November 29, 2007

nursing on peppermint sticks

Most of you who know me know this story, but it's the season, so it bears repeating.

I did not feed my children sugar until they were 2. Even then it was more of an extended family thing than a mom thing. My theory: why give it to them when they don't even know what they're missing? Anyway, the Christmas when Kevin was 11 months old, Kacey wanted to decorate the tree with a candy-cane motif. We hung shrink-wrapped candy canes, strung peppermint garland and made a huge bow for the top from red & white diagonally-striped wired ribbon. Cute!

Kevin, (having never had a nursery, nor a crib because we're "family bed" people) was, what I call, a "wandering baby". You never knew where he was going to be when you woke up. One particular morning during the holiday season (I believe it was "8 Maids a-Milking" day), I woke to funny little noises coming from the living room. Those funny little noises turned out to be my barely-steady-on-his-toes baby boy, standing as high on tiptoes as his footie pajamas would allow, neck outstretched like a Serengeti giraffe, nursing the end of a peppermint stick. Apparently he had sucked the plastic off the end of one, then continued to lick and slurp it to a sharp point, and the funny little noises were his grunts and groans as he neared the end of his height range in relation to the dwindling candy cane. The look on his little face told me what his lack of verbal communication could not: "Me like sugar."

As a wandering baby he did many other funny little things like sleepwalk, almost pee on his sister, and sleep in the kitchen cabinet. Oh, other stories for other days!

November 19, 2007

the calm before the storm

Everybody is blogging about the season: traveling, Christmas shopping, the November "calm before the storm". I love Christmas. I do. Really. I just want it to last twice as long and be four times less hectic. And I'm not generally a procrastinator, except when it comes to Christmas shopping. I haven't even begun to think about it, much less actually do it. (sigh)

I love the cold, the dark, the white twinkle lights, humongous bows on packages, snow, boiled custard, holiday get-togethers, timers that automatically turn my trees on and off, Christmas music, online shopping, my rabbit-lined leather gloves, appetizers, holiday movies and cartoons, sweaters, and reminiscing about previous years as we hang each ornament on the tree . . .

I'm not so crazy about multi-colored icicle lights, wrapping gifts, turkey, pulling boxes out of the attic, property taxes, vaccuming pine needles, "Santa Baby", squash in any form, pumping gas when it's 18 degrees, or, one of the great mysteries of life: untangling Christmas tree lights which were most definitely NOT tangled when we put them away 11 months ago . . .

Mostly I just love the whole "being together" thing - whether with friends or family or friends who feel like family. That's my favorite part of Christmas. Well, that and "How the Grinch Stole Christmas."

November 16, 2007

stinky little boy

Kevin is spending the weekend visiting his sister at college. He has really been looking forward to it. Kacey is, well . . . over-the-top, can't wait, planning the "best weekend EVER" excited! They are so cute. They have a very unique relationship, and I am very blessed by it. They LOVE each other. Truly, completely adore each other. I can't remember a single real argument they have ever had. Oh, they beat on each other quite regularly, but it's always a playful "I'm tougher than you" wrestling match intended for everyone's entertainment. Generally when they are together, they are snuggled up, Kacey playing with Kevin's hair, and occasionally throwing "Your Mom" insults at one another. Kevin still sleeps in her room when she comes home, and they talk until the wee hours of the morning. When they were younger I would fuss at them to stop talking and go to sleep. No longer having a sibling relationship myself, I am content to let them enjoy their time together and build memories.

I attribute their relationship to the fact that they are nearly 7 years apart in age. Kevin has always been "Kacey's baby". When I was pregnant with him, she would frequently tell me how much she wanted a sister. She was adamant about NOT wanting a "stinky little boy". When he was born, she was the first one to hold him after we cut the cord. She was sitting there in the bedroom floor at 4 a.m. on that COLD January morning, long hair all tangled, wearing her "Little Mermaid" nightgown, holding this tiny little baby, and I looked over at her and said, "Kacey, I'm sorry we got a stinky little boy". She immediately looked up at me with darts shooting from her eyes and said, very sternly, "Don't ever say that about my baby." That was it. She was in love, and my heart melted.

November 08, 2007

unwritten rule of the first child

I always got to be first. That's the unwritten rule of the first child. The first to walk and talk. The first to go to school. The first to drive. To date. To marry. To have children. My slightly younger sister, Stacey, was second at all these things. Even with our second pregnancies, both boys due within a week of each other - Kevin decided to arrive 4 weeks early, thus ensuring me the first boy as well. She was always throwing this up in face. "You OWE me!" she'd laugh.

A few years back, she got to be first. I've never been happy about this one on any level. Little sisters aren't supposed to go first . . . especially when it entails funerals and cemetary markers. And no matter how much time passes, I hurt for my niece and nephew who really have no idea how wonderful their mom was. I hurt for my parents who have to walk by her bedroom and drive by her gravesite every day. I hurt for me because I still miss her so much. Weeping is an understatement of the occurrence going on at my desk as I type this through blurry eyes.

My consolation is this. She got to be first . . . to see God. (You know, I always kind of thought that "Jesus wept" verse was more Jesus crying, not so much because of the hurt and mourning going on around him, but because he knew where he was bringing Lazarus back from.) I certainly don't have a grasp on what heaven is like, but I like to think Stacey mothers on every baby who didn't make it long in this life. I like to imagine her talking to Sarah about what it was like to be pregnant at 90. I like to think she has conversations with Peter and John and Esther and Job. That's extremely cool. And the joy that I KNOW I will be with her again makes days like today endurable. Stacey Leigh, I love you . . . Happy Birthday.

November 02, 2007

raindrops on roses . . .

Thruchildseyes thinks she’s old because she has a favorite winter squash! Oh, Sara, you are a funny funny girl! This prompted me to think of:

Things I enjoy now that I hated when I was a kid . . .

Onions . . . Hated them as a kid, but developed a SERIOUS craving for them with my second pregnancy that never when away! I could eat them raw like an apple now, except that nobody would ever want to carry on a conversation with me!

Watching the news . . . as a kid – BORING. Now I could be a news junkie if I let myself.

Going for drives . . . my parents use to haul us around on Sunday afternoon drives a couple of times a month. It was sheer torture. Back seats. Sunshine. Getting carsick. Nothing to do but think about all the cool stuff you COULD be doing if you were at home. Now I look forward to it as a great time to pray, or catch up on new music, or have a great conversation with somebody I enjoy one-on-one time with!

Getting up early . . . you gotta be kidding!? Really, up until just a couple of years ago I could give a wintering grizzly a run for his hibernating money. Sleep was a valuable commodity. Now, well, I just don’t seem to sleep much and don’t seem to need it. (You know, a person can only use so much beauty sleep - once you look as good as I do, it's really just a waste!)That makes getting up early kinda cool. Watching the sunrise, writing notes to friends, reading a good book – there’s got to be something wrong with me.

Things I liked as a child that I don’t like now . . .

Sleeping until noon . . . reference “getting up early” in the previous category

Gilligan’s Island . . . apparently my I.Q. went up 70 points once I stopped watching it.

Skipping church . . . RARELY happened, but I always enjoyed when it did! If I missed now, I would feel like I was being taken off of life-support!

Childlike things that I liked as a child and STILL like . . .

Snow . . . Looking at it more than being out in it, but still, I’m a sucker for a Winter Wonderland.

Chocolate milk . . . 2% + 4 spoons full of Quik – stirred, not shaken. And not with Chinese food.

Reading . . . A habit I am happy to still have and happy to have passed on to my kids.

Playing Games . . . Any kind, any time, anywhere – I LOVE to play games. Silly games, serious games, card games, word games, doesn’t matter as long as it’s not Monopoly or Risk! I'm a good loser, but a "gloating" winner!