Tuesday, January 29, 2013

The Strength of Women

I was sitting here reading back through old posts. Man, my life used to be very messy, very hectic, but pretty darn funny. My latest posts seem so sad. Oh well, such is life. Our family has a tough battle ahead of us this year. At the risk of relaying someone else's story (you know how hard I try not to do that) here it goes: my mom has cancer. We found out two weeks ago. Hence, the morose tone of this blog as of late.

The truly hardest part of living with sad or fearful news is that life continues to go on. I can't do what I really want to do, which is get in bed, eat chocolate, cry, and then scream and throw things until I can sleep. Instead, I have dishes to wash, laundry to fold, fluffernutters to prepare, papers to grade, and the list goes on and on. This is a mixed blessing. I am happy for the distraction of messes and chaos, but it is also so exhausting. My downtime is so rare that I find myself breaking down while driving home or right before I collapse into sleep. I walk through the day like a dual person; I do what needs to be done, all while worrying, wondering, what-ifing, and planning. Inside I am screaming, but when I open my mouth I am logical, calm, and soothing. This seems to be a unique talent of women, this dual nature living. I often joke that I wish that I could split into two, I guess that I really can. This multi-tasking, split focus must be an evolutionary perk of womanhood. Of course it can backfire.

My birthday was the day after I found out. I had to sit through day 2 of bully prevention training and no one knew it was my birthday. These days birthdays are really not a big deal. Of course, this was the year that my girls decided to try to really celebrate. I trudged home exhausted and headachy, to find the house full of happy birthday signs, fresh baked cake, and a crown for the birthday girl. I just couldn't do it. I begged off and Rob looked at me like I was a monster. Some days, it is just too hard to fake it. Other days though, I am able to "Fake it until you make it." Lily's birthday was a completely different story. Just this past weekend I forced myself to make the pink Hello Kitty cupcakes, ignored the "they look like pigs" comments, went to bed, woke up, took both girls to the rec center pool for Lily's party (Rob couldn't go, he lost a filling in his front tooth the night before), made sure that Lily and her friends had a great time, and went home to crash.

My biggest worry is that I get so caught up in the day to day of life that I loose track of what is really important. I don't want to loose the sight of the special moments.

Friday, January 25, 2013


Both of the girls seem to be going through some big changes. My baby turned 8 last week. The era of Elmo, tutus, hair bows, and fairy wings is over. Lily is still very silly with us, but there seems to be this new thoughtfulness the rest of the time. She has started violin lessons and so far seems very determined. I had no idea how much would be involved on my part. This is an expensive instrument with lots of expensive add ons. It will also require me to practice with her. So far, so good, well, except for when she tries to argue with me about what is right.

Caroline is also going through changes. She has adjusted to high school.  Mid-terms just about did her in! I am proud of how hard she's been working. She is ready to give up drums. She already stop the rock band. Next year she won't take concert band, either. Instead she is going to try her hand at T.V. production. I have a feeling that she will love it!

While they are changing, so does my identity as a mother. I am no longer the mother of a little girl. So many parts of my life as a mother are over. There are many more new things awaiting for me, I know. It is still hard to say good bye to all the little girls things: cartoons, silly songs, cute little toys, never ending imaginations..... In the course of one year I went from being Dance Mom/Band Mom/Roadie to being Just Mom/Violin Coach. They say that change will do you good. I guess I need to sit back and enjoy the ride.


There has been a lot going on around and here and I have been really stressed, tired, and worried. The fact that things around here have been wackily normal has been comforting.

Take the other morning last week: I haven't been sleeping, so instead of getting up at 5:00, I slept in until 6:00. That put me a little off schedule, but not terribly so. I have to leave the house by 7:45, so I still had plenty of time to pack lunches, get the kids out of bed, do some dishes and laundry, let the dog out, and get dressed. The lunches were ready, the kitchen was clean, so I headed up stairs to get Lily out of bed and check on Caroline. She had a nasty cold and was staying. I gently woke her up and headed to the bathroom. As I passed the playroom, I heard the rabbit bang her food dish against the sides of her cage like a disgruntled prisoner. I went in to check on her and noticed that her water bottle and food dish were empty. Her litter box was full. I guess since she was sick, Caroline had forgotten to check on her. While I was getting the rabbit squared away, Buffy ran into our room and peed. By this time, I was really far behind. I rushed into the bathroom, threw on clothes, and rushed out the door. Of course, I was late for work. I wasn't very upset about it. Honestly, I needed the distraction. I guess I can always count on my family for that.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Conversations Over Heard at My House

Let's try for a little levity!

The other night I went to the bathroom before Rob and I changed the sheets on the bed. What I saw in the bathroom is what I've been running into for the past 18 years: an empty toilet paper roll with a new roll of toilet paper resting on top of it. I, along with countless other women through the centuries, have tried desperately to teach my family to change the roll when it is empty. I am losing. Here is the conversation that followed:

Me: "How hard is it to change a roll of toilet paper?"
Rob: "Don't look at me. I never use that bathroom. This is all on the girls."
Me: "So the girls, before they were even conceived, were able to come into the bathroom at our first apartment and use all the toilet paper and not change the roll?"
Me: "So you are telling me that our children are Time Lords?"
Rob: "Yup."

Caroline walking through a dark room "Mom, can I......"
Lily jumps out of nowhere screaming "Boo!"
Caroline swears and then runs around screaming.
This happens weekly, sometimes multiple times a night. I am tempted to call her Scardyline. That's too cruel, though. It is however really freakin' funny. Trust me, she gives as good as she gets.

Either child: "Mom where is..."
Me: "Look for it!"
Either child: "Yeah but..."
Me: "Figure it out!"

I am working on a report for school playing Spider Solitaire. Suddenly, a furry white paw reaches around the laptop and shuts the screen.
Me: "What does this stupid dog have against technology?"
Rob: "Maybe she's the Unidogger. Feel free to put that one on your face book wall."

Dog steps on the remote and messes up the channels.
Rob: "I think she was trying to hit paws."

All just drops in the bucket, my friends:) If nothing else, at least I haven't forgotten how to laugh.

Drops in My Bucket

The idea of adding drops to your bucket seems to be following me these days. I just finished a two day course on preventing bully behavior and it came up repeatedly. Then I came home and logged on to Facebook and ran across a link to a blog. The bloggers' premise was that so often when mothers are doing something right, all they can think about is all the times they didn't do that thing or will screw it up in the future. Her challenge was to just take each moment and add it to your bucket.

For example, I remembered to cook the chicken breast in the fridge before it expired: drop in my bucket. I got everything on the Monday portion of my to do list finished (I'm trying to chunk and break up my lists now): drop in my bucket. I got my laundry and Lily's laundry folded: drop in my bucket. Instead of focusing on the lack of vegetable at dinner, the yet to be done portion of my to do list, or the unfolded towels, I stay positive. I try to keep my bucket full. You would think with all of the metaphorical bailing out that I do around here, my bucket would be overflowing. I think that bailing out is part of the problem. Right now, I am so tired. I keep trying to dig deep and find some reserves. I also need to get it through my head that I can't fill my bucket with chocolate (or other junk for that matter).

Honestly, I guess that it is a day by day thing.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Happy New Year!

This will be a short post. I have papers to grade and school tomorrow. It was a lovely and relaxing break. Rob took the entire week of with us. We barely left our neighborhood. We hung out relaxed and organized. I now have lovely clean carpets and a tidy basement. I am nervous about returning to school, but once I see my little guys, everything will be fine. We spent last night watching HGTV and the movie Grown Ups. Caroline had some friends come over to hang out and watch movies. All in all it was a very calm and relaxing evening.

I forgot to add one more thing to my list: music! I would be lost without music. I have very eclectic taste. I love 80's alt. rock and punk and contemporary folk music. I grew up with lots of 70's singer/songwriters and blue grass/old time music. I also really like independent/alt. rock from today. That has been a really bonding force for Caroline and I.

Here's to a simpler and healthier year. I wish everyone a year where you are able to focus on what is important and let what is not just go.