Archive for May, 2007

When I am old I will still be polite. I may wear a purple dress and a clashing red hat as the poem suggests. I may act silly and teach my grandchildren an inappropriate poem about the monkey’s hinder being chopped in a grinder. As well as the one about the hearse going by and you might be the next to die… I am sure their preschool teachers will be appalled. I will be polite when they call to talk to me about it.

I may not answer the phone when my children call at 6am. I’d like that time to putter and write – to drink tea in my pjs and read on my porch swing.  However, at 10am when I am ready to face the day I will listen to them with empathy. Their problems may just sound like silly complaints by then. I will have lived through much of what they are anxious about and by then I may have the wisdom to know that things just have a way of working themselves out. I will listen and try to give them peace.

I will be stubborn and bullheaded with my doctors. I already am. I don’t like needles and I do like pain meds — I know enough to stay away from both. However, I promise to take care of myself. I will do what I can to stay strong and healthy. When I need the help of a doctor I will not make excuses and procrastinate. I know it would only cause my loved ones more worry than will be necessary.

I may feel less inhibited when I am old. There was a study a few years back that says that old people do. So I may go skinny dipping at night, or wear glitzy embarrassing bifocals too low on my nose, or dress up for Halloween in a witch costume and scare the neighbor kids to death. I won’t think up the rudest thing possible to say and then blurt it out in the most hurtful of ways. That is not being uninhibited, that is being rude and like I said when I am old I will still be polite.

I am writing all this down now so that when I am old my children can print it and bring it to me and remind me of my promise. When I am old I will still be polite.

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I recently read that a typical child laughs about 400 times and day, while the typical woman only laughs 15 times. When I read it, I was surprised by the difference — I mean we have internet jokes, our kids, and lord knows our husbands (or significant others) provide great material for folly – so I am left wondering why we are not laughing more? 

Perhaps we get so wrapped up in the worries of life that we don’t indulge in the fun of it. I know that as I get older I worry more. It seems like life brings more and more difficult challenges to me and that my responsibilities increase constantly. There are so many things that I can’t do anything about, yet I feel responsible to help fix.  Instead of giving these things to prayer and letting go of them I carry them like a heavy wool coat on a rainy day.  

I think life is supposed to be more fun than all that. Laughter would not be so good for us if we were not meant to have it abundantly in our lives. So how do we clear out the cob webs of complaints that keep us away from the joy of life? Here are a few things that I try to do.  Sometimes I am really good at these things and other times I get off track – they are a part of the journey…

First, I try to really focus on what I have to be grateful for. Sara Ban Breathnach, author of Simple Abundance writes that, “after consciously giving thanks each day for the abundance that exists in your life… you have set in motion an ancient spiritual law; the more you have and are grateful for, the more will be given you.” Second, I try to take care of myself. Getting my hair cut, putting on sun screen, shaving my legs are all little things that make me feel good in my own skin. My brain likes to read and write and be pushed to keep learning new things. And I need a little quiet time to just think and dream and pray when thing get out of hand.

Also, I like to keep things around me attractive. I like flowers. I like order. I like clean. At the end of the day I make sure the sink is empty. I try to get the bathrooms wiped down daily. I clear the clutter out of my car weekly. I am the queen of baskets, bins, and zip lock bags – everything has to have a place. It sounds crazy, but it gives me peace.

Finally, I try to have time for other people. I remember the summer that my grandma fell down the back stairs. With multiple broken bones she came to stay with us to heal. It was the first time I really got to know her for who she was and not by what she did. Until then she was always so busy – cooking, cleaning, laundering, and taking care of the people around her. But that summer she had nothing to do but tell stories and laugh and pass the time with us. From that experience I learned what a gift time is.

So will doing all these things bring more laughter? Maybe not directly, but I do believe that it brings happiness, comfort, peace and the ability to welcome the next 400 times that laughter tries to find me. 

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People who say they sleep like a baby usually don’t have one.            Leo J. Burke  


We have serious sleep issues here. Thankfully we don’t have any real trouble putting children to bed – instead our issues involve keeping them there. 

Tim and I are both morning people. With very little effort Tim is up at 5:30am everyday, out the door, and headed toward the gym. I love to get up early when the house is quiet and I can putter about in my pajamas getting everything ready for the day ahead. We are very compatible in that we love the early morning because it is our alone time – a productive quiet time. 

When Cole was a baby we had a terrible time getting him to bed. We paced with him, we negotiated with him, and we pleaded with him just to go to bed. It never worked. Cole went to bed when he felt like it – no matter what we did. Still today he would like his bed time to be just after the Leno monologue, however even when he does stay up now he plays quietly with legos or a puzzle hoping we will not realize he is still lurking around. 

The other kids are not night owls like Cole and here in lies the problem. They are morning people – up at the crack of dawn – loud – playful – and demanding. As summer nears and the morning light comes earlier the kids – especially Anna and Truman seem to be waking long before Tim and I are ready to get up. 

We have been able to organize things so that they are fine for a little while on their own. Anna gets breakfast for both of them – yogurt and a bagel. If I leave their clothing out, they will both be dressed before dawn. They even try to make their own beds. This all sound great and it would be except that they are doing all this on my time – they are moving in on my sacred quiet and I unfortunately can’t find a way to replace it. 

For Tim it’s not as bad. He likes to wake up at the gym on a treadmill sipping a protein shake, followed by a warm cup of coffee on his way to the office. But these little morning monsters are here on my turf making me talk to them, demanding I get them things, and watching my every move. It takes all the fun out of getting up. 

Friday is our last day of school and in many ways I am looking forward to the summer schedule. I imagine long mornings writing my blog, drinking ice tea, and listening to the rhythm of the dryer – all keeping me ahead of the game. However, as the end of school nears and my quiet time becomes more and more populated – I am wondering what time the daycare at the gym opens—perhaps they need more Dad bonding time – and I’d be happy to stay here with Cole…

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I am becoming a gardener. To be honest, I have to admit that all the progress so far has been made by Tim who is more tired than a three year old after swimming lessons. He spent all day Sunday with a tiller, a shovel, and a drawing that I have been mulling over for years. A gardener: that’s going to be me, but until this weekend I was like a biker without a bike, a cook without a kitchen, an astronomer without a telescope. I was a gardener with a whole lot of grass to cut and almost none to dig in. 

I love flowers. I putter. I crave sunshine – I am going to be so good at this. I pour over garden magazines, I bombard my mom with questions about her backyard, and I keep a notebook full of ideas that will all become the inspiration for what soon will be a garden of my own. So my efforts to “take back my life” continue with a project that has been in the works since Anna Mae was born. Last year I had just begun to make some progress but was cut off when I was put on the beginning of “pregnancy restrictions.” At this point my yard is still very much on the cusp of something yet to come — flower beds edged and tilled and ready to become. 

The English Poet Alfred Austin said, “Show me your garden and I shall tell you what you are.” Should he see my garden today, what would he say I am? Perhaps he would see an artist with a new canvas – ready to begin – on the verge of something – in transition- always in the works. It is a good place to be– on the brink of becoming something better. And while I walk along the empty beds tonight I happily imagine just what that will be…

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So I’m feeling bad that I have not written in awhile. I started a blog the other day about Anna, but never got it done. Anyway, things have been busy here as I have been spending a lot of time in the bathroom! Yup – Truman has finally decided that it’s time to get potty trained – Yea!

So for anyone who has been following my frustration with him – this new change of mind happened just after Dr. Gritt took him aside for a little talk. Honestly, I figured it went in one of his stubborn ears and out the other. That was Friday and by Monday he thought he might want to wear Thomas Underwear. He stayed dry, but evidently decided he was not going to poop – either way, I was motivated to keep it going.

The rest of the week went pretty well. There were two poop accidents late in the week – guess he couldn’t hold it any more. There was one wet accident that he cleaned up himself … and then there was Saturday…

Mom and Dad were babysitting so that Tim and I could go to a wedding. I got up to Mom’s with Truman and Grace – Karen was bring Cole and Anna Mae after soccer. With four little kid’s the hardest part is juggling everyone everytime I want to do something normal. I had spent two days getting everything organized so that everyone would get to where they needed to be and have everything they needed to have with them. For Truman I got a bag of those new pull-up that let the kids feel wet when they are training.

He arrived at Mom’s wearing underoos and was very proud to tell her about his successes. This was his first big outing away from home and the routine, so I was nervous that he would have an accident. I had him try to go, put him in the exciting new Spiderman pull-up, and went to take a shower. All was calm and I was minutes from a great night out…

Evidently wearing a pull-up was like giving permission to have an accident because when I came down stairs, Tru was in the bathroom with mom who was just a bit upset. Something about poop and being too old (not sure if that was in reguard to him or her) and just hold still… Grace , bless her heart for once decided that the scarry man in the white beard (Dad) was approved for giving her a bottle. I think she caught on that Grandma was otherwise occupied.

No, I did not sneak out – I offered to help while I put on my new real person sandals with a heal and everything (I’ve spent the past 6+ years primarily in Birkenstocks so this was a big deal). Now when Mom suggests that I “just leave” I have to admit that did bolt and did NOT look back.

Anyway, whatever she did seems to have made some huge impression because he has been accident free since then – thank you Mom & Dr. Gritt! 

So Woo Hoo just one in diapers and she only wears a size 1. Oh, and she will most likely be in that size for awhile because she is solidly at the 4 percentile.

Yup, it’s the little things… literally:)

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It’s funny what springs you out of a bad mood. First I have to admit that Tim’s dad is doing a bit better and all the other little things that had been adding up seem to have worked themselves out. But still yesterday I felt a little grumpy…

Anyway – this morning Tim called and said, “I have something bad to tell you.” I’m not kidding that’s what he said. My stomach turned to knots. My heart stopped. I must have had a look of terror because without my even saying anything the whole breakfast table stared in silence.

“What’s wrong” I whispered, afraid to hear the answer. My mind was racing…. he lost his job… he smashed the car… something happened to his dad… something happened to my parents or my sister who are in D.C. this week… Oh, God did he see Brian at work – is Cori and the baby alright… Could it be Grandma? You get the picture…

“Anna left her sneakers in the car last night so she will have to wear her good shoes to school today.”

“What?” I laughed, “That’s what you had to tell me? Are you kidding? Do you realize how much you scared me? Good grief that is NOT something BAD to tell me — that’s like an ‘oh by the way’ sourt of thing…” At this point Tim caught on to how I was feeling. The kids looked more relaxed. And I had the most amazing sense of relief. Honestly, it’s like I won the lottery — I was braced for the worst and then nothing happened.

As crazy as it sounds, I think I’ll be walking around giggling today with the weight of the world so completely taken away. With nothing more to worry about I’m going for a walk…

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Tim’s Aunt Eileen and Uncle Jerry are the editors of the Kids Directory here in Milwaukee. They are growing their web site and well as the published magazine. Also, they are running some contests — one drawing is for Noah’s Ark tickets. Here is the link to check it all out http://www.gmkidsdirectory.com/Kids’%20Directory%20Web%20Site/contests.htm

It a great resource for kids in Milwaukee – but like I said they are growing it – so if you know of information that is not on the site let me know or send them a note.

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