Thursday, September 21, 2006

13 Pictures of Scud and 13 Things About Scud

Scud is the "Star Scholar" in his Kindergarten class this week. So, I thought I'd make him the star of my blog today with a double Thirteen.

Thirteen Pictures of Scud

Some of my favorite pictures of Scud through the years.














Thirteen things about Scud.

1. Scud's favorite foods are Stroganoff and Tacos.

2. His favorite colors are Orange, Red, Yellow, Green and Black.

3. Hi favorite sports are Wrestling and Soccer.

4. His favorite song is "Life of a Salesman" by Yellowcard. It talks about growing up to be a better man like your Daddy. Very tender.

5. Scud loves to read and learn. He is incredibly bright. He taught himself to read with VERY little help from me. I taught him a bit about phonics and worked a bit with him on blending. But, basically he's figured it out for himself. He's still a beginning reader, but constantly amazes us during scripture reading time when we turn him loose on a verse and he reads words like "behold" and "remember" and "which" without skipping a beat. He's really figuring it out. He's doing the same thing with math and frequently sits on my lap to tell me "Mom, guess what I figured out. 7 plus 7 is 14. So, 7 plus 7 plus 6 equals 20." And I'm just flabbergasted. I don't know how he does it. He just does it. And I'm certainly not boasting. Just blown away by him. He amazes me every day.

6. Right now one of his favorite things to do is "read" chapter books. Yesterday he read all the way through Jekyll and Hyde while he waited for me to help with carpool at school. In the last week he's read about 15 chapter books. Does he really read them? No. He very intently stares at the pages, picking out any words he can and turns pages at the rate of about one page every 5 seconds. It's so funny to see him so intently "reading".

7. Scud loves to tell stories. I am constantly amazed at the depth of his imagination and his ability to weave a plot together. Sometimes his stories are complete nonsense and not really coherent. But I am frequently surprised at the complex and coherent stories he puts together, complete with a beginning, middle and end, believable characters, interesting climax. It's fun. He's just started a blog and has a couple of stories posted.

8. Scud LOVES legos in a big way. He will sit for hours building all sorts of things. Sometimes he'll follow the directions. Sometimes he'll just build whatever he wants.

9. Scud loves to play computer games and watch movies. I have to remind him to go outside and jump on the trampoline or ride his scooter. He'd just stay inside all day with a computer, a book or a TV if I let him.

10. Scud has one of the most infectious smiles and laughs that I've ever known. He's especially fun when something funny surprises him. Laughter just bursts out of him all at once. It's one of my favorite sounds in the whole world.

11. Scud is incredibly sensitive. He is, by far, my most sensitive child. His feelings get hurt very easily and he is very tender and loving. He is also very sensitive to sound, touch, sights and is easily overstimulated. He's not one to enjoy a big crowd for very long. Just too much sensory overload. He's also very introverted and can be uncomfortable in social situations. When he was a toddler, he used to hit others and act out a lot. I had the hardest time figuring out why he'd do it. I'd tell him what was expected of him and out the blue he'd just hit another child on the playground. Finally, when he was almost four, I asked him why he'd hit another little boy. He was finally able to articulate the problem for me. "Because I was nervous," he said. And little lightbulbs started going off everywhere in my head. Of course! Social situations with lots of children and taking turns and figuring out what to do with everything going on was just too overwhelming for him. So, I hugged and held him and was careful not to put him in situations that were too overwhelming for him. The problem disappeared immediately. Now, he's social and functions just fine on a playground. But he still prefers to relate to other children one-on-one or in small groups.

12. Scud could not talk intelligibly until he was almost four years old. When he was two, he spoke only a few syllables. He said "ma" for mom, "da" for dad, "oof" for food, "t" for thank you... After a while he began to string long sentences of syllables together "I ah to ah da deh beh moo." meant "I want to watch the Care Bear Movie." I was the only one who could understand him really and I only understood him about 50-60% of the time. It was very frustrating for him, because he knew EXACTLY what he was trying to say. He had a great vocabulary, but was simply unable to articulate. After a couple of years of speech therapy, he finally began to be intelligible. There are still traces of problems. But, other people understand him perfectly. What a relief.

13. Scud is so sweet and eager to please. :) He is such a darling. He loves to hug me and always has to hug my tummy and say hello to Coco in the morning.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Delicious Autumn!

Delicious autumn! My very soul is wedded to it, and if I were a bird I would fly about the earth seeking the successive autumns. ~George Eliot

I love autumn. Oranges and yellows and reds. Crisp, cool days. Apples from the orchard and pumpkins and pies.

This is my favorite time of year.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Pictures, pictures and more pictures!

I'm in the mood to post pictures. AND I finally found the cable to connect my camera to the computer. So, I hope you're in the mood for pictures this week.

I'll start with a couple of my cute little brother and his lovely wife on their wedding day.

And then one of me, my brother and my wonderful sister, which is also a good picture of my rapidly expanding belly.

And last of all, one of my whole family minus Scud. I'm not sure how Scud got out of this one!

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Wrappings and Musings

Here in my corner of the world, autumn is officially settling in. The mornings have been crisp and cool. The leaves on the mountains are beginning to turn bold and fiery. It has been raining the last couple of days. This afternoon feels like home. Lovely and familiar and inviting.

My children are upstairs playing house. Kaitybean is, of course, the Mommy. Scud is the son. Mashuga is playing the Daddy. His portrayal consists mainly of kissing the mommy goodbye and walking out the door, then walking back in again a few minutes later with "I'm back from work, honey!" Then, he announces that it's time to read scriptures and go to bed. After Scud is in bed the process starts all over again. He's wearing his tigger underwear, backward of course. And when I told him that Daddies don't wear just underwear to work, his characteristically self-assured answer was "This daddy does."

Home has been an interesting thing lately. It's changing and somewhat uncomfortable. JDub and I are really working on creating a home and a family together. After nine years of marriage and nearly that many years of parenting, we are finally getting down to the work of creating, of planning, of dreaming and figuring out just what it is we want for our family and how we're going to get there. And we're finally doing it together, which sometimes means joy and hard work and sometimes means crying and fighting or agreeing to disagree until next time. We're painting the deck and cleaning out our closets. Trying to decide whether to have our carpets professionally cleaned or to just tear them out and start all over again. Reminding each other of agreements we've made when it comes to our children. To treat them with love and respect. To expect them to learn to work hard and be honest and kind and respectful to others. To feed them well and put them to bed at night so that we can have some time together. It's good work to be doing. And it's painful work, also, as we face years of pent-up frustration. As we try to make our home a beautiful sanctuary and deal with feelings of self-doubt and self-depreciation that have held us back from investing more of our resources in ourselves and our surroundings. It is one of those formative times in our lives that I believe we'll look back on with fondness, but for right now it has been a hard climb. It's incredibly difficult to get out of nine years of habit, of living parallel and extemporaneous lives of quiet desperation and move toward living our life together, with purpose, hope and deliberation.

Our home is also somewhat quieter lately. And busier at the same time. Each morning I shuttle my two oldest, previously home-schooled darlings off to school. And it is a fabulous school. They love it there. And I am truly enjoying the time I get to spend alone with my captivating Mashuga boy. But, I miss my Scud and his sweet hugs and quiet way of making me feel wonderful about myself. And I miss my Kaitybean and her wit and fire and compassion and thirst for knowledge. And I end up spending about two hours in the car each day, which is certainly not as soul-soothing as I'd like it to be.

My cute little brother (okay, he's 6 foot tall and 250 pounds, but he'll always be my cute little brother) and his lovely, wonderful wife came over today. It's the first time I've seen them since their wedding day and it was good to have them here. They needed to use my computer and J cursed my Mac a few times. I talked a bit with my new sister about Christmastime and traditions and flying home and getting along with our family and loving them even when it's difficult. I love her already. I hope they'll always feel welcome here for any reason at all.

This week saw me handling close to $5000 worth of orders for our school. Parents were given the opportunity to purchase items to help their children at home. And I've been compiling them and keeping track of orders and checks and spending late nights checking and double checking to make sure everyone gets what they need. It's so good to feel useful, to be able to serve others and take care of the needs that play in the background to make sure others' lives are a bit easier. At the same time, I'm glad the final numbers are in and that I have the opportunity to take care of myself and my home a little more this week.

Yesterday I called the Birthing From Within office and gave them permission to empty my business account and take some more out of yet another account. I'll be attending an advanced training and retreat in beautiful Ghost Ranch, New Mexico in November. I'll be meeting wonderful, open, wise women in person whom I've gotten to know through words only. I have heard that this training is often a life-changing experience and perhaps it may be so for me. But even if it is not, I am looking forward longingly to the soul-stretching and peace and pause this trip will afford me. My life has been going at such a pace lately that I deeply feel the need to take some time to remember who I am and what it is I feel called to do in my life right now.

So, I am preparing to mentor another BFW class in October and I'm greatly looking forward to it. What bliss it is to be able to bless the lives of others and do what I love at the same time. And like I've said before, these classes are so much different than a typical childbirth class. Parents do not sit on pillows while I tell them everything they need to know about birth and how to do it "right". They are given the opportunity to delve deep into the heart of what they know and what they want and to begin to live out the answers, to be the solutions to their deepest worries. They begin to be active participants in their births, they begin to practice and do what they need, to live mindfully and be willing to face any possible outcome that their birth and life might throw at them. It's a miraculous thing to behold. And joyous work in which to be engaged.

I think I may also take a class from another BFW mentor at the end of October. It will be interesting to be at the receiving end, as a pregnant mom, for the first time.

Speaking of being pregnant, I am very big and round. I need to post a picture on here of my cute tummy. Captain Jack seems to be a happy, active little guy. I'm starting to wonder what he'll be like, how he'll change our family and our lives forever the way each of our children have done.

I found the perfect pair of maternity jeans a couple of days ago. Perfect wash. They fit right in all the right places and are incredibly comfortable. AND they have pockets, which somewhat of a rarity for maternity clothes. Money well-spent.

Then, I spent a morning crying and yelling at my sewing machine as I tried to hem them. You see, I'm 5'2" and it's almost impossible to find a pair of pants that aren't four inches too long for me. :) But, I got them done. And the hems look just fine. Unfortunately, I knocked my iron onto the carpet and burned a nice little design into it. JDub keeps threatening to put four more marks on the floor to make a pattern. Ugh. :) I have quite the love/hate relationship with sewing.

I started a new cross-stitch last night. One with winding flowers and a wonderful poem I found on a door at Casa De Maria in Santa Barbara, California last year. It's rather soothing to have something like that to work on. And, unlike sewing, crosstich is something I'm actually good at.

So, I'm sitting here in front of my computer, listening to my three sweet kinder-eggs playing together, enjoying a cold, wet autumn day and just feeling very blessed and grateful for my life. My dear husband, my best friend and the most wonderful man I know has just walked in the door from work. Life is crazy right now. There is much to be worried about, much work to do. But there is always so much to be grateful for. And right now I'm just happy to be me.

Monday, September 11, 2006

When the World Stopped Turning...

I remember where I was. It was just past dawn. The sun was coming up beautifully in the east as I walked outside from a morning aerobics class. A man came running out and said "A plane just hit the World Trade Center."


I went home and went to sleep only to get a phone call from my husband.

"Another plane hit the other tower. One of them has collapsed."

So, I gathered my sweet little ones and walked to my sister's house to watch the news.

And we all cried together. Ash covered faces I will never forget.

And the days to follow were filled with more faces I will never forget. Bravery I will never forget. Unity I will never forget.

A nation that turned to God, turned to each other and found the strength to carry on.

I hope that we are better for what we learned five years ago. I hope that we have been moved to be more compassionate, more kind, more loyal, more grateful -- especially for the blessings of living in this country.

I fear that this may not be the case, that there is bitterness and hatred and terror creeping into our hearts as we continue to figure out how to deal with the threat that we were introduced to half a decade ago.

I commit in my own life to be the change I wish to see in the world. I cannot change the hearts of terrorists, of Rebublicans, of Democrats. But I can change my own and touch the hearts of others with love, kindness and gratitude.

May the memory of this day move you to do the same. To change your heart and change your little corner of the world by the way you treat those around you.

Here is a poem I wrote exactly five years ago.

September 11, 2001

A crash from heaven shocks each of us awake.

Out of peace

These things that happen elsewhere
have scrambled over my back fence.

And my heart is overstuffed with grief.

Tomorrow we can muddle over changes
and how to make the cowards pay.

Today my soul is a prayer
for thousands of souls lost
and millions more grieving.

Tonight the stars will be weeping.

Friday, September 08, 2006

I need google!!!

They have Google Maps, Google Earth, Google Local, Google Images, Google Calendar, Froogle, Google Video. Truly, google is one of my favorite friends. Within seconds I can do anything from price-searching, to finding a picture of an apple, to watching that crazy Napolean Dynamite dance scene, to scaring myself to death by diagnosing myself with all kinds of strange diseases based on any number of symptoms. You can even text google from your cell phone and get information back in a flash. It's crazy the things google can do.

But now, I NEEEEEEEEEED something called Google Home. Google guys, is there any way you can map the terrain of my home so that at any time I can just visit my Google Home site to find missing items?

You know how it would go.

  • Hop on google.
  • Type in "keys to the van" or "Scud's left shoe".
  • Within seconds, a message pops up saying "Behind the downstairs toilet." or "In the giant box of legos". It would be even cooler if you could show me a picture with one of those cute little red arrows. Even better, could you have those just floating holographically around my home whenever I'm looking for something?

    Google, you've done it before. Now can't you find a way to crawl and index my home? Please call me if you figure it out. Because I have a doula client due any day now and I seriously need to find my cell phone.

  • Another Friday Wrap

    Just another random post of randomness. I'll let you in on what's been going on in my life.

  • Last week marked the first day of school for my two oldest sweethearts. Really, I need to find the cord to my camera so I can post some blasted pictures on here! We have so many fun pictures from the last few weeks. So, back to school. It's been a lot of fun for them. I have thoroughly enjoyed being alone with Mashuga for a couple of hours a day. And they're even starting to get the carpool thing worked out. I'm down to waiting about 15 minutes to get my kiddos after school from the 45 it took the first day. YUCK! They're really working hard on solutions. It's pretty difficult with a small parking lot and 500 students who need to be picked up. None of them are bussed because it's a charter.

  • So, I've done a lot of work for this school. My latest project was planning and conducting two nights of parent curriculum training. I was only there for the first night, but thought it went rather well. Most people were very pleased with the information we provided. Someone just commented on a previous post that she thought the training was draining. I don't think she realized that she was talking to the very person who planned those draining trainings. :) Ah, well. Can't please everyone. Maybe I can console myself with the idea that she probably went on Wednesday and missed my energetic, singing and dancing presentation on Shurley English. HA! No, it really went over well. Now, I'm in charge of gathering orders for parent materials so that they can help their children at home. My wonderful Mashuga boy was actually very patient as he helped me distribute over 500 order forms to teachers yesterday morning. As intense as he is, he's actually rather manageable when we're one-on-one.

  • The reason I wasn't at the second night of training is that I was able to have one of the most wonderful experiences of my life. My little brother went to the temple for the first time. He and his sweetheart will be getting married in the temple tomorrow. Honestly, if you had told me a year ago that I would be in the temple with my entire family this week I wouldn't have had enough faith to believe you. What a choice experience. Especially because it means that my brother and sister, who were both struggling and hurting a year ago are now enjoying a measure of peace and happiness in their lives. What a tremendous answer to prayers.

  • I am now 23 weeks pregnant and happy as a clam. I love second trimester. Still interviewing care providers to decide who I'll go with for sure. But at least I know what I want now. So, it's just a matter of finding someone who will fit my needs. OH, we found out a couple weeks ago that we're having another little boy. Kaitybean was crushed. The boys want to name him Captain Jack Sparrow. Well, Jack was on the top of my short list of names so they may get a Captain Jack. We've been going back and forth now between calling him Coco and captain Jack.

  • We are working on cleaning and refinishing and really revamping our home right now. I've been decluttering like a fool in hopes of having a yard sale next week. Hopefully I can pull it off. If not, I'll be taking a HUGE load of stuff to charity. I am just tired of the clutter and the headache it causes me. A couple of weeks ago a dear friend asked me (after I'd told her a bit about some of the things I'm struggling with right now) whether or not I felt like my home was a refuge for me. I couldn't give her a positive answer. As I've thought more about it I've realized that I DESERVE for my home to be a refuge and I'm working hard to make it that way.

    Well, I'm off. I'm going to go soak in the tub and just not think about any of the many things I need to do today. Not yet, anyway.