Saturday, December 31, 2011

Just another Saturday night

It's not that I don't think a new year isn't full of possibilities but when you have two little ones in the house, haven't had a decent night's sleep for awhile and your husband has to work on Sunday morning, there isn't a whole lot to get excited about for a New Year's Eve that falls on a Saturday night! Big Love and I have both said a few times today that we really don't care that it is new Year's Eve right now (and we have no more plans than we would on any other evening in the week.) Looking around at our little Christmas tree and the other few decorations we have lingering to remind us that Christmas was only a week ago, my thoughts are more consumed by Sweet One's third birthday that is a week from today. I started a dress for her which I need to finish up and then I have to figure out what to serve alongside the hotdogs and cake so the adults have something to eat, too. I barely had time to breathe from doing all my Christmas preparations!

I do have some hopes for the New Year (and I hope they don't get up too high!).

Perhaps my children will let me sleep a bit more and that these stages that we always have to go through might not rock the boat so much. I want to continue to raise my children in a way that I can be proud of and that will help them be the amazing little people that I see when I look at them.

I really hope that the 3% raise Big Love is getting manages to feel like it helps out despite the 15-20% increase in our medical deductibles that will follow in its wake (and this whole inflation thing!). And if things don't feel any easier, I would like to deal with them better and not begin to lose my mind every time the end of the month comes around and we haven't saved enough to be able to go on a vacation at some point.

I would really like to not feel so gross - maybe I can find a little bit more time for me to exercise and to take care of myself. Learning to not take my tired crankiness out on others would be a good thing to learn this year. If I could figure out a way to let things go more and not self-flagellate over the past I'm sure that would help my new year be more enjoyable. To learn to let people be who they are, even if it means I have to let go.

And finally, to give myself a break now and again.

Happy New Year! Whether you have big plans or little, I hope you enjoy putting up a new calendar.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Favorite time of night

In a few minutes I will be enjoying one of my favorite times of the day - bedtime. Or should I say, the few minutes before I crawl into bed. I go into Sweet One's room and check on her. Lately it isn't always as interesting as it used to be when I could find her in any position, sprawl either which way across the bed. Now, she's usually sleeping all snug in her bed. I make sure she has her covers on and then I sneak out and go to our room.

Walking into our room, I place my tongue in the perfect spot and then cross my third and fourth toes as I try to make it into my bed without waking up Little Man. His crib is still in our room and sometimes we wake him up. Other times he sleeps soundly through our entrances and after I am comfy in my bed, I do not full exhale until I hear a few sounds from him.

Big Love and I had a short chat tonight. I'll be ok. We'll be ok. One day I might get a stroller when he figures out just how to go about it! I guess I should be happy that I never got a broiling pan as that was what his mother got her first Christmas with my FIL!

No Santa for Mama

It's Boxing Day today. (Yes, I know it's just the day after Christmas here in the states but it's one more Canadianism I'm not willing to give up!) Sweet One and I just got back from a walk where she pushed her baby in the new stroller all the way. It was pretty cute to watch. She kept up a pretty good pace, not stopping to look at things around but determined to simply go for a walk. She's pretty excited about that gift and I think I'm safe in saying it is one of her favorites, along with the train set that Santa brought for her and Little Man. Unfortunately, the train set has been taken apart and is sitting out of her sight until tonight as I desperately try to impress upon her that it is not ok to bite her brother. My hopes were so high after a full 15 days where no biting took place. But today is day 5 of back to biting and I'm feeling crushed.

That's the thing for me when I get my hopes up. If I take the chance and hope that something might be where I'd ideally like it and then doesn't attain this, I'm crushed. Take for instance that moment when all the gifts are opened and I never got my 'stroller'. After spending every evening since Thanksgiving preparing Christmas for my loved ones, I have again fallen victim to hoping Santa might be able to figure out something that I'd be so excited to have that I'd be ready to take it for a walk rather than just grabbing a few things off my amazon wish list. Maybe I'm at fault because part of the reason I keep my amazon list is to remind myself of books that are recommended or to keep track of larger items in case they go on sale. But it's also not like I'm expecting something big and shiny because in the end, I'm a simple girl. As I alternate between to pairs of cheap jeans each day and outwardly express how jealous I am of all the nice clothes my daughter has, it would have meaned the world to me to get a piece of paper with "you get a nice new pair of jeans" scribbled on it. I've been known to remark how funny it is that the leather gloves I wear were left behind in my voice studio seven years ago by someone who didn't want them back because they had a few holes in them. A few holes? I guess I don't care. But I do. I don't go out and buy those kind of things for me because I don't feel like we can afford them and that I can make do, but I'm starting to feel embarrassed about how sloppy I look.

I always hope that after spending so much time perusing the internets trying to find just the right gifts that might bring a little smile of surprise to my nearest and dearest I would not end up feeling like an after thought.  I was silly enough that Santa would have pieced together a few of my not-so-subtle "why are my children dressed better than me" moments. But I also feel like an asshole when I am tearing up thinking of all the nice clothes everyone else in my house got when there are people out there who would have given anything for even a portion of what I did get. I guess I have a lot of growing up to do. But for now, I'll just try to be a better person tomorrow as I attempt to hide the back fat that keeps peeking out from under this shirt I'm wearing because none of the four shirts and three or four sweaters I alternate between are all in the wash.

Friday, December 23, 2011

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas (I hope!)

We only have two more Advent presents to open up! Sweet One has really enjoyed reading the stories and eating the chocolates. Christmas is almost here and everyone in this little family is enjoying it as best we can.

Sweet One has slept passed 630 for four days in a row - the last two it was 700! She's been acting a little funny the past two days and I think she's fighting something off and so I hope it doesn't make Christmas too much for her. We decorated the tree yesterday and with each 'ormament' she saw there were oooh's and ahhh's. A nice way to feel the magic of the season through a little one's eyes. After her nap yesterday afternoon, she came downstairs, knelt by the tree and just looked at it. Lots of How the Grinch Stole Christmas, A Charlie Brown Christmas and lots of other television specials have been watched. It's been fun!

Little Man has given me 4 days of decent sleep and so I am feeling the best I've felt in a month or so. He's so busy these days. I think it is time to put away the exersaucer because he really doesn't like staying put. Constantly pulling himself up to standing and grabbing everything that he can see. I'm feeling much busier making sure there is nothing dangerous for him. He does tumble every now and then but we're both surviving with no major injuries! I was worried about putting up the tree but he hasn't reached for it at all - maybe we'll be able to keep it up for more than a few days!

Big Love won't be able to spend much time with us until the afternoon of Christmas Day. I'm having trouble not feeling lonely about this. I married the guy knowing this would happen each and every year, unless he decides to change career paths, but up until Sweet One was born I was involved in all the church stuff, too. I'm going to watch Crazy, Stupid, Love once the presents are under the tree and the stockings have been stuffed. I also think I'll make some mulled wine. Eventually the kids will be bigger and they'll be involved with the happenings at church, too, so it won't feel like we're at home on our own.

We managed to keep to a small budget for Christmas but that hasn't stopped the gifts from piling up. I did want to buy a little more for the kids but there was no point after everything that our family has bought for them! It is really insane and I'm feeling a little overwhelmed by how much they will have. I'll be curious to see if Sweet one wants to go through all the presents as fast as possible or play with each one a little like she did last year. Luckily we'll all be together until around 1030 so we can enjoy some time opening them up together.

I did end up getting a new iPod nano! It showed up today and I'm so excited!

I've been having some troubles feeling like it is Christmas. There is no snow on the ground but we did have some flakes in the sky for awhile this morning. With each little moment that Sweet One becomes enraptured by what she sees, I'm feeling a little bit more of what it is all about.

Merry Christmas! I hope that yours has many moments that make the season magical.

Friday, December 16, 2011

The Sound of Silence

I never used to do well with silence. Going from High School to dorms at University, silence was pretty rare. As life moved on I felt uncomfortable with too much silence. Living on my own for four years I would either have the TV or music on to fill the air. I'm not too sure why that is. There's a big chance that I wasn't comfortable enough with myself and having to listen to too much going on in my head.

The first time my in-laws visited us Big Love had to work while they were here which left me with the job of entertaining them. They don't talk a whole lot and I found myself squirming in my seat to try and figure out if it was because they just liked the quiet from time to time or if they were not enjoying themselves. And so I rambled on and on and on (slam head against wall) because I simply didn't know what I was supposed to do. Silence by myself was one thing, silence with two other people I wasn't completely comfortable with was a whole other challenge!

More and more I am now finding myself loving the quiet. If I luck out enough to have a few quiet moments to myself in the day it isn't hard for me to just sit and drink my decaf coffee. Nothing really on my mind. I move only enough to raise my orange up to my lips. My skin tingles like it does when I'm falling asleep. I have no problem slowing down my brain. When I feel like I'm slogging through mud every day, it's nice to stop and give in to the weight of my tired mind and body.

On a very different note, the mail brought us notices to say that our status has been adjusted to permanent resident. This is such great news for us. No more worrying, nausea, fear of being deported or anything else like that that goes along with being on a temporary visa.

Friday, December 9, 2011

My wish list for Apple

Prior to moving this rural town, my day job involved selling higher end comfort shoes at a store owned by church members. Every once in awhile the particular brands would run contests for who could sell the most of their shoes and then for every so many pairs sold, your name would go into a draw. Just before we moved one of these contests was going on and I laughed at my chances of winning an iPod nano and JBL speaker donut as a few of my co-workers had with the previous contest. I left the job and forgot all about the contest.

A few months after we arrived here, I received a package that contained none other than a first generation iPod nano and JBL speaker donut! I couldn't believe it! The manager at the store stuck with his promise and mailed it to me!

Over the past six months or so I've been wanting a new iPod because Big Love bent mine a little (when Sweet One was less than a year old and so it has been working fine since) and I can't put anything else on it. I hadn't been able to get one and was a little sad but then one morning I opened my email and to my surprise, I had an email from Apple telling me that I qualified for a replacement due to a problem with the battery! I was so excited.

When the box arrived, I went to find my iPod on the shelf where I put it since the instructions said to stop using it and I was shocked because something funky went on. I couldn't believe it! But I decided to send it in anyway, hoping that perhaps the problem that happened was part of the reason they are recalling these old guys!

I also thought a little good humor might help me out and so I included this letter:

To the person who is opening up this box,

Hello! I wanted to provide an explanation as to why I am sending you my iPod when it looks as mangled as it does.

I have been using this iPod since I registered it (I'm assuming that you have that date on record ) sometime in the fall of 2006. I used it until the day I received my email from you to stop using it. Except for a small dent on the back there was nothing wrong with it. I have used it every night since my daughter was born January 7, 2009 for her to have her lullabies at night. (She has been asking where the music is since I've had to stop using it and I told her that someone will give a new one to the mailman.)

After receiving the email from Apple and learning that my iPod was eligible for replacement I first got very excited (I may have even danced a little) because I had been wanting to buy a new one but various circumstances made it impossible. Then I took my iPod and put it in a safe place away from the sun, water, children or anything else that could have damaged it.

When the box arrived for me to send the iPod back to you I was shocked to find the iPod in the current state that it is. I promise you I have no idea what happened to it. It had been working fine up until the day I received the email to send it back despite the small dent I mentioned before. I almost cried when I picked it up and it looked as it does. I have no idea what happened to it but it did happen while it was sitting on a shelf and not being touched or even looked at by anyone.

I hope you have a wonderful Holiday Season.

It truly did not look like that when I stopped using it. I haven't received an email telling me I won't be receiving a new one. So here's hoping for a little Holiday Magic!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Read it! She's awesome

I love reading Woulda Coulda Shoulda. Quite honestly, if Mir wrote a manual on anything - especially being a great mom, I'd be the first in line. And then I'd tell her how much I love her writing and how much Otto reminds me of Big Love and how so much of her 'crazy' I can completely relate to. But I'd probably annoy her and she'd put a restraining order on me and then I'd desperately try to convince her that I'm not a psycho, I just don't have a lot of friends who get me where I live and in my dreams I will move somewhere and find a friend who is all kinds of awesome just like her.

But if I throw myself back to reality, I'll just keep reading her blog, and gleaning from it the wisdom that I so often find. Especially when she writes stuff like this with a Norman Rockwell reference that is absolutely spot on. Even Big Love thinks so.

And now back to my amazingly happy baby who had a brilliant sleep last night and a great nap this morning and is now nothing but a ball of "how the hell did I get so lucky for this Little Man to be my son"!

A simple Advent tradition is begun

I can't think of the word tradition without going back to my perch on the rooftop, fiddle in hand, as the play started. We had to omit the fun little transitional part between verses due to the incompetence of the pianist but it quickly became a song that drove me nuts. Now I chuckle as I think of simpler times.

Traditions are important and Sweet One is at the age where I can start some with her. She is catching on quickly to so many things. One question I've been asking myself these days is how to instill in my kids and understanding that Christmas is more than just the presents we buy. Another is how do I start to teach my child about being Christian. (That is the choice we have made for our lives and I believe it is more than just taking them to church.)

I wanted to start a simple Advent tradition this year. I learned about this from one of the blogs I frequent and decided that I wanted to use it. It took a lot of cutting and folding before I could put in a few m&m's along with one Hershey's kiss, but I am so happy that I did it.

Sweet One quickly learned that we wait until just before she goes to bed. Tea is made (this wasn't planned but it came about when she asked for tea on December 2) and I lift her up so she can take hold of the evening's present. Last night as Big Love was going to get our tea, Sweet One looked at me and said, "yesterday we had number 3." I was so happy that she remembered - she is catching on so quickly! And so she retrieved December 4 and said, "Oh! my favorite treat" as I poured the goods in her hand. (I need to replace some of the hard candies with more kisses because she didn't like them.) She savored each morsel and then we sat down to read the short story for that night. (I am really enjoying the book I got for this.)

I didn't expect her to grasp all of this so quickly. Seeing her find the magic in each of these little moments, I hope that I can let go of my feelings of inadequacy and help my kids understand what is truly important at this time of year.