Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Improvement, Hope and Eventually Perfection

I am not one to typically watch videos online, especially on Facebook statuses and blogs. But after having a few pretty crappy days in a row, I saw this video on the umpteenth friend's Facebook status this morning and finally decided to watch it. Oh boy was it timely. And I mean timely.

(Except for the first part I really do disagree with. I don't necessarily think the girl hysterical across the aisle was because she wasn't prepared to meet her maker. Perhaps she has severe fears of flying and all of her fears culminated during the downward spiral of an airplane! She may not be a widowed man who has lived a full life ready to meet his maker, but a young mother who was terrified at the thought of leaving five children!)

I digress.
Back to the timely issue of the video.
Watch it if you want, or just take the few second tidbit from it that I did.

"Be patient with yourself. Perfection comes not in this life but in the next life. Don't demand things that are unreasonable but demand of yourself improvement. As you let the Lord allow you through it. He will make the difference." (Elder Russel M. Nelson)

And now for the application to my own life:

"Be patient with yourself and recognize that some days you'll be a pretty mediocre mother. Quit thinking of the quintessential mother who speaks kindly and softly 100% of the time and is never inpatient or frustrated. She doesn't exist. (Okay-maybe she really does, but if you know her-don't tell me about her.) Don't expect to be the perfect mother this week, this month or even this year. One day your kids will be perfect, and it will make motherhood so much easier. Don't demand things of yourself that are unreasonable. Don't plop into bed and announce to your husband that you will never raise your voice again at your children, you probably will. Just demand of yourself a little improvement--suggest instead that maybe tomorrow you'll only yell 8 times instead of 10. Pray. Pray. Pray. Why do I too often think Mike and I are in this alone?"

No joke-while typing this short post, I was interrupted one time to wipe a bum, one time to change a poopy diaper, one time to referee an escalating argument over a Thomas the Train track, one time to unhook a Hot Wheels track, and about 7 times to tell one brother to quit screaming at the other brother. It's no wonder I've been so !#$@ ornery lately.

Onward, ever onward.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Backward S-es and Horses

A few weeks ago in my Learning Circle, we discussed an article, 'The Power of Optimism'. We each shared different times in our mothering when we had chosen to smile/laugh when we really could have cried. Following our meeting, my good friend did a whole blog post about times as a mother she has been able to laugh instead of cry. After reading them, I admire her even more than I already did--she deserves some serious praise for smiling at such things as her children vacuuming up dog diarrhea or a child poo painting on the wall. (I promise not all of her experiences involved poo!)

Optimism, ability to laugh, seeing the silver lining, seeing what really matters-however or whatever way you put it, isn't exactly my strong suit. In less than desirable circumstances, I'm far more prone to anger and a raised voice than a smile and laugh.

Except lately.
Whether it is the Power of Optimism seeping into my psyche or just sheer mothering exhaustion, I have smiled a lot lately upon seeing stuff like this:
Joshua has really taken to drawing on anything and everything. I mean really, who else has hand-drawn horses on their sewing machine, and Joshua autographs (with backwards 's'-es) on anything from bedside dressers to  picnic tables?

If horse art furniture isn't trashy enough, add to it that Drew is always holding a pencil (to lead music with) while standing in front of the music stand which more often than not has open music books on it. And when focused Drew watches choir directors and music teachers write in music books, he figures it is open game for him to as well. Doesn't matter to him if the $25 book belongs to the harp teacher!

Thank heaven Drew only uses pencils.
His markings erase really well.

The same can't be said about Joshua.
A horse may well grace my sewing machine for many years to come.

Despite our furniture and belongings beginning to resemble items that are found at landfills and local Goodwill Shops, I smile.

How's that cliche poem go about the fingerprints getting higher and higher until they gradually disappear?
Surely the same applies to horses and backward 's'es.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Gratitude for Anything and Everything

Hopefully I don't have to do a long, drawn up blog post to assure everyone that we are indeed grateful and thankful for the abundance of blessings we enjoy daily. We've had our '7th Annual We Are Thankful papers up all month, and it is great to see the children's innocent and sincere expression of thanks. Last week Mike made a list of 'miracles and things we never could have guessed would happen' for the year, but most of the things that made it on that list are too personal and sacred to share publicly.

Our 'We are thankful for' list covers anything from good health to umbrellas and polite people to drawers. It is so hard to narrow down even in the course of a day the things that stand out most in my thankful mind. But the other night while Megan taught the lesson for Family Home Evening lesson, one thing to be thankful for was clear.

The perspective and joy that comes only from a child...

Megan gathered us together complete with theater type seating to tell us the story of The First Thanksgiving. complete with quite the diorama depicting that first feast. We were instructed to not touch anything, and to sit quietly and listen. Luke was instructed to leave the group temporarily when his socks were removed and Mike was almost asphyxiated. Luke soon joined us again after washing his feet and subsequently putting on three pair of socks to prevent any unwashed stinks leaking out.

I digress.
As Megan was reading the story (with time limits pre-determined by Mike, because she can have the tendency to ramble),  Hmm-who does she get that from?!
Ellie interrupted Megan's lecture, disobediently arose from her seat and almost touching the display, pointed to the Indian on the front row and blurted out,

"What would happen if that had fallen off?"
And that my friends, is what Thanksgiving is around here.
The pilgrims, the indians, the blessing of abundance and happy that clothing stays where it is supposed to.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

What Makes a Good Mom?

According to a ten year old, it is the day the 'Mom bring McDonalds Lunch to School' coupon is redeemed.
My plan was to meet Luke at the doors as he was going into lunch and pass off a McDonalds Happy Meal.
Luke's plan that morning, was for mom to get McDonalds for her and the two little brothers and all eat lunch together in the school lunch room.

WWHHAATTT?

My ten year old wants to be seen with his mother (AND the two preschooler brothers that will inevitably be dragged along) eating lunch in the school lunch room?

Love it!

Except mom was feeling a little bit cheap and begrudged the fact that a single Happy Meal for one was now needing to turn into McDonalds for four. (Tight budgets around here people...)

So instead of McDonalds, Mom suggests picking up a $5 pizza and getting some free bread sticks with the coupon she's been saving.

You'd have thought Luke had died and gone to heaven at just the suggestion.

But seeing that ten year old's face and the faces of his three friends he had told could "share some pizza my mom is going to bring" while I stood there balancing a pizza box, a bag of bread sticks, a ringing cell phone and a throwing-a-fit-four-year-old was even better!

If it only takes a $5 pizza to turn a regular mom into a super-mom, guess I'll become a regular at the pizza store (and at the elementary school lunch room).
(Ellie thought she was pretty special when I let her stay an extra 10 minutes in the lunch room to join us.)
And that my friends is what makes a good mom!

...according to a ten year old.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Half Birthdays ARE A Big Deal

Today is Ellie's Half Birthday. You can be reminded of the details of a half birthday here. They are a very simple day, and in no way resemble the pomp and circumstance that surround real birthdays around here.

Ellie though, must have forgotten the simplicity of half birthdays, as she was quite disgusted this morning at breakfast when she declared, "Nobody has wished me a happy half birthday yet."

Furthermore, she was slightly offended when Mike asked her to help do some clean up later and she questioned, "Even on my special day?"

But then again, Ellie has had a countdown for today for quite some time now. A countdown for a half birthday? Either we're pretty pathetic around here, or Ellie has just patiently gone through the 7 week stretch that included Drew and Joshua's half birthdays and Luke and Megan's real birthdays and she is obviously just feeling the need for a little special day herself.

Well, today was it.
Ellie is 7 and A HALF!
(Please note Ellie's possessive hand on her can of soda. We don't get soda much around here, and when we do, it is a hot commodity--check out Drew eyeing it...)

As I've mentioned before, half-birthday gifts are nothing more than a dollar store type gift, but not the half birthday gift Nana gave, a pillow-pet.

I think this little girl went to bed pretty satisfied with her half birthday.
Now if this innocent and angel-like demeanor continues on during Ellie's waking hours tomorrow. Life will be really good.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Our Morning

Dear Grandparents-

Somehow the extra time this morning before school turned into an impromptu talent show for grandparents before leaving for the school bus (thus the coats). Even though Ellie forgot to count, Luke was irritated Drew was singing in the background, and Drew got distracted with a cough and an Indian hat and forgot his words, it may be worth a few minutes of your time. Joshua declined to perform. Megan left 30 minutes before showtime.
~enjoy

Love,
Ellie, Luke and Drew





Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Tears and Faces

Yesterday I dragged Joshua into preschool crying. And I mean crying. I had to pry his hand off of the car-seat, and pull various body parts as they wrapped themselves around any object in an attempt to stop us from wending our way into preschool.

Now before you all start wondering why in the world I would essentially 'force' my child to go to preschool amidst such tears, I had a pretty good hunch it was more of a lazy-morning-I-don't-want-to-get-up-and-go rather than perhaps a possibility of a more serious underlying problem.

You see, several mornings it often seems more trouble than it is worth to get him dressed and out the door at 8:55am. It isn't that I have to wake him up and go, and it isn't even as if he is engaged in something he doesn't want to leave. I don't know what it is, but pretty much every morning at 8:45am we have a discussion about what he would miss out on if he really chose to never go to preschool again.

And then I take him to preschool, he hops out of the car and runs in alone.

And then when I pick him up he comes running out every single time, with his big Joshua smile on his face, and runs into my arms as though he has had the time of  his life and as though he hasn't seen me in weeks.

Back to yesterday. Yesterday's trip into preschool wasn't pretty. I passed him over to the teacher's arms just as he stopped crying and I began. I returned to the car, called Mike and cried, and then began imagining myself with two children home all day every day for the rest of the school year.

Mike's advice was "Sure, let him quit. It's preschool."
My thoughts were, "I know it is just preschool, but isn't HE too young to make a big decision that he may change his mind about in two weeks.

When I returned three hours later to pick Joshua up. He was the second one outside. And in true Joshua fashion, his smile spread from ear to ear as he ran into my arms. My eyes got all filled up with tears as all my thoughts and emotions from the past three hours mushed together.

The teacher and I having both talked with Joshua concluded that there is no reason he doesn't like school. No mean kids, no boredom, no problems.

Joshua just happens to really like being with his mother and three hours, twice a week is a long time.

But it is Joshua's decision.
Apparently, tomorrow he wants to go to school.
"And the next day and the next day."

Joshua just happens to really, really like me and the only complaint about preschool I can get is, "It is so so 'wong'" (long). Yet he isn't ready to end his preschool career just yet over missing his mother.

I'm flattered he likes to be around a cranky mother as much as he does. Which is why I took a break from my crankiness to oblige him, and spent a good ten minutes letting him (and Drew) pull faces in front of a camera lens. I didn't even complain after each camera click when he asked, "Can I see it?"

There's more to life than preschool, right?




Tuesday, November 15, 2011

The Bestest Best

I love, love, LOVE the megaphone I received for my birthday a few weeks ago. I really do. I love saying goodbye to my children WHILE they are at the bus stop, I love being able to call them home from dinner, and I love telling my husband I love him while he is upstairs in the shower and I'm downstairs in the kitchen. (Okay, well I haven't done that last one yet--Mike isn't a huge fan of the megaphone, so I'm trying hard not to press my luck with it.)

It really is one of the best birthday presents ever.

But if you can believe it. I got an even better birthday present than that. And I mean, hands down, the BESTEST birthday present ever. From none other than my BESTEST BEST FRIEND.

This was it:
(she felt bad the coupon wasn't fancier-but seriously-with that kind of content, who needs fancy?)

This last weekend we cashed it in. And it was H.E.A.V.E.N.
I don't even care that we had no exotic place to visit or a fancy hotel to stay in. We had the house all to ourselves for almost 48 hours. (Well Mike worked for 7 of those hours on Friday, and then we opened our home to the great couples that attended the Power of Moms workshop for a few hours, but the rest of the time it was MIKE and ME, ME and MIKE.

We Christmas shopped, we ate lunch together, we went out to dinner, Mike did a garage project, I did some computer work, we visited with each other, we laughed together, we relaxed. And darn it, I should have carried a camera around with us to capture some of our fun.

We plain and simple just enjoyed being together with absolutely no distractions.That is a rare, rare thing. (The distractions, not the enjoying each other.)

We spent the two days commenting over and over to each other how strange it was to not have 'stuff' lying around everywhere. Our stairs stayed clear of toys and debris, the hallways were empty, bathroom towels stayed on racks, and no shoes magically escaped the shoe basket.

I let go of the guilt after the first 20 minutes of saying goodbye to my children, and embraced the blessing of having such a fine friend. You can read all about the fun nail polish party, sledding, and news desk dinners here on Melanie's blog.
I have to admit I felt an overwhelming sense of disappointment as Mike left to pick up the children, especially after a text exchange with Melanie in which she said, "You are welcome, they could stay 5 more days...it has been no big deal. I think they have all had a lot of fun."

FIVE MORE DAYS!!!!?????!!!!!! But instead, even though I certainly could have enjoyed several more hours of uninterrupted time, it was time for the fairy tale to end. Besides, I was (semi) anxious to get our little family all back together under the same roof.

But then a few hours after all being back under the same roof, I started counting the days until next years birthday in hopes that it will be a repeated gift...

Just kidding. I shouldn't push my luck.

*All tongue-in-cheek joking aside. You can read HERE, about an experience I recently had when my daughter reminded me what motherhood is really about.*

Monday, November 14, 2011

A Nine Couple Date Night

What a wonderful evening Mike and I had on Friday night at a Power of Moms Couples Workshop. No matter how many times I attend or present at a Power of Moms Workshop or Retreat, I am amazed at the new stuff I learn from other great mothers and in this case, some great dads too.

There is something so uplifting about being gathered together in a room, with parents focused on their families and the systems they can implement in their homes. We had 9 couples representing 48 children!! (With twin babies on the way for one couple.) That is a lot of lucky children to have parents who put in the effort to make their families stronger.

I am SOOOO sad (and a little mad) that I forgot to get out the camera. I wish I had photos to capture some of the laughter, learning and listening that went on. These couples were such top-notch people. I was so happy to meet them and learn from them. So many fabulous ideas...
  • forming a 'Crazy Cleaners' group that makes cleaning times much more fun
  • becoming consistent and following through with the bag monster even for a teenager...
  • working out trades for the older children that are often used as family babysitters
  • not forgetting my younger children still need to be learning good lessons about work and rewards, instead of focusing more on the older ones
And plenty of other ideas that Mike and I continued to discuss over the weekend.

If anyone needs parenting help, it is me. Remember this photo from over a year ago, which now hangs in a very large frame in my front entry way. This is my life. I appreciate all the help I can get...
I found Power of Moms by a fluke almost two years ago, actually I take that back. It wasn't a fluke at all, it was something that I was meant to find. There hasn't been an article, program, or event that I have been a part of that I haven't learned something from.

Indeed, a fine place for mothers to gather. Check it out HERE

(Are you wondering where my children were during Friday night's workshop? More on that later--it is worthy of a whole blog post in itself!!)

Friday, November 11, 2011

Then and Now and Now and Then

I've been working on an assignment tonight, and it made me get all sappy and sentimental about the passage of time. And then while looking for a particular photo, I stumbled across this one that I had NO IDEA I still had copies of, let alone on my computer!! I couldn't help but oooh and aaah over these two little babies. I once had only TWO kids?! It seems like a lifetime ago.
But then at the same time, what seems like in a blink of an eye, we have gone to this:
And then while pursing another part of my assignment, I thought about my in-laws. I'm sure to them it probably seems like a blink of an eye that in 30 years, my in-laws went from this:
(engagement picture sometime late 1969/ early1970)

To this:
(December 2010)

30 years! I know it seems like a long time looking forward, but when I consider Mike and I are half way there. It makes me sad and melancholy.

Okay, but honestly sometimes-- it doesn't. Sometimes it makes me a little anxious and overly-excited --thinking about a life with no carpools, fevered kids, poopy diapers, or science fair projects, sounds SPLENDID.

But--then I look at this picture--and realize this was just 9 short years ago.
Project forward another 9 years... two of my kids will be full blown adults. Okay, wait I can't think about it after all.
It makes me cry.

"The days are long, but the years are short."

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Why I Laugh Instead of Cry

The other night as I climbed into bed, I began listing a long list to Mike of why I was a horrible mother. Most of them revolved around my voice becoming just a little too loud that day. Interrupting me, Mike declared, "You're a good mom, you've just got a short fuse." So I re-committed myself to relaxing more, and I don't mean by spending hours on the couch. (Although I do have to say I stayed in bed this morning until 7:13am and it was DIVINE!)

* On Saturday I came home from somewhere and Megan had an old photo album of mine from high school/college. She had it marked with papers and said, "We need to discuss some of these outfits." Hilarious. I hadn't looked at the pictures in a couple of years and between the outfits and the memories I had some good laughs. Then my BFF who is in half the photos in the album came over that night, and oh boy did we laugh some more. Hours later when the photo album had still not returned to it's proper place, instead of getting mad that it hadn't been put away as asked, I flipped it open and found yet another photo to laugh at.

* I let my kids have a 'Just Because Day' 2-3 times per school year. They can stay home for no other reason than, 'just because.' It is rarely planned in advance, and typically they are already awake and dressed when they choose to take it. **disclaimer--my children are rarely sick and we rarely travel, so they typically don't miss many days of school during a school year** Yesterday, just an hour or so into Luke's 'Just Because Day', Luke decided to be funny and put an elastic band around the kitchen faucet sprayer. It drenched me unexpectedly and I had to change my shirt. But guess what? I laughed!!!! I didn't get mad, I didn't get upset, I laughed. I was very proud.

* My husband is honest and I love him for it. The other night I was complaining about having to eat a combination of foods together that I didn't think 'went together' at a place I was due to go. (I know, I know. It sounds ridiculous even to me now in hindsight!) Finally after listening to me complain, Mike said, "I am so glad I'm not you, you waste so much energy." Though I played mad at first, I laughed. His comment was a big wake-up call--sometimes I am pretty pathetic.

* We sing a song in our church that begins, "We have been born as Nephi of old, to goodly parents who love the Lord..." Joshua had been singing the song on and off for days. After probably the 428th time singing, he stopped mid-way through and said, "Why does it say ugly parents?" I laughed, and then I felt mildly guilty that I hadn't really been listening to his singing or else I may have noticed his mispronunciation days before.

* Last week, at the last minute I decided to have my neighbor take some family photos. I needed to submit a family photo for something and I didn't want to take Mike's suggestion of using our year old photo when no one is the same age. It was a nightmare. My neighbor/friend was awesome, her camera was awesome, but seriously--the subjects!?  Between Luke poking HIMSELF in the eye with a toy gun in between a background change, someone crying because a nail was poking their back, and someone else wanting a horse rope in every picture (wait, I think all those 'someones' are the same person...) and of course the issue of trying to get seven people to smile all at once, it is no wonder that at least once each of my kids told me in some variation or another, "You're so ornery, Mom!" Later that night after reviewing the photos I had a good laugh when Mike finally garnered the courage to ask me why exactly Joshua was wearing a 'girl shirt.'
* Megan brought home her first report card this week from junior high. She got a 4.0 (all straight A's). With it she brought the print-out of her grades thus far for the first week of the second term. She has 6 A's and a D+. I laughed. It helped stop her almost tears from falling. (We think it is just a missing or mis-marked assignment or something.)

* Saturday as we were all gathered in the kitchen working on different tasks, the ipod was blaring some of my good old music favorites. Of course, in typical Tiffany style I was singing along. (Very loudly.) Without trying to be funny, Luke said, "Mom, if you were ever to do a concert and people were there, they would leave as soon as you started singing the first line." What do you say about that? Of course I laughed. And so did Megan, because less than 24 hours earlier, Megan, the musical prodigy around here said to me while I was singing an old Disney classic song, "Mom, I don't mean to be rude, but I just don't understand how it is even possible to change keys as many times as you do in one short song." I had laughed pretty hard. Instead I just explained to my children, that though God didn't bless me with a good singing voice, He blessed me to love using the one I have. Further I explained my belief that one day God will bless me for loving to sing, and I will have one of the most beautiful voices in heaven. (No one really believed me. Imagining their mother singing with a beautiful voice is like telling them one day they will never have to make their beds ever again.)

* Sunday night Mike was laying with Drew in his bed while he cried and cried (Drew, not Mike). It had been a long, napless day and there was no explanation for the crying, besides the fact he is two years old. I walked into the room dragging a screaming and kicking four year old. Mike glanced over at me with a slight grin on his face. I couldn't help but laugh. It was a pretty pathetic parenting sight.

Sometimes around here that's all you can do--LAUGH instead of cry.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Passions and Faces

Guess we may never really understand each other's passions and dreams.
But I certainly hope while pursuing my own, I have more flattering facial expressions than my boys.
Okay, so I don't necessarily think jumping on a trampoline is Drew's passion, but I am beginning to wonder if him being half naked is. Especially during the first week of November!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Gunpowder, Treason and Plot


My English blood requires me to not only recognize and acknowledge November 5th as Guy Fawkes Day, but to celebrate it in good old English style. We've had all sorts of Guy Fawkes Day parties over the years, including our one last year where we had upwards of 40-50 people crammed in and out of the house. Typically, I have the bigger parties every few years when GFD falls on a Friday or Saturday, and on weekdays we have a much quieter celebration.

This year GFD was on a Saturday, but I just never really got into the mood of throwing a big bash. I think the politics of parties are beginning to wear on me a bit. You know the whole if you invite them, then you really ought to invite them. Or do I invite that group of friends/family, or that group of friends/family. Oh well, whether it was because of any of those reasons or all of those reasons, this year I plain and simply decided I wasn't doing a big sha-bang. (Which worked out very nicely considering it was 37 degrees on Saturday!!)

We did however, invite Melanie and her family over to celebrate with us. Simple, casual, no-stress, and no refereeing any childhood playing incidents. In good English style we had baked potatoes, (English) baked beans (most preferred chili) and sausages. Of course we had a small bonfire complete with the traditional burning of our own Guy Fawkes and some fireworks. Due to the freezing temperatures, we didn't last long outside. (Except for Melanie's husband, Bryan who stayed outside long enough to ensure all of his 'to be shredded pile' that made for some good stuffing for Guy Fawkes was properly burned and disposed of.)
I'm really not sure exactly what it is about my English heritage that causes me to abandon all lessons of respect and honor and allow my children to stand around watching a historical figure being burned in effigy. Really, back on the day in third or fourth grade when I had to dress up as Guy Fawkes himself for a brief role in a Guy Fawkes Day assembly, I could never have seen forward to the day I was celebrating around a fire with my American children!
Oh well, nonetheless here we are.
It's all about family traditions, right?

Friday, November 4, 2011

Grateful for Something

Years ago after visiting with a family whose mother had suddenly passed away, I felt an overwhelming sense of gratitude for positive mental health. (Depression had ultimately taken it's toll on the lady who passed away.) It jump-started me to finally start something I had been thinking about for years, a Gratitude Journal. It sits by my bed, and at least 3-4 times a week I get something written in it.

The other day, Megan came home from school, fired up and enthused by what she had learned in one of her classes. She was thrilled to have learned that showing gratitude not only makes people happier, but can make them physically healthier too. Of course it was not new information to me, but I was happy that Megan was so eager to begin showing more gratitude in her life.

It was the perfect conversation to have had on November 1st, considering our November tradition we began in 2005. Each November we hang on our pantry doors a paper that says, "We're Thankful For..." and invite family members to write a couple of things every day of the month that they are thankful for.

Last night, Mike was rolling his eyes as I handed him a pen and nagged gently reminded him he hadn't written anything on it. As his eyes rolled back, I began to summarize one of my favorite quotes,

“We can lift ourselves, and others as well, when we refuse to remain in the realm of negative thought and cultivate within our hearts an attitude of gratitude. If ingratitude be numbered among the serious sins, then gratitude takes its place among the noblest of virtues."
President Thomas S. Monson

I am fully aware and beyond grateful for all of the blessings I have in abundance, but sometimes reality kicks in just a little. The other night after a more challenging bedtime routine with the children, Mike and I climbed into bed exhausted and frustrated and gave each other that discouraging look of 'Why are our children so disobedient?'

Knowing I needed to recognize the good in my children, I picked up my gratitude journal to make an entry. I guess I was feeling pretty overwhelmed with the whole mothering thing, because as hard as I tried, only one grateful thought came to my mind. And so I wrote it down:

"I'm grateful that my children will one day be all grown up."

Some days are like that.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Date Night Idea


In September, I was able to be a part of the first Power of Moms Couples Retreat. It was a wonderful day spent learning together with both moms and dads. Many of the men came to the Retreat somewhat dragging their heels, yet the men were the ones who did most of the talking during each of the small group discussions I was a part of.

It was fairly difficult logistically for a lot of those desiring to attend to be there. Both the cost and the matter of finding babysitters for a full Saturday were not easy for many. That is why we have decided to do a smaller Power of Moms Couple Workshop Date Night. Friday, November 11th, 7:00pm-9:30pm. More information can be found here.

I would love for you to join us.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Ten Years Ago

I don't have to remind you that birthdays are a big deal around here. One of our funny traditions is to watch the clock for the 'exact time' the birthday person turns their new age. (Poor Joshua's is usually before anyone wakes up.) We usually remember, but the odd time we forget, like last month on Megan's birthday, we all lament and moan as though without the recognition of the time, the new age is null and void.

Last night Luke was packing up the birthday treats to share with his class today. He said that the teacher lets the birthday child pass them out 'whenever', and then with a sudden spurt of enthusiasm, he asked, "What time exactly was I born? I'm going to ask Mr Mills if I can pass them out at that time."

And then it happened. That which I never thought was possible. I couldn't remember the exact time. Sure I knew it was 10 something in the morning. And I also knew perfectly well that it was only 19 minutes after arriving at the hospital, but I couldn't remember whether it was 10:19am or 10:41am. So I left my turn of dishwasher emptying to hurry to the file drawer to consult Luke's birth certificate.

Only to discover I was wrong.
Luke was born at 10:43am.

Oh what memories of that day. I woke up and felt what I thought was a contraction just before 8am. I proceeded to shower, dress, and then settled into the chair in what was to be Luke's bedroom to read three year old Megan a book.

And I felt some discomfort.
And then I felt some pain.
But having had only one baby previously, and my water breaking before I ever had a contraction, this discomfort was all very new to me. (With Megan, I got an epidural before I ever felt a contraction. But there's a whole 'nother story and opinion about that.)

The discomfort continued and I decided to call Mike who was working 50 miles away to say, "I think I might have the baby today, maybe you should come home." He questioned, "'Maybe' come home or 'should' come home?" I don't remember what I answered, but his father's intuition must have been in high gear, because he immediately left for home.

I could drag this story out, but I'll spare everyone the details and instead say what Luke likes to occasionally say, "I was almost born in the car."

I think he secretly wishes he really was born in the car as it really would make the story sound so much better. But I'll settle for what happened. Nineteen minutes at the hospital, still in my regular clothes, and no one knowing my name until the baby was safely delivered, resting in my arms, and the nurse asked while poised to type on the keyboard in front of her, "Now what is your name?"

And that's what I was doing 10 years ago today.
Happy 10th Birthday Luke!!!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

One of My Favorites

I know I really shouldn't get started doing a post about one friend, if I can't do one about all the others. But when my friend of six and a half years and I FINALLY get a photo of us together, I can't resist.
My dear friend Lesley.
Where do I begin?

We began our days as visiting teaching partners six and a half years ago, and for some reason we just clicked. I've had a lot of visiting teaching partners over the years, but none have I become as good of friends with as with Lesley. It doesn't matter that she is several years my senior, or that we are in completely different stages of life with our children and families. We get each other, and isn't that really what friendship is about?

A few of my favorite highlights of Lesley and me:

* I don't think we have ever been together and not laughed. We do it really well. So much so that we couldn't even get a decent picture of us without laughing our heads off first.
* Lesley had more faith than I did with my last two pregnancies. I wanted boys so badly and even though I never *found out* what Joshua and Drew were, she crocheted little boy blankets during each pregnancy. She proudly presented them at the hospital each time, assuring me she never doubted they were boys. (She never told me what sex she *knew* they were, she just assured me she was confident enough to be crocheting a particular color.)
* Lesley has much experience with life, and I love that in addition to always laughing together, it is very common one of us will cry too. Like I said, we get each other; tears or laughter.
* Lesley has an amazing daughter who was my children's FAVORITE babysitter until she got too old (old as in babysitting terms)
* Lesley and I can talk about people, places and things and know it is safe with each other. (Well besides our spouses named Mike-we know each other will likely tell our Mike)
* Over two years ago, Lesley and I started hosting a 'Favorites Party' twice a year. It's a highlight of our spring and fall. We're fun, how could people not want to be with us! ;)

If you don't know Lesley, you're missing out. If you do know Lesley, consider yourself lucky or blessed.

If you want to know more about my wonderful friend, you can check out this spotlight I nominated her for HERE at Power of Moms. Or you can read her often funny blog here, or some memoirs of her daughter who passed away here.

"I count myselt in nothing else so happy
As in a soul rememb'ring my good friends."
-William Shakespeare
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