Remember that one time I was sprucing up my master bathroom? I painted it and then said "what next"?
Well, I went in there to take a picture and document all the progress I have made, and it really looks like, well, nothing.
In fact, if anyone can point out the two visible changes I made in between these two photos, I'll give you a free-of-charge interior design consultation on your own bathroom.
(Disclaimer: you should probably like avocado green.)
To whet your appetite, I'll tell you the one change I made that is not visible. I believe I've mentioned that every item in this house that one would want to be white is actually almond? Well, when I watch Color Splash with David Bromstad the Muscle Queen, his design assistant always raves about how whenever she runs into that problem, she just changes the cover plate for a white one, and spray paints the actual outlet or switch. And then I always mock her, because obviously that works fine when you only have to take one sweeping video shot of a finished room and not, you know, actually live in it and plug things into the outlets on a daily basis.
I did that. That thing with spray-painting. I did it.
It turns out that when a honey is required for honey-do type of projects, like such as anything involving pipes or wires, and one's honey is Always Working, one will try desperate things in the pursuit of an budget-friendly updated bathroom.
It's been two weeks and it looks fine, and if it ever doesn't then, well, we were going to replace them anyway, right? And maybe I will have figured out how to clone myself by then.
* * * * *
In related news, I have some items to donate to a thrift shop, but first they closed "my" Goodwill (Mesa Drive and Brown). So then I started going to the Goodwill at Stapley and Main (still on the way to the library, and a decent selection).
Last weekend, they closed that one too. I don't want to talk about it.
So. What is your favorite secondhand store? Locals would be most helpful in my situation, obviously, but I'd love to hear from everyone. If you've got a gold mine, tell me all about it and make me jealous!
After all your amazing pickup lines, I am literally on the edge of my seat to hear what you have to say.
Remember that one time I was sprucing up my master bathroom? I painted it and then said "what next"?
I now present to you almost 7 minutes of jerky, fuzzy, awesome home video. If you're here for wit, humor, insightful observations on the human condition, political commentary, or punch and pie...
...you might want to check back tomorrow.
Firstly, I present to you Iris Olivia Dixon, in her premiere public performance. This girl loves to dance like no child I have ever seen (except maybe myself!) She boogied in the aisle for three straight hours as we waited out the duration of the dress rehearsal Friday morning, and she boogied on my lap to every song between her dance and Eve's during the recital.
She knew all her moves, and didn't have a lick of stage fright, but she tragically loses her tap shoe partway through the performance. Devlin thought it was hilarious, I thought it was just so unfair. It didn't bother her one bit, though; when we spoke to her after the show, she said happily, "my shoe comed off, but I jus' put it back on!"
While Iris is on the ball and aiming to please, Eve usually goes through life (and ballet class) as if everyone around her is on Earth, and she is on Neptune. She's just in a completely different world.
(As you and I know from this blog, her world is a very beautiful place. It's nice there. There are flowers, and unicorns, and princesses in disguise. It's just, you know, hers. Not ours.)
I have been observing the last few minutes of her class for weeks, and I was, privately, a little concerned for her part in this recital. She has a wonderful, darling "partner", who frequently takes her by the elbow and gently guides her to where she is supposed to be standing, but even with her help Eve just always seemed to be on the wrong foot, at the wrong time, with a dreamy smile on her sweet little face.
I just wanted her to have fun, and feel good about her performance. But right up through the dress rehearsal, it was not looking good.
To my utter shock and astonishment, when the moment arrived, she was just amazing. I had never seen her do half this well. Her sweet friend only had to show her to her place one time, and you can see from Eve's face that whatever she is imagining is making her very happy indeed.
I may hate the recital process, but I'm just like every other proud mom when my little darlings get their turn on stage. Everything's coming up roses, girls!
I didn't post on Friday. It was the day of the girls' dance recital, and while I am delighted to report that it all went relatively well, there was no way I was posting the videos by the time we got home and put everyone to bed.
Iris had to stay until the bitter end to participate in the curtain call with her big sister (it was so worth it), and I have come to the conclusion that I absolutely hate dance recitals.
I don't hate performances, and I love watching my girls dance, but the whole "recital" process is just so overblown and complicated, so fraught with peril. So many opportunities for me to mess up, in a big way! I can't be late, I can't get lost, camera batteries, bobby pins, lipstick, gloves, hats, safety pins, hairspray, and two shoes for each girl must be remembered, and trying to keep a two-year-old from snagging her tights and smudging her mascara? And I pay for the privilege of watching them do what I watch them do every week during class?
Just shoot me. Seriously, do it. Any gun. I'm not picky.
That said, the girls were so amazing and when I get the videos on YouTube (at the rate it's going, should be about 15 days) they will be here for your enjoyment, if you are my immediate family, and your annoyance if you are not.
* * * * *
In the meantime, I leave you with a little mockery of strangers for your Sunday evening entertainment.
Last week, after Eve's last day of school, we went to McDonald's to celebrate. I pulled into a sweet parking spot right in front of the door, next to a white work truck containing two men in painter's clothes. I was dressed up a little for the preschool program, and as I leaned into the van to unbuckle the girls from their car seats, I suddenly became acutely aware of the fact that I was wearing a tight skirt and, well, my butt. You know how your butt kind of takes center stage when you lean over a car seat?
When I emerged with one daughter on my hip and another holding my hand, blushing to my hairline, sure enough those two guys were not making any attempt to pretend they were looking at my floor mats.
As I closed the sliding door and tried to squeeze between my side view mirror and that of the truck to my left, one of my admirers spoke.
"Is that a new haircut?"
I think it took me a full minute to decide what to say.
"Uh, no, I think I had it cut about a month ago." Confused smile. Do I know this guy?
"Oh, well, it looks new".
No dude, I just told you it's not new. How can a haircut look "new"? You have no frame of reference here. Anyway, you weren't looking at my hair, remember?
"Well, it still seems to be...working really well."
I laughed out loud, no longer the least bit intimidated, said thank you and have a nice day, and walked into McDonald's with my head held high.
Even if it was a dim bulb in coveralls, I have to admit that it's not so bad to know one's rear view, or one's "haircut", is worthy of the admiration of strangers, old married lady though I might be.
* * * * *
Entertain me while I wait for my videos to upload! What's the strangest pickup line you've ever been privileged to receive?
That's me, the boob, crying multiple times a day for the last two days, as first one child and then another reaches the last this-or-that of the school year. Last day of preschool, last day of second grade, last report card from Ms. Heath, last hug, walk across the street with Miss Sue the Crossing Guard, last backpack load of papers, last time leaving my car unattended directly beneath the "do not leave car unattended" sign...
I'm tired of the roller coaster, and I would like to get off now please. My kids are growing, it's exhilarating and tragic all at once, carpe diem, etc etc. It's taking my breath away, and I need to think about something else.
So, to take our minds off things, including the fact that That Guy I Married is working until who knows when (again) tonight, the kids and I decided to head over to the brand-new Super Farm Market, the latest awesome thing from Superstition Farm.
(No, I don't work for them. Hello, they're a dairy - have you seen me? Do I look like the kind of girl who would work for a dairy? I just really like 'em.)
I used to be a member of their Dairy Club, but since we moved it hasn't been very convenient for me to get out there often. I loved it while I was participating though! So when I saw on Facebook that they were doing an indoor weekly farmer's market, I knew we had to check it out.
It was awesome. Super, in fact.
The market itself was wonderful: local gourmet honey, veggies, bread, salsa, tamales, all the usual delicious dairy offerings, grass fed beef, exotic salts (yes, salt - don't laugh, I bought three kinds. It's delicious!) And the best part was, the two big kids were outside playing on hay bales, tractors, and petting the goats and bunnies while I was shopping.
I can't wait until Iris is big enough to play out there unsupervised, instead of stealing blocks of salt off the tables, but two out of three is pretty good.
We took a hayride and got a lovely tour of the dairy operations (Eve claimed the hay was "too pokey", to which I replied that perhaps a Sunday dress was not the wisest choice of farm attire) and the kids fed the calves from a bottle, which was lovely until the biggest, greediest calf slurped the teat off the bottle and then stepped on it!
You can even get dinner there, if you are smarter than me and budget for such things. Some people were talking about spicy "smack and cheese" that was making me very envious.
But the best part? This is my own, personal, after-the-kids-are-in-bed dinner:
It's a little pot pie stuffed with spinach, shiitake mushrooms, feta, garlic, pine nuts, and I stopped caring what else, like, 5 things ago. They sell these at the market too, in case you are jealous.
So, peeps, it's every Thursday. You seriously have to go. Just leave time for a bath for the kids afterward, because the hay was kind of everywhere.
So worth it.
This was Eve on her first day of preschool, 9 months ago.
And this was her just hours ago, on her last day.
She has learned so much this year (including, apparently, how to moue daintily for the camera). I attended her end-of-year celebration this morning, where the students of Discovery Club demonstrated their knowledge of:
countries in Africa
Presidents of the United States
penguins of the world
planets of the solar system
how to tie a sari
how to fuss and fidget with said sari until the teacher throws up her hands and tucks the hateful garment into your shirt collar (oh wait, that was just Eve)
countries in the former USSR
frogs v. tadpoles
layers of the rainforest (parrots live in the emergent, in case you were wondering)
Eve has wept every day for two weeks, anticipating the day when she would have to say goodbye to Mrs. Freebairn and leave Discovery Club for the last time. She gave each of her teachers a picture of herself, and I took a photograph of her with each of them, because she did not want to forget them, or they her.
She is another year older, another year smarter, another year more stubborn (may God bless and keep her unsuspecting teacher next year).
I didn't feel this way when Devlin was preparing to head off to kindergarten, because I had just had my third baby and needed someone off my hands part of the time. And he went half day.
But in the fall, Eve will be gone. She will be at school, full day, every day.
I will not hear her little voice, singing from my bathtub.
I will not find ponies in my shoes and coloring pages strewn across my bed.
No one will fight Iris for control of the iPod.
The days when I can cuddle up with my Eve in the afternoons for a movie and a quick nap are drawing to a close.
And I'm pretty much heartbroken.
It has been a long, difficult road to get to this point. She has not been my easiest child. She was three and a half years old before I was reasonably confident we would be friends, at some point, ever.
But the steepness of the path has made the fruit all the sweeter. I love her, so much, and I am going to miss her sweet little bubble floating through my home.
(Of course, she has been out of school for less than 12 hours. Come August, I may have, shall we say, found some peace on this matter).
Eve, you have stolen my heart. Let's make this a summer to remember.
There is $60 worth of Swiss chard in this bowl of soup.
Because the garden that I so lovingly planted, at press time, looks as if it has produced exactly two plants that will yield a "harvest". They are both rainbow chard plants, and while I had high hopes for tomatoes, squash, zucchini, peppers, herbs, pumpkins and watermelon, if this is all I get then I will eat it, love it, and hope for better results next time!
I have this tendency -
(ask David, it's one of his very, very favorite things about me *wink wink*)
- to just jump into things that sound fun to me, regardless of whether I know the first thing about them.
I have wanted a garden for years, and now I have lots of room so I knew it was time for action. If you never try, you never fail, and you never learn!
I have now definitely tried, mostly failed, and I don't know if I've learned anything (how the devil do you tell the difference between overwatered plants and underwatered plants? they both die, right?) but the hard work of preparing the soil is done so I'll just keep planting seeds and we'll all have to wait and see what happens.
There are a few more chard leaves out there, almost big enough to cut, so with my next batch the price per serving will go down to a mere $30!
Hey, it is organic.
A child can tell you that a goldfish has a memory span of 84 days, but cannot himself remember anything that you said 84 seconds ago - even if you said it 84 times.
A child can be utterly captivated for a period of two hours with nothing but photographs of her own stunningly beautiful self.
A child hears "crazy hair day at school" and thinks only of fully seizing the opportunity, not his own vanity.
A child believes that the only reason she has not gotten what she wants is that she has not asked loudly enough.
(Or maybe just not often enough).
A child truly believes, on some twisted level of consciousness, that licking is an appropriate sign of affection.
A child can, with great regularity, simply forget to replace her undergarments after using the toilet.
Earning a child's undying loyalty is as simple as serving pancakes for dinner.
And the only thing a child likes to eat better than pancakes?
His own boogers.
Remember that one time last weekend when the girls and I watched Tangled and painted our toenails?
David took my only son away for ONE NIGHT and when he comes home, he has learned how to shoot a gun.
I am not kidding.
And he loved it. I am still processing this information. (I think I have decided that as long as he never shoots at anything higher on the food chain than a plastic army guy, I am good.)
One of the members of our ward is a firearms trainer for DPS, so if the boy needs to fire a weapon then he might as well learn from the best, right?
My only communication from the menfolk while they were away was a text from David as soon as they arrived Friday night, consisting of two words:
This was a mortal blow, I was sure. Devlin's greatest joy in life is setting, tending, stoking, cooking over, and putting out campfires. This is, quite literally, the only reason he wants to go camping at all (although maybe now the future possibility of firearms will enhance the appeal even further). So when I got this news, my heart shrunk a little bit. I was sure the boys would come home early tomorrow, dejected, all the light gone out of my little boy's eyes.
But, it turns out, the child is resourceful and adaptable.
"Mom, actually, a propane stove has essentially the same properties as a campfire, so it was okay."
(He actually talks like this, all the time - he would make a great sitcom character. The hilariously articulate, slightly annoying neighbor kid that hangs around your back fence all weekend, wanting to know how many PSI your garden hose can put out? Uncle Jacob Moffat the Film Producer, are you getting this?)
It's good to have you home, boys. Next year, just do me a favor and don't hurt anything with antlers, okay?
So, I got a wild hair this week and painted our master bathroom.
I hadn't done anything with it until now because there are just so many things I want to change in here, that trying to find a place to start without having it immediately snowball into a full-on renovation (which we can't afford) has proved a tricky proposition.
Paint is usually a safe bet.
And, just for fun, I thought we would paint the bathroom the same color as the bedroom. So, for anyone keeping track, that is two adjacent rooms, one color.
Crazy, I know.
I don't have a before picture, but imagine with me Snooki (no, I don't watch Jersey Shore either. But I know what Snooki looks like, and so do you.) Now imagine her face makeup. Her foundation. Okay, put that color onto my bathroom walls.
Now that that situation has been rectified, and I am actually very happy with the color, I need some help on what to do next. I'm looking to brighten things up considerably in there. A little sparkle, you know.
(For the moment, we are not even touching the other part of the bathroom, which is the room with the loo, shower, and bathtub. I don't have the strength right now.)
Things that are staying:
- original ceiling light fixtures. They are actually really cool, although you can't really see them here. Sort of an antique brass finish.
- dark wood doors and trim. It's in the entire house, and we want to work with it.
- probably the floor. I wouldn't have chosen it, but it's not really offensive enough to change and it would be a hassle.
- um, yeah. That's it.
Things that are going:
- ceiling color. I'm shooting for something more in the general vicinity of "white". Changing all the things in this house that were "almond" seems to be a neverending task.
- cabinets. Painting them would be the easiest, and they are in decent shape. Thinking about cream, or maybe black?
- medicine cabinets. I have never seen uglier ones. What direction I take those depends on what I do with the cabinets, though.
- countertops, if we can afford it. Just humor me with what you would do if you were me. Me, and you had money.
- faucets. We have antique brass, we have shiny brass, we have oil rubbed bronze, we have brushed nickel. Seriously, who was living here and what were they smoking?
- bath mats. We have enough brown in there without them. What about wood ones?
Things not pictured that we need:
- mirror on the wall across from my medicine cabinet. There was one, but it was so ugly I couldn't bear to hang it back up after I painted. I'm sure it cost $5.97 from Walmart (it's definitely from Wally World, per the tag on the back. I might be overestimating the value though.)
- hand towel hooks, because "wadding them up on the counter/floor" is not working for me
- additional lighting, because being able to see one's face and hair while getting ready is traditionally a Good Thing. I'm thinking four sconces, one on each side of both medicine cabinets. Something like this?
So, if anyone is bored with their own to-do list and would like to have a go at mine, I invite you to step forward now and play designer. Where do I go from here?
Upside: She speaks! In complete sentences, entirely of her own construction.
Downside: They often begin thusly: "Stop talking to her, Mom! Talk to ME!"
Upside: She is developing strong preferences and interests.
Downside: Her favorite color is definitely, emphatically, pink. (I have failed as a mother.)
Upside: Girl loves her mama, and tells me so often.
Downside: Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, but she needs a little more practice with the mascara brush.
Upside: She is adventuresome, confident, and fearless.
Downside: Her actual skill level doesn't always match her enthusiasm. (Her swim teacher saves her from drowning when she hurls herself off the diving board on a daily basis.)
Upside: Yes, that is her real hair. It curls, all by itself, like magic.
Downside: There isn't one.
When my lovely friend invited me to lunch at her house last week, she asked if I would play her something on the piano when I came.
(Isn't that just the sweetest, most romantic thing? I was utterly charmed. Do you remember a time when people used to read aloud, or quilt, or play music in the parlor, instead of just "hanging out"? No? Me neither. I think maybe I read about it in a book.)
So, I played a piece that I have been working very hard on for the last couple of weeks, and then she responded by playing another piece from the same book, which by coincidence she too had recently learned.
We compared stories of tricky broken chords, page turns, and editorial fingering decisions. We marveled together at how deceptively difficult and rewarding these pieces had been to learn.
(And let's face it, every girl is more willing to spend hours at the keyboard, plunking out one note at a time, if she gets to picture Mr. Darcy striding in his morning coat across a field to sweep Lizzie off her feet while she's doing it.)
My friend stopped and smiled, remembering something. "You know", she said, "I was talking to my sister, who is a very accomplished violinist, about this a few days ago. I was complaining how long it took me to learn this piece, taking one measure at a time, playing it over and over for hours on end.
My sister just laughed and said, in a tone of mock horror, 'what, you mean, like - practicing?'"
Let's call it a "duh" moment.
Yes, Moms and Dads of the world, it turns out that you were right: the only real way to get good at something is to work at it very hard. Over and over. First you are lousy and you hate it, then you get a little better and you tolerate it, then you are good and you have learned to love it.
- showered but didn't shave
- put on concealer and blush but not mascara
- "mopped" the kitchen using my foot and a wet dishtowel
- had breakfast for breakfast...and dinner
- had 2 caffeinated beverages in place of a nap
- painted a bathroom that needs a complete gut job
- washed the kids' hands and feet and called it a bath
Some might call it cutting corners.
I call it "prioritizing" and it is how I survive.
It's Fathers and Sons weekend.
(For those who have never experienced this delightful phenomenon, it is an annual overnight camping trip for, well, fathers and sons, sponsored by our church. Devlin has practically been sleeping in the shed with all our camping supplies for a week in anticipation. More on that later, I'm sure.)
So, when the boys are away, the girls get to play - and this little mama knows how to play!
Eve had ballet in the afternoon, so I had to solemnly promise to "pause" our fun while she danced and not "push play" until we had her safely in the car again. Having obliged, we came right home to implement our seven-step Girls Night In plan. It proceeded without a hitch.
Step 1: Each girl got one of those little tiny plant starter pots from the dollar spot at Target (are my kids the only ones who absolutely LOVE those?) Iris planted tomatoes, Eve planted basil. Lovely.
Step 2: I painted 20 tiny, tiny toenails (berry pink, with a glittering gold topcoat) while...
Step 3: We watched Tangled. I was going to buy it anyway, eventually, but I figured this special evening was the perfect excuse.
(Aren't you so glad I'm the world's best photographer? I thought this would be such an artistic shot. I didn't really plan for the reflection of the huge ceiling fan light fixture in the TV screen in almost every picture, and my thousand and one Ancient Almond electrical outlets. Or the fact that even if I could get my girls to sit still, the people on the screen would not.)
Step 4: Homemade "lunchables" and little tiny cans of orange soda:
Step 5: Followed by popcorn...and Ben & Jerry's. You heard me.
Step 6: Individual bedtime stories for each girl
Step 7: And still in bed by 7:30. (Them, not me, silly.)
I am so grateful for these sweet kids. I could not possibly love them more. Thanks for the party, girls!
P.S. I almost forgot the best part: I bought a box of Crunch Berries (my FAVORITE EVER) for breakfast. It's like Christmas!
Eve, last night at bedtime, completely unprompted: Mom, I wish there were 100 moms! Yeah, because then one of you could go shopping, and one of you could make breakfast, and one of you could take us to the playground, and one of you could take us swimming, and one of you could push me on the swing, and one of you could push Iris on the swing, and one of you could lay down, and one of you could take a nap, and one of you could read a story, and there would be enough of you!
(Yes, dear, that does sound like that would be a better system than the one we currently have. Whom do I notify to see if we can get that going?)
She went on: But guess what mom? Even after that, there are still SO MANY MORE things you would need to do!
My child, you are ready to be a mother some day.
* * * * *
And, for Tasha: last night I asked Eve what she is imagining when she is barefoot. It turns out that the heroine from the recent Disney movie Tangled, which Eve saw in the theater, goes without shoes for most of the movie. There you go. I should have guessed!
Posted by The Wizzle | Posted on Wednesday, May 11, 2011 at 9:29 PM
I was getting dressed this morning, in preparation for breakfast, from which I would take Devlin to school, from which I would take the girls directly to swimming lessons, from which I would take Eve straight to preschool, from which I would go directly to story time at the library.
I was getting dressed, with story time in mind, like I do every Wednesday.
(I might have mentioned how much I enjoy story time, yes? I think I noticed today that I am the only person there with only one child. This is certainly the reason for my success. Just a thought.)
As I was pulling on my brown wide-leg yoga pants with the yellow fold-down waistband, it occurred to me that I attend story time each week in the exact same outfit, like an old lady, or a nurse who has an assigned color of scrubs for each day of the week.
Aren't you dying to know why?
1. Story time means I sit on the floor. Iris climbs on and off my lap, turns somersaults, and generally is pretty wiggly. I could literally have to leap up at any moment and stop her from stepping on some poor crawling infant's head and crushing it with her giant foot. This means:
2. Knee-length skirts and dresses are out. Contrary to popular belief, I actually do not enjoy flashing other library patrons.
3. Longer skirts and dresses are out. If I have to suddenly leap up from a seated position, there is a high probability of stepping on the hem and pulling down either the skirt or the neckline, if a dress. See #2 re: flashing.
4. Jeans + sitting on the floor = muffin top. I don't care who you are. I'm over it.
So, that leaves me with non-denim, preferably non-pajama pants with a forgiving waistband, the better to flatter my vanity while I sit on the ground and enthusiastically perform "Where Is Thumbkin?" with a room full of yowling, slobbering toddlers.
I have one item of clothing matching that description. And I have one shirt that matches that one pair of pants. And, well, as long as I'm wearing the same outfit every week, I might as well wear the jewelry that I know complements it best, and I might as well rock my comfiest flip flops so I don't get uncomfortable marks on my feet from sitting cross-legged.
And there you have it. I don't know why I felt compelled to share all that. The one I should really explain myself to is Sherry, the librarian who facilitates story time. She's the one who has to look at my predictable, crazy-old-lady self every week.
Can anyone top my random, bizarre confession? Or am I alone in my rut? What weird "mom stuff" do you do?
Posted by The Wizzle | Posted on Tuesday, May 10, 2011 at 10:15 PM
Eve has a little shoe problem.
She won't wear them.
Every chance she gets - and I do mean that in the most literal sense, like if she's not using both hands to hang on to the back of a speeding locomotive - the shoes come off.
Her feet look like the feet of an 80-year-old beggar from the streets of Mumbai. (I hope that's okay to say. It's the God's honest truth.) They're filthy, they're scaly, they're cracked in multiple places, and although they look like they're most of the way there, apparently gangrene hasn't yet set in because they're also quite painful.
Imagine that. Her cracked, bleeding feet hurt when she uses them to ride a scooter. On asphalt. Without shoes.
My children are very, very smart, as you can clearly see.
Apparently, tonight while I was working, her minor injuries got upgraded. I'll give you one guess how this happened.
Hey Eve, that band-aid will stay on a lot better if you put a sock over it!
Fat chance. Does anyone else want to take this girl to swimming lessons tomorrow? Because I'm not looking forward to it.
Yesterday was lovely.
I didn't make any meals, or clean up any meals, and I got a lovely nap with Iris snuggled in her favorite blanket on my lap. I had one in a long string of days in which being a mother felt gratifying, satisfying, and pretty generally wonderful.
(Then today, it was back to reality.)
But that's okay. It's just part of the deal, and when I say that I wouldn't trade my choice to be a full-time mother for anything, literally anything in the world, it is because I mean it from the bottom of my heart.
(Well, actually, I saw my first episode of Bethenny Ever After this morning, on the treadmill, and I think I would pretty happily accept being a full-time mother with the added benefits of a hairdresser, makeup artist, and jewelry stylist who all make house calls, and a nanny on retainer. But other than that, I'm good.)
So, in honor of Mother's Day, and my hilarious children, I give you Devlin's answers to the "How Well Do You Know Your Mother?" survey from his second grade class - and my commentary.
* * * * *
What is my mom's favorite color? Purple. (This was easy. Purple has been my favorite color since I could say "purple").
What is my mom's favorite food? Costco products. (Wow, this is already getting weird. Why don't you just come right out and say "she eats whatever is available in bulk?")
What does my mom love to do? Go to the gym. (All right, he made up some ground with that one. We'll start you back at zero, kid.)
If my mom had $100, what would she buy? A treadmill. (This is just silly. Why would I buy a treadmill when the whole point of going to the gym is to get childcare for an hour?)
What is my mom's job? Breast-feeding class. (You tell 'em!)
What is my mom's favorite candy bar? Twix. (At least he has the most important information in order - although I never say no to peanut butter cups either.)
How old is my mom? 30. (It's true. I don't mind.)
When is my mom's birthday? 2/14/1981 (Math skillz, he haz them.)
What is one of my mom's pet peeves? Running in the house. (Poor child must have run out of room. So many to choose from.)
How tall is my mom? 6 ft. 1 in. (Errrrrrr, I think you must be thinking of "how tall is my dad?")
How much does my mom weigh? 180 pounds. (If I were actually 6 foot 1, this would be a lovely answer.)
What is my mom's favorite book? Harry Potter. (Close enough. It's as good as anything. I hate picking favorites though.)
What is my mom's favorite movie? Harry Potter. (Negative. You can't love the books and the movies, in my opinion. I love the books; I watch the movies.)
What are my mom's favorite pizza toppings? Sausage and onions. (Throw some sweet red peppers and basil on there and I'll take a large all to myself, please.)
What are my mom's hobbies? Going to the gym. (Okay, this is getting ridiculous. I spend as much time blogging, singing, reading, and watching television, but this is apparently what they are noticing. Devlin's teacher knows what I look like and surely realizes he is exaggerating.)
What is my mom's favorite kind of flower? Roses. (Correction: almost anything but roses.)
Where was my mom born? Mesa. (Houston.)
Where does my mom like to shop? Sprouts. (No, my son. I only like to shop without children, and the only places I take you and your sisters are places I absolutely cannot avoid going. Like, to get food so we don't die of starvation. Sprouts is closest.)
What is my mom's favorite holiday? Christmas. (Guilty as charged.)
What does my mom love most about me? I am funny. (No, that's what you love most about you. I love everything about you.)
What do I love most about my mom? She makes the best brownies ever! (Well, then it's a jolly good thing I live at the gym and am saving my pennies for a treadmill.)
Wishing a sweet congratulations to David's brother Eric and his beautiful bride Jentry, who tonight announced that they are expecting their first baby in November.
I'm so, so excited for you guys to experience this:
(Iris, less than 2 hours old)
And this (lots and lots of this):
(Iris sleeping, probably on a soaked burp rag. Me, just sleeping).
Some sweet happy times:
Maybe some Legos:
And later, if you're lucky, there will be more Dixon babies to enrich and beautify your life. I don't know if your kids will make ears and tails out of pipe cleaners and pretend to be cats, though:
But I know your baby will be beautiful (hello, have either one of you looked in a mirror lately?), and you will love him/her to death...
...and your lives will never be the same.
In a good way.
We're so happy for you!
I did something hard today.
Actually, it didn't turn out to be that hard, because I got some good advice from a friend. But I thought it was going to be hard. It was really hard last time I tried it.
I was scared. I was discouraged. I was really afraid to try again.
But I did it anyway.
For those of you who don't know, I have recently decided to step up my now-addictive fitness routine by Becoming a Runner. Or at least, I hope to no longer be afraid of running.
(I don't like feeling intimidated by things. I don't need to become the best in the world at everything, but if there is something that I bump up against on anything approaching a regular basis, I like to have a baseline level of comfort and competence. Example: I do not have to be able to make my own wedding dress, but I do want to be able to thread my sewing machine without reading the manual. See?)
Anyway, I have been avoiding running farther than "across the parking lot" since I was a tween (and that was before there was such a thing as a "tween", by the way). Every year in PE we had to run the mile, and I have no more vivid memory of junior high than dragging myself to the finish line, sweating and gasping, with a knot in my chest and my complexion the pale, mottled pinkish-gray that only an overheated ginger can attain. I was slow, I was miserable, I hated the feeling of my feet pounding on the ground, shins aching, mouth dry.
(I was in good shape, by the way. I was a pretty serious ballerina until I was 14, and I could dance en pointe with no lambswool over my toes and do the splits, triple pirouettes, backbends, and any number of other impressive feats. I just HATED RUNNING.)
So as soon as it was no longer required for matriculation from year to year, I stopped.
That was 15 years ago.
3 weeks ago, I started again.
Here's what appeals to me about running:
- you can do it anywhere
- it's cheap
- it's simple, no "equipment" required
- it burns a lot of calories relative to the time required
- I've always wished I had more shapely legs, and since I can't change my bone structure (Dent/Dixon girls, I am so jealous of your beautiful dainty ankles!) I can make my calves curvier. Hopefully it will have the same effect
- it's a challenge
So, I started this program, which claims to take you from watching Real Housewives of New Jersey to happily running a 5K in just over 2 months. I was skeptical, but so far it actually seems to be working. I'm on week 4 (day 2 done today!), and although I had a minor breakdown last time I ran, today I was over the hump (for the first time of many, I'm sure) and back on track.
(By the way - the good advice? From a fellow girl-who-used-to-hate-running: don't run so fast. Pretty simple, right? I hit the wall because I was trying to run faster than I could go just yet. Today I slowed down, just a little bit, and suddenly I could do the thing I was afraid of! Remember this scripture?)
So, I don't know what I'm saying quite yet except that I'm feeling like a queen today because I conquered my fear. I'm looking forward to my next challenge. I'm feeling good. I'm feeling happy.
And apparently, I'm learning to run longer distances just in the nick of time, because gas is fixin' to hit $4 a gallon.
Better get my running shoes on.
Okay, a couple of people said that if I figured out how to get on top of things a little bit, I should share. I wouldn't go so far as to say that I have everything sorted, but I did have a much better day today and I'll share my advice on how I accomplished this:
1. First of all, if you don't have a hilarious toddler, I suggest you lay ahold of one. It is really hard to be grumpy very long when you have an Iris Baby waddling her massive curly head all around your house.
2. If you are stressed because you need your partner to help you do some projects, you might want to consider, oh, I don't know, talking to him about it. You never know. He might just turn out to be calming, helpful, and generally awesome.
3. Make a list. I hadn't wanted to make a "honey-do" list, because David is working all hours and going to school and I didn't want to be a nuisance. I was trying to do everything myself. But no matter how capable I might be in some areas, drywall anchors and drill bits and such just really seem to respond better to the Y chromosome in this house. I made him a list, we're prioritizing it tonight, I already feel better.
4. Eat brownies. Not too many. But it does help.
5. Take a nap. Even a short one will do.
6. Go visit your mother-in-law. No, seriously. What, doesn't everybody have one as awesome as mine?!
7. Do some things you like. I played the piano, went to a yoga class, and talked to my sister on the phone. Got a lot of mileage out of those.
8. Cross a couple of things off your list. Just pick a couple of easy, doable ones, and take the day off (that means "stay home") and git 'er done. Today I folded *all* the laundry and cut, hemmed, pressed, and hung Devlin's curtains. Pics tomorrow. It feels gooooooooood.
* * * * *
David has spent the last couple of years working from home. There was a spectacular learning curve. I thought it would be wonderful, but for a long time we were under each other's feet, miscommunicating, and generally expecting totally different things from the experience (he thought it would be like the office, but in his pajamas. I thought I would have occasional childcare during naptime etc. Huge NO on both counts.)
Then we got the hang of it, and it was fantastic. We moved, he got a designated office. With a door. (Upgrade.) The kids loved having him around where they could poke their sweet little faces in the office every so often and say hi. I am an extravert and just having another adult human body in the house somehow makes everything more bearable for me. And the commute? What commute?
It was great.
Then he got promoted.
I'm not complaining. But now he's back to the office, working two jobs for all intents and purposes, he's in school at nights, and we're struggling to find the balance again. He's trying to find time and focus to work out, eat right, and take care of himself, which makes him want to take care of me too. I'm trying to remember to involve him in our family activities when it's possible, instead of going on single-parent-ish autopilot and forgetting how much I like having him around. We forget to communicate (he just doesn't like to do it, I give up and stop trying). We're struggling to find time to relax and reconnect in the evenings while still making a dent in the (necessary) to-do list.
It's going to be okay. We're good people, and good parents, and we can do this. But man alive, does everyone have this much trouble when things shift around a little bit? It's like we have to relearn how to be roommates, partners, parents, and friends all over again.
I think I need another brownie.
I just have to ask: how is everyone doing out there?
All the moms, all the wives, all the women?
I have to tell you, around here, things are building to a head. I'm feeling like the more I try to do, the more resentful I am of all the things that remain (and there will always be something) undone.
I'm getting up earlier, going to bed later, Facebooking less, trying to focus my resources, prioritize, don't sweat the small stuff.
But guess what? It's all the same. I feel like I'm living on the edge, riding the lightning, like I'm just barely hanging on. By the time David and I finally meet for the evening, the children are in bed and we're both too exhausted to do anything but sit next to each other on the couch (in between baskets of clean laundry).
And I know so many other people in the same situation. I have a list of projects a mile long (things like light bulbs, toilets, and holes in the walls - I'm not asking to be featured on HGTV here). I feel like there's no one I could even ask for help, because everyone is right where I am: stretched to the max, just trying to pay the mortgage and keep food on the table and get everyone to be in the right place at the right time. Just trying to take care of their own families and be good people and not fall apart. Just like me.
How is everyone doing it? How are we really feeling? Are we "fine"? Are we "good"? Are we "busy"? Or are we drowning?
I have to tell you, I'm so over this. I'm over DIY, I'm over putting on a brave face, I'm sick of being the "homemaker", I'm tired and I want somebody to make all my duties go away for, like, at least a month. I don't want to "take a break" from them, because guess what? Whenever I feel guilty enough to come back to real life, all the stupid little problems will still be right there where I left them, and they will each have brought a friend or two.
David always says I should just leave the dishes for the morning, leave the ironing, leave it for later when I can face it. But in the meantime, what do I do? I know it's all there, right there, waiting for me. What's the point? How do I relax in the meantime? I need to make some real, actual progress, but it's all I can to keep my nose above the water and just keep swimming, just keep swimming...
I'm not blaming anyone, and I'm not trying to make anyone feel sorry for me. I'm just so, so tired of being in this mental place, and I'm saying it out loud because I know there's a lot of you here with me. I'm standing on my roof, waving a white flag, and I frickin' surrender.
I give. You win, life. You beat me. I can't do it.
I am seriously ready to just move to a hut in the forest somewhere (actually a cave - that would be perfect, because a hut would require maintenance) and live on berries and rainwater. We're going naked, because I'm never doing laundry again, and whatever education the kids have already gotten is just going to have to suffice. I'm hanging up a hammock, putting a banana leaf over my eyes, and going to sleep until I feel recovered.
I don't know exactly when that might be, but I'd say you'd be safe to come over for some coconut milk in about 2025.
Who's with me?