To-Do List #6: Check!!!

I'm even close to being "done" with this project (still have to edit, edit, send to publishers, edit some more, look into self publishing, get over my fear of rejection, edit, etc) but I am still SUPER PROUD OF MYSELF!  That's 90,000 words from my head to the screen.  Boo-yah.


Spring Cleaning!

As the end of the semester approaches, as the days dwindle down toward summer, I find myself longing to sweep away the old stagnancy of the school year.  Hence, spring cleaning.

The reward for my diligence in purging out unnecessary items from the house is that the thought of deep cleaning is no longer completely overwhelming.  Since I can see most of the corners, the idea of dusting them doesn't seem so scary!  

I should probably have come up with a "system" - but, alas, I've just been going with whatever Koa will let me get away with.  No focused, 4-hour jobs getting done around these parts.  Yesterday I cleaned all the vertical blinds and today I freshened the beds and cleaned the washing machine.  

The most entertaining part of this gig is finding ways to clean unusual things using, you know, "natural stuff".  I would say 90% of my chores have been knocked out using either vinegar, baking soda or both.  Essential oils have made everything smell awesome, too.  The boys room smells like a koala farm from all the eucalyptus oil.  I put it everywhere, and I do mean everywhere.  Pinterest has been an invaluable resource since there are plenty of Blogging Hippie Suzy Homemakers out there.



No One Said It Was Going To Be Easy

Is it awful to admit that yesterday I wished, in only for the briefest moment, that I had never had children?

The things I could do without kids!  I could be travelling the world, applying for the Peace Corps (again), spending my disposable income, sleeping in until long past noon...  Rather than bickering with a two year old, cleaning up a mountain of dishes, while fielding calls about behavior problems that I have ZERO clue how to fix.  Listening to myself yell and nag, hearing myself and barely recognizing my own voice.  Watching my kids cry with frustration as they are punished for hurting my pride.  Where is that lady who had all the answers 5 years ago?  I'd like a word with her.

Sure, kids are cute and fun...sometimes.  But when the road gets rocky, like beyond 4-wheel drive capability crazy, when I am unsure and insecure and screwing everything up - I just wished I had saved myself the heart ache and never had them.  More than that, I wish I had saved them the heart ache and their little souls would have been delivered to a mom who actually has her shit together.

To be perfectly clear, having kids was 100% my decision.  My husband already had children and accepted the possibility that I might not be into the whole parenting gig.  But, that innate desire is too profound.  How can anyone turn away from a challenge so great, a task so noble, a calling so pure?  This is the most comprehensive and important job I will ever hope to have.    

No one said it was going to be easy.  But, never in my wildest dreams could I have imagined the love and torment that coexist so naturally.  They are my greatest joy and deepest despair.  I love them so deeply and in the exact same moment I can't stand to be near them.  It is such a strange, strong dichotomy.  Rather than a swinging pendulum of emotion its a tense, opposing force.  It is truly overwhelming. 

So, yesterday, for a fleeting moment, my gut tried to run away.  She tried to shirk her responsibilities.  But, I came through.  Ultimately, these kids are mine.  I must raise them.  Even if I screw up, I must keep trying.  Typically, we only recall the good stuff anyway (ie. college), so I probably won't even remember that nagging harpy who cried in the bathroom eating a Mars bar just to get away from you-know-who.


Sharing Joy With Your Children

As a mom, I often feel like my kids are my whole life.  Caring for them, entertaining them, reading about how to care for them better, making sure they have access to all the necessary trappings of a "good life" both emotionally and physically...it's exhausting!  We seek out activities that they will enjoy, things that are "child-appropriate".  I also have a tendency to wrap my own identity around them, like when I use phrases such as "I'm a mom" to describe myself.

But we are, in fact, three totally separate people.  I must remain diligent about exploring and identifying myself as an individual.  Not only that, but it's important for me to share these parts of myself with my children.  In my adult life, I have come to know my parents - my own mother particularly - in a way that is completely outside of their role as my guardians. They have shared their opinions, their fears and desires, their likes, dislikes, hobbies and more with me.  The discoveries have been downright fascinating.

I want my children to know me.  To share the things I love so they can understand who I am - aside from being their caretaker.  I would like to pass on some small piece of knowledge.  I'm not talking about wide-reaching, lofty things like my values and beliefs.  I'm talking about the simple things, like how to knit, or bake, or finding adventure in a good book.  This exchange requires me to teach them, have them be with me when I am doing those things rather than shooing them away so I can enjoy some "me time".  Have them interact with rather than just passively benefit from my simple joys.

Here is Koa, sharing one such moment with his father.  Exercise is always a joy at our house.


Little Boys Room

I finally found some inspiration via my friend's recently blog post!

If I could sum up their room (my room, our house, our life) in one word, it would be UTILITARIAN.  Sure, it would be nice to have photo-worthy and thoughtfully decorated rooms, but I just...I don't know.  I just can't seem to pull it all together.  Ever.

So, what we are left with are spaces that are extremely useful, though perhaps not so beautiful.  Unlike Little M's room, this room is huge.  I could easily have gotten a wide angle shot, but the zoom pictures look more artistic, making up for the complete lack of actual design.

the stuffed animals are conferencing in the corner.  This is intentional, I'm sure.
NFL pennants.  Once they get totally worn out we will switch to the MLB set.
I like to think of a disheveled shelf as a sign of healthy reading activity!
these are my favorite (of very few) decorative items.  I need to figure out how to display them better.
hmm...time to teach simple chores, like bed making.
the growth chart.  Koa isn't growing fast enough to reach this section yet.


Just checking in...

I have not forgotten you, oh beloved blog.  I have simply not been able to come up with one coherent thought that is long enough to merit an actual post.  Nor have I taken any pictures worthy of your immortalizing digital format.  Perhaps tomorrow will bring about a shine of inspiration?


A Day For Myself

Being a stay-at-home mom, I spend all day everyday with my 2 year old.  I rarely go anywhere or do anything that doesn't involve him.  Even when I am home, doing chores and paying bills, I still keep him in my sights.  My ears are tuned to his cries.  

So today, when a friend has taken him for 8 hours (childcare swapping), what do I do?  
Go to the beach and read a book?  That would be nice.
Take a hot shower and a long nap?  Mmm...sounds relaxing.
Pamper myself with a day at the spa?  Slightly out of budget but still appealing.

Nope.  I go to the grocery store.  Correction - I breeze through the grocery store uninterrupted!  It was simple and glorious.  
Now I have a tall cup of joe and I am going to sit in front of this lap top and work on my novel until the clock strikes twelve and my computer turns back into a pumpkin.  Resisting the urge to just do a bunch of chores is requiring some major will power but there is always tomorrow.  Today, I am free to concentrate and need to take advantage of that.  

Right after I finish updating my blog.