Monday, March 30, 2015

monday morning randoms

Kelly's British Midcentury Living Room

Kelly's British Midcentury Living Room by jthesavage featuring multi colored accent chairs

A few Monday morning thoughts:

I created the above collage/room for my sister. I think I mentioned she is moving into a new house, and we like to pretend to decorate it. Her style is updated midcentury modern with british/welsh accents. I introduced her to the magic of polyvore (do you know polyvore?). It's the way I decorate before I buy anything. It's fun.

John starts his new job on Wednesday. He has his last day at his old job today. He gets tomorrow off! I know he's nervous, but I think he will do great. Change is scary, but we think this will be a great change for him.

So I lamented on facebook how my hair dryer just mysteriously stopped working without any warning signs. I had tried it in all of the bathroom plugs and no dice. So I went out and bought myself a new one and plugged it in....and it DIDN'T work, in EITHER of the bathrooms. Turns out the electrical was having issues! It's fixed now, but I couldn't believe it. What are the chances every outlet in both bathrooms would have issues at the same time. In good news, my new blowdryer is amazing. So I'm not that broken up about it.

I want to see Freetown, and it's actually showing in Charlotte! We're gonna go!

Long story short, today we are buying gerbils. Maybe two of them. How did I become this person???? My kids are so excited and they are paying for a chunk of it with their saved up chore money.
But did this happen to a nice girl like me?
It goes without saying, I will never be cleaning that cage. (and before you laugh, Maddy is the best pet owner in the world. I have never cleaned the litter box or fed the cats either. She LOVES animals).
But still.

My house will never stay clean. Is it because it's a one level ranch, or we have too much stuff, or because of kids or all of the above. It's starting to drive me CARAZAY. So glad we're adding small rodents to the mix. That's gonna help.

Easter feast is on my mind. We do it old school, with ham, rolls, au grautin potatoes, frog eye salad. But then I realized that I invited a gluten free vegetarian family over. What in the H am I going to feed them? Bird seed? Why do all of my friends have to be so new age? They are probably wondering why I have to be such a chubby carnivore. It's a match made in heaven.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

choosing my small patch

Something has been on my mind lately. As a mom I get a lot of emails, requests for my attention, time, money. I'm a simple person, and these requests often exasperate me. I don't want another email about a class offered by the school Occupational Therapist about reaching your dreams! Or another message about the next big school fundraiser, two months after the last big one. Holy cow, it's getting to be too much. I think the thing that I am sick and tired of in regards to technology is that I have to sift through the copious requests of me and my kids. I wish I could just say to school: Yes, I want to be involved, but pretty much that just means I want to help out in the classroom when I can (which isn't often right now with a child at home), and yes I would like to give a bit of money occasionally when I can afford it (which has been never recently), but I don't want you to try and make the school community into my replacement for church. I don't want to go to a bunch of extra outside of school activities. I don't want to meet at the park once a week. I want my kids to go to school and then come home. I want them to learn, to play, to make friends. And then I want them back. Why does this seem to be such a foreign and strange concept these days?

I don't want to have them participating in five million activities just for the sake of looking well-rounded. I do want them to be involved in things that catch their interest. I do want to encourage and develop their talents. But I don't want them to do that at the expense of spending time with their family. These children are not just fashionable accessories that we decided to have once we were financially in the clear. They belong to this home, to this family. They have work to do, lessons to learn, love to be surrounded with. 

It seems like these days that I have to fight for the right to just be a simple family. I remember when I was growing up that I took dance from a neighbor lady who had put mirrors in her garage. I walked to elementary school by myself and walked home with my brothers. When I got home I had a snack, did my homework, and then I played with either my siblings or some friends down the street. Then we had family dinner EVERY night together. We worked in the garden, we picked oranges, we had to help make and can salsa and jam and pickles. We had to spend most of Saturday running errands and going into the boring Home Depot or Joann's or Sam's Club. We had to wash the cars, clean our closets that NO ONE would ever see (and boy did I make sure my Mom knew about the injustice of that one). We had to find ways to entertain ourselves. My Mom didn't play with me. She was always available to me, but she was also busy doing her work around the house. If I got bored, she made sure we always knew there were plenty of chores we could do, and then we magically found things to do--worked every time. Don't get me wrong, I certainly didn't have an ideal childhood with nothing gone wrong, but my younger childhood years had a rhythm that seemed to make sense. We moved along at just the pace meant for us.

My Mom didn't have the phone ringing off the hook all of the time. She didn't have to answer emails and constant requests for her to do things. But she was busy without all of that! She still had to make appointments, get dinner on the table, devote time to her Church responsibilities, keep up with us four kids. School would ask her to come on field trips and that sort of thing, but we knew she had my little sister so it wasn't likely she could come. And somedays that made me feel sorta wistful, but I knew it was just life and it was okay. We would go to a school carnival once a year and get to buy cotton candy and do the cake walk (which Mom probably donated something to) and that was enough, and it was really great! I'm sure my Mom felt some pressure and guilt, but I am sure she would agree with me that it isn't the same as it is today.

These days, it's just one big rush to be the biggest, the best, the busiest, the smartest. Our kids should be building robots out of legos for their extra activities, or only eating vegetables thus no cotton candy carnivals. Parents should be taking endless self-help classes, and lamenting the state of parenting with other parents....all who are out taking the class instead of just being with their kids.

Listen, I'm not against improvement. I'm not against the occasional class. But when did society get to this point where I have to feel guilty for not living to be the most active and vocal member of the parent association? Where I feel weird when I go to my child's class market and everyone seems to know everyone else because they are doing all of the extra school activities on sundays?

Here's the bottom line that I have come up with for now. I have to pick my communities. I only have a very finite amount of time and energy (and I like to pontificate on it endlessly I know!). But folks, I guess I say it over and over on my blog because I wish I could just yell it loud enough for everyone to hear: My number one community will always be my family. My children and my husband, and then my extended family. They will always be first. And not just first, but probably about 96% of my time and effort is spent on that one area. So that leaves me 4% to focus on all of the other areas that I care about--Church being next, and then school and the rest behind there. I think as we become a more secular society, and that being religious becomes more of a hiss and byword, people have a hole in their lives that doesn't supply that community for them anymore. So they build up their hopes for these school and sport and other extracurricular activities to create these sorts of connections. And when I get there as an extreme part-timer, I'm becoming more of the odd man out.

And really, although it's uncomfortable for me to feel that way, I just need to remember that I have made the choice to invest myself in the areas that I consider to be more lastingly important. I guess I just wish I wasn't made to feel guilty and strange about it every time I log in to my email or facebook or get a text message which I can't respond to right away.

I don't have any big last word on this to finish up my blog post neatly. I wish sometimes for the days before now, but I think God put me here in this time because He knew that would be a living beating truth in my heart. And there needs to be more folks out there wishing and trying to create the same things in their lives. Because all of this other rubbish is too much and just asking and taking and asking for more and I fear it will bleed us dry and leave us nothing left for the 96% that's supposed to be at the center.

Do you get what I mean? I wish I could say it the way I feel it! I wish I could tune the rest out and not at the expense of being unreachable to those I want to be available for when they need me. It's a hard one.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Lucky Days

Today's update!

1. John got a new job! It's a pay raise, it's still in Charlotte. We are THRILLED!

2. I am in LOVE with my book today. I have good days and bad days. Today was a fantastic day. I got so much done and for the first time ever I wish I could sit down and read my own book and find out what is going to happen! Since this is my first time trying to write a book, I'm not sure if that should have been the case all along. But even if it is, I'll still take is as a good sign! Look, it's not going to be literature, but it is entertaining and exciting and I think the characters are lovely. I think John finally being finished with interviewing and figuring out the best company cleared up my block. Monday was an excruciating writing day as I waited to hear what would happen. But I am relentless and committed to this project and I made myself do the work and sit down. Creativity is 95% work and showing up and just trying. BUT.  It's much easier to be creative when you're not stressed or distracted! :)
mine didn't look this professional....but close-ish

3. My friend invited us over last night for their St. Patrick's Day feast. I hadn't planned a single thing so I was pretty happy to accept. I bought a bunch of fruit and made one of those fruit rainbows I see everywhere. Easy, delicious, fun. Best part was when Maddy told everyone in her very sad voice that the leperchauns didn't visit us this year and she didn't know why. Looks like when you do something one year (like three years ago) that you are committing yourself to hanging their spoons from the chandelier for LIFE.
I'm having a great day. Hope the sun in shining on you wherever you are too!

Monday, March 16, 2015

Random thoughts because I'm distracted

Random thoughts this Monday morning, because I can't focus enough to start working on my other writing.

1. The other day on the way into a mutual friends house to hang out, one of my friends handed me a book. It was titled A Girl Named Zippy. She did it without explanation, and I took it and put it into my purse like we had just conducted a book drug deal. Which makes a lot of sense since books would definitely be my drug of choice if they were illegal. I had no idea of the premise of the book when I started it last night, but let me tell you, I have not laughed out loud in genuine delight during a book in a LONG time. It is amazing. My friends know me so well. If only I could write a book like that!
2. I'm waiting to hear on some news about John's job, and the suspense is killing me. Killing me I tell you! 
3. This weekend was a really really good weekend. Best one I've had in a while. We caught up on house chores, played lots with the kids, lit candles during dinner, took turns lazing on the couch, made chocolate cake, hugged and kissed on our kids a lot, washed their hair to smell like peaches, talked about how we would spend our money if we had lots of extra, and watched Planet Earth until we fell asleep. That's a good weekend. We may not have everything, but I really love my life. I have the best little family.
4. But if I did have everything, I would travel to Austria first thing. It is just about the only thing on my bucket list. Paris, Italy, and England wouldn't be hardships either.

5. I've started annoying everyone I am close to by sending gifs as text messages. I don't think anyone thinks it's as hilarious as I do except for maybe John. But he might just be saying that because we share close quarters. My favorites usually involve either animals being human-like, or Dumbledore looking irritated. Classic.
6. My day goes infinitely better if my bed and the kids' beds are made. So I'm trying to be more on top of that. Conversely, I've given up on laundry and dishes. I know a losing battle when I see one.

7. My sister is buying a house!! As is right, I am pinning lots of projects for her to do in her new house. I'm so dang happy for her and her family. And for my future pinterest activities.

8. The other day Grant was scootering around the house on his little red scooter after I fed him lunch, and he stopped suddenly and looked at me with a mischievous glint in his eyes. "I know all of your secrets." I was amused but intrigued and asked him, "Oh really. Like what?" He looked around casually, like he was making sure no one was listening and said. "I know you going to take you sandwich and eat it while watching a mommy show." I laughed and said, "Very true. How did you do that?" And then he started laughing like a maniac and got serious all of the sudden and told me, "Mom, I can read you like a magazine!" and scootered off. I couldn't stop laughing. Since he can't read a magazine, I guess my secrets shall remain safe....for now.