Wednesday, February 26, 2014

What Day Is It?

Ya'll, if Lily Ruth didn't have someplace to be every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, I am not convinced that I would have any idea what day it is. Ever. This whole Stay At Home Mother Of Two "thing" is hard and exhausting and at some point every day I am convinced that it is not for me. That said, I still genuinely thank God at least once a day for the amazing miracles that are my children. No matter how weird, wild, awful or insane the day may be, there are still moments of pure gold. Glimpses of holiness.

Alec crawls lightning fast into the kitchen where I am making dinner. Pulls himself to standing using my pants. Waits until he has my full attention (which he usually gains by hooting and bouncing) then growls, attempts to zerbert me (through my pants) then takes off at the speed of light while laughing hysterically.

In a moment of flurried activity while trying to get out of the door, I was listing what we had and what we needed out loud. "Lily Ruth has shoes and a jacket. Mama has shoes and a jacket. Alec is not ready. What does Alec need?" From the other room I hear Lily Ruth "HUMPS!" "What!?" She bursts into the nursery and proclaims "Camel humps, Mama! Alec D needs CAMEL HUMPS!!!"

Oh MAN! I need these moments. I need to hold them close and pull them out when Alec is crying hysterically and pulling on my leg while I prepare lunch for Lily Ruth and try not to start crying myself or yell at my baby. For when Lily Ruth's eyes narrow and she loses the ability to back down or even just calm down. *sigh* It is REALLY hard to see your least favorite personal character traits reflected in someone you love so much.

As a four-almost-five-year-old, Lily Ruth's job is to catalog her world, interpret what she sees and find her place in it. It is essential that she find her boundaries and understand how firm or flexible that they are. This means that she is constantly pushing me. Constantly. She has almost stopped the tantrums, but has replaced them with subtle insurrection. Refusing to meet my eyes when I am giving her directions (that she then chooses not to follow). Not stopping a behavior immediately when told to (something she used to do every time). Repeating an infraction that she would normally have not returned to because of the consequences. Trying out her lying skills... Oi. I am not known for my patience, people.

Yesterday was a real challenge. Not just an every day challenge. In addition to some subtle pushing, she tried a fairly major power play. I was tidying the house in a pretty manic manner. Both kids were playing in Lily Ruth's room. Then there was screaming. From Alec. When I rounded the corner, Alec was hysterical and Lily Ruth was attempting to hide behind the guest bed. I scooped him up and asked her what happened. She claimed not to know. Then she claimed that he fell. Then she said that she was "just holding him like usual" but he slipped. She was miming standing up straight and holding him under the arms. Then her arms went limp. Crap. She is shooting up like a weed, and he is as heavy as a tank. She knows for a FACT that she is not allowed to pick him up. We have this discussion every. damn. day. as part of a reminder program that she is not in charge of the baby or the dog or the family... So there I am holding a freaked out baby and staring at a freaked out, defiant child. Where the hell is that fabled How To manual for parents when you need it? Why do I not ever feel like I know the right way to react? I'm guessing that verbally chastising the defiant one then banishing her to the indefinite Time Out while you nurse the bruised one is not the right choice...

You would think that injury to her favorite sibling would put the kibosh on further antics. I would think that. But it didn't. She went ahead and pushed forward with poor listening, some light lying and some serious whining when her friends left after an impromptu play date. *sigh*

You know, I've had two days of workshops this month (done hurriedly due to poor planning on my part...). After each day, I felt renewed and revitalized. Excited about my career (and eager to someday return to it) and so thrilled to be reunited with my babies after 6-8 hours apart. I felt determined to rejuvenate my parenting and bring joy back to what was becoming a slog. Then the reality of each day sets back in. The teething and the whining. Constantly fluctuating naps. Guilt that I don't have more energy and time for either of them after I'm done just trying to provide the basics (like food, clean clothes and naps).

We just have to make it through this part. Make it through with as much love and care as possible. Not all parts of parenting are as hard as the first year. Not all parts are as hard as the fourth year. Heck, not all parts are as hard as the forty-first year :-P

I can do this. I want to do this. And I really want to get it right. Hopefully that counts for something.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Au Revoir, Monsieur Cafe

I think I killed the coffee maker. Maybe... Probably... ugh... This will be hard for me to put into words because, you see, I haven't had my coffee.

When you have hard water, things are different in the kitchen. Special detergents and rinse aids in the dishwasher. Pasta pots develop calcium deposits faster than you can blink. Coffee makers clog with scaly deposits. Oh, and what happens to the poor bathroom is best left unsaid...

I have noticed for a while (read: possibly months) that the coffee maker needed a quick vinegar cycle. It's just that when I notice it, I am in the middle of making and/or enjoying my coffee. Not really a time when I am amenable to vinegar-related chores.

So I ignored it and kept my nose in my coffee cup. Until today. When my poor coffee machine took more than 10 minutes to deliver not-quite-3/4 of the liquid that I had requested. During that time, there were repeated check-backs, much eye-rolling, and groans that deteriorated into frustrated growls.

*sigh* I sucked it up, and grabbed the giant jug of vinegar from the garage. And now the coffee maker is DEED. It sits on the counter gurgling impotently. It's innards bubbling with a thick sludge of calcium, lime, and every other mineral in the city water supply. No water spitting through...

Standing in front of it whilst holding my rapidly cooling partial cup of crummy coffee didn't seem to have any effect. So I glared at it. Poked at it with a spoon. Jabbed at it with the turkey baster. Nothing. I shook it. Emptied it. Refilled it with vinegar. Nada.

Now I'm ignoring it. This also seems to be NOT HELPFUL.

Here's the deal: it may only be half-caff, but I am still addicted, people! What I'm gonna need here is a restaurant-grade coffee behemoth hard-wired to our water supply - STAT. Baring that, I'm gonna need for you to refill my Starbucks Gold Card once a week AND deliver my order by 7:30 every morning. That's a grande brewed half-caff with 3 pumps of toffee nut and a splash of cream. Thanks!

** update: I tried once more. Vinegar out, water in. Luckily, I only filled it maybe halfway full because after just a few short minutes, there was an audible *POP*, and water began seeping from the BOTTOM of the machine. Um, ya'll, there is NOT supposed to be water seeping from screw holes :-(

I feel like I should give it a Viking funeral. A pyre of fire or a flaming boat set out to sea. It would make no nevermind to the coffee maker, but I would feel better if I got to set something on fire. Stupid machine. It had ONE job - deliver the coffee.

*** next day: I managed to make the world's WORST cup of "coffee" with my individual cup pour-over system. SO sad.

**** Hmpfh. Oddly enough, Don had a coffee maker in the trunk of his car. It has been there since April when he moved out of his old office. He is sharing it with me. It makes crummy coffee, but not truly crappy coffee. I guess I know what I will be using my birthday money on...

***** Here she is! Bella!!!

Monday, February 10, 2014

Life (As Always) Marches On

It was a rough week, ya'll. Let's just say that everybody is physically fine... Well, everybody that lives in this house. The grownups are dealing with a situation that is not mine to share. This is hard for me. Writing has become my way of working through things. Taming the whirlwind of thoughts in my head and shaping it into a cohesive narrative calms me and focuses my thoughts. When the grownup stuff looms large, I tend to feel a bit isolated and silent even when surrounded by others. Telling the story out loud or in print means to me that I'm not isolated. That my voice is heard. Of course, I could always write it out and NOT share it, but my overtaxed brain tells me that I don't have any extra energy, so we won't be making time to do that just yet...

The kiddos are leaping right along with the glee of siblings who are much adored. As far as they know, it was just a regular week. A pretty good one at that.

Wednesday, I went up to Austin for my continuing education workshop. It was a really wonderful day. In addition to watching and experiencing some fun, cool bodywork,

Acro-yoga - I did not personally experience this :-P

Our instructors. Randy is laughing because Shane is muttering "don't drop me, don't drop me..."

Getting a bit closer than most people get with some advanced Shiatsu

The work comes back to me in waves - I REMEMBER THIS! I can do this!

I was completely on my own for over 10 hours. That has not happened in a VERY long time :-) While I was gone, Alec got to spend his first full day with just Daddy. They had a great time. They even managed to complete several errands AND get sister to and from Parent's Day Out and ballet class! *whew* I was thrilled and peeved that Daddy also managed to convince Alec that bottles are cool. Thrilled because he would have been one sad and hungry baby otherwise. Peeved because I have tried so hard with various bottles and strategies for AGES, and nothing doing. The ladies at Parent's Day Out have been worried and frustrated as well, because he wouldn't drink his milk from a bottle or a cup for them either :-/ One dang day with Daddy, and all of a sudden, he's a pro. Whatever. :-P

Thursday, I was pretty much useless. After a full day of stretching, lifting, pulling and breathing with intention, I was WORN OUT. I can't even remember if we made it out of the house.

Friday, I was loading Alec (still in his sleeper) into the car so that we could pick up Lily Ruth and head for 'school' when he threw up all down my only clean sweater. Hmpfh. Well played. ANYWAY - I may have ended up wearing layered tank tops and a cardigan in 30 degree weather, but he showed up at school in his pajamas. So there. After a good day at school for the kiddos, Alec D had his fourth tooth break through! Two up and two down. He has already figured out how to use them to actually bite into things - including me :-/ Nursing just got real up in here!

Saturday, I took Lily Ruth to the Frozen sing-a-long. That was BIG fun. We stopped at Target first, and got an Elsa dress to add to her current costume:

(Yep, a contractor trash bag for a cape and a pair of cat ears as her crown. She made it herself!) Then we went to the movie theater and sang our hearts out.

Yesterday, we ventured into the garden for a bit. I battled climbing vine weeds. Lily Ruth wove stories under the frame of her bean tee-pee. Alec ate hay and played with rocks. Hopefully the weather will be just as gorgeous next weekend, and we can get down to the business of tilling and planting.

SO, to sum up: Emotional whirlwind swirling just below the surface. Kiddos doing great.

Oh, and we still have to eat. This is a FACT. So here is the plan...

Monday:  Well, I wanted to make rainbow flatbread pizzas, but Lily Ruth said "No ganks. I like the picture, though. You could make it then send it up in the sky for God to eat after you make it." So I guess I'll make Red Lentils with Cauliflower andSausage again  

because it was soooooo good!

Tuesday:  Homesick Texan Carnitas Rachel Doyle's pin on Pinterest.

Wednesday:  Crockpot Gyros

Thursday:  Mushroom and Provolone Patty Melts

Friday: Family dinner night - definitely calls for Sriracha Broccoli  

Saturday:  Could you be in charge, please?

Sunday: Crapshoot!

Monday, February 3, 2014

Meh. :-/

After my internal / emotional drama and the external / ridiculous drama of Little Miss Tantrum, I didn't have a lot left over by the weekend, so there is not a whole lot to report.

On Thursday, just before the tantrum, we made horse sock puppets with Lily Ruth's friend Lola. They are awesome. If I remember later, I'll take a picture for you. As the tantrum wound down, I made paper lanterns for a string of fairy lights as a way to diffuse my insanity. This also falls under the category of "possible picture later".

On Friday, I made Jaden's Beef With Broccoli  for our family dinner. This is one of our favorite recipes, you guys. Even Lily Ruth eats a metric ton of this! I sort-of tripled (parts of) the recipe, and made fans out of the rest of our gang :-)

Over the weekend, I procured the rest of the supplies needed to finish new messenger bags for the kids! Now I just have to carve out the time to make said bags...

I also had Big Girl Dinner out with friends to celebrate a birthday, and our whole family unit (Dottie Dog included) went to a Super Bowl party at our neighbor's house. Dottie had more fun than should be legal. She played with the neighbor dog for hours, ya'll. She cried when we brought her home :-( To celebrate her social success, she ate the corner off of the coffee table while I nursed Alec this morning

:-/ jerk.

Oh well. We already know that we can't have anything nice. This just continues to confirm that.

On to the menu plan for the week...

Mon:  Easy roasted chicken, steamed asparagus, butter garlic noodles

Tuesday:  Red Lentils, Cauliflower and Sausage with fruit

Wednesday:  Mama's gonna be in class!*

Thursday:  Rigatoni with tiny meatballs

Friday:  Family dinner - including sriracha broccoli :-O

Saturday: Homesick Texan Carnitas (didn't make them last week - tantrum night)

Sunday:  eh. Crapshoot

That's my big plan for the week. That and sleep. I could sleep for a WEEK, ya'll!

Not that I'll get to. I'm pretty sure that these guys would not allow even a nap, never mind a week of sleep :-P

* I have to take classes to keep my massage license current. I get to take a class from my favorite Shiatsu instructor on Wednesday!!