what Mommy in the Midwest is thankful for (2012)

I just read my post from this time last year about what I’m thankful for. Currently, I’m sick with a cold.  Ryan was sick this time last year.  I wrote last year that Theo had been coughing for three weeks.  Theo just stopped coughing (after about four weeks).  Allergies maybe?  Why is this a sick time of year for us??

Anyway, I’ve been thinking about what I’m thankful for over the past couple of weeks.  I’m thankful for everything wonderful in my life.  I’m thankful for the things I have because I’m lucky and I’m thankful for the things I have because I’m determined to make my own good luck.  I’m thankful for all the changes in my life this year.

And it’s been a crazy year.  When I wrote this post 12 months ago, I didn’t know what all my family and my relationship would endure this year.  My grandfather died.  My sister got pregnant after trying for over a year and is due with a baby girl in a few weeks. I got a new job that I love.  In the midst of all that, Ryan and I argued more this summer and fall than we ever have because of all the stress we were dealing with over this house.  This home of ours.  The six months since Dexter’s 1st birthday in May have been a blur.  Shortly after his birthday, we moved out of our house and in with Ryan’s parents.  We certainly didn’t plan on living there for five months, but that’s what happened.

We kept searching for a home and when we found the one we ended up buying, we weren’t happy.  We felt like we got suckered.  A total fixer upper.  So we’ve spent countless hours over the past months working on the house and sacrificing time with our family.  Now we have been in our house (that is far from done) for about a month.  Was it a big transition?  Not at all.  Seamless.  Ryan and I went back to the couple that loves spending time together.  We went back to being the parents that feed their kids dinner and put them to bed every night.  We went back to plain old boring us.  Which is all I ever wanted.

After all of this, I’m thankful for our house.  One day it will be everything we want it to be.  We will have provided our kids with room to grow and play and enough space to have their friends sleep over.  We want to be the parents that have the house where the boys hang out with their friends.  Open door policy.  I’m thankful that we were able to purchase a home.

I’m eternally thankful to my in-laws.  My in-laws who let us live with them for 5 months.  My mother-in-law who watched the boys night after night, weekend after weekend, while we worked on the house.  My mother-in-law, who cooked us dinner and cleaned up after us, and gave the boys hugs and kisses while we were gone.  My father-in-law, who has spent more of his own time and energy on our house than we have.  My father-in-law, who could build a house by himself, and has spent countless days working by himself on our house while we were at work.  My father-in-law, who always has an idea of how to fix something. How to fit something. How to make things work.  My father-in-law, who is teaching my husband everything he knows about being handy so that one day, Ryan can teach Theo and Dexter.

I literally don’t know where we’d be without them.  Maybe we wouldn’t have had the nerve to buy this crazy house if it weren’t for them.  Maybe we’d live in an apartment for a year while we were fixing it up.  I. Don’t. Know.  But what I do know is that they’re there for us, through thick and thin, and we could never repay them.  They’re my second set of parents.  I’m thankful to have amazing in-laws and a wonderful relationship with them.


birth order

I’m linking up with Melissa at Growing Up Geeky.  This week’s topic is birth order.
My older sister and I are just about exactly 2 years apart.  I don’t know if birth order affected our personalities or not.  We’re a lot alike.  We’re both quiet until we get to know people, then we are loud, talkative, and joke around a lot.  We’re both very sarcastic.  Neither of us are super Type A personalities.  I probably am more Type A than she is as far as having anxiety when things aren’t organized, planned, or in their places.  I like to plan ahead but I can also go with the flow at times.  I know that she had tighter curfews starting out than I did when we were teenagers.  I was friends with most of her friends so by default, I got to stay out as late as she did.  I think she was 15 (16?) before she was allowed to date and I was maybe just a year younger or so because we would go on double dates when I was too young to drive.  Outside of that, I don’t know that there were any major differences growing up.  I never noticed our parents babying me or treating me differently.  We did fine in school – didn’t get straight As but did better than average overall.
My boys are only 14 months apart.  I think about this – how their birth order affects their personalities (and even development) – quite often.  Theo has always been and will always be the oldest child I have.  He always, always, ALWAYS seems so much older at his current age than Dexter does when he reaches that same age.  From day 1, I’ve had different expectations for Theo than I do for Dexter.  I am aware of it, but I don’t know how to control it.  Theo is my gauge for what a 2 and a ½ year old should be doing.  Theo is my gauge for what a 1 and a ½ year old should be doing.  If Dexter isn’t doing everything Theo was doing at xyz age, then I start to worry. 
I also realize now what is realistic for a however-many-month old and a however-many-year old more with Dexter than I did/do with Theo.  I don’t go into a complete panic over giving Dexter sweets like I did with Theo because I know now that they are not going to ruin him and make him never want to eat vegetables again.  There’s no anxiety over still giving Dexter warm milk at night because I think he’ll still want it before bed as a teenager.  I don’t get bent out of shape thinking that my youngest child is going to be a hellion if he throws a fit or doesn’t cooperate.  Am I doing things or worrying about things with Theo now that I won’t with Dexter a year from now?  I don’t know.  I am still learning how to be a parent every day.  Theo is teaching me this month how to parent a 2 yr 8 month old child – I’ve never done it before, but you can bet I’ll use this learning experience 14 months from now when Dexter is 2 yrs and 8 months old. 
Did/does Dexter get ripped off on framed pictures and Shutterfly photobooks?  He sure does.  Are 99% of his shoes and clothes hand-me-downs?  Sure are.  Do I find myself telling Theo to look at things at the zoo or store or out the car window, without thinking that Dexter is old enough to appreciate it too?  YEP.  I try to catch myself and include Dexter, but he is still my “baby.”  The baby in our family.  I think of him as being younger than Theo was at the same age, and maybe I always will.  Theo leads the way.  Dexter plays with the same toys Theo plays with.  I have a million ideas for Christmas gifts for Theo and only and handful for Dexter.  I know that they will both play with whatever I buy, but Dexter literally does WHATEVER Theo is doing.  Dexter has no identified & unique interests of his own.  I’m sure that will change as he gets older.  Right? 
Truthfully, I do treat/view them differently.  Of course it has nothing to do with loving them differently, but it just is what it is…Theo is my big boy and Dexter is my baby.  At any age. Hopefully I’m not giving either of them a complex in the process of raising them!