Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Rice Tub

Im not a crafty mom, (i have boys, we play outside) but i am a mom who is into the latest and greatest sensory/brain building/creative activities.
Im also into natural play. So if the two go hand in hand, its even better! Trendy, i know.

Ive been hearing a lot of great things about "rice tubs". Great calming activity, yet brain stimulating at the same time. Used by a lot of professional child psychologists....blah blah blah.

I got to work and created a pretty awesome rice tub for Forest to enjoy. I got a little instructional help from a blog that was passed along to me. The woman who has the blog is a complete organizational, have your child do something educational every second of the day, lover of structure, above public school, does a family actually live in that house, nut job type of woman. However, she has a few creative ideas to offer. Its a neat activity that Forest can do inside or outside on the patio. And its currently keeping him busy while i write this blog post.
He helped with the dying process and helped me choose what colors we should use.
Here are some pictures of how it turned out!

Dying a batch of blue rice

Finished product. We did a multi-colored tub

We even some left over to make a mini tub for our friend

Thoroughly enjoying it! He likes to bury his animals

Monday, February 13, 2012

"Parenting means sacrifice. It seems that every couple of years some one comes out with a psychological or sociological study showing that parents have higher levels of anxiety and depression than those without children. I dont dispute those studies at all. The question, though, is, why is there such anxiety, such sadness, in the lives of parents?
I hope i dont succumb to the sin of anxiety or lack of trust in God. But i do worry about my sons.
I hope for the best for them. I felt conviction of sin when i snapped at someone, but i never felt the depression that comes with realizing that ive snapped at one of my sons. I feel sorry for a young man whos been rejected by the woman he thought was meant to be his wife, but ive never cried about it. I can imagine myself weeping behind closed doors, though, if it ever happened to my son.
Ive always loathed child molesters and raged against the way the courts and churches so often coddle them. But ive never had my blood pressure accelerate the way it does when a socially awkward, creepily friendly man kneels to talk to my kids.
Having a baby yanks one into a while new world of responsibility for shaping a life, a family, a future."

Russel Moore Adopted for Life

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Choosing my battles

As a mom of two boys; one who runs wild, and the other who will soon follow, Ive learned to just let some things go. For example. Its not actually a big deal if Forest wants to jump on the couch with excitement because his favorite song came on. Do i let him do this at some one else house? No. Definitely not. Or, if he feels the need to stand during a structured class environment, I totally let him. No big deal. Do i let him block the view for other children who are sitting? No.
He's a unique individual who needs to be allowed a bit of freedom to express himself. This in return, helps him to actually hear me and respond when i need to correct him. (um hopefully)
Its called choosing my battles. It provides a much more enjoyable day for me, and for the kids.
Some might call this obnoxious. Thats ok with me. If obnoxious means that my sons feel free to express themselves (happy or sad), be independent, learn from choices, play how they need to play, feel satisfied and secure...then i consider it a day well done.

This next part is a bit controversial. Please refrain from creepy comments. Its my blog dude.

There is something that i am very adamant about.
We are a non gun owning home. Including no fake play guns.
I have been told by a handful of moms that "boys will be boys and turn anything into a gun", or the occasional "its just naturally in them to play with guns no matter how hard you try".
In all honesty, i rarely lend half an ear to these comments. I can tell you, i havent tried hard at all. It has actually taken very little effort. Forest doesnt have a clue. And in my opinion, a 2 and 1/2 year old doesnt need to.
I have tried to make it known that our kids dont play with toy guns. But i have always quietly feared the day that they receive one as a gift from some one who isnt aware. How would i react? What would i do? Well, it happened. However, it was quite humorous because the gift giver was some one i least expected! Christmas was at its best, and our boys were being showered with so many presents. Forest was very excited to open his gift from my best friend. My friend that i have known since i was 16. She knows me so well! Of all the people in the world, it had to be her! How could this have happened?! hahaha
He looked puzzled as he opened his brand new dart gun. Not as puzzled as i looked!
As he got more excited and decided it was a "tool", i sat in silence with my startled bird face look going on. Part of me dying and trying not to cry, the other part wanting to burst out laughing because of the irony. I have to admit, a dart gun is not quite the same as other toy guns. However, this one happened to be a pretty major one. She had bought my son a top quality dart gun. I decided to let him play with it. It took him quite a while to get the hang of it. He didnt naturally know what to do with it. But then after a few weeks, HE GOT IT. We never told him it was a gun. We never talked about shooting. It was just darts to him.
A major pet peeve of mine, is little boys pretending to shoot their friends. I started to notice a new behavior unfold in Forest. Something that he doesnt naturally have. Aggression. Every time he pulled out the dart gun, he became crazy aggressive. One day when our friends were over, i was just finishing explaining this to my fellow mom friend. We both turned to see Forest shouting at his friend (her son) and holding his dart gun to his head. I shouted "Thats enough! That thing is gone!". And the dart gun has now been put away matter how much fun i was secretly having with it.
I think little boys know how to pretend to shoot guns if they are told about them, shown how, have watched and been exposed. Forest didnt know how. Once he was handed a gun, he learned how. I hate guns. And i hate that its considered "cute" and "natural" for little boys to pretend shoot each other.

To my best friend: Please please dont hate me for writing about this! hahahaha

Saturday, January 21, 2012

"Dont Carpe Diem"

Here's a lovely article i read, titled "Dont Carpe Diem". Enjoy!

Every time I'm out with my kids -- this seems to happen:

An older woman stops us, puts her hand over her heart and says something like, "Oh, Enjoy every moment. This time goes by so fast."

Everywhere I go, someone is telling me to seize the moment, raise my awareness, be happy, enjoy every second, etc, etc, etc.

I know that this message is right and good. But, I have finally allowed myself to admit that it just doesn't work for me. It bugs me. This CARPE DIEM message makes me paranoid and panicky. Especially during this phase of my life - while I'm raising young kids. Being told, in a million different ways to CARPE DIEM makes me worry that if I'm not in a constant state of intense gratitude and ecstasy, I'm doing something wrong.

I think parenting young children (and old ones, I've heard) is a little like climbing Mount Everest. Brave, adventurous souls try it because they've heard there's magic in the climb. They try because they believe that finishing, or even attempting the climb are impressive accomplishments. They try because during the climb, if they allow themselves to pause and lift their eyes and minds from the pain and drudgery, the views are breathtaking. They try because even though it hurts and it's hard, there are moments that make it worth the hard. These moments are so intense and unique that many people who reach the top start planning, almost immediately, to climb again. Even though any climber will tell you that most of the climb is treacherous, exhausting, killer. That they literally cried most of the way up.

And so I think that if there were people stationed, say, every thirty feet along Mount Everest yelling to the climbers -- "ARE YOU ENJOYING YOURSELF!? IF NOT, YOU SHOULD BE! ONE DAY YOU'LL BE SORRY YOU DIDN'T!" TRUST US!! IT'LL BE OVER TOO SOON! CARPE DIEM!" -- those well-meaning, nostalgic cheerleaders might be physically thrown from the mountain.

Now. I'm not suggesting that the sweet old ladies who tell me to ENJOY MYSELF be thrown from a mountain. These are wonderful ladies. Monkees, probably. But last week, a woman approached me in the Target line and said the following: "Sugar, I hope you are enjoying this. I loved every single second of parenting my two girls. Every single moment. These days go by so fast."

At that particular moment, Amma had arranged one of the new bras I was buying on top of her sweater and was sucking a lollipop that she must have found on the ground. She also had three shop-lifted clip-on neon feathers stuck in her hair. She looked exactly like a contestant from Toddlers and Tiaras. I couldn't find Chase anywhere, and Tish was grabbing the pen on the credit card swiper thing WHILE the woman in front of me was trying to use it. And so I just looked at the woman, smiled and said, "Thank you. Yes. Me too. I am enjoying every single moment. Especially this one. Yes. Thank you."

That's not exactly what I wanted to say, though.

There was a famous writer who, when asked if he loved writing, replied, "No. but I love having written." What I wanted to say to this sweet woman was, "Are you sure? Are you sure you don't mean you love having parented?"

I love having written. And I love having parented. My favorite part of each day is when the kids are put to sleep (to bed) and Craig and I sink into the couch to watch some quality TV, like Celebrity Wife Swap, and congratulate each other on a job well done. Or a job done, at least.

Every time I write a post like this, I get emails suggesting that I'm being negative. I have received this particular message four or five times -- G, if you can't handle the three you have, why do you want a fourth?

That one always stings, and I don't think it's quite fair. Parenting is hard. Just like lots of important jobs are hard. Why is it that the second a mother admits that it's hard, people feel the need to suggest that maybe she's not doing it right? Or that she certainly shouldn't add more to her load. Maybe the fact that it's so hard means she IS doing it her own way...and she happens to be honest.

Craig is a software salesman. It's a hard job in this economy. And he comes home each day and talks a little bit about how hard it is. And I don't ever feel the need to suggest that he's not doing it right, or that he's negative for noticing that it's hard, or that maybe he shouldn't even consider taking on more responsibility. And I doubt anybody comes by his office to make sure he's ENJOYING HIMSELF. I doubt his boss peeks in his office and says: "This career goes by so fast...ARE YOU ENJOYING EVERY MOMENT IN THERE, CRAIG???? CARPE DIEM, CRAIG!"

My point is this. I used to worry that not only was I failing to do a good enough job at parenting, but that I wasn't enjoying it enough. Double failure. I felt guilty because I wasn't in parental ecstasy every hour of every day and I wasn't MAKING THE MOST OF EVERY MOMENT like the mamas in the parenting magazines seemed to be doing. I felt guilty because honestly, I was tired and cranky and ready for the day to be over quite often. And because I knew that one day, I'd wake up and the kids would be gone, and I'd be the old lady in the grocery store with my hand over my heart. Would I be able to say I enjoyed every moment? No.

But the fact remains that I will be that nostalgic lady. I just hope to be one with a clear memory. And here's what I hope to say to the younger mama gritting her teeth in line:

"It's helluva hard, isn't it? You're a good mom, I can tell. And I like your kids, especially that one peeing in the corner. She's my favorite. Carry on, warrior. Six hours till bedtime." And hopefully, every once in a while, I'll add -- "Let me pick up that grocery bill for ya, sister. Go put those kids in the van and pull on up -- I'll have them bring your groceries out."

Anyway. Clearly, Carpe Diem doesn't work for me. I can't even carpe fifteen minutes in a row, so a whole diem is out of the question.

Here's what does work for me:

There are two different types of time. Chronos time is what we live in. It's regular time, it's one minute at a time, it's staring down the clock till bedtime time, it's ten excruciating minutes in the Target line time, it's four screaming minutes in time out time, it's two hours till daddy gets home time. Chronos is the hard, slow passing time we parents often live in.

Then there's Kairos time. Kairos is God's time. It's time outside of time. It's metaphysical time. It's those magical moments in which time stands still. I have a few of those moments each day. And I cherish them.

Like when I actually stop what I'm doing and really look at Tish. I notice how perfectly smooth and brownish her skin is. I notice the perfect curves of her teeny elf mouth and her asianish brown eyes, and I breathe in her soft Tishy smell. In these moments, I see that her mouth is moving but I can't hear her because all I can think is -- This is the first time I've really seen Tish all day, and my God -- she is so beautiful. Kairos.

Like when I'm stuck in chronos time in the grocery line and I'm haggard and annoyed and angry at the slow check-out clerk. And then I look at my cart and I'm transported out of chronos. And suddenly I notice the piles and piles of healthy food I'll feed my children to grow their bodies and minds and I remember that most of the world's mamas would kill for this opportunity. This chance to stand in a grocery line with enough money to pay. And I just stare at my cart. At the abundance. The bounty. Thank you, God. Kairos.

Or when I curl up in my cozy bed with Theo asleep at my feet and Craig asleep by my side and I listen to them both breathing. And for a moment, I think- how did a girl like me get so lucky? To go to bed each night surrounded by this breath, this love, this peace, this warmth? Kairos.

These kairos moments leave as fast as they come- but I mark them. I say the word kairos in my head each time I leave chronos. And at the end of the day, I don't remember exactly what my kairos moments were, but I remember I had them. And that makes the pain of the daily parenting climb worth it.

If I had a couple Kairos moments during the day, I call it a success.

Carpe a couple of Kairoses a day.

Good enough for me.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Blogging Break

The blog has been on a break.
Completely unintentional. I didnt even notice until Robert told me last night that i should update the blog.

I do have a few things id probably like to sit down and mention on here. But, to be honest, my free time is limited these days and id rather spend it doing something other than blog.

I find it really difficult/awkward to put up endless pictures of Forest, when i also have another handsome little man that id love to be showing......but i cant. Id love to talk about mile stones being reached, progress being made, court dates that are special, how blue his eyes are, how incredibly handsome he is, how big he is getting, and all of his "firsts". The blog is so public and available to anyone on the internet. Which means, for now, nothing about our little guy can be mentioned.
I cannot wait for our adoption day! The pictures will be showing up by the dozens!

The Holidays are here, and so i will take a break from blogging and fully enjoy my family as we soak up Christmas and all that comes along with it.

Monday, October 10, 2011

my year

2011 has been my year. Our year. Last November i knew it needed to be. In December i sensed it would be. In January i claimed it would be. (i also remember stating to my best friend "Tiff is back bitches!) This year has been exactly what my family has needed and more. I am constantly thankful for how blessed we are and for where our life is at.
I Know both sides of the coin. Ive lived both. I appreciate where we are in life more, because of it.

But ive gotta say....this has also been my year for aging. Yikes!!!!
Im turning 28 in a couple weeks. I really do love birthdays. Im not afraid of another number.
28 does sound pretty old. I find myself needing vitamins in order to feel my best. Extra yoga in order to feel strong.Getting excited about things like my new chair to rock the kids in.
And dun dun dunnnn.....i have wrinkles!! I guess 6 years of adventures with my husband, and two kids will do that to you?
Thanks to my sister, this has been my year of anti-aging night cream. Yes, really. Im not sure if its working, but im praying to God that it does. One morning my husband decided to tell me that i look "nicer" on the mornings that i have used the cream the night before.
Yes, he went there. So maybe there is hope! Or at least it will give me a couple extra years to save up for botox. I said it out loud. Id totally do botox. I already know where.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

First tradition of the season is on its way!

2 years ago we started going to a special pumpkin patch. I often tell Robert that the only good thing i have taken from our semi-brief time of living in Auburn, is this pumpkin patch. It was during a very difficult year that we were fortunate to find and begin this special tradition. This October will be our third time going, which officially does make it a tradition! This is exciting for me, because im all about traditions...especially when i am the one who created it! Every October, its my mission to carve out a two day slot of time in the day planner for our journey to the pumpkin patch. Its a few hours away, but its proven to be worth the mini trip every time. We do this with the Clark side of the family, who actually live pretty close to the patch. And we always spend the night with them after.

So many things about our tradition get me very excited about going. However, i have to admit that the wardrobe takes top priority. What will the boys wear? What will i wear? What are the celebrities wearing this Fall as they take their kids to the pumpkin patch? (Yes, i seriously google that every year). Nicole Ritchi was my inspiration two years ago. Last year was Tori Spelling. This year is still undecided. But i guarantee, no matter what, i will be showing up to the patch in complete identity crisis mode. And i will wear it well. Most people dont realize that i think this way. Which is so funny to me. But i totally care about this stuff...i care so much.

Its going to be so fun to see how much Forest enjoys himself now that hes older. And it will be wonderful to see N at his first pumpkin patch!