Sunday, October 31, 2010

Thoughts and Confessions

I had a fantastic September, but October was hard. 3 weeks of sick kids & husband, putting on a church party, and a rolling everywhere baby has worn me out.
I'm not sure if it's been going on since the first day of kindergarten, but I've noticed ever since my son skipped to first grade I have been super sensitive about other people's opinions. It's made me regress by about 20 years. I suddenly find myself worried about the clothes he's wearing or how his homework looks or that I seem to be the only parent who doesn't drive their kid to school. Can I be perfectly honest? I've become what I loathe. I feel like all the "I don't care what you think" stuff that comes with being 30 has completely disappeared. I feel like I have to constantly justify his grade skipping. Like I have to apologize for it and be like, "but look, he really does know all of this already." I've been trying to hide it from him, but he knows I'm stressed and that it has something to do with him, I'm sure of it. More mom guilt! ARG! I used to be so chill, where did that go?
Thursday after I dropped him off at school, scrambled to buy balloons & other birthday extras I cared about more than he did (I forgot the balloons!!! I'm the worst mother in the world!!!) I came home and tried to get the baby to take her nap and make the crust for a pie (he wanted pie, not cake). She woke up after 10 minutes and wouldn't stop crying. That was when I broke. I fell to the floor and just held her and cried right along with her. It was all too much. No matter how much I declutter I can't keep my house clean! I really can't. I have a toddler who loves clothes, nuff said. I can't remember every single appointment. I can't please everyone with my church service. No matter what, someone will complain. And I can't visit everyone I'm supposed to. I don't even like half of them! That seems like the greatest sin of all?
Confession: I don't like that lady that everyone else does. I actually can't stand her or her children. There. I said it. And I cried about it for a good 40 minutes. Because I want to be a nice person who can see the good in everyone, but there are always those people I just can't seem to muster any charity for. Maybe because they remind me of the "popular group" in school. Maybe because they mirror all the things I don't like about myself. I'm still trying to figure it out.
The timer for the pie crust went off and I got up and wiped the tears away and put on my happy face for my son and enjoyed his birthday with our family coming to visit.
But it felt good to cry. And it felt even better when my daughter brought me her blanky and elephant to help me be happy.
The next day was the costume parade. As I watched my son I realized with motherly pride that he really wasn't like other kids. He's sensitive & doesn't pick up on social cues very well. I always thought he'd just "catch up later", but now I don't really want him to. While sometimes his feelings do get hurt by teasing kids, for the most part he's happy just to be himself. I also realized that I was starting to get a plugged duct & 10 minutes after walking into my house felt the brick wall flu feeling. Early intervention seems to have prevented a full on mastitis infection though.
But it got me thinking how I was stressing myself out to the detriment of my own health and my family's well-being. I may or may not have been yelling waaay too much the past couple of weeks. I got my priorities all mixed up and need to spend some time getting them fixed again.
My greatest flaw is probably how much I worry about the opinions of people that don't matter & usually that I don't even like. Peer pressure sometimes seems harder as adult. Maybe because people are now judging our kids as well. I don't have much else to add, just the scripture that's been going through my head the last few days as I've reached my breaking point:
Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.
-Matthew 1:28-30

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Motivation

I spent the weekend putting on a church Halloween party. Then I spent the last 2 days recovering. I'm still recovering, I think. Meanwhile, my husband cleaned the house.
He not only cleaned, he has been purging as well. Be still my heart! There's nothing sexier than a man who throws things away!
Unless they're my things. Things I want to keep. That kind of stuff turn me into the Hulk.
He came up with a great idea for getting rid of stuff that I'll have to blog about later. He read it in a management book I think and it's called the 80/20 rule. Anyone familiar with it? I'm not so I want to see it in action.
It sort of motivated me to clean out more. I tried to do the big hall closet and did manage to get rid of some stuff. But I should get rid of more. I need motivation!!
Enter Karen's blog. Karen probably doesn't know I read her blog sometimes or even that I'm linking to it (I hope that's okay!), but honestly, this post made me want to sell everything I own.
Check out her before and after photos: http://thetaleofourquest.blogspot.com/2010/10/rest-of-house-before-and-after.html If you don't want to read the whole post (it's a bit long), just skip to the pictures. Those closets are positively inspiring!!
I'm still working on that closet (how many blankets do we need?) and also on my kitchen. I'll post pictures if I ever finish. I'm a terrible finisher.
In other news, I hate first grade. 7 hours is too long for kids to be gone. I miss my little guy!!!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Music to My Ears


Today is hearing test day at school. As I was in the shower this morning (YES! I got a shower! In the Morning!) my son asked me a question and I answered. "What?!" he yelled? So answered him again. And again. Finally he heard me. And I started thinking, "what if he gets sent home with a note that his hearing needs to be evaluated?" and how awful that would be and what I would do? (anxiety runs in my family) Maybe it sounds crazy, but if he were to lose his hearing, the first thing I thought was that I wanted to play really good classical music over and over until he couldn't hear it anymore. I thought about Beethoven and Grieg and Handel. I thought about some of my favorite hymns. I wanted to play them until he would be able to replay them in his mind for the rest of his life.
What got me thinking this morning though was what I didn't think about. I didn't think about any rock music or pop. I didn't think about watered down religious music. I didn't think about Old McDonald even.
Just a picture for funsies
So if that kind of music isn't important, really important, to me, why do I keep it around? Why aren't I always listening to the BEST music? The kind with substance.

This isn't supposed to be a post bagging on anyone's music choices. But it's to get you thinking. (although if you're thinking you'd have your kids listen to Justin Beiber all the time we can't be friends) If we only had one year of hearing left, what would we spend that time listening to and why aren't we doing that now? Why do we fill our time with the mindless things that really aren't important to us.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Line Drying

I spent most of the summer mourning because I didn't have a clothesline. Go ahead and laugh. Get it out your system.
I picture myself hanging bright white sheets on beautiful sunny day with a nice gentle breeze. And every time I picture that I start singing, "mama makes whites bright like the sunshine..." It's one of those idyllic stay-at-home mom moments I try (unsuccessfully) to create.
I tried hanging a string when we started cloth diapering, but it only held diapers, nothing else. So I resigned myself to my dryer and a small fold up drying rack. Remember, I'm poor. Spending $50-100 on a clothesline simply doesn't make economic sense.
But I love line drying my clothes.
But when I hang up my laundry I have to take time to just put the clothes up. It's wonderful meditation time! Just me and the sunshine, working together.
So anyway, I FINALLY (now that summer is over! *eyeroll*) made a clothesline and it only cost me $3 for the actual line.

I took a 1x4 and nailed it to my deck post
Then I took another 1x4 and nailed it to a fence post 25 feet
away and strung the line through the holes I drilled in.
Ta da!


And if you have a swing set, this is how I dry my shirts :)

Do you line dry? What's your motivation for doing it?

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Moving On Up

After a month of kindergarten we made the decision to skip our son to first grade. AAAH!! Did I just write that?! Part of me is thinking this is awesome because he works so hard at learning and the other wants to bring him back home and never let him leave the house again!
I really appreciated all the info I got while making this decision, so I'll write about why we did it in case anyone else goes through this.

His teachers brought up skipping the first week of school, but I didn't think he could handle it behaviorally and when praying just didn't feel like it was the best thing for him. I spent the month volunteering in his class and have noticed a downward trend. He was bored and I could see seeds of poor study habits and lack of motivation beginning to grow. But he needed to learn how to "do school" and I needed to get a better idea of where he was academically.

I had quite a few people advise me to leave him in K because then he'd be the smartest in his class all the time. But I don't like the message that sends. School isn't supposed to be about being smarter/faster/better than other kids, IMO

When his teacher and I discussed skipping a couple of weeks ago, his future GT teacher agreed and after the principal agreed too I prayed again. This time he would have a different teacher and I felt like it would be a good move. She's really nice and really fun. There's some neighborhood kids in his class that have already welcomed him warmly as well.

Today was his first day and I only cried for about 15 minutes after dropping him off. Don't ask me how much his kindergarten teacher and I both cried yesterday.

I miss my little guy. I like all the opportunities he has going to school (like he already gets to look through a microscope!), but I still hope to home school eventually. One of the things that gets me stuck though is feeling like I don't have the space! Meanwhile, I'm busy gathering curriculum. Just in case. I should probably spend that time getting back on track with getting rid of more stuff. Why is there so much?!

By the way, it's National Chemistry Week. If you live near a university, see if they have anything going on. We got to go to a magic show (ie blowing stuff up) and will be visiting some exhibits later this week. If you live in Utah, check this out for things going on in Provo http://www.chem.byu.edu/nationalchemistryweek

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Fixed!!!!

Did you try to visit my site tonight? Or last night, I guess. (not that I would ever stay up past 1am fixing my blog. No way!) It didn't work, did it? Because Google was watching out for us. Thanks Google!
I was a bit confused because I tried running programs to find this malware it said was on my site and just couldn't figure out what was going on. It was obvious I hadn't been hacked.
But one of my pictures came from a site that did have malware. It was like a big internet STD spreading to anything that touched it. And even having the link made my site an accomplice. And smarty pants me was finally able to figure out what googlebot couldn't! (see: I'm awesome!!)
So I had to remove it and the only way to do that was to remove my post.
No more ranting about the crazy lady (me) with 57 spices.
And I'm sad. Because you all had some fun comments.
So now I know to stop being lazy by just linking to other sites for pictures, even if they seem innocuous at first. Can I just claim fair use instead?
In the mean time, I'm sure you all will be thrilled to know that I have scavenged both my blog and my computer and both should be malware free. Now that you're filled with that peace of mind, go to sleep. I mean it. Because after 3 weeks of interrupted sleep by sick children (tonight was no exception, btw), you need the sleep; you look terrible.

Monday, October 18, 2010

I'm feeling like I just can't win. And I suppose I can't. Because I can't live my life to make other people happy.
I think that's one of the hardest lessons in life.
If I do my best to teach my children and they end up pretty smart, then I come across as stuck up when I try to get their needs met at school. I've seen the eye rolls and heard the jabs. Unless you have a nice average child, you'll offend someone with your offspring.
As I've tried to eliminate negative influences in my life, I've found it alienates those around me. I used to see most of pop culture in shades of grey and lately things are seeming more black and white. I wont watch most programs on tv and hardly watch any new movies any more either. No matter my reasoning or motives, this comes across as holier than thou.
I'm frustrated. Because I want to talk to people and enjoy their company, but I have to keep the subject to the weather. When asked how school is for my son I'll just smile and say, "it's fine." When asked if I've read that book they recommended, despite the foul language, I'll lie and say I've been too busy to read. I really don't want to live like that, but I also don't want to make others uncomfortable.
More likely though, I need to just get over it. Because how someone feels about me is really none of my business.
I miss my friend. The one who "gets" me. She moved across the country this summer and now no one close to me understands why I don't make crude jokes anymore or why having a smart child creates problems. That you are finally tired of the worldly things you've had your whole life. It's nice to be gotten. So the great lesson here is if you ever have a friend like that, treasure them and don't take them for granted.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

A Lesson on Parenting


I'm going to tell you a story my uncle told me. I really liked it.

Once a man walked into a class and told his class he was going to teach them how to raise their kids. The class sighed in relief. FINALLY! Someone was going to give then the unattainable handbook of instructions for offspring!
He told those on the front row, "I have a box of doughnuts. You may have a doughnut, but if you do, I'm going to smack your hand really hard."
Now, if I was in this class, I'd totally take a doughnut because, well, it's a doughnut!!
So the first person on the row also decided it was worth the slap and took one.
"All right," the teacher said, "Now I'm not going to slap your hand THIS time. But next time I will."
He went to the next person on the row who also took a doughnut.
"All right," the teacher said, "Now I'm not going to slap your hand THIS time. But next time I will."
And so on down the row until all the doughnuts were gone and not a single hand was slapped.
He then said "class dismissed".

And that, my friends, is our parenting lesson for the year.

Monday, October 11, 2010

A cold has hit our house

First it was the 2 year old. The she gave it to the five year old, who gave it to his dad and now the 4 month old has managed to catch it.

Maybe if I just keep her in the rocking chair all night she'll stay asleep.

You'll notice mom hasn't caught it yet. I'm not allowed to get sick until everyone else is done. It's the rule.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Spice Reduction

all my spices
Yesterday, a commenter, Laura, made a good point: spice only lasts for so long before it loses its, um, spiciness. So while part of me really hated to part with poppy and caraway seeds never used, I knew it was past time. Plus the caraway and celery seed had gone rancid.

By the way, I had two full poppy seed containers. Ugh!

I separated my spices into 4 categories: Never used, sometimes used (3+ times/year), frequently used (monthly), & frequently used w/doubles (I have no good excuse for that)

*Geek digression* - Does anyone else want to go read Dune after seeing the word "spice" repeatedly?

What I learned:I have ten spices I've never used. Three of those have a double for a total of thirteen containers I don't need.
I have nine spices I sometimes use. Four of those have a double for a total of seventeen containers I don't need.
I have thirty spices I use frequently. Eight of those have a double for a total of twenty-five containers I don't need.
So I combined the doubles and ditched the never used and some of my frequently used that I honestly don't use that much. And I tossed them.
the new wall rack complete with labels. ooooh

new lazy susan & cabinet spices
Do you know what I just effectively did?
I just got rid of the spice rack on my counter (holds 16 jars) and most of the loose ones in my cabinet.
everything I'm tossing
We all know that counter space in a small kitchen is prime real estate.
So the counter one will go into the sell/donate box.

I feel so much better now! I only own....
THIRTY
spice containers now. (make it thirty-two, I need to buy some more for thyme & rosemary)

Next question: How is your medicine cabinet?
(that one I clean out every 6 months, but if you don't, go check it out. Expired meds don't often work & sometimes become dangerous!)
By the way, I checked out this site Lauren left in the comments yesterday. It's out of my price range (I can just use what I have now!) but looks pretty cool if you're in the market.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Welcome October!

We're experiencing an Indian summer here. It's been 90 degrees during the day. Yeesh!
last autumn
Apparently fall didn't get the memo this year.
But then I look at my squash and pepper plants and instead I'm grateful for an extended growing season. The tomatoes can die though. I'm fairly sick of tomatoes at this point. My kids wont eat them. They'll pick them - as evidenced by the sun dried squished tomatoes covering my yard - but they wont eat them. So why did I grow so many?
We have a pumpkin that got a late start and I'm waiting every day for it to begin to turn orange. Green might be cool though.
We watched The Great Pumpkin today to help us feel more festive. The heat sure isn't.
I'm putting up my Halloween decor beginning next week. About 2 weeks later than I usually do it (I love Halloween!!). But the spiders in my crawl space where I keep my holiday stuff haven't been killed from cold yet.
me with one of my ghosties in my ghost tree
And I'm spending the weekend being spiritually edified. My favorite of fall traditions!

But I'd like to have an official tradition I do every year to welcome fall. Shall I pick our lone sugar pumpkin and bake a pie? Have a special dinner or way to put up the decor?

What are your favorite fall traditions? Do you have a special way to ring in the new season or does it just gradually happen?