Monthly Archives: November 2009

10 things I’ve noticed this week.

  1. #2 has been methodically reviewing her “Santa Wish List” which she has been working on since July.
  2. Having all the Halloween treats in a large glass urn on top of the breakfast bar makes it inaccessible to the kids but highly accessible to me.
  3. I am addicted to my son.   (Ever-Patient has commented how I go through this ugly withdrawal-type of mood when I’m not holding him.)
  4. #3 needs to play dress up at least twice a day.
  5. Every time #1 passes by her volleyball, she picks it up and walks around the house setting it (and knocking over her sisters and other pieces of furniture around the house).
  6. For me, watching baseball equates to getting a root canal at the dentist but I enjoyed this year’s world series partly because it was a way to just relax with Ever-Patient.  He would patiently answer my meaningless questions like: “Do you really think Hideki Matsui doesn’t understand English or is he just shitting everyone?”  “What is a ‘cutter’?”  “Was that a breaking ball?”  “Do you think Derek Jeter is hot?”
  7. I miss family dinner.  As we try to adjust to the baby’s schedule and volleyball season, family dinners have come to a temporary halt.  Last night was the first night that the 6 of us ate dinner together in 2 weeks.  While my dad was in the basement holding the baby, the 6 of us were able to sit down and catch up.  The kids had me back at the table and they couldn’t stop chatting and giggling the whole time.
  8. There is nothing that calms my kids down than reading books.
  9. #4 is fascinated with cutting things.  I mistakenly asked her if she wanted to get her hair cut the other day and she ran to get her safety scissors.  We really need to watch how we use the word ‘cut.’
  10. #2 is excited that December is around the corner.  She is the only one who remembers my efforts from last December.  Last year, I created an intricate advent calendar.  I wrote love notes for each child to open each day plus coordinated a daily family holiday activity.  This is my problem.  I always set the bar way too high.  Crap.

Have a great weekend.

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a confession.

(Sorry, no craftiness this week.  Hopefully, next week I will start doing some baby layouts..but no promises.)

The following is all I got right now….

The most frequent question I get from family, friends, acquaintances and random strangers on the street is:  How do you do it?

I could tell you that everything is fine and running smoothly.  I could tell you that the girls have adjusted to a new member of the family and are being patient with a sub-par mommy.  I could tell you that my husband and I, as a couple, have already re-connected and are working as a cohesive team.  I could tell you that everything is perfect right now and I am just grateful for a healthy family.

But I’d be lying.

Here’s the real deal.  Life is Hard right now – yes, with a capital H.  Just this morning, I caught the girls rifling through their summer clothes to find something to wear in this 0 degree celsius weather because they have officially run out of clothes.  The TV has been used way too much in the morning just so I can sit on the sofa and close my eyes for a little bit.  I am cranky and impatient 50% of the time.  (Ever-Patient would probably argue a higher percentage.)  When I am carrying a crying, hungry baby and a toddler is throwing a full-blown tantrum because I won’t carry her up the stairs, I want to stab my eyes out.  I have my own meltdowns and breakdowns.  We had mac n’ cheese with hot dogs last night.  If I manage to take a shower, it is a HUGE accomplishment for me.  My house is a disaster – except for the living room because I managed to tidy that area a couple of days ago on a second wind.  Those second winds are few and far between.  I am a ticking time bomb.  Spills, lost mittens, whining, and an empty milk bag in the fridge are the worst triggers right now.  Some days the only time I can feel true gratitude is when all the kids are asleep.  I am not perfect.  I scream, I cry, I bitch.  I have moments that I am not proud of.  I have outbursts and then beg forgiveness.  There are bad days and then there are REALLY bad days.  I feel guilty and weak.  Sometimes being a mom really sucks.

But just when I feel like I am going to go over the edge, I see and hear something like this:

While Ever-Patient is changing #5’s diaper, the youngest 3 see me semi-passed out on my bed, and instead of taking this opportunity to jump on me because I am finally alone (which they normally do), I hear #2 say, “Come on guys, let’s read some poems together.”  And they sit at the edge of the bed, all together, and start quietly reciting their favourite poem, “Alligator Pie, Alligator Pie…”

I sigh with relief.  The kids are more than ok.  I have raised them in a way that they are prepared for times like this.  Then I remind myself to just keep going.  I tell myself to hold on to those tender and raw snippets of our family life.  Just ride out this emotional and hormonal roller coaster.  Then I realize that one day, as their bedroom doors shut and their social lives take centre stage, I will long for days like today – a sleeping baby in one arm, a toddler snuggled under the other, a 4 year old needing me to tie on a princess dress, and then later, a 6 year old wanting to read to me, and an 11 year old excited to tell me how her project went at school.

I know we’ll be just fine…I just miss sleeping.

fall activity #7.

Fall Activity: Be Grateful.

Last November, our family celebrated the theme of “Gratitude” all month long.  Life started to move pretty fast and the anxiety of the coming holiday season started to build.

We challenged ourselves to only spend $200 on food (groceries and eating out) that month.  This forced us to use up all the food in our pantry and freezer and attend more family functions.  We were more conscious with what we ate, how we spent our money, and learned how to stretch our meals.  Ever-patient was completely on-board with this task as long as we still made healthier choices.  We just kept our eyes open for sale items.  For example, I remember different types of organic beans were on sale for about a dollar a can and we ended up having chili for our meals for a week – chili, sloppy joes, chilly on pasta, chili with rice…Yes, we got a little sick of eating chili but we soon realized that the kids were more ok with the lack of variety than we were.  In the end, we spent $275 on food for the entire month of November.

Teaching the concept of “gratitude” to children is difficult.  When you ask them the question, “What are you thankful for?”  They don’t quite get it.  We used comparisons a lot.  We would research how children live in other areas of the world and compare their living standards to ours.  We visited this site and would engage in the activities suggested, take quizzes, and read the articles together.  This often led to questions and a discussion on what we really need and how abundant our lives really are.

Instead of asking them what they are grateful for, I would ask, “What makes you happy today?” or “What was the best part of your day today?” or “What do you love most about insert family member here?”  On our mantle, I posted a blank 12×12 blank sheet of white cardstock with the word “gratitude” in the middle and the kids would record their answers to my questions on it and both Ever-Patient and I would also add things we were grateful for:

IMG_2221

#2: "I am grateful for tambourines." Me: "You've never played the tambourine." #2: "I love to EAT them. They're so yummy." Me: "Do you mean TANGERINES?" #2: "Oh yeah. Tangerines!"

a month of blessings.

For me, this practice of gratitude is a lifelong activity.  It is the one tried and true exercise that helps me cope with unfortunate situations and difficult times.  Being grateful puts life into perspective.  Just the other day, my mom showed me an article in the newspaper about a girl I had met briefly growing up.  Her mother worked for my mom and my only real recollection of this family is of going to their home for a swim when I was 12 or 13.  Her story is heartbreaking but makes me realize how much I take for granted the simple things like taking a deep breath or holding my child.

Take a minute today and count your blessings.

a slight delay.

Rough night.  Running on fumes.  Can only manage half-sentences.  Look for the next “fall activity” later on today.  Thanks.

Enjoy this for now:

One of my all time faves…don’t you miss it?