Thursday, December 2, 2010

Advent: Day 2

The activity in the envelope today was "Make a list of 10 things you are thankful for." My goal this year is to help my children be more focused on others, on what they have, and on family time rather on themselves and what they get out of Christmas. I am looking forward to sitting down with the girls this afternoon and helping them write their lists. I have been thinking about what I will write on my list. There are so many more than 10 things for which I am thankful.

This list is in no particular order and is my no means a complete list, just what my little brain could come up with this morning:

1. My husband. He is an amazing man, who traded in a life of bachelorhood to take on a whole family, including drama surrounding the biological father of my 3 girls. He loves me, inspires me, challenges me and makes me laugh. I can't imagine a day without him.

2. My 4 precious children. Moms know, there are no words to express how you truly feel about the little people God has entrusted in your care. I would give up everything to ensure their happiness and well being.
3. My parents. They have been amazingly supportive through some incredibly rough years.
4. My in laws. My mother and father in law have taken my daughters and me into their family with loving arms. They are fun and caring people I love to be around, and they are fabulous grandparents to all 4 of my children.
5. My friends. As a mom, I spend most of my time at home (or working my part time job). I am rarely without my children, or at least one child, so time to cultivate friendships is very limited. Friendships at this stage of the game have to survive on much less face time than friendships earlier in life. But at the same time, they are so much more important.
6.Coffee, my first love. I can't imagine a day without it, either. ;)
7. The exersaucer. Our house is not baby proof and our infant is mobile. Need I say more?
8. The internet. How did we get along without Google for so long?
9. Facebook. Honestly, I get questions answered, set up playdates, find out about sales, hear the latest news about friends. . .
10. Texting. It's how I stay connected with my hubby, even when we have such opposite schedules.
11. Eggo Waffles. It's the easiest and fastest breakfast for all 5 of the non baby food eating members of this family.
12. DVR. It allows Ryan and I to watch our favorite shows together, which, let's face it, is as close to a date as he and I are going to have right now.
13. IMDB. Just ask my hubby, EVERY time we watch a show, there is at least one time I say "WHERE do I know that guy from???" IMDB to the rescue!
14. Karen, my hair dresser, who has been so generous and has been donating her services to me because she is generous and knows how difficult things have been for me over the past few years financially.
15. Babycenter. I don't go on that website anymore, but nearly 5 years ago I joined a group made up of other pregnant mommies and they have proved to be the most wonderful, supportive, amazing group of women I have ever "met."
16. The library. Free movies, video games, books. It's the poor family's best friend.
17. "Handydowns" or borrowed clothes. My kids would pretty much be naked without them.
18. The fact that my 3rd child is potty trained. I can deal with a baby in diapers.
19. Second (and third and forth) chances. I'm living proof that the second time around things can be totally different.
20. The things we as Americans take for granted: access to health care, clean drinking water, freedom to chose things like how we worship and where we shop.
21. That it's the Christmas season. Even when we are struggling so badly just to make ends meet, the Christmas lights outside, the music on the radio, the Christmas DVDs from the library all add an element of cheer to our lives.
22. My sewing machine and the fact that my hubby WAY over bought fabric last Halloween. I gave him SUCH a hard time last year, but without it, I wouldn't have been able to make our stockings this year.
23. That I married a Bears fan. I see what happens when Bears fans have the misfortune of falling in love with a Packers fan (**shudder**).
24. That while we have come dangerously close, we have never have had to know what it is like to be without food, shelter, heat or electricity.
25. Last, but most certainly not least, for God, through whom all things are possible.


What is it about the speech of little children that causes grown adults to talk like babies? I used to give my dad the hardest time for holding on to the words my brothers and I used for everyday items as young children. At 60 years old, he still refers to the basement as the "basebip," ice cream as "ice beam," napkins as "nahkims." My mom is equally as guilty. I know she still asks if anyone wants "Carter Sauce" for their fish. However, the older I get, the more children I have, the more I refer to things by their "kid names." And my husband, who only joined this parenting game less than 2 years ago, is even worse than I am!

We eat dinner at the "tamo"  and put things away in the "cavinet." We eat such things as "cucummers," "lemontimes," and "pahnatoes." We tell the kids to "Sneeze in your Elmo!" and refer to the character from Toy Story as "A Buzz Light." Caleb is the girls' little "brudder." Long after the kids have learned the proper name for such items, mom and dad are still hanging on the little kid version and using them in daily conversation. Why is that?

My husband and I, and my parents as well, are intelligent and well-schooled adults. We have multiple degrees and can hold conversations about complex topics. Why then, do we insist on calling it "Shakey Cheese" or asking the kids if they want "whapples" for breakfast? Is it some sort of attempt to hold on to our youth? Make our kids seem younger? I do notice an increase in the adult usage of these terms the older the kids become.

Lily is nearly 3, and Faith is 4, and they still supply us with new words and phrases regularly. Our new favorite is "Abbymeal," which started as "Appymeal," which Lily insists is the name of oatmeal. Caleb, at 7 months, has yet to say more than "babababa," so I'm sure he'll be providing us with some doozies as he learns to talk. As for myself, I will have to learn to create a filter, so that I can still speak like an intelligent adult when I am away from home.

As a side note, I find it hilarious that when I do spell check, the only things highlighted are all the words my children have made up.

Faith is peeling her own "lemontime."

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like a Headache

Call me Scrooge. I hate snow. Light dusting, slight flurries, mountains of fresh white powder. . . I hate it all. I see slush, sore backs from shoveling, piles of wet mittens and hats by the door, taking 20 minutes just to get everyone dressed to go out to run a 5 minute errand. . . Yeah, I hate winter.

So, this morning, when I was already having a particularly crummy start to my day and I opened the door to leave for work and saw my van covered in white, I was not pleased. December 1st and the first true snow fall was greeting me at 8:00 in the morning as I was rushing out the door. Now, some people would find the first snowfall to be joyful, a sign of the season, pretty even. Afterall, it's usually a minimal dusting, nothing major. There's usually no need to break out the shovels or start up the snowblower. But I see right past that first snowfall and straight to the dead of winter: getting up an hour earlier just to make sure that there is enough time to clean the snow off the driveway and cars and take an extra 20 minutes to go the 6 miles to work. Sliding all over the road. Getting the driveway all cleared off just to have the snowplow drive by and block you in. . . Need I go on?

Maybe it's the mom in me? Having 4 kids to bundle up in the winter is more than I can handle most days. Even playing outside in the snow loses its novelty after about 10 minutes, 10 seconds if you're nearly 2 and can't keep your mittens on or walk in your snowsuit without falling over into the snow.

Personally, I'll take some snow on Christmas Eve and have it be melted and gone by the day after Christmas. Sure, it looks pretty on the trees, but it's much prettier in pictures or on TV than it is in my own back yard!

So for all of you who live in warmer climates, who sadly wish for a white Christmas, just remember the look on Lily's face when I sent her outside to play in the snow, pounding on the back door to be let back in the house: