Saturday, May 30, 2009
Today, on the way up to the recital with Maryn, I called my parents to see what time they were leaving to head south. During the conversation I asked how the week had gone (they have had Maddie, Alexa and Claira all week). Dad said mom was pretty worn out J. I told him that was why God created menopause. Women that age are not supposed to have young children.
After I hung up, Maryn, who had heard the conversation, had something to say.
“Mom, what is “metapods”? Is that anything like a spork?”
Not really, honey, but we can pretend it is.
Friday, May 29, 2009
Has anyone ever read the children’s book “If You Give a Pig a Pancake?”
My dad has suggested I take it one more step; that I should get a pig and give it to not only pancakes but also any other kitchen scraps. He thought it might be an economic alternative to a disposal since I don’t have one. The best part, unlike a traditional disposal, is that you can actually eat this one once a year.
Out of curiosity, I asked a friend of mine who raises hogs how much they cost. She kind of laughed and said, “I have no idea how much one pig costs. We buy ours in bulk!” She did however speculate that they could be purchased for about $20.
Not too worry, we are not getting a pig. Evidently they cannot exist on table scraps alone, but also require corn. And of course the ever present responsibility of cleaning up after it. No, no. A pig is not for us.
It’s not exactly the same as getting a cat..which we already have …and which already requires enough cleaning up after and taking care of.
And besides, we really like pancakes and there are rarely leftovers J.
Monday, May 25, 2009
Today was simple. I spent most of it procrastinating the heck out my life. If I ignored it, it simple didn’t exist. Unfortunately everything I ignored today will show up tomorrow in full force…like the paper I have due, and my kitchen floor that really needs to be swept and mopped, or the dishes that need to be done.
But here is what I did do…
I went to church and taught a Sunday School lesson to a room full of adults.
I took a nap
I did some homework.
I went to one of my student’s grad party.
I took my kids to the Spiritual Center again and we walked around for a while. The bugs in the woods were out of control! We also ran into a neighbor. And the kids threw rocks into the pond.
We went to Melanie’s to visit and get some ice (she has an icemaker and I do not). We left without the ice. I forgot.
I called my mother in law.
I got on Facebook and caught up with some olds friends. I’ve loved reconnecting with my past and realizing the blessings of those who have influenced (and who continue to influence) my life.
I wrote this blog.
I decided to go to bed, and do everything else tomorrow. It will be there after all.
Friday, May 22, 2009
Thursday, May 21, 2009
The center is building used for many meetings religious in nature. There are dorms and a kitchen. Out front is a pond and a fountain…and an enormous silver cross I did not take a picture of.
Anyway, as you can see there is a lovely paved path through some lovely woods that are very peaceful. The little thing in the picture is Conner. There are little bridges and windy streams. Pretty rocks and flowers to find and pick up. Maryn found a piece of brick (which is now in my van) with a pink rock in that Clayton theorized to her wasn’t a rock at all but petrified bubble gum (She got all grossed out). Clayton found some pretty wild flowers which are now laying on one of the bushes outside my door (sunbathing perhaps?). And Paul found a long straight stick.
Now I have to give the boy points for imagination. It was a walking stick, a light saber, karate weapon and potential javelin (I put a stop to that one pretty quick) all in a matter of minutes. But things like sticks, though fun, are also potentially dangerous. This is a lesson I learned when we paused along the path a minute and I turned my attention to the small children running away…when I heard a big THWACK! I thought he had hit a tree with it and turned around to caution him about being careful. When I turned, I find my 9 year old daughter doubled over out of breath…and sobbing. He’d accidentally hit her straight across the stomach.
I was bothered a bit by that fact he had not been careful, but he immediately took her in his arms and apologized and offered to carry her the rest of the way. It was very sweet..even if it was his fault she was bawling in the first place.
Below you will find a picture of the offending stick...which he was still holding after he injured his sister. I also thought this was a good picture of the fellas. I told them to try and look handsome. I think they did a fairly good job :)
Miss Ashley (who coincidentally went to school with Garrett in Maria Stein)
The day before the last day of school, Maryn all on her own, decided she wanted to write a letter to her teacher. Below is the letter she wrote. I’ve included a few of her misspellings.
Dear Mrs. Schmiesing,
I’m gonna miss you a lot. I will cry on the last day of school so bring extra tissues. There are 1 billion reasons why you’re the best teacher so far, but I will only do 5.
1) When I need help you would try to make me understand.
2) You make me laugh a lot in class.
3) I think everybody deserves you because you rock.
4) You do fun stuff in class.
5) You would incourage me at any time anywhere.
Just letting you know my brother will be in 1 grade, and I’m telling you right now he is a handful. I also believe that you came in my life for a reason because you were ment to be my teacher. You were the right one for me, and that I’m the luckiest girl in the world. Have a great summer.
P.S. I think you know my last name.
Monday, May 18, 2009
So, this is more than a week late, but it has taken a week of reflection to get this right. I am a mother. I made the choice to become a mother, and I do not regret it. Although, there are moments when I wonder why I thought it was good idea in the first place.
Some of those moments involve bodily functions they never warned you about in all those motherhood lessons in Young Women’s…like the time not one, but two of my children threw up on my carpeted stairs. Or the time my then 3 year old decided it was a good idea to just let loose in the tub which required a rescrubbing of not only the tub but the kids. Things I used to gag at, don’t even phase me now. You get a very strong stomach when you are a mom. Or a severely degenerate sense of smell. It’s probably a combination of the two. One of those blessings God gives mothers just so they can survive.
I also missed the lesson on the endless loads of laundry…a chore that is never, ever truly done. I can’t recall the counsel on dishes that have been put through the dishwasher, that you rinsed beforehand, and somehow are still NOT clean and so you have to wash them by hand and someone took you drainer and is using it to sled down the stairs. So you shake them hard to get the extra water off and end up breaking 2 plates, lodging a fork in the ceiling and accidentally sending a sippy cup to certain doom out the open kitchen window (which of course was opened because someone forgot to move the plastic bowl off the stove before turning it on).
I can’t remember seeing sweet little sayings on printed paper with a magnet on the back where you are told that everything you own will have a stain of some kind on it. Spaghetti sauce on this blouse, mustard on these pants, juice on those shoes…maybe that’s what they really meant by food storage. I was going to be one of those mothers with perfectly pressed and neatly groomed children in matching clothes. Now I’m feeling good if they’re wearing clothes at all and have socks on that match (each other, not their actual clothes, that would be asking too much)
I was there for the lesson on being a peacemaker. I guess I should have remembered it applies to the person in charge, especially when you have one yelling for help in the bathroom, one whining about long division, one on the computer playing a game with the volume up full blast and yet another wrapped around my leg asking, no wait…demanding a snack and a story RIGHT NOW! Does locking yourself in the bathroom count as keeping the peace?
Since becoming a mother, I have folded an estimated 5,096 loads of laundry, washed an estimated 20,000 dishes, scrubbed the toilet 728 times, fixed about 13, 930 meals and washed windows twice (okay, I’m a slacker on that one). And I have heard in return, a couple dozen thank you’s.
Now don’t get me wrong. I’m sure I was equally ungrateful to my mother for her efforts. It’s only now I realize what it took…what it takes…to be a mother. And that’s when I realized that motherhood is very much like investing money.
Let’s say you took everything you had and put it in an account. If you went back the next day, you would not see any change, or even the next week or the next month. It would take years, built upon years, for you to see the kind of return on investment you dreamed of when you placed your hard earned savings in and interest bearing account in the first place.
When you are a mother, you invest everything you have…your time, talents, energy, sanity…seriously everything… into an account (you children) you hope you will be able to see grow. But daily progress is hard to track, even weekly or monthly progress is little hard to see. Its only later, much later, that you see the payoff and realize the waiting was worth it. My mother is in the pay-off stage now I think.
But until then when we can withdraw our money and bask in the glory of its wonderfulness, the Lord allows us little glimpses into how our account is growing, without our even knowing it. Like the first time your child said a prayer all on their own, or when the assistant principle tells you how impressed she is with your son because what he wants most in his life is to be a good husband and father. Or maybe when it when your 4 or 6 year old stop playing long enough to come and set their little hands on yours and look up at you and whisper with a smile, “Mom? I love you.”
I asked my brothers a question, “Did you want to be on you mission, everyday you were on your mission?” Actually, no they didn’t. Infact, there were way more days that were hard, and several times they just wanted to go home. But they stayed, because all the hard times were more frequent, the good times outweighed them. And looking back, they’d do it again in a heartbeat.
Motherhood is my mission. I stay because although it’s hard, there are good moments that make it all worth it. Sometimes I’d like to go home, but then I realize I am home.
And there is no where else I would rather be.
Okay, not really (thank goodness)
I know I’ve mentioned before my water aerobics class. Well, here they are, in all of their swimsuited glory. We were missing a few from the picture, but I thought it was a pretty good representation of how I spend 2 hours a week.
Wet and Wild baby.
At the end of last summer, I really wanted Ashlyn in a different preschool. I had registered her for Headstart and it just didn’t feel right, even though it was free. Melanie suggested I try the preschool she sent Maddie and Alexa to. It felt like the right thing to do, and believe me, it was. She had such a wonderful experience there and it worked so much better for us. The only problem was, It cost more than I could afford. So I approached the director and asked if she would be willing to trade. Since she didn’t have anyone interested in piano, I thought of offering to come in and do music time 2 times a month for each class in exchange for half of the tuition. She accepted. So that is what I have been doing all year, and I have really enjoyed it. I taught them all the fun songs my mom taught me (well, almost all of them…I left out the one about the greasy grimy gopher guts…gross mom!) and some old primary (church) songs. And they loved it. Some of their favorites, and most requested songs, are Little Bunny Foo-Foo (I’ve had a few mom’s give me a sarcastic “Thanks!” for that one), Lion Hunt (which we also made a reindeer hunt, a monster hunt and a bunny hunt), Peanut Butter and Jelly and Shake!. I had such a good time I volunteered to come back next year and do it again…even though I don’t have anyone in preschool any more.
Thursday, May 14, 2009
The view from Ashlyn's world is ALWAYS interesting...
A few days ago, Ashlyn was browsing around the web with Paul, who was showing her some Michael Jackson videos from different points in that particular singer’s life. Ashlyn comes running in to me:
“Guess What ?! Michael Jackson used to be the color of Maddie and now he’s this color!” Whereupon she sticks out her arm and points to her pale forearm, her mouth open in shock and eyes wide in disbelief.
This morning I was helping her get her shoes on, and she randomly looks up at me and proclaims “That’s nasty!”
What is sweetheart?
“I stuck my finger in my ear and then put it in my mouth and it tasted gross.”
Wow. I’m sure it did.
“Yeah, but I do it all the time.”
Wednesday, May 13, 2009
So much of the time in my blog I focus on the funny things that happen in our home. Not necessarily happy times all the time, but memories of some kind nonetheless. I try not to focus on the bad or difficult things. But here’s one. It’s a doozy. But I hope by getting it out of mind and onto the blog, it won’t bother so much anymore.
As some of you know, Paul’s father is a less than stellar person. It bothers me that he has to see someone I would never allow him around in real people world. But, alas, it was certainly not my son’s choice who his father is, and so it is consequence of what I choose to do that has put him in this situation.
Because Paul’s father tends to be difficult, we use an exchange center who sets the schedule according to our paperwork and then mediates the visitation exchanges. I have chosen to go by their schedule. He has chosen that he doesn’t like their schedule and continually tries to bully me into giving him more time. I generally ignore him.
There have been a few weekends of late he was particularly unhappy about which prompted dozens of nasty text messages. He even wanted mother’s day weekend! I never gave in, although I did allow my son choices. If he would prefer to go to his dad’s, I would make it happen. He has consistently chosen the plans we already made (because we thought it was my weekend).
My biggest fear is this…next week he goes to his dad’s for the summer. I’m supposed to have him for visitation every other weekend. I have a terrible feeling his dad isn’t going to show up for the exchanges (for revenge mostly), and I will not get to see my son for months. It’s kind of scary. I also worry for him when he is away from me. I don’t trust his dad. He’s unpredictable.
So there it is. My most dreadful fear out in the open. Any suggestions or ideas?
Now let me make this clear…I only have one show I watch …EVER. It’s Dancing with the Stars on Monday nights. I DVR the first part so we can have family night first, plus it gives me the chance to just fast forward through all of the commercials.
So, as I was getting everyone settled at 8:30 on Monday, Maryn comes into the kitchen, plops down her book bag and yanks out a page of long division to do. Homework. And she always needs help with long division. And, of course, she is demanding this help immediately in a very loud and whiny voice. I’m irritated, but try to help. I was probably giving her nasty little looks as I hovered over her paper, and she was getting whinier and whinier, and finally cried. In the meantime, Ashlyn came into the kitchen and also demanded story time. Right now. This moment. Which only made me less patient with Maryn.
I looked up at the clock, and it was almost 9 p.m. I was done. She hadn’t stop complaining enough for me to do any good, plus she had had hours with older people available before hand that could have helped her. I decided this was not my fault, and not my problem. So I told her since this situation was a consequence of her choices and not mine, I was going to go watch my show and she was on her own.
“I’ll get them all wrong then!” she screamed.
That’s not my problem.
So she storms out the room and slams the door going upstairs. Sobbing all the way.
After a little while, I decided I probably really should help her. But I didn’t think it was right to just give her my time freely. So I followed her up to her room, and gave her a choice. I would give up my time ot help her with the math, but she had to give up and equal amount of her time to do something for me…clean my room.
I am happy to announce I have 25 minutes of indentured servitude coming my way…and Maryn know how to do long division on her own now.
Saturday, May 9, 2009
So, this is in honor of my oldest son who is now officially 14! At first, I wanted to try and think of 14 of my favorite memories of him, and write them all out. But the funny thing was, I couldn’t think of 14 individual and distinct memories. His life in my head is kind of a conglomeration of images and feelings that combine to act as an explanation of how I feel about him today. Then this morning, I was going through some stuff and found a ton of pictures. I couldn’t help it, I started looking at them...all. Many of the pictures had my oldest son in it. That was back when I had time to snap pictures. Ashlyn wanted to know where her pictures were. Poor girl, there just aren’t as many.
But here is a tour of my son’s life in pictures.
This is the most recent photo taken during this past season of Basketball. He wasn't really good, but his coach praised him for his incomparable dedication and attitude.(Jan. 2009)
This is the most recent photo taken during this past season of Basketball. He wasn't really good, but his coach praised him for his incomparable dedication and attitude.(Jan. 2009)
So we had a little get together for Paul’s birthday on Friday. Mom was still here helping Melanie, and so she came with Mel and Kirk’s family. We also invited Erica and Clayton, Paul’s “big brother”.
Paul chose cheeseburgers with the works (including bacon!)and oven roasted potatoes. I added mixed veggies and applesauce. We then had brownie sundaes with homemade hot fudge and homemade caramel. The caramel making story is a whole other blog, so we’ll just reserve it for now. But we had a wonderful time eating, and then playing a game called Dicecapades, which Erica dubbed the “most random game in the world” (and then promptly decided she needed to buy it). You have to complete a number of different kinds of challenges involving a dozen different kinds of dice from stacking dice, to pushups to word games, charades and even trivia. There’s like 200 dice in the game. It’s a blast! Here's some pictures from the party!
BTW: For those of you who know Melanie, yes she's in a wheelchair. But it's not as bad as it looks. She's having significant back problems and is waiting for surgery. She feels best when she sits so the wheelchair just makes it so she can get around without having to stand.
Friday, May 8, 2009
Tuesday, May 5, 2009
ERICA...our babysitter for the last 3 years. She turned 18 yesterday (May 4th), which means she will be graduating and leaving us in 2 weeks. As much as I don’t want that to happen, I know it’s what she has to do. She has been a real blessing to our family. Melanie always jokes that everyone should have an Erica. The best part is that she started out as a stranger, and has become a dear friend. My kids adore her. Here is our top ten great things about Erica (me and the kids put this together); why we’re glad she’s here, and why we’ll miss her when she goes.
She likes the same movies as I do. We can watch Pride and Prejudice forever, and ever, and ever, and ever… or possibly Twilight (Chiara)* Note: It is entirely my fault she is addicted to these anyway!
My kitchen is always clean when I finish with lessons. Do you know how great that feels? (Chiara)
She braids my hair. And mom doesn’t know how. (Maryn)
She brings us presents for our birthdays and Christmas (Paul)
She hugs me (Conner)
She’s my friend (Conner)
She sits with me on the couch and watches TV (Maryn)
She gives me baths and washes my hair (Ashlyn)
Sometimes she makes us food (Paul)
She can read books to me (Ashlyn)
Happy Birthday Erica! Thanks for being a part of our lives!
Monday, May 4, 2009
So, I have been trying to change my relationship with food in general. I have had some successful days, and some not so successful ones. But overall the results have been good. But as part of my quest, I have stumbled across some fun and tasty recipes.
One was herbal iced tea sweetened with apple juice. It has been a great alternative to my daily Dr. Pepper dose, and without any caffeine or added sugar so it’s significantly better for you.
The second was falafel. I stumbled across it kind of by accident after my kids devoured all of the dinner I made and I had nothing. I found a can of chickpeas (garbanzo beans) and vaguely remembered seeing something about falafel on the food network. So I looked up a recipe. It was simple; chickpeas, onions, garlic, cumin, coriander, salt and flour. You roll them into balls and fry them for a little bit. See picture to left. They were warm and crispy and soft all at once. Surprisingly tasty. Even my mom and dad liked them! I, however, took mine and put them on a bed of mixed greens tossed in Asian Sesame dressing and littered with fresh tomatoes and cucumbers. Now that was very, very good. Super yummy falafel salad.