Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Oops

"Uh-oh. You gotta hold on tight." came the advice of the three year old brother.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

An In

Friday afternoon, Mike, Luke and Joshua returned home.  Within minutes, my kitchen counter was filled with  hats for each family member, a pricey belt buckle, bags, a pizza cutter, papers, pens and general junk.  Surprisingly, it was Luke's 'connection' we had to thank rather than Mike's...

A year and a half ago, Luke accompanied Mike to a trade show.  It was there that Luke enamored sales reps with his uniqueness and received his first 'Cat' hat that has been worn daily ever since.  (Surely you've noticed it in nearly every photo of Luke that is posted, including the one above.)  It is ripped on the front, it is dirty, stinky and well worn.  But, with a roping horse embroidered on the side, it quickly became Luke's favorite item.

It has been in desperate need of replacement, and so when Wheeler Machinery hosted a customer appreciation day on Friday for contractors and children, and the flyer said, 'free hat for each child' you can bet Luke counted down the days/hours until attendance.

Only thing was, the free hat was just a 'freebie', and not exactly what Mike knew Luke had in mind for a replacement...

But, never mind that, when you are as important as Luke obviously is...

After all of the rides and races in the construction machinery, you are given a trip into the Wheeler Machinary Gift Store and told to pick out a hat.  (And oh the searching that was done for an identical horse roping one, but try as they did, it couldn't be found.)  Though Luke is pretty content with the duck hunting one he chose instead as he declared to Mike on the way home, "I'll still wear my old one and I'll keep this one for nice things like going to restaurants."
Joshua picked out several for himself, and then narrowed it down to one.
Luke carefully handpicked pink hats for each sister, generously picking out Ellie a horse roping one that couldn't be found in a boy color.
And then onto the belt buckles.
Now you have to know, Luke eyes belt buckles at every store that sells them.  He carefully peruses each one, he is eight, he pays no attention to price, he pays attention to detail, design and desire.  And belt buckles my friend, are no cheap things...
So it was no surprise to Mike when  he heard the 'Wheeler Machinary Shopping Assistant' say to Luke, "Pick another one, that one is kind of expensive."  And just as Luke had his eye on another more cheaper one, the kind 'Wheeler Machinary Shopping Assistant' quipped, "Oh, never mind.  Have the one you want."

Too bad Luke's connections aren't at my kind of stores...
Instead I gratefully accepted the gift of the 'freebie hat.'
It's the thought that counts.

Monday, June 28, 2010

A Memory For Monday (With Underwear)

(My brother Matthew, and me in 1982)

My kindergarten through second grade years were spent at Cheam Park Farm Infant School in England.
It was the late 1970's...
It was England...
And apparently somethings were normal to do...

Each day, I wore the required school uniform to school.  A grey or green skirt or dress, a white button down shirt and a grey or green cardigan.  Black shoes and white knee-high socks.  (I wore the same uniform 3rd-6th grades with the addition of the required tie.)

PE was held in the lunch room.  Climbing frames, ropes, jumping mats, etc. were pulled out from the sides for the PE class.  Before each PE session, we would stand at our desks in our classroom, girls and boys together and remove our skirts/trousers, sweaters and shirts.  We would then walk down to the lunch room in our underwear and vests (undershirts) and our shoes and socks.  Once in the lunch room, we would remove our socks and shoes on the stage and then begin our PE activities.

This was normal to me. I didn't think anything of it, until in high school (by then living in America) and I randomly mentioned it to a friend. She laughed and laughed in disgust and unbelief.

It's just what we did. There was no impropriety or insecurity.  It's just how it was done.
Although, there were a few things that seemed amiss,even to a young child...

The identical twins, Louise and Kate, who had to leave their shirts on, because their pet goat ate their vests (undershirts)...

And, Alex.  The boy who more often than not had to keep his trousers on during PE, because he would frequently forget his underwear...

And that is the truth.

Friday, June 25, 2010

A Full Days Work

Mike's company donated the labor and materials for a park for some refugees in Salt Lake City to use and enjoy. On Saturday, the sod and trees were placed by volunteers from several different civic and religious groups from nearby. Mike wanted to take the children along to help.


Apparently the children did not complain once during their eight hour shift.

Before:

After:
After an enjoyable day to just Drew and myself, I couldn't help but smile when Joshua walked into the house, sleepy after a nap in the car and exclaimed,
"Mama, we builded a park."

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Good, Better, Best?

Last night I attended my girls' dance recital.  It was very bittersweet.  A lot of thoughts and emotions ran through my head.

Megan has been doing dance for several years.  She has also been doing piano for about the same time, and for just shy of a year now she has been playing the harp.  She is very musically talented.  Both her harp and piano teachers speak highly of her musical abilities.  In fact her harp teacher, recently mentioned that Megan is at the progression of a 2-3 year student.  Megan's dance teacher even speaks highly of her, because of her musical ability to keep to the beat and is often the leader that the other dancers look at.  However, Megan has made the difficult decision to quit dance and focus on the piano and harp.  It hasn't been an easy decision, she and I both have days we second guess it, but Megan is almost 12 years old, she still needs and wants to have time to be a kid.
(gotta love the background!)

This was Ellie's first dance recital.  She too, did a fabulous job.  It is so fun to watch the young girls dance and see their confusion, enthusiasm, timidness, talent and childness all rolled into a short dance.  Mike is not a dance fan.  Ellie is kind of indifferent. And I, the mother, am trying to make the best decision possible for my children.  Ellie is progressing at the piano, and has a keen interest in beginning the violin. (Those music genes from Mike's side of the family are making a strong appearance...)  And so this could well have been the first and last dance recital for Ellie!

While at the dance recital, a kind neighbor shuttled Luke back and forth from his last fishing class.  (No sibling support at the recital this year, but oh how pleasant it was to not be dealing with a one year old and three year old like the lady in front of us was...)  Luke has talents and interests all of his own.  With the exception of piano lessons, which he is not fond of some of the time, and the spring fishing class, most of his interests and hobbies lie in his own explorations, not in organized classes.  Although he does have an interest in playing basket-ball this fall...

My thoughts have been heavy these past few weeks as I contemplate doing what is best for our children.  I am a very firm believer in limiting extra-curricular activities as I am very protective of our evening family time, family dinners and my children being able to P.L.A.Y.  Not to mention, the responsibility to be fair to the family finances.  I see children around me involved in too much, and for some it shows in their lack of imagination.  I see some children around me involved in nothing, and for some it shows in their self-esteem.  How do we choose?  How do we as parents help our children choose their talents and interests with our guidance and hope we are choosing the right things?

Just before one of the dances began last night, the mother in front of me was juggling her hot, sweaty, wanting-to-go-home one year old, a tripod and a still camera.  I leaned over and asked if her daughter's dance was next, she responded yes.  So, I took the hot, sweaty, whiny one year old to the back of the dark auditorium, hoping the baby wouldn't see my face, and realize she was in a stranger's arms.  As I stood bouncing the baby, I was touched by the trust that existed between two stranger mothers.  We mothers trusted each others and our own instincts. 

And so, I'll try to take that same thinking into my parenting decisions.  I will have to trust that I'm doing what's best...


Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Summer Solstice

Did you have a Summer Solstice party on Monday to celebrate the longest day of the year and/or the first day of Summer?


We did.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Fresh Flowers or Going to Bed

I spent the other evening with a group of 12-15 ladies in a party-type setting. The set-up of the evening isn't what matters, but the insight I came home with was invaluable.

I had an epiphany...

While one of the ladies was presenting her item, she mentioned how much she loved fresh flowers.  She continued to say that she always has fresh flowers in her home.

"Always?"
"Fresh flowers?"
"I wish I always had fresh flo. . ."

And then I stopped my thoughts before they could continue.
And I changed my thought to:
Good for her! That's wonderful that is what she likes.

We as women, so quickly and easily fall into those traps of what she has, what she does, who she is.  Sometimes we forget what I have, what I do, who I am.

Don't think you have to love interior-decorating because another lady has a beautiful living room.  Perhaps that is her interest.
Don't rush out to buy a brand new camera to take fantastic photos because a favorite blogger friend does.  That is probably her hobby. 
Don't beat yourself down because you aren't a great public speaker but the lady up the street is.  That is probably one of her qualities.
Don't feel discouraged because you don't even know which singing part you are singing, but the woman singing next to you has a well trained voice.  That is probably one of her talents. 

You get what I'm trying to say.  It isn't even about our talents, our gifts, our hobbies, or our interests.  It is about who WE ARE. Who are you? Who am I?
Sure, I would love fresh flowers at my house every day.
But guess what I thought of instead as I drove home?

Recently, in a random conversation, I was telling a lady that Mike and I go to bed together at the same time each night.  It is extremely rare that one of us would go to bed without the other.  It's just what we do. Mike and I never made a conscience effort to do that, it just happened.  And guess what the lady said?  "I can't believe you can do that each night. I'm jealous, I would love if my husband and I went to bed at the same time together. Lucky you."

See friends, it's kind of like the fresh flowers...

We each have 'our thing.' Whether it's fresh flowers every day or the same bedtime together each night . . .
Think of what you do have? Not what you don't.

I'm finding that contentment, makes all the difference.

Monday, June 21, 2010

A Memory For Monday (with Pooh)

When I was about 7 years old, I became a Brownie Guide.

"I promise to do my best, to do my duty to God, to serve the Queen, to help other people and do a good turn everyday."

( I periodically recite this to my kids, usually it's when Luke is wearing his Cub Scout shirt and it sparks a memory...I even do it complete with an English accent!)

So sometime in my short lived Brownie career, (I never went on to Girl Guides...) we had a service project for Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children.  We were to bring a stuffed animal to donate...

I'm not sure if we were asked to donate a favorite one to make the giving even more meaningful, or if my mother asked me to donate a specific one, or if I was just a kind hearted child that ended up with regrets...

I remember distinctly dropping my small, soft, Winnie the Pooh stuffed animal into a black garbage bag during Brownie Guides in the school gymnasium.
I remember days later.  I remember weeks later.  I even remember years later.
I missed that Winnie the Pooh. It had been one of my favorite possessions.
Yet, I gave it away.  I always wondered about who received it, and if they loved it as much as I had.

And so the memory begets a question.
Did that experience make me generous, kind and giving? Or am I stingy, unkind and selfish?

(Honestly, I think I'm a little of all of the above.  But really, aren't we all?)

Least I can blame it on Winnie The Pooh!
What about you?

Friday, June 18, 2010

Changing My Tune

It may surprise you to know, that while at Cub Country with Luke the other day, I had a great time.  I loved it.  I really did.  I loved seeing Luke doing things he does in the course of a day for him, in a beautiful, organized setting.  (Roping, BB gun shooting, nature hike, knot tying, etc.)
I loved the set-up of the camp.
I loved that teenagers/young adults ran the camp.
I loved the beautiful canyon we were in.
I loved seeing the diversity of the boys in our group.
I loved the other leaders I was chaperoning with.
I loved the smile on Luke's face when he would search me out, and then find me.
And....
(drum roll please)

I loved the fact that the BSA program exists!!!!!!!!!!!!! 
Yep. Indeed, I said that. 
Me: one of the biggest complainers and BSA dislikers of all, was so mightily impressed with the goodness of it all.  And as I was trying to explain all of my thoughts to Mike that night, he put the words perfectly in my mouth: 
"Good wholesome fun."  

How could one not want their child to be a part of that?!?

However, don't become too alarmed.  I still have a lot of dislike with the red tape and bureaucracy of the BSA program, not to mention the LDS church's involvement.....
But for now, I'll just revel in the fact that this week, I am proud to be associated with the BSA!!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

A Thing

You've all heard the old question asked.  How many different 'hats' do you wear? And the answers are always along the lines, 'mother', 'daughter', 'wife', etc.  Sometimes even, we can stretch, yet still find different hats we wear?  'Nurse', 'therapist', 'playmate', 'chauffeur', etc.'
You see as mothers, we do wear a lot of hats.

Lately I've noticed a slightly disturbing trend in my mothering.  The 'hats' I wear are not 'hats.'  I've noticed that at some point, unbeknownst to me, I have turned into 'things'.

Just a sampling of some of the things I have turned into.

Kleenex:  At any given time I may have snot smeered somewhere on my body.  It is more often than not, not my own snot. 

Filing Folder "Did you see where I put that paper? I need it now."  "Well, I remember giving it to you. Where did you put it?"

Weather Channel:  "What will the temperature be tomorrow?"  "What time will the rain actually start?" "Will (insert desired activity) be canceled?"

Garbage Can:  What mother isn't used as a garbage can?  Why do we acknowledge and readily reach out our hand as empty candy wrappers, used kleenex, or discarded food is thrust in our direction?

TV Guide:  Now even though we are not much of a television family, there are those occasions I hear, "What time is 'Arthur' on?"  During the American Idol season, Tuesday and Wednesday evenings upon Mike's arrival home from work it seems I heard, "What time does American Idol start?"  far more than, "Hi, Honey I'm home. I'm so happy to see you." 

Calendar:  Sometimes I feel as though my family sees me with lines and grids across my face.  "What time do I have to be there?"  "When is (insert desired activity)?"  "How many more days until...?"  I have a calendar on my desk.  I have kept one there for...years!  Maybe I need to remind everyone of its existence!

Punching Bag:  There are those days I get the occasional kick, flailing of arms and perhaps a head-butt.  These happen primarily when one year old child is brought from the outside back into the house.  And I, like those punching bags, wobble back and forth precariously until either tantrum subsides or child is set down and I make a quick escape.

Sometimes I think I'd rather just wear (and balance) more hats, rather than believe that at some point in my mothering career- I turned into a thing. 

What about you?  
Are you still a person or have you turned into a thing

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

An Old Fashioned Commitment

As a young child growing up thousands of miles away from grandparents, I learned to write letters frequently.  I loved to write letters. And of course, I loved to receive letters. As a young teenager when I moved thousands of miles away from dear friends and my dear granny, I continued to love writing and receiving letters.  And then gradually, letter writing became something I no longer thought about.

Just a couple of days ago, I received an old fashioned letter in the mail from one of my favorite cousins in the world.  Her eight year old son sent one to Luke, and she sent an accompanying letter to me.

 (Isn't that the cutest letter ever?  From Luke's eight year old cousin, Ricky)

I left the letters on my counter and smiled for days as I walked by them.

I miss the letter writing of days gone by.  Text messaging, emails and Facebook will never be a match.  My children will never know the regular practice of letter writing, placing a stamp on it, putting it in the mailbox and the anticipation of waiting patiently for a reply.  That makes me sad.
My recently received, hand-written letter, has caused me to challenge myself.
Once a month, I am going to send an old fashioned letter to somebody.  Not a thank-you note, not a card, but A LETTER.

When was the last time you mailed somebody dear to you a personal, hand-written letter?
Because really, who wouldn't love a personal letter in the mail?

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

What is Normal?

What really is the definition of normal?  Because sometimes when I look around at other families, I don't quite see the same things...

Ellie is constantly outside at a table with friends and...PAPER! Paper, paper bowls, crayons, markers, straws.  If you can envision it used in a craft project, Ellie will gather it.  In fact earlier today, she got four gift bags each with a stack of cut up pieces of card stock and gave to any willing participant.
 Megan doesn't do anything half way.  If she's playing with water toys, she gets every single one out.  If she's having an outdoor sleepover, she gets every single blanket, sheet, game possible (allowed!).  And then she wonders why it takes so long to do clean-up!
A husband that after our traditional last day of school scone party, asks, "What else can I do with the hot oil?"  So...Mike (and friend) attempted to fry, tortillas, onions, tortilla chips and even cereal coated ice cream.  It is no wonder my dad on his way home announced, "I'm not sure my tummy feels very good."
 (Excuse the blur.)
 Of course my little boys are little heros and my favorite people during nap times.  And they do fit into more 'normal' categories.  And of course, me, I'm normal.  After all, what 'normal' mom doesn't love naptime!?

And Luke.  Well Luke has always been in a slightly different category than most.  This is a summer afternoon playing camping!   With big hopes that the camping set-up will be allowed to be used overnight...

Note the 'campfire' the huge backpacks, a mess-kit, and of course the emergency orange tree tent he received for Christmas two years ago!  (It was excitedly used overnight by two brave little boys...)

I hear people complain that their kids watch too much television or play too many video games.  Sometimes I wish that were my problem.  There would be so much less mess to clean up...

Normal: I'm hoping (and believing) it has a very broad definition.

Monday, June 14, 2010

A Memory for Monday (with a pickle)

For my 11th birthday, about eight friends and I had a birthday party at the McDonalds in Sutton High Street.

My friends and I were seated on the train that sat inside McDonalds.  Of course, I was at the front.  Though I have always considered myself to have a pretty good memory, I can only remember four things about that McDonalds experience.

#1 Apparently it was pretty bad service, and we were able to go back a few weeks later and 're-do' the whole party.  (Well except, I had to split the number of guests allowed with my brother, Matt.)
#2 I remember thinking it was pretty cool touring the back kitchen of McDonalds and actually standing in a freezer.
#3 I remember going to each 'table' on the train and everyone of my friends, not liking pickles had removed it from their burgers.  Each girl had the pickle sitting on their hamburger wrapper.  I picked up each pickle and ate every one.

And then for some reason, in my later teenage years, I guess I quit liking pickles.  Every high school lunch when Melanie and I went through an Eat-A-Burger stage, it was routine for whomever wasn't driving, to remove the pickles and throw them out of the window.
('Mel and Tiff' taken sometime around the pickle days)

Well, except for the day I thought I would be funny.
Melanie and I were in Orem, it was fairly late at night, and before our drive home, we stopped at Eat-A-Burger to get a hamburger.  As Melanie was driving away from the drive-thru,  it was my job to remove the pickles from both of our burgers.
Except, remember, I thought I would be funny.
Not only did I not remove her pickles, but I added my unwanted pickles to her hamburger.
I then presented her hamburger to her to eat.
She was not happy and did not think I was funny when immediately upon her first bite, she tasted...
PICKLES!

I actually love pickles now.  In fact, a hamburger, is not a good hamburger unless it has lots of pickles on it.

P.S.
My pickle memory has been written up, ready to post for a few weeks now, but I'd actually forgotten I'd written it until today. . .when I attempted to be funny again. . .

Mike and I were driving home from St. George, and because he was the driver, he periodically asked me to unwrap a Starburst for him and put it in his mouth to eat.  Only thing is, he only requests the pink and orange ones.  So. . . trying to preserve more of those desirable flavors for me, AND in an attempt to be funny, I secretly unwrapped a red one (who likes red Starburst besides Joshua and Luke?) and put it in his mouth.
He relived the pickle story EXACTLY.  The disgusted face, the disgusted sound, and in true pickle fashion, the window was rolled down and out flew the partially chewed red starburst.

And like Melanie almost 20 years ago, Mike didn't find it funny either.
At least I think I'm funny.  I'm still laughing at both!

Why I chose to do A Memory for Monday.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Here and There

While I was here, at a Power of Moms retreat at the Red Mountain Spa in St. George.
Mike, Megan and Luke camped, target practiced, fished...

and relaxed at Kolob Resevoir.

And my BFF, Melanie watched Drew, Joshua and Ellie.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

The Little Things




The other morning, I drove in the car by MYSELF for 45 minutes. It really was quite glorious. No one asked me to turn on their music, no one told me someone was poking them, no one asked when we would be there, no one even spoke to me. I very much enjoyed my solitary drive. It gave me time to think, to reflect and to ponder. Considering where I was driving to, this was very valuable alone time.

I was driving to the funeral of a nine year old girl. My thoughts particularly reflected on what touched me the previous night at the little girl’s viewing. While we waited in line to greet the family for over an hour, we had the opportunity to watch different videos/photos of this little girl’s short life. What touched me the most were the home videos and the photos that were just ‘everyday’ events. It wasn’t the formal photo family sittings, it wasn’t videos of birthdays and holidays that made up the majority. It was photos and videos capturing day to day life, photos of funny pulled faces, silly spontaneous activities, impromptu family time, and all the little things that make up our days.
I have said it before, and the other day it was reiterated again, “Enjoy the little things in life, for one day you’ll look back and realize they were the big things.”

I think about all those photos and videos, our dear friends have taken for years, that are now priceless memories.  And even for those of us that are blessed to still have all of our children living with us, we never know what tomorrow may bring.  This week I am doing my best to pay attention to the 'not so obvious' moments of life.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Interview With A Three Year Old


What does Daddy do at work?
 "Work on the compooder"

What do you like to do with Mommy?
"Do holdies."

Why do you love Mommy?
"Coz you da best."

Why do you love Daddy?
"Coz he goes to work."

What do you like to do with Daddy?
"He jumps me up to do fwies"

What does Mommy do all day?
"Go upstairs and do the waundry."

How old is Mommy?
78

How old is Daddy?
45

What do you like to do with our family?
"Pway with toys when you get in the shower"

What are you going to be when you grow up?
"A missionary"
Where?
"On the highway. And then when I get big I'm gonna marry Mama at the temple, actually. At the church."

"Are we done now? 
I gonna go wope my horse."

(Don't you think this boy needs a real horse?)

Monday, June 7, 2010

A Memory For Monday (With An Old Man)

While in college, I worked part-time at a Medical Supply store.  I worked with some fabulous ladies much older than myself, but they treated me, a young, single, college-aged girl as one of their own.  I really grew to love and look up to those ladies.  It was one of my favorite jobs.

I primarily was responsible for the insurance billing, but occasionally if the store got crowded, was called upon to help customers.  We sold everything from support stockings to medical scrubs to colostomy bags to things I won't even mention here....  I could tell you story after story of my hours spent at that job, but out of respect for the privacy of strangers, (and because my daughter reads this...) I won't regale you here.

But, I do have this memory, that I must remember to tell my children about.  They'll enjoy it.

One summer day, we must have been short-handed at the Medical Mart, and I was called upon to make a delivery to a nearby nursing home.  And oh boy, did I have a story that had the ladies I worked with rolling with laughter when I returned...

As I was approaching the front doors of the nursing home, I noticed a nursing assistant helping an elderly man walk.  The elderly man's steps were slow and laborious and his strength quite weak as he relied heavily on the woman to his side.  After initially noticing them, I really paid  no more attention to them.  Until they were about ten-twelve feet from the front door, and I, a short distance behind them was suddenly being called by the nursing assistant.

I saw her pleas before I heard her pleas.

My face turned bright red.  (After all, remember, I was a young, single, college-aged girl.)
There in front of me was this poor, elderly gentleman frozen in place, with his trousers down around his ankles.  The 'slide down' of the dropping trousers had additionally pulled his loose underwear down slightly.

Oh dear.

The nursing assistant was holding the man steady.  The man was not steady enough for her to release her hold on him in order to pull up the completely fallen trousers and the slightly fallen underwear.

And it was now that I heard the plea,
"Could you please come pull up his pants?"

There was no mistaking who the nursing assistant was talking to.  There was no chance to hide. There was no chance to run.  It was just me.

Me, a slightly exposed elderly bum, some fully exposed underwear and a perplexed nursing assistant.
I set my delivery to the side. And with a red face, a stifled, nervous giggle and slightly shaking hands, proceeded to bend down, pull up the fallen trousers and secure them in place.  
(I'll admit, I didn't fix the underwear. I figured somebody else could sort that out later.)

I hurried and made the delivery and quickly returned to work.  And oh yes, did those ladies laugh.
And laugh.
And laugh.
By then I was laughing too.

And though I laughed at this experience then, and of course still laugh at this experience now,  I can't help but  think of the indignities of aging.  I hope that the dear gentleman, who I am sure has now passed away, is not offended by my laughter.
Because really, embarrassing moments happen to us all.
Young or old.

Friday, June 4, 2010

A Few Things

Just thought I should clarify/explain a few things.

1. The photo last week with me and Joshua's bare bum... Megan was messing around with the camera taking photos of me, I knew Joshua was standing close by, but I honestly had no idea he had no underwear on, until after the photo was taken and I looked at him and of course had to ask, "Where are your underwear?" His reply, "In the bathroom, I just pee-ed in them, I going to get some clean ones."

2. I was recently asked if I had lots of different cake pans to make all the different birthday cakes I have made. No, I pretty much use the same pan for every cake, but then I use a drawn template or free hand cutting it out of the pan. (I always freeze the cake before cutting...) So, no. I own no specially-shaped pans, just round, square and rectangle.

3.  And yes, I will definitely have to continue my story that I left hanging in my Memory for Monday with Mike...

4. For those of you that are familiar with Boy Scouts of America--specifically, Cub Scouts, what is the emphasis on 'Mother's pins?' Does a mother really need one, and really, DO MOTHER'S EVER WEAR THEM?!? I think they add clutter to a jewelry box and/or are a wasted expense. Where's a 'Father's pin' for the dad's efforts!!!???!!! I wore my pins to a family dinner the other night. I waited in anticipation for my BFF especially, to laugh and ask me about them. She didn't. For some strange reason, she thought I was suddenly strongly in favor of the BSA (I have VERY STRONG opinions about the BSA...) and chose not to ask  about me wearing them. Oh...and for some strange reason, I guess she also thought I was too ornery at the time to approach about 'a sensitive subject.' So really, with the exception of Luke saying, "What is that on your shirt?" my attempt to be funny really wasn't.

Please note the 'Bobcat' and 'Wolf' Mother Pins I am wearing:

5. Recently my mother bought me 'something.' I LOVE it. I was so EXCITED when I found that she had left the bag with 'it' inside in my kitchen one day. When I have worn it, this is a sampling of what I have heard,
Joshua said, "Tat is a pwetty dress."
Luke said, "What is that?"
Ellie said, "You are like a grandma."
Mike indifferently said, "My mom always wore those."

And Megan...Well, she made me PROMISE not to put a photo of myself wearing it on the blog...
And that is all I'll say about that, as dear friends and readers, I clearly didn't have your approval in the first place....

Gotta go. It's the last day of school today.
Happy Day!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Giving Up

I blame this all on a commitment a few weeks ago to allow more spontaneity in my mothering...

When we drove past a local park yesterday, Joshua as usual sighed, "I hope I can play at that park one day."  With a quick glance at the clock, I recalled my earlier spontaneity commitment and  I turned into the park.  I smiled as I could 'hear' shocked smiles and 'yeses' in the seats behind me. 

I sat in the car listening to Drew fight about being left in his car seat, and chatted on and off with Megan as she went back and forth from being young enough to play on a park toy to being too old to play on a park toy.

And in my defense before the real story begins.  I gave fair warning at ten minutes, five minutes and two minutes that play time was winding down...

Into the car returned Megan.  Followed by Luke.  Joshua straggled slowly behind.  And then came the first call, then the second, all the while Ellie went into her 'fifth amendment' mode.  (If you know Ellie, you can picture the scene well.) 

Ellie stood and stared, ignoring my kind pleas to get in the car.

(Wanting to capture stubborn moments more frequently on camera, to have frequent evidence to blame Mike for 'the gene' he passed down to Ellie, I got out my camera.)

My kind pleas, began to get an unkind tone to them:

My kind pleas, really weren't kind at all:


By now the four buckled up children were getting inpatient too.  I blame what happens next on another commitment I made a few weeks ago, that in addition to more spontaneity, I would try my hardest to say 'yes' more than 'no'. .

Luke, ever-thinking-outside-of-the-box-Luke, has a suggestion. And Luke, the always-prepared-cub-scout-Luke, announced as he gets out of the car,

 "I'll go rope her." 
And then the crying got louder, and the chasing proceeded.  Most non-stubborn people would simply walk to the car, right?  Well Ellie, bless her heart, does not fit in that category and so the chasing continued and alas, the rope throw successful. 


And then it was over.
It was a good thing we were the only ones at the park as the kind pleas were long forgotten as I walked towards my children, telling Luke to remove the rope and go buckle up and with an added touch to the bum, firmly told Ellie to GET!IN!THE!CAR!NOW!

And all that because I made a commitment to do and be better.

Guess I'll keep to my rigid schedules and say no...
Spontaneity and saying yes more, doesn't work so well for us.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

I'm No Better Than You Are


Recently in a meeting, I happened to glance at the notes a lady in front of me was taking. Several of the notes she had written down were goals to be a better mother to her children. I suddenly became squirmish in my seat. It wasn’t the goals themselves that caused my discomfort, and it wasn’t even the fact that I was peeking into somebody’s private thoughts… 
My personal discomfort stemmed from my own weakness. You see, she is a mother that in the past I (ashamedly admit), have privately criticized her mothering .

For days after peeking at that mother’s paper I felt guilty, guilty for seeing her thoughts, and guilty for being so quick to frequently judge her. I forced myself to think of some of her mothering strengths. And guess what!? She has several. She even has some mothering strengths that I have yet to cultivate. Really, as a frequently sung religious song, says, “Who am I to judge another when I walk imperfectly?”

Too frequently, we as mothers compare ourselves to others and feel less than we are. We feel that we will never be as good as Martha down the street, or we will never master a particular quality that Sally over the road has perfectly mastered. But, do we not as mothers also do the opposite? Surely I am not the only mother that has compared myself to another mother and been quick to pat myself on the back for what I perceive to be better mothering practices.

She is trying. I am trying. You are trying. And maybe some days, your efforts and my efforts aren’t truly our best. But on those days, do we really need or want to judge or be judged? Ultimately, aren’t we as mothers much more similar than different?

As mothers, we are each other’s worst critics.
What a tragedy.
Let’s do better.

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