Saturday, February 27, 2010

Twenty Little Things I Always want to Remember:

1) The way Alaina use to say "strah-bid-aze" for strawberries.

2) The way Caleb gently bonks his forehead on yours to say, "I love you"

3) The way Ben gets embarassed and tries to keep from smiling when you talk about mushy stuff.

4) Larry (goodnaturedly) teasing and asking if he should beat up Ben, and Alaina's enthusiastic, "YESSSSS!" (And poor Ben's scream and laugh as they "attack".)

5) Caleb repeating his favorite word over and over (Dadadadadadadadadadad...)

6) Alaina checking her dress-up outfit in the mirror and saying, "Beautiful. Just beautiful."

7) Ben's elaborate drawings and plans for gadgets and inventions.

8) Asking Caleb a question and having him very matter-of-factly answer, "Ya." (His second of two words now.)

9) Asking Alaina to do something and having her ask, "Why?" Reminding her that the correct reply is, "Yes, Mom" and getting back, "Yes, Mom. But why?"

10) The look on Ben's face when he held each of his siblings for the first time.

11) The look on Larry's face when he saw each of them for the first time.

12) Their expressions of wonder when you show them the little green shoots coming from the seeds they helped to plant.

13) Caleb picking and dutifully trying to eat tiny green tomatoes from the garden.

14) Alaina chasing Ben around to try to hug and kiss him and Ben running as if his life depended on it.

15) Caleb's grin of glee as he chases you and growling hug when he catches you.

16) My kids shivering and asking for hot cocoa when it gets down to 70 degrees. (We've definitely acclimated to the desert.)

17) Ben's astonished and delighted smile the first time he made a goal in soccer and a shot in basketball.

18) The way Caleb has always crinkled up his nose and muttered to himself when he's eating or drinking something he loves.

19) How it felt to hear them say, "Mom" for the first time (especially helpful to recall when you're hearing it in a demanding tone for the 100th time in half an hour...)

20) Everyone piling on the sofa together, sitting next to my sweetheart and the feeling that comes when our arms are full and our hearts are full...and then some.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Scent of a (Particular) Woman

I passed by the fragrance counter in the store today and decided to stop and try something. Chanel no. 5 caught my eye. I thought, "That's the most famous women's fragrance in the world. It's been around for almost ninety years. I heard once that a bottle is sold somewhere an average of every thirty seconds (my mind is full of all kinds of useless helpful trivia like that...) and I don't even know what it smells like!"

So I stopped and sniffed and sprayed a bit on my wrists. I started to walk on and thought, "I know that scent. I think I use to know someone who wore this. Who was it?"

A minute or two later it hit me. It was my great-grandmother! She wore it. Quite a lot of it actually. It's amazing to me the clarity of recall that is attached to our sense of smell. She passed away when I was about three and yet I still have such a clear memory of her; what she looked like, how soft the skin on her hands was, the fur colar on her thick wool coat and how she loved big sparkly costume jewelry...and perfume.

So now I know. No. 5 may not be the fragrance for me, but it was nice to visit Grandma for a few minutes.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Pink Things

When you are three and love the color pink and all things girlie, it's like Valentine's Day was made for you!

She was already beside herself when we were "heart-attacked" and someone left pink, heart-shaped cookies, but when we cut into her morning grapefruit and it was pink too, it just about put her over the edge!

My Valentine's wish for you, sweet girl, is that you will always keep the ability to find joy in simple things, everyday. XOXO

Fraternal Love

you just really need a big brother.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Whatever Works

Cleaning the kids rooms is usually a chore for me as well as them because they tend to drag it out forever. This morning as the dispirited "Awwwww"s died away after I announced it was time again, we decided to try something different.

We have a bag of Valentine "conversation hearts" right now. I told the kids that we were going to set the timer for 30 minutes. They were going to work together, one room at a time, to get their bedrooms picked up and the sheets changed. However many minutes that remained when the job was completed to my satisfaction was how many pieces of candy they would each receive. With my help (and prodding), this process normally takes 45 minutes to an hour. This morning with me stepping in only on the tricky parts of the sheets, they each walked away with sixteen candy hearts! Not bad.

I heard a presentation on parenting years ago, I think from John Lund. He was talking about a very similar situation and I remember him saying, "Now, some of you may ask, "But isn't that bribery?" And the answer Bribery is illegal."

So, let's just call this a highly effective, sugar-based incentive. And judging by the results of my now happily playing children and clean home, I would say it's one that we will probably use again...