Sunday, July 26, 2009

School is around the corner, almost...

For us, first grade is really three weeks and four days away and that is for Riley. Mallory does not start until after Labor Day, and that is September for those of you who don't keep track...September which seems like a REALLY long way away. borrow from writers Freddie Perren and Dino Fekaris and sung by Gloria Gaynor.
I will survive
as long as i know how to love
I know I will stay alive
I've got all my life to live
I've got all my love to give
and I'll survive
I will survive

The issue that gives me pause is that we really have no plans those last 3 weeks and 4 days (no counting going on here!!) No camp, no summer mother's day out, no vacation, no VBS. (This week Riley has the second week of a theatre camp and she didn't want to go on Friday or Monday and I hate that, what do I do with that as I know she enjoys most of it?) And I've got to get on the ball and make them. Or at least have a template of what we will do to occupy those days. I know of activities we can do, and there are several things we said we would do this summer and haven't yet. As a mother of young children, you always have to have a plan, and think ahead. That has not always been my strong suit but I have been learning how to gradually.

In truth, the summer has gone really well thus far, flown by as we have stayed busy, really busy especially as of late. All of that busyness, wears me out, but if we are not busy anarchy breaks out. So busy = sanity. They will start school eventually and I can recombobulate. And believe it or not, there is a part of me that is sad that they will start school. That part comes out when they are tucked in their beds sleeping, or when I have a sitter, those times when it is quiet and I am able to think without interruption ; )

With all of our togetherness this summer, Riley has begun clinging to me a little more. Part of me is not surprised. She did not want me to go to a dinner party on Saturday at all. I also said that I would be going to the spa this coming Saturday in preparation for my birthday on Sunday and she does not want me to do that either. She wants to be with me instead of going to theatre camp. We have worked through this issue before and it has come around again. The therapist says, I'm teaching her how to take care of herself, by me modeling taking care of myself. I get that intellectually but it still makes me feel guilty for a little while. And maybe...I like feeling needed...hmmmm, that's food for thought.

The other part is I have learned that the school year IS A GRIND, and we haven't even started the years with homework yet. One day last week, I just felt at one with my van, I was in it all day carting children around. Three trips to my mother in laws in one day, the last being because Riley changed her mind about playing bingo and staying the night. Aaaarrrgggghhhh. I realize having to be at school the same time every morning for Riley and then taking Mallory to her "school" and then picking her back up at the appointed hour and then back for Riley at the right time is a grind. Then you add on extracurricular activities which I keep at a minimum. All that said, I am beginning to get why stay at home moms look forward to the summer to not have the "grind." (There are also no major holidays during the summer. Major holidays=lots of work) But I realize we need some kind of a routine, for the children as well as myself. There has to be a balance. That word is one that keeps coming back to me and I'm paying attention to it.

Here's to the rest of the summer and keeping balance.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

When did Decluttering become a Word?

Do you ever feel like your house is clean enough or organized enough? Do you ever feel like you have decluttered to the extent that you want to? Do I want to update my interior decorating and entertain more? But do I want to spend any more money or time on that? I want a simpler life, less things, more peace. I find myself in a struggle with these two forces. More stuff, less stuff. And I realize the less I have, the less I have to clean. And then there is the kids stuff... (And the overall meaning of life...that it is not about stuff but about relationships...)

I totally intellectually understand the fact that once you get rid of the stuff THEN you have to NOT bring any more stuff in. I realize this especially when I'm in the ULTIMATE cleaning stage where the afore mentioned cleaning lady is coming the next day and I'm on a mission like no other to have every surface decluttered and every stray item put back where it belongs so that I can get my money's worth. But do you know how many items that is in every part of the house? And then I think to myself, why can't I keep it picked up all the time so that I don't have this HUGE job to do every time. And then I cut myself some slack and remind myself I have young kids and they have more stuff, and aren't quite skilled in putting things back just yet. I then question do the kids know where it belongs because I don't know where some of it belongs?

Back in my grad school days my friend, Camila, helped me pack up and move to another apartment. She was astonished (read: disgusted) to see that I had saved certain People magazines with certain celebrities on the cover. This was in the days that decluttering was not in my vocabulary (or societies for that matter.) I didn't even know what the concept was. Would it surprise you that I have my congratulatory wedding cards or the same from the births of my children!!! I have to explain that my mother (yes you, Elaine if you ever read these) has receipts from the 1950's and is very proud of that fact. I do not want to retain receipts or People magazines. I have experienced the wonderful feeling of letting "the stuff" go and how amazing it makes me feel. I then am able to donate to one of our church's missions, or make a little money at the kids consignment store. I just can't keep up. The house is in much better order than it use to be but it seems like there is always something to be done and maybe that is what I need to accept. There is always something to be done.

At this point I have to admit that I still have an under the bed box that has a few magazines and newspaper covers with Jackie Kennedy Onassis, JFK, Jr. and his wife, CAROLYN, and Princess Diana. I use to be obsessed with them. I started saving these long before the days when you could go online and look at the same pictures. Now, I need to go through this box, but other things that can be SEEN take higher priority. They just do it so much faster on tv shows, when they have a TEAM to do the job in like 2 days. But I digress, it is time to take more action. A little every day, week or month. So I am finishing this blog and getting to it, until I get interrupted over and over again by my lovely offspring. Stop writing, start decluttering. Here I go.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Good Night Sweetheart

I just put Mallory to bed. She will be four in less than 2 months. The baby things have been put away, sent to consignment, or given away. I took the rail off her twin bed a couple of weeks ago. She does still wear pull-ups at night, and that is our last bastion of "baby" stuff. I have never been overly sentimental about having them grow up but it pops up every now and then.

When she was a baby, I would sing to her as I walked her around her room before I laid her in her crib for bedtime. I loved this last act of her day with her head laying on my shoulder about to drift off. (And I would get a little peace and quiet too!) The song that I sang was a very messed up version of "Good Night Sweetheart, Well It's Time to Go" that I heard from watching "Three Men and a Baby." I never looked up the words so I just made up my own and sang "ba bum tee dums" when I didn't know the words. Last night, for some reason it just popped in my head and I sang it to her. I wasn't sure if she remembered it at all.

Tonight, she asked me to sing to her the song again...and she was really mad at me prior to this...but she gave me the sweetest smile of recognition??? and I am going to pretend that she remembers me singing her this song over and over again when she was a teeny tiny baby.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Recombobulation Area

On our way back from Chicago, after passing through security in the Milwaukee airport, I saw this sign. It screamed blog title to me. Have you ever seen a sign with this written on it??? I love to use the word discombobulate, because it just sounds like a funny word. For me, it is another way of saying, "Time to Golightly." And it is the perfect word for putting it back together again. This is my new theme word!!!

Today, after 8 days of vacation and now the third day of VBS, the girls and I need recombobulation. I am so tired and Riley must be tired and I KNOW Mallory was tired. Riley threw a complete fit when we were leaving the church today and I think VBS overstimulates her. There are 400 kids there and we have had playdates after the first two days and it is too much for her (and me). I must be reaching a state of recombobulation in my life because I wasn't even that mortified by Riley's behavior. I doled out her consequences, and kept adding them on when they weren't working. And now she is calm after her time of chilling out and consequences.

There are so many things I could be doing right now, washing clothes & sorting clothes, grocery shopping, picking up the house, exercising, calling friends but I NEED to recombobulate. I am worn out, my legs are aching, my brain is tired and I need to rejuvenate. I do need to make sure the kids are fed, and have clean clothes for tomorrow and occupied! and I realize they need down time in our own house, just us by ourselves. They need to be bored. I need the same thing. After typing this, I am going to lay down for as long as I possibly can. I love VBS but it is as overstimulating to me as it is to Riley. She loves it though, that is why we vacationed the week before to work around the VBS schedule. She didn't want to miss it. But now we MUST recombobulate. I am going to let the guilt go and relax as much as the children will let me.

I just googled recombobulation to make sure I had the right meaning and evidently the Milwaukee airport has gotten a lot of press for this sign...

Friday, July 10, 2009


We are now in the third portion of our trip to Illinois and Wisconsin and will end up at a family wedding on Saturday. We are having a lot of fun and it is getting easier to go and do with the kids getting older. We are not having many meltdowns but I fear those are coming. I am typing quietly because Riley is still sleeping and this is an utter rarity at 8:13 a.m. Mallory is going to be a beast, her time is coming I fear, no naps and a whole week long of vacation and she was up well before Riley. Oh well, we will survive, it won't be pretty but we will survive.

The first portion of our trip was to right outside of Chicago, and we spent Saturday and Sunday night with cousins, Herman and Kay and had such a good time. We then traveled to Chicago on Monday, and had a blast in the city. Hancock Observatory, Children's Museum, Navy Pier, American Girl Place, Field Museum, Chicago River Boat Tour, Magnificent Mile, were among the action. I could have shopped for myself in that shopping mecca (not just for the kids) but I really want to buy another home one day and if I buy more $$ shoes and purses, that is not going to happen.

I am still relatively new to traveling. My first flight was to Chicago when I was around twenty five. I realize now this current trip has special meaning because we stayed with Herman and Kay way back then as well. George was interviewing for residencies. Cousin Herman took me on the train into the city, and we went to the top of the Sears Tower and I was able to get the lay of the land. From then on if possible when we have gone to a big city, I like to go to the tallest building and get the lay of the land early on in the trip.

My children have already flown several places and the eldest is just now entering first grade. I'm glad for this. Traveling opens the horizons, and also makes you appreciate home in the end. I was so much more relaxed this trip. Either age or yoga is helping me and I really like it. I remember I had great anxiety at 25, when I was leaving work to catch a plane for the first time. I was flying by myself and I really needed an anti-anxiety pill but I had no experience with them or know what they were (even though I had a Masters degree in Counseling!!!). But it ended up being fabulous and such an eye opening experience. I am grateful that we are able to travel with our children and are opening their horizons as well. Until that meltdown comes and it is coming...

Wednesday, July 8, 2009


Having a blast in The windy city.
Just so good to get away and experience new things, different places.
The girls LOVED American Girl Place.
Good to visit with extended family.
Grateful to be able to travel.
Hope to come back when the girls are a little older to be able to take it in more.
Typing from my phone so this is rough!
Heading to Wisconsin tomorrow.
More later.

Friday, July 3, 2009

I'm exhausted and it's vacation time

I completely stress out the week before a trip, notice I said trip, not vacation. They use to be vacations before children but now they are trips. Everything is about the children and what will excite them and occupy them. Am I dying to go to the American Girl store? Well not really but evidently this is what parenthood is about... I digress. We fly out of New Orleans around 11:25 Saturday, on our way to Chicago. And we have a family wedding to attend in Wisconsin, next Saturday. And my dogs have been barking since this morning and I'm tired. (for those of you not accustomed to dog talk that means my feet) On top of all of the leaving the house preparations, TMI ALERT, Aunt Flo came to visit and I have cramps. (I just don't think there are many men reading this at all.)

There is so much that has to be done before one leaves. Bills, pets, mail, clothes cleaned, plane/travel entertainment, decisions made, think of every possible thing that you might need, but keep it to a minimum because there were too many bags and they weighed too much last time we went. Mallory wants to bring her big pink fluffy coat that doesn't fit anymore, and I say NO, so there is negotiation, but we are still bringing "Big Dog" who she has slept with since Easter 2 years ago. And he is not called "Big Dog" for nothing, he will take up a third of the suitcase. Riley wants to bring her hair bows for her stuffed dog, that she never uses on a regular basis but they are small, so they get a yes.

I don't know why this drives me crazy, this packing for a trip. I did start earlier this time. I began thinking things out on Monday and today is Friday. I also worry about flying, but for me it is about feeling clausterphobic. Many moons ago, I was flying back late on a Sunday night by myself maybe from visiting George before we were married. That was my first experience I believe with a mile panic attack and you never forget that feeling. This morning, I started thinking about that kind of panic feeling I would have getting on board the plane. I have a panic reaction that goes down my arms and it tingles and this is not a good tingle. I'm thinking this way because a friend mentioned that she and her husband and 5 month old recently were stuck in the plane for four hours waiting to take off for the same exact route we are going to take. I remember hearing at Christmas time a couple of years ago that people were kept on an airplane for 9 hours under deplorable conditions. I would not do well stuck on a plane for that amount of time AT ALL. The thought of it completely panics me, and then I begin thinking about yoga and deep breathing.

The good thing is that ever since I had kids and the few times we have flown, my mind is completely occupied with taking care of them and I haven't been able to go to the bad places of anxiety. I do see that there is rain expected in Chicago on Saturday when we fly in and I am going to be doing some deep breathing and hopefully my children will keep me busy if we do get stuck in a bad situation. And I did borrow a few Zanax just in case of the worst case scenario!!! I've never taken them but it seems like a really good backup plan. These are the kinds of things I have to remember before taking a trip. I am beginning to look forward to the American Girl store. Riley is so excited for the both of us and it will spread by the time we get there.