I made banana bread on Friday night with Sydney's help. I love to cook and I've passed that love to my children. We sit and watch Food Network together. Throwdown with Bobby Flay is their favorite. Sydney told me once that I should throwdown with Bobby Flay. When I asked her what I could cook that could beat Bobby Flay's cooking, she told me that I could cook my Thanksgiving dinner.
Shaun is always trying new food combinations. The other day he decided that eating tomatoes on tortilla chips was a very tasty way to do it. And the things that he mixes with his milk...well, not for the faint at heart. But I see someone who loves to cook and that makes me happy.
Back to the banana bread. This was a nice looking loaf of moist banana bread until Shaun discovered his love for it. I knew that he was eating it throughout the morning. What I didn't realize was how. The bread looks like it has been attacked by small rodents. Shaun...my little chipmunk!
This smile was for me! It was Shaun's first basketball game and I had the camera out. He was taking his turn on the bench and he wasn't watching the game. I took a picture right before this one so that I'd be able to show him someday how disinterested he looked.
But he caught me taking the photo and flashed this big smile at me. And I loved the smile and the fact that he knew that his mommy was taking pictures of him. And I loved the fact that he felt loved and happy.
Weekday mornings have a routine to them. Most mornings I need to be out of the house at 7:15 with Haoyi but on Thursdays, I need to leave at 7:00.
Before I can leave, I need to wake Sydney and dress her. That part is funny because if I tried to dress her any other time, she would have a fit! But it's part of our routine. She snuggles into a ball on my lap and lets me scratch her back. We then brush her hair and she is ready. With Shaun I only need to wake him up and put his clothes on his bed.
Then, the final thing that I do is tell them that I have Ramen noodles on the table for them. Neither of them have ever been good breakfast eaters. It doesn't matter that I know how important it is...they just don't like to eat when they get up in the morning.
But all of that changed one morning when Sydney asked me to give her Ramen noodles for breakfast. Since then, Ramen noodles has become part of our routine. I don't know if it will last when the weather turns nice but for now, I can take satisfaction in knowing that my children are beginning the day with a hot breakfast.
Sydney was complaining that we hadn't seen Hannah much over Christmas. So I posted a message on Hannah's facebook page. Voila...Hannah posts back and we schedule supper. I read a headline "Facebook...Does it Reduce or Enhance Real Face Time".
This time it enhanced it. Hannah and Tyler came for supper. We all gathered around the table close...we didn't even put the leaves in so that everyone would have more room. Then everyone went to the family room and gathered around the Wii. What a great way to spend a cold Wednesday night at home.
I feel that I spend much of my life in the minivan and it seemed appropriate that I capture this photo. This was my drive to gymnastics. I left work and hurried to the car so that I could make it to Syd's TAG (Talented and Gifted) class in time to make sure that her pony was in. I'm not good with hair...but I'm still a step above Daddy.
Once Syd's class was finished, we jumped into the car and went to Shaun's basketball practice. We got home at 8:00 and hurried through supper and on to bed. I didn't have any energy left even though I still had work to do. I went to bed and got up at 1 a.m. and turned on my work laptop.
The sad part of this story is that it wasn't the only night that we had a schedule like that. And it will only get busier. Life in the fastlane!
I was sick Sunday night and Monday morning...sick enough that I stayed home from work. Then we got a call at about 9:40 from school saying Shaun was sitting in the office and didn't feel well. I said that I would just pick both Shaun and Syd up while I was over there and that turned out to be a very good choice because the weather had MCH dismissing at 1:00. All three of us spent most of the day napping. When I got up long enough for lunch, I knew exactly what I wanted. Milk toast was what my mom made for me when I was a young girl and sick and that's what I wanted. I couldn't talk either of the kids into sharing this comfort food with me.
Sydney made me so proud today. She attended a birthday party at Pump It Up. That's pretty normal...everyone at Children's House Montessori seems to celebrate their birthdays with their classmates at Pump It Up. But today, Sydney had a balloon in her hand and noticed that the little girl who was sitting on the birthday throne didn't have a balloon. She grabbed a balloon and took it to Charlotte. Sydney notices everything and she is a "fixer" and "caretaker". I can't wait to see those qualities develop over the years.
I got a new zoom lens for Christmas. I've been waiting for my first basketball game to try it out. Tonight was the night. I drove down a very slippery highway to get to Martensdale so that I could watch Zeb play. Sydney and Haoyi went with me. When we walked in, all of the good seats were taken so we went up to the balcony area to sit with Papa and Grandma.
I pulled out my zoom hoping that it would be close enough to get a few good shots. Wow! It's fabulous. I'm so glad that I have it. I try not to wish that I'd had the lens while Hannah played. I try to live in the moment with basketball. I try to forget the pain that she endured.
I heard Sawyer Brown on the radio last night when I got into the car. It immediately took me back to the night that Hannah was named MVP of the State tournament. Sawyer Brown sang between the 3A championship and the 4A championship games. I wish that it made me happy to hear him...after all, that was a very happy night.
Instead it makes me sad. I wish that she hadn't endured so much pain. I look through my zoom lens and hope to get good photos of Zeb. I try to live in the moment. I don't do it well.
For Christmas, Haoyi's gift was a trip to San Francisco for Chinese New Year's. The great news is that the rest of the family is going with her. So, a couple of days after Christmas, Haoyi, the kids and I sat down and made a paper chain with a link for each day until we leave. Each day, either Sydney or Shaun get to take a loop off the chain. I hope that the vacation will be as much fun as the anticipation.
I couldn't help but take this photo when I saw you walking around in my shoes. You clothed in Dora pajamas and my big shoes. How fun was that?
And it reminded me of your growth. You loved Dora from the time that you first came home. I didn't know how I would feel about your time watching TV but I loved Dora. I loved her so much that you would sit on the bed and watch her while I would get ready for work in the morning. We would watch the opening credits together. There was a great big orange beach ball and we'd wait for the camera to pan in on it and when we'd see it, I'd yell "beach ball" and jump up and down. You LOVED that.
Dora no longer excites you the way she did. You've grown out of her a bit. And, although you may never physically grow feet as large as Mommy's, you will in so many ways fill shoes so much larger than Mommy. I love you, my Stinker Winker Bear.
In our extended family, basketball is not a game, it is serious business. I think that we should live in the Hoosier state rather than the Hawkeye state.
Tonight Shaun attended his first basketball practice and began his turn in the stretch. On the drive, Shaun was a bit concerned about his first practice. After all, he knows he lives in a family of maniacs. The conversation went something like this.
Shaun: I don't think that I can dribble with two hands.
Sydney: You dribble with ONE hand Shaun, not two hands.
Shaun: I don't think that I can run and dribble at the same time.
Sydney: Shaun, you walk when you dribble the ball.
Of course, Sydney is the one who in November of 2005 came out of her bedroom signaling traveling. That was 2 1/2 months after coming home. She was 20 months old at the time. Proof positive that Shaun lives in a family of maniacs.
It's cold here in Iowa and the kids have had colds. So normally, Mommy would say that they couldn't go to the hot tub with Daddy. But since Daddy had already asked, Mommy decided that she should not contradict Daddy.
They get about 5 minutes in the hot tub and then I rush out with the big beach towels and hurry them back into the house. And as I could hear them outside giggling with their dad I realized that this time I'd made a good decision. They may not remember sitting in the hot tub with their dad...but they'll remember the emotions of having fun with their dad. I know this because I have the same memories with my dad.
This is my chair. I love this chair. It sets in the corner of the living room. I can overlook the family room, see the kitchen, hear what's happening upstairs in the bedrooms and keep connected to my laptop. Or, if I want to read a good book, this chair is so comfy with my feet on the ottoman.
This chair used to be the "naughty chair" and it's where the kids had to go to sit in timeout. As they have gotten older and more attached, they more frequently head to their rooms for timeouts. So the "naughty chair" has been transformed into the "mommy chair".
Today started out quietly and peacefully. While the kids were sleeping late, I slipped out to the hot tub and enjoyed a bright (27 degree) Iowa winter morning. From the vantage of the hot tub. It was so quiet that I was able to spend some time just praying.
God brought to my mind a verse to claim for 2009. Isaiah 41:10 - Fear not, for I am with thee. Be not dismayed, for I am your God.
Less than three hours later, Sydney had broken a tooth. The world did not seem so peaceful. That's the thing about the world's peace...it is temporal.
Thank You Father for giving me some of that temporal peace this morning. Thank You more that You have promised me that I need not fear because You are with me.
No, these aren't beads left behind from a raucous New Year's Eve celebration. Since neither Sydney nor Shaun made it to midnight, they played with the beads today. Like most of their toys, the beads were quickly discarded to the living room floor in pursuit of other items offering immediate gratification.