Thursday, January 8, 2015


This is really long. I guess you could call it kind of a "day in the life" post. You can skip it unless really bored, and even then, I've warned you. I should have gone to bed early instead of staying up to write this, but I'm pretty sure someday, I'll be glad I preserved this slice of our circus. 

No decluttering post here. Today was too good not to throw down some words for posterity. Because the children have all been asleep for over an hour, I can start to laugh about how ridiculous this stuff is. And because in the thick of it, I had some amusing text exchanges and a phone call that pulled me back from the brink.

Yesterday Tim and I celebrated our 10th wedding anniversary. By God's grace, we have survived each other. To celebrate, I forgot about the blissful occasion until my mom reminded me. For the last 6 months, I've thought off and on how it'd be really nice to do something extra special. Then the plague descended on our house and my brain melted. Once he got home and we got the boys put to bed, we put our new vacuum together while I informed him that one of our children got a note from school about something that isn't a big deal in the grand scheme but makes us feel bad as parents. "Cheers! We suck as parents." Oh vacuum humor-it's what 10 years together gets you.

John Paul fought his nap like a crazed animal yesterday, but I finally got him sedated after bringing the big boys home from school. Then I let him sleep way later than I probably should have. John Paul is cute, but he does not make the after school homework/dinner time segment of my day a fun one. So without his screaming or paper snatching, I helped Ben on his book report and made dinner in peace. If your second grader does not have to do book reports, but think that sounds way fun and you're feeling sad about missing out, you are more than welcome to come hang with Ben while he slogs through his. The salt in our very fresh, gaping book report wound was the assignment sheet the teacher sent home for the next book report. Before we had even turned this one in.

What did I make for our anniversary dinner you are wondering? Well, considering Tim wouldn't be home for dinner and I had ignored the thawed pack in the fridge as long as I could, me and the boys feasted on liver. This is worth noting because I really, really hate liver. I have started making it about once every couple of months (the amount of time it takes me to build up a new round of courage) because we get it from processing since no one else wants it (free! i love free!) and because it's exceptionally healthy. I have great hopes that if I make the boys choke it down occasionally, they will have exceptionally straight teeth and the strongest of physiques. Darn you Weston Price for always being in the back of my head. (If you don't know the work of Weston Price, I'm not going to explain it. And consider yourself lucky for being able to feed your children with maybe a little less guilt.)

Like I said, I hate liver. We had to eat it as kids, and I swore that I never would as an adult. It's the one food that as a kid, made me gag with every bite. I'm only a little bit better about it now. But because I have to play it cool with the boys and can't gag with every bite, I have found that aggressively chewing it on the extreme side of my mouth, while cursing it in my head, and sometimes running my feet in place under my chair, seems to get me by. Last night I only (discretely) gagged twice. The boys don't like it, but eat it just as well as other things they don't like. No gagging on their parts.

Since I let John Paul sleep so late, he got to stay up later and hang out with Tim while I put the big boys to bed. I came downstairs and Tim was putting him to bed, which has happened probably less than 5 times in all of his life. When Tim came out, he said, "I think it's so sweet how John Paul lets me know when he's done rocking and ready to lay down." I scowled at him. Hard.  Although we had been on a pretty good streak of bedtimes for several months and I had hoped that we were consistently past obnoxious bedtime shenanigans from our children, John Paul has been "not sweet" at nap and bedtime lately. I usually nurse and rock him, then put him in his bed after a while. Lately he does not really want to nurse, or rock, or have me hold him, but he also definitely does NOT want to be put in his bed.

(Boy, that's a lot and I didn't even get to today.)

Ben got a fever during the night-so cue 'ol Mr. "my fingers are like string" I've gotten used to his fever weirdness and was reminded that Tim also kind of hallucinates when he has fevers. When we were dating, he told me alllll about the Civil War, but without making any sense. "How can Ben have a fever when he ate the healthiest of all healthy foods for dinner?" you are asking yourself. Maybe the problem is I'm feeding him too healthy! Tomorrow we'll get donuts to celebrate yet another missed day of school.

So Ben was home from school today, but not uncomfortable, so that was nice. He worked on his workbooks they have every night so that he wouldn't be crushed by the extra stuff that would come home with Max. I hated make-up work so much as a kid that I figured it was very rarely worth it to try to fake it to stay home. I hate make-up work just as much as a parent. You're trying to ease this kid back into things and build them back up, but they have the stress of extra work. A necessary evil.

Max isn't getting enough attention in all this hullabuloo. Thankfully, he's our easy child right now. He gets his homework done super fast and keeps himself busy with art projects. He makes a lot of messes, but project messes are my least despised of messes. But don't worry, he's not perfect. Every night he comes into the kitchen and asks what's for dinner. I then tell him, and he goes sulking away 9/10 times. For a while, I refused to answer him, which he didn't think was funny. Very rarely, he answers, "eh, I'm okay with that." Gee thanks pal. On the very, very rare occasion it's something he really likes, he becomes overwhelmingly excited. "Slappy when happy" is how I describe it.

The other funny thing about Max is that his ears are stopped up right now from the cold he had? I'm of the "wait it out" school of parenting thought, trying to do a few things at home. But his teacher probably thinks we're idiots for not taking him to the doctor. Well, his sub-his teacher's on maternity leave. Hopefully they will clear by the time she gets back. Otherwise we'll just have to say, "Hey lady, we're sorry, but isn't it already obvious we're not very good parents?!" I felt guilted into cutting Max's hair this fall when he reported home, "Mrs. Teacher asked me when I was going to get a hair cut?" She doesn't understand my street urchin vision. But back to his ears. Communicating with Max is like trying to talk to a 90 year old former machinist. Everything is a loud, "HUH?!" But he's a nosey old man, so even if I'm not talking to him, it's still, "HUH?!" There was a couple days were both he AND Ben had the pluggy ears. Dinner with Norman and Walter was a real treat.

Well, I've sure written a lot. Some people exercise out their frustrations. I'll use the cold weather as an excuse for that not being an option, Cause this weather?! Isn't it a real treat. There's a gal I'm FB friends with who lives in Florida who has posted swimming pictures twice this month. I want to kick her tan, exposed shins!!!

The real gem of the last two days has been John Paul's sleep. Yesterday had nothin' on today, and as of last night, I considered yesterday pretty annoying. He was so deliriously tired this afternoon that he was screaming, screaming, screaming but when I would try to pick him up, he would dislocate his shoulders and slide half way out of my hands and flop on the floor. Then he would throw himself at me like he wanted to be picked up. Then repeat the melting thing. As he screamed in his room, since there was nothing I could do for him, Ben sympathetically said, "Why don't you just go in and nurse and rock him, Mom?" I thought about replying, "Why don't YOU go nurse and rock him?!" but refrained and instead described what John Paul did when I tried to help him. He had no more parenting tips for me after my description.

Why was John Paul so beyond tired. Well, probably because I do everything wrong as a parent, but also because he figured out how to climb out of the pack 'n' play that is his bed. I had hoped keeping him in the pack 'n' play would buy more time than the crib did for his brothers (and honestly I think Max was just shy of two before he started bailing out? so that was nice) because I thought the soft sides would make it harder to get monkey toe grip as opposed to the rails. I don't know how he's getting out. I didn't ever hear any "thump" like he's falling out. Nap time involved a lot of praying and not charitable thoughts on my part. I think John Paul was cursing at me. Then because I'm a complete idiot, I decided to make almond butter 45 minutes into his nap. Making almond butter is THE loudest thing I ever do in the kitchen. I avoid it even when no one is sleeping because I don't like how loud it is. Idiot! Idiot! Idiot! If Tim had done that, I probably would have....not been happy with him. 45 minutes was NOT enough nap for John Paul and he let us know how unhappy he was about my stupid almond butter making.

When I went back to work when Max was just shy of three, people asked me if I liked working outside the home again. My response was, "I like not being yelled at by the people I spend my day with. No matter how mad my boss is with me, he never yells at me and definitely doesn't hit me." Today was one of those days that daycare starting sounding mighty wonderful!!!

After dinner John Paul was being really cute and playing with Max. It made me do one of those annoying parent, "maybe it's all worth it afterall" things. Then he lost it, started doing the shoulder dislocatey don't want to be held but really want to be held but don't want to be held thing again. It doesn't even need to be a daycare at this point. A nice kennel will be perfectly acceptable.

So I tried to put him to bed. He climbed out a bunch of times. Each time he would go and unplug his fan we use for white noise. Like, "Oh hey guys, I actually don't need to go to bed." but with screaming. I would go back in, plug in the fan, kiss the flailing mess, and put him back in his bed. One of the times, I plugged the fan in before I picked him up because he was so hard to hold. He took that as his chance to try to stumble, drunkenly out of his room through the cracked door, with his two, rather bulky, precious blankets in his arms. Poor kid. I kinda just wanted to let him go and see what he would do. But I knew it would only be more floor flopping, and at least the carpet in his room is a lot softer than the hardwood.

Today, the Pope Francis quote from his Sunday address kept popping up in my newsfeed, about motherhood being a beautiful sacrifice. I'm not quite so sure about the beautiful part, Papa.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Good days and bad days

I keep trying to write/edit a follow up post to that last doozy. I hate that it just hangs out there. I keep trying to write a tidy, life's getting better post. And some days I have it almost done, and then a real kicker of a day plows us over and I don't want to be a liar.

When I wrote that last post, I was at the peak of exhaustion. Or one of many peaks. Sleep is important, and 15 months without a full night takes a big toll. (That is a huge understatement.)  I can joke about it or make light about it, but honestly, last year, for a lot of different reasons, had some pretty dark days. I've tried to write about it, but the words are so insufficient, and it is so very complex.

Writing about hard things is...hard. It takes a lot of energy and still often just doesn't measure up. Very, very rarely, if ever, do I think we, the reader of blogs, get an accurate understanding of someone else's life. Because I really, really struggle with envy, i try to be honest about how i'm feeling, but even my "honesty" is pretty edited in this space. That has always been something that I wrestle with. I miss writing, but I don't want to be a whiner on bad days, nor only highlight the good days. This is where I could say something obnoxious about balance. Screw balance. It doesn't exist. We have restless hearts in this fallen world.

The thing that I have learned and keep trying to remember is that, yes, there will be bad days. There will also be good days. There is no equation that when properly executed equals all good days. But there are also things that can be done to make bad days better. The sun will shine again. We will all be simultaneously healthy someday.

I am getting more sleep these days. Thank you Jesus! I'm trying to take better care of myself. Tim has some exciting work changes on the horizon. We are blessed to have amazing friends and family. A couple weeks ago, Ben told me I was the best mom in the world, only one centimeter below Mother Mary. Those are very good things.

Last week Max got some burns on his face because I was tired and spaced out in the kitchen. As he was screaming and clutching his eyes, Ben said, "Well I hope he isn't blind." To which  I hissed, "Shut up! That was a stupid thing to say!" We don't say shut up to each other and we don't say stupid. I don't feel good about hissing at my children. Those were not so great things. But I said I was sorry, which I then had to repeat twice, because his cold had his ears plugged up. "Oh, MORE servings of humble pie. Thank you. Yes, I suppose I needed that." And Max's eyes are okay. Thank you Guardian Angel for protecting him!

So, good days and bad days. The sun will shine again.

But I'd like to take a break from writing about feeeeeeeelings and am thinking i'd like to use this space for some accountability in decluttering. Ooooooor it will lay dormant again. Who knows. :)