Tuesday, October 30, 2012

We are possibly suffering from temporary insanity

As I speak, offer papers are going in on a house.  EEEKKK!  Since we both liked it so much on Sunday, we met with our realtor yesterday and went through the house again.  And even though it hadn't suddenly grown closets or bathtubs, we still loved it and put in an offer.  Wait, what's that? There are no closets or bathtubs?  Yes. And the fridge is currently a mini fridge. 

I told you we've lost our minds.  We currently live in 900 square feet with no storage, but we have pretty good closet space. This new house has no bathtubs, one small closet in one of the bedrooms and no full sized fridge.  So we'd have to 1) get rid of a lot of stuff, 2) buy a fridge (there is space for one) and  3) get rid of more stuff. Oh and 4) teach our kids to take showers.

I'm okay with those things, actually. The kids love showers when they take them at swim lessons and while we went through the house again last night, they went from bathroom to bathroom, pretending to take showers.  And I hate stuff.

Everyone in our family thinks we need a bigger place, and we do need separate bedrooms for the kids in a few years, and that's a possibility at this new place.  But we don't actually want a traditional yard (this house has paving stones in the front yard) and we like living in a small space. 

Oh, and we absolutely adore this property, for all its quirks.

So, we'll see what happens.  Not expecting to hear back for a couple of days. And if it doesn't work out, that's a lot less stress on my future- no packing and moving! But if it does work out, it's going to be quite the adventure ahead of us....

Monday, October 29, 2012

It's 9 AM and my kids are still asleep

I just peeked in at my kids and they're sound asleep. At 9 AM. And Vivian is in her own bed, where she's been all night.  From Friday afternoon through the weekend, they got along and played nicely together. WHAT IS GOING ON IN MY HOUSE?  Who are these children?  I'm thinking alien abduction/pod people...

Daniel left me alone at home with Vivian on Saturday to go to a car museum with his best friend.  They took Ethan along. And our car.  Which meant I had to entertain myself close to home. Which of course meant that I had to go downtown and shop. It's always entertaining shopping with Vivian- the girl has lots of opinions. At one point I was trying on a dress and didn't love it. But Vivian did, and she cried (loudly) about me not wanting to buy it. For about 5 minutes, until I put back the dress I did like and picked up another one (same style that I had liked) in a color closer to the one she preferred. I'm so looking forward to her teenage years if she's like this at 3.

Yesterday I went to my second open house. We're sort of looking for a new place- Daniel's brother is interested in investing and we'd rent it from him and live in it.  If nothing works out, fine- we're okay with where we are.  I normally try to avoid seeing potential properties because I tend to fall in love with them and am not really capable of being rational about the whole process. It's Daniel's hobby to look at real estate and he knows what he's doing, so I leave it up to him. And Ethan- he's becoming something of an expert as well. But I really liked the pictures of the property we saw yesterday, so went along to the open house. And, as expected, fell in love with it.  Unfortunately, so did everyone else that was there at the open house, so I don't have much hope. 

However, it was amusing to see people be amused by the kids as they walked around and checked out closets and made comments about the size of rooms and what features they weren't seeing.  Little real estate moguls in the making.

In other news, my university is closed today for the hurricane. Given that I'm thousands of miles away, this doesn't affect me much.  Praying for everyone on the east coast to stay safe. My parents are way inland and are still getting high winds. My brother and his wife are in the big snow zone. Should be an interesting week for all of them. Hope it all passes quickly.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Not awesome

This week has not been awesome.  Mostly because on Saturday night I fell in the bathroom and hit my face on an open cupboard.  Yes, I'm that coordinated.  Might I recommend not running into cupboards with your face?  It hurts.  For a long time. And it's really hard to avoid using your face.  I told Daniel that I wanted a better story than falling over to explain the bruise on my face, but neither of us thought I could believably claim to have been in a bar fight or something.

It's also not been an awesome week because it's grey and drizzly and I had nothing planned this week other than studying and work. Rookie mistake, I know.  Last week was grey, but I had multiple play dates planned, so I managed.  Fortunately we ended up with last minute plans for tomorrow, so there's hope.

In other news, after the professor adjusted our mid-term grades (I do NOT understand grading on the curve, but appreciate it!), I ended up having done really well. So that makes me happy.  And we're down to like 4 or 5 weeks left of class. Even though I'm really enjoying the class, I'm definitely looking forward to winter break!

Oh, and in other other news, I voted on Tuesday.  So now I can ignore everything related to the election. Happy dance!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Reading

I was an early reader and I honestly think that reading quickly (I don't read line by line, I do something else that I can't entirely explain, but it works) was the biggest reason I was good at my old job. I love reading and would happily go to bed and read a book rather than watch TV.  Almost always.  Reading opens up so many new worlds. Daniel doesn't read, other than work emails and real estate profiles. EVER. I am baffled by this. 

I'm anxious to pass on my love of reading to the kids. I have shelves full of books that I loved when I was younger and can't wait to pass them on to Ethan and Vivian. It's taking a little longer than I'd hoped- Ethan is just not "getting" the alphabet. He can sing it just fine, but cannot identify more than a handful of letters. We're not sure if he is just messing with us (possible), or if he's just too busy crashing things and jumping off things to learn (also very possible) or if there's something else going on.  His teachers are keeping their eyes open and so are we, hoping to figure out what's up before he hits kindergarten.

But there's new pressure on him- Miss Vivian has decided that she wants to read.  And when Vivian decides she wants to do something, that's pretty much the end of the story. This is the child who potty trained herself in three days.  Yesterday we were sitting and playing with a letter puzzle. And she looked at the puzzle and then at me and said "C, O, W. Cow." And I was shocked- that's the first time a kid of mine has spelled a word.  Ethan kind of looked at her and at his puzzle and then went back to pretending the letters were football players and smashing them into each other. She's been the one to motivate him into finally doing most of the things he was delayed with doing, so hopefully it'll work again in this case.

Hats off to teachers- I try to do letter games with the kids but get so frustrated with the same blank stares and explaining the same thing over and over. I do not have the patience! Very blessed to have great teachers at both kids' preschools.

In other news, we have a playdate today but don't have to be there until 11. So I, of course, woke up at 4:45. And I can't even go jogging, because Daniel has to leave early today.  So not right...

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Thoughts on perfectionism

I've been mentally beating myself up since Saturday afternoon about my mid-term grade.  Logically, I know that I can't be expected to ace my tests- there is a ton of material in this class, and I am doing the class while working and taking care of the kids. I know that.  And I'm mostly proud of myself.  Or at least the logical part of me is.

Then there's the other part of me.  I'm a little confused regarding grades.  When I was growing up, the perspective on grades in my house was "why didn't you get an A?" As an adult, I know that what was really being said was "did you try your best?", but that's not how it came across.  I do tend toward laziness and doing things "well enough", so I probably needed that motivation.  And I did pretty well in school. My (younger) brother was super motivated on his own and that plus the motivation in our home resulted in him graduating from high school with a perfect GPA and a perfect score on the SAT. But it never really bothered me. By that point I had realized that if I could get decent grades with very little effort, why bother?

And that's been how I've operated in life.  I am a perfectionist in that I want to do things well, so I actively avoid things that might be challenging.   When I find something that I do well, especially if it's something that comes easily to me, I stick with it and excel at it.

But I'm having trouble for some reason with this.  I think that I feel a little torn- that the grade I made on my midterm could also be applied to my parenting skills lately. Says the voice in my head:  Am I doing my absolute best? Am I trying my hardest? 

I want to do well in grad school because I love it and I want to do well with the kids because I love them and I love the travel site too. I LOVE all these challenges and am the happiest I've been in ages, but that little part of my brain still wants me to be perfect at all of it and I need to accept that I'm going to mess up on all fronts.  I've just never been in a situation before where I feel like I'm trying my hardest and NOT excelling.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Whoo hoo- fall break!

I've been putting off my midterm for a few days, since I had to take it online and all at once (uninterrupted) which meant I had to wait for the kiddos to be occupied. Daniel took them to work today, so it was time to stop procrastinating and get it over with.

So I survived the test- didn't do as well as I'd hoped, but I think I can honestly say I did as well as I could have. I studied as much as I could and knew where to find things (it was an open book test), so I guess I need to stop beating myself up about it and move on. To celebrating Fall Break! Whoo hoo! I don't have to read for class for like 5 whole days! Am very excited!!

In other news, it's finally fall here in Seattle. After several weeks of gorgeous 70+ degree days, the rain returned yesterday. We had 80 something days of dry weather- great summer! It's time for fall though- I'm ready for the cooler weather and fall activities.


Wednesday, October 10, 2012

This week, my kids ate almost an entire jar of peanut butter

My kids ate almost an entire jar of peanut butter this week. And not even on sandwiches, since neither of them can actually take peanut butter to school.  But that's not the exceptional thing, the exceptional thing is that my KIDS. Plural. Ate the peanut butter.

If you're my Facebook friend, this is old news.  But tough - you have to hear it again.   Because after 3 years and 5 months of fighting with Ethan over every. single. calorie.... he's eating.  He's actually been eating for about a month now, but at first we thought it was a fluke. But then he kept eating. And he started saying he was hungry (he's never done that), and asking to try bites of our food (ditto) and wanting snacks constantly. He's eating new foods and loving them.

He's also wearing colors other than yellow and branching out of his comfort zone in lots of different ways.  We're not sure what happened other than it being an answer to prayers, but it's made a huge difference in our world.

He's still got the feeding tube and is still getting feeds through that every other day or so.  Because he's 5 and weighs 33 pounds.  We still need to get some weight on him. But I'm hopeful that we can start introducing super high-calorie foods to him and wont have to rely on the feeding pump too much longer. That would be a dream.

In other news, I have about 50,000,000 pages left to review for my midterm, which I'm taking Saturday afternoon. Yesterday I let the kids play in their room alone while I studied and I knew it was going to end badly (especially when they were quiet and or playing nicely together).  It looked like a toy store threw up on their room when I finally ventured in. But whatever. 

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

One thing

I'm home with one kid this morning. Vivian is at school and Daniel's at work and Ethan's watching Blue's Clues and I'm contemplating my to-do list for the day.  And my to-do list is making me smile, because I'm only focusing on one of the two things I've been juggling lately.  For the past 8 weeks, it's been so crazy busy with the travel site and with my class.  I thought I was handling it well. I thrive on busyness and stress! I can do it all (except remembering to cook dinner. Or fold the laundry. Why do we have to eat dinner every day! And where does all that laundry keep coming from!).

And then I had to go in to my doctor last week for a regular check up. I've had a minor heart issue and high blood pressure since I was 21.  I have had high blood pressure when I was thin and when I was heavy.  Exercise helps a bit, so I try to keep that up. But my blood pressure is very sensitive to stress, and as much as I'm loving life lately, there is a lot of stress right now.  And when the nurse took my blood pressure last Tuesday, she actually shrieked a little bit when she saw the numbers.  Let's just say they were all in the triple digits. In case you're not familiar with blood pressure readings, that's bad.

So...that's not going to work for long...

Since my appointment I've been trying to juggle less and focus more. There's always going to be something I "could" be doing.  But that doesn't mean I have to.  This week I'm not going to worry about what's coming up on the travel site, I'm going to just study for my midterm. Next week when grad school is on fall break (hurray!!! hurray!!!) I can do more travel site work.  I just have to keep telling myself to focus on ONE thing. I don't have to do it all right away. Some of the work can wait and be done later! (This is a revolutionary idea for me, really).

My blood pressure is much better this week- I think giving myself permission to stop occasionally and put things on tomorrow's to-do list, or even next week's to-do list is having a big effect on my stress level.  Who knew!

Monday, October 1, 2012

"I'm good at my job! I'm really good at my job!"

I started to write a blog post on Friday morning, but it was really dull and essentially was me just talking about how happy I am to be unpacked for the first time in a month.  I'm sure you're all sad to have missed five paragraphs on that topic.  Recap of September: completely insane, exhausting and fabulous.  And now I'm going to have to not eat for the entire month of October because a grand total of ONE pair of pants still fits, and we're getting out of skirt season with the cooler weather.

Anyhoo.  Have been thinking a lot about a conversation that I had with a friend at the zoo on Friday.  She's recently returned to her part-time job, and she was telling me about her mood after work one day, when she realized that she a) loves her job and b) is good at it.  And she walked in the door and said to her husband (forgive me if I misquote, dear friend) "I'm good at my job! I'm really good at my job!" The thing is, this friend of mine is one of the best moms I know. She never seems to get upset about things her kids do and she's patient and plays with her kids and teaches them other languages and to read and she's also one of the most reliable friends I have and I could talk about how fabulous she is for the rest of this post. But the thing is, those things are all well and good, but they get overlooked on a daily basis in this gig as a mom.  It's that whole "lack of validation" thing. 

I really could relate to her statement, because I've been feeling very much the same way lately. I'm on week 7 of juggling my travel job and grad school and I am loving both.  Occasionally the professor will say something like "astute observation" and I'm walking on cloud 9 all day.  I love my kids and my husband and they will always be my primary responsibility, but it is awfully nice to be doing something else and have other people think I'm doing it well. Especially since my kids seem to be in a competition lately to see who can be the loudest/push each other's buttons the most/hit harder/make bigger messes.  Not getting as much validation from my child-rearing skills lately. 

That being said, my house? SUCH A MESS.  I have my mid-term exam next week and then there will be a massive cleaning/organizing binge going on here during my fall break.  That thought makes me insanely happy!