Thursday, May 31, 2012

Have I mentioned that I do not do hot weather? (And happy birthday to Vivian!)

Greetings from the South! The kids and I trekked across the country on Tuesday- randomly ending up sitting behind the husband of another Seattle-area blogger who I know fairly well. I didn't realize it was him until we were all getting off the flight and chatting nervously about missing our connections (many people on my plane did).  Fortunately, the kids and I made our connecting flight, thanks to some convenient delays in the airport that we were arriving in and departing from again.  We wouldn't have made it otherwise, and I was very glad for traveling mercies on Tuesday!

Yesterday I sat in the air conditioning (LOVE!) and worked while my parents took the kids various places. I also managed to register for my first grad school class for this new program, after several hours of confusion and many emails and phone calls to my new advisor. I'm still not entirely sure what's going on, but I'm putting it in God's hands and trusting Him. This whole thing was His idea anyway, so He can deal with it. :)

I did eventually emerge in the evening to run to the drugstore to get something for Ethan, and remembered what I do love about the South. There is nothing in this world like a Southern summer evening. Nothing.  Being out in the warm air and feeling the breeze and smelling the smells brought back a lot of great memories.  And in the later evening, the fireflies came out! The kids haven't ever seen them, as we don't have fireflies in Seattle, and it's been about 15 years since I saw them, so that was a fun treat.

Today my brother and his wife arrive and we're going to a lake house that someone in Dad's congregation nicely is loaning us for a few days.  My brother and sister-in-law are both hideously allergic to cats, and both I and my parents have two cats, so most of our gatherings involve my brother and his wife being totally loopy on allergy medicine. It'll be nice to be around them when they aren't heavily medicated.

Daniel seems to be managing without us just fine.  He's going to Chinatown to pick up food every day (I don't cook Chinese food and don't particularly like to eat it either, so it's not frequently on the menu when I'm around). Reliving his glorious bachelor days :) He claims to miss us, but I'm not totally buying it.

And tomorrow? MY BABY TURNS THREE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

She's sleeping next to me right now (of course) and is looking so darling and peaceful. When she's sleeping, you can't tell that she spends her days alternating between being oh-so-three years old (Ethan did NOT go through this stage, so I had no idea what was coming!) and being fourteen years old and bossing me around and having opinions about clothes and shoes and pretty much everything else in life.

Still, she makes me laugh every day and she challenges me and I love my daughter so very very much.  It's been a really blessed three years. Love you, baby girl!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

I'm starting to develop multiple personalities

I woke up this morning and headed out early for the local science museum for a media preview of the new King Tut exhibition.  Where I most sat around and tried to not look too much like a blogger in front of all the TV news people and newspaper people.  The exhibition was great though- if you're local and care about the details, let me know.

Then I rushed to the store before coming home and writing up the exhibition for the travel site that sent me. Then it was time to be a mommy and get the kids lunch and Ethan off to school. Immediately after which I sat down and paid bills, then dove in to my science work, reading articles and writing questions and stuff like that. 

And as soon as I was done with that, Ethan got home from school, so it was time to play with the kids and make dinner.

Right after which I had to go online to try to figure out the registration process for my grad school class and why I can't find the tutorial that I apparently need to do before I can pick a class...

Nothing is bad or overwhelming or anything like that, I'm just still not used to being so very busy and the constant mental shifts hurt my head. I'm not used to being so many people at the same time.  And this is how it's going to be for a while. Like the next 3 years. I should never have complained about needing something to do!

Monday, May 21, 2012


I woke up yesterday morning, rolled over in bed and smiled when I realized the sound that I was hearing was the sound of rain falling softly outside. 

Don't get me wrong, I love sunshine as much as the next person.  But we respond to sunshine differently in the Pacific Northwest than people do in other areas.  Since it is grey and gloomy and drizzly for a lot of the year, when the sun comes out, we go outside.  It's practically a law here. Thou must enjoy the sun because tomorrow it will rain again.

And we've been having gorgeous weather lately- sun, but not too hot most of the time.  For three solid weekends and a good bit of the time in between.

But it's been a really insane time for me lately- juggling several volunteer things and trying to get work done for my science job and blogging on the review blog and throwing a bridal shower. I love being busy and nothing is really overwhelming, but it still was starting to wear me out. So I was thrilled to see rain yesterday and spent most of the day sitting on the couch, watching Psych. I'm not sure what Vivian did, but Daniel and Ethan went to Best Buy and spent three hours picking out a new DVD player for the kids' room. Ethan seems to have inherited his daddy's love of shopping!

Today it's still raining and it looks like it's going to continue for a while, but that's okay, because this week needs to be about getting lots of work done. Next week the kids and I are off to Virginia to visit my parents! The end of May seemed so far away when I bought the plane tickets- I can't believe it's almost here!

Friday, May 18, 2012

The shift

I was driving somewhere last week with the kids in the car, answering the 1 zillionth question that Ethan had asked me in the last few minutes, when I had a realization.

My role as mom has shifted massively recently.  I went from being the person whose job description was primarily "keep them alive" to a person whose job description is "teach them life skills and help shape their world view".  I guess that whole life skills thing and world view has always been there, and I still have to keep them fed and clothed and housed, but I'm feeling it more strongly lately.  Everyone is out of diapers and out of the stroller, and I have two kids who are capable of conversations and comprehending big ideas.  Proverbs 22:6 runs through my brain constantly: "Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it."

It's kind of intimidating.  I'm not sure I was entirely prepared for answering questions about things like death and whether Jesus lives in our car and why we don't joke about people going to jail.... They're busy trying to figure out their world and are already negotiating friendships and relationships with teachers and other adults.

I suddenly feel like I have to choose every word carefully.  The other day I asked the kids to please "go away and play in their room for a minute so that I could vacuum the living room".  And a couple of hours later, I heard Vivian saying to her stuffed animals "just go away for a minute!".  Eek.

At the same time that I'm feeling all this pressure, I'm also dealing with the reality that soon they will be even more heavily influenced by other people.  Vivian in particular. Right now she is away from me on some evenings, but she's with Daniel then.  The only time all week that she's away from both parents is when she goes to her class at church. But in a few months she'll be going to preschool and making friends and life will change for both of us.

I knew they wouldn't be babies forever and I know my role as mother will continue to change.  And I'm not unhappy about this stage, just feeling the weight of it a bit.  I know that I'm going to make mistakes- lots of them of various sizes.  I just need to have faith and remember that God is with me in this and that prayer and my Bible are the best companions in this journey.  I want to be the kind of wife and mom that they talk about in Proverbs 31 (verse 28): Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her.  Kind of a bigger thing than I realized when I got into this whole motherhood thing :)

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Tuesday morning slump

Trying to get myself motivated to do some work this morning, but the science part of my brain doesn't want to turn on. Need more coffee.

The sun is still shining in Seattle, which means it's lovely outside, but my condo is an oven.  Hopefully it'll cool off before this weekend, when I'm hosting a bridal shower.  Which I need to get ready for. 

Yesterday we avoided the heat by having a nice family outing to get frozen yogurt and walking to the library.  Always better than sitting around the living room and sweating.  It was also nice because it was the first time Daniel emerged from his awful allergy/medicine haze. He felt rotten all weekend and pretty much napped the whole time. I did drag him out for one IKEA outing on Mother's Day, so the weekend wasn't a total bust. 

Oh, and Saturday was great- the 5K raised 132,000 for the anti-human-trafficking work! And over 1900 people showed up. There were only 1100 people registered last year, so it was a huge increase. What a blessing to be a part of that. People really can make a difference!

And I got an email yesterday letting me know that they have a spot at the wonderful preschool for Vivian for this fall. It's only one day per week, but that's okay, since it's a big transition for us. The school is a Montessori school in a beautiful house just a few blocks up (almost straight up!) the hill from us.  I think it'll suit Vivian's personality wonderfully. Unfortunately it's a morning class and Ethan's in afternoon school, so I'm not actually freeing up any time, but I don't spend much one-on-one time with him, so it'll be good for us.

Okay, off to find more coffee. Need energy!

Friday, May 11, 2012

Leavin' on a jet plane...

I am buzzing with excitement for a bunch of reasons tonight:
1) Daniel's home and it's Mother's Day weekend and I am off duty. :)

2) There are 1800 people signed up for the Free Them 5K tomorrow. I can't wait to join with everyone else and run to support this great cause!

3) I am going on my first press trip!!!!! I have been writing travel reviews for a great website called Trekaroo, and now they want me to expand what I do for them, including doing a media trip in June! The family can't go, which is a bummer, but I get to go and observe and write and I am so excited!  Quebec has been on my wish list for quite a while, so this is really exciting.

When I was a kid we flew about once per year and they were usually long trips, but it was just once per year, so my brother and I were always about to lose our minds with excitement. Then I didn't fly much for a while, and then I started flying for work, and now that the kids are older, our trips have picked up again. This year is going to be a record setting one for my recent past- trip to Iceland at the end of February, Disneyland in April, Virginia (alone with the kids) in May/early June, then Quebec less than two weeks after that.  And I sometimes wonder where Ethan gets his wanderlust from :)

Oh, and my trip will be starting on Father's Day. Happy Father's Day, Daniel- here are your kids. Have fun watching them for the next week. (His mom will probably come down to watch them, so don't feel too bad for him).

Monday, May 7, 2012

Things that are awesome on this Monday afternoon

1.  This post by Princess Nebraska. Perfect antidote to my self-loathing post on Saturday. Love, love, love her perspective.

2. I painted my nails a pretty lilac shade on Saturday night and I love them madly. I tend not to paint my nails, because they don't like being painted, but I did this time and they make me smile. Vivian did not approve, because she only likes the color pink, but whatever.  It's like having springtime on my hands.

3.  I was awoken this morning by my husband walking into our bedroom, carrying a folded pile of towels. He'd folded the rest of the giant pile of laundry that I couldn't handle last night as well. And then he brought me coffee in bed.  I am so blessed.

4.  My kids played nicely this morning and only fought a tiny bit and they didn't ask to watch TV and they mostly did things when I asked. This is the exact opposite of how they've been behaving for the past two weeks and I was about to lose my mind and now I like them again :)  Maybe it was that crazy supermoon? I know it wont last, but I loved this morning.

5. I also loved Saturday when I unexpectedly got FOUR HOURS at home alone.  The in-laws were visiting and we had plans for Saturday afternoon, but then everyone was slow getting going and the plans changed to be a trip to Ross and an outing for Chinese food and I don't really like Chinese food that much, so I begged off.  And, as a bonus, since the in-laws had been visiting, the house was clean and the laundry was done for the moment, so I just worked on  my scrapbooks and played on the computer and watched Psych on Netflix.  Bliss!

6.  After 6 years of marriage, I finally sorted through Daniel's closet and got rid of the shirts that were insanely old and that I hate.  Daniel rarely shops for clothing, but when he does, he buys nice things. And they last a long time, but even nice clothes have a shelf life.  And he tends to wear the same things over and over. So much so that he has stuff in the closet that was dusty. We shopped and we purged and I washed and ironed (I NEVER iron. Don't even own an ironing board) the shirts that we kept and now everything looks nice and he won't look quite so much like a ragamuffin.

7.  The sun is shining and it's supposed to keep shining all week.  But not be hot (defined by me as above 75 degrees).  This is a Seattle girl's dream combo.

8. While waiting for the school bus, the kids were having an intense discussion about whether or not Tinker Bell could fly "up" and if she was at Disneyland today.  Love it!

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Fear and self loathing in Seattle

For the past few months, I've been noticing more and more grey hairs when I look in the mirror. And when I look in the mirror I also see a fat person who can't get her act together and lose weight.  Yes, I've started running again, but that never seems to translate to weight loss for me and I've been feeling lumpish lately. Yes, I know how to lose weight, I've done it before. But this time around I just keep sabotaging myself.

Those are the general thoughts I was having as I got dressed yesterday to go run errands with the kids. Not happy with my hair, hating how all my clothes fit. Etc, etc.  Which is when Vivian ran in the room and asked if she could wear a headband. Because, as she said, "I want to look like Mommy." 

I managed to bite my tongue just in time, before saying something like "oh no, you wouldn't want to look like Mommy."  Because that's what I wanted to say. That's why it was hard to smile at her and why I ached all day, every time I saw that headband in her hair.

I don't want to mess my daughter up. She's getting so many confusing messages, with an overweight mom and an underweight dad and a brother who has a feeding tube, and who has always been allowed whatever food he wants, no matter if it's unhealthy, because it has calories. 

I feel like this is the area of parenting where I'm most failing lately. Other than the whole thing about actually obeying parents and not talking back and actually responding in the right way. We're also doing a stellar job of that. Oh wait.

This all makes me want to lie on the floor and kick and scream and yell "but I don't WANT to be a grown up! I don't WANT to make all these decisions and have all this responsibility!"  Ugh. Ugh. Ugh.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Friends and other Friday random thoughts

I was playing on Facebook and Twitter this morning and realized how strange and convoluted many of my friendships have become. Not the friendships themselves, but the way I know people and the way I relate to them.

There are the people that I "met" on my blog or their blogs and that I've now met in real life. There are quite a few of those here in Seattle. It's always kind of funny to get together, because we know all this deep, dark emotional stuff, but don't always know the basics for a while. Like some people don't use their kids' real names on their blog, so you have to wrap your mind around real names versus blog names. Little things like that. It's like going through a relationship backwards. I know your thoughts and dreams and struggles for your life, but I don't know your last name.

And there are people that I "met" on blogs and that have become what I consider to be fairly close friends, even though our entire relationship takes place online.  This is especially true for the people that are blog and Facebook friends.  One of the girls in this category is someone I would suspect of being my twin, separated at birth, if we weren't a few years apart in age. We've decided that it's probably best we don't get to see each other in real life, as the universe might not be able to handle that level of snark and craziness.

And then there's the really confusing category- the Weight-Watchers-turned-Facebook friends. When I got engaged back in 2005, I got involved in an online chat room for other WW people who were planning weddings. Then we all moved to a Just Married board and then we all had babies about the same time and we just kept chatting. I am not kidding or exaggerating to say that a huge amount of what I learned about sex and nearly everything I learned about pregnancy came from those online conversations. Again, we knew serious stuff about each other and knew each others' weights, but were using screen names and could only see small photos.  But now we've mostly transitioned to Facebook and now we see each other's pictures and know full names and are fleshing out the facts of our relationships.

Sometimes I have to stop and try to remember how I know someone on Facebook. Is it an old high school classmate? A WW girl? A cousin or relative of my husband? Someone I randomly met on a blog and bonded with?

Seriously, I almost feel weird about having friends that I met in person and that I only interact with in real life. There are not too many of those, but there are some. It just doesn't seem normal :)

In other random news, Ethan peed on the floor again. Oh, and last night his feeding tube leaked when we were hooking up his feed, so we managed the trifecta of dealing with poopy pants, pee on the floor and stomach contents. All in one day. We win! I have done SO much laundry this week. 

But we have fun plans for tonight and fun plans for the first part of tomorrow.  And Daniel will be around to deal with any pee incidents this weekend :)

Thursday, May 3, 2012

I quit

I've been finding small puddles of pee on the floor near the toilet, but just figured that Ethan was missing.  Then I turned around today to find him deliberately peeing all over the floor, the curtain in the bathroom, the litter boxes, the cats' food. For no apparent reason.

I kid you not, I lost it. Banished the kids to their room and just broke down. I almost never cry, but they've been fighting and not listening all week and this was just the final straw. Thankfully it's a school day and Vivian should nap while he's gone, so I might be able to pull it together again. 

I need wine for lunch today. Forget wine for dinner.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

I need to make a to-do list

The kids are watching the newest Chipmunks movie this evening.  I'm not sure this was as good of a Mommy-survival-plan as I imagined it being, because our home is three rooms in size and no amount of blasting my podcasts will drown out the sound of the songs.

I'm also grouchy today because all the trees in the area are blooming or doing whatever trees do in the spring (I'm a city person, I know nothing about these things) and it's killing my sinuses and I want to die. So there's that.

I had friends over yesterday (hurray!) and one of them is juggling more things than a human being should be juggling. And she was talking about her survival mechanism being her daily to-do list that she writes on the white board.

I've always loved to-do lists, but I generally keep them in my head rather than putting them on paper. The thing is though, my head likes to add things to my to-do list and make everything seem SO MUCH MORE URGENT THAN IT REALLY IS!

I'm not juggling too many big things these days, but I do have a lot of little things to do with  the science job and the review blog and household stuff and not a whole lot of kid-free time in which to do most of those things.  I pretty much put Vivian down for her nap and sprint to the computer to start working on everything.

But my brain has been "awfulizing" things lately and I need to stop giving my brain control of my time management and mood and actually write things down and get some perspective.  Revolutionary idea, I know.

Had a great marriage moment yesterday- Daniel was relating a story of a challenging experience with a coworker and lead with the line "she's just kind of hard to work with sometimes- she's actually a lot like you...."  The ellipses represent the exact second when he realized how the sentence came out and I could see the look of fear cross his face. I  actually laughed out loud- he rarely makes mis-steps like that and it was so funny to see him try to backpedal. He did manage to dig himself out of the hole though and I still like him.