Monday, December 15, 2008

Do You Believe in Christmas Miracles?

I do....

Boy, 4, breaks into Texas store, plays with toys

BEAUMONT, Texas (AP) - Police called to a variety store by a burglar alarm overnight found a toddler inside, playing with the toys. Police said store surveillance video showed the unidentified boy trying to open one of the front doors to a Family Dollar store about 3 a.m. Monday, only to find it locked. But the second door was unlocked and the child went inside.
That triggered the silent alarm.
Detective Randy Stevens said the child apparently unlocked a door at his nearby home, got out, then crossed a multilane street to reach the store.
A canvass of the neighborhood turned up a family member searching for the child.
CPS spokeswoman Shari Pulliam said Child Protective Services claimed oversight of a 4-year-old boy during a review of the incident. The boy will be allowed to stay with other relatives, not the parents, during the CPS review period. link


Saturday, December 13, 2008

Sister Star

My daughter has a star she watches in the south western sky. It's very bright, and she calls it her "sister star".
We've had a few discussions about it. She says when she sees it, she wonders if her birth mother is seeing it too. (Is it okay to admit that my earthly mama heart hurts a little when she says this?)
Tonight she and I were driving to pick up Pizza Hut for the boys, who were busily trying to finish framing the basement.
We were listening to music that was soothing and sweet and that tugged a little on the heart strings (thank you Mindy Gledhill). A song came on that was particularly touching. The volume was at a comfortable level, but the silence was deafening. I looked over at my daughter and noticed a tear spill out of the corner of her eye. I saw that her eyes were turned toward her star. I sucked back my own tears, swallowed hard and said, "Whatcha thinkin' about, Sis?"
She blinked a few times, then just let the tears come.
We launched into a conversation about her birth mother, the choice she had to make, what some of the possibilities would be had she not made that decision, and what a miracle our family is.
I wanted so much for it to be enough for her.
I want to be enough for her.
I've learned I have to be careful how I word things....I have to find a balance between letting her ask the questions she needs to ask, and answering them appropriately-but briefly, so I don't plant any seeds for her fragile, emotionally immature, and hormonally confused mind to go wild with. (does that make sense? I feel like I have to keep my answers light and cheery, I guess)
As we pulled into the parking space at Pizza Hut, she was ready for the conversation to be over. "Look Mom....I was crying just a second ago, and now I'm over it! Ha! Let's go get our pizza!"
I made a few mental notes:
1. Keep things light but honest
2. I Love her and that is enough
3. Embrace the star
4. Possibly ban Mindy Gledhill from our family ;)

Saturday, November 29, 2008

I need a new baby

This was the thought I had when I came downstairs and found that Jooj had emptied an entire bottle of round cupcake sprinkles on the Berber carpet.

"Man, if only we had a 9-month-old."

Because one of those would be thrilled to spend the afternoon picking up individual pastel balls and eating them.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

good mommies

You may have already seen this, but if not...

Extraordinary Mothers - Click here for another funny movie.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

am I weird?

Wait. Don't answer that.

Yesterday I ran into work for about an hour and a half (because I had to) and I mentioned how I was torn: I hate to pull PTO (which is silly, I know--I should be grateful to have it!) but at the same time I wanted to hurry home because I felt badly for my son, who is getting bored over being laid up after surgery.

A comment was made about my kid being old enough I didn't need to entertain him. I replied that I wanted to be home and that I did have a lot to do.

By the time I got home some of Z~'s friends had dropped by and they were all hanging out in my living room. (So I would have been perfectly fine staying at work.)

I offered them food. We visited while I went through the mail and cleaned up the dining room. And I realized it wasn't about my feeling the need to entertain. I really do want to be home when my kids are home.

I like spending time with my kids.

Is that so weird?

Tuesday, November 4, 2008


I must admit I rolled my eyes when Sissy G put on a pair of strappy 4 inch heels to go to Sam's Club with me today.
I decided it was a battle I'd rather not fight and agreed to let her wear them....certain she would take them off within minutes for comfort's sake.
I was girly girl not only wore them the entire shopping trip, but strode, strutted, and glided in them like a runway model!!
I don't encourage this. In fact, I think heels--while they look pretty and make your legs look better--are ridiculous in everyday living. (It doesn't mean if you wear them I think YOU are ridiculous) I think they are going to ruin your feet. That's all I'm sayin'.
I'm uber practical. I'm busy. I work hard. And I can't be bothered with feet that hurt!
(It doesn't mean if you wear them I think you aren't any of the above)
At 12 years old, she's already 5'4". Her birthmother was 5'11" and the birthfather was nearly 7'. She is going to be tall. Heels may not be something she is interested in for much longer.

When a fun song with a good beat came on overhead, I looked over and Sissy Girl was dancing in her fancy heels like no one was watching. With twirls, chass'es, and step ball changes.

Oh, to be that uninhibited....

We went to the shoe store later. I bought myself a nice pair of practical flats and two pairs of adorable peep toe heels for her.

I know I won't always delight in our differences...but I have a feeling my dear daughter will be teaching me a thing or two about style.....and substance.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

The Best Mommy Ever

I was just on the phone with my favorite Good Mommy, and I heard her say the following disciplinary phrase:

"No. No. No. No. No. No. No. If you want me to say it again, I will. And you will be grounded."

Isn't that just the best thing you have ever heard?

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Do, re, me, me, ME

I read this today and it hit me hard: The me, me, me generation: Have youths in America bought into 'entitlement' mentality?

Right between the eyes hard.

I've started a discussion over on my latest blog, but I don't care where you deposit your two cents, I just want to talk about it.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

pa rum pum pum pum

After almost 12 years of an education in which everything except for refraining from being the class clown has come way too easy to him, my senior told me this tonight:

"I want to work my tail off in private lessons with Dan and try out for the BYU marching band drumline."

This on the heels of four first places in five marching band competitions this season.

Over the past year I've seen him stick with something hard and often unfun, during a messy transition between a band teacher he loved and one who was hired because he was the complete opposite. Even when almost all of his friends dropped out. I've seen him step up as section leader and take charge over a bunch of silly and inexperienced 14-year-olds. I've seen him have to work at something and taste the satisfaction that can come from hard-earned success.

I've seen him start to grow up.

Music to my momma ears.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

you say today is saturday?

My fourth-grader calls me at LEAST three times a week from school because she "feels sick and almost threw up".

Sometimes I let her come home, after which I make her sit on her bed. After a nap (that she needs because she stalled for three hours at bedtime last night, a fact which is neither here nor there), she gets up and "FEELS FINE!" And then the remainder of my afternoon/evening is spent reminding her that the reason she can't go outside is because she's sick...remember?

I'm done letting her come home.

Today when she called, I told her to go back to class and Take It Easy, and to come home when school is over. I figure that if she was really sick, a nurse or a teacher or someone other than Herself will get on the phone and tell me about it.



Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Zero to Sixty and Back Again

Yesterday Dora was talking about what she wanted to be when she grew up. She turned to the audience and yelled "What do YOU want to be when you grow up?" And Jooj answered "Jooj wants to be a mommy!"


A few hours later when watching it again, Dora turned to the audience and yelled "What do YOU want to be when you grow up?" And Jooj answered "Jooj wants to be a ChooChoo Twain."

And we're back.

I really hope that the recording angels were paying attention EARLIER on in the day.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Bad, bad mommy!

My 17-year-old son has his first girlfriend. He made me swear to him I wouldn't blog about it, so that's all you get except for the fact that the worrier in me now works overtime.

So am I a bad mom for hoping things don't work out, even if it means he gets his heart broken?

Better him than me, right?

(Don't tell him I said that.)

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Thursday, September 11, 2008

I still got it...

I dropped Oldest off at driver's ed this morning.
He leaned over and gave me a sqeeze and said, "I love you, mom!"
And then...

He kissed me on my cheek!

He's very affectionate but hasn't been into kissing his mom for quite a while now.
And, if you knew how much we've been on each others nerves lately, you'd know why it meant so much to me.

I love that I'm still his Queen Mum.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Where did I go?

W and I are in the process of applying for our second adoption. One of the last things we have to do is write the "Pick us!!" letter to the birth parents. We are using the old one--because it is good and in the three years since we wrote it Jooj has made my brain hurt a lot-but updating it to reflect our current situations. (Like the part that says "We will never spank." Oh, the laughter when I re-read that part!) The format we used was: I wrote a paragraph introducing W, he wrote one for me, and then I wrote the rest about our belief systems, etc. It worked.

When W wrote the paragraph about me the last time it was all "Jen is so educated!" and "Masters!" and "Smart" and "Hot!" (Not really, but I read between the lines) and "Strong and Capable!" and "REALLY smart!".

He just emailed me the update and here is what it says now: "Good mother!" "Preschool and Playgroup!" "Takes kid to soccer!" "Mom!" and "Jooj's Mom!"

Apparently I have vanished in three years.

I don't know where I went (I certainly haven't gotten any smaller physically) and I don't know when it happened. There was a point where I desperately wanted to be someone's mom--anyone's mom! And it is not like I want to go back to that place (although I am often tempted) but there has got to be a place where "Mom" and "Me" co-exist.

Have you found that place? Where is it? How did you get there?

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

I'm doing it wrong

Last night I came home from ward temple night and then had to go run a couple of errands and do my grocery shopping. Which meant it was after 10 p.m. when I got home and found my nine-year-old just starting his homework and my 13-year-old yet to start. Argh! I felt like one of those people at Wal-Mart who take their kids shopping after 11 p.m. and then are cross with them because they're misbehaving.

Obviously that's much too late for a nine-year-old (even the youngest child nine-year-old who is used to later nights) so he was cranky and then I got cranky. I was frustrated with him for not doing it earlier (but also frustrated with myself for not being home to encourage him) and frustrated with my daughter for not doing hers earlier and just frustrated overall that my life doesn't run as smoothly as the freaking Brady Bunch show.

So I declared martial law and ranted and raved a bit--I'll say this for myself, there was no actual yelling, but what good did that do when yelling was perceived--and then things got worse.

Does this sound familiar? "Why should I even try when I'm going to get yelled out anyway?!"

I have to admit that despite the phone calls from the Foods teacher that L~ is being disruptive (to be fair, she called almost every parent in the class because the whole class is disruptive, but I know L~ and am sure she is one of the leaders of the band), L~ has been doing a much better job this year. While I still have issues with her (namely her attitude and her occasional bold-faced lies), I recognize she is making an effort. While having a 4.0 just two and a half weeks into the school year isn't a big deal for some, it certainly is for her. And, having been 13 before, I realized immediately I made a big mistake getting after her for something she was really doing well.

Huge mistake.

What did I do about it? I apologized. And I told her she was doing a good job.

Let's just say she did not accept it gracefully.

This morning when she got up she was a little more cheerful (mornings are another thing she has been doing better). I told her, "When I was your age I would have given the world to hear my parents apologize to me when they were wrong. And they were wrong sometimes. And sometimes so am I. I am proud of you, but I do make mistakes. And when I do I will apologize. You need to learn to accept an apology more graciously."

I don't know if she really got it, but it needed to be said.

It also needs to be said that kids do need to be caught doing good. Especially teenage kids. Sometimes you have to look a little harder to see the good, but they need to hear about it when you notice it.

I'm going to work harder to see and acknowledge the good.

Saturday, August 16, 2008


I don't know if this has anything to do with my mothering-nor do I want the credit if it does, but....
I got a phone call today from a dad. He was RSVP-ing for his son, whom he said would be attending my son's big 16th birthday bash.
Frankly, I thought it was kinda weird. The dad called?
Tonight, when Oldest got home, I told him the kid was coming. He said, "Oh, cool!"
I asked him who he was and wasn't it kinda weird his dad called?
He said (and here's the proud part) "He's a kid on my football team. He's quite a large kid. Nobody talks to him. He doesn't have many friends. But, I think he's I wanted to invite him."
Just when he's about on my last nerve......he goes and melts my heart into a pool of mush.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

No Matter What Else Happens Today, I am a Very Good Mommy

Jooj (age 3) couldn't find her security blanket, because she had taken every single toy and article of clothing out and piled it on the floor. As we were looking she exclaimed (with one finger pointing in the air)

"Mami! I know! We say prayer to Heavenly Father to find me Seepy!"

And so we did, and so (of course)we did.

Monday, July 21, 2008


My daughter became a young woman tonight.
At the Fiesta Days Rodeo.
In the port-a-potty.
(for some reason, this sounds skeezy...I mean it in the no-she-wasn't-in-there-with-a-boy kind of way!)

She came back into the Grandstand to our spot on the bench with big smile on her face and whispered it to me. I wasn't sure if I believed her nor did I want to have the full on conversation with her 13 year old brother sitting in between us.

I leaned over, placed my hand on Hoss' cheek and pulled his head close to my face and whispered it to him. All the color left his face, his eyes got real big, and he said, "She what?" Oh, you just wait....I don't think daddy's are ever ready to hear that their little girl's not so little any more.

After I got past the initial shock and the giggling to myself over what a fantastic journal entry it would be for her:
Dear Diary, tonight I got my first period in the port-a-potty at the Rodeo...

I started to feel a little panicky!
A few things came to mind:
Her reaction is a million times the opposite of my reaction.
She's all excited!
She couldn't wait to tell me.
I could have died!
I waited as long as I could before mumbling something to my mother.
I guess we'll have to stop at the store on the way home.
What do I get her?
The last time I had a period, there were only a few options: cardboard applicator, no applicator, and something like unto a diaper!
That was before 'wings' and ultra thins.
What works best right at first?
I'm starting to sound like a dad, not a mom......
It's just that I've been without periods now for longer than I had them.
Things aren't ever going to be the same at our house.
Ugh....her brothers......they need to be instructed too.
I guess it doesn't matter if I'm ready or not.....Aunt Flow is here.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

command climate (sorry--is it stealing if I credit the source? Thanks W.)

La yen's husband just posted an excellent and thought-provoking post about Army leadership. Why am I bringing it up here? Because the philosophy behind the type of "command climate" he discusses has been the foundation for some of my parenting beliefs and the way I try to parent. I want us to discuss.

These are the questions W. asked (replace "soldiers" with "children"):

"What are you doing to motivate your Soldiers? Do they work for you out of a fear of repercussion or out of respect for you? Do they trust that you are tactically and technically proficient, that you know the mission and your unit's role in it? Do they feel that you are actively protecting their interests and placing their needs above your own? Do you praise in public and punish in private? Do you conduct frequent counselings, either formal or informal, to let those around you know where they stand?

When I was a kid I obeyed mostly out of fear. It was the belt or the boot if I was way out of line (please don't get the wrong idea about my parents--they were and are good people--they were just doing it how it was done back then). But I felt conflicted about it. I remember as a child contemplating how I would want my kids to respect me because I deserved it, not because they were afraid of me; I wanted them to obey out of love, respect and goodness, not out of fear.

As I said I've only been moderately (on some days barely--last night hardly) successful at parenting in this way. There have been shortcomings and failures. But at the same time it feels right to me. And I have witnessed moments of goodness, honesty and genuineness (sometimes even when the rest of the outcome was not exactly what I intended) that pleased me and made me feel good about my beliefs and my efforts.

What do you think about this style of parenting? Are the results desirable? Could side affects or unintended consequences occur? Is it possible and/or practical to achieve with a three-year-old? What about a thirteen-year-old? How does one accomplish this style of parenting? What are the day-to-day applications?

What command climate do you seek as a mother. How do you attain it?

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Skilled at Terrorist Negotiations..

My sister started to blog again (hurrah). I have lots of sisters and they all should blog, but only two of them do (FOR NOW...). In my never ending quest to stay connected to my family, as well as to assure myself that I am not the only one in the family that has stories like this, I am posting this link here. Leave a comment for her on her blog. I need her to keep blogging and she has NEVER had anyone besides family comment on her blogs before.... If she gets addicted to them, we will get more Sam/Thomas stories and I will be reminded that my kids are normal. One of our sisters has freakishly well behaved children and it sets a bad standard for the rest of us....

So, this post by my sister Nienie had me snorting. She is describing what it is like to go shopping with her two little boys, ages 4 and 2. It was a very familiar story, but a much funnier way of telling it.

I can't get my hyperlinks to work... so here is the long, very un-tech link...

choosing your battles

I've found another plus side to choosing your battles. You know, besides the fact that I am happier and my kids are happier and who has the energy to fight about everything anyway?!

Sometimes you get to relish tiny victories.

Any of you who read my blog are aware of my frustration over our middle school's new dress code. I think the fact that I went to bat for what I believed was right helped my daughter feel I am on her side. (Which I am, but most especially when she is right.)

However, as much as I believe in standing up for what's right, I also believe in honoring, obeying and sustaining the law. So I've been wondering how to handle my conflictedness about this issue come the first day of school.

I chose to ease into the subject, mentioning that collared (yeah, I keep wanting to type: collard)shirts were on sale and that we ought to prepare now for the first week of school. I wanted to make sure she was clear that I assumed she would (eventually) comply (because I am most definitely not going to commute to another school).

I was surprised to learn she has already come up with a brilliant plan:

Based on past experience, she doesn't expect they'll enforce the new dress code any better than they enforced the prior one; she doesn't want me to spend too much money; and she still wants to make her point. So she asked me to buy only a couple of collared shirts for now. She plans to wear her favorite tie-dyed T-shirt to school on the first day in protest and in order to test the system. (Call me a rebel, but I'm fine with that.) I explained to her what the administration has posted by way of action for non-compliance: They will call home and then give the student something to wear. (I am working on my protest speech for the non-compliance call even now.) L~ intends to take a wait and see approach. If they call her out she will accept the shirt they give her but instead of wearing it she will wear the one I have purchased for her, which she will have hidden in her backpack.

Fair enough.

But the sweetest victory came last night when we were out shopping. While she did complain a bit about how blah! the collared shirts were, she has already found a way to comply while still fulfilling her need to express herself. The first thing she said as we started sifting through the sale rack was, "OK mom, but the first thing we have to do is take off all the buttons and find some cool ones to replace them with."

I bought a packaged of bold and bright-colored buttons first thing this morning.

Take that Dixon! I love this kid!!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Too Happy to be comfortable

I have Stegner's books on my book shelf... I guess it's time to dust 'em off and read them.

I saw this post and think it follows the same vein of discussion.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

I Married Pretty Well.

This is an email I got from my husband this morning, and I thought it was pretty appropriate for this site. So, props to the absentee father, W.

I am here at work this Saturday morning, and am consciously taking it easy by looking around the net for things that make me think of you. And as I was reading a couple of blogs, I linked to, a pretty interesting blog about random things. I saw this blog about kids and parenting and how it's not all it's cracked up to be. And it made me think about you, and how we were talking last night, and how you are feeling bad because you can't do all the things you used to be able to do. Here's an excerpt:
"The cliché refers to newborn children as "bundles of joy," but recent research indicates that bundles of anxiety, or even bundles of depression, might be more accurate

"Parents "definitely experienced more depression," says Robin Simon, a sociologist at Florida State University who has studied data on parenting.

"Part of our cultural beliefs is that we derive all this joy from kids," says Simon. "It's really hard for people who don't feel this to admit it." Social pressures to view only the positive aspects of child rearing only make the problem worse, she says. "They're afraid to admit it because it runs so counter to our cultural beliefs that children make you happy."

Simon points out what any parent knows very well: Children, especially young children, can create lots of work and stress. "There are very many positive things that come out of having kids, but it's a mixed bag," she says. "They are demanding. They are a responsibility, and it's a responsibility that doesn't end."

And I thought about you and us and how you keep saying that Jooj is so good and you shouldn't be mad/sad/upset/frustrated. And I think that you're selling yourself a bill of goods. Kids are hard. They are depressing, and are TONS of work. I know this just from the (sadly) limited interaction I get with her, and have been feeling pretty bad about wanting to curse at her in the two hours a day I spent with her by myself when I was home.

Don't get me wrong- I want kids. I love Jooj and I know that we're unbelievably blessed to have her in our family, and she is rewarding and awesome. Here's another excerpt:

Changing a diaper isn't enjoyable, and teenagers can be such a pain in the ass, but having kids can also be a profound source of meaning for people. (I like the amateur marathoner metaphor: survey a marathoner in the midst of the race and they'll complain about their legs and that rash and how the race seems like it's taking forever. But when the running is over they are always incredibly proud of their accomplishment. Having kids, then, is like a marathon that lasts 18 years.)

Bottom line is, I am proud of you. I don't begrudge you feeling bad, and modern science doesn't either. Parents, and especially Mormon mothers, get a lot of pressure from a lot of angles to treat kids as shiny delicate glass balls full of pixie dust and platinum that should be set on a shrine in the living room like some sort of Asian family altar, and I completely disagree. For my money, it's ok to think of them as poopy, whiny, snotty, loud little blessings. It's ok to be frustrated and mad, and it's ok to secretly wish that your life is the way it used to be. Because at the end of the day, you're a great mom and you're doing a great job with Jooj.

That's all. I love you.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

bonus: opposable thumbs

Yesterday I had two things happen that I think the younger version of MommyMe would have found absolutely mortifying. Yet . . . the current version of MommyMe is confidently grateful for how each situation played out.

First scenario: I had gone to pick up one daughter from Reading Camp at school and left my oldest in charge of the sleeping one and the 4 year old (I had brought the newborn with me). Upon driving into our neighborhood I phoned my oldest to let her know that I was arriving and to ask her to please open the garage for me (our opener is broken, and all the doors were triple-locked, as is her pleasure). When the garage door was open, I began to pull forward when my four year old, all bright-eyed and happy, opened the kitchen door and began to walk towards me. So I layed on the horn. Scared the crap out of her. She started bawling. This is where OldMommyMe would have felt so, so bad -- for scaring her, for making her cry. Instead, NowMommyMe immediately had the thought: "Good. She should be scared of this. And that was my intent: to scare her away from a moving vehicle."

Second scenario: I had to go to the market last night (yes, I call the grocery store 'the market') and oldest wanted to go with me. While I was doing the math in my head to add up the possibe combinations of 24 oz. or fewer of cereal, she asked if she could have an ice cream cone (from the deli). I gave her $2, told her to get two small cones, and then come find me. Since so many in my town spend their family night at the market, it was kind of crowded, but I moved swiftly to get the things I needed. Upon arriving near the milk, my phone rang. I didn't recognize the incoming number. "Hello?"

"Hi. Your daughter says she's lost you. We're at the store."

"Oh! Thank you. I'm by the milk."

"I'll let her know."


"You're welcome."

A few seconds later I saw her wheeling towards me, holding an ice cream cone in each hand. She was not smiling. I greeted her warmly and asked what happened. With tears in her eyes she told me that she couldn't find me so she looked for a mommy with kids for help.

Exactly what I've taught her to do.

OldMommyMe would have broken down and cried, a little from embarrassment, but mainly from the negative, scary thoughts of what could have happened. NowMommyMe was swelling with pride and comfort that my daughter had done the absolute right thing, showing that she'd know what to do in a more serious situation.

And now . . . yes, it really is 4:something in the morning . . . NowMommyMe is getting ready for a (mortifying) marathon day at Primary Children's Hospital involving all sorts of tests -- an experience that OldMommyMe wouldn't even be able to comprehend.

Friday, June 13, 2008

no burying over here!

Something I just discovered I can do: hold back her hair so she can throw up into the toilet WHILE I'm breastfeeding the other one.

In what ways do YOU multi-task??

Thursday, June 12, 2008

cuz i'm nice like that

L~ went up to Mia Shalom this week for girls camp. Keep in mind every other stake has been scrambling like crazy to reschedule or cancel or make plans elsewhere. Cuz baby it's cooooold up there. And muddy. And snowy.

L~ insisted on packing herself and would not let me oversee. She promised me she had enough warm clothes and had packed all of her hoodies and then she told me to bug off (rather nicely, though). So I did.

But that didn't stop me from sneaking a heavy down coat to her YW leader before they left on Tuesday. And a love note.

This morning I was cleaning her room to surprise her (because every time I leave on vacation the one thing I want to come home to is a clean house) and I found all of her hoodies.

Except one.


I am a good mommy.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Bad Mommy...


So last weekend I had this feeling I needed to take my flu virus ridden 20 month old to the urgent care center to have her ears checked out. She hadn't been sleeping well and felt miserable.

But... I figured since her big sister who's prone to ear infections came back from her appointment that Mon without an ear infection... and a Daddy who took her saying "I told you so".... that I was just being my typical over-reacting self.

You should see how often I go to the doctor... I'm a little nuts.

Finally on Tuesday I take my poor ... baggy eyed baby to the doctor. She has an ear infection. The left is worse than the right...and I am devastated.

I feel like the meanest mommy in the world. The doctor knows me well enough that he tries to pretend he doesn't seem me with the tears...he tells me not to crucify myself.

I know better... I know that when she was up every hour for a boobie I was getting grumpy-tired. I know that even though she stuck to me like glue every morning and I loved it...I was also trying to figure out how I could distract her so I could get chores done.

All I could do was kiss my baby and tell her I was sorry. Oh...and apologize for being so mean and agreeing when her Daddy said to turn off the monitor at night... he said she'd need to learn to cry it out and learn to sleep. This was before we knew for sure it was an ear infection... but she was still sick. I let him do that... what is wrong with me? She was in pain and needed me.

Anyway... my little wake up call to trust my instinct ...and always better to be sure. Poor baby - she's my little happy one that loves to turn to smile at me.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Brace Yourself

I took Sissy G. to get her braces off today.
We've been waiting for this day for 20 days shy of 2 years.
I knew we'd both be wowed, but I wasn't prepared for this:

She opened her mouth into a slick, smooth, shiny white smile.
Tears welled up in my eyes and I took in a quick deep breath.......
She looks exactly like her Birth Mother.

In that instant, I was taken back to a hotter summer day in 1996. Hoss and I had made the drive to the hometown of the woman who gave her birth.
We met our attorney in the hotel lobby and drove to her parents' home, where she lived.
We pulled up and she was leaning on the car of a new boy friend's. She glanced at us and went back to finishing up her conversation. Eventually, making her way over to us.

The hours, events, and emotions that followed over the next 24 hours came rushing back to me today. Sissy G.'s was the only Birth Mother we met of our three children. It was also the most difficult adoption experience of the three. On one hand, especially after meeting and seeing what could have been the rest of her life, we KNEW it was right. She was meant to be with us. No question. But, at the end of that 24 hour period......taking her from the arms of the beautiful soul who created and grew her....also felt criminal.
I stared at her for as long as I could. Long enough that I could remember her features, but not so long that I creeped her out.

Today.....I stared at that face again.

It was bittersweet. Because, if I'm being honest, I forget that I didn't grow and give birth to my children. I get caught up in the birth stories my friends tell and always have to stop myself from jumping in......
Comforted by our Temple sealings, I know-- without shadow of doubt--that this was God's plan.
I would not have it any other children are my children no matter how they came. But for a brief moment(s) in time......I wish someone else's heart didn't have to be broken. It's a feeling I can't really put well with words, I dunno.

I guess what I'm saying is.......wherever she is, I pray that Heavenly Father will whisper to her today, tell her how thankful I beautiful they both are......and that her choice was perfect.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Another "Parenting" Mag Inspired Subject...or Two

I present to you ladies, two more topics inspired by Parenting magazine. They were both just too good to pass up!

  1. Some excerpts from a book called Dirty Little Secrets From Otherwise Perfect Moms, by Trisha Ashworth and Amy Nobile:
  • "When I'm at Safeway, I buy a Nordstrom gift card and charge it as groceries. I can justify it that way." (Genius!)
  • "I lied and told my son's preschool that he was potty trained so he could get in. I acted surprised when he had an 'accident' every day."
  • "Once I realized my neighbors could hear me over the baby monitor (we were on the same frequency), I suddenly changed my tone and became 'Sweet, nice Mommy.'"
  • "I pass gas and blame it on the kids."
  • "I forgot to pick my boy up from kindergarten because I was too involved in a Vh1 Rockumentary."
  • "My kids don't wear pj's on weeknights. They go to bed in their school clothes so I don't have to fight with them about their outfits in the morning."
It's interesting to me that some people's "dirty little secrets" are hysterically funny to me (probably because I can relate!) .... while others I find, well, horrifying. Why is that??? Guess it just proves that everyone is just doing the best they can. AND every family is DIFFERENT!

What's your dirty little secret?

2. Ridiculous-Trend Alert:
Parents are getting their kids' school and other photos retouched- even for preschoolers!

What?!??!? Are you serious??? Ok question number two

What would you retouch on a photo of your kids, and why?

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

You're A Good Mom

So I just had to share this book review that I found at (actually-- it came from a free Parenting magazine that was sent to me a while back. For some reason I get random free issues of Parenting magazine. Perhaps someone has taken pity on my poor children and signed me up for a "gift" subscription?)

What today's parenting lingo would have meant to our moms:

  • Floor time Time spent waxing the kitchen floor
  • Time-Out A short break during a sporting event, or taking a break from the laundry to watch Days of Our Lives
  • Kindergarten readiness Your kid's fifth birthday
  • Use your words "Knock it off, kids!"
  • Quality time Reading the paper in the car outside the theater where the kids are seeing The Bad News Bears
  • Teachable moments School
-From Your a Good Mom (And Your Kids Aren't So Bad Either), by Jen Singer

Call me old fashioned, but....

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

So THAT'S How We're Going to Play This...

I bought The Jooj one of the $5 plastic golf sets from The-Mega-Store-Who-Shall-Not-Be-Named the other day.

She promptly stuck her leg into the plastic golf bag and got it very stuck.

I promptly got my camera.

Then I realized just how wedged it was, and I got the Pam.

After we freed her battered little leg she told me "You gave me owies, Mami!"

I responded with "No, sweetie, YOU stuck your leg inside and Mami got you out. Mami helped you..."

And then she cut me off with a "Mami, just say you sorry!"

And so it begins. Do I need to write this on the calendar as "The day everything became my fault?" I BOUGHT her a new toy. I SHOWED her how to golf. I LET her hit the dog with a club one time to get it out of her system. I SPRAYED her with lubricant (the expensive baking kind, even!). And what do I get from this? Nothing but grief. Prior to this I was revising a post I had written about how there are some things only mothers can do--how we are the panaceas to so many of life's little hurts. And I am glad I didn't finish it because, apparently, I was all wrong. We are not the cure, we are the cause. Good to know.

Friday, May 9, 2008

It's all About the Spin

Some would say I am a Bad Mommy for putting my kid to bed at 6:45 tonight, even though she probably was not all that tired.

I say that I am a Good Mommy because I understand my limits, and the ratio of toddler-to-sanity was skewing in a scary way.

What do you spin in order to get away with?

Saturday, May 3, 2008

guest post: irrigation, irritation, irradiation

The following is a guest post from one of my favorite bloggers, who finds herself in a dilemma:

Friends. I need some guidance.
If you are a regular visitor here, please advise.
If you are a lurker, please de-lurk and advise.
Anonymous comments are on. That doesn't mean anony can be mean.

We live in a rural area. We are surrounded by farms.
My boys, who are almost 16 and 13 were offered a job working on some acreage near us--moving irrigation pipe throughout the summer. The pay would work out to be significantly above minimum wage. It would not be every day, but just during the farmer's water turn. It would be 3 or 4 mornings (5:30-6:30 am) and then again in the evening (6:00-7:00 pm) several times throughout the watering months.

This all sounded great, until I found out who their foreman would be.

We have a Sex Offender in our area. We discovered this by searching the Sex Offenders' Web Site. We check out the site every time somebody new comes into the area or when the kids want to hang out at a new friend's house. If you are not scoping it should.

As you have probably guessed, Chester is the foreman. I don't know what the situation is, all I know is that it happened in 1999 and his target is female minors.

When I stated my objection to offering up my boys to a secksual predator, I was met with eyerolling and some SERIOUS flack. "You have no idea what the situation was!" and "Jeez, give the guy a break!" and "MOM!! You're being ridiculous!" "Yeah, like we're gonna let him do anything to us!"

After a big discussion with the boys about never going anywhere with him and how predators work, etc. I agreed to let them go to work.

The other day, I got home from work and the boys told me they had their first day irrigating. I was kind of surprised that it had started already, but said (again with hesitation), "So, how was he?" (again with the eyerolling) "Okay," I said "As long as you don't ever get in a car with him." The boys looked at each other and said, "Too late." Mr. Chester has offered to come and pick us up and bring us home each time. (red flag) (this would mean about a 7 mile round trip for him twice a day).

I told them to call Mr. Chester and tell him I would be driving them. I drove them to the farm (2 miles straight down the road from us) and waited for them to finish. Hoss pulled up while I was waiting and wondered why I had brought them. "Chester offered to drive them." I blinked a few times and said, "Do you really think that is a good idea?" (eyerolling) "He's been re-baptized and repented and forgiven. It happened a long time ago. Give the guy a break.....haven't you ever done anything wrong before?"

"I have never diddled a child." was my answer.

He kept telling me that I was being ridiculous. I talked him through a few scenarios before saying, "Hoss. Let's just say that there is a good chance nothing would happen. But if something WERE to happen, could you forgive yourself?" He had to concede at that point.

Before going to bed last night, I asked Hoss if he would be willing to take them (I've been sick with the death of pneumonia and asthma and still continuing to work full time). "They can walk, or ride the bike." I reminded him we have one bike, two boys and it's freezing cold before dawn's crack. He didn't seem to mind. So, this morning at 5:15 am, I took the boys to their job, waited an hour for them to finish, and brought them home so they could be ready for school and I could get ready for work.

They all still think I'm being silly (except for Machine--he gets me, and has not given me an ounce of flack! Also, both of them were VERY grateful for a warm car to crawl into after braving the icy alfalfa this morning!).
I feel very strongly about it. As someone who was preyed upon by not just one predator-and survived to tell the tale.....I almost think I have a greater responsibility to protect my kids. I have FULL KNOWLEDGE of the risk and the fallout. I will continue to drive them (while it's cold-ish and dark) and will maybe let them ride the bike(s) when the weather gets better.

This is where you come in. Am I being ridiculous? What would you do?

Irradiate me with your wisdom.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Free Range Kids

A mom called Lenore Skenazy has kicked up a fire storm of both condemnation and empathy for her call to return children's independence. What did she do?

She lets her kid ride the New York subways alone.

I don't think that Skenazy intended to be the most public face in the burgeoning movement to let our kids 'free range' again, but by going as public as to write a few columns about it, has made her the point person. Since the parenting trend has leaned towards more helicopter than free range, Skenazy has faced some serious condemnation.

Frankly, I agree with Skenazy. OUR KIDS HAVE NEVER BEEN THIS SAFE. Just because the media seizes on the one-in-a-million (literally) cases doesn't mean our kids are in constant danger. It's more likely that they will be harmed at home and by people they know than in any other way.

New York City, for instance, is safer than it's ever been; it's ranked 136th in crime among all American cities. Nationwide, stranger abductions are extremely rare; there's a one-in-a-million chance a child will be taken by a stranger, according to the Justice Department. And 90 percent of sexual abuse cases are committed by someone the child knows. Mortality rates from all causes, including disease and accidents, for American children are lower now than they were 25 years ago. according to Child Trends, a nonprofit, nonpartisan research group, between 1980 and 2003 death rates dropped by 44 percent for children ages five to 14 and 32 percent for teens aged 15 to 19.

Obviously, we should do what makes us comfortable, but for some of us, that's going to mean letting our kids walk to school by themselves, running to the store for errands (a loaf of bread, a container of milk, a stick of butter,) and letting them make some of their own decisions. I fully expect that in a couple years I'll wave goodbye to El Guille as he peddles off by himself to a friend's house or other activities. For her part, Lenore's son is nine years old, an age where I would feel utterly comfortable letting Guille go to school by himself.

Are we so nervous about what could happen that we don't let our kids experience the chance to manage their own time, make their own choices, and exercise independence?

I, for one, can't wait to start reading Lenore's blog, called appropriately Free Range Kids.

What are your thoughts?

Monday, April 7, 2008

Three Kids... you snob

This article cracked me up...Click HERE.

Who knew more kids = Status - Populating Mormons beware.

My favorite quote: "The way we figure it, one day our children will be grateful for what we didn't give them -- and what we did for them instead."

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Today, apparently, I simply suck

Running out of incentives to induce good behavior, this morning, as she tore the house up and berated me because she wouldn't get out of bed in time to catch her ride, I calmly informed my daughter that although her replacement Converse Hi-Tops would arrive today, she would not be wearing them until she made it on time to jazz band practice for an entire week.

"You made a commitment to be in a band and that means attending practices," I stated emphatically.

"You made a commitment to be my mother and that's not working out so well, is it?" she screamed in my face.

Her words bite me still even as I type. It may be easy on the outside looking in to agree with her and tell me that this messy relationship is indeed my fault. If only I would handle things differently, lay down the law, spend more time with her, etc... I already get that from a couple of people in my ward (lesson #1: never judge a mother through the eyes of her 12-year-old daughter) to whom she is nothing but sweet and respectful and fun, and who, frankly, would be shocked if they witnessed one of her too-frequent tirades.

Sure there are days when I could handle things better. But I think the fact that no matter how bad it gets I don't usually yell back; I haven't smacked her across the face; I continue to calmly tell her "You're Welcome" and "Bye, I love you. Have a good day," as I drop her off to school (even on mornings when she's at her worst); and I haven't, as of yet, left home or wished the same upon her when she is a mother, speaks volumes about my commitment to be her mother.

I only hope I can see this through and that my commitment (unless she gets her way--which she doesn't always, because that's not always what's best for her--she chooses to not see the love) will be enough. On days like today I honestly wonder...

Monday, March 10, 2008

Thursday, March 6, 2008

How do you balance being a Mommy with a member of a larger family?

I just had to send out an email canceling our trip to California to see our families. I prayed about it, I know it was the right thing to do, but I just feel like a bad person. (I canceled it because Jooj has been really troubled lately with everything--sickness, tantrums, general sadness, everything. And she needs stability and quiet and sleep in her own bed. Not a vacation.)

Why am I feeling so guilty for disappointing my extended family, when I should be feeling proud for being the mother of my children, and putting my OWN family first?

How do you find a balance between the old relationships and roles and the new ones?

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Move over, Brit

Today I noticed that, overnight, Jooj had grown out of her pajama top, rendering it a half-shirt worthy of a guest appearance on TeenNick.

I think that her growth spurt is because I feed her so well. Take this morning:

What do you want for breakfast?

"Candy and peas."

Well, Okay. If you sit on the potty.

"And Pink soda."


Thursday, January 24, 2008

Wait, They Come That Way?

"New research shows that in most cases the personalities displayed very early in life— as young as preschool — will stay with us into adulthood. The wallflowers will stay shy and reticent, though they will learn in time to be a little more sociable and assertive. And the average kids, the more resilient ones, will remain so. " source.

Dear Scientists,


We know. You could have just asked your mom. She would have told you that you were born with your personality.

She then would have told you to make sure that you're saving at least 20% of your research money for a rainy day. Oh, and do you need some new socks? She saw some for sale last week in ShopKo but can't remember if you like the goldtoe or some ankle-highs. Call her as soon as you can because your Cousin Louise is coming into town and she'd like to see the kids.

Yours cordially,

Monday, January 21, 2008

Last night being a good mommy was incredibly hard. We talked, for the first time, about how she is adopted. It came about pretty naturally: We were talking about temples. I told her how she went to the temple with us when she was a baby, so that we could be her parents forever.

"Baby Jooj go to temple?"
"Baby Nora (her cousin) go to temple?"
"Well, no."

So we talked about how Baby Nora came out of Tia Amy's belly, so they didn't have to go to the temple. And Baby Jooj didn't come out of mommy's belly, so...

"Baby Jooj in you belly."
"No, Mami can't get babies in her belly. Mami's belly is broken."
"No! Baby Jooj go in YOU belly."
"No, honey, Mami's belly is broken, so Heavenly Father put Baby Jooj in Diana's belly. Then Diana brought you to us, because Mami and Papi and Jooj are a family."
"No, I go in YOU belly. No Diana."
"I wish you were in my belly, Jooj, but Mami's belly is broken."
"You belly need batteries?"
"Yes, Mami's belly needs special batteries."
"Oh. Es Ok?"
"Oh yes, Mami is ok. And Jooj is my baby forever."

And it was so hard.

I love my daughter, I love my family, and I love that, through adoption, I am able to have her with me. And I know that telling her about adoption is important--it is not like we can hide it and she can meet her twin at summer camp and switch places in order to reconnect her father and I in love and marriage and groovy guitar songs. But I didn't expect it to hurt my heart to tell her.

I so wanted to say "You came from my belly--you and me have been together, even as little tiny cells inside Grammy Su, forever. I felt you kick, I loved you every second of the day. I fed you with my every heart beat, and I pushed you out and held you the instant you were born. You are mine and will never feel the need to seek out another mother, another person who shares your cells."

But I couldn't. Because it isn't true.

I know that she loves me. I know she is MINE. But our talk last night was the start of my biggest fear--that she will not feel like she is mine entirely, any longer. I know we will talk about it again and again, and I worry that, each time, she will feel drawn to another woman, another family, another set of siblings. Maybe she won't--maybe we are enough for her. But the fear is there.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Go Ahead, Admit It

Sometimes you have a favorite child.