Archive for SAHM

It’s Cold.

Yesterday was an interesting day. The morning went fairly well, with EM going back to bed after breakfast because she had been up way too late and up way too early. The other two were beside themselves with excitement because they got to watch Curious George and Clifford the Big Red Dog on one of our new channels. I had some peace and quiet!

After lunch they all had another nap, a nice long, quiet one, and I was able to paint more on the bookshelves in the living room. I’m painting them white. All of it – white. It just all needs to be WHITE so we can just start over!! The multi-color palette is not doing it for me. Pink, dark red, dark blue, turquoise. And then you add in the eye-burning couch and it’s insane. It helps that we have a slipcover now, but more must be done!  Now if I can just finish a project that I start for once…

Things began to fall apart after dinner. DH got home late, and instead of settling in for reading and worship, he sat down with his dinner and turned on The Insider. Why he ever turns that on is beyond me. I will never understand the need to just have the TV on no matter what is playing instead of just turning it off and relax in the silence. But then, my daily life is full of constant noise and commotion. His is often noisy, but in a white noise kind of way. Mostly he’s alone with his thoughts for many hours a day with white noise in the back ground.

Anyway, I went upstairs to clean up and put laundry away, and the kids followed me up. They ran around me as I worked, until ELA did something  mean to EM and hurt her foot (she stopped walking for the rest of the evening). I lost my temper. I didn’t yell at her, and I didn’t spank her, I was just rough. But it really upset her. I picked up both girls and sat down on J’s bed and held them both and talked to them. I did yell at J, though, because he was asking questions and trying to get into the middle of it. I sent him downstairs, where he started in on DH and got in trouble down there. After I finished talking and hugging the girls, we went to their room and got tucked into bed. I took a flashlight to the stars and (moon) to get them to glow in the dark, but the moon was missing. I searched all over for it, but no luck. I finally went into J’s room and asked him about it, and then the real fun began. He started spinning stories about where it was hiding, it was under here, no it was over there, it was under the animals under ELA’s bed. No, no, and again, no. Not there, son. To which he replies, “You’re just not looking hard enough.”  Bad enough that I can’t get the truth out of him. Even worse when he uses one of my parenting lines on ME! I finished tucking the girls in and then tucked him in with a long talk. When I came downstairs after all this, DH was still on the phone with a friend he hadn’t talked to in a while. Of course he got off right as I came into the room, but at that point I needed a little time to unwind and really did NOT want to hear about the escapades of his friend’s cat. Aaargh!

It was a night that I felt like a failure as a mom.

My quiet moment of the day was when I went to the barn. It’s cold and quiet and brings my thoughts back to the basics of life. It’s real, so far from abstract that it’s refreshing. The cat wraps itself around my ankles and the horses talk to me. Fancy especially. She’s always got something to say when her face isn’t in the grain bucket. She hates being stuck in the barn, but she’s old and it’s the best place for her. Usually I have to climb up into the hayloft and throw down a couple of bales. I always dread doing that for some reason, but then I get up there and I just melt.

my favorite view

my favorite view

The most challenging is bringing in buckets of water for Fancy and Bear. Bear isn’t stuck in the barn, but his trough isn’t heated, so he gets a bucket every day of water from the other trough. I took my camera yesterday and took a few pictures from the loft. The cat purred at me the whole time and wanted more petting, which made getting pictures in the fading light a bit tricky. She’s a good cat, and very happy, so long as she’s left in the barn. It’s like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde to try bringing her in the house!

Well, here’s hoping today goes better. I have planned out the meals for this week and have been sticking to it. Now I need to start planning my days to get into a better day to day routine. It is about 6 below right now, and it’s going to be worse tomorrow. DH slept in the chair all night and stoked the fire periodically. I’m so glad we have a bunch of firewood in the back room!

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Things I’m Neurotic About

Been thinking about this post for a while. Now and then I realize that most normal people don’t do something that I do on a somewhat compulsive basis and then I sit back and try to figure out where I got that weird little behavior. Usually I end up at the same place: my Mom.

Take for instance – a few years ago when J started playing with Play-Do, I could hardly let him do it. For one thing, I don’t want to play with it myself. I never really enjoyed it all that much. How many snakes and tiny balls of play-do does one kid need to make before it gets old? I guess I just wasn’t all that creative. Second, how can anyone handle the mixing of colors?! It’s horrible! Each color needs to be separated back into it’s original can with all the rest of the bits of play-do of the same color.

I even tried to compel my 2 year old son to maintain some sort of element of separation of his colors, but soon it all started to turn brown. I couldn’t handle it. He didn’t get to play with the play-do anymore. Except when he went to his Great Aunt G’s house, where he made all the brown play-do he wanted and she revelled in his childish boyness. I started to realize I wasn’t normal in my aversion to brown play-do. So I started asking a few relatives, and come to find out BOTH my brother’s had the SAME aversion! We all laughed about it and then – asked Mom. Yep, come to find out, we were all apparently scarred for life by someone obsessed with keeping the colors seperate. It’s a family joke these days, and yes, I do let my kids mix it all up now to their hearts’ content.

I’ve been TOLD I also have neurotic tendencies when buttering my toast. Okay, okay, so I do have to make sure it gets all the way out to the four corners, but I don’t think that’s so abnormal. And I do tend to spend more time than necessary with the waffles but hey, there are so many little holes and it’s hard to get the butter evenly spread!  Thanks again, Mom, for sharing that weirdness with me.

My other one is about doing dishes. I can only use a dishrag once, and then it’s gross and goes in the laundry. I only use sponges to wash dishes with under running water, instead of in a sink of soapy water, and when I do that I hate it when my sponge falls in the water or gets wet when I don’t do it purposely. I know it’s weird, and I didn’t always do it that way, so I really can’t blame that one on my mother.

So. These don’t sound nearly as funny written down as they did in my head, but oh well. At least they’re out of my head now! I’m sure I have a lot more things I could write here that I’m just not aware of, living in happy ignorance here in my own little world.

My Husband the Binge Reader

It has been a busy week. We have 24 inches of snow on the ground and no relief in sight. DH leaves for work at 5 am and doesn’t get home until 6 or later. When I can, I do all the outdoor chores so he doesn’t have to when he gets home. Which means doing the shoveling if necessary, feeding the dogs, chopping and bringing in loads of firewood from behind the garage, feeding the barn cat, and feeding the horses. All together it takes me about 45 minutes on a good day.

The only way I can get this done with three little kids to look after at the same time is to do it during nap time. Well, nap time can, and usually does, get hairy with a 5 year old who doesn’t think he needs a nap or quiet time, a 3 year old who still tries to go poo in her closet now and then (or worse places you don’t want to know about) , and a tiny tot whose room is right at the top of the squeaky old staircase. During this time I will often lock their doors because I believe it’s the safest place for them to be when I’m out of earshot for more than a few minutes. Apparently this is not always the case. On Monday I was out for quite a while in the barn, trying to find the cat, and came in the house to find a crying 5 year old in the living room. Not so terribly odd, except that he had been upstairs in a locked room when I left the house! He had opened the grate in the floor of the room (did I mention we live in an OLD farmhouse?) and tried to rapel his way down a “rope” of carpet fiber to escape, and had landed not so softly on his rear end. He is fine, nothing broken, just a little bruise, but I think we’ve both learned our lesson. I don’t lock him in anymore and he doesn’t open the grate.  Now he tells everyone that he fell from his room down to the living room now, which makes an interesting conversation starter in public. I never did find the cat, but DH did later and brought her into the back room where she stayed for a few days  before escaping back to the barn. But the cat is a whole ‘nother story!

So on Wednesday, J had a dentist appt. for a cleaning and checkup, and though we’d heard we were supposed to get more snow overnight and I was planning to postpone the trip, the snow didn’t come. So I didn’t have a babysitter and packed all three kids into the car and up to the dentist we went, where the girls and I sat in a corner chair while J had his teeth cleaned. Thankfully we didn’t have to try for more x-rays. After all of that hassle and after I’d been cooped up in the house with three little ones far too many days in a row,  I decided to go for a bit of a drive, nowhere to go in particular, just to be out of the house for longer than 1 hr. So I kept driving past the house and towards town, where I fell in behind a guy going 15-20 mph the whole way out to the highway, about 8 miles or so. I thought for sure once he got onto the clear highway he would speed up, but he didn’t. Soon the cars piled up behind us and we were all getting a bit impatient. So when I saw an opportunity, I took it, and passed the guy. Almost immediately the tires broke loose and I realized that the whole highway was a sheet of black ice. We fishtailed for several hundred yards, across both lanes of highway, and I kept the rear behind me as long as I could, not touching the brakes, just steering into the slide, but we were going down a hill and picking up momentum, and eventually the back passed the front, and we went off the road into the soft snow on the edge. If we had hit a patch of dry pavement we would have flipped. It was scary, and I had to struggle to keep my own adrenaline and emotions in check because the kids were scared to death in the back. I’m so thankful our angels were keeping watch over us and keeping us from so many terrible possibilities. We were all safely belted into our seats and the car had no damage at all. The only cost to us was the $80 tow truck fee for yanking us back up on the road. We drove away from there a very blessed little family. While I was stuck there, I called DH, who called two of his friends, both of whom were willing to come and help us, but because we were on the highway we had to use a tow truck service. I was also called by a friend on the road commission who heard my name on the scanner, and he wanted to make sure we were all okay. And then, when I was just pulling away, DH’s aunt pulled off to the side of the road because she saw us there and was worried. DH also received a few other phone calls from friends and acquaintances who saw us as well. That is how much of a small town we live in and how concerned everyone is with taking care of each other. It’s amazing. You put that together with the neighbors of ours who have come and snowblowed our driveway twice so far this winter, and the other neighbors who have just simply adopted us as their kids (and grandkids) and I truly feel blessed to be part of this community.  To have people who care for me like that.

I’m sure there is more that I intended to write about this morning, but I have already been trying to finish this for over an hour, so I’m going to end now and hope to remember the rest later, and write about it at 5 am, the only time I can sit uninterrupted by kids, and write on weekdays, the only time I am uninterrupted by DH.

This is the book he has been reading most recently. A very interesting book written by a highly educated man with writing bent toward true literature. It’s one that I would enjoy reading myself, or together with DH, but that I HATE being interrupted constantly for, especially by someone who doens’t enjoy literature and has no sense of reading with a literatic rythm. DH loves to read me tidbits, and starts all of his interruptions by the word, “Wow.”, which is my cue to quit whatever I’m doing and wait patiently for the quote that follows. So this morning DH tells me, as I’m fixing his coffee at 6 am, that he feels that we have made some positive changes since putting in the stove, and that he’s happy we are watching less tv in the evenings. It’s true – we only attempted to watch one episode of Crossing Jordan on a netflix during which I fell asleep.  He tells me how much he has enjoyed just sitting by the fire and reading his book instead. And then, he says, “I think I’m doing a better job of not binge-reading with this book.” I couldn’t help but laugh. I guess you have to know the man to understand why!

I Cooked A Turkey

Actually, it’s not really what you think. I *thankfully* didn’t have to cook the big kahuna turkey for the turkey day dinner yesterday, I left that up to the actual non-vegetarianish people we spent the holiday with. I’m not good at turkeys. Or any other meat for that matter. I just don’t know how to cook it. And I’m afraid of the germs. Really. All I can think of the whole time is e-coli and bleach. I even think the cooked turkey is going to contaminate my kitchen.

It just doesn’t seem like Thanksgiving without a turkey, though. Even though we had a piece at dinner, I needed some for leftovers! So I got myself a turkey and thawed it all out and decided that the third time must be a charm, and stuck it in the oven. I cooked it for 6 hours. I had to make sure it was done. Less germs that way, you know.

I didn’t know what to do with the neck and gizzards, though. Uck. Really, does any normal human being EAT those things?! I finally consulted with DH who convinced me to get them out of the bowl in my sink and cook them for the dogs. Again, uck. But, okay, I did what seemed reasonable and stuck them in the frying pan. And the smell of them cooking brought back this really distant memory of my grandpa. I don’t really have many good memories of him, and this isn’t one of them. I remember one time at his house he made me eat one of them. And now I suddenly remember where ELA gets her overactive gag reflex. I think he was trying to toughen me up. Who knows. It was kind of a eat-it-right-now-or-go-cut-yourself-a-willow-switch moments. Fun.

Later I sat down on my Grandma’s old wooden stool to separate the turkey into edible and non-edibles, and that brought back memories of her teaching me how to properly do this unpleasant task. She was, and still is at almost 88, a frugal woman, not given to wastefulness. And that came out in every aspect of her cooking, as evidenced by her zucchini “cookies” with secret ingredients straight from her mystery container at the back of the refrigerator. Anyway, she was of the conviction that every possible morsel of meat must be saved, and so my idea of proper procedure is possibly a little warped, and this task takes me no less than 2 hours to do. More fun.

It was 9 pm when I finally was finished with all of the dishes tonight. I’m always thinking of things to write when I am doing the dishes. And by the time I sit down here it all sounds completely different and starts off one way and ends up going a different direction than planned. I need a running commentary sometimes of what’s in my head. Besides, 9:30 is way past my bedtime. I should stick to writing in the morning while I’m enjoying my coffee and thinking of all the great things I want to accomplish in a day, rather than writing at night when all I can do is write about crazy things like separating a turkey.

My House is Clean

the kitchen tableYep, my house is clean. So clean you could almost eat off the floor – as long as you don’t mind your food tasting a little like Mop n Glo. That stuff is so much better than the Swiffer, except for the part where I have to do it on my hands and knees. And yes, even my stove has been scrubbed within an inch of its life, a task I have detested since I was a little girl. Growing up, the chore of doing dishes wasn’t finished until you had wiped down all the counters and the table, and cleaned the (*sigh*) stove. Now that I’m all grown up I only clean it about once a month, and then because everything is cooked on, it’s much harder to scrub off. I’m starting to think maybe I’m not doing myself any favors by putting it off. Hmm.

Anyway, the point of all this fervent cleaning and srubbing was to make a good first impression on our new friends, B & R. We’ve been to their house once, after she and I finally met when we were all at J & M’s wedding a couple of weeks ago. So DH spent time cleaning the yard and garage and helped me get the horrid wood stove out of the house and move the couch and piano while I cleaned. We had the advantage of seeing their house first, so I know what an impeccable house keeper she is, which is a little intimidating. Here she is 4 months pregnant with their third child and her house looks like that? Is it just me who gets sick and lazy when she’s pregnant? Sheesh! Not only that, but she is halfway through her third pregnancy (reduntant, I know, but hear me out) and she hardly looks pregnant at all! I wouldn’t think she was pregnant if I didn’t already know. She says she gains 50 lbs with each pregnancy – it’s her  “magic number”. Well what does she do afterward, lose 60?!  That’s way more than I ever gained with any of my pregnancies, but I just never managed to lose all of it, or the shelf, or the stretch marks. How can I possibly be good friends with someone who has never struggled with her weight?

Okay, well, now that I’ve written that out I can pretty plainly see that my problems with finding and making new friends has a lot less to do with the other person than with issues within myself, and my own view of my worthiness as a person and as a friend. Gotta work on that.