Saturday, December 26, 2009

The Day After

So, Christmas has come and gone.  Santa can rest for the the better part of a year.  It is the one time of year, maybe the one day even, when even the overly rambunctious of children seem a little less so.  Though kids are beyond excited, it's the good kind of excited, vs. just being excitable.  It is nice to have a day when no one is really in time out and the kids share without being told, even if it is only for a little while.  Sugar highs and lovely silence of the crash that follows, that is the sound of Christmas.

The house is a mess, and probably will be for about another day or so.  The toys that were too much work to go through yesterday will be first on the list today.  Time stretches on with softer edges and the hope is that it stays that way for awhile.  A bit of peace is easily shared.  A smile is like a cold, quite contagious.  Memories are made in moments and, on days like Christmas, it is the good ones that are easy to hold on to.

Here's hoping that the good always outweighs the bad and not so glorious moments fade into yesterdays forgotten.  Merry Christmas

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Baby Steps

My now four month old got his first tooth at three months.  This is especially weird to me since none of my other three had any teeth before seven months and usually only had about four teeth at a year.  The baby just cut a second tooth two days ago.  Needless to say he is chewing everything.  Well, I'm breastfeeding.  I'm actually doing better with him than with any of my others.  Usually by now he'd be on more formula than breast milk, but he only gets a bottle when necessary, which is about 8oz. every couple of weeks.  Anyway, he has taken to chewing on me.  I'm not sure if you are familiar with the fact that new baby teeth are like little mini razors.  So, he clamps down and I scream.  I don't mean to scream. I sure don't want to scream.  Yet, invariably, I do.  Then, the little stinker thinks it's funny and laughs at me with a huge grin. Well, grinning makes him bite harder.  I am so torn between having him bite the suckers right off in an attempt to keep breastfeeding him, and just giving up completely due to the immense pain and bleeding tata's. 

Oh, I had him on a quilt on the floor today.  We were playing and he fell asleep, so I let him keep on napping.  I heard him babble a little while later and not only had the child rolled over onto his belly, but he was off the quilt and about 8ft away from where he was.  I have no clue how he got there.  I'm thinking he just rolled there, even though this would be his first and thus far only true rolling experience.  Yet, I can't imagine that he inchwormed his way across the room.  Tomorrow, I will put him back there and we shall see how he gets about. 

My nephew walked before he crawled.  I never knew that was possible, but at seven months he was running around and climbing on things like a little monkey.  It freaked me out.  He was so tiny and he would get into everything.  My second boy crawled at eight months, the earliest of my other three.  But none of them walked before a year.  I really am not looking forward to this little guy being mobile by the spring.  Still, how cute is that!

It's About That Time

I don't mind being alone.  I never have.  Being alone is peaceful and relaxing.  No pressure, no noise, nothing to impede the process of just existing.  Every now and then, I think it is a requirement for sanity.  I'm not one to turn down alone time, especially since it happens so rarely.  Now, however, I find myself in the unwelcome state of loneliness.  I am not alone, not by far.  Responsibility and duties and chores and life itself still rolls along.  Nothing has changed.  Yet, both the air and my heart seem heavy. 

It is so much more than Hubby being out of town for a week, and then not home much when he is in town.  It's his job.  I am well aware of its requirements.  Maybe, it's the fact that I have done Christmas all by myself this year.  Alone, just me, no help, no real input, four kids, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins, oh and the pets.  But that alone doesn't really bother me either.  Don't misunderstand me, I'm not depressed or longing for more of anything in particular.  I'm just lonely.  Everyone is busy this time of year.  I haven't had a second to just be.  Who knows when the last time I hung out was.  Life has changed more than I thought with the baby.  It is just different that I expected, even though I really didn't think I had any expectations.   

What to do, what to do?  This isn't really something that some alone time with Hubby would fix.  It isn't that kind of loneliness.  I'm not reclusive by nature.  I enjoy the company of others.  Yet, outside of parent/teacher conferences, I haven't really had any adult contact for what seems like weeks.  It's not really true, but that is definitely how if feels.  Boy, I love this time of year, truly I do.  However, half a day on Christmas Eve and all of Christmas Day, just to leave the following day, doesn't make me happy.  I won't see my family this year.  My good friend and the only neighbor I really talk to is moving next week.  My best friend is going on an extended vacation the day after Christmas. I am spending what is usually the best part of the year alone. 

Okay, not ALONE, with my kids.  I am grateful to spend all this time with them, but Lord they are a rambunctious bunch.  It is easier and much less stressful when there is someone here, even for a couple of hours, to help.  I also get a bit sad for my Hubby when he is gone so much.  He misses all the smiles and belly laughs.  He's gone for so much of the good stuff that it breaks my heart a little. 

On a much brighter note, it finally feels like Christmas.  I had all my grown up decorations up for a little while now, but it didn't feel like Christmas.  Today, I came across all my childrens' decorations.  Now the walls are adorned with construction paper stockings and santa hats, paper plate and pasta wreaths, glittered snowflakes, and my favorite our "family tree".  When my oldest was 6, and my second was 7 months, Hubby was out of town, as usual, and we passed the time making some decorations.  So we cut out and glittered some snowflakes.  Then he gathered the angular tiny scraps and asked me if we could make something with them.  I asked him what he would like to make, but he couldn't really think of anything.  So I asked him what his favorite part of the season was.  He told me it was the Christmas tree, because it always makes him smile.  So he drew pencil outline of a Christmas tree on a piece of white construction paper and I filled it in lightly with glue.  He has such a good time dropping all of the green and red scraps of paper on the tree.  When it was dry, we took more glue and added dots for ornaments and outlined the tree and added glitter in all different colors.  His eyes grew bright and he showered me with love and said it was beautiful.  He couldn't wait to show his Daddy our family tree.  He called it that because we made it as a family, even though his brother sat in the high chair and ate cheerios the whole time.  It has been six Christmases that that tree has adorned our house.  It is always placed well out of reach of the little ones and in a room far from the real Christmas tree.  It makes me smile whenever I see it.  This year, it is on the end of a row of high cabinets that separate our kitchen and dining room.  It is the very first thing I see when I come inside.  It always makes me truly happy, and fills my heart with love.

It's funny how that story seems to have pushed that lonely feeling right out of my heart.  There is no melancholy residue, just warmth and an overwhelming desire to squeeze my little munchkins, but they're sleeping so I'll have to wait until morning.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Sickness and Shopping, or Does shopping make you sick?

There is something about holding a sick child that takes your mind off of whatever used to seem important.

It was cold this afternoon, and it began to rain.  The kids were bundled up and incessantly asking me questions about why it is so cold when yesterday they were in shorts.  After picking the boys up and lugging them to guitar practice, I decided to drag them into the dollar store.  Why?  Because the dollar store is across the street from guitar practice and both are about 15 miles away from home and I didn't want to make an extra trip.  Besides, the kids love picking out little dodads for their cousins.  If we all had to buy real gifts from our kids to the cousins, we'd go broke as my sister and I each have four children.  So, the dollar store it is.  This way, they feel like they got them gifts all by themselves.

I'm always a little shocked and amused by the things they pick.  My 5yr old picked out a whole fairy ensemble for my 9yr old neice, but alas, it only came in toddler sizes.  He was very disappointed because he knew that she was a fairy princess and she NEEDED to have it.  My four year old was too busy to give much of an opinion on anything.  He was smacking patrons with wrapping paper like a sword and jabbing it in his eye because he had to walk while using it as a telescope despite my continual warnings. 

People would see us coming and walk around the store rather than pass us in the tiny constricted aisles.  My incessant ramblings made me feel like a crazy cart lady.  "Get that out of your eye. Please put that down.  No you can't have that and stop touching everything.  Inside voices.  Inside voices.  INSIDE VOICES, please.  Why must you try to squeeze past the cart when I'm trying to turn? I told you I'd run you over if you kept jumping in front of the cart.  We are not buying a costume for the neighbors dog.  Because that dog tries to eat you whenever you walk by.  No he is not a nice doggie.  No he will not like you better if you buy him a toy.  Stop blocking the aisle and let your brother pass.  He is too allowed.  Because I said he was.  You don't have to like me, but you do have to keep it down.  Use your inside voice.  Who do you think you're talking to like that.  Oh, I thought so.  Alright! ONE, TWO...good.  Now that I have your attention.  I expect you all to behave.  Stop touching everything, and I am not here to buy things for you. We are here to get Christmas gifts for your cousins.  No, I am not giving your cousins wrapping paper, but it would be nice if they could unwrap their presents.  Don't you like it when you have something to unwrap.  Okay.  be nice or we'll go home and you can tell your cousins why they have no gifts from you.  As for you (speaking to the oldest), getting them all riled up is not helping me.  If they get in trouble for acting like you, then you're the one who'll be in real trouble when we get home"......and so on.

Yup, that was us.  I was that Mom.  What can I say, it happens.  They were just excited and they weren't really screaming, just loud.  Most of my mantra was more like grumbling to myself while shopping for little junks.  Anyway, back to the car in the cold, cold sprinkles that twinkled in like stars in the streetlamps, according to the 4yr old.  By the time we got home they were asleep and the rest of the evening went on without any further grumbling on my part.  By the time dinner was ready, my 4yr old was burning up.  He was so hot, that it almost hurt me to touch him.  His skin was turning red.  As I made him eat a couple of bites of chicken so that I could give him his medicine, I held the thermometer in place.  The poor kid was not at all happy.  After his medicine, he was crying and begging for loves (hugs and kisses).  I sat in the rocking chair holding him like a baby.  He was hot and it was making me sweat.  His fever wasn't getting better and I was minutes from taking him to the hospital.  Then, he looked at me for a long while and smiled a little smile with that twinkle in his eye.  I felt his forehead, his ears, his arms and his hands.  They were barely warm.  It went down as fast as it rose.  I felt better and Hubby carried him to bed and tucked him in.  I left the dishes undone, the presents unwrapped, and the decorations still only half finished and went to feed the baby and pass out. 

His fever has not yet returned, and I hope it doesn't.  So much for cold rain, and they didn't even really get wet.  Tomorrow, or whenever I'm up to it, we will all wrap the gifts they bought.  They love to wrap, so they can wrap until their hearts' content.  They wrap the gifts from them, and then I am free to wrap the gifts from Hubby and I in peace.  I can better handle their over exuberant loud nature at home than in public.  Though, I must say, there is nothing more heartwarming than that twinkle in the eyes of a child.  The awe that is evident in every fiber of their being when they see the hints of Christmas.  Even the crappiest of lights haphazardly strewn about someones yard, yields squeals of delight that make your heart dance a little.

Unfortunately, the way colds are passed around this family, I'm due to be sick for Christmas, as usual.  I am armed with Vitamin C, GermX, and Lysol.  I am ready for battle.  Oh, and I still haven't finished making my garland.  At this rate, I'll be done by New Year's. 

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Is it beginning to feel a lot like Christmas?

Well, we went and got a tree.  The boys ran around like little monkeys and the baby slept the whole time.  Admittedly, I was dreading the experience, which really is not like me.  Once we get there and I am surrounded by pines and take a deep breath, ahhhh it's Christmas.  So, I was enjoying the twinkle in the boys' eyes and decided that I will go ahead and make whatever I can with the boughs we got that night.  I hadn't seen the oldest that excited for awhile.  It's funny, we usually take a very long time to pick a tree.  But this year, the second tree we looked at, we bought.  I would have liked to look for a fatter tree, but as it sits there in the stand, waiting to be adorned, it is settling into a chubby tree after all.  It really is a full, symmetrical lovely tree.  It's as perfect a tree as I've ever had. Plus, it smells like Christmas. 

So, at least I'm trying to get in the spirit of things.  Of course today, when I was all prepared to get the house ready to have Christmas move in, wouldn't you know it, the baby had to feed every time I had a minute to try to move things around and prep the area.  I guess tomorrow will be the day, since today wasn't, and that's is fine with me. 

After everyone went to sleep, I decided to begin sewing the puff quilt that I'm making the baby.  I've had it cut for weeks, I just need a few more backing squares.  Tonight, I decided that if I don't get rolling, the thing will never get made.  I have finished one of the three colors.  They are all sewn and waiting to be stuffed.  I went to start on the next color, but the tension was all off and I wasn't in the mood.  I have a feeling that despite my best math, this quilt is going to be bigger than I expected.  At least he can grow into it.  I'll probably use it more as a play mat than an actual blanket.  I picked the fabric with my 4 year old.  It is in hues of green and yellow with red and orange accents.  One fabric is animals, one is dinosaurs and two are mottled in green and yellow.  It sounds horrible, but it is very cute.  Perhaps I'll post a picture when it is finished.  It all depends on how it turns out, haha.  I think that he wants a blanket for himself, but I bought the last of the dinosaur fabric and they haven't had any in since.  Who knows, maybe I'll make him a big one for his birthday.  Thank goodness it isn't until September. 

Now, I'm here again in the middle of the night, too tired to work and too wired to sleep.  This is the limbo in which I seem to exist most often.  This is when I think of all that needs to be done and wonder why I haven't had a stress induced heart attack years ago.  I was just informed that the boys want to make their own cookies for Santa.  It sounds innocent enough.  But I know, all too well, that the 4 year old and the 5 year old don't always play nice.  I can just envision multicolor royal icing everywhere and crumbled cookies strewn about.  Okay, they aren't really that bad, but they sure can zap my patience in a blink and I sure can suck the joy out things when that happens.  Maybe we'll make easy cookies this weekend and see how it goes, kind of like a test drive.  Usually, I assign each child a different job in the processes, but we will see how it goes with them actually trying to work together.  I feel many little speeches coming on. 

Anyway, I've seen enough Christmas movies in the past two days to make me not ever turn on the TV until after New Year's.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Take It or Leave It

Try as I might to be like Martha Stewart or June Cleaver, I am just not that kind of mom.  I am messy and disorganized, but not disgustingly so.  I have good intentions, but sometimes my food just ain't pretty.  Let's face it, so long as it tastes good, who cares?  I do enjoy cooking, and even it is not perfect, I will cook as long as the effort is appreciated.  Maybe it's petty, but if you complain about my cooking on more than an occasional basis, then it will taste like the festering resentment that I will be cooking it with.  Not so appetizing, but true.  I suppose love is a magic ingredient in food, and resentment is it's evil twin.

I am not the one who would ever enjoy people just stopping by.  I don't appreciate it and find it more rude than flattering. I'm sure this is because I am not the neatest of people and the house is always in some stage of being cleaned.  Sometimes it's the laundry that is out in its assembly line before getting put away, and sometimes I don't have time to do the breakfast or lunch dishes until I'm making dinner.  So, a phone call, even from down the street, isn't too much to ask.  Since I don't like it done to me, I don't do it to others. The only people allowed to just drop in are those who I know love me despite my messy house and screaming kids.  Once you're that close to me, I've got nothing to hide, sucks for you, haha.  Then again, if you have the nerve to be one of those pestering people, then you should be forced to sit in the middle of my chaotic life for that amount of time and pretend to be me and see how far you get with your chores before all the kids get home and the insanity ensues.  Scratch that, if you handled it better than me, I'd feel like crap.  Just call first people, is all I'm saying.

I keep telling myself that if I had more time during the day that I could get things done.  Somehow, I just don't believe that.  I used to when I was younger.  However, as my old age is settling in on me, I've noticed that the free time I do have I tend to horde.   Would you rather finish the laundry than take a long hot bath if you had the rare opportunity for one?  I have to schedule time for Hubby to come home a little early in order to grab an extra twenty minutes to keep the grays at bay.  If I need to basically make an appointment for that, then I really do not have much time to pamper anyone, much less myself.  So, after a long hard day of chasing four kids I am usually so exhausted that pass out as soon as I go horizontal, but only after at least an hour of mind-numbing veg-out time.  If I don't give myself time to slow down my mind, I can't sleep at all.  And it's not the productive kind of sleeplessness where I can actually get things done.  It's more like my body can't move, but my mind is racing incessantly almost to the point of making me nauseous.  So, when I have an accidental extra fifteen minutes or so, you could probably find me piled up with kids taking a nap.  This way, if the move, I'm up.  Yes, I do feel lazy taking those few minutes every so often, but I am a very strong believer in "if Mom's not happy, no one is".  That's not to say that I purposely make my family miserable when I'm in a bad mood.  But who wants to cook and clean and yada yada yada when you're cranky and unappreciated.  Okay, maybe not completely unappreciated, but underappreciated anyway.  Again, I am not that girl.  I do, however, give fair warning to any and all who cross my path.  Then it's their own fault if they choose to ignore it.  I mean if I ask you if you put a new bag in the can when you took out the garbage and you said "yes", then I expect there to be a bag in the can.  Usually, I'll show you the bagless can and stand there while you insert said bag.  On my cranky days, you will find the can full of all the garbage that I intended to put in the bag.  Then, if you don't notice and the garbage gets full, I expect it to be put in a bag and the can hosed and sanitized and the surrounding area swept up and the garbage emptied from around the house....... in other words, sucks for you.  Heed the warnings people!

It's a good thing that I'm usually easy to get along with and I don't hold grudges.  I also bend over backwards for those that I care about, so I'm not too evil after all.  Though, I did come across this little ditty on the web a bit ago, it made me laugh:
Girls Are Evil

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Slow Start

It's 50 degrees and raining, for two days now.  For most of the country this isn't so bad, but for FL it is FREEZING with the strong winds and rain.  It wouldn't be so bad but for the rain.  It's like a monsoon and everything is practically flooded.  Yet, my chickens stand out in the cold rain instead in the sheltered part of the  pen.  Hmmm.  I always thought that it was turkeys that weren't so bright.  I'm afraid I'll go out there and they'd have caught pneumonia and keeled over.  Not exactly the kind of Christmas opener one would hope for.  There are quite a few craft/Holiday fairs and parades this weekend, or should I say was.  Most have been canceled or postponed until further notice.  There is one small fair that has been moved inside.  I'm not so sure if it would be a good idea to drag my brood through a bunch of vendors crammed in a small space.  We'll see if the rain lets up. 

I'm still recovering from Thanksgiving with my family.  It was very nice, yet highly stressful as was the drive home with four kids.  To my surprise I'm about 2/3 of the way through my Christmas shopping and it was mostly stress free.  Procrastination on my family's part made us lose some really great cyber-deals, but other than that, so far so good.  I had planned to drag out my stores of Christmas stuff, but with the weather being what it is, I am completely unmotivated. 

Usually I make all my garland and wreaths from actual pine boughs.  I love doing it.  It is peaceful and the kids are mesmerized by the transformation from twigs to Christmas.  But again, I am just not feeling it yet.  I'll probably make all the wreaths, the four for our house inside and out and then a few as gifts for my friends.  They always seem to appreciate the effort.  I hand make the wreaths, bows, and whatever else.  I have this tree that has very long lasting berries in the winter, no clue what it is.  This lets me use natural embellishments on my wreaths and garlands.  Though I'm allergic to holly (mildly), we have several bushes that just will not die.  They are stubborn little buggers, but they make for nice embellishments as well.  Last year, I even made a wreath out of the holly.  It stays green and shiny for a very long time, but it was more trouble that it was worth with my swollen purple hands and all.  Anyway, I think I'll pull out my case of artificial garland and start to decorate that instead.  I usually use it on my outside railings, but if I double it up and use my fancy ribbon, maybe I'll substitute it for the real thing this year.  It doesn't smell as nice, but it'll be fine. 

We're a bit late getting our tree this year. Perhaps I'll get into things when that is up and twinkling at me.  For now, it is cold and raining.  On goes the Christmas music and out comes the ribbon.  We'll see how quickly things change.