Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Bad News

I was disgusted today by the news. Twice. The first time was this morning watching the weather before going to work and then hearing the little captions about the upcoming stories! My kids were in the room for heaven's sake!!! They don't need to hear about a man going on trial for slitting the throat of his precious baby boy.. Or the teacher who is being indicted for selling crack at school.. Or the latest sex scandal in the Catholic church.. Holy crap!! As I scrambled for the remote I caught a glimpse of Nathan's face paying close attention to what he was hearing... That boy is so anxious to understand, to learn and to get info -- he soaks in all that he can. He reads over my shoulder when I'm on the computer, he listens to my phone conversations and asks, "Why'd you say that?" "What does that mean?" And when we're watching cartoons or movies, he wants to know what the characters are thinking - why they're feeling ____ - and whats going to happen next.
So, of course, he was paying close attention to the news. And my heart sank.
My little boy is innocent. Well, as innocent as I've been able to keep him for the past 8 years... And I don't want to shatter that. I don't want him to have nightmares about bad men or scary teachers. I don't want him to have adult concerns and fears... But dang-it I need to watch the weather!!!! Even using the internet for the weather, there are always blaring headlines about missing children, mass murders, executions, etc....
The second time was at work, checking the news from the last couple of days... A grandmother in Virginia threw her granddaughter off a six story mall walkway. Three little boys in Michigan, all brothers, are missing and the police suspect that their father was involved in their disappearance... Local teachers are bracing for how to tell their students that three boys in their school were murdered. And by their father no less... WHAT IS THE MATTER WITH PEOPLE!!?!?!? Some days I am so overwhelmed by the... evil in the world. Its disheartening and depressing.

Does anyone know of a news page that has local weather options that is more family friendly??? I currently use MSN and, as an adult, really like it -- but not now that I have eyes following my media choices... Any suggestions?!!? Thanks!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Bad Attitudes

I have a bad attitude today. I'm grouchy and I want my own space. I don't feel good and I'm tired. I feel drained and angry. I have blown up at the kids because they are making messes and getting rowdy... But, honestly it wasn't really their behavior that was getting to me -- it was that they were infringing on my personal comfort. I wanted to stay on the couch where its warm, or watch my tv show, or not have to clean up the kitchen for the 19th time today... Frankly today, I just don't want to be a mom. And yet, I am one. Like it or not, my home is filled to the brim with three little energetic bodies that beg to be talked to, played with, praised, guided, fed, etc... They don't understand that Mom feels yucky or selfish or just needs a break - all they know is that Mom's grouchy. I don't want to be a grouchy mom... Unfortunately today I don't really want to fix my attitude either. I just want to be selfish and have my space.
How can I justify that when I spend so much time reminding my children to not be selfish?
Nathan and Jillian have been fighting soooooo much lately. Nathan can't handle how Jillian likes to change the rules of games so that she can win. He can't handle how she always wants to get her way and how she 'never' wants to play Star Wars with him. I am having a very difficult time with Nathan as he's going through this stage -- he blames his failures on everything or everyone else -- usually he blames Jillian. If he gets in trouble, its because of Jillian. If he gets tagged in the game, its because Jillian didn't play fair. If he finds that a toy have been left on the ground and has gotten broken, its either because Jillie put it on the floor or because she went into his room and stepped on it.
Poor Chloe is stuck in the middle, being called to choose between her siblings. Who will she play with? Who's game will she play? What does she do when the other two are mad at each other and can't get along? She likes to play with Jillian because she's a girl and they like to play similiar things... But she also gets frustrated with Jillian's difficult personality. And, lately, Nathan gets left out in the cold. I will admit that sometimes its his own fault - he throws a fit when it isn't necessary and then no body wants to play with him....
Ugh. I'm just tired. And grouchy. And now Nathan is left outside playing by himself because they were playing hide-and-seek tag and Jillian got him. Can I pull the covers over my head and hide until this stage is over?

Friday, November 26, 2010

An Uncommon Thanksgiving

Today is Black Friday. I'm not shopping. I really don't have the money to go and hit all the stores - even if everything is on sale. I think I'm going to be shopping at yard sales, thrift stores and the like this year... And that's okay with me. I already got something for my husband and for Nathan that I'm excited about! :)
Yesterday I worked. It was a good day - productive and fun. And I was blessed by the volunteers to be able to take home 5 plates - enough for my whole family!!! So, we actually got to eat Thanksgiving dinner yesterday after all! :) The kids enjoyed their little feast and I loved that I didn't have to cook at all. The only part missing from our feast was the pie. Today I'll be stopping by the store to get a pie crust and tomorrow we're going to make pumpkin pie. Then our Thanksgiving will be complete!!! :)
I really do have soooo much to be thankful for.... A lot of the things I'm grateful for are listed on the side of my blog because I want to maintain an attitude of thankfulness all year long. Recently however, I've been extra specially blessed by my church family, my boss, and my Moron. I'm thankful for you!! :)
My children went around the table and shared what they were thankful for last night: Jillian said, God and then added her family and friends; Nathan said food; and Chloe said her daddy.
Before we sat down to eat, we went to look at a place to rent. My fingers are crossed that we are able to move into this place -- I think it would be great because it has so much more space - outside and inside. I'm confident that God will provide something for us, whether its this place or not. My one thought is that I'd like to move soon so that I can decorate for Christmas. :) I'm looking forward to decorating... and I'll post pictures as soon as we move/decorate! :)

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Turkey Day

I can't believe its almost Thanksgiving. It doesn't feel like it... I'm sure thats a combination of weather, being far from family and because I have to work Thanksgiving day.... We are going to celebrate on Saturday. I'll be cooking... But I haven't shopped yet. Is that a bad thing?? :)

Family Bed

I picked up McDonalds tonight on my way home from work. I was just exhaused and couldn't bear the thought of cooking dinner after the day I had. Found the house to be in a relatively decent condition and my husband asleep on the living room floor. Threw the bags on the table, got the kids to clean up a little and then told them to help themselves. I tried to lay on the couch and not think about how bad my back hurts when I heard a little voice... "Mama... Will you play a game with me?" I really wanted to say no... And then I realized that I also really wanted to say Yes. I wanted to have the energy to play that game, so I got off the couch and sat on the floor to play a very silly game of checkers with my youngest. Then I was surprised by my older two who came out to the living room to give me a "spa day". Nathan put lotion on my legs, Chloe painted my fingernails and Jillian brushed my hair. Then the kids decided they wanted their fingers and toes painted too. Even Nathan. He got clear. I felt very special and I told them so. I'm not sure how my boss is going to react to my bright gold, sparkly fingernails tomorrow but, when I tell her who did them, I bet she'll smile. I have that kind of boss.
Side note about my boss: She is also very understanding of the fact that life happens. She is so approachable and understanding. She's awesome at what she does and very smart -- and she manages to make her employees feel welcome in her office. I'm blessed!!
Now that the spa day is over, I cleaned up after "dinner" and got the kids ready for bed. We've got a family bed going on for some reason tonight - I'm on one side of the king sized bed, Nathan is in the middle, Chloe's on the other side and Boogie is horizontal at the foot of the bed. I'm typing and kids are reading. Chloe is reading through the her little Bible (Did I mention how lucky I am??!?!?) Jillian is flying through Dr. Seuss books and Nathan reads chapter books with ease.
Both of my girls are sick. They've got a cough and a stuffy nose. It really doesn't affect them so much during the day, but at night it is miserable. Its sad to hear them coughing during the night..
Well, this family bed thing worked for a little while -- Nathan has left to places unknown and Jillian is now crying. She says its because she wants to go to school, but Mom thinks its because she's tired. She didn't get her toenails painted at the spa day because she climbed on my dresser to reach the shelf in my closet to get the nail polish to begin with. Then she wasn't able to read out loud because it distracted the rest of us.... Such drama for a 5 year old... :)
I love my little family!! :)

Friday, November 19, 2010

At the Zoo


I am almost done with school. But the end still seems sooooooo far away. Its Senior-itis. And its a bad case. :)
I have three options for my practicum as well as a lead on a new job. The job is working with families of youth who have behavioral issues. It would allow me to have a flexible schedule and to make my own hours but would also push me further into my field of choice because I would get to write treatment plans and progress notes.
And Lowell and I have begun looking for another house. We simply must get out of this HOA... It is stifling and limiting and we are just ready to be free from it. The kids are sooo ready for some more outside space and Lowell is just dying to be able to actually work on something at home. And I'm looking forward to a larger house. Right now, if one or two things get out of place, our living room looks like a bomb went off in it simply because its so small. I called about one house this morning, so now we just need to see if we get a call back, or if its already been rented. Fingers crossed! :)
The first quarter of school is over -- Nathan got 6 As and 1 F. Granted, he didn't deserve the F -- he just didn't turn in a couple of assignments in social studies and because there were only 4 assignments in the quarter that were graded, he got an F. Talk about a devastated little boy. He would have gotten an A because all of his papers were perfect and that would have given him both Honor Roll and The Principal's List. It would also have made him the only one in his class to get this distinction.... The report cards came home over 10 days ago and he's still bummed about it. I've told him that as far as I'm concerned, he achieved his goal, but he's heartbroken. Apparently at the beginning of the year, each student set goals for themselves and, in May, if they've achieved their goal each quarter, they received something from the school. Now Nathan is disappointed again because he knows he won't be eligible for this reward. (The goal he set for himself was Principals List all four quarters.) I'm so proud of him for setting his sights high and for working so hard to achieve his goals... I want to encourage him in these things - I don't want him to be disappointed about how hard he worked. On the other hand, I'm sure he'll be more apt to turn in assignments this quarter... It just seems like a lot of responsibility to place on an 8 year old.. I didn't get a note in his backpack that he didn't have assignments turned in... It all comes down to me having to check the online gradebook and keep up on it. Ok sure, in my free time, I'll do that too... Aggravating!
And, makes me feel a little mom guilt because if I had been checking, I would have been able to get him to turn the papers in (they were already done in his binder) and he would've achieved his goal. Ggrrrr!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010


I was used by God today... Someone told me on facebook that they were encouraged by something I posted and that God used the words to touch them.. Thats a good day. :)

Monday, November 1, 2010

Halloween and a Little Boy's Heart

Halloween is over. We have three very large bags of candy in my pantry. Like we need candy.
Chloe and Jillian really had a good time trick-or-treating; they ran from house to house and were enthusiastically announcing what kind of candy they got from each house. On the other hand, Nathan was very subdued and used the time to talk to me about things on his heart.
He began with, "I don't think I have a very good life."
Talk about stabbing a mother in the heart. Quick prayer -- Lord, please help me to deal with his feelings. To not get defensive and to acknowledge that his feelings are legitimate. And to provide encouragement that will turn him to the Truth...
So, I asked him to tell me more about his feelings. He said that he was upset because his dad sleeps a lot and I am busy all the time - either at work or doing homework or trying to catch up on sleep. Again, stab. Mom guilt splattered all over the place. Deep breath.
I'm sorry Buddy. I don't want you to think that your dad and I don't have time to spend with you. What do you think we should do about it?
He didn't know. He just knew that he was feeling lonely and sad.
For a long time, we've been working on teaching Nathan thankfulness. He has a tendency to look at the negatives in life and to immediately think that if one thing is wrong, the whole she-bang is bad.
So, I tried to turn it around. What is he happy about in his life? What is he thankful for?
He can't think of anything.
Lord, please don't let me get frustrated!!!
So, I took a new approach. I told him some stories about the chidlren that I deal with on a daily basis... The ones that are bruised and scarred by their fathers. The ones that are screamed at every day by their mothers who don't know how to parent - or who are so devastated themselves that they can barely hang on. I told him about children who come to me after living in their cars, after living on the streets and after being abandoned by the ones who are supposed to love them.
He was quiet and took it all in.
I asked him again, what does he have to be thankful for?
He said, "I get it Mom."
And then he smiled. And rang off to ring a doorbell.
When he came back he held my hand and we walked toward the next door...


I'm stuck. I don't know what I want. I love Arizona's weather... Until Christmas time. Then I want snow and cold and well, Christmas weather. It is absurd to me that they sell fake snowmen in the stores and that people actually put them in their yards next to the cacti!!! How does that even make sense?!?! Anyway, I've been feeling kind of homesick lately.
Home is full of family and friends.. Home is where you can't go to the supermarket without seeing someone you know. Home is warm summers and cold winters. Home is full of memories of my childhood and the beginning of my relationship with Lowell...
Where is home for us as a family? What qualities are needed before a place can be home? And what can we live without? We've been in Az for 18 months and it doesn't feel like home. We still refer to Cali as home - Lowell and I do, and so do the kids. They have talked about going back home to see their friends and they've talked about missing family there. Lowell misses his network of friends as well as the scenery and the seasons. I miss having a real Christmas. And going to grocery store and seeing at least 2 people that I know. And driving by all familiar sights. And knowing that I have memories attached to places and people. I don't miss the stress associated with having the family there however. It amazes me how much less stressed I've felt being here. Distance is good for some relationships!
On the other hand, there are family members who we haven't seen in almost 2 years, and if we stay here for my internship, it will be at least another 2 years before we move back there. The kids will be 11, 10 and 8... Will they want to leave all their friends here to move back?? And, maybe by then, this will be home...
So many unknowns.
I honestly think I would feel a lot more comfortable here if I had some friends. It sounds pathetic to say that I don't have friends, but honestly, I just don't have the time!!!! I have work, school, church... And I'm definitely meeting people at these places but I'm not in one place long enough to create relationships that transcend their point of origin. I wish I had a couple girls I could call and talk to or share with or laugh with...
Maybe after I finish my classes and I'm only working one job.

Home (california) is also where stress lives. There are family members there that create lots of stress in my life. Some memories that are triggered are less than fantastic. Some are downright excruciating.
Phoenix doesn't have those because we don't have much of a history here. Grand Canyon is full of happy memories -- my bottom east girls!! Those are some of my favorite memories of all time... But there are no roots here to grab onto when the wind begins to blow and times are tough.
But I guess that's how it is with family... Good and bad.
There's no way to avoid stress or negative memories and I just don't feel ready to put myself smack dab in the middle of them again. And yet, I want to go home. Maybe the answer lies in time.. We'll definitely be staying in AZ until I finish school. Maybe by then, I will have dealt with all the memories and the shame and fear that is linked to some of the people and places and I'll be able to go home without the added stress. Or possibly, by then our roots will have begun to grow here.

I am so thankful for the rock solid stability of my husband. It seems like, just by virtue of who he is, he's able to stand firm in the midst of life's tornados. Circumstances that would have left me both uprooted and, well, not in kansas anymore. Regardless of what our address says, I know my home is with him. And I'm very thankful for that.
I recently had a co-worker ask me how I've managed to stay with the same person from age 15 to almost 30... She made the point that, as people, we change so much during those very developmental years and how was it that we both ended up headed in the same direction. My answer was that although Lowell and I have definitely changed over the years, we've simply made it a priority to support each other, to make decisions together and to put our relationship above our individual desires and dreams. And honestly, I feel like I've accomplished more of my dreams with him than I ever would've without him. And I think he would say the same thing. We build each other up and believe that the other is capable of great things.
Whether in Arizona or California or Tibet, I'm so thankful that my home is filled with love and support.