Sunday, February 28, 2010

Puzzling

Walking through the living room tonight, I overheard butterbain say, "we have a jolly mom!"

Limabain quickly corrected him with this emphatic statement, "She's not jolly, she's skinny and nice!"

If asked which I felt like I embodied now, I'd have to plead "D-none of the above."

Thank God their perception can alter mine.

Lib



Sent via BlackBerry by AT&T

Good Morning

Pee in the bed.
Pee on the wall.
Might just find
Pee anywhere at all.

Another day, another story,
Em

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Who's the mole?

Tonight (5:30pm is night, right?) I took Number 3 and Number 4 out to
dinner at an actual sit down restaurant by myself and on purpose. I
repeat, BY MYSELF and ON PURPOSE. I gave up this sort of things years
ago except for rare and extenuating circumstances. Such as, St. Joel
and Numbers 1-2, aka The Brothers, were at a basketball game, I was
hungry and too lazy to make dinner. Bingo!

I'm still in shock as I type this, but absolutely nothing happened. We
walked in, were seated, ordered our food, played a little air guitar
to the tunes while we waited, ate our food (ice cream is food, right?)
paid the bill and came home.

What's funny about that? Wonder if The Brothers tipped 'em off about
this whole blog thing?

Another day, another story,
Em

Thursday, February 25, 2010

The Best Rx

I think we could all use a laugh and lighten up a little.  If you can't laugh at Number 4 singing "Pants on the Ground", you might need an actual prescription (and sadly, I don't have those credentials).

Enjoy!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f2xA3TiWnb4

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

This Week's Juggling Act 2-24-10

Ever feel like it is just bad news, tragedy or illness after another?  Is it because we are getting older?  Do we just know more people than we used to?

It is difficult lately to find the balance.  More difficult to simultaneously juggle the emotions of good news, accomplishments and the joy (albeit monotony) in the everyday with loved ones' cancer, a friend's anguish over her brother's murder and just garden variety disappointment.  Throw in the natural peaks and valleys under my own roof, and it is a lot to manage.

Despite the cliche, I try to notice the beauty - in the laundry, in the PB&Js, in coffee with friends, in my new nail polish...there is plenty if I open my eyes to it.  And simply showing up for friends who are jumping over life's inevitable hurdles, helps focus the light a little more keenly on what is most important.



How do you juggle life's ups and downs?
Em and Lib

Saturday, February 20, 2010

I Felt Nothing



didn't cry.  I didn't think melancholy thoughts about my son as a baby or about him growing up and dating girls other than his mom. I didn't turn to mush when the DJ intentionally played tear-jerker, country songs.  I didn't well up once.
Obscure reference from the musical A Chorus Line:
AND I DUG RIGHT DOWN TO THE BOTTOM OF MY SOUL 
TO SEE WHAT I HAD INSIDE. 
YES, I DUG RIGHT DOWN TO THE BOTTOM OF MY SOUL 
AND I TRIED, I TRIED. 
THEY ALL FELT SOMETHING, 
BUT I FELT NOTHING.
I thought I would be emotional last night about my mom - the only person I've known who would truly appreciate the 5th Grade Cotillion Mother Son Sweetheart Dance - not being alive to see my oldest son in his blue blazer and red striped tie and his first boutonniere. But I felt nothing.
We ate cake and drank punch.  We foxtrotted to The Black Eyed Peas "I Gotta Feeling" and did The Electric Slide with all the other parent-kid couples.  He had an excellent time doing the Macarena with other 5th grade boys while not talking to the 5th grade girls. 

It was fine.  It was wonderfully just fine.

Another day, another story,
Em

Friday, February 19, 2010

"Mom, you have something on your forehead..."

I pray they've got something everlasting in their hearts. 

Hope your Lent is blessed!

Lib

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Really ?!?

Did I really get a dictionary out to find something that starts with the letter N for Number 3 to take to preschool?

Did I really ask "child who will remain numberless" when he last showered?

Did I really let Number 3 to eat Wheat Thins for breakfast?

Did I really make homemade bread from scratch?

Really.

Another day, another story,
Em

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

This Week's Juggling Act

My juggle is more a daily juggle, not unlike the movie Groundhog Day. 

It's the juggle between DOING: which everyday includes but is not limited to cooking, cleaning, meditating, praying,  teaching, pickingupthefloor, reminding boys about pickingstuffupoffthefloor, cleaning bathrooms, making beds, planning meals, scheduling piano lessons, reminding boys to practice piano, working, training for a half marathon, practicing yoga, being a friend-wife-mother-daughter-sister-active church member, keeping up with fashion trends, oh, yeah and twitter.

And Being: myself. With all my character flaws, doubts, goals, fears, and dreams.

That looks a bit skewed to me.  How do I cultivate my dreams and goals and still accomplish my to-do list with love?

That's my juggle, holding onto my heart in the midst of all that doing.
Are you juggling something similar?

Lib

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Inspiration

"Mom, when you get a job and more money we should get a new car,"
explained Number 3.

Another day, another story,
Em

Monday, February 15, 2010

Seriously

"MOOOOMMMMM, he peed on the table."

No, we don't have a dog.

Another day, another story,
Em

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Better days



A mere 730 days ago the mainbain and I were considering the D-word. I wouldn't have considered a picture like this possible.  We had both come to the end of ourselves and couldn't get around the enormous road-block that presented itself in our path. 

The good news about coming to the end of myself and admitting it was this: I could actually ask for help. I could actually get the help fear had kept me from admitting I needed.  I could articulate how depressed and overwhelmed I was with life. I could re-start the journey of becoming who I was created to be. My Faith could grow and ebb and grow some more until the idea of a mustard seed wasn't so far fetched. Gratitude can became a regular practice and I could feel the miracle in looking forward to a new day. 



The moment he serenaded me last night in front of a crowd of our closest friends for Valentines I knew the truth: the graft has taken and better days are here. To stay.


Lib





Valentine's treats

I'm really not that festive either.  I'm just closer to returning to myself after birthing 4 babies in 8 years than Em is*. While food is my preferred medium, I'm no Ace of Cakes. For V-day I suggested just making Valentine cookies.  No need to purchase anything but butter.
 

No dealing with a lot of kitchen counter clutter. At least not once the cleanup was done. 

 
I can feel my creative juices beginning to flow again.  Not having to juggle this project around breastfeeding, naps and sugar highs and lows made it Fun!

Oh, and 'hot stuff' was their idea...

Lib
* all that means is I had baby #4 before she did and IMHO there's a big difference between your baby being 3 and your baby being 4.

Adventureland


The big boys (I think everybody with more than 2 kids has a line between the big ones and the little ones) have spent the last week carefully constructing a hay fort in the barn loft. They are quite particular in the building process, upgrading minute details every day. One day they changed it so wind was blocked from one angle another day they made the rooms tall enough to allows easy adult access.  It's impressive - and I'm not just saying that because it's been partially built by stringbain and limabain.  We'll see if my predictions of engineering and architecture careers pan out...

I was under the impression they were just doing this for fun during the day...but they had an ulterior motive.  Once they had perfected the fort they wanted to try it out and sleep in it.  My first instinct was to say no.  Seriously, the forecast was a low of 20 degrees that night.  We don't own any decent camping equipment.  We have 1 sleeping bag with a broken zipper that doesn't even properly close. I've discussed my camping issues before, and I knew I had two choices: let them figure out how to make sleeping in  the barn/hay fort work or totally squash their dreams and ambition. 

I chose door number 1. I had to, I mean they're 10 and 12, and they've got to make progress on true independence, not me checking on them every half hour.  Saying no would be easier for me in the short term...a lot less worry and fewer tips on wearing long johns and extra shirts.  Long term though, not so much.  Long term, I don't want their memory of me to be one that only talks about how hard the next step in adventureland will be. You know that voice that says: it's going to be hard, cold, dark and difficult without the right equipment.

Pretty sure that's a life lesson.  A lot of times life is hard, cold, dark and difficult.  Even as a resourceful adult it doesn't feel like you've got the right equipment all the time, hell not even half the time if you're me.  But you get encouragement and forge ahead...and wind up with another (hopefully positive) adventure under your belt, and if your adventure is in a barn in the winter, sometimes you wake up with a duck on your face!

Lib

Saturday, February 13, 2010

It's Just Another Day

It's not that I'm ANTI Valentine's Day.  I'm just not very festive.  I have my moments every now and then, but as far as the "minor" holidays, I'm just not that into it.  Halloween.  No costume.  St. Patrick's Day.  No green.  Valentine's Day.  No flowers or dinner plans or flowery card.

St. Joel is basically off the hook tomorrow.  But just in case any men out there who want to try this at home, it isn't quite that simple.  This equation works out to 5% my innate practicality and 95% his everyday extraordinariness.  He wasn't elevated to Saint for nothin'.

You see, I don't really "need" Valentine's Day because he:

  • takes me on dates all the time
  • compliments me when I look great 
  • generally overlooks the sweatpants, dark circles and gray hair
  • does his own laundry
  • doesn't consider taking care of our 4 kids "babysitting"
  • is the same no matter how good or how bad life gets
  • is really good at grocery shopping
  • tells me he loves me at the end of every phone call

Another day, another story,
Em

Friday, February 12, 2010

The reticent homeschooler

When we moved out of the city into the middle-of-nowhere we had a 2 year old and a baby.  School was the farthest thing from my mind.  My single solitary goal most days was to get a shower.  Alone.   I was privileged to go here, and my view of elementary education has been skewed by places like this. There's nothing even similar within driving distance of where we'd chosen to park ourselves. 

All that to say my decision to home school has been an evolving one.   Like most everyone, who values their sanity the thought of spending all day, everyday with my kids with no break in sight didn't do much to entice me.  Especially since Mainbain was traveling 3-5 nights a week for business.  Having been homeschooled for 3 years myself, my accute awareness of the uber-nerdy homeschooler stereotype didn't exactly fuel my teaching fire.  

My super wise mother enlightened me one day by pointing out I was already homeschooling.  Stringbain was 4 years old and everytime he asked a question I answered, or showed him how to do something new, he was learning.  I was already his teacher.  It occurred to me that what intimidated me was my perception of teaching.   The 8-3 behind the desk or standing at a chalkboard deal.  I'm more of a couch or kitchen table kind of girl.

As I flirted with the idea that I was already doing IT, the idea of IT became much more reasonable.  Every time we baked cookies together, he was learning.  Every time we walked to the barn and he noticed something new and we talked about it, he was learning. Every time we went grocery shopping and we talked about prices and money, he was learning.  Yes, he did some writing assignments and yes, teaching him to read was ridiculously hard challenging. 

Time passed and I did become more and more overwhelmed by doing IT all myself.  While I adore math, when I teach it I become a Nazi - that took about a month to work out.  We were blessed with a Teacher who volunteered to take over math for me.  It's been an ever-evolving process, and I'm always looking for ways to expand and grow their daily schooling.  They just started a yoga class this morning and we have a co-op for one subject and a math tutor.  I feel like they are being given the best I can offer considering our particular circumstances. 

At the end of the day-week-month-quarter-semester and my stint as their teacher, I want them to love learning.  I want them to be explorers and adventurers, in the world as well as their own minds. I'm working hard to give them that opportunity.

For now that's as good as my homeschooling philosophy gets.

Lib
PS - check the new tab to see what resources DO fuel my learning fire!

In Retrospect

At the time, I really thought it was hard.  Newborns need constant everything.  Feeding, changing, burping.  In hindsight, 10+ years ago mostly I just sat on the sofa holding and looking at Number 1 for hours at a time while watching The Learning Channel.  Now?  Now is a different story entirely.

Now, four pre-school to pre-teen boys constantly want completely different things all at the same time.  Number 1 wants to text fellow 5th graders, eat enormous amounts of food, watch ESPN and listen to The Black Eyed Peas.  Number 2 wants to watch TV, play video games and just relax.  Number 3 wants to rule the world, perfect his transition time between moods and listen to The Black Eyed Peas.  Number 4 wants to upgrade to the all-inclusive sippy cup, goldfish, master suite resort plan.

I want to sit on the sofa for hours at a time watching The Learning Channel.

Another day, another story,
Em

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Flattery Will Get You Everywhere

Including on 16 Balls in the Air.

Great video post by our new, fabulous friend from San Fran, Lizzie B.  Check it, and other intriguing video posts, out on http://lizziebtv.com/2010/02/blissdom-conference-mom-bloggers-unite.

Another day, another story,
Em

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

This Week's Juggling Act

Each week we are going to share one of our current Juggling Acts.  We all have a lot of responsibilities.  Most of us work (some for actual money) as well as juggle kids, husbands, homework, Facebook, pets, dinner and, of course, laundry.  Inevitably a ball or two are going to be added and dropped now and then, but we find it's best to just pick them up and keep going.  If you have any juggling stories or tips on how you keep it all up in the air, please share them with us.


I'm not sure when Valentine's Day was elevated to uber-holiday status right behind Christmas, Thanksgiving and Halloween.  In addition to all normally required household tasks and 2 consecutive-all-4 kids-home-all-day Snow Days this week the boys' collective calendar includes:  4 school parties on 2 different days that require 4 red paper-wrapped cereal boxes, 80 personally addressed Valentines (+1 teacher-requested heartfelt note to the 4 year old), 40 juice boxes and a bag of pretzels.

What are you juggling?

Another day, another story,
Em

Saturday, February 6, 2010

What I Missed

Number 1 had career high score in his basketball game. AND the game was stopped briefly because Number 3 was laying down on the court under the basket.

Another day, another story,
Em

Friday, February 5, 2010

Public service announcement!


{Closed for the
weekend} 
awaits!
 

your favorite, 

most read, 

immensely talented bloggers 

will be back with fresh ideas on 

Monday!
 


Wednesday, February 3, 2010

This warrants a post...



Because there will always be a part of my heart that loves rocking someone to sleep.

Because at 4 falling asleep outside of bed is an anomaly.

Because you never know the last time, until it's come and gone.

This could have been it.

Lib

Monday, February 1, 2010

The Rollercoaster

 

I know it's not just boys... I am aware of people with girls who are completely aghast surprised by their off-spring every.single.day.

The DOWN part of my rollercoaster ride yesterday was when mexicanjumpingbain decided to cut his own hair.  Right before church. Obviously it's the haircut equivalent of a 7 year old self-portrait. 

While I'm grateful to announce I had several UP sections in my rollercoaster, the one that brought me to tears was listening stringbain and limabain singing in church.  I was standing next to them and stopped singing in order to hear their sweet pre-pubescent voices. Clear, innocent and most importantly present.

Those voices helped put the haircut in perspective.

The roller coaster continues...everyday.
Lib

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