Thursday, July 24, 2008

Aunt Summer

Last night, Aunt Summer came over to watch the kids so Dan and I could go have some alone time and adult conversation.  Thank goodness for Aunt Summer.  The boys love to play with and around her.  Whenever she comes in the door, they immediately start running circles around the house because they can't contain their excitement.  

Summer is an amazing sister to Dan, sister-in-law to me and auntie to our kiddos.  We have frequently talked about how Summer is the most reliable, trustworthy person we know.  She is a friend to everyone and is almost always smiling a big, happy, contagious grin.  

Dan and I had a fun time at dinner and a movie.  It was a much needed night out without the kids and for that I am thankful.  But, I'm even more thankful for the time my kids got to spend with their Aunt Summer.  I hope that they glean from her all of her goodness, love, compassion and contentment.  We are all blessed to have her in our lives!!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Where Honey Comes From

Gavin has been telling anyone who will listen the story of where honey comes from.  Here's his version in his words:

"The bees go out flyin' and they get da nectah.  Then the builder bees make da nectah into honey.  Then those bees give da honey to da beekeeper.  Then da beekeeper puts da honey into a pastic bear and he takes it to the grocery store.  Then we buy da honey and we make peatut butter and jelly and honey sandwiches!!"  

It is all explained with elaborate hand gestures and lots of extreme punctuation.  And no, there are no spelling errors in the above quote...just trying to emphasize how he says it all!  Today, he stood outside the shower with his head leaning in and told Dan this story while Dan showered.  He came running in my room after Dan got out and his hair was soaking wet!  But, it was worth it, because he made sure that Daddy understood where honey comes from!!

Monday, July 21, 2008

Back to Work

Today was my first day back to work.  I have been dreading this day for the last several weeks.  I've always had a hard time going back to work after the kids were born, but I do end up enjoying my job and having some time in the "adult" world in the long run.  Today, as I drove away from the babysitter's house on my way to the school, it felt like my heart was being ripped out!  As much as I complain and talk about needing time away from the kids, it is so hard to walk away when it is actually time to go!  When Dan and I first went away sans kids a couple years ago, we called them about 3 times a day FROM MEXICO!  Our cell phone bill was about triple the normal fee that next month.  

All 3 kids did great today.  The boys ran right in and Gavin immediately started asking Tina for the Buzz Lightyear that he played with on his last day there 4 months ago.  Aislynn flashed her adorable smile and had the whole place "ooooohing" and "aaaaahing."  

I know it will get easier.  I know that I am blessed that I have a great PART-TIME job that I really do love.  Today was just a big hurdle to get over.  Now, as I sit here decompressing after sending Dan to get me some orange and vanilla ice cream (my drug of choice), I am thankful for these fierce little people that bring about so many forceful emotions in me.  I wouldn't have it any other way.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Good Dog...Bad Dog

As far as dogs go, Cooper has been pretty good.  He gets overly excited when people come to visit, but he also calms down rather quickly.  He's only 1 year old and most labs take about 2 to 3 years to really calm down.  He can be such a great dog.  He's very loyal and extremely tolerant with the kids.  They climb on him, fall on him, run all around him and he never gets nippy at all.  He loves to be near us and follows us from room to room.

However, he also has a tendency to act like a BIG DUMB DOG!!!  He eats cat poop out of the litter box (or as my sister-in-law calls it, Kitty Roca) if we ever let him get to the basement.  The other day I found him playing what looked like a game of bobbing for apples in the toilet (turns out he was trying to eat a little floater Gavin left behind...GROSS).  Even though he is a big male dog and our cat is a small male cat, he still tries to procreate with him...if you catch my drift.  He goes ballistic whenever we leave him alone.  He barks and barks and barks AND BARKS (do you get the point?).  Today, my neighbor came over to check to see if we knew that he barks the whole time we're gone from the house.  Which was her polite way of saying, "Please, for the love of all that is good in this world, Make your dog SHUT UP!!"  So, we're going to have to resort to the bark collar again.  We thought he had learned not to bark from our first stint with the collar, but apparently it takes more than that to get through his thick, happy-go-lucky head. But, we really do love him and he's part of the family, so he is definitely worth it.  We just need to make sure to keep the toilet seat down.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Bribery...Great Parenting Trick or Horrible Mistake??

We use bribery a lot in our house.  If you go potty on the potty chair, you get a piece of candy.  If you get your pjs on quickly without complaining, you can have a bowl of blueberries.  If you don't fight all day with your brother, you can watch a movie while Mommy makes dinner.  If you get in the car after a fun day at the fountain without any monster tantrums, you can have a cookie on the ride home.  You get the idea...

I've justified this with the thought that the boys are able to make decisions based on a reward system...that is, we reward good behavior.  But, I'm starting to wonder if we're overdoing it.  Shouldn't my kids want to obey because they know that they need to obey their parents and not always be expecting some sort of reward?  Have I resorted to this method simply out of frustration and laziness?  It's not worth the battle to try to get them to do what I want without treats, so we reward good behavior.  But, I'm wondering, is this a better way to raise a puppy than a boy?  Our boys associate going to Target with getting some sort of treat.  Almost every time we are out and about, Gavin announces, "I wanna go to Tah-get and get a treat."  Even if I tell him we're going to the park, fountain, friend's house, etc, he still whines that he wants to go to Tah-get first.  It really gets under my skin, but I do realize that this is the monster I helped to create.  I don't want my kids to grow up, however, and ask their boss what special bonus they get just for performing the basic functions of their job.  Can you imagine??

So, I'm going to try to reverse some of the damage.  There will still rewards for good behavior, but I'm hoping to make them more natural.  For example, if you get your pjs on fast without complaining, we'll have more time and we'll be able to read 2 stories before bedtime!  If you leave the fountain without throwing a fit, we'll be able to come back next week and have another fun time.  There will also be times when the boys are expected to obey just because I'm the Mommy and God put me in charge.  Granted, this is going to be more work for me and require me to think much more creatively.  But, I think it will help my children to grow up to have better work ethics and ultimately be better citizens.  

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Bad Dreams

Last night I had one of those fitful nights of sleep....the kind where you keep having weird dreams and waking up in the middle of them only to fall into an even weirder one.  I'm having trouble shaking one of the dreams I had last night.

Here in Portland, we have a new sky tram that flies overhead and takes passengers from OHSU down to the waterfront.  We took the boys on a ride right before Aislynn was born.  Last night, in my dream, the whole family was riding up to OHSU on the sky tram and Gavin was on Dan's shoulders.  It was just like the real tram except we were flying over a big body of water and the sky tram had open windows at the top.  We went over the big tower and when the tram started swinging on the rope, Gavin flew off Dan's shoulders and out the window, falling into the body of water.  I screamed (one of those dream screams where you are trying to scream loudly, but you can't actually here anything).  Then I started to climb up to the window so I could jump out and try to save Gavin.  This is where it gets even weirder...a man jumps in front of me and says that I need to stop and think before jumping.  "God has Gavin already," he says, "You need to stay here...your family can't lose Gavin and you."

What in the world??????  My heart keeps skipping beats today.  I'm a person who struggles with extreme unrealistic fear have a dream like this just sets my mind spinning in a thousand different what if scenarios.  What exactly in my subconscious led me to have this dream?  Does anyone have any explanations?  Would you analyze my dream for me??

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Working the System...

We have a haircut routine at our house.  The boys were scared of getting their hair cut for awhile so we started bribing them with lollipops.  Then, a new Jamba Juice went in right next to the Haircut store.  So, now we have the following routine: every 6 weeks the boys sit still and get their hair cut and then we walk next door and they get to have a "juice shake."  I always order a regular size drink and have them put it into 2 cups for the boys to share.  

During our last trip, Caedon and Gavin both did really well at the haircut store.  They climbed into their seats and sat tall and straight without complaining throughout the whole thing.  Afterwards, as we walked to Jamba Juice, I was complimenting them on what BIG boys they were and how well they did during their haircuts.  We went inside Jamba and I asked the boys what kind of fruit shake they wanted.  Caedon replied, "I want one with all the different kinds of berries and also some mango.  Oh...and Mom...I think I can handle a big cup now."  Meaning, now that I'm such a BIG boy, I don't want to split a shake with my brother anymore.  

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Laughter with Friends is the Best Medicine

This is an old story, but as I was chatting with a friend this evening, I was reminded of this and couldn't stop laughing.  I thought to myself that this is a story that should be shared with the world wide web!  I hope you find it as funny as I do.  

We were at my good friend, Karen's, birthday party and were playing a game that is similar to Taboo.  It was Aminta's turn to give us all verbal cues while we tried to guess what word she had on her card.  This was all she said: "It goes on your foot or your butt!!!!"  Have you guessed yet?  We all just stared at her.  Then a few people bursted out things like, "Shoe, boot, underwear."  ?????  Am I the only one who doesn't wear shoes on my butt or underwear on my feet?  The answer was thong!  I'm not sure why that is so entertaining to me, but it still makes me laugh.  It is times like these that help us all keep our sanity.  Times when we get to eat, laugh and share fun times with each other.  We walk through all the tough times of life together too and it is so wonderful to have all these ladies to share life with, but man, sometimes there is nothing better than a good laugh!!