Tuesday, January 28, 2014

What a Winter!

Oh my, what a winter we're having.  This kind of weather makes me long for ski slopes and big abundant sledding hills and wooded paths to snowshoe through.  Someday I hope?  But today? and yesterday? and all those other too cold to venture out days?  Well, we're making do.

laundry bin Little Mermaid Viewing
flower arranging, thrifted beach sticker scene making, mini muffin tin crayon melting, "new" vintage upright broiler
veggie, orzo, polish sausage, white bean, and baby greens soup...MMMMMMM!
little brother reading
my tiny sidekick
nailpolish-ing traced hands (quickly followed by makeup-ing drawn faces, a fantastic way to satiate their desire for makeovers without all the mess)

Ah, I love these kids of mine.  

They hardly seem to notice this cold and are so on board for anything.  They are excited about fun projects and extra baking, and just as happy for lots of free playing time and watching favorite movies (in fact right now they're snuggled on the chair and half watching Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.

I don't have any great plans for today.  Perhaps an idea in my head to bake some crackers and cookies, we're out of both of those.  Definitely fold those two loads of laundry from yesterday and clean the upstairs bathroom.  Perhaps after another "going to Florida" themed afternoon bath time complete with swimsuits (even for Felix!) and a bit of sunscreen for that intoxicating beach smell.

As hard as it can be to "fill the time" on these long indoor days, it's really very nice.  I love jammies and laziness and my three sweet little people.  But we sure will be ready to bundle up and venture out tomorrow!

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Looking Up

I keep meaning to write.  I keep starting to write.  But it's all sounding the same right now.  I'm still stressed, life it still very unsure and up in the air right now.  It's a very hard way for me to live.  In fact yesterday I wrote about this all and this morning it all seems rather insignificant.  Yesterday I was tired and grumpy and today things are looking up again.  SO today I'll write.

Yesterday at approximately 3:03 pm I got my energy back.  I woke up from a 2 hour nap next to Louise who was still snoozing. I walked past Ainsley's room where she was sleeping still and past Felix's room where he too was, you guessed it, sleeping.  I made myself some coffee, sipped and sat in silence.  Then we had a great afternoon.

::Coffee ala Hario...the best kind of coffee
::Photo of the girls playing with coins before lunch, ainsley dressed up in an 18-24 month sized zebra costume after I'd told her the hilarious story of finding her passed out in that very costume as a 2 year old in her bedroom.
::sweet Felix bot crawling all around
::The girls dressed up in their new Frozen costumes rocking out to Let It Go
::play meal prepared by Louise for me while I sew.  My desk is always so full of play meal love when I'm sewing.
::Playing with their new bear paw catch game that we made from our latest Kiwi Crate.  Have you guys heard of these?  AMAZING.  My mom got a 3 month subscription for the girls, I'm tempted to keep it going.  They are so good.

Right now I am loving my two big girls so so much.  One of my new favorites with them is reading chapter books.  We started about two weeks ago, voting on our first.  Mrs. Piggle Wiggle won hands down and we snuggled and read one chapter before rest time every day and finished this past weekend.  Yesterday we voted on our second book, Pippi Longstocking.  The girls are enamored and I'm loving all the great talks we have about the dramatic story line and characters.

I am loving knitting, it's keeping me sane.  I knit every chance I get and am plugging away at a beautiful knit dress for one of the girls and a last minute gift for someone special.  It's fun to be making something totally impractical and stunning for once.  I have way too much practical in my life right now.

I am so thankful for this past weekend. I had one super grumpy day but made it  through.  We had guests for dinner all three nights which was such a blessing.  Our little house felt full and warm.  I really like that feeling.

I am so very thankful for our home.  With such a cold snowy winter we're here a ton and we love it here.  These old wooden floors and plaster walls are our friends.  If I stop and think about it too much I sure do miss parks and sun on my face and tired legs from walking, still I am thankful.  Think how good spring will feel?

This morning I motivated to exercise during preschool time.  I showered, did two loads of laundry, knit a few rows and managed to write this.  Things are looking up.  They always do after a few down days.

I hope this cold weather finds you all cozy and warm.  Have a wonderful end to your week.

Monday, January 13, 2014

No More Slack

I'm going to try something here, hang in there with me.  It's called total and complete honesty.

I've felt like a bad mom lately.  By lately I mean roughly the last 11 months and by bad I mean not doing my job well.  I have not been good at planning our days.  It really hit me how bad I've gotten when I saw all the Facebook updates from mom's listing off the great things they did with their kids on these snow days we've had.  I did nothing.  Seriously.  We played with play dough, popped a tent up, and watched three movies.  I've let the girls watch way too much TV and movies just so I can get some things done or sit myself because I'm so tired all the time.  I plan about two good meals a week and the rest seem to be whatever I can throw together at the last minute (or worse, have Ian pick up on the way home.)

Ainsley has a cavity.  I finally took the girls to the dentist before Christmas.  After almost a year of agonizing over if it was the right time to go (I was so worried that Ainsley would be too scared and that ti would be a bad experience) I waited too long.  Now she needs a filling and I just feel sick with guilt about it. (Though we brush twice a day and help her brush and were told by the dentist that these things happen, lots, it's no big deal.) It feels like a huge deal and I'm so so sad about it.

I have almost no videos of sweet baby Felix.  I finally got out the video camera for Christmas and neglected to get any videos of Ainsley on her birthday either.  I am feeling so behind with keeping up with photo taking and archiving the kids lives.  I hate it.

I'm worried about school for the girls.  I am so anxious about kindergarten next year for Ainsley that I lose sleep at night sometimes.  I'm not worried about her academically, I'm just not ready for her to be gone all day 5 days a week.  I don't know how I'm going to be able to let her go.  It feels real raw right now.

I am so depressed about my body.  I worked so hard to get back into awesome shape after Louise was born and this third sweet baby of mine completely stretched me out.  I have my first stretch mark that's deep and long on a slack tummy with skin that just won't seem to go back to where it used to.  I've tried my best to exercise when I can but I'm just so dang tired all the time.  It's so hard to find the strength to do it.  I feel like I'm having an out of body experience when I look at myself in the mirror. Fine lines, dark eye circles, pudgy droopy middle.  This isn't me.  I don't know where I went.

Man.  This post makes it seem like life is horrible, huh?  But it's not, not at all.  It just helps sometimes to admit that there are some bad spots, some sad spots.

So now what am I doing to fix it?

Well, first, I'm not letting myself off the hook anymore. It's a slippery slope when I can think to myself "but you have three little kids and tiny baby you're still nursing who isn't sleeping well.  Cut yourself some slack!"  No way man, that hasn't been working for me at all.

What does work for me is making it better.  Is remembering the mom, the woman I was even a year ago and doing my damnedest to get her back.  To remember that doing it is always better than not doing it and wishing that I had.

Today I took the girls to school after a long 2.5 weeks off.  The morning was rough.  Ainsley was nervous about school and her dentist appointment tonight and taking it out by way of a silly sippy cup fiasco.  We talked through it and made it to school on time.  The girls left no problem, I ran to the bank with Felix and to the bakery to get our bread for the week.  Rose and Jeanne were there and both gave me new years hugs.  While rose sliced our two loaves we talked about Christmas and after I shared how wonderful ours was she shared that hers was "a bit gloomy".  Her mother is dying of cancer.  They spent Christmas with her in the hospital sure that it was it.  It wasn't and now she is home and every moment they are waiting for the moment when she passes.  I looked into that sweet woman's eyes who's never been anything but happy and cheerful and complimentary of me and my sweet children and something in me flipped.  What the hell do I have to whine about?

I thought about Rose a lot this morning.  Said a quite prayer for her and her mom as I drove Felix and our bread home.  Felix napped all morning and I got to work.  Laundry, dishes, picking up, addressing the last christmas cards.  I worked until 10:52 when I had to go grab Felix and pick the girls back up.  Today I didn't hurry them.  It took us until 11:30 to get back in the car.  Ainsley was bursting with joy about her day back at school.  Ice painting! and sharing with friends! and the stories of new toys!  Louise was joyful too.  Something about a wooden donut that they got to paint?  Who knows, but she had a great morning.

We came home and danced to music while I made lunch.  Then we made snowman snacks (yogurt decorated with yummies to freeze and eat later).  Then we voted on our new chapter book to start reading.  Mrs. Piggle Wiggle won hands down.  We got in jammies and read a whole chapter before nap time.  EVERYONE NAPPED.  Felix woke up first, we snuggled and stacked his favorite cups. Then I played him some songs on the piano while he sat on my lap and banged the keys along with me.  Ainsley bounded down the stairs ready to go.  I hugged her.  "I love that you wake up so happy and ready to play".  We checked on our frozen snowmen. She wanted to wait for Louise to eat them.  We took out guess who and played.  It was the first game she did all by herself with NO help and we both ended up with the right people.  It was awesome.  WE called Auntie Joojie to tell her how great her gift was.  Then we all sat down to eat our snowman snack.  It was  COLD, but good.  Then Ainsley started getting ready for her dentist appointment.  She was all suited up for the cold a half hour before Ian got home to take her.  They went, I make spaghettios with tiny cut up hot dogs for Louise.  I was a bit too keyed up to eat.  I asked her to say a little prayer with me for Ainsley and her tooth.  She calmly replied "No mom, God already knows."  It was a frustrating hilarious conversation.
I gave Louise and Felix a bath and then Ainsley and Ian were home.  No filling, yet.  Our dentist wasn't comfortable giving Ainsley a novacaine shot and referred us to a pediatric dentist.  I was sad it didn't get taken care of but glad that he didn't do it if he wasn't confident about it.  Ainsley didn't mind at all and her tooth isn't hurting her so I'm letting it go.

That's what it's al about right?  Letting it go, rolling with the punches, all those things.  But it's also a little bit about making your own magic, digging deep, and staying true to the rhythm that works for you.  This new rhythm feels good.  I'm glad I'm not giving myself any more slack.

Tids and Bits

I'm sipping on some coffee, having just finished my oatmeal while the girls play at school and Felix naps.  As always there is lots that I could be doing.  Continuing to organize the back room of the basement, putting away the three loads of laundry that I folded last night, doing a few of my 10 minute pilates work outs.  But no, Felix was up three times last night, and I ran yesterday so I'm sore and tired.  Writing and coffee it is.

I had a great week last week.  After a rough start with the cold indoor days and me being sick I was in need of a major reboot.  I look backed on these last months of parenting three little people and I feel like there's something left wanting.  It's all me.

Since Felix has been born I haven't felt like myself.  I feel totally frazzled and hurried most all the time.  Panic attacks have resurfaced in my life making driving and dealing with little stresses difficult.  Usually pumping up my exercise routine and getting rest and eating well help with this tremendously.  But when you are nursing an 8 month old baby who doesn't sleep through the night at all and are trying to ready your life for a potential move any moment it's REALLY hard to do anything for yourself.

So I'm trying to work with what I've got, bit baggy eyes, soft tummy, tired brain and all.  Last week I decided to stop throwing myself a pity party, stop making excuses and be the person that leaves me feeling good at the end of the day, rather than sad and defeated.  It's working great.

It started with making a few basic changes in our days, reverting back to what was working before all this sleep deprivation took it's hold on me.
First, we turn the tv off in the afternoon.  When the girls wake up from nap time I have a plan for them.  Last week we made cotton ball snow pictures, made mixed media paintings, started writting new books (an abc book for Louise and a Rapunzel story for Ainsley) we started reading a new chapter book together before nap time (Mrs. Piggle Wiggle, they LOVE it), and got serious about chores.

Those three days were amazing and reminded me of how great it can feel to feel like a GOOD parent, like I'm actually good at my job and deserving of this role I've been given.  I really needed that.

Then this weekend I got things done.  Went on a two hour errand run to the Container Store and Target to get supplies for organizing (lots of boxes and bins).  I can't talk about details too much on here (per Ian's request), but some big changes are coming up fast for our family and I'm using every spare moment to get prepared.  It's simultaneously thrilling and terrifying, and always incredibly overwhelming.

Today I'm looking forward to finishing a new sweater vest for Felix (I finally finished Ian's this weekend and he's wearing it to work today...success!) getting the basement in good enough shape that we can at least play down there, finally shipping off the last of the Christmas cards and thank yous from Christmas, some craft making and game playing and reading (as always), and perhaps even an afternoon walk in this mild weather.

I was so focused on fun last week that I hardly took any photos.  Here are a few from our happy days.

Happy Monday!

Monday, January 6, 2014

Ready for the new year

This morning I cut my finger (again!) while chopping veggies for a soup and I burst into tears.  I just need some space! I wailed as I wrapped by wound in a paper towel and kept chopping.  Ian vacated the kitchen with the girls and shut the swinging door so that I could have a moment.  I could still hear them through the crack in the door, right on the other side of the wall, because space is not something in our vocabulary these days.

Just now I wrote the most scatter brained post I can imagine.  Recipes and gift fun from Christmas, long paragraphs about my new yarn winder and trying to settle in after break.  Yada yada yada.  It's all just a mushed up blur really.

This time of year is the same for us all, yes?  It's crazy.  We're usually all a bit overtired and not feeling well, frazzled, but trying to enjoy these precious days "off" before real life starts in again soon.

The cold front coming has the whole midwest talking.  I went to stock up with Ainsley today and chatted with all three checkout clerks about the impending freeze.  Other than the girls' school being cancelled monday and Tuesday it honestly won't change our days much.  It's quite hard to get out for more than a half hour snow romp anyhow.  I'm almost looking forward to the hunker down.  Keeping the stove humming and the candles burning.  Enjoying fully all those wonderful new toys and books and games.  It won't be so bad.

I'm excited about food this week.  I was definitely in a sugar rut from the holidays and am excited to get back on a better track with meals.  My stand out favorites are the new soups I've made from Moosewood.  Lentil and Split Pea.  Both just simmered in water with herbs and the beans.  I was quite dubious but they are delicious.  I've also been itching to try out a few new recipes from Flour, a cookbook my sister gave me for Christmas.  The girls and I made the bran muffins this morning and they are great, and healthy!  Who would have thought.

I'm excited about knitting too.  I finally cast off for Ian's vest and now need only sew seams and finish the edges.  Now I get to delve into some new things for the kids.  A late winter vest for Felix, booties and a bonnet for a new baby due this spring and a little something for my girls that I'm VERY excited about.  IT's all made all the more exciting by the ball winder Ian gave me for Christmas.  No more spending hours sitting on the floor winding yarn around my feet.  I'm pretty pumped about that.

And because a post is hardly fun without some photos...

New Years Eve fun.

decorating star cookies

8pm dance party

new years luminaries

2013 recaps and party hats

dip day snuggles

life these days

Stay warm everyone!  Enjoy that beautiful winter snow (even if it's too cold to play in today ;o).