Thursday, February 18, 2010

If I knew then what I know now.....

....I might not have thought those things.
I would not have been so judgmental.
I mostly kept my thoughts to myself, but often I shared them with close friends. I cringe at the thought have how I might have offended someone. But now it is going to be out there. Out for all the blogging world to see.

Are you ready for this?

I judged other moms.

That is, until I became one.

I remember that girl back in the day who thought she knew a lot about children. I was fresh out of school with an education that taught me much about children, birth to age 12. And I sat in my classroom, getting lots of experience with families, thinking that I knew what was best for kids. Now (here comes the prideful side) I did know a lot. In a perfect world, my ideas were good and I did have the best interests of my students and friends in mind....but clearly this world is not perfect.

So, in light of this shameful recognition of my wrong thinking, I have made a list of a few things that have evolved in my view point over the last 3 1/2 years:

1. "Messy kids= a mom that needs to get it together." I hope I do not offend my sister-in-law in the writing of this. She is an amazing mom and I have modeled many of the things I do after her parenting style. But I clearly remember a time back when I would babysit and I wondered why her son's crib smelled like baby spit up and that often their little baby faces needed a good wiping. As I am wiping two snotty noses and wondering when the last time I changed a sheet in my boy's bedroom, I am realizing that life with kids is messy. That's just the way it is. Any mom who tries to make you think that her world is clean and perfectly snot free is hiding something. Be suspicious!

2. "Beds should not be shared with your children." Guess what? Children end up in your bed no matter how firm you make your rules. I also remember an experience where I was babysitting overnight at our brother-in-law's house. We spent most of the night with a toddler in our bed. When we woke up with cricks in our neck and bags under our eyes from lack of sleep, I made a firm stand that my children would never sleep in my bed. That was the place of intimate husband/wife relationships and should not be the place to battle out a night of sleep with a child. While we never became too frequent with bed sharing, I still understand those nights when sleep seems to precious to spend hours rocking a baby in the nursery. Just this one time often becomes many times, until you decide to be firm and have a few nights of sleeping boot camp. I also apologize with my lack grace in this area.

3. "Toys should not overtake the living room." I can't even write that one with out cracking up out loud. How cute were those little baskets of toddler toys. I used to think that that's all you needed and then the rest of the toys would stay in the child's room. Clearly I was wrong, since I can't currently walk through my kitchen with out tripping over a matchbox car or a book or a sippee cup or a dress up item or what ever other junk finds it's way out of the designated place.

4. "Candy bribes are for lazy moms." Once again, so much judgment and so little experience. What the heck was I thinking? Of course, there is a time and a place, but that time and place happens more often than I realized pre-kids. As I drove home from Target in quiet yesterday as my kids sucked on their newly acquired Ring Pops, I thought about how that candy bribe bought me so much good behavior on that shopping trip. And the added bonus of a quiet kids eating their treat makes it even sweeter. Bring on the lollipops and m&ms for this mom. There is no turning back now!

5. "I will not be short-order cook in my house." Ok, so this one I have stuck to. Mostly. But there are some days where I just do not want to have the fight at meal time and so it is lunch a la carte. Pick what you want kids. Fill up your plate, so that you will sleep well at nap and mommy can get an hour of quiet time.

So, I hope that I can be forgiven for my wrong thinking and potentially hurtful judgments. I know some amazing moms, especially the ones in my family, and I am proud to follow their lead. And each family has to find their own rhythm and stick with it. No family is perfect, no mommy is perfect, no child is perfect....but by the Grace of God we are able to raise children that love Jesus and love each other. That's all we can hope and pray for in this crazy world of parenting.

nap time here....whew!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

the boy's got dreams.

A few days ago, Danny decided to give me the scoop on his future.

It went something like this....

D: "I will have ten kids and they will all be boys. I will get up in the morning and drive over here to pick up daddy and we will drive to work at the train station. When we get there, we will buy tickets and then we get on the train and yell 'ALL ABOARD!' Then we will go home at night and I will drop off daddy and then go back to my house."

me: "That's nice. Who is going to cook dinner for you and your ten kids?"

D: "Caroline, of course."

Should I inform him that Caroline might not want to have ten kids? Maybe she will want to work outside of the home? She is super smart and already knows all her letters, so maybe she will go to work and Danny will stay home. Just a thought. And ten kids? whew. think of all the laundry....

well, she does like him, so that's a good start!

Monday, February 8, 2010

The Hot Seat

My friend Lauren nominated me to take the hot seat and here are the rules:

1) Post the above picture to your post
2) Share 5 things about yourself (silly, inspiring, super honest)
3) Nominate another blogger friend.

#1 I can touch my tongue to my nose. How's that for silly?

#2 I married a really hot guy, which can either give me some extra confidence about my own looks....or maybe I have a great personality?

#3 I like TV a little too much. I mean, I get seriously excited when a new episode of House or Bones is coming on. We have a big TV and an awesome comfy couch and I think I relish the quiet(or noises other than a preschooler) chill time.

#4 Being a parent is challenging, but wonderful. It has taught me so much about my relationship with God. I love them in a way that is indescribable. I would die for them. And my Father in Heaven actually did that.

#5 It doesn't matter how full I am, I can eat ice cream after any meal. I believe I have an extra dessert section of my stomach that allows me to eat "just a little more" after a huge meal.

So, there we have it. And now I would like to offer the hot seat to my friend and fellow blogger Ashley Gaymon

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Two soy beans in a edamame pod

I can't wait to journal about our trip to Aruba, but it is so hard to get into beach mode while looking outside. We are trapped. The paper is saying we got 8 inches yesterday in Richmond, but as usual, the west end of Richmond always seems to get a little more. That would be our 3rd major snowfall this winter. And last week's white stuff still hadn't melted yet. It is beautiful, but in many ways debilitating. I just want to be able to hop in the car and head to Walmart...or Short Pump play area...or even down the street. I like to be in control of my day.
It is a little ironic that I wrote about sleep so much two days ago. Our little Houdini, also known as Joshie, decided that he would climb out of his crib. Two nights ago, we were having trouble at around 4:30am with him awake and not wanting to get back in bed. He knew what he wanted and that was to climb in bed with Mom and Dad and watch a show. Our morning routine usually starts around 6:30, so I was not about to bring him in bed. So, I rocked him, kissed him good night and put him down. We let him cry for about 5 minutes before we realized he was banging on his door, not the wall like he usually does. So, I put him back in bed. This time when I left he was quiet. Quiet is sometimes not good. This time it took him about 30 seconds and he was back at the door. uhoh.
So, yesterday was spent moving the crib into the guest room and turning Joshie's room into the playroom. We wanted it to feel permanently changed so he would want to move into his bed in the "Boy's room". But having it still set up as a back up plan and for our many playgroup guests to use when they come to play.
It hasn't been easy. I have yelled lots, made threats about what will happen if he gets out of bed, tried to follow the usual routine, and even attempted to sneak out of the room multiple times. Finally, they both fell asleep and didn't get up until 7am. They are like two peas in a pod bounding into our room this morning. I guess this is the blessing of the snow. No where to go for many days means lots of time for sleep training. Or maybe for napping after lost sleep. And the added bonus of a new place to stash the stuff in our toy room! I love it!
Here is our cutie pie Houdini in Aruba in Mommy and Daddy's bed.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Excuses excuses

I could write a long list of reasons why this blog has been neglected recently.
That list would include various sicknesses roaming my house, holiday activities, winter cleaning, among other time consuming activities.
But the truth is that I have just forgotten it.
Sad, isn't it?
But I am resolving to bring it back.
I have funny things happening daily in my house and the people need to know about it.
I promise I have the time, especially now that I have established forced nap time each day for our eldest. He has needed nap time lately. When he falls asleep on the couch every day it is a sign that he is not getting enough sleep. But I promised myself I would not become the parent who has to be on a routine. I want flexible children and I think we have successfully gotten that in both our boys. Sleep has never been neglected, but I don't want to be the person who says, "I can not leave the house/make a sound/change anything in my schedule if it falls between the time of 2 and 4 pm. They are flexible children. They eat what we eat, they go where we go, and they sleep where we want them to sleep. But sleep is too important and when they need it Mommy needs to stop and let them have it. Danny will often fight it in the first few minutes of nap time, but almost always is asking me to leave and let him sleep more, long after his 1 hour is up. And 7:30pm until 6:30am is their nightly routine. What a blessing it is to have good sleepers!
Ok, so enough rambling about sleep. Why do I have this BLOG? I have always used the excuse that our family and friends in far and distant places like to hear about the Gaskill Rascals, but I am beginning to see how much of it is Mommy stress relief. It is nice to journal out the things that happen in out house and hope that people are reading and connecting with what I am writing.
So, whether you read it or not, I am going to start writing.
I need this.

And for a little teaser of what is to come, here is a photo of the recent trip to a "warm location" The passports came despite the early kinks and we had a blast.