Monday, February 27, 2006

Spinning so fast the room moves with me

As per usual, things are spinning so much out of control it's hard to figure out how to reign them in and what to focus on first. I guess my first job is to quickly clear off the white board so I can write a to do list. I have a bunch of MOMS Club stuff that I'm really behind in, so I need to jump on that, and I also have a ton of laundry to finish, but can't get to the machines yet because I piled up a ton of stuff on top of/in front of them on Saturday in prep for the boys' birthday party (yes, I had to do a stash and dash for those of you who know FLYlady), so I can't do the laundry until I clear out the stuff. But I also have these important eval papers I have to fill out for A to get the ball rolling for evaluations for him from the IU. Plus I have to organize and tackle my taxes to get that refund back. Plus I never totally finished organizing the stuff coming back into this computer armoire, so I have some paper stuff that is homeless. Plus I have the bills to get finished. Plus I have Hebrew School tonight and have to finish my plans. Plus I have to finish cleaning the house from the party. That's why I feel out of control. Aaargh!

And then this morning I did something so dumb. I wear glasses for reading not because I have a vision problem but because my muscle in the one eye is weird and needs the extra support. If I don't wear them, after a couple minutes my eye starts turning in. Well, I only had a few minutes this morning to read and didn't feel like going downstairs. Dumb. I ended up so dizzy this morning I thought I was going to throw up all over the place. When I'm sick like that I have no patience and found myself yelling more than I needed to. But every time I moved my eyes the whole room kind of tilted with me. Blech. It really took the whole morning to get better.

Okay, I'm ready to make a dent in my list. Plus DH will be home relatively soon so he can (hopefully take over with the kids). That would help me get even more done. Here goes.

A calling

Just tried to wipe off the dry erase marker off my brand new white board that is attached to the inside of my new computer armoire. It's not coming off! I guess it's really a white board as oppsed to a dry erase board. Okay, later today I will try rubbing alcohol. If that doesn't work, I've heard that hairspray might work. Okay, it'll be okay. I didn't ruin my brand new armoire. Really I didn't.

The boys' party went great. One of the moms came up to me after I was done doing some songs and activities with all the kids. She said, "When are you going back to teaching? Clearly it's your calling!" Wow, that felt great. And, not trying to sound full of myself, I know it is. It's nice to have something in my life that I know I'm good at. Especially since it's clearly not mainting white boards! Okay, letting it go . . . I'm so grateful I have the teaching opportunities I have to teach at my synagogue. I teach kindergarten Sunday School. We have a curriculum, and there are two different one and a half hour sessions. I also teach resource room Hebrew school - the place all those kids go that just aren't catching on to learning a new language, or that come into the year brand new but three years older than all the other kids, or are younger than but more advanced than all the kids in their class. I get them all. Currently I have eight kids at four different levels. Piece of cake. But I like the challenge and I like that I can provide meaningful activities for the kids to work on while I'm working with other kids. I also teach the preschool Shabbat program on Fridays. Really nice to see the little kids chanting the prayers that I have taught them. I'm done the Mom's Morning Out program that I started two years ago. We have a make-up session on Thursday and then that's it. I'm glad, but also kind of sad. It was a great opportunity for me to teach preschoolers, but it's also kind of tough to teach a group of kids that contain my three. I KNOW they act differently for me than they do for others, and that's not surprising - just frustrating. So that was kind of rambling, but bottom line, I love teaching, am grateful that I can teach at the synagogue, and am also looking forward to having a full-time classroom again, way off in the distance.

DH is going to be home at 3:30 today, instead of his "usual" 11:00. Woohoo!!!! I have a ton of stuff that I hope to get done during the two hours before I have to get ready for Hebrew School. As for now, we're late. Have to get two of the three dressed, get shoes on all of them, get them all cleaned up, help them pick out show and tell, and get their coats on. Once I drop the boys off, J and I are going to the produce store to get all our produce and then to the library for a parent/child workshop. When that's done I'll have time to pick out a few books and then pick up the boys. Gotta go!

Friday, February 24, 2006

"Normalcy" approaching

Definitely had a good couple days, but now I'm a little burnt out. I've been doing the "single mommy" thing for the last three weeks or so, and it's definitely taken it's toll. I'm VERY thankful that DH's show opens tonight and he will actually be home with the kids in the morning until he has to leave for a meeting, and then he's going to have them in the afternoon so I can get everything ready for the boys' birthday party at 3:30. Then he leaves for the show at 5:30, and I clean up and collapse. He has the matinee on Sunday, so I probably should voluntarily give up my Sunday afternoon time to clean the house so I can go to my in-laws' and take over with the kids. And then Monday brings "normalcy" - no more late nights for DH. I've been surviving, but it's beyond a doubt tough to take care of four kids all day and get three kids ready for bed every night by myself, especially when they're all under four!

But I'm sitting here at my new computer armoire. Not only was I able to go through all of my papers on Wednesday and purge a TON, this has doors that shut and I can either lock them or put a child lock on them. A can't get to the computer unless I let him. The first time he tried and couldn't I started dancing. This will make things SO much easier!!!

Alright, just spent the morning driving all over with J to pick up all the remaining things for the kids' party. If I had more time and energy I could do more for the party, but I don't and they'll be thrilled with anything we do so I'm not driving myself crazy. I need to get my butt up so I can drive on over to the Temple and start part two of my day: leading the preschool Shabbat program. We're making masks today for Purim. Yay. Yawn. Getting up. Here I go. I would give anything to be able to crawl into bed for the rest of my day and have someone else to all the stuff I have still to do today. Okay. That said, I'm going.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Spinning in circles

I'm breaking the cycle today.
One thing that is overwhelming me is paperwork ad nauseum. For running the house, for the kids, for bills, for the MOMS Club. It's too much. I'm going to use the fact that I just bought a new computer armoire as impetus to clean it out. I have a friend's husband coming over tomorrow morning to put it together, and I have (hopefully) someone from Freecycle coming to pick up the old one tonight. So my plan is to take every scrap of paper out of this armoire (it's a lot), box it up, and sort it on the dining room table. I'm going to push the table first into the corner of the room so the kids will have more room to play since they will not be able to play in the playroom while the new armoire is being put together. Should be fun with the three extra kids here for my MMO. In any case, once the papers are on the table, I will sort them by category and put them into folders - To Do and To File - for the various things I do (teaching at the Temple, MOMS Club, Bills/house paperwork, kids). There are certain things that I'm so far behind in, so hopefully I can get them accomplished too.
Okay, here goes.

Self Destructive

Yup. That's the word (Or words, I guess I should say. Though I could hyphenate them and make them one word. Hmmm....) I've been searching for. That's me. And no, I don't mean I cut myself, or throw up my food, or drink too much. It's all tied around the whole sleep thing. Every night I end up staying up too late, in a stupor on the couch, the mess of the day all around me. When I crawl up to my room, I tell myself that I will do better tomorrow. Tomorrow comes and I do everything I can to stay in bed just five minutes more. Which makes me late in starting the day. Which means that I can't get anything much accomplished before having to deal with the kids. And then by the time the kids go down for a nap I'm beat. So by then I barely make it through dinner and getting them ready for bed and then I collapse on the couch only to start the cycle all over again.


Stupid, stupid, stupid!

It's very frustrating, especially when I have so much that I have to do and am ruining my chances of getting them accomplished.

Today's the day.
Even though I'm tired, I'm ending the cycle today.
I'll report back to tell you how I'm doing.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

The Wheel Keeps on Turnin'

Life right now feels like a giant exercise wheel that just keeps on turning. Things pile up on the side, extra things, important things, things that I have to/want to deal with, but I have to keep moving my feet or this wheel will stop and everything will come crashing down.

I just got the most flattering message that a director I had auditioned for before, someone who had come very close to casting me, specifically asked if I would audition for the show he would be starting next month because he needs some "really good women." So nice to hear, and DH is willing to pick up the slack around here so I could do it (his show will be over by then). I thought about it a lot, but decided I just can't do it yet. Rehearsals wouldn't end until around 11 probably, which would mean between driving home and winding down I wouldn't be asleep until 12:00. I will begin watching the baby full time by the end of next March. Five kids, aged four and under. I don't think this is the time to jump back into the world of community theater. I feel this was a very mature decision. It would be so nice, but I think I just have to stick with what I'm doing right now, not try to add something else in to the mix.

Okay. Need to try to focus on some of those things on the side of the exercise wheel right now while the kids are quiet. Let's see how much I get done.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Out of the Mouths of Babes

From the back seat:
B: I want to be a doctor when I grow up.
Me: That's great. How about you, A, what do you want to be when you grow up.
A: I want to be an alien.
Me: (laughing) Well, honey, an alien is someone who is born on another planet. You came from this planet, so you won't be able to be an alien. (Yes, let me just crush that dream a little farther down. Now I realize I could have said that he could be an astronaut and let it go, but . . .)
After a pause
Me: Do you have any other ideas of what you want to be?
A: I want to be a tree.
Me: A tree?
A: Yes. It's on this planet.
Me: (Not able to argue with that logic and not wanting to destroy two of his dreams in one day) That sounds great.

Me: And J, how about you, what do you want to be when you grow up?
J: blockbuster.
Me: A blockbuster? (laughing)
J: Why laughing, Mommy?
Me: No reason - that's a great idea.

This morning, as we came downstairs:
B: Let's watch the new video Daddy got from the library (notice that he's still Daddy while B still insists on calling me Mom)!
A: That's a great idea, B.
B: Thank you!

My children, even though they drive me crazy sometimes, make me laugh every day.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Rescued from drowning

After driving around with the kids so DH/the high school kids could watch them during his rehearsal so I could attend a MOMS Club New Member Social this afternoon, and after feeling like a single mom for the last two weeks+, when DH came home from rehearsal so we could all drive over to his parents' house, I described my emotional state:

Whenever anyone asks if I'm going to do another show soon, I always tell them that I'm doing everything I can right now just to keep my head above water. After the last couple weeks, I feel like I've been treading water for longer than I'm physically able to and that I've already gone under a few times and am not totally sure if I'm going to make it back up to the surface.

He took the kids by himself to his parents. I got the house to myself so I can bring back some level of order. Aaaahhh.

Here's what I got done in the last three hours:
Two loads of laundry completed and put away
Picked up in every room of the house - I set the timer for ten minutes per room. Some rooms that was enough, some I worked longer.
Dusted and vacuumed the entire house

It might not seem like much, but it sure feels like it! Plus, I got to do it in silence. No one arguing, no one whining, no one asking for "Just one more saltine, Mommy, please!" It was FABULOUS.

And I owe it all to my incredibly supportive husband. Even though his rehearsal was very long and draining, he not only agreed to take the kids for those three hours, he even brought them back ready for bed and once we got them all down for the night, he vacuumed the downstairs. What a guy! (He is standing over my shoulder as I write this, so I kind of had to say that - but he is a great guy none the less.) I won't say what I had to promise him to get him to agree to all this because I just found my mother-in-law reads this. :)

I still have a lot of STUFF that I have to get to, but at least the house is orderly. Always makes me feel so much better.

Friday, February 17, 2006

A's Goose Egg

Yesterday my friend Karin came over with her three boys. We decided to get together each Thursday afternoon to force both of us to do something creative with the kids. We're going to take turns planning something. I think it's going to go great! We made cookies yesterday, the kids each getting a turn stirring and pouring. At the end of the night, A ran into the kitchen and ended up banging his head into the counter hard. When I picked him up from crying as he laid on the floor, I saw he had a huge goose egg that was already bruised and bleeding. We didn't need to go the hospital or anything, but the size of the bump made me nervous enough to call the doctor. Luckily they didn't say we HAD to go the ER or anything, just to wake him a couple times during the night to make sure he wakes up okay. When I woke him up the first time, I asked him what his name was just to make sure he was actually coherent. He looked at me like I had two heads as he answered, saying "A" in a way that said, "Mom, don't you know who I am? Why are you waking me just to ask me this? Are you nuts?" It's always nice to get that kind of look from your child. DH called while I was still waiting for the doctor to call back, so I let A talk to him. He started wailing as he told Daddy, "I have a goose egg!" Clearly he had no idea what that meant, so I had to reassure him that it was just a bump on his head, that he was okay. Poor thing! He's doing much better now. I was really okay, just a little nervous because none of them had ever gotten a bump on the head that was that big before. It's a little scary!

How I can I be angry with the boys for sneaking cookies out of the diaper bag when the reason I found out is because B was bringing me one?

As we're looking at various things that we can buy with the money my grandfather left me, I am very excited about the possility of a new computer armoire. One of the behavioral problems we're having with A is that he seems totally obsessed with every thing electronic. He just cannot leave certain things alone even if it means an automatic time out. That especially means the computer. We bought a large computer armoire two years ago when we had to bring the computer downstairs so J could have a room. Since it had a door that closed we thought we'd be okay, and we bought a lock that went across the top. A broke that from trying to pull the door open. I just found one that I REALLY like on-line. I can't wait to finally have DH home so I can show it to him (can't wait for him to get home for lots of other reasons too!). Let me show it to you so I can at least get some feedback from someone! Note the door knobs that I will be able to put a child lock on that A is currently NOT able to open, plus the storage/white board/cork bord on the doors. Nice!

Okay, that's it for now. Have to get my butt in gear - I'm so overwhelmed by paperwork I'm going crazy. I totally missed sending out my MOMS Club newsletter that had been sent to me on the 9th to be sent out THAT DAY. Duh!!! I just wish I could get two whole days where someone else would watch the kids somewhere else and I could just sort/purge my files and take care of all the papers everywhere, catching everything up. Then I feel like I'd be able to handle it better. For now, every time I feel I get on top another tidal wave of paperwork comes crashing down over my head. I'm going down for the count. Glad I learned to tread water!

Thursday, February 16, 2006

My poor, tired husband

After complaining somewhat about my DH in yesterday's blog, I e-mailed him to check it out, think about it, and leave a comment. Well, he did, but wouldn't leave a comment. His e-mailed response was that the show that he's directing right now is "kicking his butt." It is. He's usually at work until about 10 or 11 at night most of this month so far. I know that. And I wasn't referring to just right now. I just was trying to express things that he does that makes me feel loved. Anyway, when he got home last night at 10, he started picking things up around the living room as he told me about his day and even started the dishwasher for me. What a good guy he is!

I had written about how I sometimes don't feel like I'm doing a great job as a mom, that I know I could do better. Well, one of the solutions I came up with was to share the responsiblity with another mom who was feeling the same way. We are going to go to each other's house one afternoon a week and whoever's hosting will come up with an activity for all the kids to do. I'm hosting for the first time today. I'm really excited about this.

Okay, gotta get my butt in gear. Had a playgroup here last night that forced me to clean up (and was a lot of fun!) but the playroom is still a mess and I should pick it up before the kids get here!

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

What is Love?

Let me start by saying that my husband loves me. I know he does. He tells me often. And I love him too. He is an amazing father, and a great husband. He truly is a terrific person.

He shows he loves me too. He buys me wonderful cards on Valentine's Day, on our anniversary, on my birthday. On Valentine's Day he buys me a Whitman's sampler of chocolates, usually heart shaped. On Mother's Day he gave me the best gift of all: one Saturday "off" a month, to do whatever I want. And for Hannukah he gave me a gift I can hardly even imagine: one whole week for myself this summer, where he will be in charge of all the kids for the entire week. I'm telling you, I've got a great husband!

I hear some of my friends talk about their husbands and I know I've got it good. They talk about how they can't go places at night until their kids are in bed because their husbands just couldn't handle bedtime. Or how they could never spend a few hours on their own on their weekend without getting a babysitter because their husband has his own things to do. Or how they can't go anywhere at night because their husband has sports and cards and other hobbies to do each night. I've got it good.

Which makes complaining feel petty. It feels like nagging, and I hate that feeling. But there are certain things that say "I love you" to me, and when they don't happen, I feel unappreciated.
Love is:
* locking up the house before going upstairs, making sure we're all safe.
* taking the trash out, and checking the can to see if it needs to go out.
* emptying the dishwasher in the morning.
* helping clean up at the end of both of our long days.
* knowing what the other person likes and surprising them with it to show you were paying attention, like their favorite flowers, their favorite foods/candies.
* cleaning up the dishes when the other person works hard to create a special meal for the two of you.

Like I said, I know I've got a good husband. And I love him. Completely.
But love is an action word. The things I listed above are some of the ways that help me feel loved. How about you?

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Ever get the feeling . . .

of just sitting in the middle of the living room and wanting to cry? I'm not going to (the boys are in there watching a movie), but it's always around this time of day that I crash. I know it didn't help that I stayed up WAY too late last night (dumb, dumb, dumb), but it's something about getting all four kids lunches, cleaned up from said lunches, changed/to the potty, and down for a nap or laying down for quiet time. It's such a whirlwind. I hear myself uttering phrases I never thought I would say: "No, B, put the toilet plunger down!" "A, you may not pick your sister up by her neck!" "DN-A, the Wiggles guitar has to stay down here. I'm sorry you're sad, but you can't sleep with the guitar!" "J, put your clothes back on!"
I try to cope by setting the timer, letting myself chill and/or vent for a little, and then tackling one job at a time. But today I'm TIRED!!! I could go to bed right now and probably sleep for three hours (gee, kinda like DN-A). BUT . . . before my wonderful sister gets here to hang out while her son continues napping upstairs so I can take my three to the dentist, I need to: clean up from lunch, make lunches for tomorrow, make the potatoes for tonight, fluff and fold the clothes in the dryer, put a load in the washer, have the kids make four more Valentine's Day cards, pick up the crap that exploded this morning all around the house. Plus I have four other important tasks I have to complete (like pulling all my tax info together, balancing my checkbook, etc.).


I hope I go to sleep early tonight.
Two nights ago I had a really bizarre dream, almost like a movie. I woke up with my fist clenched (because at that point in my dream I was on a prison bus and had to defend myself against the other convicts who just realized that I was actually a pre-surgical transexual, not really a prisoner like them - I told you, bizarre) and the joint of my one finger hurt so much all day. It hurt to the touch, it hurt to bend it. I thought that it might be the beginning of arthritis, but since it's not like that today, I guess it's not.

Okay, timer's going off. Maybe if I work really fast I can get everything done before my sister gets here in forty-five minutes and can shut my eyes on the couch before she arrives. Yeah, maybe . . .

Monday, February 13, 2006

Blog drama

I first discovered blogs when I noticed that a couple friends had one. After reading their blogs for a week or so, I started clicking on their blog links and started reading those blogs. I added a Blog section to my favorites and now began regularly checking in with various blogs. After about a month, I was inspired to start my own. I wasn't sure what I'd write, but I figured maybe this would motivate me to journal on a regular basis, like I wanted to but never kept up with.

So began my blog journey. I soon discovered a whole world of mommy bloggers, and an entire subset of infertility bloggers. Having struggled with infertility for five years before finally getting pregnant with my boys (after three cycles of IUIs and two cycles of IVF, lots of drugs, lots of procedures, lots of tests) I was interested in reading the infertility blogs too. I had no idea there was a whole level of blog politics in both of these worlds! I don't get it - I thought we wrote to get our experiences out there, maybe helping someone in the process. I thought this was a way to connect with others going through similar experiences, to receive advice or sympathy if needed. I noticed that some blogs are way more popular than others (though haven't quite figured out how that happens), and that there were actual Blog awards (interesting, but so what). Apparently there was some whole drama that I missed completely over one blogger posting her own awards, some nice, most nasty, all meant to be funny but some missing the mark. After reading a few blogs that were obviously very wrapped up in the whole thing, I decided I don't need any extra drama in my life.

I deleted every blog that mentioned this drama.

I feel much better now.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Super Saturday

Yesterday I:
* Took the kids to a new library for Sally's Music Circle (an interactive kids' concert). The directions I got from mapquest were WRONG and took me to the wrong end of the very, very long road that it was on. I kept driving, hoping desparately that I would happen upon it, because when I mentioned that I couldn't find the library, B started crying that, "Now we're not going to see Sally!" We finally found it, and it was VERY crowded. But the kids enjoyed it. I may have lost three pounds keeping track of all three of them in the crowd (aaahh, if only it were that easy).
* Brought the kids to the park next to the library to play - I think all libraries should have parks connected to them. It makes the library a full morning or afternoon destination. Seriously, go for a story time (usually 30 minutes/45 minutes), take some time to pick out books (another fifteen minutes), and then what? Go home?!! If there's a park next to the library, then you have another hour filled before going home for lunch/dinner. Perfect.
* Bought McDonald's for lunch (Yay, Mommy!) so the kids could have a "picnic lunch" (eating lunch on the living room floor while they watch a movie). A and B fell asleep in the car so I let them sleep in the car while J and I went in and ate lunch. They slept for almost an hour! I kept going to check on them but they didn't budge!
* Cleaned, decluttered, and rearranged the kitchen. DH got home early due to the snow, so while he played with the kids, I got to work on the kitchen. It was fabulous. I used my timer so I didn't get overwhelmed. For every fifteen minutes I worked, I gave myself a five minute break. For whatever reason (mainly because DH was in charge of the kids) I was able to get so much done! I love it. I honestly don't know how many times I walked in there just to look around and marvel at how good it looks. I mean, I even cleaned off the top of the fridge of all the crap that was up there. And the bowls and trays that were left at my house since this summer from various parties that we gave? Put away. I have no idea whose they are, so if anyone reads this and remembers that they left something at my house, speak up and I'll pull it out for you. Otherwise, I don't have to keep them on top of my fridge and cabinets looking ugly!
* Dusted and dusted and dusted and vacuumed the boys' room to clean up the mountain of baby powder they liberally sprinkled all over their room Friday night. Do you know what it's like to have to dust almost every book, every surface, every drawer? Powder was EVERYWHERE. But at least their room is clean now. We decided an actual punishment was in order for this, so their two Playmobil toys (a pirate ship and a castle) were removed for two days.

And now it's Sunday. The snow that started yesterday is STILL coming down hard. Sunday School was cancelled, Baby J's naming was postponed until next weekend (good thing because since I lost my voice yesterday I would NOT be up to singing at it today as requested), and poor DH has been shoveling for a while now. He even walked over to my parents' house to shovel their driveway so my 70 year old dad doesn't do it all himself. He's a good husband and an even better son-in-law. We had told the kids we would play in the snow today but it's REALLY deep. We would literally lose J (I think it's over her head) and it would probably be up to the boys' chest - that's deep! I MIGHT take the boys out when J naps, but I don't think they'll want to stay out that long. That's an awful lot of work involved just to bring them out for a little bit.

I am hoping to be able to work today on the playroom just like I worked on the kitchen yesterday. DH is probably going to want to collapse when he gets home, and I know he still wants to dig out his car and re-shovel our driveway (it's still snowing). I don't think I'll get the same uninterrupted time as I did yesterday, so maybe I'll do fifteen minutes of work followed by fifteen minutes of playtime with the kids. Or even ten minutes with the kids, five minutes for myself, then back to work. I'll try it and see how it works out.

Enjoy the snow!

Saturday, February 11, 2006

"Sleeping In"

I told my mom last night that I was so excited because I got to sleep in this morning. I told her that DH was leaving for school at 7:45. She looked at me like I was talking a different language, and finally asked, "How are you sleeping in if he has to leave so early?" Ummm...I guess I was talking a different language, the language of the mom with young children. When you normally get up at 6, sleeping in until 7:15 is HEAVEN!

The boys had trouble settling down last night. I heard them walking around and talking for a while after I had put them to bed. Sometimes they do that and are normally asleep within twenty minutes, so I didn't really worry. Then I heard B calling downstairs, "I'm really sorry!" That's never good. When I went upstairs the smell of baby powder smacked me in the face. The boys, their room, their bed and blankets, their toys, everything was covered with a thick coating of baby powder. I guess the snow forcast arrived a little early for them. They are both repeating, "I'm sorry." "We're really sorry, Mommy." It's driving me nuts - they keep doing things they KNOW they're not supposed to do and then apologizing for it. I keep explaining to them that saying they're sorry after doing something is not enough, that they need to just NOT DO IT!!! I'm sure this is something that is only going to get worse as they get older, so I would love to make the importance of this concept clear to them now. I know, good luck. I decided it was too late for baths at this point, so I washed off their faces and hands, turned their pillowcase over and made them get in bed. I warned DH that when he woke up with them he would need to put them in the bath tub first thing. And that was that. Except for the fact that I still need to clean up the layer of powder covering everything in their room. Joy.

My throat was hurting some last night, and my voice was getting deeper, so I really shouldn't be surprised that my voice is COMPLETELY gone this morning. A whisper is all I'm capable of today. And since I'm in charge of the kids all day, should make for a fun, fun day.

I'm actually going to take them all out this morning. One of the local libraries is hosting "Sally's Music Circle" which is an interactive kids' concert. My guys should love it. And it gives us something to do, which on days like this when I feel like crap is wonderful!

B just announced that he had to pee. I whispered for him to go upstairs! He paused to tell me that if you mix pee you can paint with it (we had been mixing paint colors the day before). I said no, but as he went upstairs he told me, "But you could." I better pay close attention the next time we're painting.

I got a little loving grief from some friends who read my post about perfectionism and being a lazy mom, so I feel I need to respond. I do not doubt that I'm a good mom. I'm often disappointed with myself that I'm not as good a mom as I know I could be. Does that make sense? Don't misunderstand, there are plenty of afternoons when I know that letting the kids watch a lot of tv is a necessity, like when I'm sick or have stayed up all night the night before, or whatever. It's the other times, like yesterday. I made the choice to watch ER Thursday night. Stupid, especially since I know I could have taped it, and I know that I need to be asleep by 10 at the latest to function well. But I did it anyway. So after I dropped the boys off at school and I set up for the Shabbat lunchtime program I teach, I took J home to give her some "breathing medicine" (she was coughing a lot and having trouble catching her breath, so I pulled out the Albuterol). When I was done, I planned out menus for the next week and made a grocery list. After shopping (and entertaining a tired, cranky, and generally melting down toddler), I ran home to drop off the perishables and then ran back to school to pick the boys up. I got them all over to the annex (the building next door to their school where my class takes place) along with the juice, cookies, and challah I picked up from various places around their school. I gave my kids their lunch and then worked on making the final preparations I needed for the class (pouring the paint for our project, pouring the juice for the service). After leading the age-appropriate Shabbat service (during which time MY children were the ones lying in the middle of the rug, not participating), I then directed the kids in planting parsley seeds in a cup and then painting the cup (why is it my children were the ONLY ones who tried to paint the INSIDE of the cup?). We then cleaned up, got the kids all washed up, and brought my three plus DN-A home for a nap/quiet time. After everyone was down for the count, did I A) bring in the groceries still in the car?, B) clear off the breakfast dishes that I left congealing on the table?, or C) lay down on the couch to shut my eyes until the last possible moment I could? Ding, ding, ding, we have a winner. Now granted, after typing all that, I can see why I was tired, but I ended up laying on the couch, only getting up to retrieve J who woke up, or to retrieve a juice cup or two, from 2:30 until almost 5, when we should have been walking out the door to go to my parents' for dinner. It would be one thing if I layed down for half an hour, but I ended up wasting the entire afternoon! The house is a mess (huge understatement), the groceries were not put away, there were so many other things that I NEEDED to do, but I didn't.

Of course, right now I'm sitting at the computer typing while the groceries are all on the table, the house is STILL a mess, and the kids are watching tv.

And B just came in all excited because he discovered I got him "circle crackers." "Thank you, Mommy," he screamed as he put his arms around my neck and planted a kiss on my cheek, "You are the best Mommy I ever had." I guess I'm doing something right. :)

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Perfectionism raising its ugly head?

Or is it just self-improvement and wanting to be the best I can be?

I feel like I go back and forth with this and am never satisfied.

Don't get me wrong - I feel overall I'm a pretty good mom. Because I was an elementary teacher, I am used to dealing with lots of kids at one time, and I am pretty patient, which obviously doesn't hurt. But I also feel I could be doing so much more as a mom. There have been many afternoons where I have just let them watch tv much longer than I had planned to. I justify it to myself by saying that it's educational, and it is, but three - four hours in a row of anything is not good! I have the best of intentions, but then I get tired, or lazy, or just . . . I don't know, and it's really hard to follow through.

It's funny. I feel this way in my role as a mom, as the one in charge of the house, as the MOMS Club president, as a Hebrew school teacher - I could be doing so much more! I have fabulous ideas, but it becomes more and more difficult to follow through. I guess I just get overwhelmed by life. I have grand plans, but I try to do too much and it's all I can do to keep my head above water.

If I apply the FLYlady principles to my life, I KNOW beyond a shadow of a doubt that my life would be ten times easier. So why don't I do it? That's the twenty-five million dollar question.

So here's my plan:
I am going to pick one different type of activity to do with the kids each day, even going so far as to assign each a day. Monday - playdough, Tuesday - painting, Wednesday - board games/cards, Thursday - cooking, Friday - scrapbooking (which translates to letting them use stickers, glue, and scissors, maybe leftover pictures). There we go. After "quiet time" (my attempt to get the boys to take a break while DN-A and J nap) (okay, it's also my attempt to give ME a break!), we will turn off the tv and do our activity. Maybe I'll first do a school type activity with the boys before J wakes up, like letters and numbers. Yes, that sounds doable.

As for the house, I need to stick to my routines and go to bed on time. They're definitely inter-related. If I don't go to bed on time I have a hard time coping and want to nap by 2. If I DO go to bed when I should (in bed by 9, lights out by 10 at the latest) EVERYTHING is so much easier! So here is my plan for each day:
1) Get up BEFORE the kids and shower and dress
2) Swish and swipe the bathroom
3) Get the kids dressed and straighten up their rooms BEFORE we go downstairs
4) Clean up from breakfast after we eat
5) Throw in one load of laundry

That's the morning (my AM routine). After lunch my plan is to:
1) Clean up from lunch and make lunches for tomorrow
2) Dry clothes, fold them, and put them away
3) Finish dinner if not done already

Then after dinner I will:
1) Clean up from dinner (wipe off table, chairs, counters, put all food away)
2) "Shark" (love my cordless vacuum!) the dining room and living room
3) Put all toys away
4) Prep dinner for tomorrow

Obviously I will involve the kids as much as possible in all of that, but that's my plan.

Okay, feels good writing it down. Let's see how I stick to it.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

He did it!!!!

A, at the ripe old age of 3 years and 11 months, just peed in the potty for the first time. Can you hear the cheers coming from my house?

Back from my weekend away

I had an amazing time at my scrapbooking weekend, really incredible. I got almost the whole year of 2005 scrapped (40 pages) and laughed so hard I literally almost peed in my pants. It was one the best weekends I ever had.

That being said, there is always such a harsh letdown after such a high it leaves me breathless. Part of it is from being tired (Saturday night we stayed up until 4:30 in the morning, then I got up at 8:30 to eat breakfast and get more done), but part of it is just changing gears. It's tough to do! I kind of feel like a train - moving so fast in one direction and then all of a sudden having to screech on the brakes and start moving in the other direction. I almost hear the chugga-chugga slowly slowly starting as we begin to move.

I'm making some tough discoveries about what I feel to be my lazy ass style of parenting lately, and I'm not really happy with myself as a mom. Don't have time to get into it now, but have made some decisions that I will write about soon.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

50TH Post

I feel like I should make an effort to make this post momentous in some way, to commemorate the fact that it is my 50th. But I've got nothing.

The boys broke the shelf on our computer armoire that held the keyboard and mouse. Real pain in the butt right now. I can type with the keyboard on my lap, but I can't let A do it - nervous he'll break it. This is going to be fun, keeping him away from the computer all day!

DH and I had a date Saturday afternoon to walk through IKEA to get some ideas for furniture. We've been discussing all the ways we can use the gift my grandfather gave us in his will, and furniture that fits our family's needs, especially dining room furniture, is on that list. It was so much fun to walk through IKEA knowing that we could actually buy much of the things we saw that we liked!

J has really started singing and dancing along to music. Her favorite toy this week is this Wiggles microphone - she pushes a button and starts bouncing as she sings whatever song starts playing. Cracks me up. She'll do it in the car too, singing along to the Wiggles tape we must play over and over and over again. She even recites what they say in between each song. Very cute, but clearly a sign that we need a new tape in the car!

I leave Friday afternoon for a full weekend away to scrapbook. I love scrapbooking, but I truly love the camraderie (sp?) over the other women. It's so fabulous to get together with a bunch of other women to do something creative. We're all doing our own thing in our own way but are sharing wonderful stories at the same time. I'm REALLY looking forward to this weekend.

Kids will be arriving in forty minutes. Anyone have a good Groundhog Day craft?

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Crazy morning

After talking to my sister numerous times yesterday, I got a call around 4 or so - through tears she's asking if I can keep DN-A there longer. Apparently she is suddenly experiencing strong stomach pains. The midwives want her to head over to the Birth Center. So strange, since she had sounded fine every other time. It turns out that she developed an infection of the uterus. She was given strong antibiotics and was told to rest as if she just had the baby. After I dropped the boys off this morning J and I headed over to her house to help out. She's better but still very uncomfortable. I'd never heard of this happening before.

As I was getting the kids breakfast this morning, I got a call from a friend of mine (A.) in my local Flylady group. Apparently another friend from the group (K.) had posted that she needed to be taken to the hospital. A. was the first one to read the messages and called me since I live closer. K. had been having back pain for four days but woke up experiencing numbness in her arm, blurry vision, and slurred speech that all came and went. She was really scared. I spoke to her a few times on the phone and she really didn't sound good. I think I convinced her to go immediately to the hospital. It seemed like it could have been a heart attack or stroke, or just a lot of back pain causing her to panic. She's still at the ER right now, but is feeling better. It will be interesting to find out what happened! I'm so relieved to find out that she's doing better.

I was able to actually accomplish some stuff around the house yesterday. I really didn't want to, but knew I HAD to, that it would make me feel so bad if I didn't get anything done all day. I set the timer for fifteen minutes and every time it went off I had to work for fifteen minutes. Then I took a break for 15, either reading a book or playing with the kids. Seemed to work really well. I'm going to try that for this afternoon now. My morning routine was pretty blown since I was making phone calls for K. and then spent the morning with my sister, but that's okay - I'm going to catch up now. Have to put the laundry in, get dinner cooking (my normal morning routine chores) and a bunch of other stuff. Here goes!