Thursday, August 29, 2013

Gratuitous self quiz

I've seen these around and thought I'd try my hand at a personal bloggy quiz. Feel no obligation to read this post (unlike my other posts, which are mandatory to read) but if you'd like to know a little more about me, for whatever reason, enjoy!

1.Who was your favorite celebrity as a child?

Mr. Rogers all the way. He was like a grandpa to me. I watched his show every day. 

2. What type of pets do you have?

Currently I have 4 chickens and an adorable little dog. 

3. What is your favorite color?

Green and blue. 

4.What is most memorable about your high school years?

I was a big drama nerd so the first thing that comes to mind are the plays I was in. 

5. What word describes you best?

Inability to take serious things seriously. (I know that's more than one word...but you see my point, no?)

6. What is your greatest accomplishment?

I know this is cheesy but I'd say giving birth to my two boys is at the top of the list. I got really sick for both my pregnancies and I was amazed at how much I could survive!

7. What drives you every day?

A small monkey in top-hat (see question #5).

8. What is your favorite food?

My palate has expanded over the years but good cheese will always be at the top of my list. 

9. Where do you want to retire?

I'd love to live by the ocean. So very very much. 

10. What is your business goal this year?

I just got a new job so I guess my business goal this year is to still have a job at the end of it. 

11. Where do you like to vacation?

Anywhere. Really. I love to travel. I love beaches, but I love historical sights as well. Someday I will go to Sardinia. Someday. 

12. Who do you admire?

Anyone who is able to be soft with their convictions and know when to play and when to draw. Extremism is my least favorite human trait (well, maybe sadism is my least favorite human trait, but extremism is a close second). 

13. What is the kindest thing anyone has done for you?

What an odd question. I'd be remiss if I didn't list that one time my mother birthed me and then subsequently, with the close and dedicated aid of my father, raised me, sheltered me, and taught be how to be a human being. 

14. How do you want to be remembered?

As someone who was always available to help out. At any hour, at any place. 

15. What would you do with a million dollars?

Honestly? All fourth grade answers aside? I'd pay off any debt we have, sell our house, buy a house of similar size just a few miles north of where we live right now, but maybe with a bit more land, put the rest in savings, and keep doing what I'm doing right now. 

16. If you were on an island, who would you want to be with? Why?

My husband is and always will be first and foremost my very best friend. With that said, Tina Fey, no questions asked.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Head held high

I haven't been over here in a while, mostly due to new jobs, increase end-of-summer activities, cleaning of houses, life changes and so much more.

Tonight I am home alone. Well, Sammy is upstairs sleeping but Dan and Eli are gone camping so the house feels mostly empty. The dishes in the sink are dirty, there is a mountain of clean laundry to fold upstairs, but I'm taking a few moments to pause and gather my thoughts. These days life is moving at a rapid rate and I don't always take time to stop and be in my own brain.

For whatever reason lately, I have been a pillar of negativity. My life rocks, and I am fully aware of that. I have an amazing husband, two of the cutest kids on the face of the planet, my DREAM job and life is swell. With all that though, I have found ample amounts of material to draw from to host daily or weekly pity parties.

Sure, our life is a little uncertain right now. There are some things about our future we don't know much about. That's just life. Sure, the boys keep me up on my toes every second they are awake. I don't remember the last time I thought, "My house is clean.". These things are all stress factors. But I'm realizing more and more that I've just gotten myself in a habit of being negative.

It came to a head today when we got some frustrating news about some of these life changes we're working on. I called up Dan and ranted and raved. I used language unbecoming of a young lady.  I roared and gnashed about the unfairness of life, the sheer madness of it all, and how, well, butt-hurt I was.

Dan, my never moving rock, listened patiently, expressed similar frustration, gave helpful tips on how to not throw dishes at the wall and told me things were going to be ok. I was so worked up I could only manage a half-hearted acquiescence of sorts and asked him to please forgive the theatrics. He did, after all, marry the former vice president of the Bountiful High Drama Club.

Tonight I sit in retrospect of the day's events. I'm not one to compare human suffering and think, "well, someone has it worse.". A littler perspective is always great but I truly believe trials are relative to our life's experience. I don't think it's a healthy practice to diminish your own hardships by forcing yourself to mull over the hardships of others. Every thing is relative.

With that said, I do believe it is easy to create a pattern of negativity that leads oneself to accept life as one big trial. I feel like I have been falling victim to this event in my life lately.  I think a healthy way to approach life if to acknowledge trials, accept them as part of life and work on viable solutions. For me, I just need to pull my head out of my rear and get with the program.

I don't think we have to force a smile when we don't feel happy. Not a believer in this. But I do think it's important to set a tone in life that is sustainable. Constant negativity is not sustainable. It will eat you alive. So my goal for tonight is not to change my life, but change the way I view the events transpiring in my life. Many things are out of my control right now. It's ok to admit when things are hard. It's probably not ok to put on sackcloth and ashes 24-7 and weep and wail. No one wants to be around that person.

Friday, May 31, 2013

Facebook Etiquette

Social media abounds. It's everywhere, and with smartphones it really is like some sort of socially transmitted desease. There is no escaping it.

I joined up with Facebook well after the majority of people I know. I refused until I was pregnant with Eli, working from home, and dying for social contact. Since then, it has been a pleasant presence in my life. I check it occasionally throughout the day and post when I feel I have something relevant to share (ok, or whenever my kids do something funny). I'm amused when, at times, family or friends will comment on my seemingly over-active involvement on FB. "You post way too much, you need to get a life" said a brother once. This made me laugh; my life is at home right now with my kids. Sometimes Facebook and Instagram are the only contact I have with adults all day long. I try to be diplomatic in my postings, as no one likes the over-posters. On the whole though, I feel like if I'm going to be on social media I might as well participate. That's why it's there, no?

With all that said, there are some things that happen on Facebook that make me smirk, shudder, and grimace. Let me go through some status update SNAFUS and plead with you all to stop. it. Or at least, think before you hit enter. Here we go!

Vague Posts

"I'm having such a bad day. I wish the things that happened to me today hadn't."

These are at the top of my list. When I was in Jr. High I remember saying dramatically vague things with lots of sighs to try to get my friends to perk up and ask me what was going on. We're all adults now people...stop. If something happened to you and you feel the need to talk about it online, tell us WTF happened pah-leeez.

TMI Posts

"I'm on my period and I'm bleeding like crazy. Ugh I hate this!"

Not joking. See it all the time. I could actually break this one down into a bunch of different posts. The above is an example of "bodily function TMI". I could also add a section for:

Relationship TMI Posts

"My husband and I got in a fight tonight. I wish he wasn't so insensitive. Where are my kleenexes and chocolate?!"

If you get in a fight with a significant other, do not discuss it on social media. Don't do it. It may, to the neurologically challenged, seem like a good idea to air dirty laundry in public. It is not. Things always have a knack of getting back to the person being discussed. And they won't appreciate it.

More on the TMI list?

Child Bodily Function TMI

"Oh my gosh Terrence just pooped in the potty! It was really loose and runny, but at least it all made it in the pot!"

It's awesome that you're potty training little Betsy Wetsy. No one wants to hear about her bowel movements though. This one is tricky, and I'll admit that when we were potty training our oldest I might have mentioned it once or twice on FB. I never, however, described what was coming out of him or how often. I kept things general and vague.

Labor and Delivery TMI

"She's dialated to a 4, mucus plug is out!"

"Dialated to an 8! The nurse is rubbing her perineum right now to get things ready!"

"Starting to push, baby's head is crowing!"

"Baby is out! Doc is just stitching up her episiotomy and cleaning up the placenta!"

K. Having a baby is amazing. I get that we all want to share the details with our fam. But for the rest of us, hearing a play-by-play of the whole dealy is a bit much. When I was in labor with both our kids, Dan and I made a pact; one general post during labor, one general post in the hours following delivery. That is all. I made him promise not ever to use any words in any social media post that involved any of my sensitive body part. No dialated, no crowning, no effaced, no pushing, no nothing like that. Mostly, if you're having a baby....HAVE THE STINKIN BABY. This is a very rare thing that will not happen again for a while. Enjoy it with the people present and let the rest of us know later on.

Over Posting, Or The Daily Grind

"Having a BLT for lunch. Then it's on to a hike! Oh look a cat!"

I said before that the point of social media is to participate with it. That does not mean updating the public-at-large with a detailed account of your day. I really try to keep it to one post a day, if I have something worth posting once a day. Constant updates aren't really necessary  I'll be honest, I have totally unfriended people before just because they have to post every mundane activity from their day.

BiPolar Posts

"My mom died today. Also...I won the lottery!"

I read these from time to time; status updates that will say one really good thing and one really bad thing. I hate these posts. You can't 'like' the good thing because it will look like you're insensitive to the bad. So then you have to explain your actions; "I wasn't liking that you broke your femur, but I do love that you got a new snake aquarium!". Ugh. Keep posts related to one topic. It makes it easier for the rest of us.

An Overabundance of Any One Thing

"Liberals are all dung-eating muffin heads that should die! Look at the 30 reasons Glenn Beck says they should all move to Cuba!"

"Don't ever eat animals! Here are four more links!"

"I love model airplanes! Look at all the pictures of model airplanes ever!"

I love diversity. I like that all my friends are into stuff. It gives me things to read and think about during the day. But 50 posts on one topic is too much. Facebook shouldn't be a soapbox. Or it can be, just not repeatedly every day. It gets old.

I think that's all the ranting I have for now. Our involvement on Facebook and other social media outlets, like anything we do in life, necessitates a wee bit of restraint, thoughtfulness, and consideration.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Turning 30: Or Why I'm Slowly Going Crazy

In 3 months I turn the big 3-0. A year ago, when asked how I felt about this event, I replied with a wave of the hand and a scoff. Turning 30 meant leaving my capricious 20s in the dust and really owning up to this adulthood thing.

Now, as the date draws near, my attitude has changed. Not insignificantly either. Since about January Dan has sighed patiently when he comes home occasionally to find me in tears. Lost youth, impending elderlyness, and the feeling of failure have all got me way down.

When I was a kid I wanted to be so many things; a scientist, a veterinarian, a teacher, a social worker, and a little later on-a politician. When I got to college I changed my major a total of 8 times before I graduated. I was in the Middle Eastern Studies program for a while studying Arabic so I could go work for the State Department as a cool something-or-rather. Then I was a PolySci major who wanted nothing else than to work for a good nuclear proliferation think tank in Washington (little known fact about me; I'm way into nukes). Finally I transfered over to the Humanities Department and dreamed of taking my degree to a Master's Program in screen writing and be the next Tina Fey or at least Chuck Klosterman.

But 30 is coming, and I have done none of those things. I have a degree. I also have kids. I love my kids and I love staying home with them. I think though, that part of my serious anxiety over this coming birthday is the fact that I feel like I have let my younger self down. I have an Etsy store where I sell burp clothes and baby dresses...what?! That was never the plan.

Having kids is a funny thing because it feels sometimes like maintaining any previous life goals is both futile and almost frowned upon. I sometimes catch myself feeling guilty when I'm in, what I call, and 'Oscar Daydream'.  This is where I stare out the window while holding a bottle of ketchup and, in my head, give the best damned Oscar acceptance speech ever for my amazing *screenplay* *leading role* * cinematography* *directing* or whatever it is. I think the guilt comes because there's no good way to reconcile my role as a mother and my dreams of doing big things in life. I either stay home with my children, something I am very passionate about and something, honestly, I'm very good at OR I farm them out somewhere during the day and go to work pursuing my other dreams.

The former is something I will probably always do. My kids are my life. As soon as Eli sprung forth into this world I was as dependent on my offspring as they are on me. I love them and I am the only one I want taking care of them. The later, the pursuing dreams thing, is something I'm just going to have to come to peace with. And this is the peace that I'm having such a hard time finding as 30 comes nearer.

I wish sometimes I could lead two lives simultaneously  One would be the one I'm in right now, nothing changed. Married, kids, house, mortgage, dog, chickens, walks to the park, and talking to other moms about bowel consistency and sleep routines. The other would be the one with the masters degree, the awesome job, the constant traveling, the fame, the fortune, and the clothes. Oh the clothes. I wouldn't even want to live in that life. Just have it hanging on the coat rack where I could throw it on every once in a while for a few hours.

But for now, where I am, I just need to be still and happy. In the words of Candide, "Let us cultivate our garden".

Wednesday, May 1, 2013


This morning I was playing with my two boys and sort of got caught up in the joy of motherhood. I grab Eli, snuggled him, and said, "How did I get such a good boy?"

He looked at me and said, "Because you love me!".

I couldn't think of a better answer. It hit me then that the words of my 3 year old could not have been more true; they are good because they are loved.

When we love people, we make them better. I can feel this so strongly in my house. When I am crabby and low on patience my kids seem to be the same. If I can pull myself up and "fake it til' I make it" things tend to turn around pretty quick.

How do we get good people in our lives? We love them! Its so simple, but such a hard one to master.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Smoothie Smoothness

Remember when this blog was going to be about food? Remember when I wrote 3 pages of a screen play, started 8 chapters of a book, finished 4 installments of an 8 part mini series and cut out two quilts that are still sitting in my closet? I think I have a problem with follow-through.

Anyway...we've been making smoothing like crazy around here so I thought I'd share my favorite recipe. It's a modified version of one I learned to make when I was 8 in a neighborhood cooking class.

Garfield Family Smoothie Fantastico

2 Tablespoons orange juice concentrate (or honey or agave...any good sweetener really)
8 oz yogurt (I use plain)
5 frozen strawberries
2 frozen bananas
A large handful of washed spinach
4/5 pieces of ice
2 cups water

I just blend it all up for a long long time. I like my smoothies really, well, smooth. It's a great activity because it's one the kids and I can all do together AND it's really healthy. Win!

Thursday, April 11, 2013

A Round About Sort of Way

Tell me please that this happens to other people:

Eli's at preschool. I just laid Sammy down for a nap with the golden thought that I would have 45 minutes to sit on my couch and read my book. As I was walking out of Sammy's room, I caught sight of my laundry room; a disaster. "I'll just fold one load, and then go read."

Twenty minutes later I had sort of made a dent on 'Clean Clothes Mountain'. I thought "Ok, 20 minutes to read. That will be good enough". I headed down the stairs only to trip over a pile of toys I had stacked there the night before that needed to get put away. "I'd better just stash them quick or someone will fall and break their neck." So back up the stairs I went with an armful of toys to put away in Eli's room.

Bad idea.

Eli's room was a wreck. He has been waking up way early but in an attempt at being a good boy he's been playing around before he alerts us to his awakening. This morning he had decided to pull every single article of clothing out of his drawers and make a huge pile in the middle of his room to jump into.    While I appreciate the fact that he was diving into clothes at 6am and not screaming at us, I now have another 4 dozen articles of clothing to add to my piles in the laundry room.

Now its 11:30. I have to pick up Eli in 10 minutes. On The Road is still sitting neglected on my nightstand, my feet still are yelling for a break, and the there are still two hundred things that haven't been done around the house.

This is why I stay up until midnight...its the only time of day I feel is too impractical for housework. You can't clean a bathroom at midnight...never! But you can read in bed.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Korean Spa Day

This last weekend I had the opportunity to visit my sister in Washington DC. My awesome husband took the kids for me and I had 2 days of mommy freedom. It was wonderful. Seriously one of the best things I've done in a long time. Don't get my wrong, I love my kids with all my heart and all that...but taking little breaks now and again is sure nice.

My sister Cristy and I sat down the night I got there and discussed what we should do on my only full day there. She mentioned there was a Korean bath house a few towns over that she'd been to and did I want to go? I'm not sure what else she proposed, because I stopped hearing things after "hot tubs, lounging, swimming, and more lounging".  Korean spa-ing was it.

She explained to me how the place worked; everyone paid in the same place but then they separated the men from the women. After you head to your appointed locker room you say "audios" to your clothes and head to the women's spa area. I'd never done anything in-the-nude, comunal-ly speaking, and was just a little trepidatious about bearing it all in front of a few dozen other women.

I brushed off my nerves and we headed out. Once you get there you undress and then do a really thorough scrubbing. Everyone sits on these little stools next to extendable shower heads and scrubs themselves forever. It was awesome. I had a loofa and some nice soap and spent about 30 minutes getting super clean. I hadn't done that in forever. On good days I'm lucky if everything can get wet before someone screams, bleeds, pukes, pees, or gets sat on.

After the scrub-down you head into the spa area. There are about 5 small hot tubs and then one big swimming pool-type dealy that is heated to the perfect temperature. Jets and little waterfalls work the sore muscles on your back and everything is quiet and I think it's what I picture heaven being like.

I was amazed at how non-weird it was to be in a room full of nude-women. After about 20 seconds, any nervousness I had experienced was gone. It was one of the most relaxing environments I've ever been in. I realized, lounging around in that paradisiacal room, that what made it non-weird was that everyone, essentially, looks the same under their clothes. Sure, some are a little lumpier than others, some had scars, there were even a few women who had had double masectomies, but we were all, in reality, equal.

There was something so mind-altering about not having clothing as a measure for first impressions. We chatted with a few other ladies and there was nothing to set them apart, in any way, from any one else in the room except what they had to say. I loved this. I think there is something intrinsically female about the way we approach new people. As much as I try not too, I do judge people based on their clothing. I think we all do it. Having everyone on a level playing field made social interactions so different...a different I really liked.

I think it would be interesting to have, say, a nude baby shower or some other all-female activity. Get everyone together but take away the fashion aspect of social encounters. To be honest, I think its easier to hide a few lumps and rolls when everything is un-restricted. Pants can give us muffin-tops, bras give us back rolls. No clothes means no bulges!

OK...I'll stop weirding you out. Honestly though...awesome experience. I think every woman should attend one (all female) nude event every year. Anyone know of any in Utah County?

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Happy Valentimmmes Day!

Dan and I celebrated our 5th anniversary last month. It's crazy to think that only 5 years ago we took each other's hands, I took his name, and we got ourselves hitched. Since that gloriously freezing day we've had quite the ride. 2 babies, loads of trips, a few heartaches and a lot of fun. So for this Valentines Day I'd like to commemorate my valentine. He is my one and only and the most amazing husband a girl could ever want. 
Dan and I met at a party in April of 2007. I went on a whim with a guy I really didn't want to go out with. I decided to make the most of it and struck up conversation with a cute skater-looking boy. He was funny, and we ended up swapping YouTube videos on his laptop for an hour or so. He got my number from the guy I was with (what a stud) and called me up a few days later. We got together for Mexican food and talked for 5 hours that first outing. I knew something good was going to come of it. 

A week after we met we both headed off to Europe. I was going to live in Spain for 2 months on a BYU study abroad. Dan was going to tour around with a friend. We emailed back and forth while we were both having our European experience. I printed off all those emails after we'd been married and still have them. 
When I got home in July of 2007 we met up right away. Our first kiss happend 3 days after I'd been back in town and after that we were together 24/7. I always think back on that summer with such fond memories. It was a good one. We went on so many adventures together; camping, hiking, Sliders marathons, late-night 7/11 runs. It was wonderful.

Once Fall hit we both started feeling a little more serious about things. We didn't really know what to think other than we loved each other and wanted to be together all the time. In October of 2007 I was at a sort of crossroads; I was either going to move to Colorado to live with my brother's family while he was in Iraq or Dan and I were going to get married. When I put it to Dan in those terms he suggested I should move to Colorado and we could see how things went while I was gone. Having tried a few long-distance relationships before I told him if I left we were most likely not going to stay together. A few days later, after a long discussion, we both felt like marriage was what we wanted.

 It was an amazing and stressful time. I wanted to get hitched before my brother left for the Middle East at the beginning of January. We both felt like we didn't want to wait until the next summer so we set a date that was less than 2 months away. Our families were thrilled...if not a little stunned. A few days after we had set a date Dan and I were walking to his car to go out to lunch. He stopped me, pulled a box out of his pocket, and officially proposed. I let him pick out the ring and I was so happy when he put it on my finger. Things were official!

We were married for time and all eternity on December 20th, 2007. It was one of the happiest days of my life. Dan looked so handsome; he shaved for the wedding and it was the first time I'd seen him all smooth! The day we got married it snowed and snowed and snowed. It was epic. Our reception was still a blast and we saw so many friends. 

I've always been amazed that we knew each other for such a relatively short time before we tied the knot. I can honestly say I've never in my life met another person with whom I am so compatible. I remember telling someone after we got married that I knew Dan was The One because I always felt so comfortable around him. Our personalities have always just clicked. 

It's been 5 years now since that cold December day. Each day I learn new things about my husband that impress me. He is, without a doubt, the best father I have ever met. He is patient, kind, understanding, and above all else, loving and tender. 

Dan has been present and very involved in both the births of our sons. With Eli he was able to see him come into the world and saw him take his first little breath. When we went through all the drama with Sammy and had to have a c-section Dan was there with the doctors checking him out and making sure he was ok. He gets up in the night when someone is crying. He plays on the floor with the boys for hours. He loves them and they worship him

I can't imagine what my life would be like without Dan. A few months ago we took a long road trip to see his family. On the way home we had a few hours where Sammy was sleeping and Eli was watching a movie and there was peace in the car. I was amazed that even after 5 years Dan and I spent that time making each other laugh so hard we were crying. 
To end my long, sappy ramblings I'd just like to say this; marriage is hard, and can be a struggle sometimes. Trying to mesh 2 people's personalities, interests, goals, and priorities takes time and patience. I am so eternally grateful that I hitched my wagon to a man who is willing to work on things together. There are hardly any problems we've encountered that we haven't been able to overcome with discussion, laughter, and love. 

I love you my valentine! Here's to many many more. 

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Sleepy Time

I often have new moms ask what sort of advice an old sage like me (three years at this gig and going strong!) would have to give. I usually tell them the best piece of advice someone once gave me "You are your child's mother. You will know what is best even when everyone else has a thousands things to say about what you are doing".  If they don't like that, I launch into a 20 minute lecture on the importance of sleep and scheduling for moms and kids.

I am a BIG believer in sleep. I like it a lot. I like sleep for me, I like it for my kids, I just like it. When I don't get sleep things don't go right in my life. I'm cranky, I'm slow, I make stupid mistakes. When my kids don't get enough sleep they tend to take after their mom. In the Garfield house we've sort of established a system that sleep (for the kids at least) is the most important part of our day.

We have them on a very tight schedule. Every night both boys are in bed by 7:30. Every day they are both down for naps at generally the same time. We have a bedtime and nap-time routine that work pretty well for us. There haven't been many nights where we have had to go back in and put someone to bed again.

There is a lot of controversy over "crying it out". I think its a little silly, to be honest. We love our kids, we want what's best for them, and part of that involves a good night sleep for everyone. Around 4-6 months with both our boys we've let them cry a little at night to get back to sleep. Anything longer than 20 minutes or so and we go in check up. It just seems practical to me. Both our boys have slept 12 hours + a night by about 8 months. I'm not saying we're amazing parents, or that we're better than people who don't let their kids cry a little at night. We've just found a system that works really well for our bunch. Also, our kids are NOT allowed in bed with Mom and Dad passed about 4 months. This works very well for us as well. Eli has never asked to sleep in our bed and I don't think he will ever even consider it an option.

With that said...hearing your kids cry NEVER gets easy. NEVER ever. Right now I'm dealing with an Eli who won't take a nap. He is exhausted. He's so tired that he WON'T go to sleep. He needs sleep so so bad, but he just won't go down. Even now, after 3 years of doing this, I'm on the couch silently weeping while my son screams for me upstairs. If I go in there it only lets him know that crying gets a visit from Mom. That just prolongs the nap even more. So I have to sit here and listen to Clair de Lune for the 4th time through and hope that he doesn't remember this when he gets big and resents me (he'll have plenty of other things for that list I'm sure...).

Monday, January 21, 2013

Dogs Dogs Dogs

Over the years I have made an attempt to justify, rationalize, quantify or just simplify my love for dogs. I'm not sure I even get it. My relationship with my furry friends has been strained, stressful, exhaustive and intense. I've also experienced some of the deepest friendships I've ever had with my pups over the years. What follows is a brief and over-sentimental journey of my life as it has related to dogs. 

 My first dog was Buddy. He was an ugly and rat-like little terrier mix who I loved with all my heart. Buddy hated all things but me. My sister wrote a lovely eulogy for him and I'll just link up to it here. Buddy found me when I was 4 years old and passed away when I was 16. Needless to say his death was tough and his legacy; endless. 
I went many years as a single lady with no dog. 2 months after Dan and I were married we went online and picked out a pup together from a local rescue. Her name was Indi, and she became my best friend. Indi and I woke up every morning together and went running. She sat by my side when I was so sick with my first pregnancy and protected me when I was home alone. She was crazy but I loved her. Then we had Eli....and her neurosis became a little more pronounced. We worked and worked with her agression, anxiety, and territorial behavior. Then we had Sammy....two weeks later she bit Eli. It was awful but we had to let her go. Not just let her go but have her put down. I cried...a lot. I still think about my Indi-girl and how I wished we'd been able to help her out more. 
Next up was Scout. I got Scout 2 weeks after we bought our new house this last May. She was a tiny ten week old puppy and we had so much fun with her. But then she grew...and grew...and grew...and as she grew her energy level seems to double and triple. Pretty soon we had this horse lumbering around our house, chasing the kids, eating the chickens, and adding to the already chaotic atmosphere around here. I thought long and hard about it and finally decided we needed to find our gentle giant a new home. She's happier now and so are we. I loved her but just didn't have the energy to keep up.

And now here I sit with no dog. Our house has seemed so much more peaceful in the last few weeks...but I just have that old feeling like something is missing. I even made Dan take us all up to the humane society tonight to look at dogs but (sensibly) talked myself out of it. What I think it comes down to is I have this overwhelming desire for our kids to grow up with a dog. Also, Dan is gone a lot at night and I really love having the security and companionship of a dog around. 

So we'll keep looking for a dog. Not for many dogs, and not a crazy dog, but just a happy family dog. We keep striking out but I see so many other families with dogs I know it's possible, right? Dan thinks I'm crazy...most people think I'm crazy HECK I think I'm crazy but I do think we'll get another dog at some point and hopefully, just hopefully, it will be our forever family pup. 

Sunday, January 6, 2013

A Mama At A Loss

I love being a mom. I don't mean to overstate things but I really do. There are, of course, challenges that come with motherhood. Some of these challenges are par for the course. Others require more thought and consideration. I'm dealing with one of those special challenges right now and would love some help or insight.

Eli is a good kid. And I mean that from everywhere in my heart. He is kind, soft, and loving. He plays well with others and is imaginative and thoughtful. He loves everyone around him and wants to be a part of everyone's lives he meets.

We are, however, dealing with some pretty tough problems with him right now and I don't know what to do. For most of his older life I've just classified these issues as standard toddler/little kid behavior. Things seem to be getting worse though and I'm getting completely overwhelmed with life. It could just be that we're first time parents and this is how all little 3 year old boys are...I just don't know.

Eli can get crazy...I mean like hyper to a point where we lose him. It used to happend infrequently but lately its been happening all the pretty much its all we get from him. He can be very task-oriented and does well if I give him a game to play or a project to work on. But as soon as he's not being completely entertained by me or a toy he comes unhinged. He yells, runs around, hits things, womps on Sammy, tackles the dog, throws things at me and creates general mayhem. When I give him 100% of my attention he's ok...if I divert for even a second I lose him.

Dan and I have read so many articles and talked for hours on how to best parent our little ball of love and energy. I am NOT a believer in holistic, 'natural', or pseudoscientific "cures" for hyper kids (no "essential oils" thank you) but I do think there is something more I can be doing to help Eli be happy and help our house not be a den of chaos 24/7.

We try very very hard to praise him endlessly for the good things he does and quickly and quietly discipline him for the negative...that's easy to implement in practice but sometimes it doesn't work out that way. I try to be patient but there is only so many times I can tell him to do something (like sit down at the dinner table, not yell at me, get out of the fridge, etc.) before I lose my patience. Today after coming home from a very long day at church (he flunked out of Sunbeams 3 times) I walked in the door to get lunch ready and he walked up to me and whipped my face with the metal end of the dog leash.  I'll be honest I did not get down and explain to him quietly why we don't hit mom with dog leashes, and put him calmly in time out. Nope...I spanked his bottom and hauled him off to his room. Not a great thing to do indeed but I do have a boiling point.

I love my little boy intensely. More than I can ever explain. He and Sammy fill our home with so much love and excitement. I want him to be happy more than anything else in the world but I am STRUGGLING learning how to communicate effectively with him. Dan starts school up tomorrow which means I will be alone with the kids a lot more in the next few months. I have been praying so hard for answers on how to be the best parent for my little boys. I just feel at such a loss these days.