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Wednesday, July 27, 2011

I'm The Mom Who Is No Fun

I wish I was a fun mom.

I'm not.

Just ask my oldest.

He's quick to tell me.

In the past month, he's said to me:

"Mommy, I love you and Daddy. I love Daddy because he always fixes my game. I love you cuz....well, I love you even though you're no fun."

Then...the other day he said:

"Mommy, you're the boss of the house."

I said, "No, Daddy is the boss of the house."

And R said, "No, I know you're the boss because you're no fun."

These things weren't said in anger or to be mean. Just matter-of-fact.

And I can't even get all bent out of shape about it because I'm afraid it's true.

I'm the mom who says, "No climbing trees. You might fall and break your neck!"

"No jumping on the bed! You might fall off and break your neck!"

"Don't go down the slide head first. You might break your neck!"

And on and on...

I am no fun.

My kids have cabin fever and are starting to act like the zombies in I Am Legend.

They NEED to get outside of our four walls. Not to mention that I do too.

The problem...it's been so freakin hot around here that there were heat advisories all over the place teling people to stay IN and stay COOL.

Now that it's cooled down, they want to go to the park...and I want to take them.

But then I'm faced with the stressful event of trying to keep track of 4 running kids while pushing the baby in a stroller. 

The 3 oldest (6, 5 & 3 1/2) aren't the problem.

It's the 2 year old who runs at the speed of sound and has NO regard for his body. I find myself running back and forth, under and around the enormous jungle gym making sure he doesn't dive to his death off the highest platform or take a fantastic tumbling header off the 18 foot slide--all while pushing a stroller and frantically calling the 2 year old's name.

On the upside, it's the best workout ever.

But the mental anguish just doesn't seem worth it.

While the playground is mercifully fenced in on all sides, it's still H U G E. And there are (as you would imagine) kids E V E R Y W H E R E.

Remember, I am the one with severe anxiety. I "know" there is a pedophile lurking in the shadows just waiting for my back to be turned.

I just "know" that one of the kids will fall, head first, off the monkey bars and break a bone or suffer a sever head laceration.

So by the time we leave the playground, I'm a ball of stress wrapped like twine. Suddenly, the trip to the playground that was meant to be fun is causing me heart palpitations.

Thankfully (?) the kids are oblivious.

All they care about is that I'm making them leave when we "just got here" (an hour or so later, of course).

I know it won't always be this way. Right now, though, if I could talk with women hoping for, planning, or wanting large families, I would definitely share these things so that they have a realistic picture of what it's like having several children close together.

It doesn't mean I regret it or that I would advise AGAINST it (and who am I to advise anyone of anything anyway...), but these are things I didn't realize or think of before.

Kids need play time and outdoor activities. I'm just trying to figure out how to provide those things while also avoiding a heart attack.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

The Evolution of My Kitchen Floor

What have I been up to lately?

Funny you should ask...

You may recall my posts about being a DIY Wannabe HERE.

After 5+ years in this house, laboring time and again over how to do the kitchen and what we should do with the floors....we have FINALLY found out WHAT is on the hardwoods (trapped beneath 3 different layers of flooring) and HOW to get it off! Thank you Google and my Father-in-Law.

That black stuff..in thess pictures here:



That, my friends, is tar paper that came off of the hideous vinyl flooring the previous owners put down.

I can't for the life of me understand what would posess someone to cover up these gorgeous hardwoods with linoleum...not ONCE BUT THREE times! And let's not get crazy or anything and REMOVE THE OLD FLOORING BEFORE PUTTING NEW FLOORING DOWN. Crimany.

My Father-in-Law is the genius who finally solved the mystery for me of how to get this gunk off.

We'd tried everything-every chemical you can imagine. Some toxic, some organic. Nothing.

We rented a commercial sander. The gunk kept gumming up the belt.

It was beyond frustrating.

So we bought some laminate flooring and covered it up. Without glue, I might add. It didn't look too bad...if you didn't look closely. ;-)



Fast forward about 2 years to this past week when I came across an article in The Old House Magazine. A woman redid her kitchen and talked baout the black tar paper she had to steam and scrape off her hardwood floor.

The light bulb went on!

I re-read the paragraph. Yes! That's what we had too. A wall paper steamer? I'd never even thought of that.

I talked with my FIL about it and he told me his secret to removing wallpaper easily is to heat up water to as hot as he can possibly stand it, pour it into a water bottle and squirt the wallpaper until it's saturated. Then he waits 5-10 minutes before using a putty knife to scrape the paper off. It peels right off, he said.

Sure. I had high hopes, but realistic expectations.

I went home and looked at our kitchen floor (which at that point had peel and stick tiles on it since our orginal foray into flooring with the laminate didn't pan out so well.) The tiles were, (understandably) starting to lift since the adhesive on the tile had nothing but 40+ year old tar paper to stick to. It was catching my toes as I walked across the floor, so it was clearly time to fiugure this out.

I lifted one tile that was already loose and looked at the nasty black goop underneath.




I figured I had nothing to lose since it was coming up on its own anyway... What's the worst that could happen?

How many ill fated adventures began with that reasoning?

I heated up 2 cups of water for 2 minutes in the microwave and poured it into a plastic squirt bottle (Note to self: wear gloves when pouring boiling water into a squirt bottle.)

I squirted the crap out of that black square. And then waited for about 5 minutes.

While I wouldn't say it "peeled right off" it DID come up after scraping for a few minutes.

It was amazing. I was giddy with excitement! I snapped pic after pic and texted them to Joe with commentary. He was excited too. (Probably mostly that I was doing the work!)

It was like pulling a string on a sweater...what started out as 1 tile quickly turned into 25+.

Here's where I am today:


For years Joe & I have bemoaned how tiny our kitchen is. Today, I'm so thankful that it's small I could cry. It's about 100 square feet. That's small when  you're hosting Thanksgiving but H U G E when you're scraping every square inch of it with a putty knife.

See that welcome mat? I call it the magic carpet. It's where we rest our weary knees and rumps while we scrape away.

At this point, we're a little less than half way done.

We have big plans this weekend with another commercial sander.

I see stain and poly in our future!

Those hardwoods will be beautiful and gleaming before we know it!

I haven't suggested this to Joe yet, but I'm thinking of sanding and staining the entire first floor to a darker stain. What do you think? Here are some shots of our first floor...




Friday, July 15, 2011

Full Moon, Migraine & The Ice Cream Man

It's a full moon.

That may explain why my kids have been running around like banshees and driving me crazier than usual.

The ice cream man has it out for me. I think he sets his watch to when my kids nap. And then drives by our house--no joke--three  times in a 10 minute period.

And he does a cool 30 when he drives by. I hope no kids run out to buy ice cream. He'll never see them in time.

Idiot.

Yesterday was a full moon too. And one reason I think I had such a horrible migraine that I kept having distorted vision in both eyes.

How old am I??

I talked about it with my optometrist at my last appointment. She told me I could either buy reading glasses or get bifocals.

Did you hear that? It's the sound of my youth screeching to a halt.

I can't bring myself to buy reading glasses and bifocals are out of the question.

I may have lost my figure, most of my memory and all but a shred of my sanity...but by Gosh I will NOT give up my contacts.

Instead of nosing toward the higher end of my "30's" (now that I'm 34) I think my bod has sprinted on ahead--racing toward 40. And to that I say: Where's the friggin fire???!

And while we're talking about being sick with kids (we were, weren't we?) it is NO fun trying to coerce a 5 year old to rub your shoulders. It just doesn't quite pass muster.

I've even begged them to drive their cars on  me. They just end up getting the wheels caught in my hair.

Can't win.

Another full moon today. Will we make it? I can't speak for the ice cream man...I think I hear him rounding the bend again.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Life Lessons From Dexter

Joe and I have done one of our usual, quirky things that "we do."

We started watching a new series. We're always about 2-3 years behind everyone else on these things.

We started watching Dexter Season 1 a few weeks ago.

As we did with Lost...we have systematically OD'd on several episodes a night because we can't get enough.

Each episode and season blends into the next.

I am completely, utterly entranced by this show.

I never would have thought that I'd love a serial killer...er, show...but it is enthralling.

He is a lovable serial killer if there ever was one.

Anyway...even though it's all fiction...I can't help but become emotionally invested in the show and the characters.

Dexter...H-O-T. Need I say more?

Deb...for crying out loud would someone give her a sandwich a protein shake?

LaGuerta & Batista...I could live another day without hearing their incessant rolling "R's"

Masuka...LOVE HIM!

And...the rest of the ensemble.

Every show has me waiting for the next.

And also thinking about this cesspool of humanity we live in where you have to lock your doors at all times, never let your kids out of your sight, don't be kind to strangers because that might make you their next victim, etc, etc...

I have anxiety. We all know this.

It's become my own Dark Passenger.

It's the friend that lies awake with me at night rehearsing what I would do in the event of a fire.

I remind myself that the front door is locked AND chained. So, in the panic and disorientation of the moment, I have to remember to unchain it before throwing it open.

I think about how I would carry all the kids if I had to and who I would take and who Joe would take.

What if the fire is at the top of the stairs? Whose window would we try to climb out of?

What about if there's a fire at school and thats the last time I see one of my kids?

What if there is a horrible accident while I'm driving them and that's curtains for us?

How would I leave my kids? Well...that part would be easy if I died, but what I mean is...what would happen to  my family if something happened to me.

Or.....the unthinkable........what would I do if I lost one of them.

And now the fear is rising in mt throat.

I can feel the tears stinging the back of my eyes and I know that if I allowed it, I would burst into tears right this very moment.

Yes. This is my daily life.

Almost every moment is like this...a bubbling cauldron of emotion and fear simmering just below the surface.

I think about how terrifying it is to not know when your last moment on this earth will be. Or your kids'.

So, I try to live in the moment as much as possible because we all know how quickly time passes and the babies grow up.

That in itself is exhausting. Living in the moment all the time.

So....I am doing my best to live with this and take deep breaths and remind myself that God is in control.

But...well, you all know I'm a wee bit of a control freak. Ahem.

And 100% Neurotic.

But I imagine I'm not alone in this. I imagine lots of parents feel this way...worrying about their babies.

Did I mention that I have Impetigo again?

This time, it's not from stress, but from stupidity.

I used an old chapstick.

Apparently the Herpes virus  and cockroaches will be the only survivors of a nuclear holocaust.

So...on that happy note, I leave you. I have lots of DIY plans for this week. We'll see how many I get done. ;-)

Thursday, July 7, 2011

I Got A Facelift!

...Okay, so not really, but the blog did!

What do you think?

No. Don't tell me.

And it really doesn't matter because I LOVE it!

I spent a few hours neglecting my kids working feverishly.

See that snazzy little black 'S' up there in the address window? You know...the place where you type in the web ddress you want to go to??

Well....that 'S' is called a favicon. And it's alll mine.

I created it.

And I very nearly put my fist through my laptop screen trying  to figure out how to make it appear up there.

And there she is.

Ain't she a beaut?

I cleaned it up quite a bit too.

I removed a lot of the junk from the sidebar.
I feel bad calling it junk since it used to matter to me.

All those blog communities that I used to be a part of.

Now, I'm lucky I blog once a week, let alone join in and read other people's blogs.

The new layout and look is a reflection of the new me.

I feel so much better after writing out my autobiography.

It was a good experience! And you all made it so fun. Even recounting the bad parts.

Hopefully this new look will inspire me...be my muse.

Here's hoping I can maintain that once a week minimum I'm shooting for!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

My Challenge To You

Guess what, ladies?

I'm going to let you off the hook. I'm going to free you of that guilt that hangs around your neck like a 500 pound dumbell.

Do you know what I'm talking about?

That guilt that sets in when we get a few quiet moments at night.

That guilt that threatens to strangle us when we snap at the kids.

That guilt that fills our eyes with tears when we think back to how crabby we were all day.

That guilt that makes us think we're the worst moms in the world.

Yeah. I know that guilt. Imtimately. And I hate it.

It usually hits hardest at night. The moment I lay my head on the pillow at the fifteenth straight hour of being "on the clock," as I say.

When I think back to the shushed comment when I was trying to read something or the harsh word when one child is defiant. When I remember the rushed story at bedtime and the hurried peck on the cheek goodnight...all to then realize that I rushed the last moments of the day that I have with them.

Yeah. It brings a lump to my throat even now.

These years that I am so terrified will go by too fast? I'm holding on for dear life with both hands while simultaneously pushing my foot on their backside, shoving them out the door.

It's like I watch someone else sometimes. I can see and hear myself say and do things that are so...mean. And I know in my head that I'm being ridiculous. But I can't seem to stop myself. It's like I'm Sybil.

And...I don't want that to be who my kids remember me as being.

But...it won't be.

And here's where my challenge to you comes in.

Together...myself included...let's let ourselves off the hook. Just for today.

Let's remember that there are far more times when we hold them, read them "one more" story, and give them that extra squeeze than there are those times we rush through it to save some of our sanity.

Are you with me?

Ready. Set. GO!

You're not alone.

Let me repeat that.

You're not alone!

Sometimes I feel like an island. I feel all alone in this crazy life. With all its demands and stress and frustrations...

It's nice to know that even though I may feel alone...there are so many others going through the same thing.

Feel free to let me know you've been there/are there right now.

We moms MUST stick together.

Facebook--The Land of Overshare

I find reading Facebook is a combination of amusement and an exercise in frustration anymore.

If I could offer Facebook-ers one valuable piece of advice, it would be to proofread their posts. Not just for spelling and grammar, but for idiocy.

I was looking at a local theme park's page recently and there were so many complaints...about the storm that forced the park to cancel the 4th of July fireworks.

Really?

Since when is it the theme park's responsibility when there is a thunder and lightening storm?

And there are always those who start/continue/feed into/fan the flames of some kind of political debate.

It's not so bad when someone has something remotely intelligent and valid to contribute, but just throwing out a 'STFU' and then name calling isn't considered valid in my book. I think it just shows their true colors: ignorant.

I watched a whole group of people get into an argument over the Casey Anthony trial.

I've seen people air their dirty laundry about friend and family disputes.

Some put every ailment and sickness they've ever had as their status update.

Others constantly bemoan their financial status.

For others I know absolutely every move they and their family members/children make throughout the day from their morning tinkle to their child's every adorable saying. I know when the laundry is done (or isn't), when the dishes are stacked up sky high, and when they mow their lawn.

I know every meal some of you have eaten, right down to the last spice.

I go on shopping trips with some of you or join you when you dine out--complete with pictures of your drink and/or entree.

I get to be at your election when you're voted "Mayor" of someplace.

I am party to every music video you like.

I know your travels from the time you leave your home until you arrive safely at "Home."

My favorite--the elusive status update like this one from a friend the other day: "This is the worst day of my life. And NO I don't want to talk about it."

So.....you just wanted us all to know?

I know, I know...you're probably throwing out a "STFU" to me at this point.

Eh, you're entitled.

I actually might even deserve that STFU because I myself engage in some of these actions!

Maybe I'm just crying out for an Intervention.

I found a nasty carrot in my bag of carrots the other night. No kidding--it looks like a pinky finger.

Feast your eyes on this:



What did I do?

After I got all grossed out and showed my husband...I immediately posted a pic of it [this very pic, as a matter of fact] to Facebook.

See? I'm just as guilty!

I put stuff that my kids say all the time.

I don't so much do the food ones since I don't cook, but I've been known to make political comments from time to time.

But here I sit in my Ivory Tower, casting stones...and every other cliche you can think of that means I'm a hypocrit. I acknowledge it! I own it!

And it's so much more fun to blog about it. Because, obviously that's so much different than posting it to Facebook.

You recognized the sarcasm in that, right?

So...what is it? The draw to oversharing and TMI on things like Facebook, Twitter, and blogs? Why do we do it? Do we really think anyone cares about the mashed potatoes and gravy we had for dinner or little Bobby's potty training status? Apprently I do because I share all of that kind of stuff right here with all of you!

Why do you do it?
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