Saturday, December 31, 2011

Wait No, One more

A glance back:

My first pictures posted here:

I started this blog after Dave Cunningham (my kids will know him as Wesley & Julia's Dad) started his blog... or at least after I FOUND his blog. It was before I was involved in facebook or Myspace I think. It was before my mom had moved close. It was a way to document daily life for the very SMALL community of friends I had at the time.

No one cared for it at the beginning EXCEPT my mom, but slowly the rest of my family realized I was here.

I do think Facebook has taken care of most of the reasons I was originally blogging for. But, as I said before, Facebook has too broad and easy an audience (no, I'm not calling all my Facebook friends "easy"). Of course blogs are public too, perhaps more dangerously so since you don't see most of the responses. People rarely have much to say about a blog post in my world. At least at Facebook they can press "like" without committing to starting a weird sort of dialogue they didn't really want to be part of. So it's deceptive to think this is any less public than Facebook - but come on, people will seek this place out a whole lot less than they will stumble on my Facebook page.

So I can whine more. Ramble more. Share more. Supposedly.

Anyway, I'm so grateful for this five years of history here at burnt fudge. I guess that's why I want to start anew... because despite the fact that I talked too much, seemed too depressed, posted too many pictures, sounded lame plenty... I think it's an accurate enough history. And reading between the lines I think it's more me than I think it is.

And I hope to say the same for the next round. And I hope my kids will care to know their family history now and then, especially in their lonely times. Because no matter what happens these kids are mine and I want them to know how much I loved and agonized over them because you have to admit, no one could be talked about as much as they have been and not be loved beyond reason.

Bye Bye

Now, granted, I have like 4% left of space on this blog so if I want to gossip about how much I hate the NEW blog, I am sure text only posts could last a year or twelve at the rate I'm blogging.

BUT for the purposes of ending this one on a good final sort of note:

Happy New Year's Eve 2011
I love my family
I love my photos
I love my stories

This is us right now as I finish up here:

Find me in 2012 at

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Notes at the End

Just for posterity's sake... some notes about RIGHT NOW.

Right now seems to be a lot about two steps forward and one step back. Due to the fact that Jack MUST nap we have lost ground on staying in the room to put him to bed (a BIG no-no from the sleep solution information that helped so much) because Finn is now in a big boy bed and so, does not contentedly put himself right to sleep every night the moment I put him down.

Therefore, by the time it is time for Jack's bed, Finn is not asleep and yeah. I bring it up because it was such a coup to have everyone fall asleep in their beds without any fuss whatsoever and we're back to square twelve just because of the night terrors. OH how I hate night terrors.

But lets see, maybe that's only true in sleep putting down - the whole two steps forward one back thing.

Both boys are flourishing in school. Cannot tell you how adorable that is to me. Finn LOVES "Miss Miyee", Jack still does too, but he is having a GRAND OLE time with Miss Julie and his friends.

After accepting that the people there really were there to give him the very adventure he craves, Finn has embraced pre-school. When I come to pick him up he is either dancing to music, rolling on the ground singing as he giggles, or playing happily. He is SO stinkin' cute, it is hard to live with him. He looks at you with these eyes! He uses this VOICE. He says "No!" then smiles at you like "wasn't that a good joke?" then when you're serious he says "Otay" and thats that.

Steve has started this thing with Finn, when Finn gets into a whiny mood, Steve touches his own nose and Finn mimics him and it gets Finn out of the whining cycle. It's brilliant and BEYOND cute.

Finn will totally instigate fights with Jack just to get Jack to interact. Finn is much more like Abby in that he'd rather play with people than toys. But he has plenty of that boy focus to enjoy a toy for quite a long time if he happens to be into it.

Jack is just totally full to the brim with personality and passion and hilarity. He just has the strongest self that you ever did see. Which has it's moments around here, but I find myself more impressed with him than frustrated. I find myself seeing where IIII took us down a wrong road more than he did. And if I'd only remembered who I was dealing with I could have gotten what we all needed a lot faster and without a lot of struggle. This is a hard thing to explain without sounding like I am letting the tail wag the dog as Dr. Phil would say. But I did a lot of talking with Miss Milly about this, and I think I instinctively know the line I'm walking even if I can't totally describe it. Basically, I'm getting what I need to get in order to feel that I'm in charge, that I'm being respected etc, but I'm not trying to get Jack to be a different animal. He is who he is, this sailor man.

Abby is still besieged with fears, but even one visit with the therapist has shifted our direction. At least we aren't floundering around aimlessly. But beyond that she is an absolute sweet joy. She plays with the boys, she cleans her room, she talks to us, she daydreams, she sings... she doesn't care much for the scholarly portion of school, but she does what she's supposed to do. Our conversations still crack me up. She's a little me and a little Steve and just totally her own as well. I love when I see the Steve parts in her. Mostly because those parts of her give her such balance from the 150% of female everything I gave her. And also because I see their relationship as something so unique and their own. Because I really am an outsider in a way - I'm not controlling their father/daughter thing. And it's going to bless her so much in the future that she has this understanding with him. It may not bless the guys she dates - because I'm afraid Steve is going to be bitter against any guy who dares think they might have some sort of part in Abby's life. But hey, we'll cross that bridge when we come to it.

Steve and the boys - I've just realized you know, now that the boys are not taking bottles or pacifiers or nursing - now that they are more and more independently themselves that Abby and I are overrun with men. Overrun you ask? 3:2? Look, the strength of male maleness around here is very high. We're overrun. I'm going to start planning more girly outings with Abby so we don't resent the inevitable fights over the toilet seat in the years to come.

Goodbye 2011 and Burnt Fudge Blog?

Poor Blog, you know very little about 2011 here in my household. Facebook has taken over from you.

Of course, I don't feel that great about that. In finally getting the rest of this blog printed I realize how much I miss out on the history of the kids by just relying on status updates vs. rambling here.

I'm thinking... not promising, and actually - by thinking I mean I just thought of it this minute...of starting new over at the blog I opened up but never used for Abby, Jack, & Finn.

It's a thought. The Abby & Jack one never took off for me because I had so much history here and I was still using this one for my own whining. SO now I feel a lot more like I can sort of close this door. Especially because I'm printing it.

BUT I'm not sure. Maybe it's best to just keep the hodge podge, keep the history.

Ugh. See? I don't know. Keep the history and evolve? This just feels like too much baggage! Or redesign, pretend I'm better and cooler starting fresh? Or abandon all thoughts of good intentions of starting over and just rely on facebook to do more and be more?

What would the kids want? I would totally have loved to have gone over my parents' histories like our kids are going to be able to. Of course, knowing my parents, I've got a steel constitution on this matter so, I'd have been fine with it mostly. And luckily for my kids, besides being VERY dramatic and a bit of a whiner, I don't think I have anything in my past that would disillusion or shock them... at least not that has landed online anywhere! Oh, they will be very sure that I'm VERY bad at spelling. But I don't think they'll need therapy for that one.

edited to add: OH wait, I remember though- the other problem. My space here on the blog is running low from the six years of pictures I've posted on here. So maybe the solution is just burnt fudge version 2 from my new email thereby killing several birds with one stone.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Parently Exceptional Children

Would everyone buy a book by that title because we all think our kids are the most brilliant, advanced, fantastic beings on the planet? Except of course when they won't sleep - then we don't think too highly of their rank around the world.

I don't know how to explain it, I didn't do it. But I really think our kids are exceptional. The kind of exceptional that has another side of the sword.

So I'm about to go down the same mistake road with Abby that caused oh so much trouble with Jack a few months ago. But I just don't know what else to do.

Abby has ALWAYS been emotionally out of the park. Not out of this world, but out of the park. She used to gaze out the window as a three year old and say "Momma, look at the beautiful world that God created."

She has always had a sixth sense of sorts when it comes to when people need support.

And she has always had a bit of drama and fear in her.

Once upon a time she was terrified of the ocean. Until Steve made a game out of chasing the waves and that was that.

She's always preferred to sleep WITH a caregiver rather than alone - cuddling even in the hottest of CA summers.

When she's down, she's very down, but not necessarily consistently throughout the day.

She had some dark talk in Kindergarten because of a friend drama happening - you might even call it emotional bullying. AND as soon as her teacher got involved and stopped it - the dark talk was gone and the sun was shining.

Well some sad talk again. After weeks and weeks of struggling with fears with us (she's afraid of bees and it's causing disruption at school) and she's afraid of random things she might accidentally see (30 seconds of a disney channel show as we were waiting for the next show to come on - enter peanut gallery here about how scary and awful some of the disney shows are), that made her fear gardens or anything ancient.

SO... lots and lots of things we've tried. Everything from letting her talk it all out constantly thru completely until everyone is exhausted talking about it. We've tried NOT talking about it and just encouraging her to keep going, let it pass, fill her head with as many good things as possible.

The parallels between this and the sensory questions are many.

Just on the surface, I wonder if she and I and Jack are all a little sensory (and possibly my dad too who admitted to still being afraid of bees) and the bees buzzing just makes us climb walls.

NOT on the surface, Jack was struggling. He was probably going to grow out of it. ALOT of the people I trust (his teacher at the time, his teacher he was going to have, a couple other people) TOTALLY disagreed with me taking him to a therapist and having him tested for sensory stuff etc. etc. Of course the WEEK I started the whole process he seemed to make leaps and bounds (not as in it worked, but as in by the time I actually got him in, I was pretty confident that he was working through whatever it was naturally on his own in one big step forward).

Abby is struggling. She will probably grow out of it. I'm pretty sure the same people who disagreed about Jack would disagree about Abby. She IS extra emotional and I don't need that to change.

But I want to see if someone will help us. So... I'm going to jump thru the hoops again and at the end of the day I will be much leaner in the bank account, feel a little foolish, but at least be quite sure she doesn't need anything different than what we're doing. But you know, before I can be sure, I have to go down the wrong road and get turned around and come back.


Monday, September 05, 2011

Sleep Revisited

This sleep thing still fascinates me.

See, for example, how Jack's naps have changed over his little 3 1/2 year life.

Originally he had spectacular naps. Two. At the exact right times. It was glory. One big nap while Abby was in pre-school and one big nap after we had lunch. And at night he slept really well. Not great - fitfully, but he slept.

Once my pregnancy with Finn was coming to a head (no pun intended) Jack started having night terrors. I honestly can't remember how his naps were at this point. But not too long into the journey I abandoned Jack's naps because it was taking him an hour or two to fall asleep at which point I would be at my wit's end frustrated and very very cranky. Especially since he wasn't letting anyone sleep at night anymore.

So after much suffering we finally re-instituted nap and did all those other things to change Jack's sleep patterns and sure enough it worked gloriously. Oddly enough though, Jack's renewed nap was THREE HOURS LONG. Which is great for a break, especially after so much difficulty, but it meant a planning nightmare. I wasn't really complaining - I just had to back out of anything that happened during the day.

Well, after months of this, Jack's nap has now shortened to an hour. The presumption I'm making? The poor guy was so sleep deprived after all those sleepless nights that he needed the huge naps. And now we're down to normal ole' one hour naps. AND we're sleeping at night. AND life is livable.

And then there is Abby. Awesome Abby.

Abby has been plagued recently with fears from some teeny bopper show on Disney channel that came on after Phineas & Ferb and before I got back to change it. Some sort of episode where there was a statue of an evil princess who possessed another character and made them do bad things. The statue was in a garden so Abby has been fearing gardens, statues, all sorts of things and just having a tough time.

We've talked it thru a dozen times. She once described it that she was walking along fine and this show dropped in her path and she couldn't figure out how to get it out.

Well tonight she comes downstairs an hour after bedtime and I am just barely containing my frustration when she says she wants to talk to me because she's made a huge decision.

Okay I think, fine. And I walk upstairs with her and she says that it will affect her problem with the gardens and the movie (new fear). Fine I say, with not a lot of faith, I'm afraid.

Abby tells me she was thinking about these fears and then she thought suddenly, "but why should I be afraid of these things?" And she decided she was ready to get them out of her path.

I told her how proud I was of her and that that was exactly right and she said, "Yeah, this feeling just came into me and I knew that God was finally working."

This girl. Reminds me not to give up. Things do get better if you just keep trudging along.

Monday, August 22, 2011

A Day or Two

It doesn't make me giddy to be away. But when it's good it's good and I don't begrudge being away or travel half as much as it SEEMS I do. Basically I'm fine with traveling as long as I am not worried about my kids. So right, it's fine. More than fine when it's times like this last weekend. It's good even, but not what gets me going before hand, does that make sense? As in, I'm very happy to be there, but I'm not here pining for any"there".

Anyway, since I don't have that layer of "I'm just excited to be away" I think that I find myself with a much more focused restoration than the average joe on these little retreats we so luckily get. The self that existed before I happily signed up for the life of my dreams (i.e. marriage and children) tends to show up around day 2.

I don't often realize that I'm not driving around in my Oprah coined "authentic self" all day everyday, but coming back from this weekend I realized one of the hints that should tell me I'm straying. Getting so anxious as I order from McDonalds that I have to put my head down on the window ledge. This is not the real me. This is me trying to be a good mom. And, if you don't realize this all on your own - "good moms" in today's society do not feed their kids McDonalds - no, not even the healthier options at McDonalds. So even though I love my kids, even though I have a mom-in-law providing me meals that just need to be thrown in the oven (it's dethawing them I tend to get stuck on) and a mom who's cooking influence should have soaked into my bones by now (even if it got lost in the DNA), I do depend on McDonalds- especially for Finn who doesn't seem to have gotten the memo that a hungry kid will eventually eat. Ha. Not if muffins aren't present he won't. And since he no longer has the bottle (reference: things I dread), I now dread that he is starving unless I provide him fries or muffins.

See how hard it is to stay focused on being just a person, not a person responsible for the care and feeding of other persons?

So for the briefest of periods - somewhere after day 1 and before scrounging around for a dinner for the kids the day I get back - I stop thinking about feeding and caring for other people. Except of course for the wondering if gluten-intolerant Maggie will be served weird pound cake like gluten free bread sandwiches or have to pick mushrooms off pizza for her sustenance. When I came back and needed to feed Finn quickly - I drove thru McDonalds. And do you know, I didn't worry about it... until I realized I wasn't worrying about it.

Then I thought about this whole cycle and I blogged about it. The end.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Things I Dread List

So, I have a "things I dread" list.

On there is potty training, hidden mold in bottles or toys and homework projects that involve construction of any sort and such.

I've knocked off a few in just a few days.

Finn's bottle is gone gone. That takes care of several worries- like taking something away from him, remembering to have formula on hand, remembering to clean the bottles, wondering if the bottles are really clean, wondering if he'll choke on the milk if I leave him alone with the bottle, etc etc. It took one or two 'no, bottle is closed' and then he said, "Ok." And I rolled my eyes and said, 'Okay, you sweet boy."

Jack is potty trained. This took about a day and a half. Of course it's not like I'd take him on a three hour car trip right now, but he's going on his own without reward. He is so proud of himself - and he is so funny. Little toddler buns in undies are pretty much the cutest things ever.

Don't you worry I have plenty of other things on the "things I dread" list, but it is highly empowering to cross a few of them off in a nice neat bundle.

Monday, July 18, 2011

The Right Me for the Right Now

So, along the lines of being nervous that Abby is not getting enough attention because of the boys or I'm taking advantage of how well Finn sleeps or that I'm not the perfect right there in the middle of it parent to Jack at all times...

I've just sort of landed on the fact that, just as in all else I can surrender control and planning to God - then it follows that Abby needed me one on one when she had me one on one and right now, for whatever reason, to make Abby the person Abby can be, this is where we are. It's not so bad obviously especially considering the mega4 (that's my new name for the grandparents - like the mega lottery) give her time away, adventure, and spoiling weekly.

Finn will be a survivor / explorer no matter what. He is obviously, at 1 and a half, in deep training. Seriously - considering the sometimes dangerous love lavished on him from his sister (she likes to carry him and doesn't tend to notice if he's about to be rammed into the doorjamb as she parades around with him)and the surprise attacks from his brother, Finn is going to be THE coolest cat around in crisis.

Jack will lead someone into battle of some sort. And fighting with me for authority will surely give him some sort of fantastic balance as he rises up thru the ranks of whatever he's going to be doing - respecting authority, but not really letting it get in his way.

I always knew it would all be fine, but there are moments of doubt and then, luckily, moments of surrender to a God that is actually omnipotent... unlike me... in case you haven't noticed.