Friday, January 28, 2011

My Son, Skip

Well, I did it. And here he is. Meet my son, Skip.

The details to follow...

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Pink Bunny Pajamas

I don't know about all of you, but watching A Christmas Story has been one of our family's Christmas-season traditions. Man, what a classic. But this year, I've wondered at my possible poor judgment in allowing this tradition to be so. Maybe it's his age, maybe it's his being a boy, or maybe it's just his being Camp, but Camp always seems to be the one to pick up the aspects of movies that I'd rather he just leave alone.
This year (or I guess it was last year) was the year that Camp figured out what the F-word is. The F dash dash dash word. In previous years, he didn't understand that part, but this year he managed to piece together little morsels of experience and knowledge with the car trouble part of the movie. He let me know that he now understood what word was being implied. I was thrilled, of course. Thankfully, (and miraculously) he has not used that word yet. And do me a favor in joining me in constant prayers that he never does. I've had a hard enough time adjusting to a husband who says damn and hell all the time. I couldn't survive a son who used the f-bomb.

And that's not the worst of it. The other day while we were at story time at the library, there was apparently a little girl who was kinda whining in an annoying voice. (What am I talking about? Is whining ever NOT annoying?) And so Camp said to her: "You better stop that crying or I'm going to give you something to cry about!" Despite the fact that I was sitting close by, I was oblivious to the situation. Lucky for me (please understand my sarcasm) another mother took the opportunity to kinda freak out and scold Camp. At that point, I asked what had happened and she recited the appalling thing Camp had just said to the little girl (who was incidentally not this woman's daughter) in response to the little girl's crying. I was embarrassed and ashamed and felt completely overwhelmed at yet another situation involving my children's misbehavior--especially because I had been totally unaware of any interaction at all between Camp and this little girl. I called Camp over to me and asked why on earth he had said that to the little girl. He had no good answer, and I insisted he go and apologize. Being that Camp and the other little boys had already been scolded several times (by me and by others) for playing too roughly in the library, my emotional energy tank was in the red zone. Therefore, I had the kids gather up their things and we promptly left. On our way outside, I desperately asked Camp where he had learned to say something like that (his comment to the little girl) and he frankly replied, "A Christmas Story." And then he rehearsed to me the part of the movie where the family is eating and Randy is whining about having to eat his dinner. Camp was only reciting the line Randy's dad gave him in that situation. At that point--despite my still being disappointed at Camp's having said the WRONG thing at the WRONG time--I must say, I was a little relieved. Camp's comment really hadn't been out of malice--just a result of poor judgment. He simply had heard the girl's whining, been reminded of Randy and his potatoes, and completed the scenario the way he had seen it in the movie. My anger and frustration diminishing, I explained to Camp the inappropriateness of his action and reflected a few moments on how annoying Randy really was at that dinner table. :)

Finally, the other day, I walked into the kitchen in the middle of a conversation my kids were having while they were at the counter with a snack. I was just in time to hear Janey say to Camp, "I triple-dog-dare you to jump on Mom's bed when it's made!" Yikes. That's the scariest dare she could come up with? I need help. Seriously. What have I done to my kids?

Anyway, I might just be rethinking our Christmas move list next year. I don't even want to think about what my kids will soon be acting out from Home Alone. Heaven help me.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

(I'm) Happy (It's a) New Year

So my no-contest, hands-down, absolute-favorite time of year has come and gone again. And you know what? I'm doing alright. I kept a little holiday (so to speak) up on my pot rack, and that's doing pretty well at keeping my spirits up.

Christmas was good. A little bit different than other years, but still wonderful.
As it happens, I was not home for Christmas Eve dinner, but afterward, I felt grateful I had been gone, because my potatoes and stuffing were awful. I felt sorry for my guests. What a let down. I was especially disappointed because I had been so looking forward to sharing with you my new stuffing recipe that I got out of my BH&G magazine. (Have I already talked about this?) The thing is--I've never liked stuffing. Ever. But this Thanksgiving, I had come across the recipe and had been a little intrigued because it had some ingredients that I'd never seen in stuffing before--namely: spinach, feta cheese, and potato bread. And since I always have guests and most often some of them ARE stuffing eaters, I had decided that this year I would make my first stuffing and it would be great. And you know what? It WAS great. So great, that when I asked my guests if they would like to take any leftovers home, they said they would like to take some stuffing. But anyway...I was just so stoked to have prepared stuffing that Brian (he's never liked stuffing either) and I and everyone else had really liked. So when Christmas rolled around, I was excited to prepare the stuffing once again and see if I could convert any additional non-stuffing eaters. It was not to be. I didn't use as much bread as I should have and as a result, a really nasty, soggy, stuffing came out of the oven. And I ended up tossing about 90% of it into the garbage. Really? On Christmas Eve? Bummer. And my potatoes were WAY undercooked, so like I said, I am just glad I wasn't there to see the grimaces on my guests' faces.

Have I already shared with you the discovery I've made about myself this year? I've come to the realization that I do not like to cook. In fact, I very much dislike it. And I like baking even less. Do I still do it (cooking, I mean)? Well, of course I do, because I've got a family to feed and I do care somewhat about healthy eating and I certainly can't afford to eat out very often; but I just do not enjoy it. I would rather clean all day than have to think about and then prepare a meal.
The crazy thing is, I never realized how much I dislike cooking because of how much I've always liked to eat. I love to eat, and I love to entertain and socialize. And for several years, cooking very often went along with entertaining and socializing, so I never realized how much (or how little ) I actually enjoyed the cooking part. As the years have passed, though, and our family has grown, and other families have grown, it has become much less common for us to have company for dinner (minus the missionaries). Instead I usually find myself cooking for three kids who normally do not stroke my ego and tell me how much they enjoyed my meal. And while I'm pretty sure Brian does appreciate it when I actually fix dinner, it is somewhat uncommon for him to be home when the rest of us are eating, so I don't get to enjoy his gratitude and satisfaction until he scoops up the cold leftovers later on. It just seems like lot of work for very little reward. Anyway...I don't mean to complain. It's been interesting for me to make this self discovery. I just wish I did enjoy cooking. Because it's a necessary evil. You know. Oh, and I need to include that a large part of what I dislike about cooking is the deciding-what-in-the-heck to cook part. And the grocery-shopping part. The stress I experience over what on earth to cook for dinner rivals the stress I experience over keeping my carpets clean. Not cool.

ANYWAY, though, despite my nasty potatoes and stuffing, Christmas really was wonderful. It was peaceful, and that it the greatest gift I could have asked for. There has been a lot of fighting in our home this year, and a day of peace was just so welcomed. The kids were delighted with their gifts, we ate junk, and watched movies and played games; I got like a 3-hour nap; and I was able to take a drive by myself and park down by the river to have a phone conversation with my mom. It was just a really good day.
And while I'm still on the subject of Christmas, let me say that I think Camp's believing-in-Santa days are drawing to a close. When Jane opened one of her Santa gifts to find a little CD player that we had picked up at a thrift store a couple months ago, Camp recognized it as the one he had seen up in my closet (where he had been instructed not to look), and called my bluff. Also, he made a quick connection between the fruit-by-the foot things that were in his stocking and the one that was under his pillow when he lost his first tooth a month or so ago. I may have said enough to encourage his belief in Santa for a bit longer, but I was forced to come clean about the Tooth Fairy. Oh well.....

If you live far from me and got my Christmas card, you know (or maybe you don't because you didn't know if I was kidding or not) that 2010 was a bit of a hard year for us--as it seems it was for many of you; also. Again, I'm not telling you this with an attitude of ingratitude. I DO feel truly grateful for the blessings my family continues to enjoy, and still feel completely happy and satisfied with my life. The fact is, though, that some years are just easier than others, and this was just not one of those years. That's Ok, though, because I'm convinced that we're all just that much cooler because of it. And we were cool before, know..... :)

OK. So if I do not have this baby sooner, I'm being induced three weeks from today (I've always been induced, mainly because I live 1 1/2 hours away from where my doctor is.) January 25th. Just two days after Dad's birthday and the day before Charley's. Have I already said that Brian and I are pretty sure this will be our last baby? (Man, you would think I was 90 years old, judging from my memory.) Never say never, but we're pretty sure we'll be done. Because while I'm really excited about this little guy inside me, I never really have been baby hungry since having had Danin. The thing is--Brian always said he wanted 4 kids, and I've always wanted a big family, and three kids just hasn't seemed to make the cut. Four kids barely seems to make the cut in my mind, but I just don't know that I could handle any more and be any bit of a good mom. Anyway....I've realized this year especially how grateful I am to my mom for toughing it through SEVEN kids. Because in doing so, she provided us each with perhaps the second-greatest gift she could have given us(the first, to me, being her choice to stay at home with us)--that of six awesome brothers and sisters. Man, I love my siblings. I am so grateful for each of them. I just feel so lucky.

But here's the thing: I'm hoping (and really planning this time) on doing the whole labor and delivery thing drug free for the first time. And I've got two reasons and only two reasons for this: 1) I'm curious. Like I said--this will likely be my last baby and therefore my last chance to experience things the other way. And I really do want to know what it's like. 2) I'm really trying to save money. And anesthesia isn't cheap. Agreed? So at this point (deep breath) I'm committed to going au naturel. There's just one problem. I don't know what the heck I'm doing. I need help! I need advice! What the heck am I supposed to be practicing? I need one of you to give me a crash course in Lamaze. Does anyone have any good music to recommend? Any relaxation techniques? Anything? I realize I'm thinking about this a little late in the game--but better late than never, right? And most likely, I'll be doing this natural thing after having been hit up with Pitocin (0r at least that's what's been the case with my other three babies), so have any of you ever done that? Pleeeaaasse help me......

Here's wishing you a Happy New Year,


P.S. While I wasn't kidding in my Christmas letter, my main objective was to make you laugh. So don't worry too much.

P.S.S. I asked Brian to build me a coffee table for Christmas, so we'd have something to put our feet up on, and he did just what I asked. I think I'll eventually paint it red, but we don't yet have the red paint I want, so for now it is light blue (which I wanted to have under the red anyway.) I'll try and post some pictures soon.