Friday, May 31, 2013

A month in pictures

I was just going to post pictures of Brandon's first (professional) haircut, but then I found all these other pictures on my memory card and realized it's been awhile since I've posted pictures of him.
This is our little Oompa Loompa. You can try to feed him all you want, but in the end, he's going to feed himself.
 We call this "the Mad Scientist."
 He thinks its funny to flick his utensils with his tongue.
 
I meant to get Brandon a Cozy Coupe for his birthday, but didn't for some reason. Then some amazing coupons at Toys R Us bought me one for half price.
 He loves this thing.When he's inside, he reaches for the back door to tell you he wants to ride in his car.
Today marked Brandon's first real haircut. Some smart person made a place just for kids where they have cars to sit in with horns that honk and music that plays. They even have TVs at each station so kids can watch their favorite shows. Why don't adults get TVs to watch? All we get is some dull conversation and eavesdropping.
Brandon was a champion during his haircut. They even blew bubbles for him. He tried to steal the comb on the way out, he was so busy combing his shortened hair.

Here's his new do. He's looking more like a boy and less like a baby every day! 

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Ignorance is bliss

I remember innocence. I remember a time where I believe in the best in people. A time when I didn't think everyone was a rapist, murderer, or pedophile.

In high school, we had an outing where we all spent the afternoon at a park. My friends and I got bored after awhile and decided to ditch. We wandered out of the park and off to somewhere - McDonald's, maybe - just anywhere but there.

All of us students had rode in together on the school buses. Time got away from us and we were just minutes from the last bus leaving without us. So my prettiest friend asked a guy in a convertible to give us a ride. He agreed. Five sixteen year-old girls piled into his convertible, giggling and laughing. Things just have a way of working out when you're young.

I think of that now and am amazed at the good in that twenty-something man. I think of a pack of pretty teenagers in summer clothes bumming a ride from a complete stranger. That is a dream for a rapist or murderer or pedophile. Luckily for my adolescent self, I didn't know any of those existed. I didn't know to worry yet.

Ignorance is bliss. Naive people are always happy because they don't know better. Bitter people are cynical because they know too much. There is no way to regain your naivety once it's gone. Instead, we seek happiness in the midst of the evil we've seen, knowing if we do ever find it, it will be a slighter version of the happiness we knew in our youth.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Not today, but one day

There may be days when you get up in the morning and things aren't the way you had hoped they would be. That's when you have to tell yourself that things will get better. There are times when people disappoint you and let you down, but those are the times when you must remind yourself to trust your own judgments and opinions, to keep you life focused on believing in yourself and all that you are capable of. There will be challenges to face and changes to make in your life, and it is up to you to accept them. Constantly keep yourself headed in the right direction for you. It may not be easy at times, but in those times of struggle you will find a stronger sense of who you are, and you will also see yourself developing into the person you have always wanted to be.

Life is a journey through time, filled with may choices; each of us will experience life in our own special way. So when the days come that are filled with frustration and unexpected responsibilities, remember to believe in yourself and all you want your life to be, because the challenges and changes will only help you to find the dreams that you know are meant to come true for you. ~Deanna Beisser

I don't like being cryptic. I'm a pretty open book. But I see how Monday's post was cryptic. I try to separate my work life from my personal life. But sometimes, it seeps in.  I don't think it's any secret that I've been stressed at work lately. I've been stressed because of bad people. These bad people decided to leave messes for other people to clean up and leave in the midst of it all. They are cowards. I am not. I am the one left holding the broom. I will work through this - I am not afraid of the challenge. I have some excellent people to back me up. Never let evil outweigh good. Good triumphs in this story.

For many, revenge is the first thought when someone has done us wrong. I don't believe in administering revenge. I believe you get what you give. I am not responsible for making sure people get back what they gave out. That will happen naturally. So if I give out revenge, I will get it. I chose not to. I chose to move on. I chose to forget those who have disappointed me. I choose to find out what happens next, rather than dwell on what has already happened. I choose peace. And in that, I know...


Monday, May 20, 2013

light

Be light. There is enough darkness. 
Be helpful. There are enough people who aren't.
Be kind. There are plenty of people who think only of themselves.
Be positive. People will flock to that. 
Like moths to a flame. 
Finding a way out of the darkness by that one small, yet powerful light source. 

I have been surrounded by darkness lately.
I will not let people make me believe that I am anything less than I am. 
I will not let people persuade me or manipulate me or deceive me. 
I will be stronger, smarter, happier, more positive. 
I will be light. 

Look at how a single candle can both defy and define the darkness. ~ Anne Frank


We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark; the real tragedy of life is when men are afraid of the light. ~ Plato

Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that. ~ Martin Luther King Jr.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Sweaty curls


The best feeling in the world is when your child comes up to you and lays their head in your lap, for no other reason but just because. I can't wait to have more. 
~ Marlee Matlin

Brandon work up Monday morning red as a beet with quite the fever on him. We took him to the doctor who found an ulcer on his throat. Brandon has foot, hand, and mouth disease. Steve and I alternated between taking care of him and our work schedules. Yesterday, I spent the day with Brandon. Him and I haven't spent a whole day together just the two of us since before he went to daycare. I have missed it being just him and me - in our own little world as if the rest of it doesn't exist.

Although he has been crabby, there have been moments of serenity, too. Like last night when he laid his head on my chest and I felt his little body heave up and down as he drifted into sleep. I laid there, stroking his hair, admiring the way it curls on the ends. And I thought to myself, this little man is all mine. It hit me like it hasn't before that I am the one responsible for this little being. He will grow up and become an independent, responsible man and I will be the first woman he ever loved. I will always have that. 

I am no longer the one seeking a comforter, I am the comforter. I am the one whose room he will run into when he's scared and who he will make Mother's Day cards for - scrawled messily to perfection. I am his mom. I am the most important person in the world to him. And to be the most important person in the world to anybody is something worth living for. 

To the world you may be one person but to one person you may be the world.
~Bill Wilson

When you subtract all the other noise, isn't it people that live in the silence? I read a blog comment that said The important thing about life is love. Everything else is just a distraction. I love that. And I'm getting bored of being distracted. I'm finally ready to focus.




Saturday, May 11, 2013

Mother's Day

Never raise your hand to your kids.  It leaves your groin unprotected.  ~Red Buttons

Sweater, n.:  garment worn by child when its mother is feeling chilly.  ~Ambrose Bierce

Mothers are fonder than fathers of their children because they are more certain they are their own.  ~Aristotle 

I could do my usual and write a sappy Mother's Day post. But today, I'd rather laugh.  It's been 13 months of raising this little ragamuffin. And I have laughed at him many a time. He's fun: He waves at girls at Target. He tries drinking out of a big boy cup and spills it all over his shirt. If I put his paci in my mouth, he will kiss me to get it back. 

I think having kids reminds you of your youth. But this time, you can watch it objectively - watch a child grow up and learn all without the humiliation and embarrassment you had yourself. He is keeping me younger than my wrinkly eyes and frizzy hair tell you I am. 

I will leave you with a quote that gives me a little clarity as to last Saturday's post about Mommy Guilt: 

Being a full-time mother is one of the highest salaried jobs... since the payment is pure love.  ~Mildred B. Vermont 

Thank you to all the mothers in my life - mine, Steve's, Steve's grandparents, our aunts, our cousins, our siblings, our friends. This is an amazing thing we are doing - raising children.  The responsibility is enormous; the payoff is larger still.  

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Something good

Before:
    After:
Steve and I had been planning and saving for a new roof. A roof is so expensive. We tried to get out of paying for it - a couple years ago, Steve called an insurance adjustor out, hoping that sometime in the past fifteen years there had been significant enough hail damage that our insurance would cover the cost. No dice.

A few weeks ago, we finally bit the bullet and Steve scheduled some roofing companies out for estimates. That same week, we had a hailstorm. A bad enough hailstorm that this time, the insurance adjustor did find significant enough damage that our insurance would cover the cost. So today, the roofing company re-roofed us. And we paid nothing.

Do you know that song from The Sound of Music called Something Good? Sure, the lyrics are about falling in love, but if you don't know the context, I think these lyrics apply about a new roof:


Somewhere in my youth or childhood
I must have done something good

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Mommy guilt

It's been nearly a year since Brandon began daycare. I thought the guilt would subside by now. Maybe I think about it less, since I have the stresses of work occupying part of my mind, but the guilt is still there; lurking in a dark corner of my mind, comfortable and not planning to leave any time soon.

It was different in the 80s and 90s, when I was growing up. Most moms stayed home with their kids. I don't remember women even being asked what their profession was - it was understood that if they had kids, they stayed home. Thirty years has passed from when I was born and times have changed. But my mind is nostalgic. It remembers my own childhood and thinks that is the way childhoods should be.

I work 40 hours a week and Brandon is in daycare 45. That means at least half of his waking hours are at daycare. I can't feel good about that. He is learning things - he is learning what they teach him at daycare. But his attitude, the part that I'm supposed to shape, it's not the best. He is grouchy and needy and whiny. And I know that every hour that I'm not with him I'm not helping him at all.

Did you know children's personalities are shaped by age 5? That means I only have four years left to right my wrongs. But I haven't quit my job. I still work 40 hours a week. I don't know what our answer is. I don't know if Brandon or I would like spending every waking moment together until he goes to school. I don't know if that would replace current stresses with different ones. I don't know a lot of things. I just know that Mommy Guilt is an ugly creature, lurking inside of me. I want to get it out.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Relentless Winter, you old grouch!

May 2nd in Omaha: 
 
Winter refuses to admit its fame has ended. 
 
He holds on tight, like a leach, to Spring. 
 
Refusing to give Spring its day. 
Blocking the sun so we remember just how powerful he is.