Monday, December 23, 2013

The Great Joys of My Life

One of the greatest joys of my mom life is looking at my babies while they sleep. In a "sweet mom" way, not a "creepy stalker" way.

I've never really done much of that because Tommy was a very light sleeper, and I was too tired to do anything but sleep when Little John slept. But when we moved into our new house last month, the kids had a flashlight for the first few nights we lived there. And replacing C batteries every other night because they left it on was too expensive, so I made Josh give Tommy the reading lamp we've been meaning to give him for a long time. And now the boys really love that lamp. I mean really love it. They turn it on and read books after bedtime for heaven only knows how many hours, and that's why when I go to bed, I detour through their room to turn off their lights and make sure they're tucked in and warm.

A few nights ago, I was walking past their room and heard Little John still awake long past bedtime. I peeked in and he had emptied his crib of all pillows, blankets, lovies and books and somehow removed his footie jammies and diaper and was laying stark naked in the middle of the mattress probably trying to get warm. I snuck in and snuggled him warm, got him dressed and tucked him in again. He gratefully accepted the blanket offering and rolled right over to go to sleep. Meanwhile Tommy slept soundly as I looked at his adorable face.

Remember when I was all pregnant and wrote about the day that Tommy would outgrow my lap and have to sleep under the bench at church? 1pm church just might be making that a reality. Yesterday, Josh and I sat on opposite ends of the bench and the boys each took a lap to lay their heads in and kicked each other's feet while they faked sleep. I immediately remembered the words "Someday my baby might outgrow my lap and have to lie down under the bench instead" and teared up.

I thought that watching my babies grow would break my heart in a sad "I wish I still had a tiny one" way, but it hasn't. Though I often wish I still had a tiny one. It has broken my heart wide open because every time I think I can't love them more, I do it anyway. (And then they try to kill each other and the moment is gone...but this is not a post about those moments.) They keep getting cooler and smarter and funnier and lovely and sweet and kind and thoughtful and adorable. It is such a pleasure to watch them grow, but my greatest pleasure is watching them rest.

So each night, as I walk past their bedroom, move some books, arrange some lovies, re-blanket the cold ones, and unkink their awkward necks, I turn out their lights, kiss their noses and remember that those moments - those peaceful watching-over-them moments are all I ever wanted.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

The Things I Do For My Kids: A morning at the dentist

Before we moved Josh and I saw his Aunt for dental cleanings. So when Tommy finally had teeth, he just came with us to the dentist and Aunt Lisa smiled at him and he opened his mouth to have his teeth counted and we called that a visit.

But then (a year ago) we moved here and didn't want to drive to Salt Lake for a dentist, so we have been "going to get a new dentist" for 13 months.

Finally I made an appointment for both boys and worried about how well they'd do all week before we went.

But as it turns out, pediatric dentists are awesome. And Tommy is brave. And John likes enormous stuffed animals.

It all went surprisingly well. But you know that feeling when you leave the dentist like you're going to throw up? Now Tommy knows it too.

That's why if you drove past our dentist's office on Monday morning around 10, you saw me crouched down  (no coat, yes flip flops, yes 12 degrees outside) by Tommy clearing a space in the snow on the grass outside with my bare hands . Because he really didn't want to barf on the snow.

Poor boy.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Sunday Sunday

I miss my ward. And the old neighborhood.

Tommy misses his Primary class (and especially his teachers) like you wouldn't believe. And he wants to ride bikes. Which he thinks he can only do at our old house because as soon as we moved it turned into Utah and it's been bitter cold and covered in snow outside. I'm not really sure when he'll realize we're not going back there.

Little John doesn't talk enough to express missing home. But I'm sure he does. Because how could he not?

During the move Josh's work schedule changed. He asked for Sundays off and by some small miracle he got it. Josh has been working at least every other Sunday for....I don't know, longer than I care to think about. And honestly, if I didn't have the calling I had, I might have stopped going to church without him. The boys and I had some good really good weeks when I convinced myself I could handle it, and some really horrible weeks when I swore I'd never leave my house again, but most of the weeks were just hard and over time it all felt so.....pointless. I was getting nothing but mad at my kids, and my kids were crazy and ornery and so so tired and wiggly and ... children.

Here's the thing, I have a testimony and I love church. And I even love The Church. And I love The Gospel. But I felt worn down and alone. So this schedule change which gave me an extra set of hands felt like a gift from God, just for me. Like "I can see you need it, so let me boost you just a bit."

So a month ago my Sundays were very full and structured days. The alarm went off just as early as any other day and the Sunday clothes lasted at least 6 hours for all of us. They were busy days during which I wasn't as available to them as I wanted to be.

And right now, I have this sweet grace period right after you move where they don't call you to anything, and when/if they do it isn't likely to be too demanding - because what if we turn out to be unreliable? - and I get Sunday mornings to spend with my sweet family doing exactly what I want to and avoiding everything else. At least that's what it felt like this morning.

So we made breakfast. The good kinds. Eggs, muffins, fruit. Delicious.

I didn't make the kids get dressed, because late church = late jammies.

So we sat around the Christmas Tree talking and playing. The boys took turns playing the piano, I read a book, and Josh slept.

It was a beautiful morning. And I'm looking forward to a few more like it before we switch to 9:00 church and I start enjoying beautiful afternoons.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Magic of Christmas

This Christmas has mostly seemed significantly less than magical.

We've been blessed and are (as always) thankful for so many good people in our lives. Though our circumstances have left plenty to be desired we've been well cared for. And that is important. Perhaps even most important. 

But I was still feeling a little grinchy. 

Our house was (is if we're being honest....) buried in boxes. The thought of getting out Christmas decorations made me want to curl up in a ball and cry until the new year. 

But then one night I took both boys to the grocery store shortly before 5. We went to the bank to deposit their birthday savings, then grab a few necessary groceries. There was a group of carolers dressed up singing songs and wandering around the store. Quite a lovely addition to the lame-sauce process of buying milk.

Christmas cheer started to spread and I stopped hating everything. I was in a long line waiting to check out when I remembered I needed to go get candy for the gingerbread house decorating thing on Sunday. So I turned around, but because of grocery traffic I went the long way around the store, we turned a corner and when I started to pass, I heard Tommy gasp and start pointing just one tiny finger under his chin. 

I stopped and looked where he was pointing, and there was Santa. Just sitting there waiting just for us. No line. No elves. No hustle. Just waiting. 

I boosted Little John out of the cart and he clung to me like I was trying to hand him over to the devil himself. (typical John behavior these days...) Then I boosted Tommy out of the cart and he stood right next to me trying so hard to be brave. (He typically stands behind my legs around new people. Next to me is a big big sign of bravery) I asked Santa if we could come over and say hi, and of course he said yes. We abandoned our cart and inched closer slowly. Tommy went over to him and gave him a high five, and knuckles, then I thought to reach for my phone to take a picture. 

Santa (the old pro) asked Tommy if he wanted to sit on his lap and talk with him for a minute. Tommy was so brave, and did exactly that. They talked about school and how old they were and Little John. They talked like old friends. Because apparently Santa in a grocery store at 5 o'clock is not in high demand and has all the time in the world to talk to Tommy. 

Eventually he asked Tommy what he wanted for Christmas, and Tommy told him the same thing he's been telling us for a couple of weeks. He wants a flashlight. But not just any flashlight - one that works.

It's going to be a really exciting Christmas morning around here. Because it's possible that we can make all his Christmas Wishes come true.

That's because Christmas really is magic. And Santa sometimes fixes everything.
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