Thursday, April 23, 2015

Playing Favorites

Paul had to work late on my birthday, so, as I always do when he works late, I piled the kids into the car and took them out for dinner. We had barely got on the road when Nicholas piped up from the back seat.

"I love all my sisters, but I have to say that Evelyn is my favorite."

Chloe took exception to this statement. "What?!?!?!" she shrieked, probably louder than necessary. "What do you mean Evelyn is your favorite?"

"She's my favorite sister because she's really loud, but in a good way, and she laughs a lot, and she poops a lot!"

I couldn't help but instigate: "You think she poops more than Chloe does?"

"What?!?!?!?!" Chloe shrieked again from 18 inches away.

"She poops a ton! I really do love all of my sisters, but Evelyn is my favorite."

Nicholas is winning at big brotherhood.

Young and Wild and Free

Each year has a day like last Saturday--that first really beautiful day of spring that fills me with energy and plans for our outdoor space. Although I should admit that last year had no such day. I was too shell-shocked by the tiny, squalling creature that had just launched herself out of my body and into my life. I could barely brush my hair, much less plant flowers.

This year that squalling creature was big enough to toddle around the patio, chasing basketballs and licking rocks while I cleared out the winter stash of weeds and dead leaves from my little flower bed, and Paul mowed what has become less of a wild acre and more of an actual lawn. Paul finished mowing and moved on to some other yard-related task, and I stopped keeping an eye out for Evelyn as she toddled around after her dad.

After a while, I noticed Paul standing near by...but not Evelyn.

"Where's the baby?" I asked.

"Off in the field, following the dogs."

"By herself??" Duh...

"Where is she going to go?" Paul replied.

I swallowed a brief flash of panic and acknowledged that yes, the fence would keep her in. But it wouldn't keep rocks and bugs and dog poo out of her mouth. It wouldn't keep her from falling down the slope and stabbing her eye out with a stick.

But I let it go. I've always known that it will be a struggle for me to let Evelyn be as independent as I know she will be. I want to protect her from every harm and hurt, but at the same time I want her to have the confidence to roam free and be herself. I can't project my fear onto my fearless little girl.

Evelyn spent most of the weekend outside, eating dirt and falling in the grass, and helping her dad build a really cool sand box. On Sunday I even let her roam around barefoot for a bit, just like I did as a kid (ok, as an adult too...).

Paul mentioned not so long ago that in one of the first pictures he saw of me I was standing on one foot in the tulip fields, the other foot caked in thick, brown mud and lifted high for the camera to see. I wouldn't mind being that girl again. And I would love to let Evelyn be that girl, too. Dirty, and a little wild and free.


Forward facing in the big truck for a trip to the Man Store.
She was so excited to see EVERYTHING.

Supervising Dad's handiwork.

A bench just her size.

This sand box is the coolest thing ever. Thanks Dad!


It's not that I feel old, despite the ever-lengthening crow's feet that crease the corners of my eyes, creep down my cheeks and invade my smile lines. I'm too young to feel old, right? My grey hairs are still somewhat hidden (I think), and my butt is where it has always been. No, I don't feel old.

For some reason, turning 33 has given me pause. Jesus was 33 when he died. The second pastor of the church I grew up in was 33 when he took over lead pastorship from his father. Strange comparisons for me, I know, but it makes me think that I should have accomplished something big by now, if I ever mean to accomplish anything. Right now my biggest accomplishment is getting out the door with mascara on, and Evelyn fed and in a matching outfit.

I guess I feel like a big ball of wasted potential. The possibility was there, but the motivation was lacking. I didn't finish school; I didn't seek out a career path or specialized training. I let life happen as it came to me. And now I look at the people who work around me, who are so knowledgeable and confident in their positions, and I feel very small. On the one hand, it's ok to sit where I am at the bottom of my ladder, forwarding e-mails and entering data. Work is not my life and I don't want it to be. On the other hand, as I have said, I could have done something big.

Who knows...I'm only 33. There is still time for education and career path changes. For now I have children to raise and a mortgage to pay. Now to find a way to be okay with that...

Thirty-Three...Not so bad

Thursday, August 29, 2013

I Hate That Last Post...

I cringe every time I read it, and I hate knowing its the last thing I left. Almost a year ago. A reminder that this blog has died a death that I never wanted to see. 

I'm mourning the loss of my writing. So instead, here's a picture of my guts. 

Friday, September 7, 2012

Judge Me Not By My Child's Clothing Choices

The 'Back to School' honeymoon period is over, I think. Three days-that might be a record.

On the first day of school, Chloe and Nicholas were up a half hour before I intended to wake them. They both eagerly and efficiently dressed in the new finery they had each laid out the night before, brushed their teeth and hair and did their morning chore. They were looking cute and ready to go in plenty of time.

Yesterday I poked my head in both of the kids' rooms at 6:30 and cheerfully but gently woke them up. They each popped out of bed fairly quickly and went about their morning business with little need for reminders.

This morning...oh, this morning. This morning my cheerful "Wakey wakey, eggs and bakey!" was met with groans, moans and whining from the general area of Nicholas' head, buried under his quilt.

"I'm tiiiiiiiiiiiired! I don't want to get up! Why can't I sleeeeeeeeeep? I hate school!"

"We're running a bit late this morning," I prodded. "So please get up and get going."

Fifteen minutes later, with hair and makeup done, I ventured out into the living room where Nicholas sat on the couch, petting a dog and watching the news with his dad.

Wait--I should clarify. Somebody's ragamuffin kid sat on the couch, looking like he found his wardrobe choice at the bottom of a Goodwill bag. Last year's shorts, now faded and ending two inches or so above his boney knees were topped with a dingy white t-shirt featuring a hand-painted peace sign and the remnants of countless summer afternoon snacks.

"Oh HECK no! I did not buy you all those new clothes for you to wear ratty play shirts to school! Get back in your room and change!" I may have lost it a tiny bit. Five minutes later I heard Paul's voice, raised in frustration and decorated with colorful, Army-inspired adverbs, echoing from Nicholas' bedroom. Apparently he was losing it, too.

Nicholas, crying pitifully and still dressed in white trash couture, sprawled across his bed. "I don't have any shirts! I don't know what to wear!"

I stomped to his closet, grabbed a brand new t-shirt from the hanger, ripped the tag off and threw it at him. He woefully changed into the shirt he had loved when I pointed it out to him on Wednesday, and complained that the shirt was too long, it didn't match his shorts, etc. etc.! Such a little diva!

I recounted the episode to my mom this morning on Facebook chat, and we mused over the question of letting your kids make their own choices vs. having your kids look fairly clean and cared for (that is to say, not having your parenting skills judged by how ratty your kids look).

As we wrapped up the discussion, my mom posed a question. "What are you wearing today?"

"Um...faded work jeans with paint on them, one of Paul's old band t-shirt (featuring a new found hole in the front), and an old pair of tennis shoes."

What? It's Friday...

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Calm Yourself, It's Probably A Fluke

In two days it will have been exactly one year since my last post. I suppose I could wait for two days to write, but that would be just so darn expected. And why would ANYONE do what is expected if they could flip the situation and do the...wait for it...unexpected. So Bam, Flip! A post.

Last weekend Paul came home with a horseshoe set. What? Horseshoes. We are, apparently, a family who horseshoes. He jammed two pieces of rebar (it looks like rebar.I keep having visions of one of the kids taking a nosedive and impaling themselves on our lawn game. Always the fatalist, me) into the ground, and before long he and the kids were flinging U-shaped hunks of metal across the patchy brown weeds that serve as our lawn. After three or so poorly-aimed throws, Paul decided that maybe he should move his car out of the line of fire and ensconce the dogs safely in the house. And...that's the end of my story.

Except that last night I tried the horseshoes. And I failed. Badly. And this made me angry. (I don't like not being good at things. You know, the first try, without practice, all that.) And the angrier I got the worse I threw the damn shoes. At one point I even attempted an overhand fling at the rebar, and only succeeded in ripping out a chunk of weeds. Meanwhile, Paul stoically made points on each perfectly aimed toss. Ok, he didn't. In reality, he wasn't throwing much better than I was, but that didn't keep me from losing it a little bit more each time I missed.

It is not fun, apparently, to play games with me. Turns out I'm a bit of a sore loser. I guess I'm known to occasionally have a little temper tantrum when things don't go as I think they should. Maybe I should add that to my mile long list of things about myself that need to be fixed.

In the end, I apologized to Paul for being a big, giant, candyass crybaby (that line, by the way, was stolen from a fight between two co-workers that I had the pleasure of overhearing today), and I promised that I would try to know, grow up. And then he made fun of me.

But it occurred to me that I could use this event, this realization in a creative way. So I've decided that it's time to embrace my ridiculous.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Why I've Been Missing

See the Number 1 item on this list...that about sums it up. I don't want to be that person.

Also, I know that by posting this I'm making myself guilty of item Number 5. Totally worth it.

My blog, up to a certain point, served to document my foray into a new life. Well...the new life is not so new anymore and I've settled into the more mundane aspects of existence. I want to write about those things just about as much as you want to read about them. I know this because I'm bored with a million other blogs just like mine.

See ya 'round!