Friday, September 21, 2012

Truth be told...this never gets old:

I think we could watch the ships coming and going every day and it would still be exciting.  Last night was maybe one of the best displays yet, with the clouds rolling in and one ship waiting for another to leave and the smell of autumn and water on the air.  I let Finn run off some extra steam and then of course, he didn't want to come home.  Such is the draw that water and boats have on my boy.

Today, as it is a no school day (like every Friday), we are embarking on never-ending task of getting this house ready for winter, which seems like it's just around the corner.  That means the garage needs to be cleaned out and organized and the outside toys need to be put away and the patio furniture needs to be disassembled and stored.  And I may have to mow one more time.

And it's 43 degrees outside this morning.

Happy Friday, friends!  I hope you're weekend is as productive as my is going to be (if my lists are any indicator!).

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Love tastes like shortbread and sprinkles.

Our days usually look like some variation of this:

Most days staying at home with a toddler is fun, but some days it's just overwhelming.  It's like constantly being behind the curve and having a desk full of stuff with big, red PRIORITY stamped all over it, and an angry boss who changes his mind every 12 seconds.

Finn's favorite thing to say is: "I don't know." and "No."   To everything.  All. day. long.  Is this normal?  I feel like he's spending more time than usual in the uncooperative chair for not following directions, but seriously?  He refuses to tell me his colors and if I ask him any questions - anything at all - he just says, I don't know in his little sing-song voice.  I know I'm putting too much pressure on myself...I feel as though by staying at home we should be doing something every day to engage his little mind.  And usually I remember to sing the Alphabet song and play with puzzles and playdough and his shape ball.  But some days I don't.  Some days it's all I can do to get dressed and keep up with the very short attention span.

Abby is still as disorganized as ever.  She took 3 of the 4 movies that she rented back to the library.  The one she didn't take back?  Yeah, that was the one that was actually due back.  She's been writing notes to herself on her arm in pen.  Because it's easier than writing in the 2 planners that she just had to have this year.  Yes, even I, queen of lists and planners, do not have 2 of them.  Abby insisted and I know that I should have known better.  Nobody can successfully manage two planners unless they have a personal secretary whose only job is to manage two planners.

And so some days I ignore everything piling up - all the priorities and the dust bunnies and the tempers - and we make cookies. We get flour on the counters and on the floor and on our clothes and in our hair. We sneak bites of dough. We sprinkle generously, as if the very act of sprinkling will erase the feelings of inadequacy.

My job right now is to raise some kids and keep the house and juggle everyone's schedules and be a sounding board for my husband.  I am on call 24/7.  I am a cheerleader and a fixer of owies and the cruise director on the Lido Deck.  I get dressed up to go to the grocery store (which means I wear jeans in stead of yoga pants) and I almost never wear make-up (unless we're going to church, and even then it's if-y.).  Some days I would like 30 uninterrupted minutes to take a bath, but would settle for 10 minutes to take a shower.  But I know that as much as I'd like 10 minutes to myself, I'd also like to spend time with my husband, so when he's home that equates to dishes not getting finished after dinner and frustration when a load of laundry isn't pulled from the dryer and folded and resentment when, after I've put in a full day, too, I'm still doing to baby-bath time and and bedtime snack and reminding Abby to brush her teeth and wash her face and straightening up the house a little after the kids are in bed and falling asleep during the ten o'clock news.

I like being married, I like having a partner and I like being able to tag-team when the going gets tough, but these days it really is so hard trying not to be an "old, married couple," (we're only celebrating our 3rd anniversary next month, after all - we're not rocking chair folks yet!).  Right now I feel like an exhausted, married couple.  Raising a teenager and a toddler requires talking about them and their needs constantly and most of the time putting us and our needs to the back burner.

So we make cookies, where there is order and consistency in following a recipe.  Where smiles come easily and all is right, for just a few minutes, in my world.  Some days our cookies have bites out of them because certain little boys cannot wait.  And a few days later I will find that all of the cookies have mysteriously disappeared (probably into a perpetually hungry 12 year old's belly after school and volleyball practice) leaving behind only an assortment of crumbs and sprinkles.  And I realized that, even if I was snarky and even if I didn't fully challenge their little minds, even if I didn't feel like I loved them, I fed them a little bit of love.

Some days that's all I can do.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012


Monday, September 17, 2012

Autumn Flowers

I love flowers...we had a crop of sunflowers bloom in the middle of one of the gardens recently and every time I looked out the window, I couldn't help but smile.  My mom gifted me with a hearty mum last time I was home and I had good intentions of planting it out back, but it's still gracing the middle of my dinning room table.  I think maybe it's happier as a center piece than out in the elements - or maybe I'm just feeling a bit lazy.  I was making soup the other day and I happened to glance out the side window in the kitchen and there were these little orange flowers poking their sweet heads out of the grass.  I don't know what they are, but I braved a few raindrops to get the picture!

On my mind...Good-bye, Summer.

  •  Autumn is here.  And maybe winter.
  • There was snow in the forecast for this week.  I shuddered a little bit!
  • Luckily the ground is too warm for anything to stick, should some raindrops decide to turn to snow.
  • I am on a soup kick.
  • I made chicken stock and beef stock last week and shoved them into the freezer to be easily accessible as I plow through my list of soups to make.
  • I've got a plan to loose weight this fall - it includes lots of veggie-heavy soups for lunch and lighter versions of my old favorites for dinner.
  • Fall is when I typically fall off the wagon....pumpkin/apple/pecan pie and hearty hot dish (casseroles are for Southern folks.) and thick stews seem to float at the top of my menu ideas.
  • It's like I'm a bear preparing to hibernate and I must bulk up!
  • Finn and I have been trying to counter that sedentary feeling with some bike rides and walks.  
  • They happen more in the middle of the day now, it's too chilly in the morning and too dark after dinner.
  • It won't get much better when we turn the clocks back in November.
  • I foresee a yoga class in my immediate future...if I can nail my husband down for just one evening to myself.
  • Abby still dresses the complete opposite of the weather.
  • I have no doubt that if it rains/sleets/spits snow this week, she will be wearing her flip-flops.
  • I'm still trying to get used to this 4 day school week. 
  • Fridays throw me off and I'm trying to ensure she has time for homework and still gets through some chores (since she's busy with volleyball/homework during the week I don't push the chores in the evening.).
  • Finn has been sorting his seldom used toys for Baby Cousin (and by Finn, I mean me.).
  • He did tell me that he'd share his cars and trucks, though.
  • Planning a baby shower is fun...I've never done it before.  
  • Turns out I have lots of ideas.  And when I say I, what I really mean is: Pinterest has a lot of really good ideas!
  • There were two babies in church yesterday and it was all I could do not to ask their mamas if I could smell their wee new car smell.
  • I'll (im)patiently wait until December, I guess.  And then I'll head south as fast as my lead foot will take me.
  • After this baby shower business, I will put my energies into planning Sarah's wedding...she knew what she was getting into when she asked, after all!
  • Things that I'm looking forward to: ECFE starting in a couple of weeks, our anniversary get-away, my birthday (obviously!) and a birthday get-away for me only, Finn's Halloween costume (something to rival last years!), Uriah making a Turducken for Thanksgiving, raking leaves, carving pumpkins.
  • As much as I'm a little nervous for winter up here in the big, bad wilderness (because I do not drive in inclement weather, or even in the hint of inclement weather), I do love fall.  It's my most favorite season.

Would you believe I took these on Finn's 2nd birthday in July?  I don't think I've even blogged about his awesome party and how much fun he had.  I am behind...way, way behind!  But it was a crazy summer and I am so glad it's fall now so that I can catch up (yeah, right!).

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Window to the world.

Today is probably our last day in the 80s this year (allegedly).  Finn and I need to get our walk in before we melt (we've very much gotten used to the high sixties, low seventies these past few weeks).  I will probably pack away the 24 month-2T shorts this evening after bath time; we've already pulled out the flannel jammies and I need to invest in a few more with feet.  Long live the art of layering!  The trees are starting to change over to their reds and oranges and yellows and each day there are more leaves blanketing the sidewalks.  It gets chilly in the evening and I've relocated Finn's sweatshirts downstairs for a quick grab as we take our walk after dinner when the evening cools off.

Uriah told me this morning, as he looked out our kitchen window, that our yard is full of boy.  And it's true.  Tricycles that double as motorcycles line the sidewalk.  Trucks and diggers build a construction site in the remnants of my garden and there is an assortment of balls strewn about the yard.  I wonder what he thinks, when he plays and talks to himself and bounces from one thing to the next.  I think he is just the most awesome kid ever.

Abby has her first volleyball game this week and every morning I can smell her perfume wafting up the stairs as she beats a hasty exit to the bus stop.  I wonder if there is a boy she's trying to impress with all that smelly stuff?  I volunteered to teach 7th and 8th grade religion this year - they call it church school up here - Abby's class.  I'm hoping for it to be a bonding experience between her and I, but every teacher that I spoke with on Sunday was sure to tell me good luck.  Sounds a bit ominous, if you ask me.  I also feel as though I'm questioning my own religion and whether or not I'm truly qualified to guide these kids.  I'm doubtful, but I will give it my best go.

Today is my best boy's birthday.
Happy 5th, Pal - you're the bestest nephew a girl could ask for and I miss you bunches!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

On mothering a toddler.

I have this nagging feeling, a lump in my throat and a pinch in my belly.  "Snuggle him closer." it says.  "Drown him in kisses and smother him with hugs.  He won't be little for long."

And so I scoot over to make room in my bed for him at night.  I try not to be too frustrated with an elbow in my ear and a foot resting solidly on my hip.  Soon he will be too big to sleep in my bed.  Soon enough he will be too big to sleep in my house.

Do you ever have that feeling that you've missed something?  That between the running and the cooking and the cleaning and the bossing and the chastising and the never ending loads of you ever feel at the end of the day that you simply forgot to stop and look at what was right in front of you?  I don't want to send him to kindergarten and to high school and to college and forget that once he fit in my tummy and then he fit in my arms.  These days, he's all over the place - playing cars, riding his "bike," coloring, and building towers and construction sites.  There is a whirlwind of toys and books and crayons scattered throughout my house at the end of the day.  He's intent on doing everything "myself."  But when he wakes up from a nap, he wants nothing more than to sit quietly on my lap with my arms wrapped tightly around him and his feet sticking out on either side of my hips, all long and lanky these days but determined to snuggle in, while he slowly finishes charging his batteries.  If I try to do anything else, he pulls my hands away and wraps them back around him and sighs when I squeeze.

Some days I feel as though I rushed through his babyness.  Between the hormones and the mood swings and the not knowing what I'm doing most of the time, I've spent two years on pins and needles wondering what was going to come next: sleeping through the night, solid food, sitting up, crawling, walking, talking.  The anticipation of the next milestone made each day feel like Christmas Eve and when he finally reached it it was a little miracle right in the middle of a busy work week.  I try not to second guess my choices and I try not to wonder what I would do differently if I had it to do again.  Would I smell him more?  Would I snuggle him more?  Would I read the books less and go with my gut more?  Would I worry less?

I think I'll just try that from here on - the worrying less and the trusting my gut more.  I will forget some things - the millions of dandelions picked or the thousands of tantrums thrown - some days I will wish for a do-over button, but I will hold on to the way my heart feels when I have his sticky little hand in mine and he squeezes.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

When one door closes...

Second First Day of School

Yesterday morning I did not get out of bed in time to take the traditional First Day of School picture.  For once, Finn slept in his own bed all night - and he slept there until 8:30 am!  It was like a gift from God, or something.  I've never claimed to be a morning person, so I took full advantage the extra sleeping-in in my own bed, by myself.  Uriah, however, did get up yesterday morning to make Abby breakfast, but it didn't occur to him to take the First Day of School picture.

This morning I did get up (easier this time because Finn was spread out over two-thirds of the bed, so it's not like I was getting quality sleep, anyway.).  I managed a cup of coffee (whoever invented the delay brew button on the coffee maker should be kissed by millions.), and took a couple of quickie snaps before Abs rushed off to catch her bus.  So this picture is technically her Second Day of School photo, or, as lazy me likes to call it: her Second First Day of School photo.  And as I dumped my camera, a second cup of coffee in hand, it occurred to me that we have successfully sent this girl off to 5 First Days of School (you can relive last year's First Day of School here.).

And she only has 4 left.