Thursday, December 23, 2010

Imperfect Christmas Wishes

The most wonderful time of the year started with me having an intestinal bug so severe My Beloved stayed home from work to care for Baby Henry because I was too sick to get out of bed. Today, with all the kids home and so full of mischief (as a euphemism for the words I'd like to use) even threats of calling Santa, the naughty list, or No Christmas celebration at all, have fallen on, pardon the pun, deaf ears.
I instituted a mandatory nap time, so everyone is currently taking some time out in their rooms, and I began to clean out the microwave (I suspect my parents notice my sometimes icky microwave, so I clean it before they come). I suddenly had thoughts of the most perfect mother, Mary, the earthly mother of Jesus. How "perfect" was she feeling 9 months pregnant all those years ago? I know that Christmas tests my marriage, can you imagine the position she was in and the strain on their relationship? Remember, God chose for his son to be born to real people, she must have had a little heartburn or a few cravings, and we know Joseph had some doubts about his gal too, it's even in the bible.
So in my imaginings, Mary was a little stressed, and maybe even a little snippy with old Joseph, and I am going to give myself a break. Sweet, flour-covered, apron wearing mothers are rarely just that, and if they are, they are trying to sell me something in 60 seconds, I'm on to you Betty Crocker.
I am going to try to give up worry about the perfect outfit to wear to my in-laws, or if I have some new recipe to dazzle my dad, or the absolute ideal of a gift to present to my mother. I am going to let go of my need to have all the presents wrapped and the glass surfaces of my home fingerprint free before my sisters newest beau comes over. Will he remember me for my clean glass surfaces? Unlikely.
I am going to look to someone else this Christmas season for inspiration, instead of combing through Martha Stewart magazines for a recipe, I'm going to take a minute to be thankful to the ultimate mom and remember, whether it's the cleanest house or a manger made of hay, Christ's birth is coming and people are coming to visit and I should be thankful I have a partner to help with the small talk.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Somebody Has To Do It

"If it is to be it's up to me." - William Johnson

Tonight I worked hard to fulfill My Beloveds fantasies, I helped him with yard work. While I was trudging back and forth across the yard with heavy shovelfuls of dirt to fill holes in various parts of the lawn, I began thinking of that quote. I am sure, when I originally heard it I thought it was brilliant and so inspirational (I must have been in high school). Now I realize it as the bittersweet truth that comes with motherhood and wifedom. If it is to be, I darn well better do it, or else it probably won't get done.*
The wet load of laundry forgotten in the washing machine on Sunday night, still there because no one is missing the clothing that are currently mildewing. The bag that needs to be packed before we go to the water park tomorrow, fall soccer sign up, booking a rental car for our trip to Maine, how about finding a load of wood chips for the front landscaping? A dump truck load should be fine!
I am not complaining so much as I am in awe over the sheer amount of responsibility I have. I can't just decide not to buy milk, or soap, or dog food. Someone has to run the dishwasher, someone has to get school supplies for the kids. The moment I got married I was agreeing to take care of someone for the rest of my life. The instant I became pregnant with Little Monica I was essentially begging for MORE responsibility, and then again with Norah, and why not a third time with Baby Henry?
Fortunately for me I made a good choice in life partner, My Beloved occasionally remembers to start the dishwasher, and takes full responsibility for the trash, recycling, and most of the lawn maintenance (except for nights like tonight), as well as sharing the parenting of our little posse.
Somedays I want to run away, but most times I love the job security, and most times I am thankful to have My Beloved.
Although I am considering devoting a day a year to "If it is to be, it's up to someone else." That day you will find me at the spa.

*No husband blame intended

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Making Life a Little Sweeter

It's amazing what a little time away will give a girl in terms of perspective. Yesterday I helped my parent's out with a wedding they were photographing, check them out here. I make some extra cash, they get some extra help. Everyone wins.
I came home to My Beloved reading How The Grinch Stole Christmas (we celebrate all year) to 3 happy, pajama'd children. So what if it was an hour or more past bedtime. Not sure if they were just glad that the day with dad was over or they were really happy to see me, but I'll take what I can get.
I kissed Norah goodnight, made promises that I would help her organize her jewelry in the morning (better get on that!), sang Baby Henry a few of my greatest hits, then listened patiently as Monica gave me a laundry list of all the things Daddy had done (or more specifically NOT done) while I was gone. Including not feeding them lunch until almost 3pm, and he took them to Burger King, when I had specifically said to eat at home! He also made them work all day in the yard and by the way did I want her to tell me what he got me as a birthday present?
I came downstairs to a handsome husband preparing a plate of crackers and Kaukana spreadable cheese (my favorite), a cool glass of generic Crystal Light with ice, but first I had to come outside and tour the yard to see all the hard work he and the kids had done all day, including pulling out several of the bushes I'd been complaining about. I guess my approval is stronger currency than I'd realized!
Life is Good. Today.

Thursday, July 8, 2010


So I am in a great mood today. Let me tell you. It is the height of summer, the weather is grand and I am ready to run. AWAY. Seriously. I've stayed away from blogging when I've been in a bad mood for fear of scaring you all, but today I've just had enough. I am ready to explode. Rather than let My Beloved have it (on his birthday, no less) I've opted to spew my dissatisfaction with the blogosphere.
I know I should be grateful for this stay at home mom gig I've got going, but while I love my kids, patience is not a virtue I possess in great quantities. I attempt to do things that seem fun and motherly, but those things generally end up with one or more children getting an angry look at least, and sternly talked to or arm squeezed at most. Luckily for them, I'm generally against spanking.
I've read the parenting books, I've tried to categorize my children so I can best parent them, to no avail, I've yet to read a book to give me advice on how to respond to a child who is stabbing her brother with the sharp end of a cucumber at the farmer's market (yes, cucumber's have a sharp end). I guess I should be thankful we weren't at a cutlery store! I'm trying people, really I am.
One of my dearest friends, the mother of 5 (with one more on the way) regularly takes her kids out in public to Trader Joe's and the like, and doesn't even break a sweat. I've seen her, she's that smooth.
I just don't get it. I take the kids to Target to buy a birthday cake for their dad, I even spring for frosting in a can, and Baby Henry bites into the box of cake mix so we had to have a super friendly (in a mocking, childless person sort of way) Target person get us a new box as we held up the line for everyone behind us, not to mention he was covered in cake mix. I know I shouldn't care, right? But I do, and I feel tremendous guilt.
Why when I take the kids to the pool do 2/3 of them refuse to swim? Norah marches over to a lawn chair lays out a towel and proceeds to spray sunscreen all over, it's only a matter of time before she realizes it's not sunscreen she wants. Baby Henry is content to sit on my lap in the hot sun, arms wrapped tightly around my neck as though the water might touch him. Meanwhile, my friends children are cannonballing off the sides of the pool, periodically needing their goggles adjusted and leaving their mothers in peace to gossip by the side of the pool. I could be so lucky.
What gives? It's hard to be happy and cheerful when I'm the one that waits all day for My Beloved to come home for some adult conversation and he tells me he can't wait to go to bed, to SLEEP! It's hard not to wonder what I'm doing wrong when other people seem happy and relaxed at the pool and I can barely remember swim diapers, let alone water bottles!
Someday I know the kids will be older and won't need me as much, I will miss my Baby Henry as an accessory, Norah's quirkiness will be part of her signature style and Monica will be my cautious adventurer. Someday My Beloved and I will have all the time in the world to talk and pursue our own interests...but until then, I just needed to bitch a little. Thanks.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Father of The Year

As much as I sometimes want to devote entire blog posts extolling the virtues of My Beloved, I generally refrain, as my love and adoration for some of his virtues ebbs and flows (Sometimes I love his biting wit, other times, not so much). Today though, in honor of Father's Day I will share a few things that I love about My Beloved and why he's a such a great dad.
When you get married, before you have children you only have an inkling of the commitment required to be a parent. Before the blessing of babies, you have no idea just how consumptive they are of all things, big and small.
Yesterday, after a long day of work and running our garage sale we decided to go out to eat to a family restaurant. We divided up sides of the booth, 3 on one side, 2 on the other. Just as My Beloved began to take a bite of his juicy, much longed for cheeseburger he felt a tug on his arm, and he looked down to see Baby Henry smiling as he happily pulled a scab off of My Beloveds arm (from an earlier landscaping injury). Instead of getting angry, My Beloved looked across the table into my eyes, smiled and said "We've reached a new low, even scabs aren't sacred." Strangely my eyes filled with tears at the love I share with someone who is so deeply entrenched in parenting that even really gross things are some how meaningful.
Did I ever imagine 12+ years ago that the highlight of our days would be a successfully executed bedtime routine, when we operate like a well-oiled machine transforming wild, grubby, noisy children into sleeping angels, incapable of nothing but sweetness (note I said sleeping!) until morning? No, I somehow thought it would be more exciting and glamorous, or at least I would be more fashionably dressed, and significantly thinner in my imaginings.
Nevertheless, My Beloved does not disappoint in the fatherhood area, is he always perfect, NO WAY. Does he sometimes yell? Yes. Does he occasionally swear in front of the kids? Yup. Do they often repeat these swear words? Of course, but only when it's really embarrassing for me. For the big stuff though, the man I married is Father of the Year. He works incredibly hard for our family, both at the office and at home. He tries hard to teach our kids lessons in everything he does. This summer he and the kids designed and planted a garden in the backyard, which was somewhat bigger and more work than he bargained for, I think. So far so good, although I'll be interested to see how some of the more exotic things turn out (planting our own cantaloupe for instance). This endeavor has been enriched by our family foray into composting, and everyone is into that. The kids now beg to see how the food scraps are rotting in the backyard compost bin, can you say EXCITING?
So while this life of rotting compost and scabs was not what I imagined when I met my husband, I would choose it again in a heartbeat, scabs and all.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Man In Motion

This week has been a big week for our family. Little Monica is completing 2nd grade and moving up a group in gymnastics, Norah is graduating from pre-school, and Henry is completing his first full week in a big boy bed. We have been busy!
We have also completed a journey that at times I truly believed would never end. Rory, my Beloved, completed and presented his thesis today. Six years ago when he began this journey we were a happily married couple with one child living in the first home we'd ever purchased, and did we have a lot to learn.
Sometimes I think that movies portray these life journeys in a montage set to a tune (I'm hearing the St. Elmo's Fire theme here). The road is hard, the mountain is steep and the protagonist ultimately makes it to the end of his journey victorious, with a sweat soaked brow and a hot babe waiting at the finish line.
That was not the journey we have been on for the past 6 years. Our road has been mostly gravel, with a lot of stumbling, bruises, skinned knees and hands, and at the end of Rory's journey he did have sweat soaked brow and was victorious, and the hot babe at the end was not a busty blond, but me.
While completing graduate school will give My Beloved 3 new initials after his name (M.P.H.) and a nice diploma, ultimately completing this degree is a sign of the true strength within the man I married. He is certainly not the "dumb jock" I thought he might be the first time we met, but rather he is the smart, sensitive guy who finishes what he started, despite the adversity he may face.
By completing this degree he serves as an example to our children of perseverance and tenacity. With time they should forget the part about MAJOR procrastination and Coca-Cola consumption.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

At Long Last

If you don't have anything nice to say...take a break from blogging. Alas that's been the reason for my hiatus from blogging. I've been pretty stressed and overwhelmed for the past few months and opted out of offending my readers by turning my blog into a bitch fest. Trust me, you should be thanking me.
That said, I am back and cracking under the pressure to offer some tidbit of something that intrigues you enough to keep reading. So I think I'm going to keep this one short, and it might be lame. You were warned.
Summer vacation is banging down the door, and while I remember it fondly from my younger years, as a mother I am filled with both anticipation and dread. 3 months with my children 24/7. My Beloved and I sat down mid-May and tried to sketch out the summer plans, we didn't want our kids to be over scheduled, and we wanted to spend time enjoying our new home. We also wanted to head East to Maine. After careful planning on our part we penciled in plans for various activities, and times we'd head to WI to see family. One week to go and we've already blown our carefully laid June plans to pieces.
I won't lie to you though, I am nervous about being home with the kids, not because I don't adore them, I do, just separately. As a group I would say it's about 90% arguing, fighting, shouting, nagging, whining, and 10% wonder, joy, smiles, happiness and butterflies. Strangely that 10% is usually worth it.
As I've mentioned before, we are working hard to be debt free so that somewhat limits what the kids and I can do. Unfortunately, Jimmy John cannot make lunch for us everyday, we simply can't afford it. My kids are 8, 5, and 2, so they aren't exactly interested in the same things, we've signed up for a few things but are planning on using our YMCA membership to it's fullest. Outdoor pool here we come.
I am going to try to offer healthy snack choices and we are enforcing some rules and chores. I am going to try not to be resentful of My Beloved when he comes home and wants more family time (at this point I usually want to run out the door.) I am going to try to keep my yelling to a minimum. I am going to play with my kids and stay away from Facebook. If I succeed even halfway at this I will consider our summer a success. If not, well, there's always next summer.