Monthly Archives: January 2013

RTT: A day in the life

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Random Tuesdays are my favorite. Because I live in the random. My entire weekdays are random. Take the girls to school. Come home. Let Zoey finish her breakfast. Start a job. Phone call – drop job and work on another one. Zoey wants more milk. Wait. Which job was I working on? I guess I’ll do this one. Must remember to put dinner in the crockpot. Finish a job – yay! Head for crockpot, phone call – nevermind the crockpot – work on third job. Zoey needs a new diaper. Zoey wants a book read to her. Make a cup of tea. Frantic string of emails! Get these three jobs done this morning! Zoey is crying and frustrated. Give her the crayons – but she doesn’t want the crayons – I have crayons! Give her the crayons. She doesn’t want crayons. I have crayons! Give her the crayons – now for some reason, it’s ok, she’s happy. Oh, thank you Mommy. One hour to go to get those jobs done, and then I have to get to the crockpot or it’s not going to happen. Halfway done on jobs – phone call from school counselor, do I have a minute to talk? Sure. Talk about girl drama (way too young if you ask me). Shoot, must finish those jobs right now. Smell awful smell – change diaper. Finish jobs. Remember tea left to steep 20 minutes ago. Drink it room temperature while working on original job of the morning. Read book to Zoey. Wait – remember laundry that I wrinkle released when I went to wake up Ella. Wrinkle release it again. Back to original job. Phone call – just one more change to job #3 of the day. Shoot! Zoey needs lunch before it’s naptime. Get lunch for Zoey. Finish job #3. Back to original job – finally finish. Change diaper, put Zoey down for nap. Laundry! Hope it’s still warm from the wrinkle release #2 – yes! – fold laundry after starting another load. Finish cold tea. Eat lunch while watching a delightful grownup tv show of some sort, to drown out Zoey. Start next oldest job – phone call – scrap that – need to create a catalog page like order form with 20 items by 4 pm! Will have to pick girls up at 3, so really this needs to be done before then. Zoey doesn’t really nap. Convince her to read books alone. Order form. Order form. Shoot! Crockpot – too late. No more books for Zoey – I watch Call Maybe? Not now – play babies? No! Play Little People? No! Move these cotton balls from one tupperware to another? Yes! Really? Because to me, that seems like the least fun choice. But hooray, she’s occupied! Order form. Order form. Order form done – phew! Must hurry to pick up older girls – wait – Zoey needs a diaper. Hurry, hurry! We’ll be late! Boots! Jackets. Mittens. Hats. Car seat. Try to find parking. Go into school. Say hi to office staff! Say hi to parents! Say hi to teachers! Get older girls, out to van, Zoey in car seat, check phone – voicemail. Quick change on order form! Hurry home! Make change – hurry! Activity for older girls starts at 4! Back to the car seat! Five minutes late. 55 minutes to waste. Not really enough time to go home. Target errands. Hurry! Back to pick up older girls! Head home. Homework, homework! Study spelling! Entertain Zoey! Oh no. Scrapped the dinner in the crockpot, so what now? Frozen pizza it is. Change diaper. Probably forgot something was on the bottom of the oven – smoke detector goes off. Fan smoke away. Eat dinner. Hurry! Showers! Bath! Jammies! Hide away for 20 minutes playing on iPad while girls rough house with Captain America. I don’t like to see all the almost injuries. And the laughter and screaming gets really loud. Someone cries – rough housing is over. Bedtime snacks! Brush teeth! GO TO BED! Hugs, kisses, prayers. Oh, hey. Forgot laundry from before lunch. Will have to dry it tomorrow, because the dryer bothers Ella when she’s trying to fall asleep. Run dishwasher. Make tea. Try to catch up on work. Glazing over. Remember tea, drink a little warmer than room temperature. Make sure homework is signed, start to pack lunches. Watch an hour of tv. Go to bed, because it will be just like that again tomorrow. Or worse.

More random at Stacy’s – check it out.

I’ve gone soft

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It’s cold. I’m freezing. It’s not really that cold today – the high is actually 20 degrees. Although it feels like 11. But that’s not 0, so I don’t know what I’m complaining about. Except I don’t like to be cold.

I think the trouble was that I got out of the shower about 5 minutes before I had to take Ella & Natalie to school, and then Zoey and I went to the grocery store. With my wet hair. And no hat. I don’t know if you’ve ever had frozen hair before, but it’s tough to come back from. A rookie northern winter mistake made by this lifer. And while the temp isn’t in the negatives, it is still cold enough that the furnace seems to have a hard time keeping up. It’s been running constantly all day. Like it’s gotten behind.

I know what that feels like. Especially lately. The laundry is never caught up. Neither are the dishes. Neither is my work. It seems I never have that feeling of, “Ok, everything’s settled.” Most days if I have gotten a decent amount of work done, and Zoey has eaten AND had a few diaper changes, I feel pretty good. Even every time I’ve gone to the store recently I’ve come home and realized I’ve forgotten something. Or rather, some things.

I like the idea of hibernation. I would like to just hunker down and wait for spring. Curl up under some blankets and come out again when the lows are in the 40s.

But life seems to move on whether we’re ready or not. Kids still have school. Work still needs to be done. My family likes to eat dinner. Every single day. The clothes get dirty. And there is nothing in this world, NOTHING that reminds you of time moving on quite like a toddler. Every day is something new – whether good or bad. Mostly good, even if the bad sounds a little…louder.

I like a zoo, do you?

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Natalie just asked me which one is the world’s largest zoo. She was trying to figure out where the most animals are in the world. Because she’s Natalie, and she is animal obsessed. She was pretty excited to learn she’s been there (at least according to Touropia) – it’s Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha. Some are larger in terms of acreage, but Henry Doorly has the acreage + most species (962).

They’ve got the “largest” nearly everything. World’s largest indoor swamp. Largest geodesic dome. Largest indoor desert. World’s largest nocturnal exhibit. Largest cat complex. America’s largest indoor rainforest. Etc.

It’s also the nicest, most easy to navigate zoo we’ve visited. We were there on a sometimes rainy day, but we managed to spend the entire day there because there’s so much inside. And we still didn’t see everything. We didn’t even go near the IMAX, that was all just wandering around time. It would also be easy to still enjoy it when it’s hot. There’s just so much that’s climate controlled and indoors.

I enjoy a zoo very much, but they’re often exhausting. Huge school groups. Screaming, crying kids – sometimes yours, sometimes not. And if you’ve got a baby or toddler, it can be a real pain because they aren’t really designed for strollers (Brookfield Zoo – I’m looking at YOU). But I have to say, the Omaha Zoo was the most delightful zoo experience I’ve ever had. We went on an April day when the kids had some spring break. Zoey was around 6 months. We were able to take her stroller everywhere but inside the butterfly house. It’s so big, that we never felt like we were in a crowd. And sure, I was exhausted at the end of the day, but just because I’d been on my feet walking so much. Not because of lines and crowds and my own children having meltdowns. 

As a matter of fact, it’s a good six hours from where we are, but I can easily see us making the trip again. It’s worth it just for the zoo. Plus, our family of 5 could get in for under $50. I don’t know how they do it, but I’m glad they do.

And now you’ll have to excuse me while I try to figure out when I can get back to Omaha. Frankly, that’s not something I thought I’d ever say, yet there you have it.

Purple passion

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I wasn’t going to participate in Gretchen’s color spin this week, but after reading her post I think I have to now. She’s talking about colors. Sing it with me! Have you ever heard the wolf cry…to the blue corn moon… Or not. That’s fine. I’ll just do it in my head.

Ella’s favorite color changes nearly weekly. Natalie’s changes, but not so often. I once met a boy at camp whose favorite color was orange. He liked it because nobody else really did, and he felt a little sorry for it. I have ALWAYS had the favorite color purple. Always. A good, deep purple. I don’t know what my attraction to it was originally, but once I found out that purple is the color of royalty and my name means princess – well. I figured that sealed the deal for life. Even though purple is my favorite, it’s not usually a big player in my closet. There are colors that look better with red hair. But I’m always drawn to it. And I’m thankful that a nice eggplant seems to be a pretty timeless clothing color. And dying my hair blue, teal, and my beloved purple was a sort of weird dream come true. I only wish it would have lasted longer (apparently colors of that variety don’t like to stick around).

When I was reading Gretchen’s post, she linked to a “what your favorite color says about you” article. FASCINATING.

Here are the personality traits they list for people who like purple:

  • Highly individual – I always hope so.
  • Fastidious – Not really. I’m a clutter bug. BUT. There is a side of fastidious that’s more about accuracy and details. YES, MA’AM. I’m that obnoxious person that posts a snopes link every time you put something on Facebook. Disregard for accuracy and sources makes my skin crawl – I mean, I get fidgety and really have trouble letting it go. I’ve always credited that to my newspaper family upbringing.  Some days it’s better for me to just shut Facebook down. Particularly during political seasons.
  • Witty and sensitive – Again, I hope so. Growing up it was always a personal goal to make a grown up laugh at humor they would appreciate.
  • Strong desire to be unique and different – Perhaps to a fault.
  • Temperamental – I am not. Maybe a little. Probably. Ok, fine. That I can blame on the red hair, right? I’m pretty even keel about a lot of life areas, but I can be…moody…as well.
  • Expansive and artistic – I would say I’m not artistic, but that’s probably not completely true. For one thing, I make my living as a graphic designer. For another, sometimes I fancy myself to be a writer. It’s just that I can’t draw even enough for a game of Pictionary. But I am drawn to artistic things, and might be artistic in my own way.
  • May become aloof and sarcastic when misunderstood – Who, me? Never. (Get it? That was me. Being sarcastic. ahem.)
  • Unconventional, tolerant and dignified – I’m all for thinking outside of the box. I would consider myself tolerant in some respects. There are plenty of things I am certainly not tolerant about. Inaccuracy. Cruelty to others. Casting judgement. When my kids do something they knew was wrong. And I hope I’m dignified. I would rather leave a bad situation with my head held high, than let someone see me melt down. But not so dignified to be stuffy.
  • Likely to achieve positions of authority – Ok, no. Not so much on that one. But for really only that one to be off is pretty impressive.

So there you have it. I like purple. Always have. Always will. Maybe even a little more now.

spincyclegoeshollywood

It’s just a Thursday afternoon. It’s Thursday, right?

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  • I have an awful, dry, scratchy throat. I have a cold, or it has recently melted enough for my mold allergy to kick up. Who can say? In any case, it feels great to drink hot tea. I have had so much already today that I feel sloshy. Roughly 64 oz. It’s 2:30.
  • Today Zoey found a princess wand in the toy box and said, “Ooooo…MYSTICAL!” I’d like to think we’re raising her to be that brilliant, but I should probably give Super Why credit where credit is due. I think it was Princess Presto related.
  • I ate sushi. I’ve grabbed some fake crab sushi at the grocery store before, but this was the first time I went out for real sushi. With raw fish and everything. Not sashimi, but still. I thought it was some of the most beautifully presented food I’ve seen, and it was pretty tasty, too.
  • Going out for sushi required getting a babysitter. We hadn’t hired an actually babysitter since our Most Awesome Babysitter moved last May. Yes. Last May. Don’t panic – we’ve been out when grandparents or someone are around. But we haven’t been out enough. New Babysitter was delightful. I hope she doesn’t think she needs to do anything silly like move out of state.
  • Raising a toddler with older siblings is a very different experience than raising a toddler who is the oldest child. A few days ago I went to turn on a show for Zoey to watch, and the girls had left it on Nickelodeon, which was showing Big Time Rush. I asked Zoey if she’d like to watch Blues Clues or Sesame Street. “NO! Big Tie Russ!” Wow. Ok. I hovered, in case she changed her mind. She didn’t. She watched the whole episode.
  • I am slowly becoming a list maker. I have started making all kinds of lists. Unfortunately, I don’t seem to look at them. Case in point: 2012 Goals. I just found them in my calendar when I was transferring info to a new one at the end of December. Maybe I should think of a more prominent location for things like that.

Meow.

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A couple times a month, the older girls head off to the Humane Society for Critter Club. It’s kind of my apology to them for not having a real* pet. They’re not old enough to work with the animals (liabilities & what have you). So they learn about different animals, and do projects for the animals in the shelter. They make dog toys and things. Posters about pet adoption. That sort of thing. And then at the end if they have time, they get to visit the animal rooms and see who is there this week.

Every week when Zoey and I drop them off, Zoey yells, “I GO SEE KITTIES!!” as soon as we can see the parking lot. There’s a large cat statue in front. It’s playing with a ball of yarn. So this week it was, “KITTY PLAYING BASKETBALL! I GO SEE! I SEE KITTIES!” Usually we take the girls to the club, and then we take a quick spin through the cat & dog rooms. Those poor cats. They are never ready for Zoey. “HI KITTY!! SO CUTE!” she yells, as she shoves her face to the glass. You may not know this, but two year olds really only have one volume. It requires ALL CAPS. This week, she was very concerned about their eating habits. “HI KITTY! WANT A SNACK??” She didn’t have a snack to share, I think she just wanted them to stop napping and eat their food. Every kitty in the joint. “HI KITTY! WANT A SNACK?!?!”

Then we went to the dog room and saw a sad little terrier type dog. Poor baby was shaking. I would, too, if I were across from the Giant Golden Barking Lab. Forget the fact that there are two fences between you. My ears would hurt. Plus, poor baby dog was wearing a doggie cone of shame. She has had a tough week. I wanted to bring her home. I was pretty sure if I did, she would chew up everything in our house and pee all over the floor, but I still wanted to bring her home. But maybe it’s for the best. Zoey might have been more than Little Terrier could take. “HI DOG! NICE TO MEET YOU!” Then, she turned to Barking Lab, “I sorry, Puppy. I sorry.”

I am noticing that my own desire for a pet seems to ebb and flow right along with what’s “in stock.” Lots of kittens? We should really get a cat. Border Collie or Australian Shepherd? I’d like a dog. None of the above? I don’t need a pet, thank you. I like my pet hair-free home and lack of litter box.

And then the Humane Society posts a new picture on Facebook of another tiny gray kitten that needs a loving home… It’s probably good Captain America is so set in his No Pet ways.

 

*I have decided hermit crabs aren’t real pets. What with having to move them every few days to see if they’re still alive and all.

RTT: I’m alive!

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I’m still here. I just had some holidays and breaks and probably illnesses to contend with. I don’t really remember. It’s all a blur. Perfect time for some random thoughts:

  • Everything after Christmas seems empty. Take down the tree and look at the naked corner of the room. Everything is unwrapped, open, and hopefully put away. Even the calendar is empty. Cookies are gone (yay! boo…). It’s both a welcome time of rest, and a sort of sad time.
  • Parenting is a roller coaster. Last night I had to dig way back to the recesses of my college mind for a counseling class so I could mediate an argument between the older two. “Ella, what I hear you saying is _________.” “Natalie, when you say _______, it makes Ella feel ________.” Meanwhile, Zoey was demanding to be read 800 books. No skipping pages. Nice and slow, or you have to start over. And Captain America was off somewhere watching the college football game with friends. When I went to get kids ready for bed, I found Natalie and Zoey in Zoey’s rocking chair. Natalie was reading books to Zoey, and they had an arm around each other. I kind of didn’t want to put them to bed ever. Then this morning, the two girls who’d been crying over each other and hurt feelings last night were busy making plans to meet up at recess. Natalie said something about how she wanted to play with Ella at recess today, because a couple other girls yesterday told her she could only play with them if she played a certain game. Ella piped up, “What? Who is it? Show me who they are at recess, ok?” Best of friends, worst of enemies.
  • I have a sort of anxious child. Through separate string of events (oh Elementary Girls, you have all your lives to have the drama – don’t start now!), I ended up having a lovely discussion with our school guidance counselor regarding the Anxious One. She suggested a guided relaxation cd. I figured it couldn’t hurt. So I found “I Can Relax!” on itunes and downloaded it. She loves it! The key is, it helps her relax without giving her mind time to wander and worry. I’ve had her listen to some of it every night. She’s falling asleep faster, sleeping better, and is generally more at ease. And when she does get upset, she’s able to put those relaxation techniques into use. Plus, she just enjoys doing it, and she knows it helps her feel better.
  • I love Pinterest. I know some people feel like it’s just another way for us to feel less than fantastic about ourselves while we see all the overachieving. How it can make us want things we don’t have. Of course it can do that. Pretty easily. But when used just as a tool, it’s so fun. I’ve found great recipes (and not so great). I’ve found helpful household hints (dawn dishsoap mixed with vinegar is like a Magic Cleaning Fairy potion). I’ve had a good laugh when I needed it. I’ve gotten good ideas for keeping Zoey busy so I can get something done. I got cute ideas for patching up Ella’s hole-in-the-knee jeans (which I actually did! and then she grew out of them).
  • How is it that children grow a size overnight? Sometimes you get a little warning. “Hey…those jeans are looking a tiny bit short. I suppose soon we’ll need to find new ones.” But usually it’s just instant. One of the girls will put on some pants for school, and I think I shouldn’t let them out of the house with flood pants like that. And unfortunately, that usually means every pair of pants is too short. That happened last week to Ella. It seems like it always happens around Christmas (which is close to her half birthday). It probably happens around her birthday, too, but I don’t notice because she’s wearing shorts. In any case, this time I got really lucky. Once Upon a Child was having a clearance deal on Saturday for 60% off. I ended up getting her 7 pairs of jeans, 3 shirts, a sweatshirt, a book, and 4 shirts for Natalie. For less than the cost of 4 pairs of jeans at Target. It was fantastic. You’d think now we’d just save Ella’s old jeans for Natalie, but they’re too small. Ella wears slims, and Natalie wears regular. And they wear the same size shirts. It’s crazy.
  • I love a teacher with a sense of humor. It makes everyone’s life easier. Yesterday I was talking with Mr. B, Natalie’s teacher, about reading for the month. “This month they’re doing take home books, you probably remember it from Ella.” “Ah yes,” I said, “I remember then she had to keep every single book she brought home for her ‘library.'” Mr. B replied, “Yeah. I’m taking money from TLC to create the next generation of hoarders for their tv show.” Ella’s over it, but it’s sure working with Natalie. Of course, that could be because her mother’s a packrat.
  • Speaking of hoarding, it would seem I have taken over almost an entire cupboard in my kitchen with my tea habit. Black tea. Green tea. White tea. Rooibos. Herbal. Celestial Seasonings, Tazo, Teavana, Bigelow, Stash. A nagging sore throat has left me with the tea pot on a near constant boil. Two large mugs in the morning. One in the afternoon. One before bed. It’s tea craziness.
  • Downton Abbey is back. I’m so happy. My favorite line from the season premier was, “Have you done something jolly with your hair?” I know that’s not a line that was written to be a favorite – not like the Dowager’s fantastic one liners – but it made me so happy. Makes me want to do something jolly with my hair. Makes me want to do something jolly period. It’s the only show I watch that I have to watch when it’s on. Usually I like to record shows and watch them later. But with Downton, I do both. I watch it right away, and then maybe again later in the week. I don’t like to miss anything. Random within a random: Isn’t Downton a big enough deal to be recognized by spellcheck? I would think so. Somebody get on that.

Stacy’s got more random if you’re interested. Thanks for stopping by!