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Tuesday, November 30, 2010

More from the author-in-residence

I was going to write about raising sons, but I have Christmas decorations to get out so I don't want to spend eons on this here blog.  So raising sons will have to come later.

N continues to write like crazy...jotting notes, sending letters to cousins and friends.  And over the long Thanksgiving weekend she wrote a couple stories.  Nothing Newbery Medal worthy, but cute nonetheless.

But first, a journal entry I found.....

Dear journal
I wish I could right in cersive when im 7 or 8 And I want too get my ears pearsed  Thank you!

And now......the short, short stories of NGL:

The magic journal  
(This is an original story. Any similarities to the dvd The Barbie Diaries are purely coincidental.)

Oce there was a girl named Makenzie  She had a journal.  She thoght it was magic
So she took it too school and she asked her teacher "every time I right in this it happens"  Why?
And she figured out is was magic
The end.


The super-sour lenonade  
(This is an original story.  Any similarities to Olivia Opens a Lemonade Stand by Kama Einhorn are purely coincidental.)

One day a kitty named Princess opened a lemonade stand so her friends could not get any warmer and the color was pink and when she tried it she said "it's sour!"
And all she had ta-doo was putt some ice and water in.
The.end

Monday, November 29, 2010

What's that racket?

I have not been cool in ages (if I ever was) or up-to-date on what's hip and hot in music, but browsing through MP3s on Amazon.com just makes me feel like a relic.

Some of the songs I recognized were because I had heard the Chipettes sing them on the Squeakquel soundtrack.  Some of the songs I know because N listens to Pandora sometimes and tells me who is singing what....Selena Gomez, for example.  How pathetic that my 6-year-old is guiding me through pop culture these days.

I was surprised that I actually knew some Katy Perry songs.  I was also surprised at just how sucky Katy Perry songs are.  Teenage Dream?  Seriously, what grown person would write about or deign to sing such stuff?

My kids throw grand-mal fits if they have to listen to my music, which I admit is fairly moody and weird.  Flaming Lips, Black Keys, Jeff Buckley.  So I try to buy music that is trendy/catchy/danceable for the kids, but is also something I don't mind listening to.

This evening I bought the clean version of Empire State of Mind, just because I like it.  The kids can deal.  And then I purchased Taylor Swift's You Belong With Me and Selena Gomez's A Year Without Rain because I can tolerate them, and N will be thrilled and think I am the world's greatest mom for 30 seconds until I do something totally lame.

The hardest part was finding clean stuff.  Most of what was out there is explicit.  When N was two, I played Hollaback Girl and told her the, "Ship has bananas.  B-A-N-A-N-A-S."  But she is way too savvy now to fall for that.  Listening to Pandora on Sunday I was waiting for her to ask me what a disco stick was, thank you Lady GAGA.

I'm gonna go crank up my gramophone now and do the fox trot.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Elastigirl

In the movie The Incredibles Helen Parr whips out her Elastigirl arms to separate her two oldest children during dinner as they try to kill each other under the table.

But Carrie as Elastigirl feels pulled and torn between children on one side and husband on the other.  Everyone wants me to be on their side, wants me to meet a need they have.  Everyone grabs an arm and stretches, using me in their game of tug-a-war.

Both my mother and Ayelet Waldman have said, "Love your husband more than your kids because one day your children will leave you but your husband will still be around."  At it's most basic, I agree and get it, but I think trying to equate one's love for a husband to one's love for one's children is flat out stupid.  There is no comparison---two totally different kinds of love.

My love for my kids is primal.   I would kill for them, and I would die for them.  I carried them within my body, I suckled them, I am with them constantly----there is no other relationship that will ever compare to this.

But they will leave me, and because they are children and I am their mother, they can never fulfill me completely on an adult level.  As children they are immature and whiney and annoying a good portion of the time, which is why I have my husband (although most women I know could and do say the same things about their husbands).  I also have my friends and this blog.  And things I want to do in the future.

I am not in love with my children, but most of the time I also do not feel in love with my husband.  Maybe it is due to being Elastigirl.  Trying to keep the kids quiet and getting frustrated by how impossible this is to do so D can sleep in on the weekend (being pulled by his needs).  Getting the kids a snack for the 11th time in one day even as I'm trying to prepare supper and their dad is sitting right there and could easily do it instead of me (being pulled by their needs).  Being tugged on and nursed on and hugged on all day and then knowing my husband has physical needs as well.

Elastigirl can only stretch so far.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Ugh.....holidays

For as long as I can remember I have never liked holidays.  As a kid, I absolutely hated being cooped up with my family, unable to do any of my normal stuff like play with friends or go to the mall.  I just felt bored, disconnected.  I was always thrilled to get back to normal life.

So it's not surprising that I still dislike holidays for much the same reason---I am cooped up with my family, unable to enjoy the normal day-to-day routine of my life.  Except now I'm the mom, not the kid.  Which makes me think that the problem is me.  Common denominator and all.

A 4- or 5-day holiday like Thanksgiving, which drags on from Wednesday through Sunday, is tolerable for about 3 days.  But after that, I seriously start to lose my mind.

My routine with the boys is completely off-kilter with N and D being home.  I mean it is their home and they should be able to enjoy themselves here and relax.  But this home is also my 24/7/365 place of employment from which I never get a break.  When they are home, they don't have to mess with homework or project deadlines, be well behaved in class or answer questions from colleagues.  But I still have to do laundry, fix supper, give baths, pay bills, clean up toys, go to the grocery, etc, all the while watching N and D enjoy their "days off."  And I'd be lying if I said it didn't totally piss me the hell off.   Especially by days 4+.

I tell myself this is one of the problems with being a stay-at-home mom, but I don't know that it would be any better or different if I worked.

I would likely be even more ticked off knowing that I was technically "off work," but still having to do all my mom work while N and D got to relax.

One just can't seem to win in this mom business.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Last things

(Seriously, is November almost over?  I'm getting tired of this daily blogging business.)

The last...

thing I ate----chocolate cake and vanilla ice cream

thing I drank----hot chocolate

thing I watched----Winter's Bone special feature on the making of the movie

chore I did ---- put clean kitchen towels away

(fun) thing I did with my kids---- sledding at the park this morning

thing I bought----lunch for myself and kids at Pizza Hut

thing I read----the kids' children's bible Christmas story chapters before bed tonight

thing I will do before going to sleep---take half a Unisom

time I took a bath----last night, I think....(let me sniff my pits)

God, that was immensely boring.
4 more days to go.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Blissed out or exquisite calm

I guess because hubby has a cold (again) and the past 2 nights M has slept in bed with us pretty much all night due to barking seal cough and G threw a temper tantrum before leaving Mamaw's house after our Thanksgiving celebration.....maybe this is why I started thinking about occasions in my life when I have felt either blissed out or insanely serene.

Because as thankful as I am for my life and everyone in it, sometimes the day-to-day drudgery requires one to harken back to the biggest moments of greatness or calmness or joy or love that one has felt.

For certain I can't pull all of them out of my brain at one time, but there are some that consistently stand out.  Tonight I remembered standing on top of a hill in Wales when I was 19.  It was nearing dark, and it was extremely windy.  I don't know if I was alone or with someone, but seeing the clouds move and the sun set, the rolling hills....it was just amazing.

Another was in 8th grade when my class put on a Good Friday play.  I was the "set director," I guess, and I recall standing in the balcony at the back of church watching the part where Jesus is nailed to the cross.  We had a big wooden cross and one of the Roman soldier actors used a mallet against the wood.  The whack-whack-whack echoed in the church, and I felt startled.  It was overwhelming to me, and perhaps the only time I ever actually felt a god-like presence within a church building.

Of course the instantaneous flooding of love and tears when each of my children were born stands out in my head.  That is a feeling I wish I could turn on and off like a faucet.  Sometimes when I'm dealing with tantrum #467 since breakfast (and it is only snack-time), I would like to feel flooded with love so I don't knock someone's head off.

At the time I didn't feel particularly blissed out, although the memory of this does it for me now---walking through Sorrento Italy as well as the Isle of Capri with D.  I just remember little blips of the narrow streets as we walked and walked, and it brings a smile to my face.

I think because I am guilty of over-reflecting....chewing on stuff for way longer than necessary and then blogging about it....I tend to always be pretty cognizant of the little "big" things for which I should be thankful---health, a family, a home, food in my fridge, being educated. etc.

Sometimes it is nice to be thankful for those "once in a lifetime" experiences and the feelings that went with them.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

What my real Christmas letters would say.....

The hardest thing about sending Christmas cards is finding a little nugget of our lives that doesn't sound (a.) pathetic, (b.) boring, (c.) depressing, (d.) TMI or (e.) braggy and offering it up to friends/families to digest until the next 365 days roll by.

Here is the little ditty I have been jotting down with pictures of the kids included:

Merry Christmas!  Hard to believe it is this time of year again.....


We are well.  N loves 1st grade and is becoming a better reader all the time.  The boys are finally playing nicely together, and M is walking now.  Chaos reigns over here.  


Hope 2011 is good to you.


Love, 
C & family

Here is all the stuff I don't mention because it is either a, b, c, d, or e.

Merry Christmas!  I cannot believe that this year has flown by as quickly as it has given how little fucking sleep I've gotten over the course of these 12 months.  Even if D hadn't been snipped in April, you better believe there wouldn't be any more kids because we are too tired to do it very often.  


M is perhaps the world's suckiest sleeper.  I have friends with newborns who sleep better than he does.  And when I try to do all the things the "experts" recommend he just screams ad nauseum so I eventually stick a boob in his mouth because I can't stand it anymore.  


G is so 3 it's not even funny.  He screams at the top of his lungs often---I am "this" close to ripping out his larynx.  All he will eat is vanilla yogurt with sprinkles and breakfast cereal.  He poops constantly which I assume is due to all the live & active cultures in him.  He might have the world's healthiest colon.  And he has absolutely no desire to potty train.  


N loves school and has finally gotten a little better about entertaining herself, which is awesome.  I like her most because she can dress herself, wipe her own butt and she knows not to scream.  But now that she knows how to read I can't write what I really want to write on Facebook because she is always looking over my shoulder.  I thought parents were supposed to censor their kids....not the other way around.


D still has his Xbox and plays regularly.  He keeps getting colds from the boys, which just means one more annoying person to listen to honking and snorting for weeks on end.  We don't talk too terribly often because by the time the kids get into bed, we just want to be left the hell alone and do our own thing.  


I continue to do my little blogging thing and have written some for a local magazine, which is cool.  I got all my hair cut super short so G and I are twins, and I've been working out with a trainer to help build up my strength so I can continue to lug chunky butt baby all over creation, since he is starting to walk on his own but nowhere near ready to do it on a full-time basis.  


The cats have been permanently relegated to the basement.  Annoying little fuckers just meow for food when they have the opportunity to come upstairs, and I can't handle any other living creature hollering at me for anything.  


Hope you and yours are well and continue to be throughout the coming year.  I'm just hoping for some longer stretches of sleep I can count on.  I would love to rejoin bookclub but can't focus on reading anything longer than a 2-page magazine article due to fatigue.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Prayer. (Huh) What is it good for?

I grew up saying formal prayers---The Hail Mary and Our Father.  "Now I Lay Me" at bedtime.  "Bless Us O Lord" at meals.  The Apostle's Creed at church every week.

(Side note here:  Am I the only kid who was completely freaked the hell out by "Now I Lay Me?"  What child wants to think about dying before they wake???)

But eventually it started to bother me that I didn't feel any meaning when I said them, although I now understand that just saying the prayers in a "seemingly thoughtless" way is actually sorta meditative in its own right.  I don't know what I thought I should feel, but I wasn't feeling anything.

I also didn't (and don't) subscribe to the idea of praying for something means what you want will happen.  Sometimes I hear people say, "God is good," and I often wonder if they would still say that if "god" didn't make whatever they wanted to happen, happen.  I don't often hear this phrasing used when someone's tire goes flat 15 minutes before a job interview.

Whatever "god" is....evolution or higher power or karma....is far, far smarter than any human to determine what is "best."  Eventually I just kinda made a blanket one-time prayer to "Let whatever is supposed to happen for the best occur and give me the ability to deal with it."

Whenever a friend asks for prayers for themselves or a loved one, I never say anything on the order of, "Dear Jesus, Redeemer of my Sins...." because that just weirds me out whether said aloud or inside my head and heart.  I tend to think of sending good thoughts/vibes to another person as my favorite, most comfortable kind of prayer.

I also really want to and try to live my prayer.   For example, we don't say grace at mealtimes, but I donate food to food banks occasionally.  And I try my darndest not to waste food, even if it means making beet bread.  And I support CSAs because I think this is perhaps the best form of thank you for my food---helping the farmers who bring it to my table.

Self-reflection seems to me a pretty good form of prayer.  Reviewing what you have said or done, examining your desires, grievances, joys, sorrows, seems to me a pretty good way to show thankfulness or make amends (the next time).

Prayer can be used as an insult, I think, although to the one who offers it I don't think it is meant that way.  Someone once said they would pray for me because I haven't accepted Jesus as my personal saviour and given my heart to him.  I know this person strongly believes in Jesus and wants to share that good feeling, but I do believe in god/higher power/karma....and I do believe in historical Jesus (just not died for our sins Jesus).  And I am ok with that.

Is there ever any feeling of longing in my heart?  Well sure.  But even the most "in-tune with Jesus" person feels that way.  I think it's called the human condition.

So being offered what felt like a "pity prayer" (as in Carrie's soul is in such need of repair) really bothered me.  Because I thought it was "god's job" to judge my heart and soul and determine my overall worthiness on this planet.  And that is why I am a little suspicious of prayer.

But I don't doubt it's power.

Monday, November 22, 2010

A history lesson about me

Going through all those boxes of childhood stuff in the basement helped jog my memory of what I was like and things I did as a kid.

1. I tried out for and participated in my school talent shows from grades 1-8.  It kinda blows my mind that I had the nerve to try out when I was only 6 years old.  I danced to Blondie's "The Tide is High."  In 2nd grade, I danced and lip-synced to Manhattan Transfer's "The Boy From New York City" with a 1st grade boy.  He was the NYC "boy," and I kinda danced around him.  We won that year...solely based on cuteness because talent was nil.   I think most every year after that I danced to something by Duran Duran.

2. In 1st and 2nd grade, I played Star Wars on the playground with two boys, Mark and Greg.  Mark was my "boyfriend."  He was Luke.  Greg was Chewbaca, I think.  I was Leia.  Mark's birthday was the first party I ever attended.  He had a place-setting for me right next to him.  We played some kind of game where we had to balance a potato on our shoe.  I remember I won and his mom took a picture of me in my rockin' fake leather boots with the potato on my toe.

3. When I was in 3rd grade we were instructed to do all the math problems at the back of our math book.  I don't know how long we were given to accomplish this, but I didn't do any of them.  I hated math from the moment this was assigned, and I hated math even more when I had to stay in from recess for weeks and weeks to do the math problems at the back of the book.  I distinctly remember my mom sitting at the dining room table with me as I cried and cried over the horror of doing that math.

4. When I was in 4th grade I got a retainer to keep me from sucking my thumb.  It was a medieval torture device with prongs sticking down from the roof, basically making a metal gate so that I couldn't put my thumb into my mouth.  It took awhile for me to be able to speak properly with it.  After I saw the orthodontist, I remember my teacher asking me to read aloud in class.  I had to read something about the hemispheres.  I lost a tremendous amount of saliva trying to pronounce that word multiple times for the reading.

5. In 5th grade I got into a "fist fight" of sorts with a classmate.  She and I had an on-again/off-again relationship.  One year we'd be friends, and the next year we'd hate each other.  Fifth grade was apparently an "off" year.  My mom had made me a winter coat made of a white fur like material.  What I remember is my on/off friend dragging it on the gym floor.  I seem to recall walking over to her and popping her in the face.  It got ugly after that, and Mr. S had to intervene.  (I'm Facebook friends with this woman now so she can set me straight if my memory is off.)

6. In 6th grade a classmate got pregnant by an 18-year-old guy.  My introduction to the "real world." I remember our teacher wrote "For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge" on the board, which was also my introduction to that word and what it meant.

7. In 7th grade I was perhaps the most hated kid in junior high.  To this day I still don't know why.  That sucked.

8.  In 8th grade I was hell-bound on seeking revenge on the assholes who made my 7th grade year a living hell.  So I became a cheerleader and got straight As and won the Principal's Award, which is like the Oscar of my former school.  It might have felt better to give 'em all black eyes, but just rubbing their faces in my awesomeness was pretty good too.

9. In 9th grade I started at an all-girls Catholic school downtown.  It was my first experience with black girls.  I am ashamed to admit that my initial thought was, "How will I ever be able to tell them apart?"  That first day of school they all looked the same to me.  This is part of the reason I am pro-public schools.  Diversity is a good thing and really shouldn't just begin when one becomes a teenager.

10. In 10th grade I began dating BM, my high school sweetheart whom I fortunately did not marry.  He was (and is) a good guy, but I'm just not the type of person who could have married my high school boyfriend.  I guess this is where being inherently "boy-crazy" is a good thing----check out the other fish in the sea.  He and I dated for the remainder of my high school career.  We dated for my first semester of college, but once I got a taste of being around guys all day long, I was over it.

11. In 11th grade I was voted Junior Class President.  I had run for class president in 9th and 10th grades but no dice.  Junior year meant planning a prom.  I almost didn't get to attend prom because I had strep throat.  I missed my ring ceremony due to strep.

12. During spring break of my senior year of high school, my friend Kelly and I went to.......Cincinnati, OH for a couple days.  Somehow you don't get the screams and catcalls when lifting your shirt at the art museum and zoo as you do in Fort Lauderdale.  It was fun but even then I knew this was terribly lame.

Other things I remember in no particular order----
* Coming home from elementary school and eating a snack at the kitchen table with my mom every day.  Telling her about the events of the day.  This is part of the reason I wanted to be a stay-at-home mom.

* Dressing up as hookers one year for Halloween with JP, DD and MBP.

* Making mud pies in the backyard with my brother.  When he went into the house to get something, I put mud into his Spiderman house slippers.

* Peeing under/behind the wiegela bush in the back of the yard.  (I mean we had indoor plumbing....I guess it was just for the thrill of peeing outside.)

* Swinging on the swingset in the backyard singing Buffy Sainte-Marie's, "I'm Gonna Be a Country Girl Again."

* Laying in the back of the car listening to Eric Carmen's, "All By Myself," and brooding.

*Dancing in the basement with my mom to various Johnny Mathis songs.  She did her sewing down there and would listen to his LPs.  She and I would waltz around to various tunes.  

Sunday, November 21, 2010

ABCs of my iPod

I'm kinda stealing an idea from my friend G's blog but putting a twist on it.  Just to show how "back in the day" my music selections are, as well as how infrequently I get to listen to music I want (since I technically share this gizmo with the younguns).  I am certain you will find it rather difficult to determine which songs were selected for or by my kids).

Here are the first 3 artists listed on my iPod with the 1st song under that artist.

A
Aaliyah, Rock the Boat
Alison Krauss, Down to the River to Pray
Alison Krauss & Gillian Welch, I'll Fly Away

B
Backyardigans, Theme Song
Barbie, Connected
Beach Boys, Surfin USA

C
The Champs, Tequila
The Chipettes, Hot N Cold
The Chipmunks, Bad Day

D
Danny & the Juniors, At the Hop
Danny Elfman, Augustus Gloop
Dean Martin, Baby, It's Cold Outside

E
Earth, Wind & Fire, Shining Star
Elvis Presley, Hard-Headed Woman
Emmylou Harris et al, Didn't Leave Nobody But the Baby

F
Fairfield Four, Lonesome Valley
Feist, 1234
Flaming Lips, The Yeah Yeah Yeah Song

G
Gwen Stefani, What You Waiting For

H
Hannah Montana, Best of Both Worlds
Harry McClintock, Big Rock Candy Mountain

I
Iggy Pop, Lust For Life

J
James Carter & the Prisoners, Po' Lazarus
Jeff Buckley, Mojo Pin
Jeff Conway & John Travolta, Greased Lightning

K
The Kids, Kryptonite

L
Lady Gaga, Paparazzi
Laurie Berkner, Rocketship Run

M
Michael Buble, Let It Snow, Let It Snow
Miley Cyrus, Start All Over
Music Together, See How I'm Jumping?

N
Norman Blake, You Are My Sunshine

P
The Peasall Sisters, In the Highways
The Pipettes, Your Kisses Are Wasted on Me

Q
Queen, Bohemian Rhapsody

R
Ralph Stanley, O Death
Randy Newman, You've Got a Friend In Me
Rascall Flatts, Life is a Highway

S
Sean Kingston & Justin Bieber, Eenie Meenie
Sha-Na-Na, Born to Hand Jive
Sharpay, Humuhumunkuakua

T
Ting Tings, That's Not My Name
Toni Basil, Mickey
Tony Bennett, Fly Me to The Moon

U
U2, Beautiful Day
Usher, Yeah

V
Van Morrison, Wild Night
Vince Guaraldi, Skating

W
Whites, Keep on the Sunny Side
Wiggles, Monkey Man
Will.i.am, I Like to Move It

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Not really "fun" but needed anyway

Today I went shopping for some new clothes.  Well not technically new, but "new to me."

Since everything I own gets snot, slobber or various other bodily excretions on it on an almost daily basis, in addition to dust, dirt and mud from shoe bottoms and a variety of food particulates, namely cheesy poof crumbs, I don't put a high priority on buying brand new or expensive clothing.  But when I see that my shirts are developing holes or I feel I am having to do my own laundry more frequently, I head out to local consignment stores.

The good things about consignment stores is that I can find items cheap, and the jeans have already been worn-in sufficiently.  The bad thing is that I have to try on everything because every brand's sizes are a little different which makes my preferred shopping method of "walk in, scan the store for something I like, and walk out if it doesn't pop out immediately" unsuitable.

Plato's Closet was good to me today---3 pairs of jeans, a pair of yoga pants, a hoodie jacket, and 2 long-sleeve shirts for $75.  I had hoped to find something a little festive to wear to D's company Christmas party, but the dresses I tried on were either entirely too short or clingy.   Having had 3 babies makes abdominal fabric clinginess not terribly appealing.

I had to stop for cat food before heading home, so I dropped into Dots, which sells brand new items.  Now the clothing was nice and reasonably priced, but the clientele at this particular store on this particular day---a little scary.  But not scary enough to prevent me from purchasing 3 "casual for anyone else but dressy for me" tops.  I have had 2 occasions now where I've wanted to dress up a little nicer for dinner out with friends and have nothing non-stained or faded to wear.

The biggest problem I had at Dots was trying to figure out how some of the tops were to be worn.  That is a bad sign, isn't it?  A clear indication from the gods that I wasn't meant to be a fashion icon?  When I have to ask the saleperson, "Um, how exactly does this here blouse-thingie work?"

Those 3 tops set me back $53, which leaves me almost $50 still sitting in my clothing budget for some other time in the future...after I've recovered from this shopping adventure.

D asked me if I had fun.  Shopping for clothing for me is never fun, but it was extremely nice to be able to shop without the distraction of keeping children plied with Goldfish and raisins in a vain attempt to delay a tantrum.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Christmas re-decoration challenge 2010??

Last Christmas I decided to buy some new holiday decor for my mantel.  Much of what I have has been given to me....since I'm generally not a big shopper and all.  Particularly for stuff that only stays up 3 weeks out of the year.

But the problem with not putting your own stamp on it is that everything is a hodgepodge and doesn't really speak to our home, the feel of it, the style of who we are.  (I say this as if we have a style.)

Anyway, so here is the before.  And here is the after.

When I was shopping for some Halloween decorations last month, I happened upon some really cute Christmas decorations, and I am now debating whether I want to re-do my decor for my built-in bookcases.

I am also toying with the idea of doing a themed Christmas tree upstairs...although I don't really know what the theme would be.

Any suggestions?

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Letting go of some things

It can be tremendously difficult to allow one's child to do things for himself/herself, especially when it comes to crafty-type activities.  An adult's idea of what looks good is very different from what looks good to a child.  And for most kids, it is the doing of it that is most essential and the pride generated  rather than the professionalism or perfection of what has been created.

In the past two weeks, N's Girl Scout troop has done a couple of crafts.  Last week they painted their daisies on their smocks, and this week they began making Christmas cards and ornaments for nursing home residents.

I couldn't help but notice some exasperated "be carefuls" and the "don't do that theres," which were always followed by a sulky Girl Scout being completely uncooperative.  And I hoped that I wasn't sounding like that to N.

On occasions when I have allowed my adult creativity to impede her child creativity, I have seen the defeat on her face.  Because to her it sounds like, "You're not doing this right," and truly that is what it means (even though I can tell myself that I'm just trying to help her do it neater or whatever).

I try to remind myself that when it comes to crafts & similar things, I have to accept whatever it is N comes up with....just as I do her clothing choices.  My openness to whatever she does with only the most gentle assistance (and only if she wants it) tells her that she's ok the way she is.  That her choice of a green shirt, orange and purple striped pants and strawberry-patterned leg warmers is alright especially since she is doing it herself (and that is one less thing I have to do for her).   That her placement of stickers and stamps and her misspelling of Cristmas is ok, especially since the most important thing is that she is doing for others to bring them joy.

There are times when holding one's tongue is the best course of action and one that every mother needs to become a little better at as her child develops.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The good, the bad and the ugly

The ugly would be my response to the bad.  Just so ya know.

The good
N--
*Now reads aloud to me most every evening for her reading response journal.  According to her report card, she improved from a 28 to a 34 in this 6-week period, which puts her at, I believe, a 3rd grade reading level.  I don't usually brag on my kids (part of that critical parent gene), but I am really very proud.

*Likes making these Push papers.  She writes "Push" and you push the paper, then she opens it and you have to pick "Boy or Girl."  After this selection, you have to select "Love, Hug, Kiss or Marry." The final part is to pick a number, which N has coded with someone, like her brothers or a school friend.  She and I recently made some new categories like "Bootie Bump" and "Tickle" and "Tackle."  Because I don't necessarily want to kiss her friends.  Just her.

*Makes a really wonderful big sister...sometimes to G (since he tends to bug her), and always with M (because he hasn't yet figured out how to push her buttons).




The bad
For the most part, we are having a nice run whereby she doesn't get on my nerves.  If only she could sit still for longer than 20 seconds at dinner.


The good
G--
*Says "Where we are?" whenever we're driving.  He wants to know the name of the road.  Today he asked, "Where we are?" and when I told him he replied, "How can that be?"

*Said while driving past the small local airport, "There's an airplane port."

*Continues to use completely illogical cause/effect:  "You're Carrie because you're mommy."  Uh, ok.

*Hugs everyone at the end of Music Together class.  The teacher.  The moms.  The kids.  Even when we go to a make-up class and he knows no one except me and Ms. M.  So sweet.



The bad
He has been waking up more frequently at night, having more fears.  Nothing too terrible, but just one more little person disrupting sleep in this house.  But the worst thing is his shrieking/screaming when he is having a tantrum in the car---there is simply nowhere for the unholy sound to go.  It is all I can do to fight the wicked desire to pull over, park his ass on the curb and be on my merry way.

The good
M--
*Doing the Frankenstein walk all over the house with greater frequency which never, ever ceases to be cute.





*Says, "Kack, kack" whenever he sees a duck.

*Gives the best open-mouth kisses on my cheek, including the smacking sound at the end.

The bad
13 months. 10 days.  Crappy sleeper.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

An endless list of things to do

Maybe, just maybe, if I download everything from my brain onto my blog that needs to get done I will do it.

(My friend G, who is also blogging for NaBloPoMo, thought her posts were dull.  Top this baby!) ;)

Now that I have the office closet completely organized, and the office almost back to normal, I need to do the really hard stuff, which is take the odds & ends out of here.  I can't shove anything else into my recycling bin so I have to wait until it gets picked up tomorrow before loading her up yet again.

1. Put kids' bonds in safe deposit box.

2. Buy N another savings bond.

3. Take electronic recycling to electronic recycling center.

4. Try to sell old LPs, a couple books and some VHS tapes at Half-Price books.  (Oh, and they can recycle the old VHS tapes that have television shows taped on them.  I almost squealed when I called to ask if they knew of how to recycle them locally and they said, "We do it.")

5. Call organization to pick up donations, including rolling chair.

6. Buy a new day planner.  (I have about 76 doctor reminder cards taped into the back of my 2011 planner...my planner is starting to look as lumpy as George Costanza's wallet.)

7.  Finish writing articles for local mag.

8.  Finish Christmas shopping.

The worst thing I still need to do is organize 2 small little piles of whatnot in the office.  I am all gung-ho until I just have the last leg of the race to complete.  And then I run out of steam.

Monday, November 15, 2010

When shopping unexpectedly does not suck

A good portion of today was spent in the car.

First up was M's post-op ear check.  Tubes look good.

Home for a couple hours and then my psychiatrist visit in the early afternoon.  Refills--check.

Then to the bank to cash the first check I have ever earned from my writing (from a recent article in a local mag).  Fifty bucks ain't much, but it feels good to know I earned it with my mad writing skillz.

Next up was ToysRUs to purchase one more little toy for M.  I have 2 toys each for N and G (one from Santa and one from Mommy/Daddy), but M only had 1 toy.  As far as I'm concerned M only needs 1 toy (oh hell, he needs nothing, and neither do the other two, but whatever).  Still I keep worrying that N will say, "But Santa brought me and G a toy and you and Daddy got us each a toy but M only got one toy.  How come?

I had a gift card to blow (from the bed rails fiasco after I threatened to go postal on BabiesRUs and they gave me back 50% of the cost of the rails for my trouble), which felt like free money even though technically it wasn't.

Anyway, I bumbled around the store looking for something small, around $15 for M.  I found a Shake & Go Thomas the Train and carried that around for awhile.  Then I found an Elmo Driving Wheel noisemaker toy that I carried around for a bit.  But then I started checking out the wooden bead mazes.  There is a big cube one at the clinic that M always plays with....and I was reluctant to get yet another car or noisemaker for the house (because dangit the 3-year-old walking noisemaker we have is plenty.)

I happened to see one that had the Wonder Pets on it.  It was taller than the others and looked like more fun, so I took it to the scanner to check the price, thinking it would fall in the under $20 range.




Imagine my shock when it scanned for........







$3.00

Hot damn!  I'll take it.

And with all my extra money on the gift card I bought a Cat in the Hat card game (since after M goes to bed we play board or card games) and The Polar Express dvd.

The only thing better than finding something extraordinarily cheap at a store is finding paper money in the middle of a parking lot.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Reason #46,970 my husband gets aggravated with me....

I am getting ever closer to having the office closet uber-organized and the office put back together (or as put back together as it will be until I consign stuff in the Spring/Summer gigantic children's consignment sales in my area).

Today I continued sorting and tossing.  Up on the top shelf of the closet were two components to D's old stereo system that we used when we married.....13 years ago.  We had long since sold the speakers on craigslist.com and recycled the cd player (because it no longer worked).  One of these components was a.....I don't even know what it was.  And the other was a tape deck.

So I asked D what they were and what purpose they served.  He said I could recycle the no-identity component but maybe we should keep the tape deck one, to which I replied, "To listen to the tapes that we no longer own?"  To which he replied something muttered and on the order of, "I'm not gonna argue with you.  Here," and handed me the tape deck.

Now my comment about not owning tapes anymore was not screamed, hissed or said while beating him in the head with a stick.  It was merely a comment that it doesn't make any sense to keep a tape deck if we have no tapes to listen to.  But to D this is argumentative.

Anyway, I did save his bag of Dungeons & Dragons books and "notes" or whatever they were that I found in a briefcase because I suspect this has some sentimental value to him.  And I saved my journals, although I tossed most of my childhood scrapbooks because they contained pictures of people whom I no longer keep in contact with as well as about 345 pictures of Nick Rhodes from Duran Duran.

I am not heartless.  I haven't tossed his U2 books or shirts (although I would like to have my mom make him a blanket out of them rather than just have them take up space in his closet).  I don't throw away his childhood pictures.  I kept his baby shoes.

But then I remember that my husband loves his Xbox and iPhone almost as much as he loves me....and possibly even more because his they don't throw out all that is made of fibreglass, phenolic resin, copper, tin and carbon or the cardboard in which these items come.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Things I realized from watching "Up In the Air"

1. Vera Farmiga is a gorgeous lady.  (Much more so than Anna Kendrick.)

2. I may be middle-aged because of the fact that I find Vera Farmiga so much more attractive...she looks like a woman, while Anna Kendrick looks like a little girl.

3. This might be kinda depressing to me.

4. Equally depressing is that since having my third child and nursing for 39 of the last 81 months (that would be 48% of the past almost 7 years), my breasts look like they belong in a National Geographic magazine.

5. In combination with going through all of my mementos from high school, watching this film made me feel quite past my prime.

6. Despite this feeling, I am glad my backpack is quite jam-packed with kids, family and friends.

Friday, November 12, 2010

So different

It amazes me that my children are all so different from each other.  I know this is a definite "DUH" statement, but maybe because they are siblings or because I carried them all within me, I sorta continue to expect that they will be more alike than what they are.

Part of the reason I wanted to have a 3rd child was to see what nature would throw at us.....we had 2 tow-headed, blue-eyed South-paws.  I was curious to see if we'd get another.  So far, with dark-hair and grey-eyes, M is proving to be the exception to the rule.  Handedness remains to be seen.

M's teeth are just like N's baby teeth, with the big gap in the middle.  G has the funky double tooth in front and there is virtually no space between his teeth.

N slept through the night starting at 4 weeks.  G at 14 months.  M......this remains to be seen as well.  Though his sleep has improved much since his tubes and cutting all 4 molars, he is still waking up at least 1 time a night to nurse.  Which is another difference.

M is the "tugging at my shirt" kind of baby.  He says, "Ursssss," as he's trying to get at my breasts.  Neither N nor G ever did this.  He nurses a good 4-5 times a day and protests loudly if I am ready for him to be done before he is ready to be done with a nursing session.

Both N and G crawled "normally," on all fours, while M does the side-winder crawl, with his right leg flat in front of him, his left leg up as he scoots on his bottom wherever he wants to go.

N was a great eater who would try anything put in front of her.  At 18 months of age, she would eat 3 bananas a day.  One night I remember she wanted cherries and black olives to eat.  G was a fairly good eater until he turned 2, at which point he decided that vegetables are the same thing as poison.  M is a picky, picky eater who refuses anything vegetable-like, whole milk and juice.

By 13 months of age, N and G would bring me books and sit on my lap to be read to.  M likes to look at his books and babble read to himself, but he has yet to ask me to read to him.

My friend G wrote a blog once about how having one's first child was like being dropped from an airplane into a big city after having lived in a tent in the desert your entire life (or something along those lines--she said it much better than me so read here).  It is a huge job to learn how to survive in a city.  Having one's second child you think, "Hey, I know my way around this city.  I'll do fine."  But the 2nd child is like being airdropped into an entirely different city.  You are familiar with subways....but not how this particular subway works.  You know that cities have government buildings and churches and malls, but this particular city has different hours of operation.  Having one's third child....or 4th or 10th or whatever......well, it's yet another city you get to visit and discover.

It's a good thing I love to explore new places.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Profound....something

In my attempt to restore order to my basement office closet (which has resulted in me turning the office itself into a giant dumping ground), I decided to go through a humongous plastic container of memorabilia.  High school yearbooks, scrapbooks, pictures, awards, videos and god-only-knows what else has been calling this home for many years.

Clearly I was born to scrapbook because I had at least six from 1987-1991, plus another one from 1993.  Fortunately time (and OCD) have made me better able to pare down the items I keep.  As a teenager I kept everything.  Every note.  Every card.  Every concert ticket.  Every sticker.  And that, over the course of 4 years of high school, is a lot of shit.

But as I was going through this stuff, reading cards and setting aside photos with which to embarrass classmates at next year's 20-year reunion, I became overwhelmed with how little all of this means.  These things---notes, deflated balloons, retreat letters, ticket stubs, stickers, mentions in newspapers---that some 20+ years ago I thought were worth remembering, I did not remember.  And now they don't matter one iota.

That made me feel sad.  And old.  And finite.  And minute.
I felt like crying because it was the first time I have ever felt like an adult with a definite timeline to my life.  A full-fledged grown-up.  A mom to 3 kids, one of whom is already closer to age 7 than age 6.  And before too very long she will be in high school.  Because each school year passes in a blink....just as they did for me when I was a child.

It made me feel so appreciative of the moments I have with my children in all their sweet littleness.  It made me see just how old my parents are growing.  It made me feel all muddled inside.

There is something to be said for feeling to your core that you know what really matters.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Why I love CSAs

This summer my neighbor and I shared a staple in a CSA (community-supported agriculture) program.  Every week she would get a delivery of veggies, and every week we would divide the spoils.

Over the course of 20 weeks, we shared green beans, spring mix, green onions, watermelon, tomatoes, cucumbers, zucchini, yellow squash, various herbs and peppers, and a loaf of fresh-made bread.

There were a number of great things about participating in a CSA.  Aside from helping local farmers, it gave me a reason to visit with my neighbor one day a week.

Some people, I'm sure, might sign on and then never actually eat the produce, but I HATE to waste money, so whatever I received, I used.  I made many, many loaves of zucchini bread, which I have sitting in my freezer for the winter.  I sliced banana peppers into our salads.  I made shepherd's pie on a few occasions when I only had enough green beans to use as part of a casserole.

Since the produce was cooked, it was also eaten, which means I have been consuming oodles and caboodles of veggies since May.

These past 4-5 weeks or so, I have been participating in another CSA through my husband's workplace. This one is a bigger operation, which means I have gotten some seasonal fruits as well.  I have made crockpot applesauce a couple of times.  I have made cushaw bread and pumpkin pie.  Last week I made a superfantabulous butternut squash casserole that simply rocked my world.  When N was off of school on Monday for teacher workshops, she and I took the kernels off a popcorn pone and made "real" popcorn.

Tonight I am making Greek cabbage rolls.  I have cooked a bunch of red potatoes to make potato salad using my MIL's recipe.  I just steamed some greens which I will eat with a really good teriyaki sauce I purchased recently.   


I generally don't like to cook, but it has been fun to find new recipes.  I have been wanting to make sweet beet cookies to see if the kids will eat them, and today we are getting a bundle of beets.  I never thought I would be excited to know I'll be getting beets.

Under any other circumstances, I think this would render me completely lame.  But by helping local farmers, I think it makes me uber-cool!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Airing my dirty laundry

We do not store anything in our attic.  I simply refuse to have enough stuff/junk/clutter that we need to mess with that part of the house.

In our basement, we have an office/bedroom with a sizable closet where I keep all of our holiday decorations (Christmas, Easter, Autumn/Halloween).  This is also where we keep all of my wrapping paraphernalia, our financial paperwork, D's comic book collection (which I made him purge a couple of years back so that it is now 3 boxes full instead of 10), and empty or mostly empty cardboard boxes.

D is a box hoarder.  If I wasn't in the picture, D would purchase an item and keep the box forever.  I do not have a problem keeping the box for the duration of its warranty.  But once the warranty is past, get that cardboard the eff out of my space.  In the 13 years that we've been married, we've finally come up with a system of sorts.

Once a year, I go through all the boxes and throw shit out.  D answers basic questions like, "What the hell is this box for?" and "How long have you had this particular item?"  I don't ask him to help any more than this (usually) because he overthinks.  He would think stuff like, "Well what if one day in the future I need this tiny little wire for god only knows what function?  And if I throw it away, then what will I do?????"  And this drives me bonkers.  So I do it myself.

This year I am really having at it.  Tossing pay-stubs from the jobs D and I worked at when we met (in 1995) and from even earlier.  Donating items that my aunt made me in ceramics when I was a kid that have been sitting in a box for years.  Recycling virtually all of my teaching files and check registers dating back to 2000.

In the past 2 days I have broken down probably 50 cardboard boxes.  So many that I had to call my neighbor and ask if she had space in her recycling bin for some of my cardboard.  And there is still more cardboard sitting in the office needing to be put out.

 This is what the office looks like right now.  A god-forsaken mess.  



These are the items still under warranty.  But they now all have the purchase dates written on the boxes so next year I can quickly scan them and chuck 'em.  


This is the box of instruction manuals, brochures, warranties, etc from various items in our house.  I haven't even touched this.  I need to toss paperwork for items we no longer own.  And organize the papers into "Appliances," "Technology," and other categories.  


This is the pile of cardboard/paper that needs to be recycled.  It is only a molehill now.  
Yesterday it looked like Mt. Kilimanjaro.  



This is the obsolete electronic stuff that will soon be taken to the local technology recycling dump rather than the regular landfill.    


This is the bin of papers to be shredded.   



This is the box to donate.  I still have to go through DHS videos, although D told me I have to save the original Star Wars movies.  I can deal with that. 
 I haven't decided whether to try to sell the LPs on craigslist or just donate them.  


These are the gift bags I organized today.  There is a hangar for solid-colors, birthday bags, baby bags, Christmas bags, and then a miscellaneous holiday/pattern bag hangar.  


This is the shelf with the tissue paper, a bin for bows/ribbons, a bin for smaller pieces of wrapping paper, and a bin for labels.  



This is the bin of need-to-keep paperwork.  



This is the pile of teaching materials that will find it's way into the recycling bin tomorrow.  


And this is the box I don't dare touch.  It is full of wires and wires and more wires.  Connectors and cords and god only knows what else.  It keeps growing every year, but the only thing I know to do with it is to hang myself from the chandelier because it is such a pile of junk.

Seriously, who needs this many cords?
Apparently us.  

Monday, November 8, 2010

Our end of October/early November life in photos

The last couple of weeks have been a blur with ear tube surgery, cold viruses, and Halloween festivities.

First up, my MOMS Club chapter visited a nearby construction site.  The boys in the group left an impression on the crew (see below).  

G in his hard hat that the construction company gave to each of the kids.


 M was happy to sidewinder crawl all over the asphalt.  



 King of the mountain.  

The impression the boys left on the site.  

The workers who removed the footprints from the new cement.  


 Making the curbs.  


Then there was N's Halloween party at school.


And there was the pumpkin carving tradition....



N designed her pumpkin: a vampire.
Daddy used her blueprint.



N designed G's pumpkin--Frankenstein.
And Daddy's results (with neck bolts included). 



Our local town had a trick-or-treat event, which we attended.  
 





The "real" McQueen had some words with his pit crew guy.  

Of course, there was Halloween night for even more trick-or-treating.


And then back to normal life just rolling on.......
M celebrating new tubes, his 4th molar, and his 13-month-birthday.  








 And the funny things the kids say, like G telling us, "Batman wears blue diapers."









Sunday, November 7, 2010

Mixed feelings about keeping this going

I am definitely pro-breastfeeding, no doubt about it.  But I would be lying if I said I wasn't sort of ready to see this ship sail.

Like life, breastfeeding has it's phases.  At first it is profoundly difficult....or at least it was for me.  Cracked nipples from hell....damned eczema-prone skin.

But then it gets much easier and is uber-convenient.  No cleaning bottles, no mixing formula, no spending money on formula.  Just take your boobs wherever you go and voila!  Baby fed and happy.

Then it becomes difficult again when one's boobs are no longer the center of the baby's world--once the baby becomes interested in other stuff---tv, toys, siblings, noises, light.  After spending so much time thinking, "Is this kid ever going to not want to nurse constantly?" you are amazed that you find yourself saying, "Would you just nurse already and quit dawdling?"

And then teeth enter the picture, which is normally fine until the baby is cutting new teeth.  My boobs can tell teeth are coming in long before my conscious mind.  There is more pulling and tugging involved.  A more pronounced latching on.  

M is 13 months old today, and of my 3 kids, he is still big on nursing.  He even says "nurse," or his baby version of nurse....."urssss."   He still nurses twice a night, and at least twice during the day.  By 13 months, N had long since night-weaned (at age 4 weeks) and completely weaned by 12 months.  G night-weaned around 10 months old and was totally weaned by 14 months.

Since M is my last baby, I sorta want to keep this nursing relationship going.  It would be nice to make it 15 months just to be able to say to myself that I nursed each of my kids longer than the last (I'm a little self-competitive.)   I continue to maintain my weight loss which is never a bad thing.  And it is extremely sweet to watch M nurse, detach and then fall asleep snuggled up to my breast, with his hand resting softly against my skin.  There is no greater comfort and security for a baby.

But it would also be nice to be able to go out with friends for dinner without fretting over nursing M to sleep before I go, and worrying that he will wake while I'm gone and D won't be able to settle him down because M wants to nurse.  It would be nice to have a little bit of Carrie back.

I try to remind myself that this phase will pass, sooner rather than later.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

My little worry collection

I'm not much of a collector given that I abhor clutter; too much of it ramps up my anxiety.  Some folks with OCD hoard, and some are like me.

But I do have a very small collection of children's picture books about worrying.  My kids and I read oodles of books from our local library, and back in the day when I only had 1 child I actually found time to browse.

So here they are:


 This vulture isn't much of a worrier but he has a generally pessimistic view of everything, which sounds a lot like me in my premedicated days.



Some other children's picture books about worry that I've read (*) or heard about are below:
Felix and the Worrier by Rosemary Wells. (*)
Mr. Worry:  A Story About OCD by Holly L. Niner (*)
The Worry Monster by Caroline Uff
Something Might Happen by Helen Lester.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Appreciating a mom

A Facebook friend posted the following as her status, which I promptly stole.....

3 Years old: My mom is the best! 
7 years old: Mom I love you. 
10 years old: Mom whatever
17 years old: OMG my mom is so annoying.
18 years old: I wanna leave this house
35 years old: I wanna go back to my mom's house.
50 years old: I don't wanna lose my mom. 
70 years old: I would give up everything for my mom to be here with me.
 ♥ I appreciate my mom


There is a tremendous amount to complain about as a mom...the job at times is thankless.  As a mom of young kids, I do get lots of slobbery kisses and cuddles, but I am also treated, at times, like less than a slave.  There is no end to the demands, day and night, that young children place on a mom.  Sometimes I hear, "Mommy, I want," or "Get me...." entirely too many times during the course of an hour.  


But I also know that there is just something about a mom that children cling to, regardless of their age.  The security of mom.  The comfort of mom.  The unconditional support that is mom.  And this is, in part, why I have never been terribly eager to think about my children moving beyond their needy, young childhood phase.  Even though it is terribly limiting for me as a person, it is also a period of time in which I am as close to being a god as I'll ever be.  


On a regular basis my mom comes to my house to "babysit" me, as I call it.  Usually this comes when I've been dealing with sick kids and been trapped inside for days at a time.  And I am 37 years old.  


There will never be a time when I don't need my mom.
And there will never be a time when my kids don't need me.....even though they might not admit as much.  


It is an awesome responsibility.  

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Warms the English teacher in me....

N has to do a reading response journal entry 4 times a week, whereby she reads for 10 minutes and then writes the date, title of book, author and pages read (if a chapter book).  Two of those 4 weekly entries must be an extension.....a personal connection to the book, an opinion of a favorite or least favorite character, whether she learned a lesson from the story, etc.

It is such a thrill for me to discuss her reading with her and guide her as she writes her entries for a number of reasons.  First, it is just amazing and thrilling to listen to her read to me.  She is especially good at reading Junie B. Jones books because she puts a lot of pizazz into it---she sounds exactly as I imagine Junie B. would.  Secondly, I get a peek into her thought processes and personality by the questions she asks or the ideas she has about what she read.  Thirdly, I get a thrill like I did when I was in the classroom of helping a learner make a connection to her reading.

Tonight she read Chapter 1 from her Usborne The Wizard of Oz book.  She asked what we would do if a tornado came and took our house to the desert or somewhere else really far away.

She brought up what she learned at school to do during severe weather---cover her head, put her chest on her knees in a crouched position.  And we talked about what we do at home when there is severe weather.

She wrote:
Dorthy went under the bed insted of going to the celler because there was a cyclone.  I wold go in the basement.

On Nov 2, N read from Junie B. Jones and the Mushy Gushy Valemtime.  We have read this book twice now, but N pointed out to me that it is spelled ValentiMe on the cover, not ValentiNe.  I had never noticed this before.  That day she wrote:
Im not like Junie B because I dont sit in the timeout chair and I dont yeell.  


I am such a nerd for many, many reasons but especially because I get such a kick out of helping my kid do her homework.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Saying no to some things and yes to others--Volume 1

As I've mentioned, I like to stay busy.  I keep my house pretty clean and neat....aside from the zillions of toys covering my family room floor.....but I refuse to clean "clean."

Some people set aside certain days for cleaning certain rooms----Monday is bedroom day, for example.  But over the course of a week, our bedrooms don't get that dirty.  I kinda like to wait until a room really needs it to clean...so that I can truly see the efforts of my work.  In my book, this means bathrooms get a good cleaning at best every 3-4 weeks.  Sometimes they go 5-6 depending on what I have going on.  Irma Bombeck was dead on when she said, "Cleaning the house while the kids are still growing is like shoveling snow when it's still snowing."

Since I'm not a slave to housework, I do volunteer stuff to keep myself busy and my brain occupied when the kids are napping or in bed for the night.  I am glad to be a stay-at-home mom for now, but some of the reason I stay active volunteering is so that when I go back to work down the road I will be able to say I did something other than keep my kids from killing each other and cooking middling dinners for my picky-ass-bunch.  I will have a host of people to call on for references.

Since 2005, I have been president or co-president 3 times of my MOMS Club.  I was VP-Service once.  I was Activities Coordinator once.  I was MOMS Nite Out coordinator once.  I was playgroup coordinator more years than I can recall.  And now I am tired of it.  It is time for others to step up, get involved.  G will start preschool next year; M will start 2 years after that.  I have, at most, 3 more years of MOMS Club in me.

The other night I got a call from our homeowners' association (HOA) president about running for the homeowners' board.  I had sworn NEVER, EVER, EVER to get involved with a homeowners' board again.  In our previous neighborhood, I worked with 2 other people to try to get the dang thing off the ground, and it was a pain in the arse.  It made me hate our neighborhood and want to leave.  Hence the reason we live where we do now.

I really like our neighborhood, and I want to stay here indefinitely.  Pay off the mortgage, get the kids through the local elementary school.  We are halfway between D's mom and my parents.  Perfect situation.

And I don't want to screw with that.

But I do like getting involved.  And I am so over MOMS Club volunteering.  And for the next few years, until M starts preschool, it is just not feasible for me to volunteer as much at N's school as I would like.  So it seemed like maybe being involved with the HOA is a good idea.

I think maybe I was flattered into agreeing....I am highly susceptible to flattery.  Seems I was on at least current board members' shortlists of people to contact about becoming involved.

Maybe they just know a sucka when they see one.

Tune in next time for Volume 2:  How the Eff Did I Get Roped Into Planning My 20th High School Reunion?

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Milestone day

This is gonna be short and sweet.....
I've been going since 6:00 a.m.

M had bilateral myringotomy this morning......tubes in both ears.  I am hoping, praying, wishing, wanting and desperately needing this boy to sleep MUCH better very soon.  G began sleeping 8-12 hours a night within 48 hours of his tubes at 14 months.  I know it would be a miracle if M did the same.

And tonight M took his first solo steps from the couch to the coffee table.  He won't be running marathons anytime soon, but I was sure it would be at least another month until he even attempted a hands-free venture.

As usual, being a seasoned parent means absolutely nada in terms of knowing what one's kids are gonna do next.....

Monday, November 1, 2010

Honey, love the one you're (least likely to be driven crazy by)

I complain about my hubby.  Today is our 13th wedding anniversary and my 4th year blogging, so the man is used to it.  But I would complain about any man I married or had lived with for an extended period of time.  Living with another human being is just difficult at times.  Throw in some mini-tyrants ages 6, 3 an 1, and you've got a recipe for daily frustrations.

What I try to remember is that the things that drive me nuts about D, like his inability to make a decision and his lack of eagerness to take control of situations, are also some of the things that probably keep our relationship from imploding over the long haul.  Because I like to make decisions and want to be in control of situations, so if I was having to constantly duke it out with D to be "top dog," we would fight constantly.

There are simply some occasions when I'd like to role change for a just a little bit....

There are also times when I'd like for D to be a little more social, to be a wee bit chatty.  But having had the misfortune of being around men (husbands of women I know) who won't ever shut the eff up, I realize that maybe being married to a quiet man who never draws the spotlight away from little ole me isn't such a bad thing.

It's not romance, but there is something to be said with realizing the grass that seems greener is either spray-painted, astroturf or the result of some toxic amounts of fertilizer.

D and I have 13 years under our belt, and maybe that is because both of us, though we get highly irritated with each other often, also recognize that we wouldn't necessarily be any happier with anyone else.

(Although as I type this, I think I should probably not use "we" and stick with "I."  It will really suck if I get a Dear Carrie letter tomorrow morning.)