When Michael was 3 he attended preschool at AAUW in Waukegan, Illinois. I was a teacher there and Michael, who was a somewhat clingy child, needed to be in communication with me. However, I didn’t think it was appropriate for me to be telling him that I loved him while I was teaching. So we developed a special sign. (more…)
Posts tagged ‘Love’
The boys have become obsessed with Futurama and have watched a large number of old episodes. Generally, Futurama is harmless. However, recently there was an episode that I could have done without.
David and Michael were watching. Chris had gone to bed and I was, I think, reading my book. I was in the same room as the TV, but I wasn’t paying any attention. When the episode was nearly over, I looked up at the TV and saw Fry’s (the main character) dog sitting outside the pizza place where Fry worked. And Fry’s dog was shown aging and then eventually as a skeleton. (more…)
I know that I said that I was going to limit myself to one posting on my blog each day, but today I am going to post twice. I’ve been waiting for Erica to get back from her honeymoon and to give her her gift before I could post this. I am excited and want to share.
After we moved to Colorado, I became interested in scrapbooking. I should say, more accurately, I began scrapbooking because I had been interested in it for several years. I have a number of scrapbooks that I am working on and I have three albums from our trip to Disney with my in-laws a few months before Chris was diagnosed.
Chris has asked me to take lots of pictures. When Chris was a teenager he lost his dad after a freak snowmobile accident on New Year’s Eve. He told me that he wished he had more pictures of his dad and he didn’t want our boys to feel the same way. So, I take lots and lots of pictures. As I have time, I create scrapbook pages.
Due to our small living space, scrapbooking is a challenge. I like to have all of my things spread out around me and I tend to make a huge mess. Chris would say that was an understatement – I take over the entire kitchen table. And when I start to scrapbook, it takes me several days to finish a project. I can’t seem to work on one page at a time, I need to do several. It is a lot of work just to get everything out that I will need and then I have to clean it all up. Someday I will have my own space that I can use for scrapbooking and organize everything so that it will work with my crafting style. Until then, I will have to continue using the kitchen table.
Just over a year ago I was working on a page of Chris’ grandparents and his dad, as a kid. I couldn’t find embellishments that I liked that didn’t cost a fortune and I was SO frustrated. Scrapbooking for me means that I buy stuff on sale and look for cheap materials whenever possible. I have quite a collection of stuff and almost always can make due with something I have, but this time I couldn’t. I ended up purchasing something that was WAY too expensive and still wasn’t exactly what I wanted.
As a result, I started looking into making my own embellishments. I discovered Quilling. Quilling is the art of paper crafting and it has been around for a very long time. It doesn’t take much to get started and is generally inexpensive. It is detailed and can be challenging, but even a beginner can make some beautiful things. As I was Quilling, Michael came to see what I was doing. He LOVED Quilling. In fact, he liked it so much that I bought him his own tool (about $5 at Hobby Lobby) and he began helping me. He also made all of his teachers Christmas gifts (with some help).
Quilling is beautiful when done carefully. I use a quilling tool, toothpicks (to apply glue), tweezers (fine point) and very sharp scissors. I can quill circles for a long time, but working on making them into something is an activity that I can only do for an hour or so before I start getting frustrated and lose my concentration.
While I started quilling to embellish my own scrapbook pages, I have yet to do that. I quilled a design on a plain corkboard for my desk for last year, made a picture for my mom’s friend, did picture frame mats for my parent and my in-laws, helped Michael with his teacher gifts and made Erica’s Wedding present.
Erica’s Wedding present was the result of me having too much time on my hands and not feeling well enough to do anything. I’m not sure if I thought of it when I was fevered. However, it turned out to be beautiful, even if it took much more than I expected. Of course that is the way most of my projects go, so I shouldn’t have been surprised.
My idea was to quill the words LIVE, LAUGH and LOVE and mat them in individual frames, then to quill flowers along the mat of another frame and design it with a space for a picture of Erica and Les. It was a great idea, but it ended up driving me nuts. It wasn’t the quilling that was the problem either, it was cutting the mats. First, I hand measured everything to make a template. Then used a craft knife to cut the template to the right size. I had difficulties using the knife and a ruler and cutting straight. Then I had difficulties with the glue and the paper sticking to the weight I used to flatten things out. Finally, I couldn’t cut anything without messing it up. I would attempt to finish one mat a day – and it would take 10+ attempts to get one right. I was beginning to regret this project. Then I got a plastic template for rectangles – it worked somewhat better, but it wasn’t great. Finally, I got the cutting tool that went with the plastic rectangle template and it was AMAZING. Two mats plus inserts in 10 minutes or less.
I had given Erica the first frame (LIVE) a few days before the wedding. She loved it. I told her that she would have to wait to get the other 3 until she was back from her honeymoon. And they turned out beautifully, if I do say so myself! Saw Erica last night and was able to give her the last 3 frames. She was so excited! She said that she knows where she is going to put them and couldn’t wait to get a picture of her and Les so she could put it in the frame.
I remember about 6-7 years ago sitting at the park with a group of moms. My friend Emily was there and she got a phone call from one of her boys to come pick them up from wherever they were. I remember being shocked that her son HAD a phone. David must have been close to 6 and Michael would have been 2 years younger. Emily’s son was maybe 13 at the time. Emily told us (most of the moms there had younger children, 6-7 would have probably been the oldest) that her kid needed a phone so that he could call her to come get him from practice, etc. places where there weren’t phones. I remember thinking, my boys won’t have phones until they are much older.
Emily is the mom who I always think about when I don’t know what to do with my boys. Her youngest is about a year and a half older than David. In all she has 4 boys (23, 20, 17 and 14 – I think although I could be off by a year). I have told Emily that I believe her to be a role model and I hope that she doesn’t mind me writing about her. She taught me a lot about parenting and even more about parenting boys. She is still someone I go to when I am lost parenting my boys and need someone to give me good, solid advice. And this is something else she was right about: kids need phones for a lot of reasons.
My boys are now older. They both have phones. They got one that they shared, when we moved to Colorado four years ago, because we didn’t have a land line. David was 8 going on 9 and Michael was 6. That first phone was David’s responsibility most of the time. But one day when the boys were at daycare, Michael had the phone. He had placed it in his lunchbox and then proceeded to throw it in the garbage when he dumped all of the contents of his lunchbox. We didn’t realize the phone was missing for several days. We replaced the phone and decided shortly after that the boys both needed phones. One reason was that they were going in different directions and the other was that they were in different buildings at school and it just didn’t work for them to have to share.
Their first phones were bare-bones basic phones. They could make and receive calls. They weren’t allowed to accept any calls that didn’t come up with a name (meaning that they were numbers Chris or I programmed into their phone) and they weren’t allowed to call anyone who wasn’t already programmed into their phone without permission. People who were programmed into their phone (like their grandparents, Auntie Kathy and a few select friends) they were allowed to call whenever they wanted, within reason.
Around this time, I added texting to my phone. I didn’t really see how I would use it, but a friend texted all the time and convinced me. It didn’t take long for me to decide to go to unlimited texting, as it was such a useful tool! But the boys couldn’t text. Last summer, we added texting to the boys’ phones. We all had upgraded – Chris got a new Droid for work, I got his old Droid, David got a new phone and Michael got my old phone (as Michael had lost another phone and we weren’t going to reward him with a new phone until he showed he could be responsible). Now all the phones had keyboards and Chris and I got internet access, etc. with our phones.
Texting with the boys has been a real treat. They tell me things that they might not talk to me about, like having a bad day at school. And they almost always add an I love you to their texts. They can quickly check in with a text, find me in Super Wal-Mart when we are all heading in different directions, and let me know that they need to be picked up earlier or later than originally thought. They text their friends, rather than call (which is strange to me, but neither boy is much for talking on the phone and it seems to be normal for this generation). They can text their Grandma Kay (she is the only grandparent who has texting) who lives in Illinois and often travels. They text an old friend from Illinois who now lives in Arizona and Michael texts his cousin in Michigan. There is a lot more long distance communication going on than when I was a kid and we timed long distance calls because they were so expensive!
However wonderful and useful texting is, it is the I love you part that always surprises me. The boys are quickly growing up and don’t necessarily want to hug me in public. Sometimes they will hold my hand when we are walking (and I always wait for them to take my hand) or give me a kiss on the cheek. But usually they don’t want to give me a kiss goodbye when I drop them at an activity or at school. And sometimes they are in such a rush that they forget to say I love you back. All of this is as it should be. They are growing up and don’t need me as much as they did.
I am sold on texting and it didn’t take long. I love being able to be in touch with my boys wherever they are and whatever they are doing AND they aren’t embarrassed about it because everyone is doing it. They can and do say I love you and their friends are unaware. Chris was talking last night about needing to upgrade his phone (again) and that we can all upgrade. That would mean that David would get my old Droid. I’m not really sure what a 13-year-old needs with a data package especially when he won’t be able to use his phone at school. And what use is a Droid without a data package? I’m sure that if I asked him, he could give me a hundred reasons why he should have it with the data package, but I think that this is something he will have to wait until he is a bit older for – or the prices go down. I love you, David, but no for now.