Thursday, November 29, 2012


I have loved decorating our house for Christmas with Gunner this year.  He is so happy and excited about it.  We have a few small decorations, including a 5-foot tree that we set up on a small table, a 2-foot tree that I set up in our kitchen's bay window, and a couple strings of garland that I put around with some lights.

As I was working on decorating the smaller tree and getting around to draping garland on something, he said, "We have a lot of trees to put up, don't we?"
I replied: "Yes, we do."
He said: "Let's put up our next tree, and then I will be filled with joy!"

Then a few minutes later: "Is your heart filled with joy, Mom?  Because mine is."

And that is why I love this season.  Merry Christmas, Everyone!
Let all of our hearts be filled with joy as we celebrate the birth of Christ!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

My Funny Boys

Some of my favorite funny/awesome things my boys have said and done lately.

Creative Love:
Gunner was across the room from me one day when I randomly told him that I love him.  He returned the sentiment, and then with his elbows by his sides, he put his hands out in front of him, and cocked his arms like a gun.
He smiled and explained: I just blew you a hug.
Best hug ever!  Why didn't someone think of that sooner.

Star Wars:
My boys loooovvve Star Wars.  There are always little jedi toys fighting and saving the galaxy.  Or there is a Jedi running around my house.  In Gunner's little world, I often play Leia, and he saves me with his light saber skillz.  We listen to the Star Wars Music a lot (a daily request by Gunner so that he can better pretend that he is a jedi, wielding his weapon to music), so much that Hobbes knows the songs.  If he sits down to read a Star Wars book, he sings the little song to it.  That's right, my little son's first songs are "The Wheels on the Bus", "Twinkle Stars", and the Star Wars Theme."

Oh, and he does the light saber noise.  You know the one.  It's awesome.

We're bringing these boys up right.

We traveled two hours to a friend's house for Thanksgiving last week.  Before we got the kids in the car, Spiff had them run around outside to get their wiggles out.
Gunner said: "My wiggles will miss me because I'm leaving them behind."

Mount Everest:
Hobbes is a climber.  I think I have mentioned this before.  Also, I think I have finally trained him that he needs to stay off of the kitchen counter (most of the time).  He does not, however, think that this rule applies to other high surfaces, a fact that I discovered the other day when I found him standing IN the bathroom sink, pounding on his reflection in the mirror.  He had gotten there by putting the kiddie step stool on top of the toilet seat, and climbing on all of that to reach the counter.  Very stable conditions.  I got him down (should have taken a picture first, I guess), and then immediately hid the step stool in the shower.

I found him on the bathroom counter the very next day.  He discovered that he doesn't need the step stool to reach the counter from the toilet seat.  Awesome.

Tonight, one of the kids' beloved toys slid across the kitchen floor (on it's own power, of course), and hid under the oven.  The kids tried desperately to get it out, using wooden spoons as retrieving devices, with no success.  When Spiff got home, they had this conversation:
Gunner: Dad, can you move the stove so we can get the toy out?
Spiff: I can't because I'm not strong enough.
Gunner: Here, I'm giving you some of my muscles.
In the end, Spiff took out the drawer under the oven and dug out the toy, along with about four wooden spoons.

The Potty:
Hobbes (at 22 months) is discovering the potty.  He's figuring out his body and trying to figure out where things go.  The other day, he wandered into the bathroom and stood in front of the toilet.  I went after him, discovered that he had #2 in his diaper, and thought that maybe he was trying to get it in the toilet.  I stripped him down to his nothings (cutest little bummy ever!), took care of the doots, had Spiff retrieve the baby potty, and then we spent 45 minutes with potty discovery time.  Again and again, he would sit on the potty, stand up, grab a tiny bit of toilet paper, wipe, throw it in the big potty, then repeat.

I am in no way ready to potty train him.  He is way too much of a free spirit for that.  But it's awesome to see him discover and learn.

We checked some Christmas books out from the library and have been happily making our way through them.  (Jan Brett wrote some great Christmas picture books, btw.  I love them!)  One of them is The Night Before Christmas.  After we read it for the first time yesterday, Gunner and I discussed the story.  I realized that this is the first year that he understands enough to really get into Santa and the whole story, and I found myself struggling to explain it all to him!

He got really into it and totally drilled me.  It's tricky to get all the details right when explaining them to a 4-year-old.  G: "What is Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, etc?  Why do they pull Santa's sleigh?  What are elves?  How do they make toys?  Where does Santa live?  Why does he live there?  Is he going to give me presents? 

 "Did Uncle Heath get coal in his stocking last Christmas?  I don't want coal.  I'm going to change my mind and be a good boy."

He's very excited to leave Santa some cookies (he wanted to make them tonight, and I had to explain to him that they would go stale in the month we have until Christmas Eve. Total bummer.).  I think I need to watch some Santa movies with him.  Any suggestions for a good one? 

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

My Right to Complain

I just had a weird and unpleasant experience.  I'm going to tell you all about it because I'm bummed about the status-quo results of the election last night, and I feel like whining.  But not about politics.  Because really, what's the point?

So I'll complain about motherhood and friendship instead.

The boys and I were invited to a play date this morning, which is an event that in itself is kind of few and far between these days.  The girl who invited us is a really nice girl that I met at a park one day.  I have seen her only one other time beyond that, and other than being in contact via texting, I haven't spoken to her.  Needless to say, we don't know each other well, and so it was sort of a trial thing.  Can we be friends?  Will our children play nicely together?

Turns out that this girl is super nice, and her one little baby (who shares Gunner's name, making things confusing for the kids) is very chill.  I would like to become better friends with her.

She (I'll call her Friend #1) also invited another girl, in an effort to branch out and make more friends.  This other girl is new to the area, too, and doesn't know anyone.  She has four little kids, around the same age as my kids.

Here's where it turns weird.  I thought things were going well until this other girl showed up.  Her kids were veeeeeeeeeeery hesitant to play with mine, and they were very quick to assign blame to my kids.  Unfortunately, I'm sort of used to that, and I can get past that.  Okay, so we may not be best friends because our kids aren't very much alike.  It happens.

However, I was really put off by this particular mother.  Like her kids to mine, she seemed veeeeeeeeery hesitant to talk to me.  I tried making conversation with her, and she answered my questions, but not very willingly.  She talked to Friend #1, but not to me.  She never engaged me in conversation.  She never asked me a question.  She would hardly look at me.

Maybe she's just super shy.  It was still weird.

So, fortunately, Gunner and the kids eventually started playing together, and he started having quite a good time (running around and yelling in a way that Friend #1 is NOT used to with her one little baby boy).  But unfortunately, when it came time to clean up and go home, he didn't want to go.  He then threw a major tantrum, and I had to carry him out to the car kicking and screaming, all the while thinking about how embarrassed I was, and that we were most likely not going to be invited back.

That's all.  It was just a weird morning, full of stilted conversation, pretenses about how our children always behave and how our houses always look, and realizations that we won't or can't be good friends with every person who comes along.  I'm okay with that, but I do wish it were easier to make friends.  I wish mothering were easier, and I wish it didn't have such a big impact on how I make friends.  I also miss my old friends.  My people.  The ones who know me and my children, and they love me regardless of what kind of behavior is shown.

So, if I were to sit you down right now and whine at you, I'd say that I'm lonely for My People, and I'm frustrated about motherhood.

But for those of you who have always made these hard parts of my life easier (you know who you are), I'd like to say Thank You.

Sunday, November 04, 2012

Spiff's Grammy

We went on an impromptu trip to St. Louis last weekend.  Spiff's Grammy has been sick, and had moved into a hospice care facility a week prior.  His family (Mom and sissy) flew in to see/care for her.  So we went, too, braving the long 8-hour one-way drive to be there for just a day.  It was so worth it.  It was so good to see Grammy and to have everyone together.  We saw her at her best.  She seemed like herself...snarky, witty, sharp, and energetic enough to handle having our kids around.  We visited for a while and shot a few family photos.  I left feeling happy to have spent time with her, and feeling like she was still going to be with us for a while.

Well, she passed away early this morning.  One week after we saw her.  I can hardly believe that she went downhill so quickly.  But I am grateful that her daughter was there with her.  I'm grateful that we were able to visit her.  I'm grateful that we were able to spend four years living in the same town, and that I got to know her.  And I'm grateful that we were able to have an impromptu reunion with Spiff's fam and spend some time with them, and with some good friends in St. Louis.

Here's Grammy.  Isn't she cute?
I took this picture about 18 months ago.  She was all dolled-up and ready to go to a social at her retirement community.  I think she looks so pretty.

Current memorial plans include a cremation and then a full military funeral service sometime within this next year.  I think that is a perfect way to celebrate her life.