And for once I was SuperMom

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Time Crunch

Because I'm a mom lots of stuff about moms shows up in my newsfeed on Facebook.
A video has been shared a lot by several of my friends, because most of my of my friends are moms.
It's about applying for the toughest job in the world.
Without even having to click on the damn thing I knew it would be a mom.
I watched it, and near the end I started crying.  I hated myself a bit for crying.  Aren't I immune to crap like this. I knew I wasn't crying because it was a tribute to moms.  People talk about how being a mom is hard all the time.  I cried because it's true.  I cried because of the time.
Lately I've started trying to think of myself as my children's nanny.  Is that sad?  It is what it is.  Because when I am home all the projects that I want to do buzz around in my head.  All the piles of unfinished beckon in the peripheral.  I just want them to watch a video so I can do something else.  If I was their nanny I wouldn't do anything else.  I would just take care of them.
That's all I would do.
We have some friends that are launching their own company.  They are both artists.  Circumstance has forced them to pursue a dream that few will ever try, to try to make a living off of their own art.
Do you remember the phrase 'starving artist?'
But, they're doing it.  They are supporting themselves and their two children on their art.  I am almost drunk with jealousy.
I keep thinking that I just need to work harder, do more, sleep less, and I will make more art and I can do what they are doing.
Here's the rub.  The husband does most of the work.  The wife is usually taking care of their kids.  This means that the husband pulls regular all nighters so as not to be disturbed by the kids.  She spends her time caring for their children.
I'm her.  Scott is working.  I'm caring for the children.
That's what left for me.  The corners of my day.  There is my creative time.  The end.  Once the children are in bed.  Once the house is 'clean.'  Once my husband is sitting on the couch asking if I want to read or watch something.
And, oh yes, all I want to do is sit down.  Put a pillow behind the small of my back, lean against him, and just be.
There is the other choice.  Do I spend time with my husband or do I spend time with my canvases?
If only there was room for a recliner in my studio.
The time.  The lack of time.  A job that other's describe as inhumane is currently mine.
I hope that this does not come across as a whine.  It's not meant to be.
I suppose it is what it is.  I feel selfish if I give myself the gift of time.  I feel resentful if everyone else asks for it.
Here's a photo of Emma climbing on my back while I tried to write emails:

Trying to get this 'selfie' was pretty entertaining.  She kept asking me what I was doing and making faces at the iPad.  Never mind that taking a picture of yourself with an iPad is super awkward.

(Referencing an 'iPad' while complaining about my problems always make me feel super first world....)

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Take a Moment

"Should I do it?"  I ask my husband, my eyes following him around the dining room table as he collects a drink for one of our children.
"I am not going to tell you whether you should fast or not," smart man.
I sat for a  moment, my finger idly swiping across the front of our iPad.  I look at my girls, they are chomping away.  I don't think it's really the hunger that is bothering me, although she already growled in my belly.  I know that if I fast but don't take the time to pray, it doesn't work.  Just leaves me hungry and angry.  Hangry, if you will.  The time, was bothering me.  The time I knew I needed to take away from my family to do this.
I looked over at Scott, who was now seated and munching away at his lunch,
"This only works if I go away and pray," I said.
"That's fine," he shrugged, his tone clearly and truly positive.
"It's okay if I go upstairs and read my bible?"
"Yep," he repeated, with the same tone.
I slammed the iPad closed and was upstairs.
I can't say that the time was the most meditative.  I read through Matthew's telling of the crucifixion.  I tried to pray, but was feeling too lazy to write, and I could hear my children yelling and fighting.
At least I did it.
I told myself I could eat at four.
So there it is; my sacrifice.  Jesus dies on the cross and I'm going to let myself get a little peckish.
I suppose it's one of those cycles where we can't repay what we've been given.
We can't repay our parents for what they've done for us.
My children can't repay me for what I've done for them.  Get me a tummy tuck? Sure that'd be nice, but by the time they can afford it I probably won't care anymore.
But I did it, I fasted.  I denied myself, I read my Bible, I took time out to remind myself of my faith.  That's more than I do on most days.  A bit of hunger in an overfed country.  A bit of asceticism in a land of hedonism.   

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Shaving Cream Eggs

Like I was saying the other day...eggs...
Easter sneaks up on me.
Here's the extent of decorating I have done for the holiday:
Yep, that's it, that little nest on the table.  Bam.  It's Easter.  Emma added that little stick coming out of the side.
What is that little blue egg?
Oh, that?
One year I thought I would save an egg from our dying sessions.  I would write the year on it and after awhile I would have amassed a pile of meaningful decorations.
But I need to blow the innards out of the egg in order to save it.  Have you ever done that before?
Makes your cheeks hurt.

So, then there's that whole dying eggs thing... I am always a little agog at the blogs and crafts created for dying eggs.
But, Lara you're an artist, shouldn't you be all over that?
I mean, yeah, but in the depths of my heart, I am super cheap, and dying eggs.. I mean what do you do with a dozen blue hard boiled eggs?
You make deviled eggs.
I do like deviled eggs, but I don't think I like a dozen deviled eggs.

And then there's celebration, and celebration is important.  So I boiled some eggs earlier in the week, and then Wednesday afternoon in those terrible hours between naptime and dinner time I asked, loudly, with much excitement in my voice,
'Who wants to dye eggs?'  My four year old was truly excited.  My two year old buried her head in her daddy's shoulder.  My husband looked at me like he was a little concerned for my mental health.
Then I announced that we were going to dye them with shaving cream.
He looked even more concerned.
Like the above blog states, and does a much better job than I, you squirt the shaving cream in a dish.  Then squirt food dye into the cream, then swirl it around with a toothpick, then you give boiled eggs to your children and let them make a mess...I mean roll the eggs in the shaving cream.
 Here is Carys with the tub after the fact.

I didn't catch action shots, because I'm a horrible picture taker...ask my family.
And Carys screamed and wouldn't get out of Scott's arms until the very end.  (That probably had more to do with the fact that she had just woken up from her nap.)
She did not actually decorate an egg, but in a moment of thrifty genius I gave them paper afterwards to spread around the remaining shaving cream.

I couldn't let all that go to waste.
And dying the eggs took about ten minutes and I needed more time filler.
This project did usher in the demise of that shirt, she got more on the shirt than on the paper.
Of course.

 Emma was quite pleased with the whole process.

For a four year old this was a total win.

You let the eggs sit for a bit (perhaps while you are bathing your children) and then wipe off the shaving cream with a paper towel.

My only caveat for this project was that it was super messy. you are also using a substance that ruins things.  If you're like me and don't see messes until they occur, that can be problematic.
And it used a lot of paper towels.
I hate paper towels.
I feel like I am buying trash.

Here is the finished product.

They are very cute and this is a little more interesting and entertaining than just dipping eggs in dye.

This craft is also super cheap.  And we all know how I feel about that.

I am kind of wondering if those deviled eggs are going to taste like shaving cream.
I'll let you know.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

To Eat or Not to Eat?

Easter always seems to sneak up on me.  I am usually reminded of it in my peripheral vision as I wizz through  the grocery store.  Cheap chocolate bunnies, and bags of pastel colored candy tell me that our celebration of Christ's resurrection is coming.  As I run by each product I make some mental note of whether I need it or not.  I usually run by the candy not wanting to waste calories on Hershey's.  I no longer buy the egg dying kits once I realized that you can just use food coloring, vinegar, and boiling water.  It's true, read the the back of the food coloring package.
Because really in the depths of my heart I am very cheap, most of these things don't get popped into basket...
Then it's the week before and I realize that I have nothing.  I have not bought chocolate for the girl's baskets, I have not purchased some form of roast beast for dinner, I have not bought those extra eggs for dying.
Somehow, this year, I managed to outsmart myself, a least just a little bit. We have been eating a lot of eggs, so I have too many eggs on hand, and I bought toys for the girl's baskets on Amazon (I needed to hit that magical $35 for free shipping.).  I do need to make an extra trip to the grocery store for beast and chocolate.

This always saddens me, the buildup for Christmas leaves us almost panting for the 25th to arrive.  You cannot forget that it is the Christmas season.  See, that phrase, right there, Christmas Season.  No one refers to the Easter Season.  Sure, I hear Lenten Season, but that just makes me think of self denial.  Not exactly the time to sip eggnog lattes.  Well, because if Starbucks was selling them, you'd probably have given them up.
Isn't the resurrection what makes our faith so unique?  Isn't that the turning point of truth?  I know His birth is remarkable, but the fact the final moments of Christ's life are what give us the heart of our faith.  He did this so we don't have to earn it.  Possibly the reminder of our sin that leads up to the Cross is why we don't make much fanfare.  Good Friday has to happen first.  And Good Friday has to happen because of sin.

Which is kind of a bummer.
I suppose most of us can get behind the miraculous birth of a baby.  Every birth seems miraculous.  And Christ was born of a fourteen year old virgin in a stable.  Icing on the cake.
Birth is amazing.
Death is hard.
But maybe death is amazing.
It is us, here, on the 'living' side, with empty hands that hurt.  Those that pass into the hands of God are in joy.
That's why we call it 'Good Friday.'  Death is good.  Death gives us to God.  Death gives us an end to suffering.  Shouldn't we rejoice in that?
Shouldn't we rejoice that Christ passed into God's hands so that we could too.  Shouldn't there be more fanfare than there is at Christmas?  Shouldn't I notice more?
Yes, I haven't eaten dessert for the past 37 days (except on Sundays), but let's be honest that's more because I felt out of control and I knew that only God could give me the self control to shut my mouth.  It wasn't about remembering Christ's suffering.
I've thought about fasting from Thursday night until Sunday morning.  I haven't decided yet if I will.  There's a nagging thought in the back of my head that will be hard feat to do with little kids. I kept wondering if that was just an excuse not to do it.  Then when I asked Scott about it he said,
'Wouldn't that be hard with them?' his hand gently flicked towards our two little girls.  If he points it out, then there must be some credence to it.  I don't want to not eat for 48 hours.  That sounds like a terrible idea.  But compared to what Christ went through it's mere discomfort.  Seems wussy not to.
Maybe I just skip lunch...
Which seems a completely weak compromise....but I better decide before Friday or I'm going to wake up and eat, and it will be all over from there...

Thursday, April 10, 2014

I don't do what I want

"I don't know, I just find that often people just use Lent as an excuse to go on a diet," Scott tells me.
'So, what's your point Barnett?' I think, as I try not to take it personally.

I mean, I get that.  I was hesitant to do this because I don't know that it directly relates to my relationship with God.  How does giving up sugar make me closer to the Lord?

Since I was feeling out of control with my eating, since I was feeling like I was using caffeine as an emotional analgesic: how doesn't this connect to God?  Shouldn't I turn to prayer when I am stressed, instead of hiding in the pantry with a container of dark chocolate covered almonds?  Shouldn't I talk it out?  Or walk it out?  Or really do anything else other than stuff food in my gob.
I've removed the food, so what have I turned to?  Alcohol?  No, I live in too close communion with my husband for that to ever happen.
What is has done is stop me from shoving chocolate in my face whenever my children ride high on my nerves.  No, I don't turn to God in prayer, but He is there and I am accountable to Him.  God is the ultimate accountability partner. I could pound that brownie, but then what?
'Sorry, Lord, I know you're God and all, but I'm gonna eat this.'

One thought that holds me true to keeping my mouth shut is that in this country self denial isn't a priority. No one ever says not to, we hear,
'Treat yourself.'
'You deserve it.'
'Do what makes you feel happy.'
A lot of people have treated themselves into diabetes or heart disease.
Maybe you don't deserve it.  Maybe your kid deserves it  because you were just a total selfish ball of anger.  Maybe you deserve a good hard swat.

Will this time of no sugar bring me closer to God? I don't know. It's not like I am weathering some huge storm of life, I am just not eating dessert for forty days.
This does make me feel more 'on task.'   Like one of those really productive days where you just shred your to do list. Like I am on top of this. Which makes it easier to do other things, like read my bible or fulfill that promise to a friend.  All those good intentions come to fruition.
I suppose that is why self control is a fruit of the spirit, when you can say 'no' you feel a bit cleaner.  When I can't say 'no' I feel like it all snowballs.  I end up sitting on the couch wondering where the day went.
So that's something.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Brown Paper Packages

"Mommy can I help you?"
Uh, ummmmmm, no... Stink.  I want to reward her sweet little impulse, but I'm making soup and I'm not so sure a four year old should be given a Santoku knife.  I also just want to do it on my own.
Because I have that much of a perfectionist in me.
Because I want to do something without the interference of children.
Because I had a vision.
Sometimes I say 'no,' because it involves knives and I can't think of how to make it safe for her.  Sometimes, when I am feeling generous I say, 'yes,' and adapt whatever I am doing to include her.  After all I DO NOT want to crush the 'can I help you,' spirit.
Add caption

If you're like me you have a gigantic pile
of packing paper that looks like this:

Scott pulled this off a painting that his mom sent him and said,
"This looks like it should be useful."
I agreed and ferreted it away in a messy corner of my office.

If you're like me you've got a bazillion birthday parties to go to the in the next month.
And if you're like me you hate wrapping paper.
And if you're like me you hate wrapping paper.
How can you hate wrapping paper, Lara?
I feel like I'm buying trash.  Within moments that paper that I wrapped around that parcel is going to be thrown away.  It probably wont' be recycled, because it's a mess and no one wants to straighten that out and pull the tape out.  It hurts my little crunchy heart.

 So I wrapped several presents  in all the brown wrapping paper.
But brown wrapping paper isn't all that exciting for little ones.
I don't really have any bows or any ribbon.
Well, I have ribbon but it's in the basement in some random box that I was rifling through looking for something else, and thought,
'Oh, ribbon, I'm going to want that, I should pull it out.'
And promptly forgot it was there.
 I do have paint and sponges.

The two little packages to the right were my original vision.  To use the star shape in place of a bow.

Then I got distracted by some mothering that needed to happen...

Then I left the door to my office open with a pallet of paint on the floor..
You did what?
I know, I do it all the time.  I have a very casual relationship with paint.
Too casual.
Carys found the pallet and the package.

She did what you see to the left.  I later came back and added the unadulterated stars.

During the time I was distracted by all the mothering I was debating letting the girls finish the painting anyway.  Did I want it to be perfect?  Or did I want to create a memory for them?  Did I want to complete my vision?  Or did I want to make it fun for them?

Carys decided that for me.

To the right are Emma's painted packages.  I would have put more stars on, but I think she was imitating the little ones I had finished.

I know that the other parents that will be recieving these gifts for their children will think it's cute that I let the girls paint them.
So what does it matter?
Really not a whole lot.
My vision is not all that important this time around.

Pinterest worthy?
Ah, hell, yeah!  Because my kids had fun.

What is the point of beautifully wrapped presents anyway?  We just rip them apart and throw it on the ground.  I mean, throw it away.  If you like doing it, go ahead.  If you don't, like me, here's an alternative.  Reused packing paper, some small children, and paint.