Saturday, October 31, 2009

my superheros

My superheros ... and I hope they will be superheros for others someday too.

We had a great and festive Halloween. The boys helped me make pumpkin pancakes and they were very yummy with powdered sugar and real maple syrup on them. We also made pumpkin bread with chocolate chips this afternoon but that didn't taste as yummy as the pancakes. We went to the Hall-zoo-een party at the Minnesota Zoo and the kids made out with lots of cool toys and snacks and some candy. We would definitely do that event again. Bryan did a little trick-or-treating with the kids and got a lot of candy from only 10 houses. This may last us until the new year! What will we do when the boys actually go trick-or treating for more than 10 minutes!?!

Looking forward to an extra hour of sleep tonight. Sleep well.

Monday, October 26, 2009

feeling stretched

I knew that this day would come. I am trying to do it all: be a mom, wife, engineer and all of the tasks that go along with those roles. Some say that working moms are trying to do it all but no one can really do it all--something always misses out.

Until today, I have not felt that my work or my family has missed out. Things have went quite well and there has always been enough time for both. Life has gotten stressful at times when the to do list got too long but that has been the worst of it for me so far.

Today I went on a field trip with the boys in the morning. They were supposed to be back at 11am and I had 5 meetings planned this afternoon starting at noon. I wasn't worried about it and thought that I had plenty of time to do it all. Things did not go as planned.

While on our field trip to the apple orchard, I heard repeatedly from Jaden, "I don't care what you say," in response to me telling him to hold my hand or sit on the bus or stop running or whatever it was that he shouldn't be doing at that time. Jaden is a lot like me and he knows very well how to hurt me and he definitely knows that I hate that phrase. I need to come up with more creative and appropriate punishment when he says that but I don't have any ideas. By the end of the field trip, Jaden and I were frustrated with each other.

Clay, on the other hand, enjoys holding my hand and cuddling with me on the bus ride. Things went downhill when our trip got extended due to toilet trips and we left late (11:15) but that still should have been plenty of time to get back for work. I didn't count on the bus trip back taking 45 minutes. I am pretty sure the bus driver took some wrong turns when the drive out there took 20-30 minutes. Many of the kids were tired and hungry due to our extended field trip. Clay fell asleep on the way back to the school and then started crying once we got to the school. He was all out screaming when I asked one of the teachers to take Clay so that I could leave. I left with him crying and screaming out the window at me. I was really late for work. My noon meeting was called by me and I was going to be 20 minutes late. Great! I am disappointing my manager by not showing up for my meeting with her and others that I should be leading and I ticked off Jaden and left Clay screaming for his mom. I am a terrible mom and a bad employee. I definitely had the moment of, "why am I doing this?" Wouldn't life be easier if......I will not even say it.

My afternoon at work went surprisingly smoothly and everything seemed to eventually workout ok. Clay ran to greet me at school. Jaden warmed up to me by the time we got home and there was no more fighting or attitude tonight.

I know I am a good mom and I am a good engineer but I am sure there will be many moments where I doubt my skills in either role. Today was filled with lots of doubt in my capabilities. Tonight recharged me and I enjoyed cooking dinner with my boys and painting pumpkins (from the field trip) with my boys. The best part of the night was getting big hugs from Jaden and Clay before bedtime. Brings a smile to my face even now.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

bad reflection

Tonight the boys went to church with Bryan while I stayed home recovering from some virus (sore throat, aches and fever last night). The boys talked about loving others and each made a special card for someone they love. They are in separate classes at church so they didn't know what each other was doing. At the end of church, Clay came out and gave Jaden his special card. Inside it said,

"Dear Jaden,
Tonight I was thinking of
someone I thank God for.
Someone who cares for me.
Someone who makes me smile.
Someone who loves me with God's love.
Someone like you.
I want to let you know

Of course this was written by Clay's teachers but Clay chose the name he wanted in the card and who to give the card to. He chose Jaden. So sweet that he thought of his brother when the teacher read him these things.

The sad thing is that when Clay gave it to Jaden, Jaden said that he didn't like it. Even when Bryan and I prompted him to say thank you. He still said I don't like it. Clay even drew a picture in the card for Jaden. It didn't matter to Jaden. He didn't like it.

Jaden did understand what Clay did because Jaden did the same thing. He made a card for his cousin, Kira, and wants to mail it to her.

At first this was so saddening to me and disappointing that I couldn't get it across to Jaden that he made Clay sad by saying this. Clay tried to make it seem like he didn't care but it did seem to bother him a little.

The more saddening thing is that Jaden is a reflection of me. There have been too many times in my life that I haven't appreciated the gifts that I have been given. I am a critical person just like Jaden. Jaden probably saw the picture that Clay drew and thought I don't really like that picture, as he says about most of Clay's pictures. We are trying to teach him to keep that to himself and only offer compliments. That is hard for me to do, let alone teach my 4 year old.

I am saddened by Jaden's reaction to Clay's expression of love but I am even more saddened at my own unappreciative heart. I need to appreciate other's love for me. My dear Bryan has been the recipient of too much of my criticism and not enough of my appreciation and I wish that I wasn't passing this onto my son. I am choosing to show more love and appreciation when others show me love.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

field trip to science museum

Today I got the privilege of representing ATK for a science and math program with local 5th graders. Today we took 125 5th graders to the Science Museum in St. Paul. I love science museums so I jumped at an all expense paid trip there. I was assigned 4 10 year old boys with lots of energy. They were a blast! And not much different than supervising my 3 and 4 year old boys. The 10 year old boys were most entertained and engaged with the steam engine that they got to operate and were continually trying to get the engine to run faster. A second place favorite was anything with a flame. There were two different experiments with flames and they enjoyed both. So fun seeing kids engaged in science. I was amazed at how talkative the boys were today. We had lots of conversation and I learned a lot about their families.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

lack of sleep

Why is it that I never sleep well when we visit our families? Bryan and I love hanging out with our families and we are in Fargo now with them. We have lots of fun together and enjoying just hanging out together. There are always heated conversations in Fargo and it is always entertaining. No matter how determined I am to go to bed at a decent time, it just isn't possible here. Bryan's family has a lot of night owls and they come alive at night; the later, the better. Staying up late repeatedly is not a good idea when you have small children that get up early and don't sleep well when they are not at home. Well, here's hoping for a better night of sleep tonight.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

You know you work on weapons when...(#5)

your company has a vision statement like this:

Advanced Weapons Engineering (that's me) vision: Be the best weapon developer in the world, providing innovative and affordable capabilities to the US War Fighter and our Allies. (emphasis not mine)

I just read this in an email today at work. I hadn't seen it until today. Some people are more motivated by vision statements and some people don't need them. I generally like vision statements but this one I could live without.

On the flip side, I have been using a mug at work that says, "Peace," in large letters on it. I'm hoping that it sparks some interesting conversations!

I do like the team atmosphere of my work and I really feel like I am contributing to helping my project progress (for good and bad). I really do like the people I work with and they have been so nice and understanding. People are encouraging and I am surprised by the lack of gossip that exists. This makes an office environment that encourages good work ethic and happy employees.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

feeling like a mom

There have been many days in the first few years of motherhood that I looked at my kids, my family, my life and thought, "How can I be a mom to two boys already?" It just didn't seem to fit. It was too soon. It was too much. Two kids! That seems to have all sunk in and it just feels right.

Jaden is 4 and 3/4 and Clay is 3 and they are so much a part of my life that it would be very difficult to imagine life without them. It is getting harder and harder to remember what life was like before kids. I know that marriage was easier then and that seems to be the biggest difference now. There is less time to do things that I like and there is less time to do things that Bryan and I like to do together. There is less time for church ministry and less time to watch movies. There is less time for clothes shopping and more time for grocery shopping.

Lately I have been thinking a lot about how comfortable I feel with this mothering thing. It probably has something to do with watching my 2 nieces more lately. My sister-in-law, Chrystine, is in grad school getting her masters in social work (so proud of her for doing this). I really want to support Kirk and Chrystine over the next difficult year of their lives. I am happy to take care of the girls. Four kids can be a lot sometimes and it sure make me feel like a mom. I rarely am at home when I take care of the boys all day. I enjoy getting out to do things with them but this is much harder and not worth the effort when there are 4 kids involved. I have had to be creative in coming up with things for the kids to do. I feel like I have been pretty successful with it all but it sure makes me feel like a mom. There is no denying it.

Today we played with blocks, cars and ramps, made art projects, used masking tape all over the house (created an exercise area, a football field, diagonal lines, fort), created with pipe cleaners, played with Cars movie toys on the masking tape Nascar race track on our carpet, read books and cleaned up a hundred times. I also made two snacks and 3 meals today. I did 2 loads of laundry, checked my home and work email, talked with Bryan and took a nap! Wow, that was quite a mothering day! Time for a loooong nap.

One of the favorite activities when the 4 kids are together is building forts. I love it; probably that engineering side of me. We have used couches, cushions, chairs, pillows, blankets, sheets, tape, chip clips, laundry baskets and moved lots of furniture. This was one of my favorite activities when I was little. My mom always let us create forts and I had many fun times in them with my brother, Kirk.