Saturday, January 31, 2009

So I Guess TV Can Be Useful...

Dave spent today at work, so midway through the afternoon I decided I needed a break. I decided to let my kids watch TV for a while, monitoring them by ear (you know, go check if it's too quiet or if you hear some disaster breaking loose) while I "worked" on the computer writing a blog post and wasting time on facebook.

After I had sufficiently decompressed, I went back into the family room and kitchen. I found that Jackson had taken some baby food that was sitting open on the table and splattered it all over his khaki pants, the floor and part of the wall. While not thrilled about this, it was a small price to pay for a few moments of quiet. Jared and Camryn were still happily zoned out watching "Max and Ruby" on TV.

I went into the kitchen to start cleaning up the squash splatters when I heard the title of the new episode that was starting: "Ruby's Birthday Party." I suddenly remembered that Camryn was supposed to go to a birthday party at 2:00 pm and it was now almost 2:25. Crap! I yelled for the kids to get their shoes on and made a mad dash upstairs for the wrapping paper. The phone rang and the birthday girl's mom was on the phone asking if I was still planning on coming. I apologized profusely, explaining that I just totally spaced it (Do I have early onset Alzheimer's?) and remembered when the TV show the kids were watching was about a birthday party. At least she got a good laugh out of it.

I wrapped the gift in record time and we were off. Luckily it wasn't too far away. Does anyone else find that motherhood destroys brain cells? Or at least your memory?

Next to Godliness...

I just wasted 40 minutes on facebook doing one of those "25 Random Things About You" tags. If that doesn't sum up my lack of ambition for the day, I don't know what does.

I had a friend that I haven't seen in a long time and her kids over for a play date this morning. It was so great to see them again, to just hang out and catch up. It's amazing how much bigger her kids are now. We both moved to this area at the same time and it's hard to believe that it's already been more than 2 1/2 years that we've been here.... This was the first time that she'd been over to see our new house, so I had grand ambitions of everything being clean and tidy and perfect-looking. Despite my efforts to get things picked up, while the house wasn't disastrous, it wasn't exactly pristine either. I know her well enough that this shouldn't have been a big deal for me, but part of me still cringed at the remains of Jackson's breakfast on the floor and the miscellaneous rubble littering my countertops. I thought I had gotten past feeling like I have to have everything perfect to have someone over, but apparently some of that still likes to pop up now and then. I still struggle to find the balance between wanting to have things nice for visitors and the "well, this is my life" reality of having three kids. Luckily, she has kids herself and didn't seem bothered by it.

It's funny because I often feel more comfortable at someone's house that looks a little "lived-in" than one where everything is immaculate. I'm not as nervous about my kids and I don't feel as insecure about my own house when I see someone else whose house has evidence that people live there. So why do I think that other people are going to be bothered by the evidence that yes, I do have children, and yes, they make more messes than I can keep up with? I guess half of it is that I was trained you want things to look nice (out of respect for your guest) and half is just plain vanity- I want to look good and like I have everything perfect and under control. Which of course I ALWAYS do... just in case you were wondering. ;)

25 Random Things About Me

I did this for facebook, so I figured I'd post it here...

1. I am a compulsive over-analyzer (like trying to figure out what random 25 facts about me could possibly be interesting...).
2. I am the second of six kids.
3. I have only been out of the country once- no twice (to Tijuana-- does that count?- and I guess I crossed the border into Canada as a baby), but I have traveled lots within the U.S.
4. My whole life I've wanted to go to Europe-- all of it! And Tahiti, too. And maybe Asia... I think I just love to travel in general.
5. I think it's not fair that my husband LIVED in Europe for two years in high school. Grrr.
6. My nickname as a baby was Chicken Licken.
7. I worked a technical writer during the summer while I was in college.
8. I was home-schooled from 5th grade through high school.
9. Yes, I still graduated from college and I'm not a social recluse (at least I like to think so...). I don't even stockpile guns in my basement!
10. I have a masters degree in Piano Performance.
11. I was seven months pregnant when I did my masters piano recital (yes, I could still reach the keys, but barely...).
12. I have moved 10 times in almost 9 years of marriage. I'm hoping to stay put for a while now.
13. I share my middle name with my mother, an aunt and a great-grandmother. (It is Louise.)
14. I LOVE all things having to do with food: cooking, great restaurants, growing herbs, collecting recipes, reading about food. In my next life I might be a food critic or a chef.
15. I discovered as an adult that I love to garden.
16. I also discovered that when I have a baby my green thumb turns brown. (I suppose there's only so many little growing things you can care for at a time...)
17. I love to read. I mostly read classic literature (1800's or before) or non-fiction, but I'm starting to branch out a bit.
18. My mom is one of my best friends. I also have the world's greatest mother-in-law. (Seriously, she is awesome.)
19. I met my husband when I was a freshman in college. We didn't date until I was a senior and we didn't get married until after I graduated.
20. I first knew I really "liked" my husband when he told me my feet stunk. (What can I say? I'm a romantic.)
21. I'm not a big phone talker. I really feel awkward calling people that I don't know or haven't talked to in a while.
22. I was really into ballroom dancing in college. I took a class almost every single semester.
23. I am afraid of heights. I discovered this when I went to the Grand Canyon when I was 7 months pregnant with my first child.
24. I wonder how you know that when someone says something is "blue" that "blue" looks the same to them as it does to you. How do you know that "blue" to them doesn't look purple?
25. I like to write and I use it as my personal mommy therapy sessions. I started blogging this past year.

26. I don't like to feel obligated to do things, so don't feel obligated to do this (even if I tagged you) if you don't want to.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Time's A-Wasting

So if time is a-wasting, why I am I writing a blog post at 12:26 am instead of going to bed? So I can whine, of course!

Today was a bad day. I woke up at 4:00 am to Jackson crying and never quite got completely back to a deep sleep. I had great intentions, but even though I did make my bed (YES!! I am keeping my New Year's Resolution!), not much else happened. Can it really take 3 hours to make oatmeal, eat aforementioned oatmeal, feed breakfast to a one-year-old, take a shower, give two kids a bath, get them dressed and comb their hair? Don't answer that.

Jackson is still recovering from a cold/flu bug and has a faucet runny nose that he likes to wipe on my shirt/pants/sweater (he usually chooses the most expensive or least washable item to be his handkerchief). He has also decided that certain types of baby food which he previously enjoyed are no longer palatable to him. He indicates this change of preference by swinging his hand into the spoon, flinging mushed peaches with baby oatmeal all over my wool skirt (on Sunday) or pajamas (on Monday).

Today my tummy hurt (whine), my head hurt (whine) and those dang dishes just wouldn't go away, no matter how long I stared at them. Jackson finally went down for a nap and I then wasted all his naptime working on something for choir #2 on the computer. He took a great nap. He slept for a REALLY long time, until I realized that the baby monitor was not turned on and that he was screaming in his crib and for all I knew he could have been screaming for a solid hour. I felt so bad.

Jared and Camryn had an educational afternoon of watching Pokemon and Cyberchase on TV while I scrambled to finish some (take a guess...) choir stuff on the computer and fold the laundry that had been sitting in the hall for a week. After I finished folding, I started to put clothes away and returned to the stacks of clothes in the hallway to find Jackson performing experiments with gravity. He found, remarkably, that neatly folded clothes, when tossed through the wood posts in the upstairs hallway will fall down from the second story to the ground floor and land in a messy heap. Unfortunately, Jackson is not blessed with a mother who has his same keen appreciation for science experiments.

Despite my most hopeful, wishful thinking, no dish fairy appeared to clean up my kitchen. So we had pancakes for dinner (yes, it was a mix, but hey- at least it was whole wheat) and I finally did the dishes myself. It really wasn't so very bad. I cut Jared's hair (to Jackson's great amusement), attempted to remove some of the rubble of Jackson's dinner from the floor and had Family Home Evening with the kids.

We sang a couple of songs, read a scripture, told the story of the Brother of Jared (Jared got a kick out of that) and talked about how sometimes when we have problems and pray about them the Lord asks us what we think we should do about it. We talked about Nephi building a ship and how sometimes we get asked to do things that are hard, but the Lord will help us do them if we have faith. And then we played "Simon Says" and sang a closing song. We also sang "Jumbo Elephant" and "Whirly Twirly" at the end, just for good measure. We figured Jackson would get a kick out of the older kids swinging their arms like an elephant trunk.

So often, Family Home Evening can be a fight to get the kids to sit still or it just seems like an unnecessary delay of bedtime, but tonight I actually enjoyed it. I still got the kids to bed late. Dave still had a super-late night at work. I still have a million choir details to try to work out. My list of home organization to-dos hasn't gotten any smaller. But hey- at least I accomplished something today. And don't forget, I made my bed.

Friday, January 23, 2009


Now that it is a new year, it is the time for resolutions and new starts. I decided that maybe I should break out of my no-resolutions habits of the past year or two and actually give it a shot. So I did. Of course I want to do all the normal things: get up earlier, lose weight, fit into my skinny jeans, eat better, exercise, use my time efficiently and effectively, keep my house immaculate, be the perfect mother, read my scriptures, keep up with my book club reading, get the laundry folded before it has sat in the hall for a week.... But this year, I decided to make a resolution I can keep. My new year's resolution is: (drumroll..........) to make my bed.

Don't laugh. It's not funny. Besides that, I have actually done it every single day. (Well almost- I usually miss Sundays, but we have 9:00 am church, so can you blame me? Besides, can you say as much about your resolution to stay away from chocolate?) You may think it is setting my sights low, but every day in five minutes or less I can feel like I have accomplished something I set out to do. Really.

C'mon... it's really not that lame. It also sets a tone... you know, you can't just climb back in bed, even if you feel like it. That I am actually going to TRY and keep up with things. That I start my day out being tidy. OK, fine. Maybe it is lame to actually have to resolve to make your bed, but for me it is progress and I am happy with it, lame or not.

And the funny thing is, that the rest of my house started staying really clean too. My kitchen was clean every single day for a whole week! It was like magic that spread to the rest of my life. Until it didn't. My house is a mess again. Even though I made my bed. Oh well, it was worth a shot.....

Easily Distracted

Oh yeah, so I was writing about Christmas break. We had a great time, even with our slightly delayed Christmas. Dave got me the American Idol game for Wii as one of my presents. Multiple fierce tournaments ensued... until we figured out that Dave's sister Jen was hands-down undoubtedly the best out of any of us. She basically kicked our trash every single time... but it was still fun. We did the usual Utah stuff... swimming at Papa's pool, Cafe Rio (yum... did I mention how terrible it is that the nearest one is in a different state?), Tucanos, and before long it was time to go home again. Luckily, our flight home was very unremarkable and we got back home as originally scheduled.

Ski School

I have been watching the date of my last blog post creep farther and farther into the distant past (last year even...) but every time I go to write a new post I get distracted by reading my friends' blogs instead. Not to mention that at my stage in life it is difficult to start- let alone finish- anything without getting multiple distractions throughout in the form of breaking up arguments, dishing out snacks, making dinner, please for attention, etc. If you add to this the feeling that I need to "catch up" on everything I missed, you have a sure-fire recipe for no blog posts for a very long time.

So Christmas break... despite the rough beginning, we had a great visit to Dave's family. Dave actually got a break from work for a few days and we basically just enjoyed ourselves. We have been promising Jared that we would take him skiing since he turned 5, but this year we finally got around to it and, just to add to the fun, took Camryn too. I had somehow conjured up blissful images of our happy family gently swooshing down the bunny hill or at least Dave (the ski expert of the family) spearheading the teaching part of our little family ski school. I guess putting the kids in ski school wouldn't have been too bad of an idea either in retrospect. We rented skis and headed out to go night-skiing. We took the kids to the bunny lift and Dave asked me, "So are you going to ski with Jared or Camryn?"

"Huh??" I guess it hadn't occurred to me that Dave couldn't ski down the hill with both kids. So I spent the next 90 minutes skiing down the bunny slope multiple times with Camryn between my skis, alternately sitting on my squatting legs with her full 50 lbs. and stepping on my skis with hers. I've never done a "Thighs of Steel" workout, but it could not be harder than trying to do turns on a snow-covered hill on skis with a 50 lb. weight sitting on your quads. You add to that trying to turn when someone is stepping on your skis half of the time (which leaves you with no recourse but to pick them up off your skis with your arms-- don't forget you're still moving this entire time) and you have the world's newest psycho workout.

At the end of 90 minutes I was totally trashed. Gone were my Norman Rockwell-esque pictures of our happy family skiing in the winter sunset. They had been replaced by visions of a full body massage and the hope that I wouldn't have to stand or sit for several days until my legs had recovered from the near-permanent injury I had inflicted on them. Luckily, Camryn was tired too (it's gotta be exhausting being carried down the ski hill), so we went in and took a break for hot chocolate. Then Dave and I each took a turn skiing a regular run by ourselves (amazing how much easier it is without the 50 lb. weight). By the time we were finished Jared was ready to ski again, so I took Jared back to the bunny hill while Camryn played in the snow off to the side. After a while even Camryn felt like attempting to ski again. I do have to admit that our second attempt went much better than the first (Except when I got over-confident and let go of her so she could do the last little flat part by herself. She didn't fall... she kept going and going... right up into a metal fence that kept her from going over the hill down to the parking lot. Oops.).

So in the end we did have a nice family outing. And I had burning quads for the next 4 days.