Thursday, December 30, 2010

Goodbye, 2010!

Phew! 2010, what a year!

January-- It began with two emergency room visits. Apparently, Logan caught RSV from Emma over Christmas and developed breathing issues. I took him to the doctor because he was not feeling well and ended up having to take him tothe hospital to get breathing treatments. Later on in the week, he began to wheeze again, and we were back at the ER. This time, though, we left with our own nebulizer so that we could do breathing treatments 3-5 times a day--Yay! Brad missed the first week back to school, and Logan was really sick for around 10 days straight.To put it mildly, our year began with a bang, but not a good bang :-).

February-- In February our family took a trip to Florida with GACS on a mission trip to help my old stomping grounds, Christian Home and Bible School. My kiddos got to spend some quality time with their grandparents, and Brad and I spent some quality time with some sweet, hard working GACS middle schoolers. I don't think the gym at CH&BS has ever been so clean. Logan also turned one this month. Unfortunately, he was sick yet again with an ear infection. The poor thing looks pitiful in all of his pictures.
Emma at her preschool play

March-- I don't remember March. I'm sure it was a good, solid month, and I am sure one of us was sick :-).

April-- April began with a trip to the hospital yet again. This time to get tubes for Logan's ears--Hallelujah! The Dentons could not have been more eager for a break, and we enjoyed our Spring Break immensely. We went to the Yellow River GameRanch and the park, and we just rested and enjoyed one another. In our fog of sickness that began the year, we had forgotten how cool we really are and how much we love each other :-). After break, Emma participated in her spring ballet recital. My little three-year-old performed twice in one day and did not have a melt-down until we were on the way home. Then she screamed half the way home (that she did not want to go home; she wanted to go to Monkey Joe's) and mid-scream fell deeply asleep.
May-- The best thing about May was that school was over. I had a fabulous group of students whom I loved and still love immensely, but our family had been sick non-stop since October. We had had food poisoning, ear infections, bronchitis, RSV, and colds. Brad had missed TWENTY DAYS of school taking care of our kiddos (I had used up all of my days on maternity leave). Because of all of his ailments, Logan was not sleeping through the night. And that is to put it mildly. He was actually waking up every hour on the hour. I was more exhausted than I have ever been. I now have more of an appreciation for mothers of chronically ill children. At least, I saw light at the end of my tunnel. My children were building their immunities, and they were mildly sick and uncomfortable. I can not imagine how mothers with severely ill children cope.

And sometime around the end of May, Logan started to walk. I don't remember when (see comments about me being in a fog), but he was running by the time we went to the beach at the beginning of June.

SUMMER!!!!-- During the summer, we rested and recuperated. Brad and I went for a couple of days alone to the beach, we went to grandma and grandpa's, we took the kids to the beach, and I went with two of my friends to the beach. We also had Emma's first friend birthday party in our backyard. I am definitely not a party planner, but I had one objective--just to have some kids over and have fun. We bought two sprinklers--a wiggly worm and a beach ball sprinkler--and a big, blow up pool. I made cupcakes, we had popsicles, and the kids just played. Oh, and we had a pinata; I can't forget the TWENTY DOLLAR pinata. I did not realize they were so pricy until Emma had already fallen in love with one. Emma had a blast (and had only a mild melt-down 1/2 way through the party :-)). I meant to have the kids take swimming lessons and have Emma take gymnastics during the summer, but I was so exhausted that I was lucky to get my summer organizing and cleaning finished. Plus, this summer was HOT, HOT, HOT. We spent more time inside than I would have liked, but we sweltered when we left the house.
Fall-- Emma began K-4 at GACS in August and could not have loved it more. She has loved her teachers, the centers, carrying her tray on Fridays, the bathroom with the dragonfly on the wall, and going outside to play on the playground. I have loved having her on the same campus with me and driving her to school every day. And uniforms. I really have liked uniforms. She has looked so cute in them, and I don't have to think about what she is wearing--everything matches! Logan continued at Ms. Margie's, but he has had only had one sick month--October, evil, yucky, October. However, Logan's ear tubes have seemed to be working, and he has been relatively well. A new friend started to go to Ms. Margie's and Logan loves his "Lolly" (Charlie).
September brought visitors to the Denton house. Grandma came to visit, and we went to Tribble Mill Park to feed the ducks, have a picnic, and play. Michelle also came, and she and I got to have some girl time (and we bought Logan's beloved monkey).
Even though our October was difficult (we all got the stomach virus, Em and Log had ear infections, etc), we still had a blast. We went to the corny corn maze Corn Dawgs with Mimi, we went to a pumpkin patch, we carved a pumpkin, and Grandpa came to visit! We also took him to Tribble Mill Park and the awesome Bass Pro Shop. I also made awesome roasted pumpkin seeds. They were truly fabulous (last year's, not so much). Emma was Alice in Wonderland for our church's Trunk-n-Treat, and Logan was a ferocious lion.

We were well in November. It is the first month since Logan has been born that we haven't gone to the doctor for a sick visit. Everyone exclaim! We had a fabulous Thanksgiving. We began our week off by taking Mimi to Gaitlinburg, and we had so much fun. We went to the aquarium, ate lots of great food (Pancake Pantry--what? what?), and just enjoyed nature. It was a great family trip, and the first we have had has a whole family.

In December, I did something that I have not done in my 13 years of teaching--I finished my grades the last day of school. It has been fabulous not to have grading to do when I get back to school in January. Emma had her winter recital for ballet, and she had a K-4 Christmas production. She had one line in her K-4 program-- I want to hear sleigh bells right now and ride along with Santa. She said is perfectly (and knew everyone else's line as well as her own).

We also had our first white Christmas. It truly was magical and the kids had a blast making snow angels, eating snow, and touching the cold. Emma and her daddy made a fabulous snow man, and Logan put footprints all through our yard. He just loved running in the snow. We went to Florida after Christmas, and we were able to visit the grandparents and Aunt Kay-Kay as well as my uncle Steve and aunt Carol who have retired and moved to Florida. It was so nice to have everyone together. I think this may be one of my favorite Christmases.
An update on the kids--

Logan, 22 months

He can say his first sentence, "I love you" (melt my heart). He is finally sleeping through the night, and he puts himself to sleep every night. He has really come in to his own and is starting to develop a sweet, quiet personality. He is a snuggler. He loves cars (when he says, "cars," he rolls his "r" in the most delightful way), running, eating strawberries, saying "nigh nigh," mimicking Emma (Ahma), his bottle (bawble), his monkey, swinging, brushing his teeth, and watching The Wiggles. He does not like other people hugging or sitting on his mother's lap, cheese, milk in a sippie cup, clothing that does not have a car on it, sweaters, or pants.

Emma, 4 1/2

She is usually a delightful child. Her delightfulness only wanes when she is tired, hungry, or when someone is doing something that she perceives as against the rules (she firmly believes everyone should follow them). She gives me daily updates on whether or not she has had to sit on the red line (punishment in K-4) because she a week period of time when she was too loud in the house center:-). According to her, however, she has not had to sit on the red line in "years." She loves chocolate chip cookies, ice cream, chocolate milk, bacon, drawing, painting, doing art projects, organizing, playing dress up, bossing her brother around, going to the pet store with Daddy, painting pottery and cooking with Mommy, picking Logan up from Ms. Margie's, spending the night with Mimi, learning about germs, reading, and telling stories. She does not like getting up in the morning, leaving Mommy's classroom in the afternoon, nap time, flushing the toilet or automatic flushers, Toy Story 3, Sponge Bob, or sitting still at supper time.

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Failure--A Confession

One morning as I was trying to get Emma out of bed and into the bathroom to brush her teeth, I said, "Come on, Emma, move. Mommy's at the end of her rope." Emma then groggily turned over and moaned, "It's not time to say that yet. You say that in the car." Out of the mouth of babes!

I am working right now on my ever shortening temper. You see, I like perfection; however, I am horrifically imperfect. This provides me with constant internal conflict. I know how I SHOULD be. I should fold the laundry right when it gets out of the dryer; I should make the kiddos bags before I go to bed at night; I should get up before 6 AM and not hit snooze 500X; I should treat my family like they are the loves of my life rather than an imposition; I should be a good 20 lbs. thinner; I should work out; I should talk to my husband rather than bark at him, etc. I have a bunch of rules that I feel I should follow, but rarely do.

For example, this weekend I got most of the laundry washed, dried, and folded. The clothes didn't make it to the drawers. So yesterday, I come home to find the laundry baskets taunting me. Almost, but not quite, perfect. And then, Emma starts to talk about having cookies for Brooke's birthday at school, and I realize--Ouch! I forgot about Brooke's birthday part on Saturday. And then I open her school bag and find that in our frenzied morning (because I overslept, yet again), I forgot to fill out her reading log. And then I start making super--spaghetti. While I am making it, I'm thinking, "At least one thing I am doing right. Everyone but Brad likes spaghetti!" As I am making spaghetti, I put Emma to work at the kitchen table on the homework paper that we forgot to do last week, and Logan to work on taking all of my nicely folded laundry out of the laundry baskets (not the activity I had planned for him, but he was safely occupied while I cooked). Then Emma, who has decided that this is the perfect time to assert her will, tells me that she no longer likes spaghetti. She wants macaroni. I tell her to stop telling me she wants macaroni; she's getting spaghetti. And she won't stop telling me she wants macaroni. In fact, she is incredibly 4. Over and over again, she says, "I want macaroni, not spaghetti." Well, about her third time in her chant, which to me sounds like, "You can't do anything right; you can't do anything right; you can't do anything right," I lose it. I mean totally lose it. Shouting, sending her to her room, screaming at her to be quiet, etc. And then, the guilt. She's 4. She's behaving like a 4 year old. I, however, am acting like a, well, a complete crazy woman, and probably like a 4-year-old myself. Brad comes home in the middle of this, and I have to admit that I didn't win any "perfect wife" awards either. I wanted to run out of the house and leave him with supper, screaming kids, and all the nightly duties. But some sanity prevailed and I realized that he is tired too and that leaving the mess wouldn't make the mess go away.

So now, not only am I not perfect, I am dreadfully a failure. No one is eating the supper I have prepared (except Logan; that delightful child eats anything), Emma's probably scarred for life, and the laundry is no longer even kind of folded. Therefore, I spent the rest of the evening building back the bridges I had burned because I am not perfect and couldn't deal with it.

Where do I go from here? I am going to try to accept that I am not perfect and to not allow my imperfection to cause such frustration that I give up and become a screaming banshee. That's enough for now.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Emma, 4; Logan, 19 mos; Jami, 35

Emma at 4 is
One entire morning car ride comprised of Emma asking me 1.2 billion questions about how viruses are formed, how they are spread, what they look like, etc. That child NEVER stops asking questions. Once I asked her to just stop for a bit, and she cried, "But I WANT to know, Mama!" And she truly does. The only two real problems with this are 1. it is constant and 2. I don't know the answers to half her questions, and she doesn't believe me when I tell her I don't know. I guess it is good that she has such confidence in me, but I really don't know what a virus looks like and if it has a mouth. Maybe it does?

AAAAAAAAAAh! This morning Emma crawled in bed with me for a morning cuddle. At first it was kind of nice, warm, and cozy. AND then, the whining started. She didn't have enough pillow. She wanted my arm just right above her head. She needed more covers for her feet. My leg needed to be on top of her feet, but not like that. It seems I cannot do anything right. I am trying to be patient with this. I know it is just a stage, but man, sometimes. . . I just want to scream (and sometimes I do :-)). We have a deal, though. If she will try not to whine, I'll try not to get frustrated and yell. It works 75% of the time.

Emma loves to help. She throws things away for me, wipes down the kitchen table, does the dishes, puts her clean clothes away, and puts her dirty clothes in the dirty clothes bin. She really is eager to please. Every morning she brushes her teeth and dresses herself. And she is so proud of herself. She'll run into the kitchen when she's ready and present herself to me. It is such an adorable sight. Hair and collar askew, face beaming, she announces, "I'm ready!"

That child loves to draw. Right now, she can draw a cat that looks like a cat, a spiny sea creature of some sort, her family with faces, arms, legs, hair, and sometimes hands and feet, a spider, a lady bug, a house, flowers, and rainbows. She adores painting and playing with play doh, and she will draw and do "school work" for hours.

She absorbs everything and her memory is 500x better than mine. She knows when everyone's birthday in her class is! And she knows this from the cupcake bulletin board in her classroom. She is obsessed with the calendar, and we must mark off the days just like they do in her classroom. When we are approaching the last day of the month, she excited prepares for it, and the second she wakes up on the first day of the next month, she is so excited.

Logan at 19 mos is
Oh my goodness, this child is CUTE! His eyes are big and blue, he has eye lashes that go on forever, he has two adorable teeth on the bottom of his mouth and four on the top, and his feet are FAT and scrumptious. He walks on his tippy-toes, and although, we might have to work on changing that later, now it gives him a springy gait that brings a smile to my face. He runs everywhere, especially everywhere Emma does. He is quiet, but energetic and will play for a long time by himself. He loves to throw a ball, put together and take apart things, and color on the upholstery.

flirty and cuddly--
He will put his arms out and go to anyone. He truly has not met a person he does not love, and if you are willing to cuddle with him, he is delighted to cuddle with you. He knows how to get his way by being adorable. He just looks up at you with his big blue eyes and grins. He will go from me to Brad, from Brad to me, flirting with us, trying to get his way. When you are holding him, he clings to you, scratches your neck, and buries his head occasionally in your chest.

He has a black eye, a bump on his nose, and his legs no longer are the pristine, white chubby legs of an infant. He is definitely a toddler, on the run, bumping into things, falling down, and fearless. When he hurts himself, he cries for maybe 10 seconds and then he is ready to go again. He moves with reckless abandon, sliding down the slide head first, and jumping off of and on the couch. The only thing he is tentative about is walking in our master bath. There was water on the floor one day and he took quite a tumble and so now he will stand on the carpet before the linoleum and survey the floor before he slowly steps onto it.

SLEEPING, mostly--
He is sleeping mostly through the night, which for Logan who was waking up every hour is quite an accomplishment. He now sleeps until at least 3, and if he wakes up at 3, he usually puts himself back to sleep in about 15 minutes and sleeps until 5. We are working on getting him to sleep until at least 6, but he has come a long way from where he was. I have learned some things about him--1. If he cries during the night, it is usually because he is mad to be awake, not because he is sick. 2. If you tell him to stop crying and go to sleep, he usually will before 5, after 5, he's up :-). Getting him to sleep has been a parenting adventure.

Talking, some--
Logan is taking his time talking. He usually gets his way without talking (see paragraph about flirting), so his parents are having to make him ask for things rather than just batting his eye lashes to get his way. He can now say "please," "thank you," "juice," "bottle," "apple," "moo," "peek a boo," "more," "mama," "dada," "drink," "that," "this," "no," "bye," "hello," "Mimi," "eieio," "uh oh," "night night," and "weeee." He love the song "Old MacDonald's Farm," and he loves to sing and clap.

Jami at 35 is
tired-- That is obvious. But I am feeling a little bit bored. My day is filled to the brim, but it is actually filled with a lot of mindless activity. I do a lot of things, but I am not thinking much. Before kids, I was in graduate school classes, reading education philosophy books, watching movies, and talking to my brilliant husband. I was also creating curriculum and figuring out this teaching thing. Teaching is, of course, every evolving, but I have tons of resources to use now, and I know kind of what I am doing. It is not as challenging as it once was. The newness of raising children has worn off, and we are in a bit of a routine. And although, it is always challenging, it is a different challenge then I am used to. I need a hobby :-)

chubbier than I would like--this is self-explanatory, but for some reason I can't get a hold of it. After Emma, I lost weight relatively quickly, but the Logan weight is trickling off (mostly because I am still eating like I am pregnant).

happy--Even though, I am a bit bored and fat, I am happy. I truly do love my life more than I ever have. Being a parent gives me more fulfillment than I ever expected or could have ever imagined. Every day has moments of intense joy, whether I am listening to Emma tell a story or rocking Logan to sleep. Life is good.

I am not proofreading these. I don't really care :-) Don't judge, just enjoy (I think this may be the motto of my life :-)

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

The Infrequent Blogger

Here I am reading other people's blogs, clandestinely, in the shadows. Sometimes I post a comment, but most of the time I lurk and laugh. I connect from a far.

Friendships in this new millennium are an interesting thing. I feel connected to people who I really don't "know" all that well through Facebook and from reading blogs. I truly do like reading other people's statuses and their blogs. I like writing my own status updates. I have to admit that sometimes I spend far to much of my limited emotional energy trying to come up with pithy Facebook status updates. I think I participate in reading blogs and Facebook because otherwise this motherhood/teacher/wife business would be incredibly lonely. It's hard to connect with people via the phone or the drop by visit because at any minute my life could potentially explode. When I come home, I put on my supermom cape and soothe kids, cook supper, wash dishes, and put kids to bed until I collapse into a puddle of mush at around 9:00. And my day MIGHT be finished then, but it also might be pausing. Emma might wake up with a nightmare, Logan might wake up with an ear infection, Emma might wet the bed, Logan might poop in his sleep (who knew that was possible?) and then wake up screaming to be changed. I barely have time to talk to my own husband who is right there beside me, wearing his own cape, bathing children, being a human camel, and bringing incredibly boring children's books about turtles to life.

So thank God for Facebook and blogs. I am able to get support from mom's like me who are dealing with ear infections, throw-up, and temper-tantrums, read about the fabulous exploits of my single friends who jaunt off to Las Vegas and meet Tim Gunn, and form powerful connections that I otherwise would have a hard time keeping up with. I can post a status update at 4 AM while I am cleaning a mess of astronomical proportions and find out that there is another mom across town who is up as well soothing a teething baby.

I wish I had the emotional energy to blog as well. But alas, this meta-blog is all I have today. This was supposed to be either a blog about motherhood guilt or about how cute my kids are right now, but, alas, this is what I have.

Love my Facebook and blog friends, even if you don't know your my friends. :-)

Friday, July 30, 2010

My Reality

It's here. The weekend before pre-planning. I feel like I want to hyperventilate, scream, curl up into a little ball with the covers over my head. The newness of being a working outside the house mom has worn off. I am a woman, but I do not roar (unless you spill tea on my newly steam-cleaned carpet). Being a mother is hard work, being a mother who works outside the home? It can drive you to the insane asylum. The guilt. The lack of sleep. All the people who tug at your skirt all day long.

Yet. . . I choose to do it. And it is a choice, of sorts. Brad and I are broke, but we could be better with our money. I could clip coupons. We could, gasp, not have a cleaning man. I could cut all of our hair, shop at Goodwill, and do the many other things that stay-at-home mothers do to keep their households running. I could break the spine on the Dave Ramsey book and stick to a budget. However, working outside the home is not just about the money for me.

When I was going through my awkward period in JH (like I ever grew out of it:-), I used to fervently pray that God would show me what I was good at. I felt so untalented and worthless. The things that gave social value to a JH student alluded me. Beauty--I had horrific acne, a horrific perm, and braces. Money--well, my parents were both Christian school teachers. I dressed like I lived in a commune. Style--refer to commune comment. Athletic prowess--HA! I couldn't kick a ball without pressure let alone try to kick it while people where holding their breathes waiting for me to fail.

And then. . . one summer I taught the two-year-olds at church. There it was. My talent. Teaching kids just felt right. I felt like I fit.

Before I had children, I had 8 years of fitting, excelling as a teacher. I loved it; I lived it; I breathed it. I stayed willingly and with glee in my classroom until 9 or 10 at night. I set off the alarm in the building at 2 AM working into the wee hours. And none of it was drudgery. The work invigorated me and gave me purpose.

And then. . .my precious Emma was born. Wow. Wow. Wow. How to describe the change that took place inside me? Suddenly with one push and one radiant cry, I was a mother. Every sinew in my body changed. I looked at her and I understood the phrase, "took my breath away." And again, I fit. I loved motherhood. It just felt right.

And then. . .adorable Logan made his quiet entrance into our world, nuzzling, cuddling, cooing, and just melting all those around him into a puddle of goo (or at least me).

And so. . .why am I not staying home with my precious, adorable children? Isn't life complicated? Even though having children changed my purpose, it did not change the fact that I am a teacher. I am not domestic. I don't cook well. I don't clean well. I don't keep a house well. However, I teach and lesson plan (and occasionally grade essays) extraordinarily well. Something within me does not feel that God has called me (although those words make me a little nauseous) to stay at home. I feel he called me to teach. He created this talent within me.

But. . .he also made me a mother.

And so. . .how do I do it? Here's were the hyperventilating comes: I HAVE NO FLIPPING IDEA! But I feel I have no choice. So I do what mothers have done since the beginning of time. I take a deep breath (and a bubble bath), stack my blocks (as my mother says), put my big girl panties on (as so many are saying these days), and I just do it (as Nike says).

Luckily, I have a Brad who loves me no matter what and who fills in the blanks when I am a blubbering puddle on the floor because I feel like I am a complete and utter failure at all that God has called me to do.

Disclaimer--I don't feel like proofreading. Don't judge my comma usage or spelling. I am an English teacher, but I am not perfect.