Thursday, December 25, 2008

"It was the Worst Christmas Ever!"

"It was the Worst Christmas Ever!" says Connor while he is screaming and crying. Silly me, and I thought it was the best Christmas ever. You see, this year we stayed home. It was as low stress as possible with shopping done 10 days before Christmas, cards mailed in the first week of December and little cooking to be done. Caskey and I had even gone to bed at a decent hour since we got the wrapping done in a timely fashion.

This morning was fabulous. It was slightly rainy with low clouds. The perfect day to stay indoors. Connor tore through all this gifts yelling, "WOW. I have wanted this forever. WOW!" Lainy Ann was in heaven sorting the gifts and reading all the tags. 45 minutes into gift-opening and Lainy Ann had only opened one gift (2 pairs of jammies from me - she hugged me and said, "thank you for the jammies mommy, they are my favorite") and Connor has opened nearly all of his. She had so much fun just sorting and helping. William wandered around the living room stealing everyone's candy and playing with already opened toys - none of them were his. And Alexander thankfully sat quietly and watched it all while Caskey and I ran back and forth rescuing toys from their prison-boxes.

It went better than I hoped. No complaints of 'he got more toys than me' or 'santa forgot to bring me something'. They were very happy to unwrap presents and ooh and aah.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Merry Christmas to Me!

I finally finished my quilt. I first started quilting about 8 years ago at my first teaching job. The librarian taught me the basics and I made my first quilt; red of course, with cherries. I have used that blanket daily ever since. I cuddle under it on the couch and watch my nightly television, then Caskey began to use it once we were married with his toes sticking out, and then kids would cuddle under it when they were sick. They even threw-up on it once or twice. Yuck!
L Quilt
It now has holes in it, through all 3 layers. So last spring I started a new quilt for myself, for cuddling on the couch. I have decided to treat myself with breaks now that I have four kids. For the last 6 years I have lived for my kids and rarely taken time for myself. But I hit a wall and realized that I needed some me-time too. So in the Spring I took a class on how to make the quilt, then I spent hours at the quilt shop alone working on it. Once it was pieced together I had to take a break to have a baby. But even on break I was still having me-time; a NKOTB concert in October and Twilight the movie in December.

I finally finished it, just 10 days before Christmas. Just 2 more projects to go - Alexander Christmas Stocking and his quilt.

White Envelope

I hope by now you have read the story of the White Envelope. I first came across it when Lainy Ann was an infant and I was melding our two families into a new family with a new set of traditions. This one seemed too perfect and wonderful to pass up. Since then we have often donated and given anonymously to those in need; sometimes through the church, school or police station. This year has been a record of giving for us.

First it started with the fires. An acquaitance of mine lost her home. She has two children; the same ages as William and Alexander. Her infant was just 6 weeks old when they were left with nothing. The fires came so fast that they were lucky to escape with their lives. So I gathered 4 large bins of kids clothing, towels, sheets, and blankets. By the end of the following day they had more than enough for their kids; they were getting multiples of bouncy's, high chairs and cribs. It was so heartwarming.

Times are getting tough all over and people are having to cut back on the basic necessities. Last week we had some wild weather for Southern California; freezing temperatures, rain, hail and some snow. Some children were seen going to school in sandals and no coats. They too had fallen on hard times. The PTA was able to get the two families food, but they were still in need of clothing for their 7 children.

So, the kids and I got up early this morning to brave the mall. A few hours later we had basic winter wardrobes for 6 of the kids, including coats, jammies and hats.

I'm not posting this to show-off, but to remind us all that no matter how little we all think we have, someone else has less. No matter how tight things are for your family, someone else is having a harder time making ends meet.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Have a Green Day

Connor is the most empathetic and sensitive child I have, so far. The vote is still out on Alexander. William, well, so far he seems to be a lot like Lainy Ann - very busy and very loud and very, um, in charge (read: stubborn).

Lainy Ann had quite a bit of trouble at the beginning of the school year. So we spent a lot of time on the drive to school talking about how to behave. Lainy Ann's school has a color behavior system. Green is good behavior, followed by yellow, red and the dreaded blue.

Connor started early on coaching Lainy Ann on the appropriate behavior. Even commenting on how he handles certain situations in school; by raising his hand and waiting patiently. Ever since those early days of September he began wishing Lainy Ann, "Have a Green Day" as she left the car. Here is it late in December and he is still wishing her a "Green Day". What a good little boy!

No Rice Cereal

Its liberating having my fourth child. It was a huge learning curve with Lainy Ann. I read numerous books and thought they were right, even though half the time they were contradictory. I tried feeding her on a schedule, back to sleep, introduced vegetables first at 4 months. Then I had Connor and he was a boy, so things were slightly different. But by the time I was pregnant with William I figured I had a girl and I had a boy, so this time it would be pretty much the same.

Well, William had another idea. He was a skinny minny who worried me about his weight and eating habits. Then when he was 18 months old and still not saying any words I was worried about his speech. But we navigated the choppy waters of Early Intervention and speech. And I realized that his weight was him, not a factor of being under-fed.

So now that Alexander is here I am even more relaxed. We recently had his 4 month appointment where we discovered a whopping weight of 16 lbs and 3 oz. He is quite the chunker. The pediatrician suggested I start rice cereal at close to 4 months. I politely told her no. I don't like using rice cereal and I was going to wait until he was closer to 6 months. She gave me some other advice to and I explained how I would be doing it a little differently. She listened and realized I had good reasons.

Its just liberating having my own opinions on raising my child and not feeling like the doctor knows best. Sometimes, we, as mothers, know what is best for our children and for our family. I find it more and more enjoyable and relaxing to be a parent with each subsequent child. Just imagine how relaxed I would be if we had 10 children.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Mmmmmm smells good

Scents have always been very important to me. I associate scents with seasons; Christmas is cinnamon and pine, spring is Jasmine and flowers, fall the crisp leaves and pumpkin and summer smells of beach.

I don't usually get to have scented items in the house. Before children I liked to have a vanilla scented candle burning, or maybe even a raspberry scented one. But Caskey is really opposed to scents, so these days I sneak them in or bake in order to get them into the house.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Xmas List

I just asked Lainy Ann what she wants for xmas. She wants to organize; a binder to keep her papers that she hasn't finished coloring, oh, and a calendar so she knows what day it is. And some jewelry too.

I guess it shouldn't be any surprise that on her report card she got an Excellent for Organization.

Connor of course wants swords, light sabers and other star wars stuff.

William would just be happy with the box. Oh and tormenting his older siblings by stealing their stuff.