Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Why I Should Shower at Night

For the most part I DO shower at night for 2 reasons: 1) I can take as long as I want. 2) I don't have to worry about the kids.  But last night, as it often happens, I was so worn out from the day that I decided it was better to veg in my cozy bed and watch Flashpoint on Netflix until I fell asleep.
So this morning I took extra precautions and braved a morning shower after I fed the kids breakfast. I turned on Veggie Tales for Aaron, set his potty outside the bathroom in case he had to go, took a bucket of toys in the bathroom for Ethan to play with while I showered and then shut the door so he couldn't escape (and his brother couldn't torment him). Good plan. I would only be 5 min at the max. 
John had just gotten home from work and had gone to the basement to check email and stuff before hitting the sack.  Everything was going fine. So far so good.  About 3 min into my shower in walks Aaron.
"I pooped in the potty!"
"You did?!! Awesome! Way to go Aaron!" Hmmm... I need to wipe his hiney before I have to clean up poop smears.  But I'm dripping wet and my hair is full of shampoo. What's a mom to do?
"Come here Aaron, let's wipe your hiney." I peek out of the shower, grab the wipes which are conveniently on the toilet and make an attempt. Not the best but at least won't make a terrible mess before I get out of the shower or John can help. "Go find your daddy and tell him you pooped in the potty like a big boy!"
But now the door is open and Ethan is escaping to check out his brothers accomplishment. Aaron runs to the door to stop him (all this happens in seconds.) Next thing I hear...
"No, no, no, no, NO!!! ELLIE! DON'T EAT MY POOP!!!"
Enter John who is trying to act happy and proud of Aaron while completely shocked at what our dog has done. Sure enough, more than half of it was missing and there were teeth marks all throughout! Eeeeeeeewwwww!!
John helped clean up and I got out of the shower. Probably won't be doing that again for a while. I can't believe she did that. I expected my children to get into stuff they shouldn't, not my dog!

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Do the Potty Dance!

Its been about 2 weeks since we've re-started our adventures in potty training. So far its going pretty well. It's going to be one of those marathon rather than sprint things.  We found a video on youtube produced by Pull Ups called the Potty Dance.  We usually dance to it several times a day. We are able tp play it right on our TV which is awesome!

Watch "The Potty Dance from Pull-Ups" on YouTube

Aaron has done a great job with going pee pee but number 2 is a strange concept I guess.  It's been frustrating at times when I have to clean poop up AGAIN! But today... today we REALLY did the potty dance because Aaron made it to the potty before making a mess on his bedroom carpet WITHOUT any prompting!

This horse has been waiting to be played with for a very long time! Aaron is sharing his twizzlers with Mr. Ed. Hopefully he got enough recognition to want to do it again!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Kairos Moments

I'm looking back on pictures I've taken this month and I'm overwhelmed by how incredibly blessed I am.  As mentioned in the previously posted article, it is easy to caught up in Chronos time.  The daily grind of waking up early, fixing breakfast, lunch, and dinner, dealing with whining, timeouts, potty training, laundry, and going to bed late can feel unending.  But I have had many Kairos moments. "God's time. It's time outside of time. It's metaphysical time. It's those magical moments in which time stands still."

It's like when Aaron gives me 20 kisses throughout the course of putting him to bed because he thinks it's so funny.  Or when we are talking to Jesus at night and he says without prompting "and thank you for my mommy and daddy." Or when I'm standing at the window with Ethan on my knee and Aaron next to us, waving goodbye to John as he pulls out of the driveway. "Bye Bye Daddy.  Love you." Or when Ethan sees me across the room and waves. And when he looks up at me while we're cuddling with his thumb in his mouth, sniffing his blanket. Or when John holds me for a moment and then tells me to sit while he finishes the dishes.  Yes.  I have many Kairos moments.  Here are a few more.

 Playing together in adorable matching pjs!

 It's been nice to play outside on these unseasonably warm days.

Eating a cheerio necklace we made together
 Breakfast with Brobee

 For as often as I have to put Aaron in timeout for being mean to his brother, they sure do have fun together

Wall Art Missing Post

Too bad my fairly lengthy, very well written (and funny I might add) post about Aaron's recent wall art has disappeared.  I have uninstalled my blogger app from my phone and reinstalled it as the post was stuck in "publishing" mode for almost a week.  It is now gone for good.  The good news is, I can post from my phone again... if it works...

I was going to tell you how cute and ornery Aaron has been with his artistic abilities and creative mind but now I'm a little removed for that moment in time where the words flow magically and I just don't think I'd be able to recount it the same.  Just know that in about one weeks time, Aaron has made art with diaper cream twice, bath crayons, markers, and a stamp that he won as a prize for going potty like a big boy.  Luckily our walls are washable and all of it has come out very nicely.  And since writing that post, it seems we are down one culprit as he has flushed all nine of his bath crayons down the toilet.  Too bad that was the only "allowable" medium for writing on walls!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

A Very Well Written Article

I don't even know if this is "legal" in the blogging world, but I really, really enjoyed this article and I would love to share it and keep it for my blog book.  A friend of mine shared it on Facebook.  It's written by a lady named Glennon Melton, posted on The Huffington Post Internet Newspaper, and it's about motherhood.  I've often tried to express in words the difficulty and yet blessing of having children but it never quite comes out the way I'd like.  It's either feathered up and light, or it's way too negative, even if it's the truth.  I think she does a fabulous job and I completely agree with her Chronos and Kairos times.  It's a refreshing perspective.

Don't Carpe Diem
Every time I'm out with my kids -- this seems to happen:
An older woman stops us, puts her hand over her heart and says something like, "Oh, Enjoy every moment. This time goes by so fast."
Everywhere I go, someone is telling me to seize the moment, raise my awareness, be happy, enjoy every second, etc, etc, etc.
I know that this message is right and good. But, I have finally allowed myself to admit that it just doesn't work for me. It bugs me. This CARPE DIEM message makes me paranoid and panicky. Especially during this phase of my life - while I'm raising young kids. Being told, in a million different ways to CARPE DIEM makes me worry that if I'm not in a constant state of intense gratitude and ecstasy, I'm doing something wrong.
I think parenting young children (and old ones, I've heard) is a little like climbing Mount Everest. Brave, adventurous souls try it because they've heard there's magic in the climb. They try because they believe that finishing, or even attempting the climb are impressive accomplishments. They try because during the climb, if they allow themselves to pause and lift their eyes and minds from the pain and drudgery, the views are breathtaking. They try because even though it hurts and it's hard, there are moments that make it worth the hard. These moments are so intense and unique that many people who reach the top start planning, almost immediately, to climb again. Even though any climber will tell you that most of the climb is treacherous, exhausting, killer. That they literally cried most of the way up.
And so I think that if there were people stationed, say, every thirty feet along Mount Everest yelling to the climbers -- "ARE YOU ENJOYING YOURSELF!? IF NOT, YOU SHOULD BE! ONE DAY YOU'LL BE SORRY YOU DIDN'T!" TRUST US!! IT'LL BE OVER TOO SOON! CARPE DIEM!" -- those well-meaning, nostalgic cheerleaders might be physically thrown from the mountain.
Now. I'm not suggesting that the sweet old ladies who tell me to ENJOY MYSELF be thrown from a mountain. These are wonderful ladies. Monkees, probably. But last week, a woman approached me in the Target line and said the following: "Sugar, I hope you are enjoying this. I loved every single second of parenting my two girls. Every single moment. These days go by so fast."
At that particular moment, Amma had arranged one of the new bras I was buying on top of her sweater and was sucking a lollipop that she must have found on the ground. She also had three shop-lifted clip-on neon feathers stuck in her hair. She looked exactly like a contestant from Toddlers and Tiaras. I couldn't find Chase anywhere, and Tish was grabbing the pen on the credit card swiper thing WHILE the woman in front of me was trying to use it. And so I just looked at the woman, smiled and said, "Thank you. Yes. Me too. I am enjoying every single moment. Especially this one. Yes. Thank you."
That's not exactly what I wanted to say, though.
There was a famous writer who, when asked if he loved writing, replied, "No. but I love having written." What I wanted to say to this sweet woman was, "Are you sure? Are you sure you don't mean you love having parented?"
I love having written. And I love having parented. My favorite part of each day is when the kids are put to sleep (to bed) and Craig and I sink into the couch to watch some quality TV, like Celebrity Wife Swap, and congratulate each other on a job well done. Or a job done, at least. 
Every time I write a post like this, I get emails suggesting that I'm being negative. I have received this particular message four or five times -- G, if you can't handle the three you have, why do you want a fourth?
That one always stings, and I don't think it's quite fair. Parenting is hard. Just like lots of important jobs are hard. Why is it that the second a mother admits that it's hard, people feel the need to suggest that maybe she's not doing it right? Or that she certainly shouldn't add more to her load. Maybe the fact that it's so hard means she IS doing it right...in her own way...and she happens to be honest.
Craig is a software salesman. It's a hard job in this economy. And he comes home each day and talks a little bit about how hard it is. And I don't ever feel the need to suggest that he's not doing it right, or that he's negative for noticing that it's hard, or that maybe he shouldn't even consider taking on more responsibility. And I doubt anybody comes by his office to make sure he's ENJOYING HIMSELF. I doubt his boss peeks in his office and says: "This career stuff...it goes by so fast...ARE YOU ENJOYING EVERY MOMENT IN THERE, CRAIG???? CARPE DIEM, CRAIG!"
My point is this. I used to worry that not only was I failing to do a good enough job at parenting, but that I wasn't enjoying it enough. Double failure. I felt guilty because I wasn't in parental ecstasy every hour of every day and I wasn't MAKING THE MOST OF EVERY MOMENT like the mamas in the parenting magazines seemed to be doing. I felt guilty because honestly, I was tired and cranky and ready for the day to be over quite often. And because I knew that one day, I'd wake up and the kids would be gone, and I'd be the old lady in the grocery store with my hand over my heart. Would I be able to say I enjoyed every moment? No.
But the fact remains that I will be that nostalgic lady. I just hope to be one with a clear memory. And here's what I hope to say to the younger mama gritting her teeth in line:
"It's helluva hard, isn't it? You're a good mom, I can tell. And I like your kids, especially that one peeing in the corner. She's my favorite. Carry on, warrior. Six hours till bedtime." And hopefully, every once in a while, I'll add -- "Let me pick up that grocery bill for ya, sister. Go put those kids in the van and pull on up -- I'll have them bring your groceries out."
Anyway. Clearly, Carpe Diem doesn't work for me. I can't even carpe fifteen minutes in a row, so a whole diem is out of the question.
Here's what does work for me:
There are two different types of time. Chronos time is what we live in. It's regular time, it's one minute at a time, it's staring down the clock till bedtime time, it's ten excruciating minutes in the Target line time, it's four screaming minutes in time out time, it's two hours till daddy gets home time. Chronos is the hard, slow passing time we parents often live in.
Then there's Kairos time. Kairos is God's time. It's time outside of time. It's metaphysical time. It's those magical moments in which time stands still. I have a few of those moments each day. And I cherish them.
Like when I actually stop what I'm doing and really look at Tish. I notice how perfectly smooth and brownish her skin is. I notice the perfect curves of her teeny elf mouth and her asianish brown eyes, and I breathe in her soft Tishy smell. In these moments, I see that her mouth is moving but I can't hear her because all I can think is -- This is the first time I've really seen Tish all day, and my God -- she is so beautiful. Kairos.
Like when I'm stuck in chronos time in the grocery line and I'm haggard and annoyed and angry at the slow check-out clerk. And then I look at my cart and I'm transported out of chronos. And suddenly I notice the piles and piles of healthy food I'll feed my children to grow their bodies and minds and I remember that most of the world's mamas would kill for this opportunity. This chance to stand in a grocery line with enough money to pay. And I just stare at my cart. At the abundance. The bounty. Thank you, God. Kairos.
Or when I curl up in my cozy bed with Theo asleep at my feet and Craig asleep by my side and I listen to them both breathing. And for a moment, I think- how did a girl like me get so lucky? To go to bed each night surrounded by this breath, this love, this peace, this warmth? Kairos.
These kairos moments leave as fast as they come- but I mark them. I say the word kairos in my head each time I leave chronos. And at the end of the day, I don't remember exactly what my kairos moments were, but I remember I had them. And that makes the pain of the daily parenting climb worth it.
If I had a couple Kairos moments during the day, I call it a success.
Carpe a couple of Kairoses a day.
Good enough for me.

Missing post...

Hmmm...  There should be a post called "Wall Art" that I did from my phone about 2 or 3 days ago...  I guess I'll have to figure out what happened... tomorrow maybe.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

11 Months Old and Walking Today!

Today sweet baby Ethan turned 11 months old. We can't believe his first birthday is only a month away! Though his first step was witnessed on New Years day, we have be hard pressed to get him to do it on command yet alone for a camera. But today it was finally documented.  He's getting better and better all the time! Look out world - he's ready to explore!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Boredom Bucket: Car Wash

Today to curb the boredom factor Aaron chose a slip of paper out of our special bucket.  It said to set up a car wash for your toy cars!  So we turned the kitchen into a major production and went to town.  It was a lot of fun.  Both the boys got wet but they weren't bored anymore!

Monday, January 2, 2012

Going out with a Bang

We couldn't have chosen a better way to celebrate the New Year.  Although we wish we were enjoying a foot or more of snow, nice weather in December does have it's advantages.  All bundled up, we headed to Hilsdale Lake for an evening hike and dinner picnic in the woods to enjoy the 63 degree weather.  Though it was very windy, the trees provided us nice shelter from the breeze and the boys loved the opportunity to play around in the leaves and dirt.  John was very excited to try out his new backpacking pots so we actually ate a hot meal and warmed up a bit with some hot chocolate.

 Ready to roll, Aaron is sporting his new backpack with a few toys and book that he picked out to take with us.
 Ethan was all snuggled up to my back.  Aaron is leading the way!
 Notice the matching pants, shoes, and trekking pole.  "I'm like daddy!"
 Overcoming obstacles
 A nice lady stopped to take our picture for us.
 "Aaron, check out the bats."  Meanwhile, Ethan is more concerned with animal crackers.
 Hot chocolate heating up. 
 Aaron chugging the hot chocolate.
 Gourmet dinner!  This turned into a tuna, noodle, veggie creation complete with a side of peas and biscuits.
 Yum!  (That bowl of peas went flying about 2 min later.)

 A mixture of noodles, peas, and dirt...

 Aaron thought it was hilarious that he got to ride on daddy's back on the way back to the car. It was getting dark fast and much easier/faster to hike while carrying both kids.
 1) Check out that awesome fanny pack (hehehe) - it's the hood of my new backpack!!  It comes off the big pack for day hikes.  2) Eman was pooped...
Yep, he's asleep.  He was crying while we packed up from dinner and as soon as we hit the trail, he was out!  He slept all the way back to the car!

Aaron enjoyed his ride back.  (I think daddy did too!)

When we got home we set the timer for a "midnight countdown" at 7:30 - just before bedtime.  With a sippy cup of sparkling cider for Aaron, water for Eman, and wine glasses of "spiked" sparkling cider for us, we toasted each other after watching the clock and counting down from 10.  "Cheers!" Surprisingly, Aaron was not so keen on the taste but after it sat in the fridge all night and lost the carbonation he thought it was great.  Off to bed the kids went and then it was an evening of lounging and drifting off on the couch waiting for that darn ball to drop!  What a GREAT end to 2011!!

Happy New Year to all our friends and family!!