Saturday, January 15, 2011

Finally... keeping up with the Jones's

Finally! Finally I have my brand new shiny red camera, and I finally got some time to work with it and take a few new pictures of the girls that aren't all grayed out. Finally I can select shots that are really the ones that I want and not just have to settle for the half decent ones. So I celebrated by trying to take a few shots of what we did today.

It was such a lovely warm day above freezing, mostly all the snow has melted and so the kids were itching to get the bikes out for the first time in months. Norah is still too short for the real bikes, or even the tricycles, but she can scoot. And she's pretty darn fast at it too!

Not as fast as Abby though, so she settled with yelling "Abby!" over and over while her big sister lapped her around the driveway.

Abby was delighted she still knew how to ride her bike and spent at least a half an hour riding in circles and giving me a play by play whenever she got close to the flower bed.

Abby and I made homemade turkey soup and homemade buns for supper. Whenever I make homemade bread or buns I always ponder why I don't make them all the time. Unfortunately with Seth on a low-carb diet buns aren't really a staple food but once in a while they really hit the spot. And my kids love homemade soup so much! More than pizza, more than chicken nuggests, and only slightly less then french fries. (seriously, french fries are the most sought after food for my kids, but not the crappy ones, they have to be big nicely seasoned Steak fries.) Abby is really good at eating the soup broth and the bits, but really Norah is a broth girl through and through. So tonight HandDog came to visit and help Norah eat her bits so she wouldn't be all full of liquid and hungry in two hours.

At first HandDog was such an anomaly that she wasn't too sure, that silly handdog masquerading as Daddy's hand this whole time had her stumped for only a few seconds.
Then they were best of friends and HandDog quickly helped Norah eat some bits from the soup bowl by trying them first and proving without a doubt that the bits were indeed edible. She was very upset when Hand Dog had to say goodbye and help Daddy do the dishes and walk the dogs. Ultimately HandCat that tried to help Mommy do the bath was not nearly as popular and very nearly drowned via angry toddler.
Sometimes when we're tired or just plain wanting the kids to "do what we say when we say it," it's easy to forget that a lot of parenting has to be creative. A situation where we struggle to get the obstinent child to comply can be easily diffused with something as simple as HandDog. Even though today ended well I am still struggling with trying to balance time between the kids and things that I want/need to do. But when all else fails looking at the world through the imagination of a little girl can really change your perspective.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Time Well Spent

So here's the thing, because I spend all this time at home, and work from home and my husband is at home too and the kids are at home most of the time... well... sometimes I don't actually appreciate the time that I have with the kids. It's not like I am at work all day thinking about how much I miss their little faces, I am upstairs at home trying to work with a million distractions namely two very smart, very verbal little girls. So what could actually be a whole day of us doing things together turns into a day of me trying to escape for a few minutes and being interrupted, so I feel like my escape was jilted and therefore I am sore about it.

I take this sore spot and I flaunt it by huffing about it and then planning a household chore that simply has to get done and 'might' include a child but really isn't their idea of fun at all. So since they really couldn't care less about participating in putting away the laundry, or tidying the shelves I do indeed get that much longed for escape, but by then it is soured and tainted by the fact that I won it underhandedly.

 This year will be different, following up on my resolution to spend some individual time with each kid ( which is mostly working) I am trying to pay with cash instead of credit.

I plan an activity with the kids that we simply just do, a craft, or a game, something together... 30-45 mintues or so. I try to be wholly present in whatever we do, have a great time, and then after we are done I can ask for a few minutes to work on what I need to do. This way my kids already feel like they have cash in their pockets, I am not paying them with empty promises of some indistinct activity in the future I have already given them the gift of my time and am asking for a little back.

We started this off with shaving cream painting, you know the activity where you spray shaving foam all over the table and watch your horrified children as they tentativty poke at it while wondering transparently if their mother has really and truly gone mental? You know that one? well we did it.

After the initial spate of " Let's make as big a mess as possible before mom realizes just how big a hole she has dug here," we moved on to "hey this feels pretty great on the skin"

And finally the intended result, the paintings

A lovely flower above, and a rendition of Toothless the Dragon from How to Train Your Dragon

And Norah informs me that a reliable source has told her this is a cow, definitely a cow.

It was great fun, and I did really enjoy it. Letting go of 'the plan' is really hard sometimes but soon enough these kids will be off at school and time will drag for hours.

And lastly I'll leave you with a shot of poor Nemo who was out in the snow in the perfect conditions for this crazy snowball effect. Poor dog was waddling all over the house until I took pity on him and gave him a warm bath to melt him down a bit :)

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Another Year has sprung itself upon us eh?

New Years always seems to be such a surprise for me, not that I don't know it's coming but more that the confirmation that all time is just slipping by faster and faster scares the pants off of me. And there is no better reminder than that crazy anti-climactic celebration with the odd pressure to drink copious amounts of alcohol and watch some crazy sparkly ball fall a continent away. And after you kiss your special someone ( and in my case marvel that there is this crazy forever marriage with this perfect person and how the hell did that happen?) and then it's all over. All the anticipation for all the holidays that are sandwiched into two months is suddenly let go and you feel.. well... tired.

We have been running at full tilt over here for the last few months, we had two birthdays within our little nuclear ( love the word and the completely volatile implications) family, one birthday in the extended family, 4 birthdays with friends, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and then New Years which brought a new baby to a very best friend. Add to that Seth deciding to go back to school, Abby starting Ballet, Norah stopping her napping and I had two publication deadlines for other people and self published one other pattern not to mention making Christmas presents and what you you end up with? Tired.

I am looking forward to January, sweet sweet January with it's endless possibilities and unmarked calender.

The best thing about the first few days of the New Year is that you can fool yourself into thinking that life really should be this unblemished list of hopes and dreams, ideas planned and yet not made real. That you will indeed have time to complete all things which you desire and still have time to relax in a pillow of lavender steam each night while your children magically put themselves to bed after pouring you a glass of Merlot. That somehow all the gritty parts will be brushed over and a perfect silver lining will always gleam with promise like a beacon in the night.

And then the best thing about the rest of January is that you realize nothing has really changed, that there are still kids pulling each others hair, dogs pooping in the living room, books being ripped, favorite coffee cups smashed, not enough time to do anything other than laundry and work and cooking for the starving hordes. But this is the very best part of life, the part where we have other people to mess it up and change it around, to demand our time away from the very best resolutions we have made. Life is lived inside the in between spaces, the moments before and after the climax where we just be with each other and do our daily things.

For that very reason I would like to share my resolutions with you all:

1. Make a point every day of spending half an hour with each child separately doing something of their choice, I will do this without thinking of knitting, and without trying to double task a household chore because when my children are grown they will remember the small moments not the big ones.

2. Taking another half an hour to exercise each day, this does mostly happen anyways but making it more formal will make it more appealing. I will feel like I am healing my body, and making it strong, I will not bend to the image that society makes for me but carve my own.

Just to point out that at this point I have lost 1.5 hours of knitting time

3. To work my ass off at my now chosen career, to be the very best dynamic incredible artistic person that I am, and to never apologize for it.

I wish everyone the very best of the New Year, make the small moments count, and live the life you really want !