Monday, September 15, 2008

A Day to Remember

The alarm clock didn't have to go off this morning, as I woke up to the sweet smile on the face of Thomas as he attempted to crawl into bed with me shortly before 5 am. I cuddled with him for a few minutes, then pulled myself out of the warm covers to stumble to the coffee pot. As caffeine coursed through my veins to rev me up, I quickly dressed and ran out the door, only to hear the faint cries of Cooper as he stirred back inside. I ran back in, made a bottle, quickly realizing that I didn't have keys and my IPod was dead. I briefly considered heading back to bed in defeat. Instead, I dialed Jenny up as light began to show itself above the mountains. "Jenny," I whispered. "Yeah?" she whispered back. We were both trying desperately to keep our children asleep before we escaped. "I can't find my keys and I'm late to pick you up. I have to get Coop his bottle." "Do you want me to pick you up?" she whispered. "Uh, yeah, I already had my coffee so I can't go back to bed." She showed up minutes later. Already late and pressed for time, we decided to walk the neighborhood hills instead of driving all the way to the gym. Later, as parent helper, I dripped sweat from running around keeping 14 preschoolers in check. They almost completely devoured a whole Costco box of GoGurts and a half pack of Costco string cheese. Cooper did fabulous as a pre-preschooler, playing nicely with the different centers Teacher Kathy has set up throughout the room. It was such a fabulous blessing, though, when Jenny showed up to pick him up, allowing me to focus on just Thomas and the other children for the next two hours of class. Jenny and I debated, but she agreed to go hang out with Cooper to get him an actual nap in his crib as opposed to his car seat, while I would pick up Isaac at 11:30 and keep him with me in class until Tommy let out at 12. I raced home with the boys, after struggling to get the car door open. Thomas helped me load stuff out of class, but tipped the coffee pump pot over while in the hallway, completely jamming up the hall with parents and a billion children trying to leave. Thankfully, Joan grabbed the two garbage bags out of my hand, I put down the two large and overstuffed bags I was heaving out, and Thomas quickly soaked up the old coffee. When I finally got into my driveway, I was exhausted, and the day was only half over. Jenny raced out to pick up Madeline at 12:30 and we agreed that we'd meet up later to enjoy the summer- like weather. For the rest of the afternoon we played outside. Outside in the hot buckets. Outside on the Firs Beach. Outside on our beach swimming and making sand castles. Outside with the Allens. Thomas played most of the afternoon with little Julia, content to roam the shoreline for treasures and the brushes for hidden blackberries to make into "soup". Cooper and I followed them around, wrestling on the grass together and wading in the water. At one point, Tommy told me he had to pee. Not wanting to go inside and break our outside streak, I told him to go over to our beach and pee in the bushes. Of course, he was looking at the Firs port-a-potty while he asked, so I knew what his real intent was. "Tommy, it's stinky and dirty in there. Don't go in." "But mom, I just want to go in, I will be real quick." "No, Thomas, it's so dirty, don't go in." "I'll be real quick." And he was off, pulling open the door and heading in. I just sat on the lawn with Stephanie, a smirk on my face. As fast as he went in, he was racing out, a horrified look of disgust on his face. "That is So gross!" he exclaimed, heading quickly for the girls waiting for him. "That was So, so, so, so stinky!" That was so disgusting!"
"Thomas, do you still have to go pee?" I asked, trying not to remind him yet again that sometimes moms are smarter than little boys.
"No way! That place is SO gross!"
By afternoon, I'd had a chance to chat with both Stephanie and Lil, who had returned from their trip to Wheaton with stories to share. Jenny finally made her way back down after soccer practice, and Isaac joined in on the hot bucket fun. Cooper loved on Jenny, and then Stephanie made her way over with Johanna. Realizing it had been a long while since snack and even longer since lunch, we all hustled our separate ways for the evening. John made his way home with a load of groceries. Perfect! Just perfect! I finally had a chance to hit the shower for the day. I had a chance to think about our day together. Sitting there, I realized that yet again my house was a mess. Looking around me in the bathroom, I could see that Cooper had attacked the cupboards again and had items thrown all about. The toilet paper rolls had been pulled out of the garbage and sunscreen was smeared on the the mirror. There was sand all over the floor, and finally, I looked at the dirty and sandy towels littering the floor. Smack in middle lay a big, fat stick. I had to smile with it all. Boys and their sticks! Messes all around, and yet I could only smile. What an absolutely perfect day with my boys!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Winds of Change with Us Whipps

There is a lot going on internally at our home, a lot of discussion, a lot of emotion, a lot of turmoil over decisions that will need to be made around the first of the year. One month ago I was told that due to budget cuts, my position with either change or be cut entirely. Now it is a matter of setting up for the future. We have it perfect right now. John and I switch around our schedules to be at home with the boys as much as possible, with only a small amount of Tuesday and Thursday overlapping with care from grandparents and a babysitter that comes to the home. This has been a tremendous blessing, being able to keep the boys together with us as much as possible and out of daycare. We refuse to allow Cooper to have any other care different than what Thomas had, but that may prove to be very difficult if not impossible to maintain should I lose this job or need to quit entirely. And should they force me to work full time, then I will certainly need to leave to continue to make the boys our priority. Financially, we will suffer greatly, and we will need to search out affordable healthcare (is there such a thing?). I have to believe, though, that should John and I continue to make our boys the priority, God will continue to provide for us, no matter how scary this situation looks at this point and no matter how out of control it seems. Does this mean a new direction is in line? Does this mean more schooling? At what point will this happen? Do I wait until Cooper starts preschool, or begin the process now? How does it all fit together? How will we make it all work out? And what is God's point in all of this? I remember thinking that we had it so perfect just a short month ago. I was happy with my job, my career. I wasn't looking for grad school, a new career, a new direction. The boys were happy, John and I were happy with the molding of our jobs and our family time. I joke that I am waiting for the divine memo from up above to hit my desk and map it all out for me. I'm good at attacking and making it happen. Right now I'm still waiting for the directions.....

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Tommy's not confuse him with a baby!

Today he wanted to ride up the hill in the double stroller, but in sight of children up the road, he yanked himself out and started to walk up the hill. As he was heading up the hill, he said to me, "I don't want to look like a baby." " I don't want them to think I'm a baby." Obviously he thinks he looks like a baby in the stroller. He so wants to be the big boy these days. He's jumping off the lifeguard chair, which is pretty incredible to see. I did not imagine a four year old doing such a brave stunt. I myself have yet to jump from the big chair over at The Firs and probably won't in this lifetime. He is swimming in the deep end but we still stay right with him as he's still needing to get stronger. He loves to dive into the water, both in the lake and in the hot water buckets that we have as hot tubs for the kids. Last night he strapped on John's water bottle belt and took off for his "marathon". John thinks he went up and around Punkie's house and then back down, all the while running like his dad. He's really into Star Wars and Indiana Jones, and his face lit up when I told him I would buy him an Indiana Jones shirt to wear. He is quite proud of dressing himself. It is so cute to see him come out with his shorts on backwards with the zipper in back. Yesterday while at the park he insisted on going into the restroom by himself, and I heard him yelp in surprise when he turned on the air dryer and it was super loud. He then laughed and said out loud, "That was SO awesome." I could hear him giggle just a bit as he came out the door. We are just now starting to curtail Tommy's use of his dubbies. I'm wondering if some of his drama and baby behavior goes along with sucking these things. I truly appreciate my dear friends and family for not openly criticizing us for allowing him to use these and more importantly for not making it an issue to him when they see him with them. I know it's not such a great thing, but when I think about it, everyone around us has been so wonderful to us in regards to this. Hopefully we can begin to work on it and wean them away. We'll let Cooper take over the dubbie fixation. After all, Cooper has already discovered the joys of a hand dubbie.

Cooper tantrums

Different personality shining through. Whereas I dealt with one tantrum that I remember from Tommy, (he learned really quickly that throwing yourself down on the ground hurts!) Cooper is learning the art rather quickly. Just tonight he was upset about who knows what, only to begin to beat the toy that was frustrating him, get up on his feet, stomp around, throw his arms up in the air, flail around, pound the toy again, then throw himself to the ground and kick his legs. WOW!

Yesterday, he was pulling at me try to get me to haul him up to the computer. When I told him I was busy, he used both fists to grab at all the paperwork on the desk and sent them flying.

When he didn't get to go up the stairs when he wanted, he raced down the hallway, crying and carrying on all the way, stopping to beat at the wall with his tiny fists, then laid down on the ground and rolled around. He was somewhat comforted when he realized it was fun to scoot around on his belly down the hall.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

1st Day of 4 Day Preschool-Teacher Kathy

We spent a little time during the summer talking to Thomas about his eventual return to preschool with all his friends. It was not the thought of school that worried us, but the comments about never going back to school if he couldn't have Teacher Dana. However, Thomas has shown no problem readily moving on to his new classroom, and seemed quite pleased to be back with his friends. He was eager to show Teacher Kathy his Star Wars Lego catalog, with all the legos he plans to ask Santa about, and talks about her when school is mentioned. I have to chuckle each day when I ask him how school went. "Good." What did you do? "Nothing." Hmmmm....

It is quite a joy to know that he goes there four days a week, three hours a day, and seems to enjoy each and every day without fuss or tears. Now it's just figuring out how to adjust to three hours with Cooper as the only child. So much to do, so much free time to just spend with him now!