That's a Good Day Thursday

What a perfectly normal, perfectly imperfect, perfectly wonderful day.

I snuck in a quick treadmill run this morning. Second one for the week! And that's saying something since I'm just now easing my way back into running since being a lazy bum since Thanksgiving. (Did I just drop three "sinces" in one sentence? Oh yes I did. Oh the shame! The over abundance of "since" AND the no running.) It's quite a relief to see that although my mileage and athleticism are suffering that the ability to run comfortably is still there. There is much work to be done. Sigh.

Speaking of running, I drove into downtown Salt Lake for a lunch date with some of my favorite people, my running group ladies. I almost didn't go. I'm so glad I did.

One migraine later...one handful of ibuprofen and one coke later...

The new home phone is set up. I'm trying to teach the kids about the sounds on the phone, how to use the phone, and phone etiquette. It all seems funny and backwards and exciting. And now my son has decided calling my cell phone is better than walking across the room to ask a question about homework.

Homework is done.

Second quarter report cards have come home. Everyone is doing pretty awesome in an average sort of way. Even Dee who can't seem to stay on task, stop talking in class, or remember to turn in assignments. (Are all third grade boys like this or just my kid?)

Dee finds out he will be getting his Wolf badge in time! (Note to self: We work on Bear more consistently and earlier.)

And in a last ditch effort to get some help with daily chores I dangle the new Lego movie coming out February 7th as bait.

"Complete your chore charts for two weeks straight and I'll take you to see the Lego movie. Popcorn, pop, the whole nine yards."

I want to see it just as bad as they do, but I want my house clean too. It's just too overwhelming for me to keep up with. And for goodness sake, they are old enough to help! Besides they make the messes! I've been trying to step back and hand over more responsibilities and have more expectations of my children. I know it's overdue. It's just easier said than done.

I remember my mom saying over and over when we were kids and doing chores: "A lazy mother does all the work." It didn't make much sense to me. I just figured she was in her room laughing it up behind our backs, eating chocolates, and congratulating herself for raising herself a bunch of free labor, but I believe "slaves" was my word of choice back then. Now I can appreciate the work she put into teaching us to work. And how she was doing the lion's share beyond my limited vision.

So far I have been a "lazy mother". It's just so much easier to do everything and do it the way I like. I have tried so many different methods to get my children to help clean the house. Most of the "methods" were just half-hearted efforts that fizzled into nothing more than yelling. Yelling seems to be my favorite method. Sigh.

Today I dug deep and found the patience to not yell but to teach and guide. It took everything I had not to grab the rags out of my son's hands and just wash the toilets myself *twitch, twitch* but I stood back and talked him through it. And he actually did an excellent job! And he even said it was--GASP!--"fun"!

Jeigh was in charge of dishes. Not only did she unload the dishwasher and put the dishes away, but she also loaded it without being asked and did so while singing her little heart out.

Elle took some coaxing. Every few feet she needed to be reminded to turn the vacuum back on, but she eventually made her way through it. I've found several missed spots *twitch, twitch* but I'm really trying to spotlight effort and attitude versus perfection.

Oh this is hard.

And Cee...well...

And me! Well!

In an effort to reinforce all the positive warm fuzzy feelings of accomplished chores and stellar report cards I suggested we go out and celebrate! (AKA: Mom didn't want to make dinner.)

The cherry on top: My 7 year old daughter breaking out into The Robot while riding home.

Playing "Justin Bieber" with my son:

And Elle and Cee wanting to say their own personal prayers.

Oh and Cee dubbing her big bear as "Daddy" and asking me to put him in her bed so she can snuggle "Daddy" as she falls asleep. (Joe, you are missed as always.)

Good day. Good life. Good nite.


Cee Turns Three

My, what a difference three years makes...

My baby turned three today. I'm getting used to the idea. She, however, is not. All day she has been saying, "I hate birthdays. I don't want my birthday." Aren't you supposed to wait until you're 30 to do that? Guess we're on the same page. NO MORE BIRTHDAYS!

Since I interrogated Dee last week, I figured I better give equal treatment to his littlest sis.

At three years old here are some of Cee's "favorites" (some in her words, some observed by me):

Food: "cake, broccoli, mashed potatoes", chocolate, milk, chocolate milk, anything sweet, anything on Mom or Dad's plate, soup, fruit strips
Drink: "chocolate, water", lemonade, Mommy's Shakeology shakes
Color: "blue, green", all colors
Animal: "cow", all animals
Person: "princess", Mommy, Daddy, Jeigh, (fights like crazy with Elle, but there's love there...I hope.)
Movie: "princess movie" (?)
To Sleep With: baby dolls
Wear: everything; she changes clothes ALL. DAY. LONG. Skirts, sisters' clothes, pajamas, swim suit, nothing but her underwear and maybe a pair of shoes or boots
To Do: change clothes, play with dolls, help Mommy (especially in the kitchen), cuddle, dance, take baths, be with the big kids
Song: "princess like a ballerina", "I'm Like a Star Shining 'Broccoliiiiii'", "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star", lots of primary songs and Top 40 songs. She loves music and loves to be sung to every night.
Book: "Lalaloopsy book" (?)
TV show: "Lalaloopsy", Peg and Cat, Dinosaur Train, Curious George, anything on PBS
Candy: "Five candies!", Mommy's gum out of her purse, any candy
Toy: babies, clothes
Place to Eat: "Chick Fil A"
Place to Go: "Chicken nuggets!"
Best Friend: "A green girl and a yellow girl.", Bria Hospodarsky
Thing about Lucy: "Baby dolly."
Way to help Mommy: "Dirt and flowers."
Saying: "I love you!"

What do you want to be when you grow up?: "Green. A dolly and a yellow dolly. Nothing." She's so tender and diligent with her dolls. I can only imagine she will be a wonderful mother.
What's your favorite thing about the world?: "I like the moon."
Where do you see yourself in 5 years: "In the dark."
Where do you see yourself in 10 years: "11. And then 12, 14, 16, and 17, 20!"

Cee is such a funny little thing. She's rather bipolar. She is giving you a tight squeeze around the neck one second and screaming at you the next. She wants her blanket on and immediately wants it off. Or vise versa. She wants cheese on her sandwich and then she doesn't.

She gets so upset about the littlest things, starts throwing a fit, and gets sent to her room or even just goes there on her own. She throws her tantrum in her room for a few seconds and then comes strolling out with a big grin on her face like nothing happened. "I be a happy girl now." She talks very well and has for quite a while. Sometimes I just stand and marvel at this miniature adult that walks around our house.

She's bossy and demanding, but so loving too. She loves to cuddle and be held and with her being my little "caboose" I'm grateful for that tender mercy from heaven. She says "I love you!" more than any child I've ever heard and she is just so easy to love back.

We celebrated her birthday a little early on Sunday since Daddy had to leave for work on Monday, her true birthday. She asked for mashed potatoes and broccoli for her birthday dinner. Well, she actually asked for cake, but I convinced her we needed to eat something more substantial before the cake. (Mashed potatoes! A girl after my own heart!) So I made Chicken Cordon Bleu, mashed potatoes and gravy, and broccoli...which she didn't eat a bite of. Guess I should have just given her the cake. Pink cake of course.

The Kuglers came to help celebrate and we even had a surprise drop in from Colin and Massi and Rico (who cornered her in Dee's room, scared her to tears, and bit her.) :( She got a few dolls, a dress up dress, shoes, and bag, a puzzle, and an activity center travel case (from Kuglers).

The next day we were busy getting Joe ready to go for his business trip but we made time for a birthday lunch out. She requested Chick-Fil-A which was packed thanks to Martin Luther King, Jr.

That night was pretty anti-climatic with the departure of Daddy; we all tend to get a little forlorn when he leaves. This is when that whole "I hate birthdays!" business came up. I asked her what she wanted me to make for her real birthday dinner.


Done and done.

Happy Birthday, my little one.


Growing Pains

There's something rather malicious about January for me. My oldest and youngest were both born in January, only a week apart. Well, they weren't born a week apart. Their birthdays are a week apart. Six years and a week apart. So every January I get to celebrate my "big baby" and my "forever baby", BAM! BAM!! Just like that.

Which is wonderful but really hard too. It just kills me how time keeps rushing on and these children keep growing. There's no stopping it. My oldest keeps forging into new big kid territory and my youngest leaves all that territory behind never to be tread again. With every milestone Dee makes we joyfully realize all those firsts. With every milestone Cee meets we realize with a painful twinge it will be for the last time.

I don't mean to sound like such a sob. I really do get rather excited, if not a tad giddy, seeing the new stage of life we are in. It's liberating and fun and exciting. But I can't help but mourn the death of our baby stage. No more positive pregnancy tests. No more flutterings in my baby bump. No more birth stories. No more new baby smell. No more first sit-up, first crawl, first steps. No more first birthdays No more second birthdays.

As the mom it's hard not to have an identity crisis. For the past ten years I have been 100% committed to baby-making, -growing, and -nurturing. Now what do I do? What is my new position, responsibilities, frame of mind?

I thought I had been handling the transition fairly gracefully until the other day. Now that my oldest two are getting old enough to be at home by themselves for small amounts of time we are getting a home phone line. We've only had cell phones for most of our marriage and since I believe that children having their own personal cell phones is outlandishly ridiculous we will be providing them with a land line to get in touch with us if we are not at home when they are.

The other day my oldest two came home from school and sat at the table where I was working on a project. Seeing this as an opportunity to present the new home phone as an exciting big kid privilege I opened my mouth to relate the good news.

I only made it through "Now that you guys are getting older..." before crumpling into tears. As I listened to myself it just hit me: They really are getting older! After nine plus years of spending nearly every waking (and sometimes not so "waking") moment with my children they are getting old enough to be left alone. They don't need me for every little thing. They are growing up. How did this happen?

My children just looked at me with confusion. I tried to laugh it off, recompose myself, and launch into my little speech again. "Now that you guys are getting older..." Now I was just laughing and crying at the same time. My son giggled awkwardly while my daughter, in her typical loving fashion, rushed to comfort me, patting my back and brushing my hair away from my face. Which only made me sob harder. Like shaking body sobs. (I'm not proud.)

In an effort to get it all out and move on already I just ended up blurting/yelling, "WHY DO YOU GUYS HAVE TO GET OLDER?! JUST STOP GROWING, OKAY?!" And then I laughed a lot, probably more maniacally than intended, just to lighten up the situation and help my kids understand they weren't truly in trouble for doing something so horrible as growing up.

Poor kids. I wonder at which therapy session they'll bring this scene up...

Finally I was able to compose myself enough to tell them about the new phone and boy are they excited! And yes, for all my psycho-ness, I'm just as excited as they are. Excited at their excitement, excited at meeting yet another "first", and yes, even excited at my own new found freedom.

Ugh. "They" warned me about the contractions and the sleepless nights and the soreness from breastfeeding and the Terrible Twos and all the pain and trials and terrible-ness. But no one ever told me how much it would hurt when all that was over and it was time to move on.


Nine is Fine

Today is Dee's ninth birthday! My baby boy is nine years old! Time just keeps marching on...

I interrogated him about his "Favorites" this morning so I could record just what life is like for a nine year old boy these days.

Let's get his favorite of favorites out of the way first: FOOD. (This kid is a bottomless pit.)

Food: tamales, chocolate chip pancakes (every Saturday morning), Oreos, baked potatoes, hamburgers
Drink: cream soda
Place to eat: Tepenyaki, Wendy's (no more kids meals for this guy! He likes to order off the adult menu now. "Plain hamburger, fries, and root beer with lots of ketchup on the side"
Veggie: "COOKED carrots. NOT raw."
Fruit: Green apples
Candy: Airheads

On to other more "trivial" things...

Color: black and red
Toy: Skylanders, Legos
Thing to wear: pajamas (particularly Skylander jammies)
To do: play video games (currently obsessed with Skylander Swap Force)
Thing about school: "Nothing, I don't like school."
Movie: Turbo, Monsters University, Despicable Me 2
Person: "You, Mom!" but I think he would say Dad if I wasn't around. ;)
Place to go: Pocatello
Thing to do outside: "Shoot bows and arrows", ride bike
Thing to do with family: Go out to dinner
Holiday: birthday and Christmas
Song: "Weapon of Choice" by Fatboy Slim (only because it's the music for a Skylander commercial). We also have recently discovered that he harbors a secret love for anything by ABBA. (But really...who doesn't love ABBA??). He also likes music that has a lot of electric sounds in it (ie. Tron soundtrack)
Church song: "I am a Child of God"
Thing about the world: "That it invented TV."
TV show: Family Feud
Thing to sleep with: one regular pillow and two pillow pets all propped on top of each other. Coverings in THIS specific order: sheets, bed spread, army blanket, Mario blanket, Pooh Bear blanket (has to have the soft side UP and Pooh Bear head up), and to top it all off, an electric blanket on HIGH.
Thing about self: "That I have Skylanders. That I'm alive. That I have allergies."
Thing about being 8: "Playing with my friends."

Best friend: Gage G.
Other friends: Jack, Stephen, Xavier, Damien

What do you want to be when you grow up: A hunter or a salesman (of everything)
What would you do with a million dollars?: "Buy everything. Buy all the Skylanders. And if I have money left over...an iPad."
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?: "College"
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?: "A graveyard. Or Hawaii."
What about a mission or marriage?: "Never."

(Someone please tell me this kid's priorities will change before he's thirty and still playing Skylanders in our basement.)

This kid cracks me up. He really is so very good at heart. He has a very obsessive nature where he hyper focuses on one thing for a long time (Ahem...just like his mother). Right now that obsession revolves around Skylanders and where his next meal is coming from, but I hope that one day it will come in handy.

Dee has such a gentle heart and is very tender with his sisters. (Unless he is need of a good wrestling session and Dad's not available.) Dee has gotten very good at cleaning his room. He loves to help in the kitchen. Dee also loves playing team sports and is discovering a "like" for reading. He's usually up for trying new things and I love his adventurous spirit.

Dee asks me constantly if we can have tamales for dinner, but they take so darn long to make I always tell him no. I just couldn't turn him down on his special day so ALL DAY Saturday was spent making 100 plus tamales. We had tamales for his birthday dinner on Sunday and now we have several packages frozen to be enjoyed throughout the next several months. A win for all of us!

For his birthday cake he asked if I could make the "Undead" Skylander symbol. I gave it my best shot; this was my first time making and using fondant. We'll call this decent.

Since Dee is allergic to milk and I was all out of his special "butter" I used coconut oil to make the frosting for the first time. My mixer is not working so well so there were lots of little chunks of coconut oil in the frosting. Oh well. It sure smelled amazing.

He sure seemed pleased so that's all that really matters.

I forgot to buy candles too, but I think the matches go well with the "Undead" thing we have going on here.

Now if only Amazon would deliver his gifts that I ordered a couple of weeks ago...

Nine is fine. Hopefully ten will be even better! Happy Birthday Dee! We sure love you!!


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