Monday, October 28, 2013

Family Service Project

From now until Christmas, my family is working on a service project. We are collecting items to donate to women's shelters. These items are used to put together "welcome kits" to help the women and children who are displaced from their homes feel a little more comfortable. If any of our local friends and family are willing to donate any of the following items, my children and I would be happy to come pick them up from you. We will be making our final collection on Saturday, December 21:


Bath towels, washcloths

Soap, razors, combs, body wash, deodorant, hairspray, cosmetics, shaving gel

Toothpaste and toothbrushes

Shampoo and conditioner

Books, coloring books, activity books, etc (new or gently used)

Hair accessories for girls

Crayons, markers, pens, pencils, glue, etc.

Toys, games, puzzles, etc (new or gently used - for all ages)

Baby toys, bottles, binkies, baby shampoo, etc.

Burp cloths, bibs, clothes (0-4T), diaper bags

Crib size quilts, blankets

Fleece blankets

Yarn

Ribbon

Fabric

Crocheted hats, scarves, afghans, baby blankets


Those who would like to help may contact me at fluentbrittish {at} gmail {dot} com or by phone or facebook.

My Daughter, Zoe

And now I get to tell you about my third (or my Ender) (though that term doesn't really work, since she won't be my last) (but "third" is accurate).

Zoe is a few short weeks away from her first birthday. The past year has flown, but at the same time, I can't imagine a time when Zoe wasn't with us. She has always been ours - it's so strange to think there was a time when I didn't know her.

Zoe weighs 20 pounds, she has eight teeth, she has squishy thigh rolls, and she uses her fingernails like death claws. Her hair is super short in the back and very long on the sides. She has a little bit of a Red Skelton thing going on.

red3 

(I refer to her side hair as her "wisps").

Zoe was born with dark hair, but it has since turned blonde, and there is a slight hint of strawberry in it. Her hair has always her dominant feature - it is crazy.

Zoe has been crawling for a while. She is cruising and pushing things around while standing, so it won't be long before our little one is running around the house.

Her first word was 'Mom,' but she isn't saying it much these days because she has moved on to 'thank you' (which sounds nothing like 'thank you'). I only know that's what she is saying because I always say 'thank you' when she hands me something, and after hearing her say it several times, I realized she was mimicking me (it comes out 'dit').

Zoe is yet another early riser. It isn't uncommon for her to start her day, wide awake, at 4:30, much to this sleep-deprived mother's dismay. She hasn't been a good sleeper at all. In fact, she has only slept through the night twice...ish. We are currently letting her "cry it out" at night because we're at our wit's end. The first night she screamed for about an hour and a half, but now she only cries for a few minutes at a time off and on throughout the night.

Zoe is in a phase of discontentment right now. She is fighting sleep like a ninja day after day, and she wants to be held constantly - but never on my lap! I have to be standing up, carrying her around the house like she's the Queen of Sheba. She's always doing that back arching thing where I put her on the ground and she arches her back and screams so I pick her up and she arches her back and screams so I put her back on the ground and she slams her head into the wall to teach me a lesson.

Gotta love baby logic.

Suffice it to say that I have no idea what this child wants from me right now.

She is a hoot, though. She loves to play in the bath tub, and she folds her arms for prayer. One of our favorite things is to say, "Yay, Zoe!" and she will clap her hands. Her latest habits aren't very desirable, however. This week, alone, she has discovered the joy of emptying the kitchen drawers. She has also figured out how to wriggle out of her seat belt so she can stand up in her high chair (you should see the grin on her face when I catch her standing up - it is a look of pure mischief. And then, of course, when I try to sit her back down, she does the back arching thing). She has also learned to throw toys down the stairs, courtesy of Daisy. It's amazing how hard she works, ascending the stairs, dragging toys out of her bedroom, and chucking them down into the living room. You won't be surprised to hear that she hates her car seat, shopping carts, and the stroller, so I am forever holding her on my hip while trying to maneuver various things on wheels around various over-crowded public places.

When Zoe was born, she had a birthmark on her right eyelid. It is mostly faded now, but it occasionally reappears when she is upset or not feeling well. I kind of miss it.

Zoe can be very loving to other people. She reaches for people and crawls to them excitedly (as long as she has been around them a few times - but overall, she takes the least amount of time to warm up to people out of all of my children).

Daisy has surprised me so much over the past four years that I expect no less from Zoe. I anticipate many years of plot twists ahead. I am so happy to have Zoe - to be a mother of sisters is a daunting task, but I am up for the challenge.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

My Daughter, Daisy

Today I am writing about Daisy, and this is where things get complicated. How to I find the words to adequately describe this child?

Daisy is a big spirit trapped in a tiny body. My life with her is equal parts beautiful and terrifying. She scares me and amazes me all at once.

2011 06 09_1794 copy 
{Peace, Love, and Cheerios}

Daisy just turned four years old. She started preschool and dance class this year. She loathes preschool but can't give me a clear explanation of why. I suspect that it is because she isn't the center of attention there. Daisy has always needed to be in control, and when she isn't, she becomes hostile. I remember when she was a year old and my cousin came to a family party with a newborn daughter. Daisy seethed with jealousy at the attention the baby was getting. I had never seen that in a child so young.

Daisy is stubborn and strong-willed. Everything needs to be done on her terms or there will be a steep price to pay. She wants everyone to obey her every command and worship the ground she walks on. She can be very sweet at times, but she can equally sour. There is opposition in all things - Daisy is no exception.

Oh, but she is beautiful. She has the kind of hair every woman dreams of. It is thick, long, and healthy. It has perfect, natural highlights and is a shade of blonde that people pay good money to have. But she won't let me near it with a comb, so it hangs down her back in matted knots, often hosting broken bits of lollipop or globs of syrup from breakfast.

Her little nose has a very slight spattering of freckles. They are so light that you would likely never notice them, but they are there, and I love them.

She is solid. Not overweight, but not fragile like a bird, either. She is pigeon-toed and trips over her feet at least three times a day.

The things she says are baffling. Sometimes she is so funny that I'm afraid I'll pull a muscle from laughing. But she can also be very cruel. She knows how to hurt others with words, and that is something I need to help her tame. She can also be very loud. We say she got her voice from Grandma Jackie (Scotty's mom, who can definitely project). Daisy is a yeller - happy or sad. All of her emotions are deafening.

Daisy loves most of the things that are common among little girls. Princesses, Dora, dress-up clothes, Barbies, and the like, but she has saved room in her heart for super heroes and Lego. She loves watching sports with her dad and will often be heard saying, "Come on, Daddy. Let's go watch football!" She has been known to run around the house dressed as Spiderman or Wolverine one minute and as Ariel or a fairy the next.

Daisy has a junk food problem. When we do our "family store" on Monday nights, she will always spend her marbles on candy or treats (I've been keeping the selection limited for this reason). She needs immediate gratification and will always eat all of her treats right away. She is this way with everything, she is a child who does not wait.

Daisy's favorite song is "What Makes You Beautiful," by One Direction. She always asks for me to turn on "the boys with the curly hair" so she can dance. There are some other songs she likes, but none as much as "the boys with the curly hair." She loves "Radioactive" by Imagine Dragons and "True Love" by Pink and Lily Allen. It is hilarious to listen to her sing because she makes up her own words. Here's a little clip of her serenading us from the shower:

video

A lot of people have a hard time understanding Daisy when she talks. She has some interesting voice inflections, and she makes some sounds that are unique to her, so unique, that to spell her pronunciations phonetically is beyond my ability. Grandpa is something like, "Kwawmpa."

Like her brother, Daisy loves her blankies. Her favorite one is blue and yellow with ducks on it. She calls it her "duckie blankie," and let's keep this between us, it's actually Nicky's blanket. Somehow Daisy got attached to it a couple years ago, but as long as neither of them know the truth, things are good.

Daisy has never been a good sleeper. When we put her to bed at night, she will often sit up in her bed for an hour talking to herself. She wakes up very early, and she refuses to be alone, so when Daisy wakes up, the first thing she does is march around the house waking up everyone else. She has caused many "Angry Momma Mornings." It has been really hard trying to help Daisy and a baby coexist.

Daisy is not at all the daughter I imagined. I don't mean that in a negative way, it's just a matter of fact that Daisy has thrown me for a loop. I am continually baffled by her, and I'm not really sure how to raise her. I always thought my first baby would be the Pancake Child (you know how you always mess up the first pancake?), but for now, I feel like my second child is a lot more experimental. I dare say that I will learn a lot from being Daisy's mother - I only hope that she will forgive me for years of errors.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

My Son, Nicklaus

A few weeks ago, I met up with a friend I hadn't seen in over a year. She mentioned that ever since I stopped posting pictures of my kids, she had lost track of them. I realized I don't write about them in as much detail as I used to. So, just for fun (and for those of you who are wondering about the munchkins these days), I'm going to post a little about each of my children over the next few days. If nothing else, it will give me something fun to look back on over the years. I'll start with my firstborn, Nicklaus.

About Nicky

Nicky is almost seven and is in first grade. He does well in class, learns easily, and doesn't put up a huge fight about getting to school in the morning. He is a little resistant to do homework, but not to the extent that I'm overly flustered by it.

He is taking piano lessons and loves to learn familiar tunes (it may come as no surprise that he is a little resistant to practicing - as children are).

He is an early riser - often when I get up around 6:00, he is already out of bed. He loves doing art projects and making up games. Sometimes when I call him to the table for dinner, he will say, "But I just have one more level!" and he is talking about some random game he has made up (something like shooting a water gun at an empty pastry box that he has placed on the window sill). I always refer to Nicky as our little party planner - he is full of big ideas for social events and celebrations. Several times a week he tells me about his latest birthday party plan. He plans parties with all sorts of themes involving anything from Angry Birds to cheese (yes, he asked me once if he could have a cheese party).

Nicky has a weird obsession with chickens. It started at his preschool graduation where he stood at the microphone and told everyone he wants to be a chicken farmer when he grows up. We all got a good laugh, and two years later, he is still holding fast to that dream. When he does his spelling tests at school, he always writes 'chicken' at the end of the list. I'm waiting to see if his teacher has something to say about it - so far she hasn't commented.

Nicky is very good with money. He works hard to spend his allowance wisely. He's good at saving up for things he really wants. The only financial flaw he has so far is that he keeps offering to buy iPads for his friends (it's been hard explaining to him why he needs to stop making such offers). He has a kind heart and often thinks of others. We give our children marbles sometimes when we see them making good choices which they can use to buy things from our "family store" after Family Home Evening. Nicky once used his marbles to buy a can of root beer for his friend.

Nicky doesn't get along very well with Daisy right now, but he gets along fabulously with the baby. He is very helpful with taking care of Zoe, and he loves to play with her and look out for her.

Lately, Nicky has loved throwing the football. He throws it at about the same ability I do, so it's fun for me to play with him. If he follows in his father's footsteps, he'll soon out-throw me (Scotty has always had a very impressive arm - at least by my standards).

Nicky has some issues with anxiety. He struggles in unfamiliar situations, and he worries a lot. The other day I had to take some Angry Bird decals off his bedroom walls because everyday he would tell me that someone came in the house and moved them. This went on for months, and finally I said, "We need to take them down because they are making you worry too much." It breaks my heart, especially since I know exactly what he is going through.

Even though he is getting so big, Nicky still loves his blankies and stuffed animals. His favorite blanket has always been a simple piece of fleece with Thomas the Train on it (we call it his "Thomas). One time my mom tried finishing the edges of his Thomas, and he threw a fit so we had to buy him a new piece of fabric and leave it untouched. He has a shelf next to his bed just for his stuffed animals. He has Buzz, Woody, Mike & Sulley, 2 Angry Birds, a pirate troll, a sock monkey, and a Pikachu. He also has a stuffed skunk that he treasures - he got it from Primary Children's Hospital when the ENT had to cauterize his nose.

Speaking of his nose, Nicky suffered from chronic nose bleeds for a few years. They were horrific, often gushing for 40 minutes several times a day. After seeing an ENT, we decided to keep ointment in his nose and see if he would grow out of it. He didn't have one for about nine months. Then one day they started back up again, so we went back to the ENT. Nicky has an abnormally large vessel in his nostril, large enough that the ENT wasn't sure cauterizing it would fix the problem. We tried it, though, and Nicky hasn't had a nose bleed for about four months. My instinct was that it would work. Fingers crossed for the future!

Nicky is very sincere in his prayers, and he always looks forward to Family Home Evening. On rare occasions when we aren't able to have FHE on Monday nights, he is devastated. Sometimes he prepares and teaches the lessons, and he is always up for being in charge of the game. He loves traditions and is always the one to remind us how we did things last year.

Oh, how I love my boy. I couldn't ask for a son more fit for our family.




Thursday, October 17, 2013

Things on a Thursday

Let me tell you something about Thursdays: I hate them. They are no good, dirty, rotten scoundrels of a day!

ID-100154265 

Here are a few things about today to support that statement:

I went to Dunkin' Donuts to get a gift card for my sister-in-law who shall remain nameless. I decided that since I had three kids with me, I would do the entire population a favor and use the drive-thru. I asked for two gift cards and did the whole "pull forward thing." There was one car in front of me. ONE CAR. And we've all been in this situation, so I don't need to go into details. Suffice it to say that there was some kind of hold up, and I sat there for a really long time. Then it was my turn at the window, and Girl Employee asked me something about egg whites, and I was all, "Huh? Gift card!" So Girl Employee got working on my gift card and time went on and on and on. I was in the van going, "Patience, Britt. Patience, Britt," while Daisy practiced her haunted house scream in the back seat (she wasn't throwing a tantrum, she was just screaming as she is wont to do).  Finally the manager came to the window and said, "Oh, hey. Our internet isn't working so no gift cards."

Britt: 0
Thursday: 1

Then I was off to Target to buy a few snacks for an outing I'm going on tomorrow. I just needed some Pringles and some sliced apples, but that couldn't happen without taking my kids to the bathroom twice.

Britt: 0
Thursday: 2

I should have just given up and gone home at that point, but instead I went to the gas station - one that I don't usually go to - and bought a car wash. Then when I drove around the building to use the car wash, I discovered that THERE WAS NO CAR WASH. I left the gas station and drove up the street, made a u-turn, and came back to circle the perimeter of the gas station one last time just to make sure I wasn't crazy.

There really was no car wash.

I pulled out my receipt and saw that there was an address for another location on it, so I drove to the other location and entered my code. The machine just stared back at me, unresponsive. Apparently I needed a six digit code, and I only had a four digit code. So, naturally, I started making up codes, and none of them worked.

Well-played, Thursday. Well-played.

Britt: 0
Thursday: 3

On Thursdays I make dinner for my neighbors (this makes no sense, right? Thursdays are awful, so I should make them dinner on a different night, shouldn't I?) Tonight's dinner involved cooking sliced tortillas for 15 minutes. I had to do two batches due to lack of oven space. Batch one came out great, and I used them to assemble my neighbor's casserole. Dish two...burned. Same temperature, same amount of time, and they BURNED! So I had no dinner.

Britt: 0
Thursday: 4

Upon having no dinner, I decided to splurge and buy dinner. Daisy was asleep, so I was kind of stranded, and I started considering delivery options. Contrary to the norm, I was not in the mood for pizza, so I started to order Jimmy John's online. Guess what! The Jimmy John's that is 1.2 miles away won't deliver to my house. Out of desperation, I checked the Burger King that is .6 miles from my house. They won't deliver to my house, either. So obviously the fast food industry hates me.

Britt: 0
Thursday: 5

I'll stop there because I'm sure this makes for some really boring reading. I'll leave out the part where Daisy woke up from her nap and screamed for an hour, and then we went to Cracker Barrel and created a syrup waterfall from our table to the chair to the floor. It's a boring story, really. Especially when I get to the part where we have to leave our table twice to go potty.

I'll also leave out the part where my husband called me from school and told me he needed to go back to work after class (that's when I pulled out a candy bar and put my kids in front of the TV for the night).

Nothing defeats me quite like a Thursday.

Britt: 0
Thursday: 1,314


Update: Immediately after I published this post, Daisy spilled water on my cook book. You couldn't just leave it be, could you, Thursday?

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Getting My Sisyphus On

Lately I've been letting life weigh me down. I feel like Sisyphus - destined to push a boulder up a mountain only to have it roll back to the bottom over and over again.

sisyphus

Here are some of the weighty boulders I've been pushing lately:

The accessibility and addictive nature of pornography. I don't want it in my life or the lives of my family members, and yet, it is being thrown at us left and right. Scotty got a new phone number recently, and within one day, he was receiving pornographic phone calls and text messages. You do not have to go looking for pornography - it finds you. The issue strikes home again and again. Just last week, a young man from our area was arrested for possession of child pornography. It broke my heart because he is practically a child, himself, and he has fallen prey to a horrendous addiction for which the resources for recovery are far too limited. I am greatly concerned with who else has this problem and how they are going to get real help. My concerns are amplified when I read things like this and this.

Controversy everywhere. Women and the priesthood, the government shut-down, vaccinations, gender, modesty, gay rights... and on and on and on. I can't even eat without accidentally putting myself in the middle of a battlefield. I enjoy a Pop Tart once or twice a year, and I feel like need to write a defensive essay explaining my dietary choices. Except that a defensive essay would result in a million critical comments and a few hundred published rebuttals when all I really want it to occasionally devour a hot toaster pastry in my jammies.

That person. The one who, no matter how hard I try or how much praying and repenting I do, I just can not be friends with.

This semester. Scotty is taking his heaviest load of classes ever while I'm trying to play a certain character: the wife and mother who has it all together and doesn't complain. I am trying to support Scotty and get him through this because I know that it's just as hard for him as it is for me. Meanwhile I am having a complete, private breakdown.

Being a stay-at-home mom. I made the choice, and I continue to stand by it - it is what is right for my family right now, but part of me aches to be somewhere else. Last week I was unexpectedly approached about a part-time job - a job that I had whispered to my husband a few weeks ago that I would apply for, "if" I were in a position to be working. I don't usually throw this out there because I don't want any critical backlash, but I am not a natural nurturer. I'm not a "kid person." I am a square peg, and motherhood is a round hole. So when there is something along the lines of a job offer dangling in my face, I go through a brief period of mourning when I walk away from it.

Depression. This is another thing I never talk about, and this is the paragraph of this post that I am most likely to delete later. There are approximately 2.5 people in my life with whom I've ever discussed my experiences with depression. It is there. That's all I will say.

I think most of us are feeling the weight of the world right now.

It's heavy.

And I have to admit, I don't always feel up to pushing the boulder up the mountain. Sometimes I just want to let it roll over the top of me.

I keep thinking of this saying:

36b770ea7f74a4c2e87d09b5458763dd

Sometimes "doing it anyway" is the only things that pulls me through.


Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Bye Bye Dragonfly

Last weekend Daisy had been playing in the backyard when she suddenly came running in the house in a frenzy. There was a dragonfly in the raspberry bush - a big, huge, scary one! I did that "Oh, hush, child!" thing that mothers sometimes do, but Daisy wouldn't relent. She needed me to come in the backyard to see the big, huge, scary dragonfly and save her life and stuff.

So I went out there, and to my surprise, there was a dragonfly on the raspberry bush, and it really was huge.

Dragonfly

It was almost 6" long. I'm pretty sure it flew here from the Amazon or something.

I ran in the house and got the camera, not expecting the dragonfly to be there when I got back, but it was.

Then a few hours later it was still there, completely unmoving.

And a few hours after that? Yep. Still there.

I thought maybe it was hibernating or had been cryogenically frozen or something. But my 30 seconds of extensive google research showed that adult dragonflies don't hibernate, so uhh... I guess I've found a new hobby of photographing dead things.


Thursday, October 10, 2013

Do tell: Personality Types

A conversation from last night:

Britt: I have a "Type A" personality.

Scotty: I have a "Type White" personality.

Britt: That's the wrong personality assessment. You have a "Type B" personality.

Scotty: Whatever you say. You're the boss!

Question
{via}

What type of personality do you have? A? B?

Type white?*

Have you ever wanted to punch a Type A in the face?

(I sure have).

Do tell!

*I score evenly between red, yellow, and white with almost no blue.