Category Archives: goings on

On having big kids

I want to be sure to document some of the wonderful aspects of having nonbabies, so that when another baby comes along and we’re back to the intensity of that season, I can look back and say, “Okay good, I really appreciated that while I could.”

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Because I do appreciate it. I love it, actually. There is a whole lot of freedom in our daily life these days, and I’m extremely thankful to have this stretch before gearing up for Baby.

I look forward to having a baby in our family. I’m very excited. (In a hesitant, don’t-come-too-quickly sort of way.) So it’s not that I won’t be thrilled when the time comes for life to turn upside down. But for the moment, for the next 5 1/2 months, I want to celebrate this season.

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-We can read chapter books at bedtime (currently reading The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe).
-We can leave the house with little warning: no diaper bags, no feedings, no gear…just go.
-We can play board games as a family and fully expect that everyone will be engaged.
-I can get in the shower without even telling them. I just expect them to continue playing together.

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-We can let the kids play outside without hovering over them.
-We can go on walks without a stroller. Today the kids and I walked a mile, with Charlie on the balance bike and Lillian on foot. So easy!
-I can ask the kids to do something and they will likely know what I mean and how to do it. And usually they listen. šŸ™‚
-We can take trips or spend the night away from home, and it doesn’t mess us up too much. It’s more an adventure and less a hassle.

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There are challenges in this season too, of course. And there will be unspeakable joys this winter with a wee one, of course. But I’m thankful for where we are right now. For these big kids I’ve got, for their growing independence, for the friendship between them, and for the joy in teaching their maturing minds. This is a sweet time.

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Thankful in this season

The past few months have been very hard, but very joyful. Hard because I’m exhausted, napping two and three times a day, nearly incapable of performing basic household chores. Hard because I’m nauseous most of my waking hours. But joyful because, of course, there’s a reason for feeling so yucky. Baby #3 will be arriving in mid-November!

We’re very excited to welcome this little one into our family, and there’s so much I could rattle on about! But for now, just a few things I’m so grateful for during these months of the crummies:

-A very kind and patient husband who allows me extra sleep and the occasional night off of kid duty
-Very thoughtful and generous friends and family who have brought meals or offered babysitting help when I’ve felt extra needy
-A gap between Lillian and this baby! Lillian has been surprisingly understanding when I tell her that Mommy needs rest because Baby makes me tired. I’ll lie down in bed for a nap, and she’ll sit next to me paging quietly through stacks and stacks of books. My kids have long outgrown their naps, but I’m thankful that they’re independent enough to allow me some rest.
-A flexible work schedule. I’ve kept busy, but not overwhelmingly so. This comfortable pace has been a gift.
-A great first appointment with an OB I’d never met. I liked her and immediately felt at ease with her. And we heard Baby’s strong heartbeat and had a quick look at the sono. Everything looked great!

I’m ready for this stretch of the pregnancy to be over, but I’m constantly reminded of how well I’m being cared for in the midst of it.

Is it wrong to fear summer?

Last summer, I cried at the thought of Charlie being gone at schoolĀ all day long. And I still hate it sometimes. I wish he were home more.

But now as summer approaches, I’m mildly terrified of his being homeĀ all day long. What will I do with him? He’s often quite needy and clingy, wanting someone to play with him every waking hour of the day. And I’m just not ready for an entire summer of dealing with that.

I know that being prepared will go a long way. Having plans of things to do, places to go, activities to try.

If you’ve stumbled upon this little blog and have any insight to offer, I’d love to hear it!

So we’re not morning people

Well hello, little blog!

Here’s a funny comparison of my expectations last fall of our new school schedule versus how the morning often plays out by now.

THE ANTICIPATED MORNING SCHEDULE (let’s say it’s a Tuesday morning)
7:15 Alarm: Jeff gets in the shower, I wake up Charlie.
7:16-7:41 Help Charlie get dressed, feed him breakfast, then scramble around getting him and Jeff out the door.
7:42 Jeff and Charlie leave for school.
7:43-8:09 I shower and get ready for the day.
8:10 Wake up Lillian (and Jeff returns).
8:11-8:44 Get Lillian dressed and fed, then scramble around readying for preschool.
8:45 Out the door.

REALITY (Not always, but embarrassingly often)
7:18 Alarm: Jeff takes a shower, I wake up Charlie.
7:19-7:44 Help Charlie get dressed, feed him breakfast, maybe pack him a lunch, then sit at the table like a zombie, pretending to be present in this one-on-one time with my son.
7:45 Jeff and Charlie out the door.
7:45:30 Crawl back into bed.
8:09 I hear the garage door open. Jeff comes into the room and collapses onto the bed.
8:09:30 We’re both sound asleep.
8:22 I wake and glance at the clock. Nope, back to sleep.
8:29 Drag my dead body out of bed. Wake Lillian. Jeff agrees to get her breakfast.
8:30-8:58 Scramble around getting myself presentable, while urging Lillian to put her clothes on and get her backpack ready.
8:59 Out the door.

Who’s the Boss?

We’ve known for a long while now that Lillian is going to challenge us. She has a will and a voice and a stubbornness, which add up to the occasional butting of heads. I’ll return to this in a moment.

I just finally finished a fantastic book by Pamela Druckerman, an American woman who is raising her children in Paris. She compares and contrasts the cultures of parenting in America and France. Not only is it a delightful read, but it also offers eye-opening nuggets of sound parenting wisdom. I decided to practice one of these on Lillian today.

According to Druckerman, French parents have a saying that translates, “It’s me who decides.” She says, “Parents say [this] to remind both their kids and themselves who’s the boss” (p. 226).

So, on our way home this afternoon after lunch with Jeff’s parents, Lillian was talking about things she wanted to do this afternoon. I said, “The very first thing we do when we get home is quiet room time, remember?”

She said, “No. I don’t want to do quiet room time.”

[My kids always always always protest quiet room time, but they pretty regularly seem to enjoy the alone time once it is forced upon them.]

I gave her my best Mommy-is-the-boss look, then said, “It’s Mommy who decides.”

She stared right back at me and responded, “It’s Lillian who decides.”

And Jeff, trying to drive, was in silent hysterics.

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Do you ever have a project on your to-do list that just doesn’t get done? This little nagging task that weighs on your mind, but you feel either too lazy or too incompetent or too busy to face it? This seems to happen frequently at our house. High on my list of neglected household tasks has been installing more smoke detectors in our home. We have one in the hallway by all the bedrooms that was here before we bought the house … and that’s it. Long ago we did buy additional smoke detectors, but they remained in unopened packages. Last year some time, I did prop one up in Lillian’s room when she decided she wanted to close her door at night. But that preference was short-lived. Finally last night, after scribbling this task on countless to-do lists over the past few years, I convinced Jeff to install them. And now it’s done! Just like that! As Lillian would say, “Y’hoo!”

Friday night

I think we’re back to health around here. I would still like to sleep a little extra, but that’s nothing new. So back to regular programming.

Monday afternoon I was still too sick to go to work at the Weight Watchers meeting, but not too sick to make dinner. And it’s maybe the most I’ve ever enjoyed making dinner. I felt like I had awakened from a long hibernation and was at least halfway alive again.

The rest of the week passed by in a blur. I finished up a proofreading project, talked to a couple long-distance friends, readied half-birthday treats for Lillian’s preschool buddies, ate too many cookies, went to a Christmas parade, and now here it is Friday night. We had a family dinner at my parents’ house, and the grandkids decorated their Christmas tree. It’s so entertaining watching kids as they eye the tree carefully, looking for just the perfect spot. And always, there are one or two clusters where most of the ornaments end up.

Tomorrow we may be buying new tile for the bathroom floor. We recently discovered water trickling down Jeff’s built-in bookshelves in his basement office, and we’re pretty sure it’s because the main-floor bathroom flooring needs to be replaced and properly sealed. Enter my parents, who have tiled many a floor in their history of house renovations. I’m nervous about tile shopping, though. Neither Jeff nor I are good at making decisions, and I struggle to envision what I want in finishing/decorating a space. Something cheap, something that doesn’t show every speck of dirt and hair, something easy to clean, something that goes well with the vanity that we’re unfortunately keeping for a while. And now I’m overwhelmed.

The kids are quiet now, so it’s movie time with Jeff. I’m looking forward to this. The majority of recent weekends we’ve either been traveling, sick, or working. Just hoping I can stay awake.

Let’s try this again

I do honestly like blogging. It often provides a way of processing the craziness of this season of life. Not to mention just keeping a record of these years that my kidsĀ  can look back on someday. I love that.

But it takes a lot of time. I’m not a fast processor, so I type something, delete it, type something else, correct my grammar, type more, move a few sentences around…it’s the curse of my occupation, for sure.

However, this month I’m hoping to free up some space to just sit and process again, whether minute little details or something deeper. I’ve proclaimed December 2012 the month of the reboot — I’ll be off facebook and pinterest and taking a break from reading blogs. And in this minimizing of computer tasks, I hope to allow more time for my own neglected blog. For my own sake.

But speaking of the reboot, I think I mentioned on facebook that I hope this will allow me to catch up on sleep. Well, that came today whether I wanted it or not, and this wasn’t exactly what I had in mind! Our family has been passing around a stomach bug since Thanksgiving day, and just when we’re certain it has left our house, it takes someone else down. Today it was my turn. So I stayed in bed until 4:30 in the afternoon. And returned to bed shortly after that. The saddest of all is poor Charlie. He was the first to be struck (during our drive to my family’s Thanksgiving dinner), and now apparently we’re starting round two. Poor kid is sick again. And poor Jeff is playing mom and dad to all of us. He’s a saint, he is!