Wednesday, July 22, 2009


Fin and Mom
sound asleep after her big birthday

"Nana is a really good sharer"
with Auntie Ellen and Scout

I've always felt that the term "Terrible Twos" is a complete misnomer. I personally found nothing terrible about the "twos" with any of my kids. Now the "threes" are whole different story. . .
We are currently in the throes of the "Why Age" with our newest three-year-old, Finley. I am not a patient person by nature, but like to think that I manage very well as a mother. I can take a deep breath and keep on keeping on, even when things get stressful and the kids are at their most "challenging." That being said, the "Why Age" ranks right up there with the frustration level of being ten minutes late and getting stuck behind a farm vehicle. Of course, I love the wonder and curiosity Finley possesses, but there are days I just can't answer another question. She was especially perplexed the other day when we met Nana and Auntie Ellen at the mall. Nana had picked up Auntie Ellen at the car dealer while her car was being serviced. Our conversation went something like this:
F: Is Auntie Ellen riding with Nana?
M: Yes.
F: Why?
M: Because her car's in the shop.
F: Why?
M:Because they need to fix it.
F: Why?
M:I don't know
F: Why is Nana driving?
M: Because Nana and Auntie Ellen are friends.
F: Why?
M: Because they have been friends since they were little girls.
F: Nana was a little girl?
M: Yes.
F: Why?
M: Because everyone is little before they get big.
F: Why?
M: Because that's just how it works.
F: Why?
M: Because thats how God made us.
F: Why?
(Insert deep breath here...)
M: Just because, Fin.
Then as I sat feeding Scout, I heard Finley talking to herself as she watched Auntie Ellen get into Nana's car, "Mmm hmm, Auntie Eh-wen doesn't have a car, she has to share Nana's car, Nana is a really good sharer, Mmm hmm..." So that's what she took from our conversation.
I volley back and forth between really thinking about my answers and trying to give her good, solid information to just not having the energy and saying "Because" or "I don't know." Hey, I'm only human. But Finley is a tough cookie. Tim is convinced that she would be quite an asset to our country when used in interrogations. She could wear down even the toughest person. You see, when she asks you a question and she doesn't like your answer, she will just ask again. And again. And again. You get the idea. I like to think of her as a sort of personal trainer for my brain. No free rides here, people. She definitely keeps us on our toes. She has questions and she is determined to get answers. Well, I have a few questions of my own, like "Why do two socks go in the dryer, but only one comes out?" "Why do white shirts act as a magnet for dirt, and black shirts as a magnet for spit-up?" and "Why are there 2 dozen gladware containers and only one lid?" I will never claim to have all the answers to her questions or mine, but I think as parents, when we can't give our kids the answers to their questions we need to try to give them the confidence and the tools to get out there and find their own answers.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Mental Snapshots

Glamour Girl

Can't wait for the next rainy day

Look at my new wheels!

Yum Yum cupcakes!!

Sometimes I feel like my life is a movie. Each year, someone presses the fast forward button and it passes a little bit more quickly than the previous year. I feel completely powerless to this phenomenon, my only tactic the ever-increasing catalog of photos I take. I will myself to take mental snapshots as well, that focus on what the physical photos don't show. Because, the actual photos can only capture so much. They will never express the feeling of seeing your newborn baby for the first time, holding them against you and the look in their eyes telling you they know you already. They don't capture the smell of that same baby, now one, curled up against you when they wake up with tousled hair and sweet smelling milk breath. They also don't convey the way you feel when that baby turned two-year-old falls and skins her knee, and just the warmth of your arms is the only medicine she needs to soothe her pain. And then, in the blink of an eye, those photos are years old and your baby is three. Three years old. How can this be?? Birthdays are very melancholy for me as a mother. Of course, my inner Martha Stewart comes out and I feel the need to make everything over-the-top perfect for the birthday child. Both my husband and my dad are confused by this. They both grew up in families where birthdays were no big deal. It was a day not so much unlike any other, maybe a small present or a special meal, but none of the hoopla that they are in our family. I know, its just one day on the calendar, but for me its a way of dealing with the fact that my babies are one day older, and one day closer to being all grown up. I am overcome with the ferocity of my love for these little people who are growing up way too fast. So, I cook and I plan and I decorate. This is how I show my love. I try to enjoy each day with them, but lets face it, as a parent there's not endless time to dwell and enjoy when there's laundry to be done, meals to be prepared and messes to be cleaned up. From what my parents and other people their age tell me, that pure enjoyment comes as a grandparent. So in the meantime, I try hard to remember that the day I'm in right now will never happen again, so I need to LIVE it and enjoy it. I take lots of photos and mental snapshots becaue they are what let me relive the moments I swear I will never forget, and then I do.
Today I'm thinking of the day three years ago that I was handed a perfect little 6 lb 12 ounce bundle that is now a sweet giggly three year old. Happy Birthday Finley Violet! Love you.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

FREE time

You can walk down any street these days and see signs of the times. More "for sale" signs, huge houses sitting empty after bank foreclosure, strip malls nearly empty with store after store closing down. Jewel is slashing prices, car companies are offering to take back cars if you lose your job and can't make payments.
The other day after we returned from Wisconsin to find our cupboard bare, we decided to grab a quick bite to eat. After that we were driving past a pet store when Tim said, "You wanna go look at puppies?" My first reaction was to say no, and the reasons why started scrolling through my head: The baby was fussy, she'd need to be fed soon. The suitcases were still sitting in the living room. I had tons of laundry to do. I was tired. The kids were tired. We just got home, and on and on and on. But for some reason, I said "Sure."
Can I just tell you that that hour was one of the most fun hours I've spent with my family in a long time. This little Jack Russell Terrier pulling on the hem of Finley's sundress and yanking it back and forth like a chew toy as she squealed and laughed was one of the funniest things ever. Piper stroking this yellow lab with enormous paws and looking at it like it was the best friend she'd been waiting a lifetime for was so sweet. I realized several things after our trip to the pet store. Number one, we are not getting a puppy right now (not that we were even thinking about it.) Number two, we will someday get a puppy. The look on both Tim and Piper's faces when they were loving up this yellow lab made me realize that my husband loves dogs and my kids should be allowed to experience having a family pet even if I end up being the one who does most of the work. But what I ultimately took from the trip came as we left. Piper looked at Tim and asked, "Dad, did that cost anything?" It got me thinking about how the best things in life really are free. We get so hung up on bigger and better, and when the economy tanks we're left faltering. But no one can take the simple pleasures from us. So on that note, I'll share some of my favorite (Free) time activities with you and encourage you to share yours with me.
1. Go play with puppies at a pet store
2. Go on a picnic
3. Play scrabble
3. Let your kids play in the rain (and take pictures)
4. Have a bonfire
5. Play hide and seek
6. Let your kids do your hair (or if yours is short like mine, let them do your sister-in-law's.)
7. Feed your kids lunch with the samples at Costco (that one's for you Nana!)
8. Take a "nature walk"
9. Go to a new park
10. Bake something with your kids.

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