Sunday, July 31, 2011

Buzz Buzz the Bee

As it has been said by many (I'm sure), children change you.

My children have definitely changed me. The temper that I have dealt with my whole life is being chipped away, because the stakes are finally high enough for me to gather the control to handle it. The patience I have always lacked is finally increasing, because a two year old and a baby just aren't logical or rational enough to always run on my schedule and do what I want. I now also am more aware of things on the ground, because Jill will inevitably pick up everything she sees to show it to me. And I realize that there is rarely a situation so bad that smiles from my smart Jill and my chunky Danny can't improve it. (I am sure that Danny is smart, too, but at almost seven months, his chubs are a pretty dominant characteristic.)

However, children have also changed me perhaps for the worse. Poop is now a common conversation topic, and it definitely never was before. My body used to be mine and carefully covered at all times. The past three years, I've shared my body (because nursing Jill and being pregnant with Danny overlapped, I haven't had a break), and I never know when a baby might get hungry or a child might climb on my lap and bring my skirt with her! I also don't shower as often as I did before I had children, because sometimes I just don't feel like having an audience in the bathroom. (I don't know how single parents of young children survive.)

One unexpected change is overcoming a life long fear.

Have you picked up a children's book recently? I can almost guarantee that somewhere within the pages of the book (even if this animal is not a character in the book), you will see some sort of happy buzzing bumbling insect in the shape of a bee. Jill thinks bees are great. Why shouldn't she? They look so friendly in her books.

We have some salvia along the front of our house, and it attracts three different kinds of bees. One type is a very large one, so I assume it's a bumble bee. Jill calls it "Buzz Buzz" after Mickey's bee friend on Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. (Thank you, Disney!) She's always looking forward to going outside to see if Buzz Buzz is there. When we water the plants, we always let Buzz Buzz know that we will "be right back" when we go to refill our watering cans.

If you know me very well,  you will know that I have never been stung by a bee and that I used to live in a country that had killer bees, and those two life incidents have combined to create a paralyzing, hysterical fear of bees.

My dad almost helped me conquer it once, at least partially. We were walking in the flower gardens, here in Cincinnati actually, and there were some huge bees. I started freaking out, and he reassured me that the big ones were not the ones I had to worry about. The big ones never sting anyone. So, for the next few years I never really worried about bees, because I usually only saw, or noticed, the big ones.

Also, one great thing about marriage is that Jeffrey kills bees for me. He just takes off his ever-present baseball cap and smacks them for me. However, a few years ago, my mom informed me that we are experiencing a huge drop in bee population, so I started feeling guilty for the bees my knight in shining armor was killing for me.

And then one day I was walking with my dad again, and there were some small bees. I started to freak out, and my dad reassured me that it wasn't the small ones I had to worry about. That kind never stung anyone.


He was caught. But I understand what he was trying to do for me. :)

However, Jill is on her way to curing me, because while I not exuberant about the desire these books and shows have instilled in her to pet the "nice" bees, I am glad that she is not afraid of them, and so I have to hide my fear, because I do not want her to fear bees as well. So, hide it I do. And how long can I hide it before I conquer it? We'll see.

If you read my last post, you saw my review of The Reading Promise. Alice, when she was a little girl, was afraid of thunder and lightening storms. To cure this, her father used to get her from hiding under her covers and take her out to their large front porch. They would watch the summer storm and whenever there was a particularly loud/bright one, they would raise their arms in the air and yell, "THAT'S A GOOD ONE!"

I would like to be that kind of parent.

(Sadly, the dad did not have such luck with another fear that Alice developed later in life and shares with us in the book. A very funny fear. Read the book!) :) (Here's an NPR article about the book!)

Back to me: I never ever thought that becoming a parent might be what finally helps me get over my fear of being stung by a bee.

Do you have any irrational fears? Like that a tiny insect that has no desire to sting you if you leave it alone is out there wanting to kill you?

Jill apparently had trouble falling asleep the other day, 
because when I went in to get Danny, this is how I found her!

Just a picture of Danny, happy in a swing.

Jill with some of her favorite people at the park.

When it is too hot for the park, 
it is time to take a trip to see Ronald McDonald!

This was the fourth picture taken, so you can't blame some of the children for not having smiles on their faces, but honestly they all had a lot of fun. Jill was very impressive in managing to climb up in the play area. She would hike one leg up on the next level, grab the netting with her hands, and then use her upper body strength to lift her other leg up next to the leg she already had propped there.

BLOG UPDATE: Jeffrey just reminded me that only last fall (less than a year ago!), he actually persuaded me to pet a very chill bee. I had completely forgotten about it. So, here is a link to that blog post if you want to see a picture of Jeff's picture petting a bee and me discussing the event. Link

If I can forget that, I have to wonder what else I am forgetting . . .

Thursday, July 28, 2011

The Reading Promise

The Reading Promise: My Father and the Books We SharedThe Reading Promise: My Father and the Books We Shared by Alice Ozma
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book was so interesting and enjoyable!! Here is part of why the book is so cool (from the acknowledgements): "To my ridiculously talented editor, Karen Kosztolnyik: thank you for believing that a twenty-two-year-old recent college grad could and should write a memoir without a ghostwriter!" I just think it is really cool that author is so young. A lot of twenty-one year olds don't have anything worth writing a memoir about, but Alice Ozma definitely did!

She and her father had "The Streak," in which he read to her every single day (at least fifteen minutes and before midnight) from when she was a little girl until the day that she moved into her freshman college dorm. Wow!

The book contains her life, the way reading affected her life, the love of reading she inherited from her father, and more. It is just really interesting. I don't know what else to say. READ THIS BOOK!

I am inspired and intimidated. I want to read to my children, but I will have more that her father did, and mine are spaced much closer together. Perhaps I can read to more than one at a time. I hope it can become a "thing" for us. I love reading so much, and I really want my kids to as well.

Everyone should read this book. Thank you, Catherine, for recommending it to me!

"The greatest gift you can bestow upon your children is your time and undivided attention. As the years advance, you may reflect upon your life and see that in some areas, you have regrets about what you took to be a priority. No one will ever say, no matter how good a parent he or she was, 'I think I spent too much time with my children when they were young.'

Children are not easily fooled. They can tell where a parent's priorities are. When my wife left me I did not seek out companionship for more than six years. I wanted the girls to be absolutely sure that I would be there for them. If one parent moves out and the other is out on the town each night, where does that leave them? I guess they would have to think 'Mom's got her new man, Dad has his new girl, but who has us?'" (Quote by Jim Brozina, the author's father. From the foreword.)

"Before I had any children I used to say, 'When they come along I will not speak to them until they are sixteen, and then I will tell them to get a job.' Holding them in my arms made me rethink that idea. I have discovered very little in life that I am adept at doing. I cannot fix your car, repair your roof, or even drive a nail straight. However, I have given everything I have to being a father, and I happily stand back to see the results." (Quote by Jim Brozina, the author's father. From the foreword.)

"My father will not lie, so he tries to say the best possible thing that is also the truth. He doesn't realize that this is often worse than just saying what he thinks as nicely as possible. I was used to it and accepted his comments with a shrug, as I did now, but he wasn't always so lucky. Once, a friend of his made him cookies for his birthday and he accidentally started an argument by saying, when she asked him what he thought of them, 'I can honestly say that everyone of those cookies has chocolate chips in it.'"

"I wouldn't appreciate it then, but it takes creativity to lie shivering and shaking in your bed, wondering if your cats will know how to defend you, not against ghosts or the boogeyman, but against the immobile body of one of the most famous and beloved ex-presidents of the United States. Thanks to The Streak and my father, imagination was not something I lacked."

"When we had dates on the same night, we would compare notes as we got ready. This generally consisted of him telling me what great shape he was in and how every outfit looked good on him, though some looked better than others. Then I would ask him what he thought of my outfit, and he would make a pained look and comment on the color or the fabric. If there was time, he would usually make me hand over the entire ensemble so he could iron it, because he was very passionate about well-ironed clothes.

'It only takes a few minutes, and you go from looking like a horribly wrinkled monkey warrior to a real class act.'

I have never figured out who these monkey warriors are or what harrowing experience left them with bodily wrinkles, but having a father who loves to iron has always been advantageous."

View all my reviews

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Drool, flowers, and other things

Well, it's been a while! I took something of a computer hiatus this past month. I immediately regretted it when I discovered how many e-mails were waiting for me to wade through upon my return. On the plus side though, I did read 15 books in this past month, including the entire Harry Potter series, so these were not all short books. Good times. A bit of escapism, if you will. But other great things have happened this past month as well.

For example, I managed to catch a perfect droplet of drool as it departed from Danny's mouth. Who knows if I'll ever get that lucky again?

I am so tired of drool. Ha. Not much you can do about it at this stage though!! And he's such a happy baby. Hard to begrudge him some moistness.

So, I guess one big thing is that Danny made it past his half birthday! He completed six months on July 7. Yay rah! I'm sure I say this all the time, but time sure flies!

I turned 26 on June 26. I've heard it said that this is my "golden" year. Too bad for Danny. He was born on a 7th, so he won't remember his "golden" year. Jill has a 25th birthday, so she'll remember hers! I am completely prepared for awesomeness. :)

One of my favorite flowers I enjoy in my yard bloomed just in time for my birthday: morning glories. Aren't they pretty? Last year I had white ones and pink ones, but this year they have only come up pink. I guess the white ones didn't make it through the winter.

Some of our fantastic friends from our Provo days paid us a visit over the Fourth of July weekend. They're currently in training, preparing for two years in China! Pretty exciting. Jill loved having them here. She is still asking me where they are and why they aren't going to the pool with us.

She really loved having Finn (the dog). He is so big! It was nice to have a dog to take advantage of our lovely large back yard.

And I am happy to say that this dog did not get lost, like the last dog that stayed in our backyard. (That was a horrible experience!)

This isn't the best picture of Finn, as you can't really see him. But he's a poodle golden retriever mix (a golden doodle) and quite large.

We went to some of the parks in the heart of the city while they were here, and for the first time, Danny was not in the spotlight. People kept coming over to see the dog! :) When asked "Oh, how precious! How old is he?" I had to stop myself before I said how old Danny was, because they wanted to know how old Finn was! He was definitely the center of attention. And worthy of it!

This one I just had to share, because sometimes Jill wakes up with truly awesome hair. I don't know if this photo does it justice, but it is sticking almost completely straight up.

And this one is just to show off Danny's eyes. He has really big eyes. Or perhaps he has normal eyes that he always has wide open, not wanting to miss a thing.

So, I guess you haven't really missed much while I haven't been blogging. I have two happy, healthy, beautiful children. My husband has a job. We have paused a bit in fixing our house's problems. It has been really hot. I've read some great books. Jill is a walking song book. Danny is getting good at sitting up. That's all, folks!