Tuesday, August 26, 2008

A Playdate of Sorts

When I think of a playdate, I think of one of my mom-friends coming over to our house or us meeting at the park or at her house. Usually this is very casual - neither of us cleans much, our kids may have dirt under their fingernails, and we sit, drink coffee or water, and talk while the kids fight, I mean play, in the yard.

Today, not so much.

Instead of this blissful scene painted above, I found myself preparing for a visit from an acquaintance, L, who was babysitting her nephews. Please don't take this the wrong way - I love L and her nephews are ADORABLE (A is the same age as Treefrog and D is 11 weeks. People! You don't get any cuter than 11 weeks!). Anywho, at 7 am it hit me: L is coming to my house. She does not have kids. She is not used to my laid-back approach to life. She will not be comfortable in my rather, uh, chaotic home. So, at 7 am I began cleaning because the cleanliness of my house is the only bit of chaos that I can remotely control. For two hours I was washing dishes, floors, toilets, counters, anything that my friend may see. About two minutes before she walked in the door with her two nephews, I swept the floor one last time in case the baby decided to do some tummy time.

Needless to say, L was great. She is the perfect aunt - she is attentive to the boys' needs, doesn't care if they get dirty, and loves snack time as much as I do. I need not have worried. She was gracious and we had a good time together. I even find myself hoping she watches her nephews again soon just so I can hang out with her. Hopefully next time I won't kill myself trying to create a lifestyle that I obviously do not uphold. Cleanliness is for the birds:)

Saturday, August 23, 2008

A Full Day at Noon

Today was pretty crazy. We pulled ourselves out of bed at quarter til seven to begin making headway on the kitchen that was destroyed by my well-meaning husband who is hosting college students in our house on a daily basis now. Ben ran to the store to pick up eggs (those guys and gals sure eat a lot) and I started to make muffins (mmmm, muffins). We cleaned, and baked, and got ready, and fed the boys, and brewed coffee, and then brewed more coffee, and somewhere in there I inhaled my breakfast. We were not finished by the time the students started arriving, but we were close enough.

Me: Babe, it's only nine o'clock.

Ben: Yeah, so?

Me: So, I feel like I have already lived half a day and I'm just now taking over the kids for the whole day.

Ben: Oh

[awkward pause]

Ben: Sorry 'bout that.

Me: yeah, thanks.

So, the kids are now "resting." Treefrog is on the couch with a book, Fish is in the crib sleeping, and Mama is relishing the quiet. Dear Lord, let it last:)

Monday, August 18, 2008

You Might Be a Redneck If . . .

Ben is gone this week for his yearly obligatory week in the wilderness with the college students he will be working with this year. He doesn't mind it as much as me, go figure. Actually, I'm pretty sure he was packed an entire week before the actual trip because he gets so excited for it.

That leaves me home with the boys. For a week. By myself. And did I mention I am by myself this week?

I guess by myself is relative, though. I spent most of the day today with my friend J and her three kids. J owns a hotdog and coffee stand (hello, free coffee much?!) so while she was making fuel for us to venture off on our Day o' Shopping, I stayed in the car with the kids (five if you're counting). Which brings me to my first example (see title above):

You might be a redneck if your children are sitting in an unwashed van in the Home Depot parking lot chanting "WE NEED MORE COWBELL!" Oh, yes. We do love us some SNL (anyone? the sketch with Christopher Walkin and Will Ferrel and Will's shirt just keeps inching up every time he pounds the cowbell? anyone? so. funny.).

Second example:

Did I mention I am by myself this week? Maybe once before? Okay. So, yeah, I'm by myself and basically in "Survival Mode." This means I don't really care if Treefrog leaps off the top bar of our swing set so long as I don't have to spend the night in the hospital. Have fun, buddy! It DOES mean, however, that I cannot stand to have the kitchen be messy. It is definitely the center of our home (almost literally, but definitely figuratively). So there are three cabinets that we haven't had time/energy/whatever, so we're l.a.z.y. to childlock yet. . .

You might be a redneck if you:

What is that? I'm not sure I'm seeing this right . . .

Oh, yea, that's definitely . . .

Really, the oven too?!

That's right, y'all. I duct taped my cabinets and my oven shut so that Fish would stop pulling every item I own out of those three places. And let me tell you, I may just survive this week with the kids still alive.

I'm a redneck and I'm proud.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

All Good Things

This is one of those days where I could easily loose sight of the good things. It was a trying day, but only at times. Those times could take over so smoothly, just fading into the forefront of my mind and clouding all the good things that happened. So before I begin to dwell too long on the bad this post will be about all the good that happened today.

Good thing the first: Going to the teacher store. In my attempt at making a decision on homeschooling, I will be doing three days a week of school with Treefrog this year. Just some simple pre-school things that will help him learn to listen and sit still for a bit. I took both kiddos with me and still had a blast reliving my “old” classroom days (when I taught in a life lived long, long ago). I adore classroom supplies!!

Good thing the second: Baking bread with Treefrog. Mmmmm, nothing spells love like time in the kitchen with a toddler when the end result is yummy Banana Blueberry Bread a la SouleMama.

Good thing the third: I made dinner – chicken masala for the meat eaters and lentil masala for the vegetarian (me) over rice. I’m sure the kids will be taking their mouths for rides tonight as they have never had this dish before, but I’m still thinking positive.

Good thing the fourth: I ran this morning. Day 2 of preparing for my next race (which hopefully will not be interrupted by the need to travel again!) (holy cow I am DONE with the flying!!!). Ben and I are running Pints to Pasta the first weekend in September. It’s a 10K, so it shouldn’t kill me as long as I do some running between now and then.

Good thing the fifth: I got to go shopping by. my. self. Awesome.

So there you go: My list of totally good things so that I won’t be overwhelmed by the couple of not-so-good things that happened as well. It’s good to have perspective.

Monday, August 11, 2008

I Came Out of the Closet Today

No, I'm still a happily married mama of two boys (though I have so many boys in my life that it is sometimes hard to believe that I haven't changed sides, so to speak).

Today I took a different leap of faith and trusted my very best friend with the knowledge of this blog (Hi, J!). She immediately ran to our computer to look it up. I'm pretty sure she beat that really famous Olympic guy's time for the fastest sprint. Seriously, I run with her pretty regularly and even on the very few times we've raced, she has never moved as fast as she did today:)

I am surprised at how long I kept this to myself. . . . I have been pretty open with my thoughts and feelings here and I shy away from telling others about this spot so that I don't feel the need to sensor myself more. I know J will respect my privacy. She basically swore on her firstborn's life that she wouldn't tell anyone else. Or, quite possibly she asked if she could tell others, I said no, and that was the end of it. One or the other. I don't have the best memory.

So, here's to the word getting out about this little blog, even if it is only to one other person for now.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

School, Really?!

In reading some of my other favorite blogs I noted that kids were already starting back to school! Geez, I can't believe how fast the time went this summer. I think with all of our traveling and basically missing Ben's vacation the end of summer just crept up on me. Since we live in the Northwest, though, we don't start school until September 2. So, I guess maybe I'm lamenting a little too soon:)

But, the whole back-to-school thing got me started thinking anyway. Treefrog is three (has been since April) and his doctor asked me this summer if we were starting preschool this year. Ben and I have talked about homeschooling, public schooling, and private schooling to see where we stand, what we want our children to get from school and us, and how we believe each of those options fit into our lives. I feel so blessed just to have this choice of how to school our children. This blessed choice, however, makes life a little stressful. I have been back and forth in my mind for so long trying to figure out if we should go the public school route or the homeschool route (private school is not an option right now due to lack of funds). With the impending adoption this year, the decision has been even harder. Last night, I was up late doing research on homeschooling. In my heart, I believe the decision has already been made. I have spent so many hours on the homeschooling and unschooling websites that I think I could tell you verbatim what is said on each one. This is where our lives are taking us.

Ben works for a university so our life is not guaranteed in stability. One small way I can offer stability for my children is through school - not having the pressure of changing schools time and time again due to changes in jobs (university life is pretty volatile for those of you who are unaware). I want my kids to have the best education possible. That may or may not be available through me, but I also see social skills, moral education/influences, and physical activity being part of education. Those things are things that Ben and I can provide our children much more effectively than any public or private school I've encountered. Education is so much more than reading, math, and science. Education is wholistic - every part matters. I want my children to experience life and learn in a way that they simply can't do sitting at a desk for 8 hours a day.

Homeschooling isn't a final decision yet. I want to send each of the boys to preschool (starting when they are four) and I want to visit the school where they would attend if we decide on public school. I hope to keep an open mind as I do these things - looking for both positives and negatives, trying to see the big picture, looking for how our children would fit into the public school system. I know they will thrive with any choice we ultimately make because both Ben and I will be involved in their education both inside and outside the classroom. I pray that I continue to remember that as I critique the public system here and as Ben and I reach a decision on schooling.