Tuesday, July 16, 2013

A Letter To My Sons About Prom


Dear Boys,

Someday, I hope that you will go to your senior prom.  Your father and I have been chaperoning them for years, and I think that it's a milestone in a young person's life.  We've seen a lot in the nine proms we've attended together, and there are a few things I want you to know.  I think they'll help you have a successful and enjoyable night.

First:  hygiene.   If you reach 18 years old and I still have to remind you about hygiene, I'm going to feel pretty bad about myself as a mother.  Seriously, the chances of your having a date to prom at all will be significantly decreased if you haven't learned this one by then anyway, but this night, it is especially important.  There will be a lot of bodies in a small space, dancing, and by the time the clock strikes midnight, it smells like a sweat-drenched bowl of cheetos.  A guy's prep for prom is pretty minimal to begin with, so if you can't master this one, you're in a lot of trouble.

Second: Keep your shirt on.  I don't mean this one figuratively.  Since the time I was in high school, and I'll assume ages before, teenage boys have thought it clever and studly to ditch their white button up, wearing just their bow tie and vest.  This is neither clever nor studly, it's a jackass move and to be really honest- it lets the stink out. The two of you are likely to be tall and spindly, not to mention incredibly pasty.  This is not the Thunder Down Under, and even if it was, your pasty chests are not what they're looking for. This is prom, and your date will have gone through a small amount of torture to look nice for it.  Don't prolong the torture by forcing her to pretend you don't look stupid.  Keep your shirt on.

Third:  Let's talk about your date.  Please, for the love of all that's good and holy, don't take the girl with the thousand dollar dress to prom.  Don't take the girl who can't have a good time because she's too worried about the money spent on her looks for that night (or for that matter, not worried at all).  Take the girl who is fun to be around, who is a friend, and who won't make you hate her by the end of the night for being high maintenance.  Take the girl who is as big a nerd as you are.  You'll have a much better time.

Fourth, and finally:  Don't peak in high school.  Don't be too popular.  Be the likeable nerd who gets along.  Be ready for the bigger and better things to come.

And seriously, keep your freaking shirt on.

Love,

Mom

PS: Oh yeah, we'll see you there.  We'll probably still be chaperoning, and we'll mimic any inappropriate dance moves you try.

Friday, July 12, 2013

52 Projects: Everything Else!

Today's group is a mishmash of what doesn't fit neatly into other categories.  

I'm really excited about these shoes.  Well, I was.  I had a dingy pair of white canvas flats that I wanted to make last through the summer.  Figuring I couldn't make them worse, I took the bows off  the toes,  then painted them.  I get lots of compliments, until the other day when I managed to get a small rip in the toe.  I'm sure it can be mended just enough to get me through the summer, which is more than I was going to get out of the grungy white slippers. 



Earlier this year, I was asked to lead 15 minutes of music for our church's nursery each week.  So the two crafts you see below are song props that we use.  Not pictured are the toilet paper tube maracas, or pom pom 'baby bumble bees' that are very popular, and thankfully, very, very, durable.  There's the "Jesus wants me for Sunbeam" masks, more often worn as crowns by the littles...


...and a felt Flip Flap Jack, which really just makes me feel hungry each week, but we have fun with him. 


Also not pictured are the clay ornaments we made for Mother's Day, as those went out before I could get a picture. 

That's it!  Thanks for reading and checking out what I've been up to.  I've been doing some alterations for a friend this week, but am excited to get back to other creative projects that have been sitting unfinished.  Have a great weekend! 

Thursday, July 11, 2013

52 Projects: Sewing

This year, sewing has gotten a little selfish (and I kind of like that).  I've been working on learning to make clothes for myself, and I'm really enjoying it.   This first top is one thing I'm really happy with- I wish the fabric were a little more clear, but it's waves and paper sailboats.  Yes, I did get it from the juvenile prints section.  I love it anyway. 


Two sets of bowties also happened this year- one for my sister's wedding, seen here: 


and another set, for Fathers' Day.  Once again, the boys helped choose the fabric.  


For my little sister's birthday this year, I made her a towel-blanket for her swim meets.  It's almost as big as a twin-size blanket, and I hope she'll get lots of use out of it. 


Below is a project I started last year, but never completed.  It was a muslin to try out a circle skirt pattern, later worn in a play, that was very wearable once I finished it.  (I did say finish 52 projects in a year, not start them, so I'll count this one as good). 


Not pictured are the valances I sewed for my mother's living and dining rooms.  They're rectangles of fabric that look nice.  You get the idea.  Also, some pajama pants sewn for my sister's bridal shower, got away before I got a picture,  but I'm sure you get the idea there, too.

Thanks for sticking with me, and indulging me!  Tomorrow I'm wrapping up with the Miscellaneous projects.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

52 projects: Knitting

Knitting has taken a bit of a back seat to other projects since this winter.  I have a sweater cast on right now that I can carry with me and leisurely work on this summer, but am in no rush.  I finished  four projects, but only got pictures of three. 


These mitts (Zombie Vixen on Ravelry) were part of an instagram knit-along. Learning to work the cables on these was an experience, but I really like them and am happy with how they turned out. 


A friend commissioned this set from me.  I love the way the flecks look like hearts, and I love the vintage buttons on the cuffs.  One of my favorite projects. 


I did another knit along, this time with slippers- when I bound them off, they made a little heart.  I made a second pair for Aidan, but didn't take any more pictures.  Honestly, they're as warm as can be, but they're not very interesting to look at.

Tomorrow:  Sewing!  Yay!

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

52 Projects: Embroidery

This seems to be the year of embroidery for me, and I can tell you why:  It's cheap, and it's fast.  You can embroider almost any image, and so it's great for personalizing gifts.


This was my big January Project, and I should tell you that I'm ridiculously proud of it.  I love how it represents all my hobbies, but in a sort of rock-star way.  


I drew this one up myself, which is kind of a big deal.  I'm not very confident in my drawing skills at all. This was my favorite quote from April's general conference. 


My son's kindergarten teacher is off to france this summer, so I put this bag together for her.  


This was Aidan's gift to his ballet teacher at the end of the school's season as well.  It's based off of a photo of the company dancers from his school, and was also hand-drawn. 


This one might compete for one of my favorites of the year.  Not only is this quote something we often live by in our house, but if you've seen the episode of Parks and Recreation that this quote came from, please understand that this scene had my jeweler husband cringing and laughing hysterically at the same time.   This was his father's day gift, and will be hanging in his classroom this fall.  Here's that scene.

Oh, Joan.  Oh, Mad Men.  You kill me every year when I realize that the season finale is upon us, surprising me even though I knew it was coming.  To deal with the loss, I stitched Joan up with a quote of hers as well.  She's headed to our upstairs bath to remind me not to limit my goals. 


I've got another project in a hoop right now- Aidan and I are writing a story that I'm illustrating with embroidery.  We'll see how that turns out. 

Tomorrow:  Knitting! 



Monday, July 8, 2013

52 Projects: Introduction



Just out of curiosity, I started scanning my instagram feed, counting the number of completed projects I'd done since the beginning of the year.  This was in mid-june, and when the number reached 20, I wondered to myself if I could manage to finish 52 projects, all in one year.  Sure, it would be crazy, and busy, but it could also be really fun.  I've made it to project 22, putting me just 4 behind for the year- so I'm closing in on the goal, matching my creative skills with the same goal I made for myself with books.  I'll be sharing the 22 things, divided by the type of making they involve this week, then I'll add what I make as I complete the projects.   I hope you'll come by and check them out!


Friday, May 24, 2013

What I Read: Jan-April.

Our library shelf at home.   

At the start of the year, I set a goal to read 52 books by the end- one per week.  I had intentions for monthly updates, but as you know, I'm super great at regular posting here lately.   If you're on Goodreads, you can follow me here.   And if you get through this novel of a post, I feel like you deserve a prize. 

January

Steady Days:  This is one of my go-to parenting books.  Its idea of maintaining rhythm and consistency in parenting is a goal of mine.  I like to check in with it when I'm feeling frazzled. 

The Great Gatsby:  With the movie coming, I wanted to read the book first.  I didn't find a single character likable (except for MAYBE Gatsby's father), and it made me angry that Christina Hendricks wasn't cast as Myrtle Wilson.  I really didn't enjoy it. Just not my thing.

February

Warhorse:  A favorite.  I cry every time.  We went to see the play, and I wanted to re-read it. Easy read, beautiful story.  I tried reading this to Aidan, but it's not really age appropriate and I kept crying, so we switched to Dinosaur Cove instead. 

Farm Boy:  I was excited to hear there was a sequel to Warhorse.  I was sorely disappointed in it.  Not worth the time, pass on this one. 

Wake: An interesting take on supernatural YA lit, as I hadn't seen the sirens thing done before.  It wasn't bad, but didn't inspire me to read the rest of the series.  I might later.

Mark of Athena:  I know I'm not the only adult who nerds out over the Percy Jackson books.  They're great.  I can't wait until Aidan is old enough for me to read them to him. 

Perks of Being a Wallflower:   I have some very mixed feelings about this book.  It is incredibly well written.  It made me really sad, and while I felt compelled to read it and finish it, I didn't enjoy it.

March:  

This Cake if For the Party:  Much like with Perks, I know that this was well written, but I didn't really enjoy it.  To be fair, I don't usually enjoy short story collections.  I like to start a relationship with my book. 

Wonder:  I loved this book.  Seriously, please go read it.  It is so good, and very meaningful.  One of my favorites this year.  I kept reading parts of it to Chris, but finally had to stop, because as soon as I finished, I handed it to him and said "You should just read it."  Then I told every other member of my family to read it.   Fast read that will make you feel a lot of things.  

Dinner:  A Love Story : Memoirs are my favorite.  Food memoirs with recipes are even better.  I love how this book is part parenting, part memoir, and part cookbook.  Recommended.

April:

Remarkable Creatures:  Given that I have a budding paleontologist at home, this was a fun read.  I took this on our beach trip and really enjoyed it.  It's a peaceful read, but never boring. 

Gold:  An intense read.  Good plot twists and character depth.  I enjoyed it, but language warning if you're sensitive to it.

The Silver Linings Playbook:  Another favorite.  Also intense, also language warning, but this is an excellent book.  

Size 12 and Ready to Rock:  Because sometimes, like how we eat, you can enjoy books that are like candy.  Not good for you, but okay in moderation.  This series is like that. 

The Tragedy Paper:  YA lit, interesting story.  Worth a look, but not one I'm super passionate about. 

I'll try to make this a monthly thing now that I'm caught up, so you don't have to spend your whole afternoon reading it.  And if you're still with me- high five! 

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

In my absence







Hey,  blog absence.  What's up?  My sister got married.  We went to Free Comic Book Day.  I won Aidan a place at a soccer clinic plus free dinner and tickets to the game. Chris's students' metal arts show (all three took home prizes.  I'm a little proud of him.  He has work on display there, as well).Things have calmed down in the last half of the month, we've changed callings (volunteer jobs) at church, and are just trying to get through the last month of school for both Aidan and Chris. 

In crafty news, I spent a lot of time sewing in the week leading up to the wedding,    I made a pair of pajama pants, valances for my mother, and bow ties for my fellas.   I only got pictures of the last,  but I think they looked pretty darn handsome.  (Yes I am still making them wear their sweater vests everywhere. )  I've got some cross-stitch and knitting in the works as well, and I'm trying to work some sewing into the day when Colin will nap. 

I've been trying to read a lot, and I'm still 2 books behind on my one-book-per-week goal.  I'm enjoying it a lot,though, and I'll write later about what I've read in the last little while. 

Beyond that, it's just the end of the school year busyness.  We have field trips, curriculum nights,  dance recitals, prom, graduation.  If I can survive until June 14, things ease up a lot after that. 

Friday, May 3, 2013

What a Week


May came bringing  gorgeous Northwest spring weather this week. While I was glad to see April headed out, May came thundering in like a herd of elephants and knocked me on my butt, and I felt a bit like Aidan in this picture-  wondering what I'd gotten myself into.

My sister is getting married in eight days.  There have been lots of opportunities to help friends and family this week, and more to come next week.  Colin has been acting like a wild animal, and I feel like I can barely make any progress on anything, because I'm too busy putting out the metaphorical  fires he starts.  By the end of the day, I feel like I've "dumped out my bucket"  as Aidan put it, after hearing this story at school.

So I've been coping by setting goals for after the wedding, and also, of course, by eating my feelings.  You know how it goes.  

I've caught up a bit on my goal to read a book every week.  I'm only two behind now, and not four, as I was at the beginning of last month.  So that's better.   I've also been working up a plan to improve my sewing, with the goal to participate next year in Me-Made-May.  I'm getting excited for that.  Next week, I'll write more about the books I read in April, and May goals.  Top of the list:  Survive.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Unfair and Very Generous.



Sometimes, you write blog posts.  Then sometimes, they write themselves in your heart and mind and won't stop until you actually put them in black and white and you don't feel right until you share them.  Today is one of those posts.   I'm not exactly secretive about the fact that procreation isn't my strong suit.  I am able to get pregnant and carry, but not without medical intervention, and I'm pretty open about this.  Maybe that is s because misery loves company, and maybe it's because I feel like sharing my story could help someone else, and maybe it's because just getting these things off my chest feels good.  Whatever the reason is,  this week is infertility awareness week, and I find myself acutely aware of a few things.

The first is that sometimes we don't know how much we want something until we are told it's going  to be hard to get it.

The second is that there is a lot of irony in the fact that medications that aid fertility can make you feel so emotionally off kilter, you wonder if you should be allowed to have children in the first place.

Third, and probably most important, is that life isn't fair.  It's just not, but if I'm going to cry because life isn't fair, I have to acknowledge that life is both unfair and generous to all of us.   When I compare my situation to what I know of other people's lives, it is hard to remember that I'm only comparing the dirty details of my own shortcomings to what others allow to be seen on the outside.  When I look at my life as I should, standing on it's own, I see that life is, and has been, beautiful and more than generous.

So there that is.  I do feel better now that I have let this post take a life of its own.   For more of what I've written about this- see here.

Happy weekend, everyone.   I hope that in it  we can take the time to see how generous life is.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Days that are More Sweet than Stinky


Colin is  not a child that is really only affectionate or sweet (unless he's sick), but blends his affection and sweetness with mischief and teasing.   I wouldn't have it any other way.   Today, he crept his fingers along the table toward my bowl of cereal, giggling as he got closer and tried to grab the spoon.  When that didn't work, he ran to the bin of dinosaurs and brought me back a pteranodon.  "Please let's trade, Mommy,"  he began with a smile, than sang "You can have my dinosaur!"  We shared the rest of my cereal, and I returned the dinosaur to him when we were done.    

Yesterday between the two of us was not ideal. My Facebook status at lunchtime read  "Pardon the phrasing.... Colin decided to strip naked in his play tent and literally have a pissing match with his animal toys. He won. He's napping." With the changes at Aidan's school, he has struggled to see where his place is, and then re-find it as the school situation resolved.  He simultaneously misses his brother, and enjoys the attention that comes from being the only child at home.  It's a lot of feelings to manage in a little body.  

So today when he finds me doing laundry, in the kitchen, and grabs my hand, demanding a hug, a kiss, a pick up, or a twirl around, I'm gladly obliging.  Days where the sweet outweighs the stinky don't come around often.  That's the nature of being two, I guess, Then when he runs over and shouts at the top of his voice "GIMME SOME SUGAR," then kisses my face and hugs me to near strangulation,  I'll just assume he means "Sorry that I'm a punk, but I know you'll love me even if I am."  

Friday, April 19, 2013

2nd Annual Kid-Free Getaway








 

Last year's trip to Port Townsend was our first overnight away since having kids.  The place we stayed was not great, and we only stayed for one night, but we got a chance to reconnect with each  other and relax away from the boys.  We both felt like we came back better than we left, and that one night was just not quite enough. For this year's trip, we stayed in Long Beach at Adrift Hotel (I recommend a stay there, especially if you can get the Groupon.  They come up often).  The pictures tell most of the story, but we did a lot 

We biked the discovery trail through Cape Disappointment State Park.  
We visited Astoria and saw the Goonies House and the school from Kindergarten Cop.  
We laid around and read a lot. 
We talked about the kids, but not too much. 
We took a lot of pictures on cold beaches and ate food that wasn't good for us.  
We laughed at stupid girls who wore booty shorts on northwest beaches in April. 
We woke up without the instant demand of "Milk! Food!  Diego!"  
We remembered what it is like to be just the two of us. 
We held conversations without interruptions.  
We played music that we don't listen to with the kids around.  
We watched a sunset together, we stopped because we saw interesting animals. 
We found out that after two days, we miss our boys and feel ready to come home. 
We discovered that two hours after being home, we'd be ready to leave again. 

We're still ready to go back, in a lot of ways, but in the week since, Aidan has started at his new school, and Chris is back to work.  A new routine in has started, and it feels good, refreshed.  We appreciate each other and the boys more when we come back.  We're already counting down until the next time.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Just Another Manic Sunday


My Facebook status read "Reason my son is crying:  We won't let him wear a mohawk to church"  It wasn't just that he was crying.  He was so distraught, you'd assume his dog had just died.  Strike that, he hates our dog most of the time.  Nevertheless, the emotions ran high before we even left the house for church.

When he had finally calmed down, the sitting in church wasn't too bad.  We ask that the boys sit quietly until after the sacrament is done, and then they are free to color, read, or draw quietly while we try to listen.  It usually doesn't work out this way, but we weren't doing too badly until I heard Colin's voice, chipper and unusually quiet: "Ballllllllls open!  Ballllllls closed!"  was on repeat as he pried Chris' knees apart.  When we realized what he was saying, Chris sat up and I scooped Colin over to me.

"Colin," I said, hoping I couldn't be heard, that the two empty rows between us and the next family would be enough to keep our privates conversation private, "we don't talk about balls at church."

"No, Mommy, I was talking about Daddy's balls," he explained at full volume (he only has two: loud and the extremely rare library volume).

I brought my voice to a whisper "We don't talk about anyone's balls"

"I just did, Mommy!" He put his hands out, looking at me.

"You did."  He had me there.  "Just please don't anymore, please.  Hey, look! Wonder Pets."  I tried to engage him in his coloring book.

"How 'bout Aidan's balls?"  He was back at full volume by now.

"NO.  ONE'S.  BALLS."  I whisper intently at him. "Look, here's Tuck.  Color Tuck."

We were fine until a few moments later, when he asked to use the bathroom.  We rushed there, but had a wardrobe malfunction, leaving us with totally soaked pants.  I stripped him, and stood him on the counter.  We had a sweater, a polo, and no pants.  Remembering a mid-90's TV movie about a family trapped in the woods,  I started to put the sweater on as pants.

Colin burst into giggles.  Then, I sat him down on the floor, and the waist of his sweater dropped down to the ground over his legs.  More giggles.  I picked him up again, and we rushed to the church library, where I rifled through the lost and found to find something (anything) that would work as a belt.  I came across a Boy Scout neckerchief and smiled at the volunteer librarian.  "Be prepared"  I smiled as I rolled and tied it around his waist.

Colin and I walked back to the chapel and I stepped behind a divider.  Making eye contact with Chris, I mouthed "We have a situation."   The people seated near us suppressed giggles as Chris took the pants on a trip home and with replacements. Colin strutted around, proud of his new style.

 After sacrament meeting was over, I took him to a classroom and took the picture above).  He stood there, pleased as could be,  jaw thrust forward in triumph, as though he was thinking to himself  "and they thought a mohawk would be bad."    So next week, if my child sports a mohawk to church- just be glad he's wearing pants.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

test for bloglovin'

this is only a test.  pay no attention to that man behind the curtain.

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School Change for Aidan


Aidan got to take two spring breaks this year- the one on the school calendar, and and extra week while we worked on changing schools.  While we'd planned to bring him to our neighborhood school at the beginning of the next school year, circumstances expedited the change.  

It was a really hard couple of weeks.  I don't want to share all the details of what and why.  We don't really know all of the details around the incident that led to us taking him out of his school.  Obviously, this is a big part of the problem- but what we do know is that we doubted a kid that rarely gives us a reason to, and he was devastated when we chose not to believe him and laid down consequences.  Once we realized that things weren't what they had seemed that, we started working on making things right, starting with a change in teachers- meaning a change of school.  Making that decision was the worst of it-after that, it was paperwork and phone calls and more paperwork and more phone calls.  On our way out to Long Beach, we got the call that there was an unexpected opening in our neighborhood school, vacated last Friday by a boy named Ayden.   It melted the stress away, allowing us to relax and enjoy our trip. 

He started at his new school on Monday, and it seems like our Aidan is mostly handling the transition well.  Different rules and standards of behavior take time to adjust to, and he's not entirely sure how he feels about them. Making new friends can be an intimidating thing to face, especially for a kid who is a homebody.  Through the messy parts and even now, he's been a bit more emotional, a bit more touchy, and we're re-learning that a kindergartner, even one with the vocabulary of an old man and a basic knowledge of evolution, is still a very little boy who is very tender.  

Friday, April 12, 2013

Thoughts After a Getaway


Chris and I took a few days this week to escape to Long Beach, just the two of us.  Last year we took our first trip away, just the two of us, and realized how much we needed it. We come back better parents, more patient, and more connected to each other.  The weeks leading up to the trip brought us a number of different stresses, which managed to resolve before we got to the beach, or seemed to disappear, at least temporarily.

The time away gave me some time to think, and I want to put my conclusions down before I really lose them.  So, if you'll bear with me, I'll share them.

1- Hunger needs to have a place in my life.  Related, when I have enough peace around me to pay attention to how the things I am eating make me feel, I realize that I feel like crap.  I need to be more conscious of what I put in my stomach, and when I do it.

2- I married the best person for me.  I know this, but sometimes it's a fact that gets covered up by the mess that is life.  I love that he's my best friend, an awesome partner, and that even after being together more than ten years, he'll still stop to suck face with me in the middle of a forest path.  Too much?  Not sorry.

3- I need more:  time on the floor playing, cuddles, reading,  making, walking, being outside, taking pictures, writing our stories, and  quiet time with my thoughts.

4-  I need less: Internet, negative self-talk, comparison, non-food edibles, apologizing, focusing on the negative, procrastinating what I know is good for me.

5- Fixing hair and putting on makeup takes less time than I thought and should be done more often.

6- I miss writing, sharing, and creating.


And that's the result of two days away, and a few days of waking up without the instant demand for a sippy cup in my face. Clearing my head for a while  Pictures and details of the trip to come.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Where Things go to Disappear in Plain Sight


My husband installed a kitchen counter and tile back splash over his week vacation from school.  We bought our home during a time when there was an incentive for first time home buyers, and we received a sizeable bonus.  With it, he installed bamboo floors and cabinets, but we were short the money for the counters, so we'd had melamine board in place for three and a half years.  This addition has done a lot for the kitchen.  I joked with Chris, after all was said and done "hold on now, this looks like a grown-up's kitchen."   The corner in the picture was sort of the black hole of our kitchen, what is referred to on a home organization blog I subscribe to, as the invisible corner.  It was where things went to disappear.  All our CD's, miscellaneous parts, rocks and baubles the kids would bring in.  Once it was cleared, we moved over our cookie jars (not one of them has ever housed cookies, I think), to hold the place clean, and keep it from becoming the black hole of the kitchen once again.  Since the installation, we have been working hard at keeping the counters clean, to prevent any more black holes like that.

Similarly, I recently changed up what service I used to subscribe to blogs, leaving about half of what I was reading behind as I did so,  and as I wrote earlier this year, broke up with Pinterest.  For a while, it was doing really well with that, finding less time at the computer meant more time with my kids and more productivity.  Unfortuntely, with nothing to hold the place of that time I opened up, bad habit have crept back in.  To the point that as we drove home from Aidan's school, detailing "first Aidan does homework, then I make snack, you guys can go in the playroom..." and Colin piped up "... and you'll sit in the 'puter chair!"

Well, yeah.  Thanks for calling me out, kid.

This week, I'm working on clearing out that space again, and filling it in with something concrete, to set something in that place to remind me not to disappear in plain sight of my kids and husband. I'm writing things to do with my kids on the calendar- so that they are as clear a priority as any other appointment. The time I'm trying to open up for them will pass anyway.  It's my choice what I do with it.

Friday, March 1, 2013

March: Goals


Last month, I took the course "I Choose" from Big Picture Classes.  I really enjoyed it, and I think it has some good information in it on how to keep motivated, and balance goals in all aspects of life.  I liked that a lot. I also love that the instructor (whose blog I love) encourages the phrase "I choose."  I think it elevates the things to a little above a to-do list.

So, following through on my intention to use this goal as a motivator, and a means to document my goals, I give you the things I choose to accomplish this March.  I'll keep you posted.  Right now, I have a book I need to dive into.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Given the Choice Between Laughter and Tears

This?  Oh, it's just this most flattering picture of me, ever, thanks.

If you're a Facebook friend , you may have surmised that the last few months haven't been great for our family.  There wasn't any one huge problem, but rather a series of medium-sized challenges, dropping slowly and constantly on us like Chinese water torture. With each month, it felt like we had a little hope of things looking up, but they'd soon be smashed on the ground by another crappy thing, another family member sick, another unforeseen circumstance.  While I'm hesitant to jinx anything, I think that we're finally turning a corner.  For future reference, I'm putting down some things that have helped me.  Maybe they'll help you, too.

Indulge the grump:   
Whether it's your own mood, or a family members, just let it be.  Have that cry.  Take a nap.  Create a day-long marathon of your favorite guilty pleasure show.  Have a good long sulk, and let it be okay to say "everything sucks,"  for a time. I think my breaking point  (literally)  was when I broke a tooth last month.  Angry I decided to spend a Sunday on the couch, watching Alias and eating yogurt all day long, but when Monday came, I'd built up a reserve of energy to take on what needed to be done.

Do Something (Anything) Else:   
Sometimes things are just out of our control.  For my husband, that's when he gets to work. Yard work,  house cleaning, organization projects all happen at those moments.  I knit or bake in times of great stress. It's so good to have one thing where you can see progress or order- even when everything else is out of your control.  Also, if you can step out of your situation to reach out to another person, you might be surprised at what it does for your mood.  Dealing with hurt feelings and feeling all too likely to react with anger, I left my house to bring a loaf of bread to a friend.  Not only did I avoid the internet rage (the kind only expressed with caps lock ON) that I wanted to spew, I found my mood was better, and it allowed room for some perspective when I literally walked away from that fight.

Embrace what's good (even if you have to look hard):  
Out of nowhere, Colin started choking, having decided to try to take on a stack of cookies like a competitive eater.  I swept out his mouth just in time to be thrown up on.  Later, after clean up and settling a scared boy, I brought him in to snuggle with me.   He whispered "Thanks for taking out my choking, and cleaning up my throw up, Mommy"  and put his head back down.  Obviously, the situation was not fun- but I'd probably do it again to have that sweet moment.

On the other hand... the fact is that my kids are hilarious.   They're often crude,  smart mouthed and exhausting, but they're hilarious. Given the choice between laughter and tears, I'm going to accept that I will hear the word "balls" a lot in my house, and choose to laugh.  I post these things on Facebook, because looking back, I only want  remember the funny and the sweet.

Give Up:  
Embracing survival mode is one of the only ways we've made it through some of the days in the last while.  I have no shame in admitting that I put my youngest in high chair in front of a morning of Mickey Mouse Clubhouse so that I could recover after ugly dental work.  I would put on jeans to take Aidan to school and come back home to jammie it up until pick up time, and we all had PB&J or Top Ramen for dinner more than once.  While my mommy-mind was freaking out about how I failed at life, I'm looking back thinking "I'm just glad we made it!"

The truth is, your  A-game wouldn't be called your A-game if it was the only one you had.  It's okay to use the 3rd-string playbook when times are hard. That's what worked for us.  I hope somewhere  amid my talking about vomit and balls, there's something here that will help you, too.

Friday, February 1, 2013

InstaFriday 2.01.13







1. snuggling in an attempt to delay bedtime. 2.  loving on that beast. 3. Aidan's animal grouping illustrations.  4. after dinner, the kitchen floor became an art studio. 5. "I put my arm on you to feel you better, Aidan"  6.  A heart that appeared in the slipped when I finished binding it off.  

life rearranged