Friday, January 29, 2010

The Pants, Part 2

They are now a slate blue color. Kinda like the same color as the sky right before a hurricane hits.

Way better than golden yellow or baby diarrhea.

I still wish he would have boiled lobster instead.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

My Life Symbolically

The stain appeared about a month ago. It was small and black. It looked like someone had opened a pen and let all the ink run out. I confronted each child individually. No one has ANY idea how it happened. No one is to blame because no one did it. Amnesia reigns.

I finally got around to cleaning the stain. It sits in the playroom upstairs, so I've tried to ignore it. Yesterday I took up my carpet cleaner and sprayed away. And guess what, the black stain turned purple. And it spread. The more I scrubbed, the bigger it got.
I got so frustrated, I walked away and went downstairs. I ran my fingers through the bag of chocolate chips to calm myself down. I went back to ignoring the stain. Later that night, I heard Todd gasp upstairs when he saw it. He then got mad at the kids for ruining the carpet and wanted to know who was at fault. They all told him that mom did it. He was doubtful and I remained silent.

Today I realized that sometimes my life is just like this stain. What starts innocently enough on a small, manageable scale, seems to bleed into something larger that I didn't plan on tackling. Cleaning up one problem leads to a bigger problem. A task that I thought would take minutes, now will take untold amount of time.

Maybe if I find a way to clean up my carpet, I'll also find a way to balance my life. That stain is soaked in deep. But so is my constant way of managing too much at once. Strange how we do that sometimes, isn't it?

For now, I'm going to keep ignoring my problem area. When I get around to it, I think I'll ask Todd for advice. He has a way with color dye.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Letter To My House

For you, my house--

Today is your birthday. You are 2. I honor you the same way my mom honored every house birthday. With cake. It's the greatest compliment I could ever give you. The greatest love I can give is always wrapped in frosting. Today, we celebrated you with sprinkles.

You have been a good house. Lovely, open and inviting. Before living with you, I never, ever dreamed I would have granite counter tops. But now I do. All because of you. I must admit that you've settled some, a few cracks are showing your age. But all in all, you still look young.

I must secretly admit, I've thought of selling you. I could pay off my debt and live with my mom. But, that mere thought, without being spoken aloud, gave Nana a silent heart attack. So, together we shall stay. Which makes me happy. I hope you're happy too. You should be, it's your birthday. I made you cake. I hope you enjoy it, because we enjoy you. Happy 2nd birthday.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Can I Still Wear Them?

The other day, Todd came home and started boiling water. He grabbed the biggest pot we have. The one that won't fit in a cupboard and is so big I store it on top of the laundry room cabinets. He filled it full of water and set it on the stove to boil.

I asked him if he was cooking lobster. He told me he was boiling his pants. What? "I don't really like the color of my pants. They're too light. I bought some dye at the grocery store and I'm going to boil them." Again, I repeat, What?

The first dye job produced pants that were a lovely yellow, golden color. He dried and ironed them. The next morning he put them on for work and asked me what I thought. I told him he had two options. One- save your dignity and throw the pants away. Two- wear the pants and gain a whole group of new male friends on the bus. He hung the pants back on the hanger.

That night he returned home with a darker color of dye. Round two produced this:Just for comparison, his shorts are a NORMAL khaki color. His new pants are now a burnt orange, red color. The picture doesn't do them justice. He asked, "Do you think I can still wear them?" Again, I shall say, What? I responded, "If you think that wearing pants the color of baby diarrhea is attractive, then go for it." He hung them back up on the hanger.

I'm not quite sure where this pants experiment will lead to next. But, of this I am certain-- I would have preferred he cooked lobster.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Something To Shot For

Goals. I don't really like the word. For me, it usually means something I hope for but know is an impossibility. But yet, we set them anyway. Hoping beyond hope that our kids will be compelled to actually work toward them. At the beginning of every year, we set family goals. They are simple in nature and we only set a handful. I wouldn't want my kids to be too overwhelmed with having to actually look at me when I'm speaking AND flush the toilet all in the same year. That would be asking way too much.

Once all family members agree upon our goals, we type them up and everyone signs their name. I thought about making them sign in blood, but it would just be messy and I'd have to clean it up. I post our goals on our main cork board in the kitchen that no one (except me) ever looks at. I also make enough copies for each child to hang one in their room or on their bathroom mirror. We have one constant goal/rule that stays on the list every year--Sisters Are More Important Than Friends. One of these days that statement might actually sink in.
This year we decided to mix it up a bit. I asked all family members if they would rather make our regular list, or try setting one goal a month to work on. Everyone voted for a month-to-month 2010 plan. Our first goal suggestion was definitely NOT offered by me. But all were in agreement to work on it. I might have been crossing my fingers behind my back when I reluctantly agreed.

I made this chart and posted it in a place where everyone can see it. By. The. Phone. I know, I know, my scrapbook skills are stellar. I spent yesterday morning work on this instead of all the other things I really, really needed to get done.

Once a new month rolls around, we will make a new goal and replace it on our chart by the phone. The old month's goal will go on a year chart that I made and hung on the massive cork board that no one looks at.

I keep everything on this industrial size board (I found it for $3!). It is in the center of our kitchen and my calendar is the size of Ohio. But yet, they continue to ask me what date and time certain events are happening. Why doesn't anyone ever consider using their good eyes to look at the calendar? I have no answer.

I keep all schedules posted here and any upcoming homework assignments that need to be worked on (book reports, reading logs, etc.) I keep a chore chart and the school lunch menu on a magnet board by the fridge.

I'm hoping that we (by 'we', I mean the kids) can stop yelling in January. It's posted on cute scrapbook paper, so why wouldn't they (by 'they', I mean the kids) work on it? I don't have a yelling problem. I just talk loud naturally. I'm serious.

I'm not quite sure what our February goal will be. I have a few ideas in mind:
  • If you pick your nose, wipe it on a tissue instead of the wall.
  • Every eye roll will cost you $1.
  • No one is allowed to speak to their mother after 5:35 pm.
The options are wide open. Go ahead, pick one. Make a cute chart and set a family goal. And just remember, no yelling.

Monday, January 18, 2010

I Have A Dream--Foster Circus Style

I have a dream.
That one day all my children will be nice.
That they will listen when I speak,
And not roll their eyes at every request.

I have a dream.
That one day someone will pick up their crap without being asked.
That I will no longer find wrappers behind the couch,
Or gum hidden in bedrooms.

This is my hope and my faith.
That voices will drip with gratitude,
That actions will express love,
And dirty laundry will not be scattered on the floor.

Let freedom ring at the circus.
Let it sound through the wailing of homework.
So they may feel the fortune of living here,
Where freedom of sugar and frosting reigns supreme.

I have a dream.
That siblings will speak kindly to each other.
And the words, 'It's not fair!' will be erased from memory,
While 'Please' and 'Thank You' become the norm.

My country 'tis of thee.
Please help this mother not to flee.
Of this I sing.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

For A Rainy Day

The most fun your kids will ever have making cookies.
Follow the yummy recipe here.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Just My Vantage Point Has Changed

Scene: Junior High basketball game.
The only thing that's changed: where I sit.

We decided to venture out and take Addie and Kellie to the basketball game. We wanted to see Sam in action. I had no idea what a basketball manager actually does. From my viewpoint at the game, I discovered that she runs on and off the sidelines with a set of keys, she writes on a clipboard, she talks to the coach and she giggles with her friends. Sweet job.I was mesmerized by the crowd. Mostly by the students. Nothing has changed really, from when I was that age. The hair and clothes have almost come full circle in style (I definitely should have saved my stirrup pants). I watched them all interact with one another. I felt old. I also realized that the tether between Sam and I grows longer. Each time I take a step back and look at her, she's older. More independent. More on her own.

Only in Texas can you wear pink cowgirl boots and fit right in. Addie loves them.

She also loves popcorn. Is it obvious? I had sent her and Makell to the concession stand to buy a frozen pickle pop. I told Makell I would pay her to eat one. She returned disappointed because they were sold out. Seriously? You sold out of giant frozen pickles on a stick? Crazy.

The best part of the night was explaining the game of basketball to a 7 yr. old. Again, and again, and again. At the end of the night, she asked, "now, which color is our team?"

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Wanna Hear A Joke?

On Sunday, the missionaries approached Todd with a question: "How old is Sam?" After a pause and a chuckle, Todd responded with, "Too young for you. 13. Why?" In turn, the missionaries said, "Darn it. We were hoping she was 12. We are looking for somewhere to live. We wanted to live at your house but mission rules state that we can't if anyone is age 13 and up." After a serious amount of laughter from Todd, they left downtrodden.

This is a joke. Right? I mean, let's be honest. Who would willing want to live here? And feel the spirit? Uh, I'm not a genius, but this is clearly not the place. Can you just imagine what their mission life would be like if they lived here? Addie would ask if she could sleep on the floor next to their bed and Makell would probably walk into their bathroom to ask them a question while they were showering. For reals. I'm not kidding, this has to be a joke. Either that, or they both have a fever.

A really high fever.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

State Of Mind

Lately, I've been trying to change my state of mind. I'm tired. My mind, I mean. It's tired. I can't seem to move myself in a direction of wanting to do all that I am being asked to do. I think I would even settle for the smallest, tiniest sliver of wanting.

I find myself wishing I could take a step back and be a sideline observer for a while. I want a break from standing in the middle of the action. I want to sit. I don't want to do. But yet, I can not. Therefore, my state of mind remains unchanged. It sits and hopes for quieter, slower times.

This morning, I was thinking about my current, tired outlook. I thought to myself, "How can you tell the Lord you're tired?" Even still, Can you tell the Lord you're tired? That thought somehow led me to the times I ask my kids to do things they don't want to do. The things they're too tired to do. When they ask me "Why?", my answer to them is most often, "Because I asked you to."

Maybe I am no different than they. All this week I have been asking "Why?" This question has just simmered there, in the back of my mind. What if my answer is the same I always offer in response? "Because I asked you to." Reason enough.

I believe that I don't need to tell the Lord I'm tired. He already knows. But He also knows what needs to be done and is asking for my help. He needs each of us in ways that seem to stretch us beyond what we think possible. At home, and at church. No time for sideline observation.

I am still tired. I do still long for quiet, calm, easy. But my state of mind may slowly evolve as I listen to the voice that tells me "Because I asked you to." I may just be able to find my small sliver of wanting after all.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Nice Handwriting

Nothing expresses love like a handwritten note from your child on the bumper of your car.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Addie In Da House

She asked if she could paint a picture. Being the perfect mom that I am, I indulged her. She insisted on painting a house. 'Our' house. I thought our house was brown. Apparently its pink. With a lively red roof.
She only painted herself in our house. Do you think that's symbolic? Maybe she finds the rest of us irritating and just wants to be left alone. I wouldn't blame her.
She asked for peach paint to give her body a peach color. I didn't have any, so she settled for an orange body. She described her hair as "fluffy". She insisted the grass be thin and straight. The perfect Addie house.

One of a kind house. One of a kind girl.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Hope In A New Year

Happy New Year. We spent ours with friends and fireworks. We made it to 11:15 pm. That's remarkable considering that Todd and I wanted to fall asleep at 9.

As the girls were enjoying the fireworks last night, I took a quick look at them. I tried to see the passage of 2009 and look at all I hope for 2010.

I hope that this 13 year old will hold firm to who she is and all she believes. She has entered a season where her faith in herself and her Heavenly Father will be her true guide. She is a remarkable young woman. I hope she will always believe that.
I hope for this lively 10 year old to know of her extraordinary gifts. Beyond her learning abilities lies immeasurable talents and love. I hope for her to see all that I see. I hope for her to believe beyond her limitations.

I hope for this 7 year old to know that she is loved. This child is in constant motion and often in constant trouble. I tend to lose sight of all that she means to my world. I hope for her to know that she is adored and cherished.

I hope for calm. I hope for the mundane. I hope for nights where we have time to slow down and just Be. Together.
I hope for peace for my siblings and their families. I hope for blessings for my mom. I hope for miracles for the twins.

For 2010, I hope for Hope.
May I look for it in the smallest of moments to come...