Tuesday, December 9, 2014

A day in my life

Yesterday I was thinking about how long it had been since I'd posted a blog. Yeah, I know. Too long. In my head, I haven't been all that busy with anything, just too lazy to write one up. If this were my livelihood, we'd be living in a cardboard box right about now, but thankfully it isn't!

So, here's why I've been absent here. This was my yesterday, in no certain order, though mostly chroniological
Wake up at 6:45 for 10 minutes to myself. Be interrupted by the 4 year old 3 minutes later. Make breakfast for me and for him. Make a very important phone call at 7:15. Get the baby up, make his breakfast, feed him. Change everyone's diapers and/or facilitate restroom usage. Look at the fridge/freezer/pantry, assess whether a trip to the store is required. Yes it is, but no I won't get around to it today. Think on that for a bit, then push it aside in favor of things I can do something about.

Bake a berry buckle cake, coconut macarons, and make two batches of Rice Krispie Treats (those are so much harder to stir than I remember as a child). Wash, dry and put away two loads of laundry. Wash and dry a third load of laundry. Make lunch for all of us, none of whom eat the same things. Lol.

Make three more phone calls. Take a call from my husband. Text with my sister after we figure out whether it will be via Facebook or phone this time. Send her a picture of my youngest walking around with half a roll of aluminum foil. Send her a picture of my oldest's haircut (I took off about 4 inches of lovely but untamable curls.)

Mediate at least 15 different disputes between the boys. Negotiate toy usage and turn taking. Remind the youngest to be gentle with our very elderly cat. Smile broadly as he pats her gently and doesnt' actually pull her fur out this time.

Cut up all those rice krispie treats into squares about 2"x 2" in preparation for dipping them in chocolate and adding Christmas sprinkles (going to do that soon!) Try to use the restroom without any special helpers at least 3 times. Fail miserably every time.

Nurse the baby sixish times. Put the baby down for two naps. Play on facebook while baby naps and preschooler watches "Christmas Elmo" for the 43,000th time. (Seriously, the kid won't watch anything else right now.) Attempt to get the Dreidel song out of my head. Fail miserably.

Address three Christmas cards and stuff a couple more. (I'm an underachiever in this area.) Pick up toys over and over and over again. Spend way too much time on facebook and texting. Beat myself up because I SHOULD be doing x, y, and z. Coach myself through letting it go. Think about that song in Frozen and audibly appreciate that I have boys that don't care about Frozen.

Realize that by not going to the grocery earlier, I have no steak for dinner. Convince my hubs to go out (it wasn't that hard). Drive by Christmas lights on the way to the restaurant. Eat in shifts while the baby walks around getting votes for President 2052. Overhear a VERY awkward conversation between a customer and the manager at the restaurant. The customer finally walks out without paying after having eaten almost all of their meal. Commiserate with the server.

Run to Aldi afterward for a few staples. Convince the children to go to sleep. Worry about my husband who apparently had a stress induced headache last night. Pray and meditate. Read and write an assignment for my very important call tomorrow. Collapse into bed.

I did nothing all day, right?

Monday, September 29, 2014

I hate birthday parties

"How can you say that? Doesn't everyone love birthday parties?"

No. I don't. Here's why.
I made this garland. I <3 it. 

I don't hate all birthday parties. Really, I just hate big birthday parties. Like the one I'm throwing Dino Boy and Dino Baby on Saturday. Yeah, even though I hate them, I'm hosting one. What. the. heck?

As a kid, I was not deprived of birthday parties. Every year we had a family party. They all kind of run together, honestly. When I was 12, 13 and 16, my parents hosted friends parties for me. I remember them all distinctly, and mostly, not for good reasons.

When I was 12, in 7th grade, the "cool" thing to do was have a dance for your birthday. In hindsight, this was insane. My parents rented the local community center for $25 (I wonder if it still costs that?) and brought our tape player and told the kids they could bring tapes. My mom made a cake and had some other snack foods available. It went from 7-10, three of the longest hours of my life.

I grew up in a small farming community, and country kids just don't dance with each other. We weren't even cool enough to know how to line dance at that point! So the girls danced with each other while the guys hung around on the outer edges. Until the guys disappeared. My dad got suspicious (he reminds me a lot of Red Foreman from That 70's Show). He found all the guys in the hallway outside the bathrooms attempting to scale the walls of the two-story building. After that the bathroom was policed. You could only go in one at a time, and he timed you. Fun times. The highlight of that evening was receiving a stuffed Christmas Reindeer from the boy I had a crush on, named Robert. I took that thing with me to college.
I used the leftovers from the first one to make this one. Thrifty! 

When I turned 13, my parents had apparently learned their lesson and decided no boys would be allowed at this party, which ended up being a surprise sleep-over. I thought I was allowed to have one friend sleep over, but my parents invited all the girls in my class (6!) plus my cousin from the other side of the county. She was practically an international visitor to be honest, since she attended a different elementary school and seemed more worldly than us. We rented Gremlins from the local video store, which completely freaked me out and gave me nightmares. We also enjoyed putting on a fashion show with the clothes from my mother's closet. She was a good sport. At midnight we drank sparkling white grape juice, which one friend thought was champagne. She was shocked that my mom would allow that and refused to participate. My most memorable gift this year was from my best friend, Kelli. She gave me a Boston tape (which I think I still have), and clear mascara, my first make-up. I think the overnight thing did my parents in though, because...

When I turned 16, they had a dinner for me at the local Applebee's. All I remember about that party is that the waiter was really cute, and I was totally embarrassed when he sang "Happy Birthday" to me.

Fast forward 22 years. I am hosting a 4th and 1st birthday party for my two Dino Kids. It's a pirate party because dinosaurs are no longer so cool as pirates. So I've worked my tushy off for almost a month now to make this happen, all because I won two hours of an entertainer named Silly Miss Tilly at a birth expo in March. Can't let that go, can I?

So, here's the plan. Have the party at the park before it gets too cold, so the kids will have plenty of space to run around and be crazy. Serve mostly fruit and water. There will be cake, too. I'm not heartless. Have LOTS of crafts, games, etc. to keep little boys busy. Finish by 6 so we can get to bed on time. Sounds easy right? Only, here's the problem. Pinterest. I search for pirate party and up pops 6 bazillion versions of the height of pirate partydom. I feel inadequate. I MUST be better!

Hence, a month of prep for a party for a 4 year old and 1 year old. The four year old better remember this! I'll show the 1 year old pictures until it is seared into his brain. So who am I doing this for, really? Me. I always wanted a fun, cool party and my parents just weren't fun, cool party people. Bless their hearts. They loved me, and they tried their hardest, but it never quite worked out. So, here I am setting the bar way too high, I'm sure. Next year, nobody's getting anything though. Dino Boy will have to wait until he's 12 for another party, or at least as long as it takes me to forget all the work this one is taking.

P.S. I'll post pics of the final outcome after the party on Saturday.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

So apparently I took the summer off blogging without even realizing it. Summers in Minnesota are really too glorious to miss anyway, so it all worked out.

Recently life has been handing me lessons on contentment over and over and over and over. And over again. This is good because I'm really bad at getting it the first time.

Yesterday I had the most amazing day with my boys and there was literally nothing special about it. We hung out at home until after lunch. Then we ran some errands, including grocery shopping, mailing packages at the post office and dropping off a bag of clothing at Goodwill. Contentment is what made yesterday stand out.

After waiting in line at the post office (what was I thinking going in on a Monday?), we took some time to blow off steam. The line was long and the boys were preternaturally patient. There is a lovely stretch of grass right next to the post office dotted with trees. Dino Boy recognized this as the perfect place to run between the trees and the flag pole. Dino Baby saw this as a great place to chew on rocks and eat grass. I saw this as an opportunity to be in the moment.

And this is what contentment to me really means. Me being in the moment and just loving where I am and who I am with, exactly the way they are with no thought for what comes next or the baggage I carry with me from the past. No questioning if I'm a good enough mom. No wondering if we'll be moving again soon. No fear about the isolation of another Minnesota winter. No thought of financial worries, relationship worries; no worries at all.

Dino Boy started a game where he would run away from me to the tree and then come hurtling back toward me with his hands outstretched. My job was to catch him as he tackled me to the ground. Dino Baby thought this was the most fun game he has ever played in his short life. We all laughed heartily many times.

I need more of these moments in my life because they keep me from being crazy Mom. When I am present in the moment and content with myself, my situation and the other people around me, I do not rush anyone through anything in an effort to please someone else or myself. I do not parent according to strangers' dictates. I do not do anything but love people and myself, and there is nothing better than that type of contentment.

I will hold yesterday in my heart forever as a perfect example of what my life could be like if I just let it happen. And since I was so present and in the moment, I took no pictures. Here are a couple from a less content day at the apple orchard. We still had fun even if I spent a portion of the day ticked off that Dino Boy had a huge blow out and I forgot the back up shirt. Oh, well. It's still a beautiful memory.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

I get Sucked In by the Upsell

Honestly, I've been distracted from blogging lately. I keep thinking I'll get to it. The fact is, I have nothing profound to say, and I feel kind of silly even writing this post, but here goes.

Every week my husband watches the kids (he does NOT babysit), so I can get a few hours to myself. What I do with this time varies wildly from yoga to reading at the library to grocery shopping without little people to perusing the craft store shelves and wishing I had more money to craft with. Occasionally I splurge with a massage or something similar. Last night I splurged on a pedicure.

I ran by Joann's to get some fabric to start making one-yard aprons, and afterward I noticed a nail place just down the strip mall. Hmm...I looked at my toes and thought, yeah, I could use that. I walk down there and notice their door says they close at 7pm. It's 7:15. Well, shoot. I turn to walk away, but two enthusiastic nail ladies wave me in. There are people still in the store, so they are willing to take on another customer.

Somehow the woman knows I want a pedicure from the moment I walk in. Not sure if she's psychic or just happened to see my chipped nail polish and scraggly toenails from that far away. Maybe it's a lucky guess. Pedicures are $27. Okay, sounds good.

I love pedicures. I sit in the massage chair, read a magazine and let someone else take care of me for once. I try to avoid too much conversation, because frankly, I don't care. I want to just sit here and enjoy the silence and people watching. Interestingly, there was a couple (man and woman) across the aisle from me also getting pedicures. Both looked like Hell's Angels. Definitely not your stereotypical pedicure clients. Made me think twice about the judgments I make based on people's looks. See even getting a pedicure I can analyze myself and see ways to improve.

The lady asked if I wanted the gel pedicure. Had I heard of that?
Yes, but I really don't...
It lasts over a month long!
Well, that's interesting. I am obviously too busy to keep up my toes myself. Okay, how much?
$15 more.
Well, that's not too bad. Okay.

In walks a mom and her daughter. It is now after 8 and they were supposed to close at 7. They have two kid sized pedicure chairs, one looks like a throne and one looks like a cartoon bear. Weird. Whatever. Oh, no. The daughters feet are too big for the kid-sized throne. Her mom says, "She has lady sized feet." I smile and remember my own size 9s in 6th grade. Us poor girls with "good foundations" as my mother called them. Daughter slinks into the regular seat and focuses on texting on her phone.

Personally I find the mother/daughter spa experience kind of strange. I can not imagine me doing that with my mom when I was that age. I would've been mortified. And my mom was way too frugal/plain to go in for that. I think it's a sign of the times that this is much more acceptable as a way to bond today. Either way, the daughter barely looked up from her phone the whole time. Not much bonding going on there, unfortunately. As someone whose mom died too early, this situation pains me. It reminds me of all the times I chose to not take full advantage of my mother when she was alive.

Back to my toes. Do I want the regular pedicure or deluxe?
Definitely regular. Trying to stay focused here. I struggle when people want to add things on.
Have you ever waxed your eyebrows?
Wait, what? That caught me off guard. Um, yeah.
I can do it if you want.
Um, I don't really have the time today.
Are you scared?
No, had it done before. Not scared.
Where are you going after here?
Shoot, caught in a lie. To the grocery store and then home. Got to get back to the babysitter.
It only takes 5 minutes.
Fine, okay.
I can do your lip too.
Wait, what?
Real quick, you'll look fabulous.
See, this is what happens when an emotionally vulnerable stay-at-home mom who hasn't showered in two days gets her nails done! I should never have come in here. Fine, whatever.

By the time it's all said and done. My $27 pedicure cost me $65. Am I a sucker or what?

Regular pedicure $27
Upsell to Gel $15
Eyebrow wax $12
Lip wax $5
Tip $6

Ugh. And this is the real reason I don't do spa experiences more often. I get sucked in by the upsell. If I had stayed any longer I would've ended up with a gel manicure as well, I'm sure. I practically ran out of that place as she smiled and said, "Come back soon!"

On the plus side: My toe nails look awesome!

All it cost was $65.00 and my dignity. 

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Things learned so far

1. Giving up TV is harder for me than my 3 year old.

2. I'm an over reacher...I planned too many Lenten activities. I'm trying to get caught up, but am not holding my breath for today's wooden cross.

3. I've seen huge improvements in Daniel's creativity,  language ability,  and behavior since forgoing TV.

4. Without TV I need either more sleep or more caffeine.

5. I'm a better parent without watching TV all day,  but I'm not a bad parent for letting Daniel watch one show each day.

6. God loves that I want to be a better version of myself.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Lenten Prayer Pot

Our countdown has begun.

We managed today with only one episode of Curious George all day. I call that a success.

Here's our Lenten Prayer Pot. Dino Man wanted it to be orange.

Friday, February 28, 2014

Lent calendar completed!

It took way longer than I had expected, but I've finally got a plan of Lenten activities (one each day) laid out. Here's the list of preschool appropriate and family activities:

We are actually starting on Monday, March 3rd by planting some hyacinth bulbs we will force and making a countdown chain on the 4th.

Ash Wednesday: Create this Lenten Prayer Pot.
March 6: Start praying at bedtime.
March 7: Create this fish mobile.
March 8: Create and begin to fill a Lenten Alms Jar.
March 9: Create a home altar.
March 10: Trace hands. Discuss service as "giving a helping hand. "
March 11:  Make a wooden cross. Read John 19: 17.
March 12: Bake some goodies for our sitter.
March 13: Begin praying in the morning.
March 14: Create these sacrifice beads.
March 15: Make a crown of thorns. Read John 19: 2. Added crown to family altar.
March 16: Make rainbows with cotton balls and colored puffs in honor of St. Patrick's Day.
March 17: Celebrate St. Patrick's Day with Shamrock crafts.
March 18: Sift small rocks from large rocks. Discuss how big sins stay with us longer than small sins and emphasize the importance of asking forgiveness.
March 19: Make soft pretzels. Read Matt 26: 17-19.
March 20: Start praying at evening meal.
March 21: Use purple water to transfer with eye dropper. Discuss importance of purple in liturgical calendar.
March 22: Introduce the silence game and discuss importance of listening to God.
March 23: Make these kits to hand out to homeless on the street.
March 24: Make this stained glass cross.
March 25: Attach correct clothespins to liturgical color wheel.
March 26: Create this Lenten rosary.
March 27: Create the base for our Jesus Tree.
March 28 and 29: Make ornaments for Jesus Tree.
March 30: Decorate Jesus Tree.
March 31: Create and discuss these Life of Jesus printables.
April 1: Make this seashell cross.
April 2: Create puppets and tell the story of Daniel in the Lions' Den.
April 3: Take bulbs out of closet.
April 4: Visit the conservatory to bask in the beauty of God's creation.
April 5: Visit a nursing home.
April 6: Make and decorate a dove, a symbol of peace.
April 7: Bake hot cross buns.
April 8: Use these printables to tell the story of the loaves and fishes.
April 9: Create these Easter rosary books.
April 10: Prepare and eat a Passover meal.
April 11: Create this torn paper art.
April 12: Make this footprint donkey and handprint palms in anticipation of Palm Sunday.
April 13: Make paper Palm leaves.
April 14: Create an Easter garden.
April 15: Make cupcakes or cookies for Daddy's work friends.
April 16: Create this cotton ball lamb.
April 17: Wash children's feet. Discuss significance.
April 18: Make these Easter story cookies.
April 19: Dye Easter eggs.
April 20: Easter mass and egg hunt.

We are also hoping to have one of our priests over for dinner (now scheduled for the 29th) as well as one of our church friends.

Hope this gives you some ideas for Lent. If you have a tradition your family enjoys for Lent, share it below.