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Real life

22 May

My favorite people are the ones who are real, blunt, and honest.  It’s hard to be a parent.  The demands of life are crazy.  So to that end, I’m going to be honest about what things look like around here.  It’s a mess all the time.  Some people over exaggerate when they describe their house as messy, so I’ll share some pictures I just took of the norm around here so you can see how messy it is.

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The living room isn't too bad.

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The dining room isn't horrible either.

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The kitchen.

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The dryer appears to have thrown up several baskets of laundry.

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The kids room. It's a fire hazard.

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Our bedroom.

I must explain the laundry protocol.  The clean ones are by the dryer or in a basket in the bedroom.  Dirty ones are lying on the floor everywhere.  If you need clothes, you dig through the pile until you find something.  It will be wrinkly.  You can put it in the dryer with a wet washcloth to get the wrinkles out because the iron hasn’t seen daylight in years. 

Do you feel any better about your house now?  Good!

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Real life

22 May

My favorite people are the ones who are real, blunt, and honest.  It’s hard to be a parent.  The demands of life are crazy.  So to that end, I’m going to be honest about what things look like around here.  It’s a mess all the time.  Some people over exaggerate when they describe their house as messy, so I’ll share some pictures I just took of the norm around here so you can see how messy it is.

image

The living room isn't too bad.

image

The dining room isn't horrible either.

image

The kitchen.

image

The dryer appears to have thrown up several baskets of laundry.

image

The kids room. It's a fire hazard.

image

Our bedroom.

I must explain the laundry protocol.  The clean ones are by the dryer or in a basket in the bedroom.  Dirty ones are lying on the floor everywhere.  If you need clothes, you dig through the pile until you find something.  It will be wrinkly.  You can put it in the dryer with a wet washcloth to get the wrinkles out because the iron hasn’t seen daylight in years. 

Do you feel any better about your house now?  Good!

How to Discipline

17 Apr
  1.  Always yell and be sure to lose your temper.  If you aren’t yelling, they aren’t hearing.
  2. Make threats.  “I will throw away everything you own/make you sleep in the garage/you’ll flunk 3rd grade/Santa isn’t coming/we’re canceling our Disney trip we already paid for”.
  3. Spank.  Make sure to leave a hand print or it won’t be effective.
  4. Be inconsistent.
  5. Rub their noses in their potty mistakes, just like you would if you were training a puppy.
  6. Call them names/make fun of them/bully them.
  7. Explain how their consequences are so appropriate with big elaborate words for a half an hour. “When you are grown up, you’ll be so glad that your mom and dad punished you.  You need to develop a sense of self control and the best way to do that is for us to condition you using the extrinsic reward model.  BF Skinner says that operant conditioning is effective in reinforcing positive behaviors. I know you hate time outs, but it is a widely accepted practice and we only expect that you meet the release contingency…”
  8. Be overly dramatic and self centered. ‘You know your behavior is going to be the death of me/You’re always interrupting my General Hospital/You need to eat again?”.
  9. Make sure to never let them out of your sight.  Hover if need be. Don’t let them do anything for themselves, they might do it wrong.
  10. Just tell them no.  That’s what worked for my mother in law. Darned if I never thought to try that.

Happy Birthday Griffin!

10 Apr

GriffinGriffin turned 9 this weekend!!! Being 9 is difficult. Poor kid vacillates between acting very mature and struggling to control his emotions.  One minute he’s acting so responsible and a few minutes later he is having a temper tantrum about his brother eating chips that are crunchy.  The crunching noise drives Griffin crazy as does Nora eating with her mouth open, and the sound of spoons hitting teeth.  Jeans are the anti-Christ, a torture device invented by some cruel individual. Homework is something to hide/bury/feed to your dog.

On the other hand, I catch him running around and chasing his sister with giggles abounding. He tolerates his siblings hanging out when he has friends over to play.  He can cook ramen noodles and mac and cheese by himself and run the microwave to reheat things.  He likes to rock hunt and go on adventures outside.  Legos are his favorite toy and he builds some amazing creations.

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Happy birthday kiddo!  It doesn’t seem possible that it was 9 years ago that you made your dramatic entry into the world followed by your desire to eat every 15 minutes.  I don’t feel old enough to have a 9 year old!!!

Things I forgot about newborns

19 Feb

Maybe my memories about infanthood have been repressed?  I don’t know, but I’m suddenly remembering all these things about newborns again. For example:

They have “The Knack”.  As soon as you pull that diaper away from their behind, the feces and urine start flowing. Boys can hit things 6 feet away. Hopefully your face is not in the crossfire. Similarly, through some complicated infantile biofeedback system that is not yet fully understood, a clean dry diaper results in immediate poop.  Then there is the uncanny ability that babies have to soak their bedding and clothing with pee, while not wetting their diaper at all.

Infants also have a sixth sense that allows them to optimize their meal time interruptions. Crying, pooping, and any other disturbance that prevents the parents from eating their food while still hot are acceptable per infant code.

All older children look like giant bobble headed aliens. How did these once tiny beings become so humungous? Is it even feasible that these beasts once squeezed through someone’s lady bits?

Breasts are weapons when your milk comes in.  Be careful, you could take someone’s eye out with those things.  Not only that, but also you can generate milk by just looking at the baby and suddenly, before you know it, you are in a wet t-shirt contest that you never intended.

At about 4 weeks postpartum you hit the “OMG is that a dead raccoon in my shower drain?” but really it’s just your own hair coming out in clumps.

No, I didn’t go to the salon to get French tips, that’s just Desitin under my fingernails.

Some husbands (not naming any names here *cough* Jeff) may mistake babies crying for their alarm going off and may attempt to silence those cries by hitting the snooze button several times a night.

But, you know, it’s all worth it. And I’d do it all over again. And again. x4.

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Incoherence

23 Oct

11:00 pm  Zombie noises from the kids’ room. Sawyer moaning, something about his arm not being covered by the blanket. Cover back up, go back to bed.

12:00 am  “Mom. Mom. MOOOOOMMMMMMM!” Sawyer says his head hurts. Attempt to give tylenol. Kid gags on liquid purple goo and spits it everywhere. Attempt to catch it all with my hand so I don’t have to try to clean the sticky mess up later. And the kid is already wearing his clothes for tomorrow.  It’s easier to dress him before bed than in the morning. Hopefully I wiped up most of the purple goo before it got on everything. Cover kid back up and hope that this is the last time for the night.

1:00 am  More zombie noises. Get up. Noise stops before I make it to the room. Lay back down. More moaning, maybe it’ll stop on it’s own. Please god let it stop. It doesn’t stop. Get back up. Don’t want moaning kid to wake up other two sleeping kids. Yes, they all share the same room. Don’t ask, it is a long story. Ask Sawyer what is wrong. Mumbles. Struggles with blankets. More mumbling. Kid, what do you want? The answer I get is “star”. Then he rolls over and quiets. Back to bed for me.

2:00 am  More grumbles, moaning, and zombie noises. Sawyer is up AGAIN. Try to ignore it and hope it goes away. No such luck. What is wrong now Sawyer? Mumble, mumble, something about the blanket not being in the right spot. Mumble, mumble, pantomime, wave arms. Thrash, thrash, wave arms, mumble, mumble. I cover him back up and he settles. Please god, let me sleep.

Finally, I get a 4 hour stretch of sleep before Jeff’s alarm clock goes off. It is going to be a long day.

A Million Little Things

14 Aug

A friend was pondering today over why some marriages work and others don’t. It turned into an interesting conversation.

What causes divorce? Is there a singular cause or event? Is it the self centered nature of humans? Is it immaturity?

Marriages fail for a variety of reasons. Some marriages seem destined to fail before they even get started. In some cases people choose their partners poorly. Certain situations may cause a person to feel stuck and lacking options. One may see the flaws in their partner but think that they can save them, reform them, or change them. In other cases, the partners do not respect each other or even verbally or physically abuse one another. And of course, infidelity is another cause for divorce.

Perhaps it is easier to explain what makes a marriage work instead of what makes one fail. For a marriage to be successful, both individuals need to be able and willing to put the needs of their partner and family above their own needs.

My friend returned from a weekend long religious conference on being a submissive wife. GASP! Submission??? What sort of a conference is this? In this day and age of feminism, who even believes in this sort of thing?

If you know me at all, you know that I need to feel that my voice is heard and my opinions are considered. Being submissive to anyone anywhere is the polar opposite of my personality. I’ve been challenging authority since I was a kid. The word submission makes me cringe.

I attempted to put my gut reaction to the word submission aside and listen to what my friend’s conference was all about. One explanation she made actually struck a cord with with me. She said that if a husband consistently and continually puts the needs of his wife and family above his own needs and wants in both his actions and behaviors, then a wife can comfortably submit to whatever his will may be. Without complete trust in your spouse, submission can not occur.

Aha! This actually makes sense to me. I could never feel completely controlled by someone nor could I let someone make all the decisions for me. I have seen marriages in which this works, it just isn’t something that I could handle. But when I trust that Jeff has our family’s well being in mind and is not making selfish decisions, I can agree to go along with plans that I would not normally consider. This in and of itself is growth for me. I can trust that he is making a decision that will be beneficial to our family.

When a person is self centered, instead of thinking of what is best for their spouse or family, they think about what they enjoy, what is fun, what they need. They spend their time focusing on their career, making or spending money, or hobbies. While it is not inherently wrong to focus on these things, the problem lies on the consequences. If one is going to have fun golfing with some buddies at the expense of spending time with one’s family, that is a problem. If advancing one’s career comes at a cost to one’s spouse due to the extra stresses placed on them, that is a problem. If one shops excessively or makes poor money choices impacting their family’s ability to pay bills, that is a problem.

Just like creating a healthy body, creating a healthy marriage requires everything in moderation. It is healthy to have ambitions, hobbies, and friends. Going out for a drink with friends every now and then is a great stress reliever. When things go to an extreme, it usually causes an imbalance in the marriage and causes turmoil.

What makes a marriage fail? It doesn’t happen overnight. It is a slow erosion, like rain on a mountain over millions of years, washing the rock down the valley until eventually the mountain crumbles. It’s a million little things. It’s disrespecting your spouse. Rude comments. Negative attitude. Lack of intimacy. Not spending enough time together. Verbal abuse. Lacking communication. Putting your needs above your spouse’s.

What makes a marriage successful? It doesn’t happen overnight. It is a slow building, like the creation of an anthill, each ant moving one grain of earth at a time. It’s a million little things. It’s a complement. Holding hands. Compromising. Listening well. Asking for opinions. Helping without being asked. Tolerating the quirks. Date nights. Talking over dinner. Taking turns. Sharing. Sex. Doing things you don’t want to because your spouse does.

In short, marriage is hard work. But it is so worthwhile. A million little things sounds like a formidable task, but start small. How about one little thing today and another little thing tomorrow?