Thursday, March 31, 2011

Responsibilities, Residents, Rest Oh My!

Yesterday was a bombardment of responsibilities. I took the day off to help out Husband, who had 5 teeth pulled(!) Considering he is also a dental phobic, this was a big deal. With painkillers, etc. there was a lot of chauffering around but also hand holding and anxiety decreasing responsibilities. I made him a favorite recipe of Orange Fluff (my Grammie's recipe) and he had lots of je.ll.o, shakes and soft brownies! So, being responsible for another adult was just one of the things I was hit with. I was also hit with the fact our dental insurances SUCKS (one reason why he is starting a new job Monday)...so I had the nice sinking feeling of paying for mouth destruction and reconstruction on my credit card! Oh, and while I was chauffering him around--Michael's home room teacher called to talk about his recent increase in OCD behavior--these are conversations where they tend to ask you what you think should be done about it--and you think (but do not say)"like I am a flipping pyschologist!?!" Oh, and earlier my son had left his Typo-graph (its a mini computer device the school has given him to help him get his work done--cuz writing for him is an artform to obsess over)...well, he left it somewhere--which after searching and getting Husband ready for surgery--I found in the car. Which meant I had to pick him up early from after school because he needed it for homework.

Oh...and I realized that I had gotten us tickets to a show for THAT NIGHT. (hey, 3 months ago I did not know he was going to have oral surgery!)

So, after picking Willow up from daycare (oh did I mention that in my down time I picked up a thank you card for the daycare provider, cuz Friday is her last day before Pre-school...oh and I also struck out trying to find peanut-free treats for the kiddos for Friday); our babysitter came and we went to The Residents show.

I was worried that Husband would be too drugged out (or in pain), but actually--he wasn't!!

See? A $$$ smile!


The concert was really fun and we were front row! It is hard to describe, but frankly it was a great meditation on life, insanity and growing old...and damned creepy! :-)

Boy am I looking forward to Saturday--we are going into Boston for a night in a great hotel and having sushi and just relaxing to celebrate our wedding anniversary (which is Sunday). I think we will both need this!

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Monday, March 28, 2011

Perfect Moment Monday

Perfect Moment Monday is about noticing a perfect moment rather than creating one. Perfect moments can be momentous or ordinary or somewhere in between. For more Perfect Moments, go HERE



It took me a while to come up with my perfect moments this week. What with residue anxiety, and the very real new-normal-is-not-here-yet feelings in our house...along with the fact it was brrr/cold, yet sunny, which meant that we went outside and then realized that while it was nice to be out it was also nice to be warm...add to that a certain kitten named Kif who made sure to tip over a flower vase of water on forms I had just finished filling out (for new pre-school, new job, and summer camp--yeah, summer camp). Luckily, the most important documents were not ruined...hmmm...I seem to be going on an Imperfect Moments Tangent...okay, well sometimes when things are not perfect...you have every reason to look for those perfect moments!

Moment #1: New books in hand we are on opposite couches. He is reading and laughing at his hardbound editions of Simpsons & Futurama cross-over comics (I mentally note that I want to read those when he is done). I am sitting with her reading a compilation of somewhat lesser known Dr. Seuss books. After a while, it is clear to me that she is far more interested in what her brother is reading. So, I ask him to come on over to our couch. And I sit, with her in between us, and listen to my son read a comic book to her.

Moment #2: He has been taking karate since he has been four years old (with a year off around five because maturity/behavior issues). He doesn't practice at home, he goes once a week, he has attention issues. He is in the black belt club at his request. And while he is not the hare, he is definitely the tortoise. He tested and received his purple belt this weekend. Only red and black left to go to achieve his goal. And I know he will.

Moment #2.5: She is hanging out with me this morning (usually she goes with her brother to watch him in karate, but wanting the day to be his, I ask that she stay behind with me). We lay upon my bed and watch Lady & the Tramp under the covers.


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Friday, March 25, 2011

Contemplative

I have not been writing as much because a lot has been going on. Not just in real life (which, uh, yeah, TONS going on there--maybe I will write about it sometime!), but also in the world in general and specifically my friends on-line and in real life. I wish I could say it was all good. But I am worried about several of my friends and nothing like worry on top of worries to make one wonder about this thing called Life. (and now a Prince song pops into my head)

So. Originally I was going to post something about transitions and renewals. About how we have had a hard few months here in our household but that things are transitioning and I am cautiously optimistic that we are moving (finally) in a better direction...but I don't feel like that type of post today. How do I complain about my problems when they pale against others? How do I praise our struggling through a rough patch when others have to show much more courage and strength than I ever have had to bring forth?

Instead of thinking about how much suffering there is in the world, I am glad that I have actually seen positive and healing responses from people. It fills me with such warmth to think about how we are all individuals struggling through life and how one's suffering, one's strength can inspire another person to help ease that struggle. How people can use the internet to reach out to others. This past week I have seen people offer up jokes to someone in the hospital going through one of the worst times in her life. I have seen people band together to offer support to people dealing with situations that can make the toughest of us wish for a do-over button.

And it makes me smile and be happy with life, no matter what it brings--we are not as alone as we sometimes think.

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Thursday, March 24, 2011

No Where is Safe...

Hiding things or keeping things away from Whirlwind Willow is often not only impossible, but also frustratingly exasperating.

How can this girl not understand finding a good hiding place for Hide N Seek (oh, she is ALWAYS in the kitchen next to the fridge or under the kitchen table and expects you to be there on your hiding turn too), but she can still find things that I have stuffed in drawers or on top of bookshelves or inside bags under things in drawers??

How come I find her playing with holiday bibs that I put away for safe keeping, finding those wonderfully tangible memories being used on her baby dolls? How come SHE found the quilted crib pad that I bought when I was pregnant with her but could not find all this time?

She finds spring and summer clothes from last year (that barely fit her) and insists on wearing them in winter...

She has found toys of Michael's I thought were thrown away. She has found toys of Michael's that I thought were boxed up for his memories. I re-hide them as soon as I can--but damn, she keeps finding Dinosaur Oatmeal (Michael's stuffed racoon he named himself)!

And then today. Today she found my cleverly (frankly, not too cleverly) hidden holiday DVDs. As she proudly held the long-denied Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, she helpfully pointed out that there was snow on the ground so it must be okay to watch....(yeah, there was a small dusting of snow this morning). Luckily, daddy gets to watch this viewing of her favorite video...

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Monday, March 21, 2011

Perfect Moment Monday

Perfect Moment Monday is about noticing a perfect moment rather than creating one. Perfect moments can be momentous or ordinary or somewhere in between. For more Perfect Moments, go HERE



Moment #1: I stand there in the night chill and I look up in awe. I cannot help but wonder at the wonderfully bright and clear moon. As I stand there, I ask my husband if I should wake the children (the night was too cloudy earlier). He leaves it up to me. I go into his bedroom and not only is he asleep, but she has snuck into his bed. I move her oh so gently into her bed. And I go back. And while he is so sleepy and I don't want to disturb him--I know that he would be upset if I let this moment pass. So I wake him. And he stumbles down the stairs, gets his coat on over his footie pjs (he owns only one pair, but loves them). And we look up at the moon together. (He looks, is somewhat amazed, then, because he really is half awake--he goes back in...I stay out there without a coat for a bit longer).

Moment #2: It is a Saturday morning and (surprise!) the kids are actually letting us sleep in (that is a relative term). Imperceptibly, I start to hear hushed talking. Very animated, small and in my room. As I lay in bed, waking up slowly, I find that she is sitting near our bed, playing with toys. Being quiet, feeling safe.

Bonus Moment: Some new clothes for Spring/Summer came in the mail. Of course, she wanted to wear them NOW. And I tried to capture her in two of the outfits...but found that I really just captured HER.








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Sunday, March 13, 2011

Perfect Moment Monday

Perfect Moment Monday is about noticing a perfect moment rather than creating one. Perfect moments can be momentous or ordinary or somewhere in between. For more Perfect Moments, go HERE



Moment #1: She is so small and bright and delicate and different. Holding her is not like I remember. I am not a baby person at all, uncomfortable with others children versus my own. But she smiles at me and coos. And I look upon the perfection that is my niece.

Later, I hold her sister. She is crying and doing what a typical three month old does. I am being helpful, so I think, by holding her while her mother gets something to eat. However, all the tricks that work that I know of to stop her crying seem not to work. I take her up to my daughter's room and rock her. As I nestle in to the rocker and try to calm her, I have a brief flashback to my daughter being this age. And I sigh and realize how quickly time passes by. And then I realize that maybe the screaming in my ear means that its time to give up and bring this one to her mother (which works like a charm). Giving back the past, to face my future who then hugs me and sits on my leg, making it wet because she has wet through her pull up...[sigh]

Moment #2: She hugs me on a whim. She tells me she loves me in the middle of conversations. She constantly asks me to play with her (which started to really annoy me this weekend...now that she is in bed I kinda miss her constant at-my-elbowness). She told me a story of her own making that had a beginning, middle and end. All weekend she has shown me how much she is growing and changing. All weekend I have known how much she loves me. All weekend I have been proud of her. And I regret the temper and anxiety that I have had most of this weekend to not fully appreciate all this...but I recognized it now and hope to appreciate it more from now on.

Moment #3: He uses our special phrase for his feelings tonight--he is having the "Sunday Blahs". Not depressed, just kinda down and not wanting the day to end. So after his sister is to bed, even though I would rather have some "me" time, I tell him he can stay up with me and we can play a game or watch television together. He at first expresses the game option, but then goes with the television one. He picks a DVD and we watch, he and I under a blanket on the couch.





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Saturday, March 12, 2011

Planetarium

Today, we went to the newly renovated planetarium (I am sure I am not the only one that always feels like I am saying that wrong?).

Before we went to the show, Michael suggested we go visit the small children's discovery zone. We hadn't been there since Willow was about one, so it was a "new" discovery for her.

Willow enjoyed playing in the water area:

The fishes she hoarded away from the other kids...warning, other kids, you put the fishy down the stream, the Willow Monster grabs it!! (Yeah, I had her give most of them back)

She also put fishies down the stream!

Yeah, I know she needs a haircut! (Next week, I promise!)

It was fun being there and watching her explore things that I remember Michael exploring. And it was fun watching Michael remembering things and revisiting them...


Yeah, he don't fit as well into the bee costume or the hive...

The planetarium itself was awesome, although Willow was a bit frightened of it and had a few times when she said she wanted out...but we snuggled her closer and in the end she enjoyed it. She is always "finding" the moon in the evening and on car rides. Often she finds it up in the sky and asks to go there...and I always tell her she needs a rocket to do so...maybe someday she will be an astronaut! :-)

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Friday, March 11, 2011

Joys of Reading

Reading is one of my favorite things in life. And it was bittersweet to watch Michael learn to read, as it took away one of my favorite things to do with him--reading books with him. I loved making each character have distinctive voices and loved reading old favorites and finding new ones.

Even after he learned to read, for quite some time we had bedtime reading--where I would sit in his room at bedtime and read from a chapter book to him. We read about Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, the Little House series, Pooh Bear and others.

After Willow was born, those bedtime stories were phased out (I didn't have time with a newborn, it was too choatic, he would read in bed on his own). Now he has a nightly reading assignment from school (they have to read for 30 mins. a night).

So there was silence. And, at first, Willow did not care to sit still enough to listen to any books. FINALLY, the last year has blossomed...and I am so glad to be reading with silly voices again!!


Willow's pick for last night's bedtime reading...

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Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Spring is coming...

Sunday we went out to run errands, but before we finished, we had to enjoy the warm up and the mud and the ice on the pond. It was not as gray as these pictures show, although it was starting to rain a bit. And the coats--they actually were not that necessary (except for the aforementioned rain). And the shoes--well, they got a little muddy...

Kids throwing rocks on the local pond...





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Sunday, March 06, 2011

Perfect Moment Monday

Perfect Moment Monday is about noticing a perfect moment rather than creating one. Perfect moments can be momentous or ordinary or somewhere in between. For more Perfect Moments, go HERE

Moment #1: The theater darkens and I am there sitting with my husband on one side, my son on the other. This is not the first time that my husband and I have seen this movie, this performance. We have followed this group and their performances for years. Our son has gone to some of their other movies and performances, but this is the first time to this movie--this performance of music to a silent movie. And it is a new restoration of this classic silent movie. It brings back memories to me of the first time that my husband and I saw this performance. Over a decade ago. A lifetime ago...and I sit in awe of the movie, the creativity surrounding me in the musicians playing, in the movie that was made so many lifetimes ago. And I watch my son, his eyes wide, as he takes it in. I wonder at him, our creation, and the experiences that he will have in life. And then I enjoy the movie and thrill at seeing the "new" scenes, restored...a new perspective.

Moment #2: We are eating dinner at the table, all together. I wish this happened more often, but it does not always work out that way. But as we sit at the dinner table and we are distraction free...I realize there is singing. She is singing her own little song at the dinner table--interpersed with various words...it takes me a while to figure out what song she is singing. It is an original song--about the big bad wolf and the three little pigs (and red riding hood seems to be there too). So, those nursery stories I have been recently regaling her with are sinking in...in some unexpected ways...I think singing at the dinner table has never been so sweet.




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Saturday, March 05, 2011

Gaming

Every other week, sometimes less, depending on schedules. Next one on St. Patrick's Day. We will do something special, make corned beef and cabbage, maybe someone will bring chips. (New Years was a deli platter and swedish meatballs). They will play with our cats and our children. We will feel warmth and companionship. And we will be dwarfs, or evil mages, druids or clerics. We will laugh or barrage another of our party for a dumb move. We will order pizza for our skyped friend (the delivery guy will be amazed it is payed for from someone in Boston).

These guys. Sometimes I am not in the mood to have these guys come over and intrude on my Thursday night (I have so many other things to do on a weeknight). Sometimes I am not in the mood to be the only girl, hanging out with the guys and playing a game...but most times. Most times I am so happy to have such wonderful friends, and have times to fight zombie mummies, rats and goblins.

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Thursday, March 03, 2011

The Plan 2011 - February Update

Well, things were not that great in February. Still reeling from various snowstorms and various anxieties involving work, finances and life in general in the middle of a snowy-post-holiday-will-the-winter-never-end type month.

But, it ended on high notes with a successful birthday party for Michael (nerf-guns, clone trooper and cake, pizza, rowdy kids, oh my!) and a fun time at Total Confusion.

So, maybe March will be a better month to stick to my goals...lets see what scattered remnants are left from this past month...

In the Health/Well-being department:

Well, I kept my morning exercise routine fine--I would say this is a non-goal issue anymore--I totally am in this routine and, baring sickness, I am keeping it up (its been a year). That night time Wii workout--STILL kinda tangled up like the cords behind my television. Big downfall this month was COMFORT food. So, no weight loss, but no significant gain either--just flipping stagnant. Ugh.

In the Family Life Department:

"Ultimate goal is to spend more time with family; family work as team"

Both children are maturing and taking on new responsibilities. For Michael, we are trying to make him be more independent when it comes to making himself breakfast, etc. He has also been a great help with Willow.

Willow, for her part, decided that she may actually try this Potty Training thing. I am keeping this pretty loose and fancy free, underwear was bought, but that was too much for her. So, we are doing pull-ups during the day, diapers at night. She seems to be taking to it well, but we are far from the "all accidents" stage.

Anxiety has definitely been the worst thing plaguing our family this February, so I have decided that this month's goal is to find better ways to handle the stress for everyone. At one point this month I just laid down on the couch, lights low, and listened to a recording of thunderstorms--the best thing for me at that point. I need to do that more often. Also, I sensed from the gaming weekend that what really helps us to de-stress...playing games and being silly. We did not do enough of that this past month. We all need to do more of it this month.

Other goals that were managed in February...we did find another avenue for babysitting (a friend's daughter), so we did get to go out on our anniversary of our first date. We had an expensive dinner, thanks to my bosses Gift Card and we saw True Grit (with my brother's Gift Card). Some time was actually spent with my husband. Still not enough time, so that goal needs to be put down for next month. Also, I did manage to spend quality time with both children--although playing with Willow's dolls in her house is not most stimulating, she is getting into dinosaurs--great house crashers!

Goals for March:

Stress relief for all!

Start to plan Willow's birthday party in April!

Plan for her change into Pre-school in April!

Plan and save more.

Find some new meals to add to our dinners.

Actually watch what I eat and get back to eating more healthy.



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Recital!

This weekend was Recital weekend!  Willow took on a lot for the fall recital, as she was doing piano and voice lessons--she was part of the ...