Thursday, January 17, 2013

the day i thought my son looked at porn and the night my husband tried to save equestria.

ben was given an ipad as a gift a few months ago, and each day i allow both of the older kids 30 minutes each to play games.  well, leah is obsessed with my little ponies, so i found a couple of games for her and downloaded them.  one of them is well above her age level & she doesn't really understand it, but she doesn't care, she's just in it for the ponies.

but in order to go on with the story, you must know just a little about the game.  you're given a couple of ponies to start out, and a couple of houses.  then you're supposed to build a town, grow apples and bread and different things, playing different games, assigning ponies different responsibilities, then collect the money/jewels/rainbows for the things you complete in order to buy more ponies and homes. go forth and prosper and all of that.

well, leah's favorite pony is one called "fluttershy" {even though she calls her "puttershy" and insists that we all call her the same} and apparently she is a pricy pony.  not only do you have to earn like 2600 coins, but you also have to do all of the different jobs you're assigned to get to the 23rd level...and THEN you can buy her.

of course, all leah cares about is puttershy and spends her 30 minutes of precious ipad time searching for puttershy.

enter, caleb:  the control-freak brother.

caleb can't stand that leah doesn't actually play the game.  it tortures him when things aren't done "the right way."  in fact, i'm pretty sure a small piece of him dies inside whenever he has to be around to watch her, wander around searching aimlessly.  i have broken up many arguments between them, because he tries to tell her what to do, and even though he's trying to help her, she immediately retaliates with a screech for him to LEAVE HER ALONE.  then he's yelling that SHE'S NOT DOING IT RIGHT! AND FINE!  HE WILL NEVER EVER EVER HELP HER AGAIN!

it's really fun.

i've actually banned him from being able to watch her, because no matter how many nice conversations i've had with him to let her do it her way, even if he doesn't agree with it, it's not his job to control someone.  but it constantly leads to this argument and makes me want to throw the ipad {or my children} out the door, never to return.

okay, so there's the much-needed information.

last week, leah took her turn of 30 minutes of playing the ipad, and then handed it off to caleb.  caleb was in the front room on the couch, and after his 30 minutes was over, i walked into the room to tell him time was up.

well, apparently i caught him by surprise because he jumped!  and then immediately covered the ipad.

which of couse, made me suspicious.  oh no!  i thought.  my sweet little boy!  he's somehow stumbled on some sort of nasty on the internet {even though he has no idea how to get on the internet, but whatever, logic wasn't sinking in at this point}  that's going to take his innocence and send him down a path of destruction!  {it wasn't really this dramatic, but i was concerned}

i stayed calm though, and said softly, "whatcha doin buddy?"

he became obviously more nervous.  "nothing!  nothing!"  the pitch of his voice was rising, and panic had set into his eyes.  "no!  i don't wanna tell you!  i'm so embarrassed!  please don't look!"

so now, i started to really worry.  and may or may not have used the words "path of destruction" in my head for reals this time.

but continuing to stay calm, i said, "look buddy, i trust you.  you are a good boy, and it's okay to make mistakes.  if you found something that probably wasn't great to find, it's okay.  i love you and can help you, and you know the rule in our house--that the best thing is to be honest.  but i want you to do that in your own time.  if you're not ready yet, it's okay.  just know i am here and am willing to talk to you about anything, and i won't be angry with you.  okay?"

he sighed a big sigh.

"okaaaaayyyy, i'll show you," he said reluctantly.  "but just promise not to tell anyone, okay?"

"you know dad and i don't have secrets unless they're good ones like surprises, but i won't tell anyone else.  deal?"

he nodded his head as he slowly handed me the ipad.  i braced myself for what i was going to see.  a scantily clad woman?  an orgy?  or worse??

i sat down next to him and opened it.  caleb covered his face with a pillow from the couch.

and there

on the ipad

was the my little pony game.

i laughed, and may or may not have also snorted.  then tried to compose myself as caleb said with a muffled voice, from behind the pillow,


"oh, you're right buddy.  it just took me off guard.  but what were you doing playing this game?"

he uncovered his face.  "well, leah doesn't play it right!  and just complains that she wants fluttershy {he refuses to call it "puttershy"} but she never DOES anything to get her!  so i was just trying to get her some coins and things to help her so she will STOP ASKING FOR HER!"

and even though i knew it was really just his controlling self wanting to control the game in a way that he could without her yelling at him and getting into trouble over fighting, i tried to twist it to a positive thing.

i gave him a hug, and said, "what an awesome brother you are!  helping your sister!  i'm so proud of you, buddy.  and she is really going to appreciate this, and when puttershy does finally show up, we can tell her that you helped her, even if she doesn't really understand how."

"it's FLU-TT-ER-SHY, mom."

"i know, bud.  thank you for being honest, i'm proud of you."

so, that happened.  and even though i was prepared for it, i breathed a big sigh of relief that today was not the day i had to go through the conversation with my son i had prepared myself for.

enter,  ben:  an ipad game addict with a good heart

last night, i remembered the incident and told ben about it and we were both laughing.  i asked ben if he could help out both of them, and look at the game to see if he could figure out a way to hurry along the process of leah winning her favorite pony.  you know, just for a few minutes while i wrote my article for work and then we would go to bed.

little did i know what that request was going to lead to......

an hour later,  i was telling ben i was going to bed.

"oh!  yeah, me too.  yeah," was his distracted reply, not even looking up at me from the screen of the ipad.  "i just need to wait until this bread is done baking and collect some more apples and then i can buy another pony to work on digging over here."

i washed my face, brushed my teeth, changed my clothes.  about 10 minutes later, i came back out into the family room.  he hadn't budged from his previous spot.  well, except for his fingers, which were swishing and tapping away.

"okaaaaayyy, so.  i'm going to bed.  are you going running with the group tomorrow at 5?  you might want to get ready for bed too..." i trailed off.

no response.

"AHEM.  are you going to come to bed?"  i asked, starting to get what he calls "that tone."

"yes!  yes, yes i'm coming.  just a minute," he mumbled, again not looking up at me.

i rolled my eyes, and walked into the bedroom.

a few minutes later, he followed me in.  bringing the ipad with him.

"ben, seriously?  you're really still playing?  i mean, it's great that you want to help leah....but i'm kinda getting the feeling this is no longer for her....."

"well, it's just these ponies!  they're not doing what i assigned them!  and i can't figure out how to collect the dang rainbows!  and where is that box pony?!  she's supposed to be here somewhere and i can't find her and i need to collect the coins from her!"  

i could not believe we were having this conversation.

i started laughing.  "ben, listen to yourself!  do you realize the words you just spoke aloud?"

"mm-hmm," he replied absentmindedly.  staring at the screen.

i went to sleep.

and woke up around 2:00 in the morning, to find that ben was no longer in bed beside me.  and he wasn't in the bathroom.

and i knew.  i just knew what he was doing.

so i sent him this text:

and a couple of minutes later, he walked the walk of shame into the room with the ipad, and lay down next to me.  it was both hilarious and a little sad.

this morning, i called him on his way to work.

"how ya doing, champ?"  i asked playfully.  "are ya tired?  rough night with the ponies, huh?"

"lynsey!  i was trying to earn puttershy for leah!  you asked me to do that you know!"  he was laughing, but there was a hint of defensiveness in his voice.

"ummmmm, until 2 o'clock in the morning?!  yeah.....don't hide behind that excuse.  you and i both know it was all you, sweetcheeks." 

"HONEY.  equestria {the name of the pony kingdom} is in a complete economical CRISIS.  they need a leader!  someone who can delegate and help them to build ponyville back up to what it once was!"

"ohmygosh you did NOT say that!"  i was laughing so hard.  "you know this is going to end up on facebook, right?"

"no!  NO.  don't do it!  this just stays between you and me!"

and i'm pretty sure if he wasn't driving and if there were a pillow around, he would have been covering his face with it.

"i love you ben,"  i said sweetly.


"have a great day at work!  i'll check in on the ponies for you and let you know how they're doing!"

and we both laughed.

and then i updated my facebook status, and a couple of hours later, wrote this.

Friday, January 11, 2013

waking up.

it's almost 9 am, and i'm laying here in my bed, listening to leah's lightly purring snore from right below me on her new bed--the space of floor next to me and the treadmill--and the sound of {fake} rain coming from the baby's white noise machine i traded her for.  she has my fan for her white noise now, and i consider it a fair trade.  

ben took caleb to school for the first time in...ever...he is usually long gone by the time i am up with my son at 7:30.  but because he worked until after 1 am on tuesday, he had some hours he could flex out.  i woke up with my sinuses completely clogged at 8:05, panicking that i had somehow slept through caleb's getting ready and shot out of bed only to wander through a quiet house trying to breathe and come out of the fuzzy morning-ness to realize what had already transpired, and that they were gone.  

now i hear june chatting away in the baby monitor, and i selfishly don't want to go and get her from her crib.  one reason being that i love to hear her squeaks and squeals and get to imagine her rolling around with her blankets and stuffed dog and books, making friends with these non-living objects to keep herself occupied.  the other reason being well, obviously, that i don't want to break these few moments of peace that i will have today.  

i've already been working on my theme for 2013 in bigbutsmall ways.  last night i was washing a sink full of dishes and listening to music.  out of nowhere i turned on chris brown's "forever"  {i know, i know.  no need to mock, i mocked myself plenty on my own.} and 




yes my children were in bed, but ben was in the bedroom and could have easily walked out to see me dancing around the island in the kitchen.  and at first i was timid and already embarrassed at just the thought of that possibility.  

so i stopped.  turned off the music, went back to the dishes.  

then remembered my theme {out of my comfort zone}, turned the music back on to such a high volume that i wouldn't even be able to tell if ben were coming into the room, 


started dancing


i grew up dancing, and i loved it.  i started classes when i was 5 and immediately felt it was a part of me, that it was something i was born to do, like sing.  but as i grew up, the insecurities took over.  whether they were insecurities of my body or my moves, or just the possibility of being watched,

somewhere along the way i stopped dancing.

unless it was with my children. 

so last night i danced, i turned the song on 4 or 5 times and let myself go.  and i kept dancing until i no longer felt the need to.  by the end i was smiling, and felt better about myself than i had in a long time.  even though i was wearing a sweatshirt and too-big jeans and a messy ponytail and no makeup.  

i felt really good, like i had reached some sort of inner level of chi or something.

tonight i will go out of my comfort zone again, going to a movie one-on-one with a new friend.  that may not sound like much to some, but for me it is big.  i'm comfortable in groups of people i know, or with seasoned friendships one-on-one.  but i could tell it was out of my comfort zone because as soon as i said "yes" to going, i immediately thought of 3 separate reasons why i should invite others to join us, or why it might not be the best idea to go at all.  and that was when i knew.  

i'm not sure why it's such a big deal for me, spending these few short hours with a really nice girl who is unassuming anything besides a couple of hours of much-needed getting out time.   am i worried about what to talk about?  that i'll be totally awkward or say something stupid?  or is it more the idea of letting another person in?  of being vulnerable or trusting, or putting myself out there for another person to see my weaknesses and boundary issues?  the introvert in me is nodding her head, agreeing this is more likely the reason{s}.  and though i can't exactly pinpoint it yet, this year i think i might just find out the whys of things like this.  

and that is the reason for me behind doing it.  we all have things we fear, and we think they are for good or normal reasons.  we normalize them so we can justify them.  and then we wrap up those fears tightly, and feel safe.  only deep down, i think we know better.  somewhere along the way, we've listened to a voice that has told us that it's not okay to put ourselves out there and take a risk, or dance around a room, or start a new friendship.  and when you actually get that moment to stop and consider the reasons you think are so heavily justified, and that you really don't care if your husband walks in while you're dancing, or you actually are okay if you say something awkward with a new friend, 

and you realize that all of the reasons 



well then you can push yourself past the fear.  and come into your own skin just a little bit more, and live your life feeling a little bit more


now leah is awake, and up on my bed next to me and the day is beginning.  and tonight i will go to the movie and not pretend to be okay with it all, but actually be okay.  and maybe someday soon,

i will actually dance in front of someone.  on purpose.

pushing is growing.

and here are the videos that made me fall in love with that song...i cried during both of them, and i'm not ashamed to admit it:

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

a blogging duel, how marriage is a crapshoot, a look back, and my theme for 2013.

looking back into 2012, i can see it was a really great year, probably the best i've experienced in a long time.  not because things were perfect, but because somewhere along the way i came to a place of peace.  of feeling comfortable in my own skin.  finding a balance in certain areas that i've longed for and thought i would never achieve.  i feel closer to God than i ever have, and the itchiness of fear that once creeped along the edges of most of my thoughts has been scratched and settled.

my theme for 2012 was faith without fear, and it was tested many times in many different ways.  i would name them all, but it would take me hours to type and you would probably fall asleep drooling on your keyboard.

being able to write this last year...well, for me it was big.  and hard.  it was the culmination of what all of my previous semi-hard posts had led up to.  and not just my hard posts, the story behind it is what caused some of the hardest lessons i've had to learn in life.  i've wondered since i've written it, is there more to come?  more hard to dig up?  harder than that was?  i don't feel like there is, at least from the past.  getting that out, realizing where almost all of my inner struggles have stemmed from, i have been able to lay it to rest.

sometimes i'm sad about this little blog.  it's seems so....emo.  you know?  where did funny lynsey go?  is she ever coming back?  my friend told me that funny lynsey still lives on facebook, that's where her outlet is. apparently my funny side just needs only a couple of sentences to emerge nowadays, no longer dedicating to entire blog posts.  maybe it's because lately funny= surface, fun, everyday things and emo = deep and life-changing.  and i've been swimming in the deep end of the blog for a while.  well, whatever the case, this season is what it is.  and i have learned so much--through my writing, but also through responses from loved ones, friends and even strangers.

i can't thank you enough for your kindness and love.  even through the change of the past couple of years.


i'm starting off 2013 by forcing myself to write more, whether i have the time or energy or brain capacity for it or not.  the talented and poem-y Clancy and i are having a blogging DUEL!  and my competitive side is DETERMINED TO WIN, while my non-competitive side wants to shrug and do it anyway because i love writing so much.  and it will push her to write, and i love her writing so much.  

and now, a look back on the year:

2012 was the year my marriage took a shift.  in a surprisingly hardbutgood way.  not sure how to expound on that more right now, but i do know that it has something to do with this post, and the finishing of it....when that comes.  ben and i have been extracting our unhealthy pieces, and doing our best to change the dynamics of our relationship that sprung from those pieces.  what i also know is that i have never loved or felt closer to ben than i do right now.  the shift has brought a lot of discussions, some more difficult than others...but all of them ending in a good place, with a deeper understanding than we have ever had of ourselves and each other. 

{warning:  extremely fuzzy picture ahead.  how do people take such CLEAR pictures on their phones??  i'm trying to figure it out, and failing miserably.}

so there we were, on our 10th anniversary, eating at the fanciest restaurant i have ever been to.  we felt so out of our league, but tried to play the parts of acting natural while looking at a menu with a salad that cost $18.  and the meal itself took almost 3 hours, but it was exactly what we wanted.  just time together, and an enormous bill afterward.  ha ha!

we asked each other questions, we went through our history.  man!  marriage really is kind of a crapshoot, isn't it?  i have seen the tough roads that some close to me have had to trudge through in marriage and have done my best to offer love and support as they have been drug through hell and nasty cesspools of emotional fungus.  but i haven't actually been in those cesspools, i've only seen them from the sidelines.

at 22 i felt like i knew everything about myself and him....and at 32 i can say that i truly knew nothing back then.  how can you know how someone is going to respond when they become stressed?  or anxious?  or experience heartache that lasts longer than just the few months of dating?  pregnancy?  grad school?  hard babies?  financial struggles?  a group home of mentally unstable teens?  external family issues?  how can you know the way someone is going to treat themselves and you with the curveballs life throws?  the truth is, you can't.  you get hints of it along the way, and a general idea when you're dating.  you hope for the best.  you tell yourself that your immature love for each other will certainly conquer all.  and then you leap!  and watch married life unfold.

we talked about our gratitude, to go through so many learning curves and growing pains and feel this way about each other when we're now on the other side of some of the big ones.

in my book, it's all about trying.  not just trying to spend time together or be happy or be a good mom/dad and wife/husband, but trying in the way of being willing to look at our own selves through microscopes that show all of our ugly little pieces and hang on through them.  to not stop communicating, or showing love or doing our best to meet our own needs and then the needs of each other.  to not shut down or give up, or become complacent and uncaring.

only a few years ago, i remember patting myself on the back in congratulations.  that ben and i were one of the few couples that i knew had a really fantastic, sturdy marriage.  i thought we were unshakable because we were us.  but that pat on the back was made of a house of cards....not because we didn't have a fantastic, sturdy marriage, but because the things i built us upon were made of fluff.

i will expound more when i finish that post.  :)

but now i don't just pat us on the back, i figuratively wrap my arms around the married version of us, ten years in, through stretching and pulling and pushing, still dedicated to each other and the family we have created.  and still laughing and having fun along the way.

anyway, 2012 was the year that caleb turned 7 and learned to whistle and finally {FINALLY} has his first loose tooth {STOP WHAT YOU'RE DOING AND CHEER RIGHT! NOW!}  it was one of the first years that medically, he has thrived.  and that blessing has not gone unnoticed in my book.

it was also the year where he turned a corner and {i'm sorry caleb, but it's true} kind of do i say it kindly?  endearingly obnoxious.  rumor has it, this stage end around 12, when he becomes a more obnoxious teenager...but we will love him through it.  plus the good qualities of him are still heavily outweighing the...need i say it again?  obnoxious qualities.  

he wants so much to be grown up, and smarter/stronger/faster/bigger/funnier than he is.  he wants to be an adult and for life to be fair, and i have told him to get used to being disappointed about that one on a regular basis.  he does amazingly well in school both academically and socially.  another blessing.

he has been an amazing, gentle, kind and funny older brother to june.  the two of them get along so well.  which constantly makes me wonder why he has continued to bump heads with leah, because i know he has it in him to get along with a younger sister.  he wants so much to control leah and she refuses it.  but in the past couple of months i've seen them turn a corner in the way they are interacting and treating each other.  he really has been an amazing example of a big brother.  he is honest, and sensitive and really tries to do what's right.

he is a reflection of both the best and worst pieces of me as a mother.  and so far, i say we're both doing alright.

the year of leah as a 3 year old has been one of the most fun so far as a mother.  

she is bright and silly and beautiful and kind and most of all....imaginative.  caleb only had a small slice of what she has been given in imagination and i love to just quietly watch her as she creates animals and friends out of anything and nothing.

but the struggle has arrived as she has pretty much thrown in the towel when it comes to sleeping through the night, and i have resigned myself to letting her come in at some point in the wee hours of the morning and sleep in my floor.  i just don't have it in me anymore--i feel like i have tried it ALL, and she stays quiet so it's better than what we've had to work with in the past.  

she has a stubborn streak and a sassy side and is constantly testing me to make sure i will hold the line and boundaries i have set. and she flies off of the handle when she's in a mood and i hold the line, but in the end it calms her because she nows what to expect.  when i make exceptions to rules or consequences, she becomes confused and doesn't like it.  

for leah, the line between truth and un-truth is kind of blurred.  i don't really think it's a conscious or sneaky thing {yet}, but because her mind seriously creates situations to be her reality.  and luckily so far, it's been an extremely hilarious thing to witness.

leah is such a good girl who really loves to be loved, and june has definitely tested her patience in this area, because she gets the brunt of june's newly acquired temper.  but she is slow to react, which i'm grateful for.  {caleb could take a page out of her book here.}  and i have a feeling that the girls may butt heads some times, but are going to grow up to be really great friends.

leah is the child that i need to plan ahead at least 10 minutes before going anywhere, because whenever i say the words "we need to go!  get in the car!"  she wanders around looking for a random toy to bring......or her drink.....or suddenly needs to go potty.....or can't find her shoes.  this honestly used to frustrate me because it put a very big cramp on my leave-things-to-the-last-minute style, but i have learned to work within who she is.  and instead of becoming increasingly frustrated, i do my best now to give her ample time to prepare for whatever journey it is she thinks we're going on.

she still has her adorable listhp, a huge vocabulary, and absolutely loves preschool.  she's a social girl, that's for sure.  2012 was the year we had the joy of finding "my little pony" on netflix and our lives have never been the same.  woah boy!  and her serious obsession with dolphins hasn't died down in the least....visiting seaworld was a dream come true for her.  

and then that leaves us with june of 2012.

june has evolved from the sweetest, calmest baby to a quirky, snuggly, shrieking, independent busy-body of a toddler.  i've lost track of all of the words she knows now, it feels like every day she's picking up a new one...or three.  she counts to five, sings and says prayers with a lot of mumbling softly and then ending them with a lot of gusto in the big finish, "ABEEEE!"  and she prays even if it's not her turn, looking around every time she yells/ends her prayer, wondering why people are quietly snickering with their bowed heads instead of looking up and cheering.

she is extremely attached to me, and i have love/hate feelings about this.  i can drop her off easily at other places as long as there are kids & toys around and she doesn't bat an eyelash--until i come to pick her up, then she acts like she hasn't seen me in years and WHY DID I ABANDON HER??  poor girl.  but when baby-sitters show up at our house, or when she sees me putting on shoes and grabbing keys, she freaks out with a capital F.  it's super fun!  

i love that she loves me though, she is constantly giving me hugs and kisses and when i pick her up, she wraps her arms and legs around me like a little monkey and holds on tightly, saying over and over "mama, mama, mama" with an enormous smile on her face.  

she is still obsessed with baths and it's a good thing, because she has said good-bye to the days of sitting in a high chair, letting someone feed her.  not kidding, if i try to give her a bite of anything she refuses it.  if i pop the same bite onto a fork and hand it to it goes. 

the times when i do need to feed her, whether it's because we're late or i don't have the ability to deal with the aftermath of a mess, she shrieks and cries and twists and turns until i finally have to satiate her with a baby einstein show, or her favorite....pocoyo.  she started saying "COCOYO!" a couple of months ago, and yells it anytime we turn it on.  

and as much as she is joined at the hip with me, this little girl doesn't adore anyone more than her dad.

she is thoughtful about things, picking them up and quietly turning them over and over.  she explores everything about every page on a book.  she is extremely ticklish.  she loves music and sings...duets with her are the best, and usually happen when i'm taking a shower and she's staring at me through the glass, two inches away.  she's continued to remain my healthiest child so far and i was kind of hoping for least emotional child, but the jury is still out on that one.  oy.

2012 turned this baby into a toddler, i can't believe what she looked like at the beginning of last year, and here she is now, the same eyes staring back at me, with a mop of unruly hair and a mouth with teeth and swollen gums waiting to pop through some more.



well, if you made it to the end of this extremely looooong look back on last year, i applaud you.  instead of picking a word for 2013, i have picked a theme:

out of my comfort zone.

and as much as i feel like it's what i need, it's not exactly what i want.  but i've been feeling that since i've reached a big milestone when it's come to letting go of fear and actually liking who i am, now i need to push myself.  

whether it's to meet new friends, or volunteer somewhere, or sing in front of a crowd, or shave my head...

who knows.  

but i have a feeling it's going to be hard, and really really good for me.

so buckle up!!

and a belated happy new year!!  

love, us