Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Finding a New Friend...

I don't know if I ever wrote about it but in December we lost our beloved dog Daphne. She had been sick for a while and we found out it was most likely cancer but still hoped maybe the x-ray was picking up on some kind of infection!? Maybe? But no. On the 11th (I think) we were trying to put up our Christmas tree and she lost the use of her hind limbs. It was so sad that we knew without a doubt that we would be taking her in first think in the morning to be put to sleep. We had hoped to at least help her make it through Christmas but there was no way....in hindsight I think it was best that the kids had the distraction of Christmas to keep their minds off of the loss.
We are so thankful that we decided to take her on our camping trip Thanksgiving weekend. She actually perked up a little and enjoyed the time out there with us. And we got one last happy memory!
Do you see her tail wagging in the picture? This was at the very end...she was skin and bones (despite my cooking more for her than I do for my own family and trying to coax her to eat at every turn...) It was so sad but to see her have a little burst of energy and enjoy her family one last time...worth every bit of it!

So, fast forward. We attempted a dog at the very end of December. But I discovered that satan can come in the form of a really cute puppy. It was an awful experience. We didn't go looking for a puppy and thought since we just "came across" it it was meant to be!? No way. That dog tried to eat Haley and Nathan...can you imagine when it got bigger? And he was going to be HUGE! We took him back before the kids needed stitches. Also, it was probably just too soon. Every time I looked at the puppy I could only think of how much like Daphne he WASN'T.
 (the above picture was taken during a very rare moment of peacefulness in that cute but evil puppy's time with us). No one was sad when he went back to his original home.

We've had a few other pet catastrophes (baby bunnies bought from a pet store with less than ideal conditions leading to sick babies) this year and while at our wonderful vet (she really is!) I asked if she could keep an eye out for a good family dog. Not a puppy, a dog. And she asked if I had an aversion to any breeds...well, yeah!? What are we talking here?? Her instant thought was of a last chance rescue dog-a boxer- that she had done the treatment for heart worms :(. So, we went immediately to meet this dog. (She said that even during the painful treatments the dog was sweet and docile!) We ended up taking her on a trial basis but I knew if we took her home I was 99.9% sure we'd keep her. So, this is our new friend Katie Belle:

Can you tell who her bestest buddy in the house is? One night during a storm I slept in the living room with the dog and the kid-and I'm not sure which one was more scared!-Haley slept with her hand on Katie Belle's back. It was really sweet. So, we let the dog sleep on couch cushions and we keep the two year old:
in the kennel. You know I'm just kidding, right? (although look at the wall behind the kennel...that was the work of said two year old...hmmmm) No, really the little ones just think the kennel is the coolest thing.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Half-way House

Sometimes I long for the opportunity to do one thing and do it right. Instead of getting pulled away in the middle of it to do 10 other things and then I forget the first thing! Are you lost yet? I know I am. Over the weekend I started painting my newly textured/drywalled living room. I have to prime it before we can do the "fun" stuff of color and trim/crown moulding. But I can't ever get back to it. I'm almost half way there...but I've been half-way there for days!
Another thing, a couple of weeks ago I was working in my bedroom, sorting through some stuff that got stuffed in there when we were having company (I know, it doesn't really matter if I hide it if I'm going to tell everyone about it!) Tonight I noticed that I only got about half-way done in there too!
Sorting through kids clothes. Yup, had to stop to go drop said kids off somewhere, so guess what? I'm half-way done with that.
I try to embrace these days knowing that one day I will have all the time in the world to finish each task I start. My living room will look nice, my bedroom will not have stacks of half-way sorted stuff, there will be no kids' clothes to sort through and weed out. My dishes will be done. Laundry will be folded and put away.
And then I think that that's because there won't be toys all over the living room. There won't be art projects in stacks in my bedroom that I have to sort and figure out where to keep them, kids' clothes? Gone! Dishes? Well, dishes for two probably doesn't take long to clean up. And no little clothes to fold...no socks that are missing their mates...
Nevermind. Half-way is good for now. :)

P.S. Cute thing Nathan said tonight: I asked him "Who's cute?" "Ummmmmmm. Helly." (that would be Haley). LOL what a sweet kid! He did add afterwards that he was cute too. ;) I agree!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Mother's Day

I've figured it out! I know why Mother's Day makes me uncomfortable. It's the sentiment in the quote:

A mother is a person who seeing there are only four pieces of pie for five people, promptly announces she never did care for pie.  ~Tenneva Jordan

You see, I do still like pie! No matter if it's the last piece. I will give it up but I won't be happy about it. And if it's chocolate cake? Forget about it. I'm not giving it up. I might share it if I'm feeling really nice....

I think sometimes all the sweet cards make me want to put my head under the covers. It makes me feel guilty. Because it makes me closely examine my own thoughts, actions and attitudes and I always feel like I come up wanting. Like I could never be all of that! Most of us, in real life, are not the Hallmark version of a mom. All the things in one card rarely fit one human being! I mean, it's nice to know your kids think those things (at least for one day out of the year) and your husband takes note (I wasn't allowed to mow the lawn on Mother's Day by the way!? I do it most of the other times, but I guess if I did it today....it would make him look and feel bad?)

A mother understands what a child does not say.  ~Author Unknown

Ummm, not always!?

A mother's heart is a patchwork of love.  ~Author Unknown

Ok, on this one I'll bite! A patchwork (quilt) is not perfect, but it's comfortable and loved and personal. It's not usually designer, it's filled with memories and stitches that hold it together. It's partly ratty and all the way soft and warm....That fits how I feel most days. But I do love my kids with all of my patched up patchwork heart. They made me a mommy which is what I've always, as long as I can remember, wanted to be.

Not the best or most recent picture of all the kids (almost a year old) but remember, we're being real here...and it's hard to get 4 kids in close enough proximity to take a picture and not have a fight!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

A (short) conversation I had with this little guy

 the other day on the way to the ball park for his brother's baseball game.

Nathan: Where's bubba?
Me: At his game with daddy.
Nathan: Where's bubba?
Me: At his game with daddy.
Nathan: Where's bubba?
Me: At his game with daddy.
Nathan: Where's bubba?
Me: Hey, you only have to say it once, buddy.
Nathan: My name's not buddy or maybe he said "that's not my name"...
Me: *slightly exasperated* Ok, Nathan...
Nathan: Yes, mommy?

This kid keeps us in stitches!

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Parenting the Right Way

Isn't it amazing how broad the spectrum is for parenting? There is so much that falls within the realm of "right". I might have a reason for doing one thing that another parent (a good parent!) has for doing it exactly the opposite. That doesn't necessarily make one of us right and the other wrong! I definitely have my convictions on some of these "gray" areas.

:: dating vs courting. I plan to have my children do more in the realm of courting. I don't yet know all of the implications of this right now (come on people, I still have time! My oldest just turned 12!) I just know that it appeals to me. I feel like too much alone time with someone of the opposite sex when they have all of these new emotions and hormones...is just a recipe for disaster. But, that's just one way!

:: what to allow your children to listen to and watch. I tend to be pretty strict in this area.  I believe that although we live in a world with cursing and sex and drugs...my kids don't need to see it all at this age. I grew up with the song "Be careful little eyes what you see...Be careful little ears what you hear..." There could be some value in some of the reality shows (Intervention for one where they show the realities of a drug addicted life, Teen Mom for another where they show some of the realities of the lives of pregnant teenagers and how their choices affect their lives) but for me the graphic nature of these shows is more than I want my children seeing or thinking about at this time. Yes, it might scare them of ever doing drugs or getting pregnant as a teen or it might take some of the shock value out of it and desensitize them. And even a little desensitization at this time is just too much in my book. As for music, we stick with mostly praise music. Partly because I can't trust the disc jockeys on most other stations. Yikes! The things they talk about. :/ Not to mention some of the songs...Also, I don't know whether to be horrified, amused or in between at the "teeny bopper" shows. (Disney anyone?) These kids on the shows are like 12 and under and are "dating". Ummm, to actually date someone you have to be old enough to go somewhere....!!?? And all they talk about is "stuff"-what they have, what they're trying to acquire, how stupid their parents are, how they can sneak around on rules....I am less strict on some things that other parents might not allow: A-Team anyone? MacGyver? All from the 80s. Reading. I monitor their books as best as I can (although they are both avid readers and I have a hard time keeping up-and I have paid dearly for that a time or two).
:: Dress code. I have been convicted in recent years about showing less skin and requiring the same for my daughters. But I explain it to them. We do not cover up from head to toe, we do not wear burqas, we do wear shorts and we do wear bathing suits at appropriate times. We don't wear short shorts, we don't wear teeny bikinis. Do I think it's my place to judge what others are wearing or allowing their children to wear? No. Do I sometimes cringe? Yes!
:: Chores. Some people have their children do many chores for which they may or may not be compensated...some people have their children do nothing at home. Your kids? Then it's your choice.
:: Discipline. Some use corporal punishment and others don't. I believe as long as you are finding an effective form of training your children and they have consequences when they do not follow the rules...good for you! Please don't judge me if my way looks different.
:: Activities. We know people who are in EVERY.THING. And then kids that are not really in any organized activities (although these days that is fewer and farther between). My kids are in a couple of things (4-H, Cubscouts, Soccer, Baseball, Drama--that is all of their activities, not that each child is in each of those things....

So what is my point? Please make it a point to realize that not everyone's family looks the same as yours. Sometimes I catch myself wondering what someone is thinking, then I remember that it's their kid, their choice. As long as they are not harming their child...who am I to judge? I'm not. I can only discern what is right for me and my family (along with my husband). We should be supporting each other as moms, not judging, bashing, belittling, correcting, etc.

Be kind to your fellow moms. You don't know what they've been through or what they're going through....and there but for the Grace of God go...YOU!

Friday, May 4, 2012

For the Love of Kids


I love to watch my kids play sports. I do. I love to watch when they succeed-not for me, although it makes me super proud of course!-but because of the look on their faces. And sometimes, just sometimes they will look over to see that you saw! And you'd better be watching. My son plays baseball. He has for several years now and he's a good player. Do I think he'll be a professional ball player? Probably not. But he's a good, strong player and an asset to his team.

My daughters play soccer. Same thing, they do just fine! Will Mia Hamm have to worry about them? Probably not, but they are an asset to their teams... and yet, some of the parents are so harsh! Not so much at Haley's age (she's 5, just finished her first season...the first game I think she sat in the "circle" with her friend so they could pick flowers or something) but Lindsay has faced some harsh seasons with some real ugliness. All from parents and HER OWN TEAM MATES!

Here's what I don't like hate:
Adults bullying children while they're playing their sport. Playing! It's called that because it's supposed to be fun, right? At least I kind of think so.
Right now I'm very frustrated with so many people involved in our baseball world.

::We have a coach that calls the boys "girls" and "ladies". That just does not sit right with me. Boys need the affirmation that they are growing into men. Ok, I get that coaches have a different way of talking and being, but that just feels wrong.
:: This same coach only shows up to games. The other coach does all the behind the scenes work of practice. And at one game we actually saw him shove into our son!? (Yeah, I saw red on that one. Would've pulled my son off the field and the team right then and there but he wanted to stay because he loves the game. And I do think at this point, unless there is more-and you'd better believe I'm there watching 100% of the time-that he has the right to make this choice.)
:: We have parents on our team who belittle their sons' efforts. I have been humiliated for the boys on multiple occasions. Here's an example from tonight's game (which was an awful game for our boys anyway). A boy who is actually a pretty good player asked his dad for a water. The dad owns several businesses, etc. He told his son "I don't have any money. And besides, you don't get any water with the way you were playing." Ummmmm, his son had just dove for a catch and made it (thereby scoring an "out" for our team!). And anyways, since when is water a "prize" for playing perfect? Oh yeah, during that play the father was talking to another father about business or something so he totally missed that one. When one of the coaches said he had water in his truck the father said "I'm not walking. I'm tired." We got him a water. And I don't care if his dad was mad.
:: One boy's father was asked if he wanted his son to be on a select team that they have going also and his response (after his son had struck out but is a good player...)? "not if he's going to play like that" OH. MY. GOSH. He's a KID.

Do they think the boys are not trying? Do they think they want to get up there and strike out? All eyes are on them. Their team is counting on them. Whereas girls have this pressure to be pretty and skinny and perfect I think boys have this pressure to be athletic. To be "the man". All they need is their own parents making derogatory comments about their abilities!

Another thing...when a kid is walking off the field dejected because he just struck out or missed a catch...do you really think that's the time to yell how they should've hit it/caught it/thrown it harder or faster? Probably not. Absolutely NOT. Constructive criticism is very appropriate and necessary. Not humiliation.

My husband and I try to stress to our kids constantly that if they're there, trying their hardest and having a good attitude...we're proud of them. No matter what the outcome is. As long as they do those three things.

I saw this on facebook and wanted to post the image here but it just won't transfer:

He stands at the plate with his heart pounding fast;
The bases are loaded; the die has been cast.
Mom and Dad cannot help him, he stands all alone.
A hit at this moment would send the team home.
The ball nears the plate, he swings and he misses.
There's a groan from the crowd; with some boos and hisses.

A thoughtless voice cries,"Strike out the bum!"
Tears fill his eyes; the game's no longer fun.
Remember, he's just a boy who stands all alone.
So open your heart and give him a break....
For it's moments like this a man you can make.
Keep this in mind when you hear someone forget.
He's just a little boy, he's not a man yet.

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