Tuesday, September 24, 2013

09.24.2013 -- Growing Up, I Guess

Lucy wouldn't hold my hand today at the hospital (went for a check up) and flat out refused to let me take a picture of her.  She looks super cute today.  I just want to scoop her up and kiss her face all over.  (I know, I'm loony.)

Charlie is outgrowing diapers.  I may never buy another pack of diapers again, folks!

Gabe is almost reading...  He can recognize his letters (big and small) with about 90% accuracy.

Brian and I have been married for YEARS, and we have never had a formal photograph of us or our family taken (besides wedding pictures).  It took way more courage than it should have for me to actually get a session scheduled, and I've only seen 5 pictures so far, but I'm so happy to have some pictures of us as a family while the kids are still little.    Here is a candid picture I grabbed with my phone when the boys were outside watching Lucy and friends walk to school.  Gabe has binoculars and Charlie has "binoculars."

Bottom picture of Lucy and Charlie courtesy of Joshua Terry Photography.

Monday, September 23, 2013

09.22.2013 -- Crash

Our kids love to ride bikes.  Seeing them zooming around happily makes me smile.  There are a few ingredients, when added to a childhood that dramatically increase success and good times.

  • Homemade baked goods.  Not all the time, but sometimes.
  • Kites.
  • Water and mud.
  • Tree climbing.
  • Roadside lemonade stands.
  • Fingerpainting.
  • Mud pies.
  • Matchbox car races.
  • Legos.
  • Sleeping under the stars.
  • Bikes.

This list is not exhaustive, but it's a start.  (In order for me to function these days, I embrace starts and imperfect efforts--otherwise I wouldn't accomplish much.)

So, Bikes!  Kids on bikes make me smile.  If you look carefully at this picture of Gabe, you should be able to see a scrape that takes up roughly 1/8 of his face.  He and Lucy were riding bikes and he crashed.   He was wearing a helmet, thank heavens.  It took a good half of an hour for him to stop screaming.  I probably would've screamed too, poor kid.  This happened a few days ago, and the picture isn't from today either, but the only real difference now is that there is some green around his eye now. 

He's a chip off the old block.  Both his dad and I have had some pretty good bike crashes, too.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

09.14.2013 -- Forget Me Not

Things I don't want to forget:

Gabe, upon hearing about laser eye surgery, "Mom, does that mean that they are going to get LASER eyes???"

Gabe: "Mom, I love science. I'm going to be a space scientist when I grow up. You should have named me Bill Nye when I was born, so you could call me 'Bill Nye the Science Guy!'"

The way Charlie uses Y for other consonants.  "Mom, I yike you." "Mom, I yike my yooter."

The way Lucy is so independent and determined, but still loves to sleep in our bed.

Tickling the kids and hearing them laugh.

Seeing the sense of accomplishment on the kids' faces when they've finished a project that they thought was beyond them like cleaning up the basement to earn a movie night or an afternoon playing with friends.

Charlie deciding to potty train by himself, forsaking all stools, climbing up on the toilet by himself (but only when it's truly his idea).

Lucy and Gabe playing spies, telling me, "In the game, mom, you're a person who has no place to live and we just let you stay here for a while."

Charlie thinking its hilarious that I hate him shoving his fingers up my nose.

Gabe finally switching vocabulary from "goodest" to best.  (This week.)


09.15.2013 -- Owning Weird

Last night I witnessed something normal.  An a cute teenage girl complaining that she has "the weirdest brothers on the planet."  Weird because they like theater, weird because they have "no common sense, no street smarts."

I was uncomfortable then. I tried to point out the hyperbole of her statement indirectly by saying something like "Yep, they're the weirdest on the planet."   Sarcasm.

Now it's the morning after and my brain won't let go of it.  I want to explain to this young lady what bothers me so much about what happened last night.  Calling someone weird is hardly terrible, at least it happens. A lot. 

Even before the name calling last night (call it as I see it), I was thinking about weirdness and fitting in after reading this blog post yesterday afternoon. 

It won't surprise many people to hear that I have been called weird for as long as I can remember. One of my earliest memories happens at a playground where some kid asked me if I was a boy or a girl. I was a tomboy. I hated dresses, idolized my big brother, and had just been "shorn" of my long ponytails because my mom couldn't get lice out of my long hair. I had my ears pierced, but few other clues pointed me out as a girl.

Teachers (well, okay--one teacher) called me weird in junior high, but she also said I was cute. Friends called me eccentric in college, I've been called crazy, daring, and courageous for my unconventional choices.  

What I want to tell that young lady is this:

Calling people weird is hurtful.  It doesn't help anyone or anything.  When you call people weird, I find myself thinking, "So ...what? Does everyone have to be just like you to be okay?"  The thing about judging other people is that we are all at risk.  From the President of the United States of America to the most highly paid popstar to Nobel Laureates and ├╝ber successful super nerds.  None of us has a way of escaping  the critical eye of some other human being who feels like taking someone down a notch.  

Nerd. Weird. Slut. Faggot. Bitch. Redneck. Anorexic. Slob. Anal. Stuck up. Geek.  Fat. Loser. Freak. Self absorbed. Stupid. Jerk. Airhead. Obsessed. Hippy. Prude. Whore. Feminist.  Chauvinist. Clueless. Fake. Douchebag. Druggie.

Anyone who doesn't conform is subject to being judged and labeled.

Why do we do it?  Insecurity? Is it a way we cope with our differences that soothes the fear in us that we may not measure up? Psychologists used to think it was insecurity.  The conventional wisdom now is that "bullies usually have a sense of entitlement and superiority over others, and lack compassion, impulse control and social skills."

What's really wrong with giving people a label, though?  Is it really so wrong?
Labeling people or excluding people is not a positive thing.

There are alternatives. 
Really.  There are alternatives.  If someone is different than you and bugs you, you don't have to say that they're weird.  You can just smile and nod and do your own thing.  Be civil.  Better than that, we can act with compassion.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

09.02.2013 -- All Thumbs

I don't think I've ever written up an actual full length post about Lake Powell.   That's probably because when we get home, we're all scrambling to get everything put away and in order so we can get into real life again.

This time, I'm thumb typing it into my phone as we drive toward Cedar City.  We are driving through a heavy duty rain storm, and a bolt of lightning just cracked directly over the truck--light and noise together.


I can't go through this area without feeling drawn to it. I really grew to love southern Utah when I went to school here.  It's not that I don't appreciate other landscapes.  I just have a soft spot in my heart for these wide sage and juniper dusted valleys.  I especially love the fall and spring, when yellow blooms accent the waves of green.  (It must have been all the walks and bike rides.  I have a similar soft spot for Logan...)

We had rain while we were at the lake, too, but were never out in anything more than a light sprinkle.

Besides talking about weather, what do people say when they write about a trip to Lake Powell?

This was our first trip solo as a family of five. I have to admit that I was a bit nervous heading out.  Let's be honest, though. I'm nervous before any trip. Period.

It turned out great.  We spent a good amount of time out boating with a new toy piece of equipment that Brian picked up: a ski trainer.   I wasn't skeptical, but it would sound right for me to write here that I was "skeptical at first, but that the gadget won me over."  That's how it goes, right?   It was great to have something for the kids to do besides tube.

The ski trainer is like an inflatable child-sized jet ski with built in skis.  The only part of the skis that are visible are the open bindings that kids put their feet in.  There is a ripe attached to the front if the trainer which goes toward the boat, and there is a much shorter handle placed
perfectly for kids to get used to holding the handle while waterskiing.

Lucy and Gabe were all over it. One afternoon when Gabe and Charlie had both fallen asleep, Lucy skied until her muscles got too sore.  Brian has a knack for finding and acquiring  toys pieces of equipment that are just right.

So the kids had all the fun this trip. Not having another adult spotter, we just let them do all the riding behind the boat this time.  Brian and I did get some swimming in, though.

Our last night on the boat was sort of one of those made for TV moments where a little sentimental music and closeups of me and Brian exchanging proud looks--as we notice the kids' bravery and hear the funny things they say--would've been perfect.

Charlie wasn't as excited about the water this trip as Gabe and Lucy were. I kept reminding them that he's only two years old, but they were still VeRY disappointed when he didn't want to go down the water slide alone. He did swim with all of us on the last night, though. I personally, think it took him several days to get over having to wear a life jacket.  I think that his refusal to swim was mostly on principle.