Straight from the Mind and the Mouth of my 3yr.old

>> Monday, June 29, 2009

I have mentioned before that Lucas has a rather large vocabulary for his age. His pediatrician told us at his last visit that he is using words that her 4th grader is learning in school. He is just a very verbal kid. Daily, the things that come out of his mouth never cease to make me laugh, make me smile, and yet also make me incredibly frustrated. Ah, to be the mother of a three yr. old! :)
I thought I might share with you just a few of the funny things he said just today....
(photo: Lucas trying on sunglasses at Target today)

At breakfast this morning, I asked him if he had fun at his Aunt Keke's baby shower yesterday.
"Yes," he said, "but it was kinda crazy there. Everyone was running around and it was very loud. It was complete pandemonium!" (He learned that phrase from a book, and it was mostly him that was running around and being loud at the shower!)

At lunch, he asked me if I was his friend. "Of course I am! We are the best of friends!" I replied. "Actually Mommy," he said, "You are the mommy and I am your son. We aren't really friends. That just gets complicated." Oh, how right he is. :)

Later he was sitting on the potty (can you tell we have most of our talks over meals or potty-related moments?). He had gone some poop already but wanted to sit there for a few minutes to try and go more. After a few minutes, I asked him if he was ready to get down. "Well Mommy, I have more poops that needs to come out. The poops belong in the potty. That is their home. The problem is, the poops is so big and I have a very little bottom. And sometimes, the poops are not ready to come out. Maybe they are having breakfast up there or something. That's why sometimes it can be kinda hard to get the poops out." TMI! (sorry for the potty talk- it goes with my territory these days).

These are just a few examples of the hillarious things he comes up with. Or maybe I am the only one who finds him so funny. Either way, he brightens my day.... every day!

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Cherishing Wet Cuddles and Other Priceless Memories

>> Wednesday, June 24, 2009

We have this sweet tradition in our house. Hubby is usually in charge of bathtime. He puts the boys in the tub while I put away laundry or clean up toys or just straighten out a bit of the chaos of the day. Caden is usually ready to get out first. So I scoop up my baby in his adorable duck towel and dry him off and get him ready for bed while Lucas plays longer in the bath. (sidenote- there is not much sweeter than fresh-out-of-the-tub baby cheeks, both sets!) Hubby gets Lucas out of the tub and wraps him in his Spiderman towel. This is where the sweetness comes in. Lucas comes out of the bathroom, into his room where I am sitting with Caden, and climbs into my lap. "Here's your clean boy!" he innocently says through the biggest of grins. We call it our post-bath cuddle, and I can't get enough. He is wet, and gets me all wet as he rests his head on my chest and snuggles close. It is the longest stretch he stays still all day. I love having him in my lap and smelling his clean wet hair. I love wrapping my arms around him and renewing that closeness that we have always cherished. He is all at once my baby and my "big boy," but mostly just mine. Tonight he told me for the first time that he wanted to marry me (*melt*). (another sidenote- he told me we had to dance and then buy a couch and that was our wedding! HA!)
As I sit there and hold him, the moment is not lost on me. I close my eyes and drink it in. I know the day will come (probably sooner than I know) when he won't want to sit wet in a towel in my lap. So for now, I cherish those 5min. of our day.

We recently received a book from Tyndale Kids that echos this same sentiment. Let Me Hold You Longer by Karen Kingsbury is the story of a mom who is looking back on the memorable moments of her son's life and looking forward to what is coming soon. While reflecting on the cuddle times and favorite memories, she asks the question "would I have paid more attention or cherished the moment longer if I had known it was the last time?" The last night-time feeding, the last trip to the park, the last story time with him cuddled in my lap...
The book is written to be read to your little ones. The language is beautiful and touching and hits very close to home. I got teary several times as I sat and read the tender words to Lucas with him sitting next to me, his hand sweetly resting on my arm listening intently to the story. I loved the pictures of this mother and son through the years- the moments they shared as they both grew older. Reading this book helps me reflect on how Lucas has grown so far and reminds me to drink in every moment with him and Caden every day.
I am not a fan of thinking about Lucas and Caden growing up too fast. It makes me sad to think about them being too big for post-bath cuddles. But I also appreciate any opportunity to be reminded to live in the moment, to treasure these days that often feel so hard.

The last time when you ran to me, still small enough to hold.
The last time that you said you'd marry me when you grew old.
Precious, simple moments and bright flashes from your past-
Would I have held on longer if I'd known they were your last?

If you would like a copy of this book to read with your fast-growing munchkins, Tyndale has generously offered to let me give away a copy to one of you. Please leave a comment here making sure I have a way to contact you if you win. If you subscribe to my feed or blog or tweet this giveaway, leave an extra comment for an extra entry. I will choose a winner at random on Friday July 3rd (U.S. readers only- sorry!).
We have loved reading this book together and talking about our most cherished moments both past and present and future. I know you will love doing the same.

This giveaway is cross-posted at Dupage Mamas: Guiding Our Kids through Our Community.

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Mondays are for the Birds

>> Monday, June 22, 2009

I'm not really sure what that phrase, "for the birds," means in general. But at my house, it has meant drama. Lots of drama.

Let's start with last Monday....
After feeding the boys breakfast, I went against my better judgment and went to the bathroom by myself. Not completely by myself mind you. Caden was in there with me. But at least Lucas was playing in the living room and I got to close the door. When I came out after the 30-45seconds it takes me to pee, I smelled something a little funny. I turned to see that Lucas had turned on our gas fireplace. No big deal, right? Just turn it off, you say.... Well, unfortunately some unsuspecting birds had built their nest in the fireplace exhaust vent on the outside of the house. That funny smell I noticed was the twigs and leaves burning, yes burning, on the outside of my townhouse. It took approx. 1min for my whole living room and backyard to fill with smoke. Just long enough for me to send Hubby a text message asking if I should let it burn out or if I needed to involve the fire department. The answer to that became quite clear when it smelled like I was having a bonfire in my living room and I couldn't see the fence out our window due to all the thick smoke. So, I called. And 5min later, sirens and all, 5 firemen arrived in full gear in my living room. They extinguished the birds' nest, cleaned out the vent, and prodded around the fireplace and the attic making sure there was no other sparks anywhere.
My little pyro 3yr old watched in awe with his fire hat on his head as real firefighters tramped through his playroom and in his house (making quite a mess I might add). Lucas thought it was so-very-cool and mama was just happy the house didn't burn down. Oh, the drama.

That brings us to today and more bird-related drama. On a walk last weekend, we noticed that a baby goose at our near-by pond seemed a little injured. Something was stuck on his back. I was worried but thought it would just work itself out. Then yesterday, we visited the pond again to see that he had gotten much worse and had lost use of one of his legs and wings and was having some real issues. So this morning, like a woman on a mission, I started calling around to find someone to help this poor gosling. Animal Care and Control told me they would only send out an agent if I would "trap" the goose with a garbage can or a laundry basket. Seriously?!?! How am I gonna catch a little goose with mama goose right there waiting to peck me to death? Isn't that why we have things like animal control? So I called a local wildlife rescue center and they too told me that I would have to catch the little guy and bring him to them. Foolishly, I convinced Hubby to go down to the pond with me and we tried to catch this goose. Tried. It wouldn't come anywhere close to me and his mama was, as expected, very protective. Oh, well. I tried. But, I couldn't let it go. It was heart-breaking to see this little guy hurting and unable to get around. I started making more calls and ended up talking to this lady with the Chicago Bird Collision Monitors, a branch of the Chicago Audubon Society. They rescue 2000 birds a year and she was more than willing to come help me rescue this little gosling. To make a very long story short, it took me and two professionals and a few other men from the neighborhood almost 2 hours but we eventually caught the injured goose and took him to the wildlife rescue center for some medical attention. You should have seen me and these two ladies in their 50s running around the pond trying to herd these geese and get the baby close enough to be caught by their 10ft. net. Probably pretty hilarious to bystanders. But in the end, we caught him and I am feeling pretty proud of myself that I stuck it out and didn't quit until I found someone to help me rescue this injured animal. He had a make-shift dart made from a McDonalds straw lodged in his back under his wing. They think he'll be ok but it depends if he gets use back of his right wing and leg. Poor guy.

So those are my bird-drama stories. Hopefully now my bird karma is all even and next monday is free of any aviary issues.

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A Need for Love

>> Friday, June 12, 2009

If you have been around the blogsphere or twitter at all today, you have heard about this story. I didn't even know about this blog until today. And boy, am I glad. I know it was God's way of sparing me the emotional manipulation. I did read about it last night, but I had no idea the extent of the deception that this woman manufactured until I read this Chicago Trib article today.

My first reaction- rage! How could this Chicago suburbs (she is from Palos Heights) woman fake this tragedy that is SO REAL for SO MANY people? She played on the empathy and emotion of mothers who have walked through similar heartache all in the name of getting the attention. The Trib reports that she did receive donations and gifts but they can't confirm if she benefited financially from the whole hoax. That doesn't matter to me. What makes me so infuriated is that she took a situation that I have lived through, that LOTS of people have lived through, and turned into a big game. It is not a game. The pain is real. The grief, the anxiety, the depth of sadness that you almost can't escape... all very real.

Once I had the chance to sit with this for a bit, my next reaction is just plain sadness. Sad for her. Sad for all the people that made the effort to support her even if it brought back the pain of their own grief. What must this girl's life be like that she would have to create such an elaborate scam to get the attention and love she needs? The Trib article also reports that she did lose a baby in 2005. SO she does know this pain. Which makes it even worse to me that she exploited it in this way. She must have a void, an emotional void, a deep need to be loved and appreciated and valued.

I don't know what disturbs me more, what this lady did or why she did it. Or, that I can see pieces of myself in her. I do know that feeling of wanting everyone to share in my grief or just acknowledge that what I was/am feeling is real. I also know the desire to have attention showered on me and to feel like I have something to give that other people thing is worth something. I too have a deep need to be loved and valued and appreciated. Most of us do in some way or another. But, thankfully and by God's grace, I have people in my life that love me and value me and appreciate me. Maybe not all the time or perfectly well. But I know that I am loved. And although my blog does not get 100,000 hits/day (as her was) or anywhere even in that ballpark, I can't get my worth from that. And even when the things I do to try to get attention or make something out of myself don't elicit the response from others that I was maybe hoping for, I can only be myself and learn to be content with that.

This girl, "April's Mom," did a really horrible thing. But she did it to fill a very real need. And I get that. I hate what she did. It still makes me very mad. But, I also want to find her and give her a hug. I'm sure she feels horrible now that the truth is out and she is getting all this negative press. I have done things too that I am not proud of. Most people have if they are being honest. So, I forgive her as a way of continuing the healing process in me. My grief is not lessened by what she did. Nor is hers. And for that, she needs my prayers and not my rage.

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Boys and Tupperware

>> Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Look how different my boys look!! At least to me...

Caden 10 monthsLucas 10 months

Some things never change....
Lucas 11 months
Lucas 3years

Brotherly instruction....
"Here Caden, let a pro teach you how it is done."

I think he's getting the hang of it. :)

For more Wordful Wednesday, visit Angie at Seven Clown Circus.

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Playing in the Backyard

>> Monday, June 8, 2009

Quality Time
with my Boys.... I can't think of a better way to spend my time.

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Making all time Quality Time

>> Sunday, June 7, 2009

I should be in bed, but I got a good nap today and I can't turn away from the endless documentaries on TLC about overweight people and mystery illnesses.
My mind is racing through lists of things that need to happen this week. Errands to run, blog posts to write, activities to plan.
But there is more than that going through my mind.

It has been awhile since I have shared with y'all about what is really going on with me. As with almost every mother I know, life right now is complicated. I have a lot on my plate and am trying to do everything well. That is a task in itself. But what is really going on with me?

I am trying to get my priorities straight. I feel like I have been saying that for a long time. But at this point, I feel like I am putting things in place and taking some necessary steps to really do it this time. In an attempt to not just survive but actually to thrive in this over-scheduled/over-committed life of mine, I am adding a few more things to the schedule. Yes, adding. I am adding in scheduled time for myself. Non-to-do list, non-children, non-housework time. And similar time for Hubby too. And on top of that, we are scheduling date nights (*GASP*). At least one a month but two this month because it is our 10th wedding anniversary next weekend (Hooray!!). And I am going to bed at more reasonable hours (usually!). I am healthier and more productive when I am rested and have had a little time to myself. Isn't that true for almost everyone? Is it true for you?

I am focusing on being present in the moment, whatever that moment is. It is so easy for me to get caught up in the list of things to-do that I am never fully doing any one thing at a time. When sewing my slings, I am thinking of the million other things that I need to do and not enjoying the sewing. When playing with my boys, I am thinking about blogging or checking e-mail or doing things for my business. So, I have started keeping master lists and charting out my days. This may seem incredibly tedious to you, but I had to find someway to order the whirlwind that is my brain sometimes. If I have a list of things I have to do, I can glance at it a couple times a day and see what I can check off and I can add to it as things come across my mind. That way, I can sit and play trucks with Lucas and not worry that I am going to miss something or screw something up.

I have also started asking myself a very important question: Why? Why am I a blogger? Why do I make and sell slings? What are the benefits and reasons for the things that I choose to spend my time on? Ultimately, most things come down to my boys and my own personal enjoyment. I started sewing slings because I truly love to sew (and love babywearing) and I need it to get back to that. I blog because I love the outlet that it is and the community that it provides. I need that to remain true and not get caught up in "having to blog." When tasks become too "tasky," I enjoy them less and the stress becomes too much. So, I am working at getting life back to a manageable place of enjoying the things I do and not feeling obligated. And if I say I am doing something (ie: business or blogging related things) because they contribute to my ability to stay home and be a mom to my boys but they are actually taking too much time away from that, then I am trying to reassess the structure and commitment level of those things. Does that make any sense?

Overall, I am trying to get a handle on life. Life that has felt like a storm for the past 5years. Life that started to feel under control before I got pregnant with Caden and it took another twist on this emotional roller coaster. Life that is once again getting back to that place of level ground. I am figuring out what I want to be included and how best to manage it all. I am making quality time my priority. Or better yet, I am making it my priority to make all time quality time. Whether it be alone or with my boys or checking things off the to-do list, I am trying to learn how to make the most of every moment. Don't let me fool you that I have this figured out yet. Quite the opposite. But I am trying and for the first time in a long time I feel like I am getting somewhere.

It becomes more and more clear to me everyday that I am a work in progress. That God is shaping me and teaching me and using my challenges to force me to drop the "I am so capable" act and rely on Him like He asks me too. So much easier said than done. But God is helping me live life not as a victim of my circumstances but as one who chooses joy.

Maybe this is all just the nap talking. Man, I need to go to bed!

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The Face only a Mother Can Love

>> Monday, June 1, 2009

Lucas took quite a fall today. He tripped while running like a crazy man and fell nose-first into a side table. He busted up his lip and his nose and there was blood everywhere. Now that the bleeding has stopped (it took almost an hour to fully stop), I am still not convince he doesn't need an x-ray of his nose. It is very bruised and a bit swollen. Poor little guy. I am sure he will be fine, but this nurse/mama just worries a bit. These pictures don't even do it justice. It looks pretty gnarly.
With two boys in the house, I knew I had injuries and ER visits in my future. I guess it had to start sometime. At least my first bloody nose and fat lip wasn't due to brother-on-brother violence! :) There is time for that still.

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