Monday, May 31, 2010

A Memorial Day spent at home

Before I regale you with tidbits and snippits of my exhilarating Memorial Day, I want to take a moment to thank my readers who have served our country in the armed forces. I know the freedoms we enjoy came at a price and I'm grateful to you who were willing to put your lives on the line to defend the country I love.

Now on to another scintillating post...

We spent Memorial Day at home this year. Our construction company, Pine Lake Construction, has had a busy spring. With the combination of construction work and finishing our own basement, we needed some downtime. (And, of course, there was endless rain...)

But I didn't want my girls to go back to school and have a writing project about "what I did on Memorial Day" and have nothing to say. So I decided we should rearrange the furniture in their room. They have 2 twin beds that have been located together in the center of the room to form a large king sized bed. It was functional (and allowed the girls to whisper and play at nighttime) but it took up all the space in their room. Today we put their twin beds together into a bunkbed and pushed it up against the side of the wall.

We also brought in their homework desk, which used to be located out in the hallway. The homework desk fit just perfectly between their two existing bookshelves and makes a nice wall of furniture.

I like looking at their room and remembering the origins of their furnishings and decorations. We got the amazing bedroom set because Scott's mom worked in interior design (interior merchandising?) for a local home builder and helped us buy a set they were no longer using. The beautiful quilts my mom made, although I made the coordinating pillow shams with their names appliqued. The pink and blue memory boards, hanging on the wall above the desk, were my gift to the girls for a Valentine's Day surprise. I remember making them late at night when Scott was at the firehouse while I watched home renovation shows on TLC. You didn't need to know all that, of course, but that is the memory it brings to mind.

I could also tell you about the stain in the carpet from the time one of the girls threw up fruit punch, or the dent in the wall from someone's head...but I think there has been enough sharing, don't you?

In a few minutes I'm going to fire up the grill and barby up some flank steak. The sun has finally poked out and it will be a perfect end to a good day. I hope your Memorial Day was just what the doctor ordered!

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Like an arrow through my heart

Every week my Sweetness brings home her "traveling journal". It is a second grade class assignment. Every Friday during the school day she will write to me in the journal and then she brings it home. Over the weekend, I write back to her and she can read it during journaling time the next week.

This was her entry from Friday:

For those of you who might not be able to see the picture, it says:
"Dear Mom and Dad, yesterday was (career) project presentations. Alot of parents (were) there but you mommy, you forgot. I got mad but its okay."

I think the grammar is heartbreakingly sad and funny at the same time. "but you mommy, you forgot". Can't you just feel the dramatic pause? The accusatory tone? The finger wagging? Also note how the journal starting out being to "mom and dad", but it is clear that it becomes all about the bad mommy.

I did forget to attend her career presentation. I had it on my calendar and just forgot. I felt horrible. I figured it out by myself later in the day and ran upstairs to Sweetness' room to tell her I was sorry. I said "I'm so sorry I forgot to go to your classroom today" and she said "I know you forgot; that's why I was mad when I got home.". Hmmm....didn't really notice she was mad when she got home. I guess that is strike two on the "in touch with your daughter's world" scoreboard.

She decided that I needed to do a chore, just like I make her do when she forgets something she is supposed to do. I'm not entirely sure that is a precedent I want to start, but I felt pretty guilty so I agreed to it. She wrote "book me a playdate" on our chore whiteboard. I think I got off easy...

Monday, May 24, 2010

Lisa Spaces

No, not like "Lisa spaces out" but like "these places belong to Lisa". Hubby continues to work on the basement and has our home office finished. It is so exciting. He and I had a few conversations about whose office it really was...his or mine. I think he has allowed me to call it "mine" even though he fully intends to command use of the computer chair whenever he wants. I picked up a file cabinet (off Craigslist, of course) that fits into a little alcove.

We moved the computer desk out of our bedroom and down into the office.
Note the second chair in the room? That's where we both expect the other person to sit while we're working together. The office is for our construction business, Pine Lake Construction. He needs a place to work when he writes up the invoices and researches the cost of building materials, and I need a quiet place to handle the rest of the bookeeping (taxes, accounts, filing, etc.)

As if the new office isn't exciting enough, moving the computer desk out of my bedroom also freed up valuable space and let me try some new layouts. Hubby helped me move the furniture around and I love the new room.

I have a coffee table that I think should go in front of the sofa, but hubby is concerned that I'll whack my shins during a midnight bathroom run and wake him up (he said he was worried about me hurting myself, but I knew what he really meant).

So, those are my new Lisa Spaces. What do you think? Also, tell me what I should put on my office walls. They are frighteningly bare.

Hey, I'm back to blogging

Wow...time to blog. Could it be? Or perhaps I am dreaming. Lately I've been bemoaning my inability to get anything done, blaming that on the zero seconds of time that I spend alone, uninterrupted, able to concentrate. However, there have been spurts of activity followed by task completions. check out my new white board:

I meant to install it myself, but hubby stood back watching me read the installation instructions to myself (aloud, of course) and decided it would be better for everyone (including the wall) if he helped out a little. I love my white board. It is part of my Self Sufficiency Initiative, Part II, which is set to unleash when school gets out. Part I has already commenced. I've been working with (on) the girls and "helping" them see all the things that they are capable of doing...instead of asking me for help. There have been quite a few tantrums when they realized that mom didn't intend to find their socks, or help them get their swimsuits on, or even make their breakfast. The white board is already coming in handy as a place for me to record all the chores they owe me when they fail to handle something on their own and insist on my help. Self Sufficiency Initiative Part II will involve things like morning chores and other things that must be completed before they have the freedom to go play. I remember HATING listening to my mom rattle off my daily chores, so I'm sure looking up their chore list on a white board will be much better. =)

Self Sufficiency Initiative Part II also includes potty training for the Big Guy. As soon as school gets out, that is my major focus. Some wise person suggested to me yesterday that I wouldn't dread the kids getting out of school so much if I hadn't planned so many "initiatives" to start the next day. LOL There may be something to that.

Okay, I'm off to start my next blog post. I've had 3 or 4 rolling around my head lately and I don't want my posting tally to be "1" for May.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

The Monkey on my Back

I haven't got enough time. I know it is an excuse, but it feels real. It feels like life moves at the speed of light and the only chance I have of keeping up is by operating on a dead-run, doing everything myself. Asking someone else to help out or do something themselves, regardless of whether that is the kids or hubby, slows down my progress.

This is a problem, though, because I can see that it is unsustainable. Not only is my burnout entirely predictable, but it isn't in anyone's best interest. My kids will not learn to be self-suficient, capeable people by me doing everything for them. They will not learn to use their brains to solve their own issues, they will not learn time management, they will not learn how the world really works. My hubby will not feel like a respected co-parent if I display to him through my actions that I can do everything better and faster than him.

For example, I help Sweetness (my 7 year old) pick out her clothes every morning, monitor her progress as she gets ready for school, and get her lunch and her backpack packed and ready for school. If I try to have her get dressed entirely on her own, without my assistance, she'll come down in something entirely inappropriate for the day (like a dress on gym day) or she'll be up in her room for 20 minutes trying to figure out what to wear and will eventually come down to me saying "I can't find my...". At that point, we're running late and I have to rush through whatever task I'm working on and go up and pick out an outfit anyway (or continue to let her do it herself, but resign myself to driving her to school because she missed the bus). I usually decide that it is just easier to pick out the outfit and have it lying on her bed when she goes up to get dressed. But the result is that I have a 2nd grader who doesn't really know how to quickly get dressed. I'm serious. It took her several MINUTES to inside out a pair of jeans. It was pure torture watching her. And that was just one step of the getting ready process...she still had to find a shirt, socks, etc.

Example #2: Spunky Girl (age 5) wanted breakfast when I was trying to get Sweetness to dress independently, so I asked her to get her own cereal. She was able to get the box down from the pantry, but managed to spill it all over the floor trying to pour the cereal into the bowl. It cost me more time to help her get that fixed than it would have to just pour her cereal myself. But I still have to let her do things herself because otherwise she'll never get any better at it.

Example #3: It is time to potty train the Big Guy...but the thought of adding potty training accidents and battle-of-wills contests into my already stressful days makes me want to crawl into a corner and cry. The thought of no more diaper changes should make that worth it, but to me the thought of adding more work into my exhausting days is worse than the thought of continuing diaper changes. But it is in his best interest to start potty training so I gotta find the personal strength to get started.

So I'm starting to work on this a little bit now with the thought of really ramping it up during the summer. Right now we are starting the conversation about personal responsibilities and I'm mentally preparing myself for things taking longer and requiring more work from me...for a bit. This summer the girls are going to get a crash course in self-sufficiency. They'll be figuring out what responsibilities they need to complete (like getting dressed, personal hygeine, chores) before they can enjoy fun summer time activities. And the Big Guy? Well... one thing at a time.

***I borrowed the non-Lisa photos from fotosearch...all royalty free of course!