Archive | July 2011

Moving, moving, moving

Which is an especially apt post title, as I’m thinking about moving and about my baby girl not moving.

First, the move.  We still don’t know where we’re going – and my stress level is not adapting well to this.  I’m okay with moving, I’m not thrilled about it, but I can handle it.  What I can’t handle is not knowing where we’re going.  So after a week and a half of solid, unending nagging, Marc has managed to get me an appt with the real estate chick and we’re going out searching tomorrow morning.  I’m bringing Annie with me, as my mother is booked with party planning and an extra pair of eyes will definitely help.

I’m working my way thru de-cluttering again.  I declutter all the livelong day, it feels like, and yet am constantly surrounded by crap I’d rather have gotten rid of.  Today’s big project is the girls’ room.  I’m blessed with a ridiculous amount of clothes – I buy them clothes (although not a lot) and their grandmothers buy them clothes.  I also get a LOT of hand-me-downs, so they’ve got TONS of clothes.  I’ve already given a bag away to Jordyn, and am working on a bag for Becky’s daughter Abby, and I’ve got one bag already ready to donate to the local Savers.  And I’m not even close to done going thru their stuff.

In other news… my Julianna Ruth is still not walking.  And she’s fifteen months old today.  She’s a busy crawling little girl, and climbing up and down off the couch.  I consulted babycenter, and they contend that the problem is that she either spent too much time with lazy parents sticking her in a stationary walker (we didn’t even have one for her) or she’s too catered to – having everything handed to her and gets carried everywhere (she’s the youngest of three, I don’t have the time or capability to cater to and carry her – even if I wanted to).  I think she’s just very deliberate.  She’s capable of getting around and getting what she wants crawling, why stress out over walking?  I’m, by nature, kind of lazy.  I’d rather sit than stand, and rather lay down than sit.  She is her mother’s daughter, after all.

I’m trying to be all zen and relaxed about it – and Jessica didn’t walk consistently until she was closer to 18 months.  But she had taken her first steps at 11 months, and Sam was a running boy by the time he was 13 months.  Julianna is developing fine in all other respects, sleeping, eating, talking… she’s just NOT walking.  She’s kissing the computer as I’m typing, so she’s developing well emotionally well :-)

She’s so stinking cute.

Cleaning the house

http://www.babble.com/mom/work-family/messy-house-cleaning-family-time/?utm_source=Babble&utm;_campaign=2bdda39659-1_211_20_2011&utm;_medium=email

I read the above article and was fascinated, a little envious, and mostly just slightly depressed.  The writer contends that she doesn’t clean her house on a regular basis and is okay with it.  She’s all zen about it, she’d rather read with her kids, walk in the apple orchard, hang out with her husband.  And I’m with her, I’d rather do all that as well – but I’m nowhere near as relaxed and happy about it.  I’m neurotic and irritated by a messy house.  I feel as though it’s a personal failing on MY part when my house looks like three kids live here.  When there are plastic cups and bowls scattered all over the floor by the cabinets because Julianna has been rearanging and the magnets are all off the fridge because Sam was doing something (what???) with them and then got distracted.  When shoes are piled up in the closet and toast crumbs are on the table, when clean diapers are scattered across the floor because Julie recently figured out how to take them out of their drawer and deliver them to me.

I’m not relaxed about housecleaning.  I’m guilty and stressed out and irritable about it.  The first thing out of my  mouth when people stop by is to apologize for the mess.  I don’t know why – I don’t think mean thoughts when I go to someone’s house and it’s messy.  If anything, I’m relieved that it’s not just me.

Because the facts are that I’m a crappy housekeeper.  I don’t LIKE it, I don’t derive any real joy from cleaning, I just like the finished product.  And even on my best day, my house is never as clean as it should be.  I rarely, if ever, dust, I’ve only ever ironed that one time and didn’t enjoy it.  My dishes are almost always done, and my clothes are almost always washed and dried (folded and put away, not so much).  But beyond that – there’s always some sort of clutter or mess that shouldn’t be there…

I wish I was more relaxed about it, more at peace with the mess.  It seems as though I should be either one or the other.  Maniacally focused on cleanliness, driven to get rid of the dust and clutter or relaxed and laid back, not caring that my house is in shambles.  Instead, I’m neither.  I wish it was cleaner.  I just don’t care enough about it to devote my life to it.  Because I like my kids, I like my husband, I like my books and my crocheting and my life.  I don’t want to clean.

Twenty years from now – my house’ll be spotless.  And I’ll be lonely and wishing for the days when Julianna threw the plastic bowls all over the place, and Jessie’s art projects littered the table and I couldn’t walk without stepping on one of Sam’s little army guys.

Have a little faith, okay?

That’s what I’m doing.  I’m just relaxing and trusting that we’ll find the perfect place.

At least that the’s the plan.  In theory.  In reality, I’m bitchy and impatient and unhappy.  I don’t want to move, don’t want to pack and am incredibly stressed about not knowing where we’ll be living in a month.

But I’m rising above.  Having faith.  Embracing serenity.

In other news… I’m cleaning today in preparation for packing.  Which involves dumping out the toy buckets in the living room and sorting the toys into the appropriate place (Noah’s arc for all the animals, block bucket(s), army guys, superheros/matchbox cars and another box for random figurines).  I’m also very subtly putting some toys in a trash bag.  But we don’t talk about it, as Sam is a hoarder from way back and will tearfully insist that we keep EVERYTHING.

Julianna is happily rearranging my plastic cups/plates/bowls cabinet (and by rearranging – I mean that she’s pulling them all out and throwing the gleefully all over the place) and Sam’s eating ice cream.  For brunch.  Don’t hate me, see second paragraph above.  I’m doing my best.

Jessica is up in NH with my friend Annie and her daughter Glennys.  I miss her like you wouldn’t believe.  Marc is working today – he’s starting another consulting position.  Which is wonderful – because he hasn’t even really starting looking for a full time job, and these great positions keep falling into his lap.  Which is why I should be better at the whole having faith and serenity thing.  It’ll be just fine.  I don’t need to panic and fear that my little family will be living under a bridge at Elm Park in a month.

Serenity.  That’s my goal.  Faith and serenity.

Wow. So this is what it’s like with just one child

I obviously have had just one child before – in fact, for three years and seven months, that’s all I had.  Then
Samilicious came along and now that Julianna is here, I’m a busy mom of three.  One of the things I’ve been thinking about lately (along with stressing over the upcoming move, fears I’ll be living under a bridge down at the park, etc) is that in September, I’ll have just my one little girl at home during the day.  I spend a lot of time thinking about Sam starting kindergarten, and how he’ll adjust and how I’ll do without him – but there’s the other side of it, which is that I’ll have all this time with just my baby girl.  She’s never had that before, from the beginning, she’s shared me with Sam and Jessie.

After Sam was born, I started watching a couple of other kids during the day.  Sam was not the kind of child that could be sent to daycare, the incessant crying and breastfeeding would have made it impossible.  We needed the income I brought in, so I was thrilled when I found a couple of other moms with babies who needed care.  I’ve had the three of them, Sam and Harrison and Jordyn at home with me since then.  It was crazy busy a lot of the time, but I kind of like chaos, so to speak, and now that they’re all old enough for kindergarten, I don’t know what I’ll do with all my free time.

Jessica is out with Marc’s mom, at the movies, and Marc just came home from work and took Sam to go see Captain America.  And it’s just me and little Miss Julie – and I just realized that this will be my life in a few months.  Marc’ll be at work all the time, and the two older ones will be at school seven hours a day.  Just me and Julianna.  Which is actually wonderful in a lot of ways, if Julianna ends up being my last baby, I’ll be bookending mothering small children with time alone with a little brown eyed baby girl with beautiful brown curls.  My kids aren’t identical, but they all seem to have the same basic face, and Julie and Jessie have the same hair as well – so there are many moments when I feel this sense of deja vu holding baby Julie.

Anyway – it’s calm and quiet here.  Julie is nibbling her hot dog and sipping her ice water (holy moly is it freaking hot here).  She’s also just (like, within the past ten minutes) mastered the shrug, so she keeps shrugging at me and grinning :-)

Ugh

We’re moving.  Again.  Not happy about it.  Our landlord, who is lovely and kind and a truly nice man, is moving back up from FL and we need to find another place to live.  He’s giving us tons of notice, and is apologetic and sweet, but bottom line is that nine months after moving in, we’re moving out.

I’ve moved a lot, I like moving.  I do.  Up until I started school at age six, I moved pretty much every year, and I’ve always liked settling into a new place.  Once my parents split up, we were pretty stable, and though we still moved every three or four years, my mother made sure that we stayed in the same town so we didn’t have to change schools.

But this move – I don’t WANT to move.  I like this house, I like this neighborhood and I really don’t want to.  Marc and I have moved five times since we got together, and every single move has been my idea.  I’ve pushed it, wanted it, but this time, I don’t want to.

I am, though.  And I’ll be sunshiney happy thru it, because if I’m unhappy about it, it’s nothing compared to Marc.  Nobody, and I mean, nobody hates moving as much as my husband does.  I don’t know of anything that bothers him as much – he’s flat out awful about.  So I know that all the packing and deciding what to keep, what to throw away, unpacking, etc is all on me.  It’s enough that Marc will actually do it.  I can’t even get mad at him (or at least, I try not to – I’m sure I’ll end up screaming at him eventually for not helping me enough), because you can tell that moving is that hard for him.  He’d be much happier if we could just get keys to a new, empty place and then get all new stuff.  It’s odd because he’s more than happy to help other people move, it’s just us that he hates moving.

In other news… Julianna had her first temper tantrum yesterday.  It was adorable.  If you could get past the fact that she was really, really furious.  She had been woken up too early from her nap – generally she naps for at least three, sometimes four hours in the middle of the day, but Jess and Sam had come screaming down the hall and woken her up.  She had had just enough sleep to want to get up, and since I’m not a fan of clubbing them to make them fall back asleep, I just let her get up.   I carried her into the living room and plopped her on the floor and she was devastated.  Went from happy baby to screaming disaster.  Jessie tried to pick her up and she crawled screaming to hide behind the rocking chair.  Then she crawled, still screaming, in a circle around the table and then into the dining room.  Wouldn’t come to me, was furious at even the prospect of me.  I let her scream, because really, what else could do, for a few minutes and then finally just picked her up, ignored the thrashing and screaming and laid her head on my shoulder.  I took her into the bedroom, nursed her for a few minutes and rubbed her back.  Thank goodness for nursing, because it calmed her down immediately, and she was sunshiney happy soon after.

Dead fish, room rearranging and why can’t I sleep???

When my cousin went back to NH a few months ago, she left behind a fish. Which, honestly, didn’t please me, as I’m a crappy pet owner and had no desire to take on a fish I didn’t want in the first place.  I’m pretty good with pets when I don’t have kids, and perhaps if the kids were older… but at this point, on the list of priorities, a pet falls down pretty low, so in the interest of what’s best for the pet, I don’t have one.

But there we were, with the fish.  So Jessica named it, Aphrodite, and set up a little place for her.  She was far more enthusiastic than I was, and launched herself into pet ownership with all of her characteristic passion.  She put small sea themed figurines in the bowl for her, and sang to the fish.  Fed her almost all the time, and was, in general, a stellar sort of pet owner.  Excepting that one time she dropped it.

Yesterday, she came screaming into the bedroom, because Aphrodite was floating sideways.  According to Dr. Google, he had swim bladder.  A bad swim bladder?  I don’t know – Dr. Google was perhaps not as informative as I would have hoped.  But after a long day of watching and praying and crying, the fish finally went belly up, literally.  It was her first experience with pet death, and it was so sad.

I also rearranged my Sammy Boy’s bedroom, to give him more space to play.  Yesterday was my mad cleaning day, I got all of the girls’ clothes hung up and the beds all made.  Not that Julianna is sleeping in her bed, but at some point, she might, and when it happens, the bed is ready.  

I’m exhausted, apologies for the boring blog post.  I haven’t slept in two nights, and it’s entirely not my kids’ fault.  They’ve all been sleeping fine, but for some random reason, I’ve been up until well after midnight and then popping awake off and on all night after that.  I miss sleep.  A lot.

like shoveling before the blizzard is over

It’s an old quote, and I’m not sure where I read it, but it equates trying to keep a clean house when you have small children to shoveling while the snow is still falling.  Today is one of those days when I just feel worn down by the overwhelming amount of completely repetitive work.  I got up and vaccumed the rug because the kids had popcorn last night (hands down, the messiest snack ever).  So I vacuumed and swept before I had any coffee, because the mess was making me crazy.  Then I folded blankets, put away stuffed animals, made breakfast, tossed in another load, folded another load, started cleaning Jessie’s bedroom and then made lunch.  Now I’m looking at a messy living room that needs to be vacuumed once again, I still have another load to wash and at least three more to fold, Jessie’s room STILL isn’t done, and I’m just sort of depressed about it all.

Not depressed.  Just out of sorts about it.  This is my life right now – and there are many, many parts of it that are amazing and wonderful and I’m very grateful for it.  But I really hate housework, I hate laundry because it’s never ever done, I’ve got five kids here and for some reason, I literally never have any clean cups.

Duty calls… back to my never-ending quest to not have my children raised in squalor.

this summer is exactly what I wanted it to be…

Julianna Ruth is napping peacefully on my bed, cooled by the ceiling fan and with the door mostly shut.  She’s still using receiving blankets as loveys – and in a stroke of brilliance, I decided to keep switching them up, making sure that she always has at least one (and usually two) but varying which ones are on the bed with her.  This way, if we lose one, I can just grab of the seventeen thousand other receiving blankets I have laying around.

Jessica Mary is outside, splashing in my $10 Walmart pool with her best friend Glennys.  They’ve got bathing suits and sunblock on, and towels laid out in the sun.  Sam and Harrison are bopping around the house, armed to the teeth with light sabers and plastic guns, playing secret agents.  Secret Agents is code for “let’s go bug the girls” but until they girls start yelling and complaining, I’m going to let it slide.

VERY pleased with the decision to do nothing major this summer, no camp or structured plans.   Just an old fashioned, play outside, do what you want as long as you stay occupied and happy kind of summer.  I hope the kids always remember this…

He’s not a little baby anymore

I mean, of course he isn’t.  He’s a five year old boy, as he reminds me several times a day.  And I’ve got an actual baby.  It’s not even like he’s my youngest and I can be forgiven for still thinking of him as a baby.  But somehow, I still kind of did.

Sam’s extremely shy in most situations, and still seems so young to me.   He still sleeps with Marc or I most nights, still hides behind my legs in pretty much every social situation.  He wakes up every morning and trudges into the living room and curls up in my lap. He tells me before he pees, and has to be prompted to put his underwear on, and most of the time, he puts it on backwards.  Okay, I admit it, I still think of him as my little boy.  I didn’t realize how big he’d somehow gotten when I wasn’t looking.

I went into for his five year physical this afternoon.  My pediatrician (God, I love that woman) is the only person I know who actually agreed with Marc and I when we pulled him out of preschool at the beginning of last year.  She said that there’s a world of difference between a four year old and a five year old, and while we could have forced it, and he would have adjusted eventually, by giving him that extra year at home, it would be so much easier for him now.  And he was BIG.  He participated happily in the hearing and vision test (and to understand how remarkable that was – we had tried it at his last physical and he screamed thru the whole thing – forget answering questions, he was straight up horrified that a STRANGER was talking to him).  He talked to the nurse, answered questions, and talked.  Just like a big boy.

It was just sort of surreal.  He’s always been my baby – and now suddenly he’s a big kid and I feel a little wistful and a little bit, just a tiny bit, sad.  I’m not ready for a big kid.  Not two big kids.  Isn’t it bad enough that I had to let Jessica grow up?  I’m kidding.  Kind of.  But the facts are that in a month and a half, I’m going to have TWO kids in school, and I’m getting a little bit choked up just thinking about it.  No Sammy next me all the time?  It was so hard adjusting to Jessica in school – and I naively thought that it would be easier with the other two.  But no – dramatic sigh – it’s just as hard to adjust to the fact that your second child is suddenly a big boy as it was to realize that your first little baby was suddenly old enough to go out into the world without you.

I’m going to need a LOT of chocolate on the Tuesday after Labor Day.  And tissues.

Marriage with small children

It’s a side effect of having small children, I think.  It’s so overwhelming at times that the marriage becomes secondary.  It’s the basis of it all, but not always, not nearly enough sometimes, the center of it.  I’m really blessed because my marriage is really, really strong.  So it absorbs a certain amount of neglect.  I think that everything comes in stages, there was a time when Marc and I were the most important thing, and a time when we were just a family of three.  Then a time when we were a family of four and Lilli and Sarah were over all the time and things were hectic and crazy.  Then Julianna came along, the girls got even older, and now we’re readjusting to a family with two kids in school (still trying to get used to the fact that my Sammy boy will be away from me all day five days a week), a toddler and busy, active adolescent step daughters.

But every now and again – I realize how fragile marriage is.  That’s not right – because it’s not fragile, I know that I love Marc and he loves me the way I know that my eyes are brown and the sky is blue.  The marriage isn’t fragile.  I realize how vital the marriage is – and how terrifying it would be if I didn’t have that behind me.  If I didn’t have that connection.  I’m literally one of the happiest people I know.  I love my life, I really, really love being at home with my children, I love having three kids.  I love the ease of my life, the lack of drama, the comfortable-ness of it all.  Marc and I rarely, if ever, actually fight. And even if we do, we fight calmly, we don’t throw things, we don’t name call.  And we never, ever, don’t resolve it.   If I didn’t have the marriage, if I didn’t have Marc, I can’t imagine how I’d ever be happy.  Not like this.

Yesterday was one of those days when we actually had a fight (over perhaps the stupidest thing).  And I was angry – really angry, and that’s so unusual that it was scary for me.  Marc was angry too, and between his anger and mine, it was a really unfamiliar place for us.  I’m not used to feeling not connected to him, and even after we made up, I still felt all shaky and vulnerable.

And we did make up, and slept last night all tangled up together and everything is fine this morning.  We’re a little more careful with each other, a little extra solicitous and thoughtful.  I just want to remember this, this sense of gratitude and thankfulness.  Not just that we made up, because of course we were going to make up,  but because it is so scary to me when we fight.  Because not having that connection, not feeling like we’re a team and doing this together is so terrifying and so completely wrong.  Not everyone has that.  Not everyone feels that.  And as much as I hated fighting with my husband, I’m grateful for the fight today – because it reminded me not to take it for granted.  Not to take the peace, the connection, the love for granted.

I love you, honey, more than you’ll know.  And if I forget sometimes to tell you, between diaper changes and baths and stories and cleaning the toys up and doing the laundry, just remind me, okay?