I registered Aiden for swimming lessons during a three-week block in May. I was excited for him to start lessons; he did well last year and loves swimming in the pool when we've stayed at hotels.
So the first day of lessons was more than a nightmare. When the lesson started about 30 kids flocked to the pool and the leader assessed each child to determine his or her swimming ability and assigned them to a class based on their skills.
Aiden immediately tightened his grip around my leg and refused to get into the pool. I thought for sure he would love it; this pool is a heated pool with bath tub warm water. But he refused to get in.
All the other kids around us were splashing and swimming and having a great time. Why was my child scared to death? I couldn't figure it out because he loves to swim. After 15 minutes of trying to get him into the water and all of these latte-sipping moms staring at my screaming child I decided to just go home.
Thomas and I figured we had to change our strategy. Aiden has always been a little hesitant to try to new things, in new places. So we talked with him, we came up with an incentive of his choosing, and we got him totally pumped for the next lesson.
A few days later we arrived at the pool with a happy little boy who was stoked to go to swimming lessons so he could get a Slurpee at the Sev. But when it was time to get into the water his little hands just found their way around my neck and there was no way he was letting go.
It was like a nightmare all over again.
Luckily, we got him in the pool. I finally just handed him off to his teacher, James, who had to PRY his fingers from off my neck, and I walked away and right out of the pool and watched from afar through the outside fence.
He had the biggest scowl on his face; how I wish I had a camera! I could tell he was having fun but trying SO HARD to not let a smile crack through. He finished the lesson and from there it just continued to get better.
Each lesson got easier and by the last two classes he was a completely different kid in the water. I couldn't believe it. He was like a little fish.
I can not even describe the JOY I felt when he was bobbing around in the water, submerged his head under the water, and then shot out of the water, looked right at me and gave me a thumbs up and a huge grin from cheek to cheek. I was thrilled that he had earned this new-found confidence that HE COULD DO IT!
(And I hope all those latte-sipping moms noticed it too!)
This little guy went from being rigid and stiff in the water, to feeling totally comfortable submerging his face in the water, blowing bubbles, comfortably laying on his back, and completely going under the water without plugging his nose. Huge strides in just a few weeks!
While I was sitting at his last lesson and watching him bounce around and then quickly glance over to send me another thumbs up, I couldn't help but think of our Heavenly Father and how proud of us he is when we accomplish a goal, or make it through a challenging situation.
Just like I KNEW Aiden would love swimming, and just like I KNEW he could do it...I couldn't do it for him. He had to discover it on his own and it took him a while to figure that out. But once he figured it out he was awesome.
I think our Father in Heaven must feel like that sometimes. He knows we can do whatever he asks us to do, or whatever falls on our path. Sometimes we make it harder than it needs to be. And sometimes we forget who we are and what we can accomplish with His help.
How grateful I am for teaching moments like this! And even more grateful that even though swim lessons started out a little rocky, they ended on a high note. :)
Monday, June 15, 2009
Around the first of May I was wondering where April went. Now, it's already the middle of June and I'm wondering where May and June went. Time flies fast when you don't want it too.
A few months ago Dr. Tom attended the Western Psychological Association conference in Portland, where he did a big presentation. (You may remember an earlier story about me accidentally shaving all of his hair off the night before he left.)
Aiden and I were lucky to tag along and our family enjoyed a few days away from the chaos that has encircled our house lately.
One afternoon Aiden and I went to the conference area to hook up with Dr. T. While waiting around A spotted a little table in the hallway with a dish of mints. He walked over and plucked one out of the dish. Then, quickly grabbed two more and started to walk across the hall and back to where I was standing.
I asked him to put a few back, as it was polite to just take one. Being the cute four year old that he is, he didn't listen and kept in walking. So I asked him again, to please put a few of them back. And then I told him that we wouldn't leave the hall and go find Daddy until he put them back.
I stood there and waited.
He finally paused for a second and then turn around and put the extra mints back.
I didn't think much of it, and we started to walk down the hall when I felt a tap on my shoulder. I spun around and this woman said to me,
"You are the most awesome mom."
Shocked, and wondering if she was actually talking to ME....I'm far from perfect when it comes to being a Mom. I'd say I'm a 6.2 on the Mom Awesome Scale...Surprised by her comment I asked her why she would say that.
She then explained that as a psychologist she meets with families and troubled teens daily, and that so many parent/teen problems are formed because parents never followed through with things they asked their children to do. And as they got older the kids knew they could push the boundaries.
She said, "I wish parents could see how simple it really is to just do simple follow throughs when kids are young. Do what you say you're going to do and your children will respect you."
She thanked me for being an example of how easy it is to follow through and dashed off to another meeting.
I must say, she made my day. Being a Mom is not an easy job and there are plenty of things I wish I did better or paid more attention to. And sometimes, I don't have the patience to follow through.
But this conversation changed the way I looked at the kinds of "threats" I make. Now, I've tried to elevate myself to a better level of parenting and one of the things I do is make sure I follow through with everything I say I'm going to do.
I also am more cautious about the things I say. If I really am going to throw away all of those ^&^* toys that are dumped out and strung around my house 11 times a day, then I must throw them out. Otherwise, it's just an empty promise and Aiden knows I'll never actually do it.
Just for the record in the last month I have thrown away toys and fed Aiden babyfood for dinner. (You don't even want to know that story!)
So my thought for today: sometimes it's hard to just give in and not stick to our guns when it comes to following through with punishments. But if it means a better behaved child with fewer boundary challenges in the future, it's definitely worth the effort.
On another note - we loved Portland. What a great city!
Thursday, May 7, 2009
My sister Kera sent a thoroughly entertaining email yesterday. The subject line intrigued me so I opened it, even though I had a million other things to get done right at the moment.
"The best 80s email ever" made me laugh. It caused me embarrassment too, surfacing thoughts like, "I can NOT believe I did that."
I identified with every single item on the list. And I can't say that is a bad thing, because well, that's how it was back then. So just for the record, I thought I'd reminisce about the 80s on a real personal level just in case my kids need to know how "cool" their mom was "way back when."
And because I have a haunch that many of you, my awesome blog readers are also products of the 80s, I'd be delighted if you leave a comment about anything you identify with on this list. It'll be fun!
1. You've ever ended a sentence with the word SIKE.
Why, why, was it cool to say this? It sounds so lame now.
2. You can sing the rap to the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air and can do the Carlton
Gotta love Will Smith.
3. You know that 'WOAH' comes from Joey on Blossom
4. If you ever watched 'Fraggle Rock'
5. It was actually worth getting up early on a Saturday to watch cartoons.
So I loved watching the Smurfs on Saturday mornings. I can remember hearing my mom come down the stairs... I knew that was a bad sign 'cause when Mom was coming down the stairs she always said the same thing, "Kids, it's time to turn off the TV and do your jobs. Your list is upstairs on the counter." Sure enough, my mom was the awesomest list maker ever. Every Saturday she lovingly made each of us a list with our assigned Saturday jobs. Why am I telling you this? Well, because I don't really remember watching anything that came on after the Smurfs because the TV was turned off by then. :)
6. You wore a ponytail on the side of your head.
Even better was a french braid across the back of your head and THEN the pony tail on the side. Totally killer.
7. You got super-excited when it was Oregon Trail day in computer class at school.
8. You made your mom buy one of those clips that would hold your shirt in a knot on the side.
I loved these and owned one in every color. Had some pretty hip belts and leggings too. Also, "units" anyone?
9. You played the game 'MASH'(Mansion, Apartment, Shelter, House)
Hours, and hours and hours baby.
10. You wore stonewashed Jordache jean jackets and were proud of it.
This is real-life story. I was in the 6th grade when this fad was part of my life. I wanted a jacket so bad. All of my friends were collecting buttons and pins to put on their jackets, so it was absolutely essential that I have a jacket for all of my buttons and pins. One night while the parents were out, I searched through our coat closet until I found an old, greasy demin jacket that probably belonged to my dad. I ran it through the wash several times, trying to get it clean and get that nasty farm smell out of it. When it was as good as it could possibly get, I was proud to call it my very own jacket. Sure, it was more than the wrong size but I didn't care; now I had a cool jacket for all of my pins. Thankfully, Grandma Delma gave me a new jacket for my birthday a few weeks later. Now that I think about it....how embarrassing. My mom was probably mortified that I wore that jacket to school every day.
11. You know the profound meaning of 'WAX ON , WAX OFF'
Star Theatre, right side, sat on the heaters against the wall with Cody. Our Moms had been bagging and freezing corn all day and let us go to the movie on a school night.
12. You wanted to be a Goonie.
Well, I didn't want to be a Goonie. I was kinda freaked out by the deformed guy in the dungeon.
13. You wore fluorescent clothing. (Some of us...head-to-toe)
You betcha, with parachute pants.
14. You can remember what Michael Jackson looked like before his nose fell off, his cheeks shifted and his nationality became questionable.
Very sad. But his music still rocks.
15. You have ever pondered why Smurfette was the only female smurf.
16. You took lunch boxes to school...and traded Garbage Pail Kids in the schoolyard. The only things that stand out to me at recess were trading Garbage Pail Kids and playing marbles in the spring. My mom made me a cute purple sack to carry my marbles in.
17. You remember the CRAZE, then the BANNING of slap bracelets.
18. You still get the urge to say 'NOT' after every sentence.
Annoying. Why did we do this?
19. You thought your childhood friends would never leave because you exchanged handmade friendship bracelets.
So crucial to a friendship back then. And by the way, bracelets are tonz better than just saying BFF. Thanks to my sister Jennie, she had a little factory going in her bedroom, making all kinds of bracelets to seal friendships together forever. Any color of thread. Making up her own designs. This girl was amazing! (She still is amazing! :)
20. You owned a pair of Jelly-Shoes.
Oh, how I loved "jellies." Claudine and I would get on our bikes and ride to K&J's to pick out our favorite ones. The summer was when I had three pair - clear, blue and pink...could wear them with anything, every day. Awesome.
21. After you saw Pee-Wee's Big Adventure you kept saying 'I know you are, but what am I?'
Another embarrassing one. My family will attest that before I was "Fayrene" I was Pee Wee's impersonator.
22. You remember 'I've fallen and I can't get up'
23. You remember going to the skating rink before there were inline skates. Absolutely. The quality skating rink in Redmond was on the finest quality for skating entertainment, well, kinda...compared to 49th Street Galleria.
24. You have ever played with a Skip-It.
25. You remember boom boxes and walking around with one on your shoulder like you were all that.
The boom-box, an essential for a teenager who loved Tiffany, Madonna, Debbie Gibson, and listening to Fisher and Todd on the KISN Morning Show.
26. You remember watching both Gremlins movies.
27. You thought Doogie Howser/Samantha Micelli was hot.
Actually, I think Ricky Schroeder was hotter. But, the all-time hottie on my list was Jake on Sixteen Candles. Hottie in a plaid shirt in front of the red Porsche. Yowza!
28. You remember Alf, the lil furry brown alien from Melmac.
29. You remember New Kids on the Block when they were cool... and don't even flinch when people refer to them as 'NKOTB'
You better believe it.
30. You knew all the characters names and their life stories on 'Saved By The Bell,' The ORIGINAL class.
The original Screech was the best.
31. You know all the words to Bon Jovi - SHOT THROUGH THE HEART.
And you're to blame...you give love a bad name. My first "rock" tape was Def Leppard - Hysteria.
32. You just sang those words to yourself
33. You still sing 'We are the World'
I loved this song! I remember singing to it while a bunch of us were all piled in a car...no seat belts mind you...and driving to the Snow College swimming pool for a birthday party.
34. You tight rolled or french cuffed your jeans. And still debate on which is the right term!
This was an essential fashion must-do. I prefer to call them rolled cuffed jeans, in case you're wondering.
35. You owned a banana clip.
You better believe I did! This was something I used DAILY for years.
36. You remember 'Where's the Beef?'
37. You used to (and probably still do) say 'What you talkin' 'bout Willis?'
The funny thing is, I said this to Aiden about two weeks ago. His response was, "I'm NOT Willis, Mom."
38. You're still singing shot through the heart in your head, aren't you!
39. Your hair looked like this for at least one school picture!
I do have evidence to support the fact that I did have hair like that. When I was leaving for my 7th grade band concert I walked out of the bathroom and my mom said, "You're not leaving here with your hair like that." The end result was some tears and my mom trying to run a brush through my matted, sticky, ratted hair. I'm not looking forward to having teenagers. Oh, the trauma of the bangs to heaven era.
Wednesday, April 22, 2009
Want to know what happens when you're stressed to the max and have too many things on your line?
Monday, April 13, 2009
Hello My Dear Friends and Readers,
I have not forgotten my blog address.
While it's true I actually had to pause and *think* about my password to get onto this page tonight, once I paused to think about it my fingers just hummed across the keyboard like something old and familiar, like driving around the 'S' curves when its dark and knowing exactly when to slow down or accelerate.
Or, like that instinct all mothers have when the house gets really quiet and you just KNOW your kids are into something they shouldn't be in. It's that third eye, that intuition we're inherently blessed with.
I've been thinking a lot about balance lately...that balance that is so necessary to feel good about life, to feel good about what's happening at home. That balance that makes life seem more complete. My experience has been that whenever I pour a lot of effort into just one side of the equation that everything seems to be less fulfilling...more stressful...less content.
I don't like feeling that way.
So in an effort to try and maintain some balance in my life I've pulled back and I've had to center myself again.
The truth is, lately, I've had a huge project land in my lap. The hugest, most ginormous, most challenging task of my professional life. It was too good to not step up and take on the added responsibility. So as of late I've found myself working twice as many hours.
And as a result I've come to that point where I've had to evaluate that balance thing and make sure that my efforts at home aren't over shadowed. Because I work from home it's so easy to just lose myself in the details that command my full attention and then some.
So if you're wondering where my blogging voice has gone....well my friends, it's not gone. It's just a little bit more quiet these days. Quiet in a sense of making sure I keep that balance of family, spiritual growth and physical strength in check and balance with my work schedule.
I am excited to tell you all about this project. I can't talk about the details quite yet..... But I will be able to soon. :) I can't wait to share it with you.
In the mean time, here are a few pictures from our Easter Weekend. If you were reading my blog a year ago, you might remember my post about "rolling eggs," and my desire to keep this tradition alive.
Well, I never could find a dirt hill around, so I decided we would have to do this tradition "Seattle Style."
And Seattle Style we did. So we headed over to one Seattle's most notable parks which is actually fairly close to our house. We rolled eggs down the grassy hills and flew kites. Aiden loved the kites; I have a feeling that we'll be hanging out at the park a lot this summer.
Thursday, March 5, 2009
There are some things in life that aren't that important in the big picture....but I must say there are some things that just make my day a little better. My step a little lighter. The crumbs in my fork, knife and spoon organizer less noticeable. The dust on the carpet floor boards a little less dusty. You get the picture.
Tuesday, February 17, 2009
I am certain, there are three things that our family loves.
1. Oreo cookies
2. BYU football
Yes, we love hosting company and having visitors come and see us. And we may not have a home that is ideal for hosting a lot of company, but, it works.
You see, the thing is, that we live in this incredibly beautiful place, with so much to do and see in a very close perimeter. And I was looking at the calendar the other day and realized that our time here is going to be over before we know it!
Next summer we'll be packing out and going someplace. I don't know where yet, but we will be packing up. And let me tell you, it will be much more desirable to come now...rather than coming to see us while we're packing. I WILL put you to work if you show up.
But of course we would much rather have you come and enjoy the beautiful Pacific Northwest with us! So over the course of the next little while I'm going to post some great adventures...things to see, places to visit, beautiful scenery to enjoy.
And we *hope* that you'll be enticed enough to come and visit us before we move, because I know sometime it takes months of planning ahead to make something a reality.
So, here you have it, our Begging for Visitors...Adventure #1
And of course, the best part is bringing home a huge bundle of fresh flowers to enjoy for the weeks to follow.
And if you think this is gorgeous just wait...there's more to come!
Wednesday, February 11, 2009
Last year we tried something new in our family. We came up with a family theme, and the purpose of the theme was to help us focus on a certain aspect of living the gospel for one year.
Our theme was "Fully Invested." I know, I know, we can not take any credit for coming up with that theme. I have to give all the credit to Bronco Mendenhall, and Thomas was the one who pushed for that theme. I figured I had to give in, in order for him to be supportive of the family theme idea. At first when I brought up the idea he rolled his eyes.
But, it was a good experience and so we decided to do it again this year. But this time, we decided to piggy back with our stake and adopt the stake theme as our family theme, which is:
D&C 101: 22
So for the past few weeks we've been discussing what it means to Stand In Holy Places, and one thing led to another, and pretty soon we had all kinds of ideas of what we could do to reinforce this concept in our family during the year.
The best part is that it has involved Aiden and he's learning about the gospel and it's so enjoyable as a parent to see him get excited about gospel principles.
The thing is, there are many ways we can "Stand" in Holy Places. For several days we talked about places where we can be holy...where we can be kind and polite, where we can worship and express gratitude for our blessings, and where we can choose the right and where we can be an example.
We made a list of these places and then took an afternoon and visited each of these places, snapping photos along the way. Then, for FHE this week we assembled all of the photos onto a poster to hang in our kitchen as a reminder of all of these places where we can "stand."
The best part was when we were at the temple. We took Aiden through the first set of doors and let him look through the second set of glass doors into the temple foyer. He was so fascinated and wanted to go inside. I could sense his understanding, as simple as it was, that the temple was a special place.
With pride, Aiden has looked at our poster the last few days when he walks into the kitchen for breakfast. As a parent, I hope we're teaching him enough, and that he'll be prepared to go to school in a few years and be exposed to different philosophies but "stand in holy places."
I hope simple things like this help to reinforce with him, his divine destiny and the importance of our Heavenly Father's plan for us, and why it's important to make good choices.
Here's a photo journey of our family's list of places where we can stand and be holy:
It was such a beautiful day, and unheard of this time of year.