Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Pick a Day - Any Day

One of the MommyBloggers that I follow asked that we post our day – Start to Finish.

Okay, I think I can handle this. At least I thought I could until I heard my mom's voice in my head warning me not to put so much information on the web. an effort to confuse any potential stalkers, I've decided to change actual times to vague references.

Way too early: My alarm clock gets all annoyed at me for daring to still be asleep at such a magical time in the morning. I reach over the Queen (who is obviously going to keep sneaking into our bed until she is 32 years old) and press the glorious button that makes it SHUT UP! Then I sleepwalk my way over to wake Danielle and Emily – who each have their own alarm clocks, but won’t get up without their mommy singing to them first. Okay, I don’t always sing. In fact, I rarely sing. I usually just speak the first words “Rise and shine!” In reply, they grunt.

For the next 15ish minutes: Bathroom stuff. You don’t really want details of that, do you? I didn’t think so. After I’m properly spackled (not really…I actually don’t like heavy make up at all, but a girl does need mascara to face the day!) I turn on my computer and let it do its morning wake up routine while I fix my breakfast.

Lets take a half hour here: Sludge time! Into my blender goes a spoonful of flax seed, two spoonfuls of rolled oats, a sprinkle of fennel seed, a smidgen of cayenne and a dash of cinnamon. The top is put on and I let it pulverize while I retrieve the frozen fruit (well, I also add a lil bit of frozen broccoli but we can pretend that is a fruit right?), yogurt and fruit juices from the refrigerator. I blend all of that together and then sip on the resulting sludge (which actually doesn’t taste all that bad) while I check my email/facebook/blogs…and my farm. Yes, I confess that I have a virtual farm. It sucks my time and rewards me with fake plants. I don’t understand why I play. I just do.

Now that I'm actually awake: I try to rouse Derek and Anna. A few minutes later, I wake them up again. Danielle and Emily go to the front of the driveway with their granny(or sometimes gramps) to catch the bus. Let me just stop right here for a second and say THANK YOU Granny and Gramps!!! You are the best!

We're running out of time! Let's move it!: Lately Derek has been eating Frosted Chocolate Mini Wheats for breakfast. The fact that he has something that he actually likes to eat makes the morning much less frustrating now. I think that I need to send a thank you letter to Kellogg’s. After the kidlets are dressed and fed, we either walk to the front of the driveway to wait for the bus...or drive there. The weather decides that for us. Yes, I know that humans are capable of standing outside in temps that fall below 60 degrees, but WHY? Okay, okay, 60 isn’t too terrible IF there isn’t a wind. Yeah...I’m a wimp. Oh, another shout out here: We have a terrific bus driver. I know when my children get on the bus, they are in good hands.

Me time: Freedom! For the past 17 years I either had a child at home to take care of or a job to go off to (and of course there was work and school for the decade before that.) Don’t get me wrong. Those were all amazing years. I’m enormously grateful that I was able to stay home to raise my children. I loved teaching preschoolers. It’s just that now, I finally have ME time. Who wouldn’t be happy about that? So... how do I spend ME time?

Most mornings I wash the breakfast dishes right after the kids are on the bus. Then, if I’m subbing, I leave for the preschool. If I’m not subbing, I start cleaning the clutter that my adorable brood have strewn all over the house. I wipe down the table and the counters, sweep the floor, throw on a load of laundry, tidy the bathrooms, maybe even vacuum. No, no, no...I don’t do all of that in a nice timely order like what I’ve listed. That would make too much sense. In reality I’ll start clearing off the table and then after bringing a forgotten cup to the sink or a napkin to the trash, (umm...hold on a sec. Can someone please tell how I am able to teach 3 year olds to clean up after snack time, but can’t seem to teach my own children that basic skill?) I grab the broom and start sweeping around the island, and then I notice a dish towel so I lean the broom against the counter and bring the dish towel to the laundry room and since I’m right there near the computer, I check email/FB/blogs/Farmville for a sec. Or maybe a bit longer than that. Then I remember to go start the water for my tea. While I’m waiting for it to steam on the stove, I’ll remember to either finish sweeping, clearing the table or washing the cup from the table – and the spoon that was under the couch. No, I don’t know why the spoon was under the couch. I stop asking those questions long ago. Then once the tea is properly brewed, I have the perfect excuse to go back to the computer and sit while I sip. By then, the washer is done so I put that batch into the dryer and start a new batch.

Exciting life, no?

Sometimes I’ll have errands to run. Sometimes my hubby is home. I love that he has days off in the middle of week. ‘Nuff said.

Two by two my babies come home: The high schoolers arrive first. Without fail, Danielle drops everything she is carrying onto the table. Emily usually makes it to the couch before unloading. I remind them to pick it all up. Sometimes they listen. Sometimes I remind them again...louder. If I don’t already have something simmering on the stove at this point, I start cooking. Once that is started I tell one of the girls to keep an eye on it and then walk up to the road (or drive – again depending on the weather) to get the younger two off of the bus. They either come back to the house with me, or stop off at their grandparents. Either way, homework must be done right away. It would be nice to let them have some time off for a bit first, but experience has shown us that putting it off doesn’t work well. If our school boundary lines are moved next year, home work may just drive me over the edge since the extra bus time will put Derek getting home with his ADHD meds wearing off.

The rest of the day: Three evenings a week I bring a child or two to CCD class and then I sit in carline for an hour. That’s when I’m supposed to write. It’s not going so well. :::sigh:::

At home we all get ready for bed. I don’t read to my younger two as often as I used to read to my older two and I’m starting to feel awful about that so that is something that is about to change. Most nights, I come back to the computer and wait for everyone to fall asleep before I climb into bed myself. Although she is slowly getting better about going to sleep on her own, occasionally Anna will climb on my lap to fall asleep. Once she is sleeping deeply enough that I can move without waking her, I put her in her own bed. Finally I get to drift off to dreamland. Before I know it, my alarm clock is whining at me again.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Liar, Liar - Pants on Fire

This is my first response blog post. When I read It's Time for A Voice of Reason, I knew that I wanted to follow up on the subject. Let me state right away that I’m not responding in an effort to dispute what he has written. In fact, I think he makes more than a few valid points. I particularly agree with his position regarding those who search for dishonesty being bound to find it. I also fully concur with his assessment of where constant badgering and nagging will often lead.

What I’m unsure of is how common that type of behavior actually is. Maybe that is something that goes on in most households. Maybe it’s rare. Oddly enough, being a woman does not give me instant access and understanding of the behaviors of all other women. Where it does occur, I wonder if I should allow for the possibility of a sad history behind the Lie Seeker’s quest. It’s possible that she’s been given more than enough reason to be suspicious of his every move. Then again, maybe she is just a control freak. Regardless of the reason, two wrongs never make a right…right?

The thing is... When I think of dishonesty my mind doesn’t jump right to relationships. Has my husband ever lied to me? :::shrugs::: Possibly. Okay, okay, probably. Even so, it’s not something I ever really think about. We are fairly in sync on most issues – including lying. I simply have no need to suspect every word out of his mouth – therefore, I don’t. The children, however, are a separate case entirely.

Kids lie. At least mine do. It drives me bonkers. I see it as a failure on my part. Why haven’t I taught them better? I’ve tried my very best to set a good example in this particular area by being honest with them. When wrongdoing is discovered, I explain that coming forward with the truth will ease the consequence. On the flip side, if all I get are lies, punishments double. The hope is that eventually they will equate lying with losing.

It's taking a while to sink in.

Sunday evening, when it was time for my two youngest to turn in their DSi’s, my son told me that he couldn’t find his – despite the fact that he had it in his hand only 20 minutes before. That’s a trick that he has used in the past. I’ve caught on – even in my old age. I explained the rules again, just so that we were extra clear. If the game systems aren’t turned in on time, they stay locked up for longer. If he truly misplaced his game, then all he had to do was turn it in the moment he did find it. BUT if he was just hiding it somewhere so that he could sneak in a few minutes of extra game play or if he found it and choose to play with it instead of turning it in right away, then he would lose his game playing privileges for a week.

Can you guess which option he chose? Yep, the DSi is currently locked up for a week. When he is “bored” this weekend and wishing he had the game, I’ll have to ask “Was it worth it?”

Getting my children to think about how dishonest words and actions tend to hurt them more in the long run is a goal of mine. The world can be a very unforgiving place. I don't want them to learn the hard way that trust, once broken, it is very difficult to repair. I want them to avoid the fate of The Little Boy Who Cried Wolf. Come on, you all know the story right? The boy lies and lies until he can't find anyone who believes him anymore. My favorite rendition of that tale is in Yo, Hungry Wolf by David Vozar. It's fun to read and the children really like it, but even though they see how the little boy is no longer believed after repeated lies, I wonder if they really understand that it works that way in "real life" too. People will only give you the benefit of doubt for so long. Once you are seen as a "liar," the label sticks. Eventually even your truths will be tainted as potential falsehoods in the eyes of those you have mislead a time too often.

My children haven't reached that stage with me. I don't think they ever will. They are good kids (really! I could bore you all with how brilliant and kind and inspiring they each are, but then we'd be way off subject and well, I wander enough as it is!) I know that sometimes they lie because they don't want to disappoint us. They lie because they want to avoid getting into trouble. I understand those things. Still, I believe that is an important mark of character for a person to own up to what they've done (or haven't done) is spite of the consequences. That I think that I need to reflect on what I've done. You see, before I read Spud's post, I never questioned my heavy handed attitude toward lies. Now I'm I partly to blame? Instead of teaching them how wrong it is to lie, am I teaching them to try and lie better?

I don't have any answers yet and I'm not sure that I'll be changing that particular parenting tactic...but it is something to consider.

Friday, February 4, 2011

To have loved and lost...

Have you seen the McDonald's commercial for the Angus Chipotle BBQ Bacon burger? A guy takes a bite of his burger and drops some sauce on a napkin. Then the voice over person says..."It's better to have loved chipotle and lost some, then to never have loved chipotle at all."

Every time I hear that, I just wanna scream "NOOOOOOOOOO! Don't fall for it! You will regret it!"

To understand my intense reaction to, what may seem to you, a seemingly harmless commercial, you have to understand that I have once loved...and lost. It wasn't a simple love. It was a madly, deeply, truly kind of love. The intensity of my passion cannot be summed up into words here. I won't even try. You'll just have to imagine it for yourself.

I didn't set out to fall in love. In the beginning, I honestly didn't think anything would come of the encounter at all. It was just supposed to be a harmless indulgence. Well, maybe not completely harmless. There was some part of me that knew it was wrong on a certain level. There are always consequences for our actions. Some of the risks were already well known to me, but love? No, the risk of love didn't enter my mind. Perhaps if I had stopped to consider beforehand that there was even a chance I'd fall so deeply and so quickly, I would have walked away before the obsession began. Instead, I wandered blindly into what turned into love at first... bite.

Oh, BK Angry Whopper! Why did you do this to me? I lived most of my life without you. I should be able to live the rest of it just as easily now that you are long gone. Still your memory mocks me. In moments of weakness, I find myself longing for what can never be.

:::deep cleansing breath:::

I am strong. I will survive despite knowing that I will never again experience the pleasure of that burger again. And I've learned a great lesson from my loss. No longer will I allow myself to feel so strongly about something so temporary. My heart has been hardened. I can't - I won't allow myself to enjoy another burger as fully as I did my precious Angry Whopper, but that is a good thing. I know now that "limited time" romances are never worth the pain and regret that inevitably comes when the promotion is pulled away.'s much healthier to get the salad anyway. :)