Tuesday, January 17, 2012

What's Going Right

 Sambo helping me make dinner for some friends.  He loves to cook and is getting to be legitimately helpful. 

 Buddy at the Children's Museum in Reno.  He loves science and will soak up anything anyone is willing to teach him. 

This afternoon I've been working on updating our adoption profile online.  As I've been writing and choosing new photos and basically bragging up our family so a potential birthmother will become interested us, I started feeling really good about myself and all the "wonderful" things going for us as parents.

Then I remembered a few things I've read online lately and wondered why I don't focus more on what's going right in life (especially my parenting).  First of all, I read a fable the other day with the moral that "whatever you feed lives."  So if you feed jealousy toward others, you'll be jealous.  If you feed anger, you'll be angry.  If you feed gratitude, you'll feel grateful (and happy).  I also read a post online about what people feel they are doing right as a parent.  The intention was to make a list of things you are doing well, and continue those in 2012 rather than feel bogged down by all the things you wish you were doing.  Taking the previous moral into consideration, focusing on your successes feeds more success. 

Here's what I'm doing right as a parent:

Teaching my children to do daily service.
Teaching my children to work hard.
Teaching my children to love to read, the value of learning, and formal education.

What are you doing right as a parent?

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Baptism Report

This is old news, I guess.  But I still want to post some pictures and tell all about Buddy's baptism on December 3, 2011.  I've been putting it off a little because I honestly don't know what to say to articulate how great it was. 

Leading up to the baptism we were all a little stressed.  The baptism fell right in the middle of a bunch of other parties and birthdays, but we wanted to make it special.  We were hoping that Buddy's birthmom would be able to come.  Buddy was really stressed and anxious for months leading up to it.  And then there is the typical pressure of having your firstborn grow up (already!).  We hoped we had done our best to teach him and that he was prepared.

Am I so lucky to have such handsome boys in my life?

As we hoped, the entire weekend was perfect.  Buddy's birthmom and her family came and had a wonderful time.  Buddy was happy and calm.  The baptism service was amazing.  And the party afterward was fun.  The weekend was a slice of heaven. 

This picture makes me very happy.

Here are some of the miracles of the baptism:

We were overjoyed to see so many of Buddy's "weak things" become strengths. So many friends and family members and ward members and our bishop showed their love as his baptism approached.  So many people when way above and beyond their duties to help him.  I realized how much people enjoy helping someone who feels vulnerable.  So often we think we need to appear "perfect" or "all together" but this was a great example of a kid who was overwhelmed and the overwhelming love that was shown to him as a result.  And what a difference it made!

Another thing that has been cool, but not really surprising, is the huge growth that has come to him since his baptism.  He is much more responsible and compliant and a lot more emotionally mature than he was two months ago.  His behavior has been pretty darn near perfect.  Isn't that a mother's dream?  An obedient child!  Yay!  Buddy is the type of kid that needs a purpose and a responsibility.  The two times in his life when he's been the easiest to parent have been now (coming off the high of the baptism) and right after Sambo was born (when he felt responsible for caring for his baby).

Buddy's birthmom and her daughter.  Wonderful people like them make my life so very full.

Every time we visit with Buddy's birthmom I feel the same way and say the same things.  But man, oh man.  Those two have a lot in common.  We loved having her with us.  She was so grateful to be here and had so many good insights into the baptism and our relationship.  While I try to articulate to people the special love that they have for each other, I just can't do it.  Things are not and have never been easy for her.  She made such a hard choice to place Buddy with us.  But she said that having an open adoption doesn't make things easier for her, just better.  So beautiful.  She came to church with us on Sunday and bore her testimony.  I was so impressed and Buddy was beaming.  He was so proud of her.  I think everyone in attendance was proud.

The baptism service itself.  We considered having a very pared down service only doing the ordinances and no talks.  But after some prayer and careful thought, Buddy chose people he loves to do the  music and talks.  He called them and asked them to help.  So cute.  Everyone that spoke, prayed, and did the music did such a good job.  Really amazing job, actually.  G and I and his birthfamily spent most of the service in tears.  I'm not sure about anybody else because I was so focused on the moment. I wanted to really remember the moment so when life gets hard for Buddy, I can remind him of the love we all felt that day.

G did such a good job.  I'm so thankful he honors his priesthood.  This can not be overstated.  So, so thankful. 
 Noah's birthmom's daughter.  Such a princess.  We adore her. 

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Happy Birthday to Me and Random Thoughts

This is how G spent my birthday party/Christmas Eve

I turned 35.  It was the worst birthday I've ever had.  I'm not trying to be dramatic, I'm just explaining it how it was.  Considering I've been royally spoiled on 34 other birthdays, I guess I was due for a lame one.  Here are a few reasons it wasn't fun.  I've been annoyed about getting older.  I embraced 30.  35 has been a downer, though.  First of all, it's the last big milestone before "over the hill."  Plus medically it's a biggie too.  Life insurance premiums increase after 35.  Thank goodness I got some at age 34.9.  And fertility decreases.  Since I have no fertility in the first place, this frustrates me.  a lot.  My hair is going gray which is SO ANNOYING too.  And don't even get me started on hormones and muffin tops.  TMI all the way around. 

The other reason my birthday wasn't fun was because I spent the previous several days with a cold and was up all night the night before my birthday with a screaming sinus headache.  We were staying in a hotel in Reno, and the sound of G sleeping was making my headache hurt worse.  I didn't have anywhere to go being in a hotel and all, so I got up and moved to Sambo's bed where I endured him kicking me in the kidneys all night.

By the time morning came, we were all exhausted.  Nobody had slept.  G went down to the hotel's breakfast and brought me a bagel in bed.  The day went south from there.  G suddenly came down with stomach flu and everyone knows the stomach flu trumps all other viruses and birthdays.  So I was up a creek, so to speak.  All birthday plans canceled (including my MUCH anticipated lunch to Grimaldis).  Laying in bed all day canceled.  Taking a day off from being in charge of the kids canceled. 

So although I was feeling like death, I showered and vacated the hotel room so G could be sick in peace.  I wasn't in any state to do anything fun or travel too far, so I took the boys over to Del Taco, which was just outside the door of the hotel.  During lunch Buddy remarked, "This is just a little worse than Taco Bell."  "A lot worse," I corrected.  It tasted awful.  (As a side note, it was so awful, I can also no longer eat Taco Bell, which used to be my favorite.)

We then went to McDonalds to pick up a sprite for G and to buy some more advil for my head.  We returned to the room to drop off the sprite and to pick up some reading material.  The boys and I then sat in the hotel lobby for the next 90 minutes giving G more time to get all his sick out.  Thank heavens the boys were cooperative and quiet.  And even better was the fact that the hotel was a ghost town, it being Christmas Eve and all. 

By then I was overdue for a nap, so we went back to the room and put the kids back in front of the TV.  Sometime during that nap G's sister awesomely came and picked the boys up from the hotel and took them over to their house to eat dinner and play.  I woke up feeling a bit better, so I had a lovely birthday dinner at McDonalds.  Eventually we headed over to the house to spend a little time celebrating Christmas Eve and eating chocolate birthday cake.

I'm sure you feel so sorry for me.

You don't really need to.  It wasn't that bad.  (At least I didn't have the stomach flu.)

I'm working on composing some posts to talk about Buddy's baptism and to share some Christmas pictures.  But before I do that, here's a few other not-interesting things that have been happening.

I can't stand that school started up again.  I REALLY WISH IT WAS STILL CHRISTMAS BREAK.  School started yesterday.

Sambo called me stupid today.  It's amazing how much less stuff like that bothers me with my second child.

Speaking of Sambo... each day that passes he gets more and more of a handful.  He used to be so easy.  It's so weird how his personality has totally blossomed in the last few months.  I still ADORE him, though.  Even if he thinks I'm stupid, I think he's hilarious and clever.  It's really interesting because four years old was Buddy's easiest age and it's turning out to be Sambo's hardest by a long shot.  These kids couldn't be more different.

I have one more party (a dinner for all the primary presidents in the stake) at my house next week and then I'm closing my door and not allowing anyone to enter for three months.  Just kidding... but it's tempting.  I'm really tired of parties. 

I have done very little this week and it's been fantastic.  I took two naps on Monday.  On Tuesday I did a bunch of laundry and folded it all and put it away that day.  That has literally never happened since I've lived in this house.  I went to the gym three days in a row and worked myself hard all three times.  I had to take today off because I am so awesomely sore.  I love, love, love pilates and my weights class.  If I didn't have them I'd have to be heavily medicated.  Oh, speaking of which.  G's work is no longer paying for half of our gym membership.  I'm disappointed, but I'm willing to pay the full amount because I love/need it.  I've spent the rest of the week laying around, sitting around, staring at the wall, watching TV, reading, catching up on blogs, and surfing the Internet.  Do you do Pinterest yet?  What about GoodreadsAhhhh.  I think I'm going to spend 2012 lazy.

Which leads me to my next point.  I have never in my life made a New Year's Resolution.  But I did this year.  Drumroll.... I'm going to find the best pizza in Portland.  Did you expect me to have a worthy goal?  Why would I when I just decided I'm going to spend 2012 lazy. 

Buddy started piano lessons on Tuesday.  He has impressed me and warmed my heart on multiple occasions in his little life, but that first lesson rose up near the top of times I've loved him a lot.  He was incredibly focused and took it super seriously.  And he has a natural talent I can tell already.  Reading the music seemed second nature.  A-DORABLE.  I'm not counting my chickens before they hatch, but he is loving practicing so far (twice).   His teacher is fantastic.  She is one of my favorite ward members, so I'm thrilled she's his teacher.  I'm not sure how old she is, but she got married in 1944.  So if she married at 20, then she'd be pushing 88 years old.  She's been teaching piano for 60 years! 

I instituted a new procedure for Buddy after school.  I make him a list of things I'd like him to accomplish that day and then I also list possible privileges he might earn if he finishes his entire list (watch a movie, make cookies, do a science experiment).  He can do the list or not, it's his choice.  I hate begging him or negotiating with him and with the added responsibilities of scouts and piano and soon track plus the usual chores, homework, and reading -- I can't micromanage his after school routine. Plus I'm working on being lazy.  So far (twice) it's worked brilliantly.