Thursday, February 26, 2009

Top priority

I read an article today in which several psychologists were asked what they believe to be the single most important parenting role. Two of the psychologists basically answered with just "being" with your child.

Of course, other important roles were mentioned (or implied) by everyone...providing boundaries, showing unconditional love, and knowing what makes your individual child tick. But just "being there" is something that really stood out to me.

I've always believed in the importance of being there for Myles. With that said, I think if you're going to "be there," you have to be in the right mindset. This is a huge reason I returned to work. Being there 24/7 was mentally and physically demanding enough that I wasn't the person I really wanted to be with him much of the time.

So I it better to spend 80 hours per week with him, 25 of which are probably great, 30 of which are so-so and 25 of which are difficult due to my attitude, exhaustion or feeling like I'm neglecting my own needs? Or is it better to spend 40 hours with him, over a much more spread out time period, with 30 of those hours great, 5 so-so, and another 5 not so good? It's obvious what we decided was best for our family.

I really don't look back. Aside from having some of the typical working mom guilt that society often places on us, I know this is best for Myles, me and Billy. I am so excited to spend time with Myles most nights. We plan really fun things every weekend. We make the most of our time together.

But I digress...I've already talked about this in previous blogs. The topic at hand is "being there." How exactly is one to "be there"?

For me...tonight, at least, I made sure to spend plenty of time focusing on nothing but him. Listening to him. Really hanging on some of his words. Making him feel important.

We didn't do anything overly special. We spent a little time coloring, we read a couple of books, we took a bath together and recited some favorite lines from songs.

But it was really nice. We connected through laughter, eye contact, and being the center of each other's world...just for those precious moments. I hope I was successful in "being there" for Myles tonight.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Photo tag

Mel at The Bubble tagged me to play this fun here goes!

1. Go to your Picture Folder on your computer or wherever you store your pictures.
2. Go to the 6th Folder and then pick the 6th Picture.
3. Post it on your blog and tell the story that goes with the picture.
4. Tag 5 other glorious peoples to do the same thing and leave a comment on their blog telling them about it.

Well, I only have 5 picture folders on this computer so I'm choosing the 6th photo in the 5th and last folder.

This is a photo of my family...taken New Year's Day at Gaylord Palms' ICE exhibit. Obviously, we are sitting on a giant ice Santa's "lap." This was a really fun time...Myles LOVED the exhibit and went down the kiddie ice slide about 10 times before we all thought our hands were going to fall off from the cold. (It is 9 degrees inside ICE; very cold for Floridians!)

I don't think I have 6 people to tag, as I see that Jennifer has already done this tag. Here are a few though:

Pam at PTO Mom
Debby at L&J Updates
Katy at Another Mommie Blog
Jaime at Toodlepoop
Renay at Working Moms Make It Work

Thanks Mel...this was fun! (and I'm glad I got a descent picture and not something embarrassing!)

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Is it...or isn't it?

Myles has been going through this phase of saying the direct opposite of what he means. We'll be driving along and he'll blurt out, "That's not a BMW." Directly in front of us sits a BMW and he's staring at it.

A VW will pull up next to us. He'll turn to it and nonchalantly say, "That's not a Volkswagen."

It's driving me nuts! First, I would respond by saying, "Yes it is, Myles. You know what that car is."

Now, I've resorted to saying something crazy in response. So when he says, "That's not a big truck," I will respond with, "No, it's a jet!" He waits a few seconds, then responds with, "That's not a jet! It's a big truck!" Well...why didn't you just say so?

He doesn't just do it with cars either. I'll ask him if he had fun at Chick Fil-A (where we were for Musical Suppertime last night). He'll respond with a great big "No." My answer: "OK, we won't go back then." And of course, he freaks out saying he wants to go back...soon! When I confront him about saying just 10 seconds ago that he didn't have fun, he corrects himself and says "I had fun, mommy."

What he heck is going on? Can anyone relate or provide advice?

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Myles's first wedding

My brother wed his longtime girlfriend on Valentine's Day. It was Myles's first wedding and fortunately, it was a casual one! The wedding took place at my parents' house in Ocala and only family and a few of the couple's very close friends were in attendance. There was no real agenda for the wedding, other than them saying their "I do" vows.

Myles was his usual, entertaining self. The highlight of his day was definitely eating a piece of wedding cake. I'm thrilled to have a new sister and thankful that we were able to share in this special day. Below are a couple of photos from the day.

Myles...doing what he does...leading up to the wedding

My family and the new bride and groom

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Thinking about the day of love

My husband and I have never been big on Valentine's Day. Being a very frugal twosome, we've always viewed it as a reason to unnecessarily spend money and wait way too long for a dinner out that we could have enjoyed even more a day before with no crowds.

We also don't believe people should need a certain day of the year just to show each other they're still in love. Rather, it should be a nice text message, a box of chocolates in June, or just an unexpected embrace accompanied by an I love you. We've always tried to integrate little things like that into our 10-year marriage and we feel it's helped us make it to where we are.

Now, with that said, Valentine's Day takes on a whole new meaning for me when it comes to Myles. While I love to spontaneously surprise Myles with candy, a new Matchbox car, or a night out for ice cream, I do want to recognize him on Valentine's Day. After all, the daycare has already been promoting the day and has already sent home a list of kids in the class, just in case we want to give out valentines. It sounds fun enough...I'll let him pick out the cards for his friends and we'll spend time together putting a chocolate heart in each envelope.

But back to mommy and son. The question should I celebrate with my special little love? My first thought is to simply buy him a chocolate heart and wish him a happy valentine's day. But I wonder if anyone has any better, more creative ideas. Do you treat your kid(s) on Valentine's Day? If so, what do you do for them?

Monday, February 9, 2009

Weekend overview...the good, the bad.

Monday has once again arrived and I'm taking an early lunch break to do some blogging. I often wish I could only work 4 days each week...but for now, I need to be glad I have a job! I could sure use it though after a pretty busy weekend.

We were on the go Saturday! We started with an outdoor photo shoot, which I won the bidding for at the daycare's Christmas silent auction. The photographer was great...his assistant was awesome! She too is a mom of a little boy and knew exactly how to get Myles to act his best. We were out of there in about 25 minutes with NO meltdowns or incidents! Myles was fabulous!

From there, we took advantage of free tickets I'd acquired to the Orlando Science Center through the local ArtsFest, which is happening through Feb. 15. We were given complete access to the place, including IMAX tickets. We spent 4 hours at OSC, including seeing an IMAX about sea monsters. I was ready to drop of exaustion, but it was worth every minute.

We all took a LONG nap (until 6:15!!!) and spent the evening watching Peter Pan, playing with cars and just being a family. With the late nap, Myles was up until almost 11:30 p.m. Ouch!

Sunday morning began with church, where I volunteer every other week teaching 4-year olds. Myles loves his class, The Butterflies and today was very special. You see, I teach the same lesson to my class that he hears in his class. I, therefore, know what to talk to him about to stimulate his memory of the lesson. On our ride home, I asked Myles if he learned about Saul. "Yes," he replied. "Saul was mean...he was mean to Jesus!" I was so proud...the lessons are starting to sink in.

We did our weekly grocery shopping and Myles was amazing. I let him pick out a new car in Super Wal Mart. He wanted a Chrysler 300 with huge rims...hmmmm. Not exactly me or daddy's favorite, but he is his own boy!

We then went to a fun church picnic that they have each year for the volunteers. It was at our favorite park (the site of next month's birthday party) and included about 2 hours of all out play time! The day was perfect...about 75 degrees after a week of very cold temps.

To end the weekend, Mommy decided to go out for the week's "long run." Well, if you are guessing right now that I finally ran 6.2 miles (a 10k...and my goal for 2009), you would be RIGHT! I ran it in one hour, 7 minutes and am paying dearly today with two legs that feel like jello. Ah, the price we pay to stay in shape. I wondered afterward if I was out of my mind.

Have a great week, everyone!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

We can do anything!

I am on a new kick these days. After seeing myself accomplish things recently that I never thought possible, I'm starting to believe I (and all humans) really can do anything we put our minds to.

Example #1: running. Two years ago, I remember feeling frustrated about my post baby body. It had been nearly a year since I gave birth and I felt completely out of shape and unattractive. I tried running. I quit. My husband pushed me, telling me I COULD run a mile and I told him to butt out. After all, I knew my body better than he did, right? The weight stayed on. I remained out of shape.

I tried it again and finally got to a about 13 minutes. He encouraged me but was less than impressed, saying I could do a 10-minute mile if I put my mind to it. I was furious and again told him to leave me alone and let me do my own personal best. Again, I quit. It was too hard. I convinced myself I really never could run a mile...that one was a fluke.

Fast forward two years. As you know if you've read this blog much, I can run a mile. But guess what? I have run four 5Ks, with a best time of 31:18 (9:59 mile!). And guess what else? I am running my first TEN-K next month. That's 6.2 MILES! And today, I am 100% convinced I can and will do it. After all, I'm pushing FIVE miles on my own (4.65 last night) and still have over a month to add the last 1.2.

Running is the first thing I've done completely on my own and on my own terms. No one in my family has ever been a runner. And while I truly never felt I'd ever, ever run a mile, I now have my sights set on a half marathon in 2010!

What's more...while I'm not as thin as I was pre-baby, I have more muscle than I've EVER had, I went from hating my butt and legs to thinking they are pretty sexy and strong, and I'm truly in the BEST shape of my life.

Example #2...graphic design. Anyone who has worked with me professionally knows I love talking about how I'm NOT a designer. "I can write, but I'm not a designer," has come out of my mouth at least 1,000 times over my 10-year career. I've even refused to apply for jobs that sounded perfect for me...except that they wanted someone with basic knowledge of Photoshop. "Nope, not for me!"

Well, after a co-worker was laid off about a year ago, I was thrust into the role of HAVING to learn basic InDesign and Photoshop to take over a few of her responsibilities. I was more than reluctant and equally annoyed. But who am I to say no when I really need the job? I had no choice.

Today, I am still a novice at InDesign and Photoshop. But guess what? I use both programs on a regular basis with no supervision. I spent a couple of hours today producing some new artwork for our Cafe display. It's not gorgeous, but it gets the job done. And I can speak somewhat intelligently when making requests of real graphic artists. One year ago, I would have told you I'm not a designer. Today, I'll tell you I'm a designer in progress! :)

How does this fit into parenting? Well, I'm guilty of saying I'm not a good mom. "I'm not the mom Myles needs." "I may be ruining him." My poor husband hears me say things like this a lot. And I know it gets old for him.

Today, I'm looking at what I have accomplished this year (on my own) and realizing I can be a good mom! Heck, maybe I already am one! After all, I would give my life for my child and every decision I make is one I feel would benefit him in the end. Yes...I take time for myself. I run 10 miles per week without Myles. I have a girls' night every other Thursday. I go out on a monthly date with my husband. We're planning a vacation sans Myles for our 10-year anniversary this year. But those things bring me happiness. And doesn't a happy mom make for a happier child?

Am I always patient? Gosh, no! But my pastor once told a story of an interview with Billy Graham, who was asked how he could be so patient. His answer? "I have no more patience than anyone else. I just use mine!" I'll never forget that...and I think of it often when I'm ready to lose my cool.

We can all be GREAT parents, even if we think we lack some serious skills (patience for me!). We can do anything we truly set our minds to. Take it from someone who could never run a mile!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

A cute get to know you game

My Blog friend Debby had this new game on her site to help blog buddies get to know each other a little better. Here's the way it's played...If you want to play, leave a comment on this post letting me know, and I’ll assign you a letter.

You write about ten things you love that begin with your assigned letter, and post it at your place. When people comment on your list, you give them a letter, and the chain continues on and on...

Debbie assigned me the letter:"F"

1) Family - from my amazing husband to my fun loving, adorable son, to my parents, siblings and extended family. After losing 3 family members in the past 2 years and seeing my dad battle cancer (he is in remission right now), this one has become much more important to me.

2) Friends - I am blessed to have long-time friends (Susan, Michelle, Julie, Marjie, etc.) and newer friends (Cherrah, Vicki, Katy, etc.). While I don't see some of them as often as I'd like - and some are in different states now - I'm blessed to know each and every one of them.

3) Food - I adore food...especially Mexican and chocolate! Enough said.

4) Fitness - I love to run. If you know me at all, you know this! I'm addicted to it. And after reading #3, I BETTER love it! I'll run my first 10k on March 14...just 2 miles to get to 6.2!

5) Frugality - I am cheap. Again, you know this about me if you know me at all. I watch EVERY SINGLE PENNY we spend. And sadly, I often fail to reward myself for something, just in case I need that money for something else someday.

6) Freedom - I hope our country always remains the land of the free.

7) my Father in heaven and his son, Jesus Christ. I am a proud daughter of Christ and am ever grateful for his sacrifice and patience with me as I learn and grow.

8) Fantasizing about seeing new places. If only I could get over my fear of flying...

9) Fantastic hockey games...these days, they are fewer and fewer. :(

10) Free things to do. Check out ArtsFest in Orlando from Feb. 6-15. This is a perfect example of the many things you can enjoy without breaking the bank.

That was harder than I thought once I got past #5. Thanks Debbie for a great letter!

Again, if you want to play, post a comment and I'll send you a letter.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Again, again!

I've been hearing these words from Myles since Saturday night, as we left Old Town in Kissimmee shortly before 10pm. Of every place we've been, Old Town is more perfect for Myles than any other. It combines his two favorite things: old cars and rides!

Honestly, I can't believe it took us almost 3 years to make it to this place. I remember it being like a ghost town back in the day...a place nobody really went. But somebody knew what they were doing because that place was wall to wall people and nonstop action. A total of 190 classic cars (older than 1974) were on display (as they are every Saturday night) for all to see. At 8:30, they lined up for their Saturday night cruise down Main Street. Myles could not get enough! Music from the 50s and 60s was blaring (mostly played by a live band) and people were dancing. Myles even danced in the street with a handful of ladies.

Once the parade ended, we walked to the back of the attraction and rode some of the rides. There were probably 10-12 rides, many of which were for kids. My personal favorite was the Tilt-A-Whirl, which we all rode together. Myles loved the kiddie coaster and rode it THREE times. When our tickets were gone, we told him the night was over and we needed to get home. After all, it was 9:45. He screamed, kicked, protested, you name it. When we got into the car, all I heard was "Again, again, again! I wanna go to Old Town again!"

"We will, sweetie. I promise."