Monday, May 25, 2009

Uncensored Late Night Thoughts

This is what late night conversations you get when you have a son that wakes you at 5 in the morning regularly, especially on holidays.

Kent: "You got sauce on the back of your dress."

Flo: "Dang it. I can understand how I got it all over my belly but not my butt."

Kent: "Is your butt pregnant?"

Flo, sputtering with laughter: "Never say that to a woman!"

Kent: "Well, it (pregnancy) worked for your front!"

Sunday, May 24, 2009

A Moment of Silence for the Literary World

I love books. No, I literally LOVE books! (I'm not trying to be punny here) And since the joy of literacy has been with me all my life, I find myself aghast at the ignorance of it's profound effect on our lives. Just the other day I was speaking with a English teacher who has a finger puppet of Shakespeare she keeps on her chalkboard. As all minds tend to wander, particularly near the fading days of the school year, they asked her who it was. In her lovely faux British accent she introduced him as William Shakespeare who was from England. Her students got a good laugh and then stated, "But that's not where Shakespeare is from!" From one of her 'brighter' students she was asked who the author of Othello was. She was too dumbfound to even attempt to reply. As a former teacher I can envision the quivering rage about to break loose after a year of 'teaching' this subject only to have a single moment called into question if the job description wasn't really babysitting!

Another friend has been a Librarian at a the Deer Valley school district for 17 years and now finds herself desperately scrabbling for another job. Apparently cutbacks for the unnecessary parts of education included not only art and music teachers, but librarians. "After all, they only check out books", a parent was heard to say. Apparently this individual doesn't understand that it is a librarian who teaches children about the literary resources available, supports teachers in their curriculum, helps with research and recommends books to hungry minds. My poor grade school librarian maintained a running 'buffet' for me the 2 times a week I went in to see her. Thanks to her, I have a voracious appetite that has opened doors to other worlds for me. I asked this friend who they planned on hiring in her stead. "A clerk." was her terse reply. Maybe that's all parents really want nowadays. She, on the other hand, hopes to find a job teaching English that will make her 'less dispensable'.

I guess this leaves me wondering how much more is dispensable in education this day and age. Most of all it makes me wonder how much more of a responsibility I have in raising my children not only to enjoy the captivating story lines of pop culture authors but to also savor the literary figures that call our attention to deeper levels found in humanity. If great authors such as Shakespeare, Austin, etc are dead in us, how can we expect them to live in our children? My personal prayer ... may they all live long and proper!

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Breakfast and Lunch Willy Wonka's Way!

I took Isaac the other day to Cerreta's chocolate factory for some fun. We had read a book recently about Curious George at the Chocolate factory and I think he was hoping he'd be able to help put chocolates into boxes (and a few in his mouth) like George. While he was a little impatient with the explanations of how many of the sweets were made, the samples placated him enough for the half hour 'tour'.
He also enjoyed making the Cerreta's breakfast (4 pretzel sticks, a glob of white chocolate and 2 yellow M&Ms) It looked better than McDonald's! The anticipation was killing him can't you tell?

At the end, we purchased a ticket to make a Chocolate Italian Pizza. I suspect this will be his favorite pizza ever .... just don't ask me to make it at home!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Celebrating Motherhood

I received my first gift from Isaac for Mother's Day. He was just so proud of his painting job and fascinated with the 'flower' he planted that it will be a miracle if the pot or the flower survives! Thank you my little darling!

My big darling was so thoughtful this year, giving everything from a dinner, waffle breakfast and a good massage. The best gift of all though is how much he's trying harder to be fully present at home to help and play with Isaac and I. I'm so grateful to have him in my life!

For Old-Times Sake

I've been sorely hampered by an uncooperative computer, but at long last have downloaded all the pictures I need to blog ... so prepare for the onslaught as I attempt to catch up! ;0)

About 3 weeks ago we heard from an old friend from the singles ward who was organizing a get together in Mesa for Kent's old crowd. Between work schedules, Father's and Son's Outing the following night, travel time and the basic fatigue that comes of a boy who wakes with the dawning of the world - we were hesitant to commit to go. Or perhaps the real reason lies in the fact that most of us are a little more 'rotund' and balding ... whatever! But with a few emails back and forth, an old feeling of nostalgia overcame me and I pushed Kent to go ... after all, it had been 7 years since we'd heard from most of them.

The evening was wonderful! Yes, there was a little of the 'remember whens' that always occur but more than anything it was a chance to see how much life had matured us, taught us and blessed us. Many of us had struggles with health(cancer included), job loss and job's gained, battles with depression or loneliness, major graduate work, changes with marriage, a few lost parents in the intervening years, and then there were children (all darling as a bug's ear!) those hoped for, those coming and those all ready there along with the discussion that goes with that joyous roller coaster ride. In short, we could look back and see incredible growth and faith in God. Later that night, Bishop Snow came with his wife to visit. We had to get pictures of the old 'Gentry' crowd. Here's pictures so you can compare. Don't look too hard!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

The Long-Awaited Camping Trip!

I don't post on here too often, but I suppose Flo wasn't exactly there to get the scoop. This last weekend was the Aaronic Priesthood Commemoration Campout (better known to some as Fathers and Sons). For those who aren't familiar, it is an annual campout through church that usually falls about the middle of May. It is only boys and men who go (women usually stay home and party without their husbands :). In any case, this is the first year Isaac got to go since he is nearly two and managable on such an adventure.

About 1-2 months ago, we started going to the mall occasionally to play at one of the sporting goods stores to play - Isaac particularyly liked the tents. So about 2weeks ago, Big 5 sporting had tents and camping chairs for sale. We went and Isaac helped pick out the camping gear. We started telling him about camping. Actually sleep in a tent?! He loved the idea! We put it on the calendar and marked down the days. Flo started explaining a few days in advance that she would not be going with us. Ironically, one night as we were preparing to go out, I said, "Come on, Isaac. Let's go!" He turned around to his mama and giving a hug, said, "Bye, bye, mama!" Yeah, he thought we were going camping that night.

It's also important to realize that we have talked to him about sometime being able to go somewhere in papa's truck. This was another point of excitement! We would be traveling to the camp site in my truck. So finally, on that day, Isaac helped pull out all the camping gear, and Flo got our snacks together (about 2 meals worth of snacks!) We kept having to tell him that we were leaving after his nap. Let's just say we are lucky he eventually took a nap!

Flo saw us out the door and waved goodbye and off into the sunset we drove. . . The end.

Just kidding, here's the best part! We had lots of fun! There wasn't any one fun or special time. As is true in most of life, it was a cluster of special moments that brought smiles and feelings of pride for my growing son. I have to admit that I was very excited about the trip to begin with. One of the many fond memories I have with my dad is going camping - especially since we did it all the time. Now I was able to share it with my son.

As we drove down the highway, I started pulling out the snacks. We shared veggie straws first (straw-formed chips). We started breathing through the straw, then laughing! We listened to nice music and breathed freedom for a while! When we got there (a little campsite about 3.5 miles along Dugas road), we set up camp. He was happy to help with the tent. Once the sleeping bags were laid down, he hopped into his and just wanted to be "cozy" for a while. I wondered if he would try to go to bed at that moment just to be sleeping in a tent and in a sleeping bag. He loved it! Once out of the tent, he was off to find a friend or two by the little creek running about 100-150 feet away. We through rocks and sticks in the water. We ate s'mores. We even read bedtime stories before bed. Then, we actually went to bed around 9:30 pm. Of course, the other boys and men stayed up making plenty of noise - they quieted down around 10:30 pm and we fell asleep around then.

The next morning, it was surprisingly cool! I woke up around 5:45 am and that's when Isaac's head popped of the pillow (I would have fallen back asleep!) I told him, "Isaac, it's cold out! Let stay in our sleeping bags and stay warm!" He happily agreed! Of course, he kept saying, "Hi!" and "Morning!" After about 10 minutes, I got his coat on him and we went out. We had a nice breakfast, through some more rocks in the water, and packed up. Funny how when you get up at 5:45 am that when 9 am rolls around, it feels like you've been there all morning! That's about when we left. We had more veggie straws and dried mango on the way home. I asked him if he liked camping and he quickly nodded yes. We got home and he was super excited to see his mama! He was already tired and gladly took his nap around 1 pm.

It isn't as if he was smiling and shouting with glee during the whole trip to let me know he was having fun. In fact, if I didn't know better, he would have looked kind of bored a lot of the time to me. Later that evening on Saturday, though, I could tell in how he interacted with me, that we had shared a special time camping. We had an opportunity to be together and have fun. We "worked", played, ate, threw rocks, and more.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

100 Days to Go

I had my doctor appointment today and realized that I'm 25 weeks along and theoretically only have 100 days till 'she' comes! Time has flown but with the weather in the 3 digits already, I'm hoping that the days will be shorter! On the other hand I have all the apprehensions of having a second child. At least not everything will be totally new, and yet I know boys and I had only one. Now I embark on a new territory with a girl and try and juggle her needs with the attentions of my son. Thanks heavens they start out little and I have the space and time to grow with her. Life is forever 'new' in so many ways!

We've also been struggling to decide on her name. We're down to 2, Lily - feminine and simple, or Keila (pronounced kay-lah) which in Hebrew means "who is like God". I love the meaning, but we worry a little about the spelling and all the troubles that go with it. I've set up a poll on the sidebar of the blog. Give a vote and let us know what you think!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Life is Full

Motherhood is always full ... in one way or another! If it's not full of chores, then it's full of tears and in another moment it switches to laughter. I don't think there's ever too much of a quiet moment, except for the blessed nap times when I can gather myself for the next roller coaster ride. Last week was no exception.

Isaac is growing up so quickly. In so many ways he wants to imitate us so it should have been no surprise when I found him playing with my spice rack, pretending to cook. He'd been exceptionally quiet, that should have been my clue, and I walked from the kitchen to the living room to find his cooking toys and the carpet filled in various states with oregano, rosemary, dill, thyme and chili pepper flakes. He was quietly singing to himself as he 'stirred' his pretend stew. The next few times I vacuumed I could distinctively smell chili pepper.

The carpet suffered another assault the following morning. The birds have a habit of cheerfully waking Isaac at 5:30 am so we try and get him to snuggle with us in bed or play quietly by in our room. While Kent was in the shower, my lotions offered a new source of amusement, particularly the thick tub of Eucerin. By the time Kent got out, Isaac's hands and feet were coated with it and a generous amount was rubbed into the carpet and in his pajamas. We rented a carpet cleaner and cleaned the area over and over and over! Kent and I lament that at both those moments we were too shocked to have grabbed the camera and taken a memorable picture.

There were other milestones last week that left me speechless at his growing abilities. He spoke his first complete sentence while we were playing the other day. He has a favorite hand puppet we named Blue (I bought him for a dollar at Target) who he likes to talk to and 'teach' him how to play. We'd set up several small towers out of TP rolls that Isaac likes to run and kick down. On and off he'd yell, "Mama kick", "kick it down", etc. Finally he came up and held Blue, in a perfect imitation of us when we try hard to get his full attention, he looked Blue in the eyes and said, "Blue, now you go kick it down." He was not deterred when I pointed out that Blue had no legs but kept repeating the sentence over and over clear as a bell.

Potty training has also been going well and at home he stays in his training underwear and rarely has accidents so long as we prompt him to practice his potty. It's amazing how much less diapers we use already. Once a week he goes for 5 hours at a daycare so I can go to doctor appointments and have some 'me' time. While he enjoys it there, he struggle to use the potty and can't seem to get himself to relax. His frustration was very evident lately. The other day I went to pick him up and I found him sitting with a smug little smile on his face. The first thing he said was, "Mama, I potty!". Ms Danielle explained that as usual she'd set him down on the potty and went to get his diaper ready. A few minutes later he ran out with his bare bottom yelling, "Poo Poo, Poo Poo!" at the top of his lungs. From the way she put it Isaac was just as shocked as ever ... he'd succeed at a number one and a number two ... at 'big boy school' no less and was extremely proud of himself. We have a small reward system but I think he knew he earned more than just a small cookie so when we hugged, he stopped to look me in the eye and asked, "Mama, donut?" How could I resist. We went to special donut shop, something we've never done before and he happily picked out a chocolate creme filled one and sat down like a little gentleman to eat.

He's found another way to melt my heart. Lately when I do something for him that he really wants he is sure to say, "Thank you Mama." (Sounds more like fank oo Mama) Maybe because the service a Mom offers is often so mundane that we rarely think to offer gratitude for it, it makes this gesture so much more meaningful. The best part is it I never prompt it, and for that reason it has become so genuine and powerful.

There are no words to adequately describe motherhood. I am so grateful that God has given me Isaac to learn to laugh, love, cry and grow. Life is full indeed and I wonder at times with the another one to come how much fuller it will become. My pendulum swings pretty wide now with just one, how much more will come after August? ;0)

The following are pictures of Kent teaching Isaac how to fly a kite. While we never really got the thing off the ground, no little boy had more fun trying!

Saturday, May 2, 2009

I Have Succumbed

After long debate, I finally succumbed to the persuasions of others and signed on Facebook. I was warned of its mild addicting tendencies as well as the quirky thoughts I might be tempted to post that would paint me for the crazy that I am. Thus far I've remained immune but have happily reconnected with several old friends.

One of whom is Melanie Nelson, who's wanderings has landed her here in AZ working at the Phoenix Zoo. Strange to think of how life turns so that two girls from Calgary, could have ended up here in AZ over 6 years ago. We had brunch the other day at the quaint cottage setting of Arcadia Farms and chatted up old times. We're not all that different from what we were in high school, still strange, and nerdy in our offbeat ways. We don't even look all that different form 16 years ago - that's good or bad depending on how awkward we were back then .... I love how Mel still has her eclectic tastes in everything from books, music to hobbies. She was elated to find out that I knew of an authentic Chinese restaurant - dim sum it is! - which we'll have to enjoy when she's out my end of town next month. So good to see you again Mel - may Morons Take to the Streets Again! ;0)

Friday, May 1, 2009

I Scream, You Scream, We All Scream For

Ice Cream - ranked as one of Man's great pleasures! (at least according to me) The cool rich, creamy medium through which just about anything can be added for a delightful surprise. One such example found in NM where they make Green Chile Ice Cream which is apparently quite good. I never had the pleasure.

As a child most sweets were forbidden us with the exception of this one. I would often sneak some, just a scoopful of vanilla ice cream, and put it in the cracked wheat cereal we ate every morning. The cold rivulets of sugary milk were a wonderful balance against the nutty wheat. I'm sure my parents wondered why it was that a 4 gallon tub could always disappear so quickly.

Since this is truly my greatest weakness it was no surprise that I planned the evening's meal and schedule around Baskin Robbin's 31 cent scoop night. We were limited to 3 scoops but we took full advantage of it, including Isaac. Oh, darn, he couldn't finish all of it ... this is one of the few times eating off your son's plate can be a real joy! ;0)