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I'm a mother of 3 who started blogging as a way to share our many adventures and to expand beyond the everyday "mommy world". While there IS so much more to us mommies than the title, there is very little that doesn't in some way or another lead us back to or influence our children...if anything. So, I hope you enjoy following our family's randomness, because as all moms know- you can never anticipate what tomorrow will bring! Thanks for visiting and have a blessed day! :)

Monday, November 14, 2011

Ankle Pain is Gain

I twisted my ankle tonight while delivering popcorn.  I knew I should have taken the sidewalk around instead of going through the night.  *sigh*  Anytime I have pain in my ankle, I think of my brother, Matt.  I know that sounds strange but I think you'll understand a little more after I tell you this story...

When I was a freshman at Lipscomb University, I participated in Singarama.  For those of you who are unfamiliar with Singarama, it's the Harding equivalent of Spring Sing or the Abilene Christian University equivalent of Sing Song...only better. (Sorry, HU and ACU friends.  I gotta stay true to my Alma Mater. ;) ) For those of you not familiar with any of those, it's basically a time when the majority of students on campus either choose or are assigned to a specific group, given a topic, and then write a story line with accompanying songs, choreography, props, costumes, etc.  The group performs and competes with other groups for bragging rights in front of a panel of judges and a live audience.  It's like watching 3 mini-musicals, really.  And it's SO much fun!!  If you'd like to know more, you can visit this page for a more detailed description of what this year's Singarama was like.

Anyway, you may be thinking that I twisted my ankle while performing with my group but you'd be wrong.  I actually made it through all the choreography and scene changes without injury.  So, what really happened?  We had a cast party at a skating rink after our final performance.  (Now, you're getting the picture.)  My family naturally drove up from Georgia to see the show and went skating with us afterwards, at least my high-school freshman brother did. lol  It is important to note here that my brother was a fantastic athlete and the sport really didn't matter much.  He played baseball, basketball, could ride a dirt bike and speed skate.  It's like he was fearless when it came to a competitive sport, whether he had any prior experience with it or not.  (Remind me to tell you sometime about the time he drove an ATV into the Raintree Village pond...on Christmas day!)

So, the d.j. at the rink decides it's time for some races.  He called the boys up and I see my brother on the starting line, ready to pounce!  I was pretty sure he was going to win before they even started.  Not necessarily because he was so much better than anyone else out there physically.  He was just determined.  It was written all over his face that night.  No one else stood a chance.  Know what he won?  A cute little stuffed animal.  Know who he gave it to?  Me. :D

Now picture this:  The race is over, the rink is an all-skate once again and I'm minding my own business skating around the rink at a nice, steady, comfortable pace.  It's important to note here that I was NOT as fantastic an athlete and the sport really didn't matter much.  Matt, trying to be cute, comes up behind me and grabs my arm going about mach 2 with his hair on fire.  So, guess what?  Now, I'm going mach 2 with my hair on fire except I don't have the control that he does.  After my begging, he finally lets me go but by that time we were rounding a corner and one that I just could not make.  I was going too fast.  My ankle gave out underneath me and I smacked the edge of the rink and went flying into the lobby area.  You know, the carpeted place with the little circle benches where people sit and the lockers are lined up against the wall?  Yeah, that.  I couldn't even stand up and my ankle quickly became the size of a melon.  Matt was one of the first people over there to help me.  He felt just awful.  I mean absolutely awful about the whole thing.  He just kept saying, "Aw, I'm sorry, Steph.  I'm just so sorry.  I didn't mean to.  I really didn't.  Aw man, I'm so sorry."  How could I be mad at him?  Particularly when he was truly apologetic.  It hurt.  I ain't gonna lie but then again, I was still on a rush.  That was the fastest I had ever gone around a skating rink!  Scary as you-know-where but, man!  What a thrill!  (Until the crash and burn part, of course.)

He and some other guys carried me out.  I really don't think that was entirely necessary.  I mean, I couldn't put pressure on that leg, that was for sure, but they wouldn't even let me try to stand upright.  I had to go to the doctor the next business day and he advised me to stay off that leg for at least 3 weeks.  Well, that wasn't going to work.  I was going on a choral mission trip in a matter of days.  He told me to wear crutches, then.  Like I was going on a plane and traipsing around England and Scotland on crutches??  I don't think so.  Pass.  (Yes, I'm stubborn and bull-headed.  You want to make something of it? ;) )  We settled for keeping it wrapped and putting as little pressure on it as possible...staying off my feet and elevating my leg whenever possible.  He also prescribed a pain reliever which I was happy to take.

My ankle never fully recovered from that incident.  It hasn't left a daily affliction or anything and I can still run but it has always been temperamental since then.  That accident happened nearly 16 years ago but it left a mark, probably until the end of time.  It feels sore sometimes, achy, for what seems like no reason at all.  Maybe it's a change in barometric pressure or something.  Who knows?  It still gives out on me sometimes like tonight when my step is just a little off.  The pain used to really annoy me (and still does sometimes) but I have a new appreciation for it now that Matt has gone home to be with Jesus.  Whenever my ankle starts acting up, I remember Matt and I remember that night.  I remember that exhilarating moment of going mach 2 before crashing and burning and how scary yet thrilling it was at the same time.  I remember the smile on his face and later, the concern.  I'm also reminded with every throb that one day there will be no more pain.  No death.  No sorrow.  Everything will be made new.  I'm thankful for my personal reminder of that promise.  And I'm thankful for the memory so closely tied to it.  Isn't it amazing how God can take these "accidents" and these "afflictions" and make them beautiful?  joyful?  Wow.  How does He do that?  I'm reminded of the story of Jacob wrestling with God.  I wonder what Jacob (Israel) thought about his limp after that encounter.  It was wearisome, I have no doubt, but the man wrestled with God! ...and lived!!  What a wonderful reminder of God's grace wrapped in a lesson of humility.  I'm thankful for my precious brother and the mark he left on me for life.  I'm thankful for my precious LORD and the mark He left on me for eternity.

Blanchard Springs! (Day Two)

To read the first part of this post, go here.

Surprisingly enough, sleeping in a tent on the ground is not the most comfortable of beds.  Shocking, I know.  I forgot to pack pillows, too, and we were short one sleeping bag so, can imagine.  I also forgot how every sound is heard through a single-skin tent wall (or any tent wall for that matter)...both inside and outside.  Several of us caught bits and pieces of a bedtime story that Justin shared with the kids.  (Apparently each one of them contributed to the story which involved giant roaches, a Princess Gima, vampire bats, and trying to make the kingdom the worst in the land.  Humorous to say the least.)  You also find out rather quickly who the snorers are around you and uh, who knew leaves were so loud?!   Anyway, we survived and the kids actually slept better than I anticipated.

When we finally ventured out of our tent Sunday morning, several people were already awake and making breakfast.  The kids were in quite a hurry to get back to their cave, particularly Sadie, so I didn't even bother with changing her jeans.  I was kind of surprised that Justin didn't change Sadie and Josiah into their pajamas the night before (although, I'm surprised at myself for being surprised.  Dads don't typically worry or think about that sort of stuff.).  Truth be told, they were probably warmer in their clothes than they would have been in their pjs.  Still, if she was that excited about "caving" (which would undoubtedly lead to muddy pants), why change her?  So, off she went to have another adventure.  She also made a fierce and fast friend while we were there.  One of the other tiger den leaders has a daughter around her same age.  They were having a blast finding bugs and chasing each other.  As I write this, it strikes me as extremely ironic that Sadie is so much more of a Miss Priss at home, a real fashionista, but also exhibits many "tomboy" behaviors outdoors.  She didn't shriek when she saw the bat, grasshopper, praying mantises, walking sticks, or stink bugs.  At home, she'd call them "yucky bugs" and quickly try to "killed them" but out among nature she was fascinated and wanted to see them up close.

While the kids were off exploring and climbing trees, Justin and I attempted to help with breakfast.  We learned a lot about how to cook over a campfire or camping stove.  Dutch ovens are apparently a camper's must-have.  I don't believe there's much of anything that can't be made in a dutch oven.  Also, Justin was even told that you can cook bacon and eggs in a paper bag.  Somehow the grease is supposed to keep the bag from catching on fire??  We're planning to google that one.  Sounds kind of weird, if you ask me.  And did you know you can make omelets by placing prepared baggies into boiling water?  We also watched our friends roast biscuits on a stick.  It was quite a lesson in camping cuisine. ;)

Our other den leader, Kerry, went overboard fixing our meals.  Not that I'm complaining, we probably ate better than any other den there!  He made cheeseburgers for lunch Saturday and pancakes, bacon, eggs, and biscuits for breakfast Sunday.  He would have made some gravy, too, if we'd had any flour.  Saturday night's meal was provided by the Pack.  Yummy taco soup ladled over corn chips and topped with cheese.  It was all so good!  Big thanks to Kerry for our den meals and Adam for Saturday night's meal.

Once everyone had had a chance to eat, we met over in the amphitheater for communion and group pictures before breaking camp.  I was really impressed that a communion was planned and offered at this event.  There's something about taking communion with believers outside of our typical fellowship and assembly that opens my eyes to how much more we are connected to Jesus across "denominational" lines or circles.  Whatever our theological differences may be, we are still brothers and sisters in Christ communing together around His Holy Table.  How much greater is our God than we could ever comprehend!  The change of atmosphere and seeing and hearing the beauty of God's creation all around us was indescribably moving.  It was a welcomed breath of fresh air and perspective.

Next, photo time!  Of course, taking pictures of a large group doesn't come without its challenges...particularly when your subjects are elementary kids...and particularly when they're boys. :)  We were able to get some decent shots, though.  Here is a photo of just our den.  We're in the middle holding boy, girl, boy.  Do you see us? :)

After the photos, we broke camp and then started our service project of cleaning up trash around our camping site.  Our boys were certainly not very interested until I tried to make it more like a game.  "Can you find the soda can?  The first person to find the soda can and bring it to me gets a piece of candy when we get home!"  That definitely got Josiah's attention.  He'd earned two pieces in a matter of minutes.  I know some people frown upon rewarding with food or candy, but what can I say?  It works. :)

After gathering trash, it was clear that the boys were ready to go home, evidenced by the fact that they came and told us so. ;)  We told them we were going to take a little hike first and that idea was met with dismay.  "No, not a hike.  I want to go home," in a whiny, pleading voice.  Nonetheless, this was part of an achievement and Justin and I were pretty sure that they'd change their minds once they saw where we were hiking.  (And we were right.  When it was time to go, it was non-stop, "I don't want to go home.  I want to hike some more.")  

This was my first time to Blanchard Springs so I didn't really know what to expect.  It was a short walk from the parking area and we quickly met up with some of our other cub scout compadres gathered around the spring, some wading in the waters.  I guess Josiah wanted to try his hand at that because he made his way out onto the rocks and into the water before we could say boo.  Of course, he slipped once or twice and soaked his shoes, socks, and jeans.  That's when I looked at Justin who was standing some distance away and said deliberately so everyone could hear, "Look at what your son just did."  haha  Well, his son nearly gave me a heart attack skipping across some rocks that were dangerously close to where the "pool" ended and the "stream" began, if you catch my drift.  He could have easily slipped and hit his head on a rock.  The water was pretty shallow so I wasn't really worried about him drowning...more losing his footing and smashing his head on a rock or breaking a leg.  He's fairly accident-prone, so I don't think I was overreacting.  Needless to say, his wet clothes marked the end of our hike and the beginning of our good-byes.  I snapped a few pics that I'll hopefully be able to post soon.  Sadie looked exceptionally beautiful with her dirt-covered face, too. *wink* 

The spring was refreshing and beckoned me to stick my feet in but I refrained.  Definitely worth the stop before leaving, despite the soggy outcome.  I just love the sound of a mountain stream.  It's so calming and relaxing.  We'd like to take a trip back there again sometime.  Who knows?  Maybe the cub scouts will go again next year and I can wade in the water then. ;)  There was also a small waterfall that we stopped to see.  I was the only one to get out of the car that time, just to get a picture.  Everyone else stayed in the car and saw it through glass.

On the drive home, Josiah started feeling sick.  We tried our usual trick of turning the air on full blast (which just about resulted in human popsicles) and I had found some peppermint oil that I used on our last trip to Georgia for motion sickness.  You just dab a few drops onto your finger and then rub them on the soft pocket behind their ears.  It normally works like a charm but I think we were too late getting it on him.  We had to stop but escaped any major mishaps requiring major cleaning, thank goodness.  He was fine after that.

When we finally arrived, we were all so happy to be home.  We really had a marvelous time but all 5 of us were completely wiped out!  All 3 of the kids fell asleep during some part of the drive and Jackson was still asleep when I turned the car off.  Poor little guy is at home sick today, too.  The nurse called me this morning to come pick him up from school.  The principal walked him to the office straight from the cafeteria after he didn't eat any of his breakfast (which I'm happy to hear is unusual) and coming in crying.  He never even made it to his classroom.  He has a small ulcer in his throat and a low-grade fever.  It's certainly not slowing him down, though, or keeping him from talking.  Hopefully, he'll feel well enough to return to school tomorrow.  I'm supposed to give a presentation to Josiah's class in the morning about our Native American heritage.  I really don't know a whole lot about that side of my family but the internet actually fills in many of the gaps.  Please keep us in your prayers, that Jackson will heal quickly and be well enough to go to school tomorrow and that I'll have a presentation interesting enough to hold the attention of a bunch of 5 year olds.  I'll let you know how it goes, if I'm able to make it!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Blanchard Springs! (Day One)

We had a marvelous time this weekend with our fellow cub scouts and their families at Blanchard Springs Caverns in Fifty Six, Arkansas.  (Yes, that really is the name. :))  (This was also the very first Lillard family camping trip!  The very first time Josiah or Sadie had ever been camping and the very first time we'd gone together as a family.)  What beautiful country!  I really wish I could post pics from this trip.  I'm really getting sick of using disposable cameras.  (Someone, please tell my husband to get me a digital camera for Christmas! ;) )  I never know if my shots are any good and I can't immediately come home and post them online.  Instead, the questionable quality images sit trapped inside the disposable until all the exposures are, well, exposed and then developed.  So, I will try to remember to post pictures (if any of them turn out decent enough) but I'm not making any promises.  That's how I get myself into trouble...broken promises. ;)

Anyway, some from our group went up Friday instead of Saturday.  We considered doing that too but decided not to because #1-Justin works until 5 and it gets dark around 5:30 now ever since the time change took effect.  Putting up a tent in the dark is not my idea of a good time.  #2-Even if someone put our tent up for us (which they did. Thank you, Kerry!), we'd still be driving in the dark on unfamiliar roads, with one working headlight and a husband who is teetering on the verge of "night blindness".  We'd all like to get there in one piece, if you know what I mean.  And #3-We figured as soon as we got there, Jackson's "meltdown clock" would start ticking.  We thought it best to leave as much sand in that hourglass as possible.  All things considered, I think it was absolutely the right decision!

We left the house Saturday about an hour and a half later than I had hoped but I didn't get myself worked into a tizzy about it like I've been known to do. ;)  This was, after all, supposed to be a nice, relaxing, and fun weekend getaway.  I was not about to let 90 minutes of "disappointment" ruin an otherwise fantastic 2 days!  We weren't in any danger of missing the first scheduled activity anyway, the cavern tour, so we took (in my opinion) a leisurely drive to our destination.  I say "in my opinion" because I was driving.  Justin probably has a much different perspective seeing as he started singing to me a time or two on a couple of mountainous curves.  (Yes, I meant singing.)  After one occasion, I heard my precious echo from the back seat say, "Yeah, Dad.  Relax.  Everything's fine."  Love that girl! LOL

 The drive alone was gorgeous.  We hadn't gone very far when it occurred to me that I forgot to make sure we had dramamine.  All 3 of our young ones are prone to motion/carsickness but that's especially true of Josiah.  We've had more emergency stops than I care to remember in our long road trip history.  I did not want to have another one.  I'm happy to say that we made it to our campsite without incident!

Our group campsite was AMAZING.  And when I say amazing, I mean we literally had our own cave...with bats!  Don't worry.  We didn't pitch our tents in the cave.  Although, I don't think our kids would have minded it if we had.  They absolutely loved that cave!  (And there were only 2 little bats in there. Harmless, really.;) )  Jackson also found a climbing tree.  We didn't have to worry too much about where our kids were whenever we were at camp because 99.9% of the time, they were either in the cave or around (or on) that climbing tree.  Justin and I have decided that we're in the market for a cave now.  If you know where we can get one real cheap, please let us know! ;)  Still undecided on the climbing tree, though.  Jackson has no trouble climbing UP the tree.  It's climbing DOWN that causes an occasional problem or two.  We're not in the market for broken arms and/or legs so, best wait on the tree.  But, caves.  Caves are good. lol

The cave tour was fun, too.  Thankfully, they did NOT turn out all the lights inside the cave.  I think I personally would have enjoyed a demonstration like that but not with my kids in tow.  There would have been much weeping and gnashing of teeth...and clawing at Mommy.  You could tell Sadie was scared because she kept covering her ears.  Not eyes.  E.a.r.s.  Silly girl.  Josiah wanted to be held nearly the whole time and Jackson kept reminding us that he wanted to go home.  (I know what you're thinking.  "Yeah, Steph.  That sounds like great fun!"  It really wasn't as bad as it sounds, though.)  I'm really proud of them, actually.  They didn't scream or cry.  They pressed on and began to lighten up the longer we were in there.  Jackson pointed out a rock in the cave that looked to him like a dragon (and when I looked, it did look a lot like a dragon's head) and Josiah even tried to share a joke with everyone during one of the group talking stops that was riddled with bad jokes. Wanna hear it?  Question: "How many bats are in a cave?"  Answer: "One."  I warned you they were bad.  His was funny simply because it was so bad! lol

Back at camp later, our fearless leader Adam, demonstrated a science experiment with all our cub scouts involving water, an air pump, and 2-liter soda bottles.  Jackson wasn't very interested at first.  This demonstration was too close to his climbing tree and cave.  He's a boy of action and has little use or time for words.  But once he saw that bottle rocket into the air, Adam had his full attention.  Jackson laughed so incredibly loud every time a bottle left the ground after that.  We should really expose him to "The Three Stooges" because he loves slapstick humor. :)

Saturday night, all the dens each put on a skit for the pack.  They were really cute.  Our den's skit was kind of like a TV news interview gone terribly wrong.  I was the reporter interviewing the Tiger Cubs and asking each of them what they liked about being a Tiger Cub.  The first one (my son) said "Nothing." (Yeah, I'm thrilled with that answer. *insert sarcasm*)  Others said, "Because you can shoot bow and arrows, b-b guns, use pocketknives, build fires, and it's fun."  I asked if I could be a tiger cub and was told no.  When I asked why, I expected to be told I was too old but noooooo...instead, I was told it was because I'm a girl.  I have to be in girl scouts, not boy scouts.  (I think Girl Scouts of America could learn a valuable lesson from this, don't you? ;))

After the skits we all settled in around our respective campfires and just enjoyed each other's company while the majority of the boys ran wild in the field with their glow sticks screaming, chasing each other, and just having an all around wonderful time.  Our kids stayed with us and made smores.  What's a campout without smores, right?  By 8 PM it felt like midnight for all of us.  Justin took Josiah to the tent to sleep but Sadie followed him in and they started playing instead.  So, the 3 of them made up a bedtime story and it's entirely possible that Justin was the first to fall asleep.  All I know is that he never came back out that night. :)  In the meantime, I was sitting in someone else's camping chair with our 6 year old in my lap who was just as fast asleep as they come.  I do not know how I managed to get out of that chair holding him but somehow I did.  Special thanks to Meredith for unzipping our tent so I could get him inside without dropping him! :)

This pretty much sums up Day 1 of the weekend trip.  I'm gonna stop here for the night because I'm extremely tired and this post is already too long.  Day 2 tomorrow.  More fun stuff!

Link to: Day 2


Friday, November 11, 2011

Hair, hair, hair!

I've had long hair the majority of my life and never learned how to french braid.  Can we say, "sad"?  I'm trying to learn (Sadie's my cute and perfect guinea pig.) and so I'm slowly getting a little better now.  I cannot do my own hair.  Maybe if it weren't so stinkin' long I could work with it but it just ends up a tangled mess and I lose my pieces and my patience.

Anyway, I've joined the pinterest world (LOVE it!) and have found several websites with tutorials that are really helpful.  I really wish I could do this one on myself.

Isn't that just super cute?!  And it would totally make dirty hair look good for one more day.  Confession time:  I don't wash my hair everyday.  Before you judge me too harshly, you should know...I have long hair, ladies!...and thick!  (Thank you, Indian blood.)  I also have 3 kids, 6 years and under.  Even if I didn't have long, thick hair, there are just other things that take priority over washing my hair every 24 hours.  Honestly, there are other things I'd rather do than wash my hair every time the sun rises or sets.

The good news?  It turns out that your hair is healthier when you don't wash it every day!  Are you surprised?  If you think about it, it makes sense.  Shampoo washes away the dirt but takes the oils with it too.  The more often you wash, the more frequently you strip away your hair's natural oils and the more likely they haven't had a chance to recover between washings.  Also, if you're like me, you prefer hot showers as opposed to cold ones (how on earth did women ever bathe in rivers???  Brr!).  Then, what do most of us do to wet hair?  Blow dry it, of course!  More heat.  Nearly everyone knows that heat damages your hair.  No big surprise there.  But there's even more good news for the "I don't wash my hair every day" crowd...dirty hair is easier to braid and (in my opinion) holds better.  Think of all the hairspray and shampoo you're saving!   You're helping the environment and your pocketbook! lol

In closing, I'll leave you with a couple of tricks I've learned to help keep your hair (and skin) looking good.  I already mentioned that I like hot showers so naturally, my hair gets washed with hot water.  Duh!  But, I rinse it with cold water.  And by cold, I mean as cold as I can stand it.  (It's o.k. to squeal, sing really high, or do a crazy dance in the shower at this point.  I usually do! ;) )  This is also a fantastic treatment for your skin.  The cold water seals in your body's moisture and gives your skin more of a natural glow by closing your pores and your hair a nice sheen by closing the cuticles.  With hot water, your skin's pores are wide open and taking in whatever they come in contact with (dirt, germs, other icky stuff).  Funny thing, though.  Your pores don't like to be cold either so they seal themselves as tight as possible when hit with cold water, making it pretty hard for dirt and air to get in there and form blemishes and leave you dry.  So, suck it up and rinse with cold water!  Come on, we're as tough as those pioneer women who bathed in rivers in the dead of winter and then hiked back to their homes with frozen hair, right?  We're not gonna let them show us up!  We're not wimps!  We can handle 15 seconds of cold water. :)  Then, whenever possible, let your hair air-dry.  I usually leave mine wrapped in a towel for a little while before blowing it dry just a little, leaving it a tad damp to finish drying on its own.  When your hair is as long and as thick as mine, blow drying could become an all-day task.  And to that I say, "No, thank you!"  Lastly, in between washings, if your hair is looking a little too greasy for you and you don't have time to wash it right away, add a little baby powder to your hair.  Not a lot.  Just a little.  It'll help "suck up" the oils and buy you another day. :-)

So, your turn to confess or share beauty tips.  I want to know.  How often do you wash your hair?  Are you brave enough to rinse with cold water?  *sigh*  The price of beauty. lol

All By Myself

It seems as though Sadie has been in the "I can do it myself, all by myself" phase for at least a good, solid year. I'm thrilled at her independence...really.  And someday I will learn to appreciate it.  ;o)  I keep telling myself, "She'll grow out of this.  It's just a normal thing that all kids do.  She'll eventually accept your help sometimes without making a fuss." Oh, please!  Who am I kidding?  It's been a year already.  This is definitely not her typical "phase".

I suppose much of the frustration stems from two things: #1- I run out of patience or time and #2)- she runs out of patience with herself but still doesn't want help (although she'll say she does and then refuse it).  Very.  Frustrating.

Honestly, I try to give her control of a number of reasonable things.  I know how important it is to her growth and development and to her self-esteem.  She needs to have the chance to accomplish things alone.  She picks out her own clothes and shoes, then dresses herself (and has a style ALL her own).  She buckles herself into the car.  She carries her plate from the kitchen to the dining table and back.  Those are things that she can do by herself most of the time.  She's just slower about it...and I don't always make time for slow.  Sometimes that can't be helped.  Other times, it's just laziness or selfishness on my part.

Then, there are the things that she wants so desperately to do by herself that are settled with compromise.  She helps me pour her drinks.  If I'm baking something, she wants to crack the eggs and whip the batter (again, all by herself).  Sometimes I let her and just ignore the fact that only half the egg made it into the bowl or just dig out the piece of shell that falls in.  Other times I need to do when I'm baking for someone besides us and are concerned more with quality.  In a public restroom, she wants privacy in the stall, to get her own toilet paper (which usually ends up being way too little or way too much), and to wash and dry her guessed it, all by herself.  You moms know that not every public restroom has a stool or short sink and you're not always comfortable leaving your 3 year old in the stall alone.  So what do we do?  We compromise.  I hold her up to the sink, soap, and paper towels.  I turn towards the door as much as possible if I need to be in the stall with her.  I let her try to get her own toilet paper and then help with the more or less as needed...while trying to be encouraging, supportive, and explaining that everyone needs help sometimes, even Mommy.  I think my message is falling on deaf ears (which may have more to do with my presentation than my actual words). :)

Let's face it, though.  These compromises take time.  It's hard to be patient.  Sometimes, it's just not even possible (for instance, when I need to go just as badly as she does. :)).  The point is, if there is something to be done, she wants to do it...all by herself.  She's definitely teaching me patience...and it's a hard lesson.  Kids will do nothing if not show you the ugliest parts of yourself.

Probably even more frustrating than my running out of patience or time (that is something mostly within my control) is when she runs out of patience with herself (not so much in my control).  "Mommy, help!  I can't do it!"  I try to help.  "No, I want to do it.  I want to do it!"  Seriously??  Make up your mind, kiddo!

Hopefully, I'm teaching her at least as much as she's teaching me.  Hopefully, I can model patience and how to graciously receive help when you need it.  That's a hard lesson for anybody, isn't it?  I still want to do most things all by myself.  I mean, don't we all think that our way is the best way?  If we didn't, it wouldn't be "our way", would it?

Yes, I'm gradually learning to appreciate her independence.  It means she'll be a strong, capable woman some day.  I'm so thankful to have a healthy daughter who can demonstrate her desire to do things "all by herself".  There are so many moms out there who would love for their children to be able to just feed themselves, to just have the cognizance and desire and awareness to even refuse help.  So, I'll try to embrace this "phase" and be grateful for her "stubbornness" and that my baby girl is growing up!  But, while it lasts, I'll also relish in the one thing she doesn't want to do herself...flush a public toilet! :)

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Am I finally over my writer's block, yet??

I guess we'll see.  I know it's been forever since I've posted anything.  Moving must have really messed with my head.  You should see all the half-written drafts in my blogger account right now.  Ridiculous!!  For whatever reason, I just couldn't seem to finish any of them.  It didn't matter the topic.  They range all over the place...all unfinished...all collecting cyber dust.

I hope to put an end to my blogging silence.  After all, not everything I write has to be profound, right?  It really doesn't even have to be interesting.  I write more for myself than anyone else anyway.  So much has happened since we moved that I don't even know where to begin.  So, I won't post anything deeply personal just yet.  I'm just going to get my feet wet this time...not take a swim.  It's been so long since I've been in the water, I think I'll avoid getting in over my head right now...just to be safe.  After all, I'm hoping that this post will actually get published!  Baby steps.  Baby steps. ;)

Anyway, I ran across this article about the benefits of eating out for Thanksgiving and I'd really like to know your thoughts on the matter.  Here is my brief personal take:
I have mixed feelings about this.  I really hate the reality of anyone working on a holiday.  I definitely don't think it should be mandatory (with the exceptions of defense and emergency healthcare professions.  I mean, duh!  Emergencies are called that for a reason.).   
On the other hand, these are hard economic times and if you find yourself barely scraping by, it could actually be a god-send to have the opportunity to work on a holiday or Black Friday.  Many times working a holiday will earn you time-and-a-half or extra commissions and hopefully those that come eat at your restaurant recognize the sacrifice you are making and tip generously.  Black Friday is a HUGE day for sales.  (That's why it's called Black Friday and not Red Friday.)  For some, it may mean the difference between purchasing Christmas gifts this year or going without. 
Personally, I prefer the homemade meal with family, football, and all-day conversations.  In my opinion, part of the joy of the holiday is lost in a restaurant, particularly if you have a large crowd because you don't have as much time to visit and if you really wanted to talk to "uncle Bob" who happens to be at the opposite end of the table, you probably won't have much of a chance.  A day with family leaves room for private conversations and more personal moments.  Besides, quality time doesn't happen on a schedule.  It spawns from quantity time together.  It happens while cleaning up the dishes after the meal or cheering for your favorite team.  I don't see myself looking back over my life and thinking, "Remember when we had Thanksgiving dinner at that restaurant?  Wasn't that so much fun and so exciting?!"  For me, it would probably look more like, "Cousin, remember when we talked Nana into playing on the Wii with us last year?  We nearly laughed ourselves silly when she beat YOU at bowling!  And the dancing...Oh, the dancing!!" :)
I feel sorry for those who constantly bicker with their families and who dread spending time together.  Goodness knows, our family is far from perfect and we have had (and no doubt, will continue to have) our own share of dreadful moments.  But I hope and I pray that the happy times and fond memories we've made, and have yet to make, will far outweigh the bitter ones.  I think making the most of the time we have together is one way to accomplish that goal...and I don't think eating at a restaurant on a major holiday will suffice.  I suppose the possible exception to that would be in how you plan to spend the rest of your day.  Will you be in the company of your family then, too?  Or is Thanksgiving just the meal?  What do you think?

*Clarification:  "Family" does not have to mean blood-kin.  It is for most of us but hopefully if you know someone who doesn't have anywhere to go for Thanksgiving, you'll invite them over and treat them like family, too (or in some cases, better than). ;)