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Jaime

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Ready for Halloween!

The kids have been taking homeschool tennis lessons this year.  Did you just raise a snooty nose at the idea?  I did initially, too.  But, the community tennis center is overflowing with down-to-earth people who aren’t playing at country clubs for a reason.  Because they love the game.  And kids.  And kids playing the game.  And kids waiting for their siblings to finish their lessons.

Can you tell that I love this place?

Tonight, they are holding a free lesson, pizza and movie party.  I am so excited, and apparently so is JR, as he woke me up asking “Are we late yet mom?” and wearing this:

Don’t tell his great grandma…it’s a Jeff Gordon coverall.

No son, this time, you are ready 10 hours early. I think we’ll have just enough time.

At the end of the day

**We’re having a flash giveaway of an Ergo brand baby carrier: Click here to read how!  Ends Monday 10/8/12!**

So done.  I am almost ready to read a parenting book.  I have nothing left.  My children are behaving like they are on a sitcom.  Walk-ons in a sitcom where naughty children who are too bad to find endearing bring a rain of destructiveness and meanness down on the maligned main character.  Somebody please take over.

Loving them when I can’t like them

I have been trying for the past three days to dig out from the laundry and destruction they have created, and if anyone so much as breathes a sigh that sounds like “make them help you clean it up” I will Chuck Norris roundhouse you through this computer screen.  When the only good part of your day was Facebook, you know it was a complete waste.  And that’s even with my “super-homeschool mom” trip to a country park to walk the trails to find different kinds of leaves for our leaf book.  J and L wouldn’t hear of it and said “I’ll just see them on the ground.”  I don’t even have a picture to show you because it was so obnoxious that even the dog ran away.  (She did come back, covered in rank duckweed and slime.)

The coup de gras (which as a Spanish student, loosely translates to me as “top of fat”) was the complete sham of a bedtime routine we just pulled together that spanned the ranks from JR putting his pull-up on upside down in bed with his feet banging the wall during prayers to Lumpy having a complete fit about using the potty.  It was a battle I wasn’t about to lose, after spending each morning clogging up the washer for the first three loads of the day with tinkle duty since Friday.  Growth spurts hit this family hard.  As I was reduced to yelling at Lumpy to get her pull-up on, I realized that there was no parenting happening.  Just a full-on fight.  Parents versus kids.  Her only need was to say no to me.  My only need was to get her to comply.

You’re expecting me to say something like “and that’s when I took a deep breath and realized…”  But no.  Heck-freakin’ no.  All day long that little girl pushed me and disobeyed me and taunted me.  This garbage has to end.  I gave her space.  I let her twist her actions into compromises.  I was firm.  I put her in time out.  But at the end of the day, there was nothing left to teach.  Unlike JR, she never tantrumed and raged uncontrollably.  She fought tenaciously.  I got the pull-up on her, but I can’t say that I won.  I set her, screaming, in the bed and walked away, disgusted with it all.

Fine, laugh at me, but I really am trying my best, and don’t know why my kids don’t appreciate it.  But, I’m not supposed to say that, because that’s the kind of weakness older people see as an excuse to make a condescending comment about.  And I would tell someone this: Kids aren’t ever going to appreciate anything, because they are inherently selfish, as they were made to be.  Yes, I know that.  But what it feels like is that I must have done something wrong.  I must have ruined the day and spoiled my kids.

But in the middle of this lump of poop day, JR wrote down his own song today called “I love God.”  Cal pushed Hoss on the swing while I took Lumpy to the Port-a-Potty.  And Lumpy stopped pulling Hoss’ arm out of the socket when he screamed and bent down really low and asked “Hey, Hoss, do you want to be the princess now?”  And, I got Lumpy back and sweet again in time for a good night kiss.

At the end of the day, when all of my efforts were for nothing, sometimes all I get is a small reminder that I can try again tomorrow.

One Little Thing Un-Diet, phase 2

**We’re having a flash giveaway of an Ergo brand baby carrier: Click here to read how!  Ends soon!**

The school year is under way, our paperwork is submitted, and I have been drinking nothing but water (mostly) for the past month.  I have to say, I don’t really like that not-drinking thing.  I have had a few celebratory Dr. Peppers, and three cups of flavored coffee, but they are few and far between.  I have never done that before.

I think I’m pretty much the same size, but oh well, it was about changing something.  Just switching to only water wasn’t enough to make me lose some size.  No biggie.  I bought 3 adorable scarves on clearance yesterday and an outfit for court (wishful thinking, but it was a sweet deal).  I can look good at this size (like a 16 in jeans).

JR, me, and Cal at the Buddy Walk this Saturday–doing some PR for Reece’s Rainbow!

But, I think a 12 in jeans would pretty much let me wear whatever I want and be a lot better for me physically in the long-run.  So, on to phase 2.

I’m sure I had a plan, but I didn’t even re-read that blog post.

Because there’s no “must do.”  Just one little thing.

So, starting this week, I am exercising Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings for an hour with a group of friends.  They’ve been doing it for a while at this discount workout place (we spend more on our weekly milk budget than the monthly fees), and today I joined them.  I am doing an hour because I can easily take it slowly and work within my fitness level.  I trained for and ran two half-marathons this spring and on Memorial day weekend.  I have done almost nothing since.  I didn’t increase jean sizes this summer, but they got a little tighter.

So, I think adding working out back in will be a good way to get back to size 16, not snug.

Remember, the goal is to change as little as I possibly can to lose weight, using these guidelines:

1) No removing food groups from my diet, cutting out fat or carbs
2) No deliberate calorie restriction of any kind
3) No powders, shakes, meal replacers, pills

And, whatever I do, I have to be able to continue it for the rest of my life, so it has to be reasonable.  So, give me a call at 5:45 on Monday, Wednesday, or Friday.  I’ll be up, working out in a way that doesn’t destroy me for the rest of the day.  Tuesday or Thursday, don’t call before 9.  I am probably still sleeping.

Signed, Sealed…

It’s official!  The first batch of our paperwork is taking the first part of its journey to Eastern Europe, by way of our adoption agency here in the states.  This means that we have a ton of copies of all of our paperwork apostilled, which is a certification of notarization so the documents can travel out of the country as “official” as well.  What’s lovely is they put this very becoming gold sticker right over the edge to make you feel oh so fancy:

This is what thousands of dollars looks like. A small price to pay for the barriers it knocks down.


What that means for Thadius is that we are officially requesting a referral from his country to come visit him and confirm that, yes, he is the one we will commit to.  That could take as little as two weeks to receive, or maybe up to eight weeks.  We have no way to know.  

These little hams really get it. They asked, “Mom, is this the paperwork that brings Thadius home to us?” Yes, my darlings, it is.

But we do know one thing.  We’ve got the first part of the song down, “Here I am baby, oh yeah, signed, sealed…(soon to be) delivered…” We can’t wait to add the best part: “I’m yours!”

Path of Destruction

When I woke up this morning, I had a rare, overwhelming moment of cleaning inspiration.  The big kids were immediately sent to get dressed and make their beds, and the littles tried their best to do the same.  I was so wrapped up in getting one more thing done, multitasking with every pass from one room to the next, I noticed that the kids were all, suddenly, nowhere to be found.

My husband’s closet is clean, all the beds are made, and the sinks have been wiped out.  And this is what it cost:

25 minutes unsupervised downstairs.  

Oh Heck, I’m beat.

The Perfect Day

I always seem to know when I’m having a bad day.  Because it deviates from my perfect day.  So what is my perfect day?  I honestly don’t know.  I’ve never written it down before, but I do know that other people seem to have them as their “normal days,” with the “tough days” occurring at the frequency of “some,” as in “some days are like that.”  Well, my “less than perfect” days are the standard, if I’m honest here.  So, to have a frame of reference, I think it would be good if I actually wrote down what this mythical perfect day actually looks like.

7 AM: Wake naturally from the sense that it is morning and I own this day. Next to me is my husband, who is holding the baby/toddler who wandered in last night and wanted him, not me. I get dressed, make the bed, and have coffee brewing. I eat a bagel before going back upstairs to brush my teeth. Check facebook and email and only encouragement is waiting for me there.
8 AM: Children wander downstairs already dressed. They sit at the table and respectfully ask for cereal and juice and say “how’d you sleep mom? I dreamed I was a tiger!” Husband leaves for work and has lunch in hand that I thoughtfully individually proportioned for him while putting away dinner last night.
8:45 AM: Children have placed own bowls in sink and dog has not finished anyone’s cereal from off the dining room carpet. Everyone has used the potty without me telling them to.
9 Am: Children sit around table for morning routine (we read the Message Bible for like a minute and a half–the word devotional is ridiculous) and children seem to listen and don’t need scolding to sit still. Baby plays independently and doesn’t climb up sister’s and brother’s backs in his pursuit to ascend the table.
10 AM: We have gotten through two homeschool lessons with each child working with minimal assistance outside of instruction. All pieces of whatever I slaved over laminating are back in their bag. No one has a crayola mustache.
10:30 AM: We have snacks and the children actually go outside when I tell them to. I somehow discover the inner desire to wash the windows and vacuum our barely messy living room that only requires two minutes to pick up toys (which I will sigh messily over, thinking how wonderful I am for allowing the children to be children). I don’t need to bring out the carpet cleaner to suck up orange juice that isn’t allowed in the living room anyways. I don’t have to extract tape from every soft and hard surface a 4-foot reach from the ground.
11 AM: After the children don’t bring anything living or sand-based back from their outdoor adventures, we all go down to the basement and clean up together. I get a brilliant idea for lunch, and they continue cleaning and start an impromptu play while I go and fix a lunch that doesn’t involve a packet of cheese powder.
Noon: Children eat meals without crying. Hoss and Lumpy go down for nap at same time.
1 PM: Cal and JR and I bring out the microscope and investigate small creatures and household dust.
1:30 PM: We all sit down in the clean house and I fold a load of laundry while they watch and educational program. I finish folding and lay down next to them for a 30 minute power nap.
2:30 PM: Littles wake up and we all go play outside. Hoss doesn’t attempt to eat anything made of earth.
6:30 PM: Dinner is ready and made and I’m not exhausted.
7:30 PM: We play a family game. No one walks away crying.
8 PM: Bedtime routine.
8:30 PM: Kids in bed.
9 PM: Kids asleep. Pops does dishes while I write pithy blog post that receives 400 hits and adulation.
10 PM: We feel no guilt from avoiding doing something today.
11 PM: We head to bed and read for half an hour, until Hoss has his nightly wake-up, from which he will let me set him back down in his crib in peaceful rest.

I don’t think it’s too much to ask. Actually, it’s kind of boring. It’s not even that funny what the children aren’t doing. My perfect day is kind of…pathetic.

I don’t know what that means, but I have to say I still want it. Even when I’m typing here at 9:25 AM while the kids are still watching TV in their jammies, unfed, un-diapered, and I think I have a tinkle bed to change upstairs. Maybe we still have a chance at our perfect day, but I doubt it. Is it my fault? Probably? But, are we all going to be here, a day older and crayola-covered by the time it’s night again? God-willing. Most days we just get through it. But even when the perfect days are few and far between, we seem to fake it with moments of perfection.

Cal writing a book for her brother while I’m rocking the miserable baby Hoss to sleep for 45 minutes.
Lumpy laying herself down for a nap when she feels tired.
JR getting himself dressed and throwing his tape leftovers in the trash instead of in the couch cushions.
Hoss bopping to a song playing on Pandora while I try to come up with something for dinner at 6:25 PM.

Maybe the moments are all we can hope for. But I’ll always compare the bad days to the perfect ones that never seem to happen.