Thursday, November 20, 2008

Checking In

I'm wandering around my house this morning with Brody wrapped tightly against my chest in a Moby Wrap, trying to lull him to sleep after a long, very long night.

He seemed a little droopy yesterday, and last night began that barking seal cough that makes every mom a little weary and nervous. After a call to the doctor's office who put us through to Children's Hospital, we determined that he has croup. We sat in a steamy shower for about 15 minutes to warm his chest and open up his breathing. Glasses plus a steamy shower equals one freaked out baby! He kept staring at me with huge eyes, wondering what kind of foggy-eyed kind of alien was trying to take care of him. He calmed down as soon as I took my glasses off, but then I had to hold him an inch from my face to see him.

After a restless night of whimpering and coughing, he seems a little better this morning (albeit VERY CRANKY), but I'm waiting to hear back from the doctor to find out if we should bring him in. Add to that poor Emma who woke up twice in the night with bad dreams... I'm one tired mama today!

So with Brody attached to me, I'm cleaning the house and getting ready for Emma's birthday party this weekend. I have rooms to clean, goodie bags to assemble, tables to set, signs to make... and I'm praying that I'll get it all done without a late night on Friday (especially since I already have plans to go out Friday night... more on that later).

I think I'll crank the music, make hot chocolate for the girls and I and work to accomplish everything on my list. At least there's no tempting weather out there today to lure me away from my work!

Hope everyone out there is having a great day!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Not Blogworthy

Something funny happened to me last night when a friend was having dinner with our family.

I don't think it's blogworthy, but he swears it is. I feel like I might as well be blogging about how I drank a glass of water or tied my shoes this morning. Except that if I tied my shoes this morning, that would mean I was wearing my tennis shoes, which might mean that I was going to work out, which would mean there really might be something to blog about since the thought of working out paralyzes me with fear.

But anyway.

We were chatting at the table after dinner when I commented that my lap seemed warm. I chalked it up to these crazy post-baby hot flashes I've been having, but when I looked down and lifted Brody up, it was quite clear what was causing the unseasonably warm temperatures. Brody had had a blowout.

If you're a seasoned mom who did not envision a car on the side of the road, skip this next part, (mostly) compliments of dictionary.com.

blow⋅out

–noun
1. a sudden bursting or rupture of an automobile tire.
2. a sudden or violent escape of air, steam, or the like.
3. a hollow formed in a region of shifting sands or light soil by the action of the wind.
4. an uncontrollable escape of oil, gas, or water from a well.
5. Aeronautics.
6. Slang. a lavish party or entertainment.
7. the result of too much poo and not enough diaper, often spilling out of the diaper, through the baby's clothes, and anything the baby's clothes might be touching. Like his mother's lap.


While it turns out that #2 is fitting, and #6 is surprisingly accurate according to the reaction Brody's blowout received, #7 is the correct definition. I held Brody up to discover that he had pooped his pants and mine.

I didn't think twice about finishing up my last few bites of dinner before changing us. Our friend LV, however, was howling with laughter, amazed that something like this could happen and that I'd casually finish dinner before cleaning us up. I think he was ready to have another helping of the Mexican Chicken Casserole until I compared the color of the cheese to the aforementioned blowout. Sorry 'bout that, LV.

Anyway, I didn't think it was all that blogworthy.

Until today when it happened again, and I just had to laugh. And I'm sorry for posting this picture, but seriously. Why do all the blowouts happen when Brody is wearing something light-colored? He has yet to have a blowout while wearing jeans or brown pants or navy blue pants.

And really, how could it NOT be blogworthy when I get these cute little grins while I'm changing us? It's impossible to not look forward to the next blowout when it results in this adorable little face!

Okay, that part isn't true. I'll probably not look forward to blowouts ever. But I might think of you, LV. Just like I think of you when I puke because when you lived with us I was pregnant with Emma and I had horrible morning sickness and you would laugh at me whenever I'd go throw up because you imagined that I was yelling at the toilet. Go ahead, tell me how honored you feel!

See, I knew it wasn't blogworthy.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Turn it down and add some sugar

The other day, the kids and I walked down the street to the park on the corner. A woman was walking her little dog and of course, the girls rushed over to see it. They were down low with the dog, ooohing and ahhing and getting all sorts of wet kisses. I soon found myself bent over, speaking in a high-pitched voice to the dog too.

"Oooohhh! Wook at those widdle ears! Oh, you are the softest widdle guy, aren't you? Boodooboodooboodoo! Ah-Boodooboodooboodoo!!" Why we do turn into blubbering mushpiles when we talk to puppies and babies?

Anyway, in the midst of all the silly puppy talk, I felt my heart sink to my stomach. I realized that I was treating this dog much kinder than I'd been treating my own kids lately. I listened to my tone of voice - as silly as it sounded - and realized that it was much sweeter than the gruff, impatient utterances they'd probably gotten used to.

And I wanted to cry.

In my mind, I want to be the mom with the patient, sing-song voice who never loses her temper, and always talks sweetly to her kids. But I'm not. In fact, I'm a yeller. And I'm impatient. And I say things I later regret. Throwing an occasional "honey" or "sweetie" into demands or reprimands that I'm yelling does not justify my tone.

Now, before you let your imaginations run wild and imagine me yelling all sorts of profanities at my children, I'll stop you. There are things I'd never dream of saying to my kids, or anyone for that matter. I never, ever have told them to "shut up." There are words that are off limits, like "stupid" and "hate." I don't put them down or verbally abuse them. I just don't honor them or encourage them with the words I say or how I say them.

It's not only what I sometimes say, it's the way I say things, that makes me sick to my stomach. And I'm afraid they're going to remember me as a drill sergeant, always telling them what to do. "Clean your room NOW! What's taking you so long? HURRY UP!! Can't you hear me!?!???!?!" (And of course they can hear me, given the fact that I'm usually YELLING these words.)

I talk to my children in tones I wouldn't dream of using on Gary. I'd be ashamed. I'd want to crawl in a hole if my friends heard how I talk to them.

When they do something great, I want to say, "Great job, Emma!" with sincere enthusiasm and joy, instead of my monotone, "Good job, Em." She deserves better than that.

When they do something naughty, I want the patience to breathe deeply and say, "Addie! Pouring water all over the table on purpose is naughty. Please clean it up now." Instead, I find myself too often yelling, "Addie! You are so naughty! Clean it up NOW!!! You make me so mad!" I get choked up even typing that, knowing that's too often the script (and it's sometimes accompanied by an aggravated, guttural, "Arrrggghhh!" - you know the one!).

It kills me to think of all the opportunities I've missed to encourage and edify my kids. I want to meet their enthusiasm with my own enthusiasm. I want to meet their anger with gentle correction and patience.

Addie was throwing a fit the other morning about what to wear. (Starts early, doesn't it?!) After vetoing the fifth outfit I put on her, I started yelling at her, proclaiming that we were going to be late, why couldn't she just make up her mind, doesn't she know I'M in charge... blah, blah, blah! I cringe thinking about what a monster I am sometimes. Emma was sitting there with us and quietly crawled over to my ear and whispered, "Mommy, sometimes you're really hard on Addie. Maybe you should just take a break." Wow. It's amazing what God can say through a five-year-old.

So, I've really been praying about the way I use my voice and my words with my kids. I feel great relief when I hear Emma and Addie playing house with each other, speaking so sweetly to one another and calling each other "sweetie pie" and "cutie bug." I know they're listening to the good stuff. But they're taking in all the bad stuff too.

I've specifically been praying for patience and gentleness with my kids. I don't want to get worked up over every little thing. I have three little hearts to nurture, and I need the tenderness to do it. I've been thinking about Psalm 103:8 which says, "The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love." There are days I could peg myself as the complete opposite of that. My yelling and harsh tones and anger bring nothing good to my home. Certainly not the peace and love my family deserves. It also doesn't not bring about the righteous life God desires for me (James 1:19-20). And really, the neighbors don't need to hear it. It's coincidence that a few neighbors have recently put their homes up for sale, right?

When we were little, my parents tape recorded my sisters and I fighting. We laugh now, but when they played it back for us years ago, it was embarrassing. And who am I kidding? It still is. I don't need to tape record myself yelling at my kids or speaking to them in tones I wouldn't use on a dog. I hear myself. And it makes me sick.

I was just trying to figure out how to end this and am sitting here quietly while the girls are watching a show together in the other room. Without prompting and for no reason, Addie just said, "I love you, Emma" in the most sincere, lovable voice you can imagine. So there you have it. I think I'll go hug them and whisper in their ears how much I love them. It won't make up for all the yelling, but it's a start.

Update: I went into the other room as I soon as I posted this to find that Addie had used scissors to cut lines in her shirt. Okay. Breathe... don't yell... breathe...!

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Farewell, Fall.

I love fall. I love fall so much that when it starts, I'm already sad because I know it will end too soon. And even though fall is officially still here for another six weeks or so, fall is quickly being replaced by chillier winds and bare trees. I think there are only a few more days to squeeze out of the fall I know and love, before winter is escorted in for the next few months.


Yesterday I saw the last leaf fall from a tree on my way to pick up Emma from preschool. THE last leaf, perched at the very top of a tree. I happened to be looking at it as I stopped at a stop sign, and as I watched it... whoosh! It floated away. It sounds silly, but I felt strangely honored that God would let me watch it. There was no one else around; it was like our little secret.


Gary had yesterday off from work and raked up all of the leaves in our yard, which I was thankful for, but also a little sad that the evidence of such a beautiful fall was being discarded. *sigh* I guess fall can't last forever, and if it did, I wouldn't appreciate it so much!

Anyway, I'm feeling a little glum today (that's a shout-out to you, Mer) knowing all of our fall fun is over. All of the pumpkin carving, pumpkin patching, pile of leaves jumping, autumn trail walking, apple cider drinking, crazy Halloweening, fall picture taking is pretty much over for another year. I look forward to Thanksgiving as our last fall "hurrah" but until then... here is a pictorial tribute to Fall 2008! (And unbelievably, this is just a TINY fraction of the pictures I took in the last month. Truly. I am out of space on my hard drive.)



















A bonus Fall Haiku for all of you troopers who made it to the end!

I love, love, love fall.
I love, love, love, love, love fall.
I really love fall.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Happy Birthday, Sweet Emma!

My little Emmaline Grace turns 5 today. How can it be? Five years have gone by so fast.

November 5, 2003:


1 year old:


2 years old:


3 years old:



4 years old:


FIVE!


Happy birthday, Emma-doll. I love you so much!
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