Friday, February 27, 2015

Kindergarten

Today I registered Tommy for kindergarten.

Remember not so long ago when you all rejoiced with me because I was finally pregnant? Remember how then you cried with me because his heart wasn't beating in there and Dr. Man thought maybe there was no baby at all (but I made a deal with T-man and Dr. Man was wrong)? Remember when my ankles were bigger than your waist? When I barfed in all the public restrooms in the state of Utah? When my belly got all abusive at church and started smackin' people? When I thought I peed my pants, but really my water broke? And when he was born and we all fell in love with his beautiful beautiful self?

Well that baby is so big now that the people want to teach him things, so in the fall he'll start kindergarten.

He's so big that when we walked into the Dr.'s office to pick up his immunization records he didn't even cry.

He's so big that he likes to read some words to me when we have snuggles and stories. But mostly he doesn't like taking tests - which is clearly what reading words is all about...

He's so big that his feelings are hurt by his friends, his body no longer heals at the freakish wolverine rate of a newborn and he can tell when he has hurt someone else.

He's so big that prefers showers over baths and draws smiley faces on the fogged up glass when I ask him if he's ok in there.

And oddly he's still so small. So small that he still loves that "lovey bear" someone gave us when he was born.

He's so small that he still snuggles when we read stories.

He's so small that his backpack is bigger than he is.

He's so small that I really can't imagine sending him off into that big bad school all by himself.

He's so small that when I pick him up, he still snuggles into my lap and giggles when I tell him that he used to be so small that he didn't even have to bend his knees to snuggle on my lap.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Being Who I Want to Be

I know a lot of really cool people, which means that I sometimes set unreasonable "goals" compare myself to them.

"I wish I could make every food delicious and beautiful like Wendy."
"I wish I took beautiful photos like Tracy."
"I wish I could be thoughtful and considerate like Sarah."
"I wish I had even half the energy Kate has."
intelligent like Mom
disciplined like Em
wise like Jo
compassionate like Hilary
welcoming like Jacy

Lest you think this is a story about letting go of comparison and embracing my own gifts or some other such emotionally healthy nonsense; let me assure you, this is not that moment.

I'm internet friends with Ariel, and a long long time ago when her oldest babe and mine were far tinier than they are now, we both participated in a conversation about non-baby-lullaby songs to sing to your baby. She has a beautiful voice and rattled off 5 or 10 "cool kid" songs that she sings as lullabies to her babies. (What I wouldn't give to be on the other side of that baby monitor...unless that's creepy, then nevermind.) Some were classic, some kid songs, and more than one currently popular song. I want(ed) so desperately to be cool enough to sing cool kid music to my kids at night.

So I tried memorizing lyrics to songs I thought I knew but really didn't. I reached back to my childhood to learn the real lyrics (and not the mmms and oombas) to the songs my mom still sings around the campfire with a guitar. They were cool once. I learned a few lines to a few songs and mmmmd and ooombad my way through the rest. Then I quit trying to memorize things because something about giving birth eternally ruins your brain. That's why they tell you to finish school first.

But last night I found myself singing "Pompeii" to get Little John to sleep. I think it's an entirely appropriate lullaby because the phrase "close your eyes" is used over and over and over. Little John thinks it's an appropriate lullaby because he chose it for the family album this year, which obviously means he OWNS it. The whole song. And all rights to it. "Is MY song mom! Own-ee you sing it to ME! Not mine bwuduh."

After 4 rounds of the whole song his eyelids gave up and he was out. After my victory lap down the hallway, I realized my victory lap could celebrate more than simply getting that child to sleep! I also unwittingly became what I wanted to be! A cool kid lullabyer!!!

So the moral of the story is this: try real hard and maybe someday you can be as cool as some of the people around you.

But you won't notice it. Because by the time it actually happens you'll be so tired that all you'll care about is that the baby's eyelid muscles(1) were finally exhausted.

1. Were you wondering what that muscle is called? Me too. Levator Palpebrae Superioris. You're welcome.

Monday, February 16, 2015

School

Somehow 3 years have passed since Little John was born and he should be going to preschool in the fall!

With no other babies on the horizon, and Tommy in Kindergarten and John in preschool my mind is exploding a little bit.

My work is a bit up in the air which makes planning hard, but I think we've found a place for John to go to preschool, and Tommy will either get in with a charter school nearby *fingers crossed* or just go to the public school in the neighborhood.

Either way it's time to get them all registered and make commitments about where they'll spend a significant portion of their time in the fall! It's crazy to me to think that we're at the phase of life where we've left behind all the poop buckets, and our kids are in school! Both of them!

Seriously! School! For all the babies.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Been Thinking

When I graduated from LDS Business College it was with "just an associates" and I knew it wasn't as far as I wanted to take my college education. I knew I wanted to get at least a bachelor's degree, but I had no idea in what.

Well, sortof. I had some ideas.

Like maybe I wanted an accounting degree. I could be a CPA. (insert hysterical laughter here, I honestly thought that might be an acceptable career path for me! Let 2015 Amy tell 2005 Amy, it isn't.)
Or probably something in business. But not really marketing or entrepreneurship (requires too much creativity and risk). But something about running a business is good. I just didn't know what. And I had a job I loved. So I simply put it off.

[insert really fabulous graduation picture here - hey mom, do you have any pictures of my graduation? cuz I don't!]

Then I went around getting married all the time. Because Josh.


Then Josh finished his pre-reqs for nursing. 
And I still didn't know what I wanted to do and I had a job I loved. 

Then Josh graduated from the cool school. (Institute of Healing Arts)
And I still didn't know what I wanted to do and I had a job I loved. 

Then Josh did the massage therapy thing.
And I still didn't know what I wanted to do (except have babies of course...) and I had a job I loved. 

Then Josh's waiting period was up and he got his RN. 
And I had babies and had a job that let me stay home and we didn't have time or money for things like school - and though I didn't know it, I still didn't know what I wanted to do.

Then we moved a buncha times and I mostly felt unsettled and stressed out and overwhelmed. And I still didn't know what I wanted to do. 

But now I think I know what I want to do. Because my friend Aundrea got her MBA and I was jealous of that piece of paper. And I started working for my friend Jacy who founded The Togetherness Project (a non-profit) and I love doing that. And my boss started a non-profit for business incubators. And sometime last fall I realized that what I really really want to do is get an MBA and be the queen of a non-profit business that I really really believe in. 

So I made an appointment to talk to an academic advisor at UVU because my assumption is that it will be the least expensive option to get a bachelor's in business management. I'm planning to go REALLY slowly, very part time, because I still need to work in order to get into most MBA programs - and something about paying our bills..... I don't have a ton of spare time right now anyway. So, slow is good for me right now, and if it takes 10 years, then the party at the end of it will be 10 years big. :) 

Anyway, I went to UVU to see about some options. And I hope that I just started my "back to school" journey. There are about a million issues to work out, but I have high hopes that working toward this degree can start soon. Because look at these possibilities!


Monday, February 9, 2015

On the Library

My mom is a children's librarian. Well, THE children's librarian as far as my kids are concerned. Not that we don't like other librarians - we do. It's just that they pale in comparison to THE librarian.

Also they think she OWNS the library. "Yay! We can go to GRAMMA'S library!!!" they shout when we go to grandma's library. Which isn't often, cuz you know, it's nearly ten whole minutes away.

What I'm trying to show you here is that my kids are library spoiled.

They get special treatment, many of the other librarians know them, they are sometimes allowed behind the counter, and they almost always leave Grandma's library with a treat. Plus they've spent enough time there that they are unreasonably comfortable with the whole place. Even the creepy stairwell to get downstairs. They just really love Grandma's library.

Plus Grandma is always telling us about the cool programs they're doing. Like 1,000 books before kindergarten.

I signed the boys up in January, and last week we finally turned in the first chart of 100 books.

The each read (listened to me read) 100 books and colored in their chart and got these awesome library bags as a prize. We already had a million books checked out from our library, which cooperates with my mom's library and when the boys got their new bags, they couldn't figure out why we'd leave the library without filling them up with a million more books. The good news is that even though the libraries cooperate and allow you to check out from either one with either card, they don't tell on you for already having a million books already checked out.

Which is why we currently have TWO million library books at our house. Suckers. We really took them didn't we?


(heaven help me if I lose even one of them...)

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Farewell to the poop bucket

When Tommy was little we had these friends who had stinky neighbors. They were so concerned by the neighbors' foul odor that they labeled their outside garbage bins. (Because when you live in townhouses your garbage can is right next to your neighbors'.) Because they didn't want smelly neighbor people stinking up their garbage.

That's right. Stinking up their garbage.

You know how sometimes you are talking to someone and they mention an annoying habit and you realize that you've never ever ever been bothered by that particular habit? And slowly the realization hits you that you've never been bothered by it probably because you're the botherer? That's what happened.

At first we teased them, because seriously, whose garbage smells good? Then we realized that as the neighbors with babies, we are literally throwing away bags of crap on a weekly basis. And we felt a little bad, but the alternative was keeping the bags of crap in our house and that was way worse than being the neighbors with smelly garbage. So we kept throwing out our bags of crap, which is gross. And smelly.

This continued for 5.27 years.

But as of January 11th, we are no longer the smelly garbage neighbors!

Wait, yes we are. Because we still throw out rotten food and grass clippings and well...garbage. But we no longer put human waste in a bin in the middle of the road for the garbage man to pick up! We have graduated to a new kind of sophistication and the poop bucket has been banished to the garage with all the other useless stinky things we own.


Yay for Little John and his adorably under-ed bum!

Saturday, January 17, 2015

On Bedtime

A year or 2 ago the boys stopped sleeping.

Maybe it was a move (or 2 or 3) or the summertime sun refusing to sleep and making them refuse too. Maybe it was because I decided that more than they needed structure they needed to know that I love them and I stopped saying things like "get your butt in your bed and DON'T come out again! ever!" and like and idiot said things like "you come and talk to me anytime you need anything and I will always be happy to answer your questions. Or maybe it's because they're little boys and (according to them) sleeping is the boringest ever in the universe and their beds only have 10 million blankets when they clearly need 10 million and 2 blankets. And a lovey bear. Each.

So since we finally moved into a house a started feeling stable and I was ready to stop being in the middle of a big fat breakdown, bedtime was the first thing we tackled.

It's better now, only taking 30-45 minutes and typically ending before 8:30.

But still, when John fell off the top bunk for the 2nd time today, getting him out of bed for the 12th time tonight, I had had it. And (after appropriately comforting him) I told him so. I used all of my most reasonable lines.

If you stay in your bed, you won't fall trying to get out of it.
If you were asleep already you wouldn't try to get out of bed.
If you stay up all night counting your money, you'll be too tired when it's time to wake up for church.
If you cleared your dishes from the dinner table you would have already had your stories instead of going straight to bed. 
If you get out of your bed again your mother will lose her mind and you'll have to eat nuggets and spaghettios every day forever.  (which turned out not be a threat at all.)

After my intense tirade they finally went to sleep.

Sometimes I'm embarrassed to admit that shame and yelling seem to be effective parenting techniques.

Also, while I hate the fight to make them sleep, I love love love that they want to stay up all night doing stuff together. Counting all their money, reading all their books, making forts, and pirate ships, and changing their jammies over and over. I really love that they're friends.

Until one of them pushes the other off the top bunk. Then I hate they're enemies.

The One With the New (Old) Calling

This Sunday I had a mystery meeting with the Bishop.

He called me to be RS Secretary.

Miraculously I kept a straight face while I accepted.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

John and the Toilet

We've been letting John use the potty for a few months now. He likes it. We like it. We give him stickers when he does it. It's a win win win.

A couple of weeks ago he remembered that diapers are uncomfortable and that he prefers cool dude unders. So he started wearing them at home, and we'd diaper him anytime we left the house (which was often.) 

I laughed the first time he peed his pants. Because he was sitting at the kitchen table shouting "mom! mom! It's peein' or poopin'!" He was totally panicked. I told him to "hold it hold it hold it!" and he did. With his hand. I grabbed him and ran him to the bathroom, stripped him down and tried to get him to finish in the toilet. He let go of himself (making a big mess) and we laughed together. Me laughing at the phrase "hold it" and him laughing at me laughing at the pee. (Because, potty humor.) 

He seems to have caught on relatively easily from there and yesterday he went to Aunt Kate's house rockin' the unders. Then to the library for the Read 1,000 books before Kindergarten launch party. AND in the car ride home. 

He's still in diapers at night, and I still remind him often to go, but he's doing it! I feel both wildly successful and weirdly sad to have zero babies in diapers. Tommy and John overlapped their diaper periods for a year, and it seems odd to have so many big kids around here with no babies to protect. 

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Regaining Control

I learned when we lived in Foxboro that I had a condition known as "being tightly wound" and now that I look back I can see that I really liked to control the stuff in my life. I also like schedules and I like routines and I like familiarity. So when I went from the routine and schedule and familiarity of work to being a stay at home mom, I just transferred those things.

Every Wednesday we went to the library, on Monday we had playgroup, Tuesday was for swimming, Thursday was the zoo or another big adventure, and Friday was for being a bum.

Most mornings we'd go for a walk around 10 (I say "around" to make sure you know I was flexible) and the event was after lunch. Then there was time to come home and play a little, clean up and do dinner before bedtime.

I had a cleaning schedule, a children's outing schedule, a reading schedule, charts and graphs about how we spent our time and I ROCKED motherhood. I made stuff happen!

And then life got hard and I clung to my schedule and resented all of the people who were throwing it off.

And then life got harder and I held on tighter and tighter.

And then life got harder and my hands were too tired of holding on tight and I had no choice but to fall flat on my face and let go of everything and just cry. I felt so broken letting it all go. I felt like I had failed. I stopped doing stuff.

The last few years have been about that. Letting it all go and being broken and not doing stuff. Not any of it. Months between cleaning bathrooms. Days without doing the dishes. Weeks without cook a meal or taking the kids anywhere outside of our neighborhood.

Lately, I can feel myself regaining control. Stepping back into a few of these schedules I find helpful. Trying to clean on any kind of regular basis. Doing more than acknowledging that it's OK to be a big useless pile of broken. It happened around the same time that we bought our house, I want to take really good care of it, I want to be a really good person because I think we'll live here for a really long time and I want to contribute to the neighborhood. I'm invested.

It's kindof scary to return to some of these routines because the last time I did stuff I got a little out of control. But it's also scary to stay in the non-doing-stuff place. So I'm trying again. To do stuff in moderation. Knowing that I'll likely mess it up, but hoping that any damage isn't permanent.

Last week I did all of the chores every day. This week I think I'll do the dishes every night.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Tommy Gave A Talk

Last week Tommy came home from Primary with a note that he was assigned to give a talk on Sunday. He has said the prayer, the scripture, the article of faith, all of the other things, but he's never done a talk before, probably because they asked him what he wanted to do and he would never in a million years chose to speak. 

I casually mentioned it a couple of times during the week, and silently prayed that I'd have the patience with him to deal when he had a meltdown about it. 

On Saturday after doing a few chores I told him that now would be a great time to prepare his talk for primary. He freaked. I prayed again, took a deep breath and asked him how he felt about giving a talk. He told me it freaked out his brains because he doesn't know the words. I told him we get to make up the words. He didn't know how. I told him I'd help him to prepare today and that I'd go up with him on Sunday. He calmed a little and asked how he'd know what to say. I told him we would just talk about it today, then he could practice and that I'd whisper the words in his ear. He decided he was willing to look at some pictures if I wanted. I did. 

The topic was that Jesus is the Son of Heavenly Father. Which pretty much seems to me like the whole talk in that sentence. I mean, really what else is there to say? So we looked through our pictures and he picked some that made him think of Jesus (because they are pictures of Jesus). And he told me about them. 

He picked 2 nativity pictures. 1 of Jesus calming the sea. 1 of Jesus praying in Gethsemane. 1 of the Resurrected Christ. 1 of Joseph Smith's first vision. And That One Of Christ That Everybody Knows. 

I asked him to tell me about those pictures and he did. 

"This is a picture of when Jesus was born in a stable. And see all those guys? They came too."
"This is a picture of Jesus and Mary and Dad." 
"This is a picture of that BIG BIG SCARY STORM. Here I'll act it out for you."
"This is when Jesus was praying by a tree."
"This is Jesus and some angels going 'dooo toooo doooooo!'"
"This is Joseph and some guys."
"This is Jesus again."

I helped him flesh out a few of those ideas. "This is Jesus again." became "This is Jesus, his father was Heavenly Father, and Heavenly Father is my father and your father. That means we are all brothers and sisters." and I reminded him of the word "resurrected" for the 'doo tooo doooooo' picture. But beyond that, this was pretty much his talk. 

We practiced a couple of times in front of Dad & Little John (who paid attention almost as well as the sunbeams in primary.) And Tommy even let Josh comb his hair "like a missionary" instead of insisting on his usual favorite style of "this side like a missionary and that side like a rock star!" 

I was probably a little unreasonably proud of him when he stood up and shared his ideas in primary. He even remembered a few of his own descriptions, but mostly listened to me and repeated the talk we wrote in sticky notes on the backs of all of those pictures. He did so with a smile and while looking at the people he was talking to. And when he was done, he hopped off the stool, and gave me a high five and went to join his class.

Meanwhile, Little John sat there on the front row of Sunbeams listening, and smiling and gave me a big thumbs up when we were done and loudly asked. "Now is MY turn mom?" I told him maybe another week. (Heaven help us.) 

Sometimes I really like that church asks us to do things that make us nervous or uncomfortable and I really REALLY like that proud feeling when it's done.
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