Sunday, August 30, 2009

Good Transitions

The last couple of weeks have brought with them some good transitions for our family. Now I will be the first to admit that I'm not always the best at dealing with change, but what I've learned in my almost 34 years of life is that sometimes what you think might be a rough transition turns magically into a smooth and wonderful transition.

For example, take our decision to move the two boys into the same bedroom. We had planned to do this all along, but took the big leap at a time when we were frustrated with sleep issues and preparing for some house guests. Maybe this didn't seem like the best time to try this new set up, but my intuition told me to take the leap and boy am I glad that I listened. Ever since the original night that they slept together, we have been sleeping great here in the Fisher house. Now after a few weeks of this arrangement both boys go to sleep in the most gentle and peaceful way that I could ever wish for. I have never let them CIO (cry it out) and I am so happy that they are now safely sleeping together in their own room.

Originally we just slapped Curtis' mattress on the floor in Clark's room because we had limited time before our house guests arrived. This weekend we measured and moved and yes, dropped a dresser on my toe, as we set this wonderful room up for the boys. Bloody toe aside, I couldn't be happier with the look of the room. There is still work to do in the other bedroom which I am happy to announce will soon be our guest/craft/office room. I will finally get my husband's office out of my bedroom and be able to move my sewing machine off the dining room table! I am so excited to be able to lay out a bunch of craft supplies and be able to walk away mid project without having to put everything away. I am equally excited to get the files and computer and business phone out of my bedroom and away from the place where I relax and replenish my soul each night.

The other major transition has been school! Yes, school is already back in session down here and we have been lucky again this year. There was very little stress involved in this transition as well because the school Curtis is attending this year is the same one he attended last year with the same teachers and even some of the same students. Curtis loves the Complete Soccer Academy and I have already noticed a change in his attitude after only a week back.

It is also amazing to me how much I enjoy those few hours of alone time with Clark three days a week. Sometimes I forget that I never got the kind of one on one time with Clark that I did for the first two and a half years of Curtis' life. Spending the mornings with just him is so different than when Curtis is around and I'm really grateful that both boys get what they need from this arrangement.

So I guess the lesson in all of this is that I should never fear change or transitions because they are often times smooth and gentle and leave me in a situation even better than where I was in the first place
(especially when I listen to my intuition).

Monday, August 24, 2009

Where have I been?

All over the place really. See my Mom came down to visit us! It was great and I had fun playing tourist and showing her around. We don't do all the regular Orlando touristy things like theme parks and such. We have way more fun doing more outdoorsy things. My Mom is just like the boys and I (or I should say we are like her) because she loves being in nature too!

We went to Kelly Park and played in Rock Springs. It is so nice there, but the Springs are pretty cold at only around 70 degrees year round. The swimming area has a shallow area which is perfect for the boys and they also had fun playing on the beach area too. Curtis played with the cool boat Grandmom brought down for the boys and we all went for a nice picnic and hike where we saw caves and turtles and fish and streams.

Clark also had lots of fun reading in bed with Grandmom when she visited. He has recently begun to love reading books. See before the visit we switched things around and now the boys share a bedroom and we use the other room as a guest room and soon we will move my husband's office in there and my sewing machine too. I can't tell you how happy I'll be to have my husband's office out of my bedroom and also to have an area to do crafts. It's been an amazing transition since the boys now both go to bed so easily and sleep through the night with no problems at all. It so warms my heart to see them both so cute and cuddled up sleeping next to each other in the same room.

Grandmom also helped us bake cookies. We used two of the recipes she passed down to us that we love and naturally Curtis was happy to help clean up.

And finally, here is a shot of them at the beach. This was one of the best beach trips this summer. The forecast was bad but we went anyway and had the best weather. We both commented on how hard it was to leave that afternoon. It was such a relaxed trip. We threw some towels and sandwiches and toys in the car and took off. The weather was glorious and I couldn't have asked for a better visit with my Mom.

Unfortunately she is back up north now, but Curtis has asked almost daily since she left when we are going to visit her, so it shouldn't be long before we see her again, and this time maybe she'll be taking us site seeing!

Friday, August 14, 2009

Tough Love

We've been experiencing some moments of tough love around here lately. Who would've known that our folks were right back when they said it was harder on them then it was on us. It took a husband, two kids, and a mortgage before I could really understand my parents and trust me, I'm not sure how they did it with three of us without going completely insane.

One thing I know is that it is my job to teach my sons how to respect others. It's amazing how these little beings come into our lives, such blank slates, and end up teaching us more about ourselves then we could ever imagine knowing. My sons have been really sending me to school lately with lessons on self respect and confidence. That's right, it takes a 4 year old with an attitude and a 1 year old learning about independence to teach me how to respect myself. Through their button pushing, stalling, and down right defiance I have been forced to acknowledge my own self confidence levels. Do I deserve to be bossed around by a 1 year old tyrant or a 4 year old despot? Do I deserve to be listened to (within reason) as if I matter beyond just clothes washer and food preparer? Do I deserve a moment of time to myself after hours at a park or event for the kids?

Well, folks, my answer to these questions is finally a resounding Yes!

I'll admit that my family goes through cycles of disrespect and that I am as guilty as the rest of them. It is with all of this knowledge that I have set a new intention for my family to express our respect for each other every day in every way possible. I mean, sometimes it's just the small things that do it for me. Think of the times your significant other has tip toed out of the bedroom to give you an extra few minutes of sleep, or the kids have given you a spontaneous bear hug, or the times when your whole family finds themselves laughing and dancing in the kitchen after dinner for no reason what so ever. These are the moments in life that I am cherishing right now. These are the moments that I am trying not to let slide by while I am distracted by the TV or paper or internet or my own mind. These moments are the true purpose of my life right now.

It really is amazing to me how much I love these two kids. Sometimes I look at them and am just blown away by the fact that I have two sons! But here's the hitch, the fact that I love them forces me to sometimes put us all through some pretty uncomfortable emotions. If I don't have enough self respect for myself and love for them to gently teach them how to respectfully treat those around them, who will? The last thing I want to do is send my boys out into the world under equipped for dealing with social interactions in a respectful and peaceful manner.

So yes, there has been some serious boundary re fortification around here lately and while it is really uncomfortable at the time, I am holding strong to the belief that teaching my children to respect others is an important lessons and that they will be better people for it.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Making Playdough

Yesterday afternoon, while Clark napped and the afternoon rains came, Curtis and I got bored. He wanted to make a craft but gave me a "no" to all my old standbys. So I had a light bulb pop over my head as I remembered the homemade playdough recipe that I had. It's the same recipe we used in my house when I was a child and it is very quick and easy. Basically you throw the ingredients into a pot and stir it over medium heat until it forms a ball. The fun part about making it with a preschooler is that he first gets to choose whatever color he wants and help stir before playing away the afternoon creating until his heart is contented.

Curtis decided to make blue playdough and had lots of fun stirring it on the stove.

He took this photo of me helping to stir once it got pretty stiff.

First he made some garages while I made cars to go in them. This is a reoccurring theme in our play now-a-days. He is such a boy, always focused on the garage and what goes in it.

Here he is with the alligator we made together.

And of course once Clark woke from his nap he had to get in on the fun too.

I would recommend this craft to any parent of a preschool looking for something cheap, easy, and fun to make on a rainy day. We have it now stored in a zip top bag and have already pulled it out a couple times since yesterday afternoon. Curtis was so proud of himself for making it that he has told almost everybody he has seen since, so it is also a wonderful and simple way to boost a little guy's confidence.


Combine 1 cup flour, 1/2 cup salt, 2 tsp cream of tartar, 1 tablespoon vegetable oil, and 1 cup water (with 10 drops of food color added if you choose to color the dough) in a medium pot. Stir over medium heat until it forms a ball. Remove from heat and let sit until cool enough to play with.

Monday, August 03, 2009

Learning to help others

Our church is doing a school supply drive for the homeless children in Seminole County. I decided this would be a good chance to teach Curtis about the value in helping those less fortunate than us. We went shopping for a backpack and filled it with school supplies and the church will be giving it to a homeless child from the county.

I decided to pick out all girl stuff since I won't really get much of a chance to do that in the future. Curtis really liked picking out the folders and pens to fill the pack up with. I tried to discuss the importance of helping others while we filled the pack, and I'm not sure if he's too young for this lesson or not, but you gotta start somewhere, right?

Clark tried to help out too, in his own way.

Curtis moved to level 2

Curtis has been taking swim lessons at our city pool for two summers now. Since we don't have a pool ourselves (yet?) he doesn't get much chance to practice so he's been repeating level one over and over. Well, on friday we celebrated his graduating to level 2 finally. He was very proud and excited to get to level two where, as he put it, "we have to swim harder".

Here he is on the first day of class in level 2.

He loves bobbing on the side of the pool waiting for his turn to swim.

And here he is learning to swim!

Sunday, August 02, 2009

Sunday Mornings

I've had a couple crazy weeks in a row so I thought a nice post about my favorite morning might be a pleasant change of pace.

We have recently started a new tradition where we go to church Saturday evening at 5pm and then go out to eat afterward. I've fixed my budget so that we can afford to eat out or get take out once a week and this works out well after church on Saturday. I really look forward to the one night off from cooking and cleaning and the kids love the change of pace. Curt usually takes this as his opportunity to eat red meat since I rarely cook that at home. So it's a win/win/win/win situation. It's never anything fancy, but even a Costco pizza eaten together at the park is a nice change of pace for all of us.

So, this leaves Sunday mornings as our free time on the weekends. It's so nice to wake up and lounge around in PJs watching TV and flipping through the paper with my family. Sometimes I might get up and make some special pancakes and sometimes we all might just snack on cold cereal, but we do it together and that's the main joy.

Nothing makes me happier than enjoying a nice cup of tea while my boys play quietly on the floor in their own imaginary worlds.

Sometimes Curtis might take a break from the elaborate car chase he is staging to check out a show on TV.

And finally we break out the big Sunday paper and divide it up. Curt goes straight to the sports section, even though he finds baseball season disappointing. I sort through the mountains of coupons, always on the look out for a way to save another buck. And the boys huddle together over the most recent Toys R Us catalog, listing out loud all the toys that they want from Santa this year.

A relaxing Sunday morning at home with my family is sometimes just what the doctor ordered. It reminds me that what is really important in this life is not what kind of car I drive or what name brand my clothes are or what other people may think of me. The most important thing in my life is my family and I have been blessed with such a wonderful one that I can't think of a better way to spend Sunday morning.