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Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Blogging

It's strange for me to say this, but I'm beginning to wonder if my blogging times are coming to an end. Why would I say this? Well, truth be told, I started writing my blog to remind me of the moments that make me laugh so that I could focus on the good times rather than the difficult ones. It's been an amazing blessing for me, as one of the unexpected side effects is that I LOOK for the good in my girls. None of this has changed. My life is good. My girls are amazing.

So, why do I feel like my blogging days are nearing an end? Because things are so easy now. My girls are at an age where they don't frustrate me very often. I don't have to look on the bright side because that's pretty much all I see. It's a good thing, really.

What's more? This is the bitter-sweet side of the story. I think my girls are past the funny stage of their childhoods. They are old enough that there are fewer and fewer of those moments where I just have to laugh because the words or actions they've done are not quite right.

Along with the silly things that young kids will say, I think the days of snuggling with my girls on my lap are numbered too.

Sigh. Growing up is so bitter-sweet.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Moments like these

My camera lens may be smudged but no matter how common moments like these may be, they never cease to make my heart sing.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Aunt Erin's present

Aunt Erin's gift to Addie was to get her ears pierced and oh what a gift!

Truth be told, Addie was nervous. She was scared. Aunt Erin came up with a great idea to move past Addie's fear.

ERIN: Tell me about the Elsa and Anna dolls you really want.
ADDIE: Well I want both dolls. The Elsa doll is blue and the Anna doll is her little sister....

While she was talking away about the dolls, her ear was pierced. However, just as quickly as her first ear was pierced, her hands were up covering her other ear in protection as if to say "Hell, no! You're not getting this one too." Aunt Erin tried the same approach and asked her to talk about dragons, but Addie would have nothing to do with it. We tried to not pressure her. For a moment I started to wonder if she would be going home with a single earring, but then suddenly, out of the blue...

ADDIE: OK... Dragons. I like the happy dragons better than the angry ones. My favorite dragons are...

I was so impressed with her ability to take a deep breath and dive into her fear.

And since then? Addie has loved her earrings and it feels like she's had them this entire time.

Thank you, Aunt Erin!

Thursday, October 09, 2014

Birthday Girl

I never thought I'd be the type of mommy who lingers on the past by saying "OH, my baby is such and such years old!" long after the baby has grown.

But look at her! She's gorgeous. Both inside and out. My baby? My baby is 5 years old.

Wednesday, October 08, 2014

Doing Something Right

I will never claim to be the best Mommy ever but I am proud of the Mommy that I am.  This week ended with a great example of just that.  Daddy has been away quite a bit in the last month, which often means it makes for a difficult time with the girls and I.  It's not that anything goes REALLY badly, but it's obvious that we get tired of each other long before Daddy comes home.

This time I had a particularly frustrating moment with Ellie.  She wasn't listening to me about doing something really stupid like putting on her shoes.  I asked her multiple times before I yelled at her.  Then she got mad because I yelled for something stupid like putting on her shoes.  Then I got mad.  Then she got more mad.  Then I got more mad.

There is never a good ending in arguments if each person is trying to win.

This time, though, Ellie pushed a particular button.  Maybe because I knew she was right.  And that can piss me off sometimes.

ELLIE:  Mommy, why are you so mad at me?  I didn't do anything!
MOMMY:  Sometimes I feel like in order for you to hear me, I have to yell at you.
ELLIE:  But I didn't do anything wrong!
MOMMY:  Actions have consequences.  When you don't listen to me when I ask nicely "Please put on your shoes" and you don't listen to me when I ask over and over again, then the consequence is Mommy yells.
ELLIE:  No, Mommy.  There is only ONE person who is responsible for the words that come out of YOUR mouth, and that person is YOU.  Don't blame me for the words that YOU chose to say.

Oh.  Ouch.

Like I said, no argument ends well when each person is trying to win.

The next day, after we had a bit of time to calm down, I tried another approach...

MOMMY:  Can we talk?
GIRLS:  OK.
MOMMY:  Sometimes I think that I could be a better Mommy.
GIRLS:  No, you're the best Mommy EVER.
MOMMY:  Please let me talk and don't interrupt.  Sometimes I think I don't handle things very well.  Sometimes I get frustrated and yell and later I wish I could have handled things differently.  On the other hand I think I'm a pretty good mommy because I know that when some mommies get upset, they hit, or spank or even say mean things to their kids like "Why are you so stupid?"  I know those mommies love their kids but sometimes they get so frustrated that they don't know what else to do.  I'm glad I'm not one of those mommies because I have never done any of those things to you.
GIRLS:  (dead silence...  sometimes a little bit of perspective takes a moment to soak in)
MOMMY:  But we have to come up with a solution because I don't want to become that frustrated.

Our conversation continued.  We took turns talking about our frustration and then took turns coming up with solutions.  In the end we gave each other action items.

Mommy's action items:
1. When I'm really tired and know that my patience level is low, I need to tell the girls "I'm tired and grumpy" to give them a heads-up.
2.  When I'm about to get really upset, hold up one finger in one hand and two in the other.  This indicates that the girls have two choices.  Option 1:  Continue down this path and Mommy will get REALLY mad and no one will have any fun.  Option 2:  Change your path and we can go back to having fun.

Apparently this idea came from Mr. G, Ellie's P.E. teacher.  I asked her what happens if she picks Option 1.   She said "Oh, we did that once and will NEVER do it again.  Do NOT pick Option 1!"  Haha.

Girls' action items:
1.  When they are doing something, try to ask themselves, "Will this upset Mommy?" and if the answer is yes, then decide "Do I still want to do this?"
2.  If Mommy asks them to do something, and they want to do something else first, then they need to say something like "OK, Mommy, I'll put on my shoes after I put this toy away."  This will give me a feeling of being heard and remove the need to repeat myself.

And since the conversation?  Things have been much better.  When I ask the girls to do something, they may not move any faster or slower than before, but at least I know they've heard me.  It's made a HUGE difference.

But how does a parent truly know they're making a difference?

A few days later we went to Ellie's parent/teacher conference.  She showed us her self-assessment.  She had colored in all 5 stars for "attitude" and all 5 stars for "quality of work" but then erased one star from the "quality of work" rating.  When we asked her why she did this, her response?

"Because I think that my work is really good and I try really hard to do a really good job.  Sometimes I think it's perfect, but then I think that no matter how much I learn or how good I do, I can always learn something else and I can always do better."

Yes.  I may not be a perfect mommy, but I must be doing something right.

Tuesday, October 07, 2014

For me?

I am blessed

Monday, October 06, 2014

Sharing a Room

I remember how much I loved to rearrange my room when I was younger. Whether it be changing the color of the room or simply moving my furniture and toys into different corners, it made me happy. However I don't think I EVER asked to share a room with my seestor.

You might be surprised to find out that when Addie and Ellie asked if they could share a room, I said yes. I know I am! What the heck was I thinking??? In my defense, we did talk about my concerns about them not getting along and asked for them to think of solutions of every possible fight I could think of that might result in them sharing a common space. They considered each of my concern and discussed how they would handle those difficult moments if they arise. And they will.

Alas, in the end, I agreed. I couldn't think of a good reason not to. After all, I told them that if it's not working after a month, we'll move things back to the way they were. It's just stuff it can be moved back again. Besides, it gave me a good excuse to do a thorough cleaning of their rooms (no more of these little piles of who-knows-what hanging out in corners).

And so, Addie's old room is now called the "Dance, Playroom, Music Room" and contains all of the girls' toys.

And Ellie's old room is now called the "Kids Room" and contains the beds and all of the girls' clothing.

You would not believe how excited they are. I'll give you a hint. Daddy is out of town and NEITHER girl asked if they could sleep with me last night. Trust me, that's saying something.

Here's to hoping Daddy isn't too upset when he returns...

Friday, September 26, 2014

Sunrise Magic

It has finally happened... the point in parenthood where I feel like I can wake the girls up earlier than normal and not suffer any consequences. This has been a moment I've been looking forward to for so long. I have a few memories of times when my mom would wake me in the middle of the night to simply go for a walk. It kind of breaks my heart now wondering the reasons behind her feeling like she needed a midnight walk in the first place, but the memories are treasures.

As my first gesture towards creating similar treasures for my daughters, I woke them early enough to join me in taking sunrise photos of the barn that is a couple blocks away from our home. We woke early, grabbed some hot cocoa and then sat waiting for the sun to make it's appearance.

The moment was perfect. May there be many more like it to come...

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Date with Ellie

For our date, Ellie and I went to the Denver Botanical Gardens to see the Chihuly glass exhibit, where Ellie had a blast showing me around (she had been there a couple weeks earlier with Nana and Grandpa) and photo bombing my attempts at getting pretty pictures.

There were lots of giggles and laughter, but I did manage to get a few great photos...







And in the end, Ellie chose her favorite place to take a photo of the two of us. She chose wisely.

Daddy and Ellie went to Boondocks Fun Center and then hurried home to watch the Bronco Game.

P.S. I am hoping to bring my family back to the gardens during the night when they have the glass sculptures lit up. Let's hope we can do it before the exhibit leaves!

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Date with Addie

My date with Addie led us to the land of butterflies, in hopes of befriending one of the winged creatures.

And oh did she! These gentle beauties absolutely LOVED Addie, and who could blame them? Addie seemed to hold magic powers to attract the butterflies. Well, OK... I'll let you in on a little secret. It's actually our magic butterfly hat. There is something about the black and white that draws the butterflies closer. It seemed that just as soon as one butterfly flew away, another one would replace the first, saying hi to Addie. The kids around Addie stared with sad eyes wishing that even just one butterfly would land on them like they would with Addie. And what happened next made my heart leap with joy, yet didn't surprise me in the least.

Addie noticed the sad yearning looks of the children around her and she started sharing her butterflies. "Here, you can have this one..." and gently handing the butterfly off to her new friend. Then she'd turn to the next hopeful child and give him one too. She was the keeper of the butterflies. No doubt it was a special moment.

Afterwards Addie informed me that when she grows up the thing she wants most is to become a butterfly veterinarian.

And for her date with Daddy to the Denver Museum of Nature and Science, she pushed her mental abilities even further and proved that she could relax and overpower his mental abilities without breaking a sweat.