Sunday, March 28, 2010

Me time, week 10

I'm starting to think that someone out there is spreading the word of my location, and everyone is starting to figure this place out!  When I got here to my Panera, there were maybe two other patrons.  Nice, quiet, comfortable.  Being a little hungover from last night's outing, I was glad to have a peaceful setting to enjoy my me time.  In just under an hour, the place is practically hoppin'!  It's great, and it's nowhere near as chaotic as the environment at the other location I used to go to, but I wasn't expecting anyone to be sitting near me today! 

It's all good.  I ordered my coffee right when I got here, and guess what Matt asked me about it - "Would you like that in a mug or a to-go cup?"!  I finally got offered the ever elusive MUG!  Of course, being the creature of habit that I tend to be, I declined and took the to-go cup.  I have to admit, it's nice to have a full cup of hot coffee to take with me when I leave.  While the mug would have been nice, I feel that I've finally come to terms with the idea of the mug here, and just being offered the mug is enough for me to feel satisfied that I've been accepted into this mysterious world of the coffee house hang out.  I thanked Matt for offering the mug, took my to-go cup, and settled in at my table. 

Not long into my visit, Mike came to my table and asked if I'd like to try one of their souffles.  Flattered, I agreed to the spinach artichoke.  Mike let me know from behind the counter that my choice was all gone, so I went with the spinach bacon.  Just what I needed, a little grease, it was delish.  I figured out that just before their souffles expire, they offer them to a few customers on the floor.  Of course, I think this is only a practice when there are very few customers, since you probably couldn't offer these little "samples" when the place is nearly full.  Either way, I was pleased with my souffle, and it was a generous portion, making it all the better.

I'm really looking forward to today.  Having company is the stimulus for cleaning anyway, and since we've been into spring cleaning mode lately, this will allow us to check this off the spring cleaning list.  I plan to wash the floors in the dining room and kitchen, after we vacuum the whole first floor.  I vacuumed the upstairs this week, so that is out of the way.

Tonight's dinner will be pork tenderloin, asparagus, garlic texas toast, Hawaiian salad, probably buttered noodles, and salad.  A mixture of tastes, but, I think it will be a nice dinner.  Just need to get crackers and cheese, wine, beer, and some pop/soda/whateveryouwanttocallit.  That will be the easy part.

Ethel is really excited about having company for dinner tonight, it's been all she's talked about for the last two days.  Fred probably couldn't care less.  Can't wait to have everyone together tonight.

That's all for now.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Me time, week 9

The week started with a glimmer of spring.  Really it did.  You wouldn't know it today, though.  I sit here in my spot at Panera, overlooking snow covered grass, trees, and bushes.  What happened to warm temperatures, bright blue skies, and the sound of children finally escaping the confinement of winter?  Sadly, it's taken a break.

Last weekend we began our spring cleaning.  I made a list of things to do and we got one room mostly done.  We filed away the stacks of papers, sorted through over a year's worth of art projects from both kids, and purged lots of unnecessary paperwork.  I made folders for things in the file cabinets, and the desktop is now free from clutter and piles.  Part of what is going to help me with ADD is being free from clutter and distraction.  Making a place for everything from bills to art projects makes me feel so much better.  I don't feel as anxious when I enter the guest room where the computer is.  The room feels more functional and peaceful.  Our next step in that room is to minimize the desk and install shelving to house the computer, printer, and fun trinkets that we like to keep on display in there.  After a trip to the Container Store last weekend, I became inspired, and made a plan for the room.  Can't wait to get it going.

Today we'll tackle our bedroom.  They say your bedroom is your sanctuary and should be a place to find calm, quiet, and relaxation.  Right now, you can find dust, laundry, and more dust.  Today we will deconstruct the room and clean it from top to bottom.  I cannot wait to crawl into bed tonight in my clean, hopefully organized room.  I've toyed with posting pictures on Rate my Space but haven't done so yet. 

One thing that's bugging the bejeezus out of me right now is that our camera, our Canon Power Shot A590 IS won't keep a charge, or so it appears.  After replacing the coin battery and both AA's, it still won't power up, or it takes two pictures and tells me to change the batteries.  I JUST DID!!!!  Honestly, it's become my mission to fix this darn thing.  I know of a couple camera shops in the area, but, am determined to figure out the problem myself.  I did read online somewhere that there was a problem with the battery contacts which is prevalent with the A590 IS, but, only saw that once on a Q&A page.  Will be researching more today.

As everyone knows, it's March Madness.  Yes, our house is generally consumed this time of year with brackets, squares, and lots of quality time with CBS and  This year, Daddy and I didn't buy into any squares, but, we're crazy with our brackets.  My alma mater didn't make it to the Big Dance this year, unfortunately, so I was left to struggle with actually putting together a bracket based on season records and injury reports.  My current feeling on the tournament - who really cared about the Midwest region anyway, right?  Ya, Kansas and Georgetown stung me in one bracket.  That's alright, I have one bracket still alive and I hope the rest of round two today goes better for me than yesterday.  My saving grace is that I'm not alone.  Well, it doesn't make it all better, but, at least some of the experts went down with me. 

I'm feeling pretty good about things today.  I have some positive energy, I feel somewhat rested, and am looking forward to all things spring and summer.  I'm relaxed here in my spot at Panera, and am looking forward to tuna steaks for dinner.   Yum. 

I need to plan my menu for the next two weeks, to include dinner next Sunday for Daddy's family.  He has recently reconnected, after 7 years apart, with one of his cousins from his father's side.  It's been a long time since we've seen or talked with anyone from this side of Daddy's family, and he is very much looking forward to it.  Cousin #1 will be coming with her three children and her father, Daddy's uncle.  My plan is to clean my house top to bottom and wow their pants off.  I love to entertain, so I'm going to try to plan a meal that will bring the house down.  Need to think about appetizers and wine, and of course a yummy dessert.  Gonna take some thinkin', I think!

I guess Mother Nature has a plan for us.  I guess I should take the cold and snow as my clue to get working inside so I can sooner enjoy the outside.  When I think about it, that's just what I'm doing for ME.  I'm working on the inside of me so that I can enjoy all of what is around me.  My husband, my kids, my home, my friends, my world.  Funny how things all seem to work together.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Spring fever!!

Seems everyone is in the spirit with spring looming large. The snow is finally melted, the tulips are reaching for the sun, and the birds are singing. The weather is on and off, but, the kids are thrilled to have more than a few short minutes to spend outside a few times during the week. The neighbors have all reappeared and it feels so good to reconnect. You don't realize just how much you hibernate until spring arrives. Winter seems so long, dreary, and isolating. Spring, then, feels so freeing, so liberating, and so beautiful.

The kids and I decided last week that it was time to start planting some seeds which would eventually be transplanted outside. Ethel got a very cool set for Christmas, and has been chomping at the bit to open it up. Containing basil, zinnia, and sunflower seeds, I couldn't wait, either! Two weeks ago we followed the directions carefully, and Ethel has reminded me daily to check our seeds. The kids were soooo excited when they finally saw sprouts!

Here are our seedlings today:

Left to right: zinnia, sunflowers, basil
Today we decided to plant some other seeds, some of which we also planted last year. To assist our seeds, I went to the back yard and opened up the composter. Yes, I compost. Year 'round. Last year I got a healthy bit of black gold, but this year I've hit the mother lode! I have an Earth Machine, and this will mark my second spring with it. I started my composting in the summer of 2008, rather unsure of how I'd do with it. I had the same fears that many have; will it smell; will it attract unsavories; will it work? The answers - no - no - YES!

Earth Machine

I add all my kitchen scraps to this thing, from tea bags, coffee grounds, egg shells and banana peels. I keep a plastic coffee 'can' on my kitchen counter next to the sink, and when it's full I take it to the Machine and dump it in (as long as I can get to it, and it's not blocked or covered by snow). On weekends when I can maintain it, I add grass clippings, leaves, newspaper, and other brown matter as needed. In the spring and fall I add soil from the very back of the lot, as it's wet soil that is rich in nutrients itself, and very helpful to the compost. I try to remember to turn it several times throughout the warmer seasons (basically the summer). This really just entails a shovel and garden pick, and moving it around inside the Machine.

When I opened the trap door (which you can see at the bottom of the Machine) this morning, I found nice, healthy, black compost. I looks like dirt, is moist like mud, and is filled with good sized worms. Yes, my worms are alive and well in the Machine! I'm so thrilled. Seriously. Ethel was equally excited that we have so many worms, as she's a big worm lover. Eew. OK, I digress.

So I opted this morning to add my compost to our seed starter potting soil for our yellow and red tomato, green pepper, clover, and some seeds which Ethel got in a Valentine this year. I don't know what kind of seeds this small wonder contained, but it was very cool. I haven't been able to find anything like it on the web, and didn't get a pic before we planted it. Basically, it's a small piece of biodegradable paper with seeds pressed into it, which you soak in water, then plant directly in soil. It's so cool! I think it's a wild flower mix, but, will reserve further comment until we see some sprouts.

We took an old egg carton (luckily I'd used all the eggs just last night) and two cups from the House of Evil (Chuck E Cheese). The cups have two nice holes in the bottom for optimal drainage. I'm quite miffed with my camera at the moment, as it seems to be having issues keeping the batteries charged, so I had to settle with only getting pictures of the planted seeds, rather than documenting the whole process as I'd hoped to. The kids looked so cute in their pint-sized garden gloves. Again, I digress.

When all was said and done, we planted our seeds in our desired containers, and the kids have checked on them three times today already. We set them on a large table where I have my African Violets, as it gets full Eastern exposure, and is in our living room which is bright and sunny all day (windows on the East, South, and West in this room).

Here is our little garden-to-be:

I'm really excited that we got to plant our seeds. We have some plans for where to put our plantings when they're strong enough, and the weather is good enough, for us to plant them outside. Our sunflowers last year were taller than Daddy, and the blooms almost as big as Ethel's head! I know Fred and Ethel, my two young gardeners, will remind me often enough to water them and nurture them to maturity.

Yeah for spring!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Me time, week 8

Eight weeks.  I've been taking time for myself now for eight weeks.  Well, I missed a couple Sunday mornings, but the point is I've been thinking about ME for eight weeks now.  What a difference eight weeks have made.

Two months ago I was angry, tired, and disappointed.  I felt like I was at the end of my rope.  I needed a break.  I needed to reconnect.  I needed a change.  I reached out for help.

I met a new friend who helped me understand that what I was going through was not uncommon, but also not unimportant.  My challenges were just that, challenges, not obstacles.  I could work through the challenges, and I could free myself of the anger, fatigue, and disappointment.  Life as a working mom doesn't have to be an uphill battle.  It can be, and is, fun, fulfilling, and worthy.  I am worthy.  I am fun.  I am not crazy.

On this journey, I've found the inherent truth in the adage, "When Mommy ain't happy, ain't nobody happy".  I've also uncovered, and come to appreciate, the unique aspects of what makes up me and the person that I've become.  One of those things is ADHD/ADD.  I've passed the "honeymoon" period of excitement and relief, and have arrived at the stage where the work begins.  I've spend the last month since my diagnosis piecing together aspects of my life which have been shaped by the ADD which I've dealt with, unknowingly, most of my life.  I've made the connection between things I thought I couldn't do, and living with something that simply makes those things more difficult for me to do.  I've come to see that there is little that I "can't" do, and that I'm really not as inept in many areas as I once thought I was. 

One of the ways I've come to reconnect is by carrying out the assignment my new friend gave me, which is to leave the house each week.  Leave the house, don't just sit in a room with the door shut trying to block out the chatter, cries for Mommy, and sounds that are going on in the house.  Not having any clue how to do this, I finally just picked a Sunday morning and left the house, and headed to a local Panera.  There, I got to know a cast of characters, both patrons and employees, who provided me with plenty of people watching material.  After a few weeks of going there, though, I lost the magic.  I wasn't drawn there any longer.  I could tell that I wasn't really spending time on me, I was spending time listening to the conversations, watching interactions, learning how people order their bagels, and getting annoyed by that damned bagel cutter.  I struggled with whether that was really my just right spot, or if it was time to find another.

Fast forward to today.  After a week off, it was time for me to leave the house for my Sunday morning me time.  Where would I go?  I seriously struggled with what to do.  I finally decided to head to the Panera closer to my house.  I chose Panera because I have a fun toy (which I'm writing on right now) that I wanted to try out.  Now that I've become comfortable with the concept of "hanging out" in one of these coffee venues, I needed a comfortable place to play with my new toy, but one which wasn't as busy as the other place.  I think I've found my just right spot.  This location is slightly smaller, much more open, and tons more inviting.  What a difference.  It's not quite as busy and is not in the center of town.  The staff are friendly, showed me the table where the coffee is, and I've seen most of the customers come in and be greeted with familiarity, as they are obviously regulars, or at least know the staff better than a first-timer like me.

In an area like this, just outside Chicago, it's easy to get lost.  Not just the directionally challenged kind of lost, but, lost in the proverbial shuffle.  On one hand, it's nice to know that everyone doesn't know every time you sneeze, fight with your spouse, or turn without using your turn signal.  On the other hand, it can be tough to have that Little House on the Prairie feeling of knowing your local business owners, knowing your neighbors, and knowing that your community is there for you when you need it.  It is possible, though.  I feel, in this one small spot in this one large city, that I'm comfortable and welcome.  This is a huge business, it's not a local shop (still looking for one of those, they're so few and far between any more).  Still, in this one store, I walked in and felt comfortable.  Perhaps I wouldn't have felt so out of place that first week if I'd been in here. 

Anyway, this time I've been taking for myself has allowed me to recharge a little and refocus on the positive.  It's given the kids time to reconnect with their Daddy.  It's given us all that little break we were all needing.  Now, Momma's happy.  Now I think we're all happy.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Our first serious injury

At the tender age of five, Ethel has had her first serious injury.  I'm not the kind of mom who calls the doctor at every turn, or worries about every cut or bruise.  My kids are pretty rough and tumble, and have weathered many a scratch and scrape.  Friday's incident, though, was one for the books. 

Friday was a day like any other.  We got up, got dressed, had breakfast, Mommy worked, the kids played, it was a fine day.  It was about the third day of total sunshine in a row, so we were all in pretty good moods.  After lunch, I got the kids settled in for their respective quite times and welcomed a friend who stopped by for a short visit.  Just as we settled in the living room and started to chat, we heard a thud from upstairs, followed quickly by a scream and cry.  Ethel.  Great.  I headed upstairs, figuring I'd find her having tripped, or even having fallen wrong after jumping off a stool in an attempt to fly like a pteranodon.  That's not what I found.

She was braced by her hands over a stool, facing the floor near her window.  Her green stool was beneath her, toppled over, and her wooden stool lay on its side beside her.  She's obviously fallen.  As I approached, I noticed a drop of blood, and as I turned to her I could tell her nose was bleeding.  Nose bleeds aren't uncommon in our house, although these days they're more common for Fred than Ethel.  Needless to say, I wasn't surprised that she'd hit her head on something and caused the bleeder.  I scooped her into my arms and rushed her into the bathroom.  I grabbed a washcloth and helped her hold it to her nose, then I got her seated on the stool she uses when she brushes her teeth.  She told me her head really hurt, and so did her lip.  I focused on the nose bleed and soon realized she'd hit her upper lip in the fall and it was swollen, so I got a washcloth soaked with cold water for her to hold to her face.  Assuming it was the usual nose bleed, I did as we always do and applied pressure on the nose to get it to stop.  She kept saying her head hurt, then she shook and told me the back of her head was stinging, and as I went to rub the back of her head, assuming it was just a goose egg injury, I felt nothing but sticky wetness.  The back of her shirt was covered, sopping, with blood.  This was more serious than I thought.

Thank the heavens for my girlfriend, G, who had come by.  I called her upstairs realizing that I needed some help to stop the bleeding from the nose, and now the back of the head.  It was pouring out, my hand was immediately soaked, and when I looked down at my shirt, my shirt was also blood stained from carrying her into the bathroom.  My poor baby, she was bleeding seriously, and I was starting to lose my focus and my cool.  G held a washcloth to her head and I went down and got a bag of ice, and Ethel was so good.  She cried and cried, but accepted G and her kind, soothing words of comfort.  G was able to look at the wound and saw that it was open, and in her determination as a former medical assistant, it needed to be looked at by a doctor.

Holy hell, what do I do?  I've never been in this kind of situation!  Should I call 911?  With Fred napping, I had a logistic issue on my hands.  In a matter of probably less than two minutes, G said she'd stay at the house, I would take Ethel to the ER, and I called Daddy and told him to come home right away.  While G comforted Ethel and held the washcloths to her head and face, I rushed around and called Daddy, called my neighbor to say I might need her if Daddy can't get home or something, and G was amazing and kept both Ethel and I from going over the edge.

This might be a good time to mention that I don't handle bodliy injuries well.  I really don't handle even the mere mention of an injury all that well.  I remember when I was in 6th grade my father had brain surgery for a leaking aneurysm.  He came home donning railroad tracks across his head.  As we sat on our screened in porch at the house, welcoming well wishers and friends, he discussed and described his 6 week ordeal in the hospital.  All he had to do was talk about what happened, and even though it was a bright sunny day, it suddenly started to get dark.  The ringing in my ears got louder (I have Tinnitus to begin with), and I felt a little tingly.  Same thing happened when I walked into the hospital when we visited him.  Same thing happened when a friend of mine showed me their arm cast after breaking it on the play ground.  Ya, I definitely couldn't be a doctor or a nurse.

So, faced with having to get this done on my own, essentially, fight or flight definitely took over.  I got myself composed and gathered a change of clothes for Ethel, a towel to put behind her head in the car, and loaded us up.  I had to be strong for my little girl, and I had to get her to the hospital to make sure she was OK.  Logically, I knew that G was right, and she would be fine, but a mother always worries.  I gathered my purse, our jackets, and couldn't help but feel that I was imposing on G.  She said she could stay, she said she'd wait for Daddy or a neighbor or whomever came to relieve her.  Still, I felt guilty, and felt so badly that I wasn't more together and had to lean on her calm and her wisdom to handle this.  Why was I letting these thoughts into my head?  Why would I feel guilty about this?  Ugh, my damn mind!!

I got Ethel buckled in, still crying, and I could see the fear in her eyes.  She was afraid, and I didn't blame her, so was I.  I called my mom.  I promised to let her know when we were done.  I drove.  Somehow I didn't let my impatience get the best of me, but almost did when I had to wait to turn left to get to the ER.  Seriously, why does that ambulance driver have to sit there for that long in the turn lane?  Seriously, there were three chances that I counted, just GO!  Anyway, we made our way to the parking garage, then to the ER entrance. 

I found my way to the pediatric ER, where we able to sit to wait our turn.  The nurses at the desk didn't seem phased by the crime scene I was holding in my arms.  I guess you get immune to that kind of thing when you work in that field, but, really, I had a young kid in my arms with blood all over herself.  You couldn't look concerned?  Eventually they called on us and a friendly nurse took Ethel's vitals and applied a numbing gel to the wound.  From there, I just remember the male nurse who walked us into the ER, carrying my purse and the bag with Ethel's clothes, and his nonchalant stride, his casual demeanor, and how nobody that we passed even so much as winced at the sight of my poor little girl covered in blood.  That walk was the longest walk ever.  Holding my little girl in my arms as we were slowly walked into our bay in the ER.  This isn't how it is made to appear on TV or in the movies.  Then again, most of those mothers run into the ER screaming for help, crying not to let their baby die.  Obviously, this siuation is drastically different than the movies in more ways than one.  I guess I was pretty calm on the outside, too, despite the fact that my body was shaking and I felt like I was either going to puke or pass out at any moment. 

Ethel was rather dazed by this time.  We got to our bed, and I sat her down and the friendly nurse showed us the TV, which kept Ethel company throughout our visit.  She was tired, shocked, scared, and hurting.  Poor thing.  Still, she was so brave.  With a huge upper lip and a loose bandada of gauze around her head, she was quite a sight.

We were cared for by a very kind, gentle nurse practitioner named Carrie.  Oddly, Ethel looked like a scene from the movie by that very name, so it was rather fitting.  All joking aside, the nurse talked Ethel through everything she did, from rinsing her hair out, to numbing the area, then finally giving her staples.  Yes, the gash is an inch long and she got four staples to secure the wound.  Oh, my poor baby, she was so scared, but so good.  She laid on the table, I held her foot and leg and she cried.  Her despair lasted no longer than a minute, and Carrie helped her sit upright, and I gave her a great big hug.  I declined the chance to view Carrie's handy work, explaining that I would end up the next patient if they let me look at it.  No way.  I will take her word for it that it is a straight wound, should heal fine.

The doctor soon followed to give us the final check, and she looked at Ethel's swollen lip.  She confirmed that her teeth and gums were intact, albeit a little bruised.  Her frenulum was slightly torn, and there was a nice gash in the lip, but she said that by avoiding acidic or satly foods, and keeping it clean, it would heal up just fine.

Daddy and Luke got to the hospital about an hour after we got there, shortly after Ethel got her staples.  She was resting comfortably on the bed, and we both had frozen popsicles.  Carrie picked up on my paleness, you see.  Apparently, I appeared with it for a while, but soon my body and mind gave in and I knew that if I didn't stay seated I would be laying on that bed before we could say "staples".  I sat and Ethel and I enjoyed our frozen pops together.

With instructions to apply a given ointment to the wound, and to give freezy pops for the swollen lip, we were given the OK to head home.  I collected my still bloody baby from the bed, and we departed for home where I changed her clothes and she played quietly until dinner time.

I am still pretty uneasy, and really can't look at the staples if I don't have to.  I have done so, though, a couple times when I've applied the ointment to them to keep the area from drying out.  I washed her hair Saturday morning, and got it as clean as I could, although the immediate area could still use some work. 

As it turns out, this all happened when Ethel stood on a stool trying to reach a stuffed animal from the toy net that hangs in her room.  The stool fell over, and she fell and hit her head on a wooden stool, and I still haven't pieced together exactly how she fell (in what direction, etc) or what her lip and head actually struck.  Still, I am thankful that she is OK and her injuries weren't worse. 

She is recovering fine, and even upon returning home from the hospital, she was not the slightest bit uneasy about going in her room, seeing the blood stains on the floor, or talking about what happened.  Today, though, she doesn't want to go to school this week and is afraid to eat anything that's not soft, for fear of her lip hurting.  She's a trooper, though.  What a strong kid.  While she's seemingly fine, I am still weak and uneasy at the thought of what happened.  Mostly the idea of the gash in her head, which just makes me queasy. 

We'll go to her doctor on Thursday to get the stitches out.  What a scary experience.  Now we're on the road to recovery.

And then he turned three...

I've been trying to think of how best to write about Fred and his latest milestone, his third birthday.  This year was his golden birthday, turning three on the third.  I am not the most eloquent writer, nor do I know how to encapsulate the last three years and truly capture the magical moments, the ups and downs, and the love that Fred has brought to all of us. 

He is a prince, he is funny, he is hot tempered, he is loving, he is sweet.  He is my son, and I love him to pieces.
Me and my big sister
He loves trains, cars, and things that go; he loves books, puzzles, and winter snow; he laughs, he cries, he yells, he shouts, he smiles and sticks his tongue way out; and I love him to pieces.

He drives me crazy, he hugs me tight, he tells me he loves me when he kisses me good night.  He has blonde hair and brown eyes, and I want to run to him when he cries.  I love him to pieces.

He's trying to teach me patience, he's trying to teach me love.  He loves his Mommy and his Daddy, and most of all he loves his sister.  He is a friend, a son, a brother, a grandson.  He is a treasure, a miracle, a wonder, and a blessing.  I love him to pieces.

He is an amazing creature.  He's taught us a new language, including words like wee-wah (rocket) and bee-buh (ladybug).  He sees the world with the true wonder of a child, and reminds me every day that life is a blessing.  He eats like a champ, he fights like a champ.  He still cries for his Mommy.  I love him to pieces.

It's amazing to me that we have created such an amazing person as he.  He's beautiful inside and out.  He still loves the hugs and kisses of his Mommy and Daddy.  I'm trying to hold on to these times, because time passes too quickly when they're this little.  It passes too quickly when they bigger.  Time is not on our side when we're trying to treasure our children.  I try to remember the feeling of his arms reaching around me, his little lips pursed against my cheek, the sound of his sweet voice saying, "I love you, Mommy". 
First birthday cake!
 His sister cares for him, his sister taunts him, and at the end of the day, it is his sister that he runs to for a goodnight hug and kiss, whether she wants it or not.  She calls him 'sweetie'.  He sweetly says 'thank you'.  She tries to teach him to count, he can get to 5 or 7.  She tries to teach him his table manners, she makes him laugh with a mouth full of food, and they laugh.
4th of July
His favourite thing to do with Daddy is wrestle.  "Daddy wrestle me!", he cries as soon as Daddy comes home.  Any chance to tackle, tickle, and knock Daddy down, he's all over it.  He follows Daddy everywhere.

There's a special place in my heart for this little guy.  There are not enough words, or the right words, to really explain it.  He's cool.  He's cute.  He's mine.  He's three.  Where does the time go?

Happy birthday, little man.  You're precious and beautiful, don't ever forget it.  I fell in love with you the moment I first saw you. 

Happy 3rd birthday!


Thursday, March 4, 2010

Me time, week 7

 Has it really been seven weeks?  It's almost hard to believe.  I have felt so much more relaxed and patient since starting this project on me, it's hard to believe I wasn't taking time for myself before.

I had a bit of an "off" weekend this weekend, not taking my usual me time the way I have been.  I've only had one other Sunday when I didn't do my Panera morning, and if I weren't keeping track of my me time, I'd be at risk now of falling out of practice and not returning to taking time for myself.  Fortunately, between writing about it and reporting back to my new friend about it, I am accountable and responsible for taking time for myself.  Good thing.

I am a bit late in writing since my me time is on the weekend, but I figure better late than never.  I'm ADD like that, that's how I roll. 

I will start with our Saturday.  I needed to grocery shop in a bad way and Saturday we had nothing on the calendar.  I love days like that when I can do what I need to do without running against the clock.  I tried to write out my weekly menus for four weeks this time, rather than my normal two, but, with the need for things like toilet paper and some other non-food staples, I succeeded in getting a two week menu planned, and could get another week out of what I have on hand, just didn't write it out.  This was going to be a five store trip.  Five stores, really?  Yes.  I am not a coupon girl, nor do I watch sales ads like a hawk, but, I do know where certain things are cheapest, most plentiful, best quality, and when I get the ads I do scan them for good deals.  Regardless, I did have to hit Target for this trip, and as it turned out they were having a special event in celebration of Dr. Seuss' birthday.  Come on kids, we're going to Target!

At the store, there were a handful of employees and two tables set up in what used to be a self-checkout lane.  Apparently Target shoppers aren't too keen on self-checkout, at least not at the few stores I've been to around here.  I digress...  On the tables were Seuss books scattered about, inviting kids to come on over to listen to the stories being read by the employees.  Long story short, you get what you're paying for.  It was a free event, and the employees are probably better at stocking shelves and scanning purchases then reading these books, which can be challenging to the most adept reader.  Either way, it was a nice event and the kids each got their own mini reusable Target bag, which had a sheet of stickers and a pencil inside.  The kids got to enjoy some animal crackers and juice boxes as they listened to the stories, which was a nice little perk.  Overall, I think it was a neat idea. 

After Target, I deposited the kids back home with Daddy and continued on my way.  After completing several stores, I returned home to feed everyone at lunch (including myself), and after the kids were down for nap and quiet time, I headed back out to the last two stores.  It honestly felt so good to do this massive trip and get the things I needed.  I know most people can't imagine going to that many stores for groceries, but it works for me. 

Once I got home and unloaded all my purchases, I got out the items I would need for our dinner.  I clipped a recipe from the newspaper a year or so ago, and this dish has become one of my favourite dishes to make.  It's "baked pasta alla pizzaiola" and it's yummilicious.  I enjoy making it as much as I enjoy eating it, so I always make sure I have this dish on the menu on the weekend, and on a day when we don't have other plans.  The dish is basically a red sauce served over your choice of hearty pasta, with grilled veggies and meats of your choice added in, sprinkled with a fresh or shredded cheese of your liking.  Oooohh, it's so good (let me know if you want the recipe!).

On this particular Saturday, my husband wanted to get in touch with one of his friends and see if our families could get together in the afternoon.  For us, this means after nap time, and by that point, we might as well include dinner in those plans, otherwise our plans would end up being about an hour, then we'd have to head out and go eat.  Luckily, when those plans involve another family with young kids, it usually works out well for both of us.  After a little coordination, I made my yummy pasta dish and we took it to our friends' place and enjoyed a two family dinner of baked pasta, fresh fruit, and garlic bread, served with a nice red wine.  It was really nice to see these friends, we haven't seen them in quite a long time.  All in all, it was a great night sharing good food with good friends, we couldn't have asked for more.

My Sunday didn't go quite like my Sundays have been going for the last several weeks.  I had agreed, earlier in the week, to watch a neighbor's little girl, whom Ethel loves playing with.  I'd agreed that we'd watch her at 8AM, until her mom got home sometime late in the afternoon, just before dinner time.  No biggie.  The kids play well, and with the kids occupied it often makes the day easier for Mommy and Daddy.  For some reason, I told Daddy that I'd stay home and not do my Panera morning, since I was the one who'd agreed to watch R for the day.  This is where things took a turn.  I think in my mind I was really itching for that time out of the house, but was trying to live up to my responsibility having agreed that R could spend the day with us.  I knew that Daddy could handle it all, but, chose to stay in. 

With plans to go to a friend's house in the afternoon for a home jewelry show, I called her to find out if there was anything I could bring.  While we talked, I asked if she minded me stopping over for a bit, so I did.  I accompanied her on a short shopping trip for some last minute goods for her afternoon show.  I was gone for two hours, and made it home just in time to get lunch served to the crowd.  I apologized to Daddy when I got home, because I knew when I left that he wasn't happy that I'd suddenly changed my mind.  Was it the end of the world?  No.  Were the kids just fine?  Yes. 

After lunching, I got the kids settled into their quiet times, got the girls set up with Ethel's Lite Brite, and got myself ready.  I made the dip I promised to take to my friend's place and headed out.  I had very little time to do lunch, get ready, and make my dip, but, I sped through it all and had enough time to get to my friend's place a little bit early.  Unfortunately, I had a really nice time at her house and didn't watch the clock.  I finally checked the time and it was 5:30PM, that's when I'm normally calling everyone for dinner.  Ack!!

I rushed home, and somehow got salmon, rice, and green beans on the table by 6:30PM.  Sunday nights are bath night for the kids, so I had to get them a quick bath after dinner, too!  Ack, what have I done?!  I hate being rushed, I hate being late, and I generally don't handle that type of situation well.  The kids really like playing in the bath, too, but I had to make this one a fast bath, which they didn't appreciate very much.  I realize now how nice our Sunday nights are when we have a nice dinner together, and it's not all rushed.  Note to self, for sure.

Luckily, the closing ceremonies of the Olympic Games were on, so once we got everyone dried and into their PJ's, we all nestled onto Mommy and Daddy's bed to watch them.  We really enjoyed the Games, and I'm always sad to see them end.  As it turned out, it was a fitting end to a busy weekend.  All four of us cuddled up on the bed watching the closing ceremonies.  As I got Ethel all tucked into bed and kissed her little forehead, I realized just how lucky I am.  I have a wonderful family.  My husband loves me despite my impulsive actions, selfish moments, and disorganized days.  In the end, we are a family and we have each other, and that's the most important thing of all.