Saturday, September 29, 2007

sunday dinners in fountain square

They are always so beautiful, with yummy friends and yummy food.
(A good photographer doesn't hurt either.)


Marshall was loving on Nigel yesterday morning.
He said that Nigel was the best brother ever.
I said, "What about Stewart?"
He said, "He's a little less enticing."
Then, "What does "enticing" mean?"
He had it! The appropriate word for his thought. Even still, he had to check.
It makes me wonder how much he's understanding... what he's really getting? We know that he picks up things quickly. You've heard, children are, "like a sponge".
That developing brain of his... it's peicing hundreds of puzzles together every day.
When he asks things that he already knows, time and again, it's not that he didn't hear it, or give those words and thoughts a "place" in his brain. It's that paths are being created in there.
So I want to remember to be patient with him.
At 5, he's developing!
Maps are being drawn, new lands explored, boundaries founded, and the universe is being unwrapped.
I want to remember that great things are happening.
I want to remember that beauty is all around.
I want to remember to breathe and take it in.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

cousins and boy-talk

Sarah tells me how Fiona saw Marshall this morning and wanted to play with him. Marshall said "Fiona!" with excitement, but had to go with his class. How sweet was he? Stewart too. They love their little cousin so much. And what is not to love about her?
Neither Fiona nor Stewart would go to the nursery, so they played in the mama's meeting. (MOPS, that is. I just don't like how "cutsie" the name is. Being involved with this group is so very "organized" of me, isn't it?) They had a nice time, and later both went to the nursery for a bit. It was perfect timing because as soon as Stewart went to the nursery, Nigel needed me.
So this lady, Lori Borgman, spoke about raising boys. She talked about the feminization of education during the last 30 years or so and how it has isolated boys. Also, she talked about boy's high energy level and how it is seen as "aggression" and has been forced out of them in schools and by parents who don't understand. She expressed that along with society's current push towards all things feminine, the desire, and therefore ability, for boys to become men who will stand up for what they think is right and/or protect those who can't protect themselves has also been crushed or supressed. (Maybe inadvertently?) I presume she was saying that by crushing boy's natural or instinctual ways (of learning, feeling and communicating), we put down his natural forcefulness and strength.
There is a movement, for sure, towards the later. Mike and I see it and dislike it because we know it doesn't fit our boys.
We also notice that little is done to understand boy's emotions. Mike and I want to teach our boys how to communicate their emotions (Here, we mean not just talking about it, but also expressing through physical activities [that are not damaging to themselves or others]). By demonstrating emotional communication, we hope that they'll know that their emotional stuff is important (to their own person, and to others).
We've talked many times about how generations before theirs have not done this well. There have even been instances where our boys have been reprimanded to "toughen-up" (as young as a year of age). Things have been said indicating that something is wrong with them if they are stressed by separation (or other). Even Mike and I admit we have not always been sensitive (like we may have to a daughter?). While we don't appreciate the whine-thing, we loathe the "shut-up and shut-down" thing that says, "Don't tell us what you feel. AND don't feel."
We want Marshall, Stewart and Nigel to learn not to be passive about the things they really care about (that there is a healthy and natural forcefulness in them) AND to be connected to their emotions.
So, it's good they have a little cousin and each other to learn to care for and protect.
Wow, what a thesis this has become... thanks for enduring through it.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

oh, to be a child!

Welcome to our mini-tent city!
The expressions an their faces are wild and unabashed.
Regan with her spoon and hip-flip,
Josie in a painted-faced pose,
Marshall quirkily curling his tongue,
Harper so serios about his expression,
Stewart copying older brother to his own beat,
Madison, so mischevious her look,
Braden proud, holding his smoking pipe, and
Nia, happy to be a sheltered patriot.
Thanks to you, friends, for producing this. Thanks to you, friends, for being our community... quirks and all! Who knew that hosting an oatmeal and grits dinner could be so fun?
"The more, the merrier."

Monday, September 24, 2007

masterpeice in a day (within 24 hrs)

Saturday was "Masterpeice in a Day" in Fountain Square. I participated, showing up at 9:30 am. I left proptly at 10 for Marshall's soccer game, returning by 11:30 and working a bit before my family came to visit me. Marshall had skinned his elbow on the walk over, and Nigel was hysterical, wanting to be fed. I saw them home and didn't return to my art until 1:30 or so.
My art piece did not get finished. Submitting it for the competition was out of the question. That was ok with me though. I felt good about meeting what needs my family had and still being able to have a place among other artists. Short periods of quiet creativity was just what I needed. It made me excited about my work again.
My art is still not complete. There are several "finishing touches" needed. According to my friends, it could still be considered a masterpeice in a day if I define the "a day" part as being 24 hours. I believe we should go with that!
Aren't they gracious?

Thursday, September 20, 2007

most days

When I write things, I am contemplative. While writing, I realize that I have so much to be thankful for and happy about, so that's what comes out.
In my real world, I do not walk around giving thanks and being happy all the time. My days are stressful and overfull. I'll be nursing the baby while cleaning up poop, or reading a story to one and disciplining the other, making dinner and begging for the whinning to end. My eyes, ears and hands feel like they are all going different directions to attend to different needs.
I'm glad that I have these three little ones in my life. I love them! I love my life.
AND most days feel shitty.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

nice shots

Loving these shots.
The sandwiched photograph was taken by my friend, Rachel, at Sunday Night's dinner. I am so glad that we can pretend to "capture the moment", savoring things that our minds quickly bury... and to have so many beautiful memories.
What's this? A picture with words.
Go on softly... [thanks brother for all mothers]

Cloudy Forecast
MSS © 2007 ARR

wherever she goes, she brings it
she is acclaimed as a hero
for a while
until everything is soaked through
permeated with what they wanted
they don’t want her anymore

when she shows up, they light up
she is adored and given a key
with a smile
until people want their colors back
wishing for clear blue skies
they send her on her way

and in the places in between
where she’s wanted desperately
and no longer tolerated
she cries
as predictably as her rain
she desires a drought of her soul

whatever the expectations are, she’s it
she’s the savior of so much
mile after mile
except she can’t save herself
but of course she keeps trying
going, selfishly, where she’s needed most

ashes, ashes

Why do Marshall and Stewart like playing in ashes so much?
Should I let them?
I hate making rules that don't make sense. After all, they are boys and will get messy. So messy that it looks like Stewart is getting in and rolling around (even though he doesn't).

And if I make the rule, won't it just attract them to do it more? What to do...

Sunday, September 16, 2007

turning 30

My younger brother just turned 30 on Saturday. I reflected on how turing 30 was a really good time for me but how turning 31 was hard- mostly because of the realization that 40 is the next "big one" mixed with the flabby arm thing that has just happened!
But, I'm glad to be where I'm at in life. And I'm thankful (especially now that the kids are asleep).
Mom made a spagetti dinner for Dave and I made a cake. The middle didn't bake and fell right out, so we had to fill it with ice cream. It was my donut cake and it was yummier with the flaws. Dave and Amy joined us later for a fire at our newly built fire pit that Mike and the kids dug up that day. We stayed up late, enjoying the warmth of the fire, beer and good conversation.
Besides that, I enjoyed hanging out with the "girls" from Redeemer at Renata Jackson's home. Shannon and I shared the most comfortable bed while enjoying that Nigel and Georgia K. had their own beds too. Swimming in the heated outdoor pool on Friday night was super fun.
Friends, Kyle and Cindy's enchilada dinner was amazing and complete with Sangria and many good friends.

Friday, September 14, 2007

zoo school

Stewart thought he was making a funny face when the kids posed at the zoo today.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

my garden is my haven

My garden is my haven... especially now that the beds have been weeded and the overgrowth wacked. Not having to do this work and all the beatiful "finishing" touches with my own hands has made it a paradise. My trusty brother Dave has rescued our yard from being reported to the city for "overgrowth", and he has mowed, finished the patio, and completed two large garden beds.
Yesterday we enjoyed several hours outdoors and this morning the kids and I read books and did "school" projects outside for two hours. How beautiful and relaxing it was.
Thanks Dave.
(Marshall took this video)

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

"the b-u-n-n-y is g-o-n-e"

This was exactly the words I said this morning on a message to Mike. Right before heading out the door, I noticed that our Bumper bunny wasn't in her cage. I thought, "oh yeah, Mike must have left her out on her leash." But when I checked she was gone, the stake was on the ground and there was no sign of her or her leash.
So, how was I supposed to handle telling Marshall the news? I waited until he discovered her missing on his own. Then we looked in the alley, the neighbors yard and anywhere we could think. Uncle Dave helped us look. But the bunny was gone, without a trace. And the tears and moans I heard for the following hour and then again before bed were dreadfully painful. As if Marshall's heart was tearing out. He loved that bunny so much!
Mike feels so bad about it. Stewart says, "where's the bunny?" and "awwwww!". My heart aches for Marshall, who feels such pain right now.
He wants to get a new bunny right away. I think though that we'll let him recover and not jump too fast to "fix it". We'll look around for a local farmer or Future Farmer of America who has bunnies for sale.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Lego Man

Marshall and I played Lego Man yesterday. I made a video of him and he made one of me. How fun to enjoy his presence and his childhood.

Monday, September 10, 2007

shots and fishermen

It was back to school this morning! Marshall is collecting "B's" today. If he sees a "B" he has to get pocket notebook out and has to write it like he learned it during his morning work time. This gives him a "break" by not making him do frustrating repetative work but gives him the chance to practice it througout the day. He gets a teeny tiny candy (a pariel) for each letter he "collects".
He did "Domino Math" this afternoon, writing the number on each side of the domino and then adding them together. He LOVED it. He also loved counting on his "new" used abacus.
So, our scheduled Nature Walk was shortened to a Nature Picnic because Nigel had a doctor's appointment. He got three shots. Poor fella! After his appointment, we went to Eagle Creek Reservoir's boat ramp and ate our picnic lunch on the dock. We watched two fishermen putting their boats in the water and a group of ducks. Afterwards, Marshall and Stewart enjoyed throwing rocks in the water along the shore.

morning yoga

We did yoga together as a family last week. It will be our way to initiate the day together. A way to get a positive start to the day.
And so far, it had been fun and we hadn't had a problem with the kids staying with us for those 30 minutes. And then today... Marshall and Stewart were disgruntal. Marshall saying it was to hard and Stewart running around. There will be days like this, I guess and we are okay with that.

Friday, September 7, 2007

bye-bye Pa Tom

My dad is off to Mozambique, so we stopped by to wish him off with hugs, kisses and just the right amount of grandson time before his long journey. He didn't have to leave until 5pm so he was pretty relaxed at 9am (he usually gets a bit "distant" right before long journeys- it's travel stress). He'll be back on his birthday, the 17th, so it's an abnormally short trip.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

"Marshall, what did you do today?"

"Marshall, what did you do today?" ... "I can't remember."
Three days of school "on the go" and each day we have had similar responses. But because we're with him, we know what he's doing, how he's acting, and how much he is actually absorbing (or not).
He blogged tonight after a day of counting with keys, a hour long razor/stroller ride downtown and back to see the NFL Kickoff party set-up, hanging with Katherine (our school assistant who is a senior in H.S. and ultra capable), a field trip with me to the library for one-on-one reading time followed by a trip to the "pimp-my-ride" style car body shop on East street that had way too many awesome cars to look at, and then a field trip with Mike to the Indiana State Museum to watch an IMAX and see an exhibit about the moon for his science "lesson". Do you know that none of these fun things were mentioned in his blog? None.
So if he can't remember, I will.
I had a blast today exploring our world together.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

two-hands for dinner

Yoriko is staying with us for several months on a school homestay program. She is from Japan and is here studying English and Business. She is extremely polite and kind, often offering to hold Nigel or talking with the kids!
Here, Nigel succumbs to sleep while I cook. What a breeze... to prepare dinner with two hands .

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

peace in nature, peace at school

First day of school... it was better than I expected. Really, it was quite peaceful.
I always thought a tight schedule wasn't peaceful, but maybe it was the key to peace.
My day went like this:
6-7 morning walk
7-7:30 Yoga with kids (we had to wake them)
7:30-8 Get dressed and eat breakfast
8-8:30 Marshall has Desk Work, Stewart and I got Nigel dressed and laundry started while remaining available for Marshall's questions. Marshall thrived in this. It's like he needed something of his own to work on by himself.
8:30-9 We clean Bumper's cage and Marshall does the trash pickup
9:15 We leave for our Nature Walk (to be done every Monday morning). This week we went to the Indianapolis Museum of Art's Nature Park. We explored, played, did pencil drawings and just hung out together.
11:30 Go home
12:00 Lunch
1:00 Stewart and Nigel go down for their naps after reading
1:40 Marshall and I go to visit Mueller's Car shop where Curt Mueller shows us all the vintage cars that he's working on. It was super! I admit, I'm getting into cars now.
2:15 Hair cut at Alchemy, Marshall accompanies me and "reads" quietly! ??? !!!
3:00 Marshall and I go to the central library to look for Car books
4:00 Home to feed baby and make dinner
6:00 Go to Nana Karyl's and Pa Gary's for Nana's birthday dinner
8:00 Get kids to bed
8:30-11:30 Dishes, Laundry, Work and Write

A day that was pretty peaceful. It makes me wonder, "how come I've been fighting schedules for so long?".
It actually went well. Was it the good start? the planning ahead? time in nature? I don't quite know. I'll give it time before I decide for sure what I think.

Monday, September 3, 2007

biking to Muldoon's

Today we went to Broad Ripple, got bagels at Broad Ripple Bagel Company and then biked north. We'd heard that 116th Street had some good shops and restaurant area to check out. It turned out being at aroudn 131st Street.
My brother, David and his girlfriend, Amy met us up there and we enjoyed a patio table at Muldoon's. While the food was not anything to talk about, it was a nice place to sit, eat, drink and chat while the kids played closeby without pissing anyone off.
On the way home we stopped at the Broad Ripple Art Center Nature area. It was partially wooded , and had small flower garden areas, lookout decks over the creek and large art installations at every angle. We ended stone walking out into the middle of a wide creek. Marshall LOVED it! Besides hanging with Dave and Amy, it was the best part of our day. We vowed to go back soon.

better mom when not alone

We did so many fun things this weekend. Horray! And although I am tired, I am refreshed by having had some good family time. This has left me thinking about a book title I read recently. "I was a better mom before I had kids". I really wanted to read it, the title was so great.
But I have a new book title, or blog title... "I am a better mom when I'm not alone". This weekend really showed me that. I had a great time hanging out with my children and husband. It just means so much to not have the pressures of all three on only me.
We went to the National Drag Race championships at O'Reilly Raceway. It was pretty cool although very loud. So loud you could feel the sound vibrating through your body. I was perpetually nervous about Nigel's ears, even though I we used earplugs. I covered his ears every time the cars zoomed by. This whole experience was heaven for Marshall and Stewart and it was super exciting to watch them get into it. I would have never guessed that I would go to one of these things.

Saturday, September 1, 2007

let me be honest

Yesterday was a bad day. I want to be honest about who I was… I was a super impatient, overly emotional and angry mother yesterday. And since I’m being honest, it wasn’t just yesterday, although yesterday was the worst.
I called Mike at work in tears.
I lost patience with Marshall and I yelled at him. He was wanting to get his shoes on and had looked around downstairs but refused to go upstairs because he said he didn’t want to be alone. We kept talking about it and I kept saying, “You’ll just be up there for a minute”, and, “You’ll just be alone for a minute.” He was not thinking rationally. He was emotional and needy and I was making dinner and wouldn’t consider being gracious about it. Then, he started crying and I told him to go in the other room if he was going to cry about it. He got angry at me and said that I was stupid. I got angry with him and I yelled at him. And I was not kind… at all.
So then while he was sitting in time-out I had to go say sorry to him. And I cried. I don’t want to yell at anyone. Why did I loose it? Poor kid, how can he process my erratic behavior? I cannot even make it make sense.
Up till that point in the day, everything was fine. But after that, I simply couldn’t get a hold on my emotions and I just felt like the biggest failure. I guess it helped to get out of the house for Josie’s birthday party at the park. But I couldn’t really talk to anybody about it because I was too busy keeping Stewart from running-off (which he did three times and thought it was hilarious) and attending to some thorns that got stuck in Marshall’s foot.
When we arrived home, Mike took over the kids and I had some therapy in preparing dinner alone (without 20million questions or having to get anyone juice or administering time-outs for bad behavior). I even got to cry a bit (AGAIN) when I chopped the onions! I got to think about what was going on with me. And I determined that there is a lot going on with me. Mostly that I am stressed.
I am stressed about all the things that need my attention (work, house, laundry, home-stay student, bills, etc), and about all the unknowns in home schooling Marshall that starts next week. I don’t want to fail. I hear so many people questioning me about it and in that I hear that they doubt that I can or that I should do it. My head knows that it’s not that big of a deal (it’s only one year, only kindergarten, etc.).
On the other hand, my emotions are on a rollercoaster ride. I’m up so many times every day. I am ecstatic about my art (the ideas and plans of it fill my head night and day) and I am so in love with my Nigel (who can do no wrong and is so beautiful and I have moments of amazement with Marshall and Stewart (when they are not fighting or demanding too much that I can bare). And all those highs mixed with all the lows make me feel out of control. AND, on top of that, I’m still not getting a full night sleep!
From my world… being honest about where I am now, and longing to say that everything is fine.