Tuesday, September 25, 2012

A letter to my parents

So many people have parenting all wrong.  Being a good parent doesn't mean buying your child everything they want.  It's not about your child having the latest and greatest toy.  It's not about keeping up with technology and getting them the newest DS or iPod.  It's not about spending loads of money.  It's not about having an excessive amount of Christmas presents under the tree and making sure that everything off of their Santa List is crossed off.  It's not about buying them a shiny brand new car for their 16th birthday.

Being a great parent has everything to do with making memories.  I can't tell you a single birthday present my parents ever bought me until my 18th birthday.  It's not because they didn't buy me presents.. I'm not even sure if they bought me what I wanted or what I needed.  I can't even remember.

If you want to know about my childhood, I wouldn't tell you the things they bought me, I wouldn't be able to tell you how much money they spent on me, I would tell you about the things we did.

Every summer my parents took us to Martinez Lake.  Before we left our house, my dad would make a list of all the meals we would be eating and a list of all the things we needed to take with us.  The list would sit on the counter in the kitchen and I always enjoyed watching my dad cross things off the list.  My brother and I loved the drive out to the lake, we enjoyed the dips in the road and would beg our dad to drive faster so that we could feel our stomachs up in our throats and laugh.  My dad always drove faster and he always laughed along with us.  My parents spent all day swimming with us and taking us on the boat, teaching us how to tube and later, ski.

I did girl scouts for 4 years.  Girl Scouts was something that my mom and I did together.  My mom was active in Girl Scouts every year I did it.  My mom went to Girl Scout camp with me, she did Brownie over night, she took me door to door to sell cookies.

When I was a little girl, my mom used to watch a ridiculous soap opera.  I shouldn't say when I was little because she still watches the same show.  When I was home from school on breaks, my mom would come home and fix us tuna fish sandwiches and we would sit on the couch and watch her show.  And as silly as it sounds, I looked forward to watching it with her.  That show stuck with me all throughout college.  I don't watch it anymore, but when I'm flipping through the channels at 11:00-12:00pm, and I see it on, I still watch it.  My brother, Chris, is 36 and he still watches it sometimes too.  He told me that it reminds him of being a kid and watching it with mom.

My dad taught me how to make a fortune teller with a piece of paper one night when I couldn't fall asleep and mom taught me how to draw a star on newspaper the day that my dad went to get us a family dog.

The year after I finished 6th grade my parents bought a family pass to Six Flags and we went a few times that year.  My dad and I waited in line on the Superman ride so that we could be first in line.  When we got to the top we'd always wave to Superman.

In elementary school, my brother, Steven, and I came home early from school on Wednesdays and waiting on the  fridge was a list of chores we had to do.  My parents involved us in cleaning up our home.  I am appalled at how many kids don't have chores anymore.  I was responsible for cleaning my room, the bathroom,  sweeping and mopping the kitchen, and unloading the dishwasher.  Sure, I hated the chores when I was younger.  However,  I was apart of a family and my home and as children, we still have responsibilities.  I'm already looking forward to having chore charts for Ryan and Jake and giving them responsibilities too.

My mom used to make a lot of my baby clothes with her sewing machine.  I played with dolls for quite a while when I was younger... I loved my dolls.  One day my mom surprised me with a baby bassinet that she had sewed for me, along with dolls clothes and hats, a pillow and a blanket.  Mom mom made a few of my Halloween costumes too.  In 4th grade I wanted to be a cheerleader and I remember my mom sitting in front of her sewing machine taking the time to make the cheer leading outfit that I wanted and matching it with the colors of my school.  Now that I have children of my own, they can enjoy my mom's sewing too in their baby blankets, crib skirts, and Christmas stockings.

My dad used to take me to McDonalds to get Happy Meals.  I'm sure my mom did too but I specifically remember it being my dad.  My dad was in the military when I was younger.  He went to Saudi Arabia for a year and I bought him a birthday card.  On the back of the card was a little thing you could tear out and when you folded it and taped it, it became a money bank.  I folded that money bank together and put it in my parents room.  It sat on a shelf on my parents dresser as I put in my extra change so that my dad and I could go to McDonalds when he came home.  Yes McDonalds is gross and germy, but kids love it.  They can always take baths and wash their hands.  I want Ryan and Jake to love going to McDonalds with my dad as much as I used to love going with him.

Kids remember the things that you do with them.  Go on family vacations, go camping, help them with their homework,  eat breakfast and dinner together,  make traditions and stick to them. Take lots and lots of pictures even if you feel too embarrassed or think you might embarrass them.  Pictures are a great way to remember the memories a little more vividly.

Every quarter in elementary school my school had awards assemblies.  Since I was such a smart cookie I always received awards.  My parents came to as many of them as they could.  In 4th grade, my dad showed up and my mom couldn't make it because she had to work.  I had gotten an award and after the assembly my dad came up to me to take a picture of me with my award and instead of giving him a big huge grin, I didn't smile at all.  Why?  Because I was embarrassed that he wanted a picture of me.  This silly little memory sticks out in my head all the time because I feel quilty.  I never want my children to be embarrassed of me and I wish I never felt this way either.  My dad was simply proud of his little girl.  So dad, if you ever read this.. I will gladly find that award from 4th grade and pose for you with the biggest smile so you can take my picture.

I did get the car.  But it wasn't for my 16th birthday and it wasn't brand new.  The summer before I started my senior year in high school my dad told me that he would buy me a car if I took college classes as a senior.  Easy enough right?  So that's what I did.  I took college classes while I was still in high school.  That car lasted me ten years.  I actually just traded my parents a different car for it.

My parents loved me unconditionally.  They were proud of me and they let me know it.  They grounded me when I caused trouble.  They weren't afraid to put me in my place and they weren't afraid to tell me no.  They may have been scared to let me start going out with friends and especially when I got my first boyfriend at 15..but you know what.. they trusted me and they let me do it.  As I grew older, I could also feel their love for me get stronger as they became more supportive of my life and every decision I have made.

Today is September 25, 2012 and 41 years ago today, my parents stood up and vowed to love each other for the rest of their lives.  Along the way they raised 4 children and became a grandparent 7 different times.  I'm sure being married for 41 years hasn't always been easy.. but they did it.  They've made it.  They beat the odds of marrying young and becoming teen parents.  They have loved each other for 41 years and they continue to love each other.  They have stayed faithful to the vows they made... through parenting, moving, military, deployments, and every other obstacle they have had.

Happy 41 years mom and dad.  I could never put into words how thankful I am for everything you have done for me and my family.  I love you both so much.

If I thought they have been amazing parents.. you should see them as grandparents...

Sunday, September 16, 2012

You're my Sunday

 A few years back when Keith Urban & Nicole Kidman had their first daughter together, they named her Sunday Rose.  I read somewhere over the internet or a magazine that they named her Sunday because when you're single Sunday's are always so lonely, but when you have someone to share your life with, you look forward to Sundays because they are family days.
I haven't told blogger yet ;) but Tim and I got a new (beautiful!) home.  We found this house and immediately fell in love with it.  It's bigger and perfect for our family.  I loved our two story home, but once Jakey came along, having stairs just became annoying.  I hated running up and down the stairs all day long for whatever reason with two babies.  A few months ago I knew it was time to start looking for a new place.  I was actually dreading it and a little bummed to be moving from the house that my babies were born in.
The beginning of August, our house spent time getting ready for us!  New countertops, new door handles, new roof, new stove, new microwave, new dishwasher, new paint (inside and out!) & looots of landscaping.  The lady who lived here before us foreclosed and I'm pretty sure she didn't take care of the house.  Our home is bigger, more cozy and even has a big backyard!  Big for Arizona that is. 
We started moving into our new house on August 24th.  Sundays have been anything but family days.  They have been long and stressful.  Lots of packing & unpacking, yet dinner, playtime, and baths still need to be done.
Fast forward a few weeks to today and Sunday became a Sunday again. 
We played.  We laughed.  Momma even got to do 5 loads of laundry and I still have about 4 loads left.  When the kids napped Tim & I went outside and picked weeds in the front yard.  Tim raked the front yard and made it look nice.  We cut down bushes in the back yard.  Our back yard is a jungle- it will definitely be a project.  We ate left overs for dinner.  We assembled our new bed.  & we even did some grocery shopping.

As of Tuesday (9/11) Jakey pulls himself up in his crib when he wakes up.  Have I also mentioned he pulls up on everything and crawls everwhere?? Ahhh.

I hope our future Sundays will always be Sundays.



Thursday, September 13, 2012

Falling in Love

Everyone has their fears right before they are about to become parents.  At least I sure did.  When I was pregnant with Ryan I got a lot of advice from other people.  Some of it went in one ear and out the other.  Someone seriously told me that if I didn't wear maternity pants my baby might come out with autism, people told me to put rice cereal in his bottle, what brands of diapers to buy, how to cure teething, not to co-sleep, blah blah blah.

There is one girl I work with who I find comfort in talking to.  When I was pregnant with Ryan one of the first things she told me was "Having a child is like falling in love with someone new, and the feeling never goes away."  She has 4 children who are all in elementary school now.  She was telling me how she still thinks her children are the best things in the world, how she misses them when she's not with them and she thinks about them all the time.

I have had Ryan in my life for over 2 years, and Jakey for over 8 months.  They are still brand new to me but I find myself more and more in love with them as each moment passes.  If you pass me in the hall at work and ask me how my boys are, my response is probably "perfect."

Ryan and Jake ARE perfect.  They bring so much meaning to my life.  They bring smiles and laughter into our home.  When I'm at work, I miss them.  During my drive home from work, I'm thinking about them wondering what they're doing. When I lay them down for naps, I miss them.  When I put them down in their cribs at night, I miss them.  Sometimes I sit on the computer and read my blog over and over or go through my facebook albums and look at their pictures.

My hope is that my boys will always know how loved they are, how complete they have made my life and Tim's.

My sweet little Ryan Michael.  I can't get enough of him.  He learns new things, new words, new emotions every day.  He has the silliest little dance moves.  He is so carefree and funny.  He knows how to make mommy and daddy laugh and enjoys knowing he has the power to make us laugh uncontrollably.

Jakey is becoming more independent.  He's crawling everywhere on his hands and knees, he pulls himself up on everything.  He's finally sleeping through the night regularly.  He laughs and smiles so much.  He's growing too fast.

When was the last time you just sat back and looked at your life and realized how blessed you are?  Sometimes I think about it, and I feel completely overwhelmed.  Of all the babies in the world, God blessed ME to have the best ones, the sweetest ones, the most perfect.  He chose me to be the mommy to these two innocent human beings.

I hope every mommy out there looks at their children and realizes how blessed they are that they were chosen to parent the children they have.  To have these little lives to mold and help guide through life.  I pray to God that my children turn into amazing adults, I want them to change the lives of everyone they meet.  They sure have changed mine.

Ryan and Jake are snuggled up in their cribs with their blankets and I'm sitting here looking at their pictures on the computer.  Tomorrow is Friday which means that at 4:00 tomorrow afternoon I'll be home and get to spend the weekend with them.

I peek in on them a few times every night and just watch them sleep, watch them breath, watch them dream.  If anything is ever wrong in the world, you can watch your baby sleep, and suddenly everything seems right.

I am so, so blessed.