Friday, July 30, 2010

Party planning quandary

The Love Magnet wants a birthday party. She has the party planned down to every single detail she has learned verbatim from Signing Time's Happy Birthday video. When she describes her party, she even uses the signs she learned from watching Rachel, Leah, and Alex.

Too bad they aren't available to be guests.

I promised my daughter that tomorrow we would sit down and plan the party, print the invitations, and deliver them the next day. But there is a frustrating problem. When I ask her who she would like to invite to her party, she lists all the adults in her life. No kids.

I haven't sought out the Down syndrome community since we moved here so she has no friends from there. I've been too busy with school. She has not been asked to playdates. I haven't set up playdates here because she hasn't really asked for them. Now I'm regretting my inaction when it comes to the social skills of the Love Magnet. Mom-guilt strikes hard late at night when my kids are asleep and I have time to think.

Do I invite her Primary class? I did that last year and the girls had fun at the tea party. Should I try to track down kids from her school class? I don't know most of them, let alone their addresses. This year, The Love Magnet wants a swim party. Will the guests interact with her or just with each other?

The gap between my daughter and her peers seems to grow wider as they get older. If I don't do something soon, the chasm might be too wide to cross. (Okay, I admit that sounds rather drama-queen of me, but it is an honest worry. ) If cousins lived close, I would have a houseful and then some, but that still defeats the purpose.

I'll probably be up all night with this. My daughter is counting on me to come through.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

8 great things about The Love Magnet

Today is The Love Magnet's birthday. Here are 8 great things about her:

1. You know exactly where you stand with her. She loves you. You can't ever question that because she reminds you every single day. She loves her family, her teachers, her friends, the bus driver, the crossing guard, the guy who checks out our groceries at the store, the girl who cuts her hair......

2. She is incredibly brave. She shakes off the stings and hurts of bumps, bruises, and cuts pretty quickly. All she needs is a hug and she'll get over it. If you forget to give her a hug, she will head you off at the pass. She knows hugs are important.

3. She will never be too old to kiss her mom and daddy goodbye or good night.

4. She is one smart cookie. She loves to read, count, and she knows more about how to get around on the Wii game then her mom does.

5. The Love Magnet loves to cook. now if we could just convince her to cook when Mom is around instead of when Mom is not there. Mom is finding all sorts of kitchen chemistry experiments in the oddest places: full pots that have been put back in the cupboard, bowls of strange goo taken upstairs, chocolate mixed with tellicherry peppercorns and yogurt in mixing bowls on the counter. To her credit she is learning that recipes are created for a reason. "I'll get the cookbook, Mom!"

6. She prays to Heavenly Father as if she is talking to him. She tells Him to have a good day. She tells Him that she loves her teachers and friends and family. She lists all of her graCheck Spellingtitudes (and that list is very long). If she remembers, she will ask for blessings. That doesn't happen often as she usually just checks in with Him and tells him about her day. The blessings that she never forgets to ask for: "Please bwess GammaPapa Africa on a mission dat dey will be safe".

7. The Love Magnet loves babies. She loves holding them and tries so hard to be gentle.

8. She loves to watch other succeed. Whether it is cheering Firstborn in swimming or Secondborn in basketball, telling Thirdborn he did a great job on his artwork, or cheering on competitors in Wii, she will be thrilled no matter who wins.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

I posted this on my Facebook page last night:

I want to be an archeologist, an anthropologist, an astronomer, a geneticist, a professor, a travel show host, psychologist, chef..........
There are simply not enough hours to accomplish it all. At least I have only 3 more years till I can claim at least one academic goal.
This is the incredible response I got this morning:
Carrie, you are all those things and more, you are a mother. Maybe you don't have the "degree" in those things but mothers handle a little of everything. they dig things out of the back of closets and under beds and try to figure out how they got there and what the "little people" were doing with them in the first place. They look at the stars and point out constellations to their children. They certainly do lots of teaching. You host travel shows every time you go on vacation (or to the supermarket for that matter). Psychologist is a must when dealing with children. Chef you do every of you could just get paid, oh, wait you do, with hugs, and loves and sometimes incredible pay days when you see them doing wonderful things with their lives. So pat yourself on the back and examine the hats you are wearing today.
This sweet note came from an incredibly wise woman, one of the few whom i can truly say has helped shape my life. Bonnie lives in my Utah ward I moved from 4 years ago. She is a caregiver to her sweet husband, famous grandma who constantly has grandchildren over, and she is one of the most spiritual and gratitude-counting people I know.
Much thanks and many hugs, Bonnie. You always had a way to help me keep my head on straight and help me to see the blessings that surround me.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Pay It Forward has arrived

I got a package! Woot! The Love Magnet loves packages and insists on opening it for me.
So what is in the package? And who sent it?
A purple honey bear? Oh, a Huckleberry honey bear from Logan, Utah! That is just begging for a hot biscuit or homemade whole wheat bread. Mmmmmmmm.
But who sent it? Who do I know in Logan?

Old fashioned cherry candy? From This Is The Place Monument? Or is it from the Pioneer Mercantile at Deseret Book? Who do I know in Salt Lake City?

What is this?Jurassic DNA pop rocks candy that swears to "mutate in your mouth?" Who do I know from Vernal? or is it from the dinosaur park in Odgen? Whatever it is, The Love Magnet wants it. I told her I would share. Maybe.

What else is in this box?

A tiny mouse? How did he get in there? Is it a church mouse? A field mouse?

A postcard of Utah listing a lot of fun places like Big Rock Candy Mountain, Timpanogos Cave, Rainbow Bridge, and national parks. Some places I've been to and some I haven't.

Oh! It's my Pay It Forward package from Sooz, the Laundry Faerie! She knew that I was missing my home state. This was so much fun to open. Thanks, Sooz! Um, what does the little mouse have to do with Utah? You have me stumped there. :)

Now it is your turn to play
Pay It Forward
the first three people to leave me a comment will be my "Pay It Forward" recipients.
You must have a blog so I can read your postings and learn a little bit about you. That way I will know what to send just for you! Then, when you receive your package from me, you post pictures of what you received, just as I have done, and wait for three comments on your blog...and the game continues on.
If there are any questions you can ask me any time. This is a lot of fun. Let's see how far this pay it forward will go!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Summer Art Show

With the rose garden as a backdrop of inspiration
And the only art critic who has only praise

The artist gathers her favorite medium.

Delicate hues of blue and pink

The evidence of smudged artist hands (and feet)

and chalk-smudged nose and chin

She prepares her show for the opening hour (when Daddy comes home)

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Last night

Late night conversations that are actually not just inside my head:

"Good evening, Carrie."

"Good morning, Mom." (Mom is in Uganda and there is a nine (?) hour difference. We Skype each other when one day is starting while another is ending.)

After the usually how-are-yous, I'm-fines, let-the-kids-talk (even though they should have been in bed hours ago but won't because "it isn't dark yet, mom"), get-the-kids-back-in-bed.....we finally get down to brass tacks:

"Mom, were you worried about passing your nursing exam?" I needed mom-wisdom and mom-understanding. Even though my Praxis exam is still a good three years away, my GRE is looming. I worry that I will make it all through this educating and not pass that all-important exam I need to become a 'MS, SLP-CCC' and whatever other alphabet soup I want after my name. I always wanted an alphabet soup after my name.

Mom told me about being a nervous wreck for the entire two day exam, thinking she had failed the psychology part, relieved that she had studied diabetes when she found there were many questions pertaining, and worried that she didn't know enough about nerves. After all was said and done, she passed her nursing exam (her best score being the psychology section) and became an RN.

Out came the pompoms, and the "you're smart enough", and all the things good to hear from your mom. I needed it.

God bless whomever invented Skype. It allows me to see and hear my mom in Uganda. Incredible, blessed invention.

Sunday, July 04, 2010

Nix the fireworks. Please.

The Love Magnet hates fireworks.

Every year it's the same thing. She doesn't like the lights, the noise, the smoke. She begs to be taken home. She alternates between my arms and Mr. Wonderful, not able to decide which place is safer.

I thought a week's worth of fireworks at Disneyland would get her used to it. It only made it worse. Bad enough, that I was not looking forward to July.

Tonight she worried and fretted. She put her hands over her ears. She put my hands over her ears. She tried every room in our house to see if one would shield her from the noise of fireworks. She wouldn't listen to her brothers when they told her that everything was okay and, look, they weren't scared.

Finally I took her to her room and cuddled on the bed with her. I laid her head against my arm to shield one ear while I covered her other ear with my free hand. Then I sang every lullaby, every Primary song, and added a few musicals in order to drown out the sound of the explosions. It was working fairly well........until a neighbor behind our house started lighting fireworks that would be illegal in any suburbia. The Love Magnet's room lit up as if the sun were at high noon. My daughter kept yelling "I scared Mom! I hate fireworks!" No matter how much I soothed her, she wouldn't be consoled.

Finally we went downstairs to the monster TV. I turned on The Wizard Of Oz fairly loud for our house (especially for 10:30 at night) an hoped that the scenes and the soundtrack would drown out the celebration outside. We wrestled. At least I was able to keep her on the couch. Thirdborn, bless his sweet heart, sat next to us and tried to console her.

It's now 11:38. The Love Magnet finally fell asleep out of sheer exhaustion. Bad backyard neighbor is still setting off fireworks. I have a few bruises from where my daughter elbowed me as she tried to jump up when every pop and boom was heard. She is still mumbling in her sleep when a particularly big one explodes outside the window. At least she isn't reacting to all the firecrackers anymore.

Happy Independence Day. I'll celebrate in my heart, but fireworks just don't make the holiday for me anymore.

Sunday Gratitudes

Just listening to Macy Gray singing Beauty In the World makes me smile and dance. Gotta love music that lifts your spirits. Much gratitude and God bless Macy Gray for singing a great song.

Just read the latest post on my parents blog. Every time I do, I am grateful for good roads, clean water, schools for my children, healthy food on my table, a job to support us, good hospitals, and a safe place to live.

This past week I signed up for a GRE prep class. I'm grateful to Mr. Wonderful for telling me to do whatever I needed to prepare. I feel that this will definitely help.

Mr. Wonderful was gone for most of the week on a business trip. We missed him immensely. I am grateful that he is finally home.

Thirdborn woke up this morning will an incredible story. It involved a dream of him starting his own amusement park and building fantastical rides that no one has ever seen before: a ride that really goes to the center of the earth, a ride that orbits the earth and makes a pit stop at a space hotel for those guests who really want an out-of-this-word experience, rollercoasters built on invisible struts and so smooth that you feel like you are flying, and boats and planes designed specifically for elementary kids to use. He has spent hours telling us all about it. I am grateful for this kid's imagination.