Friday, October 31, 2008

Before the Sugar-high

It's October 31st and we've got one reluctant horse, a third-year-in-a-row butterfly, and the sweetest little pumpkin all set to gather treats over here. I'm excited to see the sun shining outside because Halloween seems to have a reputation of rain and high winds in this neck of the woods. Perhaps this year we'll actually be able to walk through the neighborhood. Who would have thought?

Yesterday Ryan, Lydia, and I cleaned up the backyard while the other two were napping. Put away the sandbox toys, brought the bikes down the basement, surrendered to the changing of seasons yet again. The yard is neat and tidy now but it looks lonely. The sandbox is just a heap of cold sand- no trucks parked in lazy rows, no colorful buckets turned upside down and sideways. The picnic table is put away leaving just a patch of dead grass where it stood. And standing there after it was all cleaned up I felt quiet inside- missing the long summer days. Looking at Lydia she didn't seem to mind that summer and now fall nearly as well had passed. Kids have such a good perspective: live for right here, right now.

So quickly the seasons change, turning faster, faster, leaving glimpses of each one in our memories. It was only a blink or two ago that I was luggging a pillowcase of candy around town with my friends on a Halloween night-then thinking we were so brilliant as weighed our candy on the bathroom scale. Seasons come and go, time passes, we get older, but we never really change.

This Halloween- I'm happy to say I still feel like a kid. And I hope you're feeling the same. It makes life much more entertaining. And so much easier to watch the seasons change.

Happy Halloween!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Make-believe fights and Sleepless Nights

Today is about cleaning corners. It has come to my recent attention that this house has been in neglect for far too long. The pile on top of the piano is looking so dangerous I forbid the kids to play within a three foot radius in the event everything should decide to come tumbling down like a landslide. Similar situations have arisen around the house. So, alas, I cannot put this off any longer.

But, wait. Hold that thought. There seems to be some excitement coming from the other end of the living room. It appears as though the argument is about who should go let the imaginary friend in the door. Lydia's trying to convince Jack, "Please, will you go open the door for my friend?" And Jack is holding his ground, shaking his head, slugging his juice. Finally she gets up to go "answer the door" and determines, "Oh, she already came in." I think sometimes they invent arguments just to confuse me. It's all part of a plot, I'm sure of it.

Happily, the baby is back to herself this morning. It took her three days to recover from the wild weekend. I think she needs to learn a thing or two about girl's weekends. See, she was under the impression that she needed to stay awake for the entire thing. Even the nights. I tried to inform her we needed to recharge our batteries so we could make the most out of the daylight hours but she seemed a bit confused. She also decided it would be a fine time to be shy when there were seven other pairs of arms willing to hold her. I'm curious if there was a conversation that took place between her & her dad before we left. I imagine it had something to do with tiring mom out so that she had no energy left to spend money. Or something. Just speculating, that's all.

But, here it is- quarter to eleven already. L & J have retreated upstairs, slammed the door to her room, and become suspiciously quiet. I'm weighing my options: go check and risk disrupting the peace? Or pretend I don't notice and then kick myself later when I find they've unrolled toilet paper all over the room and are proceeding to color themselves with markers? Ah, decisions. In true slacker-mom style: I'll chose the later. For a few more minutes of peace and quiet.

Monday, October 27, 2008

What goes through their little brains?

Me (lazy because it's Monday and Ryan's gone to class): What do you guys want for supper?
Lydia: Um... A surprise maybe?
Me: Hm. Well. How about a frozen pizza?
Lydia (wrinkling up her nose, shaking her head): Nah.
Me: Why not frozen pizza?
Lydia: I don't like pizza frozen. I like warmed up pizza.

I can only imagine what she was thinking. Ice chunks hanging off the mozzerella, solid sauce and a rock hard frozen crust. I think I'll take mine warmed up as well, thank-you very much.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

And so on, and so forth

  • The plan was to wake up early.
  • Like 6 a.m. early so I could get a start on all the things I need to get accomplished today.
  • Before the kids woke up
  • (I'm going with my sisters & mom & some neices on our anual weekend tomorrow.)
  • The plan (to wake up early, that is) fizzled
  • It's now 9:25 and I've managed to a) wake up b) feed two of the kids and c) plop myself into this chair to drink some coffee.
  • Oops
  • What about that third kid, you ask?
  • I'm not really sure to tell you the truth
  • Moving right along, now...
  • In other news: we have punk-men at our house (formerly known as pumpkins)
  • I'm not correcting the pronunciation- I'll do that next year.
  • For now it just makes me laugh everytime she says it: Are we going to the same punk-man patch we went to last year? Mom, I want this punk-man... MOM! Jack broke my punk-man!!
  • Oops
  • Any tips on re-attaching a stem to the top of a punk-man?
  • I'm feeling slightly guilty that I'm escaping for another weekend in less than a month's time.
  • Okay, okay. Not really.
  • Just thought I should put that in there to make it sound like I'm nicer than I am.
  • I'm little kid-giddy right now to see my sister & nieces tomorrow
  • And... Moving right back to that to-do list...
  • Right after I get that third kid some breakfast
  • And then, right after another cup of coffee
  • Why, oh, why am I always talking about going to get another cup of coffee?
  • I never fail to mention it.
  • It's like I can't live without it or something
  • Hah.

Monday, October 20, 2008

How To Magically Be A Better, More Productive, Nicer, Happier, More-Perfecter Mom

When Lydia was a baby I subscribed to a parenting magazine. I suppose I must have seen an issue with something like "How to get your baby to stop crying tonight" printed on the cover with a picture of a smiling, chubby baby dressed in an adorable little velvet dress and thought it was the manual the hospital forgot to give me. More than likely I was still in that new-mom stage of thinking. You know the stage- starts as your about to leave the hospital? The nurse comes in, takes the baby's security tag off of her ankle and says, "Okay, I'll walk down with you now." And suddenly panic starts to bubble up, and all you can think is, they can't let me go home yet. Seriously. Wait...really? They're just going to let me... leave? Are they sure they don't need one more set of vitals or something?

The stage that lasts a week or two. Or three or more. The one that finds you complaining how hard it is to get out of the house with a new baby to your sister-in-laws who politely smile and nod while their own six or seven kids run around at the family Christmas party. The same stage where someone says, "Oh, I was ready to leave the hospital hours after he was born." And you gulp and agree becasue you think that you must be a bad, bad mom if you didn't experience the same distaste to the safe, secure walls of your protected hospital room.

Somewhere in that quesy-nervous-stomach, sleepless-night stage a wave of weakness settles in. You stumble across something that might help you through- and you grab it up. In my case it was ordering (aparently) a lifetime supply of this magazine. Lydia will be four in November and this thing Never. Stops. Coming. Not kidding. I just got my November issue today. This must have been a whopper of a deal or something becasue I really only signed up once.

Every month it shows up in my mailbox promising me awful, untrue things like how I can trick my kids into eating more vegetables or how to have a relaxing meal. (Uh. Leave kids with sitter and go out to eat? Even I can figure that one out.) And the funny thing is- after you've read 6 months of it, the articles begin to repeat themselves. Same information- the words are just jumbled around and an even better more promising title is plastered across the front cover. Whew. It exhausts me just to read about all the things I should be doing. I should be buying organic foods. I should have gotten rid of Jack's plug-go at 9 months not 29 months. I should never sleep my baby on her tummy. Just reading it makes me feel lazy.

Now, I'm not saying there's never any good advice or that I have better solutions. Trust me, I don't have a clue what I'm doing. I'm just saying reading it makes me feel winded, exhausted, out-of-breath. It's a workout in itself to read about what good moms do.

So with that being said, please excuse me while I pour myself a cup of coffee and sit down to my most current issue. I'm off to learn how to get my kids to stay at the dinner table longer. They say I should give him a napkin to tear into little pieces or ask him to sit on my lap. Um. I don't even have a comment for that one.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Ugh. Seriously?

A few nights ago, Jack got sick. I wasn't home at the time- the kids were left with my neice (poor girl). Ryan arrived home shortly after the kid threw up all over the place. By the time I arrived home, the place had been cleaned up. So, I spent the night running into Jack's room and changing the towells spread out on his bed. But that's beside the point.

The point gets much better. Promise. (Just in case you were dozing off at this point). So, fastforward to tonight. We're getting the kids ready for bed, Ryan's goofing around chasing them and making them laugh. Suddenly Lydia starts crying and she says through her tears, "I'm having an accident." She's been so good lately, hasn't had an accident for weeks (it was a bit of an issue for awhile.) Anyways. I reassure her that it's all okay, not to worry about it, we'll get her cleaned up.

So, I bring her into the bathroom and Ryan follows to grab a towell that's hanging over the shower door. "I'll just use this to wipe it up," he says, "It's the same one I used the other night to wipe up Jack's puke."

Okay, so now you know I'm not the most efficient housekeeper. But if you're just figuring that out, then you haven't hung around here long enough. I nearly choked when he said that and then I burst out laughing and said, "That's the towell I used after my shower this morning."

Yep. And that is the way we operate around this place.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

A perfect day for a color tour

We went for a beautiful fall color tour on Sunday afternoon. When we stopped at this place, Lydia couldn't believe her good luck. "A road for me to run on!" she exclaimed and proceeded to run up and down it several times. Jack was content to watch for the moment as he was missing his afternoon nap, and Hannah, being the baby, and also missing her nap, didn't even get to get out of the car seat at this stop.

The dry, earthy smell of leaves reminded me of a day several years ago when Ryan & I were not yet married. We went on a color tour that took us all over the place. Skipped school, called in to work, the whole nine yards. Back when gas ran about $1.18 a gallon and time was ours for the taking.

Autumn is such a colorful season. For awhile it seemed that I overlooked fall because I knew winter was coming- but perhaps I've learned a thing or two about time now. Often it feels like we're on a tilt-a-whirl being pulled this direction, then that, then the other way again in a matter of seconds. And it's easy to get caught up in everything that needs to be done, has to be done. Fall does set the stage for winter's entrance, it's obvious. But there's so much beauty in this season- warm golds, rich reds, brilliant crisp oranges- it arrives before the grays and whites of winter in perfect timing. Slips in like a whirlwind, paints an attractive splash of colors across the earth, and slowly fades, leaving memories to unearth next season.

Now, we're making new fall memories. The type that are punctuated by kid's laughter and amazement. Seeing things again through their eyes is what makes it new again. Watching the kids jump in the leaf piles- they didn't know such fun existed- makes me grin. Wasn't that long ago Emily & I were doing the same in her parent's yard. It was a memory I had let slip away slightly, but seeing my kids do the same brought it back.

I realize now, the feeling of running full-speed ahead into a cloud of leaves never really goes away. And even though some days I feel as though I'm running full-speed ahead into complete fog, I just have to remember to land softly like we did back then.

Fall is like life, really: Laugh uncontrollably, run with the wind, squeal in excitement, and watch the eruption of beautiful colors floating around you. It's only here for a short time, so enjoy it. And make some beautiful memories.

Friday, October 10, 2008

There's a storm brewing inside this house

It's one of those mornings...
You know. The type of morning where the kids cannot. stop. fighting. A pull-your-hair-out-why-are-you-acting-like-this-type of morning. The type of morning where suddenly the two year-old needs your help getting up on the couch and the three-soon-to-be-four year old forgets how to put on her pants without whining. It's one of those days where suddenly everything they've been doing independently for past year or so is temporarilly forgotten- resulting in their tears and frustration and this feeling of an odd little bubble rising up inside of me threatening to burst through.

"MOM! I need a pencil!!"
"Jack, get outta my way!"
"Ooowwwww! STOP it!"
"That's MINE!"
"Mom, I wanna do the Berenstein Bears coloring thing. I said I wanna. Why can't I? I wannnnnaa!"

Well. I wanna go back to sleep. I wanna have my house magically clean itself. I wanna have five minutes to sit and not listen to whining. Let's all join in together, shall we? It sounds much better if we all contribute to the tune.

Oh, today is predictable. It's gray and cloudy outside- looking like rain again. And, I hate to sound so eyeore-ish but the mood hanging inside this house is darker than the skies. It's one of those mornings where coffee doesn't cut it, bribery isn't working, and the only thing that might make it better is curling back up under the blankets and getting some more shut-eye. Only... that is no longer an option.

There is one other option that runs a close second. It's top on my list of true confessions from a real slacker mom: find a good book, tune out the chaos, and hope the storm blows over by noon.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

I promised I would let you know...

...And even though I'm slightly embarassed to admit it... I've been listening to Christmas music. Once and awhile. I won't go through my disclaimer about why I pull it out so early again. I'll just sheepishly admit that I do. There. Now you know.

The funny thing is: I'm not a fan of winter. By any means. And, I think this house is in agreement on that one. I mentioned something about winter this morning and Lydia said, "NO! Don't say that!" as she ran off into the other room. At three-going-on-four it's pretty easy to be in I'm-going-to-run-away-and-not-listen-and-then-it-won't-be-real-denial. I'm going to join her on the whole winter-idea, I think.

But.. Is anyone else in disbelief that it's Thursday? How could this week go by so fast? I'm really baffled on that one because Monday through Wednesday are just a blur in my mind. I know that I studied. Every. Single. Spare. Minute. For the type of test that leaves you wondering if you had the material right. But, after this week the semester is at it's halfway point. There's a motivating thought.

So that brings me to today. I woke up this morning and thought "Nooo... Can't be Thursday already." It was that same feeling you get when you're driving somewhere and you get there and think, "Yikes. I don't really remember the ride here. Scary." And that's how I feel about this week. As I look around my hosue, I know for sure that nothing got accomplished in those days. The dirty laundry is making a tell-tale trail through the house and I don't recall making supper or if we even ate for the last three days. Yikes.

Such is life: laugh about it or cry about, it still goes on.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Now that was what I call a weekend!

Did I mention I was going to skip town? Well, I did. This weekend. And it was a great time- a long-deserved, enjoyable, fun time with some of my closest friends. Can't beat staying up till 3 a.m. like a bunch of teenagers... only to be reminded at 6:50 a.m. by the baby that I am most definetly not a teenager anymore. Yep, the baby came with me. But she's the easy one so it was not a difficult thing to have her along. (Except, of course when she woke me after four hours of sleep. But, now whose fault was that?)

While I kind of wish it was two days ago, life must go on. Memories are a beautiful thing- and we made some new ones, shared some old ones this weekend. I will long remember this trip, adding it to the scrapbook of memories in my mind. These girls and I? We go way back. We've been with each other from skinned knees and playground swings to first dates, first babies, and first jobs. We don't always get the chance to see one another that often now. There are children and careers and familes and seperate lives that keep us busy. But when the chance comes along to put all that aside for a couple of days and catch up... we jump at it. No matter how much life changes- some things never, ever will. And that's what's so beautiful about old friends, that's what we cling to, that's where we pick up when so much time has passed between visits. And that's why I can't wait till next time I see "my girls" (as Lydia calls them!) again.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Do Wednesdays make you feel claustrophobic?

Mid-week blahs. Yesterday I was so motivated to get things accomplished. I worked on a bag, I cleaned the kitchen, I crammed chunks of ham down the garbage disposal and backed up my sink. Mmph. Don't ever try this. Turns out the little chunks of ham often have big chunks of fat attached to them... And for some reason those chunks of fat just to not do well with the garbage disposal blades. If you should happen to accidentaly do this- don't pour half a bottle of Draino down after it hoping to magically clear the problem. If you do that- don't stand over the sink that is now half full of recycled water and tiny peices of ham, and everything else you shoved down there in the last 24 hours, trying to plunge it out by yourself until your nose is running, your eyes are burning, and your chest is getting tight from the fumes. I'm not saying this is what I did. But. You know- just thought that advice might be helpful if you should ever run into that particular problem.

Ah, today.

Today it's raining. Again. Perfect welcome for October. I don't really mind the rain so much- it makes being indoors feel warm and cozy. But it also has the negetive impact of making me feel attatched to this chair. I did wake up with the intent to make cinnamon rolls... Because it just felt like an October-thing to do. But when I poured the last teaspoons of milk on Lydia's cereal I tossed that idea. Phew. Let off the hook again. There's just no way I'm in the mood to venture out to the grocery store with three kids on a rainy day for milk. We will survive. Even if it means no cinnamon rolls. And my kids sure aren't going to complain if it means an extra cup of juice or two today.

I'll be looking forward to class this evening. Pretty lame when that's my best bet of getting out of the house solo.