Friday, October 24

Jump-starting my imagination

E: Mommy, I have some eggs benedict for you.
(Shows me a plate full of coins.)
Me: Where did that money come from?
E: It's not money, it's eggs benedict.
Me: Well, then, where did the eggs benedict come from?
E: I just made it.
Me: But where did the ingredients come from?
E: I got them at Ikea.

Oh. Guess it's time to eat some eggs benedict.

Tuesday, October 21

Riding the Rapids of Life

Time keeps flowing no matter how I wish for a respite.
I don't write.
I am scattered.
At times I struggle for breath.

I am overwhelmed by a torrent of activities and fundraisers.
Elementary school, preschool, temple, sunday school, art classes, cub scouts, field trips.
Drop offs and pick ups. Never-ending plains of dishes. Mountains of laundry.
The water level rises.

Currents and eddies pull me this way and that. Occasionally I find some respite.

Little things matter. For R, my sensitive one, a host of worries accompany the first loose tooth:
First, "Mommy, I think we should go to the dentist. My tooth hurts. I bit a popsicle stick." Once we explained that he's probably just losing his first baby tooth. "Mommy, I don't think I should eat anything hard until my baby tooth falls out and my new tooth comes in." And tonight, "Mommy, tomorrow, let's google the tooth fairy, to see if she will take a note if I swallow my tooth and still give me a prize."

My dreamer, E, assured me he wanted to go to preschool "all the days as I can". Now that he is enrolled four days a week, I think he misses leisurely mornings with mommy as much as I do. We make up for lost time in the afternoon. "Mommy, this is a magic broomstick that will take us to Mars. Oh - we forgot the map. [pushes imaginary button on wall] Here it is! Now we can go to Mars." And later, "Mommy, let's pretend we're ladybugs and we're climbing up the stems to get the aphids. Now I'm a ladybug with a kitchen. What would you like to eat? I have aphid chicken soup for you. And some ice cream."

Now 9 months old, V is a beautiful, exhausting whirlwind of ups and downs.
He enchants me with his squeals of delight. He calls for mama when is tired or hungry, and melts my heart. He impresses me with his cleverness by heading straight for the cat food when he wants to be picked up. He tosses food on the floor when it's not to his liking - only to change is mind and eat it from the floor before I get to cleaning it up. His top two front teeth have finally broken through, after weeks of teething pain and accompanying sleepless nights. Still, on few nights I get to sleep through until 5 or 6, I wake up startled and worried that I haven't heard from him yet. All too soon, I'm sure, I'll miss his morning snuggles.

I feel battered physically & emotionally from life's ride these past few months. I still want to finish unpacking, organize, start making little repairs and improvements we've imagined - but I find it impossible to make any headway in the midst of the bedlam created by our beautiful boys. I need to take care of my health but it always takes a backseat to my babies. I don't work, and yet I still struggle for balance.

Milestones pass in the blink of an eye. The current is swift. I often find it hard to sit back and enjoy the ride, but it is always well worth it when I do.

Tuesday, August 26

Savoring Summer's End

In the mornings recently, a deliciously cool breeze blows through our bedroom window, reminding me of the cool weather around the corner. By afternoon, the heat sets in, encouraging me to daydream about just which location would be right for a nice shade tree.

The Composer, in his own baby way, has captured this cusp of the seasons; he loves chewing on watermelon rinds and apple cores.

In a furious frenzy to pack in all the fun that we can before school starts, we've been, in the past week, to the museum, the beach, the movies, and apple picking. We sent the Painter off to visit with his grandparents for a few days, allowing me the presence of mind to remember to call the preschool to which I have been interested in sending the Inventor. As a result, I will now be sending two of my babies off to new schools in the next few weeks.

Suddenly summer seems too short.

Monday, August 18

Washed away.

Too many days drifting, and I start to feel washed away. Need to *do* something, *accomplish* something, have some time for me. I've been alternately cranky and patient with the boys, and with AD. We have had some nice time lying in the back yard looking at the trees & the sky, reading books about alligators, pirates, nutrition - we love the library.

Today I accomplished something - two loads of laundry helped to wash away my day, as well as some weeding. We have some beautiful vining toxic weeds in our garden, that I decided were too hazardous to health of the wee ones, as well as to the other plants in the garden. We also did the requisite shopping in preparation for the school year, although we didn't buy any pants, since R & I couldn't agree on the size. (He insists he should wear his age, which would have him stylishly tripping over the pant legs and wearing them out too soon to pass along. You see the trouble.)

Why does this not feel like enough?

Stained glass class is over for 3 weeks now, and despite best intentions, I have not kept dates with myself to keep working on my own.

I feel ill at ease. In the evening I have become a surfer instead of a drifter, riding the internet waves, speeding away from the discomfort, but not getting anywhere. I search for a cure, but I am not broken. Discomfort is okay. Hunger is okay. Sadness is okay. Anger is okay. I don't need to cure myself for feeling the full spectrum of human emotion. Like all emotions, these also come and go. I am okay.

When I stop the thrill ride and accept my thoughts and feelings for what they are, they lose their power. The swells diminish. The pendulum slows and returns to center. Centered, I carry on.

Tuesday, August 12

Drifting away

Like the codas below, I find myself drifting away. I drift where life leads, and spend less and less time in front of the computer. Partly, we moved the computer into the office, leaving it somewhat inaccessible to me while AD is working. More than that, however, I'm just living, as best I can, right now. My life goes from breathtaking to infuriating and back a thousand times a day:

I delight as I watch V gleefully bounce in his jumper, listen to E's imaginative description of the world he lives in, and survey R's increasingly unusual whiteboard art. I sigh when I'm covered in baby poop, again, or find more to clean up from another source. I roll my eyes when I discover the window screen ripped to shreds, and NOT by the cats. Then we go out to the beach for a picnic, and E is disappointed that we can't plant the roasted sunflower seeds I brought with us for a snack. What a beautiful thought, to plant flowers on the beach. V is crawling, like an inchworm, which makes it difficult to keep him from eating sand or other things he shouldn't. He seems to know the difference between baby food and people food, and has decided he deserves the latter. And he is still a "spitter". R seems so mature sometimes, outgrowing childish refusal to utter the name of an animal he doesn't like, then must make a game of everything to take twice as long keep from getting bored. And E ... well, "no" is the first two letters of his middle name. In our house, we get "terrible threes".

And that's just the boys. AD's mom visited us last week, so we took her to visit the city and the lake and the state fair, we had a family dinner, and a date (woowee! first adults-only movie at the theater since ???), and a couple nice evenings getting to know the neighbors. Busy, yes, but not too busy to hear that AD will be much busier soon. As will we all. First grade starts for R in just three weeks.

In the midst of this wonder, this exhaustion, this joy, this laundry, this aching body, I sometimes think about writing, but life goes too fast and the moment passes me by, leaving only these remnants as evidence that I have a brain:

Titles for Almost Posts:
  • Suddenly six months (about V)
  • First Tooth (now second)
  • One Year Ago (what started our move)
  • Where I've been and where I'm going
  • Art Glass (work in progress)
  • and without a title, pictures pictures pictures.

    Sometimes I worry about not "getting anything done", when we don't manage to get out of the house all day, but what's the point? I make a goal to get out of the house the next day and see how it goes. I can only be where I am.

    Right now, I am not much here. I could worry about that, but I think I'll just take things day by day and see how it goes. I invite you to do the same.

    Friday, August 8

    Potty party

    Only parents of toddlers will appreciate this:

    E went and pooped in the potty all by himself today - on time, and without any prompting, help, or parental involvement of any sort.


    Thursday, July 24

    The List

    Another day done, the list not so.

    I played with V and cuddled him,
    but didn't write about his six month milestones.

    I wiped his nose,
    but didn't call the pediatrician to schedule his six month checkup.

    I nursed him,
    but didn't clean the pump parts so I could store some milk for the next time I am gone.

    I carried my phone with me all day,
    but didn't call my friend who is expecting her fourth son to soon make his debut.

    I brought the clean clothes to the living room,
    but didn't fold them.

    I went for a walk with E, and took him to the park,
    but I didn't call for more information on a potential preschool for the fall.

    I picked up R from summer school,
    but didn't find out who his first grade teacher will be in the fall,
    nor what school supplies he might need.

    I made lunch,
    but not the potato salad I have been thinking about.

    In my head I made my list,
    then let it drift away like the clouds in the sky.

    Wednesday, July 9

    We didn't bring the kitchen sink ...

    ... although E. asked if we could bring his play kitchen.

    Last week, we visited the lake, stayed at my grandparents' cottage (read free vacation), boated, swam, harvested lake weeds, and fed the mosquitos.

    It was nice to get away, to leave behind the daily distractions - the computer, laundry, dishes, laundry, cleaning, diapers, dishes, eating, laundry, diapers ...

    I guess we didn't leave it all behind, but there is something so wonderful, relaxing, refreshing, about leaving behind so many of our *things*. I've heard it said, that no matter how big a house you have, you will find enough things to fill it up. We sure love our things here, and they are filling up all the space we have. Unpack and put away one box, and there are still more to follow. Throw everything from the floor of the living room into bags and other things will, as if by magic, appear. I've designated a basket in the corner of the room as "things to take upstairs". There are two partially unpacked boxes and another basket of "things I don't know where to put." On the back stairs reside "things to go downstairs," "things to plant," and "things that we didn't want to leave outside so they were left here instead." AD and I both seem to have inherited the mindset of "waste not, want not." Interpreted another way, you could say, we can't ever seem to get rid of any thing. This is a mild exaggeration, but true enough to affect the way we live. And, of course, the boys learn our habits as well.

    Most days, thankfully, I don't worry too much about the mess, but some days it just gets to me. More things means, of course, more things for which I don't have time, don't care to take the time, to care/clean/organize/remove. Pieces of games, toys, and puzzles are spread throughout the house. I try to remember, if it is not my game, toy, or puzzle, that it is fine for the boys to play as they will, and to take responsibility for their own things. But with so many things to choose from, a missing part of one or another leaves little impression on them. I worry what lessons about consumption we teach the boys with so many things around.

    Stepping back, I realize we have far fewer things than some, and we do regularly give away or donate whatever we can bear to part with. I also realize that moving 6 times in the past 5 years, 5 years during which we added two more members to our family (even if they re-used a lot of the same baby things), and during which we inherited many things from one who helped to teach us our habit, has taken its toll. I hope we hope stay here long enough to un-shop, de-clutter, and find some semblance of organization for our things. Even so, I'm sure our home will never look like a model, or have any consistent interior decoration other than 'eclectic'.

    In the interim,we can visit the lake whenever *things* are fogging our vision, and leave (most of) them behind.

    Now, back to the laundry ...

    Friday, June 27

    Ten Minutes

    Prompted by Jena, here I go:

    Feeling exhausted, don't really know why. Too much sugar today? Or perhaps it's the punctuation after the unusually restful previous two days while E was visiting his grandparents and there were only two (humans) under four feet in the house (and two felines).

    Feeling untethered, craving connection, but too tired to write, just surfing instead, visiting all you wonderful people, but almost too tired to leave comments, being voyeureuse, lurking instead. Why not get off, at least connect with the one other human in this house who is conscious?

    Feeling a bit stressed I suppose. Vacation is supposed to be happy and fun. I suddenly realized that our laid back trip is coming up very soon, and no plans have been made, or at least they haven't been finalized. One must make plans, right? And charge up the portable movie player for the drive. And bring the tent. And get someone to care for the cats. And we'll only be gone 5 days and staying at the family cottage, but still ...

    I am still making progress. The work room is getting more organized. Soon, I may actually be able to work in there, to cut some glass, make some progress on my project. But it feels good even just to put a few more things in order.

    V is delightful at five months, eating sweet potatoes, rice cereal, and pears, playing in his jumperoo, on his baby gym, and sometimes, still, only wanting to be held. He has started to delight in baths, only an inch or so of warm water in the tub, sitting (with help) or lying down, splashing, cooing, giggling, and squealing with delight. His delight is my delight.

    Didn't succeed in not editing this post, but at least I didn't edit it much.

    I've been wanting to say, though, and haven't figured out how to change my profile quite the way I want it, that I go by rocketmom here, but my name is really Cheryl.

    Monday, June 23


    We decided that we've had enough of trying to coerce E. to go use the potty when he evidently needs to, or might need to, only to have no success, followed by a dirty diaper 5 minutes later. So, we decided, it's time to put the whole process in his hands. If he asks, we'll change him, or go with him to the bathroom. Today ... he wore the same sopping wet diaper from the time he woke up, through the morning when it became dirty, and into the afternoon. Finally, at nap time (which we have re-instituted, as it is difficult to get to bed on time with the late summer light), he asked for a change. Progress!

    At my stained glass class tonight, I continued working on building a lampshade. I cut 32 usable pieces tonight. Progress!

    I pushed enough piles and boxes out of the middle of the living room that I could vacuum. I even vacuumed the hairy stairs. Progress!

    R. had his first day of summer school - he's taking phys. ed. Summer school gym class is much cheaper than camp ... and we are *finally* getting him out to interact with his peers. Progress!

    We'll take it day by day.

    Sunday, June 22

    A Critique of My Habits

    Umpteen Habits of Highly Ineffectual People

    Sometimes I think this should be the subtitle for a book about my life. Surely it's more than seven, in any case. It's summer! I've got plenty of ideas about where to take the boys, ways to entertain and educate ourselves, but we rarely manage to get out the door. And tomorrow, summer school already starts. Before I know it first grade will be here.

    So what are these habits that keep us home and bring out my inner critic?

    1. Reading. I love to read. I just devoured Three Cups of Tea in the course of two days. How, you might ask, could I do that with three boys at home? Well, I must admit I wasn't very attentive to the family for a few days, and I got less sleep than usual, as well. I found the book to be very compelling. At least it compelled me to finish reading quickly! What a treat to read about someone who is really making a difference in the world, one community at a time. Perhaps it will even compel me to get off my ... couch and make a difference myself.

    2. Letting the boys lead. They want to play a game, pretend to be chefs, read some books, play outside, chase each other around the house, and, oh yes, the littlest one wants to nurse, it seems all day long lately. I imagine he's teething, because I like to have a reason for everything.

    3. Trying to organize the house. We were functional after about a week of unpacking, but we still have probably a dozen left, in varying degrees emptiness, and it will still be a while before all of our things find a good place in our home. Some progress, though - the second fridge and some of our empty boxes were picked up by a willing new owner on Friday. And the walls of the basement rec/play/entertainment/family room are painted. The second couch has been moved downstairs. The CD's and DVD's are on their shelf. Now, just one more box at a time ...

    4. Wandering around the echo chambers in my head. I keep telling myself the same things over and over again, but for some reason I wander back to listen again anyway.

    Not really much here for the critic to pick on.

    Well, I thought the reading days were a bit unbalanced. I would have liked to see more time spent with the boys.

    I did that yesterday.

    You should also be making more progress organizing the house.

    That was the day before yesterday.

    You're not taking any time for yourself or being creative.

    Art class is on Monday, and who do you think the reading days were for?

    You spend too much time rehashing the same situations and ideas in your head. You think about journal entries and then repeat them multitudes of times until you either write or forget. You start blog posts in your head and they are on endless loop, too.

    You got me there. So if my hands are free, I'll write instead of listening to the echoes in my head. But it doesn't really hurt anyone.

    I won, I won! I knew you needed to improve.

    Nobody's perfect, but I'm the best me you'll ever meet.

    You can go now. I don't have anything else for you to review.

    Wednesday, June 18

    Baby Daze

    Now I remember
    that what goes in must come out-
    Sweet potato poop.

    Monday, June 9

    Loving life

    Lazy days, thunderstorms, roses and more mysterious flowers blooming in our overgrown flower bed. One yellow iris feebly pokes its head out from among the mass of not-yet-blooming suspected daylillies.

    Visiting family, boys playing with relatives, Grandpa seems unchanging, but Grandma looks old. Too much birthday cake but that's what parties are for. Tornado sirens intermittently throughout the afternoon, thankfully disappointed by seeing none.

    Neighborhood walk and bike ride with mom, nice to have help getting out of the house, pass by future school, stop at toy store for rewards to be earned by good behavior, first visit to large indie coffee shop for small selection of sandwiches with our drinks. Exasperated when he decides to be king, blocking shop doors and insisting that each walks where he demands, pushing and hitting when he doesn't get his way. Exasperated again later when he has a dirty diaper moments after leaving the potty without any success. Boys run out of energy, briefly, for a few moments, until batteries seem magically recharged.

    Come home and smell the roses, listen to baby coos, preschool giggles, and big-kid logic. Goodnight, mom; we'll see you tomorrow. Late goodnight to all. Life is good.

    Sunday, June 8


    Pulling firm teeth or
    leaving the house with three boys,
    both are difficult.

    Outside sticky heat
    rolls off in bright beads of sweat,
    can't shake off the air.

    Green fields fill my view
    in varied hues of lawns, trees
    bushes and hillsides.

    Boys melt in the heat
    but won't exchange favorite
    cold weather clothing.

    Dark skies ominous
    to travelling minivan;
    thunder, lightening.

    Ozone-laden air
    suddenly hammers the roof
    and floods the roadways.

    A haiku artist
    I am not -writing briefly
    today nonetheless.

    Good to be alive -
    lazy days inside and out
    leave judgement behind.

    Monday, May 26

    Four months old

    You have one wild hair at the front of your head, three or more times longer than the rest, and curly. It is difficult to catch on camera, but then you much prefer to look at my face than the camera lens. When you do gaze at me, you frequently have your head cocked slightly to your right. Is it because I always carry you with my left arm?

    My dilemma at the moment is whether to write a few words about these moments I won't remember except as happiness, or to enjoy your happy, alert presence while daddy has taken R & E out to run errands. You don't much like looking at the computer screen either, and my typing, as well as our play, is hampered by holding you in one hand.

    There aren't currently many other options, as you are also no longer content to sit in your bouncy seat for more than a few minutes at a time. When I try to leave you in the bouncer or on your baby gym, you purposefully grasp whatever you can reach - a toy, a blanket, a burp cloth - and shove it as far as you can into your mouth. When you find that it doesn't satisfy you, you tug at the strings that move me with your tears and your little pout.

    Yes, you like to play and so play we shall. You push up with your legs, so that you can stand on my lap, and then fold back down to sitting. You usually tire of this game long after mommy feels the need to do something else, or your brothers demand it. Now, while they are gone, let us play.

    Finished after *all* the boys are in bed.

    Sunday, May 25

    Looking up

    Good things also happened this week.

    The maple trees have leafed out and while our lilac is not the color I imagined, it is still delightfully fragrant.

    We finally made it to the craft store on Monday, for materials to create this token of our love.

    We visited the library and brought back as many books as we could carry - about cats, dogs, tigers, a Tiger that wields a club, volcanoes, and more.

    I enrolled in an art class to start in a few weeks, if at least one other student will join. I enrolled the Painter in a summer ceramics class as well. He is wait-listed.

    I found a pediatrician and arranged well visits for The Painter & The Composer.

    An appointment has also been scheduled for us to tour the neighborhood school at which The Painter is enrolled for the fall.

    The boxes in the living room have been moved or emptied, their contents still partially strewn about.

    Aimless wandering this week has apparently taken us where we need to be.

    At my brother's house today, sitting in the warm afternoon sun, with my family around me, my grandmother asked me, "So are you glad you moved?"

    My answer is an unqualified yes. I am in the right place. It may not always be easy, but it is where I am supposed to be right now.

    Read here about something else that was up and came down to much applause.

    Sunday, May 18

    Tough Day Wandering

    You can read why, below.

    Instead of our shared sadness bringing us together, we somehow seemed to be pushing eachother's button's all day. Or rather, it seemed that the Painter, who was ever so close to Mira ("I like her best because she's the sweetest kitty") was provoking the rest of us. And, we were all cranky from lack of sleep last night. Completely understandable, but not what I would have wanted. Shouldn't we have banded together, had many big group hugs, been indulgent, done something creative? Shouldn't we have been more understanding that the one who protested that he loved her the most was, at least, hurting as much as the rest of us, and having not been through this before, in need of extra care himself? What about extra care for ourselves? Some of that ... but mostly the day felt like wandering aimlessly.

    In the light of today, I feel again like I am wandering aimlessly. What are my goals? What is my purpose in being here? How can I find time for myself? We seem to have drifted from one thing to another this week, in this homeschooling experiment of ours. Several days with outings ended up with cranky mommy.

    Am I crazy to attempt these things myself anyway? I don't easily ask for help, because I rarely really need it. I am strong and self-sufficient, am I not? I crave connection, but I rarely reach out. Here I am in my own little world, some days not even letting in the three little boys for whom I am constant companion, gofer, waitress, maid, playmate, milk factory. I want to be strong; how could it really be difficult, this thing that I am doing, raising my boys in a new city, homeschooling, potty-training, nursing.

    And where is AD? Gladly busy with his business, things are moving, much interest ... but we get much less of his attention than we are accustomed to. And much more. Here we are all cooped up together in this house, with the basement playroom/entertainment room still not complete, no tv to lean on as a crutch - don't like to use it anyway, but sometimes crutches are very helpful! And I say to myself, here is my plan, get out everyday, get out in the morning, but I sometimes feel like I am dragging a mammoth behind me - I can't move until I get some help from the mammoth. How many times can I ask them to go get their shoes? And where should we go? We've been to the zoo and the nature center and the library. We've been to the playground down the street and to the one near the beach. We've been for bike rides and walks. We've been shopping, but that has its own dangers.

    It would be really nice to get the stack of boxes out of the living room and the extra refrigerator out of the garage. I suppose we could just move the boxes to another room ...

    Grieving in my own way, nothing seems to be right. Perhaps that is how the Painter felt all day, too.

    Hole in our Hearts

    Mommy, before the movers come, next time we move, we should dig in the same hole where we put Mira, and see if she is still there. If she is not there, then we know she is in heaven.

    She left us as she came to us, loving the warm sunshine, the outdoors, and eating tuna.

    Friday, May 16

    My day

    It was a gloriously warm spring day. I managed to get V to take a nap and the older boys to put their shoes on, and proceeded to head outdoors to enjoy the weather.

    I put the new wheel on the wheel-barrow, and raked up the remnants of last week's weeding. I pulled at the overgrown grass along the fence. I opened a few boxes in the garage to find bike helmets, patio chair cushions, and (!) gardening tools. Hooray! More tools means more ways to putter in the garden! The rose bush (forest) on the side of the house has been substantially pruned ... but the nice thing about pruning is that you're never done.

    At first the boys were happy to entertain themselves. Later, I just wanted to do what I wanted to do! Sorry, I'm not playing a game now. Why don't you play together? Several hours later, all hot, thirsty, hungry, and tired, they were cranky and the baby was waking up. So I finally put an end to my gardening. In addition to cranky boys for the afternoon, I suspect we all (at least I) got a bit of a sunburn (bad mommy!) but the price was worth it. I feel renewed.

    Thursday, May 15

    Bike ride

    R was very sweet to me this afternoon after we returned from our walk/bike ride. He brought me two glasses of water, offered to bring me snacks, and kept suggesting that I have some coffee. You see, he wanted his happy mommy back, instead of the screaming banshee I had become as he decided to walk his bike across the busy street near our house in such a manner that in comparison a snail would have been a reckless speed demon. I guess walking his bike the way I had showed him was not interesting enough, or at any rate, wasn't his idea and therefore not worth undertaking. In any case, I calmly explained (feeling much better after reaching the safety of a confined space) that while coffee might help a "you-woke-me-too-early-in-the-morning" cranky mommy feel better, it probably would not be quite the right thing for a "the-baby-was-crying-for-twenty-minutes, the-traffic-was-crazy, and you-were-trying-to-get-run-over" overstimulated mommy. Snuggling and playing with the youngest manipulator of my heartstrings helped to cure my mood.

    In other news, our sweet little kitty Mira is not doing well - eating less and less, and becoming less and less active. Her meow has shrunk with her body, to the point that it is barely audible. We are giving her the best loving care we can - medication, fluids, sponge-baths, and lots of snuggle time.

    Wednesday, May 14

    Fresh Perspective

    I am trying to remember to see life in front of me. Sometimes I need to mix up my routine or my schedule or my furniture or my blog to gain a fresh perspective. The header is a picture I took of some of the tulips on the south side of the house.

    Walking down the stairs today, I realized I have already become accustomed to this house. I no longer notice all the details on a regular basis, but today, I saw the leaf detail at the ends of the stairway window curtain rod, and the sticker posing as stained glass on our front door.

    I realize that I often would rather be in my own world than trying to keep the boys out of trouble, and keep them fed, and happy and learning. Sometimes I just want to get the laundry done, and other times I really want a break, but those moments that I am really *with* the boys are some of the best times of the day.

    I also realize I think I need to give all three of the boys all of my attention all of the time. But they will be okay when I don't. It is okay to do the laundry, or rest, and it is okay if they don't get equal time.

    I realize that I have been highly critical of myself since we decided to homeschool R for the remainder of the year. But, I have been reading. Today I realize I don't have to be a teacher. I am a mother. Helping with chores is learning. Playing games is learning. Reading books is learning. I am learning, as well. Together, we are finding our way.

    Tuesday, May 13

    Mother's Day

    Happy Mother's Day to all moms out there, even if I am a few days late.

    So I'm tired of always calling my boys by such formal monikers. From now on I will use their first initials instead, or at least interchangeably.

    Got items from my "wish list" from the boys. Last week R asked if I had a wish list. I said I did, in my head, and told him the two things I could think of at the moment. So, I received a new wallet and this book from the boys, and bath and body goodies from AD. I also received, one day late, a handmade ceramic heart with a butterfly engraved in it from R. Artwork, or paperweight? I'm not really sure, but I imagine I will cherish it for years to come.

    Later we headed out to Grandma's house. True to her word, my grandmother refused to call V by his given name. His middle name was given to honor her late husband, but rather than being happy, or appreciative, or any of the emotions we might have expected, she instead, in the guise of AD's birthday card in January, (before V was born), indicated her displeasure with our choice for his first name, by suggesting that we call him by "any other name". She told my parents she would only call him "baby", and she made good on that promise. Oh well, we can't please everybody.

    Ironically, Grandma told me on Sunday that she always liked the name Annalee for a girl, but didn't give it to either of her daughters because of criticism from her mother-in-law.

    Also saw mom again, who loves every minute she gets to play with said baby, dad, who spent a good part of the day running around the backyard with the older two, and my aunts, uncle, brother, and sister-in-law. A nice family gathering, with all the advantages (e.g. people to entertain the boys) and disadvantages (e.g. people getting on your nerves). We lucked out in arriving after most of the housework was complete.

    So I managed to journal/post every day for three days in a row ... now that I've taken care of missing a few days, I don't have to stress about it, and can take it as it comes. This is for me.

    Saturday, May 10


    The mall was crowded today, at least in relative terms. That is to say, on weekdays it seems almost deserted, and today there was a healthy crowd buying last-minute mother's day gifts. (We, of course, were part of the crowd.) Temporary vendors in the centers of the mallways added to the crowd. Some stands were bustling, while at others, the people tending the tables may as well not have been there, for all the attention passers-by gave them. Indeed, some of them seemed to be elsewhere even as they sat staring.

    Later, at a bookstore outside the mall, I bought some juice-flavored sugar water and sat down to nurse V. I looked for a secluded spot in the bookstore cafe, and wondered if I would be harassed for feeding my baby, as had recently occured at a "super"-store not far away. We both finished our snack uneventfully, and I laughed as I passed by this book while looking for the rest of the family.

    Friday, May 9


    The flower garden grows like a wild jungle at our new home. We have already discovered in it beautiful daffodils, tulips, trillium, and grape hyacinth, and await the blossoms from lilac, rose, and clematis. Periwinkle covers the entire corner of the yard beside the garage. Dandelion and violets dot the lawn with color. Other plants I can't yet name.

    Today we spent the morning outside. I met the neighbor Molly, going for a walk with her three children. She told me Mondays are always free days at the zoo. We agreed to walk together to the coffee shop next week. Perhaps we will get to be friends.

    The boys drew with chalk and continued to play in their crazy competitive way, while I pulled the grass out of the garden. Weeding is such a simple pleasure. It allows me to bring order to my surroundings, at least temporarily, and to discover the joys of my garden up close. It forces me to focus on what is in front of me, and allows me to bring order to my mind, at least temporarily. I would gladly have spent the entire day weeding; but the boys who are growing like weeds also needed my focus and tending.

    It is amazing how easy it is to write words about my day, when I just start with a few. Life is so full of details!

    In the spirit of detail, I think I must be allergic to the maple trees blooming up and down the block; a manageable side-effect of weeding.

    Thursday, May 8


    Inspired by Shelli at Mama of Letters, I'll be trying to write a few words about each day. Some of them will be here, some may be kept exclusively in my journal. Here is my first offering.

    Spring is in the air. Beautiful multi-hued tulips bloom in the backyard: frilly yellow ones with red striping and miniature white ones with pink tips intermingle with reds, yellows, pinks, and one purple beside the basement window.

    Boys run along the paths at the nature center as if in a giant maze, until we stop and see two beavers swimming in a small pond. They might have been muskrats.

    I talked with Grandma today. She still has some leg and back pain after last year's surgery, and seemed to want company. We will go visit her Sunday, for Mother's Day (mom & dad will be there, too). I learned from Grandma that it will be a day for housework, too, if the weather cooperates.

    Is this normal?


    It's nice that they're learning to play together, but ...

    Playing in the backyard:
    Inventor to Painter: Mr. Repairman, I need to fix my car.
    Painter to Inventor: I'm the car breaker. I'm breaking your car.
    I to P: NOOoo. I need to fix my car.
    P to I: I'm going to break your car.

    Playing in the living room:
    Painter, while lying on top of Inventor: Here's a nice soft carpet.
    I gets up.
    P: Come back here carpet.
    I, lying on top of P: Here's a nice soft carpet.
    P gets up.
    I: Come back here carpet.
    This scene is from today. Yesterday it was lying on "nice soft grass" outside. The day before it was stepping on "the stairs".

    Playing anywhere:
    One of them: I'm shooting my bomb-shooter at you.
    The other: I exploded your bomb shooter. I'm shooting poison at you.
    The first: I ran away from your poison. I pushed the "die" button.

    Or this:
    First: I threw you in the trash.
    Second: I threw you in the diaper pail.
    First: You're kitty poop.
    Second: You're a poopy diaper.

    Et cetera, et cetera, et cetera.

    Help! I'm living in a house of lunatics and they're trying to turn me into one.

    Or maybe I already am crazy and this is all normal.

    Friday, April 25

    On my Mind and in my Heart

    This kitty,
    beloved by all in the household, is very sick. AD has taken her to the emergency vet in Milwaukee, after being referred by the local vet. She was never big, but now she can't keep food down, and has lost a lot of weight. Local vet says there is a "mass" in her intestines. The trip to Milwaukee is to find out if there is anything we can do.

    We love you Mira.

    Update 4/26/08:
    The bad news: Verified lymphoma. Treatment focus is quality of life.
    The good news: Otherwise, her health is good. After dosing with subcutaneous fluids and prednisone, she is perkier. If we can get her to eat and gain some weight back, she may stay with us a while yet.

    Update 5/8/08:
    Poor girl is very weak. If she wants to get on our laps, she might try jumping, but mostly just looks at us plaintively. She is still eating and drinking and asking to go out. So we indulge her, and let her eat tuna whenever she wants, sit on our laps even during dinner, and go out to sit in the garden in the sun even when the other kitties have to stay inside. Hopes of even a partial recovery are fading, so we just try to keep her as comfortable as can be and give her all our love.

    Tuesday, April 22


    Already you are so big.

    Gone are the tectonic ridges on your head, formed by skull plates overlapping during your birth. Gone, too, are the puffy eyes, the baby acne, your foreskin, and, mostly, cradle-cap.

    Already your hands are bigger, your arms steadier; they reach out with purpose to grasp a toy, my hair, my breasts, or anything else near enough to reach.

    Already you can roll from front to back.

    Already you wake to let me know when you want to eat, rather than sleeping until I wake you. Already you weigh twice what you did when you were born, and your cuddly baby fat jelly rolls around your arms and legs. You have grown to fill your #2 diapers, and are outgrowing your teeny tiny newborn clothes.

    Already you have adorned most of my clothes and yours with spit-up.

    Already you have rejected binkies, only to later decide they are sometimes okay.

    Already you have discovered that the beautiful little thumb of your right hand is soothing in your mouth, and in so doing, have already let me sleep in longer stretches.

    Already you have moved to your second home.

    Already you have learned to be heard in this chaotic house.

    Already you laugh, coo, and smile, and you have already learned to use these talents to keep my attention. You are delighted by playing with mommy and daddy and your biggest brother.

    Already you have learned that your brothers can be very loud, but they are sometimes fun to watch.

    Already you look like your brothers.

    The Painter at 3 months

    Already your beautiful face, rapt attention, and smiles charm all who meet you.

    Already your eyes are lighter; daddy says they will be like mine.

    You are already three months old.

    Wednesday, April 16

    Where does it come from?

    I swear, now I have guilt about not feeling guilty about the right things.

    I feel guilty for rather suddenly abandoning my job/coworkers/boss (although I'm sure they know there is a risk any time someone goes on maternity leave).

    I feel guilty for deciding not to send the Painter to the (understaffed by our assessment and rather unappealing in any case) next school over for the remainder of his kindergarten year.

    But shouldn't I feel guilty about things like not spending enough time with the boys, or not giving them all the best experiences, or buying all the best toys, or not using re-usable diapers? Ok, I do feel guilty about the last one. And, I guess I also feel guilty for dragging the Painter all over the world in his short life so that he has yet to develop any real friendships or have a birthday party with friends. That's close enough. Crisis averted.

    Begone, guilt! You're not welcome here anymore.

    So, now that I am in charge of educating my children, anyone have any tips, hints, ideas, or any clue what they are doing in teaching a kindergartener at home?

    Sunday, April 13

    One Step at a Time

    It's been a week and a half since the movers delivered our life-in-a-truck. Time since then has been consumed with opening boxes. Sometimes we find long-forgotten treasures, or desired objects in unexpected places. Other times we find trash, or items due for unshopping.

    Our house is starting to feel a sense of order, but there are still so many things to do:
    • AD finished the taxes yesterday and we happily will be receiving a refund.
    • Today, we successfully hosted a family birthday party for the Painter.
    • The plumber came yesterday to run a gas line to the dryer, and we have almost scaled the mountain of laundry that had grown since our arrival.
    • My computer was shipped back to my former employer, but I still need to send my badge and office key.
    • The health of our momma cat is up and down, and we may need to take her to the vet again in the next few days.
    • Received new cat ID tags in the mail, but still need to mail the applications for city licenses.
    • Need a never-ending list of miscellaneous items - bath tub stopper, litter scoop, dish drainer, recycling bags, kitchen pantry, bedroom curtains, bathroom shelf, ...
    • Still need to enroll the Painter in kindergarten for the remainder of the year. (I don't feel up to the task of home schooling right now.)
    • New car tags and drivers licenses
    • Make sure friends and family all have our new address and phone number - maybe even write some letters.
    So many things leaves chaos in my mind. In the midst of it, I am easily frustrated with the boys. "Just let me finish this one thing ..." which of course isn't just one thing but fifty.

    But what's important? Did we come here to set up a household? Well, yes, but that's not why we came.

    Tomorrow I will try to remember to breathe, attend to the boys, and step through the list one foot at a time.

    Home Again

    A little bit of online fun.

    What American accent do you have?
    Your Result: The Midland

    "You have a Midland accent" is just another way of saying "you don't have an accent." You probably are from the Midland (Pennsylvania, southern Ohio, southern Indiana, southern Illinois, and Missouri) but then for all we know you could be from Florida or Charleston or one of those big southern cities like Atlanta or Dallas. You have a good voice for TV and radio.

    The Northeast
    The Inland North
    The West
    The South
    North Central
    What American accent do you have?
    Quiz Created on GoToQuiz

    Turns out I talk like I'm from somewhere near here (which I am). I guess all the cross-country migrations have turned my northern Illinois accent into a southern Illinois accent, though.

    Saturday, April 12


    I thought, coming in April, it would be spring here.

    Tonight the snowflakes swirl outside my window,
    As sentiment still swirls in my mind.
    A chaos of boxes and paper and belongings surrounds me.
    I am happy/sad. I am excited/numb. I am tired.
    I crave order.

    Instead, the wind blows. The rain becomes snow.
    The ground - too warm to accept this coat -
    Turns glittering crystals back to their liquid state,
    And greens the grass.

    The boxes dwindle, relegated to the garage.
    The dishes and pots find yet another new home.
    The first crocus blooms drink in the rain.
    My dreams reflect where I've been
    And where I'm headed.

    This is spring.

    Monday, March 24


    I'm sorry this will be such a short post, but the Composer is hungry again.

    I'm sorry I haven't written much lately, though there are many things I want to write about.

    I'm sorry to be leaving newfound friends. I apologetically explain that it's not them that has made us leave.

    I'm sorry to be leaving our few old friends in the area, even if they think we're crazy.

    I apologize to the neighbors when I tell them that this is still a nice neighborhood, even if we don't choose it.

    Although I haven't done it yet in person, I have, in my mind, a hundred times apologetically told my boss I won't be returning from leave. I'm sorry about the short notice, but you weren't expecting me back for a month anyway, were you? I'm sorry you'll have to find someone else to take over my tasks. I'm sorry I don't think this work is as worthwhile as you do.

    I'm sorry I'll have to give back this computer.

    I'm good at guilt. Now it is time for a new practice.
    I don't need to apologize for being me.

    Thursday, March 20

    Today's Small Celebrations

    The Composer had a nice long nap.

    The Inventor had a nap for the first time in a week.

    The Painter has taken an interest in folding and creatively folded all of his own laundry. (Should really include some pictures here, but let's just say, each item was folded in a different way from the others.)

    Our two boy-cats made it safely to grandma & grandpa's house, on their way to our new home.

    I packed a box today. Many left, but I'll take them box by box.

    Dinner with friends to thank them for their role in the Composer's arrival.

    Check-up today. I am apparently healthy and back to my pre-pregnancy weight! A side benefit of feeding baby all hours of the day and night.

    Tuesday, March 11

    Orange Blossoms

    I drink in the night air laden with fragrance;
    Next year I will miss them.

    Saturday, March 8

    Baby Love

    In response to the prompt from Shawn at Between the Lines, I am reaching beyond the daily trials of being mom, again, to remember the joys of babyhood.

    My beautiful little one,

    I love the fuzzy down covering your body, like a duckling;
    your tiny toes, and your soft, smooth baby skin.

    I love your milky, sweaty, scent;
    part baby, part mama.

    I love your already expressive face,
    your mouth forming a little round 'o', as if in surprise,
    and your as-yet fleeting smiles.

    I love too your vocal expression,
    your own language of coos and grunts,
    and your contented hums while you fall asleep.

    I love the way you snuggle in to my chest when you are tired,
    and wiggle your way down to my breast when you are hungry.

    I love the way you intently gaze at the toys above your bed,
    trying to make sense of the world;
    and the way you look at me with your soulful grey eyes,
    trusting me completely.

    I love the way your little hands reach out to grasp mine
    and the way, through all the other changes, you hold me tight.

    Tuesday, March 4


    I still worry, but that doesn't mean I need to change my mind. Worry, too, is part of me.

    We have made our decision. We are making our arrangements. Two adults, three boys, three cats, two vehicles, and a truckload of stuff will be moving soon to Wisconsin, an hour from my parents, and hour from my brother, an hour from my grandmother, aunts and uncles, two hours from the other grandparents, aunt, uncle, and cousins, to the land of much snow this winter and affordable housing, to a community we don't know, but will become a part of, and a place we will call home for several years.

    In the end, it is a practical decision. We find two things in our new home that we can't get here: affordable housing and proximity to family. There is one thing here that we can't get there: my job. I can always get another job.

    We bring our hearts and our love with us.

    Friday, February 29

    Be yourself.

    These words are inscribed on the title page of my copy of Momma Zen, but until recently, I just didn't get it. Of course I should be myself, but who am I?

    What I am starting to realize, in my better moments, is that I don't have to complicate my life with labels. I don't have to fix myself. I don't have to find a new direction, or find any direction.

    All I need, to be myself, is just to be: free, afraid, joyful, sad, peaceful, angry, awake, exhausted, creative, drained, engineering, nurturing, blogging, loving, changing, the same, many voices, all one, breathing, heart beating, me.

    Thank you all for reminding me.

    Thursday, February 28


    Even though I don't claim the moniker "control freak" nor even pass as one most of the time, I do like to feel in control of major life decisions. Rolling down the hill inside a hamster ball put me out of sorts, until my loving AD explained that I was really on skis, and could stop any time I like, even climb back up the hill with a bit of effort.

    That is, he told me (paraphrased) "If you want to go back to work, go back to work. So, we have a house [halfway across the country]. It will be ready for us when we are ready to go. If you want to work part-time, work part-time. If you want to go back for a while to see if it will work, go back for a while." If this version of the future doesn't work for you, try on another one.

    Oh. Freedom. I am still free. I can stop the ball, or the skis. I can return to my job either full or part-time. I can try to pick up contract work. I can try to pick up other kinds of work. We can stay here another couple months while I decide. We can go right away, and live off savings, and I can spend my days with my boys and exploring how I'd like to live the rest of my life. Oh. I get it.

    Remind me, now, what was I afraid of?

    Wednesday, February 27

    Ball is Rolling

    Raw writing here. Acknowledging my emotions and trying to work through them for my own benefit. Feel free to read on, but I won't be offended if you turn back.

    My thoughts are churning, swirling, as I fly head-over-heels inside the ball, rolling down the hill. I don't know what awaits me at the bottom of the hill, and I fear it. Perhaps the ball will be smashed to pieces, and life as I know it will end.

    What will end? What am I afraid of losing? If I don't take chances, I risk losing myself.

    My life these days consists largely of poop and pee and spit, and feeding and eating and sleeping. In between, I find myself busying myself with chores, with reading, in a desperate attempt to escape from my thoughts, those thoughts that muddy my sight, muddy my self-understanding. (They are still with me.)

    Last week we went on a house-hunting trip. As we found something we liked, though it cost more than we were hoping, we put in an offer on a cute little old house with a biggish yard, two side-walked blocks from a park, walking distance to shopping, and a short drive from the shores of Lake Michigan. Closing is set for the end of March. All we await now is loan approval.

    I find, in this land of bodily fluids and little rest, that I am not as confident about our choices, about my choices, as I was before little Composer was born. Things are not so serene now - I don't find myself happily watching the boys and peacefully acknowledging where I am. Everything is moving too fast. I'm not just afraid of what's happening, I'm downright terrified. I cling to the edge of the ship as it sails along, but I don't feel like I am setting the sails, or deciding which direction to go. Why? What is so scary?

    I start to gain some insight, with the help of my mirror, AD. What do I want if money is no object? What do I want, if I see things with the right perspective? Nothing more than to spend time with my family, watch my boys grow and help them to learn as they teach me, to rediscover my own creative spirit, to live a little every day, rather than die a little in the grip of blinding fear of the unknown.

    Ok, then it is a good decision to leave work and spend more time with my family. But when asked if I want to go back to work (or if I want to leave work) my mind seizes up and I can't answer. Why? What makes me so afraid to say "I'm quitting! I'm going to take 'their' advice and spend the next few years enjoying my babes while they are little. I'm going to live and love and create."

    A big part of the answer appears to be money. We are picking up & moving across the country, to a location in which it will be difficult for me to find employment in my current field. AD's business is just getting off the ground, and may not make any money for months, or years. We will be living off of savings in the interim, and are locking ourselves into a costly (ever so much less so than in this part of the country) home loan. Now that we are investigating them in earnest, the moving costs are piling up. We are leaving behind my substantial salary and health care benefits for nothing. (No dollars that is.)

    Voices in my head: "That's just not what you do! How long will our money last? What if the business doesn't become profitable on a convenient timetable? What if I need to go back to work? What if I want to go back to work?"

    By moving across the country, we are cutting off a convenient "escape route" in my mind - that of going back to work, in the same place, a known quantity, a good job working on "cool" projects - just in case the need should arise.

    But really, why should the need arise? We have a good standard of living, but we can afford to live on less, especially in a much less expensive part of the country. We can do without a lot of the little luxuries we have become accustomed to ... such as buying just about anything whenever we feel like it. (A side benefit from living on less might be that we are all more grateful and appreciative.) But say we really do need more money even after we cut corners as much as we are able? Well, hey, then AD, or I, or both of us can get a job. We are both employable, I am sure. Worst case scenario, if I decide I just must absolutely go back into my current profession, and I can't find a way to do it from the western shores of the Lake? Well, then, we will just have to move again. But we won't have to do that. We have other options.

    What is important? Is it all these things in the house that are causing the moving costs to go up up up? Is it the "cool things" built by my current prestigious employer? Is it my fear of explaining myself to people? Is it my reputation, my salary, the "perks" of the job? Is it the warm weather and oranges growing in our backyard? Is it the number of dollar signs stored in the bank?

    Jen's quote of MLK drives it home: I do this for me, but I also do it for my family. Nothing else is certain.

    Monday, February 4


    Perhaps I fear becoming the woman that this woman finds revolting.

    On the one hand, I want to be "mom" to my boys; I want to be involved at their schools, help them with homework and projects and crafts, to read to them and take them on adventures to explore the neighborhood, or the beach, or the museum. I also crave connection with other moms; I want to sit & have coffee with friends while our kids play in the park, to compare joys and headaches, to trade babysitting and parenting tips. I want to not feel so alone.

    Of course, I am mom, whether I have paid employment or not. And there always seems to be time for diaper changes and laundry and dishes. But finding time for living my ideal version of motherhood is difficult to fit in with a full time job outside the house.

    Then there's the other hand. What if staying at home with the boys falls far short (as it surely will) of my high expectations? Then who and what would I be? The answer is, of course, below - but apparently I have been away from my thoughts (or my paint) for too long.

    Sunday, February 3


    I could go back to work, throw myself into it, try to make changes that would make me happier in my career, all the while feeling like I am spending too much time away from my beautiful boys, wishing I had time to spend on hobbies and crafts, wishing I had a support network nearby, wishing I had time to meet other mothers of young children, to build a community.

    Or I could quit my job and still not have time for hobbies, but the possibilities seem endless if I am not spending 40 hours per week on paid employment. I'm sure I could find some way to make some money if I need to. I can certainly find some time to connect with other moms - after all, I have to do something with the boys if I will be watching them all day. And I'm sure I can find other ways to feel useful, competent, and appreciated.

    Would I really throw myself into my work and make changes to my career path while I am worrying about the babes at home? What would I do if I didn't need the money?

    The choice seems apparent - leave. But for some reason I still cling to my job. Being an engineer, a "rocket scientist" is wrapped up in my identity, and it is very hard to let it go. Instead, I continue to remind myself that quitting this job doesn't mean quitting my career, even if I take a few years off. And even if I never return to paid employment as an engineer, no one can take that part of my identity away from me. When I am ready to shed it, I will.

    Friday, January 25

    Introducing ...

    the Composer.
    Born Tuesday at 8:25 pm. All are healthy and tired.

    Posted by Picasa

    Monday, January 21


    Doctor said, baby and fluid levels look good today.
    Come back tomorrow ...

    (37 weeks +1 day by the doctor's count)

    Saturday, January 19


    The crib is ready in the corner of our room. The tiniest baby clothes are washed and in the dresser, next to the blankets and sheets and burp cloths. The next size clothes are easily accessible in a bin under the dresser. The baby slings (three different kinds) have been located and cleaned and are ready for use. The hospital will provide the infant car seat. My suitcase is packed. We've been reading to the boys about babies. Friends and family are on call.

    But ... nesting is not resting.

    Low amniotic fluids, baby too young, IV hydration. Induction if the fluid levels don't come up.

    Was it all the racing around to get everything ready that caused amniotic fluid levels to drop? Or am I nesting because I sense the baby is getting ready to come?

    The path of modern medicine is precaution.

    My path now is to rest, and listen to my body. When I am thirsty, drink.

    Written Thursday in the hospital with an IV in one arm. Fluid levels went up to doctor's satisfaction. I see her again on Monday, for another check.

    Thursday, January 10

    Who am I?

    I am much more than my job, my career. I am also more than mom. I am many things, simultaneously, and serially. I am a work in progress. I am me.

    Playing with paint.

    Tuesday, January 8

    New Routine

    I guess I'm going to have to find one - at least, that is, if I ever want to get to the computer.

    The schedule we have (and which I have been a part of since yesterday) is very nice, in some ways. I get to spend one-on-one time with the Inventor in the morning while the Painter is in school, and then switch after lunch, while the Inventor has his nap.

    Right now, I am practicing presence. I am enjoying watching my boys and playing with them, reading with them, and exploring the world. We have been talking a lot about the baby, who is expected to arrive now in about a month. I am trying to tune into the boys as well. The Painter seems to be excited about the arrival of the baby, wants to talk to him, feel him move, and ask lots of questions we had no idea we would need to answer for many more years. (But how does the baby get out of your tummy? How did the baby get *in* your tummy?). The Inventor, on the other hand, shows some interest, but also some apprehension. He hasn't been through this before, and it seems he is concerned about losing mommy. So I am trying to give him extra attention, reassurance, and cuddling.

    I'm also listening to my body. The more I pay attention, the more I realize what a good thing it is not to be working right now. Yesterday I felt pretty good, so we did some projects and went to the library. I felt some contractions (not painful), reminding me to drink more water. Today I was tired, so I rested a lot, and let the boys play around me.

    AD asked me yesterday: "So, do you miss engineering yet?" No, I don't. I have been enjoying my time off, the holidays, and time with my family - the boys, AD, and my parents, while they were visiting last week.

    But back to routine. I know I will begin to think I do nothing but laundry, as that is one feeling I distinctly remember from the last time I wasn't working. And another I remember is that while I need not schedule everything strictly, if I have some ideas in mind of what I'd like to do, I am less likely to feel like I am doing nothing.

    Of course, when the next one arrives, any routine aside from sleep, change, and eat will go out the window. And, that will be okay. But if I can figure out how to give myself some time now - for writing, blogging, painting, reading, whatever - I am more likely to be able to continue to give myself some time next month.

    So, this being my first post of the new year, I resolve to give myself time for whatever it is I need to be me.