Mar 30, 2014

I Feel Lucky

Last week was trying.  Nothing that will go down in the record books- nothing dramatic or even all that memorable.  It was just challenging because... well, life's that way.  We struggle as we grow and as things change, and that's what keeps it interesting.

Our 'little guy' is 7 years old now.  His problems used to be so simple.  Most bad behaviors could either be blamed on him being tired, or hungry, or possibly a small child who thought he ought to be the boss of everyone.  If it couldn't be fixed by a snack or a nap, it was a time out.  That was pretty much it.  Now he's maturing and his motivations are getting to be so much more complex.  His world is getting bigger and he's experiencing a new array of choices and incentives and he demonstrates no fear when testing out the different options.  When he does make a poor choice, we are faced with the dilemma of figuring out what to do about it.  Time outs don't cut it anymore, baby.

Last week I watched him watch me try to figure it out.  He's a lot of things, but he's not unkind.  He cares about how his actions affect me- even if he doesn't consider it ahead of time.  I saw him feel ashamed of himself, and I didn't feel good about that.  When I lost my temper with him, I apologized for it.  I didn't realize, though, how closely he's able to observe subtle social cues or how much he thinks about them.  Sometimes I am keenly aware of my children watching me, and I plan my reaction carefully- like when they present me with a gift or show off an achievement- but other times I am completely caught off guard.

When we were eating dinner Thursday night he said something goofy and I gave him the raised-eyebrow, half smirk look.  He looked at me thoughtfully and said, "When you look at me like that, it kinda looks the same as when you're mad at me.  But I know you're not."  I'm sure he's not so attentive all the time, but I was surprised by his observation.  Also, I was impressed by the way he communicated it.

He's always lagged a little behind in language, he didn't get much practice during the first 3 years of his life.  He's been evaluated more than once, but the consensus has always been that he was simply a little delayed due to his early-in-life-circumstances, and in time he would catch up.  It's never really been a barrier to his learning or development.  I have noticed in the last year, however, that as his emotions and mental processes have gotten more complex he's really had to push himself to be able to talk about it.  It often takes him a while to get a sentence out- he really has to think to put the words together to express himself.  He's doing it, though, and now more than ever I have no question in my mind that eventually he will speak as clearly as anyone else.

As I write I realize, this is simply a moment in time I am taking to stop and marvel at my son.  I feel like I'm suspended in a brief moment of clarity, where I can see him and me, our connection, our past and our future.  I feel lucky for the trouble- just for the chance to participate.  It might be difficult and stressful and aggravating at times, but it's life-altering.  It's amazing.  It's worth it.  Like I said, I feel lucky.

P.S. This morning he and Dear got up early and attempted to make us scrambled eggs and hash browns (with sweet potatoes, on accident.)  How endearing and Hallmark-commercial-y is that?

Mar 26, 2014

Pallet Couch Part 2

We finished our couch!  After our initial post we changed our plans a bit.  We were going to have my niece and nephew over for a sleepover and we thought the kids would enjoy having the mattresses in the living room, so even though we hadn't built our frame yet we moved our couch out and the mattresses in.  That's when I fell in love with this:

If we put a back on the couch like we had planned, the windowsill would be blocked off and we would lose this gorgeous view.  We decided to move the pallets in without the back, just to see if we liked it.  Not only did we like it, we realized there was no need to paint the pallets white.  Chris, Dear and I literally spent about 7 minutes in the living room with sandpaper smoothing out the rough edges , and then we vacuumed it up and were done!  The only reason it's taken me so long to share about it is I waited weeks to sew the back cushions {lazy} and I wanted it to be done before I posted a picture.

I thought I was going to share a little tutorial on how I made the cushions for the back of the couch, but my brain is apparently not functioning at full speed these days because all of the pictures I took along the way are terrible.  I tried to explain it anyway, but the words don't make a lot of sense without pictures.  Suffice it to say I made the heavily stuffed pillows with cheap white cotton muslin and cheap polyester stuffing from JoAnne's, and I made shams out of sheets- the top sheets that came with the fitted sheets I put on the mattresses.  Here's a picture of the back of a completed sham:

And with the pillow inside:

Let's move on to before and after pictures of the living room:


I'm having a weird problem with blogger where half the time my DSLR photos upload and look wildly different than they do on my computer, so I got frustrated and decided to take all of my after pictures with my cell phone.  At least the weather was equally bad therefore the lighting was equally terrible in the before and after pictures!  Well, maybe it was a little worse in the before picture...

The rocking chair was given to us by Chris's family and it's super comfortable.

Charlie loves it in the spring when I move the screen away from the fireplace.  He leaves evidence of his escapades.
And I still have my window.

Mar 24, 2014

It's that time of year again...

We took some time last week to plant a few seeds and a few flowers.  We'll get more rain and cooler temperatures this spring, but it won't dip below freezing, and there will be plenty of warm days.

I worked really hard on my garden last year.  I did a lot of planning ahead, a lot of record keeping, a lot of heavy duty yard work, and tried a lot of new things.  It was educational, but with the pregnancy I knew I wouldn't have the time nor energy to be so dedicated this year.  Still, I wasn't willing to give up on it completely.

So, we picked the things that were easiest to grow last year, and decided to focus on those.  We're planting tomatoes, green beans, and a few different herbs.  I'm starting mostly from seed, but I did buy a basil plant from Trader Joe's.  I love fresh basil and I couldn't resist.  The flowers are just for fun.  I really like my baskets hanging by the front door because I can see them from my living room, too.

The hard part is still ahead- pulling weeds and transplanting seedlings- but poor Chris is going to end up doing the bulk of that.  For now we're enjoying our porch with plants on the table and seed trays in the green house.  In a couple months it will be too hot to sit out there, so we're using it while we can and eat most of our meals there.  It's supposed to rain a lot this week, but I'm sure it will dry up soon enough. (Too soon, really.)

I think this is my favorite time of year.  I tend to think that briefly during every season- after all there are good things about all of them and I enjoy the change of pace- but I really mean it about spring.  I never tire of watching things grow.

Mar 20, 2014

19 Weeks

The baby is... moving!  A lot!  It's very exciting- I've been feeling it for about a week now.  At first the sensation was faint and I wasn't sure if it was just gas or not.  The more consistent it got the more sure I was, and now I frequently get little pokes like I'm getting kicked.  I had an ultrasound on Tuesday and that was awesome because I could see the baby move and feel it at the same time.  It's about 6 inches long and 13 ounces right now, according to their best estimate.  Everything looks great!

I'm feeling... like an actual human again.  I was really beginning to worry that I was going to be miserable my whole pregnancy, but now I'm getting to experience the "magical" 2nd trimester.  Zero nausea, just a little heartburn, I have more energy during the day and I'm sleeping great at night.  My house is clean, (by my standards), for the first time since Thanksgiving and I'm finally back to cooking and eating healthy.  I did gain a whopping 7 pounds in 4 weeks, but the nurse just said "Eh, as long as you don't gain that much every month."  I'm also not sure where the idea of glowing skin came from, because I'm rocking dry skin and plenty of jawline acne.  Oh well.

Cliche (or not!) pregnancy symptoms? A baby bump!  Feeling pretty good though...

I'm enjoying... feeling the baby move and gorgeous weather.  I know we need rain in California, but since I can't control it I'm going to enjoy the sunshine.

I'm looking forward to... staying in this stage as long as possible.  I feel good, I can play with the kids, we're finishing a lot of little projects around the house, and Slim just started softball games this week which I'm really enjoying watching.  Of course I'm looking forward to the baby being born, and I'm looking forward to the summertime and swimming in the lake, but right now I'm in no rush.

I tried to have Chris take pictures but I was moody and didn't like them and decided I'd be better off doing it myself!
A little more baby knitting- I'm going to add a wooden button to the brim.  Charlie thinks these things are for him to play with, so when I put them somewhere he can get to (like on the bed to take a picture) he has to jump up and get involved.

Mar 5, 2014

17 Weeks

The baby is... about 5 inches long and weighs as much as a turnip.  That's all I know so far, he/she doesn't share much yet.  ;)  

I'm feeling... better, if you don't count the cold I caught from Mister.  Luckily I seem to have avoided the fever he had, I just have the runny nose and subsequent discomfort.  He told me he was sorry he got me sick, but not to worry because I would get better.  He's sweet.

Cliche (or not!) Pregnancy Symptoms? Nesting? "Mommy brain"?  Are these symptoms?  Eh, close enough.  I'm overflowing with ideas for projects I'd like to do.  Even though I'm feeling better, I'm still tired all the time so I'm not finishing things at the rate I'm used to, and it's frustrating me.  I'm pretty scattered- I need to slow it down a little.

I'm enjoying... some new clothes I finally splurged on.  It was hard to shop- I don't have a baby bump for maternity clothes yet, but I definitely don't fit in "regular" clothes anymore.  Therefore, everything I tried on was either too tight or looked like a potato sack.  I absolutely care more about comfort than style, but if I'm just going to wear a sack I'll wear Chris's t-shirts.  Anyway, I ended up finding a few loose tops that will hopefully last all the way through the pregnancy and I'm soooo much more comfortable.

I'm looking forward to... Move baby, move!  Sometimes I lay really still and try to focus on my belly hoping I'll feel something, but it's just too early I guess.  Also, in two weeks is the ultrasound where they will likely be able to identify the gender!  I'm really excited about thinking of the baby as a he or she instead of an "it."  We don't care if it's a boy or a girl, I can't stop imagining the perks of either.  Bow ties!  Pig tails!  I'm swooning over both!  Practically speaking I guess it would be convenient if it were a boy, so it could share a room with Mister for longer. (The older he gets the less he needs to share a room with a little girl).  Since we can't control it, though, we're not worried about it.

I don't have a picture of myself and my belly today.  I'm sick, spent the day in my pajamas, and am just not into it.  Use your imagine, but don't forget I'm perfect.  I've gained exactly the right amount of weight, definitely don't have 2 chins, and am positively glowing.  

It's funny, before I even got pregnant I had this fun idea- wouldn't it be cool to take a picture every day of your pregnancy, play them all in rapid succession and set them to music?  At the end you could include pictures of the baby, maybe even of labor and delivery if you're brave like that.  Ha!  It would be cool, but it's apparently not something I'm going to do, since I can't even manage a picture every 2 weeks.  Oh well.  

As a substitute, here's my cute niece dumping invisible things out of her rain boot.

Mar 3, 2014

Much Needed Rain

I've got my little guy home sick today.  He's got a mild fever and a runny nose.  Our morning didn't start off well.  Chris came into our room a few minutes before it was time to take the kids to school to put himself on a time out, because Dear was driving him up the wall and he was ready to blow up.  She decided she was going to try flat out defiance today.

That kid- she has come a long way but she still has her quirks.  With her and Mister you pretty much have to expect bare minimum output in the morning before school and at night before bed time.  I don't know if they're just being turds because they know you don't have time to deal with it, or if they get anxious when they know there's a time limit.  Anyway, he asked her to help him with the dishes before they left for school and she said no.  Just no.  So, she didn't get to do the fun Dr. Suess donut/muffin morning at school.  Also, Chris and I agreed it was best not to ask her to do any extra chores in the morning, even if there's time- it's just not worth the battle.

Before they left, Chris dutifully informed me that the cat didn't appear to understand his new litter box situation yet, and there was probably cat pee somewhere in the house but he hadn't been able to find it.  Needless to say, I was uptight and irritated before I even got out of bed.  I've never been much of a morning person, and I've been much worse since I've been pregnant.  I felt like my whole day was going to spiral out of control if I didn't change my mood quickly.

Do you ever get irritated by how much your family needs you, only to realize you need them to need you, and you'll be devastated when they don't anymore?  This is how families are supposed to work- duh.  We depend on each other.  I knew that, but it's easy to forget when you're wrapped up in kid drama and chores.

With Mister home sick, gray skies, and a steady downpour outside, I decided the best way to turn my morning around was to settle in for a movie.  I've wanted to see Disney's Frozen since I heard an interview on Bullseye with the man who composed the music, Bobby Lopez.   I overpaid for the movie on iTunes, searched for the cord to hook my computer up to the TV, cleaned up the cat pee, made breakfast, and got Mister out of bed.  About an hour later, just as we'd finally cuddled up to watch the movie, Chris texted me, "Frozen came out for rent on Amazon today."  Whoops, should've thought to check there first.  Oh well.

We enjoyed the movie, and Mister has been camped out on the couch ever since with Netflix kids and the remote.  I periodically take his temperature and deliver water and snacks- here's hoping he's back to normal tomorrow.

Charlie is temporarily locked in the bathroom with bare necessities- more about his potty training later. (Like it or not, ha!)

I'm all prepared not to lecture Dear on her behavior when she gets home, despite the fact that Chris filled me in on all the manipulative crap she tried to pull in the car on the way to school and I totally WANT to lecture her.  Funny thing, turns out lectures don't work on 11 year olds.  Or anyone, for that matter...

It's been a good day, really.  A day of problems and solutions.  A day of much needed rain.  A day when it's good to be needed.