Friday, March 27, 2009

My "Powerful" List

A couple of months ago I read a blog entry about things that made the author feel powerful and have been thinking since then about what makes me feel powerful. Aside from the personal obvious things like scripture study, prayer, etc. I have been thinking of things that make the little girl in me pump her fist and say "YES!":

1. Successful creative expression (music, birthday cakes, girls' hair,...) most often gauged by positive audience/customer response.

2. Driving anywhere without any red lights.

3. A sincere compliment about one of my kids.

4. Finishing any project.

5. Shaving with no nicks.

6. Cooking and serving a healthy family dinner everyone likes. (This one is very exciting because it is so rare!)

7. A good workout sweat.

8. Gladly opening the door wide and inviting "drop-in" guests into my home because it is so CLEAN and I have no doors that need to be closed. OK--maybe this is fantasy but I'm sure it would make me feel powerful!

9. Eating food from my garden. (Also rare due to my little baby seed of garden skills.)

10. Staying awake for an entire movie in my family room.

That's mostly it. My number 8 fantasy could be extended to include fresh warm bread to serve to the guests and my kids would all be there not fighting. I have no idea what they would be doing but I'm sure in my fantasy there would be no arguing, teasing, fighting, or contention of any kind. Probably they would be voluntarily weeding the garden outside or playing a quiet board game. Or maybe they would be cleaning out the refrigerator since they had already finished scouring the bathrooms and cleaning under their beds. I love fantasy--maybe I should write about more of those someday.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

What Do You Want to Be When You Grow Up?

Ev: "Get a degree and teach Music" She was very emphatic about the DEGREE part--I'm excited she feels so strongly about college!

Et: "A professional football player."

I: "A teacher. A horse rider."

N: "The Easter Bunny"

As a side note, today is N's birthday but we can't celebrate until Saturday. He's fine with that but he insists that he is NOT 5 yet--not until we have "dinosaur" cake on Saturday.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

I love talking to small children, particularly preschool age. I love their stories, their funny words, their unique view on life. I relish their communications. Talking with small children also makes me grieve because I feel a sense of loss--I've missed out on this part of N's life and I grieve the loss. While I find joy in visiting with other children, it is a painful reminder of where N would be if his development were different. At the same time I feel a joy and satisfaction in the communication we do have. N has taught me a different, more subtle approach to communication that I have learned to value. I love our snuggles, the looks into his eyes as I try to decipher his communication with me, his smiles, the great sense of joy that permeates his being and how it affects the people around him. I also feel a deep sadness that he cannot communicate this love and sense of life to everyone in his life--the communication is too subtle for many people. I feel sad when I sense that people can't sense the strong, intelligent spirit in N that I know because he lacks the communication skills. I am excited for his speech to improve. There are so many things about N that I want to understand better. I also realize and feel a little heartbroken at the realization that speech and communication will always be a little different for N than it will be with the rest of the world. I don't feel sad for N, but for the world who may not understand him. I fear sending him into a world that does not value his deep compassion, intelligence, and learning style. It frustrates me to see people misinterpret him because they only hear what comes out of his mouth and they cannot decipher it. I hate the hollow look I see in his eyes when he can't make himself understood without help. I hate when this makes him physically withdraw. I love his dear friends who make him feel included and don't acknowledge his obvious deficiencies. I love the reassurance of the power and influence of the immediate family on N's self confidence. N knows his family loves, values, and understands him and his talents even if others cannot. I love how all my children are sensitive and compassionate to other people around them because of this experience. I rejoice when people come to me as Sister Shelton did a couple of weeks ago and say things such as, "I've never got to spend time with N before...he is so fun and sweet and happy." The real truth is that as sad as I feel at times I would never change N. I want him to be able to communicate but I don't want him to change. If I found out that he would always be this way part of me would grieve but most of me would rejoice. N has taught me not only new communication skills and greater empathy and compassion but also an increased reliance on the Lord and a greater sense and appreciation for what is really important to me.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

My Martha Stewart Day

My very productive Martha Stewart Day included (in no particular order) 50 minutes of vigorous elliptical work, a shower (it is true that even after a good workout I don't always get a shower--gross, I know, but it's my reality), baking bread, cleaning out the fridge, teaching piano (even to Iy), starting & finishing a week's worth of laundry, reading, reading to N, listening to Ev, sending Et out to his piano lesson (yes this is a chore), participating in a Congressman's Town Hall phone meeting (I even made a comment. Of course.), reading aloud from Sea of Monsters to the kids, personal recreational reading, cooking dinner, volunteering at the school, and straightening the house--including making my bed.

This morning I am reminded why I don't have days like these more often. I went out to start the car and it wouldn't start. It turns out that when I was being productive, so were my kids. Apparently N's idea of a Martha Stewart Day is playing in the car. So many fun switches. Every light was left on. Maybe today I'll just take him to the park. As I'm writing this Iy has locked Et out of the house. After me yelling to unlock the door he entered laughing maniacally. Maybe I should stop blogging and see what's going on.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Fermata Fight

Yesterday afternoon I had finished teaching piano and needed to make a quick run to the store, so I cracked the whip and started the kids on their homework and practicing and then left. When I got back my brain played "What's wrong with this picture?" for a few seconds. You know what I mean--you see something and in 20 seconds your brain goes through a thought process like this:

Et is practicing. That's good. And he looks happy. Cool. And Ev's in the same room. Weird. Why? Et never likes anyone in the room when he practices. What's going on? Why is Et happy? He hates practicing. He hates someone in the room. Wait a minute--Ev looks mad. Like Candace on Phineas and Ferb. This is starting to make sense.

At this point I made a hasty exit because everyone still has all their body parts and no one is bleeding so I don't really want to know what's going on, right? Ev--the informer--follows me. Of course. She "informs" me that Et "held a fermata for 5 MINUTES! 5 MINUTES! You can't hold a fermata for 5 minutes!" At this point I can hear Et in the background giggling. He calls out, "You can hold a fermata for as long as you want! That's what a fermata is!" Obviously proud of himself. Later I found out that he played one song three times and held the fermata 5 minutes each time. Ingenious when you consider that he has to practice 20 minutes.

I'm starting to wonder if my kids really are normal because even I thought that this argument was a little strange. For those of you who don't know what a fermata is, it is a musical symbol denoting the lengthening of a note or rest. Some people call it a bird's eye. Nobody in their right mind holds them for 5 minutes. I hate to curb his creativity and musical expression but it appears I am going to have to make a family rule about fermatas. When I get done chuckling about this.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Sunday morning I was feeling really great and decided to make blueberry muffins for breakfast. From a mix, of course, but muffins are muffins. I even told the kids that they each only got two muffins instead of three because I wanted to have some and that would leave Vince and I two apiece as well. Of course Vince only had one muffin, but we knew that was going to happen after my breakfast confessions, right? You do the math and you'll know how many I had. Anyhow. It took a really long time for the oven to preheat, but I thought maybe I lost track of time or I was just confused because--and I know this is another topic for another day--Daylight Savings Time is killing me this year!! After the muffins had been in the oven for 20 minutes and looked pretty much the same I realized that my oven was not working. The bake element had broken so it only took almost an hour for the muffins to actually bake and they looked really funny because people kept opening the oven door. None of this prevented us from inhaling them.

Here's the funny part. All day Sunday and Monday and most of Tuesday I had tons of free time and every time I would have a couple of minutes I would say to myself, "I wish I could bake bread." Then my alter ego would reply, "Bake bread!? Did you really just say that? Because you have baked bread ONCE this entire year! Now that you can't bake you only want to bake?" Then a few hours later I would think, "what am I going to cook for dinner?" And all I could think of to make, all that I was hungry for, involved baking in the oven. Not broiling, not the indoor grill, not microwaving, or cooking on the stove. No. I was only hungry for baked casseroles. Because I generally only bake dinner twice a month. I generally consider myself a reasonable person, but I have to admit that this week I was a nut case about the oven.

Last night Vince fixed the oven element. The new element came quickly thanks to my father. Vince came home and installed it the very first thing. So today I am going to broil myself some chicken for dinner. Who bakes anymore anyway?

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Iy's All About Me

I was just cleaning up after piano and found an "All About Me" school assignment written by Iy. I had to post it because unlike the older two she is not embarrassed about cute stuff and I want to have a record of it!

All About Me!

Things about me: "I like wedding. I like plaing. I like macking my bed. I have one sistr and two boths. I like cackes."

Of course I have to comment. The wedding thing is obviously not a surprise! The "macking" the bed is a shocker to me, as I never see her do it although she is always volunteering to MAKE my bed. I think she thinks the pillows are fun. Maybe she meant macking instead of making. Hmmmmmmm. Maybe I should have a talk with her. :) I also like that she has "two boths". Of course I assume two brothers, but maybe she meant two bothers. Maybe her spelling is genius, like killing two birds with one stone.