Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Tulips Blooming

The tulips are blooming in my backyard. There are beautiful tulips on my counter, an anniversary gift from my honey yesterday. Today I went to Trader Joe's to pick up flowers for a friend whose father passed away. We walked in and Noble ran up and said "Look Mom, TWO LIPS!" He was standing in front of some potted tulips in bloom.

Tulips seem to be blooming in my heart. I feel the gentle bending of the stems in strange familiar ways. I can almost touch the softly opening petals in their delicate perfection. I can sense the depth within the bud sheltered from the elements of the everyday.

Each year seems to go by faster than the one before. Here we are again approaching the Easter season. Another anniversary, another birthday here and there, another April conference weekend. And again the tulips bloom.

This is life in my thirties. It is filled with the exhausting daily routine of young children and their endless needs. I am in constant wonder at the growing beauties I call my children. I want to freeze them in time and hold them in my arms and nibble their ears and toes and drink in the smell of them fresh out of the bath. And yet, I welcome the growing maturity and development I see as my girls get older.

Life in my thirties is good. It has not been all roses. No. There have been dark days. There have been times I wondered if I would ever feel the full warmth of the sun again. But I have found my way through the cold hard winter. And it has helped the tulips bloom once again.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Happy Birthday Harrison

My little man is one today. How can it be? We celebrated with a horde of Waites. Lots of family is in town for the blessing of our newest nephew. I think there were about 55 people at the party. I was in charge of dessert. My mom helped me out by making our traditional birthday sheet cake. My friend Chris over at Bread and Butter made amazing mini lemon cheesecake cupcakes. My babysitter and Noble and Lauren made a box mix birthday cake. I made 2 giant chocolate chip cookie cakes and 120 cheesecake stuffed strawberries that were gone in like 10 minutes.

Harrison got to enjoy a mini size birthday cake that the babysitter made and a "hostess" cupcake from Bread and Butter. At first he just poked at the cupcake. But eventually he figured it was pretty tasty and he started going for it mouth first.

Here are some of my favorite photos from the day:

Happy Birthday our littlest wonderful Waite. We love you!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Filling Down Time

Annie has been sick and out of school for the past three days. I have found it so enjoyable having her home that I almost wish she were "home sick" everyday. I think it would be even more fun if I didn't have two sick little boys to tend and hold constantly. They seem to demand far more of my time and attention than Annie.

But Annie has definitely gotten my attention in some very positive ways during her recuperation. By day two she had read for hours and slept for hours and been to the doctor and back. We had watched a little television and she decided she was bored of that. So she made up a game for Noble and convinced him to play her game ... cleaning up the family room. Yes, that is right. Annie got Noble to CLEAN!

This is not something I even try to get Noble to do most of the time. I mean I will have him pick up his trains or help him pick up toys after he has played with them, but having him clean a whole room by himself ... no. But Annie got him to clean the whole family room, including taking people's stuff up to their rooms.

She later informed me that kids don't like it when grown ups make them clean because it isn't fun but she made it fun for Noble and that is why he did it. Later that day she surprised me by cleaning the entire downstairs. I was outside for a few minutes and when I came back in she had picked up, wiped down counters, swept floors and even put fresh flowers from the garden on the table.

Beyond the cleaning, she has been so fun to be with. We have read some of the final book of Fablehaven together. We have snuggled and talked lots. She has practiced her music, which I love to listen to. And I have baked and cooked and cleaned and tended with her companionship. I think she will be heading back to school tomorrow since her fever is pretty much gone now. I will miss my little Ann Marie.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

"Let's Call Today a Mulligan"

That is what the hubby said to me tonight. I nodded in full agreement. We have 3 sick kids. There are two of us. Each of these 3 kids wants to be held constantly. It has been cold and windy and rainy. We have been in the house nursing children and administering medicines and holding hot little bodies.

Having sick kids is not fun. But it is a part of being mortal. We get sick. Sometimes we get hurt. Some days the sun doesn't shine and the winds howl and the rain beats down on everything it can. And somedays, that's okay.

Somedays I almost want the rain to fall and the winds to howl and the sun to hide all day. I have spent the entire day with my sweet family. I got to hold my little children and know that they felt just a little better just because I was holding them. My 2 well children got to learn to serve the family and help out when Mom and Dad are overwhelmed with little sick people.

Not sure they enjoyed learning this lesson. There have been several complaints about not being able to go play with friends. But sometimes it is good for kids to learn that on certain days when the wind howls and the rain falls, it is more important to get to work serving others, especially those in your own home. It is an important lesson.

And tonight as I watch that same child voluntarily step up to help, I am grateful for the rainy day that prompted such a valuable lesson. Maybe not such a Mulligan after all.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

First Hair Cut ...

I gave Harrison his first hair cut today. Okay so it was like 50 hairs. he just had some hairs on the back that were getting long so I trimmed them up a bit. Still I wanted to note it here since this will be a source for his baby book.

Normally, I save cuttings from the first haircut. I didn't today. It was just so little hair. But the whole time I was snipping, I was thinking about how little hair Camille had and her first haircut in the hospital as we prepared for her death. That little lock of hair is a treasure to me now. I was amazed my sister in law Marleen was even able to get the nearly one inch curl that she did off her nearly bald head.

Today as I cut Harrison's hair I kept telling myself there would be lots more haircuts for him. I wouldn't need to save these little strands. He is getting to that high anxiety stage of life for me. He turns one in 10 days now. He has been sick and I worry.

How can my baby be turning one already? He is such a sweet little, snuggly boy. Everyone just adores him. Even Noble, who I expected to have more jealousy, just loves Harrison. He just wants Harrison to get big and play with him faster.

Harrison has found the famous cup drawer and begun exploring it. He doesn't really climb in so much. The girls like to put him in there so he can play like Camille did but since that is not so great for the drawer we try to discourage that. He prefers to just empty its contents and chew on some of them along the way.

Harrison has also been taking his first steps. Well it is more like falling to me or his dad with his feet moving at this point, but it he gets one or two steps in there before gets to us. He is rather adept at going up and down stairs. I still don't let him do that much, but I am always surprised at how well he does when I take the time to sit with him while he learns his stair skills.

He is a rather picky eater. He is bothered by certain textures. He really likes those pouches with the baby food in them. They are my new secret weapon to getting veggies in him. I was amazed that he ate a Cutie clementine that I cut up really small today. Other than that his favorites are any cereal Dad is eating, oatmeal, bananas, Life cereal, macaroni and cheese, tomatoes, yogurt, bits of string cheese, and smoothies.

He takes 1 - 2 naps a day. Usually his first nap is around 10:30. Then he wakes up around 11:30-12:00 when I put Noble down. He will do down again around 2 or 3 when Noble wakes up. I have a very short window in the morning to go do anything before the naps times begin.

Sorry for the mundane details. Its just that I wish I could remember all these things about Camille. Her accident hard wiped my brain in some ways and if I hadn't written these things down I would not have remembered them. Luckily I had written all her habits down for my parents and in laws for the weekend they took care of her just 2 weeks before she died.

And now I have some of it written down for my treasure of a boy so I won't ever forget him at one.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

A Lasting Change ... the Update

One the posts I wrote just after Camille passed away was entitled A Lasting Change. I wrote it about some of the good changes I had seen come from the tragedy that befell our family. One of those was the change in my family. I became a new mother that day Camille died. There were lots of hard and painful and just downright terrible changes that happened to me that day. But there were also some new and wonderful changes that took place.

Lately, I have really had my eyes opened to how "lasting" these changes in me have been. Given the perspective of 3.5 years and birthing two more children into our home, I have seen these changes put to the test and over time and trial, I have discovered that at least some of these good changes are, for me, permanent.

The other day a friend and I were talking about kids and mothering. Half joking, she said something like, "when is it supposed to get to the point where you really enjoy it?" We are both in the little kid stage. This can be a really hard stage of motherhood. I get that. But I answered her question with one word. "NOW!" Whenever now is for you, that is when you should start enjoying it.

I explained that before Camille passed away I was just in survival mode with the 4 kids under age 6. I was just "getting through it" till the youngest two could play together more and make my job as Mom less physically demanding. I was just starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel of that hard first year of essentially 2 babies when Camille died.

"You have to enjoy the now because sometimes that is all you get." That is one change that Camille's death made permanent in me. I enjoy the now. Even when my kids are driving me nuts, I still enjoy the now. I may get frustrated or overwhelmed at times. But I constantly have a joy in my soul that I get to be a mother. It is a constant undercurrent in my life now that dramatically shapes my mothering.

Hand in hand with that is how much more positive I am about my job as a mother. I do not look at my role with as much pessimism. When people ask me about how I like being a mother, my first thoughts are all positive. I don't think about how hard it is or the lack of sleep or the whining, and tantrums and redundancy or the daily training. I think of how much I love my children and how lucky I am to have such amazing people in my family. I think of how honored I am to be their mother and all the cute things they say and their shiningly wonderful qualities.

I am thankful for these changes. They are vastly improving my mothering experience. I am grateful that there has been such a personally wonderful and lasting good that has come about as a result of an otherwise terrible tragedy.

Monday, March 5, 2012

What I've Been Up To: Reaching Out

We are well into our first week of March and I have been happily surprised by how little the screens have been on. That month goal has accomplished its purpose I think.

We have been recuperating from a nasty respiratory bug that has been making the rounds through our family. Today is the first day I haven't taken a decongestant. I have been very drowsy from the sinus pressure and drugs and therefore, absent from my blogging. I don't know what I would do without my angel of a mother coming to tend me when Jon was out of town and my kids and I were all sick. She got the bug too in the end. She says she is expendable and it is ok for her to get sick because she doesn't have to take care of kids all day. She is wrong. I need her too much. I am glad she is getting better now too.

It was a lovely sunny day today with temperatures in the mid seventies. The kids and I spent the after school hours playing out in front of the house. I love those times. I love when my neighbors come out and we get a chance to visit while the kids play. I have great neighbors. What a blessing they are!

Other than that, I have been getting up to speed on my new responsibilities at church. We had big changes recently and I got a new job working in the women's organization as a counselor over education. It has been fun working with the other women in the presidency and getting to know the ladies at church better.

One thing I am going to try to do in an effort to "reach out" more to the women in the ward is to try to be more mindful of them and to send out little notes to them when I am thinking of them. I sent one today. It felt good to write my sincere feelings down to a woman I admire and yet don't speak to very often.

I used to work with her ... back when Camille was with us and through her accident and for 3 months after. Then the boundaries to our ward changed and we were in different wards. A couple years later we were back in the same ward again after more boundary changes but we haven't been working together again like we used to. So today I thought of her and how much I enjoyed working with her back then. So I sat down and wrote her a note to tell her I loved her.

It felt good. I want to do that more. I do not always come across as warmly as I want to. I am a doer. I like to get my list checked off. Often times I am so focused on getting things done (important things) that I am not able to express the warm and loving feelings that are in my heart for the people I pass or see along the way. I really do have deep feelings of love and appreciation and admiration for people. I think many people I know would be surprised to know how much love I feel for them. I hope my little card writing campaign will help me express those feelings more fully and brighten a day here and there of someone who needs to know they are loved that day.