Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Unexpectedly clever

This was too good to forget.  Today at lunch I had the kids finish off stale bag of Doritos.  Needless to say they were mostly crumbs or parts of chips.  Greg found one that was a significant triangle.  He said, "Mom!  This is a rocket going to the moon!  Do you know what kind of rocket it is?"  I said , "Challenger." He said, "No! It's a rocket chip!"

Pretty funny to have come up with it on his own.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Pardon The Mess

If I'm working on something, and I mean something I really care about, I don't usually want to show anyone until its done.  They don't need to see the unpicked seams, the cracks in the drywall, or the un-frosted cinnamon rolls (unless, of course, that's how you like them, then you're crazy because frosting on cinnamon rolls is a must, but if you insist you can have yours un-frosted if you like.)  I much prefer the before and after shot type reveals in my life and judging by anything HGTV puts out most people enjoy that much more too.

Only, here's the thing, my life is continually a long process of change.  My biggest, and most valuable projects are me and my kids and those projects are constantly on display for everyone to see.  And they will be.  Forever.  Remember that time I went out of the house wearing exactly what I wore to bed the night before and a hat over my hair?  Oh yeah, that was this morning.  Everyone sees when I loose my temper and react poorly, they see when I show lack of wisdom or understanding and they see when my children require more from me than my particular skill set.

I'm not trying to disparage myself here.  I'm sure that everyone else also sees the sparkling successes too.  The best dressed Sunday with hair done and the time my kids stick up for what is right.  That is observed too.  It's just that sometimes I wish I had a sign I could hang up next to me or my kids in particular situations that said, "Pardon The Mess, We're A Work In Progress."

Because aren't we all?

Monday, January 28, 2013

What is a potato?

While in Denver I got to watch Jeopardy every night.  And also Wheel of Fortune.  Dan and I used to watch Wheel of Fortune every night, that is until kids bedtime got in the way.  As I'm sure all of you, my dear readers know, one of the recent answers on Jeopardy was about a root vegetable with an almost black skin and purple center.  The question being what is a potato.  The ear doctor got that one right.  Tonight I decided to make dinner in honor of that question:
Did you know that when you boil these the water turns green?  Neither did I, but it was a fun sort of surprise.  It felt a lot like when you do the acid/base experiment with red cabbage in elementary school.  You know, the one where the cabbage water turns different colors at different pH?  Am I the only one that remembers doing that?  Well, it was cool and everyone should remember that one.

I tried to take some photos of my sister and her little cutie.  I'm pretty much horrible at this sort of thing, but I did like these two:
Too bad the first was was so washed out.
Do you see that her little guy is totally smiling up at her?  I don't often have the right timing to get something like that.

Also I thought you might like to see some of the things Lee is now doing.  Standing by himself:

On vacation he really liked getting into Aunt Katie's cupboards.

 And playing with Roscoe.
 Who tolerated him because he was feeding the dog all the time.  I couldn't get him to stop.  Or leave the dog alone. 
 We went on walks.
 And ate at restaurants. Oh how I love eating at restaurants!  It is my dream.  It makes me feel a lot like Fancy Nancy, or Eloise.  Probably Eloise.
 We watched a sheep sheering at the Stock Show.
 And played a bit with some of the wool.
 But mostly he just loved Aunt Katie's cupboards.
 Oh!  And did I mention we loved eating out?
Probably I should have staggered the photos into a couple of posts, but it seems that is something I need to work at.  We had such a great time.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

A Swampy Mess

I didn't clean up like I should have before Christmas.  We traditionally do an old toy roundup and send them to The Goodwill.  It didn't happen.

Then it was Christmas.

Then we left for Great Grandma's house.

Then was the post vacation clean up.

Then I left for Denver.

When I came home fromDenver I realized that I had let the toys sort of take over everything.  They mate I'm sure of it.  When my back is turned my little ponies and automoblox are getting together and creating....what, I don't know, but they must be having babies and I've got a fourth generation infestation around here.  Trying to make it from the door of the three kids' bedroom to the crib in the middle of the night was a torture of sharp edges and mysterious goo.  Last night I realized I was wading through a swamp of toy quicksand and I was going to be pulled under.

That is how I can explain the crazy behavior of today.  I cleared out the kids' room.  Completely.  There was not a single toy, necklace, or scrap of garbage in there.  And, because when I meet my tipping point moderation isn't even I my vocabulary, I also went through the mountain of books and sorted clothing to pack up into the attic.

Only here's the problem with doing everything in a day.  Yes, their room is spotless, but now my basement is over run with toys that I have to sort and find homes for.  Also my bedroom has piles of too small for them clothing.  But my body is telling me to stop.  That's it for today.  I think I might just have to carry the crazy over into tomorrow.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Windows and Mirrors

Isn't it strange how things seem to never change and it feels like sometimes they will never change and life will always be exactly like it is today?  I will always be wearing spit-up, I will always be young and in love, I will always be getting up in the middle of the night.  Then you wake up the next day and everything seems to have changed.  A slight shift of light and dark and suddenly what was hidden from my eyes and mind seems so clear or clearer anyway and I realize that perhaps things haven't been the same at all, they've been quietly changing and I just never noticed.

My life isn't counted by the calendar year.  New Year's hasn't traditionally given me any meaning.  I don't think its counted by my birthday either.  Don't get me wrong, I love my birthday, but it doesn't signify any meaningful change in my life.  You know what does signify change?  The school year.  I've kept track of my life, and then my married life, and then my family life each year beginning in September and ending in August.

This school year has been one of realizations so far.  Realizations about myself, about my husband, my marriage, my children (always I'm learning about my children).  I started this school year wondering what I was missing, because I knew I was missing something.  I couldn't figure out what it was.  I was obsessed with what trying to figure out the source of that feeling.  That was in the shadows, but I knew something was missing.  Unfortunately I still don't have a concrete answer to what that missing thing was.  I feel like the shadows seem to be moving so slowly, like when I would sit in my red carpeted front room as a child and watch the dust move between light and dark and the sun never, never moved.  The light seems to be moving slowly, but I've come to the realization that I don't need to know.  I need to be searching and in that search I just might find something of value to me.

Like finding peace within myself.  And joy in my children.  And rediscovering all the emotions in my marriage.  (How do you even name those emotions?  If you can then you're better than I.)  So what's the point of this post?  I don't know, all I know is that coming home from vacation, with a pep in my step, and love in my heart my home hasn't changed one bit, except for it totally has and I'm excited by the new vista.

Tuesday, January 08, 2013

Oh the zero

When Dan and I were first married I sat down with pen and paper to write out a projected monthly and yearly budget.  Well, actually many pens because nothing makes a budget more impressive, more meaningful and thus more easily attained than different sparkly colors.  After I was done I was heartbroken because there was absolutely no way we would be able to make it. WE WERE DOOMED!  I worried and fretted about it over the course of a few days until I finally sought help.

My mistake was discovered embarrassingly quickly and it came in the form of an extra zero tacked on the end of our textbook allotment increasing it by a factor of ten.  I went back relieved and dejected and jotted down a correct version of our budget with pencil and paper and that ugly thing was what we operated under for the remainder of our undergraduate studies.

Jump forward to last week.  So here is something else embarrassing, since I had Lee doing the budget just never happened.  Yikes, I know.  That's why when the kids and I got back from Grandma's house I sat down with Dan's new iPad and made us a handly little budget.  I used and that program is amazing.  It is almost as wonderful as multiple sparkly pens.  Our new budget is a thing of beauty with pie charts and bar graphs and everything.  I was so excited that now I could easily show Dan where we've been spending and our budget and he could be involved.  Then I stressed for four days straight.  No matter what I did we would be short each month.  I couldn't bridge the gap.  At one moment I decided not to tell Dan the next he needed to know.  I finally told him and when he got around to looking at the thing my mistake became apparent.  I had flipped an 8 and a 0 in our mortgage payment.  Oh you zero!  You always make a fool of me!  We are still tight on the budget, but at least we won't have to drink powdered milk.  That stuff is gross.

Monday, January 07, 2013

Mom Guilt

This Saturday I'm going to fly to Denver to visit with my sister and her new little boy for a week.  I'm only taking Lee.

I can not tell you how excited I am for this trip.  It'll be an actual vacation, sort of.  Since Dan is currently on the Trauma Service we asked his mom to come and watch the kids.  She graciously and generously agreed to come and help keep the older two kid's schedules on track.  Everything is set and I'm getting excited.

I figured out one thing that certainly wasn't set over the weekend.  I had neglected to inform my older children about this trip.  When I mentioned it to them Greg was unconcerned.  Charlotte also seemed unconcerned.

Until bedtime last night.

Walking by her room I heard little sniffles so I invited her to come and cuddle me on my bed.  She told me she was crying because she was worried about me leaving her!  And cue the crushing guilt.  I realized this is the first time I will be away from her for any extended period in her whole 5 years of life and this worried her.  And here I was excited about that prospect.  I hadn't even tried to prepare her for this because I had failed to see how this would be a big deal for her.  I told her that we could skype everyday and that Grandma was coming and she was really excited to get to spend extra special grandma time with her and Greg.  I'm not sure what extra special grandma time exactly means, but as it turns out, that was the thing that finally calmed her down.

I love her so much and I know this experience will be good for her, but I also hope it will be fun for her too.  (And also for Grandma too.)

Saturday, January 05, 2013

Not Taking My Failures Too Hard

New Year's Day Dan had a rare half day of work.  When he got home he packed up the whole family and headed out to a park for some sledding, ice skating, and all around snow fun.  It was a magical day full of fun and joy with all three of the kids.

I tried to replicate that today.

Charlotte wanted to go ice skating again so I said that after Lee's nap we would eat lunch and go.

Lee napped for a rare three hours this morning.  So we had a late lunch.  Then the kids had lost all momentum to get up and go.  I felt like I needed to use a cattle prod to get them out the door.  I said to myself that it was OK because once we got there they would love it.

I invited a friend and her two boys to join us.

We finally made it to the park at just about the time I would normally put Lee down for his second nap of the day.  Sorry little guy.  Being the third means you've got to accommodate.  We pull up and the kids get excited to start skating.  I turn to ask Charlotte where her skates are and she says, "You forgot them!"  I didn't, she did.  Here comes the life lesson.  She sulked in the van while I led Greg out to the ice.

Greg was fearless trying out his skates on the ice the first time with Dad, but today all he wanted to do was slowly walk across the ice.  His top priority was to avoid any falls.  It was sort of painful for everyone else to just stand there and watch him.  Charlotte did finally decide to take her sled up the hill.  After a while of everyone else just standing around watching Greg march across the ice the rest of us decided to sled down the hill.

Greg, now alone on the ice, decided that he wanted to sled too.  He followed us off the ice and caught up to us at the top of the hill.  He remembered how much fun it was to sled down that hill last time so he fearlessly jumped on his rocket sled face first and zipped down the hill.

When Greg was about half way down the hill my friend says, "Oh! The car! The car! THE CAR!"  I was unconcerned because after his numerous backyard sledding experiences I was confident he knew to roll off the sled at the bottom before hitting anything.

That didn't happen.  Instead he hit the van with his face.  I tried to go down and comfort him, but (A) he wasn't bleeding, or bruising, and didn't have any marks on him whatsoever and (B) I was a bit flabbergatsed that he didn't bail.  Mostly it just felt like he was wailing because he was too overcome by the accident.  When he starts to wail like that I have learned there is absolutely nothing I can do to help him calm down.  He will calm down when he wants to calm down and he will turn it off like a light switch.

So now I had two thoroughly unhappy kids.  I made Greg sled down the hill two more times so he didn't have that run be the last thing he did, but then I let him stay in the van.

Greg's friend really wanted to try Greg's hockey skates so while Greg was wailing in the van I agreed to show him the basics of balance and what to do when you fall and how to get back up again.  He LOVED it and was a natural.  The problem was that while I was helping Greg's friend Charlotte got sulky again about not being able to skate and Lee got thoroughly sleepy/cold/hungry.

In the end I packed everyone up and we headed home.  All three kids were crying.  I asked them in the van if anyone had any fun and nobody said anything.  I'd like to say I learned something from this, but honestly I'm not sure how I could have salvaged this day.

Hopefully next time will be better.

Tuesday, January 01, 2013

Christmas Gifts

It doesn't matter how many times you wash your hands or use sanitizer.  If you have to hold a sick, goopy baby on your lap for four hours while on the plane, you will get sick.  Nothing says I love you like the thoughtful Christmas virus as a gift!  I love you Mamma!

The kids and I had a lovely relaxed long weekend type visit with my parents, grandparents, and extended family.  While there Lee caught some sort of virus that seems to have spread throughout his head.

He also figured out how to stand all by himself.  But that's beside the point right now.

I got home refreshed and ready to tackle the complete overwhelming task of trying to clean, tidy-up, and organize our home.  I've been looking around and seeing a lot of small organizing tasks that I've let slide for a while.  None of the tasks seem big, but as a whole the thing feels, "too big to clean!" as Greg is fond of saying.  I woke up today ready to start.  Instead I read books, played games, built Lego things, put batteries in, and just appreciated my kids.

When I started to clean I wasn't sure where to start.  On top of that I've got Lee's virus.  It seems all my plans for tidiness will have to wait until I feel a bit more on top of things.  Oh well, I think the kids will be happier with that anyway.

I hope all of you had a great, relaxing break and are also ready to jump into the thick of it.