June 29, 2011
So this is what happened: I had all these high ambitions today. I had this mental to-do list that was full of really great and necessary things. None the least of which was to catch up on my pictures and posting. And I had what appeared to be the proper motivation to see those things through.
However, I started out by getting way too absorbed in surfing my fav-o sites. So much so that the hubs even commented on how absorbed I appeared to be. And he was right! But I could not pull myself away. Ever have that? Just me? And then we all ate breakfast together. Toast and jam and peanut butter and honey and butter and whatever you could throw on your toast.
Second, my morning got away from me. I’m not sure how (ahem)…but I know that way too soon, AB had left for work and it was time to feed lunch to the littles.
So I made this big mess of the kitchen making pasta and cutting up fruit and making super cute boiled eggs in our new egg molds (whole nother’ post) and guess what? Not only did the kids not eat the pasta – but neither did I. Had too much fun with the eggs, I guess. And then I didn’t want to clean up the mess. That’s not like me. But I couldn’t bring myself to stand in there cleaning up. So I didn’t.
We watched TV until naptime.
And then my kids woke up WAY TOO EARLY – like an hour into it. I admit ti being slightly peeved. Because by this point, I had returned to my mental checklist and started crossing stuff off. I was in the middle of a long overdue project, when my sleepy son ambled from his room. And then began to cry – for who knows why. And this woke up his sister – who sleeps far too lightly.
So we went to the pool. Because I couldn’t think of any other way to drain them of their toddler energy prior to dinner time. So off we went. And it was great – if you don’t count the tantrums and the crying and the overall handling of two toddlers in a pool at the same time, by yourself. I’m sure you do it – and I’m sure it’s easier for you – but for me, it’s a little aaaaaaaaeeeeeeeehhhhhhaaaaaaaaaaeeee.
Two hours later we made our way back home and I could only find the gumption to change our clothes, hang up the wets, and move like a sloth to the couch. Sunburned to boot. Sore. Old.
And then AB was home, there was activity and excitement and dinner was being made, and interviews were being conducted over the phone for articles in magazines, and it was loud and the kids were going monkey. And I was watching The Andy Griffith Show. I was. I really was. I could only bring myself to ask politely for a bag of chips and a coke, which my loving husband happily obliged me with. Such a dear man. Dinner of champions. Should’ve eaten my lunch.
Dinner was amazing and we parented our way through it. Been there much? Like “eat your dinner” and “take another bite” and “good job” and “watch out, don’t spill your milk” and all that.
It was way too late and the kids were late getting to bed. Not sure how that happened since we had too much time on our hands after the pool with which to be lazy on the couch watching Andy.
The children were put to bed and the kitchen was double the mess it had been at lunch. And I don’t mind telling you that I promptly announced to the room at large that I would not be cleaning it up. I mean, I will. Just not today. Because I just could not bring myself to do it. I felt overwhelmed and tired just looking at the sink of piled up dirty dishes.
So instead I sat back down at my desk chair and started where I started. Surfing my favorite sites and remembering something about a post I was going to write.
And some days….you just can’t get past today to write about yesterday or the day before that.
So you get my today.
In all of it’s lazy, strange, off-ness.
June 27, 2011
I have them. You have them.
No, don’t bother denying it – we’re human and so we have expectations. All the time. Small and large. It’s our thing. It’s what we do.
I expect I’ll drink a coke with my next meal. Small expectation, yes. But also? Highly, highly likely.
Still, I’d also like to go on record as having admitted here and now that I had a big ol’ whopper of an expectation.
A parenting experience expectation.
To be honest, I can’t remember all that it entailed. I can’t remember the specifics of what I thought it would be or all the ins and outs of it. I just know that it was glossy and lovely and generally speaking (and so it turns out) delusional.
Yes, delusional – that was apparently me. Highly, highly delusional.
And to be brief and to the point (who are we kidding over here? I am neither brief nor to the point in most of my posts)…
I think in my minds eye, parenting a child involved lots of pretty goings-ons. Lots of cute clothing. Happy moments followed by happier moments followed up by sweeter moments. I think there were a lot of snapshots running through my head prior to May 2008. Lots of family vacations, ooh-ing and aaah-ing and baby toes and sweet smelling baby lotions and happy family videos where everyone is waving at the camera and kissing cheeks and smiling. Lots of that, for sure. Holidays were just, well…unbearably amazing in my visions. Playdates and bedtime and bathing and strollers in the mall…and swapping mommy-advice with the other mothers in the play area and smiling and saying “oh yes, we do that too” or “really? I should try that!”
Those were just some of the expectations I had. And they were all rolled together into one pretty little package. All rolled up and ready to be lived out day by glorious day.
That is, until I actually became someone's mother. Or two someone’s mothers.
And please pass a bucket of cold water right about there in my experience.
Because that’s what it felt like. And to be honest, it still feels like that a lot of days. Cold bucket of water – right over my head and all over my fairy-tale expectations.
When I meet expectant mothers, adopting or pregnant, I am loathe to rain on their happiness parade. Truly I am. But there is a stirring inside of me that wants to shout out “SHARP LEARNING CURVE AHEAD”. Something churning in my woman’s heart that wants to take them by the arm and hug them for a solid ten minutes for what they are about to go through. (hello, nutter!) I don’t. But I want to. Because I’ve tried to look back and recall if someone shouted that at me. Or hugged me for ten minutes…hmmm. I know there were women who said it would be the hardest job I ever did – and I think I just took that with a grain of salt. Sadly, a grain that I casually tossed over my shoulder and kept on my merry expectant way.
And I’m not saying I would have listened to them. Oh no. Probably not. In fact, I would have been highly uncomfortable with a ten minute embrace. Ahem. But I think it’s right up there with that whole “learning to ride a bike” - where you have to just get on the bike and fall down a few times and keep getting back up and trying again until you kind of have it. Learning to swim by talking about it to death?? Soooooo not gonna happen. Right? Well, same concept with mothering. With parenting in general. You have to just jump in and get your hands dirty.
But the problem I ran into over and over again…is that somehow in my blissful expectations of motherhood, I had so completely deluded myself about what I thought it would be – that when it didn’t match that expectations I had set up for myself, (frankly, didn’t even come close) I was crushed. Still am, sometimes. Yes, I still find myself coming to terms with the reality of parenting and all that it actually entails.
I am still settling the score with my expectations versus my reality. And it’s often such a shameful pity-party – that I’d rather no one even know I have them. Rather keep it to myself what a disappointment it can be on some days. Honestly, what a disappointment I am to myself, some days. You know what I mean. Those days when you say “I thought I’d be so much better at this…” and then you take a deep sigh and imagine a deserted beach where your only job would be to read a good book and tell the waiter what kind of drink you’d like? Those days? Yes.
That’s not to say I don’t love my children. Good grief – quite the opposite. I love them beyond measure. Who they are, who they will be, that I get to see that unfold – amazing. Best gift I was ever given.
But to downplay the personal toll of giving of yourself completely to not one but two other individuals – pouring yourself out daily – sometimes losing yourself or parts of yourself in the process? It’s very sad. And I’m still coming to terms with it.
And I think it’s the baby/toddler years that can really seem to suck you dry. Being that I'm in that stage, at any rate. Still, I have yet to talk to a mother – with toddlers – who has not felt or who feels some or all of these emotions daily/weekly: Spent. Exhausted. Underwhelmed. Disappointed. Frustrated. Lost. Emotional. Out of balance. Sad. Lonely. Drained. Unproductive. Disillusioned. Depressed. Anxious. Angry. Tired. Under-appreciated.
That’s a laundry list of unmet expectations right there. And you wanna know something? I don’t have the answers. Maybe that’s why I don’t shout out my big “learning curve” speech. Because I don’t know what to do to avoid it. Nothing, I guess? I really envy – and I mean, ENVY – those women for whom this post is a bafflement to them. I envy them because they roll out of bed with craft ideas and good solutions and meal prep ideas rolling around in their heads. That is enviable. Especially if you roll out of bed, like me, wishing you could roll right back in and be left alone for 3 more hours. Especially if your idea of meal prep involves pulling back one corner of the plastic for ventilation and pressing “High” and “2 minutes”. Especially if your idea of crafting involves crayons and a coloring book. Here’s a good solution: let’s watch Dora the Explorer do crafts. There’s an idea. Surely there’s an episode about that? It's like a two for one.
For some, parenting has been 3 parts amazing, wonderful, and everything we hoped for. But there are, like it or not, those of us who pined for our children for years – only to feel 1 part amazing/wonderful/everythingwehopedfor and 2 parts uh-oh.
You don’t have to like it. You don’t have to agree with me. That’s ok.
But I can guarantee you, that someone reading this is just so relieved to hear someone else say it.
To be validated in their utter loneliness of mothering. Because some of us? We’re not as good at it as we expected to be. And unmet expectations? They hurt. A lot.
It takes time and more time to grow away from those unmet expectations and to learn to live in the moment. It takes time not to beat yourself up for not loving it the way you thought you would.
That doesn’t mean you don’t love the child or children, although even that may be a struggle for some mothers.
What I mean to imply is that for some of us, it takes time to love motherhood and all that it entails.
Maybe not for you. But definitely for me. And maybe for you.
Frankly, I don’t think I’ll ever really love the tantrum phase. No. Definitely no.
Or all the poopy diapers.
Or the lack of sleep.
That’s all I’m saying.
It hasn’t come super naturally to me. And maybe it hasn’t come super naturally to you either. And maybe you needed to hear that because it’s super taboo to admit it.
Because then you run the risk of mean people saying things like “well then why did you even want to become a mother in the first place? Didn’t you know it was hard work?”
To which we say “I had great expectations….”
June 23, 2011
…but I’m going to let two pictures say it for today. Because we just returned from a whirlwind week long vacay to California and let’s just say that for two days we have been comatose. Mostly. We are WORN OUT – and I will attempt to tell all about it in the next couple days, but for now…we are napping and relaxing, unpacking (mostly) and recovering.
We did and saw an awful lot – including a fabulous birthday party for Little Miss Keira (I have two toddlers now? How did that happen?), an amazing trip to San Francisco, catching up with tons of family and friends, grilling out, staying up too late, eating too much, and soaking up the sunshine. We had such a wonderful time that it was hard to say good-bye – but don’t feel too bad for us. We’re heading to La Cabin in a couple weeks…and you all know how much I love me some La Cabin in La Woods. I cannot wait to get there and enjoy the heck out of it.
Meanwhile, enjoy cuteness overload:
Summer. Is. Here.
June 20, 2011
Can I just say, that my children have the absolute best Daddy EVER?
Good. At least it’s out there in the universe now…
Happy Father’s Day to AB
– truly the best man I could have ever hoped to meet and to love,
and the best thing to ever happen to my babies
*I would also be remiss not to mention my own Daddy...who I love deeply and who, after 8 years, I was finally able to be with on Father's Day this year. Such a treat for all of us. Love you, Dad!
June 15, 2011
Today Keira is two. And truthfully, I’m one-part “can’t believe it” and one-part “time is going too quickly”.
We celebrated with the most wonderful party hosted by my little brother and his wife. And the best part of course, is that we get to be in California with my family to celebrate – a wonderful treat indeed!
Keira, you are exactly as your name says you are…a joyful beauty…
We love and treasure you, and can’t wait to see all that you become.
Happy Birthday, Baby!
Mommy & Daddy
June 14, 2011
We do, and it has kept us together going on 12 years.
Married friends, I know life happens.
I know it’s not always easy.
I know it is in fact, easy to let the weight of life creep in.
I know it’s hard sometimes.
Please laugh with your honey…
It truly can bridge the gap between being ships passing in the night…
and remind you of the best friend you married.
Often, with each other and at yourselves.
It truly is some of the very best medicine…
June 13, 2011
June 11, 2011
I was browsing, as I’m prone to do. And I came across this fabulously pretty hair idea from Happy Together, who got the idea watching this sweet and simple Video Tutorial.
After watching the video – and this gal is darling with her awesome (and what I’m assuming to be) French accent – I was sold. It seemed so easy and relatively painless.
So here goes my try: a way to get heatless and lovely curls, hassle free. (*Note – my hair is not naturally curly. It’s naturally grey, but not naturally curly. I would say that it has a very slight wave to it, on certain days when the birds are singing and the flowers are blooming and perhaps a rainbow peaks out from behind the clouds. But this is an honest portrayal of a project gone right.)
Last night I got my hair band out, placed it around the top of my head and started folding in layers. (watch the video!) My hair was dry and clean. I used a smaller band than the one shown in the video – and yes, I might have burst out into “Let’s Get Physical” and done some hot 80’s moves in my bathroom. Because the headband in the front? Really funny. But oh…so radical.
Without any information on my project AB was a little perplexed at my new “hairstyle”. It’s not that bad, I argued. What’s wrong with it? (*wink) He might have asked me 17 times if I was serious. Seriously? Seriously. Seriously? Oh girls, it was fun.
Sleeping was not interrupted. I was not uncomfortable at all, and my hair stayed in place all night. Amazing!
This morning, I woke up, easily removed the band, and was amazed. It worked! I sprayed my hair with hairspray and then ran my fingers through loosely. This image shows the result with little to no fuss and very little product. Just a few sprays of hairspray.
Seriously. Doing. This. Again. Very. Soon.
You’re welcome. I’m nothing if not helpful. Ahem.
June 9, 2011
Sorry, but I came across these pictures tonight and I was just completely stunned.
She’ll be two next week. Please, please someone stop the clock. I can’t bear to see her grow up…
Waiting for her took a lot longer than the rapid speed of watching her grow up into the beautiful toddler she has become…
Oh, my heart!
Stop the clock!
June 7, 2011
I’m just popping in to confess something to you. And it ain’t so pretty – but well….whatevs.
I have lots of fears. Some of them irrational. Some of them founded. Some of them bizarre. And frankly, sometimes, I live a little too much in them.
Like, I’m terrified of a house fire, but I don’t own a fire extinguisher. What’s up with that? I’m scared my kids will get hurt because I’m not paying attention, but let’s face it - I’m obsessively paying attention (because of the fear and all). I’m terrified my kids will be hit by a car. Like in our own driveway. So I’m constantly freaking out and yelling things like “FREEZE” and “GET OVER HERE”. Totally confusing for them. I have a whole colony of fears for spiders, bugs, and creepy crawlies. Yes, I said “colony”. Don’t even attempt to talk me out of it. I hate them. And I may or may not be one of those people who constantly looks over their shoulder, just in case, to suss out my surroundings. I can neither confirm nor deny it. I’m only saying that I *might” be one of those people. I am scared to death about the state of our economy, our safety, our government, and even our fellow citizens. Will I even have retirement after all this mess?
And then our pastor spoke on the subject of fear. And I was really convicted about living my life that way. And even if I can’t change it overnight, I do so want to work on it. Because I don’t think we’re called to live our lives this way. And I know I am not the only one who has these kinds of repetitive and somewhat consuming fears.
Here is a great and encouraging quote from Stuart Briscoe’s “Hearing God’s Voice Above the Noise” in reference to the book of Haggai in the Bible – if you haven’t read either, I can highly recommend both:
“Down through the centuries people have lived to a greater or lesser degree in fear. They fear the future, the present, and the consequences of the past. They fear the Communists or they fear a recession. They fear what is going to happen to their children. Many tend to live in a constant state of dread. They are emotionally distraught. Haggai has a message for such people – and for all of us. If we learn to fear God in the right way, there is nothing else to fear.”
Am I prepared to trust God, despite my fears? And more importantly, have I ever truly learned to fear God and nothing else?
I don’t even want to answer that.
Lord, help me to trust You with my anxious thoughts and runaway fears!
“Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble, and he saved them from their distress. He brought them out of the darkness and the deepest gloom and broke away their chains” – Psalm 107:13-14
June 4, 2011
What’s that? You’re saying that I can’t have my way?
Well then, allow me to lay down here. In the middle of wherever we are.
And CRY. MY. HEAD. OFF.
I might throw in a kick of the leg or two.
For added measure and to prove my point.
Are you still looking??
Oh, good. You are still looking. Perfect.
You’re the meanest Mommy in the whole. wide. world.
And it’s all your fault I am forced to lay on this hard concrete.
If you would only give me whatever I want
when I want it…
I can’t even look at you anymore.
I’m too upset!
Oh the humanity!
Where is your sense of maternity?!?
This is an outrage!
Don’t you even care, woman?!?!
Oh, I care, son.
I care a lot…
Enough to let you lay there on that hard concrete
and act a tantrum throwin’ toddler
Because I now have pictorial proof
and some day you’ll have a girlfriend…