chin up JoJo

So it's been a rough week...couple of weeks. I'll admit I've been a bit whiny. But today I hit a low point with some pregnancy related aches and pains and decided I need to change my attitude. Baby Simon is five weeks from delivery and I can't go on living this way! Besides, only a few days until March and I'm sure that some sunshine will do me good, should it ever arrive.

February, you are the month of my birthday but truly, I do not like you.

But in the words of that song we sang in elementary school, "You've got to AC-CEN-TUATE the positive, E-LIM-INATE the negative"... things are looking up. First of all, I got a new phone. It was my birthday present that was a long time coming. But it exceeds my expectations. It is "smart" as they say, it was virtually free, and I can talk on it without the battery dying. Life is surely good, no?

AND, I borrowed this comfortable and indulgent chair from my parents to alleviate said pregnancy aches and pains.
I even took a picture of myself. I hate doing this while I'm pregnant but when I see comparison shots on other blogs I'm a little jealous I've avoided taking pictures for my past pregnancies.

So there you have it. I have a smile on my face. (For now.)

tomorrow is fresh with no mistakes in it

It was a bad day. I don't have much room to complain because I'm not even the mother who took one child to a doctors appointment and then another child to an urgent care center and the emergency room. But I was involved with the incident that necessitated the visit to the emergency room and it involved a lot of blood and a lot of crying, by all who witnessed it. Fortunately, I think the little guy will be okay. (Despite having a broken nose, possible concussion and fat lip.)

There was also the incident (much less traumatic but much more frustrating) of a little boy who decided to relieve himself without ever lifting the lid of the toilet. Hours passed before I discovered the mess.

After dinner Miriam spilled a bag of M&M's all over the kitchen floor. I could feign ignorance and say she ate them without my knowing, but alas, I saw her eating them one by one and made no effort to intervene.

All of these things could have been better tolerated (rocking a badly injured 20 month old, wiping down a bathroom, and cleaning up candy from the floor) if I wasn't so huge in the mid-section.

I think it's time for bed.

spousal redemption

It has come to my attention that I occasionally expose Richard on the blog in a less than ideal light. While I am totally secure in our relationship, and I know that Richard knows I mean no harm, it isn't fair for me to lead blog readers to believe he is less than he is.

He is a good man. I do not like to boast about Richard's talents and capabilities on my blog, or anywhere for that matter. But my lack of sharing his strengths does not mean they don't exist or that I don't appreciate them. And since I don't really believe anyone else thinks they don't exist, I am not compelled to share them regularly. Those who know him well know he is good.

I am lucky to have him. I am grateful for him. I love him very much. He is good to me despite my occasional implications to the contrary.

Enough said.

It wasn't SO bad

I might be feeling a little bit sorry for myself.

Today is my birthday and I had to work. That is nothing to complain about, most responsible adults work when their birthday falls on a work day. But then on my way home from work, after retrieving two of my three children, my mini-van malfunctioned and we were stranded.

A good friend rescued us, we retrieved my third child and made it home. Richard arrived shortly after and insisted that we still go to dinner. Dinner was good. As good as dinner at Red Robin with three kids five and under can be.

But then Richard had to go figure out something to do with the broken car while I put three very cranky children to bed, and now I'm alone. Pretty sad, huh?

We saved the birthday cake for tomorrow. The kids were too tired to really enjoy it, and frankly they were more excited about the whole birthday thing than I was. A sign of my age I suppose.

Twenty-nine. One more year to be a "twenty-something" and then I really need to grow up. Twenty-nine with almost four kids. How about that.

Well, another birthday in the books. Thanks for the calls, texts, emails and FB messages. I'm sorry I wasn't much disposed to answer them. (And then there is that stupid phone of mine...)

reflections on Valentine's Day

At 8:00pm on Valentine's Day I stood at the sink doing dishes. The kids were all in bed but Richard hadn't even left work yet.

Since Cameron didn't have school on V-day we had spent part of the evening putting together his valentines cards for his class party. I thought back to Valentine's days of past. I laughed as I recalled my years of elementary school where the valentine selection was pretty much the same, simple paper cards. If you were lucky your mom bought the candy hearts to go inside, and occasionally the rich kids put something even better in your bag. I remember individually selecting the candy hearts with words that I wanted to say to each classmate, saving the most romantic ones for my crush and wondering if he would even notice.

Many valentines have passed since then. Some have been full of amorous infatuation. I have only one unmarried coworker who is 20 and in such a relationship. Today she received a large bouquet of lilies. They were beautiful and the rest of us married women fawned over them while she blushed.

After work I fed the kids cereal for dinner and decided to ask Richard to pick up something on his way home from work for us to eat. Around 8:15 when he called to ask what I wanted, we discussed.

Me: I want a hamburger.
Richard: What kind?
Me: I don't know... I never get hamburgers.
Richard: Okay. What else?
Me: Fries and a drink.
Richard: Okay.
Me: Very romantic.
Richard: We're so old.
Me: I'm so pregnant.

Earlier in the evening when I picked up the kids from my in-laws I told my father-in-law to enjoy a relaxing and quiet Valentine's Day with his wife. I told my co-worker with teenage daughters to go out with her husband, just because she could, because she could do so without having to call a babysitter or even feed her girls who were perfectly capable of doing so on their own.

I have no complaints about this stage of life. Well, except that my sciatic nerve hurts and those lilies smelled so good I wouldn't have minded getting a bouquet of my own.

the littlest people

The family dynamic around here is constantly evolving as family members come and go. Days when Cameron is home from school are energetic, loud, even frenzied. He and Eli play well together, but their play involves a great deal of commotion and activity. And naturally there is more conflict between children and between child and mother. As I mentioned before, when the boys play together Miriam is content to just be nearby, not directly involved but in close proximity.

On days when Cameron is at school the house is mellow, quiet and idle. Eli plays alone in peace, without the demands and instructions from his older brother. Miriam naps longer because of the calm atmosphere, giving Eli hours of alone time. It wouldn't be quite truthful to say that Eli and Miriam play well together. I think they are still sorting out their relationship. Miriam feels a little more confident trying to be directly involved in the play without Cameron around, but Eli doesn't want her there. In a passive-aggressive way Eli does his best to quietly remove her from his territory. She resents his efforts, either because her feelings are hurt or because she is just fiesty enough that she doesn't want him to touch/push/pull her in any way.
(Richard pointed out today that there is only one "morning person" in our house, and it clearly isn't either of these two. Nor is it Richard. Or me.)
While I get frustrated with Eli's bullying of Miriam, it is fun to watch them interact. He obviously loves her, while still coping with a little jealousy I suppose. I am desperately trying to enjoy these last few weeks before the dynamic changes again in a considerable way. I will miss my time alone with my littlest people.

thoughtful child = anxious mother

Disclaimer: I do not judge, criticize or blame anyone who watches football or any other sports on Sunday. This post isn't about this topic, but requires some background so keep reading.

As a sentimental person devoted to traditions I can appreciate the value of Superbowl parties and events. But I've decided that a big superbowl party isn't a tradition I want for my family. This was hard for Cameron to accept, and it's been a challenge for me to find a way to validate my position without allowing him to develop a self-righteous attitude about the subject. When he told me the other day that people who watch the superbowl don't believe in God I realized I had failed and had some serious back-tracking to do. It's not going so well. Today he reported to me that a boy in his class (we'll call him "Jake") made two bad choices. The first choice being that he didn't let any other kids win the "Minute-to-win-it" game they played at school. The second bad choice was that he watched the superbowl. The following conversation ensued.

Me: It wasn't a bad choice Cameron, it was just a different choice.
Cam: I told Jake that Jesus is more important than football.
Me: That's good to tell him how you feel.
Cam: But he didn't listen. Well he listened to my words but he didn't listen.
Me: That's okay, as long as you are always nice to him.
Cam: But I want him to be like me.
Me: We're not all supposed to be the same.
Cam: But I just want everyone... I mean... like... I just want some people... it's just, I guess... I just want Jake to be like me.

Having my child become thoughtful is exciting, entertaining and intimidating. Life is complicated and in these situations I often find myself unable to find the words to teach the things I am so anxious that he learn. But it's all so overwhelming. There were a thousand lessons hanging above me as I listened to him and I started to panic and without meaning to I gave the most simple uninvolved answers I could to avoid delving into something that might be difficult. In short, I brushed him off. Opportunity lost. I blew it.



We've all been sick around here lately. Fever, sore throat, coughing and sniffles. Each night the kids fight over who gets the humidifier in their room. Kids never cease to amaze me with their arbitrary choices about which household items hold the most value.

I'll be honest, our illnesses have been a nice excuse for my anti-social behaviors, and for being totally lazy. But I'm done. I'm ready to interact with the human race again. I am ready to "enlarge my circle of friendship."

Anyone want to hang out?

Meanwhile, I will try to keep my children from destroying entire forests by having only one tic-tac-toe game per piece of paper. I tried to demonstrate better use of space, we'll see.

new skills

Every once in awhile one of my children surprises me with something I was unaware they were capable of. One night while reading scriptures Cameron asked if he could read by himself, and read he did!

At first I was proud. But then I was overcome with embarrassment and humility that he had learned this skill without my knowledge or assistance. It made me realize what greater things he could accomplish if I made better efforts with him at home.

Tonight he brought my this little paper. He said it is his birthday list. I suppose he means it is the people he wants to be involved in his "buthae." The balloon is to remind us what the list is for, he says.

There is just so much sweetness in this little paper, I'll keep it forever. It is the first time, I've observed, that he has written words by sounding them out (birthday, Miriam). It also expresses who he cares about most. Forgive the cheesiness, but I'm glad to be his mom and I'm glad he has a family.

bad bad habit

In my pregnant state I am easily over-heated. Today after carrying all the groceries in the house the heater kicked on and the hot air blowing around made me claustrophobic. I hate hot air. In desperation for cooler temperatures I turned off the heater. I've done this before, and I really need to resist the urge to do it again. Hours went by and after Miriam's nap her nose would not stop running. Of course by the time the house felt cool to me all my children were approaching hypothermia. Poor kids. Did I mention the temperature outside is hovering around 31 degrees? I wrapped Miriam in a blanket to try to warm her up, but she is not the type to be content with her arms pinned to her sides. At least she is active. Poor little red nose.