Friday, June 25, 2010

rediscovering the library

I remember reading Charlotte's Web in one day when I was 8 years old. Man I loved that book. Some of my other favorites included the books in the American Girls series (there were only 4 girls when I was young). I remember reading Jane Eyre and Grapes of Wrath before my freshman year in high school and absolutely loving both (especially Grapes of Wrath, surprisingly). I read Emma while I was pregnant with Emma...that probably played a part in how she got her name.

I remember when Emma was a baby and I had no friends and very few commitments, I would spend hours a day reading to her. She loved every second of it, and I think the reason she loves books so much now is that we spent so much time with our noses in all her little board books. I read to Tyler quite a bit but not nearly as much as Emma...I guess there's nothing like that first baby, and having all the time in the world. Over the last year I haven't been nearly as good and faithful at reading to them. When Emma had homework to read or be read to, I would struggle in remembering to write down the books. I also didn't like doing it just because it was "homework."

I used to take the kids to the library every single Tuesday. This was about 2 years ago (ironically, during the time I was last pregnant). They loved it and I looked forward to new books, and to getting out. Our library trips abruptly ended when Macie died, my life halted, and I lost a library book somewhere in the house, and then things just seemed to be crazy for a while. The habit died after that.

Yesterday, realizing the kids seriously needed an outing, and understanding that I am now quite limited in what I can do, we headed to the library. When I told them they could each get their own library cards, instead of just using mine, they were thrilled. (I don't know why I never did this before.) I loved watching them write their names on the back of their shiny new cards, and we walked down the hall to the children's area. Emma went crazy and picked as many as she could carry (10). She is SO my child. Tyler looked around for a minute and declared, "I don't want any." That kinda pricked I took him over and showed him how sometimes you can tell if you want to read a book by the pictures you see on the outside. I think the amount of books there was a little overwhelming. He found one that was familiar to him and chose it. I had to prod him to pick out more than just that one, and after he had 6 in his pile he was good to go.

We came home, went in on Emma's bed - like we used to do so often - and read about 9 of the ones they chose. It's just so much more personal being in on her queen bed - no distractions. And there is something different, so refreshing, about new books. I was just as excited as they were. We got giggling at one of the sillier books and I realized that this is precious time I need to spend with them. In a few weeks their lives will change a lot. It's been just the two of them for a long time, and I need to take full advantage of this short amount of time I have left to give everything I have to just them. I realized this while I spent several hours in the hospital on Wednesday, as the nurses had to stop my contractions. And while that meant I had to miss some fun pre-wedding things going on in my only sister's life this weekend (bigtime bummer!), I get to spend some extra quality time with my little munchkins. I can handle that.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

on we go

This past school year I have volunteered in Emma's class for 2 hours every Monday. While I would gripe about it beforehand, I would almost always eat my words as I sat there in the classroom. I loved seeing her interact with her peers and observe her helping those who sat at her table. And now I can't believe she's done with kindergarten! I'm glad I got to be a part of it. I love that she was proud to have me there.

Last week as I was in her class, I started prepping projects for next year's students. I realized that these are the projects Tyler will be doing in a few months. My little buddy, my sidekick, the boy who adores me will be permanently gone from the home for a certain period of time. After kindergarten, it just gets longer and longer until he's off to college/a mission, etc. I know it's excellent preparation for him, and it has to start somewhere - why not kindergarten with just 3 hours a day? I love that pre-school has prepared him so well socially and mentally for what is to come. I love that he has learned to deal with conflicts with friends and that he has learned to be on his own, and take ownership for something at such a young age. I love that he has new confidence from doing something totally alone. I love that he is learning about relationships, in a place where he has to be away from me and learn and grow on his own. But I can't help but feel nostalgia about him entering the school system.

In a way I am also starting over. I will have a new baby at home with me while my older two are gone. I get another chance to be that "better" mom that I think about all the time. I have been blessed with really good, pleasant children. I can only hope they stay that way as they are going to be faced with a lot. I can only hope that we've done enough where it matters most - in the home - for them to remember who they are and to continue what they have started. I really think they will be just fine, but sometimes I wonder if I will be.

In the meantime, I have been looking forward to the end of school, and to summer, for a long time. I am thrilled to have both kids home with me for a couple months. And I am so happy to have things slow down a little. Oh, and the end of the whole being out the door at 7:50 a.m. thing will be nice too. I am going to enjoy it, because it won't last long.

And, here is my little guy, in his graduation gear just tonight. I had a hard time not bursting into tears as he sat there and grinned at me. He and I sure have something special, and I love this kid more than anything.

Sunday, June 6, 2010


Maybe it's from feeling eternally pregnant (one full pregnancy with no baby, and nearing the end of the next pregnancy, no baby yet) but I've had a hard time really picturing this stretching, hiccuping thing inside of me being a real human that will actually come out and need to be taken care of, and will need his own stuff. It's also hard for me to imagine I'm having a boy. I guess that I'm still sort of in girl mode. Maybe that's why when we bought this house, every single wall was painted (including bathrooms) except for Tyler's room. He kept asking for me to paint it red (um, no) and I just kept holding off, wanting to wait until we knew the gender of our next child, whenever that would be.

A few weeks ago we decided to buckle down and turn Tyler's room into the "boy's room." There were two separate twin beds in there (for when Emma gets kicked out of her queen bed/room for guests) and his room is small so we needed space for the crib. Thus...bunk beds. I sure knew what I didn't want but didn't know what I did want. After a lot of failed craigslist searching, we headed off to the store and found one that we really liked.

That was a Saturday. The beds were being delivered on the following Wednesday. Spencer was so excited with the idea that they were being delivered and put together for us (hallelujah for no grumpy husband) that he didn't take seriously my out-loud thoughts that the room simply had to be painted. BEFORE the beds came. He didn't want me painting, and he sure didn't want to do it himself.

So, I took matters into my own hands on that Monday. There are only about 8 million shades of blue, so it only took me about 6 hours in the store and online trying to find the perfect one. Blue is a tricky color to work with, and it had to be perfect. I came home, put samples on the wall, went in to look at the different colors a few times throughout the day, and hoped Spencer wouldn't notice when he got home from work.

(Sometimes) I love his lack of observational skills. He didn't notice. But my sweet, easily-excitable children had to show him how "mommy had painted on the walls." Oops. He just looked at me, sighed, and said, "I guess we're painting." Now that he was on board, or I guess had resigned himself to the fact that I wasn't going to be told "no," I was ready to go. I bought the paint, did all the taping, and had the kids clear out all the toys. Spencer took out the heavy stuff and did the "hard" painting but still let me do some of the painting. And...I LOVE IT. The blue is absolutely perfect. We put the last coat of paint on about 8 hours before the delivery guys showed up. They got the bunk beds in, we figured out where to put everything else (i.e., the crib), and voila - the room was ready.
But...this week I was doing a lot of vinyl projects for a friend, and realized that while I had my stuff out I might as well put some up in the boys' room. So...I began my online search for cute phrases. It took me several days (man, I hate transfer tape) but it is DONE, except for a few things to go on the walls. And we're all pretty darn happy with it.
(It says "To become a real boy you must prove yourself brave, truthful, and unselfish." - Pinocchio)
Tyler loves that he gets the top bunk (until/unless he pees the bed, and then I'm kicking him down to the bottom). Emma loves that she has a "2nd bed" and that we let her sleep in there if she wants. I love that the crib is up, and really really hope that we can use it this time. And I also love that now we have painted every single surface of this house, in just under 13 months' time.
Now to get this boy here safely... if the number of doctor appointments I have is any indication, he's in good hands. I've still got a while but you never know...