Monday, May 30, 2011

Some Other Beach.

Short follow up and a few random thoughts today...

I have booked my vacation time.  I am going to be a slightly LESS busy mama for a whole week in June.  I have loaded my Kobo with some new good reads, made a list of the projects that I need to get done, and I'm going to slooooooowwwwww doooooowwwwwwnnn.

Sound good?  
Does to me, and that's all that matters!  

2 days til media free Wednesday, though if the kids carry on as they were tonight, it will go by quickly.  Lots of outdoor play tonight. YAY.

And now, on one Wednesday in the middle of June, my media free day will start first thing in the morning.  Kids or no kids, I need the unplugged time too.  No work, no cell phone, no TV.

Tonight I managed to get the boys to help get the garbage all out to the alley for pickup.  They were just about done when I realized today is Monday, not Tuesday.  So my garbage is ... um... early.  I should have known something was off since they were so easygoing.

Angel Baby was throwing 'snowballs' at me tonight.  In her bubble bath, throwing handful after handful of bubbles.  I could have stopped it, and I'll probably pay for it, but I couldn't resist the giggles and didn't fight to hard. Bubbles mean soap, so now I've washed the bathroom floor with soap. hehehehe.

And last tid-bit?  Mr. Macboy has GOT to learn to knock.  Nuff Said.

I Hate It When You're Right

I'll be honest.  It's past 1 a.m. here and I'm getting that middle of the night epiphany that you never remember the next day. So tonight I'm gonna write it.
And I'm even going to give the Trucker some credit. Partly because I'm writing this in the middle of the night so he won't see me write it and part since I know he rarely reads this, just the first paragraph if anything....let me ramble a bit longer so he'll have clicked away... love you honey. 

YES! I do have a point tonight.

I've been walking around feeling all crappy and sorry for myself for way too long. (I'm sure you have noticed.) I'm working hard at finding ways to make it better. Everyday.  Just a few days ago things got pretty heated around here and I was in that "Oh Dear God. How'm I EVER gonna get through this night" mode. I came home, slept on the couch and woke up to a fresh start. However, we have not had any time to actually talk out the problems we faced the other night.  We haven't been able to heal or apologize or whatever it is we should be doing.  I've been trying to be nicer and so has he.  Good enough for now.

Tonight, Sunday Night, kids are ready for school and tucked in bed.  I'm sitting on the edge of our bed and he's in it. I've asked if we can talk. He says "Everything's gonna be okay. We'll get through this too."  I'm sure many of you would agree that sometimes that is exactly what we need to hear. But then he also said "I don't like it when you work at night. I miss snuggling with you."

I'm often angry that I don't get enough help. I'm usually complaining about how hard it can be to get things done, especially work, with the little one home all day. In the evenings, I'm trying to improve my schedule, but I do find that I work best (or more efficiently anyway) after everyone is in bed. The house is quiet and free of distractions.  Since I've started this blog (and even more so since this blog has made a jump in traffic recently), and I'm focusing on my personal writing, I am totally distracted. I had a hard time making life and work balance, now I'm trying to make life and work and writing balance.

Maybe it's the subconscious remembering how much he snored as a smoker and I'm delaying my trek to bed because he ALWAYS fell asleep first.  Yeah... no.  I know.  

I've been frustrated because he doesn't seem to care. He doesn't seem interested.  But really, he feels left in the dust. Maybe a little concerned that I'm getting a growing amount of attention from people he doesn't even KNOW.  

Honey, you did three things right tonight.  And if you never read this, it's okay. I'm telling the world anyway.  I'm putting it in writing for you, willingly.

1) You took my worried mind and reassured it.  "We're gonna be okay." One of the best lines you can ever spit out. Yes. I DO need to HEAR it.  Thank you.

2) You told me that you miss me at night. When I feel like you are just tired of me, you are really just tired  and I'm not listening to your cues.  You want me there, you're not trying to ditch me.

And most importantly.
3) You talked to me. You opened up. Instead of carrying on and pretending everything was okay, or not okay or whatever the hell it usually is... you found something that bothered you, that can be changed and you SPOKE UP. I'm not left guessing what you're thinking. I know there is a lot more to deal with over the years, but it will sure be easier if we can talk things out. It wasn't a fight or an intent to be mean, it was a simple little statement. "I miss You."

And honey... I've needed that.  My biggest complaint has always been that I can't just guess what you are thinking. I can't fix anything if I don't know what the problem is.  If you don't open up and tell me what you feel, I assume you don't feel anything.

I've been sitting here mad at how much I think you ignore me, 
but I have never really acknowledged the ways I've ignored you.

-----     -----     -----
There is much more to the story than I wish to include (I'm sure you understand). I will not discuss details.
The purpose of this post is simply to remind us all that life is about the little things.  
Like being able to go to bed at the same time.

Personal or revealing comments here, or on Facebook or Twitter will be removed.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Turn it OFF

I mentioned briefly to my family yesterday that I think we need to have a tech free day every week.  One day where there are no video games, computers, TV's, etc.  Their response wasn't entirely oppositional, but there was a long debate about what counts and what doesn't.  

Video games? DS?  What about TV?  What about Movies? What about the iPad?

I even went so far as to declare that if we decide to do this, I will even shut off my laptop and cellphone.
I suggested "Media Free Monday"  or "Turn it off Tuesday"  But the final verdict landed on Wednesday.  This is largely related to my darling trucker who, more so than the rest of us, is not able to go without technology for very long. You see, Wednesday is the one day of the week where he is most likely to work late.  Or, on occasion, he does end up home fairly early but has to be up for a 3 a.m. start the next day.

He's supportive, but largely because he won't really be affected by it if it is Wednesday. If he is only home and awake for an hour or so, he doesn't miss much.  It makes me sad that he's so dependent on devices for entertainment.  But I do know that it's a bad habit. (Ever see that episode of the Berenstain Bears? I feel Momma's pain)

I was irritated by this reaction at first (well I still am kind of, his example to the kids isn't ideal) but I will accept the half support as SUPPORT none-the-less.  He may only give up an hour of TV but he is still willing to give up something.  He didn't argue or tell me it was a dumb idea.  (much like papa bear on the above mentioned episode)

I had a few other issues I was concerned about at the same time, so I didn't really press the issue. I had kind of let it fall to the back of my mind for a while.  Until this afternoon.  These pictures here, were all taken this afternoon.  Not as a long series through the day, either.  I was sitting in my favorite chair, and I looked around the room and this is what was happening.  
Really. Just like that.  You can't see the trucker, but by the time I started to move the pictures on to the computer, he had called me... from the crackberry.  So he was included. I now am complete reassured that implementing a media free day is necessary and justified. 

Don't tell anyone, but really the biggest reason I didn't want Wednesday is because I can't think of a cool name.  Media Free Monday, Tech Free Tuesday, Turn it off Tuesday?  What do I say for Wednesday?
I'd call it Wireless Wednesday but technical brains like my children are quick to point out that we have wireless internet, cordless phones, etc. Very few things in our house are 'wired.'  Thank you Captain Obvious.  They also started saying things like "turn it off Tuesday?  Does that mean no lights? What if the phone rings?"

This is gonna be hard.  Setting out rules and following through. But I think as it goes on it will get easier and we will all be better for it.  And I even have faith in the trucker (I'll deny it if he asks) that if we stick to it, he will be supportive and actually understand the need for it. He will even find it easier than he thinks.

So watch for it. I'll post our 'official rules' once they are all set out.  I will update often about what we did.  (just not ON Wednesday...haha)
I'm seeking feedback from all of you on what to call it. 
Everything is more fun when it has a cool name.  

Follow up
We found a name and have had some fun. Read the details of our media free time.

A Day In The Life...

If you are like me, you have someone peeking around the corner of the shower curtain or walking in while you're going pee.
You have someone wiping their nose on you several times a day.
You have scribbles on every single piece of paper you need.
You have cars in your purse and crayons with paper.  And a diaper or pull up.
You have shoes that don't have laces, so you can run out the door in seconds.
You never get the remote.
You have more sand in your vehicle than there is in the sandbox.
You have a constant head ache.
You are more likely to say 'yes' just because it's easier than arguing through a no.
You consider grocery shopping with no kids "me time".
You forget at least one thing EVERY DAY.
You want to do more.
You want to do less.
You put your heart on the line way too often.
You have faith in people (even those that you shouldn't).
You cry over everything.
You wonder why EVERYONE seems angry or rushed these days.
You bite your tongue too much.
You speak your mind too much.
You turn off everything when you are alone. (TV. Radio. Unnecessary lights.)
You crawl in bed exhausted but can never fall asleep.

You need a hug.
You need a kind word.
You need a day off.
You need tylenol.
You need confidence.
You need control.
You need to pee ALONE.

If you are like me, your life drives you crazy and yet you wouldn't want it any other way.
If you are like me, you always put yourself last.
If you are like me, you are lost in your own life.
If you are like me, I'm sorry. 
If you are like me, let's change it.

Join me.  Forget flylady, forget happiness projects and psychology.  Let's start today. We can take a lesson from the Serenity Prayer.  We need to start letting go of things we can not change and making note of the things we CAN. 

What is something you can change today?  What's stopping you?  

Let's drop the negativity.

Wendy Can't Cook, but Wendy CAN  ___________________________  

I will make a list of positives. Next post is going to be 

Come hell or high water (where did that phrase come from originally?) I am going to be a happy busy mama by the end of June.  Ready?

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Some Beach...

Somewhere... With nowhere to go and you got all day to get there.

I'm due for vacation.  I need a break.  I can't give up everything and go away on my own. My kids are too little for that. I'd also be concerned about the truckers mental health by the time I got back. I know that he has a very inaccurate view of how I spend my time each day, but I still don't want to throw him into my life like that.  It would be sink or swim and I'm not sure who would be standing. (Likely the Angel Baby. She'd kick some ass for sure.)

I find often that there are just too many demands on my time. I think I have established that some of this is my fault as I have failed to create boundaries at home.  I have not treated myself or my time with respect and therefore others don't either.  I will need to let go of something.  

I have considered leaving my job. (which would be INSANE. This is a pretty sweet gig.) But I like the extra money at the end of the month and I like having things to do that do not involve my children.  I also like to make use of my brain so that it doesn't turn to mush from watching too many disney channel shows.
I've thought about giving up or delegating chores and housework, but I am often too exhausted to complete the followup. In the end, it's easier to do it myself.

It's hard to give up control over some things.  Like, YES, it does matter which way you stack the pots in the cupboard.  Now and then, I might not care, but when the pots fall out on to my feet because they are not stacked right... I will care... and chances are whoever put them in there wrong won't be here to hear my swearing.

It's hard for me to let go of folding clothes MY WAY.  You can fit twice as many towels in the cupboard my way.  Your socks should match.  In the dressers, Art's pants fit best folded once, Macboy's in thirds and Trucker's fit best folded in half twice.  I do back down more on kids clothes now, as they just rifle through anyway and by the time they get the next batch of laundry nothing is folded anymore.

It's hard for me to watch you spend an hour doing something that I can do in 15 minutes. It's also hard for me to watch you spend 10 minutes doing something that would take me 1.  

So, since I'm a whackjob and control freak, I can't give up the housework.  I think I have come to the decision that work is the only thing that won't get screwed up if it's not me doing it.  So I've got to plan a vacation.  I can't go anywhere, can't afford it, and can't subject the family to the trucker being 'leader' so I'll be here. And it's highly possible I will end up working harder at home on my week off.  BUT.  I think if I can swing it just right... it might be the best solution.

A week off work. No laptop. No cell phone. No skype. No meetings.  
Can I do it?  Can I unplug for that long?  

Perhaps, I should plan vacation time for when the kids are out of school?  So we can do some super awesome lifelong memory making activities?  Nahhh... I need a break for ME. Not them.  I need to do this before school lets out for summer. I need to plan at least one day with Angel Baby AWAY from the house. (yes, this time, I AM saying I need help...any babysitter volunteers??)

I'm going to have to do some serious planning and plotting. It will be unpaid vacation time, so I have to make sure the budget will still balance out.  And I have to list what I hope to accomplish from the time off.

I want to balance out.. I want to calm down. I want to de-stress. I want to declutter. I want to find my laundry room under that mountain of crap.  I want to find out what I'm actually storing in the space under my stairs.  I want to read a book.  I want to write the first chapter of my book.

But most of all, I want to HALT this rapidly spreading GREY hair before it consumes me. I'm 32.  I should not have more grey than my mother. (yes, I know she dyes her hair, but I've seen her roots.  I DO have more.)

Oh. And hopefully this break will remind me that occasionally, my boss DOES read this and perhaps I should discuss it with him before I announce it to the world. hahaha

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

This Time Is Your Time, This Time Is My Time

Oh, wait, that's not how the song goes.  
Not really how my life goes either.  

I keep trying to remind myself that these days don't last forever.  The ever pressing demands for my attention will ease up. Every day the kids grow just a bit more independent.  Everyday the pressure is lightening. I just can't feel it right now.  Like the grass growing in the yard, each change is so minimal that it goes by unnoticed, then suddenly you realize that it has a life all it's own.

It's easy for someone on the outside of your life to tell you to enjoy the small things.  How cute it is when your little one is being helpful, how much you will miss taking care of them.  But when every moment of your day, every day, is filled with small things, the big things suffer too.  Yes, I agree that if I take an hour to do dishes with my baby girl she will remember playing with mommy.  Sure whatever task it was that I was going to do next will wait.  It's not life or death to get it done.  But sometimes... NOTHING gets done.
Yes, I do let the TV babysit my kids. Get over it.

I'm not saying my children are out of control. I'm not saying my hubby doesn't help enough (that's a whole different conversation).  I'm not saying I can't or don't want to do this or be here.

I just need a break now and then.  If you aren't here, you don't know.  If you find it amusing when I'm having a chaotic day... remember to check for the mania hiding in my laughter.  Am I really laughing because I find it humorous?  Or am I laughing because I just don't know what to do anymore?

Writing here, is quite often my only "free" time.  And it's not really free. Right now, my boys are having a nerf battle. I'm waiting for someone to get hurt or mad and come running in yelling "MOM, he --insert random complaint here--!!"  They had popcorn as an afterschool snack. Left the bowl on the nightstand so it's gotten knocked down. And I just heard the sound of something falling out of the fridge. Praying Angel Baby is not trying to get her own juice, cuz it sounded like the jug fell.

I'm also NOT saying "hey, whoever is close... come help me..."  Unfortunately, I'm too stubborn to accept much help and in all honesty, I don't need more help that way.  I need less demands. I need more time.  I need more rest. I need ear plugs. I need to be able to drink without puking or head aches!!  I need peace. Calm. Balance.

But... when I take breaks.. I pay later.  I'm gonna have a half hour of clean up for this ten minutes of writing. I'm grateful for the friends I have, the family who is here for me, the knowledge and faith I have that this will pass. I'm insanely busy (not just insane) and it's OKAY. I'm not trying to ignore my friends. I don't want to isolate myself.  But those who are close to me understand that. And they call me.  And they know that if I wait for a quiet moment to talk on the phone... I'll never talk to anyone.  

Forgive me for seeming like a snob.  I am not. I'm not avoiding anyone. I'm not trying to seek out sympathy.  I don't have time for that.  I'm not supermom. I'm not better than you. I'm not worse, either.

I'm a mom of three busy kids.  I'm a trucker's wife.  I'm a daughter who shares her chaos with her mother in the home we share.  I'm an employee. I'm a stay at home mom.  I'm a wannabe writer.  I'm Wendy.  I can cook, I just don't like to tell anyone. They might want to come for dinner. And I might have to catch up to my dishes and clean a bit better. It's easier to keep your expectations low.
Grin and bear it baby. It's just another day.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Hey Perspective, Move A Bit Will Ya?

When you are frustrated with something more than half your day, it can be really hard to shift your perspective. And I'm not talking about those times where it's just one annoying thing that bugs you all day.  These are the days where it's just one thing after another.
someone spills their juice
while you clean that up someone dumps the sand out of their shoes in the kitchen,
while you get the broom someone has an "accident"
While you plug your nose and try to help them clean up,
someone helps themselves to last night's leftovers in the fridge
When you try to figure out who left dishes everywhere,
someone colors the coffee table with crayons.

THOSE kind of days.  That's the kind of day I was having when the trucker was leaving for his camping trip.  Sadly I know that he was so caught up in his own list of things to realize I was going insane right in front of him.  I was so angry. so JEALOUS that he could just walk through this chaos and not even notice?!?!?  That he felt perfectly confident to leave me alone with all the kids.  He can go off on a fun guys weekend and leave me here
stuck with the kids.

That was the statement that caught my attention.
That was the moment I realized the problem was just as much me.
And THAT was the moment that I made a change.

I am not "stuck with the kids."  I have a great opportunity to just enjoy my kids. To not worry about butting heads with the trucker over what we are doing or where we are going. The only person with plans this weekend was him.  For us, we are not left behind. We suddenly have a 100% plan free weekend. We jumped in the van and headed out.  We had no direction, no agenda, just time. Time, gas in the van, and an opportunity to just do anything.
And so we did.

The Angel Baby slept past eleven Saturday morning, because our adventuring just seemed to fly by.  I had no concept of time when we finally realized it was eleven p.m. and we were still not home.  Everyone was happy, everyone was relaxed. I did not get my kids to bed until almost midnight.  

Saturday was not horrible either. No one seemed to be worse for wear from staying up super late. Which is odd, quite often I have someone grumbling or whining after a really late night.  Saturday was another opportunity to just play. We had a birthday party to attend for my niece, but otherwise, not one ounce of planning involved.  Another fun late night (but not nearly as late for Angel Baby) just family.  Just games and giggles and play. (Art challenged me to Just Dance 2 on the Wii.  I think we are tied for scores, but he definitely kicked my butt when I woke up with sore legs and feet this morning and he just jumped back into the game.)

It's not that we don't miss the trucker. We do.  And it's not like we don't have family times like these.  Just not many.  The trucker has travel in his blood. He can't sit still. He needs entertainment and things to do.  I guess that's why he likes his job. He's always going somewhere.  We like to have these kinds of breaks where there is just NO AGENDA.   It's good for everyone.

This morning I asked the boys if they were ready for a SUPER AMAZING CRAZY BUSY DAY FULL OF FUN AND ADVENTURE.
They said "No."  Which is good, I have laundry to do and toys to tidy. I also need to finish some work that I didn't get after on Friday and catch up to the latest online. haha.

(sorry for the lack of pictures... the trucker has the good camera.)

Thursday, May 19, 2011

How Very Talented!

I aspire to make millions.  I dream of fame. I want to see my name in print.  And preferably not in the back pages of the news or on a most wanted list.  I will one day be published.

Turns out I have some competition in the family. I may be out done. Beaten at my own game?  No, not really. I will happily sponge off my children's millions, should they beat me to it. 

My Angel Baby is talented.  I knew this before, but I'm sure you didn't.  I am hopeful that she will hone her skills and use this productively.  At this point there are two ways it can go.

I may have the next world renowned artist on my hands or I may have the next most wanted graffiti artist.
I don't think I've ever had THIS MUCH permanent black marker all at one time.  Two walls?  Wow.  And of course, Art was just sitting there. Not even paying attention to what she was doing with HIS marker. But that's beside the point.  What you can't really see is all the extra pen and pencil lines, the smaller thinner marker lines, the highlighter marks (did you know that highlighters STAIN painted walls?).  No more avoiding the task, this is a bit too much to ignore.

I searched for my magic eraser.  Turns out it Magically Disappeared.  
Go figure.

I tried hairspray, I've heard that helps.  It does, and would be fine for a small mark, or even pen lines which are not as thick as this.  I started, and you can see that it the top left photo, but it was taking forever.

I tried baking soda.  It works for everything.  Even this.  But I don't want to spend weeks scrubbing a few inches at a time as it works just as well as the hairspray. 

So, next comes the beautiful SOS steel wool. Had to giggle as I remembered someone, some time ago, suggesting that you never use this on your walls as you will damage the paint.

Ummm.... Hello?
Isn't it damaged already?
(Seriously. Do you even have kids?)

I scrubbed and scrubbed.  This was definitely much more effective and certainly faster.  After getting the left side wall clean (and the other miscellaneous pen and pencil marks since this is not the first attack on this wall) I started at the top of the ladder on the right.  Cleaned outside the ladder, above the top rung and also up behind the top bunk where her little hands could reach but my camera can't see.  Half way through that middle section of the ladder, I got the brilliant idea to spray the hairspray WITH the SOS. 

I'm telling you...  

Little scrub, little spray, scrub a little more, wipe clean.  Pretty much that easy too. Really wish that I would have figured it out sooner, but still happy I figured it out at all.  Now I know for next time.

And I just KNOW there WILL be a next time.  I'm just too darn busy some days to see everything.

 Side Note #1
Just after writing this first draft, I headed to the school to get the kids.  First person I spoke to had the same advice. He knew JUST the thing to do. "Go to the hardware store... this stuff won't damage your paint. Well, do you have latex based?"

Side Note #2
You wonderful readers have pushed me to my first ONE THOUSAND page views.  We're having cake.
Thank you 
Thank you
Thank you. 

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Freedom and Independance

Being a mom, I think the hardest part is letting go.  As your kids get older they can do more and WANT to do more.  I've been a bit of an overkill super mom most of the time, and I definitely KNOW that I have sheltered my kids more than I've needed to in some situations. But, that's my choice and right. If I'm stupid enough to do everything for them, they are smart enough to let me.

Recently I've started letting the boys go on little bike rides or walk to the store without me. (The store is across the street.  Sad, I know. I can see it from my living room and I still get nervous if they take too long.)

Step one on the road to freedom was walking home for lunch.  I'm a crazy work at home mom, so WHY do I stop my day to go pick up my kid at lunch?  It's not far and again, I can see him walking almost the entire way way if I just step out my door.  But I'm a paranoid freak of nature (I've said that before!!)

Now that Art has decided that he likes coming home too, I've had a harder time. Is Macboy 2.0 old enough to take on the responsibility?  Umm... yes. If I allow him to walk with his brother to get us all slurpees... I should be able to let him walk to SCHOOL.  I'm just so terrified!! I don't want them to grow up scared like me, but still.  When is 'ready'?  How do you know?

Simple.  You DON'T.  You take a leap of faith.  You let them do it and PRAY for the best. You choke on your coffee everytime the phone rings, in case it's the school calling to say they didn't make it.  You consider driving by to make sure they are there at recess. (which I have...ugh)

This week.... Art has come home twice so far. I'm sick. I have a sick baby girl.  I'm tired. I have a headache. They want to ride bikes back after lunch.  I can let them ride to the park by themselves on Saturday (when I have nothing but faith to lean on because there is NO phone call to tell me they haven't made it) so I SHOULD be able to do this. 

Monday, I had to go check.  I used the guise of teaching for this one.  I had to show them the 'right way' to lock up their bikes.  Bonus for me, they hadn't done it right or I would have had no excuse to be there.  Today, I have to grin and bear it, I know they will be fine. I know that the only thing that might go wrong is that Art will find mud. Even with the weather being dry, 
he will find mud.  Always does.

On Monday, I was there, waiting.  I saw Macboy 2.0 outside. I saw Art come out. I waited. And waited. And ART waited... Macboy was not at the bike racks.  After a few minutes, a red faced boy came around the corner of the school. Hand on his forehead as if that would help hide his embarassment.
"I was looking for you at the front. 
I forgot we had the bikes here."

Proud mommy moment #65,912
He was wearing his bike helmet the whole time.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Well, Hello Darlin'! How Was YOUR Day?

"What?  Me?  Oh, my, really?  Do you actually want to know how MY day was?  I'm not sure I remember the last time someone here asked me that!!"

"You are probably just imagining this."

"Yes, I do understand that you are just the crazed voice in the back of my mind right now.  That's okay, someone needs to listen now and then."

"Well, since you asked...  I didn't sleep that well last night. I got caught up in a search for something different on my blog.  Then I didn't do it anyway.  I finally crawled in bed and the trucker was snoring SOOO loud!!"

"You heard that too?  Wasn't that awful?"

"Yeah, it was.  I couldn't hide! And at one point I had stretched my arm out across his tummy and he caught me by the wrist.  Wouldn't let go.  I couldn't roll over and I couldn't even plug both ears with just one hand. UGH."

"You should have gone to bed earlier, you know. You're never gonna get better if you keep this up." 

"I know. I just get sidetracked sometimes. And it's exciting doing this blogging stuff. I'm feeling ...useful.  Anyway.  Today was a gong show.  Not much went the way it should have.  It was jumping back and forth, do this, do that, the Angel Baby feeling better (so being even less Angel than usual). At least the kids got out the door on time."

"You got a fair bit of work done though."

"Yeah, I did. But I felt like it was at the expense of my sanity.  I have a juice stain on the carpet to clean now. I'm not sure where my glasses are since I put them up just before Angel Baby tried to break them again. (I don't know WHY she's so fascinated by my glasses.)  By the time the kids got home, I was already exhausted, but really the bulk of my day's work starts at 3:30."

"They were arguing before we even got home!"

"I know!  Selfish little buggers. They saw that Angel Baby had a new toy. Didn't even ask what it was from, just 'did you buy something for us?'  Really, it wasn't even from me.  A gift from the neighbors.  I told them NO.  Later at home, I let them have the treats. BUT really, how RUDE."

"You told them why, hopefully, next time is better."

"And the trucker. UGH.   Calls to say he won't be home in time for dinner. 'Don't worry about me.' So, what do I do?  I DON'T worry about him.  I made my szechuan chicken stir fry.  It was awesome!  The kids didn't really like it, but they ate it. Angel Baby DEVOURED IT and stole the noodles from the boys.  BUT then trucker man calls. LIKE 4 TIMES. While I'm trying to eat dinner."

"I was already hitting that sensory overload.  Ask the kids, I shut my eyes and plugged my ears at the dinner table for a few minutes.  There was just NOISE everywhere.  And the stupid phone 
would                  not               stop
Finally he seemed to get the idea that I wanted to eat.  But then before I got far into cleaning the kitchen, he called. Twice in a row, cuz water was running and I didn't hear it the first time.  Asking me to phone the burger place and see if they have this special burger on at this location."


"THAT'S WHAT I SAID!!  Man, I need to start smoking again.  hahaha"

"So, what'd you do?"

"He flipped out because he 'can't just call from the road' and got all b*tchy.  I said fine, hung up on him, grabbed the stupid phone book, called the stupid restaraunt...."



"Oh, man, really?"

"So I call the trucker back.  I told him I DON'T KNOW CUZ THEY DON'T ANSWER.  He says he doesn't really want to go out of his way if they don't have it.  He says, 'well, what am I gonna eat?'  I was pissed.  So I said
Duh.  I have to actually SAY this?  Come on.  What the hell is wrong with people these days?  Who gave you the right to act like king?  You want to be a king? Buy me a damn castle.  But for now, I'm working too. EAT it or SHUT UP."

"Bahahahaha... .You're still mad!"

"HELL YEAH.  Stubborn bugger went to bed without eating. What are you?  Two?"

"The kids drove me nuts. Constant arguing.  Simply NOT listening. Trucker's being schmuck, and Mom is all emotional because of a sick friend.   Just one of those days. I'm tired, I'm fighting nature, and I'm sick. Give me a break already.  Why doesn't anyone think I have things of my own to do?"

"Because you always do it for them.  They don't know that you feel crappy until you tell them. They don't know you're busy unless you say so.  So they ask like they do every other day. They are just in shock because you said NO." 

"You Think So?"

"You know it, lady.  You do this all the time.  You don't want to do it all, but you just keep doing it.  You delegate dishes to the kids, but you don't want to wait or fight for 2 hours to make them do it, so you send them out of the kitchen.  You know... it wouldn't kill you to say no more often.  You CAN'T do it all, and you need to stop pretending you can."

"I'm not pretending. I can do this, when I'm not sick, of course."

"And you don't see a connection there, huh?"

"What?  Oh. I get it. I'm wearing myself out because I'm doing too much for everyone and that's why I'm sick."

 "Good job! Took you long enough."

"You know, 
you're a lot nicer 
when you give this advice 

"What can I say. 
You should listen to yourself more often.  
Then we wouldn't need to have these talks."

Monday, May 16, 2011

What Else Can You Do?

Please soothe my burning throat?
I'm really not feeling well.  I've got a terrible headcold and a sore throat. Today I woke up with almost no voice. As much as my family may enjoy the break, I'm hoping this doesn't last.  Yesterday, I was hopeful that this would pass quickly.  A good night's sleep would have me back on track today, or at least closer to it.  But no, of course, that would be too easy. 

Summer is coming, the nights are brighter, the boys don't fall asleep as well.  At 11:15 I screamed down the hall "That's the last time I will see you out of your ROOM!"  It wasn't the last time, though.  And NO, I don't think that screaming at my kids all night has anything to do with my lost voice. haha.  

The Angel Baby has this same bug that I have.  She's so stuffed up and tired looking it breaks my heart.  Last night while I was cooking dinner she fell asleep on the couch.  I quietly so those few words that I hate to HAVE TO say.  "Better let her sleep. She's tired and sick. She needs it. It'll be okay."  Yep, it was. GREAT. She slept until 10:30.  Then she was ready for the party and kind of ticked that there wasn't one.  

I did finally manage to crawl into bed somewhere around 1.  But I woke up a bunch of times anyway.  I am wiped.  After taking the boys to school this morning, I crawled back in bed.  Miss Party Animal kindly slept until almost 11 am. 
After getting up, I got her and I dressed and got the boys lunch ready. Today will be a no-nap-for-princesses day, but at least I got some sleep this morning.

Being in this foggy state, I have accomplished very little.  Miss Angel Baby is being extra... special... today.  And I'm ready to go insane.   I decided that I should at least get the dishes done and kitchen cleaned up.  I avoided the dishes last night since I thought a good sleep would fix me up.  Even if it didn't work out that way... those stinkin (almost literally stinky) dishes were glaring at me from the dirty countertop.
The perfect workspace?
I had to change the water a few times.  I had to sit and catch my bearings after the hot water gave me dizzy spells a couple times.  I had to work around the extra chair and the Angel Baby washing dishes with me.  It took much longer than normal.

I stopped to dry a few things a second time (making space for more washing), when I reached over to grab more from the drain rack I realized that Angel Baby was taking clean things and throwing them back in the dishwater.
Then she started swinging the soaking wet dish cloth around, trying to 'give' it to me.

I felt my last nerve snap.


With her beautiful little smile, 
ear to ear and oh, so proud, 
She starts clapping and says 

Oh, crap. What do I do now?  She is 2, she is not sabotaging my secret plan to take over the world one stinkin dish at a time.  No matter how crappy I feel, I can't say no to that!  
If I start saying no now, she may never want to help later....
Heaven help me, she's the only hope I've got!

Friday, May 13, 2011

Mom Lessons - Stay Focused

You can accomplish great things if you walk with purpose.  Take each step in faith that the end result will be exactly how you want it to be.  If you stay focused, don't let anyone distract you, no goal is out of reach. No dream is beyond grasping. Even if your steps are small, or you get delayed along the way, step forward again as soon as you can.

A side lesson is hidden here too.  My little girl reinforced a message I have shared before, celebrating small things is important too.  A goal, no matter how big or small, is a goal that should be celebrated.  We control all of the moments in our lives.  Every little step we take will take us closer to what we want.
Always start small.  
If you keep a slow and steady pace you will succeed.
 If you think the grass is greener over there...
go look or get over it.
 Finish what you start.
Our goals are often personal.
Meaning, they don't need to make sense to 

I do sincerely wish that I could work on things with that same focus.  Have you ever watched your toddler coloring?  The serious look, tongue sticking out slightly as they work studiously on completing that perfect little line.  Even though the final result is always a full page of scribbles, they hand it to us with such pride and determination that we just can't do anything but hang it on the fridge!  I wish I could take such pride in my work instead of second-guessing myself.  

This little lady, my Angel Baby, spent almost a full hour finding the right bits of dirt, the perfect blades of grass, the right sized rocks and mixed them ever so carefully in her bucket.  She was so proud to present her final product.  She giggled like crazy when I took the last picture.  

And, for the record... this time...
the grass really was greener over there.

Mom Lessons - Life Balance

For most of my parenting years, I have been a working mom.  I hated every minute of it when I was home, and of course, loved every second when I was there.  I felt powerful. I felt strong.  I felt needed.  And I always ended the day with a sense of accomplishment.

For short periods, I was a stay at home mom.  I hated having my kids in daycare of any sort.  My oldest hated being there even more.  So every minute of my maternity leave was a treasure for all of us.  I could be here, I could be at the school. I could bake and sew and get up 85 times a night when they were sick.  I could kiss the hurts away, I could read the stories, play at the park and be every bit of MOM that I had ever wanted to be.  

After Angel Baby, the company I worked for went bankrupt. I had no job to go back to.  With three kids, the cost of daycare for the baby plus before and after school care was $1850 a month. So for me to make any money working was almost impossible. Why work 40+ hours to bring home a few hundred dollars a month?  So, I became frugal mommy.  I cut coupons, I sewed my own cloth diapers, I even converted the Trucker off of Timmies and onto a thermos full of home-coffee.  I did all my shopping in one trip to save gas. But eventually, there was just no where else to cut from and I had to get some income.  

I was hugely fortunate to find a job that I could do at home. It's a very flexible position that allows me to still live my dreams of being mommy. Sometimes I get really wrapped up in a project. I don't hear my kids asking me questions, or I give half answers that really mean ... nothing.  

Have you been there?  You ask someone a question and the answer has almost NOTHING to do with the question?  "Mom, do we have anymore paper towels?"  "Sure, I think we went shopping last weekend."  Well, I might have answered the question... if we had actually bought paper towels.. but truthfully, I had no idea what you just asked me for... and don't ask how I got that answer. It doesn't make sense to me now either.

There are times when I have an overdue project, or a tight deadline, or have procrastinated so severely that 
And I know that it's not fair of me to neglect the needs of my family because I have work to do.  I work part time. It should never consume me full time. (but it does sometimes)  I get stressed.  I get frustrated.  I don't know how to email this file and finish that project and get the dishes done and laundry folded while cooking dinner with a sick baby clinging to my leg and wiping her nose on my shirt!!!!

It gets overwhelming.  

And then my Macboy... 

Oh, very sorry, 
he has corrected me.
He's not Macboy at all.
He is Macboy 2.0... 

...brings home this simple sweet gift. 

My little man.  Wise beyond his years.  Innocently hands me a strong message.  I'm certain this didn't involve massive amounts of forethought.  I am positive that the message I read here, was no where near the message he was sending.  To him it was mother's day flowers.  Which is great just the way it is.

But to me, it is much more.  It is a flower pot for my home office. Pens for me to write stories. And notes. Flowers to brighten my space, to remind me of my boy when he's not at home.  And most importantly, it is a reminder that work is not everything. No matter how big the project or close a deadline is, we should  
always take time to stop and smell the flowers.
Don't get wrapped up in work. Don't stress for perfection.  Let the house get messy sometimes. Keep your priorities straight. A short peak at my daily to-do list will reflect this.  The first two are the most important.  I want to have memories of fun times. Not kids playing or watching TV while I work.  Not kids hiding in their room so they don't mess up the living room. But fun, giggling, laughing, playing, family FUN.  And be present.  It is important to stop and smell the flowers, to shut off the constantly rotating to-do list in your head and HEAR the kids giggle.  See the baby girls face while she's squishing mud through her fingers. Moments can be missed in a heartbeat or faster if you don't pay attention.  I want to be with them, not just in the same room.


Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Mom Lessons - Security Services

Reassurance and security are two very important things in a child's life.  It is a mommy's responsibility to nurture these needs in their kids.  We teach them that it is important to hold on to the important things in life.  

We teach them about strong bonds. Good, long lasting connections to good friends.  We comfort them when they are sad.  Reassure them when they strike out in soft ball.  We pick them up, brush them off and carry them away from the hurts of life.  As much as we hate it, we LET them fall, we let them make their choices and get hurt.  
It hurts us too.

They grow strong from all these bumps and bruises, tears and fears.  And we grow strong too.  As we teach them how handle their lives on their own, we are slowly teaching ourselves how to live without them too.  We are learning to let go at the very same time they are learning to take control.  

We teach them value.  We show them how to appreciate things that we have in life.  We show them, often through trial and error how to keep their possessions safe.  And their emotions too.  It is certainly easy to lose both your keys and your heart.... 

I can think of plenty of times that I fell on my own mommy's lap in tears.  She'd rub my back and wipe my tears.  And then in her own motherly way, she'd tell me things like 'This too shall pass."  Being a mom myself, I now know that she was totally thinking "I told you so."  "I knew that was gonna happen." and of course "When will you ever learn?"  But of course, we mommies everywhere NEVER SAY those things.

We let them feel their feelings, cry their tears, lose their lego.
We make them feel safe and secure.
We show them how to take care of things.
Like their shoes.

It's the little things we just don't know we are showing them, that they hang on to.  What message are you sending?  I'm pretty happy with this one!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Mom Lessons - Mothers Day Gifts

Yesterday was Mothers Day.  So many years this has ended up as just another day.  Another Sunday where hubby wakes up before me but leaves me the baby monitor.  Where no activities are planned and where I am 'entitled' to make a special breakfast.  There were a few times where I scored just by living with my mom.  My brother came to make us waffles for breakfast. Easy out for my crew... and they appreciated it!

This year was different.  This year was ... I hate to call it a success since that would be like calling other years a failure.  But it really was.  I FELT like mom-of-the-year.  They let me sleep late (though I did kind of feel ripped off since I woke up before Angel Baby, haha).  They didn't make me breakfast, BUT... I didn't have to make THEM breakfast!  There were gifts and even a full hour of kid free time.... while we were ALL still in the same house!
I even got to have...
....a whole shower....
.....without a little head popping through the bathroom door!
It was DIVINE!

One of the most important things I got from this Mothers Day was that I have it all wrong.The things I did through the year trying to be a good mom, are not anywhere near the things that my kids remember.  So I'm going to focus more on the things they are teaching me and less on what I want to teach them. I'm not going to stop being a mother as I am now, I just needed a shift in perspective.

I took some time to think about my childhood and things I remember about my parents.  They divorced when I was just 5, so I have very few memories of them together.  I don't think that matters much.  I just realized that the memorable things were not always the 'important' things.  The unexpected road trips.  The nights of playing cards. Snuggling in a blanket with a good movie.  I remember my favorite foods that were made. I remember that no matter how much of a pain it was to make some of those dishes, Mom still made them.  Now that I'm older, she'd gladly give me the recipe for many of them rather than making it herself, but I still LOVE those things. 

Once, when we had one of those dishes here with my kids, they asked me what was so special about it.  That night was just a simple dish but one that takes a lot time and effort to prepare. I didn't really have a good answer. It was just a special dish.  A family recipe. Even great-grandma makes it.  What made it special?  That my mom made it an no one else's mom did.

Page one of my Mothers Day Story from Art says
My mom is the greatest because....
...she makes the best cookies.

Does he care that I spend hours washing clothes? Does he love the way I fold them with the pictures facing up?  Does he wait for me wash the dishes just so?  No, No and not likely ever!

He doesn't care about any of the pain in the butt parts of the day.  He likes to open the cookie jar and find home made mom's special cookies.  He likes to feel that little bit of leftover warmth escaping from the cookie jar when he opens it.  The heat that tells you "mom just made these today."  He likes the chewy cookie and the partly melted chocolate chips when they are fresh from the oven. He likes them so much that I make cookies for his class instead of cupcakes on his birthday.  Sure, it's nice to find Oreo's or Dad's Oatmeal cookies... But the faces are lit up and the grins are ear to ear when they find home baked cookies.  And even more fun is when he gets to help make them.

This Made Today's Mom Lesson Simple.

A home made gift trumps a store bought one EVERYDAY.
I think it's time to bake!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For

Darn... why'd I do that?  Now I'm gonna have that song in my head all day. Oh well.  Maybe you will too.

I am making my twisted version of my mother in law's Rigatoni.  I use all the same ingredients as her, just don't have
"The Touch"

I am not bitter about that, though, when she comes to visit, the Trucker ALWAYS asks her to make it. And I get a night off cooking dinner.

But I have one problem today.... 
I just can't seem to find any Basil.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Sausage and Eggs, Please

Seriously, the Sunday Morning breakfast should not be so darn complicated!!  We are all picky eaters here in one way or another.  Every one of us.

Today was Sausages and Eggs.  Simple, right?  No.  I'm not a meat eater... and not crazy about eggs all the time either.  But I'm cooking today, so I'm gonna eat it.  Dear Trucker, well, he likes eggs but only one way.  Sunny side up.  Art agrees, he won't eat an egg you can't "dip toast in". Macboy wouldn't touch an egg even if you paid him.  He says it's only okay to have eggs if they end up in something where you can't even see there ARE eggs.  Like Cake.
So, in a house with sausages, eggs and toast,  none of us had the same breakfast.

Trucker ate his sausages while he was waiting for toast, then he had his toast and eggs.  Like a two course meal.
I ate the meal altogether as intended (though I have to admit, I soak sausages with pancake syrup first or I can't eat them).
Art had eggs and toast, no sausage.
Macboy had toast with peanut butter.  No eggs, no sausage.

And then, of course, there's Angel Baby ... her taste just depends on the day.  And today it was the baby's breakfast not hers.  She did eat some of everything, but only because it was 'someone else's' breakfast.  You know how that is, it always tastes better from someone else's plate!
Yes, she even had her own chair.  Macboy tried to sit there and Angel Baby FREAKED OUT.

You just have to love my family of picky eaters!