Saturday, May 30, 2009

That was worth my 10 minutes

I don't know what got into me, but I started out my Saturday morning with a burst of organizing. The shoe bin in the front entry closet is always a constant mess AND the first thing you see when you walk in my front door. It makes my whole house look messy. Doesn't this look better?

Of course, you didn't see a before picture, but you would agree that this looks better. I love the fireman boots in the closet. They are a symbol of the fabric of our lives.

Speaking of fireman stuff, my hubby is off right now taking the Oral Boards for the Lieutenant test. The Oral Boards are basically an interview test where they quiz you on a bunch of scenarios and tactics to see if you know enough to lead a team of firefighters. Here's hubby getting ready this morning:

I'm sure he's wondering why I would take a picture of him trying to shine his shoes. Wish him luck.

That's all I got for you this morning. I'm off to play in the sun with the kids. Happy Weekend!

Monday, May 25, 2009

Memorial Day Crisis

Okay, it isn't a crisis. It isn't even a conundrum. It is barely a problem. I was just having a hard time coming up with a title....

I woke up early this bright, sunny Memorial Day. Spunky Girl was already in bed with us, snuggled next to her dad for a change. I assumed that meant it was after 7 am, but I was wrong. I saw that the clock said 6, so I crawled back in bed...but I was already awake. I was thinking about the quilt I was getting close to finishing, so I got back up and started working on it. Turns out, after a year of working on this quilt, that I don't like the very fabric that was my theme fabric. The fabric that started it all looks terrible as a border on my quilt.

Here is my theme fabric:

Here is my quilt top:

Here is the quilt top with the theme fabric border:

See how the border fabric competes with the main pieced section? I really don't like it. It isn't such a crisis though, because I bought enought of my theme fabric that I can turn it into the back of my quilt. I think I'll use a strong, dark brown as my border fabric instead. It will be manly...just like hubby. =) The guys at the firehouse, where the quilt is headed, might have teased hubby about the fireman fabric so now the theme fabric will be on the underside of the that seems better to me as well.

Stay tuned...I'll post a picture of the finished quilt with the brown border when I've got it finished. I'm trying to get it done for Father's Day.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Where's the Daddy love?

I often get emails from my dear aunt about how special we women are. There are poems about how we make great friends, how we are great moms, how we are unique and lovely...but I have NEVER gotten an email about how great dads are. Today I stopped to wonder why. I don't even think I've gotten one on Father's Day.

Why is this? I suppose it is because we women are largely in charge of the emotional connections in the world. Perhaps it doesn't occur to men to write such things. Perhaps it doesn't occur to men that another guy might appreciate such things...or maybe it simply doesn't build up men emotionally. I reject the notion that it is because men aren't worthy of such adoration.

I'm not the kind to get all up-in-arms about it, but I do think that the tv characters that portray fathers are lame. Everybody loves Raymond (both Ray and his dad), Home Improvement, My Wife and Kids, Gary Unmarried, and the list goes on.
They all portray men as hillarious because of their bad antics. The women are portrayed as hard working and responsible and the men are portrayed as irresponsible goofs.

I don't think I'll write a "dad poem" but if I did, it would include how smart they are, how they can fix stuff, how they wrestle with the kids, how they can be gruff but loving, how they can shoulder a heavy load, how they are there for us when we need them.

Come to think of it...that sounds just like the Father's Day cards that I buy that my husband always forgets to read. Maybe that's why we don't write it!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

It's all about me

The big guy behaves worse for me than he does for others. When hubby and I talk a family member or good friend into babysitting, they always report that he was a joy. For me, the kid is a screaming lunatic. He'll give his dad a hard time occasionally, but not nearly the intensity that I am treated too.

Why? Doesn't that boy know where his bread is buttered? Doesn't he know who wipes his butt? Doesn't he know who feeds him breakfast, lunch, and dinner? Doesn't he know who buys his clothes? Doesn't he know who gets the "ickies" off his hands? I could go on, but I think you get my point. ME. I DO. Hasn't he heard the saying "don't bite the hand that feeds you"? Well...he probably hasn't in his long 2 years of life... but that doesn't mean it isn't true.

He cries during swim lessons all the time. I really thought after 2.5 months that he'd be doing better. The swim instructor is also fed up with him, so on Tuesday she told me to get out of the pool and leave the Big Guy to her. She also informed me that starting Thursday (today), I was to just drop him off and go wait in the car. She thinks she can train him better if I'm not around for him to cry to.

So I did what I was told. I dropped him off at swimming lessons, attached his little floaty device, and left him in the capable-but-cantankerous hands of his swim instructor. I sat out in my car in the parking lot and I could hear his screams out there for a few minutes, and then there was silence. "Wow" I thought "it is working. He is actually quiet." About 15 minutes into the 1/2 hour lessons, another mom came out to my car and told me that he was doing great. I really wanted to see how great he was doing, so I snuck back into the pool area for a peak. Unfortunately, both the Big Guy and the swim instructor caught me. The Big Guy started shreaking "mommy" and the instructor yelled "get out". Probably not my best move.

Overall, I am grateful to the swim instructor for being willing to do what it takes to make sure he is learning to swim. Spending every lesson crying was just a waste of my money. And maybe my boy will learn that it doesn't always work in your favor to scream at your mom. I think I'm finally learning at home the same lesson. There is no punishment that works for screaming except separating that boy from me. He only stops screaming when he's truly convinced that I cannot hear him complain.

Frankly, I'm surprised that boy even wants my attention that much, given that I'm already a stay-at-home mom who sees him every waking hour that he isn't sleeping.

But even when he is being horrible and I'm at my wits end about how to change his behavior, I still cannot deny that MY BOY IS CUTE!

Saturday, May 16, 2009

There is a mutiny afoot!

I don't know how I've been so blind up until now, but suddenly I can see clearly that dear hubby is about to blow a gasket. I got so caught up in what I think is right and good and responsible that I've been missing the super clear signs that hubby ain't happy.

Consider the evidence:
* Hubby went to Joes store, which is going out of business, and called to say that he was going to pick up a pair of snowshoes for me since they were on clearance. "Okay, make them my Mother's Day present. There is some money available in that category" say I. Silence is on the other end of the phone.
* Hubby has been talking about purchasing an awning for his construction business so he can create a workspace in people's driveways. He buys one and I make a comment about how it would be nice to have something similar on my desk to partially block the sun in the summer. Later, we are at the store and he puts one into my cart. "What's that for?" ask I. "For the deck" he replies, "you said you wanted one." "I thought I could just borrow yours" say I. "No, I don't want to have to take it down whenever I want to use it" says he. "But we don't have money in the budget" say I. Frosty glare. Tense moment...broken only by the sounds of Spunky Girl knocking over a display of skis and the Big Guy tripping on his own two feet.

* Hubby says we are years past the point where we should have had our septic tank pumped. "we've got to get that done" says he. "How do you recommend I pay for it?" says I. Husband becomes grumpy and just growls that we need to find a way.

* My parents offered to watch the kids for us for 2 nights while we sneak away for our anniversary. I was super excited about this so I figured out what weekend would work for everyone and then I called hubby's parents to see if we could borrow their mountain condo for the weekend. Apparently hubby doesn't want to stay at the free condo, he'd rather pay to stay somewhere the Edgewater.

Apparently hubby is tired of hearing about all my financially fiscal ways. He doesn't particularly care about finding a spot in the budget for whatever he'd like to purchase. He just wants to buy what he thinks we need (or what he wants) without thinking too much about it. He doesn't like it when I refuse to get a haircut because "I don't have money in the budget for it till next month". I think it must make him feel like he doesn't provide well enough, that he doesn't bring in enough money for our family. I feel just the opposite. I think he makes plenty of money and it is my job to use that money responsibility and respect his income by spending it carefully.

I think I've made budgetting such a topic in our household that he is sick, sick, sick of it. He is swinging the pendulum to the other side in reaction. It is enjoyable to him to enjoy the fruits of his labor without thinking about it too much. This is difficult for me. I work really hard to keep our household from overspending our income. He wants me to just buy stuff because I like it and would put it to good use. He isn't particularly worried that we'll fall into debt, although not paying off the credit card in full every month would fine with him.

I need to shut my mouth about the things that he wants to buy that are outside the budgetted amounts. The question of "how shall I pay for that" should only come up if I truly don't know what would be the best way to pay a bill...not just because it wasn't previously budgetted into a category. I'm tempted to say that if he doesn't want to live within the budget than I won't either, but that won't work for several reasons. First, I can't enjoy spending money if I think it is going to put us into debt. It sounds good to throw caution to the wind, but I know that in the long term I would regret any such decisions. Second, just because he needs a little emotional wiggle room when it comes to budgetting, I can still serve my family best by being conservative and organized with our purchases. I don't really need the emotional wiggle room. I can be the most respectful and appreciative of how hard he works by not wasting money.

Of course, desiring to keep my mouth shut when we overspend in a category and ACTUALLY keeping my mouth shut are two different things. Oh, and I should probably work on curtailing any negative body language about it while I'm at it. It won't do me any good to keep my mouth shut if I have to physically slap my hand over my mouth to do it. If I can be successful at this, I have all faith that my hubby with quickly return to valuing the budget as much as I do. Hey, a girl can dream....

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Haircut Mania

Yesterday was haircut day for Spunky Girl and I. Normally, I take the 3 kids in for haircuts and I go separately to a salon, but I buzzed the Big Guy's head myself last week and it doesn't look too bad. Yippee for me...$10 saved. Spunky Girl is home during the afternoons when I sneak out for a haircut, so it is convenient to bring her along and let Hot Daddy have the time to workout.

So off we go to get our hair cut. I had decided to cut off some length. I've been growing my hair out since I whacked it after Spunky Girl was born. In those 5 years, it has grown to about my shoulder blades. My intention was to keep growing it out, but my husband (ever-so-subtle) said "don't grow it out on my account. I like it shorter". Given that "hint", I thought I'd take 2 - 3 inches off. I really like Spunky Girl's current hair, so I wanted her hair trimmed and shaped into the same style she currently has.

I don't know what happened when we got to the hair salon...either we had a language communication problem or the hair stylists just decided to do what they wanted. Instead of chopping off a few inches into a straight-flippy hair style, my hair stylist trimmed it, layered the back, and brought out my curls. Does this look shorter, straight, and flippy to you? Yeah, it doesn't to me either.

I've had this happen to me before. I come in with fairly straight hair. The stylist gets my hair wet and sees that there is a lot of curl in the back...and decides that it would be fun to see it curly. Might be fun for them, but I already knew it was there and I'm trying to avoid it. Sheesh. It looks like a bad near-mullet I had entering high school.

The stylist doing Spunky Girl's hair thought it would be fun to give her a rocker hairdo. She trimmed a little and then spent a bunch of time flat ironing her hair to make it stick out. I actually think this is really cute, but there is no way I have time to flat iron that girl's hair. It isn't going to look anything like this when I try to do it. Couldn't they have just trimmed her hair like I tried to ask for? I think Spunky Girl was a tad disappointed when she saw what I was able to do to her hair this morning...definitely not as cute.

Oh well, new haircuts are just a few months away!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

You've got a great smile!

I went to the last preschool meeting for Spunky Girl's school last night. It was a feel-good kinda meeting...passing out end of the year gifts for the teachers and for the Board members, remember when moments, and "let's appreciate each other" activities. One such activity went as follows: everyone got a piece of paper taped to their backs and then all of us moms went around and wrote something nice on all the other mom's papers. I was looking forward to reading my comments. I was mystified to see that 13 of the 15 moms commented on my nice smile. Huh?

I've been through this preschool before with my Sweetness (eldest daughter) and I know that I made much stronger connections with the mom's in that previous class than this one, but come on...13 moms had nothing more insightful to say about me than "You are always smiling"? What about my amazing wit? What about my sympathy's for bad days? At least they could remember all those Alligator-pushes I gave their kids on the swings. But nope...apparently I'm always smiling. Anyone who knows me knows that I am the first person to tell you about whatever personal crisis I'm having that day...always smiling? I just don't think so.

I wish I could see the other mom's papers. I know that I tried to write fairly personal comments for the other moms, but maybe "you've got a great smile" is as creative as some of the moms got. Regardless, it is time to push it out of my head and move on. It was a great year and I enjoyed the other moms and the teachers. The mom that I liked best will be sending her daughter to the same Kindergarten class that Spunky Girl will attend, so that is a Yippee for me (and she was one of the moms that DIDN'T write a "nice smile" comment). Oh yeah, I'm supposed to be past that. =)

Sunday, May 10, 2009

I am not going to blog about my kids

Darn it. This blog is supposed to be about my forays into the outside world, but all I talk about is motherhood and my kids. Enough. I am going to blog about me.



Hang on...I'm getting there.

Just wrote a blog about my desire to stay hip and then erased it. It was boring. I'm not hip...never really was. Nothing else needs to be said about that.

Any Celebrity Apprentice fans out there? I love Jesse James. I love his bulk. I love his silence. I love his blue-collar vibe. I love his unwillingness to trade on his wife's fame. He comes across so strong. He says little, but people listen (except Clint Black) when he talks. I know the Trump-meister wants to capitalize on the Joan River/Annie Duke fued, but I sure would have liked to watch Jesse James for one more episode. Sigh...

Oh yeah, and the Rivers are both CRAZY. Why do crazy people sign up for shows? Don't they know that the whole world is going to find out they are crazy?

Well, I got no inspiration tonight, and you don't want any more commentary on the shows I'm watching, so I'm signing off. G'night all.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Kids: the joy, the tears

I've had two spectacular meltdowns this week. It is a crazy busy week for me (Spunky Girl's birthday, getting all set for multiple Mother's Day events this weekend and hosting a bachelorette part on Saturday night...on top of the usual craziness of school, soccer, swimming lessons, and bible classes/worship services) and the Big Guy is sick. I would have been stressed anyway, but the Big Guy wanting to be held by mommy every second of the day really pushed me over the edge.

Earlier this week, I was feeling critical of myself for being overwhelmed because my situation is really not-so-terrible. After all, none of my kids has a life-threatening disease and my husband is secure in his job. But why do I feel the need to berate myself for having a hard time with life just because nothing truly awful is happening? The lack of a disaster doesn't change the fact that it has been really difficult to handle all of my responsibilities this week. I have really worked long and hard and am still falling behind my responsibilities. What I really needed was just a bit of perspective, something that allowed me to recognize a hard week but also something to keep that recognition tied to the overwhelming blessings I feel by being a mom.

I got just that. At the moment when I was feeling overwhelmed by the responsibility of caring for these kids, I was also given the greatest gift. There was a Mother's Day celebration at Sweetness's (my eldest daughter) 1st grade classroom. I was a total stress-ball trying to get there this morning (getting the house ready for my MotherInLaw to watch the younger kids, getting ready while the Big Guy cried and wanted to be held, etc.). But when I got there, it was so worth it. For an hour my daughter hugged me, gave me handmade gifts, read me poems she wrote about me, and her teacher retold nice things she'd said about me. I don't think I can put into words how full my heart felt at that moment. It made every difficult moment (including 49 hours of hard labor with her) pale in comparison.

Now if I can just remember that feeling during my next meltdown...

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Why did you say that?

Not surprising to anyone that knows us, hubby and I don't have the same perspective on everything. One thing that keeps coming up in our parenting is "Why did you say that?". Hubby hates it when the kids start begging for something just because I mentioned the word. For example, I could say "I'm going to go take a shower" and the Big Guy will start saying "shower, shower" and he'll start running for the stairs. Hubby will look at me and sigh because he thinks I've created the situation that we have to tell the Big Guy "no" when I could have just kept my mouth shut instead.

So today, I mentioned to hubby (in front of Spunky Girl) that one of us needed to take Spunky Girl to the doctor for her checkup after her swim lessons. Spunky Girl looked at me and said "am I getting shots?". Hey...she asked. "Yep". Cue the crying and hysterics. About 40 minutes worth. Hubby didn't think it was necessary to bring up the doctor visit at all in front of her. He thought it was only fair that I should take her to the doctor since I was the cause of her trauma.

So I took her to the doctor. She was so freaked out. It has been awhile since I've cried when one of my children got a shot, but I had tears in my eyes by the time she got her 4th shot. Thank goodness that nurse MiMi allowed us to do the shots at the beginning of the visit instead of waiting till the customary visit-end to do it. I don't think she would have made it. She told me afterwards that she thought about running away when the nurse brought out the needles. That would have been a first for me...actually chasing my child down the halls of the doctor's office. But if any child would do would be Spunky Girl.

Spunky Girl (before she got 4 shots)

Am I reformed? Nope. I will continue to mention things in front of my children. I just can't add the pressure to my life of having to watch what I say in case one of them might get upset. My children will learn to live with the disappointments of the real world. They will learn to deal with knowing that a trip to the doctor is in their near future. And they will learn that they are strong enough to survive those situations.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

What a blessing she is!

Spunky Girl is 5 today. She has loved every second of her birthday, and I have enjoyed watching her revel in it.

What do I love about her? My Spunky Girl has such a zest for life. She delights in capturing the attention of others. She has burped on demand for people we don't know at restaurants. She has run naked through the room. She has dressed herself in my bra and panties and put on a fashion show (without permission, of course!). Oh how I adore her. She has a flair for the LOUD, both in her volume and her clothing. She likes her clothes to have stripes or jewels or polka dots. When she picks out her own clothes in the morning, I always have to send her back upstairs take off one item and replace it with something solid colored.

Every morning, she comes and gets into my bed around 6 am for her personal snuggle time. She just wants to be held. I can't tell you how many times a day I tell her to "get off me" when she is trying to climb me like a jungle gym. 6 am is the time when she can officially crawl all over me and I'll neither complain nor move. I've started to look forward to her early morning visits and make room for her to snuggle in next to me.

It was so fun to watch her open her presents today. She exclaimed "Oh, it is just what I always wanted" at every gift. She tried on every clothing item she got (reminds me of ME!) to see how it looked on her. Her dad and I got her a pair of Sketchers that she's been asking for. She has seen them on TV, so she thinks the name of the shoe is "Twinkle-Toes-New-From-Sketcher" so that's what she keeps calling them. "Papa, did you see my twinkle-toes-new-from-sketcher?"
She just makes me happy. I can't wait to see who she'll grow up to be.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

And the Award goes to...

I am exhausted, but what a great day. This afternoon we held Spunky Girl's 5th birthday party at a nearby park. Blessedly, the rain waited till after the party to come down and we had nice weather. I don't know how I would have made it through today without all the support I had. I just have to give out awards...

First, to my husband who gave up his usual post-firehouse-shift sleeping time to help me today, I give the Oscar award.

Second, to Halcyon who helped me get everything I needed to the park and helped me set up for the party(and cleaned up my kitchen before we left), I give the Grammy award.

Third, to Amber and Keri who turned out to be the best-darn-face-painters-and-friends a girl could have. For your time, energy and surprising amount of talent, I give to you the "Star of the Party" award. Seriously, they were GOOD. Check out some photos of their work:

And finally, to my sister Tory, who watched the Big Guy for me all throughout the party. What would I have done without you? You are the best. I give you the chocolate award; you deserve it!

2 kids down, only one birthday party left to throw this year. Yippee!

P.S. A little "shout out" to Glen. Hey! Glad you read my blog. It was great to see you pop up in the comment section. Hope to actually see you someday soon.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

This will not be a post that men will enjoy

This will not be a post that men will enjoy, but I don't think I have any male readers to complain...

I've been a lucky girl in the period department for most of my years. My periods were super predictable (Tuesday around 2 pm start time every 28 days lasting for 3 days) and were nothing more than a slight nuisance. I didn't have much cramping pain, or breast soreness, or any other horrible symptoms. I could count on an emotional day the Friday before my period, but who doesn't need a good cry once a month? Plus, it keeps hubby on his toes.

I think I must be entering peri-menopause, though, because times are a-changing. Period pain sucks. I feel like every organ in the lower half of my torso is bruised. I can feel them bumping into each other and feel a dull ache pulsing throughout the day. I've been whining more and more about this and every month hubby asks why I don't take something, something like a Midol or Pamprin, something designed for period relief. I don't really like to take stuff unless I REALLY need to, so I kept putting off buying anything. Finally hubby came home with a bottle of Pamprin for next time.

So, I finally took the Pamprin today. Yeah, the dull ache is blessedly gone, but I feel like my body is asleep. Every muscle feels fatigued and hard to move. Is that what it is supposed to feel like? I'm not sure what I'll choose if this is my choice: achy or exhausted. Maybe Midol feels differently?

Another little side affect of my changing cycle is that hubby cannot predict my cycles as easily. He can't necessarily know that I'm "overacting" about something because I'm about to start my period. He might just have to take me seriously just in case. He also planned out our 15 year anniversary trip for next March around my cycle, but I've been running shorter than 28 days for the last few months. That will probably set my period for right during our vacation. Wouldn't that be a bummer?

Sigh...I'd better go munch on something as period therapy!

P.S. I have no idea what is wrong with the girl's hand in the picture. I didn't care to spend any more time searching the web for a "woman with stomach pain" photo, so you this one.