Friday, September 30, 2011


I’ll cut to the chase. Sidney is challenging Tom and I. We are helping Sidney to understand our infinite love while helping her to overcome her deep need to control.  

Some of her behavior is due to milestones, but as I told my mom, given Sidney's background, it's more complex. Each time Eli hit a milestone between 3 and 4, he had no impulse control. Sidney is mimicking the same pattern. Changes are many in her small world as she masters potty training, eating well, and going to school three mornings a week. But, if I learned one thing parenting Eli, it is, if one thing goes well another will change. 

 On Wednesday (I am a cockeyed optimist, but Wednesday was a rough day…..see more on Eli’s ER Experience in the next blog), I sat in my car waiting for the appearance of tiny backpack clad bodies in the door. Instead, Sidney’s teacher walked her out alone. “She was on the sad pad three times." Sad pad? This couldn't be good. "I figured you would want to know. I would want to know,” she said. Lagging behind in the conversation, I asked “what’s a sad pad?” I was informed it’s timeout. 

Sidney was kicking in line for the bathroom, knocked over her friend’s block tower, and threw books. What? Really? I am the mom of the kid going in time out? Frankly, Eli never steps out of line in school,  figuratively or literally. It was humbling to hear this information. 

Sidney is testing. She conquered manipulating her teacher, so she’s taking it a step further. Remember the story about the teachers stool? It’s representative of her ability to coerce her teacher. If the rule for everyone else is the stool is off limits, it should be off limits. If I am hearing this, I can imagine, there are other areas, she has wooed her teacher. 

 So, in the midst of my complete chagrin, and figuring out how to deal with this shift in behavior, I folded laundry while Sidney “read a book.” Reading a book means, Sidney goes through the pages and makes up her own story. This is another developmental milestone. Book completed, Sidney turned to me and said, “I want to learn to read.” She’s too smart for her own good.

Dynamite comes in small packages. If the constant  explosions can chip away this need to control, what remains will be remarkable.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

A Weekend In Review

It was a crazy weekend! Saturday morning means football the next few weeks. My center did a great job!

Go Chiefs!

Sidney cheering "Eli, Eli!!!" 

One hour later, a packed vehicle waited for the two hour drive to my brothers. My nephew was baptized Sunday. Tom and I were sponsors. We were very honored to be asked! Afterward, there was time to celebrate my nephews 2nd birthday. Did I mention he's completely adorable?

Is it time for more cake yet?

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Squeezing in a blog

See what I made in preschool Mom?

I originally had photos, but I want to get the post up!!! I had a photo Sidney in front of a very large dumpster at our house. It’s been a fixture in my driveway for over a week. After ripping out the carpet, our next project was a thorough cleaning of the garage and basement. I’m finding it’s therapeutic to purge and repurpose. I knew it was past time to do a major cleaning when Sidney reacted with “wwwwoooooooowwwww”  upon seeing the interior of the garage.

While I’m purging, Sidney is preschooling .  My sleepy eyed girl, pulls on a backpack half her size, and climbs into the car. I use the word climb in the most literal sense. “Sidney do you want a boost” is met with “I do it myself.”  She does the same in Tom’s truck. Scaling the side of the seat like a mountain climber? No problem! I think her determination speaks volumes about her spirit. And before you panick, we spot her as she makes her ascent. 

Eli started football last night.  Secretly, I am hoping this is a one season ordeal. This year is flag, and next year is tackle. Did someone say my baby will be tackled? Last night gave Tom and I the opportunity to observe. It was a constant replay as the coach threw the ball.  As the coach yelled “100,” several 9 year old boys held their hands skyward as the ball plummeted toward the earth. All the while, they ducked and attempted to catch at the same time. Fear of the ball seems to be the largest obstacle. Now, if I could only get Eli to stop throwing himself to the ground in a fake fall and roll like he was thrown to the ground in the action, after someone catches the ball.

And what am I thinking about all the chaos that went on last week with my impromptu return to work? I feel great about my decision, and it has given me new purpose as a stay-at-home mom.  Once all my projects are done, I am back to writing. Writing makes me feel like I have something that’s my own, and through this small experience, I have learned that is something very important.

Thursday, September 15, 2011


It’s been a crazy week. Mom wasn’t ready to return to the working world. Typically, I am a composed person. I was definitely not composed after my first day. It was something I couldn’t control, and thinking back a couple of days, it’s something I can’t explain. I was in protective mode. Later in the evening, after my first day, I found the principal in the school. I explained how long we waited for Sidney to join our family. If I have the choice (and I certainly get that some mothers don’t have a choice, and I respect this situation 100%), I am going to choose to continue to stay home. Thankfully, it’s a very family focused Catholic school, and my quick return to work and sudden departure were met with respect. Many of the staff commented to one another, they had respect for my decision. Some even went to the extent of calling me courageous making my priority our family. 

I don’t need confirmation staying home is the right decision for our family, but if I did, Tom gave it. I began talking about the transition early with Sidney.  I was positive and upbeat. I saw a few indicators the concept was stressful to Sidney, but we were rational, taking a wait and see approach. This behavior began to intensify. Self-soothing behaviors we haven’t seen in a year began to resurface. Tom also took note. Let me interject, Tom is not an over analyzer. We both attempt not to read too much into her behavior, maintaining caution in how we treat her attachment. So I can say with absolute confidence, what we observe in our daughter is very real.  Tom and I decided together our family does not deserve to go backward. We have everyone in the family to think about. It’s not about only mom. Eli deserves to have stability in his house. Prior to the change, our family was in a very good place. 

This series of events was quickly put into perspective. We lost a child in our extended family due to a tragic accident. Heaven received a very special and loved little boy. His family will continue to be in our prayers in time to come.  

Friday, September 9, 2011

Career Mom

 A person never knows what will happen between the hours of waking and putting head to pillow the same night. On Monday, I will go back to work for the first time in 9 years. A position opened in Eli’s school for an Office Manager. Like a sissy, I applied and withdrew my resume. I was scared. 9 years is a long time to stay home. I thought I was making the right decision for Sidney’s emotional wellbeing, but were we really doing what’s best for her emotional needs? Or was I making the decision based on my stubbornness? I had it in my head I wasn’t going back to work until she was done with preschool and onto kindergarten in two years. My patient husband reminded me to think into the future about having Christmas break; snow days, every other week, and the coveted summer break off over the next several years.
So, I decided not to be stubborn and at least go to the interview. I’m glad I did. This will be a positive step for our family. But don’t fear, I will still be blogging. There should be some excellent experts coming up as we make this large transition in our family. After all, Eli screamed out loud, when he heard his mother was going to be in the same building on a daily basis. And it was not a scream of joy. It was one of sheer terror! Poor kid, after all, once every six months, we will have to interact with one another. After all, there is the lunch count, he has to bring down every now and again (can you see my rolling my eyes).

The largest motivator in my decision was the onsite daycare available for 3-4 year olds. Sidney is literally, as Tom reminded me “10 feet as the crow flies.” Thank you Tom for that visual. This is new, and I couldn't be happier. She loves spending time with the kids in the classroom and is so at ease with a large group. Tom and I have conversed on several occasions about her happiness and being with other kids. She thrives, and I know I will have a good balance between being home and being there. So, we are both ready. 

Stay tuned, there are more adventures ahead. And mine start tomorrow, building a business causal wardrobe from the ground up.

Monday, September 5, 2011

River Monsters

I often joke Tom likes to take our flat bottom boat and pretend he's on Swamp People or River Monsters. Sunday was no exception.

Are we having fun yet? 

One of the many times I can see Daddy is over the moon for his little girl, prepping the Dora fishing pole. 

Luckily, he wasn't using the Dora pole when he caught this (no fish were harmed:-) This nasty creature was released after snapping the photo.  

And mom was impressed how patient her fisherman has become over the summer.

And since my ballerina thinks we need another photo of her prancing around while I write the blog, I end with one more picture. If you don't mind me saying so, my girl is beautiful!

Friday, September 2, 2011

Friday Ramblings

It's great having your good friend as the teacher's assistant in Sidney's preschool. Who can resist a photo op with Jumbo the Circus Elephant?

I’m looking across the room, and Eli is deep into a Star Wars III battle on his DS….pardon me DSi. He always makes that correction. He earned 280 marbles this summer, averaging 4 per day to earn it. Marbles were exchanged for some chore or task around the house. And believe me, I got my money’s worth! During VBS he earned a ton, cutting stuff out, or helping with Sidney. I commend him for doing it with enthusiasm. We only had to make a threat, if he stepped out of line, and any crisis was quickly averted. Marbles are an awesome parenting technique.  I credit it with keeping our house completely sane (never completely sane when I am present) over the summer. 

However with the good, always comes the bad. Before you think I am a negative person, hear me out.  As I sat on the laptop (big shocker I know) a few nights ago, I looked around the living room. Tom was looking at something on the internet with his smart phone, Eli was on his DS, and Sidney was zoned out watching TV. Enough! I firmly told everyone from 7:30 until bedtime, at least 1 solid hour, there are no electronic devices allowed except TV. I can’t expect everyone to go cold turkey. I just wanted our family to interact. And I will be the first to admit, it wasn’t easy. But after a couple of nights, I started looking forward to the uninterrupted time. I started knitting again, and pre bedtime peace has come over the house. 

And while I was cracking down, I decided to make a long overdue phone call. Our cable is history. Meaning, we have 20 channels and stream Netflix and There were tears and fits. Eli made a plea for his beloved Nick Jr. I let him know Nick Jr. discriminates against elderly people, in my humble opinion, and we don’t believe in mistreating people in this house. I was on a roll.  

And honestly, who has time to watch all those channels? Ask me this after the winter months are done, and I am going nuts! If given the chance, I can be a bit of a TV junkie. And shamefully, this good Lutheran girl, really loves reality television after the kids go to bed.  I know it’s probably not something I should announce on my blog, so consider it a confession of sorts.