Saturday, September 27, 2008

I'm Dreaming Tonight...

Christmas 2007

It seems I've gone and done it again. Not in an 'oops' kind of way. More in a 'Wow!' kind of way. Like the time I realized that my genes were alive and well in my daughter when she was mesmerized by her first real view of clowns in action. All of the clowns I decided to keep have been safely packed away for years and I've never shared that part of my life with my children. But somehow Laura holds that same fascination. What a joy it was to watch her face as she saw her first real clowns performing on a Discovery program! I think the circus is in our future soon. Or the time that Matthew said something in the same tone of voice using the same mannerisms as my brother did when he was a teenager. I had to take a double take to be sure I wasn't back in time! Apparently some 'nature' lives on in all of our children no matter what the 'nurture'.

So that brings us to today's discovery. Jonathan, Laura and I were home cleaning, quick tidying, and actually dusting *gasp* when Jonathan says out of the blue "Mom, Let's have a lot of Christmas trees this year. And let's make them theme trees. You know, like a 'Game Tree' using our game pieces. And we could spread the boxes underneath like they are presents. Or a toy tree where we could hang all of our little toys on it. Know what I mean, Mom?" Uhhhh... YES! I know exactly what he means. I'd love to do a beach themed tree this year. Even if it is only a small one. Four feet or less. And I'd love to do a gingerbread themed tree in the kitchen, and a snowman themed tree on the steps with the snow family we usually put there. And several others. Yes, I know exactly what he means. He's got the bug! He loves Christmas, too. Not just because of the presents. But because our house is transformed from the normal to something wonderful. And the time spent enjoying it can't be traded for anything.

But what I didn't know, and couldn't figure out, is where the comment came from in the first place. Oh, I'll admit that I was playing Christmas music while we cleaned today. I love Christmas music and I know he does, too. But we weren't talking about Christmas in any way. And Jonathan knows that Daddy had to be talked in to the two trees we put up last year so they'd match in the bow windows on the front of the house. So more trees??? YES! I have a partner in Christmas planning!!! His wife will just love me, don't you think? :)

After some chatting about trees, we decided we'd start small this year and see what we could use that we already have or can get from freecycle/garage sales and thrifting. And of course we'll watch sales and so on. And we'll do more with the smaller trees we already have. And wreaths... we could do themed wreaths, too. I already have a small collection of things for them going downstairs. Oh I just can't wait to get started!

Ah, Christmas! As the song says "I'm dreaming tonight of a place even more than I usually do". And that place is sitting in front of the lit Christmas tree with the fire going, cuddled up with the family, listening to Christmas music, playing a down and dirty game of Pit or Pass The Pig. Yep, It would be a perfect evening! :)

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Little Did We Realize...

Tonight was a quiet night at home. The 'men' of the house, who are periodically known around here as "Muscle", were off helping Dad move Laura's play house over in order to make room for his new shed in the back yard. Well, it might be more like a small barn in these here parts, but we'll stick with shed since we know what a real barn is. Anyway with Don and Matthew gone, Laura, Jonathan, and I kept ourselves busy. Jonathan was doing his best to ignore the end of his history assignment he didn't want to finish by playing computer games, Laura was playing with her babies, and I was sorting and cleaning out files on the computer as I'm almost out of room. Apparently it is one of the negative side effects to owning a digital camera. All was quiet on the homefront.

And then from the far reaches of the family room I hear "I wan to pay on my caputer." I quietly ignored it thinking she'd get sidetracked as I knew we didn't have hers plugged in to the internet yet. The router was on our to do list but hadn't filtered to the top yet so she was not attached to surfability. After a moment or two I heard it again. "I wan to pay on my caputer!" Yes, it was a big more firm this time. I figured I'd wait her out one more time.

Pretty soon I was rewarded - or not as you will see - by the growing insistence in her voice. Only this time she said "I NEED to get on da INDERNET!" While I can totally relate to her feelings of need, I knew she didn't have email quite yet so I was a bit amused. I realize when she learns to read I'll be dealing with her request for her own email, but until then I think I've got the upper hand. However, she didn't see it my way. The insistence in the voice rose once again. As she walked in to the living room she said "Mom! I NEED to get on da INDERNET! Now MOM! I NEED PBSKIDS!"

Yeah, I had to hold back the laughter, too. Somehow I managed. I calmly went with her in to the family room, explained that Daddy needed a new router so she could get on the internet. and she just needed to be patient. Meanwhile I told her I could put another game on her computer for her to play. Very brightly she said "So I can play PBSKIDS anyways???" Uhhh, no. But soon. I promise. She declined and followed me back in to the living room and promptly asked Jonathan to play something on his computer with her. They are playing happily as I type.

As I considered the fact that my four year old daughter understands so much about technology I realized she probably had no choice. After all, we started her out pretty early...

Maybe we rushed it just a bit. :)

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

On The Road Again...

This weekend we once again head out to see Dr. Dobbs. However, this visit is a bit different. Not only will we be seeing Dr. Dobbs for a check, we'll also be doing an 'H&P' (history and physical in medical terms) and then having a nerve study done to confirm what Dr. Dobbs believes is nerve damage that is preventing her clubfoot from maintaining correction. Since this test checks for nerves, they believe it best that she be put to sleep for the process as Laura isn't exceedingly tolerant of some medical procedures. Especially those that cause some pain. Gee, who would have guessed?

Once we know the outcome of the testing we'll know what surgery, if any, she'll need. I'm expecting some but I'm not fully aware yet of all of our options. We're expecting the test results to give us that information. And we'll also know what additional casting might be needed to recorrect her foot. I feel somewhat like this may be the beginning of the end. But I've felt that way before and we are still on the journey so I'll reserve that until a later date.

I've often wondered why God hasn't fixed this. Why he hasn't just reached down and moved her bone back where it belongs or readjusted her fat pad so she's walking more normally. And I know that if she were a 'normal' clubfoot child we'd be done with the shoes, the regular appts and the constant wondering. We'd be done. But that isn't our reality. So I'll just keep on going through doors the Lord opens, doing what needs to be done and praying that the Lord's will would come to fruition in His time. And I think that is the hardest thing in all of this. Not knowing the outcome but moving ahead anyway.

Perhaps that is the bigger picture for me, and what I'm learning through all of this. Trusting the Lord. Following the Lord. Doing what I know is right even when it is the hard thing to do. Trusting. Totally trusting. I think it is one of the hardest things I'll ever do. And I know it is the right thing. I've tried the 'on my own' thing. Didn't get me very far. So here we are. Headed out on the road again. Another St. Louis drive by! May the Lord protect us, provide for us and give Dr. Dobbs wisdom as we move forward in our journey.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Letting Go

I think I've discovered a wrinkle in this 'parenting teens' thing. A rather big one I didn't expect. After all, we are programmed from their conception (and possibly before) to expect teenagers to reject the maturation process, to cling to childish ways, and to attempt to pull things over on us no matter how well we parent - or don't as the case may be. But some children apparently resist such expected behaviors - it could be that they've heard something akin to "Sorry, the fact that you are a teenager is no excuse" for several years. Or maybe it is because those who are wise enough to skip the 'expected' route realized at an early age that responsibility was the key that opened privileged doors. Or maybe I'm just blessed. But apparently I wasn't prepared.

I was up early this morning. I'd gotten 6 hours of straight sleep. Yes, I said 6 hours. Uninterrupted. Solid. Blessed sleep. So by the time the rain woke me up at 4:30, I was good to go. I popped in some laundry (a great activity for those insomniac nights I'm told), perused the news to see what the talking heads were saying about Sarah Palin's interview with Charlie Gibson last night, checked the weather for Matthew's YFC event at the stadium with the Indians tomorrow, and renewed the joys of a cold gulp of caffeinated energy. And then I sat down to see how Matthew was doing in his classes. He has classes with BOSS four days a week this year, and he's entered the wonderful world of High School so life is a bit more demanding for him.

As I perused his assignments and grades, I noted that he had one due today that he had yet to turn in but I figured he'd get to it before classes this morning. I flipped to the grades page. In the first class he's making an A - 100%. Another class has him at 95% - still an A. Not bad. He's doing what he is capable of doing. And then I flipped to his third class. And I note a big fat "0" grade. As in nothing. No points. Nada. *sigh* My mind begins to turn to his activities on the day it was assigned and the following day when it was due. Yes, he indeed had time to finish the assignment. How dare he not do something that was due??? My parent blood began to boil. I never made it through the rest of his classes.

My mind quickly flipped through my options, checked the time and figured 6:15 was a great time to wake him up. After all, we needed to talk. I quietly snuck (is that a word?)in to his room, hoping that Jonathan and Laura would stay asleep for several more hours. As soon as I sat down, he rolled over and moaned "what?" as if he were expecting something bad had happened. In my mind I quickly thought "Oh Honey. You have NO idea..." and then took a quick, calming breath before saying "Did you know that you have an assignment due today that you haven't turned in yet?" He moans and says "I did it. I just didn't turn it in yet." I relaxed knowing he did this a lot last year. He'd do everything and then scan and submit it the following day. I was willing to let that go until I heard him say "At least I think I did..." I suggested he needed to get up and check that because he still had time to do it if he didn't.

Then I took a deep breath and said "Do you know that there is an assignment that was due Tuesday worth 15 points and you have 0? As in NO POINTS! How could you miss an assignment? Here I thought you were growing up and I didn't need to check your assignments regularly and I guess I was wrong." (Yeah, I should have stopped after the first sentence but my brain was elsewhere at that moment) There is a pause as he digests my tirade before he calmly says "I did it Mom. I turned it in." My response is quick and without thought. "Oh really? It says that you got zero points. Nothing. As if you didn't even try it. What was the assignment about?" He lifts up his head, turns to me and asks if that is the assignment that was to be done in complete sentences. I nod in the affirmative. He flops back on his pillow and says "Mom. I did it. He just hasn't graded it yet. It says zero because the computer couldn't analyze our sentences and he has to review each submission. I guess he hasn't gotten to it yet." Then, as if to punctuate his proof positive that I've lost my Mother Mind, he tightens his stomach muscles and blasts out an rear-exit exclamation in true male fashion. *sigh*

I quickly realize I've jumped the gun. I've made assumptions that were untrue. I have doubted him when he has done just what he was supposed to do. I really don't need to check up on him regularly. He's growing up. My baby is growing up. In an effort to ease the tension before I apologize I start to make a fuss about his final, odiferous action. When we are both smiling once again I apologize and tell him I'm happy that I was wrong and I'm proud of how well he's handling high school and the transition to the increased work load. Then I cajole him in to getting up 30 minutes early in order to prevent the alarm from waking everyone up and head downstairs.

When I get to the bottom of the steps I stop, wrap my arms around myself and silently thank the Lord that my son is growing up. He's turning in to what I pray will be a strong man of God. With integrity and a positive attitude. I realize I need to change my way of handling him. I need to treat him more like the person he is becoming and not the person he was. And I thank the Lord that I have that opportunity. Here. At home. Every day. All day. Where I get to enjoy his wonderfully developing personality with warmth and humor much of the time.

And then I remember that yes, I get to spend all day, every day with this wonderful person. Even if he spends far too much time spitting out puns... I guess there's a downside to everything, eh? :)

Thursday, September 11, 2008

It Can't Be!!!

It seems that there are many effects to working out, specifically with weights and so on. For the past year, Matthew and my Dad have gone three days a week to work out at the gym. They both have a routine and they move from machine to machine, strengthening their muscles and bonding at the same time. And in true family fashion, Dad not only shares his knowledge and wisdom with my growing son, but throws in some puns along the way which is making life around here ever more interesting. How many other families spend time making up jokes with wordplay?? Yeah, I didn't think so. And as a friend so wisely said today, the Lord says we are to be a "peculiar people". I guess we take that very seriously around here.

Anyway, as my very hormonally laden teenager headed upstairs for a much needed shower today, it seems he decided to check his weight. Why? Who knows. I check it far too often for my enjoyment. Apparently he's smarter than I am. For a few moments all is quiet. Then from upstairs I hear "190!!! 190!!??!!?? I can't weigh 190!!!! It Can't be!!!! came screaming down to greet me.

I must admit I had several reactions. The first was to smile. Just what does he think all of that weight-lifting and working out is doing? Yeah, his initial motivation might have been to get a tighter bucket so I'd hurt my hand when I whacked it as I walked by instead of making his bucket sting, but since then he's realized the time with Poppy is what it is really all about. Well that, and those muscles he's so diligently crafting. I guess it is time he learns that muscle weighs more than fat.

But my second reaction is the one that I hope will add to my motivation to be healthier. I'd love to weigh 190. Yes, really. How awesome it would be to weigh less than my teen son. After all, he's taller than I am. He's obviously stronger than I am. And he isn't done growing or working out yet. So there you have it. Another motivator to lose weight and get healthy. I think I need to make a list. And then blow it up along with a few choice, not-so-flattering pictures from our beach week, and post them in the pantry and the frig. Maybe that, along with a few scriptures, will do it. Just think... I won't be the heaviest one in the family any longer. Wouldn't that be awesome?!?!?! I'll let you know how it goes.

Monday, September 08, 2008

By George, I Think She's Got It!

Yes, indeed. I do believe she's actually got it. Down pat, even. Or maybe I should have said 'dry pat, even'. Why? Because she's done it. She's actually done it. Our "Potty Princess" really is, finally, a true, full-fledged, verifiable Potty Princess. Not because she wants to, mind you. But she has done it in spite of herself.

Almost every morning she wakes up with dry pull ups. And after doing her thing, she will find a pink pair of big girl panties and put them on. Well, perhaps after a bit of 'naked baby' running just because she can. :) Our big girl is finally big in yet another sense of the word. And I couldn't be happier. But I am considering buying stock in Potty Toppers...