Thursday, July 26, 2012

More and Less and Enough for Now

This post is part of Sarah Bessey's synchroblog, "What's Saving Your Life Right Now?"

Right now, literally as I am typing, I am staring at my son.  He's sitting on the stairs, shirtless, blonde curls all around his little head, covered in smears of chocolate cookie dough.

I mean, seriously.  Look at that little face (and imagine it smeared with chocolate).

His big sister is arranging a tea party for us, at which she will be serving us plastic sandwiches and water from the bathroom sink in her (probably dirty) tea cup set.

(Well, okay, she was doing that.  Now she's throwing a fit because "Joel messes up everything," and I asked her to relocate to her room until her behavior is a bit better.)

Know what item in this scene has saved me this afternoon?  It's the cookie dough.

Since we moved into this (our first) house a month ago, it has been continually over 100 degrees and dry, dry, dry.  And every day, I have felt the weight of the endless little things that need doing, the laundry, the dishes, the cooking (which I usually love, except when it's over 100 degrees).  I need to hang pictures and place shelves, unpack the last of the boxes, paint the baby's room.

Keep up with the news.

Find time to exercise.

Organize the bookshelves.

Take the kids to the library.

Lose fifteen pounds.

Mop the floor (again).

Most days, by the time I've finished enough of the housekeeping, child-chasing, and fight-refereeing, I'm too tired to read or sew or bake, and the house is back to its natural, lived-in state so that it seems like I spent my day working my ass off for no discernible results. 

And then I read this piece, Why it's Okay to Not Be Enough, and something inside me just clicked (or snapped, maybe, but in a good way).  In my bones, I felt that, yes, I already know this, I can't do everything.  I have been killing myself trying, and it hasn't been working, so why not stop?

This week, I have tried to do less, and I've enjoyed everything a little more.  Today, after Joel woke up from his post-library nap, I had just finished my little workout, and I felt like making cookies.  My mind immediately started firing off the list of things I ought to be doing instead of making a mess in the kitchen.

I ignored it and got out my mixer.

I love my mixer, which used to belong to my husband's granny.  Not sophisticated, but it works.
Sophie came to "help" after fifteen minutes of fit-throwing because she wanted to help (seriously, four-year-olds, what is with them??), and Joel ran around completely naked for the whole process because we didn't quite make it to the potty in time, and it's laundry day so he's out of undies.

So he is still smeared with cookie dough, throwing plastic toys down the stairs to hear them bang and crash, and she is in her room, trying to clean it before the timer goes off, and I am just here, trying not to fight it.  Because the truth is, it isn't just the cookie dough.  It's this boy, and this girl, and their sweet, wonderful Daddy who just pulled in the driveway.  They save me every day.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

My Utensil Drawer

This is what my life feels like right now:

Everything is here, but it is certainly a big ol' mess. 

Clearly I need to spend half an hour sorting this drawer out and making it usable, right?


So I made a tee pee for the kids today.  I used this tutorial for inspiration, but mostly (like everything), I just made it up as I went along. 

 I used a package of bamboo garden stakes ($2.96 at Menard's) for the structure, then cut a bedsheet according to the tutorial's directions for the tent part.  Then we invited the neighbors over to help us paint it...

We were all sweating (it was 100 degrees this afternoon while we worked) and covered in glitter fabric paint afterwards, but the result was pretty fabulous.

Instead of pinning and sewing or any other effort-requiring attachment method, I just hot glued the sheet to the posts.  I'm lazy, yes, but it worked.  Then we glued pompoms over the ugly rubber bands at the top (and added some on the very ends of the stakes, just for good measure)...

And it is done.  Easy peasy, and fun for all of us.

I love my life.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Remembering... (Joel's vocabulary)

When I potty trained Sophie, she was 18 months old, and it was only then I realized how limited her vocabulary was.  She couldn't tell me "yes" or "no" when I asked her if she needed to go potty.  We started working on it, but she didn't start really talking until about 6 months later.

Fast-forward 3 years: Same story, different child.  Joel was 18 months old when I potty trained him, and his vocabulary is pretty small.  He has more words than Sophie did at his age, though.  His first real word was ball, followed soon by dada and mama.  Now he says uh-huh  and uh-uh (but in their proper contexts, so I'm counting them as real words), and last night at the table, he yelled NO! when Sophie tried to take his pineapple chunk. He says shoes, only he draws it out so it's a two-syllable word ("Sheee-eeeewws!"), and two weeks ago in Arkansas he started pushing his plate away and saying I'm full (sounds more like "I fu-uw.").  I taught him to sign please, but so far he won't say it aloud, though he does say thank you.  Then last weekend, as I packed up the food from the apartment to bring to the new house, he saw the Kraft slices and said cheese about a dozen times.

And that was it, until this morning.  I've been trying to get him to say "I love you" for about a week now, and this morning he did.  We were having breakfast while Daddy slept in, and Soph had already gone down to watch cartoons, so I have no witnesses, but I told him I loved him and he said Love you, mama, back to me.  Twice. 

I just want to remember these little bits and pieces.  Soon he'll be prattling on like his sister and I'll be begging for a moment of quiet.  :)