February 25, 2011

A Rambler

Sometimes I just feel like writing but I don't know where it's going to go.  This is one of those times.  I am going solo as a parent this week as T is in Spokane doing a week of night shift work.  It's his first time moonlighting, and it's strange how even though I do miss him, I feel much better about his being away this time than I do for a conference or... a deployment, say, because when he gets back he'll be bringing home a big slab of bacon with him.  I think of the reason he is gone, and I am just grateful that we have this opportunity for our family.  Doctors in the military don't get paid as much as MDs on the outside you know, and braces x3 + music lessons x4 (+ a recent last minute trip to Utah) really add up.  Looks like I made up my own math equation there.  3x+4x+700.00= locum tenens for T.

He is working in a 24 hr stroke clinic and he tells me working nights reminds him of residency and brings back all sorts of bad memories of having to make decisions without any sleep.  Hopefully he will be doing better and have his internal clock turned around asap.  Speaking of sleep, that's one thing I don't do well when T is gone.  This reminds me of 2008 when I had 6 months of bad sleeping due to his deployment (and my neurotic behavior).  I can't seem to find the right time to turn in.  Even the dog can feel something is off and she barks in the middle of the night at strange stuff like the wind blowing or the hamster running in his wheel at night.

Something funny about this moonlighting job that I just have to mention is this:  at dinner tonight we were talking about the job that T is doing and how his second night went much better than the first and Little Boy spoke up and asked what kind of job his Dad was doing.  When I told him, his response had us all laughing because he actually thought that T was in Washington state flipping burgers in a hamburger joint. That boy is so funny.  He has a touch of the ADD, and sometimes he tunes out. When he comes back to us it is clear he wasn't following 100%.  This was one of those times for sure.  Yeah- we thought we'd send our Dad clear across the US to work for Five Guys even though they just built one down the street from us.  He has some serious burger flipping skills that he had to school them on.

Luckily Little Boy didn't get his feathers ruffled. There was a good spirit here to tonight.  I'm not sure why.  Especially surprising because my Middle son and I were having a tough time just minutes before dinner that ended up with him in his room and grounded from TV for a week.  I was so worried about him all though dinner (he was too mad to eat with us).

When T is here, he is usually the more emotionally stable one when dealing with the kids.  I lose it more, and the week leading up to T's departure was one of our worst ones in history- so I was worried.  I often tell my husband that if the tables were turned and he was the one staying at home, he might not be as patient either.  However, this week has opened my eyes to something new about myself.  When I am the only one at home for a week, I have to own the role of parent better.  And since there is no one else to lean on, I straighten up and take it on like a more experienced parent, who isn't going to let the teens get the best of me.  I either do that or you have a miserable pity party.  And I have had enough of those I think.  So it has been a good parenting week.  I've caught myself many times re-grouping instead of losing it and it's like I am flexing a new muscle and it keeps getting stronger.

After Middle Boy (and I) cooled down a bit, I went in to talk to him, saying a quick prayer in my heart because dealing with this kid is tricky- not gonna lie.  He was still upset and not letting me in.  I let him know what he had done was wrong but that I still loved him.  Then I re-directed him to his grade in Geometry that we have been watching.  He let me know that he had a big test tomorrow (likely the reason for his stress and bad behavior- I was beginning to understand him).  When it became clear that I couldn't help him with his math (too bad his Dad wasn't here), we both got down on our knees and prayed together for help.  He knows the material but stresses during the tests.  Then he studied some more.  I offered to let him skip seminary in the morning so that he could study in the morning hours.  He ultimately decided he would go tomorrow.  He is s good kid.  Even if he bombs his test tomorrow I hope he will remember what I said to him.  "I don't remember anything about this subject, but I know someone who knows everything about this... do you think we should ask Him for help?"

I know I have been asking for His help all week.  Thank goodness He has been answering me.

February 22, 2011


I have a secret.  And it's not that I ate two of Sister V's brownies for breakfast this morning.  It's this: Even though I (may) appear to have things together, I really don't.  I am a hider of clutter.  I have way to many junk drawers (probably 10).  The playroom closets could probably even be deemed 'clutter closets.'  I want things to look good, but open my linen closet and I will blush.  It's funny because I can't stand clutter in visible places but out of sight is okay by me!  I recently saw my Dad's bedroom after 6 months of him being widowed.  The clutter was almost as high as your eye in some places and he was basically sleeping with his mail.  It gave be the willies.  It was right there in the open for his new bride to see!  I was embarrassed for him.  Hopefully she has taken care of that problem for him (in a nice way).

There is one person who knows this about me.  I can't hide it from Brian.  Brian is my super-nice pest control guy from Century Pest Control.  I call him whenever the ants come back and he usually has to look under my kitchen sink and spray his poison down there.  Since I don't ever have to look there much myself, I let that area go.  It's filthy down there!  I apologize for it, and he kindly tells me that everyone's under-sink area is like that.

Why oh why do I have the desire for clean but not the clean habits?  It's a curse.  Or maybe it's the fact that raising a family is a busy business, leaving me no time to de-clutter.  Some day when I am an empty nester, perhaps all my secret clutter spots will magically be organized.  When it gets to be too much for me, I will get around to cleaning 'inside the box', and I must admit it feels great to be organized in the hidden places as well as having the 'outward appearance' of organization.  It's like finally scratching a place that has been itching me for months.  I also love getting rid of things.  It's like I told my Dad only yesterday, "The only thing that feels better than getting something new is getting rid of things you don't need."

I have a sister who is super organized and when I visit her home I am so impressed by her alphabetized food storage closet and the bathroom drawers with bobby-pins in their specific small cardboard box.  When I can't find the nutmeg in my unorganized spice cupboard I think to myself "I bet S never has this problem"  I fret at all the wasted time I spend looking for things when they aren't in the right place.  Maybe it's because I have all these "helpers" around here putting things away in the wrong place.  It's probably also because I don't have the time to really organize and then follow up and keep things where they go.  It's faster to just put things away in the nearest junk drawer than to take the time to put it away properly.  But by doing this I know I am contributing to future insanity when I can't find that item.  Do you think it's something I could be cured of? Is there hope for me?  I think there just might be, because the other day I snapped while getting under the kitchen sink for a trash bag.  I dropped everything (even the trash bag) and used the closest wet rag I could find from the sink to wipe down the under-sink cupboard.  I organized the space so beautifully even S would be proud.  

I can't wait for Brian's next visit!

Too lazy to take my own junk drawer photo.... This one is off the internets.

February 18, 2011

Wide Mouth Frog (reloaded)

I used to tell this joke when I was a child.  Nothing like history repeating itself.  This video was taken on her 4th birthday.  We think she has a future in stand up comedy if she will just enunciate more.

February 08, 2011


Seventeen years ago on this very evening I had been in labor all day long.  I started out the day a chipper naive 25 year old, clueless to the pains of motherhood.  I had been pretty impatient during the last month of my pregnancy.  After all, his due date was the 21st of January, so by Feb 7th I was dying to give birth already.  I was scheduled to be induced and practically skipped into labor and delivery announcing in my most happiest voice "we're here to be induced!"  Looking back I wish I had been more proactive on my own behalf with my doctor.  No one these days lets their patients go that far over their due date and I should not have waited that long either.  Letting him grow another 2.5 weeks could possibly be what set me up for a very difficult delivery, and grueling recovery (level IV tear ladies. I don't advise looking it up).  But I guess no one could predict the size of his noggin.

On Feb 7th 1994 I went through all the nurse's shifts. AM, afternoon, PM, nightshift and back to AM once again. Boy were they surprised to see me.  I also got to see (for a second time) the same nursing school students who sheepishly asked (for the second time) if they could watch my birth.  I, once again granted permission (although feeling the way I was I really should have said "no"I don't think it was in my vocabulary at the time though).  Once again the young students had to leave disappointed and unenriched.  He wasn't coming out in time for them to learn on me.  By now my Doctor was coming in and looking stressed.  I thought he was showing an ample amount of concern for me and my son.  That could have been the case.  However he was also worried about another deadline.  He was scheduled to leave on a cruise that day and was concerned about passing me off to someone else.

Eventually Big Boy was born.  When I think back on that experience I remember it as... overwhelming and painful.  I was fully numb but super exhausted.  I had the shakes and felt sick while holding him for the first time.  Then came some guilt at not bonding instantly with my newborn.  What did that say about me?  It just said that after 28 hours of labor I couldn't really muster the strength to care about anything.

When T and I discussed getting pregnant again two years later the memory of that delivery (and some horrible postpartum care) still haunted me and I almost couldn't go through with it again.  I am so glad I did because the next experience was so much better!  I guess you could say Big Boy was the trail blazer that made it all possible for the next in line.  Thanks big guy!  We all owe you big time.

I can hardly believe he is 17 tomorrow.  How did that even happen?  He is so close to leaving me and I find that impossible.  Big Boy is such a great and interesting kid/man-child.  I guess if someone shaves and talks in a deep baritone voice then they are no longer a kid.  He is musical, and comical, and smart.  He is sensitive and thoughtful and intense.  He shows great potential.  He also has a lot of growing still to do.  I am trying to wait patiently for that to happen.  Just as he kept me waiting for 2.5 weeks in the beginning of his life, he's still playing that game of "I'll get there when I'm good and ready and not before."  I am proud to be his mother.  I am regretful that he had to be my guinea pig.  I hope he will forgive me someday for all my matronly shortcomings.  I love him.  He is my Big Boy, and he's now 17.  
Big Boy and his personality shown here

February 02, 2011

Snow Storm: Part 2

I realize that there is another storm on the way right now.  I guess I better blog about the last one we had before new storm stuff starts to happen : )  My Dad calls me whenever there is something big headed my way (as if I don't listen to the weather reports).  He just wants to know if I have bought myself a generator yet.  They only cost 1,300.00.  We just need one with 500 watts to run our heater he tells me.  One thing we did manage to get during the last power outage was more firewood.  Half a cord to be exact.  What's a cord you ask?  I couldn't really say but we have a half of one sitting out on our back porch just now if you want to take a look.  What we need next is a rack to stack it on.  Maybe next year.  Hopefully we will use enough of it this winter to be able to put our patio furniture back where it belongs come summertime.

The interesting thing to me about this years outage (which was twice as long as last years) is that it didn't seem nearly as bad.  Perhaps because we weren't snowed in,  we didn't actually go anywhere but the fact that we could have made a big difference I think.  Also, the next day was bright and sunny.  We spent a fair amount of time sitting outside soaking in the rays.  We played in the snow, having snowball fights and making a snow fort.  We shoveled for the needy neighbors, and had some good old fashioned family time.  Then T warmed up some water for cocoa on the camp stove and it tasted so much better than the cocoa we make straight from our water dispenser.  We have a hot water option on the water dispenser that gets the water pretty darn hot, but this camp-stove water was so great!  Possibly because we were so cold.  We spent time playing games inside and building Big Girl's Lego house that had been half finished since Christmas.  We sat around the fire and played the game "would you rather."  You play this by taking turns asking questions like "would you rather... slide down a slide full of razor blades or climb up a rope full of prickly burrs."  or "would you rather always wear earmuffs or nose plugs."  Stuff like that.

After we finally got our neighbor to come by and move his car out of our driveway T and Big Boy went for firewood.  We formed an assembly line to transfer it all from the van to the back porch and played another fun game.  T would say to Little Boy as he passed on his small stack of wood "tell your mother I love her."  So my son would relay that message down the line to me.  I would then hear another message a minute later like "Dad thinks your pretty."  I gotta tell you, there is nothing better than the happy look on your son's face when he is giving you a message like that from your sweetheart.  I, of coarse sent a few messages of my own reinforcing the knowledge of parental love in our home.  Some of them were kinda steamy and I thought they would fly over my kids heads.  I was wrong.  Oh well.

By the time we finished that chore the daylight had ended.  We were forced to order pizza instead of making hamburgers in the dark of our kitchen.  We had planned on cooking them outside on the grill.  We were pretty sure the pizza place had power when a lost delivery guy showed up at our house with someone else's pizza.  But it gave us the idea I guess.  After dinner we sat around the fire reading from My Father's Dragon.  It's a family favorite from way back.  The power came on in the middle of our reading and we actually decided to turn the lights back off and continue reading by the fire.  My oldest was so content and feeling the love of our family unit that he vocalized the words "I love our family" with a sigh.  Now how often does he say things like that?  Never I say!  So maybe a little power outage here and there is just what a family needs to stay close these days. No distractions of the world to confuse us.  Was it a perfect day?  No.  Were there meltdowns?  Yes.  But in the end we all looked back on the day with fondness.  So I say bring on the next storm.  We can handle it!

The day after the storm was lovely!

Big Girl working on a fort