Saturday, December 31, 2011

A Full & Happy Life

That sums up my hopes for Raccoon, and for myself, in 2012.

Happy New Year!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

The Wants and the Shoulds

How does one develop more self-control? My husband is the king of self-control and I am the queen of indulgence. But I want to change, to be freed from my "wants" and to get sucked into the "good shoulds," the things that will help my family to be closer, happier, cleaner.

This is more honest than I tend to be, but admitting the problem is the first step. So here goes: I tend to get sucked into addictive things like playing computer games, online surfing, and chocolate. I've often tried giving something up, but I frequently end up with something else to fill the pleasure/sugar vacuum. These addictions may not seem that serious, but they are unhealthy for me. Especially the things that take time away from what I could be doing. I wish it were easier to do the good things. But it's hard for me to make delayed-gratification choices with my time. I chalk it up to tiredness, fatigue, sleep deprivation, poor nutrition, whatever I can.

I heard a story once where a young man dreamt that everything he spent time on got reviewed after death. His record had tens of thousands of hours playing video games, watching movies, and wandering online. Time spent with Christ? Very little. People he shared Christ with? Few.

It's not that I want a holier-than-thou life, but there is more than just the here-and-now. If there is a record like that, I want mine to have as little junk as possible. Jesus said, "lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven... For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." (Matthew 6:20-21). I want my treasures to be eternally satisfying.

So I'm starting today, little by little to invest less in temporary pleasures and more in God's kingdom. Like a favorite teacher of mine would say, "Carpe aeternitatem: why settle for just one day?" Seize eternity. 

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

An Interesting World

"If children have interest, then education will follow" - Arthur C Clarke

I hope I can show Raccoon that there are so many fascinating things in our world, even in mundane places. Whenever we go on a walk or play in the park, I try to show him the little details, like spiderwebs and dandelions. I love how almost anything in the natural world can interest him. Man-made things are trickier, as a lot of them tend to be smooth and plastic.

Right now he loves imaginative play. He wakes up in the morning and rushes downstairs to his playroom, where his "zoo" is all set up. In the afternoon, he likes to play mechanic or doctor in our living room. For the first time since he's born, we haven't been spending most of our days outside; he's found an ever-changing world in his imagination. I hope he always keeps that creativity and sense of wonder.

p.s. Raccoon learned to blow a whistle today.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Thoughts for 2012

My husband asked me today what my goals were for 2012. I'm not sure yet, but it got me to thinking. One of our mutual goals is to work on getting out of debt by Fall 2013. It'll take a pretty tight budget so we'll see how it goes. For me personally...

1) Take a trip to Maine and Washington state to see my ailing Grammie, my parents, and my only sibling who I haven't seen in 5.5 years.

2) Enjoy this year with Raccoon as it may be the last that it's just the two of us at home while my husband is at work.

3) I would like to know more of God's will for my life.

(Note added later: I found another blogger's 2012 list, and can I just say WOW!)

5/13 ETA - Close to out of debt? Nope. #1? 2 out of 3. #2? Yes. #3? In progress, I would say.

12/13 ETA - Still not out of debt, oh well. We're chipping away at it. I didn't get to see my Grammie but I went tp her funeral in 3/12. I spent the summer close to my parents and brother and his family, Wonderful.

Sunday, December 25, 2011


I find it incredibly satisfying when I can say exactly what I need to, with honesty and clarity, at the proper time. If you knew of my strong fear of confrontation, then you would be proud of me for advocating for myself.

I have one more Christmas wish I am waiting to come true. Say a prayer for me.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Niece & Nephew Sleepover

I started the tradition in 2005, before my husband and I had kids. What with one thing and another (mostly pregnancy and Raccoon's infancy), it hasn't happened for the last few years. Happily, it took place today. We made and frosted sugar cookies, ate pizza, watched The Grinch (the old cartoon version), jumped on the new trampoline, played basketball in the park, lit sparklers, and had some good time to talk about stuff.

Merry Christmas!!!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Too Much TV

I struggle with this question often - how much TV is too much? But for the holidays, I've decided to give myself permission for some down time of my own, and not just when Raccoon is sleeping. Any break I take usually involves the TV. Somehow I have not managed to teach/convince Raccoon to play on his own for more than 5 minutes at a time. I could probably do imaginative play with him all day and he'd still want more.

What I'm finding works for me is compromise:

1) Times of complete, energetic attention/play/conversation (he's such a great little guy) and other times where I put a puppet on one hand and do some reading while he talks/interacts with his "friend."

2) Make sure what he watches is the best possible option, or if not (he loves odd movies like Despicable Me, which has content I do not like) then talk about the movie as much as possible and/or censor it.

3) Turn off the TV whenever I can. If we're going to play, I ask him to turn off the TV first. I also have found that starting the movie close to the end often makes him more willing to turn it off when the credits start to roll.

4) If I don't make a big deal out of it (restricting his access), he doesn't seem to care as much about watching TV.

5) I start to worry more if we've gotten through an entire 1.5 hour movie and are starting it over again, along with other shows. Then I know I'm being lazy and need to get back in the game.

Confession: Even with all of this, he probably watches 2-3 hours *wince* a day (30 min each meal time, plus another 30...). Definitely room for a New Year's Resolution here.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Full of Light

I like that description. Raccoon is very verbal and has an amazing memory. Shine your light, little one, to lead the way for others, but take care that you do not blind them.

One of our recent conversations
In the park, I say, "There's a little girl and her sister."
"I no have a sister."
"Would you like a sister?"
"Would you like a brother?"
"No. I no like babies. (pause) Mama have a baby?"
"Have more *Raccoon*." And he gave me a hug.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

My 10 Ft Trampoline

I was originally going to call this post "The Trampoline Fiasco," but thankfully this adventure has a happy ending. I bought a trampoline for Raccoon for Christmas, pretty much our only present since it's such a big item. We live in a townhouse with a very small front patio. The trampoline is 10 ft across and the space we have (to park our car) is only 6.5 feet wide. Oh dear.

Anything you're probably thinking about measuring, planning ahead, etc. was already said by my husband, several times. I know, I know. But I did have sort of a plan, to raise it up so the edge would hang over the adjacent cement stairs leading up to our home. It took a lot of work (setting up the trampoline first inside our living room, then taking it down, setting it up outside to measure how much I needed to raise it up, going to the wood warehouse, going to the carpenter's workshop, waiting for the pieces to be made, then putting it up again today). But what a satisfying feeling to finally see it all set up.

We all jumped on it today, along with some friends we had over for a Christmas party. This evening, Raccoon snuggled with my husband and then me on the couch while we watched some TV. This might be a normal moment in some families, but for us, it was a wonderful first, to be able to hold him while he calmly sat still. What a feeling of peace.

My perseverance (my husband calls it stubbornness/pigheadedness) finally paid off for Raccoon. I told my husband that maybe someday I'll help him fight for something he wants and it will pay off for him too. Once it was an accomplished fact, my husband even admitted that it was an okay idea after all.

Ah, success.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

How Many Children?

This question has been on my mind lately. Raccoon turned 26 months yesterday and for now, it's just him. He's technically our fourth, so my husband says he's done.

I'd like more... I've always wanted to adopt, but I'd be open to another pregnancy as well. I like how one mom on a babycenter video said it, "I think we're good at 6... our family feels complete, it really does." Not that I'm thinking of six!

But my struggle is that to me, our family doesn't feel complete yet. So we'll see.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Book Notes: Raising Your Spirited Child

"4. You have permission to take care of yourself. Your own need for sleep, quiet, uninterrupted adult conversation, lovemaking, a leisurely bath, a walk around the block, and time to complete your own projects is real and legitimate. It is not a sign of failure to ask a friend for help, to hire a sitter, or to allow relatives the opportunity to build a relationship with your child while you take a break. When you fulfill your needs you generate the energy to meet your child's needs."

I could cry, or laugh hysterically.

Permission is one thing, but actually doing something about it is another. Lately, I've been trying to build in several mini-breaks for myself. I've found it works better if I'm totally focused on Raccoon for awhile, with very involved imaginative play or physical activity, then I let him watch a little TV while I check my e-mail or prepare a meal.

It's an ongoing skill I think, balancing self-care with family needs and parenting responsibilities.

Honesty & Love

I thought I wanted to write about some enrichment ideas I have for Raccoon, but it turns out that what is really on my heart is the niggling feeling that there is more going on with him than I know.

I love my son. Fussy baby. I love my son. High need infant/child. I love my son. Strong-willed. I love my son. Energetic. I love my son. Persistant. I love my son. Sensitive. I love my son. Stubborn. I love my son. Challenging. I love my son. Unpredictable. I love my son. Curious beyond all reason. I love my son. Spirited. I LOVE MY SON.

Although some parts of our lives need a solution, the negative is not bigger than the whole. The negative things may get a lot of time in the spotlight, but the director of our play is Love. Honesty does not equal unlove. With all that in mind, I still need some answers and ideas for coping/overcoming, because there are many things in our lives right now that are NOT working. As a friend of mine describes it as, "Life is hard, but not bad."

Next on my reading list is Raising Your Spirited Child: A Guide for Parents Whose Child is More Intense, Sensitive, Perceptive, Persistent, Energetic by Mary Sheedy Kurcinka. Then I want to read Not Just Spirited: A Mom's Sensational Journey With Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) by Chynna T. Laird.

I'm not sure where this journey is going to take us. Stay tuned.

5/20/13 ETA - I just placed the first book on hold at the library.


Wednesday, December 7, 2011


Susan Minot said, "The word dysfunction has, I think, served its purpose and now has lost its meaning. Every family, like every person, is imperfect, after all. The idea that there is a Family somewhere who functions is an odd concept. In my youth I was running from my family to try to find out who I was — their influence distracted me. Now I see what a powerful hold they have, no matter what."

I like that.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011


Most of the time, my son is like Road Runner and I feel like Coyote, trying to keep up. His little body seems often to pain him, and he is never at rest. But today at naptime, he woke up, snuggled, then just lie there next to me (completely still) until he gently drifted off to sleep again. Twice. I don't believe this has ever happened in all of his two years, until today. Not only one, but two perfect moments. It was like we'd found the secret garden and he could finally rest, at peace with himself and the world.

Raccoon also had a great time with a little next-door-neighbor in the park. She is 2 1/2, and usually will not play with him. Raccoon tried to interest her in a game of soccer, his favorite, but she walked away. Discouraged, he told me he wanted to, "Go home. Timi no play." I asked if he was sad and he said yeah. He walked part of the way home, then decided to try playing again. This is huge for him and I was very proud of his effort.

She still didn't want to play soccer, but she started following him around, and eventually they climbed up to a rundown shed and garden in the upper corner of the park. He went in first and peeked around the corner, "Come, Timi, come." She was undecided for awhile and I could see that Raccoon had his heart set on sharing his "house" with her. Finally, her curiosity got the better of her and she went in. Raccoon showed his joy by sharing some dead leaves with her. I was too far away to hear what he said they were. They went in and out of the house several times, each time Raccoon calling her and happy when she responded.

Moments of peace and moments of friendship. Miracles.

Monday, December 5, 2011

A Fun Day

On Thursday we're off to buy a trampoline. That will be Raccoon's and my Christmas present, with which I think we'll both be very happy. Raccoon also has several little gifts to go under the tree.

We had a good time wrestling on the bed this evening. Usually that's a Daddy game, but he's gone tonight. On our solo evenings, I often take Raccoon to the park near our house, but it was a rainy afternoon, so we tried wrestling instead. It was pretty fun.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

So far so good

Four days in and it's going well. I've also added toothbrushing to my list of goals, and telling a Bible story to Raccoon each day. I was just given some great materials for the story of Moses, so we've done the baby in the basket, the burning bush, the plagues, the Israelites in the desert, and receiving the 10 commandments. It's been a lot of fun, and Raccoon often wants to go through the stories several times.

Since it's Sunday, the verse I picked for today is:

“Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.”” John 8:12

Thursday, December 1, 2011

December 1

I'd like to write that blogging every day during December is one of my holiday goals, but it's not going to happen... whereas the things below, I'm hoping they do:

1) Talking about Advent and giving a little gift to my son each day (a tradition my mother did with me)
2) Having the best Christmas our family has had in a long, long time

That's it.

I'm on my way with my Christmas tree up and decorated, and all of Raccoon's gifts wrapped and hiding in my closet. My husband and I peaceably decided to do money for each other this year so we could please ourselves (after 10 years of marriage, we're still gift-giving-impaired).

24 more days to go!