a few more years...I hope she remembers to look both ways before she crosses the street, and to get a drink of water before she climbs into bed...and Baby, and Cuddles, and blankets, and books. I hope she remembers to speak in a kind voice when her brother rips her favorite toy away, and to say her prayers, and to brush her teeth...yes, every single tooth. And I hope, more than almost anything else, that she remembers to flush that darn toilet.

February 8, 2009
Dear Diary: It's not working out so well. Perhaps, maybe, McKenzie still needs me after all. :)

Well, it's true. McKenzie is five. My sweet, loving, independent, crazy little lady is growing up. I sure do miss those little wispy curls and those cute, kissable cheeks...but I'm finding that she has so much more to offer. She's becoming logical and funny; her feelings seem more sincere, and she's quite clear when she expresses her opinions about things. She's growing into a new phase of life - and I'm surprised at how excited I am to watch it mature even more.

She had a wonderful birthday: pancakes for breakfast...

...parties for preschool...

...lunch at Costco (with Daddy!)...

...TK's Jungle with her awesome mom and her good friend, Brookelynn...

...playing with her presents - she really scored big this year with all the grandma/nana/aunt/uncle presents...

...and her favorite meal: broccoli soup, for dinner. Yes, she is crazy. And they both sat there devouring it like they hadn't eaten in months! This picture totally isn't staged.

Have you ever been to TK's Jungle? It's so awesome! Huge, inflatable toys to jump in, slide down, run through... it was awesome. We were the only ones there for a long time - and we seriously had the time of our lives! I totally forgot I was the adult a few times until I'd try to squeeze through a small space and have a little more trouble than the kids. And, of course, there was the visual proof as the girls snapped pictures of me sliding down the slides... I looked substantially more massive than the cute little girls...ahem... But, the best part of the whole thing: I got in for FREE!!!! It felt totally backwards - paying for the kids and waltzing in myself with no fee. I almost felt like it was my birthday! We really, really, really had a ball.

That night, as she was offering the blessing on dinner, she said, "And I'm so, so, so, so, so, SO grateful that TK's Jungle is in this world..."

Happy Birthday, my little princess!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

"You are your mothers daughter"...

...those were some of the last words Brian mumbled as he was drifting off to sleep last night at 1:30 am. I had spent the whole night getting ready for McKenzie's big day today, and when Brian got home from work (at 1:00am) he helped me finish up the last of it. By the time we went to bed, there were bright pink streamers hanging from the ceilings, balloons covering the floor, a "HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!" banner prominently displayed, a cute, fluffy, pink robe sewn and wrapped, rice krispy treats with sprinkles sitting in dishes ready to be taken to the preschool party, a day full of fun planned (seriously from the second she woke up until she hit the pillow for bed) - - - and I was still laying in bed, worrying about how to make McKenzie's 5th birthday special.

"What if it snows tonight?" I worried aloud (it did...but didn't stick at all, and thankfully didn't shut anything down). "What if I'm supposed to do more for her preschool party?" "I hope it doesn't make her sad when she finds out her favorite teacher isn't going to be there tomorrow." "Do you think it's going to ruin her night if I don't have anyone over to sing 'Happy Birthday' to her?" "I wish you didn't have to work all afternoon/night."

"Linds..." Brian interjected - already slurring his speach with exhaustion, "stop worrying. Everything is going to be great tomorrow. You've thought a lot about it... I don't think most moms spend this much time thinking about their kids' 5th birthdays. You are your mother's daughter," he finished endearingly.

He fell asleep, and I lay awake thinking about his statement. It's mom could definitely be classified as a 'worrier' when it comes to her kids. From a very young age, it was easy to know that my mom cared about the way I was feeling in all situations, and that she would do anything possible to make that feeling 'good'. Just as I did everything I could to keep McKenzie from feeling one ounce of disappointment or sadness on her birthday, my mom did everything she could to keep us from those same feelings all the time. As I've become a mother, and realized that self-sacrificing is not usually intuitive for me, I've come to appreciate my mother even more for her thoughtfulness, compassion, and selflessness in my behalf.

One of my best friends here once said to me, "I want to give my kids the same kind of childhood you had...or, at least, the kind of childhood I imagine you had from your stories." She then continued by bringing up my mom (who she's never met) and I was touched because she recognized that much of my childhood happiness came from my mother.

I guess this is just a long way to say I love you, Mom! And, even though I spent much of the night worrying last night, I'm glad that I have a little of that in me - because that's what I love so much about you.