Saturday, December 18, 2010

Christmas interview

Merry Christmas from the Williams family!

What is your favorite thing about Christmas?
Kaela (age 9)—it’s my birthday and Jesus’ birthday
Graeson (age 6)—it was Jesus’ birthday
Maezie (age 3)—Christmas books

Why do we send Christmas cards?
Kaela—so you can tell people what’s happening
Graeson—so people know we love them
Maezie—because it’s Christmas!

What do you like about school?
Kaela—fun crafts
Graeson—all my friends are there

What do you want to be when you grow up?
Kaela—a doctor
Graeson—a policeman….and I’ll play concerts with my guitar on my days off
Maezie—a monster!

Where do you like to go for fun?
Maezie—the park

What activities do you like to do?
Kaela—gymnastics and swimming
Graeson—play games
Maezie—play tea party

How do you earn money?
Kaela—clean the bathroom and clean my room
Graeson—doing laundry, feeding the fish, and cleaning my room
Maezie—laundry and pick up toys

Where did you celebrate your birthday?
Kaela—at the park
Graeson—at the bowling alley and I played on TWO lanes!
Maezie—GG’s house

When will you move out of the house?
Graeson—when I’m married
Maezie—when a monster comes

Who is your favorite relative?
Kaela—baby Keira

Why did God put you in our family?
Kaela—because he knew it would be a good place
Graeson—because Mommy & Daddy would love me
Maezie—because I wanted him to!

Who is the boss at our house?
Kaela—Mommy, because she likes to be the boss
Graeson—Daddy, because when you get married the girl has to go to the husband’s house
Maezie—Daddy, because he has a beard

What will you be like as a teenager?
Kaela—a gymnast
Graeson—a person who likes to hunt
Maezie—a princess

What do you do during afternoon quiet time?
Graeson—listen to music and have concerts
Maezie—I play when I’m not supposed to

What do you like to wear?
Graeson—Beaver clothes
Maezie—my dancing skirt

Who does the most work in our house?
Kaela—Daddy, because he stays home and takes care of all the kids
Graeson—Daddy, because he cooks and cleans the floors
Maezie—Daddy, but he just does one chore

What makes you happy?
Kaela—cuddling with Mommy
Graeson—helping Mommy and Daddy

What are you not good at?
Maezie—coloring on the wall

What do we do together as a family?
Kaela—play games
Graeson—watch movies
Maezie—play in the snow

Anything else you’d like to say?
Kaela—I love Mommy and Daddy
Graeson—Merry Christmas!
Maezie—can I be done?

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Graeson's dog bite

You never want to get that kind of call at work.  Bryan called (which was my first red flag since he usually texts) "Graeson's been bit by a dog and I think you need to come home."  He described that it wasn't gruesome, in fact fairly small and on the back of his thigh, but was still bleeding an hour later....and Graeson was still crying an hour later.  So I grabbed one of my co-worker nurses because the mom-nurse doesn't always think clearly when her babies are hurt, and we headed home. 

Graeson was cuddling with Daddy on the couch and softly whimpering.  The mom-nurse exam revealed a dime-size puncture, somewhat deep, that looked like stitches would be needed.  Co-worker nurse agreed, and doctor's office advised us over the phone to bring him in to clean the likely germ-infested area.  Graeson and I headed to the clinic, and he did pretty well throughout the cleaning procedure and even the skin glue.  They gave him a prescription for antibiotic and instructions for mom-nurse to change the bandage once or twice over the next few days.

So the told by a traumatized 5 year old, an 8 year old big sister witness, and a 2 year old sympathizer....went something like this.  Our backyard has a gate to our neighbor's back yard (McKenna--age 7), who has a gate to their neighbor's back yard (Emma--age 5).  So between the three yards are a total of 5 kids.  All five were playing in McKenna's yard, and Emma was showing them her new puppy.  Apparently, Emma and Graeson went to her gate to put the puppy back in Emma's yard, when Emma's black lab escaped into McKenna's yard.  Graeson panicked....and ran.  So the dog chased him, until he dived into McKenna's outdoor princess castle to hide.  No one is really sure exactly when/where the dog bite occurred, except somewhere during the chase.  His injury was on the back of his left inner thigh, near his bottom.  Bryan had briefly talked to Emma's dad over the backyard fence at the time, and it seemed it was just an overly fun-loving dog who probably thought Graeson was a grand toy. 

The doctor's office is required to file a mandatory animal control report, and since I didn't know Emma's address, phone number, nor her last name, that meant we'd have to go talk to them.  So in order to get the required information, I did what every confident parent would do:  called McKenna's parents for Emma's phone number, then got their house number by driving by!  Unfortunately, I was still missing their last name, so I had no choice but to go meet them.  Bryan tried to act gallant that HE would stay home with the kids and gave me this big line that I was the BEST person to go talk to them! do you start a conversation with someone you've never met and who's dog just injured your child???  I got up the nerve, knocked on the door, and was greeted by....the black lab.  And I quickly found out that Emma's dad is from Russia and has an extremely thick accent.  He seemed nice, but was very hard to understand.  Oh and their last name has about 20 consonants and about one vowel.  So after asking him to repeat his last name three times (oh and could you spell that for the animal control report for me?) I was ready to bolt!

In a day or two, I got another call at work, this time from animal control.  He was a very nice man, asked for the story again, and said he would need to talk to Emma's parents and they'd have to quarantine the dog for a specified amount of time.  For some reason, this now made me feel like "I" was the one who was a terrible neighbor for all of this.  Don't ask me why!

Graeson did very well throughout the next few days, and it sure didn't affect his energy one bit!  The dressing changes went well, and let's just say he has "buns of steel" and would clench his little cheeks so tight when I'd take the tape off!  After seven days of antibiotics, on day eight he woke up with a head-to-toe rash. It appears he's allergic to penicillin.  Great.  Two days of benadryl (which didn't slow down his boy-energy either!) and he was doing better.  Graeson continued to play with the backyard girls, and Emma's parents made a new rule that she couldn't take the puppy out anymore and both dogs would stay in their kennels.  Emma even made Graeson a homemade get well card (with a drawing of a dog)!

Fast-forward several bill arrives for $260.  Insurance didn't cover one bit because we have to reach deductible first.  Lovely.  Now this may not seem like a whole lot, but we do not have $260 extra dollars hanging around.  So through the lovely use of Facebook, several friends (one of whom works in an insurance office) said Emma's parents' homeowners insurance should cover it, even though it actually happened in McKenna's yard.  So this means I have to go talk to them....again.  It took me almost another month and a second doctor bill to get up the nerve.  Once again, I'm wondering what to say.  "Hi, your dog bit my kid and here's the bill.  Have a nice day!"  So one day when the kids were all playing together, I asked Emma to get her mom and I gently asked her if she would contact her homeowners insurance, and she said she would.

Another month goes by....and a third doctor's bill.  No word from Emma's parents.  We were at the doctor's office for something else, when I was told "you have to go talk to the billing department before the doctor can see you."  Yikes.  So I explained the story, they were very understanding and told me exactly how to approach it with the homeowners insurance, and gave me a copy of the chart notes to submit.  Looks like I get to go talk to the neighbors....again.  As I'm chastising myself for WHY is this such an awkward thing to go talk to them, the $260 finally motivated me to go over there again.  Armed with a copy of the bill, a copy of the chart notes, and a nice little card with our own contact information, I went over and this time talked to Emma's grandpa.  So I'm now feeling even more awkward that I haven't talked to the same person twice, and maybe they're avoiding me!  I gave him the info, and asked him to please pass it on.

Another month goes by....but eventually.....I get a call from the homeowners insurance!  And they're going to pay for the entire doctor's bill!  And they'll pay for the antibiotic too!  And was there any other cost that I incurred?  YIPPEE!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Five Minutes' Peace

About a year ago, I went to a one-day mom's retreat that was sponsored by our good friends at Heart Focus Ministries.  The setting was at a ranch near Bonanza and each room was set up for whatever relaxation sounded good at that moment....professional massage, pedicures, letter writing, swinging on the porch, crafting, eating, and even napping.

It was heaven.

Our parting gift was a children's book called Five Minutes' Peace by Jill Murphy.  As I type this on a Saturday morning, I have two kids banished to their rooms for incessant fighting, and the little one pulling on my leg every 30 seconds wanting attention.  If I get thrown in jail for breaking any copywright laws, I hope you all will post my bail, because I just have to share this book!
(I often insert "Mommy" in place of Mrs. Large and insert Kaela, Graeson, and Maezie into the book too!)

Five Minutes' Peace
The children were having breakfast.  This was not a pretty sight.

Mrs. Large (Mommy) took a tray from the cupboard.  She set it with a teapot, a milk jug, her favorite cup and saucer, a plate of marmalade toast and a leftover cake from yesterday.  She stuffed the morning paper into her pocket and sneaked off toward the door.

"Where are you going with that tray, Mom?"  asked Laura (Kaela).  "To the bathroom," said Mrs. Large.  "Why?" asked the other two children.  "Because I want five minutes' peace from all of you," said Mrs. Large.  "That's why."

"Can we come?" asked Lester (Graeson) as they trailed up the stairs behind her.  "No," said Mrs. Large, "you can't."  "What shall we do then?" asked Laura.  "You can play," said Mrs. Large. "Downstairs.  By yourselves.  And keep an eye on the baby."  "I'm not a baby" muttered the little one (Maezie).

Mrs. Large ran a deep, hot bath.  She emptied half a bottle of bubble bath into the water, plunked on her shower cap and got in.  She poured herself a cup of tea and lay back with her eyes closed.  It was heaven.

"Can I play you my tune?" asked Lester.  Mrs. Large opened one eye.  "Must you?" she asked.  "I've been practicing," said Lester.  "You told me to.  Can I?  Please?  Just for one minute?"  "Go on then," sighed Mrs. Large.  So Lester played.  He played "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star" three and a half times.

In came Laura.  "Can I read you a page from my reading book?" she asked.  "No, Laura," said Mrs. Large.  "Go on, all of you, off downstairs."  "You let Lester play his tune," said Laura.  "I heard.  You like him better than me.  It's not fair."  "Oh, don't be silly, Laura," said Mrs. Large.  "Go on then, just one page."  So Laura read.  She read four and a half pages of "Little Red Riding Hood."

In came the little one with a trunkful of toys.  "For you!" he beamed, flinging them all into the bathwater.  "Thank you, dear," said Mrs. Large weakly.

"Can I see the cartoons in the paper?" asked Laura.  "Can I have the cake?" asked Lester.  "Can I get in with you?" asked the little one.  Mrs. Large groaned.

In the end, they all got in.  The little one was in such a hurry that he forgot to take off his pajamas.

Mrs. Large got out.  She dried herself, put on her bathrobe and headed for the door.  "Where are you going now, Mom?" asked Laura.  "To the kitchen," said Mrs. Large.  "Why?" asked Lester.  "Because I want five minutes' peace from all of you," said Mrs. Large. "That's why."

And off she went downstairs, where she had three minutes and forty-five seconds of peace before they all came to join her.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Teachable Moments

Train a child in the way (s)he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.  ~Proverbs 22:6

Teachable moments come during noise and during quiet, while busy and while calm, in crowds and in solitude.  The important thing is to recognize the moment, embrace it, and remember. 

Today's moment came during noise, busy-ness, and crowds at an afternoon harvest party.  Kaela found some of her school friends and they scurried off together giggling down the hall....old enough now to meander through the church without having to stay next to their parents.  Bryan and Graeson headed for the pumpkin bowling (yes, a real pumpkin bowled down the handicap ramp!) while Maezie and I went to the craft table.  While sitting with Maezie, I noticed Kaela and her friend standing with punch and cookies.  I remembered we had already told the kids they'd had their quota of sugar for the day, but I mentally decided I would let this one go.

Across the crowded room, Kaela inadvertently made eye contact with me.  Then casually, she hid the cookie behind her back.  Then, as if she already planned to, she casually turned around, moving the cookie now to her front (hidden from my view) and walked away.

My firstborn child--the one who is practically perfect in every way--had tried to hide from me.

A bit later, when we were gathering the kids to leave, Graeson and Maezie were given permission to get a cookie.  I quietly whispered to Kaela "I know you already had one."  Without warning, she burst into tears.  Apparently, her own sense of guilt, had been eating at her more than the cookie. 

I gently said, "It's not bad that you ate the cookie; what's bad is that you tried to hide it from me."

More crying, "But {her friend} said it was ok," more sobbing.

"And if you would have asked me, I would have said yes.  But it's not ok to hide it when you know you've done something wrong"

"(sob) ok (sob)."

Kaela fought her tears the rest of the way out of the church and across the parking lot, holding my hand the whole way.  As the others loaded in, I sat her down and we talked again, gently reviewing that the act of hiding was the bigger issue.  When I asked her why she thought she was crying she replied "(sob) I just don't like (sob) getting in (sob) trouble."

I explained "Everyone gets in trouble sometimes, even Mommy's and Daddy's.  But what's most important is that we understand when we do something wrong, we are sorry, and we learn from it."

She immediately apologized through her crying, "I'm (sob) sorry" hugging me even tighter.

"I forgive you," I replied, trying to hold it together myself.

Though this issue was not truly a big deal, I could have just let it go and not addressed the small indiscretion.  But the moment she burst into tears I knew it had to be dealt with.  Just like Adam and Eve in the garden when they realized their nakedness...they hid.  When God came looking and said "Where are you?", He knew darn well where they were and what they had done.  He wanted them to come out from hiding and address the issue.  Instead, Adam quickly turfed the blame off of himself, "Eve gave it to me".  Eve tried to cover her tracks as well "The serpent deceived me."  And thus began the unending, perpetual, eternal sin of human nature.

What if Eve had said to God, "I did something bad, and I'm sorry.  Will you please forgive me?"  Would the course of history have been changed forever?  We'll have to save that question for heaven, I guess.

My child, do not forget my teaching, but keep my commands in your heart,

for they will prolong your life many years and bring you prosperity.

Let love and faithfulness never leave you, bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart.

~Proverbs 3:1-3

Monday, October 4, 2010

Summer, part two

In the words of my friend Sarabeth, I really want to start doing a better job of updating this blog! The problem is that in my compartmental brain I just can't bring myself to do things out of order. So I get further and further behind, and then it seems like an overwhelming task to catch up. And (here's the REAL reason I have to admit) I decide to do something else with my valued evening time after the kids are quietly in bed. But practically every day, I think "I should blog about that" and some of you even tell me the same thing!  But since I can't do things out of get the point.  (Sarabeth, I'm really not stalking you, you just said it so perfectly!)

The second half of summer brought continued fun in the Williams family.  On August 14, Maezie turned THREE!  She was so excited for her birthday!  I did her hair to match Kaela's with french braids, tiny butterfly clips, and an added flower.  Maezie, as is the curse of all little sisters, got a repeat party of what her older sister had at the same age.  (Yes, Laurel, I feel you hollering at the computer right now!)  Fortunately, she just so happens to like the same things!  So Dora the Explorer was the party theme and Maezie thought the best place for a fun time was at GG's house.  We had cupcakes, orange creamsicles, raspberry soda, and tons of fun.  And Maezie inadvertently introduced her cousin Kyle to a love of pink baby dolls.  :)

Later in August, we went on a camping trip with Mom and Mike.  It was the best low-maintenance camping trip ever!  My agenda was to read, drink wine coolers, then start over again.  Mission accomplished!  Our most frequented campground is Joseph Stewart State Park (Medford area), partially because it has a great play area for the kids.  We chose a site where we could see the kids without having to leave our lawn chairs.  The kids played in the water fountain and wading pool for hours, sometimes only coming back when they'd get hungry.  They participated in the Junior Ranger program and learned a lot about wildlife as well as spent some time exploring the park.  AND Graeson lost his first tooth while we were camping...we only discovered it was loose about three days prior, and he wiggled it constantly (constantly!) until it was loose enough for Mommy to pull.  Then the next day Kaela had a loose tooth come out too!  Bryan and I were digging through the ash tray for money!

Then before school started, we went on our annual day trip to the Tulelake fair with our friends Steve and Rene.  (It's always nice to have an extra set of substitute grandparents handy!)  This was the first year we chose a Sunday afternoon, and we got all-day bracelets for the kids.  We experienced great exhibits, saw lots of animals--Kaela and Graeson even milked a goat--had tons of yummy food, and rode lots of rides.  Kaela and Daddy rode on the big ferris wheel, but Graeson wasn't ready to tackle that yet.  I commented to Bryan that this might be our last year bringing a stroller...but then we decided we'd have no way to lug all our stuff!

And now we're already full swing into Fall schedules with kids in school including Maezie two mornings a week, gymnastics, soccer, making lunches....oh, but we don't want to get out of order.  That will be next time.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Maezie likes pictures

Maezie decided this morning she wanted to look at pictures on the computer.  "What pictures do you want to see?"  "ME!  ME!  I want to see pictures of ME!"  So we thought we'd share how we spent our morning.

"Now I want to see pictures of Kaela."  Yes, your majesty....

"And now Graeson."  Yes ma'am....

"Now pictures of Daddy."  Daddy doesn't get his picture taken near as much as the kids do, but he's still cute!

"And now I want pictures of Mommy."  Apparently Mommy is behind the camera most of the time!  This is all we could find since April!