Tuesday, August 27, 2013

preschoolers.

It's 1:00pm.  So far today, I've bought groceries, started Christmas shopping, ran a few errands for the dealership, made a lasagna, fed all the pets, and put the baby down for her nap before she even had to resort to rolling around the hallway screaming in exhaustion while I wipe someone else's butt/retrieve a stray lovey from the basement/insert other distraction here.  And then, I sat down to update my blog for the first time in weeks.  Having one child at home for the first time since my nearly-five year old firstborn was sixteen months old?  Glorious!  Oh yes, friends, today this happened:


 Back to school!  Or in the case of Miss Vivi, first ever day of preschool!  I thought, really would've bet a lot of money, that I would've been sad today.  I warned my mom that she may be called upon to meet me downtown for a lunchtime glass of wine.  I suspected there'd be some tears and that the echoey house would make me feel blue.  But really?  I'm so happy for my kids, that they have this lovely little preschool to attend, their caring teachers and their new adventures and all this goodness to prepare them to be good students and good people when real school comes calling.  Especially my Vivi girl, who's been waiting for this day since last summer when big brother went to VBS and she was stuck with me and that was just TOTALLY not fair.  And all last year, she'd ask, as we drove back home after dropping off the brother at preschool, when SHE would get to go to school.  She wanted to make new friends and learn new things and have a backpack!  Next fall?  Next fall was forever away, my girl would bemoan.  And finally, today, with summer winding down and autumn's glory beckoning ... my girl's wish came true.  She picked out a dress, put her leggings on all by herself (and then put them on again, when the first try came up with a tag up front), dictated how I'd do her hair, inspected her backpack to make sure there was a lovey for nap time and a blankie with her name on it.  Shoes on, ponytail straightened, out the door.  School time.

And off they went.  My girl starting on a brand new adventure, my boy embarking on one last year of practice school before the real deal next fall and so, so excited to have his little sister at "his" school.  And .... I'm happy.  Mostly.  I must admit to an emotional moment a bit ago when I went into Vivi's room to put clean clothes away and it hit me that my girl was grown, a bit anyway, and gone, today anyway, and doing things I don't know about and meeting people I don't know yet and breaking away a tiny bit in the way kids do before you know what's happening.

But mostly, happy.  And excited to pick them up and squeeze them tight and hear about their day.  And they'll probably be bickering before we make it down the street from the school and I'll just be like "OMG IS IT THURSDAY/HIGH SCHOOL GRADUATION YET?!"

And my Mabel?  On this, her first birthday (more on that later!)?  She has the mama all to herself, at last. A quiet house for napping and new birthday toys all her own for playing.  She'll like this preschool business just fine, no doubt about it.

Monday, August 12, 2013

welcome to my basement.

HURRY UP AND READ THIS.

Just kidding.  Take your damn time, see if I care!

So, the playroom.  That playroom, for me, was a big draw to purchasing this particular house.  The playroom and the whole rest of the gigantic walk out, light-filled, potential-filled basement.  Square footage, here in beautiful Durango, Colorado?  Not cheap at all, so not cheap that we basically had a heart attack when we arrived to house hunt and saw what our Wisconsin dollars would buy in Durango.  This house, up against the newer/more updated competing homes in our neighborhood of choice, was an underdog at first.  Brass fixtures here, oil rubbed bronze in the competition.  Dated 1990s baths here, Jack n' Jills with granite there.  Underdog-o-rama.  Except when it came to the square footage (okay, and the big lot and the updated kitchen and the glorious - if worn - hardwood floors).  So we looked at the prettier places with the prettier things but kept coming back to this one with the good lot and the good size and that good feeling I kept getting, as I wandered through the echoey rooms rubbing my big belly,  about this being home.  I felt it, anyway.  J?  He was all "NEWER PRETTIER LESS WORKIER PLEASE!"  So obviously, as these things go, we boarded the plane back to WI with a contract on this house in hand.  Because I was pregnant and nobody argues with the pregnant, duh.  And 11 months in, we're chipping away, dollar by dollar and Sunday by Sunday, at a hefty list of "Things We Want to Fix Up".  Likesuchas, the basement.  Where the guest room was neon green and the guest bath an accompanying neon purple and there are boob lights aplenty.  Where a previous owner's elderly cat ..... you know .... here and there on the pale blue carpeting.  But the basement overhaul, in reality?  It's quite a ways down on the priority line.  After things like "eradicate the brass doorknob plague" and "get big mama a claw foot tub."  Eventually, the basement will receive new flooring and new paint throughout and new lighting and new furniture that the dog hasn't chewed on, but for now, it's a pretty nice spanse of space into which to throw the FakeTwins and let 'em at it.  Crunch your Goldfish into the carpet, see if I care!  (Okay, I sort of do.)  Ram that truck into the wall, I dare you!  (NOW STOP IT THAT'S LOUD.)  But you know what I'm saying.  The basement, it suffices.  Let's take a peek at what we were looking at, coming in:
told ya.
NEON OMG.

boob lights, blah paint, blue carpet.
So for now, until we do All The Other Things and make our way to the bottom floor .... little tweaks are making our basement more palatable in its current state. Painting over the neons in the guest suite last weekend, using already-owned rugs to cover dirtied bits of the baby blue carpet, tackling a DIY reclaimed wood headboard (stay tuned!)  And on a quiet Saturday morning: giving some flair to these cheapie Ikea frames I picked up many moons ago.  They've made two moves with us and were just looking .... blah.  The mats were yellowing a bit and Saturday, eying them disdainfully, I briefly considered tossing them all into the trash.  Instead, I did what I do best after eight hours of sleep and two big coffees.  I crafted.
I took out my favorite book of paper (Bramble Rose, from Hobby Lobby, also seen here and here), traced the mats, cut the paper "mats" out, and was all ready to Mod Podge the paper onto the mat when I realized (duh) I could just set the paper over the mat, put it all back in the frame, and hang!  Easy.  Peasy.  And the best part about not gluing the paper down is that when I tire of the chevrons (which, let's face it, will be sooner than later), I can toss those out and put in something more current.


So that's where we're at, for now.  The new "mats" really add a little sumthin' sumthin', eh?  The woodsy colored rug is a leftover from our woodsy house, where it matched (not so much here).  But it covers up a few stains on the carpet and is free, so yeah.

It'll get there.  Baby steps, yall.

Have a great week, friends!

ps: Info about the super simple flash card project (and a flashback to the playroom of ole!) HERE.

Friday, August 9, 2013

tired

Oh, yall, I am so tired.  Tired in general, because it's Friday and that marks day five of the work week and the work week, over here in SAHMville, means I've done a whole lot of Cheerio sweeping and butt wiping and FakeTwin brawl breaking upping ..... so I'm tired.  As are you, my SAHM friends who've done the same, and you, my working mom friends who've been go-go-going all week long (in real, non-leggings pants!), and you, my ..... other kinds of friends.  We're all tired.

But more specifically, today, after seeing the topic come up for the eighty billionth time this week on my Facebook feed, I'm tired one thing in particular.  Tired of being told I'm a bully, a child-damager, a BAD MOM for hurrying my kids along.  I don't always hurry them, case in point being this exact lazy Friday morning when the FakeTwins are contentedly lazing around with bed head and unbrushed teeth and a box of cereal passed between them while we build a Little People town.  We've got nowhere to be and nothing to do and they can dawdle the whole darn day away, if they'd like.  We started off like this and haven't moved far from it:

But sometimes?  On school days and errand days and the like?  We hurry up.  We're running late for school (again),  we've been in the cereal aisle at the grocery store for so long the cereal might expire before we just choose our freaking cereal already, we're all taking twelve minutes to get our underpants on when really, NOBODY NEEDS TWELVE MINUTES TO GET THEIR UNDERPANTS ON!  Sometimes?  Kids need to be hurried!  That's okay!  I am not a bully for teaching my kids that tardiness is disrespectful.  I am not damaging them by asking them to put their shoes on in a timely manner the first time I ask.  I am not some big bad mom for politely requesting, after ten minutes of hemming and hawing upstairs, that Vivi just choose a princess dress and get down here, already.  I'm not missing out on ALL THE THINGS because sometimes I worry about development or push them a bit harder when I (supposedly) should be just letting them do as they do in their very own special snowflake time.  And I'm tired of being told I am doing it wrong.  I'm tired of this, and I'm tired of this whole "let's all raise little narcissistic assholes" movement.  Tired of being made to feel that looking at my iPhone in the backyard is some grievous error in parenting.  Because it's not some terrible thing to take a minute here and there for myself.  It's okay for my kids to know they aren't the WHOLE WIDE WORLD.  Yes, they're my world, or at least a big huge portion of it (them, and the husband, and the cats, and the God, and the wine) (not necessarily in that order).  But the whole world isn't going to watch and applaud every time they go down the slide.  Sorry, nope.  They should enjoy doing it for the simple enjoyment of DOING it!  The whole world isn't going to wait with an indulgent smile while they putz down the aisles of the hardware store with the wobbly wheeled kid sized carts and hold up the rest of the customers who have places to be.  Keep moving, kid!  The whole world is going to expect that they give as much as they take, they show up on time, they can't always do as they please when they please.  Isn't that an important part of my parenting job, really?  To ready them for the real world, that place of deadlines and expectations and necessary selflessness?  The other part of my job, the part where I make our home a place of fun and safety, where I coddle them and snuggle them and cheer when they master the monkey bars and read them every story on the bookshelf doing the story character voices JUST as they like?  Where I refill the bathtub with warm water when the first batch has gone cool, so they can play more, despite how tired I am and how much I'd like to be downstairs doing the dishes so I can get into bed early and watch Bravo?  Where I let them stay up just a little past bedtime because they smell so sweet all freshly washed and pajama clad, snuggled up beside me watching their favorite bedtime show?  I love those parts!  I really do!  But I'd be amiss, I think, to make those the ONLY parts.  To slow down always, worry never, throw my iPhone into the trash.

There's a happy medium, we all know that.  But this week, when one particular "OMG WARNING YOU'RE RUINING THEM" article has popped up time and time again when I do steal that hard-earned minute to go online ..... it feels like we're getting unbalanced.  And I'm not so naive that I think posting this little rant on this little no-name blog of mine will make any difference.  But it had to be said, if only for my own peace of mind, that there's nothing bad about balancing the dallying with the hurrying.  I like to think my kids will thank me one day, when they HAVEN'T just lost their job because their boss has had it with them showing up ten minutes late because, you know, there were FLOWERS TO SMELL.  When they don't have to then move into my basement because they NOW HAVE NO JOB and they're depressed because they've got nothing to do but sit down there stewing in their resentment that I didn't teach them to, you know, HURRY UP AND GET TO WORK ON TIME.  Or someshit.

You're welcome, kids.

Monday, August 5, 2013

lately

It's August.  August!  Last August, we were suspended in a world of hurrying up and waiting (and waiting, and waiiiiiting) while temperatures soared and my feet swelled and the road to Colorado felt unimaginably long.  We were saying goodbye to our beautiful northwoods home (the hair!  On that boy!)  We were traveling, which meant me waddling in and out of every reeking bathroom from north central Wisconsin to north west Minnesota and struggling to reach into the backseat to restart Toy Story without pulling any muscles.  I was holed up in the lake cabin for a sweet, quiet week alone with Vivi, all princess shows and sparkles on everything and following her whims and her ways and cherishing our last days together as the only ladies of the house (the lack of hair!  On that girl!)  It was a whole different world, last August, it really was.  Because now there's this August.  This August, settled into our Colorado home with an almost five year old, an almost preschooler, an almost one year old.  With this almost sane mother who swore up and down she wouldn't go wild with the first birthday party or cry about middle child starting school or refuse to believe a kid of hers could be FIVE (but, you know, lies, all lies).  We've successfully banished the neon green from the guest room walls, we've got the kids' bathroom looking distinctly less 1998ish, and just today I dug into the depths of Mabel's closet and pulled out all those baby clothes and they're going, going, gone.  No more denial: we've got no further need for single digit month sizes 'round these parts.  Like ever.

We're hopscotching.

We're superheroing.

We're bean eating, aka getting Mexi take out at least once a week because we don't have AC and you're crazy if you think I'm running the oven.  Or even the toaster.  Or so much as lighting a freaking candle.  Yeah, no.

We're .... taking increasingly crappy family portraits?

Oh and sometimes we're convincing Vivi, when she wakes up and wanders into our bedroom, that the big orange cat (aka, Rodger) on the bed is actually Ernie (aka, Erns McGerns) and he just got really big while she slept.  AND SHE BELIEVES IT.  Ah, V.

And tonight, we're learning things like that cats sweat through their paws and that cats have 30 bones in their tail and I'm laughing hysterically every time J's iPhone chimes because SOMEONE signed J up for an hourly cat fact text message that he's been trying to shut off for like 12 hours with no success at all.  Whoever that mysterious someone is .... WELL PLAYED.  Well.  Freaking.  Played.