Thursday, September 30, 2010

Friendship

I wouldn't say high school was great for me.  I didn't have a lot of friends in high school.  Sure I had a group I hung out with and one or two people who I socialized with outside of school.  But for the most part I kept to myself and read books when friends weren't available.  I was envious of the popular crowd who always had the best spot in the quad and were laughing and joking all the time.

Then in college I had nothing in common with the other students.  Most of them were 3-5 years younger than me and living on campus.  Which means their biggest concerns were which party to go to on Friday night.  I, on the other hand, worked 30ish hours a week, commuted to school and still volunteered on the side.  My goal was to get through college as quick as possible and get a job.  That plan didn't leave much time for frivolity.

Then I got my first teaching job.  I loved teaching.  I was by far the youngest teacher at the school.  And although everyone was very nice, helpful and kind, I still didn't find a close friend.  But the ladies at the school were happy to collaborate with me and chat about teacher stuff.

As a parent I have really come into my own.  I know who I am and what I value in a friendship.  I have met several ladies who I would call sisters in parenthood.  They have really been there for me over the years; we have had birthday parties, baptisms, new babies, church, soccer, all of it.  Its been even more fun as the kids are starting to do extracurricular activities.  A few ladies in particular have been fabulous about taking my child along for soccer practice or a trip to the beach.  Things I would love to do if I weren't in my 8th month of pregnancy and dragging 3 other kids along with me.

If all that weirdness in my early high school and adulthood years was a trade off for the great friends and good times I have now, then it was totally worth it.  We have had so many great summer afternoons where everyone brings a dish, kids play, and the grown ups catch up.  I have had so many wonderful meals with out kids, some with kids, playdates with all the children.  I feel very blessed.

I used to be a Teacher

I know I didn't teach for very long, only 3 years.  But I spent six years learning to be a teacher.  In that time I wrote many term papers and research papers.  I understand syntax and making sure that sentences are understandable to strangers reading my work for the first time.

So why is it that every week Lainy Ann tells me that I don't understand what her homework is.  Even when faced with the evidence that last weeks homework, that I helped her with, got an E, she still tells me I am wrong.

When did I become so dumb?  Oh yeah, when I gave birth to her.

Glitter and Cleats

I'm not sporty.  I have never understood those articles where parents get into fist fights on the sidelines.  I just don't get it.  I am very supportive of my kids playing sports and being active, but I just see it as exercise.  I'm not particularly concerned with my child excelling or being great at a sport.  But recently I was ready to get into a fight at soccer . . . . with the coaches wife.

This season is to be unique for us.  All 3 big kids (poor Alexander) are playing soccer.  I am due to have baby #5 (#7) in the middle of the soccer season and somehow I got roped into being team-mom officially for 2 teams and responsible for the banner and snacks for the third team.  That's a lot of responsibility for a very pregnant lady.

It would be okay though, for a few reasons.  I have several awesome friends and family members willing to help out with carpool and being a back up for my time in the hospital.  Also, I really really enjoy helping out in this capacity.  So many moms have to work and I know they have far less time than I do.  So I feel like its my responsibility to all of them to pick up the slack.

One of the more fun activities was creating a banner for William's team.  We got to be creative with one of our best family friends and spend a few weekends collaborating.  It really was a lot of fun and I can honestly say that all four adults were huge contributors.

So imagine my surprise when the coach told me "my wife put on a few finishing touches".  :o  What?!  I was anxious to see what kind of improvements this lady made to our banner.  After all, we had already spent a good 10 hours creating our masterpiece.  We had taken many things into account; age of the kids, gender, ability to have a souvenir at the end of the season, saving money, etc.  Why would this stranger decide to alter our labor of love?!

The following Saturday I was anxious about seeing these changes.  So I walked over to the banner, camera in hand (for evidence) and found glitter all over the BOYS soccer banner.  BOYS!  Why she felt the need to bedazzle our banner is beyond me.  I have a feeling its going to be a long U5 season . . . . .  After all, there seems to be a reason the coach and his wife get along so well. . . . .

To Be Continued. . . . .

Tantrums

Poor Alexander.  He has never known how old he really is.  He has 3 older siblings to keep up with and he does a darn good job of it.  He is always outside playing with them, running around, and fighting back.  He has been jealous of all the cool things the big kids get to do; scouts, soccer, and school.

Well, he got to start school this fall since he was officially two years old.  It wouldn't be very much, just 3 days a week until noon.  But it would get him out of the house with his peers and give me a chance to grocery shop in peace.

He was very enthusiastic about starting school.  He loved going and loved coming home, so I knew we had picked the right preschool schedule for him. . . . until Tuesday.  Tuesday the big kids went to school without him.  He got left at home during drop offs and I could hear him all the way down the driveway.  He was standing at the door with shoes and his lunchbox in hand screaming and crying, "school, go, box (lunchbox)".  It continued for a few weeks.  Every Tuesday and Thursday he would cry and throw a tantrum because he couldn't go to school.  I tried taking him with me for drop offs, but that just meant wrestling him at the school to get him back into his car seat.

As soon as we could we upped his preschool to 5-days a week.  He loved that!  Each day he had his 'box' and he went to school with the other kids because, you know, he is big too!

Today though we had a change in plans.  He was still going to school, but not until 9:30 (after speech therapy).  We went to preschool to drop off William, but his poor 2 year old little mind didn't understand that we would be back in just an hour.  The entire preschool could hear (and see) me physically restrain him to get him back into the car seat.  Later Miss Mary asked why Alexander had such a tough time coming to school today.  I assured her it was the opposite.  He had a tough time leaving school.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Earning my Macaroni Necklace

I had big plans this week.  More importantly I didn't have too many plans since I have finally gotten caught up on household chores.  I planned on a bunch of nothing while the kids were at school; maybe grabbing a meal with a friend, going to the fabric store, watching some of those season premieres on the DVR.

But Monday night was spent up and down all night with fever induced nightmares.  Then Tuesday morning 1/2 the kids woke up with fevers and headaches and whining.  I wasn't feeling so hot either.  Well, actually I WAS feeling hot and nauseated - thanks to the last trimester of my pregnancy.  But my darling little kids curled right up next to me; tiny little hot water heaters warming my body.

I was patient, mostly, but then we got out the sleeping bags so everyone could have their own space (mommy too!).  I complained to my husband about how they were all sick and clingy and just wanted to be on me, but I wasn't feeling well either and wanted to be left alone.  He reminded me that its days like this that I earn my 'bling'; those lovely macaroni necklaces that I get in May.

I wonder what I will be doing today to earn my macaroni necklace . . . .

Friday, September 24, 2010

Student of the Month

It was like a scene from "Price is Right" this morning at the elementary school.  The principal was announcing this months Students of the Month.  One student is chosen from each classroom who has demonstrated the word of the month.  This month's word is 'responsibility'.  Our own Connor-Man was one of the winners.

After each name was called a child would emerge from the group of students on the grass and run towards the principal to collect their award.  The entire school would applaud and hollering would erupt from the student's class.  Student after student ran toward the microphone area to collect his/her pencil and certificate.  This was quite the honor.  The entire school was enthusiastic.

Then they called "Connor Dickson".  He walked forward solemnly.  No smile, no enthusiasm.  In fact, you would think he was being punished, not rewarded.  Then all the parents rushed forward to take pictures of the group of winners.  Connor was scowling.  It was time for an individual picture, this time he was glaring at me.  I was so confused.  What had happened?!

The poor little man was simply embarrassed.  He doesn't appreciate the lime-light.  Once I got him away from the group and away from the other cameras he smiled and I got a great picture.  He told us that he was proud and he was happy to be an award winner.

He is so much like his daddy.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Nine Tiny Blankets

This year in an effort to be green and economical I made tiny quilts out of scrap materials in my fabric drawer. It was quite a lot of fun making tiny quilts and remember the scraps from baby quilts I had made for my niece, nephews and my own boys. I even have some scraps mixed in from my mother. These quilts have so many memories in them and I have they bring peace and comfort to their new owners.

Included in the 9 blankets are 3 crotched blankets donated by dear friends. One lady donated 2 blankets in memory of her own son Elijah who is in heaven with my sons. These boys will never be forgotten here on earth. I'm so happy that I am able to find productive way to honor their memory and provide a tad of comfort to other mother, sisters in grief.

The tiny quilts vary in size from 14 x 25 inches all the way to 20 x 29 inches. It really depends on the size of the scraps. The crotched blankets are crib sized. Since there is such a variety of size I am hoping the labor and delivery nurses can choose just the right blanket for just the right family.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Choosing Life over Death

In just two days it will be the 5 year anniversary of when Jacob and Paul died.  Come to think of it, tomorrow is the day we got the terrible news that they had died in utero.  Going back and reading some of the posts from the first few years is really eye-opening.  I don't have that over whelming sadness this year.  Last year was kind of the same, but it was more about procrastination of the big day and not wanting to acknowledge what the day was a reminder of.  Last year I was so emotional that I ended up in the principal's office at my daughter's elementary school crying over a silly scheduling issue.

This year I got the beginning of school blues/anxiety.  But I reminded myself of last year and I refused to over react.  Instead I started making mini-quilts as the gift.  I have been incredibly blessed to have a few friends donate blankets too; in memory of their own children in heaven or in memory of Jacob and Paul.  It has really meant a lot to me.

But then soccer started and the beginning of the year colds and here it is 2 days before we celebrate, with one day left to finalize the gifts.  Most of the quilts are done, but not all.  I have decided not to bake for the nurses this year and instead picked up pre-packaged breakfast food.  I started to feel guilty about it.  Then I realized I wanted to spend my time on living.  I genuinely want to spend my time on scouts and soccer and earning belt loops with my children.  I want to make a difference in my living children's life.  That doesn't discount the love I have for Jacob and Paul and the huge whole in my heart and arms.  But when I calculate how best to spend my time I want to focus on teaching my children new things or having adventures, rather than sewing by myself in sadness.

I think this will be the last year we take the kids out of school to remember the twins birth/death day.  Next year we will celebrate on the weekend instead, or I will go alone to the hospital and cemetery.  We won't forget them completely, my living children won't let me.  Just today Lainy Ann told me she has 5 brothers because we can't leave out Jacob and Paul, they are part of our family too.