Tuesday, December 9, 2014

The Santa Squabble

Not since our decision to keep Addison an only child have I had to defend such a personal choice so often. It is mind-boggling to me that people feel the need to interject their judgement, criticisms, and derision into a conversation that has absolutely nothing to do with their lives. I'm not bitter...just surprised. So, once again, I am blogging about a decision we have made for our family in hopes that I will not have to defend myself even one more time.

We are not doing the whole Santa thing. 

Now, I could list the reasons, but honestly, I don't want to. And none of them would be good enough for someone who does not agree with them anyway. But if you are open-minded and interested in our reasons (and what we will do instead of Santa), this blog (most of this one) (oh, and this one) is almost exactly what I would have written, were I so eloquent.

I will, however, say the following:

My decision to leave Santa out of Christmas has no bearing on anyone else's life. We get that people may think our decision is ridiculous, but to say that you "feel sorry for Addison" is just not okay. I know what Addison is and is not "missing out on" as Erik and I both grew up with Santa. For the record, if she someday decides to do Santa for her own children, we will completely support her, and we will even pay for her therapy should she decide her own Santa-less childhood has scarred her in some way.

I do not go searching for this conversation. It seems like inevitably someone daily asks about what Santa is bringing Addison or asks when she is having pictures with Santa. Because I have trouble being articulate under pressure and because most people are very defensive regarding this particular tradition, "We aren't really doing the whole Santa thing," always leads to a very awkward and abrupt end to the conversation. I am open to suggestions on alternative answers.

It doesn't mean that we think someone is/was a bad parent because their children believe(d) in Santa. No one needs to defend themselves to us. I promise that we don't care. We will not go home and talk about anyone behind their back. Our decision is not an indictment on anyone else's parenting.

We understand that people are very upset about the thought of Addison potentially ruining Santa for their children. I can assure everyone that when she is old enough to ask questions, we will make sure that she is fully briefed on how to respond to statements/inquiries about Santa. We will even role play. She will not run around breaking Santa figurines like some terrifying pint-sized Grinch or scream "Santa's not real!!" in the middle of the school program. We won't need an annual December quarantine.

In the end, we all have to prayerfully make the best decisions for our own families, and stay true to our personal convictions in the face of criticism. We wish all of you a very Merry Christmas, and may we all remember the true reason for the season.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Two Too Old

My Dear Daughter,

I absolutely cannot believe that today you are two years old. People constantly tell me not to blink while reminding me how quickly you will grow. Unfortunately, I don't need a reminder; I see it daily in your changing face, your new words, and your piles of too-small clothes. Today is bittersweet, as I'm sure all of your birthdays will be. I am so proud of you as you grow, and yet I want to keep you my baby forever.

This year has seen you acquire so many new skills! We are often left breathless keeping up with your quest for knowledge. The minute you feel confident in one skill, you are ready to learn something new and are not content to review old things. You have mastered the art of puzzles, you know all of your letters and their sounds, and you can name all of the numbers on sight. You frequently point them out as we stand waiting to check out at the local grocery store. Counting to 11 is a piece of cake for you and you know all of your colors too...even the hard ones like gray. You have also started picking out simple sight words like "is" and "the" in your books, much to our astonishment. You frequently string together thoughts that surprise us, and although we still can't understand everything you say, I know that someday you will hold us captive with your stories and observations.

We see your personality developing each day, but in many ways, you are still very similar to the baby I held just one year ago. You still love to dance with abandon, although now you don't hesitate to scream a song at the top of your lungs while doing it. Currently you especially like "Let it Go" and "Shake It Off," and you will ask us to play the songs over and over while you try to learn all of the words. You are still so very head-strong; you keep us on our toes as you change your mind often, but emphatically. You ALWAYS have an opinion on what you want to eat, what we'll watch on television, and even what you'll wear out of the house. You are so, so tough. You rarely show pain, and after falling you will dust your hands off and say, "I'm okay Mama!" no matter how scary the tumble seems to me. We call you our little "Warrior Princess."  Even though you are very independent, much like your mama, you still have a sweet streak a mile wide. Your hugs and kisses make our day, and we know the dogs secretly love them too. You make sure to say a sweet goodbye to each child by name at your daycare, and "Min-Min" frequently tells us how precious you are. You have made an impression on so many hearts, my child!

We still love trying to predict what you will become someday. We haven't ruled out anything involving books, as you can spend literally hours reading to yourself. Us getting to read to you is a luxury rarely allowed. Your obsession with the nightly appearance of the moon has prompted us to throw astronomer or astronaut into the mix, while your love of all things furry still has me proclaiming you to be a future vet. We know that God has given you the gifts and tools to be absolutely anything.

We are so looking forward to this coming year with our sassy, spunky "Miss Independent," and all of the new things it will hold for us all. From tackling potty-training to our first hotel stay as a family, there are sure to be many fun memories made and stories to tell. You enrich every aspect of our lives, my child, and we love you more than you could ever imagine. Happy Birthday My Sunshine!

All my love,


Monday, November 17, 2014

The Restoration Project...Part 5

#5 The Commonality Conundrum 

Things have been absolutely nonstop for months and months, but tonight I actually have some time to myself. I'm supposed to be grading on this quiet evening. Hence the reason for starting this series back up after a considerable absence. Procrastination is one of my favorite pastimes, and I've always been quite adept at it. Hey, speaking of pastimes...

Erik and I have just about nothing in common. He likes to work out and run; I don't even like to THINK about exercising. He enjoys Star Trek; I prefer just about anything else (I draw the line at a dentist visit). He could care less about football; I grew up singing Boomer Sooner before I even knew the alphabet. I am a fairly voracious reader (when I can make the time), preferring well-written novels and only picking up a non-fiction book if it guarantees to "read like fiction." Erik likes his books true and even then only sparingly. On a vacation, I want to go places I've never gone and see things I teach about but have only seen in textbooks. He likes his vacations beach-side with as little "going" as possible. These things may sound trivial, but our lack of similarities has been one of the biggest obstacles to us feeling fulfilled in our marriage.

There are moments when I can't help but wonder sometimes if we are the ONLY couple on the planet that seems so polar opposite. I know couples who take lake trips every weekend, go to football games in matching shirts, or even *shudder* RUN MARATHONS together, and I can't help but feel a little despondent. We have tried to chase away the voices in our heads in many ways. We have gone ahead and begrudgingly done something we hate doing under the guise of compromise, all the while quietly making it known that we are NOT enjoying the sacrifice. We have tried doing our OWN things and just leaving it at that. We have talked about it until we are blue in the face and even tried to change each other, thinking the other person wouldn't notice our incredibly subtle nudges. Instead, our counselor suggested we try something new and innovative...

We have begun trying to embrace the differences! Revolutionary, I know. Seriously though, when you begin to think of your partner's differences as strengths instead of annoyances, it makes you see your partner in a new light. I think the reason I have resented Erik's running is because it makes me, by comparison, feel like a lazy bum. On the upside, it does sort of inspire me to get off the couch. So our compromise is walking/jogging the dogs and baby together most evenings after dinner (when this crazy Oklahoma weather cooperates)...one of my new favorite family traditions. Also, we've started watching a sci-fi show occasionally together followed by a show of my choosing. Instead of playing with my phone all throughout "his" show and feeling like a closet nerd, I've started asking questions and trying to be present. He has agreed to letting me choose our next vacation spot (however far off that trip may be) and not just go, but put all of his effort into enjoying whatever we're doing! Our counselor also recommended trying to find a few NEW things we BOTH might like, and even gave us a list of unusual hobbies couples can do together. It sounds kind of silly, but it has helped us think outside the box. Now if we could just find the time to join a bowling league and restore a vehicle...

Thursday, April 10, 2014

5K? OK...


Recently, my dear friend asked me to join their relay team and run a 5K leg in the Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon. Apparently my fingers typed some sort of affirmative text, while my brain screamed, "No!!! Don't say yes...why?!? Why?!?" Clearly, I did not have my stuff together that day. Alas, I made a commitment and I am going to honor it, even if the entire relay team has to fashion some sort of interlocking-arm stretcher and carry me the last mile. (Don't be jealous that you didn't ask me to be on your team first). Anyway, I figured now that I am a total expert in not training at all, seeing that the relay is just a couple of weeks away, I will impart my wisdom upon you, so that you too, may follow in my slacking, procrastinating ways. After all, I need to beat SOMEONE come race day. It may as well be you...

Tip #1. Make sure that you sign up for said race just before you fall victim to some sort of stomach bug, flu, or illness that renders you useless in training for at least a good week or two.

Tip #2. Train with someone who runs so fast, you almost puke within the first 2 minutes of the run. This will ensure that you walk the other 30 minutes to relieve the stitch in your side, regulate your hyperventilating, prevent a heart attack, etc. Continue to ask said person to run with you each day and learn nothing from all previous experiences. 

Tip #3. On days when it is beautiful outside, make sure to grab the most disgusting fast food you possibly can on your way home. Once that food hits your tummy, it is only a matter of time before your  grease-coma sets in and you are on your way to another night of "24" marathoning. Do they make t-shirts for that? 

Tip #4. Plan to stay up late for no apparent reason every night...get a late start on grading, work until 7 or 8, watch "24" (seriously, do it), cheer on the Thunder in a game that doesn't start until you're already tired, write a blog, play games on your iPhone with maddening levels that force you to stay up just...one...more...minute. Yeah, all that. 

Tip #5. Notice all the cute outfits you can wear while running, and spend time shopping online for said outfits instead of training. Maybe no one will notice the limp and heavy perspiration if you look the part. I mean, MY SOCKS WILL HAVE FLAMES. Who can't take THAT seriously?!

Tip #6. Make sure that said race will fall on a day of inclemate weather, as it has for the past umpteen years of this particular marathon. I've been a spectator at many of these shindigs...it's pretty much been miserable every time. I mean, you can't exactly control the weather, but if you're in Oklahoma for any race, bad weather is pretty much a given. Then you can blame your injuries and slow time on the lack of visibility or slippery conditions and no one ever has to know that you have only run 3 times in as many months. 

Tip #7. Practice the post-race smile. You'll have to really cheese it up for this to work...I imagine the excruciating pain come race day will bring the cheese down to a believable notch for the picture. Everyone on Facebook will be impressed with your 5K abilities and consider you to be some sort of running expert forever after. 

Seriously though, I'm finishing this sucker, and finishing it well. If I can have a natural birth, work myself half to death on a weekly basis while being a decent mom, and survive testing week, I can run speed walk a 5K without training. Come cheer me on...maybe I'll see you through the fog.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Those Magic Moments...

Parenting certainly has its moments:

That moment when your precious baby girl shows you the sippy cup she's drinking out of...and you don't remember pouring it for her. That is, within the last week.

That moment when you turn on a VeggieTales episode for your daughter and realize that you are the only one watching it, but you must see how it ends!

That moment when "We will never be THOSE PARENTS" bites you in the backside.

That moment when you know that if anyone could see the silly faces you are making and hear the ridiculous sounds coming from your mouth, they would think you were straight up crazy. And you don't care.

That moment when you recognize that you have been blabbering on about your child for so long, you don't even remember how long you've been talking. And you can't stop yourself. And you don't care.

That moment when you actually consider sleeping in the car so that you don't have to go through the whole traumatic car seat to crib and pajama transition.

That moment when you buy yet ANOTHER toy, despite knowing that the box will still be more interesting than the actual toy for at least a few more weeks.

That moment when you realize that the, "We have to go. It's past her bedtime," excuse from others (that you used to roll your eyes at) was not just an excuse.

That moment when the worst of moods lifts in an instant...an instant of beautiful, innocent laughter from your child.

That moment when you FINALLY get your daughter to sleep, hold your breath, tiptoe out, slllooowwwlllyyy shut the door, and then immediately miss her and wish she was back in your arms.

Magic Moments indeed...and may we all have many more in the coming year.