Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Tornadoes=Temper Tantrums

It's one of those eerie moments where the world outside the window is dark and chilling, black clouds are blanketing everything, and you see a herd of twisters lowering from the sky, destroying everything in their paths.

And worse, they're coming right for your house.

The hairs on your arms stand on end and a certain panic sets in, and, immediately, more than anything else, you're desperate to make sure every member of your family is accounted for. Moving with a haste you've never moved at, you rush into the basement, kids in arms, to find the most appropriate place to hide.

Then the panic deepens when you find that there just aren't any safe, good hiding spots, and the freight trains are growing louder as they close in on you.

This is it. The moment that will undoubtedly end it all.

So you crouch wherever you can--be it in the water heater room because there are no windows, or just in the bathtub--holding your children against you as the sound of terror and destruction sounds right outside the window. With tense muscles and a racing heart, you cling to them, praying that if death is involved, you'll all get to experience it together so that no one is left behind.

But they never hit.

Eventually, as the raging quiets and your heart rate slows, you look out the window to find that they've either dissipated or completely missed your house.

Maybe these dreams are inspired by recent terrible events in Missouri, etc., or maybe it's just because I can't get a handle on things. Either way, it's a reoccurring dream I've had a lot since the time I was very young, with the exception of a few varying details each time. The dreams come and go in spurts, sometimes occurring every night for weeks before they go months, sometimes years, without coming again.

And they've returned again. So I was curious what they meant this time.

When I was a kid, I thought it was just because I had a fascination with tornadoes (the dreams were always stressful, dark, and scary, but they were kind of cool, so I never considered them "nightmares."), and instead of scrambling to get my kids, I was desperate to find my cat so that I could protect her.

But now that I'm an adult, the exciting factor is gone, and this morning I realized there's probably more to it than a creepy childhood fascination.

So, thanks to Dream Moods, it all makes sense. Especially the first part, which I've bolded.

Damn those temper tantrums.

To see a tornado in your dream, suggests that you are experiencing some extreme emotional outbursts and temper tantrums. Is there a situation or relationship in your life that may be potentially destructive?

To dream that you are in a tornado, means that you are feeling overwhelmed and out of control. Your plans will be filled with much complications and you will be met with a series of disappointments.

To see several tornadoes in your dream, represent people around you who are prone to violent outbursts and shifting mood swings. It may also symbolize a volatile situation or relationship.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

And the award for Worst Mother of the Year goes to...

I have a serious problem.

And admitting it is the first step. (No, I'm not talking about my addiction to carbs)

If you're not in the mood to read the ventings of a hair-brained, stressed out mom, then you might want to stop right here. If you fancy pity-parties from someone who is a little beside herself for no good reason other than mothering children, you're at the right place, my friend. Just remember I warned you.

Sometimes I don't feel cut out for this whole motherhood thing. And it's not because I don't love it. I do. I wouldn't trade what I'm doing for anything else in the whole world--not even being the author of a New York Times best seller. It's almost scary how much I love my children and my heart literally skips a beat when I look at them.

But I'm exhausted and stressed and overwhelmed, and I'm just not sure how to recharge, because it all builds. And builds. Taking care of three tiny kids all day is challenging, especially when it feels like their goal is to bring me down to the utter depths of losing-my-mind-ville. (Wouldn't that be a cool Facebook ap?)

And today they won. They shot me a hundred times over, then did a victory dance on my twitching, unkempt body. (Did I say unkempt?)

And here's what gets me: I'm sure my kiddos aren't any more difficult than anyone else's four-, two-, and zero-year-olds. Every mother of multiple children goes through this, especially ones who don't have any extra help. Everyone has children whose ultimate goal is to make your life miserable (but can mysteriously show they love you at the same time) by defying your every demand until you sound like a broken record and want to vomit at the sound of your own voice.

I'm not even sure I know how to talk at a normal volume anymore (Jacob Silj comes to mind, hehe). Because it seems that the only way they'll listen to me, in the rare instance they do, is if I raise my voice. And I hate raising my voice.

So if this is so normal, and thousands of other moms are dealing with the same, completely normal and acceptable things I am--

hands/arms always full * anything and everything interrupted with yelling, screaming, crying, or reoccurring "mommy"s (Family Guy anyone?) * being pulled on, yelled at, hit, spit on, target practice, laughed at (in the humiliating way), and defied from five a.m. until eight p.m. * taking ten minutes to load the car and feeling like I've just packed for a month-long trip just to go to the grocery store * never-ever getting a single break (not even while sleeping since I have a nursing baby) except for maybe a five minute run to the grocery store or to the post office when the husband gets home from work

--then WHY do I feel like the only one who's losing it?

Gosh, nothing means more to me than when I'm having a stressful day and my four-year-old, who I just yelled at and sent to time out, hugs me and randomly says "I love you." I love the fullness I feel when they're in my arms, and that fullness can cure anything. But at every other moment throughout the day, the pressure is building, and by the end of the day I want to explode. And sometimes do.

And I don't know a healthy way to let off the steam. I honestly, truly feel like other mothers handle it so much better than me. I mean, we are moms. That's what we do. I've accepted that my days will be like this for a long long while, and that until Luke is older I just will not get a break because it's impossible. I've accepted the fact that they will get up at five a.m.

So why, when they do, do I flip out as though it was the most horrible thing that could happen?

Is it because I'm so exhausted that I can't function? (What the crap am I doing up right now when I should be sleeping?? Oh yeah...basking in the quiet) Or is it because I'm just not cut out for it?

As I've mentioned in previous posts, I have a bit of a temper. And it flares bad when the kiddos stress me out. I'm talking, one tiny thing goes wrong and I fly off the handle. Steam shooting out of my ears, face reddening, uncontrolled curse words flying from my mouth as though I've been taken over (though mostly under my breath).

Like I said, I have a problem. And even though I roll my eyes at my husband when he brings it to my attention (Because, really, who wants to hear that you're a danger to your possessions every time a door is slammed?), I do want to get better.

I want to be more patient. I want to be calmer with my children when they are impossible. I want to be okay with the fact that it never-ever ends. I want to be able to handle it deep inside when I feel at the very end of my very frayed rope, instead of feeling like I've absolutely lost control and the only outcome is exploding or running down the street screaming. And since the latter would be considered child abandonment, explosion it usually is.

I need your help, ladies. Anyone. I've got to get a hold of myself and learn how to "just breathe," or I might end up like this lady here.

Does anyone have any suggestions for stress relief--suggestions that are actually doable with three small children and no way to get away? What has worked for you?

And, please, please tell me I'm not alone here. I know most of you are a stone's throw from perfect, but if there are any others out there with an extremely short fuse, tell me I'm not alone. That way, I just might forgo nominating myself for the Worst Mother of the Year award.

(And no, there is no such thing. I hope. Because if there was, I'd have to prepare an acceptance speech, and I hate public speaking.)

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Cheerios and Bed Fires

*Inspired by Mama Kat's writer's workshop prompt, "Write about a time you got in BIG trouble as a kid."

This one is kind of difficult for me, since I practically never got in trouble as a kid. No, really. Ask my mom and dad. I was the bee's knees.

The bee's knees who was co-conspirator to my thirteen-months-younger-than-me brother. Or maybe it was the other way around. I don't really remember.

Either way, we were perfect. I mean, just look at us. Little angels.

I also don't remember sneaking downstairs to make sure our beloved grandma was preoccupied with Days of Our Lives (she watched us in our pre-kindergarten years while Mom worked), and then trying to find as many ways we could to wreak havoc in such a short window of opportunity.

Okay, so maybe this is difficult for me because there are too many acts to choose from. Like...

Dumping a whole box of Cheerios down all the heater vents in the upstairs bedrooms.

Ripping open and dumping out all of our older sister's Equal packets under the kitchen table and making an Equal dune for our little men (our index and middle finger), who were starving in the desert.

Popping out the second story window screen so we could throw out as many toys as possible in that little time we had before Grandma would run outside and pick them up, yelling and raising her fist at us from below (and probably cursing, too)...while we laughed at her and continued to throw more toys down on top of her.

And last, but certainly NOT least: Setting my parents' bed on fire. We were just "camping," okay? Our intentions were innocent and precious when putting our favorite Siamese Cat lamp on the bed, topping it with a blanket, and then sitting beneath it while we pretended to be warmed from the glow of a lantern, somewhere deep in the forest.

Cute, right?

Well, for some reason I still don't get, neither Grandma OR Mom saw the cuteness when the bed caught fire and the lamp burnt a large hole straight through to the other side of the mattress.

And funny thing (aside from the fact that we still used that mattress until many years later--and when I say we I mean our sister), I honestly can't remember the specific punishments for any of these things. Rather, between the ages of three and five, all I can remember is feeling my parents' (and any caretaker my mom would give us) constant oppression.

Okay, so I admit. I got in trouble ALL the time as a child. But who didn't at that tender, young age?

It was AFTER that point when I became the perfect angel.

**Sheesh, after this I feel like I owe a HUGE apology to my parents...and mostly to my grandma, God rest her magnetic-lovable-stubborn soul. I'm so sorry for making you sob on almost a daily basis, and for probably being one of the main causes of your graying hair.

I'm sorry for throwing things at you when, really, I thought you were the greatest person around.

I'm sorry for lying when you asked if we were conniving. Really, we were "kniving."

And thinking back on this has helped me remember just what it feels like to be a child. It brings me back to the evil, skewed inner-workings of a child's mind, who cannot comprehend the consequences when doing something outright bad and mischievous. And making adults look like the fool in the process.

I get it now, kiddos, I get it.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Here I am. In a Nutshell.

My life is full of happiness, joys, blessings, and lots of great days. I'm aware that I have a great life and a wonderful family, and, really, when it all comes down to it, I have no reason to complain. I just want to point that out.

And get it out of the way.

Because due to some recent spikes in less-than-happy things in my life (one of our kittens dying tragically, to name just one), I’ve been kind of a buzz-kill the last few days.

I know, I know. I need to be positive and move on, despite the extra lack of sleep (Luke is teething and back to not taking good naps or sleeping well at night. Nor letting me put him down without that trademarked high-pitched screaming that says, “How dare you think you can actually get anything done around here?!”).

And, despite the few--okay, lots more than a few--extra pounds I’ve been wallowing about lately. No more using the excuse that I "just had a baby." What happened to the whole claim that nursing moms lose weight faster?

To me it’s looking like a fairy tale, ladies. And I can only use the elliptical for so long before I realize my kids are destroying things while in the absence of my attention. So throw me a frickin’ bone here [insert whoever I feel like directing this at] and at least let me get back to my pre-baby-growing size.

Okay, moving on from that. In light of my loss of vigor and optimism, I feel like making a list of some things that make me me (some inspired by recent events and others at random placement). Good, bad, embarrassing--I don’t care. I am who I am, and on most days, I actually like that.

So, just in case you ever get quizzed...

  • If I actually let myself, I could probably eat a whole cake in one sitting. Beyond any food, even chocolate, cake is my downfall.
  • I still mourn my Dyson and have a little buyer's remorse for my Kirby.
  • The romantic fluff is my favorite substance in movies and books. If there isn't any, the rest of the content better be damn good.
  • I swear sometimes. Okay, more than sometimes. But--to all you gasping for the innocent ears of my children--I do watch myself around my kiddos. And church members.
  • The judgement, naivety, and close-mindedness from church members is the highest pet peeve on my list of pet peeves.
  • The whole mumbo-jumbo of religion and doctrine in general, and who's right and wrong--even in my own religion--is really tiring me out.
  • Pictures of posey teenage girls taken by themselves are high on the pet peeve list, too. Maybe even #2. Especially ones with the crooked pout and the sideways peace gesture.

  • Doctors are climbing really high on my hit list right now. All except my kiddos' pediatrician, who I found after a rigorous search and is wonderful. As far as I'm concerned, besides her, there aren't any left with good hearts in this world, who truly care about the patient and figuring out what's wrong with them. Since when does someone whose services we pay out of our butt for feel they have the right to treat us like we're wasting their time??

  • I hate corned beef. I only eat it on the special occasion that we make it because it's my husband's favorite food. There's nothing right about it.

  • Dora the Explorer is the bane of my existence.
  • I am horrible at anything crafty. I don't sew. I don't have a nack for home decor, and am basically clueless when it comes to knowing whether or not something looks good. And I'm only a decent cook. So, basically, I fail at the Susy Homemaker test.
  • My passion involves a laptop and solitude, and sometimes, I admit, that writing is all I want to be doing.
  • At this given moment in my life, if I was given the opportunity to spend twenty-four hours doing whatever I wanted, I'd go to a hotel completely and utterly alone, and write.
  • I want other people to read what I have labored over. Regardless of whether or not I'm good enough, I want to be known for writing--and maybe even make a little dough on the side.
  • Grammar mishaps really bother me. Like, a lot. Irregardless is not a real word, people.
  • Sometimes my kiddos still see me naked. And that's not good, since Sam is almost four. But that's what happens when you have three small children, a busy husband, and you are shower-deprived. Sometimes, it's unavoidable. So sue me.
  • I nurse in front of my kids because I want them to be accepting of it. It irks me when mothers are so hush-hush about breastfeeding and don't even speak of it. It's not a sexual thing, ladies, no matter how much society wants it to be. It's a beautiful thing and a God-given way to feed and nourish our babies.
  • Though I know it's not (do I really?), sometimes I feel like praying is a waste of time.
  • Next to losing a child, my biggest fear is my children losing their father, or me, and having someone else raise them.
  • I Hate bugs. Hate with a capitol H. And one of the biggest offenders are moths. There, I said it. I'm "afraid" of moths. And crane flies.

  • If asked, I'd say the Book of Mormon is my favorite book, because it is, yet I haven't really read it in almost four years.
  • I love dry humor. I love anything comedic.
  • I'm addicted to late night comedy/talk shows and DVR some of them regularly. Conan is my guilty pleasure.

  • I'm socially awkward sometimes. And physically awkward all the time.
  • I have the worst temper in the world, thanks in part to the genes of my father. It almost prevented my husband from marrying me. And now I see it in my kids. Uh-oh.
  • The best sound to my ears isn't rain or waves or anything emo like that. It's the word "Mommy" on my two-year-old's lips.
  • I truly feel that with all of these things aside, my children are my greatest blessing in life. They are the best part of me, an extension of who I am--my flesh and blood. And my life would be nothing without them. Poop, screaming, annoyances and all.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Ten Reasons I Love You

*Post inspired by Mama Kat's writers workshop prompt "List ten favorite things about one of your favorite people"...and by my husband of course. :)

I thought long and hard about this, not because it was difficult to come up with ten things I love about you, Dave, but because I didn't know how to condense it all into only ten things. You're the best husband in the world, and that says it all, but here are some reasons why:

  1. Honest. And sometimes, to a fault, some women might say. But I don't. Maybe I don't really want to know the honest answer to "Does this make me look fat?" but that's why I just don't ask anymore. Not unless I want the honest-to-goodness truth. And I love that about you because I know I will always get a straight answer about anything and everything. Besides, it's not hard to tell when you're lying.
  2. Reasonable, easy to communicate with, and realistic. So, I know that's three separate things, but they're closely related. You're the farthest from fake I know and you posses these certain qualities better than anyone I've ever met. And the way you can look at things from a logical point of view helps keep me grounded.
  3. Ever-enduring. You have been through hell and back in your life, and I admire you more than anyone for the man you've become through everything. I look to you as an example.
  4. Humble enough to admit when you're wrong. ...when you're wrong. And it doesn't happen very often. No, always being right doesn't deserve it's own number because that sometimes drives me crazy. But it makes me realize how insanely lost I'd be without you. And when you are wrong, you're the first to admit it. It's a trait not many people have, in my experience, and you have it down to a T.
  5. Loyal and trustworthy, with a heart of Gold. Like, in an old-fashioned way that is hard to come by nowadays. I don't have to worry that you're living a double life or anything scandalous like that, because I know you love your family more than anything else in this life. And you would bend over backwards and do anything for those people you love.
  6. Father of the Year. The way you love our children makes me love you even more. And the way they love you melts my heart like nothing else can. Our boys are your life, and it shows. I love that even when you feel at your worst, you can put it aside and play with them as though life was perfect. The song they sing every day when you get home says it all: I'm so glad when Daddy gets home, glad as I can be...

  7. Loves God. I love that when I'm feeling spiritual anxiety, your spiritual strength can lift me and make me feel the warmth of my own testimony all over again.
  8. Supportive. You respect me as a woman who has lost a bit of herself in motherhood and supports the dreams I still have. Your encouragement means more to me than anyone else's. Even the agents and editors I dream about talking to one day. The way you remind me that a negative attitude can hinder my success as a writer keeps me optimistic and plugging along.
  9. Dedicated and Hardworking. And more so than anyone I know. When your mind is set on something, you don't stop until you've accomplished it. I stood by you through getting your degree, admiring the way you pushed forward and conquered every class, despite what you feel are academic weaknesses. And even though you wonder sometimes if your career is really what you want/should be doing, you do it, and do it hard.

  10. You love me. Even when I don't look and act my best. Even in my weaknesses. And that means the world to me. There are no two people better suited for each other than you and me, and I'm grateful every day that you see that, too.

I love you, babe. Thank you for being persistent in winning me over when we first met. Even though I was "too tall" for you.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

The Terrible Horrible No-good Very Bad...Mom

Today was a lose for me, as a mom. We got the flu in our house yesterday, starting with Sam. He's better now, though he still doesn't have much of an appetite, but today I've been feeling it. I'm not even sure if that's what I have, since I'm not throwing up or anything, but I've just felt really cruddy in general, and weak and dizzy and exhausted, and my stomach hurts when I eat anything.

Anyway, it was just one of those days. You know, where the kiddos stay in pajamas all day, the dishes don't get done, the house doesn't get clean, dinner doesn't get made... And when I'm not wiping butts and feeding kids or rocking babies, I'm just lying around on the couch telling myself I don't really need sleep.

I'm filthy. My kids are filthy. My house is filthy. And all I want to do is snap my fingers and make it all better: my kids, myself, my husband. So what do I do?

Lay around instead.

And I want to shower. And exercise. But what do I do?

Lay around.

I feel so unproductive and like a waste of space, counting on tomorrow because today is already out the window. And then it all gets tied up with the prettiest bow that crap can be topped with: my son telling me hates me.

I was in the recliner trying to rest and Sam wanted so badly to sit there with me and cuddle, and I was fine with it as long as he kept his legs to himself. I told him 3 times not to kick me. But have you ever heard of a four-year-old that can actually keep their legs still? I haven't, and I got upset after the third time. So, rather than wasting my breath again, I forced him off the chair and told him to go sit on the couch.

Immediately, already, I'm hating myself, wondering if I should get the medal for worst mom in the world because I denied my first born child cuddling rights (though I doubt it'd be a medal. Probably more like poop in my face or something). And then, with hurt in his eyes, he sits on the couch and says, "Don't talk to me anymore, because I hate you, Mom."

Ugh. Talk about a dagger, right in the heart. That hurt. Literally. And that was the first time he's ever said it to me (though he has said it to Dave in the past).

Now, I've always been a big hater of the word hate (pun intended), especially when in reference to a person...and even more, a loved one. I grew up never allowing myself to even think the words "I hate you" in the direction of my parents, and I am proud to say that I have never uttered those words to them.

My son is four and he's already told me that.

I guess the positive side to this is that he really doesn't know any better, when it all comes down to it. He's just mad and doesn't grasp the true meaning of the word hate, and I really do get that.

But it still hurts.


There's always tomorrow.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Davenports Lately

Other than participating in Mama Kat’s "Pretty Much World Famous Writer’s Workshop" this week, my blogging has been nonexistent for the past three months. And it’s not that I haven’t had anything blog-worthy happening. It’s been a very eventful, crazy-busy past three months, and since I’m way past due, I’m just going to condense it all into one blog post, pictures included. So...*takes a breath* here we go...going in (kind of) order.

I already blogged about my sister, Heather, and her family (the Lees) coming in the beginning of February, but shortly after that, we had an asbestos problem in our house. I won’t get into all the dull details, but basically, we had to move out and were living in temporary housing for about two weeks while they took care of the problem. And it was the most luxurious mobile home I’ve ever seen. Just ask my mom and dad, or Dave’s dad and his sister, Mary, since they all just so happened to be visiting during that time. Yeah. Huge bummer. Anyway, it all worked out.

Like I said, my mom and dad came to visit during that time and though I hated that we were in that state of limbo when they were here and it kind of put a damper on everything, I absolutely loved having them here. The boys loved having Grandma and Grandpa “Colfart” here and I was so glad they got to meet little Luke, who was about six weeks old at the time. Thanks for all your help, mom and dad, while you were here. And thanks for introducing Sam to computer games, Grandpa. Really. A day hasn’t gone by since then that he doesn’t beg to play them.

Unfortunately this was the best picture we could get of Grandma and Grandpa "Colfart" with the kids...

The week after my mom and dad left, Mary and Grandpa Meyers came (Grandpa for just that weekend and Mary for the entire week). Again, the timing was poopy because it was our last week living in luxery in the mobile home and it was quite possibly one of the most boring weeks of Mary’s life (I’m guessing). But she was a HUGE help and a lifesaver, because on the day we moved back into our home, she was there helping me with the kids the whole time. So even though you probably never want to come back, we loved having you, Mary, and we so appreciate all you did!

The same day that Mary left, Jessica, Dave’s other sister, came to stay with us, and she was here for a week as well. Lucky for her, we were back in our home by then and all moved in. As always when she comes, it was a ton of fun and we loved having her, too. And in about two weeks, Dave’s other sister, Jenni, will be coming for a week! It’s been so awesome having everyone come. It makes us realize even more how much we miss having family close.

Then, to add to it, my sister, Cindi, and her family (the Lindsays) were here for about a week a couple weeks ago. Sam and Josh loved it, because they got to see their cousins Aaron and Abbey. It was the first time everyone was really old enough to play together and I just loved seeing the boys play with their cousin. I wish they had them closer. They had so much fun, and Sam asks to see Aaron all the time now. They also slept in the same room together. Let’s just say we adults didn’t get much sleep. Enough said. But we would have them again any day and the lack of sleep was worth it!

Cindi and I being silly with lots of makeup on.

Sam, Josh, and Aaron eating their hot dogs at the river.

Abbey and Luke.

We also had Luke’s baby blessing on March 6, when he was exactly two months old, and we were lucky enough that Grandpa Meyers and Aunt Mary were here for it. It was beautiful, and he wore Josh’s blessing tux from Aunt Nadine. Mostly what I remember from it was feeling overwhelmed with the realization that my boys will all be adult men someday, getting married and having kids of their own, and that thought just kind of blew me away. I can’t imagine it. The joy, yet the sadness of separation. It makes me want to treasure these years with them even more. My beautiful blond boys.

Your baby blues, so full of wonder,
Your curly-cues, your contagious smile.
As I watch, you start to grow up,
All I can do is hold you tight,
Knowing clouds will rage and
Storms will race in,
But you will be safe in my arms.
Rains will pour down,
Waves will crash around,
But you will be safe in my arms...

-In My Arms, Plum

Sam started T-Ball in March and that has been going as wonderful as can be expected! He is learning, as is the whole team, and I just love watching him out there. There might not be much structure or many rules, and they might not keep score, but I’m a proud mama sitting in the stands nonetheless. There’s just something about it. I love watching my little blond string-bean batting left-handed and standing in the outfield with his glove on and his huge hat falling over his eyes as he kicks the dirt and wonders what he’s really doing out there.

The cutest T-Ball player ever.

Waiting on second base.

Josh watching through the fence and wishing he could play, too.

He is getting funnier and smarter everyday (and more trying, I must say), and I have had people tell me I need to start keeping a book of “Samisms” because of all the funny things he says. One thing I’m not enjoying, however, is that he’s entered a lying stage, just this last week actually. His most famous phrase this week has been, “I don’t know.”

Me (seeing a kitten slide across the floor and crash into the cupboard): What did you just throw?
Sam: I don’t know.
Me: Don’t lie, Sam. That makes it worse and you will get an even bigger punishment for not telling the truth. We don’t lie. Tell me again, what did you throw?
Sam: I don’t know.
Me (face reddening, patience diminishing, just wanting him to admit to it already): Sam...
Sam: It was nothing, mom. I threw nothing.
Me: You’re lying. I saw the kitten you threw. Did you throw a kitten?
Sam: It was Josh.
Me (huffing with rage, but keeping it inside): That’s not true. I saw Josh, and he didn’t throw it. I want you to tell me what you threw.
Sam: I threw...a magnet.
Me: You’re lying again!
Sam: It was that hat right there.
Me: You really think I’m dumb, don’t you?!
Sam (dramatically shaking his head): No.
Me: Then tell me the truth! If you lie ONE MORE TIME, I will send you to bed! This is your last chance. WHAT. DID. YOU. THROW?
Sam (sighing): A kitten

And so it goes. And this type of thing has been happening every day, about five times a day for the past four days. I hope it’s not a long stage.

Onto Josh. Well, since we moved Luke into the crib and into the guest-room-slash-office (Hallelujah that we have our room back!), we have moved Josh into the toddler bed and Sam into their new bunk bed. I was worried about this at first because Sam did very well with the toddler bed at Josh’s age, and since Josh does everything opposite than Sam... Anyway, it hasn’t been that bad. He generally stays in bed when he is supposed to, so I have been very proud of him. That--along with his first haircut that made him look like such a big boy--has pulled him further out of his baby stage and more into his toddler/little boy stage.

Before the haircut (Gosh, I miss those curls!)...


Both boys after their haircuts.

He’s even been doing better with his speech. His speech therapist, Ann, comes once a week and it’s been a great success. Sam and Josh both look forward to her coming every week and literally jump up and down with excitement at the window when she pulls up. They love her toys she brings them and the attention she gives them. She’s just wonderful.

He’s still not at the level he should be, but we see a definite progression and she is not worried about him at all. He will come around soon, and he is showing a lot of strength in every other area. She has confirmed my thoughts that he is a very smart boy, but that it just wasn’t showing because he wasn’t verbalizing anything. She thinks he will be an engineer or a mechanic, with the way he loves to use his hands, and very precisely. But he is learning to use more sounds and say more words every single week, along with the fact that he sings ALL the time now. It’s also been harder on him because of his always, ongoing congestion that he never gets a break from, which turns him into a mouth breather. Which makes him want to talk even less.

Luke is still very healthy and this past week has had his first cold ever. He’s been stuffy and I’ve had to use the annoying booger syringe on him a few times a day, but other than that he’s been doing great. He’s started sleeping much better now, too. I get two good, long naps out of him a day, put him to bed around seven, and he gets up about twice to nurse in the night. He still has difficulty with nursing, but he is doing it better now. And for longer.

He seemed really small to me, and to everyone else who sees him, but at the doctor last week we discovered that he is in the fiftieth percentile for height and the thirtieth for weight. So at least he’s well on the charts. Also, his "lost" testicle came down during the last month and now he probably won't need surgery at six months old! YAY! It's not all the way down, so they still need to monitor it, but it's making progress.

About six weeks old...

About 8 weeks old...

My baby and I at almost 4 months old (about 2 weeks ago).

He is laughing and smiling ALL the time, even though he is a high-maintenance baby. He NEVER wants me to leave his side and makes his frustration known when I do. Just ask Dave. And anyone who’s stayed at our house for over a day. He has this high-pitched cry that just makes Dave want to bang his head against a wall, too. Definitely a mama’s baby. But when he’s not mad (and even sometimes when he is), he is always ready to smile and laugh. And mostly at Sam. To him, Sam is the funniest person in the world, and I love watching them laugh together.

All my angels are so precious to me. I just love love love being the mom to three beautiful, and sometimes yucky, boys.

We’ve also had some other babies in our house. In the beginning of April, Bauer (our cat) had a litter of five kittens: three black, one gray, and one grayish striped one. They are absolutely, teeth-grittingly, squeezably cute! So precious and small and fuzzy. I think I had forgotten just how cute kittens were and I’ve loved having them here.

But. They will turn into big, annoying cats someday, and we are going to be getting rid of them in the next month or two. So if anyone knows anyone who wants a kitten...let me know. (Pretty please)

I decided that once my novel(s) are out of editing stage (a friend of mine is being my critical eye), I will start the querying process again. The quick, always easy, simple querying process (sense the satire). I think by then, I won’t want to pull my hair out as much because Luke will be a little older, and I’ll be able to devote a tad more time to it. My friend, Steve (whose opinion is valuable to me in this area), is currently going over Prayers to Russell, and then will be going over The Exception later on. It’s always so hard to know what works and what doesn’t, and there’s only so far you can get editing on your own. Eventually, you come to a point where you need that outside opinion, that outside pair of eyes. And not just someone reading it and giving a generalized statement about the work, but really breaking it down and saying why or why not certain things work/don't work. And it’s really difficult for people in their busy everyday lives to devote that kind of time to helping me out, so again, Steve...thanks SO much! I owe you.

And, as always, if there is anyone else interested in reading my work, I am always willing and open to that. Even if it’s just for a casual read. Even the most generic opinions help.

In the meantime, to keep up my game, I decided to start participating in—another plug—Mama Kat’s Pretty Much World Famous Writer’s Workshop (see last two posts). Not that it will give me any writing credentials, but it’s fun. Every week she offers five different prompts, I pick at least one, and write on it. Just to keep me writing. And to keep me blogging. :)

Aside from that, I recently entered a short story of mine (my only) in the Writer’s Digest Annual Writing Competition. I had written a short story a year or so ago, and when I looked back at it about a month ago, I was absolutely HORRIFIED. So, I based it off of that, but completely rewrote it. I submitted it a couple weeks ago, but won’t know if I even placed until about October.

Anyway, here are some other pictures to illustrate what we’ve been up to. And next time I will do better at blogging as life happens, so that the posts aren't so long. :)

Dave, Sam, and Josh before a bike ride.

Sam showing off his new Star Wars Bed set on he and Josh's new bunk bed (he picked out the Star Wars theme all his own)! Josh doesn't get to sleep in it for another couple of years, but he wanted to be in the picture anyway.

Sam and Josh on Easter after their egg hunt in the backyard.

Cuties at the park.

Friday, May 13, 2011

The Nerd and the Cheerleader

*Post inspired by Mama Kat's weekly writer's workshop, with the prompt, "Explain how you met your best friend."

Look at her,” I whispered to my brother, discretely pointing to the girl on the corner. Stylish clothes, platinum hair, trendy makeup job over a beautiful face…and no smile. “I bet she’s so stuck up,” I finished, folding my arms uncomfortably over myself. Her arms were folded, too, but probably because she thought herself better than us newbies.

We had just moved to Idaho Falls and it was our first day of school—my Freshman year and my brother’s eighth. He didn’t respond to my assumption. He probably knew I was just jealous.

As we waited on the corner for the bus to arrive, my stomach twisted madly inside at what lie ahead. And seeing this cute girl, who apparently lived just one street over—great—made it worse. Was everyone going to be this way at Clair E. Gale Middle School? Would there be anyone I could connect with?

Nudging my brother, furthering my desire to feel better about myself, I harrumphed. I bet she’s even a cheerleader.”

Later that morning, while all the students congregated on the lawn outside the school, a girl from my church who I’d met the previous Sunday approached with none other than blondie from the bus stop. “Hey, Jennie!” she beamed, “remember my friend I told you about?”

I gulped a guilty breath. “Yes…”

Well, turns out, blondie’s name was Chloe. Turns out, blondie was in fact a cheerleader.

But she was also the sweetest, most compassionate girl I ever met. And I felt horrible.

Come to find out, Chloe was shy, too, which explained her aloofness at the bus stop. And even funnier, she told me years later that when she first saw me at the bus stop, she thought I was a snob. Ick. I never thought I was, but maybe judging someone without knowing their story made me one. Lesson learned.

But from that first day, Chloe and I clicked better than I’ve ever clicked with anyone, and to this day—fifteen years, lots of boyfriends, 2 husbands, and 6.5 children later—we are the best of besties. Even when we’ve gone months without talking, or years without seeing each other (like right now), we can pick up that phone and have a conversation as though we just spoke the day before. She gets me. I get her. We are the same in so many, quirky ways.

She is talented, artistic, and beautiful, and can connect to me on a wavelength special only to us. She is my sister and my best girlfriend. Chloe, I love you.

High School or Hell?

*This post is inspired by Mama Kat's weekly writer's workshop. The prompt was "If you could go back to high school, what would you do differently?"

Anyone who knew me in high school knows I was shy, self-conscious, and just plain dorky…to put it lightly. Don’t get me wrong. I had an amazing, select group of friends who gave me memories I will always cherish. To you girls: I will love you forever.

But for the most part, the first word that surfaces in my mind when trying to sum up my high school experience is...Hell.

Besides to those few who knew me well, I kept myself locked inside—because in all reality, I didn’t know who I was to begin with. Every negative experience, every setback, was utterly traumatic to the emotional teenage girl I was, and since I was shy and closed-off, my teenage years were filled to the brim with them.

Just walking through the crowded hallways between each class was unnerving and gave me anxiety. Being looked at or recognized by anyone was scary—even by the boy I’d been crushing on at the time. Crazy, right? What teenage girl doesn’t thrill at that “cosmic, I’m-gonna-mary-him” eye connection? Well, even though I gushed about it in my journal, I just plain hated it. Hated the vulnerability, hated the exposure. Even from Bill and Bob*, the two guys I was sure I’d end up marrying someday.

And no, I didn’t. (No regrets there, by the way)
*We will give them fake names in order to avoid embarrassment on both parts...or maybe just because these were the actual code names my girlfriends and I used.

To those boys: Even though I’d shrink and run the other way when you’d make eye contact with me in the hall, really I was pathetically, madly in love with you…

Because instead of adoring myself, I put all my emotion into someone I spoke no more than one word to on a daily basis and claimed it “love.”

Atrocious haircuts, awkward-fitting clothes, no sense of self-worth, zero confidence: I was the very definition of the term “crawling in my skin.” It was a sad, depressing time, really. Letting my raging teenage emotions get the best of me, letting them affect friendships, opportunities to branch out, and—back to those boys again—even boyfriends.

Oh wait. BoyFRIEND.

Yes, that’s right. One. And I’m surprised I even had him, though I only had him for a month. I was so uncomfortable and unsure of who I was that I didn’t know how to act in any intimate setting. My dearest friends knew me and loved me, and when with them I could be the strange, silly, and funny girl I was...

...Or even the empathetic girl I was—always the first one there when anyone needed an ear to listen or a shoulder to cry on.

But put me around kids who loved being the center of attention, loved bringing other people down, and insults and glares would brutally throw me back into the dark hole I’d dug since the first day of middle school. The hole that had become home. Home, sweet-nauseating, home.

Gabby girls linking arms on the way to the cafeteria: keep those loving limbs away from me and my insecure bubble.

BoyFRIEND going in for the kiss or the hand, especially while walking through the hall swimming with judgmental teenagers: forget it. Kill me now, and What do I say, and How do I act running in a panic stream through my mind.

What would they—the beautiful, bold, cheerful and sometimes mean students—think of the star basketball player touching the girl with uneven dishwater hair, a baggy sweatshirt, and jeans too short for her daddy-long-leg legs? What would they think of the nobody? Surely they’d see the couple as a misfit, just as she so clearly does.

And so they did. And so did he. Do I blame him? Not in the slightest.

So what would I do differently?

I’d love myself. Pure and simple.

And not for those boys or even those teens who smashed my self esteem into the ground, but for me.