Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Catch Up Week

I've posting about the craziness of my weeks. It seemed to just become more chaotic the closer we got to my son's birthday.  Between all the sports activities and prepping for the party, we were on the move an awful lot.  One of our routines is to go to the gym on a daily basis. Last week I was informed that the childcare for the gym would be closed this week due to some remodeling.  Well, huh...

I was given suggestions about going to other facilities that were near by and part of the same chain. But I'm particular about who watches my kids and I'd rather wait it out. My kids love the ladies that currently watch them at the gym, so forget it, I'm not going anywhere new for the week.  It was also suggested that I come at night when my husband comes home from work. He doesn't get home until 6:30. By the time dinner is over and the kids are in bed, I'm ready to be in my jammies and spend time with my husband, reviewing the day or watching a favorite television show.

So I did what any sane person would do in this instance, I signed up for a 5:30am Spin class this week. That's right, you read it right. I signed up for a 5:30 AM Spin Class.  I figured I could go and be back before my husband left for work.  Yesterday I didn't hear my alarm go off, but I made it this morning. Not bad, I must say. I could do this and make it work. I've already been to the gym, showered, had my morning devotional, and now I'm blogging. I feel like my day is already half over. But we all know that it's just beginning because the kids will wake up any minute now. I might actually get to do some of things we can do during the day because we're at the gym.

I feel like the gym takes up a lot of our time. And it does. It's probably a two hour process: prepping for the gym, going to the gym, leaving the gym, coming home and getting lunch, etc.

Yesterday, I didn't wake up in time so we ended up not going anywhere. I planned to clean and straighten the house yesterday and I actually got to do it! Granted the kids and I stayed in our jammies all day, but that's fine! My son had time to play with a lot of his new birthday presents. I was able to get everything checked off my cleaning "to do" list and I had time to play games with the kids, read to them, and just spend time with them without any pressures to go anywhere or do anything. It was really nice! Today we will run errands after the kids are up for the day, but we won't have to cram everything in. We'll get done what we get done. This is a nice reprieve from our usually chaotic schedule. We'll do this all week!  Ahhhh, 5:30am Spin Class...this might work!

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Lost Keys Provide Cleaning and Organizing Opportunity

This blog is so aptly named. I really am the epitome of the Discombobulated Mommy. I work really hard to be organized and for me it is hard work. It is not something that comes naturally to me.

Yesterday, I lost my keys...again.  We have a key hook and I thought that I always put them there. That's where they usually are when I find them. When I lost my keys several weeks ago and I called my husband at work to ask if he'd seen them I told him that they weren't in their usual place and that I put them on the key hook about 90% of the time. How about 50% of the time? My wonderful husband often finds them on the counter, on a side table, on the kitchen table or on our bed and puts them on the key hook for me so that I can find them in the morning.  That morning I happened to find them between the footboard and our mattress. They had fallen out of my jeans pocket and fallen there. Go figure!

I lost them again, yesterday. I had already fed and dressed the kids and they were ready for us to go to the gym. I started looking for my keys and after a few minutes realized they were not in any of the usual places.  My 3 year old followed me around the house giving me advice about what I should do: "Mommy, you should really put away your keys in the right place.  Mommy, you should always put away your things. Mommy, you should really clean up the stuff around the house."  Sage advice, not helpful when you are trying to find your lost item. He followed me around the house spouting suggestions and advice.  I finally turned on the tv and asked him to watch television so that I could look for my keys in peace.

 I eventually did find them. I called my husband again and he had accidentally taken them to work. He saw them on the kitchen table and picked them up to put them on the key hook and accidentally put them in his pocket and walked out the door.

Nonetheless, the lost keys encouraged me to organize the house. We couldn't go anywhere and I went on a cleaning frenzy. I, of course, avoided the pile of papers on the kitchen counter that I need to go through to recycle and put away. I just don't have the time to do it. I also need to be less frenzied when I do it...or do I? However, the bathrooms and my bedroom look great!

Friday, March 26, 2010

Good Samaritan

Yesterday I went shopping at Costco.  I hate shopping at Costco.  Don't get me wrong. There is nothing wrong with the store itself and I like shopping in bulk for things like diapers and wipes. But for me,  it's too crowded, it's overwhelming, and going to a superstore with two kids is not my idea of fun.  I think it's because I am easily overstimulated which I think is due to my self-diagnosed ADD. I jump from one thing to the next and I do not have the patience to go up one aisle and down another.  I went yesterday to get some things we needed for my son's birthday party on Sunday. I also had coupons for things we use all the time like diapers, wipes, kitty litter, etc.  I went yesterday instead of waiting for my husband to do it today because I wasn't sure if he would get off of work on time, and our Saturday is jammed with a T-Ball game in the morning, a friend's wedding in the afternoon, and party prep in the evening (cleaning, decorating, goody bags, cake, and food prep).

If I go to Costco I go to pick up pictures and that's it. I hate fighting for a parking space. But I went and I thought that I could get in and out pretty quickly. I had my list and having gone a few times with my husband I had a pretty good idea where everything was in the store.  Um, rule #1....Feed your kids before going to a superstore.  I thought I could get in and home in time for lunch. No such luck.  The minute we walked in my son started complaining about being hungry. Now this is the kid who will wait until 2pm to have lunch on any given day even though I try to feed him around noon. It was 11:30am earlier than any of us usually have lunch. But Murphy's law...

We got most of the items on my list and a few of my coupon items that we needed. I ran out of room in my mongo cart so we headed to check out.  In the meantime the kids are sitting next to each other and pushing each other. My son is begging for the food from the sample tables.  My daughter is trying to eat her samples and her brother's. And I realize that even though I'm in pretty good shape, a 40 lb. container of kitty litter is still really heavy.

We make it through check out. I break my lenten fast of no beef for the family by buying my son an all-beef hot dog because the meal came with a drink and I didn't want to spend extra money on a drink. I didn't eat the beef and I, he's 3, does it really count if he breaks the fast as long it was not me? I was desperate at this point.

We make it to the parking lot and I get the kids in the car. My daughter is screeching for the smoothie I bought for the kids. My son is going on and on about how he's hungry and can he eat in the car and I've got a cart full of heavy stuff.  I open the van trunk look at the stuff in the car, look in the van and sigh loudly, roll up my sleeves and start putting things in. A man walked by, I think he worked in the garage at Costco, and stopped. The conversation went a little like this:

"Can I help you put the water in the car?"
"Wha? Huh? Wha?"
"Do you want the water in the car?"
"Water? Car? Wha?"
"Would you like me to help you put the water in the car?" (very slowly)
"Oh, yes, that would be great. Thank you."
"I heard you sigh, it was really loud and sounded tired. I thought you would like some help."
"Oh, yes, I would. Thank you. Um, could you put the kitty litter in the car, too? I can do everything else if you just get the litter."
"No problem."
"Thanks so much!"

Yes, apparently my sigh was so loud someone felt the need to help. I honestly didn't think it was that loud or that anyone heard me, but I think I was so exasperated by this point I was just digging in and doing what I could to just get us out of there.  Thank goodness for Good Samaritans. They are still out there. It made my day a little easier and was a great example to my son that some people are just really nice and will help you out when you need it.

We made it home, put the frozen stuff away. Ate lunch, played video games with my son, and snuggled my daughter.  The rest of our booty is still sitting in the front hall. I'll get to it later :)

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Balancing Act

I feel like since I have been a SAHM mom for two years now that I should have a perfect system worked out to balance the household chores, errands, and activities with the kids.  I don't have a perfect system. I have a system and it works for us, sort of, but every now and again I start to feel overwhelmed with all of the chores and things that need to get done.

I'm also so tired. I don't drink coffee, but I'll drink tea. I tend to stay away from caffeine because anything after 2 or 4 seems to keep me up all night. A light nap in the day means that I've lost some time to get things done. How do you keep energized or motivated to get things done throughout the day?

I'm a last-minute girl.  I hate buying Christmas presents early in the year, because there might be something better closer to Christmas...or more than likely I've forgotten that I already bought something and I go out and buy something new for someone.  I don't pack early for trips because what if I need that shirt or those pants before the trip?  I don't pack early because I also need to do the laundry, but who has time to do several loads of laundry in a day?  So things don't get put away or bought, or done in a timely fashion because what if I still need it, what if I don't need it yet, or how can I do x when I haven't done y yet?  You get the point.

So for anyone out there reading this, how do you do it? How do you stay on top of the chores, errands, and to do list, while still being there for your family?  Suggestions, tips, "this is how I do it," I would love to hear from you.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Welcome Sports Fans!

I think I have just entered the point of no return.  Last week I looked at our schedule and half the week looked like this:

Wednesday: Son's Swim Lesson
Thursday:  Son's 1st T-Ball Practice
Friday: Son's Final Soccer Class for the Season...maybe until Fall
Saturday: Daughter's Swim Lesson

Crazy!  I also just signed up my daughter for soccer lessons starting next month. Yes, my daughter is 17 months old, but I think she would love it! I scheduled it for Tuesday mornings when my son is in school. I drop him off, take her to soccer, come back and pick him up...I might be able to squeeze in a stop at Starbuck's in between :)

Our Spring schedule will like this:
Tuesday: Daughter Soccer Lesson
Thursday: Son's T-ball practice
Saturday: Son's T-ball games

My son started doing activities when my mom babysat him while I worked full-time. It was a way for them to get out of the house and keep busy since he didn't have a peer group. I started him in soccer when he was 18 months old because the kids in our playgroup were doing it and it would be the only time we would see them since I was working full-time (at the time).  Now that he's almost 4 a whole world has opened up for him. Not only can he do soccer, he is eligible for T-ball in the Spring, and Swim Team in the Summer.

I also realized last week, that I have to be at all of these events. It's not like I can drop him off (yet) and say, "See ya, have fun, Honey." I have to be there...for everything.  My time is no longer my time....

I was going to sign up my daughter for dance classes, but after I posted it on FB some months back, a friend replied about how fun it is until they sucker you into buying the expensive costumes (that they'll wear once!) for the recitals. So I held off on dance lessons and plus there was no way that I was going to spring for a babysitter for my son so that I could my daughter to expensive dance lessons that include expensive costumes. We'll just have to wait for classes to be at a better time or for my son to be old enough to stay home by himself...we've got time.

So here we are, looking at our Sports calendar for the season. I realize that this is the beginning and it just gets busier from here. I also realize that we can stop at any time, right? Technically, yes...but are really going to? Probably not, so Welcome Sports Fans!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

St. Patrick's Day

Hello and Happy St. Patrick's Day! Are you wearing green today? My family is! Why? Because I did the laundry late last night and made sure that everyone had something green to wear. You might think this is overboard, but as a kid I was always pinched on St. Patrick's Day for not wearing green. Do kids still do that these days? My husband chuckled at me, this morning, when I told him how I wouldn't allow my children to get pinched for not wearing green. He thinks no one does that anymore...and he doesn't remember that happening in elementary school. I do, and I have the  "Gotta wear green on St. Patrick's Day" paranoia to prove it.  For everyone else, it's fun...for me it's survival. NO PINCHING!

You would think that since my brother was born on St. Patrick's Day that someone would remember to wear green, but alas no one did and I was pinched every year from 3rd grade to Middle School. It was always on the arm and it was always more than once!  I think my mom being Asian had something to do with the fact that this was not on her list of priorities (having her kids wear green on St. Patrick's Day). As she says, "I don't understand your American jokes." Not so much a joke, but a tradition.  However, her never remembering to put us in green has now made me paranoid about having something green to wear on St. Patty's the point that if I am going through my closet to get rid of old clothes, I'll make sure that I have something green to wear...even if I'm going through the clothes mid-summer or mid-winter. Go figure!

So, Happy St. Patrick's Day. Wear green! and I hope you find your pot of gold at the end of the rainbow!

p.s. Happy 30th Birthday, Little Brother!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Um, Did I Say March, I meant May...

That's right, May. My son's preschool confirmation paperwork is due MAY 7th, not March. I.Am.An.Idiot.   I must have looked at the paperwork due date a dozen times Saturday night and another half dozen yesterday.  When I turned in the paperwork today (oh, don't forget I sent an e-mail late Saturday night pretty much begging them to not give away my spot), they kindly (and really, they were very nice about it) that I was very early and the paperwork isn't due until May 7th.  When I came home to check there it was in bold: MAY 7th.  I need a second wife. Preferably one that has better vision and a keeps a cool head in all situations...

Family Dinner

My husband and I both grew up having family dinners.  I remember growing up (more specifically in one of our duty stations in was in the Navy) that we would have dinner around 4:30.  Dad would get home, change out of his uniform, walk the dog, and Mom would have dinner on the table for all of us the moment he was back from taking the dog out.  My husband remembers family dinner being important in his family, too. He is one of five children and he has some fun stories about them being together for dinner.

Having dinner as a family was never something we really discussed, it was just something we did once we had kids.  Being newly married and both of us in grad school we spent many a dinner in front of the tv late at night before having our first born. Once our son was old enough to join us for dinner in his high chair, we moved to the dining room table (biggest eating area in our town house). When we moved, I was excited that we would have a kitchen area to eat in and also a separate dining area for when we have family over for formal dinners such as Thanksgiving or Christmas.

Family dinners give us a routine and give us an opportunity for us to catch up on each other's day.  My husband always asks our son what he has done that day. Our son gets to share all of his exploits. The baby watches us from the other end of the table while getting food in her well as her hair, her bib, her face, her legs, and any other once clean surface :)  I start to unwind because my husband is home and we start the transition of him taking over the kids so that I have a break.  It's so important to us and it's not a question if we will sit down for's what time will Daddy be home to make sure dinner is on the table on time.  (While my husband has a job with relatively steady hours, he is an attorney and sometimes he has to finish a last minute memo, or file charges, or simply, metro is late again.) The sooner I have dinner on the table, the more time my husband has to play with the kids after dinner and before bed.

If you read my last post, Deadlines Pass and Discombobulation Ensues, you know that I felt off all week. When my husband and I spoke about this he reminded me that we haven't down as a family in our own home for about a week.  I ran through our week and he was right:

Sunday: Bonfire dinner with our best friends. Kids ran around and played while adults chatted and ate.
Monday: Kids and I at a birthday party while Hubby stayed late to work. He ate leftovers at home.
Tuesday: Hubby worked late, kids and I had leftovers and a light dinner, hubby ate in front of LOST
Wednesday: Swim classes. L. ate at grandparents' house, McD's for W., Hubby & I ate in shifts
Thursday:  Ordered pizza for family. Kids ate with babysitter, I ate on the go before going to Totswap. Hubby ate when he got home.
Friday:  Soup Supper at Church. We ate together, but different atmosphere and son played with new friends
Saturday:  Celebrated our Goddaughter's birthday. Ate dinner with a family, but two families together with a total of 5 kids...not a lot of family bonding going on...just trying to keep it together. Though it was fun to catch up with our friends.
Sunday: Sit down dinner as a family, my parents joined us.

My husband said that we were off our routine. And it's usually at dinner time that he asks me what I have going on for the next day or for the week. I tell him. He usually doesn't remember, but it helps me to keep track of what's going on, and then when I tell him again later he sort of recalls hearing about it before. It's a system that works for us...not the best system, but it works...sort of.

Our week is not as busy as the last two weeks. Thank goodness! Though Thursday will be tricky between preschool, my daughter's check-up for an ear infection and the booster to her H1N1, my son's 15-minute singing concert for which my MIL will join us, lunch with Grandma (my MIL), my son's first T-ball practice.  Too many things in one day, but they couldn't be helped. But fortunately the rest of the week is relatively low key.

I'm off to turn in the late paperwork to confirm my son's preschool placement for next year. Wish me luck! I hope I haven't lost my space!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Deadlines Pass and Discombobulation Ensues

For the last week I have felt like a week. I have missed deadlines and dates, and I have felt like that I am very much off my A-game.  I'm usually very good at remembering what needs to be done, where we need to be, and pretty much what needs to happen hour by hour. This week, no such luck.

In my post, "Busy Days Ahead" I shared a bit of what my week was going to look like. That was two weeks ago and I think I'm still living in that week.  First of all, I invited friends with preschoolers to join us March 12th for the soup supper our Church was doing specifically for preschoolers. Monsignor was making yummy soup and then speaking to the kids about the meaning of Lent. Then we were going to listen to a child-friendly version of the Stations of the Cross.   For one of the parents, I don't have an e-mail address or FB friend status.  I have her cell phone number but didn't feel like texting all of the information in 160 words or less.  I ended up looking her up on FB and sending her message, because you don't need to be FB friends to do that. (She's the parent of one of my son's classmates in preschool).  Well in writing to her on Wednesday, March 10th I told her about the info. I forgot to include the date and sent another e-mail saying it was for March 12th and how it wasn't THIS week but NEXT week. Well guess what...March 12th was last week.  See? I'm off by a week.

Example #2:  I vaguely remembered that we were sent a letter letting us know that my son was accepted 4 days next year at the local preschool.  Yay! I also vaguely remember that the due date for sending in the paperwork to confirm our acceptance was due relatively soon. How about it was due 2 days after receiving the letter and I just remember yesterday! Again, off by a week. It was due LAST week.  I freaked out because it is freakin' hard to get kids into preschool. There are applications to be filled out , fees to be paid, lotteries to attend to get a good number for getting your first choice or to even get into the school.  I frantically tried to leave a message with the person in charge while our family was doing the 2 hour drive to my Goddaughter's 5th birthday party.  Unfortunately, I couldn't do it from my phone and I ended up sending a midnight e-mail to the person in charge when I got home. Of course she isn't going to check her e-mail on a Sunday, but I still wanted it sent ASAP. I plan on going in first thing Monday morning to drop off the paperwork and pray that I haven't lost my spot.  I'm also praying that because all of the snow we had last month, and knowing that the acceptance letter was two weeks late in arriving, that I'll be given a grace period. I was also surprised that no one called to ask if I really wanted to give up my spot. My husband thinks that the school hasn't finished processing all the paperwork, but he also thought the last lottery hasn't happened yet (which it has...2 weeks ago!). Sigh...

Example #3: Sitting in Church today I realized that we hadn't been in to clean the Church in a while. My family volunteers to clean the Church one Saturday a month.  I had the sneaking suspicion that we were supposed to be there yesterday. So during one of the readings I sneaked a glance at my "organizer" (lot of good that's been doing me this week!) and yes, once again I have missed another date. We were supposed to be cleaning the Church yesterday and we missed it.  It was supposed to be this Saturday, not next! Again, off by a week.

So here I sit in discombobulation. My house looks like it's been hit by a tornado and I should really spend some time straightening, organizing, and spring cleaning.  My calendar is overly full and I feel like I'm losing my mind. I feel like I should start re-priortizing, but I feel guilty (see Edvard Munch post to understand where that comes into play). And, none of my clothes fit...the one upside of that is that I need smaller sizes...the downside, I really can't spend a lot of money on a new wardrobe.  Lastly, I just need some sleep! I have been running on empty for, well I guess it's been about a week now.

Friday, March 12, 2010

A Week of Fitness Firsts

Since November I have been on a mission to lose the baby weight from my last baby. Between November 1st and January 1st. I lost 16 pounds and made it to my weight loss pound less than I was when I became pregnant with L. I was really excited!

Now I'm on a mission to lose the rest of the baby weight of baby #1 who will be 4 at the end of the month. I have about 6 1/2 pounds to go to my goal weight of being 1 pound less than I was when I became pregnant with him.  If I can lose the rest of that baby weight I will be ecstatic. While on this mission I decided that I want to be at my healthy weight according to the BMI...that means I have to lose 23 1/2 pounds. I gave myself until May 1st which is creeping up on me.  I totally slacked in January and February. I didn't gain any more weight, but I didn't lose any, either.

My husband was trying to be supportive with Weight Loss #1 by promising a new laptop if I lost the weight. He knows extrinsic motivation works for me and he was right! I love my new Macbook!

My new "prize" will be a Kindle.  He gave me until May 16th...I want to try to do it before then.

So here it goes. I go to the gym 3-5 a week.  If I'm really motivated and if there is any time on the weekends I'll go all 7 days. One of my crazy rules is that if I don't lose any weight from one month to the next I'll add a gym class. So far I'm taking Trek, Bodystep (2 times a week), and Abs & Stretch. On my off days from taking a class, I'll run on the treadmill at the gym and lift some weights.

So this week I tried my first Spin Class.  The instructor for my Trek class (which is a treadmill class) also teaches Spin. I spoke to her about it and she told me to come in to give it a shot. Holy Crap! I think I broke my butt.  My bottom was sore for 2 days afterwards. Those seats are hard! She kept telling me to do what I can do and adjust...I thought...really? I'm just biking this should be fine. Within the first few minutes I could feel my quads getting tight and sore. Okay, not so easy. By the end I was shutting my eyes praying for the class to be over. I did what I could and basically held on for dear life.  I think I'll try it again next week :)

This week I also tried a Body Pump Class. This is a class where you use a light barbell and some added weights. It's strengthening class.  I'm still sore.  I'm such a klutz that I was afraid that I would whack someone near me with my barbell. Fortunately it was a small class and we had plenty of room.  When I introduced myself to the instructor and told her it was my first time I asked her what I needed, she replied, "strength, willpower, motivation....oh and a bench, 3 risers, a barbell, and 2lb., 5lb., and 7lb. weights to put on your bar." If I stick with this class it will replace my Abs & Stretch class. I'll see how it goes!

Both classes are at a time when my son is in preschool. This is another first.  I usually leave the time open to run errands (because it's easier with one kid than with two), or go home and clean the house while the baby naps.  But I have been finding that if we go to the gym after preschool, that I am so tired that we don't do anything else. We go home, have lunch, play a little bit, the baby goes down for a nap, my son watches his favorite show, and then goes down for quiet time, and then I'm taking a nap or I'm working on my to-do list.  I can't get a lot done while my son is in his 2 1/2 hour class. I can get the grocery shopping done and maybe one other errand. If I go home to clean the house, I usually end up on the couch watching the last of the Today Show. So here I am trying to be more productive, maybe I'll get more done after preschool while losing the weight, too!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Move Over, Edvard Munch, W. J. is on the Scene

The other day my son and I walked into his bedroom to get him ready for his nap.  The scene that greeted me were huge beautiful crayon swirls on his walls next to his bed.  I think my jaw hit the ground. My son gave a nervous giggle and started jumping up and down. As my eyes traveled from one circle to another, I gasped. It was then that my son realized how bad it really was and just started crying. I think I gasped five separate times: 2 large circles, drawings on his dinosaur poster, crayon decorations on his border, and then the lines below the border.

My son's reaction was the wide open mouthed wail, red face, and he kept trying to shut my lips, because my mouth was still open in shock.  Because he was standing on his bed, my head was around chest height, he grabbed my head and pressed it to his chest begging me to not talk. Mind you, I hadn't said a word.  It was comical, the whole head to the chest thing was right out of a movie.  He just wailed pathetically.  I have to admit it took all I had to not laugh at him.  I know a little Magic Eraser will help take the crayon off the wall, at least I hope it does!

When I finally spoke I asked him when he did it. He said he couldn't remember. Since we were at a birthday party the day before and he didn't come home until the evening and he was fast asleep when he was placed in his bed we think he worked on his mural sometime the next morning or when he was supposed to be napping.  I told him he had to tell his father and he just melted.  Unbeknownst to him I knew that my husband would laugh and think it's great. He's been wondering why William hasn't attempted it yet.  Please know that my husband is very creative and is an artist himself (in his spare time).   I'm sure that he spent many a day as a young boy drawing where he wasn't supposed to.

I put on my best disappointed face and told him to get into bed for his nap.  He asked for his favorite stuffed animal, Chester, who was downstairs. I told him that I wasn't going to get it, but he was welcome to get it himself. My son wailed and flung the comforter over his head as he burrowed deep under the covers.  Again, I did not forbid him having Chester, but I wasn't going to get it for him. I think the guilt over the crayon mural made my son stay put.

Throughout this whole ordeal I never once raised my voice. I may have used a stern voice, but no yelling involved.  His punishment was to tell his father, clean the walls (which we'll do later this week), and no video games until the walls are clean. He's really into video games right now I thought this would add a little oomph to the punishment.  After his "quiet time" (because he didn't take a nap) he did ask if I was going to send him away and asked to where I was sending him. For the record, I never told him that I would send him away.

I found that the shocked face along with dramatic gasps was more effective than raising my voice and yelling at my son.  Thank you, thank you. As my SIL (sister-in-law) wrote on my FB status:  "It sounds like he has a well developed guilt complex, your disappointment and helping in the clean up may be punishment enough."  Ahhh, yes the guilt complex. Well-honed from learning it from my Asian mother. Guilt was an effective tool in punishing me and to this day I often feel guilty for doing something or not doing something.  I'm a sucker and you can almost get me to do just about anything because I will feel guilty if I don't.  Asian guilt is quite the tool.

I'm also reading a book: Raising the Perfect Child Through Guilt and Manipulation.  It's a tongue-in-cheek book written by comedian Elizabeth Beckwith about child rearing and is not to be taken seriously...sort of. HA!  It was given to me by a friend who's brother gave it to her saying this was how they were raised. She passed it on to me knowing a little bit about my background. It's funny, because it's true ;)

ps: I noticed the other day that my son's mural really looked more like Munch's work instead of Dali, Picasso, or Van Gogh. I noticed that one of the swirls, when looking at it from a certain angle, looked like a long head, with wide eyes and mouth, kind of like "The Scream" (is that right?) by Munch. You think he is trying to tell me something?

Monday, March 8, 2010

Living in the Moment

This month my son will turn 4 years old. I can't believe how quickly the time has flown by. I am grateful that I decided 2 years ago to take a break from teaching and to spend more time with him.

Not only does my son turn 4, but so does his best friend.  Four years ago, my best friend and I were pregnant with our first babies who were born 3 weeks apart.  Now our little ones are turning 4 and they have so much to share with us. I am constantly amazed by how intuitive and observant my son is...especially since he is a ball of crazy energy most of the time! How does he have time to be observant when he is running around so much?  But he is.

Lately my son has been saying, "I don't want to be 4! Can you make me not turn 4?"  What, you don't want to turn 4? What are you talking about?  Well come to find out, I have been saying things like:

 "You don't need my help putting on your shoes, you know how to do it, and you're almost 4. You Should be doing it on your own."

"Put on your jacket. Yes, you know how to do it, you're almost 4."

"Speak like a big boy. You are almost 4." (This is when he uses baby talk because his 16 month old sister is still learning how to say her words. He sees that she gets what she wants like milk or crackers when she signs or says basic words.)

What I thought was motivating ended up backfiring on me. My son equated being 4 with having more responsibility and he's not down with it at all. Why be 4 when being 3 means you still get help? Not bad thinking for an almost 4 year old :)  So my son's living in the moment of being 3 and trying to soak it all up before he turns 4 at the end of the month.

His best friend is also living in the moment. We went to her birthday party yesterday.  She got some new outfits and she was concerned that they all be size 4, well because she is 4.  She can't wear size 3 anymore because she's not 3, and she's not 5 yet, so size 5 is out of the question. She has to wear size 4.  It's as if she was saying...don't hold me back, I'm growing up, but don't make me grow up too fast...I'm 4!  She's living in the moment.

Too many times I'm doing something and wishing I was doing something else, but if I change tack, I wish I was doing the original activity, because I really need to get it done.  I feel like I never live in the moment, but always thinking of what's to come.  It's not a good way to live. I have a fantastic life and yes I have a lot to do being a Stay at Home Mom (SAHM): being cruise director for the family's activities, running errands to for the supplies to keep our family dressed, fed, and to do the activities we want to do, point person for everything going on, plus being there 100% for my husband and kids, not to mention the activities or committees I have joined so that I can continue to be well-rounded, oh, and the crafts I enjoy doing!

So I will take a page out of Boogie and his best friend's book and live in the moment. Get the things done that need to get done, but enjoy life, too! Thanks for the reminder, my dear 4 year olds!

Friday, March 5, 2010

Crap, we're stuck

Those are the words my 3 year old said when we were stuck in the craziness called the Costco parking lot.

We were trying to get out and my son say, "Crap, we're stuck."
Me: "what did you say?"
Son: "Crap, we're stuck."
Me: "Where did you hear crap?"
Son: You said it a long time ago, Mommy.

Flashback to the 90's PSA where the kid is rolling or smoking a joint and the father catches him and says "Where did you learn that?" and the kid says, "I learned it from watching you!" in the angsty teenage voice.

Back to current situation and to myself in my head...crap, my son heard me say crap.

Me: Sweetheart, that's not a really nice word and Mommy should not have said it.  I'm sorry, please don't
        use it again.
Son:  Why Mommy. Why isn't it a nice word?
Me: It isn't, I'm sorry. Please don't say it again. When did you hear me say it?
Son: A long time ago, Mommy.

And then he starts singing, "Ohhhhh, I want crap for Christmas. Ohhhh, nothing more will do. Ohhhh, I want crap for Christmas, My Christmas wish'll come true."

If you are from Baltimore you might recognize the song, "I want crabs for Christmas."
That's right, crabs not crap!

I started laughing and said, "Oh, it's crabs, (emphasizing the "b"), not crap. Crabs are fine. Mommy loves crabs. They are a type of seafood. It's I want crabs for Christmas. Not crap. CRABS.

My son is adamant it's crap and I correct him again. And then he sings, "Oh I want crabs and lobsters for Christmas. Oh, I want crabs and lobsters for dinner. Oh, nothing more will do. Oh, I want crabs and lobsters for dinner. My Christmas wish'll come true...."

Whew...dodged a bullet there. I think...

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Busy Weeks Ahead

I was looking over my calendar because we were invited to another March birthday and I was trying to schedule a time that I can see my friend's new baby. In looking at the calendar I realized that I have no free days!  When did my week become as busy or busier than my weekends?

As a general rule of thumb I try to limit our family to one thing a weekend. I do this to save our sanity or otherwise we would start the week exhausted. I got the idea from one of my brothers-in-law (BIL) who was tired of being on the go every weekend. However, we have a huge family and usually we have at least one event a month to celebrate with them. Sometimes more.  Last year I think we made it to Baltimore 6 weeks in a row for a family event. It would have been 7 but we finally had to say to one of them.

I have started scheduling my son's soccer classes for the week so that we would have our Saturdays free or maybe I should say free-er because almost no Saturdays are ever free.  I recently scheduled swim classes for the kids in preparation for summer.  Unfortunately I could not schedule the kids on the same day and had to settle for two different days.  My son is scheduled for 5:30 Wednesday nights and my daughter for 10:25 Saturday mornings. It's only for 6 weeks and through the Rec. Department.  I knew that Wednesdays would be a little tricky with my daughter being 16 months old and me not wanting to spring for a babysitter every week. My gracious parents have agreed to watch her for 1 1/2 to 2 hours every week until my husband can pick her up.

So here is my schedule for next week (But I'm starting with Saturday, the beginning of my weekend!)  This does not include my son going to preschool, going to the gym to work-out, or the multiple errands I have to run (especially to get all the gifts needed for those March birthdays!!!).

Saturday--husband hair cut, daughter swim class, birthday party (I had to cancel otherwise it would be crazy busy!)

Sunday--Church, church meeting for me, birthday party for my son's best friend.

Monday--Birthday party for son's preschool friend

Tuesday--LOST (does this count? My husband and I shuffle the kids off to bed a little more quickly so that we can have date night on the couch watching LOST. I don't schedule anything else on Tues. nights for this very reason).

Wednesday--Son's Swim Class

Thursday--Tot Swap with a friend (gotta get a babysitter)

Friday--Family Soup and Stations at our Church

Saturday--Clean the Church, daughter's swim class, birthday party for our Goddaughter

Sunday--Church, date luncheon???? (we're also trying to fit in a date night once a month, though this one might not work for us. Unfortunately it's the only date available, not including the Wedding we're attending at the end of the month...does going to a wedding constitute a date night if the kids are not there?)

So there it is in a nutshell. We have an activity scheduled everyday and the following week is starting to look the same!  I have started getting up earlier every morning so that I have time for a morning devotional and blogging. It gives me a few minutes before the kids get up and I feel like I'm on the go. Speaking of which, my son and daughter have woken up 30 minutes earlier than usual, so here I go again!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Birthday Invite Etiquette?

My son's 4th birthday is coming up at the end of the month.  I have already decided on the theme (dinosaurs), found some cool and fun decorations through Oriental Trading Company, and have made the invitations. The only thing that I have not finalized is the guest list.

 Last year we had well over 75 people at my son's birthday.  Fortunately our house can hold a large number of people and we have a big backyard. Too bad it rained last year and we had to have most of the party inside. This year it looks like Mother Nature is still playing hardball and we'll have some snow still left on the ground for this year's party.

Last year's party was great, but a little overwhelming for most guests.  For us, 75 is doable, tiring, but doable.  My husband comes from a large family. Each of his four siblings are married with children. My kids are 2 of the 17 grandchildren on my husband's side. A regular family gathering with his immediate family and my parents is 31 people. So no matter what a family party is going to be big, what's another 40 people?

This year my husband asked me to limit the guest list to 50 people...including his family. That leaves me with the ability to invite only 16 more people to my son's birthday.  Not a big deal to some, but a big deal to me. I hate leaving people out. I always invite everybody and I'm always shocked that we get more yes's than no's.  Hence, 75 people coming to a 3 year old's birthday party.  If you've never been to a party where the guest of honor has 15 cousins, it's a bit overwhelming. Some of last year's guests stayed on the outskirts and commented on our large family. We're so used to it, it doesn't even faze us anymore.

March seems to be the birthday month for most of son's friends. We have already been invited to 5 other birthday parties and I'm already having to decline the invitation to one because we can't fit it all in. Here's the thing...I can't extend the same invitation to all of them and invite them to my son's birthday so do I: a) leave it to just family? or b) invite a very small group of friends and realize that I might be hurting someone's feelings because I can't invite them?

Option C would be to have a separate party for my son's friends...but it still means that I'm preparing a party for 75 people, but in two different groups, more work, and more time.  I'm just not ready to do option C until my son is kindergarten. Is that ridiculous?

There's my dilemma have a party for 50 or if I added everyone up I think I'm now up to around 90.  Any advice for birthday invite etiquette?

Monday, March 1, 2010

Driving Around in My Automobile...

Except, my baby wasn't beside me at the wheel. It was just me and I was driving to a bridal shower for a dear friend.  I had gotten directions with the invitation, but when I RSVP'd I was told that I might also want to mapquest directions because they were a little tricky.  After looking at Mapquest I saw that it would take me 20 minutes to get to the shower. I even left early enough to give me some time to get lost since I hadn't been there before.  Over an hour later, I was still lost and running out of gas. To make matters worse, I had left my cell phone at home and couldn't mapquest directions from my new location. It was awful! I drove up the road, I drove down the road. The two sets of directions I had did not match and had me turning this way and that to find a road I would never find because lo and behold, the sign was down.

When I finally stopped at a gas station, I asked the lady next to me about street names. She said it was a new part of town and didn't know the streets very well and suggested I speak to the gas attendant. I went inside and asked him the same question. Same answer. He even said that his map wouldn't be any good because it was a new part of town and wasn't on the maps yet. Great, just great.  However, the woman was able to get me to the signless road and from there I was able to get to the shower.  The surprise shower.  Yup, a surprise shower.  Of course by the time I got there the bride-to-be was already there. I was more than 45 min. late, but I did make it and she was glowing and beautiful the whole time. She laughed at my story and said it was just what have happened to her. And she's right. I remember when she was driving me to my wedding we were thrown off by a truck that had lost it's load of watermelons right in front of us.  She swerved, we detoured, and we still made it to the wedding on time.

That's life isn't it? Driving around in circles only to find out that what we are looking for is within easy reach?  How often do we give up because it's just too hard, maybe not worth it?  The whole time I was driving around I was less than 5 minutes away from my destination. I thought about giving up, going home, and e-mailing the hostess and the bride-to-be about the situation and finding another time to drop off the present to my friend. But, J.B. is a really good friend. She was in my wedding 8 1/2 years ago and while I don't get a chance to see her very often, she is still my dear friend and I wanted to be there for her celebration.

When I was remembering our drive to my wedding, it reminded me that she just found another way to go when we were stopped by a bunch of rolling fruit.

Moral: Keep going, don't give up. It's probably right under your nose. Sometimes you have to swerve, take a detour, or go down an unknown road, but in the end you'll find what you're looking for.