Friday, July 30, 2010
Mrs4444 has been getting her vacation on as she preps for school to start back. The Girl has continued her Blogcation another week- but found a lovely hostess in 29 and Holding for this week's Feel Good Friday! I have to admit that I am kinda struggling with the Feel Good aspect for this week. It's been a stressful week so bear with me.
First, my Frustrating Fragments:
- Had a work situation that got raised to crazy higher up corporate levels and had to explain processes and defend a supplier and then it turend out that I ended up finding the solution on my own with the help of Google. I saved the day, tried to save face since I'd been defending my supplier, and there is still going to be fallout because people aren't happy with how it was handled by the manufacturer our supplier works with. But having my boss and her boss and his boss and other bosses sending snarky and strongly worded e-mails around was NOT a fun way to spend my week.
- My kitchen is a mess. Our lives are so busy and one thing I really hate about cooking is that it means I have to clean it up, too. Worst of all, we did pasta night the other night and didn't clean up immediately so the kitchen stinks of tomato sauce and garlic. Plus the trash needs to go out. I'm betting it takes 2 loads in the dishwasher to get everything done, too. I can handle a messy house but a messy kitchen hurts me and I truly haven't had the time to take care of it myself.
- Jeff is going to be gone next week. He's just going downtown but he will be pretty much unavailable to us unless there is a true emergency. There is a huge gaming convention that comes to Indy every summer- GenCon. Jeff works with a company that runs a game called True Dungeon. He's a Dungeon Director. I'm not making it up- stop laughing. I'm serious! Anyway, the game is like a real life Dungeons and Dragons. Teams go room to room in a timed sequence and have to "fight battles" and solve puzzles and so on. The Con opens Thurs. Jeff has to go down Monday with the behind the scenes crew and start the dungeon building and setting up special effects and all that jazz. It's a really cool thing he does and he's passionate about it and he spends a week with his friends doing their version of guy stuff- but I do miss him while he's gone.
- Teagan's behavior is getting better. But we aren't out of this yet. I'm concerned about upcoming changes and the impact they will have- could go positive, could go negative. First change is that Zach starts going to Little Explorers next week. Second change is Kindergarten starting 2 weeks later. It seems like at least once each day- either at school or at home- there has to be at least one big meltdown or confrontation. And the later in the day it happens, the worse it is.
- Zach is starting to act out more. I don't know if this is his natural path or if he's modeling his big sister. It isn't anywhere near what she's doing. But I don't want my sweet, laid back boy to think he is supposed to act like Teagan when he doesn't get his way. We're trying to give him tons of positive attention and affirmation when he's making good choices.
- I wasn't sure I was going to admit this but... I've gained 4 pounds in the last month. I knew it was going to happen. I knew I wasn't making my best choices. I think my running plan (meaning that I've only been running once a week and not with the same amount of calorie burn as a month ago) is part of it. I know my food choices is part of it. I need to get refocused, recommited. I do some things exceptionally well but I am identifying some serious weaknesses that need work.
Now, let's take those Frustrating Fragments, drain them out and fill up with some Feel Good Friday, shall we?
- Tomorrow is date day for Jeff and I. We wanted to find a time for a date prior to his being gone for GenCon. However, Christy was booked up pretty solid. By chance, his parents mentioned that they now have more flexibility on Saturdays that they didn't have before. So we jumped on it! Saturday date day! Jeff will take the kids over just before lunch and then he and I are heading to the art museum for lunch and then some hand holding and quiet chatting and art gazing. I'm soooo ready for it.
- I get to go to a Zumba class tomorrow morning! It's free at the Lifestyle Family Fitness Center. They are celebrating National Dance Day by offering free group dance fitness classes all day!
- That situation with my supplier... while stressful... I get a little bit of a high as the frustration leaves and the fix that I FOUND settles in. I won't feel fully confident until the product has arrived and been used in our production and proven to be valuable- but I do feel good that I was able to "fix" the crisis.
- My friend Christy is an awesome person and deserves some support. She's been my running buddy and workout buddy since the word go when we joined the gym together. She's been my friend for a decade. She commits herself to her passions- theatre being a big one. She donates blood (platelettes) regularly. She cares about her circle of friends in a very real and genuine way. She's funny- and she laughs at y jokes (especially my stupid ones). Plus, she not only shares my love of wine, chocolate, sushi and cheese but she helps me expand the field and try new things. She's going to Paris, France for 2 weeks in September and, while part of my is jealous, I'm going to really miss her.
- I love my mom. I'm glad she's my friend.
- I love my church family. It's mind boggling to me how much my faith has expanded by locking in to this family. My faith in God hasn't ever waivered but I've been unsure about the church thing. In the past few years, I've really plugged in to my church and it's simply amazing.
Thursday, July 29, 2010
Wednesday, July 28, 2010
Tuesday, July 27, 2010
Monday, July 26, 2010
We all have milestones that define us, impact us, shape us, form us. We have positive and wonderful things that have happened. We might have tragedy and chaos behind us.
Sometimes, I am struck by the possibilities of each individual that I encounter and what their story might be.
I feel blessed when I am honored by learning about someone's past and how they've become who they are. I feel honored when I get to see a side of someone that isn't their norm.
Maybe it's finding out that the ultimate family man at church grew up in a rough neighborhood, surrounded by gang activity, making poor choices as his family struggled.
Or finding out that the slim and trim powerhouse of a petite woman at work used to be morbidly obese and lost it all through healthy eating and exercise and has kept it off for more than 20 years.
Or being blessed with a performance in church by an entire family that sings together.
I have my own background that I know is pretty amazing. I know my own positive and negative milestones that have helped me form into this person that I am today.
I've known financial struggle in my childhood. I've known the pain and rage of being a sexually abused child. I've experienced the loss of friendships due to an unexpected out of state move. I've made desperate and hurtful choices against my parents. I've been given the gift of an incredible education without attached debt. I've married for the wrong reasons and divorced for the right ones. I've found love that is indescribable with Jeff and our children.
When you see me in the grocery store, picking out Lean Cuisines from the giant freezer... there is no way to know that I have all of that inside me, behind me. When you cut me off on the highway, you can't possibly understand where I've come from. When you snap at me on the phone because I don't have the answer you want at work, you can't possibly get that your irritation and attempts to be hurtful are pretty laughable to me.
I have to remember the same holds true as I go out and see others. It isn't my business to know everyone else's story. But I do need to remember that everyone else has a story. Some people that I encounter are still in the midst of the struggles that are writing that story. Some people haven't yet found the path of better choices that will help them live that better life.
And if I'm lucky... as I get to know someone... as I gain respect for someone because of how they live their life... I might get to learn about their story and their amazing life that has brought them to this place.
How about you? How about your own amazing life or the amazing lives around you?
Sunday, July 25, 2010
This is Anne- with her lovely family (her son, Will, and her husband, Allen). I first met Anne when we crossed paths from time to time on a huge internet community for pregnancy and parenting. We got to know each other when we ended up on the same birth board- Will is the same age as Zach. I haven't stayed in touch with that birth board but I did make some friends on that board and we stay in touch on Facebook.
Anne always struck me with her wisdom and her faith.
She once gave me the greatest compliment- she said I was a woman who lived my faith and that she saw my spirituality through how I lived.
Anne is a woman, a mother, who moves me.
Unfortunately, sometimes tragedy defines who a person is. Tragedy can be something that helps us see who we really are and how we really live. Anne is one of those people. She very openly shared a tragedy on our internet community. It wasn't her openness that struck me and settled in this deep admiration. It was her faith and spirituality that came shining through. So often, tragedy means questioning faith. For Anne, her faith was what carried her through in a truly remarkable and inspiring way.
Anne is a busy a mother. She is Allen's wife, Will's mom, a senior pastor of a small church, a violin teacher, and caretaker to her own mother. In her "spare" time, she enjoys cooking and gardening.
Something I learned about Anne is that prior to having Will, she believed she was the kind of mom who would let her child "cry it out," would quickly switch from nursing to formula, would embrace her relationship with a frequent babysitter, and would have various pieces of equipment for carrying baby (stroller, for example). Instead, she followed her instinct and has ended up a "crunchy" mom who breastfeeds, babywears, homeschools, and attachment parents her son.
One of the reasons I admire Anne the way I do is that she is a woman of action.
She had a traumatic birth experience with her son. It impacted her relationship with her husband, her mothering of her son, and her son's first months of life.
As she recovered from it and worked to piece life back into a normal place, Anne decided to take action. She learned about ICAN (International Cesarean Awareness Network) but had no local network. So she started one.
I asked Anne about faith and spirituality and mothering. As she said, this is a big subject for a pastor!
Here's what I know. Anne isn't a mom who just goes to church with her family and teaches her son different Bible lessons and goes about her life with an undercurrent of faith. Anne is a mom who lives her faith every single moment of the day. She knows and believes in her purpose and her relationship with God. Her focus is on her faith and her relationship with Christ is what guides her choices.
Anne is a wise mother- and gained her wisdom through the hard knocks of life. Growing up wasn't easy. She shared a story with me about learning to drive and saving up for driving school and having to abandon that plan and the impact that had on her in those formative teenage years and how that all came full circle when she met her husband.
I think anyone who has experienced hard times and learned from them, recovered from them, healed from them, grown out of them... is better and stronger for it. I know it is true for me- and I know it is true for Anne.
I asked Anne what she would want other mothers to know:
There is no right or wrong way to be a Mom for everyone out there, no blanket formula for parenting. Listen to the Lord and the best way to relate to your child's and family's needs will be revealed to you in due time. Your parenting style will be a little different from anyone else's, simply because your family and your child are unique. Follow your gut and nudging from God above anything written by experts or mentioned by well-intentioned friends and loved ones. God can help you to be the kind of mom that you are meant to be.
How do you define success in parenting?
Success in parenting to me means that I am doing what God wants me to do in relation to my child. I know when I've messed up because my gut tells me so. Luckily, I serve a forgiving God who is willing to extend grace, help me grow and show me how to do things differently. The ultimate goal is to raise Will to be a strong man of God who is able to live out God's dreams for his life.
Something else that I admire about Anne- and something that I have had to learn along the way- is that she practices what she preaches about her priorities. God, marriage, child, work. They are, of course, all connected. But something Anne learned in the course of parenting a high needs baby, of suffering a personal tragedy, of enduring a traumatic birth, of living with and later being an addict... through all of the life lessons that have been thrown in her path... is that her husband is her partner and the relationship with him needs care and attention.
Make your marriage a priority in your parenting. Talk with your spouse about how to keep your marriage first after God, while still meeting your children's needs. One day, your kids are going to grow up and leave the nest. You want to make sure that you still have spice in your marriage and that you still have a strong bond and communication with your spouse. Plus, modeling relationships as they should be to your children will help them to grow up and select healthy and fulfilling relationships for their own lives. It teaches them boundaries, love, respect, patience, faith, problem solving and many other indispensable skills. Take time for your marriage!
In many ways, Anne is like a soul sister to me. I can't say that we are close friends or that we even stay in touch regularly. We stay connected on Facebook but don't know each other in any sort of a truly intimate way.
However, through her openness, her life experience, her faith and spirituality, her gentle leadership, her wisdom, her grace...
She is a Mother Who Moves Me.
Saturday, July 24, 2010
Friday, July 23, 2010
Thursday, July 22, 2010
Wednesday, July 21, 2010
Tuesday, July 20, 2010
Monday, July 19, 2010
Sunday, July 18, 2010
I know a lot of moms. I have a great mom. I have a grandma who is pretty awesome, too. I have mom friends at church and work. I know moms online through local community websites as well as through blogging. And a lot of these moms… really inspire me. I want to highlight these women and their motherhood. I want to better understand who they are and how they parent and what motivates them and who they are inspired by. Because I think all great moms deserve recognition.
That is a face you might recognize. That is Mrs4444 of Half Past Kissin Time. I’ve been reading her for just about as long as I’ve been blogging, I think. I’m horrible at remembering how I find blogs and people. But I’ve been reading her for a while now and she is one of those women that I would just love to enjoy a few hours with on her back deck. She has a gift of warmth and welcome and humor on her blog. And when you get to know her a little better, you find out that she is an amazing woman.
She’s been married to her husband for 20 years. They have 2 children. Kendall (above) is starting her sophomore year of high school while Kyle is about to journey off to college.
Mrs4444 is a teacher. More impressive is that she is a middle school teacher. And even better… she’s a special ed teacher with extensive experience in students who have emotional-behavioral disabilities.
She is exactly the woman I would have worked with back when I was a social worker in therapeutic foster care. Each child had a care team that the social worker headed up. We would attend, arrange, schedule meetings, be present at court dates, meet regularly with foster parents, foster child. There were key adults in the life of any foster child- birth parents, foster parents, educators, therapists/support. Educators were vital to the performance and well being of those kids. A special ed teacher could make or break a foster child. Mrs4444 is one of those women that I would have loved partnering with and learning from when I was in the field.
Now that I am no longer a social worker but am instead a mom that faces challenges of parenting head on and seeks ideas and input from respected moms around me, I’m truly glad to know Mrs4444.
I asked her some questions about motherhood and life and such and found that she truly is the wonderful woman we’ve gotten to know through her blog.
I asked what she would tell her pre-motherhood self if she could…
You are going to be the type of mom every girl needs. You will be very close to your daughter and will have the relationship every mother hopes for. You will raise two beautiful, responsible, successful children who grow up in a healthy, loving environment. Relax. (Oh, and don’t worry--Kendall will be a wonderful baby and will NOT have colic (like her brother did.)
One thing that she and I have in common is that we both survived sexual abuse in our childhoods. When she shared with me that she was truly terrified that she wouldn’t be able to protect her daughter… I fully understood. I’ve certainly been there. I’ve personally handled it better than I thought I would as I approached certain topics and milestones. And I’ve had mothers who have helped to guide me through some of my fears.
I asked about her relationship with her husband and how that has impacted her mothering…
My husband is one of two kids, and I am one of nine with a large, extended family. I have the degree in Human Development and lots of experience with kids, so he mostly followed my lead when the kids were small. He gives me all the credit for our kids being so great, but we both know that he is an incredible dad, too; very involved, super-affectionate, and very open. We love each other, and the kids know it, which helps. Mark and I are on the same page (for the most part) when it comes to parenting, and if we aren’t, we talk about it to make sure we present a united front, compromising only behind closed doors. Early on, we were influenced by Barbara Coloroso’s book, Kids Are Worth It; it’s kind of been our bible.
Note to self: look up that book!
One thing I learned was that Mrs4444 grew up not having an emotionally open relationship with her mom (although she is close to her mom and loves and respects her deeply). It’s something she has talked about on her blog as well and she took important lessons from that. While she never felt comfortable talking about intimate subjects with her mother and her mother came from a “private generation,” Mrs4444 has focused on building an open relationship with her kids. Her kids know they can talk to her about anything. Her kids have seen her emotional side and how she handles different emotions.
I asked her what she thinks is an important thing about motherhood that she thinks others should know…
I think it’s important to know that if you haven’t dealt with your own childhood demons, you will not be the best parent you can be. If you were raised by a parent who had major issues (such as alcoholism, anger issues, etc.) it will affect you as a parent. Working on your issues with a professional could be the greatest gift you could ever give your children (not to mention your spouse!)
I completely agree. If I was still battling my personal demons… I feel like I’d be pretty worthless as a mom. That’s strong to say. But I couldn’t be as focused and here for my kids and husband without having gotten past a really ugly background.
I asked her how she would define success in parenting…
I think you’re a successful parent when your kids are happy, do their best in school, and respect others and the world around them. Successful parents have established boundaries for their children (their kids understand their role and that of adults.) All of this said, unhappy kids are not always the result of poor parenting. I have a lot of respect for parents of children with disabilities that make parenting especially difficult. In those cases, a parent who doesn’t give up, no matter what, has my utmost respect and admiration.
I have to admit I breathed a sigh of relief on that one. I’m working really hard to establish boundaries with my kids. I believe that this age, these early years, are when the foundation is laid to understand those boundaries. If I try to wait until they are in middle school… well, I’d be getting a lot of calls from teachers (or worse- the police or something. Eep!).
Finally, I gave her a chance to give any last bits of advice or quotes or inspiration…
It’s a child’s natural inclination to feel like they are the center of the universe. I think it’s important to teach kids boundaries and self-discipline. You have to think of your job as also preparing your children to be productive members of society, not just your family. (That is, unless of course, you plan to have them live with you forever.) In your intro, you mentioned that you’d like to know who inspired me as a mom. In addition to my own mom, I have also been very much inspired by people who are open with their emotions. I grew up holding a lot of secrets, and I have always been drawn to people who are willing to call call a spade a spade. My friend Terri’s mom, Ellen, was direct and (sometimes brutally) honest, and I remember being very inspired by her bravery and openness as a woman. She passed away a few years ago but is still a big part of the kind of mom I am today.
Whenever I post about one of my struggles with parenting, I always hope that Mrs4444 will swing by and offer advice. Whenever I share joys and successes in being a mother to my kids, I always hope that Mrs4444 is proud of me. She’s someone that I cherish for her opinion, insight, and experience.
She is one of the Mothers Who Move Me.
Saturday, July 17, 2010
Last night, my family and I were hosted by One2One Network at an Indiana Fever game. Indiana Fever is our WNBA team (women’s pro basketball).
In college, I worked for the marketing group that did promotions at the basketball games. I loved being at all the Xavier Musketeer home games and I loved being part of the contests, giveaways, and other promos.
In high school, Jeff played basketball. And he played really well from what I’ve been told.
While it is in our past, Jeff and I both have basketball in our past. It’s something we’ve both enjoyed- but not together.
Friday morning, I was talking to Teagan about our plans for the evening. It struck me… that my daughter is going to grow up where it is normal for women to play pro ball. I was in college when the WNBA was born- and not without controversy or scoffing. But here we are in 2010 and women are still playing and teams are still playing and seasons are still going. While the WNBA might not be as popular as NBA games, the fact that there are teams and crowds and fans and players and coaches that my daughter can look to for athletic role models is pretty awesome.
Jeff and I aren’t really the “get up and go” kind of people when it comes to anything outside of a 5 mile radius from our house. Going downtown often feels like a bit of a hardship. It shouldn’t. From our house, there are at least 2 really easy routes down to Conseco Fieldhouse. Our drive was easy. Parking was easy- there was a lot right next door that was open for special event parking. The crowd was very manageable.
We made our way down to our seats- row 6, directly across the floor from the team benches. It was crowded but we had open seats next to us on one side and some room on the other side as well. Jeff made friends with the 2 women seated next to us- they could talk about the game and the calls and the shots. Good thing he made friends because sitting by the aisle with 2 young kids next to you can’t be terribly fun. They had to do the handing down of money and cotton candy… they had to stand up a few times when the kids had to potty. 1 of the 2 women- the one Jeff talked to the most- was a very vocal fan. My kids each took a turn studying her when she would get…. um… passionate. “You want some cheese with that WHINE?”
Here’s what I loved… I loved watching these athletes. I loved the communication between the women- both verbal and hand signals and just eye contact. I loved the intensity on their faces. I loved watching them run and pivot and dribble and stop.
While Jeff and I enjoyed the game itself, the kids really enjoyed the distractions and entertainment that presented itself throughout the game. Most of all, they both were quite enamoured with the team’s mascot- Freddy Fever.
Don’t worry- he only uses the giant hands to make a loud clapping sound. He doesn’t wear them all the time or anything. And the gun thing behind him was way cool! When they would giveaway t-shirts, the Fever Hip Hop Team would hand throw shirts to the lower sections but that machine gun t-shirt thrower would shoot high up into the stands in a really cool rapid fire action.
I loved all the dancing. I love the music played at basketball games. I love the dance teams and half time entertainment. I love the crowd dancing. Heck, I love getting up and shaking my own booty.
There was the Fever Hip Hop Team- Fever Inferno. Loved their energy and how much fun they were having. Loved that there were boys who were dancing- and obviously enjoyed dancing. Loved that the team is made up of local high school and college kids!
They were just trying to make me jealous of how much hair they all have.
There was a half time show. I didn’t catch the name of the group but I sure enjoyed them! There was a woman who was obviously the leader of the group and then there were kids of all ages performing a bunch of dance routines. I loved it!
Plus, most of them wore yellow Converse and I am now totally wanting a pair!
And what is the one thing that everyone gets excited about at a big sporting event? No- I’m not talking about the cotton candy (although we did enjoy a bag). No- I’m not talking about the beer (didn’t have any of that). No- not the concessions or fan gear.
Everyone wants to be on that big screen, right? We all love hearing stories of marriage proposals via jumbotron. We laugh at the people dancing, we aawwwww at the babies, we giggle when someone sees themselves and starts pointing and bouncing up and down.
When we went to the Tin Caps minor league baseball game in Fort Wayne, our family made an appearance on the big screen during “dance cam.” They played music and people got up and danced. Jeff had Zach on his lap and was dancing with him and there we were- on the big screen. To this day, Teagan insists we weren’t up there because she wasn’t dancing. And, for the record, I was the goober who saw us and started pointing at the screen going “there we are! there we are!”
Well, it happened again. This time, there was a celebrity at the event. I think it was Carlos Diaz- of TV’s Extra! Towards the end of the game, he was being interviewed on the floor down in front of us. We were in the crowd between his head and the host’s head up on that giant screen.
Unfortunately, you can’t capture clean images of that screen with a camera. But we are there in between those heads. I circled Jeff and Zach to help you out…
I tried to zoom in… the yellow arrow is pointing to Teagan and I as we stare up at the screen. She’s staring up, I’m taking a pic. The blue arrow is Jeff with Zach on his lap. Jeff is taking Zach’s hand and “making” him scratch, touch, and pick that guy’s nose. Yes, he really is this funny all the time.
It was a late night for my kids but they really handled it all very well. It was loud and flashy and exciting and late and while it took some adjusting to take it all in, they were both all caught up in it by the end.
Jeff and I decided that we definitely want to go again. Next time, we plan on it being a date night. Down for a 7 p.m. game and then dinner downtown after (like at Scotty’s Brewhouse which is right down the street). I had friends in the crowd- a Mom friend from a local online community, one of my fellow Fit City Mom Bloggers, and one of Teagan’s preschool teachers was there (and sitting just 2 rows in front of us!).
I was surprised at how empty the seats were, to be honest. It was a really fun event. I love watching basketball. I love people watching at sporting events. I love the entertainment and the food and the atmosphere. It was so much easier to get there and park and get inside than I had thought it was going to be.
I really encourage you to go to a game sometime. Best of all, the WNBA really wants you there, too!
Follow the link below and you can take advantage of a special offer to buy one ticket (valued $23 or more), get one free! I checked it out last night. You won’t get to pick any game and any seats for the offer. Go to the link and see what games are available and then it finds seats that are part of the promotion and makes you an offer and then you have about 5 minutes to decide if you want to buy them or not. So go into it when you are serious about buying those tickets! If I took advantage of the offer and had taken the seats that came up for me last night, I would have ended up in almost the same seats we were in last night and my cost would have been around $60 total (2 tickets and fees and I had selected best seats available).
Just go to http://bit.ly/WNBAFeverTix , enter promo code WNBABLOG to purchase tickets and experience the WNBA's exciting, family-friendly, entertainment! You will need to create an account in order to use the code, simply enter your email address, create a password – and discount!