Tuesday, August 23, 2016

The Sound of Silence

Momma's Log August 17, 2016 (Kwrp)

Do you hear that sound?

"I think that's one of them silent alarms!" (Saving Silverman)


No, no, no...Do you? Do you hear the sound I hear?  ME NEITHER!!!! That's because there IS no sound! None. Nadda.  Nothing but SWEET silence.  HaHA!  I did it!  I made it through ten--that's TEN weeks of summer break!  10 solid weeks of playing "Julie the Cruise Director from Love Boat" to my two boys who looked at me like this every morning... wanting to know what the day's entertainment schedule was.


The break started off with SUCH high hopes on my part.  We made a bucket list of all the little things their hearts and minds could think of that meant "summer" to them, I put together learning pages and a reading schedule that would make any teacher proud, and I was committed to keeping us steered on course to enjoy the Best.Summer.Ever. AND keep up with their learning so they could be ahead when school started in the fall (or in our case LATE summer) (But don't get me started on THAT one) .

I planned for us to visit museums and do science experiments at home with ideas found on pinterest (of course).  We could have adventures in the morning and then quiet reading in the afternoon. My PLAN was to tick off every item on that list my precious little angels created, have wonderful fun filled days where we would all sleep til we woke up, giggle and play all day, and have water gun and water balloon fights and fall asleep under the stars with nothing but the warm embrace of each other to keep us warm.

LOUD RECORD SCREECHING SOUND


But, alas--this is me.  And anyone who knows me realizes that everything I just planned-- stayed just that.  A plan.  The cold harsh reality is that I am NOT a cheerful "Julie the cruise director of the Love Boat" kind of mom with ideas galore and endless energy to keep my people motivated and happy.

Unfortunately I think I am more of a Miss Hannigan from Annie type.


For some insane reason I had this idea that I needed to sign my boys up for lots of activities to keep them busy and me not having to exert too much effort. These two boys of mine have been blessed (cursed) with an introverted overtired under motivated Momma who is all ideas and ZERO desire to pull off those ideas.  I liken my ideas to kind of like when you're watching a sit com TV show or romance movie.  It's all perfect--everyone says the right thing, does the right things and even in the mishaps everyone just laughs it off and there is never anybody feeling perpetually grumpy, tired and in desperate need of time to oneself.  Just like we all know that real life is never like what we see on TV (you do know that, right?)(Sorry if I spoiled it for you).  That's pretty much how my ideas play out too.  The reality NEVER turns out like I imagined and hoped it would.  And for some reason--I never change.  I always HOPE I'll be different. But....no.  Nope, sorry--still the same ole me.

So, I signed up for all these things and  my hope was that in keeping them busy with activities that I merely needed to drive them to --I could sit on the sidelines and just watch and enjoy.  That way THEY would have fun and I would enjoy myself too.  Forced participation is always the bane of my existence. I even pictured myself relaxing on the sidelines with front row seats to them having the time of their lives as I sipped a Starbucks and read a book.

What happened instead is that we got half way through June and only one or two things had been ticked off the bucket list, I was running the boys around to and fro like an insane person, our home had not been cleaned in weeks and I was in full panic mode because it was SUMMER!  And dang it! My boys are supposed to be building magical dreams and having the time of their lives and living some sort of Tom Sawyer life with the perfect balance of just lolly gagging around and getting to do every activity they can envision. And I am SUPPOSED to be relaxing and enjoying myself. But, instead they have me barking at them every few hours "Get dressed! It's time to go to__________!!" Hurry hurry hurry!! Even though the activities I signed them up for were fun--swim lessons, karate, and baseball.  I think no one had much fun.  I stole the fun right out of it.  Because for me--when I fill my schedule too full--EVERYTHING becomes a dreaded task to be accomplished.  Even fun things.  It sounds crazy (and I probably am), but it's just how my brain is wired.  I have never been so miserable in my life.


I tried to alleviate my misery by taking an evening once a week to go by myself on a hike.  This was a precious gift Super Rock Star gave me when I think he could see I was about to crack into pieces from all of the stress I was shouldering.  It helped, but I was still a walking misery of anger and outrage as I --for some reason--believed that being ANGRY about my lack of choices and freedom in how we spent our time (even though I was the one who did all of this) would solve it.   Being the calm diplomatic one between the two of us-- he sat down with me (bless his heart) and listened to me lament over how this summer was a complete failure, how I was in a panic about how we were going to fit it all in and what was I supposed to do?

It was the most freeing thing to put into words the sense of failure I felt-- the anxiety over wanting to be a fun Mom and feeling like I'm not, my honest misery over how my boys drive me more crazy than I care to admit when I'm with them 24/7 and how him getting to "escape" to work every day just didn't seem fair.  Do you know what was really awesome?  He didn't once personalize anything I said.  He could have called the "men in white coats" (and probably should have) to come and hall me away.  He could have been resentful that I didn't seem to appreciate how all of his hard work was how we afforded to do all of these wonderful activities and such and lecture me on how I needed to stop complaining and be more grateful.   Instead, he did what good men do.  He helped me solve it.

We got out our calendar, we looked at our schedule and all of the things we already had planned (his gigs and work stuff) and the availability of days he could take off work so we could go and enjoy these bucket list items together as a family.  That's what he does.  He's SO good at it.  Whereas I looked at this list and screamed inside "How is it even possible for ME to do all this?!!" He looked at it and said--"This will work if we all do this together here, and let's make it an adventure and group these things together here."  And before I knew it, we had a great outline for how our month of July would look.  It planned for everything and with the chaos of all the activities I had put us through in June behind us--there were spaces.  Spaces and chunks of time where we DID just stay home.  He managed to create time for me--where he and I would just lay in the pool together and relax while our boys stayed inside and played a video game or we would watch a movie or show upstairs while our boys watched one downstairs.  He recognized that they are at a golden age where they can do things by themselves with us nearby and we don't have to make everything about spending every second with them.  I LOVE that he is not only and idea person, but also a planning person and an implementing that plan person.  Without him, I would still be stuck back in June with my bloodshot eyes bugging out, my hair standing on end and a nervous twitch from the insanity going on in my head.

Our summer ended up being great.  Yes, we did a lot.  Yes, it was probably more than we needed to do and no, I did not do a great job of keeping up with the summer learning that would make my boys teachers proud.  I managed to fling math worksheets at them most every morning and had them mumble through a few pages of reading.  BUT, we had fun.  Sometimes all of us together ,sometimes my boys just having some good brother time, sometimes my husband and I having some good couple time and sometimes just me by myself---getting my beloved alone time on my Thursday evening hikes.

This summer taught me A LOT about what NOT to do.  I don't know WHY I felt that I had to do and plan so much this year.  I think it's because my boys are growing up so fast and time seems so short.  It seems like a big clock is ticking down to when I won't get to do all of these things with them. To build memories.  To do the things young boys are supposed to be doing.  To be care free.   But, what good is it to try to cram a lifetime of activities into a few weeks just so I can brag about it on social media or to try to rid myself of the ever fatal "Mom Comparison" mindset.   It made me miserable and therefore my family miserable too.

Next summer  I don't want to have such a big plan.  I will be content if we do one family vacation and call it good. (I think Super Rock Star would wholeheartedly endorse this plan too)  To tell you the truth-- my boys are THRILLED just not going to school.  I don't HAVE to plan anything for them.  They are boys.  They are kids.  They just know how to make their own fun.  They are perfectly content having a sleepover with each other in a tent set up in our spare room.  The best fun I had this summer was on those precious free days where I just listened to my boys lose themselves in their imaginary worlds--pretending for hours on end while I would be getting some house work done (yes, I finally did find some spaces for cleaning too).  I would sneak a video or picture during those times that I will get to share with them some day. My hope is that those are the things that make them smile when they grow older and have kids of their own.  "Remember when we played Avengers/Ninja Turtles  and I was Hawk Eye and you were Mikey from TMNT?"


Those are certainly the things I will lock in my mind and look back on and smile. I hope I can just learn from my mistakes and not make everything a project, a to do, and a chore.  But, to just relax and enjoy this time in life.  And, no-- I probably won't be any stricter about keeping up with summer learning.  Sorry Teachers!  I love you, but we ALL need a break and that's what summer should be.  For now, I am SO VERY grateful that summer break is behind us and that I am privileged to get to sit in my home. by myself.  with the sweet sound of silence.  



Sunday, May 8, 2016

My Becoming a Momma Miracle

Momma's Log May 7, 2016 (Kwrp)

It was July 17, 2006.  A lot of stuff was going through my mind that day, but most importantly was that the next day was Super Rock Star's birthday.  It was a milestone birthday and just a few days earlier I had surprised him with a party at our home with so many of our good friends.  For those of you that don't know Super Rock Star, I'll let you in on a little secret--birthdays are NOT his favorite.  Oh sure, he likes the presents and cake and such--but growing another year older? Especially, a milestone year?  Forget about it!  He was NOT looking forward to the next day.  I tease him all the time that he probably started having his first mid-life crisis at the age of 10.  "Ten-- I'm in the double digits now.  It's too late for me." I do give him a hard time, but I also understand so well now--getting older ain't that fun.

I remember I was driving home from work and I was talking out loud to God--which is pretty common for me--but that day it was for a very specific purpose.  I was "late".  And I don't mean late for an appointment.  It was not the first time I had been late--I had taken many pregnancy tests before and all had turned out negative.  I knew I had one leftover test at home and I was trying to muster the courage to face yet another let down.

But, let me take you back a few years.  When Super Rock Star and I first got married, we both longed for children, but we really didn't start "trying" until about 4 years into our marriage.  We started off the way so many young couples do--just having the expectation that it would just happen.  When a couple of years passed and still no positive pregnancy test, we started to feel a little more desperate--reading pamphlets and talking to friends and family.  "Just relax", they said, "stress always gets in the way."  But, how can you NOT stress?  Two years had passed since we started trying--something must be wrong.  We visited our doctors, we took tests.  The words "healthy" and "normal" buzzed through our heads.  That should have given us some sort of encouragement, but instead it just brought further frustration.  "If we're so healthy and normal, why are we not getting pregnant?" After a few more years of trying--I think we had both sort of given up on hoping for it.  We stopped talking about it, I stopped telling him when I was late, I even hid the many pregnancy tests I took that all came out negative.  We both retreated into our separate worlds of feeling unhappy, unfulfilled and isolated from the joy we knew so many others got to experience.  It was a really dark and heavy time for us.

I know, full well, the deep agony of wanting a child so much and yet month after month, year after year--anxiously hoping and yet heartbroken over and over and over.  Empty dreams, empty womb, empty home.  I don't think--for those that long for children--there is any worse feeling of failure, shame and despair.

Of course I prayed about it.  A lot.  Well-meaning friends would often try to encourage me that I could be a "mother" type figure to all kids I came into contact with.  It's a lovely idea and, for some, it may bring them great comfort, but for me--I just quite honestly wanted to scream--"YOU DON'T UNDERSTAND!!! THAT'S NOT GOOD ENOUGH!!! IT'S JUST NOT FAIR!!!" I know.  I know.  Not very Christian of me.  But, like I said, these were dark times.  I often would ask God to either fulfill my desire or take away my desire, but to not leave me tormented with a longing that would forever go unfulfilled.  It was about this time that I started running across the Bible story about Abraham and Sarah (you know the couple in the Bible that had to wait until they were in their NINETIES to have their first and only son). It came up seemingly everywhere I went--at church, at Bible study, in conversations with friends.  I swear I saw it posted on a billboard at one point (o.k. that might be a SLIGHT exaggeration, but it was starting to feel that way).  After about the 20th time of coming across this story in a six month time span, I rolled my eyes up to heaven said it right out loud: "That's NOT funny, Lord!"

Back to my drive home.  My conversation with God went something like this (and when I say "conversation"--I was talking out loud to God and hearing His voice in my head):

Me: It's o.k. I know if I'm not, but I'm going to take the test just to put it out of my mind.

God: But, what if you are?

Me: Stop joking.  It's o.k. Really. I mean...I get it.  I'm a big mess.  I can barely take care of our dog and cat.  Having a baby is probably more than I can handle.  You know me best.  That's probably why we haven't been able to get pregnant.  I just wasn't ready to face the facts.  It's all because of me.  Poor Tim.  He deserves to be a daddy.  I hate to think he won't get to be one because of me.  I just want it so badly for him.  For us.

God: Yes, I DO know you best.  And I believe you ARE ready.

Me:  Stop.  Please.  I can't take any more disappointment.  I don't want to believe that I'm really having this conversation with You only to realize it's just my own mind telling me what I want to hear--letting my hopes be raised again only to have them dashed.  Please know--I'll be okay either way.  I know I will still love You, I will try my best to serve You and be and become whatever it is You want me to be--even if that does not include being a mother.

God:  I know you are ready because I know now that you WILL seek me.  When you don't know what you're doing--which will be often--I know you will ask me.  And I will help you.




In that moment, folks...I stepped on the gas.  I wanted to get home as fast as I could.  I wanted to know--right then and there--if the conversation I had just had was real or if it was just me making up something in my head.  Somewhere deep inside my soul I KNEW that I had just had a real live chat with the Creator of the Universe and He was giving me some VERY good news!  I raced into our home, flew to the bathroom, flung out all the junk from in the cabinet under the sink, desperately clawing to find the hidden last test I had.  With shaky hands I ripped it open.  I didn't need to read the instructions--I had done more than my fair share of these before.  After taking the test I willed myself not to look at it.  I squeezed my eyes shut as I placed it on the counter.  I was determined to wait the full three minutes and only look after I knew it was complete.  But.... I couldn't help it.  One eye popped open.  I had to sneak a peek and as the liquid crawled across the display screen.  I saw it.  A plus sign.  I did a double take.  I wildly searched for the instructions inside the box.  I just had to be sure.  Yes---a plus sign means positive.  Positive means pregnant.  OH MY GOODNESS!!!!

I whooped! I hollered!.....And then I had a moment of doubt.  That test had been buried in the back of that cabinet for a while.  Maybe it wasn't accurate.  So, I jumped back into my car, dashed to the drug store and bought a pack with two tests in it (hey, we're looking for undeniable proof. right?) I came back home.  Positive.  Positive.

I was GIDDY.  I couldn't think straight or form an articulate thought or word other than "Thank You! Thank You! Thank You Lord Jesus!!" I must have picked the phone up and put it down a dozen times (kids, this is back before we all had cell phones stuffed in our back pockets--we had phones attached to walls.  I know. Crazy.).  I wanted to tell Super Rock Star IMMEDIATELY. But, I also wanted to make it a good surprise gift for him.  If I had any doubts about the birthday gifts I was giving him that year (which I always do)--I knew I had a good one for this year!! He, as I mentioned before, was feeling a little down about his birthday.  Add that to the dashed hopes about parenthood and some other heavy stuff going on in our lives--well, let's just say I knew his birthday was not expected to be celebrated much.

Anyway, we have a Christian book store close by and so I went there on a whim hoping to find some sort of memento to mark this oh so special occasion. They miraculously still had quite a few Father's Day gifts leftover from the previous month.  I found this really cool pocket watch that said "World's Best Dad" on it.  I also found some cute little baby socks--a pink pair and a blue pair.  I came home, found a small gold box and placed one of the positive pregnancy tests on the bottom and the pocket watch and one of each color sock on top.  I set the box on the table and waited for him to come home.

A short while later he came through the door.  I could tell right away that he was in a bad mood--shoulder's slumped, grim face, and just a complete downcast look on his face.  He noticed the small box on our table and reluctantly asked "What's this?" "It's for you", I said.  "Jen, my birthday isn't until tomorrow--can't I just wait and open my gift then?" "I think you'll want to open this one now", I say.  Heavy sigh from him.  He reluctantly grabs the box and takes the lid off.  And, he looks VERY confused.  I'm not kidding.  It took a full minute for him to register the contents of what was in the box and what they meant.  But, as he realized it--he looked at me with a big smile and asked "Are you serious?" As I nodded vigorously--we both started crying and hugging and jumping up and down.  And then.  The EXACT same doubt that had hit me after taking the first test--hit him.  "Are you sure? How many tests did you take?" Even when I told him I had taken 3 tests, we went to the store and bought another double pack.  Positive.  Positive.  Yes, folks, we were that floored by this whole thing.  I love it though.  And I love that God did not seem even a little bothered by the fact that we wanted so much confirmation for such a long-awaited blessing.  In fact, He seemed to be celebrating with us.  The heavy cloud of despair that had been hanging over us for so long was lifted instantaneously.

On March 21, 2007--just a little over 8 months after that day--at 2:07 in the afternoon, I got to hear the most precious sound ever as Morgan Douglas Glenn made his squalling entrance into this world. Making me a Momma for the first time.

In  2 Kings 20:5 it says "I have heard your prayers, I have seen your tears, surely I will heal you".  In Psalm 34:18 it says that "The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit". In Psalm 30:11 it says "You turned my mourning into dancing; you have loosed my sackcloth and girded me with gladness".   My Great God chose that day nearly 10 years ago to give me the best gift I have EVER received.  He gave me a new job description, a new title, a new role in this life and it is DEFINITELY the one I am the most proud of.  God has given me a precious assignment and it is one I hope I will NEVER take for granted.

I longed for so many years to hear the pitter patter of little feet.  These days it has turned into a thunderous roar as my two boys are getting bigger and bigger every year.  As with all things we long for--we never really understand all the aspects of it--we imagine things in only the best way.  A baby cooing in our arms rather than the colicky one that keeps us up all night with their screams.  Holding our toddler by his tiny hand as we stroll through the zoo marveling at all of the wonderful creations rather than the head strong tantrum-throwing two-year-old that you find yourself locked in a battle of wills with.  The elementary school years full of creative craft-adorned classrooms, hard working and learning well rather than the belligerent tear-infested mess of mean kids, school desks stuffed full of chaos, lost homework and weary looking teachers.  I believe I was a much better parent before I actually became one.

Super Rock Star and I often marvel at our two little wonders.  We try to remember what our lives were like before we became parents and for the life of us we can't figure it out.  I honestly don't know what we did for entertainment.  I have never laughed more and smiled so big as I have these past ten years.  For every difficult moment there is an equal if not greater successful moment.  For every tantrum and cross word spoken there are enumerable hugs and kisses and loves.  For every teary-eyed sad moment there is the sound of the sweetest giggles I have every heard.  I never get tired of seeing the look of pride in my husband's eyes when I catch him just enjoying them.  We often lock eyes in those moments.  It's like our remembrance of just how blessed we are.  To say they are our pride and joy is a VAST understatement.  We fully grasp the great gifts we have been given and neither of us ever wants to squander the enormous responsibility that we have been given to raise these beautiful boys into the men God created them to be.

Happy Mother's Day to all of you out there that have been privileged and blessed to be a part of this wonderful thing called Motherhood--the "seasoned" mothers, the "new" mothers, and the "soon-to-be" mothers. We are so lucky to get to have such an honor.  And for my precious "longing-to-be" mother's--you have my deepest care-- as I know your ache so well.  But, more importantly, God knows your ache.  He sees your tears.  He cares so much about your longing.  I will pray for you the same prayer that I prayed for myself all those years ago --that God would fulfill your longing or remove your longing.  I pray He will give you your hearts desire very soon.

God bless you all!



Wednesday, April 20, 2016

3 Things I can't do but feel like I should be able to

Momma's Log April 11, 2016 (Kwrp)

I am a woman of many gifts and talents.  I can talk on the phone and do house chores at the same time.  I am able to day dream while driving to a destination and then have absolutely NO recollection of how I arrived safely at said destination.  I can drink 3 cups of coffee in one day without feeling too jittery. AND I carry on a conversation with my husband, my older son and my younger son....at the same time.(This one might be up for some debate.  Super Rock Star seems to be able to tell when I'm not fully listening to him, my older son usually is talking about something that requires an intelligent response that "uh huh" doesn't always cover, and my younger son as I've mentioned before requires active listening in all of his mile long narratives)

But there are 3 things that I feel like I SHOULD be able to do, but I. just. can't

1.  Turn left into a parking space: I have major TLIAPS  anxiety--ESPECIALLY when both spaces on either side are occupied. I have NO idea why--it may date back to a few years ago I drove one of those hugely obnoxious SUV's.  You know, the ones that really should have a truckers blow horn to signal that you're coming down the road. I dinged more car doors in the brief year and a half that I owned that monster than I ever have in my lifetime. (I always left a note for the poor owner that made the unfortunate mistake of parking in my area.  So humiliating!).  In those days I got quite used  to parking in the outer reaches of the lot so I could avoid the tornado like damage I typically caused in my behemoth on wheels.  I had previously never been aware of my inability to park to the left, but when you're driving a car the size of a 747-- one quickly becomes rather aware of ones limitations.

The psychological damage was done.  These days I will circle around a parking lot, park WAY out in the boonies, or just procrastinate my store trip all in effort to avoid to a TLIAPS situation.  The only exception is when Super Rock Star is with me.  I haven't had the courage to tell him about this rather embarrassing shortcoming and-- as I will share with you some day--all things driving are all things important to Super Rock Star.  So in an effort to impress him and-- as I mentioned-- to hide my shame I will usually try to attempt it. But, alas it usually ends up like that scene in Austin Powers when he is trying to turn the car around in the hall way. (Side note:  I also have UELFAPS anxiety --Unable to Exit Left From A Parking Space)





 2.  Stay within my weekly grocery budget:  I have a pretty good rhythm for our grocery buying needs--I make menu lists and so on-- and to be quite honest I feel I allow myself PLENTY to spend.  So, why week after week do I always go over? I know what you're thinking--I should increase my budget.  Yeah, I've tried that, but it doesn't seem to matter.  If I budget $75, I spend $100.  If I budget $100 I spend $125 and on and on it goes.  I know what else you're thinking--"Jen, they have these handy dandy radical new inventions called calculators.  As you go through the store you could--you know--keep track."  I've tried that too--but, I swear, it's like the food prices on the items I've put in my basket increase as I go through the store (kind of like how I gain 10 lbs if I even LOOK at chocolate cake. only different). Every step I take toward the check out the food in my basket has a little meeting and change their bar code thingy's and everything becomes more than I calculated (It's just a theory.  I haven't actually witnessed these food meetings. Yet.) (On a side note--there really is NOTHING creepier to me than talking food)


A few years ago I got into the whole couponing craze that was sweeping the nation.  I would watch that reality show--Extreme Couponing (you know the one where they by like a gagillion items and only spend $4.92), read blogs about which stores had what deals (sometimes leaving at 10:00 at night so I could go nab that freebie) (it's a total sickness) and each week I printed out my trusty list of sweet deals, clipped my coupons and off I went to the 45 stores so I could take advantage of doubling down on each and every product that I did not need.  Oh, sure, I got 122 tubes of free toothpaste, 65 boxes of didn't have to pay for them instant potatoes, and I felt PRETTY smug when I would go through the check out and see my before total and watch as each coupon drove the price down to well below our starting point.  It was such an emotional high and VERY addictive.  Except I realized that I rarely ever came home with things we actually like to eat or WAY too many of products we didn't need.  If I did happen to stumble across something my family liked I had to tell them to not get used to it--it was bought with a deal and coupon. Code for: we will never be able to afford buying this again.  I ended up donating most of my haul (fancy word they use in the biz for all of the free crap I got) And to make it worse--I usually ended up overspending my budget on those trips too.  But, hey, who doesn't need a cart load of cheap soap?

Even on the RARE occasions that I do end up staying within my limit, I will usually get home and realize that I forgot to purchase several things on my list. UGH!! It's so aggravating!


3.  Start a new Toilet Paper roll without creating a carnage of paper pieces:  I'm not sure what kind of glue they use to hold the end piece on a roll of toilet paper in place--but I'm pretty certain it came from NASA or some other high tech smarty pants place.  I'm SURE that there is a neat and tidy way that the manufacturer INTENDS for me to peel back the first layer, but I'm telling you, it is WAY over my head.  I can't do it.  Last night I was changing out a toilet paper roll (again) (I'm apparently the ONLY one in the house that knows how to operate the highly complicated spring loaded contraption that holds the roll in place--but I digress) and I attempted to try to get the thing rolling (so to speak) and-- I'm not even kidding--the end would NOT come loose.  I tried doing the delicate brushing thing with the pads of my fingers, I tried using my finger nails to pry it loose--nuttin.  I had a colossal mess of tiny pieces of paper as I pecked and pinched at the stupid thing trying to get some sort of starting point going.  By the time I finally got it--half of the toilet paper from the roll lay in chunks all over the floor.

Anyone else struggle with these?  Please tell me I'm not alone in this....Anyone?

I wish I could say these were the only things that seem simple to do but are not for me.  Unfortunately, this is just my top 3.(I could probably star in a reality show on this topic--"People Who are Complete Dorks and the Society That Endures Them") (It's just a working title) Someday I hope to be cured of my TLIAPS anxiety, stay within my grocery budget and unroll toilet paper neatly.  Until then I will hobble along in this life recognizing my shortcomings and reaching out to those of you who share my pain.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

A tale of two boys part 2

Momma's Log March 30, 2016 (Kwrp)

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I just wanted to thank everyone who read and responded to my last post written about my older son, Morgan. I am deeply touched and blown away by all of the encouragement and especially the stories many of you shared about your own past or present struggle with the issues I addressed.  I can't begin to tell you how God is using that in helping us determine a plan of action for our son.  Thank you, thank you thank you!
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Meet Grayson.

AKA Johnny Drama (you have to watch the show Entourage to get this one) (don't you DARE let him see that eensy weensy tiny scratch on his arm. Oh.my.goodness. the dramatic tears and wails this kid can come up with), Sneaky Pete (he is a dirty rotten little scalawag), and cuddle monster (BEST cuddler in the family). Grayson is my second born son and my baby. As you can probably tell by his picture he is a happy, ornery little stinker.  Super Rock Star gives me such a hard time because before we had children I would often pray that God would give us an ornery little boy.  He gave us a double dose.  I plead insanity in that I had no idea what I was asking for. Grayson also has the most tender loving heart, he collects stuffed animals by the bajillion and each one has a name and no sir, you may not put any of them away.  They must all stay in his bed at all times.(it's becoming quite a struggle to find him at night when we check on him) He loves to play with his big brother, play games on computer and card games(thank you Uncle Todd and cousin Taylor for teaching him "war"--we all get to enjoy a daily dose of playing it with him), wrestle with his daddy, cuddle with his Momma, be read to and he has THE BEST giggle I have ever heard in my whole life. 

I learned from day one that even though both my boys grew inside my womb and share a last name--that's about the end of their similarities.


For those of you that have more than one child, you know that the struggle is REAL to keep the illusion of equality in your home.  Everything must be divided exactly in half (or thirds or quarters, etc), if big brother got to have a treat, so does little brother, if you give one a compliment--you must immediately give the other a compliment of equal value, it goes on and on.  Equality is ESPECIALLY important for the younger siblings(I know cause I am one)--they come into this world second and spend a lot of time making sure Momma and Daddy let them do everything their older sibling does in the same time and in the same order.  I even stressed out a little about writing this blog post.  Not that my boys will ever read these, but my Momma brain has been trained to try to do for little brother just as much as I do for big brother.  I'm going to be up all night counting words and making sure I upload the exact same amount of pictures (just kidding. please don't double check me on this.) But, it got me thinking about the whole difference between my boys.

Grayson LOVES school.


Before he ever went to school, he liked to pretend going to school at home.  Now, some of that was little brother wanting to be like big brother--but now that real school has started for him, he is thriving. Doing the worksheets and class work has always been excruciating pain for Morgan, but Grayson LOVES it.  He takes great joy in filling out every blank, drawing every picture and doing EXACTLY as the instructions say.

Grayson loves to communicate.

From the time he wakes up (at 0 dark thirty) to the time he FINALLY closes his precious little eyes he does NOT stop talking.  When he was home with me full time, I would often have to leave the room while I put on a TV show for him and hide just so I could get a little quiet moment (I know. I'm awful. right?).  Morgan will be fully engaged and sit in wide-eyed silence throughout any show or movie, but Grayson feels the need to narrate the entire thing and make sure you are FULLY watching it with him so he can discuss each character and situation.(it's actually pretty fun to take him to a movie--it's a full interactive experience.... for everyone)

He loves to be part of a team.  He will work and play with anyone anywhere.

I've witnessed him be both leader and follower and he is just content as long as he can be around others.  It is a rare moment that he ever wants to be alone, but for Morgan the only time he truly craves company is when he's feeling afraid.

So why do I feel like I NEED to make everything the same? They are not the same person.  They are not the same age. And they DEFINATELY have two distinct personalities.  Our first born child naturally is the one we take the most photos of, have all the original "firsts" with and who blazes the trail for us in our new role as Momma and Daddy. My Dad often jokes that God doesn't give us one to practice on.  Nope--we have to jump feet first into this whole parenthood arena. (did anyone else secretly wish they would send one of the nurses home from the hospital with you?)  Why do we feel so much guilt when that second, third or more comes along and we have let the photo taking slide, our enthusiasm over all the "first's" wanes, and we are often  much more lax in the hygiene department. I'm sure you all have either experienced or read about how with the first child you wash and sanitize every item that could possibly come in contact with your precious bundle, but by the second one--it's a little less of a panic--maybe you rinse or brush it off, and I've heard by the third you have become completely unaware of when anything does drop to the ground (or gets slobbered on by the dog) let alone worry about cleaning it off.  "Germs build the immune system".

It's a HUGE challenge for me to treat my two boys as the wonderful individuals that they are.  I've read that newborns are not completely aware that they are a separate person from their Momma's for many months into their new lives.  With Grayson I'm worried that he is not aware that he is his own individual person apart from his big brother.  He ADORES him, wants to do EVERYTHING with him, and can't stand being APART from him. His most common question as he wonders through our home is "Where's Morgan?"  It's all very sweet except I've noticed that he really tries to please Morgan in his decisions. If I ask "Grayson, what do you want for breakfast?", he will answer "What is Morgan going to have?" or "Grayson, it's your turn to choose a movie. What do you want to watch?"-- he'll ask Morgan's opinion.  Sometimes he will  make his own decision but then turn to his brother to make sure that he accepts it and is pleased with it.  If Morgan expresses displeasure, Grayson will often change his mind.

I'm sure all of this is normal, but I really want to help Grayson learn to make his own decisions, be his own individual self and not worry if his brother thinks it's cool or not.





I really want to teach my boys to appreciate their differences and encourage each other to be better.  I can't tell you how many times I've witnessed Grayson go to our basement playroom with Morgan so he won't feel afraid or how Morgan will often patiently help Grayson learn to build something by himself with Legos. And I LOVE that!  I don't want them to ever feel threatened that we praise one for his individual strengths or feel like they need to be more like the other.  It's SUCH a hard balance.  As a parent we want our kids to grow up feeling confident in who they are and with the gifts and talents that they have been given.  I don't want my boys to ever hear out of my mouth "If you were only more like your brother."

But, the reality is that in some ways--we have to treat them similarly and make things the same.  It would be unjust for me to give chores to Morgan and not to Grayson.  I would be unfair if I expected Grayson to do all of his homework but not require that of Morgan.  In some ways it's just part of life.  As Super Rock Star and I navigate the best course of action for Morgan's educational needs, Grayson is very much a part of the equation. Whether  we change schools, home school or stay put--both boys will be together.  And that decision is every bit for them as it is for us.  They just really love and need to be with each other--even if it's in the same school building.  And it's in this specific instance that my boys differences are actually a huge benefit.  I have full confidence that whatever we choose to do for Morgan, Grayson will roll with it easily.  He's just that way.

It's hard either way.  I want him to know we would do that for him too.  We are a family.  We are in this together. But I'm finding that that the strengths in Morgan (being more creative and daring) become strengths for Grayson.  And in areas where Grayson excels (school work, being generous and kind), Morgan tries a little harder because or his brother.  When Grayson has a baseball game or soccer game--Morgan comes with us.  When Morgan has Tai Kwon Doh or reading tutoring--Grayson is there too.  Both boys have realized that there is a huge benefit to liking and being involved in different things since I let the one watching play games on their I Pads while we wait (This cuts WAY down on whining. Some days it really is all about survival. sigh...) Some day I have hope that they will cheer each other on and truly appreciate and encourage one another in their individual interests and talents.

At the end of the day--it's not necessarily about making it all equal.  And I know that.  It's about making sure everyone in my family knows they are loved and feels they are valued.  To be honest--that's all I really want the most. (that and no having to break up fights over the tiny scrap of paper that they were pretending was a spy laser gun) (and not having to clean up the bathroom because their "aim" was off).  I just pray the dear Lord would help me convey that to my two totally awesome, completely ornery, beautiful boys.  And hopefully someday they will see that even though I got it wrong most days--I tried my darnedest to get it right.


Saturday, March 5, 2016

A tale of two boys Part 1

Momma's Log March 2, 2016 (Kwrp)

Meet Morgan.

Morgan is my oldest and will be turning 9 later this month.  I find that impossible since it seems I just gave birth to him yesterday.  As you can probably tell from his picture he is full of life, brightness, and a very happy child. He is also very funny, loves to laugh, has his own way of doing things, can be stubborn and hard headed (like his Daddy) and so sweet and caring (like his Momma).  He loves to watch movies, dress up as super heroes, pretend to be a spy, wrestle with his Daddy, ride his bike and play outside.  He is a master builder with Legos and blows me away with the way he can figure out how to construct things from looking at a picture or out of his imagination and knows exactly which pieces he needs to find down to the tiniest minuscule little one that he remembers that we have somewhere in our enormous vat of the overpriced pieces of plastic.  









Morgan is the one we had named 12 years before we actually got to hold him in our arms.  Super Rock Star and I longed for children many many years before the good Lord finally blessed us with this beautiful blue eyed wonder.  We had always agreed that if we got to have a son, we would name him Morgan.  From the day I laid eyes on him, I have been completely and unashamedly in love.  Getting to be a Momma is the biggest and best thing I have ever done.  After all the years of waiting, God did not disappoint. I love that even though I am still figuring out this whole "motherhood" thing and I mess up EVERY day, Morgan is so quick to forgive and in all of his tall long legged lankiness, he is still a little boy that loves to cuddle with his Momma and Daddy and I pray that NEVER changes.

But, Morgan hates school.  I don't mean a mild dislike.  I mean he HATES it.  Before my boys went to school, I would have learning times at home where I would read to them, do some sort of craft project, teach them their letters and numbers, do a music time (Momma had to get her 80's rock jam in somehow) and sometimes the occasional science experiment.   These times would never last more than an hour and it was a good way to introduce the idea of school to my little toddlers.  But, with Morgan, I saw early on that he liked to lead rather than follow.  He (like most toddlers) wanted to be in charge and choose what we did and how we did it.  His favorite phrase when I would correct him on anything he was learning was "But, this is how do it."  It was really cute when he was little, but unfortunately that same attitude has followed him into elementary school.  Most kids learn quickly that the teacher teaches and the kids are supposed to sit still and listen and do as their told.  Not so with Morgan.

Every year I have gotten to have the great privilege of teacher conferences, phone calls and yes, even the occasional principals office visit to discuss my child's behavior.  "He refuses to sit down when I'm teaching--what can we do?"or "I have to have Morgan sit by himself and not with the group because he is distracting to the other kids" or, my favorite  "I let him stand up during class because it seems he needs to, but then he starts doing Ninja kicks and diving under the desks." Every year has been the same--the grim faced teacher talking about his poor reading scores and how retention (fancy word I've learned that means they want to hold him back/repeat a grade) might be in his best interest, whispers of how they think he's not capable of sitting still and paying attention (teacher speak for --we think your son needs to be tested for ADHD), and it generally just making me feel like I've done something bad or that something is wrong with my child.

I can't even begin to tell you the tears I have cried, the anguish in my heart of frustration, the anger I have unfortunately expressed to him as I grasp at anything to find out why?  Why is he different from so many of the other kids? Why does he not care if he remembers how to spell all of his spelling words or has neat hand writing or gets a good grade on his math test? Why would he rather sit and stare into space than listen to his teacher teach and write down the answers on  fill in the blank work sheet? Why is he not even aware that making loud annoying sounds during class time is not OK and that it will always get him in trouble? Why is it so hard for him?

These are the questions I am asking myself today along with the biggest question of all--how do we help him? And by we I mean his teachers, his Daddy and me.  I have spent the last month asking so many folks questions and receiving so many different answers.  I love how much everyone cares, but the truth of the matter is that I feel angry that I even have to go through this.  I want someone to give me the antidote NOW. I want somebody to FIX him and I swing violently back and forth to feeling a deep compassion for Morgan and how miserable it must feel to have everyone angry and stern with him all the time to just wanting to just rattle him and scream "YOU have to make the decision to do things differently!!!!!" If I thought it would help I would.

But LOOK at him!! This child is WONDERFUL!  I cannot even express how much joy he brings us.  He is HAPPY, he is LOVING, he is SO MUCH FUN!

So the big question is WHAT?!! What IS it going to take? Do we become more strict and stern? Do we be permissive and patient? Do we hold him back? Do we put him on a education plan at school? Do we have him tested for ADHD and have him put on more drugs?  He was diagnosed with a form of epilepsy 3 years ago and has to take a prescription for that twice a day.  Is it this condition or the medicine he takes causing him to behave differently and have trouble sitting still and focusing? Do we change schools? Do I need to home school him? (I REALLY am scared of this one--I feel SO inept) All of these questions swarm around my brain causing me to fret and fuss and fight and feel like a complete loser because I honestly don't know the answer.

Then I remember.  God gave Morgan to US.  He didn't plant him in someone else's womb.  I am the chosen one who got to feel his little kicks inside my tummy.  I'm the one who got to nurse him and hold him late into the night.  Super Rock Star is the one who got to calm and comfort him and shush him when he would get fussy without explanation and then fall asleep with his little 5 1/2 pound body on his chest. 





Morgan is our gift from our good God that we waited so long for.  I have to trust and believe that HE knew what he was doing when he gave us the great privilege of being Morgan's parents.  I have to trust that he will give us the wisdom we need to navigate every difficulty we will face in raising both he and his brother.  I have to have faith that even though it is excruciating to watch my child suffer from all the anguish he is going through at school, that God WILL give us the answer and it will be the best solution for Morgan.  And I have to be willing to hold my hand open and allow the Lord to reach into my son's life and be his God so that Morgan will grow up to serve Him.  Not me.  Not his Daddy. Not his teachers or future bosses.  But to serve and worship God and become the man of God HE has created him to be.


Oh! This is SO HARD.  I feel so helpless and so inept and so unable.  Please Lord, give me strength and wisdom!

From the day of his birth my Mom marveled at Morgan's bright alert eyes and how they seemed to be really noticing and taking in this new world around him.( I joked around that he was already devising the ways he would try to rule the world).  He has always fought sleep because he just wants to build one more thing, sing one more song, watch one more show, or wrestle just one more minute.  He has always had a sweet nature and caring, tender heart.  When he feels happy he sings and makes up songs (just like his Daddy) when he gets hurt or feels upset he screams and throws a tantrum (just like his Momma). He loves to laugh and be silly and play with others.  He LOVES to enjoy life and he does.

All except school.  Oh, how I wish he would enjoy that part of his life too.

Monday, February 15, 2016

Beach Vacation Dreamin......

Momma's Log February 20, 2016 (Kwrp)

This time of year I often long to get away to some place warm.  By mid January most of us cold state dwellers get about sick to death of air so cold it hurts, dressing in layer upon layer of heavy bulky clothing and feeling like our skin is going to shrivel like a raisin with the below freezing dry atmosphere.  


Snow has lost all of its charm and and a 55 degree sunny day send most of us running outside in our shorts in flip flops like we just got released from prison.  With spring break coming up next month I long to go some place with sandy beaches, sipping some fancy drink with a shish kabob of fruit in it, and soaking up the sun enjoying temps well above the frigid tundra I now find myself in.  A girl can dream. Unfortunately this year (like many before it), it will remain a dream.  Why? No BUDGET. No money. No dinero. No greenbacks. Nadda. Nuttin.  That fleeting dream went flitting away when Super Rock Star and I GOT to buy new tires. For BOTH our cars... at the same time. So, while so many of you will get to enjoy my above mentioned fantasy played out in real life or some other fun trip with your fam--WE get to enjoy safely driving our cars on the never ending snow and ice.  yay.... 

But, it got me to thinking about the seemingly constant state of feeling like I'm always being one step behind financially.  Super Rock Star makes a generous salary and I am certainly an EXPERT in helping him spend it.  But, I confess, when it comes to budgeting--especially for the the fun stuff and the dream stuff--I fail. It always seems that no matter how much I plan, fret, fuss and anguish over where to spend those hard earned dollars--a surprise always comes up.  Planning to buy new furniture? The dishwasher goes out.  Have the money set aside for ski weekend? My phone dies. It seems that life always throws a curve ball--especially when it comes to money and how I want to spend it.  For years now, I have become aware that it was never really mine to spend anyway and I definitely want to be a good steward of ALL God gives us, but JUST ONCE I would like it if He and I were on the same page as to HOW and WHAT it was going to be spent on.

Every now and then we will get enjoy a bit of a wind fall--some unexpected refund or cash found or something like that.

For a few moments we dream about what we could spend it on--and admittedly it is usually a little selfish--a shopping trip for new clothes, or the like.  So, why does it seem that within SECONDS of receiving that little extra-- some catastrophe happens to the tune of the how much money we just "found".

I know, I know.  I need to be more grateful.  I mean--we could end up going into debt rather than having the money on hand--and trust me--from experience---you do NOT want to go there.  I have spent the better part of my adult years battling that beast and I am SO weary of it.  I just long for a day when we are ahead of the game instead of a step behind. And it would be SO NICE to get to spend it on something fun without feeling guilty rather than something SO responsible and BORING.

I guess my point is... I just want to do better.  I want to be able to have a little jingle in my pocket at the end of each month and be able to feel proud that we are on a good path--that we have paid all our bills, given in all areas where God has led us, put something in savings for us and our boys future,  set aside some for the unexpected surprise expenses and taken care of all our responsibilities.  AND THEN have the hope of being able to spoil ourselves a bit on something besides the immediately necessary and mundanely boring (a new dishwasher. Really?!!)

Does anyone else struggle with this? Or are we alone in our constant fret over getting ahead of the game.  In some ways, I realize we are a product of some bad habits.  In many marriages there is the "spender" and the "saver".  Not so with us.  We are BOTH spenders and neither one of us likes to save.  If spending was an Olympic sport, I'm pretty sure I would be--many times over--a gold medal winner.  I'm not necessarily a spend-o-holic--I don't just enjoy going out shopping looking for things to spend money on (although, I skated pretty close to that border back in my youth), but I'm very good at spending just a skosh more than we have every month.  Little by little--it's not that bad.  But when it all adds up at the end of the year, it's more than we can tackle and it keeps us from enjoying the fun stuff of life.

I've come to  realize that these bad habits are stealing our joy. With an unending and never seem to be changing situation in our finances, I think both Super Rock Star and I sometimes feel a bit defeated.  And when a person feels defeated SO MANY bad behaviors ensue.  We waffle back and forth from tightening our belts financially to the point of suffocation to all out rebellion and saying "you know what? I'm sick of living like this--we need to have some FUN!" And so we do.  And it's a mad, mad, mad, mad cycle.

I tell you what though.  Like any bad behavior--you get to the point of just saying. Enough.  Enough of this ridiculousness.  The truth is that for most of us there will NEVER be enough money to stretch for all of our needs, wants and desires and I'm finally realizing that truth for me.  It's the foolishness of this world to believe that we will be so much happier if we could just ____________ fill in the blank--pay off our debt, go on that vacation, buy that new shiny thing.  Studies have shown that unless you are willing to change your habits and how you even approach spending you will always be behind--even if you make a bajilion dollars (but wouldn't it be fun to find out?). 

Many of you are good savers and have put aside a tidy nest egg for future things and even retirement. I admire and envy you, but even that is not guaranteed.  A perfect example of this is my parents-- they worked their hind ends off for YEARS-- investing and saving for their retirement.  They had a very respectable amount saved and when they retired they started to enjoy spending the hard earned fruits of their labor.  The problem was that a stock market crash wiped out a big chunk of that savings.  I'm sure it felt like a sock in the gut to them when it happened, but my Dad just shrugged his shoulders and said "The Good Lord gives and He takes away. Blessed be the name of the Lord".  (Job 1:21b).  I'm not sure I would be so calm in the midst of that--I get upset if I discover I don't have the five dollars I was going to spend on my weekly coffee treat.

Can we all be a little more responsible with what we've been given? Absolutely.  Should we have goals and budgets for obtaining the things we have? Of course. But, like any other issue--it shouldn't be an obsession that we spend all of our time worrying and fretting about. There has to be balance.  I confess I have not found it yet--but, I'm trying.   But that's what I'm SUPPOSED to be doing...working it out. Trying to do better.  Will I fail? Yes.  Will unexpected pitfalls happen?  Unfortunately, yes.  But will God take care of me in the midst of those failures and pitfalls?  ABSOLUTELY!  He promises that we will always have all we need (Phil. 4:19).  I'm STILL trying to convince Him that a beach vacation is a NEED and not a WANT--it's an ongoing disagreement.

As for me? It's like so many other areas of my life.  I know what I need to do....it's just a matter of doing it. Until then, I will wait for that 55 degree day-- take my sippy cup full of lemonade (mixed with an adult beverage), plop in a lawn chair in our sand box and pretend--just for a moment-- that I'm on a beach somewhere very exotic and I will toast those of you who get to enjoy the real deal. Send me a post card...