Monday, April 26, 2010

Release the Kraken! aka Remodeling with Bob and Michelle


Frightening, isn't it? This is what Bob and I both turn into when we have to discuss the remodel. It's not pretty. Try as I might, anytime we talk about the house it gets ugly...fast. We always end up with something nice, but I feel like I have to fight....for....every.....little....decision. (Say the words slowly - make them sound painful - as if you are desperately clinging to a cliff, by your fingertips and you will start to get an idea of how I feel.)

To give you an example, 3 years ago we remodeled our kitchen. It's a kitchen, sitting area, desk, dining area all in one. I wouldn't call it a 'great room,' such as newer homes boast, but it dreams of being a 'great room' when it grows up. Anyway, I had in mind the color I wanted to paint this new room, Sherwin Williams Burlap (fabulous color). I purchased a test quart and painted a 2 foot square on the wall. Bob came home and said the color was awful. Over a couple of weeks I painted so many squares of test paint colors that local taggers were coming to admire my work. Although our checkered wall was artistic, I was frustrated! None of the colors seemed to please Bob and I still had my heart set on burlap. One day Bob walked over to our wall quilt, studied all the colors and said, "You know what? I really like this one here." He was pointing at Burlap...my very first choice. I wanted to dump all the other test quarts over his head. I said, as calmly as I could muster, "THAT is the very FIRST color I showed you!" "Oh - well, why didn't you just go with that to start with - instead of wasting money on all these other colors?" "Because you said you thought it was AWFUL!!!!" "Hm." he said and walked away. I proceeded to pull out another chunk of my hair.
The tricky part is that Bob tells me he doesn't care about the colors, carpet, tile, etc. Then when I show him what I have selected he will say something along the lines of, "That's what you chose?" Now I know you are thinking - don't ask his opinion if he says he doesn't care. But there are a few problems with that line of thinking: First, he shares his opinion whether I ask or not; Second, since it's his house, too, I want him to like it; and Third, I happen to be an obsessive people pleaser. It's a terribly annoying trait....one of the things I ALMOST learned in therapy is that not everyone will like me. It's a work in progress. Don't get me wrong - I am not a complete push over - I happen to be just as stubborn as he is - depending on the circumstance. Unfortunately, we haven't seemed to embrace the concept of compromise. I either cave, or no decision gets made, or I give up.....wait, is that the same as caving? It's only been 19 years - we're still learning how to get along.
I tend to pick small areas that I decide he will have absolutely no say in. For this project the area is light fixtures. I greedily relish every lighting choice. In my mind I think, "Hah! Look at this sparkly chandelier I chose. It will dangle over our bed FOREVER and there is nothing you can do about it!! Bwa-ha-ha!" Of course, he will most likely be oblivious to these triumphant moments - or I will endure snide little comments for 2 -3 years....but I don't care...I actually struck out on my own and made....A DECISION! (Isn't remarkable to think I run a business?)

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

You forgot to turn off the light

Yesterday I was feeling STRESSED. Between the economy still taking pot shots at my business and the remodeling, I have had a hard time focusing. Last night was no exception.

Kristen and I still read stories together before she goes to bed. I told my girls that I will read with them at night as long as they are interested. It has been a great excuse to read some fun young adult and children's novels. After reading together and saying family prayers I tucked her in bed. We had our traditional hug, kiss and "Sleep tight, don't let the bed bugs bite" moment and I left her room. I forgot to turn off the light.

I had slipped into the bathroom only to hear her call out, "You forgot to turn off the light." "Sorry, sweets, I will turn off the light when I come out." As I was washing my hands, my mind became inundated with questions: how much time it would take to run back to work to get time cards, how could I improve summer camp enrollment, will the contractor remember to move that light?, I need to go pick out my carpet color, will we have to paint ourselves or be able to pay someone, Oh - shoot I never worked out today and it's almost 10! I have a busy day tomorrow I need to get out of here....and on and on. This and more took place in the brief amount of time it took me to wash my hands. I left the bathroom, slipped on my shoes and headed out to my car. As I was pulling out of the driveway, Kristen came running out of the house and said, "You forgot to turn off my light." I apologized, told her I had a lot on my mind...she said it was okay and went back into the house.

I thought, "Why would she get out of bed, come up the stairs and stop me from leaving to remind me that I forgot to turn off her light?" Am I seeming so consumed with my own problems that she is feeling like her needs are being ignored? There is more to this than remembering to turn out the light.

I spend all day teaching parent's about child development - but fall into the trap of not practicing what I preach. When all is said and done, no matter what happens at work, in my marriage, in my mind, I want my children to feel important. I want them to feel and believe that they are truly great individuals.

This week I am teaching parents about the importance of affection. That instinct to cuddle and cradle our little ones actually turns on a "switch", if you will, in an infant's brain. It triggers the neuron development that builds self-esteem and social development. Without that affection, an infant will not thrive.

In the 1920s the popular parenting trend was to be a "hands off" parent....literally. If your child did something that made you feel proud you could kiss their forehead or pat them on the head, but hugging, snuggling, being overly demonstrative would be detrimental to the child in the long run. In 1928 a physician named Dr. J. Brenneman, decided something drastic needed to be done to lower the infant mortality rate at his hospital. He insisted each infant and child be hugged, rocked, cuddled and carried throughout the day, or "mothered." The mortality rate dropped from 35% to under 10% in one year. The only change was the "mothering."

Unsolicited parenting advice: Learn all you can about child development...then trust your heart.

As my children grow and we all get busier and I have to think, "How many times have I hugged her today?" Virginia Satir says we need 4 hugs a day for survival, 8 hugs a day for maintenance and 12 hugs a day for growth. Had I been fitting in 4 or 8 hugs?

When I got home from work Kristen was still awake. I gave her another hug and told her that I shouldn't have forgotten to turn off her light. She said she was kind of embarrassed that she had made a big deal over it. I told her that no matter what was going on in my world....nothing would ever be more important to me than what was going on in hers. I gave her one more hug and then turned off the light.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Randomness....

The pressure to finish the stories is mounting. I want to finish them, but I will be honest - I know that certain people are expecting a story about them....but it may not all be a bed of roses - you know? The whole point of the stories was to be 100% me - but I don't want to offend...any thoughts?

After the earthquake in China, Kristen turned to me and said, "We're next." There was an earth quake in Utah yesterday....hmmm. Psychic?

I really don't think Prince Charming in Cinderella was all that charming. I mean he danced with her all night and never found out her name? Hello!

The checker at 7-11 spent a full 5 minutes telling me I shouldn't drink diet coke, after I purchased a big gulp. Do you think her boss knows?

On Wednesday, on my way to pick up Kristen from dance, I went through Wendy's drive through to get her something to eat - since she goes straight from dance to church. This was my ordering experience.

Me: May I please have a jr. bacon cheeseburger?

Wendy's woman: The bacon will be 80 cents extra.

Me: confused pause.....umm....it's on your $1 menu.

Wendy's woman: Right (annoyed) but if you want it in your kids meal it will be 80 cents extra.

Me: I don't want a kids meal.

Wendy's woman: So you just want the sour cream and chives potato?

Me: (very, very confused) I think you're looking at someone else's order. I just want a jr bacon cheeseburger and a value french fry.

Wendy's woman: (super annoyed) Do you want that in addition to the kids meal and the potato?

Me: Nope. Could I just have the burger and fries?

Wendy's woman: long pause....so now you don't want the kids meal?

Me: I never ordered a kids meal - just the burger and fries.

Wendy's woman: Fine! pull around for your total.

It was a strange experience - especially when I ended up with 2 jr. bacon cheeseburgers and the fry...

How's your week?

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Story #35 Nicole


When Bob and I decided we were ready for a baby the doctor and fertility drugs quickly came into the scene. Taking temperatures and expensive pills all to see those 2 blue lines on the pregnancy test. When I finally got that result (at 4:00am) I couldn't contain myself....I was THRILLED!

Nicole was born 3 weeks early and was a tiny 6 pound 17 inch little one. I remember when it was time to leave the hospital. Bob had gone to retrieve the car and the nurse went to get the discharge papers. I was left with this beautiful tiny creature that I was supposed to dress. It didn't go well. I thought, "Why did you leave me alone with her? I don't know what I'm doing!" Somehow it worked out.

When Nicole was 6 months old, Bob was working full-time and attending graduate school in the evenings. He was pretty much gone form 7 - 10 every day. Most everyone on my street worked full time...so it was me and Nicole...without a lot of socializing options.

Having read far too many parenting books, I was always concerned that I did things just right. I knew it was important to narrate the day for Nicole - and with it just being the two of us - I felt like I needed to make things really interesting. I spent so much time talking to her I would sometimes get hoarse by the end of the day. I was fairly certain that her first words were going to be "Mom, SHUT UP!" (They weren't, by the way, her first word, at 8 months, was bear. There were pictures of bears right above her changing table so I would always talk about the bears and make up stories about them to entertain us both.

She was always around the -20% for height and weight, so you can imagine how shocking it was when she would start speaking. By 12 months she was saying 2 word phrases - which is incredibly early....but since she was about the size of a 4-5 month old...well, you can imagine the reactions we would get when we were out running errands.

She was in no hurry to walk, however, so it was just shy of 18 months that she finally took her first steps. How ironic that one of her favorite past times now is to go running.

She has invented many great words over the years - most of which we still use:

Shun-oh - Lotion

Chidder - kids, children, etc.

Pwa-pwaps - okay we don't use that one - I just think it sounds funny.

Dad-oo - What she called Bob for years....now she calls him George. We don't know why.

Pa-ba - what she called Grandpa Bob for years.

Cereal with yum-yums - Oatmeal with brown sugar.

We always read stories before bedtime....this was the debate process that took place:

Me: Go get 3 books to read.

Nicole: I'll get 7.
Me: Nope, just 3.

Nicole: How about 7?

Me: Okay - how about 4?

Nicole: 8?

Me: You don't seem to be catching on to the negotiation process.

At the age of 7 she announced to all of the children at Christy's daycare that there was no Santa Claus - or Tooth Fairy. It was not a good day at Christy's daycare. (And, by the way, I wanted her to enjoy believing in Santa and the Tooth Fairy. Her announcement to all the daycare kids was the first I knew about her doubts. Turkey.)

She has grown into an incredibly talented, wonderful girl....I mean young woman.

I don't know anyone who tries harder to obey the teachings of Jesus Christ. She reads her scriptures everyday without any nagging from us. She takes her commitment to the Lord very seriously for which I have great admiration.

You ask her to do something, she does it. What parent doesn't want that quality for their child?

She is a great pianist, in spite of very petite and always cold hands.

She is a lover of books - hurrah!

She is a great student....usually all A's.

She is an award winning artist!
She has a fabulous sense of humor.
She is drop dead gorgeous.

She is a great friend - easy to talk to and fun to be around. I adore her.

Aren't I the luckiest Mom?