Wednesday, May 28, 2008

I admit, I need help

Daddy is away for work this week. It takes me about 48 hours of doing this all by myself, that I finally realize that I like having that guy around.

We make it through the mornings just fine. The kids watch some cartoons while I get dressed for the day. I would get up and get that done before they are awake, but when they are up by 6:00, I think cartoons are in order.

The two (and only two!!) daycare kids arrive and we proceed with our morning as usual. Play time, read stories and send the babies down for a nap.

The big girls color pictures or do puzzles while I finish up the breakfast dishes and figure out what we're having for lunch. Then it's more play time, and the babies wake up.

Here's the part where I start to miss Daddy.

Everyone is hungry. Really hungry. Lunch is almost ready, and two one-year-olds are pulling on my legs. When I ask the two-year-old girls to go find their cups for lunch, they proceed with chasing each other around the house.

With just a few tears and only some mild yelling, we sit down to lunch.

Then, everyone is ready to go outside and "run their sillies out." Again, I miss Daddy. I can't find four pair of shoes and four jackets fast enough. One heads out the front door, while I chase down a baby who escaped up the stairs. Just to corral them out the door takes enough energy to qualify as a 30 minute cardio workout.

Once out the door, we miss Daddy some more. The four children go in four different directions. One wants to look at the dog. Another heads for the sand box. Still another for the swing set. Wait. That's only three? Anybody seen number four?

30 minutes later we head inside. A few more tears and then everyone is down for a nap. Ahhh. Peace and quiet. I really don't miss Daddy right now. I sit down for a glass of tea and some HGTV.

The point kids, four kids, or just one. All mommies miss daddies. And kids miss their daddies even more. Here's to you mommies who swing it all alone. I don't know how you do it day in and day out. I'm simply trying to survive five days.

Daddy, it's true, we miss you. We hope you come home soon!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Today marked the beginning of the end of the year. By Friday, I will have whittled my daycare crew from five down to two. It has been a long year, a long challenging year. Looking back, there were some really enjoyable moments. But most days just seemed to be on the border of "I'm absolutely losing my mind!"

I spent my days with some good kids. Individually. It was just when they all got together - and collaborated their backyard shenanigans - that it became hard to enjoy them collectively.

I now know a few things I didn't know before. (Why must I learn lessons the hard way?)

Boys and girls are only related in the sense that God put us together on earth to sustain his greatest creation. Other than that, we couldn't be more different. Boys chase each other around the yard with sticks, yelling "I am a superhero. I have great power over you." The girls, meanwhile, are in the sandbox making cupcakes.

It is very difficult to love another child as if it were your own. This is the hardest part of my job every day. Hands down.

Preschoolers and toddlers have short-term memory. Short as in, about one minute. I said, "Don't jump on the furniture," and "Take off your muddy shoes before walking on the carpet," and "Please don't hit your friends," seven hundred and thirty five times in the past nine months.

Perhaps the most important thing I learned this year, is that time goes by much too fast. My baby boy is almost one year old. My baby girl is scarcely a baby at all. My time at home with my babies is slipping by...

Here are two pictures from our adventure to the park today. We took a picnic lunch and one of the boys' mom brought treats from Dairy Queen. (There's one extra in this picture. We invited a friend to come along. And his mother. I'm not that crazy!)

After a nap and a change of clothes, I wanted to take pictures of my kids by the spirea bushes. They are in full bloom, and they are beautiful, just like my babies.

Have you stopped to admire your own flowers today?


Thursday, May 15, 2008

All things natural

Click this link...for a video about an "Eco Friendly Day Care"

Now that you have watched that, you should understand what my daycare is not.

Here's just one example.

After lunch yesterday, the three older boys were heading outside to play. I noticed that their shoes were quite muddy. Realizing that it had not rained in several days, I asked the boys how their shoes got so muddy.

"We made mud," the boys replied matter-of-factly.

"Where did you get the water?" I asked. The boys know they are not supposed to turn on the water.

"We all peed."

Yeah, this would be my daycare. Don't you want your children to come here?

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Thanks Uncle Sam, but no thanks

I went online to balance my checkbook this afternoon, and much to my surprise, there was a cushy balance. This is not what I expected upon returning home from vacation. I fully expected to tap our savings account to cover my shopping spree...and to ride things out a few more days until pay day. But much to my surprise, our tax refund had come in!

Woooohoooo! Just for a moment, I was pleased with those "hard working folks on Capitol Hill." And then I came back to reality.

I have to say that I am fed up with all the advertisements telling me how to spend my refund. And more than that, I am fed up with those who had their money spent well before the bill could pass through both Chambers of Congress.

I know times are tough. I find myself looking at our accounts at the end of each week wondering where the extra funds have gone. The cost of energy has us all crippled by our pocketbook. Gas to drive the car, food to feed the family, energy to heat the home and keep the lights on...we are all feeling the squeeze.

But I just don't believe that by burning my refund on a major purchase is doing my family any good.

Oh, believe me, I want to make a major purchase. I want a new oven. I want to makeover our basement. I want a new sectional for my living room. I want to go on vacation again. And the list goes on...

The sad part of this story is that the intent of these funds is "stimulation." You and I are supposed to stimulate the American economy with a major purchase. Giving businesses a boost, spurring manufacturing and securing jobs.

Yet, at this time - given the current economic conditions - I am putting my priority on financial security. I want the comfort of knowing that money is safely tucked away in my savings account, standing ready to help us out when we really need it.

So, thank you Lowe's, Nebraska Furniture Mart, and every other retailer who has given me oodles of ideas on how to spend my "stimulus check."

It is with much regret that I must pass over your enticing offers. Deep, sorrowful, aching regret...

And to our American economy, I am sorry I will not be doing my part to "stimulate." But let's be honest, if we all just sit around and wait for the government to bail us out of some hard times, will we really ever learn how to stand tall when the wind blows?

Monday, May 12, 2008

Ahhhhh.....vacation. Let me take a moment from my Monday afternoon to tell you about my vacation. Because after the Monday morning I just had, that's all I want to think about.

We arrived to a warm and sunny San Antonio, leaving behind a cloudy and rainy Kansas. We stayed at the Emily Morgan hotel, which is just across the street from the Alamo. The accommodations were outstanding - complete with whirlpool tub and Aveda bath products. (Aveda just happens to be among my favorites.) What did we do first? Whirlpool tub, of course!
And we quickly followed that up with Margaritas! After all, we were on vacation. Okay, almost vacation. I was vacating; my husband was working.

I managed to fill the entire next day with shopping, a tour of the Alamo, and a pedicure at an excellent day spa. And, then what? Margaritas, of course! What did you expect?

That night, a few margaritas turned into a few more. And then a light supper and more margaritas. We (shamefully) checked out Coyote Ugly and spent most of the night in a piano bar. And just in case you've seen the movie, Coyote Ugly, the real bar is really not much different than the movie.

The next day, I tried to sleep in. I really, really tried. And by 7:15, I gave up and got the day started. (It's no wonder my kids are early birds.)

I checked out La Mercada (Market Square) - for some "local flavor." There were some really cool finds, that just wouldn't quite fit in my suitcase.

That afternoon, we went to Sea World. This was definitely not my choice. We had brought along six high school students (along with two additional adult chaperons) to attend the conference also. And since the students couldn't drink margaritas or go bar hopping, we thought it would be a good idea to take them to Sea World.

I don't like amusement parks. I especially don't like zoos. Therefore, I really didn't like Sea World. I gave this very high and very thrilling water ride a try - and I will never be trying it again. Something strange happened to my equilibrium after being pregnant. I can barely swing on our swing set...let alone free fall a hundred feet on some crazy water ride. We saw a few of the animals, and they were okay. I guess I would just rather see them in their natural habitat, you know?

On Friday, our final morning there, Brent and I walked up and down the Riverwalk. It's really beautiful...except for the places where the water seems stagnant. That's mostly next the bars - suppose that's any coincidence?

We loved all the vegetation, the lush, green and beautifully landscaped areas. We loved the culture, the food, the nightlife. And, we loved the chance to get away, together.

Monday, May 5, 2008

So long, Dorothy!

Our vacation is finally here!

Okay, my vacation. Brent has to attend a conference in San Antonio, and I just happen to be tagging along. I have three days of shopping, museums and day spas planned. And I'm just chomping at the bit, this evening. Mostly...

Why - in the middle of packing bags, washing fifteen loads of laundry and finding three pair of matching socks - does that bout of mommy guilt well up? Where does that come from? Doesn't my mind know that it needs a break from the day to day chaos? Doesn't my spirit feel the need to rejuvenate (with the help of a pedicure)? Doesn't my body yearn for (margaritas) relaxation?

So I'm stricken with mommy guilt, ridden with anxiety over everything I have yet to accomplish, and worried my parents will never want to see my children again at the end of this week. All that stirred together should make for some interesting dreams tonight...

Alas, I have things to figuring out how I'm going to fit seventy-three beauty products and medications into one cosmetic bag, selecting the perfect five pair of shoes to take on my four day trip, and saying the rosary while trying on my bathing suit for the first time in two years.

I will try to give an update from San Antonio, but I'm not sure we can fit a laptop in with my shoes.


Thursday, May 1, 2008


A very talented, and very special, someone shared this site with me today. It's a quick read - and an excellent synopsis of American farm policy. I highly recommend it!

We had another evening of gardening. Tucker's muddy adventures were cut short - he was cranky and started to run a fever. Noah, however, was still going strong at 8:00. Garden hose in hand, mud from head to toe, she was one busy little girl. A storm was blowing in, and we were all forced inside.

The real highlight of my day, though, came shortly after nap time. It typifies my life these days...

I awoke one of the daycare kids early from his nap- his cousins were picking him up early to go play at their house. Eager to begin the shuffling of kids out the door, I put his shoes on him and had him wait at the front door. I turned around to pick up his cap only to watch him stand right there and pee all over my floor.

You should know, I spent the past four days repainting the tile at my front door. Four days. Repainting tile. Two coats of primer. Two coats of paint. And a top coat of polyurethane. Four days. And just this morning, I removed my homemade barrier to the tile, unlocked the front door and let traffic commence on the newly painted tile.

And he peed all over it! I was without words. Exasperated. Sensing God laughing from above. Wanting to laugh, myself, and cry at the same time.

The good news? The paint job and the tile held up to the puddle. I mopped the puddle, disinfected, and got the kid some dry pants. And for goodness sakes, I sent him away with his cousins.