Monday, March 24, 2014

Window Judging

I got judged today. Just like sometimes people go window shopping without real interest in seeing the real stuff inside a store, I got "window judged" according to a little glimpse a grumpy old woman got of my day without knowing any back story.

We had been out and about all day, doing errands. After picking up Ender, my last stop was the post office. When we went inside, I didn't dawdle about, but I also didn't hang on to Scarlett (sorry, World...). To be honest, I didn't want to because she was sticky. She looked like a pretty little monster after spilling her lunch all down her cute shirt and tutu in the car, and like a champion, I didn't have any wipes or spare clothes to erase the disaster. Just a water bottle to rinse our hands after battling the gooey, gunk-ified carseat buckles.
I have to tell you-- I was soooo grossed out when I slid open the van door to behold her lunchy mess. I whined to myself and tentatively patted everything with napkins, wailing "nooo!" every time I got touched by sticky gooiness. I wanted to strip Scarlett down and just take her into the post office in her diaper...but, well, my standards hold dirty clothes above nudity, and I just had to surrender.

So as I turned around from the package kiosk (having spent barely two minutes with my back to the kids), I saw Scarlett throwing a shower of cards in the air while an old grumpy woman stalked out the door and said "My goodness!"

The woman's tone really surprised me. It was nasty, harsh, as though she was instantly disgusted with the way I handle my children (or don't handle them). As she walked out the door, I said quietly "Thank you, ma'am..."
My feelings were hurt. I knew it was a "small incident," but it stung nonetheless. I crouched down and got the kids to help me gather up the cards strewn all over the floor, reminding myself not to get cranky with Scarlett just because my own feelings were bruised (that can be tricky, you know). Then we all quietly stalked back to the van to head home.
Not willing to let the grumpy woman's comment get me down, I encouraged myself by reviewing our day as I drove home. I had a lot of errands to do this morning, and I did them all cheerfully, each in a timely and efficient manner. People were friendly and pleasant with me. Scarlett behaved very well. That is a call for gratitude! I had to remind myself that this woman had seen only a small window of our day, and by mere appearances, it looked horrible to her.
I think there are so many mothers in this world who get judged unfairly by what we glimpse in little windows of their lives.
They may be so unfortunate that we've seen them at the worst time of their day or week, and perhaps the situation is a rare one...and we just don't know it. What if the grumpy woman had helped pick up the cards? Or what if she had said "uh-oh, please don't do that!" Or what if she had fought the compelling urge to be nasty and instead just said nothing?

After thinking through my feelings, I felt grateful for the reminder to quell the humanly voracious appetite to judge and instead look for ways to help. If I can't see a way to actually help, maybe I can at least offer kindness, patience and sympathy.

Even for the grumpy old woman...because maybe she is having a difficult time. Or, if I really want to get into the imagination game, maybe she almost tripped on one of the cards on the floor, and the fright of nearly falling shifted her into a shaky, angry mood (don't tell me that's never happened to you)?

I'm just sharing the reminder I personally received today to help others and judge them less. I know I'm going to try to be better in that regard, myself.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

On Hold

So I was making a boring, necessary phone call when I got put on hold (actually, I never spoke to a real person to begin with; the automated service switched me to "on hold"). It was dreadfully mind-numbing listening to the Hold Music repeat itself ad nauseam, so I pulled out my markers and tried to doodle away the time.
At first I just drew tiny things, enjoying trying out each color of my lovely markers. But when it became apparent that my On Hold time would not end soon, I started really getting into it...

Isn't that how it always goes? 
And I had started to think of some great doodling ideas...

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Tooth Fairy Fun

Ender lost his first tooth last night! He'd been telling us about a supposed loose tooth for nearly a month, and I'd even begun to wonder if it was just wishful thinking on his part. We asked him how it happened, and he said,
"I was eating my burrito, and then I felt something hard! And I looked, and it was my tooth!

Michael and I wanted to do something a little bit more than just tuck some coins under his pillow, but we knew we weren't going to get super crazy fancy with anything (we're not the sort to invest much in tooth fairies or Santa beyond simply having fun).

Michael wrote a note, which he tucked under Ender's pillow...

"Dear Ender, Thank you for the tooth! Baby Teeth are very important to me. Please send more when you get the chance."
On the back, we drew instructions for finding a Paper Tooth that would have his money in it.

I like how the quarters look kind of like a filling. :)
Please excuse the's the kind that has to be washed away (that, and there isn't really a finish on the surface, so it does look a lot like that even clean). This bookshelf has been up high on a dresser until just a couple days ago. :/ Gross, but whatever! Moving on!

It was kind of tricky, but not super hard...I do wish I'd had fancier paper. A gold tooth would have been really cool! Of course, the professional's final product looks much better. Her instructions were really clear, though.

So this morning, Ender was super excited to tell us all about it. He held up the quarters and boy-squealed. He said,
"When I woke up, I looked under my red pillow, and it wasn't there, and I looked under my blue pillow, and there was a note! And it said there was a paper tooth, and it was REALLY easy to find. I looked on the shelf, and it was there."

Cute little gap!

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Ender's Birthday Party

It's almost unbelievable just how perfect Ender's birthday turned out for all of us. We smiled and laughed all day, Ender genuinely enjoyed every single one of his presents, and he felt like his party was the best party in the world. We all felt grateful for the company of his party guests. I felt ZERO stress about it all and enjoyed having his friends over to play and celebrate with him. Michael and I were surprised to feel that there really was a difference in Ender, that somehow his birthday brought a magical change from age 5 to age 6. He seemed so much taller, more mature, even somehow more intelligent. And Scarlett handled everything gracefully as well, which is a big deal. No tantrums or jealousy from the little lady. We felt so close as a family, and we loved every minute we shared together.

Enjoy! LOTS of pictures...stick around for the "after party." 
The pictures of Michael and Scarlett make me laugh!

We're just lucky our door is already blue. Easy transformation to TARDIS.

(picture taken night before)

(also taken night before) TARDIS for party game.

Birthday Banner! I'm ridiculously pleased with it...

One of the best kinds of refreshments, in my opinion... ;)

Family tradition to choose a meal on the birthday. Ender's definitely a breakfast kid.

Breakfast in bed! He's making a heart with his hands. :)

He chose a great menu: Orange Julius, cheesy scrambled eggs, bacon, toast and blueberry muffins.

Pre-Party Excitement! Scarlett's dancing to the Beatles' birthday song.

Making "adipose" creatures from Doctor Who. 
We figured this would be fun even for the kids who weren't familiar with the show 
(which was most of them, as I expected would be the case).

The finished creatures (which I forgot to send home with most of the kids, woops). 
The voodoo-looking one with toothpicks jutting out of it is Scarlett's. :D

Playing with LEGOs inbetween games.

(I'm not usually too bad at taking pictures, but I should have used a different setting for these fast-moving kids).

"Pin the Light on the TARDIS" game.

Ender cracking up when he saw that he pinned the light on the pantry door instead of the TARDIS.

Blake's turn...

Aidan's turn...

Kristen's turn...

Opening presents! 

Batman-Superman-Joker playset from Blake

$6 from Kristen

Batman LEGO set from Grandma and Grandpa Boatright

"sympathy present" for Scarlett

Candy bouquet and layered cake from Aidan

3-in-1 LEGO (Kitty, Bunny, Puppy...and mouse) creator set from us

Showing presents to Grandma Wahlquist and aunts on Facetime

Booklight from us (he regularly spends about an hour reading in bed each night! It's wonderful!)

Ninjago LEGO set from us

Doctor Who TARDIS from us (he's been asking for one for a year)

Charlotte arrived after this, and I didn't get a picture of the hand-drawn card and picture she gave to Ender. But it was adorable!

Okay, get ready to laugh at my cake-decorating skills, because it's hilarious how badly I did. I ended up making two cakes for Ender...which would seem ridiculous and extreme to me if anyone told me they'd done that, but it actually wasn't a big deal. I wasn't stressed about it at all. I made this cake (my first "shaped" cake) late at night, and it just made me laugh. A lot.

Michael said not to worry-- the TARDIS is simply a bit "wibbly wobbly, timey wimey." 
Doctor Who fans will appreciate that...

I'd say it was more than a BIT wibbly wobbly. This just had me laughing so hard that night.
I prepared Ender by telling him that it looked hilarious and ugly, but when I showed him he said with awe "It's beautiful, Mom! Wow!" 
What a great kid.

This is the cake we used for the party. Not bad for free-hand decorating! I know there are better cakes out there, but I'm quite pleased with the way this turned out!

Ender chose strawberry cake this year. I think he's trying a different flavor every year...and I remember doing the same as a kid (I chose strawberry for my 6th/7th birthday as well, in fact).

After Ender's party guests went home with their simple party favors (a baggie with a handful of candy and a couple balloons), we took him to see The LEGO Movie. My mom said that movie must have been made just for his birthday, and I think she's right. We all enjoyed the movie, and it inspired Michael and Ender to play LEGOs together. So when we got home, that's just what they did. They enjoyed putting together Ender's Batman LEGO set...and then Michael and Scarlett crashed on the floor. Time for the After Party!!! 

So while Ender spent hours putting his new LEGO sets together and playing with them, I huddled on the couch and read my book.

The weather was lovely during Ender's party, but an enormous rainstorm picked up and persisted through the last half of the day as well as the night. It was GLORIOUS. We opened the door and let the rainy air cool the house. Reading during a rainstorm is one of my absolute favorite things.

We welcomed the cool weather, too--although I'm aware that may sound silly to everyone living in the snow right now! :) I ended up falling asleep, too, and when Michael woke up, he took care of the kids and let them hang out on the couch and fall asleep for bedtime at their leisure. It was so perfect.

Happy Birthday, Ender!