Thursday, July 29, 2010

Motherhood is so extreme...

Motherhood is so extreme. I feel like each day I experience extreme joy and happiness in celebrating the little things that are so big for the little people I love. I also feel like I experience extreme frustration, and subsequently extreme guilt, due to my lack of patience in certain situations. J has been out of town for the last 4 nights, and we have done surprisingly well. I mean, really, the kids are so much bigger that I can actually get them to sleep at a reasonable time, and I can entertain them with fun activities like drawing on the shower walls with markers (until they turned on each other), or playing hide and seek, or using letter stamps and coloring pictures (all of those things happened during the short period of 4:30 and 5:30 p.m. yesterday. I actually didn't cry while daddy was away this time nor did I feel like I couldn't make it another day. (My parents were also awesome with helping out. I am so thankful for them!)
However, with their age also has come fighting with each other - sometimes physical. I mean seriously, some of these altercations are like the WWF, there are just less spandex costumes and more rage. So, while physically things are about a zillion times more manageable, emotionally the fighting with each other and sassiness with me are really remarkable.
One of those situations that really tests my patience has been happening a lot these days. Perhaps, you can relate? It goes something like this:
Me: Please get in the car.
Preschooler: No, you go to the other side. I want to do it myself.
Me: I can't go to the other side, I have to make sure you are safe. Go ahead and climb in yourself.
Preschooler: I need to get my ____ . I think I forgot it.
Me: You'll be okay without it. Please just get in the car.
Preschooler: I NEED my ______!!
Me: Oh, look you actually left it on the floor of the car buried in crumbs and other miscellaneous plastic things. Here it is. It is very hot outside. Please climb in your seat.
Preschooler: I need to swing into my seat.
Me: Okay! Just get in. (Waiting) That's it. If you don't get in before I count to three I am putting you in myself. 1-2....
Preschooler: I'm in my seat. NO! You can't buckle me. I need to do it myself!
Me: Okay, do it yourself! Just please hurry! Mommy is sweaty because it is a 115 degrees out here and she is about to lose it. (For those of you not in AZ that temperature is literal, not an exaggeration.)
*5 more minutes pass while the "self-buckling" takes place before mommy can do the final snaps.
Preschooler (whining and apparently just realizing the temperature): It's HOT! I'm SOOOO firsty (thirsty!)
*Repeat this on the other side of the car with the other preschooler.
This heat is making me a very testy person. Nevertheless, now juxtapose that sweaty-car-seat-battle-for-independence with the sweetest moments watching T realize that he knows all but one of his letters or snuggling up with B as she explains to me the cupcakes she would like to make for all of her friends from ballet class. Or hearing them pray and thank God for their families and talk about how they know they don't have to be afraid because He is with them. Picture the midnight, "Mommy, I can't sleep. Can you please snuggle me?"And then you know why I let these little people force me to stand out in the unbearable heat in order to buckle their car seat for 15 minutes a pop. And still I wouldn't trade the job for anything.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Ahhh, the desert...

This week we have been enjoying the "cooler" temperatures that come with monsoon season. It's only been in the mid-90's which has been an excellent reprieve from the 115 degree heat we had experienced last week. You should see the kids run to grab their umbrellas at the sight of two or three rain drops.

We spent the 4th of July up at my in-laws cabin which was a lot of fun! We saw fireworks (well, everyone except T who fell asleep), hunted for bugs and rocks, picked veggies from the garden with Nana, and rode a lot of go-kart with Papa. Not to mention we even needed to wear a jacket occasionally.

Even in spite of the crazy temps, we have been managing to stay cool enough with morning playdates with friends, museums, swimming lessons, splash pads, libraries, and so on.

In fact today we went with some friends to a tour at Coldstone Creamery where the kids got to help make ice cream and then of course eat some! My awesome friend, Tasia, set this up for us, and we all had a blast!

However, we do have to stay inside most afternoons because I can't bear to stand in the torturous heat while each preschooler insists/attempts to buckle their own car seats by themselves. The sun seems to beat down even hotter during those waits.
Even so, the kids have really gotten so old! I am realizing this in that they require much less manual labor than last summer. But, I do think they zap more emotional energy at this point. Between antagonizing each other (T is a pro!) and whining (B could give even the best whiner a run for their money) there are some days where I think I just might lose it. Thankfully, they make up for it with the ridiculous number of cute things they say. There are very few things that are better than snuggling them and reading together or seeing them enjoy some little activity we are doing. They adore each other, too. I peeked into their sports class the other day and saw them each keep picking each other in duck-duck-goose until the teacher intervened.
We have now been back from Africa for two months though it is very much still on our hearts. It is so strange for me to be reading travel warnings about potential terror threats and the danger of being in public places that we used to frequent just weeks ago in Kenya. We are praying for a peaceful voting process on August 4th in Nairobi, and thinking of all of the people we shared moments with while we were there.

As for our African friends here, we were able to take the refugee family we are working with to Walmart for the first time. I got to hold their little one year old baby boy as we walked around and he kept grabbing my hand and pushing it to his toes so I could count them once again. It was nice to be able to help a bit with some little things, like demonstrating what to do with air freshener and showing her that she didn't want swim diapers (that would have been a leaky disappointment of a diaper!) It made me remember what it was like to be in a foreign grocery store for the first time. It's pretty daunting.

I think they were surprised they could buy pineapples and shoes in the same place, but other than that they didn't display too much shock. The cashier accidentally dropped their can of fruit on the floor and it was very dented. She told the family that they would get a new one, but the family insisted, "No problem! No problem!" It was pretty interesting to think that this dented can was probably of not much concern when they had spent the past years living in a refugee camp after fleeing their war torn country. It's amazing the perspective you can gain even in a Walmart. Now if only I can keep that perspective...

Saturday, July 3, 2010

California Love...

This past week we were able to spend a few days in Pasadena while J held a staff retreat. We got to wear jackets! We enjoyed early morning "June gloom" cloudiness. We hit up all of our favorite kid hang-outs. And we did all of this while daddy was working away. Don't worry we took him to the beach one day. :)

But, the best part, was seeing all of our friends there. The kids adored reuniting with beloved playmates, and I thoroughly enjoyed the great conversations catching up with very close friends. It is pretty amazing to look back and realize how many amazing people God brought through our path while we lived there for two years, and it is even more special to know that almost a year after we moved we can still come back and have talks and fun like we never left at all.
So, my kids are pretty funny. They are saying and doing hilarious things at a rate which is much too fast for me to record them all. But, I felt like there was a concentrated amount of randomness this past trip which I have taken the time to document.
- T (who is now diaperless - yay!!) apparently had a little too much fun on our second night in town as he threw up as we took him up to the hotel room. He then woke up the next day and said in a very dramatic fashion, "I can't walk, Mommy, carry me!" before going limp. I got a little nervous when he preferred to sleep in the stroller than play at the park. But upon waking him after the park to get back in the car he just said, "I feel good, mom!" and it was over. So, apparently the boy who plays hard also rests hard on occasion. He wasn't sick, just tired. And I must admit I love the extra chances to snuggle my precious and very active boy.

-Unfortunately, the vomiting episode took place on B's side of the car. We tried to clean it up with hotel towels and hot water. Surprise - not all that effective at removing the smell. The next day, B starts gagging about it and says, "Ewww! I don't want to smell T's bacteria!" He luckily didn't seem too offended.
- We had a free hour during our trip so we stopped by our old Petsmart hang out. The kids loved it just as much as when they were one year-olds. At one point I did look over to find T mooning me, just for fun, but thankfully, I don't think anyone saw before I could explain why we don't do that in public. During that same visit, B was telling me again about how she is going to be an "animal carer" when she grows up which is super sweet. The only downfall is that it unfortunately sounds a lot like "animal killer" when she says it so I often need to quickly clarify when she tells this to friends, family, and strangers. She said she is also planning to be a doctor, vet, mommy, and princess. :) I think she should add writer to the list because she tells amazing stories, and never has enough time to finish each one, though she was hopeful when she heard we were a captive audience for our 6 hour drive.

- While over at our friend's house I noticed T start to make a disgusted face at which point he asked me for a wipe for his tongue. I asked why and he said, "Because I licked that rock." I look and see a somewhat triangle shaped boulder (see picture below). I of course, ask, "Why did you do that?" "Because I thought it was pizza. But it wasn't." Mystery solved.
- When B had just finished a new activity at one of our former favorite Pasadena parks, T wanted to try. Before he did she warned him, "T, this might scare you,'s a cool challenge." My very brave boy took the challenge happily. This was also the park B's second birthday was at, and she excitedly recalled, "I have a lot of rememberies from my birthday here!"

I agree with her. We have had an awesome year with great family and friends in AZ, but we still have a lot of great "rememberies" from Pasadena and of the people there, too. :) So glad it's such a nice place to visit!