"I love you and want for you all things that make you happiest; and I guess you, not I, are the one who knows best what those things are."

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Successful Stories

Danielle Bean, from Faith and Family Live!,  reminds us to find the small successes each week.  According to her it's the small successes that add up to one big triumph.

1.  I had a bad day.  But I bounced back!

2.  Yesterday I had successfully completed John's OT, been to the UPS Store to ship a package, stopped by my parent's house to pick up some leftover chili, deposited a check at the bank, filled up the gas tank, ate lunch with my dad at Red Robin, washed, dried and folded 3 loads of laundry, ironed the clothes that needed it, unloaded and reloaded the dishwasher....all before the boys' 1pm nap!  (Unfortunately the afternoon did not prove to be nearly as productive.)

3.  Even with Matthew gone, I've managed to stay on board with feeding Nathan solid food 3 times a day.  I know, I know...feeding one's children is a necessity!   But Nathan is only 4 months old and could easily survive with just nursing.  However, he's growing soo fast that the doctor thinks he would benefit from starting solid foods earlier than 6 months.  (Keep in mind that when John started solid foods it took me nearly 6 weeks to get into feeding him!  He only got solids if Matt was home to feed him - otherwise he was a formula baby)

What have your successes been this week?

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Confessions of a Not So Perfect Mommy

When my husband is not home I consider blue box mac and cheese, a hot dog, and a side of fruit a well-balanced meal for me and the kiddos. (The fruit is what does it!)

My kids have had candy, coffee, and soda all before their first birthday.

There are many days in the week when I find myself dreaming of a long hot shower...but get excited if I wash my hair in the bathroom sink.

I don't brush my children's teeth twice a day.  John chews on his toothbrush at least once a day and Nathan doesn't have teeth yet. 

I put rice cereal in my baby's bottle just in case the pediatrician is wrong and it does help him sleep through the night :)

My oldest has bed head all day, every day.  His curly hair is untamable by a comb - so why try?

Sometimes I frantically straighten up the house right before my husband gets home from a trip just so he doesn't know I didn't clean a lick all week.

I don't get up an hour before my kids so I can get things done in peace and quiet.  I don't get up so I can drink a cup of coffee before they rise.  Heck - I don't get up until Nathan cries or John crawls in my bed.

I think the TV makes a perfectly acceptable babysitter assuming I'm somewhere else in the house.

I own a baby monitor (a fancy one with a night vision camera) but I rarely turn it on.  If my kids need me they'll cry or yell loud enough that I hear them in the next room.

I enjoy my kids immensely, but mommy-alone-time is non-negotiable.

Nathan's thumb sucking doesn't bother me.  In fact, I encourage it.  Gotta love a kid who can self-soothe.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Mother Superior?

It's amazing how a little insensitive comment can become embedded in your brain forever. Why do so many mothers have the need to feel superior over other mothers?  I just don't understand this!  I honestly and humbly believe that each of us (myself included) is doing the best we can on any given day with our children.  Some days are better than others.  I know that I'm not perfect.  But I think that besides football, parenting is another place where (just sometimes) Hail Mary passes work.

Shortly after moving to Illinois another mother offered John some Goldfish crackers when he was getting fussy in his stroller during a walk.  I gratefully accepted while commenting that he had never had Goldfish before.  After eating 2-3 he started gagging on one.  A third mother smugly said, "I didn't think he'd be able to handle those.  I never gave them to my daughters until they were much older and better at chewing than he is."  Thanks! 

I never thought that comment was necessary (clearly I figured out that my son hadn't mastered chewing well enough to eat Goldfish) and it hurt my pride.  Here were a few ladies with young children who I was reaching out to befriend and my parenting skills were under siege and shot down.  I've become friends with the woman as time has passed and she is much more laid back than my first interaction with her leads one to believe.  But it never changes the fact that I often wonder if she is critiquing me behind my back.

So jump forward to today...I attended a Halloween parade at a nursing home with both boys.  John, being shy, wanted to be carried through most of the parade and Nathan, being too little to walk, was carried the whole time.  Towards the end of the parade one of the nurses at the home offered to carry Nathan so I could tend to John.  I was extremely grateful for the offer and took her up on it immediately.  Then I overheard another mom comment, "Why would you bother bringing two kids who don't want candy and don't want to walk through the halls to a Halloween parade?  It's just silly to me." 

I don't think this woman knows I overheard her and I didn't respond at the moment (and probably won't in the future although our paths will continue to cross).  But for the sake of my sanity - let me respond here:

I brought my sons to the Halloween parade at Eden Village today because I wanted to make the nursing home residents smile.  It wasn't about the candy.  It wasn't about the costumes.  Surprise!  It wasn't (and still isn't) about me or my boys!  I'm blessed with two wonderful boys who have parents, grandparents, great-grandparents, aunts, uncles, friends and family who love them dearly.  The nursing home is filled with people who rarely get a glimpse of a new baby.  They don't get to see a toddler glow with excitement when someone waves to him.  Some never have visitors and surely won't get to see a 4 month old Cookie Monster and 2 year old Shrek again any time soon.  I came to the nursing home to spread some cheer and joy.  It's as simple as that!

The group of trick-or-treaters went out to lunch together after the parade.  I didn't have it in me.  The boys and I headed to the grocery store.  Nathan became inconsolable; John was fussy.  After plenty of ear piercing screams by Nathan I sat down in the middle of an aisle and nursed him while fighting back my own tears.  Clearly the mother at the nursing home was right - I couldn't handle both boys!  John whined cause we had stopped.  With that an older woman stopped, assisted John with the buckle on his seat belt, patted me on the shoulder and said, "We've all been there.  Don't take it so hard."  She walked on. 

After Nathan finished nursing I put him back in his carseat to another round of deafening cries.  About 2/3 of the way down the next aisle I picked him back up and attempted to steer the shopping cart/car combo with one hand.  Another woman asked "Could I carry him for you for a few minutes?  Then you'd have a free hand to shop with and could better steer the cart?"  She followed me with Nathan in her arms to the dental floss and then to grab some hoagie rolls and a loaf of bread.  I took Nathan back and we headed to the check out. 

I left the nursing home with a bitter taste in my mouth.  Why did this woman who I know and see on a regular basis need to put me down?  I suspect it makes her feel just a little more put together and a tiny bit superior to me. 

I left the grocery store exhausted and a little embarassed.  Why did these two women who I've never met before stop to help an obviously distressed mother?  My guess is that they were angels sent down from heaven to remind me that it's not what we do for ourselves, but what we do for others that make us who we are. 

I'm not perfect.  In fact, I know I'm pretty far away from it.  That's why I'm counting on a Hail Mary pass. 

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Personal Restoration

A good week so far!  Matt is on the road in Lincoln, NE.  It's just me and the kiddos again.  So here's a little glimpse into my week...

1.  A few nights ago I went to a party without the kids.  (Thanks Mom & Dad for babysitting!)  It was a girls night in.  Twelve ladies who girl talked, giggled, laughed, snacked, and gossiped the night away.  Much needed time for this momma who has been tending to the kids alone for the last few weeks and will be continue that trend in the weeks to come. 

2.  I spent yesterday evening with a friend whose husband is also out of town.  The kids played, we chatted, dinner was served and pumpkin pie was consumed.  A good night with a good friend.  More of these nights are needed!

3.  I started a novena last week.  Today is day 8 and St. Jude has really stepped up to the plate.  I questioned whether it was silly to pray a novena for such a seemingly trivial issue.  God answered both my question and my prayer that first night.  (He IS pretty amazing.)  St. Jude please continue to intercede on my behalf!

Bonus 4.  I got my flu shot.  Just another thing off the never ending to-do list.  :)

All in all, it's been a week of personal restoration for me.  I've dedicated some time for myself amidst the craziness of being a single mom while Matt travels for work.  I've focused a little more of my time on prayer and found that it really does relax me and make me a better mother.  I've taken care of myself and it feels good (even if the shot hurt a little).  I'd say the whole week has been a success!

Check out other great successes over at Faith & Family Live!


Friday, October 15, 2010

Growth Spurts

John & Nathan both visited the pediatrician today.  It's hard to believe that John had his 2 year check up and completed his vaccines (only flu shots until he starts Kindergarten). Nathan had his 4 month exam and got the go ahead for cereal, fruits & veggies!  Both boys are clearly going through a growth spurt right now according to the pediatrician.

So the stats/updates for our two team players are:

John is now 29 lbs (65%) and 34.5 inches tall (65%).  That means the prediction for John's adult height is 5'10.  Check back with us in 20 years or so and we'll let you know if Dr. Herman was right.  In typical fashion, we can't take John to a doctor's office without running into some caveat...so I'm mournfully reporting that John's ear tubes are clogged again.  There doesn't seem to be any signs of infection, but there also is no way for fluid to drain out of his ears and he's crazy congested right now.  Back to ear drops!

Nathan weighs in at 17.5 lbs (75%) and 27 inches (97%).  While his weight gain has slowed a little, he's outgrowing his pants in length.  Dr. Herman claims that Nathan is teething, but also says we  probably won't see any fruits of this labor until about 6 months.  In the meantime, 3 meals a day of cereal, fruits, and/or veggies.  As much as he wants!  :)  That ought to get the weight right back in line with the height.  We were informed that he is now officially "too tall" for the baby car seat.  So I guess we'll need to evaluate that in the very near future.

My babies need to stop growing!  I now know what my mom was thinking when she would tell us she wanted to "put a brick on our heads."  *sigh*

Monday, October 11, 2010

The Man I Fell In Love With

I'm reminded constantly how wonderful the man I fell in love with really is.  I know that I'm blessed to have someone who stands by my side, pushes me to be better, lets me cry on his shoulder and loves me completely even with my faults. 

Matt has always wanted the best for me.  He's far less selfish than I am in this regard.  I can think of many, many times when he pushed me to pursue things I would have let go otherwise.  A great instance: graduate school.

What He Said: "Go to Western.  It's what you really want; it's the perfect school for you"

What I Heard: "I don't want to live within 5 states of you"

What I Wanted To Do: Go to school somewhere significantly closer to where he was going to live...and no, I didn't know where that was or if I would be anywhere near a student affairs program.

What He Wanted Me To Do: Go to the best school and get the best education in my field.  Build a great resume and network of professionals that would help me in the future.

This is just one example of where our communication has fallen a little short.  It's not that we don't love each other dearly - and we're in it for the long haul - but sometimes what one says gets very skewed by the time the other one hears it.  I never expect him to read my mind, but I know I'm guilty of not saying things outright and hoping he'll come around on his own.  You would think that after all the counseling based classes I took in grad school this communication thing would be less of a problem. 

It seems like we're always looking for ways to improve our communication. Verbally - yes, physically - yes, emotionally - yes.  So how does a couple go about doing that? I guess knowing that you need to work on it is a step in the right direction.

Turning 2

Turning 2 must be even more exciting than turning 1.  Yes, the 1st birthday gets all the glory - but let's be honest....they don't care about the presents, the people or, in my son's case, the cake.  I think the 1st birthday is a party celebrating Mom and Dad's ability to survive a whole year with a baby. 

The 2nd birthday was good to John.  I swear the family was against us this year with presents!  When it came to family - nothing was smaller than a bread box...in fact, most of it wasn't smaller than a whole kitchen.  John got a giant crawl-through tunnel that takes up the whole living room, a swing set complete with attached trampoline, and a twin size race car bed.  The rest of the booty included lots of playdough, color wonder stuff, books, trucks, and movies.

For those who couldn't attend...here's a few snapshots of John's special days (yes, that's plural...his birthday managed to last almost a whole week!)