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Lost

  • June 23, 2010 10:45 pm

I’ve mentioned before that all three of my kids beat to their own drummer, and often wander off into their own little dreamworld.  This quality affects many areas of our family communication, and most commonly when we are all trying to get moving in one direction.  I find myself constantly surveying the surrounding area for a Lost Scroggins wandering aimlessly, and looking at something of specific interest to him or her, absolutely clueless.

It’s exhausting.

Oh, how I would love to just walk down the street knowing each person was responsible for their own pace, and for keeping the “group” in sight.  I see other families that seem to stay together without any effort, and I’m so jealous.  I’ve even hidden in a corner watching one of my kids seem to get “lost,” just to see their plan of action.  Most of the time the minutes tick by, and they haven’t even noticed their independence.  Plan Backfire.  So, I keep a corner eye on my little lovlies at all times, reminding them of this scary place that “lost” could be.

BUT!  Today might have been a turning point for one of the Smaller Scroggins Clan.  While we were out and about, my older two found themselves a few paces behind me, my husband, and the stroller.  It didn’t take long for us to check back and notice they weren’t in our line of sight.  Since this is a common issue, we didn’t immediately panic, but went into a plan of action where I stood in one area, and my husband began The Search. 

But, this time, it took too long.

I was almost in cardiac arrest by the time he turned the corner with two bleary-eyed, shaky children, grateful to have me in their line of sight.  I don’t think I’ve ever received such warm and loving hugs from those two, but I took the moment to really pound in the lesson of STAYING TOGETHER.  I hope this time, it sticks. 

And, I think it did with my oldest.  She never let go of my hand for the rest of the day, and showered me with kisses, hugs, and grateful feelings of being “found.”  I’m thinking it might have been life-changing-dare I hope?

I’ve still got another kid that wandered off at least three more times before we put the day to rest.  Hopefully, my heart will hold out just a little longer.

Memorial Day

  • May 31, 2010 1:35 pm

We attended a Memorial Day Service today at the Wise County Veteran’s Park.  I was a little tentative to take my kids, knowing the ceremony would be somber and reflective, and as always, I worried their sitting still capabilities would be tested to the limit.  But, since my dad was part of the ceremony, and my Grandpa was in town to participate, I decided it was one of those moments we needed to make into memories. 

As we arrived at the park and took our seats, I was suprised at the wonder in my kids’ eyes.  They quietly sat in their seats, and read the program, gazing around at the flags, the men in uniform, and the Memorial itself.  The ceremony began with the posting of the colors, and we watched as my Dad carried the American Flag and my Grandpa saluted that same flag–both veterans, and both there to honor their fallen servicemen.

The rest of the ceremony consisted of stories and reflections from Veterans, as they talked about their own service and the service of their fellow fallen soldiers.  It was humbling to hear these stories, and I couldn’t help but notice the emotion in the crowd as each story unfolded.  Some stories were serious accounts of battle, while others were funny times of training.  Both were stories of our Veterans; Veterans we owe our deepest thanks.

The kids actually excelled in their sitting still capabilities today, maybe even listening and taking to heart a few of those stories, and knowing a little more about our Military and the sacrifices they make for our Country–sacrifices we make note of on Memorial Day, but that we should be thankful for every day.

The Blind Side

  • May 19, 2010 7:58 pm

This past weekend, we watched The Blind Side for Family Movie Night.  I know we are a little behind the times, but Baseball Season has kept us busier than I ever imagined.  And, I guess it goes without saying that we don’t adventure out to the movies all too often.  Anyway, I was excited to finally have the chance to see this movie, plus I’d heard it was a great family friendly movie-even for the little ones.

So, we settled in for the evening and began to watch with great anticipation.  The boys were immediately hooked, being that the first five minutes of the movie were a play-by-play explanation of a very famous football game.  But, as Michael Oher’s story began to unfold, we found ourselves explaining “why” a lot. 

“Why does he not have a home?” 

“Does he have a mommy?”

“Why doesn’t he want to do his homework?”

“Does he have friends?”

“Are those kids scared of him?”

“Is he scared?”

“Is that his new family?”

“Why does he want a new family?”

“Why is he so big?”

It was tough, but the toughest part to explain when Leigh Anne Tuohy drove Michael Oher in her BMW back to the apartment his mother inhabited to get some of his things.  They pulled up outside the apartment and made eye contact with a group of young, tough men-men that most definitely knew the story of the undercurrent in Memphis. Men that knew drugs.  Men that knew violence.  Men that knew poverty. It was a semi-tense scene where Michael adamantly demanded Leigh Anne stay in the car.

“Why does he want her to stay in the car?”

“Is she scared to get out of the car?”

“What are they going to do?”

There we were, asked to explain the “unsafe part of town.”  And then, my daughter asked, “Is it because they are African American?”

I think I actually heard my world as it screeched to a halt.

And then it was my turn to ask myself some questions.

“WHAT??”

“Why did she think that?”

“Was it something we said or did?”

“Did someone put that information in her head”

“Why did she ask that??”

We very carefully chose our words, explaining that it had absolutely nothing to do with their heritage, and everything to do with their situation, their choices, and their behavior.  We talked about the power of education, the power of drugs, and the power of choice.  Choice.  That seemed to be the theme we kept coming back to with each one of these questions.  Michael had the choice to do drugs.  He chose not to.  He had the choice to join a gang.  He chose not to.  He had the choice to read his textbook.  He chose to read.  He chose to make his own path, and he chose to succeed.  That’s not to say it was an easy choice, and it’s also not to say he didn’t have help.  No doubt the Tuohys helped him in that success, but he was the one who walked away from everything he knew, everything that was familiar, and he was the one to choose the unknown.

I don’t know if we handled the situation the right way.  I was Blind Sided by the bombardment of all those questions.  I wasn’t prepared for those conversations at age 9.  I didn’t realize my daughter was making such in depth observations of the world around her, and that I would have to explain some of the dark corners in that world.  That I would have to admit to her that those dark corners even existed.  But, I did want her to realize that her choices and decisions shape her life.  I wanted her to know that her choices have consequences, both good and bad–that the situations other people find themselves in are the result of that same thing.  Choice.  

This particular Family Move Night turned into Life Lesson Night for the Scroggins House, and I really hope we did ok, because I know the long road we have ahead of us includes many, many more of these conversations.  I just hope we have the wisdom to get through them.

Busy Week

  • May 11, 2010 8:43 pm

One softball game down, one to go.  One baseball game down, three to go.

Why is it that everything always lands in one week?

We had CUPCAKES for breakfast!

  • March 29, 2010 9:20 pm

 

Yes, we really did have cupcakes for breakfast, but it’s not what you think.  I’m not the worst mom ever-at least in the knowing-what-to-make-for-breakfast category anyway.  Usually we have a well-balanced meal of cereal or eggs; sometimes we branch out into oatmeal, but only if we’re feeling feisty.

Today was different though.  Today we had a BIRTHDAY in the family, and in this house, when it’s your birthday ANYTHING GOES.  Well, almost anything anyway.  Want a pajama day?  GO FOR IT!   Want Diet Coke ALL DAY LONG?  No problem!  We let the birthday boy or girl pick the movie, the activity, the dinner, the songs–anything.  It is their special day.  Their one day out of the year that is completely and totally all about them-their very own claim to fame.  

And yes, it’s an easy claim to fame-everyone has a birthday, let’s face it.  But, there’s just something special about that one date on the calendar-that one date that you know is yours.  But fear not, I’m not completely insane. While I do love a great party, we’ve never had a petting zoo or a private circus come to the house to entertain us on these special days.  We’re easy to please, because it’s amazing how something just a little out of the ordinary can make a day seem extraordinary.  

Besides, every now and then, rainbow sprinkles are perfect on top a tasty cupcake-especially first thing in the morning.

Division of Labor

  • March 24, 2010 8:36 pm

I imagine in most houses there is an after-dinner conversation between spouses dividing up the chores for the rest of the evening.  In our house, we have baths, dishes, homework round up, and lunches.  My husband and I loathe all those chores.  I guess it’s because that is the time in the evening when we just want to finally find a cozy spot on the couch and DO NOTHING, and this laundry list of things to do seems neverending.  So, we divide and conquer.  Pre-kids, we had a rule:  one cooks, the other cleans.  Great rule.  I loved that rule.  It was clean.  It was simple.  It was easy.  Now, things aren’t that easy.  There’s just way more to do than cooking and cleaning.  But, we manage.  We have new rules-rules that haven’t really been ironed out, like the one where my husband puts the dirtiest pan in the sink to “soak” before he scrubs it, and by “soak” I mean that it sits in water for 8-9 hours until every particle of food has risen to the top of the sinkful of water.  That rule isn’t my favorite, but “at the end of the day” the dishes are clean either way, right?

That’s what I tell myself as I twitch past the cold, murky sink water at 6 the next morning anway.  :)

all for me?

  • March 19, 2010 7:58 am

Today I have the day all to myself-ALL TO MYSELF.  And, while I should be maniacally crossing things off my never-ending to do list, I’m procrastinating.  Procrastinating my DAY OFF!  How crazy is that?  But, anytime I get these minutes alone, I get overwhelmed with the excitement of possibilities of doing something I want to do, and I just wander aimlessly around the house trying to decide.  Should I read a book?  That would be fun, sipping a diet coke on the backporch in the sun with a good book.  Yes!  that’s what I should do.  Or should I work on my pictures?  I’m only about three years behind, I should definitely take the time to concentrate on that!  What an accomplishment I would have at the end of the day!  Or should I clean the house?  I can do that when the kids are here, but it takes so much longer, and I could spend the time doing baseboards and make the house REALLY clean…but no, I don’t really want to do that.  I should do laundry too, but the dirty clothes will still be there tomorrow when the kids are here, and more dirty clothes will be added to the bunch, so no-no laundry today.  I could work on school stuff; I did bring a pile of papers home to grade, and I need to do some other computer-ish type things to get ready for next week.  But, it’s SPRING BREAK, and I have EIGHT HOURS ALONE!  I could watch a movie, a really sappy, girly movie-and have a diet coke with that!  Or I could watch a movie AND read a book when the movie got a little boring!!  Maybe I could watch a movie, read a book, and fold laundry on the side while I plan out the powerpoint that I need for class-just in my head.  

I’m broken.  Instead of doing all of that I’m writing about it what I could be doing-doing none of them, but that stops now.  I’m starting my day off with a diet coke in a glass over ice…and the possiblities await.

an eyeball situation

  • March 8, 2010 11:09 pm

My youngest is the kid from that plastic commercial a few years back.  The one where the mom’s mantra is “if he makes it to 3, 5, 10, etc…it will be a miracle.”  My guy is accident prone, energetic, and what they say is “all boy.”  He’s almost four and already broken a bone, knocked out a tooth, and had a stay in the hospital.  I’ll be honest, it will be a miracle if my mental state holds out long enough to get him to the age of reason.

This weekend there was another incident of injury and chaos.  I was out of town, and my husband had kid duty-including Sunday Morning Church.  He efficiently packed up all the kids, transported them safely to church, and as he was unpacking them, the injury occurred, which prompted the crying. Lots and lots of crying.  Apparently, my older son “accidentally” whacked my younger son in the eye with the seatbelt upon unbuckling.  Thinking he would calm down, the Scroggins troop filed into church-amidst the wailing of my youngest.  HIS EYE!  HIS EYE!  Unable to calm him down, my husband waved the white flag of surrender and retreated from the scene.  The stress of the incident wore out my little guy, wherein  he fell into a deep napping sleep.  I was home by the time he woke up, but he still wouldn’t open his eye. Since I was certain there was massive injury on the other side of the eyelid and became obsessed with “taking a look.”  After much bribing with candy, cookies, and Wii entertainment, my husband and I were able to hold him down long enough for that look.  There wasn’t any injury, but practically every single eyelash was somehow contorted and inside his eyeball.  His upper eyelashes were facing down and stuck inside his lower eyelid.  Am I painting this crazy picture clearly?  ALMOST ALL his eyelashes were not on the outside of his eye where the belong, but STUCK INSIDE HIS EYEBALL.  Yet another “unique injury” at our house-and imagine what that must have felt like?  I can’t stand it when I have one lowly eyelash stuck in there, let alone about twenty.  Good grief.  After recovering from our examination, he was able to open his eye on his own, and was ever-so-thankful for the remedy.

But, we were whipped.  It WILL be a miracle if he makes it to four-it’s just a few weeks away, and I’m holding my breath.

Birth Order-a funny.

  • March 3, 2010 11:23 am

I can’t take credit for these funnies; a friend forwarded me this today, and it just made me laugh because some of them are just so so true.  Happy Wednesday!

 

1st baby: You begin wearing maternity clothes as soon as 
                 your OB/GYN confirms your pregnancy.   

2nd baby: You wear your regular clothes for as long as possible. 

3rd baby: Your maternity clothes ARE your regular clothes. 

_____________________________________________________ 

P
reparing for the Birth: 

1st baby: You practice your breathing religiously. 

2nd baby: You don’t bother because you remember that last 
time, breathing didn’t do a thing. 

3rd baby: You ask for an epidural in your eighth month.. 

______________________________________________________ 

The Layette: 

1st baby: You pre-wash newborn’s clothes, color-coordinate them, and fold them neatly in the baby’s little bureau. 

2nd baby: You check to make sure that the clothes are clean and 
discard only the ones with the darkest stains. 

3rd baby: Boys can wear pink, can’t they? 

______________________________________________________ 

Worries: 

1st baby: At the first sign of distress–a whimper, 
a frown–you pick up the baby 

2nd baby: You pick the baby up when her wails threaten 
to wake your firstborn. 

3rd baby: You teach your three-year-old how to 
rewind the mechanical swing. 
______________________________________________________ 

Pacifier: 

1st baby: If the pacifier falls on the floor, you put it away until 
you can go home and wash and boil it. 

2nd baby: When the pacifier falls on the floor, you squirt it 
off with some juice from the baby’s bottle. 

3rd baby: You wipe it off on your shirt and pop it back in.. 

______________________________________________________ 

Diapering: 

1st baby: You change your baby’s diapers every hour, 
whether they need it or not. 

2nd baby: You change their diaper every two to three hours, if needed. 

3rd baby: You try to change their diaper before others start to 
complain about the smell or you see it sagging to their knees. 

_______________________________________________________ 

Activities 

1st baby:  You take your infant to Baby Gymnastics, Baby Swing, 
Baby Zoo, Baby Movies and Baby Story Hour. 

2nd baby: You take your infant to Baby Gymnastics.. 

3rd baby: You take your infant to the supermarket and the dry cleaners. 

______________________________________________________ 

Going Out: 

1st baby: The first time you leave your baby with a sitter, 
you call home five times. 

2nd baby: Just before you walk out the door, you remember to 
leave a number where you can be reached. 

3rd baby: You leave instructions for the sitter to call only if she sees blood. 

______________________________________________________ 

At Home:  
1st baby:
 You spend a good bit of every day just gazing at the baby. 

2nd baby: You spend a bit of everyday watching to be sure your older child isn’t squeezing, poking, or hitting the baby. 

3rd baby: You spend a little bit of every day hiding from the children 

______________________________________________________ 

Swallowing Coins (a favorite): 

1st child: When first child swallows a coin, you rush the child to the hospital and demand x-rays 

2nd child: When second child swallows a coin, you carefully watch for the coin to pass. 

3rd child: When third child swallows a coin you deduct it from his allowance! 

Reflections on a decade

  • December 31, 2009 9:29 am

It makes me feel old to start counting time in decades, but alas…I guess that time has come, and as I’m wallowing with my puffs with lotion surrounding me today as I fight a cold, I’m also reflecting on how much change has happened int he last ten years.  Either the sappy genes are taking over, or I took a little too much nyquil last night, so here goes…

Ringing in 2000, we were excited about the prospect of a NEW CENTURY but worried about that whole Y2K thing and our computers, fully expecting to wake up January 1 and have everything completely erased.  What a racket that was!  I even made a little time capsule to capture the moment, and filed it away in a Christmas ornament for us to revisit in future years.  We had no children, but were thinking that a baby would be a wonderful blessing to our new grown up lives.  Yes, grown up lives-we were in our second year of working full times jobs, two years out of Aggieland.  What babies we were!!  I remember how odd it felt to be in that newly grown up place, too.  Our best friends had scattered to different cities after graduation, so we found ourselves truly on our own in a world where everyone already had 2.5 kids, a mortgage, and their own routine.  My husband worked in the “City,” and I taught in the suburbs, and that was when our dream of living, working, and playing in the same town was born.  We didn’t know how or when such a thing could or might happen, but often talked and dreamed about being part of a community, the smaller part of a whole, a place where “Hope” would rise to the top.

Our daughter was born in 2001, our first son in 2003, and our second son in 2006.  We were up to our armpits in diapers and bottles for most of this ten years, just now throwing out the last of the sippy cups.  Single strollers, double strollers, and umbrella strollers filled our trunks, and sometimes when I glanced in the back of the suburban or minivan (depending on which part of the decade it was) I would freak out a little in my head, realizing I was in charge of ALL THESE LITTLE PEOPLE.  We learned to live on less sleep, but held strong in our dislike of coffee despite that.  Only recently have I succumbed to the peer pressure of that vice.  I guess that means I’m a different kind of grown up now.  We potty trained 3 kids, which I still reserve as THE MOST DIFFICULT thing about parenting thus far.  We bought three big kid beds, but I still can’t bear to part with the crib just yet.  No, we don’t plan on any more blessings, but I have an emotional attachment to that one (maybe a few other) baby things.  We enrolled two kids in school, and have immersed ourselves in the nitty gritty of elementary school routine, coupled with extra curricular activities and take-home projects.  This is the stuff of life, or so they tell me.

My husband changed jobs twice, the last one bringing us to Decatur.  I went from a teacher, to a stay-at-home mom, back to a teacher.  We realized our dream of living, working, and playing in the same time (almost).  We sold and bought three houses, never really making any money on them, but learning a lot in the process.  We celebrated our 30th birthdays, our 10th high school reunion, and this year our 13th wedding anniversary.  We buried two dogs, and lost 2 cats.  There were some fish in there, but too many to count.  We aren’t so good with fish.  We went on our first road trip as a family, and our first trip to Six Flags as a family.  I took tons of pictures of all of it-from actual film pictures in 2000 to fancy digital pictures in 2009.  I wonder what kind of pictures I’ll be taking in 2019, when I’m 44 and my kids are 18, 16, and 13.  I swear I just got a chill thinking about it.

So much has happened in the last 10 years, it takes my breath away to think about it.  Some of our hopes and dreams were realized, and some were not.  I have to keep reminding myself that My Plan isn’t necessarily the same as God’s Plan, but no matter the plan there was a lot of living in that ten years.  A lot of memories.  A lot of change.  A lot of life…you know, the stuff in the middle.  The stuff that counts. 

And I’m looking forward to a little more “middle” these next ten years.