Thursday, August 27, 2009

the power is in the shoes

I know you're tired of hearing from me today, but Nathan said something funny when I picked him up from school. He's been playing basketball at recess with his friends and hasn't made a basket yet. He attributes that to his shoes. He wore a different pair of shoes today - his "fast shoes". While I guess they did make him fast, he announced that "These shoes don't work. I still didn't make a basket. Maybe my light shoes will work." Should I tell him about Air Jordans?? :) Papa, you might have to tell him what works for you...

PS to the previous post

I meant to also mention that in our ways of expressing love we also may need to sacrifice sometimes. For instance, since I like to do "projects," often for other people, sometimes Alex has to recognize that and sacrifice his need for quality time. I appreciated that in my recent project that turned out to take all my time and attention from him and the boys. But it was important in showing my love to family. On the other hand, sometimes I have to put aside what I'm doing (realize that the house can wait) to spend time talking to Alex or playing with the boys. Or it may be as simple as allowing him to invite friends over for dinner or games, recognizing that he needs quality time with others as well.

By the way, I'm no expert... just "people watching".

Love languages

A recent friend's post got me thinking about love languages again. You've probably heard of the book, "The Five Love Languages" by Gary Chapman. As identified by him, they are: quality time, words of affirmation, acts of service, gifts, and physical touch. I think I am primarily acts of service, and I think I've got Alex figured out - he is a good combination of words of affirmation and quality time. Each of these love languages plays a role in our relationship (who doesn't need some good physical touch? ;) ) but Alex feels most loved by time and praise, which I struggle to dole out. In daily expressions of love, he could care less about gifts, service, and physical touch. We have sort of made a pact not to buy gifts for each other on Valentine's Day and other seemingly meaningless holidays (more about that later). And he doesn't like to hold hands, hates getting his back rubbed, and often squirms out of hugs that last longer than 15 seconds. :) He also doesn't see the dishes being done or laundry folded as an expression of love. In fact, if the house was a disaster when he came home from work, but I showered him with my full attention and words of affirmation, he could care less about the state of the house.

This is hard for me because I express my love through service and I also admit that I like getting praised for it. Alex is figuring me out in some ways - he knows that if I fixed stuffed peppers for him or M&M cookies, he is really loved. I don't know what that says about the days he comes home and I haven't made dinner... I imagine he takes it personally. I think Alex is starting to figure me out in other ways. I have noticed that Alex is doing more chores around the house than when we first got married. I remember one night recently coming home from the grocery store at 11:30pm, thinking that I would still need to clean up the kitchen that was a disaster when I left. To my surprise, Alex had done the dishes and cleaned the whole kitchen. Boy did I feel loved! He was already asleep, and I realize that I forgot to give him his words of affirmation the next day. Shame on me! Thank you Alex - I have noticed the things you're doing around the house. And by the way, you're getting lots of brownie points for your work on remodeling the bathroom.

Now... on to other observations (sorry, I'm a little psycho-analytical). What I also have noticed - while we all may be primarily one love language or the other, I have found that it is the unexpected that makes a big difference, and it doesn't matter if it is the primary love language. There is power in random acts of kindness. Think about it - how much more meaningful is a gift given on a non-obligatory day? Flowers or candy on Valentine's Day or your birthday just don't mean that much when they are "supposed to be given" or you are expecting them. Whereas, if a flower or chocolate or little note show up on your pillow on a random day, that says so much more. Also, think about the power of an unexpected kiss, an invitation to take a walk together, praise that doesn't come immediately ("I really appreciated what you did last week..." or "You did so well on such and such..."). Go ahead and try it.

Now, one more thing... we usually think about the five love languages in the marriage relationship (at least I do). But now try to figure out the primary love language of your kids. I think these love languages do change some over time, as little kids appreciate gifts so much more, but you can find little differences. Nathan has always liked being really close to me, rubbing my arm, and he was my "cuddle bug" as a baby. He still likes hugs and physical touch, but he also thrives on quality time and words of affirmation. Jared likes hugs, but as a baby, he didn't want to be held. He needed some space. He also likes time and praise, as most kids do. Being under the shadow of Nathan, I'm still trying to figure out what really makes him tick. In the book I just read, "Try and Make Me!", one thing it pointed out is that constant power struggles within the relationship might be a sign of a damaged relationship. Until you have a healthy relationship in the first place, it's hard to establish authority or a desire to follow it. It said the best thing for avoiding struggles is to spend time with your child and to play with them. They then are more eager to listen to you. I might post some more about this book later. I think that's enough for now...

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Sometimes the truth hurts...

...especially when you realize that you will never be in the "A-L" category. For the past week, Nathan has come home with a nametag sticker that says "M-Z" on the top. The A-L's exit from the gym, and the M-Z's exit from the cafeteria for after school pick-up. Nathan made the comment that he hopes that he'll be in the A-L's sometime... I had to break it to him that he would never be in the A-L's. He was pretty sad. Sorry buddy. You don't get to ride the bus AND you can't be an A-L...

He has been saying that maybe he can ride the bus in California though...

Thursday, August 20, 2009

1st day of Kindergarten

Nathan had his first day of Kindergarten today... he got up at 7:00am and had his backpack all ready to go. At about 7:30, I rolled out of bed and asked if he wanted pancakes. "No, I already had cereal and I don't want to be late." Okay, so that didn't go as planned.

At about 8:20am, we headed to school. I was anxious to meet his teacher, since I missed "Meet the Teacher Night" earlier this week. We headed in to his classroom, only to be quickly shewed out. We were supposed to go to the gym... uhhh... nice to meet you! I'm glad that first impressions are just that and usually not accurate. I know nothing about her, but I got my 1st impression of her, and she probably thought, "This is one of those parents who can't follow directions." Luckily we get second chances. So I herded my child down to the gym, left him in line with the rest of the "cattle," and said bye-bye. I guess I thought it would be different, not so impersonal or something. He said he had a good day and he likes his teacher. That's good enough for me. I'm just excited for him to learn all he really needs to know, because all we really need to know we learned in kindergarten, right?

All I Really Need To Know I Learned In Kindergarten by Robert Fulghum- an excerpt from the book:
"All I really need to know I learned in kindergarten. ALL I REALLY NEED TO KNOW about how to live and what to do and how to be I learned in kindergarten. Wisdom was not at the top of the graduate-school mountain, but there in the sandpile at Sunday School. These are the things I learned:
Share everything.
Play fair.
Don't hit people.
Put things back where you found them.
Clean up your own mess.
Don't take things that aren't yours.
Say you're sorry when you hurt somebody.
Wash your hands before you eat.
Warm cookies and cold milk are good for you.
Live a balanced life - learn some and think some and draw and paint and sing and dance and play and work every day some.
Take a nap every afternoon.
When you go out into the world, watch out for traffic, hold hands, and stick together.
Be aware of wonder.
Remember the little seed in the styrofoam cup: The roots go down and the plant goes up and nobody really knows how or why, but we are all like that.
Goldfish and hamsters and white mice and even the little seed in the Styrofoam cup - they all die. So do we.
And then remember the Dick-and-Jane books and the first word you learned - the biggestword of all - LOOK.
Everything you need to know is in there somewhere. The Golden Rule and love and basic sanitation.Ecology and politics and equality and sane living. Take any of those items and extrapolate it into sophisticated adult terms and apply it to your family life or your work or your government or your world and it holds true and clear and firm. Think what a better world it would be if all - the whole world - had cookies and milk about three o'clock every afternoon and then lay down withour blankies for a nap. Or if all governments had a basic policy to always put things back where they found them and to clean up their own mess. And it is still true, no matter how old you are - when you go out into the world, it is best to hold hands and stick together.
© Robert Fulghum, 1990. Found in Robert Fulghum, All I Really Need To Know I Learned In Kindergarten, Villard Books: New York, 1990, page 6-7.
I guess they don't have naps and cookies anymore in kindergarten these days either...

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Time to take it down another notch...

Utah trip

Just got back from a trip to Utah for my sister Alison's graduation from BYU (although she's 3/4 cowgirl...) and also for my niece's baby blessing.

Owen and I flew out there. The flights weren't very fun, but he managed to smile through most of it. It's hard for an 8 month old to sit still - my arms were quite tired. Our first flight on Wednesday at 7:00am got cancelled (after sitting on the plane for 2 hours), so we had to wait until 7:00pm, arriving in Utah around 12:15am (our time). (Alex at least drove back to OKC to take us out for lunch while we were waiting on Wednesday. ) After that incredibly long day, I had to rest and recover for a good portion of the day on Thursday - a combination of altitude sickness, fatigue, and dehydration took its toll on me. But luckily I recovered pretty quickly and was able to enjoy my time there. Owen was quite a trooper - we kept going here and there, and he just wanted to be in his bed.

Alex played "Mr. Mom" with Nathan and Jared (thank you to those who helped out with them), holding down the fort while I was gone. Alex had fun with the boys, but he "didn't get anything done." Imagine that. I think he was happy to go back to work today...

It was great to spend time with family. All of my siblings were there, as well as my parents and grandma. We had fun playing volleyball, bowling, roasting hotdogs and "mallow bursts" (marshmallows and starbursts) and just hanging out. It was fun to watch Jaden and Nicholas play together - Nicholas is a hoot. I can still hear his little two year old voice saying "Oh, pie!" and calling Owen "be-be." My only complaint, as always, is that it was too short.

and here's what I look like holding a GIRL...

Sunday, August 16, 2009

1 month princess

Big O is 8 months today and princess Hailey is 1 month. We were able to be here for her baby blessing today. Auntie Alison made her dress. I'm wondering when she'll make little boy clothes for me...

8 month drooler

Monday, August 3, 2009

Exercise TV

I've been doing some workout videos on I couldn't get the link to work, so you'll have to look it up from the website. Go to free full length videos and find the 20 minute dance party with Ilyse Baker. It's really fun and you'll feel like a big idiot, but it's the best one I've found. I broke a sweat and got a workout without even realizing it. But, don't do this with an audience other than your kids and also you have to wait a few minutes for the video to come up. It's worth a try. Let's work it! :)

Sunday, August 2, 2009

What did you do all day?

I have been cleaning out my e-mail and came across this. It's a couple of years old (do you remember this Amanda?)... but maybe you haven't heard it before - funny little story:

What Do You Do All Day?

A man came home from work and found his three children outside, still in their pajamas, playing in the mud, with empty food boxes and wrappers strewn all around the front yard. The door of his wife's car was open, as was the front door to the house and there was no sign of the dog. Proceeding into the entry, he found an even bigger mess. A lamp had been knocked over, and the throw rug was wadded against one wall. In the front room the TV was loudly blaring a Cartoon channel, and the family room was strewn with toys and various items of clothing. In the kitchen, dishes filled the sink, breakfast food was spilled on the counter, the fridge door was open wide, dog food was spilled on the floor, a broken glass lay under the table, and a small pile of sand was spread by the back door. He quickly headed up the stairs, stepping over toys and more piles of clothes, looking for his wife. He was worried she might be ill, or that something serious had happened. He was met with a small trickle of water as it made its way out the bathroom door. As he peered inside he found wet towels, scummy soap and more toys strewn over the floor. Miles of toilet paper lay in a heap and toothpaste had been smeared over the mirror and walls. As he rushed to the bedroom, he found his wife still curled up in the bed in her pajamas, reading a novel. She looked up at him, smiled, and asked how his day went. He looked at her bewildered and asked, "What happened here today?" She again smiled and answered, "You know every day when you come home from work and you ask me what in the world I do all day?" "Yes," was his incredulous reply. She answered, "Well, today I didn't do it."