Friday, December 23, 2011

Christmas 2011

There was bribery. There was the typical chaos of arranging a gaggle of children with the naive hope that this time we would catch a unanimous smile. There is no synchronization here, but there is love. We share it with you and wish you a very Merry Christmas.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Hamming it up

My son takes himself way too seriously.

Exhibit A:

Exhibit B:

Exhibit C:

Exhibit D:

Exhibit E:

Monday, August 8, 2011

More Compassion

So many of the days during my husbands deployment were a blur. Not because it was all terrible but because the load I carried seemed to give me little time for processing. I do remember one winter afternoon, clearly. I was at the grocery store with my toddler son, waiting for a prescription, after just having spent much of the afternoon waiting for a visit with the doctor, after having spent the last sleepless night caring for and worrying about him. During the short wait at the pharmacy, his discomfort grew as well as my anxiety to get him home as quickly as possible. He hadn't had much of an appetite, yet I had been giving him Motrin to help with his fever, which doesn't always sit well on an empty stomach. I grabbed the bag, paid for its contents and tucked him up into me as I hurried to the car. As we approached, I noticed a cart blocking my door. I quickly pushed it up past my car door, focused on getting us home. As I started to open the door, I heard the two men behind me express their disapproval of me not putting my cart back. Looking straight at me, yet talking to each other, they made sure I understood that it was selfish and lazy of me not to do so. (If you read one of my previous posts, you would know exactly how I feel on the matter.) My immediate reaction was a bit of disbelief over how forward and critical they were. Then my son threw up. I started to clean him up, struggling to see what I was doing through the tears. I wanted so badly to tell them they had some nerve and no idea what was going on. That I was tired, alone, worn, and a nice person that usually returned my carts and that it wasn't even my cart to begin with! I drove home feeling a combination of self-pity and deep irritation. I kept thinking about what I would have said to them had I been given another opportunity. I looked back at my son through the mirror and saw his sweet little face. And that red, tired face softened my heart. The anger I was feeling slipped away and everything seemed to quiet around me. I knew it was learning time. So I listened. And in my heart and mind came the reminder that though the lack of compassion shown to me was wrong, so was my withholding compassion from the seemingly compassion-less.

Compassion is something I think a lot about. It is an attribute that is not just one on my checklist of attributes to have but one that finds its way into my introspection on a constant level. The times I missed an opportunity to carry or "be there" for someone stay with me and serve as reminders in my every day life. So why did it seem that in some of the most crucial moments where what I needed most was compassion, did I receive the opposite? Like that afternoon, over the course of time, I am being taught that sometimes my Heavenly Father wants me to know that He is the only one that can know all of the details. That sometimes He is the only one that will know my heart completely and that I am striving, trying, and putting my cart back when no one else knows it. And I have to be okay with that. Over all, I can't consider myself compassionate if I can't show compassion in situations where it is being directly withheld from me. Man, I have a long way to go. But I think I am also okay with that.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

The day started with the standard alarm signal. We invested in a special device which has twin speakers. One repeatedly chirps while the other grunts and occasionally spits out a low pitched growl/emergency broadcast signal. It is an effective method at killing slumber, as effective as a sling shot pebble between the eyes. It is also self programmed and varies its signals every so often. We wouldn't want to get too comfortable, now, would we? Shawn and the girls have whizzed out the door with lunches, briefcase, toast and backpacks in tow. The kitchen looks like an inventory specialist popped in sometime during the night and made sure to leave out every single item from every single drawer and cupboard. The peanut butter sits open on the counter with a butter knife sticking straight up. I know immediately that it was Madeleine who had left it this way. She had wrapped the knifes handle in a wad of napkins. She does so to keep her hand from getting peanut butter on it after digging in to the bottom of the container. I considered a complete kitchen renovation which, at the moment, seemed like an easier task than cleaning it.

I walked down the hallway and opened the twins bedroom door with the standard exclamation, " Good Morning, stinkies!" and reveled in the joy and excitement of their response. Charlotte started to repeat her "eeewwww" sound she makes when she needs a diaper change and I noticed that something smelled a bit "rosy". I moved in closer and could see that her diaper was laying neatly folded over in her crib next to a big wet puddle. "Eeeewwwww" was right. And I just, JUST washed their bedding and returned it to their cribs the day before. I learned years ago that the surest way to have a ginormous spill is to mop the kitchen floor. Works every time. Obviously, a universal rule.

The babies are fed and dressed and playing in their room while I fold laundry. Seth came in with a mini Leatherman on the scissor setting and a button suspiciously similar to the decorative buttons on my duvet. He said, "Look! I found a button to your comforter!" I asked him if he "found" the button by cutting it off of the duvet cover. He said, "no". I asked him if he was sure and he said," weeeeeeeeelll". He shot me his signature crooked and long smile which made me instantly visualize discovering through an ancestry search the The Grinch was in fact our relative. I couldn't help but laugh. It is absolutely impossible for me to imagine him grown. The charm of his bright blue eyes and freckles is so appealing at 4 years old. I admit it has probably saved his life a time or two.

In the distance I could hear a rhythmic whack of a maraca followed by a squeal from Sam. It continued till I reached the door. Charlotte froze and smiled with the incriminating evidence raised in her hand above her head. She has done this before and I put the maraca up thinking it would help. It didn't. Ten minutes later I heard the child-sized tambourine tapping against something and the same Sam squeal following it. Today she somehow got hold of the maraca again. I fear that Sam may develop a twitch that will manifest itself anytime he hears latin music. We played and played. We read stories and stacked cups, put shoes on and took them off, repeatedly. Charlotte tugged at her doll and said "Piiiiitttttteeeee. Piiiiiitttteeeeee" Someday she will pronounce it "pretty", but until then I am happy to hear her high pitched voice chirp away. Just not in the form of an air raid siren.

A lot happens before ten a.m. And it's good.