And for once I was SuperMom

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Polar Vortex Activities

"Do you want to play with play doh?"
"Do you want to color?"
"No..." geez, what am I going to do with this kid.  She's jumping about me, and putting those cute little feet all over my remaining nerves.  I know that if I find an activity to engage her in I will be able to recover some of those nerves.
Google 'rainy day activities.'
Here I've noticed I need 'snow day activities,' as well.  And now I need 'polar vortex day activities.'
There seems to be a lot of days in New England where I don't want to deal with what's blowing in the wind.  My search usually lands me on someone else's cute little blog.  Often a homeschooling Mom.  Lots of bloggers seem to homeschool.  Is that a thing?  Does anyone know?

Most of the activities usually involve making something completely adorable with all the awesome crafting supplies that I should have lying around the house....well, I don't, have those things, I mean.  I'm not about to go buy them, because it's a polar vortex out there.  (Doesn't it defeat the purpose to go buy stuff to make cute homey hand crafted stuff?)  The few times that I have spent about an hour making awesomely cute things for my children to play with, they play with them for about ten minutes and usually not in the way intended.  Then I am left with the 'do I let them just do whatever they want or do I show them?' dilemma.  Which if your first child is anything like mine if you show her how to do something 'properly' she bursts into tears and rejects it, and then if you ever bring it out again, because the child has a memory like an elephant, she will shake her heard vigorously and refuse as if you've suggested diving into rat infested sewers for your afternoon activity.
One 'rainy day' activity that I ran across was allowing your children to fingerpaint in the bathtub.  I have fingerpaint, some brilliant relative gave it to me.  I can't remember who, but I am thankful.  So stripped them down, gave them Styrofoam trays of fingerpaint and let them go at it.

I tried to get shots that were 'Adam and
 Eve-esque,' so as not to offend.
See the strip of paint on Carys' tummy?
That's not the only place it was by the time
they were done.  

Look they're right in the tub, so you can just bathe them.
The bathwater will be less than clear,
but they still end up clean, mostly.

There an hour, bam, killed.  With painting time, clean up, and bath time it was quite the undertaking.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Dirty Underwear

"A goal without a plan is just a wish." Antoine de Saint-Expury
I saw this quotemat the gym the other day, I'm sure itmwas posted to spure you on to sign up for one their personal trainers, but it didn't make me think about my physical fitness.

"So what's your goal?" a friend asks. He's just made the switch to making a living off his art full time.
" Uh, blah, blah......" I don't really know.  I know that back when I was producing art full time I sold well.  People like my art, I make pretty things.

But my head spins with ideas; children's books, home design, blogs, novels, paintings, prints, etc.  So what is my goal? What do I want to be when I grow up?

I mean, I'm grown up....I have a mortgage, for pete's sake.

Since this has been a year of transition and more transition, ending in a loss I have but to catch my breath. In a lifestyle that could get swallowed up in caring for children and home having your own goals is hard, some find it next to impossible.  It's easy to slip and get swallowed up in my children's every need and ten years from now throw my hands up and realise it was all just a wish.

So what's my goal? I am going to start small.  I can handle small.  I can't handle large life goals, I can handle one thing.
You can see my spin bike (still in the box in the corner)
So I first am going to set up my studio.  Here are a few shots of the room that is going to be where all the magic happens...
PAINTING SUPPLIES!!!  I think these will go to the

A dollhouse that our neighbor gave us, and one of
those cute cube organizers...not so cute when
shoved in the corner filled with random junk.

I have no idea where that screen came from.
Crowbar...our house is clearly baby proofed

Wow so that felt like I was posting my dirty underwear.  Now that you seen that...well I don't think we can get more intimate.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Belated Christmas Cards

I sent out Christmas cards this year...
Okay 'sent out' isn't exactly the truth.  I had Christmas cards printed.  I sent out a few with family Christmas boxes, the rest of the box is sitting on bedside table.  The orange package occasionally waggles it's tongue at me.....
Oh well.
I kinda just wish I had picked something that didn't say 'Happiest Holidays.'  I like Christmas cards and letters, I like knowing what you did this year and seeing the cute pictures.  Maybe I should've picked one with a line like, 'Here's What We Look Like This Year.' Or, 'Look, Matching Sweaters!'  That way I can procrastinate even longer and when it showed up in February you'd be all, 'Random, but look at their cute sweaters!'

Of course all the pictures on the card are from the summer of this year, because the rest of the year we were in perpetual transition.  So I only took pictures of my kids on the beach, rather than parked in front of PBS kids.  The only pictures of Scott and I are from when we took that first picture with our new house keys, the rest of the year I spent in sweatpants trying to find things that we misplaced in all the shuffle.

The only part about Christmas cards that I don't like is that they seem to perpetuate the 'put together' gerbil wheel that we are all caught on.  The letters say things like, 'Abby participated in middle school band, was very happy to learn Ode to Joy on the flute.'  Not, 'Abby was diagnosed with anxiety, because of the perpetual bullying that she experiences at school.'  We put coordinating clothes on our children, and our spouses begrudgingly shrug into some shirt that 'matches,' and we pose and smile.  And edit the shots so that no one sees the one where Carys is crying because it's way too cold out and her matching sweater isn't keeping her warm enough. Or the one where I am in the middle of talking, so one eye is closed and my mouth is skewed mid know, the one where you look like you've just been smacked upside the head.

The best part of this whole debacle is that I am planning on sending most of the cards to my friends from college.  These people know me way too well.  They've seen me sprawled crying on the floor of a dorm room over some dumb unrequited crush.  They've seen what I act like during finals week.  I cannot pretend with these people.  Not at all.  And that's why I like them.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Remembering Dad

            Strange how the older you get you pass back into admiring your parents.  In childhood they hung the moon and scattered the stars.  In adolescence they can do no right.  In adulthood you begin realize how important your connections are and realize that they might know a thing or two. 
            The older I got the more I was able to see my father for who he really was.  The more I realized what he had passed down to me.  The more I realized what parts of my personhood were like his own.  The more I liked what I saw. 
From him I got my love of travel, the excitement of going to new places, experiencing new foods, new cultures, and new ways of thought.  I remember looking at his flag display and just being in awe that one person could go to all those different countries, and wanting so much to achieve the same feat. 
            From him I got my willingness to argue.  To exchange in verbal fencing.  To explore subjects and see what other people thought.  I learned my willingness to change my opinion or respect someone else’s point of view.
            From him I got my propensity to talk to strangers.  Everyone is a person, with a mother and father and people that they love, he seemed to have that basic respect for everyone he met.  Whether it was a cashier or the guy pumping his gas. 
            From him I got my ability to withstand difficulty.  To put my nose down and do what needs to be done.
            From him I got my love of learning and desire to educate myself.  Because of his model I love knowing what is going on in the world. 
            Now I am left with my memory of him and the parts of him that I carry within me.  I am proud of both.


Saturday, January 18, 2014

How Are You?

            “How are you?”  said with such care and feeling.  Coming from a place of charity and heart.  And these days so often from someone I don’t know very well.  I feel as if I’ve no choice but to take a gulp and say,
            “I’m okay,” which of course I’m not.  My father just died.  After a two year battle with lung cancer, his body succumbed to the disease.  Leaving a hole.  A stone dropped through the fabric of my biology, leaving torn threads that cannot be sewn back together.  I was there, with him, when he left.  I had the privilege of seeing his passage, and also the horror of experiencing what it feels like to see someone leave.  He left peacefully, a few gasps, a loss of breath, then gone. 
            He was not old.  Being on the ‘right’ coast and him on the ‘left’ I didn’t watch his fight with cancer.  He had smoked most of his life, when he told me he had cancer, I knew that his habit had taken its toll.  His vacancy feels ‘too early.’  I certainly was not ready for this.  I figured I would have him for longer.  I think we all ‘know’ that our parents will pass sometime in our life.  I don’t think we really understand what that means.  Our parents have been there from the beginning.  From the always.  They were what brought you to be.  Having the loss of the one who started you gives way in the mooring of your being.  A looseness to the security in your life. 
            It is what it is.  Everyone goes home.  Every last one of us will pass on.  You wonder about the fragility of life.  People seem so solid so real.  What force is strong enough to cause them to leave?  Can the person decide to leave?  Is it weakness to leave?  Or do you just know that it is time.
            His timing certainly didn’t seem ‘right.’  His timing seems abrupt.  My stepmother assured that God is in control and it’s not for us to question.  I do, though, not with an angry heart, or out of a place of hurt, but a place of confusion.  He was only seventy.  Many men will live a lot longer than he.  Some men that are not so kind and genuine as he was.  Some men that certainly had worse habits than smoking.  Much worse.  Shouldn’t we be killed by more devilish vices? 
            I love him.  My mouth is filled with regret.  Words I should have said sooner.  Calls I should have made.  Time I should have spent.  Those things that are harder to shrug off and say, ‘it is what it is.’  He was the only father that I got.  I can’t learn from this and spend more time with him now.  Can I turn this into some lesson for my own parenting?  Certainly, but not yet.  
            Not yet.