Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Stuffed Animals

Youngest Son snuggled in his Favorite Blue Blankie.
This Morning
I walked in to see Youngest Son (age 10) haloed by Polar Bear, Plain Bear and Cat in the Hat while his feet were guarded by Presidential Bear and Dalmatian Puppy.

(I stopped and captured a photo to send to Commuter Husband in Houston. To sweet to not share.)

Tonight at Bedtime
Me: "What are you doing?"
Youngest Son with a matter of fact voice: "Playing with my stuffed animals." 

(Be still my heart.)
Youngest Son created a sitting place in Favorite Blue Blankie for Tiger, Dog, Presidential Bear and Tiny Bear.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Ironing & Sewing, Oh Yes

As a parent, I frequently fight the urge to rescue my children. It is like a first response that must be squelched. In particular, we are working to have the boys fix their own predicaments.

Like what you ask?

Youngest Son - Ironing
Youngest Son chose to stuff his good slacks on the back of his closet shelf (after he had been shown how to hang them up.) Thus, after 30 minutes of frantic searching, his wrinkled (very wrinkled ) pants were found and it was two hours before a wedding. The only solution was to iron the pants - not me but him - so Youngest Son got his first lesson in ironing. He ironed both his pants and his long-sleeve dress shirt. Youngest Son accepted his "consequence" with good humor and was actually curious as to how it all worked. And he did an excellent job.

The iron I have had for over 20 years.
Oldest Son - Sewing
We have a blow-up scarecrow that has been in our front yard every October for many years. Oldest Son was in charge of setting up Mr. Scarecrow last night. Oldest Son chose to stuff the blower device into a zippered hole that was clearly too small thus the zipper busted (instead of asking for help or slowing down to think about the best approach.) Mr. Scarecrow cannot hold air with his zipper broken. One solution is to sew the up the hole so air does not escape - not me but him. It took me a few minutes to show Oldest Son where the sewing kit was located, how to thread a needle and how to make stitches. His first few stitches resulted in a jumbled nest of thread so he started again. Oldest Son worked diligently through the entire Presidential Debate. And WOW! His stitches are beautiful. We may have found a hidden talent!

Those white stitches are truly impressive!
Life Lessons?
  • We ALL make mistakes. Be solution focused and execute your own fix.
  • In our throw away culture, there is value to repairing items.
Life Skills?
  • Due to time or lack of funds, you may need to iron your own clothes. Be prepared.
  • The need to sew on a button or mend a tear will occur many, many times. Be prepared.
  • No your wife or girlfriend or housekeeper or whoever should not have to do this for you ...

Thursday, October 18, 2012

One Car or Two?

The little things are the big things in our topsy turvy life.

Commuter Husband DRIVES home this afternoon. Not only does Commuter Husband get home a day early (usual routine is a Friday arrival) but he will also have his car. We are normally a ONE car family on the weekends. We obviously manage but it is not always easy.

THIS weekend I do not have to worry about how we will be 3 places at once with only one vehicle.
I am giddy!

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Shoe Jail

Problem: Youngest Son leaves shoes EVERYWHERE except the shoe rack in his closet. Shoes are on the front porch, in the garage, under the dinner table, beside his desk, the list goes on and on ...

What Did Not Work: Asking, reminding, pleading, threatening, punishing ... the usual parenting tricks.

What Kinda Worked: Shoe Jail for Youngest Son - taking Youngest Son's found shoes away and charging 25 cents per shoe to get them back.

Solution: Shoe Jail for All -We applied the same rule to all in the household including parents. If shoes are found around the house and not in the closet then the finder can confiscate the shoes and charge $1 per pair to get them back.

Result: I have not found Youngest Son's shoes out in over 3 weeks. Today I paid him 2 bucks to get mine back! The tables have turned - Youngest Son is now the enforcer.

Common Wisdom has always been that parenting by actions is more effective than words.
Mommy with Commuter Husband - My Sunday Consequence 

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Less than 48 Hours

Thoughtful Gift of Lovely Flowers from our Sukkot Guest
When Commuter Husband comes in late Friday and goes back out Sunday, it feels like a whirlwind. He was here less than 48 hours.

I keep having the same word repeat in my head over and over. Grateful. So grateful for that time he was here.

Someone asked me last week why our weekends always seemed so busy? I laughed with both amusement and a bit of exasperation. As a self-pronounced experience junkie, my response was that meaningful experiences do not just happen - we work to create them.

What was meaningful this past 48 hours and took up our time?

  • Giving Back to our World: Before picking up Commuter Husband at airport Friday night, the boys and I helped man a booth at their school for homecoming. Youngest Son sold "HORNETS FOR THE CAUSE" bracelets to support the Komen Foundation and Oldest Son helped younger children with arts and crafts projects.
  • Food: Commuter Husband made Saturday morning pancakes for us. The boys look forward to this weekly!
  • Sports: Commuter Husband and Oldest Son braved the chilly weather to watch Youngest Son's Soccer 4on4.
  • Tradition, Ritual and Friendship: We hosted special Jewish friends (old and new) in our Sukkah for our last 2012 Sukkot lunch-time meal - lingering for over 2 hours to have interesting multi-generational conversations (business, politics, travel, Israel, family.)
  • Fun: Commuter Husband played silly ball games in the backyard with boys and then watched Mission Impossible (the first Tom Cruise movie and then an old 60s episode.)
  • Chores: Commuter Husband took down Sukkah early Sunday morning.
  • Learning: Commuter Husband and I attended our Sunday morning adult Jewish Studies class (Melton's Jewish Denominations: Addressing the Challenges of Modernity) while kids went to Religious School.
  • Israel: We had our first gathering of the 44 fortunate people taking the Israel Journey with our Temple December 23rd - January 4th. Oldest Son met with the other 6 B'nai Mitzvah kids and our Cantor.
This left just enough time for Commuter Husband to pack and head back to Houston on Spirit Airlines out of DFW. Late Sunday afternoon without Commuter Husband found Oldest Son, Youngest Son and I all spending time with our own individual friends in three different venues.

I would have a hard time prioritizing out any of those choices. Time well spent during those 48 hours.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Turning Points

Beautiful Turnings: November 2011, Washington DC, Youngest Son
Love is usually complicated. Knowing our true being can be very complicated. Life is complicated.

It is hard to do all of it without pain. That is alright. The texture of all of my days, my months and my years are never ever dull.

For me, being vulnerable is a state I avoid vigorously. So I look inside myself and try to define my being - the part that surfaces when I am not just surviving.

Then there is a moment when things start to look different. Slightly less complicated.

And I am thankful for turning points. Turning points happen continuously through our lives. Embracing them is part of my essence.