Saturday, February 21, 2009

All my Dreams Have Come True....

Luke woke early, early Saturday morning and crept into our room, hopped in our bed, gave me a cuddle and whispered in my ear, "Mommy, I had a dream last night that I swung higher on my swing then I ever did and I got on it all by myself..." "Neat...", I said drowsily, "…now let’s go back to's still nighttime." He didn't. He wanted to talk about the we chatted in a sleepy haze…and finally, he drifted back to sleep and back to his dreams until we were woken up to Henry dragging himself and his very large stuffed bear by the ears for some Saturday morning cartoons. I knew it was going to be a long day. Jon was playing golf with buddies, which means I would have the kids for the day...I wouldn't say I was dreading it, but I just wasn't sure what we would do all day and I was not feeling well on top of that...surely, I had picked up some variety of one of the viruses that had been swirling throughout our house for the last ten days or so. I knew I could probably just put the kids in front of the TV for most of the day, but it's not fair to them and I just don't like doing that...I was frantic for some inspiration! We started with lunch…bologna and peanut butter sandwiches...yup, you heard me right! They were thrilled! This is easy. Little by little, the inspiration began to flow. CHALK PAINT...we cannot go wrong here! I got out the stuff, bundled up the baby and out we went. BIG HIT! Not because they actually painted the sidewalk, but because they decided it would be great to paint the plants, the roots of all the trees and the swing. As they ran back and forth slopping paint on their brushes...they screamed with glee, "This is the greatest day EVER!" Hooray for me. And the day just got better...we did puzzles, cut flowers and put them in water, I taught Luke how to mix paint colors to make new colors (which he assured me he already knew), made cookies together, learned the president and vice president’s names, looked at maps, hopscotch, freeze tag, was really, really fun. After Henry’s 2 hour nap (score!) the boys begged to go back outside...I put my game face on because I was TIRED, sick and not in the mood. Luke dashed to the swing and I dutifully pushed him as I kept an eye on Henry as he "entertained" the baby. On a whim, I grabbed Luke by the waist walked back, back, back and let go...he swung so high, his eyes got huge and he screamed in delight..."I AM SWINGING HIGHER THEN I EVER DID, MOMMY!" His grin was bigger then ever. I went in and grabbed the camera...trying to capture his moment. My heart was lifted in his happiness because it was so pure. It was getting cold and a little dark so we were packing it all up…Luke begged for one last big swing. My hands were full so I told him to pull up on the rope and wrap his legs around it and just sit down on the swing...unbelievably, he followed my instructions exactly. The realization struck him that he did it by himself, that grin was back.…you could see his chest rise in the pride of his accomplishment, as he swung back and forth, he screamed out without any hesitation about who would hear him, “ALL MY DREAMS HAVE COME TRUE! Mommy! ALLLLL MY DREAMSSSS HAVE COME TTTRRRUUUEEEE!” As a parent, I don’t think I could articulate what his unabashed expression of joy did to me. I was uplifted, I felt better and I couldn’t stop laughing at his happiness. Joy…what a gift from God and what an amazing promise. "These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.” John 15:11

Friday, February 13, 2009

The "Who's Staying Home Stare Down"...

I went back to work in the middle of's been a healthy four weeks and I have not worked a "full week" since I have been back. I feel ashamed about that even though I'm trying not too....sickness, a funeral, snow's really all of out my control. I realize that at the end of the day and on my death bed, I will not say, "Gosh, I JUST wish I could have gone into work that day when Henry, Luke or Jonah was sick or needed me." I just won't. I realize this in every way! It still does not relieve the pressure I put on myself...I have a great boss that understands and wonderful co-workers...but you can't help but think they secretly think you are the worst employee ever! So...around Tuesday of last week, I reminded Jon about Jonah's doctor's appointment to see if he would need to wear a helmet because his head has been a touch misshapen. He thought it was Wednesday, it was Thursday...he can't do Thursday...gggrrr....I guess I will take him (even though I totally wanted to be there for Jonah). I work it out. But here comes the unexpected Friday ordeal...we both knew that Henry was sick when he did this very strange hack cough while we were trying to get him dressed (he was fine 2 minutes before that)and he suddenly looked like he wanted to just bring it all up! We stare at him...but he didn't. Jon looked at me, I looked at him and we just went as usual. It was a Friday...we hyped it up with our Friday Dance and the awesomeness of getting the Friday bagel at Dunkin' Donuts. We just pretended that it was all O.K. I literally thought this, if I brush Henry's teeth and he doesn't throw up...then we're good (because I would totally throw up if someone brushed my teeth and I had a flu bug). He didn't. Whew! Jon comes downstairs...we are all racing around...I stop dead in my tracks and notice that Henry has laid down on the bottom stair (with his bottom in the air, very baby-like) and has fallen asleep. Poor little man. I look at Jon, he looks at me...neither of us speak but you know exactly what we are doing...running through our schedules and thinking..."I CANNOT DO THIS TODAY! It's just not a good day for this." But kids don't know that. Henry wakes up and wonders the house, mind you, he's never said, "I don't feel good" but, as parents, we can just see it. Jon goes directly to his computer...says nothing...I say nothing. I cross my arms and let out a little "break the ice" cough...he looks at me. We stare. I look away...I break the silence, and quietly say, "So, what's your schedule like today?" He assures me that he MUST be at work today...I (ashamed) get mad because so MUST I! We just stare at each other...who is going to give in...we discuss our options, none of which will really work. Again, ashamed...this is what we came up with...take him to daycare and if we get a call that he's sick, then we get a call. Knowing full well that we WOULD get a call. So, off we go...I eyeball Henry in the rear view mirror...almost to Dunkin' Donuts...I hear the loudest, most adult burp ever...I glance back and Henry turns his head to Luke and gives the biggest grin I have ever seen. (Hooray...his tummy was just a little's over). Luke angrily says, "MOMMY! HENRY JUST BURPED REAL LOUD...THEN HE SMILED AT ME! HE DIDN'T EVEN SAY EXCUSE ME!" I stifled a full on laugh...and then heard another "burp" which was actually a total full on barf! Guh. I text Jon...he calls...he's on his way...he will rearrange his schedule and keep Henry for the day. I love him! He gets it. I ask him if he's going to lose his job and he assures me that it's fine and that he's not going to get fired because his child is sick. He meets me and off they go...I take Jonah and Luke to daycare and head on to work...thinking about Henry....wishing I was with him and could comfort him. Being a working mom is the most difficult thing I have ever done because you just can't please everyone...and no matter what you choose to feel like you are a disappointment to someone...but that's just the way it is.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Psalm 40

I, along with most people, have been pondering the times we are in. It feels like limbo...waiting for it to get better, wondering what will happen, and hoping for the best. What is up with the bail outs, the gas price fluctuation, the cost of chicken alone is astonishing, bankruptcy, job loss...good grief! Not sure if everyone can feel the change, but there seems to have been a seismic shift in our thought process….postponing vacations, cutting coupons, cooking at home, justifying expenses, cutting cable bills, shamelessly asking friends to babysit for free, etc. We are obviously driven by fear in a lot of this…actually they are all things we probably should have been doing a long time ago as a normal best practice. The economic fall has felt slow but the change, at least for my family has been swift. Since I have been back to work, I have had my head down trying to focus on getting into a routine, saving money, wondering why it's so hard to avoid Target, trying to figure out how to cook and managing this extra daycare payment. When I finally looked up…I realized that everyone is doing the same things…somewhere along the line we all got equal.
I have never been one to cut coupons. I always wonder how people have time for all the cutting and planning. Now I know…I have time because I want my kids to go to college and I need food. It does take quite a bit longer...I have about 100 coupons in an envelope. I usually pilfer through my coupons in the middle of the aisle...those wiley little things fall all over the place! My "system" is to move coupons that I am using from one pocket to another. The folks around me are very patient because they are all in the same boat...a fistful of coupons and clogging up aisles wondering if they should buy the name brand or no name of which is 2 cents cheaper...I vote for name brand especially if it's ketchup (Heinz all the way baby!) So, to remedy this I have purchased the "Couponizer" Coupon Organizer (feel free to chuckle here) which I do realize will be another post completely at some point. We went to dinner at a friend's house...rather then letting them do it all, we all brought something and then discussed all the ways we are trying to save money. Promising to not allow the other to go hungry or homeless if it gets that disastrous, disclosing our "back up plans" and how they involve moving back in with mom and dad...again, we are equal. There's comfort here in friends being equal...admitting that it's kinda scary.
Being inundated with financial fear at every turn is hard, but honestly, in my heart...I am completely at peace. I know in my heart of hearts that my God will help me when I call. This is where things aren't so equal because for those people that don't believe...all they have is themselves and that is a scary place to be. Which brings me to Psalm 40...prompted by listening to "40" by U2....the first few verses go something like this: "I waited patiently for the Lord he turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear and put their trust in the Lord." Read will feel better....

Sunday, February 8, 2009

The Efficient Multi-Tasker

If I had to describe myself, I would call myself an "efficient multi-tasker"...I mean, it's on my resume and everything. I make lists upon lists...I have a list for the working mornings, the weekend mornings, a grocery list, a weekly and monthly list and even an on-going list of things that hopefully will get done in my life time...oh yeah, I have Jon's list that also falls into the "things I hope will get done in my life time" category. I LOVE to mark tasks off my's one of my favorite things EVER. I can literally get more done in an hour of time then most people get done in one day and I am not exaggerating. When it was just the baby and me at home I could...clean and fill bottles, get my lunch ready, put a box or two in the attic, fold and put clothes away, throw dirty clothes in the laundry, sweep the floors and vacuum the carpets in just one of the many 15-minute intervals that he slept. When I walk into a room I instinctively do a brief "assessment" of what needs to be done...I rarely walk out of a room in our house without an armful of misplaced objects, toys, or clothes that need to be returned to their rightful's just what I do. I like that I am this way and am a little tickled thinking about it right now because it's a little ridiculous. I will say that some days I am totally thrown focused efficienct behavior becomes more like a muddled hazy wondering...this actually happened to me the other day and it was awful! I was cleaning the bottles and realized in the midst of the washing that there were no paper towels on the paper towel holder. I am not sure why it bothered me so much (probably something to do with the constant need for them), but I stopped what I was doing and headed into the laundry room which is about 8 steps from the kitchen sink. I walked in and immediately noticed that the laundry was done so I took out the dry clothes...and took them to the chair that acts as our clean laundry truck stop...all laundry stops here may stay for an hour or 8 just depends. I walked back through the kitchen and started to finish the bottles...about a minute passed...oh yeah, paper towels, back to the laundry room...oh yeah, the laundry...I put the washed clothes in the dryer and started a new load. Noticed the dogs had no water and rolled back to the sink where the bottles were waiting, filled the bowl, put it aside to finish the clean...they need to be filled! Crap...paper I go to the laundry room with the water bowl....the first thing I see when I walk in is the extremely full recycling bin that can not miss yet another weeks emptying. Out I go through the back door and come in through the front door to be greeted by Henry who needs juice immediately...and in 2 year old fashion, he needs to do it all himself...he has to open the fridge door, get the juice out by HIMSELF because he's so big, tell me how strong he is and then spill it all over the floor...of course, I reach for a paper towel...ggggrrrr....I grab the last clean cloth towel and sop it all up and then console the "big boy" that is so sad over spilled juice...never knew I would ever say out loud, "There's no use in crying over spilled juice." After various other distractions and spills I went BACK to the laundry room to get the freaking paper towel roll...of course, by now, yet another load of laundry was ready for the truck stop. After loading the ever present clothes into the washer I find myself staring at the "catch all" shelf wondering what in the world I am doing in the laundry room...oh yeah...I must tidy this place up...after much irritating organizing, I find the last paper towel roll in the house and bring it to it's home on it's holder. Realizing that we cannot live without paper towels, I head out to Target to get more paper towels....also on my list is toilet my obvious haze,I thought I was buying paper towels and toilet paper, but much to my surprise I had purchased 2 ginormous packs of paper towels. I now have 32 rolls of paper towels in my laundry room and trip over them constantly as a reminder that I may not be the most efficient muli-tasker that I know...

Sunday, February 1, 2009

My Grandmother

We received the sad news that my grandmother died on Saturday. I was not surprised to get the call because her health had deteriorated significantly over the last year, but I was deeply saddened by the news. I wouldn't say we were as close as some people are with their grandmothers, I'm not really sure why but I loved her dearly and feel the weirdest void. She lived most of her life in the tiniest mountain town...she was born, grew up, married, raised her kids and will be buried there. She was born in 1914 (yes, 1914!), she was 94 (yes, 94!)...that is a good long life! The year that she was born...women could not vote, Woodrow Wilson was president and World War I started. She did not really know much about cell phones, computers, DVR or e-mail...I often wonder what she thought of all that...wonder what she thought of the day-to-day when she was 40. What a truly amazing time to have lived...WWI, WWII, Vietnam, The Great Depression, the Civil rights movement, all the great eras from the 10's to the 00's. Wow...imagine all the medical, social and technological advances in that time span. It's truly an amazing thing to ponder. I have vivid childhood memories of the summers we spent at her house with my siblings and cousins. We literally ran free in the woods behind her house, ate mounds of "Bottle Caps", drank coke in bottles with peanuts in it, played cards, ate mints from glass candy jars, tried desperately to retrieve the silver dollar in the stairs out back, ate Spaghettio's at the little table in her kitchen, shucked corn and snapped peas, swam in the Dan river and the lake at Hanging Rock state park. The day after Thanksgiving we would have open faced turkey sandwiches with cheese on it cooked in the toaster over. The first snow I ever remember was at her house at Christmas. We always walked to the gas station to buy candy, roamed the town to our hearts content, went to the library and went in and out of the courthouse as we pleased...she knew everyone and everyone knew us because of her. I distinctly remember sleeping there because it was so eerily quiet and outside the back bedroom window was a street light. I used to wake up in the middle of the night and just stare at comforted me. Interestingly enough, I now have a street light outside my bedroom window and whenever I wake up...I ALWAYS think of her house and the bedroom..I literally have the exact same feelings as I did at 10 years old. One thing that always struck me about her was that she really knew how to be quiet...she could sit for hours with someone and just enjoy the company without ever really having to talk. This characteristic was lost on me...I felt awkward in the silence and never really quite understood it until I have reflected on it the last day or two, that it wasn't about the "talk" for was all about the time spent. She will be missed...

Hanging Rock State Park