Sunday, September 28, 2008


So a couple weeks ago I was being a solo parent for a couple days. My husband was out of town on business. To add to the confusion and frustration I thought, "Hey, I'll pack the kids up and go to my myself." Sophia was off at a camp and the boys were home and playing together. All was going fairly well. I start packing. Oh crap, today is the day the housekeepers come. You know how you are supposed to clean the house before the housekeeper comes? I hadn't done it. If you were to look at my house you would think I did the opposite. Well it's too late at this point. My housekeeper shows up and, God bless her, says, "Don't worry about it." I don't. Well I can't at this point. Now, while packing, I am going to have to keep the boys out of the way. I tell them to play outside. They do. So I go back to packing the car.

Pack, pack, pack, check on the boys, pack, pack, pack, check on the boys, repeat. Wait, where are the boys? I run upstairs to find them. They are there, I send them back outside. They had been up there chatting it up with the housekeepers. The housekeepers asked me a couple questions, finished the upstairs and then moved downstairs. Great! I moved the boys back outside and continue with my packing and checking on the boys routine.

20 minutes pass and it's the time in the routine for me to check on the boys. Kees, check......where's Coulter? He's not outside, he's not in the basement, I yell, "Cooouulteeeeer." I go up stairs. He still isn't answering me. I see a shadow moving under the bathroom door. Coulter.... I open the door and he looks like a deer caught in the headlights. He has a rag in one hand and hair spray in the other. I look around and ask, "WHAT ARE YOU DOING?" He starts to cry, "I was cleaning." I am PISSED! He has sprayed hairspray all OVER the bathroom. Seriously, on the floor, on the cabinets, in the bathtub, on the mirror, IN THE CABINETS, all over the toilet.....everywhere. It was even on the ceiling. He's only 3 1/2 feet tall. How did he do that? I yell, "You are in time OUT! What were you thinking? What were you doing?" He knew this was bad. He's crying, I tell him I am really mad and that he needs to be away from me in time out. (Actually, now writing this maybe I needed the time out.) Anyway, he had seen the housekeeper spraying and wiping and was "helping." I can tell you, by the look on his face when I found him he knew he was doing something wrong. So he goes to the time out spot and I clean the bathroom AGAIN. Damn, 10 minutes ago it was perfect and now it's a sticky, icky mess. The only thing that saved me is that I found it before the hairspray dried. Can you imagine what a mess THAT would have been?

So, if you are ever bored you should get yourself a 4 year old boy. It's not always as messy or sticky but it is always interesting.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Take Time for Yourself

I wrote this in June of this year.

Take time for your self. That is what “They” say. Take time for your self. It’s important to put your self first. If you don’t take care of your self who will? Blah, blah, blah…. Do any of these experts have children? I try to do things for myself but really, when do I have time? My kids are pretty little and this time is precious. They need me. And I have to admit, I’ve almost forgotten what to do.

There was a time when given a free Saturday afternoon I would just take care of myself. You know, naturally, like breathing. Now I’ve been known to sit in the car and think, “Where should I go, what should I do?” I HAVE NO CLUE! How many times can you get your toes done? I’m not really a movie girl. You can’t go to a wine bar in the middle of the day….by your self….without getting stares. Trust me there. So what to do? And if you have an accidental bit of free time…. Whoa, that really throws a kink in the deal. It’s like winning the lottery with out buying a ticket. (I have heard that you need a ticket to win.)

So today my two oldest ones had a day camp. I tried to get my little one in too but the teenagers running the camp insisted that he be potty trained. Come on, I’ve been changing diapers for 8 years now. An afternoon won’t kill you. Anyway….. We ran errands and honestly, after he calmed down from being mad about not being included, we had fun. He was adorable and a good traveling companion.

After a couple errands we went to Fred Meyer. One of the greatest things about Fred Meyer is Play Land. A small child can go in there for an hour free of charge, FREE OF CHARGE! The lady who runs Play Land knows us by name and gets out our sign in sheet by the time I hit the desk. Her name is May so Coulter calls it May Land. She likes that so she likes him and now his brother, Kees. Kees just recently decided that May Land is a fun place.

For the first 9 months of his eligible time he wouldn’t go to Play Land. This killed me because I had been waiting for him to go there since the day he was born. If you have kids you know shopping by yourself is almost as good as a spa day. Seriously. So we go, he goes in no problem and I head to Starbucks. The Starbucks inside, not outside. Yes, our Fred Meyer has two Starbucks because we live in the northwest. I get my coffee, grab a Fred Meyer ad flier and head to the furniture section. Fred Meyer has some really comfortable furniture. Oh, I am really hungry. I swing by the dairy section and pick up some string cheese. I eyed some sushi and a sandwich but it isn’t my furniture and I am watching my weight so string cheese it is.

I plop down on a big fluffy couch and spend an hour with my coffee, the flier and oh, I should call a friend. I am having a fine time. A couple people give me funny looks but I do not care. Seriously I couldn’t care less. This is living. Yes, I have found my “quiet” place in the middle of Fred Meyer. For me this is better then the spa because it is fairly spontaneous. It is an hour of me time that I was not expecting in the middle of the day on a Monday. Awesome.

Oh crap, my hour is almost up and I only have one thing in my cart from my list. An hour goes pretty fast when you are having fun, by yourself, in Fred Meyer, on a big fluffy couch. I get up, get Kees, he’s happy and a good companion again though he does demand a cookie as hush money. I feel rejuvenated, I get him a cookie, get the rest of the stuff on the list and have a pretty good rest of the day. Yes, sometimes to take care of your self, you have to do it spontaneously, even if it’s at Fred Meyer.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Summer into Fall

Summer is over. It seemed like 10 minutes or so. Really, follow my logic. It is true that time goes so much faster when you get older. I mean, if you do the math...... When you are 5 then a summer is 1/20 of your life. That is a lot of life. When you are 43 then it's only 1/172 of your life. In the life of a mature person (at first glance I appear mature) that is like a blink of an eye if it were a day. To a kid 1/20 would be an hour and almost 15 minutes. To me 1/172 is like 8 and a half minutes. That's nothing. And considering that it felt like "nothing" we did a lot.

When summer started my intention was to do enough that the kids weren't bored but not to over schedule so much that I was going crazy. Yes, that was my intention. I scheduled 4 camps for Sophia and only 2 for Coulter. He's 4 and he and Kees who is 3 are playing quite well together right now. I don't want to burden myself with playing with Kees. Yikes!

We had 12 weeks so 4 camps didn't seem like too much. So that was my plan, camps and a few family trips. Early in June a friend invited us to her beautiful home on Whidbey Island. You can't pass that up. We had a yard sale one Saturday in June. Then we planned a family trip for almost a week around the 4th of July. My uncle came from the east coast to celebrate his birthday at my mom's house so that meant a weekend trip. It was good fun and a mini reunion. We had our second annual Pool Party on one Saturday. We always go to the San Juans for a week in August. And that is even more awesome then it sounds. I went to visit a friend in California for a long weekend. Toss in an over night with girl friends. My husband and I stole a weekend away with just the two of us at the end of August. And most recently, my brother and his wife took the kids to the beach for a weekend and Bob and I just stayed home. In between all that toss in nightly swimming, swim lessons, days at the park, dinner with friends, bike rides, a few sleep overs and some play dates. So which of those would you cut out? Think about it for a moment. Which ones? Exactly, you can't. Each thing is different, fun and something that we've either wanted to do for a while or wouldn't come up again.

So toward the end of our summer I felt like I was in the middle of a major work out. I was working hard to make sure we were on time to everything, dressed in the right thing, packing the right stuff and being certain that the kids had any and all things they might want or need. That is my nature. If one of my kids needs a band aid, I have it at the ready. Don't even get me started on my "going to the park" packing. I'll just say this, it involves a tent. If we are going in the car for more than 15 minutes I am sure to have snacks, drinks and depending on my mood, a movie. But for some reason that all changed mid August. I wanted to sit still but I didn't want to miss anything. ANYTHING! And that is really a first for me, the sitting still part. A couple of times I was able to just get in the car and go. Did you know you can buy drinks and snacks almost anywhere? Really, there are these great little stores all over the place that have gas, food, drinks and much more. You would think that I just survived in Death Valley for a week the way I fret about getting ready to get in the car. Even I saw that it was nuts. So I was able to calm down and just enjoy the last few little trips and weekend events. I sure hope this lesson lasts until next summer. I know that it isn't going to get any slower or less busy. To the contrary, as the kids get older, they will have more obligations and we will have less family time. How can that be? I am trying to get mentally prepared for at least the next 20 summers. That should get Kees through college. Who knows, by then Sophia could have kids and then I'll probably have them for summers. This kid thing is really involved, isn't it?

I am glad the fall is here. I need a few cooler days, some weekends at home and maybe even some rain. Oh, and for the presidential election to be over but that is a whole other rant. The kids are all in school, routines are starting to develope and I have a few minutes to breath every now and then. I can feel my heart start to slow and can complete some projects that were put away in May. Tomorrow all the kids are in school until noon so I am going to enjoy fall. I am going to drop them off, pick up a cup of coffee and enjoy a nice cool morning and the fact that the only thing planned this weekend is an ice cream social at the boys preschool. It's close to home so I don't have to gas up and by it's nature I don't have to pack snacks.

A Mother of Three; Privilege or Punishment....Mostly Privilege

Well this is the first of many to come.....I think. Being a mother of 3 is interesting, challenging, frustrating, rewarding, joyful, maddening and a true privilege. There are days that I love my job and there are days when I want to resign even though that is not an option. Any mom who says that every day is a walk in the park is a friggin' lier.

When your 3 year old (who knows better) poops all over himself and then cries because he is "dirty" it is not a great time. When your 7 year old has just come home from a weekend at the beach and then whines because she is now bored it is not a great time. And when your 4 year old goes in after the housekeeper already has cleaned and "cleans" the bathroom with hair spray, that is NOT a great time. Of course it all balances out when they tell you they love you, they make you a special art gift or of course, when they are sleeping. Man they are beautiful when they sleep. Maybe that is because at that moment all their indiscretions are washed away and the only thing you can see is your beautiful baby and all their potential. This is just the universes way of sucking you in and getting you to recommit each day to the job that you have to do. The privilege, the pain and everything in between.

So today I feel lucky to be the mother of 3. Actually, even when I am ranting about my frustrations, I usually have a smirk on my face as I type. I know that when I read my rant I will laugh. Most of the things that I write would be hilarious if it happened to someone else. So I write them for the people that my kids will be someday and the mom that will forget the hard / funny times when the kids were little. I can hardly remember what I had for breakfast today let alone who did what when. I have to write it down so I can keep my stories straight and remember the details. Today I am wild about my kids both internally and externally. Check back soon because on the surface I may feel differently then.