Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Gage's Blessing

It wasn't that long ago that I posted about Trev's blessing with a picture of the kids on the couch. How time surely flies.
Steve gave Gage his blessing last Sunday, the 28th. It was a nice blessing. We were happy to have the support of family on that morning when we woke up to 4-5 inches of snow.
We chose the name 'Gage' because it seemed to be a good fit for our family. A good, strong, male name. Obviously, we like it! We chose 'Thomas' after my dad. It is also a great name that oozes masculinity and handsomeness, in my opinion.
So he is officially on the records as Gage Thomas Christensen and was given a beautiful blessing by his dad. He slept through the blessing and wore his dad's blessing outfit that is nearly 32 years old! He is a sweet thing and we are happy to have him!

5 o'clock club

I reluctantly have joined the nuts who are a part of the 5 o'clock club. I guess I knew it was just a matter of time until I would have to convert to the dreaded early hour.
When I was a part of MaryKay when Jenna was a baby is when I learned about the 5 o'clock club. The idea is that you get up, get a shower, get your clothes and face on and whatever else is important to you...exercise, journaling, reading before the day starts in full force. I remember nodding outwardly and shaking my head inwardly, thinking, "wow, that is early". I remember thinking that 5 was probably unnecessary...6 seemed plenty early. The idea of sitting in the dark after my shower and getting dressed seemed dumb...I would just fall back asleep!
My alarm clock on my days off have been the voice(s) or bustle of children in the house awake and surely up to no-good or ready to start their day with bellows from the crib. Traditionally, Zac has been a loud, cheerful, early-riser, making it necessary that I get up by about 6:30. Then once the kids started school, avoiding truancy made it so wake-up time was about 6:30 in order to get them ready. A shower was squeezed in with the door open during naps.
Now that I am working days, it is necessary that I get up at 5:00 so I can shower, get dressed, get the kids ready, feed the kids, feed the baby somewhere in there, and be on my way by 7:30.
My good friend once would get up at 4:30 or 5 to go to the grocery or to train for a half marathon before she started her day with the kids and household responsibilities. I again remember thinking, "wow, that is early!" Now I can see that it is necessary to get just the minimum stuff done without being a wicked, mean, angry mom hustling everyone along and cheering them to gulp down their toast and run out to the bus. (Exercise again will fall to the way side. 4:00 is not an option!)
Yesterday was day 1 of the 5 o'clock rise. It went well. I do better when I have some time alone in the morning. I am a bit nicer. However, by 6:30 pm I was tired and grumpy...and by 7:35 I was nodding off on the couch. This is going to take some getting used to. I guess 9 pm bedtime is going to be a necessary part of the plan.
I am happy though that I am working days and am able to feed my baby and cuddle him at night, and also that I can get the kids ready for school, etc because I am no longer on night shift. I think that despite the early hour, this is a good choice for us. Yay for working at a clinic 2 days a week!

Monday, November 22, 2010

The Primary Program

Yesterday was the Primary Program at church. That is where the kids give mini talks and sing songs about Gospel Principles. The theme this year was "I know that my Savior Lives". It was such a great program. The kids were all cute and a few of the songs brought tears to my eyes as they belted out the words or sang softly the words of the familiar songs.
We had a good view of Zac sitting on the stand, and I could see Jenna when a few heads were "just so". I thought they were both cute and sang more than ever. They both are starting to like singing. Jenna announced that singing was one of her talents last night at dinner; and Zac's Kindergarten teacher has fostered his affection for singing at school with her little made-up tunes for everything.
They both had their parts memorized when it was their turn to be at the mike.
Jenna went before Zac at about half way through the program. Although she was still pretty shy, she has made leaps in her comfort with being in front of people, hearing her own voice. She looked at us and smiled proudly when she was done with her part.
Zac did well too, when it was time for his part. He was able to memorize it quickly, but got red in face when he was at the mike and was a bit shy. I thought that could have gone either way. Prior to his turn (which was near the end of the program, about an hour into sitting up there) he picked his nose for the congregation and even unbuttoned his shirt leaving his IU T-shirt to be exposed. Steve and I were able to catch his eye when he looked up, and he promptly started buttoning it up before he went to the mike. I am telling you, he was receiving some strong sign language and looks from his parents about his shirt flapping open. Fortunately he wasn't terribly irreverent, and the 50+ other kids gave the congregation something to look at besides Zac and his boogers. After all, these kids range from 3 to 11... it's fun to watch. A sister at church with 8 kids said the program would make her a wreck when many of her kids were particiating. You just never know what these kids are going to do up there.
In all seriousness, I am proud of both of them and am glad they are learning about Jesus and enjoying singing. They have good and loving leaders, and we are grateful for that. It truly was a great program, especially since Julene kept the little boys at home, I actually got to listen. Thanks Julene.
I am grateful for the gospel and for the Primary organization. To me, in Primary with the kids, is where you can truly feel the Spirit as simple truths are taught and received so humbly.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Birds and Bees?

Jenna came home from school the other day and announced that she was in love with Turner. "Mom, I am in love with Turner!"
"Really," I say.
Humm, I am thinking, "in-love". Great she is 7! This is going to be a long road.
So Jenna says, "Yeah, he gave me this reraser... (translated "eraser"). He gave me a different one, but I really liked this one. I said that if he didn't give me this one, then I would kiss him."
"Jenna, 7 year-olds do not kiss.", I say firmly.
Jenna's eyes look down, "ok". "I need to ask if he is allergic to cats, anyway."
Jenna has made that an exemption from marriage. She really wants a cat, and if he is allergic it's a "no-go", even if he is prince-charming.

She is growing up and even though Jenna has always had friends that were boys, the kissing and in-love talk is getting slightly more feasible (ok, at least the kissing)
and makes me swallow hard and my eyes bug! I guess the birds and the bees talk may be around the corner. What is the origin of that expression anyway?

So yesterday I was reading Parents Magazine and there was an article about talking to your kids about stuff, specifically to a child Jenna's age. The article/author assumed that at her age the whole concept of intercourse should have been addressed already, and it's time for more info about relationships now. Well, CRAP! Is that true? It was hard enough for me to tell Jenna 3 months ago how exactly Gage would enter the world. She had started the question one morning when it was just us, and I felt the time was right. We didn't talk about how a baby was made. She had enough information that morning, although she took it all in stride.

My fear would be that with this new info, Jenna will go to school talking about intercourse... and sperm and eggs making a baby. On some distant level, it's like when that one kids tells his friends that Santa isn't real, then all their parents are up in arms.
So when is it the right time? I decided to pull out a Church produced manual that the Bishop gave us as a gift. It talks, in part, about talking to your kids about sexuality and relationships. It is an awesome resource, but again wants me to be the parent and didn't tell me on what date to have the talk prepared like I was wanting, unfortunately. I felt like I would need to be thoughtful, aware and prayerful as to when opportunities would come up to talk to Jenna...and Zac eventually (Heaven help us!) I do know that I want her (all the kids) to be able to talk to Steve and me, and I want them to learn these things in their home first, and be able to ask questions openly when they hear stuff at school. I don't want to jump the gun here or wait too long.
Geez. I think that you never stop worrying and learning as a parent.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Thoughts and questions

I have been thinking lately, at least starting thoughts and ideas, but then they are interrupted. I think a lot in the shower, but sadly showers aren't as frequent as they should be. I sit to journal but am interrupted. Kids are the explanation.
A few years back, I was upset that I had a journal that had nearly every page scribbled on. Really! Every page, page after page. It must have taken the toddler boy Zac a while to do this, but even so, it was done. I was telling this to an older friend of mine, and she responded that what he did was the essence of my journaling for that time of life. It was proof that I have small children that are ruining my stuff, causing headaches and into everything they shouldn't be. She said that when I was older, it would be my favorite journal to look back on because it was when they were still my babies that would sit on my lap and be rocked. That wise woman, I am sure, is right.

Anyway, back to fragmented thoughts...the point is I have had ideas and thoughts on my mind that are all too often interrupted by a crying baby, a curious toddler, an incorrigible 5 year old and an imaginative 7 year old. And when there is time to think fluently, I should shower or just go to bed and die, I mean sleep. So I choose neither to be clean or rested, instead I shall blog...at least until Gage is hungry again or until Steve gets home from his meetings- the others are in bed.

I have been thinking of when people ask me "so what is it like to have 4?" I got a similar question when I had Trev, "What is it like with 3?" At that time and now, we are 4 weeks out...in short, it is life-altering. Just like it was when Steve and I married, and then had Jenna, and Zac, etc. It takes adjustment and even tears as we contort to the changes and bend as we lose some control because another person is here with their own agency, personality, needs and well, more needs. It makes me cry and laugh. It's hard and incredibly fun at times. It will continue to be this way.

The answer is the same to Jenna's question tonight in the tub as I am helping scrub her hair. The baby is mildly fussy in the background, and the other boys are in their rooms "in bed" after some degree of chaos and some amount of harping and hurrying. Sweetly and innocent,"Mommy, tell me what it is like to be a mom?" Hum. "Well Jenna it is hard at times and fun at times, but most of all it is wonderful because I love my kids so much...no matter what." Then Jenna says, "Do you know what I don't like about being a mom?" I am thinking, "O great!". I say, "what's that?" She says, very perceptive, "When the baby is crying and wants to eat, when you have to potty train a toddler, when some else wants something and then the doorbell rings!" I laughed and said, "yep, it can be hard to manage."

I am glad that Jenna still wants to be a mom even though she already knows the reality of it to some extent. I like that she has been praying at night in family prayer that I can do a good job at work...well I have been off for 5 weeks now. I think, in my mind, that I do need prayers to do a good job at work...within the walls of my home. It is hard to be a mom. It's hard to bend and contort and appreciate the scribbles. I hope that my interpretation of Jenna's prayer can be answered, and I can do a good job. And even though I am proud of precocious Jenna, maybe after some adjusting, she can be a little less aware of the difficulty of motherhood and more aware of the joys.

..."Recognize that the joy of motherhood comes in moments. There will be hard times and frustrating times. But amid the challenges, there are shining moments of joy and satisfaction."
-Elder M. Russell Ballard

Monday, November 1, 2010

Trick or Treat

Ballerina, Luke Skywalker, A Bengals Football player, and a Pirate. Yeah, they are pretty cute. It was fun at Mindy's Halloween Party. It's too bad it rained out here and was pitch black when we were trick or treating. They didn't know the difference. Trev was funny, he ran into the first house like we were there to visit. The lady was nice about it. Jenna and Zac had a ball. It was fun to go with Christian and Lissa and their crew. Cute little Mario and Luigi!
I love Halloween for the kids.