Wednesday, January 25, 2012

"I'm incapacitated here!"

It's a genetic thing... when our toes are hurt we cease to function. 

My little sister called me this afternoon almost in tears. She has a badly infected toe that a week of antibiotics hasn't helped. She went to the doctor this afternoon and had it treated. (She told me exactly what they did, but I'll be honest, after she showed me the before picture and started using words like puncture, drain, and cauterize I stopped listening and just smiled and nodded to whatever she said.) The end result is that she cannot put any pressure on that foot for 24 hours. That means tomorrow she'll be camped out on my couch with her foot elevated with her knitting and a chick flick fest. I couldn't count myself a good sister if I wasn't there for her in her time of need, so I guess I'll just have to suck it up and spend the day knitting with her. Yeah... twist my arm. Oooh, Caitlin! Aren't you glad it wasn't a finger infection?

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Clean slate...

Let me e'splain. No. There is too much. Let me sum up... (movie points anyone?)

Turns out it's really easy to let go of a habit, even if you've been doing it everyday for a year. How depressing is that? I've looked at the computer every night since last Thursday and thought about posting a little something. I've even started a couple of posts. But I just haven't felt like it, and since I basically gave myself permission not to do it if I didn't feel like it... well, I think the results speak for themselves. Even sadder is the many areas in my life that are seeming to go that direction right now. Working out, keeping up with the house, sewing projects. I wake up all geared up in my mind to accomplish a whole bunch. I have a kick-butt game plan all lined up. I start in on the first thing... and then my enthusiasm fizzles out. And before I know it lunch time rolls around and I haven't done a blessed thing. Because I don't feel like it. And I don't like feeling that way.

I'm also tired of feel perpetually chaotic and unorganized. I'm tired of the amount of dishes and towels and clean clothes my children go through in a day. I'm tired of sending my children in to brush their teeth and later finding the sink half full of water with a toothbrush, the toothpaste, the hairspray and a bottle of medicine floating in it. I'm tired of finding food and food wrappers on the floor, peanut butter in the fridge (with the lid always only placed on it, NEVER screwed back on... why? Seriously, how much time can you save by not screwing the lid back on the peanut butter? Two seconds? Three at most?), and milk in the cupboard.  I'm most especially tired of the fact that my family doesn't read my mind and just do what I want them to do with me having to tell them over and over again.

So, what is the solution? I don't know (or even believe that there actually is one) but I do know that we are going to try something new around here. I am NOT playing servant anymore. (I'm not making this up, Lila actually calls me that. Usually when I am making dinner and I think she is trying to say server, like at a restaurant, but still.) I am taking a page straight out of my mother's play book and making my children clean their own rooms. By themselves. With no help from me. I helped them clean and organize everything less than a month ago. So I know they know where things go and exactly what I mean by cleaning their room. I don't expect perfection. I expect them to make their beds, put their dirty clothes in the hamper, their clean clothes in the drawers and know where their shoes are.(Hint- if you put them where they go you won't lose them, just saying.) But our their biggest challenge is the toys. They have toy sorters and bins and buckets and shelving and hanging thingys. Every possible way there is to sort and store and organize those toys that has been made, we have it. And every possible method to encourage them to take care of their toys, we've tried. I've tried helping and standing back and giving direction. I've purged and taken away toys. I've taken them away for a little while and let them earn them back and I've taken them away FOREVER!

 I know they know how to clean the toys up, so now I am just going to expect them to do it. If it is not done right, I dump it out and they start over. By my calculations it has taken Evie over five hours to clean her room today. Of course that is in part because on the first inspection we found that she had not put the toys away correctly, but had simply shoved anything and everything she could grab into and under the toy sorter. Apparently she didn't believe me when I said that if she did that I would dump everything on to the floor and make her start over again. Twice so far, and I am prepared to keep dumping her toys into a pile in the middle of the floor until she figures it out. I have also said, "I don't care if you cry about it as long as you are cleaning while you cry." Harsh? Maybe. Effective? I hope so.

My mom did the same thing to me as a child. I have a very vivid memory of the summer day I spent nine hours cleaning the bathroom. It took me nine hours to learn that 1) I wasn't going to win this particular battle with my mother and 2) it is always much faster to just to a job right the first time. I just hope my kids are faster learners than I was.

P.(m)S. This may be somewhat hormonally driven, but I think the basic concepts are sound.

Thursday, January 19, 2012


Tonight Brian shared something that happened with Lila while I was at knitting. He was letting the girls help him make dinner and out of the blue Lila said, "Holy hell!"

Brian was of course shocked and said, "Lila! That is not a good word to say. Where did you hear that?"

Without pausing Lila responded, "School."

"Lila, you don't go to school."

"Oh yeah..."

"So where did you learn that?"


I am going to fess up right now and admit that I am the bad example in this scenario, but I promise that I've never said that at church (even though I am her primary teacher.)

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

They can be taught! (But success is fleeting...)

As I mentioned in my last post, I wasn't feeling very good this weekend. On top of all that I had a bit of a knitting crisis (yes. That is a real thing.) and I just took a time out from technology. I'm finally feeling better and I think I have the knitting issue resolved, so now I'll play catch-up...

Last Wednesday night as we were getting ready for bed I gave Lila a very stern talking to about the fact that she was NOT welcome in my bed anymore. Not that I really expected it to stop her, because I've given her the same lecture any number of times already. So imagine my surprise when I woke up the next morning to find this...

I had told her specifically that if she came upstairs in the night she would have to sleep on the floor.


I guess she does listen after all...

Good Morning Jake!

She was surprisingly chipper for having been asleep on the floor. I thought we'd finally solved this problem, but a few nights later I learned I have to tell her specifically not to get into my bed every. single. night. 
Back to square one...

Friday, January 13, 2012

Sometimes love is spelled s-o-u-p...

I have been just a little bit under the weather today. Headache and upset stomach, but since it wasn't dire enough to stay tucked up in bed all day I still had to do mother type things. You know, feed them and stuff. Caite came down and we watched movies and knit all day, which was lovely and relaxing. But after she left the kids hit their stir-crazy phase. (Have you ever seen a cat go stir-crazy where they run around and jump on the furniture and try to pounce on their own shadows. Yeah, my kids do that in the early evening too.)

By the time Brian got home I was pretty well done for, so I declared it a cold cereal for dinner kind of night. I sat on the couch while the kids ate cereal, and realized that all I wanted was soup. Actually what I really wanted was soup that I didn't have to cook. Even opening a can and heating it up in the microwave seemed like too much work. Brian was passing through the room and asked me what was wrong. I told him I was wanting soup. So when he went to return the videos he stopped and bought me a cup of soup from Kneader's. Such a simple act of service, but it was just what I needed tonight- someone taking care of me for a change. I really love that man...

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Wait a minute! How did this become my fault?!

This morning I was getting cleaned up and dressed for the day and feeling pretty okay about myself. It wasn't even 10 am and I had worked out (twice), eaten breakfast, done the dishes and gotten the kids to school early for a change. Lila was in a pleasant mood and was contentedly watching Mickey Mouse while I took a quick shower. Just as I finished pulling on my shirt I heard the ominous sound of many, many small things hitting the kitchen floor. I dashed down the hall to find this...

I took a deep breath and calmly asked, "Lila, why did you pour the animal crackers all over the floor?" She immediately burst into tears. I put my arms around her and gave her a hug. "Lila, look at me. Do I look mad? Am I yelling at you?" She sniffed, hiccuped, and said, "No."

"So what happened?"

"I wanted a cracker."

I realized that the bag had been sitting open on the counter and she must have grabbed the bottom of it by mistake.  I told her, "Okay, next time you want a snack will you please come and ask Mommy to help you get it so we don't have another spill happen?" She agreed and I got down to help her pick them all up.

I was just congratulating myself on handling a frustrating situation with maturity and restraint when Lila shot me a look of complete disdain and said, "You know if you leave these out I am going to spill them." 

I couldn't even respond. 
I really should know better by now...

Wednesday, January 11, 2012


I've been pondering about my role as a mother a lot over the past week.

It's funny how often I can have two diametrically opposing emotions about being a mother. For instance...

It's hard to have small children/It's hard to let your children grow up.

It's hard to have your child around you all day and all night/It's hard to let them go out of your sphere and not know every moment of their day.

It's hard when they ask you the same question over and over again/ It's hard when they don't ask questions (usually for permission).

It's hard when your toddler whines and throws a fit because they don't want to ride in the shopping cart/It's hard when your older children whine about having to walk through the store.

It's hard doing such a thankless job/It's hard because I can't think of anything else I'd rather be doing.

So to sum up, motherhood is hard.

I guess I'm not that conflicted after all.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Everyday life...

Yesterday I didn't blog. (Just in case you didn't notice...) Mostly because I was in a whiny mood and it would have been a rant about switching to 9 am church, the fact that my calling is teaching Lila's sunbeams class and therefore I NEVER get a break from my own 3 year old, and to top it all off we can throw 6-9 (depending on the week) other 3 year olds into the mix, including one who thinks he is a spider monkey. To sum up, I came home needing a Valium and a hot bath, and instead got to make dinner and do laundry because once again I had let it go until we had a bona fide laundry emergency on our hands, i.e. no clean underwear or pants. Once I got the kids to bed I thought about blogging for about two and a half minutes, and then shut the laptop in favor of watching a movie with my husband while he folded the laundry. 

Today was a crazy running around kind of day. Get up, take the kids to school, run to the store for a pork roast, run home and put it in the crock pot, take Lila to my grandma's, go to Jake's school and volunteer for an hour, go pick up Lila, go to Emilie's so we can do the workout that we didn't want to get up at 6 am for, realize that I have completely forgotten what time Kindergarten gets out (despite the fact that it's been the same for four and a half months now), run to pick up Evie, run back to Emilie's, do the work out, realize how much easier it is to count to twenty when you don't have to yell "Go Downstairs!" during every other rep and recommit to getting up at 6 am, go home for an hour or so, go pick up Jake from school, and return home for the final time today. 

I was so worn out that after I got the kids a snack and got them started on their homework, I crawled into bed to read for a little while until it was time to finish dinner. I lay there staring at the ceiling for a bit and all I could think was, "If getting into pajamas at four in the afternoon is wrong, then I don't want to be right..." 

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Catch Phrase

No, we aren't talking about the awesome game from the 90's. 
Today at lunch Jake decided that we all needed our own signature catch phrase. 

Brian: "That's how I roll..." 

Jake: "Aaa-ctually..."

Evie:  "Guess what?"

Lila:  "But I want to..."

I, however, had three that they couldn't decide between:

 "I'm done!" 

"I've had it!"

"Are you kidding me?!"

I'm pretty sure they all three get equal rotation...

Friday, January 6, 2012


Did you know that I am a sucker for sports movies? Especially if they are also about the Olympics. I know, for someone who's only ever played one summer of tee-ball you wouldn't think that sports is my thing. Although I did really enjoy playing YW basketball and I wasn't too bad. Even though I am short, I am really scrappy. Maybe that's why I like sports movies. I get all emotionally caught up in cheering for the underdog.

Tonight we watched Miracle for PFMN. (Popcorn Family Movie Night, for new readers.) The 2004, Kurt Russell movie about the USA Hockey team winning gold in the 1980 Winter Olympics. Such a good movie. Brian still laughs at me because when it was about to come out in theaters and they were running ads for it on TV, every. single. time. it would come on I would turn to him and say, "I am so excited for this movie, I really, really want to go see it!"  So he took me to see it, and as we are sitting in the theater watching the movie, I turned to him and whispered, "I am so excited we are here watching this movie!" It was just as enjoyable tonight.

Jake and Evie enjoyed it as much as I did. So after it was over Jake and I ran to the video store and checked out Cool Runnings, The Mighty Ducks, and A League of Their Own. I wanted to get The Cutting Edge too, but they didn't have any copies in stock. My kids are so excited for all the PFMNs we are going to have this week.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

The finale...

I am happy to report that today has been very low-key Lila-wise. Which is really good, because frankly I couldn't imagine what was left for her other than something needing medical attention or involving fire. And if she had needed medical attention today I am not sure that anyone would believe that it was an accident...

Today being a Thursday was also good for my sanity because it means Knit Night and three hours off for Mommy. And I think we can all agree that it was very needed this week. I had a great time and was even almost all relaxed until I got in the car to drive home. I called Bri to tell him I was on my way and he answered the phone, "Hello-p!"

"Um... was that hello or help?"

"Both. Mostly help."

It seems that my five year old who is always playing a game of chicken with her bladder finally lost, and I was needed to help with the clean up.

So much for a relaxing night off...

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

That's hysterical.

Sooooo... yeah. 

I thought today's post would be a quick one where I thanked you all for the kind words of support and encouragement that I received in the form of comments, on Facebook, and emails. (They really meant a lot to me and I sincerely appreciate every one of them.) Then I would tell you all about how I didn't let her watch any Micky Mouse today and explained, firmly but fairly, that it was a privilege that she had forfeited because of the irresponsible choices she made yesterday. And that Brian and I had counseled together to come up with some new things to try to help teach her to become a useful and productive member of society one day.

I was very hopeful of posting that we had had a better day, Lila and I. 

Doesn't look too happy, does she?
Can you tell why?

Maybe a close up will help?

Okay. Here's a clue.

That would be some of her hair.
Apparently today she decided she wanted a haircut.

She got one.

I was much better today. I didn't cry, scream, wail or even curse. (I may have been in shock.) I did get a bit hysterical when I called Brian. Actually, clinically hysterical. Laughing and crying at the same time, and unable to control either emotion. Then I dried my tears, and took her to the salon so they could repair the damage. Her hair had been in two pony tails and she only chopped at one, so I suppose the silver lining is that it could have been much, much worse.

As I was waiting for the kids to get their coats and shoes on, Jake looked at me and mused aloud, "Hmmm, I wonder what she'll do for a finale?"

If today wasn't the finale... tomorrow I will be posting from a rubber room.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

That tears it. I'm done.

I could probably just post the following pictures with no explanation and it would still make perfect sense to you all. But I need to write this down to work through it, so here goes...

Today after lunch the girls were playing downstairs like they do most days, and after awhile Evie came upstairs with orange marker scribbled on both her cheeks. I asked her why she had done that, and she replied that it was Lila who had drawn on her. Deciding to bypass the discussion about why/how her younger sister was allowed to, or alternatively, could possibly over-power her to draw on her face (for now), we went straight for the obvious. "Why does Lila have a marker at all? Bring me all the markers!" With Lila's track record of drawing on furniture I just don't allow them access to markers. Period. (And don't even get me started on scissors...)

A little while later it was time to go pick Jake up from school. I called the girls up and because we were in a rush and it's unseasonably warm I just grabbed Lila and carried her out to the car. As I was buckling her in I noticed that she had drawn on her pants.

Then I noticed her feet.

I reprimanded her quiet sternly and gave her a talking to the whole way up to the school about why we don't draw on our clothes or our bodies. I also gave Evie another talking to about the fact that none of them are allowed to have markers anymore and if anyone finds one they are supposed to bring it to me immediately!

When we got back home I sent the older two down to start picking up their bedrooms and the play room and told Lila to get a diaper so I could change her. I went and got the camera because now that the unpleasantness of having to get after her was over I thought I should document her naughtiness for when she is a mom and complaining to me because her three year old is drawing all over her furniture...

That's when I discovered just how much she had drawn on her pants.

And then I took off her pants to change the diaper.

My eye started to twitch at this point.
(These baby tattoos do not come off with either a wipe or soap and water, any suggestions?)

While I was trying desperately to breath and count to ten and say all the state capitols in reverse alphabetical order and calm down before I "talked" to her about it again, Jake came upstairs to inform me (in a very fearful "don't shoot the messenger" kind of way) that Lila had drawn on the couch downstairs as well.

I lost it.

I was scary.

I screamed and cried and wailed and gnashed my teeth and pulled my hair. I smacked Lila's bum and sent her to time out on my bed, where she obviously sensed it was in the best interest of her continuing health and well fare to stay put. And I made a terrible pronouncement that reduced the other two to tears as well. "We will no longer have art supplies of any kind in this house!" I grabbed a garbage sack and made them fill it up.

So there we are, not even together for an hour today and every one of us is in tears. I called Brian, a shaking and crying mess, to tell him what had happened and so he could help talk me off the ledge. I calmed down after a few minutes and agreed with his wise counsel not to throw everything away in the heat of anger. We are going to get a box or tote or something that can be locked, and all art projects will henceforth be done at the kitchen table under parental supervision. It makes me very sad that both Jake and Evie have to suffer because of Lila's continued bad choices, but I simply cannot take it anymore. I have tried everything I can think of to get her to stop drawing on the furniture, the walls, the toys, the television and herself (and apparently anyone else who will hold still long enough) and I have failed. I've talked, I've yelled, I've reasoned, I've cried, I've made her clean it up, I've even smacked her hand a time or two. 

I am completely at my wit's end, which is a really scary place to be. It terrifies me to think that I cannot figure out how to parent this child. I have been fighting this same behavior for more than a year and a half (and considering that she is only three is pretty sad) and have not yet been able to teach her not to keep repeating the same mistake. It's frustrating now, but it's terrifying to contemplate later on in life when the consequences of mistakes can be much worse than a ruined pair of pj's and a destroyed couch. 

This is one of those parenting moments when I just wanted so badly to lock myself in the bathroom and call my mom for guidance and reassurance. I wanted her to tell me again about the time I drew in permanent marker all over the room that my parents had just finished wall papering and made my dad cry, and see, I didn't turn out so bad after all did I? 

Or did I... 

I did just throw a rather spectacular Mommy temper tantrum.

Is 5 pm too early for bedtime?

For me.

Monday, January 2, 2012

It's nice to be missed...

This morning our children let us sleep in a little bit and then were in a mood to be kind and helpful. Especially Jacob, he spread out a blanket and pillows in the front room so he could give his dad a back massage. I switched over some laundry and then decided to crawl back into bed and read for a little while. It took about half an hour for my family to realize that I wasn't out in the living room with them. (I know it was a half an hour because that is how long an episode of Phineas and Ferb lasts...)

Brian: "Hon? What are you doing?"

Me: "Reading."

Brian: "Why don't you come out here with us?"

Evie: "Yeah! And watch a show with us!"

Jake: "Or you can have a back rub!

Lila: "Oooo-or you can make dinner..."

Gee thanks. I think I'd rather keep reading.

New rules...

Okay. I can't quit. There are too many people out there waiting with bated breath for the next installment of the non-stop hilarity and drama that is my life. (That doesn't sound too full of myself, right?) But having done this for a year already I have decided there need to be a few changes around here.

1. No pressure: If I am just not feeling it or there is literally nothing to post about because I spent the day staring at the wall and twiddling my thumbs I will not spend thirty minutes staring at the computer trying to find a clever way to write about it.

2. I don't have a smart phone (despite Brian's best efforts): So I will not freak out about figuring out how to post when I am out of town.

2b. No Deadlines: I occasionally stay out until after midnight (like tonight) and I won't stress or change the time on the post so that it shows up as the previous day.

3. Terrie, this post's for you: In addition to being a good record for me and my family, I am mainly posting to keep Grandma T. up to date with our family. (This is not so much a change as one of the reasons I'll still be posting frequently...)

4. I'll be posting on my other blog too: When I started the goal of posting everyday last year I noticed that my craft blog went severely by the wayside. My goal for this year is to post over there at least once a week to keep a better record of what I've been making. So between the two blogs I'll still probably be posting almost daily.

There, that sounds do-able.

Come on... tell me you'd miss me. You know you would.