Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Life Lately

I used to update this blog every day then every other day and now maybe twice a month? I need to write more.

Lately, my lack of writing hasn't been from not doing much. We've been really busy, and I do have so much to write. Sometimes it gets repetitive, though.

Just as I had hoped, with the warm weather, our family has gotten out of the cold days funk. I've been super busy with teaching at TCC and also LUO. I am teaching three residential classes with TCC, which has been a lot three days a week. I have just two and a half weeks left. I've really enjoyed getting in the classroom, and I feel like I have connected with my students. Then in the online side with LUO, I've been able to keep up and even grow in new areas in my job. So, I've been busy, busy, busy, but staying on top of things.

We brought Marlowe, our lab puppy, home a month ago already. It has gone by so fast, and she is growing even faster. She weighed 10 pounds when got her. She is already over 20. She is so sweet, and we all just love her to bits. She is getting better about not biting hard (she just play bites) and has learned to sit, stay, and come. We're proud of our girl and plan to get her in puppy training next month after Eliot's soccer season ends.

The day we got her...

And now...

Speaking of soccer, we lived in this crazy busy world of swim lessons and soccer both going on for about a month. It was far too busy, but I wanted to get Eliot closer to swimming and I didn't want him to miss out on soccer. Fortunately, it was only for a month, and the swim lessons really boosted Eliot's confidence. I feel like I need to write his instructor a nice letter or something because one week after swim lessons ended, he started actually swimming on his own under the water. Then he started cannon balling into the deep end and swimming to the shallow end. And just yesterday he started touching the bottom. He's growing so fast and it's just April. I'm so excited to see what the summer holds for him and swimming.

Eliot has only had two soccer games this season so far due to all of the rain, but he's doing even better than last season. This season, he is mostly with older kids and his team is pretty big, so he has less playtime and no goals yet, but he has done well recovering the ball multiple times each game. I really just want him to have fun, so when he gets the ball, it's a nice bonus.

Almost two weeks ago, Chris's mom and dad came in town to run the 5k. Chris also ran, and Eliot ran a 1k. I have determined that running races just really isn't for me. I don't like the crowds and have a panic attack (I'm not exaggerating) with so many people running alongside me, so I think I prefer just to run on my own around the neighborhood. I was so happy to go out and cheer everyone on, though, and it was a really beautiful day, especially with the free pizza. Chris won third place in his age group, so he got a fancy pants medal too, and Eliot did great for the 1k. Eliot was quite nervous at first, but he was pretty sure he "winned" in the end, so he ran all out to the finish. Ha. I know it was an incredibly special moment for Chris to be running with his son something longer than a little toddler dash, and I was tearing up watching them run together too.

With the warm weather, the boys have been in the pool almost every day, and I've been working on the gardens. All the nasty pollen and tree crud has been falling from the skies, so I fill up a bag of yard trash every day, yet it still looks messy out there. I've been planting new flowers in the bed out front for a "cottage" look, and Chris and I have picked up more tropical-looking plants for the back. I can't wait to get it finally all cleaned up once the trees stop trying to reproduce so we can spread some mulch too. I can't believe I'm one of those people who actually likes doing yardwork, but suddenly I am. Planning out the gardens during the cold months is what keeps me going, so it's such a relief to be able to dig into the dirt and see everything come together. I should probably live on an island....

Over the past four days, poor Jack-boy has been fighting off some kind of a virus. His temperature keeps going up to over 104 (one time it was 105), but the doctor assures me he is fine. Then his temp will go down, and I think we've beat it, just for it to go back up again at night. Ah. He seemed the best yet today, so maybe he'll be happier tomorrow or by the weekend. I think Eliot had the same cold last Sunday, but he just took a nap (which he never does) and then was fine. And of course Jack has passed the cold on to me too. I do love the extra cuddles, but I want him to feel better soon!

So, that has been our life lately. A lot going on in a lot of different directions!

Thursday, April 16, 2015

A Second Chance by Way of an Inch Worm

As parents, we all have those nights when we are trying out hardest, but our best isn't received by the kids in the way we had hoped. I had an opportunity to be "the fun parent" by letting the boys slip down a cardboard box like a slide. They were having a blast. However, it was within ten minutes of bedtime, and though I warned them repeatedly that the fun would end, my cautions fell on deaf ears. And I would like to be the kind of parent who allows her kids to stay up late playing with a cardboard box, but I had been pushing through a crippling, multi-day migraine. I needed to finally be able to put my head under a pillow and hope for relief.

So, the bedtime routine began. Putting Jack in his pjs as he cried--though I did not raise my voice at him, I still felt bad about his protests. I lifted him over the rails into his crib, and he let out a loud, "NO! NO! NO!" Fortunately, by the time I turned off his light and closed the door, he wasn't crying at all. He just went right to sleep. I then turned down Eliot's request to read "just one, short book" before bed or to sing him a song. "No," I said. "Go pee in the potty. You're going to bed."

I was frustrated, and though I was not lashing out or being cruel, I was being cold. To be honest, my head hurt so badly that it was a struggle to even get words out.

After I closed the door, I resigned myself to do a few dishes before going to bed myself. Eliot crept around the corner. "Mom, I want you to cuddle with me. I can't sleep without a cuddle. And a song."

I didn't answer. I lifted Eliot's soccer water bottle from the counter to rinse it. There, a bright green inch worm scrunched up its body as it traveled down the bottle. It reminded me of one of Eliot's favorite books: If You Want to See a Whale.

I bent down and showed him. "Look," I said. "An inch worm. Do you want to hold it?"
"Is it slimy?" he asked.
"No," I replied. "Maybe just tickle-y."
"I want you to hold it."

I tried to convince the inch worm to climb on my finger. He wasn't interested. He stood up, challenging his balance, and looked for somewhere to go--anywhere but my finger. Eventually, though, I did scoot him on. I thought of all of the bugs that I have shown to Eliot over the past four years, the times I have tried to teach him gentleness and to value life (no matter how small), and how intrigued he has always been by all things in nature. I told Eliot that I'd put the worm outside and I'd be right back.

"I want to come!" Eliot cried excitedly.
"But it's raining," I said.
"I like the rain! And here are my shoes!"

All too often, the answer is no when really there is no reason why the answer can't be yes.
I helped Eliot get his shoes on, and we hurried into the rain to lead the worm to climb onto the frond of a palm tree by the deck. "This way he won't get too wet if he doesn't want to," I suggested.

We went back inside and I lay in bed with Eliot and I sang him to sleep. I am thankful for that second chance at a good night, even though it wasn't necessarily a bad night before, by way of an inch worm.