Sunday, June 13, 2010

"The Headband Story"

This has been dubbed "The Headband Story" because I've told it at least a couple dozen times, mostly by request. So, I thought I'd better write it down for posterity's sake.

For Wendy's wedding, she wanted the little girls (my two girls and 2 other nieces, Isabelle and Claire) to wear white dresses. As the outfits came together, I realized that they had white dresses, white cardigans, white tights, and white shoes. I decided they needed some color and what better way than with a cute headband flower or bow. Wendy's colors for her wedding were "earth tones" like browns, oranges, greens, blues, etc. I looked around for some baby headbands in those colors but didn't have much luck. I decided it couldn't be that hard to make my own so I went to Wal-mart and got some stretchy headbands and then to Tai-Pan,a home decorating store with tons of fake flowers, for some flowers in the right colors. I borrowed my friend Heather's hot glue gun (cause I'm not even crafty enough to have a hot glue gun) and started making the headbands. The headbands had come in a package of 6, so I made some extras of different colors. I thought I had done such a good job that I took a picture. I was really feeling good about them, in a Martha Stewart-kind of way. I could hardly wait for the girls to wake up from their nap to try them on.

The top two are for the wedding. Anyhow, I've never made anything like this before, so I didn't realize that as I was making the headbands I had them flat on the table. But, when I put them on the baby's heads, they stretched and rounded out. The result:

Some of the comments made about these pictures as I've told the story were, "They look like they're going spelunking" and "She looks like the queen of hearts".

Well, Doug and I were just laughing, but he came up with a good idea: why don't I just add some more flowers to fill in the gaps. I thought, "Brilliant!" So, I had some extra flowers that I just added in between. I thought that they looked even better. I was so thrilled that I took another picture.

Again, I could hardly wait until the babies woke up from their naps to try them on. When I did, both Doug and I could not help but laugh. When I put it on Ellie, he said, "You know what she looks like? The Chiquita Banana lady!" We both just laughed even harder.

Well, now I didn't know what to do but I was determined at this point to have cute headbands for the wedding. A girl at work suggested a place in the mall and I ended up going there to buy some headbands and flowers. Once at home, I decided I didn't really like the flowers I had just bought at the mall and the ones I had from Tai-Pan were much cuter. My great friend Heather offered to help make some clips with the Tai-Pan flowers. She did a great job and the end result was super cute!

The headbands I made luckily didn't go to waste. Isabelle and Claire were able to wear them and looked adorable. Several people came up to me and told me what a good job I did making the headbands. I just had to laugh.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Motherhood 101

One of the challenges I find with being a wife and mom is that it's sometimes hard to know if I'm doing a good job. I think it would be really great if someone could give me a grade at the end of each day so I could see where I am and where I need to improve. Yes, I am one of those people with a need to be evaluated (maybe I should have a professional do that?).

So, I've come up with a syllabus and a grading system to objectively measure myself.

Motherhood 101 (Starting Dec 2006-Forever)

Course Requirements:

There are no course requirements. Unless you want to adopt. Then your entire life must be thoroughly scrutinized to be found "fit".

Course Objectives:

1. To raise happy, healthy children who will have a positive impact on society.
2. To make sure my children always know I love them.
3. To keep the house orderly while children are being raised.
4. To make my husband a priority and work to strengthen our relationship.
5. To make and preserve memories for the family to look back on later.
6. To keep closets, pantries, and the refrigerator stocked at all times.

Required Text:

None. You're on your own. Unless you want to refer to the optional resources.

Optional Resources:

Other moms, grandparents, pediatricians. Or the thousands of books written on the subject. Pick a few, and good luck.


1. At the end of each day, I will be evaluated based on the following requirements made to help meet the course objectives:

  • Did I give my children every opportunity to be happy? Was I happy?
  • Did I feed my them nutritious meals and snacks?
  • Did I help them get enough sleep?
  • Did I help them to be active for part of the day?
  • Did I use teaching opportunities to instill values such as honesty, friendship, morality, civility, gratitude, optimism, faith in Jesus Christ, etc.
  • Did I read to my children?
  • Did I help them learn academically?
  • Did I tell them I loved them, both by word and action?
  • Did I spend individual time with each child, even just a few moments?
  • Did I do my household chores?
  • Did I spend time with my husband and have some one-on-one conversation?
  • Did I tell him I loved him, both by words and action?
  • Did I take opportunities to take pictures and/or video of the children and organize them in a meaningful way?
  • Have I planned fun things to do as a family that will create memories and bind us together?
  • Have I made sure our home is stocked of necessities while not breaking the bank?

    • Letter Grade Breakdown:
      A: 12-15 questions answered yes
      B: 10-12 questions answered yes
      C: 7-10 questions answered yes
      D: 4-7 questions answered yes
      F: 1-3 questions answered yes

      2. There will be pop-quizzes on various subjects. For example, there may be a quiz about when to call the doctor for a certain ailment. Or how to handle a screaming toddler in the grocery store. Or what to answer when a child asks where babies come from. These quizzes are pass/fail.

      3. A final grade will never actually be determined. If, by the time I'm a grandma, I've met the course objectives, then a passing grade will be given.

      Tuesday, May 18, 2010

      A Mover and a Shaker

      While I was pregnant with the twins, Baby B (Ellie) was a little acrobat, always kicking and moving around. Baby A (Cate) was lower down, I believe pinned between Ellie and my pelvis, and only moved around occasionally. Ellie always had a faster heart rate than Cate at each doctor visit, ultrasound, and non-stress test.

      At my non-stress tests, they would monitor the movements of the babies to determine their well-being. Ellie always passed in a short amount of time while we always waited for Cate to move around some more. Inevitably, the nurse would get out the buzzer/vibrator and zap my stomach where Cate was. This would completely freak Ellie out who would jump practically up my throat. Cate would finally pass the test and I would have to wait an extra 20 minutes for Ellie's heart rate to come back down.

      While I was pregnant, I worried about Cate and the fact that she didn't move as much as Ellie. A short time after they were born, I realized that it is just a difference in personality. Ellie is always on-the-go, even though she can't even crawl yet.

      She learned how to roll over early and is very mobile. She can get from one end of the room to the other just by rolling around. I just love when she's on her tummy and she pushes herself up with her arms and rocks back and forth from shoulder to shoulder. It looks like she's dancing.

      She also has to have constant entertainment. If she doesn't have a toy, she's looking for one. If there's none in sight, she's fussing for one. If there's something else interesting (a necklace, earrings, a dish), she'll grab that too. In fact, I've called her "Grabby McGrabberson" a few times and people always wonder what Max is saying when he calls her "Grabberson".

      It is a work-out to hold Ellie. By the end of church, if I've been holding her, I'm exhausted. She moves her arms, legs, and body non-stop. She'd much rather be free on the floor than held for very long.

      I know that our spirits lived before we came to this earth. It is obvious to me because each of my children have their own distinct personalities that are evident very early in their lives. Doug was saying the other day he never believed his parents when they said they didn't have a favorite child. Then he understood when he had three children of his own. We love them all!

      Sunday, May 9, 2010

      Mother's Day Miracles

      A while back there was a funny cell phone commercial in which a husband got his wife a new cell phone for Mother's Day. There just so happened to be a great deal where he bought one phone and got one for free. When the wife opened the gift and found two cell phones, the husband proclaimed, "It's a Mother's Day Miracle" and took the extra cell phone for himself. That's been a family joke ever since.

      These are the miracles I've witnessed this Mother's Day:

      1) I got a whole afternoon and evening off the Saturday before Mother's Day. Doug took care of the kids and I went to Logan for a Girl's Night Out with my sisters and mom. We had a wonderful dinner at Hamilton's and a lively conversation too. My mom said it was like we had been uncaged. We finished the evening off by going to the chick flick "The Last Song".

      2) I got a picture of my handsomes in their new Sunday duds. We just got Doug a new suit for his birthday and Max some new Sunday clothes as well.

      3) Doug was nice enough to get some muffins at Sam's Club so I didn't even have to pour cereal for breakfast.

      4) Doug also got me some beautiful Willow Tree figurines of a little boy called "Inquisitive Child" that reminded him of Max and some little twin babies. The funniest part of this is that last year for Father's Day I saw a Willow Tree figurine of a father and a son that reminded me of Doug and Max. I wasn't sure whether he would like it or not so I mentioned to him something about it. He said, "What would I do with a figurine?" Well, I'm going to show him what you do with a figurine.

      5) Ellie threw up the bananas and mixed berries she had for dinner all over the bedding and sheets that I so painstakingly made. Luckily, the stains came out after much scrubbing, pre-treating, and washing. As we were cleaning up the mess, I said to Doug, "This is why they have Mother's Day and Father's Day."

      6) Max actually went up to the front with the Primary and sang "Mother, I Love You", although I couldn't see him because he was behind some bigger kids. It still made me cry.

      7) The biggest miracle of all--I have the most wonderful husband and beautiful children and I'm the luckiest mother in the world!

      Friday, May 7, 2010

      I cannot tell a lie, for it was I.

      Max is a tattle-tale. Normally we might have a discussion about tattling and when it is and is not appropriate. However, he tattles on himself. Maybe the fact that he volunteers incriminating information is a sign that he's very in-tune with his conscience.

      There have been times when he's come home from playing at a friend's house or even from nursery when he would nonchalantly say to me, "Mom, I wasn't very nice to the other kids" or, "Mom, I hit the kids". Then I would have to call the parent or nursery leader and ask if Max was being mean. They would always say, "No, Max was fine. He is just too cute." I gathered that he probably was hitting other kids, but no more than they were hitting him.

      The other day I came out of the shower and was just toweling off when Max guiltily said, "Mom, I was playing with your make-up". That's when I noticed the brown streaks on his forehead and powder all over the floor. He'd even tried to clean it up himself, but must have known that he couldn't hide it from me. Yesterday I was telling him what a nice boy and a great big brother he was. Out came the confessions. "Well, sometimes I scare them by growling at them" and "Sometimes I jump on them" (he jumped off the couch and landed next to Ellie and scared her).

      It's hard to discipline a child when they tell you something bad they've done. I feel like I'm punishing him for being honest with me. We usually discuss it so he knows it was a good thing to tell me, but a bad thing to do. I hope he's always as honest and good-hearted as he is now.

      Thursday, May 6, 2010

      Greatest Big Brother

      Max has a shirt that says "Greatest Big Brother" and I think it's spot-on. He's always been gentle and loving with his baby sisters, except when he is playing and can be unintentionally rough.

      When the babies were very small, he took care of them by putting binkys in their mouths when they were crying. He liked to hold them and kiss them on their heads.

      Whenever I put the babies down for "tummy time", Max would squeeze himself between them. The babies didn't particularly like this because they were being squished, but he wanted to be right there by them.

      He's also protective of his baby sisters. Whenever we're out and about people are attracted to us and want to take a look at the babies. Max makes sure they know, "These are my babies", especially if the curious person is a little girl. A few months ago, the lady sitting behind us in church was holding Cate. He was a little anxious about it and whispered, "Tell her she can't keep she".

      Lately he's been getting a kick out of making the babies laugh. I'm not sure why they think he is so funny, but he gets big belly laughs out of them just by running back and forth in front of them. He'll say to me, "Mom, look, your kids are playing to each other". I hope it continues for a long, long, long time.

      Whenever I put the babies down for nap, he always says, "Wait, a hug and kiss, a hug and kiss." Then he kisses and hugs each baby and says, "Ellie (or Cate) have a good nap."

      Max has become a great helper for me. He grabs me diapers when I ask for them and he is constantly getting the babies toys to play with. Of course, they can't have his toys because they slobber all over them. They have to play with "baby toys".

      The other day he was holding his blanket like a baby. He was burping it and then put it in the bumbo to spoon-feed it. Doug says no dolls. I say whatever. He's gonna be a dad someday. And a really awesome one too.

      He told me the other day, "Mom, these are my favorite baby sisters. These are the babies I want."