Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Our Christmas Tree

The girls and I each got an ornament yesterday. When we got home, Veronica said, "I need to put my ornament on the tree!" Unfortunately, we didn't have a tree yet (and I told her this). She said, "Well, we need to get a tree!" I informed her that we needed to wait until daddy came home. She then asked when daddy would be home...(in my head I'm thinking, "umm, well, we haven't eaten lunch and then you need to have a rest time. Then, daddy will get home as he does everyday). So, of course we needed to get a tree that night, even if it wasn't the most ideal time of day, because an almost four year old needed to put her new beautiful, sparkly gold butterfly ornament on the tree. I think Cadence enjoyed her ornament too--or I think they enjoyed ALL the ornaments, not just the ones they received that day.

Here is the "cheese" you can see

A First Day

One thing I love about being a mother is how well I know my girls. I know what is going to upset them, or how certain tones or words either bring comfort or ruffle their feathers. At the end of the day, I feel a sense of accomplishment. But then there are those moments when your brain comes to a screeching halt, and you wonder who's child this is...and when did they become so BIG?

Yesterday was Veronica's first day of preschool. It was a bit surreal. I knew it was coming and I was getting excited for her. We met at the school Monday to finalize her IEP, which is her educational plan of goals to achieve within the next year. After we finished up, we enjoyed our last day before school. I asked her if she was looking forward to school--she was. I occasionally talked about riding the bus (since her school is part of the public schools, they must offer transportation for the kids). The plan was mama would take her to school for the first couple days until she built up enough confidence to ride the bus.

She said she was interested in riding the bus, but I know that she says things like that and it's more of the "idea" of doing something; rather, than actually doing it. So I'm thinking in my head, "I will drop her off and Ben will pick her up." Here's our conversation:

Me: Veronica, so daddy is going to pick you up from school in the green car. And I'm going to drop you off. Then, maybe you can ride the bus tomorrow or the next see how you feel about it (insert: how I'm confident in my knowledge of what my child is thinking).

Veronica: I want to ride the bus! I don't want daddy to get me.

Me (a bit baffled): You DO? You want to ride the bus home? You DON'T want daddy to pick you up? Is that right?

Veronica: Yeah! I want to ride the bus.
~insert: I kept repeating and asking to make sure she knew what she was asking...she did~

Me: Okay, well. I'll take you to school and you can ride the bus home. You want me to take you right?
Veronica: I want to ride the bus to school, too.

Me: Are you sure you want to ride the bus?

Veronica: Yes!

Me: Veronica, if you ride the bus, Mama is NOT going to ride the bus with you. I would take you to the bus, you would get on the bus and I would stay on the sidewalk and wave to you 'goodbye!' Is that what you want?

Veronica: Yes!
~insert: I kept asking her to make sure she knew what she was requesting---she did~

Me: Well, would you like to ride the bus and I will drive the van behind the bus to the school?
Veronica: Yeah!

It was in that moment (and when she arrived home on the bus) that I realized that this little person still has some surprises up her sleeve. She was confident, brave, and exhibited such grace in approaching her first day. Me on the other hand...a complete, dramatic wreck. After I put her on the bus and went back to the van, I cried (Cadence was crying too, but only because she wanted to ride the bus too).

Cadence and I arrived at the school waiting for her bus. When she got there she had managed to empty the contents of her backpack, but all with a smile on her face. She was excited to have her own backpack, snack (of cheese & raisins), a special book & Strawberry Shortcake figurines for the ride and an extra change of clothes. She went into the school and it was time for me to leave. I cried a bit more (and a little bit more after that).

School is for 2 1/2 hours four days a week, which is a long time in my mind. But with the bus ride, well, it's even longer. Yesterday from the time she got on the bus to the time she got home it was a total of four hours. She was the first one to be picked up and the last one to be dropped off. I was standing on the corner in the dark waiting for the bus to turn the corner. I was told she would be dropped off between 4:00-4:30, but it wasn't until 4:45. Ben and I don't like how late it is and we're thinking we will have her ride only two days a week.

She told me her favorite part of the day was snack time and playing ball outside. As for anything else that happened...I have no clue. She told Ben last night that she wanted Cadence to ride the bus with her today and go to school with her. I'm guessing that in a couple days the novelty of going to school might wear off, but she has surprised me in the past. As I sat there crying after seeing her go into the school I thought, "Oh Lord, this is just one of many moments when I'm going to cry about situations in my girls lives." I don't think I ever prayed so fervently than yesterday--I think Jesus is going to be hearing from me a lot more....and Cadence of course said with a sad voice, "I want to go to school!" Good grief!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

On Being Beautiful & a Sports Fan

A little Bit on Storytelling Scrapping

Each day passes and I tell myself, "I need to write that down, so I don't forget this moment." Donald Davis, an professional storyteller, says that storytelling is like quilting. A quilter goes through life collecting scraps of fabric, which will one day be a masterpiece telling a story. A storyteller goes through life collecting "story" scraps, which will one day be a masterpiece story.

I see our life and like to tuck those scraps away. Sometimes they can be woven into a bigger story, and sometimes not. Still, it's important to be a scrap collector. You may find that one day, many years from now, that those story scraps are much more than scraps, but a building block for a story that will be your very best one. Here are what I view as scraps right now and I want to tuck them away, in order to hopefully pull them out later on.

On Beautiful

Veronica said that she wanted to wear her purple dress with pink dots on it. She said it was beautiful. She wore it throughout the day and I mentioned nonchalantly how beautiful she is in the dress. After dinner, the dress had taken its beating and it was time to retire it to the laundry basket. Except, Veronica said, "No Mama! It's my beautiful dress! I'm so beautiful in it!"

I told her, "Veronica, you're right, the dress is beautiful and you're very beautiful in it. But, sweetie, you would still be beautiful even without the dress. You would be beautiful in pants & a shirt. You would be beautiful in your pajamas. And you would even be beautiful in your swimsuit, because YOU are beautiful!"

This morning she said to me, "Mama, I'm even beautiful in my nightgown!" To which I replied yes, "And you know what makes you beautiful Veronica? It's your loving & kind heart. There are many people who have beautiful faces, but their hearts are ugly & yucky. Veronica you are both beautiful on the inside and outside."

On Sports

Ben is a sports guy. This football season he has been meeting up with friends to enjoy the game with some beer (although he hasn't been able to enjoy it during our Paleo challenge). He is one of those people who enjoys fantasy sports, a true stats guy. We get Sports Illustrated delivered each week. Now, being a father of two girls, it's far too easy to get overwhelmed with A LOT of female/feminine stuff. One thing I appreciate so much is him taking Veronica to her first triple A baseball game this summer. Ben is sharing his interest & love with his daughter. And fortunately, she LOVED it.

Daddy & Veronica went to the game in July, enjoyed a hot dog, watched the game a bit, & brought home some cracker jacks. The one scary part was the team's mascot, a big Chicken, to which daddy still tells stories about the chicken and Veronica overcoming her fear (i.e. Veronica told the chicken to go back to its closetless, chicken bedroom---which was really a little shed, but she thought it was his bedroom).

Since that day, Veronica has immersed herself into watching baseball (and now football) with daddy. During baseball season, she would grab her fake hot dog, squishy baseball and sit on the couch to watch the game. She has added in a baseball card to the mix. She asks daddy, "Daddy, what's this team called?" So if you were to come over today and ask her some Q&A about the recent games she's watched, this is what she would say:

Q: Veronica, what was the last baseball game you watched with daddy?
A: The Giants & the Rangers
Q: Veronica, what was the last basketball game you watched with daddy?
A: The Magic & the Heat.
Q: Veronica, what was the last football game you watched with daddy?
A: The Seahawks & the Cardinals
Q: What was the football game before that one?
A: The Dolphins & the Ravens

One day upon entering the bathroom, she didn't have her regular Strawberry Shortcake book in tow; rather, she was carrying daddy's Sports Illustrated magazine. She later quizzed daddy about a list of football players and their names, along with team. The next day with her hand covering the last name of the player, she asked, "Daddy, who's this?" Ben saw the first name and the first two letters (Wa) of the last name & replied, "Oh, it must be Cameron Wallace."
Veronica with authority replied, "NOOOO! It's Cameron Wake!" Ben moved her hand and she was right.

The following Sunday she was watching the Dolphins & the Ravens, and asked daddy, "Who's this?" Ben answered, "It's the Dolphins & the Ravens." Veronica asked, "Is Cameron Wake playing?," because he plays for the Dolphins.

Last night as they were watching Monday night football, Veronica asked daddy, "Daddy, where's MY football (much like her baseball during baseball games)? I don't have one (giggled)! I'm going to get one for Christmas," she says with certainty.

All of this shows that a little girl can be frilly, floofy & girly, while still enjoying the game and tallying up the stats with her daddy! I wouldn't have it any other way.

Monday, November 15, 2010

November is Birthday Month

  On Saturday morning I picked up two pink balloons & a mini doughnut with pink frosting for a birthday surprise.  Her reaction was fantastic.  She got some My Little Pony items and fun light up shoes, which I think are a contender with her Big Black Boots (see pic below). 

Our family on both sides has numerous birthdays this month.  Not only do we have many birthdays in the immediate and extended family this month, Tay's birthday kicks off the first of 10 birthdays (within the immediate family) we will celebrate under two months.  We did have a wonderful, simple birthday celebration for our Tayers on Saturday.  I'm still a bit taken back that she is two years already, because it definitely doesn't feel that long since giving her birth (labor yes, birth no).  

 My sweet Cadence,

Who knew that while I was singing at worship practice and the bass & drums would start thumping, you started moving & kicking even more...that it was a foreshadow of your name matching so well with what we know now.  You keep rhythm, not only to the music, but it's in your walk, your laugh, your cadence.  When I was in labor, waiting & waiting (42 hours or so) for you to arrive, I now see that it was part of who you are.  You have a persistent spirit about you.  Your ability to stand your ground with authority, even at age two, is a gift.  Your infectious laughter & spirit light up our home. 

I love how you are a mixture of me & daddy with that persistent & direct spirit, while being able to go with the flow & be playful.  You know what you want in life and I want you to go for it.  I pray that you would yield your will to God's, in order to love more boldly, justly & freely.  I know you have the greatest of potential to lead and stomp on the feet of injustice.  Your adventurous spirit is admirable.  I have a sense that the word "no" will only drive you to show everyone that "it CAN be done!"  And that is where I pray the Spirit of God breathes his truth & love into you and you fly with it. 

I joke that I say to you, "Charm is deceitful, beauty is passing, but a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised," but it's true.  You are so smart & perceptive.  Such a strength and I'm excited to see how God will use it.  Cadence Evangelina, you give some of the best snuggles.  Your ability to make me laugh and how you run to the corner of your crib as a game, in order to "make" mama "try" to kiss you.  You adore your sister and love being with her.  She's your favorite person and I pray that you two have the best of friendship ever.  Well little monkey--you are a priceless gem who dances to the beat of her own drum, but I wouldn't have it any other way.  I look forward to this next year and I treasure this last one!
Love you sweet girl--Mama

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Almost Two Years Ago

I'm still in shock that Tayers will be turning two shortly. Whether I like it or not, it will happen, so I guess I'll learn to accept it and move on. In the meantime, I do know a thing or two about this little monkey (which I'll share in a couple days), but here's one to keep you coming back.

Whenever we are in the van arriving home, we stop at the mailbox. I push the window button, turn off the car, and insert key. Cadence then says, "I need mail. I need mail, Mama!" Today was her lucky day, because she did get "actual" mail (you know, aside from the political campaign ads). Grandma & Grandpa sent her a card in the mail. It was in a blue envelope and if I know Grandma, she must have found a special My Little Pony card. What do you think?
She also got some My Little Pony stickers, which obviously belong on the card.

And in case you want to hear what the card says...

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Catch Phrases

You know when you're walking through the clouds of seriousness, and you think, man when was the last time I laughed? Well, part of our family's mission statement says, "makes laughter a focal point of our time together." I feel like I forget that sometimes when my melancholy consternation abounds. So in keeping with laughter as a focal point, I thought how I don't ever want to forget these little moments in time (and hopefully pass some laughter on to you).

1. On Thursday night I had an appointment, so I gave Ben some instructions to cook fish for dinner. Now, our little Veronica loves listening to stories. If you've been around me (or this blog) for very long, you know I'm talking about the time old tradition of oral storytelling, not the kind found in books with fancy pictures. One story I've been retelling (and retelling) is when Cadence turns into a little fish, but finds her life as a fish isn't as good as her life as a little girl in our home. In the story, mama (played by yours truly) scoops up the once little Cadence girl, now little fishy Cadence, into a glass bowl with water.

Fast forward, Veronica is eating her dinner, then pauses & thinks. She turns to daddy and asks, "Daddy, what's this called? (pointing to the fish)" Daddy replies, "It's fish." Veronica proceeds to pick up her fish and put into her glass of water. She begins talking to her fishy, saying things like, "AWWW, little fishy, sweet fishy." Daddy turns to see what he thinks is Veronica simply playing with her food. He tells her, "Veronica, stop playing with your food. You need to take the food out of the water."

Veronica aghast replies, "But it's my fishy! The fishy needs to be in water!" A brief pause & thoughtfulness, then Veronica cocks her head and sweetly asks, "Can I keep my fish?" Ben tells her no.

When I get home, Ben told me about the night's fishy incident, while I'm hysterically laughing. "Ben," I say, "you know why she asked to keep the fish, don't you?" Ben replies, "No." "Remember the Cadence fishy story?," I answer. Ben ensues with laughter.

Stay tuned for episode two in one or two days.