October

October has been… an October.

In general, the month tends to be a little crazy for us. I always fight it and try and make October last longer as it is the month with my very favorite holiday. It never works and it always turns into costume creation procrastination! That should be a SAHM sport: Costume Creation Procrastination! Just look at her not pulling out that sewing machine!

I only fought it for so long and then Saturday morning I ran through everyone’s costumes to verify it was all ready. Because a certain mom might have been thinking Monday, Monday, Monday and we had a Trunk or Treat on Saturday, Saturday, Saturday!

But let’s back up to Friday because a certain large kitty is too cute to skip…

And then Saturday. I really wish there was a way to effectively photograph glitter. You should see the piles of glitter all over my office right now. CRAZY TUTU MAKING MASSACRE.

But it was worth it.

Monday evening meant Halloween and our traditional pumpkin pizza. Not “actual” pumpkin, just shaped like one. And this year – orange dough! We used to buy a pumpkin pizza each year from Papa Murphy’s but they quickly shrunk in size with each passing year and kept raising their price. Not to mention the line and waiting and then cooking – I opted out a few years ago and started making our own pumpkin pizza. I was massively thrilled with the shape, not too shabby if I do say so myself! Next year I’m going to try and remember to set aside some dough to dye green for a stem. That’s the only thing missing from ours! (Okay, let’s be honest, it’s also missing massive salami slices cut to real-life jack-o-lantern shapes. But we made do.)

Then we had “real” trick-or-treating on Monday. Check out Cam’s costume!

Happy Halloween!

Ha, it’s Wednesday.

Monday I started a blog post, because Halloween!

Monday night I never finished it.

Tuesday I kept working on it.

Tuesday night I blew it off and never finished.

And here it is Wednesday! No post! Well, minus this one. And the one I’ve been working on for three days. Today will just be a twofer. No wonder I never get things posted!

Here are some cute kids, just for fun.

You’re welcome.

 

What’s new?

Isn’t it funny when people ask you “what’s new with you guys?” or “what’s going on with you?” Sure, just friendly chitchat. Despite its crippling effects of realizing you have NO legitimate response. Right? Think about it.

Well, the other day I was feeling nice so I unloaded part of the dishwasher for Duncan. He repaid my by yelling at me and refusing to do his dinner job. Motherhood is my favorite. (Meh, a little sarcastic.)

I cleaned up two beds that were peed in! It was very different from my usual one bed per morning routine. Exciting! (TMI?)

I saw a great t-shirt with a Supernatural quote on it, “Driver picks the music, Shotgun shuts his cakehole.” I felt all excited and realized it would make a great cross stitch pattern. I was going to go draft it up and feel good about the whole project, but then I got distracted by exhaustion and took a nap instead. (Too pathetic for public announcement.)

I made DINNER. This may come as a surprise for the category of “something new”. But, when you spend hours creating an aisle-by-aisle mapped out grocery list that teams perfectly with the month’s new menu, you’re too exhausted from shopping for 6 people for 30 days to cook. (Ooh, no. This would require admitting that I don’t “have it all together”.)

Today I peed with the door closed! (Saaaaad, mama. Just sad.)

Not much, mostly the same old mom gig. *smile* (Genius!)

Recently I’ve added to this response by discussing school goals or quickly recalling something adorable one of my nerdlings recently did. Tip: Kids are always doing something, whether it’s cute or annoying, and it always makes for good conversation.

Strikethrough or not – how do you respond?

Psst… that red-colored link up there? Totally worth it. Well, regardless of Sammy’s disdain for Black Sabbath and Metallica. Tsk tsk. One day I might actually catch up on Supernatural. I’m currently finishing the last of Season 9 of The X-Files. 

 

Que Será, Será

Whatever will be, will be. 

Man, that’s hard. For everyone, right? But then you go and be an adult and have children and you are responsible for those little humans. Whatever will be, will be? Can’t write that on a page in my planner. That sounds like open-ended crazy talk.

It doesn’t have to be negative or bad, there are positive sides to holding your arms open and telling the universe, “come at me, bruh.” No matter our intentions or our own upbringing, we do our best and hold our breath for the day when they start having their foundations tested. When they hold their breath and do their best.

 I think despite our shortcomings and failing moments, the true message generally gets through and it leaves them jumping off the edge with confidence, knowing they have a plan and are prepared to meet the future and shape it their way. What they find there is out of everyone’s control. That is as it should be, though difficult. That’s growing up. That coveted transference of imaginary power and control. 

As parents of small children, that control or power is easy. At least it was for me. Sure, not easy to do but easy to understand. I knew what was needed of me, what was required. We’re back to our basic roots and understanding of survival – we do what we need to do. Love the baby, feed the baby, bathe the baby, swaddle the baby, protect the baby. But what about when the baby grows an attitude and a dislike for mashed produce? 

Sometimes whatever will be, will be because there’s no way to plan for it. My oldest, though very similar to me at her age, is so much different than I ever was. How could I have forseen what her day would be like every day? What her environment would be like outside of my influence? 

And to say raising each child was that same basic instinct would be naive. They were all so different. The first was mild mannered and “easy”. The second was a very happy baby but he never slept unless he was literally laying on my body. The third preferred her thumb over the beloved “fia” (pacifier) and cried through her many battles with anxieties. My last was similar to my second in demeanor but struggled with her health and had breathing that needed constant attention and treatments. She, though it wasn’t much of a surprise, never took a pacifier or a thumb. Honestly, with a nebulizer mask over her face for so much of her little life, how could she? 

These are things I never could have prepared for. And then when the attitudes and opinions grew? All bets were off – it was (and still is) an entirely new game. 

Today they’re all independent in their own ways. Even down to the youngest who’s just past four years old. Their physical needs have grown into emotional needs. They can feed themselves, wash in the shower, or (generally) keep themselves safe – but emotionally I’m not useless yet. What used to be as simple as a warm blanket, fia, and a hushed song now requires forgiveness over slammed doors and second chances after angsty, attitude-laden comments. 

But between ripping off bandaids and “ruining their lives”, my job is relatively simple – being there when they need me. Which may be the hardest job of all. If they would just listen! We’ve all been in their shoes at one point or another, and we don’t have all the answers either. But “use my experiences”, we might plead, “learn from my mistakes!” They won’t. Have you ever tried to plan for every outcome for your child, to fix what isn’t yours to fix? Life happens, it’s messy and it gets in the way. Planned or not, it happens and it’s maddening. They need to have their own experiences, learn their own lessons.

The religious side of me looks at my personal experiences with being a parent and wonders how difficult it must be to be our Heavenly Father. To have rejected the plan of a son who wanted to just “make it work” only to watch us all completely butcher doing it right. He chose choice over force; freedom, flexibility, and forgiveness over rigid conformity. The ultimate example of all-encompassing patience and love. Maybe that’s the message? If you’re meeting the necessities, is there a “doing it right”? Our kids might have to repeat our mistakes, each one of them in their own way. But if they learn the lesson and their lives are better for it, wasn’t that the goal? To teach them how to find the path, not just to show it to them? 

 It’s true. Beyond me, or my parents, or their parents – all the way back to the beginning. You love, you try, you work hard, you sacrifice. And still? Whatever will be, will be.

And, thank goodness. 

Outside.

Throwback Thursday to that time when I wrote this post and never hit publish. Written 9/1/16.

I never realized the power of being outside.

My dietician, Denise, kept telling, “just go outside.” When I go outside things feel smaller, more manageable. The task at hand hasn’t changed, but I have. You can’t tell me that you look up into that big blue atmosphere and feel trapped or cooped up. It’s honestly almost too much. I’m a homebody, always have been. Even when I was younger, though at that point I was probably a roombody, as most adolescents are. (Or maybe I’m making that assumption because my oldest daughter is very similar.) I spent time at friend’s houses, sure. But when I wasn’t making an active social effort, I was in my house, and most likely in my room.

As an adult, it’s nearly impossible to stay in my room. Can you imagine the toys and discarded socks and string cheese wrappers that I’d pull out of my bed each night? Shudder. Don’t even. My kids are all over the place, the older two do tend to look for those spots where they can find solitude on their own, but we have a very busy house. Not having the solitude of my own place, I just kind of gave up. Sometimes I hole up in the Office, other times in the Music Room working on library stuff, even the Laundry Room. Pathetic! But if I’m folding blankets, linens, panties, and the like – the kids steer clear. (I might ask for help!)

But Denise kept repeating herself, “just go outside.” So I tried it. It was nice for walks, getting outside, even if it was just 15 minutes a day. My problems that usually clouded my mood and frustrated my quick-but-reliable-fix-mom-style seemed to not feel quite so large. How could they? I wasn’t surrounded by constant noise or consistent “butmom!“, yet it wasn’t silence. I’m the oldest of five – and we were LOUD. I don’t do silence.

I enjoyed my walks but managed to turn it into something I could use against myself. I obsessed over miles or minutes per mile or even glanced at how many calories my phone and my Fitbit claimed. Because, yes, I ran TWO separate trackers. Le sigh. I really do like you, Numbers – you just make me crazy.

So, while I continued my walking, I stopped treating it like exercise. Sometimes I wear jeans and we go somewhere all together. Other times I pull out the yoga pants and headphones and hit the street in the traditional exercise way. I tried to incorporate it into my normal life, not add it to what’s already there. The 20 minutes to the library? We were just headed to Storytime. It wasn’t really exercising (psst, it still counts!) it was just being a good mom, and treating my girls to a fun morning.

Today I took it up another notch. Every time I’m at my parent’s house in the spring/summer, we always end up sitting outside. For a meal, to chat, to watch the kids play, to watch my dad (and now my husband) play/navigate their RC boats in the Willamette – why not? There’s always a reason that’s not too hard to find and they have the perfect deck and view to do it. I’ve even complained to Cameron that I wished we had something that would allow me to do the same. To get to walk out the back door and sit and read a book.

Simple right? Well, the chairs are in the trailer – somewhere, the picnic table isn’t exactly comfortable, and you can only lay on the grass for so long. Especially with the chickens out! It just wasn’t giving me the same feeling. I wanted to sit and see the sun and relax. Not argue with a compartment in the trailer to sit in an uncomfortable camping chair. Lazy? Probably. But beside the point! I even tried to convince Cam we didn’t need to rebuild the shed, we should just pour a slab or build a second deck and put comfy patio furniture on it! Yeah, not so much. That idea didn’t last, ha!

So today, I just did it. I took two minutes and checked for the chairs, I couldn’t figure out which compartment they were in and everything was locked anyway. Flop. So I yanked out one of my IKEA chairs and maneuvered it onto the deck. I set it down, closed to door, and sat down. Sure, it’s no river view, but it turns out there’s a lot to my own little backyard. Our Japanese Maple by the deck is growing strong, the gladioli along the back stretch are still in bloom, the garden has grown and while production is slow it’s growing, and the neighbors behind us who were rumored to have tried to start a tree farm have given me a nice little chunk of trees to stare at. It does give me a little reminder of a time when I didn’t have many trees in my view.

Looking out from my office window, where I’ve been spending increasingly more time, I am blessed by the view of my neighbor’s yard… aka construction zone. Half finished shed, old and most likely rusting swing set, a dog run semi-covered by plywood, and a glimpse at what looks like a Gma & Grandson window sticky afternoon project. Not the prettiest.

Looking up it’s instant homesickness… a flat, dry horizon with -count them- 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 trees in my field of vision.

Thank goodness for green.

Whether it’s a bird flying by, a neighbor’s hammering on some non-HOA-compliant addition, a yappy dog, or the neighbors’ small kids playing on the other side of our fence – there’s something to be said about outside noise. Sure the dog gets old at 3:00 am, but at 6:00 in the evening sitting out on the deck, it’s not a large annoyance. The problem is what it is on a manageable level. I’m not drowning in contentious situations and bracing for when I float to the ceiling, I’m in such a huge space that I can’t imagine the number of troubles it would take to even get me off the ground.

It does make a difference, though – suddenly the book I so badly wanted to start today, doesn’t feel like such a chore. When you find a Le Guin on the library discard shelf for free, you take it. I read today. I spent too much time on Facebook, sure, but I READ WORDS OUT OF A BOOK TODAY. Lately, unless we are begging for something to work on/stress over/tear down/rebuild I just do not have the time to read anymore. It’s seriously sad.

So for now, I’m thankful I have my deck. My random inside-chair placed outside. The Christmas Tree Farm fail in front of me. Even the wifi that reaches all the way outside and still functions – I’m writing, right? All good things that were waiting for me, that were always there.

I just had to go outside.