Saturday, December 31, 2011

Goodbye 2011

I haven't been blogging much lately. Been busy with Christmas and stress and life and all that. My goal in 2012 (well one of them but who am I kidding? I have the same handful of goals every year) is to blog regularly. Every day record something. Even just a few snippets of our day, maybe progress, maybe not. But something to remember later.

So on that note, on the last day of 2011, we:

slept in. A lot. All 4 kids were up til almost midnight last night watching Episode 4 of Start Wars and were all wiped out. So we slept in. We're talking 10:30 plus. Amazingly wonderful.

went to a friend's birthday party (left all 4 kids there while they played party games and had cake), then the Mailman and I

went shopping. Bought new running shoes, and a few new clothing items--that are not 100% black or gray or brown. I'm trying to branch out.

had dinner at my mother in laws. Late Christmas. Ham and meatloaf. With ice cream cake for my sister in law's birthday.

bought a TV Guardian. We have wanted one for a long time but didn't want to pay big bucks for one. Finally found one for $15 on Craigslist, an hour from our house but saved a bundle of money. But a 2 hour drive with 4 squirrely kids on New Year's Eve? not so much fun.

took the kids to see a Walkway of Lights. Last day of the year, last day for the lights display to be open. It was fun and exciting and cold. and pretty much dead. Apparently a Christmas lights display at 10 p.m. on a cold, rainy New Year's Eve is not considered a hotspot.

came home, made popcorn and watched old home videos for a bit, snuggled up on the couch with all 4 kids in their footie pajamas.

got in a bit of an argument with the Mailman right before midnight. So that wasn't a highlight of the day but what can you do?

watched the ball drop while the kids blew their little horn thingamabobs and hugged each other.

Perfect. How could 2012 get any better than this?

Sunday, November 13, 2011

What a week...

I believe I posted last on Monday, the beginning of this week. I haven't posted any Thankful posts or any progress on my goals. Or anything, at all.

Since Monday, there was been much going on--and sadly, I don't mean in the way of progress on my 2012 goals.

Monday, approximately 9:30 p.m.:
there was much stomach aching and vomit at our house. #'s 1 and 3, the odd numbered kids, the curly heads, as we call them, both started in at approximately 9:30. Even though they are 11 and 6, one a girl, one a boy--they have a lot in common. Both do well at school with little effort, both have the same crazy sense of humor, both have sometimes wildly curly blonde hair. Poor Eleanor in the middle at age 8--has to really work to get good grades, but is wildly creative. Has super straight, brownish hair, instead of their curly blonde locks--and is usually concerned for characters in movies when her odd-numbered siblings are laughing uncontrollably. But that's a post for another day. ;-)

So I guess it should not have surprised me that these two, in tandem, became ill. Not to mention, they (and Eleanor) had just the day before, closed a play they were in, with 40-some odd other kids, more than likely carrying around 40-some odd sets of germs and who knows what bugs.

So anyway....these two began on what would prove to be a nearly week long (or longer, possibly, but let's hope not), vomit fest. Up and down with them all night, holding buckets under them, and changing blankets, bringing them tiny sips of water. That's being a mom, right?

Tuesday, approximately 8:30 a.m.

There is something oddly peaceful about having recuperating children at home. They were not vomiting Tuesday, but were both lounging, weak, in and out of sleep on the couch, requesting sips of water and occasionally, another movie in the dvd player. On days like these, there was no refereeing to deal with, no arguing, no requests for snacks repeatedly (yes, I have a 6 year old boy who constantly wants to eat), not even any wanting to get on the computer and play games. No fever and no vomiting since the wee hours.

Just peaceful recuperation.

Wednesday, approximately 7 p.m.

Or as we have affectionately dubbed it, Round 2.

The Mailman and I coordinate the Junior Bible Quiz program at our church--our second meet of the season was yesterday, and we had a practice Wednesday evening. Right about the time to start, Eleanor began to complain that her stomach and throat hurt (which, at the time, I thought sounded odd--stomach and throat?) I told her to rest a minute, then to practice when she felt up to it. I went about my business, up to help a different group of kids I was helping coach.

5 or 10 minutes into practice, one of the kids' helpers came in and told me Eleanor was vomiting in the restroom.

Yup, I should have known. I don't know why I thought she could escape it. Without going into the gory details, another long night of vomiting awaited us.

Which was punctuated by

Thursday, approximately 2 a.m.

I woke up knowing exactly what Eleanor meant when she said her stomach and throat hurt. First hand. Needless to say, between me and her, it was another loooooooong night.

Thursday, all day

Another day of peaceful recuperation, although not so much when I'm one of the victims.Eleanor, Bea (who was not sick but willing), and I lounged on the couch most of the day, in and out of sleep, watching several movies. It hung on longer with me than it seemed to with the others.

I did not feel fabulous the next day, but I was not really sick. I will say, though, having purged for several hours, was really a good jumpstart for getting back to losing weight. Cha-ching.

I think Friday was for the most part, uneventful.

Saturday, approximately 8:30 a.m.

Our poor van got sick. On the way to our Bible Quiz meet one hour from here, on Interstate 69 North, our van started losing its ability to accelerate. Twice we felt like we hit a speed bump (at 70+ miles an hour?). He thinks it's probably the transmission slipping, but we're still not really sure. At the end of the meet day, we had it towed (and as luck would have it, our roadside assistance only pays for towing within 15 miles, so we got to cover the extra), so our mechanic will be able to look at it tomorrow, hopefully. (more on this later)

Saturday, approximately 10:30 p.m.

Round 3

no more needs to be said, just that last night was a really, really, really, long night with Bea. Let's just say that four year olds aren't so good at knowing when they are getting ready to vomit. So suffice it to say...

Sunday, Now

is another day home with a child instead of being at church. Recuperating (her from vomit, me from lack of sleep).

and catching up on lots and lots and lots of laundry.


Even though it's been a tough week. And will probably be tougher once we hear the prognosis from the mechanic.

I AM Thankful

My problems are vomiting and laundry and smelly old buckets that need bleached. And seven year old vans that quit working. The kids argue, I cry that I need a break, the house gets messy. My tummy hurts--their tummy hurts.

But I have a friend whose 13 year old son has leukemia. and there is a 3 year old granddaughter of someone we know who needs a heart transplant. And a 42 year old relative of a member of our church is dying and there is nothing anyone can do. She has 4 young sons at home. I can't imagine.

and that last item on my list, about sending a Christmas letter to Abhash and Kelebe? Those are boys who have NOTHING. They live in impoverished countries, and help them monthly, but it's not enough. We can't even send them any gifts, bigger than what will go flat into a business sized envelope.

They are excited to get stickers and a letter in the mail. They tell us in their broken written English that they pray for our family daily. Do we always remember to pray for them? Sadly, and ashamedly, no. We get caught up in everything here. The vomit, the arguing kids, the messy house, the clutter.

And yesterday? A friend of ours whose daughter was also going to the Bible quiz meet happened to need to follow us to the meet, because she didn't know the way. So when our van broke down, and we managed to get it into a rest stop, she was there. We all piled into her van and rode the rest of the way there. We weren't even late. We have it too good.

At supper the other night, one of the middle kids complained that they had to eat something that they didn't want to eat.

"it's not fair!" they whined.

Paige, in her eleven year old wisdom, repeated something that she had heard from someone else (and I know it's nothing new, but I was blessed to hear her repeat it),

"If life were fair, we'd all be starving."

I'm not saying I don't want new carpet or a van that runs well, or all those little things that would be nice to have. Because I do. And I'm sure you'll find me again, whining, and venting and telling how it is. And working towards those goals.

But I'm done complaining (or at least I'm going to try to be...). I have more than I need, more than I could ever ask for, and way, way more than I deserve.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Thankful, Day 7

I so hope to have a better week this week than last. I am rearranging my to do list to accommodate not finishing up last week (and barely making a dent, to be honest).

And lest I forget to mention it....

Today I am thankful for the peace and quiet and Bible reading and coffee while everyone is gone but me. When Bea is at preschool, that is when I am able to really focus on my Bible reading. I am in the middle of 2 Kings, which, to be perfectly honest, is not totally inspiring to me (not like Psalms or Proverbs or much of the New Testament) but it is my desire to know the whole Bible and not just bits and pieces that provide me encouragement. I see God's hand at work throughout all of the Old Testament, even in the parts that are hard to understand, and the parts might seem a little boring (dimensions and materials used in the temple, anyone?).

It's my desire to know where all of it came from, and to know all of God's word (it was all inspired, so I figure, who am I to pick and choose?)

(and that red paper is the "heart" that Bea made for me, it's those little things that little kids do that make me want to squeeze them and not let them grow up.

In all the madness and chaos, I am thankful for the peace and quiet.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Thankful Days and Days I'm not so sure...

Well, yesterday got away from me and before I knew it, I didn't post. The business of the kids' play and the bad funk I've been in for a week plus...I just didn't have the time or focus to post.

And as it turns out, today brings to a close Week 3 of  (Be ready by...) PROJECT 2012. 

Can you say FAIL?

I'm being very honest and very serious when I say that often, I wonder if I need medication for this rollercoaster of emotions I ride. When I'm in that bad place that I was in this past week (and really, some of the week before, I just had a brief respite last Sunday), it was hard to tear myself out of it, except for a few moments here and there.  But when I'm feeling better, more energetic, motivated, task-oriented, today, I think I can do it all, with a prayer and some good music playing. And so it goes til the next dip in my emotional road (oh, who am I kidding, it's not a dip at all, it's one of those super tall peaks that I come crashing down from at lightning speed........or perhaps it happens slower but the intensity and depth of the valley is the same).

And it happens, inevitably, and I still can't pinpoint why. Sometimes it's something that gets in my head and makes me begin to worry needlessly and stew about some problem. Sometimes I wake up and can't get going, and it begins. Sometimes it's an argument with a loved one (okay......the Mailman normally...not just any loved one).

But when I'm up, I feel I can conquer the world. And that's where this challenge came from. So on an off-week, my to do list seems hopelessly insurmountable. And overwhelming. In a week where I can't even seem to function enough to wash dishes, my challenge seems ridiculous. So this week was.

I did manage to cross off just a few things, but suffice it to say, I'll be backtracking a bit this next week, to try to make up for some lost time.

In a nutshell, regarding my BIG list, I didn't get much done. And much of what I got done was accomplished on the 2 days that the Mailman was home. Having him home motivates me, makes me feel better all the way around, and keeps me going somehow. Too bad he normally works long hours 6 days a week.

So tomorrow I am going to revamp my lists a bit, and I'm wondering, maybe they need to be made more do-able. ?  Could it be I've, once again, set my expectations too high?

Before I forget, I did not forget to be thankful. Today's item I am especially thankful for, and really it sort of covers both days, I guess.

That one extra hour of sleep last night! Got a really good night's sleep and I do feel more refreshed today, despite a nagging headache.

So even though I hate "springing forward", it should be noted that I love, love, love "falling back".

Here's hoping that the extra rest, the renewed motivation, and the sort-of clean house will be enough to get me going tomorrow, and for the rest of the week. We shall see.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Thankful, Day 4

Yesterday I was having a particularly hard day. Maybe you can tell it in my post, maybe not. ;-)

But I was. I was having some guilt about not being the best parent. About being at home with Bea but not fully being home with her--having my thoughts and my energy somewhere else, not fully at home.

And thinking about going to find a job somewhere other than home.

Yesterday she and I went nowhere til we had to pick up Henry and Eleanor from school and take Henry to his violin lesson. It was a Thursday, and generally Thursdays are pretty empty for us--for Bea and me. And I asked her, "do you like days at home with mommy, not doing much of anything...or do you like days where you go to preschool and PDO and gymnastics and grandma's? Which kind of day do you like better?" (trying to get a feeling for how much she wants me home with her--and how guilty I should feel if I find a job away)

"I like bofe of them better" was her reply.

So where does that leave me?

Still searching for answers, and trying to be content with where I am. Still working on that one.

On a totally unrelated note, no matter what, whether or not I find a job somewhere, I am thankful for this today: God's provision in my (and my family's) life.

This morning after preschool Bea and I ran to the grocery to pick up a few forgotten items for our slow-cooker dinner. When we entered, two older women gave us a small slip of paper and asked if we would consider giving to Christian Ministries for a food pantry.

Cans of soup, cans of vegetables, cans of tuna. Bea asked me what those ladies were doing and I realized how hard it is to explain to your 4 year old that some people don't have enough food, or money to buy food, or even warm homes to sleep in at night.

and that makes me feel so thankful that I do have those things.

We've had tough years in our past, where we really didn't know how our bills would get paid--before Nathan got his job, when we were just piecing money together here and there. And we had lots of blessings from God: little blessings, big blessings: a few meals brought to us, hand me down clothing, even cash from an anonymous source through our church. We never did learn who it was who gave us a generous gift in an hour when we truly needed it, but they knew--somehow--what we needed and they provided.

I hope to help someone else out in a big way someday, but until that day, I am thankful for what I have. I hope my children learn to be thankful as well.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Thankful Day 3

I feel broken today. I just feel so swallowed up in overwhelming emotion and defeat, I feel so physically worn out, I'm just spent.

I know...bring on the drama. (oh, the humanity!)...........

This is not the post I wanted to write today. I thought I was going to wake up this morning with a song in my heart and a spring in my step. I thought I would have yet another do-over today. Because I need it after yesterday.

But instead I woke up so tired, and so sluggish, with a slightly-sick child (who just happens to be losing her voice on the eve of a theater performance of which she is Drizella, the nasty stepsister), and a slightly-sick feeling in my heart.

and I can't explain it.

We are all worn out here. We are overscheduled, overwhelmed, overtired, overburdened with responsibility, indecision, and a general feeling of..ugh.

And I know we all (meaning the general population of women, men, children and families) have these same feelings. I know my own family of 6 is not the only one who feels this way. Believe me, I know.

But some days it just hits me more than others. And lately, it's been hitting me a lot.

So this morning, as I made Eleanor a concoction of honey, lemon juice, and warm water, as I hurriedly wrote a note to her teacher explaining that Eleanor's voice is about shot........I worried.

When I drug myself into the van to take my kids to school, wearing my oh-so-fashionable snowman pajama pants, fuzzy socks, crocs (I know, I'm so 2009), and fuzzy hoody, with non-travel coffee cup in hand (and yes, I spilled in my hurry to get out the front door), I really worried. I really felt it.

I told Eleanor I was worried about her voice. I was worried she wouldn't be able to perform at her dress rehearsal tonight (where I would be video taping, as would many other parents), I told her even more so, I was worried she wouldn't be able to perform tomorrow night at opening night.

And it was not just her voice that had me worried. I know her losing her voice is small potatoes to some people. I have children with no major health problems, we have just/almost enough money each month. Our circumstances are not nearly as tragic as other people's.

But sometimes it is just all of the above. It just hits you all at once. Not just worry, but anxiety and stress.

And on the way home, I pondered all of this in the silence of the van. Halfway home, I turned on my favorite radio station, and heard an ad for the Moody Bible Institute Bible verse of the week.

Philippians 4:6
"Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God."

And then I realized, yet again (you would think I would get it by now): God really cares for us. He knows how things are going to turn out. He knows all the big and little things that worry us. He knows!

Why should I worry when I know God is taking care of it all? Because I'm human. I am still learning to immerse myself in God's word, to not be swayed by my emotions, to not ride the rollercoaster that I have ridden for so long in m;y life. I'm still working on me.

and God is too. Little by little, changing me and shaping me

Just like with my house, and my health and my family, I will never be perfect. The closer I get to God, the more I see how imperfect I am. But rather than let that bother me, I need to learn more to just throw myself into knowing Him more and relying more on his grace and his faithfulness.

I'll be honest. Today I'm not sure how things are going to work out (I don't just mean Eleanor's voice, I mean so many other things that are on my mind and on my heart). The voice is really the least of those.

But I am thankful that He knows, and that He will be there, I just need to trust Him with all that weighs on me.

And for that I am thankful.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Thankul, Day 2

Not just the children but the laughter they share. I don't remember what was so funny but something was said while we were trying to get them to smile for our annual Halloween photo, something that struck them all funny at once. And it  just makes me smile every time I look at this photo.

They are not just sweet, smart, and healthy, but even though they have plenty of moments that are not so nice...they love each other and really enjoy each other's company.

And for that I am thankful.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011


November gets neglected a lot on the whole. When it begins, our Jack O Lanterns are still smiling and lit, and candy bags are dripping full. By the end of it, we've stuffed ourselves over Thanksgiving and are caught up in a flurry of Christmas planning and activity. It starts with piles of leaves still and ends (sometimes) with piles of snow. And sometimes in between we forget the Main Event of the month. (and I don't mean Black Friday). Perhaps we have the big meal and pore over the ads, but I know personally, I rarely stop and think to be thankful.

It's a tragedy, really. And I know this is no new concept but I am going to stop. Everything. And take time to be thankful. I'm going to stop the to do list and the self-improvement scheme and stop long enough each day of this month to think about what is more important than my plan to make life more livable. And more organized and all that jazz.

Because I really am thankful, deep down, for so much. I'm sure I don't do the best job of expressing that, but I really truly am.

So, today, November 1,  I am thankful for

These Five People (the husband and children of not so Supermom )
These people mean the world to me. (never mind the grumpy, Strangers with Candy look on the little one's face, she does not usually cooperate for photos... ;-)

From the husband who tells me I'm beautiful daily (and I do mean daily, even though I roll my eyes daily, because I not feel beautiful) to the kids who wrap their little arms around me and tell me they love me, and tell me I'm a good mommy, and tell me how pretty I am (again, I try to resist the eye rolling but I don't feel it at all). And they seem to quickly forget all the times I get impatient and yell (yes, yes, I do), or forget to sign the permission slips, or burn dinner.

They are a wonderful group of people I get to live life with (and at this point, my  8 year old would likely tell me I can't end a sentence with a preposition...she has learned a lot in 3rd grade so far!)

And not just because of the compliments, because one could chalk all that up to flattery, if one felt like it, and it would be easy to wonder what they are looking to get by complimenting me...though they never ask. But just because. I am blessed to have them.

The Mailman just told me this morning (well he texted me this but I'm sure it was sincere).........that God loves me so much and that God wants me to be at peace. He lives daily with my personal turmoil, he is on the receiving end of most of my stress, and as much as he tries to make things better for me, and make me feel like a better mom/better wife/better housekeeper/better person...he knows he's just another person, and can't do it all.

So he took the time and effort to remind me that it's not just him on my side...God is on my side.

And for that, I am so thankful.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Halloween and Other News

I've already decided today's kind of a wash. Between the preschool party at 10:30, the elementary kids' parties at 1:45 (and yes, I'm room mom for the 1st grader so my presence is necessary), and of course, Trick or Treating tonight, I'm thinking I'll be lucky to get one load of laundry completed.

And as for that losing weight goal I have (I started to type had, as if it was a thing of the past! Pftt..), well, Halloween is not really the best time to try to make that happen. Because sometimes the kids just get more candy than they can possibly handle, right? I wouldn't want them to overload and get sick. It's my duty as a parent to help them out a little.

Especially if there are Reese Cups and Twix bars in the bags. Smarties, Pixie Stix, eh...I can resist. But the premium chocolate is what kills me every time.

So those are my thoughts on Halloween, and candy, as it were.

My scale battery died this weekend, which is probably a good thing. Because honestly I'm sure the truth would hurt right now. I'm back on the wagon (or is off the wagon...I'm never sure), as far as trying. I had a few bingey days last week which leads me to wonder what happens, why do I feel like eating piece after piece of toast and butter and grape jelly. At least the toast is whole wheat---I'm getting my fiber, if nothing else!

But I do need to start tracking again. And I do need to run again, but that blasted knee...ick. It is still hurting, which is definitely putting a damper on my ability to exercise in any form or fashion. So binging just seems appropriate after days of lethargy and inactivitiy.

So...........moving on.......

I did make considerable progress on our bedroom--which, without a doubt, has been the Number 1 Most Neglected Room in our House. 

Tomorrow is a new day, a new month, and the start of a new week (well, technically today is but just ignore that fact since I'm getting absolutely nothing done today on the homefront. At the moment Bea. is retelling every single moment of her morning at preschool, including "walking down the stairs carrying my pencils in a basket." So clearly today will not be all that productive). Wow, end parens, I guess.

and as is probably obvious, I'm having a few formatting issues. Just ignore that too. :-D

(So now that I have restored my former formatting.............I'm finished. I'm not super tech-savvy, so perhaps on my next post I'll get it worked out. )

My current list looks overwhelming to me, and I have a feeling perhaps I have bitten off more than I can chew. Add to this the kids' busy schedule--they have tech week for a play this week and shows all next weekend, and tonight is Halloween. But I did make progress this weekend so I'm starting with a fairly clean slate. And I'm not bugged and overwhelmed and in a pit right now so as long as the good attitude and motivation keep up, I'm good.


Friday, October 28, 2011

Today has to be a better day

Even if it kills us. Which it might. I woke up this morning to the sound of a 4 year old and an 8 year old having a screaming match. Which, in case you have never woken up to, is not the most pleasant way to wake up. In fact, I can think of many other ways to wake up which would be preferable.

But what doesn't kill us, makes us stronger (or at least I've heard that--I'm still on the fence about whether I should believe that or not).

And yesterday didn't kill us. And this morning, waking up to that awful cacophony of screaming and accusation (which begun over who would pour their cereal first, as it turns out) gave me the resolve to calmly walk downstairs and investigate. I was calm!!

I am so proud of myself. I know that is really terrible, most parents probably keep their cool daily and think  nothing of it, but after yesterday, it's quite an accomplishment.

so today proves to be better, already.

And my 10 week plan is (mostly) coming along. I haven't completed Week 2 yet, but I have through Sunday night and I have definitely made progress. I will make more progress today, no doubt. Because I'll be home alone for at least the afternoon. Which brings me to Another Reason Why Today Will Be a Better Day.

The kids are going to my parents house for several hours to spend time with them since they are off school. No, I'm not jumping up and down rejoicing (although after yesterday, perhaps I should), but I am excited to have some more time to myself to work on all those little mini-projects on Week 2 of my plan.

And while I still have a lot left on my plan at the end of Week 2, I hope to make major progress by the end of the day today, and certainly by the end of the weekend.
But I do know this. After yesterday, I may not have been like Paul and Silas, singing in the prison. In fact,
I'm pretty sure I wasn't reacting anywhere close to the way I should have, but today I will rejoice no matter what in my circumstance.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Um........not what I had in mind

I've had no less than 3 people in the last few weeks tell me something along the lines of " I don't know how you do it" or "You do such a good job with your family" or some other such nonsense (in my mind anyway).

If only they knew. The house, the disorganized mind, the kids arguing and me, well, losing my patience so frequently. The marvel of how I do it pales in comparison to the marvel of why they think I do it so well.

Today was not my finest moment as a mother. The kids are home on fall break today and tomorrow and by 11 a.m., we had more than our share of arguing (them), empty threats (me), yelling (all of us), and at one point, I'm embarrassed to admit, I crawled into bed and literally covered my head with the duvet. I admittedly have wished to crawl into bed and cover my head on more than one occasion, but today is the first day I can remember I've actually done it.

and while I was in the middle of tossing the decorative pillows on the floor and pulling back the cover, virtually un-making the bed, I couldn't help but think, I'm undoing the one thing that I have accomplished today.

Henry's violin teacher called while I was under the covers and I had to fake-cheerfully talk to her. I hate when someone calls while things are not going so swimmingly and I have to fake-cheerfully talk to people on the phone. I'm sure my kids wonder who has taken over my body when I suddenly am the happiest mom on the planet. And I'm sure they are disappointed when I'm off the phone and turn back into mean mom again.

As all of this was transpiring, it occurred to me, I'm so glad I don't homeschool my kids.

Because this, indeed, would be the picture, on many days. Me cajoling/bribing/threatening the kids into doing their schoolwork, them resisting, them arguing, me getting frustrated, and then, at my wit's end, crawling back into bed.

Which brings me to my next point. The people who are disillusioned enough to somehow think I have my act together. One of them homeschools her three children, and has a career, to boot. And she told me of all people, "I don't know how you do it." Meaning that my kids are super-busy and involved with all sorts of extra-curricular activities. I told her, "I don't know how you homeschool!"

and it's true. I don't. Kudos to those of you who do it. I wish I had the fortitude. I have the degree, just not the patience, and certainly not the overall mental werewithall.

The day got a little better in the afternoon. Better: as in none of the children hurt each other and I don't think I yelled anymore. Better: as in I didn't spend any time in bed. I remade the bed shortly after my 10 minute stint under the covers--and it stayed made for the remainder of the afternoon.

So, better in my book. And my goal of having the kids clean up their rooms, well it didn't get completed, but progress was made. And we all know progress is better than no progress...or yelling.

and tonight, the Mailman (my hero) just finished up carving the pumpkins with the kids.It was apparently suggested that I help carve the pumpkins with the kids instead of him, since our schedule was tight, and that was a no-go. The kids don't expect Mom to do it, they expect Dad. And so it was.

The pumpkins just got ceremonially lit, and were blown out, and kids are heading to bed.

It wasn't exactly what I had hoped for but it's almost over. Another day, that I'm blessed by all I have. And even in my frustration, I'm blessed.

Monday, October 24, 2011

It's gonna be a bright, bright, sunshiney day...

Someday, anyway. Just not today. But that's okay with me. I'm staying the course anyway, because I do *not* want to let myself down again. And I can't let my family down again. They have put up with me more times than they should have.

I have post it note reminders on my laptop and on the kitchen cabinets that say "NO BINGING!" because honestly a little toast and jelly binge (or a Stacey's Simply Naked Pita Chip binge if I'm ever weak-willed enough to buy them again) all I need to get me off track. Mad at myself, slumped and lethargic. Still not sure if it's carb overload or actual self-guilt that causes the lethargy, but either way, it's a killer.

So with that in mind, even though it's cold--and even though it's been raining--and even though I can only walk, and not run (due to a pathetic knee)...I'm off to walk with Bea in a stroller. She thinks she's too big at age 4 but she'll be just fine. And she's taking her baby, Lily of the Valley, to keep her company.


So we just got back from our walk and guess what? The sun came out. Bright and clear, shining through all the red and gold and green leaves along our walk. Just beautiful. Thankful for the sun.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

It's not wrong, is it?

To want things to be better? 

I know it will never be perfect..and I do believe that progress is better than perfection (well, who am I kidding, I wouldn't mind a little perfection now and then)...and I know I need to learn to be okay with how things are, whether they are perf... orderly or not.  And I'm going to try to keep my perfectionist self from rearing its ugly head because after all, that is what got me in this mess in the first place 

And I did say I was tweaking it a bit. I'm sure I'll remember other things along the way. But for now, I just need some sense of order in my house and a little peace in my life...and that's not bad, right?

And another lesson while we're on the subject of peace...I know that only God can give me real peace and I am thankful for the peace I have in Him.

But I also know God wants us to be people of excellence, and I know God is not a God of chaos and disorder. And I have to believe he wants us to feel okay with how things are and not always be scrambling around running late, losing things, and getting frustrated with ourselves. No, that was never the plan.

I would be lying if I said that deep down, I was okay with looking at my list of weekly things to accomplish and not having it all crossed off now that it's Sunday night. But what can you do except move forward tomorrow?

I do have a lot of work in store for myself. And I'm pretty sure I'll fall down along the way. But I have to start somewhere.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Because I must...

Become a morning person...

Lose those last few pounds...

Build up that emergency fund a bit...

Let go of my anxiety and worry and tendency to binge on toast and butter and jelly when I'm stressed...

Get those loose ends tied up...

Keep the house cleaned up for more than 24 hours...

Be prepared for whatever lies ahead (because God knows, even if I don't have a clue)...

Get organized, once and for all, and teach my children how to be organized...

Get organized, so I'm not late, so my kids aren't perpetually unprepared for this morning.

To back up a bit, 8:30 a.m. soccer games in late October are just cruel. At least in Indiana they are. We crunched through the first frost of the year on our way to the field, the kids were bundled up and could barely move. You couldn't tell who was on what team, because all you could see were the hats and gloves and puffy winter coats. Sure, there were a few freezing children who wore their team shirts tightly stretched over their hoodies, but the majority of the players were team-less, or at least appeared that way.

But even before that, there was the mayhem at home this morning at 7:45--when Henry couldn't find his team shirt (not that it ultimately mattered---we never did find it); he found his shin guards but one of the plastic guards were missing out of the sock part. His reply, "it must have fallen out". Now if you're a soccer mom at all, you know those plastic guards don't just "fall" out of the socks, you sort of have to work and stress just to remove those suckers to wash them--so I'm not quite sure what happened.

I did find it, finally, but not without a lot of frustration and lost time. And yes, Beatrice was wearing a two sizes too big Buzz Lightyear sweatshirt because I couldn't find a sweatshirt to fit her. And I wore my 11 year old's slightly snug gloves because I couldn't find my own.

But I point was, apparently, organization is not my strong suit.

But it has been, in the past, and I feel it could be again, with a little work.

So here's the deal: I can't go on like this. 

As life gets busier and busier, it gets more difficult to keep all the plates spinning at once. So in order to do that, I am committing to getting all my ducks in a row--then it's just a matter of maintenance. Maintenance is easy, right?  and I figure, instead of waiting til 2012 to make new resolutions that will probably not hold up--I want to put myself in a situation where by the end of 2011, I'm there. And I have sort of already started. And already I have made some progress.

(You just wouldn't know it to walk in my house right now. ;-) )

So this is where I am at the moment. I'm holding myself accountable--and will post back tomorrow night.

Because I must make a difference.

But in the process, I need to be okay with it all, even the imperfect. That's a big lesson that I'm sure will extend beyond the 11 week plan.

Friday, September 30, 2011

One of those days

Where really, previously, I would have gone back to bed. Taken the little one to preschool, home and straight to bed. Because of the rain, the cold, the wind, the general ick factor.

and I have always thought...if the schedule wasn't exactly as I had planned, it just wasn't worth doing. But I know now that's not true. So what if I don't run til 11 a.m.? or shower until after I pick her up from preschool? Or I get up late? or I have breakfast at noon? or stay up late watching a Chopped marathon on the Food Network til midnight and miss my bedtime of 10:30 ? (um, yeah, that's happened a few times)

It's not ideal but it really shouldn't stand in the way of happiness.

I'm sure we have all heard, that being on a schedule is good. Routines help us function better! Get up and go to bed at the same time every day, you'll function better. Exercise first thing in the morning, it will get your day off on the right foot!

And all that is true, really. But if it doesn't happen, should we just throw the day away, curl back up in a ball and wait for the next day to start over?

Nah. But that's what I would have done before. Previously. But not now. I will not! It's raining, and I'm going to go run in it.. And I'm going to be happy in it. And it's all going to be fine. I'm going to be thankful for the rain, as I was thankful for the perfect sunny, 70 degree day yesterday.

and if I ever get that routine down, the one that I've practiced for 30-odd years....I'll be thankful for the days I have it, and forgive myself on the days I don't. 

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

What really matters

Again. I've had a lot of bad days lately. I've had lots of ups and downs, even as of yesterday. Lots of days where I couldn't be motivated to do much of anything, and where I let pressures of life and even more so, my negative emotions, get in the way of my well being. I forgot I was supposed to be thankful and rejoice at all times. It's easy to forget if you don't make it a point every day to remember.

I know I will never be perfect but I've always tried. And I think I've always thought, somewhere in my head, that if everything were---if the house was decorated just right--and I lost the right amount of weight---and the hair looked good--and the kids got along---and the money was in the bank---well, *then* I would be happy.

But you know what, I am working on changing it, because I know that is not who God wants me to be. I know I am not to be swayed by my emotions. Emotions can't be trusted. I let the smallest thing change my mood, or alter my attitude...or throw me into a pit of depression. Really. I'm not exaggerating. The time before this last time, it was that the Mailman bought me a kitchen appliance at a garage sale. I thought he spent too much, I thought it was overkill for what I needed or wanted, I thought it took up too much on the kitchen counter. and ridiculous as it sounds...I let that make me angry, then I let it get me down, and then things just sort of spiraled downward from there. For about 4 days, I felt depressed. It wasn't just the kitchen appliance, believe me, but I honestly think that minor annoyance was the catalyst. And I know that's just awful. But once that feeling crept in, it wouldn't go away and it just festered.

So anyway, today I decided to stop it. I went running. And trust me, I'm not really a runner. I just started several weeks ago, a little at a time. But sometimes it gives me solace and it gives me quiet and it gives me time. Time where I'm not tempted to check facebook, or e-mail, or fold laundry, or run the vacuum. Just time.

and I thought and I prayed to God to give me direction. I feel a little lost right now--not sure what career path is in store for me, if any, now that the kids are getting older. And you know, I can't tell you that I heard a voice from heaven, or I got a clear answer, or anything...regarding any of that.

but what I did get was a sense of peace. An understanding, after all this struggle, that my hope is in God. It's in what Jesus did on the cross. It's not in what job I might take, or how clean the house is, or what part the kids get in the play, or how much money we have. It's simply in that Jesus died on the cross.

He is our hope, He is our peace, and our joy.

and I am so thankful for that.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Have I mentioned I hate rain?

I can so relate to Karen Carpenter. Well, part of it anyway.

The rainy days and Mondays (and especially when packaged together) really do get me down part.

Sunshine really makes things better, rain, sort of does the opposite.

So my fresh start day, my onward and upward day, isn't really working out too well. Perhaps tomorrow there will be sunshine. Because I could really use it right about now.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

So really

I am going to try this again. The quest for being okay with everything. I had a good week, things were good. Good weekend, made a decent chunk of change, and (possibly), more importantly, my house lost some weight in my garage sale this weekend. The baby of the family turned *4* yesterday. Should have been a good weekend.

But somewhere along the line, as it often does, this dark cloud formed. I can't even explain where it comes from, and I don't really want to go into it, but it sort of followed me yesterday evening, into this morning, into this afternoon, and then, as usual, the Sunday afternoon blahs crept in, which only magnified the dark cloud.

Which I still can't explain.

Part of it is this thing, this inadequacy, I can't really put my finger on. The baby needs her fourth birthday party, and I don't feel prepared to give it to her here. At our house.

But I need to get things where I feel okay about them. I know things will never be perfect, we will never have everything exactly the way we want them (or...who am I kidding...the way I want them). And the Mailman is so patient with me, he is really trying. Even when I don't want him to.

But I'm going to try. I'm going to go to bed tonight, then wake up tomorrow. And try again.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Fifteen years and counting

I can't say that he and I have had a perfect marriage. We have argued more times than I would like, definitely, and I have gotten annoyed more times than I should have, for sure. But 15 years ago today, we made a commitment, and I have not regretted it. Not for long, anyway. ;-)

There have been a few angry and frustrated times I've felt like what have I done? And that first year was sort of hard, we had a lot of growing up to do.

(oh, who am I kidding? we still have a lot of growing up to do)

but I love the man and he is a great father and a great husband and loves God and works so hard for us. And I have him. I don't have to wonder who I'll end up with or worry I'll be lonely. And with him I never have to wonder if he'll be faithful because I just know.

(and it helps that he makes me laugh like no one else ever could, and he brings me flowers just because I "deserve" them, and he doesn't like obnoxious music or annoying sports like wrestling or racing)

So it's been a sort of crazy, chaotic sort of 15 years, with 4 kids thrown into the mix, and all that we've been through.

But I'm grateful for him. And blessed by him in so many ways. And looking forward to the next chapter of our lives together.

Friday, August 12, 2011


Random Item #1
I really want to blog everyday. I really do. I think about blogging a lot. I have a lot of partially finished posts that never get posted, because I get halfway through and I think, hmmmmm...that isn't really blog-worthy. And I read a lot of blogs and some of those blog moms are so gosh darn interesting! And wonderfully crafty and homeschool-y and funny and bake-y (I know, I'm making up words here, just go with it.)

But I know, really, this is for me to remember. It's really so I don't forget the little things. And the big things. And the bad and good things and funny and sweet things. So if it's something I want to remember, that makes it blog-worthy. And I'm in a repainting mode. And I want a nice coastal-surfy looking house, right here in the middle of Indiana. (Yeah, just never mind that part.)

Random Item #2 
Today, honestly I had sort of cranky day.

The kids squabbled a lot. They squabbled over school supplies (Eleanor got the big box of crayons with the sharpener in the back and apparently Henry had crayon envy, since he had the forty cent Walmart 24 pack). Injustice? Yes, probably. But Eleanor asked for the big pack and he did not. I told him next time we go we'll get him the big pack too. It just doesn't seem worth it to not get the big pack if that's all it takes for peace.

They squabbled while playing school. Henry decided he wanted to be a student who had just moved in from another town. Which would be fine, except that apparently Eleanor had already decided she was going to be a student who had just moved in from another town, and he was just copying.

They squabbled during their practice for SchoolHouse Rock Live (long story, but they are often involved in community theater and at home, they like to recreate productions they have performed in, only with a 3 or 4 person) cast. Eleanor is the director, and Henry didn't feel like practicing, or dancing right, or whatever.

And Henry sprayed a mostly empty can of spray paint in his eye, screaming repeatedly and exclaiming, "you said it was empty!!" Flushed with water 15 minutes, call to doctor, and all is well.

Notice a theme here? the middle kids are the ones causing all the trouble.

Then there was the issue with the baby bunnies and the dog.....maybe a story for another day. ;-)

But tonight?...........

Random Item #3
The 4 of them are having their first camp out in the backyard. At least right now they are out there. They started out swimmingly, getting along and playing Apples to Apples Jr. by flashlight. Then there were some screams, and another run in with the bunny and the dog. Then some arguing about I don't even know what. I looked out the back window to the tent (which is almost pitch black) and Henry said "Paige did this to me". Like I know what this is.

It's a little chilly out there tonight. And then, of course, there are the mosquitoes. And a possible chance of rain. So we'll see how long it lasts. But for now, they're camping out.

Random Item #4
El to Bea: I can run faster than you.

Bea to El: I can run faster than you. We can run faster than each other. That's why we're best friends.

and then they gave each other a big hug.

I love that kind of random stuff.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

On the eve of my 38th birthday...

I just got a digital SLR from the Mailman and kiddos for an early birthday gift. I'm still sort of in shock, we are usually a non-gift giving couple, and to get something like this is far more than I ever would have imagined. So expect pictures soon. :-0

And the play room/craft room is coming along nicely. Still not done but nicely. And our new to us kitchen table looks huge in our kitchen. Hoping it will look a little better after it's painted because right now it just dwarfs the kitchen!

So tomorrow is another new start. I love new starts. I love do-overs. I love another chance to get it right. To get what right---I don't know. The family, the house, the, me. That's a big one. I am on my way. It's all on its way.

But I still love the idea of the fresh start.

Happy Early Birthday to me.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Starting over, take 476 or so...

It might take a while, but I'm bound and determined. Gotta start somewhere, right?

Painted the dining room sky blue today. Check. (it's not perfect but it's done, and that's kind of the point, right?)

Took the doors off the old corner china cabinet to create open shelving. Check. (and now the kids must get those art supplies organized, right?)

Slowly but surely.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

The Truth (part deux)

I didn't quite keep up with my last promise to myself.  And wow, where has the time gone?

But I'm feeling more hopeful that I can now, after several starts and stops and restarts.  Now that I have polished off the Cheez-Its (ahem, an hour or so ago) and regained my grasp on my resolve (I was weak, alone, stressed over the Barbies, it just happened!). But I won't let it happen again. ;-)

How did it get to be June already?  Here I week and one day into my kids' summer break, and already feeling time slipping away. Only 9 weeks and 1 day left! Has our Summer To Do list been conquered? Has it been started?

Why, yes. Yesterday, we took Eleanor out to Olive Garden for her 8th birthday, after nearly failing, and then finally succeeding in getting her ears pierced. Her ears look more grown up, even if she doesn't. ;-)

And in between the ear piercing and the late dinner at Olive Garden, was the girls' last regular season softball game. They were one player short, so instead of playing a regular game, they did a 3-inning practice game. Turns out that 3 innings is just long enough to for Bea to have to use the porta potties only once, and not twice, but not so long that we have to make an emergency trip to the snack bar for popcorn.

And the girls were happy: Paige got 2 hits and El got one double (a double only because the other team overthrew it to the first base girl, but a double none the less). And then, after dinner, we stopped at Dollar Tree and the 3 youngest of the littles all bought their own kitchen timers. They were very excited, now they can time themselves and keep track of their own minutes for the library reading program. Yay, pure happiness.

And tonight, since were so stuffed with Olive Garden last night, is celebratory ice cream for El's birthday, after dinner, after piano lessons. After I pick the kids up (see, the day is blown anyway, might as well not worry about the Cheez-Its)...

At the moment, all 4 kids are at grandma's, and I'm digging through boxes of my old Barbies, Barbie clothes, related sized dolls, and yes, some spare Barbie heads.

The Sunshine Family, with Grandpa and his missing eyes.

The oversize Darcy dolls; poor Darcy, who could never fit her giant feet into any of Barbie's delicate plastic molded slippers.

My goal is to list them on eBay, to clear them out of the closet, to pay for a family vacation with the profits (or at least a family trip to Baskin Robbins). My goals are always a little lofty: aim high, right?

But it's a start. It turns out today I might just get them all sorted: the Sunshines from the Barbies, Donny and Marie (yes, Osmond) with all their outfits and Donny's purple socks from the Bionic Woman and her cohorts, the Darcys from the Dawns. It's doable. One hour til the kids need to be picked up to go piano lessons, U2 on the stereo, the Cheez-Its are finished and the evidence destroyed, my conscience is clear.

Go Time. Have a great day. ;-)