Friday, January 30, 2009

Oh, and one more thing...

I have a couple of my neices here today and one of them is named Jill. I keep finding excuses to use hers and Jack's name in the same sentance...

As in, "Jack and Jill, come eat lunch!"

Hah! I'm sorry, I just had to. What can I say, I'm easily amused.

Have a good weekend!

The Diaper Cell

I was playing around with a budget spreadsheet on my computer a few minutes ago when I came across the cell marked "Dine-out". This was one of those things with the catagories already suggested for the user. Almost subconciously, I deleted that and typed "Diapers" there instead. It was such a swift movement and it didn't quite register in my brain until I had moved on to the next cell in the sheet.

It was another one of those awkening moments when you're met with the full reality of your life. It's not unlike the feeling you get after your family abandons you in the kitchen with a sink full of dirty dishes and you find yourself picking perfectly good chunks of pork off the plates and eating it. At some point during your post-dinner buffet you stop and think, what am I doing? Who am I!?

When running on autopilot it's so easy to ignore the gradual changes that life with children bring-until something makes you stop right in the intersection of putting another bite in your mouth or rinsing it down the drain. Overall, motherhood is a gradual slide of events. First you quit drying your hair, then you quit reading any book past the four-year-old level, and pretty soon before you know, you're wearing your pajamas to the supper table and using baby lotion for your cracked skin.

And every once and awhile a wake-up moment comes along and you pause for a second, trapped between shoving more peas in the baby's mouth and pondering whatever became of that little sliver of time between your high school graduation and your wedding day. Then, you shrug, wipe the baby's mouth, and smile. Because this is good too. So good.

Now excuse me, please. I must go see if the kids left any crusts of their sandwiches on the table. (So I can toss them, of course.)

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

For My Children...

Carefully you work, selectively chosing just the right color, trying hard to keep everything inside the lines. Not so long ago your precious drawings were just scribbles, but now you're growing up and you take the time to finish what you start. And when I see you, so hard at work it makes me realize how much learning you will have to do in this life, the joy and the sorrow that will accompany those lessons.
If I could wipe away your troubles as easy as wiping away your tears, if I could always make things better with a kiss and a hug, I would. But even though these may help, I know you must learn that troubles cannot simply disappear and hard times don’t just erase. You will learn to get through the difficulties and persevere. And I hope you never lose that happy light that makes you who exactly who you are.

And when I see you hard at work sometimes, I think...If I could pave the way for you, I would make your path smooth and easy… But I know this would not teach you how to swerve the potholes, weather the bumps that come your way, or build roads where there is none. If I could protect you from the storms that will try to bring down your sails, and if my arms were the only shelter you ever needed, I would hold you close and keep you from the thunder. If I could prevent you from facing people who will try to put you down, I would- but I know this would not teach you to stand up for yourself, for what you believe, or to be strong. And I hope you will always be as strong as you believe you are right now.

And sometimes as I watch you discovering the world around you I think, if I could keep you safe here with me, if I could keep you innocent, I would- but you must grow and experience this amazing life, learn about the bad in this world as well as the good so that you will learn to treat others with fairness, respect, and honesty. And I hope you will always share your joy as willingly as you do right now.
I cannot make life easy for you, but I can be there to cheer you on. I will hold your hand when you want me to, stand back when you ask. I will help you through the storms, the troubles, the disappointments. And I will share in your joy, laugh with you and sing with you and I will always, always be here for you. And I will always, no matter what, love you.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Monday's, Um...Fictitious Scenario

Let's set up a hypothetical situation here for a moment, shall we?

Let's pretend for a minute that you are really scatterbrained and disorganized. You space out easily and your mind wanders so often that you frequently find yourself contemplating if something you dreamed up really happened. Sometimes you even go so far as to ask someone (sheepishly) if an event really happened or if you dreamed it up. And when they look at you oddly you quickly cover up with a laugh and say, "I'm kidding. Duh-uh. Not like I don't know." And then you slink away more confused than ever.

You've been known to lose your keys for weeks at a time. You think balancing your checkbook is a waste of time. Your idea of a filing system is an empty Huggie's box and wal-mart bags.

You also have this really bad habit of not putting things in their right place. A minor character flaw, you say. While searching for something you've lost, (which happens on an average of 3 to 5 days for any given week) it is not unusual for you to be seen stalking around your house, muttering random phrases like, "Oh. Yeah, this is just greaaat," and, "Never again. Never. Again," while your husband shakes his head and smirks because he's given up hope that you might ever truly see the error of your ways.

Now, some uncaring, insensitive people might go so far as to call your problem pathetic, but you've never really seen it as that. Your favorite excuse for your so-called ailment is the phrase, "I just have better things on my mind," even though you're well aware this is just a simple mask to hide yourself behind. Still, you use terms such as "creative" rather than "spacey", or "organizationally challanged" rather than "messy".

Are you into character yet? Okay, well then, bearing all that in mind... Let's just say that you received a very, very important document in the mail that is very, very difficult to get copies of several (uh, like 9 or 10. or 11) months ago. And, being the non-efficient, better-things-to-do person you are, you opted out of filing this thing in the very, very important documents file with the rest of your very, very important stuff.


Now. Where is the first place- or last, however you choose to look at it- you might look?

My daughter says, "I know what coulda happened to it, Mom! Maybe it growed footses and lost itself!" (Not saying that this situation really, uh, happened or something, but... you know.. um, if it did, I'm saying.)


Friday, January 23, 2009

Just Hang ON

Yesterday, the quote on my page-a-day calander was from Thomas Jefferson and read, "When you reach the end of your rope, tie a knot and hang on." Those words- however silly they may be- have paraded through my mind a million times since I read them. I'm quite certain if I could have put a title on this week, it might have been this quote.

We're all adjusting to yet another new schedule over here and it's been a bit bumpy this week. Lots of tantrums, odd sleep schedules, and plenty of little frustrations. My knot is tied, my hands are calloused, but I'm clinging tightly.

So, it would be realistic for me to say I was expecting the worst when early this afternoon, I could hear periodic thuds, loud crashes, and a good amount of running around coming from upstairs. I let them continue- simply because I was too exhausted to put an end to whatever was going on. One more thing? Bring it on. They could have been tearing the wall down between their rooms and painting the floors purple and I might have just shrugged and said, "Huh. You guys aren't eating that plaster, are you?"

Well, after some time, I trudged up the stairs fully expecting the worst. And when I stepped into the hallway between their bedrooms, I was astounded. They had cleaned up their bedrooms. Everything. Cleaned up, put away, picked up. I'll admit, my first response was to be confused and even a bit worried, but after that- I was estatic!

It was exactly what I needed today.

So, tie your knot, get a good grip, and hang on tightly- nothing lasts forever.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Can't get enough of this stuff

In places, the lovely mounds of snow go right over the top of our five foot fence. We're hoping for a new backyard record. Maybe by February the fence will be invisible. Yessss! We're all crossing our fingers.

Okay, yeah, so I'm kneeling to make the snowbank seem even higher than it is. But even when I stand it's well over my head. It makes trying to get out of the driveway really fun. Our neighboor hasn't been around this winter so we've taken the liberty of pushing our snow in his driveway. Huh. Maybe he's stuck inside his house. Actually, one afternoon he was here because we found that he shoveled his roof off- right into our driveway. Judging by the heap we've created in his driveway, I don't think we're allowed to get mad about that, though.

I'm not sure we'll ever dig ourselves out.

We've taken to swimming through the snow. Just open the door, jump off the porch and flap your arms and legs real fast. Seems to work well, I think. Better than shoveling.

Well, yeah, I admit... Every once and awhile I do make Ryan and the kids bundle up in their snow stuff and shovel the drive while I wave from the window with the baby. Here's another job well done. Hey, preparing the hot chocolate is hard work too you know.

Monday, January 19, 2009

You ain't seen nothin' yet

Said the wickedly tired Mom to her sleep-deprived four-year old who had just determined this "wasn't a very good day."

To be fair, we all had a day that started insanely early. Interpertation: clinicals have begun again. I made it through the day without any serious complications (let it be known- I always have this crazy fear that I'm going to make some off-the-wall, elementary mistake at clinicals. I have this vision of my instructer looking at me, eyes wide with complete disbeif saying, "You need to leave. Now.") Irrational, I want to think yes.

Anyways, it usually turns out a lot better than I imagine to be, but either way- I enjoy nothing more than to come home, make some coffee, and put my feet up. But today... ahh, today...

It all began when we arrived home and I fell out of the van on top of Lydia while trying to lift Jack out. She wasn't hurt, but had you been on the next block you might've heard such wailing you would've thought something was seriously wrong. The snow out there today is complete cotton fluff- so we all went down with a huge poof of snow- a jumbled mess of arms and legs like a game of twister gone bad. When I determined that I, thankfully, hadn't broken anyone's bones , I had to bite my lip trying hard not to laugh. (Imagine explaining that one to the doctor, "Uh. Yeah, I fell on them.") Anyways. There I was dusting them off while they screamed about the snow that was all over their faces, in their boots, on their hands, while I attempted to throw in a quick lesson, "See? This is why we wear mittens, Jack." Like it was his fault I leaped out of the van with him and landed on his sister, therfore depositing him face first in the pile of snow beneath us.

And from there, all hopes of a relaxing evening while Ryan was at class went down the garbage disposal. I hadn't even gotten inside when Jack (who- did I mention hadn't napped?) began crying for his four-wheeler that his mean parents hid in the basement in attempt to clear away some of the toys. He had just seen a four-wheeler exactly like his at his cousin's house and was not giving in until I found the thing. So, I did hoping it would keep him entertained. And I hauled up the Big Red Car (kind of like a cozy coupe without the top) while I was at it. In hindsight, and putting it mildly, this was my second huge mistake of the afternoon. There they were, bumper-t0-bumper like there was no where else to drive the things but right on top of one another. And if you don't find the problem in this, just imagine how you feel when someone tailgates you. On icy roads. In the middle of a blizzard. It wasn't pretty.

So, that brings me to our dinner of bagels and noodles (you'd think we were running a marathon or somthing the way we were busy carbo-loading) and Lydia's final decision that this day was a sinking ship. It's a bit of an understatement to say coming home was a major letdown for them after a fun morning/afternoon at my sister's house and then my sister-in-law's.

Ah, well. Better luck tomorrow, I say. And seeing as they both crashed by 6:30 this evening... I'm not putting a lot of money on that one.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Friday morning thoughts

I'm fighting my inner-hermit and preparing myself for the fact that I must venture out of my house this afternoon. I've been happily finding excuses to keep myself planted under a fleece blanket with a coffee cup and book in hand while the cold rages on outside. But there are some things I need to take care of before the weekend hits so I'm giving myself a little pep-talk about venturing out in the chill.

I think the kids are feeling it. The cooped up, cramped up, tired-of-everything-mom-suggests-we-do crankies. All three seem healthy this morning, but they're... uh.. on edge. That's my gentle way of saying it's chaos over here. My husband called in the midst of breakfast when everyone was screaming at once and said he wasn't feeling too well. Said he wasn't sure he was going to last at school all day. Huh. Well, add that to the mix, eh? Might as well- we like to keep things entertaining over here.

Oh, and... yes, I've been trying to get rid of the snowflake background since I'm sure most of us are seeing quite enough of them outside our windows... But it seems the site itsn't working, so bear with me. We just might still be looking at snowflakes in July. Then you'll have something to complain about.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

How long can this drag on?

On Sunday, the girls got sick. On Monday, it was my turn. I breathed a sigh of relief when we made it through Tuesday and Wednsday without anyone else catching the bug. Then Wednesday night, Jack took his turn and for him it dragged out through much of the day today- thankfully my class was cancled this evening because both he & I were functioning off of very limited sleep.

Well, this evening he perked up and I was dusting off my hands of the illness, feeling we had finally licked it. Hey, I figured, if my husband gets it at this point- he's on his own. Hah. Flash forward, oh... five hours or so and whaddayaknow. Lydia starts crying, complaining of a stomach ache.

And, yup, sure enough, she's sick. Here we go again. Argh.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

I actually saw the closet floor...

As my de-cluttering project continues, I'm finding some things just have to go. I began by cleaning out the closet in my craft room yesterday. Amazingly, I have not touched some of that stuff stuck in the far back corner on the very bottom row for... ahem... years. Sad, but true. I hang on to stuff that I'm quiet certain someday for some important reason I just might possibly need it.
But I'm buckling down, now, I promise. I cleared out the closet so it can actually hold stuff that we use... and divied up the stuff that was in the closet between the garbage, Goodwill bag, and- oh, yes, I did- the attic. I know using the attic as a dumping ground is not a great solution either, but some of the stuff cannot be parted with. Yet. Hah.
I think I mentioned yesterday that paper clutter is one of my biggest issues. I'd like to retract that, please. It doesn't hold a candle to the laundry problem. With that being said, I'd like to ask you: what's the one job you would love to live without doing? Something that you do on a daily (or near-daily) basis. For me, hands down it would be laundry. Not the sorting or the washing... The folding and putting away. If I could eliminate one job- that would by far be the one!
Have a great day. Stay inside- it's cold out there!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

The Clutter that Consumes Us

I'm looking for unique storage solutions in a house that has very limited closet space. I became inspired to do this last week when I was getting ready for the shower. All the toys in the living room had to be hauled upstairs to make space to set up chairs. Now, I'm reluctant to haul them all back down. I know I need to bring some down... otherwise the big kids run upstairs and leave the baby down here- bored as can be. But I'm trying to come up with some creative ways of doing this.

My problem is- I walk past the things in my house so often I fail to really see them at all. For example: the baby changing table has been in Jack's room since Lydia was a baby and it was her room. It was completely useless there because if I tried to store anything on the shelves it was just too tempting for him not to pull everything out. So last week, we needed space to put the toybox and we moved the changing table into the hall. Huh. Why didn't I think of that before? It now gives him space to play as well as making the changing table a lot more functional for me.

One of my greatest issues is paper clutter. I have a plastic folder in the kitchen to collect papers that need to be filed. However. The filing cabinet is upstairs in my bedroom. For some undetermined reason, these papers never make it to the correct files in the filing cabinet. I've been trying to make this work for years when suddenly I realized: it's never going to work for me. I just cannot commit the time it takes to file things under their correct tab. Problem? My filing cabinet is basically empty while the stack of papers on top of it is mounting higher and higher. Pathetic? Maybe. New solution: Put the entire plastic folder into the filing cabinet every few months, labling it with the right months and year- therefore eliminting the need to file things individually. May not be rocket science, but I think it's a better solution for me. Hey, it's easier to go through a few months of stuff than a whole year's worth, right? And it's contained, not a haphazerd pile threatening to topple at any second.

I've also read about scanning important papers into the computer to cut down on paper clutter, but I'm indifferent on this. While it seems logical, it also seems just as time consuming as filing. Although, on the other hand- the end result would be less paper. I'm not completely writing it off- I like the idea- just can't see it being efficient for me.

So today my plan is to examine the things that aren't working around here and make them work in another way. It's all about seeing things in a different perspective and utilizing space efficiently. Watch out 2009, I might just start to get organzized around here. Gasp. Who is typing this, anyway?

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Back on track

One whirlwind ends, and the next begins. This week I was consumed with getting things ready for my neice's baby shower that was Saturday. As soon as I heard they were coming to town, I went into fly mode and I don't feel like I've stopped since. I actually really enjoyed hosting a shower here because it gave me the push I needed to make some tracks around here. And after the Christmas season, it was exactly what this house needed.

All went well with the shower- she wasn't suspecting it and that was fun. We all squashed into my house, had some good food, oohed and ahhed over all the sweet baby stuff, and when all the guests had left we spent the rest of the afternoon visiting and looking over the presents she received. Such fun.

And now tomorrow a new semester begins. The final one of the LPN program. I have mixed feelings about vacation ending- as I always do. I could really enjoy this for a few more weeks, no complaints. Yet... I know once this semester begins it will sail by like the rest have and in a flash, we will be done. Now that is a good thought.

The snow has continued to fall at an alarming pace in this neck of the woods. It. Never. Never. Never. Stops. But I'm handing it this year. I was not anticipating winter in any respects this year. I was dreading the snow, hating the thought of trying to get anywhere in the heaps and piles of white stuff. I was feeling claustrophobic and and closed in before it even began. But suprisingly, it's not been like that. Maybe my break from school came at a really good time. Or maybe I'm just finding that this winter I really don't mind being home. In fact, I'll venture so far as to say- I actually enjoy being cooped up at home. Of course, we all need our moments away but it's nice to be able to realize: home is a really good place to be.

So, I wind up this vacation with a smile. I loved the Christmas get-to-gethers, the visits with friends, the parties, the staying up late and the sleeping in when my husband was home, the projects, the books that had nothing to do with school... Again, I'm amazed at how fast time goes- but if it didn't, then we wouldn't really be living would we?

My wishes for the New Year may be a bit overdue as we're already well on our way into 2009... But I hope for all of you that this year is a good one for you. That struggles are few, and happy times are plentiful, and moments with family and friends are cherished.

And on that note- I get to be a great auntie this year. How exciting is that?