Monday, March 9, 2015

From a 4 year old's perspective

There are days that make me wonder what really goes through my children's minds throughout the day.  Today was one of those days, and I believe Lillian's take on the situation went like this:

Hmm, everyone is quiet.  What can I do to make everyone laugh? "Hey Makenzie you're a buttface." wait, here comes mom I better not laugh.  Mom sat down with us to do homework and I picked up the red marker to look busy.  She doesn't know that I am really just going to color the whole sheet red on purpose.  I hope she doesn't try to read the directions to me.

"Lillian, can you help me put dinner out."

"No." Last time I dropped 2 plates, that was not good. 

"Just the glasses, they are already to go!" Mom is not going to stop until I bring something over so I get up from the table and take the glasses one at a time.  Usually when I go one at a time Mom takes the last one because she moves so fast.

Everyone is sitting now, perfect time to start my dinner show. "Makenzie, why didn't you take tuna casserole? It's the best thing ever." Why isn't Makenzie paying attention to me? Time to bring out the big guns, if she isn't going to laugh at me I can make her mad.  I grab a handful and fling it across the table.  Bulls eye, tuna casserole right in her hair.  Makenzie IS NOT LAUGHING.

Oh no mom saw, hide, hide, hide, quick.  Maybe if I cry she will understand that I was just trying to get Makenzie to talk to me. 

My perception of the event is much different, but at least I can imagine what she might have been thinking. Every day is more exciting than the last, but the memories are worth the "moments".

Sunday, March 8, 2015


There are many things that can be cherished in life but nothing comes close to a Sunday. For years growing up Sunday began with church and a donut or big breakfast.  I used to hate the church part but love the fact that time stood still for a few hours that day each week. There is nothing like a Sunday to make one feel like they have permission to take things just a little bit slower.

The pace of my weeks, months, years as I become more grown up seem to go by at lightning speed.  I sit sometimes and try to remember the first job I had, the last time I didn't have responsibility, or that day long ago that I slept until I wanted to get up...I didn't HAVE to get up.  Strange thing is I come back to Sundays a lot.

There are many things that my parents did right, they are wonderful and I can't say enough good things about them.  Sunday's were their gift to me. The tradition and formality of Sundays made them a big deal in my mind.  We spent an hour quietly thinking (or daydreaming) about everything the past week had entailed, and at the end of our quiet time we went home to slowly move through the day together.  There were not many Sunday's that we spent apart.

I continue to remind myself to slow down and what better day to do it than on a Sunday.

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Ode to Costco

Oh Costco how I love to hate you.
Your always a great idea when I am sitting on my couch.
Your gallon sized sour cream
Free samples and free loaders are never ending.

Oh Costco how I love thee.
A one stop shop for furniture, clothes, and food.
One trip stocks lunches for weeks.
1.50 for lunch works for me.

 Oh Costco when did I get old.

 The moment I began shopping with you.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

The Stand Off

I am a middle child. states: 
As the oldest child is special to the parents for being the 1st, and the 3rd child is special for being the baby of the family, the middle child is never the favorite child.

I am a middle child and embrace the position that defined me a few times throughout my tween years.  There are things that you can change in life but this is one is static so I dealt with it an moved on.  My older sister was wise and mature, never made a bad decision and was very proud of following the rules.  My younger sister commands the attention of a room, charismatic, friendly, and unashamed of anything.  I am the middle the silent, stealthy of the group. I learned to be patient and quiet in moments of celebration, sorrow, and panic.  I loved and challenged the boundaries of my birth position and always thought that I would have 4 children so the "middle" wouldn't be so lonely. 

Things you plan don't always turn out to be the best realities and I find myself raising the exact sibling situation I come from. 3 girls, 9, 6, 4 and 1/2...almost the exact separation my sisters and I have endured.  So it is reasonable that I can predict with the utmost certainty when conflict will arise with my children.  

Today was no different.  6:15AM everyone is up, eating, lunches are made, coats are laid out in front of backpacks we are on a roll.  Grace (the oldest) helps me get the dogs food and cereal for the bunch so I give her a bit of smoothy (oldest gets special attention) Lillian bumps her knee getting her shoes on...I give her the last monster high band aid storm is brewing. 

I pack all the bags into the car "T-minus 2 minutes, great job guys we could be early today." As the last word is yelled over my shoulder through the open front door I feel eyes on me.  I turn from the car, shut the passanger door, and Makenzie (my middle) She is outfitted for the day, backpack is on, but she is standing on the sidewalk in 15 degree weather not moving a muscle.  I turn and ask "Why don't you get in the car? I'll be out in a second!"  She smiles and says, "I'm gonna wait till Lilly gets in. She got the band aid, I get the good seat. " 

I should have seen it coming from a mile away, but the hustle and bustle blinded me to her place.  I paid not attention until she commanded it, and I paid the price.  20 minutes of reasoning with 2 very cold and stubborn girls.  Trying to convince them that the purposefully identical booster seats are equally comfortable was a futile task for me, but the middle got to shine for a moment. Hopefully next time I can shine the spotlight instead of forcing Makenzie to commandeer  it herself. 

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Memory Lane

Jumbo, you were the first thing that I ever raised and it has been a long strange journey indeed.  There was something about your face that was irresistible and annoying all at once. You taught me patience, responsibility, and to sleep less; all things I need to learn before becoming a parent.  

You have been there for my first apartment, first home, first child, second child, second home, and the third little red head too.  There isn't a milestone that I haven't completed in my adult life that you haven't cheered for me with a nice lick of the hand. 

You are stubborn and intense when it comes to defending your toys, our home, or your family.  You are "OUR DOG" and could never belong or be claimed by anyone else.  

You are a constant companion of the best kind.  The kind that rests and relaxes for most of the day, but needs to be close just because.  You are the king of your castle, always choosing the best spot to overtake.  There isn't a couch or bed in this home you don't like. 

We have had our rough patches to say the least.  You arrived to us unable to breath and spent months receiving treatments to keep you alive.  People asked us to return you to the tragic beginnings you came from, but we saved you and nursed to back to health.  11 years and 3 surgeries later you outlasted everyone's expectations to become the curmudgeon that you are at this moment. 

 The decision to help you out of your regular, daily pain isn't going to be one that it easy but we make it knowing that you are better off.  The 11 years of adventure, fun and silliness will be with us always and we will remember the way you shaped the little moments of our lives forever. A day in the near future will present a very tough decision for us, but you are making the path to peace clearer each day. 

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Roses and Thorns

A few years ago a colleague of mine was directing professional learning.  In the session we were building community by learning about each other.  In her infinite wisdom she explained the idea of roses and thorns, a daily ritual that President Obama's family practiced to categorize and prioritize the events of their daily life around the dinner table.  Since that day I have had my family use this as a spring board for dinner conversation.

When it first began the girls, I have three under 10 years of age, would say things like "My rose was I got candy today." "My teacher said she liked my shirt." Or "you made my favorite dinner." Tangible things are age appropriate for my girls and since they always are bursting to share I let them go first.  As the years have passed they listen to my roses and thorns a little bit more than they used to.  I have shared thorns like: not getting to park in the school parking lot and feeling anxious about being late,  missing an opportunity to hug them in the morning, and hearing my daughter insult someone and wondering why.  On the flip side I also tried to always make my roses about family and showing others justice and kindness.  I had no idea if my modeling was working, the same things were being shared.
Roses this past week:
Minecraft castle built
Found puppy when he was lost
Extra TV time
Watched Big Hero 6 again
Didn't have to take a bath (yes a 4 year old celebrated this in my house this week!)

Grace's rose today didn't come at the dinner table, it came in a quiet moment we had after long division, showers, and bedtime stories.  She looked at me and started to tell a story about a boy in her class.  She talks about him often, he sits alone, he picks his nose, people talk about him and she doesn't know why.  Today was a bit different, the story began with "So I asked Owen to sit at the end of our table at lunch today because he likes the Origami Yoda books like I do and he is totally into Star Wars, I knew the other kids would like that.  At the end of lunch mom he smiled...he doesn't do that too often...I think that's my rose.  It was pretty cool."  It is pretty cool, we both have the same rose today.  Totally different reasons but the same rose all the same.

Monday, March 2, 2015

The Whistle

There are no reasons why whistling is my nemesis for today except that it was.  I spent the morning gearing up, making lists, getting things accomplished.  I am not a Monday person. Morning person yes, absolutely, hands down, 100% morning person. Monday on the other hand, not so much.  This Monday was different, everything was falling into place and I was knocking things off my list of things to do left and right.  When I heard it.

Whistling, a happy tune.
Down the hallway
Where was it coming from
No turning back...
I had to find it.

Oh...happy, chipper, kind you. That's where the whistling is coming from?

I can't explain what whistling does to me, every time without fail I see red.  In my personal life, in the classroom, everywhere.  The only times that I have ever enjoyed the sound is when it first pushed it's way through my children's lips. Then I went right back to hating it.

Today was different, today I believe I found the reason why it struck me as frustrating, annoying, inappropriate almost. How could someone be so happy in such a stressful time, a Monday.  I had to step back and gain perspective on what Monday's mean to everyone but me.  Monday is a day that brings a fresh start, not the pile or list of things to do.  It is a time that celebrates invention and ingenuity, not what you didn't get done last week.  Monday ushers in fresh perspectives and hopefulness about what can be accomplished, not what wasn't.

Maybe if I would allow the whistle in my life a bit more I might feel as carefree as he did this morning. Monday, whistling it is.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

I almost forgot

There are many hats that I wear in life: mother, sister, teacher to name just a few.

I am not a writer.
I have never thought of myself as a writer.  I have made feeble attempts to become a regular writer because I know that it could make me better...but it has never stuck.

It makes sense that I have opened this blog 6 separate times today and attempted to "rip the band-aid" and just begin, but then closed it again because of a more pressing matter. There is always something that gives me the excuse to walk away and start again some other time that is more calm, appropriate, or sane.

Today is the day that I attempt to be a writer, for better and worse.

At least for the next 30 days.