Monday, May 31, 2010

Seth's Debut

I'll very generously let his dad take the credit for passing along his genes.......

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Definition Of The Day

Seth asked me tonight what the word "discipline" meant. As I was pondering how to define the word for his understanding (something his dad is very good at but I am not....), he spoke up and told me that he knew what it meant.

"It means that I am happy with my mother," was his answer.

Hannah and I exchanged a secret smile. I asked him a couple of minutes later again what the word meant.

"I'm very serious, mom. I know it means that I am happy with my mother," he stated seriously. "And right now, I am disciplined," he said with a smile.

It must have been the ice cream I let him have. Whatever the reason, I'm happy to such a disciplined son.

Friday, May 28, 2010

How To Melt A Heart

After praying with the kids tonight, my son looked at his dad and very sleepily told him that "mom is the bestest snuggler in the world!" (thus ensuring he had an extra-special snuggle tonight). Then, just before our nightly ritual of kisses and hugs (this comes after praying and before snuggling - rather complicated......), he always says the phrase, "we can snuggle after kissing, 'kay?", to which I usually respond, " 'kay". Tonight, however, after he said his little phrase before I could say my usual response, he said, "mom, you can say that you would be delighted to snuggle me!"

I was delighted to comply.

My heart is like putty.


It's been a bleh morning. A bleh week. It's been raining record amounts for this time of year, with colder than usual temperatures as well.

In fact, I've been fighting blehness for two weeks simply because of the bulging disc I have in my neck. Although it's slowly improving, I've had neck pain, arm pain - at times excruciating - arm numbness and tingling, and headaches. I can't sleep properly. I live on ibuprofen.

I had the recent revelation that my own blehness is affecting my kids (I'm slow sometimes, what can I say....). Since blehness is catchy, Seth is very whiny. He is so ridiculously whiny that he came out of his bedroom this morning, whining that his left arm was hurting.

"Mom, (big tears for dramatic effect) my left arm is VERY sore (lower lip hanging downward). In fact, it's so sore that you need to take me to the doctor," he said.

I was very surprised because he never has liked doctors much. He's seen them infrequently in the last few years because he is so healthy. I really couldn't imagine why he would actually WANT to see one. He then surprised me further.

"Mom, I think I'm going to need a NEEDLE in this arm to help it!"

Okay. A needle. A NEEDLE. A NEEDLE!!!!

This is when I had an epiphany. I had obviously been talking and {{gulp}} whining too much about my neck and arms, and my son was just my......echo. (Although I must confess the needle-thing is still surprising because I have not asked for, mentioned or even hinted that I might need one.....)

I know these lessons are necessary. I just wish I learned more quickly.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

The Necessity of Struggle

I don't feel able to adequately express myself tonight, but I'm going to try.

In January of this year, Dave had two jobs and I had one. In February, Dave had two jobs and I had none. In April, Dave had one job and I still have none. These jobs were quit because of BURN OUT.

We have cut our spending more than I thought was possible for a couple with two kids. I live on "X" amount of dollars per month. Exactly. Not more. I count my pennies. I look for deals more than ever. I use coupons whenever possible. I watch how much I drive the car. I use cash ONLY. Not debit. Not credit. If I don't have the money for something, I DO NOT GET IT.

We have not eaten at a restaurant - even a fast food one - once since April (which is quite miraculous for us).


Dave has been home - EVERY NIGHT - for supper (compared to RARELY being home).

Dave has spent more time with the kids in the last month than the entire last year (he was just working stinkin' hard).

We have had more family time than ever.

And you know what? I have been able to step back and be truly thankful for this financial struggle. It has always been my desire to get out of the rat race and learn to RELAX. We have attempted this off and on over the years, but this has truly been the closest we've come to accomplishing this. Although I will likely have to get a part-time evening job because we can't quite meet all of our NEEDS, I don't want to fall into this trap again.

I am tired of chasing the almighty dollar.

I am sick of being married to material things.

I am constantly amazed when I hear parents say that they work their long hours "for the sake of their kids". So non-existent parenting is okay as long as our kids have their toys? Their sports? Their hobbies? Broken marriages is a price worth paying?

We are so twisted in our thinking in the world today. We fight the thought of letting our kids struggle when struggling is necessary to survival.

Struggling is the stepping stone to thriving.

Do we want our children to thrive?

Lord, help me, truly. Like any parent, I want to give good gifts to my children, but Lord, I do not want my gifts to be a detriment to them. I want their gifts from me to be long lasting, life changing - things that will mold their character and help them be better Christians than I am. Not materialistic things, Lord, for those things pass away.

Help me, Lord, not to fight AGAINST their struggle.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Hannah's Debut

Hannah has been playing the piano now for ten months. This little clip is of her playing her own composition (which she made up just because she wanted to, not because it was required). The piano is out of tune (I'm not sure if it can actually get in better tune because there is a broken piece at the back of the piano). It's my granny's piano, so it is priceless to me, and at this point, it is good enough for Hannah to learn to play on.

Anyway, she doesn't play the song perfect, but I think she plays pretty good.

(Spoken from a proud mama....)

Dear Diary

Dear Diary:

I have lived one full week with a bulging disc in my neck, and it's getting progressively worse. The only thing I can do to try to help it is by using ice, ibuprofen and a teeny, little stretch (maybe 1/4 of an inch) to the neck. I have to sleep at least half the night on the couch because it is the only place I can comfortably place the ice pack AND try to sleep at the same time.

This morning, diary, I had a very wonderful surprise. I was on the couch sleeping (finally) when Hannah and Seth ran out to me, already dressed (usually I have to prompt them because they can be slow to get going in the morning), AND finished their chores! As well, Hannah decided to make MY bed for me because "it's obvious that your neck is still bothering you mom if you're sleeping on the couch", she wisely concluded.

And so diary, in spite of my neck pain, I have to count my blessings in my two children. They started out the day trying to make my life easier. For that I am very thankful.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Ode To My Lovely Girl

I have a lovely daughter.

This girl-o-mine is such a big help to me that I really don't know what I'd do without her. Today while I was busy with something else, she sorted, folded and put away three loads of laundry. This included careful folding of towels, her brother's clothes, as well as her dad's and mine. All of this without my asking her to.

She also helped Seth with his school while I was vacuuming. Because he wouldn't take his school work seriously (cracking jokes constantly) I gave him "lines". My elder sister passed this bit of wisdom onto me because it was a tried and true formula while she homeschooled. While Seth repeatedly wrote "I will not joke" and "I will listen to mom", if he had a question, Hannah helped him. (He was trying to write "j ke" without an O because he already "used his O in the word not"......go figure....). She helped so I could finish my work.

Hannah finished her grade two in early April and has been working on her grade three. Seth should be finished soon (and only isn't because of MY neglect - there has been too much going on lately), so I plan to let her stop for the summer when Seth is done.

She is doing very well in her piano, receiving high compliments from both her teacher and the receptionist where she takes her lesson. She practices very diligently and I rarely have to ask her to practice.

Her latest ambition is to be a veterinarian. And - a Sunday School teacher. When she told me she was "imagining her class of kids", I complimented her and told her that it was a worthy ambition when she grew up. She informed me that she didn't want to wait until she grew up. She wanted to teach Sunday School now and couldn't understand why she wasn't quite ready.

Ahhh, such a sweet lass.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

More About Seth....

My boy has been a total crankpot the last couple of days. I suspect he's going through a growth spurt, because he is extra tired and not very hungry. He is also whiny about everything.

Yesterday while doing our flyer route, he wiped out while running. The world came to an end. Fortunately, only his hands were skinned, but they weren't even close to bleeding. This mattered very little to Seth.

"I absolutely CANNOT do any more flyers!" he emphatically stated.

I kissed his hands and tried to get his mind off the stinging.

"Do you know one of the reasons why God made your hands?" I asked him.

"Why?" {sniff, sniff......wail}

"To protect you when you fall. Imagine how much worse it would have been if your hands weren't there and your head hit the concrete instead?"

He actually nodded his head and for a moment I thought he might stop.

He didn't.

He wailed and whined for at least ten minutes (even though I suggested amputation, an offer which he didn't accept) until I grew impatient with his whining. We came to one house where a man was working outside. He asked Seth what the matter was. Of course, Seth wouldn't answer, but just continued to stand there with his lip hanging down, so I told the gentleman that he had fallen and skinned his hands. He very kindly offered to go inside his house to get him a bandaid. Although Seth refused his offer, it seemed to stop his crying. Thankfully.

Fast forward to today.

He has a doctor's appointment tomorrow. I have been telling him that he would be able to stand on a scale to see how much he weighed, and then see how tall he was - stupidly thinking that he would find this interesting. Instead, he began whining and *very strongly* informing me that he was NOT GOING TO THE DOCTOR! He finally told me, after much prodding, that he didn't want to go because he didn't want to step on the scale! (Like mother, like son, I thought.)

I said: "Why not?"

"Because I don't want to take off my shoes!" he replied with his lip continuing to hang low. (Hmm, not exactly the reason I strongly dislike stepping on the scale....)

"Why don't you want to take off your shoes?" I asked.

"Because then they will see my feet, AND I DON'T WANT ANYONE TO SEE MY FEET!" (Now seeing my feet is fine, but smelling them.......well that's another thing altogether.......)

{Heavy sigh.....}

I told him before bed that he was having an apple for his snack, and ONLY an apple. He had two pieces of cake at grandma's house and he didn't need anything else. Again.....the wail.


"I really have very little concern about what your belly would like Seth," I said. "Your belly really doesn't scare me all that much." I realize I need to lessen my sarcasm, but honestly, sarcasm just seems so necessary sometimes. And fulfilling.

And so his apple was consumed, again with a deformed lip.

Finally, on a better note, tonight he was getting his jammies on. One of his duties is to "get his bed ready", which involves turning back the covers and lining up his million stuffed animals exactly right. (OCD perhaps?) Usually I have to prompt him to do this. Tonight, however, he told me not to come into his room. Of course, I knew why but didn't let on.

"Okay mom. You can come and look at my room!" he yelled.

I went to his room to find his bed very nicely "ready". I told him he did a good job with a smile. Not impressed, he told me that that wasn't what I was supposed to do.

"What was I supposed to do?" I asked.

"This," he replied, and then gave me a demonstration.

And so ended our evening on a good note. Of course, this picture looked so much like myself I just had to use it........:)

Sunday, May 9, 2010

My Hero

Now what mother wouldn't feel blessed to be chosen to mother these two children?

Not that I feel especially worthy (not saying that as a "boo-hoo"). I just always reflect more than usual on Mother's Day about my shortcomings as a mom and try to ponder how I can improve.

However, my post is really more about my own mother.

I know I am getting old when the things that used to make me cringe about my mother have lessened considerably. I know I am getting old when the thought of being like my mother is not as troubling as it used to be.

I am not being harsh. Just honest. My mother has idiosyncrasies that have made my sisters and I blush with embarrassment.

However, the biggest reason of all that I have changed is not really that I am getting old. (Although I am getting old........imagine that?) It's that I have seen the light.

My mother - all idiosyncrasies aside - is my hero.

My mother has selflessly laid aside her own life in the last few weeks, and put her whole heart into living, caring, and giving my granny - HER MOTHER-IN-LAW - as comfortable of a life in her twilight years as is possible. My granny is a wonderful lady, that's true, but her 89 years are beginning to show and she requires more care than ever. Because of that, my mother and my granny have moved into a duplex together. To share expenses. And even more, for my mom to help my granny when she needs help.

She cooks for my granny.

She regularly checks on my granny.

She laughs herself silly with my granny.

She even plans on learning to do my granny's hair so she can "spoil" her a little bit.

She has basically put anything she might like aside for the sake of my granny.

I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that we reap what we sow. I believe that my mom will be rewarded greatly, I really do. One of her rewards will be having children who care for her like she cared for her mother-in-law. I am determined to love my mother that way because she deserves it. She has shown me how to properly care for those that I love.

I wanna be just like her when I grow up.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Seth Stories

I had a raccoon jump on me this morning, while I was still sleeping.

"Mom, mom, moooooooooom, wake up! Mom, what do raccoons like to eat?"

"Huh?" I said, barely coherent.

"What do raccoons eat?" my son asked again.

{Big Sigh}. One eyeball managed to open up. Then, before I even had a chance to think about an answer, he asked his second of 359 daily questions.

"Mom, is a raccoon a predator?" my genius boy asks. All I can think of is that their dad really must stop teaching these kids all about the animal kingdom for science. They really don't need to know any of this stuff anyway. It's all their dad's fault, my befuddled brain thinks. Then, my son - the raccoon - decides to rub cheeks with me.

"What are you doing?" I finally manage to make a sentence.

"I'm a raccoon, so I'm rubbing your cheek," was his response. I have enough presence of mind to be grateful that he is not his usual kitten that not only rubs cheeks, but sometimes........licks it. {Gulp}

Fast forward to later this evening. There was music practice at the church after prayer meeting. My two darlings were told to sit because they had not been obeying me earlier. However, he eventually managed to get up on the platform.

On the way home, we talked again about how he did not obey me. He was quiet for a few minutes and I thought the subject was dropped. The little rascal was just thinking.

"Mom, do you know why I got up on the platform?" he asked me.

"Why?" I asked him.

"Because I wanted to be close to you," the little schmoozer said.

"Oh?" I reply.

"Yep. I wanted to be close to you because your tongue is gold and silver. Yup. That's why."

I'd say HE has the gold and silver tongue. What am I going to do with him?

Monday, May 3, 2010

Very Busy....And Very Tired

I'm bushed. Worn out. Plum weary.

We moved both my mom and my grandma into one place this last weekend. That meant moving two households, cleaning my grandma's apartment (VERY thoroughly so she would get all of her damage deposit back), packing my grandma, helping my mom (although much more limited because of all we had to do for grandma - my poor, poor mom). We began loading my grandma at around 4:30 Friday, and finished unloading my mom around 8:30 Friday night. We were able to do it that quickly because the entire family helped (it was almost like a family reunion....). However, we were very disheartened to find the place we moved into disgustingly dirty. As a result, we have a lot more cleaning to do BEFORE we can unpack like we would like to.

Because of how tired we all are, tempers are rather.....high. Even my grandma, who is usually a mild tempered lady and is very easy to be around, is getting rather "bucky". I have had to try to remind myself that she is 89 years old, her usual secure world has been turned upside down, she has had to lose some independence, and she has got to be a whole lot more tired than all of us. However, when she decided she did not want to eat supper tonight at her brand new table and chairs that her family gave her as a birthday gift BECAUSE IT WAS TOO NICE AND SHE DIDN'T WANT TO WRECK IT........well, to be honest, my patience ran out.

And so now I have to repent.

To top it off, my kids are exhausted. They've been cooped up in a confined space among boxes stacked to the ceiling, bored and tired of the whole business. I'm impatient with them (another thing to repent of), other family members have been impatient with them (Seth in particular) because at times they made our work a little more difficult.

Tonight Hannah decided she was tired of EVERYTHING, and with much emotion informed me of this. She is tired of her toys (although she doesn't really have toys), she's tired of her computer, she's tired of bedroom, she's bored, bored, bored. It's a combination of exhaustion, growing up, and resisting the nudge God is trying to give her. She has been more discontent than ever, and our talks about her need for the gift of the Holy Ghost have not been very well received.

And in my exhausted state, I have to try to patiently deal with my emotional daughter.

My son has burst into tears at various times throughout the day. We stopped at the library today on our way to help unpack, and I had to tell him that he was not allowed to take any books into grandma's house. The last thing I will allow is another lost library book fiasco, and believe me, there are many places to lose a library book at grandma's house right now. When we got home tonight, I told him to clean up his legos, and then we would read some of his new library books. I stressed to him - very slowly and carefully - that he had to PICK....UP....THE....BLOCKS....AND....NOT.....BUILD.....ANYTHING. I had him repeat my instructions, which he did. I gave him the choice of playing with his blocks INSTEAD of reading his new library books, or picking up his blocks and reading his new library books. He assured me he would pick up his blocks because he had been waiting all day to read the new books.

After fifteen minutes, I went into his room to check on his progress, only to find a new construction. He had made a brick wall. I told him that he obviously had chosen to play with his blocks instead of reading books, and he informed me that he had NOT built that wall. This went back and forth a few times, each time with him denying that he had built that wall. Finally, with a straight face, he told me that,

"I did NOT build that wall mom! The Brickster did!"

The Brickster is the main character on his Lego Island CD that he plays all the time. And I can tell you that he was very earnest in his explanation. He simply DID NOT do it. Therefore he could not be responsible for the building of that wall.

And so, that's been our day. Our week. Our month. I'm ready for a rest.