Friday, August 27, 2010

Worry and Guilt

There are some things in life that you think you understand...and then you have kids. Things like how important sleep is or what clean looks like. Emotions like guilt and worry.

My kids are petite, which is just a nice way to say "scrawny". Generally, I am ok with this. It is how God made them, and while I do get sick of hearing how little they are from everyone, I can accept that I will never have a kid who has a bunch of cute and squish fat rolls.

I took Annabelle to the doctor for her 9 month well baby visit. She doesn't even weigh 15 pounds yet and has put on less than a pound in the last 3 months. This isn't good. I am not a worrier usually, but this got my attention. Here is the thing, the child eats just fine, with lots of wet diapers and such, she just isn't growing. Developmentally she is doing fine but we worry a bit about her not crawling yet.

Guilt is pretty much a worthless emotion, but I have a better understanding of it now. Somewhere in my head, i know it isn't my fault that she is little, that I am doing everything I can, but as her mother I feel like it is my job to make her thrive. I worry, what if something is really wrong?

We have an appointment with some specialist at Children's Hospital, we may get some answers but likely we will just get some more questions. For the time being, Annabelle is happy, sweet and fun baby who is unquestionably loved by her family.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

How to: Eat a meal like a 9 month old

Step 1: Sit in your chair and scream indignantly until food is brought directly too you

Step 2: Examine everything offered with a critical eye

Step 3: Poke it

Step 4: Lick finger and decide on first course

Step 5: Eat all the fruit and carbs and throw the veggies on the floor for the dog. Take a bite of meat, shudder, gag and decide to eat it anyway

Step 6: Squeeze everything that is left on you plate in your fist and watch in amazement as it oozes between fingers.

Step 7: Lick hand, get mouth full of food and sneeze. Giggle

Step 8: Smack slimy hand on table, enjoy the noise and the splatter

Step 9: Rub whatever remains in your hair

Step 10: Holler and sign "all done" frantically until someone releases you from the confines of your chair. Fight every attempt to get you clean.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Today, I believe

- Underwear is over-rated. At least on 2 year olds. She can't be bothered and, while at home, either can I.

- Being a good neighbor is hard. Sometimes I just don't want to.

- Picking berries with children means 3 very stained and happy kids and very few berries that actually make it home.

- Everything could be made better by bacon or strussel topping.

- The 3ed kid's life looks way different from the first kids. Pretty sure I should never get to kid #7 because they wouldn't make it through the first year of life. I would misplace them somewhere or they would be dismembered by a sibling, by accident of course.

- I can tell how good of day my children had by how many outfits they go through.

- Sleeping naked is the only way to go in the summer.

-Pets teach children a lot of things including that just because it is on the floor doesn't mean it isn't' good to eat and licking is an appropriate greeting in most situations

-I have no idea what to do with a sink full of apples from our tree. I have more to come. Anyone need some apples?

- Never ask a child why they are sticky. Just wash them and assume the worst.

- Drunk people and toddlers have a lot in common: both require hands going up stairs, they both get a kick out of dancing naked on the table, neither have good control of body functions, you can only understand about half of what they say, and they both cry for no good reason.

- If you come over and I have nothing freshly baked it has been a bad week

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Sisters

I am lucky. I was blessed with sisters. I may not have always considered this a blessing, the teen years were a bit sketchy. My sisters rock, and I don't just say that because they are mine, I really think they are cool chics. A few weekends ago, Amanda and I spent the weekend away. We left Saturday morning and hit the outlet mall where we enjoyed some uninterrupted shopping. We went from there to our hotel where we took naps. Yeah, we are crazy like that. We woke up well rested and enjoyed some happy hour adult beverages on the patio overlooking the mountains. Off to dinner at Outback and back to the hotel for some hot tub time. A FULL nights sleep with a big breakfast and then they day spent in exploring a cute little town and eating at a gluten free crepe place. We came home refreshed.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Annabelle Faith 9 months

I can't believe the babe is 9 months. With the first kid, time moves a bit slowly, it seems your always on the look out for the next big development. Kid number 2 time moves faster. With the third I keep finding myself wondering where the time went! Here is what is new in baby Belle's world:

-Alert the fairy, we have a tooth! Just one, on top. We are going to have to rename her "Fang" unless she starts growing more.

-The conversations have begun. Eliana talked early, Addilyn still doesn't have a lot to say. Annabelle now says "hi" and "mama". She signs "eat" and "more" and we are working on "all done".

-Not much sleep in the Crocker house. Belle still has NEVER once slept through the night. Sigh. I know it will happen some day but if my sanity is to remain in tact, I hope that day comes soon!

-Belle is very happy to sit and has no desire to crawl. I have found her standing in her crib. I am in no hurry to have her on the move and am strongly considering duct taping her hiney to the floor.

- She is selectively eating real food. Not a big fan of much, but can down the baby cereal like nobodies business.

-Belle is a peanut, just like my other 2. Keeping with the trend, I think I will be 3 for 3 who fail to hit 20 pounds by a year old.

Love the quilt in the picture? Props to Randi, my sister-in-laws mama, for her mad quilting skillz. Check out her blog and her fabric store here.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Education

I have mentioned in the past that I have in my possession a few soap boxes. One of them is labeled "education". If you haven't yet, skim the options section in your weekend Denver Post.

I am a teacher and have friends who teach and I have nothing but the deepest respect for those in the education profession. They work harder for less than most. Many teachers I know go above and beyond what is required of them, they buy there own classroom supplies, stay long hours to help students, and sponsor clubs and have a real love for kids and passion for educating them.

Here is the problem, schools are failing our kids. Our children finish up k-12 unable to keep up with others around the world and, in this global market, it set them up for big problems. If we ask our children to give us 1/3 of their childhood to spend in classrooms, the least we can do is make it worth there while. Here are some of our problems:

-Money allocation.We spend too much on administration costs and not enough on classrooms.

-Too much spend on "under achievers" and not enough spent on "gifted". For every $100 spent on special education, only $2 is spent on the gifted. Guess who is going to be leading our country in the future?

-No child left behind. Sorry, Georgie, this idea, like Communism, looks great on paper but just doesn't play out in the real world. If every child walked into public school with the same potential and starting out in the same spot, then this might work. But children are not robots, each one is an individual with different abilities and gifts. Which leads me to our next problem...

-The "one size fits all" mentality. We know not every child is going to grow up to be a plumber or scientist, yet we assume they will all learn they same thing at the same age and time. Children don't grow up to be individuals, they actually start out that way. Teachers have to teach to the lowest common denominator.

The largest problem in our schools is not actually in our schools. The largest problem is the parents. Too many unwilling to do too much. Selfishness. The idea that it is someone else responsibility to educate their children. So here it is, the gloves are off. Parents, step up. Children are not convenient and they require sacrifice of time, money, energy and so much more, and if your not willing to put in the time, please refrain from having children.

This is not a post to bash public schools, with all there problems. It is a call out to fix what is broken and think before you default to the "easy" and "free" option for public school. It is a call out to parents to take responsibility for your child's education and not see it as someone elses problem. Get involved, help a teacher, mentor a student, if you say education matters step up and act like it.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Neighbors

Without asking anyone else who lives with you, name the people who live on either side of your house. First and last names, please. What about the people who live behind you and across the street? Of the nine houses closest to you, how many neighbors can you name? Of those people you just named, can you tell me what they do for a living? What is the name of there pets and children? Where do they vacation? Hobbies? About how old are they? Ok, now take it deeper. What are there dreams for the future, what are there hopes for there children? Are they struggling with anything? What makes them happy?

Christianity 101 is very simple, repeatedly stated over and over in the bible by Jesus and those who know him:

Luke 10:27
He answered: " 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind' ; and, 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' "

This is kindergarten level stuff. Love God and love your neighbor. Later on Jesus explains who is your neighbor (everyone!) and all the sudden the waters get muddied, so lets stay with the most literal interpretation of this commandment and focus on those who live physically closest to us.

Neighbors are funny things. Friends you can choose and you can even make choices in who you serve but you have very little say about who lives next door, and maybe that was Jesus point. Neighbors can be loud, obnoxious, messy and awkward but that doesn't mean we are off the hook of showing them God's love.

As the great 90's band once sang "love is a verb". An action word. How are you doing in Christianity 101? Loving God is easy, He gave everything for us. Loving friends, family, and those we choose isn't so bad either. But neighbors? Can you really love someone if you don't know there name?

Saturday, August 14, 2010

In the last 48 hrs

I got three little girls dressed in swimming suits ( or "dewy doups" as Addilyn calls them) slathered in sun screen and took them swimming. I successfully brought them all home, I did not, however successfully apply my own sun screen and now have a purplish-red colored area on my back

I hit 4 different stores to do my weekly shopping and almost stayed in budget. Almost.

I went to see a fireworks show and hear an outdoor concert with my two eldest daughters. This proved to be very educational for Middle child, who up to this point had a lot of confusion about the difference between thunder, lightening and fireworks. I blame this on the massive rain storm we got caught in when we attempted to see them on the 4th of July. Confusion is now cleared up. At least on this subject

I went to a meeting for the non-profit I sit on the board for. See, I am able to do grown-up things and even spend an entire morning without talking about children. At least without talking about my children. In case your interested, it looks like over the next 14 months we will be granting 6 micro-finance projects with 3 different groups of women in Guatemala and maybe starting a sewing school in Nepal.

I made and delivered dinner for friend who just welcomed there first baby. He is a doll, all squished up and rolled into a tiny little wad of baby. And he smells wonderful.

I made 3 loaves of zucchini bread, 1 pan of muffins and one "faux" apple crisp using zucchini. Most of this will be gone within the next 10 days.

I enjoyed a bbq with friends and family where I ate a hamburger...WITH A BUN! I realize that with normal people this is not a caps worthy event, but I haven't had a good Burger with bun in forever. We just discovered a new gf bun that is very yummy. So exciting!

Tomorrow I will go to Church (aren't you proud of me, Grandma!) meet with a friend to off-load baby stuff and hand with the hubs. Whew what a relaxing?! weekend.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Smile

things that have made me smile lately:

-scooping baby Belle up after her nap. Her sweaty head buried in my neck, arms wrapped around me, her horse little baby talking voice and sweet baby breath. LOVE!

-Playing doll house with Addie

-Watching Eliana explore her new found independence while ridding her bike with the big neighbor kids

-Magic bars. I have eaten... a lot. Yum. So you too may indulge:
1 1/2 c. quick oats
1 stick butter
mix and pat into a 9 X 13
top with the following
1 c. chocolate chips
1 c. butterscotch chips
1 c. coconut
1 c. chopped nuts
1 can sweetened condensed milk
Bake in 350 oven for 40 min or until light brown on top.

-Peanut butter frosting rediscovered. i used to make it as a child and now I remember why. It is good on everything. Currently enjoying it on a Peanut butter banana cake.

-Eliana's awful jokes. They make no sense but she and Addilyn crack up.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Square Pegs

I have a bunch of things that I should be posting about, things that most people would probably find more interesting than what I am going to write about. Cute things, like Eliana and the ice cream man, things like my weekend away with my sister, helpful things like the recipe for the yummy ice cream sandwiches. But, this is my blog, darn it, and I will write about what is on my mind. MOPS.

I have never been a good fit for MOPS. Maybe that isn't entirely true, there might be a MOPS group out there that IS a good fit for someone like me, it just so happens I am not a part of that group. I am part of the fundamentalist christian group who has a great love for traditionalism. While I love many of the women at my MOPS, they are some of my closest friend and I am grateful for them, overall MOPS is just a bad fit for me, let me share a story to illustrate my point.

Every summer MOPS goes on break, this summer not being any different. They needed someone to plan summer events to keep us all connected and must have been desperate because they asked me. I have made it clear in the past that I am NOT leadership material. If I was to serve on leadership then I would have to be in agreement with the direction to lead, which I am not.

Any way, I planned a bunch of summer events and included a book club as we have a fair amount of women in our group who are big readers. I chose 3 books, The Time Travelers Wife, The Red Tent and Girl Meets God. I was intentional in not choosing christian books as MOPS is supposed to be available to all women and not just traditional evangelical Christians. After all, what non-Christian would want to join a book club with all sub-par christian literature telling them everything they believe is wrong and they are going to hell? By the way, that is my rub with the church in general, this need to shove Jesus down peoples throat, and not just MOPS.

I received a call about a week before the first book club meeting. The book choices were not acceptable. This couldn't be a MOPS book club. I went ahead and sent out an e-mail letting everyone know. The e-mail was polite, if slightly barbed. I don't mind that MOPS didn't approve of my book choices, they don't probable approve of a vast majority of my life, so that is not why MOPS is on my mind.

The new MOPS year is set to begin soon and I am questioning weather I should re-up. I do love my girlfriends there, but often don't get to chat with them at MOPS because we are so busying doing "circle time" and "craft time" and "forced conversation time". Then there is the problem of Annabelles morning nap and the girls teachers as MOPS.

Sometimes I could just be happy being a nice, round peg like everyone else seems to be. The "ideal Christian woman" who happily agrees with everything that is being taught, sitting quietly and nodding her head when hearing about that damn Proverbs 31 woman. A woman who believes converting someone just means getting them through the front door of a church. A woman who sings along to christian radio on the way to church and happily reads Jannette Oke. Woman who follow there husbands around like puppies, thinking they are God's gift of leadership. Jumper wearing, bible toting, praise song singing, Church attending women.

Ugh, my square peg corners are getting chafed just posting this. I have nothing against women like the above, I am just not one of them. Where is the club for women like me? Those who are disgusted with what the church has become? Those who want to get to know other women's children instead of just shoving them in a nursery as soon as we walk in? The kind of women who want to get out and serve, to make a difference, to understand the the world is bigger than my suburban neighborhood? Women who understand that marriage is hard and sometimes sucks, that parenting is more than just learning not to yell at your kids? I need a place for other square pegs...assuming I am not the only one.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Boob Tube

Soapboxes come in many sizes and I happen to be the owner of a couple. One of the mid-size boxes revolves around television. I don't like it. It wastes time and gives you nothing back. Why does it matter what some person that you have never met and will never meet chooses to do with there weight/love life/kitchen? Television prevents you from being present with the ones your with, it stifles creative life, and when you look back in 10 years it will have given you nothing worth remembering. And don't even get me started on the who eating dinner in front of the t.v thing. This is my soapbox for my family, no one elses. Matt, sometimes begrudgingly, acquiesces. So television is not a big thing in our house. We don't have one in the bed rooms or on the main floor. Matt and I don't watch it very often. In the evenings you are more likely to find us reading a book or talking over a cup of coffee. We don't "follow" that many shows. Despite all of this, we have raised a t.v junkie.

Eliana would watch t.v anytime, no matter what is on. She will watch it for as long as it is going, she can't seem to say no to the magic box. Addilyn, on the other hand, really couldn't give a rip when it comes to the boob tube. In the last 6 months I have noticed a disturbing trend in my eldest child; more conversations were including characters from t.v, games of pretend included things she had seen on the screen, we were debating how much and when to turn the television off and on. And then it happened. My child who has been potty trained for over 2 years, peed on the floor because she couldn't rip herself away from a show.

We went cold turkey. For over a week we have been television free except for a family movie showing of "little Mermaid". Eliana plays better, more creatively. We read more books, have more conversations, play more pretend games about things we haven't seen on t.v. Eliana comments matter of factly every morning that we are not going to watch anything today.

I don't believe television is the root of all evil, you can be a great or lousy parent despite your viewing habits. Here is my challenge to you, record the amount of screen time you spend in 1 week. Then think of all the things you could have done with that time such as read a book, sew something, write something, paint or draw, help a friend, clean a closet, chat about life and reconnect with your mate....What would your life look like if you chose for 1 night a week to leave the tv off?

Tuesday, August 3, 2010




My friend Jen is a woman of many talents. Besides being a wonderful mother, wife and amazing best friend, she is also a fabulous photographer. She is so good, she does it for a living. While they were out here visiting, she graciously took picture of my children. Here they are.

















No, I don't love Addilyn more than the other two, she just takes great pictures. She is a ham and an adorable 2 year old, if i do say so myself. Annabelle was being a grump. Eliana tries to be good and helpful and smile, but it isn't a very natural smile. More like a grimace. Sorta like she just ate something icky or got goosed or something. Despite those challenges, Jen managed to get some great shots of each of my kids. Thanks Jen!
To check out more of her work click here http://www.mchamfamily.blogspot.com