Tuesday, August 26, 2008

What If They Really Do Spoil Rotten?

W turned one a few weeks ago, so now we have even more toys to trip over =) While I am very appreciative of the gifts our children receive, the number of toys they have is really ridiculous. So I want to take a look at how all these toys have amassed. First, many of the guests at the birthday party brought a gift for my three year-old in addition to a gift for the birthday boy. I understand the thought process, and I guess I don’t really mind a small gift for the sibling(s) who is not celebrating a birthday. However, my mom brought H a real gift. Now, granted it is a pretty cool gift (that’s it in the picture), and both the boys enjoy playing with it. But, why? My MIL told my husband she was bringing a gift for H b/c she “didn’t want him to feel left out.” My husband reaction to this was “Isn’t that our job? To worry about whether or not he feels left out?” (He didn’t say this to her… oh that he would!) I have an older brother, and I don’t remember receiving gifts on his birthday. Is this just more of the consumerism everyone is talking about? It’s kind of like wedding favors. I told C, “The favor at our wedding is the free beer, wine, and food!” I know some may say favors are fun, and don’t get me wrong, I like them myself most of the time. But, I don’t like that people feel pressured to provide them.

Back to the mountain of toys, the other way we get them is from the grandmothers. For some reason, they do not believe they can visit without bringing a gift. For a time, my MIL did not show up without a balloon. Seriously. Neither one lives more than twenty minutes away, so it’s not like they only visit twice a year or something. Now, I know some of you are reading this and asking, have you talked to them about this? Yes, I have (at least my mom). It doesn’t work, and in fact, this is a big part of the reason I don’t ask her to come over more often. It makes me angry b/c both of my children love their grandparents without the toys. Why do they feel compelled to bring things, when the boys are just so happy to spend time with them? I know that many say grandparents are supposed to “spoil” their grandchildren, and I agree in a way. I want the boys to be “spoiled” with their grandparents’ time, and by that I mean, playing with them when they are here. My grandma always had my favorite lemon pound cake baked when we visited. My grandmother saved the bowl of batter for me when she made muffins (I’m sensing a food theme here). I honestly can’t say that I remember a gift they got for me, but I remember that they knew what I liked to eat and made it especially for me, they sewed with and for me, and gave lots of love and memories. So, please tell me how do I stop this constant gift-giving?

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Water for Elephants

I had heard of Sara Gruen’s Water for Elephants, but I didn’t know what it was about. But when one of the members of book club offered it to me on loan, I took it. I am very glad I did. I thoroughly enjoyed it. Alas, I read ahead (again, I know, I know) and spoiled a neat twist the book offers. Still, I liked it a lot. I definitely would recommend it. My only warning would be that if you dislike circus-lore, it may not be for you. I would not describe myself as liking circus-lore, but I don’t dislike it. In fact, it was interesting to learn about Depression-era, traveling circuses. The story is told from the viewpoint of ninety-something Jacob, and this was one of my favorite parts of the book. I cracked up at some of his thoughts and rants. So, unless you have a clown phobia, I’d say read it!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Use It or Lose It

The other day, I was emailing a friend and telling her W was commando crawling everywhere or every where? Is everywhere a word I asked myself? Not having time to check my dictionary, I played it safe with every where. Then, I noticed in a previous post I typed "This is the thoughts" -um that should be This is the thought or These are the thoughts-what is going on here? I have always strived to use correct grammar and am usually a good speller. I grew up being corrected if I said "have went," and now, in a way that I'm sure is making my daddy smile, I find myself correcting my older son (not in a "you are wrong" way, I repeat what he says just correcting the mistake) and also, sometimes, my husband. I'll tell you what I think. It's use it or lose it syndrome. I no longer write papers or essays for a class or type emails to co-workers. I'm not using my writing skills, and I am losing them (just like my computer skills). It is scary how quickly these skills atrophy. One thing's for sure, I best be working some crossword puzzles as I age, or I'm going to be in real trouble. (You like the "I best be"? That's just some local flavor for you all!)

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Swim, Boy, Swim

I am a phan! Please don't take issue with my use of the word boy; it's not derogative. I use the same term when watching football (then it's run, boy, run). Also, I feel a bit like an old lady watching 23 year-old Michael Phelps! So, Friday night, watching the 100m butterfly race, I was up on my knees on the bed, both fists pumping the air, whisper-screaming, "Swim, boy, swim" (no real screaming, my one year-old had just fallen asleep on the bed)! I do not know Michael Phelps, but he appears to be a pretty stand-up fellow. He obviously respects and adores his mother and sisters. In interviews with his relay teammates, he always gives the teammates their due and doesn't hog the spotlight. Also, his teammates say they are proud of him. I think that speaks volumes. So, I couldn't stay awake for last night's race, but the first thing I asked my husband when he woke up was "did you watch the relay last night?" After getting a yes, "did they win?" After getting the boys breakfast, I'm reading the yahoo article on Phelps's eighth gold and crying (I know, laugh if you want). Then, I'm on nbcolympics.com watching the video of the relay and medal ceremony. I know some folks take issues with him wearing his ipod until the last couple of minutes. Who cares? If that's his routine, so be it. I'm proud of him. I've enjoyed watching the events he's participated in (and a lot of others, too, the twelve hour difference is getting to me). Maybe he has displayed some bad qualities or used curse words in interviews (that really makes me mad, don't these athletes know children and young adults look up to them?), but I have not seen it. (Feel free to comment and let me know if he has, but first know that what he listens to on his ipod will not change my opinion). This quote from an article by Dan Wetzel on Yahoo Sports struck me:

“It’s been nothing but an upward rollercoaster,” Phelps said. “It’s been nothing but fun.”

I interpret that as: it's hard work, but I've loved every minute of it! Also interpreted as, hard work pays off, nothing in life is free, or one of my sixth grade teacher's favorites, nothing from nothing leaves nothing, you give me nothing, you get nothing (okay, that one might be a stretch). So, Phelps exhibits humility, responsibility, strength of body and mind, drive, esprit de corps, and elan...sounds like qualities I want my children to have and to have myself. Sounds phantastic!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Is Mommy Guilt Making Me A Worse Parent?

Or at least a not so good disciplinarian? One of my top reasons for guilt is yelling. I was reading an issue of Parenting magazine that said yelling was one of the number one reasons for mommy guilt. Well, it's nice to know I'm not alone. Let me explain, I am a yeller by nature. I get it honest from my father, who got it honest from his father. However, getting it honest doesn't make it okay. I guess if there's a good side, it's that I am not a grudge holder. I don't bottle my anger up inside and let it fester. It explodes out in a very loud voice, and it's gone in a minute. (This is not to say that I forget every unkind comment that has ever come my way, that I don't remember said comments periodically and feel hurt all over again, but that's another blog topic).

The problem is I know it's not good to yell at my three year old. It just makes him yell, too. The time I am most likely to yell is (I cringe to type this) when I am on the computer - emailing, reading blogs, posting. I get so frustrated that I am not allowed even fifteen minutes of me-time. Now we're coming to part of the problem, allowed? Since when are my children making the rules for me? It's the mommy guilt. I feel guilty for being on the computer and yelling, so then I don't give myself time to do something I want to do. When, really, I need to set some boundaries (for myself and my sons). For instance, Mommy is going to be on the computer for fifteen minutes after breakfast, then we can play, draw, go outside. During those fifteen minutes, please don't ask Mommy for a snack or if you can get on pbskids.org.

I know lots of moms struggle with giving their children enough of their time. I know it's easy to let the computer (or, for me sometimes, a book) suck up way too much time. I guess I just don't want 1) the guilt I feel for not giving my boys enough time to become a reason for giving in to their unreasonable demands or 2) the guilt I feel for yelling at H to become a reason for not following through on a promised punishment.

I don't know if this will even make sense to anyone else... Maybe it's the pressure of having two mobile children, for which I am very thankful.


W pulled up to standing for the first time! Yeeha! I can't wait to tell his PT tomorrow! Now his feet were quite a distance apart, but he still pulled himself up!

Commando Crawling

So the forward movement actually has a name; per our Early Interventionist, W is commando crawling! He is very mobile nowadays. In fact, we had to pull out the pack and play last night, because I can't leave the room for a few minutes any more and expect to find him in the same place (or even remotely near where he was when I left). He is also starting to try to pull up on the couch, just a little, but still, it's great to see progress. He definitely wants to stand up more now (which means I have to really stay right with him since he hasn't learned to bend his knees and fall down on his bum!) Anyway, it's great to know that his crawling style has a name and is something many other children do. I forgot how hard it is when they become mobile, and this time it's even harder since H has all these toys that are not okay for W to get in his hot little hands!

Monday, August 11, 2008

Back To School

Just wanted to take a moment to say how proud I am of my hubby! He is going to go back to school (or at least attempt to do so). We know it will be tough for both of us and most likely for the little guys, too, but it will be such a boost for C. He is interested in almost all things computer-related, so he's looking at studying computer technology with an emphasis on networking. He just got the good word yesterday that his employer will help with some of the costs of school, so now we're even more excited and motivated to make it work. I am and will be praying that I can be supportive for him and not a nagging shrew! I'll just keep reminding myself that maybe he'll get a fantastic job one day, and I can be a stay-at-home-mom for a long time. If your children go off to college, do you become a stay-at-home-wife-with-children-in-college?

Thursday, August 7, 2008

The Olympics Are Coming

Tomorrow is the day: the opening ceremonies of the Summer Olympics! I am so looking forward to it! I hope to see H show some interest in the games. Maybe the shorter contests, like track and swimming, will hold his interest. We only watch television after 9:00 at night around here, so I'm not sure how we'll work this. By the way, don't think we're wonderful parents who always turn the television off to spend quality time with our children. Instead think, often hurried parents who can't eat, feed the children, wash the dishes, bathe the children (some nights), and turn the tv on before bed time. Now you're getting the picture =)

Blogger Issues

I somehow ended up with two copies of the same post, so I deleted the one that did not have a comment or a label. The one with the comment and label disappeared. My previous post has crazy spacing I can't seem to correct. I'm going to chalk this up to being logged in during the scheduled ten minute outage on 8/6 (this is what I get for being an idiot that forgets how many hours behind Pacific Time is from my time!) I hope things work going forward...

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Things I Like

I thought I'd make a list of things I like just for the fun of it!

1) Capri length yoga pants (if I had a few more pairs, I probably would not wear any other pants or shorts the whole week through)

2) H's knock-off crocs (see above, I can't figure out this page layout stuff right now)

3) NFL Football (you never would have guessed, would ya?)
4) M & M's (I can trick myself into thinking I don't eat that many)
5) Crossword puzzles (I know, I'm a nerd)

6) The smell of feed stores (feed for cows, horses, and the like)
7) H saying muddy puddle (it's just so much sweeter sounding than mud puddle).

8) Thunderstorms in the late afternoon/early evening. This despite being terrified that any slight breeze meant there would be a tornado when I was a youngster.

9) C's random, deep thought comments i.e., "Don't you wish you had x-ray glasses, so you could, like, see everyone's story?"

10) No-show socks. Why didn't they have these back in the day? B/c, lots of times, at band camp, I got sock lines! Yes, I was a band nerd, too.

Monday, August 4, 2008

For Love or Corn

I am reading (and, so far, thoroughly enjoying) Water For Elephants by Sara Gruen. I kept looking at the author's name thinking it was familiar. Finally, I realized that Gruen is the last name of Nancy Drew's housekeeper, Hannah. Now I am revealing just how long I've been a bookworm =) Anyway, I wanted to share this hilarious quote from Water For Elephants by Sara Gruen published by Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill (trying to cover my behind here for copyright stuff). This is the thoughts of 90 or 93 year old Jacob:

"Sometimes I think that if I had to choose between an ear of corn or making love to a woman, I'd choose the corn. Not that I wouldn't love to have a final roll in the hay - I am a man yet, and some things never die - but the thought of those sweet kernels bursting between my teeth sure sets my mouth to watering. It's fantasy, I know that. Neither will happen. I just like to weigh the options, as though I were standing in front of Solomon: a final roll in the hay or an ear of corn. What a wonderful dilemma. Sometimes I substitute an apple for the corn."

I laughed out loud the first time I read this. It cracks me up every time I read it. I particularly like the substitution thought. You can tell he's really thought about it rather seriously! Love it!

In other book news, I finished The Birchbark House by Louise Erdrich. It is in the juvenile fiction section of the library, and, as I put in my sidebar while I was reading it, touted as a Native American Laura Ingalls Wilder-type story. It was a nice read. The author uses some of the tribe's language and provides a glossary at the end of the book complete with phonetic pronunciations (all of which I appreciated). Also, I found that they have this book on CD at my local library, so I have requested it. It will be great to hear the correct pronunciations. Also, there is a follow up book, The Game of Silence. I plan to read it in the near future! I enjoy reading juvenile fiction sometimes (even re-reading my old favorites). I feel like it relaxes me somehow to read about life from a child's perspective.

I am thinking of trying out the book club sponsored by the local library. They have two meeting times (during the day and in the evening). I go to the library so often, I've made friends with one of the librarians, whom I asked about the book clubs. She attends (or maybe leads?) the evening one, so I think I'm going to try that one. To be honest, I am hoping to find a book club to possibly join. Well, maybe...sometimes I think I get carried away with all the things I think I want to do. I mean do I really have time for more book clubs? but they're only once a month (or less) you know? Maybe I just want to get out more? Anyway, the first book is American Pastoral by Philip Roth. We'll see how it goes.